...light heat noise pain...
When he looks down, his fingers are thick with blood. There are runnels going up his arms, past his elbows. Some of it is his and some of it belongs to what was a young man, not much younger than Dean, stretched on the table before him.
‘You are better at this than I thought you would be, Winchester,’ Oriana says, stroking a hand over his bare shoulders as she walks past him to the table. She dips a fingertip in the blood puddled by the man’s hip and licks it dry with a lizard-like tongue.
Dean fixes his eyes on his hands. ‘He died.’ He is faintly surprised she hasn’t caught on. It hadn’t been so hard to get past her after all -- a slip of the knife and...it couldn’t possibly free the man, but maybe it would give him a few moments of relief.
Oriana shrugs, trailing her fingers over torn flesh. ‘One of the hounds will bring him back. They need a little exercise.’ She leaps onto the table, straddling the man’s body easily and grins at Dean. ‘Then you can have your second chance.’
Dean closes his eyes.
…light heat noise pain...
Castiel walks the perimeter of the wall-less room, watching Oriana watch Dean, watching Dean clench his hands into fists.
...light heat noise pain...
‘Oh, don’t worry --’ Oriana slides down from the table, taking another fingerful of blood as she goes. It leaves a faint stain like lipstick on her mouth. ‘--we’ll give you an easy one in the meantime.’
‘I ...I won’t...I...’ Dean grits out the words, knowing he can’t refuse, knowing he won’t refuse, and Oriana laughs.
‘Of course you will.’ She traces a finger over his chest, flicking at his nipples, leaving a faint red trail behind. ‘You love this, Winchester --’ Her hand darts down between his legs and she laughs. ‘You know you do -- this is what you were born for.’
‘Dean.’ Castiel pitches his voice just slightly louder than Oriana’s, carrying easily through the smoke and fume in the air.
Dean’s head jerks up.
Dean wakes up in the passenger seat of the Impala with a jerk and a snort.
Sam looks over at him from the driver’s seat. ‘You okay?’
Dean shakes his head hard, not sure if the sound of Castiel’s voice is in his head or his ears. He glances back over his shoulder but the back seat is empty. He can see Sam looking at him and can practically feel worry radiating off his brother, so he fakes stretching, cracks his neck, rolls out his shoulders. ‘I...yeah...yeah, I’m fine. How long was I out?’
Sam glances at his watch. ‘’Bout four hours.’ He gestures at a spot of light a few hundred yards down the road: a late-night gas station. ‘You want some coffee? It’s nearly morning.’
Dean shudders a little at the thought. He’s had enough coffee in the past couple weeks to last him several life-times. The thought of another bitter, overbrewed cup makes his stomach lurch and his mouth taste sour. ‘No...no, I’m good. I’ll get somethin’ later.’
‘Okay.’ Sam’s fingers tap out a rough rhythm on the steering wheel and, without meaning to, Dean finds himself slipping back asleep.
...light heat noi--
‘I brought you out of this.’ Castiel is standing beside him, looking at the empty torture chamber. ‘You do not belong here, Dean.’
‘I dream about it every night.’ He’s not sure he meant to say that aloud but what the hell? It’s a dream, right? ‘Cas -- where are you?’
The angel tilts his head. ‘Nebraska...I think.’
‘Are you doin’ that...thing again? That thing where you talk in my head?’
Castiel nods, not seeming that interested in the question. He walks around the table, tracing a hand over the rough, pitted metal surface.
‘Cas, don’t...’ Dean reaches forward, not wanting the angel to touch the thing.
Castiel lifts his hand, looks with calm interest at the dry dust of old blood on his fingertips. ‘This is not you, Dean.’
‘It is.’ Dean lets his hand fall back by his side. He can feel it like a stone in his chest, a sick, cold weight that never goes away.
‘Why do you let the demons tell you who you are?’ Castiel looks at him, head still slightly tilted, eyes narrowed.
‘I just...Cas, you don’t know what I did.’
Castiel shrugs and turns to walk back along the table the other way. ‘I doubt there was anything I have not done for different reasons.’
‘Jesus, Cas--’ Dean swallows hard. ‘No. I...no. You wouldn’t--’
‘You do not know.’ And Castiel is suddenly in front of him, far too close. ‘Do not tell me what I have or have not done in God’s name.’
Dean feels himself go cold. There is nothing familiar in Castiel’s eyes, no sign of the awkward, slightly inept man he has grown used to seeing. The blue of his eyes is cold, sheened with silver, inhuman. Then, just as suddenly, the sense of chill strangeness is gone and Cas looks like himself again: rumpled, slightly tired, a little worn around the edges.
‘They cannot tell you who you are, Dean. And this--’ Cas waves a hand at the room around them. ‘--is not your doing.’
‘I did it, Cas! I picked up the fucking knife and I--Jesus, they got me ‘cause Dad wouldn’t do it and I--’
Castiel shakes his head. ‘No, Dean. This dream is not your doing. I will find out who is responsible and I will stop them.’
‘Y’what?’ Dean wakes up with a snort.
‘What?’ Sam looks over at him.
‘I...just...did you...say somethin’?’ Dean blinks and pulls himself up in the seat, groaning as stiff muscles make themselves felt.
Sam shakes his head and yawns. ‘Nope.’
‘I did.’ Castiel’s voice is quiet from the backseat but Dean whips around anyway.
Sam glares wildly between the road and the rear-view mirror. The car jags across the double yellow line and Sam hauls it back. ‘When the hell did you show up!’
‘What did you say, Cas?’ Dean wants to reach out and grab his arm, reassure himself that the smaller man is real and solid and this isn’t just another jerk-Dean-around dream.
‘The nightmares are not your doing. I will stop them.’