Song Remains the Same

Chapter 60 / Back In Black

"Forget the hearse 'cause I'll never die; I got nine lives, cats eyes, usin' every one of them and runnin' wild…"
- AC/DC


Dean hung back uselessly, kicking dirt like a chump in the woods somewhere as Samuel Campbell led a huge hunt for the alpha vamp. That man was hiding something, and Dean knew it. Him and Alex being stuck here in the rear, out of the action, proved that all over again. Dean had gotten stuck with his cousin Gwen, Alex was babysitting cars about a half mile back, probably bored out of her skull and pissed about the bullshit assignment Samuel had delegated her to. Dean let out a growling breath of impatience as he peered through the trees. The misty morning air felt damp and cloying and made him all the more restless. He couldn't see anything through the thickly wooded, foggy expanse but he knew, a quarter of a mile ahead, the hunters were closing in on the alpha vamp's compound. Dammit, he should be there too. What was Samuel up to? Dean couldn't shake the instinct that something was really off here.

Gwen ambled over his way with crossed arms, her boots cracking on the pine needles. Her pointy, elvish features made Dean think of a strange doll and he gave her a terse little glance which she caught and returned. "Hey, so sorry about the 'reject' thing back there," she said, trying a contrite smile. The first words she'd spoken to him, really, since back at the cars when she'd been told to stay with Dean. I'm in the rear with the reject? she'd asked, incensed. Samuel had ignored her and she'd gone all sullen and stony.

Dean brushed it aside. "Ah, I've been called worse," he said. It wasn't really his biggest problem, some family member chick he didn't really know dissing him. He had other things to worry about. Like Sam, his soul, and how the hell life was supposed to work from here on out.

Gwen was still trying to start a conversation though. "I'm just, uh, get sick of getting left behind," she explained then shrugged. smiling nervously. "Think it's probably cuz I remind him of his daughter or something."

That comment caught Dean's attention. This girl Gwen, like Mom? He didn't see it. But he decided to humor her if for no other reason not to be rude. "Well, you do speak your mind."

His cousin smiled a little. "I'll take that as a compliment." Another silence stretched out and Gwen paced around a little, glancing at him sidelong. "So, your sister. Do you leave her behind on dangerous runs like this one?"

Dean tried not to look as mistrustful as he felt. "What's it to you?"

Gwen shrugged defensively. "Just wondering if I'm the only one who gets stuck in the dugout during the big game."

Ah. That made sense. Dean figured it couldn't hurt to tell her the truth. "I mean… it depends. But usually, no. She's a good hunter. We, uh, we look out for each other." Though here lately, he wasn't sure about her being involved in all this, especially if soulless Sam was gonna be around for awhile. The guy wasn't trustworthy and didn't seem to give two craps either way about the safety of his siblings. Dean looked at Gwen, who he had no clue about. Was she a good fighter? A decent hunter? He didn't know. He barely knew her from a hole in the wall. "Samuel always stick you in the rear like this?" He asked her, trying to figure it out.

"Yeah," she said, rolling her eyes and crossing her arms again. "Especially whenever Sam's around. Samuel doesn't like him around me."

Again, Dean's attention was piqued, and he felt a strange, dark suspicion in the vicinity of his stomach. "...why not?"

Gwen made a face like she didn't know how to put it. "Your brother's… kind of a creep."

Dean was fully focused on Gwen now. His eyes narrowed dangerously. "Like how?"

Snap! A sudden sound of a twig breaking cut the conversation short. Dean turned fast, focused on the ominous sound as he pulled his machete out slowly. What was… "Augh!" He whirled again, just in time to see Gwen get slammed to the ground by a snarling vampire who was gunning for Dean now—the vamp lunged at him and Dean lost his grip on his weapon as he grabbed thoughtlessly at the guy and whirled him, slammed him against a tree.

Hissing with feral craze, the vamp shoved Dean, hard, knocking him back to the ground with superhuman strength. The back of Dean's head hit the hard-packed ground and jarred him bad. On the ground and weaponless, Dean froze for a second—even as the vamp's head flew off. Dean barely managed to whip his head away from the violent splatter that hit the side of his face. The headless vampire body fell down on top of him and he was abruptly staring into a severed neck. Blood poured out onto the ground beside him and Dean grunted, grossed out, pushing the body up off of him. Holy shit.

Above him, a sort of surprised and proud smile on her face, Gwen stood, her bloody machete in hand. "You're welcome." She cracked a grin and offered her hand to Dean, who was so over vampires right now, and thinking about how crappy it had been to be one. He got up on his own. He didn't need Gwen's help. He picked his machete up and scrubbed the blood off his face with the sleeve of his jacket, a little peeved that he'd let a vamp get the jump on him. And that's when a gunshot cracked the air like thunder. Then another, and another. Dean couldn't stop himself. He heard that and took off in the direction of the gunfire.

