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Call It a Wedding Present

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It should be a surprise to absolutely no one that angels love gossip. After all, their family is exceedingly large, and so full of clicks that some siblings feel compelled to introduce themselves to angels outside their immediate circle, just in case their brother or sister might not know who they are without help. And it makes sense that they would love gossip. They went through eons with nothing to do but circle one another while the earth formed and their father set the stage for his grand narrative, and they grew up whispering about countless incidents—like how a stray hellhound seemed to have curiously survived despite God himself ordering the archangels to wipe the species out of existence, and things like “isn’t it interesting how Lucifer’s wings seem to be molting out of season,” and “does anyone else think those look suspiciously like claw marks scattered all over three out of Lucifer’s four heads” were perfectly natural observations to make. 

And then there was the time that Gabriel took a group of younger angels down to an ice-covered earth and used his powers to create fantastical moving shapes in the snow that chased them all around—only, Malachi, who was supposed to be on lookout for the other archangels, got curious and left his post when he heard all of his siblings howling, because Gabe accidentally blasted one of their siblings in the face when he meant to transfigure a nearby pile of snow, consequently allowing Michael to stumbled upon the unsuspecting group and demand to know why Zachariah was sporting a lion’s head.

Michael was, of course, getting ready to reprimand Gabriel with the loaded inquiry. Archangels were under strict rules not to give out any spoilers about what their father was planning for the universe. But, instead of intimidating anyone, Michael found himself the focal point of roughly forty wonder-struck little faces. Because while Gabriel may have been bending the rules in his clandestine outing, he was very careful to tell everyone he was making these strange creatures up as he went along, but now Michael had just gone and named one of them, and soon he was surrounded by a swarm of excited little angels, buzzing about how lions were real, and that meant everything Gabriel showed them was probably real—and for a millennia afterward, the angels wouldn’t stop talking about the time Michael, of all people, had leaked classified information about God’s plan.

(Michael considered it a personal failing; Chuck didn’t even notice.)

And when Jack, in his innocence, pulled the entire angel family out of the Empty, arguing over Sam and Dean’s protests that everyone deserves a second chance, it should surprise no one that angel radio was flooded with the shameless whispering of nosy angels almost immediately.

Especially considering that the first thing a good many of the angels saw upon waking up, tangled together in heaps strewn across the floor of God’s throne room, as if some entity had flung them out by the handful in the midst of a frustrated rant (“You want them back? TAKE THEM! TAKE THEM ALL! JUST SHUT UP!), was Michael’s former vessel carefully picking his way through the disgruntled masses. 

Adam Milligan wasn’t the only human present (Sam and Dean being rooted to the floor on one side of the room, frozen in shock that Jack had gotten everyone back just by asking), but he captured the family’s attention when Michael—who had landed in the space between God’s throne and the wall with three cupids piled on top of him—managed to stand up. And all at once, the word “careful” could no longer be applied to Adam’s progress, as he took off barreling across the room so single-mindedly that—according to Muriel, who managed to look up just in time to see—he didn’t even notice when he stepped on Zachariah’s stomach in passing. 

Hester saw it too, and she claimed it was lower than that, and that it was deliberate.

No one knows who started the rumor about Adam knocking Raphael out of the way on his final approach, but the cupids, who abruptly found themselves boxed in between the wall, the archangel, and the human, later swore that Raphael was still sprawled across the throne itself when Adam got there. And from their vantage point, they were perfectly situated to watch the whole reunion unfold. But of course, they were cupids. They claimed Michael actually addressed the human who had served as his stand-in vessel by his first name—and they made sure to specify, he said it reverently—and that Michael had actually started babbling out what might have been an explanation or an apology of some sort—as if Michael could have owed a human either—until Adam Milligan finally surged forward, dismissing everything as he pulled Michael into an embrace.

