Set after Dean gets back from Hell. What if Sam had disappeared but not with Ruby. Can Dean and Bobby find him before the demons do? What kind of condition will Sam be in?

Disclaimer-I don't have any real medical knowledge but the story insisted on being written the way it was. Enjoy!

The Living Dead

Sam stared out of the window. He had been in hiding for the last six months, ever since Dean died. He knew Bobby tried to find him but he had ditched his cell and started to live off the grid. Guilt had decided his actions. After trying to find Lilith, trying and failing to get Dean out of Hell, and dodging Ruby, Sam decided he wasn't fit for human company. The list of those whose deaths he caused was large: mom, Jess, dad, Dean, Andy, Max, Jake and even Ava. Those were just the ones he knew of, there were more of the faceless, nameless kind that he thought may be in the hundreds. All because he had been born. So he did something he should have done ages ago, back when he first ran away at the age of 16, he found a place so far from humans that he hadn't seen any for a couple of months.

When he was at Stanford, he had gotten the cabin and fixed it up so he could have a place during vacations. He had never told anyone about it except for Caleb, another name on his dead-because-of-me list. Caleb helped him put in the protective sigils and salt lines. Since the cabin was built on Holy Ground, no demon could come here. Sam was safe, as far as they were concerned.

He had bought most of his supplies a long time ago and hid them in the cabin, just for this kind of thing. Then he used his books and hunting skills to get food from the surrounding areas, the Unabomber had nothing on him when it came to survival skills. It was mostly due to his father's training that he knew how to do most of the stuff and since John was a Marine who saw combat in Viet Nam, the training was just the thing needed to survive in a forested area.

What he really wanted to do was to sleep forever. Never wake up but he had promised Dean that he would live and to go back on that promise was to spit on Dean's sacrifice and he could never do that. That was why, when Ruby came back around, he said no and told her to leave him alone. He had also promised not to go after Lilith and after a couple of weeks of trying to track her, Sam decided to keep that promise as well. These promises weighed heavily on his soul, especially after trying to make a deal for his brother and finding there were no takers. So the best he could do was to take himself out of the human equation and live alone forever.


It had been two months since Castiel got him out of Hell and Dean was going crazy. Nobody could find Sam. Even Ruby, the hell-bitch, said she didn't know where he was, and Dean had asked some very forceful questions. The Angel had said that his brother was of no import and that just pissed Dean off to no end. He told Castiel that unless Sam was found, he wasn't going to play the Angel games. Castiel reminded him that since he, Castiel, pulled him out of hell he could put him back. So Dean decided to do some of the Angel's bidding but he still looked for his brother.

It made things worse when Bobby gave Dean the keys to the Impala saying that one morning the car was parked in the yard but there had been no sign of Sam. Sam had kept the amulet, though, as a memento of his older brother. But even the tracking spells Bobby performed to find it didn't work. Castiel stated that the only things that could keep spells like that from working were God, death or Holy Ground.

So they started to check hospitals, morgues, funeral homes, even police blotters for a man fitting Sam's description. Castiel, in a feeling of remorse, checked Heaven and Ruby carefully checked Hell. Sam wasn't in any of those places. Then Bobby called his hunter friends and put out the word that Sam was missing so they could look for him. He said that Sam may have taken refuge in a church or monastery, any kind of Holy Ground. Again, there was no word. Bobby's friend Jason said that Sam could be on ground considered sacred by Native Americans. He said that much of that land was now National Parks or privately owned property. So they began a title search for property in remote areas of California and Oregon areas. Dean reasoned that the only time Sam would have bought property without him knowing about it was when he had gone to Stanford.

After three weeks of plowing through titles, Dean found property in the Sierra Mountains belonging to one Samuel Dean Reeves. "Bingo," he thought. Sam had bought 100 acres on what had been considered sacred land by a Native American Tribe that was now gone. To make sure he was correct, he asked Castiel to check it out for them. The Angel came back after an hour to report there was a cabin on the property and someone was indeed living there. The man the Angel described fit Sam to a T except the man was extremely thin. Castiel, at Dean's insistence, had taken a camera to take a picture of the man. With that, Dean was able to confirm Sam was alive. Dean told Bobby that they needed to pack the Impala for a drive to the Sierras.