"We're supposed to wait here!" Gwen protested. She didn't follow.

Dean was already high-tailing it toward the sounds of the shots, running at full force, machete at his side, heart pumping with adrenaline. The house where the sounds of gunfire was coming from was run down and abandoned looking, fenced in by tall, wrought-iron fences. He skidded to a halt at a rusted gate, searching for a way to get in. He could see how in the little courtyard beyond, vampire and hunter alike had been slaughtered brutally. He grabbed at the gate, shaking it hard and finding that it was locked. He wasn't gonna have any luck there, and he hurried around, skirting the edge of the house, only finding more dead bodies scattered across the lawn and the side of the house. Mostly vampires.

The sky darkened without warning and wind swept across the yard, like a storm was coming on, and Dean hurried all the more, searching for someone, anyone. A couple windows had blood splattered across the windowpanes—signs of quickly unfolding carnage. Yet he saw no one alive. He heard a couple more gunshots, then everything went silent as he crept forward quickly and quietly. Samuel was shouting somewhere nearby and Dean honed in on that sound, letting it guide him. Although now he wasn't running. He was stalking carefully. Dean hugged the edge of an old wooden shed as thunder rumbled loudly. He peered around the corner of the structure, trying to spot Samuel. What he saw baffled him.

Samuel's black van was parked there, back doors both open. Samuel and a couple other hunters—including Sam—were manhandling someone toward the van. This someone had a black bag over their head. This person's hands were chained behind them, and long, sharp fingernails jutted out of ebony fingers. Dean was shocked. He had seen those hands before… in the visions he'd had as a vampire. That was the alpha. And Sam and Samuel were… taking it captive? Not killing him? Lightning cracked the sky.

This wasn't right. Dean pulled his head back away from the corner of the shed and stood there, breathing heavily from panic for a second. No wonder Samuel hadn't let him or Alex come along for this. Something shady was happening. But what?

Dean abruptly turned his head back the way he'd come hearing the sound of… trees falling? The hell? Dean took a couple steps toward it, mystified even as the ground he stood on shook from the impact of a tree hitting the ground deep within the woods, somewhere near where Gwen and Alex were. Dean's heart skipped a horrifying beat. He could hear how trees were falling and splintering and crashing at an alarming rate, like something was tearing through them. And although he had no idea what was happening, he was terrified because he realized that his sister was totally alone out there with no backup. He took off at a breakneck run, toward where the forest was literally being ripped apart.


Five Minutes Ago

Pinned down onto the cold hard ground, Alex stared up in total disbelief into the face of a man who should have been a ghost. Her head was spinning with intensely disorienting pain from the force of the blow that had been dealt to her. She was thoroughly confused. Was she hallucinating or something? Glen was dead—she'd shot him point blank in the chest. But there he was, above her, his familiar and cruel face above hers as his cold hands imprisoned her wrists on either side of her head.

He smirked at her wordless stupor. "What, you don't have anything to say to me?" His low voice was dark and fraught with a smug quality that made her skin crawl.

Alex's features screwed up. "You're dead…" she managed thickly as her mind worked overtime to understand, to grasp. She thought maybe she was in physical shock. Her ears rang badly and her voice sounded distant. She pulled at her wrists faintly, trying to get free. His grip was unrelenting and she began to panic. This was real. But… how? "I killed you!" She protested with rising clarity.

The smirk on his face widened. "Not quite." Alex stared dumbly for two more seconds, then suddenly writhed and squirmed with every ounce of effort she possessed, freeing a leg and smashing her knee upwards between his legs with all the power she could summon. He groaned in shocked pain and doubled over toward her… then laughed mid-groan, like he was relishing the funniest joke he could think of.

"So cute, Alex," he said, grinning down at her leeringly, seeming to be unaffected. Alex was flummoxed. How the hell was he okay after that? It should have disabled him completely! "Go ahead and scream, too," he purred in encouragement, leaning closer and letting his voice take a sensual tone as his lips brushed against her ear—she was holding her face as far away from him as possible, grimacing. "No one can hear you, sweetheart. Except me. And I like screamers."