And then the account got odder still. No one would have believed it, but a large number of angels had started watching by that point, disentangling themselves and looking around for direction, only to instead see their eldest brother, Viceroy of Heaven, and his human companion kiss.  

“Humans. . . have been known to do that platonically, in greeting,” Gadreel later suggested over angel radio. “Is that still—?”

“Not in Minnesota, no,” came from Anna, who, of course, had lived as a human for twenty odd years and would know.

“Some cultures still do though,” came from Rachel, “and I heard they traveled the world together after the cage. Maybe they were appropriating—” 

And then finally, from Benjamin, “Guys, there was NOTHING platonic about that kiss.”

Benjamin was loudly shushed. After all, Benjamin had no idea what he was talking about, he’d only ever gone to Earth on a handful of occasions, and spent the vast majority of his time in Heaven like the rest of them, he wasn’t an authority on anything. . .

And Benjamin, who had been radioing into the family conversation while being personally led by their new God to the private residence of the human soul who he had cohabited with for over two thousand years prior to the Fall and their untimely death, shook his head in exasperation. 

For weeks after reviving the angels, Dean would find himself having to snap his fingers or outright shake Castiel back to awareness of his surroundings, Cas having been caught up in the narratives unfolding over the main sibling channel. After all, there was a lot to talk about, and not a whole lot to do, since Jack hadn’t put much thought into what he would do with all of the angels after bringing them back. Some angels, like Joshua and Hannah, may have been perfectly suited and willing to step back into their old jobs, but after all the changes that Heaven had gone through since the first failed apocalypse, there were plenty of angels who weren’t, and more than a few whose jobs had been done away with entirely. Thaddeus purportedly cried when Jack told him Heaven didn’t need a torturer anymore, though whether it was from relief or disappointment varied depending on who was telling the story. Few details were available about how Naomi reacted when she was tersely informed that her services as a disciplinarian were no longer required (though more than a few angelic siblings admitted to feeling relieved on private channels). Then there were angels like Gadreel and Serafina, who had never truly had jobs after their father abandoned Heaven, and Tyrus, who headed an entire group of angels who were only interested in bowling on Earth. 

There was only one subject that they were supposedly banned from discussing, according to Dean Winchester, who had quickly bulldozed over the first query leveled at the nephilim who tad taken over Heaven, and that was their father. Or “Chuck,” as Dean had accidentally called him before laying out the rules: “No one’s asking about him, no one’s looking for him, he’s just gone, you all got that?”

Dean had said it while looking directly across the room at Michael, as if waiting to see if he would say something. Michael did not.

Anna was the first to announce successfully negotiating a return to earth as a human, with Abner quickly following suit. Anael was more difficult, since she wasn’t content to start a new life from scratch, wanting to retain her former vessel’s bank accounts and her own angelic healing powers, “for business purposes.” One short-lived rumor that blazed through countless private channels alleged that Raphael was going to ask for a similar deal, but was later proven false when it was announced they had been recruited to assist in reforming Purgatory. But by far the most scandalous gossip, as Jack and the Winchesters gradually sorted through the chaos, was centered around what was to be done with Michael. 

It had shocked everyone the day that his sentence was announced. Having betrayed their new God and his counselors in the midst of their bid to seize Heaven, some of them had assumed Michael was bound for the cage again. Instead, he had been condemned to eternal servitude—and practically banishment—bound forever to his jailor’s side as they transverse all of existence, for better or for worse, until death do they part—

“They’re just getting married, guys,” Benjamin interjected at one point, rudely cutting off Duma’s assessment.  

Naturally, they shushed him. And, unseen to them, curled up together on the couch in the cozy living room of the one-bedroom cottage that Benjamin now shared with the love of his life, his human companion buried her face in his neck and laughed while he rolled his eyes. 

