Chapter 1: Who Wears The Crown
Michael is wearing Adam.
"Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
~ William Shakespeare
Chuck shakes his head pacing in front of her. She stifles a sigh as she rolls her eyes, you'd think she's asking him to hand over his creation instead of talking to his sons.
"You know it's not that simple. Michael is angry."
"It's not like you've never seen him angry."
"That's not the point! How will he feel when I tell him we reconciled, when we did what he forced himself not to do?"
"Aren't you the one who keeps saying you can't be held responsible for your creations' actions?"
Chuck sighs and throws himself into a chair with enough force that it almost tips backward.
"Just go. I can't deal with you right now."
Amara rolls her eyes again.
"Yes you forbid I make a logical argument or something."
He waves her away. She pushes back in anger. Chuck ignores it he instead braces his elbows on the table, his hands forming a steeple as he thinks.
Chuck looks up to see Michael staring at him. He tries for happy smile only for it come out as a grimace.
"Michael. Please sit?"
Michael stares at him for a few more minutes. His eyes racking over his form.
"You're wearing Raphael's prophet."
He says sitting down.
Chuck mentally tenses. Alright they were going there.
"Oh will you stop being so melodramatic."
"Have children Amara. Then you'll see."
"I was always the prophet. I wanted to see, have a front row seat so to speak."
Michael stares at him for a few minutes and finally blinks and nods.
"So uh, any questions? Anything you want to know? Like what I did —"
"How is Heaven?"
"It's uh, it's well in shambles. They're floundering, holding onto archaic ways of —
"When can I leave? Oh this shouldn't surprise you but Castiel will pay."
Michael rises the chair scraping against the hardwood floor, he stands and waits for Chuck to finish his thought.
"Son please sit."
Michael stares at him,
His voice breaks.
Chuck's face melts into a sympathetic smile.
"Please? This won't take too long. I'm sorry. I—"
Chuck flinches at the anger. It's dry, so close to catching on fire.
"Michael son I—"
"You left me. Left without even saying goodbye, never mind instructions. What else was I suppose to do? Did you even care as you watched us all slowly become apathetic? Did you even fucking care when Raphael counted you as dead?!"
Chuck rubs his temples.
He looks up to see Michael nodding. He doesn't know why, but he wants to wound him. Break him.
"Honesty I didn't care. You all disappointed me. Raphael's lack of faith or your actions just were further justification for me."
"So why bring me out of the cage? Why save me at all?"
Chuck leans back and stares at him.
"She wants me to apologize, make amends with everyone I hurt."
He gestures to Michael adding,
Michael nods again.
"And how did they take it?"
"Death I think went the best. I promised Dick a world for him and the other leviathans with unlimited food... He agreed. Don't know if that means he forgives me or if he just saw an opportunity and took it."
Michael crosses his arms and says,
"I think it's the latter. Dick was always an opportunist."
"So what are you giving us? An apology? You think that makes up for everything?"
Chuck shakes his head and leans toward Michael.
"I'm not giving you all anything,"
He feels the rage spike. He holds up a hand.
"I am giving you something Michael, you're family. I'm — I'll try to make it up to you. I'm trying to be here for you. For all of you. I'm trying to be more present. To understand."
"How? Do you know what's it like to watch as the ones your suppose to protect slowly spiral out of your grasp? To have to kill the ones you raised?"
Chuck shakes his head,
"No I don't."
"Wow he's mad."
"I told you!"
"You're doing fine. Just keep a level head."
"You want to make up to me? Let me show you. Let me drench you in the agony that's been my existence for the last couple aeons."
Chuck stills, and shakes his head.
"Son I don't think that's a good idea. I'm sorry, I —"
"I'm the only one left! Everyone one I love, my little brothers are dead. I can't.... You can't make up from that."
"If I were to bring them back?"
Chuck inwardly sighs and decides to use a different tactic.
"Michael if I may? Aren't you tired? Don't you want a break?"
"Unlike you, I can't afford one."
Rage overtook him for a second. How dare Michael be so rude? He should be bowing at his feet, apologizing.
"Enough. Michael sit down."
Michaels eyes widen, fear spikes through him as it should. He sits down bowing his head. Yet he still doesn't apologize. Chuck tries not to glare at him, as he rises and paced in front of him.
How dare he? He should be grateful, thankful! He was helping.
Amara stays silent. Which somehow makes this whole think worse.
"Do you know what's it like to have every single person you come across blame you? Hate you?"
Michael glares at him. Chuck waves him off.
"Cool your fire Mike."
He has a somewhat captive audience now, he intends to use it. He feels the sudden anger drain out of him. He braces his hand against the table suddenly weak. He sighs, he wants to break the cycle. Not just for her but all of them, all his family.
"I'm sorry Michael. I loved you. I abandoned you and that's inexcusable. I'm not asking you to forgive me, just to try to love me again. To be a family with me again?"
He hates how uncertain he sounds. He's the commander of Heaven, he's God. He shouldn't sound so weak.
"You also played human for a while brother, they're very in touch with their emotions. It can be hard to readjust to being big when you tried to be small."
"Stop making sense."
But the barb was weak. No real power for behind it. Her laughter echoes in his mind as her power embraces him.
The thud of something hitting the floor makes them both jerk back their awareness to the diner.
Michael is kneeling before him. Chuck stifles a groan, funny how a moment of perspective changes things.
"Father I love you. I will always love you. If you ever doubted that then that's my fault. I —"
"Shh Mike son I know. I know. I was just being defensive."
He leans down to pull Michael to him. Michael begins to shake, tears coated Chuck's shoulder. He wasn't sure if he ever gave Michael a hug. He had made him to be a solider, a commander. Never someone so weak he needed something so trivial as affection.
"Please don't give me anymore orders, I can't handle them. I can't."
"Shh Michael, my little prince it's okay. I won't. I forgive you. I love you. You did everything right."
Still Michael shakes and bows his head. Chuck inwardly sighes.
"Michael I didn't mean to get angry, I should control my anger better - that's on me. Please look at me?"
He's pleading now but he doesn't care. He needs Michael to believe him more than anything else in that moment. Michael raises his head a little, and Chuck feels Amara still.
"He's so broken."
She whispers in shock and horror.
"I know. I did this to him Ammie. I- how can I come back from this? Why should I?"
Her anger surprised him.
"Charles your guilt aside, this isn't for you - it's for them. Now stop feeling sorry for yourself and help him."
Chuck flinches at the use of his full name. He draws himself inward, steeling himself for Michael's anger.
"I failed you, Father I've lost faith in you."
"You never failed me. Never. I failed you okay? I should have left instructions. I should have gave you clearer signs, saved from you the cage as soon as you went there. M - my special, little warrior. You're my son, do you understand me? More than my general, or commander, you are my son Michael. My darling little prince, I love you. I love you. I love you."
He was saying this all in a rush now. He pulls Michael to him. Holds him closer, grace and essence mixing. He soothes his pain. They stay like that for a long time.
"I am your son."
he echoes, Chuck doesn't think he believes him, yet. But he will. Chuck swears on the love he has for everything that he'll make sure Michael comes to believe him.
"Yes above all else. You are my son."
The tremors lessen slowly, gradually. Finally Chuck feels sure enough to pull Michael to his feet.
Michael gives him a small smile and cleared his throat.
"She's here right?"
"Well not here... But yes. She's not locked away."
"Can I talk to her?"
Chuck and Amara's essence still. Both very confused as to why. But Chuck shrugs as Amara smiles cautiously in their connection to him in acquiescence.
Michael takes a step back as Amara appears. She gives him a small nod.
He returns it.
Michael turns to Chuck in question,
"I'm told that freewill is something you want us to have yes?"
Chuck and Amara share a look not sure where Michael was going with this.
Chuck says turning back to Michael.
"And that means we can question right?"
"Yes go ahead. Ask me anything."
Michael looks at him and asks,
"Why did you forgive her?"
"Because she's family."
"You let her win!"
The rage is now a roaring fire. Ready to consume and burn all in its path.
"I let her win. Well I let her kill me — I think it's safe to say we both won."
He turns to her at that, they smile at each other.
"But creation? The world?"
Chuck turns back to him.
"She's family Michael. She—"
"You did it once before, what made this time any different?"
Chuck tilts his head,
"What did you say to Dean? You took care of Lucifer in ways he couldn't comprehend? How do I convey the moment you see and understand someone so completely as if you've known them always?
In the beginning it was us, we are moments apart. There was no time, no space then. There was just us so close we felt — knew we were one in the same. That this was family, this was love."
Chuck trials off as the Michael glares at him,
"You gave him to me and he was mine. I loved him, I still do. But I loved you more. We complemented and challenged each other. I held him and nurtured him — I knew him, every inch of him. I—"
"We were the same nephew."
Her voice was soft, rebuffing the tension between father and son.
"All I've ever known is him. I -— how do I explain raising someone who does not age? How do I explain the feeling of being laced together? Of filling our crevices with each other.
How do I explain a bond so deep it makes everything else all at once trivial and wonderful?"
Michael shakes his head, his voice sharp as a blade.
"We had that, Father and I loved each other. I am the first...the eldest, I know him. His love is trivial and finite. It's frankly a miracle he still cares for humanity at all."
Chuck and Amara catch each other's eyes at that. Chuck sighs and looks back at Michael.
"Son she's family, I love her —"
"You abandoned her, all of us. But let's focus on her. If you loved her Father why abandon her?"
