By: Karen B.

Summary: Season six spoiler warning. Hurt Sam. Protective Dean.

Disclaimer: Not the owner.


It was bright and round and about the size of a grapefruit, shimmering in the palm of Castiel's hand.

Dean had Sam pinned to the bed, whole bodily - using knees and arms and every ounce of strength he had to hold the kid down - barely able to.

"No. Dean, no," Soulless Sam begged - or as close to begging as he could come - thrashing and fighting. "Dean," he repeated, the name sounding hollow and meaningless. "No." Sam freed his right hand clocking Dean in the jaw.

"Son of a bitch," Dean growled, ignoring the pain and grabbing hold of the freed appendage restraining Sam best he could. "What are you waiting for." Dean glanced over his shoulder at Castiel. "Do it"

"He will not be able to hold back the pain," Castiel explained. "Others will hear and call the authorities."

"It's the last room," Dean spat out, bracing a knee over Sam's flailing left arm. "Paid for the next two over, they're empty. Should be enough privacy." Sam jerked and swore under his breath. "Sam, hold still," Dean barked.

"Dean! Le' m' up," Sam hissed and spit like a wildcat. "Don't want it" He continued to fight, all hot and fire breathing as if his very life depended upon escaping Dean's clutches.

"Too bad, bitch, you're getting it!" Dean remained firm, pressing Sam down harder.

Castiel hesitated. "It has been in the grave a long time, Dean." Sam's soul throbbed, burning in the palm of the angel's hand. "You must understand," Castiel continued. "I don't know if we would be saving Sam from the arrow…or putting one into him."

"Jus friggin' step on it," Dean ordered loudly, desperate to overlook what giving Sam his soul back could do to his brother. "Hurry." Dean ducked away from a right hook before regaining control of the renegade limb.

Castiel stared into Sam's light with a troubled look on his face. "Stepping on Sam's soul would not be wise or respectful, Dean."

Dean drew his head up, brows hiked high. "Put my brother's soul back. Now, you moron, before I clip your wings!" he ordered ferociously.

Without another word or so much as a nod, Castiel stepped forward. Leaning down over the bed, he covered Sam's eyes with one hand, and jammed the shimmering light deep inside - skewering through Sam's guts with the other.

Sam arched his back up off the mattress. "Guh," he gasped and heaved, struggling to breathe. "Nuh." His neck strained - body rigid. "Oh, gaw," he screamed loud and long and horrifically.

Castiel paused only a second, then pushed further inward.

Sam responded by clawing like a scared cat heading up a tree. "Please," he simply said, scrambling to get off the bed.

"No, Sam." Dean anchored him down.

"Eeeerrrrrrrrrrr." Sam's face warped in raw, excruciating pain. Screaming replaced by small grunts as he'd run out of air.

"What are you doing to him?" Dean yelled, breaking into a sweat as Sam's blind agony threatened to rip them both apart.

"His soul runs deep within," Castiel said earnestly,

Sam flung his head back farther, wretched and wiggled. His face was bright red. Hands balled. Knuckles white as the blistering heat searing his insides like a branding iron - threatening to stop his beating heart.

"It is painful." Castiel plunged deeper, searching for the special space that held Sam's soul.

"No kidding," Dean grit out, wanting to deck the angel, but to busy trying to keep Sam from clambering off the bed and hurting himself further. "It's going to be all right, Sam. It's going to be all right," Dean kept up the mantra, strapping Sam's body down by sheer will. "You hold on. Hear me? I'm here with you. We're doing this together."

"Don't want," Sam choked and gagged as if something were cutting off his airway.

"I know," Dean lowered his voice, a whisper in Sam's ear. "But you need it. Not Sam without it."

The kid was a bulge. Every muscle knotted, combating. Strong. Fighting hard. Sam ate all his veggies and more than his fair share of Wheaties. Dean was having a hell of a time keeping him down - almost rolling off the bed twice himself.

"Ahhh," Sam cried out harshly, legs kicking out then curling in to his stomach, then kicking out again. "Let me go."

"How much longer?" Dean squeezed his eyes shut ever so briefly, needing a second to escape the sight of his brother's pain.