When the wedding finally came about (with hardly a murmur to mark the shift in perception from “punishment” to “matrimony”) the guest list made for an odd mix. Castiel told Balthazar, who told everyone else, that the humans thought John Winchester would be the biggest pariah in attendance, but Adam and Michael had given Jack only one note when he offered to arrange their wedding in Heaven, and that was that they wanted to invite their entire families—”Everyone short of the Almighty”—and as such, competition was fierce. More than half the angels present had been sent to the Empty by their siblings—some by one of the grooms, at that—with Castiel and Lucifer having the largest headcounts to their respective names. The former spent the evening drinking and dancing with his own new husband, married only a few months prior; the latter, stripped of his grace and tied to a chair just a few tables out from the bar, at the complete mercy of the Queen of Hell. 

A rumor started circulating during the ceremony that the entire wedding was a farce, and that the grooms had already gotten married in some glittering, godless corner of the earth before the rapture, or in the cage, or even on the spot the day they met, and that the entire business in Heaven was just a bid to placate Adam Milligan’s mother. Or that it was to settle a bet between the grooms as to whose dysfunctional family would give into violence first when crowded together for a single event. 

Suspicion started when the original Adam, God’s first human to walk the Earth, showed up five minutes into the ceremony. Dean had started to maneuver his way out into the aisle to intersect him, but Sam had gotten there first. While trying to explain that despite the size of the crowd, this was a strictly family-only event, Sam was cut off when the original Adam aggressively stabbed a finger at the first divine face to make eye contact and demanded, “You, angel! Every vessel worth its salt is descended from. . .?”

Incapable of doing anything else, Samandriel had supplied, “Cain and Abel.”

“My boys! Family. Boom.” 

Following the “boom,” several individuals started getting to their feet on either side of the aisle, meaning to back Sam up as he reasoned that that was not what they meant, while the father of his species argued in turn that if his great grandson-by-however-many-degrees was going to put a ring on God’s first born, he was going to watch, when Adam Milligan called out, “It’s alright, he can stay!”

Adam had kept his eyes on Michael as he spoke, and Esther and Purah, who had both been ushered into seats closer to the front by humans who had mistakenly assumed the child-like appearances their vessels had left them with would hinder their view of the proceedings, agreed that the two had been grinning at one another as if they were able to wordlessly communicate despite the fact that soul and grace were currently separate, not joined as they had been on earth.

Twenty minutes after the first man had wedged himself into the front row between Kate Milligan and John Winchester, the scene repeated itself when Cain walked in, and, as per Esther and Purah, Michael had raised an eyebrow while his soon-to-be husband beamed. 

The ceremony concluded with Michael saying “I do,” and Adam saying “Yes,” and a kiss that inspired far less attention than the one that first put Adam Milligan’s name on angel radio.

“They’re definitely competing, why else would they invite Cain?” came from Constantine before the reception had even begun. 

“But he didn’t send out the invitations—neither of them did,” came from Inias. And Benjamin placed a hand on Inias’s shoulder as he was roundly shushed.

If the grooms were hoping to see a scene break out at their wedding though, they were sorely disappointed, as humans and angels alike went about mingling on their best behavior. There were a few awkward moments that resulted from humans struggling to understand the complicated rules that governed how beings were visually represented in Heaven, with angels appearing to humans in the form of the last vessel they wore on earth, and humans often appearing to one another in the form that accounted for the most pleasant memories they experienced during their lifetime—provided they didn’t know the individual perceiving them, in which case they defaulted to match the form most represented in the observing individual’s memory. (It created some awkwardness when Gabriel pulled Adam Milligan aside to ask if his maternal grandmother was single.) 

But the only attacks that took place were whispered behind the backs of their targets, as was polite. Humans kept mistaking Daniel and Adina for a mated pair, as if angels were birds. (“And it’s no wonder, the way they hang off each other.”) When all the married couples were called out to the dance floor as part of a silly human custom, everyone noticed Benjamin letting his human companion lead him into the predominantly human crowd (“The poor thing must be delusional” ), and collectively ignored Serafina walking out with the original Adam on her arm. And there was unfailingly a flurry of loaded comments made every time Hannah and Castiel came within three feet of one another, especially if his husband was nearby. 

