A/N: Before you start thinking I'm a heartless wench, you should know I cried a little when I wrote that last chapter. That's probably too much information.
Last chapter. Enjoy!
Cassandra does not look very pleased to see me. I suppose I can understand why; Dean, her companion during her ten months on this earth, is laying dead just feet behind her. I won't tell her where he's going. Something tells me if she knew what I had done with her lover's soul, she'd never forgive me.
The way she looks at me, I know she suffers a broken heart. While I can tell she feels partially to blame, mostly she blames me. She wants to scream at me, she wants to cry and tell me to bring him back. But I can't. A deal is a deal.
I watch my daughter's blue eyes flash from me to my son. I don't have to look to know he's rushing me with a surge of raw and hateful energy. I've known since his existence he's been looking for me, hunting me down. He hasn't exactly been stealthy about it, especially once he formed a partnership with Crowley. I never ended their elaborate and "secret" plan to destroy me because I wanted to believe Adelay would change his mind and I wouldn't have to do this...
Adelay bursts into a gory mess of blood and guts with the energy of a mere thought.
I really didn't want to have to do that. But I couldn't just let him kill me.
Cassandra's face twists with horror and an incredible anguish I've seen only once before on one other person. Her mother. I find myself faltering for a fleeting moment as a sharp tinge of regret strikes. What have I done?
I shake it off. I still have matters to attend to here.
"No!" Cassandra screams as Sam holds her back. "NO! You bastard! You... you son of a bitch..."
She struggles against Sam's restraints for a minuet before the sorrow overtakes her human body and she falls to her knees in a fit of tears. Sam stoops to comfort her, fighting his own set of tears that threaten to spill for his fallen brother as he tightly wraps his strong arms around my daughter's small frame. I watch as Bobby crests the hill with his new lady friend, Jody, just behind him, their faces falling and their hearts all but stopping when they see Dean's lifeless body and the mess of what used to be my son.
This scene is nearly too heartbreaking to watch.
"Did you really think you could kill me?" I turn my disapproving gaze upon the demon king who cowers, though not as much I would have expected under the extreme circumstances.
"Not really," he admits, his tone unusually calm. "I did think I could distract you for long enough for him to catch up, though."
I follow Crowley's gaze and find Death standing just behind me.
"Hello, Castiel," he speaks to me with a polite nod. His gaze wanders to Dean for a moment before he looks to Cassandra who continues to sob uncontrollably in Sam's strong embrace.
"Pity," he comments. "I seem to have arrived too late."
"Death, what are you doing here?" I skip the formalities on my end. "Surely you do not mean to kill me?"
"Goodness no," he shakes his bony head, his eyes returning to me. "Haven't you heard? It would destroy the world."
"Then what are you doing here?" I demand to know.
"I'm here to strip you of your powers," he tells me quite bluntly.
"I'd like to see you try," I challenge. I go to lift a finger to dismiss him but find I cannot. I have been bound by invisible chains, courtesy of Death himself. I shoot Crowley an intense glare, attempting to bring him the same fate I brought upon Raphael and Adelay, but I can't even exorcise him.
"You've been working with demons?" I shoot Death an angry accusation.
"Hardly," he rolls his eyes. "We agreed your powers had to go. He merely provided a necessary distraction." He pauses to shoot a less than pleased glance in Crowley's direction. "Although things did get a little messier than anticipated."
"Never underestimate how much blood a demon is willing to shed to get what he wants," Crowley reminds the ancient entity that keeps me bound and powerless. "Now, can we please get on with it? I've got some new souls I'm just dying to play with in the pit."
"Very well," Death nods. "Hold very still, Castiel. This will hurt."
No. No, they can't take my powers. I've lost too much to get here and I've only just begun.
I attempt to struggle against the unseen restraints that bind me as Death slowly inches towards me with a black, leather bag in one hand and a long silver dagger in the other.
"No," I beg him. "Please, Death. You can't..."