Castiel couldn't answer, concentrated, up to his elbow in Sam.

Sam was weakening, but continued to bulk anyway.

Die-harded Winchester genes, Dean thought.

"Hold tight, kid," Dean soothed his brother. Then turned to Castiel and bellowed angrily, "Will you come on already!"

Dean would do anything to step into Sam's shoes. Take away the hurt. His throat ached, burned with bile, but Dean swallowed the sickness down.

"There." Castiel withdrew his hand and tilted his head toward Dean. "Now only love can seal Sam's soul in place and keep it from flying away."

Before Dean could ask what that meant - or Sam could roll off the bed - Castiel took Dean by the hand. "Aw, crap," Dean grimaced realizing what was about to happen.

Castiel guided Dean's hand, powerfully burrowing through Sam - who was helpless to do anything, but shake violently.

Sam sputtered, held his breath, sputtered again, whimpering.

Dean suddenly felt something piercing. Something he wasn't sure he could describe with words. Something abundant, precious, majestic. Damn near electric, standing the airs on his arms on end.


"That is Sam's soul," Castiel uttered, obviously reading Dean's thoughts. "Hold it in your grasp."

Dean did as he was told.

Sam's soul was warm. Golden. Thunderous. The awesomeness of his brother's essence traveled up Dean's arm, shining on his face.

Sam went still, and his whimpering died away.

"Sammy?" Dean loosened his hold.

"Do not let go, Dean," Castiel's tone unusually calm.

"What are we doing?" Dean frightfully questioned, once again clutching at Sam's soul. "What's happening?"

"All that can be done has been." Castiel nodded at Sam. "The boy must accept what is his."

Sam's breath went shallow.

Dean bit his lip, staring down at Sam.

Sam's head tossed back and forth. Eyes squeezed shut. "Hurts. It hurts," he weakly sucked in breath.

Dean could only watch, silently. Had he done the right thing? The question burned in Dean's own soul.

"It is right, Dean. Without a soul your brother will be lost."

Sam choked, breath barely audible. Body suddenly going flat, stiff - paralyzed.

"Is he..." Dean couldn't say the word.

"I am not sure," Castiel murmured, reaching two fingers to press gently along the side of Sam's neck and left them there.

Dean went rigid and started to shake. Sam was going to die. The words sounded off in his head like gun blasts. No. Just no. How could one die getting back a part of who you were. That couldn't be. That wouldn't happen. Getting your soul back was no death sentence. Was this working?

"How will we know if this doesn't..."

"If the heart stops beating, it did not work," Castiel simply stated wearily. "The activity is slowing," the angel said discouragingly. "Not a good sign."

This sucked. This was not helping Sam. Dean had to do something. He pushed in further, his hand squeezing as he bore down on Sam's soul. Begging. Pleading. Tears filling his eyes. "Take it, Sammy. I need you to take it." Dean willed his own soul to enter Sam's.

In that instant, Sam swallowed, his breath coming back. Wheezing at first, then panting, graduating to heavy gasps.

"Oh, God," Dean whispered.

"It is done." Castiel swiftly pulled their hands out of Sam and walked over to the only window in the rundown, bleak motel room. Drawing back a frayed curtain, he peered out the grimy window, into the moonlit night, marveling at a faraway star. "Your brother is made whole again. If he dies now, he will not be lost."

Dean continued to fix Sam to the bed.

Sam's breathing faltered, and he groaned. His hands were fisted at his sides, still clutching so fiercely at the sheets.

Dean thought Sam's knuckle-bones might pop out through his skin.

Dark-purple shadows started to form under Sam's wild-darting eyes and his lips had tinged purple.

"Jesus, Sammy." Dean side glanced over toward the window. "You just going to stand over there and look angelic," Dean snarled at Castiel.

Castiel didn't move. Didn't so much as show that he'd heard Dean.

"Peachy," Dean snapped, his attention urgently back on Sam.

Sam looked bad. Falling apart, bad.

