Hey everybody!

I loved the episode 7x17 "The Born Again Identity"and watched it so often that I just had to write something about it. I had this idea: What would have happened if Castiel couldn't shift the hallucinations? How would Dean cope? So here it is:The Alternate Ending to this episode.

I unfortunately don't own the boys or Supernatural, but ifsomebody from the CW or Kripke or anybody wants to present me with them, I'llgladly take it.

Now beta'd by my lovely beta cartersdaughter. Thank you very much!

Have fun reading!

"Haveyou ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation,

one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever?

If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days,and

none will outweigh the one you wish you had back."
Mitch Albom, For One More Day

After Cas left because Dean had thrown him out, so Dean could spent the last moments alone with his dying brother, acceptance settled in. Sam was dying, and there was nothing Dean could do about.

He had lost so much already, and now he was about to lose Sam, too. He had tried every damn thing to save Sam. He had made a hundred calls, searched for a healer, and he had found Castiel, but not even the mighty angel could heal Sam, save him, and take Lucifer away from him.

Dean played with the thought of making another deal for Sam, but he dismissed it quickly. He could not do that to Sam again. Besides, what demon would bargain with him?

There was no way out. There was no wall to be rebuilt. There was no chance Death would put another wall up.

There was no hope, not even a little bit. Sam's death was inevitable.

Dean wanted to rip the universe apart, wanted to hate Cas for breaking the wall, and he wanted to deny that Sam was dying, but nothing of these wants would make the situation better or change it. He was not ready to face life without his brother, and he would never be.

He had lost so much in his life. He had lost his whole family, his whole support system. Sam was the only one left to him. And now he was supposed to let go of Sam, too?

Dean could not describe the pain he felt.

He knew this was goodbye. He watched his younger sibling shivering on the bed, looking into the nothing, where he probably saw Lucifer. Sam was absent-minded; his thoughts were with Lucifer.

Sam looked tired; he had not slept for nine days. He had thick, dark bags under his eyes and he had not shaved in almost as many days. He looked vacant. His shell was still there, but his mind was long lost.

Dean sat next to Sam on his bed. Dean would not let Sam die alone; he would be with his little brother until the last second, even if Sam did not notice his presence.

"Hey Sammy. It's me, Dean. I am here, and I am not going to leave you, okay?"

He said soothingly while touching his brother's arm, but Sam did not even notice. Dean felt himself reminded of the times he had lost Sam before: Cold Oak, Stull Cemetery. This time, it was even worse. It did not get easier to loose a loved one; it just got harder. Sam was his family, his most important family, and his only family. Sam was his child, his brother, his business partner, and his best friend. Sam was his life, and now Dean was about to lose him, again. How was Dean supposed to life without Sam? Dean was utterly and completely alone.

"Sammy…" Dean sobbed and shed his first tears of the day. He had not want to give up hope or give up on Sam and let go because Dean literally could not life without Sam, and Sam would do the same for him. Still, Dean could not avert the inevitable.

He had failed again. He had failed himself, Sam, and his responsibility. Dean made it his job to protect Sam, to watch out for him. He did not fulfill it. It never was an obligation or a burden for him; it came naturally to him. It was the most important and most natural thing in the world because human beings protect their treasures and watch out for the persons they love. Sam was his treasure and the person he loved the most, more than himself, more than anything else, so it was just self-explanatory that Dean was protective of Sam. It was only self-preservation to save Sam because life without Sam was senseless, was worse than hell. Dean was merely selfish in protecting Sam because he needed Sam so much.

Tears were running down Dean's cheeks. "Sammy," he sobbed. "I promised you that I would fix this, and I could not, and I am so sorry I failed you."

Dean wiped his tears away with the back of his hand.

