Sam couldn't warn Dean.
He couldn't tell Dean about the angel's decision to join with Metatron.
He couldn't tell Dean about the name written on the little yellow slip of paper.
He couldn't tell Dean that the angel knew about the sigil.
All Sam could do was watch, helpless and mute.
It was like being possessed by Lucifer all over.
Sam begged the angel not to hurt his brother. He wouldn't have been able to bear it if that happened.
The angel had at least conceded to that one request. He had not killed Dean even though it would have been so easy. But the angel was not concerned with the eldest Winchester. He had other prey.
Kevin Tran died while all Sam could do was watch. Again, he was forced to be the hand of death to one of his friends. Just like that day in Stull Cemetery when Lucifer had killed Castiel and Bobby.
Sam struggled against the angel's hold but he was too weak. Sam shouted as loud as he could as the angel told Dean that his brother was no more, yelling that he was right here right here!But no sound came through. The look on Dean's face broke Sam's heart.
Then the angel turned and walked away.
Go back! Please! Dean! Dean! I'm here! You can't do this!
The angel said nothing, ignoring the young man as he struggled in vain to regain control over his own body.
Sam stood in the doorway, his eyes pinned on the angel's back.
The celestial being, if it noticed him, did not react. It was looking around the large space that held all of Sam's memories. Styled as a warehouse, cardboard boxes of all shapes as sizes sat atop row upon row of metal shelves. Each box contained a specific memory or important or interesting information, from Sam's first time trying ice cream to a half-dozen exorcisms in several different languages.
Sam's neat handwriting on each box indicated its contents. He watched silently as the angel reached out a hand to one of the boxes and touched its slightly rough surface, fingers sliding along the label written in black marker.
Sam shuddered; he didn't want that creature going through his memories as though they were his personal home videos. He took a step over the threshold of the doorway and the angel turned to him, blue eyes crinkled with what seemed to be amusement.
"I thought you hated Metallica," the angel said and Sam couldn't help but shrug.
"If you listen to it as many times as I have, you start to know the lyrics whether you like it or not."
The angel nodded and turned back to the boxes in front of him.
Sam took another step forwards as the angel picked up a large box with Jessica's name written on its front.
"Don't touch that!" Sam ordered and moved towards the intruder as if to snatch the box from his hands, stumbling as he did so, one hand reaching out to grab a shelf for support.
"You are still weak, Samuel," the angel pointed out unnecessarily, "Why do you not return to your room?"
Straightening up to his full height, Sam glared daggers at the creature, "I am not going to let you do this."
The angel only smirked, "Are you going to stop me?"
Sam ground his teeth in frustration and rushed forward. The angel, although not at full strength himself, was not troubled by the human and casually stepped backwards. Sam staggered, one hand going to his side as he coughed, blood bubbling up from between his lips.
"You need to rest, Samuel," the angel informed him mockingly as the young man wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand.
"Leave Jess alone," Sam demanded and spat blood, gagging on the coppery taste.
The angel, as much as he hated to admit it, was right. Sam was still very ill, and was certainly no match for the celestial being.
"Please," Sam finished. He hated begging but he couldn't let the angel play around with his memories.
The angel cocked his head and set the box aside. He walked towards Sam calmly, blue eyes piercing as a bird of prey's.
Sam backed up as much as he could, his progress hindered by the wall. From the corner of his eye he could see the doorway to his room just on the right but it seemed too far for him to duck back inside and close the door.
The angel stopped when he was toe to toe with Sam, their noses almost touching. He lifted his hand and laid it against Sam's cheek, the young man grimacing at the intimacy of the gesture.
"You want me to stop?" the angel asked quietly, almost whispering.
Sam forced himself to keep his eyes on the angel's, "Yes."
The angel smirked and grabbed the front of the young man's shirt in his fist, shoving him sideways as he did so. Sam stumbled along the short distance, fingers pulling futilely at the angel's wrist, staggering back when he was pushed through the doorway of his room.
The angel released him and Sam fell, landing heavily on his backside, the motion jarring. Before he could get up, the creature pulled the door closed and Sam heard the click of a lock that should not have been.
