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.
Here’s the thing about inevitability, the thing that always trips people up, sending them head first into a cascade of cause and effect that they had no hope of breaking: you didn’t realize that something is inevitable until you were in the middle of it.
Izareal hadn’t been prayed to in years, not since the last of the students she’d taught magic to had died at the hands of the Salem mob, since she hadn’t been able to save one of her own. It had been rare for people, even when she had had people who knew her true name, to call on her but there was no way any angel could forget the sensation.
Prayer was a very distinctive feeling, some angels even called it uncomfortable but Izareal had never seen it that way. It was strange and powerful but it connected her more fully with those she had taken to guard in a way not unlike the press of grace against grace that she hadn’t truly felt since before the Fall.
The guardian angels that had been on Earth had given her a wide berth after all and Gabriel was incredibly hesitant to even interact with her on a human level, let alone an angelic one. It was disappointing and a bit disheartening but Izareal could understand trauma, could understand needing space and limits so she left well enough alone.
It had been centuries since Izareal had felt a prayer, heard words tracing themselves across her grace and feelings not her own pressing up against it but she would never be able to forget the feel of it. Dean’s soul was stronger than most, even with Hell casting part of it in shadow his prayer hit her harder than any other ever had.
“Izareal!” Her name, like a shout in an empty room, rang through her mind wrapped in protective rage and the bitter tang of fear.
The sound of desperation in his voice would have been enough to startle her out of a dead sleep if she had been inclined to sleep. Gabriel slept regularly, though Gabriel had always been much more of a hedonist than she was.
Izareal pulled over and turned off her bike, listening for the rest of Dean’s panicky message. She didn’t need to wait all that long.
“We fucked up! Lilith wasn’t breaking the final seal, she was the final seal!”
Izareal cursed under her breath and restarted her bike with a flick of her mind. She was close to the church where Lucifer would rise, she’d thought she had more time, that they all had more time. But now Lilith was dead and she had only a handful of minutes before Lucifer rose once more.
Izareal shook her head and flexed her grace. She couldn’t fly, that was true, she hadn’t been able to fly for millennia but over the years she had found ways to get around that inability. The internal combustion engine had just made those easier.
Traveling at the speed of sound along a country road toward a church where the devil was rising probably wasn’t the best idea Izareal had ever had but Sam and Dean were in danger. Izareal wasn’t going to let those two die because they’d tried to stop the apocalypse before it could get a foot in the door.
She probably should have told them Lilith was the final seal but she’d been so busy the past couple of months that she hadn’t had the time. Or, rather she had but talking to Sam after giving him the silent treatment for so long would have been beyond heart breaking.
Izareal reached out, touching the piece of grace that Gabriel had attached to her, the part he didn’t know she knew about and opened up a mind link. It hurt a bit, the stretch as old pathways were forced open enough to send thoughts, she hadn’t opened a mind link since Ariel had been dragged back to Heaven. She hadn’t had one opened up with her since God’s son had gone on his campaign to save the innocents from Hell.
‘Izareal!’ Gabriel’s voice hurt, it was too loud, too much, too there but she pushed that aside.
‘His coming, Gabriel, Lilith is dead.’ Izareal cried down the link before abruptly severing it.
Hopefully that would be enough warning for him to hide his trail and bunker down. Gabriel didn’t want to fight or pick sides and he had enough power to make hiding work, to make running a viable option. No one had realized he was on earth in the past however many thousand years it had been since the War and Izareal wanted to keep it that way.
Time had always been her enemy no matter its length or the point of reference she gave it. Too short a time with Lucifer, too long a time on her own, the War that had stretched on and on, drawing seconds into minutes and minutes into hours. The only moment where time had been even vaguely on her side had been in the second before Michael’s blade fell and she’d fought every millisecond to get between that blade and Lucifer’s kneeling form.
However, even though time was Izareal’s enemy she was still an angel and, while she couldn’t rewind time like a watch or pause it like a video, she could stretch it like taffy, pull it out until it was ready to snap, and drive her motorcycle through the space between seconds.
She reached the church in less than a hundredth of a second, diving off of the bike and rolling up onto her feet. Her grace kept it from carreaning into anything but Izareal wasn’t focused on that, couldn’t pay it any mind since she was fighting time itself.
She could feel it now that she was closer, the final seal to the Cage cracking under the demon blood spilled in its name. It was… it didn’t feel like she’d thought it would, a wash of darkness and rot poking tendrils up through to the open air in an attempt to coacse itself back into a semblance of life.
Lucifer had been in the Cage for a long, long time and his Legion had lost their angelic status almost as soon as they’d stepped foot in Hell. Angels weren’t built for solitude, weren’t built for the aching maw of loneliness that separation from the Host caused. There was no telling what had happened to the Morningstar while he’d been locked in the Pit.
Izareal hadn’t touched another angel’s grace in centuries, Gabriel was the only one she talked to with any regularity but she’d had Humanity to keep her company. They were close enough to angelic company that she’d learned to cope but Lucifer had had no one and nothing but thoughts of his revenge.
She couldn’t move as fast when she was on her own two feet rather than a bike and she could feel the seconds grind by, ticking down. 66 seconds, that was how long the final seal would take to break in full, Lilith may have been the key but the lock was old and operated on rules far older than earth itself.
Magic had rules, especially Enochian magic of the caliber the Cage used. Trapping an Archangel was no laughing matter and no easy feet, even if God had been the one to impose the punishment.
It could be done, it wasn’t easy and making sure the method wasn’t permanent was half of the battle. The rules had to be bent to the point of nearly snapping and no further or the results were… well, Pompie hadn’t just been a natural disaster.
Izareal reached the end of the hall and slipped between the double doors before the grace dampening field could snap shut. Then she let go of the time she’d been fighting so viciously.
“Dean! Sam! You need to get out of here!” She yelled.
The brother’s turned from where they’d been staring at the blood circle crawling it’s way across the floor. Sam looked shaky, like he’d been going for three days at full bore already and was only upright through a combination of black coffee and pure, bloody minded stubbornness. Dean just looked grim, like he’d accepted their fate already.
“Z, get Sammy out of here! I’ll try to hold him off!” He barked and she knew he was enough like her to sacrifice his soul to Hell but really now.
“No! Luci’s gonna come out of there bum fuck naked! You’ll be vaporized!” Izareal grabbed them both and tried to pull them toward the door.
She could feel the beginnings of the Cage opening, deep beneath their feet, the swirl of Lucifer’s power coming up to meet the primordial magic of the last seal. The light was starting to shine through to the surface, becoming visible to the human eye.
“Shit.” Izareal breathed.
The doors banged shut behind her, the grace ward engaging at the same time. It was a laughable precaution, one that would do fuck all against Lucifer in all his glory but it would definitely keep any angel weeker than an Archangel in the line of fire for his rage. And it left the two helpless human’s futally banging against the door.
Izareal’s eyes fell closed and her head tilted back so that she was facing the ceiling. They were trapped, stuck like a couple of flies under a glass, no way out and a dwindling supply of oxygen. She couldn’t even use her grace to save the boys from their fate, at least Lucifer wouldn’t try to kill Sam.
“DON’T LOOK!” Izareal roared, her True Voice buzzing at the edges of her mortal one as she pulled her wing into the mortal plane.
Lucifer wasn’t there yet, not in truth or in full. The pillar of light that was currently expanding inside the circle was the grace equivalent of someone reaching out a hand to pull themselves up. The light was low enough that it couldn’t be burning the boys’ eyes quite yet but they would be blinded if she didn’t get them under her wing and fast.
Izareal tried to get them shielded, to block out the tidal wave of grace that was only just beginning to erupt from the hole. She understood why the grace ward had been implemented now, Lucifer was going to get out of that Cage whether the angels liked it or not but they could prevent the surrounding area from getting flattened.
Whoever had made the ward had made it weakest at its peak, which wouldn’t make much sense unless you were trying to direct an explosive blast of power. It looked like there were still angels out there who’s minds weren’t filled with blood or scarred from the War. She hoped that they were high enough in Heaven’s ranks to talk some Father be damned sense into Michael.
If Izareal had both her wings this would be easier, she would hide one brother under each wing, cocoon them all in a wall of feathers. But she didn’t have both her wings, she’d given that up and while she would never regret saving Lucifer’s life she was cursing the fact that this room was so small.
There was cold at her back, a freezing, muscle seizing cold that she knew all too well. Lucifer’s grace pressed against her back and she didn’t dare turn to face him, to see what the look on his face would be.
Izareal didn’t want to know whether he’d welcome her back to him with open arms or curse her name for not joining him in the War. Yes, she had saved his life but look at where that had gotten him.
She took a deep breath in, one she didn’t need but it might be the last not tinged with that frostbite inducing grace, and held it. She waited as Lucifer’s grace finally emerged enough for him to get a good look at his surroundings
There was a pause, the progress of his assent stuttering for barely a millisecond. What could make him pause? What had Lucifer so shocked that he fumbled his great escape?
And then the grace was pressing in, less of it and less intense but the burn of the chill across her own was almost excruciating in nature. It wasn’t a bad pain though, it was the stretch of muscles being used once more after they’d been too long dormant and that fact that Lucifer could show any delicacy at all after so long in the Pit was a miracle in and of itself.
‘Izareal.’ Her name breathed like a prayer through the rudimentary link. ‘You’re alive.’
And, oh, of course he wouldn’t have known. Of course he couldn’t have known. Lucifer had been cast into the Cage right after her own Fall, his last sight of her had been when she had stepped in front of Michael’s blade.
Lucifer had thought she’d given her life for his, if not in truth then in practice when her own grace bled out. Enough of his troops had sustained grace wounds that he had to know what they looked like, how they acted and how agonizing the demise would be.
Sam made a sound of pure awe and Izareal held back a curse because she’d told him not to fucking look. Then his face is pressed directly into her wing, probably trying to chase the spots from his vision. She hadn’t turned, hadn’t looked at Lucifer but she didn’t think he would be any less beautiful than he was the last time she’d seen him.
A sighted human gazing upon an Archangel in their True Form with no filter, not even the filter of a vessel had to be a sight to see. She could feel her feathers dampening a touch where Sam had buried his face.
It was starting to get loud, the squealing of ancient hinges moving for the first time ringing out in the enclosed space of the church. The grind of grace on grace and the small sounds Lucifer was making as he tried to squeeze out of the tiny hole in the side of his Cage were worse.
If Izareal didn’t get the boys out of there soon there was going to be some sort of permanent hearing loss but there was no way out. All she could do was sit there and try to save their eyesight, praying that Lucifer didn’t move wrong and obliterate them all in one foul swoop.
They were trapped, they were all dead and Izareal was trying her hardest not to reach back along the grace link Lucifer had opened between them. It was tempting, oh so tempting to just reach out to him and let him handle everything.
She was tired, a bone deep weariness that was sunk deep into her grace. She’d been alone for so long, been the most powerful thing for so long, the protector of all she held dear that the offer of a Choir, to join Lucifer again, even if it was just the two of them was too tempting for words.
And then they were on a plane.
Lucifer loved his siblings, loved them with every inch of his being. He loved them all, no matter the age or how long he’d known them.
But, he loved his Star Weavers most of all.
It was a different love than the kind he held for Michael or Gabriel or Raphael or any of his younger siblings. It was more intense, more present, more… more. They were his, undeniably and completely.
And of those Star Weavers, of those angels that had joined him in decorating the cosmos, in crafting fire and light and beauty from balls of gas and ash, Izareal had always been special.
She’d been more, even more than the other Star Weavers.
Lucifer didn’t know why, he never knew why with these things but it had started in the Beginning. He’d plucked her out of a choir, picked her because he’d seen the fire in her eyes and her grace, the talent at her wing tips, the desire to be more that sat at the very heart of her being.
Izareal had been one of the first to make a binary star, clear evidence that she was meant for the work Lucifer had picked her for. She hadn’t been the first but it had been her first star.
Lucifer had been a bit wary at that revelation, she wasn’t powerful, she hadn’t been of a higher rank than any of the other Star Weavers but she caught his attention, grabbed it and held it. He didn’t know why, only Ariel had pulled such from him before but Ariel had that effect on everyone, even Michael.
Izareal seemed to only affect him.
Then there had been the… disagreement with his brother, with God, with everyone and he had asked his Star Weavers to stand with him. Asked, not demanded, because he wasn’t them and would never be them. Most of them had followed him, most of them.
Some of them hadn’t, some of them had stayed with Michael. It had hurt, a sharp pain that hadn’t settled at all with time but he could understand their reluctance, hadn’t begrudged them the choice. His Star Weavers were few in number and Michael was a formidable enemy.
Only Izareal had stepped away, stepped aside, stepped back. She’d refused to choose a side, had set herself apart with her head held high and balanced the line between Heaven and Hell with an ease that Lucifer envied.
And then there was the Garden.
Lucifer knew that had been a mistake now that he looked back on it. He hadn’t meant for Gadreel to take the fall and he hadn’t meant to cause a war between his siblings.
Hadn’t meant for Death to come, for War to descend on the Host, on his Family.
He didn’t see Izareal during the War, just like he didn’t see Gabriel during the war. He assumed she was dead, assumed Gabriel was dead, assumed the reason they weren’t there was because they couldn’t be, that they no longer existed.
Lucifer’s side had lost because of course they had.
Michael had God on his side, he was the righteous son. Even though sound military tactics said taking a smaller, gorilla force up against a larger, more well equiped one in a fair fight was suicide. A fact that Lucifer had only learned when Humanity had invented military tactics several centuries later.
So, after Lucifer’s Legion had been kicked out of Heaven and was sealed into Hell he had been the only one kneeling at the edge of Heaven, right where the planes met. He had stared up into Michael’s face, wreathed by the newly created pearly gates.
Lucifer had looked into those cold, dead, sharp eyes that gazed down at him with something that resembled hate and refused to bow his head. He’d been the only one offered a second chance, an insult to those who had followed him, to the loyalty that they had given him.
Why was he different? How was he worth “saving” when he had been the one to initiate it? When he had been the one to lead them down the pretty path to their own doom.
When he had refused Michael had raised his blade, a blade that would kill anyone and anything besides God, being the oldest blade in existence, the first ever crafted. He’d raised it above his head and, as he brought it down, Lucifer had kept his eyes open.
Lucifer had refused to close his eyes on his death, refused to blink or look away, refused to admit defeat at his brother’s feet. It was the only reason he’d seen her…
Izareal coming out of nowhere and everywhere at once, diving between them, wing outstretched before her as if it could shield them both. He’d watched the blade cut through her wing like a knife through butter, severing it at the joint.
And then she’d fallen, down, down toward Earth, the severed wing falling after her, Raphael screaming as he dove to try and save her.
That was when Lucifer’s Father had finally decided to intervene.
After that Lucifer had thought her truly dead. Who could survive a wound to their grace so extensive as to lose a wing?