Her fighting spirit flared and even though he terrified her, she wasn't too terrified to keep from fighting. In fact, anger was the dominant emotion she felt. What was the stupidass motherfucker doing coming back into her life? She'd been through enough shit and this was her breaking point. No more. He had another thing coming. "Get away from me," she snarled, and when he drew back to grin at her sloppily, she cracked her forehead into his chin as hard as she could, pulling at her wrists valiantly—but it was like he was absolutely unaffected by the blow she'd dealt and his grip didn't loosen at all. What the fuck? He was chuckling again and her head hurt so much worse than before. Panting and bemused, Alex's head dropped back down to the ground. She was so dizzy and so confused about what was happening. "What you're here for revenge or something?" She asked, distantly weighing her options. Should she scream for help? Should she call Cas? Stubborn pride urged her to take care of this bastard herself, to prove to everyone and herself that she wasn't useless or weak. And she'd killed this jackass before—mostly.

"Revenge?" He asked, feigning surprise. "Why? I'm better than I've ever been, thanks to you." What was that supposed to mean? He leaned close to her, and his hot breath turned her stomach sickeningly. "I'm here for murder and a quick fuck," he all but whispered, then smiled chillingly. "Not in that order." His eyes went down her neck to her chest suggestively. "We gotta finish what we started a few weeks ago, don't you think?"

Alex sneered at him, acid boiling in her veins. "No thanks." She turned and abruptly craned her neck toward his wrist, mouth opened to bite him, and he let go of her other hand to grab her by the back of the head as he anticipated her movement, cutting off her attack completely. He was pulling her hair so hard that it made tears spring to her eyes, but one of her hands was free, and she was already reaching for the switchblade clipped at the her belt loop.

"I'll do the biting for now, mmkay?" Glen asked, yanking her head back and literally biting her neck hard enough to draw blood—and even as Alex screamed in pained protest, she stabbed him full force in the heart with the switchblade—the metal point plunged into flesh with a sickening thud. And then the strangest thing happened. Glen drew back from her slowly, measuredly, and looked down at the hilt of her knife sticking out of his chest as if it were a slight annoyance to him. "Really?" He asked, as if he were inconvenienced and a little ticked off. He grabbed her by the shoulders and slammed her back to the ground full force, where her head hit a protruding tree root. Pain exploded all over again and she groaned, momentarily losing traction. His hands closed like vices over her wrists again.

Glen laughed easily, the smile reaching his eyes. "Sorry, baby. But I'm a little stronger than you remember me. A little better," he drawled, even as she kept struggling, trying to get out of his insanely strong grip that seemed almost super strength. He should be bleeding out, he should be dying. She opened her mouth to call to Cas… and then Glen's eyes went black as night—pupil, iris, white—everything. Alex froze completely, shocked. He was a demon? How? He saw her shocked fear and it seemed to amuse and delight him. "Thanks to you for almost killing me, I got the soul deal of a lifetime," he announced breezily, and blinked, letting his eyes return to human appearance. "Most people get that ten year shit, but me? I lucked out. This cute little red-headed demon's building an army of demons to kick out the King of Hell. And I'm Patient Zero."

What? Alex was momentarily mystified—something smelled fishy, and for a minute, her shrewd side won out. If that were true, she wanted to know more about it. "Not possible," she said, and she was pretty sure it wasn't. "Demons aren't just made overnight, it takes years of torture to remove their humanity."

Glen chuckled. "Well apparently there wasn't much human about me to begin with, so…" he feigned remembering something important. "But I mean, I do have to do a couple things to get full-fledged. Killing my bitch sister's one of those things. Tracking her down's actually how I found you, sweetie. And hey, two birds with one stone, right?"

"What?" Alex seethed, suddenly panicking—had Glen spirited Jamie out of the hospital when Samuel had been watching her? "If you fucking touched her I'll kill you!" She roared, to which Glen just smirked.

"Sure you will," he said casually, not seeming to care what she said. His eyes were darkening with terrifying intent and his voice softened. He crawled a little closer, his knees shoving her legs apart. "You gonna be a good girl for me this time?" He asked coaxingly, a hand slipping underneath the hem of her shirt to touch her stomach. Alex spit in his face, fighting his grip tooth and nail, raging against him without avail. She smashed the heel of her hand up into his nostrils with the palm of her hand, hard enough to draw blood, break bone, and piss him off.

"Guess not," Glen muttered, and the playfulness evaporated and he drew back, began to bash his fist into her face repeatedly, attempting to beat her into submission or unconsciousness, whichever came first. She managed to block a few of the blows with her arms and he yanked them away repeatedly. She screamed and shouted something that sounded like "castle" to Glen—but he was so high on brutality that he didn't notice or care.


Heaven

It went off like a nuclear explosion across the celestial battlefields, leaving utter death and destruction in its wake. The Horn of Joshua sounded and rendered all the angels who were in close proximity to the trumpeter into dust as their cells scattered and blew apart. The angel Daniel, who was one of Raphael's most loyal, stood high and proud as he watched the enemy fall around him in all directions—at his side, the horn glinted.