"No!" Sam stood and hurried forwards, trying the doorknob to find it immovable.
"Let me out!" he called and hit the wooden door with enough force to cause it to shudder in its frame.
"Rest, Samuel," the angel's voice instructed from the other side of the door, "And perhaps I will consider allowing you to leave."
Dean didn't move.
All he could do was stare in shock at Kevin's lifeless body.
How had things gotten so bad in so little time?
How could he have lost his brother again? Sam was gone. But all he'd been trying to do was help him! Sam would have died without the angel!
Dean put his head in his hands. How could he have been so stupid? Hadn't he learned by now not to trust angels?
But Ezekiel- or whoever the hell he was- had seemed so kind, as though he actually wanted to help the Winchesters for once instead of tearing them apart. Sam had just been so sick and Dean had been so desperate.
Now Sam was gone.
No. That couldn't be true. If the angel had lied about his real identity than maybe, just maybe he was lying about this.
Dean looked up and wiped his eyes on his shirtsleeve. He stood shakily, hands grabbing the back of a chair for support.
"I'm sorry, Kevin," Dean murmured, sparing one more glance down at the teen's corpse.
He needed to find that angel but Dean had no idea where to look, no leads at all. What if the angel was working for Bartholomew or Malachi? Whatever the angel wanted or whoever it was, Dean was going after it, he was going to get his brother back.
Wiping a hand over his face, Dean knew he needed help if he was ever going to see Sam again. Luckily Cas had his wings back or Dean wasn't sure what he would have done. Sitting down in the chair he'd been using as a support, Dean laced his fingers together, pressed his fists against his brow and closed his eyes, inclining his head towards the table.
He hoped that now that Cas was juiced-up again he'd be able to hear prayers as well and be of some use as to figure out who had taken Sam out for a joyride.
Taking a deep breath, Dean began, "Cas… I know we just talked on the phone but… the shit just hit the fan and I need your help… its Sam… you were right… that son of a bitch lied to me and Sammy… Sammy's gone. If you can hear me- and I'm really hoping you can- I need your help here. Please."
Dean remained as he was for a moment, listening intently for the familiar faint flutter of wings that usually announced his friend's arrival.
When he didn't hear it, Dean lowered his hands, opened his eyes and sat back, sighing sadly.
"Dean," the voice came from right behind him and the young man jumped in his seat, swearing as he did so.
"Cas!" the hunter stood up and grabbed the angel's arms, pulling him into a bone-crushing hug.
The angel- as was his way- remained stiff as a board until Dean released him.
"It's so good to see you," Dean admitted and the angel cocked his head.
"You act as though we did not speak only hours ago."
Dean nodded, "I know, I know but… with everything that's happened…"
"I understand," Cas commented, saving Dean from his stammering.
The angel glanced at the earthly remains of Kevin Tran and his lips pulled down into a frown.
"What happened here?"
Dean swallowed the lump in his throat and told his friend all that had occurred since they had last spoken. The angel listened intently, his expression changing into one of surprise or sadness at the appropriate times but he did not interrupt the young man.
"And now… Sammy's gone…" Dean lamented and looked up at his friend, "Do you… Do you think that bastard was lying when he said Sam was-"
"I do, Dean," Castiel said, "But your brother was extremely weak when my sibling possessed him, perhaps-"
Dean shook his head, "No, no way. Ezekiel wasn't running on full power either… or so he said."
The angel inclined his head, "You may be right. You said so yourself that you had spoken to Sam that morning."
Dean nodded, "But was it really Sammy? I mean, what if that asshole was just pretending the entire time?"
"We will know once we find him," Castiel said, trying to be positive.
Sam sat beside the door, not really resting but not doing any strenuous activity either. He could hear the angel moving around on the other side of the door and although he wanted nothing more than to smash through the wooden barrier with his shoulder, he knew that would not please the creature and he was afraid of what the celestial being might do to him.
"Where are we going?" Sam called, the silence getting on his nerves, even if it meant having to talk to his keeper.
There was no response from the angel so Sam tried again.
"Are we going back to Metatron?"
