Uriel looked around the town square. A group of people were gathered there. Michael was speaking with a man that had been identified as the mayor.
"Surprised at what you're seeing Uri?" Balthazar asked.
"I do not understand the concern for this group of mud monkeys. As quickly as they breed this few would not be missed." Uriel said. "And yet we put our energy into their well being. Michael was once able to distance himself. Instead he now concerns himself with a town he would have once labeled collateral damage without a second thought."
"Michael understands the depth of our sin now." Balthazar said.
"Our sin? We are angels, we cannot sin." Uriel said.
"Really? What was the one commandment our father gave us again?" Balthazar asked. "As I recall it was to love them above all else. The second we began thinking of them as collateral damage, we sinned. All of us did at one point or another. And that was why he allowed Metatron to cast the host from heaven. Other than a handful of us, the host was made human."
"You were spared that, I was spared that but now my own sin hangs over my head unatoned. I rather think father is giving me a chance to atone for it now. I was brought back also. Fighting alongside them, defending them as we were ordered to do is my chance. Maybe you should also think of this as your chance to erase the stain on your own grace." Balthazar said before he turned and walked away.
"Zach, you know something? You're about as slick as sandpaper." Gabriel said. "If you want to get through this without me plucking your eyes out, stop rolling them at me."
Castiel glanced at the Archangel who hadn't looked up from the tablet he was reading. A quick peek to the side revealed that the other seraph was indeed sending Gabriel what the humans would call 'dirty looks'.
"If I'm not mistaken there should be a second tablet here. Go find it Zachariah." Gabriel ordered the other seraph snorted and went to find the tablet clearly in no hurry to comply with the order.
Castiel watched the Archangel quietly as he sat a tablet on the table. "Gabriel if you do not wish to speak about it I will not inquire further, but there is tension between you and Zachariah that does not exist between you and others I have seen you with."
"That's because Zachariah just rubs me the wrong way, he always has." Gabriel said. "Even when he was a fledgling, he was a douche. He was just born douchey."
"I do not understand." Castiel said. "He was always rigid in how he ran our Garrison but it was because he likes things done a certain way."
"That's all fine and good, but it doesn't excuse the fact that he's an asshole. He could could have gotten the same results with a bit of kindness that he got from being an ass. But that's not why I don't like him. Metatron and Virgil are just as arrogant and have as much of a sense of entitlement as Zachariah. Not even Azazel was as bad. And Balthazar was always pleasant and still got things done. Nope, my dislike of Zach is all about Zach's abusive side. I know that more than once Zach has been dressed down by Michael or one of us then turned around and taken it out on the Seraphs under him."
Castiel tilted his head sideways. "I do not understand. Zachariah would chastise us when we failed to accomplish tasks he had ordered, he would make us train harder or curtail our free time but I do not see where his actions were abusive."
"Most of those failures he chastised you for weren't the failure of the garrison, but of it's commander, Zachariah. When he punished you guys for his shortcomings, that was abusive. It was a pattern I noticed many times before I left." Gabriel said "But by the time I identified it we were in the middle of the Nephilim crises and then Lucifer rebelled. At that point there was no talking to Michael. But should that balding, brown-nosing, megalomaniac 'wannabe the boss of it all' tries it this time I'm smiting his ass."
Castiel looked at the archangel. "You remind me of Dean right now. That is the same attitude he has toward Sam. Dean has faced down heaven, hell and everything in between to protect his brother." The corners of Castiel's mouth lifted just the tiniest bit which translated into a huge grin for the angel. "Zachariah is an assbutt."
Gabriel broke out into a full on belly laugh. "I'm going to have to teach you how to really cuss, kiddo. Both of those words mean the same thing. You're like a Little Caesar's commercial."
"I do not understand that reference." Castiel said confused.
"Pizza! Pizza!" Gabriel said laughing even louder. How in the cosmos you have managed to remain this naïve about pop culture hanging around the Winchesters I'll never fathom."
"Are you done poking and prodding yet angel?"
Raphael spun around from his book of notes to find the Gemini looking at him through the bars of their cages. The archangel took a few steps closer. "I would have much less poking and prodding to do if you would speak with me. It would reduce my research time and hasten your departure for hell."
"Hell? We bypassed hell. We were in heaven." The two spoke in unison. "A hunting ground full of prey in plentiful supply but the other angels dragged us away from our paradise."
"They freed you from Limbo." Raphael said.
"We were unprepared for the speed of the first one. He was smaller we thought that he would be easy prey. An eel would have been easier to snare." They admitted.
"Gabriel is God's messenger. There is no being in creation that can match him for speed and agility. Catching him is impossible." Raphael said a hint of pride in his voice. "The other was Lucifer. The most beautiful of beings, the king of seduction. His beauty seduced many of the host into following him in open rebellion."
"And you?" They questioned. "You are Dr Frankenstein performing your experiments on me."
"I am Raphael, the celestial healer." Raphael introduced himself. "I am also it's torturer. The most effect torture is inflicted by those who best understand how a being functions on its most basic levels."
"So you mean to torture me?" They asked.
"Not at all, We mean to allow you a chance. To send you where you belong, Lucifer's domain. In that you have no choice, you are destined for hell." Raphael said. "The choice is whether or not Lucifer will subject you to an eternity of agony under hell's torturer or allow you to freely hunt prey as you did in Limbo."
"The devil will allow us free rein in his domain?" They asked.
"Not exactly free rein but there will be more than enough prey to satisfy your need for mayhem. Hell is a place of punishment after all and fresh souls in need of punishment arrive every day." Raphael said.
"And what would you require from us to secure us such freedom in hell?" They asked.
"Your assistance in a hunt of our own." Raphael answered. "What you hunted in Limbo would be like rabbits in comparison. We are offering you the chance to hunt the most powerful prey you will ever encounter, a hell knight. Once Lucifer's second in command, she has rebelled against the one who sheltered her. She has grown bold and ambitious beyond what can be allowed."
"This hunt would be a challenge. It would satisfy our needs." They said considering the idea. "And in Hell Lucifer would allow us to hunt freely?"
"Yes I would, but Michael and I have been thinking about that. Maybe mortal souls would not be as much pleasure to hunt as something else." Lucifer said as he and Michael appeared in Raphael's makeshift lab, finished with the task of checking on the town.
"We're thinking Purgatory might be a better place for you." Michael added. "There you will have free run to hunt monsters to your heart's content. Vampires, werewolves, wendigos, ghouls. All of Eve's children are there ripe for the taking."
The Gemini smiled at the thought.