John walked through the T.A.R.D.I.S. doors, tailed by Sherlock who wore an expression of vague annoyance. "Winchesters got it then?" The veteran asked, joining the Doctor at the console, frowning at the screen covered in spirals.
"Yes! Haha!" The Doctor laughed triumphantly, pointing at the screen. "And would you look at that? Heartbeat, normal. Blood pressure, normal. Dopamine, Serotonin, Adrenaline, all normal! Sam and Dean Winchester, I love you! Haha!" The squiggles made no sense to John, but he smiled along anyway, catching Sherlock's expression in the corner of his eye and sighing.
"What are you looking so miserable for?"
"Where are they?"
"'Who?' Who do you think? Sam and Dean. There were four sets of fresh footprints leading away from the spaceship-"
"T.A.R.D.I.S." The Doctor corrected Sherlock, looking somewhat hurt that his beloved Sexy had been compared to a common spaceship.
"Yes, that. Did you not notice, John? Ours are the only footsteps that returned."
"So?" Watson frowned. "They might have gone further out than us."
"No, no, don't be stupid. You heard the gunshot, they can't have been more than one hundred and fifty meters away from here. We were one hundred and sixty."
John cleared his throat, glancing back at the Doctor. "Oh, yeah, obviously. Look, Sherlock, they're probably just getting rid of the body." There was a pause as all three men realised that they were waiting on people who had evidently, tracked, killed, and disposed of monsters a thousand times before. Even Sherlock felt slightly worried for his safety, thought it didn't show through his stony expression. "Right," John clapped his hands, shattering the thick silence that blanketed the console room. "I think I should probably check on Rory, just for good measure."
"Yes, I'll show the way," the Doctor offered, keen to make sure his friends were okay, he disappeared down some steps near to the central console with all the elegance of a drunken giraffe, and through a large, circular door. John followed, hesitating as he got to the door and turning to face Sherlock.
"Don't touch anything." And with that he was gone.
Sherlock hesitated a moment, making sure the Doctors were definitely gone, before bouncing over to the central console with a kind of glee that he usually only exhibited when there were serial killers present. His long, slender fingers danced over controls and gadgets whose purposes he could only begin to fathom. He paused, brushing a leather wallet, haphazardly tucked behind a long lever, then in a single, decisive movement, he grabbed it and flipped it open. The permanent crease between his eyebrows deepened as he stared at the blank piece of paper. Well, that was unhelpful. He continued to explore the alien machinery, idly wondering if Mycroft had any idea that such things existed and revelling in the possibility that he didn't. The Doctor was all sorts of wonderful and terrifying that the British government had a habit of keeping from their public. Yes, if any part of the government knew of the Doctor, it'd be Mycroft, but that didn't necessarily mean that they did know. Sherlock had reservations in entertaining the idea that a man as hyperactive (and frankly downright unstable) as the Doctor would be taken seriously by any authority, let alone one as austere as Parliament.
Further around the console was a television screen, mounted on a device that allowed it to swing around the central column. Holmes pulled it to face him, flicking a small switch to bring the screen to life. Waves of static appeared, followed swiftly by a sharp electric current that shot its way up his arm. Sherlock jerked his hand away with a hiss, scowling at the monitor.
"She doesn't like you." A distinctly Scottish voice informed him. He looked up at Amy who had appeared in the door through with John and the Doctor had disappeared.
"The T.A.R.D.I.S.," Amy explained. "The Doctor says she's female. We've only met her once, and she was a she then. Either way, she doesn't like you."
"How can a spaceship not like me? It's not sentient."
"Not a spaceship, a T.A.R.D.I.S.." Sherlock rolled his eyes at the insignificant correction. "They're grown. You can't just build an alternate dimension into a shell, you have to grow them, and treat them with respect."
"I was hardly disrespectful!" He contested, annoyed by the accusation.
"Well, she probably doesn't appreciate being called a Spaceship." The Doctor appeared next to Amy, tailed by a pale Rory, and John, who lingered in the doorway as the Doctor crossed to the central console, affectionately stroking its surface. "What did the bad man do to you?" He murmured.
John frowned at the Doctor with concern, but his expression soften when Rory leant towards him and muttered, "He does this a lot, you get used to it." The three watched as The Doctor squared up to Sherlock, bobbing up on his tiptoes so that he could look the detective in the eye.
"What were you doing to her?"
"I was trying," Sherlock said, looking down his nose at the Doctor with contempt, "to find the Winchesters."
