Disclaimer: Don't own Supernatural.
Wincest. Very AU.
Dean couldn't do anything as he watched Sam throw himself into the cage. He reached out weakly with a hand to Sam but Sam just smiled softly at him, keeping their eyes locked until the ground rumbled, closing over the opening. Dean collapsed on the ground, battered and bruised inside and out. He couldn't even cry for his baby brother, too grief stricken for the tears to fall. Why? What had he let Sam say yes to that monster? Was it really worth it? Losing his baby brother just to save everyone else? Maybe if they hadn't tried to trick him Lucifer would have agreed to some sort of deal, let the two of them be together during the down times if they swore not to try and stop him. Instead they had gone to him with the Rings and he had known but as soon as Sam had said yes he'd jumped in the kid anyway.
He'd turned on Dean, started bashing him around just for the fun of it and Dean had known he was dead. He'd just stared up at those familiar eyes that no longer held anything of his brother and told Sam it wasn't it his fault. He'd said it over and over and somehow that had been enough. He'd seen Sam's hand coming down to hit him again and then it had stopped, barely an inch from his skin. The hand had trembled, as if fighting to move and Dean had realised he was getting through to Sam so he'd kept talking to him and then Sam, his Sammy, had flooded back into those eyes and had cried at seeing the damage he'd caused. Dean had told him it wasn't his fault and Sam had gently touched his face before backing away, finishing the incantation to open the cage. Dean had screamed, pleaded for Sam not to do it, and dragged himself towards him, missing Sam by inches as his baby brother fell into hell.
He managed to sort of roll over but attempting to sit up made him black out. When he woke it was to find Castiel kneeling over him, removing his hands from his face. Looking up at him Dean frowned, something was….
"Got your wings back." He mumbled and Castiel nodded, helping him up. Dean looked around but there was no evidence of the fight or of Sam's fall.
"I am sorry Dean." Castiel whispered and Dean turned away.
"Whatever. Unless you're here to tell me you can get Sam back I don't really care." Dean told him and Castiel sighed. The flutter of wings signalled his departure but in return the Impala appeared and Dean mustered a tired smile, at least Castiel hadn't left him stranded in a busted warehouse.
Dean got in and just started driving, not headed anywhere in particular. He wasn't headed to Lisa's, despite his promise. He was a mess, he knew it and it wasn't fair to saddle her with trying to fix what couldn't be repaired. So he drove and drove, sleeping in the car when he got too tired to keep going. Eating whatever food was left in the car. He knew he was being stupid, that his actions were gonna get him killed but he didn't care anymore. Without Sam it just wasn't worth it, he needed Sam. He remembered their little trip to Heaven and the revelation they were soul mates. Sam had seemed surprised but Dean hadn't been. It explained the pain he'd felt while Sam was at Stanford and after the kid had died. It made what Sam had done after Dean's own death a lot more understandable too. They'd been patching things up between them the last few months and yeah, they'd still had a ways to go but Dean had stopped getting two beds a few weeks back and Sam had been so hopeful and nervous when he'd done it. Sam hadn't been sure what to expect that first night and then Dean had opened his arms and the kid had burrowed in, just like he always had. They hadn't gotten back to the full intimacy yet but he'd thought another week or so and he would be ready for it, instead Sam was gone, never knowing that Dean had forgiven him everything, that he'd wanted their relationship back and better than it had been. No more going and sleeping with strange girls, he would be Sam's only. But it was too late now.
When Dean pulled over for another night in the backseat he got out to relieve himself but found himself staring at a tree. It was massive, probably over a hundred years old and it seemed to almost call to him. Before he knew what he was doing Dean vaulted the fence and started walking towards it, something about it tugging at his memory. As he touched the trunk and a blinding white light erupted it hit him, the tree looked like Anna's had, but bigger.
He didn't know how much later it was when he finally opened his eyes, laying sprawled beneath the tree. Fighting to hold his human body together had taken a lot of power while trying assimilating the life of Dean Winchester. Things had not gone as he had planned, but then when did they? He got to his feet and looked around, stretching his wings out before concealing them in case little Castiel decided to look in on him for old times sake.
