Chapter 15 – Slightly Edited

Stress was not something new to Michael, considering who he was and what his job was for as long as he could remember. Stress came with that naturally. But the stress he was forced into dealing with felt different, foreign to him. Everything was different. Nothing was as it was supposed to be and perhaps that was a good thing considering if things were how they were supposed to be, nothing would be left. Everything would be shattered and rebuilt and not in the way it was now.

After his conversation with Gabriel, the second one since saving him from Purgatory, he needed space away from everyone. It started off okay but soon took a turn towards an argument that went back and forth. Neither of them budged and Michael was coldly reminded of Lucifer. The only difference was Gabriel himself and his personality. All the same, Michael felt the need to get away.

Michael was finding it far more difficult to figure out the main cause of the disagreement and that was a first. Michael was always so sure before.

Could it be because of the Seraph who was far too bold for his own good at times? Starting civil wars, rebelling for the human race. Having a heart far too big for his own good?

Or could it be because of the angel who was a thief and had the audacity to do what he did along with the fact that he left home on his own free will, slinking out the back door in a manner of speech. The angel who was born a human so very long ago.

Or by chance was it because of the Archangel who went into hiding and became a Trickster willingly. Became Loki and hide among Lesser Gods and to some extent Humans for so long that Michael can no longer recognize him as Gabriel should moods strike either of them right.

Was it the few humans who are back at the breakable house?

Or is it because he was told bluntly that he lacked Free Will himself? And because of that his own conviction to this mission was strained at best?

Michael was the Good Son. Did anyone truly understand how that could possibly feel? Michael loved that title once because of what it stood for in his mind and in the minds of others. Michael also cherished being considered and thought of as the older brother. All before he became a mere Viceroy and a Commander. Being a Good Son clung to him through those titles, but it no longer felt the same.

Gabriel told him in so many words both stolen from proper etiquette to crude human speech that he did not understand Free Will or how to put it to good use. That he didn't know anything beyond missions and purposes and simple little things.

All in all, he was left with a lot to think over and evaluate. Only to be disturbed by the sound of wings and the quiet thud of feet touching the ground. Looking to his left there stood the awkward Seraph, Castiel.

"Castiel." Why was the Seraph here? To what purpose does this uninvited visitation gain?

There was a moment of hesitation or perhaps it was contemplation on how to say what the Seraph no doubt wanted to say. Michael gifted him patience and waited to see what was to be said.

He didn't have to wait long.

"I heard about the conversation that you had with Gabriel. After you left, he entered the house complaining about thick headed older brothers who are too stupid to grow a pair and take the plunge like the rest of us did. His words, not mine." Castiel said, no doubt in a calm tone that came with so many years of being a soldier and learning how to hold yourself as such. Though there was small signs of the influence of humans in the way Castiel shifted where he stood and the faint traces of emotion within his ending words.

"Did he now." Michael acknowledged, it was his own small way of letting Castiel know that Michael heard and understood what was just said. It was also said in a way that makes it known that there will be no open repercussions at the moment if at all.

Michael made it silently clear that Castiel had his attention, knows that there was more to be said. There was a silent command to go on despite the fact that this wasn't a report for a mission. This was something else.

A breath in, far too human but it was now evidently Castiel's trait.

"You are lost. As I was, during the Apocalypse that never happened. I went from being obedient and a mere soldier to someone who had to learn and even think for myself. I had to understand and learn from my own doubts and find a solution to that without losing myself while finding myself at the same time. It was not an easy process. But it is worth it." Castiel's words were calm and sincere. The calmness came from being a soldier for so very long. The sincerity came from his changes that he underwent from the point he touched Dean Winchester's soul to now.

Michael had to admit that the sincerity was touching in a small way, however that doesn't change the fact that something was not sitting well with Michael at the moment. This conversation. The presence he was now with. Something was off and it was off in Michael.

"I am not lost. I know where I am, I know what I am and what I am to do." Michael stated calmly making sure there was a firmness to his words that will not be mistaken for something else. It was petty behaviour and even Michael could understand that, but it did nothing to stop him.

"You are. Yes you know what you were, where you should be but are not. And you know what you think you should do." Castiel retorted, his words bold but polite. It was frustrating. Michael could crush him like a fly, but Dean would be distraught at the loss of a friend and Michael found that he couldn't bring such pain onto an already pained soul so precious and cradled against Michael's grace.

