So, he couldn't believe his good luck when the last demon let slip that Dean was hanging out with Crowley, even giving out the King's new cell number. Sam threw him an ironic thanks, before sending him off to wherever dead demons ended up, if anywhere!
Trembling with excitement at having finally found a lead, he'd called the number and recognised Crowley's voice as he picked up.
Hastily pin-pointing the location with the GPS, Sam was invigorated by the idea of seeing Dean again.
His crusade to free him from the curse of the Mark was drawing to a close. He'd save his brother if it was the last thing he did!
The demonic handcuffs tinkled in his pocket as he drove one-handed. His collar-bone had been fractured in a scuffle with one of the demons he'd been interrogating.
Managing to free itself for a moment, it had thrown Sam a bruiser of a punch to the shoulder.
The sling was more of a precaution than a necessity, for the bones had knit perfectly, but this was the second break the shoulder had been subjected to and Sam wanted to give it that extra little bit of rest.
But now he was close to getting his brother back.
That's all he'd concentrated on since that terrible day when Dean died in his arms, transfixed by Metatron's blade, just to disappear from his bedroom in the bunker where Sam had desolately laid him out.
He'd drowned his sorrows with a bottle of Jack and then passed out, his brain thankfully taking over and blocking his despair for a few hours.
The next morning, Dean had vanished. Gone, leaving Sam on his own, grief-stricken and confused, with only a few skimpy words etched on a piece of paper to clutch to his heart.
But the grief had morphed into blind determination. His brother had to be alive somewhere and Sam would find him.
Crowley was the first to become aware of the younger Winchester's approach, thanks to a watchful underling, and he decided his best option was to make himself scarce.
Getting between the two Winchesters wasn't the wisest move in the game! He teleported back to his lair. He'd come back to the bar after the dust had settled.
Dean was tinkling a tune on the piano when Sam strolled into the bar.
“Sammy,” Dean acknowledged with a nod, never lifting his eyes from the key-board. “Didn't you get my note? Why don't you ever listen? Why come after me? This was your chance for that normal life you've always hankered after.”
But Sam just stood there staring at his brother, memories of Broward County and the six months of living hell trying to track down the Trickster, filling his mind. Six months of torture without Dean, not to mention the times when Dean was in Hell, in Purgatory!
Sam needed his brother by his side, more than the air he breathed. Maybe he was only a stubborn fool, but it was that very stubbornness which had brought him to Dean.
At Sam's prolonged silence Dean glanced up.
His little brother's expressive eyes were misty, unshed tears striving to stain Sam's cheeks but tottering on the edge like water held back by a dam.
“You shouldn't have come, Sammy,” the demon repeated. “I'm not going back with you. I like who I am now. Powerful, in command, beholden to none. If I'd wanted you with me, I'd have come for you. Obviously, I didn’t. “
“I want you to come home,“ Sam said, ignoring Dean's words while struggling for control of his see-sawing emotions. “ I'm gonna take you home, no matter the cost.”
Dean let out an ironic chuckle. “I don't think so, Sam.”
His attentive eyes raked his brother's body. ” I see you managed to break an arm too. Doesn't bode well for wrestling me to the ground.”
“It's fine now, but anyway I won't have to. You're still my brother. You'll do what's right.”
In one smooth move, Sam's personal space was invaded.
Dean was up close, his brother's eyes studying him as a cobra might a mongoose.
He reached out a hand to grip Sam's good arm, huffing his disapproval.
“All skin and bones, little brother. Chasing after me hasn't brought you any positives. I don't know why you bother. This was your chance to be free of me, of my bossy, over the top ways. And here you are, looking for more of the same.”
“Please come home,“ Sam whispered, ignoring the harsh words.
He held Dean's gaze, as if striving to convince his brother by will-power alone. “A few injections of human blood and everything will be as it was, Dean. You and I hunting, doing good, saving people.”
Dean scoffed his denial into his brother's face.
“You still believe that crap, dude? Yeah, we saved a few, while hundreds died just the same. It's a losing battle, Sam. A war that'll never be won. Let someone else dedicate themselves to saving the poor ignorant fools.”
He turned away. “If you saw the people who sell their souls for the most idiotic of motives, you'd understand humans deserve all that happens to them.”
Now that Dean's attention had shifted, Sam fumbled in his pocket for the holy water.
His plan was simple, douse Dean with the blessed liquid, then get the handcuffs around his wrists. They were potent enough to keep even a demon as strong as Dean under control.
But he only managed to pull the flask out half-way when Dean's hand blocked his own.
His brother had short-space teleportation down to a tee!
“Tut, tut, dude. I know all the moves. First the holy water then the cuffs. Might work with your run of the mill demon, but not with me, Sammy. You're gonna have to come up with something much better.”
Unheeding, Sam struggled to pull the flask out, but his strength was no match for his big brother's.
Once again Dean invaded his personal space, a glint of resignation in his green eyes.
“You're never gonna stop, are you Sammy? You're gonna keep chipping away at the block, hoping to catch me unawares, get that human blood inside me. Turn me back. It's not going to happen, dude. Not now, not ever! “
Sam tilted his head in defiance. “You're right, Dean. I'm never going to stop trying to get my brother back.”
As Dean studied the determined eyes, the flushed cheeks and the obstinate jut of Sam's chin, a sense of …. empathy? … respect?... love?..... crept back into his heart for his baby brother.
“No. You're not,” Dean admitted quietly. “I know how stubborn you can be. So, I'm thinking' the only way to keep you from being an attack dog is to pull your fangs.”
The heavy punch to the younger man's jaw was completely unexpected, and Sam collapsed boneless into his brother's waiting arms.