Title: In Service of Heaven
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Paranormal/Supernatural
Content Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Incest, Permanent Injury, Violence-Canon-Levels, Pseudo Incest (a precaution due to the weirdness of having angels as my pairing)
Word Count: 51,620
Summary: Izareal may have been one of Lucifer’s Star Weavers but she didn’t Fall with the Legion. Now she was scrambling to stop the Apocalypse before it can even start and keep the Winchester boys sane while Heaven hung over her head like the Doom of Damocles and time is running out.
Most of the remaining angels forgot that Lucifer wasn’t the only one to make stars. Oh, he was the first to do it, the one to come up with the idea but he wasn’t the only one who had taken up the task.
There was a whole choir of angels who he’d hand picked to create stars with him. Who he’d taught the craft of taking hydrogen and turning it to helium, to making a ball of gas blaze bright with blue and red and yellow light, waking a flame in empty space and giving it life.
Most of them had Fallen, had rebelled with Lucifer because he was the one who led them, who cherished them like children. Most of them had never even seen God beyond their creation and their Naming so what use had they, what love had they for their creator?
Izareal was one of the few that hadn’t Fallen. She’d made Izar, the second brightest in the Bootes constellation and…
God had named the stars.
God had named the stars first and then the angels who had made them. So Izareal was named after Izar but her name also meant “star of god” and Lucifer was the Morning star and she felt connected through their names but…
But Izareal didn’t Fall with Lucifer and his Legion. She stayed, she stayed because maybe there was something to be salvaged within Heaven. She could see the darkness festering in the hearts of her siblings and, while she was only one of many, maybe she could make a difference.
That didn’t happen. Instead the Garden of Eden… did.
The Garden was beautiful and bright, with luscious plants and animals of every kind. At the center of it there was a tree. A tree with fruits that hadn’t been named yet, they were a bit like apples and a bit like pomegranates and like neither at the same time.
There had been a man in the Garden, the first man and God had named him Adam. Then, God had made Lilith, the first woman, out of the same clay with which he had made Adam. She had been beautiful, skin as dark as the earth she was made of with hair as golden as Lucifer’s sun and eyes that blazed blue star bright.
Izareal had looked at her and realized that she wanted to be like her, that she had wanted to be a woman as well. It had taken a while to figure out how to change her sexless form into one that was conducive to her gender but she had done it.
Lilith refused to lie beneath Adam. This was apparently a problem even though Izareal was almost certain that they could conceive in other configurations.
God had punished Lilith for her refusal and driven her from the Garden. Izareal knew that that was wrong, she didn’t know why she knew, didn’t know how she knew but Lilith was cast out nonetheless.
Izareal had followed her, tried to help her in her hour of need, the precarious tipping point between Heaven and Hell becoming harder and harder to balance upon with each passing day. Lucifer had gotten to her first.
Lucifer had found her and Lucifer twisted her. Lucifer kept her.
And that discouraged Izareal even more because Lucifer wasn’t the Morningstar anymore. Hell had changed him, turned him to a shadow of his former self. His light was harsh and cold rather than warm and bright.
One day, Gadreel had let a serpent into the Garden, thinking that it had wandered out and was just trying to return home. He had realized his mistake almost instantly and had gone to get reinforcements. He was just an angel after all and no match for someone as powerful as Lucifer had been, was still.
Lucifer had gone to Eve and it hadn’t taken much, not really. Izareal should know, she’d watched the entire thing with dawning horror. She’d been frozen, hadn’t been able to move, hadn’t been able to stop it, hadn’t been able to go for help because no one was allowed into the Garden except for those the Guardians let in.
They didn’t let in other angels as a rule and especially not Izareal. Izareal, who’s name was God’s Star, who’s name was too close to Morningstar.
All it had taken was a prod at Eve’s curiosity, a few honey sweet words, and she was tasting. Then she was angry, it was a fair response in Izareal’s opinion, Izareal who was meant to craft stars but had done nothing since the Fall, who had had no purpose since the Fall.
And then there was War.
From one taste of one fruit and a serpent in the Garden there was War and Death. And Izareal had tried to hide, tried to flee, tried desperately to stay on the fringes of the conflict.
But at the very end, at the very end she’d had to come see. When the demons, they’d called themselves demons and she didn’t know why, had been beaten back from Heaven’s Gate and Lucifer knelt before the entrance to Heaven’s pearly halls.
Before Micheal who stood in Judgement. Micheal, who raised his hand above his head to strike his brother down.
And Izareal, who had had enough of Death, had jumped between them. Had taken the blow for her brother, had taken the blade to her Grace, had felt it carve into her, slice a piece out of her.
She’d tumbled from the sky, screaming as a bloodied chunk of her wing followed her down. Rapheal had dived after her, beating his wings in an attempt to reach her as the other angels gazed on in horror.
That was when God finally dained to interfere.
Get Your Gun
“Go get your gun, get your gun.” The voice was muffled by the thin walls of the house but was still clear enough to be heard.
The demons paused there attack as a woman with dirty blonde hair and glowing blue eyes rounded the open door. She had a shotgun slung over one shoulder and her hip was cocked to exaggerate the knife hanging from her belt.
“And let’s find out what it does.” The woman lowered her shotgun to a firing position. “Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot.”
The crack of the shotgun’s retort seemed to snap the demon’s out of their revelry as the demon that had been choking Sam was launched across the room. Sam gasped for air as the two other demons rushed forward to meet the woman.
She dropped the shotgun and pulled the blade from its sheath, deflecting the punch from the male demon with her off hand. She ducked a blow from the female and slid behind the male to bury the blade in his spine.
“We haven’t won and if we win and if the morning light sets in.” She sang as the Demon glowed from the inside out and then crumpled to the floor.
The blonde turned to face the other woman, a manic grin on her face. “We’ve cheated fate again.”
“Shut up, feather brain.” The female demon snapped.
Sam was back on his feet and turning to meet the demon who’d been choking him out. He didn’t really have much to fight back with but he could keep the demon off of the blonde woman’s back until she finished up with the female demon.
“And to those who die please try to understand.” The woman sang like it was a taunt even as Sam tracked her movement by sound alone. “That for those who die we tried the best we can.”
There was a gurgling sound from the female demon and a thump as another body hit the floor. Sam deflected a punch and drove his own fist into the demon’s stomach.
“We got one foot in the grave, while the other ones kicking its way right down to hell. Duck!” Sam hit the floor as the blade went sailing over his head and buried itself to the hilt in the demon’s chest.
“Go get your gun, get your gun, imposing penance one by one.” Sam looked up to watch the woman dancing over the bodies and across the room towards him. “You’ve got a virtue in a vice, it forces fate you’re taking lives with all the history to guide, you’ve got a passion in those eyes. So aim it straight and true.”
She twirled past Sam to pull the blade from the demon’s chest and turned toward him with a grin on her face. Sam couldn’t help but smile back, her expression was infections.
“Hey.” She chirped.
“Thanks for the save.” Sam pushed himself up into a crouch and stood in one smooth motion.
“No problem.” She waved his words away with the blade in her hand.
Sam focused on it, it wasn’t like any other knife he’d seen before. It was silver, completely silver in a way not even real silver was and it looked vaguely liquid, like it was constantly shifting. The hilt was made of the same metal as the blade and almost perfectly round but it fit snugly in her hand. The blade was thin, almost like it was made of a piece of paper and curved slightly.
“Sam Winchester.” Sam held out his hand to shake.
“Izzy, but you can call me Z.” The woman shook it and then pulled him out of the way to throw her blade again.
It hit Ruby square in the chest, the brunette demon made a noise like a mouse being squashed under a shoe and crumpled to the floor. For a second there was a flash of pain deep in Sam’s chest but he didn’t really know Ruby, sure she’d been tagging along being him for a few days but she was a demon and some of her actions were starting to read as incredibly suspicious now that he was thinking about it.
“What’s that made out of?” Sam watched Z walk over to Ruby’s corpse.
She moved differently from most of the female hunters Sam had met, the few of them that took up the profession. Ellen and Jo both moved like predators, most did the same but there were a few that used their body as a seduction. Z didn’t move like either, she moved like a dancer, all graceful lines and fluid motion with no real intent behind it other than the movement themselves.
Sam took in her clothes as she crouched to pull her blade out of Ruby’s chest. She wore sturdy, black hiking boots and good quality jeans with a deep red leather belt wrapped around her waist. Her shirt was a deep blue color with a silver dragon printed across the back. It wasn’t really a typical hunting outfit with all the color on it but who was he to judge.
“Now that would be telling wouldn’t it?” Z gave him a look over her shoulder that was all mischief and predatory delight.
Sam realized with a start that her eyes were green, almost black with how saturated the color was. Green eyes, green like Dean’s were but not because Dean’s eyes were bright, so bright they almost glowed with it. He could have sworn that those eyes had been blue earlier.
“It wouldn’t be the first demon killing knife I’ve seen.” Sam told her.
“Oh, this can kill more than just demon’s, Sammy.” Z rose to her feet in one fluid motion.
“Don’t call me that!” Sam barked before his brain could catch up with his mouth.
Dean might not have always been aware of what the two of them looked like but once Sam had started getting taller than most of the kids in his grade he’d been hyper aware of it. Sam was tall and muscular and had been trained from birth to be a predator to things far more dangerous than most humans could ever dream of being.
That predator energy could be interpreted in a variety of different ways, most of them bad and women tended to be more perceptive of it than men. Sam had accidentally frightened a variety of girls when he was younger before he’d managed to perfect the helpless nerd front. It hadn’t really taken that long since Sam was a helpless nerd most of the time.
But he’d forgotten, he’d forgotten for half a second and his blood was still rushing with the adrenaline from the fight. He knew that his stance had gone from lazy lion in the sun and flipped right over into that of a pissed of jaguar.
Z just raised an eyebrow at him and held up both hands like she was placating a small yappy dog. “Alright, no Sammy, got it, Sam.”
Sam swallowed heavily and nodded in confirmation of her comment. She didn’t look scared, she didn’t even look vaguely wary. He should have expected that but his brain had shot straight into the juvenile panic that had always come with reverting back to base instinct. Jess had been one of maybe two or three women who’d never bowed to the whip crack of his temper when he pulled it out, even if it was only a brief step back, and the other had been a forty something cop who’d taken none of anyone’s shit let alone a sixteen year old caught out past curfew.
“You good, no injuries?” Z gave him a brief once over with her eyes.
“Throats a bit sore but other than that I’m good.” Sam said after a quick inventory of his body.
Z nodded and sheathed her knife. Sam blinked, he hadn’t noticed the sheath earlier but he didn’t know how he hadn’t, it was right there on her belt, up against her right hip.
“Were these guys your hunt or no?” Z asked.
“You didn’t come here for a hunt?” Sam’s brow furrowed as Z nudged Ruby’s arm with one boot.
“I was but if these assholes were the extent of it I have a few other hunts nearby that I can go check out. There’s a ghoul nest a few towns over that I want to take out before they graduate to living flesh. The last patriarch went that way and I’d rather not have to deal with them in a few months when the true hunger hits.” Z turned her wrist to check her watch.
“No, they were the hunt, it’s been nothing but demons for a while now. I should probably get a new hotel room though,” Sam told her.
“Good, need help hiding the bodies?” Z asked.
“That would be great thanks.”
Moving the bodies didn’t actually take all that long, there was a river behind the motel and Z was stronger than she looked. They didn’t really talk, just going through the motions of body disposal. Z made a few off color jokes though and one of them actually startled a laugh out of Sam.
It stopped almost as soon as it started but it surprised him when it happened. It had been weeks if not months since he’d had a decent laugh. The stress of trying to find Dean a way out of his deal had been a lot and then after… there wasn’t really much to laugh about after that. Sam had also been drunk for most of the time since and he tended towards more melancholy emotions when under the influence.
Z had looked quietly pleased when she got a laugh out of him and then they’d chucked Ruby’s corpse into the river and her lip had curled up in disgust.
“I hate two faced bitches.” She spat into the river after the brunette and Sam blinked.
“What do you mean?” Sam asked.
“She was one of Lilith’s but all the demons were ranting about how she’d switched sides.” Z told him.
“How could you tell?” He asked, turning to face her more fully.
Z scoffed and tapped the center of her forehead. “I could see it, it’s hard to miss Lilith’s sigil written across her… soul.”
“How don’t the other demon’s know then? And how do you know she didn’t defect?” Sam asked.
“She’d have carved it out if she’d defected and demons are a bit limited when they’re in a body or looking at a body, can’t see past the human flesh. And some of them probably do know that she’s a double agent, Lilith for one but finding out what she was supposed to do is another story entirely. I was going to try to offer her asylum if she’d really taken the side of humanity, I know a few places where she could have hidden out but fuck that.” Z rolled her eyes.
“So you’re a psychic?” Sam asked.
“Closest thing I’ve found.” Z commented and there was a stretch of silence as they watched the bodies float downstream.
“I think I need to stop hunting demons for a while.” Sam muttered.
“Probably a good idea.” Z nodded.
“You said something about ghouls?” Sam asked.
Z beamed at him.
Izareal put her head in her hands and tried to get her thoughts in order. She’d agreed to hunt with Sam Winchester, her brother’s destined Vessel. Truth be told she’d been planning to kill him not three hours ago, remove the Morningstar’s Vessel from the equation early enough and surely Heaven would realize that the Apocalypse wasn’t their Father’s will.
It wasn’t, it couldn’t be, He hadn’t been seen or heard of since that boy had been born, the one that had been hailed as His son. She should know, she still had a direct link up to the Old Channels even though she mostly ignored them. She wasn’t quite sure why but when Rapheal’s continued panic had come over about not being able to find God anywhere she’d wanted to bang her head against a wall.
She’d been planning to kill Sam but no, she couldn’t, not after she’d actually set eyes on him. Looking at him was a bit like looking at Lucifer before the Fall, he was bright and his face was kind and he gave off a warmth that she thought she’d never see again. Like looking at a little piece of Heaven that had been lost for a very long time.
Izareal hadn’t Fallen with the Legion, that was probably the only reason she was still alive. All of the original Fallen were dead, by Heaven’s hands or by making themselves human and dying that way.
