Title: Remembering
Author: vaderina
Rating: PG-13
Genre and/or Pairing: Dean/Castiel
Spoilers: None really
Warnings: Vague imagery of hell, mental abuse
Word Count: 2404
Summary: Dean has no memories of being pulled from Hell. Castiel helps him despite Heaven's orders.


Dean was tucked under Castiel's arm on the back seat of the Impala. His head rested where shoulder met chest, cheek pressed against the cool material of the angel's crisp white shirt. His eyes were closed and one hand rested on his friend's chest, fingers tracing random patterns onto the fabric. He hummed contently before a small frown appeared and the hum turned questioning a long forgotten question surfacing in his mind.


"Cas?" the angel gave a lazy hum in response.


"Why can't I remember when you pulled me out of hell?" Castiel stiffened at the question, arm tightening around his charge's shoulder almost imperceptibly.


"Because Heaven didn't want you to remember."


"Why?" Dean asked petulantly.


"Because they found it a source of embarrassment and thought you'd be easier to manipulate without them. They didn't know you very well, did they?" the smile was audible in the angel's voice. "So I was ordered to repress those memories and all angels were threatened with death if they ever helped you recover them."


"Oh. So you can't tell me?" Dean sounded disappointed. He wasn't going to push the matter tonight if Castiel didn't want to. It would only ruin their evening.


"Well, I am already on Heaven's hit list. They can't kill me twice unless God decides to resurrect me again and put me with my brethren. And they are your memories so you have the right to them..." Castiel trailed off for a moment. "I could remind you if you really wanted to know."


"Do you want me to know?" Dean asked, suddenly unsure eyes wide and staring at his angel. If Castiel hadn't revealed them at the first chance he got to help Dean of his own accord then he must have had good reason not to.


"They don't reflect very well on me. I was scared you'd think less of me. A very human reaction." Castiel answered the unvoiced question.


"Please." was all Dean said.


""It was a long siege we had laid on Hell. Decades long." Castiel began, his low voice filling up the car. "There were many of us in my garrison. Warriors who never knew defeat. Formidable and feared amongst all creatures of all realms. They fought hard, battle after battle trying to get to you. Some of them died, over powered by the multitude of demons and other dark creatures lurking in those fiery pits. Other suffered a worse fate and fell. Joined the ranks of those we fought, turned against us. They were the hardest to annihilate. They once stood proud alongside us, now they stood opposing our goal. By the time we got to the chamber which contained you, very few of us were left and only once could enter it. Once inside, the others were to leave and head back home to recuperate. We drew phalanges and I got the shortest."


Dean closed his eyes, images beginning to flutter through his mind. Vague memories building up into a sequences of events.


He was standing in front of the rack. His rack. The very one he had gotten off and was no longer covered in his blood but in the blood of the soul that was stretched to its limits in front of him. He grinned as he lifted his knife again, glinting in the flickering lights a sickening red, slick with blood. The door slammed open. Dean expected Alastair to march through the door in a think inky cloud of darkness and inspect his handiwork. Instead light poured in. It was white, so foreign in the realms of Hell where yellows and reds competed with the blacks of despair. The light held Dean's attention. With a flick of his wrist the soul on his rack disappeared, its screams dying down went ignored. The light flickered uncertainly. It looked tired. The door shut behind it with a click. Blackness was beginning to seep through the light, tinting its edges. It resembled the fabled Fallen. They hardly ever frequented these parts of Hell, they mainly stuck to the courts of Lucifer trying to win his favours. The light flickered again, holding up unsteadily, looking ready to collapse in on itself any second. Dean's smile grew wide and feral. Alastair would be pleased to find such a beauty tarnished on his rack. He'd be generously rewarded.


"I was tired. All the fighting and it had been for nothing. You'd broken. Little did I know that it was the plan all along, send my garrison in late and use you to wipe humanity out to instil paradise on earth." Castiel's voice was soft and sad as he recalled his apparent failure on his mission. "When I saw you with that soul on the rack, I lost sense of myself. I wanted to curl up and never be called upon for another mission. I'd failed and was too late. I blamed myself for it. If I hadn't been seduced by the call of one of the myriad of temptresses the Hoard sent our way, if I hadn't chased down the demon who slew one of my brothers in revenge or if I hadn't lost sight of the guiding light and taken the wrong turn when a Trickster made Hell's trenches forked, I'd have been able to save you. And if all that hadn't been enough, you started talking. Taunting me, you knew all my weaknesses, all my doubts and regrets and exposed them like a demon. Your soul was warped and the defiant core of light was fading with each word. I lost my temper at that. I'd fought so hard to save what looked and sounded like a demon. I did something which I regret gravely. Every day I question why I did it and I wish I hadn't." his voice had grown quiet and sombre, lost in his own memories, reliving their horrific details.


"Well well well, what have we here?" Dean's voice rang loud in his chamber. The light's centre, where it seemed the brightest dimmed a little. "A lost and pathetic thing aren't you? To be this far into Hell. Did Daddy not want you any more? Had he grown bored of your tricks and sent you on a fool's errand hoping that another failed experiment will sort itself out down here? He always get demons to do his dirty work, doesn't he? Or are you useless to him now? Tumbling from high up, so far from home now aren't you? Weak, alone, barely even holding onto blind faith." Dean tormented the angel, his words cutting sharp and deep into its resolve. "Look at you, tainted, the black light of the fallen already slicing deep into you. You'd never be taken back home. But you'd never be accepted down here either. Too pompous and righteous. No, you just wouldn't fit in. A loner, alone in company. How pathetic." he circled the light, pushing it closer to his rack, his teeth reflecting the light in sharp bursts of white. "Pitiful really. But I think I can fix that." Dean reached forwards to clamp the angel to his rack, securing it in place. What he didn't expect was his world to spin with a growl that most definitely didn't come from his lips.


