Pairings:Dean/Alastair, Dean/Castiel, Dean/Sam, Ruby/Lilith

Disclaimer:I don't own Supernatural in any way, shape, or form.

Summary: AU beginning after No Rest For the Wicked. Dean wakes up on the rack to an eternity of torture at Alastair's hands. Meanwhile, Castiel and several of his brothers embark on a mission to rescue Dean from Hell before he can give in and break the first seal. After forty years of fighting, Castiel reaches Dean, only to find that the righteous man is no longer righteous. Castiel resurrects Dean so that he can play his part in the coming Apocalypse. Once back on the surface, Dean has trouble adjusting to life the way everyone (himself included) expects him to. Hell changed him, and he's not so sure if he can or wants to change back.

Warnings: Graphic torture, noncon, dubcon, violence, blood-play, semi-graphic death of a child, mature language, some cannibalism, character deaths, and two brief instances of watersports used as religious metaphors. Please proceed at your own caution. I would not advise clicking the links below if you are uncomfortable with any of the things I have warned for; this is a graphic story only suitable for a mature audience. I've edited the worst of the fic out for this site, but still, this is not a happy or tame read.

This was originally posted for the SPN/J2 Big Bang 2010 over on livejournal. I am more than willing to give the link to the full version to anyone who asks. You guys have to see the art that was drawn for this story, the art is beautiful and horrific and so much better than this story could ever be.

In This Hollow Valley

Come little light
Falling too slow-
Into the darkness;
Go, go, go

The air is a harsh, wet heat heavy with the scent of sulfur, the copper of fresh and drying blood. It smells like evil, so dark and overpowering, the stench of a thousand demons, the utter odor of absolute sin, six-day-old piss left to sit in ninety-degree heat in a truck stop restroom.

The pain hits him moments afterwards. Bone-deep – no – soul-deep agony, pulsing where hooks are embedded deep into his flesh, holding him tight to the miles and miles of bloody, rusty chains expanding out into the blackness; a spider web of suffering reaching every corner and bowel of hell. This is it his brain chants, even as he screams, long, panicked screams, cries for his brother and for help, for the salvation the logic portion of him knows won't come. He deserves this, he begged for this, and he flexes his bare feet, swallows hard against the fresh wave of shouts brewing low in his throat, impending yells that vibrate his vocal chords.

He sizzles alive with his fear in the dark, listening to the tormented screeches, the endless pleas, women and men sobbing somewhere he can't see, but so close he can feel them, feel their eternal misery. They howl like abused and dying dogs in the dark.

"Hello Dean." Something whispers to him, stepping out of the shadows and into the light.

He knows demons are ugly sons of bitches beneath their suits but his mind couldn't comprehend something this unearthly awful. The demon is black, black as night, black as the feathers of a crow; an inky, dead black. It has two gray ivory horns protruding from the top of its skull that curl backwards, the tips razor-sharp and jagged. It walks on goat hooves with black nails and its arms are long and thin, with claws that could put a wendigo's or Wolverine's to shame, and blood has dried to them in a thick, red crust. It's lean, and it's tall, and it hisses at him with a barbed, bruise-purple tongue that pokes between teeth serrated like a shark's. Its cock hangs obscenely between its thighs, covered in barbs and bristles, the quills of a porcupine. In all his years he's never seen anything as terrifying. It looks like a manifestation of evil, and it is, it fucking is.

"Dude, you need a facial, no, a new face. You are one ugly bastard. I don't think even your mother could love that face." He forces a laugh that feels tiny, barely causes a rattle in his chest.

"Hm, you're very funny Deano. You don't mind if I call you Deano, do you?"

"If I say I mind is it going to matter?" The sulfur in the air makes his throat burn, until it hurts to breathe, just to draw in breath after breath, mouthful after gasping choke.

"No." It chuckles, delighted; a child unwrapping its new toy. It meets his eyes with curiosity, and he can see himself being torn apart in its irises, scattered bloody across the floor.

"Who are you?"

"Who am I? Why, I'm the guy in the suit, the head honcho, the big man on campus, the guy calling the shots, I'm the boss down here, Dean. My name is Alastair." The name slithers off his tongue and goddamn if it isn't fitting, shivers traveling down his spine at just the sound, the face and name put together, into one being of pure, unadulterated malice, definitely not from concentrate. iAlastair/i, Alastair is a demon and he's in hell, so there will be no last minute exorcisms, no salt or holy water. There is nothing to save him. He doubts hope and redemption exist down here, so low beneath the ground. "Do you know why I'm here?" Alastair has a knife, a curved, silver blade, and he uses it, slices Dean's clothes away from his body, nicking the skin above his heart on the way down.

"Nope, I'm afraid I'm relatively new to how things work in hell." Alastair leans in close and he can smell his breath, the rot and the stench of it, blood and mold, twisted, dying flesh, that long, barbed, decrepit tongue. He thinks if Alastair were to lick him pieces of it would break off and fall, wriggle there on the ground.

"It's very simple Deano. I'm going to torture you today." Alastair cocks his head thoughtfully, grinning horridly in the darkness. "That's about it really; I'm going to torture you. I'm going to torture you day after day, until you're broken, and then I'm going to break you again. Any questions?"

"No." His voice dies in his throat, and the sound that emerges from his throat is barely a whisper, nothing more than a hoarse exhalation.

