"Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
~ William Shakespeare
Chuck shakes his head pacing in front of her. She stifles a sigh as she rolls her eyes, you'd think she's asking him to hand over his creation instead of talking to his sons.
"You know it's not that simple. Michael is angry."
"It's not like you've never seen him angry."
"That's not the point! How will he feel when I tell him we reconciled, when we did what he forced himself not to do?"
"Aren't you the one who keeps saying you can't be held responsible for your creations' actions?"
Chuck sighs and throws himself into a chair with enough force that it almost tips backward.
"Just go. I can't deal with you right now."
Amara rolls her eyes again.
"Yes you forbid I make a logical argument or something."
He waves her away. She pushes back in anger. Chuck ignores it he instead braces his elbows on the table, his hands forming a steeple as he thinks.
Chuck looks up to see Michael staring at him. He tries for happy smile only for it come out as a grimace.
"Michael. Please sit?"
Michael stares at him for a few more minutes. His eyes racking over his form.
"You're wearing Raphael's prophet."
He says sitting down.
Chuck mentally tenses. Alright they were going there.
"Oh will you stop being so melodramatic."
"Have children Amara. Then you'll see."
"I was always the prophet. I wanted to see, have a front row seat so to speak."
Michael stares at him for a few minutes and finally blinks and nods.
"So uh, any questions? Anything you want to know? Like what I did —"
"How is Heaven?"
"It's uh, it's well in shambles. They're floundering, holding onto archaic ways of —
"When can I leave? Oh this shouldn't surprise you but Castiel will pay."
Michael rises the chair scraping against the hardwood floor, he stands and waits for Chuck to finish his thought.
"Son please sit."
Michael stares at him,
His voice breaks.
Chuck's face melts into a sympathetic smile.
"Please? This won't take too long. I'm sorry. I—"
Chuck flinches at the anger. It's dry, so close to catching on fire.
"Michael son I—"
"You left me. Left without even saying goodbye, never mind instructions. What else was I suppose to do? Did you even care as you watched us all slowly become apathetic? Did you even fucking care when Raphael counted you as dead?!"
Chuck rubs his temples.
He looks up to see Michael nodding. He doesn't know why, but he wants to wound him. Break him.
"Honesty I didn't care. You all disappointed me. Raphael's lack of faith or your actions just were further justification for me."
"So why bring me out of the cage? Why save me at all?"
Chuck leans back and stares at him.
"She wants me to apologize, make amends with everyone I hurt."
He gestures to Michael adding,
Michael nods again.
"And how did they take it?"
"Death I think went the best. I promised Dick a world for him and the other leviathans with unlimited food... He agreed. Don't know if that means he forgives me or if he just saw an opportunity and took it."
Michael crosses his arms and says,
"I think it's the latter. Dick was always an opportunist."
"So what are you giving us? An apology? You think that makes up for everything?"
Chuck shakes his head and leans toward Michael.
"I'm not giving you all anything,"
He feels the rage spike. He holds up a hand.
"I am giving you something Michael, you're family. I'm — I'll try to make it up to you. I'm trying to be here for you. For all of you. I'm trying to be more present. To understand."
"How? Do you know what's it like to watch as the ones your suppose to protect slowly spiral out of your grasp? To have to kill the ones you raised?"
Chuck shakes his head,
"No I don't."
"Wow he's mad."
"I told you!"
"You're doing fine. Just keep a level head."
"You want to make up to me? Let me show you. Let me drench you in the agony that's been my existence for the last couple aeons."
Chuck stills, and shakes his head.
"Son I don't think that's a good idea. I'm sorry, I —"
"I'm the only one left! Everyone one I love, my little brothers are dead. I can't.... You can't make up from that."
"If I were to bring them back?"
Chuck inwardly sighs and decides to use a different tactic.
"Michael if I may? Aren't you tired? Don't you want a break?"
"Unlike you, I can't afford one."
Rage overtook him for a second. How dare Michael be so rude? He should be bowing at his feet, apologizing.
"Enough. Michael sit down."
Michaels eyes widen, fear spikes through him as it should. He sits down bowing his head. Yet he still doesn't apologize. Chuck tries not to glare at him, as he rises and paced in front of him.
