Short snippet set after Changing Channels, one brother's slightly convoluted musings on another. No connection to Children of Man, and Supernatural is still not mine.

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"Hey, Cas, are you coming with us or what?" Gabriel heard Dean call, his voice muffled by both the low rumble of a car engine and the shrill ringing of the fire alarm. The water had stopped…he supposed that he should be grateful for small favors, that the sprinklers in this old mill had worked long enough to put out the holy fire, despite the ramshackle appearance of the building, but at the moment he just couldn't bring himself to care.

He snapped his fingers, silencing the alarm, and shifted outside in time to see his brother climb into the car with the Winchester boys. There was an almost disturbing ease in the action, as though he'd done this before, and while a twitch of Castiel's head indicated that he knew they were being watched, he never even looked back.

When the car tires squealed and the vehicle pulled away from the mill, it was obscured almost immediately by a cloud of dust, but he kept watching as it continued down the road. As much as Dean-who-would-be-Michael's-vessel-by-now-if-he-wasn't-such-a-stubborn-pain-in-the-ass-Winchester's words had disturbed him, the way Castiel had looked at him had too. It wasn't as though he had done, or would have done, anything permanent to his little brother—it would be pretty pointless to rage against his siblings for killing each other and then go out and start doing the same thing himself—but judging by the look in those eyes, something had changed a great deal in quiet, obedient Castiel since the last time that they'd seen each other.

He snorted. As though that wasn't obvious by the company Castiel was keeping; by the way he had fought even after he'd realized who kept banishing him. Gabriel been very careful not to leave any trail behind him when he'd exiled himself to Earth, but he could still hear the others when he chose to put forth the effort, and mutters about Castiel's banishment and self-imposed quest to find God—as well as the occasional flare of rage from certain other siblings who wanted him in pieces, not to name names or anything Zachariah—ran rampant.

When he'd first heard the rumors, he'd put it down to fear. After the rise of Lucifer, several of his younger siblings had, for all intents and purposes, panicked, and he supposed that a search for God one way to respond. It was an idiotic quest—absolutely, beyond all rhyme or reason, idiotic—but really no stranger than what a few of the others had done. But then he'd caught the end of Raphael's fit about being summoned, something clearly not done in terror, and….

He shook his head. As much as he might wish otherwise, Father was gone, and he didn't understand why Castiel was insisting upon pretending otherwise. Frankly, if he'd been making a list of siblings who'd suddenly take it into their heads to go off on such a ridiculous mission, he wouldn't have put Castiel very high on that list. Hell, he wouldn't even have put him on the list at all. The absurdly stubborn Jophiel, maybe; the absurdly optimistic Zadkiel, possibly, but Castiel? No. Not without orders.

Thinking of orders, and of Jophiel and Zadkiel, made his head hurt even more than trying to figure out what Castiel was thinking taking on this idiot quest did. As last he'd heard, Jophiel had finally left that stupid tree and the two of them were now standing with Michael, ready to ride at his back once more. And no doubt Lucifer had already assembled a few chosen henchmen of his own. He wondered, sometimes, if repeatedly banging his siblings' heads against the gates of Heaven might knock some sense into them. Then again, knowing his family, all he'd succeed in doing would be putting a few dents in the gates.

He shook his head again—despite what Dean-stubborn-ass-Winchester might think, his brothers would never change—and returned to his previous train of thought. Castiel was not, and had never been, among the strongest of his siblings. He'd never even been a commander in the garrison, just what the humans would call a foot soldier. A low-level, do as you're told sort, and never a particularly forward one that. The only time Gabriel could recall him differing even slightly in opinion from his superiors—the only time Gabriel could recall him voicing his own opinion at all—had been when he had felt Uriel too…bloodthirsty…in his quest to track Anna down and destroy her immediately after she fell. And if he hadn't felt the same way, in fact if he hadn't begun planning his own escape at approximately the same time, he probably wouldn't even have noticed that much. Especially given that Castiel had immediately fallen silent when Zachariah had given Uriel approval. He had no idea how his quiet, subservient, little brother could have gone from a barely heard murmur of uncertainty, immediately retracted in the face of his superior's disapproval, to deliberate defiance of the entire garrison.

