Title: Triumphant Grace
Summary: Zachariah makes the mistake of going after the Winchesters again, Michael and Gabriel track down Uriel and have a chat, and Team Free Will settle into their changed dynamics. Sequel to Hidden Grace.
Spoilers/warnings: Uh… season five? In general? You know who Gabriel is, you're good to go. If not, DON"T READ THIS. Instead, go watch the episode 'Changing Channels' like, right now.
Slash warning for mild but definite Michael/Castiel, and slight Sam/Gabriel.
Please let me know if you spot any typos. Reviews are awesome. Thank you!
Also, I have edited this chapter, because ffnet kept deleting Becky's stream of conciousness; there are now word breaks, lol.
Zachariah was gloating as he looked down at the two men in front of him with a satisfied smile.
"Come now boys," he said. "You can't resist forever. It's destiny, Dean, surely you can understand that."
"Fuck you, Zachariah."
"You're going to say yes, Dean, one way or another."
Dean's eyes glared up at him.
"Zachariah. Listen to yourself. You're trying to torture a couple of humans into doing what you want them to do. You're trying to override free will so that you can, oh yeah, ignore what's supposed to happen and bring the Apocalypse a few millennia early. You think Father would be pleased?"
Zachariah smiled at him. It wasn't a nice smile.
"Father's not here right now, so what's it matter? I'm growing impatient here, Dean."
Dean's face tilted up to look at Zachariah with an unexpectedly savage grin.
"You want Dean Winchester to say yes so it all goes your way, right Zach? See, there's one problem with that."
Michael stood, allowing his cramped wings to burst free and his Grace to surge forward, humming with the same vengeful satisfaction as his smile.
"I'm not Dean Winchester."
The smile vanished, and Michael stared sternly into Zachariah's stunned gaze, all wrath and justice. There was a slight displacement of air as Gabriel appeared next to him, silent and smirking with the Trickster's dark sense of retribution.
Zachariah glanced between them.
"No," he said, his expression turning to one of fear.
"Oh yes," Gabriel said. "You shouldn't have been such a bully, Zachy-boy."
"You have trespassed against humanity and against the will of the Lord," Michael said.
"Yeah," Gabriel agreed. "You've been throwing your weight around, I hear. Who do you think you are? Us?"
"You'll be punished accordingly," Michael continued, ignoring Gabriel's interjection.
"Hasta la vista, baby," Gabriel said, and snapped his fingers.
There was an explosion of Grace and human flesh.
"Oh, gross," said Sam.
Bits of Zachariah's Vessel had gone everywhere.
Michael frowned at Gabriel.
"The Vessel too? Did you have to?" he complained.
"Nope," Gabriel explained cheerfully. "But I like the way they go splat. Besides, it was a mercy. Guy deserved to go straight to Heaven, after putting up with Zachariah for so long."
"Guys," Sam said, still covered in human remains, "if you don't clean me off, like, right now…"
"It's like I'm your maid," Gabriel grumbled, but snapped Sam clean. "'Gabriel, clean up those candy wrappers.' 'Gabriel, can you vanish this weird goo that thing squirted me with?' 'Gabriel, get this frigging chocolate out of my damn keyboard.'"
"Those were all your fault," Sam glared.
"Whatever. 'Thank you for helping me out, Gabriel.'"
"Yeah, thanks Gabe," Michael said.
"Any time, Mikey."
Sam was grumbling under his breath.
"Sam, quit whining."
"Bitch," Michael responded.
"Morons," Gabriel finished. "Hey, how do you guys feel about pizza?"
Sam promptly turned green.
Michael snickered under his breath.
"I hate you both like, so much right now," Sam said sulkily.
Three angels and a human sat in a diner eating pie.
"I thought that went well," Gabriel said.
"Sure, until you exploded Zachariah," Sam grumbled.
"You exploded Zachariah?" Castiel asked.
"He was a dick," Gabriel said. "So, Raphael next?"
"Probably," said Michael.
"You know, even if you get the angels to follow you, you've still got Lucifer running around," Sam commented.
"I know," Michael replied. "I have a plan. Man, this is good pie."
"A plan?" Sam repeated skeptically.
"Dude." Michael raised his eyebrows. "Commander of the Host, remember? I'm a freaking general. Of course I've got a plan."
"Does this plan involve you stabbing things with that sword of yours somewhere?" Gabriel asked.
"Gee, how'd I guess?" Gabriel mocked.
"I am sure your plan is excellent, Michael," Castiel informed Michael warmly.
"Of course you do," Gabriel grumbled. "Try batting your eyelashes, it'd be more subtle. Maybe Michael'll tell you how much he likes your eyes."
"Shut up, Gabriel," Michael growled, while Sam snorted and said, "Dude, I don't want to know."
Castiel frowned between Gabriel and Michael, one smirking, the other scowling.
"I don't –"
"Just ignore him Cas," Michael ordered.