Sam coughed hard. He was a bit worried about the flecks of blood that he kept wiping off his lips. He had this cough for the last week. Together with the fever he kept running, he was afraid he had pneumonia but not even that would get him to leave the cabin. He figured if he died, then the world would be better off and he wouldn't have broken his promise to Dean. Throwing some wild cherry bark in the boiling water, he made a decoction for his cough. He also had willow bark to make a pain killer if the cough worsened.

It had started out as a bad cold Sam had caught while on a hunting trip. He hadn't expected the weather to turn so fast but in the middle of the trip it started to snow. Since it was early in the season, the snow melted and Sam was left with wet clothes. When he got home, he processed the deer and got it in the smokehouse before getting into some warm, dry stuff. Then he ate some dinner and fell asleep without making a fire. When he got up, there had been another drop in temperature overnight and the cabin was freezing. It took him a half an hour before he could get a roaring fire going but by then his cold had settled in his lungs. Now, all he could do was to baby himself and try to remember to eat.

For the next four days, Sam lived on broth and teas. It didn't help that the weather was bitterly cold and he had forgotten to bring in more wood for his fires. So he had to go out on the second day to gather more to bring in. After he got back, he was racked with coughing so hard, he passed out. When he came to again, he could barely breathe so he crawled back into his bed to sleep. Day three brought a high fever that brought the hallucinations. All day, his family from his dad to Dean, paraded in the room blaming Sam for their deaths. His mom said that it was his fault for even being born. If he hadn't, she said, she never would have died. Jess accused him of not protecting her enough and his dad said that Dean never should have brought his murdering ass back from the dead. Dean stood in the middle of his cabin, dripping blood and gore, and said that the torture he was going through should have been Sam's fate. It was all his fault.

On the fifth day of fever induced hallucinations, Sam started to convulse. Small convulsions at first but they got worse as the day went on. Sam knew he was in big trouble, but he couldn't move. Then his hallucinations took on auditory as well as visual capabilities. At one point, he could have sworn he heard the Impala just outside his cabin. Then his vision went hazy and he thought he saw Dean before everything went black.

He drifted in and out of consciousness. Sometimes he heard his brother's voice begging him to wake up but he knew that it just an illusion and dove down in the darkness again. Once, he had heard Bobby's voice telling someone to go to sleep. Sam cried since if he was hearing Bobby's voice, that meant he caused the older man's death. Sleep, he wanted to sleep and never wake up.

When Dean and Bobby finally found the cabin, they parked the car and went up to the door. Before they could knock, Castiel appeared to them and said there was something wrong with Sam. Dean's panic mode went into overdrive as he kicked the door in. What they found was terrifying. Sam was on a dirty bed, convulsing. When the seizure ended, Dean saw his brother's fever-filled eyes staring at him before they closed. Bobby swore and brought the first aid kit from the Impala. Dean took it from his friend and opened it. Grabbing out the thermometer, he put it in his brother's ear to get his temperature. When it beeped, he pulled it out. He swore when he found Sam had a temperature of 104 and he knew they needed to get Sam to a hospital like yesterday so he asked Castiel to give Sam a ride on Angel Air. At first, Castiel declined to help but Dean was very insistent and, eventually, Cas gave in.

When they got the sick man to the hospital, the doctors immediately went to work. X-rays showed shadows in both lungs that indicated severe pneumonia so they got a course of heavy duty antibiotics and drained his lungs to help him breathe. Because his O2 sats were very low, Sam was put on pure oxygen. His temperature had the doctors put a cooling blanket on him but it kept climbing. Anti-seizure medicine helped to keep the seizures down but then Sam slipped into a coma. His lungs kept filling with liquid and the doctors finally put a drainage tube in both lungs in an attempt to keep them clear.

