Raphael ignores him, continuing to stare through the wooden walls of the dilapidated cabin.
Castiel waits patiently at his shoulder. He keeps most of his attention on the human realm, shifting his scrutiny from the tombstones at the side of the cabin to the shadowy forest surrounding them, alert and watchful. It is a chilly night, he notes, cataloguing what his limited human senses tell him and doing his best to interpret them. The cold does not affect him, of course, but Jimmy feels it, though the trench coat serves well enough to keep the vessel sufficiently warm.
In the part of his consciousness that is always connected to Heaven, his brethren’s voices murmur endlessly, comforting and familiar.
Raphael finally turns to acknowledge him with impassionate dark eyes and still features. His brother’s vessel is a tall man with wavy brown hair and sideburns, wearing a long brown coat serving the same purpose as his trench coat. Here on this plane, their true visages are concealed under human skin, but the weight of the archangel’s regard is a nearly tangible thing. The inherent authority makes him straighten instinctively.
"Castiel," the archangel intones in a deep, severe voice. "You were given orders by your superior, were you not?"
"I was," Castiel answered respectfully. "I have already found the potential in Reykjavík and reported her location to Uriel."
"Then why are you here?"
"I come by Joshua’s biding."
"For what purpose?"
"To take on the mantle of guardian for the potential you discovered." Castiel lets his eyes drift over to the cabin.
“It is too late for this one, Castiel.” Raphael’s emotionless mask cracks to show faint disdain. “Before I arrived, he had already been killed by this man I wear.”
Castiel does not doubt it. He sees the stains of murder upon the soul of his brother's vessel, warping and corrupting the intrinsic beauty of human souls. It is a distressing sight.
He starts to speak, to pass on Joshua’s message, but Raphael raises a hand to silence him, focus turning inward. Again, Castiel waits as Raphael confers with whoever is communicating with him.
Eventually, the archangel drops his hand and fixes his cold gaze on Castiel. "Joshua has conveyed that you should remain here for the time being, but we have not received instructions to restore this potential's life. His soul is bound for Heaven, brother."
“Yet a reaper has not arrived to collect his soul." Every word Castiel speaks echoes with utter faith. "It is not yet his time to pass on.”
Raphael inclines his head in acknowledgement. “Then I shall believe that Father has His own plans.”
The archangel’s form starts to bleed over his vessel, six blazing wings unfurling from the mass of white-hot brilliance and flexing, preparing to take flight.
"The strike against the Pit to retrieve the Righteous Man is in the final stages of preparation.” Echoes of the Healer’s true voice reverberate in the night air. “My work here is done. I must return to assist."
"I understand.” For the first time in centuries, Joshua – the only angel in creation who has remained in direct contact with the Lord – left the Gardens to convey their Father’s Will. His instructions had necessitated a complete change in their approach towards the destined Apocalypse. The Righteous Man's soul is bound for the Pit and the angelic troops are readying themselves for battle against Hell's forces. Heaven has not been infused with such drive and purpose since their Father vanished. Michael is an incandescent presence, laying out strategies and assigning roles to all the garrisons. “May the grace of our Father follow you, brother."
"You as well, brother."
To human eyes, the archangel's departure is witnessed through the bright light spilling out of the vessel's eyes and mouth. Castiel, however, sees the pulse of wings and rush of grace as the archangel returns to Heaven. It is a place that his current assignment will keep him from for the time being, and he already feels a tiny wisp of disquiet from being away. He shakes it off; at the very least, he will not be lonely, not with several members of his garrison stationed on Earth as well.
“The Word of God will be unearthed soon in the future. All potential Prophets must be located and guarded until the Keeper of the Word is chosen and reveals to us more of the Lord’s teachings and commands.” Castiel is a foot soldier and would have been part of the assault on Hell, but Joshua’s information had led to the deployment of a number of his kin, dozens of them walking the Earth for the first time in millennia to search and seek out specific humans. Guardians are hand-picked by Joshua, and it is a duty that Castiel will take great pride in fulfilling.
With a single thought, he shifts himself outside the realm of human perception before he can be noticed, even as Raphael's former vessel falls to his knees, clutching his head and panting with agony. Castiel tilts his head, frowning faintly.
Now that Raphael’s grace no longer spills over from the confines of the man’s body, he can see clearly how broken the human's mind is. The Healer’s true vessel will not exist for several centuries yet, and so a substitute like this man has to be used when the archangel descends to Earth. They are a poor fit, the grace of an archangel too strong to be contained for long in an unsuitable vessel. A gentle probe reveals old fissures in the human’s psyche stretching back for years, each splinter signalling a possession by Raphael.
Castiel cannot help but feel sorrow and sympathy when the human struggles to his feet and begins talking to himself frantically. Raphael is not the cause of Tobias Hankel’s mental fracturing, but the possessions have accelerated the degradation of his sanity.
He resists the impulse to guide his charge’s soul back into his body. Instead, he waits for Tobias to win the argument with his father’s shadow and follows the man back into the cabin.
Castiel smiles benevolently when Spencer Reid gasps back to life.