A Way Out
The gathering of gods was interrupted when the doors flew open.
“Can’t we all just get along?” Gabriel asked, sauntering in. His dramatic entrance had worked, and every eye in the room was on him.
“Gabri-“ Sam Winchester began, and Gabriel shut him and Dean up with a wave of the fingers before they could ruin his quite frankly awesome plan.
Gabriel tsked at them.
“Sam, Dean, it’s always wrong place, worse time with you muttonheads, huh?”
“Loki,” said Baldur, looking particularly displeased about it.
Gabriel made a show of looking over as though he hadn’t noticed the other god until now.
“Baldur,” Gabriel smiled. “Good seeing you too.” He pulled a mystified face. “I guess my invitation got lost in the mail.”
“Why are you here?” Baldur asked darkly.
“To talk about the elephant in the room. Not you,” he added in exasperation, when Ganesh bristled and began to get to his feet. Gabriel waited until Ganesh sank back into his chair before he looked back at the rest of the gods. “The apocalypse.”
Gabriel wandered over and took a seat at the table with the others.
“And, to be a little bit more specific: Lucifer.”
“What do you know?” Kali asked lowly.
“About Lucifer?” Gabriel shrugged. “I know he’s powerful. Too powerful. You can’t fight him. I mean, that’s what you were thinking, right?” He looked around. “Won’t work. He’ll turn you into finger paint. Or maybe you were planning some kind of an alliance. That won’t work either. Lucifer is a twisted, elitist bastard who feels the same way about gods as he does about the rest of the Earth, and he doesn’t keep his word. To him, we’re barely a step up from mortal scum. Irrelevant, and annoying.”
“What’s your point?” asked Odin, who knew from experience that Gabriel always had one.
“You can’t fight him. You can’t make nice with him. You’re doomed either way. But…” Gabriel let the word hang in the air. “There is a way to trap him.”
Gabriel looked around, to see that the gods were showing varying levels of interest, while Dean Winchester was giving him a ‘WTF?’ face and Sam was listening intently, a frowny little furrow between his eyebrows.
“This doesn’t go beyond this table,” said Gabriel, leaning in conspirationally, “but between you and me? That cage that Lucifer was in? The key to it is still out there. If we can collect the key, and lure him into place… there’s a chance we can shove his ass back in there.”
Gabriel sat back and snapped himself up a cocktail, pleased with the effect his words were having. All of the gods looked like they were contemplating the idea, and the Winchesters were staring at him like they’d never seen him before.
“So,” Gabriel asked, sipping on his cocktail, “who’s in?”
The gods all exchanged glances, but Gabriel could feel Kali’s burning gaze on him. He deliberately didn’t look around. Now, just to wait for the obvious question…
“How do we know you’re telling the truth?” Zao Shen asked suspiciously. Gabriel gave him an innocently inquiring look.
“Why would I lie? Come on, this is Lucifer we’re talking about. If he goes ahead with what he’s planning, we’re all screwed.”
“Then maybe we should be asking how you know all this?” Baldur asked calmly, giving Gabriel a hard look.
Gabriel winced, because he’d hoped not to answer that question just yet – obviously he was going to have to answer it eventually, with the way Kali was staring a hole in him (she knew him too well), but he’d hoped to do so later and in private.
“About that.” Gabriel sipped his cocktail and considered the question. “I don’t like to spread it around, but… Trickstering was kind of my second calling. Before that, I was a messenger. Gabriel paused a moment. “The messenger.”
It took them a moment to get it. Naturally, Kali put it together first.
“You’re Gabriel. The archangel,” she said flatly, and the room descended into uproar.
Gabriel let the shouted accusations go on for a few seconds, then whistled sharply. The room went quirt again, and Gabriel spoke into the momentary silence.
“Sure. I’m an angel. I admit it. But I defected ages ago. Trust me, the angels would be even less happy to see me than you are.”
“Why did you leave?” Kali asked, still watching him steadily.
“The short answer is, the heavenly plan sucked balls,” Gabriel responded bluntly. “Death, destruction, the end of all things – I don’t know about you, but that’s not the kind of Heaven I want to be associated with. So I left. Took on a new role, as a Trickster – and did a pretty good job of it, if I say so myself.” Gabriel winked. “The point is, as an archangel, I’m one of the few people in existence who knows how to trap Lucifer. It won’t be easy, but it’s doable.”
