CRAIG NA DUN, 1948
The first thing he noticed was the rumble of passing cars. Castiel had grown up with the background noise of machinery and electricity, but now the sound grated on his flayed nerves. Mist clung to the plaid-lined cloak around his shoulders. Cas barely noticed it. The ice around his heart chilled him to the marrow of his bones more than the weather ever could.
Somehow he found his way down the hill. Where hours ago, from Cas’ perspective, there was naught but grass and heather, now an asphalt road cut across the landscape. It was an eyesore, a blessing, and a curse all in one. All Castiel had to do was follow the path of modern civilization and he would be right back to where he started. He wouldn’t be home, though. Cas left that and his heart behind on a barren moor, doomed to die.
He was so lost in thoughts that he didn’t notice the car that approached until its headlights blinded him. Three years without electric lights had Castiel cringing and shielding his eyes. He almost missed the man getting out of the car, but the odors of soap and hair pomade that masked the man’s natural scent made Cas reel back in surprise.
“Sir? Are you alright?” the man said. It took Castiel a moment to realize that he was asked the question more than once.
“Who won?” he tried to say, but the words came out in a rasp.
“Who won the Battle at Stull?” Castiel said. Reflexively, his hand went to the crescent-shaped scar at the junction of his neck and shoulder.
The man, an alpha, Cas could now tell, stared up at him with wide, puzzled eyes. “What?”
“I said, who won the Battle at Stull?” Castiel repeated.
When the alpha didn’t answer, Cas lunged forward. The man’s manufactured clothing felt unnatural and fragile in Castiel’s grip.
“Who won?!” Cas demanded with a roar.
“Th—the Redcoats!” the alpha squeaked.
Numbly, Cas’ hands released the man’s coat. His knees wavered and he dropped to the ground. The last thing Castiel registered before the world went dark was curling his hands protectively over the life growing within him, over the last piece he had of his heart.