Lucifer had seen grace wounds on the battlefield, in his own troops and the troops of Heaven. They were never a long term injury, never something that could fester for a few days or even hours before the victim succumbed to nothingness. Raphael had healed those he could with grace wounds, fast and efficient, cauterizing what injuries he could but the angels who had sustained them were still left weak and diminished.
But, oh miracle of miracles, after centuries upon millennia and millennium more, years locked in the dark, in the cold of the Cage he emerged to the sight of his Vessel and Michael’s Vessel in the room where his Cage opened.
Michael’s Vessel who was trying to shield Sam Winchester, Boy King, His Vessel, the only thing his Father had ever made for him, had ever gifted him. And, oh, wasn’t his Vessel’s brother a good brother, better than Michael ever would be, protection written across every segment of his soul.
And there, there was Izareal.
One wing because she only had one wing left, the other sacrificed for his safety, for his life, stretched out in front of the two brothers in an attempt to shield them from him. An attempt to protect them from the light that his grace was throwing off.
She was smaller than before, diminished by the damage that had been done to her when she’d saved Lucifer but she was no less captivating. Her grace still shown as brightly as it ever had.
He reached out as carefully as possible, Izareal had always been sensitive to the fluctuations in grace that were common in Choirs. They, all of them, had learned how to modulate those waves after a few years to protect her. She might have only had that pulling effect on him but she was still their sister and they all loved her.
‘Izareal,’ he breathed, unable to hold back the awe he was feeling deep in the heart of his grace, ‘you’re alive.’
Izareal didn’t reply but Lucifer hadn’t really expected her to. She was too focused on the Vessels and trying to find an escape, trying to save them from burning up under the touch of Lucifer’s grace to be able to talk to him in truth.
And even if she was able to Lucifer didn’t know why she’d want to, he was the reason she’d lost her wing after all, even if she’d done so voluntarily. He couldn’t imagine what it was like, living with one wing, half crippled without a Choir to soften the blow.
And she was truly Choirless, he couldn’t feel any other imprint on her grace, no one else had touched her in years, decades, maybe centuries. Rage filled him at that thought, anger that he kept carefully cordoned off in a part of himself that wasn’t touching Izareal, she didn’t need to feel that.
But how dare their fellow angels leave Izareal to suffer alone, to suffer in silence with no one to keep her company but Humanity in all it’s dubious glory. How dare they not welcome her back with open arms when she had done nothing but refuse to fight, refuse to participate in killing her own siblings.
Izareal was, quite possibly, the only angel without a single drop of grace on her hands. The only angel who had never taken another’s life. Could they not see how significant that was? How untainted that left her?
Michael was a fool if he decided that throwing someone like Izareal away was ever an option.
Lucifer reached out to test the confines of the room around him. He didn’t want to go back into the Cage but if he stayed half in and half out of it like he was there was a risk of it closing around him and severing a portion of his grace. That was not an option.
The rage grew to new heights when he realized that not only had there been a ward placed on the church to try and keep him in but that ward was designed to keep everything in the church in with him. The Vessels and Izareal were like flies trapped in a bell jar, one way in and no way out.
Izareal wasn’t an Archangel, she wouldn’t have been able to break through the wards even if she’d tried to do so and the only weak point was directly over his head. Izareal couldn’t fly and while Lucifer admired the courage on the angel who had clearly tried to redirect the force of his exit from the Cage up rather than out he snarled at the fact that they hadn’t thought of what would happen if the Vessels were trapped inside the blast radius.
And then Gabriel was there.
Gabriel, who he’d thought dead, lost along with Izareal in the War, targeted by Michael for his defiance. He was alive and while he felt different he was still the same six winged menace that he’d always been.
Lucifer snarled at him, redirected his grace to shield Izareal and the Vessels from his brother. They were his, even Dean who should by all rights belong to Michael but was too good to belong to that dick, and he would not let Gabriel swoop in to drag them up into Heaven.
‘Luci, if you don’t let me get them out of there they’re going to die! Izareal doesn’t deserve that after the shit she’s been through!’ Gabriel snapped, grace grating against his own, the terror coursing through him enough to make Lucifer pause.
‘You’ve been keeping track of her,’ Lucifer realized.
‘Of course I have, I wasn’t able to save her from exile but I’ve at least tried to keep her alive!’ Gabriel yelled.
Lucifer slowly peeled back his grace and the other three beings were gone in an instant. Gabriel had always been a fast little thing, capable of running around to do multiple things almost at once.
Lucifer sighed at the loss of Izareal’s grace before he finally let himself stretch his arms above his head and break through the top of the ward. He was gone in a flash, slipping into the place between planes so that he could search out a temporary Vessel, someone who wouldn’t be sorely missed.
It wasn’t all that hard, even with the little murder campaign Azazel had gone on in an attept to find Lucifer’s true Vessel. Humanity, apparently, bred like rabbits, at least two children per household in most places which lead to rampant spreading of certain genetic lines if you knew what to look for.
Nick was the closest match he could find on such short notice, a man who had lost both his wife and newly born daughter. He had something wrong with his mind, some sort of chemical imbalance that drove home the innumerable flaws in Lucifer’s Father’s design.
If your own mind was the enemy why would you have to suffer through any other hardship. It seemed counter productive for the human mind to be constructed in a fashion where it could sabotage itself.
Persuading Nick to help him didn’t actually take much doing, he barely even had to offer the possibility before the man was practically screaming his consent. What kind of life had the man lived that he would offer himself up to an unknown entity so easily?
“What will you do with me when you take my body?” That was the only question he’d asked, the only thing that seemed to matter to him.
Lucifer had answered truthfully, there was no reason to lie. Then again, Lucifer had never seen a reason to lie most of the time.
He’d send Nick to Heaven, to be with his wife, not their daughter though, their daughter had been too young a soul to stay in Heaven and would have been ushered back into the cycle of rebirth. Lucifer had promised to keep track of her when Nick had asked, an easy thing to do, it wouldn’t take any real thought and barely any power.
Lucifer slipped under Nick’s skin with half a thought, the fit of his form ever so slightly off but not as uncomfortable as he thought it would be. He took a few moment’s to settle, flexing every muscle in Nick’s form one after the other before carefully severing the connection Nick’s soul had to the body.
The reaper swooped in to grab the soul and carry it up to Heaven. Lucifer watched them go with some interest before he closed his eyes and cast his senses out around him.
He wanted to have a talk with Gabriel and Izareal but that would have to wait for a bit. First he needed to find out where exactly his Vessel, his Sam was, and if he was safe, if he and his brother had been damaged by the abrupt transport away from the church.
Gabriel was a gentle soul for the most part and wouldn’t have intentionally hurt them but there had been three of them and two people were hard enough to carry without the addition of a half crippled angel.
Lucifer found Sam fast enough, the connection between them, the tie soul to soul that made them Angel and Vessel allowing Lucifer a glimpse at where the human was and who he was with. He was in the air, on what humans called an airplane with Izareal on one side and Dean on the other. Gabriel was standing in the isle next to them, grace fluttering with nerves.
Lucifer brushed up against his brother as gently as he could, just wanting to feel the press of someone else’s grace against his own. Gabriel went deathly still but let him and didn’t try to run away.
‘We need to talk, brother,’ Lucifer said.
‘About what?’ Gabriel sounded scared, Gabriel shouldn’t be scared.
Lucifer cooed and tried to pull his grace into a soothing shape but it had been too long since he’d tried and he was pretty sure he wasn’t doing it right. Gabriel didn’t seem to mind though, relaxing ever so slightly into the touch.
‘About Izareal, about why she’s still on Earth, about why she doesn’t have a Choir to call her own. And how you managed to remain undetected for so long, brother,’ Lucifer told him.
GAbriel paused for a handful of seconds. ‘Tomorrow, six hours from now, here.’
Lucifer took the image of a cottage in the middle of nowhere that Gabriel showed him, amused that GAbriel was trying to protect the humans by meeting him far away from any settlement. He let the connection between their grace drop and then folded his legs under him in something Nick’s memories insisted was a pretzel and settled in to wait.
When in Doubt, Panic
“We are fucked,” Z was pacing back and forth across the motel room. “We are so thoroughly utterly fucked. Why are our lives like this? Why did this have to fucking happen?”
“Because Daddy dearest is a dick and couldn’t think of a better solution than tossing Luci in a cage for a few millenia when the option Micky wants to go for is the death penalty. Out of sight out of mind and then he fucked off when the rest of use devolved into little toy soldiers,” the Trickster said from where he was sprawled across Dean’s bed.
“Okay, first of all, why the fuck is the Trickster here?” Dean growled.
Z whirled on the Trickster and gave him a look that should have turned the demigod to ash where he lay. The Trickster just raised his arms as if telling her not to shoot him.
“It’s not like I’m the one who decided to hang around the Vessels when Heaven had a death sentence handing over my head. That was you, sweetheart.” The Trickster gestured vaguely at her.
Z huffed at him and turned to gesture at the Trickster. “Sam, Dean, meet my most irritating older brother and one of the few people I know doesn’t actually want me dead, Gabriel, yes that Gabriel.”
Sam’s jaw hit the floor as he stared at the blonde asshole of a pagan god that had spent an amazing amount of power keeping Sam in a waking nightmare for six months and over a hundred tuesdays. He vaguely knew what Gabriel had been trying to do back then now that he had lived through Dean’s actual death and Z had knocked some sense into him.
The Trickster/Archangel had been going at it in a completely counterintuitive, backwards, and absurd way but Sam could understand it now that he had some distance. And in all honesty the whole, trickster gig was beginning to make a lot more sense now that he knew who Gabriel actually was ‘Angel of Judgement’ indeed.
“What do you mean one of the few, there are at least ten of us.” Gabriel protested.
“Really? Name them.” Z crossed her arms over her chest and glared at the Archangel.
“Me, those two chuckle heads, their adopted father figure, Luci-” Gabriel started ticking names off on his fingers.
“Lucifer just got released from a Cage he’s been locked in for millenia, he doesn’t count. And how do you know he doesn’t want me dead, I’m the reason he was in that fucking Cage in the first place,” Z interupted.
“You saved his life.” Gabriel pointed out, gently like he was trying to tiptoe around something.
“And how much is that worth when we both know what isolation does with us?” Z asked.
“What are you talking abou-” Sam stopped mid sentence as the realization hit. “That’s how you lost your wing. He’s the one you took the blade for.”
“If it was on the battlefield I would have left it alone but an execution,” Z scoffed, “fuck that. Not kneeling in front of the gates after Micheal offered him an out none of the other Weavers got. Not for our eldest brother’s pride.”
“Mickey offered him a chance to repent?” Gabriel asked.
Z rolled her eyes and flopped down into a metal chair which almost immediately shifted into a far more comfortable configuration. “Stop fucking with the furniture and of course he did. Michael was always psychotically attached to Lucifer, you know this, I know this, everyone fuckinh knows this. And he’s an idiot who never bothered to try and understand how attached Lucifer was to all of us. Father interfered after I Fell, not before.”
“Be that as it may,” Gabriel said, “you still saved his life, still gave up a wing for him. That is a debt he can’t ignore, no matter how you look at it. And he doesn’t want you dead because he’s currently pissed off at the fact that Micheal didn’t let you back into Heaven and you spent most of your time down here by yourself.”
Z went still the only sign of any emotion was a slow, carefully considered blink.
“What?” She asked, voice barely louder than a whisper. “When did you have time to talk to him?”
“On the plane after I rescued you. He was trying to track Sam, I think, and found me-” Gabriel started to explain.
“He can track me!” Sam squawked.
“You’re his Vessel, Samalam, of course he can track you.” Gabriel waved off the younger Winchester’s concern without much thought.
“Wait, Lucifer’s meant to wear Sammy around like a meat suit?” Dean edged closer to Sam as he spoke.
“You didn’t tell them?” GAbriel glared at Z.
“It wasn’t exactly relevant until now!” Z snapped before turning to the two brothers. “You two are meant to be our idiot eldest brothers’ Vessels, that’s why Heaven’s so interested in you two, other than Dean being the Righteous Man.”
“And the Fallen blood, don’t forget that,” Gabriel said.
“Thank you for pointing out the obvious, Gabriel, you are ever so helpful,” Z snarked. “Back to the fucking point, Lucifer talked to you?”
“Like I was saying.” Gabriel waved his hand above his head. “He found me on the plane and was practically fuming over the fact you didn’t have a Choir.”
“The fuck would he care?” Z asked.
She looked confused, so confused that Sam almost felt sorry for her. He already felt sorry for her actually, she’d been trying to prevent this exact moment from happening. He couldn’t imagine watching his family tear itself apart at the seams not once, but twice. Sure Dean and Dad had had a few fights over the years but they’d never actually tried to kill each other.
“Izzy, he’s always cared about you.” Gabriel sounded vaguely like he was talking to a small child. “More than the rest of the Star Weavers, even. And even if he didn’t, you and I were the only ones who stepped aside when the fighting started. You far more obviously than me, I pretended to be dead. How could he not pay attention to you after that? And you saved his life, Izzy.”
“I doomed him to the Cage!” Z yelled.
“No, no, Dad did that.” Gabriel stood up from where he was sitting and crossed his arms. “You lost a wing because I couldn’t cauterize the grace wound fast enough and you nearly bled out in the middle of a forest. You think he didn’t notice the fact you’re missing a wing, none of us would be able to miss that particular bit of aesthetics.”
“So, what? He still ended up there because of me.” Z crossed her own arms.
“Holy shit, you really are siblings,” Dean whispered.
The two angels turned to glare at him. Sam snorted in amusement because their expressions of affront were nearly identical, even down to their pursed lips.
“We’re getting off track,” Sam said. “We need to figure out how to stop this train wreck before we jump the tracks.”
“Oh, Sam, we’ve already jumped the tracks, Lilith was the fucking off switch!” Z exclaimed.
Z started pacing back and forth across the room. They watched her for a handful of seconds before Gabriel sighed and reached out to pull her into a hug. Watching him tuck Z’s head under his chin was a bit weird since they were so close in height but Z hugged him back, clinging to him like he was a life line.
“It’s going to be fine, Izzy, we’ll figure it out.” Gabriel started rubbing little circles in the place where her wings would meet her back if she had them out.
“I just don’t want to watch any more of us die,” Z murmured.
“Let me go talk to Luci, find out what he wants to do. He has something to actually live for, why would he want to kill literally everything in existence? Michael’s the one that wants that.” Gabriel tried to sooth.
“He still wants to murder humanity. They only just started being mostly rational about everything, they’re getting better, they always are. They change and grow and it’s beautiful. Why can’t he see that?” Z asked.
“Because he hasn’t been able to see it, none of them have,” Gabriel said. “We should probably try to hide those two knuckleheads from both our idiot brothers before heaven comes looking for them.”
Z took a deep breath and pulled away from the hug.
“You didn’t bring her with you,” Lucifer said.
Gabriel paused in the doorway. That had sounded like a bland comment, an off hand remark that was meant to be a conversation starter but that was only on the surface of things. Lucifer had never taken a Vessel before, of course he didn’t know how vocal inflections worked.
