Author's note: Thanks so much to Larkafree, Maknatuna, Keefer, Maddy Love Castiel, FireChildSlytherin5, Avalonemyst, Hesta101, RachelPhobia, CassXDeano, Purpura Avis, kb18142, CherylB1964, Pizzapig, starshaker and PrettyLittleJumper for last chapter's reviews and thanks to everyone who ever read, reviewed or favorited this story. You all are the reason why I keep writing!
November 25th, 2032
So, it turns out I suck at keeping up diaries. Don't act so surprised.
Anyway, Thanksgiving seems like a good day to try and bring you up to date.
"I brought muffins!" Gabriel yelled as soon as he had opened the door to his family's home, his two best friends in tow.
What neither Sophie nor Toshio knew was that the archangel was still mostly living with his family, even though he technically had his own apartment. Most of the time he just didn't feel like staying there after closing the little bakery he had opened the previous year, however. Of course, the times when he had a girlfriend and she was staying over were an exception to the rule. In general, it was awesome to get to choose between the privacy of his own home and the company of the family.
"We b-brought nothing!" Sophie exclaimed with a grin, nudging Toshio none too gently with her elbow when he rolled his eyes at her for the stupid joke.
Gabriel laughed at his two friends and handed the big container with the muffins over to his mother when she came out of the kitchen to greet and hug them.
Toshio hadn't exactly become any less serious ever since he had graduated his pre-law studies and had successfully applied to Michigan Law School, but he had never even considered looking for new friends to replace the two goofballs he had been hanging out with since before pre-school. Granted, he still didn't understand why Gabriel hadn't done anything with his damn near perfect SAT score, but owning his own business and running it very successfully didn't exactly count as wasting his life.
Sophie's career choice was a completely different matter, of course. She hadn't only dropped out of the arts college she had chosen for herself after less than a year, but had also taken up acting in plays on whatever stage production would have her just like her father. The impressive thing about that was that with breathing techniques and speech training she had managed to keep her stutter completely under control while she was on stage. The young woman had decided early on that it wasn't worth paying so much attention and sounding slightly unnatural when she was having private conversations, however. Actually, the fact that she was working as a stage hand, make up artist of sorts, accountant of the mostly self-taught kind and basically everything else that was needed for the theater to make ends meet was quite impressive, as well.
Emma came running down the stairs as soon as she realized that her older brother and his friends had arrived and made a full stop to hug her brother tightly before she quickly grabbed Sophie's arm, dragging her toward the stairs.
"We're taking pictures later, you gotta do my hair!" the nine year old explained before the two of them were gone from sight.
The youngest Winchester might not exactly be overly vain, but she surely enjoyed having someone around who could help her get her curly hair into the sort of hairstyle that would just make her look like a little angel on any pictures that might be taken. With a family full of angels it only seemed fair that she could at least look like one, not that she'd let Sophie in on that particular train of thoughts.
"How do you like Michigan?" Sam asked after the obligatory greetings when Gabriel and Toshio made it to the living room where most of the others were assembled.
"It's really cool, a lot of work, though," the young man replied with a shrug. He had spent some time discussing his pre law and law studies with the younger Winchester to hear his general opinion on things, even if he had never gotten further than pre law. Toshio had a pretty high opinion of his best friend's father, so he had felt he could give him good advice, anyway.
"You know, Sammy," Dean stated thoughtfully, "With Gabriel gone and Em at school you could go back to college, too."
The older Winchester had given up fighting the grey hairs a while ago, but it had to be said that there weren't too many of them. His rigorous plucking out of every single grey hair in the first years must have sent the desired warning message to the rest of them.
Granted, he found it easier to accept the few signs of growing older there were ever since Castiel had caught on and had allowed some of his own hair in the temple area to lose its color. He was also mimicking most of the small wrinkles Dean had developed and in general appeared to be around the same age as his partner.
Balthazar hadn't found it necessary to make any changes to his appearance. The few times someone had asked him how he managed to keep from aging he had made mentions of a damn good doctor. That usually was enough to silence all further questions, at least from the Winchester's social circle.
Sam snorted before he replied with a slight smirk, "I'll go to college once Emma does. Make sure the boys stay away from her."
To be honest, he had considered taking up his studies again, but this far the strong urge to do so hadn't set in. Instead he had applied for a part time job at the library close to his daughter's school and was now working there most days while she was at school. Other days he visited Gabriel at his bakery and spent some hours watching the archangel work and generally being very proud of his son.
"You could at least let your daughter have the full high school and college experience. Isn't it enough that you kept Gabriel away from all the exciting things?" Balthazar snarked with a raised eyebrow. Of course, he knew that his little brother had had more than enough fun during high school, but if it hadn't been for Sam's overly strict moral code, things could have gotten by far more interesting still.