Dean sat by his brother's bed all that time. He sang to Sam, talked to him and even yelled but nothing would bring his brother out of the coma. The doctors gave Sam's chances of surviving at twenty percent and said his chances dropped every day he stayed in the coma. They also said that with such a high fever, even if Sam did come to, he would be brain damaged. Sam, they said, would never be the brother Dean had known.


Dean washed his brother like he had for the past month ever since they moved Sam to Bobby's. Castiel had told Dean that Sam was grieving his death and didn't want to wake up. The coma that Sam was in was terrifyingly deep to the point Sam never even came close to waking up. Dean didn't care about the seals that Cas told him were breaking. He didn't care that Angels were being killed or that demons seemed to have overrun the planet. What he cared about was Sam. Cas and Uriel had threatened Dean with Hell if he didn't work with them but all that did was to make Bobby engrave Angel repelling sigils on his property. Dean didn't care since he never left Sam's side.

"Hey little brother, do you remember the time…" then Dean was off with another memory from their past. Dean kept talking to Sam, hoping to reach him and help pull him out of his Hell.

"Hey Dean, how's he doing?" asked Bobby standing at the door of the bedroom.

"We're good Bobby, just having our bath," replied Dean wiping Sam's leg. He dipped his rag in the basin, wringing it out then applied it to Sam's other leg. Bobby watched then passed a dry towel to Dean. When they were done, Dean applied some baby powder to Sam's skin to keep it from chaffing. Later, he would put on some lotion to keep his brother's skin from chapping. Careful of the catheter, they put his diaper and pants on then they went to work to put on his shirt. Sam was hooked up to so many tubes, wires and machines that Bobby's doctor friend had to give them a mini medical course. She also made it her business to stop in twice a day to check on them. Dr. Allen made sure that Dean and Bobby had some time to themselves by having a nurse come in during the day.

Gently, the two men turned Sam on his side to prevent bedsores. Bobby's eyes teared up as he looked at the young man he came to feel like a son to him. Ever since Dean went to Hell, he had tried to find Sam to keep him from going off the deep end but he failed spectacularly. Now it was Dean's turn to go crazy. He actually had to tie Dean up a few times when the idiot talked about another deal. Bobby broke Dean's heart by reminding him that was why Sam got sick in the first place. Dean felt guilty enough that he stopped talking deal and started to pray.

"Dean, I have an idea but I don't know how dangerous it would be for you and me," Bobby said after a while.

"Bobby, I'm about ready to go after reapers just to get my brother back so what is your idea?" growled Dean.

"Um, do you remember when I was trapped in my dreams?" Bobby asked.

"Yeah, it took us controlling the dream and killing the kid by using his dad to get you out," answered Dean.

"I've been thinking that maybe the dream root could help us get in touch with Sam but because this is a deep coma, we may not make it out," explained Bobby.

"I don't care. He's my brother and I'll do anything for him," Dean said a bit loudly.

"Boy, don't you raise your voice to me!" Bobby growled. Then he said softly, "I understand what you're going through. Hell, I think of you two as my own sons and it hurts to see him like this. If we do this, we need someone on the outside to help pull us out if this goes pear-shaped and I have the perfect person to do it. Her name is Pamela Barnes and she's a damned good psychic. If anyone can keep in touch with us, she can."

"How long would it take you to get her here," asked Dean.

"She's in town at a motel waiting to hear what we decided," Bobby said with a small smile. He had known what Dean would say so he had already called Pamela to set the whole thing up.


Everything was set up. Pamela lit candles around the room for "atmosphere" as she put it while Bobby brewed the tea. Pamela had told him that since this was a deep coma, they would need a decoction made of the root which would make the drink stronger and hopefully they would be able to reach Sam. Because they needed some of Sam's DNA, Pamela suggested a drop of his blood. She said again that it would make the tea and the connection with Sam stronger. When the tea was done, she made Bobby and Dean lie down on either side of Sam and hold his hand after drinking the tea.

"I'm going to do a chant while you are in there," Pamela said. "This is to give you a guide, a lifeline that you can use to get you out in case it goes bad." She paused, and then said frowning, "There is nothing I can say to have you abandon this crazy plan?"