His voice quicker than lightning. Chuck flinchs this was still a sore subject between them, though they pretty much had agreed that they were even with the whole causing each other pain thing, still he'd be lying if he said he doesn't feel guilty when catches him smiling at her wonderment.
"I—Michael do you love me?"
Michael stills and blinks at him. He finally nods,
"Yes I do."
"See it from my perspective I—"
"She wanted to destroy everything! Destroy us! She tried to kill you! How can you choose her over us? Over your family? Over your children!"
"She is my family Michael! She's all I've ever known. That feeling just doesn't go away with time or distance."
He finishes softly,
"What about us? Did we not make up for it? Didn't the Host, the animals, the various menagerie of creatures in this world make up for her?"
He's shaking his head before he can stop himself. He looks to her for help only for her to give him an encouraging smile. He needs to do this himself.
"We — I."
He pauses and swallows. He's tired of being politically correct, of trying to spare Michael's feelings. All she asked was for him to undo his lies and he would. He has to, he wants the creations she's come to love to see her the same way he does.
"None of you know me, truly know me Michael — not even you. Or Death, or Dick. You all see what I want you to. You see, your father, a leader. Death? A friend, the creator. Dick? His warden, an overzealous artist.
But Amara? My sister? She — what do you see me as? You can be honest, say whatever you want."
Amara raises an eyebrow, he's teetering, his essence jagged with pointed tips of ivory.
She moves away from the wall to sit on the bench. Her hand lay still in her lap. Her essence in contrast hangs above them, twisting around her ankles — restless.
"What do I see you as?"
He opens his mouth to clarify the question when he realizes she's being rhetorical.
"I see you as a friend, a thinker, an artist. I know you to be curious, generous, and loving. But to see and know you Brother is not what makes Michael and I different."
Amara looks directly at Michael now when she speaks,
"What makes me different from every other person in this world Michael is not that I am family.
What makes me different is that I understand him. I understand the reasoning, the underlying thought process that made him do one thing or another—"
"So why did he do it Aunt? Why did he abandon us? Why did he want Lucifer and I to kill each other? Why did he make a world filled with suffering?"
Amara looks to him but he hides his thoughts, he wants her to make her own decision, not one based on his feelings.
She looks back at Michael,
"You won't like the answers. Would you still like me to tell you?"
Michael swallows and nods.
"He left you because you disappointed him, he wanted you to fight each other because he wanted to see if you'll choose another road — I'll elaborate on that don't worry. Now this was the very question I found myself asking again, humanity, your siblings, even the monsters in purgatory and demons in Hell feel it. Everyone suffers. At first I thought it was because that was how he designed it, but as I got to watch him interact with his creation as I got to spend more time the answer came to me. Would you like me to tell you Brother?"
Chuck leans against the wall and nods, his hands shoved into his pocket. His head bowed his eyes fixed on his shoes.
"Because you want to see them succeed, you want them to prevail in spite of everything —"
"That can be argued for humanity fine. But what of everyone else?"
"Can it be argued about you and your siblings Michael?"
"Fine. Not that the suffering of Purgatory or Hell bothers me but shouldn't it because of their choices? The circumstances by which it is written?"
"Not everything has such a divine reasoning as it comes to pass because it is written Michael."
Speaks Chuck quietly.
Michael doesn't say anything and looks at Amara.
"Demons suffer not because of their choices as humans but as their choices as demons. Their are good angels as they are good demons. Monsters suffer because they choose to. They have the power to control nature there are some who do, who can."
Michael blinks, he walks toward her. His sword glinting in the light of the sun. Though all three know it is useless in the current company. Still Chuck tenses, Amara only shoots a small smile in his direction.
"So you're saying we suffer because we choose to?"
"But what of those who do not choose it? Who are beaten, abused."
She rises an eyebrow,
"I thought you were indifferent toward humanity Michael?"
"Then why the concern for them?"
Michael looks away, he clenches his blade harder.
"Because he, you, neither of you will answer my real questions."
"I will Nephew."
"You haven't been here! You don't know this world! What've I had to go through!"
Chuck flinches away, Amara's kindness evaporates replaced with a layer of anger.
"You had to turn your back on your kin, lock him away. You had to watch as one by one your siblings fell apart or fell in line — losing their individuality in the process. You had to watch as your baby brother had to fend for himself, try not to go to him as he stumbled and fell again and again. You had to come to terms with the idea of his death, of your own destruction thereafter... Because how could you live in a world without him? Why would you want to?"
"How am I doing Michael? Did I miss anything?"
"You don't know what's it like to watch as your brother hates you — becomes a twisted caricature of everything you loved about him."
She laughs at that, long and hard.
"Are you kidding me? Michael I had to watch as he created again and again. I might of hated his obsessing need to do so but even I was never so angry as to not see how each clean slate weighed on him. How his spark seemed to grow dimmer with each new creation. I was never so blind as to see each destruction and subsequent creation drove us further apart.
Before he created you, before the leviathans there was a world with the colors of the rainbow - where it would rain droplets of diamonds. It had been a gift for me, a last ditch effort on his part to make me understand. I destroyed it with a wave of my hand do you know what he did?"
She nods her head.
"My brother who I thought would never betray me set out to erase me. In the moments before I was being sealed away I didn't see my brother I saw a monster a foreign force that I didn't understand. But this wasn't my brother. This was the kin who knew me as well as he knew himself. I know what it's like Michael, believe me I know what's it like to hate him enough to want to kill him, to love him enough to want to let yourself die instead."
Chuck slides to the floor, his hands covering his face. Michael looks at him wide-eyed. Amara simply smiles sadly and appears next to him.
"I told you we've gotten passed it, I've gotten passed it."
"You can, you were the victim. I wasn't. I have to live with the fact that I betrayed you."
Amara pulls one of his hands away from his face,
"Yes you did, but didn't you choose me instead of your creation now?"
"You chose me in the end. That's all that matters."
Michael looks away,
"I don't know wether to be angry or impressed."
Amara and Chuck turn from each other to him.
"Son look she's family. I know that's hard for your to understand. I know —"
"It's not. That's what makes me angry. I-I just, I don't want to go through another war."
"We won't my little King. We won't. We want to put all the bad blood behind us. Will you help us do that? Will you help us bring our family together?"
She's crouching on the floor next to him, her hand on his cheek. He's nodding and trying not to cry.
She smiles and pulls him closer.
"I'm glad your back Ma."
Amara's essence curls around them. Chuck gets up and steps away, giving them some much needed privacy. Michael used to call her that all the time, only stopping once Lucifer had appeared.
Chuck smiles as he sees Amara curl around him in joy, as Michael starts to recount everything she has missed. His voice soft, low, and quick - like lullaby, it certainly put Chuck at ease.
As Michael continues to speak Amara and Chuck reconnect with each other again.
"I think I can do this five or six more times."
"Five? There's four of them brother."
"I know, there's one or two more angels I need to apologize to."
"What did you do?"
He answers seriously to her amused question. She curls around him, but he pushes her away.
"Focus on Michael, I'll be fine."
Though neither believes his words.
Chapter 2: Son Of The Morning
Quote For Lucifer:
"How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world."
~ Isaiah 14:12
"Are you sure?"
She gave him a look and he sighs.
"I don't have a choice. I need him home."
"Forgot that, if he doesn't forgive you, if —"
"Ammie I got this."
They both knew it was too soon. Michael had just gotten Heaven under control, but Chuck needed to do this know or he never would.
He set the diner up and took a deep breath, and snaps his fingers.
"Well if you're here I can only assume my dear auntie is safe in her little box."
Chuck closes his eyes briefly. Lucifer lounges in his old vessel - Nick something.
"We made up Lucifer."
Lucifer looks up from the silverware and stares at him for a long moment. Suddenly he grins.
"Well I would say I'm glad auntie Amara is here to stay but then I'd be lying."
Chuck sighs but Lucifer speaks again.
"Let's cut the chit chat huh Dad, what do you want?"
He spins the chair so he's straddling it and resting his arms on the back.
Chuck gives him a look of sincerity.
"I want you home."
"Wow, one therapy session and you think we're good to talk about moving back into the family home? Your pride is outstanding."
Sarcasm drips from every word. Chuck closes his eyes and sighes.
"Lucifer I love you. I —"
"If you truly loved me tell me why you didn't lock her away. Why didn't you just lock her away? Especially after everything things she's done!"
Anger glazes over the lightbringer's eyes. Chuck leans toward him.
"She's my family. I love her. She deserves to be free."
"What about us? What about me? You locked me away! Bid my own kin to kill me!"
"I know Lucifer I know. And I'm so, so, sorry for that. Please Lucifer forgive me?"
"Why should I forgive you? After everything you've done, you chose her! Her who wanted us dead."
Frost starts to coat the floor. Chuck watches him,
"Lucifer please listen."
"Why should I? I'm tired of being pushed aside. First because of Humanity and now because of her. She's who's nothing, who will destroy us. She who is a worthless bitch."
His power spills into the room, scorching the walls and shaking the chandler overhead.
"Enough Lucifer, I get your angry. I get you're all angry, and you have every right to be. But I'm trying. I want to make this better. I want to repair our relationship. And I know it can never go back to what it was... But can't we just be a family again?"
"You stopped being family when you allowed Michael to lock me away, when you let Gabriel die by my sword, and again when you let Raphael die by a broken Seraph's hand. You stopped being family Dad when you allowed Michael and I to fall back into that damn cage. You stopped being family when you did nothing to help as Michael slowly lost his sanity."
