He was on a shore-line, waves breaking in a constant rhythm the foamy remains racing towards his feet. He took a step back and looked up, the stars were strange.
The constellations out of alignment and yet he knew them still. He glanced round the land was empty, no trees, no animals and no people and there wouldn’t be, not for a very long time.
Just the sea whispering to him and the stars burning far above. He walked a little way along the beach, leaving the first foot prints this world had ever known. He paused, this was wrong.
He should leave no trace, this was before vessels, before everything, before anything had ever happened.
“Do you remember this day?” A voice asked quietly.
“You should Castiel, it was the day I made you,” he was short, ginger hair and beard peppered with grey, calm blue eyes watching him carefully. “I never knew what you would do son.”
“That’s right,” smiling Chuck turned to regard the rolling sea, he took a deep satisfied breath. “I never saw what you are becoming Castiel.”
“Are you really here?”
“No and neither are you, really.”
“I have to go home, I have to get back to Sam and Dean.” The remembrance brought panic and an ache in his chest. Chuck took him by the shoulders, he examined Cas’ face minutely and smiled again.
“You will son, but first you have to put yourself back together. All of yourself, including the bits that are missing.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You got away from the empty, but you are not whole. Try to remember, try to remember everything.”
War in Heaven, battlefields littered with his brothers and sisters, Lucifer laughing and then screaming as he was thrown down and sealed in the cage.
A mud brick tower falling, while people screamed his fathers name in despair. The voices becoming more desperate as they realised they could not understand each other.
A green valley trapped between burning deserts, Mothers screaming as they found their first born dead-so much pain, he had given in to doubt that day and refused to smite pharaoh’s son.
Another had done the deed in his place, Naomi and he had been made to forget.
Sodom and Gomorrah their streets running with blood and vengeance,
he had stalked those streets death in bright clothes until once again he had refused to kill the innocent and he had been made to forget.
More screams a terrified woman and the high pitched scream of a child, cut off suddenly. Ishim his brother explaining why it had been necessary.
But still the creeping return of doubt, this time lodged so far deep none knew it but him.
Dragging a human soul from hell, feeling it in his arms. All that pain, all that misery for what? For love of a brother.
Knowing what was required of that rescued soul and the uncertainty returning.
A bench in snow and the weight of heaven on his shoulders, trying to do the right thing, always trying.
Naomi settling that old, old score. “You have never done what you were told.”
He dropped to his knees, fists clutching at the wet sand and seeing Dean’s face in front of him bloodied pleading “I need you.”
“I need you too.” He closed his eyes, took a deep shuddering breath. He had nothing to answer for, nothing.
It wasn’t about right and wrong, It was about making a choice and living with the consequences. The pain of disobedience was illusionary, he let it go and felt lighter.
One more choice to make, what was the line from that movie? “No place like home.”
Warm sunlight on his eyelids, the sound of bees busy somewhere close by.
He opened his eyes wide disbelieving stumbled to his feet, catching at the dried grasses for confirmation that this was real. He opened his coat, no trace of the wound inflicted by Lucifer.
He was whole, he was himself and he was back. Tipping his head to the sun he smiled, yes he was back, but not home not yet. Just a little further to go.
He could feel the call already, a curl of need so intense it squeezed his heart.
“I’ll be there soon,”