Everything happened in a sudden blur, Dean’s desperation evident in his actions. Why? That was the question that was plaguing Castiel as he stood in the center of the room, holy fire alight around him. He wanted nothing more than to run after Dean, to stop whatever foolish deed he was intending to…

Dean Winchester was convinced that his lungs were collapsing, his throat swelling shut. The four walls surrounding him were mere moments from caving in and the sky — the sky would surely fall. Sam — his Sammy — was gone. Dead. A victim to the infection; just like Mary. Just like John. Mom. Dad. Sammy.  All victims of the very virus that Dean had been chosen by the Heavens to destroy — the Croatoan.

Calloused fingers grasping the cellphone pressed to Dean’s ear loosened and the device fell, shattering upon impact with the floor, silencing Bobby on the other end, who had been begging an entirely-TOO-silent Dean not to do anything drastic.

Drastic? What remained drastic in the moment that everything Dean fought for, anything that meant something — no longer meant anything.

He’d vowed to protect Sam. He’d vowed to find a way to cure his little brother of the virus, even if it meant dying in the process. And he’d failed to do so. He’d failed Sam.

And the very thought of failing Sam was unbearable.

Emerald hues glossing over with the tears that threatened to drench his cheeks if he couldn’t find the strength to regain his composure, Dean began gasping for air, sweat beading at his brow, pulse racing. As his vision began to blur, he sank to his knees, as if his remaining strength had been stripped away from him. Just like they had. Mom. Dad. Sammy.

Hunching over, positioning himself on all fours, Winchester was taken aback by the sudden sound of someone sobbing. Loud, pathetic sobbing; so very loud that he could no longer form a coherent thought, his ears ringing.

And it wasn’t until Dean caught sight of his blurry reflection in the cellphone’s cracked screen — face contorted in pain, tears free-falling from his eyes — that he realized that he was the one responsible for the cries.

"I’m so sorry, Dean."

An all-too-familiar, soothing voice ripped throughout Dean’s confusion, battling through his misery, unto the part of the hunter’s brain that remained sane, negotiable, however little that part may be.

Tearing his gaze away from the debris of the cellphone, he glanced upward, Castiel’s blurry form coming into view.

Although he couldn’t see his Angel all too well, he knew why he had come. Their entities were connected and that meant Castiel could sense — could feel — every ounce of his pain, and against Heaven’s rules, had come to comfort him.

But this was one thing that Dean knew Castiel couldn’t fix.

"Cas…" Dean muttered, weakly extending his arm, long fingers attempting to grasp the flowing ends of the Angel’s signature trenchcoat, determined to bring him closer, desperate for something — anything — that could fill the void that Sam’s sudden death had created.

Expecting to hit the floor and relieved when he hadn’t, Dean relaxed into the strong arms that had wrapped around him in almost an instant.

Relaxing against his Angel’s firm chest, his eyelids began to flutter closed as the lack of oxygen, the pounding in his head caused unconsciousness to take hold.


"All you gotta do is bring Sammy back. Give me ten years."

"Wow, Dean. Are you really that willing to sell your soul just for your brother to succumb to the same exact fate?"

As much as he hated to admit it, the bitch was right. The demon was right. He’d seen firsthand what the Croatoan virus was capable of and it’d already taken Sam from him once before. He couldn’t bare to fail Sam again. He didn’t think he’d survive it. Green hues clashed against crimson orbs as Dean’s face hardened.

"Bring Sammy back immune to the virus. Give me five years and I’ll rot in hell with the rest of your friends."

"Now, now. Do you really think that you’d get five years if I brought little Sammy back immune to the virus? Do you have any idea what I’d have to do — "

"Three years — "

"One year."

Although he could hear Bobby and Castiel pleading with him to stop in the back of his mind, telling him that making deals with demons was frowned upon, he knew he had to do this. He had to bring Sam back. He had to protect him. It was his job after Mary and John died. Hell, had always been his job as Sammy’s big brother. And now, now that he knew the pain of losing Sam, he was more than willing to do anything to have him back. Even if that meant they only had a year together. A year was more than enough time to laugh with Sam, to teach Sam right from wrong, to train Sam so that he too could save lives and —

"Time’s ticking, Winchester. One year, your brother’s life as well as his immunity to the virus. Going once. Going twice —"

Without another moment’s pause, Dean brought the back of his hand to the demon’s neck, fingers brushing away her brunette locks as he stepped forward. Forcing his lips upon hers, he closed his eyes instinctively as he kissed the Crossroads demon rough, almost angrily.

A kiss to sell his soul. A kiss to seal the deal.

Once he felt like the world had shifted, that he’d done his part, Dean tore his lips away from the demon’s, taking a step back to establish a safe distance between them. It was when his body tensed, when he heard her mocking words that he knew Castiel had escaped the holy fire trap he’d set and had managed to find him…but not in time.

Once the demon vanished, the hunter knew he had to face Castiel. He owed his Angel that much. But he hadn’t expected Castiel, whom was known for having such a calm demeanor, would react the way he had. The brunette was grabbing his jacket, yelling, showing emotion in a way that Dean had never seen before.

"One year…" Dean blurted as Castiel demanded to know how long he’d gotten for his soul, "C - Cas, I had to…I had to get Sammy back. Cas, please…"

He knew that begging and pleading wasn’t going to fix this. In exactly one year, he was going to hell. He was going to be leaving Castiel behind, without a purpose, and all he could seem to want to say was a pitiful “I’m sorry” even though he refused to. As much as he hated that he had brought Cas so much pain, he wasn’t sorry for exchanging his life for Sam’s.

It’s my job.

Closing the distance between their frames, Dean grasped the lapels of Castiel’s trenchcoat, bringing his forehead to press against his Angel’s, unsure of what to do or what to say to make things right between them; how to comfort his Angel the way his Angel had comforted him when he’d found out that Sam was gone what felt like an eternity ago. But Sam — he had to go see Sam, had to make sure that the demon had lived up to her end of the bargain; had to make sure Sam was okay, "Bobby’s. Take me to Bobby’s. Cas, please. I — I have to see Sam. "