Bobby took a step toward Sam, his eyes hard with fury.
"If by some miracle we make it out of this alive… I want you to lose my number. Understand?"
Sam understood. Hot tears formed behind his eyes, misery climbing into his throat.
Sam risked a glance in Dean's direction. Dean was standing behind Bobby, his head down, saying nothing. He hadn't exactly expected Dean to jump in and defend him. There was no defense, and Bobby was right, Sam felt the truth of it stabbing him in the gut. But this silence from Dean was like the blade twisting, cutting so deep into Sam's soul that it killed whatever small hope he might have had that he was worth forgiving.
This isn't the kind of thing that gets forgiven.
Dean had silently agreed, Sam saw it.
Solemnly, Sam jerked his head in a small, curt nod and clamped down hard against the tears. Don't you dare, he ordered himself. You don't deserve the sympathy. You don't deserve to feel. He choked out something about researching at the library, absorbing the hurt that came like a blow from Bobby'syou do that.
He blinked fast and turned quickly and left the room so they wouldn't see the emotion that he barely held in check. On his way to the door, Sam hesitated for a fraction of a moment. Then, he closed his hand over the revolver that was lying on the table by the door, reaching back to slide it into the waistband of his jeans.
Worthlessness and despair settled over him as he took the fire escape stairs.
His brother's downcast eyes hurt even more than Bobby's condemnation and rejection, the silent acknowledgement of the truth in what Bobby said.
Worthless. His mind filled in all the blanks behind everything left unsaid. Monster. Filth. Polluted. Evil. Unredeemable.
Sam accepted it with grim certainty. There was no way to fix what he'd done. Only one logical outcome, and while he'd given Dean every opportunity to take care of it, Sam knew the responsibility was his now. His brother's silence spoke volumes. Enough, Sam. He had to do this now, for Dean – the last and only thing he could do. Not a solution. But at least a clean break.
Sam's back pressed against the smooth tiled wall of the restroom, the gun a solid weight in his hand. The familiar grip of it steadied him, and he felt a surprising calm come over him.
Do it, his mind urged him. Do what you were trained to do. You find something evil, you kill it.
Surprisingly, it was Dean's voice that he heard answering in his head. You don't ever give up. No matter how bad it gets, or what you're up against, you don't ever stop fighting. Sam shied away from the feelings of shame and regret that his brother's voice dredged up in him.
"I'm so sorry, Dean. You can't fight me and this." Tears came to his eyes and he didn't fight them. "I won't make you do that, Dean."
Sam drew a ragged breath and drew the hammer back, bringing the cocked gun to his mouth. He closed his eyes.
Do it, his mind urged. Do one thing right, for a change.
His finger tightened on the trigger. I'm sorry, Dean.
It was Dean's voice again. The earnestness he heard in those words conjured a memory of Dean with concern etched in his face.
Sam shook his head, pressing the barrel of the gun against the roof of his mouth. The tears flooded against his tightly closed eyes. Do it. Despair overwhelmed him, immobilizing him, freezing his finger on the trigger. DO IT, his mind screamed, making the hand that held the gun shake almost imperceptibly.
Sammy, please. Don't.
An image came into his head of Dean, sitting beside him on a motel bed his hand on Sam's chest after a bad hunt, keeping him calm, steady, steadying his breathing through the pain in his leg, Dean, telling him to hang in here because the good pills took just a second to work. Just stay with me, Sammy.
Dean, catching up with him at Stanford, being told he could just as easily find Dad alone. But I don't want to.
Dean, pushing Sam back behind him out of the line of fire. Dean, stumbling back and clutching his arm as the bullet intended for Sam slams into him.
With a whoosh, all of Sam's resolve drained out of him. His knees trembled and somehow refused to support his weight. He let himself sink down the wall with his head on his knees. A violent, shuddering sob wrenched out of him. He drove his fingers into his hair, still wound around the revolver, curling into tight fists and clenching, pulling.
He wept until there was nothing left of himself, just a hollow, empty, numb shell devoid of feeling.
He didn't know how long he sat there silently, listening to his own wretched heartbeat and cursing every intake of breath as a betrayal. It occurred to him at one point to wonder how it was that no one else ever came into the restroom to find him there, compromised and defeated, pathetically holding a gun to his own head.
At length, he pushed himself to his feet and shoved the gun back into his waistband. He leaned against one of the sinks and switched on cold water, avoiding his own eyes in the mirror as he washed the redness and tear streaks from his face.
Outside the door to the men's restroom, Castiel stood sentry as an invisible, silent, unmoving force. Influencing. Just a small push, in a different direction this time.
He hoped it would be enough.