Chuck rubs his hands over his face teardrops catching on his lashes.
"I'm sorry. That's all I can say. What more do you want Lucifer? Michael is in Heaven, Raphael and Gabriel will be brought back soon. I will try to apologize —"
"I - what?"
Lucifer fixes him with a look of annoyance,
"Not apologize, we're all past needing empty words of remorse. If you want to make it up to us atone."
Chuck sighs and nods,
"Fine atone. I'll atone for all my mistakes."
"Good here's the first thing you can do, lock her away again."
Chuck leans away as Lucifer glares at him. He resists the urge to smite him.
Lucifer stands twisting the chair back how it originally was as he moves from the table. He keeps his back to Chuck.
"You said we're your family —"
"Then tell me her or us?"
Chuck shakes his head, tears gathering again.
"Don't make me, please Lucifer."
He doesn't even care that he's begging now. He can't answer that question.
"I'll make it even easier for you, her or me?"
Lucifer says whirling and slamming his hands onto the table. He stands still, his arms braced on the table as he waits for an answer.
Chuck bits his lip and looks away. She waits as well, her thoughts and feelings just out of reach at edge of his awareness. He looks back at up Lucifer and takes a deep breath.
"You. All of you."
Lucifer blinks and stills, some of his anger leaches away. Chuck sees the momentary opening and seizes it.
"How could I not pick you? She's nothingness Lucifer, I am being. This,"
He gestures around them - to the diner, to the the world and the universe beyond,
"is all being. It is all an extension of me."
"I thought you created this because you wanted to be big, to show her that —"
"I did, but this is my home. This is me. I can't give it up. I won't. Even though I probably should."
He's rambling, falling back into an easy pattern. A familiar lullaby.
But of course Lucifer changes the tune on him.
"Fine, you chose me over her. Now tell me who do you love more her or humanity?"
Chuck doesn't need to agonize over this one. It's an easy answer.
She shifts and he reaches out blindly - but she's too far away, to in shock to say anything. He takes advantage of her numbness and threads himself through her.
"It's a lie."
"Is it? If you were to ever choose anything over me I wouldn't be surprised if it was Lucifer."
"So - so you're not mad?"
"Tell me brother would you sacrifice him for me?"
"Then I'm not mad, irritated at your wording of certain things sure, but not mad."
He points out.
"Wouldn't you be if I chose Dean over you?"
Chuck winces as a mental image of what that could mean flits through his head.
"So you won't lock her away fine. What about me? Will I be seeing my cage anytime soon?"
Lucifer's tone goes from anger to wary amusement.
Chuck shakes his head,
"No. I'll - I'm done locking things away."
Chuck tries to ignore how eerie it is to hear Amara and Lucifer say that at the same time and with the same tone.
"Yes really. I want to better, I'm not leaving again Lucifer. Please just tell me, do you still love me?"
Lucifer's eyes widen in surprise.
"Yes, of course."
He says in total seriousness.
Chuck nods and lets out a sigh.
"So unless there's nothing else, can I send you to Michael?"
"You're allowing me to go home?"
Chuck shakes his head, trying to ignore the vulnerability in Lucifer's voice.
"Visitation rights for now. Let's ease into all of that okay?"
Lucifer surprisingly just nods. His face suddenly clouds with concern.
"Is, uh, Michael okay?"
Chuck nods and give him a tired smile.
"He's getting better. Go to him Star."
Lucifer stiffens at the nickname as Chuck readies to snap him away.
"Wait, can I see her?"
They turn to see Amara watching them. Chuck tries not to let his distrust of Lucifer's request show.
"Auntie Amara how have you been? I bet it hurt to hear him chose me over you huh?"
"Lucifer, son, watch your tongue."
But Amara only smiles and tilts her head.
"Not particularly, if he were to ever chose anything over me I wouldn't be surprised if it was you. He put so much work into you Star. So much more than he ever did when he was creating all those galaxies and nebulae.
He painted your wings with droplets of diamonds and silver. You are his proudest joy, did you ever truly think he'd forsake you? That he didn't love you?"
Lucifer's hand grips the back of chair hard enough to splinter the wood. His grace is quivering and shaking, twisting in on itself.
Chuck keeps his face perfectly neutral. While all Amara said was true she didn't mention the many eons he agonized over mastering the art of creating itself, or the many centuries they spent in their cycle of creating and destroying. She didn't mention how she had been the one who had suggested as a jest to add stardust to his ang'els. How she had been the one who started calling him her little Star.
Lucifer turns from Amara to Chuck. And right on cue Chuck's eyes melt with love and sympathy, a small amused smile appears to complete the look.
Lucifer swallows and looks between them again. His eyes finally fix onto her.
He nods in acknowledgement and hopefully a little gratitude before looking to Chuck expectantly. Chuck nods and snaps his fingers sending him to Heaven.
Chuck leans in his chair, wards of concealment glow unseen on the walls. No one besides them will be able to hear what they say next.
"That was good."
Amara nods and gives a smile as she looks up from her nails.
"Thanks. It wasn't that hard since I've seen you do it enough times."
He nods trying to ignore the strain he can feel on their bond.
"Next time you think you'll have to pull something like that you tell me. I don't want to be blindsided like that again."
Chuck nods, he's standing in front of her a split second later.
"I will. Sorry. I just had to do something to make him see past his anger."
They sigh, their hands intertwining. It's not like they didn't know that reviving the archangels wouldn't entail heartache. They just hadn't thought it wouldn't hurt this much.
Chapter 3: The Wounded Healer
Quote For Raphael:
"Only the wounded healer can truly heal."
~ Irving D. Yalom
Chuck went about setting the diner up again. Not much needed to change but he adds two rods of metal in each corner of the room.
"Raphael has a tendency to manifest lightning when's he's very upset."
Chuck says more as a way to fill the tense silence than because of Amara's nonexistent curiosity.
"You're tense, why?"
Chuck stills and turns to her. He swallows before looking away.
"I might have hid as a prophet and he might have been the one protecting me without knowing it was me."
His eyes slid back to her in time to see her roll her eyes.
"Of course you did."
She vanishes after that, probably too disgusted to continue to stay in his presence.
Chuck sighs and sits down and twiddles his thumbs, trying to order his thoughts as figure out what he wants to say.
He snaps his fingers and waits.
Raphael appears wearing his first vessel. He stars at him for a long moment. His eyes fill with tears the longer he stands there.
His mouth opens and closes multiple times trying to speak - trying to find words for his jumbled emotions. Chuck waits, he starts to lean toward the table - planning to place his arms on the table.
Raphael quickly takes a couple steps back shaking his head. Chuck freezes and outstretches his arm for him.
"Raphael I wasn't, it's okay."
"No it's not. None of this okay. How can any of this be remotely okay to you?"
His voice is quiet belying the wrath crackling just underneath.
"I - Raphael I am so, so, sorry."
He doesn't really know what to say, Raphael is a hard one for him to read.
"Sorry doesn't bring back years of failures, sorry doesn't undo all the lives that have been taken. Sorry will not save this family."
Chuck looks at the table cloth.
"You're right. But time might."
"Why bother? Lucifer will never truly be happy till Humanity is gone, and at this point you know what?" He gives a harsh almost manic bark of laughter. "I can't even blame him. If I had to do this all over again I would never have bowed."
He spat the last line hoping to wound him. Chuck simply nods.
"I know. I get it."
His voice is quiet, he doesn't need volume to break through to Raphael. He never did.
Raphael doesn't flinch. He simply stares at him.
"You get it? Really? Did you hate them? Did you see them as the reason your own family tore at each other's throats. Did you start to see them as the mudmonkeys they were?"
Chuck flinches at the slur but doesn't rise to the bait. If Raphael had to get his anger out through words he would let him, he deserved it.
"Raphael I came to hate them, to see them as failures. As the embodiment of all my mistakes."
"So why not let us hold our apocalypse and destroy them? You'd be done with them and could start anew."
Chuck looks up and grips at the white cloth digging into it a little with his nails.
"I couldn't. I had come to like the Winchesters. But once Amara came I was ready to let her destroy it all."
There was a curiosity there. A new emotion. Chuck took it as a sign that maybe things were looking up.
"Metatron convinced me otherwise."
Sparks of lightning sizzled around Raphael at the scribe's name. Raphael sighs and sits on the floor the sparks gradually disappearing. His wings are tucked behind him as a marginal show of measure of respect - contrary to Michael and Lucifer's who had kept theirs open - defensive and ready to flee at a moment's notice. Chuck takes it as a sign he hasn't totally lost his gentle son.
Chuck watches for a moment.
"May I join you?"
"I would prefer it if you did not, but who am I to stop you?"
Chuck tenses at the bitterness laced in his voice.
"Where did you go when you left us?"
"Everywhere." Chuck tries to hide the excitement from his voice, these were happy memories for him.
"Where is everywhere? Were you with us? Did you condone what we did in your name?"
"I condoned the actions then. But if that were to happen now? I probably would have tried to understand their point of view first."
Raphael nods, he picks at the frayed edges of his vessel's jeans.
"Please do not make me ask again, where is everywhere? Were you with us?"
"I wasn't with any of you. I may hear and see but I was not with you that day in the desert."
Raphael tenses and flinches as if the very word pains him - which it probably does.
"I didn't ask about that. I don't want to talk about that. What is done is done."