"Let's begin, shall we?"

Alastair sinks the knife into the soft flesh of his exposed belly.

He is light.

He is made from light. His entire being is constructed from it, shining brighter than the sun. God is the sun and God is light and God is the stars. He is part of his father; a tiny, shimmering piece of his creator's soul.

"Castiel." Uriel is bright too, golden and gleaming, glass-sharp luminous feathers reflecting sun. His own wings shine with silver beams from the moon, feathers dancing in the breeze that ruffles them. He can't feel the wind but he can see it, see the fluttering of his and Uriel's feathers, the clouds being pushed gracefully across the sky. "We have a mission, the entire garrison."

"What is it?"

"We're to rescue a soul from hell. We must leave immediately."

"Whose soul?" He wonders what man or woman can be worthy of this salvation. They have never been called upon to pull someone from perdition.

"Dean Winchester. Come, it's time to go." He follows Uriel, casts one, long glance back at the brightness of heaven and steps past the gates.

He falls from heaven and it is exhilarating; he plummets, falling faster and faster, his wings cutting through the sky as he spirals downward. His brothers are on either side of him and they descend together, shining. Earth is dim beneath them, but Castiel can see every inch of it, all of the world; the mountains and the glaciers, each ripple in the sea.

Down, down, down he soars and he thinks of Dean Winchester, a man who he is going to pluck from the very folds of hell, the darkest, foulest recesses of the universe. He can see Dean's memories and he sorts through them, listens to the endless eternity of his thoughts.

Goodnight Sammy.

I love you mom.

Please, be proud of me. Look at me like that too.

There is no God.

I don't want to die.

Love me…look….please….I'm not…you don't understand…no…take me….too…I…Sam..

Dean's thoughts fly by and he sees the story of Dean's life in the sky, flashing before him. Dean who wanted a puppy and received a little brother instead, Dean who wanted to be a fireman once, Dean who just wanted to live to be forty, Dean who wanted to die before his brother, Dean who stopped wanting, who stopped needing, who gave and gave, stripped his very soul bare until there was nothing left, until he was a hollow, empty shell and death was a relief.

The last moment of Dean's life and Castiel tastes the salt of his blood and soft resignation; feels the intensity of pain and aches. Dean is being torn apart and there is nothing, only blood on his lips, blood pooling in the open cavern of his chest. Dean watches the florescent light twirl yellow across the ceiling and in the furthest corner of his mind, mouse timid and quiet is I tried. You tried Dean Winchester Castiel says, though Dean can't hear him, whispers to himself as he stares through the salted iron bars of hell's gates into the blackness, the crackles of gray lightning far below.

Dean's memories are precious. They are invaluable sources of insight into Dean's character, remarkable in their depths. They offer Castiel an opportunity to study this soul, a true hero lost in a world of the dead and forever dying. He gets to know Dean, become familiar with him, each wondrous second of his life. He sorts through the memories in chronological order. He wants to see Dean from the beginning of his life to the end, the subtle changes that shaped him as a man.

Dean is six months old and cries in the night. He can hear the rustle of demons outside the walls, waiting for Azazel's chosen boy, their black eyes peering in through the rectangular window above Dean's bed.

Dean is a year old and loves the taste of whipped cream off his mother's pinky finger. Mary laughs as he sucks it off greedily, leans forward to scoop up a tiny bit more from her ice cream sundae and feed Dean more, his tiny fists open in pleasure.

Dean is three and inconsolable when his father misses his pre-school Thanksgiving pageant. He's dressed as a Native American, construction paper feathers stapled to a brown paper headband loosely balanced atop his ears. He wears a tiny brown vest, matching pants, and small moccasins with beads his mother sewed on one by one the night before. She tells Dean he is the most handsome thing she has ever seen.

Dean does not want a little brother, he announces to his father on the drive to the hospital shortly before his fourth birthday. He swings his feet absently in the back seat, presses handprints to the Impala's windows, irritable and miserably disappointed. He wanted a sister, he says. A brother will take all of his toys. He also thinks the name Sam is dumb. Batman is a much better name. John sighs and buys Dean ice cream, does not object when Dean insists they buy some for the baby and Dean eats that cone as well.

Dean cries into John's shirt while their house burns, the flames so high and hot he feels the fire through his pajamas, even from across the street. He cries for his mom and for his favorite Batman and Superman action figures and his brand new sneakers. He cries because he is tired and because Sammy is crying too, both Winchester boys sobbing as a man with yellow eyes watches from Dean's smoking bedroom window.

At five, Dean can change a diaper in three and a half seconds flat. He knows to test the temperature of formula by squirting it onto the inside of his wrist, where the skin is most sensitive. He knows that the best way to stop his brother from crying is to stand with him in his arms, rock slowly from the heels of his feet to his toes while singing the ABC's. A-B-C-D-L-M-N-O-P Dean sings.

Dean gets a gun for his sixth birthday, a small, silver gun, just big enough for his little hands to wrap around to pull the trigger. John teaches Dean to lay salt around the doors and windows, tells him awful stories about the monsters outside that have Dean lying awake at night, his hands beneath his pillow, always wrapped around the gun.

