Dean watched Sam stalk off in the other direction, studying the set to his shoulders and the tension in his neck. He wanted to go rearrange him, to try to keep Sam's posture from hurting him even if he could do jack shit about anything else, but he didn't let himself. It wouldn't get the same response as when they'd been fucking, and Sam was too fucked up now to appreciate a brotherly arm slap, or however else Dean would have touched him without thinking a few years before.
This wasn't Sam in any of the ways that counted, but Dean didn't think that the amount of damage done to Sam's soul was any sort of reason to stop trying to get him out of Hell. If anything, it was a reason to move their asses: if Sam was already so damaged, they needed to pull him free before things got worse. Dean didn't give a shit what four out of five supernatural entities had to say on the subject; he didn't care that they might die trying, or that Sam might be a gibbering mess once they got him back. Dean was the only one of their happy gang who'd been to Hell and come out the other side still mostly intact, and he knew he couldn't leave Sam to an eternity locked up with the devil.
Something screamed deep in the building behind them: either Cas wasn't being as merciful as possible, or something had gotten wind of what was going down. Sam turned to look but Dean didn't, and when the shriek rose to an impossibly high pitch and then abruptly cut off, they were left looking at each other.
"You wanna head out?" Dean said, nodding towards the road. "Because if we're not helping, that is seriously fucking with my calm."
"We could always go help," Sam said, but he came back to the car and climbed inside anyway. "Where to?"
Dean thought about it while he got inside. "Do we have anything on the radar?"
"Most of our leads were things for Crowley," Sam said.
"That's all stuff that needs doing," Dean said. He glanced at the building one more time, then shook his head and put the car into gear. "We just have a different money shot from now on."
Sam snorted but didn't answer, and Dean sighed as they turned out of the complex and onto a bigger road.
He'd never stopped missing Sam when he was with Lisa, and it only took a few days on the road before he realized that he didn't really have his brother back, but he'd at least been able to distract himself by trying to figure out what was the matter for most of that time. If Sam wanted to give up, Dean wouldn't even have that.
He didn't give a flying fuck what anyone, Crowley or Cas or Sam himself, thought about the odds of getting Sam's soul back. Hell, getting Lucifer locked away in the first place had been a long shot, but they'd done it. Dean was willing to be they could open it again.
"Where do you think Samuel is?" Sam asked as they got onto the freeway. "He couldn't have stuck around for everything or he would've come at us when we were going after Crowley."
"You tell me." Dean shook his head. "Other than that compound, do they have any bolt holes?"
"One every few states," Sam said. "And those were just the ones they told me about. But they slipped up and referred to three more around me, and there are probably more on top of that."
"Awesome," Dean said. He ground his molars together for a while. He hated going after people with better resources than he had, but he tried to let himself think of it as a challenge. "It ever seem weird to you that the Campbells have an actual organization and have been around for centuries and shit, and this is the first time they've gotten in touch with us? Where were all these assholes when Mom died, I want to know."
"Dunno," Sam said, "but I think the operative word there is 'assholes.'"
Dean shook his head, thinking back through all the stupid rookie mistakes their dad had made, just starting out: all the creatures that silver unexpectedly didn't hurt, the best way to dig up and refill a grave, how to forge an ID when you'd never seen what you were supposed to be copying. People who'd been hunting for generations could have given them a lot of help, and even if Deanna and Samuel had been dead at the time, all those cousins had to come from somewhere. There must've been an awful lot of people sitting back, probably talking the same shit about John then that they always seemed to be doing now, and just watching the three of them sink or swim. Assholes through and through.
"I don't even know what he thought Mom was going to say to him," Dean said, and he didn't. He'd been furious when he figured out Dad had cut the deal, Sam had been just as pissed when Dean turned around and did the same thing, and here was the thing: he and John had only been bartering with their own souls. Samuel had been willing to trade Sam for Mary after she'd already given her life for him, and Dean couldn't even imagine how wrong Samuel must be in the head to think she'd be okay with that, with coming down from Heaven to find her sons handed over to demons.
"Apparently grief makes people do dumb-ass things," Sam said. He sounded skeptical, but Dean looked at him — at his five o'clock shadow just starting to come in, which Dean remembered rubbing his own cheek against, and at his expression, which was more jaded than Sam looked even in the worst days before Detroit — and he sighed before turning back to the road.