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All Is Fair In Life and War

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.-~*~-.

“Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

~-.-~

“Wait. Are you dead?”

Gabriel smirked and wagged his eyebrows before snapping his fingers and transporting himself to his holding cell in Heaven. Not that he had much of a choice. Damned overgrown worm. Really, he was disappointed in Castiel for not catching on sooner. That “lesson” had gone on far too long. It was a painful mockery of his own brutal lessons. If it had been his script, he’d have toyed a hell of a lot more with the seraph before the end of the show. Possibly killed someone again. Unlucky Metatron, he’d managed to sneak a couple tricks in to warn Castiel that it was false. Of course it was the damned continuity error that did it.

“I’m waiting!” The archangel yelled impatiently, shaking the cell door and scowling. “Metadick! Come on! We had a deal! Time to hold up your end!”

It felt like hours before Metatron finally showed his face. But he did show, and he seemed far too pleased with himself.

“You kick a box of puppies?” He asked kicking at the ward on the floor while glaring at the angel.

“Something like that. I got Gadreel back.”

“So your plan went North? Good for you. Can I go now?”

“You seem to be in a rush, Gabriel.” The worm acknowledged and he scowled.

“What can I say? I prefer my Pagans over slimy overgrown toads. I gotta head home since my last hidey hole has been compromised.”

“How did you fake your death?” The reigning ruler of Heaven asked boldly and he scowled.

“Can’t take the trick outta the Trickster. That’s my game, book nerd. You’ve seen it.” A fact that he was well versed in since the Scribe had monologued about it for hours not long after imprisoning him.

“I read your death, Gabriel. Lucifer stabbed you in the heart, your wings burnt out, and you were gone.”

“While that’s all true, it’s not the whole story. But I’m not telling you my trick. It was my queen and now she’s dead. No redos. It’s not part of the deal. I’m free to go to Helheim and you can carry on your merry little God phase.”

“Not much for talk. I have to say that I didn’t expect that.”

“I’m just done listening to your petty attempts at drawing information outta me. I’m out. Break the bindings. Now.” Gabriel ordered, True Voice leaking with archangelic authority that he rarely used. The arrogant angel looked startled, though and he felt a smug sense of satisfaction burning through him at it. Served the dick right. If it wasn’t for his desire to keep true to the agreement, as well as the angel's current possession of the Angel Tablet, he’d be making his point. Unfortunately, a deal was a deal and if he reneged on his side, Metatron would return the favor.

“Fine fine.” Metatron tapped the bar of the cell and the warding fell away, door flinging open as he stepped back. “Done. Happy?”

“What I wouldn’t give to smite you into the next millennium.”

“Didn’t think of you as the kind to break a deal.”

“I’m not.”

“Have fun with your Pagan brats. If I see you where you shouldn’t be, I’ll drag you right back here.”

“You would make a hideous woman.” Gabriel responded, glowering as he snapped his fingers to put a temporary illusion spell on the douchebag, disappearing in the same instant and diving right into Helheim.

*~-~*

“Not that I’m not thrilled that you’re home, because it is wonderful, what I can’t begin to comprehend is why you didn’t come to me first!” His daughter exploded on him, anger pulsating off of her in waves of righteous fury.

Gabriel bowed his head slightly, acknowledging the gathered crowd of souls lining the Norse Goddess of Death’s skeletal throne. “It was dangerous, at the time. Then I was simply hiding. I know you are angry-”

“Angry doesn’t begin to touch it, Father.” Hela hissed, “You abandoned me, us. Do you know how much it broke Fen's heart when I told him our Father was dead? Not just that you were dead, but Odin and all those other Pagans your brother from the one God killed were gone. Most the ones that were meant to bring forth the true Ragnarök were wiped from the planet in a single moment and you didn’t consider for a moment that your children deserved to know!”

“It was dangerous, Hela Bell. I’d have told you but if the wrong person overheard? Nope. I’m sorry. I am. I just couldn’t risk it. I know you’re pissed, and you have every right in the world to send me away.”

Hela watched him, pressing her lips together before rising to her feet. “I will make a deal with you, Gabriel.” Hela started in coolly. “You will be welcomed back in among the Æsir, if you forsake your archangelic heritage.”

It was a show, and even if he was lying to the others, it wasn’t to his daughter. Hela would never ask him to do that just as much as he would never ask her to forsake her throne. It was why he was so willing to do it. This was a case where his word was his bond because it wasn’t a formal word. It was a show. One he stepped back from and let a construct perform, cloaking himself from the prying eyes of everyone but his daughter.

“Whatever you wish of me, Daughter.” The construct spoke formally, kneeling before Hell and placing his head on his knee.

“Do you forsake Heaven, and all bonds and ties that come with those entities?”

“I do.”

“Do you swear loyalty to your family here, to the remaining members of the Æsir?”

“I swear.”

“Now rise, Father. Loki of the Æsir.” The construct rose to its feet and Hela nodded once. “I would like some time alone with him. Clear the room.” Once the crowd was gone his construct dissipated and he had an armful of his daughter, holding her tight against his chest as she buried her face in his shoulder. “I hate you.”

“It’d probably make your life a whole lot easier if you did.” Gabriel mused, holding her close to him as he sighed softly. “I’m sorry, Hela. I truly am.”

“Fen is dead.”

“I know.” Gabriel swallowed, tugging her closer and pressing his forehead against the top of her head. “I was at the funeral. You know that his death was not our fault, though.”

“No. It was his. I’m not stupid. I just wondered…”

“I may have hidden, but I’ve always watched over you. All of you. If I could have done anything for your brother, I would have, but he was lost.” The reality was more brutal than he would ever let his daughter in on. Fen had completely lost his mind and the hunters that took him out? They were right to do so. Some people just can’t be helped, and Fen was one of those victims. Even if he had shown his face, he knew his son well enough to know that he wouldn’t have been saved.

If only that was a lesson he could have crammed into a certain Winchester’s thick skull. Well, that was history, better to forget it since he had absolutely zero intentions of being directly involved with them.

“Mother?”

“Yeah, I’m listening.” Gabriel glanced at his daughter to see her glaring at him with a look so sharp it could’ve killed. Not that he minded. It was a look he hadn’t received in years.

“No, you aren’t.”

“I-” Trying to defend himself was a trick, especially when he knew he’d been caught but…

“I called you mother.”

There. Gabriel threw on a casual grin, “Well, I am Sleipner’s mother. Who’s to say I wasn’t considering going back to woman?”

“How about your unholy obsession with that Vessel?”

“Haven’t you been topside? They’ve got trannies and drags and all sorts of crossdressers. Besides. Physical body doesn’t make the gender.” Gabriel retorted, waggling his finger at his scowling daughter and swapping his outfit for much more feminine attire. His daughter groaned loudly and shielded her eyes.

“We aren’t Scottish! Get rid of the damned kilt!”

“It’s a skirt. Besides, our Viking pals wore dresses.” Gabriel retorted, pouting petulantly as he considered for a moment just how far he could actually go with this before she got honestly annoyed with him.

“They weren’t dresses, and they weren’t plaid. Plaid skirt on a man equals kilt.” Hela retorted, waving her hand and effectively changing his outfit to a long black dress which he rolled his eyes at. “Better.” His daughter’s gaze went across him once. “If you insist that you were listening, that is.” Then she turned and began walking from the main hall, heading towards the entrance and the garden he knew was past those doors.

“Of course I was listening.” He responded, refusing to be bested as he trailed after his daughter, ignoring the awkward way the dress clung to his male body. There was no way he was going to give up on this little argument.

“Well, fine. If you were listening, what was it that I offered you while you stay?”

Now honestly, he could’ve picked her mind but that would be playing dirty. If he was playing the part of being Loki rather than Gabriel, he couldn’t read her mind. Besides, it was more fun this way. “I’m refuting your offer, daughter. I’m not going to leave so there’s no reason to have terms for while I’m here.”

“I’ve heard a lot of evasions from you. That might be the worst one.” Hela acknowledged blandly, shaking her head and sighing heavily.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. So, what do you think about sharing some of your lipgloss. Oooh, maybe a bra. I mean, I know I can summon it up but there’s something about-”

“Odin help me.” Hela bit out with a dirty look over her shoulder as the large doors flung open. “I’m not going to feed into your ridiculous behaviors, Father.”

“Aw, you love them though.”

“That’s up for debate. I know that sooner or later you’re going to get stir crazy. That’s who you are. You’re the messenger of the one god. You aren’t supposed to stay in one place for extended periods of time. Not to mention you’re Loki. If you aren’t causing trouble, then you aren’t living. I’m not going to chain you here. I love you too much to do that to you.”

Gabriel’s expression softened as he caught her by her wrist before she could step onto the path. “Hela.”

“Let me go.”

“You’re being too nice to me. The last two times I’ve been with family, one stabbed me in the heart, and one imprisoned me.”

“That’s because angels are vermin. It shouldn’t surprise you. Every single time someone gets involved with angels they end up hurt. Dead, or worse.”

“I’m an angel at my roots.”

“I never said you didn’t fall into that category. I don’t like Gabriel, and even if you like to wear your Loki mask, even if you pretend that mother actually had us with you, when you fall back to your roots you will always choose Heaven over me, over us, and that’s fine. I know where I stand with you. I want you back, though. I want you here, until you leave again. Can you promise me to stay for two years?”

Gabriel shut his eyes, dropping his daughter’s arms and swallowing heavily. “I swear I will stay with you for two years. I promise, Hela.”

“Thank you.” Hela responded quietly as she returned to her walk. “Thank you, Father.”

“You’re welcome, Daughter.” Gabriel responded as he followed her into her garden, decaying plants lining the pathways and potted plants surrounding them, reminding him exactly what his daughter’s position as the Norse goddess of death meant.

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

Gabriel dodged back as Thor flung his hammer, barely succeeding at his avoiding the large object as he threw himself to the other side of the field. “Loki!” The god bellowed as he manifested four constructs, each one of them backing away in the same moment that he did, all moving in very different directions. The angry god whipped his head from side to side, long red hair whipping around as lightning thrummed beneath his skin.

“Come on, Thor.” They all said in unison. “I know you’re smart enough to figure it out.”

“You whimpering coward! You had sex with my wife! Fight like the god you claim to be!”

“Ah, but I am.” Gabriel responded, speaking in unison with himself and causing thunder the crack across all of Asgard as Thor’s anger grew stronger. “I’m being the Loki you know, and the Loki you know would never dare go into hand to hand combat with you.” The words echoed with his clones, his voice reverberating across the area around them.

“Thor, please.” Sif tried pleading again from where she was at the other end of the field, still clad in her thin silken robe that was almost enough to distract Gabriel from his illusions. “Let it go.” Except it didn’t seem like she really meant it, in fact, if he didn’t know any better… oh she wanted this. The little nuisance.

“Go inside, Sif! We will discuss this later.” Thor ordered his wife and Gabriel rolled his eyes, instantly regretting the action when Thor’s gaze locked on the correct version of him, hammer slamming right into his back as Thor summoned his hammer back. With the impact he was sent falling flat on his face with a pained shout -because archangel or not- that hurt. “I should rip your flesh off piece by piece.” Thor started in on him as he Gabriel fumbled to his feet, body healing a hell of a lot slower than it should have. “I put up with a lot of things from you- but my wife?”

“It takes two to tango, Thor.” Gabriel jibed, backing off and glowering at him. “She seduced me.”

Lightning crackled through the air and Gabriel took a step back, eyes narrowed as Thor charged his hammer. “I would never believe a lie like that, Loki. Surely you didn’t expect me to.”

Thor.” Hela’s voice broke the air, lightning draining from the atmosphere in a moment.

“He slept with my wife. I am not in the wrong.”

“There are greater issues than your wife sleeping around. I need to speak with my father.”

“He deserves punishment!”

“Should I punish your wife as well, then? After all. As my father so elegantly put it, it takes two to tango. Let it go, Thor. You saw past his illusions and struck him down.”

“This is not over.” Thor spat before disappearing along with his wife. Gabriel turned around slowly as Hela approached him.

“What’s wrong, Hela?” Gabriel asked suddenly, concerned at the distress on her face.

“I received a message.” She responded solemnly, turning and cutting a door into the air that she stepped through. Hesitating for only a moment before following her inside, coming out in his daughter’s bedroom where a valkyrie was scurrying out frantically.

“Really?”

“You have no place to judge me for my choice of bedfellows, Father. Did you really have to sleep with Sif?”

“I was being serious. She approached me! Why-”

“You know better. I can’t say I expected more from you, but I wish I could. Creating drama with Thor again? That isn’t what we need right now.”

“What would you have me do? Refuse her and be blamed anyways? The moment I was in her sights it was going to blow up in my face. Might as well-” Gabriel stopped dead when he caught sight of the figure in the corner of the room. Angel.

“Gadreel?” Gabriel blurted, stiffening slightly at the sight of the angel that had singlehandedly allowed Lucifer to corrupt the human race. What in the ever-living hell was he doing there?

“Gabriel.” The angel responded, eying him with a look that he couldn’t quite comprehend. It was too old, too ancient. A look that Gabriel had never thought he would see again. And Gadreel? Of all of the angels in Heaven, Gadreel was here?

What in the hell was an angel doing in Helheim? More importantly, Gadreel. Gabriel remembered God ordering his death, actually it was him that delivered that message to Michael. Why was he still alive? Even if he’d been alive, in Heaven’s prison no doubt- wouldn’t Gabriel have seen him? Unless Metatron banishing all of Heaven’s angels had knocked him out of the prison.

“What the fuck are you doing here?”

“Metatron has sent me.” Gadreel responded stoically and Gabriel shuddered slightly.

“We had a deal, I’ve held up my end so you can fuck right off.”

“Father.” Hela interjected sharply. “Listen to what he has to say.”

Gabriel ground his teeth together but shut his mouth, not for his sake but for hers. “Fine. What are you doing here?”

“Metatron has requested your presence, Gabriel. If you fail to comply, then he will destroy all of the Norse realms.”

“He’s breaking our deal?” Gabriel asked, tone leaking with anger while he remained completely relaxed, sharp gaze on the angel that was smart enough to flinch, looking down at the marble floor.

