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all i need is to remember, what it was to feel alive

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“Sam… you need sleep.”

A hand rests on his shoulder. “Wha--?” Sam stops staring at table and blinks slowly, focusing on Cas, who’s standing next to him and looking down at him with a concerned squint. He hasn’t really moved since Cas went to check on Jack. “Oh. Is my mom making you do this?”

Castiel tilts his head to the side a little and smiles. “Well, I did pass her in the hall and she did ask me to convince you, yes. But I would have tried anyway.”

“Oh.” Sam holds up the now room temperature bottle of beer against his eye to avoid looking at Cas directly. “How about we try to take care of you first?”

“Sam. Going by your mother’s concern and the absolute exhaustion radiating off of you, you haven’t slept in well over a day.”

“And going off of the blood that is not only dried on your shirt but also your face, you look like shit and need to be cleaned up.” Castiel stares at him defiantly. “Look, you let me do that and then I’ll… try to sleep?"

Cas takes the beer out of his hand and pulls him to his feet. “...Alright. But you’re going to bed immediately after. Deal?”

Sam bites the inside of his mouth before squeezing Cas’s hand and letting go. “Yeah, okay, deal. I really will try.” Cas narrows his eyes. “I will. Now please go get out of your bloody suit and meet me in the kitchen. I’ll change too if it makes you feel better.”

Castiel’s hand drops from his shoulder and turns away.

Sam’s alone again.

“Here. Sit down on the table.” Sam rips open a disinfectant wipe. “Is that… one of the shirts I let you borrow?”

Castiel nods. “Still very large on me.”

“Yeah.” Sam laughs softly and presses the wipe against Cas’s eyebrow, grimacing apologetically when he flinches. “Here let me get you an ice pack.”

“It’s alri--”

He’s already opening the freezer door. “So, uh, how’s Jack?”

“He’s… well, he’s still having a hard time coping with his lack of powers.” Sam nods as Cas holds the cold pack against his bruised eye. “It’s a hard thing to deal with. You know how it is losing something like that as well.”

Sam takes in a sharp breath and looks toward the side of Castiel’s face as he keeps dabbing at the dried blood, trying to get it clean with minimal pain. “Yeah, guess we all do. Definitely not easy.” He opens a band-aid and carefully applies it to Cas’s cheek. “How is his face?”

“He’s upset by that too because it, well, reminds him, but I helped him get cleaned up.”

“That’s good… I should go talk to him, but he’s probably tired and doesn’t want to talk anyway.”

Castiel grabs Sam’s arm to make him meet his gaze. “If you’re blaming yourself for Jack getting hurt, then please stop. It’s not your fault, Sam. Not everything is your fault.”

Sam huffs out a laugh. “Yeah, well, I was the one who let him come. Bobby thought it was a bad idea, but I said yes.”

“And he’s fine. He’ll be fine. I’m sure you knew this could happen, but you kept him safe.”

“I just--” Sam rubs his forehead and winces when he presses against the corner of his eye too hard. He shakes his head when Cas tries to offer him the compress and turns away instead. “I can’t lose anyone else right now.” And G-d, Mom and Cas are right. He’s exhausted. He’s basically been on the verge of tears for almost three weeks and he’s barely ever alone.

He hears Castiel stand up and feels his hand on his shoulder, pulling him around. “I never understood you Winchesters and your inability to cry.” Sam glances away again and snorts, which causes a tear to drip onto cheekbone. “It’s just your body trying to cope, Sam. It’s fine."

“I miss him.” It’s barely a whisper but Castiel hears him and pulls him closer. Sam’s head automatically drops to his shoulder, almost relieved for physical contact. “I miss him so much.”

“Me too.”

They haven’t even been standing there for a minute when someone walks in. Sam looks up. “Hey, Nathan. Um, something wrong?”

“No. No, I was just thirsty. Everything’s okay.”

“Relative term these days.”

“Yeah, well, I’m just grabbing a beer and we can all go back to cuddling with our respective partners.”

“We’re not…” Sam frowns. “This is clearly more of a hug.”

“Or, as I like to call them, standing cuddles.”

Sam closes his eyes in tired exasperation. “Just go to bed, Nathan.”

“Of course, chief. Night, Castiel.”

Sam shakes his head as he leaves and smiles crookedly. “Well, it’s good to be back in the bunker.”

“And you need to follow your own advice and go to bed, Sam. We have a deal, and my end of it is done. Come on.” Castiel’s hand wraps around his wrist and tugs gently towards the door. “You need sleep immediately.”

“Fine.”

“Do you wanna…” Sam stops and rubs his eye too hard again as he sits down on the edge of his bed. “My mom’s still in number fifteen, and I think most of the other dust free rooms are occupied. The bed is pretty small but, uh, if you wanna stay here you can.”

“You know I don’t really sleep, Sam.” Cas squints at him in question.

“Yeah.”

“Okay.”

They don’t really say much more because the only thing that ever really gets spoken about nowadays is bad things, but they both lay down. Sam turns off the light next to bed and lets himself focus on Castiel’s breathing instead of letting thoughts of Dean being trapped by an angel or Nick being a few hallways away or the vampires making their way along the highway or Jack being so upset by everything.

He focuses on that and warmth of Castiel’s body until the absolute exhaustion everyone keeps pointing out finally overwhelms him completely.