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Meg yanked her blade from Crowley and let out a scream of triumph as his body thumped to the ground. I win, motherfucker.

The Impala roared to life and she turned to look at it. The Winchester brothers looked at her through the back window, and she gave them a cheery wave as they drove off. No Castiel in the back seat, which meant the angel had flown off. She gave Crowley’s meatsuit a kick for good measure before trotting out of the alley and heading for a motel.

Tomorrow, she would plan, or find Castiel and get his answer to the pizza man question. Tonight, she would celebrate, and sleep for the first time since Lucifer went back in the cage.

She woke up, her wrists and ankles tied together, staring at the bathroom wall in Crowley’s hotel room.

.

She went through the motions again; the morning torture, the Winchester rescue, telling Castiel about her plans to move some furniture and get a pizza with him. She listened to Sam’s story about his girl as attentive as the previous day, told him to go and save Castiel, and faced off against Crowley. This time when she killed him, she stayed crouched on the ground, thrusting the blade into his meatsuit over and over until she heard the Impala drive away.

Instead of going to a motel room, she sat crouched in the alley, blade in hand, staring at Crowley’s meatsuit on the ground. Just before dawn, she leaned back and closed her eyes.

She opened them to the bathroom again, and again, and again.

.

Lather, rinse, repeat, she thought to herself as she thrust the blade into Crowley’s meatsuit. She did some quick math in her head. Fifty four days of this shit and counting.

Fifty four days of waking up in that shitty hotel bathroom, going through her morning torture, getting rescued by the Winchesters, listening to Sam’s boring-ass story, and killing Crowley. No matter what she did, she always opened her eyes in the bathroom, hands and ankles tied together, staring at that damn wall.

After the usual morning torture, she stared at the wall again, counting the tiles. With a groan, she lightly hit her head against the tile. Meg paused for a moment and hit her head against the wall again, harder than the last time, and smiled when she felt a dull ache spread through her meatsuit’s skull.

She laughed and bashed her head back, again and again, until she could feel her meatsuit’s skull break and its brain leak down onto the wall. She was still laughing when the door burst open and two of Crowley’s demons stared at her in shock. She threw her head back one more time and closed her eyes.

When she opened them, her skull was intact, and she was staring at the bathroom wall. This time, she didn’t wait for her morning torture, and began bashing her head against the tile again.

“Sir, I think she’s gone mad,” the demon muttered into the phone on day twenty-four. Meg laughed and hit her head back into the tile.

Yeah, that’s me, Mad Meg. She laughed harder and threw her head against the wall until she felt her skull crack again.

She threw her head against the wall, woke up in the shitty bathroom, and threw her head against the wall again.

Day thirty, day fifty, day fifty four, day fifty eight, day sixty three, day one twenty-two, day one thirty six…

She kept going until she lost count.

.

This has to be some new torture of Crowley’s, she thought. Hell, this is genius.

Forget an eternity waiting in line, forget hundreds of years of torture in the Pit, and forget everything they’d done to her since she was captured last year. Being forced to open her eyes over and over in that goddamned bathroom after killing Crowley and after killing herself so many times was the worst torture she’d ever gone through.

“Let’s cut the crap today, boys. Tell your boss I’m ready to talk about the crypts.” The demons eyed her warily and she flashed them a smile. It was weird, to hear her own voice. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d spoken out loud to herself, or heard her own voice, aside from laughing.

Crowley strode in, a smile on his face. “Ready to tell me everything, then?”

“How did you do it?” Meg asked him. “I mean, the regular torture I get, that’s nothing new. But get in my head? Make me live the same day over and over? How’d you pull that Groundhog Day shit? You have a pet witch, Crowley? Is that how you did it?”

“I think you’ve finally gone mad, Meg,” he drawled, walking into the bathroom and crouching in front of her. “I’ll have to give my boys a raise for doing so well with you.” Meg closed her eyes and laughed. Of course he wouldn’t tell her. Of course.