“I’m just the messenger-”

“The messenger of the new god delivering to the messenger of the real God? I hope you understand the immense level of stupidity of that statement. No, not just stupidity, mind-numbing idiocy. I mean, I knew you were probably dropped as a fledgling since Luci manipulated you into Falling. I still can’t believe you’ve Fallen this far.”

“We have all Fallen, Gabriel.”

“Not like you. How did you get someone to consent to your possession? Any level-headed Christian knows your name. No one would say ‘yes’ to you just like no one would say ‘yes’ to Luci without deception. Don’t come here pretending to be on the side of good when I have no doubt you lied to get that Vessel.”

“I did not-”

“I’m sure there’s some sort of rational explanation to the reason why he’s sleeping then? No. I know you’re a lot of things, Gadreel but stupid is not one of them. You claimed that body by lying. You did the angelic equivalent of a rape, and now you’re standing here as though you’re better than me.”

“That is not what we’re discussing.” Gadreel retorted stiffly. “Metatron wishes to speak with you.”

“I’ll come talk to him. If he touches our realm, though. I will destroy him.”

“You seriously underestimate him, Gabriel.”

“And you really underestimate Winchesters, Gadreel. Trust me. I’ve been down that road and it’s going to end badly for you. Once they figure out how to take down Metatron, you’re going to get caught in the crossfire. I can feel the lingering of his soul on you, at some point you stupidly possessed Sammy, and that? That’s going to blow up in your face. They’ll kill you.”

“You have no idea what you’re talking about.” The angel responded rigidly before backing up, disappearing through the realm wall. It took all of his willpower not to chase after the arrogant little angel. No, he’d let Winchesters deal with that problem. They always found a way, and they’d gone plenty of time without his help.

“Hela-”

“You should not go.” There was an air to Hela’s words, a quiver of something he couldn’t quite place but he knew the cause of. “Ignore the summons.”

“Then what?” Father help him he hated the way his voice broke with that question. “Metatron’s a dickbag that I should’ve smote into the deepest pits of the Empty but I didn’t. He doesn’t make idle threats and if I ignore him-”

“You said the angels Fell from Heaven, right?”

“Yeah, their wings are all shredded to bits. As of this moment, Metatron and me are the only angels on Earth with wings.”

“Can he alone attack us, Father? We could-”

“We’re not having this discussion.” Gabriel cut in suddenly, turning a stern look on his daughter. “Do you understand, Hela? We are not discussing this. I’m not pitting a war against the strongest angel in Heaven and the rest of the Norse pantheon. I-”

“You are the strongest angel, Gabriel.”

“No. I’m not, not anymore.” Gabriel responded, suddenly unable to look at his daughter as guilt and shame clouded him. “Do you remember what I told you about Metadick?”

“He is the ruler of Heaven.”

“Yeah, well it’s more complicated than that. He’s juiced up on the Angel Tablet. That crap channels God’s power. I know you like disregarding His legitimacy, but it’s true. He’s using my Father’s power now. I can’t fight against him and win without destroying the Tablet. You know the story of what Lucifer did to Odin, to the others. Metatron is at least twice that right now. I’m going to stand before him because if I don’t, if we try to stand against him, he will destroy us. All of us. You’re my family, and Metatron is a dick. But he’s powerful. I haven’t been afraid of someone since I fought The Darkness, but he’s a threat.”

“But, Father-”

“Hela, I’m not doing this with you. The answer is no. You’re not declaring a damned war on Heaven. Is that clear?”

Huffing a breath of irritation his daughter crossed her arms over her chest, defiance in her expression.

“Is that clear?”

“Fine.” Was the petulant response from the Goddess of the dead.

“What are you? Two again?”

“Coming from the god of childish behavior. I’ll leave it for now, but this conversation isn’t over.” His daughter’s gaze was wary, searching, and he knew she had every intention of bringing it back up again. Hela was just as stubborn as he was.

“It really is.” Gabriel responded, giving his daughter a hard look before snapping his fingers, transporting himself through one of Heaven’s many back doors.

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

Gadreel was waiting for him, and while it should have annoyed him that The Squib of God had known exactly where he was going to come through, he hadn’t been lying when he told Hela that Metatron was feeding off God power. Unlike his brothers -and once sister due to Luci- who could do base level omnipotence on Earth, Metatron was feeding off of God energy and with the right spellwork could more than likely do so much more. Gabriel was already well aware of the angel’s ability-

“-to read your mind.” The scene around him shifted to reveal a small impractical office with Metatron sitting at a desk, wearing an ugly as all hell robe.

“Among other things.” Gabriel responded with a glower. “So, what’s with the call to arms?”

“I have an issue that needs to be dealt with.”

“What’s that got to do with me? We had a deal, Metatron.”

“Ah, yes. Your freedom for playing out my trick on Castiel. Except you screwed it up.”

I screwed it up?” Gabriel scowled, eyes narrowing.

“Continuity errors are your flair, Gabriel. Your means to an end. I’ve read your greatest hits, remember? I let it go because you got my message across.”

“Oh really? So, what am I doing here, then? If I did what I was told- albeit with perfectly reasonable reluctance and more than predictable defiance- then our deal was held up. There’s no reason for me to be here, Metatron. Unless you’re the kind of god that lies.”

“I’d watch your tongue, Gabriel.”

“Or what? You’ll kill me? Lock me back up? You know you can’t keep me in either of those places. I don’t go down easy. Luci's proof enough of that.”

“I don’t need to do either of those things when I have these.” Metatron waved his hand and four rings appeared on his desk. None of the dramatic flair they deserved. The four rings that Gabriel had singlehandedly lead the hunters to all those years ago and horror clawed at his gut as the implications dawned with him.

Metatron was a dick, but he wasn’t that sadistic- right?

There was no point in running, no point in trying to steal the rings when apparently Metatron himself had Death’s, Death who so rarely intervened it was a miracle he’d shown for the Apocalypse at all.

“What do you want?”

“I need your horn.”

“You’ve got it already.” Gabriel scowled, stepping back.

“Not that one. You know exactly what I’m talking about, Gabriel. I’ve got your 'party trick'. I want the horn.”

“Why in the ever-living hell would I give you that? You’re bold, but you’re not suicidal.”

“I’m not stupid enough to open The Cage with that thing, but I think you are if you decide your brothers are the safer alternative to me. Which I can promise you, isn’t the case.”

“Lucifer tried to kill me.” Gabriel responded bitterly. “Well, he did kill me. You expect me to pop him from the box just because I don’t like you ruling Heaven?”

“Michael didn’t.”

“Yeah well Michael didn’t take The Cage well. Last update from Luci said he was a whimpering ball of tears.”

“You believe him?”

“Say what you will about him. Luci doesn’t lie. Granted his truth isn’t always our truth but if he says Mikey’s lost his mind, he’s lost it. So I’m not- wait, why the fuck am I explaining this to you? I’m not giving you my damned horn. It’s in a safe spot and I’m not stupid enough to use it. Now if that’s all you-”

All at once his blood ran cold, ice shooting down his spine and rage igniting in him as a prayer pierced his Grace, a cry for help. “You bastard.”

The scribe’s eyes lit and Gabriel launched himself from Heaven in a desperate flurry, diving through dimensional walls and coming out in the Norse realm.

“Time flows in realms based on its ruler. Five minutes here can be ten years on Earth.” Raphael had once told him what felt like a millennium ago. Maybe it was. God, he didn’t know anymore, all he knew was that when he arrived in the Norse realm it looked like they had been at war for years. The problem was the reality. This wasn’t a war, this was a slaughter. The first angel that saw him panicked and disappeared through the realm walls, and each and every other angel that saw him froze for a fraction of a second before doing the same.

He didn’t care.

Angels were drones at their roots, and Metatron was their leader. No. That didn’t matter. What mattered was the prayer he’d received a week too late. A prayer that had sounded from the deepest corners of Helheim.

The only thing that mattered. The doors flung open as he stormed in, energy crackling around him as his wings threatened against the edge of the veil where he kept them. More angels were here, Valkyrie bodies lay strewn about and he noticed Thor at the foot of Hela's throne, three dead angels laying and blood-soaked hammer still gripped firmly, even in death. It was a wonder anyone had managed to steal the thing from him before.

For a fraction of a moment he let himself grieve the asshole, then he was storming through the Halls of his daughter's castle, snapping a noose around the only angel stupid enough to attack him's neck and finding his way into his daughter’s heavily warded room.

The scene inside was bloody, horrible. There were three Valkyrie dead on the floor, two standing just inside the door armed with angel blades in tortured expressions.

“Loki-” One started and he gave her a hard look that shut her mouth. Váli was curled on her feet, shaking violently with his paw covering his face.

“Hela.” Loki breathed, joining his children’s side and staring at the wound in her side poisoned. If this was Metatron… Gabriel pressed his hand against her side, eyes burning when his grace didn’t touch her.

‘The angel said we would all die. Not just her but me, Narfi, and Jormun too. We’re his final targets.’ Váli's quiet telepathic voice came from the wolf and his teeth clenched.

“Your sister isn’t dead yet.” Gabriel snapped at his son who flinched away, hiding his face under his paw again. “He already killed Narfi to throw the angels from Heaven. Jormun's dead. You’re still here, though. And your sister is too. I’m not losing all of you. I won’t.

“Dad.” Hela's voice broke the air and Gabriel’s gaze snapped to her. “You can’t… I was wrong.”

“You’ll get through this. I’ll get-”

“It’s over for me.” She interrupted him and his eyes burned with tears as he shook his head, gripping her hand tightly. “Get Váli and go.”

“No. I’m not leaving you.”

“Yes, you are. It’s your best skill. Get him and get the fuck out of here before they find him. Run.”

“Hela-”

“Listen to me. I know you don’t want to, but you need to. He’s after all of us. The only reason Váli's alive is the angels don’t know he’s a wolf. Once they figure it out… Stay out of it. Whatever you do. Stay out of it. No revenge. Just-” Hela gasped sharply, back arching off the bed and he stared in horror as her form shimmered and dissipated into nothingness, leaving his hand grasping at air.

Hela.

'Dad.’

“I shouldn’t have left.”

'Dad.’

“Gather the other Valkyrie, Einar. All of them. We’re getting Váli the fuck out of here.”

“Loki…” Einar responded uneasily, meeting his gaze.

What?

“We’re the last. It’s only us.” A sob threatened to escape him, the rawest purest emotion he’d felt in decades, and he couldn’t dare show it. Not here, not now. He had to be strong, even when he was fucking scared to his rawest form. Scared and angry. But he had to focus. Get Váli out. Get him out.

“I can’t fly us out. I’m grounded in Helheim and my only way out is a one person ticket.”

“I can’t fight angels.” A snap of his fingers and the spears the two Valkyrie were wielding were coated in angel steel.

“Now you stand a chance.” Gabriel looked at his son who was watching him from the bed, the eternal wolf pup watching him with tired, sad eyes.

“I know you hate being treated like a puppy but I need you with me.”

'I can’t leave.’

“What the hell are you talking about?”

'It was never a problem. My curse, dad. Your punishment. I can’t leave the Norse realm, if I do I lose all of my sentience. I become a common beast.’

In other words, he was gone. Just as good as Hela. In one, single, stupid move he was alone. His secondary family, the ones that took him in when he fled from Heaven, they were gone.

It was over.

So, he did what any father would do for a son they loved. He sat down on the edge of the bed and lifted his protesting child into his arms, hugging him close. His flesh and grace, distributed among two children…

“Here, or Earth. I can’t break your curse, so it’s your choice.”

'I love you, Dad but… I want to die with my mind. I want to be me.’

“I wish we’d done more together.”

'We did enough. You faked Narfi's death. You found me a place with Hela. I could never ask you for more. You did the best you could. You hid us from Heaven- your mistake divided into two, and you took them in. You gave me siblings.’

Gabriel held his son close, kissing a furry cheek. “I never did. I was a coward. I should have fought harder for you.”

'You did your best in our crazy world. Run, Dad. I don’t want you to see this.’

“Váli…”

You watched Hela. You don’t deserve this. Run.’

“No.”

'Now.’ His son ordered and with one final pained look his son squirmed out of his arms and onto his sister’s bed, shaking his coat out and meeting his gaze with pain and fear etched into his expression.

“I’m sorry.” Then he did what no father ever should do. He turned his attention to the two remaining Valkyrie. “Protect him.” He ordered quietly before stepping back, feet touching down on the Earth as the first tears fell.

*~-~*

Gabriel walked through the empty halls of Helheim. So far he had found Jörmungandr and -to his silent anguish- Sleipnir's corpses. Which left the final two. The ones he’d been avoiding.

Hela's room was near the front, nowhere near far enough away for him to prolong the waiting sight.

I left him. It was hard to decide whether that had been a bad choice or not. It was the most difficult decision he had made in his entire life. Except in reality he hadn’t made a choice. He’d just acted, and there hadn’t been time to think it out. It had just been a matter of move.

So when he stepped outside her room, he froze, staring at the blood-spattered door.

There was no way… He wasn’t that close… There were more hallways. There was more time.

Except the door was soaked in blood and he knew his son’s corpse was on the other side. A fact. Something he knew as well as he knew breathing. Just like he’d known the moment the others were killed. Something as basic as breathing for humans. The knowledge of the lifelines of his children -adopted or not- was embedded in his very Grace.

Finish it. Easier thought than done, but he did what he had to. Slowly, so damned slowly, he pulled open the door and stepped inside. It wasn’t a bloodbath- well not exactly. There were six dead angels in various positions, one still had the Valkyrie’s spear protruding from its chest and another had the distinct imprint of wolf teeth on its throat.

At first, Gabriel didn’t see him. Honestly, he probably was avoiding the sight. It wasn’t just a matter of another dead body. It wasn’t going to be just any dead body. Not Sleipnir or Jörmun. Hela didn’t have a corpse for him to get, but Váli was another story. Váli was one of his two children, one of his nephillim, and he was part of Gabriel’s grace. Unlike the other three, Váli had been half of his nephillim child, divided into two to protect him. One of two.

His child.

His stomach lurched at the sight of Váli on the bed, the only blessing being that the angel that killed him? He’d made it quick. There was no doubt in his mind that they’d just gotten it over quickly. No one wanted to kill a kid, not angels and not even if they were Pagans. Eternally cursed to look as a young wolf, his curse became a blessing in the last moment.