And then the other Michael showed up. 

Most of the angels didn’t know what to make of the other Michael. Details were hard to come by. After the shock wore off on that first confused day, Sam and Dean may have summoned enough sense to dive into the crowd of unwanted angels in search of Lucifer—knowing that that was one set of wings that needed to be clipped immediately—but no one had expected to find the family had grown by one world-destroying maniac. 

Talks about what to do with him since had purportedly been the most drawn out by far. Jack had allegedly tried to return him to the Empty, only to have the entity there cackle, “You wake it, you bought it.” Some of them had heard that the other Michael had destroyed his home world before Chuck had even had the chance, that he’d killed Gabriel in cold blood, and that the Queen of Hell had purportedly requested to have him sent to her trussed up in the same way they did Lucifer.

The mass reaction must have looked odd to the roughly eight generations of humans Jack had invited before Sam had stepped in. The angels already stood out by virtue of the fact that their human projections were all dressed as they had been on earth (with Michael being the only exception, as his appearance had defaulted to match Adam’s following the momentous "yes"), which made it all the more noticeable when every stray priest, nun, choir singer, Christian biker, and disheveled businessman, along with thirty or so doctors, a pharmacist, at least one homeless man, two small children, a goth teenager, as well as every individual who had shown up to the wedding in blue jeans, sweatpants, or Mesopotamian grab predating the first apocalypse, all abruptly stopped what they were doing to watch the late arrival utterly fail to slink in unnoticed. 

Ezra broke the radio silence, claiming he had spotted him skulking in the background during the ceremony earlier. Hael swore the original Michael shot his groom a look when his doppelganger walked in, as if he’d just laid an ace on the table.

“Do you think,” Maribel’s voice ventured over the channel, “Michael’s expecting one of US to pick a fight with him?”

Lucifer, after all, might have been the go-to candidate, but he was still tied up several tables away. 

A moment passed with the angels avidly watching as the other Michael ordered a whisky at the bar, which was downed in one swallow and immediately followed by a repeat order, at which point the bartender, a woman the Winchesters had known on earth, looked the other Michael over, and then left him with the bottle. 

There was a brief ripple of apprehension when Gabriel and Raphael approached the other Michael with a name tag that read “NOT A GROOM.” Adam and Michael were both already wearing tags of their own for the benefit of the human guests. When the bartender happened to notice, she said, “You can’t be serious, he looks nothing like. . .” 

Her voice seemingly trailed off when she was faced with the affronted stares of two archangels, and the amused snickering of a third. 

After seeing their controversial brother duly labeled however, Raphael and Gabriel walked away with hardly a frost-laden word, and the other Michael had set about rooting himself to the spot, making himself a fixture of the bar that effectively stemmed the flow of alcohol to anyone present acquainted with the supernatural. (Which was an impressive feat, according to Balthazar, who had it on good authority that the Winchester family line would have succumbed to alcohol poisoning years before the first apocalypse if it hadn’t been for divine intervention). Most of the angels had moved on to discussing how Samandriel had made the mistake of getting too close to a group of humans who were technically members of Adam’s family, but had also lived and died well before Adam had been born, and had subsequently been roped into a drinking game that involved flipping over cups in a dizzyingly specific sequence. Only one or two of them had been watching when Adam got up from the table where he had been talking with his mother and went to the bar. 

Those who had happened to be watching would later recount the minutes-long scene over and over again in explicit detail before the night ended.

Adam had asked for two glasses of wine (Ezra specifically swore he’d been watching, and that he’d heard it). The bartender had needed to step away for a new bottle, and for just a few moments, Adam was left alone less than three feet away from an otherworld version of his husband with enough atrocity to his name to make the devil blush. 