“I’ll tell you whatever you want, Crowely. I’m done with this shit. As long as I don’t open my eyes tomorrow staring at this damn bathroom wall, I’ll tell you anything you want.”

“I get what I want, and you’ll never be staring at anything again,” he promised. Meg rested her head on the wall and squeezed her eyes shut harder, thinking of Azazel and Lucifer. She barked out a laugh.

Forgive me, fathers, for I am about to sin.

She woke up to the bathroom wall.

.

“Meg?”

“Lookit, the cavalry finally came.”

.

“Meg?”

“Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”

.

“Meg?”

“Did it hurt when you fell from heaven? ‘Cause, baby, I see angels.”

.

“Meg?”

“Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?”

Oh, I like that one.

.

She let the Winchesters rescue her, and then took off down the street, headed for the liquor store.

She spent three weeks stealing from the liquor store on the corner, gulping enough vodka to get herself blissfully, stupidly drunk, and opening her eyes on the floor of the bathroom.

On day twenty-two, she staggered to the park and sat on a bench. How did that movie end? she asked herself. How the fuck did he get outta his mess?

She struggled to remember, slid off the bench, and opened her eyes to stare at the wall.

Well, damn.

.

Oh, right, the sonofabitch did some good deeds and fell in love. Well, fuck that.

.

She screamed through the morning torture for lack of anything else to do, and waited for the Winchesters.

The second they cut the ropes, she leapt at Sam and locked her hands around his throat. Come on, come on…

She laughed when Dean plunged the demon knife into her back. It felt like the fires of home, burning through her, until everything went black.

She stared at the bathroom wall with enough anger that cracks appeared in it.

.

Taking the direct route and stealing the knife and plunging it into herself yielded the same results. So did killing Sam and Dean and forcing Castiel to use his grace to burn her out of herself.

Killing Sam and Dean feels so good, almost as good as killing Crowley used to, that she did it again and again.

She screamed as she killed them, screamed about how they left her for over a year when she took bullets for them; put her ass on the line for them. She screamed about fighting the hellhounds and the torture. She screamed about keeping Castiel safe while they ran off.

She snapped their necks with her demonic powers, laughing while Castiel burned her. She stole the demon knife and slit their throats, letting the warm blood wash over her hands. She stabbed, cut, and made them bleed in every combination she could think of before Clarence put his hand to her forehead and the holy feeling burned through her.

When she exhausted that, she followed them meekly back to the basement and then to the tablet, just so she could kill Crowley again.

No matter how many times I have to do this, I’ll never get tired of it.

.

“I’m not telling you anything, and I’m not going anywhere.”

“Meg…” Sam protested. Meg shook her head.

“No. I’m sick of this shit. I’m not doing it anymore. I’m staying right here. I’m tired of doing this. You hear me, Crowley? You win!” she shouted.

“Dude, I think she’s nuts,” Dean said. “Cas, did any of your crazy rub off on her?”

“It could be the fact that I’ve been tortured by Crowley and his goons for over a year, or it could be that I’m living through my own personal shitty movie,” she snarled. Meg hopped off the bed and ran for the bathroom.

Here we go with the head-bashing again, she thought as she slammed her forehead into the sink. Dean grabbed her from behind and hauled her away from the sink as she threw her head down again so she landed on the floor instead.

She heard Castiel shout behind her and watched the blood fall from the sink.

She blinked and found herself upright.

I really hate that fucking wall.

.

She went with the Winchesters, skipped Sam’s story, and let Crowley kill the kid before she took him down.

Dean screamed at her afterward and stabbed her with the demon knife. She laughed, because it felt familiar now, the burn almost comforting.

.

“You guys can go to the crypt. This camper is staying right here on the couch,” she told Dean, stretching out. Dean began to protest, but Castiel held up his hand.

“Although Meg will heal faster than either you or Sam, she is still in no condition to fight. I believe it is best if she stays,” he said. Meg smirked at Dean.

“Yeah, you heard Angelface here. I’m too injured to go jumping around. Have fun, Deano.”

.

Meg thought she knew Hell.