Father, thank you. Yeah, he knew it didn’t have a damned thing to do with God, but he couldn’t help but pray. It was still ingrained in him, just as natural as everything else. Angels prayed. It was their roots, hell even Lucifer prayed.

Of course, it irritated the hell out of him. Especially here. God had no standing here. Not in Helheim. Not in the Norse realm. Not in any of them. Not- His thoughts skidded to a stop when he spotted a VHS tape sitting on the end table. Normally in this place, here and now, he wouldn’t have given it two thoughts. This was a graveyard. Yet, he knew for a fact that the tape hadn’t been there before, and it was cloaked to the brim in angel warding- not Archangel. Where the hell had it come from?

“Váli? Was this you?” He asked quietly, swallowing heavily as he snapped a TV with a VCR into existence on the dresser, forcing his gaze from the blood-soaked bed. Later. He could do this later. For now… This had to be important. It had to be. That was the only reason it would be there.

A click of his fingers and the tape was flying across the room, pressing into the VCR with a metallic sound. Please be good.

Hey, Dad.” Hela's voice chimed from the TV as a fuzzy image came into view. It was Hela on her bed with Váli curled up in her lap. “I want to start with an apology. See I didn’t think about it sooner. I’ve prayed now, but I know it’s too late.” A scream sounded in the background and she flinched, Váli pressing his face against her chest. “I guess I get my best cues from you, better late than never. I’m telling Váli to bring this out when the inevitable happens, but not before. If it’s before, you won’t listen. I love you, and I’m sorry. But I have to beg you. Here and now, I have to give you my last dying wish. Not just mine, but Váli’s too. You can’t… Don’t do something stupid. Let us fall. Don’t get yourself killed by going back. You’re Loki. You’re our father. Prove that. Abandon Heaven. Hold onto your legacy as Loki, pagan god. Please, Father. Do this for us. Do this for me. I don’t want you to die and you’ve made it clear that this Metatron is capable of killing you.”

“Hela.”

I love you. We love you. I just-”

“Hela, Norse Goddess of the dead.” A voice broke the air on the video, angelic without any doubt, and the image went dead. All he could do was stare at the screen, heart breaking at the impossible, final request of his daughter. God.

How could she ask him that? Let Metatron slaughter them all? No revenge?

Damn it.

How could he refuse her? With a shaky breath he turned his attention to where Váli was laid out on the bed, throat slit.

The final body of his final child. Then… what? Did he do what she asked or did he go on a rampage in Heaven until Metadick killed him?

Damn.

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

The day The Darkness was released Gabriel had been restoring Thor’s home. While it hadn’t been much to begin with, he had been running low on things to do to occupy his free time. If he went to Earth? If he saw the fallout from the Fallen? There was no way he could prepare himself for that.

It was better if he just… stayed in the ruins of his secondary home. Because that was better.

Okay. It really wasn’t. It was grief, pain, and misery. All of it was pure, raw, torture. Every waking moment was another reminder of what he’d failed to do. If it wasn’t for the Winchesters and Castiel turning the worm into a damned human he knew for a fact he would’ve broken his promise to himself, that he would’ve left Metatron to die on a damned spike for all of the world to see because he deserved no less. Except humanity was a pretty justified punishment for an asshole like him. Probably a punishment he would’ve given as Loki if he hadn’t been emotionally invested in the situation.

But that was irrelevant. Theoretically. Everything changed for him the moment the first bell rang, then the second, then the other hundred.

All of the warning bells rang out at once.

For the first time in a very long time -because even during The Apocalypse neither had ever done it- he sensed Lucifer and Michael actively keying into angel radio. It was just a fraction of a moment, but it happened. All three of them did, and each reaction was completely different. Michael’s reaction something resembling a deranged whimper of fear, Lucifer making a delighted sound that absolutely meant nothing good for anyone, and his own shout of panic.

The Darkness. Who had been bold- no stupid enough to release her?

Winchesters.

Gabriel was halfway to Earth for the first time since his children were slaughtered when he was intercepted by something old- and for a fraction of a second he feared the worst. Considering the years of silence, the most rational reaction was the worst case, and since she was now free?

What he didn’t expect was the sight of Chuck Shurley sitting at a bar. Not just any bar, though, and not just any prophet.

If he was honest, he’d never considered it for a moment. Prophets had once been his deal, but that was a lifetime ago. Now?

Well, he had more than enough experience with warding and cloaking magic to see right through the damned charade, mask or not.

“Father.” He greeted bitterly, glowering at God who turned his head with a small smile.

“Gabriel. Or is it Loki now?” The condescending dickbag asked him.

“It’s fuck you, that’s what it is. You-” His voice vanished and he huffed an angry breath, dropping into the seat furthest from God and snapping himself a martini.

“You should mind your tongue, Gabriel.” His abandoner Father lectured him, as though he had any damned right to act as an authoritarian figure over him. Helheiml no.

After a violent glare at God his voice was returned and he was speaking, “I’m not going to do anything resembling that. You- you abandoned us. Did you see what Luci did? Metadick? And you what? Sat on your ass in a crappy bar that’s not even worthy of daytime soap operas? No, I’m not going to treat you with any more respect than I was treated for running!”

“Yes, I saw. Each time it was solved.” Completely missing the point, that wasn’t the point. How did the creator of the universe not get the damned point?

“Barely! And with bigger repercussions each time! Christ, you’re God.

“Yes, I am.” His Father responded with a dark look. “Which is something you would do well to remember.

“Or what? You’ll smite me? Throw me in the Cage with Mikey and Luci? Come on. Same story over and over again. You have no new tricks up your sleeves. Haven’t in a long time. So get to it, pops! What’s the deal, why’d you bail on Heaven? What’s your sob story?”

“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I want to know exactly why you left. I want to know the whole story.”

“You’re God.” He reminded him bitterly.

“No, my name is Chuck, and call me a curious writer rather than God.”

“Ugh. Even your personas are crap. Shitty names, crap stories. Fine, though. I bailed after you left because-”

“No, Gabriel. I want the full story.”

Grinding his teeth together he glared at his Father. “You left. Michael and Raphael were dull, arrogant, assholes, and Luci was gone. I could’ve played with the fledglings but they just weren’t able to keep up with my exuberant personality. Happy?”

“Not really.”

“Well too bad.”

“Why the Pagans, Gabriel? Of all of the things on Earth you could have done, you chose Pagans. You possessed Loki.”

“It was my silent way of telling you to fuck off.” Gabriel responded with more honesty than he’d planned. “Of all the places you chose on Earth, you became… Chuck Shurley, Raphael’s prophet. Not even a very good one. You know you’re a crap writer, right?”

“I wrote the world’s biggest bestseller.” He disregarded the insult entirely. “So that’s it? You went to the Pagans because you wanted to become a god to spite me. That’s… pretty simple.”

“What did you expect?”

“That you were escaping the confines of Heaven in favor of debauchery and killing. I thought you were following Lucifer in the only way you could without Falling.”

“Yeah, well you were wrong. Considering the fact that you created everything, you really don’t get it, do you?”

“Get what?”

“People, God.” He responded with a roll of his eyes. “You created all of us, everything here, and you just don’t get it. Every action has a chain reaction. Every person, and thing. They feel, they hurt, and they suffer. When you went off to the store for cigarettes and never came back? There are repercussions! I don’t care if you’re God, you need to live up to it!”

“That’s not what we’re discussing.” Man, did that response piss him off too. Why had he missed the bastard? Oh, right. His father. Damn.

“So, what am I here for? I’m not in the mood for being strung along. Say it and I’ll be on my merry little way.”

“You’re going to help them.” The moment the words left God’s lips anger flared in his grace. Was he serious right now?

“Says you?” In truth, that had been the plans but now that he was being told to by his absent Father? The idea was less appealing. Winchesters broke the world and cleaned their messes up all the time. They could deal with Amara. In theory.

“Yes, Gabriel.” Chuck responded firmly and his lip curled.

“No. Not just no, hell no. I’m not playing your little game. Games are my thing. Shit endings are yours.” He bit out angrily, shoving out of his seat.

“It depends on the interpretation of the ending, Gabriel. You can’t please everyone.”

“Yeah I know. Your occult following has made that blatantly clear. The fact of the matter is that I’m not doing it. I’m not playing your game. I’m not- no. Throw me in the Cage if you don’t like it. I’m not doing it.”

With a single, firm, look his Father brought a glass to his lips. “Then I guess we’re done here.” Chuck responded coolly.

“That’s it?”

“Free will exists for a reason, Gabriel. I can’t force you, though I am asking.”

“You aren’t helping them.” Gabriel reminded his Father before he was sent away in a rush of energy.

When he landed, he was in Helheiml and pissed. Especially when he sensed the cracks in the Cage.

Winchesters.

Lucifer’s probing grace was reaching through the cracks now and it sent a violent shiver down his spine. Fear.

“Gabriel.” Lucifer hummed from behind the bars and he fluttered off before either of his siblings could speak another word.

*~-~*

The moment Gabriel heard Michael escape the Cage, he abandoned his hideout in Helheim to fly straight into Heaven, slipping past angels and souls with almost no effort. Completely hidden. All he could hope was that the Winchesters weren’t stupid enough to let Lucifer out too. Lucifer could be convincing, but not that convincing… hopefully.

Michael was curled in a ball in the back of his room and a very wary Brendiel was hovering at the front wall when he arrived.

“Does anyone else know?” He demanded of the seraph who stared at him with wide eyes. Shock, fear, and admiration resonated from her and Gabriel could almost feel how much restraint she was using against hugging him.

“You were dead…”

“It goes around. Answer the question.”

“I- no. I just happened to be nearby. We’re mobilizing to smite Amara. Gabriel-”

“It’s a stupid idea. Now go. You saw nothing, heard nothing. Is that clear?”

“Gabriel-”

“Is that clear?” He demanded and Brendiel curtseyed almost ironically in her male vessel before taking off down the hallway. Gabriel slipped inside without another word before he threw up warding on the walls and floors.

“Michael.” He spoke softly and his brother’s head whipped up, bug-eyed and fearful.

“Lucifer- I, no I wasn’t trying to escape! Please don’t-”

“I’m not-”

“I’m sorry!”

Gabriel’s stomach twisted uncomfortably as he realized a horrible, terrible truth. Michael wasn’t talking to him. The closer he looked without daring a step towards the other -much more powerful- archangel, the more he saw and the more his heart broke. Adam Milligan was in pieces, demonized and tortured beyond demonization. Adam Milligan was… well he wasn’t. Adam Milligan no longer existed, his soul was an empty shell of whatever had once been there. No one deserved something like that, but there it was.

Michael, though? Michael was in… horrible shape. It was more than obvious that the Michael he knew, the arrogant, self-absorbed, self-righteous dick? That had been beat out of him. Wiped from him and replaced with a shaky, horrified mess of a person. Someone that Gabriel didn’t know, someone he feared more than anything else. Michael in that state? That Michael was dangerous, to anyone and everyone. Yet, there was something else.

This Michael, this dangerous, broken archangel. He was someone he… pitied.

“Lucifer, please…” Michael sobbed out, curling back into a ball and burying his face in his knees. “Please don’t.”

God, he hated Michael. He hated his brother so much. Michael was an arrogant, self-righteous asshole. But… He was also his big brother, and no one deserved what he went through. No one deserved to suffer from Lucifer’s hatred, his anger. Not for as long as they’d been in the Cage.

Not even Michael. Quietly, he stepped forward and knelt down, pressing a hand against his brother’s shoulder as Michael jerked away from the contact with a panicked cry. “Michael.” Gabriel said quietly. “Can you hear me? It’s Gabriel. It’s your baby brother.”

“Please…”

“I’m going to end this.” Gabriel continued softly, summoning his archangel blade. “I’m going to save you. Do you understand me?”

“Lucifer- just… I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

His eyes burned a bit as he fought back the wave of pain and nausea that he was feeling. Back in the day, he could’ve done this easy. Back then, Michael had deserved it. Now, though? It was a mercy killing. It was justified, but it still made him want to run in the other direction. This wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair, and still he had to do it. He was the only one that was anywhere near capable of it. “I’m sorry, Michael.” Gabriel said quietly as he gripped his brother’s shoulder, shoving him down onto his back before he drove his blade into his brother’s chest.

Michael didn’t scream, he didn’t make a sound. A gasp, a bright flash of grace exploded throughout the room, and then it was over.

Michael was dead.

Gabriel didn’t dare cry, he didn’t make a sound. All he could do was stare at the sight of Michael’s corpse on the ground and force himself to mobilize, to lift the body of Michael and take him away from there. Out of Heaven.

A little while later, he was burning the body of Adam Milligan at a hunter’s pyre. It wasn’t sentimentality, it was just… the concept that made him do it. Adam Milligan had died a horrible death, and he deserved a hunter’s funeral.

*~-~*

Two little archangels, cold and alone. One in a cage, and one with no home.

~-.-~

 

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

Gabriel closed his eyes and looked up at the sky. “I have to do it. The dumbasses are failing. Luci’s gloating about the victory and… I’m not doing this for you. This is for the Earth. This is to try and clean up your damned mess.”

The prayer was half-assed and for his benefit more than anything, because he knew God wasn’t listening. God- or Chuck? He didn’t care. It was them now. Even Luci would eventually play a part in it all. All of it was a matter of when.

“So.” Sam was saying when Gabriel arrived -invisible- on a dock somewhere outside of that dead zone in Missouri. Not just any deadzone. The area he knew very well housed the Men of Letters American bunker.

“So. Cas.” Dean responded and Gabriel sat down on the edge of the wood, dangling his feet in the water quietly to give the boys a bit of time to wrap their minds around the fact that Castiel had said yes. If what Lucifer said was true, Sam would be in more shock than Dean.

“Yeah. What do we do?” Sam asked. So, he was playing the fine card. Because that always worked out. Gabriel cast a glance over his shoulder before looking back down at the murky water.

“What else? We hunt Lucifer, trap the bastard, and save Cas.”

