ONCE AN ARCHANGEL.....
"You can't fight City Hall, Dean." Michael smiled blandly as he waved his hand and sent Sam Winchester back to 2010. "There. It's done – he's home and healed. Now it's your turn."
"Now, you hold on just a minute, you sanctimonious bag of--" Dean Winchester spluttered.
"I'll see you soon, Dean." He waved his hand again and the annoying man was gone. He was just about to depart himself, when something struck him.
He moved to the house's television and sat down at the couch, waving his hand and making the events of the last few hours play upon it.
There it was. Over and over. Dicks. Feathered dicks. Sanctimonious bag of....
There was no respect. No awe. No fear. Only the stubbourn compunction that this would not happen, though it was foredained. This was never going to happen if Dean and Sam Winchester had anything to say about it.
And what had he said about Uriel? And Zachariah? Listening to those words, he realised that the humans had been describing demons more than angels....
"The humans"? Had he really just thought that?
Shaken by his own thoughts, Michael gestured at the TV again and the words of a scroll appeared on it. Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic – the original words of the Bible. He read about himself – the warrior, the prince of the angels, fighting to protect humanity.
And wasn't that what this last battle was going to do? Protect humanity against his fallen brother? Then why had Dean been so against....
He replayed Dean's words again. "Yeah, and you don't care how many of us lowly humans are killed, just so long as you get to have your freakin' paradise!"
"You don't care how many of us lowly humans are killed....you get to have your freakin' paradise!"
That was not correct. The battle was to spare humanity from Lucifer, not to create a paradise for angels. Where had he....
Reaching into the future, Michael dipped into Dean's memories and saw exactly where that had come from.
And suddenly his vessel's stomach rolled so hard that he fell involuntarily to his knees and vomited everything John Winchester had eaten that day. And perhaps the day before.
No wonder Dean saw angels as demons with feathers. How had his brethren fallen so far?
He had just thought of them as "humans" – how had he fallen so far?
Shakily, Michael rose to his feet. He would keep his word. He would leave these vessels unharmed and without any memory of this day.
But this entire thing now stank of brimstone.
He needed to make certain this path they were careening on was, indeed, Father's will and if not – well, if anyone could stop it, it was Michael.
But he needed help.
And he knew just where to turn.
After nearly a decade of searching, Michael had turned up a complete blank. He realised he needed some more help. Someone with imagination and creativity, something that angels – as a whole – lacked. His target had those things, and it was making him completely impossible to find.
No, Michael needed a human.
He had seen the destruction of the Winchester home and the murder of Mary. He had seen the corruption of Sam's blood and the misery that it was causing.
He had seen the insane glee it caused in Heaven and Hell alike.
Once he'd witnessed that, he had known beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was not and had never been Father's will. Yes, he must ultimately battle Lucifer – but not at the cost of deliberately torturing a family.
He knew he must have a vessel. It must be a Winchester relative, with enough of that blood in him to safely hold Michael's essence. It must be one that was relatively well-connected to the human world, who had resources that could be used in finding the target Michael was looking for.
When he located said vessel, the irony of it nearly made Michael laugh aloud. He found the man sitting in a darkened hotel room in a small country called Bahrain, trying his best to get steadily drunk. Michael dampened enough of his grace that he wouldn't bother any of his neighbours and revealed himself.
Michael Briggs.....I have need of you.
The man's single eye shot open and he looked around. ".....who the hell...."
Believe it or not....I am the archangel Michael. And I have need of a vessel to do good. Considering you also are.... an Archangel Michael....why not?
Briggs laughed. "Go stuff yourself. I haven't been him in over a year." His voice lowered. "I'm useless."
What if I could make this last year never happen?
Briggs froze. "Then I'd do anything you wanted."
All I need is one word from you. "Yes". And together – we will prevail.
Briggs reached and pulled himself to his feet with a cane. He swayed dangerously and then shouted to the rooftops.
Police reports would later detail how the bomb detonated in Briggs's hotel room, obliterating any trace of the man.
Or at least they would while that timeline still existed.
In 1986, a small band of sabateurs was busily planting bombs to kill the two operatives of a supersonic helicopter named Airwolf. In the original timeline, they succeeded and one pilot was killed.