She’d been on the rack for hundreds of years, being tortured by her father and Alistair. She’d been warped and twisted and reborn in the Pit, the smell of sulfur in the air and the sweet sound of screams in her ears. She’d been tortured a thousand different ways and tortured other souls with everything she knew.

The time she spent on the rack was nothing compared to opening her eyes and seeing that damn wall again.

.

“You ever miss Hell, Dean?” she asked from the backseat of the Imapla. Dean glanced at her reflection in the rearview mirror.

“You’re fuckin’ nuts if you think I would ever miss that place,” he spat. Meg shrugged in the backseat. “How could anyone ever miss Hell?”

“Everyone misses home,” she answered, folding her arms and settling down next to Castiel.

.

“Okay, here’s the story: I’m in Groundhog Day.”

“What?” Dean’s faced screwed up in confusion as he looked at her. “Sam, she’s off her rocker. Cas, I think some of your-”

“Crazy rubbed off on her,” Meg finished. “Usually you ask about my hair, so I’ll just save some time and tell you Crowley did it.”

“How many times have we had this conversation?” Sam asked.

“Dunno. I lost count of the days after I kept waking up, beating my head against the wall, and waking up again.” She shrugged.

“Dean, it really isn’t that crazy. Remember what happened with Gabriel?” Sam said.

“Yeah, but Gabriel’s dead,” Dean retorted.

“I don’t care who’s doing it. I just want out.” Meg folded her arms. “I’m not telling you anything about the angel tablet or the crypts until I find a way out of this loop.”

“Angel tablet?” Dean said at the same time Sam said “Crypts?”

“Yeah, and I’m not saying anything else until you take me back to that basement and we hit the books.” Meg glanced at Castiel. “Unless you can fix this.”

“We could always stab you with the demon knife. If we kill you with it then it’ll probably stop,” Dean offered, smiling.

“Been there, done that, Deano.” She smiled at him. “I’ve been stabbed by that thing more times than I can count. I’ve been burned out by Clarence here. I’ve bashed my own brains out against the wall I don’t know how many times. Nothing works.”

“We can’t waste time trying to figure out what’s wrong with you! We need the tablet!” Dean growled.

“We’ve gotten the tablet, and I still open my eyes on that bathroom floor, staring at that damn wall,” she snapped. “Help me or I’m not telling you anything.”

.

“You should tell me her name.”

“Tell you whose name?” Sam asked, glancing up from the book.

“Not that one, we tried that one like a week ago.” Meg grabbed the book from Sam and settled it on the ‘tried’ pile she’d been setting up every day for a month. “The name of the chick that got you off hunting.”

“How do you know about that?”

“I’ve heard the story over a dozen times. You tell it, then I ask about why you stopped when you hit a dog, then you ask why that’s my question. I call her a unicorn, and then I tell you I kinda get it. Crowley shows up, I tell you to go save your brother and my unicorn, and then I kill him.” Meg took a deep breath. “Then I open my eyes and I’m back in the bathroom.”

“Castiel is your Amelia?” Sam asked. Meg smirked at him.

“Amelia. How…normal,” she muttered. Meg picked up another book and began flipping through it. “You should have stayed with her. Taken your shot with a unicorn while you had it.”

“Is that what you’re gonna do with Cas?” Sam slammed his book shut and picked up another one.

“No.”

“Don’t make me parrot back your own advice,” Sam warned. Meg gave him a genuine smile.

“You won’t remember this, so I’ll spit it out,” she said slowly. “No sarcasm, euphemisms. I’m kinda in love with him.”

“Can demons even feel that?” Sam asked.

Meg rolled her eyes. “Of course we can dipshit. I told you that way back that I was doing what I did for the same reasons you guys were doing what you do. Loyalty. Love.”

“Maybe you should tell him. That could be why you’re trapped in this time loop,” Sam suggested.

Meg snorted. “You think the reason I’m trapped in the time loop is because I need to tell the angel my feelings?”

“Worth a shot.”

