Dean stares into the black, soulless eyes of a demon. His hand is itching to go for the knife, the knife Sam's angel friend Ruby told him could kill anything. He's failed once already, Bobby's lying on the floor, neck broken, because of that. But it's an impulse. The demon doesn't move, just watches him with the same 'is that all you got?' quirk of the mouth he's had since Dean shot the sonofabitch.

"What do you want, for Sam?" He spits out eventually. Because even though Bobby's dead, even though he's probably following him in a second, he can't stop. He summoned a demon to get Sam out. No way he's giving up.

"Nothing" that look is really starting to piss him off. That fake innocent look that demons pull sometimes, so human.

"Bull. You gotta want something" He smirks, trying to sound brazen. "Come on Cas" he can tell he's not pleased with the nickname. "Name it."

"What's the matter Dean?" The demon cocks its head to one side and frowns with false sympathy. "Getting lonely?"

He makes a grab for the knife but finds himself slammed up against the barn wall before he's moved a half inch. The demon's low voice grates into his ear.

"Sam's deal isn't negotiable. He's in hell, you're alive. Nothing anyone can do about it."

"You sure it's not just you?" He's finding it hard to breathe with an iron fist around his throat. His brain is yelling at him to shut up, but then it also told him not to summon Castiel. "Maybe you're just...not...demon enough" He's hauled back from the wall and slammed into it again.

"Strong enough to break your defences." He tips his head towards Bobby's prone form and Dean uses everything he has to keep his tone neutral.

"Taking down retired hunters? Yeah, you're a goddamn force of nature." He coughs and tastes blood.

The blow he's expecting doesn't come. Instead the demon looks him in the eye and Dean swears he can see something like...admiration there. Almost respect. Then he's tossed to the side like a rag doll, hitting the wall and passing out.

Bobby's long since burnt and salted when Dean sees Castiel again. For weeks he's been on the road either tanked or hunting, sometimes both. Not thinking beyond his next drink or his next fight. Whenever he sobers up enough to be aware of himself he can't help thinking, Sam's in hell for this? For this life? But he can't stop. He doesn't want to stop.

He's propped up on the sticky counter of a bar, fairly close to taking a waitress back to his room for the night. These pairings occur between hunts and bouts of drunken unconsciousness. If they notice his bruises and scars they don't mention them. Then again, it is dark and they're usually pretty drunk themselves.

The waitress in question is leaning so close he can smell her gum and feel her warm breath. It's a relief to feel that, to feel anything that isn't cold, pain or the burn of a fresh wound or shot of whisky. To feel anything close to normal. Her hand is wandering to the front of his jeans when it's gripped in a larger one and removed. He turns quickly, ignoring the girls gasp of pain. Standing right behind him is the demon from Bobby's.

It's still possessing the same guy, a kind of wiry accountant type in a suit and raincoat. He's staring coldly at the waitress, who bolts for the kitchen as soon as he releases her. His gaze meets Deans and for a second his eyes flick black. Dean's chest goes cold. Castiel smiles.

"Hello Dean."

Sam returns from hell with a lot of questions. Ruby answers them with her usual detached calm. She explains about the seals, Lilith and the coming fight for control of Lucifer's prison. Once she's left him, abandoned at a gas station scattered with broken glass, his one thought is to find Dean.

It's harder than he thought it would be. Bobby's phone is no longer connected. Nobody's heard from him in a while and Sam quickly comes to the conclusion that the old hunter has fallen in his absence. Greif, the first emotion he's felt since being raised from hell, makes him even more desperate to find his brother.

Crossing paths with another clutch of hunters by chance he gets an address for a guy matching Dean's description. It's the middle of the night by the time he gets there, several days later. Hitching has taken its toll and Sam isn't in the mood to wait till morning. He get's Dean's room number from the desk and knocks on the door.

Dean!, Dean? It's Sam, open up." Scuffling sounds cross the floor inside and the door opens to reveal Dean, tugging on a shirt just in time.

"Sam?" Doubt and suspicion flicker in his gaze.

"It's him" A low voice assures from somewhere in the darkened room. A man appears behind Dean, shrugging an overcoat on. Underneath it he's wearing a suit, but the shirt's undone, the tie hanging loose.


"I'll be around." He doesn't look back as he leaves the motel. There's an authority to his tone that set's Sam on edge. For now though, he's too caught up in seeing Dean, in being seen, to question it.

