CAS--

A dark shape stood silhouetted against the window spilling out a soft yellow light behind him. He stood just inside an alleyway between two dingy apartment buildings in some city, the name of which he hadn't bothered to pay any attention to, watching the press of humanity with mild curiosity as they went on with their lives in the cold evening drizzle. Though he was unnaturally still, occasionally his dark trench coat would shift around his legs in the sluggish nighttime breeze. From deeper within the alley, music drifted out toward him, and his lips twitched the slightest bit at the words carried along with the music.


...Do I need thought so cold? Could I feel more alone? Am I more damned than thou?...


STELLA MANSON--

Stella walked along, pissed off as usual, late from getting out of work. It wasn't something she wanted to do. But it was something she had to do. She felt she was part of a larger purpose, somewhere in her soul she knew that. Her hand slid through her curly hair as she went. Deciding on a shortcut through the alleyway, ignoring her ell phone buzzing in her jacket pocket.

"Rot in hell.." She muttered under her breath. Her now ex could fuck himself. He had slapped her last night, that was the last time he was going to do that.


CAS--

His attention was drawn to the woman headed into the alleyway, and he slipped back away from the window into the darkness to watch her as she walked past. Her muttered comment caused his lips to twitch once more in amusement. Her inattention to her surroundings, however, is what really drew his interest. He waited in the shadows, darkness cloaking him almost as effectively as his unused demonic powers could, until she had passed him and was several yards down the alley. Then, sticking his hands into the pockets of his coat, he turned to follow her.


STELLA MANSON--

She was upset, normally she took in her surroundings a bit better. But tonight she was upset from work and her ex not leaving her alone. Her phone vibrated again and she stopped in the alleyway, her sneakers coming to rest in a pool of light, keeping the rest of her in shadow. She took her phone out from her pocket and answered it. She put it on speaker as she began her trek once more.

"I told you, I don't give a shit, we're done you bastard. You can burn in hell." She winced as he started calling her names, his voice loud enough to echo in the alleyway. "I don't care, we're done." She yelled back, looking down at the phone in her hand, deeply wanting to throw it into the wall beside her.


CAS--

As she came to a stop, so did he. His head tilted slightly as he listened unashamedly to her call, his expression caught between amusement and...it might even be a touch of concern. He moved closer, slowly and quietly, using every power at his disposal short of outright vanishing to approach her unseen and unheard. Despite the darkness, he could see her clearly, including the slight shift of her shoulders that communicated her distress to him even more clearly than the tone of her voice did. The twitch of her arm as he came to stand within a couple of feet of her also told him just what she wanted to do.


Now, darling, throwing it won't really make him go away,” he murmured just loud enough for him to be sure she'd hear him. “But I might be able to help with that.” He put on his best warm and charming smile for her.


STELLA MANSON--

She was furious to say the least with him and had just hit end on the phone, breathing heavily. "Fucking bastard.." she wiped her tears from her eyes angrily, looking at her phone again. If her whole life wasn't on this phone.

Her breath caught in her voice as she heard a voice behind her and twirled around, tears still in her strikingly green and familiar eyes. The man in the trenchcoat..where had he come from? Damn it, she thought to herself, she should have been paying more attention.

"Well murder is illegal..last I heard anyhow.." She sniffed and shifted her weight, regardless of how friendly he was being. She lifted her head up into the pool of light, the purple bruise on her cheek catching under the light. It had cost her tips, that bruise had tonight at the diner.


CAS--

He hesitated, those eyes boring into him as though touching a part of himself he'd long shut away. Mentally shaking it off until he had the leisure to consider it later, he pulled a hand from his pocket and ran it through his already slightly messy dark hair to cover his momentary lapse. “Mmm,” he hummed, not quite agreement but more than just acknowledgment of her words.


I'm sorry if I frightened you. It can be dangerous around here, especially in the alleys. I just...wanted to be sure you'd be alright.” He tipped his head in a slow nod to her, letting his smile fade at the sight of the bruising on her face – though it didn't actually surprise him given the phone conversation. “Seems like your...friend, he might be more danger to you than the dark alleys. The offer stands, but...if you're not interested, could I at least see you home safely?”


STELLA MANSON--

She slid her phone into her pocket as he moved her hand through his hair. Her eyes crinkled in a bit at humor as he made a sort of noise that made her tilt her head at him. Her lips lifted at the corners and then she looked down at his words about being safe.

"I don't usually take the alleys, it's a shortcut to get home.." She admitted, a bit of embarrassment in her voice. She knew better. "Thank you.." She added softly, as he said he wanted her to be all right. She saw his smile fade and then he noticed her bruise. She slid her hair in front of her face to cover it some more. She nodded in agreement.

"He isn't anymore, I kicked him out.." She had the locks changed before she went to work this afternoon. Something about him touched her, she didn't sense he was a danger. But then she didn't think her ex was either. She nodded a little bit. "Sure..I'd like company on my way home." She said softly, her eyes lightening a bit. "I'm Stella, by the way." She smiled at him.


CAS--

He nodded, allowing the corners of his lips to curl upward. “If you're certain he won't be a problem, I suppose I'll have to take your word. I'd hate to see someone as lovely as you end up in any trouble.” He let himself meet her startling green gaze with his own blue-eyed stare, the smile dropping from his lips. It took him oh-so-briefly to a different time and another pair of eerily similar green eyes he could let get himself lost in. Shaking it off, he reminded himself that those days were long gone. “My, uh... Cas. My name's Cas,” he said in a gravelly voice slightly tinged with emotion he couldn't quite shake.


Stepping forward, he gestured down the alley as he teased another warm smile back into his expression. “Lead the way, Stella.” He ducked his head as she made her way toward, well, wherever she was going to lead him, trying to get a grip on emotions he'd thought he'd long since mastered and that he didn't want her to see in his eyes.


STELLA MANSON--

She tilted her head at him as he met her eyes. When his smile drop she slid her gaze back down the alleyway, lost in thought for a moment, and memories. Why did the name Cas seem familair to her? All those hours studying in religions classes in college came back to her suddenly. Her eyes lit up briefly. "Nice to meet you, Cassiel." She nodded, some humor in her voice. A man named after an angel was amusing to her. At least a less well known one. Something whispered at her and she shook her head. She didn't even notice he only said 'Cas', not Cassiel.

"Yeah, it's not far from here.." She said softly. She pulled her beat up leather jacket around her more. Stella headed to the end of the alleyway and out onto the sidewalk. Her brownstone was at the ed of the block. Her phone was silent, and not vibrating she noticed. She wished again, not for the first time that her Father had been more than a sperm donor. Showing up when she was twelve to give her a stuffed animal and drifted in and out of her life. It suddenly stopped a few years ago. She didn't know why. He came after her mother died when she was eighteen. She refused to change her last name for him though because of the lack of presence in her life. He didn't seem to know how to handle her.


CAS--

'Cassiel.' Not his name, no...but close enough to the name he'd carried for such an immense span of time – and a name that humans had used for him in prayer back when he could hear such things – that he sucked in a surprised breath and his eyes flicked back up to regard her carefully. There was more here than he'd first thought, and he had a sudden burning desire to understand it. Afterall, this was something different, and that alone was enough to make him want to play with her until he could figure her out.


Realizing that he'd been frozen in place for the moment or two of his shock, he followed after her until his longer stride brought him alongside her. Noting her somewhat distant gaze, he decided on a possibly risky move. Grinning to himself internally, though keeping his outward smile as warm and charming as ever, he reached his hand out to rest it gently against her back, as though he wanted to guide her as he protected her. Subtle manipulations were always the best, after all.


It's just Cas,” he replied to her belatedly, amusement lacing his low voice. “Cassiel sounds like a nice name, though. Where's it from?”


STELLA MANSON--

Stella hadn't even taken notice that he hadn't followed her at first. She was lost in thoughts and memories. It was when he touched the back of her jacket that made her stop for a moment, she knew it was a protective gesture. It unsettled her for a moment, and she let her mind drift towards a few other things.

She blushed a bit at his words and rethought what she said. She closed her eyes for a moment at the bottom door before she unlocked it. "Cas..right. Forgive me." She whispered softly. "I'm sorry. I took some religion classes in college, Catholic mythology. Cassiel was an Angel. One of the Archangels originally..though he seemed to pass into a Seraphim later in later traditions." She rattled off without much thought. "I heard stories from my Fa..sperm donor..of..demons and Angels..ghosts. Mother said it didn't exist. It just made me want to study." She shook her head a little. "Sorry. I just, long day. I'm a little tired, I tend to ramble."

She let them into the brownstone and took note of some pictures on the mantle, sliding her jacket off and sliding it over the back of the couch. "Uhm..Cas. Would you like a beer or something for your troubles?" On the mantle were pictures of her Mother, and a smaller one without a frame, not in view of her Father. She had no pictures of the two of them together. Next to the picture though, was a stuffed beanie baby. A white angel bear that had seen better days, and was dirty.


CAS--

He noted her hesitation at his touch, even if it was through layers of clothing, but relaxed slightly when she didn't do anything to indicate the touch was unwelcome. He kept up the firm, though still light, pressure on her back as they walked, right up until she stopped at a door and hesitated again. As she unlocked the door, she explained her slip, and amusement rippled through him. 'Mythology, indeed,' he thought. Still, her words did give him something to think about. One parent who seemed to believe in more than just what a religious upbringing should teach, but another who denied it entirely. Yes, she might well be worth the effort to figure her out. Only human, she'd be easy enough to dispose of later...should it become necessary.


Remaining silent during her explanation and her apology, he followed her into the building. He let his eyes drift about the room they entered, not bothering to hide his curiosity. He figured any normal man would do the same if invited into a beautiful young woman's living space, so it was a safe enough emotion to indulge in, for now.


Ah, um...sure,” he said, turning to direct his warm smile at her. “A beer would be great, if it's no trouble. Uh, thanks.” Having answered her, he let his gaze drift back to objects on the the mantle, by far the most interesting things in the room. Pictures of a woman dominated the space, and he guessed them to be her mother since Stella bore a very strong resemblance to the woman captured in the images. The dirty little stuffed bear, with its little angel wings hanging somewhat ragged from its back, made a chuckle bubble forth before he could quite stop it. “So, uh...you have a thing for angels, Stella,” he asked over his shoulder as he continued to study the pictures curiously.


STELLA MANSON--

Stella was already heading into the kitchen when he said he wouldn't mind a beer. She didn't know why she had just let him in. Of course, she was strangely attracted to him. She mustn't let that cloud her judgement too much. It wasn't that she hadn't brought a man home for a roll in the hay before, a one night stand. Just not this quickly, and he had appeared out of nowhere. She shook off the worry for the moment, opening up the fridge. She found two bottles of beer in the back, she took them out and opened them.

She walked back out to the living room and pulled her hair up out of the collar of her shirt as she walked over to him. She handed him a bottle and took a drink out of the bottle. She blushed at his laugh and question. "Yeah, well it's the first stuffed animal I was given by my "Father" when I met him. I took the class with some philosophy classes." She snorted softly and picked up the picture next to the bear. She looked at it. He told me I have brothers too, she thought silently, looking at his picture. The green eyes she obviously got from him. She wondered if her brothers had green eyes as well. She handed him the picture. "He came in and out of my life. He finally stopped showing up a few years ago. I haven't seen him since my Mother died." She shrugged a little and sat down. She set her beer on the coffee table and slid her hair off her collar and neck again. She had a few tattoos that showed briefly when she moved her hair. "I studied Latin too in college.." she trailed off. She didn't know why she was telling him so much. Yet she did anyhow. She took her bottle again and drank from it. She wished she had liquor instead.


CAS--

He took the beer, ignoring the familiar duality of faint, faded regret and fondness the beverage always managed to stir in him. Cas took a cautious sip, well aware it was an acquired taste, and one he'd never managed to acquire despite his long association with it. But, he also well knew that if he drank, she might continue to drink. And he wasn't at all above letting alcohol help him accomplish his goals, when it suited the occasion.


When she offered it, Cas took the picture from her, though he let his gaze rest on her as she continued her explanation. Something about those eyes of hers just tugged at him. It left him feeling both wistful and irritated, all at once. He covered his unease by taking another sip from his beer and letting his attention finally drift to the picture he held loosely.


Suddenly, he felt like the entire world had dropped out from under his feet. Cas knew this man. His eyes widened in shock, and, unnoticed by him, flicked briefly to a blue-threaded-black before he got his shock under some semblance of control again and they returned to their normal deep blue human appearance. Memories of a former life, long since left behind, threatened to overwhelm him. He fought against the rush of the past, though the only outward sign left was a slight trembling of his hand as it clenched over the picture, crumpling it.


Slowly, he turned to openly stare at Stella, aware she'd been speaking again, but not actually caring what she'd said. Anger and a touch of something he refused to acknowledge as actual fear surged within him. “This man...is your father,” he asked, his gravelly voice low and strained. Not really giving her time to answer, he closed the short distance between them, until he was well within her personal space. “He can't be your father. You're not a Winchester.” Even as he spoke, he felt her green eyes, familiar green eyes – oh, how could he not have seen it before – on him.


STELLA MANSON--

She realized she was rambling when she was speaking. Why she was telling him things, she wasn't sure. She took a sip from her beer and stood from the couch when she noticed him crumple the picture. "Hey, what the fuck?" Stella walked over Cas and tried to gently extricate the picture from his hand. "That's the only picture I have of him.." She said in a small voice, the anger at John forgotten, tears welling up in her eyes.

She held onto the bottle's neck hard, frowning at his words. "Yes..that man is my Father.." She tugged the picture a bit again. "Please, don't rip this." She looked into his blue eyes as he got into her personal space. Not afraid of him. "No, my but Father and brothers are. He had a one night stand with my Mother resulting in me. She didn't give me his name, and I refused to change it. He wasn't exactly there for me. He came to my Mother's funeral and that's when he said I had brothers. I don't know their names. I wouldn't go on the road with him though." She shook her head again and glared at him, she let go of the picture when someone occurred to her.

"Wait, you know my Father? Did he send you here?" She took a step away from him, her knees folding under her as she hits the couch edge and sits down hard. She scrambled back from him a little. "Are you one of them? My brothers?" She didn't think he could be, he looked nothing like her Father or herself. Maybe he took after his mother?


CAS--

Cas didn't relinquish his grip on the crumpled piece of paper bearing John Winchester's image when she tugged at it. He didn't really react at all, aside from continuing to stare at her, not wanting to believe what he was holding the very proof of in his hand. Instead, he just let her words wash over him, slow to comprehend what she was saying as his mind raced. Suddenly what had started out as a bit of amusement had turned into more than he really wanted to deal with right now. The wounds were still too fresh, and he was well aware that his sanity was still something that shifted from day to day.


Her questions peppered down on him, and Cas could feel her suspicions and distress washing over him. “I am not your brother,” he bit out, barely restraining his own distress. “You should be glad of that. Your brothers, your father...all of them – fucking Winchesters – they eventually destroy everything they touch, and always with the best of intentions.”


Licking his lips absently, Cas looked back down at the picture he still clutched, then opened his hand and let it drop to the floor and turned his attention back to Stella. “You don't need to worry, though. Your brothers don't even know you exist. John never saw fit to tell them of his...indiscretions...before he died.” Getting a grip on himself, if only a tenuous one, he smirked at her. His game of subtle manipulation with this girl was done with. She was a Winchester, and that meant a completely different game.


STELLA MANSON--

Stella watched him while he spoke. "You're not my brother..good." She whispered softly, she shook her head a little, watching her Father's picture fall to the floor. She frowned and stood, setting the beer on the coffee table. She took the two steps to where Cas was and knelt down picking up the picture, smoothing it as she stood.

Stella flinched at the words about the Winchesters. Her free hand opening and closing at those words. She was a little disheartened to hear her brothers didn't know she existed and snapped her head up as she caught that John was dead. "What?" She whispered. Blinking a few times as if she hadn't heard him, or had understood this man speaking English before her. "He's dead? How? When?" She was furious and then took note of him smirking at her. She saw only red as she slapped Cas hard, open palmed, across the face. Her right hand stinging and red in pain. "You're a bastard. She growled.

She balled her right hand into a fist, more then ready to punch him as a vision flashed before her eyes and she dropped to her knees, breathing heavily. One hand on the floor, the other on her chest as breathing became difficult for the moment as the vision continued. She saw the shooting stars, but they weren't stars. When Stella touched Cas, something clicked back on inside of her. She used to see and speak to ghosts when she was a child. She saw things before they happened. She always knew when someone lied to her. Her mother had told her that she was pretending and those things didn't exist. She saw the Winchesters, Sam and Dean, her brothers standing with the man in the coat next to her right then. Another man in a plaid shirt, Bobby..those dreams.."No.." She barely got out.


CAS--

Cas only shrugged carelessly when she questioned him about her father's death. He knew the answers of course – there was little he didn't know about the Winchesters, despite her being a surprise to him – but he simply didn't care to answer her. Her slap, he would have had to admit if ever asked, did come to a surprise to him. But he didn't move an inch, didn't even flinch, when her palm made contact with his cheek. One advantage of his...condition...was strength that went far beyond that of humans.


When she dropped to her knees before him, his smirk twisted, turning darker. But it was an expression that quickly dropped from his features when Cas realized there was something else going on here, something perhaps even worse than accidentally meeting with a Winchester. He could sense the change in her. Something was wrong here, and he had to find out if it was a threat to him. Or, a little voice said in the back of his mind, if it was a threat to her.


He reached his hand down, two fingers extended, and touched her forehead just as she spoke that single word of denial. Closing his eyes, he could see what she was seeing, but dimly as though through a dirty pane of glass. It was strange seeing what she saw, himself through other eyes, his past, those he'd once called his family...and the Fall.


A gasp fell from his parted lips and Cas jerked his hand away from her as though burned. “Fucking Winchester witch,” he spat out at her, his eyes flicking unnoticed to show the blue-threaded-black that betrayed his demonic nature. He balled up his fists at his sides, torn between the urge to rip her to pieces and the urge to gather her into his arms and hold her close. The former urge he understood all too well, but the latter left him paralyzed with confusion.


STELLA MANSON--

She gasped softly as she saw more when he touched her forehead, breathing heavily. She shook as she knelt there, moaning, seeing John drop dead with another man in a hospital bed. Images flicked across her mind an she squeezed her eyes closed tightly.

Tears spilled from her eyes as she saw Cas's true nature. A fallen Angel. Castiel, Cassiel. A real live angel. Her Mother had been an Atheist, but all of those stories John had told her were true. Heaven, Hell, purgatory. She saw a demon try to kill her Mother an John showed up an saved her. Killed the demon, the man falling to the floor. She caught glimpses of her parents eventually falling into bed. She shook her head, she didn't want to see that. Now she understood why, why everything. A man in a wheelchair. The Angel before her had fallen in love with her brother, Dean and was protective of Sam..and..Adam.

"Really?" She whispered in askance between gasping for breath. Seeing the whole thing in front of her eyes. Adam in Hell, in a cage with Michael and Lucifer, hundred of Angels dead. Stella was one of the few who could hear their true voices, her mother had been like her. A psychic medium as well. "I'm not a witch." She ground out at him, her eyes opening and glaring at him. "Angel..Demon..what is wrong with you?" She growled at him and was in his space suddenly, pushing him hard in his chest. She saw his deal with Crowley, to save Dean. "I.." She trailed off she looked at something beyond her, her hand still resting on his chest, touching his skin where a button had come off when she pushed him, her eyes going unfocused once more as more images assaulted her.


CAS--

To his surprise, he allowed her to actually move him back a few inches when she shoved at him, despite strength that could crush her easily. Her hand resting against his chest was so distracting. Cas knew she was still seeing him, his past...possibly some of her own, as well. Or, at the very least, things in the past that related to her in some way. Thanks to her being a Winchester, he couldn't escape the fact that they were bound in some strange way, just as he'd been to her brothers, and even distantly, her father. This time, he wisely chose not to try to peek at what she was seeing. He'd lived enough of it, and he had no desire to revisit his own past.


You said it, darling,” he breathed out, with far less force to the words than he'd intended. “Demon. I'm not an angel anymore. I haven't been for some time.” Cas paused, his jaw working as he regarded her, wondering if she would even hear him in the state she was in. Slowing, hesitatingly, a hand drifted up and covered hers where it rested against his chest. “You really don't want to go peeking too deeply. The last time someone got a good look at me, it didn't end so well for her.”


Gently, every instinct screaming at him to tear her to pieces and be done with her, he pulled her hand away from his chest and gripped it lightly. He searched her vacant green eyes, not even sure what he was looking for, and uncaring if his own demonic eyes bothered her at this point. “Don't Stella,” he whispered, surprised at the pleading tone his gravelly voice had taken. “Please.”


STELLA MANSON--

Stella saw more, she didn't want to, but she did. She shook her head again as his voice brought her back to the present. She took a deep breath as she listened to him, shaking off more images as his hand covered hers on his chest. "I know..I saw." Stella whispered softly, she swallowed hard. Her green eyes sliding to his blue and back ones. The sight didn't scare her, or make her afraid of him. She almost found it..pleasant.

Stella swallowed hard, desperately trying to shut the images down, putting up a shield that some gut instinct laid in place for her. She nodded at his words as he pulled her hand from his chest. She blinked as she saw bits and pieces, she heard the pleading in his voice. She lifted her other hand and slid it slowly on his face. "I don't see anything to be afraid of." She said softly. She didn't know how or why, but she felt no fear. "They're..quite beautiful your eyes. Really." Her head tilted to the side and she began to pull her hand away from his face.

The new information, all of it, seeing her brothers, all of the horrible things, bubbled up to her lips and she started laughing softly. She didn't know why, but she did, it struck her as funny. Then grief washed over her almost as fast. She felt grief for her brothers. Sam and Dean most especially. At least she had the full attention of one parent. They had attention from Mary, but after she died, John just wasn't there. Dean raised Sam, that much was true. She started crying softly. "Those poor boys.." She said between sobs.


CAS--

It should bother him, the thought that this human was seeing him for what he was – all of what he was – and might actually survive it. Probably would survive it, Cas realized, being perfectly honest with himself. Then again, she wasn't just any human; for good or bad, she was a Winchester.


He was tied to the bloodline in ways he himself didn't entirely understand, but it was a fact he knew down in the deepest parts of himself. It explained why he was so drawn to her, but it didn't tell him what he should do about it. He'd thought he was long done with the Winchesters in his life. He sacrificed everything, literally everything he was and had, for the eldest of the siblings. Why couldn't he just have been done with them?


He was pulled from his thoughts when he felt her touch against his cheek. Her words, far too gentle considering the thing she was speaking to, cut him to the bone. He knew what he truly looked like now, so far fallen from what he'd spent eons as. She had to be afraid of him, she needed to be, she must be. She couldn't possibly see any real beauty in what he was, and his head shook slightly in denial, though he couldn't summon words to actually answer her.


Instead, a gasp fell from his lips as her hand pulled away from his face. The loss of that contact was disorienting, and he briefly wondered if she really was a witch. He had no other explanation for the chaotic and uncharacteristic feelings that swirled though is mind.


Her sudden laughter startled him, but he forgot it almost instantly when her laughter turned to tears. He could feel her grief wash over him. Without thought, he let her hand go – only then realizing he'd still been gripping it lightly but firmly – and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her against his chest and tucking her head under his chin. “Shh, little one. Shh. Don't cry, darling. Please,” he whispered into her curly hair. “You don't owe those boys anything, not even your tears.” His hand came up to stroke her hair lightly, trying awkwardly to comfort the girl he'd gleefully considered ripping to bloody pieces not so long ago.


STELLA MANSON--

If Stella was a witch, then she didn't know it. Maybe that was the grand purpose she felt for herself. The fact that she was a Winchester, tied into that bloodline. Into the fate of the world, Heaven and Hell. She wasn't afraid of him. She knew she should be. He felt familiar even though they had just met. All those memories though, the pain and suffering the boys had gone through. And now this Angel/Demon in front of her.

When he pulled her into him, she didn't resist, didn't freeze, didn't reject him or push him away. His arms slid around her and she rested her head on his chest, the feeling of his breath in her hair, his arms around made her shiver. She slid her arms back around him without hesitation, clinging to him almost desperately, still crying. She shook her head at his words. "Not just them..but you. You're beautiful. Your wings.." she whispered softly. Grief made her bury her head against him closer. She gripped him tightly. They did deserve her tears, and most importantly, so did he. He had gone through so much. When she said boys, she meant them all.

"You..your pain.." She whispered softly, she felt it in her heart. An absent Father, he had loved once too. Just like John, God was gone too. She shook as she leaned against him. She knew now, why she felt trusting of him. Why she just..talked when she met him. She slid her hand up and touched his cheek again softly, the one she had slapped. She wasn't trying to feel anything but him, here and now.


CAS--

Unable to help it, or even hide it, Cas winced when she mentioned his wings. They were long gone. He hadn't even thought of them in such a long time, and now this fragile little human was drawing out the sense of loss he'd once carried with him. “There's nothing beautiful about a demon, Stella,” he said, sadness tinging his rough voice. He knew letting her see or hear any of what he was feeling – things he shouldn't even be able to feel anymore – was a weakness, but he just could bring himself to give a damn anymore. Whatever spell her Winchester blood was wrapping him in, the sudden weariness he felt made him just not even want to resist it.


As her hand slid into place against his cheek, he felt the demonic aspect showing in his eyes fade, and he let them slip closed. His arms tightened around her almost imperceptibly, seeking some way to still her trembling. “My pain is...nothing. I made my choice, and I accepted the consequences.” He let a sigh slip past his lips, and then indulged a very mortal urge to breathe in the scent of her hair. A soft, bitter laugh burst forth, and he leaned his chin lightly against the top of her head. “The best of intentions...and the worst of results,” he whispered, regret filling his voice.


STELLA MANSON--

Stella saw the beauty regardless in him. His eyes, his very soul. There was beauty. She felt his arms tighten around her and relaxed against him more. Her trembling subsided in his embrace, she slid her thumb along his bottom lip as he sighed. She moved her head back to look up at him.

