For the zillionth time, I apologize for the sorry lack of updating. To anyone still reading, I praise you and shower you with cookies. Life is so damn busy! I added a "the road so far" to the last two chapters to help people keep up, since this is apparently going to be a monstrous fic that has sparse updates. THANKS FOR READING!


The road so far

- Thrown out of his home, Castiel uncovers he's half-angel, half human. He's a nephilim, possibly the only one left on earth. Saved by Gabriel the archangel, his true father, Castiel sets out on a life separate from humanity

- Many years later, Dean and Sam roll into Santa Cruz, California to investigate a potential Jinn attack, their first "normal" hunt since Sam opened the Devil's Gate and all hell broke loose on earth.

- Castiel encounters the hunters and they take him as a suspect in the Jinn attacks, only to discover he has wings and a connection to their impending war.

- Castiel realizes his connection to Dean and takes him out for drinks, but the date is interrupted when the angels return to earth for the first time in 2000 years and Castiel feels Gabriel leave for the first time since his father entered his life 12 years ago.

- Dean and Sam confront Castiel and Sam tries to kill him. Castiel partially reveals his true nature by telling the brothers that the demon blood inside Sam makes him violent and unpredictable. Castiel uncovers something more disturbing when he realizes that Sam is addicted to demon blood.

- The brothers leave and Dean is snatched by the angels Zachariah and Hester, who tell him he is the true vessel for the archangel Michael. Castiel intervenes and kills Zachariah and takes Dean to safety.

- Gabriel reappears and tells them the apocalypse will happen, a war between Lucifer and Michael. He tells Castiel that they must leave this plane or else they will not be safe. Castiel decides to stay with the brothers and save earth, the only home he's ever known.

- Unable to track down Lilith on their own, the brothers and Castiel find a house full of powerful demons in a suburban part of the Midwest in order to capture and interrogate one about how the demons plan to free Lucifer. After a fight that almost ends Dean's life, the brothers see what Castiel is really capable of doing and they are horrified.

(~)

Castiel did not take Sam and Dean back to Erie, Pennsylvania or the Impala. Instead he took them to a warehouse that sat along a remote part of the coast of Southern California. He'd purchased it years ago for his "work." Once it had been a port. Now it was empty, except for a few abandoned warehouses and docks. The emptiness suited Castiel, because the demons he brought here always fought back. Sometimes they screamed when Castiel got his hands on them.

The second they landed, the brothers began to scream at him.

"What the fuck was that, Cas? What did you do to them?" Dean shouted, dancing backward to get away from him.

"What happened to interrogating a demon? You just killed them all!" Sam yelled, directly in his face. The younger hunter, for some reason, was not afraid of him like Dean was.

Castiel stared at them, momentarily confused about their reaction. He had saved them both from the demons. Dean would have been slaughtered, yet again, if it weren't for him. Despite this, they didn't care what measures Castiel had taken. Their outrage was pure and it was outright. They both were disgusted with how he had handled the demons.

Castiel honestly couldn't understand their feelings. The Winchesters were hunters, and for this reason, Castiel hadn't realized his demon hunting tactics would bother them so much. He knew the brothers had empathy; he knew they had humanity; he knew they weren't shells; but he hadn't expected them to be so disgusted with him. He had hunted this way for years, but he had always hunted alone, and the brothers' reactions stunned him.

Dean stopped yelling and looked around. "Where the hell are we?" He said, the ever-present anxious tone returning to his voice.

"We are in a warehouse in California. If you notice, it is demon proofed and isolated. This is where I often take them." He said.

"You bring them here to torture them?" Dean asked. His face paled as he said these words.

Dean stared at him expectantly, but Castiel knew he couldn't answer this question honestly. His silence only made Dean more nervous.

"Well, you didn't get any of them." Sam said. He was self-righteous and Castiel could tell it gave him great satisfaction to prove to Dean that they could not trust him.

Sam's self-righteousness brought out Castiel's very human defensiveness.