"Sherlock, I thought we'd settled this." Watson rolled his eyes at the stubbornness of his friend. "They'll be back soon. Stop being so stubborn." Holmes' jaw tightened, and he pushed past John, into the depths of the T.A.R.D.I.S..
"Oh, for God's-" John turned and followed Sherlock.
The corridors of the T.A.R.D.I.S. wound and twisted, in a seemingly never-ending manner. They ranged from large, steel-walled, claustrophobic tunnels to aged wood like that of a pirate's ship to unrecognisable fabric that bounced like a trampoline when stood on. John followed Sherlock's coat tails through the depths of the T.A.R.D.I.S., hindered by his leg.
"Sherlock!" He called, in a vain attempt to get his friend to wait. "Sherlock! Holmes, will you just stop this?" The Detective pulled about, frowning at John.
"Stop what?" He spat as John stopped next to him.
"This whole storming off when you don't get what you want."
Sherlock's face twisted into a disbelieving sneer. "I don't storm off."
"Yep. Yeah, you do." There was a moment of hesitation between the two. John's loyalty to Sherlock, and his undying faith in the Detective's intelligence begun to quell his initial annoyance towards him. "You really think the Winchesters are missing?"
"Okay, but how do you know?"
"Notice, John. Observe, instead of seeing." Sherlock implored his friend. Every single detail was important. The tremor of a man's hand could mean the difference between guilt and innocence, the colour of a woman's nails might indicate promiscuity, and the absence of two brothers should leave nothing but concern in the minds of those with whom they travel.
"The light…" Watson echoed his thoughts aloud, alighting a smirk upon Sherlock's face.
"The light indeed."
John could see it clearly now. Sherlock stood ahead of him, torch in one hand, gun in the other, crouching at the base of a grave. He was muttering something about strange types of grass and broken twigs, seemingly oblivious as a loud, ricocheting crack of a gunshot broke the air. Watson opened his mouth to notify Sherlock when something caught his eye. Ahead of John, ahead of Sherlock, two silhouettes were briefly illuminated. The yellowish light that surrounded them seem to rise from the ground, lasting long enough for both Watson and Holmes to see the figures look up, before shutting off, and drenching the graveyard back into darkness. How had John not noticed that before?
"What was it? I mean, do you have any theories?"
Sherlock paused. "Three."
"Could it be aliens?" The look on Sherlock's face, the tight line of his lips, the crease in his brow, confirmed that yes, yes it could be well aliens. "Coincidence?"
"Doubtful." Sherlock's natural disposition was to indulge coincidence only on the very rare occasions where he could not offer any other explanation. The Doctor, however, posed too many variables. If the madman was, as he claimed, alien (though with a device such as the T.A.R.D.I.S., there wasn't really any doubt) that opened a whole new world of problems. All members of the Pond's dinner party, including the Winchesters and excepting Sherlock seemed to have placed implicit trust in him, yet no one seemed to anything about who he really was.
Sherlock sifted through his sparse knowledge of the Doctor, trying to unravel the enigma that the man in the bow tie was. There was something familiar about his name, but it was the impossible blue box in which Watson and Holmes were stood that had the power to make Sherlock doubt himself. The box was… Unsettling. He'd felt it the second he saw it, not quite déjà vu, more like the vague recognition of an acquaintance. The detective let out a sound of annoyance that reverberated down the corridor and caused John to give him a concerned, questioning look.
"You all right?"
"I can't think." Sherlock complained. His head was beginning to feel muggy with reams of information stacking up. He needed a cigarette. With that thought being the only clear one is his head, Holmes turned abruptly and headed back in the direction of the console room, Watson limping in tow.
As Sherlock and John rounded the corner and came into view of the console room, Rory's voice drifted to them, tainted with concern.
"How far could they have gotten in fifteen minutes?"
"So they are missing." The smugness in Sherlock's voice was barely contained. "Did you scan for them?"
The Doctor frowned. Something in the Detective's voice made him feel rather like a child being asked if they'd washed their hands after using the bathroom. "Of course I did. There's no trace of them, nothing in a ten mile radius. They've just gone." There was a pause, broken by Sherlock's commanding tone.
"John, tell them what you saw."
"What I-? Oh. Right, yeah. Yes, um, we think we might've seen them disappear." There was another pause, as all in the T.A.R.D.I.S. waited for John to continue. "Well, we were looking for the Wraith and we heard them shoot it, and then there was this, um, light thing. They could've disappeared after that?"
