The sensation was hot and burning as it raced through Dean’s veins, lacing up and down his body and especially his forearm where the Mark of Cain seared with heat against his skin.
Was it painful? He wasn’t sure, it was all so new and foreign, it burned so much — it hurts — no it didn’t, it was just overwhelming… Unbearable, too much, not painful but it was and he hated it and dear God make it stop—
The First Blade clattered to the floor as his fragmented senses desperately tried to escape its power.
When Dean had pieced together his ability to think enough that he could raise his head, there was Magnus, watching with almost childlike glee and excitement in his eyes.
“Good,” Magnus murmured as he eagerly bent to pick the blade up off the ground. He came up again with it in the palm of his hand. “Next time, it’ll be easier.”
There was a grin on his face, somewhat deranged but a grin all the same. He placed the First Blade back on its stand. Dean remained where he was bound, only able to stare at his trembling hand and wonder.
What the hell just happened to me?
Almost his entire forearm was shaking. Remnants of what Dean could only describe as The Feeling that accompanied holding the blade sent spasmodic twitching through the limb as pieces of the power left behind worked its way out of him.
“You’ll get used to the feelings.” Magnus’s voice broke through Dean’s thoughts, enthused as it was yet also comforting, but also despicable to Dean’s own mind. “Even welcome them.”
Dean tried to recollect his thoughts. The burning was finally beginning to truly subside; his arm barely twitched anymore, the pain was gone. He decided to ignore the sudden desire to hold the First Blade again that panged in his chest.
“You’ll come to understand, Dean, that nothing can stop us.” Magnus was getting more animated now, enthusiasm rapidly increasing. “Anything, anyone we want to own, or destroy, is ours!”
“How about this, Magnus,” Dean said finally, his voice sounding low and raw to his ears, “How about I take a knee? Then what are you gonna do? You gonna kill me?”
He waited, watching Magnus’s face for even the slightest flicker of hesitation that he could take advantage of.
Magnus nearly pursed his lips, thought for a moment.
Dean thought perhaps that that was a chance, a crack in Magnus’s perfect plan. After all, he couldn’t use the blade without Dean, right? He pressed harder.
“Cause without this thing on my arm,” —The Mark twinged and sent sparks shooting through Dean’s skin— “That thing’s nothing but a hunk of bone with teeth.”
Magnus didn’t respond right away.
“Hmm,” was all he said, and for a second, Dean thought he saw an opening, a chance to do something, cause a distraction, escape…
Then the man took a step closer.
“Well, I’m not asking you for your cooperation.” His eyebrows rose slightly. “I’m just taking it.”
Before Dean could react, Magnus’s hand shot out, gripping his head firmly. He didn’t even have time to speak before he could hear a spell emerging from the man’s lips.
“Mentem tuam ac voluntatem adsumo.”
Things seemed to slow down. Dean suddenly wasn’t sure of anything, why he had come here, what he really wanted, or why. A strange sensation settled in his chest as his thoughts dulled. An unknown sadness crept over him.
All he was able to do was stare helplessly, hopelessly at Magnus, unable to muster even the will to ask what did you do to me?
Magnus seemed to understand, though, because he laughed a little. “Interesting effect, huh?” He asked, avidity once again taking over him, “All thought, all will, just drained out of you.”
He made a low sweeping gesture with hands, demonstrating his metaphor while the spell finally took its full effect on Dean.
It made him exhausted. Dean didn’t want to fight, he just wanted to curl up somewhere and sleep forever, no more mark of Cain, no more Crowley or disappointed Sam, no more of any of it. He would’ve collapsed if the chains would’ve allowed it.
“I do this enough,” Magnus continued, his voice getting low as he took a step back to survey, licking his lips slightly, “And you’ll be ready for whatever I have in mind.”
And for a reason that Dean couldn’t quite place, he shivered at the expression that Magnus had on his face.
“So, do you know what we do now?” Magnus asked, clasping his hands together with renewed spirit.
Dean barely heard him, lost for a moment in his own world of emptiness.
“Dean,” Magnus raised his voice only slightly, “I asked you, do you know what we do now?”
Dean looked up at him. Then he realized that an answer was expected of him, so he shook his head a little, saying, “No, I…” He grasped at the words as they slipped through his fingers. “I don’t.”
Magnus grinned again.
“We wait for the ordinary to return to the extraordinary,” he said, “We wait for your little brother to come back here with the chubby demon king. And then I’ll get rid of the both of them so I- so we -can prepare you for the rest of your eternity.”
