Sam was walking in circles around the perimeter of the motel. He'd called Dean after discovering that he was Lucifer's vessel, and Dean had told him to stay gone. Sam wasn't surprised, but he was adrift. He had no idea what to do now. Calling Dean had been his one play. Well, after trying to shoot himself in the head. He couldn't exactly take Lucifer at his word, but the archangel hadn't been lying. Sam couldn't die, which meant he had to find a way to fight the devil. Dean wouldn't take him back though, so Sam wasn't sure what to do.
So, he walked. He walked around the motel once, twice, three times, just thinking. A few times he thought he'd heard someone following him, but it had turned out to be other motel guests each time. That was probably why he didn't turn around this time. He was only aware that something was wrong when a sharp pain flaired in his neck. He reached up, pulling a dart from his neck. Whirling around, Sam could hear footsteps running away, but no assailant was in sight.
Making a mad dash for his room, Sam barely made it into his room before he collapsed, his muscles spasming. Whatever he'd been hit with, it wasn't meant to knock him out. He slammed his door shut, locking it and dragging himself towards the bed. Another spasm hit, preventing him from completing the movement.
Grasping for his phone, Sam struggled to call his brother. He wasn't sure what he thought Dean could do, but he was pretty sure he'd been poisoned. It occurred to him that he probably wouldn't die, but it was also possible he'd been incapacitated for ease of capture, and his earlier encounter with Tim and Reggie didn't make him optimistic. As Sam was about to hit the call button, another muscle spasm hit, this one infinitely more painful then the ones before, causing Sam's arm to sling out and send the phone flying across the room.
"Dammit!" Sam cursed, tears starting to well in his eyes from the pain. Normally he had a pretty high tolerance, but he wasn't sure he'd ever been in this much pain. A feeling that Sam could only describe as his blood boiling spread through his body, and Sam gritted his teeth against a scream, fingers scratching futily at the ugly carpet on the floor.
A sudden thought struck Sam, and he began to pray earnestly. "Castiel, if you can hear me, I've been poisoned," he gasped out. Struggling for a moment to remember where he was, he blurted out that information too. "Please, Cas, I-" Sam's word were cut off by a muscle spasm, causing tears to leak from his eyes as he tried to bite back a scream of pain.
"Sam?" Castiel's concerned voice came from in front of him, but Sam couldn't lift his head to look he was in so much pain.
"What happened?" Castiel asked, moving forward until he was in Sam's line of vision.
Sam shook his head. "Not sure," he managed to say, wincing as the feeling of his blood boiling intensified. "It hurts."
Castiel hesitated. "I am not sure I have the power to heal you," he admitted, looking truly upset about it.
"Shoot me," Sam blurted, waving a hand in the general direction of his gun.
"I must have misheard you," Castiel replied slowly, flinching as Sam began to spasm again.
"No, no, shoot me!" Sam insisted. "Lucifer - I won't die - just - shoot! Please, Cas!"
Realization crossed Castiel's face, followed quickly by horror. "No, Sam," the angel said firmly. "I may not be able to heal you fully, but I can remove some of the pain and stay with you until the poison has left your system."
Sam moaned, but nodded, accepting of whatever Castiel could do.
The angel kneeled down beside Sam, resting a hand on the hunter's chest. A soft light emanated from his hand, and the spasms slowly stopped, Sam's blood returning to what felt like a normal temperature. His muscles still ached painfully, but it was far more muted than before.
"There," Castiel announced. He lifted Sam easily, moving him over to the bed and setting him down. "Rest now. By morning the poison should be completely gone. I will wait to ensure you are all right."
Sam felt weak but he managed to move his head and make eye contact with Castiel. "Thank you," he said softly.
"Of course," Castiel replied, retreating to the corner of the room. "Rest, Sam."
Without really meaning to, Sam drifted to sleep.
Sam hadn't thought about what he expected to see when he woke up, but it certainly wasn't his brother.
"Dean?" He asked, his tone bewildered. He looked up, finding Castiel with questioning eyes.
"I had to leave briefly to recover Dean from Zachariah's attempts to sway him," Castiel explained. "Rather than abandon my vigil entirely, I elected to bring him back with me."
"What the hell happened, Sam?" Dean asked, a mixture of concern and something Sam couldn't name in his eyes.
"Not sure," Sam admitted. "I was out walking and got struck with a dart. I barely made it back to the room before I collapsed."
"Had you not called me, you would have spent at least a day in agony before succumbing to death," Castiel informed him. "This was done by someone who wishes to cause you pain before killing you."
Sam had figured that. It was probably Tim and Reggie. It seemed like them - the coward's way. The death part didn't really concern him anymore, now that he knew it didn't last.
"What's this I hear about you asked Cas to shoot you?" Dean demanded, raising an eyebrow.
Sam waved his hand absently. "Lucifer won't let me die. I figured it was the fastest way to stop the pain. Cas disagreed."
"Thank God for that," Dean muttered angrily. "Why would you ask for something like that? It's the devil, Sam, he's probably lying." He paused, taking in the look on Sam's face. "Unless you know he's not," he added softly, eyes narrowing.
Sam stayed silent, knowing better than to answer that.
"You're coming back with me," Dean announced. "We're fighting this together from now on."
"Wait, what?" Sam asked, surprised. "Since when?"
"Since I was wrong about us being better apart," Dean admitted. "We keep each other human, not to mention sane. I don't want to be off hunting alone while you get attacked or try and find a creative way to off yourself in some misguided quest to defeat the devil. We're better as a team."
Sam hesitated before nodding briefly. "Okay," he agreed.
"Good. I'll throw your stuff in the trunk." Dean stood, moving to the bags.
Sam caught Castiel's eye and said quietly, "Thanks." The brothers' relationship was far from perfect, but it had a chance to heal. Castiel had both stopped the poison from killing him in agony and brought the brothers back together. It was good to have an angel on their side.
Castiel spared a small smile and nod, pleased with the outcome. It had been one thing to prevent Sam's death, but bringing Dean had been Castiel's personal choice. The brothers would likely have rejoined each other on their own soon, but it was good for them to join in the aftermath of an attempt on Sam's life. Dean needed to be reminded of just how much he truely cared for and needed his brother, and Sam needed to be reminded that he was not alone. They both had forgotten a lot over the past year, and Castiel was determined that things would get better from here.
They had an apocalypse to fight, after all.