Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or Criminal Minds, and this is in no way written for profit.
A/N: So, this little plot bunny refused to go away. Surely Castiel is contact with more humans than the Winchesters. Perhaps he knows a certain oracle by the name of Penelope Garcia. Setting is SPN season 6, before "Appointment in Samarra" of course. About the same time in CM land. No major spoilers.
"The Oracle of Quantico"
"Penelope's house of 'how may I save your ass today?'"
Penelope Garcia was a woman of many talents. Just ask Kevin Lynch. But aside from cultural enlightenment, bedroom know-how, and quite the flair for pairing accessories, she mostly prided herself on being a light in the dark, a problem solver, an aid to the heroes of the world-which included her favorite BAU team.
On at least one occasion, she had referred to herself as an oracle. And the term surfaced on her mind when she picked up the call.
"Ask, those who seek knowledge," she chirped on this particular day.
Though it was no where near a morning hour, it was the beginning of the day. Because a day wasn't measured by twenty-four-hour increments, but by the course of a case. She released a little sigh of relief when she realized her team hadn't hopped on a plane without briefing their technical analyst, and recalled that Agent Rossi was doing a solo interview in Arizona.
A little paperwork sent to the right prison and directions sent to Rossi's cell, she disconnected the call, sending the man off with wishes of good luck and a warning against soap dropping. Rossi didn't comment on either account.
Releasing a calming breath, Penelope leaned back in her chair, staring at her colorful work space with a pleased expression upon her face. It was a rare occasion: a break between cases. A moment of relaxation, her lovelies finishing their paperwork, data processing across the monitors, and her honey Kevin actually working instead of loitering in her domain.
Peace. For a least a good two seconds.
Garcia jumped, grasping at the glass beads hanging over her chest, before spinning her chair around and coming face-to-tie with her visitor. Her heart slowing its hammering pace, she glared up, trying not to blush as she awkwardly pushed herself to a standing position, only a few inches of space between herself and the trench coat clad man.
"Ca-Castiel… sweetie… you can't do that to a woman, okay? It's kinda creepy Edward Cullen-ish behavior," she breathed, "and you almost gave me a heart attack."
Castiel cocked his head to once side, his sparkling blue eyes unblinking. He reached out, touching Penelope's neck with one finger. "Your heart is in perfect condition," he said, somewhat puzzled. He pulled away, a tight attempt at a smile on his face. "Ah-you're referring to 'personal space'. Yes. I've been told I have a problem with the concept."
To illustrate that he had learned his lesson, he took a careful step backward. "Oracle, I come seeking knowledge."
Penelope dove forward, covering his mouth with one hand. "Shhh," she hissed, shooting a look at her office door, "none of that formal stuff here. You're not even supposed to come to my workplace. We had a deal, remember? No visits at work, or in bathrooms, or while I'm with a man-friend. Don't tell me that angel-brain of yours has gotten foggy all of a sudden."
Castiel stared down at the neon yellow fingernails over his lips and made a low throaty sound of compliance. Penelope pulled away and grabbed his elbow, steering him to the corner furthest from the doorway. When she looked back up, her gaze narrowed. The angel's vessel looked pale, his eyes tired. She frowned.
"Things aren't going well upstairs?" she asked, her voice quiet. Penelope ran her hand up his shoulder, squeezing gently. "How are you holding up?"
The touch made Castiel's muscles tense. This was not a position he usually found himself in. Yet, it wasn't an entirely foreign situation. Since he had come to know Penelope on the physical plane, he had come to realize that she was a very emotional person, and more often than not as concerned about his well-being as about the reason for his visits. Perhaps most modern human women were like Penelope-Castiel wasn't entirely sure, as he hadn't taken the time to interact with very many of them. He was sure, though, that her concern wasn't entirely unwelcome. It was not often that anyone on Heaven or Earth asked him about his troubles.
"I am-" He began with a lie, but his strength failed him. The angel slipped down into Penelope's spare chair, barely noticing when the woman turned from him to fetch her own. "Not well," he admitted. "It has no longer become a question of gaining an advantage but of holding any remaining ground. I am afraid of what it will mean. . . if I lose."
Penelope lifted his chin, forcing a small smile onto her face. "You, my fine feathery friend, need to stop worrying about letting down your dad." When his lips parted to protest, she shook her head. "Listen up, you came to me, right? Because of what I am? You sought truth, and this is it: you're not going to disappoint Him. So get that out of your head."
Castiel lips curved into a reluctant smile. It was small, almost unnoticeable, but it was enough to leave Penelope flashing her pearly whites. "Ok, now, champ, got something you need me to look into?" She pushed her chair back to her array of monitors, guiding Castiel's seat along behind her. "Because I'm really hoping that you don't have anyone else you want me to add to my alert list. I've got to tell you, those two guys you asked me to keep off the radar over the past year almost got in some deep trouble a few days ago. If I hadn't 'misplaced' the arrest records, I'm fairly certain that the world would have quickly realized that they weren't so very much dead as investigating crop-circles, which begs it own array of questions, in small town America."
"Thank you for your services, Oracle." Castiel leaned forward, his eyes flickering from her face to the screen. "I actually wished to ask you about the…"
Penelope smirked, her fingertips tapping the keyboard. "Deaths of a Biblical nature? Nada. None since the last time you visited. Btw, those were not easy to keep the FBI away from. And what is up with all the creepy murders in the first place? I thought those were going to, I don't know, lessen after the big…ordeal…last year."
Penelope had told herself that she wasn't going to admit that the Apocalypse had almost taken place. So. Ordeal. That explained missing towns and an uprising in the crazies of the almost-human variety. Sure.
Castiel was silent, contemplating his next move. His face was solemn, the barest glimpse of a lost man in his eyes. Garcia saw it. Recognized it for what it was. She'd seen the expression on agents, when the information wasn't there, when the leads were all dried up and the bodies still stacking up.
"Alabama," she said.
Castiel turned to her, brow raised. "What was the report?"
Penelope shook her head. "There's not one… In fact, there's no rational reason to go there at all." She sighed and bit the gloss off her bottom lip. "The name just popped into my head. I think that's where you need to look next."
Castiel nodded, grateful. Penelope could almost feel the stirring of his wings. She reached out, catching him before he could leave. "More," she said. Her eyes went distant, looking through him for a split second. Her breath was shaky when it returned. "There's more," she clarified. "Sam."
Castiel's expression grew stony. "Tell me."
Penelope blinked, her face softening once more, the strain gone as quickly as it had appeared. "It'll work out. Just concentrate on what you need to be doing for Heaven. And don't go after it."
"It." Not a question. Castiel knew very well what and where "it" was. He nodded curtly to Penelope. "Thank you, Oracle," he said, his voice lower.
Penelope wasn't sure when she had closed her eyes, but when they opened again, there was a wetness collecting at her bottom lids. And the angel was gone, his seat spinning slowly in his absence. She plucked a tissue, dabbing her makeup before it could run. She wasn't sure why the emotions welled up after one of her vague out-of-body "moments," but they did.
"It's going to be okay, Castiel," she whispered. But she wasn't quite sure. The reassurance hadn't come from her more prophetic side, but she hoped her angel received the prayer, nevertheless.
Seeing her phone line blinking, she shook the thought from her head and picked up a fuzzy pink pen. Penelope forced a little alertness and cheer into her voice, "Speak and be recognized."
End Notes: Ok, though this little one-shot stands complete, my brain is full of way more info on this relationship and how Penelope's role as an Oracle effected her younger years. Sooo, there's a pretty good chance this might turn into a series of one-shots or this one-shot might make its way into a chapter-fic idea. Tell me what you think.