"What?" Mary startled from her relaxed posture on the couch. She had been spending some time helping Grandpa Cain tend to his bees. The old demon regarded her with suspicion, still, however was bemused, or at least morbidly curious, enough to allow her continued presence.
"Sam. Missing." Ben's voice said again. "Gadreel confirmed it as something demonic. I'm meeting up with Dean to check it out."
The nephilim stumbled to her feet. "Where are you?"
Ben recited an address, and with a hurried farewell to her pseudo-grandfather, Mary flew away.
"We think this is it? The demon finally making its move?" She said, in lieu of a greeting.
"Yes," the transgenic said, snapping his laptop shut. "Ash just sent me an email about something he uncovered. I'll have to swing by there first."
"No, you go meet with Dean," Mary said. "I can get to the Roadhouse faster."
"Be careful," Gadreel burned blue behind Ben's eyes.
The nephilim patted his cheek. "You two just focus on killing the demon and saving Sam."
The moment her wings skimmed the ether, Mary knew something was wrong.
She wove through sunbeams and dove around atoms, but the celestial pursuer clung to her slip stream. It snatched at her feathers, causing her to stumble mid air, and fall to a standstill.
Her pursuer landed nearby, its true form scorching the air. "You are a swift flier, for an abomination."
Mary's heart shriveled up and died. She grinned, despite how much her lips trembled. "Yeah, it runs in my family."
The angel tilted it's many heads, blue eyes searching. "You are not of this universe."
"What gave me away?" her wings fluttered, but he raised his knife to ward her against flying off.
"Your vibrational patterns are out of synchronization with this iteration of creation. Why are you here?"
"I just passing through."
"You should leave."
"I can't, until my family here doesn't need my help anymore."
"If you don't leave, I will be forced to make you."
Mary's wings flared, exposing twining patterns matching exactly those on the back of her attacker.
The angel paused in raising his silver blade. Its expression shifted from blank duty to a dawning interest. It stuttered, hands curling to clutch at the core of its grace, before conditioned disgust curled its lips into a snarl. Blood dripped from its blue eyes, as it raised its sword once more.
Mary braced herself for the blow, but before it could land, a wave of golden light enveloped her.
"Raising your hand to a lady like that's not nice, bucko."
Thousands of feathers hushed her exclamation, cradling her close.
"You!" the blue eyed angel growled.
Gabriel smirked, heads tilted in examination. He whistled. "Boy, they really did a number on you upstairs, didn't they."
Pressed as close as she was to the archangel's grace Mary could feel how deeply the casual words cut and weighed upon his heart.
"I don't feel too good about pulling feathers when you don't have many left to spare, so I'll have to slap a bandaid on it." The archangel buried a clawed hand in the seraph's wings, golden grace curling deeply into the tattered mass. The angel shuddered and passed out.
"Is he ok?" Mary whispered into her rescuer's back.
"He will be," Gabriel soothed a wing over her brow, carrying them away.
"He didn't look like my parent," she mumbled. "He looked so... diminished. And he had so many scars."
"Heaven has a way of wearing away at people."
The archangel pretended not to notice as his passenger wiped her eyes. "Where are we?" she sniffed at length.
"My own pocket dimension. It's a nice place to kick back and think, or hide, as the case may be."
Mary nodded into his chest, taking comfort in the twining tendrils of grace tingling along the edges of her wings.
"You asked me once how you knew me," Gabriel said, twirling a feather between his antlers. "And I told you that you didn't. I was lying."
Gold eyes canted to her. "A long, long time ago, I found a little spark of somewhat-grace crying on the edges of what soon would become creation. I was young then, everything was, and I quickly became enamored with this new thing I had never seen before."
She chuckled wetly. "Knew I was right."
The archangel rolled a few of his eyes.
Mary wiped her face. "Thank you for saving me."
"How could I not?"
"How did you know where I was?"
Gabriel considered her, before reaching back to run a hand through the core of her wings. She shuddered, but he quickly withdrew, pulling free a single curly gold downy feather from amidst the turquoise.