She didn't think twice as she heard the regret in his voice, leaning up and kissing him softly. Something in her very nature screamed at her to stop what she was doing, but something deeper down, her DNA, her blood told her not to stop. Her hand slid onto his shoulder and gripped it tightly, not wanting to stop what she was doing.


CAS--

A shiver rippled through him when her lips came up to touch his, and Cas found himself lowering his head to meet her kiss, his eyes remaining closed as though he couldn't face what he would see if he opened them. It was nothing more than a tender brush of lips, but it shook him to his core. Demons don't feel tenderness, he reminded himself, even as that very emotion wrapped him in a wondrous and barely remembered warmth.


When her hand gripped his shoulder, another shiver ran through him. Unbidden – and, really, unwanted – the memory of his hand on another shoulder flooded into his mind. Cas dropped his head to let his forehead rest gently against the human's. “Who are you, really, Stella?” He raised his head reluctantly, finally opening his eyes to search hers, hoping to see something – anything – to explain what was happening to him. “What are you? The little human girl that kisses a demon like it's nothing; that feels no fear. What are you, and what are you doing to me?”


STELLA MANSON--

When he broke the kiss, she opened her eyes, a deep sigh sliding out of her lips at his question. Who was she indeed? Her eyes were confused at the question, sliding her hand into his hair gently. When he moved from her and opened his own eyes, she searched for some answer in them. "I don't..know." She confessed softly. Maybe it was because of everything she saw in him, all the memories, some his and most of them not. She was confused and some humor slid into her eyes as her gaze drifted to the mantle. Her dirty angel bear sitting there, looking at her.

"Maybe..when I was a child, my Mother used to tell me Angels watched over me. Who knew she was right?" She whispered softly, almost to herself. All she knew was, she had a purpose, is was in her DNA. "I'm Stella Winchester.." She answered him and looked back into his eyes.


CAS--

He followed her gaze for a moment as it drifted away from him, then Cas went back to searching her eyes. It felt a little bit like flying, he mused, and a little bit like falling. Such contradictory sensations, but it described perfectly her and everything that had happened since he watched her walk past him in that alley such a short time – or an eternity – ago.


He huffed a laugh, fine lines crinkling around his eyes as he regarded her. “Still not an angel, darling.” He shook his head, wondering at his easy amusement when he was so used to feeling rage, or nothing at all. “Fucking Winchesters,” he murmured, though with hints of his bemusement with her threaded through the otherwise harsh words.


It seems I'm fated to serve them in some fashion or another, and not even my own death can release me from that fate.” Shaking his head, he released her from his embrace and took a step back. “I was taught about free will by your brothers. And yet, I never seem to escape, no matter the choices I make. Not even damnation has released me, hmm?” Maybe clarity would come when he was no longer touching her, smelling her hair, feeling her heartbeat against his chest.


I no longer serve Heaven, or my Fa...or God. So what do you think Fate is demanding of me this time, little Stella?” His head tilted and his eyes narrowed a bit as he searched her face for some kind of answer to the question, even though he knew she was simply human and couldn't know what Fate demanded of him.


STELLA MANSON--

She nodded at his words. "I know you're not." She said softly, her eyes lit up when he said 'Fucking Winchesters' and couldn't help but laugh. When he stepped back from her, she felt just the same as before. She didn't want him to leave her though. She started to take a step towards him, but stopped sensing this was what he needed. Her hands slid down to her sides, toying with the edge of her shirt, wishing her hands to do something.

"Seems like the Winchesters are good for something." Free will indeed, she thought. She saw what had happened. She didn't want him to serve her. Her arms wrapped around herself there for a moment. She didn't know what his fate was. To continue to serve the Winchesters? Her blood and family? Confusion written in her face for the moment. "I don't serve my Father either.." She whispered softly. Not after she saw. Again, John was a man. He abandoned them all it seemed. She slid a hand through her hair and heard her cell phone vibrate in her coat pocket again. It seemed so long ago this had happened. Her eyes narrowed sharply, knowing who it was without looking at it.


CAS--

He shrugged, not quite sure he could agree that the Winchesters were good for much of anything. But, at the same time, he wasn't sure he could disagree, either. Here was another Winchester he was drawn to, so like and yet so unlike her eldest brother. And this was a Winchester with none of the baggage of the past, who seemed willing to accept him for who and what he was now. A Winchester who seemed as drawn to him as he was to her, only far more willing to display it openly than her elder brother ever was.


Clarity by removing himself from her touch, he mused, didn't seem to be a thing that was happening. He felt just as drawn to her now as he did when he was holding her petite frame in his arms. Again, he wondered if she'd worked some sort of spell on him, trying to gain herself a tame demon pet. The wondering was brief, because he realized he just wasn't even sure he cared anymore. He'd felt more in the past hour or so he'd been in her company than he'd felt in, well, longer than he cared to think about.


He was just about to give in to the temptation to reach out to her again, maybe let himself run his fingers through her hair, or perhaps see if her cheek was as soft as it looked, when the sound of her phone buzzing in her pocket jostled him from his thoughts. He watched her tense up, her eyes narrowing, and he understood immediately who she thought was calling her at this hour.


He met her eyes, some of the oh-so-familiar rage bubbling up within him. His eyes flicked to blue-threaded-black as his protective rage settled into place. Before, his offer to eliminate her problem had been merely a temptation to lure her into a deal, to own her soul. Now, the same offer showed wordlessly in his steady gaze, with all the promise of his demonic capabilities at her disposal, should she merely wish. He waited, confident that she knew exactly what he was offering, and that he was doing so with no strings attached, even though it went counter to what he truly was.


STELLA MANSON--

She took a deep breath as Cas met her eyes and they changed. She held her hand up towards him, palm facing him. In a stop manner. She eyed the pocket of her coat once more as she thought when it went off and shook her head as he looked at her. She knew what he wanted to do. "No.." She whispered softly to him.

She walked to her coat and took the phone out when the latch on the door clicked. She turned, a confused look on her face as she ran to the door, already hearing him calling her names. Bastard, she scowled and went to push the door closed with her small frame. Cas for the moment forgotten, her only gut instinct for the moment, was survival.

The man walked in before Stella could shut the door. Seeing another man in the room and he roughly backhanded her, and pushed her. A gun coming out of his pocket as he advanced towards where Stella had fallen. "Get out!" She barely breathed out before he reached for her. She didn't want him to die, even if he was trying to kill her. She knew Cas would kill him, she wasn't stupid. She saw it as she scrambled backwards when everything just went white in front of her eyes.


CAS--

Cas scowled at her request, but found himself settling in obediently anyway. Those green eyes wouldn't allow him to do anything else but accede to her wishes, even if every instinct within him screamed out for the heart of the man who had dared to lay a hand on her. Funny, some distant part of him thought, how she had managed to utterly possess him in such an alarmingly short period of time.


It was those demonic instincts that caused him to whirl to face the door the instant the sound of the lock being manipulated rang out in the silence. A growl rumbled ominously from deep in his chest, his expression turning positively feral as he bared his teeth at the man threatening Stella. His entire world narrowed to the overwhelming desire to feel this human's blood dripping between his fingers as he squeezed his still-beating heart dry.

With a casual flick of his wrist, Cas threw the man against the door, slamming it shut. He held out his hand, bringing his full power to bear down on the man struggling uselessly two feet off the ground against the door. His lips twisted into a dark grin over his bared teeth and his eyes darkened from the blue-threaded-black to an almost pure ebony.


The man pointed the gun at Cas, his hand shaking in pure terror. Cas stalked toward him, the grin twisting further as he let every ounce of his demonic nature free, the power of it coursing through him like a comet. “Shoot me, meatsack. Go ahead.” The demon continued his slow advance on the man, dragging out his approach, relishing the terror coming off the man in delicious waves.


Instead of a shot ringing out, the man's shaking hand dropped the gun and he began to plead in a pitiful whine that irritated Cas. “Just a coward looking to raise himself by abusing those he believes are weaker than himself,” the demon practically purred as he came to stand before the man struggling in vain against his power. He reached out and caressed the man's unkempt stubble in a parody of a lover's touch, delighting in the horrified whimper the man was unable to keep from slipping out.


Leaning close, he whispered into the man's ear, “I wonder which of us is really the monster, hmm?” He leaned back, just slightly, and pretended to wait for the response he knew the man was too terrified to actually form. Then, in a flash, his hand plunged down from the man's cheek and punched into his chest, effortlessly shattering ribs as Cas wrapped his hand around the man's heart. The agonized scream was like sweet music, and Cas hesitated to close his eyes and enjoy the rush of delight it brought him.


But he couldn't give himself over to the pleasure for long, or his real desire would never be met. Opening his ebony eyes to be sure the man was still aware enough to see what he was about to do, he ripped the heart from the man's chest cavity and held it in front of his eyes. He squeezed the heart with all his preternatural strength until it was pulp, blood and gore running between his fingers and down his arm to drip from his elbow to the floor. “Oh, I guess I'm the monster after all.”


He watched the light fade from the man's eyes, and then turned his back on the corpse still held dangling against the door by his power. Immediately, his eyes sought out the limp form of Stella and he moved to her, his rage subsiding somewhat as he regarded her. Only when he saw her chest rise and fall with comforting regularity did he kneel beside her.


Paying no mind to the bloody mess covering his right hand, nor to what of it smeared off onto her, Cas shifted her as gently as he could until her head was resting in his lap. As his attention became focused entirely on the human girl, the corpse dangling against the door dropped bonelessly to the floor, the power retreating back to wrap itself around the demon and retreat. “Stella,” he said, his voice rumbling with a tenderness that contrasted starkly with the bloody hand stroking her cheek gently. “Please, Stella...wake up for me. He'll never hurt you again. I promise,” he murmured. “Just...please, don't leave me...”


STELLA MANSON--

Stella was oblivious to what had just happened in the room. Although she knew the man was going to die, her mind turned off in order to protect her from seeing it happen. She wasn't afraid, she just didn't want him to die, especially not on her account. She didn't think she should be a Winchester responsible for anymore deaths in this world.

She slowly came around hearing the deep voice of Cas beside her. She knew she had been moved and her face hurt something awful this time around. Not that she hadn't been beat before by this man, merely she was not expecting it. She felt a warm sticky hand on her cheek, her eyes slowly focused on Cas in front of her. "Not..going anywhere.."She answered softly looking at him. She reached up and touched his cheek gently and felt something slide down her cheek. She touched it and looked at her hand, coming away with blood.

She froze for the moment, still staring at her hand. She let her gaze flick around, making he just roughed him up? but no, deep in her heart she already knew the answer. He was dead and Cas had killed him. She swallowed hard and rested her head back on his lap. What could she say to make it different? She knew nothing could. She was not ignoring what happened, but simply accepting what had happened, what was going to happen. If she had not met Cas, she would simply be dead at this point. Instead..he was.

It took her some time to process the information before she trusted herself to speak. She slid her hand along his arm slowly as she thought. "I'm not going to hate you for what you did." She whispered softly. She knew she would be dead had he not interceded. "Thank you." She said softly, sliding her gaze to meet his own. Not afraid and not shaking. She merely accepted it.


CAS--

The breath he hadn't even realized he'd been holding since she first opened her eyes rushed out of him when she said she wasn't going to hate him for his actions. Despite what this girl did to him, despite whatever spell she held him trapped within, he was still demon enough to have no remorse for what he'd done, nor for the brutality with which he'd accomplished it. He'd do it again without a second thought, and without any hesitation whatsoever.


But, that didn't mean that he didn't feel some vague fear of her turning him away because of it. The thought was simply unbearable, and that realization made him uncomfortable. How did she manage to bind him so thoroughly to her so quickly, and with what felt like his full cooperation? Still, it was something he found he just couldn't worry too much about, not with her hand sliding along his bloody arm soothing him and distracting him.


Um..you're welcome,” he murmured belatedly, coming to realize her thanks deserved some sort of response beyond just gazing down at her with what he was sure must be an incredibly adoring expression. He fought to pull his eyes from those dangerous – to his sanity, if nothing else – green eyes, glancing instead around the room.


The sight of the corpse and the blood splattered around it made his eyes dart back to meet with Stella's again. “I...couldn't let him hurt you anymore. He intended to kill you.” He clenched his teeth together, trying to control the sudden rush of rage that thinking about it brought out. After a moment, he visibly forced himself to relax.


I'm not capable of remorse for it. But...I find myself regretting that I didn't do as you wished. That I...caused you...distress.” It was as close as he could currently come to an apology to her, and even that made him twitch a little as his demonic nature warred briefly with whatever hold she had over him. To try to calm himself further, he resumed lightly stroking her now blood smeared cheek.


STELLA MANSON--

"I know." She whispered softly. She continued to slowly slide her hand along his arm. "If you weren't here, if I hadn't met you, I'd be dead right now." She reached her hand up from his arm to slid into the back of his hair. The blood on her hand forgotten as she pulled him down to kiss him more firmly, more insistently. She wondered if fate brought him into her life to keep her alive. She didn't care to entertain what would have happened if he hadn't popped into her life earlier tonight. Although she knew it would have ended badly.

Stella still wasn't afraid of him. She felt more at ease and grounded with him here now. She was only grateful he was here with her now. She slowly, reluctantly broke the kiss. "I am glad fate crossed our paths tonight." She said softly to him against his lips before kissing him once more.


CAS--

Cas bent his head willingly to meet her lips, contentment washing over him at the contact. In that moment, he wanted nothing more than to give her whatever she wanted, and to take whatever she willingly offered to him. Just being here, being allowed to touch her fragile form, was enough to soothe and calm him. A peace so absolute it lay like a blanket over his mind settled over him.


A faint smile played on his lips at her words, the only outward sign of his agreement. Distantly, as their lips brushed against each other again, Cas wondered why he had ever thought fate was something to be avoided or fought against. If fate brought him this freedom from the rage and the struggle, he felt he could be content. Stella brought him something he hadn't felt since he'd made a deal with the king of Hell and left his life behind forever: a sense of purpose.


Pulling reluctantly away from the kiss, he buried his face in her hair. “I don't know what you've done to me, my little witch, but you have me,” he murmured.



STELLA MANSON--

Stella smiled when Cas put his face in her hair and she sighed softly in contentment. She realized this would not be able to last. There was a dead man in her apartment, a man that he had killed. She slid her hand along his face in return gently. "What are we going to do about the body?" She asked softly, not wishing to break this moment where she felt so damn content in his arms on his lap. She shifted to sit up slowly, moving to climb into his lap and look into his eyes more closely.

"I've never had to deal with this kind of a situation before." She admitted softly. Although that much would be plain to him. She had never been exposed to this type of violence before. Her eyes slid to his body, Cas's, down his chest as her fingers played with the buttons of his shirt. She was nervous, she saw what they had done with bodies before, but they had no real relationship with them before. This could get..stickier then the drying blood.


CAS--

Cas leaned into her soft touch against his cheek, making a sound of contentment. Only reluctantly did he straighten up and shrugged as she asked what should be done with the bloody corpse against the door, disinterest clear in his expression. The man was dead, no more fear or pain could be ripped from him, so the demon simply didn't care about it anymore.


He willingly gathered her small frame into his lap, meeting her searching gaze calmly with blue-threaded-black eyes. “I don't care, do whatever you wish with the corpse,” he murmured. He glanced down curiously at her fingers working the buttons to his shirt, his head tilting slightly to the side. “I just leave what I kill. Meatsacks, really. Not my problem,” he said, his eyes drawn back up to meet hers once more.

An idea seized him suddenly, and he covered her restless hands with his to still her fiddling. “Stella, we can just leave. Come with me,” he said. “Human lives are so fleeting. You don't have to waste your time with any of this anymore.” His expression grew into one of longing and tentative hope as he regarded her. “I can give you anything you could ever desire.”


STELLA MANSON--

Her head tilted to the side and laughed softly. Leaving the body would be easier if this wasn't her apartment. Her home. She opened her mouth to answer him when he covered her hands with his own. Cas's suggestion about leaving with him fell from his lips, she was aware of how fleeting human lives were. Now more so than ever.

Leaving her home, her life. Yet she had no one here, no friends to speak of. She led a solitary life. An image of the open road flitted across her eyes as she closed them, a big golden car with Cas behind the wheel. Her fingers twitched in his hand at the sight. "What could I ever desire?" She asked softly, opening her eyes to look at him once more. "The boys will get wind of the body here." She knew in that instant, at least for now that she should go with him. She knew, deep in her heart and soul she should be by his side. She also knew the road would lead her to meet Dean and Sam. She nodded at his offer. "I will come with you." A smile slid across her face. She leaned in and rested her forehead against his own.


CAS--

He stiffened when she spoke of 'the boys' so easily. She was probably right, but that didn't mean Cas had any easier a time thinking of them. Unease crept it's way through his very essence, despite her agreement to allow him to spirit her away from her sad little human life. If she was so certain the Winchester brothers would be drawn to his kill, then it didn't bode well for him – for them.


He gave himself a moment to enjoy the trust she displayed in resting her head against his, his eyes slipping closed briefly. When they opened again, he held his head up and shifted his hold on her to make it easier for her to rise. His clear deep blue gaze took in the room around him, appraising everything he saw. “Get what you need, Stella. If you think the...Winchesters are coming, we need to be out of here,” he said, his voice shifting to an irritated near-growl from it's previous tenderness. “They can't see me.”


STELLA MANSON--

She felt him stiffen beside her, under her hands. She knew it was because of what she said of her brothers. "I'm a Winchester..and I'm here." She said softly to him. She slid her hands along his face softly, knowing he was upset. "They don't know yet, but with the way you killed him, and with how small I am, they will know it wasn't me, or that..." She whispered softly, sliding her gaze around her home.

She sighed and leaned forward, kissing him softly before moving to stand to get what she knew she would need. Her hand moving to the picture of her Father on the coffee table. She grew up here, and now she would leave it.


STELLA MANSON--

Stella packed everything she could think she needed into her hiking pack. She took pictures of her Mother and herself. Others she left, this was her brownstone, she owned it. She sighed and looked around her bedroom, sliding her hand through her still wet hair. She took the stuffed bear her Father had given her and set it in the top of the bag. She wondered briefly if she should leave clues for her brothers when they got here. So they know she exists, who she is.

She sighs and slides her jeans on, and ties her boots. She knew this was going to be a long road. She didn't know if or when she was coming back. If she was coming back. Her hands twitched as she thought of Cas, she wanted to touch him again. She was drawn to him, that much was very present in her mind. She grabbed a tshirt and slid it on, her only plaid shirt that belonged to her Father. It didn't smell like him anymore, she had to wash it. She made a circle with it on her bed. Setting the picture of her Father that was crumpled inside of it. She flattened it as much as she could, but it had seen better days. Next to it she put a picture of her Mother. She smiled and took the stuffed bear an set it between the pictures. That was as much of a sign as she dared leave.

She grabbed her leather jacket and went out the backdoor to where her truck was parked. She checked to make sure everything she had in there was ready for the trip she was taking to camp this weekend. Fresh water, water filters, tent. Her eyes surveyed everything else and she threw her pack in the backseat.

She walked back in and opened the false bottom in her dresser. She took the cash, knowing if she used her bank or credit cards it would probably piss Cas off and make it look like a deliberate trail. She closed things back up after leaving her cards in the locked bottom of the drawer. She rearranged her clothes back in the drawer, shutting it. she slid her leather jacket on, taking her cell phone and slipping her camera into her pocket. She looked around her bedroom on last time and grabbed her second pack and her favorite blanket and a pillow. She was a bit of a survivalist too. Living on this island her whole life, she knew better not to be one.

She walked back out into the living room where she had left Cas. Her wet hair still hanging in ringlets around her face. she grabbed her sunglasses and keys and smiled at him. She sighed softly and try to think of the life she was leaving him behind.


CAS--

Cas remained in the room with the corpse, and the front door, as Stella moved off to grab her things and set her affairs in order. Or, that was what he assumed she was doing, anyway. Human things he just had no real interest in. Instead, he let his mind wander and turn in on itself. As his awareness drifted inward, he did note with a faint tinge of amusement that he left the smallest edge of his consciousness trained on the sounds of the human girl moving around, tracking where she was.


He let everything go – as much as he could, considering his desire to continue keeping track of Stella – and just let himself be. He wanted to search out the spell the human girl had cast on him. He wasn't sure yet that he wanted to find a way to remove it, but he needed to at least see the fullness of what it was doing to him.


Within the space of an hour or two, he had changed. The change was unsettling if he could let himself think about it long enough. More unsettling was that he felt his thoughts pulled away every time he tried to dwell on it. Even in this state of semi-trance, he could sense something blanketing his thoughts, dulling the edges of what he was.


He could sense not the slightest trace of magic involved. Oh, yes, there was something there, some thread of power that bound him to the Winchester girl, but witchcraft wasn't at the heart of it. If he didn't know just how impossible it really was, he might have almost thought it felt suspiciously like...grace.


That's impossible,” he muttered in irritation as Stella reentered the room. His eyes sought out her petite form before he'd even fully pulled himself out of the altered state he'd used to seek out the nonexistent spell. “Stella.” He let all the relief he felt at her presence warm his voice, drinking in the sight of her. “We need to go. Now.” Cas moved, easily sliding into her personal space, letting the peace of her very nearness slide over him. While he gave no thought for his own still-blood-smeared appearance, he took just a brief moment regard the lack of that same blood on her.


Shrugging off anything more that tried to distract him from what needed done, Cas laid his hand against her cheek and stole the location of her means of transportation from her mind. He could easily have teleported them anywhere, but, at least for now, he was willing to travel with her. He knew of her dreams of the open road, something that seemed to run in the Winchester blood, and he was willing to indulge her. Besides, it fit in with his own plans to lead the brothers – should they show up here, as she believed they would – to think she'd fled on her own.


Close your eyes, darling. Humans sometimes...not take this so well,” he whispered to her, and teleported them both to her truck in an instant.


STELLA MANSON--

She looked puzzled hearing him say that was impossible. She hadn’t known his internal battle though. She tilted her head slightly at him. Stella closed her eyes as he slid his hand on her cheek. All traces of nervous energy fled and she felt utterly at peace once more. She wondered briefly, after seeing everything when he touched her earlier if he had cast some sort of spell over her himself. She knew she would be able to feel it herself now if he had, nothing though. He did cloud her judgement a bit. But she felt this was what she was supposed to be, with him somehow.

She slid her free hand around his waist, holding him to her. She wanted nothing more than to always touch him when he was near. He drew her to him, something called to her. She had opened her eyes a little and then nodded once more at his words. Her eyes closed and she felt like she was soaring and then suddenly back on solid ground again. Her arm dropped what she was holding and grabbed the hood of her truck as she felt instantly disoriented. She held onto Cas and the truck for dear life. “I don’t know if I can get used to that.” She whispered softly, swallowing hard past the lump in her throat that made her want to vomit. She took slowly deep breaths so she wouldn’t pass out.


CAS--

He huffed a soft chuckle at her words, a grin flashing onto his lips. “I did try to warn you,” Cas murmured, stepping closer to her to bury his face in her still-damp hair for a moment. Then, with a sigh, he straightened and gestured to her truck. “And it has its uses. But for now, we drive. If they actually come, they're still going to know a demon was present. I'd rather be long gone before that can happen.”


He stepped away from her, only reluctantly letting her go. “Just...pick somewhere to drive. Anywhere, I don't care.” Realizing his voice had gotten harsh and angry thanks to thoughts of the Winchester brothers, he tried to offset it by quirking a mischievous smile at her and teleporting himself into the passenger seat of her truck just for the pure amusement of it.


STELLA MANSON--

Stella laughed softly at his words and leaned her head into his when he rested in her hair for the moment. She nodded as he stepped away from her and sighed softly. She slid her hand through her hair gently. Laughing when he teleported into her truck. "Smart ass."

She picked her things up and move to the driver's side. She put her stuff in the back and climbed in, starting it. She thought for a moment and pulled her car out of the parking spot and moved to the road. She was glad for the moment that her car was an automatic. She slid her free hand over to his arm and down to his hand to touch him again. She felt strangely better and calmer when she did so. She had no idea why. "I have a place I used to camp out at..it's not on the island though, if that sounds all right?" She slid her gaze to him for a moment and turned her attention back towards the road. She tried not to get too distracted when she drove. Her mother died in a car accident.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~


STELLA MANSON--

It had taken time for the two of them to get to where the campsite was. Stella was starving and it had of course gotten cold. She shook out the mat she had rolled up and laid it out flat in the bed of her pickup. Cas just watched her as she shook out her sleeping bag as well on top of it. She grabbed a couple of power bars and some water, sitting down on top of them. She grabbed some medicine for the pain of the new bruise an the old one. She took the medication and ate the power bars.

"I feel bad eating in front you, you sure you don't want something to eat? I mean I have more food." She had settled her pillow an blanket in the truck bed with everything else. She smiled at Cas a bit. She was tired and trying not to let it show.


CAS--

He shrugged, his eyes moving from her to search the darkness around them warily. “I don't need to eat, Stella,” he replied distantly. With a sigh, he let himself focus the fullness of his attention back onto her. “Do you have what you need? I can get you anything you need.”


He folded his arms over the top edge of the truck's bed and, leaning his weight against the side of it, rested his chin lightly on his arms. It was the first time he'd allowed himself to relax even the slightest since they'd started out of Galveston. Something kept pricking at the edges of his awareness, as though they were being watched, and it kept him on edge.


STELLA MANSON/WINCHESTER--

She tilted her head to the side slightly as he spoke, a smile on her face at the question. "Just you." She held her hand out to him, the truckbed was large and she was little. There was more then enough room for the two of them to lay down with room to spare. "Do you sleep?" She was genuinely curious. She knew he went back and forth with sleeping as an angel from what she saw. The medication was making her more tired as she sat there, she had been through a tremendous amount in a short period of time. She didn't think she could keep her eyes open much longer. She knew for certain, she didn't want to sleep alone though.


CAS--

He shrugged again, listening as much to the silence around them as to her. “I have. I don't need it any more than I need food, though.” Despite the faint paranoia of being found tugging at him, he offered Stella a faint smile. “Not human. Demons don't need to eat or sleep any more than angels do. Generally.”