He walked back to the Impala, reaching out to touch it. It was such a big part of Dean Winchester's life however…he felt detached from that life. It made a kind of sense, thirty odd years of mortal life compared to millennia of heaven. He knew what he should do, he should return, take his place as commander and yet…his hand trembled as he saw Sam, smiling gently as he fell towards an eternity he didn't deserve. He knew what he would suffer, a million times worse than anything Dean had gone through in those forty years. He clenched his hand into a fist and walked around to the back of the car, he opened the trunk and pulled out Sam's bag, reaching inside his hand paused as he found something.
He pulled out the envelope, staring at the tear muddied writing. He opened it and stared in awe as a familiar necklace fell out into his hand. He clutched in his hand as he opened the letter, staring at Sam's final words to him. He slipped the amulet over his head and closed his eyes, flexing powers not used in a long time. When he opened his eyes he found himself and the car in front of an empty house, surrounded by a mist to keep anyone else out. He went inside and began setting things up. Sam's books and laptop were placed in the study, their clothes hung together in the wardrobe. Food was put in the kitchen, things he knew from his own experience wouldn't set off too many reminders of hell. Clean, soft towels were laid out in the bathroom in preparation and medical supplies placed beside the large, soft bed.
All of hell trembled as a power never felt before entered. It was different from when Dean Winchester had been pulled out, a million times more powerful. The bearer of such power moved swiftly and unopposed through hell, searching for one particular person. He finally cornered a fairly high ranking demon and it cowered away from him, sensing his anger but shakily pointed deeper, closer to the level where the Cage was. He knew Sam wasn't inside it; the Cage was made to hold only Archangels. Lucifer had been trapped but Sam would have fallen straight through it. He continued his descent, deeper and deeper, his Grace screaming in agony for the souls he passed but he could do nothing for them. At this point he wasn't sure he'd be able to do anything for Sam, the deeper in hell the faster time moved compared to earth. It had been almost a week on earth, in the deepest levels that would be almost a century; could Sam hold out that long when he thought no help was coming?
Finally he entered the level near the cage and he felt it, the call of his soul mate. He moved swiftly, making sure his exact features were blurred; no need to let anyone know what he looked like. But they'd all know who he was. Michael had come to claim one little brother, the other trapped in a cage nearby, screaming in rage as he felt his brothers powers. Demons screamed and fled before him as he walked unerringly towards the broken figure, chained to the rack. The demons ran, leaving the two of them, and he slowly walked closer. The figure whimpered and screamed, trying to move away from him and he forced himself to ignore the cries, undoing the chains as gently as he could. He lifted the broken body into his arms and it struggled weakly, trying to cover sensitive eyes. He pulled his Grace in, not wanting to blind him and then he wrapped his wings around the body of his baby brother, flying up and away from hell.
They reappeared in the house and he gently laid his burden down on the towels he'd put on the bathroom floor earlier. He gently pulled the tattered remains of Sam's clothes off, trying not to cry as he saw the damage done to the slender body. He'd come back without any scares, but Sam had gone bodily to hell, the damage done to not only his soul but his body. Sam screamed, fighting weakly and he gently held him down.
"Sam calm down, it's alright you're safe." He called softly but Sam didn't seem to hear him. Sam continued to cry out and struggle against him as Michael got him into the bath, gently washing away the sulphur and ash of hell as well as the blood from Sam's wounds.
"It's okay Sammy, I'm here. No one will ever hurt you again." He swore to him. He dried Sam off as best he could and then carried him into the bedroom, placing him onto the bed so he could tend his wounds. He healed the worst of them and then patched the others up the way he had a thousand times before while in dingy motel rooms. He fought tears as Sam finally succumbed to an exhausted sleep, the first he'd probably had since their last night together. He lay down beside Sam once he was done and gently pulled him into his arms, holding him close. Sam whimpered but didn't wake and he reached out to gently stroke his fingers through the wet hair. He closed his eyes and let his mind drift, Michael or Dean? Neither life had been the happiest, not since Lucifer had betrayed him. But with Sam he had been the happiest he could remember being since Lucifer's Fall. For Sam he would be Dean, he would stay with Sam, Castiel could deal with Heaven.
Sam woke screaming several hours later, writhing in Dean's arms. Hazel eyes were wide open but held nothing human, just animal instinct and it broke Dean's heart. Was it too late?
