Author's Note: It's been awhile since I've written some Cas/Sam friendship fluff, hasn't it? Time to fix that! Okay, so a lot of things inspired this, but the most poignant (and the one that had the most impact on me) was in "The Born-Again Identity" right after Castiel's attempt to heal Sam has failed. His face in the brief few seconds before he goes, "Oh, Sam," just stuck with me. In those few seconds, you could see the sheer regret and grief on his face and it was such a powerful moment for me. So, anyways, this is actually set in an AU version of season 7. For the purposes of this story, Castiel never disappeared in the lake and never went all Godstiel for as long as he did. This takes place in "Hello, Cruel World". Please note that this story deals with attempted suicide. If that bothers you in anyway, please do not read. Thanks!
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
There's a nursery rhyme on Earth—one that you have heard a few times whenever you passed groups of children. It tells the story of an egg, perched on a wall and how the egg fell and shattered into pieces. People came—knights, you suppose—and they tried to save the egg. It was an impossible task, of course. Once the shell has been shattered, the egg is done. The yolk spills out and no amount of begging, shouting or praying can ever make the egg whole again.
It's simple logic.
At the time, you didn't understand the small poem. It confused you just as much as Dean's constant references to pop culture. Why would anyone try to save an egg so beyond help? Why was an egg on a wall to begin with? Why did the egg have a name?
"Shut up, Cas," Dean had growled after you had posed him the question. This had been months ago, before you had committed treachery, before you had hurt the Winchesters so deeply that you were sure they would never forgive you again. "It's a stupid rhyme."
You had let the subject drop, though Dean's answer left more questions lingering in your mind.
Now though . . .
Now, sitting beside Sam as he sleeps off the aftermath of his latest hallucination, you understand it.
Sam Winchester had a wall. You made it fall. And all of heaven's angels and all of Earth's hunters can't save the youngest Winchester from the pain you have caused. He lies there on the bed, sweating, face pinched with pain. He's relieving the memories of the time he spent in the Cage, memories that you released.
His suffering, his pain—it's all on you.
And if he dies . . .
"No." You whisper, trying to push that thought from your mind. It's a very real possibility that Sam could die. No one could be expected to endure such trauma for long.
Hell broke people.
The Cage shattered them beyond repair.
"He's the same, Dean." Bobby mutters gruffly into his cellphone, warily keeping his gaze locked on you. He doesn't trust you and you don't blame him. It is your fault Sam is in this situation and you deserve to see the blatant anger in the older man's eyes. He almost shot you full of bullets when you showed up on his front porch, after ridding yourself of the souls from Purgatory. He had screamed himself hoarse and demanded a reason why you had ever thought it was a good idea to sentence a man that had saved the world to death.
"I wish to make amends." You had simply said, head bowed, eyes downcast.
Bobby had shot you then—one bullet straight to the heart.
It was more symbolic rather than inflicting actual damage, but the loss of trust had stung more than the bullet ever could. He had been ready to shoot you more, but Dean had stepped outside and immediately the family friend lowered his gun. You will never forget the look in Dean's eyes—the sheer grief mingled with fury. You will never be able to erase the image of his fist plowing onto your face as he knocked you over.
"What the hell do you think you're doing here?" The eldest Winchester had questioned, his voice dripping with venom. "Haven't you done enough?"
"Dean—" You had begun, only to be interrupted by a soft voice in the doorway.
For the rest of your existence, you will never be able to forget the image of Sam's tired grin plastered onto his face even though he was clearly drained. He forced himself to stand on that porch just so that you might be saved from the wrath of his brother. He put an act on, just so that you might be spared from pain. Sam had insisted you stay and Dean clearly hadn't been in the right frame of mind to deny his little brother anything and the next thing you know here you are, sitting next to Sam's limp form as he tosses and turns on the couch.
You can't heal Sam—there's nothing left to rebuild of the wall that you so carelessly destroyed—and though Dean is out following up on some contacts Bobby thinks might be able to help, you know it is a fool's errand. There is no way to fix what you have done, no way to reset all the mistakes you have made.