The smile on his lips turned mischievous as he decided to remind her again just how not-human he really was. Stealing a bit of dramatic flare from his one-time elder brothers, he straightened up and snapped his finger, vanishing. He reappeared instantly beside the girl, stretched out comfortably and flat out grinning up at her.


STELLA WINCHESTER--

The lack of sounds was actually very soothing to her and helped relax her more. The stars were absolutely beautiful, she missed the ocean a little by now, but knew it was better this way. Perhaps she could go back. Things were set up still. She knew her brothers were going to find the apartment and find out who she was when they did.

Stella laughed softly as he popped up on the truck bed next to her. She leaned down and kissed his forehead softly, stretching out next to him. She found herself not terrified about sleeping with him, regardless of what he was. She was still having a hard time keeping her eyes open though. She slid her arm over him as she curled up against him, resting her head on his shoulder, her face near his throat, murmuring softly, “You’ll be awake while I sleep, I’m okay with that. You need to fill me in what else you don’t need, but may want in the future.” She whispered softly, some heat in her words. She didn’t even have enough time to hear him before she fell into a deep sleep, hurried along by the medicine and the trauma of the night.


CAS--

He remained still as she practically snuggled up next to him, though the gentle smile made a reappearance despite his brief struggle to suppress it. The contact soothed him, even as it irritated his very nature. Whatever it was between them, he couldn't resist the pull of it, no matter how it contrasted his instincts, even his very nature.


Mmm,” he hummed noncommittally to her demand. Display of his power didn't seem to really make it sink in to her what he really was, nor did the display of violence at her apartment that resulted in the rather brutal death of her abusive ex-boyfriend. He wondered just what it would take to make her understand he wasn't just some dark angel, or whatever she was imagining a demon was.


Mentally shrugging it off as something not worth thinking about at the moment, Cas eased himself out from under Stella once he was certain she was asleep. He covered her with an extra blanket she'd left to the side, and then shifted to seat himself on the rim of the truckbed, returning his attention to his surroundings, the feeling of being watched still pricking at the edge of his senses.


STELLA--

Stella slept hard. Maybe it helped with all the medication running through her system. She heard nothing and felt nothing as Cas left her side. She fell straight into a dream though. In the dream she was at at the beach back home. It was twilight, she was alone it seemed. Something at the edge of her vision kept trying to get her attention. She would look and it was gone. She crossed her legs as she sat down in the sand. She spent a long time out here when she was in school. She could never get John to come with her when he visited. Especially not at night.

She was trying to figure out what it was that called to her. Her psychic powers had remained hidden until when Cas showed up. She wondered idly if Demons dreamed. She knew this was a dream because she had felt it before. Her hands slid through the sand slowly and she smiled. The lighting in the sky further out to The Gulf, yet here it was calm, like it usually was. She heard a flapping noise, an a feather fell down into her lap, she picked it up and looked at it. It was bigger than the feathers the pelicans had that she usually saw at the beach. It thrummed with power though. "What are you?" She whispered to it, puzzled.


GABRIEL--

Dreamwalking. It was always a risky thing. You never knew what you'd see. It was a great way to gather information, though. Find someone that needed a little taste of just desserts, perhaps. Or...maybe even try to use it to find someone. He'd been doing this for months now, ever since he'd gotten wind of certain rumors. They were rumors he had a very hard time believing, but he had to know for sure. And dreamwalking was his best bet without tipping off the wrong people that he still graced the world with his existence.


Of course, he couldn't just stroll into the dream of his quarry, since he probably never slept. But, slowly, he'd been getting closer, running across people who'd encountered him so that he played a part in their dreams. And maybe, just maybe, this time would do the trick.


There was a beach, just past sunset, if he wanted to take a guess. It was..surprisingly pleasant, considering the – mostly – nightmares he'd stepped into lately on the track of his quarry. Normally, he could slip into and out of a dream before the dreamer was really aware he was there, if he was of a mind to. It seemed this time was going to be different.


The girl sitting on the beach just in front of where he stood shouldn't have even known he was there. And she sure as hell shouldn't have been able to see the gold-toned, faintly speckled feather she was currently holding, since it was one of his wing feathers and she shouldn't be able to see those either, not even in a dream. He noted that his molt probably wasn't too far off absently, a huff of annoyance slipping past his lips before he thought to stop it. She spoke, and he gave a sort of mental shrug and thought to himself, 'ah, what the hell.'

“Don't suppose you'd believe me if I said I'm here to rock your world, would ya?”


STELLA--

Stella had decided the minute she stepped into this dream to let her shields down that somehow knew to come up on their own. She kept the feather in her hand, laying it flat on her palm, noting that it reached down past her wrist and arm. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. The flecks seemed to move and she sighed softly as the power sang to her. She leaned her head back and a soft gasp of surprise passed her lips as it seemed to answer her.


No it wasn't the feather itself that had spoken to her she realized. A real voice, or was it seemed to be here. She slid her gaze to the direction of it and she tilts her head to the side slightly as she looked at him. This..was an Angel. Flashes through her mind came of him.."Gabriel" She whispered softly, it was not her memory, it was Castiel's. Her green eyes seemed to have a new light of their own in them. She shook her head slightly, he was dead. She saw it happen through that memory she had been shown.

She threw her head back and laughed at his words. She knew she was not in danger here. "Hmm..touched by an Angel." She quirked an eyebrow at him, her hand lifting up to offer him his feather back. Could this day be any stranger?

GABRIEL--

He felt a jolt of surprise as she whispered his name. How in the world did this little human know him on sight? And not even as the Trickster, but his actual name, no less. Just what the hell was going on? He kept his confident smirk in place; with his millennia of experience it was a snap.


Still, his lips quirked into a more genuine smile at her cute little quip. “Sorry, kiddo, just my feather,” he said as he took the offending plume she offered him. “Not quite offering the full package. At least, not yet,” he added with a brief leer. She was a pretty little thing, especially those eyes. It crossed his mind that his little bro might really like her eyes. They were enough like that older Winchester boy's to surely be Cassie's type...


And that thought brought him up short, several things clicking into place all at once. He moved around to stand before her so she wouldn't have to kink her neck quite so much to look at him, and considered her for a moment. “You...wouldn't happen to know an angel named Castiel, would you? About yea high,” he held a hand up a couple of inches above his own head as he spoke here, “blue eyes, probably wearing a trench coat?” His wings shifted a bit, the only betrayal of the hint of anxiety he was now feeling; he never had been able to properly control how much his wings showed his emotions.


STELLA--

Stella smiled softly as he took the feather back, she felt the power still, but wanted to keep it herself. Not for the power, she rarely got to touch things like that in these dreams. She blushed at his leering and words, laughing softly.

Her eyes watched him as he moved to stand in front of her, sliding over his wings. She wanted to touch them but somehow knew, without asking, perhaps a memory from Castiel or etiquette that it was an intimate thing to do. She pulled her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. Her mind worked fast as she slid her gaze up to him.

She heard his words and the watched the wings shift. “He’s your little brother, Castiel, isn’t he?” She asked softly. She was still in awe of this happening to her. She had seen their family, her eyes welled up briefly and she his them against her knees to wipe the tears away. The emotions from Castiel when Gabriel died overwhelmed her for the moment. She wiped her face and looked back up at him. “Yes. I know Cas. He doesn’t have his wings anymore though..” Her voice taking on a mournful quality.


GABRIEL--

His wings flared upward and outward in reaction to the sudden rush of protectiveness he felt, and he frowned. All hints of his casual and flippant manner vanished, and he became in full the archangel Gabriel. Finally, his search might be at an end. “Yeah. Yes, Castiel is my little brother. We're one big dysfunctional family,” he quipped with a smirk, but it was only a pale echo if those he'd worn earlier.


His wings drooped back down a little, and he huffed a breath out, a meaningless sound of acknowledgment. “I think he's lost quite a bit more than just his wings, kiddo.” He paused and crouched down, looking her straight in the eye. “If he were human I wouldn't have needed to dreamwalk into other humans' dreams to try to find him. I've heard rumors, and I needed to see if they're true.” He stopped to search her eyes, trying to size her up. A sharp nod of his head, and he resumed, “I think you know what's happened to him. And I think you can tell me what's going on.” He offered her a warm smile, his expression friendly and even compassionate, despite the power that radiated off him. “Will you tell me what's going on?”


STELLA--

Stella’s eyes widened as she saw him flare his wings, feeling the power wash over her. She barked out a soft bitter laugh, wiping her eyes again. “Yeah, mine is too as I have just discovered.” She said softly, mostly to herself. She noticed his lightheartedness having slipped away now. Her own was sliding away too.


She looked him right back into his eyes as he crouched, not afraid of him either. She smiled sadly at him. “Is that what this is called? Dreamwalking?” Her eyes distant for a moment before focusing back on him. She held her hand out to him, gently touching his cheek. Amazed that she could touch him, her eyes unfocusing as she felt what he had gone through. Her breath coming out in harsh gasp she tried to bring her hand back from him, tears rolling down her face. “You need permission to enter my mind, you can see better everything that happened. Cas is a demon now.” She whispered once she caught her breath. Even that she wasn’t sure about. The demons she had seen in the visions had black eyes, Castiel had blue and black ones. No wonder their families seemed to be intertwined. Between what the boys had gone through, herself and Gabriel’s family.



GABRIEL--

He shrugged in response to her inquiry, figuring the answer was pretty obvious, and that she was probably just asking the question to cover some emotion she didn't want to deal with. He didn't even bother to move away when she reached out to touch him, though he considered it. And then he immediately wished he'd gone with his first instincts. They were ancient, and someday he really should learn to just listen to them.


The little human was some flavor of psychic or something, and her touch had the potential to be deadly. Granted, not to him, but still – he had no desire to see her burn for mere curiosity. He didn't bother to correct her belief that he needed her permission to poke around in her brain, since he had no intention of actually possessing her. Hell, he was poking around in her head now, technically, this being her dream and all. He did, though, manage to keep her from poking into certain parts of his own memories. There were some things in his vast store of knowledge and experience that mere humans just should not ever see.


He indulged himself in the briefest of glimpses into her mind, because he had to be sure of what she was saying. One image of his brother stood out in stark relief right on the surface of her mind, and that single image both washed him in hope and sorrow. Castiel was a demon, there was no doubt of it. The rumors had been painfully true. But, unlike most of his siblings, he knew the ancient-beyond-comprehension curse that must have been used to make it possible for Castiel to have a soul, which was sort of a requirement to becoming a demon.


Oh, Castiel, what did you do this time?” The signs of the curse were written in his eyes, a unique blue-threaded-black that carried the taint of his angelic nature through the demonic essence. And he knew of the spell to reverse the curse, if the opportunity ever presented itself. Gabriel was left to wonder if he should act on this, or leave his brother to the fate he chose for himself. Hey, he'd fought hard for free will. Maybe Gabriel should honor that struggle, even if it meant the loss of who Castiel truly was...forever.


STELLA--

She finally slid her hand back, briefly touching his wing accidentally as she did so. A childish smile touched her lips at how soft it was. Her eyes drifted closed as she puts her hands down on the sand beach to steady herself. She swayed a bit but kept herself upright. This little unwise decision of touching him and then seeing things had taken strength out of her, even in her dreams. Her fingers twitched briefly in the sand as she steadied herself.


Stella had seen what Gabriel had of Castiel, but knew Gabriel had protected her from other things, and she was grateful for that. “He is with me, right now. In my truckbed, I fell asleep with him holding me.” She said softly as she finally found her voice again. She looked at him, compassion glowed in her eyes. “Are us Winchesters so close to your family? Is that why we are bound like this?” She asked softly, referring to herself now as a Winchester, which she hadn’t done before Cas. There had to be a reason she felt so drawn to Castiel, even in a way to Gabriel himself to a lesser extent. She needed to learn what she was to protect herself, she realized.


GABRIEL--

His wing twitched as she brushed it, and he raised an eyebrow at her, but chose to say nothing. Instead, he shifted both his wings back and away, pointedly pulling them out of any accidental reach. He considered her words, how to respond to the load of issues she'd managed to bring up in such a short period of time. It would figure. Always the Winchesters, they'd never stop being a thorn.

“Who knows, kiddo? I suppose it would figure you're a Winchester. I mean, the older ones were destined to be my brothers' vessels. That...didn't work out so well for any of them, my brothers or yours. Who knows what Dad really intended,” he said as he rose smoothly to his feet and began to walk back and forth in front of her, only a few feet from side to side. He really didn't want to deal with this, and it showed in his restlessness. But, he also felt responsible...damnit.

“You're really a pretty brave little human. Or stupid. I'm really not sure which right now.” He stopped his pacing to look down at her, amber eyes flashing with a mix of amusement and irritation. “Don't play with fire. And by fire I mean snuggling up to demons!” Despite himself, he huffed a laugh. “You should just leave it all alone. Demons. Angels. Even your brothers. Hell, especially your brothers. Just leave it all alone and go back to your life.”


STELLA--

She had felt for touching his wing, it was unintentional. An unspoken apology flashed in her eyes over it. She sighed softly and watched him pace, wiping her tears from her face and eyes hopefully for good this time. She settled her legs under her as she knelt there watching him.

"Oh..I agree I'm stupid." She whispered softly. She sighed heavily. Her hands in front of her. "How do I leave any of this alone, now? Cas killed someone in my apartment. The boys know where I live and that I exist. How can I exist knowing all of this now? How can I just.." She trailed off, 'Leave Castiel alone now..after all of this.' She didn't finish out loud. Her eyes flashed to him. "You haven't left your family alone." She answered with.

Stella sighed and looked out the ocean of the gulf once more, she didn't know what to do. The life she had before, was merely existing. Would she be safe after knowing all this? Knowing there was immense cosmic power something she could do about it? A dark light came over her eyes as she thought. She did have a knife in her bag in the truck. Maybe if she just ended it herself, they'd all be safe.


GABRIEL--

No matter what you think you know about my family, you know nothing! I've spent centuries hiding from my family. It doesn't get much more 'left alone' than that, sweetheart.”


Times like this, existing as a being of phenomenal cosmic power could really just blow. He whirled away from the girl kneeling at his feet and moved a few feet further away from her, his wings tucking in tight against his back as he worked to control his anger. Dream or no, if he let his sudden surge of anger get out of control, it could well kill her. Fucking Winchesters. How did they always know how to hit the right buttons?


Castiel is a demon,” he bit out, his back still to her. “I'm sure he'll continue to kill. It's sorta something demons do!” He had to pause to regain control of himself. Again. Balling a fist up at his side, he turned to look at her, golden eyes showing the slightest hint of blue-white light shining deep within the pupils.


That... That itself should tell you that you should leave it alone,” he finally said, his tone softening a bit, his fist uncurling slowly – though the light in his eyes displaying the tiniest hint of his power didn't dim. “I don't know what you think you have with Cas, but he isn't some overpowered human. He's a demon. He's a being created to torture and kill and inspire terror. He can't feel the way a human does. He was, in a lot of ways, the most human of us, you know. But now...he's a monster. Can you understand that?”


STELLA--

Stella flinched as he yelled, her hands out as a way to shield herself in some human way from the anger, but also the power that came off him with that anger. It washed over and through her like a storm, making her shiver. She closed her eyes, not in fear, just from the power itself.

She lifted her eyes to meet his as they glowed. Thinking of the line of the song, 'His eyes like flame'. She swallowed hard. Anything she said, she didn't say to hurt him or push buttons. She said simply because she felt it. She frowned and held her hands out towards him, "I'm sorry." She whispered softly. "All I know is I am drawn to him. I don't think he's human, I haven't from the time I touched him so I knew what he was." She sighed softly and nodded. "I may be stupid, but I know what he is. I felt what he was when I touched him, Gabriel. I understand, trust me." She whispered softly, her hands resting on her legs as she gripped them tightly.

She knew what she was going to have to do now, especially after everything. After all of that. She also knew she couldn't go back to her home again either. Her thoughts drifted darker still as she slowly realized what it was that needed to happen now. "I have nothing." She whispered softly, and that is what she would remain.

GABRIEL--

He huffed out a laugh. Really, he just couldn't help it. Humans. He may have finally picked their side in the war between his brothers, back when it mattered, but that didn't mean he still don't find them frustrating and amusing and a little bit irritating sometimes. Not seeing the forest for the trees, every single time.


His wings twitched as the emotions ran through him back-to-back. Finally, settling on a fond exasperation, he sighed. “You're not nothing, kiddo. You're Dad's favorite creation; you, and every other human. You're worth more than an angel, more than me, when it comes right down to it.”


He stepped forward to crouch down in front of her. “So, how about you just stop those thoughts I can see in your eyes,” he murmured softly. He let his hand reach out to her, brushing her cheek with the pad of his index finger before pulling his hand away again. “You're worth more than that.”


Standing abruptly, he cleared his throat in a very human gesture of embarrassment. “Look. Even if it's not really him anymore, out of respect for what he was, I have an idea to help you get out of this mess.” He stopped to consider just what it was he was about to offer her, and if it was really worth it. A sharp nod came as he decided it was, and he let a smile play on his lips as he continued. “Get away from Castiel. Just go. I can...help you forget this whole sorry mess. You can live your life ignorant of all the things that go bump in the night. But...it has to be your choice. Free will and all that. I won't get in the way of it. It has to be your choice.”


STELLA--

Her thoughts ran fast and hard as she sat there, she quickly slid her shields back into place. The sunset now gone over the ocean, it was just black, no stars, no moon. Nothing. The beach was still there and the ocean, and Gabriel and her. She heard his words and slid her gaze to meet his, slamming the shield hard into place when he touched her cheek. Her eyes drifted shut as she felt power there and sighed softly.

Then the touch was gone and he stood. She watched him and stood herself slowly, her eyes drifting out across the water. She slid her gaze back to him and smiled a little, shaking her head slightly. "No, I'll keep the memories, thank you though. I will leave him." She said softly, she realized she should, so she would. She wrapped her arms around herself, she smiled a little more. "I wouldn't want to be left alone like that. At least now I know." She slid her hand through her hair to move it off her face, her eyes drifting down to the sand at her feet ad then back up to him. "I hope you can help him, and I'm..sorry." For what she knew, for everything she had said that had angered him. For Castiel no longer being an Angel and having to deliver the news somehow. For everything she finally realized.


GABRIEL--

He nodded to her. He didn't really understand her choice, but he would respect it nonetheless. His expression went carefully, pleasantly neutral when she mentioned helping Castiel. He still wasn't sure what he was going to do about his little brother, or even if he should do anything at all. And...he had a feeling if she knew that he might just walk away entirely – probably would, he knew enough about himself to realize that – it might change her mind on taking the chance to get out of the mess she'd gotten into while she could.


No reason to apologize to me, kiddo,” he said, huffing softly. “I'm the one that invaded your headspace, after all.” He shrugged. “Just, save yourself. There's been so much death because of and within my family, and your family. Someone out of the whole bunch deserves to be saved.” He held his hand up then, two fingers tipped to his temple. Gabriel tossed off a casual salute to her, and vanished in a flutter of wings.


STELLA--

She smiled sadly at him and nodded. "Yeah, maybe." She whispered softly as he disappeared. She went to wipe the sand away from her pants, realizing that it was funny, even in dreams, sand would still stick to your clothes and get everywhere. Her eyes caught sight of smaller gold toned feather on the sand and she resisted the urge to pick it up this time. It was a fraction of the size the first one was. No, she didn't want to touch it.

Stella wandered along the dark beach now. Her eyes sad as she went, not wanting to be here among all these problems. She felt the familiar tug that let her know the dream was over. Between one beat of her heart and the next, she awakened in the truck. Her hand reached out and she realized she was alone.

Story of her life, she thought to herself. Always alone now. It was still dark and she knew without a doubt she would not sleep again. Castiel wasn't here, maybe he decided she wasn't worth it either. Her hand slid through her pack and found her boot knife, sliding it into her jacket pocket in case she needed it out here tonight. She'd move along soon. She just wanted another few minutes here under the stars.


STELLA--

Stella slid her hand through her hair, sitting in the truck bed thinking. It was a nice night out, even after the dream she had. She was conflicted to say the least. Her eyes slid up to the sky and back down to her hands. Yes, something needed to be done indeed. She hopped off the truck mulling Gabriel’s words over in her mind, her hand going to the blade in her jacket pocket.


She moved to get into the truck only a body suddenly appearing in front of her stopped her. She stepped back and looked at this person, a man who grabbed her arm and twisted it. “Who are you?” She growled softly, her senses screaming at her to flee. Her hand went inside her jacket but before she could grab the knife she was thrown, hitting the ground. Her breath going out of her. “Now see her,” The man began and his eyes flicked black. Stella swallowed hard as some fear touched her, even after everything she had been through. The man was right on top of her, grabbing her knife from her jacket, trailing it along her stomach. “A Winchester Witch.” Is all the demon.

“Shit.” Stella said softly, gasping and trying to move back from him on the ground but he was soon on top of her. She tried to move away from him, not wanting to touch him, not wanting to see. She threw a right handed punch at him and he retaliated by backhanding her hard enough to make her see stars. He had thought she’d be an easy quarry after following Castiel around. He wanted to bring her back to Crowley, another Winchester in the mix surely couldn’t be a good thing.

They scuffled on the ground as Stella tried to get her knife back from the man, anything to protect herself. The demon was getting furious and finally got hold of the knife again, he decided dead was just as good. He took the knife and slid it into her stomach, angling it upwards, making sure she got her lung, knowing it was a painful way to die. He stood and kicked her in the side, his black eyes looking around and he disappeared the next moment, leaving the smell of sulfur behind.

Stella was so surprised when she had been stabbed, she barely made a sound and tried to move. She slid her hand to the knife, grabbing the blade stuck inside of her. Well, she thought to herself, cutting her hand as she wrapped her hand around it, this was one way to leave Castiel. The irony didn’t escape her that she was considering killing herself earlier. Her breathing labored as she laid there, looking down at the blood. She was oddly calm about the situation, perhaps, wasn’t this better anyhow?

STELLA--

Stella lost consciousness for a moment and the pain brought her back to the present. She coughed hard, blood bubbling out of her mouth. Her right hand still gripped the knife in her stomach, adding blood to the blood already pooling around her. She couldn't take a deep breath with her lung being perforated. She knew she wasn't much longer for this world. It was strangely comforting to know she wouldn't have to suffer anymore, not with what she knew. Not with what she had seen to come.

Her hands slick with blood as she tried to grab the handle to pull it out. She had a very hard time getting a grip on it, but knew she couldn't pull it out. She wanted this to end quicker, she didn't want this suffering anymore. Tears rolled down her face as she bit back a gasp as moving the knife a little. She no loner cared about the pain in her hands. She rested her head back and thought of Castiel. How she wanted him here with her at last while she died if nothing else. She hadn't felt anything for so long except pain when he showed up. Regardless of what he had done, maybe this was the karmic payback. She closed her eyes slightly to rest them as she laid there, the pain was surprising to her. Not that it should be, but it was. "Cas.." She finally whispered softly, sobbing a bit as she laid there.


GABRIEL--

What was it the humans said? If you want something done right, do it yourself. Gabriel tried to give the little Winchester girl a chance. He really did. Tried letting her do the whole free will thing, just like her big brothers, and like the demon she'd found herself attached to used to, before he'd gone and died and let demons have their way with his fledgling soul. And he'd really tried to respect her enough to let it pass, out of some sense of honoring his little brother, if nothing else. And maybe even a little because he sort of felt he owned those Winchester boys a little bit for giving him the courage to stand up to Lucifer...even if it really didn't turn out very well for him at the time. Just like things weren't really working out for the Winchester girl.


Hell,” he muttered, looking down at her. Of course, he was cloaked in invisibility, so she would neither see nor hear him until he chose otherwise. Not quite trusting her to make good on her assurances within her dream he'd decided to come see if she'd follow through with them. And, Gabriel had to admit to himself, maybe catch a look at Castiel along with to see for himself what his brother had become. Well, that part of the plan went out the window, because Castiel was nowhere to be seen. All that was left was a girl that was bleeding out and dying, and the heavy stench of sulfur lingering in the air. Apparently Castiel hadn't been quite what she thought he was, after all.


Crouching beside her, he let himself become visible and yanked the knife out of her chest as quickly as he could. It was going to hurt either way, maybe speed would lessen the time she felt that particular pain, if not the severity of it. “Sorry, kiddo,” he murmured softly. “I told you demons were trouble.” He held his hand out to hover just over the wound in her chest, calling on his grace and sending it out to rush through her, repairing torn and shredded tissues as the power snaked through her at a cellular level. The golden glow flared brightly for several moments, and then faded, leaving her whole once more.


Still crouching beside her, he sighed. “You should get. Castiel might come back. Demons can be unpredictable.”


STELLA--

Stella had felt someone nearby even though she couldn’t actually see Gabriel. Not that it mattered at the moment though, she was dying, maybe whatever it was would finish her quickly, a faint smile touched her bloodied lips. Could she be that lucky or would they just watch her die? How could it get any worse at this point?

Her eyes were out of focus as she felt the darkness begin pulling at her as Gabriel materialized beside her. Her eyes widened a bit in recognition. She tried to speak and screamed in pain and surprise as he pulled the knife from her chest. ”Thank you.” She whispered, her voice harsh from pain and blood loss. Her eyes darkened at his words and began shutting slowly. She deserved that, being ‘I told you so’ from an Angel. He was wrong though, it wasn’t Castiel. Her bloody shredded hands twitched as she sank down into darkness.

She felt warm as he healed her, gasping and moaning in pain as she felt her skin begin to knit together. Her eyes noticed the glow outside closed eyes and she slid them open to watching his hand, taking a deep breath as her lung became whole once more. Her gaze slid down to hands as they too had healed. She didn’t understand why he did this. A question present in her eyes as he said Castiel would come back, resting her head back on the ground, sighing heavily. She reached her hand out to touch where the knife had been, her shirt sticky with blood, tasting the blood on her lips and becoming instantly nauseated. She scrabbled to her hands and knees and began throwing up a few steps away from him, spitting the blood and what little contents she had in her stomach. Tears running down her face as she knelt there, realizing she had almost died. She had no words at the moment, wishing she had some but none came.


