When Castiel got a look, a good look, at the Crowley-thing he couldn’t believe it.
It wasn’t an angel, not at all, it was A Something Else. It was mostly angel but it had a swirl of messy darkness marbled through it not unlike a substance that Castiel dimly recalled as fudge ripple ice cream. A swirl of demon and human essence intertwined, polluted the purity of angel nature. The Crowley-thing sent Castiel a snide look and Castiel realized he must have been gaping at the monster. “Take a picture, it will last longer.” A human expression. Castiel didn’t know how to respond. He looked at Gabriel, but Gabriel laughed. Gabriel always laughed. No matter what terrible trick God pulled out of…her…sleeve, Gabriel simply laughed.
It wasn’t funny.
Castiel realized in that moment he was quite angry at God this time. Not just disappointed and confused like he normally was. Castiel was actually angry. Furious, even. He had spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about God – of course, that was his reason for being. He had done God’s bidding, praised and worshiped God, searched for God, shouted prayers to the sky begging and pleading for God to answer him, even tried to become God in God’s absence. And for what? For her to come back at long last, to emerge from hiding, to finally get involved in the affairs of the world once more, only to elevate a tainted creature to his level? It was an insult was what it was.
For the first time Castiel felt that maybe he could understand Lucifer’s position a little. This sudden unwelcome thought horrified him and he found himself exceedingly relieved that there was a new God. Not as a replacement, of course, he was still loyal to the old God, to a point, but more – a backup plan. A second opinion. A line item veto for God…or Jovi, now, he needed to get used to that…for her worst instincts, her more impulsive moments. Castiel was, on the whole, pretty ok with Dean as God. While it had been a shock, it made sense to him somehow. Even though he knew that Sam had his doubts and he understood why, at least Dean was someone that Castiel felt that he could follow. He just wasn’t sure he could follow Jovi any more, at least not only her. It just seemed to Castiel that when she made this Crowley-thing she had finally gone too far.
“What’s your bloody problem? Can’t handle my glory?”
Castiel had been staring again. He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t want to speak to the awful thing anyway. The very idea made him want to scrub his tongue with strong-smelling cleaning chemicals. He started to speak and then stopped, and sent Gabriel another pleading look. Gabriel had a way with lesser beings that Castiel lacked. “Well, Crowley…”
“Oh yeah, uh, Oriphiel…well, it looks to us like you aren’t exactly 99 and 44/100ths pure, there.”
“What?” He dropped the “t” from the end of the word and curled his lip as he said it.
“Like she left a little demon behind in the mix? Around the edges?”
“Oh?” The Crowley-thing inspected himself and seemed impressed. “Good.”
Castiel could hardly wait to get back to Dean. This couldn’t stand.
As for Gabriel, he still couldn’t believe he had his life back. How sweet was that?
After the meetup with Castiel and Crowley, he was thinking about maybe firing up a little Casa Erotica and kicking back with a cold one to celebrate when who should appear but Dean Winchester, aka God. “Yikes. I totally owe you a big apology for all the times I did that to you.” Dean started to talk and Gabriel held out a hand to stop him. “I’m way ahead of you, man.” Because he was. “Jon Bon Jovi’s house was just leveled.” After a moment of shock, Dean started to talk again but Gabriel waved him off a second time. “Would you like to know HOW Jon Bon Jovi’s house was just leveled?
“I’m not sure.”
“Terrorists…” He made air quotes around the word terrorists. “…with an infrasonic weapon…” He made air quotes around the word weapon. “…that played the song “Let It Go” from Frozen? People heard it from 500 miles away. Mr. Bon Jovi is now being interrogated by the Department of Homeland Security. Sorry, I shouldn’t laugh, but. Hilarious!”
“Sigh. I don’t know what that is. Frozen??”
“It’s amazing that I can come back from the dead less than an hour ago, and still be more up to speed on pop culture references than you. It’s a movie. A chick movie. I think you better watch it. Or absorb it. Download it, inject it, snort it, whatever it is you deity-types do.”
“Hm. Much as it pains me to say it, Gabriel, I’m here for your advice.”
