Welcome to Chapter 2 of The Winchester Family Business' Supernatural fan fiction hiatus series! You can jump into the story in any chapter. They are each captivating and fully complete "episodes" of the Supernatural saga! If you wish to start at the beginning of the story, go back to Chapter 1, "Every Thursday Night". Chronologically, it came first. Each story builds upon the last, and sets up a bit of the context referenced in future chapters.
To add to the fun, YOU get to pick where the focus of these fictional stories goes next, based on our Fan Fiction Poll questions: Who, What, Why, When, and How? The first poll question was "Who would you like to see featured in an original fan fiction story?" The top vote getter was Sam, so he led us into the Winchesters' summer adventure! Watch our Polls page for a new question every two weeks, and vote for the direction and details that get incorporated into the story!
Castiel was the runner-up in the poll of "who" should be featured, so in this chapter we find out where Cas has been for the first few weeks of the summer, plus, the surprising truth behind a legendary Biblical event. Keep reading for the return of some old favourites, and a mystery involving the "what" i.e. the object that received the most votes in the second "Fan Fiction Poll". Watch the Polls Page for a new question, coming soon!
CASTIEL'S BIG MISTAKE
Cas returned home the same night that Sam was handing back the graded mid-terms for his class.
The Winchesters' angel friend now knew that Sam had been teaching a night school class. Dean had left Cas a voice mail on his cell phone, telling him not to worry. Truth be told, Cas hadn't really been all that worried. Sam Winchester was a grown man, and he was entitled to some privacy. It had been the concern in Dean's voice when he'd talked about his brother's weekly absences that had worried Cas more than anything else.
Cas had nonetheless been relieved to find out that Sam was only engaged in academic pursuits. It was puzzling to him that the subject matter of the class was the identification and elimination of monsters, but Cas kept that to himself. The point was, Sam hadn't been in any danger.
Once the angel had been assured of that, he had felt free to embark on his own project. He hadn't lied to the Winchesters when he'd said it was an angelic mission; not really. After all, Cas was an angel, wasn't he? The fact that the mission had been very personal and had nothing to do with the current situation in Heaven was a mere detail. Cas knew Dean hadn't really been listening, and Sam had made an assumption that Cas had chosen not to correct. Wasn't Cas entitled to a little privacy, as well?
He descended the stairs and called out, "Dean! Sam! I'm back!" No response. Cas moved through the library area and down the corridor, calling out again. Nothing. He even peeked into the garage. Dean had been spending quite a bit of time there lately, tinkering with the assortment of old cars that were stored there. But after listening for a moment, Cas concluded that Dean was not there, either. No echoing metal-on-metal sounds and no muffled curse words equalled no Dean.
Cas smiled at his little joke, making his way back to the library area to await the brothers' return. But as the angel sat down at the table, it dawned on him: today was Thursday, wasn't it? Yes. Yes, it was. The irony of the Angel of Thursday not knowing that it was Thursday today amused him, and he smiled again.
Of course. Thursday was the night Sam taught his class. Where was Dean, then? Possibly out for the evening; at a bar, most likely. Dean would be at loose ends without Sam or Cas around. He was a man of action. While both Sam and Cas were content to sit and read quietly, Dean became restless and bored whenever the brothers had any significant downtime. That made the fact that Dean had told Cas he wasn't actively searching for new cases all the more mystifying.
Cas had been at loose ends himself, lately. Without any ideas about how to fix Heaven's problems, and without a specific mission to focus on, he had been spending a lot of time in quiet contemplation.
Something was coming their way. Something big. Cas could feel it. Some sort of Apocalyptic event was due to occur, and soon. All he had to do was look at Sam and Dean's faces to realize that they knew it, too. None of them had discussed it with each other; at least, not yet. But when friends were as close as they were, sometimes no words needed to be said.
That was why the men had sent Jack off to Europe for the summer, telling him that backpacking and staying in youth hostels was a rite of passage that every young man needed to experience. He'd gone willingly, eager for the adventure. And if supervision was needed, it would be available in the form of Ketch and Rowena, who were both currently abroad. That status might change in the near future if their assistance was needed but, for the moment, it was a satisfactory arrangement. It was still difficult at times for Castiel to think of either one of those individuals as an ally, considering the history of their relationships with the witch and the British Man of Letters. Cas supposed it just went to show that nearly anyone could change, if they really wanted to.
Even him. Castiel was a very different sort of angel now than he had been when he'd first met the Winchesters. He was still an angel of the Lord and he always would be, but Cas had learned how to be much more than that. He had learned more about love and compassion from the humans he associated with than he'd ever learned from his angel brothers and sisters. Might was not always right, and sometimes it was better to put the blade down and use one's words, instead.
