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Hell is What You Make It

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Crowley. The king of Hell. The businessman. The salesman. King of the crossroads and royal pain in Dean’s ass – and not in the fun way.

The Scottish demon was angry with the newest knight of Hell and was making it well known. His eyes were a deep, bleeding red as he spoke to Dean with the firm, hard authority of a ruler used to getting his own way.

Dean had seen Crowley angry before – seen him yell and scream at his underlings or kill them outright over the most minor of transgressions. But that’s not how he was addressing the newest member of his demonic legion. No. His voice was calm. He was collected. He was every part the businessman trying to spin a sale in such a way that Dean would give him what he wanted while thinking he was the one being done a favour.

But the salesman made a mistake.

The demon king and the knight of hell stood across from each other in Crowley’s throne room. They were alone, all the other demons having fled when their master’s eyes turned red.

“It’s very simple, Squirrel;” the king was saying in what he thought was his most convincing, yet authoritative tone, “You are a knight of Hell; the mark has made you that way. And there are certain things that are part of the make-up of every demon. The need for violence and power, for example. But for a knight? For you? There’s more in your demonic nature than to be a destructive foot soldier.”

“Get to the point, Cowley. I’m bored and sick of your voice.” Dean rolled his green eyes. He was, truly, bored out of his mind. But he felt as if he was bored in general, not just bored of Crowley. Not to mention the mark of Cain was starting to itch, reacting to his frustration by letting itself be known and filling him with the reminder that it was okay to stab things if he wanted to. Some bloodshed would be nice, his body seemed to be saying to him; some bloodshed would be fun. Unlike the lecture he was getting from the demon in front of him.

Crowley chuckled despite Dean’s nonchalance.

“You see, darling,” the king continued as he allowed his eyes to slip back to their usual brown and moved away to take his seat on the throne, “As a knight it’s in your inherent nature to serve. Servility is in your blood, your corruption, and by now no doubt bled into whatever scraps of a mutilated soul you might still have left. You’re a pet. A hound. Your master gives you an order and you obey. That’s what you exist for.”

Dean remained quiet for a tie as he considered what Crowley had just said about his demonic nature. It was true of course. He could feel his body calling out for a master; could feel a deep-seeded desire to serve and provide the violent whims of another. Why should his master get his hands red and slick with blood when Dean would so gleefully drown himself in blood and gore on their behalf?

But then he realised – Crowley thought himself the master. Yet Dean’s inner self screamed and squirmed in need of one. He grinned at the demon sprawled languidly on the throne.

“You’re right.” The grin was all teeth, sin, and spite, “I do need to serve.”

“Damn right you do,” Crowley smirked, thinking for certain he had won, “Now be a good pet and kneel before your king.”

“No.” Dean’s grin became more sinister as his eyes flicked to black, “’Cos you see…you are not my master.”

“Excuse me?” Crowley’s eyes flicked back to the angry, bloody orbs they had been and his eyes narrowed venomously. “I’ll give you an opportunity to try that again.”

“I said,” Dean spoke slowly as he stepped forward menacingly, making his way across the room to lean down over the king of Hell, “you are not my master, you overbearing, egotistical dick.”

“I am your king!” Crowley suddenly roared in Dean’s face, his fury and frustration finally getting the better of him. But the knight didn’t so much as flinch.

“No Crowley;” Dean smirked,” You play at being king. You’re too weak. Too soft. Fuck it, you’re too in love with me to ever be worthy of being my king. No one as poncey as you could ever be worthy of being my master.”

With a growl Crowley reached out and grabbed Dean by the throat as the knight smiled and laughed through his hold.

“I will throw you in the cage to be tortured, skinned, and unmade over and over again bu those angelic bastards you cocky little gobshite!”

“Try it.” Dean laughed again as he used his new demonic strength to pry the fingers from his neck, “You can’t throw me in. You’re too weak to open the damn thing, let alone shut me in there.”

Ignoring the growl coming from the demon king, Dean straightened and turned to walk out of the throne room. Crowley let him go; too angry to trust himself to behave. But Dean couldn’t stop himself from making one more snide comment as he left.

“Keep comfy Crowley, enjoy your throne. You won’t be on it much longer.” His laughter echoed through the room after he’d left, serving only to add to the king’s rage.

 


 

 

The bunker had seemed far too quiet in Dean’s absence. Sam had barely moved from the library, bent over either some ancient tome or his laptop; and Cas was in research mode as well, tackling the more complex volumes or those in languages that Sam didn’t know well enough (or at all) to interpret accurately.

Their mission was simple: Save Dean.

Save him from the demon he had become.

Save him from the mark of Cain.

Save him from destroying himself and his soul completely.

It was a tall order and they both knew it.

The last time that either of them had attempted to make any meaningful contact with Dean he had told them quite plainly that he wasn’t interested in being saved. That he liked the freedom that came with being a demon – that the lack of guilt was a relief and something sublime.

But still they tried. They laboured and sacrificed as they scrambled for even the smallest scraps of information.

They both thought it was a result of the ongoing strain at first. The lack of sleep for Sam, the never ending fear and worry for Cas. But no, they really could hear Dean’s voice reverberating down the bunker’s concrete halls as it approached midnight. The elder Winchester was singing, but while Sam and Cas recognised the tune it seemed so out of place that they reached for whatever weapons were closest and stood ready for a fight.

The pair exchanged concerned and fearful looks as Dean sauntered into the library, walking casually with a hand placed over his heart as he continued to belt out the last of the verse.

“Send him victorious,

Happy and glorious,

Long to reign over us…

God save the King!”

The playful grin that had always been Dean crept onto the demon’s face, mired with a sinister mischief. He chuckled to himself, ignoring the defensive poses of his brother and friend, and leaned casually against the doorframe.

