Carry On

Summary: 1-shot Dean POV. After events with Castiel opening Purgatory, Dean considers his next move while also considering other things, such as Sam's recovery from the wall falling in his mind when one thing reminds him of how vital it was to carry on. Brooding/big brother!Dean / Confused/upset!Sammy

Warnings: Minor cussing, nothing serious

Spoilers/Tags: Mentions of various events from Season 6 with tag to and spoilers for 6-22, The Man Who Knew Too Much (I try not to have spoiled too much but the warning is up)

Characters/Pairings: No pairing since I will not do that but we have a nice brother moment with a appearance of Bobby being Bobby.

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or anything. Just using them for entertainment purposes.

Author Note: I started this as 3rd person but Dean wouldn't shut up so it turned into 1st person. I'm probably going to kill this episode with varying angles, plot, subplots, etc until all the plot bunnies are done.

SPN SPN SPN SPN SPN SPN

Carry on. Two simple words that sound real easy to do but mainly just remind me of a Kansas song because carrying on after this last gutshot ain't gonna be easy.

I'll admit that ever since this whole mess started I've been willing to shrug most of the crap off and work through it. I mean, for over a year I believed my little brother was stuck in a whole in the ground…locked in a cage with two feuding pissed off Archangels. Finding out differently the very night I found out the grandfather I saw die years before I was even born was also back alive should've warned me of what would probably be coming.

Still I was too relieved to have Sammy back to pay attention to the senses that my Dad had drilled into my damn head pretty much all my life. Sure, there was plenty about my brother that set my warning bells off; the two biggest was the obvious lack of clear emotion since my Sammy had always worn his heart on his sleeve but I think the biggest one was that goddamn thing he swore was a car.

When Sam refused to take the Impala I knew something was off because my brother grew up in that car. It was his home more than the hotels and motels we stayed at and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my little brother would not have looked me in the face and flat out refused my offer to take the Impala.

It just went down hill from there. I'd never wanted to go to Lisa and Ben but even though I never did technically promise Sam that I would…after I believed he was gone in that final fight with Lucifer I did go and managed to stick it out with only a few incidents but when Sam came back it didn't take me long to figure out where I belonged.

Lisa tried to make it work, she said we could do the long distance thing but I'm too much of a hunter to have not picked up on the tells every time we talked. She'd be distant and reluctant when I'd go to leave but what helped to finish it, aside from the vampire thing, was when her tone changed toward Sam.

She, like half the people in my life, never understood. They never got it. Sam was more than my little brother…he was…my life. He'd been that since I was four years old and carried him out of our house the night our whole life changed. Dad didn't raise Sammy, I did and I hardly ever forgot that.

Getting Sam back, even if he was acting weirder than ever, didn't matter to me. I had my brother back and co-dependence be damned, I wasn't about to lose him so we hit the road and then it was just a matter of figuring out what was wrong with him.

The whole mess with Mom's family, Cas's war in Heaven, finding out my brother was walking around without a soul…yeah, that made my life real easy to handle but I knew so long as I had Sam that we'd survive it.

I didn't always trust my little brother, for obvious reasons, but I never stopped loving him (though I'd cut my tongue out before admitting that) and that's why I could forgive the whole vampire mess because my brother, the Sammy that I'd watched grow up, would never have willingly let me be turned into a damn vamp. I forgave him…I just was never sure if he'd forgive himself if he remembered.

It was harder getting Bobby to forgive Sam after that tiny little error in judgment on Sam's part when he tried to kill Bobby in order to keep his soul from being put back in but eventually I like to think that Bobby came to understand that it wasn't Sam who'd nearly slit his throat but Robo-Sam.

Robo-Sam…that was six months of hell because I never knew what he'd say or do because without his soul Sam couldn't tell right from wrong or he didn't give a damn…I was never sure which. I knew he'd become the hunter our Dad had always pushed for and that was why I pushed to get his damn soul back…even if I had to make that bet with Death.

