The two previous times that Sam had lost Dean, he had immediately panicked and run around flailing like a chicken with its head cut off.
Not this time.
No, this time he knew where Dean was, he knew who had him, he knew where he could find his brother, and he knew that it was up to him to go and get him.
Something hot and hard settled in Sam's chest, a smoldering rage that kept his blood moving through the icy shock that would have otherwise frozen him in place. His brain locked down; emotions tamped, but that was all right, because now was the time for action. And he already knew what he was going to do.
His movements spare and precise, he returned to the hotel room, closing the door behind him. In the light of one lamp he stripped out of his drenched sweats and pulled on fresh clothes, dressing warmly and layering. With the same exactness, he packed a duffel with clothing for Dean and a couple of the hotel towels. Because his brother was out there in nothing but his pajamas, probably at least as wet as Sam had been, and as soon as Sam got him back he was going to get him bundled up and hold him tightly and never, never, never let go.
Slinging the bag strap over his shoulder, Sam left the room. Most of the weapons were in Dad's truck, and Bobby still had the keys. Rusty was the one who knew how to get to Sulvis' waterfall and Sam assumed he and Danny had additional weaponry. Sam was going to need all of them to help him get Dean back, but he already knew that they were willing.
Striding across the parking lot in the dim glow of the streetlights, Sam didn't even notice the cold, despite the chill air, the soaking he'd suffered, and the fact that his hair was still wet. There was a fire burning inside of him, and he wasn't going to stop or even slow down until he had his Dean back.
Nothing and no one was going to get between Sam and his brother. Not even a fucking deity.
It was the violent pounding on the hotel door that propelled Rusty out of sleep, though he'd already known, even in slumber, that there was something wrong.
"Woo'zzit?" Danny slurred, levering himself on one elbow and rubbing at his eyes, blinking in the light of the lamp Rusty had flicked on as he'd risen.
"Sam," Rusty answered, hand on the doorknob.
As he'd indicated, it was Sam Winchester. Without his brother, which must only mean utmost disaster. Rusty could still see the tracks of the goddess' fingers on his cheek and jaw, streaked down clear and bright like tears... only Rusty had never seen a man who looked less like crying than Sam did now.
Sam's jaw was tight, his eyes hard, and even though he didn't consider himself to be easily intimidated by any stretch of the imagination, Rusty found he had taken a step back before he caught himself. There was so much rage and determination blazing off of young Winchester that he felt his hackles rise in response, and had to remind himself that they were allies.
"She's taken Dean," Sam ground out, his low husky voice so harsh that Rusty hardly recognized it. His hair was damp and his face was pale, but he looked ready for anything.
Rusty nodded quickly, since he'd more than half expected to hear this news when he'd seen Sam alone. "Give us ten minutes to dress and collect our gear," he instructed. "We'll meet you out at the cars."
Behind him he could hear Danny getting out bed. It didn't matter that it was only a quarter after three in the morning; Dean had been taken and there would be no delay in pursuit. Sam wouldn't wait, no matter who demanded it or how, and he'd need guidance. Rusty could no more let him run off alone than he could leave Dean in the clutches of the goddess for any longer than absolutely necessary.
Sam gave a clipped nod in return and set off for Bobby's hotel room, a heavy duffel swinging at his side.
"This is it, isn't it," Danny said, tugging a shirt quickly over his head and grabbing for the pants he'd carefully folded before hanging them over the back of the chair. It wasn't a question, just an observation.
Rusty's lips thinned as he moved to pull on his own clothes. They'd waited too long to make their move, and the goddess had made Hers. It surprised him a little that She'd been able to act so far from Her seat of power, but then, Her mark was on Dean's flesh. Presumably that gave Her more power over him. She must be powerful indeed, and desperate, if She'd been able to steal Dean away right from under his brother's overprotective nose.
"Let's go," he said, after strapping his "tool" kit to his belt. Their weapons were in the car, and they could figure out what to take after they reached the Multnomah Falls area. Though, for the life of him, he still didn't know what weapons they could bring to bear against a goddess.