Sam is back in the Cage and it is you that put the lock back on it.
"Sam, I . . ." Your voice fades away and you sigh.
If you had the power, you could fix all of this. You could snap your fingers and make all of this nothing more but a distant nightmare. You could go back to the time where your biggest concern was following your Father's orders and you knew nothing of "free will" and you did not care for the mortals know as the Winchesters. You could go back to the time when Heaven was good and Hell was bad, when Angels were righteous and Demons were evil, and when you could trust in your brothers and sisters.
Still . . . if you had lived in blissful ignorance, wouldn't that have been the same as willfully choosing to follow blindly along like so many of your brethren did?
"Please," Sam murmurs and your gaze immediately comes to rest on the youngest Winchester's face. There was no point in debating the what-ifs now—it was all in the past. You can't fix things.
But you can pick up the washcloth on the side table and dab the sweat off Sam's brow instead.
It's a small step towards atonement.
You're never allowed to be alone with Sam.
Bobby or Dean is always with you and you are grateful for that much, considering that you almost did kill the youngest Winchester. There's something about betrayal that always stays with people and you know that things will never be like they were before, even if Sam does recovery. For his part, the youngest brother sleeps his days away. He stirs every half an hour and Dean uses that opportunity to calm him and attempt to get some food and fluids in.
"C'mon Sammy," Dean coaxes as he pours some of the Gatorade down Sam's throat. "Just swallow a bit for me, buddy." Sam never gets more than sip, which is why he was hooked up to an IV on his third day of this. It kills Dean to see his sibling so helpless like this and you wish there was something you could say to comfort him, but your words are meaningless.
You made this mess.
"We should get him to a hospital—" Bobby begins.
"Why?" Dean snaps. "So, they can just lock him up? They can't help him!"
"I know," The gruff hunter confesses, rare desperation evident in his tone. "But we're not equipped to give Sam what he needs. I'm almost out of saline and—"
"I can procure more." You say suddenly, rising from your position at Sam's side. For the first time since the porch incident, Dean meets your gaze, bewilderment and mistrust in his eyes and you find the power to speak. "I can get in and out. Just tell me what you need."
"Dean?" Bobby prods, though the angel can see that the older hunter is amenable to this plan.
"Fine," Dean replies, tone clipped. "But if you even think about—"
"I will not fail." You solemnly swear.
Dean just nods his head.
Two weeks later and Sam is functioning better than expected.
He sleeps at normal hours and acts just like he used to before the wall was destroyed, but you notice that he sometimes stares at nothing and his eyes tend to glaze over. When he is truly exhausted, he will talk to "Lucifer" who has somehow convinced him that he never left the Cage and that this is all some huge illusion. You wish you could convince the youngest Winchester otherwise, but all your attempts have failed miserably. Sam doesn't know what is real and what isn't. He's barely hanging on and that realization not only hits you hard, but also Bobby and Dean.
The gruff older hunter has taken to researching medical journals, trying to find something like Sam's condition in the hopes that he can order medicine or "do something rather than just sit around all damn day!" So far, nothing has been gleaned from his hours of research, but you won't deny the older man his wish. There is precious little they can do to help Sam now and so anything that might look like a lead is investigated with more energy than needed.
Dean, for his part, sticks to his brother like glue. He gives Sam whatever he needs and does his best to talk his brother out of his "Hell-vision" as the two like to call it. Sometimes he can pull Sam out before the torture begins; other times, he can only pick up the shattered pieces the invisible Devil leaves behind.
"Hey, Castiel?" Sam turns to you, a serious expression on his face and you stiffen slightly. Dean is in the kitchen—you can hear his hard boots clomping on the floor—and you wonder if it is okay for you to talk to Sam without Dean watching you.
"Yes?" Sam hesitates for a few seconds before nodding to himself and locking onto your eyes.
"Why'd you break the wall?" He says it so calmly and casually that it takes you off-guard. Silence reigns in the kitchen and you know the eldest Winchester is waiting to hear your response.