“That’s bullshit. This has to be a curse. No matter what I do I can’t get to tomorrow. I’ve done everything I can think of,” Meg told him.

“Except that.”

Meg shrugged and glanced out the window. “Almost dawn. See you in the bathroom, Sammy.”

.

“You really do know how to make a girl’s nethers quiver, don’t you?”

“I am aware of how to do that,” Castiel said. “Although it doesn’t usually involve bandaging wounds.”

Meg took a sip out of the bottle and smiled at him. She knew how this conversation usually went, and she opened her mouth to ask him if he was crazy Cas or original make and model. “You’re my unicorn,” she told him instead.

“I don’t understand what that means.” Meg laughed at him and took another sip of her drink.

“I’m kinda in love with you.”

“Oh, I…”

Dean burst in through the doorway. “Okay, campers. Let’s roll!”

.

“You stay here and protect Meg.”

“Whatever you say, Clarence. Love you.”

.

“Meg?”

“If it isn’t the stupid angel I’m in love with and his boyfriends. Nice to see you.”

.

“I remember the pizza man, and it’s a good memory.”

“Good, because I love you.”

.

She told Castiel she loved him sixty four times. The first few, she wanted to throw up on herself while she said it. The next few, it got a little easier. Soon, it was as easy as breathing or slitting someone’s throat.

.

Meg stared at the bathroom wall in distaste. “I guess that wasn’t it then, Sammy boy. Your theory’s way off.”

.

“Your theory is off, by the way,” Meg told Sam, flipping the page of her book.

“What theory?” Sam asked.

“You thought that if I told Clarence I loved him this stupid loop would end. It didn’t.” Meg watched Sam choke on his beer, slopping it all over the book. He wiped his chin and coughed as he looked at her.

“What?”

“So, yeah, not even close. Got another theory?” Meg raised an eyebrow at him. “Lucky for that book this will all reset.”

.

“Maybe its God,” Sam said, closing his book. Meg glanced up from hers.

“I’m a demon. God has nothing to do with me.” She went back to scanning the pages. “How did you deal with it? The Groundhog Day crazies?”

“Not well. I had to watch Dean die over and over,” he told her. “At least you aren’t waking up to Heat of the Moment every day.”

“Yeah, I think I like my wall better,” she said dryly. She went back to her book again.

“I’m just saying, what if it is God? I mean, you said you’re in love with an angel. What if some of his grace rubbed off on you when you guys kissed? What if this is sort of like your redemption?”

“Right. My own personal Hell is my redemption. Sounds very Godly.” Meg rolled her eyes.

“What if you’re suffering to make up for your sins. Cleansing you kind of?” Sam shrugged. “You said that this thing was worse than Hell for you, right?”

“You lived the same day over and over, so you tell me.”

“So, when you’ve made up for everything, then things will go how they’re supposed to go and you’ll wake up the next day.” Sam slammed his book shut. “It’s worth a shot.”

“Demons don’t do redemption, Sam.” She rolled her eyes at him. “That bullshit is for you humans. Clarence, too, apparently.”

“Meg, you’ve been in my head-”

“I know your sad little thoughts and feelings, I know. We’ve been over this. More than a few times.”

“I know your sad little thoughts and feelings, too,” Sam continued. “Deep down, really deep down, I think you want redemption.”

“You sure Cas got all that crazy outta you?”

Sam rolled his eyes at her. “I’m just saying, you said that you help us find the tablet every day, right? What if helping us so many times is what will make you to make up for all the bad shit?”

“How long do you think that takes?” she asked him. “I’ve been doing this for a long time.”

“How long?” Sam pressed.

“Dunno,” Meg answered. “I keep losing count.”

“Give me a rough estimate,” he suggested. Meg did a quick tally in her head.

“Four years, roughly, leaning more toward five,” she said. Sam shrugged.

“Well, it’s just a theory.”

.

“How did you become a demon, anyway?” Sam asked. “Did you make a deal?”

“Why do you want to know?” she snapped.

“Just a theory.”