Sam wails and clings to Dean's shirt, pleading and screaming. He doesn't want to go to his first day of kindergarten; he wants to go to class with Dean. Dean bats his long eyelashes up at Sam's pretty teacher and asks if it would be okay for him to stay, just for a little while. She shakes her head. Dean calls her a mean bitch. He and Sam are sent home for the day.

John takes Dean on his first hunt when he turns twelve. Dean helps in what should have been a simple salt and burn, but the ghost of the middle aged hit and run victim has other ideas. He shoots it in the head with a shotgun, giving his father enough time to set the bones aflame. Dean smells the decrepit flesh, the burning hair and bone, and thinks of his mother.

Minnie Hu gives Dean his first blowjob. Dean rests his back against the stall of the boy's bathroom of his third high school of his freshman year, grips Minnie's long black hair to hold her steady. Minnie is clumsy, slobbering around Dean's cock, so sweet and pretty he doesn't care she can't swallow everything when he comes. He kisses the side of her mouth, licks a drop of his own come away, pushes his hand up Minnie's skirt to where she's soft and warm.

Dean gives his first blowjob in the back of an empty parking lot, sixteen and drunk and rebellious. The boy's name is Darrel, Darrel Washington; he plays point guard for the basketball team. He isn't tall, shorter than Dean by two inches, and he fucks into Dean's mouth aggressive, condom he's put on tasting bitter of latex and greasy like lube. Dean likes it, though, and for a moment he imagines it's his brother doing this, his baby brother stretching his lips sore. He orgasms in his jeans the same moment Darrel pulls out, whips off the condom and comes all over his face, paints it hot and sticky, showers him with jizz.

Castiel stops to contemplate the moral complications of incest, lets Dean's memories filter back into the corner of his mind.

The sky is a washed-out blue, faded watercolors, dusty chalk smeared by fingertips, with smudges of cotton white clouds splattered like drips of paint. The clouds move like drips of paint too, melting, trickling down, slopping wetly into thick white puddles, bubbling and oozing when they touch his skin. The sky above him liquefies and turns to black, a shade of midnight coal, lightening to ashen gray in the rare seconds of dim light. He hears nothing but thunder and screams and laughter, Alastair's breathing hard and heavy in his ear. He's heard that women use the expression 'lie back and think of England' during this type of thing; supposedly it makes the entire situation less traumatic. He doesn't, at this moment in time, see any truth in the saying. Getting his ass fucked to thoughts of blue and red flags, fish and chips, Hugh Grant and Princess Diana or not, it's still pretty friggin' traumatic.

Alastair fucks into him hard, harsh and jerky movements, the quills of his cock scraping him raw inside. There's venom on the tips of the quills and it burns, a corrosive, agonizing burn, the slow and steady spread of acid, devouring his intestines inch by inch, working its way up into his body. It feels like his lower intestine is shot to hell and that's just the beginning, next it'll be his small intestine and up and up and up, until his heart disintegrates away and there is pain inside and out while Alastair works him over. Getting fucked is the worst and he thinks it hurts more than it's supposed to, more than it physically should, he thinks that's probably the point.

If he squeezes his eyes shut he can see his mother's face, the smooth angles of her face, the softness in her eyes. He can see Sammy too and they're off somewhere else right now. He's teaching Sammy how to tie his shoes, sitting in the back of the Impala in ninety degree heat, sweat dripping off his skin in rivers, windows rolled down and nothing but stale too hot air. And the rabbit goes around the tree and through the hole. He guides Sammy's hands with his own, in a clumsy parody of a loop, a sloppy imitation of shoe tying but Sammy grins down at the awkward loops and loose knots and beams. I did it Dean! He's not in hell right now and if there's anything in the world he's good at, one single fucking thing, it's pretending; pretending that inside he isn't dying, doesn't hate the worthless disappointment he's always been.

"Ah, ah, ah." Alastair's hands slither up to cup his face, claws and leathery skin resting on his cheeks, holding him flat between his palms. He thinks Alastair is going to kiss him, his face steady and pliable, shove his lips forward and kiss him, stick that decrepit tongue past his teeth. "None of that now Deano." Alastair doesn't kiss him, the hands move up past his cheeks, clawed thumbs gripping hold of his eyelids, spearing them with the nail. Alastair rips his eyelids away and now Dean can't help but see, see everything, the buzz of pleasure in Alastair's white eyes as he fucks him, sucks his eyelids off the tips of his claws and eats them, chews them loud and messy and slow. "You taste so sweet Dean." Alastair licks over his completely exposed eyeballs and the venom in his blood has finally made it to his stomach. His stomach bursts and then his own acids are eating him alive as well, his muscles trembling and twitching, the fire spreading down through his abdomen as another fire crawls upwards, seeking out the beating muscle in his chest.

The world inside his head bleeds back into reality, and he just bleeds.

Hell is unfamiliar; hell is a different world. It is beneath the world, constructed from the negativity of humanity, blackness and malice and cruelty. Hell is made of sand; it shifts and crumbles, formed fresh with a modicum of pressure, fingers piling it high and feet that kick it down. The desert stretches endlessly before him, and the sand is boiling beneath his feet, so hot it almost burns, would boil the flesh from his bones, char the soles of his feet to ash if he were made of skin and bone, if he were of anything other than light. The sand moves in ripples and it is alive, buzzing with pent up energy, and he thinks if he were not a soldier of the Lord it would attempt to swallow him whole, grip him tightly and drag him under struggling.