GABRIEL--

At first, he merely crouched in place and watched as she reacted rather violently to not being quite as dead as he imagined she'd expected to be by now. Then, with a sigh, he laid a hand gently on her back. “Look, kiddo. I'm really not very good at the whole comfort thing,” he murmured, discomfort lacing his voice. “But, well, I've brought you back from the brink. And it was my brother that got you there in the first place, and got you into all this. I feel responsible now, damnit.”


Hesitantly, he started to rub small circles on her back, his expression clearly showing he felt completely out of his element here. As he did so, he let his eyes move around the area and his senses expand just enough to feel for any dangers close enough to be an immediate threat. In truth, he was hoping and dreading at the same time for some sign of Castiel. But, as there had been the whole time he'd been searching, there was nothing.


STELLA--

She felt him come closer to her and sighed he started rubbing her back. Him admitting his discomfort was slightly amusing she had to admit. She sank back onto her heels and then slid to sit down in the clearing where she had almost died. She raked her hair back from her eyes and shook her head at him. "It wasn't Castiel." She said softly, she held her head in her hands as her head throbbed from being ill. "He just had black eyes, he called me "The Winchester Witch." She took a few deep breaths and wiped her face with her sleeve of her jacket, the only part of her clothes that wasn't bloody at this point. really trying to ignore the blood cooling on her shirt.

"Unless you set that demon on me, it's not your fault." She slid her gaze back to her truck slowly. She was going to leave, she still thought she should. She sighed and looked at Gabriel, smiling weakly. "I don't know whether to hit you, or thank you right now." her emotions very conflicted at the situation. "Thank you." She said softly for saving her life.


GABRIEL--

He turned his full attention back to her when she corrected his assumption, his eyebrow raised. Castiel had her with him previously, and given his...condition, it couldn't be for anything good. So, why would he abandon his plaything like that, and why would another demon come after her instead? Shaking his head slightly, he sighed. There was just too much going on here and there was no way he could even pretend to himself that he could ignore it any longer.


Well, if it would make you feel better, you could hit me. Won't do much, but you can anyway.” He rose smoothly to stand, once more letting his senses roam briefly to search for danger. “And no, I didn't set any demon on you,” he said, turning his attention back to her again. “But I think you already knew that. It's really not my style.” Then, as if to demonstrate, he tugged on his grace and snapped his fingers, 'zapping' her skin and clothes clean and free of any signs of the recent attack.


But really, kiddo, you should get out of here. I don't know what's going on, but if there are other demons after you, you need to run.” He hesitated, amber eyes raking over the truck nearby. “I.. Look, I'll even come with you. Or take you wherever you want to go,” he said, his tone threaded with a touch of embarrassment. He tried to tell himself his concern was just the flip side of dishing out just desserts. He might have almost believed it. Almost. “Just, whatever, y'know...”


STELLA--

"I know it won't do anything, nor make me feel better. I know you didn't set the demon on me either." She quirked an eyebrow at him as he snapped his fingers, the blood disappearing from her body and clothes. She held the shirt out, also noticing he hole was gone too. She smiled faintly at him and nodded a little bit as she looked up at him.

Her eyes landed on her truck as she stood, brushing the remnants of the ground from her clothes. "I was on my way out of here before I got.." She trailed off, the memory extremely fresh in her mind. She swallowed past the lump in her throat and then looked at him in surprise at his offer. She breathed out slowly, extremely confused now. First she was riding with a demon and now that demon's brother wanted to ride with her. What the hell was her life now?

She shook herself, as she walked over to her truck, settling her hand on the hood. She sighed softly and looked back to him. "You can come with me, if you want to." She offered to him. She turned and leaned against it, looking at him, very carefully making sure her shields stayed in place. She wondered how far she could go with Demons after her now. She knew, like angels, they could find her too. Her eyes watched him, trying to understand everything, and finding she doesn't understand anything.


GABRIEL--

If he were honest, he wasn't so sure he wanted to come with this girl. It felt like he was being pulled back into events against his will, when he'd worked so hard to keep himself hidden since everyone – or everyone who could give him away – had thought he was dead. But he hadn't been lying when he told her he felt responsible. Gabriel couldn't really just pull her back from nearly dying to just abandon her. That would be cruel, even for him.

He shrugged, making the gesture carefully casual despite the emotions he kept just under the surface. “If you want to take the slow way, instead of angel express... Sure, what the hell, huh?” He decided her searching gaze was just a touch too searching for his comfort, and let just the tiniest flare of his grace show briefly in his eyes. Maybe it would discourage her from using her mojo on him, he thought, which he still worried might end up killing her if he let his guard drop at any point.


With another shrug and a lopsided grin, he strolled around to the passenger side of her truck. He leaned forward to speak over the hood. “Lead onward, kiddo.” Huffing out a laugh, he clambered into the cab of her truck and settled himself.


STELLA--

I almost threw up on Castiel when he did that. I think if I have to go the express way anywhere again, I will sick.” Her voice tinged with amusement. She frowned at the light in is eyes and was rocked with a memory of Castiel for a moment before he became a demon. She closed her eyes for a moment and shook herself, leaning against her truck again as he came closer and couldn't help the smile on her face.
Stella wandered to the back of her truck and rolled everything up from when she slept earlier, throwing it into the backseat of the truck. She shut the gate after hopping down from the bed. She picked a bottle of water from the back and got into the truck after carefully assessing her shields mentally. She had to make sure she wasn't going to accidentally do something stupid. She knew she could touch him with them in place if she brushed against him accidentally. She hopped into the truck and started it, sliding her seatbelt on. "Any idea where I should go next to lay low?" She asked as she put her eyes on the road where they were, pulling out onto the road and driving.


GABRIEL--

From the moment he settled himself into the truck, he split his awareness between the girl and searching their surroundings. He could, maybe, keep them off the radar of whatever was after her. Well, for awhile, at least. Probably.

Gabriel heard her question, but remained silent for some time afterward. He watched the land flow by the windows, occasionally glancing over at, ah, Stella, he recalled from where he'd poked into her dream earlier. He frankly didn't have the faintest idea where she should go. In the end, it didn't really matter. His personal safe house was out of the question. First of all, he wasn't even close to trusting her enough to let her in on that little secret. And besides, it wasn't anywhere she could drive to from where they were now.


Doesn't matter,” he finally admitted. “I can hide you, sort of, for awhile. While you're on the move.” Amber-colored eyes slid over to study her reactions as he continued. “But eventually someone might figure it out because I'm hiding you. I'd rather that not happen.” That was an understatement. He'd really, really rather that no one found out. At all. Fucking Winchesters seemed to have this effect of making him feel responsible for things he was just better off staying out of.

His lips twisted into what might be a frown, but he refused to think about it. “Probably be a good idea to stop somewhere for some salt,” he muttered, figuring she'd need to stop and sleep somewhere eventually. “A lot of salt. And water.”


STELLA--

Stella drummed her fingers on the steering wheel as she drove, she sighed as she listened to him and nodded. "I will probably want to dump my car at some point too." She said softly. She knew her truck kind of stuck out a little, it was a customized green color. She wasn't thrilled about the idea but she knew it was probably a good idea nonetheless. She frowned a little as she thought about it.

Stella rested her head back a little bit and grabbed the water bottle that was a bit warm from yesterday in her console. She drank from it, also getting the last of the blood taste out of her mouth. Setting the bottle back down. "I actually do have water, but you can never have enough I guess. I do need salt though." She didn't ask what for, she knew it was to protect herself in a circle. She had seen the boys do it in her visions. Even had seen Cas do it. She shrugged a little bit slowly sliding into being numb and not letting herself feel if she could help it. This had to happen, to make it easier to survive.

"Wouldn't it be easier if you just like, zapped my ass to Mars or something to get away from all of this? You're surely not going to want to watch a "Fucking Winchester" for the rest of her life, are you?" She asked softly, it might sound bitter if she wasn't actually wondering what the hell she was doing in her life right now. Why he came with her, she wasn't sure. Why bother being with her at all? Surely one more human life, especially a fucking Winchester mattered in the grand scheme of things.

The sun started coming up more on the horizon and Stella grabbed her sunglasses, sliding them on so her green eyes didn't betray anymore right now.


GABRIEL--

He nodded absently to her comments, not particularly concerned about the logistics of things so long as he was in a position to keep her off Hell's radar, and, frankly, away from the elder Winchesters. Demon or not, he really didn't think Castiel would stay away from the hunters forever, and he felt that was something Stella needed to stay the hell away from.


A laugh burst forth from him when she said 'fucking Winchester' before he even had time to realize what she'd actually been talking about. He went back over the words that had poured over him while he'd been half lost in thought, and he trained intense amber eyes on her. “It might be easier, yeah,” he stated honestly with a light shrug. “But you didn't want to be flown anywhere, so...here we are. I'm not gonna force you into anything.”


At first, he felt her bitter words that followed the legitimate question weren't even worth acknowledging – in part because he had sorta been asking himself the same thing – but he changed his mind when he realized she'd echoed, exactly, what he'd been thinking. Instead, he let his tone show the slightest touch of anger as he addressed the issue, just to drive it home. “And, kiddo, keep your psychic mojo to yourself, okay? Stop picking things out of my melon.” He sighed, then relented, his voice growing softer, kinder. “It really could hurt you, or worse.”


STELLA--

Stella took three deep breaths and let them out slowly after she listened to him. "I did not ask you to save me. Wouldn't that have it simpler to just let me die then? Please, another fucking Winchester isn't worth anymore deaths. I've seen what the boys have done and the ripple effects. I didn't ask to be thrust into any of this. Even if I let you wipe my mind, I'm still screwed because they all know who I am. So tell me, what is the fucking point really?" Her voice low and filled with anger.

She slammed the brakes on her car as she pulled over and exited the vehicle, keys left in the ignition. She didn't take anything with her. She knew her anger was getting the best of her, and truth be told she had no real control of this psychic bullshit that had happened to come back to life.

She stalked along the desert road, opening and closing her fists as she walked. Finally she threw herself on the forest floor next to a tree. She hadn't asked for his help. She didn't deserve the anger over something she had no control over. She didn't ask to be saved either. she wasn't going to cry because she was on the verge of just going numb, silent. Realizin she hadn't gotten her boot knife back from him, she punched the ground next to her as hard as she, repeatedly, not even noticing the blood. She wasn't important, not anymore then other humans. Really, what was the point of even being alive now?


GABRIEL--

He sat still as she threw her tantrum – and boy, did he know tantrums, just look at his family – frustration bubbling up and running through him. From here, it was easy enough to keep track of her without actually having to go hunt her down, so he was willing to let her go get it out of her system. He tamped down on a growing annoyance with her, trying to remind himself she was only human and she had been through a lot in a very short amount of time. That self-reminder brought with it all the reasons he'd started to feel responsible in the first place. “Fuck.”


He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment and wished – okay, only a little bit, but still – that he hadn't gotten himself a conscience thanks to the Winchester boys. Finally, with a sigh, he pulled himself into the aethereal plane, appearing to vanish. He flew to within a few yards of where he could feel Stella's mind roiling with self-loathing and fear and other emotions he wasn't even going to put names to. When he emerged from the aethereal plane, he was crouching in an attempt to appear less threatening. Hopefully.

“Stella. C'mon, kiddo.” He hesitated, taking in her distress and the blood and, most importantly, the desire to just not exist anymore that practically screamed at him even without trying to reach for her thoughts. “Look, I'll stay over here. I won't touch you. I'll leave if it's what you really want. Not like I'm some pansy guardian angel or whatever, y'know?” Moving slowly so he didn't startle her in any way, he shifted himself until he was sitting cross-legged well out of reach of her. “Just tell me what you want, okay?”


STELLA--

She slowly, very slowly stopped beating the ground beside her. She picked it up and looked at it, leaning her head against the tree as she sat there. She kept going through the emotions in her mind, she was frustrated. She was hurt, and she had no one. She rubbed her face with her undamaged hand taking another deep breath.

She felt something beside her, now knowing it was the angel presence there. The demon felt so much differently. She wearily watched him, regardless of him pretending to less threatening. She swallowed hard and tried to push down her fear. She very carefully tried to push the feelings back into the numbness she preferred.

"After everything I have seen," She whispered softly, defeat lacing her words. "After all the deaths those boys have cause, and now the one I am responsible for. If they can live with it, that's fine. For the greater good, find. I can not. I don't understand why you bothered to save me in the first place. I have no control over my mojo as you pointed out. Anything I do, it not intentional. It lay dormant for over twenty years. I'm not doing anything on purpose. I don't like being treated like I was involved with the boys and I am to blame for it. I am nothing and I have nothing."

She watched him carefully. She wasn't even sure what she wanted at this point anymore. "I just don't see how my life would be worth it. If I cause another death, I'm done. If I don't, I should be done too at this point. No one should die because of me." She said calmly, feeling something settle over her as she flicked her eyes across the rocks. She sighed and shook her head slowly. "It doesn't matter anymore.." She whispered softly and stood, brushing her pants clean. "I want my boot knife back. That is all I want."


GABRIEL--

He sat still and silent while she ranted and got it – he hoped, anyway – out of her system. But when she asked for her knife back, he realized this was maybe more than just a temper tantrum after all. Humans. No matter that he'd spent hundreds of years around them, he'd never really been of them, and they still frequently puzzled the archangel.

Wincing at her words, he actually felt a moment of helplessness. He decided quickly that he did not like the feeling. The last time he'd felt it, his elder brother was involved. And that was a time he'd really rather not dwell on.


Finally, he realized he should respond to her in some fashion. “I... I'll give it back. But,” he paused, looking at her to make sure she was still with him, mentally, at least. Nodding to himself at having her attention, he continued. “You have to be willing to hear me out, alright? After that, I will do whatever you want. It's that simple. Deal?”


Deciding that it might be best if he assumed her assent, he rushed ahead without giving her a chance to respond just yet, the words tumbling from his lips a bit rushed, but no less sincere. “If anything, I'm trying to treat you as though you've had nothing to do with the Winchesters, because you really haven't. An accident of birth is what you are, as far as they're concerned. I'm trying to treat you like an innocent that got pulled into a world most of you humans never have to deal with in your entire lives.”


I promise you, you're not responsible for any death. I suspect that would be on Castiel's hands. Your soul is untainted, Stella. It's a bright...beautiful soul. You didn't deserve to be pulled into the world you've found yourself in,” he bit out, his tone having grown a bit angry again, though it wasn't directed at her.


Amber eyes regarded her solemnly, showing nothing of the anger he felt at her circumstances. “And you're right. You are right. No one else should die. Especially not you.” Without another word, he produced her knife and tossed it so that it landed at her feet. And then, he did the only thing he could do; he waited.


STELLA--

Stella tried to not show the wince at is words about her being an accident of birth. She stretched her fingers out and flinched hearing the anger in his voice. She knew it wasn’t exactly directed towards her, she sighed a bit and closed her eyes again, holding her injured hand against her and wiping her eyes at the damn tears that showed up once again.

She had her doubts about his words, she knew both Angels and Demons were skilled liars from the memories she had. She watched her knife land at her feet and did not move to grab it. Was she an innocent after all? Wasn’t she to blame for her ex’s death though? Castiel had killed him true, but if hadn’t been there, she herself would have been dead. She slid her legs under her, and nodded slightly. She knew if she said what she was thinking, it would come out wrong and probably make everything worse.

She held her voice and thoughts silent for a few more minutes. Going through what she was going to have her life be now. She sighed heavily.
Her green eyes darkening as she stared out at nothing or everything. She picked up her knife, sliding it into the boot sheath she had, rolling her pants leg back down.

“I will do my best from now on. But I am no longer an innocent in this world.” Was all she answered with, her voice soft and slightly broken. She swallowed hard again, feeling very much like she was hungover at this point. She needed coffee she realized, and something to eat since she threw up what little she had eaten as it was. She drifted her eyes over to Gabriel and regarded him quietly for a moment and then slid her gaze back away less her “mojo” rise up. “I need to get some coffee.” Moving to stand, trying to figure out how to stuff her emotions into a deep dark hole.

GABRIEL--

He didn't bother to hide the relief he knew showed in his eyes when she slipped the knife into the sheath instead of into fragile skin. He was pretty committed at this point, though it did still rub his raw edges a bit to acknowledge it – even if it was only to himself. He nodded to her words, more than content to accept what she was willing to give. It was all he could ask of the poor girl, all anyone ever should ask, really.


He rose smoothly to his feet as she stood, noting the signs of her exhaustion. With some faint amusement, he comprehended that he wasn't even certain how often humans in this era expected to sleep or eat. Perhaps it was something he should remedy, he realized with a soft chuckle. Some guardian he was managing to be.


A smirk played on his lips as a perfect solution occurred to him. “Sweetheart, close your eyes for me and don't move.” He waited only long enough to see that she followed his instructions, ignoring the pang of guilt that flared up briefly at the suspicion in her eyes before she closed them, and then he delved into his grace, held an image in his mind, and released the gathered energy with a snap. He admired his quality work, finding himself enjoying playing the Trickster for the benefit of someone – for a change – instead of purely to bring justice to someone.


They stood inside a room now, one that resembled in every way the sitting room of a luxury penthouse in a distant northern European hotel. Four doors – plus a set of french doors that appeared to lead to a balcony – led off the sitting room, though they were all closed. At a table against the wall near the french doors was spread a small buffet, complete with freshly brewed coffee and tea, a selection of juices and bottles of cold water, roasted chicken that was still steaming, a selection of vegetables, and a truly astonishing display of desserts.


The rest of the room was rounded out with a pair of antique love seats and a pair of matching chairs, with a coffee table placed between them. Over a fireplace, just above the mantle, was a large television. And, though she wouldn't be able to see it immediately, he'd completed the setting with two beautiful bedrooms with comfortable king size beds and a sinfully luxurious bathroom behind three of the doors.


The fourth, he'd added almost as an afterthought. In the hotel room his construction duplicated, that last door would lead out into the hallway of the hotel. In the angel's construction, however, it would allow anyone with the desire to leave through a gateway out and back to where they'd been standing before he unleashed the power of his grace.


Satisfied, he turned his attention to Stella. “You can open your eyes now, kiddo,” he said, amber eyes dancing with amusement.


STELLA--

Stella would be lying to herself to say she wasn't suspicious at his request. She then figured he probably wouldn't hurt her after all of that. She followed his instructions and closed her eyes. A few moments later she could smell something, and the heavenly aroma of coffee. Strangely though she didn't feel sick, so she wondered if he grabbed her and took her to a diner.

Stella hesitated briefly when she was allowed to open her eyes and found not even close to what she had expected. She was genuinely surprised, briefly afraid to move to touch anything. She ignored the feeling as the smell of the coffee drew her over to her and poured herself a cup. She wrapped her hands around the cup and smiled a bit to Gabriel before she looked more closely at her surroundings. The doors to the balcony caught her attention briefly. She was overwhelmed to say the least. She sipped from the coffee cup and slid her gaze over to the food, teas and desserts.

Stella walked over to the fireplace and felt the warmth of the fire there. She smiled a little bit more and slid her gaze to him. "Thank you." She said softly, genuinely. "Are we..still in..Texas?" She had never seen a grand hotel suite like this in the states, or anything other than a few motels. She had never left the country either, so she had no idea how anything really looked there. She wandered over to a love seat and sat down, setting her coffee cup gently on the coffee table. She was too overwhelmed and impressed to say much else at all of this, keeping her hurt hand close to her chest. She was amused at all of this.


GABRIEL--

He watched her gaze moving over her surroundings, a wide – and pretty self-congratulatory, he must admit – grin playing on his lips. His smug grin shifted into a genuine smile when she thanked him. He moved to join her, sitting in the chair beside the love seat she'd chosen to settle on. His only answer, at least at first, to her question was a shrug.


He wasn't sure how to even begin to explain how his grace was able to twist space and time in a way that kept them exactly where they'd started out while also taking them completely out of spacetime as she would know it. “Yes...and no. It's... Think of it as a pocket in space, maybe? I can't maintain it indefinitely, but we can stay for a couple of days easily before we have to go,” he replied, trying not to think too much about how his power was much diminished from what it once was before he'd chosen to stand up to Lucifer. “And it has the benefit of leaving us untraceable. You're safe here, okay?”


STELLA--

Stella picked up her coffee again and sipped from it, feeling it warm her and strangely calm her. She nodded a little, she had a working understanding of physics, except for the math part. She set her coffee down on the table again, an exhausted sigh leaving her at the idea of being safe. She had been running since this happened. Sadness slid behind her eyes for a moment. She had wanted to touch his arm, even with her shielding in place, she was afraid to. She felt drawn to him, much in the same way she had felt drawn to Castiel.

Her fingers twitched before she set her hands back down in her lap, a soft bubbly laugh falling from her lips as she thought of something. "Not exactly what I had in mind when you said you were going to rock my world." She covered her mouth and giggled softly, knowing she was exhausted at this point. Strangely enough she didn't care anymore. It had been a rough road to here.


GABRIEL--

Unable to help himself, Gabriel burst into laughter. Once it passed, he offered her a warm and genuine smile. It was sort of a strange expression to feel on his own face. His various flavors of smile were usually mocking, or being used as a mask to hide himself, who he once was, from those he came in contact with. But several times now over the past night he'd found himself just...smiling, genuine, sincere smiles.


Mmm,” he hummed, a noncommittal sound. “You should get some rest, kiddo. The food..and the coffee, will all still be here when you wake up.” He stood and touched two fingers to her forehead, releasing just a bit of grace to heal her bloodied and bruised hand. “There are two bedrooms and a bathroom,” he said, indicating them with a casual motion at each of them. “Ah, and that door,” again came a casual motion toward it, “you should avoid.” A flicker of doubt sparked in his amber-colored eyes briefly, without his awareness of it. “Unless you want to leave. I won't stop you, Stella. If you want to go, keep the thought of leaving clearly in your mind and walk out the door. You'll be right where you were before.”


STELLA--

Hearing Gabriel laugh made her laugh harder, it was nice to be able to genuinely laugh after everything. She smiled warmly back to him, resting her head on the arm of the couch. She hadn't seen him smile like that to her before. She found herself liking it.

Stella nodded in agreement about getting some sleep, she was exhausted. She watched him as he stood an closed her eyes briefly when he touched her forehead. She couldn't help herself this time and slid her hand up to gently touch his wrist. Her eyes flitting to each bedroom and nodded slightly. "Okay" She whispered softly, making a mental note of the other door. The one she could leave through if she so wished it. She slid her gaze back to his an saw the doubt flicker there. "I don't want to go, I want to stay here and be safe." She admitted softly. She slid her hand on his writ a little more firmly to pull it down, placing a soft gently kiss to his palm. "Thank you."


GABRIEL--

Gabriel didn't even realize he'd left his fingers touching her forehead until he felt her fingers against his wrist, pulling it down, where her lips brushed his palm. His eyes widened in surprise for just a moment, before he got a grip on himself and slammed down any shields he could think of to keep her from reading anything at all from him. For her own safety, of course. That was the reason.


Ah... You're, ah, welcome...kiddo,” he murmured, amber eyes searching green. “Least I could do, considering who got you into this mess, y'know? Sometimes, a guy just has to clean up his little bro's messes...” He let his words trail away, for a change actually regretting sounding like an asshole. He tugged his hand away from her, suddenly unable to meet her eyes. “I'm sorry. That... I didn't mean it like that, Stella.” Regret filled him. It was a fairly strange feeling to him, and he really wasn't sure he liked it much at all.


STELLA--

Stella looked quietly at Gabriel for a moment and nodded slightly. She wondered what the hell, or rather why the hell, she let him talk her into any of this. It wasn't because of the slip she had, she was tired, exhausted really, after all she had almost died. She should have died. She picked up her mug of coffee, and gave him a sad smile.

"That's what family is for, right?" Not that she would know. She shut her shields down, knowing she was too damn tired to have an intelligent conversation about anything at the moment. She wasn't hurt, she was too tired for this. She stood and looked around, her eyes drifting back towards the bedrooms. "Which one did you want?" She asked softly. She was no longer hungry, just tired.


GABRIEL--

He shrugged uncomfortably, not really sure how to answer her question about family. It was probably rhetorical anyway. That's what he was going with, yep. Instead, he took a step backwards and then let himself fall back so that he flopped into the chair beside the couch dramatically. Well, over-dramatically, but maybe it was good for a laugh.

Cocky grin firmly in place – a mask, as per his usual – he shrugged again. “Don't sleep,” he said smugly. “Perks of being an angel.” He let the grin soften, trying to remember to not be so much of an asshole, even if he did feel the need to hide himself from her a bit – just because the cute little human made him a bit uncomfortable, that's it. “Go on, kiddo. Get some rest. I'll watch out for you.”


STELLA--

Stella smiled a little watching him, humor creeping in as he fell and shook her head a little bit. She looked down at the carpet for a moment, kneeling and taking her boot knife out. She set it on the coffee table, more to let him know she wasn't going to be stupid, then anything else.

She took a few steps away afterwards. "Yeah..that's how I got myself into this mess." She said softly, mostly to herself. She flit her gaze around the room slowly and headed back to one of the bedrooms, shutting the door behind her. She had a really long few days and they were wearing thin on her. She leaned back against the door and sighed. She felt so out of place here, she had no idea what the hell she was going to do now.


GABRIEL--

Gabriel remained carefully nonchalant, right up until the moment she disappeared into the bedroom. After that, well, all bets were off. Hie eyes darted to the knife she'd left on the table, his expression growing thoughtful. Oh, he could figure easily enough what she meant by the gesture, given what he'd learned of her already. If asked, he might even admit to appreciating the gesture, even if he'd already planned to...listen in on her as she slept, of sorts, to make sure nothing happened anyway.


He knew she wasn't quite off to sleep like he'd hoped. But he wasn't ready to interfere yet. Normally he was all about flaunting his power – as evidenced by their luxurious surroundings, which went far beyond anything he'd needed to do to give her a safe and temporary sanctuary – but he really didn't want to spook her by forcing more evidence of the world she now found herself in onto her before she was ready for it. She needed a break, needed someone to watch over her for now, and he'd told her he would. It was an oath, unbreakable, even if he'd said it casually.


And that's exactly what he did, settled in comfortably to keep watch over her until she was ready for whatever came next.