Inside the room is dark, the bed's in disarray and someone's been smoking. If Sam notices the smell of sex that clings to his brother he doesn't comment.

Dean's back is pressed against the bar, blood from a cut high on his forehead is running into his eye, burning. He barely notices. Dimly he wonders where the waitress has gone. If she'd called the police they would have been here by now. The fight between him and Castiel would have been hard to miss.

The demon's body presses closer and Dean's thoughts run off track. The fight is over...maybe. Maybe it's just on different terms.

"Don't you ever get tired Dean?" Castiel moves forwards and breaths the words into his ear. Stubble scratches against his neck and Dean shudders. His mouth drops to the curve of Dean's shoulder, biting and sucking at the skin there. The heel of his hand presses against Dean's crotch, eliciting a low moan. It isn't a taunt; it's the truth, spoken so low and so warmly, millimetres from his jugular. Dean bucks unthinkingly against the hand and turns his head to bring the demon's mouth against his own.

Castiel's been following him for weeks. Showing up on hunts to watch from the sidelines, at bars to scare off potential company and on the road in between. It infuriates Dean to the point where he visibly tenses at every flash of beige fabric at the edge of his vision. White rage fills him every time he thinks about what the bastard did to Bobby.

There's no one on earth. No torture too inventive. That would make him admit it, but Dean actually finds the demon's company...soothing. He's an accessory to his own destruction. A bottle of Jack Daniels with acerbic wit. Because Castiel is almost never silent, he's always got something to say.

Castiel is also hiding something, beyond the mind reading powers of some of his brethren, and definitely from the hunter he's been stalking: Castiel isn't sure why he's following Dean. It started with curiosity, minor sin that it is. A hunter desperate enough to summon him, to deal with him even after he'd snapped the neck of his companion. It interested him enough to warrant a second visit. Nothing unpleasant, well, a little fighting, nothing he wasn't up to. Then Dean surprised him, and after untold years of tormenting, thinking he's seen it all, that's an event in itself.

So he whispers against his neck, knowing that Dean has lost the fight spectacularly. There's nothing between them, Castiel knows and hates Dean with everything in his demonic nature. Dean is sickened by the thought that the hand that's currently pleasuring him snapped Bobby's neck. But neither of them stop. Curiosity and despair fuelling each other.

The night that Sam returns changes everything. Not just because it marks the beginning of their newest crusade. Since what happened in that bar, miles behind him now, Dean hasn't seen Castiel at all. He's rationalised that the demon's had his fill of sick mind games. That, broken as he is, he is no longer a source of entertainment.

Castiel arrives at his motel with as little ceremony as usual. Somehow opening the door despite the chain Dean knows he put across. Shedding his raincoat onto a chair just inside the room he settles onto the unoccupied bed. He watches Dean as he slowly raises his glass and swallows the last of its contents.

"Thought you'd given up on me."

"Not nearly." He seems placid enough, though Dean can never tell with Castiel. Sometimes he starts out like this and then ends up hissing vitriol at him for hours. Cas takes out a cigarette, offers him the pack and then lights up. Almost like he's trying to put Dean at ease. Dean remains motionless for as long as possible, when it becomes apparent that Castiel isn't going anywhere he refills his glass and looks out over the parking lot. There's nothing else to look at.

"God you're dull tonight." Dean turns to find Castiel drawing deeply on the last of the cigarette, watching him closely.

"Feel free to leave, sure there're more interesting people to annoy" He turns his back on the demon, despite every impulse screaming at him to maintain a sight line. Castiel laughs to himself. When Dean next looks at him he seems unusually contemplative. It sets him on edge.

"What?" Castiel throws up his arms in exasperation.

"Well if I'm so dull to be around..." Dean raises an eyebrow. If there's going to be a fight he'd rather get it out of the way.

"If you wanted me to leave..."

"What? I should have said? More often?" Castiel's black eyes meet his own and make his voice shake. Without breaking eye contact the demon gets to his feet and moves towards him.

"If you wanted me to leave." He stresses it differently. "But you don't, do you?" He stands right in front of the hunter, the challenge evident in every move. "You like this. Me being here. Especially when..." Dean lashes out and Castiel stumbles back slightly, striking back instantly. When Dean recovers and looks at the demon he has blood running from the edge of his mouth. The admiration in Cas's eyes is genuine.

"That's interesting." Dean doesn't answer, just dives for him again.