"You tagged me with your grace?"
"Since the first day you found me."
She shook off the implications of that, trying to orient her shaken mind onto more pressing muscles along her back strained. "I have to go. Demons are after my family."
"The Roadhouse has burned," Gabriel said. "But the Winchesters are safe."
"I checked it out," he said, golden eyes blinking along his planet encompassing wingspan. "Nice idea springing the Gate Guardian from the hen house, by the way. He's always been a bit stiff for me, but he takes his job very seriously."
"So it worked? The demon's gone?"
"Smote to a crispy center."
A rushing sigh escaped Mary's lips, deflating the taught line of her back. "Thank Grandpa."
"Never I thought I would hear Dad called that." Gabriel chuckled. "But if you just wanted the demon gone, why not just use an exorcism? Not that I'm complaining about you wanting it extra dead, but from a logistics standpoint, your plan could use some work."
Mary blinked. "Because when you exorcise a demon, it just comes back the next day? Because the gates of hell are like revolving door and...oh." She looked sheepish. "The hell gate hasn't been opened yet, has it."
"I'm just gonna say no."
"Ah, well." She twisted her fingers together. "He probably would have gotten out eventually anyway, so I just made extra sure that he couldn't."
"You know, you've thrown quite a large wrench into an awful lot of big plans."
"Is that a bad thing?"
The archangel hummed. "Depends on your perspective, I suppose."
Mary sighed tiredly.
"Hey, how long have you been in this universe?"
"Hm, about two years I think?"
He frowned. "And you've been anchoring your cousin here as well. No wonder you're exhausted."
"Twisting the fabric of time and space is difficult at the best of times. Humans have traveled to parallel earths before, and the ones who've gotten stuck end up suffering degradation. Grace can hold off the effects for a while, but you don't have much to spare for him and yourself." He tilted his head. "Didn't anyone ever tell you this?"
Mary yawned again, pillowing her head over her folded arms. "One of my aunts might have mentioned it."
"You should go home."
"Come with me," she mumbled into his chest.
"You know I can't be with you the way you want."
She sighed. "You're my friend, and you'll be unhappy left alone here. Why can't that be enough of a reason to want you with me?"
"You have a gift of persuasion," the archangel chuckled. "I suppose I can sneak back with you."
Mary giggled. "I've always wanted a secret. I'll hug you and love you and call you George."
"If it's good enough for Bugs Bunny~"
They laughed together.
A weight seemed to lift from Gabriel's wings. "I can leave, can't I. Just let it all go. Who cares?"
"That's the spirit," she sighed tiredly.
Some time earlier, in an abandoned ghost town called Cold Oaks, Dean screamed as his brother was stabbed in the back.
"Move!" Ben snarled, eyes flashing blue. In a blur, the transgenic ran from the impala to the scene of the attack, neatly snapping the neck of Sam's opponent.
His eyes flashed with a heavenly light, and he crouched over the younger Winchester, whose breathing became fainter as he bled out.
"Be calm, Sam Winchester," Gadreel said. "You shall not pass from this plane whilst I am here."
He touched the wound, and it healed instantly.
A gun clicked behind the angel's head. Slowly, he stood and turned, to see a wild eyed Dean glaring at him.
"Who the hell are you? Get out of Ben!"
"I was invited to reside within your grandchild," Gadreel said. Ben kept up a steady stream of assurances and commentary in the back of his consciousness.
"He wouldn't let a demon possess him!"
"I am no demon."
"Dean?" Sam groaned from the dirt.
"Sammy?" Instantly the hunter dropped to his brother's side, hands searching for a wound amidst his bloody clothing. "You're ok." He sounded bewildered. "But I saw you get stabbed."
"I healed him," Gadreel chimed in.
The Winchesters stared up at him in hesitant wonder. Sam opened his mouth to say something, when the burning scent of sulfur permeated the town.
"Well, Sammy boy, looks like you've won." The yellow eyed demon smirked.
Gadreel stepped between the demon and humans. "Be gone. You shall not harm my charges."
