Past, Present and Future Cas
The motel room was unusually crowded. Dean leant against the wall and eyed the twin bed that didn't currently have Sam stretched across it. Had it not been for it's proximity to Ancient-Babylon- Castiel he would be sitting on it.
The old man stared into space, holding himself upright and motionless. It had been an hour, Dean swore the sonofabitch hadn't moved. Across the motel room Castiel, or rather, as there was now more than one of him, Present-Day-Cas, was stooped over a pile of books that were probably proving useless.
"Have you found anything?" Sam asked the question that Dean hadn't wanted to voice. This whole situation was creepy as all hell, calling the old guys attention to him was not something he wanted to do.
Two lots of baleful blue eyes landed on Sam and frankly Dean couldn't blame him for flinching.
"No" Cas ground out his reply "There's no reason this should be happening." He cast a glance at the old man "Unless you..."
"It is nothing of my time." Castiel's vessel, a vessel from an earthly sojourn made thousands of years previously, glared at Cas with open dislike. "it's a result of your doing, the apocalypse you failed to prevent."
"Hey!" Dean pulled himself away from the wall. Cas's face darkened almost imperceptibly, a warning. This earlier version of himself would think nothing of smiting Dean, Sam...or indeed the town they were currently in. This wasn't his time, he had no orders here.
The angel, vessel and all, had appeared a few hours previously. No warning. One moment Dean was shaving, the next Sam had yelled and he'd run into the main room. Castiel from the holy days disliked them all on sight, including, and especially, Cas. Dean could sort of see why, Cas had changed a lot since his stick-up-the-ass, "I have orders" days.
"Show some respect." Heavily accented words that reminded Dean that he had met the remnants of this Castiel, that he had threatened him with damnation. "You should command more of him." This last directed at Cas.
"Things have changed." Cas stared into his own cold eyes and after a moment the ancient vessel returned to his seat. Dean thought this was an understatement. Castiel might not be a hammer anymore, but he clearly had been, once. Now what was he? Dean remembered the hopeless, addled human that Cas would become in 2014. Which was better? Emotionless servant or broken rebel?
With as little warning as the first angel had given, another appeared. Black suited, black hair and female. After casting a slightly confused look around the room she fixed on Cas, then Past-Castiel. A resigned sigh escaped her lips.
"Not this again." Spiky British accent cutting through the stunned silence.
Sam had jumped up at her entrance, now, with a groan he hit the bed and turned his back on the room. The end of the world he could see himself dealing with. This was too much.
"Cas?" Dean chanced, disbelievingly.
"Sad to say." She frowned at the old guy who was bristling with renewed, but detached, venom. "Oh, I'd forgotten about you."
"You've farther yet to fall I see" Ancient-Castiel ran his eyes over both Cas and this new version. An exchange seemed to pass between the three of them. Dean almost snapped out a curse but Cas, presumably, Future-Cas, laughed slightly.
"I've been through this three times now." She caught Dean's eye, a flash of familiarity buried there that caught his attention. "I've gotten used to myself."
Cas was watching her, himself, with self-conscious interest. Dean didn't blame him. She was so...human, farther gone into emotion than Cas himself. Standing easy in the middle of the room, not poker straight or stopping slightly with burden. Just normal. Cas caught Dean's eye and turned briskly back to his research. It was almost funny, the rebel angel unable to bring himself to speak to his future form.
Dean had no such trouble. He was all curiosity.
" 's getting crowded in here. You want to step outside?"
Sam rolled his eyes to himself. Of course, what else would Dean do in this situation but make it worse?
Future-Cas followed him outside the room, along the fibreglass siding of the balcony and towards it end. From there the view was open field, a gas station and the blur of town in the distance. Below the Impala was parked, crooked, across three empty bays. At the sight of it her mouth lifted in a small smile.
"So, refresh my memory, when are we? She copied his stance, hip against the balcony rail, looking out.
"Ouch" she wasn't being funny but she lacked Cas's formality. A dart of understanding and pain went through her eyes. "Bad year."