"Disgusting." Uriel points far off in the distance, to the silhouettes of souls moving against the black background of hell, the eternal night sky.

The shapes are souls and they are not.

They live and they breathe and yet they are dead, corrupted and twisted like melted wax pulled apart and frozen again.

They are not demons; they are caught in-between, in a state of limbo, a personal purgatory among the endless sea of burning sand. He walks and as he moves forward the souls move back, creeping further into the blackness, where his light cannot find them. He watches them move to his right, stalking him; damned souls seeking out the light, moths congregating around the flame.

In the morning, when the lightning crackles at its brightest, he counts three sets of half-dark eyes. The night before, there were six, and somewhere behind him a pack of demons laughs and laughs, the sound dissolving into a noise that barely resembles laughter; a sound that is not human or ever was, a sound born from sulfur and evil.

"How far to go?" The sound of Dean Winchester's death taunts him, the wet gurgle of a dying scream in a righteous man's bloody throat.

Uriel is silent; Zachariah flexes the feathers on his back.

The sand rumbles, and in ahead there is a primal, agonized wail.

The damned are animals. They are without sanity, without consciousness, driven to a mental state of nonexistence. Hell swallows up humanity, demons feed off it, and the sand burns it, fuels its blazing fires with the shards of coherency from sinful men. The damned laugh and it is not laughing, it is a keening sound, a low, ugly noise deep in the belly. It is a cross between a growl and the uncontrollable chuckling of a madman.

Before him, the damned feast, one of their equals spread out steaming at their feet. They rip into the woman's stomach with their hands, pry apart her skin and bone, tear the muscle holding her together to get to the warm treasures in her abdomen, the protected, secret flesh concealed by the bones of her ribs, the unyielding wall of her sternum. They are down to two and the blood runs up past their elbows, splashed onto their naked bodies, grabbing handfuls of organs. A deranged man, half wild, half evil, and also half lost, holds a kidney in his palms, his face pressed into it so deep the blood smears from one of his cheeks to the other and dribbles down into the sand as he bites. The second, an adolescent, her hair gnarled and knotted, stiff with dried blood, hauls the victim's entrails out inch by inch. When she reaches the end, where the small intestine meets the stomach, she rips it free, licks and sucks the bile from both ends as it gushes out, staining a pale, sickly yellow splotch on the blood soaked sand.

"Animals." Uriel spits, wings quivering in his disgust.

"Damned." He corrects, overcome with the urge to touch them, to reach out and stroke the dirty, soiled skin, cleanse it into absolution, cleanse them into redemption. They are sinners, they are the dark, and he was made to bring them light, purify and brighten the blackest recesses of creation.

"Leave them Castiel. They aren't for us." Raphael grasps his shoulder, guides him forward, into the continuing vastness of the outskirts of hell. He is under the suspicion that they did not come to bring light, but perhaps to collect darkness.

For awhile he thought he was adjusting. He thought he could do it. He was so sure.

It stops being easy three years, two days, and thirty nine seconds in, when there aren't any clouds in the dark, bloody sky.

He can still taste the blood in the back of his throat from his first torture session with Alastair. Dried blood tastes crusty like the copper of stale pennies left to warm in the sun, stuffed deep in the pocket of a leather jacket. He clears his throat and spits, clears and spits, blood on his tongue and in-between his teeth.

"How are you today, Dean?" Alastair uses that introductory tone with him, chock-full of false pleasantries. Alastair says this is their time to get to know each other. He knows all he needs to know about Alastair. Alastair's a demon, nothing else about him is important. "The silent treatment again?" Alastair touches a finger to his lips. His skin is dry, has the texture of a sandpaper covered raisin. "Someone is playing hard to get."

"You're not nearly as funny as you think you are." He wants to add the word bastard or asshole or son of a bitch to the end of a sentence, but he wants this part to last. This is his calm before the storm; this is his plume of smoke before the volcanic eruption. Alastair's Mount Vesuvius and he's goddamn Pompeii.

"There's my boy." Alastair bumps his face affectionately. "You can't hide that cocky streak of yours. Not from me." He can't hide anything from Alastair, not even the contents of his mind. Alastair reads his memories like they're pages in a book, scenes in a documentary. He rewinds and rereads and fasts forward, pauses on his favorite parts. Alastair brings up whatever he can to hurt him emotionally, in those special places where his blade can't reach. "We're doing something extra special today, Deano. I know what you've been up to. Did you think I wouldn't catch on? You're so very predictable."

"What have I been doing?" It's dumb to ask, really fucking stupid actually. He already knows what the answer is going to be, and it's the reason Alastair is so utterly pissed. If Alastair could breathe fire, Dean'd be a crisp.

"You'll see." Alastair's white eyes gleam bright with mischief and then he's kissing him, scaly lips chaffing his raw. Alastair's mouth tastes of blood and rotting skin, with a distinct aftertaste of sulfur, so foul it makes him want to wretch. Alastair's tongue is dry and heavy against his, sucking out the moisture from his saliva, wrapping around his tongue like a thick, sun-wrinkled worm. If this is how Alastair wants to play, he can join in the game too. He chomps down on Alastair's tongue as hard as he can, clamps his teeth tight together. Alastair's blood is bitter sulfur rushing down his throat, gushing from his severed tongue. When Alastair draws back he leaves a piece of his tongue in Dean's mouth; it flops around in death spasms, stops wriggling on the ground once he spits it out. He spits dingy yellow, the same yellow dripping down Alastair's chin, coloring the lines between his pointed teeth. "Mmm, feisty." He's never bitten Alastair before. He likes to go with the flow, let Alastair do his thing, wait for him to leave, think about his car and his brother and a cool bottle of beer. This already feels different. This isn't Alastair gloating before he fucks him, this is something straight out of Deliverance, so he's looking at what is apparently Alastair's rape face.