"Why does the universe hate us? How am I supposed to let you go, to live without you? I just got you back, Sammy, and now I am about to loose you again? What am I supposed to do, hmm? You were the only thing keeping me grounded in the last months while everything else fell apart…I don't wanna let you go…"

Dean was crying openly. It felt like his heart was being torn into tiny shreds and stomped on. He could do nothing for Sam, nothing to make his little brother better. Dean could just watch as Sam's body gave up and be there for his baby brother. Sam's mind was long lost as the sleep deprivation just let him slide deeper into insanity. Sam's sanity was as lost as one of Bo Peep's sheep.

Sam did not deserve this. The guy has saved the world and had spent hundreds of years in hell for it. Why couldn't he get a break? Sam was the nicest guy Dean had ever met, and he couldn't be more proud that Sam was his brother, the person that he had raised.

Dean lay down on the bed next to Sam, needing the physical contact. He was getting nostalgic and melancholic.

"You know, Sammy…" Dean said, while stroking Sam's long hair. "When we were little, shortly after mom died, I always climbed in your crib and slept cuddled to you. I always wanted to protect you and I could not sleep without you by my side…"

It was bittersweet. On the one hand, Dean looked back on moments he remembered as good memories; on the other hand, he was faced with Sam's impending death.

"I never felt burdened by taking care of you, you know? It was and is the most beautiful life-task I could think of...taking care of your geeky ass... But you did make me do a hell of a lot work because of your inability to stay out of trouble... I would've never traded places with anybody…"

Dean was not lying. Of course, there were times when he needed time for himself or Sam annoyed him or he wanted to resign from his responsibility. But he never could resign, and if he was honest with himself, he never really wanted to.

What was life worth without Sam in it? What was life worth without having this sweet little brother to take care of?

Dean wished they had more time, and that he actually could speak with Sam instead of having a monologue, which Sam's subconscious would hopefully at least comprehend, while Sam was staring into the nothing.

But then again, there was never enough time. It was always too early to loose a loved one, always to painful. There were always regrets because of the unspoken words, the failures done to each others, the misunderstandings, and the missed opportunities.

Dean decided to speak up, to say what he had not before. It was time to let the unspoken things be spoken. It wasn't like Sam did not know these things; they could communicate without words, but Sam had never heard them out loud before.

"I am so proud of you...I am so proud that I am your brother… I never told it to you, but you impress me every day. You have such a strong willpower, man. You beat Lucifer in the apocalypse and every day since your wall was broken in your mind. You came back to me, even if all the others told me you wouldn't survive your wall to be broken. You are the strongest guy I have ever met. No matter what shit came floating our way you never lost hope. I don't know how I am supposed to be without you… But I don't blame you for anything, okay? I don't blame you for giving up on your life or for being resigned the last time I talked to you. You deserve some peace and some rest. I just hope you will be at peace. So don't feel guilty in heaven – Yes heaven, because that is where you will go, because they owe us, otherwise I am going to kick the motherfucker's asses – because you left my heavy ass behind… I think I will follow soon, anyway. Without you or Bobby …"

Dean could not remember the last time he had been this messed up and this broken inside, probably because he never had been before. Even the previous times that Sam has died, there was something to do, a deal to make, a promise to keep, or they had died together, but now, there was nothing. Dean started to wish there was some alcohol here because it always helped him deal (or better yetavoid dealing) with his emotions.

Dean watched his brother's facial features. There were some lacerations from the crash, but both brothers had had worse before. His eyes were looking weary and empty and his focus was aimed at the nothing. The stubble on Sam's face was becoming a beard. This was so unlike Sam because Sam always took care of hygiene. Sam looked weary and tired and restless, because he was.

"I am tired," he had said, and Dean understood it, knew it, and was surprised that Sam had even held on for this long. Still, Dean didn't want to believe that it was time to let go and give up.

Dean stroked Sam's hair in comfort, and suddenly, he held tufts of Sam's hair in his hand. Loss of hair was a symptom of sleep deprivation, and it nearly sent Dean into hysterics because everything became even more real. Sam's body was shutting down. Sam's organs were failing causing his nails and hair to fall out.