“Like I said. Lucifer may be in control now, but Cas may not come back willingly. I mean he chose it.” That made Gabriel pause. Did… Gabriel turned carefully, eyeing the brothers for the first time in years with a new fascination. Dean didn’t know. Dean didn’t have a clue his baby brother was screwing his best friend. It was a secret, which meant… Sam had to deal with the fact that Lucifer had screwed him while wearing Cas on his own. It was almost depressing. Almost. If Sam wanted to deal with his issues on his own, that was his business.

“No. No, not possible.” There was a long moment of silence following that before Sam cleared his throat.

“So, how'd you get through today? I mean what did you do?”

“Nothing. Sam, they…” Gabriel looked away with a guilty flinch. Dean had just suffered the successful change of a historical event. Humans weren’t meant to succeed in those kinds of things, but he had, and he was dealing with the psychological backlash. If Gabriel had bothered to show his face he could have warned them it was a fruitless activity. Pointless. Lucifer should’ve known better too. Changing history was playing with fire.

“I was just a witness.” Dean responded with a shaky breath. Gabriel couldn’t look at him. If he did he’d never get the image out his head, a vulnerable Dean Winchester accompanied by a falsely less disturbed Sam.

“Do you wanna talk about it?”

“No. No, story for another day.”

The wood creaked as one of the hunters rose to their feet and he closed his eyes. It was almost time and he wasn’t really sure he was close to being ready for this.

“Hey, the uh - the German ship that sank the Bluefin, what happened to it?”

“It went down. Unlike the sub, its wreckage was found. It was a giant hole. It ripped through the entire thing. Something must've hit the fuel tanks and exploded, but it burned. Sank.” Sam responded, sounding just a bit perplexed.

“Good. That’s good.” Gabriel rose to his feet slowly, turning and raising his fingers in a snap- before he stopped. Was this practical? No. Not by a longshot. It didn’t matter how he made himself known. They weren’t going to buy it either way.

“Hey, guys.” Gabriel spoke up, invisibility dissipating as two wiry hunters drew guns on him in an instant, one shooting him square in the chest. “Really? I thought we were allies now.”

“G- Gabriel?” Dean blurted in shock while Sam kept a gun trained on him, eyes narrowed and demeanor screaming suspicious and mistrustful.

“Yep. It’s me. I know, I died blah blah blah. Thanks for the flowers, by the way.”

“Sam-”

“No. You were dead. We saw-”

“Yeah, I know. I did a great job fooling everyone.”

“No- Lucifer showed me that. One of the hundreds of deaths on my hands. I saw him kill you.”

“What can I say? I’m a Trickster. I’ve had years to prepare for my deaths and the outcomes. Tricking Luci was a challenge but-”

“How?” Dean demanded, finally kicking into proper action. “How the hell did you trick the devil?”

“The same way he tricked you boys. Lens flare here, body there, half my grace used in an  explosion, feathers for effect, and bam! Fake dead archangel. Nasty business, nearly did kill me.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Of course you don’t.” Gabriel scowled at Dean before snapping his fingers and returning the memories of two hundred and fifty-six deaths. The older hunter dropped to the ground with a shout, grabbing at his skull and Gabriel crossed his arms over his chest as Sam abandoned his initial misgivings, dropping his own gun on the ground as he knelt beside his brother.

“Stop it! Please!”

“Why should I? You don’t have the decency to respect me, why should I-”

“I believe you.” Sam interrupted him with a hard look. Satisfied, just as quickly as he’d returned memories of all the deaths, he revoked all but three. Dean was gasping sharp, desperate breaths as he struggled to life his gaze, glaring angrily.

“Why weren’t you here sooner? Where the fuck have you been?” Dean demanded angrily.

“Here, there, everywhere.” Gabriel responded evasively. “How about you, boys? How’ve you been spending your downtime while bringing the planet to the brink time and time again? I mean sure, it’s fun once or twice but after a while it gets old.”

“Screw you, asshat.” Dean bit out articulately.

“Not the time or place for that, Dean-Bean.” Gabriel responded with a wink. Dean’s face reddened but Gabriel couldn’t quite tell if it was from anger or embarrassment. Maybe both. Probably both. That was the fun thing about prayers, he knew when someone thought about him a lot, and boy had Dean thought about him a lot. At least the first time they met. Then it had sort of spiraled out of control. Never stood a chance. Not even a single roll in the hay. “The two of you were stupid. So damned stupid. No- not stupid. Selfish.”

“Coming from the runaway.”

“Hey, I made my selfish choices for my own benefit.” Gabriel waved it off. “And the world didn’t get caught in the crossfire.”

Neither brother seemed pleased with that response but he didn’t particularly care what they thought. His leaving Heaven was his choice and the repercussions were ones he’d paid the price for in blood. “So you’re alive.”

“Yes. We’ve established that.”

“How?”

“My dirty little secret. I’d rather Luci didn’t find out so it’ll be between me, myself, and I thank you very much.”

Sam gave him a speculative look, full of distrust and probably some hatred. There was a distinct hint of unease too, like Sam thought he knew. Which he did, but he wasn’t the kind of dick that would drop that ball. It absolutely wasn’t his place to share things he only knew because Lucifer was arrogantly bragging about bedding himself a Winchester. “How about I keep my potentially dangerous secrets, and you share yours. Tell me what you two dumbasses have figured out- besides the hands of God.”

“You know about those?” Dean asked, sounding uncomfortable.

“Of course I do. Luci ain’t exactly quiet. He likes gloating to me, fuels his ego. Up until today I had no intention of getting involved.”

“What changed?”

“You lost a Hand of God and changed the past.” Gabriel responded, eyeing Dean with what he would never admit was a bit of admiration. “Dad’s jumped ship, He’s done playing ball with the kids, and He’s going to let Auntie Amara wipe us from the map. So, we’ve got to do this on our own.”

“We.”

“Of course.” Gabriel responded with a smirk he didn’t really feel. “I’ve died for your asses, I’m rightfully a member of Team Free Will.”

“You said-”

“Yes, I know what I said. I did die, but I didn’t. End of story.” The glare he cast the younger Winchester was clearly enough as neither brother said another word on the matter. “Last time, it took four of us, and Daddy dearest to take her down. Thing is, God power can only be wielded by someone in God’s favor. None of us qualify, Mikey could but he’s off his rocker. Theoretically little Cassie could because ironically enough he’s got a decent amount of faith for a Fallen, but his stunt with Lucifer… yeah, I wouldn’t put my money on that anymore- actually wait.” His gaze wandered back to Sam, peeling the human layer back to eye the fractured and broken soul. “Maybe you could, Sam. I’m impressed. Still pray?”

“I- yeah.” Sam admitted reluctantly. “How can you-”

“Your soul still has the radiance of a follower of God. Something I didn’t expect to be possible after all this time. You are an interesting human being, Sam Winchester. Not that it matters too much. If you touch it, you die and we both know that’s not going to happen.”

The looks he got in return were priceless and he didn’t really care much for them. This was their fault, not his.

“So look, boys. It’s like this. We’re short two archangels-”

“Michael?”

“Mikey’s crazy as a bat. He’s not in any condition to fight and I doubt even Daddy dearest could save him if he wanted to. Two archangels down. There’s some theoretical ways we can do it, but we’ll need another Hand.” That was his skeleton. His secret. Sooner or later, the ball would drop. Someone would spill about Michael’s death. Lucifer would probably do it, but it was something he didn’t want to talk about. Never again.

“Where the hell will we get one of those?”

“As far as I’m concerned they’re all juiced out. That said, I’m sure there’s a couple out there. They’ll just be hell to find. If they were common, Luce would’ve gotten his hands on them already and wouldn’t have been firing into the dark with time travel. No, boys. These won’t be easy to find. But with me on your side you’ve got a better chance.”

“Until Lucifer shanks you again.”

“Low blow, Deanarino. But fair. There’s a difference now. Big one. He’s just as afraid of Amara as I am, he’s not going to kill me. Though he might come after my Vessel when he starts wearing through Cassie…”

“He what-”

Gabriel gave Sam a hard look at the same moment Dean blurted. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“Castiel isn’t wearing a viable Vessel. Not for an Archangel. If it was that easy do you really think they’d have pushed so hard for you knuckleheads? Nope. Not in a million years. Even True Vessels wear over time.” To prove his point he peeled back the collar of his shirt to expose the layers of heat patches that had started manifesting a hundred or so years ago. “We aren’t supposed to be on Earth. We belong in Heaven. Vessels are supposed to be temporary. My guess is Lucifer threw some reinforcement in Cassie for the time being, but sooner or later he’s going to pop like a balloon.” The brutal truth clearly wasn’t the best one but it was the one he had. He wasn’t going to sugarcoat it for the idiots that kept ending the world. Even knowing what he knew. “Theoretically you could throw down the yes card. Despite what they told you, you wouldn’t need the demon blood. Of course it could also-”

“No.” Dean responded before he could finish his rambling. “Not just no, fuck no. That’s not- It’s not happening.”

“Not even to save your boyfriend?” He mocked the wrong Winchester, earning a nearly feral look from Sam matched with an angry, pissed off one Dean gave him.

“He’s not my boyfriend.”

“Oh, right. He’s too tall for you, isn’t he?” To be fair, he earned it. More than earned it. He deserved it, so it wasn’t exactly surprising when he was punched square in the jaw, hit hard enough it actually sent him stumbling back a couple steps and almost into the water.

It was the thrower of the punch that threw him off. He’d expected it from Dean, not from Sam. Not in a million years, though he should have suspected. In the end of it all, when it came down to the emotional level, Sam was the reactive one. It wasn’t Dean. In fact, it made perfect sense.

“Happy?” He asked rubbing his cheek and watching the hunter flex his fingers uncomfortably.

“Not really. What the fuck is your problem?”

“It’s a long story. A really long one and I’m not going to bother sharing it. It’s none of your business.”

“So you can know everything about us and you can’t bother telling us where the hell you’ve been?”

“It doesn’t matter-”

“Yes. It does.” Dean cut in from behind his brother. “It’s too good to be true, what’s the catch? Nothing like you ever comes without a price.”

“Hm. Fine. Short story. I was in Heaven up until The Fall. When Metadouche took over he locked me up and made a deal with me.”

“The thing with Cas?”

“Yep. I tricked Cas, he left me alone. Not that I played my part well. I didn’t want to help the worm. But it’s done. Then I went off to Helheim and kicked it with my babygirl for a few years- sorry Earth months. Then the rat stabbed me in the back and slaughtered the last of the Norse pantheon. My kids asked that I didn’t go for revenge, so I stayed there. Dying wishes are sorta my thing you know. All was fine until you two popped Auntie from her box.” There was a moment of silence following that. He waited for the inevitable question. A question he couldn’t answer until asked directly.

“What changed with Amara? Why didn’t you come then?”

“God.” He responded, earning a shocked look from both brothers. “He summoned me and told me I was going to help you. I told him to fuck off. I’m not one of his soldiers. Not anymore.”

“You didn’t think about getting involved when we fucked up and let Lucifer out?”

“I did. But to be honest I figured you’d be smart enough to realize Castiel was possessed. Even if you didn’t, Lucifer hadn’t been planning to kill you. I thought he was smart enough to keep using you. Go figure Sammy’s the one that pisses him off.”

“You came because Lucifer stopped pretending.”

“No.” He corrected with a sigh. “I came because he tried to kill the both of you. I didn’t think he was stupid enough to try. Like it or not, you two dumbasses seem to figure out how to save the world time and time again. Whether he shows it or not, he’s just as scared as everyone else.”

“Self-preservation.” Sam muttered.

“Bingo! It’s like this, boys. No matter how arrogant he is, no matter the stupid choices that he makes are, Lucifer is selfish. Everything he does, he does for him. Every move he makes is towards his own victory. Though I’m reluctant to admit it, we’re all like this. It’s one of the consequences of being some of the strongest creatures in existence. Nothing matters more than our own survival and since it’s so rare that we’re challenged… When something does threaten it, we’ll generally protect ourselves and our best option for survival.” Except maybe their children. Michael had sired a nephillim at one point and been fiercely protective over it. Ironically, that was where Odin had come from. Just another secret runaway. Not that it mattered. Lucifer had ultimately killed Odin. Stupid, stupid kid.

“Yeah, that worked out smoothly so thanks for that.”

“Hey, you got away unscathed. I’m not heartless. I’ve told the reapers to back off. They want my help keeping Auntie down, you two don’t get thrown into The Empty. With Death gone they’re a bit scattered but they got the message.”

“You’re serious?” Sam looked extremely doubtful.

“Deadly.” He responded with a smirk. “Even that Billie reaper that threatened you agreed to back off. Well, until Amara’s gone anyways. Then you’re fair game. Even sweetened the deal. Heaven for both of you, no resurrection clause though. If you get brought back, I get to kill you.” Admittedly the bargaining with Billie had been a pain in his ass, and it was because she was the reaper that had taken the ring. Billie was Death, and she wanted them dead. But the deal had been made, and it wasn’t one he was actually happy with. Killing the hunters dead was different than what he’d done in Mystery Spot. Hell, he hadn’t been present for much of it. He’d skipped over it in favor of doing other things that he’d sworn to never mention.

So yeah. As far as Sam and Dean knew, he was fine with the prospect. It was what it was.

“You know, you’re both much less attractive when you look like fish. A simple thank you would suffice.” He huffed, turning his back on them.

“You saved our souls?”

“Yep. You two are officially on the can not die list until auntie is gone and you’re not going to rot in The Empty, you’re going to Heaven. You’re welcome.”

Gabriel didn’t expect a thank you, and when the words came from not Sam but Dean’s mouth he was yet again thrown off guard. Somehow they still managed to surprise him.

“Thanks.” Gabriel turned his head and raised an eyebrow at the uncomfortable looking hunter. “I guess.”

“We got player one. You gonna join the Gabe train, Sammy?”

“No.”

“Welp. Figured as much. Clearly dying for your mistakes doesn’t earn a pass, why should saving your afterlives?”

“Gabriel-”

“Save it, Dean-o. I get the memo. Call me when Luci’s got her nose up your ass again.” Then he was gone in a snap of fingers.

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

It wasn’t that he was exactly bothered by Sam’s reaction to his offer for help, he had known it wouldn’t be a simple task to earn their trust. Especially Sam’s. He’d put Sam through Hell, admittedly played favorites, and he knew getting Sam to agree would be significantly more difficult than Dean. Sam had been through a lot more with him than the older of the brothers.