'Whipped,' Gabriel mouthed exaggeratedly to Sam. Sam grinned and nodded.
"Fuck you both very much," Michael said, genuinely irritated. "You know what? You two can talk about Raphael or ancient Mesopotamia or whatever the hell you want. I'm going to see if the prophet knows anything."
And he left the diner.
He did snag the last piece of pie as he went, though.
Michael knocked on the door and waited.
A moment later Chuck opened the door, a beer in one hand, looking marginally less unshaven and scruffy than he had the last time Michael had seen him, back when he was still Dean.
"Oh my God," Chuck said, dropping the beer.
"Not even close," Michael responded.
"Holy shit. You're Michael." Chuck looked freaked.
"Yeah. Listen, I wanted to talk to you about the whole prophet thing. Oh, and to tell you Zachariah isn't going to be a problem any more."
"I know," said Chuck. "I saw him explode. I hate it when people explode. I threw up across my couch."
Michael tried not to grin, he really did.
"Weak stomach, huh?"
"You know, for an archangel, you're kind of a jerk," Chuck said.
"You think I'm bad, you should meet Gabriel. Can I come in?"
"Yeah, I guess," Chuck allowed, and stood aside to let Michael walk in.
The house was a lot cleaner and tidier than it had been last time Michael had been here. Also, there were now flowery cushions on the couch, and a pink coat hanging off a door handle.
"Chuck, honey, have you seen my laptop?" a familiar voice called, making Michael's eyes widen. He shot Chuck an incredulous look. The prophet had the grace to look sheepish, but sported a small grin all the same.
"I had it this morning, but – OH MY GOD!"
Michael winced as Becky caught sight of him.
"Oh my God!" Becky cried out again, breaking into a huge smile. "Dean! Except that it turns out you were really Michael all along, so I probably shouldn't call you Dean anymore. That was such an inspired plot twist. I can't believe you're an archangel!"
Becky tackled him around the middle and hugged enthusiastically.
Michael patted her on the back gingerly, and glared at Chuck, who was trying to hide his smirk.
"Uh, hi, Becky."
"It's such an honour to meet you," Becky prattled happily, her grip not loosening in the slightest. "I mean, now you're an archangel and everything. Oh. My. God. That means you have wings now. Can I see them?"
"I have no idea," he said honestly, looking down at the top of Becky's head.
As a human, she'd creeped the hell out of him, but looking at her now, her soul was bright and innocent and harmless. Michael had to admit she was kind of cute.
"Let me try something," he said, willing to accommodate her. "Take a step back for a second."
Becky instantly let him go, and Michael focused on the flow of Grace down each wing.
He reached out to the dimensions around him, and twisted them where his wings were.
Becky let out an ear-piercing shriek.
"Ow fuck!" Michael spat, trying to fold all six of his wings into smaller shapes so that they weren't scrunched against the walls and ceiling.
"Oh my God!" Becky squealed yet again. "They're gorgeous!"
She reached out a dazzled hand to grasp some of Michael's feathers.
Michael couldn't help smiling indulgently at the delight and joy radiating from her.
"Careful," he cautioned. "Don't yank on them, or anything."
Becky stroked one bronze-orange wing, looking awed.
"Wow," Chuck said, staring. "Those wings are enormous. I'm surprised they fit."
"They don't," Michael said, watching in bemusement as Becky folded out the end of one wing, and pressed her face against it. He obligingly fanned the feathers out a bit more. "I'm making the room bigger than it is."
"You can do that?"
"I'm an archangel. I can do all kinds of impressive shit."
Michael tilted his head at the rapid stream of oh they're so huge and pretty and powerful I love them they're so soft I wish I had wings or Chuck had wings I wonder if Michael could take me flying I wonder what the other angels wings are like running through Becky's head.
"Well, Cas's are kind of gunmetal grey," Michael told her, "and Gabriel's are gold."
"You're reading my mind?" Becky exclaimed, turning wide eyes on him.
That is so hot.
Michael blinked uncomfortably, and looked back at Chuck.
"So, uh, I was wondering if you can tell me anything helpful, like what Raphael or Lucifer's been up to."
"Lucifer's, um, you know, wreaking havoc. Raphael's just trying to stop things getting really bad. Like, uh, you were supposed to."
Michael opened his mouth to snap, but stopped, and sighed instead.
"Okay, I deserved that. Any idea where I can find him?"
Chuck shook his head.
"Great. Guess I'll do things the hard way." Michael looked at Becky. "Becky, I need you to let go now."
"No," Becky returned, clutching several feathers possessively.
Chuck shrugged helplessly.
What can I do? She's my girlfriend, it's not like she does what I say or anything. Please, please don't smite her.
Michael rolled his eyes.
"Dude. I'm not smiting anyone. Becky, sweetheart, if you don't let go of my wings I'm never letting you touch them again."
"You'll let me touch them again?" Becky's face lit up.
"Sure, but only if you respect my personal boundaries."