Azezeal scrutinized the newcomer. His expression morphed into a snarl as realization dawned, yellow eyes flaring. "Your kind isn't supposed to be here!"
"I would not concern yourself with that," Gadreel intoned. His wings lashed out, chains burning through the black spirit's smoke.
The demon screamed as the angelic grace tore through his being. Gadreel pulled it closer, tattered body bristling with divine wrath, unimpeded by his lack of a sword.
The guardian's grace flared. A moment later, the demon's vessel fell to the floor, eyes burned out along with the hell spawn.
The Winchesters watched this all, incredulity mounting with each passing second.
"Who are you?" Sam croaked.
Gadreel looked down at the brothers, an impractical smile touching the corners of his mouth. "My name is Gadreel. I am an angel."
Dean made a noise as if to protest, but was convinced to reconsider his stance on celestial beings in light of the still smoking corpse a few feet away. He cleared his throat. "Right. Angel. Awesome."
"Indeed." Gadreel agreed.
"Why are you here?" Sam said, struggling into a seated position. "Is Ben-?"
"Ben is here." The angel placed a hand on his chest. "He offered to be my vessel when I was in need."
"You're possessing him?"
"I signed an informed consent contract."
"Wait, what?" Sam did a double take.
Ben mentally rolled his eyes and nudged his body guest out of the way. "Angels are pretty common on earth back home. They can't really touch anything without something exploding, unless they have a vessel. Our family is crazy compatible for most angels, so some of us are part time vessels. The contract is just to make sure we don't get body-jacked."
"That's. Ok." Sam blinked hard, as if wondering if he was still bleeding out on the ground, and everything currently happening was a strange hallucination.
"Does Mary have an angel on her shoulder too?" Dean asked, recovering better than his brother.
"Not exactly." Ben shrugged. "But, can we talk about this somewhere else? Preferably not a ghost town full of corpses?"
Dean nodded, falling into protective brother mode. "Right, we'll go to Bobby's." He made to pull Sam to his feet, but Ben easily picked up the absurdly tall man with ease, and carried him bridal style to the Impala's back seat.
"So, I guess you two are going home now, then."
Mary nodded tiredly, slumped against her cousin as they sat around Bobby's kitchen table. The Winchester brothers had taken the news about parallel universes and breaking into heaven quite well, all things considered.
Dean brushed a hand over his lips. "What about you, Dreel? Flying the coop as well?"
The angel tilted Ben's head. "I do not think so. I exist there already. I do not wish to unbalance their universe."
"You're free to stick around here, if you want."
A hesitant smile pricked the angel's mouth. "I will have to confer with my new vessel, but I would very much like to visit, if that is permitted."
Dean grinned. "Of course! You're practically family! And you saved Sam. That gets you a lot of brownie points."
Mary chuckled tiredly at the angel's confused expression. "That's probably a good idea. Gadreel should know how to call me. We should meet for a picnic or something. You know, when I'm feeling back to one hundred percent."
The hunter's eyes softened. "I'ld like that."
The party eventually made their way outside. The transgenic half carried his cousin outside of the salvage yard's gates, and prepared to depart this dimension.
Ben gasped, eyes glowing white, as the celestial wavelength left his body.
"Oh, I'm gonna feel that in the morning," he moaned, doubling over. "Dreel, why did I let you gorge on cake?"
"Because you give great going away presents," Mary laughed, leaning heavily against her cousin. "Now let's go home, I'm exhausted."
A/N: This is the same universe where Mary went as a child and met Gabriel, before creation was a thing.
Also, yes, I totally stole the whole "can't live away from your own world without getting sick" from the Amber Spyglass.
Tall Tales was in February, Hell Breaks Loose was in April/May
Eruv: Hebrew word meaning a public space, like a forum type thing
Tzaddekes: righteous woman
ktanim yekarim banim: little precious children
neshama: Israli term of endearment which means soul
horim: hebrew for parent. horai: father
Did I even use half of these words in this story? I can't remember. Probably.
Anyway, hey. Part Three is thing that will happen. Stay tuned!