The Empty is a fathomless void. Castiel is here, and everywhere, and nowhere. But Dean Winchester, his charge for over a decade of the most tumultuous years in the history of the world, the universe, is safe. He did all he could. And now, he's done.
Castiel thinks he might even be alright with it. He thinks of Dean's face, the way his mouth trembled when he said, 'don't do this, Cas,' those words meaning something else entirely, like 'don't leave again,' or 'I'd rather have you,' or 'don't ever change,' or even…
He's so, so tired. He closes his eyes, he thinks.
He also thinks, perhaps, he hears something.
Hm. Let's try that again…
He wakes up, turns over in bed to wrap blankets tighter around himself, and dozes. The room is pleasantly cool, the air conditioning unit kicking on in the window providing comforting background noise. When he opens his eyes, he sees the ugliest floral wallpaper he's ever laid eyes on.
He sits up. He's in a motel room. He's alone. And he doesn't know anything.
There are some bags at the small table across from the bed, so he looks through them first. He finds clothes - all that seem to be for him, or someone else his size - toothbrush, toothpaste, a few other toiletries. Deeper down, in a false bottom of the bag there's a gun. It feels… not completely foreign in his hands. There's other strange things, too: licenses and credit cards and other documents, featuring his face - he checks in the tiny bathroom mirror to make sure - but different names and too many titles for one man to have. There's rock salt and charms and some old looking tomes depicting the occult, magic, and other things that he knows the identity of, but without any specific memory attached to them.
He puts everything back in a rush and goes hunting for his wallet. It's in a pair of jeans discarded on the cigarette burned carpet, but the license there says Emmanuel Allen and somehow, that doesn't feel right, either. He also finds more credit cards with names that aren't his, and a suspicious wad of cash.
He sits on the bed and thinks. He closes his eyes, trying to remember where he was, who he was, but it all escapes his mind like sand through his fingers. There's moments where he thinks wait, what about -? and then it's gone. It's frustrating enough that after a few minutes, he gives up. There's only one thing that jumps out to him, a raspy voice saying don't do this, Cas. He looks up, almost expecting the owner of the voice to be in the same room, but he's still alone.
"Cas," he says to himself. "I'm… Cas." He feels something when he says it. It feels both correct and misplaced, a perfect fit and badly sized. He frowns at the bag, then glances around.
He sees a phone on the bedside table. He takes it off the charger and flips it open. Thursday, April 10th, 2003. There's a message from an unknown number.
poltergeist in bozrah.
He should view it as a weird text sent to the wrong person. Instead he's standing up, gathering his things. In the discarded jeans pocket he finds a key ring, and when he leaves the motel room he spots a car that seems… familiar. His key unlocks the door. He tosses his belongings inside, frowns, and goes to the office.
"I'm checking out," he tells the man behind the desk. He hands the motel key over. "Do you have any atlases or maps?" The man nods and heads to the back, coming out with a thick book and charging Cas six fifty for it. He pays with the cash. "Thanks. By the way. Where are we?"
The clerk frowns at him. "Pontiac." That also strikes Cas, but he’s not sure why.
"Thanks." He heads back to his car, flips open the book until he finds pages depicting Illinois. He traces his fingers over state routes and highways, moving east. Connecticut, Bozrah. Bingo.
Keeping the book open on the passenger seat, he starts the car. He doesn't remember driving, but he pulls out of the parking spot and onto the lonely two lane road and gets going, anyhow.