This is a companion piece to Desperate Times. It takes place immediately after and is from Dean's POV.

Very many thanks to Insane Troll Logic for editing and suggestions. She always makes things better. Thanks also to those who reviewed Desperate Times and requested a resolution.

Disclaimer—Supernatural belongs to Kripke and the CW. I am not making any money off of this fan fiction.

Desperate Measures

I left my brother yesterday.

What the hell was I thinking?

Probably wasn't thinking much at all. I already miss Sam. No, I take that back, I miss Sammy. Sam is some stranger that looks like my brother but…

I never should have left. Sam's sliding down a very slippery slope. I'm afraid he'll hit the bottom if I'm not there to grab his hand and stop his fall.

The silent drive out of Iowa and away from the siren left me with too much time to think. Man, I am first class at deluding myself when I have to but what Sam said under the influence of siren venom really opened my eyes. He said he didn't mean it but I knew that he did. After all, he had said something similar under the influence of Dr. Ellicott in the haunted asylum. So, really, it didn't come as much of a surprise.

I wouldn't say that I was exactly whining about my time in the Pit, but I was certainly letting it get to me. No wonder Sam chose that demon skank, he probably didn't think he could count on me to watch his back. He apparently doesn't think he can count on me for much of anything anymore; too much booze, too many nightmares, too little being his big brother.

That night, after we squatted in an abandoned motel, I tried to sleep. I noticed that Sam fell asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow. I tried but couldn't sleep, I had too much to think about. What Sam said to me, about me holding him back, about him being the better, smarter, hunter; it was all pretty much true.

After all, wasn't that what I told him all last year, before my deal came due? That he was better than me and would be fine without me. I knew it would be hard in the beginning but he would have eventually been fine, if Ruby hadn't taken advantage of him. Not that I'm not a little bit grateful that he had someone to watch his back but she convinced him to do something that I know he wouldn't have done on his own. She convinced him that the only way he could fight evil is with evil.

While I was in Hell I slowly lost pieces of myself. My humanity was ripped away with blood and despair because for thirty years I would not voluntarily surrender it. While I was in Hell, Sam was slowly giving up pieces of himself; surrendering them for promises of power and revenge.

Sam was a great hunter before he started exorcising demons with his mind. Now, he's opened a door that should have remained shut. I know who to thank for that. Guess whose name is topping my "I'm-gonna-get-you-bitch" list. Without Ruby's influence maybe he'd start listening to me again. Maybe he'd need me again.

On the other hand, I left him with no one else to guard his back.

I should go back. I wonder if he wanted me back.

I miss Sammy.

Damn it. I can't even keep my mind on one track. Back at that abandoned hole-in-the-wall, Sam slept and I thought about what he had said to me. Then I thought about how he was still lying to me, how he had gone back on his promises. I remembered that Dad told me to save him or I might have to kill him and that Cas told me to stop him or they would.

That yellow-eyed bastard took Sam right out from under my nose and he died. I didn't get there fast enough, I shouted and distracted him; my fault my little brother died. I fixed it. I made a deal. Sam was brought back. I thought I had saved him but I just sentenced him to a slower form of damnation.

He doesn't care enough about what I think to stop because I asked him. He refused when the angels told him to stop. Stubborn, know-it-all-bitch. Why couldn't he have shown that strong stubborn streak while I was dead?

Damn demon. Damn siren. I almost killed him. I couldn't get that thought out of my head and my chest tightened to the point that I could hardly breath. Stop him or we will. I needed more air. I didn't think it was safe for me to be around Sam. I crawled out of my makeshift bed, hands trembling due to my exhaustion.

I left Sam sleeping and went out to lean against the Impala. I'd never tried to call Castiel before. He usually just showed up. I wasn't sure what I was doing but I shut my eyes and thought his name real hard. I slit my eye open to see if it worked. Nothing. I tried again. This time when I opened them Castiel was there. He just stared at me.

I cleared my throat, mostly to give me time to think of something to say. I opened my mouth and said, "I fucked up. I almost killed Sam." Okay, not what I thought would be coming out of my mouth.

