Castiel can feel the hairs on the back of his neck rise up and he turns.
"I've got to go." He says, hanging up.
He hears Dean begins to protest but the connection ends before he finishes.
He surveys the old wooden refuge. He'd sought out this sacred place, once an old monk's home, at the top of a mountain in Burma. He pulls out the necklace from his pocket, Dean's necklace. The amulet is staying annoyingly cold and dull. He sighs, looking around aimlessly at the shack's dilapidated walls. Its clear God is not here either. Castiel sighs, leaning against the worn wall as he gazes out across the tree tops, tropical and lush at this time of year, glittering in the sunlight with a layer of fresh rain. He knows what he's seeing is supposed to be beautiful but he can't see it right now. He's so tired, so worn out. Sick of it all. He wants to rest but he has no idea where. Heaven is out of the question, there's nowhere but Dean's Impala or Bobby's but he doubts he'd be welcome at either location. Dean isn't exactly agreeable with him at the moment, and he suspects Bobby only tolerates him solely because of Dean. And what would he do once there? He's finding his charges and their relatives to be quite the glum group as of late. But nobody really has a reason to be happy.
He sighs, pushing off the wall and stepping into the middle of the room. He should call Dean back, tell him it was nothing. Maybe he'll call him from his next location. He's prepared to leap into flight when a sudden voice from behind startles him.
"Always hated this place. Guy prayed too much. Never shut up." Zachariah says, surveying the shack with a vague interest.
Castiel whirls around, sword manifesting in his hand.
"Whoa, kiddo. No need to over react." Zachariah says, hands coming up in a supposedly calming gesture but it looks rather mocking on the angel.
"Oh, I believe I have every reason to react." Castiel replies, eyes fixed on him.
"I just want to talk."
"I'm not interested."
Castiel is about to take off when something red hot slices across his lower back. He jerks forward, someone grabbing the back of his neck and before he can even defend himself a blade cuts clean through his shoulder. A strangled cry manages past his throat as the hand tightens, choking him. He can see the tip of the sword jutting from his shoulder out of the corner of his eye but he can feel the jarring agony of it more, seemingly rattling his grace with the force of it. He stabs backwards, his opponent leaping back, taking their sword with them. It tears out of his shoulder, flesh ripping, muscles severed. He pivots, ignoring the pain as much as he can. He parries another blow, flinging the other angel's arm aside. He changes sword hands quickly, plunging the blade into the vessel's chest before he can recover. He hardly has a second to waste as he frees his blade and the angel falls screaming to the floor but he's still not fast enough as two pairs of hands grab him and he's yanked back and pressed against the wall, eliciting a sharp cry as his shoulder cracks against the wood. His sword is knocked from his hand before he can retaliate, skittering across the floor as a blade is pressed sharply to his throat, ceasing his struggles abruptly. He can see his attackers now, although he doesn't recognize the vessels the strong, reverberating presences of the angels within rings familiar.
"Leochoir-" He says, recognizing an angel from his garrison.
He only gets that far when the two angels wrench his hands above his head and pin them with a sword. He screams, the sensitive flesh burning against the sword, fingers clenching reflexively as blood begins to dribble down his hands, staining his coat sleeves. Terror is now starting to plague him, the pain only intensifying now that he can't move, can't escape and he's faced with three aggressive angels, specifically Zachariah who has a particular vendetta against him. It all happened so fast he's only now just grasping the full extent of what's happened. He's breathing hard, eyes flitting between the two angels in front of him. His shoulder is bloody and painful, throbbing with each heart beat and making his left arm near useless with all the severed muscles and arteries, pumping blood out of him at an alarming pace with his increased heart rate. He gently tests his hands, a vague hope that he can free himself fading as he finds he can only push forward with his right hand, which is trapped under his left and that causes unbelievable pain to shoot through his arm and shoulders.
"Well, ready to talk now?" Zachariah taunts, stepping forward as Leochoir and Josiah move aside.
He glances at the body of the dead angel with not so much as a hint of empathy or caring, merely looking at it.
"I still have nothing to say to you." Castiel says.
He tests his hands again which doesn't help the pain.
"Come now, Castiel. You're willing to blow me off that quickly, given I'm holding your life in my hands?"
With those ominously spoken words Castiel spots the sword which has materialized in Zachariah's hand. Castiel is no fool, he realizes the position he's in but he knows that whatever Zachariah has to say he can't possibly agree to or do.
"Now, Castiel, I know what you're thinking. But I just want you to know, I'm not here to ask after the Winchesters. In fact, I couldn't care less about them right now. I'm here for you."
The chilling words only further sink his heart in his chest. He has no doubt what this will mean. Another stint in Heaven's prison will be even worse than the first time. He should have left the moment he sense danger. How could he be so stupid? He fully appreciates the use of the word right now. He imagines Dean would describe it as 'being screwed.' He laughs grimly inside at the thought. Zachariah seems to pick up on his train of thought. He laughs and shakes his head.
"You don't understand. I'm not taking you back to Heaven. This isn't about the upstairs bureaucracy. This is personal."
"Why?" Castiel grits out, trying to work the sword out of the wall but is only succeeding in hurting himself.
"You are standing in between me and those flannel wearing idiots. And you did banish me the night of the Apocalypse, that's not something I can let you get away with."
