Gabriel didn't think of it until he realized Sam and Dean had no intention to celebrate the fourth of July. At first he couldn't figure out why not, they didn't have any hunts or anything even remotely important going on. When questioned about it Sam had only smiled at him, not sad but resigned and said that they didn't do that anymore. That they used to set off fireworks together, the two of them, but it had been a long time since something like that could happen.
Gabriel understood that, he did, the brothers had been in a rough spot for a very long time but things were better now and the Archangel called bull-shit. Apparently it was time he stepped in and made these hunters boys again. Holidays existed for a reason and the party lover in Gabriel refused to miss out because of human inabilities to voice their emotions.
It might be tricky but he wasn't moonlighting as a damned Trickster for shits and grins...well, okay yeah he was but still. Trickster. He could more then handle a couple of stubborn hunters, even if those stubborn hunters were the infamous Winchesters.
Gabriel smirked to himself and cracked his knuckles, time to put Plan 'Get-the-Winchesters-to-Stop-Being-Idiots-and-Celebrate-Some-Damned-Holidays' in action. And yes, the title was a work in progress, back off.
Now given that his declaration of this plan had come only a few days before the closest holiday- Independence Day, Gabriel had a limited time frame to work with. That was okay though, he liked a good challenge and it couldn't possibly be harder then wooing Sam, which was a freaking bitch of a time and harder then stopping the Apocalypse, so he was quite confident.
After all, if there was anyone who loved blowing things up into sparkly bits it was the Winchesters, he thought smugly as Dean ducked behind a tree after lobbing a Molotov cocktail at a wendigo. The resulting explosion rocked the nearby vegetation. After a long moment of answering quiet the sound of wildlife started back up and Dean popped cautiously back around the tree while Sam picked himself up off the ground, both of them sharing boyish grins. From his invisible place near them, Gabriel smirked. Yeah, this was gonna be a breeze.
Well, it was supposed to be a breeze anyway. Gabriel hadn't counted on Dean being the one to dig in his heels over the matter though. Sam he'd gotten on board after only a few conversations stressing the importance of having traditions again. It really wasn't much of a battle because Sam truly missed spending holidays with his brother beyond just existing together. He missed celebrating with his brother.
Dean seemed to have it in his mind that holidays were of minor importance and he had no care left for them. His primary excuse?
“C'mon man, after stopping the Apocalypse it seems like wasting time on pointless holidays is pretty shallow don't you think?”
Gabriel had convinced Sam to be the one to bring the idea to his brother, thinking Dean would be more receptive hearing it from Sam but after having it put to him that way, Sam backed down. His guilt over past events, something Gabriel was trying to train out of him, returned and he refused to push the subject.
Freaking annoying Winchesters, seriously.
So, it was left up to Gabriel. Luckily though, he had an idea on how best to get Dean to pull his head out of his ass. Namely, knocking some damned sense into the stubborn idiot.
“Hey Deano,” was the only warning the elder Winchester had before Gabriel snapped them from the motel to a nearby diner.
Castiel was out taking care of some Heaven business. He's been in charge ever since Gabriel came back and declared it God's Word that they were to rally behind the little angel that could. Given that it was Gabriel delivering the word there was little argument and what resistance there was got quickly put to rest by a few stern words from the strongest Archangel left alive. For his part, Gabriel had delegated himself as the Winchesters resident protector and prankster while his little brother was busy.
So, little bro was out of the way of this intervention and Sam was back at the hotel, perfectly aware of Gabriel's plan. Not that the angel had even told him anything but Sam was a smart cookie so he figured Sam would have an idea of where they'd disappeared to and why.
They appeared already seated across from each other in a booth, a slice of steaming apple pie in front of Dean and a banana split for Gabriel.
“Whoa! Dude!” Dean flailed for a moment, back tight until he realized they were merely in the diner down the road. “What the hell man?” he growled, but Dean's eyes were drawn to the pie and Gabriel could see most of his anger fade in the face of it, though he remained suspicious.