There had been a time when Castiel had been so focused on the mission, and carrying out his orders, that he had done things he now deeply regretted. Many of these things could not be undone, or atoned for; they just....were. Several years back, though, Cas had been given a rare opportunity when he'd been able to locate Claire Novak, and he'd helped the young woman through a very challenging time in her life. She'd been headed down a dangerous and bitter road when Cas and the Winchesters had intervened. As a result, Claire was a brave and capable hunter now, and after a rocky start, their relationship had become much more cordial. Almost familial, Cas thought warmly.
It was in that spirit that Cas had been wondering if there was anything else he could do to atone for his mistakes, of which there had regrettably been many. If anything happened to him, he wanted to make sure that he'd done all he could to right his past wrongs.
It might seem absurd for an angel to be concerned about dying, but Cas knew that such a thing was possible. He'd once been so dangerously low on his Grace that it had seemed inevitable. Yes, one day he might just cease to be, and if that happened, Cas intended to have done as much good as he possibly could before it did.
There had been one thing, one huge mistake he had made, that had been bothering Castiel for untold centuries. Like his other transgressions, this particular thing could not be undone. But couldn't he at least try to do something to make up for it, just like he'd done with Claire?
Cas looked around the library table now, picturing his friends' faces when he'd had to tell them about it. When had that been, exactly? Oh, yes. The conversation had taken place back when Lucifer had been on the loose on Earth, jumping from vessel to vessel. They had all been brainstorming, trying to come up with a way to deal with Satan....
Cas and the Winchesters had been driving from place to place, following up on any lead they could find, however slim, on Lucifer's current whereabouts. But they had come up empty, and Dean was irritated.
"Aren't you guys supposed to be able to sense this stuff?" he said to Cas over a cup of coffee and a slice of pie at a rest stop just outside Lebanon.
Sam glanced up from his cell phone. He'd been wondering the same thing.
"It's complicated, Dean," Cas said uncomfortably. The truth was, he didn't really know why he couldn't sense Lucifer. One of the most powerful angels who had ever come into being should be sending out celestial waves like a shining beacon. And yes, like it or not, Lucifer was one of God's original angels. By all accounts, he had been one of God's favourites, too. But if Castiel's former brother was that strong, why couldn't Cas pick up on his signal?
Dean put his fork down, sighing heavily. He guessed he couldn't put it off any longer. This was an "all hands on deck" kind of situation, if ever there was one.
He took out his cell phone and made the call.
Crowley was already standing outside the bunker waiting, as the Impala pulled up.
Cas got out of the car and Dean leaned out the window, pointing at his angel friend. "Make sure he behaves himself," Dean said, looking at Crowley.
The King smirked. "I could say the same about you," he retorted.
The brothers drove around to where the secret entrance to the bunker's garage was, as the angel and the King of Hell looked at each other.
"It's about time you decided to call for some real assistance," Crowley said smugly.
Cas's mouth tightened. He knew how the King of Hell liked to needle people. The trick was to try not to let what Crowley said affect you. Of course, that was much easier said than done.
"Shouldn't you be able to track him?" Crowley went on, unknowingly echoing Dean's earlier question. "I mean, considering that you were the one who let him out of the cage in the first place. What do you think he's planning?"
"That's really not for me to say," Cas said through gritted teeth. "Evildoing is more your area than mine."
Crowley was smirking again. "Touche, Feathers. Too right, it is. That's why I'm here. If you lot can't do anything about Lucifer, I guess it's up to me to save the day. Again."
Cas was fuming, now. Crowley had poked a sore spot when he had made reference to the fact that it was Castiel's fault that Lucifer had gotten out of the cage. Cas had meant well, of course, as he always did. He had offered himself up to be possessed by Lucifer in hopes that Satan could defeat Amara, as Lucifer had claimed he could. But, like so many other things that Cas had done with the best of intentions, it had turned out to be a mistake. A mistake that Cas had to rectify, before the entire human race paid the price.
He glared at Crowley. Why had Dean called him, anyway? What possible useful information could the King of Hell contribute? And it was just as much Crowley's responsibility that Lucifer was traipsing around out there somewhere as it was Cas'.
Cas was considering offering another scathing retort when Sam opened the metal door that led to the bunker's entrance. "You're invited in," Sam said to Crowley tersely. Due to the Men of Letters' protections, an entity like the King of Hell could never enter the bunker on his own. He had to be invited in, by a legacy. Sam Winchester definitely qualified.
