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When Castiel woke up, he was disoriented, but he immediately recognized his surroundings. A void of nothingness. There was darkness all around him, and all he could see around him as he slowly got to his feet was an endless vacuum. 


"Cas," Jack's voice echoed across the void, and Castiel wasn't sure he'd heard it at first. But his son called out to him again, and this time, a lone figure appeared in the distance. Castiel stumbled towards it, memory beginning to permeate within him, propelling him on. 


This was the empty. Castiel knew he was dead; he knew Jack was dead. That must also mean that Sam and Dean were dead too. In heaven, he hoped, reunited with their parents and happy. Finally, at peace. Castiel dwelled on that thought as he realized what that must mean for the world. The world that Chuck- God, his father- had so cruelly destroyed. 


If it was all over, then why was he awake? Castiel didn't know why he had awakened from the empty once again, but he'd figure that out later. He hurried to Jack and pulled the Nephilim into his arms, happy to put his arms around the boy he considered his son. They stayed like that for a few precious moments before Castiel pulled away to look at him. 


"Jack," he said softly as he looked over the Nephilim's features. "Your soul?"


"I got it restored," Jack explained before another figure appeared before them. Castiel recognized her right away and sighed. 


"Billie," he said as Death approached, a grim look on her face. "Why am I awake? Why are either of us awake?"


"Because you and the Winchesters interfered with the fabric of time again," Billie replied, a hint of annoyance in her voice. "And because this time your interference isn't just contained to your universe."


"I don't understand," Castiel felt confused. "It was God who-"


"Yeah, I know," Billie cut him off. "But we can't have him destroying the fabric of all time just because you pissed him off. He's gone too far this time and now it's all a mess. Everything."


"I don’t understand, what’s a mess?" Castiel was still confused. He knew that Chuck had destroyed the world, and he remembered Chuck mentioning that he had created many other universes, but he didn't understand how he and the Winchesters could possibly affect any of them.


"I'm sending the two of you back to the mess you created, along with Sam and Dean." Billie said. "But I think you’ll find you’ll wish you stayed here. You see, Chuck wasn’t lying when he said he created many different universes, well now they’re all intersecting with one another and the result is just nothing but chaos. Monsters that belong in one world, people who should have died in other worlds, its just..." Billie trailed off, shaking her head in utter disbelief at her own words. 


"What are we supposed to do in that world?" Castiel asked as he waited patiently for Billie to speak again. "It’s not like we have the ability to put things back together again."


"No, Humpty Dumpty, you can’t," Billie said sarcastically, “but you helped make it now you get to live in it. And, just as a favor, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll give you a loan.” 


"A loan?" Castiel exchanged glances with Jack. He didn't like the sound of that, and he was sure whatever he agreed to now was going to hurt him later. 


"Three souls from the empty and three from heaven… what’s left of it anyway. Any human, demon or angel that you want. I'll send them with you, but I'll be wanting them back at some point."


Castiel swallowed. There were plenty of angels he'd love to see again and he knew Sam and Dean had lost some close friends over the years. They had carried the grief and guilt over their deaths with them through the years. As he thought through all the people he’d lost, his mind finally did settle on six.


"I agree," Castiel said, and before the words even left his mouth, Billie snapped her fingers and Castiel suddenly found himself in the dirt. The air around him was hot and thick with the smell of smoke. As he looked around, the sight around him chilled him. 


All around him was the sight of destruction and death. He stood on the broken, charred sidewalk of a burnt-out city- or what was left of one. The metal frames of collapsed skyscrapers, the piles of rubble, and the uprooted streets told the grim story of annihilation on a devastating scale. 


"Castiel?" A feminine voice caught his attention, and as the angel turned, he found Jack standing next to him, examining the three forms that stood before them. Hannah, Meg, Crowley, Jo Harvelle, Eileen Leahy, and Charlie Bradbury.