“You’re a bundle of theories. So far none of them have been right,” Meg said. Sam raised an eyebrow and she sighed. “It was a long time ago.”

“How long?”

“I don’t know. Time’s different in Hell, and even when I was a human--” She paused and wrinkled her face in disgust at the word. “--we didn’t have the same system you guys do now.”

“What was your deal?” Sam asked again. “It doesn’t matter if you tell me, since I won’t remember it.”

“I wanted my husband dead.” Meg laughed when both of Sam’s eyebrows shot up. “Don’t look so shocked. I was twenty-two years old when I made it. A husband, two kids, little fence, a real apple-pie life for that time. He wasn’t exactly Mr. Perfect, if you know what I mean. Beat on me and the kids all the time.

“I couldn’t exactly kill him myself back then, so I made a deal.” She shrugged. “Ten years later, I went down to the Pit. First day I got off the rack, Azazel told me he had a surprise for me and led me to him. Put a razor in my hand and told me I could do anything I wanted.” Meg smiled at the memory, and Sam looked disgusted.

“That’s sick.”

“Azazel told me that he had to burn the humanity out of me. He said that anger was a good start. He was right.” Meg closed her eyes, and she could almost smell the blood and hear the screams. “I loved him for what he did.”

.

“Meg?”

Meg glanced over at him from the couch. “Yeah?”

“What’s your name?” he asked. Meg rolled her eyes.

“It’s Meg, you idiot,” she snapped, returning to her book.

“Your real name, the one you had as a human,” Sam said.

“Is this another one of your theories?” she asked, snapping the book closed.

“Well, yeah. If someone knew your real name, they could cast something on you that could cause this, maybe,” he explained.

“Well, no one knows my real name. Shit, I don’t even remember it,” she told him. “It was a long time ago.”

“If your real name isn’t a version of Meg, why are you using it?” Sam asked.

“Well, you idiots kept shouting it at me. I didn’t see a reason to change it.” Meg shrugged and hauled herself up off the couch.

“Well, Azazel had to have called you something. What name did he use for you?”

Meg bit her lip and looked away from Sam, staring at the wall. “I was Meg for a while before I took the Masters body,” she told him. “But before that, down in the Pit, Azazel called me daughter or Shylah.”

“Shylah?” Sam repeated. Meg closed her eyes.

“It means loyal.”

.

“You’re wrong, you know,” she said casually, leaning on the Imapla.

“About what?”

“Redemption. Even if I wanted it, I couldn’t get it,” Meg took a deep breath and pushed away from the car. “All I want is to go home.”

“Why would you want to go back to Hell?” Sam asked.

“Its home, the same way Heaven is to Clarence and this stupid car is to you and Deano,” she told him. “Hell is Hell, even for most demons, but it’s pure, for us, in its own way.” Meg shrugged and looked away. “We’ve got company.”

.

“You and Dean shared a heaven? Like how only soulmates do?” Meg barked a laugh and leaned back against the building. “Shit, Sam. I didn’t know you and your brother were like that.”

“That’s not funny, Meg,” Sam snapped.

She smirked. “I’m teasing, asshole.”

“What? Like a demon’s idea of Heaven would be any better?”

“Home,” she answered without any hesitation. “The torture rooms, with Alistair and Father. Hell, the way it was before Crowley took over. The way it was before this whole fucking apocalypse mess and Lucifer rising and you and Dean existed. The good old days.”

.

“You’re the Queen of Hell now, I suppose,” Castiel said. “What will you do?”

Meg shrugged next to him on the bench as they waited for the bus. “Go home. Make it how it was.” She’d never actually thought about it, what she’d do once she became the Queen of Hell. While she was a good soldier, she had always looked to her father, and later Lucifer, to give her orders. She’d always had someone above her.

“That would be impossible, with so many prominent demons and loyalists dead,” Castiel pointed out.

He has a point, Meg thought. She often thought of Hell as it had been when she was young, her father and Alistair teaching her, the screams of the torture chambers, learning about Lucifer and her new faith. It won’t ever be like that again. They’re all gone. It won’t really be home anymore.

