-X-

Author's Notes: Yeah. I have no explanations for this. Um… woot, Evil!Dean?

something to take it away

-X-

See you in Hell. – Dean Winchester to Bela Talbot,

"Time Is On My Side"

-X-

The thing about hell is that it looks exactly like the real world, only every thing is infinitely worse. Hell is a city torn by war: explosions from invisible bombs, silent until your skin is burning; cars, trains, and planes make burning piles of ash from steel buildings; locks are meaningless and prowlers roam the endless night.

Oh. And everybody burns.

The damned walk the streets, flesh melting on flesh, eyes stinging and throats choked with smoke. Most of them have forgotten their names, their families, their humanity. Most of them have forgotten that they even were human. Most of their eyes are black.

When a human first becomes a demon, Lillith escorts him or her into the world. It is the only free pass a demon ever gets: after that, they must claw their way out just like everybody else.

The demon that used to be Dean sets up camp in a little town in Minnesota. He possesses the body of a college student named Jensen and happily bangs his girlfriend for six weeks before deciding on what sort of trouble he'd like to stir. He has big plans for Jensen: theft, cheating, perhaps a little violence. Run-of-the-mill, not-our-fault-we-ate-the-apple kind of stuff.

He's taking Jensen's girlfriend on a date paid for with a credit card he stole when he realizes: Jensen's girlfriend is not Jensen's girlfriend.

He blinks, his eyes shuttering black, before grinning. "And you are?" He asks.

The woman—whose name he thought was Lilly—smiles demurely back at him. "Oh, sweetheart, don't be such a buzz kill. Angry sex now, questions later."

The words strike a chord of memory in him, but before he can catch them they're gone; he simply takes her out back and screws her against the cold brick wall of the alleyway. "God, I love having a body again," the demon murmurs against his neck, her legs wrapped around his waist, "Except my fingers are itching to steal something."

Dean—or the thing that used to be Dean—bites down hard enough on her lower lip to make her bleed. "Really? Cause I could really use a beer."

Lilly—or the body that once belonged to Lilly—laughs once, harshly, the sound slinking from deep in her throat. She lowers herself to the ground and cups his face in her hand, the gesture oddly tender, before gently patting his cheek. "Call me," she murmurs, somehow shy and seductive at the same time.

And Dean—or the thing that used to be Dean—knows what she is, knows what he is, but the gestures is so suddenly human that any reply catches in his throat and he has a sudden flash of a face: shaggy brown hair drooping over warm brown eyes, and a happy grin spread across his face as the mouth says: Jerk.

Neither Jensen nor the thing that used to be Dean has any idea who this face belongs to, which life its entwined with, but even through the hazy terror of possession Jensen's soul is sure he's never seen that face before.

Which means it belongs to Dean—Dean, real Dean, not the thing that used to be Dean. And that's enough to terrify any demon.

-X-

He meets up with Lilly, or the meat suit that looks like Lilly, and they entertain themselves during lunch by causing a fist fight that ends with a knife through someone's shoulder. Lilly's giggling as the paramedics frantically try to stop the bleeding, and long after they've put the body on the stretcher and taken it to the hospital she is making shapes in the blood with her finger.

"Do you think," she muses slowly, "Do you think there might be a piece of soul in here?"

Dean frowns. "What do you mean?"

"Well, we sold our souls, didn't we?" She asks rhetorically, dripping blood from her fingers onto her sandwich. "So what exactly did we sell?"

Dean shrugs. Lilly takes a bite, and for the rest of the day she has bloodstains on her teeth.

-X-

"Oh, here's one," Lilly declares, sticking her foot out discretely. The young student with glasses and an overstuffed backpack trips over the heel of Lilly's shoe and everything goes flying; his head cracks on the floor and he doesn't move.

Neither Lilly nor Dean looks up.

"'If you were a material object, what would you be?'" Lilly reads from the magazine, a feral little smile on her face. She raises her eyebrows. "Jensen?"

"A Winchester," he answers boredly, without hesitation. He's not exactly sure what makes him say it, but he knows it's true.

"Like the rifle?" Lilly asks, frowning. "Bo-ring. I would be a pair of gloves. They disguise you. They make it easy to do whatever it is I want to do without incriminating this great body I'm possessing."

A foreign accent—British, maybe—creeps along the edges of her vowels. "I'd be a Winchester," Dean says again, firmly. "Shoot first, ask questions later. Blow shit up. It's fun." He smirks at her as someone finally thinks to call 9-1-1 for the poor unconscious sucker at their feet. "Do you know how to have fun, Lilly?"

She returns his gaze with her calm one, smiling predatorily and running her own hand up her leg. "Mmm, Jensen, maybe you're right. Maybe a little shoot-first is in order."

He follows her out back because he can't not, but the whole time he's thinking, with pride: Yeah. Just like a Winchester.

-X-

It comes back in pieces.

This much he knows: He was a hunter. His name was Dean. He sold his soul to save his brother.

Lilly knows even less: She was a thief. Her name was Bela. She simply sold her soul.

-X-

They come back to this a lot: what exactly did they sell? Was it in their blood? Was it in their hearts? Was it something corporeal, flesh and muscle and bone?

Or was it something else, something they are missing now, that gaping hole where memories used to be?

It haunts him, the faces without names, the voices without faces, the familiarity that trips over his tongue when he says Lilly's real name.

Eventually Bela decides she doesn't care. "What does it matter, Dean?" She asks tiredly, smoothly sliding the heel of her shoe out of her victim's throat. "Grab his wallet. In the long run, what does it really matter? Whoever we were is lost and I could really use a bath."

But she clings to the a in "bath" too long, saying bah-th instead of baa-th. And that's the barest hint of who she was, another little teasing clue that leads no where.

"Maybe you're right," he says sadly, neatly wiping the blood off of Jensen's hands. "What difference would it make, if we knew?"

Bela shrugs carelessly, climbing into the passenger side of the black '67 Impala that had called to Dean as soon as he'd laid eyes on it by the side of the road. "This is what we know," she tells him, ticking off on her fingers, "Once we were human. Now we're not. Once we loved things like ice cream and television and bubble baths. Now we love making people bleed. Once we cared enough about something to sell our souls for it. Now I'm getting bored just thinking about this conversation."

She wraps her fingers in his. "Besides," she tells him, purring demurely as she slides onto his lap, "With Azazel and Lillith out of the pictures, there's a whole world out there, Dean-o, just waiting for someone to grab it."

Dean grins wolfishly at her, running a finger along her jaw. "Well, I've always been a little grabby," he murmurs against her mouth. "Just can't keep my hands to myself."

She laughs, and they roll up the windows.