"Wouldn't you like to know," the voice spoke from right in front of the door and Sam flinched, startled at how fast the angel had moved.
"Well, you are using my body," Sam continued, "So I'd think I have a right to know what you're going to be doing with it."
"Yes," the angel replied and Sam heard him tap on the door.
"Are you going to kill more people?" the young man asked and held his breath for the answer.
"If that is what Metatron wishes than I must."
Sam grimaced at the thought of the arrogant angel.
"So you're like, his servant or something then?"
The young man jumped when the door shook violently in its hinges from the force of the angel's blow.
"I am no one's servant!"
Sam eyed the door curiously; maybe he'd piss the angel off so much that he'd open the door for him.
"Could have fooled me," Sam announced in a smart tone.
"You do not know what you are talking about, Samuel," the angel huffed, "Be quiet."
"I may be locked in this room but I listen," Sam kept it up, though his tone was less smart, "I hear everything you say to each other whether I want to or not."
"And?" the angel prompted, "What do your ears tell you?"
Sam almost smiled, "How long have you known Metatron?"
The angel laughed, "For millennia."
"Hm, that's interesting, because I heard you talking about how you did some time up in Heaven. They probably had you in solitary too so how could you have known our friend for all that time?"
The angel didn't say anything for a long moment and Sam wondered if he had left.
He jumped when the door opened and the angel stepped inside the room, Sam's sanctum.
"You know not what you speak of," the angel's face was pale and Sam knew he'd hit a nerve. He almost felt bad for the angel, almost.
"You let the Devil into the Garden," Sam said quietly.
The angel's blue eyes flashed dangerously, "That was not my fault!"
"The other angels seemed to think so," Sam reminded and watched as a muscle in the creature's face twitched, almost as though it had a tic.
"It was not my fault," the angel insisted, his voice full of anguish, "But they wouldn't listen. No, they only saw the destruction of the Garden and myself. I was their perfect scapegoat."
Sam didn't speak. He waited for the angel to gather himself.
"They refused to hear me. Michael… he whispered in our Father's ear, calling me a traitor and a turncoat."
The pain on the angel's face was plain as he spoke but Sam refused to be moved by it.
"Without a trial the judgment was passed," the celestial being continued, "The disappointment on my Father's face was… Michael himself led me to the prison while our siblings watched. They watched!"
The angel shuddered, "I can still hear them, jeering. They said I was as wicked as Lucifer! As evil as the Prince of Darkness himself! They said that I should never be free for my crimes."
Sam shivered at the sound of the fallen angel's name but couldn't stop listening.
The creature wasn't even looking at Sam. It was staring over his head but its eyes were distant, taking in the sights of that day centuries past.
"Michael had the pleasure of turning the key that locked me in my cell," the angel said, his voice a whisper, "He smirked… he actually smirked before he turned away… He knew I was innocent but that meant nothing to him as long as someone paid the price."
The creature looked down at Sam as though only then realizing that he was there. The angel straightened its back and sniffed, trying to regain its dignity.
Sam swallowed thickly, "You must be happy the angels fell."
To his surprise though, the angel shook his head, "No. That is the last thing I wanted. I was not lying when I said that I was in danger from my siblings. If they knew I was free… they would kill me for my supposed crimes."
"Although I am grateful to Metatron for releasing me, I wish he had done so without liquidating Heaven in the process."
The angel thinks Metatron did this for him, Sam realized and then he actually did feel sorry for the creature.
"It must have been horrible to be imprisoned for so long," Sam said quietly.
He heard the angel shift, "Do not try and compare yourself to me, Samuel. You cannot fathom what it was like in that dungeon."
Sam looked up and shrugged, "You're right. I don't. But I do know what its like to be trapped in the Cage, though I guess it isn't as bad as what you went through."
The creature cocked its head curiously.
"What are you trying to say?"
Sam almost smiled, "We aren't really that different, are we? We've both been in prison and we've both been set free, been given a new lease on life. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't exactly worship the ground my rescuer walks on."
"Metatron saved me," the angel insisted, "He believed me when no one else did."
"And that's great," Sam continued quickly, "But now he's got you running errands like you're his own personal pageboy."
