Mirages of Perdition
Dean knew that he was dreaming, but he had no idea where he was. He stood in a field watching a man fly a kite. The sky was brilliant blue, the sun warm on the back of his neck and the grass a striking shade of green. A foreign sense of peace settled over him like a blanket.
Suddenly a hand grasped his shoulder from behind. Dean turned. "Cass."
"Hello, Dean," Castiel said. He looked like himself. He looked well, but sad.
"Hey." Dean swept his eyes over the scenery once more. "Cass, where are we?"
"In one of my memories. This is a heaven, my favorite one."
Dean nodded. "Nice place. Cozy. So... you brought me here to give me the tour?"
"We don't have enough time for that, unfortunatly." Cass looked up at the kite and studied it as if he was seeing it for the last time. "I'm very weak, Dean. I won't be able to hold this connection for very long. Soon the demon will overpower me."
"We'll find a way to save you, Cass. You know that. Not matter how long it takes."
"It's only a matter of time before the demon will be able to use my powers. He'll be able to break the devil's trap." Castiel stepped closer until he was almost nose to nose with Dean. "You have to use the knife now, before it's too late."
"You said that you and the demon are connected. You said the knife would kill you both."
"I did." Cass bit his lower lips and looked down at his shoes. "There's something I want to tell you. This might be my last chance."
Dean crossed his arms against his chest. "Are we really going to do this? Are we really going to do the goodbye scene?"
Cass ignored that. "I know now what you went through in Hell, Dean. What Alastair did to you. I just wanted to tell you that it is... impressive that you didn't break sooner."
Dean said nothing. He just listened. Cass turned his back on Dean and started to walk.
"It took thirty years for Alastair to break you. For me it..." Castiel sighed and shoved his fists into the pockets of his trench coat. "I broke under Lucifer's torture after only a few months and I didn't recover for two thousand years."
Dean swallowed bile. "So it wasn't only Jimmy's memories that were causing the hallucinations." He hesitated for a moment, then jogged forward so that he was walking alongside Cass. "What do you mean you broke?"
"I lost hope." Castiel's face paled. "I lost hope that I would ever be able to rescue Sam, that I would ever see you again. How it came to that point is not of import. I just... Dean, I just wanted to tell you that I admire you."
Dean's eyebrows bounced in surprise before they returned to a frown. "So the Devil figured out that you were masquerading as Michael."
"How did you finally escape?"
Castiel smiled slightly. "Sam."
"He took control of Lucifer again just like he did at Stull Cemetery. It took him lifetimes to reclaim his body. When he did he unshackled me."
An image of Castiel chained to Alastair's rack popped into Dean's mind. He shoved it aside.
"I separated him from Lucifer, blocked his memories and took him home."
Dean felt an itch in the corner of his brain. "You separated them... how?"
"Sam did half the work." Cass glanced up at the kite again and then made eye contact with Dean. "I was so weak that I couldn't have done it without Sam having control of the vessel. That made the difference."
"So it was like when Bobby overpowered that demon who was about the stab me. You got through to Sam."
"Yes. Just like you did in the cemetery." Cass started to turn again but Dean suddenly grabbed his shoulders.
"Cass, if I can get through to you," he gasped, "can't you do the same thing? Overpower that demon - come back to us, just for a minute?"
Castiel scoffed and shook his head. "To what end? You don't have an angel's power to do that. You can't separate that demon from me. "
"Maybe not," said Dean. "But I have an idea about how we can separate you from it."
Bobby started the interrogation at dawn. He opened the door to the panic room but didn't even try to restrain the demon in a chair. He knew better, knew to wait for the boys.
"So what do we call you?" Bobby asked the demon in Castiel's body. "Or do I get to name you? How about…Ginger? Polly? Maybe you're a Bianca."
Cass' face stretched into a sneer. "You will either call me your master or your murderer."
"Cute," Bobby snapped. "I wouldn't bet on either if I were you."
The demon paced in a slow circle around the room. "Do you know this vessel? Does it bother you to see him possessed?" He ripped the bandages off of Cass' arms and tossed them on the floor.
Bobby ground his teeth together. He didn't take the bait. "You might as well leave that vessel willingly while you have the chance. We will kill you."
"You might like to know that he respects you a lot. You're the only real father figure he's ever seen, poor thing." He tore off the remaining bandages, exposing Cass' burnt flesh. "And he adores those two boys, especially Dean. He likes to think of himself as their guardian angel. But, in a way, Dean is his. Isn't that sweet?"
Bobby tiptoed around the demon's line of thought. "If you play your cards right, we might even let you go after you leave that vessel." Bobby summoned a lie: "For all I care, you can find another sucker to walk around in. But we won't let you have Castiel."
Cass' head wound had bled all night. Red droplets decorated the floor as well as his t-shirt. "You know what I find fascinating about your little dysfunctional family?"
Bobby rolled his eyes and gave in. "What?"
The demon's eyes switched to black. "I find it fascinating that you think you can win against anything on earth, below it and above it. The arrogance is astounding."
Bobby raised his chin defiantly. "Our track record speaks for itself and it ain't because of luck."
The demon suddenly sped toward Bobby. It stopped right on the edge of the pentacle and glared. "That may be, but I am a new creation. Very soon I'll have the strengths of both a demon and an angel, and none of their weaknesses. And I promise you this," the demon hissed, "you will be the first one I smite."
"Stuff it, asshole," said a voice from the stairs. Dean emerged with Sam behind him. The elder brother had on a new shirt with bandages cris-crossing his body to protect the burns. Sam's wrist was wrapped up but didn't appear to cause him pain. The Winchesters stood on either side of Bobby.
"Let me at him. I have a plan," Dean said.
He stepped into the panic room.
To Be Continued