A second legion of Castiel's forces were close to Daniel, but not close enough to be killed instantly by the sounding of the horn. Instead the fifteen angels were viciously blasted away in all directions as the trumpet sounded and ripped paradise asunder. Castiel was among these angels. He felt himself tearing backwards through varying heavens from the force of the devastating blow even as his vessel exploded with pain—every atom shivered, buckled, threatened to dissolve and give out completely. He collided with something that cracked, broke, shattered—and he fell facedown into grass.

He tasted blood on his tongue and his ears ran with it, making sounds muffled and strange to him—blinking from shock as he groaned and spit out the metallic lifeblood that was choking him, Castiel laid there trembling, every part of him hurting profusely even as his Grace began the daunting task of repairing and healing his vessel. But the angelic weapon had done vast damage, and he felt it. Daniel could not be allowed to keep that weapon, or the war would be over. Cas dragged himself up, heaving with effort as he stood unevenly. He took a staggering footstep forward, barely able to stand at all—his body was perilously injured, and he would have to wait for it to restore itself before he could attempt another attack.

And then, somewhere very far away, he thought he heard his name being called. He looked around blankly as his senses struggled to work properly. Who was calling him? The voice was urgent and afraid and he could barely hear it because of the damage done to his vessel—he strained, trying to understand and hear. And then, he recognized her voice. Alex. Her voice was a scream and was filled with panic that gave Castiel sudden alarmed clarity. Without a second thought he dropped all of Heaven and rushed to her, tearing through the dimensions to get to her.


Earth

Castiel collided with ground at blazing speeds, and the impact of his uncontrolled crash landing made the ground quake as if from a fierce earthquake. He found himself in a heap on all fours, greatly disoriented. Through blurred vision, he looked around as he pushed himself up lurchingly, driven by intense anxiety. He stood in a small crater, the epicenter of his collision. He stumbled out of it unevenly as the world seemed to spin underneath his feet. Where are you? His ears were muffled and confounded, his vessel unreliable and draggingly slow. He heard commotion and screaming behind him and he turned around clumsily, quickly, almost falling over as he did so. Horror lodged in his throat when he saw Alex on the ground, being straddled by an enormous man—Castiel knew him at once as Glen. The towering blond man was hitting her in the face repeatedly with his fist, cursing at her as his other hand held her down by the neck—her shirt had been shoved up to her ribcage, and bare skin glared, doubling Castiel's horror. He was already moving, his steps fast and uneven and furious.

Alex was screaming and struggling even as blood ran down her face—her eyes were squeezed shut and Castiel could hear her repeating his name over and over in rising panic as he drew near, and every time she said it, he put more willpower behind his sluggish, stumbling steps, trying to get to her faster. Glen paused his assault and smashed his massive hand over her mouth, attempting to silence her as he used a series of lewd words to insult and demean her, which only created more wrath inside of Castiel's veins. He seized the man by the shoulders the second he was within reach and tore him off of Alex, threw him weakly by several feet, then stood between the two of them, heaving from the exertion. Rage pounded in the angel's veins, rage of a quality that he had never tasted in himself before. "Don't—touch—her—" he growled in between heavy breaths, and the words dripped with the promise of murder. And then at that moment, he realized that Glen wasn't a man. Not anymore. Castiel could see his true face, the abominable face of a demon.

And even as Castiel recognized his opponent was a demon, Glen was pushing himself up to stand, a little surprised and then recognizing Castiel as an angel. Quickly, Castiel looked back to Alex, anxious about her condition—she was on the ground and was a bloodied, beaten mess and it broke his heart, horrified him, angered him all at once. Her lip was split and swollen, her temple was gashed open and a river of blood ran down her face. On her neck, a bite mark oozed profane red, around it a dark purple bruise was beginning to blossom. Her nose was bloody and marred, one of her eyes was black and puffy. Her expression was dazed but not totally gone; Castiel could see that she still had her wits and clarity. Her wide eyes stared up at him as she remained frozen, propped onto her elbows. She seemed as horrified at his condition as he was at hers. For a moment, Cas had forgotten how terrible he must appear, too. His eyes fell to the exposed, fair skin of her midriff. And he was reminded of what this man had done and had been trying to do again. And Castiel's blood boiled even as he vowed that today, this man would cease to exist.

