|Beyond Good and Evil
Author: HowlynMad PM
Prequel scene to season 6 finale episode. If you don't want possible spoilers then plz don't read.Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Friendship - Words: 2,875 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 05-17-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6999337
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Beyond Good and Evil
He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.
"You found something?" Castiel strode into the makeshift torture chamber that Crowley had set up in the basement of an abandoned mental hospital in Gary, Indiana. His step swift and forceful. Time was another enemy to add to the list and now that the Winchesters knew the truth, things could go from bad to worse.
The reek of flesh and blood permeated the air but no longer brought him any concern. Why should it? It was all about the means to an end now. If he didn't succeed then all his evil deeds would result in nothing but more evil. He wouldn't be able to live with that. There could be no other considerations. Not now.
"As a matter of fact my feathered friend, I think you're going to be very pleased."
Crowley's smug voice made him want to drive a spike into his ears. Or into someone's ears. He had never known hate but Cas thought that if he were truly capable of it then Crowley would bear the brunt of this feeling he now harbored. "I doubt that."
The demon gestured to a bound man, or monster, as the case may be. "I think I found our way in at last."
Castiel looked at the creature bound and seated before him. It was obvious that he had been extensively tortured. "Which is?" he prompted impatiently. He wanted nothing so much as to smite the grinning demon where he stood.
"This little puke came looking for Mama. We had a nice little chat and I'm sure he knows where to find the entrance to Purgatory. But he's been remarkably resilient. And believe me when I say I've tried everything I can think of to loosen his tongue besides removing it." Crowley watched the angel from the corner of his eye, "We're so close. I know you're a bit squeamish about this kind of thing, angel and all, but I thought perhaps you could give it a go."
"You want me to torture him for information?"
"If you don't mind..." the demon cooed.
Castiel looked at the softly mewling creature, "No, I don't." He reached out his hand and let it fall lightly over the man's face. The man began to convulse as light began to emanate from inside him. Castiel tugged back with his hand and the light tried to follow. Streams of energy poured from the man's eyes and mouth. An unholy wail was ripped from his lips. Hell could seldom match such agony.
Crowley's eyebrows notched up and he took a small step back away from the angel. The light continued to build as the angel drew back with his hand. The man creature screamed as his soul was torn from its moors. "Um, Castiel, uh, don't mean to interfere but uh, you might want to... ease up before you… kill him." Crowley shuffled his feet preparing to bolt if the suddenly deadly angel turned his attention on him.
Cas lowered his hand. The creature gasped and sputtered blood. His eyes rolled in his head, "Please, oh please, no more. No more."
"Tell us what you know of Purgatory or I will rip your soul out," Castiel intoned like he was reading a grocery list.
"I think that's got it, Cas." Crowley stepped in. "Where is it! How do we get into Purgatory? Tell me now or I let the angel finish what he started." More blood started to pour from the creature's mouth and ears. His eyes looked filmed. "Tell me! Or so help me, you'll wish you were in Hell!"
Cas raised his hand and the creature sputtered out, "Lov.. lovvv.. book."
"What are you saying?" Crowley leaned in close. "You better make this worth my while."
The creature began to melt.
"Lovecraft? What book? What the hell are you on about? Which book! Ew." Crowley stepped back as the creature literally disintegrated in front of them. "Son of a bitch. He was the best bet I found since Eve and you had to go all Rambo on him? Where did you learn the art of interrogation because you suck at it!"
Castiel stood with his head canted and stared off at nothing as if he were solving the puzzles of the universe.
"Earth to Cas? Care to share?"
"Be prepared for incursion tonight..." and with that the angel promptly vanished.
The quiet of the Cleveland library was interrupted by a low deep rumbling. The lights began to pulse bright then flicker. The large panes of tempered glass that adorned the front of the library flexed and bowed against an unseen force. Castiel's angelic form poured into the human dimension, forming itself into something smaller and non-lethal to the eye. But looks can be deceiving as the average sized man with the intense blue eyes was soon to prove.
Castiel determinedly strode down the hall, the doors to the main library flying open ahead of him. He looked around at the startled faces of the humans whose studies had been interrupted and gestured lightly with a hand, nary even stopping his forward motion. Every human in the building collapsed into a deep sleep. He didn't have time for propriety. He stalked to the rows of books and cocked his head.