Dean looked at his baby brother, the one he went to Hell for and said, "No, but if Bobby doesn't want to do this I can understand."

"No, I'm doing this for both of you. Besides, I want to make sure you get out of there safely," responded Bobby.

"Okay then. Take a drink of the tea and lay back. Make yourself comfortable and breathe slowly in and out, in and out, in and out," Pamela instructed, watching the men carefully for any adverse effect. "Be careful," she whispered before starting her chant.

Dean woke up with a start. Looking around for Bobby, he noticed he was in a bedroom he hadn't been in since he was four. Since that awful night that the demon had killed his mother. What the Hell? He wondered. Dean got up from the bed and noticed that he was wearing the pajamas that he wore the night his mother died. Dean's anxiety level shot up as he continued his search for Bobby. Going out in the hallway, he found Bobby looking around.

"There you are boy!" Bobby exclaimed in relief. "Do you know where we are?"

"This looks like our house in Lawrence," Dean said. "The way I'm dressed, it's like we went back in time to when Mom was killed."

"Why would Sam be here?" Bobby wondered.

"When Dad got really drunk, he used to spout off as to how Sam was responsible for Mom's death," Dean explained sadly. "Dad never remembered he said that the morning after but I could see that Sam took it to heart, no matter what I said."

"Where was Sam's room?" Bobby asked.

"I'll show you," Dean led the way to Sam's nursery. He remembered all the times he had snuck into Sammy's crib and fell asleep there. He felt loved then. He always woke up in his own room in the morning since his Mom or Dad would carry him there when they got up to feed his baby brother at night.

When they arrived at the nursery door, Dean pushed it open to find his mother standing by the crib. She had a gash in her stomach where the Yellow-Eyed Demon had slashed her. In her hands was a butcher knife and she stood next to the crib. "Dean," she cooed, "you'll have to wait your turn until I'm done with Sammy." As he watched in horror, Mary stabbed the butcher knife down again and again, each time the blade would come back bloody. "This is for killing me, you stupid, useless brat!" she screamed.

The room became hazy and Dean looked at Bobby who had tears in his eyes. "God, Bobby," Dean choked out, "what's going on?"

"I don't know, son," Bobby said softly. Looking around, he asked Dean, "Uh, do you know where we are now?"

Dean looked around confusedly then he looked at what he was wearing, it was the same clothes he had on when he pulled Sam from the fire that killed Jess. "Oh, God, Bobby. This is Sam and Jessica's apartment in Palo Alto," Dean moaned. He quickly ran into the bedroom where he had found Sam only this time Jess stood beside the bed which was covered with blood and what looked like it used to be a human. Jess' eyes glowed with demonic light as she kept tearing away at the corpse.

"You should have warned me! You could have saved me but you didn't!" she kept screaming. Sickened, Dean and Bobby slowly backed out of the room to find themselves in Jim Murphy's secret room. They watched as Jim dissected Sam's body, yelling as he did, "You are the reason I was killed! You should never have been born! I'd still be alive!"

Dean's face was pale and Bobby was sick. They knew that Sam kept blaming himself for the deaths of their family and friends but this? They had to keep going but were afraid of what they would find. Each level held another horrific scene: Caleb killing Sam slowly over a fire, Daniel Elkins, Ava, Jake, Andy, Anson, Madison, Max, Joshua, Lily, and others who had been close to them but had died paraded through Sam's subconscious, killing him slowly and in different ways. It brought Dean's memories of Hell back and he was getting sicker. The worst, though, was when Dean and Bobby found John.

"You worthless piece of shit! You should have died instead of my Mary! You are not a Winchester; Winchesters don't whine or think for themselves!" John shouted over Sam's still living body which had been stripped of all skin. John poured salt over Sam and said, "Your brother should have killed you, not saved you! You should be in Hell instead of my son!" He then poured lighter fluid over Sam and stood above him with a match, "You are selfish, a waste of space that I'm going to send to Hell!" John lit the match and threw it on Sam's body. Sam gave an anguished cry as he burned alive. Dean went pale and threw up.

"God, Bobby, what's going on?" wailed Dean.