"God, if your mind was here now, you would flip out because of the loss of your hair. I never understood what you have with the look, but it suits you, that mop on your head. It works really well with your puppy-eyes, too. Man…Can't believe that I will never see your puppy-eyes ever again. You knew I couldn't turn you down when you had that look on your face, and you always used it against me, you sly bitch…"

Dean was still crying, still lying next to Sam on the bed, and holding Sam's gigantic body next to his needing all the physical contact he could get. Dean couldn't remember a time he had spoken this much at once. But he had to talk this much. He had to tell Sam everything. It was their last time together.

Death was final. To be fair, it was not always final for the Winchesters (at least it had not been in the past years), but this one felt final. Dean would not make a deal: because he never would do that to Sam again. There was nobody who would bring Sam back because of some orders. The times the universe used them and needed them were over as the apocalypse was over.

Dean just hoped Sam would not have to suffer anymore. That Sam would maybe meet Mom and Jess and Bobby and whoever else, but Dean did not allow himself to believe in it because he always got kicked in his guts for believing in something good. The only thing Dean could believe in was Sam.

There were so many memories of Sam to get through. Dean spent so much time focused on his little brother. There were years of spending every day and nearly every second together. There were the good times and the bad times, and they made it through. There were the memories of just watching the stars without speaking. Peaceful memories. There were the memories of fights. The fights were not nice, but since the brothers worked it out, they weren't open wounds either. There were memories of school, hunting, and road-tripping. There were things Dean needed to laugh a bittersweet laugh about while remembering, for example the memories of prank wars and Sam's fear of clowns, and there were memories Dean would kick his own or somebody else's asses for. He thought back to times he had given

up on Sam, the time he had thrown the amulet away.

How could he? Why did he? He had thrown a gift from his brother away, a meaningful gift, saying it was worthless. He had regretted it ever since he had done it. But he couldn't change it now, so he just had to life with it. Sam never seemed to hold a grudge, although Dean deserved it.

The brothers had been through heaven and hell; they had the most beautiful and meaningful times together and had been to the darkest and saddest places together. They were a family and had the strongest bond in human history. Dean did not want Sam's death to break this bond apart. Sam and Dean were all they needed for the other to be content. They never even needed a real home, the Impala was just fine. How was Dean supposed to life without his heart, his purpose? Maybe he should just take the Impala which he had stored away some months ago and drive himself against a tree.

There was no sense in living without Sam. The last time Sam had died, Dean had wanted to die too. They were bound together; they belonged together, and they were a unit. What was surprising about the fact that they couldn't live without each other and wanted to follow each other into death? A human being can't live without his heart.

"Sammy… I love you…" Dean said and wiped away some of his tears. Then Sam turned his head to Dean and looked at him. Sam wasn't gazing into the nothing anymore but was focused on Dean.

"Sammy?" Dean asked hopefully looking at his brother. It was like Dean's voice had broken through, had overpowered the hallucinations of Lucifer, and had enabled Sam to focus on his elder brother once again. Dean was Sam's stone number one.

"D'n…" Sam whispered weakly and slurred. He was dying, and he sounded like it, too. But he was there again with his mind working.

"Hey Sammy… thought I would never hear you say my name again…" Dean said and laughed softly, while tears were still running down his cheeks. Sam's willpower was unbelievable.

Sam gazed at Dean. It was pure. They were having a moment. No words were needed. They knew each other so well that a look could say everything. Sam's trustive eyes just said it. It's okay to let me go. Don't be afraid. Don't give up on yourself, Dean. You still have a life ahead. I will wait for you. It was not your fault. I love you, too.

"D'n?" Sam asked. He was shaking and fighting against slipping away. He felt his body shutting down. He felt how he was slowly dying, after nearly ten days without REM sleep,instead with a lot of stress and hallucinations.

"Yes, Sam. What is it?" Dean asked back. He would do anything for his brother laying on his deathbed.