Sure, Lucifer would have killed them all, and, sure, her ‘father’ had tortured and twisted her, but they were family, and she was loyal to her family, just like the damn Winchesters were.

But they’re gone. Meg reminded herself. There’s no one left to be loyal to.

.

“Do you think God can hear demons, Clarence?” she asked. His eyebrows wrinkled in confusion, and she took another drink from the bottle. “Stupid question.”

“I believe my father hears all things in creation,” Castiel said slowly. “I do not believe a demon has ever prayed to him before, however.”

“I’m starting to think Sam was right about the God thing,” she said to herself. “If he is right, then your dad’s kind of a dick. Lucifer did a lot of things, but even he couldn’t come up with a torture like this.”

.

Meg leaned against the bathroom wall after her usual morning torture session and closed her eyes.

She thought about the first time Azazel let her off the rack and led her to her husband, tied down like a present just for her.

She thought about standing next to Alistair in Hell, learning the ins and outs of torture. She could almost hear his voice next to her. “No, no, child,” he crooned in her ear. “If you do it like that they’ll bleed out much too fast. Try this way. There, now. That’s it, just like we used to do to you, remember?”

She thought about the first time Azazel told her about Lucifer, and she found a God she could believe in for the first time in her memory. One that wouldn’t ignore her when she prayed with tears in her eyes for the beatings and the pain to stop, for something to happen, for the suffering to be over.

She thought about Azazel telling her about the cause. “Daughter, He will rise, and you will be there to see it. You will walk alongside Him and Hell will come to Earth.” Azazel, taking her to Earth for the first time in hundreds of years to walk among the humans, telling her to indulge in all the human world had to offer. “The human race is so full of sin. Embrace it. Bathe yourself in it, Shylah.”

She thought of Castiel, kissing her against the wall, his grace washing through her, making her feel clean for the first time in thousands of years. She thought about him in the mental hospital, rambling on about bees and flowers. Blowing up lightbulbs and smiling at her as he did.

Castiel telling Crowley to leave her alone in the cabin and Crowley’s disgusted face when he said that Castiel would be upset at losing her.

Finally, she thought of Lucifer in Carthage, her god finally standing in front of her, holding her face and running his thumbs over her cheekbones almost lovingly. Everything she’d worked so hard for, everything Azazel had promised since he’d brought her off the rack and called her daughter. With her eyes shut, she could almost hear his voice. “Have faith, child.”

“Have faith,”she repeated bitterly. Once I got to Hell, I never lacked for faith.

.

“Do you think I even deserve redemption?” she asked.

“Meg,” Castiel said slowly, wrapping the bandage around her wrists. “Every soul deserves redemption. Every soul deserves to be saved.” He tied the bandage and sat back. “What brought this thought into your head?”

Meg ignored his question. “Maybe not everyone deserves to be saved.”

“Dean thought the same, once,” he told her. “But he was wrong.”

“Hi, I’m Meg, and I’m a demon,” she said sarcastically. “I don’t have a soul anymore.” Castiel stared at his hands, and Meg frowned.

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

.

“A soul, right,” Meg muttered to herself. She stared at the bathroom door, waiting for the Winchesters to show up. “I wonder what happens to our souls.”

She thought about what Azazel had said, about burning the humanity out of her down in the Pit. It had started with the torture on the rack until Azazel deemed her soul far-gone enough before the process was completed. She had tortured and killed until her soul had twisted so completely her father had told her it was gone.

“But you can’t just get rid of souls.” Her face scrunched up in concentration as she stared at the wall. “Souls don’t just disappear. They can’t. Aw, Hell.” Meg leaned back against the wall and laughed. “Of course. Of course.”

He was wrong, father was wrong, we’re nothing but souls, she thought, laughing harder. You can try to burn the humanity out of a soul, but it’s still a human soul. Deep down, we’re all still human. We’re all still one of the Big Man’s kids. Tears streamed down her face and she fell on her side, laughing so hard one of Crowley’s goons opened the door to stare at her.