"If you two would shut up and quit worrying about a few meatbags who were probably dead anyway, then you'd have given me a chance to show you that I did." Castiel snapped.

Castiel felt his own self-righteous indignation run over him. It mirrored Sam's, but for a difference reason. Once again, Castiel felt his usual mild revulsion toward humans return as Sam Winchester smirked at him. Humans were so petty, so caught up in a few lives that were meaningless, so convinced their own way was right. Hunters were the worst of them. So moral, despite the fact that they spend their lives killing, just as Castiel always had.

"What did you do?" Dean muttered.

"I got the girl." Castiel said. "She tried to escape, but I caught her."

Castiel pointed to the end of the warehouse.

"The others were strong, much stronger than her. They had to be eliminated." He said, trying to keep his voice even. "I tried to get the woman to tell me more before I killed her, but there wasn't time."

"Why'd you torture her?" Dean asked, returning to his original issue.

"She deserved it." Castiel snapped.

"Well, take us to the girl." Dean said.

Castiel stalked to the corner of the warehouse, Dean and Sam followed him tentatively. Castiel closed his eyes, trying to ignore their emanating collective feeling of horror.

In the corner of the warehouse, hidden behind an immense wall of debris, the demon who was possessing the college coed sat tied to a chair. A massive devil's trap was painted on the ceiling, keeping her trapped.

"When did you bring her here?" Sam asked. "We were fighting for our lives and you ran?"

"Aftershe knocked you unconscious, naturally she tried to escape. I captured her, brought her here and came back to your rescue." Castiel said, not caring that his tone was heavily sarcastic.

"You were quick." Dean said. "Got back just in time to save my ass."

Castiel couldn't help it, he read Dean's mind when he said that. Dean did feel genuine gratitude toward him. Dean still trusted him. Due to those thoughts, a small part of him wanted to go easy on the demon just to prove to the brothers that he wasn't a monster.

He knew he couldn't though. Instead, bent over and grinned at the demon.

"What's your name?" He asked.

The demon rolled her eyes and looked away. "Ruby." She muttered.

"Ruby, your family is dead." He said, capturing her pretty brown eyes. "What do you think about that?"

"I don't fucking care about them." She snarled. "Let me go!"

"They certainly had you on a leash." Dean said. "Why's that?"

"Because I'm not part of this! I tried to tell you!" She cried. Her eyes stayed on Castiel's face.

"How is Lilith going to release him?" Castiel asked.

"Who? The Devil? He's not real! You can't release something that doesn't exist!"

"We know he exists." Dean said. "The angels came back to earth to fight a war with him. Angels haven't been here in 2000 years. Don't tell me it's a fantasy."

Castiel stood back up, his gaze never leaving the demon's. He summoned his grace forward. He looked down at his hands, which began to glow white.

"What are you? You're not... you're not one of them, not one of us." Ruby breathed, her eyes moving from his face to his hands.

"Not an angel, not a human, sure as hell not a demon." He said, lifting his hands and flexing his fingers, which were glowing hot. "Thanks to what I am though, I can burn the skin off your face with one touch."

Castiel glanced over at Sam and Dean who were watching him with fascination. Sam looked a little sick. He kept glancing over at the demon, as if he emphasized with her.

"Where is Lilith? What is her plan?" Castiel asked.

"I don't know!" She said.

Castiel grinned again. "I was hoping you'd say that."

He thrust his palm forward and placed it on the demon's chest, right below the neck. He willed his power forward, into the demon's core. Ruby began to scream. The smell of charred flesh filled the air and Castiel pushed forward even harder, searing her human host's skin. His grace combined with the power from his human soul charred anything supernatural. Ruby's skin was smoking and bubbling. She screamed even louder and tears filled her eyes. Castiel drew his hand away when the first tear fell.

"Where is Lilith?" He snapped.

Ruby sat there breathing heavily, trying not to sob. "I don't know! They hate me, they won't tell me anything!" She whimpered.