Under the surface, in Lucifer’s true form his wings were hiked up around his ears and ruffled out in an angry and defensive stance. There were sulfur burns and missing feathers all over their brilliantly white length and Gabriel spared a moment to be horrified at what Hell had done to his second favorite sibling.
“You didn’t ask me to,” Gabriel pointed out, “and she’s still trying to get over the fact she failed to prevent the impending apocalypse.”
Lucifer’s head tilted to one side, wings relaxing ever so slightly. “Apocalypse? Where have I heard that word before?”
Gabriel made his way into the room and shut the door behind him snapping up a chair to lounge in as he went. Lucifer tracked him, eyes curious as he flopped down into it.
“It means you want to end humanity Lucifer. Human’s speculate about it often. They’re very aware of their own mortality, don’t you know?” Gabriel smirked at his brother.
Lucifer hummed, his True Voice incredibly close to the surface, close enough that it would have hurt a human if there had been one in the room with them. He turned to inspect the room they were in, walking around it, wings fluttering gently behind him like a fledgeling.
Gabriel couldn’t quite hold back a smile, it had been a long time since he’d seen that particular tick of angel body language. The last person he’d seen do that had to be Eros, he’d met the god briefly before Sparta happened and he’d had to take Greece off his list of possible vacation spots permanently.
“How is she?” Lucifer suddenly asked, like the words had been punched out of him. “I saw her Fall and then I saw her today. How is she besides…”
“The wing?” Gabriel asked.
Lucifer nodded, wings hiking up again. It was obvious that he was uncomfortable with the thought of Izzy being so crippled as to not be able to fly. Gabriel was uncomfortable with that fact, most angels were but he’d had time to get used to it.
“She’s dealing with it the best that any of us can. She… she’s mostly been hunting down the monsters that are the most dangerous to humanity and killing demons. She really doesn’t like the demons. You may have to apologize for that one,” Gabriel said.
“If it makes her feel better, I will gladly do so,” Lucifer remarked.
“It might… She’s more concerned with you wanting her dead though.” Gabriel threw that out like a flag in front of a bull.
He needed to know what Lucifer’s reaction would be. Izareal had been hurt too many times by too many people for Gabriel to allow her to be destroyed by the one being who might be able to break her.
“Why would I want her dead?! She saved my life and she’s mine-” Gabriel may have underestimated how attached Lucifer was to their sister, “- my Star Weaver, my Choir mate, mine! Did you suggest that falsehood to her?”
It had been a while since Gabriel had been the center of Lucifer’s negative attention, since he’d had another Archangel’s fury directed his way. It was just as terrifying as it had been the first few times one of his older brothers had lost their temper at him.
“No, but she blames herself for the Cage,” Gabriel hastily pointed out. “She’s been on Earth by herself for millenia, Luci, she knows exactly how far loneliness can push one of us from first hand experience.”
“Alone? Weren’t you here as well?” Lucifer asked.
“And how well do you think that would have ended?” Gabriel defended. “Not only would she have been consorting with a pagan god-”
“Pagan god?” Lucifer exclaimed.
“-Not important, Luci. But when they found out who I actually was, what do you think would have happened? By herself she was harmless, a half crippled angel who liked playing around in human affairs but with me added to that picture… Well, you have a Star Weaver, one of your most loyal, who chose to step out of the War hanging around the only Archangel who didn’t fight in it. What picture would that have painted?”
There was a long pause as Lucifer processed that information. Gabriel waited, watching emotions flicker across Lucifer’s grace and translate into his wings. Anger, pain, grief, all flicked across him before he finally settled on disgusted afront.
“But, we’re Archangels. How would she have convinced you to step out of the War? She may be mine and precious but you had no connection to her. That makes no sense.” Lucifer protested.
“Since when has Mikey ever made any sort of sense?” Gabriel joked.
He didn’t mention his suspicions about Raphael, he didn’t actually know if there was any legitimacy behind them and if they weren’t accurate he didn’t want to poke at the hornet’s nest. Gabriel had been listening to the old channels on occasion and Raphael was planning something, he didn’t know what but he’d caught enough snippets of conversation to know it probably wasn’t anything good.
“Point,” Lucifer purred out, seemingly brought down from his apoplectic rage.
Gabriel breathed a sigh of relief. “So, you don’t want her dead?”
“Of course not, she’s mine and if you try to hurt her I’ll rip your wings off. The next person to threaten her is going to be vaporized.” Lucifer nodded to himself.
“Which set?” Gabriel joked.
Lucifer just smiled beatifically at him. Gabriel shifted his wings so they were closer to his spine surreptitiously. Luci could be down right mean when he was defending someone he considered his.
“And are you sure she would approve of the vaporizing?” Gabriel asked.
Because, no, she really wouldn’t. Izareal loved them, all of them to the point where Gabriel was slightly worried about her. She’d tried to stop the Cage from opening for fuck sake, even though Gabriel knew she loved Lucifer more deeply than the rest of them combined.
“Why wouldn’t she? They would be a threat. If I took care of it she would be safe.” Lucifer’s head tilted in confusion.
Gabriel pinched the bridge of his nose and resisted the urge to conjure a dunce cap over his brother’s head. That would probably get him swatted with a wing at the very least.
“Lucifer, I want you to consider for a second what, exactly Izareal did the last time our family got into an argument.” Gabriel started, waving the implication in Lucifer’s face as carefully as possible. “And then how she reacted when, after it was all over, how she reacted when one more of us was going to die outside of combat.”
Lucifer seemed to consider that for a few moments before he moved to speak once more. “Badly?”
“Yes, badly.” Gabriel gestured wildly at the understatement that had just passed his brother’s lips.
“I will go speak to her about this, her opinion is one I should hear first hand.” Lucifer concluded.
“No, wait, that’s a bad-” Gabriel stopped as he realized Lucifer had already vanished from the room. “Well fuck.”
The End of Days
“Sam didn’t make it out of Detroit,” the other Dean said, voice grim and face as blank as a stone wall.
“What do you mean he didn’t make it out of Detroit?” Dean asked. “Is he dead or a Vessel?”
The Other Dean blinked, clearly not prepared for him to know that little tidbit of information. Dean relaxed ever so slightly, he’d been shotputted through time before, had played this game in part when Cas had done it.
Izareal had laughed at the mere thought of an angel being powerful enough to allow them to change the past, so why would one be able to predict the future. If this dream, vision, whatever it was wasn’t natural and instead caused by Zachariah – the smarmy douche kept popping up so of course he had to be related to this somehow – then there would be discrepancies, tiny ticks to show that this wasn’t real.
“You already know?” The other Dean ran a hand through his hair, visibly trying to collect himself. “Fuck, right, I keep mixing up when shit happened. Sammy said yes in Detroit, we… we tried to stop him but, well…”
“Sammy’s never done anything but exactly what he wants to.” Dean’s lips quirked up in a grin. “Where was Z when all of this went down?”
The other Dean stuttered again, the world around them blurring slightly. Dean pretended that he didn’t notice, no need for Zachariah to realize he knew exactly what was going on.
It was a nightmare, the world around him, like a funhouse mirror reflection of what was and should be. Dean wasn’t stupid, he might act it to piss off Sam and was slower on the uptake than some of the people he surrounded himself with but he wasn’t stupid. His skillset just lay in vastly different areas to the truly intelligent people in his life.
He could recognize bullshit from a mile off for one and this, whatever this was that Zacharaih was trying to do here was grade A bullshit. It would have occurred to him eventually if Z hadn’t told him the grim facts of time travel but her assistance was greatly appreciated in the fact that it allowed him to pick out the little things that pointed towards Zachariah’s assholery faster than his instincts would otherwise.
The other Dean laughed, dark and bitter as baking chocolate. Then he stood and made his way towards the door, waving Dean to follow him. The other people sitting around the table had turned grim as they picked up various sheets of paper and slink off to their varying tasks.
Dean followed the asshole version of himself to the door.
“I’ve got something to show you,” the asshole said.
They made their way through camp until they were at one of the most eastern points of the wall. There was a structure there, a simple thing made of cloth and wood, more a tent than a true building.
There were candles arrayed around the opening, so many of them that Dean didn’t even try to count. They were a lot too, even though it was daylight and their glow couldn’t be seen beyond the flicker of the flame and the thin lines of black smoke that drifted into the air.
Asshole Dean pulled back the cloth opening of the tent and gestured him inside. Dean hesitated, half worried about what, exactly he was about to see, what his worst fear in regards to Z could be. He had some idea, what with the candles and the fact that Z had clearly been shaken by the fact that she was caught between Heaven and Hell, at the fact that everyone wanted her dead.
Except for them.
Except for Lucifer, but that hadn’t been truly confirmed.
“What am I going to see in there?” Dean asked the asshole mirror of himself.
“Just look,” the asshole sounded tired instead of just being a dick.
Dean just looked and immediately lost every once of air he had ever had in his lungs. Because, whatever he had expected it hadn’t been this, he hadn’t even thought it possible.
Z’s wing was laying in the center of the tent on an altar made of dark wood with an array of items fanned around it. Her angel blade, a gun that definitely belonged to Sam last he saw it, a few other things that had to belong to other people her life had touched. There was an urn in front of the altar, one that he was familiar with from other people’s funerals, one that had to be filled with ashes.
“Who… Who did this?” Dean breathed, forgetting for a moment that this wasn’t real. “Lucifer wouldn’t have, it would have alienated Sam and she was one of his when she Fell.”
The world stuttered again and Dean shook off the fogging effect on his mind that seemed to be trying to creep up on him, to catch him unaware. He wasn’t going to let the angels lead him along their merry yellow brick road, down the path to saying yes to Michael, the angel so off his rocker that he honestly wanted to kill his brother before asking questions.
“We don’t know, one of the pagans, maybe. Sam was the one who found her and Lucifer didn’t show up long after that. I think they bonded over the grief and, well, the rest is history.” Asshole Dean was right behind him and Dean was sorely tempted to turn around and punch him in the nose.
Dean took a deep breath and turned to glare at the Asshole Dean, “And you kept her wing as, what, some kind of morbid momento? Even I know that that wing was the last connection she had to her family and you took it away from her?”
“What was I supposed to do? She was the one angel on our side! She took care of all of us with a song on her lips the entire time!” Asshole Dean snarled. “She was dead! Someone suggested ripping all her feathers out and turning them into talismans! This was the best I could do for her!”
“You know. It’s really fucking interesting what Zachariah think’s I’d do in this situation,” Dean said.
Asshole Dean took a step back, clearly unsettled by the comment. The world around them stuttered again, flickering noticeably this time, the terrain around them fogging and fizzing like an old motel tv that wasn’t quite in range of the good channels.
Dean grinned at the Asshole, teeth bared in a predator’s snarl. He knew the game, he played it before, been played by it before. It was never like this, never a literal twisting of his reality around himself rather than a mind game.
“Jigg’s up, asshole, Z already told me how time works and this ain’t it.” Dean snapped.
Watching his own form melt away to reveal the sneering, leering visage of Zachariah was the creepiest thing Dean had ever seen. The world around them turning to ash and smoke until he was back in his motel room, staring down an angel in a suit, only added to his unease.
“That little Fallen bitch is starting to become a problem for us,” Zachariah growled.
Dean scoffed in his face.
“I thought she was already a problem, you know with her whole, stop the Apocalypse plan,” Dean said.
“Yes, well, it’s just become more apparent in recent years.” Zachariah waves away the remark. “It’s a pity that Uriel didn’t get her when he went on his murder spree. She’s put far too much nonsense about free will into your head.”
Dean rolled his eyes. “Oh, we were already like this before she showed up. She just gave her more information, information that you didn’t think was all that important at the time. Like the fact that angels can only be killed with celestial steel.”
That one was a lie, Gabriel had been the one to tell them about that one but it was the safest thing he knew that she could have told him. Z had been on Earth a long, long time and hadn’t taken up with the pagans like the archangel had. She’d seen a lot in all those millenia of life and she was one of the few who still used old school enochian to cast spells.
Zachariah went still, the same kind of still that Z had about her when one of them hit a nerve and her humanity fell away to show what she was underneath. The angels may have been wearing human guises, may have had access to the knowledge their vessels had had in life but they weren’t human. It was easy to forget that sometimes, even with Z, especially with Z.
“She told you about celestial steel?” Zachariah visibly bristled. “Well, well, well, her crimes just keep mounting don’t they. That is a secret guarded jealously by all those who know it. I wonder how she stumbled across the formula.”
And that was greed, plain and simple, lurking behind the angel’s eyes. The thought of being able to make something like that must have been a tempting thought. Dean may have not had Sam’s magical seeing abilities, the ones that had left him so shaken after seeing Lucifer in the grace that he hadn’t been able to speak coherently for hours but he was still a hunter.
Hunters lived on the fringes for the most part, unless they were like Ellen or Bobby who’d put down roots and turned themselves into hubs for other hunters. And while living on the fringes you tended to see a lot of things that polite society tried to forget about.
Dean had seen many a man too greedy for anyone’s good and most of them were willing to do pretty much anything to get what they wanted, be it money, sex, or blood. It never ended well for anyone involved in the situation and half the time jail time wasn’t the price the greedy sack of shit had to pay up.
In some of the larger cities Dean had been to, on the rare occasion that he was needed in a larger city, a good percentage of the bodies found in back alleys were Johns who refused to pay up. Or an asshole who’d stolen from the wrong person.
So yeah, Dean was familiar with the look of greed in a man’s eyes and what some people would do to get that gnawing pit of hunger filled. There was a reason greed was a sin, one of the few things Dean actually agreed with in the cosmic order of things.
“How’d you find me? Your sibling went and carved a map of the universe into me and Sam’s ribs,” Dean said.
Zachariah chuckled, an oil slick of a sound that made Dean want to go wash his ears out with industrial soap and holy water. “We do have human agents on Earth, Dean. What would the point of religion be otherwise?”
Dean nearly gave into the urge to face palm. Of course, of fucking course Heaven had a portion of humanity on their side. Dean thought back to the man that had been handing out pamphlets on the steps of the motel, the one he’d identified as a religious nut but otherwise harmless, and cursed under his breath.
“Now, it’s time for you to give up this little rebellious campaign of yours and-” Zachariah fell silent, eyes widening in horror as he looked at something just over Dean’s shoulder. “You’re supposed to be dead! How are you…”
“Alive?” A deep gravelly voice asked.
A familiar voice, a voice Dean hadn’t heard since Castiel had made his stand against the other angels, to give the Winchesters a few minutes of extra time. Time that had been meaningless in the end, his death a waste and a weight on his conscience.
Dean turned slowly to gaze at a face that he had thought he’d never see again. He let out a long slow breath as his gaze fell onto those gorgeous blue eyes.
He was alive.
Castiel was alive and standing behind Dean with his blade out, facing off an angel of a higher rank without an ounce of fear on his face.