The men descended the stairs. Dean was waiting, already seated at the table. "I put some coffee on," he told his brother. "Better stay alert."
Cas was still glaring at Crowley, who casually took a seat across the table from the angel. Crowley noticed him staring, and the King raised his eyebrows. "What?" he said innocently.
"It's as much your fault that Lucifer is out there as it is mine," Cas pointed out. There. He'd said it.
"Look, Cas, I did everything I could to hold him," Crowley said irritably. While that wasn't entirely true, he wasn't about to sit here and let an angel talk to him like that. Not even this one. "Then you come waltzing in, and - "
"Hey! Kids! Let's just focus on the problem, here," Dean said, frowning. "Playing the Blame Game isn't gonna help anybody. What we need is a plan. Ideas." He looked around the table. "Anybody got any?"
Sam was thinking about warding, and vessels. "So, Lucifer is an angel, but he's Satan too, right?"
"Yes, of course," Crowley replied impatiently. "Come on, Moose. You're just stating the obvious."
But Sam persisted. "So that means he can possess any vessel he wants?"
Dean got the chills. "Awesome," he said sarcastically. "Fantastic. That means he could be anyone. Anyone at all. And, we have no way of knowing who. Is that what we're saying, here?"
Crowley was looking at Cas, and the smug expression was back.
"Yes," Cas growled, trying to ignore him.
They all sat there for a minute, thinking about that. How were they supposed to fight an enemy who could be anyone, anywhere, at any time?
"This is unbelievable," Sam said, throwing his hands up in frustration. "At least when he was possessing Nick, we knew what he looked like. Now...." He trailed off, unable to articulate what he was feeling.
"All we need is a clue, even just a hint, of where he might be," Dean stated, adding confidently, "I know evil when I see it."
"Let's hope you do," Crowley said briskly. "He has to be found, and quick."
Dean rolled his eyes. "Gee, you think?" he said sarcastically.
The King disregarded Dean's tone for the moment. "I'll send some of my minions topside," he advised the men. "See what they can find out. Maybe we'll get lucky."
"You want to put a bunch of Demons on Earth?" Dean asked him, frowning. "What for?"
"We need all the help we can get," Crowley replied. "If you think your little group is going to be able to handle this all by yourselves, you're sadly mistaken." He turned to Cas. "In fact, I think your Heavenly forces should be combing the Earth, as well. Sooner or later, Lucifer will reveal himself. I'm sure of it. He won't be able to help himself."
Cas thought about that. Crowley's point about Lucifer's arrogance was well taken, but should they really be sending untrained angels to Earth, in an attempt to defeat the Devil? No. This was his mistake, not theirs. It was up to Castiel to fix it.
"I don't think that's a good idea," Cas said firmly. "No. We won't be doing that."
Crowley stared at him for a moment, then shrugged. "Fine. Not the way I would handle it, but.... On to the next question: how are we going to apprehend him, once we find him?"
There was another silence, as they all thought about that. A minute passed, then two, but they were no closer to a solution to the problem than they'd been when they'd first started talking.
Suddenly, Sam said, "Maybe we should read Revelations."
"Revelation," Castiel corrected him absently, but Dean was making a face. "Why?" Sam's brother asked. "We should be out there kicking Satan's butt, not studying!"
Sam nearly rolled his eyes. Wasn't it obvious? "Back me up here, Cas," he appealed to their angel friend.
Cas was thoughtful. "I suppose Sam's idea could have some merit," he said unenthusiastically. Sam sighed. Thanks for the support, Cas.
All three of them then looked at Crowley, who shrugged. How should he know? The King of Hell, about to read the Bible. No wonder some of his subjects thought he was losing his edge.
Sam got up and went over to the bookshelves. They had several different versions of the Bible there, but he didn't think it mattered that much which version they chose. He grabbed four Bibles and brought them back to the table.
"Are you going to be able to touch this, or will you need a page-turner?" Sam quipped as he held out a Bible for Crowley to take. The King's mouth twitched with amusement. That had been pretty funny, actually.
"I think I'll be all right, Sam," Crowley said. He took the book from the younger Winchester's hand and set it on the table in front of him. "Let's see: Revelation," he mused aloud. "Where is that, again?" he asked Castiel.
Cas rolled his eyes. He grabbed the book and flipped the pages, setting it down in front of Crowley with the chapter open.
"Oh, yes," the King said. The smirk had returned to his face. "Armageddon. The End of Days. A feel-good story, for all ages."
Sam cleared his throat, either because he was preparing to read out loud, or to stop Crowley from talking. Probably a bit of both. Man, did that guy ever love the sound of his own voice.