From three different vantage points, Anael, Ephraim and Asariel attested that the other Michael had been sullenly staring straight ahead, as if deciding which of the bottles on display he was going to demand next. However, Asariel was the only one situated well enough to see—and, later, it would be the memory that was circulated the most heavily, when angels met up in pairs throughout the rest of the night and compared notes by pushing images into one another’s heads—the way that Adam eyed him, sidelong, and the subtle way his lip curled when he placed a small white card on the counter top and slid is across the space between them. 

Most of the angels, however, only looked over when they heard Anael say, "That's a hotel room key.”

“What?”

“He just handed over a hotel room key!”

“Are you sure?”

“Why would he do that?”

At the bar, the other Michael picked up the card before a steadily growing audience, turning it over in his hands. He finally looked up at Adam, one eyebrow raised, and a slow smile was seen breaking out across the human’s face. And a billion different eyes watched as the other Michael’s lips moved—and all at once, a billion different sets of divine ears, capable of picking out a sound anywhere on Earth no matter the decibel if only they knew where to focus, realized that they couldn’t hear what he said.  

“How—?”

“SOMEONE MUST BE BLOCKING THE SOUND!”

“WHO?”

“Not Michael?”

No, their original Michael was on the opposite side of the room, locked in conversation with Henry Winchester. Thaddeus had eyes on him at that exact moment.

Meanwhile, his groom was leaning in close to whisper something to Michael’s double, and whatever it was, an answering grin soon broke out on the other Michael’s face.

“Can anyone HEAR-hear them? Who’s closest?”

It just so happened to be Virgil, who had been flagged down by Adam’s grandmother and somehow—he wouldn’t have been able to explain the progression himself if asked—talked into feeding her cake. Before Virgil could tear himself away, the bartender had returned. Adam’s drinks were poured, and the other Michael was left contemplating the small white object in his hands. 

Naomi, who had allowed herself to drift dangerously close to where Samandriel was still being held hostage by a group of Adam’s ancestors for the sake of getting a better look at the at the expression on the other Michael’s four angelic faces, said that he looked transfixed. “But the human one is still smiling.”

Speculation only became more rampant after Adam went back to his table. He passed both glasses off to his mother and a woman with brown hair who had been with her through the course of the evening. Michael then appeared at his elbow, and the two prepared to leave. As Adam was hugging his mother goodbye, Michael happened to glance over the room, and—according to Ingrid, Theo, and Gadreel—sent his doppelganger a look . At least, it seemed that way for a moment, before Michael evidently noticed Gadreel staring, and several parties tittered over the family channel as Michael tilted his head and Gadreel reeled directly into a dessert table in an ill-fated attempt to casually dart off into the crowd, sending a chocolate fountain toppling directly into Jack Kline. 

Then Michael was pulled into a quick embrace by his mother in-law, and the newly married couple were off. And then Adam, as if overhearing Ion and Oren telling everyone that they were being ridiculous reading a theoretical look, stopped in the doorway to release complete chaos by shooting a do-doubt-about-it-grin back toward the bar. No one needed Naomi to identify its recipient, as the only angels who weren’t already scrambling to get a better look at the other Michael were the ones who were filling the channel with questions about whether anyone else saw the human wink, and isn’t that supposed to mean something with humans? Meanwhile, the other Michael started shaking his head, chuckling as if charmed, as if party to a conversation no one else could hear, as if the human had somehow managed to open up a private channel on angel radio—but of course, that wasn’t possible. 

No one knew who said the word that made several of them squirm, wedged as it was among overlapping commentaries and protests, no one knew whether it was applied to Adam’s behavior or Michael’s: flirtatious. 

The number of voices dipped as Adam and the original Michael finally disappeared, bound for earth for no one knew how long.

