It was one of those rare quiet nights. Sam and Dean both slept peacefully. Dean on the bed next to where Castiel was sitting Sam snoring softly across the room. He heard the buzz and the whir, felt the shift in the air and the sonic whine of the screw-driver before he saw anything.
Castiel looked over, put his book aside and laid a hand on Dean’s forehead, pushing the man further under, ensuring he wouldn’t awaken until the morning. Castiel patted softly between the beds, pressed a finger to Sam’s forehead and repeated the gesture.
“Hello!” the tall slender men crowed, a large grin on his open face.
“Hello Doctor,” Castiel greeted much more quietly. “Haven’t seen you in a few years.”
“Oh? I suppose not, wasn’t really paying attention.” The man known only as ‘The Doctor’ was wandering around the room, bending lowly over menial objects, his heavy-rimmed glasses perched on his nose. The Doctor titled his head, wrapped his knuckle against Dean’s laptop and then flashed his sonic screw driver at it for a few seconds.
“You really oughta tell your boy to lay off the pornography, Castiel. Viruses,” Doctor drawled.
“I’ll be sure to pass the message,” Castiel replied, he was carefully measuring out a few teaspoons of loose tea leaves in a simple blue china pot that had appeared seemingly out of nowhere.
“Handy trick, that. Always did have quite the admiration for you proper angels,” Doctor remarked.
“As opposed to?”
“The weeping ones. Nasty things. Don’t blink and all. I thought I told you that…” Doctor frowned.
Castiel smirked, placing the pot and two teacups on the scratched motel table. “Timey Wimey.”
“Oh yes!” Doctor grinned back. “Well, look at you!”
“Are they demons?” Castiel asked curiously, settling on the chair across from The Doctor.
“The Weeping Angels. Are they demons?”
“Nah,” The Doctor waved it away. “My lot: aliens.”
Castiel nodded, they sipped their tea in silence. The angel knew The Doctor was here for a reason. After they journeyed together all those years ago, in the years before Winchesters, The Doctor only ever visited because of reasons. The blue-eyed man just wasn’t sure if he should pry or let The Doctor say it in his own time.
But, unlike the man across from him, Castiel didn’t have forever – well, technically he did, but the Winchesters didn’t.
“I like this vessel,” The Doctor remarked suddenly. “Very you.”
Castiel quirked a brow. “Who was it this time Doctor? Who did you lose?”
“Hey, why’s it always have to be for that, that I visit you?” The Doctor rebutted.
“Doctor,” Castiel said patiently.
“Oh, all right,” but The Doctor didn’t elaborate.
“Doctor, who did you lose?” Castiel pressed, whispering The Doctor’s real name into his mind, urging.
“You know it’s cheating when you go in my head,” The Doctor pouted. “You’re the only living being in all of creation who got that name without me giving it to you, you know. Cheating. Not fair.”
“I do apologize,” Castiel drawled. Then gentle again, “Who did you lose, Doctor?”
The Doctor looked up, across the dimly lit room, ancient eyes so very sad. Castiel saw galaxies flash in those eyes, pain, anger, a little bit of fear and most of all despair. Castiel cocked his head, miniature flashes spreading across the gently probed link. A trick of both of the Angels and Time Lords. They were unused to it at first. It wasn’t often a different species reached into their minds. Sometimes though, Castiel knew with this being especially, he had to do what was necessary. After all, The Doctor had been Castiel’s first real friend. They had been through much together before their lives had diverged into different paths. Castiel saving the world from the West of the Atlantic, The Doctor from the East and all the reaches beyond.
“All of them,” The Doctor finally spoke, voice rough with misery. “All of them, every last one. Just…” The Doctor blew out his fingers then dropped his hand.
“You don’t mean…” Castiel began with mounting terror.
The Doctor’s head snapped up. “Oh no, no, no, no. Quite alive. Good, yeah. Some better than others, but they’re… They’re gone from me. Sarah Jane, Martha, Donna, Captain Jack and… and Rose.”
Not able to help himself, Castiel stole a glance over to where Dean slept quiet and peaceful on the bed, he swallowed thickly, closing his eyes then opening them again and turning back to The Doctor.
“I’m so sorry,” Castiel whispered.
“All of them saved the world, Castiel. Saved me in some shape or form and now they’re gone… R-Rose asked me again you know.”
“Could you say it?”
“Nah,” The Doctor shrugged. “Don’t really need to. I don’t go saying what doesn’t need to be said.”
“You never say anything at all,” Castiel replied. “I don’t understand why though, Doctor. If you found her again—”
The Doctor looked up, meeting Castiel’s eyes. “She found me.”
Castiel smiled sympathetically. “Yes, the people we lo—” The Doctor cut Castiel off with a sharp look.
Castiel sighed and nodded then tried again, “Those certain people tend to find us when we need them the most. Why did you let her go, though?”
“I had to,” The Doctor said fiercely. “You know I had to.”
“You left her knowing where her heart was? Knowing she would never fi—”
“I didn’t leave her alone,” The Doctor muttered. “I left her with me… A version of me. Well, a clone… Well, no not really a—”
“Doctor,” Castiel broke into what would surely be a long explanation. “Why did you come here now, though? Why this night?”
The Doctor was silent, for one beat, two then met Castiel’s gaze again. “Because you’re happy.”
Castiel nodded, closing his eyes once more, tight against the darkness and sadness in his friend’s gaze. He allowed that for a minute before Castiel shifted his demeanour, rising from the table and rummaging through one of the bags on the floor. He pulled out a mid-sized box victoriously and carried the travel version of Scrabble over to the table.
“You know what the rules are if either of us uses a word the other doesn’t recognize,” Castiel put the box on the table purposely.
“Oh brilliant,” The Doctor pushed the tea to the side and rubbed his hands together. “Brilliant. Knew I liked you for a reason. Love this game.”
“But it’s never a challenge when you play with someone less clever than you, right?” Castiel smiled.
“I still think I’m cleverer,” The Doctor returned.
Castiel only smirked as he set up the board. “Well, Doctor, that still remains to be seen, doesn’t it?”