They really were going to have to wing it. And that thought was all the more frightening now that Dean Winchester was depending on them to come to his rescue.
If he was totally honest, around six in the morning, Danny wanted to call for a break. But there was no way that Sam would have agreed. Hell, taking a sidelong glance at his own partner and Bobby Singer's grim profile, Danny figured that he'd be soundly voted down by the majority, even if he managed to get the words out.
Some of them weren't as young as they used to be.... Though, Danny noticed that Bobby didn't seem winded in the least. So he decided to suck it up and keep his legs moving, because it would just be embarrassing to be the one whining.
Not only were they traveling steeply uphill, but ever since they'd detoured off the Larch Mountain Trail it had only gotten more difficult. Danny was no wilting flower, but he had to admit that it had been a while since he'd gone on an extended overland hike like this. And traveling in the dark, through trees and bushes and over rocks, with only flashlights to light their way certainly didn't make it any easier.
The sky in the east was finally growing lighter, which was a small blessing. Rusty had been leading them steadily, unswervingly, but once they reached a deep gully whose base was carpeted with a light morning fog, Sam went on alert. He had been dogging Rusty's heels, only restrained from striking out ahead because he didn't know where they were going, but now he strode forward with certainty.
"I was here," he bit out, his strong jaw jutting with fierce determination. "She brought me here in my dream, just before She took Dean. Her waterfall is up ahead there."
And if he listened over the sound of his pulse pounding in his ears and the low warble of nearby birdsong, Danny could hear it; the faint tinkling of falling water.
"Let's go, then," Rusty declared, but now it was Sam who led them as the group forged forward. They made their way deeper into the gully, dew darkening their pants, and even Danny could feel that they were in the final stretch.
Once dawn had decided to arrive, it happened quickly; Danny was surprised and a little impressed by this fact. He was usually in bed, soundly asleep, when morning happened. By the time they reached the hidden vale where Sulvis dwelled -- it turned out to be the first 'X' on John Winchester's map, after all, so maybe Rusty had been mistaken? -- the clearing was filled with a pink radiance. Danny had to admit that it was quite pretty. Tendrils of glowing mist clung to the edge of the pool, darted out over its surface, played between the sharp tips of the grass surrounding the water. The waterfall sheeted down, thin but steady, and listening to it, Danny kinda felt like he had to take a leak, but now was definitely not the time. Not when they were here.
They were here, Sam was here, but where was Sulvis? And where did She have Dean?
Danny looked around. Trees. Water. Grass and weeds. A few blackberry bushes. Tumbled rocks half overtaken with moss. He didn't see anything they could focus on, no temple or altar or anything, for all they were in a place of Power that even he could feel. Rusty was rubbing at his tattoo -- he must not have been bullshitting all those times -- and there was a deep line carved between his bows.
"You okay?" Danny asked softly, touching his shoulder.
Rusty nodded, but a little absently, as though his attention was all taken up elsewhere. "Yeah, fine. But that demi-god we dealt with before?" He shook his head, overlong bangs flopping in his eyes. "Small beans compared to this. This is the real thing."
Danny grimaced and nodded. They'd found the seat of Sulvis' Power, but now that they were here, what did they do? He didn't know how to summon a water goddess any more than he knew how to take Her out once She'd revealed Herself.
"Give him back, you bitch!"
Danny jumped at Sam's loud, unexpected bellow. Evidently Sam Winchester wasn't hampered by the same lack of knowledge. But then, this was more personal for him than it was for any of the others. Sulvis had taken both his brother and his father.
Sam was standing at the edge of the water, before the waterfall, his huge hands clenched into fists, facing away from the rest of the rescue group, but Danny could read the tension in his back clearly in the brightening sunlight. Sam was on the verge of explosion, and it'd take a man a hell of a lot dumber than Danny was to approach him now.