"And yet you still care for him."
Raphael looks at him fully and sends him a glare. True lighting flashes around the room, the rods do their, making sure nothing is at risk.
"I said I don't want to talk about him."
Chuck blinks and nods.
"I spent a chunk of time in Europe. I left during Columbus and his abhorrent crusades."
The lighting still crackles around the room. Raphael though sighs and leans against the wall his head tipping back.
"Who is this he? And what does a desert have to do with anything?"
Amara's quiet voice jolts him.
"You'll see. I- it's a long story."
Chuck swallows and tries to relax.
"I went to America. Stayed there till the apocalypse."
"I - uh traveled. Went to France for a while. Then Australia, India, Thailand..."
He trails off as he sees Raphael become motionless.
"Why did you stop speaking? Afraid I'd remind you about the Leviathans, or Metatron's spell, or about the Mark?"
Chuck sighs and nods as Raphael opens his eyes to look at him.
"Raphael, son, at least meet me half-way."
"Why should I? Nothing will change, you'll leave. You have her. You don't need us."
Chuck flinches and finally comes to crouch before Raphael.
"You're family. You're my son. Raphael, my healer, I love you. I am so sorry for what has happened to you. I —"
"No you're not."
Chuck blinks and tries to keep his anger at being interrupted in check.
"Father, with all due respect you might know what it's like to have your siblings be ripped from you, to be alone asking for a sign from someone who doesn't care. But you don't know what it's like to love someone so completely it scares you, to love someone so much you need to hate them to survive."
Chuck opens his mouth only to close it. Raphael had a point, he didn't. He didn't know what that bond was like. Sure he had loved Mary but he was never going to have a future with her.
He takes a deep, unnecessary, breath and makes a decision. Raphael needed to know he was serious, that he wasn't going to bolt. Raphael needed to have his faith restored.
"So show me."
Raphael's eyes widen and he pulls himself in, trying to keep his vessel as far from Chuck's as possible.
Chuck shifts so he's sitting crossed legged before him.
"You're right. I have the ability to love, to act as something I'm not, but I don't have the ability to truly experience. I want to understand Raphael."
He swallows and says a little quieter.
Raphael stares at him for a long moment. His eyes narrow.
"Are you sure? If I show you, you see it all. All my thoughts, all my pain, every sensory input I felt. No tricks, no barriers. Father if you want me to show you - you can't pull away."
Chuck nods. Amara stirs in curiosity.
"It'll be intense Sis."
"I assumed by the preamble."
"Brother, I can handle it."
"Okay. I agree. I give up control for as long what you show me lasts."
Raphael stares at him for another long moment before two fingers were pressed to his forehead.
The scene starts immediately.
The heat is sweltering, the sound of insects a constant drone in the background.
"You do realize this is propaganda right? We are angels, we deserve this! Raphael. My Raphael will you not answer me?"
"I'm not yours Azazel. Not anymore."
Azazel shakes his head as the chains wound around his wrist.
"You'll always be mine as I'm yours —"
"Then why leave me? Why stand with him against God? Against me?"
Raphael's voice breaks at that. Azazel smiles, his hand coming to catch Raphael's fingers as he tries to bind his other wrist with fumbling fingers.
"Loyalty. As it is your loyalty that makes you do this."
"How do you know I will not do this on my own volition? You wronged me."
The smile stays.
"Because you'd much rather forget I exist than harm me. You're a healer my love, you'll always try to help over harm. It's your way my Eoh Monheh."
The darkness engulfs them. Azazel stills his gaze turns calculating, he momentarily looses his affectionate tone.
"Are you staying with me? Or are you killing me?"
Raphael shakes his head.
Chuck tries to look away, to shy away from the emotions, the feelings. It's too intense, to overwhelming. Why would his children go through the process of mating if this could be an outcome? He doesn't want to do this anymore, but he keeps his word.
Azazel's eyes are half-closed, his head leans against the rock.
"You're so beautiful."
Raphael murmurs. His hands everywhere.
"And you're perfect."
Azazel murmurs back.
It seems to be a thing said between them.
Raphael suddenly stills.
Chuck can feel the regret and agony swirling inside him. He can feel anger as well but it buried deep under layers of Raphael's pain.
"You know this is not the only thing I must do to you right?"
"I know. I love you. Do you forgive me?"
"If it was loyalty that made you leave and go to him. What makes you speak to me? What makes you still look as you did the first day we consummated our union?"
"Love. Love my darling. My loyalty is to Lucifer. But my heart? My breath? My feelings? There're all yours, always. Do I have yours? Do you still breath for me? Does your heart still beat for me? Do you still feel because of me?"
Raphael ducks his head, the blush invisible in the crushing dark.
"Yes. I wish I didn't though. I wish it —"
"You're the strongest, you the most beautiful, the most precious one. You'll survive. You'll always survive."
"I forgive you."
The words were murmured from lips pressed to a shoulder as Raphael finishes binding him.
"I love you."
He speaks as he cuts into him.
"I breath for you."
He murmurs as he cleaves open the casing of human flesh.
"My heart beats for you."
As his hands comes to hold Azazel's body still.
"I feel for you."
He whispers as his fingers seize onto Azazel's grace.
"I love for you."
He promises as he pulls the grace out, as Azazel screams and screams.
The scene abruptly ends as does the sensory overload. Chuck gasps. Blinking his eyes focus back into the room.
"What do you feel?"
Raphael speaks again. Speaks words that would haunt Chuck for the rest of his existence.
"This was what I felt since that day till the day I died. Honestly while I loathe Castiel, he at least me saved me from living in numbness. Did you know feeling nothing could be as painful as feeling everything?"
Chuck doesn't answer, he's too busy sobbing.
"How? How could you let him live with this? How could you allow him to — how could you force him to choose between two different loves?"
Her voice is biting. She sounds horrified.
"I - I didn't make him. Raphael chose on his own. Free —"
"Free will doesn't equate to chaos. Free will is free but it doesn't mean it should be unregulated."
"I know okay!! I know! I'm learning. It was a fucking steep learning curve okay??"
"Don't take your anger out on me. I —"
"I will take my anger out on who I wish Sister. Raphael can't handle it —"
"That doesn't make it my problem. I'm not you're punching bag."
He narrows the connection in anger. Raphael watches him.
"It hurts doesn't it?"
"Why didn't you save him from the colt?"
Raphael looks away.
"He's made his decision as have I. I - he is not the angel I once loved."
Chuck nods. His voice is hesitant when he talks again.
"If I were to bring him back grace and all would you - would you,"
Take him back. Forgive me. Smile again?
Chuck settles for saying,
"Would you forgive him?"
Raphael turns to him, his eyes wide.
"You bring him - them all back? Do you not think he did wrong? He disobeyed, copulated with sons and daughters of man. I-I do not see why you would want him to join the ranks of Heaven."
Chuck gives him a gentle smile,
"You love him. You deserve to be happy. He is not all evil no matter what the stories or actions say. He was curious, precocious, and caring."
Raphael looks down at his lap, tears fall down his face.
"How could you possibly understand —? See him for what I saw him as? For what I remember him to be."
Chuck gingerly lifts Raphael's head up and tenderly wipes his tears away.
"I understand because I did the same. My little healer, she was all I had ever known. Our love, our bond is intrinsic, it is deep. To call it simply sibling love would trivialize it. She was my world Raphael. She was my everything and I locked her away and never looked back.
Though that isn't to say I forgot, that I believed the words I spun. But maybe if I acted like I did, maybe if I held onto that anger the pain would one day go away."
Raphael nods in understanding. Though his eyes slide away as the weight of what he's asking if not explicitly certainly implicitly settles on his consciousness.
"He would never forgive me."
"Not right away no. I highly doubt she even has, but with time? Who knows it could happen."
Raphael suddenly tenses and glares at him.
"I have by no means forgiven you, nor do I intend to. You forsook us, left us without instruction, watched as we slaughtered each other."
Raphael buries his head in his hands, his grace begins to shake from all the stress.
"My death, was it a punishment for my lack of faith? Were you angry I declared that if anyone were to be God it should be I?"
Chuck shakes his head and pulls Raphael close.
"No, no, of course not. Your words hurt Raphael, but I never want you think you cannot speak or think what you want in fear of retribution."
Amara suddenly says speaking up. Chuck's mind stills trying to figure at what she meant when Raphael wrenches himself away.
He stands, his back to Chuck.
"Then I died for no reason. We all died for no reason."
Suddenly Raphael turns thunder echoes outside,
"Unless we all died because of free will?"
Raphael sneers the last two words. Chuck sighs and stands.
"Raphael your death pained me."
"Yes I'm aware that's why you didn't bother to bring me back."
"Don't Raphael, we were making such good progress."
"No. You were trying to buy back my love, you were trying to get me to come home!"
Chuck pauses and blinks.
"What do you mean "get you to come home"?"
Raphael crosses his arms,
"Did you honestly think I would go back? I failed Michael, never mind the fact that I have no inclination to see that snake again."
Chuck flinches again. He mentally berates himself. He had to get this flinching under control. Raphael's words shouldn't have this much of an effect of him.
But he knew why it did. Michael and Lucifer he had wronged yes, but they had had a purpose, a mission. Raphael didn't, in his quest to keep Heaven together he had resorted to brainwashing them. Chuck felt more responsible for Raphael's action than Michael and Lucifer's. All Raphael had wanted was a sign, a direction , and he couldn't have even bothered to give him that. He was a failure.