I suppose I should've seen or suspected there was something really wrong when Death, even though I lost the bet, still retrieved Sammy's soul and put up that wall to shield his mind from the memories of his time in the Cage and the year he'd been soulless. Death said it was the souls that mattered but it didn't dawn on me because there was only one soul I was interested in and that was that of my little pain in the ass brother.

Ten days Bobby and I waited for Sam to wake up after having his soul, who knew souls were like little glowing baseballs, put back in. Cas was pissed that I'd done it and I never let down my guard that he'd try to do something since he'd pretty much told me that it would've been more merciful to just have killed my brother. I always waited to see if he'd do something and I suppose if I hadn't been so worried and distracted that his behavior then would've warned me that something wasn't right but I let it go. Now I regret that.

Now if I could go back, knowing what I do, maybe I could've stopped what happened. Maybe I wouldn't be looking at a shattered life, a crashed car and Sammy…

Sam waking up with his first pure Sammy emotional outburst was actually the greatest thing in my life in awhile. Sure, I had to worry about slaying a dragon, keeping Sam's mental wall up and never letting him remember the things he didn't…the things I didn't want my brother to ever remember and that plan worked pretty well with one little setup…until the other goddamn day when Castiel decided to kick the wall down.

We'd been fighting to keep the door to Purgatory closed ever since Eve came through. Sam and I thought that dealing with Eve, the Mother of All, would end all our problems. It turned out it just added to 'em because it was Eve, in our Mother's form, that told us that Crowley wasn't dead.

Crowley, the new King of Hell, the very demon we'd seen Cas burn months before and he wasn't dead. Sammy had been acting weird, not Robo-Sam weird but nervous little brother weird, around Cas ever since he woke up and the damn Angel told him a few things I wasn't happy with.

I so hate it when Sam's right about something but I couldn't ignore it for long. He and Bobby both believed that Cas had been hiding stuff from us and it turned out that he was…something huge. Our so-called feathered pal was in league with the King of Hell for control of the souls of Purgatory. That was a kick in the gut because I don't trust many people but I trusted Cas and this betrayal hurt.

I wasn't sure what hurt the most. His willingness to work with Crowley or the fact that it had been Cas who pulled Sam outta the Cage but left his soul behind. He said it was a mistake but he yanked me out of the bowels of Hell with a soul so how'd he just happen to leave the part of Sam behind that made him Sammy? I have ideas but I guess now they don't matter. Nothing matters.

Cas caused Sam's wall to fall and my brother went down hard, forced to fight a battle that I couldn't help him with. A battle I'm still not sure if he won or not.

"You gonna sit out here and mope all night or go check the damage?"

Bobby Singer had been mine and Sam's mentor/father figure for years and was never afraid to speak his mind, especially if I'm being an moron. I just wasn't sure if I was ready to carry on or if I could. Sammy and I had moved on and survived from a lot of crap in our lives but this one…this one had left me shaken.

"It wasn't your fault, Dean. You tried your best to stop it from happenin' and now you gotta get off your ass and go on or everything you've fought for, everything he fought for won't mean a damn thing." Bobby had as many bruises as I got from the other night but he's too mean to let a few bruises slow him down.

"I was younger when I rebuilt her the last time, Bobby," I tell him wearily, reaching for the bottle of beer I've been nursing when it gets knocked out of my hand and I know a lecture's coming.

"Dean, you've fought a helluva lot of crap these past few years. I know what happened to Sam has knocked you down and then having Cas do what he's done but you ain't a coward and you ain't never quit on anything. That damn car's in your blood and the first thing you need to do before you can starting to heal or carry on is fix her…unless you want to follow the advice I gave to Sam the last time and junk her."

Bobby knew what the Impala has always meant to me and Sam. We'd grown up in that car and I'd taken care of it since I was old enough to drive it. When the semi trashed it years ago I'd rebuilt her pretty much from scratch and Bobby had told me how my little brother had fought to keep him from junking it. I never thanked the kid for that…there was a lot I never thanked Sam for.