“Why don’t you just kill him?” Mercury asked.
“Have you met me?” Gabriel retorted. “Do I seem like the type who likes armed conflict? Besides, Lucifer is out of my league. He’s older, he’s more powerful, and I don’t stand a chance against him in straight-out battle.”
“So you resort to trickery, as usual,” said Kali. Her expression was considering.
Gabriel grinned at her.
“You’ve got it, sweetheart. I might not be able to go mano et mano with him, but as long as he doesn’t know about the key to the cage, I have the advantage. So, let me say it again: who’s in?”
What followed was a discussion between the various gods. Most of them seemed wary of Gabriel now they knew of his archangel status. No one had particularly trusted Loki, but they’d known his limitations – or so they thought. To find out he was one of Heaven’s most powerful angels clearly left most of them ill at ease.
While the gods argued, Gabriel snapped himself up several candy bars, and then, realising that the Winchesters had probably been here a while, tossed a couple down the table to Sam and Dean. Sam looked at his speculatively, then nodded in thanks, and opened it. Dean gave his candy bar a suspicious look, but in the end hunger won out, and he began to eat his, too.
Mercury was looking kind of twitchy down the other end of the table, and Gabriel narrowed his eyes. The messenger god wasn’t the most trustworthy, and had a habit of sucking up to the more powerful gods in hope of protection. Not a bad plan, but if he tried it with Lucifer…
Gabriel resolved to keep an eye on the guy, just in case.
It was Kali, in the end, who resolved the discussion.
“I will follow Gabriel’s plan,” she stated, and well, when Kali said something, people generally listened. From there, several other gods decided that they agreed with her, and in the end, all of the gods agreed to either help out with the plan, or keep their mouths shut about it and not rat anyone out to Lucifer or the angels.
“Okay, anyone who isn’t actually participating in this plan, please leave.”
When no one did, Gabriel raised an eyebrow.
Kali stood, and leaned her hands on the table.
“Leave,” she said menacingly, glaring darkly around the table.
That got people moving. Gods trailed out of the room, until only Gabriel, Kali, Baldur, and Athena were left. Well, and the Winchesters, but they didn’t count.
Gabriel snapped his fingers, and gave the boys back their voices.
“You son of a bitch,” Dean growled immediately, rubbing at his throat.
Gabriel cocked an eyebrow.
“Please, you should be thanking me. I’m helping with your little anti-apocalypse quest. Can’t a guy get a bit of gratitude once in a while?” He sighed theatrically.
Dean opened his mouth to reply, and Gabriel pointed a finger at him.
“Don’t make me take your voice again,” he said warningly. Dean shut his mouth, and scowled angrily. Gabriel turned back to the gods, since Sam showed every sign of behaving reasonably, sitting there with a thoughtful expression.
“So tell us about this plan,” said Baldur,” “What is the key to Lucifer’s cage, exactly?”
“Keys, plural,” said Gabriel. “And they’re the rings of the four Horsemen.”
“Oh, well that’s just perfect,” snapped Dean.
“Hey, I said it wasn’t going to be easy, remember?” Gabriel snapped back. “Besides, you’ve already nabbed a couple, haven’t you? Trust me, this is the best plan we’ve got.”
“So you say,” said Athena doubtfully. Gabriel rolled his eyes.
“Again, why would I lie? My ass in on the line here too, you know. You think my brothers are going to be happy I’m messing with their ‘destined’ plan? Not to mention Lucifer.”
Athena frowned, but seemed to find Gabriel’s argument reasonable.
“Which Horsemen have you already taken down?” Kali asked, watching the Winchesters.
“Uh, War and Famine,” said Sam.
“Which leaves Pestilence and Death,” Baldur finished.
“I can take Pestilence,” said Kali. “And Death…” She smiled, just a little. “Death I’ve had prior dealings with.”
“Excellent,” said Gabriel. “So let’s work out exactly how we’re going to do this.”
Although Lucifer didn’t know it yet, his ass was headed straight back for the cage.
Gabriel smiled, and began working on the logistics with the others.