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Like the Wings of a Hummingbird

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Michael stares mutely into his empty teacup, wishing he could divine the pattern of the future in the dredges of leaves. He doesn't need to look up to know that everyone around the table is watching at him, waiting for him to react.

Should he be angry? Hurt? Disappointed? None of it feels real. Michael and Dean were to be bonded today. That won't happen now.

"Dean and Cas aren't traitors," Sam repeats sullenly—like repetition could make it true. Michael understands the sentiment. He doesn't want to believe it either. But he is, above all, a realist and the facts are clear: sometime around midnight that very night, Dean Winchester had broken Castiel Novak, a convicted traitor, out of the palace cells and disappeared with him.

The city is on high alert for any trace of the pair, but the search would prove unfruitful. Dean is too well-trained to make mistakes. And the traitor? The traitor Michael had trained himself.

Michael closes his eyes against the pounding in his ears.

Dean and Castiel are long gone.