Title: I'm The One Who Gripped You Tight To Screw Over The Other Guys (Part Sixteen)
Author: HigherMagic
Pairings: Dean/Castiel, Sam/Ruby
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: WIP
Spoilers: Castiel, but different. Season 4 premise spoilers.
Warnings: canon character death, Cerberus!Cas, language, collaring, violence and torture.
Summary: The idea is simple: find Lilith, kill her, and stop the Apocalypse. If Dean or Castiel could pull their heads out their asses for five seconds, it might actually work.
Notes: Unbeta'd. All mistakes are my own. Hey I'm trash and this is a really short update but hey I'm writing it again! *confetti*

Tick tock, mutt. What's it gonna be?

Castiel snarled, turning away from the sealed door and slamming his palm against the glass window. Dean was missing. Dean was gone.

The glass shook under his hand, but held.

There used to be a time when Castiel was not simply orders, not simply a dog eager to heel at his master's side. But he couldn't remember that; before Dean, it had been Hell, before Hell, Heaven. He had always followed someone.

Abruptly, Castiel's eyes were drawn to movement down below. There was a shadow, padding quietly between the husks of cars – there was no physical body attached to that shadow, but as it moved it left deep gouges in the gravel below and rocks scattered under its feet.

Castiel felt his frown give way to a smile.

Perhaps it was time to be a leader, now.

"Is that one yours?" he asked, allowing Ruby's demon essence to push into the backs of his eyelids so that she could see the hound sniffing curiously around the discarded car shells. It paused and sniffed at a tire, ears flopping on top of its head as it snorted and padded away. It hadn't fully solidified yet, not having been given a human soul to chase and rip apart, and Castiel knew that if Sam or Bobby would look outside they would not have been able to see it.

It bore the same vague shape as a Doberman, with its triangular face and long, sleek legs. Its eyes were rotted out and glowed yellow and there were chunks of muddy, matted skin hanging off of its torso and towards the ground. Wherever it touched it left thick, deep claw marks against the ground, its mouth open and baring long, sharp teeth as it sniffed around the junkyard.

Ruby retreated, hiding herself deeper inside of Castiel's vessel. Yes, she said, a little hesitantly.

Castiel grinned, cocking his head to one side. "How much do you want to bet that this house is warded against Hellhounds?"

He raised his fingers to his lips and, without waiting for her answer, placed them between his teeth, giving a short, sharp whistle. Immediately the dog's head snapped up, pointed ears cocked towards the house and eyes flashing red.

It growled, squaring off against the house, sharp eyes looking through all the windows.

Castiel whistled again and tapped his fingers against the glass, his grin widening when the dog's eyes finally landed on him and its mouth split open wider into a vicious snarl. "Hello," he said, when the dog's mouth opened wider, skin wrinkling as it snarled and stepped closer. "Catch me if you can."

He pushed away from the window when the dog started to run for him. There was nowhere for him to escape to, so he sat himself down on the edge of the bed and listened with a slowly widening smile as he heard wood splintering from downstairs. Ruby's black soul recoiled and rolled inside of him, giving him a faintly nauseous feeling and he grimaced, placing a hand to his stomach as he waited out the animal.

"Nervous?" he taunted, grinning to himself when she hissed and pushed against the walls of his vessel, causing him to feel tight-chested when he laughed. "I thought you said he was yours?" He paused, cocking his head to one side. "You weren't lying, were you?"

Fuck you, mutt.

"Mm, sorry sweetheart, I don't swing that way." The dog pushed himself to his feet when he heard the low growls in the house getting closer to his room. If he listened carefully, he could hear the wood peeling under its feet. "Come on, come on," he muttered impatiently, frowning at the other side of the door as the hound paced around outside, sniffing carefully at the door. He could see the shadow passing back and forth, snarling lowly. "Come on! I'm right here!"

Abruptly, the corridor outside fell silent, and Castiel bared his teeth in a snarl, black slamming into the back of his eyes when suddenly the door shuddered under the force of a mighty blow. The dog paced, ready for the hound to attack him when it managed to beat the door down.

"Come on, you little bitch!" he taunted, listening to the snarling grow louder and heavier outside of the door. The frame around it shuddered, dust falling from the corners, and slowly Castiel drew his sword out and held it ready, his wrist relaxed but his grip tight.

The door shattered apart into three huge pieces, the hound barreling through with its eyes glowing red and its jaw held wide open and ready. Castiel sidestepped, bringing the hilt of his blade down against the base of the hound's skull. It yelped, snarling and whirling around as Castiel held his sword out, pointed between the beast's eyes.

"Now, now, let's play nice," he said, his voice low when the hound snarled at him again. "I leave for a few days and you all turn feral, I swear."

The hound snarled at him, pacing back and forth, its eyes uncaring for the sharp blade pointed its way and fixed instead on Castiel's chest. The room stank of sulfur and blood-tinged saliva was dripping down from its open mouth and onto the floor.

Castiel smirked. "Oh, but it's not me you want, isn't it?" He slowly lifted his blade and sheathed it, pleased when the hound took a step forward but remained a relatively unthreatening distance away. Hounds were meant to police the souls that belonged in Hell – they didn't serve demons, specifically, but kept an eye on them. After all, Cerberus was meant to know who left and who entered Hell; every single person. And he always knew, because his brothers and sisters where his eyes, his ears to the ground.