"What kind of light?" The Doctor asked, bounding over to John, that little bronze tube aloft in his hand. "Might've left some sort of photokinetic energy…" The end of the bronze tube burst into a violently bright green light, dazzling John somewhat, then, just as suddenly as it had exploded into life, the light died. The Timelord flicked his wrist, causing part of the bronze casing to open, and frowned at it. "Oh. Oh. That is clever, that… That is beautiful!"
"Doctor, what is it?" Amy moved from the far side of the console and stood next to the Doctor, also glancing at the tube. Sherlock's eye roved her face with ardent curiosity. Could she understand the tube? What did it mean? And, most importantly, could Sherlock learn how to read it himself? Though he highly doubted such a thing as 'photokinetic energy' existed, with the exception of course in comic book fiction, he had also doubted, no, denied utterly and completely, the existence of aliens until a few hours before. This mad man in the bowtie and ill-fitting tweed suit could teach Sherlock so much.
"This, Amy- oh wait, hang on," the tube in the Timelord's hand buzzed erratically, "gotcha! This is the residual effect of a hyperspacey movey thingy." At this, both Rory and Sherlock moved to get a clearer view of what it was the Doctor was talking about. There, on John's chest, where the light of the sonic screwdriver fell, were several thin strands. It looked as though the Veteran had walked through a spider's web.
"What…" Watson's hands pawed at his chest, but the strands would not move.
"Oh, don't worry, John. It's quite harmless, like a thief leaving a fingerprint at a crime scene. Of course," the Doctor's voice took on an edge, "that doesn't mean the thief can't do some damage."
"You think Sam and Dean were taken?" Rory asked, as the Doctor rushed past, back to the console. He began punching commands into a keyboard, flicking levers and switches, talking rapidly while doing so.
"Yes. That kind of residue is left by something that needs a lot of power. Whatever they've done with Sam and Dean means they've taken them somewhere very far away, possibly through time. The question is why?" He paused, looking up at the screen above his head. "No, no, that doesn't make sense." He murmured. "Sherlock, John, was there anything else you noticed when the light appeared? Anything at all?"
John hesitated. "Well, kind of. I don't know if it means anything, but I don't remember seeing the light itself. It's like… Like I knew I'd seen it, but I'd ignored it for some reason. It wasn't until Sherlock," the detective's mouth curved slightly, "asked me to think about what I'd seen when I realised…"
"That sounds like…" The Timelord's face creased into a frown as he searched for an explanation, then without warning, he lit up. "Perception filter, brilliant!"
"What, like the one in my house?"
"Exactly, Amy! Something right there, in the corner of your eye that refuses to let you see it. Of course, perception filters use enormous amounts of energy. That might be the reason the trace was left on John, the Winchesters may not be as far as we think!"
"Can you find them?" Amy asked, joining the Doctor at the console. A familiar rush of excitement rolled through her, one she associated with the prospect of new planets and time periods. New air to breathe, new constellations to see, sunsets that could only be seen once then gone forever unless you were with the Doctor.
"Can I find them? Amy, not only can I find them, I can-" He was cut off as the T.A.R.D.I.S. was rocked by a vicious and violent shuddering, so forceful that the five occupants of the console room were thrown to the ground.
"What was that?"
"Did we crash?"
"Is everyone okay?"
The Doctor pulled himself to his feet, grabbing the console's screen and reading. "We couldn't have crashed, we weren't flying." He said, addressing the anonymous question. "I think… we were hit."
"Hit? By what?" Rory stood, offering a hand to John, glancing over his shoulder at the Doctor. "I thought the T.A.R.D.I.S. had shields to stop this kind of thing?"
"Well yes, but usually she doesn't need the combat shields when she's parked. I wonder what…" He trailed off, looking at the exterior of the T.A.R.D.I.S. using the screen. "Ah. Pond, open the door please."
"Aye-aye Cap'n," she said, giving him a mock salute and skipped to the door. "Oh. Castiel." The Angel was sprawled on his back outside the T.A.R.D.I.S. doors. He took Amy's hand, extended toward him, and pulled himself to his feet.
"I don't understand what happened."
"Let's get you inside," Amy said, "Rory can check you over,"
"No, no, my vessel is fine. Are Sam and Dean in there?"
"No, Castiel, they're not." The Doctor appeared in the doorway. "Come inside, we'll explain."