Unlike before, everyone was able to listen in perfectly as the other Michael thumped his bottle onto the counter, having downed the last of the whisky, and surprisingly thanked the bartender. On his way to the door, he stopped by Kate Milligan’s table, and Esther later claimed that it came Gabriel, who had taken Virgil’s seat with Adam’s family when a hand pointedly placed on Vigil’s knee had sent the smaller angel running across the room, that the other Michael had bent down close to Kate Milligan’s ear and whispered, “Your son’s something else.” 

And then the otherworld Michael had left, less than ten minutes behind the original.

Silence reigned for several moments before Bartholomew’s voice quietly filtered through with, “I overheard Raphael say the other Michael is being sent to Earth.”

“What?”

“Since when?”

“They’re trying it out. He’ll be human. It’s something called ‘probation.’” 

“Who’s idea was THAT?”

“More importantly, I wonder who his probation officer is.” Anna’s voice came through in clipped tones that were too subtle for an inebriated Samandriel, who helpfully bubbled forth a reminder: 

“Our Michael’s going to be there too!”

“You know, it’s customary for humans to consummate their marriage on their wedding night,” Ishim volunteered into the dead air that followed. 

Everyone had already picked apart the arrangement for Michael and his vessel since it was announced. Two bodies in Heaven, one on Earth. A communal hum sounded over the channel at what they all already knew, as several of them waited on edge for someone to fill a space that was left gaping between the statements.

And then, finally. . .

“You don’t suppose,” Malachi picked up the thread, “they’re enlisting the other Michael’s assistance in . . .celebrating?” 

Almost immediately, angel radio was filled with half a dozen scandalized voices saying “NO” and “Michael would NEVER,” along with a confused gurgle from Samandriel, who Naomi was strenuously pulling away from Adam Milligan’s ancestors even as he wondered why Michael and Adam would leave their party to celebrate elsewhere.

The rest of them were thinking back to Michael and Adam’s reunion in God’s throne room, and the look on Michael’s face when Adam kissed him, wondering whether he was truly capable of refusing the human anything. Then Rachel dove into a commentary on the way that the other Michael’s demeanor had changed after Adam approached him, the spring in his step when he left after practically moping all night. Whatever it was, he certainly seemed eager.

“I thought Michael was waiting for one of us to pick a fight with him?”

“Benjamin, we WILL block you.”

“. . .It’s Inias. . .”

At the table where they had taken up residence, Benjamin’s wife looked over inquiringly as her husband started laughing and Inias pinched the bridge of his nose.

But then Zachariah steamrolled over a half-formed attempt on Joshua’s part to speak reason, asserting, “I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t the first time they’ve done this. I heard they had an agreement in the cage.”

“So. . .?”

“So, Lucifer was in the cage too, wasn’t he?” 

“You’re not saying—”

“Wait, I heard about an agreement too!”

“—how many bodies did they have in the cage?”

“They were in there a long time, no hope of escape—”

“That’s sick!”

“If they’re already in the HABIT—”

“It’s LUCIFER!”

“He’d do it!”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake.” Benjamin swore out loud, putting his head in his hands as the clamoring voices filling angel radio reached a pitch that would have been considered ear-splitting, even for divine ears. The voices ruminated that the human had propositioned Michael’s double at his own wedding, and to think Lucifer. . .! Some of them were tempted to ask Lucifer, to confirm—a doppelganger was bad enough, but a sibling—but Lucifer had begun yelling something about showtunes during toasts earlier, and the original Adam had shoved an apple so far into his mouth that it had been lodged there for the rest of the night. No one wanted to be the one to remove it. Either the Queen of Hell or Serafina had manifested a box of comically tacky accessories to go with it, and were taking turns dressing Lucifer up in oversized sunglasses and glitter-encrusted antlers. 

Rumor had it that Cain was trying to get Abel to show up for photo ops. 

“Is something wrong, Benjamin?”

Benjamin’s wife had her hand on his shoulder, but the voice was distinctly not hers. When Benjamin looked up, Castiel was squinting at their table. 

“You haven’t been listening, have you?” 