"Bring my duffel bag?" Sam asked. His voice was weak and slurred but determined, and his eyes said 'Just do it, Dean'. Dean did not know why Sam needed his duffle or what he wanted with it, but Sam had not the power to explain, and Dean swore to himself anyway to fulfill all his brother's deathbed wishes. Besides, when Sam was looking at him like this, Dean couldn't say no.

"Okay. I will get it, but you stay awake and focused while I am gone, okay? Don't die!" Dean stroked his brother's hair and ran out of the hospital room to his car and back in record time like he wants to win an Olympic gold medal. He laid the familiar green duffel bag down on Sam's bed and was happy that Sam still was grounded in the real world even though he wasn't able to sleep.

"Here you go, princess. What do you want with it anyway?" Dean said affectionately. He wondered why Sam wanted his duffle bag and was curious. What was Sam about to do with it?

Sam eyed Dean thankfully, and Dean looked at him sorrowfully, affectionately and worriedly all at the same time.

"Side pocket of the duffel… open it… there is something in it…." Sam responded and was impressed with himself that he fought his way back in the real life and remembered this one thing in his duffel. Who knew what days without sleep could do to you? Everything was getting screwed with: your short term memory, your thinking, your sense of time, your organs, your hygiene, your hair, and your nails.

Sam knew he was dying, but he was okay with it. It was not like he wanted to die, but it was not the worst thing possible, if he did (He knew because he had done it before). He wanted to live, but if he could not go on living, it was not too bad. He was tired. He had suffered for so long, had fought Lucifer everyday; he needed a break and he needed rest. The only thing that made his stomach churn was the thought of leaving Dean behind. Sam did not want his brother to be alone; he did not want Dean to feel the pain of loss again. Sam had decided to stay in the real world for Dean and would do it again, if the decision was in his hands. But it was not, and he could not prevent the inevitable.

Dean fulfilled his brother's wishes and opened the side pocket of the duffel bag. In the pocket was a package wrapped in newspaper, and Dean was reminded of an eight-year-old Sammy giving him a similar looking package for Christmas.

Was this package for him? Was it the gift that had been so damn important to him, that he had worn from the day he had gotten it until 18 years later and that he had thrown away when he had given up hope? Dean didn't allow himself to believe he would ever get the little golden pendant back. He missed the familiar weight on his chest. He missed being reminded of the day Sam had chosen him to be more important and more trustworthy than their Dad. Dean looked questioning at Sam.

"It's for you. Open it…"

Sam kept the amulet since the day Dean threw it away and he knew that someday this day would come. The day he could give the present back to the person it belonged to. Dean's confused state was not suprising for Sam as Dean probably thought the amulet was lost forever, but Sam could never let this meanigful but ugly pendant go. Even though Sam was exhausted his eyes were full of excitment. How would Dean react to seeing his amulet again?

Dean saw Sam's excitment. He could read in his brother's face like in a open book. Dean opened the package and he found his thoughts confirmed. There lying on the newspaper was the little golden pendant on its leather cord. Dean was speechless, and Sam was smiling, even if he was slowly drifting off again.

"How…? Why? I mean I threw it away, and I am sorry for that… Thanks..." Dean stumbled and stuttered over his words in awe. Did Sam pick it out of the trash? Had Sam keep it for him all those days? Sam always could surprise Dean.

But Sam wasn't answering. He had drifted off again, unable to sleep but with his mind far away.

"Damn it Sammy…" Dean said with tears in his eyes. He was touched by his brother's present (It was the most beautiful present he had ever gotten, though to be fair, he had gotten it twice). He was sad and broken apart because Sam was mentally gone again, but luckily,Dean had gotten the chance to hear his brother speak once again. "Thank you. I promise I will wear it and never be so stupid to throw it away ever again."

Dean kissed his brother's forehead. They barely did the whole physical contact, touchy and feely stuff, but right then, it felt right. Sam was so far away in his mind, was vulnerable, and looked even with his 6'4 frame really small. Sam was dying, and Dean wanted to hold on to him as long as possible.