A fact he didn’t mind too much. Sam could hate him all he wanted. He didn’t owe him anything. All he’d done was try to right the younger brother’s path. The fact that Sam hadn’t listened wasn’t his fault. It was Sam’s. Him and his blind stupidity that kept screwing the world over again and again.

So, when they needed his help, they would ask.

*~-~*

He wasn’t annoyed. No, not at all. Why would he be annoyed that the dumbasses had screwed around for a solid month before praying to him for help?

That was insane.

“Gabriel, we need your help.” Why was it they insisted on praying verbally? A prayer was a prayer either way. Maybe they thought praying out loud made it easier to hear? Whatever.

“You two are hopeless.” A snap of his fingers and he was standing in a parking lot with his arms crossed over his chest. “A month.” It was dark out but they had parked under a lightpost that illuminated them more than enough. Both brothers were leaning against their car, looking anywhere but at him.

“I know.” Dean responded, shifting uncomfortably. “Look-”

“I want to hear it from him.” Gabriel’s gaze darted to the younger Winchester whose gaze darted up to glare defiantly. “C’mon, Sam.”

“Crowley called-”

“Yes, Luci’s puppy. I’m aware. Again I say, I want to hear it from you. Ask, Sam.”

“Why does it matter?”

“Because I enjoy tormenting you. I love the helpless look on your face and I bask in your misery.” The shared looks of disdain were enough to tell him they didn’t buy the bullshit response. “Fine. I need to be certain that I’m not going to be stabbed in the back.” Gabriel admitted, forcing himself to relax as he leaned back against the light post. “Look, boys. I didn’t come to you last month because I wanted to. I came because I needed to. It’s the right thing to do, but I don’t trust you any more than you trust me and I don’t want to risk my life helping you if you’re going to try to kill me. I know exactly what you’re hiding in that bunker and I don’t trust that it won’t be turned on me. I’m the reason those damned Men of Letters had some of that junk. So I want to be sure that coming into this, I’m coming back out. I don’t get any more redos unlike you two dimwits.”

“We need your help.” Sam admitted after a long, searching stare. “Whatever Crowley says, he’s not exactly number one on my to trust list.”

“Which is smart.” Gabriel responded, “Crowley’s a snake, but he did escape. Whatever he’s up to, he’s not under Lucifer’s command.”

“You’re sure?” Dean asked.

“Positive. That said. I wouldn’t trust him. Not with my life, and you shouldn’t either.”

“We don’t trust him.” Sam defended.

“That’s why you were going to go without talking to me? Honestly, Sam. I’m not in the mood for bullshit. I’ve been around. I listen. And if you aren’t going to be straight with me, then I’m leaving. Deal with my brother and the once King of Hell on your own. I volunteered, doesn’t mean I have to stick around.”

“The world’s ending.” It was a very unneeded reminder. He was more than aware of the situation. Dean didn’t have to try to guilt trip him with it. Guilt was one of the many things he didn’t do.

“Yeah. It is. Thanks for the reminder, dumbass.” Gabriel scowled, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring at Sam. “So, Sam. Ask. I want it out of your mouth.”

The younger Winchester ground his teeth in clear anger before nodding once. “Fine. Gabriel, will you help us?”

Smiling, “Say ‘please’.”

“Are you serious?”

“Nah, it’s fine.” Gabriel smirked, pushing off the post and looking between the brothers. “Of course I’ll help.”

“But?” Dean asked, eyes narrowing.

“But I want to make a deal. Don’t worry. Not selling your souls. I already saved them. I want you both to swear on something that matters. I need a guarantee that when it comes down to it, because I know exactly where this goes, that you two muttonheads will do whatever needs to be done. No matter the cost. Because this isn’t going to be some fairytale. I’ve told you both before. I’d kill for this to end wrapped in a bow, really. That’s the dream. But you both know by now that it can’t end simple. Dealing with my aunt, you both have to be ready to throw all your cards in. If you’ll do that, then I’ll return the favor. But if we’re not all in, then this is going to blow up in all of our faces.”

The brothers shared a single, unreadable look before looking back at him. “We have to fix this.”

“Then I’m in. Let’s see what Crowley’s got for you. Who knows? He might surprise us by not being a dick.”

The look on both Sam and Dean’s faces said enough. They knew better. So did he.

*~-~*

“Nice digs. The Crypt Keeper out of town?” Dean remarked as they spotted Crowley standing in the middle of the warehouse. Gabriel had chosen a basic disguise, nothing major, but he had to admit he was hot as hell. If the look Dean had given him was anything to go by he shared the thoughts. For now, he was a ‘human’. Hunter if asked. The choice of a female appearance was just a fun perk. Crowley eyed his female, blonde form for a moment before disregarding him completely to glower at Dean.

“I'm lucky to be alive. Lucifer had me trussed up like a dog in my own palace.” Father help him. Crowley wasn’t this pathetic, was he?

’Palace’? Oh, you mean the abandoned nuthouse.” Gabriel couldn’t’ stop from grinning at that, his smile broadening even further at Crowley’s response. Oh, did he know. But God was it good to hear it from the mouth of the victim.

“He kept me in a kennel!” Sam and Dean were smiling too, and damn was that a good sign. It meant they weren’t completely lost to the dreadful atmosphere that always seemed to loom around them of late. “And he turned all his demons... my demons... against me. They scour the earth, day and night, looking to kill me. He has to be dealt with.”

“No shit.” Gabriel remarked, immediately deciding he didn’t like the pitched female voice of his current form. Why had he chosen a female? Oh, right. Because Dean had dared him to. If he could do it, why not? So now he was a 5’4 blonde woman with his Vessel’s eyes because he couldn’t quite let go of sharing some of the traits. The plaid was a tragedy but hunters seemed to love looking like lumberjacks, without the beards, so it was a given that to play the part, he needed to dress it.

“So is this why you brought us here? Some lousy grudge match with Lucifer?” No. There was more. Definitely more. Gabriel eyed the demon with a mixture of disdain and curiosity. He’d been near a Hand of God, recently. Though Gabriel couldn’t tell where it was or which one. Best let the brothers deal with the talking.

“Yeah, where's this, uh, Hand of God you were talking about?” Gabriel shot a look at Sam, eyes narrowing. They hadn’t thought to tell him about the damned Hand of God?

“I'm getting to that. Your only hope of subduing Amara is to match the level of power that she possesses.” It was possible that they could power Sam up with a Hand of God, get Luci to join them… but they needed more. This wasn’t enough.

“No kidding. And?”

“And I have the Horn of Joshua.” So that was a Hand? Interesting. Now that he had the name, he could, theoretically, track it. But it was also worth listening to what Crowley had to say before he did.

“Joshua? As in the Joshua that won the battle of Jericho?”

“And I'm willing to entrust it to your capable hands.” But? The brothers looked between eachother then back at Crowley, skepticism clear as day in their posture. “What? I just said I'd give you the thing.”

“If?” Both brothers asked at the same time, narrowing their eyes as Gabriel eyed the demon with annoyance.

“Is this how you say ‘thank you’? You think these things grow on bloody trees?!”

“Is he always like this?” Gabriel snorted, crossing his arms over his chest to glare at the annoyed demon.

“Cut the crap, Crowley. With you, there's always an ‘if’.”

“Fine. I will give you the Horn if you help me exorcise Lucifer from Castiel's vessel and then return him immediately to the Cage.”

“Are you kidding me?” Gabriel bit out with a glare.

“Anne.” Dean warned him using the crappy alias he’d thrown out and he snorted. “Okay. And where is this horn?”

“Safely hidden, naturally.” Crowley’s gaze was on him, suspicious as all hell.

“Yeah.” Dean responded.

“Crowley, even if we could exorcise Lucifer out of Cas, the Cage is damn near impenetrable. It took a spell from the Book of the Damned to spring Lucifer, and Rowena hid the book.” Not to mention that she was dead. Yeah, that was probably something he should’ve told the brothers. Where the hell was Crowley’s logic?

“And we would need both the book and her to even have a shot.” Not that it was a smart plan. It was stupid. Maybe he should kill Crowley and get it over with. They didn’t need stupidity.

“Did I say this would be easy? No. I did not.”

“Do you even know where Rowena is?”

“Rotting somewhere, I assume. Lucifer snapped her neck.” Gabriel stiffened slightly when he felt a change in Heaven, a shift of environment... Damn. Lucifer was in Heaven.

‘You feel that?’ Lucifer asked him silently, and he did. Not just Lucifer. Amara too. Damn it. This was not going well.

“Hold on, okay? Let's just put it in reverse. We will put Lucifer back in the Cage after we put Amara back on ice. It has to happen in that order, otherwise there is no Lucifer, there's no Cage, there's no nothing.”

“He's spent years marinating in hate against us! He has to go.”

“Problem is, we may need him.” Sensible Sam, correct Sam. This was stupid, this entire situation was stupid.

“Look, Crowley. It’s this simple. Four archangels and God took on Amara last time she was out. There’s no way we’re doing this fight without him. There’s maybe a fraction of a chance it works with him.”

“Anne-”

“Shut up, Dean.” Gabriel ground out, stepping past Thing One and Thing Two and meeting the gaze of the world’s most unfortunate King. “Four archangels, plus God. You hearing me here? There’s a whole hell of a lot more going on than your damned ego!”

“He had me cleaning the floors with my tongue! He called me ‘puppy’! He made me beg!” Crowley responded, glaring at him. “Who in the bloody hell is this?” He demanded.

“A friend.” Crowley clearly didn’t buy it, his glare set firmly on Gabriel rather than acknowledging the complete logic of their defense. God, he wanted to smite him. “All right. Come on. Is this what this is about? Huh? Your stupid ego? The fact that he dissed you in front of a bunch of stupid demons? You're smarter than this. Come on!” Dean was clearly trying to draw Crowley’s focus back to him but Gabriel was not going to sit in the back of this crap conversation.

“Dean's right. Priority is to put the Horn in Lucifer's hands and set him loose on Amara.” Not the plan either.

“Not Luci’s hands.” Okay, he was done with this bullshit. “Fergus Roderick MacLeod. You’re going to get your head outta your ass and your going to hand over that Hand.”

“Do you-”

“If you don’t, I’m going to smite you into oblivion. You have ten seconds.”

“Gabriel!” Sam was clearly panicked, but his name was more than enough to strike shock and just a bit of fear into Crowley’s expression.

“You brought-”

“Oh, stop your whining, Crowley.” Gabriel scowled, snapping his fingers and transporting the hunters to the Bunker so he could chat with the demon in private. As his disguise melted away, Crowley took a disturbed step back.

“I- What in the bloody hell were they thinking!”

“They were thinking that they should rely on help from someone that knows what the hell they’re talking about. So, where’s the Hand at, Crowley?”

“It’s in a safe place.” Crowley tried again, shifting uneasily.

“As much as I hate my brother, and boy do I hate him. He literally stabbed me in the heart. I’m willing to look past my damned ego for the sake of this planet. I know you aren’t a petty man, Crowley. So let’s make this simple. Give us the Hand, or I’ll smite you into next Tuesday. This ain’t personal.”

“It’s absolutely personal.” The demon responded with a glare. “It’s all personal! You should know just as well as I do the repercussions of Lucifer remaining on-”

“Oh trust me. I know. What you don’t seem to grasp is he killed me and I’m willing to get past my pride to get the job done. He’s my damned brother and he stabbed me in the heart. When you sit there and whine about him treating you like a dog? There’s a lot more to it than your crap. So get over it.”

“He actually killed you?” Crowley finally asked, clearly perplexed and finally listening.

“Yes. I actually died. I’m not explaining the logistics because it’s my business, my secret, and one no one else needs know. But I’m alive now, and you need to get off your damned high horse before I smite you. You’re a King. Act like one. I know you can.”

“Fine.”

“Fine? Nope. Not good enough, Crowley. I want your word.”

“You’re serious?”

“Deadly. I’ve gone through this crap with the halfwits. I want your word that you’re going to work with us on this, not against us.”

Red pooled into the demon’s eyes as anger radiated off of him in bitter waves. “If I don’t?”

“I’ll smite you where you stand like my brother should’ve done months ago.”

“So, not much of a choice is there?”

“Plenty of a choice.” Gabriel grinned at the demon who scowled in response. “Die, or swear loyalty to me for the time being.”

“Fine. Bloody hell, fine. But when your psycho brother kills one of us don’t expect me to stick around and mourn your loss.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.”

“I’m not kissing you.” Crowley warned him unnecessarily.

“Touché.” Taking the offered hand he gripped it painfully tight, tugging the man in just a bit as he exposed his wings, grace pouring into his eyes and manifesting black shadows on the warehouse walls behind him. “Do you understand our deal?”

“Yes.” The demon responded, flinching back visibly. “I swear.”

“Alright.” A snap of his fingers and they were back in the bunker where both hunters were sitting at a war table talking quietly. Both of them shut up and snapped their heads up when Gabriel and Crowley appeared in the room.

“What-”

“Relax, boys. Crowley’s pulled his head outta his ass and agreed to help.”

“Really?” Dean asked, eyeing the demon.

“Unfortunately, he has some good points. For the time being… it’s in our favor to work together.”

“So where’s the Hand?” Dean demanded and Gabriel rolled his eyes.

“I’ll get it when we need it. For the time being it’s safe.”

“So that’s-” Sam’s words were lost as a loud voice ripped through Gabriel’s head along with a surge of power.

“HEAR ME!” Oh did he hear her. So did all of Heaven. Cries of panic ripped across angel radio as he was for a single moment forced into that connection. The angels were screaming, running in horror, praying for help, and Lucifer was chuckling -laughing at them all, at Amara. He wasn’t suicidal, so what was his deal? Why could he possibly be amused by this? In what felt like the same moment he was ripped out of the scene in Heaven to the sight of a white ceiling. Where the hell was he now?

Anytime now, Father. Gabriel thought bitterly as he turned his head on… the bed. He was on a bed. Alone. The room was empty, but he could sense the hunters and demon somewhere in the bunker though the spellwork made it impossible to tell where from. Honestly, if he hadn’t been brought there he’d have never been able to access the place to begin with due to the immense amount of warding.

