Sam had many questions when they returned to Bobby's from Carthage. They all were grieving, having lost Ellen and Jo to the demonic forces within Carthage and he allowed himself and the others some time to grieve before pushing his grief aside and asking the question that had been plaguing him the most.
"Castiel?" The angel was sitting at the very table he, Ellen and Jo had been doing shots at just a day ago.
"Who is Thana?" Castiel paled at the name and Sam became concerned. Sam had seen Castiel concerned before, apprehensive on a few occasions, but he'd never seen Castiel scared.
"Why are you asking about Thana?" Castiel asked, his voice rougher than usual. Something about Castiel's tone peaked Bobby and Dean's interest.
"What's wrong Cas?" Dean asked and moved closer. Cas seemed uncomfortable with the attention.
"When we shot Lucifer with the colt, there was a woman there. She said her name was Thana, she said to ask Castiel about her." Both brothers looked to Cas and he shifted before seeming to steel himself.
"Thana is a very powerful being. She is the daughter of Death." Cas explained and the brothers' eyes widened.
"Death has a kid?" Dean asked shocked and Cas tilted his head.
"I wouldn't refer to her as a child, she is very old." Cas states and the brothers were still in a state of shock.
"Older than you?" Bobby asked.
"I'm not sure. She has been in existence for as long as I can remember." Castiel said with a sigh.
"What was she doing there?" Sam asked.
"She was there for the same reason as the other reapers. She was waiting for Death to be released. She and Lucifer were discussing it while I was trapped in a ring of holy fire."
"When the hell was this?" Dean demanded, Cas hadn't mentioned getting trapped, though it explained why he had disappeared and why he hadn't showed up till the last minute.
"Almost as soon as we arrived. When we came into the city, the streets were filled with reapers and Thana was watching from the top of a building. I had noticed that there was a reaper in the building across the street that was looking in a different direction then the rest. I went to speak to him and ended up in the same room as Lucifer. Lucifer had set up a meeting with Thana. He wants her help with the apocalypse." Castiel explained and the Winchesters were beginning to panic.
"And did she say she would?" Sam asked. Castiel shook his head.
"No. Lucifer was bargaining raising Death in return for her help. She didn't like the terms, told Lucifer that she wouldn't intervene in return for Lucifer raising her father, but she would not aid him. By the end of their conversation, Lucifer was very angry that Thana had not agreed to help him, she seems to be under the impression that Lucifer and Michael are irrelevant in the outcome of Armageddon, that there are other factors at play that have yet to be decided. Lucifer was not happy to know that he had no control over how the final battle will play out." The boys and Bobby were perplexed as to how Death's daughter would know this much about the apocalypse.
"How does she know all this?" Dean asked.
"Death is all knowing and when he created Thana he gave her the same gifts so that she could lead the reapers in his absence. She already knows how the apocalypse will turn out." Dean stood from his seat and began to pace.
"You mean that there was a person out there the whole time that anyone could have gone to and just asked how to achieve the outcome they want?" Dean asked and Castiel quickly shook his head.
"No, no, no. Thana is all knowing, but only those with the most power go to her for answers, meaning God and the archangels and even then the only one to go to her before Lucifer now was Michael after Lucifer's fall from heaven. All of God's creations created after the archangels are terrified of Thana and with good reason, she is so powerful that only the truly desperate, with nothing to lose go to her for answers for fear that you will pay for aggravating her with your life." Sam and Dean cringed at the implication while Bobby disappeared into his library.
"Then Lucifer must truly be desperate to win the apocalypse if he's summoned her for help and especially if he's digging up big daddy reaper on top of it all." Sam points out hopefully.
"But if Thana is as powerful as you're suggesting… couldn't she have raised Death on her own? Why would she need Lucifer to do it for her? And if she's so powerful, why does she care if Lucifer wants to speak with her or not? She obviously doesn't care about much, so why does she care about this?" Dean asks, frustrated with the puzzle that Thana's mere existence has created. Dean only remembered seeing the woman after Sam had mentioned her. He remembered briefly seeing her lithe figure dressed in a black cloak and gown before and after being knocked out, but he'd just assumed that she was some high ranking demon that was there to assist Lucifer.
"Well I think collectively, there's little known about her." Bobby declared as he rolled back into the room. Both boys turned to see Bobby slide a small book onto the table. The book was thin with a dark leather cover with the title Thanatology stamped into it.