Sam and Cas stared, refusing to make the first move or lower their blades.

“So…” Dean nodded towards the stacks of books and notes, “Still at it, huh? I’m not surprised, really. But I have to admit that I’m…disappointed.”

“What are you doing here, Dean?” It was Castiel that spoke and Dean looked to him and smiled. It was almost like the smiles he had given while human, but there was something more to it – something almost predatory – and it made the angel uncomfortable.

“I have a proposal for the two of you. An offer.”

“Unless that offer consists of letting us help you, I’m not sure we’re interested.” Sam’s eyes narrowed as he spoke and Dean rolled his eyes and sighed.

“Well,” Dean shrugged and moved to take a seat at one of the tables, “Really it depends on how you define ‘helping’ me. But if you take me up on it you could end up helping a lot more people if you really want.”

Sam and Cas exchanged a hard look before returning to their seats. Sam placed his knife on the table but Castiel’s angel blade remained  in his hand and despite the fact that the angel was sitting, he looked poised to strike at a moment’s notice.

The silence dragged on as Dean tried to think of how best to explain what he wanted and how to make it appealing enough for them to join him in his plan.

“Well? I presume there is actually an offer and that you haven’t just come here to sit pretty and make us uncomfortable.”

“Oh, Cas!” Dean smirked at the angel when he finished speaking and let his gaze glide over him suggestively, “You really think I’m pretty? Even now, despite everything?” His smirk turned into a predacious grin as his eyes changed to black but Castiel simply rolled his eyes in exasperation before glaring.

“Just tell us what you want, Dean.”

“Fine.” Dean sighed and allowed the darkness to fall from his eyes, “I want to take the throne of Hell.”

The awkward silence returned for a few moments before Sam cleared his throat.

“You want us to help you take out Crowley so you can become king of Hell? Hard pass.”

“Oh, no. No, Sammy.” Dean’s smile returned as he looked to his brother, “I don’t want the throne. Never will. No. But I need a king. It’s in my blood to serve a master. So I need a master.”

“But…but you have a king.” Sam was clearly confused and he looked across to Castiel whose expression had turned into one of wary concern, “I haven’t heard of anything happening to Crowley at least. He is still on power, right?”

“He is.” Dean leaned back comfortably in his chair, “But he’s not my master.”

“Isn’t he everyone’s master in Hell?” Dean merely chuckled in response to Sam’s question and shook his head.

“He likes to think so, but he can’t possibly control me.”

“Why not?” Sam was clearly confused but Castiel’s brow furrowed as he spoke.

“He’s not powerful enough. You bear the mark of Cain. You’re a knight of Hell. He’s just a crossroads demon with some good luck, good sense, and an actual head for business.”

“Got it in one.” Dean winked at Castiel and the angel just rolled his eyes. “So yeah,” Dean continued, “I want to take the throne from our dear Crowley and replace him with a king worthy of serving.”

Castiel’s expression grew grave, having already guessed at what Dean was thinking. He barely heard Sam’s questions about who Dean was thinking about putting in Crowley’s place, and how he was thinking of doing it. The demon and angel locked their gaze and Castiel shook his head gently. But Dean only shrugged playfully.

“He’d be perfect and you know it.” Dean’s statement to Cas interrupted the endless questions that had become background noise and Sam fell silent and his brother continued his attempt to convince the angel. “He’s a good person. Better than me and so much better than your lot ever gave him credit for. He’d keep them all in line and protect people while making sure Hell runs the way your Daddy wanted it to. He has the brains for all that. And I’ll protect him and fulfil my duties to my master. Not that he’ll need protecting; there’s a hell of a lot of power in there.”

“There was,” Castiel corrected, “There isn’t anymore.”

“I can fix that.” Dean suggestively ran a finger down his jugular vein. Castiel’s expression darkened but Dean could see the tactician inside him was running scenario after scenario and calculating probabilities for each.

But Sam – Sam was still confused and didn’t like the turn the conversation was taking; or that Castiel seemed to be on Dean’s wavelength when he wasn’t.

“I’m still not sure exactly what we’re discussing here,” Sam’s voice was full of worry, “Who are you planning to put on the throne?”

Castiel wouldn’t meet the younger Winchester’s gaze but rubbed his face hard as he tried to make sense of what was happening.

“Why, Sammy!” Dean smiled ominously at his brother, “The same master I have served and protected my whole life, of course! He who was chosen by God himself to rule alone or with Lucifer in his head. Who else could it possibly be but you, Sammy – The once and future boy king of Hell.”

Chapter Text

Sam had spent over a week pacing, stressing, and overthinking enough to give himself a constant headache. He’d barely slept and nearly every time his brother cornered him as he ate the demon would grin at him and ask whether he wanted something to help wash it down. He never meant beer or whiskey – both of which Sam felt more and more in need of.

As for Cas, the angel hadn’t spoken to either Winchester since Dean had arrived and shocked them with his proposal. He was still present in the bunker but every time Sam caught sight of him he looked deep in thought and greatly troubled. And any time Sam tried to begin a conversation with him the angel would just blow him off with a half-hearted apology. He was clearly struggling with the idea of Dean’s proposal as much as Sam was; so in the end Sam decided to leave him alone until he was ready to talk.

Now if only Dean would have taken that hint as well things would likely have been much easier for both Sam and Castiel. But no, the knight of Hell had refused to leave.

“I’m not leaving until you two have really considered it,” He’d said the morning after the initial discussion, “If I leave you won’t think about it at all. You’ll go back to your books and not actually think about any of the reasons why it’s a good idea.”

And Sam had to admit that there were some reasons that made Dean’s plan a good one. But there were also plenty of reasons why it wasn’t.

He just wished that Dean would leave – even if only for a few days. That way Cas might actually discuss it with him and neither of them would feel like they were being crowded and crushed by Dean’s constant presence.