Izareal hadn’t Fallen with the Legion, hadn’t followed who Lucifer had become down into the Pits of the newly made Hell. Her Fall had been later and far more painful than what those Fallen had experienced. The place where her left wing had been still ached with phantom sensation, she didn’t think it would ever stop.
Izareal hadn’t Fallen with the Legion but she hadn’t fought against them either. She had seen Lucifer and what he was and what he had been but she could not bring herself to take up arms against him. Not when he’d been the first one to see Izar, not when he’d been the one to praise her for it when she was Nameless, one of hundreds without a true identity or purpose.
It had been millennia since Izareal had gazed upon the visage of the brother that she had loved so dearly, the Moringstar in all his glory. Millenia to forget what it had been like to stand before him and remember all at once, memories tainted by what he’d become even when she’d nearly given up her life to save his.
Jumping between two Archangels… what a stupid idea. It was the craziest thing she’d ever done, the most dangerous too and she hadn’t been able to stop herself.
But Lucifer was still alive, in a Cage in the Pits of Hell but alive none the less and no more angel blood had been spilt that day, none but her own.
It had been millennia since the garden, since Adam and Eve and the War, the last time that Izareal had seen Lucifer but standing before his Vessel felt a bit like what she had felt in those moments after she’d made Izar. After she’d held it up above her head and laughed with joy and Lucifer had laughed with her, sharing the moment of pure happiness.
Izareal had seen Sam before she’d come through the door, had seen him before she entered the town even. His soul was bright, almost blindingly so and she hadn’t been ready for it.
She had planned to kill him, as quickly and efficiently as possible, no pain, no shock, nothing for him to even realize that he was dying before his soul left his body and his heart stopped beating and his lungs stopped breathing. But as soon as she’d laid eyes on that impossibly bright soul through the motel room wall her plans had changed drastically.
There were other ways to prevent the Apocalypse, there had to be other ways because she was not killing the bright soul in the other bed, not when he’d already been so damaged. He was damaged too, she could see the hairline cracks that were heartbreak and betrayal and the greyish stain that was the violation that was the demon blood forced on him shortly after birth.
It wasn’t too bad, not yet but the plans that Heaven and Hell had for him would break Sam into a thousand tiny pieces and she would not let that happen. She was nothing, a nobody angel named after a star, a flightless bird who hadn’t died when she should have but she would do everything in her power to protect this human soul. Even if that meant losing her other wing.
Izareal hadn’t Fallen with the Legion but that didn’t mean she hadn’t loved Lucifer just as deeply as every other angel who he’d mentored.
Ghoul of a Time
Sam woke up to the sound of the shower running and someone singing. For a second he thought it was Dean and joy swelled in his chest. Then the words and the sound of the voice broke through his sleepy fog and last night came rushing back to him.
The demon attack, Z, Ruby, moving across town to the other motel and passing out in exhaustion.
“I’m falling deep into a pit of vipers, over me, over me and I can’t break free.” Z sang and the tune was vaguely poppy in nature. “Secrets run deep when your in a pit of vipers, slithering, whispering, feel the venom poisoning me. Slither, slither, slither, put your fangs into my back. Slither, slither, slither, think I don’t know where your at.”
The shower shut off and Z switched songs, the tone going darker, melancholy almost on the turn of a dime. “Nonne vous launch angelis in nubibus, et gelida sanctificetur halls intercidet? None vos custodiet ex gratia eius ruina? Apertum est cor meum, et cornu erratur.”
The bathroom door opened as Sam sat up and Z stopped singing, face going abruptly red. Sam grinned and then the headache that had been hovering around his temples hit him full force. He groaned and pulled his legs up to bury his face in them.
“Sleep dep headache?” Z asked.
“Yeah. Was that latin?” Sam nodded before squinting up at her.
Z was wearing the jeans from yesterday and a brilliantly red shirt with a black snake coiled up with it’s head resting on one breast. She wasn’t wearing any shoes, which was fair given the shower and her blonde hair had been pulled up into a messy bun. The water clinging to the strands made the locks framing her face look vaguely like molten gold.
Z nodded, making the bun bounce as she danced her way over to the duffle bag Sam could swear she hadn’t had the night before. He’d been a bit out of it but he didn’t think he’d been that out of it.
There was something weird about Z but Sam had honestly been considering working with Ruby for the last few days so he didn’t really have room to talk. Plus she didn’t seem to care what hunts they went on from what he’d seen where Ruby had been dead set on killing Lilith.
He knew where that road led and while he was drunk he hadn’t particularly cared but he was stone cold sober right now, had been for the past few days. Ruby had insisted that if she was going to help him she wasn’t going to deal with the constant stench of johnny walker.
The fog of the alcohol had helped mask his automatic suspicion of Ruby and now that it was gone and she wasn’t standing right next to him some of the things she’d said and done were starting to really sink in. The fact that Z had said Ruby wore Lilith’s sigil written across her soul was helping him connect the dots but there were still large chunks of puzzle pieces missing and that was frustrating.
“Yes, I’m about as fluent as you can be in a dead language.” Z drew his attention back to her as she hopped on one leg in an attempt to get a sock onto her foot. “I also know quite a bit of enochian.”
“Angel language? How’d you learn that?” Sam asked.
“Curiosity.” Z finally gave up and sat down on the edge of her bed. “When are we rolling out?”
“Give me half an hour to shower and change.” Sam rubbed a hand over his face.
“Great!” Z chirped. “Breakfast burritos good for you?”
“I don’t care, just get coffee with the food please.”
The coffee Z grabbed was in a brown paper cup with a logo that Sam didn’t recognize on the side. Sam had given it a dubious look before taking a sip and losing any doubts he had about the coffee. It was heavenly, rich and dark and tasting vaguely like chocolate with just the right balance of milk and sugar to take the edge off the bitterness.
Z smirked at him when his eyes had gone wide and then fluttered shut, a pleasant little smile spreading over his lips.
The shower had done a lot to improve his good mood. The water pressure had been much better than most of the motels he and Dean had stayed in over the years and the smell of Z’s mint and apple body wash had lingered in the air, he liked the smell, it was soothing. The coffee just compounded his good mood and the burrito she handed him helped settle his grumbling stomach.
“Where did you get this?” He asked through a mouthful of food.
“There’s a little family place near the center of town, I passed it on my way in yesterday and decided to check it out.” Z told him.
They packed up and made their way out to the car but Sam paused when Z slung her duffle into the trunk of the impala with his own. He glanced around the parking lot, looking for her car but the only other vehicle in the lot was a motorcycle painted the same deep blue of the shirt Z had been wearing the previous day.
“That yours?” He asked.
“Yup, mind if I keep my bag in with you? Getting the duffle onto the back of that bike is a pain in the ass.” Z said.
Sam nodded his consent and narrowed his eyes. “Where do you keep all your weapons?”
“Shotgun and pistols are in the duffle, my blade’s always on me, and I’ve got a cross necklace so blessing holy water isn’t all that difficult. All I need is a dollar bill and vending machine and I’m set for a good two weeks.” Z told him before closing the trunk for him.
“Why not just buy an actual water bottle?” Sam asked.
“I tend to lose them, after the first few times of losing a thirty dollar inverstment after a week I gave up and just resigned myself to the vending machine water bottles.” Z grimaced, face flushing in obvious embarrassment. “So, do you want to follow me or are you good with directions.”
“I think I’ll just follow after you.”
The ghoul nest was in the cemetery which had just made Z scrunch up her nose in mild disgust. The fight didn’t really take that long once Z had pulled out her blade out of her belt and went to town on the sister. Then again there were only two of them which was a lucky break given that the nest had apparently been sitting there for over a decade going on the number of bodies they’d found nawed down to the bone.
“I will never understand the obsession with cemeteries, it’s not sanitary, just move into an abandoned warehouse for fuck sake.” Z bitched as she tried to shake graveyard dirt out of her hair. “Any clue who these two were before those ghouls went to town on them?”
She was standing over the most recent corpses while Sam flicked through the stack of missing person’s reports they’d brought with them. They weren’t actually all that old and looked like they’d only been down there for about a week if not shorter. The woman hadn’t even had herself chewed on beyond the gaping hole where her tracia should have been.
She was blonde and in her early forties. She was also wearing a nightgown and fuzzy slippers which just looked plain bizarre if Sam was being honest.
The male corpse had been ripped to shreds but he looked like he’d been in his mid thirties and his skin was a dark chocolate color. He’d definitely been the main feeding corpse for the two ghouls before they’d snatched the woman.
“The man is probably Arthur Corigan, 26, worked nights in the cemetery digging graves and making sure idiot teens don’t knock over the grave markers.” Sam pulled out one of the sheets of paper and handed it to her.
Z looked at the picture and tried to compare it to the mass of flesh that had been the corpse’s face. He’d been handsome while he was alive, strong jaw, straight nose, scar through his right eyebrow.
Z skimmed over Arthur’s details, chewing at her lips. No next of kin and the report had been filed by his boss after he hadn’t showed up for his shift for two days. She sighed and looked between the two bodies that wore his face. The ghoul would be less cruel but the more recent death would make them look for a culprit and that could lead back to the two of them.
“And the woman is Kate Milligan, 43, single mother and works at the hospital, her son was the one to file the report. She’s only been missing for three days.” Sam said.
“Does the cemetery have security cameras?” Z asked, tapping the edge of the paper against her lips.
“No.” Sam took a second to try and follow Z’s train of thought. “You want to call them in to the cops?”
“Uh-huh, it’s just cruel to leave them down here unable to be found, especially the mother.” Z’s lips pursed in disapproval. “If we drag them to the edge of the wood and I call it in you can go back to the motel and pack up. The police will be more likely to believe that I went out for a morning walk and found them and not question me too hard. Sometimes stereotypes are a helpful tool.”
“You have graveyard dirt in your hair.” Sam pointed out.
“So I’ll pretend like I tripped over one of them.” Z rolled her eyes at him. “I’ve pulled this con before, Sam, it’s not like I don’t know how to act.”
Sam checked his watch. It was just past four thirty and dragging the bodies to the edge of the woods wouldn’t take that long. If Z didn’t get too much blood on her clothes it could be excused as tripping over one of the bodies. There was a secluded section of the cemetery with an old, half collapsed, stone wall separating it from the forest. If they put the bodies there then it wouldn’t take all that long and the fact that the bodies weren’t found earlier would be relatively believable.
“Are we using the ghoul corpses or their actual bodies?” Sam asked.
“Ghouls would be cleaner but that would mean a longer investigation and the time of death would line up suspiciously well with our arrival.” Z muzed.
They settled on dragging the actual victim’s bodies to the edge of the woods. Safety was a priority for the both of them now that Sam was starting to come out of his mourning fog. He still wanted a shot at Lilith and, barring that, to make the bitch’s life as difficult for her as possible.
Getting arrested would not help with that at all.
Plus, Z had pointed out the fact that they didn’t know whether or not the medical examiner would be able to tell that the ghouls weren’t human. After they’d gotten the two bodies to the edge of the woods, Sam went off to pack up their room and Izareal started setting up her cover story.
She waited a minute or two for Sam to get out of her sight, humming a few bars of a hymn under her breathe, before floating herself up a few millimeters and moving over to the edge of a wooded path about twenty yards away. Then she turned, set herself back down and started jogging along the crumbling wall that marked the edge of the cemetery.
Once Izareal reached the bodies she let herself hit the male corpse’s thigh before tripping over the two of them and letting out a theatrical scream for the benefit of whoever might be nearby. She carefully flipped herself over and scrambled away from the bodies before she pulled out her phone and dialed with one hand.
She took a deep breath as the dial tone went through and there was the little click that indicated the line connecting. She barely gave the woman on the other end time to say, “911, what is-” before she started babbling.
“Oh my god, okay, so, I went for a walk in the woods, which I know you’re not supposed to do this early or alone but I had a bad night and I’ve never had anything bad happening to me before. And if someone thought it was a bit weird, no big deal, we’re just passing through really, who cares if some grandma thinks I’m a bit odd, I’m never going to see her again after today but well now there’s a dead body. Actually no, there’s two and if you could send someone over here right now that would be great… Please.” Izareal was very good at babbling, she’d had a lot of practice after all and the art of saying a lot without saying anything at all was a skill she’d strived to perfect over the years.
“Ma’am, where are you?” The person on the other end of the line asked after a second of stunned silence.
“Um,” Izareal let the quiet hang for a few seconds before she answered, like she was actually looking around for any indicators of where she was, “cemetery, I think, there’s headstones over the wall I’m next too. I’m on the side closest to this really creepy crypt. Or at least I think it’s a crypt, it looks like the crypts they show in that really bad vampire show. The one with all the guys obsessed with one girl… and I think I just described half of them but you know what I mean don’t you?”
“Yes, Miss, I know what you mean.” The operator said. “There should be two officers arriving at your location in a few minutes. Do you need me to stay on the line or not?”
“No, no, I’m good.” Izareal swallowed audibly and hiked herself up on the wall. “I-I’ll just sit on this wall and wait.”
She hung up and breathed a sigh of relief as she shook off the shock that she’d wrapped around herself like a cloak. She hated acting like a vapid college girl but sometimes the pretence was useful and trying to get a 911 operator to believe you when you sounded perfectly calm was an endeavor that she’d seen the futility of when she’d tried it the first couple of times. Then again that had been when the emergency line had been in its infancy.
The cops showed up barely ten minutes later and Izareal stood up from the wall once she caught sight of them, yelling and waving her arms to get their attention. They made their way over at a reasonable pace and looked over the wall at the two bodies lying in the dirt behind her.
The younger one went vaguely green and took a few steps back before rushing over to a wild rose bush to be sick. The older officer just shook his head and clicked his radio to call in the murder unit from the next town over.
“Miss, it would probably be best if we take you in to get your statement.” The older officer said. “I’m Officer Davis, and Mr Iron Stomach over there is Officer Franklin.”
Izareal gave a little choked off laugh and fluttered her hands a bit around her chest. “Alright, let me just call my boyfriend, unless I’m under arrest?”
“No, Ma’am, they’ve been dead for a while by the looks and it’s not your fault that you found them.” Officer Davis said.
Izareal nodded vigorously and pulled out her phone, grateful that she and Sam had had the sense to exchange numbers in case they got separated. She pulled his number up and hit dial.