The angel's lips thinned and his eyes narrowed. Sam hoped he wasn't about to incite the creature's wrath.
"Metatron let you out of prison so you could do his dirty work? Why didn't he just go after Kevin himself?"
The angel straightened up once more, "I must prove my loyalty to him. Once I do, we will rule Heaven together."
For being such a dick, this guy is really pathetic, Sam thought sadly.
"I've been in that kind of relationship before and, trust me- if you don't, just take a look through some of the boxes marked 'Dad' and you'll see- you are never going to measure up to his expectations. You are never going to be good enough for him."
The angel looked away from Sam for a moment before returning his gaze to him.
"He's my brother," the creature said, rather lamely.
"And Michael was your brother too but he didn't seem to upset about throwing you under the bus when the opportunity came."
The angel's brow furrowed. He stepped forward and Sam spoke up, "Wait! Where are you going?"
Looking down at the young man, the angel spoke, "I must think. You must rest."
The creature pulled the door closed and Sam heard the lock once again click into place. He hoped he had put just enough doubt in the angel's mind that it wouldn't go back to Metatron and he'd have time to think about how to get out of this situation.
Leaning his head back against the wall, Sam shut his eyes and tried to tell himself that he'd done the right thing.
"Do you have any idea who it could be?" Dean asked Castiel.
They had not left the room where Kevin's corpse lay because Cas insisted they have some sort of a plan before seeking Sam.
"Can you think of nothing else that could be useful?" the angel asked and Dean groaned.
He had been telling his friend everything Ezekiel had said to him since he'd entered Sam but Dean couldn't remember everything and he was tired and sad and only wanted to get his brother back.
"I don't know, Cas," Dean grumbled, "He just kept saying that he was in danger from the other angels… that's why he wouldn't let you stay, said you'd draw the others to us."
Castiel was seated at the table, chin propped on the heel of his hand with his fingers tapping against his lips as he thought.
"If he was attempting to remain unnoticed by all the other angels, than he must not have been affiliated with Bartholomew or Malachi," the angel muttered to himself.
Dean sighed and his head hit the tabletop with a dull thud.
"So who's left?" He asked, his voice muffled.
"Very few angels have the privilege of being hated by the host," Castiel said not without humour, "There is myself- of course- Lucifer, and-"
The angel stood up so suddenly that it startled Dean.
"What? Who is it?" the young man cried out, his heart pounding in his chest.
"Gadreel," Cas answered distractedly and began pacing.
"Who?" Dean asked; he was sure he'd never heard anyone say that name before.
Castiel paused before the human, "Gadreel. Through his negligence he allowed the Serpent into the Garden to tempt Eve."
Dean looked confused for a moment before his eyes widened, "Hold on! You're saying that the asshole who let Lucifer into Eden is possessing my brother?!"
"Yes," Castiel answered, "Why did I not realize it before?"
"What? Did something happen to his guy?" Dean asked, hands curling into fists.
"He was imprisoned for his crimes," the angel told him, "He has been in the dungeons for millennia."
Dean swore. Why did Sam always have to attract the criminally insane angels?
"Can you sense him or whatever? You can, can't you? Do you know where he is?"
Cas held up a hand to silence Dean and the young man quickly quieted.
"What do you propose we do once we find your brother?"
Dean blinked in surprise for a moment, "Kick that asshole to Kingdom Come for lying to us, for kidnapping Sam and killing Kevin."
Castiel almost smiled at the vehemence in the human's voice.
"You said that Sam could not expel Gadreel? We must find a way to contain him then, until we can safely free your brother."
Dean nodded, "I think there's holy oil in the Impala's trunk."
"That should help," Castiel said with approval and clenched one hand into a fist, "But it will not last indefinitely. You said that Gadreel was weak? Good, I should be able to incapacitate him."
"Without hurting Sammy," Dean added and the angel looked at him, "Without harming your brother."
Sam couldn't help but be surprised when the door to his room opened. The angel did not enter the room so he leaned over and peered out the doorway.
The creature was perusing the boxes on the shelf closest to the door and turned to look at the young man, "I have thought on all that you have said and I believe your words hold truth."