It had almost reached the two week point when Sam walked into the war room to find Castiel sitting in one of the wooden chairs and glaring daggers at Dean who sat on the edge of the map table a little too close to Cas’ personal space.

He watched cautiously as Dean looked the angel over approvingly and leaned forward to whisper something that Sam couldn’t hear. Castiel rolled his eyes so hard that Sam was sure he must have caught a glimpse of his own brain before he firmly grabbed Dean’s shoulder and forced him out of his personal bubble. The menacing laugh that had become so normal from this new Dean could still be heard echoing as Sam cleared his throat to alert them both to his presence.

“Oh, good!” Dean’s face lot up in a smirk so like the ones he used to make and beckoned Sam over, “Finally the whole gang is here! Please tell me you’ve finished overthinking everything, Sammy?”

“Uh, yeah.” Sam shifted uncomfortable before moving further into the room and taking a seat where he could still see both his brother and Castiel, but wasn’t too close to either of them, “Yeah, I’ve thought about it enough. What about you, Cas?”

“Yes.” The angel spoke firmly and with a surety that Sam could only wish he felt, “I believe I’ve gone over it all to every conclusion I can foresee.”

The angel of the Lord still wouldn’t make eye contact with either of the Winchesters and the troubled expression remined on his face.

“Great!” Dean beamed, ignoring the grave expressions he was met with, “So who’s going to share with the group first?”

Silence set in for a few moments before Sam cleared his throat awkwardly, “If it’s okay, Cas, I’d really like to hear your opinion first.” Castiel did look to him then, eyebrow raised and questioning until Sam explained himself, “It’s just that you’re better at thinking things like this through objectively and I’d really appreciate your input before I’m totally sure of my own opinion.”

Dean smirked as Castiel nodded and tried to make himself more comfortable in his chair.

“Alright,” Hearing Castiel’s voice after so long brought a strange sense of relief for Sam, but he hadn’t missed the way Dean’s expression changed upon hearing it either. Cas ignored it though, with a coolness only he could manage.

“I have concerns –“

“Obviously.”

“I have concerns,” Cas started again, ignoring Dean’s interruption and glaring at him, “but none of those concerns relate to whether it’s a good plan or whether Sam would make a good King of Hell. Overall, I think Dean is correct. Having Sam on Hell’s throne is more beneficial than not; and not just for Dean’s sake. There is an opportunity here to end the problem of rogue demons and the infighting for power that causes so many issues. It’s possible that having Sam on the throne could bring with it the reformation of Hell back to my father’s vision and have it return to running for its original purpose. It’s possible, if not likely, that putting Sam on the throne with save lives here on Earth with little or no difference in the number of souls entering Hell. That would be an exceptionally good thing.”

The smile that made its way to Dean’s face was almost soft. So much so that it could almost pass as human, “I knew you’d see it that way, Cas. You really are a master tactician, huh?” The smile didn’t fade despite Castiel’s refusal to acknowledge that he’d spoke, “So what are you concerns then, Angel?”

“Well, Sam’s mental wellbeing for one.” Cas continued without acknowledging the term of endearment Dean had addressed him by. It was strange for Sam to see them this way; Cas and Dean had always been so closed off to each other and yet unable to avoid the way they were drawn to each other. And now here they were – Dean with no inhibitions or shame and completely unable to stop himself from openly pining and trying to catch Castiel’s attention while Cas ignored him completely or tried to dismiss him as if he were some kind of nuisance or lovesick puppy. “And myself in general for another.”

At the mention of the second of Castiel’s concerns, Dean’s expression flipped to one of utter confusion.

“What are you concerned about for you?” The angel looked at him as if he were an idiot.

“Really, Dean?” The demon simply shrugged and an exasperated sigh left Castiel’s lips, “with Sam on the throne and you doing his bidding, what happens to me? The best-case scenario is that a platoon of angels corner me and drag me back to Heaven to either be imprisoned for all the treason I’ve committed or to be put to work helping in their fight against you. And they will fight against Hell being ruled by the two of you. And I for one do not particularly like the idea of being thrown into battle against the two of you while knowing it’s a very real possibility that we’ll have to kill each other.”

“I’d been wondering about that too, actually…” Sam finally spoke awkwardly from where he sat across the table. But now Dean was looking between the pair of them as if they were the ones lacking in brain power.

“The fuck are you two on about?” Confusion stayed on the demon’s face as he shook his head in disbelief, “Cas is coming with us, you idiots! I thought that would have been obvious! Shit, guys; how would this ever work if he didn’t? He’s gonna be the only one of us with any kinda sense of right or wrong. We’re gonna need some kind of moral compass – who the hell else would it be?”

Castiel’s eyes narrowed as he thought about it. Clearly the idea of going with them to Hell hadn’t been one of the many scenarios that he’d run through his mind. But it was Sam who spoke next, an awkward incredulity in his voice.

“You want Cas, an angel of the Lord to move into Hell with us? That doesn’t strike you as…extremely weird?”

“Who gives a damn?” Dean shrugged, “You’ll be king and you can have whatever the hell advisors you want. Besides, the only think more unstoppable than you with a knight of Hell is you with a knight and an angel on call.”

“I support this scenario;” Castiel spoke bluntly as he finished thinking it over, though the look of uncertainty remained on his face, “It has the best possible outcome for all parties. Though there is still the issue of Sam’s wellbeing. To take the throne he is essentially being asked to become an addict once again, and to willingly shed his humanity. It’s not to be taken lightly.”

Angel and demon both looked to Sam expectantly and the younger hunter couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable under their gaze. He had already been leaning towards agreeing to the plan 0 it seemed sound and as though he could actually make a positive difference if he agreed – but he couldn’t help but feel afraid of the repercussions. And there was that annoying little voice in the back of his mind that kept insisting that he only wanted to agree so that he had an excuse to start ‘using’ again. Once an addict, always an addict.

