So, I can't leave well enough alone, not only have I had Dean defeat Lucifer, I've got the world ending and now I have to fix it. Damn. Anyway, this will not be as long as the previous arc and is a direct follow on from the rest of the Hand of Sorrow Verse. Suffice it to say, I'm not easing up on the angst all that much. As before the lyrics at the beginning and end are from the song that inspired this part, this time Haunted, by Disturbed. It's an amazing song and I recommend you listen to it, because it just fits everything, series, my arc, the whole lot.

Disclaimer: I own neither the boys, Cas or any other recognisable character, I wish I was that smart, really, but I shall have to content myself with playing with them. I don't own the song either, I'm not that talented.


You're broken, so am I
I'm better off alone
No one to turn to and nothing to call my own
Outspoken, so am I
Explosive words that your world wouldn't understand
Turn away again

"You lose."

Lucifer's words still revolved around Dean's mind, still come to him in the middle of the night when he should be sleeping secure in the knowledge that they have saved the world. Except that the words left him filled with unease, almost what he would call dread, and the behaviour of the angels once Lucifer was dead has not made Dean feel any easier. So he has been lingering on it, lingering on the thought of it and the worry that it has caused in him and when he sees that town wiped from existence on the news, he knows the truth. They all do and even though he takes it hard, Castiel takes it harder.

He disappears, simply vanishes, one minute there, the next gone, grace not working right and Dean knows that he normally would not be able to do that, that his emotions must be running on over time at the moment and he feels for the guy, he really does. Knows that Castiel must be feeling this as a betrayal, that all his hard work to save humanity, to make sure that as many of the so called Chosen Children survived the transition from the normal world to Paradise has been in vain, because it is the angels who have done this, the angels who are the only ones capable of it, of wiping an entire town from the face of the Earth, leaving buildings and bodies and ghosts.

He remembers, when this all started, this running from angels and demons, rescuing Castiel and continuing to help to, to care about him like Dean cares about Sam and Bobby, to make him family. He remembers being told, though not who by, that if Lucifer were killed, the angels would win and there would be Paradise, that if Lucifer won there would be Hell, and if he were locked away again it would all be averted, life would go on as normal.

Somewhere in all of this they had lost sight of that. Somewhere in all the manipulation and the lies, in the general rush to stop Lucifer and save Sam, save Katie only to lose her all over again, to keep Castiel below that angelic radar and achieve the goal that they were working so hard towards. Dean knows, knows, that he should have thought of that, that they all should have, that there was no way that killing Lucifer was going to end this.

So, sure, they should have known that killing Lucifer would not be the end, but this is far bigger than anything that they have ever gone up against, and that includes Lucifer. Between them they have two knives that may or may not hurt full blown angels, a bow and quiver of seeming endless arrows and Lucifer's own sword, the one that did not save him from Dean's overwhelming need to end him. It is not a lot to use to go up against the entire armies of Heaven.

They settle in, safe in Bobby's house in South Dakota, need to investigate except that Dean is painfully aware that they need help, here, that they need Castiel's knowledge of his people to aid them in understanding why they would do this, why they would slaughter hundreds of people who are no apparent threat to their desire for Paradise. It does not mean that they do not research, they look into the meaning of Paradise in all ways that they can, find ideas of it that make them cringe, that disgust them, that makes Dean for a moment, just a moment, wonder if they should just let it all happen, then he reads something else and the impulse passes.

Underneath it all, there is the worry about Castiel, who has been missing for more than a week now, no word, no sign, and though the Winchester's contacts are no where near as extensive as Bobby's are, even the older hunter is having trouble locating him. The younger hunters have been kept relatively sheltered from other hunters, many of their father's contacts were never introduced to them, probably from a combination of paranoia and a desire to protect. Dean has never wished more that his father had taken into consideration that fact that they might need the contacts too.

While the older hunter has contacts across the continent, not all of them are so eager to share information, when he calls his contact in Texas, however, it seems that he may have found the one helpful person in the state, tells them that she has promised to keep her ear to the ground, assures them that she is the best person for it in that area. Even though Dean questions Bobby's faith in this unknown woman, he trusts Bobby, so he does not mention it, just worries and frets and researches and when it hits the news that the third town in as many weeks has been wiped out by seemingly nothing, he figures that he cannot simply continue to sit back and wait for the answers to come to him.

There is a bitter-sweetness to their goodbyes with their surrogate father, tainted by worry and fear and the concern that something has happened to Castiel, that perhaps the angels have taken him after all and he is also taking part in this mass extermination of the human race. Dean finds himself desperately hoping that Cas is just taking the time to think. He knows that the angel needs time to think, needs time to digest what his people have done, and he wants to be angry with the angel, former angel, whatever he is now, wants to lash out and rage and demand answers that he knows that Castiel cannot give. He finds he cannot be, not with Castiel, just wants the angel to come back.

Which scares him, terrifies him, with just how easily Cas has become a part of his family, one of the few people that he genuinely gives a damn about, probably because Castiel has done so much, given up so much, for him and Dean cannot ignore that. So, yeah, he wants to know that Cas is safe, whether with them or making his own way, is concerned that they have heard nothing after three weeks and so goes out on the hunt again, looks for Castiel in the same way that he did his father, hopes that if that does not work, then one of Bobby's friends will come through for them.

Every now and then, when Sam is not listening, either asleep or out or in the bathroom, Dean will look up, to the sky, the stars, the ceiling, the inside of his head, and he will pray to a God that does not listen and does not care, that Castiel is safe, that he and Sam and Bobby will stay safe. That they will succeed in stopping the angels before they do too much damage. He feels foolish afterwards, but he does it all the same, figures that it worked once, perhaps it could work again.


Eyes that do not see gaze out over the remains of a town once populated by thousands of souls. Even though the wind blows the dark hair, that is slightly longer than the current owner's preferences, seems to barely move. Pale skinned fingers lift, seeming to feel the air and the life that dances there for just a moment, until it fizzles out, gone in an instant that is an eternity.

While the milky eyes do not see, the occupant of the body still can, though it is odd, muted, the colours somehow real, vivid, bright, but also warped, broken and shattered under the heavy gaze of one who sees, not with mortal eyes as his brothers and sisters do now, confined in mortal bodies until Michael's goals are achieved, but with grace, pure, bright, brilliant. Grace, like the eyes of an angel, does not see as human ones do, sees light and dark, good and evil, colours as they were created but none of their subtleties and all of their brilliance.

He does not see this world as his brethren do, sees the beauty where they cannot, feels peace where they feel violence, order where they sense chaos, beauty where they see only the vile, the dirty and the unwanted. It fills him with something like sorrow, that he kills when his main task was always to heal.

"Raphael," he hears Michael's voice, his true voice, call him, closes sightless eyes though that does not stop him from seeing, and disappears from the hill and the town, leaving the spirits and lost souls alone and wandering, a final prayer for forgiveness drifting on the unfelt wind.

You're beaten, so am I
I've got a heart of stone
No medication can cure what has taken hold
You're hurting, so will I
When I awake and remember why I've been running from your

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.