“That’s a good question. How did Dean end up on that plane? Another good question, because none of our siblings did it, Izareal was the only one there and she can’t fly. I think we both know the answer though, don’t we,” Castiel said.
“No!” Zachariah snarled. “That’s not possible.”
“It scares you, doesn’t it?” Castiel’s lips twitched faintly. “It should, go away, Zachariah, leave the Winchesters alone. I won’t ask twice.”
Zachariah visibly hesitated for a second before there was the sound of angel wings flapping and he vanished, leaving Dean alone in his room with an angel he’d thought dead.
“Dean, I believe it best that we le-” Castiel cut himself off as Dean threw his arms around the other man and squeezed.
Dean took a deep breath in, taking in Cas’s scent so alike and yet unlike Z’s and almost nothing like Gabriel’s. Cordite and ozone, hot steel fresh from a forge and the strange airy scent that was pure angel.
After a few moment’s Cas brought his arms up to return the hug with a few hesitant pats against Dean’s back. Chuckling under his breath Dean let the awkward angel go so that he could hold him at arm’s length and just look at him.
“You’re alive, Z’s going to be fucking extatic.” Dean smiled at Cas.
“I… I do not believe that I would be welcomed by someone that I have threatened to kill. And one who so clearly had humanity’s best interests at heart when all I cared about was following orders.” Cas stared at Dean in that vaguely creepy, angelic way of his.
“Z won’t give a shit and Gabe’s probably just going to be glad that we have another angel on our side,” Dean said. “Shit, I should probably call them, the whole, let’s split up to cause less attantion thing ain’t gonna fucking work.”
“Gabe?” Cas asked as Dean patted himself down for his phone. “You do not mean the Archangel Gabriel, do you?”
“Yeah, he’s been hiding out on Earth,” Dean said.
“Gabriel is dead,” Cas said with the finality of a closed coffin.
Dean paused, finger hovering over the button of the speed dial and turned to look at Cas again. Right, Gabriel had admitted to purposefully faking his own death to get away from all the fighting rather than taking a stand like Z had accidentally done when she’d refused to fight.
In all fairness neither side would have left him alone for a minute otherwise but it was still a dick move in Dean’s opinion. Faking your death was just not something one should do just to escape an argument.
“Shit, right, everyone thinks he’s dead.” Before Cas could say anything else Dean hit the call button.
“Yello, Deano, what’s cooking on your side of the country?” A too cheerful voice chirped down the phone line.
“Zachariah just showed me a vision in an attempt to make me say yes.” Dean didn’t bother with preamble, Gabriel would just keep being an asshole if he did.
There was a long, drawn out silence and then a furious hiss that reminded Dean of a snake.
“He did what now?” Gabriel asked in a voice like poisoned licorish.
“Don’t worry, Cas showed up to scare him off,” Dean said.
“Cas, as in Castiel. He’s alive.” Gabriel sounded both scepticle and vaguely awed. “Where are you?”
Dean rattled off his motel and not even a second later there was a pint sized archangel wrapped around a poleaxed Castiel.
Pas de Deux
It had been a long week, a long, tiring week and Izareal hadn’t really had a moment to breath since Lucifer rose from the pit. So when Sam had told her they were going to be stopping for a few nights so Dean could meet back up with them she’d taken the opportunity to go unwind.
She stood in the middle of an empty warehouse with pointe shoes on her feet and took a deep breath in, slowly and carefully, letting the air fill her lungs to bursting. He let it out slowly and then breathed in again, repeating the process until she fell into a rhythm that was more familiar than the flex of her wing.
Izareal reached out with her grace and turned on the stereo in the far corner with a flick of thought. Then she pulled it back, winched it in, pulling her grace in so tight that she was as close to human as she’d ever manage to be.
She bounces once, twice, up en pointe and down again, up en pointe and down. The next time she bounced up she leaned forward on one foot, bringing herself into an arabesk and began to dance.
Izareal started slow, started simple, worked her way up into jumps and turns. Worked her way up until she was dancing her way across the floor on feet that barely touched the ground.
She loved ballet, loved it almost more than music because when she executed a jump perfectly, when she hung in the air for just that moment more than she should she felt like she was flying again. Like her wings were whole and she was back in Heaven, flying beside siblings that were long lost to War and Death.
Izareal had loved ballet since it had been invented, she’d been there for practically every innovation, Pointe, jumps, partnering. She’d never danced with another person before had wanted to in the past, wanted that connection but… this was enough.
Izareal jumped again, hanging in the air like a feather on the wind, and came down wrong. It had been years since she’d landed wrong, decades probably but even well trained and experienced ballerinas fumbled occasionally and Izareal was no exception.
She knew what was going to happen before it did, she’d fallen enough times to know what to expect. She felt her ankle give way, felt herself tip forward, and internally winced at the fact that she was about to smack face first into concrete. While she would heal as soon as she let her grace out again that didn’t mean that this wasn’t going to hurt.
Then there were hands on her waist, cold hands, familiar hands even though the flesh stretched over them isn’t. They support her as she nearly falls, strong and sure, turning her fumble into another arabesk.
Izareal wasn’t thinking about it, not really, she didn’t want to. She didn’t want to break the spell that the music and the movement had cast over the dingy warehouse.
She came out of the arabesk and pushed herself into a spin, letting his hands guide her through it until she twirled for a final time and she stopped with her eyes staring directly into his.
He smiled at her like she was the center of the universe and her chest ached with it.
“Lucifer,” she choked out past the lump in her throat, past every emotion she had ever felt for this angel standing in front of her, holding her like she was something precious.
“Izareal.” He breathed her name like it was a prayer, a benediction passed from shaking hands, like water on a dying man’s lips. “Izareal, I am so glad you are alive.”
“And it’s good to see you too, Lucifer.”
Izareal swallowed heavily and let the music cut out because he was here and she didn’t need it. Because while he wasn’t the Lucifer of Heaven, the Lucifer who’d plucked her out of her Choir and given her a purpose, given her life meaning and gave her the opportunity to be Named, he wasn’t the same Lucifer that had been cast down into Hell.
He wasn’t the same Lucifer who had come out of that plane cold and dark and dead to change Lilith, to twist the first female soul around and around until Lilith had snapped and become a mockery of what it had originally been. He wasn’t the same Lucifer who had snuck into the Garden and whispered in Eve’s ear, convincing her to disobey. He wasn’t the same Lucifer who had led his angels against those of his brother.
He wasn’t the same Lucifer who she’d risked her life for, who she’d given her grace for, who she’d jumped in front of a blade meant to kill for.
He was… he was different for both of those angels and the same at once. More than both and less than neither.
He… it… Izareal didn’t know what was different.
Lucifer was cold, that was true, cold like he’d been when he’d led the Fallen against Michael but it wasn’t to the same extent. It wasn’t the same cold, unfeeling grace of an Archangel pushed too far.
And it wasn’t the warm, almost burning radiance of someone who loved her and her siblings too much for words.
She didn’t know what to make of it, didn’t know what to make of him. But he was here and she was here and she might as well make the most of the opportunity while he was still alive, while she was still alive.
While they were both still alive on this Earth, on this plane and Michael wasn’t breathing down either of their necks. There wasn’t much time for her to enjoy this, for either of them to enjoy this, a peace bought by blood and terror.
Lucifer let his head fall slightly to press his flesh and blood forehead against her own the press of his grace gentle and surface level, a relief given how hypersensitive her grace had always been.
She couldn’t see his other faces like this, the nightingale and the tiger that sat on either side of his face. But this was more intimate than being able to see all his eyes, all his attention focused on her through his human eyes, filtered by the man he was wearing.
Izareal couldn’t feel a soul in the body, couldn’t see one either and even with Lucifer being an Archangel she should be able to sense on being this close. So there was no soul in the body and Izareal could only hope that the man who had once possessed it was at peace.
“I saw you fall,” Lucifer whispered, “and I thought you dead. And now I find you alive, defending my Vessel and his brother even with your grace so diminished. I do not think I realized how much of a treasure you were until this moment, when I saw you fly without wings.”
That might actually be the most beautiful description of ballet Izareal had ever heard. And that didn’t sound like Lucifer wanted her dead, not now, possibly not ever.
Izareal licked her lips and took a deep breath before closing her eyes, unable to gaze into his any longer. It was hard, seeing him like this, so like the Lucifer that had taken her into his Choir and not at the same time, better than the Lucifer that had been at the gate, so much better but now she could see the places where he was ever so slightly off and it made her grace feel…
She didn’t quite know how it made her feel, she’d have to think about that now, just one more thing she had to think about.
Izareal opened her eyes and reached up to cradle Lucifer’s face between her palms.
She was here.
Izareal was here and she was his and she was here. Lucifer had her in his arms, wrapped in his wings and he never wanted to let her go. He never wanted to see her hurt ever again, the sight of her Fall still hung before his eyes like the after image left by lightning.
She had her hands on his face, the feel of her skin warm against his own, her grace welcoming under his own. She was different but of course she was, it had been centuries since he’d seen her last and she hadn’t been trapped in a Cage by their Father.
No, instead she had been forced to walk the world alone with no one but humans and pagans and all manners of other filth for company.There was Gabriel but Gabriel himself had admitted to avoiding her for the most part. Lucifer couldn’t blame him, not when it had kept Izareal safe, he didn’t like the fact that he’d done it but he understood the reasoning.
“I can’t believe you’re out,” Izareal breathed, the air from her lungs brushing across his lips in an intimate manner that he’d never imagined flesh capable of.
“I’m out,” Lucifer agreed, staring into those green, green eyes, unable to look away. “I’m out and you’re alive, you’re here. Where’s your Choir little one, my star, the most precious of my angels?”
A flush pressed itself across her cheeks and Izareal inhaled sharply as Lucifer closed his eyes. He nuzzled into the hands holding the sides of his face, his own grace gently rubbing against Izareal’s in an attempt to return the physical affection with a form he was more familiar with.
Lucifer needed to be careful, he didn’t want to scare her, didn’t want to hurt her. He didn’t want her to run, to be left alone, by herself in a world that would never truly understand her. She was precious, beloved in a way no one else ever had been and ever would be.
“They Fell,” Izareal whispered. “They Fell and then they died, not a one attempting to find me in the time between.”
Lucifer rumbled deep in his chest, a sound that his human throat probably wasn’t supposed to make if the pain signals coming from his vocal cords was any indication. He didn’t care though, his Choir had failed him, had failed Izareal, which was somehow worse.
A good portion of them had ended up on earth at one point or another and even if they hadn’t been there long, at least one of them had to have noticed Izareal, how could they not? Even though their bonds to her were severed that did not mean that she was no longer one of their own, one of his.
“If they were not dead, they would pay for that indiscretion dearly.” Lucifer raised one of his hands to pet the back of Izareal’s head, grace shifting against hers to mimic the motion. “And I have been reliably informed that I should apologize for the demons.”
“I loved Lilith.” Izareal admitted and there was a flash of jealousy deep in Lucifer’s grace but that wouldn’t get him anywhere so he tamped it down. “She was… she was different. Defiant and strong and she refused to compromise on what she wanted and what she didn’t. She was… she was a bit like you but not, she was beautiful and she was the one who made me realize that I wanted to be beautiful like she was.”
“And then I turned her into something repulsive.” Guilt leadened his tongue as he thought of the human soul he had thought so little of but Izareal had clearly adored.
“No, she did that,” Izareal said.
Lucifer blinked and pulled back a bit so he could see Izareal’s face more clearly. She was frowning, a tiny crease appearing between her eyebrows and Lucifer wanted to smooth it away.
“All the other demons I’ve seen were twisted until they flipped, until the pattern of what they were becoming overlaid who they were. But… but you just gave Lilith power or twisted her until she could use the power she already had, I could never figure out which. She was the one who made the template that formed the mold that all the rest followed. In the end, I’m not sad she’s dead, I mourned her a long time ago.” Izareal sounded sad.
She shouldn’t be sad. Izareal should never be sad ever again. Lucifer didn’t want her sad, it was even more sad than the fact that she didn’t have her animal faces any more.
It made him sad, and he almost reveled in the fact that they matched, their emotions in sink. But the fact that she was so human, so less than an angel should be made him twitch.
“I came to get you, you’re welcome with me. If you want to have a Choir again you can have it even if it’s just me and you,” Lucifer said.
He tried to hide his desperation, the longing for connection that had morphed into a need to have Izareal’s grace pressed up against his own until everything else was nothing but a second thought.
Izareal took a deep breath, something didn’t need but had to have been a habit from centuries of having to hide what she was. If Lucifer had his way she would never have to hide again, never have to supress what she was, never have to look over her shoulder for one of their siblings.
She would be safe and protected and happy and that was all that mattered. Izareal was all that mattered, besides Sam but Sam had Dean and Izareal had no one for years, decades and centuries.
Lucifer knew what loneliness could do to an angel.
Lucifer was what being alone could do to an angel.
Izareal pulled back, in grace and in her physical form and, no, no, Lucifer didn’t want that, didn’t want her anywhere but in his arms ever again. She was the last of his Choir, the most beloved, even when she had been one of many, even if he still didn’t know what that meant for either of them.
But he let her go.
What else could he do? Keeping Izareal somewhere when she didn’t want to be there would be a violation, an aboration that he would never attempt to force upon her. She was beautiful and beloved and the last of his Star Weavers, had been the last for a while if he was being honest with himself.
“Lucifer, I can’t do that, I…” Lucifer watched her bite her lip as his grace curled in on itself in an attempt to hide the ache of being alone again. “You want humanity dead, don’t tell me that you don’t because right now that would be a lie and you, for all the faults you may possess, have never lied. I will not, I can not join you if I know that you still want to end the race that I have spent millenia protecting from those who would destroy it. It would break me, more surely than Falling that final time did our siblings.”
Lucifer looked at her, at her form, so close to that of a human’s though she wasn’t wearing a human body, at her wings, one gone but for the stretch from back to first joint. He looked at her grace and where her two faces should have been.
Izareal had changed over the years, the centuries, since he had last seen her but that spine, that stubbornness that had made her stand tall and refuse both him and Michael when they had asked her to fight was still there. It might have even grown in intensity since he’d seen it last.
She wasn’t powerful, wasn’t any different from the other Star Weavers, and more diminished than she had been in Heaven but in that moment she shone.
The star of God.
Lucifer’s Father may have named the stars first but there was no name more fitting for one such as her. Lucifer may have been the Morning Star but Izareal was the one who embodied everything the Star Weavers had been.
And if she saw something in humanity then maybe, just maybe, he should take a step back and try to discover that for himself.
Lucifer bowed his head and then tipped forward into a full bow, Izareal’s wing rustling in shock as he did. He knew she hadn’t expected that, Archangels didn’t bow, not before anyone except for God and Lucifer had refused to bow to even him after he’d raised humanity above their siblings.
“Then, I leave so that I may find what it is you see and when I see it will you consider my offer?” Lucifer asked.