"Want me to squeal like a piggy?" He feels reckless, buzzes with it, the wings of hummingbirds under his skin. He should shut the fuck up. Most of him wants to. He could close his eyes and go somewhere else. One flutter of his lashes and he can be anywhere he wants, sitting in the Impala with Sam, eating a cheeseburger straight from its wrapper, grease and ketchup dripping onto the knee of his jeans.

"You can scream like any farm animal you want." Alastair's tongue grows back and his words change from slurred and mispronounced to clear and understandable again. "I thought we had something special, you and I. I thought we were getting to understand each other." Alastair grips him by the back of his neck and holds him still while he kisses him. "You don't know how thrilled I was when you gave into me. I thought; well here's a guy who's a quick study. This is a genius of a man. He knows what's good for him. He's going to handle his time down here swell." Alastair chuckles and licks his chin, laps his way back into Dean's mouth. "You act tough Dean but we both know I make you shiver and scream. You lie there nonchalant, taking it like a man, when you aren't paying one lick of attention. Let me fill you in on a secret. You don't get the luxury of fantasy here. The only fantasies you can have are the ones I allow you to, the ones that involve me fucking you like you deserve. I'm gonna push so far up your pretty ass you feel me for weeks. You'll hurt in ways you won't understand. You won't be able to muster a single thought other than prayers for death, let alone thoughts about your brother."

His spit turns sour and hard to swallow.

"What more are you gonna do to me? Cut out my spleen and feed it to me? Bend me over far enough I can touch my nose to my back?" Please no. He's had enough.

"I like your creativity" Alastair kisses his mouth sore and bloody. His lips are one big bruise attached to his face. "But I don't feel much in the mood for foreplay."

"Only selfish lovers skip foreplay."

"You'll learn soon enough that everyone in hell is selfish." Alastair leans down as if to kiss him, slides his body in close, his cock nudging already half hard between Dean's legs. This is standard procedure, the signal to retreat.

"Please don't." His pleads are small, insignificant and tiny, they brush off Alastair like butterflies, specks of dust in the wind. He would fight if he could; kick Alastair below the belt if he were able, but the rack is designed for immobility, the hooks in his thighs spreading him wide open and defenseless.

"Shhh." Alastair soothes, chest rumbling with badly suppressed laughter. Alastair's giddy from it, from helpless begging, dick impossibly harder with every word he says, every desperate please. "This isn't anything we haven't done before; you just get to experience it in all of its sensual glory." Alastair has to force his way in, press and shove, tearing through his natural resistance. He never knew it could hurt this bad, before he'd be a little relaxed, slack because his mind was currently out of order. It was never supposed to be this. "There we go." Alastair strokes a patch of skin on his hip over and over, strokes the flesh tender before finally it loosens and drags away under the force of Alastair's claws.

"That's it?" He doesn't sound nearly as convincing as he hoped. His voice is broken, trembling and strained as he chokes down tears. He hasn't cried yet, Alastair hasn't broken him fully. "You've fucked me harder than this."

"I know that, Dean." Alastair lets his quills unfurl, a thousand needles released inside him. They stick up into him so deep he doesn't have a quick enough reaction time to vocalize his scream before Alastair pulls out, shreds his insides like paper. "I know everything you try and hide in that fragile skull of yours. We have no secrets, you and I." Blood rushes down his thighs each time Alastair slides out. "I know about how you let your little brother fuck you, how your Sammy stuffed you full with his cock. You got off on that, didn't you, Dean?" Alastair does something wrong, breaks something important, his vision swimming, fluids that aren't blood or come or anything normal leaking out of him. He never thought something a demon said could make him feel dirty. "You loved Sam fucking you, the thought of incest making you all hot and bothered." It wasn't like that, but Alastair isn't going to listen, even if he could muster the strength and coherency to talk. He shivers and trembles, mouth invaded by Alastair's tongue again *NC-17 disturbing image removed* "Did Sam fuck you like this, Dean? Hold you down and manhandle his way in?" There are flashbacks in his head he can't block. Sam grabbing him with his huge ass hands, a giant palm flat on the center of his chest to keep him flat on his back while he kissed him. "You're never gonna be able to think about your little brother again, not without the memory of me inside you."

"Fuck you." He coughs up blood that Alastair licks away. He's slowly dying, but if there is justice somewhere in the world he'll die before Alastair can finish, before the acid eats him.

"Sorry Deano, that isn't going to happen." Alastair's cock burrows into him and parts of him are definitely getting snared in the spikes. A section of his large intestine comes ripping out, dragged along through him like spaghetti, the blood and bile slicking Alastair's way. He's getting fucked to death, in every sense of the word, and the reality is nowhere near as fun as it should be. He misses when Alastair fucked him with the intention of getting himself off.

