Using stolen grace is like removing training wheels from a kid’s bike before the kid’s ready. He’s wobbly at first, has to get the hang of it. The freedom, the power. He has to relearn something he’s known for thousands of years but lost in a manner of seconds.
It’s unbelievable how using another angel’s grace could alter an angel’s functions and programming.
Despite being stolen, his power is too great. Be it his vessel rejecting the grace of an angel it didn’t agree to, or just the fact that he’s using grace that isn’t his, he doesn’t know. He just knows he wasn’t ready for the imbalance of what is glowing inside him.
He removed his training wheels too soon.
Because Sam…oh, Sam. Sam doesn’t deserve what he gets. Beautiful and broken, Sam lies unconscious on the ground, against the wall he was thrown into when Cas pushed him away so he could get at the door. He’s still breathing, Cas knows with the rise and fall of his chest, but it’s unsteady, irregular. There’s blood on his head, his body held at an awkward angle, but Dean is torturing Metatron.
There’s always time to heal Sam -
He makes a decision. The quicker he stops Dean and gets Metatron out of there, the quicker he can help Sam. But Dean needs to be stopped now.
He breaks the door down with a burst and hurries into the room to grab Dean, pulling him away from Metatron and pushing him to the side so he can get Metatron loose. “I have to bring him back,” Castiel growls, pulling the beaten angel from the chair by his collar. “You have to take care of your brother while I fix what you’ve done.”
“Take care of- what?”
“I can’t heal him after using what I did to break through the door, and especially if I have to get him -” he jostles Metatron in his grip, glaring at him, “- back to Heaven.
“What do you mean you can’t heal him? What’s wrong with Sam?” All thoughts of murder are directed from one angel to the other as he follows Cas out of the dungeon only to see Sam on the ground. “Sam! What the hell did you do to him, Cas?” He’s kneeling beside Sam, two fingers on his neck to check for a pulse- it’s unsteady but it’s there. “Son of a bitch,” he growls when he sees the blood. “Cas -”
But the angel’s gone with Metatron in tow.
“Sam, Sammy, hey.” He’s got Sam’s face cradled in his hands, tapping him on the cheeks in hopes of rousing him. “Sam, c’mon. Open your eyes, Sam, c’mon.” It takes another few moments, but hazel eyes peek out and Dean is so, so relieved. “Thank god, c’mere.” He pulls Sam into a gentle hug before pulling back to grab at his arms. “I gotta get you into a bed, okay, kiddo, come on,” he says as he pulls Sam up into a wobbly standing position. Sam slumps against him, legs shaky like a newborn fawn. Dean holds him around the waist while he grabs onto Sam’s arm to hold it around his shoulders to walk him up the few steps and down the hall to his bedroom.
Dean’s room is closest, so he brings Sam there, laying him down on his memory foam mattress.
“D’n?” Sam slurs and Dean curses to himself. It’s very rare that Sam can’t say Dean’s whole name; it’s usually only when he’s hurt bad.
“It’s okay, Sammy, I gotcha, just stay down, alright?” He makes a sound of affirmation and Dean grabs an almost empty bottle of Jack from his drawer and a shirt that was laying on the floor. He doesn’t want to leave Sam for even a second, so this will have to do. He pours the rest of the Jack onto the shirt and says as he pulls Sam up into a sitting position so he can get a good look, “This is gonna sting, kiddo, relax,” and dabs at the cut on his head with the shirt.
Sam hisses, trying to pull away from the grip on his shoulder but Dean holds firm, keeping Sam right where he is. “De -”
“I know, but I’ve gotta clean it before I let you do anything. Don’t need your dumb, hard head getting infected, do I? You’re more of a pain in the ass when you’re sick.” Dean laughs despite how pissed he is at the angel that left. “You were a little bitch when you were 17 and got swiped in the arm with a knife and that got infected. You were sick for a week! I don’t need to hear you bitch about getting sick now.”
“Won’ get infected,” Sam mumbles, but lets Dean continue. “Wasn’ a bitch either, jerk.”
Dean laughs again, missing how he and Sam were before all of this. “Still a bitch, Sammy. Still a bitch.”
He gets the wound cleaned and lays Sam back down. The bleeding already stopped, and the Jack worked to keep it that way. He’ll check it and clean it properly in the morning, see how it is then before he decides if he wants to wrap it with something. For now, he’ll let Sam – who fell asleep the second his head hit Dean’s pillow – sleep. He’s in for a long night; he won’t go to sleep because he needs to wake Sam up every few hours to make sure he’s not concussed. It’s something big brothers do, and something Dean and Sam have done for each other countless times in the years they’ve spent together.
“Son of a bitch!” Dean almost falls out of his chair at the angel’s sudden voice; he turns to glare at Castiel whose eyes are on the still sleeping Sam. “Warn me!”
“I’m sorry,” Cas says, then, “How’s Sam?”
“What the hell happened back there, Cas? He was bleeding and unconscious and you left.”
“I couldn’t leave you with Metatron any longer, I -” he pauses, swallows, clears his throat. “I pushed him away from the door before he hurt himself trying to open it and- well- this grace, it isn’t my own, Dean. It’s different from mine. Strange. I’m not used to it.”
He sounds regretful and Dean’s face softens slightly as he stands, pats Cas on the shoulder. “So basically you pulled a Clark Kent on my brother.”
“No, I am not Superman.”
“You- nevermind.” Dean scrubs a hand through his hair. He’s tired, and there’s still a few hours until Sam normally would wake up, so he’s got a little wait ahead of him. “I cleaned the gash. The bleeding stopped. I just don’t want to leave him alone. I need to make sure he wakes up through the night so I’m sure he doesn’t have a concussion.” He’s just so, so tired.
“You’re tired,” Cas observes, squinting his eyes at Dean. “I will watch Sam. Go sleep in Sam’s room, unless you’d rather I carry Sam to his room so you can have your bed?”
“No!” A little too quick. Cas raises an eyebrow. “I mean- Sam can’t go to sleep somewhere and wake somewhere else. He- I- It doesn’t end well, Cas. He panics. I can’t explain it.” Dean’s frowning, hating that he was never able to get Sam over that particular fear. Hates that he couldn’t protect him from everything.
“Okay.” He doesn’t ask, but he does move to sit beside Sam on the bed. Pushes the hair from Sam’s sleeping face and just looks at him. “You can sleep, Dean. I will stay with him. I can’t use this grace to heal him; it isn’t strong enough. But I can already tell that he’ll be fine. He just needs to sleep. And so do you.”
He can’t fight the sudden wave of exhaustion and guilt that flow through him, but he nods. “Thanks, Cas. I’ll be back in a few hours.” Cas doesn’t comment, just continues watching Sam’s face, how his eyes dance under his eyelids as he dreams.