What the Fuck
Sam rushed into the precinct with his best “concerned boyfriend” look plastered right across his face. He didn’t use it often, not anymore, he’d had to use it a few times when Jess had taken exception to one fratboy or other, even before they’d been dating.
“Z! Z, are you alright?” He called out as he caught sight of the blonde woman sitting in one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs that seemed to be a universal constant of most small town precincts.
Z burst into tears and rushed to meet him in the middle of the reception area, wrapping her arms around Sam’s waist and clinging to him like he was a life line. Sam wrapped her up in his arms and pulled her into his chest, stroking a hand over her ponytail as she sobbed into his shirt. Real concern started welling up in his chest as he looked at the young officer who had been sitting with her.
“What happened?” The question was genuine because Z didn’t really seem the type to randomly burst into tears out of nowhere.
“She found two missing persons this morning, one of them wasn’t in particularly good shape. She’s been mostly calm this entire time, my partner thinks she might have been in a bit of shock from the experience,” the officer who’d been sitting with her said.
“Oh, sweetheart.” Sam sighed and bent down to kiss the top of her head, praying that this would not get weird for them later. “It’s all right. Does she have to stay any longer? We were supposed to get to her parent’s house yesterday but we got a flat tire a few towns back and had to stop here for the night.”
“No, no, we have her statement and she’s not actually a witness so you can go now if you want.” The officer looked at Sam like he was holding a bomb.
Sam resisted the urge to roll his eyes, he’d never understood the way most men got when there was a crying woman in front of them. Maybe it was the fact that he’d been the one to deal with victims of hunts when he was younger, while Dad and Dean dealt with the monster, or maybe it was the fact that most of his highschool friends had been girls but Sam had always had the urge to comfort rather than run.
Heck, maybe he picked it up from Dean, Dean had always been good with women and other people’s emotions for all that he ignored his own as much as possible. He certainly hadn’t picked it up from Dad, who’d given him the sex talk at sixteen – a converstion that only lasted the amount of time it took to say ‘use a condom’ – long after Dean had already explained the basics.
“Are the bodies going to be able to be identified?” Sam asked because even when he’d been a civilian morbid curiosity was a prominent part of his personality.
That was part of the reason why Sam was so much better at research than Dean. Although there had been a lot of regret over the years while looking up some of the things he’d heard about in passing. Monsters made sense but humans were so fucked up sometimes that it made Sam sick.
“One of the victims torn up pretty badly, but the one who can be has someone making his way over to the morgue now.” The officer didn’t even glance up from where he was looking at Z like she was a particularly venomous snake.
“That would explain it,.” Sam started lying through his teeth because that had almost never failed him. “She found a mountain lion’s kill when she was younger, it was pretty bad from what she’s told me. Can’t even watch cop shows.”
The officer nodded and relaxed slightly. Sam put one hand on Z’s back and started steering her out of his arms and towards the door of the precinct. He made soothing sounds as he pushed the door open to usher her through, letting in a kid who couldn’t have been older than twenty five in behind them.
Getting Z into the impala was easy, far easier than getting a drunk or injured Dean into the impala which was where Sam’s difficulty bar was set. Though the one time he and Dean had had to get their dad into the backseat after a hunt because he was knocked out cold and bleeding from a leg wound had been his worst experience involving the impala.
Sam pulled away from the curb with Z sobbing into his shoulder until they got a block away. Then she sat up and visibly started to pull herself together, rubbing at the tear tracks on her face and snorting to try clearing her nose.
“Fuck, I fucking hate,” Z sobbed again, a great heaving thing that drew in more breath than she should need, “doing that. Once I start I can’t fucking stop!”
“You good?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, otherwise fine.” She shook her head violently. “Oh, gods it’s been a while since I’ve done that.”
She’d mostly stopped crying at that point, it was the abruptest halt to a crying jag Sam had ever seen and he was mildly impressed. The addition of an invocation of multiple gods pinged at him though, stirring something deep in his hind brain.
“Gods, you don’t mean pagans do you?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, God, capital g, creator of all might be a dick but pagans are mostly alright, the ones who still get worshiped or are ingrained in culture anyway. The ones that eat people are just dicks but pagans will still come to the aid of those that follow them are alright.” Z waved one hand around as she scrubbed at her eyes with the bottom of her shirt.
“You’ve met some?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, some Norse, a Voodoo deity or two, most death gods are fine, they just get sustained by existing.” The blonde blinked the remaining tears out of her eyes before looking around at where they were going. “We going back to the motel?”
“Yeah, we should probably move a town or two over before looking into a new case, unless you have a different idea.” Sam hit the blinker.
“No, that works, we might want to go a bit further though, there aren’t any cases in the local area, this and the demons were the last ones I’d found. So, state or two over? There’s this brilliant little mom and pop motel I saved from a ghost a few years back, they saw it and now they have a free room open for me and contact me when a new hunt pops up.” Z asked.
“That would be a good idea.” Sam blinked and processed the second half of the sentence. “Wait, they saw you kill a ghost and didn’t report you to the cops?”
“I was pretty open about what was going on, then again, their daughter had already figured it out so it wasn’t all that much of a shock.”
What the fuck was Izareal doing?
No seriously, what the ever loving fuck did she think that she was doing? She shouldn’t be doing this, she really shouldn’t be doing this.
Sam was bright and warm and caring and reminded her of Lucifer before he fell but he was also human and breakable and the apocalypse was starting in less than a year if the echo of the New Channels that rang over the Old Channels was to be believed.
Of course there was all the singing about preventing it but they’d only just realized that Dean Winchester was in Hell, which had to be intentional because Izareal had felt it when he had made the deal. Izareal had felt it when he’d been torn to bits too and she’d had to pull over to vomit all over the side of the road when that happened.
Izareal tried to concentrate on the road and not on the sleek black car behind her and the bright soul trapped inside its shell. She was so screwed, even more screwed than she’d thought she’d been when Uriel had come after her three days ago and hadn’t that stung.
She might not remember Uriel from before but his grace was a familiar mix of barely masked disdain and disgust for humanity, chained only by the need to obey, shackled to an ideal of perfection that she and others like her had shrugged off when Lucifer had treated her better than God ever had. She’d had to pull power out of her grace that she hadn’t even known was there anymore to escape.
If she’d been even a millisecond off in her timing she would be dead right now. Dead by a brother’s hand at that, something she’d managed to avoid in the War for fuck sake.
Uriel had been spouting off about ending humanity and joining Lucifer and burning the earth to the ground. She hadn’t been buying any of it and shot him down and that had been when he’d attacked her.
Fighting someone when you didn’t actually want to kill them but they wanted to kill you was a trial in and of itself. It had sucked, it had sucked so fucking hard that Izareal almost hadn’t noticed Sam when she’d been fleeing for her life.
Izareal didn’t want to kill her brothers, she loved them, loved them far more than should be physically possible. She’d lost a wing for one after all and even if that brother was locked in Hell, chained in a Cage in the bottom of a Pit where starlight never reached, twisted into a version of himself that she barely recognized he was still her brother.
And Uriel was still her brother, still her brother even though he had stood before her spouting blasphemy, blade drawn to strike her down.
Most angels would have had no other defence but to pull their own blade, to charge into a fight and try to survive while the other was trying their best to kill them.
But Izareal was a star maker, a weaver of gas and flame. She had learned under Lucifer and he had shown her how to harness that power, how to master that gas and spin it into flame. Light it and ignite it in a rush of heat and radiation so strong that it would obliterate any mortal being foolish enough to step near it.
And hers was the second brightest star system in the Bootes constellation, a binary star, always difficult to make because it was such a delicate balance of gravitational fields.
Izareal had gathered gas in her palm as he’d talked, let it pool there like rain in a flower. She might not have been able to make a star on earth, there was too much risk to it, too many chances of it going wrong, of radiation slipping out through her finger tips and damaging the life around her but that didn’t make her defenseless.
When he’d waved his hand violently, angel blade slashing through the air in a mimicry of a combat strike she’d seen many an angel perform, targeted right at another angel’s center of mass, meant to wrend the epicenter of their grace in two she’d snapped her fingers. Fire had formed in her hands, a mockery of a star that would only last a handful of moments at most and she’d hurled it at him.
Stars were out of the question but fire was an element that she’d worked with since the beginning, since before the Fall, before Lucifer, when she was Nameless and one of thousands. Fire had always come to her most naturally, had always sat up and paid attention when she called.
Uriel’s vessel had exploded into a ball of flame faster than he could save it and she’d thrown celestial fire besides so it wouldn’t have helped in the first place. She’d only stayed around long enough to confirm that the vessel was actually dead and that Uriel would need to find a new one before she’d bolted.
Uriel had only found her by chance, she’d learned how to hide herself after Ariel’s… reintegration into the Host and no one had seen her for longer than in passing since but a stopped clock was still right twice a day and if she stuck around Sam….
Oh, who was she kidding, she was going to stay with Sam no matter what. He needed someone right now, someone stable, someone to give him an oar to hold onto while he struggled to stay above water. Someone who wasn’t a demon with ties so close to Lilith that she bore her brand on her forehead rather than the back of her hand.
Ruby was so lucky that Sam didn’t have the eyes that Izareal did or she would have been slaughtered instantly. Not just for the Lilith brand either, Ruby had done some pretty dark shit in her lifetime and it hadn’t stopped with her death. Demons in general were nasty fuckers but there was a whole spectrum of bad shit and Ruby had been on the darker end of it.
Izareal was no saint, she couldn’t be one and even if she had been human she would have never been called to be one but there were still lines that she would not cross even if her life depended on it. Ruby had no such compunction from what she’d seen.
Sam needed someone, needed her, and who was she to deny him the comfort of another being’s presence. Especially when his soul so resembled the grace of her brother. Izareal had never been able to tell Lucifer no, not that he’d ever asked her to do something that she didn’t want to do.
That was why he was so dangerous.
He never asked you to do anything you didn’t want to do and then he looked at you with kind eyes that told you it was alright to do it. Then he’d ask for something more and then something else until you were all turned around and couldn’t see straight anymore and all you wanted to do was please him.
Lucifer didn’t normally take it that far, didn’t actually know that he could do it. From what Izareal had seen of him it was an unconscious thing, even after his Fall. But there were other star weavers who hadn’t wanted to fight, who hadn’t wanted to kill but had followed Lucifer anyway, walking down that path of silver knives hand in hand to their own inevitable destruction.
Michael ruled through power, force, intimidation that came so naturally that no one even questioned whether or not they should bend the knee to him. Rapheal ruled through cutthroat kindness, maintaining the order of the medical wing with an iron fist. Gabriel had never truly ruled, he was the messenger, the outlier but when he was in command it was all bumped shoulders and light hearted jokes, tugged feathers and ruffled hair.
But Lucifer, Lucifer had ruled through love, painful, blinding love that consumed all that it touched.
What Izareal wouldn’t give for a handful of seconds in his presence. His true presence, not the cold mockery of what he had become when God had stepped over that last line and raised flawed, mortal souls above his brothers and sisters.
And here he was, or a reflection of him, a copy that had been worn down by life and the darkness of the world. Azazel had tried to taint him, Ruby had tried to trick him, Hell had tried to break him but here he was, still standing strong against it all.
How could she not help? How could she not try and save him? How could she not be a port in the storm that would swamp his life raft if she left him out in the open ocean?
All she needed to keep him alive and off of demon blood, away from manipulation until Heaven pulled Dean from Hell and then he would be fine. Then he wouldn’t need her, he would have his brother again and she could focus on stopping the Apocalypse that was barreling towards them at full speed.
Hopefully, she didn’t get too attached.
And didn’t those just feel like famous last words.
On the Wings of an Angel
It had been a little over two months since Sam had met Z and at this point he was pretty sure she wasn’t human. He had no clue what she actually was but she wasn’t hurting anything besides whatever monsters they came across on a day to day basis and the handful of bar flies who thought it was a good idea to smack her on the ass.
He could leave well enough alone, let the mystery of her species slip into the background and wait until she was comfortable about sharing to find out. Sam could do that, he could be patient. He wasn’t a particularly patient person by nature but it was a skill he’d had to learn over the years.
But the mystery kept niggling at him, like a loose tooth, and he couldn’t stop himself from poking at the puzzle pieces that made up Z’s personality anytime he got a quiet moment alone. She was mostly careful about making herself look and act human but there were a few things that were just that little bit off, that most people wouldn’t notice but a hunter did.
For one, she didn’t eat enough. She ate, she ate pretty much every time Sam did and the times she didn’t it was because she was passed out on her motel bed, favoring sleepover food. However, she didn’t eat nearly enough for a hunter, even a female hunter of her height and she wasn’t skinny in a way that would indicate she was eating less than she should. Z was muscular and active with just the slightest hint of extra fat on her stomach and in her thighs, she really should be eating more than she was.
For another, her duffle and saddle bags were definitely bigger on the inside than they were on the outside. She had a lot of shirts, a lot, as in enough to cloth three teenage girls for two weeks and there was no way that she was fitting that much cotton into her relatively small duffle bag. And there was the everlasting ammo that she just seemed to pull out of her saddle bags.
Thirdly, there was the fact that if Sam was the one to enter the motel room first and get their stuff situated it would be the exact same quality as every other motel room he’d stayed in over the years but if Z was the one to do it then it would be a notch or two above standard. Not enough to be suspicious but just enough that it would be a once in a blue moon score for him and Dean.
All the singing Z did pointed towards siren but that was the only real sign she showed of that species, she didn’t have sex which was probably a good idea given some of towns they’d rolled into. The magical tardis bags pointed towards witch or some other magical practitioner but magic users tended to burn a lot more energy than normal humans, not less.
She had the Sight but had too many other powers to only be a Seer. People seemed to be drawn to her but not any more attention than most beautiful women garnered.
Z was stronger than human normal but that wasn’t actually all that helpful because nearly every creature that Sam had hunted over the years was stronger than human normal. He didn’t know if she was faster but it would make sense for her to be and her senses, the normal ones, not her Sight, seemed to be pretty in line with his own though that would be an easy thing to hide.
It was infuriating that with all his varying expertise on creature lore and experience with the supernatural he still couldn’t identify something that had been sleeping in the next bed over for the past two months and change.
Sam sighed and set aside the newspaper he’d been skimming. They were on a ghost hunt this week, they’d gone on quite a few ghost hunts actually, along with one wendigo and a nest of pixies which were nowhere near as friendly as Disney tried to make them out to be.