In his mind, he called forth the tomes he required and they shuffled on the shelves. Making his way over to where the books now protruded from their positions, he brushed his hands over the volumes as he strode past then turned and did the same again. He paused, digesting the information. A vaguely victorious expression graced his features and he reached out taking the volume titled 'Call of Cthulhu'. He knew what he had to do. Raphael wouldn't stand a chance, not against the power of all the souls he would pull from Purgatory.
A brief shudder ran through his grace at the idea of all those monstrous souls funneling their power through him. He'd already had to deal with the taint of the fifty thousand hellish souls that Crowley had fronted him for the cause. Those souls had only been human. These souls were something beyond. He wondered how they would affect him but realized he had little choice left to him.
Right or wrong this was the path that he had chosen and there was no way to turn back. *You knew it was wrong or you wouldn't have kept it a secret* Shame at the damning words welled up inside him. He couldn't revisit the past now. He would either defeat Raphael and thereby save humanity or he would die trying.
Knowing Raphael as he did, Castiel doubted the archangel would be that compassionate. Death would not be easily afforded him if he failed. He couldn't worry about that. His own existence was of little consequence now. What happened to him after heaven was righted and his duplicity came to common light would have to be judged by others. He no longer trusted himself or his morality. He only hoped that once mankind was saved that his friends... his family *you're like a brother to me* would forgive him.
"Are you really sure this is a good idea Dean? I mean for all we know the smarmy bastard is the one who set Cas on this path."
"What would you suggest? We don't have the kind of power it would take to stop an angel. And the only Enochian magic that we do know is what Cas showed us. I don't think a banishing sigil is going to help much. We couldn't even get the wards for the house right."
"Dean's right, Bobby," Sam offered, "We don't have a lot of choices here. Balthazar left us a calling card last time he was here. We can use that to make contact."
"And if he doesn't show?"
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
Bobby shook his head, "Let's get it done. This whole thing is making me sick down to my soul."
Dean closed his eyes as if in pain, "I know the feeling." He turned to Sam, "Let's do this."
Sam nodded and struck a match and tossed it. The bowl flared in light. He nodded to Dean.
"Balthazar. It's Dean. I need to talk to you right now. It's serious. It's about Cas. If you care about him at all, you need to get your ass over here right now."
There was a pause as everyone looked around the room in anticipation. The angel had to have heard their call. They'd followed the ritual to the letter. "Balthazar?" Dean bowed his head. "I'm afraid," he murmured, "Cas is in trouble, man. Serious shit. Please, you gotta help us."
The air pressure in the room changed indicating the arrival of a celestial being. The lights flared brightly and then Balthazar was there. Dean took a deep breath that he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
"This had better be something earth shattering or so help me…" the angel took-in the expressions of the humans around him and his tone changed. "This can't be good." He looked from face to face. "I happen to know that Castiel is alive and well so why is it you all look like someone just killed your puppy?"
"There's no easy way to say this and frankly we don't have the time to dick around so I'm just hoping you're still one of the... and I use this term loosely... good guys."
Balthazar's eyebrows rose and he crossed his arms over his chest, a retort ripe on his lips.
Dean put his hand up. He took a breath, hating to spread the truth about his angel friend any further, "Cas has been working with the demons to find Purgatory and mine it for the souls."
Balthazar just stared, "Excuse me?"
"You heard me."
"I heard you and have to wonder what drugs you're doing because you, my monkey friend, are tripping."
"Dean's telling you the truth. Cas admitted it," Sam added.
Balthazar snorted, "Castiel? Working with demons? Not bloody likely. You have met him, right? Cas? The angel with a righteous stick so far up his ass it would take an act of god to remove it."
"Cas has been facing down an archangel for the last year. Where do you think he got the power to do that?"
"Well, he has providence of course." Balthazar looked over their expressions. "Doesn't he?" Now the angel didn't look so sure. "Cas couldn't have been siphoning energy from heaven. That kind of power drain would have been known. Are you sure you have your facts right?"
"I really wish that we didn't... but yeah."
"But if god didn't provide Castiel with more innate ability and he didn't get it from heaven then where…. Oh, no, no, no, Cas, you didn't. No, you didn't." Balthazar ran his hand through his hair, "This is not good. Not good."
"You think?" Dean snarked.