He’d secretly been hoping that Cas would shoot down the whole thing and would have a dozen or more convincing reasons for them not to do it. But then the angel had been fully on board with the plan. Sam was shocked and found himself thinking that: if even Cas was so on board, maybe it really was a good idea. Maybe saying yes wouldn’t be so bad.

“I think I’m up for it.” When Sam finally spoke he was met with a look of surprise from Castiel and one of dark glee from Dean, “Who knows, I might be able to do some good. And with Cas there to keep us in line we should be okay.”

Dean looked as if he felt victorious – eyes sparkling and his devious smile unwavering.

“Excellent,” the demon said as he let his eyes turn to back, “so when would you like to start drinking up and saying goodbye to your humanity?”

“Dean!” Castiel grabbed his attention before Sam, who looked shocked at Dean’s words, could even attempt to formulate an answer. “Maybe give him some time to adjust to the idea that we’re actually going to implement this insane idea of yours.”

“You think he needs time?”

“Yes! He is human, after all. We need to care for his soul while he still has it.”

“I guess you’re right.” Dean returned his eyes to their usual shade of green and reached out with his foot to slide it against Castiel’s leg; “see? This is why we need you.”

The angel ignored the touch and looked to Sam who seemed lost in thought.

“Sam?” When the younger Winchester looked to him attentively Castiel smiled reassuringly, “We shouldn’t wait too long to start, but we should also let you have some time to reflect and say goodbye to yourself as you are now. Twenty-four hours may be all we can allow. Sleep well tonight and indulge in your humanity tomorrow. Then tomorrow evening we should get to work.”

“One day?” Sam looked from his friend to his brother, “Can you stop trying to pour blood down my throat for that long?”

“Sure, Sammy;” Dean was still trying to gain Castiel’s attention by running his foot up the angel’s outer thigh, “Just make sure you drink up tomorrow night.”

“Right.” Sam rolled his eyes and rose from the table. It was suddenly his last night of being completely human and he wasn’t going to waste it watching his brother sexually harass an angel who was doing his damnedest to ignore his advances.

Sam left the war room and went to the kitchen. He knew that soon he would stop feeling so hungry, and eventually have no more need for food. He also knew that soon it would be near impossible for him to get drunk or feel the happy buzz that even mild intoxication brought.

As he pulled a six pack out of the fridge to take with him to his room he was reminded of all those years ago when Castiel had managed to get drunk after raiding a liquor store and imbibing everything in it. He smiled as he walked down the bunker’s corridors. Drinking a liquor store sounded like a good time. Maybe it was something the three of them could do together once Sam was a…was a what? Would he be a demon? Or something else? Something more? He shook his head choosing not to think about it just yet. He would deal with it when it came.

In the meantime he was going to enjoy the nice buzz a human amount of beer would give him and do some reading before finally letting himself sleep. He wouldn’t set an alarm. Sleep was something he now needed to savour while he still had it, and he intended to enjoy every moment of it he could get.

~*~

Back in the war room an entirely different kind of conversation was taking place. Now that Dean had no need of sleep there were no reasons left for him to rush or try to put off any conversations between himself and Castiel; and the fact that the angel had so readily agreed to his plan (which he had no doubt had helped from Sam on board) had surprised him greatly. Add in the fact that he was willing to go to Hell with the brothers? Dean had tried so hard not to get his hopes up that the angel would agree to that. After all, an angel of the Lord in Hell? Reigning with the King and his Knight? It was unheard of. It was more than unheard of. Forsaking Heaven for Earth was one thing; forsaking both for two individuals and Hell itself was quite another. It was blasphemy, pure and simple.

“You never cease to surprise me, Cas.” Dean hadn’t moved from where he sat on the table, his foot still running playfully along the outside of Castiel’s thigh, “You rebelled for me. You fell from grace for me. And now look at you – willing to move into Hell for me.”

“Someone needs to keep you in line.” Castiel finally grabbed Dean’s ankle firmly, but not roughly, and pushed the demon’s leg away, “And for all you know, I may not have given up on saving you quite yet.”

“You say that,” Dean leaned forward, not quite making it into Castiel’s personal space and let his eyes fall to black once more, “but we both know that’s just an excuse to sell it to yourself and Sam.”

Even though the former hunter’s eyes were solid black Castiel could feel, if not see, the way they raked over him before Dean spoke again with a dark, pleasured rumble in his voice.

“An angel in Hell. Look at you, you beautiful and dirty blasphemer. Your lot already call you a ‘traitor’, what do you think they’ll call you now? What could they, or anyone, possibly call you knowing that you let yourself fall willingly into the pit? And all of it for little old me?”

“Heretic, probably. Weak, no doubt.” Castiel’s eyes began to glow gently as he allowed a small amount of his grace to rise. He leaned forward, his face mere inches from Dean’s. The demon smirked, enjoying have the angel so close and wishing he’d just go ahead and breach the wall of personal space between them.

“And  even if I can’t save you from yourself,” Cas continued, “someone needs to teach you how to not succumb to your power before you learn that you still lie beneath it. Your soul is still in there somewhere; and besides, all demons can still feel and have emotions. You don’t feel it at the moment, as a demon you’re too young. But eventually you’ll realise that all the guilt and shame, and the self-loathing, it’s all still there waiting to bubble back up to the surface. And once it does you’ll want to destroy yourself and anyone else you let close while you felt free.” Castiel let his eyes flare brightly before leaning back in his chair, “and that is why I won’t let you near me.”

The smug look on Dean’s face faltered and his smirk fell, “Did I imagine it, or did you just tell me to grow up?”

“You need to mature as a demon; yes.”

