Title: Coming Home

Author's Notes: Many thanks to Jedi Sapphire for all of her support, suggestions, and help.

Summary: Tag to 6.11, "Appointment In Samarra". His soul restored Sam remember's nothing after falling in the pit, but he starts to realize Dean and Bobby do.

oooooooooo

Coming Home

Sam's re-souling had been a complete success, according to "Death" but with the process being such a shock to his body it had left Sam unconscious. Not wanting of all places for his brother to wake up strapped to the panic room table, Dean had Cass (who had appeared at the last minute to help) use his teleporting finger to move Sam to Bobby's couch. There Dean and Bobby settled him in comfortably and anxiously awaited for Sam to regain consciousness.

After a full day and night passed Sam finally awoke and when he did , he was very much like a deer caught in the headlights of a car: confused, frightened, and unable to move , having lost his bearings and the use of all his senses.

But gradually awareness returned to Sam as he slowly became grounded in this reality by a gentle and familiar voice which kept speaking to him until words became clear, which continued speaking until the word's led Sam's eyes to Dean. Then the only sound Sam heard was the soft sobs buried in his neck as Dean held him tightly. He was home.

After getting Sam to eat and drink something, Dean , with assurances from Sam that he was up to it, asked a few questions, and discovered that the only memory Sam had of the past year was falling into the pit.

The wall "Death" had put up had prevented Sam from remembering all of the horrific things Lucifer and Michael had done to him in the cage, but it had left a scar! A scar Sam could feel in his heart and soul,something that resembled the vague ache of a healed wound, and although Sam had no memory of it, he instinctively knew that he'd been away from home for a very long time and that he had endured unimaginable torture in Hell.

During the wait for Sam to regain consciousness Dean and Bobby had discussed and agreed if Sam had no memory of the previous year above ground, that was the way it would stay. They had also decided to keep what he knew simple and uncomplicated. It basically would be what Sam had told them when the brothers had first reunited at Lisa's: that Sam had been found at the field where he had fallen and that no explanation could be found by anyone including Cass and all of his connections as to who brought him back and how.

Bobby at first fought hard against this idea of Dean's, feeling lying only ended up buying trouble down the road. But Dean wouldn't budge. If Sam had no memory of this past year, in particular the part the brothers shared, Dean intended to keep it that way to protect Sam! But more so to protect Sam from himself, as Dean knew his brother all too well! He would find a way to blame himself for something that without a question was not his fault, and even if Dean did somehow manage to convince Sam he wasn't to blame by the obvious fact he had no soul. Sam would be consumed by the guilt of his actions, especially those he'd taken against Bobby and himself. He knew Sam better than anyone, the kid bent over backwards to be empathetic to anyone in need, he could forgive easily and had the widest berth of understanding imaginable for others, yet he had very little empathy or understanding for himself.

No for the time being Dean felt this was one Pandora's box, better left unopened!

One Week Later

Bobby's love and support, his very presence, were immeasurable through out all of this and the brothers stayed with him until Sam recuperated. Cass, who has come to expect the unexpected from the brothers, found that true again when Sam exceeded his expectations with how well and quickly he recovered. But Cass knew that even with the great strides Sam had made, there could be unknown and unforseen side effects yet to come and then there was the wall "Death" had put up and the possibility that it could fall at any time.

Set on leaving, Sam and Dean wanted to get back on the road , back to hunting and "their" normal, and also to explore further what "Death" had hinted at to Dean: a mystery the boy's had unknowingly begun to uncover on the importance of souls!

But Bobby convinced them to stay on a few days more for good measure, just to make sure Sam didn't take on anything too soon, and it happened to be a weekend when Bobby would be away helping out a fellow hunter, so the brothers would have the house to themselves.

oooooooooo

Leaning against the kitchen counter, Sam watched with warm amusement as Dean polished off a third piece of Apple pie.

"Can I get you another slice?"

"Shut up!" Dean grinned, before washing down his dessert with coffee.

Peeking over the top of the cup Dean could see Sam grinning back at him and the sight warmed his heart.

But was this real? Panic suddenly swept over Dean thoughts: this could be a dream or some invention of his mind.

"You okay?" Sam's voice dissipated the fear which had followed Dean all week.

"Might have eaten too much!"

"You think?".

"We could catch the rest of the game. Let my food settle ."

"You mean catch a few minutes and then nod off."