A wave of relief washed over Sam and he stood up and leaned against the doorframe for support.
"I know what its like to be led around by the short and curlies," he said, "And I don't think that's your cup of tea."
The angel looked at him as though he had just begun to speak Enochian but then it shook its head and smiled.
"The Earth has changed much since I was last here."
Sam could see that the angel had been looking through boxes that contained all he knew about history and culture.
"Yeah, I guess so," he shrugged nonchalantly, "So will we be seeing Metatron soon?"
"No," the angel told him with finality.
"Where are we going, then?" Sam asked and pushed himself away from the door.
The angel looked up, "The mountains are beautiful. I would like to see them again."
Sam's lips thinned. He didn't know how to reply to that.
"We are both still healing," the angel continued, "There we will be able to do so in peace."
Sam cleared his throat and stepped up to the angel, "About that. How long are you going to stick around? You told Dean it was just until you had healed us. Is that still standing or was that a lie?"
The creature's expression darkened, "I would first have to locate a new vessel, Samuel."
"Of course," Sam agreed but took a step back, "But then after that?"
"Even in your weakened state, you are a strong vessel," the angel told him, "But that is only reasonable, you were meant to hold Lucifer."
Sam grimaced again at the fallen angel's name but the other seemed not to notice. The young man's heart began to pound in fear; what if the angel decided he didn't want to leave?
The creature turned away from him, "We shall see."
Sam wasn't sure he liked that answer very much. He retreated, already feeling exhausted. At least the angel wasn't lying about him being as weak as a newborn kitten. He backed into a shelf and slid down, sweat beading on his brow. Looking up, he saw the box containing his memories of Jessica, untouched.
Sam startled when the angel took hold of his arm and began tugging him up.
"Rise, Samuel," the creature said, smiling, "We have arrived."
Sam blinked owlishly for a moment, "The mountains?"
The angel nodded, "Would you like to look around?"
Sam nodded dumbly and fell onto his knees on a dirt path overgrown with weeds and leaf litter.
Squinting, the young man looked up and saw trees surrounded him, the sun shining through their bright green leaves. Standing shakily, Sam peered around and caught sight of what must have been a hunting cabin. Dilapidated, half its roof fallen in and covered in moss and climbing plants, the wooden building had clearly not been used in a long time.
A cool breeze rustled the leaves in the trees and on the ground as Sam took a hesitant step towards the cabin.
Sam gasped and looked up at the angel quizzically.
"We should be safe there," it informed him, sounding rather proud of itself.
"Yeah," Sam let out a deep breath and rubbed at a spot above his left eye.
The angel frowned, "I am sorry, Samuel. I did not realize how taxing that must have been for you."
"I'm fine," Sam assured the angel.
In fact, Sam was not fine. He had no idea where they were, Dean was probably hundreds of miles away from him, and they were on the run from every angel in existence.
Sam peered at the angel, "I never caught your name."
The creature smiled, "I am called Gadreel."
The cabin's front door tilted on one hinge when Gadreel opened it but the newly-paroled angel did not care. Animal droppings and owl pellets crunched underfoot as Gadreel stepped inside but the angel did not care. The caved-in roof left only a small portion of the building livable but Gadreel did not care.
It was better than his prison cell.
The only sounds were the twittering of small birds, the chirruping of crickets and the sighing of the wind. No human voice had been heard within this area for many years.
It was the perfect location to recuperate.
Crouching down, Gadreel breathed in the earthy scent of decay smiled. He closed his eyes and slept without fear for the first time in a long time.
Dean pressed his foot down harder on the gas pedal, willing the Impala to go faster.
Castiel sat in the passenger seat, directing the young man.
Although it would be faster to teleport angel-style, Cas had been wary of using his newly restored powers. He was afraid they would act like a beacon and announce their location to other angels.
So, they drove. Dean, always happy for a chance to ride in the Impala, looked about ready to punch Cas in the face when the angel suggested the alternative mode of transportation.
But Dean had agreed; the last thing they needed was every angel in the continental United States on their asses.