Twenty minutes, and a cup of tea later (the Doctor had insisted), Castiel was fully up to date on what had occurred in his short absence. Though he had endless questions about the company (and box) he was in, Cas knew that the missing Winchester's were his priority. The tall, thin man- Sherlock, had reassumed his precarious perch on the railings of the T.A.R.D.I.S. and was now staring intently at the Castiel.
"You don't look like an Angel." He remarked. When no one criticised him, he continued. "It's not just the lack of wings, if you really are a biblical Angel you should be larger, have multiple heads, perhaps even a halo and a harp…" The scepticism in the Detective's joke was missed by no one.
"In my true form I do have some of those aspects, however, it would not be possible to present myself to you in such a way without killing you." There was a pause as everyone tried to comprehend the idea that the mild looking man sat in front of them could wipe them from the universe.
"So… how come we're alive?" Rory, though not ungrateful for managing to make it two weeks without dying, verbalised the confusion of those who stood in the T.A.R.D.I.S. with him.
"I am in a, uh, vessel. This body," Cas gestured to himself, "is not my own."
The Doctor frowned. There was something about that sentence that made his stomach knot with unease. "Then, whose is it?"
"His name is Jimmy Novak. He was a very devout man-"
"You've stolen someone's body?!" Amy interrupted, aghast. She was no stranger to having people mess with her head. The Weeping Angels, the Silence and Madame Kovarian. Travelling with the Doctor may have altered her perspective on what was right and wrong, but nothing could convince her that taking over a person's body could be justified. Not when it happened to her, not when it happened to Rory, not now, when it was happening to the silenced Jimmy Novak.
"Not stolen, he consented-" Castiel suddenly felt incredibly uneasy, almost guilty, under the pressure of five accusatory stares.
"Why do you call them vessels? Wait no, obvious. Of course, stupid." Sherlock rebuked himself for his outburst. "This is dull," he complained, "Doctor, weren't you meant to be tracing the Winchesters?"
"Yes…" The Timelord replied, still not taking his eyes off Castiel. "Yes, yes I was." He shook himself a little and returned to the console. Amy joined him, her hands next to his as they both stared up at the console's screen. Rory, rather than join his wife, sat next to Castiel.
It was one of those not-so-rare moments in which Rory demonstrated that he was the very best humanity had to offer. He knew that Amy was unlikely to trust Cas easily now, and he was certain that the Doctor would be questioning what it was that he was allowing into his T.A.R.D.I.S. But, as far as Rory was concerned, whoever Castiel was, whatever he had done, he was now alone, with no idea where his friends were, trying to comprehend the impossible situation that he had found himself in. "So," Rory began, sitting himself next to the Angel, "an Angel, huh? You're real. I mean, you're all…" Cas wasn't looking at Rory, he was adrift in his own mind. The Centurion tried again, "Castiel… What happens to Jimmy?"
The Angel look round at him. "He will return to normal. At least, that is what I'd like to believe. When my brothers occupy a vessel, it can have damaging consequences. However, my brothers are much more powerful than I am. I have departed from Jimmy previously, and he was well. As well as he could be."
"Is he still there? I mean, can you- can he still communicate with us?"
"No. He cannot talk to you, but he is still present. He experiences all that I do, and I understand that to be painful for him at times."
"And he still let you?"
"Yes…" Castiel trailed off as that T.A.R.D.I.S. roared into life. His skin prickled as he felt himself and the others pulled from the Earth, into a region outside of time and space itself. He had no knowledge of where he was, yet wasn't alarmed. Wherever he was, it was peaceful, relaxing. Castiel had become bored with time an age ago, but he always felt its presence so keenly, counting down until his next failing, until his end. Given recent events, his end felt a lot closer than it had before, and somehow, Cas knew his Father wouldn't be on hand to bring him back this time. Wherever the Angel currently was, he didn't have to have an end.
The thought had just entered his head, when Castiel felt the return of time, of space, as did everyone else. They were thrown back in the Universe, somewhere new and completely different with a tremendous jolt. Their flight had ended.
"No, no, no!" The Doctor yelled in frustration.
"What, what is it?" Asked John, as he pulled Sherlock from the floor. The Detective had managed to lose his balance, rather spectacularly, with the abrupt halt of the T.A.R.D.I.S.'s flight.
"She won't go any further. Look!" He slapped the screen, and received an angry burst of electricity in response. "Not up, not down, not left or right, we're stuck!"