"I won't read the whole thing aloud," Sam told the others. "We can just skim through it together. This is the most enigmatic chapter of the Bible. Everyone seems to have their own interpretations of what some of the passages might mean."
"Many people believe this chapter refers to the Second Coming, and the End of Times," Cas added, nodding his agreement with Sam. "But, many of the stories in the Bible were translated from ancient languages, and so some facts may have been distorted in the re-telling."
"Castiel is right," Crowley piped up, and now, he was grinning. "It just so happens that many of the stories in there are based on actual events. But sometimes, it's the stories behind the stories that are far more interesting, especially the ones in the Old Testament. Aren't they, Cas?" The King's smile grew even wider.
Cas was extremely uncomfortable. He knew exactly what Crowley was referring to. How had he found out? In any case, it had been one of Castiel's most distressing and embarrassing moments. Why had Crowley had to bring that up?
"What are you talking about?" Dean asked the King.
"We should be concentrating on the matter at hand," Cas said quickly.
"Now, now, Cas. We can't let your friends miss out on an opportunity like this," Crowley said happily. "They'll be the only ones on Earth who'll know the real story behind the Flood."
Cas sat back in his chair, frowning deeply. "They don't want to hear about that," he mumbled.
But Dean could sense that there was some gold to be mined, here. "I do," he said.
"So do I," Sam chipped in. "What happened, Cas? What about the Flood?"
"It's nothing," Cas said, waving his hand dismissively. "Just forget it."
"It wasn't exactly God's vengeance that caused the Flood," Crowley said smugly. "He just used the opportunity that the Flood gave Him, to teach humanity a lesson."
Dean's eyes narrowed. "OK, I'll bite: how DID the Flood happen, then?"
"Castiel?" Crowley prompted.
"I could happily kill you right now," Cas said, glowering at him. But then, he sighed. He knew that Crowley wasn't going to let it go. "I caused the Flood," Cas said miserably.
"YOU did?" Sam blurted out. "How did you do that?"
"I don't know, exactly," Cas admitted. "That was way back when I was a new angel, and I was testing out my powers. Somehow, I made it rain, on Earth. But then, I couldn't stop it. For fourty days and fourty nights it rained, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Needless to say, when God found out about it, He wasn't too happy."
Sam and Dean looked at each other, and then they burst out laughing. "Are you kidding us with this?" Dean said, between chuckles. "That's too funny!"
"Did you have to pay Noah back for the building materials?" Sam joked.
"It's not funny," Cas said, pouting a little. But of course, that struck the brothers as funny too, and they laughed some more.
Dean was wiping his eyes with the backs of his hands now. "Thanks, Cas. I needed that," he chortled, trying to compose himself.
Cas sighed again. Yes, he could see how the story would be funny to the brothers. He supposed, on some level, it was. But there was a lot more to it than that. Castiel had felt terrible about what he had done. True, it had been an accident, but still....
Cas shook himself out of the memory, looking around the empty library almost as if expecting to see Crowley sitting there, smirking at him once more. He'd been extremely angry at the King of Hell that day, but strangely, he had done Cas a favour, in a way. He just hadn't known it.
The Flood. Cas had spent quite a bit of time thinking about it, ever since that day here in the library. Sam and Dean had joked about it, but Cas hadn't been able to shake his guilt over the incident. But what could he do about it now, he'd thought sadly.
The answer, of course, was nothing. There was absolutely nothing Cas could do about it now. The Flood was, quite literally, ancient history. He could no more go back and un-do that than he could change any of the other dozens and dozens of mistakes he had made over the years.
So, what could someone do, to make up for something they had done wrong? If it couldn't be un-done, could it be atoned for, somehow? Cas had thought about it and thought about it, but he couldn't see how. He couldn't take it back, and he couldn't change what had happened way back then. But the human emotions he felt now after years of being the Winchesters' friend were telling Cas that he had to do something about it.
He'd gotten the idea when Dean had announced that he needed a break. He and Sam had worked back-to-back-to-back cases for a while now, and Dean needed some "R and R", he'd said. Cas had been puzzled, for a moment. "R and R"? What was that? After all this time, there were still some slang expressions that he was unfamiliar with. It actually made sense that Cas was at a loss as to what R and R meant, because that was an expression he'd never heard in connection with the Winchesters before.
But Dean had been sincere, and he and Sam had kicked off their summer with a movie marathon. Cas enjoyed movies and TV shows, and so he had been watching the films with great interest. They were about a young man who travelled back and forth in time. A solid enough concept. Cas ought to know, because he had sent the Winchesters back to the past several times since they'd made his acquaintance.
