He was raised on demon blood and ichor, pumping through his veins slow and thick like frozen rivers, black tar sticking to his insides and stretching as he got older.
His earliest playmates growing up on the road stank of sulphur and ash before John worked out demon warding, before John understood that he was a target, he once knew a kitsune named Amy and he thought maybe he loved her, somehow he was always a little too good at caring about monsters.
When Dean was Benny’s friend, he hated Benny, and he hated Dean for seeing Benny as a person, and and he wouldn’t think about it but he knew he hated them for something he saw in himself.
His mother died to motivate his father, Jess died to motivate him, he was only ever going to be useful as a hollowed-out shell to hold someone more important, of course they were just stepping stones to make him into what he was supposed to be.
They died for him and what did he ever give them to make up for it? Nothing, he gave them nothing, he gave them jack and shit compared to the price of their lives, and of course he knew that he couldn’t reduce life itself to numbers to be rearranged on ledgers, but wasn’t that how things already worked if one year of Dean’s life was worth the entirety of his?
He let Lucifer out of the cage and he let Lucifer in, just like he was always going to do, there was never any other way things could have gone.
Sometimes he wondered how many people he hurt along the way. He saved people and protected people as a hunter, but he might as well have undone all of his own work in one fell swoop. It was all for nothing and he was never anything more than the Devil’s second skin.
He went to hell to save Bobby because he was completing the trials, because Crowley had too much of a grudge to let Bobby pass by-
He went to hell and there were more people there than he had ever seen in his entire life, begging and screaming for someone to save them, an incalculable cacophony, please stop it stop hurting me no don’t stop I need someone anyone just touch me please leave me alone no God I’m so lonely I’ll do anything if you just make it stop-
Wasn’t that his job, saving people and hunting things, wasn’t he supposed to save people?
His job always ended when the monsters were dead, but that wasn’t where life ended, life didn’t end when you were dead.
Your life would only ever go somewhere else.
If he could have he would have saved all of them all at once, he would have broken their chains and led them to Heaven, but he was only there for Bobby. There weren’t enough hunters in the world to make a dent in hell and there never had been enough hunters and there never would be-
It was hopeless.
“I don’t-” Dean tried to say, sick and distraught and horrified, standing over his brother’s corpse as Crowley looked on.
Azazel’s blood had made him into Lucifer’s vessel, a demon’s blood had made him into the antichrist and made him into a pox, it was only fitting that his own blood had made the king of hell human again, it was the most redeeming thing in the world to know that anything good could come of the poison he called his blood.
“I told him,” Dean said, simply unable to believe what had just happened. “He knew, he knew, I told him, he knew, he did it, no, no, no, how could he-”
How could he go through with the only unambiguously good thing he had ever done?
Well, how could he?