"How can we be stuck? The T.A.R.D.I.S. doesn't get stuck." Rory frowned. "Is it like what happened with that Asteroid?"
"House? No, he took the very essence of the T.A.R.D.I.S., her power, her soul. This is something different. She's still here, she's just refusing to go any further." The Doctor shot a scornful look at the central column of the T.A.R.D.I.S. before turning his back on her.
"Doctor," Amy began, "it's the T.A.R.D.I.S., if she's refusing to move, then surely there must be good reason for it. What if wherever Sam and Dean are is dangerous?" she paused. Danger had never stopped the .D.I.S. before. Her voice dropped to a whisper. "What if they're dead?"
"Amy, we can't leave them." The Timelord said in a soft voice, "I brought them back to the graveyard, I knew it was risky, they were my responsibility." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "If I rewire the dimension arches, I should be able to force her to start moving again." The Doctor glanced around the console room. "It could take a few hours, you all should get some sleep." Amy took that as her cue to leave, moving to join Rory and relaying the Doctor's plan.
Rory nodded when she'd finished explaining, and turned to Castiel. "There's plenty of rooms in the T.A.R.D.I.S.," he told him, "it's up to you what type of bed you want, we've got loads of bunk beds-"
"Thank you, Rory, but I do not require sleep. I would prefer to stay here, if you don't mind."
"Uh, yeah. Sure thing," The Centurion hesitated, not sure what to say next. "I'll, uh, I'll go and let John and Sherlock know then." Another moment's hesitation, and then he stood, following Amy to the Detective and the Veteran, leaving Castiel sat alone with his thoughts.
The console room soon emptied, save for the Doctor and the Angel, who both sat on opposite sides of the central column. The Timelord was keen to start his dissection of the T.A.R.D.I.S.'s circuits, yet there was something about the presence of the man in the trench coat that left him feeling obligated to make conversation.
"So, uh," the Doctor began, moving round the control panel to Cas and clapping his hands. "Shall we see where we are?" Castiel said nothing, the question seemed redundant to him- how in the Father's name was he meant to know where he was? Until a few short hours ago, his universe had extended as far as heaven, hell, and earth in between. Whatever was out of the doors to which the Doctor was crossing, it was nothing he knew of.
The strange man in the bowtie pulled the large double doors inwards, and beckoned Castiel to join him. The Angel did so, staring out at the vastness of the star-speckled inky night sky. "That," the Doctor murmured, pointing at a small cluster of reddish stars, "is the constellation 'Glorean'. It translates roughly to the 'Prodigy's Constellation', named by the Flakkans. There is a legend that the constellation once spanned light-years in diameter, and burned with the brightness of a thousand, thousand suns, and each star was the soul of a lesser God. You see, the Flakkans have a hierarchy, they have their God, Shapria, well, she's more of a Goddess, powerful and vengeful and beautiful, and then there are the God's court, then the lesser Gods, the Flakkan priests and holy council… You get the idea. Anyway, Shapria fell pregnant with the Child of the Shadows. She loved her baby more than all those in her domain, and would do anything for him, and when he was born, the light of the stars was too bright to let him sleep. Shapria tried all she could think of, making him a blanket of the darkest parts of the night, turning off the sun the lit the Flakkan planets, but nothing worked. So, one night, she wandered among the stars. The lesser gods rejoiced, celebrating the presence of their Queen, trying to win her favour. But Shapria was clever, able to see through their efforts, to determine who was genuine and who had more sinister intent, and those she deemed worthy of her favour walked with her, became the God's court, and those who were unworthy did not live much longer after that visit. The stars- the souls- began to fade from the night sky. There were a handful of the lesser Gods, however, who were suspicious of Shapria's walking among them, those who feared the worst. They conspired to steal the Child of the Shadows when Shapria visited the lesser God's, they took him away in the night. When Shapria returned with her God's court, and found her child gone, she collapsed and became ill. The Flakkans pray to her, make offerings and sacrifices to give her strength to await the return of her son. Those stars there," a small smile crept onto the Doctor's face, "are the God's court, surrounding Shapria while she waits for her son to come home."
Castiel wanted to go home. He was certain he would not get the same welcoming as Shapria's Child of the Night, he might even meet the same ill-fate as the lesser God's from the Doctor's story, yet that was still preferable to the situation that he was currently in. Though all the strangers in the blue box had been pleasant to Castiel, the absence of both Sam and Dean left him uneasy. He had lost those in his charge, but more importantly, more painfully, he had lost his friends.