STELLA--

Stella wandered around the bedroom slowly and decided that she'd take advantage of an actual bedroom and bathroom. Her clothes were in her truck, but she shrugged it off and knew she could wear her clothes again anyhow. She wandered into the bathroom and turned on the bathtub water, grabbing some of the shampoo bottles and some weird..bath ball thing. It reminded her of a bathbomb she saw at a store and dropped it into the water. She grinned as it fizzed and roiled around in the tub. Yup, definitely a bathbomb.

She settled a towel at the end of the tub. After a few minutes she got into the tub, and sank down into it turning the faucet off. She used a washcloth to wipe her face and sighed, resting her head against the towel. Her eyes flicked around the room and then slowly at the ceiling. "What am I supposed to do now, John?" She asked bitterly. She didn't get an answer, not that she expected one really. She eventually decided a relaxing bath wasn't going to work for her and eventually got out, wrapped a robe around herself and crawled into bed on her stomach, holding a pillow close to her as she slipped into an uneasy sleep. All of the memories she had seen the last few days days finally catching up to her as she became a silent witness to the events that had already happened.


GABRIEL--

He did at least make a point to not try to spy on Stella physically. Which surprised even him, he had to admit. I mean, she wasn't exactly hard to look at. And it had been a very long time since he'd risked anything frisky with anything other than one of his constructs. But, no. It just didn't feel right invading her privacy in that way for a cheap thrill. Damnit, what the hell was this, a mid-life freaking crisis?

With a sigh, he did let his awareness expand outward from his vessel to just brush against her mind. He wasn't really trying to read anything from her, just to get a general sense that she was well – or as well as could be expected, given her particular circumstances. Stray thoughts made him realize he should provide her with some clean clothing. He took care of that with a whisper of grace, materializing some within the closet of the bedroom once she'd finished her bath and settled on the bed.


When she slipped into sleep and began to dream, he found himself tempted to spy on her then. But he was too cautious to give up that much of his outer awareness just now, no matter how strong the temptation was to try to soothe her dreams.


STELLA--

Stella knew where she was, this wasn't new to her. It wasn't a dream though. The memories she had seen while touching Castiel and then Gabriel, the past of course. She wasn't surprised this was happening, it didn't make it suck any less though. She just wished she could step out of this..flashback that wasn't her own.

She saw people die, demons, angels and shape shifters. A muddle of horrors that made her close her eyes as she she knelt there, bringing her attention to the events once more, it didn't matter that these weren't her memories, but then some were. She turned from them as best she could, getting beat, assaulted, seeing Castiel kill him because she saw it happen before it did. Being stabbed had her clutching at her robe in her sleep where the knife had gone into her. "No" She whimpered softly in her sleep.

She wanted this to stop, but it just wouldn't. Seeing John die, Dean and Sam die, many times. Castiel die and then of course Gabriel. She shook her head and whimpered softly as they just didn't stop. She kept turning her face from them, but she was there, feeling the fires of Hell, the rips on her flesh. She knew somewhere in the back of her mind her shields were gone at the moment. But there wasn't a damn thing she could do about it. "Stop..please, I don't" She whimpered in her nightmare sleep.


GABRIEL--

This relatively new-found sense of responsibility was really getting to be a pain in his ass, Gabriel mused as he felt Stella's fear and dream-pain wash over him. Of course, he could shut it all out easily enough, she wasn't anywhere near powerful enough to overpower him, not even if she were in control of her abilities. But he felt responsible, and maybe something a little beyond that...like caring. Damnit.


With a thought, Gabriel was sitting on her bed beside where she lay curled and whimpering. In the back of his mind, he realized the way he was using grace, he probably wouldn't be able to maintain their little pocket of space for more than a day, rather than the two he'd originally predicted. But, he decided it was worth it. He reached his hand out and lay two fingers against Stella's forehead, ever so gently, so that he didn't actually wake her, and then closed his eyes and let himself slip into her dreams.


He was a bit surprised that it was her dream, but he couldn't actually see her. Instead, what he saw was a misty darkness swirling around him. Gabriel quickly realized that what he was seeing was memories, more memories than a human mind was ever designed to hold. He recognized that they weren't malignant in and of themselves; the memories were all trying to become a part of her, not trying to do her harm. No, this had to stop. If she couldn't or wouldn't give consent to stop it, then he might have to take matters into his own hands. This could rip her apart and leave her an empty shell, otherwise.


Stella. You've got to let it all go. Let me help you let it all go, kiddo,” he shouted into the whirling darkness, reaching his grace out to her. “Please, let me help you.”


STELLA--

Stella still did not know where she was, she was wrapped up in the whirling mist. A darkness she knew was trying to rip her from herself. She was inside of herself and not in this dream. She wanted all of this to stop, regardless of what had happened. The memories swirled around herself in her mind. She felt pain, lashings, fire, and she realized she was watching the memories. Millennia from both Castiel and Gabriel.

The ones from Castiel were worse because they also included her brothers from him touching them. She was inside her own mind, trapped as the memories swirled around her. She wanted it all to stop, she was desperately trying to put the shields her mind knew to put up. Every time she tried, they got slapped down again. Shattered to a million pieces and felt like forever to get just the one back up before it happened once more. It was painful and nerve wracking. Every time it got slapped down, she felt part of herself slipping away and disappearing into the memories.

Stella stopped trying to build the wall and shield and just watched the darkness swirl around her. She was crouched down in the middle of the vortex, the wind memories slapping her hair around her face, her green eyes glowed as she felt helpless and hopeless. She heard a voice and shook her head. “Go away, you’re not real!” She shouted out to him, she held her hand out to stop everything, but it didn’t stop, it grew worse. Hurricane force gale winds felt like they ripped her voice out and she just broke down and cried, desperately trying to both lose herself and never wake again. Wouldn’t life be so much easier this way? The memories bombarded her even more and she closed her eyes tightly. “Just stop.” She whispered desperately.


GABRIEL--

'Oh, not good. Not good at all,' would be the closest a human could come to the thought that ran through Gabriel's mind in stuttered Enochian. He was so disturbed by what he could feel from Stella that falling back on his native tongue was the only thing that centered him in that moment. He pulled every ounce of his power – his grace, his very being – back into himself to regroup and consider.


Stopping what was happening to Stella was a relatively easy thing to do. Doing so without irreparable harm to her, however, was another matter entirely. As he considered and rejected options faster than a human could think, the mindstorm raged around him, but was unable to touch him. He was frustrated, hampered by the feeling of responsibility he felt for her, and by a need to offer her as much choice as possible in her own fate. Still, he truly felt her well-being trumped her right to choose, especially if her ability to do so was quickly eroding away with her very self.


Better to ask forgiveness than permission,” he muttered, and nodded sharply as he reached a decision. “Godmode time, baby,” he shouted out to the whirling darkness, releasing his grace as he did so. He directed it with the practiced precision of a neurosurgeon, sending it racing through neurons, brushing against every single memory she'd touched upon through her own power. He stopped short of completely eliminating the memories, still trying to honour the wishes she'd expressed to him earlier to not have her memories taken from her – even if they weren't really hers. Instead, he dulled the edges of the memories, fading them to something similar to something she might remember from early childhood, the kinds of things humans rarely remembered with any clarity at all. He could only hope it would be enough, for now. Because the next step would be eliminating all of it from her memory, all the way to where she first encountered his brother...and eliminating all memories of himself from her mind in the process. He found...he was really reluctant to do that.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity to him – but that he knew had really only taken perhaps a minute at most – of working to repair her mind and soul from the inadvertent assault of angelic and demonic memories and to give her psychic abilities protective filters that she would have learned naturally if she had fully possessed the ability from childhood, he slowly withdrew his grace. Well, all except one tiny tendril that stubbornly remained attached to her very soul, trying to soothe her.


Carefully, he withdrew from her mind and let his awareness settle before he opened his eyes to look down at her. His two fingers were still touched lightly to her forehead, and without even stopping to consider what he was doing, he let a whisper of his grace twist around the thread still entwined with her soul. Along that thin golden thread that even his angelic vision could only barely see, he pushed comfort and caring and a sense of peace and safety. His fingers drifted from her forehead, tracing down her temple and along her jaw before his hand settled to cup her cheek.


Now, he could only wait to see if what he'd done had been enough, and hadn't been too late.


STELLA--

Stella thought she would be lost and seemed to just accept it when everything changed and stopped. She reached out in her dream for the fading memories swirling around her. Anxiety quickly overtook her wondering if she was done with sanity. She felt more than she saw things drift away and the mental burns were still here and there on her body only her internal eye could see.

They slowly faded as she felt at peace, seeing a blue and silver light twist past her. She knew what that was, but couldn't name it. She drifted for a time it felt like, feeling safe and comforted. She felt warmth on her face, as she knew someone was touching her face. She felt tears sliding down her face as she slowly opened them, seeing a man with amber eyes looking down at her. She looked confused for moment as she tried to place him. The contact her kept on her face helped bring memories back about who he was. She nuzzled into his hand gently and then stopped sliding her darkened green eyes at him.

"What happened?" she asked softly, sliding her hand over his on her face. She wasn't one hundred percent sure about the things that had trapped her in her mind, or why she was crying. She let out a deep breath and rested her head against his hand. She was confused. She felt safe though and didn't at the moment give a damn whether she had an answer or not for the moment.


GABRIEL--

Gabriel did not even bother to attempt to bury or hide the relieved smile that pulled up the corners of his lips when she opened her eyes to look up at him. The very fact that she came back from the brink and regained consciousness made it almost certain that she had survived the mindstorm intact. Well, mostly intact, but he still truly felt the loss or fading of some memories that weren't even really her own to begin with was a fair trade for keeping her alive.


It's okay, kiddo,” he said, his voice only barely above a whisper, and so filled with tenderness it even took him by surprise. “You're gonna be okay now.” He reached out with his other hand and wiped away the tears streaking her cheeks with the pad of his thumb, then reached up and started stroking her hair with feather-light touches, all the while his gold-toned eyes never leaving hers. “You were...ill. Very, very ill. I did what I could to make it better.” He hesitated, sighing. “I'm sorry.”


STELLA--

Stella searched his eyes as he spoke and curled around him more, relaxing slowly. She raised her eyebrows at his words and searched her mind slowly, having a hard time placing what had happened. “When I was stabbed?” She looked at him quizzically. “Did I get an infection?”

She slid her hand down onto her robe, clearly expecting a hospital gown. She looked down at herself very confused, sliding her hand under the robe and touching where the stab wound had been. Feeling nothing but smooth skin there. She breathed out heavily. “I’m not in a hospital am I?” She slid her eyes around the hotel room and shifted to sit up. “Where are we?” The room spinning a bit as she sat up, gripping his arms tightly ass he closed her eyes. She wasn’t afraid, just very confused, obviously having lost the last few hours or so.


GABRIEL--

Without hesitation, he reached out to steady her when she moved to sit up. His mouth actually opened once or twice as he considered what to tell her without alarming her too much, and preferably without actually lying to her either. This whole caring thing was getting to be...troublesome, in several ways.


Finally, he just pulled her against his side, helping her shift into a comfortable position tucked against him, his arm around her shoulder, holding her close...though loosely enough that she could move away if she wanted to. He found himself more aware than ever of the fragility of humans when compared to the immensity of his own grace, as evidenced by the fact that his efforts to merely dull the memories she'd absorbed into something she could manage better seemed to have gone a little wrong and left her with gaps – or worse – in her own memories. And he was finding the awareness of human fragility up against his own power was making him more cautious. Well, that was the reason he was allowing himself, anyway.


“Shh, Stella...Stella. No, you didn't get an infection, and this isn't a hospital.” He stopped, realizing just then that he was feeling faint echoes of her own emotions along the strand of his grace still twisted in amongst her soul. This was...a troubling development. In truth, he didn't know what it meant. And now probably wasn't best time to try to figure it out. Taking care of the human in his charge, even if it was a charge he'd given himself, was more important than whatever else was going on at the moment.


He began to stroke her hair, soothing her, he hoped. And, well if it made him feel a little better too, who else would be the wiser. “This is just...somewhere safe. You're safe here, kiddo. I can promise you that.” Gabriel leaned his head lightly against hers, his cheek nestling against her hair. “It was your mind...and your soul. You were being torn apart, but I stopped it. I tried to heal it. I tried.” He sighed. “I'm sorry, Stella. You're safe here, though. I'll keep you safe.”


STELLA--

Stella sighed and leaned against him as he pulled her to his side, feeling instantly calm and comforted. She slid her hands from his arms and slowly around him, almost as if holding onto him would make her more present here. As of there was some answer she could get from him over what had happened, she felt confused and slightly panicked as she didn't remember coming here.

Her eyes slid to his own as he spoke and nodded. "I believe you." She whispered softly. "Thank you." She did believe him and slowly closed her eyes as he stroked her hair, slowly sliding her hand up to touch his cheek softly to more or less assure herself this was happening and not a dream. She nuzzled against his head. "I know I'm safe here with you, Gabriel." She said softly, relaxing against him more. A soft giggle bubbled up to her lips as she remembered the dream she met him in. She looked down at the bathrobe, "Does this mean I was touched by an angel?" She dissolved into giggles, having no idea why it popped into her head.


GABRIEL--

For a moment, just a moment, he let himself be lost in the feel of her touch against his cheek. For just a single brief moment, he let himself get lost in the feel of her tucked up against him. Oh, Gabriel was no stranger at all to pleasures of the flesh, and not just the carnal ones. But the gentle pleasure from simple contact meant to provide comfort – well, this was pretty new to him, and it was surprisingly pleasant indeed. He could – almost – understand why humans sought it out so much, these gentle touches meant for nothing more than reassurance and comfort and soothing of mind and soul.


Her question, and the giggling brought on by it, brought Gabriel out of his reverie – something he was glad of, because he just wasn't sure how to deal with the things he was feeling, or maybe trying not to feel. He lifted his head from to look at her, a genuine smile twitching at his lips. “Yes, but..not that way, kiddo,” he replied, shaking his head, not with any sort of denial, but with amusement.


He grew serious, then. Cupping her chin to still her for a moment while he searched her eyes, he allowed the faintest trace of his grace to flow along the thin thread connecting to her soul, quickly seeking out any lasting signs of damage. Of course, she was still somewhat marked by all she'd gone through, but the cracks that had covered her soul where the memories were tearing it apart were gone. “You have such a bright soul, Stella,” he murmured, not even really aware he'd spoken the thought aloud as he withdrew his grace – all except that stubborn little bit that refused to be parted from her soul.


STELLA--

Stella sobered enough to stop giggling, her eyes barely hiding how much the lost time had bothered her. She noticed he was actually smiling for a change. She slid her gaze down for a few moments, letting her breath out heavily.


When he touched her chin it forced her to look up at him, watching him look into her eyes. She was a little confused at the gesture but decided to just enjoy this little bit of contact she was getting for the moment. Sometimes human needed the comfort of touch. She relished it for the moment. She slid her hand on his arm softly, smiling faintly, a bit of doubt creeping into her eyes at his words. How did you respond to that? “Thank you.” She answered softly, she still doubted she was anything special to be here. But she was thankful someone was here with her, and thought she was special.


She rested her forehead against his gently, closing her eyes. She moved a little closer to him, just relishing the contact with him. She was drawn to him still, maybe even more so now. She kissed his cheek softly without thinking about it.


GABRIEL--

He blinked, only realizing he'd spoken aloud about the beauty of her soul when she thanked him. And then came a feeling he only recognized after a few moments thought about it – embarrassment. Holy Hell, this little human made him feel embarrassed? Really? Yeah, no...that was something that didn't need to be happening. The thoughts skittered through his mind in an alarming human fashion, leaving him startled and more than a little confused. Yeah, this is why he'd kept his distance from the humans, only really coming in contact with them when he was on a mission of delivering justice. It was just...safer that way.


And yet, here he was, he reminded himself as Stella rested her forehead against his, and then actually moved to kiss his cheek with a feather-light brush of her lips. 'Aw, crap,' he thought, and gave in to the urge to wrap his arms around her, sighing softly. He'd been through so much since Lucifer had... Well, just, since Lucifer. He'd been so careful to keep himself apart from everything out of caution and fear.

Maybe, just for now, just for today, he could let this happen. Maybe he could give himself this, and give this, whatever this really was, to this human girl, too. After all, a little affection was okay, for a little while. Right? Not like he was gonna go off and make forbidden little nephilim to run around all over the place. Yep, exactly.


“Hey, uh,” he cleared his throat in a very awkwardly human fashion. “Hey, Stella, is there...anything I can do for you, kiddo?”


STELLA--

Stella was surprised when he wrapped his arms around her. She smiled softly and relaxed against him more fully. She couldn’t remember the last time she had been held like this. That bothered her she realized for the moment and sighed softly. She let the thought go for now and rested her hand on his face softly, enjoying the comfort.

She raised her eyebrows at his question and shook her head slightly in answer to him silently. Something was pushing her to keep touching him, and she let it. She moved to look back into his eyes and slid both hands on his face softly and then kissing his lips with a feather light touch. She didn’t know why she did, just that she felt strongly that she wanted to. She felt like she was home for the first time, in a long time. She moved to sit in his lap gently, anything to be touching more of him, being beside him was not enough anymore. “I feel so drawn to you.” She said softly, confused. She didn’t understand why, just that it simply was.


GABRIEL--

'Aw, crap,' he thought, again, as her hands framed his face, followed up a little more quickly than his stuttering thoughts could track by a kiss – a proper human kiss. And then, there she was, curled onto his lap, when he was still trying to catch up to the fact that she'd kissed him. Kissed. What? But, still, he didn't push her away, yet.


Taking a deep breath – okay, no, he didn't really need it, but it still helped steady him a little – he then sighed. “I.. That might be my fault,” he whispered, with far less confidence in his tone than usual. What was it about this girl that put him entirely off balance, anyway? Gently, he lifted her off his lap and deposited her back into the bed beside him.


He rose from where he'd been seated on the edge of the bed and began to pace restlessly, wondering if putting off thoughts of the strange way his grace had remained tangled in her soul had been a mistake after all. Something was going on here. Something he'd not seen in his very, extremely long life. And that, well, that really bothered him.


He stopped to stand before her, unconsciously looming a bit as he forced himself to sink back into his Archangel of the Lord mode, his grace now bristling a bit in reaction to his unease. “I'm not sure what you want, Stella, but I can sort of guess right now. And it can't happen. I'm not human. I know I look it, but I'm not just some overpowered human.” He sighed, biting his lower lip for a moment in a gesture that was very human in appearance, despite his words. “I'm...sorry, Stella.” And he truly did look like he regretted it, though there was a firm determination in his gold eyes that said he would stick to what he believed was right, no matter how much he might regret it.


STELLA--

She watched him quietly as he sat her down on the bed and nodded slightly. She flexed her fingers a bit as she sat there and slid her hands along the belt of her robe and then grabbed a pillow and hugged it to her chest to give her something to hold on to. She watched him pace and then when he stopped she raised her eyebrows at him.

When he loomed over her, she squirmed back a bit and let out the deep breath she didn't realize she was holding. His bristling Grace awakened something inside of her, a twinge in her stomach. Something was wrong indeed. "I know what you are." she whispered softly. She didn't know why she felt this way either, her mind searching inside of herself for something, anything to explain it. She held her pillow closer to her again and felt another twinge that made her wince a bit. She slowly stood, keeping her distance from him and went to the closet to get her clothes. "So am I, Gabriel." She held her clothes to her chest and didn't look at him, feeling self conscious at the moment. Feeling embarrassed and confused at the same time. She flicked her eyes to him, her green eyes glowing with a bit of his grace that she wasn't even aware of. She headed to the bathroom as she gave him enough room to not touch him.

GABRIEL--

He was at a loss at what to do with her reaction, and what to do with that tiny flicker he was sure he'd seen within her eyes, so he just stood there as she slipped past him. Wow, there was a fairly new feeling. Dealing with his brothers, now, yeah, that left him feeling at a loss for a very long time. But dealing with humans? Not even when he'd been flat out lectured by Sam and Dean Winchester, his own little brother Castiel bearing witness – and tossing a little judgmental scowling into the mix, too – as they did so, had Gabriel felt so...well, crappy.



“Feelings,” he muttered once she was shut into the bathroom. He dared to care, dared to grasp onto a little bit of human style comfort, and look what happened. Yeah, okay, Dad said to love the humans. But, it'd been made pretty clear in the past that didn't mean to fall for individual humans. Right? Right. Besides...nephilim. Archangel or no, if the rest of the Host found out he got involved and managed to pop out a few little spawn of his own, it wouldn't just be his life on the line. And, damnit, he cared too much about this particular human to risk that for her, even if it meant hurting her feelings.


And then, there was the little issue of that flash he'd seen within her eyes before she retreated to the bathroom. Even the thought of it made his grace seem to almost ache to reach out to her. Something had happened when he bent his grace to healing her, some sort of bond had formed. He knew it wasn't unheard of. Hell, rumours had been whispered of it happening even recently, when little Castiel had used his grace to piece the Righteous Man's soul back together after pulling him from Hell, rumours that always made clear that the Host as a whole felt it was a shameful thing to have happened to one of their kind...


Wait... Maybe there really was something to these Winchesters, after all. “Dad,” he whispered, the first time he'd offered any sort of prayer to his Father in centuries, “is this some plan of Yours? Are You not done with us, even now?” Even as he spoke the prayer, trying it the way humans would, he knew he expected no answer – really, didn't even hope for one. Still, it brought him some infinitesimal measure of the comfort he once used to take in praying to his Father. With a frustrated sigh, he sat once more on the edge of the bed, waiting for Stella, trying to decide just what he should do.



STELLA--

Stella set her clothes on the bathroom sink and looked into the mirror. She sighed deeply and ignored the twinge in her stomach, wincing again and took a deep breath and let it slowly. She picked through her clothes for her tshirt, putting it on she looked in the mirror and stopped what she was doing for the moment as she saw her eyes glowing. She finished pulling her shirt on and looked into the mirror closely at her eyes. “What the hell?” She asked softly, clearly puzzled. What had he done to her? She closed her eyes for a moment and then slowly opened them to look at herself in the mirror again.


She noticed her eyes glowed every time she felt that damn twinge. She grabbed her jeans and slid them on slowly, feeling like she just got kicked in the gut and it made her grab the sink. She shook her head as she caught her breath and slid her fingers through her hair to keep it out of her eyes. She slid her hand through some water and slid it through her hair to get it to stay in one place. She was frustrated at the moment. Feelings she shouldn’t be having, not so soon, not for anyone especially after everything.


She lifted her shirt up and saw a glow there. Right on her solar plexus but slowly moving every time she felt a twinge. Moving down a little more. She reached up to touch it and found it warmer than the rest of her skin. She looked in the mirror again and watched her eyes glow and her skin glow a little.


She took a deep breath and walked to the door opening it. Her eyes glowing as she caught Gabriel’s eyes. “What did you do to me?” She asked brokenly. She lifted her shirt to show him the glow on her skin, wincing hard to where she lost her breath, grabbing the door frame to keep herself upright. She looked at him accusingly for the moment. “Gabriel? What is this?” She slid her hand over the glow and it shined from between her fingers. Everything else forgotten for the moment, she was detached from everything it seemed except this. She felt hot burning pain as she sank to her knees.

GABRIEL--

'Something is wrong.' The thought hit him like a punch to the gut, but before he had time to really process it, the door to the bathroom opened. Stella stood framed in the doorway, the light from the bathroom behind her shadowing her features in the dimmer light of the bedroom and making a halo of light around her petite frame. He just stared at her, his eyes widening. What he felt coming from her – which he only now realized was without effort on his part, instead drawing on the tendril of grace entwined with her soul – was, well...startling was too mild a word. She felt...well...different.


Not even bothering to pretend at anything human right now, he vanished and reappeared again immediately, crouching in front of her, reaching out to support her. “I don't... I didn't... I just... I don't know. Stella. I... I. Don't. Know,” he bit out, clearly distressed. Whatever was happening to her, he could feel it now, drawing on his grace. It wasn't enough to be a danger to him, but it was more than a bit disconcerting, primarily because he couldn't even imagine what could be powerful enough to be pulling grace from him without his cooperation.


He stopped for the briefest of moments to consider the risk of using his grace to try to make her more comfortable; would it help, or would it only make the situation worse? When he realized her temperature was well above human normal – and rising – he threw caution to the wind. Gabriel settled himself as comfortably as possible on the floor of the doorway, his legs crossed. He pulled Stella onto his lap and held her tightly against himself, though still mindful of her fragile human body. His lips brushed against her forehead, followed by his cheek as he rested his head against hers. “I'm going to try to help, kiddo, okay? I'm going to try,” he whispered before releasing the tight hold he'd had on his grace in effort to fix whatever was wrong with her.


Except...he realized with an intensely overwhelming sense of dread that he couldn't fix her beyond making her as comfortable as possible. He wasn't allowed to tamper with what was happening to her. Hell, he couldn't even really understand what was happening to her, only that...somehow, impossibly, she wasn't alone in her own skin anymore. “Oh, Hell.”



STELLA--

Stella just whimpered softly, feeling much like she when had been stabbed. The pain was that intense. She barely heard Gabriel’s voice but when he touched her the words became clearer. She had a hell of a time focusing on him and gripped onto him tightly, pulling her into his lap.

She felt marginally better at his contact again, closing her eyes as he kissed her forehead. She leaned her head against him as she shivered like she had a fever, both hot and freezing at the same time. She moaned softly and weakly slid her eyes open as she felt her strength drained out of her, her eyes glowing again as she turned her gaze to him. She slid a hand onto his face softly, her teeth chattered as her lips turned blue. She was freezing but her temperature was only getting higher. “W..w..what is.hap..happening to me?” She asked again. She shivered and tried to hold onto him.

She was hearing something, she knew it was Enochian from the memories she had. “Hmm..Enoch” Her voice trailed off weakly mid word as her brain recognized it. Her eyes went out of focus as the glow settled further down on her stomach and stopped moving. She didn’t understand the words, only that she would be all right. Her entire body spasmed and jerked her head back as her whole body shook. She moaned in pain, pulling her other hand onto her stomach as the glow grew brighter under her hand. She shuddered again and went limp in Gabriel’s arms as the glow under her hand finally subsided, she was so contorted from the seizure that her shirt barely covered the bump under her hand. Sweat and goosebumps covered her skin as she didn’t wake up, her breathing shallow and weak.



