Fill for the prompt over on the ohsam community by mercuryblue144: "Post-6x22. Sam falls apart. Dean tries to help. That is all."

Author's note: Idea initially spawned from the comment at the last con that Sam will be more forgiving of Castiel than Dean will.

Also a warning, Dean is very pissed off at Cas in this, but I really think he'll come around to at least forgiving the angel at some point...just not in this story. I mean, he pretty much destroyed Sammy, that's gonna take Dean some time. *pouts* I miss my three boys.

Summary: Post 6x22. Dean and Bobby take care of a wrecked Sam while avoiding an amped-up new god.

To Be Redeemed

Bobby comes back to the motel room with the food he'd picked up. Sandwiches for him and Dean, nothing with a strong smell to it, soup that was mostly broth for Sam. They had to get something into that kid or he was gonna fall flat over. He hadn't eaten since their escape from Kansas a week ago. They got him to drink when he was lucid, but those moments were becoming further between and many nights Bobby and Dean were left to work together, trying to coax water down Sam's throat and convince him it wasn't blood.

'But it's getting better. He's…I mean he knows where he is more and more when he's here. He's just…it'll just get worse before it gets better, but it'll get better, right Bobby?' The older hunter just nodded.

'Sure, kid.' Even if it wasn't true.

Sam aside, it'd been all Bobby could do to shove food down Dean's throat since the 'incident' too. Dean had seen pretty much everything he had left taken away from him in the space of a few days. Ben and Lisa were lost to him forever; even if it was his decision, it still stung. Cas had declared himself no family to the Winchesters and meant to kill them after he was done with Raphael's supporters. And what remained of Dean's family was pressed into a corner reliving a Hell that even Dean could only imagine. All the kid had left was Bobby and all Bobby had left, had ever had really, were those boys. He'd never get tired of or give up on taking care of his boys, but that didn't mean his heart didn't break every second he was with them.

They hadn't gone back to Bobby's after Cas's megalomaniac freak-out. That was the first place he'd go when he did get around to looking for them. Until they found some kind of protection or weapon against a newly birthed god, they thought it best to keep on the move. But that was a bit difficult with Sam. The boy did everything he could to help, to stay with them, but there was no way to keep from slipping back into the Cage again and again.

Privately, to himself, Bobby wondered if this would get worse before it got better, like Dean thought, or if it would just get worse.

He shook the thought from his head as he approached the motel door; last one on the end, first floor, no residents in the neighboring rooms, he let out a breath. No screaming. That was something.

Opening the door, he thought it wasn't enough.

Sam was pressed back into a corner, curved fingers covering his face. Dean, of course, barely a foot away from his brother, hands rubbing on the legs of his jeans, itching to reach out and touch Sam, but wary of another bad reaction.

Bobby closed the door behind him, setting the food aside. Dean spared him a look and Bobby nodded at him, taking a seat in the chair closest to the boys. He knew his part in this play; just off stage, ready to jump in if needed. For now, all he could do was watch Dean try to talk his brother down. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. They'd just have to see.

Sam was tucked tight into himself, face hidden. He was almost too still, deceptively calm, but Bobby could see blood on the walls. Kid had either bashed himself against the wall hard enough to draw blood or tried to scratch his skin off again. Bobby hated that was something he was getting used to.

Dean licked his lips and leaned forward a bit, picking back up with whatever words he'd been trying to ply Sam with.

"It'll be alright. We'll go after Cas, take him down-"

"No." It's the first gasped, coherent word they've heard from Sam in nearly a day now and Dean and Bobby are both immediately attentive, Dean going still, afraid of missing a word.

"Sammy?" Desperate and hopeful but too afraid to touch.

Sam breathes stiltedly for a for moments and Dean and Bobby stay silent, waiting for him to crawl further out of the headspace he's been stuck in. Sam uncurls just a bit and digs his nails into his forearms, fighting for clarity.

"We…can't kill Cas."

Dean's quick to reassure. His fingers are centimeters away from Sam, aching to reach out, feel the damaged skin and soothe every hurt he knows he never can.

"We'll find a way. Sammy, we'll find some way to kill him-" Dean's voice is soft in a way it hasn't been for years; since soccer practices and school recitals. It's every gentle tone Dean's ever used, but it seems the complete wrong way to go.

Sam's keening low in his throat again, bare feet scrabbling against the motel carpet uselessly in an attempt to curl further into the corner. He's banging his head back on the wall again and Dean finally lets out a frustrated sob that's been days in coming because he doesn't know what to do. He can't touch Sam, can't just sit here and let him hurt himself, can't fix his brother, can't- can't- can't!