How dare he? He should be grateful, thankful! He was helping.
Amara stays silent. Which somehow makes this whole think worse.
"Do you know what's it like to have every single person you come across blame you? Hate you?"
Michael glares at him. Chuck waves him off.
"Cool your fire Mike."
He has a somewhat captive audience now, he intends to use it. He feels the sudden anger drain out of him. He braces his hand against the table suddenly weak. He sighs, he wants to break the cycle. Not just for her but all of them, all his family.
"I'm sorry Michael. I loved you. I abandoned you and that's inexcusable. I'm not asking you to forgive me, just to try to love me again. To be a family with me again?"
He hates how uncertain he sounds. He's the commander of Heaven, he's God. He shouldn't sound so weak.
"You also played human for a while brother, they're very in touch with their emotions. It can be hard to readjust to being big when you tried to be small."
"Stop making sense."
But the barb was weak. No real power for behind it. Her laughter echoes in his mind as her power embraces him.
The thud of something hitting the floor makes them both jerk back their awareness to the diner.
Michael is kneeling before him. Chuck stifles a groan, funny how a moment of perspective changes things.
"Father I love you. I will always love you. If you ever doubted that then that's my fault. I —"
"Shh Mike son I know. I know. I was just being defensive."
He leans down to pull Michael to him. Michael begins to shake, tears coated Chuck's shoulder. He wasn't sure if he ever gave Michael a hug. He had made him to be a solider, a commander. Never someone so weak he needed something so trivial as affection.
"Please don't give me anymore orders, I can't handle them. I can't."
"Shh Michael, my little prince it's okay. I won't. I forgive you. I love you. You did everything right."
Still Michael shakes and bows his head. Chuck inwardly sighes.
"Michael I didn't mean to get angry, I should control my anger better - that's on me. Please look at me?"
He's pleading now but he doesn't care. He needs Michael to believe him more than anything else in that moment. Michael raises his head a little, and Chuck feels Amara still.
"He's so broken."
She whispers in shock and horror.
"I know. I did this to him Ammie. I- how can I come back from this? Why should I?"
Her anger surprised him.
"Charles your guilt aside, this isn't for you - it's for them. Now stop feeling sorry for yourself and help him."
Chuck flinches at the use of his full name. He draws himself inward, steeling himself for Michael's anger.
"I failed you, Father I've lost faith in you."
"You never failed me. Never. I failed you okay? I should have left instructions. I should have gave you clearer signs, saved from you the cage as soon as you went there. M - my special, little warrior. You're my son, do you understand me? More than my general, or commander, you are my son Michael. My darling little prince, I love you. I love you. I love you."
He was saying this all in a rush now. He pulls Michael to him. Holds him closer, grace and essence mixing. He soothes his pain. They stay like that for a long time.
"I am your son."
he echoes, Chuck doesn't think he believes him, yet. But he will. Chuck swears on the love he has for everything that he'll make sure Michael comes to believe him.
"Yes above all else. You are my son."
The tremors lessen slowly, gradually. Finally Chuck feels sure enough to pull Michael to his feet.
Michael gives him a small smile and cleared his throat.
"She's here right?"
"Well not here... But yes. She's not locked away."
"Can I talk to her?"
Chuck and Amara's essence still. Both very confused as to why. But Chuck shrugs as Amara smiles cautiously in their connection to him in acquiescence.
Michael takes a step back as Amara appears. She gives him a small nod.
He returns it.
Michael turns to Chuck in question,
"I'm told that freewill is something you want us to have yes?"
Chuck and Amara share a look not sure where Michael was going with this.
Chuck says turning back to Michael.
"And that means we can question right?"
"Yes go ahead. Ask me anything."
Michael looks at him and asks,
"Why did you forgive her?"
"Because she's family."
"You let her win!"
The rage is now a roaring fire. Ready to consume and burn all in its path.
"I let her win. Well I let her kill me — I think it's safe to say we both won."
He turns to her at that, they smile at each other.
"But creation? The world?"
Chuck turns back to him.
"She's family Michael. She—"
"You did it once before, what made this time any different?"