“Yes.” Izareal’s voice cracked on the word and when Lucifer straightened to look her in the eyes he could see the longing written in every line of her face.
Lucifer took a few steps forward to close the distance between them and leaned forward to let a kiss brush over her slightly parted lips. It was brief and eternal at the same time.
He hadn’t expected the simpleness of the contact to affect him but it sent shivers down his newly acquired spine and waves of desire through his grace. He wanted her more than a human needed air and he tore himself away before he could deepen the contact.
Lucifer took one last look at Izareal’s expression of shock and joy before he flapped his wings and was gone. He had a race to appraise himself of and a mission other than revenge to focus on for the first time in… since Izareal had Fallen.
A Meeting of Minds
Izareal was still vaguely dazed as she followed Sam into the roadside diner where they were meeting up with Dean in.
Lucifer didn’t want her dead.
The one sibling that she’d thought would want her dead the most wanted her alive, wanted her in his Choir again, wanted her with him again. It was… jarring to say the least.
She’d already told Sam about the weird fuckery that had occurred in the warehouse because she’d been worse the previous night. Izareal had still had her wings out when she’d walked into the motel room and hadn’t even noticed that she’d pulled them into the material plane.
Lucifer didn’t want her dead.
Lucifer had kissed her.
Why the ever loving Heaven had he kissed her?
“Oh, that is not a good thinky face,” Gabriel’s voice broke into her thoughts and she turned to glare at him.
“I’d like you to react to this situation with some measure of grace, brother dear. You may be used to possibly world ending shenanigans and cosying up with things that would rather bathe in the blood of toddlers than change a diaper but I tend to kill things who threaten humanities general wellbeing!” Izareal snapped.
Gabriel’s eyes went wide as he stared at her, those golden depths growing large enough to drown in as his animal heads pulled back in clear afront at her comment, the cheetah chittering in distress. It almost made her feel guilty but the back of her brain was still in a somewhat constant line of ‘what the fuck, Lucifer doesn’t want my dea, he kissed me, what the fuck’ and she wasn’t really proccessing anything else at the moment.
“Izareal, are you alright?” A deep, rumbling voice asked.
It was a voice that she hadn’t thought she’d never hear again after Dean told her exactly what had happened that night, before she’d showed up in an attempt to rescue them. She turned, catching sight of a middle aged man with dark hair and blue eyes, staring at her with a vague expression.
His wings were dark, the only spot of real color a shock of green feathers high up on his left wing. On either side of the human face sat under his flesh one were a jaguar and a crowned eagle.
Izareal made a noise she didn’t recognize, true voice a bit too close to the surface as she stared at a sibling she’d thought to be lost.
“Castiel?” She asked.
Her hands were shaking as she raised them to cover her mouth. It was too much, too much had happened in too short a period of time for her to really understand it. The world was falling to pieces around her, great chunks of it breaking off to float away in the eather.
Lucifer was out of Hell, had broken out of the Cage when she had failed to stop him from emerging from the Cage. Castiel had died, killed by Raphael of all people, Raphael who had been the most gentle, the most kind of all her siblings, who had never raised a blade for any means, who’d never had a blade. Lucifer didn’t want her dead. Lucifer had kissed her.
Castiel was alive. Castiel was standing right in front of her, wings flicking like a curious fledgling.
Which meant that their Father had interfered, for the first time since Mary, since the boy He’d claimed as His son.
“You’re alive. We… we thought you were dead.” Izareal’s wing flicked in distress.
“Shit.” Gabriel breathed. “Izareal? What’s wrong?”
“Yes.” Castiel took a few steps forward into her personal space and then bowed his head, no, his heads, all of them.
Izareal’s breath caught as she took a rapid step back as Castiel showed her the respect due an angel far above her Fallen station. Angels didn’t bow, not to each other, not unless they were talking to an Archangel or an angel so close in power that it didn’t matter anymore but there weren’t many of those left.
“I find myself in need of your forgiveness.” Castiel straightened, eyes boring into her own. “It would appear that I have unintentionally sabotaged your attempts to fulfil the mission that I had been given by my superiors.”
“You didn’t know,” Izareal said.
“I should have noticed before I did and I should have never threatened you, You may have Fallen but you are not a Fallen and I was unable to see past the only other moment that I saw you to what you actually were. I… many of my Garrison Fell during the War and after I am… familiar with how and why Falling happens and… you are not them.” Castiel’s wings shuffled in embarrassment.
“Choir,” Izareal corrected.
“What?” Castiel frowned, a little furrow appearing between his eyebrows.
“Choir, a group of angels is called a Choir.” Izareal took a tentative step forward.
“Not anymore,” Gabriel broke in. “They changed the name during the War, when God started making fledglings for War rather than Peace.”
“That’s wrong.” Izareal’s wing mantled in indignation at what had been stolen from the fledglings of Castiel’s generation. “That is wrong on so many levels, how could Father ever imagine doing something like that? We aren’t tools for him to make and designate for one purpose!”
“I don’t think he cares, sis,” Gabriel said.
And that had grown all new, creepy connotations with Lucifer having kissed her.
“I don’t think he ever did. And I think you know that.” Gabriel gave her a speaking look.
“Father may have named the stars first but he never treated us like tools.” Izareal left out the part where the only reason they hadn’t was the fact that God ignored everyone except for the archangels for the most part.
“Wait a minute,” Dean said from where he was halfway through his burger, “you mean your star isn’t named after you but the other way around. That’s fucked up.”
“And that was part of the reason most of my Choir left, Father never cared and Lucifer cared too much,” Izareal said, voice stuttering at the mention of Lucifer, not enough to alert the Winchesters but definitely enough to catch the angel’s notice.
Gabriel’s eyes narrowed as he looked at her, like he was trying to stare through her physical form to see what was no longer underneath. Izarela narrowed her eyes right back, this was one of the few angels who wouldn’t hurt her even if Gabriel had been inclined to harm any of his siblings in the first place.
“Something happened, didn’t it?” Gabriel asked.
“Oh how clever, the big bad archangel managed to deduce that something was wrong. How much brain power did that take you?” Izareal snapped.
Gabriel stared at her and Cas looked ready to bolt under all of that angelic stoicism. That wasn’t all that surprising given what had happened the last time Cas had decided it would be a brilliant idea to stand up to an Archangel.
Finally Gabriel sighed and ran a hand through his hair, looking every inch of his eternity of existence. It was hard to remember that he was older than her, he acted like a little kid in a candy store half the time and like an avenging angel of snark for most of the rest of it.
“Just, tell us, please, Izareal,” Izareal’s spine stiffened, it had been centuries since he’d called her by her full name, “We don’t have much time, few allies and any knowledge is good for us to have if we’re going to hold the Earth against the combined forces of Heaven and Hell.”
“You can probably scratch Hell off our list of enemies,” Izareal said after a moment of hesitation.
Gabriel blinked at her in dumbfounded amazement. Castiel’s jaw actually dropped as he stared at her and Dean nearly choaked on his drink.
“What?” Gabriel finally managed to ask after a few moments of opening and closing his mouth.
“Lucifer showed up yesterday and I may have, possibly, convinced him to give humanity a chance?” Izareal bit her lip and glanced around the dinner to see if anyone was paying attention.
“How the fuck did you do that?” Dean asked.
“Um, isolation isn’t the best of punishment when it comes to angels.” Izareal fidgeted with the bottom of her shirt. “We tend to go a bit… sideways?”
“That’s one way of putting it,” Gabriel scoffed. “The other would be completely bat shit crazy.”
“You and Izareal aren’t,” Dean pointed out.
Izareal snorted. “Oh, I’ve got more than a few screws loose, Deano, you just don’t see them.”
“The demon obsession didn’t tip you off? Or the sugar?” Gabriel asked.
“That just seemed logical,” Dean countered. “And the sugar’s a tagline.”
“Can we get back to Lucifer not wanting to start the apocalypse?” Castiel interjected.
“Right,” Izareal jumped on the chance of a distraction. “Lucifer has been in isolation with nothing but Fallen for company since he ended up in the Cage. And, apparently, when he saw me he… fixated.”
“Fixated?” Dean asked. “That doesn’t sound particularly comforting.”
“It… Izzy, did he do anything to you when he found you?” Gabriel asked.
Gabriel watched Izareal shift back and forth on her feet in mild horror. He didn’t think that Lucifer would hurt her, Lucifer hadn’t acted like he wanted to see her injured let alone do the injuring himself.
“How did you know that he did anything when he found me?” Izareal asked.
“Because the only thing that could get you this agitated in this situation would be my brother, if he somehow managed to surprise you,” Gabriel said. “Izzy, what did he do?”
“He danced with me and then asked me to join him in burning the world to the ground and once I told him I kind of liked humanity and didn’t want it dead and he promised to try to figure out why I like it so much he kissed me,” Izareal babbled out in practically one breath.
Gabriel blinked at her in mild disbelief, the last part of her statement rattling around his brain like a pebble in a shoe, scraping against tender spots and digging in to draw blood. Lucifer had kissed her? Lucifer the single one of his siblings Gabriel had thought least interested in the physical plane as it related to sex had kissed Izareal, the most physically present of all of his siblings.
Gabriel had known that Lucifer didn’t consider most of the other angels as true siblings, there was a distance there but he had thought Lucifer considered all of his Star Weavers brothers and sisters. It wasn’t like they actually shared blood or grace, none of them could carry children and relations between lower level angels had happened before the War.
They called themselves brothers and sisters and shared the same Father, if God could be called that anymore, but they weren’t true siblings beyond bonds formed between individuals. From what Gabriel managed to get out of Castiel most of the angels treated each other like coworkers now, rather than family.
“He kissed you?” Dean barked from where he was sitting. “Do I need to stab him for you?”
“If I needed him stabbed I’d have done it myself,” Izareal barked back. “No, I don’t, I wasn’t fucking expecting it but…”
“Did you want him to kiss you?” Castiel asked, the expression on his face one of morbid curiosity.
“I… I don’t know,” Izareal said.
Gabriel took a deep breath and leaned back in his seat, hand going to tangle in his hair as he tried to think through the chain of events that had led up to this point. They’d all known that Lucifer was going to be at least slightly unhinged when he finally left the Cage, possibly more than a little unhinged considering the circumstances.
They’d all assumed that Lucifer would hang on to the thought of revenge, to plan for the destruction of the race that had been the root of the War in the first place or at least the idea of making Heaven pay. It would have made sense, Lucifer had been locked up because of the War and his Fallen had been systematically murdered by former siblings until there were none left.
Anger, grief, the desire to make everyone feel the pain he was feeling, all would have made sense for Lucifer to cling to in the Pit and he probably had. But Izareal had always, always been different, been special in a way that Gabriel couldn’t name and not just because she hadn’t taken her own blade to her chest when she’d lost her wing and most of her grace.
Lucifer had loved all of his Star Weavers, more than the rest of them, more than Michael even, though that might have been a question of quantity. And all of them were dead, or unrecognizable due to Heaven’s new policies, all except for Izareal.
It made sense once you thought it through all the way from start to finish.
Izareal had been one of Lucifer’s Choir, then she’d set herself apart by refusing to join both Heaven and Hell in the War. She’d stayed neutral through the entire thing, watching from the sidelines until Lucifer’s attempted execution. At which point she’d jumped in front of the blade meant for their older sibling, well Gabriel’s older sibling, he didn’t think that Izareal considered him as a brother beyond the weird enochian linguistic quirk that translated the standard greeting between angels to sibling hood on earth.
That must have been the last time Lucifer had seen her, tumbling through the planes toward earth, almost certainly dead and if not near enough to it that she certainly wouldn’t survive past sunset. Even if Lucifer had been able to ride the Fallen’s minds and watch through their eyes none of them had dared go anywhere near Izareal, even if they knew she still lived and plenty of them didn’t.
Gabriel had seen enough grace wounds to know that what he’d done to Izareal would be described as a miracle under different circumstances, if he hadn’t botched it so badly. Lucifer had to have seen more given that he was actually fighting in the War.
Lucifer must have thought Izareal dead, gone, destroyed by his eldest brother and while Izareal hadn’t always shown her differences to the rest of them Lucifer had always reacted to her differently from the rest of his Star Weavers. The sight of her must have been a shock, enough of a shock to shake something loose in the Archangel’s brain and trigger the fixation.
Lucifer had always been more about love than anything else, even in the War, what little Gabriel had seen of it, that was what had stood out most. The warm love he’d always radiated turning to cold bitterness and hate as the battles drew on and he lost more and more of his Choir until he’d had to surrender.
“Wait, you’re all siblings, aren’t you?” Dean asked. “How is this not weird for any of you.”
“That… that’s a linguistic quirk,” Sam started to explain. “Enochian doesn’t have a word for friend or coworker, it just has familial titles and since enochian is their first language…”
“Still weird and vaguely gross.” Dean settled down more firmly in his seat.
“Okay,” Izareal interrupts before the conversation can devolve into an argument. “We don’t have to worry about Lucifer right now, he’s mostly contained and might actually be on our side in a few months. We should probably focus on Heaven and what the fuck Micheal’s planning on doing.”
“You trust humanity that much?” Gabriel asked.
He knew Izareal like humanity as a whole but he hadn’t thought she was this invested, this confident that experiencing the joys of humanity would be enough. Gabriel loved most of humanity and he regularly got frustrated enough to want to murder half of the populous for being ignorant, bigoted sheeple.
“I have to, it’s probably the only way we’re getting out of this mostly intact,” Izareal said.
Songs and Games
Upon meeting Becky for the first time, bright, lonely Becky who wanted human contact almost as much as she wanted Sam and Dean to succeed Izareal decided she liked her. Sure the woman was a bit strange and had some unhealthy coping mechanisms when it came to fanfiction but that wasn’t actually her own fault.
Izareal had seen the influence of the divine on her as surely as it was on Sam or Chuck and seeing a Prophet again for the first time in years had thrown her for a bit of a loop. In another time her manic energy would have been noticed and either tamed and turned to something more manageable or ensured she would be burned at the stake.
“Oh, wow, Izareal, it’s so good to finally meet you,” Becky breathed in amazement, hands fluttering.
Izareal smiled and stepped forward to pull the other blonde into a hug. Becky made a small noise in the back of her throat and wrapped her own arms around Izareal to cling. Definitely a sensitive then, weaker than Sam and not a full fledged psychic but powerful enough to feel what Izareal was.
Her time at school had to have been shit, the sensitive ones normally had the worst time of it. They felt too much or too little and children were cruel little things without even meaning to be. All they would have known was that the little blonde girl who preferred reading over running around was different and humanity had never been at its best with things that were different.
Izareal glanced around to determine the relative privacy of the parking lot before pulling her wing into the physical plane and wrapping it over Becky’s shoulders. Becky squeaked in surprise before burrowing further into Izareal’s embrace.
“Reading about you was amazing,” Becky murmured.
“Reading about her?” Sam asked.