Castiel turned his most fearsome gaze upon Glen, and for a moment, the demon did look afraid, took a step back. And then as he fully took in Castiel's appearance—the blood running out of his mouth, ear, and nose, his shaky footing and pained expression, the obvious weakened condition—the fear faded and the demon's eyes glinted with a cold, superior quality. "You feeling okay there, angel boy? You look half-dead." He grinned slowly, wiggled his eyebrows up, took an experimental step forward, testing the waters. "Maybe I can help you get all dead."

Cas knew that he was damaged greatly and at the point of collapse, of combustion. But even though his vessel was wounded and faltering, nothing seemed to matter. Not logic, not science, not facts. Only this demonic man dead and gone forever. Castiel's fury was as deep and wide as every ocean, his righteous anger gave him blazing, shaking intentions to smite this demon and wipe him from the face of the earth for all eternity, and with every ounce of strength he possessed, Castiel drew himself up to his full height as he stared down this ape man would would seek to sully an innocent girl. Nature responded to Castiel's fury—the sky darkened, a sudden wind swept in, and Cas's eyes were dark. There would be destruction in this place today. "Get far away from here, Alex," he said through gritted teeth, clenching his fists at his sides as he stared down the demon and took a greatly focused step toward him.

"No," Glen said, and held a hand out to stop Alex, who was trying to stand up. She was slammed back down by invisible forces, pinned to sit against the nearby tree trunk. Glen's eyes narrowed darkly as he leveled a dark glare at Cas. "I want her to see this."

Blinded by anger and quickly becoming even more drained, Castiel held the demon's gaze and laced his own words with thick, ominous qualities. "Yes," Cas said darkly. "Let her watch as I destroy you." Overhead, thunder rumbled heavily and lightning cracked the sky viciously as the wind whipped around them with increasing speed. Glen made a face as though he were thinking about backing off—but Castiel stood there wobbling, obviously barely able to even stand, and Glen did not flee. Just smiled slowly.

Squirming against the tree breathlessly, Alex piped up. "Hey do I get a say in this, guys?" She asked in surprising amounts of sarcasm. When the two men looked at her, she gave Glen a deadly smile and raised her chin as she used her strongest, coldest voice. "Go to hell you little bitch."

The man's face washed over with anger and Glen started for her—Cas intercepted, grabbed him and smashed his fist into the demon's face hard enough to send the demon stumbling back by a few feet—the effect was disappointing and disconcerting, and Castiel was suddenly doubting himself greatly. Just one hit had taken all of his strength, which didn't seem to be much at the moment. Glen laughed, dashing the blood away as he straightened back up. "Serious?" He asked, high on confidence and airs. "That's all? Come on, teeter totter. Gotta hit harder than that if you wanna tango with me."

Glen darted forward, faster and more nimble than Cas was at the moment. He grabbed the angel by the front of his coat and whirled him to get good momentum then threw him into a tree with blinding force—Cas hit it sidelong and the tree cracked in half at the impact. It groaned and fell slowly, great crashing noises echoing through the gusty woods as it plummeted to crash and shake the earth like an earthquake. Castiel pushed himself back up to his feet with a groan, even more disoriented than before and trying to get his bearings. Glen used the moment to his advantage and picked the dazed angel up, lifted him up over his head with a grunt and he flung Cas into another tree. The wood splintered upon impact, spraying shards of wood everywhere. The tree cracked, shuddered, began to fall down even as Cas remained on the ground, groaning in pain, trying to get up and seeming to have problems doing so. Glen was laughing crazily as the wind whipped his hair sideways. He seemed delighted at how easy it was to kick the angel around—then he stopped mid-laugh, choking abruptly, seeming shocked. He turned, eyes wide in panic as he searched out Alex, who was halfway into an exorcism.

"Omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio," she chanted fast, still stuck in place by the invisible hold, "infernalis adversarii, omnis legio, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica—ahhh!" Glen had charged over and he lifted her up by the neck with a single hand, crushing her windpipe. Her feet dangled above the ground and she gasped and writhed as he held here there, her hands grabbing his wrists uselessly.

"You're really not worth all this fucking effort, you know that?!" Glen demanded in genuine exasperation, maybe because the exorcism had jarred him so much. He quickly began to fire off a sentence that made little sense at the time. "It's starting to make sense why she told me I had to kill you to hold up my end of the bargain—you just won't stop being a pain in the ass, will you? I get why I'm supposed to kill your dickwad brothers and trust me, it'll feel good to tear their throats out… but I think I'm just gonna go ahead and cut to the killing you part, save myself some trou—"

Glen was suddenly pulled backwards by the hair and catapulted into a tree, courtesy of a very drained Castiel who stumbled, almost fell over from the force of throwing the demon. Alex's feet hit the ground even as she reached into her jacket and whipped out her angel blade, flipped it deftly so that she held the blade end, not the hilt—she drew back to throw it across the distance and make the kill, for real this time while there was a chance. But Glen saw and held a hand out and she flew backwards by about fifteen feet. She collided shoulder-first and about fifteen feet up from the ground into a massive tree. When she fell down to the ground, she didn't move again. Cas stared, eyes wide at the sight of her crumpled there and still. Above them, the sky was still dark and stormy, the wind loud and deafening.