"Yeah, 'cause I've been totally living like a monk," the archangel chuckled, rolling his eyes and giving a push to his best friend's shoulder, "What are you laughing about? Compared to you, I'm pretty tame."
Saying that might have been a bit of an overstatement, but not as much as everybody would assume. Gabriel was in relationships before he slept with someone most of the time these days. It was nothing but a coincidence that the relationships generally didn't last that long.
"I'm not telling my family all about it," Toshio shot back. Actually, he didn't tell his family anything about it. As far as they were concerned he was single and only focusing on his studies. It wasn't that far from the truth. He was single and focusing on his studies, he only spent the time he had left at the end of the day with some fellow female students.
"Makes it much better, Tosh," Gabriel chuckled, scratching Cookie – who everyone outside of the family assumed was at least Cookie 2 or 3 by that time – behind the ears. Then again, if he had his friend's parents, he wouldn't have mentioned his various short term girlfriends as often as he did, either.
"I understand," Castiel piped up, mostly speaking to Dean, "Toshio is sparing his parents feelings, like we were sparing Sam from having to imagine what we might be doing in his guest room for the longest time."
Sam and Gabriel shuddered so much in sync with each other that Balthazar couldn't help laughing at them. Like father like son, indeed. Castiel's overly blunt way of just saying things exactly how and whenever they came to his mind would never get old, either.
It wasn't long after that that Val called for everyone to gather around the dining table, or rather tables due to the number of people present.
Sophie and Emma managed to come back downstairs just in time before Jody brought the turkey to the table. The nine year old looked completely happy with the casual updo Sophie had put her hair into and was beaming at everyone present while Bobby carved the turkey as he did every year. It just seemed fair to let their oldest family member do the honor, not to mention that he was the one of them who knew how to do that best.
"We should say what we're all thankful for before we eat," Valerie stated. They did that basically ever year, after all.
"Let's make this a little more interesting," Balthazar suggested with a smirk, "We all know we're oh so grateful for each other and all that, so everybody, find something else to say."
Everyone looked a little uncertain for a moment, but then they shrugged or nodded. It wasn't like it was such a bad idea, after all.
"I am grateful that all you idjits know how to use a phone to call ahead before you show up," Bobby started in his usual gruff tone, though it was all too clear that he really was happy that they all visited and called as often as they did.
"I am grateful for a heart of gold underneath a layer of flannel," Jody stated, patting her partner's chest gently. She might as well have been speaking about every other member of the family, too. Most of them didn't wear flannel too often, but all of them did every now and then.
"That was very close to cheating, sheriff," Balthazar pointed out before he added somberly, "I am grateful for the moral decline over the past decades. Makes things so much easier."
Really, coming to Earth at the time when people had firmly believed in celibacy and general public decency would have been very tedious. Though the angel supposed that he could have taught a lot of things to the uptight humans at the time.
"I am grateful, I don't have to see him more often," Dean stated next, shaking his head.
"I am grateful that I get to see you every day," Castiel smiled, squeezing his partner's hand under the table, "And I am grateful that the Kamasutra was preserved over the centuries."
The older Winchester gave the angel an incredulous look. He had started so well, but of course Castiel still hadn't mastered the art of quitting while he was ahead.
"I am grateful that Emma didn't understand that reference," Sam couldn't help saying, even though his daughter pouted at him for it. Of course, she wanted to know now, but that was one can of worms that the younger Winchester wasn't going to open!
"I am grateful that things around here never get predictable," Valerie added sincerely. There were many things that could be said about their family and not all of them would be flattering, but they definitely weren't boring or overly conventional.
"And I'm so grateful that my family doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving. I really wouldn't have wanted to miss all this," Toshio chuckled. He also was grateful for loose women, cheap beer and the ability to party and then still study just as hard, but as a law student he knew the importance of not incriminating himself.
"I am grateful for friends with b-bakeries. This artist won't s-starve to d-death," Sophie stated, giving Gabriel a bright grin. Honestly, some days the archangel thought that he was eventually going to marry her. Most days he thought that they'd be friends forever and that that was just the way it should be, however.
Emma had been thinking about what she wanted to say for quite some time, but when she finally had decided on one thing she quickly exclaimed, "I am grateful that Gabe will stay to play with me."
Of course, they hadn't talked about that before, but it was a clear enough wish and it wasn't like the archangel would have wanted to say no to that. It was funny that Emma knew more about subtlety than Castiel did, in any case.
"I am grateful," Gabriel started before he just smiled and shrugged, "I am grateful for everything in my life."
I can't promise that I'll write again anytime soon, but rest assured that whatever happens I'll be okay. With a family like mine, everything else isn't an option.