"Shh Sammy, I'm here. It's me Sam, it's Dean. Don't you know me?" He asked, gently cupping Sam's face. Sam just continued to scream and Dean let him go, watching sadly as Sam crawled away, falling off the bed and crawling into the corner were he curled up, fearful eyes locked on Dean where he sat on the bed.
"I don't know what to do Sam, how to help you. Ridiculous huh? Big bag Archangel, hunter…..none of it helps. I'm so sorry Sam, so sorry. I just want you back, I lost one little brother, I can't lose you too. If I hadn't left Heaven, maybe this would never have happened but then I'd never have known you and I can't give you up. You're my soul mate Sammy, I can't live without you, I don't want to. I'm gonna get you back, I won't give up on you, just like you never gave up on me after I came back. I know what happened to you was so much worse, but I refuse to believe you're gone. No matter how long it takes, I'll help you get back to normal." Dean told him but Sam made no response, just watching him warily. Dean got up and went into the bathroom, coming back with a glass of water. He knelt close by to Sam, who tensed up, making odd little mewling noises of distress. He put the glass down and nudged it towards Sam.
"Its water Sammy, you need to drink kiddo." He called but Sam just huddled in his corner. Dean sighed and went back to the bed, sad that Sam felt safer with him further away. He had always made Sam feel safe before, it hurt that he was the one making Sam scared now.
Dean watched as Sam crouched over his food, tearing into it like a wild animal, one eye always on Dean. Sam had stopped screaming whenever Dean moved close but he still lashed out any time Dean tried to touch him or got too close. At least he'd finally gotten hungry and thirsty enough to take food and water. Every time Sam drifted off Dean moved him to the bed, only for Sam to run back to his corner when he woke up. It had been months and yet Sam wasn't improving. Dean didn't know what to do; Sam's soul was far more damaged than anyone who had been removed from hell. He hadn't become a demon but he had been fairly close, not from torturing others but from the damage they'd inflicted on him. They hadn't needed Sam to break the way they had Dean, they'd just been content to make him one of them while taking all their rage for Lucifer's re-imprisonment out on him.
Dean sat down as close as Sam would allow him to without lashing out, leaning his head back against the wall, closing his eyes. He'd found that if he ignored Sam's presence the kid wouldn't react to him as badly, though he'd still watch him warily. Dean fought to keep his eyes shut as something different happened. He held his breath as shaking, warm skin brushed against his. He cracked an eye open to see Sam crouched beside him, one hand ghosting over Dean's. He let his hand move, flopping down so that it rested palm up. Sam froze, growling softly but when Dean stayed still and quiet Sam's hand came back. When Sam's hand rested more heavily against his Dean curled his fingers, entwining their fingers. Sam froze, whimpering fearfully, but Dean just stayed still, praying Sam would accept the gentle touch. Sam stayed crouched beside him, frozen and whimpering in fear but at least he wasn't trying to hit or bite Dean so that had to be an improvement, right?
Eventually Sam had to shift around so that he was kneeling instead of crouching but he didn't pull his hand away even though he was still whimpering fearfully. Dean stayed still and calm, his eyes closed as if asleep and he was shocked when Sam eventually lay down beside him, eyes drifting shut. Had Sam recognised him or was he just getting used to the fact that Dean wouldn't hurt him? Dean stayed as he was while Sam slept, not wanting to startle him awake by moving. Sam slept for a few hours before his eyes snapped open and he looked around warily.
"Hey Sammy." Dean whispered and hazel eyes studied him closely. Dean held his breath, waiting for Sam's reaction. Sam clumsily got to his knees without releasing Dean's hand, and moved a little closer. Dean waited, staring at Sam without making eye contact fully. He didn't want to spook him or make him think he was being challenged since the kid was acting like an animal still. When a hesitant hand poked his shoulder he stayed still and Sam frowned, poking him again.
"What's wrong?" He asked and Sam whimpered.
"Shh, it's okay, you're safe Sammy." He soothed and Sam bit his lip before touching Dean's face. Dean took the chance of leaning into Sam's touch, rubbing his cheek against Sam's hand. Sam froze, eyes wide, but then pulled back and stared at his hand and then down at their joined hands. He seemed almost confused about something but Dean wasn't sure what.
"Please Sam, let me know you're in there." Dean pleaded but Sam withdrew, going back to his corner and Dean hid his face in his hands, fighting tears.