He had gone to the local library to look through newspapers for the death of a teenager who had come back to kill three members of the football team and two couches. Z was back in the room they’d taken up residence in for the week packing rock salt rounds. Or, at least, that was what she’d said she was doing and Sam had no doubt he’d come back to several dozen, neatly packed rocksalt rounds but the magical tardis saddle bags were still niggling at him.
Sam pulled the next paper over to him and flipped it open. There she was, halfway down the page, fourteen year old Caroline Grant, found brutally beaten and murdered in the middle of the middle school baseball diamond.
Further research into Caroline Grant produced a yearbook with both of the dead couches featured prominently as the captain of the football team and his best friend. Sam had a sneaking suspicion he knew why the ghost had gone after the three kids along with the couches when he turned to page to see Caroline in full cheerleading gear riding along on the football captain’s shoulders.
Sam hated it when ghosts were killing because it was personal. He’d come across a few over the years and while there were hunts with more gore and higher death counts he could never get over how focused and specific ghosts with a vendetta were. It was partially because with most ghosts you couldn’t really see the breaking point, they were just angry and wanted to take that anger out on others, with ghosts that got personal you could see exactly where the fault line that cracked them was.
The brunette blew out a breath and rubbed a hand down his face, at least Caroline wasn’t a little kid. Children who became ghosts were the worst kind and creepy as hell. Even the two children who’d stopped the woman in white back when Dean had first shown up again were creepy and they had been relatively benign.
Sam checked his watch and cursed under his breath, it was ten minutes past when he’d said he’d be back from the library with lunch. Z might not eat enough but she got just a touch pissy when she skipped a meal and when Z was pissy things started going wrong around the motel room.
Which brought Sam back around to the fact that Z clearly wasn’t human and he had no fucking clue what she was. There were a lot of carporial monsters that fit in with some but not all of the magical traits that she had. At least he knew she wasn’t a vampire, zombie, wendigo, or werewolf but that didn’t exactly narrow down the list.
Sam started packing up the newspapers and the handful of books on the history of the town. He grimaced a bit at the old leather bound hard cover that he’d stashed at the bottom of the stack, it was in latin and it had been a bitch to translate some of the passages but it was one of the only accurate encyclopedias of monsters Sam knew. He’d been a bit surprised about that but they were in a college town after all and the theology and mythology department at the college was rather robust according to the locals.
He’d been absentmindedly flicking through it when he’d needed a break from how utterly dull the town’s history had been. They hadn’t known what era the ghost had come from when they’d started researching, just that it was a teenaged girl, or it wouldn’t have taken so long for Sam to find her.
Sam put everything away and walked out of the door, texting as he walked towards the impala. He’d stop by the little candy shop at the center of town and grab something sweet, Z liked dark chocolate with spices mixed in for some unknown reason and the shop advertised spiced chocolate turtles.
Izareal knew that she’d waited for over two months to get enough privacy to clean her wings, wing really. She should be cleaning and straightening them every week at the least and preferably every other day but she hadn’t wanted to risk exposing her species to Sam.
She’d waited too long to clean her wing, to straighten the feathers and pluck out all of the dead growth. They were starting to itch, to ache, to hurt in one of the most excruciating ways.
Izareal had waited until Sam was out, waited until he was going to be gone for a while, and then she pulled her wings, what was left of them, into this plane of existence. The right one was fine, mostly fine, the tip was bent a bit, the result of a break that had healed ever so slightly off but the left…
The left was severed near the base, leaving only a six inch section of bone and skin and down jutting out from her back. It was healed now but she remembered what it had felt like when the wound was still fresh, still bleeding, still gushing grace like a hole in the bottom of a flask.
She started straightening out the feathers on the left one first because it was smaller and she could do it faster and if she got it over with she could focus on her right, pretend that she was whole again, that she could fly again…
Was back in Heaven, Lucifer shining brightly and smiling down as she crafted stars for him. Always for him, never for God, never for the uncaring, unfeeling being that had created her, that had named her binary star first and then her after it.
She spent over an hour on her right wing, carefully combing her fingers through the sections to pick out dead down and loose feathers. It was a bit like meditating and she fell into the motions like she was in a trance.
Stroke. Stroke. Tug. Pull up a section to get at some of the dirt hiding between the shafts. Straighten covet. Pull a dead, broken feather out from the underside of her wing.
Izareal didn’t hear her phone chime with the text message from Sam and she didn’t hear him when he came in either, not until the thump of a food bag hitting the floor. She turned around, wing arching high in a defencive posture and Sam was on his knees.
Sam was on his knees and he was staring at her like she was the center of the universe and she couldn’t stand that. Couldn’t stare at the awe and disbelief in his eyes, not when she could see the shadow of Lucifer in his soul.
“Oh, Z.” He breathed into the dead air between them and she abruptly pushed her wings back into the plane where she’d kept them hidden.
“You didn’t see that.” Izareal barked like it would change the reality of the situation and turned away from Sam to hide her face.
“Z, why didn’t you tell me?” Sam asked.
“Because you didn’t need to know, because no one needs to know. It’s fine, they’re fine, I’m fine.” Izareal stood up in one fluid motion. “Now, what did you bring for lunch?”
Sam dropped the subject and picked up the bags he’d dropped. He left the subject alone for the rest of the hunt but at the end, after the ghost had been salted and burned, after it had thrown Sam into a tombstone and caused a hairline fracture in his collar bone they climbed into the impala. Sam cleared his throat and Izareal buried her head in her hands in exasperation.
“Can’t you just leave it?” She dragged her hands down her face and looked at him.
“Z, you have wings. You tell me if you think I should leave it.” Sam pulled away from the curb. “What are you? I know what you look like but it’s a bit far fetched.”
Izareal took a deep breath and reached out to lay her hand on Sam’s shoulder, sending a pulse of grace into the touch in order to heal his collarbone. “My full name is Izareal and what your suspecting I am is probably correct.”
Sam blew out a long breath. “You’re an angel, an honest to God angel.”
“Fallen angel, technically, though I didn’t Fall with the Legion.” Izareal corrected off hand.
“Is that why you only have one wing, they took it from you when you Fell?” Sam asked.
Izareal started fiddling with her sleeve. “It’s the other way around, I took a blade meant for one of my brothers and when the wing was severed I Fell. I can’t fly anymore so tough luck.”
“And it won’t grow back?”
“No, it’s been at least four thousand years since I landed on Earth and in that time my wings have never changed.” She said.
“Wouldn’t He have fixed it if you weren’t meant to Fall?” Izareal snorted at Sam’s naive question.
“I was no one important, just another Star Weaver and most of my brethren followed Lucifer down. What was one more angel in the grand scheme of things? Besides, I wasn’t welcome in Heaven even before my wing was severed.” She told him.
“Why?” The little furrow between Sam’s brows and the confused puppy look he got were too adorable for words.
“My name means Star of God, Sam. And almost all of the other Star Weavers had already followed Lucifer down into the Pit. What do you think they thought? I’m pretty sure most of them assumed it was only a matter of time before I Fell too and took every secret I’d learned with me. They kept their distance for good reason.” Izareal tried to quell the growing fury on Sam’s face as his eyes narrowed.
“Those are stupid reasons.” Sam grumbled.
“No, they’re not. I was never a very pro God angel, none of the Star Weavers were. Lucifer picked us for our jobs, not God, most of us never even saw God more than twice. How can you have faith in someone who’s supposed to be your father but doesn’t even try to give you the time of day,” she tried to explain. “I didn’t hate the human souls that God had made, I liked them, liked their capacity for change but I can’t count the number of angels that Fell because Lucifer asked them to follow him rather than because they believed in what he said.”
There was silent in the car for a handful of moments as Sam mulled that over. Izareal waited for him to realize the logic behind what she was saying. They pulled into the parking lot of the motel and Sam shut off the engine before turning to look at her.
“You know it doesn’t matter to me what you are right? But I have to know, why me?” Sam asked.
Izareal blinked at him in confusion because how could he not see. She knew he couldn’t sense it, he didn’t have any form of Sight from what she’d been able to discern but he had a brain and a firm grasp on theology from what she’d been able to tell.
“You’re… very bright.” Was what she settled on before beginning to elaborate. “I can see souls, it’s part of what I am and while you’re not untouched by life or completely innocent you still shine, like a fire in the dark of the woods. You’re a good person and a hunter and your brother just died, I figured you needed someone and I was a better choice than that demon who’d been following you around like a lost puppy.”
Sam blinked at her for a few minutes before a small, shy smile broke out across his face. Izareal felt her face soften as she smiled back at him, the warmth of his soul radiating at her like a miniature sun.
She’d definitely made the right choice in joining him, now she just needed to figure out how to tell him about the impending Apocalypse. That wasn’t going to be awkward at all.
It was dark.
It was dark and hot but Dean didn’t hurt and that was strange.
Dean blinked at the darkness and shifted around, elbow connecting solidly with something. He winced and hissed under his breath as a dull ache shot up his arm. It was nothing like the pain inflicted on him in Hell but it was still pain and there had been far too much of that over the past years.
Dean swallowed heavily and began exploring the confines of where he was, trying to remember what had happened. He remembered… he remembered being torn apart by the hounds while Lilith looked on and Sam screamed, he remembered Hell and it was a blur of noise and heat and pain, there was a gap of memories where Dean knew something had happened but he couldn’t quite place what it had been, and then there was the light.
The light had been bright, blindingly so, like taking a blindfold off and staring directly at the sun. It had been warm too and it had burned as it had pulled him away from the wrack.
Dean’s fingers found wood surrounding him on all sides and he realized with a start that he was in a coffin. He shouldn’t be in a coffin, in fact his body shouldn’t still be intact, Sam and Bobby should have burned it to a crisp after he died.
Obviously that hadn’t happened, Dean was going to kill Sam when he found him. Hadn’t the idiot realized that demons were an awful source of miracles after Dean’s fiasco.
Dean banged on the lid of his coffin and dirt fell through the gaps in the wood. Oh great, this was going to be a whole new level of fun.
As it turned out, crawling your way out of your own grave sucked. It was hard work and you got far too much dirt in your mouth but the first gulp of air he took was the sweetest thing he had ever tasted.
Dean sat on his knees in the dirt for a few minutes, just breathing and feeling the sun beat down on the back of his neck. He was alive, he was alive and he wasn’t in hell and had just crawled his way out of his own grave.
He swallowed past his parched throat and glanced around him. He’d been buried in what had been a forest clearing but every tree that had been surrounding him had been knocked over by some unknown force.
Dean would have whistled but his mouth was too dry, tongue feeling like a lead weight in his mouth. The sun beat down, so bright that it hurt his eyes when he tried to raise his gaze over a certain height. His knuckles hurt from cracking the wood of his coffin and his arms burned with the effort it had taken to drag himself out of the ground. His stomach was roiling in nausea but completely empty at the same time.
Dean groaned and hauled himself to his feet, he need food, water, and shelter. That was the priority right now, survival after climbing out of his own god damned grave, the grave he was going to be putting Lilith in if he had anything to say about it.
How long had he been gone? Hell time had been more fluid than the time on Earth had been, sometimes faster and sometimes dragging along behind him like a lead weight. It had felt like thirty years in the Pit but there was still that nebulous time that he couldn’t quite remember.
There was a road in the distance, he could see it through the few trees that were still standing. It wasn’t quite what he’d been aiming for but it was a start, at least if he traveled along that he wouldn’t have to worry about tripping over anything and roads typically meant civilization, even if that civilization was miles and miles away.
Izareal lay sprawled out across Bobby Singer’s couch trying to get comfortable, she and Sam had gotten to the older man’s house at around three in the morning, beaten up and bloody. Werewolves were her new least favorite monster to have to deal with, a decision that Sam agreed with wholeheartedly, though he hadn’t explained why he agreed.
Before now her least favorite monster had been wendigos because those bastards were hard to kill and fast and could mimic voices. The first wendigo she’d come across had been when the Vikings discovered America and the bastard had sounded like one of her younger siblings in pain.
But werewolves were the new top of the list, purely because of how difficult the latest one was to find and kill and how young his victims were. When they’d discovered that the first body that dropped had turned out to be a sixteen year old girl and she was the oldest victim Sam had vomited into a nearby bush.
The sun had risen hours ago and Bobby was puttering around the kitchen making lunch. The smell would hopefully rouse Sam from the coma like sleep he’d fallen into around dawn, after a hot shower that must have been heavenly after the night they’d had.
“Are you going to get up anytime soon?” Bobby poked his head into the living room to look at her.
Izareal’s lips quirked and she sat up in one smooth motion, hooking her legs over the arm of the couch so that she ended up perched there. “I’m used to replicating humans as closely as possible and Sam’s still dead to the world.”
“Yeah, well you’ve been staring at the ceiling for the past two hours, stop being a creepy idjit and come help me make lunch.” Bobby’s eyebrow quirked as she laughed at him.
Izareal sat forward to slide off of the arm of the couch and let her feet thump against the floor. It was a satisfying sound and Izareal hated being quiet, most of heaven had been quiet, it was quiet when she was created and for a time after until Lucifer had picked her to be a Star Weaver. Then there had been new noises that she’d never heard before.
Lucifer was the angel of music as well as the Morning Star and he was always humming something under his breath if he wasn’t talking or singing outright. His voice had been beautiful, the most beautiful in all of the Host but he’d once told her that her voice had come close to matching his.
Even now, after millenia of living on Earth she still wasn’t used to the silence and when it got too much for her she couldn’t help singing or humming just to have some sort of noise. When she’d heard a choir, a human choir sing and produce what musical theorists would later call the god note she cried because it sounded so much like another angel’s voice but it wasn’t even close at the same time.
Izareal hummed as she trotted into the kitchen, peeking into the fridge to look for the eggs she knew had to be in there. Sam needed protein after last night, he’d done a lot of running and had clearly been sore even though he hadn’t really mentioned it. She might be able to take him out on a demon hunt soon without him flipping out, it might even be therapeutic.
She still needed to bring up his powers though because, while it was a touchy subject, he needed every advantage available to him if they were going to take out Lilith before 65 of the seals were broken. That was the solution she’d come up with after a lot of thinking over the past few weeks and it was probably the only one that would work.