But now, a white-suited being glowing with the power of a literal archangel unexpectedly showed up and teleported them and the bomb to Antarctica. He then allowed nature to take its logical course.
Briggs resumed his duties as the second in command of the CIA sub-organisation called "The Firm", and used its resources for a more... personal... search.
He was searching for a being of immense power, who creatively dispensed lessons in morality.
All the time using his new association with the real archangel Michael to protect his country. There were times when the pilots of Airwolf, especially, wondered if their "Lady" was more alive than she let on.
But it took time. And that was frustrating to Michael. He would sometimes growl from Brigg's mouth, "Where on Earth are you, Gabriel? Why can't I find you?"
The mission had been a resounding success. Briggs stood and watched the "Lady" carry her pilots away, before the smile on his face faded and he ordered his female aide to go draft the mission report and let him have it in the morning. She verbally agreed and retreated into the suite, leaving him standing alone on the roof.
"All right," Briggs said aloud once he was alone. "Out with it. You've been as jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room of rocking chairs for hours. What's going on?"
If a disembodied spirit could be said to shift uncomfortably, Michael did. My vessels are nearby.
"The Winchesters? I thought they were in California now."
They were. Now they are here. And something is very wrong.
"Do you need to --"
If you are able.
"I have some time."
His posture changed and his eye changed to a deep, clear blue. "Very well. We shan't be long."
Briggs' female companion walked back out onto the roof. "Michael, you need to come inside before the wind --- Michael?" She frowned, seeing his cane lying at the foot of the stairs – but the man himself was nowhere to be seen.
Michael materialised in a dingy hotel room to sounds he had only heard in Briggs' memories, but would never forget.
A sinister hiss of leather before a distinct crack! against flesh and a soft grunt of pain.
Holding the crack of a voice that had just recently changed.
In that instant, rage engulfed human and archangel alike. Single eye narrowed in fury, he strode forward and grabbed the wrist of the man as the belt was descending again. "You do not touch him."
John Winchester, older and bereft of his sanity, turned to face him. "Who the hell are you and how the hell did you get in--" His words were cut off as Michael pressed the palm of his hand to his forehead. In an instant, he was out cold, being lowered to the floor.
"What the hell did you do to my dad?" Dean Winchester roared at him as he struggled to stand.
"He merely sleeps." Michael turned to face him. "Allow me to heal--"
"Don't touch me!" Dean hissed. "Get outta here!"
"I merely want to protect--"
"Then get outta here!"
Michael licked his lips. "I want to protect Samuel."
"How?" Well, at least he had his attention.
"I don't know." He looked at John. "How did he fall so far?"
"Our mother died," Dean whispered. "And why the hell am I telling you this? Who the hell are you?"
That's it! Briggs gasped inside their shared head. Oh, it's so simple!
Mary Winchester! Protect her from dying, none of this gets this bad!
Michael frowned. But suppose things get worse?
They can't get much worse. Look at him!
Michael looked at Dean, at his back and his fierce fury and his too-old eyes.
A single nod, and the Winchesters were alone in the room once more.
November 2, 1983
Tell me again, why we need this contraption when I can just smite--
"Because," Briggs whispered as they shimmered into the small room. "If we are going to do this, we are going to do this correctly. And that means doing this by human means, not angelic. This way it will seem as though--"
The click of a gun cocking interrupted Briggs. Slowly, he raised his hands and said, "I'm going to turn around now, all right?"
"Do it slow, keep those hands where I can see 'em." The man behind the rifle was lit from within by the clear light of insanity. "Talk, before I blow that other eye out. Who the hell are you? How the hell did you get in my house? What the hell do you want?"
Briggs smiled. "In order? Michael Briggs. You wouldn't believe me. And I want the Colt."
"No." He raised the gun to his shoulder. ""I got a place out back and I know the name to carve on the stone." His finger tightened on the trigger.
Briggs's eye flared blue and his posture shifted. "Daniel Elkins," Michael said through him, hand flashing forward. "You will be still!"
Instantly Elkins froze – didn't even seem to be breathing.
Michael turned to the safe and blew it open. He removed the Colt and made sure it was loaded, then he turned to Elkins. "Your family has guarded this for generations. You, however, are unable to see beyond your own hardened heart. This is your idol, your heart's god, and thirty people have died at your hand just for suspecting it was with you. Your murder spree is at an end, Elkins. The Colt is no longer your responsibility."