Chuck tilts his head,
"What did you say to Dean? You took care of Lucifer in ways he couldn't comprehend? How do I convey the moment you see and understand someone so completely as if you've known them always?
In the beginning it was us, we are moments apart. There was no time, no space then. There was just us so close we felt — knew we were one in the same. That this was family, this was love."
Chuck trials off as the Michael glares at him,
"You gave him to me and he was mine. I loved him, I still do. But I loved you more. We complemented and challenged each other. I held him and nurtured him — I knew him, every inch of him. I—"
"We were the same nephew."
Her voice was soft, rebuffing the tension between father and son.
"All I've ever known is him. I -— how do I explain raising someone who does not age? How do I explain the feeling of being laced together? Of filling our crevices with each other.
How do I explain a bond so deep it makes everything else all at once trivial and wonderful?"
Michael shakes his head, his voice sharp as a blade.
"We had that, Father and I loved each other. I am the first...the eldest, I know him. His love is trivial and finite. It's frankly a miracle he still cares for humanity at all."
Chuck and Amara catch each other's eyes at that. Chuck sighs and looks back at Michael.
"Son she's family, I love her —"
"You abandoned her, all of us. But let's focus on her. If you loved her Father why abandon her?"
His voice quicker than lightning. Chuck flinchs this was still a sore subject between them, though they pretty much had agreed that they were even with the whole causing each other pain thing, still he'd be lying if he said he doesn't feel guilty when catches him smiling at her wonderment.
"I—Michael do you love me?"
Michael stills and blinks at him. He finally nods,
"Yes I do."
"See it from my perspective I—"
"She wanted to destroy everything! Destroy us! She tried to kill you! How can you choose her over us? Over your family? Over your children!"
"She is my family Michael! She's all I've ever known. That feeling just doesn't go away with time or distance."
He finishes softly,
"What about us? Did we not make up for it? Didn't the Host, the animals, the various menagerie of creatures in this world make up for her?"
He's shaking his head before he can stop himself. He looks to her for help only for her to give him an encouraging smile. He needs to do this himself.
"We — I."
He pauses and swallows. He's tired of being politically correct, of trying to spare Michael's feelings. All she asked was for him to undo his lies and he would. He has to, he wants the creations she's come to love to see her the same way he does.
"None of you know me, truly know me Michael — not even you. Or Death, or Dick. You all see what I want you to. You see, your father, a leader. Death? A friend, the creator. Dick? His warden, an overzealous artist.
But Amara? My sister? She — what do you see me as? You can be honest, say whatever you want."
Amara raises an eyebrow, he's teetering, his essence jagged with pointed tips of ivory.
She moves away from the wall to sit on the bench. Her hand lay still in her lap. Her essence in contrast hangs above them, twisting around her ankles — restless.
"What do I see you as?"
He opens his mouth to clarify the question when he realizes she's being rhetorical.
"I see you as a friend, a thinker, an artist. I know you to be curious, generous, and loving. But to see and know you Brother is not what makes Michael and I different."
Amara looks directly at Michael now when she speaks,
"What makes me different from every other person in this world Michael is not that I am family.
What makes me different is that I understand him. I understand the reasoning, the underlying thought process that made him do one thing or another—"
"So why did he do it Aunt? Why did he abandon us? Why did he want Lucifer and I to kill each other? Why did he make a world filled with suffering?"
Amara looks to him but he hides his thoughts, he wants her to make her own decision, not one based on his feelings.
She looks back at Michael,
"You won't like the answers. Would you still like me to tell you?"
Michael swallows and nods.
"He left you because you disappointed him, he wanted you to fight each other because he wanted to see if you'll choose another road — I'll elaborate on that don't worry. Now this was the very question I found myself asking again, humanity, your siblings, even the monsters in purgatory and demons in Hell feel it. Everyone suffers. At first I thought it was because that was how he designed it, but as I got to watch him interact with his creation as I got to spend more time the answer came to me. Would you like me to tell you Brother?"
Chuck leans against the wall and nods, his hands shoved into his pocket. His head bowed his eyes fixed on his shoes.
"Because you want to see them succeed, you want them to prevail in spite of everything —"
"That can be argued for humanity fine. But what of everyone else?"