“What are you making?” Izareal asked as she pulled the carton out of the fridge.
“Beef stew, the idjit upstairs’ll be starving when he comes down and stew’s easy to make in bulk, plus I have some left over from last night.” Bobby grabbed a wooden spoon and started stirring the pot on the stove leisurely.
“I’m making a frittata then.” Izareal decided.
She hummed along to an old hymn as she worked, cracking eggs and stirring in scallions and a lot of cheese. She liked cheese, almost as much as Gabriel liked sugar but it just didn’t taste right if she went around miracling it up like Gabriel did with his oral fixations so she’d gone on a bit of a shopping spree earlier in the month when she learned that Sam actually had something resembling a home base.
Parmigiano Reggiano was the best, always had been and probably always would be but mozzarella and well aged bree came very close. Those two and cheddar were easier to melt down so she stirred them into the egg mixture she’d made.
“What is it with you and cheese?” Bobby asked.
“Cheese is awesome, the best invention your lot came up with since fire, and you get a lot of bang for your buck with it. It packs almost all of the proteins, minerals, and fat of milk into a more easily digested packet. And it can be preserved rather than going sour after a few hours in high heat.” Izareal told him.
“Fair enough.” Bobby acknowledged. “But why do you eat in the first place? You don’t need it?”
Izareal started hunting through the cabinets for a pan, she knew where they were, angels had long memories but ingrained habits were a thing and she hadn’t been in Bobby’s house often enough for her to remember where everything was if she’d been a human. After a few moments of rummaging she had collected a pan and her thoughts enough to answer him.
“A bit of it is habit, I needed to eat to blend in and while humans can’t do anything to kill me, I am a woman and in most eras and places that was not the best thing to be, especially in medieval europe. If I never have to see another nunnery full of woman terrified of their own shadows again it will be too soon. If I never have to see a woman hunted down because she’s carrying a baby that wasn’t her husbands it will be too soon. If I never have to be stoned for being a witch again it will be too soon.” Izareal told him.
“How many times did that happen?”
“Too many.” Izareal smiled sadly as she began to pour her eggs into the pan. “And there were girls who died because they didn’t have my power.”
And most of them had been girls, young, too young to marry, or already married without children. Stoning was an awful way to die and Izareal was almost certain that the only thing that topped it was burning. Neither could have killed her but they both hurt like nothing else physically.
Her wing topped it, but then again her wing topped everything.
There was a knock on the door and Izareal turned to peer through the wall at the soul standing at the front door. It was clean and bright and almost too new, like a child’s but there was a cloud around it, a fog that hung and seemed to be trying to choke it even as it rapidly vanished. Maybe it was a girl scout who’d been around someone nasty recently.
“That’s a human, is it girl scout cookie season or something?” Izareal asked.
Bobby grunted in amusement and made his way over to the door. “Girl scout cookie season was in February and it’s September right now, I don’t know who’d be coming to sell me something.”
The door opened and Bobby stopped breathing. Izareal turned in alarm and in a few quick steps she was standing right behind him. The man in the doorway was taller than Bobby but not as tall as Sam with dirty blonde hair and green eyes. He smelled like the grave, like freshly turned earth and open sky and he looked very familiar.
“Holy shit.” Izareal breathed, she’d known that the Righteous Man would be raised from Hell but she hadn’t known that the others were going to resurrect him.
“Surprise.” Dean Winchester said.
“I don’t-” Bobby started to say and then stopped mid sentence.
“Yeah, me neither.” Dean Winchester stepped into the house, looking around at the floor instead of meeting Bobby’s eyes. “But hear I am.”
“One sec, I’m gonna go grab Sam.” Izareal turned on one heel and bolted up the stairs.
“Who is that?” Dean asked from somewhere behind her but she didn’t particularly care where that conversation was going.
Izareal’s mind was spinning in confused little circles, trying to figure out why the angels had resurrected the poor after he’d earned his rest and why his soul looked nothing like Michael’s grace. Or, at least, nothing like the Michael she’d met, she’d never known him personally and Lucifer was living proof that angels could change. She was living proof that angels could change, so was Gabriel, so had Ariel.
Izareal burst into Sam’s room, startling the brunette who immediately turned towards her with his gun raised. He lowered it after realizing who she was and tucked it into the back of his jeans before pulling on a shirt.
“Where’s the fire?” Sam asked.
“Dean’s at the door.” Izareal said in a rush and Sam went very still.
“What did you say?” He asked.
“Dean’s at the door and I checked, he’s human, it’s him, not some shapeshifter or revenant and a demon’s not riding him.” Izareal slowed down a bit.
Sam sat down abruptly on his bed, staring at her in dumb founded amazement. She held back vaguely hysterical laughter because Sam’s dead brother was downstairs and he looked vaguely like a confused puppy.
“Who… How?” Sam looked up at her with wide, vulnerable eyes and she had to swallow as his soul started to brighten.
“I don’t know which of my brothers did it but one of them definitely did. Why they resurrected him rather than letting him rest I don’t know but he’s here now and I’m a bit freaked out about it.” Izareal babled at him.
Sam stood and Izareal barely moved out of the way fast enough to not get bowled over when he rushed through the door. He darted down the stairs, nearly tripping over his own feet as he went and startling a short giggle out of Izareal as she followed.
“Dean!” Sam called, voice bright and disbelieving.
“Sammy!” Dean called back and then grunted as Sam launched himself at his older brother.
Izareal smiled as she watched their souls interact at an instinctive level, Sam’s burrowing into Dean’s as Dean’s wrapped around Sam’s in a protective shield. It was a beautiful sight, a tender moment and far more intimate than anything physical ever could be. She shouldn’t be watching them, not at this moment when the two brothers were greeting each other after one had been dead for almost four months, forty years in Hell time.
Izareal turned to Bobby. “I think we’re going to need to make more food and find out which one of them resurrected him. We know it wasn’t Micheal but that leaves at least a couple thousand left.”
“I know someone who might be able to help.” Bobby turned to walk into the kitchen and Izareal turned back to the two brothers.
The two Winchesters had a bond deeper than flesh and blood, it was soul deep and while not the bright romanticism of a soul mate bond it was still powerful, protective, paternal even on Dean’s end. It had been a while since she’d seen a bond that deep, that true. They were rare, extremely so but they had one and if she had to leave soon, had to abandon them to their fate and go hunting Lilith on her own she was glad that she had a chance to see it in all its glory.
The Price of Sight
There were many forms of sight in the world, be it foresight, insight or hindsight. But very, very few people had the ability to see an angel’s wings, Z was the only exception to that rule, her wing being tied to her physical form rather than her ethereal one.
It had taken a while for Sam to get that out of her. Z didn’t like talking about her wings or her siblings or anything related to Heaven, and Sam couldn’t really blame her for that. It was still hell on his curiosity though.
There had been a discussion about forms of sight in the middle of the night when Sam was shading towards mildly tipsy and Z was sipping at a bottle of apple flavored vodka. They’d been lying on a sheet in the grass under a starlit sky somewhere in the middle of Iowa.
“You might be able to see them.” Z had muzed, swirling her bottle.
“See what?” Sam had asked her.
“Wings, Azazael was a Fallen and angel blood is angel blood, no matter how tainted by the Pit.” Z had rolled over onto her stomach then and stretched her wing out over him like a blanket. “It would take a while to train your abilities but it might be an advantage.”
They hadn’t followed through with the idea, Sam had been uncomfortable with the idea of using the powers the demon who killed his mother had given him and Z hadn’t wanted to actually teach him about it, apparently the person she’d taught had been burned for witchcraft. That had been over four hundred years prior but the trauma was still fresh.
What she had done was explain how to flip the switch in his brain that would turn on his ability to see things that most people couldn’t. The first time he’d done it he’d vomited across the floor because looking at a demon’s face without any filter on a full stomach was not the best idea in the world. The demon had laughed for a good ten seconds before Z lost her temper and stabbed it in the face.
Pamela, Bobby’s friend and a psychic of some skill, had tilted her head to one side in mild amusement when Z came walking through her door but hadn’t been able to see the wings. Now they were all sitting around the seance table except for Z, who had leaned against the wall behind the psychic.
“I invoke, conjure, and command you, appear unto me before this circle.” Pamela’s voice shifted from her playful tone into something a hair more than human.
Sam couldn’t feel anything besides the warmth of his brother’s hands at first but as Pamela repeated the words once, twice, three times he could feel the power in the room build, a whine ringing in his ears almost too high pitched for him to hear. There was a heat to the air that hadn’t been there before, a warmth that was almost too much hovering in the back of his brain as the tv in the corner flicked on to show only static.
Z moved, standing from her lean and walking forwards a few steps, wing up and poised to intervene, shimmering just out of sight of the physical plane. Her face had pulled into a tight, worried scowl as she leaned forward.
“I invoke, conjure, and command you-” Pamela paused for half a second, “Castiel.”
Z cursed in a language that Sam only vaguely recognized as Enochian.
“No, sorry, Castiel, I don’t scare easy.” Pamela gritted out.
“Castiel?” Dean asked.
“Its name, it’s whispering to me, warning me to turn back.”
“We have their name, let go of the spell.” Z barked, voice short and sharp with command.
“No, I can do this. I conjure and command you, show me your face.” Pamela called.
“Oh you stupid little-”
“I conjure and command you show me your face.”
The table started to shake.
“Pam, maybe we should-”
“No, I’ve almost got it.” Pamela reprimanded.
Z pulled her wing onto the physical plane in a rush of fluttering feathers as Pamela spoke.
“Show me your face! Show me your face NOW!”
Three things happened all at once. One, the candles on the table flared, flames reaching towards the ceiling as the energy in the room spiked. Two, Z swept her wing in front of Pamela like a shield, star shine feathers glowing with power and grace. And, three, every single piece of electronic equipment in the house exploded.
Then everything stopped and there was a ringing silence broken only by the sound of the psychic panting. The three men sitting at the table looked at each other in shock as Z pulled her wing back from Pamela’s face.
“That,” Z said after a brief pause to fold her wing back to its normal station along her spine, “was, quite possibly, the stupidest thing I have ever seen a human attempt to do.”
“I almost had it.” Pamela protested.
“No, you didn’t, you almost blinded yourself, my siblings don’t appear in their true form for good reason and even with the filter of the mortal plane you would have been blinded, I don’t even want to know what would have happened if you had been looking at them without it. They might have melted your brain.”
And with that the conversation was over. Z herded the three men out of the house, hand shaking where it was pressed against Sam’s back.
“Are we sure she gave you the right spell?” Dean asked.
“Z’s advice hasn’t failed me yet.” Sam flipped the page in his book.
“Yeah, but she’s not human is she? This is her brother. How do you know that we can trust her?” Dean could feel the concern seeping into his voice.
Sam glanced up at him and Dean rolled his eyes at the bitch face his brother was shooting him. It was a perfectly reasonable question. Izareal wasn’t human and she claimed one of her brothers, this Castiel, had dragged Dean out of Hell which meant that whatever she was was incredibly powerful. Sam had told him that she was an angel, Bobby had told him she was an angel but Dean didn’t believe in angels even though he’d seen the wing himself.
“She saved me from a pack of demons, Dean.” Sam told him. “And we’ve been hunting together ever since. I’ve known her for over two and a half months, not once in that time has she done anything to hurt or manipulate me.”
“She still isn’t human, Sammy, I don’t know why you get so attached to the things we hunt but it’s going to destroy you one day.” Dean sighed and ran a hand over his face.
“I’m not entirely human, Dean.” Sam’s words were almost too quiet for him to hear.
“What?” Dean’s head snapped around.
Sam bit his lip. “The blood, Dean, the blood Azazel fed me and all those other kids. It didn’t just enhance our powers, it changed us, that’s how I survived the croatoan virus.”
“But you’re not getting dreams anymore, right?” Dean asked.
He hadn’t seen the dreams as anything evil, not like Dad would have but watching Sam lose himself to them hadn’t been pleasant. The fact that the other children seemed to be mostly evil hadn’t helped Sam’s state of mind either.
“No, but Z told me how to open up my sixth sense. I can see demons’ faces now, tell which graves hold ghosts, things like that. She said I might be able to do more if I ever wanted to try using them but I don’t want to and she didn’t push.” Sam admitted.
Dean blew out a breath. The powers weren’t evil, they came from Sammy and even if their originator was a demon Sammy wasn’t evil. Misguided and too trusting, yes but not evil.
“Alright,” Dean sighed and leaned forward to rest his elbows on his knees, “Break this down for me. What have y’all been hunting?”
“It’s been a mix, mostly ghosts, there was a nest of vampires a few weeks back, and we took down a werewolf that was hunting highschool girls yesterday.” Sam shrugged. “Z’s disappeared for an hour or two to hunt demons by herself, she won’t let me anywhere near them.”
“Why?” Dean asked.
“I… got a bit obsessed… with Lilith.” Sam hesitated.
Dean rubbed a hand over his face. “Sammy-”
The wind picked up and both brothers got to their feet, shifting towards each other. The shingles were banging against the wooden beams that held up the roof and Dean could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. The lightbulb above Dean’s head popped and the other lights in the barn followed shortly after.
“I take it that it’s not just going to appear in the middle of the room.” Sam called over the wind and Dean chuckled.
The doors banged open, the bar holding them closed breaking down the center like it hadn’t even been whole to begin with. Dean cocked his gun, even knowing that it would do fuck all to hurt Izareal’s sibling he felt better with a round in the chamber.
A man walked through the empty space where the doors used to be, he was tall but not as tall as Dean with black hair. He wore a suit under a tan trench coat and what would have been sensible shoes if they were in an office. He carried no weapons but Dean knew not to trust that, what with Izareal’s tendency to pull her knife out of thin air.
As he drew nearer, Sam shifted closer to Dean, cocking his own gun and tensing up. The man stopped a few feet away from them, head cocked to one side in what looked like mild confusion.
“I take it you’re Castiel.” Dean said.
“Yes,” and wow, Castiel’s voice was deep, like gravel rubbing against stone, “I’m the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition.”
Sam snorted and Dean glared at him. Sam gave him an innocent look and made no further comment.
“What are you?” Dean asked. “There’s no way anything less than a high order demon dragged me out of the hot box and you just walked through every devils trap and demon ward we know.”