“Little late for that now, don’t you think? I mean, my advice would have been, when a very nearly all powerful, super needy, and notoriously capricious being bestows omnipotence upon you and offers you an eternity of unconditional love, don’t reject her.”
“Is she going to go to Lucifer. That’s all I need to know.” Gabriel debated the question in his mind for a moment before replying. He could definitely see both sides of that one. Dean frowned. “What, you don’t know?”
“Eh. I can see both sides of this one. I’ve seen her do some messed up stuff on a whim, but she’s also…infinitely benevolent. So good. Good like, you can’t even fathom the good there. She’s a very sweet girl, at heart. Which my brother, decidedly, is not. Probably the attraction, there. Good girl, bad boy…I’d watch my back.”
“If they team up, what do I do?”
“Would you be freaking serious?”
“I’m as serious as a heart attack, Daddy-O. Can you stop them? Both? And Michael? Because the first thing that either of them is gonna do is get him a vessel. And she can rearchangel him like that.” He snapped his fingers to punctuate the point.
Dean sighed thoughtfully. “I got no idea, Gabe. I’ve been doing this for like, three hours. I have a sinking feeling though, that the reason she was so insistent on opening that cage today was less to set Adam free, and more because she thought she might need Lucifer to defeat me at some point in the not-so-distant future. Does one plus one equal better than me? I don’t know.”
Gabriel considered it, and had to acknowledge that it could be true. “She does like her contingency plans. It’s not that the one thing wasn’t true, but just that a bunch of other things were also, equally true. She doesn’t lie, not really, not ever, she just doesn’t always volunteer all the information?” Something occurred to him, something important. He didn’t really want to help Dean, exactly, but felt obliged to; part of the whole God-Angel dynamic, probably. “I think you’re gonna need some angels. Because she’s already making them. Lucifer doesn’t have the ability to make angels but he’ll be making demons, bet on that.” He decided to keep the whole “Jovi is making human-angel-and-yes-even-demon hybrids eww” idea under his hat, an easy decision since he knew Castiel would be blabbing it in Dean’s ear as fast as his feathered wings could carry him. He was actually surprised Castiel wasn’t already surgically attached to Dean’s shoulder.
“Can you get on that for me?”
After a long awkward pause, Gabriel screwed up his courage to speak. “Welll, here’s the thing, Dean, old buddy, old pal. You know, that I don’t really like to do the whole, getting involved in family squabbles thing…and if you put me in a position where I have to pick a side…I’m not sure which side it’s gonna be. If you were getting along I could serve you both, and I’d be happy to do it, but. This is like an After School Special – When mommy and daddy don’t love each other any more!” He really laid it on thick, allowing his voice to break as if crying because he knew that Dean hated stuff like that. “Don’t make me choose! I just want to be a family again!”
“Really, Gabriel? You won’t help me?”
“I like being alive, and I’d like to keep it that way. And I love her, endlessly and eternally, whereas you, mmmph. Not there yet. Heads up though. Oriphiel…Crowley? You know him, right? Is for her. Whatever loyalty you expect from him, don’t.” Dean made a shocked sound. “I know, your butt buddy drops you like a hot potato when there’s a new kid on the block. Ouch!”
“Trusty Cas is in your corner as always. That’s how sweet she is, she left him to help you. And she didn’t do that on accident either by the way. But he’s just one. You’re gonna need a minimum of three archangels, ones that you can trust, four is better, and as many angels as they can create. It’s exhausting, making angels is, so you should imbue your archangels with the power to make more angels for you and conserve your strength. No working miracles, boyo. Creation, destruction. All the fun God stuff is strictly off limits for now. Save that mojo in case you need it. Because you’re gonna need it.” Dean grimaced in frustration. Gabriel grinned back at him. “Unlimited cosmic power…itty bitty living space.”
Dean disappeared with an annoyed expression.
Now then, where were we? Oh yeah, Casa Erotica.
When Lucifer found Michael’s true vessel, he wanted to scream. He did, actually. He screamed so loudly that he shattered nearby windows and caused an unfortunate pigeon pecking around his feet to explode.
