A/N: Here we are as promised, classic Metallica. It's still depressing though, because the majority of Metallica songs are, and this sort of follows on from the last one. I especially recommend listening to the song for this one, because it's the one I found easiest to integrate into the narrative. I honestly am trying to find a vaguely non-dark Metallica song that could apply to Dean for next time, but there don't seem to be any.

Master of Puppets

The ropes are his prison. At night they're used to hang him from hooks suspended in the air, never allowing him a moment without some kind of pain scratching and biting into his skin; whereas during the day they're used to bind him and tie him down to the rack as Alastair does his work. Not that Dean can really tell what the difference between night and day is here. His only indication that the torment is over after each session is when Alastair comes to him and makes him the offer: he can come off the rack if he puts other souls on. Dean counts the times he gives the same answer, telling Alastair to go suck it, and after each time he finds himself back on the hooks again, somehow remade and just awaiting the new horrors that will come tomorrow.

Sometimes he's tired enough that exhaustion will overwhelm the pain and he sleeps. Even in Hell he can dream, and he dreams of getting out of here, of being with Sammy again… But then he awakes on the rack and the dreams are smashed as his mind is overwhelmed by nothing but pain, the ritual misery commencing once again. Fear pumps in his veins as the master torturer find new ways to hurt him: blinding and gutting and mutilating in ways too horrific to comprehend. Alastair hears him scream, and only laughs.

Dean tries to resist the temptation to give in, but every time Alastair makes the offer again, he can feel his resolve slowly but surely crumbling away.

By his count it's been over ten thousand days when he finally cracks. He doesn't want to, can't stand the thought of picking up the razor, but can stand the thought of enduring this any longer even less. They take him down off the hooks and hand him the instruments he'll need, but even though he's not strung up anymore, he's still the puppet and Alastair's the master pulling strings. The demon gives orders and Dean follows them, cutting and maiming in blind obedience while Alastair works to construct something new and demonic from the damned soul he's been handed. And each time it's over Dean's left wracked with guilt, crawling before his master in self-disgust, but at the same time needing more.

He can feel his mind and soul being twisted as his humanity is burned away, faster and faster, but he doesn't know how to fight it any longer as he destroys himself by Alastair's command. The life he used to know is long gone, and Hell feels like his natural habitat now. His focus is becoming clearer with each day that drifts past: he must torture and torment the damned things that have already succumbed to death. Dean knows that a lifetime ago he would have been disgusted with himself for even contemplating the things that he now finds himself doing, but it's as if his mind isn't his own anymore. It's occupied entirely by bloodthirst, the demon already in him helping kill whatever humanity remains. He's in Alastair's domain, the demon that rules the torture chambers of Hell and commands the monopoly on pain, and although Dean tried to fight him for all those years, now Alastair rules him too.