“I’m an Angel of the Lord.” Castiel said, like Dean should be impressed by the shiny angelness of his being.
“Some angel you are, you almost burned out that poor woman’s eyes.” Dean said.
“I warned her not to spy on my true form. It can be… overwhelming to humans and so can my real voice. But someone stepped in, one of my brothers shielded her before she could get too far-”Castiel said.
“Sister.” Sam corrected.
Castiel blinked and turned to look at Sam, as if seeing him for the first time. “What?”
“Sister, not brother.” Sam repeated.
“My sibling is using a female vessel then.” Castiel nodded as if this explained everything.
“Vessel? You mean you’re wearing some poor sap?” Dean asked with rising horror.
“Yes, he is a devout man, he actually prayed for this.” Castiel said.
“What are you really?” Dean grit his teeth.
“Dean.” Sam sighed.
“I already told you.” Castiel looked confused.
“Right, and why would an angel,” besides Izareal but she’d admitted she couldn’t fly anymore to their faces, “rescue me from Hell?”
Castiel’s eyes narrowed and he took a step forward, “Good things do happen, Dean.”
“Not in my experience, not like this.” Dean said.
“What’s the matter?” Castiel asked and then realization dawned on his face. “You don’t think you deserve to be saved?”
“Why’d you do it?” Dean asked again as Sam’s hand settled onto his shoulder, squeezing gently.
Castiel licked his lips and drew closer still. His eyes were blue, not sky or sea blue but something more saturated, more intense. Dean felt like he could get lost in those eyes if he wasn’t careful.
“Because God commanded it.” There was a pause as Castiel let that sink in. “Because we have work for you.”
“Get the order yourself then?” Dean asked.
“No, I am too inconsequential for God to talk to, my superiors gave the order and my garrison descended on Hell to free you. I was lucky enough to get through the defenses and find you.” Castiel explained.
Dean glanced over as Sam who looked vaguely like he wanted to start taking notes. Dean rolled his eyes and turned back to the angel that hadn’t blinked since laying eyes on him. That was creepy, incredibly creepy in fact and Dean didn’t like the way that stare appeared to be peeling back the layers of his skin to look inside him.
“Then how do you know that the order came from God?” Dean asked.
“I have faith.”
“Yeah, well, faith is something that’s earned, not blindly given.”
“Deeeean.” Sam groaned again.
When Dean looked over at his brother Sam was wearing his ‘Oh my God, Dean, that’s not how that works, you know this, how do you not know this’ bitch face. Dean cracked a smile, seeing Sam’s bitch faces after so long was a relief in and of itself. Sam had gotten steadily quieter as Dean’s death day approached and while Dean didn’t remember much of what had happened in Hell he could still feel the time that had gone by weighing on his soul.
There was the sound of wet paper tearing and Dean whirled around to see Castiel gone. He cursed under his breath at the realization that the angel had taken the opertunity to fuck off.
“Well, you were asking him awkward questions.” Sam commented when he caught sight of Dean’s scowl.
“Shut up, Sammy.”
Time Goes Winding Down
There had never been many angels on Earth, not after the Garden. There’d only really been a handful or so of guardian angels sent to protect those significant to God’s plan, Gabriel, Ariel, and Izareal.
Everyone thought that Gabriel was dead, killed in the crossfire of the War but Izareal knew better. She’d seen him after all, when she’d Fallen from Heaven, wing falling after her, Raphael diving to catch her but being yanked back into those hallowed halls before he could reach her.
She’d crashed hard, it hadn’t hurt. Or, well, it might have but at that point she’d been in too much pain from the wing to notice. It had fallen on top of her and that had been the worst part, holding the severed section of her wing in her arms as she tried to stay quiet, tried not to scream, to sob, to cry out, tried to just lie there and die.
Gabriel had found her. It hadn’t taken him long.
He’d found her and he’d saved her, even though he wasn’t a healer, even though it had hurt him and her both to do it, even though if he had been anything less than an archangel it would have killed him.
He’d apologized repeatedly, over and over again as he’d cut away at bone and grace, trying to find the end of the wound, to find a place to choke off the bleed out.
Izareal was lucky she’d only lost one wing. It didn’t feel like she was and Gabriel certainly didn’t think so but she’d seen Grace wounds before, in the War, the War that Gabriel hadn’t been anywhere near because he had fled Heaven.
Izareal couldn’t blame him. Izareal couldn’t blame him because she had done the same thing. He could not watch his brothers fight and she could not watch her siblings die.
He’d made her a body. Or, well, pulled the physical aspects of her true form that she had settled on after seeing Lilith into the corporeal plane and gave them form. It hadn’t exactly been an easy process but after that she’d been on her way.
She’d never asked who or what he’d been hiding as, even though she could taste the pagan magic on him and she’d let him be after that. She’d see him occasionally but never too often and never for long and she always got the impression that he had been watching her for far longer than she’d seen him.
Izareal met other angels occasionally, most of them Guardian angels but they gave her a wide berth, what with the wing issue. It wasn’t like the injury was contagious but the image of an angel with only one wing made the others uncomfortable to say the least, especially considering how she’d lost it.
And then there had been Ariel. Izarael had been there when the Host had descended for her sister. When the Host had ripped apart Sparta searching for her. When they’d found her and dragged her back up into Heaven, kicking and screaming as she went.
She hadn’t even known that Ariel was on Earth before that moment.
Ariel wasn’t dead or at least, Izareal didn’t think she was dead. She was probably imprisoned like Gadreel, like every other angel that Heaven couldn’t condition back into a willing slave, into a state of oblivion.
It was… well, Izareal was glad she wasn’t in Heaven anymore even though she missed it so much, so fiercely that it ached deep in her grace where the scar from Michael’s sword lay.
After that there had been fewer and fewer angels on Earth and Izareal met them more and more infrequently. The largest gathering after Ariel in Sparta incident was when the Son of God was born and died and had his crusade to Hell.
And then they were all gone.
All of them, even the guardian angels.
It was… lonely. Even though Izareal hadn’t seen them often and they hadn’t initiated contact at all in the years since she’d Fallen she’d still seen them, sensed them, heard their voices on the edge of her hearing radius.
But she’d gotten used to it, it had taken years, centuries even, and one complete mental breakdown but she had gotten used to it, being alone.
Izareal had made friends with humans, pagans, even some vampires. It almost always ended in heartbreak but it had helped keep her sane. Which was why it was a bit of a shock to come back from a shopping trip to find an angel standing in the middle of Bobby’s kitchen.
Izareal froze in the doorway, hands tightening around the shopping bags in her hands. He was taller than she was and wore a blue eyed vessel with dark hair. His vessel’s build was average and the soul inside seemed resigned to what was going on, if extremely uncomfortable with being stuffed next to a being as powerful as an angel.
His wings were dark, almost black to her eyes with a single patch of green feathers sitting high up in what would be the alula feathers on a bird. He was young too, younger than her and completely unfamiliar but he had an edge to his grace, a razor sheen that showed he’d been crafted for war. The animal faces sitting on either side of his humanoid one reflected that, a jaguar and a crowned eagle.
“Hello, brother.” She said.
His vessel’s head cocked to one side and his wings rippled out behind him, flapping gently before folding themselves against his spine. “Sister.”
“Why are you here? The angels haven’t been on earth for over a millenia. Has Father decided to sire another son?” Izareal forced her voice to stay even as she glided into the room on silent feet.
Her brother tracked her movements with his eyes as she opened the fridge and began putting away the groceries she’d bought. It was creepy, this one clearly hadn’t been out of Heaven with any frequency or at all and hadn’t learned any of the social cews that the guardian angels had out of necessity.
When a blade wasn’t immediately buried in her back she relaxed ever so slightly and began to humm under her breath. It was an old song and human in nature, an irish drinking song that she’d picked up a few centuries back and couldn’t get out of her head.
“You know exactly why I am here. You are consorting with the Righteous Man’s brother, you need to stop.” Her brother said.
“Do I?” Izareal kept her voice light.
“Yes, we do not know what your objective is but interference in God’s plans will not be tolerated.” And he actually sounded like he believed that, too, complete with wing flaring.
Izareal tried not to roll her eyes as she set down the milk and closed the fridge. “Look…”
“Castiel.” Her sibling said after it became clear that Izareal was asking for his name.
“Look, Castiel, I have been on Earth for a long time, possibly longer than you have existed and I have no designs on your mission. I don’t particularly care about it in truth, Heaven has never cared about what I do on Earth. I have not interfered with your charge directly and I have broken no laws warenting interference. I don’t know why you’re stepping in now.” Izareal said.
“I saw your Fall.” Castiel said.
“Then you’re old enough to know that I didn’t fight in the War and that I Fell to make sure that one of my brothers didn’t pay the ultimate price.” Izareal stepped out so that she had more space to flee if it became necessary.
“You stepped in front of a blade meant for Lucifer, if you hadn’t intervened then all of this could have been-” Castiel drew his wings up into a defensive posture.
Izareal’s wing flared and she snarled at him. “And he would be dead! I have had enough of death to last a lifetime! He may have been in the wrong but I still loved him! I still love all of you even if you are all to blind to see it! I refuse to watch any of you die ever again!”
“Even if it means your own death?” Castiel asked.
“Stay away from the Winchesters or you won’t have a choice.” And with that Castiel was gone with a flap of wings.
Izareal cursed under her breath and examined the grace trail that he’d left behind. It was slightly broader than most angels but it spoke of power and efficiency, like no one had taught him how to properly fly but he’d figured out how to do it anyway.
“And I’m not leaving until they make me.” Izareal ran a hand over her face and groaned.
She was going to die, there was absolutely no way that that wasn’t going to happen now that she knew that Heaven wanted her to leave the Winchester brothers alone. She wasn’t going to do that, she couldn’t at this point.
“Are you alright?” A voice asked from behind Dean asked.
He turned slightly to look at the woman standing in the doorway and she was a woman, a person, not a creature. Izareal had proven that a few times over, what with the fact that she’d kept Sammy sane, off the war path, and put the Witnesses down almost as soon as they’d appeared. She was beautiful, gorgeous even but more in that way old art was beautiful, not in a way that made him want to have sex with her.
“No.” Dean wiped the water off his face.
“What happened?” Izareal looked concerned.
“Cas threw me into the past, told me I had to stop it.” The words tasted like bile in his mouth. “Then he told me that we needed to stop talking to you or they’d do something about it.”
Izareal rolled her eyes. “That’s not how time travel works, maybe if he was an archangel and he threw you into an alternate timeline but otherwise, no, there’s no way you could have stopped whatever Heaven wanted you to. Time is linear and once set it can’t be unmade without significant effort.”
“So that was pointless.” Dean growled and hit the side of the sink..
“What did you learn?” Izareal asked.
Dean blinked and looked her in the eye. “What?”
“It might not have been pointless, not in truth. You may not have been able to do what they wanted you to but it might not have been entirely pointless. Did you learn anything new in the past?” Izareal asked.
“Well, Mom was a hunter before she married Dad, came from a family of them and she made a deal to save Dad’s life. Shit, that’s how he got in.” Dean ran both hands through his hair and pulled.
“Azazel was always a tricky one, I don’t think Falling would have changed that. But more importantly, most angels know how time travel works and while I don’t think Castiel meant to hurt you I don’t think he has the full picture.” Izareal tilted her head to one side and raised an eyebrow.
“We’re being manipulated and he is as well.” Dean watched her nod. “Why do they want you gone?”
“I’m Fallen. I’m not a demon but I am Fallen and…” Izareal bit her lip. “I stepped in front of a blade meant for Lucifer, it’s how I lost my wing. I couldn’t watch another one of my brothers die, not after the fighting was already over. Maybe if I’d watched him die in the War I would have acted differently but I could not watch his execution. So, all of this is technically my fault.”
“No, it’s not.” Dean didn’t like the direction her words were going, it sounded too much like when Sammy got too maudlin and climbed his way into a bottle.
“Yes, it is. If I’d let him die then all of this wouldn’t be happening.” Izareal gestured at the world in general.
“No, you didn’t start the war in Heaven, you didn’t make Eve take a bite of the apple, you didn’t make Lucifer hate humanity. None of that is your fault and neither is the fact that Lucifer is still alive.”
Izareal made a face and turned around. She walked back out into the main part of the hotel room, Dean tracked her across the room until she flopped down onto the bed she’d been sharing with Sam. He didn’t think that there was any sort of romantic interest there, at least on Sam’s part, Izareal was harder to judge and, by his estimate, a bit skin starved, if angels could get skin starved.
“Did I tell you what my dad’s last words were?” Dean asked.
“No, and that seems a bit personal.”
“He told me that I’d either have to save Sam or kill him.” Dean watched as Izareal went very still, not even breathing anymore.
She looked like a statue made of flesh, sprawled across the bed like a piece of modern art in a museum. She had her wing hidden in whatever hammer space she kept it in but her hair was sprawled around her head like a halo and the utter stillness in her form had never made her look more like an angel.
Izareal sat up slowly, like one of those old vampire movies where Dracula rose from his coffin. “He told you to do what?”
“Sammy’s psychic and dad…” Dean blew out a breath. “Dad was very black and white, psychics got a bit of a pass on that but Sam’s powers were rooted in the demonic and the other kids who were picked by Azazel all went crazy eventually.”
“Angelic,” Izareal snapped. “Azazel was Fallen and all those kids went crazy because he fucked with their brains and then put them down in an arena to fight it out amongst themselves.”
“I didn’t care either way. I’ve never cared either way. I couldn’t hurt Sammy even if I wanted to, it goes against my nature. Hell, I gave up my soul to bring him back to life, I went to Hell for him,” Dean pointed out.
“Are you trying to draw parallels?” Realization bloomed across her face and her head tilted to one side, like Cas had done a few times. “Seriously? Between your brother and Lucifer? I don’t think that most humans would find that flattering by the by.”
Dean rolled his eyes. “I’m drawing a parallel between the two of us. I couldn’t let Sammy stay dead and you couldn’t watch Michael kill your brother. Sammy said you were a star weaver, said that you and Luci were close.”
Izareal giggled. “Gabe calls him the same thing, I think you’d like him.”
“Yeah, well if we can keep your psychotic brother in his Cage then you can take us to go meet him.” Dean promised.
He wandered over to his bed and sorted through his bag. Izareal smiled at him as she stood and wandered into the kitchen.