"Take the road that leads to Smoking Stone," Castiel instructed and Dean navigated the Impala through the turn, hoping to get to his brother soon.
If that son of a bitch had hurt Sammy, Dean was going to rip his wings off!
Gadreel's eyes snapped open at the sound of a twig cracking outside the cabin. Leery, the angel stood and peered through the smeary windowpane to try and see any intruder.
There was no one. The angel relaxed and turned around, only to come face-to-face with Metatron.
"Nice little spot you've got here, Gadreel," the Scribe of God commented, glancing around the desiccated interior.
"Why are you here?" Gadreel asked, his voice holding steady.
"Why? Because you missed our appointment, that's why!" Metatron announced, smiling.
"I've been waiting on you, Gadreel," the other angel continued, "I have another task for you."
Gadreel shook his head, "No, Metatron. I know the game you are playing and I will not be part of it. I thank you for releasing me from prison but I am forced to decline your offer."
The shorter angel frowned, his dark eyes growing even darker.
"Has someone been whispering in your ear?" Metatron asked, "You know you can't trust the Winchesters!"
Gadreel shook his head, "I should have seen it before. You are no better than the others, Metatron. You believed I would be desperate to set foot in Heaven again but you were wrong. I bow down to no one, especially you."
The short angel moved so quickly that Gadreel could not block his attack. Metatron grabbed Gadreel by the throat and began to squeeze.
"How about I burn that annoying pest right out of your head? Would that change your mind about me, hm?"
Gadreel struggled fiercely as Metatron lifted one hand from around his neck and placed it on his head.
"Dean! Hurry! He is close!" Castiel shouted and leaned forward in the seat, bracing himself against the dashboard as a green sign announcing Black Creek whipped past.
Dean was almost standing on the gas pedal, grinding his teeth because the Impala would not move faster.
"There!" the angel pointed to a sign that announced they had arrived at the Black Creek Camp Ground and Dean slammed his foot down on the break. The Impala skidded to a halt, engine growling.
The camping sign was old and faded, nearly illegible, an equally ancient red sticker declaring 'CLOSED' had been placed diagonally across the sign.
Dean exited the car, shoving the keys into his pocket and ran around to the trunk, grabbing what was needed.
"We must move quickly," Cas said and grabbed Dean's arm, teleporting both of them to the area where he felt Gadreel's presence was the strongest.
Dean stomped headlong up the crumbling steps of the cabin and burst through the already damaged door.
"SAM!" he cried out in shock and horror at the sight before him.
Sam was on his knees before Metatron- the shorter angel had his hand almost fisted in the young man's hair- his face an alarming shade of red while blood leaked freely from his nose. Sam's eyes were rolled up so that only the whites showed and water streamed from them.
The Scribe of God turned around without breaking contact with Sam and smiled wide, baring his small, corn-kernel teeth.
Dean stumbled when Castiel shoved past him, the angel prying the jug of holy oil from his slack fingers as he moved forward.
"Metatron!" Cas shouted as the other angel began to turn away from them, and uncorked the jug, heaving it forwards and sloshing its contents all over the short angel and Sam.
Metatron, in his shock, lifted his hands from the young man and away from his own body as holy oil soaked into his clothes and hair.
Before Dean could react, Castiel drew a lighter from his pants pocket and flicked it to life.
"SAM!" Dean barreled past the angel even as Castiel released his hold on the lighter.
The eldest Winchester grabbed his sibling, pulling him down and rolling away from Metatron as quickly as he could.
The Voice of God screeched as the oil ignited, burning instantly. He took a step towards Castiel before vanishing, leaving only the faint smell of scorched hair in his wake.
"Jesus Cas," Dean muttered, his eyes closed tight.
"Sam was not harmed by the fire," the angel commented and Dean opened his eyes.
"Sammy?" Dean sat up and brushed his brother's wet hair back from his face, grimacing when he caught sight of the hand-sized bruises on his sibling's throat.
Sam's face was still red but the nosebleed had stopped. Dean wiped his brother's upper lip and chin with his sleeve, trying to clear away the worse of the blood.
"Sammy? Hey, Sam? Are you okay?"
