Sorry it's been so long, I've been studying for exams! This chapter, I'm not very confident with it. Sorry if it's not great!
Sam didn't exactly look relieved to see his big brother. Considering how much he would have been put through, the eldest Winchester was at a total loss as to why and how Sam looked so calm. Not even calm, the guy was smirking with eyes glittering sinisterly.
"Hello, Dean," Sam's smirk grew, "Long time, not see."
"Dean, it's..." Castiel began, but he'd already figured it out.
"You're not my brother," Dean's eyes were narrow, "What did you do?"
Ruby grinned to herself, saying nothing at all. Sam glanced at her briefly, but turned back to his brother.
"What are you talking about?" his face was attempting to look innocent, almost mocking the puppy eyes that Dean could never refuse, "It's me, Dean."
For the first time, those eyes had no effect on Dean Winchester.
Holy water splashed on the younger Winchester's face but it made no reaction. No hissing, no screaming. Sam and Ruby simply burst out laughing.
"Ow. That burns," Sam snickered, "It's me, genius."
"You're not Sam," Dean's voice was a mere growl.
"Alright, smartass," Sam took a step closer, his expression losing all mockery and turning dark, "Getting a little bored of your crap."
Castiel's brow furrowed. He couldn't quite figure it out. All he could tell was the obvious. That wasn't Sam. His body was there, but Sam. Sam wasn't in it. He couldn't be. He had a clear alliance with Ruby and there was no evidence of injury, old or new. He was completely unharmed. They could have just somehow brainwashed him. But it wasn't that simple. There was something amiss. Something missing, but still there. For the angel to be confused, something was really wrong.
Without warning, Dean was thrown back against the wall, seemingly for no reason. He knocked over several beer barrels on his way, groaning in pain but looking up to see Bobby subtly enter the room, preparing to strike the youngest Winchester on the back of his head with the back of a rifle. Seems Dean and Castiel weren't the only ones to know something wasn't quite right.
"Good to see you again, Uncle Bobby," Sam turned on his heel with a hideous grin, "We should catch up."
Dean scrambled to his feet, just as Sam used Bobby's weapon against him. The older hunter grunted in pain before collapsing at Sam's feet.
"Bobby!" Dean yelled, and Castiel advanced, but both Sam and Ruby fell into laughter once more.
"Adorable," Sam sneered, "You even got yourself a guard dog!"
Dean shoved Castiel aside, he'd be damned if he got caught up in this crap too, sending the angel stumbling. This only amused the dark duo further.
"Alright, you. Either you're my seriously, seriously twisted little brother, or them black eyed rodents have done somethin' to you they're gonna regret. Which is it?"
While they were distracted, Castiel moved silently to Bobby's limp body, touching his forehead to heal and promptly disappearing with him upstairs. He propped the grisled man onto a chair, looking up at Ellen, Jo and Rosie all staring at him, the two adults wearing an expression of confusion while the toddler merely smiled obliviously. With no explanation to them or Bobby, the angel transported himself back to the basement, allowing Jo and Ellen to rush to Bobby's aid.
"Oh, he's not the brother you know anymore," Ruby had piped up just as Castiel returned, tipping her head towards Sam. The youngest Winchester crossed into the devil trap, scraping away some of the spray paint with his foot, and freed the demon from the old rope. With a grin, she pulled Sam to her level with the collar of his workshirt – he was wearing exactly what he had when he'd gone with them in the first place, had he not changed or had he dressed for the occasion? –pressing her lips to his in a passionate kiss. Sam chuckled softly, leaning closer into the kiss. Dean rolled his eyes, while Castiel watched in absolute, pure disgust. Demon-human contact in such a way was wrong on so many levels.
Once the public affection session was over, Ruby delved her hand into a pocket of her leather jacket. A bright white light was omitted from between her fingers, and she pulled out a small glass vial on a chain. All the light was coming from that. Dean struggled to look directly at the thing. And he didn't even know what it was.
"Sam," Castiel muttered, taking a step closer, "You removed Sam's soul."
The angel looked hard at Ruby, but then watched the vial with softer eyes. That was what had confused him so much. The moment he'd entered the room to interrogate the demon, he'd sensed it. But he hadn't been able to work out what it was. When Sam had showed up, he knew something was wrong, but sensing his soul in his room at the same time his body was present, it lessened the suspicion.
"That old thing? Dragged me down," Sam shrugged and gave a disapproving glance at his own soul.
"Too right. Whiny little bitch with that," Ruby muttered, looking back at Dean, "Couldn't get him to do jack squat. Wouldn't even taste my blood. Kept on crying for his spawn, begging to see her again."
"So they got rid of the wuss in me," Sam smirked.