"Don't do this shit to me, Sam." Dean cringed at every wheezing breath his brother took

"Uhng." Sam slammed his eyes shut as his soul flooded the darkness of every corner. Filled the void. Took away the yearning. Erased the endless-emptiness Sam never even knew he had - until this moment.

He began to shiver. In shock. His teeth chattering and clacking together, hard and fast, like a broken wind-up toy.

His soul was a blood-thirsty wolf. Biting, bleeding and crashing its way back into his heart, threatening to slice him in two.

"No. No." Sam flipped and flopped from side-to-side.

Open mouthed.


Breathing out of control.

Eyes rolling in his head as his soul continued to spread through him.

"Son of a bitch," Dean cursed, crawling higher up on the bed, trying to comfort. "I'm here, Sam. Right here." Dean pinned his brother down more forcefully.

The room spun faster than Sam's brain and the fight suddenly left his body. "No, no, no. No. Please, no. Dean, no. Not here. You're not here," a harsh black-pitted scream bubbled out Sam's lips, then he went limp.

"You can't give up on me, Sam." Dean's worry and frustration hiked.

He was Breathless. Lower lip quivering. Eyes snapping open - impossibly wide. Pupils the size of olives. Staring at Dean as if he were some strange creature.

"I won't let you do that, baby brother." Dean wanted to cry, but there was no time for that. "Easy. Easy, now," he kept his ramblings low. Gentle. His trembling hand sweeping Sam's bangs off his forehead.

Sam blinked rapidly. Like a light was going off and on inside his melon. His eyes hurt. His throat burned, every part of his body stung. He felt everything. Felt it all at once. The physical as well as emotional. He tried to fight it all back, for a moment succeeding. But then a wild cry escaped his lips and it all rushed over him like a tsunami crashing to the shore - destroying everything in its wake.

Grief. Despair. Guilt. Anger. Hate. Love. Joy. Happiness. Sadness. Humility. Regret. Name it. He felt it.

Sam turned on a dime. He was different. Something was with him. Embedded. Something he'd been missing. Permeating every part of him. It made him dizzy. Snatched away his breath. Broke his heart. Made him want to jump for joy, curl up in a ball - cry.

"Uh," Sam sobbed, his fingers flinching as they tried to grab hold of something familiar.

"Sammy," Dean summoned, anxiously taking Sam by the hand.

Sam stared at Dean - doubtful - shivering.

"Sam?" Dean whispered, raising a brow.

"It's you?" Sam frowned, tensely. His gaze wandered around the room then back - studying Dean nervously. "It's you," he said more certainly, eyes shinning with tears that wouldn't fall.

"More importantly, Sam, it's you." Dean edged closer - sheltering.

"No. Not me. Not Sam." Sam's hand dropped away, plopping weakly to the mattress.

"Of course it's you." Dean dipped his head staring into damp, glistening, puppyish eyes. This was Sam. With all his faults and all his goodness and all his love staring back at Dean. Sam's soul filling his soul - two halves living in each part of the other. "Lot of things in this world I don't know anything about. Don't understand, Sam. But I know my brother." Dean squeezed Sam's shoulder. "I know you."

"Dean," Sam whispered hopefully staring up at his brother - shocked and confused. Unable to grasp what was happening. "Why'd you? How'd you? What are you doing in hell?"

"Shit." Dean cursed angrily. Sam thought he was still in hell. How many years had Sam's soul lived in hell? One year in the cage - had to be what? Time-in-a-half. Tripple time compared to regular hell. Dean couldn't do the math. Didn't even want to try. The thought nearly made him want to leap off the bed, storm around the room, vomit up his own soul.

Dean growled like an ferocious, rabid animal.

Sam flinched.

"Sorry." Dean winced. "Bro, didn't you get the memo, man?" Dean gave a weak smile. "You're back on the soul train," he joked, falling wayside.

Sam pondered the room again. Cocked his head to get a better view point. "Not hell," he sighed, closing his eyes and drawing in a frail breath.

"That's right, Sam. Not hell," Dean assured, kneeling over his brother as he slipped a hand under Sam's head. "I got you now." He pulled Sam up into a hug - a dead lift.

