Title: My Life is a Movie
Pairings/Characters: Dean/Castiel, Sam, Gabriel, St. Peter, OFC(angel, so OFA?)
Spoilers: Uh, through the end of Season Five, I believe.
Summary: With Cas being held prisoner in Heaven, Dean, Sam, and Gabriel confront the current leaders of the angels, offering an ultimatum.
Disclaimer: Supernatural, its story and characters, along with all songs mentioned/used belong to their respective owners.
Note: Final chapter. For podfic or audiobook, go to masterpost.
The air in the room seemed to crackle with tension, no one moving. The angels seemed to be holding a collective breath as Dean continued to stare down the Leader of the House.
Meanwhile, the angel seemed to be regarding Dean in a way that was both amused and annoyed, like, ‘Oh look. A talking ant. Let’s squash it.’
The leader sat back in his seat, head angled to one side. “I find it most curious, Dean Winchester, to see you so emotional over one little angel when you’ve shown nothing but antagonism toward our kind up until present.”
“That had nothing to do with any of you being angels, it had to do with the angels themselves.” He hooked a thumb at the archangel and then to Azriel. “Clearly we are not incapable of being on friendly terms with your people.”
“I see.” He snapped his fingers. “Castiel.”
The angel appeared on the opposite side of the open floor, trench coat billowing around his legs as he strode forward purposefully. Dean noted the tiny furrow of his eyebrows in confusion when the angel saw him, before Castiel regarded the man who had beckoned him.
“You called for me, sir?”
The angel seated on the raised platform regarded the raven-haired man. “These people have come here to liberate you.”
Cas blinked with a start, blue gaze flicking to Dean out of the corner of his eye, then back to the other man. “Beg your pardon?”
The angel smiled and it wasn’t nice. “They’ve offered Heaven an ultimatum, under the impression you are being held prisoner.”
Cas paled, and Dean fought the urge to look demandingly at Gabriel. He hadn’t lied to them about this, had he? Surely not. A glance at the archangel led Dean to believe that no, Gabriel had not lied, and they were still in very real shit.
“May we speak?” questioned Sam politely. The angel inclined his head for permission, and the brunette regarded Cas as the angel turned to face him. “We came here under a banner of peace.” He glanced awkwardly at the weapons he and his brother both carried. “A cautious banner of peace, given previous interactions with the host of Heaven. After your return to Heaven, we received intelligence that you were not to be allowed back to earth for centuries and were being kept in a sort of solitary confinement.”
Dean nodded, his eyes locking with Cas’. “And you know us, we couldn’t stand by when one of our own was in trouble.” He offered a faint smirk, which Cas actually returned. “We explained to, uh, him,” he said, nodding his head at the other angel, “that if you were here willingly, then everything was fine, but if you were being kept here, stripped of your right to free will which is what we all fought so hard for, well, then, we have a problem.”
Nodding, Sam added, “Given our history with angels, and yours after having sided with humanity during their attempt at Armageddon, you can understand our misgivings about your return to Heaven, coupled with the knowledge you were unable to return to Earth even had you wanted to.” He spread his hands. “Of course, if you are not being held here against your will and wish to stay with your own people, we more than understand.”
“How very… diplomatic of you,” stated Cas, a hint of amusement in his eyes.
Dean shrugged. “You don’t burn your bridges until you’ve got no choice.”
“In the event you are being kept prisoner,” began the Leader of the House, “the Winchesters have informed us that they will see this as hostile actions and a declaration of war against humanity.”
When Castiel’s eyes widened in alarm, Dean offered a sheepish smile, scratching the back of his head. “Like I said, you know us: Winchester’s are loyal to the point of insanity. My father sold his soul to save my life, I sold mine to save Sam’s, Sam willingly sacrificed himself in order to trap Lucifer back in the cage. You’re family, so there’s nothing we wouldn’t give to save you as well.”
The angel on the platform was still watching them with a sort of twisted amusement Dean found most unsettling, knowing without asking that this angel knew who the Winchesters were, and much like Zachariah and Uriel, did not like them at all.
The leader tilted his head. “I wonder if that’s really all there is to it, Winchester.” He snapped his fingers and a wide rectangular image appeared on the wall, like a projector screen and a video on pause. Dean recognized the image, the blood draining from his face when he realized it was the scene from just the day before when Castiel had received summons, right before Castiel vanished from sight and-
The memory started to play for everyone to see and Gabriel snapped his fingers, causing it to vanish once again.