“Nice to know you’re still slacking.” Gabriel said to the air as he shoved out of the bed and made his way out of the room, looking back and forth down the hallway, listening for the sound of anything resembling voices. Left.

Without too much thought on the matter he turned and headed in that direction, trying to piece together how the hell he’d ended up in there to begin with. There was no logical way that it could’ve been that long. Well, it could’ve, but he really didn’t want to think it was. If that was the case then Amara had knocked him out from halfway across the damned country.

“-crux of your dispute is your contention that Lucifer, and only Lucifer, can use the Horn to beat Amara, right?” Crowley’s voice sounded from the end of the hallway. Were they really arguing over this again?

“You got it.” Came Dean’s exasperated voice.

“Well, that scenario only works if you actually possess said Horn, which you do not.” Was Crowley seriously trying to renege on their deal already? Maybe he should’ve kissed him. Never trust a damned demon.

“No, we don't. But you do, so...”

“Exactly! I do! This isn't a negotiation. I have the high cards, and you have... Hold on. Give me a second. Let me have a look... no cards! My offer stands.”

“Actually, Crowley. They have all the cards.” Gabriel said venomously from the doorway, drawing the focus of the two hunters and the demon who spun around. “Are you reneging on our deal, Crowley? Already? Are you stupid, or just suicidal?”

“That wasn’t-”

“Doesn’t matter.” Gabriel waved it off.

“Ah, Gabriel? My name is Rowena. Could you kindly tell my son I’m alive?” Gabriel blinked, shifting slightly and tilting his head to the side. Well that was interesting. How’d he miss that detail? Rowena was alive. Lucifer was going to be pissed… but they could use her help.

“I think I have an idea.” Gabriel told them. They could try something else, with Rowena’s help. Rowena was a very useful tool. The problem wasn’t really her. It was difficult alliances… and where they were going.

Bright side of things, his plan would likely end with Castiel freed. Whether they wanted it to or not.

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

“I hate this.” Sam remarked while Gabriel eyed the unhappy looking Rowena at the back of the room.

“Yeah.”

“And, by the way, where the hell is Crowley? I mean, we're essentially all set up.”

“He’ll show at the last second. He’s pissed but he’s not stupid enough to try to double cross me again.”

“You sure about that?” Dean asked dryly. “I mean he’s holding the damned thing hostage, you’d think he’d have the decency to-”

On cue Crowley appeared on the edge of the warding in the center of the room, cutting Dean off with an elegant, “-show up? He does. Because without the bait, well... a trap really isn't a trap, is it?” Gabriel bristled slightly as Crowley shot him an annoyed look, turning a cloth covered Hand of God in his hand thoughtfully.

Sam scoffed as he eyed the thing in Crowley’s hand. “That's it? Doesn't look like much, does it?”

“First impressions can be deceiving, Moose. For instance, I once thought of you as dull and plodding.” Gabriel couldn’t stop the smile as Sam shot a bitter glare at the demon. “Oh, never mind. Bad analogy.”

“For the record, I still think this is a bad idea. Calling Lucifer down for a face to face chat? Asking him to hand Cas over? Freaking Rowena trying to create another damned body for him?” Dean acknowledged unnecessarily.

“We’re aware. Which is why you aren’t getting near it. The hand that giveth can so quickly taketh away.” Which was part of the bitter agreement between him and Crowley. They weren’t stupid. There was a lot more going on than simple vendettas. Boyfriend of moose, and best friend of squirrel. If he was honest he had a sinking suspicion that Sam might say ‘yes’ just to free Castiel. An outcome he’d rather avoid given the circumstances. Yet, he’d known since the moment that he’d come up with the plan.

“Yes, we… getteth it.”

“So, Mummy,” Crowley turned his attention to Rowena. “You were telling us your fascinating tale of resurrection. But you never did say exactly where you'd been this whole time.”

Which was the part he’d been trying to figure out too. Someone like Rowena didn’t just vanish off the map when the world was ending. Not without some backup plan. She wasn’t stupid enough to go after Amara. So where had she been?

“Same as you, Fergus. Hiding. Once the Dark Prince knew I was alive, I wouldn't be.”

“Bullshit.”

“What would you know?” The witch eyed him, lifting her head just a bit as she stared defiantly at him.

“I know you better than most, Rowena. I remember a time when you came to my knees begging for assistance. Pagan, remember?”

“I am well aware who you are, Loki.” She responded, raising her head snootily and glowering, “I was hiding. Your brother killed me, did you expect me to just stand around and wait for him to find out?”

“No, Rowena. I know you didn’t just stand around, but I also know you didn’t hole up in the middle of nowhere. You’re a coward, but you aren’t stupid. Since you didn’t go to Dumb and Dumber or your son it begs a big question of who you went to.”

“You’d like to know, wouldn’t you?”

“I really would.”

“Well, if you must. I went to The Grand Coven. They weren’t particularly happy to see me but this situation is much bigger than our petty feuds.” She was lying through her teeth and the fact that she kept lying about it set off all kinds of warning bells in his mind as to where she might have been. Was she that stupid? No. She couldn’t possibly be that stupid. Or could she?

“Gabriel?” Dean spoke up.

“Yeah, I know.” Gabriel turned his attention to the heavy warding in the center of the room. While it could’ve held him for months, he knew it wasn’t going to hold Lucifer for long. Maybe ten minutes… at the most.

“No mucking about like last time. The warding and the holy fire won't keep him but for a moment. If he shows up at all.” Crowley reminded his mother unnecessarily.

“Oh, he'll show. He's too hungry to take Amara out, and we've got the blaster to do it.”

Gabriel stepped back from the warding, and where Lucifer would ultimately make his appearance. Best that he wasn’t the first thing Lucifer saw on his arrival. “In nomine magni dei nostri Satanas, introibo ad altare Domini Inferi. I summon you to make an offer. The weapon by which its bearer can crush the Darkness forever.” A grin broke across his face, unable to help it. They could’ve prayed and it would’ve had the same effect but the formal summoning was so much funnier. His grin fell almost instantly as thunder crashed loudly, power ripping through the air and sending a violent shudder down his spine. Lucifer.

Then Lucifer was there, standing in the midst of some of the most powerful warding on Earth and looking perplexed, unsurprised.

“Sam, now!” Dean shouted and Sam threw an already lit match into the holy oil, forcing a flinch out of Gabriel as he was reminded of the moment the brothers figured him out.

Lucifer on the other hand, seemed completely unbothered by the prospect. His gaze flicking across the parties of the room and resting for a single moment on Gabriel before moving to Sam.

“I'm sorry. Your prayer implied that I'd be... joining the team, but I'm just not feeling the warm and fuzzy here.” Then his gaze was on the Horn. “Wow. There it is. Powered up by Dad himself. Well, that bad boy plus me and baby bro... That ought to take her out all right.” Gabriel swallowed as Lucifer flicked his gaze across the room, clapping his hands together. “Let's get to it. Douse the flames.” No one moved, or spoke. Though he didn’t look surprised, he did look distinctly annoyed. Impatiently snapping his fingers Lucifer moved a glare to Sam. “Or don't? C’mon, Sammy. You aren’t stupid.”

“We want to talk.” Gabriel spoke up, stepping forward and drawing the attention of the brother that killed him.

“Talk about what exactly, Gabriel? Surely you aren’t- oh but you are. You poor little sap.”

“We want you to get out of Castiel.”

“Now why would I do something like that?” Lucifer scowled, rolling his eyes. “We’re at a comfortable arrangement. He holds me- for the most part, and I don’t have to down gallons of demon blood every hour to keep him from rotting away.”

“Because we have something you need, and you want something we have. Your self-preservation is that good, Lucifer.”

“This isn’t about self-preservation.” Lucifer responded, scoffing. “You aren’t that stupid, Gabriel. I need a decent Vessel to sustain myself and Castiel is the best option. Well, unless the muttonheads change their minds. You know I’m not going back into the Cage until she’s dealt with, so stop playing this game. Let me out of the fire, before I burn it out and slit their throats.”

“And stab me in the heart again?” Gabriel bit out earning an annoyed look from his brother.

“I knew you wouldn’t die, Gabriel. As you said, ‘your self-preservation is that good’.” His older brother threw his words back at him. “I’m not leaving Castiel. We can play this game all you want, but the truth is that this will end exactly how it started. But with two less Winchesters.”

“We can’t kill her yet, Lucifer.”

“Maybe not alone, but if me and you do it together? We did it before-”

“With Raphael, and Michael.”

“Since when are you so petty? It’s not my fault you decided to kill Michael.”

“I killed him because you broke him! Don’t you dare put Michael’s-”

“Then Raphael. Oh, Gabe. You let Raphael get himself killed.”

“I didn’t have anything to do with that!” Gabriel responded angrily, “I was at half strength hiding in fucking Heaven because you decided to stab me in the heart. That’s not on me you arrogant bag of dicks.”

His hand twitched beside him and his blade manifested in his hand, a broad grin crossing Lucifer’s face.

“You going to drive it through me? Kill the last of your brothers. I know you aren’t that stupid, Gabriel.”

“You don’t know what I am, Lucifer.”

“I know what you think you are, but you couldn’t kill me again if you wanted to, and you wouldn’t if you could. You care far too much about them to risk the universe.”

“Lads! The fire!” Rowena’s voice barely registered with him though. He was preoccupied with the anger burning through his grace, the grief that Lucifer’s words ignited in him. He had been forced to kill Michael and Raphael… that wasn’t his fault. Fucking Castiel had killed him, but Raphael had brought his death on himself. He’d insisted on the damned Apocalypse that he’d died for.

“Gabriel!” Dean shouted at him, two sets of hands gripping him by each of his arms and dragging him back. “You can’t let him-”

“None of this was my fault!”

“Oh, Gabriel. It was. All of it was on you. You were the little angel that failed. I love you, brother, but you’re a coward.”

With a cry he launched himself forward, screaming in agony as he crossed the holy fire that had all but died in the presence of Lucifer.

It was probably the only reason he survived.

Black spots danced across his vision as heat ripped at his wings, a brush of wind sending him flying backwards into a wall and forcing him to watch as Lucifer stepped away from the now dead ring of holy fire, Gabriel’s archangel blade in hand.

“Ah. Trick me? You lied to me. You know, I could have been your warrior.” A toothy grin at Gabriel. “Ah. Who needs ya?” Crowley’s essence dissipated from the area in a single moment. Coward. “Well. It's just like Crowley to leave right when the party's getting started. Have a seat.” A wave of his hands and Sam and Dean were forced to sit, fighting against Lucifer’s power fruitlessly. “As much as I get a giggle out of you two, and I do, there comes a time when every relationship has... run its course. I know. You love him. Blah blah blah-”

“Yes!” Sam yelped suddenly and Lucifer paused, tilting his head.

“Yes?” Lucifer responded condescendingly. This wasn’t going to end well.

“Sammy don-” Another wave of his hand and Dean’s voice was gone.

“Let him go, Lucifer. Let him go and-” Sam’s voice was shaking, fear creeping into all of the words. “I’ll do it.” Damn it. His entire form was aching with the contact from the holy fire… There was no way he could get up. Damn.

“I can force him back into the Cage, Gabriel. My son told me to prepare for the alternatives.” No. Despite everything he needed Lucifer, they did. Damn it this entire thing had gone wrong… and it was his fault.

“Isn’t that sweet? You do care about your boyfriend.”

“Fuck off.” Sam bit out.

“As tempting as your offer is, I’m going to refuse you.”

“Why?” Sam demanded.

“I did think about it, when I got here. But I realized something. I really do enjoy watching you suffer. Every moment you’re awake, every moment that you breathe, you’re reminded of your mistake. It’s my revenge for what you did to me. If you’d just let me and Michael kill each other I would’ve been saved a lot of trouble. So now you have to deal with the knowledge that you let me fuck you. All because you screwed up.”

“I-”

“We’re done talking, Sam.” Lucifer dropped into the gruff Castiel voice, “I’m going to kill Dean in front of you, and then-”

It was so sudden he almost missed it. A single, bright, flare of energy- primordial energy, and everything around him froze for a second as panic soared through his grace. Father help us. The prayer fell silent in his head as a deafening explosion resounded from the entrance to the abandoned church. Gabriel barely had time to look towards it before she came through the fresh hole in the wall, smoke spreading around her ominously as she took in the sight around her. Panicking slightly Gabriel forced himself to move, struggling to sit upright as he pressed his back against the wall, panting breathlessly as every fraction of movement caused pain to resonate across his Vessel and grace where the holy fire had burnt into him. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He needed to get them out of there before she killed them but- gods it burned.

“Oh, Lucifer. Dear nephew, my, how you've changed.” Amara didn’t even acknowledge him and he wasn’t sure whether that was for the better or for the worse. “I was tracking her when she left my side.”

Rowena. Apparently she had been that stupid.

“You were safely sealed away. You're gonna wish you'd stayed there.”

“Lucifer don’t!” He cried, a second too late. Damn it.

Gabriel watched as the Horn flew into Lucifer’s hand, power rippling across the area around them as Lucifer absorbed God’s power from it.

Except there was no way in Heaven or Hell that would work. Lucifer didn’t follow God, and the Hand had to be wielded by a servant of God to use its full potential. Of course that didn’t matter anyway. It had taken four archangels and God to deal with her last time. It was arrogance that had Lucifer pouring grace and God power alike from his hand, flooding the Darkness with the light of a thousand stars.

It was that same arrogance that left her standing there looking like she’d been clawed by a kitten.

Because Lucifer wasn’t enough. Not alone. We’re doomed.

Amara crooked her finger and Lucifer was sliding across the floor unwittingly, frozen on the spot with horror slipping off his grace. The Horn tumbled to the floor as Amara cupped Lucifer’s face in her hand.

“I think you and I need to have a nice, long chat.”

“Cas?” Sam managed and Amara’s gaze lifted, flicking across the room to rest on Gabriel where her eyes narrowed.

“I’m giving you one chance, Gabriel. Run.” A flex of her fingers and both hunters were on their feet, Amara and Lucifer disappearing a moment later.

*~-~*

“So, Rowena and Crowley... like mother, like son, huh? They both took exactly one split second to take off when things started going south.” Gabriel was trembling slightly as he took the beer Dean offered him.

