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Apocalyptic Love Songs 13

She turned and her face lit up, so delighted to see him that Dean shivered. “Dean!” she cried. “I knew you were here. I knew you’d want to see your brother fulfill his destiny.”

“Nobody’s fulfilling anything,” Dean said. “I’m here for Sam. We’re taking the Grail.”

“No,” she said, shaking her blonde curls. “I need it, Dean. And I need Sam. And I promised you to Lorcan though I don’t know what he wants to do with you. I know what I want to do with you,” she added confidentially. “I’d eat through your breastbone to your heart and then tear it out of your chest while it was still beating and then show it to you.”

“Lovely,” Dean said faintly. He couldn’t see Castiel but he could sense him — smell him, mostly, the familiar scent of warmth and sweetness that made him think of cookies. He took a deep breath, reminding himself to distract them. “And you’re going to bleed Sam dry, right? You’re going to use his blood to desecrate the Grail?”

“Oh, no,” Lilith chirped. “I need him alive.”

Dean looked at Sam, wishing Sam would face him so Dean could see his eyes. He had a terrible feeling Sam’s eyes would be yellow instead of their familiar green. “You want to offer him as a vessel,” he said in a low voice. “You know he’s protected, right?”

“Sam,” Lilith said, “show him.”

Sam turned to him at last, and Dean was relieved to see that while his eyes had a distant, blank look of someone under a controlling spell, they were still their usual color. Sam pulled back his button-down shirt to reveal that the tattoo on his shoulder looked as if someone had laid a hot poker across it. It was destroyed, useless, and Dean shuddered as he imagined how much that must have hurt. From the red, puckered skin on Sam’s chest, it probably hurt like hell now.

“Oh, Sammy,” he whispered.

“I thought of everything!” Lilith said proudly. “I even know how to get rid of that angel who’s flitting around. I can see you, Castiel!”

Castiel appeared at Dean’s side — his calm Castiel, ordinary and rumpled as ever, now with a sword in his hand. Flames flickered down the length of the blade. “Lilith.”

“Put your pretty knife away, Castiel,” Lilith said gently. “It’s no use here. My pet will eat you up in a bite and I’ve got much bigger toys.” She said to Lorcan, “Give the sword to Sam, Lorcan.”

“Yes, mistress,” Lorcan said and took the sword out of the briefcase. It looked ordinary, as it had in Wyoming, an old battered sword with a plain handle, but still Lorcan handled it reverently as he gave it to Sam. Sam took it and wrapped his hand around the handle tight as Lorcan carefully affixed the spear point to the blade of the sword.

“Sam,” Lilith said, and without another word Sam raised the sword with both hands and cut off Lorcan’s head. Lorcan didn’t even have enough time to scream. His thugs looked away, the big one stifling a horrified sound.

“Sam!” Dean shouted, sickened, as blood spilled from Lorcan’s neck and his head, expression still surprised, rolled to a stop on the stones. Even Castiel gasped. “You didn’t need to do that, Lilith!”

“I told him he’d live forever,” Lilith said and picked up the head. “I just didn’t tell him it would be this way.” She raised the head by the hair and told Sam, “I need the dish.”

Sam stooped to the briefcase and got out the dish, and Dean whispered to Castiel, “What do I do? I don’t know what to do at all.”

“Nor do I,” Castiel said, shaking his head, and his eyes were bright and damp. He flicked a finger towards Sam and gave Dean a meaningful look.

Dean acknowledged him with a nod, and eased to where Lilith was setting up her strange, gory alter on Lorcan’s body. The big thug was crying openly by now as Sam prodded him into place, and he sobbed, “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die –”

“Shut up,” Lilith said mildly and the big guy pressed his hands to his mouth.

“Miss,” the little thug tried, “we’re just employees. We don’t know nothing about magic.”

“Shut up,” Lilith said again as she arranged Lorcan’s head on his chest. “Sam, help me. He’s too heavy.”

Sam went to her and knelt, and put down the sword.

That’s my boy, Dean thought and lunged for the sword. He could have sworn it scooted a little closer to him, making it easy to scoop it up and wrap his arms around it, and he rolled away from Lilith and to his feet. He jumped up, groaning as his leg protested, and held tight to the handle as he poised for a fight.

Lilith’s china doll face was dark and angry as the thunderclouds overhead. “Oh, you didn’t want to do that,” she said softly, and under Dean’s feet the ground shook. “And I didn’t want to do this, Dean, but you are forcing my hand.”

Dean glanced at Castiel, who had joined him, the flaming sword in his hand. “Go guard the church,” Dean whispered to him. Castiel gave him a confused look and Dean said, “I can do this. Go protect the church.”

Castiel cupped Dean’s cheek in his hand a moment as the ground continued its slowly steady shaking, and then climbed the rest of the steps and stood in front of the cathedral doors, the flames on his sword flickering and rippling in the rain.

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