Finally, the plans have come together and Team Free Will is just about ready for the píes de resistance!
"Uh... wakey-wakey?" The unfortunate sound which jarred the archangel from his restful contemplation of the inside of his vessel's eyelids.
He sent a well earned glare in the direction of his bumbling interrupter, feeling in some small way satisfied when the hunter froze where he was.
"Samuel," he greeted, not bothering to conceal his annoyance.
"Michael," the arguably intelligent life form greeted back.
"I assume there was a reason for your intrusion?" Michael prompted when all the monolithic moron did was stand there and gawp.
"Right, uh, yeah, of course," the dolt sputtered. Before taking a breath and starting anew.
"Your new vessel's here. Cas and Rowena think you should come meet him."
At that, Michael only just held back an unbecoming look of surprise. Managing instead to temper his reaction to one of muted interest.
"About time," he decided upon when it appeared Samuel was expecting a verbal reaction as well.
"Heh, yeah, who knew finding a new vessel would take so long?" Mused the human, displaying the decency to at least be ashamed of his and his team's many, many inadequacies.
"I suppose I should be pleased the search didn't take longer," Michael allowed, mood lightening at the thought of hard won freedom.
Before the human could respond, there came a noise from outside the hideous tent which drew all eyes to the entrance.
"Okay, Sam, I got the paint," informed the other at large Winchester, shouldering her way in the opening flap. One arm weighed down by a bucket laden itself with vials of a red, viscous liquid and brushes of varying size and length.
"Oh, I didn't know we were waking him up first," said the human who no longer appeared eager to be there.
"Yeah, I figured, if he woke up that easy, we wouldn't want to start painting and wake him up on accident," the younger explained, once again displaying the decency to look ashamed on his useless team's behalf.
"Mm, you've got a point there," the elder conceded, setting her bucket on the floor between herself and her son. Dusting her hands as she straightened to survey their guest.
"Well, am I cuffing him, or do you wanna do the honors?"
The archangel stiffened at the mere suggestion. Then stiffened further when the taller jailer turned to him, eyes determined.
"I'll do it," said the serious faced Samuel. Pulling the offending things from a rear pocket and making for the bed with steps that didn't falter. Not even when Michael turned his unamused stare into a fully realized glower.
Once at his side, the hunter looked down at the immobilized archangel, studying him, no doubt, for evidence of hostility. Trying to figure the best way to go about his task without being dismembered. Thinking hard enough that Michael could almost see the steam coming out his ears.
"If I hand these to you, you give me your word you'll cuff yourself? No funny business?"
That earned him a reprieve from the archangel's glare. And a gasp from the older, wiser hunter, pausing from her unpacking to gape at her son.
"Sam," warned the woman, expression akin to steel. Terrified steel.
"It's okay, Mom, I-"
"You should listen to your mother, Samuel. Trusting me wouldn't be in anyone's best interest," the ender of worlds insisted. Earning himself a matching pair of narrowed eyes from the thoroughly forewarned hunters.
With a vague motion toward the bed though, the younger Winchester started again.
"You're not at full strength, neither is Dean; you have no hope of escaping. You'd be acting in your own best interest. Besides," the naive youth added with an earnest raise of his chin, "your word's been good enough for me so far."
To that, Michael, like the woman holding a brush in her either hand, could only stare.
"Fine. You have my word," he agreed, at length. Voice flatter than he'd meant it to be.
And so the all too trusting, all too close hunter leaned his hulking torso closer and pulled the warded sheet slowly, carefully back. Just far enough to free the arms of a being who'd, in a different universe, destroyed cultures with less.
When the archangel gave the previously pinned things an experimental flex, he caught the way the more experienced hunter's shoulders bunched, ready to spring to her youngest's aid at the first sign of aggression.
He sent her a smirk for her concern.
To her credit, the woman's only reaction was to narrow her eyes that last bit smaller.
"Nice and slow," Samuel warned, setting the coiled handcuffs on the bed before taking a half step back. Demonstrating savvy enough at least to stay out of reach of an easy maiming.
Michael regarded the odious things with a well practiced scowl, not in any way interested in putting himself in chains. Especially not ones inscribed with sigils identical to those he'd had to suffer the indignity of for far too long. In a Room he'd sooner die than spend another day an unwilling prisoner within.
But, when a human throat cleared itself of some imaginary annoyance, the archangel conceded that he was unimaginably less interested in suffering the scathing humiliation of being forced into said chains by a mere mortal. A class of being so far removed from God's grace as to be biologically unfit to so much as look upon one so resplendent as-
A second, more insistent clearing of a throat had Michael flicking a glare at the peon posted by his bed. The strangely somber look waiting for him though mollified his ire well enough that he soon returned his attention to the task at hand.
And so it was with much deep-seated reluctance that the heavenly being grabbed the accursed artifact and proceeded to —'nice and slow'— bind himself in enchanted irons.