GABRIEL--

“I don't know, I don't know,” he tried to answer Stella frantically. If he were human, he might have been ashamed to admit that not knowing exactly what was happening to her was bothering him far more what actually was happening to her. But, he wasn't human, and he looked at things differently than they ever could. This was a new thing, and he wasn't at all sure how to deal with it.


As she began to spasm in his arms, a deep calm washed over him. Enough with human reactions, he was done with it. Something needed to be done, now, for better or worse. A glow flickered deep in his amber-colored eyes, slowly growing in intensity until the amber was washed in a blue-white light only slightly tinged with gold. He embraced the full power and import of his first and original persona, who he truly was deep at his core; Gabriel wrapped himself in the full power of the grace of an archangel.


And then, he reached out with his grace to the girl who wasn't quite human in his arms and flooded her with enough of that grace to kill a human. The power flooded her, feeding what was changing her, and feeding the small spark of impossibility growing within her. He realized as he did so that he might be, essentially, damning her – and himself, as well – but at this point it was either that, or let her die. He'd accepted her as his charge; he couldn't just let her die.


Gabriel took a moment to breathe a sigh of relief as her temperature returned to something much closer to normal, and her unconscious mind slipped from the coma it had been edging toward into a simple, deep sleep. Though he was actually feeling hints of exhaustion tugging at him from the expenditure of far more grace than he'd had to use at once in a long time, he used a whisper of it to move them both instantly to the bed, wanting to jostle her as little as possible.


He carefully shifted Stella from his lap and arranged her so that she was laid out. The angel covered her with a blanket, then reseated himself with crossed legs to meditate, letting the edges of his awareness remain fixed on that thin thread of grace that connected him to her as he did so.



STELLA--

Stella drifted in her sleep, she felt like she was dreaming but somehow knew she was not. She was exhausted even now. She looked up and saw the road fly by her windows. She realized she was in her truck and sank back into the seat slowly. She always felt free when she drove. Her flicked around her as she watched the snow come down around her truck.

She smiled softly, having always wanted to really see snow and touch it. She pulled her truck over and got out, walking over to the snow covered trees. As she approached and reached out to touch the snow, she realized it was a bunch of little feathers. White, which would make it down with how soft it was to the touch. She heard something and saw something out of the corner of her eye, something flashed gold and floated down by her foot. She knelt and picked it up and realized she was holding a feather in her hand. It was similar to the one she touched from Gabriel. Same shade, same flecks that moved. It was shorter thou. She touched it and it glowed in her hand much like her own eyes were glowing with Gabriel’s Grace earlier. She held the feather to her stomach and it disappeared. She was confused and felt so tired all of a sudden.

She rested her hand back where the feather had been, feeling a soft rise there, something moving under her hand. She sat down heavily and a bearded man with bright blue eyes appeared before her. She recognized him somewhere in the memories. The name eluded her for a long time as he began speaking. This man was sure of himself, standing rigid but radiating love and peace.

“Be not afraid, Stella Winchester.” The man said softly as he eyes glowed, walking towards her. “I am, and am not who you saw in your brother’s eyes. I have plans for you, Stella. And Gabriel.” He smiled and watched her confused eyes.

“I mean no harm, but you know that don’t you?” Stella only nodded wordlessly. The man smiled again softly. He walked closer to her and knelt in front of her, taking her hands in his extremely hot hands. “You are not really human, Stella. You never have been. Gabriel’s Grace is entwined in your soul. This is what you are to do, protect this life.” He nodded to her stomach. “They will be like their Father, Gabriel. Powerful Archangels.” He smiled gently to her and moved to touch her forehead. “Rest child, we will speak again soon.”

Stella was stunned by speaking to this man, she opened her mouth to speak and then felt herself drifting again. When she awakened she was in bed, wrapped in a blanket. Her eyes landed on Gabriel beside her, watching him meditate. She wondered how long she had been out. She also wondered how long he had been watching her. She tentatively reached her hand out to him, resting her hand on his leg. “Hey.” She said softly, her green eyes shifted color briefly to a greenish gold and back again.


GABRIEL--

The meditation allowed Gabriel to recharge his grace more quickly, though not as quickly as if he had been fully on the aethereal plane – and not as quickly even as if he had devoted all of his awareness to it. The need to watch over Stella, even if just by monitoring the thin thread of his grace that connected them, was too compelling to resist. And that was part of the issue, wasn't it? The compelling...well, compulsion that made him accept her as his charge – a serious thing for any angel, and doubly so for an archangel.


And then – and then – there was the way his grace had latched to Stella the very first time he used it more than just fleetingly, when he'd had to heal her soul and her mind instead of her body, very like his grace had found some missing part of itself. Impossible. And yet... Bonding happened with angels, though that was a very unusual event. Bonding with a human? It wasn't unheard of, but it was exceedingly rare, and hadn't happened for thousands of years. And never, ever with an archangel; it was something that had only ever happened between or with seraphs. What the Hell was going on, exactly?


But the worst, most pressing problem currently facing him was that he'd been able to sense that she wasn't alone inside her skin anymore. There was another life within her, one that he was absolutely certain hadn't existed back when he'd brought her back from the brink of death. That life simply should not exist. It was something new, and he found things that were completely new – things he'd never encountered ever in his extremely long life – to be disturbing. He was out of his element here, and he had no idea what to do about it.


Gabriel was jolted from his thoughts by her voice, a single softly spoken word, yet it was enough to bring his awareness to a sharp focus instantly. His eyes snapped open, seeking hers immediately, holding her gaze even as her eyes shifted color and then shifted back again. He'd decided during his meditation to no long shroud himself from her as he normally did from all humans, or, at least, to no longer shroud the intensity of his presence, an intensity that showed in his eyes and was an intrinsic part of his essence as an archangel. Of course, he was folded up within a vessel, so some of that presence was dulled. He wasn't going to risk killing her, after all.


The feeling of her through his grace was steady and calmer than he'd felt so far. But there was still that tiny little flicker that wouldn't let him forget something very strange and very serious was happening with her, and within her. And he was at a loss. “Stella,” he whispered, his voice unsure, yet still filled with that sense of his otherness. “What are you really? And what are you doing to me?”



STELLA--

Stella felt through their bond that something had changed, both of Gabriel and herself. She thought back to the dream she had and shook her head at his words. She moved to sit up, very slowly, still disoriented from everything for a moment. She sighed and moved slowly to sit against the wall of the bed. Her eyes flicked away from him for a moment and then down to herself, wrapping her arms around her stomach and ignoring what she knew was there.

She slid her gaze back to him and held his gaze without flinching, feeling his otherness. She didn't know what she was, He didn't explain. He just said that she wasn't really human. She let out a soft breath, she still needed to be breath so maybe she actually was human of some sort. "I don't know, Gabriel. He didn't explain to me, other than we have to protect.." She trailed off and looked away, feeling like she wanted to run away herself.

None of this was simple, she felt at home for the first time in her life. She felt something calm her and she didn't know what it was. "It's going to be all right." She said softly, even though she knew after everything it didn't seem like it should be. She very much wanted to go to him and touch him. She felt though he didn't want that for the moment.

It tugged at her soul and she rested her head back against the wall, closing her eyes to finally break his gaze. She slid her hand very softly above her body, not touching her skin as her hand ran along her the Chakras, in her body. She stopped where her stomach and the bump was and stayed there for a few moments, she hesitated and slid her hand on there, some small smile touched her lips.

She swallowed hard and focused along the thread that tied them both together, picking up some stray thought he had earlier. "What does bonded mean?" She asked softly. She didn't know the thought had come from Gabriel's silent retrospection. Her eyes opened as she looked at him, keeping her gaze on his. She finally realized something as she looked at him, he wasn't hiding himself from her, he was, almost completely all of himself now. She didn't dare touch him, not that she was sure it would hurt her.



GABRIEL--

Gabriel remained sitting, legs crossed, simply watching her and letting her actions and words wash over him. He was studying her the way a scientist might study the subject of an experiment, his expression passive and maybe even a little cold. The only hint that he was even really hearing her, or truly aware of her, was the tiniest flicker of blue white light deep within his amber eyes as she moved and spoke.


But he was very much aware of everything. Too aware, really. He wondered at who the 'he' was she was talking about, since she hadn't left the suite he'd created. He could only assume it was some human dream, since it couldn't have been someone dreamwalking. For that to happen, the angel would have to be more powerful than him to defeat the natural wards he built into all his constructs. And the only celestial beings left more powerful than Gabriel himself were locked away in the Cage in Hell. So...yes, some little human dream. Nothing to be concerned about.


He was aware of his shift in attitude. He was even self-aware enough to understand why; he was afraid, deep down. And the best ways he'd ever found to deal with fear was to drown it in his own power, to bury it in who he'd spend millennia as – an archangel, a being of immense power and detachment from humanity. Of course, it wasn't really working this time, because he still felt that growing terror swirling just beneath the surface of his mind, but he clung to his ages old method of coping anyway. Or, tried to.


'What does bonded mean?' she said, and he flinched, all his defenses shattering in that moment. How could she even know? The grace that had been showing in his eyes flickered and died away, his shoulders slumping and his whole expression becoming...simply..tired.


Bonded is something that happens with angels sometimes. Seraphs. Higher class angels, but still...lower than archangels. It's an impossibility for archangels. Archangels are supposed to be above all that, above attachments, above the baser emotions. Archangels are supposed to be the Commanders of the Host of Heaven, God's greatest weapons, tools,” he explained, his voice nearly a monotone. He took a deep breath, then let it out in a huff that might have almost been a laugh, if it hadn't sounded so very...broken.



STELLA--

Stella kept her gaze on him, when his shoulders slumped and he sounded so damn broken, the Grace leaving his eyes. She was moving from where she was sitting involuntarily, barely registering her reaction as she slipped to his side. She didn't speak as she knelt in front of him and rested her hand on his face softly. She didn't dare touch him more than that for the moment.

"Gabriel.." She started and sighed softly. She didn't know how to process that information, although it made sense considering what little she had been told while asleep. How she felt with him. Her mind flit through the information about angels she learned a long time ago. Her gaze slipped to his, slowly moving her hand away from his face.

Something pulled at her, something along that connection they now had. Her first response at all of this was still to run away. She knew she couldn't now. Not when she felt, at home. She moved a little closer to him, not touching him, despite the fact that it made her feel better.

She sighed softly, she reached out and took his hand gently in hers, sliding it against her face softly and closing her eyes. Something inside of her switched on, letting Gabriel into her head so maybe he could see what she had in her dream. Maybe he could understand it better. It didn't hurt that his touch was very comforting to her. She felt their connection was stronger too along his..their grace? Why did it feel like hers as well? Or was it because of what she now carried inside of her that it was part of her in more ways than one.



GABRIEL--

His eyes dropped to stare at his hands resting loosely in his lap after answering her question. He sat unmoving, even as she moved to his side. He sat, still unmoving, when she reached out to lay her hand against his face. He sat, still unmoving, silent, when she spoke his name. And he sat, unmoving, when she pulled her hand away from him and inched closer still to him.


Even when she reached out and pulled his limp hand from his lap and pressed it against her own face, he only twitched slightly, and then went still again. He could feel the pressure of something within her pushing against the edges of his awareness, but he didn't want it. He didn't want to face that she was something different. He couldn't deal with it. He didn't want to deal with it.


She was a human, her life fleeting. He was nothing more than a weapon of Heaven, one that had broken a long time ago when he could no longer take his elder brothers' fighting and fled rather than face it any longer. He couldn't believe anything else. It wasn't even that he didn't want to believe anything else, he simply couldn't.


Still, the pressure teasing at his awareness grew, until he gave up with a sigh and let himself sink into it...


Gabriel saw a fleeting, flickering series of images. The soft white down feathers of a fledgling drifting gently from the sky. A single gold-flecked feather held in a delicate hand – a feather he absently recognized as one of his own alula feathers, a feather that held special significance for an angel, and one that was valuable because of the power of it's use in several spells. A man with kind eyes of a startling blue, eyes that then began to shimmer and glow with Heavenly light. And, he saw a fledgling, born somehow with it's very own vessel, yet still clearly a full angel and not one of the forbidden nephilim.


The visions ended and the archangel jerked his hand away from her as though she were made of holy fire. With a thought and a twitch of invisible wings, he was across the room, backed into a corner. He held his hand clenched to his chest, his gold eyes widened, staring at Stella. “That wasn't a dream. Someone...something...he spoke to you. He got through my wards. I never even felt them breached. There shouldn't be anyone left that can even do that!” He was trembling now, unaware of it, as he stared at her with a lost expression.


STELLA--

Stella tried to not show how much it hurt when he didn't react to her. She knew though that this was hard for him. Hell it was still hard for her, and she had seen it. Had seen a lot in a short period of time. She was strangely calm about the whole situation though.

When Gabriel finally sank into the vision she had it pulled her with him. She was a silent witness to what he had seen, felt the significance from Gabriel of the feather she had held. She had then seen more of what was to happen, what it truly meant, but the identity of the man was not revealed to her.

Her hands twitched as her jerked away from her, her eyes flicked to him as he reappeared across the room in the corner. She lifted her head as he spoke and hesitated to say anything or to move from the bed. She felt his fear and dearly wanted to comfort him. She rested her hands in her lap, her eyes glowing the greenish gold and then back again. She knew whoever the man was, meant no harm.

She slipped from the bed and walked closer to him but remained a few steps away, she didn't want to startle or scare him. She took in his lost expression and knelt on the floor. Her green eyes stayed calm in answer to his frightened gaze. "Then who or what was it?" She asked softly. She kept her hands on her lap, looking up at him. She felt she should be terrified and the very human instinct came to her that she should run away from this danger. Her eyes flit around the room briefly as she thought. "Are we in danger?" She wasn't asking just for herself or him. But also, more importantly, for the life she now carried inside of her.


GABRIEL--

Gabriel stared at her as she approached him, his eyes a little wild with conflicting emotions. He shook his head mutely in response to her questions. He didn't know. He didn't like not knowing. Finally, he took a deep, shaky breath, then let it out and dropped gracefully to the floor in his favorite comfortable cross-legged position, his back still firmly up against the corner, his eyes dropping to his hands curled loosely in his lap.


There shouldn't be anyone left powerful enough to defeat wards he embedded within his creations. His very grace imbued those wards, powered them. Everyone else was gone, in every way that mattered; his older brothers, his Father, his Father's sister, far too many of his younger sibling, even Death. They were all gone, and no one should have been able to get in, not even by dreamwalking.


“I don't know,” he finally said, his voice low, with a hint of a tremble to it. “I don't know who...what it was. I don't know if you're in danger.” His eyes raised, catching and holding her gaze, a hint of his grace shining deeply within them. Something within him shifted as he stared at her, the slightest hint of suspicion and wariness coming over his expression. He said, then, his voice steady and maybe a bit distant now, “I'm not even sure if I'm in danger, now. Am I, Stella,” he asked, as though he actually felt he might be, and that she might even be the source of it.


STELLA--

Stella quietly watched him as he sat on the floor. She didn't know what was going on anymore, truthfully. She was at a loss for everything. She was so conflicted herself, regardless of her feelings of other things, the bond they now had, the vision she had when she was asleep.

Her eyes slid around the room as her thoughts tumbled around in her head. She slid her hand through her hair, untangling it with her fingers, to give her hands and fingers something to do. She took a deep breath as she thought quietly. She searched hard in herself for an answer and found none. She didn't dare touch the bond they shared for the moment.

She didn't want to risk, well, angering him. She felt some of the old fear she had of what had happened when her ex used to get mad. She was lost for a few moments in her own memories and slid her gaze to his when he spoke, noting the trembling in his voice. She kept his gaze and did not flinch back from the grace in his eyes. If nothing else, it calmed her more. She sighed deeply and nodded once. "Yeah, I don't know either.." She trailed off. Knowing he thought she was the source of the problem, and maybe she was.

Despite everything, she laughed bitterly. "Really regret saving The Winchester Witch about now, hmm?" Her voice broke a little as she hung her head and stood gracefully in one fluid motion. "You can smite me if you want, if you feel you should to be safe, to save everyone, especially yourself and my brothers and yours." She didn't look at him as she walked away from him. It was all right. It was going to be all right, she kept telling herself. Maybe he'd be kind and not put her through pain for it.

She walked to the other side of the bedroom, human or no. For the greater good, right? That's what the Winchesters were for, sacrifice maybe, she thought bitterly. Vessels and opening and closing doors. Starting and ending trials, apocalypses. "Just let me see my beach back home one last time, it's all I ask." She asked softly, trying to keep a careful hold on her emotions, going numb and taking comfort in it. She didn't dare turn to look at him, her head down. She swallowed hard and took a shaky breath, blowing her hair out of her face.


GABRIEL--

Her words shocked him right out of the terror that had gripped him, and it drained away as quickly as it had appeared. “Wait, no. Stella, no,” he said in a rush, watching her walk away from him, his eyes fixed on her back. “I'm not going to...kill you. Why would you... Aw, Hell.”


Another thought and a brief flutter of invisible wings, and he was standing just behind her, his hands clenched into fists at his sides. He frowned, then reached out and wrapped his arms around her petite frame, with enough strength that she wouldn't be able to resist, but still very mindful of human fragility. He rested his chin on her shoulder and turned his head slightly to bury his face in the delicate strands of hair tumbling around her shoulder, allowing himself the briefest of moments to enjoy what he'd been denying himself in his confusion. “We need to get some things straight. Right. Now.” he whispered to her, his lips barely brushing her ear as he spoke.


First of all – forget your damned brothers. I don't care about them, and neither should you. Just forget them. I don't give a damn about the Winchesters. Forget you're even born of that bloodline.” He paused, just a moment, to let his words sink in, but not long enough to give her time to try to argue with him. He was determined to see this through, to make things as clear to her as he could given his own still very present confusion.


Second, forget about my brothers, too. The whole Host of them, just forget them. And that very much includes the stupid one that went and became a demon all because of unrequited love of a human.” Despite trying to maintain a calm and even tone, he couldn't help the bit of frustration and even disgust that suffused his tone here. “It especially includes Castiel. Forget him, forget all of them.”


Gabriel sighed, finally loosening his hold on her and letting his arms drop away as he took a step back, freeing her. “I panicked, okay? I've been hiding for so long, I panicked over things that may not even matter anymore. Daddy's left the show, so...maybe his rules don't matter anymore.”


STELLA--

She stiffened when she felt him behind her, taking a deep breath and gasped when he wrapped his arms around, feeling his strength and just went very clam and let out her breath. Let it be quick, she thought quietly. She was confused when she felt him rest against her, putting his face in her hair. She closed her eyes and shivered as he spoke in her ear, closing her eyes. She was confused to say the least, but she didn't dare move. She was still afraid.

She opened her mouth to argue with him about her brothers, but he didn't give her the chance to as he started speaking again. She clenched her hands into fists at his sides and willed herself to relax her hands. Slowly, finally she did. It would just hurt more she figured if she was tense.

She flinched a bit when he mentioned Castiel. She wasn't sure she could forget any of this, her brothers or his. Especially Castiel, but why tell her all this? Why lull her into a false sense of security before killing her. It seemed cruel, her emotions ran the gauntlet as he spoke, from fear, to terror to calm and back again.

When he sighed and let her go, she put her hand on the wall to steady herself. She missed him touching her already. She wasn't sure about his words. She was afraid. Her hands opened and closed a few times and she turned to look at him. She didn't meet his eyes, letting them drift down to his chest. She wrapped her arms around herself. She wasn't sure she could speak at the moment. She nodded once, shaking a little.

"Okay." She said softly, her voice trembling slightly. She cleared her throat softly. She tried to shut down the feeling that she very much wanted him to hold her. Her eyes slid to his briefly, some fear in her green eyes and she slid them back down to his chest again. She leaned against the wall behind her as she stood there.


GABRIEL--

He had the worst feeling that she heard him, but that she didn't really listen to him. It was so, so important that she understand. He knew this. He didn't even know why he knew it was critically important, but it was and – right now, anyway – he was willing to just accept it as it was. “Stella,” he said softly, his gaze on her intense, yet gentle. “Beautiful little Stella. I think...you have to let go of it all. I have to let go, too. I just... I just know it. I feel it.” His hand drifted up, a finger touching his temple, and then dropping to hover over his vessel's heart briefly. “I feel it,” Gabriel repeated wonderingly.


Please, don't be afraid of me. I won't hurt you. No matter what might happen, I won't hurt you.” He hesitated, his head tilting just the slightest bit – not really an unconscious imitation of Castiel so much as simply the instinctive body language of a being that was a completely different species – as he stared hard at her. “I..don't actually think I can hurt you, kiddo.” He was staring past her body, or rather into it, right at her soul. Her human soul that wasn't entirely human anymore. It wasn't more, or less, simply...different. A new thing.


Maybe,” Gabriel said, his voice a trembling whisper, “maybe Dad hasn't quite left the show after all...”


STELLA--

When he said her name, she lifted her eyes to meet his. She tried to control her emotions, her eyes welling up as he watched her and spoke. She stayed where she was for the moment. She stopped leaning against the wall an straightened to look at him as he asked her not to be afraid of him. She copied his head tilt slightly, subconsciously.

She shook a little and wrapped her arms around her stomach when he said he couldn't hurt her. She took a half step towards him. "I'm sorry." She whispered softly. Her eyes sad, quiet. She was trying her damn best to believe him, something, maybe along their bond told her he wouldn't ever hurt her. Maybe, just maybe she could believe that, in everything that had recently happened, in between the demons and angels she had run across, she could trust in this. She let herself feel along her soul, and their bond, knowing he spoke truth.

She moved to stand in front of him and slid her hand along his face, looking into his eyes. Her own eyes unfocused for a moment as she remembered the dream of the Man who spoke to her. She wondered, something making her heart leap at that thought, something moving beneath her other hand on her stomach. She shook her head, not even daring to voice it.

"I believe you, Gabriel." She said brokenly, her eyes focusing again on him. She felt better when she was touching him, she rested her head on his chest.


GABRIEL--

He held her gaze as she moved her hand along his jaw, his cheek, searching her eyes, though Gabriel wasn't even sure what he was really looking for. He was puzzled, even concerned, when she shook her head, her voice sounding so broken when she spoke. How could she possibly believe him when she sounded so broken?


He was still trying to puzzle this out when she rested her head against him. He found himself wrapping one arm around her without thought, pulling her gently closer. With a sigh, he closed his eyes and lowered his face into her hair, breathing in her scent. She smelled of sunshine and cinnamon and stardust, he mused idly.


It was with some small bit of surprise that he realized he felt tired; downright weary, in fact. 'Angels don't sleep,' he thought, concern coloring the surprise he felt. Something about the thread of his grace that was twined with her soul was draining him. Not enough to be dangerous, certainly, but enough to actually make him tired enough to want to sleep. Her human soul should have been, essentially, a battery of immense power by itself. And yet, whatever was happening – the life she carried, impossibly – it was pulling from his grace as well as her soul.


He didn't even think to ask her permission before acting. Being on his own for such a long time, and not really bothering with humans outside of those he'd felt compelled to bring his own special brand of justice to, left him a little unthinking of many of the social niceties...if not just outright ignorant of them. He wrapped his other arm around her and flew them both the few feet to the bed, so that they were stretched out on it comfortably – he hoped, in her case, anyway.


“You should rest more, Stella. You...barely got any sleep,” he said, trying to avoid the knowledge that he might well fall asleep along with her. “I think, maybe, you're going to need it.” Slowly, hesitantly, one hand slid down over her stomach to rest over her own hand, as he finally acknowledged in the only way he could bring himself to what he couldn't yet bring himself to speak of.


STELLA--

Stella relaxed against Gabriel when his arm went around her. She sighed softly and didn’t want to admit she was exhausted. She said nothing as he set them both on the bed, smiling faintly. She was just glad for the moment that he didn’t teleport them to the bed. She was in no mood to throw up.

She didn’t look up at him as he spoke about sleeping. It seemed to be the only thing that she was doing. Not that she minded, although she knew with everything it wasn’t all that surprising. She was so tired she didn’t feel his own exhaustion along that bond. “No real sleep anyhow.” She smiled faintly and looked up at him. She rested her head back, sighing softly as he slid his hand over hers. Her hand twitched a little under his. She shifted to rest her head against his chest, and soon feel into a deep dreamless sleep.

Later as she slept, she was pulled into something. She shifted into a dream about snow, actual real snow this time, not the down feathers. She was standing on the beach in her home, it was snowing and it fell gently around her. Everything changed around her, it was instant. The snow stopped falling and it felt much like the vision she had earlier all over again. She sighed softly and her eyes slid around her.

The air changed around her as someone appeared in front of her. She was guarded for a brief moment when she realized who it was. The same man from earlier, his eyes glowing a deep blue. She took a deep breath and let it slowly and smiled at him. “The boys know you as Chuck.” She said softly. She shook her head. “But you’re not him are you?”

“Yes and no.” Humor danced in his eyes at her. “You do know Angels don’t normally sleep, right?” Stella nodded as “Chuck” waved his hand, showing an image of Gabriel and Stella curled up in bed together. Both of them were fast asleep. Stella smiled and blushed in embarrassment at the image, looking down. “It’s mostly innocent, for now.” He said softly, humor lacing his words. He sounded almost like Gabriel for a moment.

“You two are bonded.” He snapped his fingers suddenly, deciding to take advantage of Gabriel sleeping and bringing him into the vision with Stella. He turned slowly to look at both of them.

GABRIEL--

Gabriel held Stella gently, listening to he breathing slow and even out as she drifted into sleep. His own eyes felt heavy, as did his entire body. It was such a strange, unfamiliar feeling for him that he didn't even realize exactly what it was at first. By the time the angel realized he was drifting into sleep, his eyes were already too heavy to open again, and he was too far gone to really fight it. Curled next to Stella, he fell asleep with one arm still wrapped around her and his other hand still resting over hers on her abdomen.