“They might have already blocked him,” Inias said softly. 

“The only problem with that is that it’d make sense.” 

“Why would blocking me make sense?”

Unable to find the words to tell Castiel that even now half their family was discussing what kind of irresistible superhuman seductor his brother in-law must be to be able to induce not just one archangel, but assumably three to satisfying his needs, allegedly with little more than a head turn and a come-hither glance, Benjamin and Inias exchanged a look. Neither of them wanted to speak first. 

And Castiel, of course, continued to squint at the both of them. Knowing Castiel, the three of them might have remained locked that way for quite some time if Balthazar hadn’t come strolling into their conversation:

“Oh, it’s hilarious, Cas. Fairly certain the only ones who aren’t planning an intervention are the one’s upset they didn’t get an invite themselves.”

“An invite to what?”

“Okay, well, you know earlier. . .” Impervious to the stern cast of Castiel’s confused stare, Balthazar began relating angel radio’s star story for the evening. A few minutes in however, with Castiel’s expression only getting stonier, Balthazar changed tactics. “Right, let me show you.”

Initially, Balthazar had reached out to touch the side of Castiel's head, but when Benjamin's wife pointed out that Castiel wasn't the only one who had been left in the dark all night, he shrugged and turned to the table. Balthazar dipped his finger into a water glass that had been abandoned at some point earlier in the evening and sketched a rectangle onto the tablecloth. He tapped it in the center after he was done, and the marked off space transformed into a small screen. And there, a compilation of memories of the scene at the bar played in a private showing. They were grainy, and had clearly been altered, having been patched together from the recollections of four different angels by Hael, who passed it to Ion, who passed it to Josiah, who had in turn passed it to Balthazar. In some places, the pacing had been slowed down. In others, the scene choppily zipped from coy expressions, to lingering looks, to the way that the other Michael’s hands had toyed with the card as Adam Milligan said whatever mysterious message none of them had been able to catch, and as Castiel watched his frown only deepened. 

“And based on this, everyone thinks that Adam and Michael are—”

“Getting creative with the concept of monogamy? Yes.” 

“But what are they saying?”

Castiel tilted his head as the clips began to replay. Benjamin was about to tell Castiel about the one admittedly curious occurrence thing about the encounter, but instead their entire group was caught off guard by the sound of someone chuckling. 

Eileen Leahy-Winchester had wandered up to their group unnoticed, and she was looking down at the screen in amusement. Castiel, Balthazar, Inias, Benjamin, and his wife all stared at her curiously—as did Metatron, who had also been eavesdropping from the next table over. Metatron, who had read all of Chuck Shurley’s books on earth, including the unpublished chapters that had been released online. Metatron, who knew who Eileen Leahy-Winchester was, and, more importantly, that she could read lips. 

Had Adam and Michael really had been waiting for a scene of some sort to erupt at their wedding, they might have been disappointed to find out they’d missed the closest equivalent the evening would produce by roughly an hour. Two tables were overturned and over a dozen pieces of glassware dropped by angels and humans alike when Metatron, ever one for theatrics, screeched “SHE KNOWS!” both on angel radio and into the open air for all the room to hear.  

Over by the bar, Dean murmured to Ellen that he had never seen an angel take the Lord’s name in vain as Abner abruptly dropped a newly poured scotch in favor of clutching his head, and Raphael, Gabriel, and even Lucifer—all of whom had been blocked from the sibling channel for obvious reasons—all looked up frowning as the deafening volley of “WHO? WHAT DOES SHE KNOW?” vaguely bled over into their awareness. Meanwhile, countless humans blatantly stared in the direction of the small table in the formerly overlooked corner of the room.

The only parties who were unaware of the disturbance were Eileen, who had her back to the crowd, and Samandriel, who was busy vomiting into a vase in a different corner of the room while Naomi stroked his back. 