Amara doesn't rush to reassure him this time. Chuck crumples at the realization that maybe she had begun to believe that too.
"Raphael where would you go?"
He asks. He decides to focus on Raphael and not on his Amara's connection which was surely crumbling as he stood here.
"I don't know. There is much of Earth I have not properly seen. Or perhaps I will forgo this world all together and explore the cosmos once more."
He pauses and shifts his weight, he looks more unsure now.
"You are bringing Gabriel back yes?"
"Yeah I am. Maybe not right away, I want to see how you three interact first."
"Do you honestly think they'd come for me? They have each other, they don't need me."
"Raphael listen to me, you are not expendable. You are not. I need you to try. I know you're scared, I know you think this will all unravel and it might, but please son, give us a chance. You shouldn't want to be alone."
"Why not? I can depend on myself."
Chuck sighs and closes his eyes trying to compose himself.
"You shouldn't be okay with being sidelined."
He says softly.
"I'm not. But I've come to expect it."
Chuck's heart breaks at that.
"Please stop, I'm wasting you're time —"
"Raphael, enough! You're not wasting my time. You never have."
Raphael finally flinches and bows his head.
"Forgive me Father if wrongly assumed such things then."
Chuck walks toward him and places a hand on his shoulder.
"I'm not asking for you to forgive us, for you even to love u—
"Of course I love you! I even still love Lucifer after everything he's done, never mind Azazel. Father haven't we established I love to easily?"
"You're a healer, it's in your nature."
"Then I wish to change it. I need to change it, or I'll drown again."
Raphael reaches for him only to pull back and turn away.
Chuck tries not be too rash. Out of all of them Raphael and Lucifer were the hardest to read - to predict.
"Didn't you change it? From what I could tell you were able to detach yourself from the pain."
"Detach and suppress are two different things."
He sounds exhausted. His wings have lost their shine, his compassionate healer, his sweet middle child was broken and he didn't know how to fix it. He was a strategist not a physician.
"Ask if you could take away some of his pain."
Came her quiet suggestion.
"Raphael may I - can I take some of your pain?"
Raphael stiffens and gives him a sidelong glance.
"Why would you subject yourself to that?"
"Because the pain you feel is because of me. Please?"
Raphael places his hand on Chuck's outstretched one, he slowly relaxes as the pains transfers from his grace.
Chuck gives a small smile at the reaction, the pain to him feeling nothing more than a slight itch.
"Yes. Thanks Dad."
Raphael even gives him a small smile. Chuck's heart soars.
Raphael suddenly collapses against the wall, the tension leaving his body. He stands motionless like that for a few moments, gathering himself.
"Thank you. That's all I ask."
Raphael moves away and gives him another nervous glance, before looking down at the ground.
"If-if you could bring him back I would greatly appreciate it."
Chuck nods trying to hide his growing happiness at seeing Raphael simply trying.
"Definitely. How soon would you like him back?"
Raphael looks up at him, his eyes blown wide. The smile slips from Chuck's face.
Chuck nods and snaps his fingers. The sound of wings and a sigh is heard behind them.
Raphael turns and Azazel is already watching him.
"If I'm being smited or chained I hardly see the need for the fanfare."
He says and gesturing toward Chuck but doesn't turn to look at him.
Raphael swallows, his perfect mask in place. But Chuck can already tell Azazel doesn't buy it.
"You're forgiven, you're free."
Azazel blinks and looks between them. Raphael turns away as he walks to a wall to lean against. His wings twitch restlessly as he moves.
"Lucifer is in Heaven. You can go."
Azazel finally moves.
"I'm forgiven? Why?"
"Because Raphael asked for you back."
Raphael sends him a glare but Chuck's to happy to care. Azazel only sighs and turns to look at Raphael.
"Raphael is that true? Do you still -? After everything?"
"Yes. Always. Though I will never forgive you for siding with Lucifer."
Azazel rolls his eyes and nods. He finally looks at Chuck and to his surprise it's not with awe or fear it's with loathing.
"I only sided with Lucifer because Dad over here ordered my whole Garrison to be destroyed. I needed to survive."
"You copulated with Humanity."
Chuck tries to calmly point out.
"Oh like you haven't?"
The comeback is swift and sharp like the sword Chuck knows Azazel can expertly weild.
Raphael looks away with a small smile. Chuck just sighs and waves Azazel's comment away.
"So you both can leave now, or Raphael you can stay and say hi to her."
Azazel tilts his head.
Chuck opens his mouth to clarify or stave off any questions but Azazel only shrugs and begins to walk around the room.
"Raphael showed me everything."
Chuck doesn't miss the edge in Azazel's voice.
Raphael looks away from Azazel and inclines his head in greeting. Azazel in contrast turns and beams. He even walks up to her and extends his hand.
"Welcome to the family Auntie."
Raphael quietly laughs as Amara grasps the hand in confusion.
Azazel looks between Chuck and her and shrugs.
"She's been wronged as have I, I don't see why I should be angry at her when it's your fault to begin with."
Chuck can feel as his patience is fast reaching its limit. He's mentally preparing a speech to give as Azazel's opens his mouth again when Raphael speaks again.
His tone is far cry from how he had spoken with Chuck only minutes earlier. Now it held a mix of exasperation, amusement and a bit of firmness.
Azazel closes his mouth, he sends Amara one last smile before turning to Raphael.
Azazel stops short and quickly turns back.
"Auntie may I give you a hug?"
Amara looks at him slightly puzzled for the moment before nodding. Azazel moves toward and gives her a long hug. Chuck gingerly opens their connection to feel a genuine affection between the two of them. He gives a quick look to see Raphael watching it all with a soft smile.
Finally Azazel pulls away, his wings twitch in delight as Amara places a soft kiss to his forehead. He sends Chuck a nod - this one not filled with that much anger and goes to stand next to Raphael.
Raphael finally speaks to her.
"Aunt while I blame you and Dad for what you have done to this family, I want you know that I never saw you as totally evil. I still remember when you used to sing us lullabies and play games with us."
Amara gives another cautious smile.
"I understand, and thank you little Savior, you do not know how nice that is to hear."
Raphael gives a small smile in return only to turn and glare as Azazel pokes him in the side. As Raphael watches as he does it again.
"Is there something you need Azazel?"
Azazel gestures toward her. Raphael sighs and shakes his head. He finally moves when Azazel sends him a pleading look.
Raphael stops a few inches away from her.
"May I, uh, hug you as well?"
Amara can only nod, too overwhelmed by the turn of events.
Raphael steps into her waiting arms, their hug is brief - but Raphael sends her a small but more genuine smile as he steps away. He turns to look at Chuck and gives a hesitant smile and nod.
Raphael's voice held more emotion in those two words than in all the time they'd been speaking. Chuck nods knowing its not just for Azazel, but for coming back, for owing up to his mistakes, for trying to bring their family back together.
The he can't help but inwardly smile when he sees Azazel look down at the ground, as faint blush coloring his face.
Raphael and Azazel wings unfurl and they fly away to explore the Earth, leaving Amara and him alone.
They share glance and smile fully at each other for the first time in what feels like weeks.
"That went well."
"Yeah the best so far."
Amara gives him a sudden look.
"I still can't believe you did that."
Chuck sighs and nods. He remembers watching that unfold surreally, as if it was a movie.
Chuck suddenly gives a soft smile.
"They're cute aren't they? They've oldest couple in my universe."
Amara sighs and gives a quiet laugh.
"Good. I like Azazel. I'm glad to see at least one my nephews has been able to find someone to spend eternity with."
Chuck nods and sighs. It's now or never.
"Mara we're okay right?"
Amara gives him a small smile. In a blink of an eye she's standing in front of him.
"Yes Chucky were fine. As long as we're a team there's nothing that can break us apart right?"
Chuck nods and beams. He pulls her into a hug, pushing their connection wide open as he does so.
He whispers as she hugs him back with equal ferocity.
Quote For Gabriel:
"Respect yourself to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy."
~ Robert Tew
Chuck closes his eyes and wills himself to take a deep breath.
He opens his eyes and looks down at the horn on the table. He waves his hand sending it to his room in their apartment.
He looks around the diner to see if there is any last minute preparations he needs to make. He eyes the small, unobtrusive bowls of candy scattered around with a new eye.
Was it too much? Was he ready to do this?
He shakes his head and rolls his shoulders. He knows the answer to both questions was yes, but he is still nervous.
Gabriel was always slow to anger, but when he finally did? Everyone should watch out.
He snaps his hand and waits. Amber eyes meets his and then narrows.
"Well look who up showed to the party. Sorry to tell you this, but you kind of missed the main event."
Chuck nods and leans back in his chair.
"I know, I am aware. Come sit?"
He gestures to the empty chair across from him.
Gabriel stares at him for a moment and slowly shakes his head.
"Ha, no, not going to happen. I'm good with some distance. Even this is a little to close for comfort."
Chuck nods again, Gabriel was deflecting, he can play along till his son wants to actually talk. He and Amara had done that for years in the beginning.
"Okay, sure. You can stand."
Gabriel's eyes narrow.
"I'm glad you approve of my use of free-will Dad."
"He's twisting your words."
Amara murmurs offhandedly.
"No, really? I never would have guessed."
He feels rather than sees her eye roll.
"Gabriel, son that's not what —"
"It's not what you meant? Wow, that must suck huh? To have your words twisted into something it never was."