"What now, without your little bitch girlfriend to pick up your slack?" Glen asked above the wind. He had blood running down the side of his head now from hitting the tree, but he was grinning triumphantly.

How dare he use that foul term for her? Hatred shook Castiel, and anger coursed in his veins. Anger at himself for being so weak and ineffective. He looked back at the demon vengefully—he would have turned this mite to dust easily on any other day. "You speak too much," he growled, digging deep for strength that didn't seem to be there. He let his blade slide into his hand and he brandished it as he rushed Glen, who ducked the attack and grabbed him by the wrist, held the arm high and bent the wrist as hard as he could, trying to get Castiel to drop the weapon completely. Cas's teeth set in exertion as he struggled to repel the demon—he was shocked at how easily the lesser being was dominating him.

Glen was almost a head taller than Cas and used his brute size and strength to force the angel down slowly—and he smashed his forehead into Cas's painfully. For a moment, Castiel lost sight completely. His blade fell out of his hand even as he blindly clutched at his opponent, trying to find a weakness or flaw. Indignant anger rushed through Cas again, who shut his eyes briefly, for a small fraction of a second. Glen held him in a chokehold. Any other day, Castiel would have ended this abomination in ten seconds flat—but today he was limping and bleeding, wounded. But not beaten. Castiel wrapped around his Grace, sought its blazing strength, however weakened… he remembered who he was. He was born and bred of ancient days and heavenly strength, he was an instrument of destruction, he was unrelenting and unforgiving, a great and terrible storm that demolished all evil. He was an angel, a son of the celestial heavens, a warrior, a protector. Her protector. And Castiel opened his eyes, clinging to that thought alone.

With a sudden rush of strength and determination, Castiel snapped to his full height and shoved Glen hard with both hands—the blindsided demon flew backwards into three trees, one right after the other, ripping chunks of them out as he streaked through air like a bullet—and Castiel was waiting for him before he had even stopped flying—he seized him by the collar and whirled him the other way, let him tear back through the forest the way they'd come, breaking more and more trees in the process. Again, Castiel anticipated Glen's trajectory and was waiting for him. He grabbed the demon out of midair, whirled him and seized him by the collar with one hand then cracked his fist across Glen's face brutally even as he soared them up through the stormy sky, twenty-five stories at least. As Cas plummeted them back down to the earth at unreal speeds, he let loose a blazingly furious series of punches to the demon's face, releasing his unrelenting anger upon this monster of a man and demon. All he could see was his Alex, hurt and injured and bloodied and violated by this person. He held Glen beneath him as the ground hurtled up to meet them.

Castiel slammed them both to the ground with finality, hard enough to send a shiver through the woods all around, hard enough that Glen's body was wedged deeply into the dirt—and that would be his grave. The demon was half conscious, his face was unrecognizable and bloody and he stared up at Cas in total fear, as it should be. Castiel's wrath came to full fruition as he remained high on celestial intent and power and grabbed Glen by the front of his shirt, pulled him forward to receive his bitter end. Glen opened his mouth and black smoke began to pour out as he tried to escape himself, flee like a coward from the fate Castiel was about to serve him. But the angel was too fast and his hand shot out and stopped the smoke, slowly forced it back into the demon's mouth. Not slowly because it was difficult. Slowly so that Glen could know and feel his last moment and shudder in terror for it. Power literally crackled in the air and light seemed to emanate from Castiel who finally and savagely slammed his hand down to Glen's mouth and gave a furious sound—there was a scream of agony and white light burned the demon alive from the inside out, but that wasn't enough. Castiel's eyes went white hot as he let his hand render total destruction upon this man, body, spirit and soul, burn him away to nothing but ashes of ashes. There was a sound like a small sonic boom; the ground shook and overhead leaves burned and turned to dust in a twenty foot radius of where Castiel's fury burned.

The wind ceased and the sky cleared even as sooty leaves collapsed and drifted down like gray mist over the area. Cas rose slowly, nothing but dust remaining at his feet. His blazing strength was fading quickly and his vessel, dangerously close to implosion, barely allowed him to stand. But he had to find her. Castiel turned around slowly, lurching again as he searched for her.