It took the Angel a few moments to realise that he had been left alone. The man in the bow tie had disappeared from sight, but Cas could still hear him rattling about the room, muttering to the machine and occasionally hitting something with a hammer. It was oddly soothing. The background noise created by the Doctor was something that Cas likened to the sound of rain or the humming of bees. It was peaceful.
Underneath the steel floor surrounding the central console, the Time Lord paused. In one hand was a hammer, a tangle of brightly coloured wires in the other, and the sonic screwdriver clamped between his teeth. He wasn't entirely sure what he was doing. Jump starting the T.A.R.D.I.S. was no problem, but what on earth was he doing with so many strangers in his ship? Granted, Sherlock and John were permissible- they had the Pond Seal of Approval, but Castiel? And the missing Winchesters?
Strangers were not uncommon visitors to the T.A.R.D.I.S., his closest friends had all been strangers to him at one point or another, but did he need to risk having more friends? For a man with as many years as the Doctor, 'having' was synonymous with 'losing'. He pushed the thought out of his head. 'Focus, Doctor,' he told himself, 'focus on finding them first.'
For a long while, there was quiet in the T.A.R.D.I.S., punctuated only by the whirring of the sonic screwdriver, or the thud of now-dead wires hitting the ground and the Timelord haphazardly discarded them. The Angel had settled himself down on the floor by the doors, and, after several cautious attempts, hung his legs in the nothingness of space.
His mind wandered to the myth told to him by the man in the bow tie. The idea of the Flakkan's God intrigued him. Their hierarchy seemed similar to his Father's own, however, his Father had Angels- Castiel and his Brothers, in place of lesser Gods, and they were the ones weeping and waiting. The prayers of humans did nothing to alleviate the pain of not knowing where his Father was. The humans didn't even know he was gone. Perhaps it was kinder that way.
Cas' train of thought was broken by the sound of approaching footsteps on the metal floor, the first sound Cas properly registered in his hours of sitting and thinking. The Doctor sat down next to him, dangling his legs alongside the Angel's, as they stared into the beauty of infinite space. Some sort of gauzy, technicolour cloud had formed across the blackness, blotting the Prodigy's Constellation from view.
"Hello, Castiel." The Timelord's voice was soft, tentative, lost in a world far from the T.A.R.D.I.S. "I felt I should introduce myself properly, I'm the Doctor." He proffered a hand to the Angel, who frowned at it for a moment, before taking it.
"I've never seen a man of medicine with a vehicle like this before." Cas commented, though he sounded just as distant as the Doctor, still lost amongst his thoughts and worries.
"Well, not technically a doctor-doctor, more like a cheese doctor." The man in the bow tie glanced at the Angel, who did little to acknowledge the comment. "It's like this for everyone, you know Castiel-"
"Dean calls me Cas. You may too, if it would help you to feel more comfortable."
"Cas." There was a hint of a smile in his voice as he carried on, "Are you a Winchester too?"
"No, no I have no second name as such,"
"Ah. What do I call you all then? My gang? I had a gang once..." There was a pause, as memories of dinosaurs and Egyptian queens and times far less scary made their appearance in the forefront of the Doctor's mind.
"Free will..." Murmured Cas.
"Dean, uh, calls us Team Free Will." An unasked question hung in the air. "It's because, because we did it all wrong. We caused the apocalypse and trapped the Devil. Sam became addicted to Demon's blood, and I defied director orders from my garrison,"
A look of recognition crossed the Doctor's face. "You're a soldier."
"So was I."
At that, Castiel looked up at the man sat next to him. He saw the age in his eyes, heard the regret in his voice. The Doctor smiled. Cas knew that smile. Dean and Sam often smiled like that. It was a look that meant, as Cas understood it, regret, but not sorrow. A grievance for leaving, avoiding, but simultaneously, knowledge that the decision had been the right one. The impossibly old man shifted his gaze back to the cloud.
"Look at us, a Time Lord and an Angel. The Deserting Soldiers." His tone was an odd combination of bitter and amused, and Cas struggled to put a name to it. Instead, he mirrored the Doctor's actions, staring up at the colours in front of them. They had begun to move, swirling slowly, so slow that Cas at first thought it was a trick of the light. "We will find them Castiel." The promise didn't hold much hope for the Angel. The Universe was so very, very vast.
Sam and Dean could be anywhere.