Gabriel realized abruptly that the car containing the Winchesters and Castiel had long since passed beyond the range of even his enhanced senses, and with a snap of his fingers he shifted to the stronghold he'd built for himself on Earth. Dropping down onto his recliner with a sigh, he opened himself up to National Angel Radio, trying to determine whether the little power play that had just gone in town on had drawn any attention. It didn't seem that it had, which was probably just as well. For both himself and Castiel.

With a frown, he summoned a candy bar from the fridge and began to munch absently. It had started out as a need to maintain his cover, but had long since progressed to enjoyment of the things. And chewing gave his body something to do while he tried to puzzle out what might have happened. He knew that Castiel had been torn apart by Raphael, in retaliation for his disobedience before Lucifer's rise, and knew also that he'd been restored. If the defiance hadn't occurred before his restoration he would have credited it with the change—and laid it at Lucifer's feet, as Raphael was doing—but, no, the change must have started before that.

He'd had to do the same thing that Castiel was doing since he'd come to Earth, keeping himself wrapped in wards to prevent his siblings from tracking him down and hauling himself back upstairs, but archangels had a great deal more power to draw from to start with so the wards weren't nearly as limiting to him as they were to the lesser angel. Castiel had to be using at least half his resources just to keep himself hidden. Possibly more than that; he'd actually been inside Gabriel's pocket dimension before Gabriel had realized exactly who he was. How he thought that a search that could not possibly have a happy ending—could not have an ending at all, as long as he refused to face the obvious—could be worth such a sacrifice, Gabriel just didn't understand.

He snorted slightly, cleaning last of the chocolate from his fingers. Of course, if Castiel's leave-taking from Heaven hadn't been equally if not more idiotic than his current quest was, maybe being tracked might not be such an issue. At least when he'd left Heaven, he'd had the sense to disappear without making a scene of it, giving himself time to establish his new identity before anyone in his family stopped feuding long enough to notice that he was missing. Castiel, on the other hand, had left practically waving a 'come kill me' sign while attempting to assist two mortals who were totally unable to recognize destiny when it cropped up and kicked them in the pants. Whatever had caused that sort of rashness was not something that gave Gabriel a lot of hope for his continued survival.

Which, again, lead back to what Castiel could possibly have been thinking. Did he really, honestly believe that he could find God and convince him to make Michael and Lucifer end this thrice-be-damned feud? Or was it a cover for something else? Did he think he could help those stubborn mortals stop the apocalypse some other way? Granted that those two had managed to get the drop on him in his Trickster game, but averting the apocalypse? The whole idea was asinine. It was better to just accept the inevitable and have it done with, rather than drawing out the agony like they were doing. Like Castiel was helping them do, despite the fact that it meant a continuation to the fighting, to the everything he, Gabriel, had come here to avoid.

He tapped his fingers against the arm of the recliner, remembering again those looks that Castiel had given him. Except that something had happened to make his quiet sibling willing to do all of this. To set out all on his own, in the face of the entire garrison. Maybe it had something to do with the Winchesters—in fact it almost certainly it had something to do with those two. After all, they couldn't even seem to get being vessels right. He snorted again. Or maybe it was like the humans said. It was the quiet ones you had to watch out for. He'd remember that, in the future.

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Couple author's notes—

Okay, so I added one line to the end of the episode. I just didn't like the idea of Castiel being left by the side of the road.

According to various sources, Jophiel and Zadkiel were archangels who rode behind Michael into battle. Jophiel was also supposed to be the angel who drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden and remained to guard the Tree of Life. However, given that I'm an engineer and not a religious scholar, I make no great claims as to accuracy.