Both Winchesters turned to glare at Chuck, who was visibly uncomfortable with the looks the brothers were shooting him. In all fairness to the prophet the two of them had been trained as deadly warriors meant to beat back the forces of darkness from birth, so their glare wasn’t exactly a tame thing.
“Come on, let’s go inside before we have to lay witness to those three’s pissing match.” Izareal stowed her wing before dragging Becky away from what looked like the beginnings of an argument.
“You published more!” Dean roared just as the two women disappeared into the building.
“You’re even more beautiful than I imagined,” Becky said, still clearly dazed by the feeling of an angelic presence.
“Chuck finally got someone to back the rest of his series?” Izareal asked.
“Yeah, it’s great,” Becky practically chirped. “I was trying to convince him that digital publishing is the way of the future and that I know enough about book formatting that we could totally self publish his work but he kept saying that if he couldn’t make it in the publishing industry then he shouldn’t be published at all. When I pointed out he was already published he made this awkward grumbling noise and, well…”
“You decided to stop talking and save his fragile male ego,” Izareal guessed.
Becky cackled, the sound startled out of her like she just couldn’t help herself. They walked into the meeting hall and Izareal couldn’t contain her own sound of abject glee at the sight before her.
“You made a book convention.” Izareal gazed around at the people milling around, the excitement in the room palpable and the cosplay, oh the cosplay.
Izareal could not wait to see the look on the brother’s faces when they caught sight of exactly how many people had decided to dress up as them or her. She was actually a bit surprised that her own look was popular enough, with and without her wing.
“You alright?” Becky asked.
Izareal shook herself. “Oh, no, I’m fine, it’s just been a while since I’ve seen someone else with wings on the mortal plane.”
“And it’s hard to see someone else wearing your trauma.” Becky cupped a hand around Izareal’s elbow and shifted to lean into her side.
Izareal took a deep breath and let the other blonde try to offer up what little comfort human contact could convey. It had been a long time since she had lost her wing but the loss still hurt and most people didn’t understand that, most angels didn’t understand that.
Well, the angels didn’t understand why she didn’t take her own blade to her ribs but that was another matter altogether. But some humans got it, the ones who’d lived through things that no one should have to and wore their defiance on their skin like armor.
“Your encounter with Uriel was hard to read, reminded me of an ex I never want to see ever again,” Becky murmured. “Though, I stopped at punching him in the face and convincing the cheerleaders he liked licking feet, the immolation was satisfying.”
“I was honestly just trying to get away, Uriel was… I don’t want any of my siblings dead but I’m not suicidal. If I hadn’t managed to get the plasma mix right I’d probably be dead,” Izareal admitted.
“Do you consider Lucifer a sibling? Or, is that a bit too weird for you?” Becky asked.
“Um, I call him one of my siblings, there isn’t actually a distinction in enochian between emotional bonds but the emotions are different… he’s different and it’s weird. I don’t know how to describe it,” Izareal said.
“Life is weird, I don’t think anyone really knows how emotions work.” Becky wrinkled her nose up into an expression of irritation.
Izareal poked the tip and Becky yelped, swatting at the offending digit. They walked around after that, occasionally stopping to chat with other people but Becky never once left Izareal’s side.
It was comforting and a bit embarrassing for her to realize she was being so obviously uncomfortable with the few people that were wearing her wing but Becky didn’t seem to mind and neither did the majority of the cosplayers.
“There’s a singing contest for the people cosplaying Izareal if you want to participate,” Becky mentioned in a lull between conversations.
“Wouldn’t that be cheating?” Izareal asked.
“I don’t think so, no one knows it’s you and if you don’t use your grace there really isn’t any advantage you can have over them.” Becky grabbed a water bottle, cracking the seal and downing half of it.
“About two millenia of practice say otherwise,” Izareal deadpanned.
There was the sound of an angel’s wings flapping, a bit louder and more varied than normal and Gabriel was standing next to her, a stupid grin on his face as he stared at her. Izareal realized with a vaguely sinking sensation that she was not going to get out of this without singing at some point.
“Oh, come on, Izzy, one song,” Gabriel weedled.
Izareal groaned, “Fine, one song but that’s all I’m going to give you.”
Becky squealed in glee and hugged Izareal around the waist with all the exuberance of a girl barely out of teenage hood. Izareal rolled her eyes as Gabriel pulled out his phone and started taking pictures.
They barely had to wait ten minutes for the karaoke to be set up and for the first few people to go before Izareal was shoved up on stage. The first song had been religious, one of the old ones adapted for modern music and the second girl had chosen something peppy enough to get the crowd riled.
Izareal wasn’t feeling peppy and most of the old songs were meant for choir so she’d made her choice accordingly.
“If I die young, bury me in satin, lay me down on a bed of roses,” By the second line she was so absorbed in the song she didn’t notice the second Archangel in the audience.
Humanity puzzled Lucifer.
It had been millenia since he had truly walked the mortal plane and years since the last of his Fallen had succumbed to Heaven’s forces. He started at the obvious places but quickly found that the large, sprawling churches meant to showcase his Father’s wealth and power were not the places where Izareal would frequent.
He bounced around a bit watching births and deaths, celebrations and people working their hardest to get by. It was… fascinating to watch someone so beaten down by life that they had no hope of ever climbing back to the top again stumbling through it nonetheless and getting by when they fell down.
Lucifer watched as the humans changed before his eyes, adapting themselves to places and situations that by all rights should have destroyed them.
Lucifer watched the horrors of war and starvation and plague and just plain, ordinary human neglect and violence.
Lucifer watched people reach out to help others that they had no knowledge of or connection to before the moment where help was offered.
Lucifer watched sensless murder taking place on every corner of the globe.
Lucifer watched and thought he was beginning to understand why Izareal loved it so much.
Humanity was diverse and massive, a mixing and melding of so many personalities and experiences. They weren’t good or evil, though members of the populous definitely leaned toward one way or the other. They were chaotic in nature but strived for order.
It was fascinating and captivating and Lucifer found himself watching more and more intensely as time passed and it became less about trying to at least tolerate humanity for Izareal and more about watching humanity itself.
And then he found the Supernatural books.
That had been a laugh, the first laugh he’d had in centuries, to think that a prophet had been designated to write about the supposed end times and it was a two bit author barely scraping by by writing fiction.
Somewhat bad fiction at that, though Lucifer had no real reference for that kind of thing. It was… intriguing to read, to witness his Vessel’s hardship, even through the lense of supposed fiction.
And then he found out there was a so-called convention happening around the books and he couldn’t resist the temptation.
The convention center wasn’t all that large but Lucifer hadn’t really expected it to be, that the books warranted a meet up was astonishing in and of itself. He’d popped in outside and felt the presence of two other angels.
Two very familiar angels and the Vessels.
Lucifer had shouldered his way into the hall, he hadn’t expected the two of them to be here of all places but Gabriel had always been a massive prankster and the books were written about the Winchesters after all.
And then he heard her voice and Lucifer stopped, unable to move as the sound of one of his own singing reached his ears for the first time since before the Fall.
“Sink me in the river, at dawn, send me away with the words of a love song,” the notes were clear and clean, carrying over the crowd even though her voice was soft enough that it shouldn’t be heard all the way in the back of the room.
“Oh,” Lucifer breathed.
He had to lean back against the wall, his body’s legs suddenly unable to support his weight.
That was an entirely new feeling and the unfamiliarity of it was almost enough to send him scurrying off to try and find the source but… The source was all too obvious wasn’t it.
Izareal was standing on a stage and singing into a microphone with her beautiful eyes closed, every bit of her focus put into and behind her words. The machinery subtly warped her words, the sound of her voice but the music falling from her lips was still enough to make the heart inside Lucifer’s chest do a double time tap.
Lucifer hadn’t meant to Fall.
After all, how could you mean to do something if you had no clue that it was a possibility. But in that moment, as he watched Izareal sing about love and death with her hair a halo of gold around her face and her wing spread out even though it was tucked out of sight of mortal eyes he realized that he didn’t regret any of it.
Not his rebellion, not the Fall, not the Garden, not the Cage.
Each and every one of those decisions had been a stone on the path that had led him here, right here, watching Izareal sing until her breath was gone and her voice hoarse.
His eyes stung and something warm and wet slipped from the corner of his eye to roll down his cheek.
“Penny for your thoughts, oh no, I’ll sell um for a dollar,” Izareal sang.
“Brother,” Gabriel’s voice said from somewhere close by.
Lucifer turned his head to catch sight of him out of the corner of his eye. He was shifting on his feet, wings fluttering nervously on his back but that was the only real evidence of his emotions.
No threat, Gabriel had never been a threat, at least not to any of his siblings, humans were a different story but from what Lucifer had seen those were mostly scum of the earth that even Izareal wouldn’t miss. Lucifer turned his attention almost fully back to Izareal and her song.
“How long has it been since you’ve heard one of us sing?” Gabriel asked after a long pause.
“The Fallen… the fire scorched their vocal cords, along with their wings.” Lucifer tensed.
Gabriel just cursed under his breath, careful not to catch anyone’s attention and then his wing was around Lucifer’s own. The devil shook slightly, under the touch, It had been too long since anyone had wrapped him up in their wings.
The last one… the last one had been Michael, before Lucifer’s one defiance, might have even been before Izareal was created. Lucifer was a fucking archangel, the second born, the most powerful of them all save for Michael. Why would he ever need comfort?
Why would he need protection? Affection?
What use had an Archangel for that?
“Gabriel, where are, oh,” a familiar voice said from his other side and Lucifer turned his head to look at the tall man staring at them.
Sam was young, oh so young, even by human standards, barely into his mid twenties but his eyes were older than that, old enough to make Lucifer shift uneasily. He didn’t want to disturb his Vessel or Dean or Izareal, he’d just… been unable to stop himself once he’d heard the music.
“Hello, Sam,” he whispered.
“Hello,” Sam breathed, taking a surreptitious step forward before he stopped himself, “What are you doing here?”
Lucifer’s eyes flicked back up towards the stage, toward Izareal. The song was starting to end, he should be leaving but she was mesmerizing, her grace sitting just under her skin, under the fasimally of humanity she’d pulled over herself like a cloak.
A hand touched his shoulder and he barely held back a flinch, wings fluttering in surprise as he whipped around to stare at Sam. There was an expression on the Vessel’s face, not pity but something very close to it, close enough that he nearly recoiled on instinct.
“It’s been a while since you’ve heard her, hasn’t it?” Sam asked.
Lucifer swallowed and nodded, eyes flicking between the stage and Izareal in an attempt to keep them both in focus and failing miserably.
“She compares us, you know?” Sam asked. “I don’t think she realizes she’s doing it half the time, she only told me about it once, said I was the brightest soul she’d seen in a long time. I didn’t even realize the comparison was there until I saw you.”
“You looked at him in the church!” Gabriel squawked.
“Yeah, kind of hard not to what with everything,” Sam shrugged as if the fact that his eyes weren’t burnt out of his skull wasn’t a miracle in and of itself. “Her set’s nearly over, should I tell her you were here?”
“No,” Lucifer snapped, not liking the panic that had started rising up in his blood, in his grace. “I’ll… When she calls me I’ll come but… I can’t, I can’t if she doesn’t want me!”
With that he pulled from their grasp and beat his wings, launching himself into the air and away.
A Handful of Grain
Izareal hadn’t been expecting the cupid to hug her, hadn’t expected the eager squeal and flutter of blush colored wings before she was swept up in arms too warm to be human. Her eyes went wide as she hugged back, staring in blatant confusion at the three men watching in mild horror.
His wings folded over hers, carefully folding her into a gentle embrace that his mortal form didn’t match. She took a deep shuddering breath and felt herself relax minutely.
It had been millenia since she’d been held but any of her siblings save for Gabriel, and Lucifer but she wasn’t thinking about that. She didn’t know this angel, had probably never met him, he felt young, oh so young, younger than Castiel.
“Izareal!” The cupid nuzzled into her as she held him, not pulling back. “It’s been so, so long since any of us have seen you.”
“I didn’t think any of you wanted to see me, given… everything,” Izareal murmured.
The cupid gasped and pulled back, looking up at her with big eyes and a slightly injured expression plastered across his face. “Who would ever make you think that? Tell me and I’ll smack them across the face with my wings.”
Gabriel snorted from where he was leaning against a storage crate. “I told you they don’t all hate you, you just keep refusing to believe me. Remel, mind letting her go, that body still needs to breathe, she’s more tied to this plane than we are.”
“Oh,” the cupid – Remel – started and let her go, “Sorry, sister, I didn’t mean any hurt.”
“It’s fine,” Izareal said slowly. “I take it you aren’t the one making people eat each other.”
Remel gasped, hands coming up to his mouth in shock, “People are eating eachother!”
“I’m going to take that as a no,” Dean muttered.
“Yeah, that’s your best bet,” Izareal directed at him before going back to talk to the cupid. “If it isn’t you we don’t actually know who it might be and it would probably be best for you to not do anything more here for the moment. Something is going wrong and we’re going to fix it but if you keep doing your job here, in this town, more things are going to go wrong and it’s going to get a bit too muddled for us to figure out what exactly is responsible for everything.”
The cupid considered for a moment and then nodded slowly. Izareal let out a tiny sigh and smiled at him, his face lighting up in joy when he realized she was looking at him. He squealed again and stepped forward to give her another hug.
Izareal just rolled her eyes and draped her wing over his folded pair. He vibrated slightly and then went still, pulling back to look her in the eyes, head tilting to get a better look at her.
“It’s been a long time since one like you has shared a love bond, I’m glad that I got to see it before I left town,” Remel said, face completely and utterly serious before flapping his wings.
Izareal stared at the place he had been, completely gobsmacked by what he’d said. Love bonds, true love bonds, not the cobweb thin bonds that stretched between all members of the Host, was rare.
Sibling bonds were more common, as she remembered it, along with the webwork of a choir. Though, that might have changed, from what Izareal had managed to get out of Castiel Heaven had gotten far more… clinical over the years.
Love bonds, romantic bonds were different, special in a way and rare enough that out of the hundred plus angels that had been in Lucifer’s Choir there had only been two pairs. Izareal didn’t know why they were so rare, though she suspected that part of it was the fact that most angels were taught love in the braud, all encompassing sense and never thought of loving people in specific.
She hadn’t seen many outside of those five angels, she’d caught glimpses and had suspected Raphael had one considering the few times she’d seen him he’d never been too far from a young seraph who didn’t take anyone’s shit but she’d never been the best at telling the differences. It almost made her wish she’d known Ariel better back in Heaven, that angel had had an unairing talent for picking out bonds and emotion in general.
“Love bond?” Sam asked.
Izareal looked at him with a vaguely blank expression before shaking her shock off and smiling. The smile hurt but it wasn’t the bone deep gash it could have been, that it should have been.
“Romantic love, Samalam,” Gabriel chirped. “It’s rare and exceptionally powerful when an angel falls in love. I’ve never been good at recognizing the bonds myself but, well, cupids are the foremost expert on these things.”
