Author's Notes: The wall crumbles in pieces before it falls. The pieces get bigger and bigger and the effect on Sam gets worse every time. Dean and Bobby try to hold onto him.

Summary: The wall's coming down slowly and taking Sam with it piece by piece. Dean stands by his brother and steals every moment he can.

Holding Vigil in the Night

"Sammy, you gotta..." He trails off because of all the things he can think to say, none of them would come out right. None of them could convince his sibling to actually talk to him about it. He tries again anyway, just like he has for the past week. "I know…there aren't any words for what happened, for what you went through…"

There were barely any for what Dean himself had gone through and Sam had been there so much longer.

Dean sighed when Sam still wouldn't even look at him, gazing out at the stars continually like he had been since the most recent seizure, only moving when Dean physically pulled him to stand, walked him back into Bobby's house for the night (where he wouldn't sleep) or for food (which he wouldn't eat). Bobby and Dean had stopped trying to force even liquid down his throat when Sam ended up choking on it most of the time and it just agitated him more than anything else.

Dean let his gaze wander to the IV port in Sam's arm and sighed.

"Okay, Sammy. Okay." Dean sat next to Sam, just a breath away from touching him. "If you can't talk…then maybe I can just listen, yea?"

Dean had been keeping up a fairly constant monologue since Sam had woken up. It suddenly occurred to him that maybe he just hadn't given his brother a chance to speak. Sam's thoughts were so jumbled he knew from previous seizures and flashbacks. Maybe it was just taking him time to string words together.

Dean was not patient by nature, but he could be if he had to be. For Sam.

Days later and they were back outside, sitting on the lawn. Dean's hand so very gently wrapped around his brother's wrist, covering the IV port; trying to ground Sam and make him look like he was lost in thought instead of simply lost.

Bobby had taken to standing on the porch for longer and longer periods of time, watching the brothers, knocking back a few beers to ease the worry in his chest. Dean remained stone sober through all this, refusing to be at anything but his best should Sam need him.

Bobby had only just headed back inside for the night when Dean's patience paid off.

"…I remembered."

Dean's excitement warred with dread.

"Yeah, I know you did, Sammy."

Sam shook his head abruptly and made a dissenting kind of noise.

"No, not…" Sam licked his lips and lowered his eyes from the stars to some point in front of them. "I forgot things and…people. Everything but…that place."

Sam cocked his head to the side a bit, confusion or worry drawing his eyebrows together slightly.

"We forgot how to talk."

Dean knew who 'we' was and felt a sharp pang at the reminder of Adam. Still trapped. Still their brother.

But not Sammy. And Dean wouldn't risk that.

"Forgot every word, everything that happened, every memory…I ever had of anything before, centuries gone." The expression on Sam's face shifts into a slight smile and he turns his head downward more, closer to looking at Dean. "But I remembered your name."

Dean held himself still, afraid if he reacted wrong Sam would stop speaking again. It took great effort for his eyes not to cloud at Sam's admission.

"Didn't…know what it meant or if it was good or bad…but I never forgot it. It always made them so mad…They were so much angrier every time I said it." The hazel of his brother's eyes finally on his again, finally clear again was enough to make Dean cry. "But I kept saying it anyway. Held on and pulled."

Dean's quiet for a long time after that. Eventually, he laughs gently. Sam looks over at him inquisitively and Dean shakes his head.

"I guess it's full circle or something." The confusion doesn't leave Sam's face and Dean looks at him contentedly.

"You remember when I told you that after mom died I didn't speak for a long time?" Sam nods his head slightly. "The reason I started talking again…it was cause you said my name."

Sam blinks a couple times and cocks his head, waiting for Dean to go on.

"Dad was always…sad. And I ended up taking care of you most of the time. Months after the fire, I was playing with you on the floor of some place I can't remember. I got up and went in the kitchen for just a second to get something and I heard this noise from where you were." Dean smiles broadly. "I ran back in and you were smacking the ground with your chubby little hands and calling me. Well, okay, only the first letter, but I knew what you meant. After that, I guess I just didn't think it was right for my brother to say my name without me saying yours…You pulled me back, Sammy."

Dean lets them lapse into silence again, awash in memories he thought long forgotten. He starts a little when Sam leans against him.


"Dean." Sam answers like it's the only response worth giving and sighs, closing his eyes and leaning on Dean's shoulder. Dean smiles and wraps a protective arm around Sam as he finally, finally, gets some non-drug-induced sleep.

This wouldn't be the last time he lost Sam. The wall was crumbling, but not down yet, Cas had said. This heartbreak, this worry that Sam wouldn't find his way home would happen again. But for the first time in such a long, long time, Dean felt sure that he could always reach Sam. They could always find each other because all they had to do was remember a word, a name, that Hell and the devil hadn't been able to scrubs from either of their minds. They'd make it.

Because Dean would always come when Sam called.