Epilogue —Passage

There's light.


Light and love, he's surrounded by it, suffused in it and all the pain has vanished as though it never was. His vessel is gone, but that doesn't mean he has forgotten how to kneel in the presence of God. He wants to laugh and maybe cry a little and he can't tell anymore if he failed or succeeded and none of it really seems to matter anymore. He wants it to end.

Gabriel, is that what you truly want?

"I don't know anymore. I'm just tired."

Your grace is not gone, child.

He didn't think it was possible to weep without a vessel, but everything he knows is being proved wrong these days. "Did he make it?"

Sam Winchester is no longer your responsibility, Gabriel.

"I just left him there. I can't just stop caring!" he feels a surge of anger, like a flame refusing to be extinguished somewhere deep near his core. "I can't just wash my hands of it all, not after all this! Father you can't expect me to—" he falters.

God's laughter surrounds him, and it's clearer and brighter than all the angels' choruses through all time, and that lonely place inside Gabriel aches even more.

Have you learned, then?

He chokes. "How can you love them all when loving one of them hurts this much?" He gropes blindly toward his Father, still disoriented by the sudden lack of a physical body. "Father, please... did he make it? Is he all right?"

Would you like to see for yourself?

If he still had a physical form, he thinks his knees would have given out. "May I?"

You may stay here with me, as you are, or you may return.

"I don't want to choose. Not again. Don't send me away, please!"

I am not sending you away, child. There is no choice that is irrevocable, God's voice is filled with amusement and tolerance and love, and you are never so far from my sight as you think, Gabriel.

"So... all this time?" Gabriel huffs incredulously, can't quite believe that he allowed himself to think that he had successfully escaped from God. The sheer arrogance of it takes his breath away, now. "I can —I can go back, then? Just —just to see if he's all right. It's because of me that he's..." he can't find the words.

Make your choice.

There is joy in the words that he hasn't felt in five thousand years. Gabriel stands, spreads newly-formed wings until the tips brush against the sky, and chooses.