Stupid angel didn't say anything, just kept looking at me. Man, what else did I need to say? I had tried to kill my brother. Thank God for Bobby being there to stop me and take care of the siren. Actually, it suddenly struck me, standing there staring at an angel, maybe I should thank God. Maybe I needed to get over being pissed at the Guy for all that I had lost and just be thankful for what I have left. Sam wasn't dead, just wrong. I was taken out of Hell when I didn't deserve it and given a chance to save my brother.

"How can I save my brother? I don't know what to do anymore. Tell me what to do."

Finally, the freaking angel smiled, like he had waited for me to say that all along. "Have faith, Dean."

Once I had faith in my Dad. He may not have won any Father of the Year awards but he did the best he could. When he was around, I felt safe, felt that the responsibility wasn't all on me. I haven't felt safe since he died. I used to have faith in Sam. I don't think I've had faith in God since I was four years old and figured out that if there were angels watching over me that was all that they were doing— watching.

I grunted and studied my feet. What was I supposed to say to that? "You told me that God had work for me to do. It's time I started doing it. I'll do what ever it is you need me to do if you'd just help me save Sam."

"Have you lost faith in Sam?" Castiel asked.

I shook my head. "Sam's lost faith in me. He's made some bad choices but he made them for the right reasons. His intentions are good but are gonna pave his way right to Hell. I can't let that happen."

"You know what you need to do to save your brother Dean."

I sighed, yeah I knew. "I need to get rid of Ruby. If I do that Sam will hate me." Of course if I could stop Sam from getting turned into angel dust, it wouldn't matter. So long as Sam was safe and okay, it wouldn't matter. "Or I could go after Lilith. If she were gone, Sam wouldn't feel like he needed to be taking a walk on the dark side."

If Sam were with me when I went after that she-demon, he would go in thinking the only way to kill her would be with his demon empowered mind tricks. That was exactly what I was trying to avoid. I didn't think I could go after Lilith or Ruby while I was with Sam. I needed to put some space between me and my brother. Damn it, why was my throat so dry? "I'm gonna need to leave my brother to save him aren't I?"

"Come with me, Dean."

I knew what I needed to do but I couldn't move. Hell, I couldn't think anything except I was going to be leaving Sam. How could I do that?

"I will return later," Castiel said. "Bring nothing but what you have on you now, all else God will provide."

I must have looked at him like he was crazy. Go off with only the shirt on my back, my favorite knife and my cell. That was no way to hunt demons.

"It is the first test of your faith. Take nothing but what you have now, leave all the rest for your brother." Then Cas looked away and appeared troubled. "Your brother has walked farther down the dark path than you are aware. He may be beyond salvation."

"No, I don't believe that. Sam is a good person. He's just been making some bad decisions. I can save him. I'm going to save him, even if he doesn't want me to."

"Perhaps," Castiel reluctantly admitted. "With faith all things are possible." He then just sort of melted back into the shadows and was gone.

How would I tell Sam that I was going to leave?

It was harder than I thought. I almost couldn't do it. In fact, if he had just asked me to stay I would have. I probably should have.

That was yesterday.

I took only what I had on me. I was tempted to pick up Ruby's knife but thought that might be hypocritical. If I didn't want Sam using demon powers, I shouldn't be using a demon's knife. I left Dad's journal too. That was hard. It was all hard. Ripped me up inside. I didn't understand how Sam and Dad could always leave so easily.

Castiel meet me a little after noon. He took me to a car, keys in the ignition and gave me an address in a small town a couple of hours away; told me to go there. So I did.

I had no problems finding the house. It was in a nice middle class neighborhood. It didn't look haunted. I finally decided to get out and go to the door. I rang the bell. A middle-aged woman opened the door. I smiled and tried to figure out what to say when she suddenly grabbed me in a big hug. I was so shocked I couldn't move. I was even more shocked when she said, "You're here! Come in, come in. The keys to my late husband's car are on the counter in the kitchen. His hunting equipment is in the garage with the car. I've stocked up on food and other necessities. Take anything you want and stay as long as you need." She then reached to the side of the door, picked up a small suitcase and stepped out onto the porch. She was halfway down the walk when she turned to me and said, "Thank you."

