A/N: Final chapter, you guys. It's been a wild ride. Hope you enjoy. Loves, Jane.
4-22: Lucifer Rising
Dean wasn't sure why he was even trying. Castiel had made it clear that he owed nothing to Dean; that there was nothing binding them but Castiel's skewed sense of duty. But the Winchesters had long since perfected the art of beating dead horses, of believing in lost causes, of hope in the face of indifference. "There is a right and a wrong here, and you know it." Castiel had turned away, and in Dean's desperation, he didn't care if he violated some unwritten "do not touch!" law. He pulled Castiel by the arm to face him, saying, "Look at me! You know it." Castiel's wide blue eyes met his, and Dean read things there, things that a month or so ago didn't even exist for the angel. Dean read fear, confusion, desperation, and something else, something less easy to define, threading through it all. Dean lowered his voice; the look in Castiel's eyes suddenly made everything more intimate. "Now, you were gonna help me once," he said. "Please Cas. Help me."
Castiel just looked at him, emotions the angel didn't understand filling his features, brimming over until it was all Dean could see. The angel said nothing, and Dean masked the hurt he felt with anger, dipping into that great ocean of rage he carried with him always. "You spineless, souless son of a bitch." He turned away, voice dripping with venom. "What do you care about dying? You're already dead. We're done."
"Dean-" the angel began, and his voice was so shattered that Dean had to cut him off, couldn't let him continue and weaken Dean's resolve.
"We're done," he repeated firmly. A rustling of wings, and a gust of sweet-smelling wind, and Castiel was gone.
And Dean was alone.
Sam let the woman's blood pour down his throat, and with it came a bone-deep self-loathing he'd never experienced before. For the first time in his life, Sam hated himself. He hated himself with a passion normally reserved for Azazel, or Lillith, or hell, his father. He hated himself the way any righteous man hates evil.
Because Sam had no doubt that what he was doing was evil.
But it was too late now to go back, and why couldn't Dean understand, didn't he see that this was all for him? Couldn't he see what his absence had done to Sam, what Sam had been through, how much he needed this revenge against Lillith, who stole his brother and broke his soul? This wasn't power, or wealth, or pride, this was pure, cold revenge, because even though Dean was back, he wasn't back, there was a hollowness behind his eyes, put there by Alastair, and therefore by Lillith. Sam lost his brother the day Dean went to hell, and what came back was a shadow of Dean, a man broken, and hurting, and lost, a man who enjoyed inflicting pain, and who shied away from his family's love. Didn't Dean see that it was him Sam wanted, not Ruby, not the angels, not anything but him?
The words of sick encouragement and lust Ruby hissed in his ear made Sam's stomach roil and rebel, but he forced his revulsion down, forced himself to continue, because he had to kill Lillith, nothing else mattered, because in his mind, killing Lillith would make Dean whole again, would make him turn from Castiel and seek Sam's comfort, would make Dean fully trust him again. None of it made any sense, and Sam understood on san intellectual level that it was just his addiction talking, that the best way to help Dean was to stop right now and go back to him, but the nature of flawed humanity allowed him to cling to his illusions and lies.
Ruby kept whispering in his ear about saving the world.
Castiel stood for just a moment behind Dean, and watched. He watched in that timeless, ageless way he used to, the way angels do. Saw the line of Dean's back, beautiful even under four layers. He saw the grim set of Dean's shoulders, the muscles in his legs moving under worn denim as he reached out for the cheeseburger on the table. He saw the sadness and despair in inch of the boy, and dear God, he loved him. He loved him, loved him in a way that was bright and wrong and painful, loved him darkly, loved him deeply, and loved him more than God. And Castiel was terrified.
And if he stayed on this course of thought, he might die, might stand there and burn up from it, so he made himself move, made himself do what he'd come there to do. He grabbed Dean more forcefully than was strictly needed, yanked him back and shoved him against the wall. He clamped a hand over Dean's mouth, and the confusion in those bright green eyes shouldn't be such a turn on, should it? Castiel tilted his head back, nodded ever so slightly, and dear God, Dean nodded back, he understood, trusted Castiel, which made his heart clench, and other parts of him do a few more interesting things, but that was best examined later, there was work to do.
And Castiel took the knife from his belt, and let Dean go, and began the ritual. He felt Dean's gaze on his back as a physical force, but refused to turn until it was all done. Zachariah walked in near the end, but Castiel just soldiered on, finishing the ritual in the middle of his superior's surprised, "What the fu -?!" A flash of light, and the angel was gone.
Cas turned to Dean, then, and was awarded with a look of stunned incredulity. It suited the boy. His eyes should always be that wide, that sparkling, but Castiel thought his slack mouth could be put to better uses. A mouth that's open wide and speechless seemed like such a waste, especially a mouth like Dean's. "Dean," Castiel began, feeling oddly breathless, "we don't -"
He was cut off by that wicked mouth sealing itself over his, by Dean shoving him back against the wall, plastering their bodies together. Castiel moaned up into it, into Dean, but quickly regained his senses. He pushed Dean back and said, his own voice strangely hoarse, "Dean, we don't have much time. We have to stop Sam from killing Lillith."
Dean blinked once, twice, relief and lust clouding his thoughts. "But… Lillith's gonna break the final seal."
"Lillith is the final seal. She dies, the end begins."
No, no, no, no, NO, dear God, what had he done, what was that web of blood, why did Ruby look so smug and…?
"You've opened the door," she whispered in a hushed, mad tone usually reserved for religious fervor.
And Sam had not destroyed evil, Sam had not saved the world, he had unleashed evil into it, and suddenly his knees gave out, and why was Ruby still talking? Bile rose in his throat, and off in the distance, he heard Dean calling him, fevered cries of Sammy! ringing through his head, but Dean never wanted to see him again so Sam was officially crazy now, hearing voices, and why not? If you set Lucifer free, it makes sense that you'd be crazy, right?
But then the door burst open, and it was fake, wasn't it? A hallucination, but whatever it was, it was Dean, heading for Ruby with a knife and a look of murder. And Sam was up, he gripped Ruby's arms as Dean thrust the knife under her ribs and up, and she shuddered in his arms in a sick imitation of the things they used to do together. He dropped her body, and Sam couldn't know, but as he mouthed, "I'm sorry," Dean was wondering where he went wrong. This was his fault, it had to be, and no one told Sam what would happen if he trusted a demon bitch, and why was there no manual, no way to prepare, no book titled Little Brother and Only Reason To Live Getting Manipulated by Demonic Whore.
And as Dean thought about that, back at Chucks, Castiel was facing the bright light of his brother Raphael, and he was thinking of Dean, and how strong he was, and the feel of his stubble across Castiel's face, and how he was proud to die for Dean, because it's what Winchesters do. Castiel was being ripped apart, and thought only of Dean, and how Sam might be alive now, and the world might be saved, Castiel might have had a hand in it, wouldn't Dean be proud of him? Even as he died, Castiel felt his brother's disdain at the thoughts flying through his head, but who could blame him? No one understood unless the knew Dean, really knew him. Dean was worth dying for.
And Dean stared into the bright lights of hell, and he smelled a few familiar and sickening things, and he had his brother's heart beat under his hand, so he thought of Cas, and hoped that he was okay, because if he lived through this, he wished nothing more than to hole himself up ina hotel room with Sam and Cas and never fucking leave. Bobby and Ellen can come to if they promise to be quite, and ignore the occasion moan from Dean's bed.
And Sam felt, for the first time, a desire to die, because this was his fault, and he hoped to the God he no longer believed was listening that Dean would forgive him.
And still, the light grew brighter.