Staring up at him with stunned expressions, Dean and Alex gaped up from the ground—where had Dean come from? Castiel didn't know, but brother had gathered sister into the safety of his arms, as if he had been about to pick her up and run with her. But they were both frozen, awed and maybe a little afraid, staring at him as they clutched each other. Cas took a shaky step toward them as the world began to fade to gray, then black. "I…" his eyes lost clarity and he fell forward, unconscious.

Dean gaped even as Alex freaked out at his collapse. "Cas!" She began to crawl toward him, her twisted (possibly broken ankle) not stopping her for a second. Dean was too shocked to do anything but stare. Had he really just seen what he'd seen? Sure, he knew Cas was capable of doing some pretty intense stuff, but—damn. Dean stood slowly, in a trance as he stared at the hole Cas had pounded into the ground with Glen's body—the broken and fallen trees—the soot raining down all around them—the sky that was overcast gray again instead of dark and stormy black. Dean was overcome by a horrifying sense of awe and terror. Alex was turning Cas over with great effort so that he was face up—checking his breathing, touching his face, asking his name softly over and over, concerned. Both of them were covered in blood and Dean was agape at it all. What—the hell—had happened here?

Dean heard commotion behind him and whirled, his clear-mindedness returning as he reached for a weapon—then relented, seeing who it was. "What the hell is going on here?!" Samuel demanded, staring at the scene before them with wide eyes. Behind him were Sam, Christian, Gwen, and about ten other hunters Dean didn't know.

Their guess was as good as his. "I don't know," he answered evenly, still shocked. He turned to look back at his sister, who was with lifeless-looking Castiel on the ground.

"What do you mean, you don't know?!" Samuel demanded loudly.

"I mean I don't know!" Dean snapped, wheeling on Samuel. He was realizing that this was none of his grandfather's damn business. As such, he became brusque. "Don't worry about it, I'll handle it." He saw how everyone was staring curiously at his bloody sister and Cas, and Dean got defensive, stepped in front of Samuel, trying to block the view. "Get your people outta here," he said gruffly, "We'll catch up."

Samuel looked less than enthusiastic about the idea, but maybe he figured he'd better leave well enough alone and he adjusted his grip on his gun and nodded his head toward the road even as his eyes studied Dean mistrustfully. "Everyone with me, back to base."

When everyone including Sam turned to go, Dean was shocked, then quickly pissed. "Sam, not you." Sam turned, waited, appearing stumped as to why Dean wanted him to stay put. Dean felt betrayed. Did Sam really not care about finding out what had happened to his twin sister? Apparently not. He stood there like a soulless douchebag, looking around the scene curiously, detached. As soon as the Campbell crew was out of earshot, Dean was letting an acidic question fly. "What, not curious about what happened here, Sammy?"

"Sure I am," Sam said, sounding as excited as someone whose taxes were due the next day.

Was Sam really not seeing their sister at the moment? She was beaten to a pulp and Sam really didn't care? "Glen…" Dean let the name hang in the air. It got no reaction. "The demon…" again, no reaction, "attacked your sister."

Sam seemed mildly intrigued. "Huh. Didn't peg the guy for demon."

Dean gave his brother a disgusted look. "You're such an asshole right now, you know that?" He turned away from his brother angrily and went to Alex, crouched down beside her as she bent over Cas.

The angel was still, his face was streaked in blood from multiple injuries, but just being there beside him was slightly scary for Dean, who had just seen him literally turn some guy to dust after slamming him into the ground from twenty-some stories high. It was easy to forget, sometimes, how powerful and dangerous Cas could be. In fact, Dean realized he didn't even know how deep the power ran. Was it reassuring or terrifying to have an ally like that? Dean wasn't sure. But it was definitely terrifying to think that this all-powerful being was having sex with his sister who had eyes only for Castiel and was ignoring all her own crazy injuries in favor of leaning over Cas and feeling the pulse in his neck. "He okay?" Dean asked quietly, not sure how to even approach the situation at all right now.

"Breathing," Alex said, glancing his way. One of her eyes was nearly swollen shut. "But not much." Her condition broke his heart and made him have to swallow away enormous amounts of horrified guilt. He should have told someone about Glen possibly still being out there—because Dean had known no body had been found at the scene where Alex shot him. Why hadn't he done something to prevent this? Christ.

He looked at Cas again, who had saved Alex and taken care of that asshole Glen once and for all. He swallowed the strangest feeling and his voice was soft as he looked at the angel in new light. "He'll be fine," Dean told his sister, trying to maybe reassure her enough to focus on herself for a second. "It's Cas. He's always fine." He took her by the arm gently, peering at her injuries again. "You don't look so good, though." He let go and stood, beckoned to her. "C'mere," he said, indicating she get up. When he'd run into the scene mid-fight, Alex had been stunned on the ground and when Dean had pulled her to her feet, she'd fallen over in surprised pain, said her ankle was twisted or broken.