Becky moved back reluctantly. Michael twisted reality again, letting his wings slip back into solely being an ethereal manifestation of his Grace.
"Are you going?" Becky asked. "Because, I just wanted to tell you, I love the romantic sub-plot in the latest book. I think you and Castiel are like, so sweet."
Chuck looked at Michael's face.
"Uh, let's leave Michael alone so he can do his vanishing thing," the prophet suggested nervously, trying to drag Becky out of the room.
"Now," Chuck hissed. Becky blinked at him in surprise, but gave a pleased smile at his forcefulness.
Michael shook his head.
"Hey bro," Gabriel called out, as Michael popped in without warning. He and Cas and Sam were playing Scrabble. "Get over your snit?"
Michael flexed his wings in an 'I am strong and can totally kick your ass' kind of way.
"I was visiting Chuck. Sam, did you know he's with Becky?"
"Um, yeah," Sam said, peering far too intently at his letters.
"And you didn't tell me? Nice."
"Who's Becky?" Gabriel asked curiously.
"A deranged fan," Sam answered.
"A grabby fan," Michael added. "Don't ever let her near your wings."
"You manifested your wings?" Castiel stared at him with some intensity.
"Yeah. She's like a box of kittens. It was cute."
"That's not what you said last time," Sam observed, staring as well.
"Yeah, well," Michael shrugged his shoulders, cuffing Gabriel playfully with one wing as he went past, "that was before I could see her soul."
He ducked the letter tiles that Gabriel pegged at his head.
"So," Michael said, "while I'm not suggesting we don't rough Raphael up a bit, I'm maybe rethinking the 'beat the shit out of him' plan."
"Do tell." Gabriel looked at him accusingly.
"Well, uh, the prophet kind of had the balls to point out that what Raphael's doing is partly my fault," Michael admitted. "In a non-confrontational, passive-aggressive sort of way."
"Is that guilt I hear?" Gabriel sniped. "Great. Now you're feeling guilty."
"Don't get me wrong," Michael argued, "I'm not saying we forgive him straight away or anything –"
"I know, I know, he played Exploding Snap with Cas and your soul cries out for vengeance," Gabriel nodded along.
" – but let's face it, out of the three of us, he was the only one who actually had the guts to stay and try and keep everything from going to hell. I'm just saying, we're not exactly in a position to judge, here."
"Speak for yourself," Gabriel disagreed. "I'm faaaaabulous at judging."
"Guys," Sam interrupted, "why don't you ask what Cas thinks?"
The two archangels stopped bickering and turned to look at the seraph.
"I think," Castiel said slowly, "that if Raphael was trying to do what he believed was right, he should not be punished for it."
Gabriel threw up his hands with a look of disgust.
"Oh, come on. He's been killing angels left and right, including you, and you think we should just let him walk?"
"You know, for someone who left because all his brothers were fighting each other, you're strangely eager to see Raphael whumped," Michael said dryly.
Gabriel was silent for a moment.
Then his shoulders slumped.
"I don't mean it." His voice sounded suddenly lost, and small. Michael was reminded strongly of the way he'd stood in the warehouse, inside the ring of holy fire, uncertain and with all his bluster and bravado gone.
In response Michael clapped a hand to the back of Gabriel's neck and wrapped all of his wings around his brother comfortingly.
"Yeah, I get it."
"Geez Michael, you don't need to cuddle me like some fledgling," Gabriel muttered; but he relaxed back into the curve of Michael's wings, and threaded his fingers gently through the feathers.
Sam frowned at the gesture, trying to work out what Gabriel was doing.
"I've got my wings folded around him," Michael explained.
"Oh." Sam tried not to look wistful.
Michael rolled his eyes.
"You are such a girl, Sammy," he said half under his breath, and manifested his wings like he had earlier.
"Michael!" Gabriel hollered in irritation, from somewhere inside the mass of bronze-orange. "Get your freaking feathers out of my face!"
Michael sheepishly pulled his wings back, to reveal Gabriel sitting there looking ruffled.
Sam just stared up at Michael's wings, his mouth open.
Michael grinned at the longing thoughts that were strong enough for all the angels in the room to hear without even trying.
"Go ahead and touch, Sam." He spread the nearest wing invitingly.
Sam reached out hesitantly to brush a hand along the feathers.
"Relax," Michael said. "They're not as delicate as they look."
He and Gabriel watched in amusement as Sam ran his hands all over Michael's wings with a look of wide-eyed wonder.
Smiling, Michael glanced in Cas's direction, and frowned.
Castiel was watching Sam as well, but with an entirely different expression.
Michael raised an eyebrow, and thought about it for a second, before skimming a wing across the top of Castiel's head to make his hair stand up.
Cas caught hold of Michael's wing and glared at him. Michael just grinned back.
Castiel stared at the wing for a moment, as though not quite sure what to do with it, before running his fingers through the feathers the way Gabriel had earlier.
Gabriel smirked at them both, but Michael pretended not to notice.