Then Dean put the amulet back on. God, he had missed the familiar weight on his chest. He had worn this pendant for years, and when it was gone, it had felt like a part of him was missing.

"Thanks Sammy…While you were gone, I missed it so much; I missed you so much. I barely could go on living…How am I supposed to do it now? I just got you back, and you're all I've got..." Dean sobbed again. "I wish there would be a way out of it…"

And that was when it happened. The pendant began to burn with a red flame, Dean just noticed the heat but did not get burned, and then the whole room lit up with yellow warm light. It felt weird like there were some big changes coming, and the light would swallow everything dark.

Dean did not know what was going on. It was so surreal. Everything was so bright that you could see nothing but blinding light. From one second to another, it was gone, and the room was back to normal only Sam was focused again. Dean did not know what had happened, but Sam was there with his mind. And Dean just needed assurance from Sam.

"Sammy, you okay?" Dean asked worriedly.

"I am tired…" Sam said, and Dean laughed softly. Sam didn't feel the agonizing imnosia anymnore, but could finally sleep. Sam was relieved.

"You have not slept for nine days, Bitch, you are meant to be tired," Dean responded.

"Yeah, I know, but I think I can sleep now…" Sam said and drifted off peacefully but not into the nothing just into sleep.

Dean couldn't believe it. Was this an alternate reality? Did he die when the light filled the room? Was this a hallucination?

He had no idea. All he knew was that Sam was sleeping. His brother was in a real actual sleep. After nine agonizing days, he was sleeping. Dean had thought he would loose him for good, but Sam bounced back. The guy never left him alone;Sam was always coming back and never let Dean down.

Dean did not remember the last time he had watched his brother sleep and had enjoyed it so much. When Castiel broke the wall down or when Sam was re-souled, watching Sam sleep had been painful because it wasn't clear if he would ever wake up again. But right now, it was an awesome feeling, one that made Dean smile, because sleep had saved Sam's life. Dean watched Sam sleep for hours, and he did not get tired of it.

He thought about what had saved Sam, and he came to the conclusion it must have been the amulet. It burned in God's presence, according to Castiel. So maybe God had saved Sam because of the amulet, or the amulet had another saving power. Whatever, the important thing was that it saved Sam. In the end, the amulet was not worthless. Even without any power, it wasn't worthless because it had always had an important meaning. But now, it had saved Sam's life and was even more meaningful to Dean. It had always reflected the bond between Sam and Dean, but now it had also saved it.

After twelve hours of sleep, Sam awoke for the first time.

"Hey sleeping beauty thought you never would wake up," Dean said smiling like he got a christmas present. He had not lost Sam, not this time. They had another chance; they had more time to laugh together, to share moments, to be there for eachother, just to be Sam and Dean.

"I hope you didn't steal any kisses," Sam retorted and asked for a glass of water, which Dean gave him.

"So… Lucifer's gone?" Dean asked worriedly. Hopefully, the dick was out of his brother's head for good, but if he was not as long as Sam was still living they could deal with it.

"I don't hallucinate more. This freaking light made him explode in my mind… But I still remember hell and everything," Sam responded. It was a relief to be free of Lucifer and his voice, but it was weird too. He had heard Lucifer for months and was so used to it. He had still the agonizing memories of hell, but he could manage them as long as Lucifer was gone. "It's kind of quiet…"

"That's good. That's really good," Dean replied and saw his brother yawn. "I bet you are still tired after nine days of all-nighters with Lucifer, hmm?"

And Sam drifted back of to sleep while mumbling, "Thanks for being here Dean. You're my stone number one, remember?"

"Don't mention it, kiddo." Dean was definetly touched by Sam's trust in him. He was glad that his 'stone-number-one-speech' helped his brother.