“That,” he began in a low and threatening voice, “is unnecessarily cruel humiliation fitting of only a bullying child.” His voice was a snarl that made Dean’s hair stand on end. “This is not your court and we are not here for your amusement. I have tolerated these proceedings for long enough and have not pulled rank on you, but if you act like a child, I will treat you like one.” He turned and his once hazel eyes now molten gold swept over the rest of the angels, his body suddenly seeming illuminated from within. “I am Gabriel. Archangel and Messenger of God. He who will sound the trumpet on Judgment Day. The other archangels are no longer here to maintain the order, and while your democratic endeavors are most admirable,” He cast a glare at the Leader of the House, “such prejudice and ill-manner are shameful. You are removed from your position. Castiel,” His gaze swept to his brother. “You are released from your duties and are free to return to earth if you so wish, for as long as you wish. Or you may stay and continue in our Father’s service, but it is your choice, as free will was also one of Our Father’s creations, freely given to any who seek it.”
The glow dimmed and his eyes shifted back to their normal color and they were simply looking at the normal Gabriel again, not Gabriel the Archangel.
He folded his arms, regarding the other angel. “Well?”
Under his scrutiny, Castiel let his gaze wander, first to Sam, then the former Leader of the House, the other angels that made up the council, and finally to Dean, lingering for a moment before moving back to meet Gabriel’s.
“I think my time is best spent here for now.”
It was… quiet when they returned to earth. Tangible silence that hung heavily and awkwardly all around them as they stood in the parking area by the trails where they’d left the Impala.
Azriel returned them to the planet, staying only long enough to fix her gaze on Dean, watching him for a long moment, her mouth even opening to speak before she shut it again, nodded to them both, and disappeared.
Sam cast cautious glances at his brother, not really sure what to say or even where to start. In part, he wanted to offer reassurances, another part wanted to offer condolences. Yet another part wanted to march right back into Heaven and demand that Castiel explain himself for what felt like a backhanded slap to them both.
Dean loved Cas, desperately, and never would have let himself fall so hard or become so loyal and devoted if he ever doubted Cas felt anything but the same in return, perhaps not in a romantic sense, but that he was a part of their family and that he belonged with them on earth. Dean and Sam wouldn’t have been so worried, wouldn’t have made spectacles of themselves if they’d known Cas would rather stay in Heaven than with the humans willing to declare war on his behalf.
Then, there was the small traitorous part that also couldn’t fault Cas for his decision either. Loyalty to Dean, though, wouldn’t allow him to pay that part of himself any mind, so he shoved it away turning to his brother, not sure if when he opened his mouth it would be to be equally indignant with his brother over Cas’ decision, to offer comfort, or to, like they did so often, change the subject entirely so that they did not have to immediately deal with the matter at hand.
Hands shoved into the pockets of his leather jacket, Dean turned and began walking toward the mouth of the trails.
“Wha-? Dean! Where are you going?”
Green eyes glanced at him over his shoulder. “Get the lead out, Sammy. We’ve got a job to do.”
With only a backwards glance over his shoulder toward the rest of the vacant parking lot, Sam took off after his brother.
Dean moved liked a single-minded hunter on a hunt, the muscles of his body tight, his expression stony and hard. Sam really wished he had some way of warning whatever they were after that they were on their way and it probably better get while the getting was good. Once they had found it, Sam didn’t doubt they would all but throw their bags in the Impala in order to put this town in the rearview as fast as possible.
He wasn’t really looking forward to the non-stop hunting he knew would lay ahead of them, probably the more dangerous, the more Dean would be drawn into it, something he could physically take his anger out on.
If they ever did settle down and get a house or something, the first thing Sam would do would be to install a punching bag in the garage for his brother to consult whenever he wanted something to hit and beating his brother to a pulp just wouldn’t suffice.
If Azriel and Gabriel had thought Dean was on a war path when they’d gone to Heaven, it was nothing to the fury rolling off of him in waves now.