Bobby had a rifle, for all the good it might do, though Danny'd be willing to bet it was loaded with something more than mundane bullets. His own hands itched for a weapon. He didn't think he had anything that would help against a goddess, but he rested his hand on the hilt of the knife he'd strapped on before they'd set out. It was eight inches, sharp as a winter wind, and had been blessed by an actual saint long before any of them had been born. Danny didn't know that this fact would help against a deity who probably pre-dated Christianity, but it made him feel better to have something. Rusty, he noticed, didn't bother with any weaponry, though he was, of course, not unarmed.
The sun was behind them as it rose. Danny didn't have Rusty's inbuilt sense of direction, but he wasn't completely hopeless in the wilderness. He assumed that meant that they'd switched around a little after leaving the trail and were facing west, or close enough to it to make no real difference. Really, he was just glad that they didn't have the rising sun in their eyes; this was going to be hazardous enough without them being dazzled on top of everything else.
"Sulvis!" Sam yelled again, and Danny was impressed by the volume he achieved, his voice bouncing off the surface of the water and the rocks surrounding them. "I know you're here!"
"Of course I am," She answered.
She hadn't been there a moment ago, Danny would have sworn it, but there She was. She stood in the exact center of the pool, the water caressing Her white thighs, Her slim, pale body limned in warm sunlight, copper curls cascading over Her shoulders and small breasts. She was smirking at Sam, but there was something dark and serious in Her eyes. Which were at first a rich aqua-green that lightened to crystal jade, then melted into slate-grey, before flashing icy crystal-blue. Danny stopped keeping track after that; they were as variable as the surface of a river tumbling down a hillside.
Aside from the changing eye shade, She looked like a regular, mortal female -- albeit one who was a little less dressed than normal women tended to be when facing a group of strange men -- but even Danny could feel the Power radiating off of Her. And if he could feel it....
"Give them back!" Sam snapped, and Danny was pretty sure that the only thing keeping Sam from charging forward to get his hands on the goddess was the fact that doing so would plunge him into the water and put him directly into Her element.
"Why so hostile, Samuel?" Sulvis queried, Her mouth still quirked, but that darkness in Her gaze. Danny felt a little dumb, just standing here and listening, not moving. But what were they going to do; try and flank a goddess when She was standing in the middle of Her pool?
"Why do you think?" Sam snapped incredulously. He was less than half an inch from dipping his right foot into the water, apparently holding himself back by sheer force of will. "You took my father!"
"I did," Sulvis confirmed, Her smile widening. She was a lot closer to them now, though Danny couldn't remember Her moving. Now the surface of the pool only came to the tops of Her knees.
"And you took my brother!" Sam raged, hands tightly clenched.
Danny and Bobby echoed Sam's abrupt question, almost in one voice, but Rusty simply narrowed his eyes at Sulvis, and Danny wondered why. Most of the time he wouldn't have wanted Rusty's gifts for anything in the world, but every once in a while he had to admit to some small curiosity.
"Yes, you did," Sam argued, taking the final two steps that brought both feet ankle-deep in the pool. Bobby put out a hand to stop him, but it was too late.
Sulvis didn't seem inclined to make use of this breach of good sense, though. She tilted Her head, curls bobbing around Her breasts, Her eyes going deep as the bottom of the sea as She met Sam's fixed gaze.
"I didn't. Really." She sighed, folding Her arms before Her, and looking a little defensive. "The fact that I had distracted you at the time that Dean was taken is... regrettable. I hadn't anticipated that She would act so soon."
"She?" Sam queried. To his left Danny heard Rusty give a little sound of enlightenment, but Danny felt as clueless as Sam sounded. He comforted himself that Bobby didn't seem to have any more idea than he did what the goddess had meant.
Sulvis turned away from them, looking to the north, the line of Her slender neck glowing in the sunlight. She looked like a mortal woman to Danny in this moment... only somehow more. She looked fragile, delicate, as though She could be easily bruised or broken, and yet Danny could feel the strength in Her and knew it would take someone with a lot more Power than Sam Winchester, than any of them, had to damage Her. He hoped that Sam recognized that as well and didn't try anything dumb.
