"The flapping of a single butterfly's wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month's time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn't happen. Or maybe one that wasn't going to happen does." (Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, p. 141)
Monte Cassino Monastery, Cassino, Italy
Shelves and floor of dark wood contrasted the cold grey stone walls of the monk's cell, but not nearly as much as the tea rose curtains with the matching down comforter covering the single bed wedged into the corner next to the uncluttered, orderly desk. The pink, the cheerful family photos intermixed with knick-knacks, and the delicate lingerie hanging over the back of the desk chair, testified that a woman dwelled inside the walls of one of the few active territorial monasteries remaining in Italy.
Yet, if anyone asked the Vatican, she was no ordinary woman. That is, if anyone there admitted to her presence on any given day.
Already dressed in a long, navy blue skirt, her bare feet padded across the fake Persian rug to her bed as she gracelessly yanked a light blue sweater tunic over her head and pulled free her shoulder-length black hair from the mock turtleneck. Her thumb hooked through a silver chain at her collar and absently slid it the length of the smooth, metal chain, freeing the silver Templar cross pendant from beneath the sweater.
Just at that moment, she began to feel a familiar queasiness easing its way through her. She gripped the back of the chair with one hand, trying to steady herself. Untouchable sparkling silver spots invaded her field of vision, quickly filling up every available space until almost everything she could see was the shiny, liquid silver. Her knuckles white on the chair, she slowly turned so she could move to sit on the bed, but stumbled, falling so she ended up twisted. Her feet were on the floor, although she did manage to get her top half turned so both of her hands lay flat on the unmade bed beneath her. Already, her forehead felt clammy with a light sheen of sweat. She closed her now blind, inky blue eyes and lowered herself, until she could feel the cool, silkiness of the sheets beneath her face.
She began to slowly breath in and out, counting the breaths mentally.
This vision was going to be full-force, with both sights and sounds, which meant whatever she was going to see, it wasn't a premonition. It was something happening somewhere right now. Remote viewing, they called it.
Four...five... There would be no riddles or puzzles for her to work out later.
No agonizing over cosmic secrets that could only be revealed when the time was right.
Instead, these kinds of visions came with migraines and physical assaults that left her ill for hours, even days. Heaven's twisted version of Karma.
"Who are you?" the young man glares murderously at the mysterious man in the trench coat.
The man in question doesn't even bother to look up from perusing the book he's found on the table amongst the knives, occult paraphernalia, and other monster-killing weaponry. "Castiel," he replies rather matter-of-factly.
"Yeah. I figured that. What are you?"
Castiel meets the young man's remarkable green eyes. "I'm an Angel of the Lord."
There is a definite pause. "Get the hell out of here. There's no such thing," the younger man replies with absolute certainty.
"This is your problem, Dean. You have no Faith."
Lightning flashes from somewhere within and without. On the Angel's back two great shadowy wings appear, stretching into the distance silhouetted against concrete and the graffiti of black and white occult symbols. The light is gone as quickly as it came, and the dark-haired Angel in the trench coat is all that remains of the fierce phenomenon.
Dean flinches a little, looking slightly less certain as the penetrating, dark blue eyes of the Angel dare him to doubt. "Some Angel you are. You burned out that poor woman's eyes," Dean accuses bitterly without losing a beat.
The Angel bows his head, shaking it slightly, almost as if he feels regret. "I warned her not to spy on my true form. It can be... overwhelming to humans, and so can my real voice. But you already knew that."
"You mean the gas station. And the motel. That was you talking?"
The Angel nods simply.
"Buddy, next time, lower the volume."
"That was my mistake. Certain people, special people, can perceive my true visage. I thought you would be one of them. I was wrong." The Angel is patiently ignoring the man's attitude for just for this moment, because he has never questioned his superiors' decisions or orders, and he has been advised that Dean Winchester has a tendency to question everything as a defense mechanism. He doesn't understand why. His other charges are Believers.
"And what visage are you in now, huh? What? Holy tax accountant?"
"This? This is... a vessel."
"You're possessing some poor bastard?"
"He's a devout man; he actually prayed for this."
"Well, I'm not buying what you're selling, so who are you really?"
Perplexed at what is so hard to understand, Castiel frowns. "I told you."
"Right. And why would an Angel rescue me from Hell?"
"Good things do happen, Dean."
"Not in my experience."
Castiel's brow creases as he steps into Dean's very personal space. His deep blue eyes search Dean's rich, green-hazel ones for answers. "What's the matter? You don't think you deserve to be saved?"
Uncomfortable with Castiel's proximity, with the intensity of his stare, Dean turns his head, so he is looking at the Angel from the corners of his eyes. He tries not to flinch. "Why'd you do it?"
"Because God commanded it. Because we have work for you."
She was unsure how long she lay blacked out this time. Her eyesight was returning in a painful blur of colors and bright lights, and she could feel the thick, stickiness of her blood slowly dripping from her nose onto her clean sheets. She rolled onto her back, sluggishly pulling her feet onto the bed, feeling every motion as if her entire body was an exposed wire.
"Damned, Winchesters," she swore softly.
[*] Dialog during the "Remote Viewing" was taken from Supernatural episode 4x01, "Lazarus Rising," but the story author filled in the descriptive elements and interpretation of the scene.