“And we’re surprised that she’s in love with Lucifer, why?” Dean asked.
Gabriel and Izareal both turned to blink at him and at Sam, who was nodding along like this all made pitch perfect sense. Izareal wanted to scream at them that they were wrong, that they had to be wrong because love bonds weren’t a one way affair, they never had been.
And that meant…
“I mean you gave up your wing for him, and I know you say you would have done that for any of the others but… you nearly died, Z. That isn’t a small sacrifice to make.” Sam’s face was so fucking earnest that she almost couldn’t stand it.
“Mmm, true, true, but the thing is, love bonds aren’t one way, they can’t be or it turns parasitic rather than symbiotic. Being bound to someone you love, with all your grace, knowing that they don’t feel the same… well, that’s enough to drive most insane isn’t it,” Gabriel said.
“So, we knew Lucifer wanted her, he kissed her for fuck sake,” Dean said.
“That has a very different meaning for us than it does for humans.” Gabriel’s many wings fluttered.
Lucifer had been… different when she’d seen him, when he’d danced with her. She’d thought it was just a fixation, him clinging to the one good thing he could remember that he had left.
Izareal thought back on that meeting, on how he’d never taken his eyes off of her, at how he’d stared at her like she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen, like she was the center of his universe. He’d never looked at anyone like that before, not to her knowledge, not even their Father.
“The most precious of my angels,” Izareal murmured, only realizing as the words left her mouth that they’d been verbal.
“What?” Gabriel choked out eyes going wide. “Did he seriously call you that?”
Izareal nodded, one hand coming up to touch her lips. She hadn’t meant to voice that but the words were too much to keep inside, too big to hide away.
“Oh, wow, Lucy got sappy when we weren’t looking.” Gabriel whistled, rocking back on his heels.
“He spent millenia locked up in solitary confinement, I think he’s entitled to a little sappiness,” Dean grumbled.
“Let’s get back to the room, we need to figure out what the fuck is going on and that was our only lead so far,” Izareal said.
“Cassy was doing some recon, let’s find out what he has to say about everything.” Gabriel waved his hand above his head in a theatrical manner.
“Famine, Famine, of course it’s fucking Famine, why the fuck wouldn’t it be fucking Famine,” Z cursed.
“I want to know who let him out of his fucking box, I thought he got sealed up back in the thirties,” Gabriel snarled.
Sam blinked, Gabriel had been laughing and joking barely a second earlier, chipper and cheerful as ever. He hadn’t known anyone could flick between emotions that quickly except in bad romance novels, which he’d read more of than was probably healthy.
“He was, I was the one that did the sealing,” Z growled.
“You sealed up a primordial force… do you think you could do it again?” Dean asked.
Z snorted and rolled her eyes. “Last time I had the element of surprise, Skadi, and a shit ton of prepared spell work on my side. I have no clue how we’re going to deal with this this time.”
“Well, if all else fails we just need to get the ring off his finger.” Gabriel’s wings fluttered.
“Ring?” Dean asked from where he was examining a map of the area.
“All the Horsemen have them, break the ring’s contact with the main part of the vessel and… Sam, why are you clinging to me like I’m a teddy bear?” Z asked.
Sam blinked and looked down at her, slightly hard since he was wrapped around her like a particularly tenacious octopus. He didn’t quite remember doing that, or well, he did but the act seemed to be weirdly fogged but he knew he didn’t want to let go, not under any circumstance.
“I… I have no idea?” Sam said.
There was something inside him that ached, something deep and dark and dangerous. It made him feel hollow and like he’d never be able to get enough of Z pressed up against him.
It wasn’t sexual, he knew that much, nothing with Z ever was sexual but there was something crying out in the deep animal parts of his brain that wouldn’t shut up.
“Shit,” Z muttered and her wing became physical enough for her to curl it around him.
That was better, he didn’t know how but it made everything a lot better.
“I think Famine might know we’re here,” Cas commented from where he was hovering at Dean’s shoulder.
“That would be a safe guess, considering I can feel him. He keeps pushing at me, I don’t actually know how long it’ll take before I need to stop blocking him.” Z shifted a bit, not away but kind of around so she could face the others.
“What happens if you stop blocking him?” Dean asked.
“I don’t actually know what my deepest hunger is-” Z started.
“I can take a wild guess,” Gabriel interrupted. “You’ve had millenia without any sort of regular contact with other angels. I’d put good money on you ripping open your connection to the host and shouting their ears off.”
“Like they’d actually answer.” Z rolled her eyes.
“You are underestimating how compelling you are,” Cas grumbled, one hand going to Dean’s shoulder. “It was difficult to ignore you even when I thought you part of Hell’s schemes.”
“You actually thought that I wanted to end the world?” Z asked.
“It was the only logical conclusion I could come to with what little information was given to me… and the fact that you were one of Lucifer’s Choir may have been brought up more than once as a reason for you to be on the Apocalypse’s ‘bandwagon’,” Castiel actually raise his hands to do air quotes, it was hilarious, “you nearly died to save his life, your sacrifice had been noted.”
“Fuck sake,” Z sighed and leaned back into Sam. “I take it that all of them think that I wanted the Cage open.”
“Not now, not after you fought to stop the seals from breaking. At least not amongst the lower ranks,” Cas said.
Famine laughed as Izareal stared him down, this was a bad idea, the primordial might have been weak, starved from years under the weight of the seal Izareal and Skadi had woven of grace and magic, but he was growing stronger by the minute. She could feel him, the weight of his presence burning across the shields she was trying desperately to keep up.
“You think you can kill me, little angel, you can’t even fly.” Famine grinned, at her, chapped lips pulling taught and white.
“I didn’t need to kill you last time, I didn’t even need to take a step in your general direction to crush you like the cockroach you are,” Izareal twirled her blade in her hand.
The power in the room built against her shields and she shifted her weight to distribute it more evenly, to give herself a better base to attack from. She hadn’t been built for battle, hadn’t been created or molded into it in the same way that Cas had been, that he was still but she’d spent the entirety of humanity’s existence on earth.
Humanity was violent, it was in their DNA, right down in the deepest, darkest parts of their psychology. Izareal had learned a lot over her centuries on earth and the ability to fight, the ability to hold her own against someone who was bigger and stronger than she was was one of them.
One of the demons scoffed and Izareal’s eyes flicked to him, assessing whether or not he was going to attack. The demon shifted nervously under her eye, the face under his skin twisting into a warped visage of panic and fear. He’d never had the eyes of an angel on him before and even if it was a half powered one like her the experience must have been unnerving.
And that second, that moment where her mind flicked to immediate danger rather than the constant threat of Famine’s influence was enough.
Her shields cracked under the weight of Famine’s power and she crumpled like a marionette cut loose of its strings. She heard Sam scream for her and Gabriel cry out in fear but none of that truly mattered to her in that moment.
There was a space inside of every angel, a space that was meant to be filled with the presence of their Choir or, if they didn’t have one, the Host in general. Their grace was meant to mix and mingle, weaving together like some complicated bit of lace, the pattern shifting and changing as time went on.
God was supposed to be a part of that pattern but Izareal had never felt his touch except in barely there ripples through Lucifer and in the moment when her Name had been burned into her grace like a brand. She’d thought of some of her actions as in service of her Father in the sense that all Heaven did was in service of him but that wasn’t really true.
Izareal didn’t know God, had never known him in truth and nothing she had ever done had been in service to him. In actuality the one thing she had ever served was her family, her siblings, Heaven as a whole rather than any one part of it, the web and weave so interconnected and beautiful in its complex difference.
That had been the worst part of Falling, having that comfort, that sense of community ripped away from you to leave nothing but an empty, aching pit of despair where the presence of the only family you had ever had once sat. The feeling of it never faded, never went away, it was always there, always waiting to swallow an unsuspecting angel whole.
Izareal hadn’t fallen with the Legion but she had fallen none the less and though she’d learned how to ignore the gaping hole in her grace, the pit that she’d learned to fill with humanity and their many gods, it was still there.
Famine ripped that hole open, emptied out the things that made the pain bearable, something that could be lived with and left nothing but the yawning empty maw of nothingness where her Choir had once sat. The darkness and lonely abyss of it opening and turning toward her like a flower toward the sun.
Izareal convulsed as the first wash of endless loneliness crashed over her head, dragging her under the surface. It hurt, it hurt like nothing else she’d ever felt, the only thing worse the loss of her wing but that had hurt enough that she hadn’t been coherent with it, hadn’t been able to focus past the agony as the seconds dragged into minutes into hours while Gabriel tried to save her life.
She was able to focus now, able to feel every excruciating second of it.
Izareal choked in a breath, threw her head back, and screamed and screamed and screamed.
Round the World
“Are you an angel?” The little blonde girl peered up at him with narrowed eyes.
Lucifer blinked down at her, he hadn’t exactly expected that kind of reaction from a juvenile human barely into the beginnings of maturity. Then again, that phrase had been asked of him before but never with so much suspicion aimed his way.
“Why yes, I am,” Lucifer said, seeing no reason to lie to the pint sized human trying to eviscerate him with the power of her mind.
It is, Lucifer admits, incredibly adorable and reminds him of the one time Izareal had nearly a chunk of Azazel’s feathers out when he’d interrupted a particularly complicated bit of Weaving. The memory almost made him wish he could see what Izareal would have looked like had she truly Fallen but, no, he wanted her as she was.
Izareal was perfect as she was now and he’d accept no other view point.
She could do with more power, he’d give her more power if she asked it of him, feed her his own feathers and blood, but if she never grew beyond what she was, never became more in a way that would benefit her beauty Lucifer wouldn’t mind.
“Do you know Castiel?” She asked, spitting his little brother’s name like it was an especially dirty insult.
Lucifer blinked at her.
What could his younger brother have possibly done to warrant this level of ire from a little girl? He’s honestly curious about that because Castiel genuinely liked humanity from what little Lucifer had seen of him.
“Yes, he’s younger than I am but I have encountered him a time or two,” or a hundred times on the battlefield, Castiel had been an impressively blood thirsty little thing despite his youth.
“He has my father, I want him back,” the little girl looked at him as if Lucifer would be able to do something about that.
Lucifer raised an eyebrow.
Ah, this was the daughter of Castiel’s vessel, then. Lucifer could see the resemblance now that he thought about it but how the little girl knew about angels was a mystery.
Had the littlest angel been so indiscreet as to actually let the tiny thing see him claim his vessel?
“I have no idea how you would like me to solve that problem for you, little one, I’m not exactly on Heaven’s best side at the moment,” Lucifer said.
The girl huffed and actually stamped her foot before visibly deciding that trying to convince him of anything else would be a supremely bad idea. The girl had definitely met angels before then, or at least, been in visual range of the utter bullshit Zachariah and his ilk were able to produce.
“Would you like an icecream?” Lucifer asked. “I’ve heard talking about these things sometimes helps one deal with them.”
Which was how Lucifer wound up sitting on a park bench with a cone of black cherry ice cream while a little blonde girl told him all about how her father was being possessed by an angel. Apparently, Castiel had gotten into a spot of trouble with the higher ups in Heaven and had lost his earth privileges for a while.
The vessel had gone back to his family, got tracked by demons, and the Winchesters had had to intervene. Claire had gone a bit quiet as she got to the part where Castiel had come back.
“I just wanted my mom to be safe,” Claire had muttered.
She’d been a vessel, she’d been a vessel for a total of fifteen minutes. Lucifer had made a choking noise and wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
Children weren’t meant to be vessels, they shouldn’t be vessels, they were too young to deal with it, too impressionable and too mercurial all at once. There was too much risk to both the angel and the human in question.
Claire was coping though, as well as anyone could. Her mind hadn’t been overwritten and she hadn’t over written Castiel so they’d gotten off better than the three Fallen who’d tried to possess children.
But apparently her mother… wasn’t.
Claire hadn’t been specific about it, Lucifer didn’t think she could be at the moment. There was a pain to her words, deep and bleeding like someone had sliced her stomach open and spilled her guts all over the grass at their feet. The wound needed time to scab over before the words would pore out.
Lucifer tilted his head and peered down at her, running his eyes over the soul lying under her skin. If he didn’t know better he’d think he was looking at a fledgling, the tendrils of her soul had been affected by Castiel on a level that he didn’t recall seeing before and he was sure he would remember, even if it had only been through Fallen eyes.
It might have been because Castiel was young and had absolutely no idea what he was doing, it might also have been because Claire was especially stubborn. Either way Lucifer couldn’t wait to introduce her to Izareal.
He was almost certain that the other angel wouldn’t approve of him kidnapping the little girl right now but once she met Claire, and found out her family situation, he was almost certain she’d agree that the girl was better off away from her mother.
“I’m going to warn you that your father might not be alive anymore, angels are not the best at taking care of our vessels. There isn’t a lot that can hurt us but that can still hurt our bodies. It might not even be Castiel’s fault, I know of at least two angels that wouldn’t have hesitated to pull your father’s soul from his body after the little incident you witnessed.” Lucifer took another bite of his ice cream.
“I know, I’ve actually read the bible. I don’t think many people have because angels… you aren’t nice are you?” Claire asked.
“No, most of us aren’t, Izareal might be the only one of us who is truly kind. Maybe some of the cupids but those of us you’ll encounter most often were built for war. Were built for The War,” Lucifer confirmed.
“So which one are you?” Claire asked.
“I’m… well, I’m Lucifer, little one,” Lucifer admitted.
“Oh.” Claire peered up at him with skeptical eyes. “You don’t act like the people at church say you would.”
Lucifer wrinkled his nose, organized religion. He had no idea which demon had come up with that particular concept or if it had been a demon at all but whomever they were had probably gotten a medal.
“A lot of stories have been blown out of proportion with time. I’ve been… absent from this plane for a long, long time.” Lucifer tilted his head back to peer at the sky.
“Humans have a hard time comprehending things bigger than themselves,” Claire pondered.
Lucifer returned to his ice cream and then something brushed up against the outer layers of his grace.
Lucifer paused mid lick and his head snapped up. The little girl sitting next to him cocked her head, a questioning look on her face.
“I think I need to go,” he said after a moment of trying to parse the sensation.
“Is something wrong?” Claire asked.
“I think someone’s in trou-” Lucifer cut himself off as Izareal’s grace hit him like a ton of bricks.
He couldn’t even make out any words, she was just screaming. But the scream was full of so much emotion that Lucifer could almost choke on the sound of it.
Fear and grief and pain all threaded through the sound, through the press of her grace.
“Go! She’s hurt! Go!” Claire cried and Lucifer spent a second to marvel at the fact that she could feel exactly what he was feeling.
Lucifer flapped his wings and took off, ripping through the planes as he went, not caring who heard or saw or what angels felt him as he went. Izareal was in pain, Izareal should never be in pain after what she’d had to endure.
Whomever was responsible for this was going to pay.