Sam's arm's flopped - boneless - at his sides. Head involuntarily dropping down to Dean's shoulder the way he used to as a little boy when he'd had too long of a day. "C-cold. Too cold," Sam chattered, his body convulsing with the chills.

"Easy, buddy." Dean tangled his fingers in Sam's hair at the back of his head.

"Oh, God. Oh, God," Sam choked and gagged. "I…don't." Confused again. "Lucifer." He clung weakly to Dean, fingers groping until they gnarled into Dean's leather.

"Cas, what the hell?" Dean panicked, desperate to pull Sam closer, but they were already as close as they could get.

"It is normal." Castiel moved to the empty queen-sized bed, dragging the comforter off and handing the heavy gaudy-colored blanket over to Dean.

"Normal, my ass." In a huff, Dean snatched the comforter away from the angel. Awkwardly, Dean wrapped the big coverlet around his brother's shivering shoulders, cocooning Sam inside. "It's okay. It's okay, kiddo." He rubbed up and down the length of Sam's back, turning to pin Castiel with a deadly stare. "How can you possibly say this is normal? Look at him." Dean frowned, worry lines creasing his eyes.

Sam trembled badly, exhausted and drenched in sweat, limp.

Castiel considered Dean's words a moment then said, "Because touching a soul is like touching the face of God. Sam is in our presence. As is God. In our presence." Castiel glanced back out the window, skyward, uttered something - a prayer maybe. "Your brother will be okay, Dean," he said softly, then disappeared in a feathery-flurry of wings and air.

"The hell he will," Dean said bitterly, knowing exactly what hell could do to a guy.

"Dean," Sam called weakly, troubled eyes searching.

"Right here, buddy."

"Dreamt you were here." Sam was breathing hard, his body jittery, trying to gear up again, but couldn't.

"No dream, Sam," Dean said slowly. " I am here. Closer than you could ever know."

"Thought…thought I was dead."

"Hey, pal." The lines on Dean's face deepened. "Don't worry about that right now." Dean reached for a water bottle on the night stand, shocked it hadn't ended up on the floor with all Sam's thrashing. He managed to hold on to Sam; while at the same time unscrewing the cap. "Come on." He eased Sam away from him just enough so he could peer into his eyes. Both were red. Full of broken blood vessels that had burst during Sam's struggle to take back his soul. "You look like you could really use something stronger," Dean confessed. "But here." He held the bottle to Sam's lips. "Drink some of this water."

Sam took three huge gulps, wanting to wipe away the water that dribbled down his chin but having no strength, weakly collapsing back against Dean.

"The things I've done," Sam whimpered, tension draining from his body with each passing second. "What I let that vamp do to you," he gulped, feeling nauseous. "And all those innocent people. The horrible….gah, what I did," Sam moaned, sounding so alone, like a vanishing animal - the last of his kind.

Dean held him tighter. "We've all done things, Sam. Besides you didn't understand."

"Understood plenty." Sam's head wobbled back and forth on Dean's shoulder. "Didn't' care."

"Sam, no soul equals no heart. No heart equals, well," Dean shrugged, "No heart. You wouldn't do any of those things now. Would have done anything to prevent them if you had your soul. Wouldn't you?"

Sam was quiet.

"Wouldn't you?" Dean asked again, more conviction in his voice.

Tears fell from the outside corners of Sam's eyes, splashing to Dean's shoulder.


"Never would have," Sam sobbed.

"That's right, Sam. You never, ever would have," Dean confirmed.

Sam sucked in a few deep breaths - body and soul beat.

"Can you sleep now?"

Sam nodded yes.

"I bet." Dean started to ease Sam down to the pillows.

"No." Sam flinched. "Here. With you."

"Not a chick-flick moment," Dean chuckled lightly, arranging Sam so he was sprawled in his lap. Warm and safe and one hundred and ten percent Sammy.

"You'll get use to them," Sam mumbled, falling fast asleep. Dean warming his cold soul.

"Yeah, I think I could," Dean murmured softly, easing himself back to settle in for the night. "Welcome home, Sammy."

The 'blah- blah' end