"I took your father, Samuel," Sulvis said, slanting Her eyes in his direction. "But I don't have your brother." She fixed the young man with a serious look then settling to sit crosslegged on the surface of the pool, Her flanks not sinking into the crystalline mirror. Sam belatedly stepped back out of the water, and Danny hoped that the young man was ready to listen, because Danny really wanted to hear what Sulvis was going to say.
"Look, I don't fucking care," Sam burst out, probably predictably enough, and Danny didn't even try to restrain the urge to roll his eyes. "You don't have Dean, fine, then tell me who does and how to get there so I can get him back!"
Though Sulvis' expression was more pitying than offended, Bobby Singer had obviously decided they'd had enough of Sam leading the questioning. Which was a good thing, since the boy was so single-minded it almost hurt. Stepping forward, Bobby shifted his gun to his left hand and set the other on Sam's tense shoulder. Danny felt that it was a testament to how much trust and respect Sam had for Bobby that he only twitched and didn't try to shrug him off or punch him.
"If you don't mind my asking," Bobby said to Sulvis, with a politeness that impressed Danny, since he knew that, like the rest of them, the older Hunter had to be tired, overexerted, stressed out, worried, and angry. "Why did you take John Winchester?"
"To protect him," Sulvis answered candidly.
"And Dean?" Rusty spoke up, striding to the edge of the pool in turn. Danny hung back, because it seemed to him that someone ought to stay out of range of the focal point of the goddess' Power. "Is that your mark on him?"
"No, it's not." Sulvis shook Her head. "I tried to protect him. I rescued him once, but--"
"Rescued him?!" Sam blasted, and Danny repressed a sigh, because time was of the essence here and Sam was only going to make this last longer with his interruptions. "Rescued him right into the hands of sex slavers!"
Sulvis pouted slightly, Her lush lips turning down at the corners. "Also regrettable. But I was in no position to prevent that. I barely survived the encounter as it stood...."
"With the Melusine?" Bobby asked incredulously, and Danny had to agree. After all, even at a distance from Her waterfall, Sulvis was a goddess, and the Melusine was just a garden variety monster. A very powerful one, granted, but nothing to compare to an actual deity.
"No." Sulvis was beginning to look impatient. She rose, calves sinking smoothly into the water again, and then She was only knee-deep and stood less than ten feet from the men grouped at the edge of the pool. "The Melusine was nothing," She stated archly, confirming Danny's thoughts. "But I wasn't the one who destroyed her."
"Then who did?" Sam asked, his voice low and throbbing. He was so tense he was practically quivering and Danny admired Bobby for the hand he kept on the young man's shoulder. Now that took balls.
"That was Agron," Sulvis said softly, Her voice matching Sam's for volume if not tone. There was something sad and tragic in Her eyes now, even though Her stoic expression didn't shift. She folded Her arms before Her again and Danny thought that maybe even a goddess could have a tell. "My sister, my other self, my best beloved... once She was my calm in the storm, and I was Her storm in the calm...."
"She's the one in the deep pool," Rusty put in, nodding. "And She's the one who marked Dean. That's why I was kept getting a feeling of duality. There are two of you."
Sulvis tipped Her head to the side and really looked at Rusty. Danny bristled and fought the urge to leap between his partner and Sulvis -- it would just be silly anyway, because Rusty was better suited than he was to facing off against a goddess. It was just an instinctive reaction.
"Be careful," Sulvis warned in dulcet tones. "You shine so very brightly and Agron is getting desperate."
Rusty frowned, evidently uncertain as to whether he should feel insulted, complimented, or just concerned.
"So it was Agron who ripped the Melusine to shreds," Bobby put in, a little over-loud, but Sam looked like he was going to explode at any moment, and they needed to keep this conversation moving; for the sake of Sam's sanity and to hopefully keep him from doing something to piss off a powerful deity. "And placed Her mark on Dean. But after that...?"