This time the Impala wasn't wrecked as badly this time when that demon mist flipped her but I think it's more me who's damaged. Crowley escaped, Raphael got blown to bloody bits, Cas has gone post nuclear with an ego-trip from Purgatory with delusions of being the new 'God' and Sammy…my little brother…

"Yeah, I know, Bobby," I know what needs to be done but the urge to do it isn't there yet. My biggest urge is to go find a bar, get stonecold drunk and beat something up since even I know takin' on Cas right now wouldn't be an option. "I'm going."

Not expecting Bobby to stop me, I'm not disappointed when he mutters something about stupid idjit as I go to where Bobby had arranged to pull the Impala. In my life there has always been two things that I've really cared for: my car and my brother. Tonight I wonder if I've lost both of them.

Oh I know I can fix the Impala without too much hassle but it's fixing Sam that I'm not sure about and what I've been brooding about all day when I hear something from the side of the car that makes me stop to listen.

Not expecting anything or anyone else to be out by my baby this late at night my caution bells start to tingle since I've come to understand anything could be waiting these days but I'm not expecting what I find.

One side of the car was crashed more than the other so only one side could the doors be opened easily so I'm a little shocked when I round the car to find a pair of long legs hanging out of the back seat of the passenger side of the Impala while the rest of the body those legs belonged to seemed to be stretched across the backseat as if searching for something.

Leaning on the door for a moment I watch for a little while before finally tapping the roof with my palm. "Sam, what the hell are you doing?"

Normally hearing my voice when he's not expecting it would cause him to jump but this time I only see a little twitch that meant I had taken him by surprise but he was still concentrating on what he obviously thought was vital…so vital that he was outside when Bobby had pretty much banished him to bed until we could gauge how he was.

We'd left Sammy here at Bobby's when we'd gone to confront Cas since he was still out like a light and fighting for his sanity. I was more than a little surprised when Sam showed up and then just prayed Cas didn't wipe us all out. Now I was just waiting to see the outcome of things since Sam had pretty much avoided me since we got back after barely surviving the announcement by Cas that everyone needed to bow down to him…yeah, like that'll happen.

Hearing a sound again from inside the car, I lean in to lightly touch his arm and am more than shocked to feel it shaking which sends my alarm level up another notch. "Sam…what're you doing out here?"

"Can't…can't find it."

He's not pulling out and clearly whatever he's looking for is important to him so with a mutter about pain in the ass little brothers I manage to get the front door open so I can at least lean in enough to try to see what he's doing while trying to remember if Sam had left anything inside the Impala the last time we drove it. "Can't find what?" I ask him, noticing that he hadn't grabbed a jacket and every big brother instinct came up again. "Sammy?"

Sam's ignoring me until I see his hand shoot out to grab something that must have been way under the front seat then that hand comes up to show me what was so important to him. "This. It…must have fallen out and I was afraid when it was towed back here that it had gotten lost."

The light from the spotlight shining on the car allowed me to see what was clenched in Sam's hand and I feel my heart skip as soon as I see a mess of green crumpled plastic and recognize it as the plastic Army man that Sam had jammed in the rear ashtray when he'd been little.

That little toy had always meant so much to us. So much so that I took the blame from Dad when he found out about it, so much so that when the car was trashed I made sure to put it back. It was that toy that snapped Sam back into control at Stull when Lucifer decided to beat the crap outta me. This simple little plastic toy was what pulled Sam outside tonight and I knew the signs in my little brother. Aside from what had happened when that wall fell, he was worried about if that damn toy survived the crash. I'm not sure it had from what I could see.

"It's broke a little," he whispered and I had to listen hard to catch the words as I get out of the car to see that he'd remained sitting in the back seat but Sam's head was down. "Think it can be fixed?"

A quick look at the mess in Sam's hand I'm tempted to make the comment that's in my head when I catch something else that stops me. Aside from the floppy hair that's falling into my brother's face like it used to I also see the tears and I pause to think.