“You and I need to have a little talk.”
Yep, those were suspicious eyes alright.
“Look, whatever it is you and Sammy get up to, I don't need to know about it.”
Gabriel snorted and leered, “You'd be surprised at what your brother hides but that's not what I mean.”
“Eww...” Dean fake gagged and Gabriel rolled his eyes. “Alright then, what is this about?”
Dean groaned and stabbed at his pie, lifting a generous chunk. “Did Sam put you up to this?”
“Not at all, actually, I'm the one who 'put' Sam up to asking you but then you had to go verbally smack him in the face.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Shallow and pointless holidays? Really? You might as well of said he was a selfish bastard for wanting to spend some time with his family for the first time in years.” Gabriel said, swallowing a mouthful of ice cream as he waved his spoon at Dean.
The elder Winchester winced and gave a half-assed one shoulder shrug, “it's not like I meant it like that.”
“Oh really? So how, exactly, did you mean it?”
“You know what, what the hell business is it of yours anyway?” Dean snapped.
Gabriel's eyes narrowed, allowing some cold anger to seep into them. “It's my business because it concerns Sam and he really wants this but you're being a self possessed, cowardly asshole.”
“And you know exactly what that looks like, don't you? Look in a mirror often?”
“Don't dare start with me, Winchester, or you won't like what happens.”
They were both all but snarling at each other and glaring over their respective food when the diner door opened, not that they noticed, and after a moment a heavy sigh sounded right next to them that neither Dean or Gabriel could mistake.
There was a slight guilty edge to their anger now as they looked to the side and saw Sam standing at the end of their table with an exasperated and disappointed pair of puppy eyes.
“Sammy,” Gabriel started, a tad calmer now, or at least putting up that face for Sam's sake. “I wasn't expecting you to join us.”
“Obviously,” Sam replied and looked at Dean. “Sorry, Dean. You already said no and that's fine.”
Dean gave Sam an incredulous look as his younger brother reached out to poke Gabriel, “Take us back, Gabe.”
“Is it?” Dean blurted then shifted in the seat, trying not to look awkward. “Is it fine?”
Sam ducked his head and shrugged, “it's what you want so yeah.”
Gabriel scowled and opened his mouth to protest but Dean beat him to it.
“Stop it, Sam. Answer me straight, do you want to start celebrating again? Like before?”
“Okay, yeah. I do! But not like before.” Sam tilted his head to rub the back of his neck, “I don't want just you and me, I want all of us. I want you and me and Gabriel and Castiel and even Bobby, if we have to drag him into it.”
Gabriel was grinning, beaming proudly at Sam and a little touched himself because he'd assumed as much but it was so warming to hear it out loud.
“Sammy...” Dean trailed off for a moment for shaking his head, lips twitched into a small smile. “Alright then.”
Sam blinked, head lifted and eyes hopeful on his brother. “Alright?”
“Yeah, Sammy. Let's have a damned party. We saved the fucking world, I think we deserve it.” Dean felt a glimmer of an old happiness at Sam's answering, brilliant smile he hadn't had the pleasure to see in far, far too long. “But! If we do this, we do it the right way. I trust our resident magic boy will take care of the fireworks?”
Gabriel smirked and cast them both a devious look, “of course! Do you expect anything less?”
Sam laughed and shoved into the booth beside Gabriel, “hey, can I get one of those?”
“Sure thing, Sammy.” Gabriel snapped up another banana split, delighted that Sam was indulging in a way he usually never did.
Across from them, Dean dug into his pie with renewed vigor. After a moment Sam licked his spoon free of chocolate and looked at Dean. “Hey, you should call Cas, see if he can eat with us.”
“Oh but he's an Angel of the Lord, Sam and they don't need to eat. Remember?”
Gabriel snickered and Sam rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah. But you've gotten him to eat before, I'm sure he'll do it for you again.”