Sam knew the goblins and gremlins were keeping pace with them in the woods as they walked, a scurry of shadow in the underbrush just outside the line of his vision. Nothing interfered though, as if they seemed to sense something seriously wasn’t right here either. Dean marched forward like he knew exactly where he was head, and Sam followed after, carefully keeping his mouth shut and his mind focused.
When they came to the clearing, Dean’s footing faltered, but his features never changed from grave seriousness and general ‘I am going to find something and then I am going to kill until it is dead’ expression, even as multiple sets of eyes swivels to regard them.
Gip waved sheepishly, then sensing Dean’s mood seemed to cringe in on itself, hand moving instead to removed its hat and wring it nervously.
Gabriel and the little boy he was apparently deep in conversation with also turned their heads to regard him. Sam’s gaze flicked to Gabriel, silently trying to convey a series of questions in an instant, before his eyes slid to the to the brunette little boy watching them with mismatched eyes.
“You found me,” stated the child, his tone a little congratulatory.
“We did,” agreed Dean. “Who are you?”
“This,” began Gabriel, motioning to the little boy, “is his Royal Highness, Prince Daniel, son of the King and Queen of the Goblins, rulers of the Labyrinth, overseers of the Underground, and caretakers of those who are lost or become wished away.”
The boy preened under the pride at who his parents were, but inclined his head politely to both the Winchesters in greeting. “You may simply call me Daniel.”
Dean nodded his head just once. “Okay, Daniel, what are you?”
“Fae,” he said simply. “Or, half-fae, since my mother was originally human, but when she married my father and became Lady of the Labyrinth, she became one of them to a certain extent. My father’s magic is much stronger than hers in most aspects.”
“You said you’re from the Underground?” echoed Sam, glancing at Gabriel for clarification.
“Alternate dimension where most elements of the good folklore live,” explained the archangel. “They use to live here as well, but the bad monsters took over because they don’t require being believed in to thrive.”
Approaching the small boy, Dean knelt in front of him. “Okay, Daniel, now let me explain something to you about this particular world, okay? In this world, there are people like us that know the supernatural exist, but in this world, the majority of those things are bad. Bad enough that it’s our job to hunt as many of them down and kill them, in order to keep people safe. You?” He shook his head. “You didn’t hurt anyone so we’re okay with you, but it might not be safe for you to play in this realm and start trouble again, because, well other hunters might go ahead and hurt you out of fear that when you do grow up, you might become a threat to the people in this world. Do you understand?”
When Daniel nodded, Dean reached up to ruffle his already messy brown hair before standing to his feet. “Good.” He glanced around. “Now, you probably better take your friends and get on home before your parents get worried. And uh, unless you’ve got magic like your dad or something, I probably wouldn’t come over here without a grownup in the future, okay?”
The boy nodded, dropping his gaze to his hand, he lifted it, whirling his wrist around so that it was palm up and a small glass orb now sat in the center of his hand. “Very well. Take this then. As a gift. If I should ever come to visit again, it will also allow me to find you.”
Brows furrowing together, Dean took the apple-sized orb, considering it in his hand with a curious tilt of his head. Sam leaned over to peer at the thing as well. “Uh, thank you, I guess. What is it?”
The boy blinked his wide mismatched eyes, one brown, one green, and said, “It’s, well, it’s one of my parents’ favorite things, actually. My father uses them to see where other people are, especially if they are having to undergo the Challenge of the Labyrinth. It lets you see anyone, no matter where they are.” Dean noticeably stiffened at that, his grip tightening on the orb like a vice, making Sam wonder how the delicate thing didn’t shatter. “But it will also show you your favorite memories, and that’s what my mother likes to use it for. When she tell me stories, she uses the orb or either acts out the different parts, sometimes Sir Didymus will help. He’s charged with looking after me.”
The elder Winchester nodded to the little boy. “We’ll take good care of it then, if it’s something so valuable.”
The boy laughed like that was the funniest thing he’d ever heard. “Oh no, silly. That’s alright. The orb can take care of itself. You can’t break it and you can’t lose it. It’ll always come back to you and bounces if you drop it.”
Pocketing the item, Dean kept his fingers wrapped around the cool glass crystal. “That’s good to know then.” He glanced at Gabriel, Gip, and then the boy again. “Now, how do we get you home safely?”
“That won’t be necessary,” a female voice offered, causing them to turn and the boy’s face to light up. “I’ve come to take him home.”