Castiel turned and drew a knife from his bag. He smiled at her and with one quick movement, sliced over the blistered and reddening skin on her chest. She screamed and her eyes turned black.

"Lilith won't tell me anything!" She sobbed. "Please! I'm not the right demon!"

You have the wrong demon.

I don't know anything.

My boss would never tell me anything, I'm just a minion.

These are excuses. Castiel had heard them a thousand times and they were never true.

Resigning to what he'd have to do, Castiel turned to the brothers. "This is going to get ugly." He said simply. "You should leave or at least go outside."

Dean stared at him, his eyes filled with a mixture of awe and terror. Castiel dipped into their brains. Sam was appalled by him. Absolutely appalled. He thought Castiel was a murderer with no soul. Dean didn't think that. In fact, despite his horror, Dean was curious.

Castiel waved his hand. "Leave." He commanded. "Come back in an hour. I guarantee you we will at least have Lilith's location."

The brothers walked away, although they seemed hesitant to leave Castiel alone with Ruby. Once they were beyond the debris and out of sight, Ruby changed. Although her face was streaked with tears and her chest was charred and bloody, she smiled at him.

"You're an even bigger freak than I am." She said, her eyes as black as coal. "A half human, half angel abomination who's making moon eyes at a hunter."

Castiel felt his rage flare when she said that. He was already on edge. The brothers' reaction to his demon-hunting tactics and the mere presence of a demon were compounding the anger he felt about the impending apocalypse. His grip on the knife tightened.

"I've never even see a creature like you." Ruby taunted from the chair. "I've been alive for 1500 years, and most of those years were spent in hell. That's how much of a freak you are."

"That's because I'm part angel, you whore." He snapped, waving the knife in her face. "Angels don't go to hell."

"Right, like they'd ever take you to Heaven." She said, tossing her hair over her shoulder, wincing slightly as she moved. "Let me go or at least let's talk. I think we'd actually make a good team. The younger one and me, you and the older brother.

"I would never work with a demon, even if she were on my side." Castiel growled. "You are scum. You're evil, murderous, angry spirits who have nothing better to do than cause chaos and death everywhere you go."

"Pot. Kettle, Black." She said, raising an eyebrow.

"You all have Lucifer's scythe up your collective ass. You can't even think for yourselves."

"I don't know anything about Lucifer." She countered, her eyes turning black again. "I told you, I don't believe in him."

Ruby looked smug, so Castiel took the knife and slashed it across the human host's stomach. Ruby yelped a little, but kept her cool. The sobbing, sopping mess from moments before was completely gone. In her place was a hardened, cocky demon. This is what he was used to killing.

Castiel began to circle the Devil's Trap. "Why the show?" He asked. "When the Winchesters were here, you were pleading for your life."

"The Winchesters actually have a heart. Everyone knows that. Those boys can't help but fall for the damsel in distress act. You, on the other hand, don't care. I don't even think you have a heart."

"Thank god for that." Castiel said. "How is Lilith going to release Satan?"

Ruby pursed her lips. "Even if I did know, why would I tell you? Whatever Lilith cooks up would be way worse than anything than you can do."

Castiel smiled at her. He knew the smile was cruel, but now wasn't the time to think about the brothers' disgust or his dwindling humanity. He held up his free hand and it glowed white again. He ran the edge of his palm over both sides of the knife, effectively turning it into a boiling hot fire poker. He turned to the demon and smirked. He felt his old self returning, the cocky, invulnerable half-angel who didn't give one thought about the pain he inflicted upon demons.

"Your eyes." She said, her face changing, her smugness fading. "They're like…"

Not allowing her to finish, Castiel lifted the burning knife and jammed it into her gut, right to where her liver would be. The human host's pink shirt was stained red immediately and blood began to trickle from the wound. Ruby's eyes rolled back in her head and she screamed, her throat gurgling with human blood. Castiel twisted the knife in deeper and put his still glowing palm on the side of her face. This is when Ruby stopped screaming.