“Yep.” Dean responded as Gabriel stared at the glass, ignoring the accusing glare Sam was giving him.

“Here,” There were about twenty elephants in the room that no one was touching any of them. “By the way, what's Rowena doing with Amara?”

“Being a dumbass.” Gabriel responded with a tired sigh.

“Or she's playing the odds. When sucking up to Lucifer didn't work out, maybe she thought Amara was the best bet. Then she heard we had Gabe and switched sides again. Thought two archangels could do the trick.”

“I thought he’d listen.”

“He was listening.” Gabriel responded, looking down at the burns lining his Vessel. “But he also didn’t care. Lucifer came because he was arrogant enough to think he could do it himself.”

“Apparently, uh, archangel plus God power doesn't trump God’s sister.” Sam said unnecessarily.

“No. It could’ve worked to weaken her, but he doesn’t believe in our dick Father. He wasted that Hand.”

“Gabriel-”

“Save it, Sam. You boys need to have your talk and I need to sleep.”

“There’s nothing to talk about and you still have something to explain. You killed Michael. Why the- I mean you said he was still alive…”

“When you opened the Cage… Mikey crawled out. I found him. He thought I was Lucifer. He was deranged, out of his mind, so I did what I had to. He had- it was a mercy killing.” Gabriel licked his lips and struggled to his feet, wrapping his arms around himself and grimacing at the burning sensation that lined his Vessel and true form from that damned holy fire. Every inch of him hurt. “I killed my brother because it was the right thing to do. He wasn’t coming back from the torture Lucifer inflicted on him. There was no saving him, so I killed him.” Gabriel closed his eyes for a second. “I need to sleep and try to recover from the holy fire.”

“I can help you walk.”

“I’ll be fine.” Gabriel tried to brush off Dean’s offered help but the moment he took his first step his knees buckled beneath him, a whole new wave of pain ripping through him and sending him falling to his knees with a barely concealed shout.

“Oh yeah, you’re great.” Dean huffed from behind him as he felt someone grip under his arm, tugging him to his feet.

“I don’t-”

“Yes. You do.” Sam came around with clear reluctance and caught him under his other arm. “What were you thinking?”

“I wasn’t.” Gabriel responded bitterly as he reluctantly let them half carry him from the main room. “I’d forgotten how good he was at that.”

“Making you forget that he’s wrong?” Sam asked him tiredly. “Trust me, Gabriel. You aren’t the only one.” It was probably the closest thing he was going to ever get to sympathy from Sam so he took it for what it was.

“Can you at least try to walk?”

“Oh yeah. Let me drop you in some acid and see how you fare in walking.” Gabriel bit back, forcing himself to take some of his weight off of the brothers anyways. It hurt like hell but they were trying to help, a concept he didn’t really get. They barely wanted him there, but for some crazy unknown reason they were trying to help him.

“We’re putting him back in your room.” Sam grunted as they came up on the rooms.

“What? No!”

“It’s the closest one.”

Theoretically he could get himself the rest of the way but in a practical sense… he felt like he was about to pass out. For the time being at least he needed to let them deal with their drama.

“So? We can carry him an extra thirty feet!”

“I’m not that heavy.” Gabriel scowled and Sam scoffed.

“You carry you.”

“I have. Once upon a time I was an adorable little archangel with dreams of being my big brothers. Then I realized it was bullshit and ran away from home. Snagged me a little man named Jack out of the ocean and became best friends with him.”

“Your Vessel’s name is Jack?” Of course that was all Dean got out of his story. The name of his damned Vessel. Well, the not-name.

“No, it was Peter… or Jacob. That doesn’t matter. Point is I possessed some chick and dragged him out of the ocean. I know exactly how much he weighs and he’s not that heavy!”

“Yeah, we’re putting him in your room or I’m dropping him.” Sam retorted with a glare. So he was still sensitive about the whole Vessel thing. Made sense, but still. His reaction seemed just a bit dramatic.

“Whatever.” Dean conceded, much to his astonishment. Though he couldn’t really make himself care too much. He needed to sleep and the longer they talked about this the longer it would be until he could recover. “If he ruins the memory foam that’s on you.”

“It’s not the first damned time we’ve put him in your bed.” Oh interesting. It had been Dean’s bed they’d shoved him into after Amara knocked him out? Whose idea had that been?

“That was different.” Dean countered without explanation as he was heaved sideways through a doorway and walked a few more feet before being pushed unceremoniously onto a bed.

Sam left pretty quickly after that but Dean didn’t do him the same favor, standing against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest. “Did you know?” Gabriel ended up breaking the silence as he shut his eyes. Sleep was threatening every inch of his mind but he couldn’t with Dean standing there staring at him. Why in the hell did girls find it sexy in those creepy romance novels? It was just plain disturbing.

“About him and Cas?” Dean asked. “Yeah. I knew. Bunker’s a small place and Cas… he’s not known for tact. I caught them making out in the kitchen like a year ago, confronted Cas about it. I don’t care. They’re grown ups, and I figure Sammy ain’t got a shot with a human. Maybe Cas can stick together for him long enough to give him a chance at happy.”

“Seems to be working well.”

“Never called either of them smart. Did you expect Sam to say ‘yes’?”

“Did you?”

Dean was quiet for a moment before sighing heavily. “Yeah. I did.”

“I thought he might. Your brother’s self-sacrifice streak’s almost as bad as yours. I think Lucifer was banking on it too.”

“You would’ve.” Dean responded and he flinched.

“I wouldn’t have done it like that. I never did what I did to hurt either of you. I did it to make a point. A point that’s clearly never stuck in either of your heads. You’re both idiots, but you fix your messes. You manage to impress me. Hell, you impress Lucifer. He’s scared of you.”

“He’s what?”

“Come on. You think the bad guys come after you muttonheads for your good looks? Nope. It’s because you two are the ones that always find some damned way to unravel the ungodly messes they make. You’re literally the guys that all the baddies fear. You’re also our best shot in this. I didn’t come here because I was bored. I came because I needed your help.”

“This is too much, Gabriel. Way too much. She’s God’s sister.”

“Yeah, she is. Trust me, Dean. I know what she is. I also know what the two of you are.”

“We’re just hunters.”

“You’re the pivotal center of the fate of the planet. My dick brothers’ Vessels. You’ll be fine.”

“Michael wasn’t.”

“You aren’t Michael, and Sam isn’t Lucifer.”

Rather than responding anywhere near coherently there was the stomping of feet and a door slamming.

The moment he was alone he felt himself sinking into the blissful black void of sleep. Ah, sleep. Exactly what he needed to heal from the holy fire. All he could hope was that it was enough.

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

A month and a half later Gabriel was nosing through the books in the library while the boys were out on a hunt that he didn’t particularly care for. The Men of Letters’ library was extensive, the most fascinating archive of spells and information he’d ever come across and he knew part of it was because of him.

After all, he’d found that the Men of Letters were capable of housing some of the most dangerous secrets that the planet held. Ones he didn’t feel safe letting anyone else find. Unfortunately, none of them consisted of another Hand of God or a way to drag Lucifer out of Amara’s grasp. It was just problem after problem and he had a funny feeling it wasn’t going to be solved easily. Especially if they couldn’t find another Hand.

But that wasn’t the point. There was an option. A hail Mary if he were honest, but it was something. Despite his initial thoughts the smiting that the angels had performed on Amara had worked- to an extent. It had definitely weakened her from what he’d pieced together. She’d been weakened by it, maybe not killed, but weakened. Theoretically all of the angels in Heaven could match the strength of one of the archangels. Probably Raphael at the most, but it was a start. It was possible that something could be done to increase their strength. Add to that power to equate Michael?

That left Lucifer and Raphael. Oh, and God. But if they had a Hand they had a solution to that too. Just a power boost for the angels and another archangel equivalent. Sounded flawless. What could possibly go wrong?

Then something pierced the warding.

It was a flash of power that initially made him panic, until he recognized the source. What the hell was He doing there?

“-crazy spell or manifest...ation.” Dean was in the middle of a sentence when Gabriel came out of the library in a rush, staring in complete shock at the sight of Chuck standing the in the middle of the room with Kevin’s ghost standing behind him like some damned ace.

“Kevin?” Sam asked with astonishment.

“Guys! You're looking stressed. Especially you.” Kevin acknowledged Dean, throwing a bit of a curious look in Gabriel’s direction before returning his attention to the brothers again. “I- It's cool. Trust Chuck. Whatever it is he needs you to do, he must think you can handle it. I always trusted you.”

“Yeah, that ended well.”

“How did you- Are you okay, or- uh?”

“Um... Yeah, I mean, you know, given the circumstances.” Dead. Both of the primordial beings in the room could resurrect him too, except neither of them had the heart to do it. It was vindictive.

Again, though. What the hell was Chuck doing there?

“Yeah, I don't mean to interrupt. Kind of a plateful here. And, Kevin... you've been in the Veil long enough. It's time you had an upgrade.” A wave of his hands and Kevin’s soul was floating up and into the ceiling, disappearing into Heaven.

“Holy crap.”

“Gabriel?” Sam drew the focus to him and he jumped slightly, looking away from his Father to focus on the hunters.

“It’s uh- yeah, it’s him.” He turned a glare on his Father who kept his expression carefully neutral as they all took uncomfortable seats. It took a second but Gabriel surrendered to his curiosity to join the brothers at the table, his gaze never leaving his Father.

“Okay. So, wow, um, Chuck-” Sam laughed, a nervous chuckle, “Well, I guess we don't call you that, huh?”

“I prefer it.” Of course he did. Because Chuck wasn’t God. Chuck was the damned persona he’d taken after he jumped ship and ditched them.

“Okay, uh, "Chuck" it is. I'm sorry. You're gonna have to, uh, give Dean and me a moment to start to process. We kinda knew you were around… sort of… Gabriel mentioned you tried to make him help and- I- I mean, we knew about Chuck, but we just didn't know about... Chuck. I mean, I- I- I was hoping you were around. I- I- I prayed and I- but I don't know if they got, uh, lost in the spam or if-”

“You’re blubbering like a damned fangirl, Sam.” Gabriel snapped a bit rudely earning a stern look from Chuck in response.

“I'm getting that not everyone's totally on board.”

“Here's the thing, um... Chuck... And I mean no disrespect. Um... I'm guessing you came back to help with the Darkness, and that's great. That's, you know- It's fantastic. Um, but you've been gone a- a... long, long time. And there's so much crap that has gone down on the Earth for thousands of years. I mean, plagues and wars, slaughters. And you were, I don't know, writing books, going to fan conventions. Were you even aware, o- or did you just tune it out?” Wow. Gabriel couldn’t have said that better himself. Ironically, the hunters had a lot more reasons to be pissed than he did.

“I was aware, Dean.”

“But you did nothing. And, again, I-I'm not trying to piss you off. You know, I don't want to turn into a pillar of salt.”

“I actually… didn't do that.” He responded unnecessarily.

“Okay. People- People pray to you. People build churches for you. They fight wars in your name, and you did… nothing.”

“You're frustrated. I get it. Believe me, I was hands-on- Real hands-on for, wow, ages. I was so sure if I kept stepping in, teaching, punishing, that these beautiful creatures that I created... would grow up. But it only stayed the same. And I saw that I needed to step away and let my baby find its way. Being overinvolved is no longer parenting.” It’s abandonment. It was abandoning. God had abandoned them all. “It's enabling.”

“But it didn't get better.”

“Well, I've been mulling it over. And from where I sit, I think it has.”

“Well, from where I sit, it feels like you left us and you're trying to justify it.”

“I know you had a complicated upbringing, Dean, but don't confuse me with your dad.”

“Oh yeah. John Winchester is the good father that He will never be.” Gabriel snapped, glaring at Chuck whose eyes widened before narrowing into slits.

“Gabriel-”
“No, you know what? Fuck you. You told me to come deal with their drama because you couldn’t be bothered. Don’t you dare pretend you’re justifying it! I don’t know what the hell it was that changed your mind but you showing up now? It’s not because you’re doing the right thing. It’s because someone- only you know who- guilt tripped your ego into it! You aren’t here to protect us, you were hiding!” Gabriel shoved out of his seat, sending it flying back into the wall. “You can fuck right off, Chuck. I’m not going to have anything to do with your bullshit until you give me a reason to do so.”

“Gabriel, don’t-” Ignoring Chuck, he turned and stormed from the main room. There was something that didn’t add up.

‘Gabriel. Hey, bro. If you can hear me. I was out of line. I’ll help. Just get me the fuck out of-’ With a scream Lucifer’s words died out and he cut the connection as quick as he could. He wasn’t going to help Lucifer. Not unless he had to.

*~-~*

“Hey, Gabe?” Dean’s voice came from the other side of the door before it was pushed open rather rudely. He had half a mind to snap his clothes away but considering the… prayer he’d received he decided it wouldn’t have the effect he wanted. Well… Maybe it could have one- no, it was a bad idea.

“No.”

“You mentioned before- you’d seen him.”

“Yeah, I had. Something’s changed, and I don’t know what but I don’t really care.”

“Look, it’s been two weeks. I’ve been asking you, but now I’m telling you. We need your help.”

“Call Rowena or Crowley- or, you know. You’ve got God. Make him get off his ass and help.”

“Yeah, he’s uh…” Dean shifted uncomfortably and Gabriel snorted.

“Not helping? Big surprise.”

“It seems to be going around.” Dean responded bitterly.

“Know what? No. I’ve offered to help. I told you when you talked to me last week that if you had something that only I could do-”

“Metatron called us.”

“Oh, joy.” Gabriel scowled. “What’d the worm have to say?”

“Chuck… He’s on a suicide mission. He’s decided Amara’s gonna kill him and he’s just going to let it happen.”

Well then. Like father like son he supposed. “So what’s his last will and testament? Doesn’t seem like the porno type.”

“A book.”

“Of course. With probably another crappy ending.” Dean sighed heavily and tugged a backpack off his back that Gabriel hadn’t noticed.

“Here.” Gabriel caught the bag easily, unzipping it and frowning at the contents. “Bible 2.0. Didn’t think God would be so bad at spelling. But it’s there. He’s given up.”

