Dean watched the temple fill with people; he had little choice in the matter. There had to be close to seventy of them, talking in hushed voices and staring at him hungrily. Dean stared right back and kept his chin up, showing no fear. He’d given up trying to get free of the shackles; all he’d done was hurt himself and he was mostly resigned to his fate now. He just hoped it would be over quickly.
Dennis Yates was the last one through the doors and he closed them softly. For once he wasn’t flanked by his bodyguards and Dean looked round the sea of faces, seeking out the Tweeds. They weren’t present and he figured this crap was above their pay grade.
approached the stone altar and the room fell quiet. The ceremony started
without preamble and there was chanting and singing in a language Dean didn’t
understand. He thought it might be Greek but at this stage in the proceedings, he
honestly didn’t care. Sam would know, but Sam wasn’t here and Sammy most
definitely wasn’t coming. Dean’s biggest regret was dying without seeing his
brother; not getting the chance to apologise for being such a jerk last time
they’d been together. That felt like a lifetime ago; in a galaxy far, far away.
Yates took a pewter bowl and began adding ingredients which included wine, honey, leaves and herbs. There was nothing sinister in the brew so far as Dean could tell, and nothing which currently required his blood. He watched Yates stir the concoction then light a match and drop it in. Thick, red smoke began belching from the bowl, accompanied by a sound like somebody pounding a gong. When it finally stopped Dean’s ears carried on ringing but he heard the rapturous intake of breath from everybody else in the room. As the smoke cleared he realised the throne in front of the altar was now occupied by a tanned, muscular youth with a blonde poodle perm. He was wearing a white tunic, sandals and a leopard skin was draped across his shoulders. There was a slender circlet of vines and acorns round his head and he was rocking full-on make up.
had to be Dionysus and he looked like some frat boy got up for a toga party. He
lounged in the chair nonchalantly, playing to the crowd and Dean sniggered.
Dionysus glanced over at him then got casually to his feet. He approached in a
leisurely, affected manner and Dean smirked.
you’re cruising for ass, you’re at the wrong party.”
Dionysus folded his arms and looked him up and down. “How’s business, Dean? Pretty restrained I’m guessing.”
Dean gave it his best poker face. “You wanna trade places?”
Dionysus licked his lips suggestively. His hand snaked out, brushed against Dean’s crotch but Dean didn’t move. He wasn’t going to give this asshole the satisfaction of watching him squirm.
it for the gay bar, Priscilla.”
Dionysus snickered. “Come on cowboy, this can’t be your first rodeo.”
The hand brushed him again, firmer this time and Dean glanced at the people in the room. They were watching raptly, some were getting off on it and he tried not to show his revulsion.
and queers ain’t my thing, pal.”
Dionysus ran a finger down his chest. “You sure of that?”
“Touch me again, you’ll find out the hard way.”
“Promises, promises…” Dionysus giggled and turned to address his worshippers. “Are we liking this, people? Are we ready for some fun?”
There was laughter, applause and Dean snorted. “Why don’t you load up Brokeback and have ‘em jerk you off?”
That earned him a full-on bitch slap, hard enough to wrench his neck.
“Show some respect.” Dionysus sounded pissed and Dean pressed his advantage.
“Respect? I watched Lucifer gank your family, sweetheart and you know what? I enjoyed it. You old world morons talk big but when push comes to shove, it’s nothing but bullshit with bells on.”
The god was outright offended now but victory was short lived. Dionysus clicked his fingers and agonizing pain erupted in Dean’s chest; like his ribs were snapping and his heart was being crushed in a vice. He couldn’t get enough air into his lungs and bright lights were popping behind his eyes. As quickly as it started it was over and he slumped against the pillar, breathing hard.
Dionysus murmured into his ear. “You want to revise that statement?”
“Uh… yeah.” Dean lifted his head with an effort. “How about go screw yourself?”