For Sam the Impala was home. The little plastic Army man was a piece of Sam that he'd left in this car along with out initials so the thought of it not being inside the car probably hurt him more than the thought of losing the Impala.

Kneeling down so I was lower than him, I managed to catch how his eyes were locked on the green plastic man whose stand had been broken off and whose body had twisted itself during this wreck. To him, having this broke was like another piece of himself was breaking.

"Yeah, Sammy, I can fix it," I don't make idle promises to my brother. I've never made Sam a promise that I haven't tried to keep even recently I've always tried to keep the ones I've made. I don't realize I'm holding my breath until he finally looks up at me and I see honest, pure Sammy style puppy dog eyes shining with tears staring at me with relief. "I'll always fix it."

I'd been worried if Sam's mind had survived this latest mess or if he'd come out whole or which side of his personality had emerged. I could tell the second I locked eyes with him now and the moment his hand moved to grip my wrist what I had and I was silently thanking…well I won't be using that phrase while Cas thinks he's God but I'm so relieved and happy to not only see 100% emotion in my brother but that he's also reaching for me like he used to that I'm willing to drop my usual no chick-flick rule for awhile and make the move I know Sam will still be too wary to make.

When Sam first woke up after Death put his soul back his first move was to me. This time I can read what he wants just by his movements but figuring what else was going on in his head I know he won't make that move until he sees what I'll do.

"C'mere, Sammy," standing, I reached down to pull him out of the car but before he can make a move to ease away like I know he will I pull him into a hug similar to the one he gave me before and I swear to cover the emotions I feel when I notice him shaking as he latches on with a strength that I know is more desperation to prove to himself that he's safe than anything else. Again when I'm about to make a comment to take the emotion out of the moment he shocks me.

"I'm sorry, Dean."

I've known every emotion and tone out of my geek-boy brother since he first learned to walk, talk, and follow after me so I know when I hear his voice shake, feel the tears drop on my shoulder and recognize the moment his grip on me changes to hold on tighter what was coming and all I can do is wait it out without even asking what he's sorry for because I just know.

"I'm sorry I hurt you in Stull, I'm sorry I didn't go to you when I got out of the Cage, I'm sorry I let you think I preferred hunting with the Campbells more than I would my brother. I'm sorry I let you get back involved in this crap or that I didn't stop it from happening the night I let…I let that vampire…turn you and when those faries grabbed you and I'm sorry when I said that I didn't care because…"

Sam's words were all in a rush of emotion and tears as he tried to get it all out before I either made the comment he was probably expecting me to or I pushed him away so I guess he was probably shocked when I didn't say anything, despite wanting to, and I tightened my grip on him when he went to edge away.

"Sammy," okay this wasn't easy since I'd pretty much stopped allowing myself to feel too much in fear of losing him again but I know he needs this if he's going to start to heal but first I need to know what I'm dealing with. "How much do you remember, kiddo?"

Sam tenses and I'm afraid he'll shut down but instead I feel him shake harder until I grip his neck like I used to when calming him down required letting him know he wasn't alone and he finally answers.

"All of it," he tells me quietly, easing back enough so I can watch his eyes and while they're clear I still see the fear in them as he doubts what I'll do with that information. "I remember it all, Dean. I remember Stull, I remember the Cage and what happened to me there, I remember hunting alone and I remember hurting you…I remember it all and I'm…scared."

The last word was a whisper but I still catch it and since I feel him tensing I let go enough to give him space but I'm quick to keep my hand on his neck when I ease him back against the trunk of the Impala. "I know you are and I won't tell you not to be but I will say this," I wait for him to look at me fully before popping the trunk to pull something out that I hadn't wore in awhile. "We'll fix the Impala, we'll fix our little Army buddy there so he goes back where he belongs and I…and I'll be here with you to get you through this."