“You arrogant dick.” Dean let the insult growl out but Castiel simply shrugged. He knew he was right and that Dean wasn’t fully in control of himself yet.

“Tell me I’m incorrect in anything I’ve said. Take a deep look into yourself and tell me truthfully that you’re an emotionless, burden-free shell. And don’t forget – I can still tell when you lie.” A wordless growl escaped from Dean’s throat and Castiel couldn’t help but let out a small chuckle, “As I thought.”

Dean grumpily let his eyes return to green and dropped on his seat on the map table. He was angry. Angry at Cas for seeing right through him and knowing him better than he knew himself. Angry at the way he had tried to bait the angel and ended up being the one dangling on the line. And angry at himself. Cas had implied that the reason he wasn’t letting him close was that Dean didn’t know himself well enough anymore and would end up destroying himself over it all later. But that meant that if he’d had the balls to make a move while he was human…

“Cas, if you’re rejecting me for this bullshit now, when I was human…” The glow in Castiel’s eyes faded and the pair just looked at each other for a time. It was as it had so often been: a look filled with tension and unsaid words. But at least now they were talking about it. Sort of. Even if the reason for the discussion was the loss of the humanity that Dean had shed. Castiel took in a deep breath that he didn’t need and sighed.

“Yes Dean,” He spoke gently, as if sharing a sacred secret that could destroy them both, “If you had have had the courage to proposition me while human, I wouldn’t have hesitated for a moment. But I knew you wouldn’t. Despite how brightly I saw the desire within your soul it was always overshadowed by the fear and self-hatred you felt over it. It took me many years to realise that it came from a place of instilled, ingrained, internal homophobia.”

Dean glared venomously, knowing Cas was right. He wasn’t homophobic – not regarding others – but when it came to himself? He thought it would make him weaker, make him less of a man, less capable as a hunter. After all, that’s what his father had always said: ‘The life ain’t no place for sissy boys and fags’. And now here he was – a demon with his inhibitions gone, and wanting to finally be himself only to find out that his Dad was still fucking him over until the day where he’d opened his blackened eyes.

He shook his head, trying to dislodge the anger and the hurt that came to him so much more easily as a demon than other emotions did. Castiel was watching him with sorrow-filled eyes as he turned towards the door and made to leave; but he couldn’t stop himself from speaking over his shoulder as he left.

“I guess we’ll chalk that one up as a win for ol’ Johnny Winchester, eh?”

“I guess so…” Castiel watched Dean leave before sighing again and running his face with his palm, “not that anyone has actually won… No, we’re all just losers here…”

Chapter Text

Sam’s final day as a complete human was spent indulging in things he usually deprived himself of for the sake of maintaining peak performance as a hunter.

He skipped his morning run and slept almost until lunchtime. He ate chocolate and popcorn, and drank normal soda instead of the sugar-free. And he spent the day reading. Not for lore or information, but for pleasure; and it felt like it had been years since he’d had the opportunity to just grab a novel and read.

He’d set himself up in the library, surrounded by the books he loved and devoured novel after novel – glad that after all his years of research his reading speed was fast.

Dean had stopped in the doorway to watch him a few times but didn’t enter, giving Sam his space like he’d been asked. But Cas had been in a few times; bringing with him comforting words and reassurance.

At once point the demon and angel crossed paths in the doorway and Sam was unable to keep himself from raising an eyebrow at the way he saw Dean look Castiel over longingly but walk away instead of saying anything. And Sam knew better than to ask about the way Castiel’s expression change to one of sad yearning behind Dean’s back.

Sam shook his head, knowing that there was nothing for it but to let the two men figure themselves out – even if it took until the end of days. He made no comment and continued to read. He read until Dean appeared in the doorway and finally spoke.

“Heya, Sammy,” The demon was trying to look casual, with his hands in his jeans pockets and by leaning against the doorframe, “It’s dinner time. I made you those nice burgers you love.”

“You cooked?” Sam closed the book he was reading and stood, his stiff back popping as he stretched.

“It’s a special occasion,” Dean said with a shrug, “Can’t let your last real meal be some shit from the freezer or take-out.”

Sam let out a bark of laughter before following Dean towards the war room. How it had turned into their regular, allocated dining space he could never quite figure out; but at least when he walked in everything seemed normal. Even Cas was there to share in the pile of burgers sitting in the middle of the table.

It did not escape Sam’s notice that an extra, empty glass sat with the place setting at his usual seat. As he moved across the room and sat down he couldn’t help but smile. He was calm and relaxed. He was already at peace with the decision but both Dean and Castiel were watching him like he was about to freak out and have some kind of breakdown. Watching them watch him was painful, so Sam decided to put them out of their misery.

“So,” Sam smiled, first at Castiel and then to Dean, “The time is now, huh? Let’s get started.” HE tapped the empty glass next to his beer bottle expectantly and Dean blinked in surprise.

“You wanna jump right in?”

“May as well. Got a knife?”

Dean gave him a brotherly look that told him he was an idiot for asking before whipping a simple, steel switchblade from his pocket and pressing it open.

The demon moved over to where Sam say and deposited himself on the table next to him before running the sharp blade across his wrist deeply and reaching out to let the dark blood that bubbled forth trickle into the empty glass.

Sam’s eyes didn’t deviate from his brother and when he spoke he managed to do so without shame. He was, after all, to be the one true Boy King of Hell; he’d best start acting like it.

“Not too much, Dean;” he spoke firmly and when the elder Winchester raised an eyebrow at him questioningly, he elaborated, “Once it cools it’s…not exactly palatable.”

The surprise on Dean’s face was unexpected, and the demon’s eyes, currently green, moved from his wrist to the glass. There was about a shot’s worth of blood in there so he wiped his wrist, already healing and crusting over, and slid the glad closer to his brother.