What felt like instantly, Gabriel found himself standing on a beach – a familiar beach, in fact – next to Stella. This time, a light dusting of snow covered the sand everywhere but where the water lapped gently at the shoreline. It was like dreamwalking, except...he felt he was truly a part of this instead of merely a visitor. His thoughts were caught for a moment, wondering if this was what dreaming felt like for humans. And, as he mused on this, he reached out almost by instinct and slid an arm around Stella, pulling her close against his side.


Only when he felt her tucked snug at his side did he realize they weren't alone. A man stood before them, watching them. Humor sparkled in his blue eyes, and a sense of familiarity radiated from him. Gabriel was certain he'd never seen this man before. But he still knew who he was, the knowledge seared into his very being as it was for every angel from the moment of their creation – just like every prophet and potential prophet that ever lived or would live.


Chuck Shurley. Prophet of the Lord. Scribe of the Winchester Gospels, under the false mask of Carver Edlund,” he said evenly, his eyes showing clearly his distrust. Gabriel's wings flared in agitation behind him, making him aware only then that they were physically here, as they'd been when he'd dreamwalked into Stella's dream previously. “Who are you really, and what do you want with Stella?”


STELLA--

Stella smiled when he snapped his fingers. It reminded her of when Cas did it earlier, and then of course when Gabriel did. Her eyes lit up as Gabriel appeared next to. She let him pull her against him, sliding her arms around him. “It’s not Chuck, not right now.” She said softly to Gabriel looking up at him.

Chuck smiled at Stella. “Give the girl a Kewpie doll.” He said with humor in his voice. He slid his gaze back to Gabriel. “Where do you think you get it from? You asked me I had a plan earlier. Remember? This is part of my plan, you and Stella both. Angels born with their own vessels. This leaves you both vulnerable though. I’m not sure you can protect her when you’re both weakened like this. I needed to move though. This needed to move forward.” He said softly, keeping his eyes on Gabriel now. Father and son, if Gabriel believed him.

Stella took a step back when chuck spoke about the Angels, feeling Gabriel’s wings behind her as she moved against them. She was suddenly afraid. It wasn’t like it was a new feeling for her. She didn’t like it though.


GABRIEL--

He let his arm drop, releasing Stella when he felt her shift so she could take a step back. He pulled his wing in slightly, wrapping it loosely around her shoulder protectively. Gabriel's eyes narrowed as the man spoke, but he held his tongue until he was finished – barely. His hands fisted at his sides, the wing not wrapped around Stella flaring up further in an instinctive display of intimidation.


You're trying to say you're...God. You're trying to say you're my Father,” he said quietly, his voice calm despite the emotion his wings displayed. “And you expect me to believe that this whole thing is just some plan of yours?” The light of his grace flared up within his eyes, and it was only through fear of somehow harming Stella that he managed to keep some measure of control over the power that reacted to his overwhelming emotions by threatening to explode outward.


Taking a deep breath, he then huffed out a disbelieving laugh before launching into a full out tirade, the words tumbling from his lips in a rush of anger and fear and confusion. “Looking for Castiel? Finding Stella? Saving her? Being bonded against my will to a human, despite eons of being told it is impossible and forbidden for archangels? Forcing us to create some new abomination to unleash on creation? Having my grace, my very being, slowly destroyed in the process? This – all of this - is your plan?” Gabriel screamed at the man masquerading as Chuck...who, some deep part of him acknowledged, may actually be his Father after all.


Giving in to the leftover instincts belonging to his human vessel, Gabriel took a deep breath and let it out slowly before continuing in a softer voice, though one no less edged with the steel of his anger. “What if I say I don't want to be a part of your little experiment...Dad?”


STELLA--

Stella quietly watched and listened, feeling somewhat awkward. Like you were at a friend’s house and the family got into an argument. She mused silent that this is exactly what that was. A family argument, she remained against Gabriel’s wing. Desperately trying not be hurt by his words. But it was very hard considering.

Chuck quietly watched Gabriel, his eyes glowing with a little fury at being spoken to like that. Not that he didn’t have it coming. “Even I am not perfect, Gabriel. I have made mistakes by letting you all have this free will you seem so fond of. And look where it has gotten you? Castiel, your little brother, is a demon, over human love. There was a large amount that needs to be fixed with him. I did not bring him back for that. You were one of the first I created, Gabriel.” He said softly. “I made mistakes. Your Grace isn’t being destroyed and neither is Stella’s soul. They are just borrowing it. It leaves you vulnerable.” He sighed softly. “Would you have preferred a human sexual act for the angels to be born from? Nothing would have come from the constructs you were with. It wouldn’t have drained your grace as much that way. You prefer being alone?” He sighed and walked away slowly, trying let go of the slow rage that was building. Between the Winchesters and in house fighting they had lost so much. So many of what he had created. “You want nothing more to do with this, that’s fine Gabriel. Stella dies though, you did save her remember? And you won’t ever forget her. You can go back to your empty constructs and hide instead of being the Archangel of the Lord I created you to be.” He turned to look at Gabriel.

Stella stopped breathing as they fought. She closed her eyes, trying to will herself out of this vision, dream, hell is what it was turning into. She saw the black dots form in front of her eyes as she realized she had been holding her breath for too long. She slid her hand out to steady herself against Gabriel’s wing, not realizing what she was doing until a few moments later. Something along her soul and the grace of the bond twisted and she gasped softly in pain feeling it with the raging emotions from all of them.


GABRIEL--

He felt as though he'd been paralyzed, frozen in place, as this man...as his Father, spoke. Though the anger was still present, and the hurt, he began to feel shame as well, as his Father's words washed over him. The only movement he found himself capable of making was to draw his wing in closer around Stella, in effort to protect and comfort her. He really wished, suddenly, that she hadn't been drawn into this, that she didn't have to see or hear any of this.


The light of his grace dimmed in his eyes, though didn't completely extinguish. “I don't want Stella to die, Father,” he said, glancing at her, but unable to actually meet her eyes, then returning his gaze back to the vessel that contained all the might and power of his Father. “I.. Please?” Finding himself suddenly able to move more than that slight wing shift, he turned and pulled Stella into his arms, holding her firmly and ignoring his father for a moment to bury his face into her hair, breathing in her scent of sunshine and cinnamon and stardust.


With a sigh, he turned to look to his Father once more, tears shining in his eyes now. “You just...left. All we really wanted was Your love and You left. You left and You let the apocalypse start and You didn't stop Michael and You didn't stop Lucifer and I tried to stand up to him and he killed me and I thought it was finally, finally over,” he said, the words tumbling out brokenly as a damn inside him broke and everything he'd seen and held locked away for so long finally burst forth. “But it wasn't over. It wasn't over! I was being hurt by Lucifer, over and over until he stopped coming and got away and I prayed and prayed and You never came!”


Shuddering, uncaring of the tears streaming down his cheeks, Gabriel lowered his head to bury his face in Stella's hair again. He tightened his grip on her, as well as wrapping his wings around the two of them completely, acting for all the world as though she was the only thing he had in the world to hang onto. He murmured quietly to her, the words mostly a broken jumble of English and Enochian, too muffled to be understood.


STELLA--

Stella realized this conversation was going badly. She sighed and closed her eyes as Gabriel drew her closer to him with his wing. She slid her arms back around him and held him to her. She didn't want to die either, she had to admit. Not now that she had actually found a home. She sighed deeply and looked up at him as he held her, sliding her hand up in his hair to gently slide her hand through his hair soothingly. Resting her head against his.

When he turned she remained in his arms and didn't look away from him, her heart truly breaking all over again. She felt so much pain from Gabriel, maybe more so now because of the bond. Maybe because she too had been abandoned by her own Father. Tears welled up in her eyes and she tried hard not to let them fall down her cheeks. When Gabriel turned and buried his face in her hair, she kissed his tears from his face softly. She rested against him more, sliding her hands along his face and up into his hair to comfort him as much as she could. She felt his pain. She smiled faintly listening to his words, catching one here and there. Understanding the English and the Enochian both now since he flooded her with his grace. She said softly to him by his ear, in Enochian, knowing he needed to feel something from home. "I love you, Gabriel." She whispered softly.

Chuck's human vessel sighed deeply at his words. Feeling the pain from both of them. Both of his creations. He stayed silent for a very long time watching them both. He had screwed up. That was the truth. He was trying to make all of this better though. Not that it would. He let things play out as they did, regardless of how screwed up it ended. He expected it to end. It hadn't though. Maybe he wanted it to be over too. "I'm sorry." Was all he could say. "Just get somewhere safe for a few months. There is more then one of the Men of Letters bunkers." He snapped and left the directions to the closest one to where the two of them now were. He didn't want either one of them to die. He walked away and disappeared from the both of them. He had to regroup and think over how to handle this better.


GABRIEL--

His broken murmuring ceased when she spoke her gentle whisper to him, catching him by surprise. 'I love you.' It wasn't the first time he'd ever heard the phrase said to him, but it was the first time he'd ever heard it said with such genuine feeling, and said to him instead of whatever persona he was wearing as a mask to hide himself behind at the time. And, more importantly to him, it was the first time the phrase had ever been directed at him in his own language, the very first language, the language he'd been created knowing. Gabriel clutched her even tighter, only the smallest part of his mind still even aware that his Father was there, watching them silently.


Of course, even that small comfort had to come to an end, like everything good always seemed to. Gabriel lifted his head the barest amount he needed to look over to his Father when He spoke. He listened as his Father spoke, but gave Him no reply. Gabriel's only acknowledgment at all was one single, sharp nod as his Father turned and retreated from the dream. Despite his anger, his bitterness, his own personal pain, he knew he would end up doing as his Father wished. He was an archangel at his core, and it was, after all, what he'd been created to do.


His Father gone, he turned his full attention back to the girl he was clinging to, only then realizing she had tears shining in her eyes. And, following quickly on that realization was one that she must have been terrified when his Father spoke so casually of her dying if Gabriel made the choice to defy Him. “I'm sorry, Stella. I'm so sorry. I promise I would never hurt you. I would never let my Father hurt you. I wouldn't, I promise.” The words – a mix of English and Enochian again, though he was unaware of that – tumbled out rapidly, broken up only by feather-light kisses covering her forehead and cheeks.


STELLA--

She held to Gabriel tighter, feeling Chuck's vessel leave them where they were, she knew she had her dream back to herself. She looked at him puzzled as he apologized, finally realizing what he was apologizing for. She closed her eyes as he kissed her forehead and face. "Gabriel." She said softly in Enochian, placing her finger on his lips, both to keep him quiet, and not distract her with the kissing. "It was your pain that called to me, that made me cry. Not the idea of my own death." She sighed softly. His pain still pulling at her, she blinked her tears away as much as she could. Wiping his own off his face as well with her thumb.

She slid her hands along his face gently, looking into his eyes. She shook her head a little, resting her forehead against his gently. She blinked and turned her head, looking at his feather enveloping them both for the moment. She had to admit, it was quite beautiful. "it's going to be all right." she had no real proof of that, but it was something that made her say it.

She was afraid that if they did wake up, he wouldn't touch and hold her like this anymore. It was a stupid, human thing. But she was human, her eyes flit down to the sand beneath their feet and sighed softly. She wrapped her arms around him and held tightly to him, enjoying the comfort she could get while this lasted. However long this would be. Sadness overtook her for a few moments as she thought about what had just occured, sliding her hands gently along his back, mindful of where his wings were. "I like it here." She finally murmured, again in Enochian, leaning into him more.

GABRIEL--

Silenced by her touch, he let himself merely be caught up in her eyes, in the feeling of the pad of her thumb dragging against his cheek, in the sound of her soothing voice. Her words didn't really bring him any relief from his guilt, nor the next ones any comfort. But he, shockingly, held his tongue. He wasn't sure it even mattered, really. His Father had made clear – well, sort of – his wishes, and Gabriel knew he might want to fight against them, but that he would obey in the end.


He sighed softly, hie eyes slipping closed when she pulled herself yet closer to him. Giving in, at least for a moment, he let himself feel along the bond of his grace to where the thrumming of her soul had hovered just out of touch. Emerald and gold washed over him, sunshine and cinnamon and stardust seemed to fill his senses, both the human ones of his vessel and the angelic ones of his celestial true form. And with it all came hints of her thoughts, and, stronger, her emotions.

“I like it here, too, Stella,” he said, responding to her use of the familiar Enochian in kind. And then, surprising even himself, he responded to her worries as well, “and you're not really human anymore, you know. I'm...sorry for that. Seems Dad had ideas that I wasn't privy to until it was too late for you.” He moved back from her, but only slightly, just enough to be able to cup her chin and catch her eyes with his, searching them as he spoke again. “I can't promise to be everything you need. I'm ancient, impossibly old, and change...doesn't always come easily for me. But...if you can be patient with me, I can promise to try.”


STELLA--

She stopped breathing when he reminded her she wasn't human anymore. She wondered what that meant for her now. She let her breath out when he touched her chin and looked into his golden eyes. She hadn't seen any human with eyes that color before, she had seen eagles with that color eyes before. She took a breath and smiled softly to him. "I think we've been through enough changes recently, the both of us." She realized she had been speaking Enochian to him in return and her gaze was distant as she realized this and sighed softly.

"I am yours, as long as you want me here. I don't expect the same from you." Especially after everything. He was ancient and forever, she wasn't. Whether she had a say over what she felt, or wanted or loved. She did love him, but she sadly realized she shouldn't expect the same thing from him. She said it because she felt it, so it went. She would stay by his side as long as he would have her there.

Stella was silent for awhile as her thoughts rolled around in her mind. Her eyes unfocused as they saw nothing and every thing from within the shelter if his wings. Her lips quirked a bit as the name Castiel gave her ran through her mind. The Winchester Witch. She slid her hand along his on her face gently and blinked a few times before moving her gaze back to him. "I'm not going anywhere." She whispered softly. Not now, especially with everything, angels would human vessels..what that would entail. She didn't know. She wasn't even sure she wanted children before, and now this?


GABRIEL--

He kept his silence as she spoke, and then as she drifted off into her own thoughts. Even when her eyes became unfocused with the intensity of her thoughts burning within them, he left her to her silence, sensing her need to try to sort things out in her own mind. After all, he reasoned, things had changed far more for her than for him.


He didn't try to peek in on those thoughts, trying to allow her a privacy that might become all the more precious once it really hit her that she might be sometimes sharing headspace with a celestial being a little more than might be comfortable for her. But, still, sometimes things drifted through without his willing it. He could feel her insecurity, and he couldn't even honestly say he didn't share some of it. He wasn't ready to say the words he was certain could help her with her insecurity, not the way she'd want them said, anyway.


He loved her, that wasn't even in question. He just...wasn't sure what exactly that entailed, for him. He loved all of humanity, even the dicks he administered his own particular brand of justice to, in the end. So many of the angels seemed to have forgotten their Father's instructions to them – to love humanity even more than they loved their Father, to guide and protect the emerging species as their Father's most loved creation – but Gabriel had never forgotten that charge, not even when he'd left behind his place in the Host of Heaven. But...loving an individual human, or perhaps once-human, just seemed like a different thing entirely.


He gave in to the urge of his vessel to heave a sigh, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips. “Oh, we're both going somewhere. Dad's orders.” The smile he'd been resisting twisted into a full grin. “Welcome to the family, Stella.”


STELLA--

Stella couldn't help the smile that slid across her face at his words. "It's a long drive. No zapping me there. Yeah, welcome to mine too." She looked up at him and kissed his cheek softly. She sighed as something popped into her head. "I want a stuffed platypus for the nursery." She smirked at him, and dissolved into laughter. Mischief dancing in her eyes. For the moment the heaviness of the world was gone from her shoulders and she relaxed a little more. She knew they had a long road ahead of them.

Once she finally got some control of herself, she slid her hand through her hair and leaned against him. She didn't know if they were actually getting any rest like this, she felt drained from the vision earlier. "Just hold me when I sleep." She requested softly, mostly a whisper, human or not anymore, the comfort of touch meant a lot to her if nothing else. She looked up at him, sliding her hands along his arm. She closed her eyes briefly, reaching somewhere outside of herself along the psychic power that she now had control over.

She felt that the bunker was a safe place. She saw it was underground, and realized that it wasn't the one near them. It was the one Dean and Sam were at, she saw three people in it. Knowing the third was Castiel from the eyes as they flicked to Sam in fury. She blinked a few times and shook herself out of the vision, and without meaning to pulling herself from the dream.

Her eyes snapped open and she felt Gabriel's arm around her, she took comfort in his touch. She felt a little dizzy and decided she wasn't going to be trying that again anytime soon with her soul being pulled like it was. She felt movement under her hand on her stomach and sighed softly, resting her head against Gabriel, remaining silent for the moment because she knew he was pulled into her vision as well. Whatever she had done had not made them happy.


GABRIEL--

'Ah, no,' came his silent thought. He was not going to be a part of the Winchester family, and he was going to do everything he could to make Stella realize she wasn't really a part of that family, either. He worked to control the anger that surfaced at the very thought of it, completely missing her attempt at humour otherwise. Still, he couldn't miss her whispered request to hold her as she slept. He could do that...probably. At the thought, his arms tightened around her again.


And then he wasn't standing with her in her dream anymore at all. Instead there was some brightly lit mostly underground place – a Men of Letters bunker, something supplied helpfully – and he shuddered somewhere deep inside as he got his first look at the demon that had once been the angel Castiel. He understood almost immediately that the Winchester brothers had somehow captured the demon and were holding him trapped. He felt the touch of sorrow at what Castiel had become, but he pushed it away because it just wasn't his concern anymore. It couldn't be. Let the hunters deal with the problem of their fallen angel, for better or worse.


Before he could see anything else, he found himself blinking, lying beside Stella on the bed, his arm automatically tightening around her. Back to his safe little pocket dimension, then, he realized. Controlling his anger very, very carefully, he gave himself a moment before speaking to her. But when he did, he still couldn't quite help the hints of the powerful angel of the Last Judgment he was at his very core that echoed in his voice. “Stella, don't. Not ever again. Leave the demon alone. Leave the Winchester hunters alone. You're not a part of that world anymore.”


STELLA--

Stella curled into him a bit as his arm tightened around her, flinching feeling his anger along their bond. She sighed heavily and slid her gaze up to him. She didn’t go to that bunker on purpose. She didn’t even know why she went there at first. She then realized it was because she wanted to know if they were safe. Also, more importantly, what the one they would be living in looked like.


Her eyes narrowed at Gabriel when he spoke, not quite as afraid as she would have been before by his tone. Probably the bond had a lot to do with it, plus she wasn’t human anymore. “I have no problem leaving Castiel alone. My brothers, whether you like it or not, are my brothers. But, I will let it go for now. I am part of that world, like it or not. I promise to not look in on them again if I can help it. It was an accident, Gabriel.” She said quietly, but perhaps with a bit of his grace thrumming through her words. “We need to keep the..” She trailed off, she wasn’t even sure what to call the life..lives? She carried inside of her safe. Babies, angels, what? She wasn’t sure. She rested her head back, meeting Gabriel’s gaze with her golden green eyes. “We keep them safe. We stay away from the boys, okay? I promise.” Regardless of what Gabriel said or thought, she was still a Winchester. They were meant to be a thorn in the side.


GABRIEL--

Gabriel gave in to the very human urge of his vessel to grunt in irritation. “Fine, it was an accident.” Trying to restrain his growing irritation – which he was actually aware was probably a bit of an overreaction, but one he couldn't really help because he felt deeply that so long as she tried to believe there was a connection to the hunters that she would be in danger – he pulled his arms away from her and slid off the bed to begin pacing. Though invisibly tucked away in the aetheric plane, he felt his wings twitching in response to his strong emotions. He rolled his shoulders to try to relieve the tension it created in the muscles of his vessel, carefully avoiding meeting Stella's eyes as he continued to pace.


But, really? A week ago you didn't even know those boys existed,” he spat out, the irritation finally growing into anger once again. And at this point he wasn't even sure who he was really angry at, himself, her, or the pair of hunters. “The fact that you happened to be spawned by their less than stellar father barely registered in your life, I'd bet. And I can promise you one, if not both, of those boys couldn't care the slightest bit about the sister they never knew. They cheerfully let one brother be used as an angel condom and then rot in Hell because he hadn't grown up in their little parade of angst and daddy issues. I doubt they'd hesitate to do the same with you, if the situation happened along.”


Finally, his jaw working with his anger, he stopped his pacing and whirled to face her. His amber eyes flashed, the slightest bit of blue-white grace showing within their depths as he glared at her. Right then, in that very moment, he wanted nothing more than to grab her, unfurl his wings, and fly her away from everything, his Father's plans and wishes just be damned.


STELLA--

Stella sighed as he left the bed and curled up on her side watching him as he began pacing. She rested her head on her arm and slowly sat up watching him roll his shoulders. She had seen how upset he was with his wings in the dream world. She knew in a way that’s what was going on here even if you couldn’t see them here. She fought the urge to go to him, wrap her arms around him and rub his shoulders. She knew he wouldn’t let her near him at this point anyhow.

His words cut her, deeply. Not just that but the emotions tied to them as well. Tears filled her eyes and she shook her head. She slowly stood from the bed and walked over to him. Stopping when he faced her, seeing his eyes glowing as he glared at her. She slammed her shields down quickly and held her hands up to him in surrender. She had known what the boys had done, she didn’t blame them for it. In a way she understood. But for Gabriel to be so..almost hateful about it was hard to deal with. She blinked the tears from her eyes and sighed heavily. “You’re right, I’m sorry Gabriel.” She whispered softly. “I’m not going to fight with you, though.” She took a few steps closer to him, keeping her gaze with his.

She switched to Enochian and spoke softly. “If that is the plan for what happens after..” She gestured to her stomach and shrugged a little. “Then I have served my purpose in this plan your Father has put down for me.” Her voice broke on those words. “I love you, Gabriel. You don’t have to be cruel to make me remember anything.” She said softly. She had known about her brothers for years. She had only known what they had done in the last week or so. It everything she saw it was just a damned plan to a point. She didn’t dare touch him, although she dearly wanted to. Some fear crept in that he might hurt her. She crossed her arms over her chest and looked down at the floor.


GABRIEL--

“Don't, Stella. Just...don't,” he said, his voice lower now, softer, but still with that edge of steel to it. “Don't try turning to all of that 'obey the will of God' human nonsense on me. Not now.” He continued to glare at her for a few more silent minutes, then sighed and let his eyes slide away from hers.


Turning away from her, he began to pace once more. He hadn't thought he was being cruel, which made him turn her words over silently in his mind. Just another of the differences between the way his mind worked, impossibly old and just simply alien to hers, and her own still very human mind with her human thoughts and culture and expectations. He just wanted to protect her, from the family she wanted so badly but that he just knew she should have no part of, from the demons that were after her, probably because of her brief association with his own lost brother, and even from his own Father.


Eventually, his pacing stopped and he turned toward her once more. He had himself under control again – mostly – and felt more confident in facing her without the turmoil still left within him showing outwardly in such a potentially dangerous display of power. “My Father lost the right to be respected and obeyed when he abandoned us,” he finally continued. “He lost the right to my respect and obedience when He abandoned me to my brother's...tender mercies.” Unaware of it, his hands fisted at his sides, trembling slightly as brief images of that time flickered in his mind. “I am done with His plans and His purpose and His bullshit.”


STELLA--

Stella quietly watched him as he spoke, hugging herself tightly even though his tone was quieter. She didn’t actually know what to think anymore honestly. About anything that had happened and was going to happen. She was being glared at by him and she knew she deserved it. She sighed softly and watched him begin pacing again.

She took a step closer to him even as he paced, her eyes watching him with concern. She was worried for him, for everyone, good or bad that she was tangled with. She thought about the door that would bring her back to her truck, back to her own part of the universe again. She seriously was considering just putting her boots back on and leaving. With or without Gabriel, she didn’t know anymore. She slid her gaze back to him as he spoke again. She knew it would be with Gabriel, she didn’t know what to think, or what to say. But she also knew she didn’t want to fight or argue. She was tired of it to be honest.

She stepped closer to him, watching him shake slightly, reaching her hand out to rest on his hand gently. “Then what are we going to do? Just..go our separate ways then, hope for the best? Probably not a bad idea actually.” She said softly, concern and fear in her voice. Her thoughts waged a war in her head, everything that had happened to this point. She would leave her brothers where they were and stay out of it. She looked up at him, she would accept and do whatever he wanted to. She was done fighting and arguing with him. “I will do whatever you think we should do, regardless of what it is.” And she would, she meant every word. She was terrified and was trying so damn hard not to show it.


GABRIEL--

The archangel stared at her, this human that wasn't human anymore, thanks to his Father's unknowable grand plan – and he couldn't help the flash of dark amusement that even thinking that in a sarcastic tone brought forth – and, of course, thanks to his own meddling. Briefly, he considered jerking his still-clenched fist away from her touch, but he just couldn't really bring himself to even bother. And, he actually was aware that it might be hurtful to her. He might be angry, but he wasn't doing any of this intentionally trying to wound her.


Finally, Gabriel shrugged. “No matter how much I rail and cry against it, I'll do what Dad wants. Willingly or unwillingly. What I want or how I feel means nothing. It never did. I'm not Lucifer. I wasn't built for rebellion, not really. The best I get to do is run away and hide,” he admitted, defeat in every syllable, his eyes sliding away from hers to stare down at where her hand still rested on his fist.


But you, now... You were born human. Dad's greatest and most beloved creation. You got the gift of free will. Or curse. Whichever. You get to decide for yourself what you're going to do. Even now, you've a soul. You can choose.” Slowly, he raised his eyes back up to look at her, just long enough to see the fear she'd been trying to hide. Seeing that, he did finally pull his hand away from her touch, letting his fists relax and taking a single step back from her. “He won't hurt you for whatever choice you make. Yay free will,” he said, his tone flat and dull.


I have no choices left,” the archangel admitted. “I accepted you as my charge, remember? 'For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.' That's one thing your book got right. You can do as you please. I will still spend the rest of your life watching out for you, now.” He huffed out a soft sound that might have been a laugh, if not for the sadness lacing it. “Sorry about that.”