With that, the white-suited form and the antique gun were gone.
Briggs couldn't help but laugh as they set down in the garden of a two-story house. I can't believe you left him frozen!
"He will regain movement as soon as punishment is meted out."
"I left his bodily functions running at normal temporal speed. As soon as his bladder lets go, he will be able to move again. What happens to him after that is on his own head."
You've definitely got a sense of humour, Michael! Where are we?
"Lawrence, Kansas. It is time."
So how are we doing this?
They materialised in a living room, where John Winchester was slumped in front of a TV blaring a war movie. Michael closed his eye and Briggs felt a burst of power dash from their body.
John's eyes snapped open and his head whipped around toward the stairs before it wheeled to face Michael. His eyes narrowed in confusion.
Michael held up the Colt. "This is what you need." He handed it to the startled father and whispered, "Go. Your child needs you."
"I expect an explanation," John hissed before he canted toward the stairs and padded up on silent, socked feet with Michael trailing behind just as silently.
John peered into the nursery and saw a figure shimmer into existence beside Sammy's crib. He heard him purr, "It's time, Sammy. Time for you to become mine." He raised his own wrist to his mouth.
"He's mine, you bastard," John snarled, raising and firing the Colt in one smooth motion.
Down the hallway, the roar of the weapon jolted Mary Winchester to full wakefulness. She was out of bed and down the hallway in two seconds flat – just in time to watch the creature beside her son's crib light with arcane fire and collapse into a lifeless heap. "....omig-d."
"It's okay," John said, setting the gun down on the dresser before he wrapped his wife into his arms. "Whatever he wanted, he didn't have time to do. It's over. It's over."
"Not yet," Michael said, stepping forward. "There are still some loose ends to wrap up. And here is one," he smiled and bent, catching four year old Dean as he tried to bull into the room. "I'm assuming you want to see your little brother," he soothed as he walked to the crib and set the boy inside.
Dean fussed over the crying baby for a few moments, then he looked up and demanded as only a Winchester could, "Who are you?"
"That's a very good question," Mary growled.
"I'm Michael Briggs," he said, quite truthfully. "I'm an agent of Heaven itself, sent to save your family and put right a grave injustice."
Mary's eyes narrowed as she looked at the Colt and the body. "......John," she said in a voice that suddenly dripped ice. "We need to talk."
Ninety minutes later, John was staring bindly into a cup of steaming coffee while Mary washed out the empty bottle as Dean took over burping baby Sammy. Michael sat at the table with John, watching as the man processed his entire worldview being torn upside down.
"If.... you hadn't woken me," he said raggedly.
"Your wife would have died. You would have gone headlong into the Hunting world, blind and unprepared, and made disastrous decision after disastrous decision, ultimately leading up to your sons becoming angelic vessels in a deathmatch for angels to create a paradise on earth." Michael smiled. "But that timeline is now gone. Now, we can put your family back on the path it was to have gone had Heaven and Hell not meddled."
"What was that?" Mary asked.
"John is a Legacy – a hereditary member of the Men of Letters."
Mary drew a sharp breath as John said "I'm a what?"
Mary shook her head. "A Man of Letters and a Hunter's Daughter.... both sides of the arcane world, joined to create...." She looked at her sons. ".....perfect vessels."
Michael nodded. "But now, your lives are your own. I have derailed both sides' plans for you. There is one loose end, should you choose to rebuild the Men of Letters."
"I... I don't know," John breathed. "It's... a lot right now."
Michael met his eyes. "I can give you back your father. You're a little older than he was when he vanished, but he will be with you again. He will help you."
"My father ran out on me."
"No, John. He didn't. He was attacked and is in transit through time. I can warp him here – and it will be the last thing I can do to help you. From then on, you are truly on your own."
"I don't understand any of this," John said, looking at Mary. ".....but I want my Pops back."
She nodded. "Dean, bring Sammy and let's get him changed, huh?" A kiss to John's lips and the three of them left the room.
Michael turned to John. "Keep the Colt in your hand. Your father is being pursued and another shot is needed. I will soundproof the room so your boys won't hear."