“Bottom’s up, Sammy.” Dean grinned and glanced to Cas, whose expression remained firmly stoic, as Sam lifted the glass to his lips and let the thick, dark liquid slide into his mouth and down his throat. He let it linger on his tongue, savouring the taste, and the moment he could taste the sulphuric corruption it was as if and endless tension that had held him since his last fix was released and he let our a satisfied sigh as he opened his eyes, not remembering having closed them in the first place.

Sam licked his lips and looked down to consider the empty glass in his hand, “Well, your blood is definitely different to Ruby’s.”

“Well, obviously,” Dean chuckled and his eyes flicked to black, “I’m a knight remember? Not some shitkicker. But tell me, little brother, what’s the difference for you? You looked like you enjoyed it. Almost inappropriately.”

Sam considered his answer, ignoring the small jab at the pleasure he took in his habit. He placed the glass back on the table and picked up with switchblade, turning it in his hands as he considered his words.

“Ruby tasted like sulphur and charcoal,” Sam said as he sprung the switchblade open once more, “but it was more than that. I could taste her suffering, her sadness, her torment. The torture that had twisted and corrupted her in the pit and turned her into a creature of evil and hare. I could taste all of it.”

He reached out and took hold of Dean’s arm, pulling it towards him as he moved closer. The cut that Dean had made was barely healed and when Sam looked up into his black eyes questioningly, the older Winchester just nodded his consent.

“But you don’t taste anything like that,” Sam continued as he moved his gaze to Dean’s wrist and began to cut, digging the blade in deeply, “the sulphur is still there; but it’s more smoked hickory than charcoal…maybe all the whiskey you drink.”

Dean couldn’t help but grimace at how deep Sam was cutting. Sure, he would heal, but his brother was severing multiple veins as he mused with barely a thought. Sam seemed entranced by the blood so Dean turned his head slightly to catch Castiel’s eye. The angel’s eyes were wide and his jaw slack, mouth open. Clearly neither of them has expected to see what they were seeing. But they allowed Sam to continue without interruption.

“I think it’s because of the mark,” Sam continued absently as he wiped a drop of blood from the table with his finger and licked it off, “You weren’t turned through torture and pain. You enjoyed what you did with the mark. You were turned through pleasure and self-indulgence – so that’s what your blood tastes like: debauchery, freedom, and pleasure. But the corruption’s still there.”

Sam let the switchblade fall to the table with a clatter and brought Dean’s wrist to his mouth to begin drinking greedily, stray trickles of blood occasionally dribbling down the sides of his mouth and his chin.

“Easy there Tiger, don’t make yourself sick.” Dean chuckled but Sam simply pulled back with a glare, his mouth surrounded by a red smudge so dark it was nearly black.

“Dean, please. With blood that tastes this good on tap; if you weren’t my brother I’d drink you dry. Sick or not, it’d be worth it.”

“Well, little brother, if you want that much blood we’ll find you some crossroads shitkicker to drain. But that’s enough from me for now; the burgers are getting cold.”

The way Dean smiled at him was both dark and loving, and Sam released his brother’s arm with a disappointed sigh.

“Fine, but my powers will come back faster the more I drink.”

“Maybe…” Castiel finally spoke up as he reached for his own beer bottle, “The idea of getting you some ‘snacks’ isn’t so bad.” The brothers looked to their angel and waited for him to elaborate.

“Dean’s blood will make you stronger and will do so much faster than regular demon blood; but your appetite is likely to increase rapidly as well. You’ll want more than Dean can provide.”

Sam nodded thoughtfully and tried to wipe some of the blood away from his face with little success.

“You’re right. We should probably hunt ourselves a couple of demons.” He looked to Dean and shrugged, “thoughts?”

Dean had been staring at Castiel, their eyes locked in some kind of painful understanding.

“I’ll go.” Castiel’s gaze dropped as soon as Dean spoke, “I kill demons for fun all the time these days. It won’t seem weird if I get seen kidnapping a few.” The knight of hell let himself drop from the table and glanced at his arm, healed for a second time, before heading for the door. “I’ll try and be back in time for dessert.”

Chapter Text

“Shit, it’s Dean fucking Winchester!”

“Yep. That’d be me. Don’t bother running.”

Two weeks had passed since that strange non-dinner where Dean had given Sam his first drink of blood in years, and over that time Dean had accrued quite the demonic body count.

Four demons were being held in enchanted cuffs and devils traps in the bunker’s dungeon. Kept alive and ‘on tap’ for whenever Sam felt his thirst becoming too much. But he was burning through them at a rate of, roughly, one every day and a half.

So Dean spent his days hunting demons while Cas and Sam stayed home and trained the Boy King’s powers. Each night Dean would get back, they’d go through some weirdly human ritual of eating a meal together that none of them needed (Sam had lost his appetite days before), and then Dean would offer himself up to Sam as dessert.

Each night Sam took more and more from him.

Dean already had one demon in the trunk from his hunt but he had a feeling that a second might be a good idea.

Thankfully, the idiot in front of him didn’t run. The last one had and Dean really wasn’t in the mood for another chase.

“The King wants to know why you’re taking all these demons, Dean.” The demon in front of him was shaking but drew his weapon anyway.

“A machete? Nice. But you know I’m not a vampire, right?”

“Your head will still come off nicely.”

Dean couldn’t help but chuckle at the idiot’s attempt at tough talk while shaking so badly the blade would never have a chance of hitting.

“Well tough guy, I have good news and bad news for you;” He walked forward into the demon’s space, keeping his gait casual and non-threatening. The demon let him get in close. Either he really was a massive idiot, or Dean was getting much better at his ‘I could kill you but...ugh…effort’ routine.

“The good news,” he continued, “Is that dear King Crowley will know what I’m doing soon enough, and he may even survive it. Haven’t decided on that yet. The bad news? Well…you’ll find out much sooner; and you definitely won’t survive it.”