Chuck closes his eyes and takes a breath. So much for playing along.
"Gabriel Lucifer and I have talked. You don't need to come to his defense."
Chuck knows it's the wrong thing to say the minute the walls around them begin to blur and warp.
"Defend him? You think after — how fucking delusional are you? He killed me! Dad he killed me and you still didn't stop the damn thing! Why?? I died for them! I died for your humans and you did nothing!"
Chuck shakes his head as he leans toward his youngest. His arms bracing on the white table cloth.
"I know you died for them. I know. Thank you for that. I - it pained me Gabriel to do nothing, to not save you. But I had hoped you would have given him some pause."
Gabriel looks away in what Chuck can only interpret as disgust.
"So I was nothing more than a pawn to you? A last ditch maneuver to save your favorite?"
Chuck sighs and shakes his head.
"You were never a pawn. I wanted to see if Lucifer would choose another way, I wanted to see if Lucifer or Michael would go against the plan in place."
"It was never Lucifer you had to worry about then! It was always Michael! Michael with his yourdamn loyalty! Do you think me dying would have changed anything for him??"
Chuck blinks and nods.
"Of course I did. You are his little brother, the youngest. I thought that counted for something."
Gabriel looks back at him, his eyes unreadable. Chuck tries to hide his surprise - he's so used to seeing all the emotions laid bare for him in his eyes.
"So was Lucifer, Raphael, and Castiel and every other damn angel that died to achieve your stupid apocalypse."
Chuck nods and let's out a deep sigh.
"You're right they are. But everyone is back now. Your brothers are waiting for you."
Gabriel blinks at him, Chuck tries not to smile as he sees the surprise pass over his messenger's eyes.
"So that's it? It's all over? No more fighting?"
Chuck nods with a small smile.
"Yes, it's over son. No more fighting, no more apocalypse."
Gabriel's eyes close and his hand braces against a shelf as he sways, a bowl of candy sits a breath away from his finger tips.
"I don't remember him being this aggressive."
She notes, her voice subdued.
"He wasn't then, but he's changed. They all have. He's not the joyful peacemaker he used to be."
"So where did you go?"
Gabriel asks bringing Chuck's awareness back to the diner.
"Everywhere. Started in Europe - England and went to America. Left when Columbus came in the name of his Crusades. After that I stayed in the Middle East for a while, those were interesting times. Finally came back to America at the start of WW1."
Gabriel nods and pops a mint into his mouth. Chuck tries not to beam.His plan was working.
Gabriel comes and cautiously sits in front of him.
"So Sunday Dinners still a thing?"
"No not at the moment. But now that you're back maybe? I don't know I'll feel it out."
Gabriel nods and picks at the table cloth.
"How are they anyway?"
Chuck gives a soft smile he resists the urge to move his hand to place it over Gabriel's.
"They're good. Michael is running Heaven again. Lucifer is there too, on a trial basis for now. Raphael is slowly learning to trust them again."
Gabriel flinches at the last one. Chuck remembers how close Raphael and he and had been. As close as Michael and Lucifer had been growing up, maybe a little more - growing up so close in age.
Gabriel looks up.
"Does Raphael —"
Gabriel swallows as if the very question is stuck in his throat.
"Does Raphael hate me?"
Chuck's eyes widen and he shakes his head.
"No of course not. I mean he's probably angry at you for leaving but I don't think he hates you."
Gabriel sighs and shakes his head.
"I don't feel bad for leaving. I had to. It hurt too much to stay."
Chuck's eyes harden.
"Just because it's hard doesn't mean you can just run Gabriel, you had an obligation to stay."
Gabriel's eyes flash.
"Don't. You of all people can't talk about obligations. You had an obligation to take care of your children, to love us, to guide us. You didn't, at the first sign of trouble you left. You're a pathetic excuse for God and even worse as a father."
Chuck flinches but before he can say anything Gabriel has already moved away from the table. He glares at Chuck as his wings flap uselessly.
"Let me leave."
Chuck shakes his head.
"No, we're not done. You will leave when I see fit."
Gabriel glares at him.
"Screw you. Let. Me. Go."
Chuck finally stands, his arms bracing on the table as he holds Gabriel's gaze.
"One, don't you ever order me. Two, I get you're angry Gabriel but isn't this what you wanted? Our family back together? You should be happy."
Gabriel looks away, he crosses his arms tightens his jaw.
"Well I'm sorry I'm not excited to sing kumbaya arm-in-arm with my murderer and the two people who could have done something to stop it but instead chose to stand by and let it happen."
Chuck closes his eyes trying to quell his anger.
"Gabriel, son, be reasonable. This is what you wanted."
Gabriel explodes. The walls become a cacophony of spinning colors.
"Not like this! Not ever like this! We weren't suppose to know what it's like to betray each other! We can't come back from all of that pain!"
Chuck shakes his head and slowly makes his way toward him. His heart broke for his youngest. He used to be the eternal optimist. What had happened to that archangel, oh right - he'd died. He'd died because Chuck had been too much of a coward to intervene.
"Yes you can. Your brothers are. There's hope Gabriel, you all can move past the pain."
Gabriel looks away, he seems to shaking. Chuck at first thinks it's from the pain and stress, but on closer inspection and with the way he notes Gabriel's nostrils are flaring he realizes it's from anger.
"It won't last, and even if it did, I'm done. I'm so tired of all of this. I just want to be left alone."
Chuck pleads. He needs him to see there is another way.
"Don't write your brothers off just because you don't think it'll last. Give them a chance."
Gabriel looks at him and shakes his head.
"No. No I'm done. Look Dad I - I'm glad you're back and all, but there are some things you can't just come back from."
Chuck shakes his head and takes a step closer.
"Your aunt is back you know that right?"
Gabriel hesitantly nods, he eyes Chuck warily.
"She going to be joining our lovely Sunday Dinners then? Because if so, I don't think Luci will attend."
Chuck ignores that.
"She was angry with me, and rightfully so. So you know what she did? After I tried and failed to cage her again she tried to kill me. I was dying Gabriel. My own sister tried to kill me. And it hurt, and before I could process what she had done the Winchesters wanted her to die too — to keep the universe in balance. And even knowing the cost, I couldn't bring myself to willingly tell them. I never wanted to k- kill her. She was family, at one point she had been all I ever knew."
Gabriel speaks, he sounds tired and exhausted.
"And let me guess you forgave her? Of course you did, we all were just filler for the hole she left in you anyway. But see I - I can't. I can't just let it go, I trusted him, I trusted them all. It's not even just the fact that Lucifer killed me Dad, it's the fact that Michael and Raphael knew what was going to happen. They knew, they saw and they did nothing. Nothing! Why should I ever give them a chance when they didn't come when I needed them most?"
Gabriel sighs harshly and brushed the tears out of his eyes in impatiently. Chuck stands in front of him trying to drum up an answer for him.
He assumed that the story of Amara and he would have swayed Gabriel a little. Gabriel had always been one to always forgive at the first moment of remorse.
Chuck settles for asking a question instead, the answer of which he had come to realize recently that no matter what happened between them was always yes.
"Do you still love your brothers?"
Gabriel looks back at with what Chuck can only accept is resignation.
"Yes. And before you talk about the power of love and the importance of family... Do remember I have met the Winchesters. Look I love them, I'll always love them. But after a certain point love isn't enough."
Chuck closes his eyes trying to lessen the burning behind his eyes. He opens his eyes slowly his hands twitching restlessly at his sides.
There was one more thing he could ask. One more thing he could say that might get through to him.
"Fine I'll accept that logic in terms of your and Lucifer's relationship. But what of Raphael? You specifically asked about him, so why bring him up if you don't plan on reconnecting with him?"
Gabriel's whole body goes rigid and he looks away, his fingers dig into his bicep as his arms still stay crossed over his chest.
"Raphael - he never wanted this either. He was just too loyal to Michael to do anything about it. I just wanted to make sure he was okay."
"Okay, so when you leave are you really telling me you're not at all curious to see your brothers again? To see Michael after all this time?"
Gabriel's eyes flash dark amber.
"No. I'm not curious to see how dear Michael is doing. Why would I? All he had to say was no, 'no Dad I can't do it. No Dad reconsider — don't make me do this.' Instead he carried out your orders without so much as a hesitation. I have nothing to say to someone who blindingly worships you to the point that their own brothers, the brothers they raise become nothing more than second thought."
Chuck takes a breath, steadying his breathing. This wasn't his place to defend Michael.
"You speak a lot of your younger siblings. So let's talk about them. What of your brothers then Gabriel, all the younger siblings who looked up to you, who you walked away from without so much as a backward glance. What about them? Do you think they deserved that?"
Gabriel flinches and takes a step back. His eyes are filling with moisture.
"I - I didn't have a choice! I couldn't do it. I couldn't chose between two of my family members okay?! I know that makes me somewhat of an anomaly among everyone, but I don't fucking care. I won't apologize for running."
Chuck slowly walks toward him and places a hand on his upper arm.
"Gabriel it's okay. Breathe son, just breathe. I'm not asking you to forgive anyone, to go back to them with open arms and all forgotten —"
"Then what are you asking?"
Gabriel asks his voice breaking.
"I'm asking you to keep an open mind, to give them a chance to explain. To at least give the idea of moving forward together more than a passing thought."
Chuck takes a step closer his voice going softer.
"I'm asking you to see past your own pain and acknowledge that you're not the only who came out of this scathed."