"I wrested your brother from Her grasp," Sulvis told Sam, tilting Her head and smiling as sweetly as a schoolgirl with a crush. Then She sobered. "But doing so took all of my Power. Agron and I, we are not meant to strike against one another. It nearly destroyed us both. And it has taken us both two turning of the seasons to fully recover."
"That explains how Dean was rescued from the Melusine and fell into the hands of humans," Rusty said clearly, narrowing his eyes at the goddess. "But why did Agron want Dean? Why is Her mark set on his flesh? And why did you keep him from Her hands?"
"Perhaps I simply took a liking to him," Sulvis replied coyly. Her eyes flashed as Sam took a step forward, boot disturbing the water. Bobby restrained him, but to be honest none of them were buying that, no matter how lovable they all found Dean Winchester to be.
"The truth?" Rusty requested, admirably remaining polite when the rest of them were growing thin of patience.
"The truth is multifold," Sulvis told him, Her eyes flickering over the group, leaf-green and resembling Dean's to an eerie extent. "Part of the truth is that I have taken a liking to your Dean, to your entire foolish, stubborn family. But the greater motivation, I have to admit, was selfishness."
"How so?" Rusty prompted when Sulvis paused a moment, eyes flickering dark, straight white teeth sinking briefly into Her plump pink lower lip. She seemed ill at ease, and so should She be if, as it sounded, She was about to reveal a weakness to a group of Hunters. Hunters who had reason to hold a grudge against Her. She might not have taken Dean, She might, as She had said, rescued him from Her sister goddess, but She was holding John Winchester and had made no offer to return him to them yet. And Danny still wasn't convinced that Sulvis was the good guy here; She was the one telling the story after all, and She had yet to explain everything. If that was even Her intent.
"Agron desires your brother as a vessel," Sulvis admitted heavily, pacing in ankle-deep water... and when had She gotten that close to them? "She wishes to use his body to house Her consort."
"Why would She want Dean for that?!" Sam blurted, and if he'd been agitated before, now he was downright frantic. Not that Danny could blame him. That was... definitely not good news.
Sulvis spared Sam a slightly exasperated look. "Your brother is young and beautiful. He is strong and yet he was broken within the hands of the Melusine. He has been touched by Power and has Power of his own. In all the ways that count, he is the ideal vessel."
Sam seemed about to hyperventilate, Bobby rubbing a comforting hand over his back, so Rusty took up the questioning.
"I still don't see why you wanted to keep Dean out of Agron's hands," he said, in his best 'you can trust me' voice. "What's it to you if She uses him to house Her consort?"
Sulvis gave Rusty a sharp look, knowing damned well that She was being baited into giving more of Her story away. The sun was above the horizon now, and Her pale flesh glowed in its warm light, gold highlighting Her copper curls, Her eyes bright and crystal-blue as Rusty's.
"Well.... It's entirely possible that at one point Her consort may have tried to kill me, and I may have killed him instead," She replied lightly, waving a slender hand and pacing the edge of the pool.
Danny nodded. That sounded more like they were getting to the heart of the matter. "Okay. You say you killed him. But this Agron wants to bring him back?"
Sulvis sighed heavily and paced back the other way. Danny was reminded of a tiger in the zoo; though he'd a feeling Sulvis could leave the water at any time She chose. Even if it wasn't raining. "I only killed his physical form. She has his... soul, I suppose you'd say -- his essence -- held in a totem, a talisman. If She can get the proper human body, She can resurrect him."
Rusty was frowning and Danny frowned in echo of his partner. Things were beginning to sound complicated and dangerous. Not that Danny hadn't expected that, but these revelations were definitely coming as a surprise. "So if Agron managed to get Dean and use him to house Her... consort?"