“True.” Dean said amiably, missing Sam's intended suggestion as he put his free hand to his head and started praying. His version of praying anyway. “Castiel, I pray to you now to get yourself down here please and indulge with the best of us. Come on, man, we've even got Sammy dipping into a dessert dish!”
They all paused and waited until finally Castiel appeared in the seat by the window next to Dean. The angel took a look around their gathered foods and tilted his head. To his credit however, he didn't say anything about not requiring sustenance. Personally, Sam thought he'd learned it was better not to protest.
“Hey, Cas,” Dean said in welcome. “What do you want to eat? It's on Gabriel tonight.”
Castiel got this vague uncomfortable look that said he really didn't want to make a decision of such import at the moment. “Whatever you are eating is sufficient.”
Before Dean could tease, and he was about to, Sam could see it, Gabriel nodded and snapped his fingers, an apple pie just like Dean's appearing before Castiel. As the angel set about diligently eating the offered pie with Dean watching like a hawk, Sam thought about the picture they must make.
On one side of a Formica built diner table was an Archangel turned Pagan Trickster turned Archangel-ish eating from a banana split that should have started to melt by now but was still perfectly firm. Beside him sat a half demon, half human abomination with a banana split of his own that was melting but still tasted amazing because Sam liked his splits when they started to go soft like that.
Across from him was a righteous hunter who took big, cheek bulging bites of still steaming apple pie while never taking his eyes from the rebellious little angel that could sitting beside him. And the rebellious little angel that could had eyes only for his pie, eating with a determination to please the ones he considered his flock.
It was an interesting way to think of them but a little unfair. They were what they were and that was just Sam, Dean, Castiel and Gabriel.
Gabriel shifted suddenly, elbow colliding gently but firmly with Sam's side. “You're thinking too much again, Sammy.”
“Sammy always thinks too much.” Dean said with exasperation, finally turning his eyes from Castiel to look at his brother with fondness. “It's like his factory default setting.”
“Funny.” Sam threw back with a fake scowl, before tucking back into his ice cream and banana.
Dean only smirked, a big brother expression at its finest and Gabriel brandished his spoon suddenly at Castiel.
“You, little bro, are joining us tomorrow night at the Singer place for fireworks. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.”
Castiel chewed slowly, looking at Gabriel with a bland expression before swallowing. “I had no intention to argue. It is an experience I think I may be looking forward to.”
Hearing that, Dean beamed like someone had just told him he'd won a life times supply of all the pie he could eat and Sam ducked his head down to grin just as stupidly into his ice cream. It was safe there. Ice cream couldn't tell on him.
Gabriel laughed, delighted, and leaned back, slipping his hand down Sam's spine to settle comfortably at the small of his back. “Good choice, Cas. We are going to have a blast!”
And just like that, all the issues that remained between them eased and everyone relaxed in an internal way that was unnoticeable except in the way they looked at each other. They stayed at the diner, undisturbed, and chatted for a few quick, comfortable hours before the hunters had to call it a night if they were to get up early enough to set out for Bobby's and make it there with enough daylight left.
As the humans slept and the angels watched over them, Gabriel rested his chin on the curve of Sam's shoulder from behind and smiled at nothing but the air. If things kept going at the rate they were, his plan would be a roaring success! Still, the archangel was nowhere near stupid enough to believe nothing could or would go wrong so he stayed vigilant throughout the night, not completely cuddling up to Sam and drifting in what angels imitated as sleep.
Then, when morning came and the brothers were ready to go, Gabriel got the boot. Well, not really. They had just agreed that the angels should meet Sam and Dean at Bobby's while the humans drove the trip. Which made sense considering neither of them could stand the slow crawl of the Impala compared to angel flight. It made him uncomfortable though, leaving Sam and Dean to their own devices for so long. They were Winchesters, they could make a ball pit a dangerous mine field!
