Another day, another fic. I know I was saying that the updates for this wouldn't be as sporadic as they were for the last one, but I have a slight family drama going on at the moment so you may need to stick with me on this. In other news, this is the second to last part of this verse and I have an idea for a follow on to it, but I need to know if you want it or not, let me know in the reviews you leave and I shall see what I can do.

The song at the beginning and end of the chapters is "What Have You Done" by Within Temptation.

Disclaimer: They are not mine. Nor is the song. They belong to talented and wonderful people who have left me with a rich toybox to play with.

What Have You Done

Would you mind if I hurt you?
Understand that I need to
Wish that I had other choices
Than to harm the one I love

What have you done now?

Dean does not so much scream during his withdrawal from the angel blood, more, he whimpers, lies in an old mouldering bed, curled on his side and trembles. Shakes and sobs and begs for more, just a little more, just to take the pain away and let him live, because this feels like dying and Dean knows what it is to die.

They have been hiding in this abandoned house for nearly two weeks, Katie is almost fully recovered from her concussion, with only the occasional headache, a fading bruise and a fresh scar to show for it. She has been lucky, she and Castiel both know that, because Lucifer could have taken her straight away, could have simply abandoned Sam's body and taken hers to use as his own and both are at a loss to explain why he would be playing with them in this way. In his more lucid moments Dean likes to say that it is because Lucifer is sadistic like that. Castiel prefers to think that it is an indication of Lucifer's pride, his arrogance.

Katie does not think on it, does not consider why Lucifer did not take her as his vessel there and then, does not ask why he let her go. She has only one concern, one need, to lock him away again so that she can go back to her life, back to who she was before all of this, even though who she was before was a no one, a nothing, just a waitress in a small town diner of the kind that Sam and Dean have probably seen thousands of, more than likely she has seen them, served them, and not remembered their faces. Just like they never would have remembered hers and she misses that life, the emptiness and hopelessness of a dead end job and a small house and a no good boyfriend who ate her food and drank her alcohol and beat her when he was drunk, the man she was too scared to leave, the man whose actions drove her to the desperation that caused her to agree to become a vessel. In spite of everything he did, part of her still longs to return to him, to that life and she cannot do it until Lucifer is locked away, the apocalypse averted.

She spends her days with her head in the book, reading and researching, calling all of Dean's contacts, calling Ellen, asking questions and trying to locate Lucifer through any means while Castiel cares for Dean. When the whimpers and the moans and the breathless little cries and screamed pleas get too much, Katie walks into the nearby town, a trip that can take her an hour on a bad day, buys essential supplies. On the way there she dwells on the distant past, wonders what her mother is doing, if she has moved on yet after the death of Katie's father. She thinks about whether her sister made it to college and how quickly Richard moved on after she disappeared. On the way home she thinks about the year she has lost, she thinks about Dean and the agony he must be going through, about Sam and the fact that Lucifer has trapped him inside his own mind with no control over his actions.

Sometimes she feels guilty, knows that she should be helping Dean and Castiel more, caring for Dean so that Castiel can have a look at the information she has found, can tell her if he thinks that it will work, but she is not comfortable with Dean, not like she is, like she was with Sam. She cannot forget, even though she knows that he was under the influence of Lucifer's blood, that he was the one who smashed her head on the bathroom sink, the one who gave her to Lucifer even if he had no other choice. So she avoids him, leaves his care to Castiel alone and feverishly works on trying to save the world because there is nothing else she can do except run.

Since their escape, Lucifer has upped his game, not a day goes by now when they do not hear of some new disaster, even though the non-hunting community have not made the connection, will probably never make the connection, at least not until it is too late and the world has imploded in fire and ash and blood. As bad as her life was, as bad as it has been the last eighteen months, she cannot stand by and let that happen.

SPN

Lucifer paces, agitated. It has been three weeks since his new vessel and his enemy escaped, three weeks and he still has not been able to find them. It seems that he is not the only one who is playing games here, not the only one who is toying with Dean Winchester and he longs to know what rules they are playing by.

So far he has met little resistance on the part of his former brethren, only minor angels who are easily swayed to his cause or killed through sheer superiority of numbers. There has been no sign of the archangels, no sign of the Seraphim or Powers or Thrones or any of the other higher angels and Lucifer feels that he should be meeting with more resistance than this, that his Father cannot be allowing the wanton destruction of his chosen children without sending his soldiers to deal with the problem.

He is still working with only a few demons, still causing as much destruction as he can with only those already free until he can release his lieutenants, the time having passed for the ritual he had wanted to perform and now he needs to wait, needs to wait until he has all the things he needs to try opening the gate and this time it is not just the blood of a mortal that he needs, be it a mortal man or woman, this time he needs the blood of an angel, an angel loyal to his Father and his former brethren.

This, of course, means that using Castiel is utterly out of the question, because the feel of Castiel, the way that his grace sounded discordant even to Lucifer's ears, is completely wrong. Something happened to the lesser angel, Lucifer knows, something that has marked the angel and damaged him in a way that lessens him utterly and a part of Lucifer feels pity for him in that because even though he was locked up in Hell for thousands of years, it has not taken from him that which he is, an angel still even though he is blackened and tainted. Lucifer does not know what Castiel is now, but an angel is not it, not a true angel, not even a fallen one who has been so far darkened as to be a demon, Castiel is something else entirely, something that make Lucifer nervous and curious in equal measure.

He turns his attention to the demon approaching him, Astaroth, who had finally decided to join him on the same day that Dean, Castiel and the new vessel had escaped. Unlike most of Lucifer's other lieutenants, she was not cast out simply because she refused to bow to mankind, she was cast out because she allowed them to worship her as a goddess, a goddess of love and fertility and war of all things, the polar opposite of the very things she had allowed herself to be the most revered for.

In truth, Lucifer has little time and very little regard for her, countless centuries in the pit have blackened her grace to the point that it is nothing more than a husk, a drowned and rotten indication of what she once was. She is a demon now, wholly and completely, little remains of the benevolent goddess she once mimicked. Unfortunately, she is also the only other demon of rank, aside from Lillith, who escaped the pit when the gate was opened two years ago and to release the Four Horsemen, Lucifer needs the presence of a prince, or in this case a princess, of Hell to speak the second half of the invocation. The other downside is that Astaroth knows this, knows that Lucifer cannot free the Horsemen without her, and without the Horsemen, the sealed gates to Hell remain just that way, because even Lucifer is not foolish or prideful enough to try and capture an enemy angel without some significant back up this time. They will not all be like Castiel, broken and confused and alone.

Astaroth hesitates for a moment before she bends her knee before him, bowing her head and resting her hands palm down on the floor, uttering his name with a touch less reverence than he has come to expect, it draws a frown to the stolen face of Sam Winchester. When she turns scarlet eyes to his face, however, any indication of his reaction is gone and he wonders just how far she will push her impudence before she realises that after she has outlived her usefulness it will simply become an excuse for him to get rid of her. That thought is enough to bring a dark smirk to his borrowed face.

I know I'd better stop trying
You know that there's no denying
I won't show mercy on you now
I know I should stop believing
I know that there's no retrieving
It's over now
What have you done?

Reviews are little Castiels that fly above our heads and mini Deans under the bed. A small Sam in hand and a tiny John by the chair, a review that can show how much you care.

Artemis