"I knew it would hurt your brother," You confess. "And keep him from coming after me."
Sam processes this for a few seconds and then nods his head, mind seemingly made up.
He disappears that night.
You find Sam back in Stull Cemetery, staring at the spot of the ground where everything changed, where the world was saved in exchange for two souls, where Sam died and his torture begin. It's painful being back in this dead field and it hurts even more to see Sam—your friend, the boy with the demon blood, the savior of the world—gazing down at the Earth, as if he's waiting for it to open up once more and swallow him whole.
"Sam." You greet.
"I keep waiting." Sam begins softly, his eyes still not meeting your gaze.
"For?" You prod gently. You should get Dean and Bobby, but you don't like this situation and the sense of foreboding that accompanies it. Something is wrong here and you intend to get to the bottom of it and fix it.
"For me to open my eyes and see that I never made it out of the ground," He confesses quietly, voice breaking. "For me to see that Lucifer was right that this whole time, I've been there—"
"Sam," You start, but there's a flash of silver in the sunlight and the next thing you know, he has a gun pressed to the temple of his head. "Sam, this is not the answer—"
"It isn't?" Sam echoes incredulously. "Cas, I'm broken! I have hallucinations of Lucifer 24/7 and I can't even tell what the hell is real anymore!" He laughs mirthlessly. "This morning, I thought a phone was a spike that was about to impale me. What kind of person does that make me? I can't hunt like this, I can't protect Dean or Bobby." His eyes misted over. "I'm worthless!"
"You are not worthless," You repeat forcefully. "Sam Winchester, you are the strongest man I know—"
"Don't lie to me!" Sam snaps, his trigger finger wavering dangerously. "Don't you dare lie to me too—"
"I'm not," You insist. "I broke the wall and for that I am sorry," You pause to make sure he understands your words. "But Sam, you are free from Satan now. If nothing else, believe me when I say to you that you are out and free of him."
"But I'm not," Sam whispers, tone full of sheer agony. "He's still here. He'll never leave. This is the only way out—"
"It is the coward's way out!" You shout.
"So, what?" He retorts. "Haven't I played the hero enough?"
"Enough!" He screams, voice echoing through the field. "Enough." For a few moments, there is nothing but the wind blowing through the grass to fill the silence. Dean should be here, you think, he could handle this.
But you made this mess.
It is your duty to fix it.
"Please," You whisper, countless emotions coursing through your vessel's veins, so many memories flashing through your mind. You stretch your hand out. "Give me the gun, Sam. We will figure something out, I promise."
For a moment, there's indecision on the youngest Winchester's face.
Then, the gun slips into your hand and relieved you toss it aside and pull Sam into a hug.
Sam begins to sob; you just hold him tighter.
You almost lost him today.
A month later and Sam's on medications that can control his hallucinations. Bobby and Dean have begun to trust you again and though you've never told either of them what happened a month ago, you feel like they know. Dean tossed you a beer the day after you stopped Sam's suicide attempt and though you don't drink, you appreciated the sentiment. Bobby let you flip through some books in his library, something he's never let you do before.
You did break Sam's wall and you know that the two of them will never forgive you completely, but this is a good start towards making things better. Sam, for his part, seems happy you're around and aside from a few bad days a week, he appears to be doing much better.
Things are looking up.
"Yes, Dean?" You look up from Bobby's book about Angel Lore and wait for the eldest Winchester to tell you whatever it is that is on his mind. You can tell from his pensive expression that something is plaguing his thoughts—something that he wants to discuss with you. He stares at you and patiently, you wait.
"Never mind." Dean replies with a smile. You watch him head into the other room and tease Sam about the medieval book he's reading on line. You listen to Sam's laugh echoing in the halls and for the first time in a long time, you feel like maybe things will be okay.
And slowly, you begin to believe that you can patch up Humpty Dumpty again.
Author's Note: This became more angsty than I intended but I still loved it. I hope you did too. Please review if you have a second!