"Her name literally means Death. This book is about the study of Death that is named after her. According to this book she popped up around the time of the flood, which was the last time that Death himself was out of his coffin." They looked to Cas.
"Does that match up with anything that you know about her?" Bobby asked.
"I would still have been a very young angel at that time, though her being created at that time would have made sense, my Father was ridding the world of its human population, Death would have held a monumental task of reaping all those souls. I can see why he would create another beings to aid in the task. I know that Father was not always fond of Thana and the other reapers, but at one point they created a sort of partnership. Thana serves as a maker of balance, she and Father worked together to outline the lives of every soul Father created." Sam and Dean were amazed at the knowledge.
"She's friends with God?" Sam asked and Castiel hesitated.
"I wouldn't call them friends. They worked together till Father felt that he no longer needed her assistance, that was shortly before Lucifer's fall." Bobby cleared his throat.
"Is it possible that maybe she had something to do with God leaving?" Bobby asked and Castiel seemed angered at the thought.
"No, none of the angels believe she had anything to do with our Father's disappearance. Michael went to Thana for answers, answers she gave freely." Castiel defended.
"What did she tell Michael?" Sam asked.
"Michael asked if Father was dead. Raphael was sure that Father would never abandon us, so Michael went to Thana. She told Michael that Father was not dead, that he was very much alive and not as far away as we had come to believe."
"That's not vague at all." Dean grumbled.
"Michael came back to us carrying the news that Father's leave was a test of his creations, that Father left Heaven and Earth in our hands to measure our strength and left us His word to lead us through the trials and tribulations that were to come." Dean snorted making Castiel glare at him.
"What else were my brothers and sisters to believe? If our Father was not dead and not with us, what else were we suppose to assume?" Castiel challenged and Dean sobered.
"I don't know Cas, but asking a suspect if it was them and just taking their answer as fact is a little naive, don't you think?" Dean retorted.
"Thana has no reason to lie. She is far more powerful than even Michael, there was nothing we could do if she was the one to take our Father away. She knows that as well as the angels do. And if there had been anything we could do, should we have killed her, Death would have laid the world to waste, heaven and hell and everything would be destroyed. When it comes down to deciding between Death and Thana, Heaven picks Thana. Death cares nothing of the beings of creation, he thought of Father as foolish. Unlike her father, Thana understands creation and has helped to nurture it, I do not believe her to be the source of Heaven's misery." Castiel vanished from the room as he finished his tirade, leaving the three hunters alone to ponder the new information.
"Way to go Dean." Sam sarcastically congratulated, glaring at his brother for pissing off the angel.
"Well sorry for pointing out the obvious flaws in the story! You telling me you weren't thinking the exact same thing?" Dean glared back and Sam scoffed before walking away.
"That's not the point, Dean. The point is you said it and made Cas mad enough to leave." Sam headed upstairs while Dean threw his arms in the air, frustrated that he was taking the heat for a conversation that Sam started. As the boys were arguing Bobby rolled his eyes and picked up the book off the table to take back into the library with him. When Dean turned around Bobby was gone.
"Just great." Dean grumbled to himself before dropping back into his seat and taking a long drink from his beer.
The next month was crazy as the Winchesters, Bobby and Castiel chased leads on the horsemen. After the emotional display from Cas after the conversation about Thana, the Winchesters and Bobby made sure not to bring her up again in front of Cas, though that didn't stop Sam and Bobby from doing as much research on her as they had the time, energy, and resources to do. They didn't find much but they weren't giving up that easily.
Meanwhile Death, Thana and the other reapers were just as busy between Lucifer's leash on Death, keeping Death at his beck and call, and having to reap the ever abundant souls of those killed in the aftermath of the other three horsemen. As much as Thana hated to admit it, she was relieved as the Winchesters caught up to war and famine, putting them out of commission when they took their rings.
Though Death had a fondness for his brothers, he was mostly unaffected as they were made mostly powerless by the Winchesters and their angel and the fondness he held for his brothers was nothing compared to the fondness he held for his daughter. Unfortunately for them, their presence mixed with their arrangement with Lucifer upon being sprung from their confinement was making her busier and angrier by the day as she was held responsible for cleaning up the mess of souls that were left in their wake as they created chaos and destruction on Lucifer's behalf.
Thana was hoping for a small reprieve from the utter chaos that had been the last month when the Winchesters managed to take Famine's ring, but Lucifer had other plans. He beckoned Death to him and by extension, Thana.