At that Zachariah lashes out, two inches of blade cut across his stomach, a gush of blood flowing out into his shirt. Castiel bites his lip as he watches the blood spread out over his clothing, refusing to make a sound. The red wave soaks the bottom of his shirt, quickly over saturating it and dripping to the old floor that sucks the blood up greedily.
"What do you want?" He asks, forcing his eyes back to Zachariah, trying to ignore the sick warm feeling spilling over his skin, making his shirt cling uncomfortably. Zachariah takes a slow, heavy step forward, carefully pressing the tip higher up on Castiel's abdomen as he leans in.
"Those country bumpkins will throw themselves into the fire to save each other. They care so little for themselves that they will continually sacrifice one for the other, over and over again. My little pet project is to find out what will they do for the angel who has given them everything? Especially when they find him dying?"
"Killing me will not make them say yes."
"Oh, no, they won't know what killed you, signs will indicate Demons. The fact that Lucifer himself ordered you demise will only further push Dean into our hands. Your death will throw them off. With the loss of one of their precious few allies, they'll come to realize the only way to save this world is to say yes. He'll be mourning and Michael will come and, well, you know the story."
He slashes again, another line cutting just below his ribs.
"They will not say yes." He grits.
Another cut, higher up again. He holds back another cry, lip bleeding now where he bit too hard. Without stopping Zachariah presses the blade into the center of his chest, slowly drilling the tip into his flesh. Castiel gasps, trying to pull away but there's no where to go. The tip hits bone but Zachariah continues to twist, slowly working the metal through the bone. Castiel can't believe the pressure on his chest, like God's hand is bearing down on him. He can't breathe, can't scream, there's just no air to do it with. But the overwhelming pain is enough to make him black out. Before he can do that though, the blade punches through his breastbone. He jerks, pain screaming through his hands as he slams them against the hilt in a reflexive action, body jumping. He forces himself to still, feeling the tip of the blade poking a delicate lung.
"Lets see how you do with only one lung." Zachariah says, stabbing down.
Bone grates and his lung feels like it literally explodes in his chest. The force of the pain that rocks him causes him to jerk so violently his arms leap forward, tearing the sword out of the wall where it comes crashing down on Zachariah's head. If he'd actually been coherent enough to process what happened he would have taken great pleasure from Zachariah reeling back in surprise and absolute shock at the blow. As is, Castiel collapses to the floor, gasping for breath, hands and shoulder burning. He hears Zachariah shout something and hurried footsteps before he takes off, fleeing as fast as he can. With his injuries though he doesn't make it very far, only getting to the coast of Africa before crashing into the shallow water off the Ivory Coast. Spluttering, gasping for air and trying to make his uncoordinated limbs work for him he feels panic tight in his chest, the lack of air not helping any. He crawls out of the water, sprawling on the sand, legs still lapped at by the ocean. He pants, gasping for what meagre amount of air he can get when he feels his hands again, still pinned together by the sword. With agonized slowness he twists his hands, pressing the blade tip into the sand until his hands start to slide down it. He bites his lip again, prompting more blood to spill down his chin. He works one hand off the blade, then limply circling his fingers around the handle and managing to draw it out with his injured hand. He drops the sword, laying his head back down as he focuses on breathing again. He can still breathe, even with only one lung, though with the exertion of flying and the adrenaline flooding his vessel it's painstakingly difficult. He tries to refill the lung, to seal it back up and breathe again but it won't cooperate, broken edges tattered and torn. His addled mind knows he has to leave, to flee further but his wings won't lift, won't take him away. Struggling, gasping and wheezing, he makes it to his knees, pausing for breath before making the herculean effort to get to his feet, trudging forwards. It's only now he notices that several people have gathered on the beach, staring at him like he's an alien that crash landed. They're dark skinned and poorly dressed but that doesn't change the fact two of them are holding tire irons and a third a loaded rifle that's pointed casually in his direction. Even like this, neither weapon will do him any more damage but he will not be able to fight them off, assuming Zachariah doesn't show up to finish what he's started. And he really would prefer to not be shot full of lead at the moment, even if it non-detrimental, it still stings for a bit.
He begins to limp down the beach, making a move to skirt them when one of them shouts at him to freeze and drop his wallet. If he had a wallet to drop he would, seeing as he doesn't though, he's reached an impasse. Realizing he can't simply find a nice quiet place to ward off and cloister himself until he heals, he forces his wings up and is just off the ground when something crashes into him with all the force of a mountain. He's launched back into the water, a heavy weight on top of him, forcing him under the shallow waves. Castiel feels Leochoir's aura, violent and enraged as he pushes his head under, hands locking around his neck.
Castiel struggles up, battling for air as he breaks the surface, taking a long gasp before he's shoved back under, Leochoir shaking him like a dog trying to kill a rabbit. He uses his weight to pin him down, knees on his stomach, pushing his wounds agonizingly. Castiel struggles, but injured as he is he has no hope against Leochoir. Still, he struggles. The lack of air is getting to him, the pain radiating through him not helping any. The salt water all around him scorches his raw wounds. He can feel the will to close his eyes becoming stronger than his own, telling him to give up and just go under. With his last shred of will he materializes his sword and lashes out. Leochoir dodges back but his sword flails wildly, slitting Castiel's throat without even meaning to. Castiel's hands fly to his throat, one hand groping for Dean's necklace. His fingers lock around the pendent as he spreads his wings and flies away.