There have been many fics in which Dean finds out that Sam is out of the Pit; the first part of this was another one. I greatly appreciate all who reviewed and "favorited" the first part of the story which was meant as a one-shot. However, a continuation was requested in which Dean came back. There are of course spoilers for season 5. Any mistakes are my own. I greatly appreciate all who choose to read it. I appreciate even more those who chose to review.
Disclaimer: Supernatural is the property of E. Kripke and the CW.
And He's Been Gone For a While…. But Now He's Back
Sam moved cautiously toward the door of his motel room. Coming back from a local bar, where he'd been drinking and hustling pool, he had seen a shadow move across the window of his supposedly empty room. He soundlessly inserted the key and turned the knob but was unable to stifle the soft click of the lock disengaging. He waited a second and listened. Nothing. He pulled the gun he now always carried from the waistband of his jeans and mentally counted to three. He pushed the door open with a resounding bang and leveled the gun at the intruder.
"Dean?" Sam quickly looked around to see if anyone was going to respond to the commotion and stepped into his temporary retreat, closing the door behind him. He checked the safety on his gun and let it dangle from his hand. "What are you doing here? I thought you'd left."
Dean was sitting at the small dining table that Sam had been using as a desk; the research from the hunt spread across it. The older Winchester ignored the question and the statement. He gestured to the papers littering the scarred and stained surface. "So, eyes burned out, that's what clued you in it was an angel?"
Sam moved slowly across the room, uncertainty telegraphed by the tightness around his eyes and the slight downturn of his mouth. He put his Taurus on the table and took the seat opposite Dean. "I read about a rash of, and I quote, weird electrical accidents that were leaving people blind. I found some pictures on-line and the blinded looked just like Pamela after she'd seen Cas' true form. I thought it might be an angel looking for a vessel or maybe some angelic vigilante. I contacted Cas and had him check into it from his end. Apparently things are still in disarray in Heaven. With the apocalypse only narrowly averted and angels being killed by both demons and other angels, there are several angels unaccounted for. Castiel doesn't know if they're dead, fallen or gone rogue. Whoever this is, he's hidden himself from Heaven.
"Now that he's aware, Cas wants to find and try to convince this angel to come back to Heaven. If he can't, he wants him stopped before he hurts anyone else."
"Cas is all powered up. He can't take care of the problem himself?" Dean questioned. It seemed to him that the angels should be policing their own. If they had done that from the very beginning Lucifer wouldn't have risen and Sam wouldn't have fallen. Dean's hand unconsciously curled into fists. He forced them to relax.
"I asked him the same thing. It seems he lost so many of his brothers and sisters, that he made a new, strictly enforced rule: angels can't kill other angels. It's his rule; he doesn't think he should be the first to break it."
"So a Winchester is doing Heaven's dirty work, again." Dean tried but was unable to keep from sounding angry.
"Dean, I don't like it either but three people have been blinded and one has died. If Castiel can't get him to obey, then who else knows as much as we do about how to banish or contain an angel?"
Dean shrugged, conceding the point. He was quiet for several minutes, just staring at Sam. His face was blank, emotions tightly under wrap.
Sam shifted uncomfortably under the scrutiny. When he saw his brother sitting in his room, looking at the research, he felt a wild flare of hope that Dean would join him on the hunt. That flare was beginning to sputter. With his extended silence, Sam knew his brother hadn't come back just to look over information on the hunt. He was afraid of the questions he might be asked because he really didn't have any good answers.
Dean finally dropped his eyes and asked softly, "The other day, you said you wanted me to have a normal life, that you didn't want me to have to choose between you and the hunt and Lisa and Ben. You've been back and you've been hunting for a year. So why now?"
Sam took a deep breath, as if air could fill a mind that had suddenly gone blank. In an equally subdued tone he tried to explain. "I never really meant to wait so long. I knew you were tired and I wanted you to have a chance to rest. I wanted you to finally have a home. Then the longer I waited to tell you, the harder it was…you seemed to be doing okay, settling into the nine to five and I wasn't sure what I would say…about not letting you know...sooner."
Dean noted that Sam implied he had been watching Dean play at happy family. He wasn't certain if it made him feel better because Sam had cared enough to check up on him, just like he had checked on Sam while he was at Stanford, or worse that his brother had been so close and he hadn't known. Sam was out of Hell, breathing and apparently well; Dean was beyond glad and grateful for that but he still felt like he had been betrayed, felt like he was carrying nothing but emptiness where his heart should be.
Dean dragged his attention back to what Sam was saying.
"Then this hunt came up. I had to have someone who knew about angels. It seemed a good reason to get back in contact, since I needed you."
Dean shook his head slowly. "I don't think you've really needed me since you were a teenager and took off on your own to Flagstaff, leaving me fearing the worst."
Sam knew the reference to him running away for two weeks and leaving Dean afraid he was dead was deliberate comparison. He acknowledged the analogy with a quick rush of shame. "I do need you, Dean. You're the only man I know that has actually killed an angel."
Dean thought about Sam's reasons for not contacting him and then contacting him now, after a year.
"So, all you really need is an attack dog." Dean placed both of his hands on the small table and pushed himself to his feet. He looked down at this man that used to be his brother. "I don't hunt anymore. My brother wanted me to have an apple pie life." As he passed him, he placed his hand on Sam's shoulder, gently squeezing it, before heading for the door. "Bye."
Dean's hand was reaching for the door knob before Sam shook himself from his stupor, overcome with the conviction that if he let his brother leave now, he'd never see him again. "Please, don't go, I missed you, okay, you big dope," he cried desperately.
Dean stopped, his hand on the knob, his shoulders suddenly tense, "What?" Dean questioned. He fought unsuccessfully keep his voice from breaking on the word.
"Please don't leave. Even if you don't want to hunt with me, just stay a while. I miss my big brother."
Dean's shoulders dropped and his eyes closed briefly in relief. He whispered, "I'm here and I won't leave you Sammy." He pulled his hand back and turned. "If we can't finish the hunt by this weekend, we'll need to take a quick break; I have to be back by Saturday afternoon. Ben's pitching in his little league game and I promised I would be there. That boy's got quite an arm on him. He'll be real excited to see you there too."
"Dean," Sam looked away, "I can't…"
Dean interrupted him. "My brother wants me back in his life. I need to know if he wants to be back in mine."
Sam looked back and met Dean's gaze. They stared at each other for several seconds before Sam slowly broke into a grin. "As I was about to say, I can't wait."
Dean's sudden smile banished any lingering doubt that Sam had about pulling his brother back into the hunting life.
"And we might as well take the Impala. I wouldn't be caught dead in that piece of foreign crap I saw parked out in the lot."
"That piece of foreign crap gets twice the gas mileage of that steel antique you're still driving," Sam responded with a dimpled grin.
Dean brought his hands up dramatically to cover his heart. "You can't talk about my baby that way, bitch."
A flippant response involving the word jerk was ready to be said when suddenly Sam's smiled faded. "Things haven't been normal between use for…years. What we've been through, man, it's changed us. We're not who we were 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago. I want us to be a family again, more than anything, but things won't be the same. You said it was like I didn't even know you any more and in a way, I don't. And you don't know me."
Dean looked at his brother solemnly. "Then we have work to do."
Sam nodded, his smile slowing returning. Both knew that Dean wasn't referring to the hunt.