"I think I'm dying." Something vicious tasting and dull brown slides out over his lips, across Alastair's not so pretty face. The sourness reminds him of getting drunk in San José after a hunt for a chupacabra, puking booze and a breakfast burrito onto the carpet by the bed, Sam downright grossed out when he'd still tried to suck his cock after, moved to blow Sam with that acerbic sweetness in his saliva. Sam had rudely declined after that, mopped up the floor with motel towels.

"I'm the most memorable fuck you'll have." No one's ever fucked him so hard they kept strips and portions of him with them, that's for sure. He's a bleeding mess somewhere he can't see, just behind his belly button, right on the other side of his stomach wall.

"No arguing there." Convulsions make him bite his tongue. He severs it completely, as he did with Alastair's. Their wounds match, it's sort of twistedly romantic, his blood mingling with Alastair's, red and yellow making orange. What he spits is the color of fire, neon orange signs and Crayola, the ugly little backpack Sam had in second grade, a really cheesy fake tan. His blood doesn't have the flavor of Alastair's though, is one hundred percent human, not a drop of sulfur, salty with a trace of iron. He sucks all of it that he can back into his mouth; he doesn't want Alastair to lick it off him. His abused stomach curls in on itself, twitching, acid burning in his chest. It hurts to breathe and move and be, a waterfall of blood building inside him.

"Don't you die yet." Alastair's hands are red, pawing at his face, clutching it too tight, spreading blood across the bridge of his nose. Alastair speeds up his pace, hips snapping fast, a ritual in-out-in-out-in-in-in, jabbing up excruciatingly deeper. If there were an inner inch of him unscathed, it would be a pulpy mess by now. His innards are soup; he hopes Alastair doesn't feel in the mood to drink it. "I want to see your face when I come." Alastair makes a resigned noise; disappointed. "I'll have to be more careful with you next time, my delicate little flower." Alastair pinches his cheek, pleasant and condescending.

He doesn't have to feel when Alastair comes, because the remaining ten feet of his small intestine coil out of him, taking the last of his blood and consciousness with it.

He has begun to fear that hell is never ending. Hell may very well stretch on for eternity. There is little known of this land, no angel assigned to map it, no soul returned to supply the information. There are matters far more concerning than the endless landscape, however, secret, pressing matters that afflict his mind. It is a mental sickness, a moral plague. He feels uncertain; he has doubts and questions, raw information when he is incapable of proper analysis.

He's witnessed Dean kiss his brother on the mouth, plant his hands square on his brother's shoulders, dip his fingers into the curves on the sides of Sam's neck. They have done more than just kiss, passed through the acceptable realm of innocent curiosity. One incestuous transgression can be forgiven, but Dean's life is heinously excessive. Dean does all activities in excess, eat and drink and fight, love; it is a surprise there is anything of him left.

"Is it right to judge a man by one less than favorable aspect of his character?"

Zachariah ignores him; Raphael trudges forward. The terrain is swampy, sandy blood two meters deep, a marsh that a distant river trickles into. There are dead and dying souls in the shallows, groaning with spasming gills, gasping like fish left to dry in the sun.

"It would depend on the severity of his sin. Mortal or venial?"

"I'm not sure." The human Bible says that man should not lie with man as he does with women. This seems mostly ignored in heaven, the interpreted words of God of little importance, meanings jumbled and lost in translation. "What are the restrictions on sexual intimacy with one's siblings?"

"Incest is culturally unacceptable by multiple social standards." Uriel contemplates, staring at his reflection on the surface of the water. When it ripples Uriel's face is distorted into nothing but rays of light. There are few natural colors here; the primaries of hell are black and red and brown, the different colors of blood and flesh in its various putrid stages, the spectrum of shades for rotting flesh. "From what I recall Abraham and Sarah were related by blood. For centuries females were forbidden to marry outside their bloodline."

"What are your opinions?" There should be rules for this. Their father has done billions of years of work and yet it is not enough. He created the earth, created its inhabitants, composed its basic governing rules and still there are loopholes and questions. Man substitutes his own responses and assumptions in these empty spaces, but he and his brothers are not nearly as ignorant. He would never suppose the will of God. He does not have the right.

"Consanguinity disgusts me." Uriel can be very opinionated. Sometimes Castiel wishes he could form thoughts without direct proof, without evidence from an outside source. "There are six billion monkeys on the planet; they have no need to breed with each other."

"Does God forbid it?" Demented children run through the wetlands laughing, chasing each other in hungry packs. The youngest is only two years old, sprinting on wobbly legs, small fangs bared. One of them latches himself onto Uriel's leg, starts to gnaw on it, pierce his light. Uriel burns the toddler to ashes with one touch of his hand, flames erupting from the young one's skin. Its scream is horrible, wild, shrieking laughter, the sound of a happy child. Sam would laugh that way when Dean tickled the bottoms of his feet without stopping, tickled until there were tears in Sam's eyes.

"You'd have to ask him yourself." There are never any true answers. He asks a sibling, who tells him to ask his father, though their father is nowhere to be found. He is too low ranking to ever see the man face to face. He doesn't have the clearance. He envies Michael on occasion. His brother has seen the face of God; one of the few men or angels in history. Moses saw God and aged years; mortals have turned to salt in the presence of angels. The unworthy are given glimpses of paradise before they burn. He does not want to burn.