“Momma!” cried the boy, rushing forward to throw his small arms around her waist and bury his face in the brunette woman’s abdomen.
She smiled affectionately, petting down her son’s uncontrollable hair. “Have you been a good boy, Daniel?”
Her merry green eyes lifted to meet Dean’s, just as Sam elbowed him hard in the ribs, and they both inclined their heads respectfully, slightly bowing at the waist. She nodded in return, straightening as her son moved to stand by her side, his tiny hand seeking hers. Her simple white dress made her look like something out of a painting, and Dean almost swore he had seen her likeness somewhere before, though perhaps younger.
“Thank you for looking after my son. I’ll take your advice to heart as far as his traveling to this realm. Though I am originally from this realm, I was not aware that magical creatures resided in it, nor that my son might be confused with the threats you described.”
Dean shook his head. “No, it’s not… Magic exist here, yeah, but it’s the bad kind. Everything here that’s supernatural or magical is usually very, very bad. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t have a job. We’re Hunters, and people that become hunters always do so because they were either raised in this life or came into it willingly when something of the dark cost them someone dear.” He shrugged. “For us, it was both. My mother was killed when I was younger than him,” he told her, indicating her son. “Sam here was six months old. From then on, our father raised us into warriors so we could hunt monsters and save lives.” He shrugged. “It’s what we do, because the things out there don’t give you any choice but to have to hunt them down.” Angling his head, he regarded her. “Just do me a favor and always make sure Daniel is taught the difference between what makes him good and what would make him our job to deal with.”
Normally, Sam would have snapped at his brother, corrected him for basically threatening this woman and her child, but at the same time, they needed to understand the rules of this world and how it differed from their own, because it was different. Sam felt Dean probably still would have given the kid fair warning regardless. He hadn’t done anything to hurt anyone, but he was magical, and everything in their world seemed to become a threat to humanity eventually, no matter how innocent it started out.
Hell, they were proof enough of how twisted you could become from your true self.
Lecture finished, Dean softened, forcing a half-hearted smile for the kid. “You’re pretty clever with your tricks, I’ll give you that. I could have done without getting pink ooze dumped on me, but waking up in a room covered in glitter was pretty funny, and that musical part of your tricks was pretty creative. We’ve never had something like that happen before.”
The child blinked owlishly at him. “The singing wasn’t me.” His head swung around to regard Gabriel. “He did that.”
Both Winchesters’ eyes moved slowly over to Gabriel, suddenly cold and angry. The archangel shifted awkwardly, clearing his throat and shoving his hands into his pockets, look both guilty and very uncomfortable.
“There’s a, uh, very good explanation for that, actually,” he insisted. Even Daniel’s mother gave him an expectant look, one elegant eyebrow arching in question. “I was trying to teach the kid to branch out and get more creative. His tricks were harmless, but they lacked, uh, flare. For the most part, it was just fun watching people break into synchronized song and dance, innocent, no harm no foul.” He glanced at them. “You, uh, three were the only ones that the spell deviated from pattern on.”
“You ended it, right?”
Gabriel nodded rapidly, hands raised. “Yes. Totally. As soon as I offered to help you with the case since Cas was gone.”
Which was actually very smart on the archangel’s part, Sam thought. The last thing any of them would have needed was for Cas to have come back with them and for that to trigger Dean bursting into a round of “I’m So Excited”.
Though he had nothing to go on on this, Sam thought if that were to happen, Dean might go to very extreme lengths, like oh say hiring a witch, in order for their memories of that to be erased. And maybe putting each of them in the hospital due to blunt force trauma to the head in the hopes they would blame any such memory, lingering or otherwise, on a concussion, because no way on God’s green earth would Dean Winchester ever leave himself wide open to life-long teasing and mocking like that. Ever. Instead, he would make certain it could never be believed as having actually happened.
“Well, thank you again,” Daniel’s mother said, “for playing with my son and keeping him out of trouble.”
When they were finally gone and the Winchesters and angel were left alone, Dean turned on his heel and began to stalk away, Sam shooting Gabriel a glare before following after, and then, with a heavy sigh, the angel followed suit.