Dean couldn't drag his eyes away from the vial. No matter how much that light hurt his eyes, he couldn't shake the knowledge. That was Sam. His little brother wasn't the huge man watching him with amusement. He was in that vial. The grieving widow, the father who doted so strongly on his little daughter. He was in there. Everything that made him Sam, made him human. It was trapped in a glass container. And Dean was angered by the pure injustice and disrespect. He wondered if he was somehow conscious in there. Could he feel? Was he aware how evil he could be with his humanity ripped out?
"He can't feel a thing," it was as if Castiel had read his mind, "He's dormant in there. He won't remember anything."
Ruby grinned, "Cute. Real cute. Now if you don't mind, we got more important things on our to-do list than hang out with pansies."
Castiel's lips formed a rare smirk as he placed his hand on the ground. The devil trap was pristine once more. Ruby cursed, and Sam came closer to the angel.
"I dislike angels," he whispered darkly, punching Castiel directly in the face, causing the unsuspecting celestial being to fall back. His nose began to bleed, and for a second he looked completely lost.
"Keep him outta this," Dean stood in front of Castiel, receiving a punch of his own in the process. Sam didn't stop there. Dean took punch after punch until a knee in the stomach sent him falling to the floor.
"I've wanted to do this a long time," Sam's voice was low and threatening, "That damn soul got in the way."
Castiel scowled at smirking Ruby before going back to intervene, blood still dripping.
"Enough," he raised his voice a little, placing himself between the brothers.
"You're not fun," Sam glowered, "Maybe it'll be more exciting upstairs. I wonder how my little girl is doing."
"Rosie," Dean whispered, despite his whole face almost erupt in pain, "Don't you dare!"
He scrambled to his feet, visibly dazed from the blows to his head, as Sam swiftly left the room. Castiel took Dean's arm and healed the damage. At least the eldest Winchester could walk straight now.
Rose had since moved onto Ellen's knee, resting her head on her while she nestled close to the security of her arms. The little girl clutched at Jo's old teddy bear, staying quiet and was close to falling. The experienced mother couldn't help but feel for the kid. She must be so confused, even if she didn't understand the situation. She'd just seen her father, her hero, for the first time in over a month, and he'd walked straight past without even acknowledging her. The only other person she was most familiar with, her uncle, was also nowhere in her sight. Ellen was just glad Rose was so calm.
Bobby was sat close by, finally recovered from the confusion of waking up to the sight of Castiel's face in front of him, then being transported back upstairs, unharmed. Rose kept on looking at him with a huge grin. He did his best to avoid eye contact – he was never the most comfortable being around tiny rugrats like Rose. He was never really in the mood to be cheerful and animated or talk in an obnoxious singsong voice like babies love. Those wide puppy eyes, the double of her Dad's were boring into him, and he looked at her for once. The grin on the toddler's face grew wider, and she flapped her hand at him in a wave. As much as he'd hate to admit it, it melted the old hunter's heart a little and he found himself smiling back at her. Ellen watched in amusement, looking from Rose to Bobby, but didn't breathe a word.
The door to the basement opened with a small creak, and the soulless Winchester came into view. Both Jo and Bobby stood, positioning themselves in front of Rose, who'd began to squeal upon seeing her father again. They didn't even know what had happened to him. That his soul was imprisoned in a glass vial. But they knew Sam wasn't Sam. After being away so long, he wouldn't have ignored his daughter, or the man he considered a father figure. He wouldn't have walked straight past them without even looking at them. He didn't look fearful or show any emotion besides smugness, which was the complete opposite of the young man's nature.
"Dada!" Rose called, reaching both hands to her father and leaving the teddy bear to fall head first to the floor. Sam turned to look at her and his expression changed from smug to a menacing smile.
"Little Rosie," he shoved both Jo and Bobby aside roughly and knelt before Ellen. He stroked his daughter's cheek with the back of his hand, "You look just like your mother."
"You get your hands off her," Ellen said defensively, her arms holding Rose closer. Rose whimpered and reached both her arms to Sam, eyes wide and desperate. Sam looked darkly at Ellen.
"My daughter, bitch," he seemed to growl, snatching the little girl into his arms. But Rose didn't relax and settle into her father like she used to. She didn't reach up and wrap her arms around his neck to hug him, to press her face to his cheek in a "kiss". Even she knew something was up. This man may look exactly like him, but he wasn't her father. He wasn't the Daddy she knew, the daddy who cuddled her when she cried and read her bedtime stories. He wasn't the Daddy who more often than not allowed her to go to sleep in his arms instead of her crib, the Daddy who loved her unconditionally. His arms didn't feel safe and warm like they should have. Rose didn't like it at all.
"Dada," Rose cried forlornly, reaching desperately to anyone but Sam, "Dada!"