There was no response.
"Cas?" Dean looked up at the angel, "What did Metatron do to him?"
The angel frowned and moved closer, leaning towards the injured young man.
Carefully, Castiel placed a hand on the side of Sam's face, brows furrowed in concentration.
The angel backed up a pace, his expression morose, "He attempted to kill your brother without harming the angel."
"Sam! Sammy! Wake up!" Dean demanded, tapping his brother's cheek.
"Cas! Cas, he's not waking up!" Dean shouted frantically, terror flowing through his veins like ice water.
The angel peered down at the youngest Winchester and placed a comforting hand on the shoulder of the elder.
Dean shrugged Cas' hand off and lowered his face to his brother's, his cheek hovering above Sam's nose to try and feel a breath.
Dean almost cried when he felt a warm puff of air as it was released.
"He's okay," Dean muttered and sat up, "He's still alive. Why isn't he waking up?"
"Sam is-" Castiel began but was stopped by Dean's glare.
"Don't you dare say it, don't you fucking dare!"
Dean smoothed Sam's hair and looked up at the angel again, "Fix him."
"Shut up and fix him."
"Dean," Castiel said forcefully, "Sam is not there."
The young man blinked in shock and peered down at his brother.
"No," he whispered, hand fisting in his brother's shirt.
"I am sorry Dean."
"Don't…" the young man growled, "Just… don't."
What happens now? What was he going to do?
Dean leaned forward until his brow pressed against Sam's and began to cry.
After all that had happened, some two-bit God wannabe was the thing that had killed Sam.
That wasn't fair! How was that fair?
Maybe Dean could fix it. Yeah, he could go to Death and force him to bring Sam back.
Dean didn't even notice when Sam's eyelids fluttered, his eyelashes brushing against his older sibling's face.
The hunter sat up so fast that a wave of nausea passed through him and black spots danced before his eyes.
Glancing down, afraid that it had only been his imagination, Dean almost broke down again at the sight of his brother's green eyes.
"Sammy? Is that really you?"
"D'n?" Sam asked again and reached up a hand.
Dean obliged his brother and pulled Sam into a sitting position.
The younger man leaned heavily against his brother, tears welling in his eyes and dripping down his long nose.
Dean looked up at Cas and the angel looked dumbstruck. Dean nodded ever so slightly and the angel reached out, laying a light hand on Sam's head.
Castiel's eyes widened in shock and awe and he drew his hand back.
"Well?" Dean asked quietly.
"Gadreel," the angel announced, "Is dead. He gave his life to save your brother."
Dean's mouth dropped open, as confused and astounded as the angel was by this revelation.
"We must go, Dean," Castiel said, changing the subject, "Metatron may return."
"Okay," the young man agreed and looked at his sibling, "C'mon Sammy, can you stand?"
With both hands fisted in Dean's shirt for support, the younger man stood on shaky legs.
Slowly, Dean walked Sam from the cabin and towards the Impala.
"D-D'n," Sam mumbled into his brother's shirt but Dean shushed him, "It's okay, Sammy, just relax."
Dean settled his brother into the passenger seat of the Impala and sat down beside him in the driver's seat. Castiel stood in front of the car and placed a hand on the hood.
Dean breathed a sigh of relief as he pulled the covers up to Sam's chin, safe in his bed in the Men of Letters' bunker.
Castiel stood in the doorway, watching the brothers.
"He is still very weak," the angel told Dean and the older brother nodded sadly.
"If I could heal him, Dean, I would do so in a heartbeat."
"Yeah, I know Cas," the hunter muttered and brushed a stray lock of hair away from his brother's forehead.
Without removing his gaze from his sibling's face, Dean spoke again, "I'm just glad to have Sam back, whatever shape he's in."
Dean didn't know how he felt about Gadreel sacrificing himself for his brother. He wanted to hate the angel but he just couldn't, not after his final action.
Dean didn't know how far Gadreel had gotten in his healing of Sam but the brother decided that he would be able to handle the rest. Sam would be fine, just like he always was. Dean would see to it.
Fanfiction title comes from an Alice In Chains song of the same name.
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