Sometimes Chuck remembers the days before the First War.
It’s not that he really wants to, but he does. When you’ve been around since the dawn of time, there’s a lot that you do and do not want to remember. You don’t really get a choice, especially when you’re an omnipresent deity with unlimited cosmic power. Part of the gig is that you don’t forget anything.
Not even a time when your first children were happy, when they were a family, when they were together.
A time before the youngest ran off and cut out his own niche in the world, safe and protected from the dissent you allowed, but alone. A time before the oldest had to take up his sword against his younger brother. A time before the fall, and before ‘the devil’ and all of that.
A time before you took off for good yourself. Granted, that was after the First War, after Lucifer’s fall, but it was a time before everything really crumbled.
Sometimes Chuck thinks that really, really sucked. It really blew. And then he pretends that he’s just a mortal man, again, drowns the memories in a good bottle of whiskey, and moves on to the next thing.
It’s not that the memories themselves are painful. They aren’t. They are some of the most cherished memories in his long existence. Some of the happiest that he has, and that’s saying a lot.
Everything that came after them, though, that’s the problem.
Sometimes he remembers when Michael and Lucifer were nothing but fledglings, trying out their wings for not the first time, but far from the last. Michael had – still does have, really – such big, beautiful wings, the light of heaven in every individual feather, but Lucifer, his wings were a masterpiece. Chuck lists the loss of those wings on the long, seemingly never complete list of things he regrets happening in the First War.
Sometimes he remembers when Michael and Lucifer took Raphael and Gabriel with them for the first time, down to Earth, down to this thing that he was working on creating. They’d test drove it, in a sense, walked on the land, swam in the sea, shook salty water out of their wings. They’d seen the creatures he was creating, and gazed up at the stars he’d thrown across the night. They had laughed and talked and been brothers.
Sometimes he remembers when Raphael and Lucifer decided it would a great idea to tackle Michael mid-flight, the younger brothers pestering the older. He also remembers the wrestling match that followed, Gabriel jumping into the fray that had ended in laughter from each of them, regardless of the fact that it had all started with violence and fair idiocy.
Sometimes he remembers when Lucifer would sit with Gabriel for hours, and teach him the tricks that Gabriel would come to rely on when he so abruptly left the nest. He remembers how Michael would sit with Raphael and explain to him what it was like to lead the rest of the Host for their father, and how he managed it.
Sometimes he remembers when they would stand side by side, resplendent and beautiful. The first of his creations, his first children. Michael, Lucifer, Raphael and Gabriel, they stood, warriors, defenders, archangels, brothers. In the end, they were brothers, they looked out for each other, did everything for each other, taught each other the things they learnt and the abilities they could gain.
Sometimes he remembers that, just as that minor scuffle between the four of them, so long ago, had started with violence, when the bond between those brothers broke, that was how it ended, too. Violence.
Sometimes he looks out, sees where they are now. Tries to remember how they were. They were a family once.
Sometimes he wishes that particular little story hadn’t gone quite the way he’d written it.