Bobby was green himself but he swallowed a few times before answering Dean, "I think it's guilt. Your brother felt guilty about your deal and your death. This is his way of punishing himself for the whole thing."

"He had nothing to feel guilty about!" Dean shouted, "It was all on me! It was my choice to die for him."

"I know you told him that but do you really think he believed that?" Bobby questioned. "Sam never thought he was good enough for you to die for him. That much is evident. What really scares me is what else does he have in his mind?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that we just saw everyone who has ever died in this kid's mind except for one: you," Bobby said.

"Nooooo!" Dean moaned. "Not me!"

"Dean, we need to face it, you will be his next torturer if theory holds up," Bobby said reasonably.

Bobby was wrong. There were others waiting to get their pound of flesh but he just didn't know that Sam thought he killed his foster father. What Dean and Bobby saw was Bobby standing over Sam, spraying him with water that acted as acid. Then "Bobby" took a silver knife and started to cut Sam all over in nice, even lines. When that was over, the doppelganger took salt and rubbed it in the wounds it had created. "Try to kill me, huh? I'll show you what I can do!" snarled "Bobby". The two men watched as "Bobby" used every tool in his toolbox against Sam. Bobby lost it then. Tears streamed down his face and Dean pulled him into a hard hug. Neither man understood why Sam had Bobby in his mind until "Bobby" spoke up again, "You killed me! You just being alive killed me!" Then he applied his acetylene torch to the mush that used to be a man.

Pamela noticed both Dean and Bobby were moaning and moving as if in distress. Without breaking her chant, she got up to put some soothing herbs into a bowl. Then she sprinkled them with Holy Oil and put a lit match in them. The resulting scent permeated the room and soon the two men calmed down. She knew that whatever they were seeing in Sam's mind was horrific but since they hadn't come to yet, she was certain that more was to come. She got out a small drum and started to put out a beat to accompany her chant, praying that her men would be okay.

It took a while before Dean and Bobby could move on. Of all of the torturers that Sam had in his mind, Bobby was the worst so far. But they knew that there was one more torturer to come and Dean was very afraid to move on. Bobby reminded him that in order to find Sam, they needed to go further in and Dean reluctantly agreed.

"When we get that boy home," Bobby growled, "we are going to have some very long talks!" Dean couldn't agree more.

As they moved deeper into Sam's mind, they noticed that the light became darker and the air was heavier and hotter. Dean got uneasy, this was just like Hell. Finally, they found Sam again, still not the real Sam. Dean's memories made manifest in front of them.

"Oh, God Bobby, he's in Hell!" moaned Dean.

Sam was strapped naked on a rack and his torturer stood next to him. Dean and Bobby could see the melon baller that had been used to scoop out his eyes, the shears that had been used to cut out his tongue. His balls and dick hung around the neck of the torturer while his intestines adorned the floor. The torturer turned towards them to pick up a needle and the two hunters gasped in horror. It was Dean but a Dean that had the black eyes of a demon. Helplessly, they watched as the demon threaded the needle with barbed wire and used it to stitch Sam's nose close. Finally, Dean couldn't handle it anymore and he rushed towards the scene. Screaming, "Nobody hurts my brother!" Dean picked up a knife and started to slice the demon into small pieces while Bobby went to the tortured Sam. After Dean was covered with blood and the demon lay at his feet, he turned to help Bobby.

The damage was even more extensive than Dean had seen. Nails had been driven into Sam's ears and he had been used to recreate the Bloody Eagle of the Romans. They could see his heart beating since it was exposed. The skin on his hands and feet were flayed off and had been wrapped in fiberglass. Carefully, they took the tortured being off the rack and laid him carefully down. They hoped that they had helped him by stopping the torture but knew the real help would come when they found the real Sam. They had to go deeper.

They left the man and walked deeper into Sam's mind. It got darker and it started to feel cold. Finally, they found Sam. Dean didn't recognize the place because when he saw it, the trees had been knocked down but Bobby knew it from when they buried Dean's body. They watched as Sam cried at the grave, "Why did you die for me, Dean? I'm not worth your life. You gave so much, you never had a childhood because of me. Now, you'll never have a future." Tears streamed down his face as he curled himself on his brother's grave.

