Summary: After Death puts the soul back into Sam, Dean waits to learn the aftermath and doesn't appreciate the lack of enthusiasm that Castiel shows for the way his brother got his soul back. Hurt!unconscious Sam and protective, angsty big brother Dean.

Tag: Pre Season 6/ Episode 12 tag for before Like a Virgin.

Warnings: Mild language since this is Dean being upset.

Pairings: None. I do not do slash & never will.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. The boys are owned by Kripke and the CW. I'm just a writer trying to kill time and I make nothing except the joy of writing.

A/N: Alright, I know I'm supposed to be working on Mirror Images & I am. This idea came after seeing that last preview clip this week and given Thursday's sudden announcement I needed to do something so this one came out. This is what I wish we'd see come next week and though I know we won't I'm a sappy writer. I hope you enjoy it.


" 'If you wanted to kill your brother, it would've been easier to do it outright.'" those were the words Heaven's new Sheriff shot at me a couple hours ago before storming out.

Huh, who knew Cas could storm out. Maybe Bobby's right and he has spent too much time around me. I'd asked…okay, demanded Cas come down to check on Sam. I mean, after having a shiny ball that is my little brother's soul crammed back inside him. I wanted an opinion on how he'd be when he finally woke up and figured our resident Angel could do that. Now maybe I didn't want that opinion after all.

I knew Castiel would be pissed when he learned about Sam getting his soul back and how it all went down but I was expecting a bit more than what I got. Sure, Cas has the bedside manner of a Goth med student but to just come right out and say he doubted if Sam would ever wake up and then throw that last line at me… well, it was a bit mean…even for Cas.

Sam's been asleep for going on three days now since Death went into the Cage and retrieved that piece of my baby brother that used to make him Sammy. Three days since the last time he looked at me it was with eyes huge and begging me to not let Death put the soul back in…but what the hell could I do? He'd gone past Robo Sam. Hell, he'd crossed over T-1000 too when I barely got back to Bobby's place to find my brother about to kill the man who was often more of a father to us than out own was.

Ever since finding out why Sam was acting so weird we've been fighting to get it back. Sam told me himself that while the soul made him weaker it also made him human and he wanted that at least but I suppose in a way this is my damn fault. I never should've given the kid the soul + emotion = pain speech I gave him after the whole creepy fairy thing but I was pissed at him. I mean, I overlook the whole letting me get turned into a goddamn vampire thing (so long as I don't think too hard) but I had a real hard time getting past it when I was grabbed by fairies and he ended up shacking up with some hippie chick. Nooo, that was something I couldn't let go but it was after that speech that he began acting weird.

Sure, he didn't have emotions to understand basic fear but he did understand that getting his soul back would also bring back every ounce of pain he was free from now. I should've seen the desperation in him after he overheard Cas and me talking about it, though to be honest hearing Cas bitch about cramming his damaged soul back down his gullet almost made me think twice…almost. I still knew it had to be done because no matter how good a hunter it made him, this thing I've been with the past few months just ain't my little brother. My Sammy had emotions coming out his pores. He has been Mister Emo since before he was a teenager and this guy I've been riding with sure as hell ain't him so I made the choice I had to make.

Did I know the soul would be damaged? Hell, yeah I knew that. It's been locked in a cage with two raging nutcases like Lucifer and Michael and they've been taking all their anger out on my little brother's soul. I knew that but I also knew that I couldn't keep letting Sam run loose like he has been. Eventually, he would've snapped on someone and I wouldn't have been there to stop him. Hell, he tried to kill Bobby and I barely stopped him.

Bobby's been…great. I expected him to toss us out after the whole little deranged brother trying to kill him thing but he hasn't. He had kept his distance and hasn't given me the expected lecture that I expected so I figure it'll only be a matter of time before Sam and I lose our last ally and friend and…I can't blame him. I can't promise him how Sam'll be when he wakes up and I can't even promise that he won't ever try to kill him again.

I hear the wings a moment before Cas speaks and I know by the tone what'll be coming so I just decide to head it off. "Come near my brother and I will Molotov your ass with Holy Oil," I warn him, without looking back from where I'm sitting beside Sam in the Panic Room.