Something twigged in the demon’s brain and in that moment he dropped his weapon and tried to turn and run. But it was too late; far too late. Dean was too close, too fast, and too strong.

It took less than a second for Dean to grab, subdue, and teleport the demon back to where he’d parked Baby. Pinning the demon into the sharp gravel with one hand, Dean took a pair of demon-binding cuffs from his jacket pocket and secured him.

“Now, I’m gonna apologise in advance,” He stood and made his way to the trunk to spring it open. Muffled yelling came from inside making the new demon’s eyes widen; “you see, I’ve had a busy day. So it’s not going to be a very comfortable ride.”

The demon looked horrified, knowing full well that there hadn’t been two disappearances at once before. But Dean had to respect that he didn’t scream as he was unceremoniously pulled up from the road and thrown into the trunk on top of another body.

Whistling, Dean slammed the door closed on top of them and walked happily to the driver’s side. Mission accomplished and he’d still be home in time for dinner – even driving at the limit to avoid suspicion.

He sat down and turned the engine over, letting Baby warm up a little and listening to her purr while he pulled out his phone to text Castiel.

>> Hey Babe, picked up some ‘groceries’ and am on my way home. Be back for dinner. Xxx <<

He’d barely closed the door when his phone vibrated on the seat beside him.

>> Don’t call me that. Even if I accepted your advances, I would smite you before letting you infantilise me. <<

>> Is that the real reason why you got so pissed that one time I called you a baby in a trenchcoat? <<

He waited for a reply and chuckled when it came through.

>> Yes. Much like you were ‘pissed’ when I called you an immature demon. <<

“Oooh Cas,” Dean spoke aloud to himself a he drove off, “It makes me all tingly when you’re so sassy.”