"Sammy?" Dean kept his voice soft. "Hey baby brother what are you doing?"

Sam looked up and saw the two hunters. He couldn't understand why they were there and became more upset. "You're dead, Dean! I watched the hellhounds tear you apart and I couldn't stop it!"

Dean approached his brother slowly, trying not to spook him. Finally, he got close enough that he gathered Sam into his arms and started to rock him soothingly. Bobby also approached and squatted next to the brothers.

"Sammy, I got pulled out of Hell by Angels. I'm out and not going anywhere but you need to wake up. You've been in a coma for a month because you had severe pneumonia and a very high fever," Dean said.

"If I wake up, you'll be in Hell," wailed Sam, not comprehending what Dean had said.

"No, Sam, I got out and I've been taking care of you. We are at Bobby's right now and you're with us. We just need you to wake up, baby."

"You promise you will be there? You're not just saying that?" asked Sam.

"I promise," said Dean.

"Are you a demon now?" Sam questioned.

"Sam, I did all the tests. This is the real Dean, not a demon or a shifter," Bobby said in response. "C'mon, let's go home."

Sam looked at both men then nodded. He still had doubts but knew if he was being tricked, he could find his way back here. Dean and Bobby stood up and pulled Sam up with them. They looked around and found a doorway that had the word "exit" over it. There was the sound of chanting and a drum being beat. A smell of soothing herbs filtered through the door. The three men walked over to the door and opened it.


Pamela watched as Dean and Bobby started to wake up. The first thing Dean did upon opening his eyes was to look at Sam. He had hoped that Sam would be awake and smiling but his eyes were still closed. Pamela knew that it may take a couple of hours for the young man to fully wake up but she could tell that he was near the surface. All it would take is Dean talking to him to convince him to open his eyes. After she explained that to Dean, he immediately sat in a chair next to the bed and started to talk. Bobby rolled his eyes, he knew that trying to get Dean away from Sam now would be impossible.

Bobby and Pamela decided to leave the boys alone after Bobby gave Dean a stern lecture about how long it may take Sam to come to. When they left the room, Dean got up from his chair and, lifting his brother up a bit, got into bed with Sam's head on his chest. Dean remembered that when Sam was younger, nothing could soothe him better than Dean's heartbeat. Sam used to spend hours listening to it like it was the sweetest music ever. Now Dean hoped that it would convince Sam that his brother was indeed back from Hell and alive.

"Sammy, I know I never said it much and, hell, dad rarely ever said it to you but, kiddo, I want you to know that I love you very much. I wish I had known how much you were hurting. When I saw what you thought, how you caused everyone's death well, bud, that is so not true. You have such a pure heart that if you stepped on so much as a bug, you used to cry so how can anyone like you kill those who love you? Or anyone, for that matter? You are NOT to blame for their deaths, it was the demon who played you, played on your emotions. Don't you get it?" Dean sighed and began to card his fingers through Sam's hair before continuing, "One thing I learned in Hell was how demons would twist everything so you feel like you are responsible for all the bad things in your life. They would laugh at your pain and tell you that you deserve to be there, even if you really didn't. Like me," Dean sighed tiredly. He knew that it would take a lot to get Sam back but he would try.

"Sam, do you remember the lessons that Pastor Jim gave us? One passage he used to read to us comes to mind. No greater gift a man can give than to lay his life down for another. The wording may be wrong but the sentiment, the feeling is what I felt when I made that deal for you. You are my whole life and I considered it an act of love that I died for you. So, please, don't feel guilty about that. I would do it again in a heartbeat just to see your puppy-dog eyes glaring at me or to hear you bitching about what I'm eating. Don't worry, I don't plan to do that again anytime soon," Dean's heartbeat picked up a bit as Sam shifted slightly. Dean smiled and continued, "Dude, we are so going to have long talks about you thinking your birth was a death warrant for everyone. Don't you realize that when you were born, it was the happiest day of our lives? I remember thinking that Mom and Dad's smiles were so big, they went from ear to ear. When I told her that, Mom just teased me about the size of my own smile. Then when you first smiled, it was at me and I got to see those dimples of yours first. I heard your first giggle, your first word. In fact, all your firsts were mine to witness."