"There, that wasn't so bad," chided the man standing by a cataclysm waiting to happen.
Judging by the involuntary flinch though, the death glare Samuel received in rebuttal was, in fact, 'so bad'.
After the hunter recovered from his rightful fright, it was mere minutes before the archangel found himself following an apprehensive Mary Winchester through an utterly repellent exit flap and out into a medical ward he'd only ever seen in his vessel's memories.
Then they walked. Samuel and his mother pointing the way and their prisoner setting the pace. No one foolish enough to try and hurry the cosmic entity when he chose to take his time and 'enjoy' the stroll.
After all, it was Michael's first foray outside either the ma'lak box or his new heavily warded and enchanted lodgings. Or, rather, the first he'd undertaken under his own power.
Yes, he was shackled, flanked by armed guards, and his vessel's usual slovenly garments were now utterly coated in atrocious sigil work, but the circumstances didn't sully the illusion of free will. An illusion which he allowed himself indulge in as long as it held. And it held all the way up to the moment he forded the warded space his bungling keepers had at some point mentioned the magic users were in progress preparing for the transference.
Inside waited the witch, the angel, and a living, breathing, human body glowing ever so imperceptibly with the beginnings of security measures he'd be living with for the lifetime of the meat sack. Which, for all he knew, could be until the end of time. If the myriad magical interferences didn't also cut down his natural God-given immortality.
There, for some unfathomable reason, Michael stopped and his feet refused to carry him past the threshold. The guards to his either side merely stood in mute confusion. Waiting for him to make his next move.
Surprisingly, it was the featherbrain by the 'operating table' who broke the tense silence.
"Do not worry, brother, this is not meant as another cage for you to simply exist within; this vessel will be your freedom," the angel said with a laughably earnest expression. Perhaps thinking the archangel somehow frightened of the thing.
"Yeah, Michael, if it helps, think of it this way: If Dean's your sword, then Michael, your new vessel, he'll be your shield," the taller Winchester to his side said without prompting. No doubt having come to the same, ridiculous conclusion.
"They're right," the eldest hunter among them offered, clearly caught up in the same delusion as her peers. "With this new body, you'll be able to live a life away from that hideous metal box, get out of that dingy medical ward, and never have to wear those handcuffs ever again."
The slight shade of pity to the woman's voice goaded Michael's resolve and with but a single fortifying breath, he'd overcome his hesitation and was followed by his escort to what would soon be his permanent home on this alternate earth. Stopping an arm's length from the table so as not to ruffle the magic users standing to its either side. Any more than his mere presence so clearly was.
"He is smaller than I imagined," the first words that came to the archangel's mind as he gave his new vessel a first impression. "He did not look like this at the beginning of his life," Michael informed as a piece of angelic insight came to him. "He was known by a different name then. Yes-"
"And that miracle also is a part of our reasoning. You see-"
"I too sense the residue of miracles clinging to his bones," the archangel said with a sharp look his relation's way, not appreciating being interrupted. Going on only when the lesser angel averted his eyes.
"Yes, the four of you are right: If this vessel does not work, then none shall," the archangel declared, nod as final as the locking of a shut door.
"That's not exactly-"
"I grow weary," Michael said, cutting off Castiel's denial without an ounce of concern. "Escort me to my chambers that your angel and your witch might ready my vessel while I rest," he ordered of his guards, managing to look down his nose at both of them as he did. Regardless the fact that the majority of Samuel's face was above his brother's.
"Right," the youngest Winchester said, moving along with his mother into reverse formation to do just that. "Uh, let us know if you need anything, Cas, Rowena. We should be back soon anyway," the milksop assured as he took his place.
"There's no rush," the angel informed, starting a clockwise circuit around the table. Concentration absorbed, when Michael paused to check, by the vessel laying at its center. Almost like a pretentious artist studying their living, breathing canvas. "This promises to be a rather... involved process."
"Yes, dearies, in fact, perhaps it'd be best if we weren't disturbed for a wee bit. The fundamentals are often the trickiest part," supplied a witch who's eyes were already glowing, offering her an insight no doubt altogether different from his own. Or Castiel's.
"Okay, call if you can't see straight anymore. We'll spell you; let you get some shut-eye and food," Mary said as she adjusted her stance by Michael's side to the precise distance she seemed to prefer. Slightly closer than Samuel stood. Likely to compensate for their differences in stature and arm length.
"Thank you," said a distracted Castiel, in the middle of a close inspection of one of the vessel's forearms. "I expect it won't be necessary, but I will call if I require respite or sustenance."
"And I'll require tea in precisely two hours," informed the witch who, aside from blinking a time or two, hadn't yet moved from her observation spot.
"Great, we'll leave you to it then," the great oaf said as he hastened to keep up with his mother and their long term 'guest'. Both of whom had started off while he'd been distracted saying his unnecessary goodbyes.
Ha, it's good Michael approves of his forever vessel! Things might've been harder if he didn't!