"Thank you," John whispered.
Michael nodded and closed his eye. Seconds later, the pantry door began to rattle and a sigil flared to life on it.
The door fell open and John gasped aloud as his father tumbled out, climbed to his feet and demanded, "Which of you is John Winchester?"
"Pops," John gasped, and a moment later he had an armful of trembling Henry Winchester.
"Where are we?" Henry gasped. On hearing he was in Kansas, he said, "I need to get --"
"And here she comes," Michael said as the door rattled again.
John shoved Henry behind him as a statuesque redhead sauntered out of the door. "Silly Henry," she laughed. "You left the door open!"
John took in the blood on her face and clothing and heard Henry breathe, "Abaddon." He figured this must be another – thing – like was in the nursery.
The woman took a step toward them. "This must be Johnny. What a family reun--" Her words ended in a gasp as a Colt bullet plowed into her black heart.
Michael watched with a small smile as the creature burned, falling dead at the male Winchesters' feet. "Now it's over."
Henry lurched to the sink and threw up. Then he asked shakily, "What... What is going on here?"
Michael snapped his fingers, leaving a small sheet of paper with co-ordinates that John was able to read inside the box that rested in Henry's pocket.
Then, while the family reconnected, he vanished and took Abaddon's body with him.
One more detail remained to be dealt with.
And, sure enough, it was waiting for him. "Zachariah."
The seraph froze, recognising the voice. He looked at Abaddon, dead, and back up at Michael. "I... I do not understand. Hundreds of years of planning...."
"You have poured your energies into fulfilling prophecy that I now know to be false." Michael spread his hands. "Look how easily it was derailed. If it was our Father's plan, not even I could have accomplished this."
"This... this is a trick, it has to be..."
Michael nodded. "I understand now." He waved his hand, and spiritual chains suddenly surrounded Zachariah.
"Michael!" he yelped. "What in Heaven's name!"
"Reveal your true self," he said, forcing power into his words.
Zachariah screamed as his wings altered and so did his hands and feet.
"As I feared," Michael said sadly. "Fallen." He turned his head slightly. "I know you are nearby. I can sense you. Step forward – you will not be punished."
A young angel with wings black as coal stepped forward, eyes huge in horror. "Sir... if h-he is Fallen...."
Michael chuckled. "I know you. You are one of Gabriel's creations. What's your name, son?"
"Castiel. You followed this Fallen innocently. Hence why only your wings are discoloured. You are absolved of this, though your wings will remain as they are. What duties did he have you doing?"
"Watching over the Winchester family. Making certain nothing interfered with this night."
Michael lay a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Resume your duties, then. You are protector to this family. Especially the children."
Castiel nodded and vanished to tend to his duties.
Michael waved his hand and Zachariah suddenly found himself in Heaven's jails.
"Now," Michael sighed. "It is completely over."
So...now what happens to me?
"What do you want to happen to you?"
I want to go back to work.
"Then do so."
Suddenly, Michael Briggs found himself sitting at the desk in his office. His female assistant came in and visibly double-took. "How did you get here?"
Michael canted his eye toward the calendar on his desk. 1987. And he'd only been gone a few hours, if that long. He smiled and turned back to her. "The stairs."
She rolled her eyes. "Well, I have the latest information on where the Airwolf unit could be located and – Michael, are you all right?"
"Hm?" Michael became aware that he was rubbing at the patch over his missing eye. "Oh, yeah – sorry. It's just a little....itchy." He froze as he felt his fingers suddenly ghosting over something solid and round under the patch. "What the..."
"What is it?" she asked, catching the movement.
"I don't..." Michael tugged off the patch and felt his jaw lower as his world was suddenly in perfect 180 degree clarity. "......my eye."
His assistant gasped. "Your eye – is back?"
"Apparently," he said, blinking. "......a miracle." Thank you, Michael.
His assistant visibly pulled herself back together. "....anyway. We have some new intel from a small group of researchers from Lebanon, Kansas. They are suggesting that Airwolf could be somewhere in Monument Valley..."
Michael took the information and looked it over, freezing when he recognised the symbol at the top of the page. "....Men of Letters?" he looked at the signature at the bottom. "....my G-d," he laughed. "....the Winchesters."