(~)

Two hours had passed and Castiel still hadn't given Dean and Sam the green light to return to the warehouse. Castiel had said an hour. Dean had been sure it'd take less time than that. The demon Castiel had inside appeared weak. She didn't seem to be the kind of demon who would withstand torture from someone like Castiel.

Dean paced along the water. Every few minutes, the demon's muffled screams would come through the warehouse walls. Every now and then, she'd stop screaming, and Dean would be sure they were in the clear, but then they'd begin again, the cries growing more horrible every time.

Dean glanced over at his brother, who was perched on a large rock. His face was a mask.

"Hey buddy, you alright?" He asked.

"He's killing her." Sam said, his voice tight.

"He's torturing her." Dean muttered, as if that were much better.

"This isn't how we do things. We don't torture the creatures we fight. We get what we need and move on. Castiel is torturing her for fun." Sam countered.

"I don't think it is fun for him." Dean said. "Even if it is, Sam, this is different. The world is ending. A super-powered archangel wants to make me his bitch. Lucifer could walk free. Sometimes in desperate situations, you have to take desperate measures."

"Like trusting a psychopath? Trusting a bizarre supernatural creature whose main goal might be to deliver you to his uncle, or whatever? Trusting someone who's related to the Trickster?"

"He saved my life." Dean said.

Dean sat down on a big stone along the rocky shore and sighed. He didn't know where to turn. His entire life had been turned upside down in the course of a week. He was the one true vessel to an archangel. Sam was addicted to demon blood. Satan was real and he was on his way to town. He was working with a Nephilim who both terrified and titillated him. He'd never wanted normalcy more in his entire life. Even if normalcy meant a nice, safe Wendigo hunt.

Another 20 minutes passed and fortunately, they were a silent 20 minutes. Dean was thinking about telling Sam they should just leave when, suddenly, Castiel was sitting next to him on the rock. Dean about leapt out of his skin when the other man appeared.

"I'm sorry if you heard any of that." Castiel muttered. His hands and white shirt were splattered with blood.

"Well, what'd you get from her?" Sam said. "Please tell me after all of that, that we at least know something."

"I know what Lilith plans to do." Castiel said. "The demon was stronger than I thought she'd be, but she finally told me."

"Well, don't keep us waiting. What is Lilith going to do?" Sam said.

"Three trials. Once the trials are completed, Lucifer will be free. The first has already happened." Castiel said.

"The Devil's Trap." Sam said, his voice thin.

Castiel nodded wearily. "I'm sorry, Sam."

"We can stop the others." Sam said, standing up. "We can stop him from rising."

Castiel didn't respond, just stared blankly at the ocean.

"Did you kill her?" Dean asked finally.

"No." He muttered.

"Why the hell not?" Dean cried. "You had no problem killing her 'family' and you sure as hell had her in there for a long time!"

"She's not like other demons." Castiel murmured, looking down at his bloodied palms. "I needed the information, but I couldn't… I couldn't do it."

"How the hell are we supposed to kill her then?" Dean said.

"She has a knife. A demon-killing knife." Castiel said. He closed his eyes and rested his forehead in his hands, seemingly not rattled by the blood.

Dean's blood turned to ice when he said that.

"What?" Dean said. "Like the Colt?"

"Yes. That's not all though. She wants Sam to do it. She says she's in too much pain to live."

"Me? Why?" Sam yelled. "You do it!"

"I can't. In her first life, she… she was like me. She was a Nephilim." Castiel whispered. He looked up at the brothers, his face covered in dried blood, eyes shining. "I'm sorry."

Castiel was a psychopathic killing machine, until he started to feel bad about it.

Angels existed.

The archangel Michael wanted to wear him to prom.

A demon had a demon-killing knife and wanted his younger brother to kill her with it.

Lilith was going to release Satan with three trials.

Sam had already completed the first trial.

"Son of a bitch." Dean grumbled.

Life would never be normal again.