“Where’s Sammy anyway?” Dean pulled out soap and a towel. He’d never understood how Sammy could stand to use motel room towels, then again Sam hadn’t had a traumatic experience with a roach motel and a rash that would not go away.
“Nightmare, he went for a run.” Izareal pulled open the fridge, made a face, and gestured.
“At least I know the nutritional content and it isn’t covered in grease.”
“Fair enough. Don’t think I didn’t notice you change the subject.” Dean pointed at her.
“Leave it, Dean.” Izareal sighed, drawing her hair up into a high ponytail. “I’ve carried this for a long time, I can carry it a few months more.”
This is Halloween
Izareal had barely set foot in town before the wave of dark, festering magic hit her full in the face. She took a deep breathe to steady herself, pushing past the rot and festering filth to the underlying flavor of the person behind the power.
People, there were two of them, a woman and a man. The taste of their power was similar enough that they had to be either lovers or related. But more importantly she had felt this power before, but where? Where and when?
“Z?” Sam asked as Izareal’s head jerked to one side.
Oh, that’s where she’d felt them before. Salem, when she’d helped kick Samhain down back into the pit that he’d crawled his way out of. This was going to be a bitch to take care of.
Izareal threw her leg over her bike and revved the engine.
“Z, what’s going-”
Izareal took off without a backward glance, arrowing her way towards the source of the horrendous mix of magics. It got worse the closer she got to the brother and sister pair that had fought so hard against her the last time they had met, so desperate to keep their master safe.
She pulled to a stop outside an average looking suburban home. She almost laughed with the irony, the siblings residing inside the home were anything but average, if they were anything like they’d been last time at least. They could have mellowed with age, but the likelihood of that were almost zero.
Izareal got off the bike and walked up to the front door. The feeling of dark magic was coming from under the ground which meant there was a basement but she couldn’t hear any heart beats coming from inside the house or see any souls when she stretched her senses out to encompass the house.
Izareal pushed the door open and strode into the house, kicking it closed behind her. The house was quiet save for her footsteps as she walked around the ground floor, looking for the door to the basement. It didn’t take too long to find it, so much easier than trying to figure out which tree held the warding rune that would collapse the magic shield that witches had favored a few centuries back.
She took the creaky stairs two at a time, jumping over the final few steps and landing on light feet. The basement was dark and smelled like old, cold dirt under the ever present stench of rotting magic. A quick glance around showed a variety of runes staining the floor and an altar in the corner.
The table was old, probably an antique but it didn’t show any sign of ware at all and the cloth on top of it was the exact same cloth that had been on the sibling’s altar the last time she’d dealt with them. And then there was the amulet.
The amulet that was anchoring the whole festering spell. The amulet that had existed for almost as long as Izareal had, in one form or another. It had been a gift from Ariel, given to Eve when the first and third human had to leave the garden, it had sat around Helen of Troy’s throat, Freyja had had it for a few centuries before she’d been killed by a priest, and then the demons had found it.
That was when the amulet had been turned from an item of female power and towards darker purposes. Izareal almost wished that she had the time to strip the darkness from it and bring it back to its original purpose but she didn’t have the power for that. Even if she did she didn’t have the same strength of aspect that Ariel had.
Ariel had been… overwhelming at times, her very presence intoxicating, drawing everyone towards her. She’d had many angels panting after her without even trying and had even turned Michael’s head a time or two. Sex hadn’t really been invented at that point but the urge to please the other woman had been potent.
And the demons and their witches had turned her gift to Eve into a net of darkness that was being used to summon up Samhain. If Izareal ever found the demon responsible for that idea she would gut them and string them up for the crows. A clean kill was too good for that demon.
Izareal strode over to the altar and snatched the amulet off. She felt the alarm spell trigger and she grinned to herself.
She brought her hand up to stare at the black stone sitting in the claws of the raven wrought in gold. It had been a clear, crystal blue, the same blue as Ariel’s eyes when it had sat around Eve’s neck and Helen’s and Freyja’s. Izareal prodded at the spell with her grace.
There was a soul inside the stone, wrapped in the festering magic of the spell. Only the one though, which meant that the siblings hadn’t gotten a chance to cast the second part of the spell. That was good, she wouldn’t have to rip the spell to pieces which would destroy the amulet outright.
Izareal spun and sat in one smooth movement to wait. The witches should be here soon, there was no way they’d leave their altar alone for too long, the spell work was incredibly delicate at this phase, fragile even.
The sister showed up first, because of course she did, she was in love with Samhain after all. Not that Izareal had any room to start pointing fingers, she loved someone far more dangerous and inappropriate.
The witch was wearing a glamour over her natural visage, it was young, barely out of puberty and had golden hair rather than her natural bark brown. Under it she looked to be in her mid forties, just as beautiful as she had been the last time Izareal had seen her but not the drop dead bombshell she’d crafted her glamour to look like.
“You!” The witch snarled, magic gathering around her hand.
“Me.” Izareal stood in one fluid motion, letting the amulet dangle from her fingers.
She’d unraveled most of the magic around the soul and the rest of it would disappear by midnight. It still stank of black magic and rotten power but the sense was less than the witch standing in the doorway.
“You couldn’t leave well enough alone, now could you?” The witch asked.
“I could say the same of you, he’s locked up for a reason, why the Heaven would you think letting him out is a good idea?” Izareal barely finished speaking before there was a curse flying towards her with a witch close on its heels.
She dodged, sidestepping the magic and the witch with ease, letting her blade fall out of her grace and into her hand. She swiped at the witch but the other woman moved faster than a human could usually.
Izareal grinned and lunged after her. Blades crossed and the sound of metal against metal rang through the basement.
The witch tried to push up against her blade and Izareal laughed. Silly little mortal witch, her strength, no matter how much power the demon gave her, was no match for an angel’s. Izareal could barely feel the pressure the witch was trying to put on the blade.
“You shouldn’t have tried to raise him, especially not with Lucifer this close to rising.” Izareal’s smile wasn’t pretty or friendly.
“I’d think you’d be glad he’s rising.”
“I refuse to watch him die.”
“We both know he’ll beat Michael if he tries.”
“We both know Michael is a cold hearted son of a bitch who cares about nothing except orders.”
Izareal knocked away a thrust meant to bury itself in her gut and grabbed the witch’s wrist. She spun them until the witch’s back was to her and plunged her blade into the witch’s chest all the way to the hilt.
There was a scream from behind her, male but overly shrill and she turned to see the brother standing in the doorway. He, at least, wasn’t wearing a glamour but his magic was also ten times worse than his sisters and Izareal could see the marks on his soul that showed that he’d been preparing himself to become Samhain’s vessel.
This was going to be fun.
The Halloween hunt had been incredibly short, almost comically so. They’d barely set foot in the town before Z lost her shit, she’d taken one whiff of the air in town before her eyebrow had started twitching and a snarl had pasted itself across her face. There had been sparks dancing in her eyes.
Sam had had barely enough time to ask what was going on before Z had hiked one leg over the side of her motorcycle and had taken off down the road at a brake neck pace. Dean and Sam watched her go with matching expressions of mild shock.
“What the fuck?” Dean asked no one in particular.
Resignation began creeping up Sam’s spine, Z had had reactions like this in the past. Generally the only times it happened were when there were demons around. Z hated demons, which wasn’t all that surprising given her species and half the times that she’d gone tearing off she’d called him half an hour later to say that whatever hunt they’d come to take care of was done with and they needed to move towns again.
Sam had stopped buying motel rooms after the second time because Z had rushed them out of town so fast that his head had spun. That wasn’t going to be an option this time around though, it was late and the sun was slowly sinking below the horizon. The brothers had driven through the night to find new rooms before and they’d probably end up doing it again before too long but Z had been forcing them to get a full seven hours at least ever since Dean had gotten back.
“Well, lets go get a room.” Sam sighed.
“No, seriously, Sammy, what the fuck?” Dean turned to look at his brother.
“She’ll be back in a few hours, don’t worry about it.” Sam told him.
“She just went tearing off like there were hellhounds on her tail, except she wouldn’t be worried about that because she’s an angel. What the fuck, Sammy?”
Sam took a deep breath. “So you know how I said I got a bit obsessed with Lilith and Z would go off for a few hours to hunt demons.”
“That was her ‘there are a shit ton of demons in town and they are so dead’ face, Dean, she’ll be back in a few hours.” Sam explained.
Dean squinted at him. “Wait, so this happens every time there’s a demon nearby?”
“No, she leaves crossroads demons alone for the most part, says that if adults are stupid enough to sell off their soul its not really the demons fault. They don’t really stay top side all that often apparently, except for their king and Z doesn’t even know where he is.” Sam started walking towards the motel’s office.
Z did show back up a few hours later, smelling like blood and magic and ash. Her eyebrow was twitching as she marched into the motel room, dropping an amulet on the table before stomping into the bathroom.
The shower started running almost immediately after.
“Women of Paris come gather your bloody bouquets,” Z’s voice rose in one clear note as steam crept under the bathroom door, “Now gaze on our Goddess of Justice, with her shimmering, glimmering blade. As she kisses these traitors, she sings them a last serenade! Sing! Swing! Savor the sting as she severs you – Madame Guillotine!”
“Well then,” Dean said.
“Slice! Come, Paradise! You’ll be smitten with, Madame Guillotine!”
“How much do you want to bet it was witches?” Sam examined the amulet with careful eyes, careful not to touch it.
“That’s a sucker bet.” Dean told him.
“It was a pair of witches!” Z yelled over the shower. “I’ve met them before! Fucking little sadistic bitches the both of them! They were trying to raise Samhain!”
“Trying?” Dean called back.
“Well, they’re dead now aren’t they?! Good riddance!” There was a sharp thunk and then the shower turned off almost as abruptly as it had turned on. “They hit me with a Father damned exsanguination curse! Their magic felt like rot and how long have those assholes been alive!?”
Z shoved the bathroom door open, her hair was up in a loose bun and she was wearing a shirt at least three sizes too big for her. It was adorable, especially since she was at least half a foot shorter than Dean.
“Sam, if you touch that amulet I will not be responsible for what happens next.” Z’s eyes snapped to where Sam was peering at the amulet.
“What does it do?” Sam backed up as Z approached.
“It’s the anchor for the first half of the spell they were casting, we need to wait until midnight to destroy it.” Z flopped sideways onto Sam’s bed.
“Why midnight? Why can’t we destroy it now?” Dean moved to the fridge to grab a beer.
“Because, if we destroy it now then the spell will go and find a new vessel and its more likely to latch onto someone living than a piece of wood. And then I’d have to kill one of you and I’d rather not see if I still have the ability to resurrect you.” Z growled into the coverlet.
“Still?” Sam asked.
“Fallen.” Z waved her hand in the air like that explained everything.
Her wing shimmered into existence and she closed her eyes on a yawn. Z rolled onto her stomach and snuggled into her crossed arms. Dean stared at her for a second and then looked at Sam to see if he was concerned about her apparent nonchalonce.
“Wake me up if it starts screaming, if it doesn’t I’ll be up by eleven thirty.” Z mumbled.
“Is she serious?” Dean asked.
“Yeah.” Sam snorted at the look of mild horror on his brother’s face.
Sam thought he would have been used to this by now, he’d gotten over Z’s blase attitude about almost everything by the second week and it had been a month since Dean had been pulled out of Hell. Z could nap, or well, not nap, she was an angel after all, but rest almost anywhere, at any time. Apparently millenia of living by yourself without any constants was boring and Z had admitted to sleeping through the later half of the american witch hunts.
“We have a magical artifact that could start randomly screaming and she’s just going to sleep until it’s time to kill it?” Dean had the disbelieving squinty look plastered across his face.
“Pretty much.” Sam kept his face completely blank as he watched his brother’s face spasm in utter shock.
“You were warned, Izareal.” A deep voice growled and Sam was out of bed with his gun ready faster than his brain could come fully awake.
Castiel was standing in the corner of the room, flanked by a dark skinned man with the same general, stick up his ass baring. Z was standing between them and the two beds in a defensive stance, wing carporial and spread to protect the two brothers.
Dean was awake too, gun aimed at the dark skinned man, angel, whatever.
“You were warned about staying with the Winchester brothers.” Castiel repeated. “Why are you still interfering in Heaven’s plans?”
“No, you popped in, were vaguely creepy and ominus and then flew off again. That’s not a warning that’s a theatrical performance. And who says I’m interfering, I don’t even know what your plans are.” Z snarked.
“I don’t even know why we’re letting the traitor speak for herself.” The other angel said.
“Cas I know but who the fuck are you?” Dean barked, cocking his gun.
“This is Uriel, he’s what you might call a specialist.” Castiel was clearly trying to be diplomatic.
Z snorted in clear amusement. “Don’t try to dress it up, Castiel. He’s a demolitions expert. One who takes far too much pleasure in wiping out human life.”
“You should be silent, traitor, and we might let you live.” Uriel said.
“Demolitions expert.” Dean’s eyes narrowed. “You were going to wipe out the whole Goddamned town!”
“Samhain was one of the seals, we could not risk his rising.” Castiel placated.
“Yeah and Izareal found the witch that was doing it in under ten minutes.” Sam widened his stance ever so slightly. “What was preventing you from doing the same thing?”
“Sam, you’re not being fair.” Z sighed. “I’ve been on earth far longer than they have. I’ve had a longer time to acclimate and deal with magic users as a whole.”
“Not being fair?” Sam sputtered, almost unable to believe his ears. “Not fair? How I’m I the one being unfair when those two came here to kill you? And call you a traitor?”
“Did she tell you how she Fell?” A nasty smile began to spread across Uriel’s face.
“She Fell taking a blade for one of you.” Sam said.
“And do you know who she took that blade for?” Uriel’s face darkened.
Sam stared at him in confusion for a few seconds before Dean spoke up. “Yeah, I know. And I don’t see why it matters either way, who she took that blade for. She’s lost enough as it is, let her be.”
“It figures that you wouldn’t care about her loyalties, given that your brother is the boy with the demon blood.” Uriel sneered.
“Fallen blood.” Izareal corrected, voice sharp enough to cut through steel. “Or did you forget that Azazel was one of us before the Fall.”
“He was never one of mine.” Uriel said
“True, he was more concerned with creating nebulas than killing everything that vaguely displeased him.” Izareal snapped.