"Dean, you don't know what you might be unleashing," Cas tells me and I want to laugh. I don't know what I've unleashed but I know what I've hopefully locked up. A guy with no morals and no ability to make a right or wrong decision to save his life. "If that so-called wall doesn't hold, you might've unleashed more than you can handle. It would be more merciful to Sam if…"

A simple flip and drop of my lighter across the room toward the door ignites the line of holy oil I placed there to prevent any nosy Angels from coming close to Sam. At least until I saw for myself if I brought my brother back or created an even worse monster than I had…though I could deal with a drooling vegetable. I can't handle Robo Sam again. I can't stand looking at a face that's so much like my brother but so not him at the same time.

"Dean! If this fails and Sam is…" Castiel just hasn't gotten the hang of being subtle. I know he wants to kill my brother. Well, I've had people wanting that for six years and I'll be damned if my friend will be the one who does it.

"I told you that if he's hurt we'll take care of the consequences," I remark, looking over through the flames to see his disapproval. "He's my brother, Cas. I made a promise when I carried him out of that fire to protect him and I'll find a way to do that or die trying."

Cas is winding up for a long fight when I hear Bobby shout at him to leave me alone and though I know Bobby is just as worried as Cas is, he also knows that I have to believe that I made the right decision for Sammy. I have to believe that Sammy will be fine or I guess I should start thinking about the best way to kill us both because I won't kill Sam and then live with myself. I made the mistake of losing him once before and that's what caused this…I won't let it happen again.

Eyes burning from exhaustion and not the tears that I know are threatening I begin to reach up to rub them when I feel the first grasp of fingers around my hand and I wonder if my heart will pound out of my chest as I look down into glassy hazel eyes. "Sammy?"

It's instinct that I call him by that nickname even though I haven't had the heart to use it since he came back. Normally his correction is automatic and I wait for it but instead of the monotone voice that I've grown used to I feel my pulse kick up when his fingers tighten to grip my hand as if his life depended on it and I begin to wonder if it maybe did. "You…okay, Sam?" I ask warily, not letting my hopes get too high when he closes his eyes.

"Dean…" again Cas tries to break in but I throw an empty bowl that had water in it at his head and remind myself I need to practice my aim since that throw was way off.

"Get the hell away from…" I start to growl when my hand's jerked in order to get my attention and it reminds me of when he was a kid wanting me when I wasn't paying attention to him . "Yeah, little brother? What d'ya want? I'm trying to threaten Cas." I'm also trying to prolong the knowledge that I made the wrong decision.

Sam's eyes had reopened to watch me until he began looking around, a little panic filling his eyes and I feel my stomach sink. "Where's…" he stopped talking as his throat, which I figured he screamed hoarse, choked him and I grab for the glass of water to help him sip it, surprised when he grabs my arm. "Jacket?"

Wary now, I swallow the fear I feel building but look to see where I'd tossed the worn jacket that he'd never let out of his sight since we started hunting together again. "It's over there," I tell him tightly, hearing the safety click off from the gun Bobby was keeping ready. "You…want it?"

After he nodded, I grab the jacket and hold it out, expecting him to take it and try to run but I was more than a little shocked when his hand snatched the jacket away from me to clutch it to his chest. "Whoa, the last time you snatched away from me like that you didn't want Dad to see that soccer permission form you needed me to forge for you," I try to make my voice easy but something about the way Sam acted made me worry more. "Sam? I need to know if you're…"

"Alright?" he finished for me, dropping his head in a way he hadn't done in five years but I see his fingers reaching for something in his pocket. "Every nerve in my body feels like it's been shocked, my throat is killing me. I'm pretty sure I should hate your guts for the rest of my life and I'd try to beat the hell outta you if I could move and didn't figure Bobby would shoot me or…"

"Hey," I move a hand slowly to reach for his face to lift it when I feel the wetness against my palm from his cheek and realize he was crying. "No one is hurting you, Sam." I assure him, confident that I could at least keep that promise as he finally looks up to meet my eyes and I see something I haven't in years. Huge, deep puppy dog eyes brimming with tears that my little brother struggled to keep from falling. "Sam?"

Swallowing hard, he moves his hand out of his pocket but keeps his hand closed around whatever he removed from it as he cocks his head in that way that always meant Sammy was thinking. "You…never call me Sam," he murmurs as if hurt and I cough, considering my next phrase when the perfect line comes to me.

"Yeah well, Sammy is a chubby twelve-year-old or so I was told. It's Sam," I reply with a strained smirk, watching him blink as I toss those words, said so long ago, back at him as he reaches for my hand again and I feel him trying to press something into my palm.