"No, you don't understand. If Castiel wasn't elevated in power by god and he hasn't been tapping into heaven then he shouldn't have been able to fight Raphael. Raphael is an archangel! Which means he got the power somewhere else. There's only one other place I know of that's full of human souls."
"Hell? You think Cas has been using hell's souls to... what? Power up?"
"At least now it makes some sense. The fool," the angel was looking more and more flustered by the minute.
"What makes sense?" Bobby asked.
Balthazar gave them the "humans are the dumbest creatures in existence" look, "Hell's souls are tainted by pain and horror and well, just plain evil. If Cas has been channeling energy from them then those tainted energies have been in contact with his grace. Corrupting it." the angel stated.
"Man, Cas really has gone all dark side," Sam murmured.
"What do you mean? Like Cas is fueling up on people's souls?" Dean's expression twisted into something vaguely like disgust. "Like draining them?"
"Oh, don't look at me like that. We're not vampires. The human soul radiates energy all the time. We use that energy to enhance our own. We don't feed on souls. It's like basking in the sun for us. We soak up the rays."
"And Cas has soaked up the energy from fifty thousand corrupt souls. Holy Hell." Bobby proclaimed.
"Now you're starting to see. I doubt he even understands what's happening to him." Balthazar shook his head, "Let me guess. Crowley?"
They all nodded in affirmation.
"That son of a bitch. He knew what would happen giving Cas those souls. He knew that Cas wouldn't be strong enough to purify his grace after that, especially not with that touch of humanity he has… thanks to you." Balthazar stared pointedly at Dean. "I blame you."
"Humanity? What are you talking about?" Dean shot back confused. "What did I do?"
"The profound bond," Balthazar fairly sneered. "Didn't you ever bother to wonder what that was all about? Didn't you ever wonder about Lil Cassie's devotion to you? No, of course you didn't. You're so self centered it's a wonder you can see beyond your own nose."
"I don't know what the hell you're talking about," Dean rumbled dangerously, the angel's condescending tone scraping his last nerve.
"Your soul was so damaged, Dean, that Castiel wrapped his grace around it, infused it, so that you could heal. That kind of intimate contact isn't just one way. Cas left a tiny piece of his grace with you and you tainted him with a touch of humanity. Why do you think he started to develop free will and independent action? Human emotion? He was corrupted from the moment he raised you from Perdition."
"Hey, that's not fair," Sam interjected. "We didn't know that teaching Cas to be more human could hurt him."
"If he didn't have the taint of humanity, it wouldn't," he scoffed in Dean's direction. "Now his fatal case of hero worship for a mud monkey will tear this world apart."
"You listen to me you posturing jackass," Dean threatened.
"Then again…," Balthazar continued on ignoring the threat, "Castiel might be able to pull it off. If he opens Purgatory he will be able to defeat Raphael and then technically the earth will be safe from the forces of Heaven. Of course, Crowley didn't do all this out of the goodness of his black heart. He has his own agenda so you'll have Hell to deal with regardless. Either way, Cas is finished, of course."
"What do you mean?"
"Oh, there's no way for him to survive this," Balthazar answered smugly. "He's over, thanks to you."
Dean gritted his teeth, "We need to stop him. Once we do that then we can help him."
"Help him?" Balthazar barked out a laugh. "And how would you do that exactly? Heaven wants him dead and Raphael won't stop until he accomplishes it. If Cas does manage to channel all the souls in Purgatory then he will become something that no one has ever seen before... but somehow I don't think it will be good. And then there's Crowley's part in all this and however he has his claws into Cas. So please enlighten me about how you can help him at this point… human."
Dean put his head down. He thought about all that they had been through and all that they had sacrificed over the last few years. Friends and family that had died and what it had cost him to live on. What had it all been for? What, when his soul died a piece at a time. He didn't understand any of it.
He remembered back to that night at the barn when he had first met an "Angel of the Lord" for the first time. A powerful, bad ass, clueless, angel who was willing to risk everything on a lowly, mud monkey. And he just kept coming back to what Cas had said to him that night. Why it chose to resonate with him now after all this time and all that had happened he wasn't sure. But somehow it just felt right. If Cas had lost his way then somehow they would help him find his way back. Cas was family.
Dean looked around the room at Sam and at Bobby, "We have faith."