Lookit that, I finally got it.

.

Between the torture and the Winchester’s rescue, memories flowed into her head, a new one every time she opened her eyes.

Memories of her human life.

Her mother smiling at her from the stove as she cooked, her mother, singing as she weeded the garden and picked the fruit and vegetables her family grew. She remembered her mother teaching her to sew and to cook and what to plant for her own garden. She closed her eyes and saw her mother sewing her wedding dress late into the night. Her mother dressing her for her wedding, tears in her eyes and a smile on her face.

She saw her father, eyes closed and rubbing his temples after a day in the fields. She saw him pulling her into his lap and kissing the top of her head, telling her how much he loved her. She saw him age and saw him die.

Every day she woke up in that damn bathroom another memory slipped into her head, the details hazy. She could remember her sibling’s faces, but not their names. She could remember what it felt like to milk the cows and struggle to lift the bucket, but not the country she was in or the language they were speaking.

She saw her own wedding, the fights between her and her new husband, and the birth of her children. She could never clearly call up their names or faces, only catching glimpses in her mind as she leaned her head back against the wall. She clearly heard their laughter in her head, the love in their voices when they spoke to her and the fear when their father would storm into their room or throw her into a corner.

The only thing she pictured clearly in her mind was the demon she had made her deal with. She could see her bare, muddy feet standing in the dirt before the demon’s voice made her head jerk up to look at him. His voice flowed over her like honey, and he promised to make everything alright again, for just one little promise.

She remembered that his mouth had tasted like sulfur, and his kiss had burned like fire.

She heard her own screams as the Hellhounds came for her, tore her apart, and dragged her to the Pit.

.

“Okay, so maybe I want it a little,” she said, raising her head to face the ceiling. “Whatever mojo is going on her to make me remember that must mean that I want it a little.” She paused and waited for the door to swing open. “Maybe this is me figuring things out.”

“Meg?”

She smiled at him. “In the flesh, shortbus.”

.

“Meg seems…different,” Castiel commented.

“She’s just as much of a bitch as she’s always been,” Dean huffed, gripping the steering wheel tighter.

“No, her face is different,” Castiel said slowly. “Less, somehow.”

“You’re fuckin’ crazy, man.”

.

“So, I think I get it now, what this is.” Meg shifted on the ground and rotated her wrists behind her back. “Is it because I helped those bastards a few times? Or because Cas touched me with his grace when we kissed? Is it that I helped him in the mental hospital? Is that why I’m suddenly worthy of redemption?”

Castiel’s words echoed in her head. “Every soul deserves to be saved.”

Meg snorted. “I get what you’re doing. With the memories and all the fucking bonding I’m doing with these boys when we’re looking for the cure for this or going after the tablet. Well, you can’t untwist a soul. You must think I’m just like Dean. Boo-hooing about how I don’t deserve to be saved, and that I’m a soldier, too. Fuck that. I’m done with this shit. Just because I can tolerate them now doesn’t mean I’m one of them. I’m not part of Team Free Fuckup, so let’s get this over with. I’m gonna say my goodbyes and then I’m done. ”

.

“You’re not as big of an idiot as I thought, Deano.”

“What the hell did they do to you in there?” Dean asked. Meg laughed and gave him a genuine smile. “Cas, did some of your crazy rub off on her?” Meg laughed again.

“Shut up and go find that damn tablet.” Dean turned to walk into the building, and Meg leaned forward and tapped him lightly on his backside. “For luck,” she said with a wink.

.

“Weirdly, you’re a good friend,” she said to Sam. He looked at her, eyebrows scrunched together in confusion. “You should go back to her. Amelia.”

“How do you know her name?”

“You told me, a while ago. Don’t remember how many days.” Meg shrugged. “Just sayin’. You’re not too bad, for a Winchester.” Crowley appeared, and she smiled. “Oh, I’m going to enjoy this.”

.

“I’m in love with you, you know.”