“I don’t want eternity. I want to get rid of Abaddon,” Dean insisted, though it almost felt like he was trying to convince himself for than Magnus. “If you hurt Sam—”
“Oh, don’t fret. It won’t hurt him.”
“He’ll fight you. He’ll kick your ass.”
“Oh, ho!” Magnus laughed, “My spell wore off of you quickly, didn’t it? Usually it lasts at least a day. You’re determined to be quite the challenge.”
He began to walk from the room.
“Magnus!” Dean shouted, “Stay the hell away from him!”
“Stay quiet now, Dean. We don’t want him to find out our plan.”
“I’ll kill you!”
Then the man was gone.
Dean knew Sam. He knew how his brother worked, knew that Sam wouldn’t just kill Magnus and call it a day, but try to use Magnus to find Dean.
Don’t fall for it, Sammy, just kill him, just get it over with and kill him…
Of course, about ten agonizing minutes later, Sam emerged from the hallway with a knife against Magnus’s throat.
“Sam,” Dean’s voice was still patchy and far away sounding. “No.”
Sam looked confused that Dean wasn’t ready to leap into action upon being found. Until he looked to the left, saw the real Magnus, and had barely enough reaction time to save his own life. Sam barely managed to stab the shapeshifter. Dean felt a breath of relief escape his chest.
“A shapeshifter. See, there are benefits to keeping a zoo.” Magnus’s eyes glinted.
He tilted the gun in his hand slightly as a way of commanding Sam to move. Get over there. Dean’s chest tightened, his head falling back against the pole he was tied to as he realized what was happening.
“You know, I discarded you far too quickly, Sam. You’re way more valuable than I thought you were.” Magnus unsheathed a long, dangerous looking knife and took a few calculated steps closer to where Sam was now tied up. “Why would I knock myself out trying to sap out your will—”
He gestured at Dean with the knife, then moved even closer to Sam.
“—When I think Sam here will get you to see things my way?”
Sam stared down the knife in front of him, hiding any fear behind a stony expression, and Dean was proud. Proud of Sam for trying to rescue him and for being brave, but devastated at the same time, because he had gotten Sam into this situation; it was his fault.
“Magnus, I swear to God,” Dean ground out.
“What? What are you going to do? What’s he gonna do?” He asked Sam, “Huh?”
Then he dug the knife into the skin on Sam’s cheek.
It was fast, over in a second. Sam barely made any noise save for a cry that he quickly smothered into a quiet grunt. Just like that. It could’ve been worse.
Dean jerked against the chains as rage exploded inside him.
“Look, Sam, I’m not gonna kill you, of course not.” That comforting voice came back, the same one that he had used on Dean when he had first dropped the First Blade. “But I am going to make you suffer unimaginably.”
He dug the knife into the side of Sam’s neck this time.
In a perfect world, Crowley would’ve got there in time, Dean would have escaped the chains to stop Sam from getting hurt more.
But they had underestimated the warding in this place.
The second Crowley stepped through that doorway, Magnus whirled from where he stood, brandishing the knife. Crowley froze in place, his hand reaching out for the padlock on Dean’s chains, too late.
“You made a mistake, didn’t you, Crowley?” Magnus asked.
“Perhaps,” Crowley muttered, his sly mind rapidly trying to come up with a way out of there. Dean locked eyes with Sam. There had to be a plan B, something they could come up with on the fly, right?
Magnus snapped his fingers. “Haec oratio evanescet, et non revertetur!”
Crowley’s eyes widened, but then he was gone in a puff of red smoke.
Same stared, his expression suddenly fearful. “No,” was all he said. But in that ‘no’, Dean found a realization.
Crowley was plan B.
And now he and Sam were trapped.
Magnus sighed. “I’m a man of my word, Sam. And I said I wouldn’t kill you.”
Dean’s eyes flickered back and forth from the knife to Sam’s face multiple times, because he didn’t trust Magnus’s word or whatever. He hurt Sam. And now who was going to stop him from doing it again?
“But that was before you broke a demon king in here to try to rob from my collection.” Magnus’s voice sharpened and became cold. “Sometimes, I break my promises. I’m sorry, Sam. You shoulda stayed away, I suppose.”
He raised the knife high above his head.
“Magnus!” Dean shouted, straining against his bonds. “Don’t. Don’t!”
“Dean—” Sam locked eyes with him for a second, a horrible, painful, drawn-out second, and then…
The knife was buried up to the hilt in Sam’s jugular.