"It is Sam," he replies after a long moment of tense silence and I feel my heart begin to fall until he squeezes my hand closed and shifts back as if wanting to give me space. "Except to my big brother," I hear him add in a near whisper. "I think I'll always be Sammy to you…Dean."

Hearing my name spoken with only the infliction that Sam could put on it made me nearly break but it was when I look down to see what he'd placed in my palm that does it. I managed to avoid the big emotional breakdown at finding out that my little brother was still alive, I handled being turned into a vampire, finding out that our Mother's father was basically a bastard who sold us out and that my little brother was running around soulless. I handled all that without one single damn tear or break. I look down at the small but very familiar gold amulet on the black cord that Sam had pressed into my hand and I lose it.

I didn't give a damn that Bobby and Castiel were out on the main basement watching every move and hearing word, I hold the amulet up to allow it to dangle free from my hand and hear Cas draw in a breath. He clearly remembered the same thing I did. He remembered the night I threw away the amulet my brother gave me the Christmas I was twelve because I'd lost faith in God and in what we had as brothers. I had tossed the amulet into the motel trashcan all the while knowing that Sam was watching me throw us away before walking away and never had a clue that the damn kid had grabbed it on his way out and had kept it through all he'd been thru. He'd kept it even though he didn't have enough emotion or feelings to fill a thimble. He had kept the one thing that had meant so much to me once…the one thing besides Sam that I would've killed to have back.

I knew his eyes were watching my every move as I stare at it before slipping it back over my neck and feel the familiar weight settle back where it belonged and felt a huge weight lift. Then I toss my rulebook on no chick-flick moments out the door to reach over, grab my brother to pull him into my arms for the hug that I'd been wanting to give him since I first saw him after the Djinn tried to kill me.

"Thank you," I whisper gruffly, hearing my voice break in the emotions that I've kept buried and I feel Sam slowly move to return the hug until after a second I hear the sound of my little brother crying in a way that I haven't heard since he was forced to kill Madison and I know. I know I've got my brother back. Maybe not the way he was, I mean after what he's been through since I first took him from school I wouldn't expect him to be that boy anymore. The way he was clinging to me, babbling against my neck about being sorry for everything told me that while his time in the cage might be walled up he still remembered his last year and that was something I'd deal with later. "Shhh, Sammy, it's okay and we'll be okay now," I make the promise that I pray to my Mom that I can keep.

I'm not sure how long we're like this until I feel Sam finally go still and I know he's fallen back to sleep. As I begin to consider how to get him upstairs since I want him out of this damn room and I want him out as of yesterday, I feel a hand touch my shoulder and I can't stop the scowl. "How'd you put out that Holy fire?"

"Bobby has a canister of foam that works well on it," Cas replies and I make a note to remember that as I shift to ease Sam back on the bed but keep myself between him and our friend. "I'll handle any fallout but I won't let you…"

"I can't fault you for wanting your brother, Dean and I won't hurt Sam," I know Cas means it but that doesn't mean I'll ever fully trust him with Sam if I'm not with them but for now, I'll take what I can get. "The wall may hold for the rest of Sam's life or it may not. Just be prepared for that."

I only nod, glancing down to see that Sam's hand was still gripping the amulet and I let him. "It's going to be fine, Sammy," I tell him quietly, figuring I can move him when he wakes up again so I ease down to the floor next to the bed but allow him to keep his fingers around my amulet. "It'll just be you and me against all the evil sons of bitches in the world…right after you suck up to Bobby big time."

Hearing him murmur in his sleep, I know the words and cough to cover my emotions as I let my fingers card through his hair while pulling his jacket up to cover him with. "Yeah…I…I love you too, little brother and I'll be here when you wake up."

Knowing that the danger is far from over, I'm happy to see emotions in my little brother's puppy dog eyes again. I'll handle the rest…even as I hear Bobby griping about something to do with dragons…virgins… and a magical weapon that will kill a dragon. "Dragons?" I wonder if maybe Sam hit him too hard in the head because I've been willing to go up against a lot of crap in my life but if Bobby thinks he's sending me after a dragon, do those even exist except for that kids cartoon, he's got another thing…

"Dean! We need to talk!" Bobby shouts for me and I have a bad feeling that neither Sam nor I will like whatever he'd sending us after this time but at least this time I can honestly say it'll be the Winchester brothers against the world and mean it. Now if I can just keep Sam from scratching that wall…