Scrutiny was something new for Michael, especially open scrutiny from a Seraph. But that was what he got from Castiel all the same.

"Very well, Castiel. Explain this to me, you seem to know so much." Michael said, words tight and patience now limited. Michael couldn't help but point out how childish he was behaving and how wrong that was. Michael should be above this, but here he was being just that. Not even in the cage with Lucifer did he behave like this.

"You are the Good Son. You do as our Father orders and with no question. You do so without mercy and when you know as well as I do, our Father has given mercy when you would not have done the same. But that does not change the fact that for so many years you were the Good Son. Never rebellious and you never moved an inch out of line and – and like Dean, broken because of it." Castiel said, his words calm but now there was caution entering the Seraph's words. He did not back down all the same, Michael could give him some credit for that. But only a limited amount.

Silence, Michael eyed the Seraph in front of him. Taking note to all the damage done to the grace that made Castiel what he was. Tattered wings but whole all the same. Scars from old and new wars. Cracks where there used to be none.

"Get to the point Castiel." Michael ordered.

Careful contemplation and a firming of the Seraph's stance.

"You are lost and holding onto broken dreams. That is where I am going with this. I do apologize if my lack of social skills have made it so that I was unable to get to the point sooner, I am not Gabriel nor a mere messenger. I am however someone who understands what you are going through, as I said." Castiel stated calmly, staring directly towards Michael and a partial whimsical curiosity had Michael wondering what he in turn looked like to someone as broken and different as Castiel was.

It did nothing to change where this conversation was going and it won't control Michael's time later.

"How am I holding onto broken dreams, when you only managed to get back recently and not long enough to gain good look at what has been going on thus far." Michael asked, making his words come out casual. There was no need to sharpen his words just yet. He may not be as good or fluent in speech like a messenger but he was no common speaker all the same.

"Sam explained to me how things were when you were allowed to use Dean Winchester's body and Kevin confirmed it. You mentioned more then once who you were, who you used to be. Do you even know what to do with yourself now? You have Free Will now, a gift from our Father. One that you had to find on your own as we all had to find. It must not be easy after believing for so long that you had none." Castiel stated and no doubt getting the prickling sensation in the tips of his wings that he should be somewhere else now but the Seraph remained all the same.

Free Will!

That was something he once told Dean to his face that it was nothing more then an illusion all the while his brother was in serious need of care on the ground. He can see in Dean's memory that those words hurt like a knife wound, to be told that everything he has done was nothing more then something by design and not his own choosing. But it didn't stop the human.

"Leave." Michael ordered, no longer wanting this conversation so he made sure his order cold and not giving room to argue.

Not that it seemed to have made any difference as he watched Castiel's eyes narrow in return, though Michael did note that the Seraph took a few steps back in preparation to flee if need be.

A breath in.

"If you ask me, you don't know what to do with yourself or what to do with the Free Will you are now burdened with. Too caught up in the past I would imagine. Perhaps your being here means that it is time for you to stop being the Good Son, the Viceroy and the Commander." Castiel stated, though he didn't get to give a suggestion to what Michael could be instead. Instead he had to flee quickly from a warning shot allowing a tree to have an Angel's Blade buried to the hilt in it.

Michael stood up, now once again being gratefully alone.

Did anyone set Castiel up to come speak his misguided words of wisdom to someone such as Michael. Or did the Seraph simply wish to help.

Michael forced himself to his feet, it was harder then he thought it should be considering he has spent so many years as a Commander and in turn knew how to be a soldier as well. It was just what he was as far as he was concerned. Walking over to the tree he pulled his blade from the it while opening his ears and not for the first time to the sounds of sorrowful songs sung in Heaven for the numbers of deceased angels and the scars made from civil war.

But there was also a tune being sung that spoke of hope and renewal of days that will come once again.

On Earth from all over the planet he could hear the prayers whispered and spoken out to Saint Michael. To him. To who they believed he was by blind humans following a watered down words that had the flaws of humanity that clung to every word. But it was written by humans so Michael couldn't expect any better then that.

He could feel Dean shift against him, turning his attention to Michael and the words that was shared Michael shared with Castiel.