“Meg, I-”

“Shh, don’t talk.” Meg climbed into Castiel’s lap and pushed him against the back of the couch. “You won’t remember this tomorrow. They won’t, either. There’s still some time before dawn and I wake up looking at that damn bathroom wall. There’s no time for pizza, but what do you say we move some furniture around?” Before he could answer, Meg pulled him forward by the tie and kissed him.

.

“Are you there, God? It’s me, Meg Masters.” She looked at the bathroom ceiling and shook her head. The name, the lie, felt wrong in her mouth. “It’s me, Shylah,” she corrected. She closed her eyes, dropped her head back down, and broke. “Just get it over with, whatever you’re gonna do.”

Fathers forgive me, for I am about to sin, she’d said to herself, years ago, when she’d broken the first time.

She thought about when she’d told Crowley where the real crypt was, because she’d thought it would get her out of the Groundhog Day loop. She thought about how many times she’d worked with the Winchesters, Azazel’s greatest enemies and his killers. She thought about how many of her own kind she’d killed for them, and how she’d watched over Castiel in the hospital when their species were sworn enemies. How she’d fought and killed and bled and been tortured for three people who had screwed up all her father’s carefully-laid plans and put her God back in his cage.

“Forgive me father, for I have sinned,” she whispered, and waited for the demons to come.

.

Meg stared at the bathroom door.

A heavy feeling settled in her chest. Today’s the day, tomorrow’s actually gonna happen. I’m not gonna wake up in this damn bathroom again. Crowley’s demons came in and she gave them a cheery smile. The demons came at her, and Meg smiled wider at them, numb to the torture. She’d been through it enough times that the pain barely registered anymore.

This is the last time, better make it memorable. They propped her up against the wall and left, slamming the door behind them. The Winchesters would be here soon, and then they would head back to the cabin, and to find the tablet.

She stared at the bathroom wall, running through all the lines she’d used on the Winchesters. The door burst open, and she took one last look at the wall, counting the cracks she’d memorized one more time before turning to look at them.

“Meg?”

“Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?” she quipped, raising her eyebrow. Oh, yeah. That one was definitely her favorite.

.

She couldn’t tell Castiel she loved him. Too goddamned sappy, and I am not sappy, she thought, telling him that they should order a pizza and move some furniture around instead. She smiled and quirked an eyebrow when his face scrunched up in confusion.

“Okay, campers; let’s roll!”

.

She sprayed on the sigils and talked to Sam. She listened to his story, and didn’t press for the girl’s name this time. He’s one lucky boy, she thought to herself. She smiled fondly at him when he turned his back to her, making sure he couldn’t see.

.

“Go.” Meg turned to look at him over her shoulder, blade in hand. “Save your brother, and…my unicorn.” My smiled at Sam and turned to face Crowley again, only half-listening to what he was saying.

She thought about what Sam said; so many days ago she couldn’t remember how long it had been. Atonement. Redemption.

I don’t do redemption, I’m a demon, she reminded herself. Being in love with an angel doesn’t change that. That clean feeling doesn’t change that. The memories don’t change that. Wanting it even a little doesn’t change that. I’m still a demon.

Crowley finally stopped talking, and she tightened her grip on her sword and smirked. “You had me at kill you, Crowley.”

They fought, and Meg fell to the ground, her blood streaming down her face and into her mouth. Tastes like home, she thought as the tang of salt and sulfur rolled over her tongue. Crowley grabbed her by the front of her shirt and she staggered to her feet.

“I could beat on you for eternity,” Crowley hissed.

“Take all the time you want, you pig,” she spat at him. She looked over his shoulder as the Winchesters climbed into the car. Sam stared at her through the back window, and she flashed him a smile. “No Cas in the backseat. Your stone’s long gone.” She shoved her blade forward, like she’d done hundreds of times, and missed.

Aw, shit.

She pulled her blade out of his shoulder, and aimed again. She felt Crowley move and she screamed as a burning pain exploded in her gut. It washed through her, burning the demon like the fires of Hell had burned the human, once, so long ago.

.

Meg opened her eyes in the alley and felt her human heart beating in her chest.