Around him, the eyes of the children simmer in their skulls.

"Dean Winchester." This demon is not Alastair. He thinks it was female once, it has the faintest traces of breasts, withered and dried, wrinkled black and gray skin stretched tightly over curved hips. It looks like a woman who is death, has gone to hell and back, walked into the shadows a candle and emerged from them dark; an extinguished flame and deformed, hardened wax. She's something straight out of when plastic surgery goes wrong, an explosion of botox and fast forwarded aging, one of those mummies Sam used to show him pictures of in his school textbooks. She has a pair of massive black wings that extend towards the sky, twenty feet long from tip to tip, stretching magnificently from her back, large, impressive bat wings, the bones at the ends sharp as filed steel, dripping blood.

"Ugly demon bitch." He spits out a mouthful of his own blood, three of his dislodged, oozing teeth. Alastair enjoys pulling his teeth out one by one and embedding them in his exposed brain, damaging a different crucial section as he does so. By the end, he's too far gone to function, blind and deaf and mute and dead to hell, incapable of even a simple thought, and still he's able to feel.

"Aww. You don't remember me. I guess a few decades in hell will do that to a girl." She's alien to him, as black as hell itself, as recognizable as a shadow in the night. "C'mon, Dean, sweetheart, you know me." She doesn't have teeth, only two fangs, clawed cat hands and feet. "The things I put you and your brother through. All the fun we had?"

"Meg?" He's not afraid, not of Meg. Not after Alastair. This is a treat, a brief reprieve from eternity. Alastair is cruel and vicious and sharp, all hard angles and dangerous corners where Meg is wicked, a softer brand of evil, made from concentrate and not the real thing.

"No. I'm just like you Dean, a lowly, damned soul." For a moment she flickers, fuzzy like an old television program, grainy around the edges, but she's right, he knows that face.

"Bela?" Fresh blood spurts from the holes in his gums, dribbling hot down the side of his chin, the inside of his throat, a steady, slick, constant flow of warmth into his stomach.

"Finally. You're really quite dense Dean." Bela – no – the monster Bela has become, the parody of a soul hell has turned her into bares her fangs at him. Her tongue, oh god her tongue is a snake, and he can hear its rattle buzzing in Bela's throat, echoing through her as she laughs, throws her head back and screams delight to the abyss, serpent watching him curiously through her open mouth.

"Hell wasn't kind to you Bela. You're an ugly ass bitch." Her hair is baby snakes, he realizes dimly in horror, swallowing down more of his blood to keep from gasping his shock at the little heads worming their way out of her skull, flicking forked tongues in his direction, tasting his flesh in the air molecules. Dark, dark Bela is dark, the night and the shadows and the inside of his eyelids, sucking his light, consuming it, making him so dark he shivers with the coldness of it.

"On the contrary, it's been wonderful." Bela stops laughing but the sound of her elated, high pitched, glass shattering laughter echoes. "It could be wonderful to you too Dean, if you'd let it." She has a scalpel and she sharpens it with her fingertips, filing it against her claws, bright orange sparks raining down from where the steel and her nails meet. The sparks flicker on the ground and die; taking with them the only light in this eternal night. "I spent one day on the rack." Bela presses the scalpel gently to the place where his neck and chest meet, just below his collarbone, and pushes down just light enough to pierce his skin, sink the very tip of the blade into him. "The demons didn't even have to torture me before I said yes." She applies pressure and blood wells up messily from the inch long cut, dribbling red down his chest, collecting warmly in his bellybutton. "They thought I'd scream, but I came off the rack smiling." Bela cuts him from sternum to stomach, one, deep wound that she then pries open with her claws, his muscle stretching squelching around her fingers as she tears at it to open up his chest. It hurts and it burns, a thousand needles up and down the length of his spine, flames licking away at the skin being torn away from him in wet pieces. Bela has no finesse, he notices, lost in the pathetic sound of his own wail. She's sloppy, messy, eager, working him open just to hurt, completely amateur, he's a regular Buffalo Bill in comparison to her first time serial killer. He's losing too much blood and he'll be dead within the hour, probably sooner, judging from the red on Bela's hands, the slickness gushing down the front of him, splashing appallingly onto the floor with the sound of a rushing faucet. Bela hacks and she claws and the world goes white the instant she forces her fingers through the bone in the center of his chest, the one that protects his heart. Pain is so bright, crackles of electricity coursing through him, lighting his every nerve with painful, excruciating fire. "Alastair wasn't lying when he said you scream pretty." She's holding his heart in her hand, squeezing it against her palm, her nails cutting into it, and now blood is pooling in his chest, and the pressure is suffocating him, building up and crushing his lungs, sending his heart into frantic spasms.

"Go to hell." He slurs, blood on his tongue, blood everywhere, warm warm warm everywhere blood is on his skin.

"We're already here."

He dies with the dry rustle of leaves over asphalt sound of Bela's giggle in his ears, the word bitch dying in his vocal chords.

The uppermost plain of hell is separated from the next by a wide river. It brings to mind the children's hymn about the crossing of the river Jordan. One wide river. The song exists somewhere in Dean's memories, sung soft and low in a female voice. And that wide river is Jordan. The river is a foul and putrid thing, oozing black, too thick to move, crusted over solid in places. It's fetid of the dead and dying, blood dried and left to rot and warm in the inhuman heat. Below the liquid's surface there is movement, bloated, ash gray bodies slithering, bubbles rising from their half open mouths. They are souls swollen over with defeat, lost and drowning, swallowing liter after liter of old blood.