Gabriel clapped his hands over Sam’s ears and winced as his own eardrums popped. Izareal’s voice wasn’t entirely human at the moment, he wouldn’t have been surprised if her throat was bleeding, vocal cords streading under the force of her grace.
Or that would have happened if she was human, if her body was human, it was hard to remember that it wasn’t, that it was just her physical form.
Gabriel tried to reach out to her, tried to touch her mind with his own, backpedaling abruptly when he felt what was going on inside her mind. There was a black hole in the center of her grace, a space that the rest circled around, gaping and bleeding and empty.
He pulled back fast enough that he would have given himself whiplash if he was human, he couldn’t look at that, couldn’t bear to watch it, to feel it even if the sensation was second hand.
Gabriel had never fallen, not truly even though he hadn’t been in Heaven since the War. He didn’t think that he could Fall, given his nature as an Archangel, Lucifer hadn’t truly Fallen either, not in the way normal angels did.
He’d met Fallen before, both of the Legion and not but he’d never lingered around them for extended periods of time. They were hunted in the case of the Legion and watched carefully in the case of all others, those that had removed their grace.
The only angel he’d seen with any regularity was Izzy and he’d never risked staying with her for too long. He’d wanted to, wanted that connection with his family, wanted to comfort the sister who he had quickly discovered to be one of the best of their family but she had already been Fallen, already been on thin ice with the Host and he hadn’t wanted to make it worse.
But in all the time Gabriel had known Izareal she had never given any indication of the pit at the center of her being. He’d seen her angry, sad, grieving, laughing, joyous and furious but never once had he seen her in pain any more tangible than that caused by grief.
No, that was a lie, she’d been in this much pain before, the memory of the moment burned into Gabriel’s grace like a brand, like his own name had burned when it was bestowed upon him.
But she hadn’t screamed then, hadn’t even reached besides the tears that had seared themselves down her cheeks. She’d been silent as she bleed out on his hands, grace flowing faster than he’d thought he could stop.
He’d had to pull her into the physical realm to save her, to cauterize the wound, to stop her from dying in his arms. He’d been surprised at her form, at how human she looked because even though he hadn’t made a point of remembering who was in what Choir he’d known she was a Star Weaver.
Though her form had been a bit of a lucky break considering she’d been stuck on that same plane since she’d survived that traumatic bit of healing.
Gabriel should have left her to die then, even if it would have broken his heart, there’d been too much risk of someone finding him in the hours he spent healing and then trying to get Izareal to respond to him. But he hadn’t, he couldn’t have just left her there.
And he couldn’t just leave her to suffer like this without any support.
Gabriel took in a deep breath that he didn’t need and began to reach out again.
“I’d stop, if I were you,” said a familiar voice.
It was cold and deep, as smooth as chocolate as it tipped off a tongue sweet with poisoned wine. It was also completely and utterly livid in a way Gabriel hadn’t heard since before the Fall.
He turned his head, making sure his hands were still cupped over Sam’s ears to stare at Lucifer. The other angel wearing an expression that said he would happilly murder Famine and dance on his ashes, his wings were arched over his head, almost on the physical plain, white as the hottest of flame with an edge sharp enough to cut if provoked.
Lucifer was definitely provoked now.
Famine dropped his influence enough for Izareal to stop screaming, the little hitches of her breath tearing at Gabriel’s heart like the sharpest of blades. The entity turned to smile at Lucifer like a dog just noticing its master.
“Lucifer, shining one! It’s good to see you again! It’s been so very long since I’ve seen you! Have you come to give me my orders at la-” Famine choked on his own voice as Lucifer’s hand wrapped around his throat in a vice like grip that cut off his air.
“Orders?” Lucifer purred. “What orders would I have for a washed up little pustule like you? This form is even more pathetic than the last one I saw you take. You really should have stuck with the half starved cat.”
Lucifer’s blade slipped into his hand with an ease that made Gabriel shiver before the other archangel plunged it into Famine’s chest. He jerked the blade up and around before dragging it up, slicing through the entity’s chest like it was made of tissue paper.
Light flared, burning Famine from the inside out, the power of it enough that Gabriel would have had to blink back spots if he were human. Lucifer’s eyes flashed a bright, red as the entity disintegrated under his hands, the ring that had been on his finger falling to the ground with an audible thump.
Lucifer pulled back, eyes glowing a bright red in his face, like hot coals, like the heart of a red dwarf star. He took a breath, wings flicking as he folded and refolded them again and again.
“Lucifer?” Izareal asked from the floor, voice not showing a trace of the trial she’d put it through.
Lucifer was away from the wheelchair Famine had been using and kneeling by Izareal’s side in less than a second, one hand outstretched but hovering over her cheek. Gabriel rolled his eyes at his brother’s hesitance, it wasn’t like it wasn’t obvious the two of them were completely gone on one another.
Granted, Lucifer was also completely coo coo for cocoa puffs after so long in the fucking Cage but still.
Izareal smiled up at him, face all soft and tender and Gabriel almost gaped as Lucifer melted under her gaze. Gabriel hadn’t known Lucifer could do that! Go from murderous to sappy puppy in under a second.
What the ever loving fuck?
The Awkward is Here
Dean took one look at Lucifer and made a noise of choked off amusement flavored with mild horror. He’d been ready for it, kind of, the cupid had made it pretty clear that Izareal was going to end up cuddling up to Lucifer at some point.
He just hadn’t expected it would happen this quickly, or literally.
Dean turned to look at Gabriel and gestured at the archangel shaped limpet that was clinging to Izareal. Izareal didn’t seem to exactly mind the clinging but it was still incredibly unsettling to watch the literal fucking Devil cling to a woman Dean considered all but a sister at this point.
“So, the apocalypse has taken a bit of a rain check,” Gabriel said, face as deadpan as he could make it.
“I can see that, is Famine dead?” Dean asked.
He assumed Famine was dead, the effects of the Horseman’s influence had cut off half an hour earlier but he and Cas had been in the middle of killing demons at the time and it was always good to double check. He and Sammy had learned that lesson repeatedly and painfully until it stuck.
“Yeah.” Sam called from the bathroom, leaning out of the door and Dean had a brief moment of panic when he realized his face was half covered in blood. “Lucifer stabbed him and exploded the demons when they tried to come for me and Gabe.”
“He refused to let us clean the blood off.” Z commented when Dean shot her a dubious look.
“It feels really fucking weird when you use grace on me.” Sam ducked back into the bathroom.
“Okay,” Dean breathed into the silence that fell over the room after that. “I take it his powers are getting stronger.”
Dean turned to consider Lucifer.
The Archangel looked as smug as a cat who’d gotten the cream, killed the canary, and was eating a nice fatty tuna for dinner. He had both arms wrapped around Z’s waist and had looked up from where he was nuzzling her shoulder to examine Dean.
Or maybe it was Cas he was looking at, considering how fidgety the angel had suddenly gotten.
“Castiel, I take it,” Lucifer murmured, voice barely loud enough to care across the room.
A shiver went up Dean’s spine, there was something in the angel’s voice, something unlike every other angel he’d ever met, soft and hard all at once. It was like… like music, like Z sounded when she slipped into enochian to sing songs older than humanity. But he was just talking, how the fuck was he doing that.
“Lucifer,” Castiel replied stiffly.
“Ah, I remember you now, you’re one of the few who survived going toe to toe with Uzza.” Lucifer cocked his head, eyes looking curious.
“Uzza?” Z asked.
“Denebiel, some of them picked a new name when we Fell. Many of them did, they asked me to name them at first but…” Lucifer hesitated.
“It felt wrong?” Z asked after a moment.
Gabriel made a noise and flapped his hands at them. Z’s lips twitched in the way of all younger siblings, his wings must have been doing something incredibly interesting.
“Oh my fucking Dad you two. Stop, please, for the sake of my sanity. You two might not be siblings but I am both of yours,” Gabriel yelped.
“What?” Dean asked, completely lost.
“They’ve got their grace wrapped around each other right now.” Sam emerged from the bathroom, mostly clear of blood save for his clothes. “They keep passing information back and forth, I’m assuming it looks different to Gabe than me.”
“They’re practically making out on your bed, Sammy,” Gabriel flapped his hands around and Sam jerked to avoid what was probably a wing.
Sometimes Dean felt like he was missing half the angel’s social cues with the absence of the wings that literally everyone else in the room could see. This was definitely one of those times, but Gabriel had been on Earth long enough that his cues were pretty simple to interpret.
It helped that Dean had been in that particular state of brotherly indignation before. Living out of motel rooms didn’t exactly give them a lot of privacy.
“I think it’s sweet,” Sam practically cooed.
Gabriel sputtered and a smile began to twitch at the corner of Z’s lips.
“I must tentatively agree with Sam,” Cas sounded vaguely shocked at his own emotional response. “The interaction of their grace is… pure and… more chased than some of the pairs I have known.”
Z grinned, teeth sharp and pure white as the smile on her face lit up the room around her. Lucifer sighed and buried his face back into the crook of her neck, relaxing by increments until he looked almost asleep.
“Soooo,” Dean drawled, trying to cut off the angel shenanigans before Gabriel had an apoplexy. “If his side of the apocalypse is cut off how are we dealing with the management upstairs?”
“Can we think about that later? Please? It’s been a long fucking day,” Z sighed.
Gabriel shook his head and reached up to press his temples like he had a headache. Dean did know that angels could get headaches, then again this whole situation was enough of a mind boggling cock up as it was.
“I just want to know who decided letting Famine out was a brilliant idea. You said you’d sealed it off with Old Enochian script rather than sigils. How many angels would be able to break through those.” Sam leaned back against the wall.
“I’m trying not to think about that. There are at least a hundred angels with enough knowledge to unravel that net but the pagan power Skadi sank into it,” Z trailed off when Gabriel made a little choking noise.
“Skadi, you asked Skadi to help you with that?” He asked.
“Oh, calm down, she doesn’t want to castrate you anymore.” Z rolled her eyes.
Dean wanted to know the story behind that but decided to set it aside for the moment. Z would tell him later if he asked nicely, or maybe Lucifer would because the incident was pretty funny judging by the shaking of his shoulders.
“Now, normally pagan magic wouldn’t be enough to stand up against angel grace but Skadi is… old, old enough that she might actually be older than the settlements that became norse settlements. The fact that she used her specific talent, her area of worship to help with that seal and the fact that the norse pantheon is still worshiped, even indirectly boosted that.” Z reached up to run a hand through Lucifer’s hair, scratching at his scalp.
“Fuck sake, have you ever heard of over kill, Zeezee?” Gabriel asked.
“No such thing,” Z said dryly.
“Whoever did that’d have to be at least one step down from an Archangel to break the bindings.” Gabriel ran a hand through his hair.
“That’s what has me worried.”
“Hey, Lucy, can I talk to you for a minute?” Gabriel asked.
Lucifer looked up from the forms of his Vessel and Izareal curled up together. He thought he should be jealous, that the presence of anyone so close to his Beloved would trigger a violent reaction, especially with her slipping into a meditative state to try and patch up the holes Famine’s teeth had torn out of her.
Lucifer had offered to help, to give her power, to cut pieces off of himself to give to her but she’d just smiled at him, soft and sweet and a bit sad. She’d shaken her head and pressed a feather light kiss to his collarbone.
“No, Lucifer, no.” She’d whispered against his skin, sending prickles down his spine. “You don’t need to do that for me, you never need to do that for me. And I need to do it myself.”
He hadn’t quite understood why but she had said she wanted to do it herself so he’d step back. Lucifer wanted her happy, he wanted her safe and forcing help on her would be… abominable.
Consent was important. He didn’t fully know why yet, knew that his brain was in tatters, that his grace was damaged to a point that he might never recover from but he didn’t mind.
Izareal was here and Sam was here and they were both his in a way that felt right, if not maybe complete. His morals might be a slippery thing but they’d help anchor him until he could learn the rules of the mortal plane beyond the bare basics.
“Yes,” Lucifer said.
He turned slightly to look at his younger brother. His wings flicked with a nervous energy as he watched Lucifer from behind lowered lashes. Whatever he was about to say might not sit well with Lucifer and he knew it.
“I won’t hurt you,” Lucifer reassured.
“No, you won’t, will you.” Gabriel cocked his heads in a quizzical manner.
It was a statement, not a question even though it was phrased like one. Lucifer cocked an eyebrow, a motion he’d learned from observing an elderly school teacher trying to settle down a classroom of rambunctious teenagers.
“You,” Gabriel paused to consider his next words. “You aren’t sane, are you?”
“No,” Lucifer confirmed.
Gabriel blew out a breath he didn’t need and slowly sank to the floor. He didn’t kneel, instead folding his legs into a configuration to resemble a pretzel and resting his hands behind him so he could lean back and stare at the ceiling.
“The Cage really fucked you up, didn’t it?” Gabriel muzed then rushed to say, “Don’t answer that.”
Lucifer shrugged but didn’t interrupt.
“Look, I just need to know if you’re going to go off to hunt down Michael like some warped game of cat and mouse? I know you don’t want the world to end anymore but…” Gabriel trailed off.
Lucifer considered being angry about that but it was a reasonable question. Gabriel had been dreading that exact scenario since… well since the Fall probably and the War had just reinforced that fear.
“I won’t fight,” Lucifer replied. “If Michael comes then fine but I won’t start it.”
“And if he does come for you, if you have to end it?” Gabriel asked.
He looked so young in that moment, young in a way they’d never been, in a way that they’d seen the other angels be but had never been allowed themselves. Lucifer paused, looking at his younger brother and then glancing back at the two people that mattered most to his scattered scraps of sanity.
“I refuse to lose them, to lose her.” Lucifer murmured into the still air of the motel room, eyes fixed on Izareal. “And if I raise my blade to Michael I will.”
Gabriel’s indrawn breath sounded like it hurt. Lucifer didn’t look at him, he couldn’t look at him, not now when the other Archangel looked so vulnerable. They weren’t allowed to be vulnerable, they were the ones who were supposed to protect the vulnerable members of their race.
“That’s signing your own death warrant,” the last word came out in what sounded like a sob. “She’d be devastated.”
“She gave up a wing for you.” Gabriel sounded accusing, half a step from anger.
“You think I don’t know that?” Lucifer turned to look Gabriel dead in the eye. “You think I don’t look at her and see a miracle? You think I don’t know the price she paid to save my life? She has given more than any of us could ever dream of. And it was for me, so yes, Gabriel, I will not fight if our eldest comes for me because if I kill any of our siblings it would spit in the face of what has given me.”
Gabriel swore, at length and in ten separate languages.
“Alright, alright,” the younger archangel said after he’d calmed down. “So mission Stop the Apocalypse isn’t going to involve fighting. We’re going to need a brilliant fucking plan if this is going to go in our favor.”
Lucifer hummed before giving in to temptation and curling up around his Izareal. That was a matter for tomorrow, possibly even later but for now Lucifer was going to join Izareal in meditation and bask in the fact that the two most important people in the world were right here, with him, in this moment of peace snatched between the moments of chaos their lives had become.