"Sammy, we will do this. I'll find a way. I'll make this better- Sammy, please!" His voice is choked with tears he's too tired and weary and just destroyed to care to hide. He can't even freakin' touch his brother. What is he supposed to-

Sam's arms are thrown around Dean's neck in a lunge, fingers scrabbling for purchase in the back of his big brother's shirt, breathing ragged. And Dean wants to hold him so bad that he's shaking and shocked and he doesn't know what's caused this sudden change. Sammy is trembling against him, all bird-fragile and frantic and actually initiating contact for the first time in a week. Bobby can do nothing because he doesn't know what could set either of them off.

As Dean finally, slowly, winds cautious arms around the wreck of his little brother, he realizes that the harsh, low gasps of breath from Sam against his ear are actually words. Hard won syllables in puffs of breath that he desperately needs Dean to hear.

"Fa-Fam…ily…Cas. Can't…won't- he's, our family. Can't kill. Can't…kill…"

Dean's first reaction is to snap, resort to anger because it's just easier, but he controls it, just barely. He won't risk losing whatever progress Sam's made, but Sam- god! He wants to shake his little brother and scream and make him understand his hatred.

'Look what he did to you! Family doesn't- Look what he did to you! My brother, my little brother I gave everything for and always would and he broke you and I want him dead.'

"W-We…" something like a suppressed scream in his ear dies down. "We mess up…we….irredeemable. We'd both…Dean…"

The last word is softer than the rest, Sam beginning to shrink back in on himself, arms curling back from around Dean. Dean finally wraps his arms tight around his brother the way he's wanted to and holds him there, here, with them.

He gets it now, he does. Sam sees himself in Castiel. He only wanted the best, all those good and pure intentions, and somewhere along the way the angel and the little brother both ended up hurting those people they cared for most. The people they would bleed and kill and die for; and they hurt them anyway.

If Castiel is beyond redemption in Dean's eyes, then Sam is sure he is too.

Dean can't say his feelings have changed for Cas or ever would. He was betrayed, that he could recover from, had recovered from before. But Cas had done something Sam never did.

While Sam may see Castiel as himself, Dean sees him as Ruby; the son of a bitch that took his brother away from him again in an all new and painful way. And taking Sam away from Dean? Hurting his little brother was the one thing Dean could never see past.

Dean could never forgive Cas, never. He wanted the angel to suffer, even if some small part of him still clung to the memory of what they had been.

Castiel was nothing to Dean now but a target, except that if he let that show, Sam would only slip further away from him. To Sam, a condemnation of Castiel was also one of Sam himself.

To save Sam, he had to save Cas.

Dean could endure any wound, any hatred and hurt for his brother, even this.

"We'll-" Dean licks his lips, fights himself for only a moment. He knows he has to mean these words. "We'll save him, Sammy. Okay? You hear me? I'll save him."

'I'll never forgive him. Never, never.'

But Sam is sobbing and nodding against him, some of the tension leaving his body and he lets Dean pull him back tighter against him, settling into a more comfortable position back against the side of the bed.

"Shhhh…" Dean soothes, running his fingers through Sam's hair comfortingly, uncaring of the hunter-father watching them both sorrowful, wary eyes.


Dean knows Bobby can see through bullshit and doesn't try to hide the slight sneer to his lips when he speaks.

"We need to save Castiel, Bobby. Can we start working on that?"

Dean knows Bobby still has his own blood grudge against Castiel for the Elanor's death. But instead of any disappointment, Dean sees a pride in Bobby when he looks at him. He's proud of Dean's decision to let the burning need for revenge fall to the wayside for Sam. Not that he's really ever expected anything less. And yeah, he supposes if Dean can do it, he can too. For family.

"Yeah. Yeah, we can do that, kid. First thing tomorrow."

Dean nods, turning all attention back to holding Sam. There's two perfectly good beds in the room, but the boys are on the floor, curled around each other like kittens, like when they were both young and whole. And the man that's met the definition of 'family' for them more than anyone else they'd ever known has no intention of moving from the stiff motel chair, of disturbing this fragile peace.

Bobby watches them fondly as Sam finally calms a bit more and all Dean's attention is focused on lulling his brother into a non-drug induced sleep.

They might be more broken now than they've ever been, more cracks and pieces missing from them both, but Bobby's sure that whatever's missing from one, the other has, and they'll only fit together more flawlessly than before.