As he walked, Dean slid his hands into the pockets of his jacket, seeking and finding the orb therein, his fingers wrapping around it tightly. So badly did he want to pull it out and see if he really could use it to see anyone he wanted, no matter where they were, that he clenched it all the more tightly in his hand, to the point his fingers hurt, so tightly it should have shattered under the pressure, the glass embedding itself deep into his palm.
He didn’t look though. Didn’t, though he wanted to with the desperation of a drowning man. He wanted a lot of things, the first being to understand. He wanted to understand how Castiel could choose to remain in Heaven, why he would choose that over what he could have on earth, how he could still remain loyal to a God who wasn’t there and to siblings who had just been forcing him to stay there.
Though they’d made it clear Castiel had the option to stay in Heaven had he wanted, Dean in no way ever thought the angel would have chosen it. He knew Sam hadn’t either. If either of them had, well, they wouldn’t have basically stormed the castle like they did. There would have been no need for a rescue mission if the person being held hadn’t wanted rescuing, which Dean had been so sure Cas would have been glad for.
The look on the angel’s expression and his decision to stay in Heaven seemed to, in Dean’s mind, contradict each other. He hadn’t wanted to go in the first place, Dean was certain of that, so then why…
The hunter sighed in relief as they emerged from the trail, leaving the lush greenery and foliage of the forest behind them, with its damp earth and palette of green. He wanted miles of highway and their next case in front of him now, to put this small town and its-
His breath left his body in a rush at the sight of the person leaning casually back against the Impala, head tilted up toward the sky as he waited, hands tucked into the pockets of his trench coat.
“Cas,” exhaled Dean, not believing his eyes. He heard a surprised sound from the two men that had been walking behind him, both ignored as Dean surged forward in a hurricane of confusion. “Cas!” he called out.
The angel turned his head and straightened, smiling just slightly as Dean approached and stopped a foot or two away from him. “Hello, Dean.”
The other man’s eyebrows knit together in confusion, his gaze wandering over the angel in disbelief, then back up to his face. “Did you, uh, forget something?” Blinking, Cas tilted his head in confusion. “You decided to stay in Heaven. Why are you here?”
The angel huffed with amusement. “My apologies, Dean, as I was not clear. My stay was temporary. With Gabriel having deseated the Leader of the House, I knew my presence would be required in establishing a better sense of order to Heaven. I’ve informed them that leaders should make a habit of being on friendlier terms with you and Sam. The angels live in a protective bubble, which can give way to corruption if they do not seek counsel outside of their own people. I suspect we’ll be seeing much more of Azriel in the future.” He paused, considering. “She asked that I also remind you that their offer still stands and that she hopes next time she sees you, you’ll have a better idea of what you wish for your future.”
With a bitter laugh, Dean crossed the space between them and threw his arms around Cas’ neck, hugging him tightly. “You stupid sonuvabitch,” he rasped, clinging. “Do you have any idea how worried we were? How mad I was when you decided to stay? To pick those douchebags over the family willing to start a war for you?”
Discreetly, Gabriel reached out and took Sam by the elbow, transporting them both back to the motel. They could at least get their bags and stuff together while they waited.
Wrapping his arms around the hunter’s torso, Cas hugged him back, smiling into the material of Dean’s jacket, before lifting his head to say, “I’m sorry, Dean.”
“You should be,” the other man told him, releasing him, one hand absently cupping the angel’s jaw then clamping on his shoulder before falling away.
“Azriel and the other already have a basic gift set aside for you and your brother,” Cas began conversationally. “What they plan to give to you outside of whatever it is you might request. The ability to retire should you wish to, funds so that both you and Sam will be able to go to school in order to pursue whatever avenue of life you would like. Even to grant you the information you would have already gained in the years after basic schooling you gave up in order to hunt.”
Dean’s eyebrows went up in surprise, his hands resting on his hips. “Generous.”
The angel inclined his head. “She also said the offer of compensation extends to both Bobby and myself, that we would be granted whatever it was we wanted in our future.”
The hunter angled his head. “Oh yeah?” The angel nodded solemnly. “What is that you want?” wondered Dean, genuinely curious.
A small smiled played across the angel’s features, his eyes taking in the different details of the face in front of him. “I’m looking at what I want in my future.”
Color burned across Dean’s cheeks even as his face broke off into a grin. “Yeah? Funny that… because so am I.”
