Castiel felt it again. He wavered into the reality of Bobby Singer’s home library standing stock still and listening to the air around him, listening to the disturbances he could still feel across the time space continuum. Something brushed his consciousness again, vague and half-formed, it still left a taint of wrongness
on his grace.
He bowed his head and tried to feel out for the others. He could see, clear in his mind, Sam and Dean eating sandwiches in the kitchen and sharing a brief and for once uncomplicated moment of brotherly camaraderie. Bobby Singer was on the front porch of his house, sitting with his eyes closed and a shotgun on his lap- waiting.
The youngest Winchester…
Castiel’s eyes flew open and something erupted in his chest, hot and molten and so angry
that he barely took a breath before he materialized in the junkyard- where Adam Winchester, Raguel and Ophriel were standing.
He felt it, stronger than before, as soon as he set eyes on Raguel. As soon as he saw the blade in her hand.
“What did you do
?” he strove forward, about to confront Ophriel- who he remembered more of, who he wasn’t so conflicted
about, when Raguel stepped in front of her, swiping his hand away as easily as if he was a miniscule creature, nothing more significant than a gnat.
“You might want to stop with the grabby hands,” Raguel said confusingly and Castiel had to step back, close his eyes, because the power
radiating off her was too much. Thick and heady, it rolled off her in waves and he almost choked on the instinctual feeling of fear rising through his awareness, tingeing his grace with shades of panic and terror.
It felt like a long forgotten memory, buried under layers of missed messages and hazy battles, had come back, raring to the forefront of his mind, reminding him of thousands of years of this
. This instinctual awe in front of her, the feeling of bond, affection
This wasn’t Faith the impostor anymore, this was Raguel- Lucifer’s second in command, come back to take her inheritance.
"Who was with you?" he knew
that she couldn't have taken an angel with just her slayer strength. Demons, yes- but never angelic beings.
“Who was it?” he asked, stepping away, feeling for the others around them. Feeling for Gabriel, hidden in the layers of time- waiting and still, maybe Balthazar- if they had managed to corrupt him, or maybe not exactly corrupt
him- bring him over to their side.
There was nobody, only them and the humans in the house.
“Azrael, he helped-” Raguel looked at him, eyes calculating and Castiel forced himself to relax, to submit
to the still authority in her entire being, remembering his basic training- ‘Your commander will serve you as long as you serve your commander
’, and stepped away from Dawn.
He glanced at Adam Milligan, the most innocent Winchester who had ever lived and one that had already managed to almost betray his family, who had died and come back and had been conscripted into this war.
Castiel frowned at the young man’s pale appearance, “Have you eaten?”
“Nah,” Adam shook his head and hunched into his sweater, rubbing his hands together, “haven’t been hungry.”
Castiel, for all his general obliviousness around humans, couldn’t help noticing the look that Adam had shot at Dawn and narrowed his eyes- tracking the look that passed between them. No. They’d never do anything this stupid in the middle of an apocalypse, he fisted his hands and glanced at them, surprised at the involuntary action.
“Come on,” Dawn put her arm on Raguel’s elbow, “let’s go in. You can tell us all about Az, how he’s been-“ she very
carefully didn’t mention anything else, Castiel noted gloomily, like where
Azrael had been and who
he’d been with, “and we can eat something. Maybe even something good
before the two doofuses in the kitchen devour everything edible in the house.”
Both Castiel and Raguel looked at her and just continued to stand, waiting for the other one to move.
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Dawn finally rolled her eyes and began stalking towards the house, kicking up little dust piles petulantly as she went.
Really, Castiel thought as Raguel scowled but moved to follow the youngest in their Order, for an infinitely old and wise being- Dawn could be somewhat, as Dean had said once when he had been drunk and sure that he wouldn’t be overheard, a bitchy brat.
Adam fell into step with him and once the two females had put sufficient distance between them, Castiel heard a throat clearing beside him. “So, uh-“ Adam began and promptly flushed a bright red color that had Castiel raising his eyebrows.
Castiel, in his year and two months with the humans had learned that embarrassment was something shameful
and the physiological reaction of blood rushing to their cheeks was somewhat unmanly
or as Dean had put it one night, ‘downright girly-like’.
“Yes?” he took pity on Adam, still obviously stalling on how to better ask whatever question had been on his mind.
“What happened to her?” Adam finally blurted out. “Faith? She came back,” Adam took a deep breath, inhaled through his nose and Castiel waited, wanted to know what word the human would use for the impossibility of what Raguel and her sisters were doing, “different
. She came back different.”
Adam stopped and his eyes, when he looked at Castiel, were the same shade of green that Dean’s eyes were.
It was strange, Castiel decided, in the way that all humans were strange and indecipherable, how John Winchester picked such similar women to birth his sons. Karen Milligan, Castiel remembered vividly, had the same shade of flaxen blonde hair that Mary Winchester had, and green eyes too- bright and searching, loyal to her only son until their inglorious deaths at the ghouls’ hands.
Karen had tried to defend her son, wielding a kitchen knife in one hand as she tried to dial 911 with the other, but the ghouls had come hard and fast and by the time she had dialed nine on the phone- her carotid artery was already a slurpy, bloody mess in the ghoul’s mouth.
“Her necklace,” Adam continued and Castiel felt a brief shiver of surprise work it’s way up his throat, constant and never-ending at how resourceful and good
the Winchesters were, how they noticed everything and Adam, who had never been trained like his brothers, was already exhibiting the traits of a hunter, “it’s new. She wasn’t wearing it earlier.”
Castiel started walking again and Adam hurried to catch up, “hey wait! Don’t just ignore me like that! I need
to know these things,” he insisted and tried to grab Castiel’s elbow, tried to jerk him back but almost upended himself and crashed into the dirt face first, saved only by Castiel’s reaction.
Maybe he was right, Castiel reflected vaguely, and seeing as how they were likely to die anyway- it would make sense for Adam to understand the reasons why
he was going to get murdered by a pack of angry angels.
Or demons. Whichever ones came after them first, despite the insidious double dealing that Castiel’s long-lost sisters were doing behind everyone’s backs.
“You want to know about her necklace?” he looked Adam in the eye and smiled, remembering Dean’s instructions on how to do it, complete with Sam’s little flash cards and a helpful video-montage pulled up on that tube internet site.
“It’s not precisely a necklace,” Castiel said and shivered involuntarily, remembering the half empty vial slung so carelessly around Raguel’s neck. Even running at half her usual power, she was still a formidable opponent and he shuddered to think of what would happen when she would consume the rest.
“What is it?” Adam looked confused.
“It’s the remnants of her grace,” Castiel said and glanced at the boundary of the wards around the Singer junkyard, “and she’s just used one of our brothers to kill for it.”
If he had been pale before, now he was abruptly green and Castiel stepped forward, worried about the rapid change of color in the young man’s face before Adam pitched forward and threw up on Castiel’s borrowed shoes.