That had gotten Cas to thinking: could he manage to do the same thing himself? He would be unable to go back as far as the Flood, of course. He no longer had that kind of "juice", as the expression went. But could he bend the fabric of time long enough to at least apologize for his mistake?
"I need to go away for a while, on a mission," Cas had said to the brothers a few days after he'd had the idea.
"What kind of a mission?" Sam asked, curious.
"Just....angel stuff," Cas had replied evasively. "We still haven't figured out how to repopulate Heaven." That was a true enough statement, but Cas wasn't necessarily saying that what he was about to do had anything to do with Heaven's problems. He was merely hoping that the brothers would jump to that conclusion on their own.
And they had, or at least, they hadn't questioned him about it any further. Then Cas had left the bunker, to begin gathering ingredients for the spell.
Once the ingredients had all been obtained, which had taken a week or so to accomplish, Cas hesitated. Was he really going to do this? Time travel was always a risky proposition. If Castiel hadn't been able to touch Bobby's soul, Sam and Dean would have gotten stuck back in the Old West, with no way to return. Cas would be going it alone for this particular excursion. What if something went wrong?
That was when Dean had called him for the first time, giving Cas a ready-made excuse not to do what he was contemplating. What if the Winchesters needed him? So he had remained in the motel room where he'd been staying, racked by indecision. But when Dean called once more, telling his angel friend where Sam had really been disappearing to, Cas took that as a sign. So he had prepared the spell and gone back in time. Back to when Heaven had been a much different place.
"Hey, Cas. Welcome back," Sam said, placing his briefcase on the table.
"Thank you, Sam," the angel said with a thin smile. But he was preoccupied now, thinking about his trip to Heaven, and about the object that was currently nestled in the pocket of his trenchcoat.
"Is Dean here?" the younger Winchester inquired.
"No. I believe he went out," Cas said absently, and Sam grinned. "Well, yeah," he remarked. "If he's not here, then it's only logical that he went out. Right?"
But Cas didn't take the bait, and Sam sighed. "I'm going to go to the kitchen and get a snack," he announced. Cas remained silent, and Sam sighed again. He left the room.
It occurred to Cas now that he hadn't been very polite. He would go to the kitchen in a minute, and apologize. Maybe he would ask Sam some questions about the class he was teaching.
But first, he wanted to reminisce about his experiences in Heaven, and about meeting a handful of Biblical legends.
Castiel stood in the Heaven of yesteryear, looking around. Watching the hustle and bustle of his many, many brothers and sisters, going about their business. It was good to see the place like this again. His heart hurt to think of Heaven the way it was now. Of course, it hadn't exactly been a playground back in those days either, he thought wryly.
But he was woolgathering, now; wasting time. He had set a time limit for himself of twenty-four hours. What he had come here to do wouldn't take nearly that long. All the same, he'd better get to it.
Cas walked down the corridors of Heaven at a brisk pace. The angels he encountered all gave him a smile, or a wave, or both. He returned the greetings, wondering if any of them knew about the area of Heaven he was about to visit. Probably not. Castiel hadn't known about it himself, not until he'd overheard two of his angel sisters talking about it.
He stopped in front of the double doors, taking a deep breath. When he'd first found out about Heavenly Host Seniors' Centre, Cas had felt disbelief. But then, the more he'd thought about it, the more he'd come to realize that it actually made perfect sense. When God the Father had first set up Heaven, He must have designed the place to feel comfortably familiar to humans. That was why everyone had their own residences here, which mimicked those they'd had on Earth, and why there were offices, and break rooms. The latter were especially curious, since there was really no office work to be done, and angels didn't eat, or drink coffee.
Nor did they age. But the individuals who resided in this area of Heaven had arrived as senior citizens, and that was how they would remain. God had chosen a couple dozen ordinary people, designated them as Biblical VIPs, and gifted them with long lives on Earth. Then, when their time came, those same people were ascended to Heaven, “grandfathered” to be angels, receiving their places of honour in the Heavenly Host Seniors Centre. Even Biblical legends needed to fill their days, though. As Cas walked into the main recreation area, he spotted the two angels whose conversation he'd overheard that day, leading to his discovery of this place. The women were setting up folding chairs behind several long tables in the middle of the floor.
Nicole looked up. "Oh, hello, Castiel."
"Call me Cas. Please," he said automatically.
"What are you doing here, Cas?" Liz inquired.
"I was hoping to see Noah," Cas told her.
"I'll find out if he's receiving visitors today," Liz said. "He's kind of....introverted. Hang on, Cas. I'll be right back."