I was speechless but managed a curious, "For what?"

"For doing God's work," she replied, smiling so wide I could have counted her teeth. Then she turned back and headed for the car in the driveway.

I walked in the house and found that it was a home. I walked to the kitchen. There was a pie and a key ring full of keys on the counter. The pie smelled like peach. A door at the end of the room should lead to the garage. I opened it. Sitting in the garage was a cherry red 1965 mustang. Talk about lust at first sight, I felt like I was cheating on the Impala. I turned to tell Sam how awesome the car was and was hit all over again with the feeling I had when my brother was taken by the Benders, when he was taken by Meg and when he was taken by Azazel…Sam wasn't where he was supposed to be—with me. Only this time it wasn't because he had been taken, it was because I had abandoned him. God had provided me with everything that I wanted but not the one thing I needed: my brother. I shut the door, put my back to it and slid down the wall.

Hours later, when Castiel showed up, I was still sitting there.

He told me to sleep and I did. I dreamed, well, I had nightmares, just like I've had almost every single time I've slept since crawling out of my grave. When I woke, Castiel was still standing looking at me. "What were you dreaming about Dean?"

Why did he always ask me that? "What do you care?"

"You remember in your dreams."

Well, duh. I've been trying my best to forget my dreams, as well as the shame and guilt that seemed to cling to me like a second skin. "So?"

"There may be something that you will remember that will give us an advantage in this war. Alistair and Lilith did not guard their tongues while they tortured you. Why should they have when they could not imagine that you would ever be beyond their reach?"

"I don't remember anything."

"You will."

"Yeah, well maybe I don't want to." I decided that I didn't like sitting on the floor with an angel looming over me, so I slowly got up. My knees didn't even give me a twinge.

"I need to go back."

Castiel looked at me impassively. "If you return now nothing will have changed."

I knew that. Sam would still be lying to me. But he was my responsibility. I should have been stronger and never left. I should have killed that bitch Ruby before I died. Sam thinks he doesn't need me anymore. He's right but I needed my brother more than ever. I needed a reason to get out of bed every morning. The apocalypse was too big, too hard. Dad and Sam have always been my reason for existing. Dad's gone; all I have is Sam.

"I need Sam. I can't do this alone."

"You won't be alone, Dean. The Lord will be with you."

"That's great but can He hold a sawed off and watch my back?" I thought it was funny but in my experience, angels didn't have much of a sense of humor. I sobered quickly. "I should never have left. Sam doesn't have faith in me. He thinks I'm weak. I guess he's got a good reason but while I'm there I remind him that what he's doing is wrong. That might slow him down just a little. If the Lord wants to help, He can help me be strong so Sam doesn't feel like he has to protect me. He can help me find and destroy Lilith so Sam won't feel like he has to develop his demon given powers to take her down. He can take away my nightmares so that I can sleep for just one damn night without waking in a sweat. If He's feeling really generous, He can give me my brother back."

I took a deep calming breath. "If leaving has been a test of my faith, I guess I failed. 'Cause no matter how much we've hurt each other, no matter how much we've changed, one thing hasn't changed: I need my brother."

"You are steadfast, Dean. Perhaps that is the test, if so you have passed. Maybe there is still hope for your brother, despite how far he has fallen. It is possible that you are his only chance."

"I still don't know how to save him, Cas."

"Trust our Father."

"Trusting others has never been easy for me." I sighed deeply and rubbed my tired eyes. "I've got nothing else though; nothing I've tried has worked."

Castiel nodded and took a step forward. "Rest Dean. Tomorrow, we will attempt to find Ruby and eliminate one aspect of your brother's temptation. At least then, when you return to him, you will not have competition for his ear. He may begin to hear you again."

"I'm gonna save him," I promised, "even if he fights me every step of the way."

I left my brother yesterday.

Tomorrow I'm going back.

end