Dean stopped talking as Sam shifted again and sighed. A slight smile graced his face as Sam clutched at Dean's shirt. "That's my boy, Sammy. You can do it," encouraged Dean. He looked at his brother's face as Sam's eyes opened. "There you are, baby," Dean smiled.

Tears fell from Sam's eyes as he croaked out his first words in a very long time, "You're really alive."

"Yep and there's no way you are going to get rid of me again, bitch!" Dean laughed.

"Jerk," was Sam's reply before his eyes closed in a healing sleep.


2 months later-

Sam's recovery from his illness was slow and the doctor's prediction that Sam would have brain-damage was partially correct. Sam would space out and forget what he was talking about and he had a hard time connecting one idea to another but, like the doctor said, it could have been worse. The other thing he had a problem with was separation anxiety. He stuck close to Dean and would have small panic attacks when Dean wasn't in eyesight though, over time, he started to let Dean go for short periods of time. Another thing that had happened to Sam was that he was able to access the powers he had been born with since Azazel's blood had been burned out of him due to the high fevers. Dean wondered if God had anything to do with that but didn't want to risk going off Bobby's property to ask Castiel, there was still the threat of Hell hanging over his head. What really freaked Dean out, though, was when Sam told him that there were something white and shining outside Bobby's gate that wanted to talk to him. When Dean asked what the thing looked like, Sam's eyes were bright when he said it had wings. Dean went to the gate and found Castiel there.

"Dean," Castiel began, "How is Samuel?"

"Fine. He's awake but still recovering. How are you doing?" Dean inquired.

"I am well," Castiel hesitated. He knew what he had to ask but he didn't want Dean to get angry. "May I see your brother?"

"Why the hell do you want to do that?" Dean asked angrily.

"You know your brother prays, yes?" Cas asked.

"Yeah, I was surprised about that. Dad never put much stock in God, you know," Dean answered.

"When I hear your brother's prayers, I can hear despair and a deep guilt. I believe your brother needs some help," Castiel explained. "If you wish to help him, you will need to convince Samuel that he is not responsible for the deaths of those close to him. That is the doing of demons trying to manipulate him into turning evil and eventually becoming Lucifer's vessel."

"How can I do that? I've been trying but, like you said, the guilt runs deep. Unfortunately, Dad used to drill Sam's faults into him all the time," moaned Dean.

"I have an idea how to help your brother but first, I would like to meet him. Would you let me?" Castiel asked again.

Dean was a little hesitant but, since this involved Sam, he scratched part of an Angelic repelling sigil so Cas could enter the property. When the Angel crossed the border, Dean repaired the sigil then took Cas up to the house.

To say that Bobby wasn't pleased that Castiel was there was an understatement. But when Dean explained what Cas wanted and why, Bobby grudgingly allowed the Angel in the house. As Castiel went to the study, Dean went to get his brother.

Sam was in the same place that Dean had left him in, the bedroom where they always slept. Sam had perched by the window so he could see Dean outside. "Sammy, an Angel would like to meet you," Dean said softly.

"Why? I'm not worthy to be around an Angel," Sam muttered.

"He wouldn't want to see you if you weren't," argued Dean. "C'mon Sam, let's not keep the nice man…er being waiting." He went to pull his brother out of the chair but Sam started to fight. Dean let go and rubbed his face. He was about to turn around and go back downstairs when a slight noise sounded behind him. Dean turned around and found Castiel standing in the doorway, staring at Sam who cringed at the sight.

Castiel carefully approached the young hunter and, when he got close, he said, "Samuel Winchester, it is a great pleasure to meet you."

He held out his hand and, after a few seconds, Sam took it. Cas said, "I have been asked to come and help you heal from your hurts."

"Why?" Sam asked, "I shouldn't be here, in your presence. I killed so many people just by being and you want to help me? Why?"