She left the room. Cas opened his mouth to call after her, to tell her that he had to see Noah, and it had to be today. But then, he closed it again. Who was Cas to make demands? That wasn't what he was here for. Instead, he smiled at Nicole, who was still bustling around.
"What do you and Liz do, here?" Cas asked her.
"We're Activities Coordinators," she replied. "Actually, I'm fairly new. Liz has been showing me what she does. Mainly, we just spend time with the people here. We listen to them when they want to talk, and we think up things for them to do, to fill their days. Most of them are happy just to have the company."
Seemingly on cue, a group of elderly people started filing into the room.
"Where's Liz?" Ruth asked Nicole, moving slowly to her usual seat.
"She'll be back in a second," Nicole said. "Everybody, take your places, please. The game is about to begin."
Cas peered at the cards Nicole was holding. "Is that....?"
"Bingo," Nicole replied.
"But I didn't ask my question, yet," Cas said, confused.
Nicole laughed. "No, Cas." She showed him the cards with numbers on them that she'd been about to hand out. "It's Bingo Night."
"It's a good thing Liz is here," Ruth's husband Joab said, sitting beside his wife. "Otherwise, it would have been Hiram's turn to call the game, and he forgets to mark down the numbers he's already called."
"I don't remember that ever happening before," Hiram protested, sitting next to Joab.
Nicole was handing out the cards now. Most of the seniors only took one, but Ruth grabbed a whole stack.
As Ruth started to arrange her Bingo cards in front of her on the table, Cas felt a finger poking him in the arm. He looked down at its source.
"Are you the handyman?" the wizened-looking woman said.
Cas smiled gently. "No, I'm Castiel."
"Can you do something about the temperature in my room?" Leah said irritably. "It's freezing in there!"
"Hello, Castiel," Noah said from behind him, saving Cas from having to think of something to say in response. He turned around, surprised. Noah knew who he was? The two angels had never met, although Cas knew who Noah was, of course.
He regarded Noah curiously. Despite being a Biblical legend, he looked like any other older gentleman would look, Cas thought. He didn't know what he'd been expecting. A man with a long white beard, and lots of animals traipsing after him? Steve Carell, maybe? But Noah just looked like he could be someone's grandfather,
"Castiel?!" Leah exclaimed. "I thought you said you were the handyman!"
"Come on and sit down, Leah," Ruth said irritably. "We were supposed to have started by now!"
Leah moved away from him, sparing Cas once again from having to come up with a response - whatever that might have been.
"I understand you wanted to see me?" Noah said to Cas.
"Yes, if I may," Cas said in a respectful tone. He couldn't believe it. He was standing here in the Heaven of Yore, speaking with Noah.
"I'll talk to you, Castiel, but only if Liz sits with us, to bear witness to our conversation," Noah said warily.
"But what about the game?" Ruth said, agitated. "We need Liz to call the numbers!"
"I can do it," Nicole volunteered.
Ruth eyed the new angel with suspicion. But then, she shrugged. "I suppose that would be all right," she declared. Ruth had been looking forward to this Bingo game all day. She had her dabbers at the ready, and the mini-statues of the saints were all lined up, one behind each row of cards. She'd brought out her luckiest ones today. She hadn't had a win in a while. "Let's get started," she added eagerly.
"Just a minute," Liz said to Noah and Cas. "I'll just get Nicole situated, and then we'll go somewhere a little more private, so you can talk."
Liz led Nicole over to the caller's table. "Don't worry; it's really easy. You just pick the numbers out of this little cage here after you spin it, to mix them up. Like this," she said, demonstrating. "Then you call out the number you picked, and mark it down on this sheet of paper. That's so you can verify that the Bingo is a valid one. Just call the numbers out loudly and slowly, and you'll be fine."
"OK, that sounds simple enough," Nicole said, nodding. She turned the handle, mixing up the numbered balls. "Is everyone ready?" she asked the older angels.
"Yes, yes," Ruth answered for everyone. "Get on with it."
Nicole sighed. She opened the cage and took out one of the balls. "B12," she said aloud.
"No, no, no," Hiram said, and Leah added, "You're not doing it right."
Nicole was puzzled. "But that's what it says." She showed them the ball. "See? B12."
"You're supposed to say 'B, as in' - " Ruth started to say, but Liz interjected. "I call it that way, to liven things up a bit," she told her co-worker. Then, she lowered her voice. "Let's face it; there isn't too much excitement around here. We can't even have Pudding Night, because none of us eat. So, it's just a way of making the game a little more interesting."