STELLA--

Stella felt that sense of dark sarcasm along their bond as he thought of it. It hurt her, but she knew, she had to think it wouldn’t matter. “What you want and feel means a great deal to me.” She said softly and sighed. “I may have been born human, but I am no longer.” She sighed heavily. “I..no..YOU would be better off without me, having never met me. You should have let me die, or let him kill me. Now this..” She whispered softly, and realized her had pulled away from her.

Stella picked up the rest of her clothes, her socks and boots from the closet. Trying not to acknowledge they were clean and walked out in the living room part of the hotel. She sat down, sliding her socks and boots on, picking her knife up from the table, looking at it quietly. She slammed her mental shields down tightly. It was a bit of a shock to see how quiet it had become suddenly. She slid the knife in sheath inside the boot, snapping it closed. She picked her jacket up and looked over the food as her stomach rolled and growled at the same time. It wasn’t real, but was it? She tried not to think anymore. “I release you from your duty then. I don’t need you. You sure as hell don’t need me.” She had no emotion in her voice.

Whatever else she was, no longer human. She was, she wasn’t sure. She would find out though, and she would end it herself before anything could come from her though. She grabbed some coffee anyhow, not looking at Gabriel and headed to the door, thinking about her truck and nothing else. She had no home anymore, she had left it, Stella, sure as hell couldn’t go back anymore. She wanted to though, badly. Even if a demon killed her. She wouldn’t be fighting them if they tried, she realized. No, her life and death were her own. Soul bond or not. She would make her own damn decisions about it. About her life, free will, yeah? She was going to exercise it.


GABRIEL--

He watched her quietly as she gathered together her belongings and prepared herself to leave, at least at first. It seemed she'd made her choice. Somehow it didn't surprise him. She might think of herself as no longer human, but he could see the soul still glowing brightly at the center of her being. The changes were, to him, minuscule. All of the blessings and curses his Father had granted to humanity still very much applied to her, no matter how different she might feel.


No.” The word itself was soft, yet all the strength of his being lay just beneath it. He snapped his fingers, drawing in the power that made up the door he'd left her as an escape route, causing it to simply no longer exist. “I'll put it back in a minute, if you really want to go, Stella. I said I wouldn't hold you prisoner, and I won't.” He breathed out a sigh. He wanted to explain a few things to her, to make her understand exactly what she was choosing, and what she didn't have the right to choose. But he needed her to stay, and to listen, first. “But you need to understand before you go.” He was silent a moment, then another, and then, surprising himself, he added one single, pleading word. “Please?”


STELLA--

Stella stood there quietly as the door disappeared and turned to slowly look at him. Furious wasn't even the word of what she felt. "I am tired of being fucking jerked around. Let me go Gabriel. I don't have to understand shit. I'm who I am, Winchester or not, human or not." She stalked closer to him, putting her coffee on the table and glaring at him. She quietly went searching along the shields and her powers she now had control over. No longer being human, she might be able to get out of this herself. Her golden green eyes glowed as anger raced through, reaching for the grace of their bond. She advanced a few more steps towards him.

"Let me the fuck go, Gabriel. I'm no one's bitch. Not yours, not HIS, not theirs. I understand, destiny and fate can fuck itself. And so can you." She growled at him, closing her hands tightly into fists. She shook as she stood there. "Let. Me. Go." She said tightly. She reached deep into what she felt was her powers, touching the tendrils of them slowly before reaching through and trying to make her own door out.

Whether it took her to the truck or not, she didn't know, she didn't care. She needed to get out and do what she wanted to, felt she had to. She closed her eyes and felt a door to leave. She headed towards it, turning her back on him.


GABRIEL--

Oh, now, wasn't that quite the surprise? Gabriel could feel her grasping at his grace where it flowed into her. It was a really weird feeling, he noted to himself absently as he let her have her way with it just to see what she would try to do. Suddenly, something interesting was finally happening, and it served to – at least partially, for now – snap him out of the feelings he'd been wallowing in.


He didn't flinch as she approached him. He didn't even react – outwardly – as she growled out words expressing her anger. Every inch of her just radiated her soul's firm grasp on her right to choose her fate, her free will. Yep. No matter what Dad said, she was still essentially human. No other being in all of creation could quite manage that with the same panache humanity did.


'She did it,' came his surprised thought just after he felt a wrench that reached all the way down into his very essence. 'Or, well, sort of.' Of course, it was his grace she was drawing on, and he could have cut her off at any point. But, damn, this was just interesting. A door materialized after a brief stutter or two, right over top of where the one he'd eliminated had been. “Fine, go,” he said calmly, even as he let his senses expand just enough to feel out her creation.


Unfortunately, she had zero experience with manipulating the power of grace, so...he really didn't think the result was what she'd intended. Not bothering with the usual drama he'd learned from his older brothers when using is grace, he let the quietest whisper of it escape into her fragile creation, both strengthening it so that it wouldn't collapse as it was already threatening to do, and keeping it from opening into the black maw of deep space she'd inadvertently sent her little doorway portal attempt to. Instead, he sent it, well, nowhere. The little portal would just send anyone venturing through it right back where they started from.


He let himself fall to the side, so that he was leaning casually against a wall, propped there by his shoulder. Folding his arms over his chest and crossing his legs at the ankles, he stood watching the amusement about to unfold. A familiar smirk played upon his lips, his amber eyes dancing with mischief...and just a touch of grace shining deep within them. He was fully aware that he'd slipped back into the comfortable skin of Loki the Trickster, but he didn't really care just then. Whatever helped make the whole situation bearable was what he was going to go with.


STELLA--

Stella had no idea she had been using his grace. She wasn't sure she had cared to have known at that point, so blinded by the anger coursing through her. Seeing the doorway finally appear, she just walked through it thinking of home. At least she thought she did only to find the hallway again and that smug look on Gabriel's face looking at her. "Bastard." She growled out at him.

She'd slap him if she thought it would do any good, or effect him. She knew it wouldn't and sighed deeply. Fury still bright in her eyes as she stared at him. She slammed the door behind her, already knowing it was pointless to try again. She was somewhat human, but she wasn't stupid. She paced for a few minutes around the room before finally collapsing onto a couch, rubbing her hands through her hair. She curled up in the corner of it, keeping her gaze on the floor, away from him.

"What do you want me to understand, Gabriel?" She finally got out, her voice broken, her tantrum, as he would probably call it, over. She honestly didn't know what she had done, only thinking it was her powers to bring the door back. She wrapped her arms around her stomach and refused to look at him. She wanted to scream, yell or holler at him. She went silent instead. Trying desperately not to think anymore, not to feel.


GABRIEL--

He remained exactly where he was, simply watching Stella calmly as she stormed and raged. The only concession he made to acknowledging her anger was letting the smirk drop from his lips. He continued to watch even after she gave up the tantrum – one that he admitted to himself was fully justified, though he said nothing – his golden eyes following her every move.


Finally, he huffed a laugh that held no amusement in it whatsoever, and shoved away from the wall. “Done now then, I'd guess. Good.” His eyes narrowed as he considered her, then he sighed. “Let's address the points you made earlier, then, shall we,” he said, the question purely rhetorical, because he was damn well going to do this no matter what she might have to say on the matter.


First, you don't get to release me from my 'duty' as your guardian. That isn't the way it works. I accepted the charge presented to me when I saved you, and after that neither of us got any choice in the matter. You can run from me, you can ignore me, but it won't change. You don't ever have to see me, but..I will be there. So, that's a no on you releasing me, or whatever you thought might happen.”


He stopped, titling his head as he continued to observe her. Oh, she was so messed up from everything that had happened to her within just a couple of days. And then there was the fact that she hadn't been the most stable of people before she stumbled into the path of the demon Castiel – and that was a thought that still troubled him, even though he knew it wasn't his situation to deal with anymore. He ached to take that all away from her, but...he would still respect her choice, right up until she changed her mind and asked him for help.


Ugh,” he said, having hoped for some sign that she was listening to him. He knew she was, he could feel it along the thread of his grace still twined with her soul, but she just...sat there. “Secondly, you have no idea at all if I'd be better off having never stumbled across you. Though, I cannot deny you'd have absolutely been better off if the past couple of days had never happened to you.”


He ran his fingers through his hair, using the motion to disguise the touch of anger he felt then, for fear she would mistake it for anger toward her, instead of on her behalf as it truly was. “Last, and most important, Stella. You are human. You are human. Dad...may have underestimated the effect telling you that you're not quite human anymore would have on you. You're not a monster, you're not actually all that different at all.”


He stepped closer to her, carefully, much like one might approach a wounded animal, until he was close enough to touch her. But, he didn't reach out, though some part of him very much wanted to – and he allowed that denied urge to thrum along the bonded grace, trying to show her he wasn't so terrible as he seemed. Instead, he just crouched down, settling himself where he was before her on the couch, looking up at her.


I promise you, Stella. You're human. You have all of the glory of humanity racing through your brilliant, beautiful soul. The only change at all is the bond, and...tiny things to allow you to nurture what a human body was never meant to,” he said, his voice growing softer as he spoke. “Don't give up your humanity, kiddo. Please don't.”


He pulled his eyes away from her, then, not moving away, but withdrawing into himself, so that nothing he was thinking or feeling would travel along that thread of grace. “Now, you can leave if you want.” Even as he spoke, he let a whisper of his power adjust her doorway, changing it to work again exactly as his originally had. He freed the way for her, if she wanted to go. It was all he had left to offer her, and he did so freely and willingly, if not managing to do so happily. He'd sworn to her, and he was going to keep to that oath.


STELLA--

Stella was shutting down slowly, her emotions, as much as she could. She’d shut her mind down if it was possible, though it seemed to slowly be doing that of it’s own accord. She felt everything just stop, no feelings coming through. No reactions.

She had heard every word, keeping herself curled up in the corner of the couch, her legs pulled up under her. She had made herself as small and unobtrusive as possible. She heard every word Gabriel said, had understood every word. She didn’t respond to him, not in the slightest bit to acknowledge or move to show she had heard him. The only thing that let him know she was alive was that she was breathing. Her mind was trying to protect her. Her own powers even shutting down the few responses she would normally have at him being this close to her or speaking.

Stella was very broken at this point, wanting dearly to just escape completely into her own mind and ignore the world. Hell if she had gone to a hospital they would lock her up for it. She stayed silent for a very long time. Minutes, it felt like hours.

When she finally could speak, there was very little emotion in her voice. “Oh, I’d change Castiel saving my life. You’re right, I would be better off if that hadn’t happened.” She said softly. No emotion. It was the truth. A statement of fact. Her eyes kept staring at the floor and not moving, she didn’t even acknowledge what he had said about nurturing the life within her. “I didn’t even want children before, not really.” She admitted softly, feeling how he had wanted to hold her before along the bond of grace.

She really didn’t feel like she could do this anymore. Whatever any of this was. Terror finally took over her mind and she slid her gaze to him, shaking. She moved from the couch to slowly crawl into his lap, wrapping her arms around his neck, finally breaking down and sobbing into his neck.


GABRIEL--

Even for a celestial being that had lived for millennia, the minutes seemed like eons as Gabriel waited for something from her. Anything, really. Yet, when she did finally speak, he realized that wishing for anything might have been a mistake. Her words hurt. He hadn't realized she felt Castiel had saved her life. That didn't change entirely that he wished she'd never had to keep company with a demon, even if that demon had once been his secretly adored baby brother.


Her mention of children – of not wanting them in the past – ah, that one hurt, too. He couldn't understand, just then, how his Father could give free will to humanity, and then take that away from this one particular human by forcing her to nurture some new experiment without her consent. Anger rose up in him again, anger that flared with an intensity he could never have imagined harboring against his Father before this very moment. Oh, sure, he'd been angry plenty at his Father, at his brothers, but just never with this much pure burning rage.


Gabriel fought to keep that rage under control, lest she feel that any of it was directed at her. That was the last thing he wanted right now. But he wasn't sure what to say to her, or even how to respond to her soft confessions. He honestly didn't want her to give up on life, a desire that went beyond just his supposed duty as her guardian. He didn't want to see this beautiful soul trapped in some warehouse that passed as a personal heaven. Even the thought of that made his chest feel tight with something he dimly recognized as anxiety; it was a feeling he let flow along the bond they shared, but gently, carefully, so that she could know he was feeling it without it actually overwhelming her.


When she crawled down from the couch to toward him, he adjusted his position easily to accommodate her, sitting with his legs crossed just as he did when he meditated. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her as tightly as he'd dared without hurting her. “I'm sorry, kiddo. I'm so, so sorry,” he murmured, burying his face into her hair. He found himself rocking her gently, as he'd often observed parents rocking their children to comfort them. It felt a little bit silly, because she certainly wasn't a child. Yet, it just seemed to him like the right thing to do. “I'll do whatever you want, whatever I possibly can, to fix all of this,” Gabriel said softly, his voice only just above a whisper. “Whatever I can to fix it, Stella. Just...please...don't give up...”


STELLA--

Stella settled into Gabriel’s lap and clung to him. Taking comfort in his embrace. She was grateful for his presence, and for his comfort. When he started rocking her and sighed softly and snuggled into him more. She rested her head against his, sighing softly, closing her eyes. She had felt his anxiety and her own terror about this whole situation didn’t help it. She knew he was angry as well. She felt that distantly through their bond.

“Can you fix it, Gabriel? Really?” She asked softly after a few silent minutes. She had finally calmed down enough to speak. She still clung to him though, not wanting to let go. She sighed softly, and moved her hand to slide along his face gently. She knew he really couldn’t ever fix it. She was oddly fine with it. Not with what had happened and was going to happen. She didn’t even know where to begin with any of it.

“I don’t think I can do any of this alone.” She confessed softly, so much on her mind from what was to come. “I promise not to give up, if you help me. Please?” She tilted her head to look at him. She was so very afraid. She swallowed hard, trying very hard to keep her thought process straight.


GABRIEL--

“It's...Dad,” he replied, a mix of irritation and regret lacing his voice. “I don't know. But I'll try. I'll do whatever you want, kiddo.” His eyes drifted closed when her hand brushed along his cheek, a sigh falling from his lips. “I'm sorry. I really am. I'll help you in whatever way you need. Whatever you want.” Eyes still closed, he carefully – so very carefully – sent his thoughts out along the thread that bound his grace to her soul. He did his best to ignore the pulling feeling where his grace fed the...life...within her. It still just made him too uncomfortable.


While he'd cared for humanity as his Father had so long ago commanded, it had been a distant sort of thing right up until he'd fled from the fighting, fled from having to choose sides until destiny and his Father commanded it. Even after entering his own personal witness protection program by becoming the demigod Loki, his interest in humanity had been more in exercising judgment over them, a pale echo of the role he would someday have to play as the angel of Final Judgment. It was a role he'd never wanted, and planned to avoid as long as possible. But, since his perhaps truly fateful encounters with the Winchester boys, that interest in and care for humanity had shifted; he'd given his life for them, even. And, boy, was that something he'd actually managed to live to regret, once Lucifer was done with him.


Yet, he didn't really regret it so much as he regretted getting in Lucifer's way with a direct confrontation instead of finding a better way – a more Tricksterish way – to try to stop his brother's insane quest to carry out his strange revenge on humanity for what their Father had commanded. But the result of it all was a newfound respect for the humans, a personal respect, where before he'd only loved humanity as a general thing out of duty to his Father's will. And it was this that made him so uncomfortable when he brushed against the slumbering feel of the life within Stella even more than his ancient distaste for physical relations with humans – yet another thing born of deep-seated obedience to his Father's command.


He swallowed, distantly amused by the instinct of his vessel after so long to his nervousness, and bent his head to press his lips against Stella's gently, carefully. He wasn't sure he really wanted this, not when the touch of grace amongst angels was so much more than mere physical pleasure, but he felt that she might need it, being human. He wanted to introduce her to the ways angels expressed love and affection for each other – since he did believe whatever changes his Father spoke of to her included the ability for her to experience that without risk of death – but he felt she needed more human signs of affection, at least for now.


STELLA--

Stella wasn’t really sure how to answer him about what she needed, not anymore. She was still confused about everything, wanting nothing more to just be held by him at the moment. It helped her think, but not right now. She sighed, thinking over everything that had brought her here. After everything, she wanted just to go home again, feel at home again, which she somewhat did with Gabriel. Too many revelations and too much for her to think over.

She watched him quietly and was very surprised when he lowered his head down and kissed her. She didn’t respond at first, knowing how this went when she tried kissing him before. Her eyes closed as everything else ceased to matter, all that mattered was him and herself. She slid her other hand along his face and kissed him back softly, also being very careful. She broke the kiss and smiled softly, resting her forehead against his, taking a moment to open her eyes and look at him.

“Gabriel..what are you doing?” She whispered softly, slipping into Enochian. She trembled as she watched him, sliding her hands down to rest on his chest. She had felt his touch along the bond to her soul. Felt his grace stir the life inside of her. Awaken it, she felt them move and sighed looking into his eyes. “I want and need you, Gabriel. I am yours as long as you want me here.” She whispered softly. Stella watched him carefully, leaning forward and kissing him very softly, almost shyly again.


GABRIEL--

He allowed her whatever comfort she wished to take from him. It was the least he could do, since he didn't actually think he could change anything that his Father had set in motion. He might be an archangel, but God still trumped archangel. Unfortunately. And he honestly didn't care how blasphemous that thought was. He was just done with it, any respect he'd had left for his absent Father – at least absent until his unexpected appearance to hand out orders without care of the consequences of them – was just gone. Oh, he'd probably end up doing exactly what his Father wanted. But he didn't have to cooperate more than necessary. And he certainly didn't have to like it.


I'm trying to help,” he murmured, inwardly amused by her switches between English and Enochian. Her touches were...interesting, if a bit strange to him. Certainly it was nothing at all like what he'd played with when using constructs to make people – mostly the demi-gods he'd been hiding among at first, and later the Winchesters when trying to teach them lessons he'd genuinely felt they needed to learn – think he truly was the hedonistic Trickster demi-god Loki. But, in truth, the licentiousness had been just another mask. Still, so far, her gentle and light touches weren't exactly unpleasant.


Kinda seems like we're stuck, kiddo. At least for now.” He allowed her soft, hesitant kiss, letting his lips brush gently against hers. Yes, the human ways of expressing physical affection were strange, but not entirely unpleasant. But he preferred the angelic methods, even now. As they kissed, he decided to give her the smallest taste of that, afraid that more would overwhelm her. He reached along the bond of entwined grace and soul the tied them together, and let her feel everything he was feeling, including the rush of pure joy from the simple touch of his grace to her soul.


STELLA--

Stella was very confused that he was letting her kiss him, slowly going over things in her head. She toyed with the buttons on his shirt, breaking the kiss as she felt everything he wanted her too. She let out her breath in a rush of air, closing her eyes and grabbing his arms as she felt lightheaded for a moment.

She felt his pure joy at the touch of his grace to her soul and smiled softly. She felt how it wasn't unpleasant to feel what a human would feel. She wondered if he could feel what she felt, how safe and wanted she felt. Even slightly confused that he initiated the contact with the kiss this time when he had pulled away before.

Stella also felt how important this was to him, knowing he did not do this lightly an was even very careful of her. She slid her hands on his chest slowly, finally finding her breath. "Is that what you meant when you said you were going to rock my world?" She whispered softly, humor there, but also, hopefully letting him feel along their bond that she had enjoyed it, and felt she was happy.


GABRIEL--

“I never meant anything by it,” he admitted. “I say things, sometimes. Try to project a certain...image.” He shrugged, the movement barely noticeable. “In your case, I...was just trying to put you at ease. I'm not used to humans even detecting me when I'm dreamwalking...unless I want them to. You surprised me.”


He sighed, closing his eyes and leaning his forehead against hers. “You continue to surprise me. I don't know what to do with you.” He opened his eyes and pulled away just enough to look at her, his hand moving to cup her cheek. “Maybe this is a good start, though,” he said, and leaned in to kiss her gently, just the barest press of lips. The hand cupping her cheek moved back, and he threaded his hands through her hair as he pulled away to search her face briefly.


STELLA--

Stella smiled softly watching him speak about projecting. “It was new to me too.” She whispered softly and smiled, resting her forehead back against his. Humor filled her eyes, she sighed as he kissed her. She kissed him back softly, laying her hand back on his face. Her eyes closed as he slid his hand through her hair.

She opened her eyes and smiled at him, tilting her head to the side slightly. She slid her thumb along his face softly, wondering what he was searching for in her face. “Oh, I have some ideas too.” She smiled at him playfully, resting her head against his again, sliding her arms loosely around him. She trailed her hands gently along his back, shyly where she had seen his wings in the dream.


-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

STELLA--

Stella wandered through the bunker, far away from everyone it seemed. It was a long trip and she was tired. She found the library and dropped her pack on the floor. She pulled the sheet off of one of the overstuffed chairs and then the sheet off the couch by the fireplace. She made a note to get some more wood in here, since she wasn’t sure how old the logs were stacked by the hearth.

Gabriel had went to check the wards around the bunker, she was too tired to go with him. Se built the fire, knowing somewhere in the back of her mind that he could have just snapped his fingers and started one, but old habits die hard and she never asked him to do those things. She lit the kindling and soon a roaring fire was going. She would check the kitchen later for store, but from the looks of things, no one had been here since the late 60s. One of the bright sides of that was the soft furniture. She hadn’t even gone to look at the bunkrooms to see what the beds looked like. She just didn’t care at this point, tomorrow was another day. She could explore then.

Wandering to her pack she took out a blanket and a protein bar, dropping onto the couch, taking her shoes off and curling up. She ate the bar and decided it wasn’t so bad in here, even after a few minutes. She was just grateful they had someplace safe to be. Although the little pocket universe Gabriel had created was nice and warm, and absolutely safe. It was nice just the two of them there.

She was slightly reluctant to go here but knew they should, the life was draining them both and making them both tired and sleep a lot. At least here Gabriel would have to expend less grace to sustain things. Gabriel still slept less than she did, but he rarely left the bed while she slept. Even more so now that they had become intimate, for she was very surprised over that that he had wanted to be. He had shown her what it was to be intimate between angels, although it wasn’t physical, it was so much more intimate and beautiful than being physical. Gabriel had figured since she was human the physical mattered as well to her, and it did. She half wondered if that was his vessel’s needs as well. Not that she had minded, though he was nervous, and so was she. She knew he was trying and they had avoided any more disastrous arguments or missteps since then. She half wondered if that had to do with the bond where her soul and his grace became stronger after the intimacy. She could feel more from him and he felt from her, it was easier to be understanding of each other now. He seemed more at ease with casually touching her and she had as well.

Stella yawned and ran her hands through her hair after taking it out of the ponytail. She rested her head back on the couch and slowly started to doze off.


GABRIEL--

He finished up checking over the warding, actually impressed by how well it had held up after over half a century of abandonment, as well as the wide range of things these Men of Letters had learned to ward against; nearly everything of supernatural origin that could be a threat was taken care of. Well, aside from angels, but he couldn't fault them there. Humans hadn't known how to do things like that for thousands of years – right up until Castiel taught his human friends how to make use of the wards and sigils against angels.


The humans who had put this place together really knew their stuff. For humans. He'd fixed the little bit that had needed fixing – especially with the demon wards, as that was what he was particularly worried about – and added a few bits here and there that the humans had likely never even known about.


The tricky part, of course, was warding against angels, without making it an issue for himself. And angels were his other big concern. A brief bit of meditation dredged forth from his ancient memories warding that was specific to all ranks and types of angels....except archangels. He decided that was good enough, since Raphael was gone and Lucifer and Michael weren't in play. This way, even reapers wouldn't be able to enter, or even find them, so long as they were within the bunker.


His task completed, he expended the energy to appear within the kitchen, trying to ignore how easily his grace was drained. Still, he told himself, just a little bit more, and things would be well-set for Stella. For a few days, at least. And at least it wasn't as bad as it had been while he'd been maintaining the little pocket of space for them both, and providing for her needs.


He poked around in cabinets, satisfied to find a variety of canned foods that, with the tiniest touch of grace, he was able to tell were still good, even if they were decades old. There was nothing in the fridge, though he was amused to discover it was the type that had a small ice box within the refrigerator's main (and only) compartment, instead of the more modern separate freezer area he imagined Stella was used to. He guessed it was probably from sometime in the 1950s, and patted it fondly.


Satisfied with what he'd found in the bunker's kitchen, he strolled out of the kitchen and toward the library, where he could sense Stella dozing comfortably. She, it turned out, was curled up on a couch near a fireplace with a fire burning merrily away within it. He ran a finger through the layers of dust on a table as he walked past, and then he flopped bonelessly into the chair next to the couch, though he did so with as little noise as possible without actually expending grace to mask the sounds he might make. His head tipped to rest against the back of the comfortable chair, and he just stared upward at the ceiling above, letting his thoughts drift. It wasn't really sleep, but it was, at least, a respite.


STELLA--

Stella awakened a little while later, her eyes drifted to Gabriel in the chair. She smiled a bit and reached out to touch his arm gently, leaving her hand there. She always felt better after touching him. “Everything with the wards, ok?” She asked softly. She could have felt along their bond for the answer but was really too tired to.

Her eyes drifted about the library for a moment, thinking of how dusty everything was. She thought perhaps about starting in on cleaning tomorrow morning. She was curious to start looking through the books herself, if anything to look for a similar situation so she’d know what to expect. From what she had gathered from Gabriel though, it hadn’t happened before, and he would know considering.

She had seen a book about Angel Physiology on her way to the couch though, she was interested in reading through that some. Her eyes settled back on Gabriel and she moved over a bit on the couch and waved him over. There was more than enough room on it for them both. Stella was little and didn’t take up much room as it was.

“Do I need to go grocery shopping?” She hadn’t gone into the kitchen to look. She knew there was a lot of work to be done here still. Not the least of which the bunkrooms and cleaning those. She wanted to make sure they had running water too, since electricity was already on in the bunker.

She made a mental list to check the bathrooms for a tub at least if not a shower. There was so much to get through in the bunker itself. She knew they had to speak about what they were both avoiding with the babies or fledglings. What they would ultimately need for them. Would they grow like human children or what would happen? She hadn’t asked because she wasn’t certain that Gabriel knew himself.


GABRIEL--