Dean gasped, the assault of memories weighing him down, rendering him speechless.


"You..."he croaked.


"Yes, Dean. You have no idea how sorry I am. But I slammed you back onto the rack, tied you down. Your words were just abhorrent. The disdain with which you spoke of my home, my father, everything I ever believed in angered me. After all the fighting, losing most of my garrison, for you to turn out like this almost broke me. I just needed you away from me, so you couldn't harm me or yourself and I would be less inclined to harm you too." Castiel's eyes were closed, voice heavy with sorrow.


From his place on the rack, Dean watched the angel. The light was curling in on itself, like humans who self-hug. He sneered at it despite the fear the shot through him. He'd agreed to get off the rack to torture souls, he didn't want to be back on it, especially at the mercy of a sad excuse of a half mad angel. The angel took on a vaguely human form. It was no longer just a ball of shadowed light, but a man whose limbs were blackened, but where his heart should have been, a concentration of light pulsed in holy fury. The man shaped thing stalked round the rack, stood glowing behind Dean. Despite not being able to see it from his restraints, Dean just knew it was glaring at him. If he could only corrupt the angel, goad it into picking up the knife and make to succumb to the pull of Hell. Alastair would be so proud.

"You hiding again?" he chided in mock joviality. He got no answer, but the glare felt intensified. "You break my heart of stone with your feeble attempts to destroy me. If I were you, I'd be cowering too. Scared to face the consequences, terrified that Daddy might throw a hissy-fit? Man, I doubt your Daddy could give two shiny shits about you. Hell, I doubt he'd even give one dull splattered dollop of turd for you. I doubt you are even an angel any more. What should I call you instead you third-rate worthless scum? You're like a lost dog, aren't you?" The angel stomped loudly to stand in front of Dean, his eyes furious. "But no, a dog implies that you at least are of a certain breed. You are worse than that." Dean continued, fear mixing with giddy excitement. The light at the core of the angel darkened, but didn't dim. It was impossibly irate. "Mongrel. That's more fitting isn't it? You are nothing pure, but a tardy mix of all the worst of each breed. What do you say to that Mongrel? Or are you only going to growl at me like a kicked puppy? What's the matter Mongrel, cat got your tongue?" Dean forced out a laugh as he watched tendrils of black creep up and around the once white angel. The creature picked up one of the knives strewn around the floor and looked at it, then glanced at Dean.


"Oh I'm so scared Mongrel!" Dean teased through gritted teeth. He was preparing himself for a whole new world of pain. Alastair would be pleased though, Dean had corrupted an angel all by himself. Created a whole new breed of monster. "Mongrel, Mongrel, Mongrel." Dean sang. "You really do need to lighten up a bit." he laughed at his own joke. The angel glanced down at his form, noting the blackness steadily stealing up and round his body. A panicked flash of white pulsed through him, pushing back some of the blackness and the knife went skittering across the slick floor.


Dean let out a choked back sob. He's tormented the already troubled angel beyond his limits. Caused him to nearly fall and wallow in the depths of hell with him. Tried to corrupt him into falling as far as Dean already had. Castiel's hands combed through his hair as he continued in a reverent tone.


"You saved me Dean. Your insults made me realise just how far I'd gone, on the precipice of falling. If you hadn't drawn my attention away from hurting you, I'd have tumbled down, lost sight of myself. I'd be down there with you right now. But do you know how I repaid you for saving me?" his voice fell again. Dean just shook his head against his shoulder.


"You ever wondered why only one of your shoulders bears my hand print? You know, gripping a soul shouldn't leave such a permanent mark. Maybe a bruise that lasts a week at most, but never a burn mark. I was so angry with you Dean. I wanted to hurt you for almost destroying me completely."


"Too weak to fight Mongrel?" Dean eyed the creature. "Too weak to resist the pull of Hell? You are a fine specimen of Heaven, and just why it is bound to lose and fail. Why Lucifer will rise."


The angel snarled and a white pulse of pure energy burst from his palm which slapped onto Dean's shoulder in an aborted fist to the face.


"I hit you with all the fury I had Dean. Every bit of pent up frustration had cumilated in the one burst of uncontrolled power. It was like hitting you with all my powers. It burnt your soul and when you were placed back in your body, the burn on the soul became a burn on your shoulder. I dread to think what would have happened if I had punched you in the face like I had first planned."


The raw burst of the irk of God burnt through Dean. It burnt away thick layers of settled evil, leaving enough for his soul to shine through. Enough for him to get his sense back and beg the angel to kill him or help him escape. It also seemed to bring the angel back to his senses, it recovered its original shape and enveloped the begging soul into a cocoon of warm safety. With a final look around the desolate chamber of gore, the angel launched itself toward earth to restore the lost soul in time to save the world.


Dean sobbed into Castiel's shirt, the memories filling him with conflicted turmoil. He wanted to be angry at Cas for putting him back on the rack, yet he wanted to beg for forgiveness which he didn't deserve for putting the angel through all that. Slowly his freshly recovered memories settled, still tender to remember, but no longer causing him such acute pain. He looked up at his angel through tear-y eyes, hoping that once more the angel will get all he is trying to say without the need for words. Castiel looked down at his re-broken and remade charge with a tender smile. Leaning down, he absolved Dean of all his misdeeds in Hell with a chaste kiss that echoed with "I forgive you."