The next break in the fight comes much later. They both end up at opposite sides of the room. Dean's lip is split, his ribs ache and his knuckles are torn raw. Blood is running from a cut on his forehead. Castiel isn't much better off, jacket hanging off one shoulder and a large bruise spreading over his throat. Dean vaguely remembers choking him a while ago. The demon's smiling at him.

"Tired?" he cocks his head sympathetically "You need a minute?" Dean spits blood to the floor.

"You know what?" He lets his shoulders slump. He's tired. It's gone on long enough. "I'm done. Get it over with." Castiel's frown is barely detectable but it's there. "You heard. Kill me, I'm done."

The demon seems to consider this.

"...No, I don't think so."

That's it, the last of his dignity gone. He's surrendered, decided to die without a fight. Still it won't come.

"Why the hell not?" Castiel himself doesn't seem on his game either. The frown's deepened, but he still tries to maintain his cool exterior.

"Send you down to the pit? Let every perdition-bound-demon have a piece of you?" He acts like he's considering it, but really he's hiding the distaste that idea creates. He likes Dean exactly where he is, where only he can get at him.

"Fine. I'll do it." Dean's clawing back control of the situation. He turns away from Castiel, only to be caught hold of and pushed into the opposite wall.

"No" Almost growled against the back of his neck. He's turned around and thrown back against the wall, facing Castiel's black, bottomless and royally pissed eyes.

For a second neither of them can proceed. Castiel won't kill him, so Dean isn't afraid anymore. Castiel refuses to let go of him regardless.

"Why?" His voice comes out tired and weak. Because he is. Dean Winchester, hunter and warrior for good is too broken to care. In answer Castiel kisses him.

It's different to before. Castiel isn't in control of him, getting off on watching the hunter quake. He's just as involved, just as lost. Dean grasps him with the same desperation he grasps at everything. What's different this time is he's grasping back.

Tugging at sweat drenched clothing and pulling each other to the bed they both manage to grab some control. Naked and panting on the rough sheet Dean looks at Castiel whose eyes are switching from black to light blue with every blink. Control is an issue for them. Castiel surprises him by lying down first, pulling Dean on top of him.

"Don't get used to it" rumbles somewhere over his head.

Dean has no concrete idea of what he's doing. A hand closes over his and guides it, Cas's body bucks as his fingers stretch the demon open. Amidst the groans of pleasure he laughs a little, almost drunkenly.

"What?" Dean pants against his ear, fingers still pumping, grazing something inside Castiel that makes him buck a little.

"This " He waves hand at himself. It takes Dean a second to grasp that he means the body he's possessing. "He really hates this." Dean's hand stills. Castiel mews a complaint, oblivious to the wrongness of what they're doing.

"Fuck! Cas..." The demons eyes narrow and his hand wraps around Dean and pumps rapidly. The hunters eyes close and he moans despite himself. His fingers pick up their pace again and Castiel sighs with satisfaction.

"Some advice, Dean" his voice catches "Don't forget who you're in bed with."

"You..." Castiel guides Dean's compliant body into place and he thrusts automatically, twin groans escaping them. He finds a rhythm and bends his face to the nape of Castiel's neck. "You...sick, souless, sonofabitch..." Castiel's hand closes around his throat, cutting off just enough air to make him uncomfortable.

"What does that make you?" he hisses, not unkindly, against his ear. Dean hasn't got an answer.

They're lying, sprawled across the soiled bed, when the knock at the door rouses them. Sam's voice filters through the oppressive sweaty darkness of the room. Sam's voice. Dean feels a lurch of something, tight in his chest. Sam's back.

Dean moves off of Castiel, who murmurs in annoyance. He looks down at the demon. What he's done should make him feel sick, but instead he He's fallen now, irrevocably, utterly fallen. But he isn't alone. Whatever they've just done, whatever it means, he knows Castiel isn't going anywhere.

He shrugs clothing on and goes to the door. It's his brother, he's sure of it almost instantly. But the old suspicion won't leave him. Every good thing that's ever happened to him has ended in pain.

"Sam?" Doubt and suspicion flicker in his gaze.

"It's him" Castiel approaches from behind him, not touching but still somehow arresting him. His eyes leave Sam and he looks at the demon, now mostly clothed.


"I'll be around." He doesn't look back as he leaves the motel. Dean knows he'll be back. He takes Sam inside, hoping his brother doesn't notice what he can't possibly miss. Explanations can come later, for now he just wants to hold on to it.

His brother is back. Castiel isn't leaving. Two things that will keep him around for a while longer.