One Year Later
Using his forward momentum, Dean let his socks slide across the hardwood floor of the kitchen, shouldering his messenger bag with one hand and flailing for the slice of toast that had just popped out of the toaster with the other. Castiel snatched the toast away before he could grab it, frowning in disapproval at the plain piece of bread.
“My breakfast,” cried Dean indignantly, dropping the shoes that had been tucked under his arm, and forcing his feet into them.
Castiel tutted and moved over to the fridge, removing a small glass container with a lid, and then a butter knife from the drawer before spreading the garlic herb mixture he’d made the day before across the toast and stuffing the corner of it into Dean’s awaiting mouth. In the background, music drifted through the kitchen, adding even more life to the already chaotically rushed household that morning.
“There,” he said with satisfaction as his boyfriend happily chewed a mouthful. “Breakfast should have flavor.”
Dean pressed a kiss to his cheek, rushing to grab the to-go mug of coffee the angel had already had waiting for him. “I’m not entirely sure garlic-herb is breakfast qualified, but I’ll take it.” He paused by the door to yell up the stairs. “Sam! We’re going to be late for class!”
“I’m coming!” insisted his younger brother, flying down the steps looking as half-hazard as Dean had a minute ago, throwing his book bag over his shoulder even as he struggled to get one of his shoes on.
Dean pointed to the gleaming silver pole in the corner. “Why didn’t you just use the fireman’s pole? It would have been faster.”
Sam scowled at him. “Because despite the fact that this use to be a fire station, it isn’t anymore, Dean.” Cas brought Sam a piece of toast to eat on the way to school as well, the taller man nodding his thanks and biting into it. “I will never stop being grateful he developed an interest in culinary school.”
Dean waved him off, grabbing his keys off the hook by the door. “Stop flirting,” he said, opening the door and darting out of it with Sam right on his heels. “He’s already taken.”
“Have a good day,” Cas called after them, receiving over the shoulder waves in return as both men practically dove into the Impala.
Closing the door, Cas returned to the kitchen and the recipe he was working on for his own classes. Gabriel snapped his fingers, the coffee pot appearing in hand to refill his mug as he sat at the kitchen table looking over his own textbooks and project for school. When he’d finished with the coffee pot, Azriel leaned over to take it from him, filling up her own glass as she continued to read the paper.
“Y’know,” she began conversationally, causing both of her brothers to glance at her. “No matter how much your lives change, you never fail to be an interesting sight to behold.”
Gabriel arched a brow. “Why? Because I’m an archangel who wants to open his own chocolaterie, and Cas is going to school in order to have a cooking show that would put Julia Child and Rachel Ray to shame? Because the Winchesters turned in their guns and ammo for book bags and homework? Good morning, by the way.”
“Yes,” she said simply. Then added, “Good morning. It’s also because the heroes of the apocalypse can barely get out the door and to their first classes of the morning on time without help.”
“That’s what makes them worthy of being earth’s heroes,” stated Cas, offering them each a plate of breakfast. “They’re real people who are always true to themselves and to others whether they’re saving lives by fighting monsters or going to school so they can save lives in a different way.”
Her dark green eyes regarded the man sitting across the table from her. “I don’t fully understand why you’re here all the time though. You don’t live with them exactly, do you? You’re already moonlighting as a Pagan god, aren’t you?”
He snapped his fingers, replacing the stuffed crepe suzettes Cas had made with various chocolate truffles instead, causing the other man to sigh and roll his eyes. “That was part of the deal I made with Sam,” Gabriel said, regarding the truffles and the recipes for each of them and their ingredients. “If I helped them get Cas back, I would be allowed to be apart of their lives. At the time, I had thought it would mean hunting, but I find I much like this turn of events as well.” He snapped his fingers and the truffles were suddenly in a carefully packaged to-go container, along with another filled with the crepe suzettes, and then in the next instant gone. “One slice of toast each won’t be enough,” he said by way of explanation.
“I think what Gabriel is saying,” began Cas, glancing once in the crystal orb on the shelf by the sink, and smiling at the image of Dean it showed him, “is that if you meet the Winchesters and aren’t immediately drawn in by them-“
“It’s because you have no soul,” finished Gabriel, snapping another serving of his breakfast into existence and digging in greedily.
Cas offered Azriel a serene smile over his shoulder. “Exactly.”