His hand tightened on Gabriel's bicep
"I'm asking you to not run Gabriel. Don't run. That's the bottom line, just don't run away."
Gabriel takes a deep breath, his eyes wide, his chest heaving. He finally manages to nod. He swallows and speaks, his voice hoarse though he hadn't really raised his voice much.
"Okay, okay I can do that. I can not run."
Chuck smiles and squeezes his arm before finally takes a step back and pulls away.
He says trying to convey as much gratitude as he can in those two words. He knows what it's like to have to stay when all you want to do is run. He still feels it sometimes when he catches himself getting excited to share a new idea or intriguing thought with his sister. He knows deep in his core it's going to take a while for him to come to terms with the fact that they were okay, that no matter what happened now they were in this together. It was sometimes to overwhelming for him.
"So do you want to say hi to her?"
He asks almost shyly as he leans against the table.
Gabriel sighs and shrugs.
He looks up as she appears across the room.
Gabriel nods at her, he stares for a moment and rearranges his limbs in arrogant nonchalance.
"So... You and dad made up. Congrats. Here's some friendly advice when you join us for Sunday Dinners bring earplugs it can get loud."
Chuck says in exasperation.
Amara only gives a small smirk.
"Why do I need earplugs when I can just wave my hand and take their voices away?"
Gabriel blinks and give a slow, mischievous smile.
"Welcome to the family then auntie. I think we might get along better this time around."
Gabriel looks to Chuck exasperation and annoyance evident in the twist of his mouth.
"Can I leave now?"
"Yes, so I'm assuming you don't want to go to Heaven any place I can send you?"
Gabriel thinks for a moment,
"The Winchesters. They're probably less dramatic than Heaven is at the moment."
Chuck nods and snaps his fingers.
Amara and he stand in silence for a moment, he tenses with surprise when she comes and hugs from him behind.
He turns in her arms and pulls her closer. They don't need words even still he uses them.
"Thank you for making me do this, I needed this. Thank you for reaching out, I need you. I'll always need you."
She doesn't say anything for a long moment, her arms simply tightening around him.
"I know Brother, I know, and you're welcome. Thank you, just thank you."
Chuck nods. Slowly they pull away wiping the tears out of their eyes.
Amara breaks the silence first.
"So you did the archangels, whose left?"
Chuck closes his eyes as he hears the echo of a prison cell slamming shut, inwardly filching as he remembers the pleas growing louder and louder.
Chuck opens his eyes and gives her a look full of regret.
"The one who made me leave in the first place, the one who let the serpent in. The angel I once trusted the most, Gadreel."
So how did I do? This was the first time I wrote anything with Gabriel in it. Did I capture his personality?
Chapter 5: The Naive Gaurd
Quote for Gadreel:
"I had been gullible, naive, soft, pliable. That's why I got taken advantage of. To survive, you have to have a tough skin."
~ Tia Carrere
Chuck moves around the diner, going over his words to Metatron, he'd meant what he'd said. Metatron needs to see first hand the side effects his actions has on someone who is vulnerable; it also helps that as far as Chuck knows, he doesn't hate Gadreel, just holds him in contempt. Hopefully this will mitigate any further actions of the sort.
Besides if Gadreel had a problem with it he'll stop he decides, he doesn't want dictate everything. Not with him.
He sits down and looks around, smiling softly at the assortment of plants scattered around the diner. He hopes it would put Gadreel at ease and not trigger a panic attack.
He sits back and takes a deep breath, this somehow hurt more than the others had. He twiddles his thumbs feeling a crushing cold sweep through him.
"It's called shame Brother."
Amara says in his ear, not maliciously but definitely not kindly.
He shakes her off, he wouldn't let her affect him, he felt guilty already, wasn't that enough?
"It would never be enough."
He says to her just as quickly, he gets why she's angry, she identifies with Gadreel, with being imprisoned for something that isn't your fault. With being labeled as a villain when you were tricked into it.
All that aside, the only way now is forward. He hopes Gadreel sees that.
He snaps his fingers and waited. Gadreel appeares a few moments later. His gaze zeros in on Chuck. He immediately kneels before him.
Chuck shakes his head and moves to pull him into a hug, he can feel Gadreel crying on his shoulder.
"Shh, you didn't know, it's okay Gadreel. I forgive you.'
Gadreel sniffles as they pull away.
"It's not just The Garden, it's the all the blood I have on my hands. I should have helped my fellow angels instead I lured them to their death. I deserve jail."
Chuck shakes his head quickly.
"No, no you don't. Listen to me Gadreel I failed you, I deserve to be punished. You were nothing more than a victim. I should never have let you be punished for that. As for your killings,"
Gadreel flinches at the callous word choice.
Chuck pushes on.
"You more than made up for that by sacrificing yourself. Your name has been restored my son."
Gadreel stares at him wide eyed before breaking down into more tears.
"Why did you leave us? Were we that horrid Father? Come home Father! Come home Father, please!"
Chuck quickly takes him back into his arms and calms him down.
"I'm home, everyone is coming back my son. I promise. No more war."
Gadreel looks back at him in slight fear and moves to stand.
"E - everyone?"
Chuck inwardly sighs, he had hoped Gadreel wouldn't be so scared of Lucifer.
"I'll make sure Lucifer doesn't —"
"I am not speaking of him. I am speaking of Abner, I - I killed him. I — he was my only friend Father what will he think of me now?"
Chuck blinks. Was that all?
"Would you like me to bring him back and you can ask him?"
Gadreel gives a hesitant nod.
Chuck nods and snaps his hand.
Abner appears he stiffens as he sees Chuck.
"Abner I —"
"Why? Did your name really mean more than our friendship?"
Gadreel flinches away and swallows hard.
"It shouldn't it but yes, yes it did. I - I'm sorry Abner but it's all I've ever wanted."
"Really more than peace? More than freedom?"
Aber challenges walking a pace toward him.
Gadreel holds his ground and meets his gaze.
"What freedom or peace could I have without my name restored Abner?! I would have been on the run for the rest of my existence. What kind of freedom and peace would that be??"
"You could have stayed with me! I would have helped you! I would have protected you!"
"You had a family! You were happy I couldn't take that away from you, not in that way."
"What do you mean in that way? You killed me, what other way could you mean? You were my brother, my best friend—"
Abner cuts himself off as Gadreel flinches at the words.
"Does it truly pain you to be called my best friend?"
Abner asks, looking wounded.
Gadreel quickly shakes his head. He meets Chuck's gaze over Abner's shoulder who nods and gives him an encouraging smile.
Gadreel takes a deep breath.
"It hurts when I've always wanted more than to be your best friend."
He says softly.
Abner blinks at him before he takes a step backward.
"I — Gadreel are you saying you wanted to be my mate?"
Gadreel breaths looking at him.
"Is that — Thaddeus always said hurting me was the worst thing he could do to you. Did he know?"
"He must have figured it out, yes."
Abner looks at the ground.
"I - they didn't replace that - that bond Gadreel."
He finally says softly.
Gadreel stares at him wide eyed he rushes to take his hands.
"Does - does this mean —"
"It's a maybe, I - I won't be lying if I say I haven't thought of us together, but my feelings are all jumbled up. I care for you but you killed me and so many of our siblings. You say you want to help Heaven but you side with Castiel whose caused our family so much pain. I - I just need time Gadreel. Can you give me that?"
Gadreel nods trying to swallow the hysteria.
"Of course, I'll give you whatever you want Abner."
Chuck smiles softly and resists the urge to throw streamers.
"I swear Brother they better —"
"I have no plans to tear them apart Sister. I promise."
He assures her softly. No more dividing, no more fracturing.
Abner blushes and smiles shyly.
He says softly, kissing the back of one of Gadreel's hands.
They smile at each other softly for a moment before Chuck clears throat.
"Is that all? Gadreel can I send you —"
"Do not punish Castiel Father, he is one of the few who has any honor any left, he should be reward for that."
"His wings, can you repair them?"
"How about I add a pair? He'll have four now. And speaking of wings."
He snaps his fingers healing Abner and Gadreel's wings.
They smile in gratitude.
Gadreel looks at Abner who nods in agreement.
"He did help you in the end, I suppose I cannot fault him too harshly if he did that."
Gadreel smiles and hesitantly kisses him on the temple. They both blush deeply.
Chuck smiles at them softly.
Amara murmurs softly in their connection.
"Gadreel would you like to meet her?"
Chuck asks softly.
Gadreel smiles and nods.
"I would love to meet our aunt Father."
Amara appears and smiles at them.
She greets them. Abner nods at her.
Gadreel smiles at she warmly.
"Father has told me many stories of you Aunt."
Amara smiles at him hesitantly.
"Any good ones?"
"Almost all of them were."
Amara and Chuck share a small smile as they both relax.
Chuck looks at Gadreel.
"So... where would you both like to go?"
Gadreel says, Abner nods.
Chuck snaps his fingers sending them away.
Amara looks at Chuck.
"You don't deserve a child like that."
Chapter 6: Temperance
Set five years in the future. Basically in line with s14 finale.
I have other stories delving more into this future - Back to Nothing deals directly after s14 finale.
Void gives some backstory on the premise for Chuck and Castiel's meeting and who this It is.
Quote for Castiel:
"Temperance is moderation in the things that are good and total abstinence from the things that are foul."
~ Frances E. Willard
Chuck twisted his hands under the table. The diner wasn't empty this time. The quiet din of patrons and clicking of cutlery and glass filling the air with music.