"Okay, I get it," Nicole said. "B, as in...." She thought for a moment. "Bethlehem."
Liz smiled approvingly. "There you go. Do it like that, and everyone will be happy." She walked away as Nicole chose another number. "I, as in Isaiah, 25. I25."
The seniors were all quiet now, looking down at their cards for the numbers. Nicole breathed a sigh of relief. She had this.
Liz led Cas and Noah to a small sitting room that was located down the hall from the recreation area. She closed the door behind them as the men sat down.
"So, you're Castiel," Noah began.
"Yes, I am," Cas said nervously. "How do you know my name?"
"God told me what really happened. Eventually," Noah said, frowning. "Just so you know, those animals drove us all crazy, with their constant noise. And I don't believe I'll ever completely get the smell of dung out of my nose."
Liz nearly laughed, but then she saw that both men wore grim expressions. There was obviously a lot more to the situation than met the eye. She remained silent as the two men continued to stare at each other.
Nicole was struggling to come up with Biblical references to the numbers, now. It had seemed like a cute idea at first, but she'd called quite a few numbers, and she was running out of ideas.
"B, as in....Babylon, 7. B7," she said loudly, holding up the next number.
"I knew a woman from there," Joab piped up. All heads turned to look at him.
"That was my sister," Ruth said sharply. "I'd watch what you say next, if I were you. Now, pay attention to the game. I only need one more number!"
Nicole was trying not to laugh. She cleared her throat, masking her amusement. She'd better keep going, before she lost it. "N, as in....Nazareth, 35. N35." She waited. Nothing. No Bingo. "B, as in...." She was stuck. Don't think of Babylon, she told herself. Think of something serious. "Beelzebub," she blurted out. "B9."
They all looked at her disapprovingly. Oh, man. Why had she gone and said that? Invoking the Devil's name in Heaven wasn't exactly going to endear Nicole to these people. But, after a tense moment, their heads all lowered to their cards again. Phew.
Still, no Bingo. Unbelievable. Nicole forged on.
"O, as in...." Wait a minute. What started with the letter O, in the Bible? Nicole drew a blank. "O, as in....Oh, my goodness, I wish somebody would win this game, already! O65."
Joab leaped up from his chair. "Bingo!"
Nicole looked at him, smiling. Great. Finally. He had his single little Bingo card in his hand, and he was waving it around excitedly.
Ruth dropped her dabber, a look of disgust on her face. She had a dozen cards spread out in front of her, easily. She picked up the figurine of Saint Christopher. "You're supposed to be the patron saint of good luck," she said to it. Then she picked up the statuette next to that one. "And, you? You're Saint Bernadine, the patron saint of gambling!"
"You probably shouldn't be calling on the saints to help you win at gambling," Hiram pointed out.
Ruth glared at him, and then she glared at her husband, who was still waving his Bingo card. "Oh, sit down," she said irritably.
Now the other seniors all started grumbling, and Nicole was feeling nervous again. Somehow, she'd lost control of the room. She'd better think of something fast, before she had a full-scale revolution on her hands.
"I came here to apologize to you, and ask you for your forgiveness," Cas said to Noah. "Of all the mistakes I've made over the centuries, and there have been a lot, it's the one I regret the most. I was careless, and foolish. I had no idea of the severity of what I had done, not until I heard about what you and your family went through, because of me. Do you think that you can ever forgive me?"
Noah stood up from his chair. "I'll be right back," he said, and then he left the room.
Cas let out the breath he'd been holding. He and Liz sat in awkward silence, and a few minutes later, Noah was back. He handed Cas a small box. "That's the last sliver of wood from the ark," Noah told him. "I want you to have it. Keep it near you, and every time you feel doubt, I want you to take it out and look at it. Everyone makes mistakes, Castiel. Everyone. It's what you do after you've made the mistake that tells us all what kind of individual you are. And the fact that you came here to apologize to me and ask me to forgive you tells me who you really are. Of course I forgive you, Castiel." Noah smiled. "Besides, I became a legend, thanks to you."
Cas smiled back, relieved. He held the box for a moment and then slipped it into the pocket of his trenchcoat. "Thank you, Noah. I'll treasure it," he said softly.
"Believe in yourself, Cas," Noah advised his fellow angel. "When the time comes, you'll know what to do. But you'd better get back to your own time now, so you can be there when the Winchesters need you."
Cas nodded. Noah was right. For a fraction of a second, Cas had wondered what would happen if he were to just stay here. But Heaven wasn't his home any more - if it had ever been, that was. No; Earth was Castiel's home now, and the Winchesters were his family.