“Star Weavers, always so temperamental. At least the ones who stayed have the courtesy to keep their mouths shut.”
Izareal laughed, a sharp bark of a sound that threw her head back. “Oh, like you have any room to talk about temper. I remember you before my Fall, they don’t call you the funniest angel in your garrison because you can deal with criticism.”
Castiel’s brow furrowed in mild confusion as he glanced between the other two angels. Dean rolled his shoulders back as he glared at the two invading men.
“Get out.” He growled.
“Dean-” Castiel started to say.
“No, Cas, you brought this asshole here to destroy an entire town. The threat is already dealt with so get out.” Dean interrupted.
Castiel pulled himself into a more upright stance. “Uriel.”
The other angel scowled and then they were gone. The rustle of their wings the only indication that they’d been there in the first place.
Z relaxed by inches after the other angels left, wing sagging ever so slightly before she tucked it against her back. She turned to face them, relief clear in her eyes as she looked at them.
“Well, that should hold them off for a bit.” She said.
Sam lowered his gun slowly. “For a bit? Z, have they been threatening you?”
“It doesn’t matter, Sam, it’s fine.” Z waved his concern off.
“No, it isn’t.” Dean crossed his arms and looked at her. “How long have they been threatening you?”
“Not long, it’s really fine. They just don’t like that I’m outside of Heaven’s sphere of influence, or Hell’s, for that matter. I’m a wild card and they don’t like that I’m influencing you.” Z turned to walk into the kitchen.
“So it’s our fault that you’re in danger?” There was a sinking sensation in the pit of Sam’s stomach.
“No, Sam, it’s just Heaven being assholes. You don’t need to worry about it, I’ll be perfectly fine.”
“Z, can we please take this seriously, they treatened to kill you for fuck sake.” Sam put the gun down and ran both of his hands through his hair.
“We don’t need to though, they’re not going to kill me.” Z turned back to face him.
“Really, because Cas sounded pretty okay with killing you.” Dean chimed in, face a mask of disbelief.
“Castiel is young, young enough that his first memories are of the War, it’s probably what allowed him to be the one to reach you. He’d probably see my death as a mercy. I can’t fly anymore, I only have one wing and most of my siblings would consider that a fate worse than death. But being young also means he’s less powerful than most of the older angels.” Z explained.
“Is he more powerful than you?” Dean asked.
“What?” Z blinked in confusion.
“You’re talking around the issue, Izzy.” Dean pointed out. “I’ve seen Sammy do it enough times to know when it’s happening.”
“Fine.” Z snapped. “Yes, he’s more powerful than I am but I have tricks up my sleeve that he doesn’t. If it came down to a fight I’d do just fine.”
“But what happens if it isn’t a fair fight?” Sam asked.
“Then I’ll deal with it.”
“No, you won’t, you already gave a wing for one of your siblings and you’ve told us both that you refuse to kill any of them. If they’re trying to kill you, that will be in no way a fair fight.” Dean said.
“It doesn’t matter though! I’m not leaving you two! I’m not letting you two do this alone because it’s my fucking fault that Lucifer is still alive! Because I couldn’t watch his execution! I don’t want anyone else dead!” Z threw her arms up in exasperation.
“But they’ll kill you if you stay!” Sam yelled.
“I don’t care!”
“I do! If we’re a danger to you I don’t want you here! If they’re going to kill you because you’re helping us I don’t want you with us!” Sam bellowed.
Complete and utter silence fell over the room as Z lowered her arms back to her sides. Her hands slowly balled into fists as her face shut down, going dangerously still and blank. Her green eyes dimmed as she swallowed heavily.
“Alright then.” Her voice was void of all emotion as she bowed deeply and sang softly. “So fill to me the parting glass. Goodnight and joy be with you all.”
Then Z snapped her fingers and spun on one heel. She was out the door before Sam could even truly register the words. He rushed to the door as he heard her motorcycle rev and he got there just in time to see her go tearing off down the street. He could feel Dean behind him as he shut the door and banged his head against it.
“Well, we royally fucked that one up didn’t we?”
“Shut up, Dean.”
“You know she’s not going to be coming back this time right?” And now Sam could practically hear the judging eyebrow his brother was giving his back.
“I know, Dean.”
“Yeah, we’re fucked.”
“So you think that it’s funny having them beg you to stop, enjoy watching them suffer do y-”
“The Winchester brothers are idiots!”
Gabriel blinked. The pedophilic piece of shit he was dangling over the hellhound pit blinked. The hellhounds in said pit growled hungrily.
It took Gabriel a moment to realize that, no, he hadn’t been hearing things and yes, that was Izareal behind him. He turned around to face her, a grin stretching across his face in greeting.
“Izzy.” And he could see her wings. Shit, Gabriel hated looking at Izareal’s wings, hated the guilt and sadness that spread through his grace when he was forced to gaze upon them. “What are you doing here, honey bunch?”
“The Winchester brothers are both massive idiots.” Izareal repeated, the fury on her face incandescent as she stalked into the room.
“Oh, and what have they done this time?” Gabriel asked, taking one hand off the piece of shit’s lapel and letting him dangle by one arm.
The piece of shit screamed in terror, clutching at Gabriel’s hand and kicking his feet towards the ledge Gabriel was standing on, trying desperately to get himself onto land that wasn’t full of open air and hell hounds.
“For fucks sake, Gabriel, just drop him.” Izareal huffed.
Gabriel obeyed because he couldn’t tell her no. He’d never been able to tell Izareal no, not after what had happened to her. Not after what he’d helped do to her.
“So, why are the Winchester brothers idiots?” Gabriel asked to the backdrop of high pitched screaming and happy barks.
“Well.” Izareal started. “You know how the Apocalypse is coming up?”
“Yes.” Gabriel said.
And, yeah, he knew the Apocalypse was coming, it wasn’t like anyone with the senses and two brain cells to rub together couldn’t see it. He’d been trying to avoid thinking about it, trying to bury that knowledge under his normal persona but at this point most of the essential seals were broken and all Lilith had to do was sit pretty in the church.
“And the Winchesters are the vessels.” Gabriel blinked at her in mild shock. “Oh, don’t look at me like that, it took ten seconds of just looking at Sam’s soul for me to realize who he was. It’s not like it’s a well guarded secret.”
“I don’t think you’re supposed to point it out though.”
“You already know, it doesn’t matter, don’t think I didn’t notice that little time loop you threw up in an attempt to get Sam’s more violent tendencies handled.” Izareal quirked an eyebrow at him and Gabriel tried not to squirm under her gaze.
“Point.” He admitted.
“I’ve been trying to keep Sam on the straight and narrow because if he doesn’t end up drinking demon blood, maybe, just maybe we can prevent this show from going on tour or at least minimize the damage.”
Gabriel had honestly forgotten that Izareal didn’t want Lucifer to get out of his cage. She loved him, she loved him more than Gabriel did, more than the other Star Weavers had. And while she wanted him back, wanted him in her mind again, wanted him free again, she didn’t want that at the cost of his life and if he escaped the cage Michael would kill him.
“And then, of course, Heaven started to notice and the others decided that I needed to be eliminated.” That was news to Gabriel.
“They wanted to what?” He asked, all six of his wings fanning out in fury.
“Oh, put those away, it’s not as if you’re impressing anyone.” Izareal waved away his protective rage with one hand.
Gabriel sputtered. “It’s not about impressing anyone, Izzy, you just told me our siblings threatened to kill you.”
“It’s not like this is the first time one of us has come close to dying.” Izareal deadpanned.
“Really?” Gabriel raised one eyebrow.
Gabriel opened his mouth to protest and then shut it with a gentle click of teeth. “Point.”
Sparta had not been a good idea, for either of them. Eros, aka Cupid, had not been pleased to see two of his mother’s siblings hanging out in what had been one of the central areas of her influence. The ensuing fight had ended with Gabriel fleeing across the Mediteranean Sea, dragging Izareal along behind him while Eros followed them as fast as his single set of wings would carry him.
“Anyway, Sam took offence at their empty threats-” Empty threats his ass, if Heaven hadn’t been serious he’d go back to being Daddy’s little erand boy without complaint, “- and decided that if I was in danger by being with them then I couldn’t stay with them while they sorted out the whole Apocalypse mess that our stupid siblings started.”
“So they did start it then?” Gabriel asked.
“Of course they started it, why the fuck wouldn’t they?” Izareal had started pacing. “Father left the building shortly after he sired that demigod and honestly I can’t blame him because some of the shit I’ve heard from Heaven is actually happening, our family’s gone to shit!”
“Our family already went to shit,” Gabriel pointed out.
“More to shit then.” Izareal waved it off with one hand, wing fluttering furiously. “Sometimes I wish Lucifer was out here so I could punch him in his stupid face or that Michael was down here so I kick his shins in. The two of them were so fucking stupid.”
“I’d rather not get vaporized on the spot, thanks. At least with those two I’d have a chance to survive it.” Izareal paused to glare at him before continuing her loop.
“Not with Mikey you wouldn’t.” Gabriel told her.
“If I’m that close to Michael I’m dying either way, might as well go out with a bang before the geonside of an entire planet,” Izareal snapped.
“Michael wants to bring Paradise-”
“Michael wants to wipe the slate clean and wait for Daddy to come fix his problems for him.” Izareal started humming under her breath.
Gabriel whistled to himself as he watched Izareal hum and move. He recognized the tune, it was an old folk song and familiar enough that he could hear the words in every note. She was really upset if she was humming that song, one of the witches she’d tutored had introduced her to it, one of the ones who’d been burned to death.
“It is a bit like leaving a toddler alone in a department store isn’t it?” Gabriel took a step forward to lay his hand on Izareal’s shoulder.
She stilled almost instantly, going completely motionless in that way only angels could. He hadn’t seen her do that in over a millenia, habit and necessity had trained them both to blend in. They’d almost always been that little bit more than humans but they’d mostly managed to keep themselves close enough to pass.
“Hey, it’s going to be alright, there are still 50 seals left before Lilith can even consider dying. Ten of those are time sensitive and necessary if they want Lucifer out without crippling him.” Gabriel tried to sooth.
“Those ten are easy and can be done almost anywhere, there’s no way that we can cover all the locations where those rituals can take place.” Izareal’s voice was slightly strained.
“No, we can’t, but it gives us a time frame to find Lilith. If we kill her now the Cage won’t open.” Gabriel said.
And then he had an arm full of little sister, her wing wrapping around him in a hug. Gabriel smiled as he wrapped his own sets over her own in a more defined sign of protection. If no one ever hurt Izareal again it would be too soon, she’d already lost a wing and a segment of her grace she didn’t deserve to feel anymore pain.
Messages to an Angel
“Hey, Izzy, I’m sorry about Sammy. I’ll talk to him about it, okay. I know that he can be an idiot sometimes but give him a chance to apologize, yeah.” Dean sighed heavily. “We’ve got a new hunt lined up, a bunch of really weird shit happening a couple of towns over. Call us when you get the chance? I’m gonna start to get worried if we don’t hear from you.”
Izareal put the phone down and rubbed her hands across her face. She’d calmed down by now and she knew that Sam hadn’t really meant what he’d said. He’d been angry and shaken by the fact that Heaven was trying to kill her.
Izareal took a deep breath and got to her feet, there was no time to contemplate that right now, she needed to get back to her search.
“Hey, um, hey, Z, I fucked up, I know I fucked up and I’m sorry, I’m really really sorry. You don’t need to come back, you don’t even need to come back. I just… I want you to know I’m sorry, so, so sorry.” Sam sounded vaguely drunk, or sick, or something. “And, maybe, maybe let me know that you’re not dead, that they didn’t… that they didn’t.”
Izareal sighed, staring at the screen as the message cut off. She wasn’t angry anymore, she didn’t think she could be, not at Sam, not long term. He was too bright for that, too well meaning and too pure of heart.
But it still hurt, the words branded into her.
She’d told herself that she’d stay with Sam until he told her to leave and he had. She had other things to do, things that she couldn’t carry out while looking over her shoulder for Castiel or one of her other siblings.
Seal were breaking, one at a time and quickly enough that it was clear Heaven wasn’t even fucking trying to stop them from breaking.
“Um, so, Z,” Sam started to say before snorting in amusement. “We may, may have found a psychic that, uh, well, he’s writing stories about our lives.”
“It’s not funny, Sammy!” Dean yelled from the background.
“Yes, it is!” Sam wheezed like something had just hit him in the diaphragm. “We have a fan base! You have fangirls!”
Izareal opened her mouth, closed it, opened it again and then broke down into clear, bell-like laughter.
Gabriel found her a few minutes later, bent over her phone with tears in her eyes, wing fluttering behind her in pure glee as she flipped through fan forms. They were glorious, the complete and utter wealth of nerd rage and ecstasy enough to cheer her up.
They’d been to a church earlier that day to stop a seal from breaking. It had been nasty, an awful ritual that had required the deaths of fifteen virgins and because demons were warped fuckers some of those girls had been less than thirteen years old.
Gabriel watched her for a few seconds before demanding to find out what was so hilarious. His reaction to the books that had been published was to immediately finance the rest of the author’s work and troll the fan sites for mentions of Izareal.
“Dear Dad, this is adorable,” Gabriel exclaimed at one point before reading out the quotes he’d found, “‘Izareal is the best OMG, I love her soooo much and if you try to bad mother her I will cut you’, ‘She isn’t a Mary Sue you fucker, she’s deep and her story is tragic’, and wow, okay this one’s a bit creepy ‘I want to wrap sam and Izzy in cotton wool and keep them safe’. I think you might need to put a restraining order on some of these people.”
“They think I’m a fictional character,” Izareal protested.
“Wait till they find out about Lucy, it’ll give your story extra pathos,” Gabriel posed with his hand clenched in front of his chest and his eyes staring off into the distance.
Izareal threw a pen at him.
“Hey, Z, we found Lilith, we found out that she’s going to break the final seal tonight.” Dean paused and took a deep breath. “Sammy’s trying to keep calm but the demon we got the information off of… Well, she said some shit I’m not going to repeat. Seeing you again might do him some good, hell, it might do me some good, so after this is over can we all sit down and have a meal or something? Just… If you don’t want to you need to know that I’m really fucking thankful for what you did for Sam. Wish us luck.”