 

~~~

 

When Dean was pulling into the bunker’s garage a couple of hours later, it was to find Castiel waiting for him with crossed arms and a stern expression.

“Honey, I’m home!” Dean chirped brightly as he exited the car. Castiel’s expression only darkened as Dean opened the trunk and dragged the two demons out and deposited them on the concrete floor, “And I brought bacon!”

“What were you thinking?” The angel didn’t yell but the tone in his voice made it clear that he was unimpressed and not in the mood for Dean’s bullshit.

“Uhh…When?”

“You knew we were training in telekinetics today. It takes a certain level of concentration – which works best when a certain someone doesn’t pray at me inappropriately!”

Dawning graced Dean’s features for a moment before his eyes turned back and that dark, predatory smirk made its way onto his face.

“Now Cas,” He grabbed the two demons by their cuffs and dragged them with him as he crossed the garage towards Castiel, “Is this your way of telling me that my little porno-prayer turned you on?”

With a sigh, Castiel rolled his eyes to take hold of one of the demons cuffs; taking half the load and dragging it inside. It surprised the angel every time Dean got back that his ‘catch’ would be conscious but completely unwilling to make any noise.

“So, how’s our boy doing?” It was a loaded question. Dean followed Cas inside and allowed himself to be led towards the dungeon. He could see the way Castiel allowed his thoughts to tumble and battle inside his head before answering.

“His eyes are changing again.” Cas looked over his shoulder at the knight briefly before facing forward again and continuing, “It’s a good thing you grabbed two.”

“His eyes are changing again? What the hell to?” They turned down another corridor with Cas shaking his head.

Sam’s eyes had already changed colour a few times. When they first changed from hazel to black the three of them thought they had reached their goal faster than expected. But Sam had only gotten hungrier for blood and struggled constantly inside his skin. Itchy and twitching to use his fledgling powers. He trained more and drank more and each time he switched his eyes they gradually became lighter and lighter. He had progressed through a myriad of greys until his eyes finally turned white.

Likening it to Lilith, the trio thought that was the end of it. Until his eyes began to change again, yellowing to the shade that had haunted the brothers for the entirety of their young lives.

A yellow-eyed demon; what they now knew was a Prince of Hell, had been what corrupted Sam’s body and blood. It made a sort of poetic sense that his change would come full circle. But now Castiel was saying that Sam’s eyes were changing again.

They arrived at the dungeon and Castiel opened the door to let them inside. As they stepped inside they could hear the sound of Sam feeding on one of the demons held there.

The more vocal of Dean’s new catch, the one he’d had to gag, finally made some noise again. Whimpering when he heard the sound and caught sight of one of the missing demons bound and too powerless to even heal the cuts and bite marks in the flesh of their vessels.

“Sammy! I have treats for you!” Dean called to his brother and the sound of feeding stopped.

“…Sam?” The ungagged demon whispered the younger Winchester’s name and Dean couldn’t help but smirk.

“Figuring it out yet, Bud? It’s not exactly a secret that Sammy used to have a habit after all.

The demon started to fight and struggle against the cuffs that Dean held but all his attempts did was make noise and cause the Knight to laugh.

“That one seems…lively.” Sam wiped his mouth with a wet cloth as he approached. His eyes were a strange shade of dark honey with pinkish red flecks. Definitely changing again.

“Dean brought you two today,” Cas walked into a vacant devil’s trap and dumped the demon in the middle of it with a dull thud before heading back to retrieve the demon that Dean held, “A good thing I think since it looks like you’re going through another transition.”

“Awesome.” Sam smiled at Dean who couldn’t stop staring at Sam’s eyes.

“How ya feelin’ Sammy?”

“Yeah, good actually.” The brothers watched as Cas dragged the second demon to the same trap, “No pain or ants under my skin. I’m just really, really hungry. I think I’m almost there. I feel strong.”

“Good thing I got two then.” Dean looked around the dungeon casually, “So, you have six here. Do you want to just skip dinner and enjoy these guys? If they don’t fill you up you can still have me for dessert. If you’re nearly changed and crazy hungry I think we should just let you feed.”

Sam smiled, looking thrilled at the idea on feasting on the blood of a half dozen demons; “Sounds awesome.” He stepped away, heading back to the demon he had been drinking from when Cas and Dean had entered.

“We should leave him to it.” Castiel was walking back to the door, past Dean, “He’ll been pulling them out of the traps with his powers today, so I’m not required here. And after that stupid prayer stunt you pulled earlier you can at least make me a coffee.”

Dean smirked and followed Cas out of the room, closing the door behind them, “For you, Angel? Anything you desire.”

“Coffee will be quite sufficient, thank you.”

Chapter Text

Hours passed and Dean had been trying to make things up to Cas. He’d made the angel coffee as requested, brought any other drinks or food the angel wanted, and had been apologising repeatedly.

Cas was still grumpy about it.

“I don’t care whether you want me to do those things to you, or what you want to do to me. That’s not why I’m upset.”

“Look, I know I broke your concentration but-“

“No but!” Castiel’s eyes flared blue and his voice penetrated Dean’s brain as if he’d yelled, “I didn’t catch an Enochian blade he threw because of your idiotic stunt!”

“…What?”

“We weren’t using practice weapons or random objects today. He threw an Enochian blade, I failed to intercept it, and it stabbed me through the shoulder.”

Dean’s face fell as shock, concern, and guilt flowed into him. Castiel’s expression only hardened.

“It was not critical and I healed myself without issue. But I don’t exactly like the fact that I could have died before our plan even takes hold, all because you decided to pray at me about how you want me to fuck you over the bonnet of your car!”

“…Am I interrupting?” Sam stood in the doorway to the way room, a concerned look in his hazel eyes.

Castiel shook his head and waved him inside, making a point of not looking at the day Dean, feeling chastised, stared at the table. “Have you got any demons left, Sam? That seemed to take a considerable amount of time.”

“No. They’re all dead.”

Dean looked up then, his eyes wide. His brother had just drained six demons in one sitting and seemed completely unfased about it.

“Sammy, that’s a lot of blood. Do you feel okay after all that?”

“Actually… I’m still kinda hungry…” Sam shifted awkwardly as if he were embarrassed to say so.

“Still?” Dean and Castiel exchanged a look before Cas shrugged and Dean beckoned his brother over with a wave of his hand, “Come on then”

Sam crossed the room and took the seat next to his brother. When Dean held his wrist our he took it gently and pulled out his own switchblade to cut into the flesh and blood that had been offered to him.

Dean was so used to it at this point that he didn’t even wince at the pain, and when Sam began to quietly drink from him he merely reached out for the beer in front of him to take a long draw of the bitter liquid.

It was so different when Sam fed on him than when he fed on other demons. Dean put it down to the fact that they were family and meant to much to each other so deeply. Where Sam would devour the riffraff that he dragged in, and do so violently and roughly, when it came to Dean he would savour the taste of it and take his time to simply suckle gently and quietly at his wrist.

“I am sorry, Cas;” Dean said as Sam drank, “I didn’t think-“

“No. You didn’t.” Castiel interrupted, “Which only adds to my point from weeks ago. When you were human you would have thought. Or if you weren’t so young as a demon you would have thought.”

The jibe stung, but not as much as the sudden bite on Dean’s wrist. He hissed and turned to his brother who had started to drinking more desperately, drawing large mouthfuls of blood from his veins at a time. It had started to hurt and Sam’s strong grip on his arm was making it feel numb.

A strange, weak feeling overcame him suddenly, followed by a light-headedness and headache behind his eyes he wasn’t expecting. He and Cas had been drinking for well over two hours, but it was as if he could suddenly feel the alcohol all hit him at once – and worse, he began to feel the blood loss.

“…Sammy?”

It was as if Sam didn’t hear him, drinking faster and more desperately as each moment passed.

Castiel was staring at the lack of focus in Dean’s eyes with confusion before his eyes flew wide and he hurried from his chair.

“Sam! Stop!” He ran around the table yelling and grabbed a rough hold of Sam my his hair and shoulders, trying desperately to pull him away. “Dammit Sam, Stop! I can see his soul! You’re going to kill him!”

Sam’s hold on his brother lessened just enough for Castiel to pull him off, ripping apart Dean’s wrist into a shredded mess that still dripped dark rivulets of blood from the effort. But at least blood wasn’t being drawn out of him anymore. Castiel reefed Sam’s head back by the hair roughly. His eyes were a swirling vortex of orange flame and Sam wasn’t looking at him. He wasn’t looking at anything. A tear ran down the cheek of the strange new creature Sam had turned into.

“Oh, my Father…” Castiel swallowed hard and stepped back, letting go of Sam who simply stared through the ceiling. Cas knew he wasn’t seeing what was around them, he was seeing planes beyond what he had ever experienced before through his firey eyes, breathing heavily as blood trickled from his chin and down his neck.

To his side, Castiel heard a heavy thud as Dean fell from his chair and hit the floor. He didn’t want to look; afraid that he would see the man he cared for most as a dead husk. Afraid that the last words he spoke to him would have been words of anger.

Slowly he turned and the desperate whimper that left his throat surprised even him. Dean was unconscious in a way that shouldn’t be possible for a demon, and his soul shone brightly but was slowly starting to decay with corruption once more. Dean lived, and would continue to live; the corruption running through him would heal him back to the crude and blunt demon he had become and Castiel couldn’t be more grateful.

With one last look at Sam, who was still blissfully in galaxies far out of reach, Cas moved to Dean’s side and lowered himself to the floor to do what he could about healing his ruined wrist. Gently he lifted the limp hand to his lips and kissed Dean’s cold knuckles.

“When you wake up I’ll forgive you your stupidity."