Dean and Cas got upstairs to Rose's cries, and the hunter strived to hide the tears forming in his eyes at the sight he met. Rose never cried when Sam held her, or if she did she was overtired or beginning to calm down. But this was different. Rose was struggling to get away from him. And Sam watched with a menacing smile.
"What's the matter, Rosie?" his voice was unsettlingly soft, "Is Daddy scary?"
"You give her back!" Dean demanded. The toddler immediately began reaching for him, calling his name. The doting uncle failed to hide the crack in his voice, "S'alright, Rosie...It's alright, darlin'. Uncle Dean's gonna keep you safe."
"Isn't he cute, Rosie? Thinks you love him more than your own Daddy, huh?" Sam stroked her hair gently, then wiped away the tears from her cheeks, "Really though. You just latched on to the first person who took you after Daddy went away, right? You just wanted someone to give you food, change your diaper, shut you up when you cry. Doesn't mean you love 'em. Uncle Dean's nothing."
Dean froze, a little bewildered from Sam's words. Part of him knew the soulless jerk was purposely trying to break him, trying to provoke him. But the other part believed him. Rose was just a baby. She bonded with Sam. But Dean, for all she knew, was just some random dude that wouldn't go away. He was the one who gave her food if she needed it and answered her cries, when Sam hadn't.
"You son of a bitch," Dean clenched his fists.
"Did the truth hurt too bad?" Sam looked to the others, who were watching with slight wariness. They all flinched, however, when the huge man collapsed to the floor, revealing Castiel behind him with Rose safely in his arms. Her tiny hands clutched at the tie, and she was finally beginning to quieten.
"I forced his mind into unconsciousness," the angel said solemnly, "I didn't like the lies he was telling you."
Dean nodded silently, "Thanks, Cas."
"Rose does have a bond with you, Dean. And me, it seems."
Sam began to stir already, and Castiel placed the now calm infant into her uncle's arms.
"I will relocate him to the basement," Castiel said quietly, "Meet me down there."
Before Dean handed Rose over to Ellen, who had made her way to the eldest Winchester the moment Castiel had disappeared with Sam, he wrapped his arms a little tighter around her in a protective hug. He pressed a kiss to Rose's head and ran his hand through her wispy curls.
"It's all gonna be alright, Rosie," his voice shook, "I promise."
Ellen looked at Dean sadly and gave him a small, sympathetic smile as she lifted the little girl into her arms. Rose whimpered softly and reached a hand to her uncle, and he kissed it before heading down to the basement. Bobby clapped a hand on his back as he went.
It had reached the point where Dean could barely look his brother in the eye. Sam was now bound to a chair, his head hanging forwards as he began to stir.
"First time I got some shuteye since I left, Dean," the youngest Winchester looked at him with a grin. Dean frowned at the statement but didn't demand further information. He didn't have the energy.
"C'mon. You're really gonna let your winged monkey tie up your brother like this? I'm surprised, bro."
"You're not Sam. So frankly, I don't give a shit."
Ruby had since lost her smug expression. She wasn't laughing anymore. She even shot a frustrated look at Sam. It satisfied Dean. She's worried.
"Maybe this will work. I've been practising," Sam looked up at Dean, once again trying to replicate those damn trademarked puppy eyes. They were even more mocking than before, and just plain wrong. The elder brother wouldn't, or rather couldn't, hold back, punching Sam in the face but flinching at the crack of bone. The soulless man cursed as blood dribbled from his broken nose, but otherwise didn't seem overly phased. At least he can't feel it, Dean thought, eyes flicking to Ruby's jacket pocket then back at Sam, who had almost instantly recovered from the assault.
"Worth a try," Sam shrugged, despite the restraints, "So...you planning on keeping us entertained?"
"You're gonna rot in here until we work out what to do with you," Dean said through gritted teeth.
"Even if that includes hurting your baby brother? That's low."
"Sam wouldn't want this," was all Dean could manage to choke out, before both Ruby and Sam began to smile.
"Laters, monkey," Sam muttered, and Dean ducked in surprise as white light flooded the room. Castiel disappeared, leaving another figure standing close by.
"Cas?" Dean called, but narrowed his eyes upon recognising the son of a bitch.
"Now, now, Dean," the yellow eyed demon tutted softly, "Didn't your mother ever tell you it's impolite to tie up your own brother?"
Thanks for reading! Exams are done now but I'm now almost working full time, and I have about three more fics in the works so I'll be doing a chapter of each in turn! I hope you'll be interested in reading my new Supernatural fics once they are up!
Thanks for all the support, and please leave a review to let me know what you think, it motivates me to write faster! This story will be wrapped up in about 2-3 chapters, so stay tuned!