"Be careful." Uriel holds him back, stretches his wings out to block Castiel's path, feathers sharp and shimmering. "If they catch hold of you, they'll drag you down so deep you won't ever get out." The bodies slide wet again, a solitary foot breaching the surface, black and shiny in the air.

"I'm well aware." More bubbles rise and pop, dark combination of blood and bile churning. "How do we get across?" His wings function in this heinous realm yet with their use he loses the valuable element of surprise, if it still exists, for he doubts a band of angels traveling through hell can do unnoticed. They are light and there is no other light in hell, they are the flicker of a candle in a dark room.

"Fly." Raphael frowns, fluid lapping at the sandy bank. The river is so wide it's impossible to see the opposite shore. It stretches on forever, endless and endless ripples in the eerie black. "We'll go quickly."

One wide river.

He leaves the ground thrumming with life, a subtle heartbeat that buzzes grains of sand. The sky is relatively peaceful but they fly low, a body length or two from the river. He can see his reflection, brighter than streaks of lightning, the brightest thing in hell. The bodies in the river notice it too, rise to examine it, their eyes soaked over black, jaws slack and broken, teeth rotten and missing. They are as inhuman as the roaming damned, softer and more docile, creatures of lumbering movement. As he flies he watches for Dean, the ink of an anti-possession tattoo on a distended chest, while the center of his soul is crushed by an unknown weight Uriel tells him is dread.

There's one wide river to cross.

When he and his brethren reach the river's shore, there is an army of demons waiting for them. The demons are dark and ominous, standing in rows over half a mile long, endless living waves of a demonic sea. Castiel can't distinguish one demon from another; they are all the same, one single extension of hell, made of sulfur and evil.

"I told you this would happen." Raphael ignores him, his blade at the ready, over two feet of fortified light, condensed down into a weapon. When the angels were new, when the world was young and they were fledgling creations, they would tell stories. Michael said their weapons were forged from God himself, the sharpest, deadliest pieces of him. He likes the idea of fighting with a fragment of the father he's never met.

"I'm going to kill more of the filth than the rest of you combined." Uriel is gleeful and smiling.

"It's not a competition."

"You say that because you're going to lose."

Demons die messily. They bleed and splatter, come apart under his sword. Their blood has the scent of sulfur; they bleed sulfur the color of pus from an infected wound. He carves through them all and their blood coats him, covers him whole with their stink. A black creature, hunched over and crooked, spine bent at an angle, attacks him, snarling, saliva frothing from its mouth. He cuts off its head and the stump erupts in a fountain of slick, thick yellow, rushing out like the geysers of Yosemite. Its headless body shrivels, empty and shapeless without its blood. Its head watches him, black and red veined eyes wide open.

"Good aim." One of his brothers pats his back; his sword slices a demon clean down the center of its body. Entrails flop out wetly, coiling in the sand; steaming. His blade is yellowed by the sulfuric blood and each new kill adds a fresh layer. He steps on limbs that lie twitching in the sand, fingers spasming with remnant impulses, feet dragging themselves in sluggish trails. The air smells of decomposing flesh and sulfur, the moldy sweetness of overripe fruit.

"I'm looking for Dean Winchester." He holds a demon to the ground with his sword, blade protruding through its stomach, keeping it flat against the ground.

"Never heard of him." It spits, hissing like a feral cat. A feral cat sunk its teeth into Dean's hand once. Dean had been no older than seven, trying to shoo a stray cat Sam had let in through the window. He'd grabbed its tail, shoved it, and the cat had arched and bit him, little fangs deep inside his un-calloused, baby-soft hands.

"You're lying. Everyone has heard of Dean Winchester." The Winchesters are things of legend, John's boys and Azazel's boys and God's too.

"No shit, Sherlock." It laughs wild. "I'm a demon. Honesty doesn't come as part of the package."

If he leans his weight forward, body solid atop the sword, the demon cries and sputters.

"Fuck you."

He presses harder, sulfur squirts into his eye, burning hot.

"Son of a bitch!" The demon coughs blood. "I'll eat your eyes and suck the marrow from your bones and feathers."

"Tell me where Dean Winchester is." He twists and there is a crunching sound.

"Where the fuck do you think he is angel?" it moans, writhing around its stabbed abdomen. "On the rack where the bitch souls go. Dean Winchester is a demon's bitch as we speak." It laughs again, breathing labored, chest rising in hitching, uneven movements. "I'm telling you the truth this time, demon's honor, or lack thereof."

"I believe you." It's as he feared, as he expected. Dean Winchester sold his soul so of course it is chained to eternal suffering, plagued by existential torment. He would not wish such a fate on the sinners of the world, least of all a man of innocence. He withdraws his sword, blood gushing from the demon's now open wound.

"They're retreating." Uriel is bathed in blood, darkened, crusted yellow. "We should move."

"You won't find him. He's mince meat; he's been mince meat for years." The babblings of a wounded demon mean nothing. Demons lie, demons always lie.

"Be silent."

The demon's skull breaks beneath Uriel's foot.