While Sam was sleeping, Dean was not. After coming so close to losing his brother, again, Dean couldn't help but gaze at him. He took care of Sam's nails, which were hurt because of the insomnia and just watched his brother sleep. Sam was grateful to have Dean at his side. At the same time it was kind of embarassing to be so dependant of his older brother. Dean was just glad to have Sam back and see him up and around for the first time in days. He had thought he would never see him this way again.

Dean was so thankful for having Sam back. He swore to never drink alcohol again, never be mean to Sam (in the way Sam hates it, the brotherly meanness still had to be), and to be more positive as long as Sam was around.

After twelve more hours of sleep, Sam asked to be shaved and to go shower. He was weakened , and his hands were useless as his nails hurt. But with his brother's help, he got everything done. Sam was still exhausted and fell asleep realtively fast again afterwards. Dean used this time Sam was sleeping to get food for the both of them, to get a 'Bustyasianbeauties-Magazin' for his entertainment and to take a nap while Sam slept. And now that Sam was out of danger and recovering, Dean could rest and sleep some for the first time in many days.

After twelve more hours of sleep, Sam was woken by Dean to finally eat something again because Sam had been too distracted to eat in days.

After twelve more hours of sleep, Sam awoke and felt for the first time in 11 days okay (even if still tired, but not deathly tired) and both decided they were ready to spring the hospital and go back on the road.

After two long days of being primaly the caretaker of Sam thinks were going back to normal for Dean.

Dean helped Sam out of his white hospital clothes and into his normal clothes. Sam looked normal again, and Dean couldn't do anything but smile. He never thought he would see Sam this way ever again. Catching his brother smiling at him, Sam threw a lopsided-grin back at Dean. Dean had missed his brother's dimples.

Back in the car, they felt something that resembled home again. It wasn't the Impala (which they missed incredibly much, especially Dean, who would get a car-gasm when he got his baby back), but it was the two brother's in the shit car of the week. They were getting back to normal.

"So Castiel was there and Meg… What about them? How is Cas?" Sam asked while leaning back into the car seat still a little bit tired.

"Didn't care too much…had to take care of my pain in the ass little brother. How can you care about Cas…? He was responsible for you nearly…"

"I'm still alive. Besides, Cas was our friend and deserves a second chance. I was pretty far gone myself some times, too, but you forgave me…" Sam responded. Sam always forgave and gave second chances. Dean loved his brother for caring.

"You've said that before. We will take care of it, later… Thanks again, you know for staying alive and picking up the amulet, and giving it back to me, the amulet saved your life, you know? Thanks…I mean…I don't know what I would do without you…"

"And you're the one whose rule is 'No chick-flick-moments'" Sam laughed and meant in the typical Winchester-Brothers' way of speaking 'I love you, too. Couldn't live without you either'. Dean was lately a lot more open and was talking a lot more about emotions. This near-death experience of Sam's seemed to have shaken him a lot.

"You're a bitch. You know that?"

"You're a jerk; you know that?"

Both laughed and grinned at each other. Again, they had beaten an obstacle and were together again. They could be brothers again; they could be fighting, laughing, bantering, needing each other, loving each other and in general, just be together again.

If it wouldn't have been so unbelievable cheesy, the boys would have driven off into the sunset. But instead, they chose to drive off with the AC/DC song "Back in Black" on, fighting about Dean's car rule "Driver's picks the music; shotgun shuts his cake hole" just out of habit, because that was the way, Sam and Dean Winchester were supposed to be.

They were together again. It was Sam and Dean against the world and sooner or later against some Leviathans. They would fight together and hopefully win…

"Mydear young cousin,

if there's one thing I've learned over the eons,

it's that you can't give up on your family,

no matter how tempting they make it."
― Rick Riordan

THE END

Thanks for reading…

I'vealways wanted to write something about the amulet coming back (I really miss it),and I hope I did well.

I hope you liked it…

How was it? Good? Bad? Boring? Interesting?

I would be really happy about reviews…

Thanks for reading!

Love.

Sincerely,

Die Autorin