"They're all bad lately." Dean snagged a stray bottle of beer from a crate of muddled weapons and texts that he'd left outside. Cracking the seal against the rail he offered it absently. She shook her head.
"Doesn't do anything for me." He took a drink. They lapsed into silence for a second.
"Wow, I'd forgotten this." She was speaking, half to him and half to herself. Thinking out loud. "We don't talk much do we?"
"Not of late. You're kinda bent out of shape about..."
"Michael." She met his eyes and he recognised Cas there, the same unflinching observation. "and with good reason." Dean wanted to avoid that particular topic.
"So, what's the future like? I hear you have cars that fly." She smiled, small but it was there.
"The future's...confusing." He cocked an eyebrow "In a good way." She amended.
"And apparently we talk more."
"That sounds...well 'weird' spring to mind." Her smile widened.
"We talk. It's nice. Trust me you'll like it." She shifted a half inch closer, just enough that his side felt warm. "You even like me." Neither of them was looking at the view. His eyes ran over her face.
"I saw..." There was no nice way to say it. "I let you die. 2014. The final attack on Lucifer?" Again that shiver passed over her features. Infinite sadness warring with hope.
"You let me die, Lucifer killed you. You saw it, you changed it." Abruptly the glacial calm and sadness slipped from her face. "Which hey" she took the beer from his slack grip "is good news for me, I don't end up dwelling in iniquity, though it sounds like an experience."
"How did you...?"
"You told me." He still looked disbelieving "Dean, after the apocalypse..." Cas watched him closely, gauging his reaction "We're closer. A lot closer." Dean's eyes widened.
"We talk, about anything really." She took a long swallow of beer, throat working in an unnervingly masculine way. "Share a room, share a bed."
"Is that why...?" he gestured at Cas's vessel.
"Yeah. Last night on earth and all that. No one but us. Little hard to comfort a raging homophobe when you're wearing the straight-laced accountant. I found this body." Her eyes dimmed "God knows there were enough spares lying around. And...well you'll see."
"You just left Jimmy out in the apocalypse?" better than the other question. Where was Sam?
"He had the night off, left him the next room over." She frowned, remembering. "But we all just kind of ended up together. After." She shot him a quick reassuring smile. "Better than being alone."
"Dean!" Cas. Present-Day-Cas yelled from within the room.
"I think I've found something." She whispered, pulling away and setting the beer on the railing.
"Wait" Dean caught her arm. "You're saying Cas" He gestured at the door. "That Cas, just shucks off his meat suit and plays dress-up for me? I don't buy it."
She looked him in the eye. Considering for a moment.
"You're ticklish." She finally said, blankly. "On the left side of your neck. But" she cut over his attempt to laugh this off, "You love me touching it anyway." She brushed a hand over the skin to demonstrate. His eyes closed a millimetre.
"You'll be amazed." She said, removing her hand and stepping back towards the door. "Hell, you both will."
"Little over confident aren't you?" Dean had regained some control.
"Hardly." There is was, that gravely pull to her voice. Pure Cas. "Blew out every window for about a mile. Scared the hell out of Jimmy too." She grinned and twisted the handle, opening the door even as she faded away. Whatever Cas had found, he hadn't waited to use it.
"Just be gentle." She tossed over her shoulder "It's his first time, you know?" And she was gone.
Inside the room the old guy had disappeared as well. For which Dean was profoundly grateful. Cas was stacking the books to one side, he turned as Dean entered.
"I managed to reverse the pull of our timeline. The apocalypse is progressing. The end of days is unbalancing everything." Dean sensed that this was all the explanation he was going to get.
"So, how was it? Seeing yourself?" He asked breezily, helping himself to another beer. Cas seemed momentarily wrong footed.
"Strange." He croaked, deadpan. "I seemed..."
"Human? Sorry, looks like we're a bad influence on you."
"Happy." Castiel finished, seeming surprised himself. "I didn't expect it."
"There's a lot of that going around." Dean tossed Cas a beer and sat down on the chair recenty vacated by Ancient-Cas. For now at least he had a friend to rely on. The rest? Well, that would just have to play out in its own time.