An angsty little tag to The Unforgiven. So, SPOILERS for that. I don't own anything.


Together We Stand, Together We Fall

Lets grow old together

And die at the same time

-White Lies; To Lose My Life

. . .

He loves him so much. Dean watches Sam's chest rise and fall, rise and fall, and his steady breaths are what calm him enough to breathe in and out.

To keep breathing in and out.

Falling asleep is impossible for him, he can't even fathom…there is so much, and it's these fears that keep him awake. He was fighting with Sam, Sam was fine before they came back here-he never should have let this happen.

Death had warned him about scratching at the wall, and Sam had all but taken a hammer and a chisel.

There are so many fears, and it doesn't matter that Castiel says in that detached tone, "Your brother will be fine. For now. Let him sleep it off."

He had been expecting a warning, a 'Are you happy now, Dean? He has his soul back like you wanted. He's experiencing the art of human suffering…like you wanted.'

Instead he gets, "Sam is much, much stronger than I gave him credit for. His soul is tattered, but he's fighting hard."

Dean wonders if the look of sadness on Castiel's face is an echo of what his is. He doesn't want his brother to suffer-he's never wanted this for him. He doesn't want every day that his brother is breathing to be an uphill battle.

"What did it feel like?" Dean asks, needing to know, needing to be able to know something other than his brother is breathing. He needs something tangible.

The worst part was those minutes; those long minutes after Castiel came…coming before he could call for him and apologized. "I'm sorry, Dean. There's nothing I can do. You have to wait it out."

Dean only thinks about it, and a chill runs up his spine. This is a kind of fear that he can't combat. He can't avoid it, and he can't fight it, he can only stand there and hope it doesn't devour them.

They do. For seventeen minutes and nine seconds they wait. The phrase 'Grand Mal Seizure' runs through his head, and he wracks his mind. For anyone else the immediate response would me to call for an ambulance. Nothing any medical professional could do is going to help his brother. His soul's been flayed to pieces, and he's just trying to carry on.

"Cas," Dean looks up at him with a hardened look in his eyes, "Tell me. Is it worse?"

A look crosses Castiel's face, and Dean can't quite place it. He thinks it looks like regret though, and an apology.

"It can't…get any worse."

Castiel looks away, a shy glance in Sam's direction before addressing Dean.

"I have to leave."

And its apology again.

Dean doesn't have anything to say, so he doesn't.

"I'm not going to let this happen again," Dean promises his brother, "I don't care what it takes Sam; I'm not going to let you kill yourself trying to make amends for something that isn't your fault. That wasn't you."

The worse part is though, the thing that chills him down to his bones is that one day his brother will wake up, or turn around and ask him,

Why? Why did you do this to me?

He thinks he can handle anything but that.