Slowly, the hound's eyes were facing back to yellow, even though it hadn't stopped snarling. Castiel didn't think his brothers and sisters ever could, anymore. "I'll make you a trade," he said, nodding once when the hound licked its jaws, taking another step closer. "Find Dean Winchester. Tell everyone. Then…" He patted his stomach with a wink. "She's all yours."

The hound snarled, and then it was out of the door and running out of the house within a moment. Ruby shrieked at him from within his vessel, beating against the dog's powerful essence with all of her might.

You Goddamned mutt! I knew a fucking dog couldn't be trusted!

Castiel laughed, drawing his sword again and walking slowly down the stairs. Soon the word would spread, the hounds would find Dean and they would bring him back, and Sam would be cured and they could all go after Lilith together, as a team.

The two broken vessels and a wayward guardian of Hell. What could go wrong?

The room was…nice. Nice in that classy, European 'don't touch the walls' way. There was a plate of hamburgers and a cooler of beer on a gleaming wooden table in the middle, and on the walls there were paintings of Angels, statues lining the walls, and overall it had a very uncomfortable, too-manicured feeling about it.

Dean felt an itch under his skin. He'd never been partial to the color white.

His fingers dragged across the perfectly dusted surface of the table as he looked around, frowning as he spied a familiar sight; having studied through a crapton of Angel lore, he recognized the famous image of Michael striking Lucifer down to Hell. He searched the painting carefully, wondering if one of those many Angels coming from above to strike their weapons into the 'demons' below could have been Castiel. Had he been a real Angel, or a dog up there as well?

He reached up, letting a finger trace the line of one of Lucifer's wings. So this son of the bitch was meant to be the one riding Sam to the prom. And Michael – well, at least Dean got the better looking Angel.

The thought made him smirk, shaking his head, and he tore his eyes away to look at the collection of beatific statues. One of them was a female Angel holding up a chalice, the entire statue made of grey plaster. Dean pursed his lips out, picking it up and looking over the feathered wings.

Castiel's weren't like these. At least, not all of them.

He set the Angel down and looked up, having heard the soft flutter of wings cutting through the air. Turning around, he saw the familiar vessel of the Angel that had captured him and Castiel before – he frowned, trying to remember the name – Uriel.

"Well, if it isn't Act Two of 'Dicks With Wings'," he said, cocking his head to one side and calmly walking to another part of the room so that the table was between them. It probably wouldn't do him any good but it was nice to have the barrier there anywhere. "Where the Hell am I?"

"Safe," Uriel replied, smirking. His hands were tucked into the pockets of his suit pants and he rocked onto the balls of his feet and back, the picture of superiority and nonchalance. Dean huffed, shaking his head, and turned away.

"Right," he said, looking around the room. "It's fancy, I'll give you that, but it's still a cage."

Uriel snorted. "You wouldn't know the first thing about cages, boy," he said, and Dean swallowed hard but forced himself to remain quiet. His fingers itched for his weapons, but they had been taken away from him once he'd been attacked. He hadn't been in here long enough to go hungry or fall asleep, so that could be anywhere from two to six hours.

"Fine, so. Why am I here?"

Uriel grinned, pulling his hands from his pockets and spreading them out in a welcoming gesture. "Why, to hear our sales pitch, of course," he said, his smile a little too wide to be friendly. "You mud monkeys are far too stubborn for your own good, and you -." He pointed to Dean, "You really take the cake in that respect. We think a little one-on-one with the higher-ups will convince you."

Dean's upper lip twitched, and he barely stifled the urge to snarl. "Kickstarting the possession part already? Aren't you a few seals behind?" he asked, secretly, fiercely glad when Uriel blinked, apparently surprised.

"Your lapdog's been running his mouth."

"Been a lot more open with information than you guys have, yeah," Dean said, lifting his chin in a defiant gesture, smiling. "I know what sayin' 'Yes' is gonna cost me. And Sam. So, no, thanks for the generous offer but you can kindly cram it where the sun don't shine -."

"What if we could give you something in return?" Uriel countered, his dark eyes sharp and shrewd. Dean shook his head, ready to tell him to stick it to himself again when the Angel continued; "We'll fix that wall in your head. Give you all your memories back – the good and the bad."

Dean frowned. "For a 'Yes'?" he asked.

Uriel nodded. "The final seals aren't as far from breaking as we'd like, and we cannot afford to wait past Lucifer's rising for you to unclench and figure yourself out. We will give you all the time with your little puppy as you want, and we will give you your memories. In return, you will say 'Yes' to Michael when the time comes."

Dean swallowed, taking a step back. "What about Sam?"

Uriel cocked his head to one side, nodding after a moment. "If Sam remains safe, and doesn't say 'Yes', then Michael will have his True Vessel," he gestured to all of Dean's self, "and Lucifer will be stuck in whatever meat suit he can find. It'll be a quick, fair fight – totally risk-free on precious Sammy's end."

The shark smile was back, toothy and wide.

"What do you say, Winchester? You willing to listen now?"