Sulvis grimaced. "Obviously, he'd do his best to finish what he began and I completed." She drew a pale finger across Her own throat to illustrate, as unnecessary as the gesture was. "Agron and I were once as one and to this day we cannot act against each other directly. But we may direct others to do our bidding."
"And Her bidding would be to kill you?"
"It was," Sulvis replied darkly, Her mouth quirking in a smile completely devoid of humor. "Though I'll admit that if She brought Eil Ton back now, he'd have something of a personal stake in ending my existence."
"Revenge is a powerful motivater," Bobby intoned.
"Self preservation is a stronger one," Rusty replied, and no one there was inclined to argue with him. "I don't understand why you took John Winchester, though," he said to Sulvis. "If it was because he'd found you out...."
Sulvis snickered. "Oh, please. John Winchester is a skilled Hunter, a brilliant mind, and a devoted father, but he was never a threat to me." She smirked. "He may have learned of my existence, but he could not have made use of the knowledge."
"He may have been planning to ask you a boon, not confront you," Danny mentioned, even though they were all still unclear on John's motivation. "We're not quite sure what he was planning; whether he thought that the mark on Dean was your doing or whether he knew that it wasn't."
Sulvis nodded. "Agron is getting desperate," She intoned again, Her expression contemplative. "Her chosen vessel was still distant and here was Dean's father, strong and handsome and full of virility. He might not have been the ideal body for Eil Ton, but he would have suited Her purposes well enough."
Sam's jaw was clenched; he was probably upset at hearing his family members described as "vessels" and relegated to pawns in a battle between two deities. Danny couldn't say he blame him.
"None of that matters now!" Sam snarled harshly, startling them all, even Sulvis, who skittered back several paces into Her pool, until the water lapped at Her knees again. "Just tell me where this bitch has Dean and how to get him back!"
Sulvis frowned at him. "If you go rushing in now, you will die," She told him sternly. "You are not prepared to face Her, any of you."
"Then what the fuck--?!" Sam began violently, and would have stepped into the water again if not for Bobby's hold on him.
"It's simple, really," Sulvis said, smirking at the young man with something that wasn't condescension... exactly. More amusement, Danny thought, even though this didn't seem to be a good time for humor. "You want your brother back, and I want you to get your brother back."
"That's great," Danny put in, frowning at Her. Sam was about ready to have a meltdown and the longer they delayed here, the longer poor Dean was in this Agron's clutches, which couldn't possibly be a good thing. "But how do you propose we go about getting Dean back?"
Sulvis' smile melted and Her expression was no longer amused in the slightest. "Well. That's the part that's not so simple."
And Danny figured that line had just won the grand fricking prize for understatement of the century.
"Please tell me that you at least have a plan," Bobby put in dryly.
She spared the older Hunter a glance as fond as it was annoyed. "I do. But you're not going to like it."
And after She'd laid it out for them, Danny realized that he'd been wrong before, and that that line had been the real winner for understatement of the century. God help them.
But, really, what choice did they have? None at all, since none of them had any better ideas.
And that was the worst part of the entire situation.
Cold wet pressure crushed him, sucking the air out of his lungs.
He was wrapped up in darkness and water. Trapped in a familiar nightmare only there was no salt. The tears running down the back of his throat tasted like the ocean but he knew that this wasn't where he had been before.
Gasping in a great sucking breath, but all he got was water that tasted of dirt, of death, of old bones.
Dean flailed, eyes open blindly in the darkness, his lungs filled with the thick water that surrounded him, and he couldn't breathe but he was alive and conscious. He wished he wasn't. He wanted so badly for this to be a nightmare, to wake up in bed with his Sammy, to be able to curl close to his brother and breathe in cool night air and shudder this place away.
But this wasn't a dream and he was really here. It was like being with Her, only not. Because there was no salt here, outside of his own body.
All his defenses shattered and he trembled in the face of his own terror.