Liz smiled. "I'll see you out, Cas. I'd better check on Nicole, anyway. Some of the residents here take their Bingo game very seriously." She stode over to the door of the sitting room and opened it.
They could hear the commotion all the way down the hall, and when the trio got to the recreation room, it was in total bedlam. Nearly everyone who was there was arguing with someone else.
"I think you cheated," Ruth was accusing her husband.
"How could I possibly have done that?" Joab objected.
"I don't know, but you must have," Ruth insisted stubbornly.
"You're just mad because you didn't win," Leah pointed out.
"Everybody, please, calm down," Nicole was saying, but it was all in vain. No one was listening to her, anyway.
Liz was astonished. She'd only been gone a short while. What had Nicole done?
Cas was wondering the same thing. Poor Nicole was practically shouting now, but the room was in total chaos. Then Cas felt a tug on his sleeve, and he looked down to see the most elderly-looking man he had ever seen.
"Thank you for coming," the old man said in a hoarse voice. "And thank you for bringing your wife. She's a cutie-pie," he added, gesturing to Nicole.
"She's not my - " Cas started to say, but the elderly angel was no longer looking at him. He was smiling paternally at Nicole. "I have to say, this is the most fun I've ever had here, and I've been here longer than anyone," Methuselah stated.
"I'm sorry, Liz," Nicole said to her friend and co-worker. "I don't know what happened. I didn't mean to get everybody all riled up. I thought that if I awarded the prize and started the next game, things would calm down. But then, they said - "
" - There is no prize," Liz finished for her. "That's right. They just play for fun, and for something to do."
Nicole was amazed. All this drama over a game that didn't even have a prize at the end? Imagine if there was one! Ruth would probably be whacking people with her cane, taking out the competition. A laugh bubbled up in her throat.
Noah moved to the centre of the room. "Quiet!" he said in an authoritative tone. Everyone stopped arguing immediately. "Now calm down, everyone," Noah continued. "It's just a game, and games are meant to be fun. Right, Ruth?"
"Yes, Noah," Ruth said in a subdued voice. The others nodded, murmuring their agreement.
"But I still say you cheated, somehow," Ruth insisted, looking at her husband, and then the arguments started up again.
Noah touched Cas on the arm. "Go. Save yourself," he said, rolling his eyes. Cas laughed. But then, Noah's expression turned serious. "Take that box with you and don't look back, Cas. Only look ahead. Thank you for coming to see me."
Then Noah turned to the arguing seniors to restore order once again, as Cas quietly left the room.
Cas sat at the library table in the bunker, smiling at the memory. He took the box Noah had given him out of his trenchcoat pocket and opened it, looking at the small sliver of wood. He touched it reverently, thinking of the man who'd given him such a wonderful gift. It wasn't just the relic that was special; it was what it represented. Cas would follow Noah's advice the next time he was called on to make a decision.
"Hey, Cas. What's up?" Dean greeted his angel friend affably.
Cas hastily closed the box, putting it back in his pocket. He would probably end up telling the brothers about it eventually, but for now, he wanted to keep the joy that the object brought him all to himself.
"Hello, Dean. How are you?" he said to his friend.
"Good, Cas. I'm good," Dean replied. He nodded his head toward the briefcase. "I guess that means Sammy's home?"
"Yes, he said he was going to the kitchen for a snack," Cas replied.
"I'm gonna get in on that," Dean said eagerly, starting down the hallway. Then, he paused. "You coming?"
Cas smiled. Even though he didn't eat, he frequently hung out with the Winchesters when they did, just for the company. "In a minute, Dean."
Dean continued on down the hall as Cas sat there quietly for a few minutes more. Then he rose slowly from his chair.
Suddenly, the shortwave radio that was sitting on one of the lower bookshelves crackled to life.
"Dean? Sam? Are you there?" the gruff voice said, and Cas's jaw dropped.
"Look, I don't know if you can hear this, but if you can, there's something you need to know," Bobby went on. "Contact me in the usual way."
Then the radio was silent again. Cas waited, but there was nothing further to be heard. He rushed to the hallway, to tell the brothers what he had heard. And, at that very moment, the amulet that Dean now kept on the dresser in his bedroom began to glow.
What other Biblical or historical events could you picture Cas being involved in?
What important events would YOU like to have been present for?
How about that unexpected call at the end? What’s that all about?
What’s the deal with that glowing object?
Are we ever going to find out what Dean’s surprise is?
As always, we’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below, and don’t forget to vote in the next Fan Fiction Poll!
Check out my other Supernatural stories on the WFB Writers’ Page! Happy reading!