"What is it that you want now, Lucifer?" Death asked tiredly as he and Thana appeared before him.
"How lovely to see you Death. Thana." Lucifer smiled while Thana glared.
"I want you to take a little stroll though a cemetery in South Dakota." Lucifer said as he made the walking motion with his fingers.
"For what purpose, may I ask?" Death inquired as he laid his right hand over his left on the head of his cane.
"The cemetery in Sioux Falls contains the remains of a Karen Singer, her husband is a father figure to Sam Winchester. I want to use her to send a message." Lucifer states.
"And that messaged would be?" Thana grit out, hoping to cut to the chase.
"Stop helping the Winchesters or else." Death raised an eyebrow, but nodded. Death didn't linger, but Thana did. She walked closer to Lucifer. He continued to smile despite the angry glare on Thana's face.
"I want to make something very clear to you, Lucifer." Thana sneered as she stood within inches of him
"Oh? And what would that be?' Lucifer taunted.
"Should you survive the final battle, I will make your life a true living hell. I will make the time spent in that cage of your Father's seems like a tropical vacation. I'll make you regret your decision to even step out of that cage and even think about speaking to me. You'll pay for this double cross and when you beg for mercy, all you shall receive is the silence as your Father once again ignores your pleas." Lucifer's smile fell from his face and was quickly replaced with a glare to revival Thana's. Seeing that Lucifer fully understood her seriousness, Thana dropped her glare and replaced it with a malicious smile as she began thinking of all the things she would do to this pitiful angel as retribution for what he had done.
"I sincerely hope you survive, Lucifer. Oh, the fun I will have." Thana spoke cheerily before vanishing to join her father at the cemetery in Sioux Falls. Death was waiting for her at the gate when she arrived.
"I trust you got to say your piece, child?" Death inquired and Thana answered with a coy smile. Death nodded and gave a small smirk of his own before turning to face the cemetery. Death raised his arms and the ground began to shift, the dead awakening in their coffins. The two began to move through the grounds, taking pause at the resting place of one Karen Singer. The dead pulled themselves from the earth one by one and made their way out of the cemetery as Death and Thana watched on. Finally Karen Singer pulled herself from her grave and gasped for air. Seeing the man and woman standing vigil, she paused.
"Karen Singer, I presume?" Thana asked and Karen nodded.
"How?" Karen began looking perplexed.
"I fear, Mrs. Singer, I do not have the time to answer your questions. I have a message for you to pass on to your husband." Karen nodded, though she seemed more guarded then before.
"He is in acquaintance with two young men, Samuel and Dean Winchester. It is desired that your husband cease such behavior for he is standing in the way of Samuel's task in the Apocalypse." Death stated calmly.
"The Apocalypse?" Karen gasped. Neither Death or Thana bothered to answer, having grown tired of the dramatics long ago.
"Time is ticking Mrs. Singer, I trust that you'll deliver this message as requested." She nodded quickly and set out beyond the cemetery.
Thana sighed and took a seat on Karen's headstone as she watched Karen's form disappear into the night. The cemetery around them had grown quiet with the dead now raised and the coffins vacant, but that didn't stop the turmoil that boiled inside Thana.
"Speak my child." Death said patiently as he looked to Thana tenderly.
"I imagined your rise from your coffin to be much different." Thana said softly and Death nodded.
"As did I." He said gently as he too took a seat on a headstone.
"I wanted you to come back and be happy with what you saw. I wanted you to rise and see the balance that I had created in your absence, just as you wanted before God boxed you away. I wanted everything to be perfect and Lucifer flips everything on it's head the first day he's out of his cage and ruins all my plans within five minutes of releasing you." Thana released a heavy breath.
"Dear child, do I dare say that the phrase you're looking for is, 'it's not fair'." Death seemed amused while Thana became offended.
"No, not at all. As the humans say, 'life isn't fair', and I made it that way. What I am saying is that it is frustrating that centuries of careful planning and meticulous calculations have been destroyed by an insolent being throwing a temper tantrum. If only he knew just how much like his Father he truly was." Death and Thana shared a smile.
"It may not be perfect and it may not be fully happy, but we have time my child. Time to make it all as you desire." Thana smiled, her mind put a little at ease. Death straightened up after a moment and a business-like expression came to his face.
"Now do tell me what you told Lucifer, don't spare the details." Thana's happy smiled quickly turned into the malicious smile she had given Lucifer as she began to regale Death with their short conversation and her plans should Lucifer survive.