He could remember it all, everything that the walls in his head had kept him sheltered from when he'd been staying with Missouri. He could recall every breath-sapping moment of being wrapped up in the Melusine's grasp, could remember the feeling of having Her around him, inside of him, drawing his life out of him and toying with his mind....
Only this was a hundred times worse, because those were only memories, but he was here right now, drowning in the water, dying and yet alive, and there was no room for anything inside his head but wild panic. Even the memories got shoved aside as this emotion overwhelmed him with icy dread.
He couldn't breathe, he couldn't die, he couldn't even lose consciousness, and then suddenly, even through the frenzy of his panic, he realized that he was not alone down here.
"Do not damage yourself, precious treasure."
The female voice spoke directly into his mind, since his ears were filled with water, with the pounding of his pulse, with the shrieks of his internalized terror.
He felt her hands caressing his face and body before he saw her, though how he could see her through the darkness of the silty water, deep down beneath the surface, far removed from oxygen and sunlight, he didn't know.
She hovered over him, where he lay on his back on hard rock, her face gleaming pale and angular, her hair bobbing in buoyant waves that looked sickly green in the depths of the pool, her eyes wide-set and bright blue, the only thing about her that didn't look like a floating corpse. Not that she wasn't beautiful, because she was, but Dean thought that he'd rather have died than ever seen her.
Thin fingers fluttered over his bare chest and he could feel the warmth of her flesh, could feel the movement of the heavy water around her hands, tugging at him like icy little tongues lapping at his skin, and he dragged in several more panicked breaths that only filled his lungs with more water. He wanted to scream, but his voice was trapped in his throat. He was completely helpless beneath her, and this was wrong, this was wrong, because his hands were free and his feet were free, and why wasn't he fighting to get away, to swim to the surface, to break out into the air and the daylight, to go and find his Sammy? Why was he still here?!
"So beautiful." Her voice was like silk in his mind, slick and cold, too soft, unnatural. She didn't belong in there, her touch didn't belong on his body, and she was bending over him in a manner all too familiar.
Dean flashed back to all the men who had held him down and fucked him as though he was only a toy for their pleasure. A toy of flesh who wept and bled, but not a real boy, not a child who had a right to keep his private places private.
As though his fluttering thoughts had drawn her attention there, her hand slid down to cup him between his legs. He had never felt less aroused in his life, not even when Engram had forced him those first several times, hurting him so badly he'd been sure he'd never heal from it.
Her beautiful face twisted into an expression of distaste, and her fingers tightened, sending a sharp stab of pain through his groin, bringing a rush of nausea to make his belly roil. He wondered what happened if you puked when you were alive drowning, and he started to cry.
"You have been touched by impure hands, your flesh is tainted," she informed him, mercifully releasing her grip. She floated above him, her expression angry and accusative, which he didn't think was fair, because he'd never asked to be raped. "You shall have to be cleansed before you are once again the ideal vessel."
Dean didn't like the sound of that. It was hard to concentrate, the darkness and pressure around him robbing his thoughts of coherency, fear dulling his mind. He was frightened and he couldn't breathe and now his nuts hurt, and this crazy goddess -- because she had to be a goddess, she couldn't be anything less -- was saying strange things and touching him in bad ways, and he just wanted his Sammy, he wanted his brother to hold him and to make everything go away, to make everything better.
"You are mine now," she spoke into his mind, and now the feel of her voice was dry and bitter, like chalk powder ground into pores, and he shuddered, great sobs hurting him, his lungs struggling against his ribs as he tried desperately to suck in just one real breath. "My mark is on you. My touch is all you will ever feel. Then you will cease to be and your beautiful body will be mine. An exquisite vessel for my Eil Ton."
Dean didn't understand anything she had just said, but then she laid her hands on him with intent, and that was when the pain really started. It flared fierce and red through his body, making his heart jump inside his chest, making him jerk and convulse in this dark watery tomb, his arms and legs spasming.
Shards of agony spiked throughout his entire form and exploded in his head. Even though he still couldn't breathe or speak, Dean discovered that he could scream after all.