Benjamin waited a moment for Castiel to react, uncertain of whether he was aware that their siblings were working themselves into a frenzy and that Metatron was about to throw his sister in-law out for their entertainment. Eventually, Benjamin leaned to one side and whispered, “Inias, I think it’s time for the lady to go home.” 

“You know she came with—”

“I’m on it.” Balthazar sighed as if immensely disappointed with the turn of events, and several yards away, Sam Winchester was snatched out of an awkward conversation with Mary Winchester and a young woman who had been brought out of Purgatory specifically to attend the family-only event. At the same time, Eileen disappeared, along with Inias, who, like Balthazar, had died before the fall, and had subsequently been returned from the Empty with his wings intact. 

And awhile Benjamin stayed behind to endure Metatron and Castiel’s irritated glares and play dumb to the twenty or so odd siblings who asked what the outburst had been about, Balthazar did his very best not to tune out Sam Winchester’s demands to know what brought about the unsolicited rescue in favor of asking Eileen the one question that every angel in Heaven wanted to know. When his best efforts inevitably failed however, the answer Eileen gave him was disappointing. 

Turning to look at Sam, Eileen asked, “How long has it been on earth?

“What?”

Sam frowned, and Eileen repeated, “How much time has gone by on earth since we got home?”

“I don’t know. A few hours? Half a day, maybe? What does that have to do with—”

“Ask again later.” 

Balthazar started to protest, but Inias, who had always considered himself to be among the more conscientious of their siblings, and keenly aware that they were intruding in the Winchester-Leahy household after having just left Castiel to wonder why they’d abducted two members of his preferred family, clapped his hand on Balthazar’s shoulder and dragged him to the door. 

Back at the wedding, the mill of angelic gossip continued to turn, though mention of Michael and Adam’s names gradually fell in frequency after Metatron wrenched control of the narrative away from Zachariah. 

“He just doesn’t have the charisma,” Balthazar would say about it a few days later, speaking on a private channel, and was answered by Benjamin and Inias humming assent. 

“I heard the woman told Castiel and the Winchesters to ask her again later as well.” 

“Benjamin, you nosy little hypocrite.” 

For Benjamin though, this was actually a lie. As, being party to the only other human-angel couple returning to the residential section of Heaven after the wedding, he had elected to ask Castiel for a ride home. And as such, Benjamin and his wife had been present when Dean—still as overprotective in Heaven as he had ever been on earth—insisted on stopping by his brother’s house to make sure everything was alright. And he was also present when Castiel turned to Eileen and asked her point blank what Adam had said that set off the entire Heavenly host. Eileen had glanced up at a clock on the wall for a moment, but after a moment she nodded.

Eileen's only response when asked why the time on earth mattered had been, "Don't worry about it."

Balthazar had passed along the memory compilation he’d played at the venue, and after tapping the television set in Sam and Eileen’s living room, the images began playing in loop. 

Both with a beer in hand, Sam and Dean had looked understandably uncomfortable watching the two-minute interaction that had all of Heaven painting their brother as a lascivious trollop. They visibly relaxed when the first playthrough ended with Eileen chuckling. “Your brother’s funny.”

“Yeah? What’re they—”

Like an unwanted sibling on the family channel, Dean was shushed as the clips started again—and Benjamin’s wife nudged him to make sure he saw the sardonic eyebrow she raised at him.

On the screen, Adam approached the bar. The bartender left. In a grainy closeup, everyone could see the way that Adam’s eyes had flicked to one side as he perused the double, and then something small, white, and undoubtedly rectangular was placed on the counter. It made its way across the counter, and then the other Michael looked up in confusion.

“He just said ‘What’s this?’” Eileen said, at approximately the same point that Anael had called everyone’s attention to the scene earlier. Perspectives altered several times as the scene continued, focusing on different things. Adam’s slow conspiratorial grin, the moment the other’s eyes lit up.  

Eileen chuckled again.

“Well? What did he say?”

“‘Chuck Shurley’s home address.’”