Mimicking each word Dean wore a scrunched up "you think you know me so well" face. The pay off for him being when Sam broke into a smile ,evident he welcomed this sweet familiarity.

"Dean?" Sam joined his brother at the table sitting adjacent to him.

"What is it Sammy?"

"I need to talk to you."

"Okay?" Dean acknowledged, not missing his brother's uneasiness.

"What I have to say, it's not easy."

"It's okay Sammy, take your time."

"We, I mean us, we're so brand new and it's everything I want and missed, long before I fell, "

"It's everything I want too Sammy." Dean paused. "I've missed you..."

"This can wait." Sam didn't want to take the chance of damaging this new beginning.

"What ever "this" is Sammy," Dean assured him, "We'll deal with it together!"

"I should never have started this. I don't want to jeopardize..."

"It's okay Sammy, Dean urged him on gently."You can talk to me about anything! I'm not going anywhere no matter what you tell me!"

"Dean!"

"Not going anywhere!"

Sam took a deep breath. "What are you and Bobby keeping from me?"

"You think we're keeping something from you?"

"Yes and I feel it has something to do with the time I was in the pit."

"Why would we do that Sam?"

"No doubt you and Bobby are trying to protect me from something."

"I have no idea what you're talking about!"

Dean was in a panic and flying blind. Using stalling tactics such as answering a question with another question or "redirecting" as Sam called it would only work for so long and Sam knew each and every one of his stalling tactics. This wasn't going to have the outcome Dean wished for, with Sam not getting hurt by the truth, but he was determined to give it his best shot anyway , no doubt frustrating his brother the whole way.

"I'm not an idiot Dean!"

"Never said you were!"

"Then give me some credit for being able to piece together what isn't normal around here."

"Normal?" Dean chuckled nervously

"Okay, different!"

"Like what Sam?"

"Like you, for one!"

"Me?"

"The way you carefully choose your words around me Dean!"

"What?"

"You're being very careful with what you say and don't say around me!"

"No, I'm not!"

"Dude, you and Bobby have been walking on eggshells with what you say ever since I got back! I've seen the looks you give each other when you're not sure about something.

"Don't have a clue what you're talking about Sammy!"

"Okay, what about the way Bobby acts around me!"

"What the hell are you talking about Sam? "

"It's vague Dean, but it's there. I see it more clearly with you but I see it in Bobby too!"

"Bobby?"

He's skittish around me, Dean. Like he thinks I might hurt him or something!"

"That's crazy!"

"I feel crazy for saying it, Dean! I love Bobby like a father but it's there, around the edges of his behavior and at first I thought it was my imagination, even tried to convince myself it was, but that feeling wouldn't go away. Yesterday I found out why when I pulled out a bread knife at dinner and Bobby looked like he was going to have a heart attack. Oh, he came up with a good excuse but I knew it was a cover story.

"Sammy I think you're seeing things that just aren't there. It's only been a week and maybe.."

"Dean, please be honest with me. I would rather have the truth, no matter how painful, than be kept in the dark! You know that about me."

"I am being honest with you Sammy."

"No you're not, Dean. I know you're doing this to protect me from something, but you don't have to! I'm a big boy, and one who appreciates what you're trying to do."

Understanding Sam, God Dean knew he was losing this battle

"What about us facing things together, Dean?"

And fast! Using my own words against me!

"I'm guessing there's other people out there that might know what you're not telling me and wouldn't you rather I heard it from you than them?"

God, the kid was good, and he had a valid point, it was risky keeping this from him. There were others out there like that sorry excuse for a grandfather who could fill Sam in on what he did this past year and then there was the chance Sam could remember on his own.

Dean began to realize Bobby was right. He couldn't keep this from Sam although he wished he could forever. That it would, as Bobby told him, only end up causing more trouble and heartache down the road. The irony of this all was Sam being the one who helped him see this.

If Sam was going to find out the truth, it should come from his own brother. It would be best delivered that way and Sam deserved his best.

Yet in spite of losing this argument with himself Dean was still wavering on telling Sam. How was it he didn't hesitate to die, to make a deal with "Death", and to become "Death" for a day, but the very thought of telling his brother the truth caused Dean dread unlike any he'd ever known.

"Dean" was all Sam had to add and Dean surrendered to those eyes, to Sam who owned his heart and soul and who knew him so well and was pleading with him for the truth.

Dean reached out and stroked Sam's hair, his hand drifting down to caress the side of his face. Gathering a handful of his hair, Dean gave a little tug,

"Okay Sammy."