In the end, it was Castiel to both assuage his worry and give him something else to focus on by telling the brothers to pray for them the instant something was off and then asking him for help in Heaven. Gabriel had come to realize he could refuse Castiel almost nothing. Those blue eyes were nearly as dangerous as Sam's. So he agreed and left with his little brother, though not before encouraging his human to behave and sneaking a sloppy kiss out of him first.
It would have to hold him over until the following night, of course, so why not take advantage?
By six o'clock July 4th, Sam and Dean were only an hour out from Bobby's place, traveling one on one in a way reminiscent of the past. It was nice.
Sam was grateful to have some time alone with his brother, driving the roads with nothing but themselves and Dean's obnoxious music. But Sam was shotgun, where he belonged, so he kept his pie hole shut and just grinned. Dean probably thought he was insane for grinning non-stop like a moron but damn it, he was happy. And it had been so long since he'd felt this way that Sam wasn't about to apologize. He had a feeling Dean (and Gabriel) would smack him should he try.
A glance to the left showed him that Dean couldn't bitch because his brother was grinning to himself too, though it looked a bit more like a smirk to him. Dean noticed him looking and returned the glance, brows raised in a questioning, 'bitch what?' look. For some reason that struck Sam as funny and he laughed, head back and eyes on the roof as he smiled. Dean only shook his head, snickering and Sam could just picture him rolling his eyes.
Sam stared up at the roof and said, “jerk.”
The answering comment came without a trace of hesitation, “bitch.”
Like Sam said, happy.
Bobby was as thrilled as ever to see them, in his own gruff and manly way. That they chose his place for the celebration was only the icing on the cake for the old hunter but touching all the same. He was glad to see the boys moving on and that it was because of the two angels was the only thing that kept him from grumbling too much when the feathers showed up.
By quarter to eight, everything was ready to go and they were simply drinking and waiting for it to get dark enough to start lighting off the fireworks.
Gabriel had supplied a huge selection of things to pick from and most of the setting off was going to be left to the brothers (except when Dean hassled Castiel into doing it the human way, as he always did) and Gabriel was in charge of the finale.
Sam wasn't worried about that, he knew the angel pretty well by now and he was sure they were in for a real show tonight. Gabriel stuck close to him throughout the wait, bickering with Dean or teasing his little brother but never outside of physical range. Sam found that he appreciated the closeness and no one made comments toward it, willingly ignoring the way Gabriel always kept a hand on him in some way.
The contact was grounding and never gave his mind the opportunity to fall back into brooding or worry...or guilt. Sam wanted to enjoy tonight and Gabriel would ensure he did.
Finally the sky had turned an inky black, broken only by the white, shining stars. A perfect cloudless sky for fireworks.
“Ready, Sammy?” Dean asked, eyes bright like the stars.
Sam smiled back and nodded, letting go of Gabriel's hand to accept the explosive offered to him. Together with Dean, they took several steps away and pulled out their lighters. With a flick and crackle, the fuses lit and they quickly set the fireworks on the ground. They backed away until they were standing between Castiel and Gabriel again, Bobby hovering just a few steps behind.
Sam reached out and snagged his angel's hand, turning his head slightly to smile at Gabriel as widely as he could. “Thank you,” he whispered over the hissing sounds of the burning fuses.
Gabriel grinned back at him and leaned over slightly, “anything for you, Sammy.”
They kissed just as the fireworks went off with deafening whistles and cracks of sound, the sky lit up in hues of purple, blue, red, gold, green, and silver. Sam was sure it was beautiful but he wasn't about to let go of Gabriel long enough to check and angel didn't seem inclined to either. Eventually though, Dean's lighthearted tittering drew them apart and Sam laughed, sticking his tongue out at his brother.
Gabriel just watched, so relieved he could do this for his mate, could bring some honest, much deserved happiness into his life. He looked up at the still falling, rainbow sparking debris and slipped his arm around Sam's waist, leaning into the hunter.
Plan 'Make Sammy Happy'?
Complete success and Gabriel's greatest yet.