I don't need light to know Sam's watching me and probably wondering if his big brother's been replaced by a 'shifter or something since this is the most open I've been with him in a long time. "Dealing with Cas ain't gonna be easy and we've gotta a lot of work to do but if you trust me I will get you through the nightmares and whatever memories come up and I will always be your big brother, Sammy," I tell him seriously, ignoring the way my voice breaks even though I swore it wouldn't until I was alone.

Sam watches me until I'm about ready to slap him in his head before I feel him nod. "Thanks, Dean." I hear him murmur then I hear his breath catch when I hand him what I'd taken from the trunk.

"Bobby'll bitch if you get sick so wear the jacket, bitch and get back inside before he finds out you're out here," I make my voice harder to cover the emotions that still want to come since all I basically want to do is keep a hand on him until I know he's fully safe but I know Sammy and I know he's getting as edgy with all this touchy feely crap from me as I should be feeling.

I watch him as he touches my leather jacket for a long while before he finally puts it on but I don't miss the way his hands are shaking when he lays one on my arm in a familiar silent 'thank you'. I'm also not missing the small smile that's forming before he even speaks.

"You're still bossy…jerk."

I wait until he turns to lay the little army man back in the back window of the Impala to be put back in place when it's time before I release a shaky breath. We haven't done the whole bitch/jerk thing since he's been back and I wasn't certain if now was the right time or not but it had just come out. His reply was like music to my ears…not that I planned on letting him know that yet.

"Dean? What will we do about Cas?"

My first worry was making certain my little brother stayed safe, then fix our car so we can get back to doing what we do best…handling an ex-Angel with delusions of grandeur will be last on my list of things to do. Unless he threatens what's mine. The second Cas threatens Sam again is when we find out what it takes to yank his power plug.

"We do what it takes to either bring him down to size or yank his plug, Sammy," I hope it'll be that easy but I doubt it will be.

Carry on is what I've been trying to do this past year. Carry on is what I've been trying to figure out how to do these past few days. Now as I look at my brother who's watching me with hazel eyes so filled with a mixture of confusion and expectation I know what it is I need to do and say.

Popping the trunk again to eye the still loaded trunk, that I am so glad that tow truck drivers didn't open, I recall something said a very long time ago it seems and I look up as Sam comes up next to me. Giving him the first real smile that I've felt like giving I nudge his arm. "C'mon, Sammy. We've got work to do."

I know the moment he remembers those words cause he smiles at me in a way I haven't seen in about four years and he nods…a second before we both hear Bobby bellowing from the front porch.

"Dean! Tell that idjit brother of yours to get his ass back in this house before I slap both your heads together!"

"He's calling us idjits," Sam cocked his head as if considering and I wait to see his reaction when he meets my eyes fully with a boyish grin. "All's right with the world," he decided, yelling back that he was coming.

I let Sam move ahead of me while I look back at the Impala. She's hurt but nothing I can't fix…with Sam's help this time. Sammy's still hurting despite the brave front he's putting up for me but I'll make sure this time I'm with him while he heals and that I burn the next son of a bitch that touches my little brother. That leaves two other things that I need to fix.

Castiel is a huge issue that we'll work up to but I plan on talking to Sam about the other issue since I sure wasn't impressed with a message I heard on his cellphone the other night and I guess I'll have to tell him that I salted and burned that phone…when he asks for it.

I hit the front porch just in time to hear Bobby calling Sammy his favorite insult for us and decide to take the heat off my brother by directing Bobby's attention on me by commenting on his cooking which'll give Sam time to get upstairs and I promise myself to remind him that he owes me for this as I settle in for one of Bobby's patented hour-long lectures.

Carrying on…yeah, that's what Sammy and I'll do. Carry on and take on all the evil sons of bitches who come at us.

The End

A/N II: I'm thinking of doing a 3rd person view similar to this but who knows what'll come. So many ideas building, so little time. Thanks for reading this one. I really don't do 1st person well but Dean seems to come out in 1st person POV a lot in these.