"Can it be argued about you and your siblings Michael?"
"Fine. Not that the suffering of Purgatory or Hell bothers me but shouldn't it because of their choices? The circumstances by which it is written?"
"Not everything has such a divine reasoning as it comes to pass because it is written Michael."
Speaks Chuck quietly.
Michael doesn't say anything and looks at Amara.
"Demons suffer not because of their choices as humans but as their choices as demons. Their are good angels as they are good demons. Monsters suffer because they choose to. They have the power to control nature there are some who do, who can."
Michael blinks, he walks toward her. His sword glinting in the light of the sun. Though all three know it is useless in the current company. Still Chuck tenses, Amara only shoots a small smile in his direction.
"So you're saying we suffer because we choose to?"
"But what of those who do not choose it? Who are beaten, abused."
She rises an eyebrow,
"I thought you were indifferent toward humanity Michael?"
"Then why the concern for them?"
Michael looks away, he clenches his blade harder.
"Because he, you, neither of you will answer my real questions."
"I will Nephew."
"You haven't been here! You don't know this world! What've I had to go through!"
Chuck flinches away, Amara's kindness evaporates replaced with a layer of anger.
"You had to turn your back on your kin, lock him away. You had to watch as one by one your siblings fell apart or fell in line — losing their individuality in the process. You had to watch as your baby brother had to fend for himself, try not to go to him as he stumbled and fell again and again. You had to come to terms with the idea of his death, of your own destruction thereafter... Because how could you live in a world without him? Why would you want to?"
"How am I doing Michael? Did I miss anything?"
"You don't know what's it like to watch as your brother hates you — becomes a twisted caricature of everything you loved about him."
She laughs at that, long and hard.
"Are you kidding me? Michael I had to watch as he created again and again. I might of hated his obsessing need to do so but even I was never so angry as to not see how each clean slate weighed on him. How his spark seemed to grow dimmer with each new creation. I was never so blind as to see each destruction and subsequent creation drove us further apart.
Before he created you, before the leviathans there was a world with the colors of the rainbow - where it would rain droplets of diamonds. It had been a gift for me, a last ditch effort on his part to make me understand. I destroyed it with a wave of my hand do you know what he did?"
She nods her head.
"My brother who I thought would never betray me set out to erase me. In the moments before I was being sealed away I didn't see my brother I saw a monster a foreign force that I didn't understand. But this wasn't my brother. This was the kin who knew me as well as he knew himself. I know what it's like Michael, believe me I know what's it like to hate him enough to want to kill him, to love him enough to want to let yourself die instead."
Chuck slides to the floor, his hands covering his face. Michael looks at him wide-eyed. Amara simply smiles sadly and appears next to him.
"I told you we've gotten passed it, I've gotten passed it."
"You can, you were the victim. I wasn't. I have to live with the fact that I betrayed you."
Amara pulls one of his hands away from his face,
"Yes you did, but didn't you choose me instead of your creation now?"
"You chose me in the end. That's all that matters."
Michael looks away,
"I don't know wether to be angry or impressed."
Amara and Chuck turn from each other to him.
"Son look she's family. I know that's hard for your to understand. I know —"
"It's not. That's what makes me angry. I-I just, I don't want to go through another war."
"We won't my little King. We won't. We want to put all the bad blood behind us. Will you help us do that? Will you help us bring our family together?"
She's crouching on the floor next to him, her hand on his cheek. He's nodding and trying not to cry.
She smiles and pulls him closer.
"I'm glad your back Ma."
Amara's essence curls around them. Chuck gets up and steps away, giving them some much needed privacy. Michael used to call her that all the time, only stopping once Lucifer had appeared.
Chuck smiles as he sees Amara curl around him in joy, as Michael starts to recount everything she has missed. His voice soft, low, and quick - like lullaby, it certainly put Chuck at ease.
As Michael continues to speak Amara and Chuck reconnect with each other again.
"I think I can do this five or six more times."
"Five? There's four of them brother."
"I know, there's one or two more angels I need to apologize to."
"What did you do?"
He answers seriously to her amused question. She curls around him, but he pushes her away.
"Focus on Michael, I'll be fine."
Though neither believes his words.