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 Dean/Castiel, and slight Sam/Gabriel.
Please let me know if you spot any typos. Reviews are awesome. Thank you!
Michael watched Sam sleep with a frown.
He could feel Lucifer's touch clinging around Sam, unmistakeable.
"I believe that you informed me that watching people sleep is 'creepy,'" Castiel's even voice said behind him.
"It is," Michael said absently. "Lucifer's fucking with Sam's head again."
Cas tilted his head and regarded Michael.
"Right now I'd love to bust in and throw Lucifer out on his ass, but if I do that he'll know I'm back. The same goes for Gabriel. So much as I'd like to, I'm not sure I should do something."
Cas rested a hand on Michael's shoulder, and his wings arched in surprised pleasure.
"Lucifer is likely to know soon in any case. You need to consider whether it is more important to keep your return secret, or to protect Sam from Lucifer's influence."
Put like that, there was no contest.
"I'm going in," Michael said firmly.
Placing a hand over Sam's forehead, he dived into his brother's mind.
When Michael appeared, Sam was looking out with dull, pained eyes onto a scene of destruction, while Lucifer spoke to him in a calm, smooth voice.
Michael's Grace surged angrily.
Lucifer's head snapped around so sharply that the movement was almost audible, while Sam spun around almost as quickly, a smile of glad relief spreading across his features at the sight of Michael walking across towards them.
"Michael," Lucifer acknowledged. "This is quite a surprise."
"Yeah, well, this seemed to be where all the cool people were hanging," Michael responded. "Hi there, Sam."
"…Michael," Sam said, catching himself before he said Dean.
"Don't think much of the décor, though," Michael added casually, and suddenly the three of them were sitting a a booth in a diner.
Michael opened his menu.
"Fresh apple pie," he said. "Awesome."
Lucifer raised his eyebrows but followed suit, surveying the menu himself.
Sam, nestled into Michael's side like a baby duckling, looked between them in bewilderment.
"The thing is," Michael said conversationally, as pie appeared in front of him, "I get that you want to inhabit your Vessel. But harassing the poor kid the way you're doing? Not cool, Lucifer."
"Your interference here is unexpected," Lucifer said, a piece of lemon-meringue pie and a fork materialising. "It seems unlike you."
"Well, you know, it's been a while," Michael said through a mouthful of apple pie. "Maybe I've changed."
"It's possible," Lucifer agreed politely.
"Anyway, what I'm really here to say is that I'm sick of you messing around with Sam's head, and you can either stop or get the fuck out."
"No," Lucifer said, watching him.
"Yeah. That's what I thought."
The next moment he was a pillar of towering Grace and wings and crackling power and rage, Sam shoved behind him and underneath one wing as their surroundings vanished.
Michael had a glimpse of sleek blue-black wings unfolding before he shoved Lucifer unceremoniously out of Sam's mind, and did the equivalent of bolting the doors behind him.
The lack of landscape was replaced by someplace comforting and familiar; the kitchen at Bobby's.
Sam peered out from under the wing that sheltered him. Michael felt no desire to remove it.
He'd practically raised Sam, he thought ruefully, so it was probably no wonder he felt like gathering Sam under his wings like he was a fledgling.
"He's gone," Sam said, sounding faintly surprised about it.
"As long as I'm here, he can't get in," Michael told him. "We're pretty evenly matched, but I'm welcome her and he isn't."
"Yeah," Sam said, "you can say that again."
Michael gave into impulse and cocooned Sam in all six of his wings, holding him close and safe. Part of him had wanted to rip Lucifer apart for what he was doing.
"Dude." His brother's voice came out muffled and vaguely irritated. "What are you doing?"
"I basically raised you, Sam," Michael said softly. "Every one of my instincts says that you're my fledgling to care for and protect. I wanted to kill Lucifer."
There was an embarrassed, pleased silence within Michael's wings, as Sam marvelled at Michael's words. Here in Sam's head, Michael knew every thought Sam had the moment he thought it.
"If we're done with the chick-flick moment, you should go to sleep," Michael said lightly, not commenting on Sam's unvoiced gratitude or insecurity.
There was a huffed laugh, but Sam's mind slipped back into normal sleep.
In the morning Michael waited until Sam began to stir before he left his side, and strolled out to where Castiel sat on the motel steps.
Michael dropped down beside him, and they sat there companionably.
"I don't know what you want from me," Cas said into the silence.
"There's an awkward conversation starter," Michael commented. "I dunno, Cas. What are you willing to give?"
Castiel met his gaze with eyes that burned with almost angry sincerity.
"I Fell for you," Castiel said with fierce intensity, his words taut with emotion. "I raised you from Perdition and gave up everything for you when you were Dean Winchester. As Michael, there is still nothing I would not do for you if asked."
Michael rested a hand loosely on Cas's neck, not quite the affectionate gesture he'd used the day before, and added pressure until their foreheads were almost touching.
"Believe me, I am sensible of that, Castiel," Michael said, staring deeply into Castiel's eyes, all archangel. "Your loyalty, your trust, your love – I cannot express how much they mean to me."
Castiel flushed slightly.
"But all the same, I want more," Michael continued. "I want you, Cas. And in return, you would get me."
He tilted his head in question, while his wings arranged themselves into an impressive display, part invitation, part offer, their meaning unmistakeable.
"That sounds fair," Castiel breathed solemnly, his wings spreading to mirror the position of Michael's own.
Michael grinned at him, and leaned in the extra inch.
"Oh God!" Sam exclaimed, sounding mortified, his footsteps retreating hastily.
"So this is where you two lovebirds got to!" Gabriel's jovial voice said loudly. "It's about time."
"Gabriel. Fuck off," Cas said calmly, sending Michael into paroxysms of laughter at the surprised look on Gabriel's face.
"That reminds me," Michael said once he could control his mirth, "you hurt Sam and I'll end you."
Gabriel raised a mobile eyebrow.
"And if he hurts you, I'll kick his ass," Michael added.
Gabriel gaped at him.
"Have they stopped kissing?" Sam called from inside. "Because seriously, I did not need to see that."
"Bitch!" Michael called.
"Jerk!" Sam hollered back.
"How do you feel about going to Bobby's?" Michael asked, walking back into the motel room.
"Dude, seriously? You're asking me how I feel about seeing Bobby's face when you tell him you're actually the archangel Michael, and that you and Cas are an item now?"
"We'll need to introduce Gabriel properly," Michael mused, with a grin. "You know, as an archangel in disguise. I hope Bobby tries to shoot him."
"Gee, thanks," Gabriel griped.
"Hey, it'll be hilarious."
"So you say."
Michael just smirked.