The vessel was unacceptable, completely and totally unacceptable, but apparently it was the only one available. He wondered if she had known this when she gave Michael’s essence to him; he found it very likely that she had. He found it very likely that not only had she known, she had orchestrated it. She’d had the other vessels killed perhaps, or never born, or altered so that they could no longer house an angel. She did things like that. So few seemed capable of perceiving her true nature.
Lucifer approached the boy. He knew that the boy’s name was Aidan, which Lucifer decided that he despised just on general principle. The boy, a skinny, scrawny urchin of perhaps 10 years of age or maybe a little older – Lucifer didn’t like to look at humans long enough to be able to accurately guess ages, even after all this time – was on a cellular phone device. Phone devices, which despite their being trendy and ubiquitous, rather like the name Aidan, Lucifer adored. Something about them made humans exceedingly easy to corrupt. “Hello.”
“Screw you.” Lucifer could see the screen of the phone. The boy was launching cartoon birds into rickety buildings containing round green vaguely porcine monsters using a slingshot, and appeared utterly mesmerized by the process. And yet God somehow claimed that she preferred humans to angels. “Perv.”
“Oh, no, no. I’m not a…perv. I’m a superhero.”
“Yeah, right.” He never even looked up from his phone. It was so rude Lucifer could hardly believe it, that a child wouldn’t even look at an adult that was speaking to it. Someone should spank the little beast preferably with a belt or the limb of a tree.
“I can make you a superhero too.”
“Bite me.” Lucifer would have loved to do exactly that but he needed the little brat.
“Watch.” The boy still didn’t look up from the phone device so Lucifer transformed it into a snake. The child shrieked and flung the reptile to the ground. In midair Lucifer changed it back again and tweaked it just so, so that when it hit the ground, the screen shattered into a web of cracks. As soon as he recovered from the fright the boy fell to his knees after his precious device.
“You broke it!”
“No, you broke it, when you threw it onto the ground. You should have been more careful.”
“I thought it was…” Suddenly the boy blinked and realized how silly it sounded.
“You thought it was a snake. That’s because it was a snake.”
“I turned it into a snake. Watch.” Lucifer turned the phone back into a snake which struck at the boy. He skittered back out of range and Lucifer allowed it to resume its original form.
“Hey, that’s really cool! How did you do that?”
“Because I’m a superhero, I already told you. Is there something wrong with your ears?”
“Wull.” Lucifer assumed he had meant to say well. “Can you fix it?” Still obsessed with the phone device. Odds bodkins, how strange humans were.
“In a minute. I want to talk to you about something, Aidan.” Ugh. “Now, Aidan, I’ve come here today with on a secret mission. Because you are a very unique boy.”
“Yes, really. I would like to turn you into a superhero too, but the thing is, you have to agree to it.”
“Yes, you. Very few people can become a superhero. You’re one of the…” Lucky? No, that wasn’t quite right; too random. Special had negative connotations to it, since that’s what the humans called their imbeciles and lunatics and cripples these days. “Chosen. You have been chosen to become a superhero, Aidan. But you have to give me permission…”
“Yeah, yeah, do it!!” As easy as that. Nary a question about what he was getting himself into, not a single thought for his poor mother. Hollywood had done its job so well, befuddled the humans’ feeble minds with the myth that they were all Chosen Ones. Every last one of them believed down deep inside that eventually a magic owl would be arriving bearing an invitation, that a man would appear someday in a park to bestow unearned greatness upon them. Because they deserved it.
Lucifer loved the 21st century. The pickings were so easy.
He held up the vial that contained Michael’s essence and the boy swallowed. “It doesn’t hurt.” He uncapped the vial and Michael’s essence flowed into the boy. Lucifer watched with great satisfaction as the boy’s eyes shed their humanity and grew clear, purposeful.
Michael examined his arm and hand with dismay. “Oh, no.”
Lucifer smiled. “It will be all right, Michael. You know as well as I do that most vessels are merely temporary.”
Lucifer stomped on the cellular phone device. Goodbye Aidan.