He didn't want to do this, but the words that It had said rang in his head. He would need to end this in truth not in pain.
He took a breath and snapped his fingers. Amara's connection to him was strong. Pushing calmness into him as the angel he summoned appeared before him.
Castiel stared at him, his trench coat seemingly newly ironed and washed. There was a lightness in his step even if he stated at him with a scowl.
Chuck nodded and gestured for him to sit. Castiel sent him a wary glance but did as he asked.
"How - how are you? How is Heaven?"
Castiel stilled before he hummed and cast his eyes to his plate. He seemed to willing for there to be distractions.
"Heaven is well. Bezaliel makes a wonderful Viceroy as I knew she would. I - I am happy. Gabriel is kind to allow me to rest. Even if it is all temporary. The Winchesters will need all the help they can get soon. I will need to go back soon."
Chuck's essence ached as he heard him speak. So sacrificial, yet that iron will.
"You did what you had to. I did the same with the demons if you don't remember."
Amara's voice in their mind was soft, gentle. She was right, they had been at war with each other. He had had to find a way to win and so had took control of the angels. He - his words was supposed to be temporary, but a few battles turned to eons of wars and then humanity had happened and he had gotten derailed.
"Why did you call me after so many years?"
Chuck gave a quick shrug and snapped his fingers filling their glasses with some beer.
"The world is ending, thought it was a good a time as any."
Castiel hummed and drank some of his beer. Blinking when he could actually taste it.
Chuck gave him a small smile.
"Special kind of beer, one for angels. I - I can show you how to make it if you want."
Castiel shook his head and set his glass down.
"No, I - show Azazel, he would probably be more interested in such things."
There was a silence for a several moments. Castiel fiddled with something on his wrist.
It took a moment to realize what it was. He laughed warmly when he did.
"A claimant. Don't you and Damiel already have one?"
Castiel blinked and looked up at him before he nodded.
"We did. But he - he died. And I- the bond broke. So we had to remake it. He liked the idea of a bracelet this time."
He held it out to the light, sunstone were woven into leather straps. Chuck could feel the tightness of the bond from here. He swallowed.
He had to tell him. Now he didn't have a choice.
"I - Castiel there is a reason I called you here. I - what is the last thing you remember before Damiel died?"
Castiel went rigid and his blue eyes narrowed.
"Pain, I remember feeling as if I had been the one shot through the neck with an arrow. Why?"
"I mean the events leading up to that what do -"
"It was doing the Demon Wars. You know what happened then, you had ordered us to fight them. Lucifer had gone to them and taken over, remaking Hell into what it is now, enslaving the natives. Why?"
Chuck felt physically ill. This would break him, it would destory Heaven. And any hope of reconciliation he wanted.
"Lucifer, there are things that-"
He cut himself off and leaned toward him. His fingertips a few inches from Castiel's own.
"There are secrets I must tell you. I am sorry I didn't let you know earlier. It was my fault, I have no good excuse but I-"
He took a deep breath cursing himself. He could feel Amara growing impatient and pushing him to speak.
"Oh for Mother's Sake. Tell him!"
"I'm working on it!"
"What is it Chuck? I - Damiel was hoping to finally meet the Winchesters today. I have -"
"You aren't an orphaned angel. You and your siblings, your parents weren't killed in the Demon Wars."
Castiel froze and stared at him. Before he glared at him and opened his mouth to speak. Chuck held his hand up.
"Just let me finish."
He took a breath and spoke again.
"Eons before you, before everything. When the earth was young, when it went by Gaia. Amara and I fought for its fate. I won it lived, she won it died.
I needed soldiers and as I cast my awareness outward I found the angels. I went to them and to their Viceroy at the time. I asked if she would fight for me. Allow her people to fight for me.
She refused. Saying our wars were not hers, and her people deserved better. She told me to never bother her again."
Castiel stared at him with wide eyes. Chuck knew this was all new information. No angel sans the archangels spoke to him like that.
Chuck sighed and leaned back in his chair.
"I - I didn't listen. Amara had found the demons, and together we organized the two species to fight. I - I manipulated events to have the Viceroy and her mates die. With no leader, and a growing war I inserted myself into their world. I told them to call me father, to worship me and I would protect them."
Castiel was growing more and more agitened, his emotions were rolling and twisting into each other - shock, fury, sadness....hatred.
Chuck forced himself not to dwell on them. There was so much more. Amara nudged him to continue.
"They, they like their mother tried to refuse me but eventually submitted. So I had my weapons - the archangels -"
Castiel's voice shook, he looked pale and sickly.
Chuck nodded gravely.
"I will spare you the details. But you know most of it. I won and the angels enjoyed supremacy over all things because of it. There were many archangels. Tahariel and Eyal, I'm not sure if you know of them."
They were old, older than Michael. They had agreed to his rule but had not been happy about it. To be fair they had seen their mother die in the war. They had had to take up the day to day tasks of raising their siblings. They had been preoccupied with keeping their siblings safe rather than the impending fate of their home and a distant war.
Chuck continued. “Michael, Lumiel, Raphael, Gabriel you’ve met.”
He purposefully used Lumiel and not Lucifer. Castiel gave him a confused look. But Chuck continued on.
“Samael, Amitiel, and Uzziel are - well two out of three best left forgotten.”
He paused letting Castiel speak.
“Y - you didn’t make us?”
Chuck shook his head.
“No, no, you all formed on your own from the spilled blood of gods and stardust.”
The answer seemed to confuse Castiel more but he didn’t push it.
“What - who is Lumiel? Everyone remembers Samael.”
“Not in the way he had would have wanted. Castiel, I - Samael was my most trusted, he was my Reaper, my punisher. But Lumiel? Lumiel was my pride and joy, he was the most beloved, he was Heaven’s Teacher. When I made the garden, Lumiel objected, I worried what he would say to others. I needed you all to get behind it. I asked Samael to test him. Samael had the mark then, so maybe thats why things happened as it did. But he urged Lumiel to break into the Garden and you know how that ended up -“
“Not that this isn’t fascinating Chuck, but why are you telling me this?”
Castiel's tone was flat, he was being overloaded with information. Chuck almost felt bad to add more. But if he didn't say it now he never would.
Chuck leaned more toward touching the back of his hand. His essence unlocking the memories of him and the host as he spoke his next words.
“Your parents were Lumiel and Fraciel. Your grandmother opposed me and she would have been so proud of how far you had come.”
Castiel stood and staggered backward, he had been a fledgling when it all had happened. Barely a 1,000yrs old. His eyes were wide and moved back and forth as countless images flew into his head. All the memories he has suppressed flooding back. He collapsed into his knees and let out a shaky breath.
His hands curled into the hem of his trench coat.
“Where - where is my father?”
“I merged he and Samael together. I - I needed a villain with Amara gone and this was a perfect opportunity to have one. Plus, I had hoped having Lumiel in him would calm Samael’s rage.”
It hadn’t worked but at the very least they all knew now.
“You did good, if a little too calloused with the wording brother.”
"I know, I probably could have been gentler. But if - if I tried I probably wouldn't have gotten past the first sentence."
Chuck stood and moved to kneel before Castiel who edged away. His inner power sparked and spluttered to life. His eyes flashed a blinding white light as the power he had had all along came back to him.
“I had always had this I remember, I stepped down as an archangel when I couldn’t protect Damiel. What was the point of that power when I couldn’t protect the one I loved the most? I remember telling Michael and Khamael I was not worthy of this power to begin with. I was not a true archangel, this power had been given to me out of pity, as a commiseration that I and my siblings had lived while my parent’s blood spilled for Heaven in a never ending war.”
“I made Heaven forget Lumiel ever existed, as I did with your grandmother. But now with it all ending - I guess it is time to come clean.”
Castiel gave him an odd look.
“What does this mean for my family? For Daddy.”
Castiel blinked as he said the word, but he didn’t take it back. Chuck gave a sad smile. That level of easiness, of love. He wondered if he would ever have that if he was lucky enough to be allowed to have a child. A true child, something molded from him and of him.
“He and Samael should be apart now, I put them in a coma and in Raphael’s care.”
Castiel nodded and slowly stood, he ignored the hand that Chuck offered.
“Did - Did either of them know?”
Chuck hummed, it seemed Castiel was asking if either of them was conscious for the eons of pain.
“I - I hope not but knowing them I think they knew. I have a feeling Samael especially knew.”
Castiel nodded. He looked around the now empty diner.
“Will - will you send me back now. I need to be there with my siblings when - when - when Daddy comes home.”
Chuck gave that small smile again and nodded.
He snapped his fingers and turned to see Amara in his chair at the table. He took the seat Castiel had descarded and sat down across from her.
“Well, he didn’t kill anyone so I would say it wasn’t a failure.”
Chuck gave a hollowed laugh and a tired smile.
“What’s it like to have a child Ammie? A true one?”
He asked with a wistfulness he didn't know he possessed.
Amara blinked and gave his hand a squeeze.
“It is wonderful."
Mana was 10 now, she was still a child, a baby compared to them, but it - it was wonderful to have her there with them. She gave them a sense of wonder he had forgotten he possessed.
“She is your niece brother, she is your blood. Maybe she is the hole you are missing.”
He nodded, he winced as the anger and outrage started in Heaven.
“Maybe. Maybe it will be enough. Let's hope so."
He would need her, now that Heaven had truly turned their backs on him.