He pays little attention to my pleas. Instead he makes a long and deep incision into my gut. For a minuet nothing happens. And then comes the hot white light, spewing with a searing pain from the open wound at a rapid rate. Death quietly collects this light, these souls, into his sturdy black bag with a gentle hand and an incredible concentration.
When the souls have been collected, Death removes my shackles and I collapse to my knees on the earth beneath me. And it all hits me, like a typhoon or a hurricane. The blood on my hands, the agonizing pain, everything I've brought upon those I loved the most. Without those souls from Purgatory, I fully grasp what exactly I've done. And it's awful. It's worse than awful. It's so bad there's not even a word for it.
I abandoned and endangered Adeline when she needed me the most. I caused the burden of the heavy and eternal grief she still feels and I broke her heart. My children I also abandoned and almost completely ignored because of my sick obsession of cleansing the earth of men I thought to be wicked. I see now that I am the wicked one. Only an evil being could betray his best friend, ignore his daughter and murder his son. Only a truly horrible entity would induce so much suffering upon those closest to him.
My chest tightens as I glance over at my daughter. She looks at me through blue eyes glossy with tears, holding onto Sam as if her life depends upon it. Of all the people I've hurt, she suffers the most.
"I'm... I'm sorry..." I gasp.
"I must get these back to Purgatory," Death tells whomever is listening. "Post haste. Cassandra, I'm terribly sorry for what you've had to endure today. I was hoping Castiel had it in him to spare at least his own son."
He gives me a long look of disgust and disappointment.
"As for the rest of you, I suggest you find yourselves away from here in a timely fashion. With a thousand dead, we need this to look a little more natural." Pause. "There's a meteoroid scheduled to strike here in an hour."
His message delivered, Death vanishes, leaving Crowley to steal the spotlight.
"I'll be going too," he announces, striding triumphant and smug in my direction. "Just so you're aware, this does not make us even. I will be coming for you."
"Why not take me now?" I growl up at him.
"I think she's seen enough of her family perish for one day," he tells me, motioning to Cassandra. "Besides, I want you to suffer before I kill you." Pause. "Oh, I almost forgot."
A sly smile spreads across his lips as he looks down at me, an intense hatred gleaming in his dark eyes.
"Oh, Adeline!" he calls.
My heart rate increases as my chest grows even tighter when she appears at the demon king's side. She gives me a sad look before she eyes Cassandra who looks to her mother in horror and shock.
"I'm sorry, Cassandra," Adeline says, her words no more audible than a whisper.
"Come along then," Crowley tells my love, looping his arm around hers. "See you soon, Castiel."
"Adeline, no!" I cry after her but she's gone, along with Crowley, leaving me in a state of absolute remorse and horror at the things my actions have caused.
Slowly I rise to my feet, my body weighted with lament and guilt as I shuffle towards my daughter. Cassandra does not speak but stares up at me through bloodshot eyes with an angry distaste as she quivers in sorrow and rage between Sam's arms.
"Cassandra, I am so sorry..." I try to begin, but I know this can't even begin to make anything right.
"Can you fix him?" she wants to know, speaking through a clenched jaw. She's not talking about Adelay, she's talking about Dean. Either way, what's done is done and I cannot help either of them now. My silence is my answer and she turns away from me.
I look to Sam who stares up at me, his eyes laced with hurt and distrust. I cannot blame him for this. The nightmares he saw were all because of me and, when it comes to his brother's death, I am at fault there too.
"Sam, I'm sorry," I say sincerely but my words mean nothing to him.
"I swear, Cassandra," I look to her once more. "I will make everything right again. I promise."
She doesn't look at me. She doesn't believe me. But I mean it. I do not have the distraction of ultimate power to hold me back this time. Now I have the gut wrenching guilt and the determination to correct my awful mistakes.
Starting with Adeline. I'm coming for you, my love. If it takes me the rest of eternity, I will pull you from Hell. I know I didn't tell you this as often as I should have and I know my ways of showing it to you have been strange, but I love you. And I'm going to prove it. I promise.
TBC... (Yeah, I'm evil like that)