Dionysus smirked. “I’d rather screw you; I think we'd all prefer that.”
hand was back on Dean's crotch and he shrank against the pillar, face burning. From
behind the altar, Dennis Yates coughed politely.
nearly time, my Lord.”
was watching Dean intently; a smile pulled at his lips as he gave a light
squeeze then dropped his hand. “Any last requests?”
tone was mocking and Dean pulled himself upright, scowling. “I guess Unchained Melody’s off the playlist?”
snickered. “I can give you Highway to Hell.”
about Revenge is a Bitch…”
Dionysus grabbed him by the throat and Dean’s head cracked against the pillar. “How about I cut your tongue out, you worm?”
Yates coughed again and Dionysus relaxed his grip. He composed himself for a moment, adjusted his hair then strolled back to the throne. Yates eyed him expectantly.
we need now is our Prom Queen.”
“She’s close; I can hear her tippy toes on the flagstones...” Dionysus clapped his hands with delight. “Ah, here she comes.”
All Dean could feel was anguish for the woman about to die alongside him; regret he could do nothing to save her. But he was also fascinated; he wanted to know who she was. All eyes in the room were on the doors and there was a palpable air of expectation. Dean watched, heart racing as they opened and the Tweeds came in, dragging a limp body between them. It had long hair but most definitely wasn’t female. He knew who it was in a heartbeat.
He yelled as loud as he could but Sam didn’t respond. Dean watched, horrified as the Tweeds chained his brother to the other pillar and the crowd murmured in appreciation. He glared at Yates.
“Leave him alone, you son of a bitch. It’s me you want. Take me.”
Yates seemed puzzled. “It was never you, Dean; didn’t you realise that? You were the bait, son; it’s Sam we needed.”
Dean stared at him, dumbfounded. “What?”
“The spell packs more punch if the sacrifice is willing. Little brother here trotted along good as gold, just as we planned.”
Dean looked at Sam, hanging limp in the chains and his stomach twisted. “That ain’t my idea of willing.”
“He’s here, isn’t he?” Yates smirked. “Let’s not split hairs at this stage.”
Dean still didn’t get it; not all of it. “What was that crap you gave me about Hell?”
Yates shrugged. “You would have served our purposes, if Sam here hadn’t made it. Blood sacrifice is blood sacrifice after all; it’s just that…”
Dionysus interrupted, sounding ecstatic. “Lucifer’s Cage trumps Hell, baby.”
Sam moaned and it got Dean’s full attention. He watched his brother lift his head and look around, bleary and confused. He stared at Dean and frowned.
“What’s going on? You look terrible.”
“Don’t worry, Sammy; it’s gonna be okay.” Dean yanked at the shackles, oblivious to the pain from his abused wrists. He yelled at the room in general.
“If you hurt him I swear to God I’ll rip your friggin’ lungs out; every last one of you bastards.”
Dionysus waved a hand dismissively. “He’s boring me. Let’s skip to the good bit.”
Dean thought he’d seen every ghastly sight known to man, had always been certain he could handle any new atrocities which came his way. Nothing in his long experience prepared him for this, though. The idea of watching his brother die horribly, being powerless to stop it was the stuff of his worst nightmares. Forty years in Hell didn’t even come close. Dean felt numb; he gazed at Sam, fighting back tears as he tried to burn the final images of his living brother into his mind. He was so preoccupied he didn’t notice Yates come over and flinched when a hand touched his shoulder, giving it a reassuring squeeze.
“Don’t feel bad, Dean. Take comfort in the fact you’ve been of some use. Got the party started, so to speak.”
Something hard landed in his guts and knocked the wind out of him. It threw him off balance and he hung in the chains, trying to catch his breath. The blow was distracting, hurt more than it should but through the pain he heard Sam scream his name in agonised despair. Surprised and scared he got his legs under him, looking for whatever had panicked his brother. Sam was staring at him, eyes wide with shock and Dean looked down at himself. That’s when he saw the knife hilt protruding from his stomach.
His shirt was already soaked in blood and it was pooling round his feet. Everything was happening way too quickly and Dean knew he was in serious trouble. It didn’t bother him much though, it seemed distant and unimportant. The pain was mostly gone but there was a pounding in his ears; it kept time with his heartbeat and was becoming deafening. His vision was blurring, going dark but he got a last, fuzzy look at Sam, battling his shackles with tears streaming down his face. Dean’s awareness shrank to the size of a pinhead but he managed to choke out a few words.
“I’m sorry, Sammy.”