"Can you stand?" He asked, offering her both hands. She grabbed one and hauled herself up and kept all of her weight on her right foot as she winced, tried to take a step, then stumbled bad. Dean caught her, kept her from falling. Yeah right. He wasn't gonna have her hopping through the woods on one leg. He picked her up easily and she made no protest, surprisingly.

Sam stood off, looking at the bare tree branches with interest. He seemed to have no concerns in the world, which only made Dean madder. "Hey, Captain Feelings!" He glowered at Sam balefully, jerked his head to the side toward the unconscious guy. "Make yourself useful and get Cas."

Sam paused. "What for?"

Dean and Alex both balked. "What for?" Dean repeated, continually astonished with his brother. "We can't just leave him here, are you nuts?"

Sam seemed neither here nor there and without protest, headed toward Cas. "Just asking," he said levelly, then bent and picked Cas up with some effort and a grunt or two. "Holy shit this guy is heavier than he looks," he complained. Dean was already heading back through the woods toward the car, and Alex's arms held around his neck tightly—she watched Sam carrying Cas from over Dean's shoulder. Dean held her a little tighter as he thought of how he was the world's biggest moron for leaving her alone at the cars to begin with. Mentally, he kicked himself, hating himself for shit decision after shit decision.

When they got to the Impala, all the other cars and trucks were gone and Dean sat his sister on the trunk of the car as Sam tossed Cas like a sack of potatoes into the back seat, despite Alex's protests of be careful with him Sam!

Dean was focusing on assessing Alex. One thing at a time, and first things first. "Okay, so what we got," Dean muttered to himself, pulling off her shoe then peeling the sock back to look at her ankle. "Ooh… not good," he commented under his breath when he examined her. There was a huge bruise there at the anklebone. "Can you move it?" He asked, and Alex managed to make her foot jerk slightly, but she hissed in pain.

"Ugh," she muttered, sounding angry. "Feels broken." In this family, a broken bone wasn't just an inconvenience. It was a huge life setback. Dean was grim as he looked his sister over. She had a gash on the side of her face that needed stitches, had said her nose felt broken, had a bite mark on her neck. That fuckin' tool. Dean was ashamed of himself again for never telling anyone, namely Cas, that Glen might still be out there. Either way, some of her injuries needed professional medical attention, not just the Winchester seat-of-your-pants method of patching up.

Dean noticed how Alex had gone still and he frowned slightly. She was staring at the heel of her hand with a sickened look on her face. Dean followed her gaze. There was blood on her skin—not hers. Was that Glen's blood? Dean suddenly realized—Glen was a demon—that was demon blood—oh hell no. He grabbed her hand and rubbed it against the sleeve of his jacket hard and fast, wiping all the blood off of her, erasing temptation. Alex met his gaze shamefacedly, understanding that he understood. "Thanks," she said faintly.

Dean patted the side of her arm gently, trying a smile through the more painful and confused emotions he was feeling. "Hospital?"

She matched his smile falteringly, grimacing against what he was sure were horrible amounts of pain. "Yeah," she said, and pulled a face through the agony. "I need drugs. Lots and lots of drugs."

Dean pulled her off the trunk and helped her into the back seat, where, on the ride to the hospital, Sam stared out the window in boredom, breaking Dean's heart all over again. Alex pulled Cas half onto her lap and she held him there in what seemed to be a sweet way—she stroked a hand across his hair like he were familiar to her, like she loved him, and Dean wished he could feel differently than he felt. All Dean could only remember was the horrible destruction Castiel had rained down on Glen and even though he was glad as hell that the bastard got what was coming to him… Dean had an anxious feeling he couldn't shake.

He used to think Alex had chosen a mentally deficient oddball to be romantically involved with. Now he felt like Castiel was much more dangerous and powerful than he had ever imagined. Shouldn't it have made him feel better to know that this strong, impervious being was there to protect and take care of Alex?

It didn't. It made Dean feel incredible amounts of dread.


Author's Notes: Hello everyone! Shorter chapter than usual (much shorter) because I wanted this showdown to be its own standalone piece. I recommend listening to "The Fire In Her Eyes" by Two Steps From Hell. It's the soundtrack to this chapter and Cas's beat down on Glen… as usual I appreciate your thoughtful reviews on what things you liked and any speculations or comments you have to add. Always makes my day to know all the hard work that goes in to writing this is noticed :D