"Samuel, you didn't kill them. You had been taught that you are a killer but you aren't. I have heard your prayers and I know the truth of your soul," Castiel said, "and of all the people in your life, you are the most innocent of them all. Even your brother can't say that he is totally innocent." Cas turned to Dean and apologized, "I am sorry if I hurt your feelings. You are very brave, kind, and considerate. But most of all, you love your brother and even died for him. But like all humans, you have sin on your soul."

Dean laughed and said, "Yeah, I kinda figured but what has always puzzled me was how I ended up deserving Sam!"

Cas smiled and joked, "It is a mystery, to be sure." Then he turned back to Sam, "If you will allow me, I would like to stay and help you heal. Between your brother, Robert and myself, you will finally be whole, Samuel. Always remember that my Father loves you and will forgive you any sin you may have."

Sam sniffed then gave a watery smile, "Okay, if you think I'm worth it."

"That will be our first lesson to you. You are worth it," Dean quipped. Castiel nodded in agreement.

Then Cas noticed the amulet that Sam wore. Ever since he came to, Dean was emphatic about him wearing it. Dean told Sam that it was a symbol of love and, until he was healed, Dean wanted him to wear it to remind him of Dean's love. Sam smiled briefly at the chick flick moment. Castiel cautiously put his hand on the amulet and asked, "Samuel, do you know what this is?"

Sam shook his head and explained, "B-bobby told me to give it to my dad when I was eight but since Dean was the one who told me the truth of our life, I gave it to him instead. Dean says that it is a symbol of love."

"That is correct to a point. It is also a way to find God. It is supposed to burn hot in the presence of my Father and no evil person can wear it. It would burn into the skin until it reached the heart then that person would die. Only a righteous person can wear the God Amulet," Castiel said. "It always feels warm, correct?"

"Yeah," Sam responded.

"That's because it is reacting to God's touch on your soul." Then Castiel put one hand on Sam's head and the other on his chest. They began to glow. After a few minutes, the glow died down then Castiel removed his hands. He said, "If you were evil, I would never be able to heal you like I have. The scarring from the pneumonia and the brain damage from the high fever has been healed."

Sam gave a small smile then asked, "What about Jake? I shot him at the Devil's Gate and I felt good about it. He was going to kill Ellen and open the gate, I couldn't let that happen but why did I feel the way I did if I wasn't evil?"

Hearing those words from his sibling, Dean winced. He felt bad because for a moment, he believed Azazel when the demon said that Sam hadn't come back the same. It also hurt his brother that their father only smiled at Dean, not Sam when he got out of Hell. Castiel was very much aware of the reason Sam felt the way he did and the Angel wished he could find John Winchester to smite him all over again. But it was common knowledge that the elder Winchester had asked for and received forgiveness. It wasn't Castiel's place to second-guess his Father.

"Sammy, you saved Ellen and helped to kill the bastard who killed Mom and Jess. After Cold Oak and all that stress you went through, I don't blame you for taking your frustrations out on Jake," Dean comforted.

"Samuel, have you asked for forgiveness from God?" Castiel questioned. Sam nodded and Cas went on, "Do you feel bad or good about killing Jake now?"

"Bad," Sam mumbled.

"If you truly are repentant and have asked for forgiveness, then Father has forgiven you. Like I said before, very few people would feel bad about killing someone who had threatened a person they loved. You are unique and are worthy," Castiel said with a smile. He then got up to go but before he did, he turned back to Sam and said, "We will continue our talks until you realize that you are not to blame for everything that has happened just because you live. I will be staying here so you may come and talk to me any time you want to." With that he left the room with Dean following after.

Castiel waited until they got down the stairs so they would be out of Sam's earshot. "It will take time, but I believe that Samuel will heal."

Dean smiled for the first time since he got back from Hell. He knew that, with Castiel and Bobby's help, his brother would come back from the land of the living dead. He left the Angel and went back to his brother. When he sat next to Sam, he reached over and pulled his brother to him, holding him for a very long time.

A big thank you to my awesome beta-Daiyu Amaya!