“So, what? I learned my tricks from Him and Luci. I’m sure he’s got more backup plans than I could ever dream of.” Except Gabriel didn’t think that was exactly accurate. Whatever was in those pages? They’d been enough to drag Him off the sidelines, which meant it was Metatron that had managed to drag him out of his stupor. If God was joining the party? There was a reason. If Dean was calling it a suicide mission…

“We’ve got an ex-atheist prophet down the hall and your dad isn’t listening to reason. Least you could do is come help us find some other way.”

“As much as I hate to say it… We need her.”

“Her?”

“Er, him. Lucifer.”

“You’ve done that a couple times now. You’re not telling me Lucifer’s a chick, are you?”

“A few hundred millennia ago gender didn’t really exist but Lucifer always veered towards the femininity- well until males dominated the human race and he became a he because of an ego to match Dad’s. Anyways, Aunt Amara? She wasn’t his aunt. Lucifer was created to be beautiful, to draw her into a trap. And she was. Lucifer was so beautiful. Lucifer made Amara love her, and then they turned on her. That was how God caged her. We took advantage of the weakness, and it made the fight easier.”

“So… you guys are like ken dolls.”

“No, ken dolls have the little lump. We’re literally manifestations of light. There is no lump, there’s nothing.”

“Right.” Dean responded slowly, half staring at him.

“Yes, I could go back to looking like the hot as hell body I chose for our meeting with Crowley and it wouldn’t matter. We’re getting distracted, though. This isn’t about angelic anatomy.”

“Right… uh, so what you’re saying is that we need Lucifer.”

“Dad’s not going to try, he’s scared. I know you both have thought about it. Lucifer’s probably the key to ending this.”

“If he’s not?”

“Well, we need archangels. Or at least our strength equivalent. Figure out how to get Lucifer, and I’ll come out. Until then I’m going to go back to binging Dr. Sexy.”

How to get him, or just get him?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means Sam’s already convinced me we need Lucifer. We’ve got a plan- crappy one, but it’s a plan.”

“I’m sure it’ll work out.” Gabriel sighed, getting to his feet and stretching out meticulously, smirking slightly when he caught the hunter eyeing him. “See something you like?”

“No.” Dean responded with a scowl, though Gabriel didn’t miss the reddening of his cheeks. “So, you’re in?”

“I’m here, aren’t I?”

Dean gave him an annoyed look before turning and making his way out of the room, following he hallway and pausing at one of the eighty rooms lining the place to grab a case of beers. “You want one?”

“I only drink daiquiris.” Gabriel responded, snagging one of the beers from the case the moment the hunter’s back was turned. “So, what’s up, Dean-o? How’re you handling all this?”

“I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not. Fine’s for the fairy tales. But fine. We’ll do fine.”

“I forgot how much I liked when you were quiet.”

“Nah, Dean. You love hearing me talk. It’s why you kept me talking so much when we met the first times. You know. Before I sacrificed myself for you.”

There was no response from Dean to that as they stepped through the doorway into the main room again, Dean offering the prophet one of the beers like the good man he truly was, “I got you a beer. I don't know if you drink.”

Oh poor Donatello. If only he knew what was in store for his ass- assuming the world didn’t blow up.

“I do now.” Donatello sighed as Gabriel smiled broadly at him. “Is that-”

“Archangel Gabriel, at your service.” Smiling cheekily, he bowed dramatically. “You know, once upon a time it was my duty to come to the good little boys like yourself and chat with them while they spat out inarticulate ramblings of human history onto paper and warp them to fit their own views.”

“I… have never read the Bible.”

“Neither have I.” Gabriel grinned as he plopped down into a seat, snapping up a sucker and shoving it in his mouth.

“Well...” Suddenly Dean was uncomfortable again, slouching back into that uneasy stance from before. “I don't know... if Chuck is leaning our way.”

“Screw Chuck.”

“If we do get Lucifer for the added muscle, then...maybe he'll play ball.” Yeah, that was going to go smooth. Probably worse than his own interactions with his Father.

“I thought they hated each other.” Donatello chimed uncomfortably.

“Yeah, they do.” Dean huffed.

“Hate's the nice word. I hate my Father. Luci? He’d love to kill Him.” He was also terrified, so hope wasn’t completely gone. Just mostly.

“Wow. I so miss being an atheist.” Donatello grumbled as the bunker door opened, a familiar brush of hollowed out grace breaking into the room and drawing Gabriel from his seat in an instant.

“You-”

“What is he doing here!” Metatron yelped as Gabriel appeared in front of him, shadows of his wings cascading onto the walls behind him in a dramatic flare of power. Behind him he heard the sparking of electricity, the breaking of bulbs. A distant laugh- pitying maybe- that he couldn’t place.

“You little worm- I should smite you. Do you have any idea- what is he doing here, Sam?” Gabriel demanded angrily as Metatron cowered into the corner, Sam’s hands wrapping around his shoulders and trying to pull him back.

“Gabriel- you can’t. We need him.”

“Tell them what you did to me.” Gabriel ordered the ex-Scribe, forcing the fallen to his feet with a brush of power. Metatron stared back at him with wide, fearful eyes.

“I didn’t- Gabriel.”

Tell them.” Every single instinct was screaming at him to kill the damned angel. All of his willpower went into resisting it- because for some unknown reason Metatron was here. Why hadn’t Dean had the decency to warn him?

“I-” Shaking violently, Gabriel transported them both off the stairwell. With a flick of his wrist Metatron fell back into one of the seats. “The Norse… I had the Norse pantheon destroyed.”

“Why- what in the hell is wrong with you, Metatron!” Dean barked out, Gabriel laughing sharply.

“Tell them why.”

“Gabriel, please.”

“Tell them why you had them slaughtered. Not just a bunch of pagans, my family. I want to know too. I want to know why you thought you had any right to do that.”

“I did it because- because I wanted to be God. I did it because I needed to break you. I was- I thought if you were around… As long as you had them, you had something to protect.”

“My kids. I only had four left, you know. Four beautiful children, one of which was my own flesh, my own grace. If things had been different. If Hela hadn’t begged me? Oh, Metatron. You narcissistic, sadistic, self-absorbed dick. I never would have stopped.”

“I’m sorry, Gabriel. I’m-”

“Don’t pretend you care. I just want it to be clear.” Gabriel drew his blade, eyes narrowed into slits. “The only reason you’re alive is because you’re useful-”

“When I stop being useful you’ll kill me. I get the message.”

“No.” Gabriel laughed, shaking his head and driving his blade into the chair behind him causing the Scribe to squawk and fumble to the side, staring at the archangel blade sticking out of the seat behind him. “You’ve read the Gospels. Killing you is the least you need to worry about. You screwed with my family, you murdered five of my kids. Don’t bother denying her either. Castiel only killed her because you had him do it.”

“Wait- that nephillim… she was yours?”

“Of course she was.” Gabriel responded, turning away from the Scribe.

“Gabriel, I know you’re angry with me. But- have you…”

“No. I haven’t. You did, though.”

“Yeah. Did they tell you what He’s doing?”

“Yes.” Gabriel responded with a sigh. “So, let’s get through this.”

‘I wouldn’t blame you for smiting his ass.’ The prayer was sudden and Gabriel stiffened for a second before forcing himself to relax. No, Dean. That wasn’t the right choice. They would need him. Later, though. Later, he would have his fun with the Scribe.

“Fine. Uh… Thanks for inviting me.” The words were forced, shaky, and Gabriel crossed the room to slump into a recliner he summoned as the wary brothers looked between each other before taking seats. The atmosphere was tangibly uncomfortable and Donatello looked like he was ten seconds from bolting for the door. Poor guy. When all of this was over, he’d send him on a cruise. Prophets never got it easy.

“Inviting you?” Dean grunted, hostility in his gaze. “You've been circling the building all night. You sent me two hundred text messages with dumbass emojis. You got three minutes before I feed you to Loki. Start talking. Besides world-class douchery, what do you have to offer?”

“Oh, nothing.” Metatron responded snarkily. “I just transcribed the angel tablet and know all the spells. And I know what makes Amara tick. And I had a relationship with the big guy for eons. Shall I keep going?”

“You’re not the only one here that knew God.” Dean responded as Metatron made to grab a beer, Sam snatching it up before he could.

“Ah! That's mine!” Sam’s gaze flicked to Gabriel then Dean. “As much as I hate to admit this... he kind of has a point.”

“I don't know. I think I’d rather see Gabe kill him a hundred and fifty thousand times.”

“You need all the help you can get-” Metatron responded, eyeing Gabriel warily, “Even douche help.”

“And since when did you jump on the God wagon? You never used to give a damn.”

“Well, I didn't- at one time. Now that he's gone all kamikaze, leaving us with the Darkness, I...” Sighing, Metatron shifted uncomfortably, averting his gaze from everyone present. “I was by his side since the creation. He believed in me. If there's something I can do to help save him and his creation, then... uh, it seems like I should.” There he went, sounding like a better guy than Gabriel was- which was bullshit.

“The plan is to rescue Lucifer from Amara. Then he teleports us out of Amara's hideout and we convince Chuck to use him to fight her- and Gabriel not to kill him. Or vice versa.”

“That's your plan? Do you even know where Amara is?” Metatron scoffed, shaking his head.

“Um, I think I might know where she is. I've been getting this vibe. Uh, it's like a ping in my cerebral cortex.” Flicking his gaze over to Donatello, Gabriel raised an eyebrow. Though unlikely- it was possible that the prophet could track her… in theory.

“Oh, so either Amara or a stroke. And how are we supposed to keep Amara busy while we're... liberating Lucifer?” Metatron gave him a look, almost a plea that he had some better plan. In response he smirked, shrugging.

“Seems fair.”

“I’ll distract her. You go in, grab Lucifer, then jump ship.”

“Winchesters as bait. You up for that one, Sammy?” Gabriel asked, rising to his feet and rubbing his hands together. “I can probably track my brother if Dean-o can keep auntie away.”

‘You aren’t worried she’ll kill Dean?’ Sam asked him silently in prayer, Gabriel responding with a subtle shake of his head. Amara wouldn’t kill Dean. If she planned on it, she would have done it a while back. So, Dean was safe- hopefully.

If not, he didn’t doubt for a second that Sam would kill him. If any human could do it, it would be a Winchester.

“Let’s do this, boys.” A snap of his fingers and his blade was in hand. “Let’s save my dick brother.”

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

“Oh, goody. Larry, Curly, Moe, and Shemp. Search and rescue? Oh, wow.” Lucifer’s bitter glare moved between Gabriel, Metatron, Sam, and Donatello as they crossed the warehouse. Lucifer’s gaze wound up glued on Donatello, mocking pity etched into his expression. “It's one of Dad's favorites. Your ticket finally got punched, huh? It's wacky, isn't it? One minute, you're... nobody. And then -Shazam- you're Joan of Arc. Let's, uh- Let's hope this ends better than that.”

“All right, can the small talk. We're busting you out of here.” Metatron was up on the platform now, muttering in Enochian as well as some of the precursory languages. Words and phrases that Gabriel didn’t have the patience to try to decipher.

“Well, it seems fair since I wouldn't be here if you lunatics hadn't set me up to be grabbed by Amara.”

“Oh can it, Luci. That wasn’t what happened and you damn well know it.”

“You're gonna help us take her down. If you say no, we'll just leave you here in Abu Ghraib.”

“Say no? You see what she's done to me? Do I look like a fan?!”

“I don’t know. I’ve always heard you were into some weird shit.” Gabriel quipped, his brother glowering hatefully from where he was bound.

“I’ve heard worse about you, Loki. A horse, brother? Could you stoop any lower?”

“That was a complicated thing and I never said I was judging.”

“Amara can go right back to her damned hole.” Lucifer bit out angrily.

“Guys.” Sam spoke firmly, practically pleading for them to stop without daring to say the words.

“You heard the boss, Gabe. Let’s behave.”

“Think you can manage?”

“If you can.”

It felt like hours that they stood around, Metatron filtering through spells and Gabriel trying several of his own. Whatever Amara was using- it predated him. Something that Lucifer felt obligated to mention on several times.

“Eeroh, mahday saytah!” Nothing.

“Did you grab this from the steno pool?”

“You understand you'll be working with your father. Is that gonna be a problem?” Sam broke through the bitter glaring between archangels again.

Groaning, Lucifer yawned. “That's family. This is bigger. Isn’t that right, Gabe?”

“So, you'll table all the old stuff?” Sam completely disregarded the attempt at bringing Gabriel into it again.

“Fine. What happens in Heaven stays in Heaven. Happy?”

“No.” Sam responded flatly.

“Kahtoh, mahday, tayroh!”

“Metatron, are we getting any closer? Dean can't stall forever.”

“I'm- I'm- I'm narrowing it down.”

“Try taking out the Zs.” Gabriel suggested, only half serious. The look Metatron gave him was considerate enough that if it wasn’t for the situation, he’d be amused.

“Sahboh, taylah!” Metatron tried instead and Lucifer gasped sharply, falling from the cross.

“Oh, oh! Yes.” Lucifer cried gleefully and both Sam and Gabriel ran to his side, each hooking an arm under his shoulders.

“Hey, Gabriel, zap us out of here- quick!” Gabriel snapped his fingers, blinking and scowling as he was blocked- wards.

“Oh, no can do.”

“He’s right.” Gabriel huffed as he took his brother, throwing the protesting injured archangel over his shoulder like the empty sack of potatoes he was.

“Gabriel, put me-”

“We’ve got to get out of here.” Gabriel bit out over his brother’s protests, ignoring when he was nearly kicked in the face by flailing legs. “This place is warded to high Heaven.”

“Glad to know you planned ahead. Put me down!”

“Guys, I'm- I'm feeling her! She's coming!”

“All right, Metatron, come on.”

“It's okay, Sam. You go.”

‘Aw. He’s going to sacrifice himself. That’s so sweet.’

‘He’s scared what’ll happen after he’s not useful anymore.’

“Grab him and let’s go, Sam.”

“I'm serious. I got this.”

“For Christ’s sake. Leave him.” Gabriel scowled. If Metatron wanted to have Amara rip him apart, that was his problem. Frankly, there were bigger issues ahead.

‘I’m going to kill you for this, you know.’

‘Let’s save the universe first. Then we can kill each other.’

Gabriel snapped open the doors to the Impala, shoving Lucifer into the backseat and half falling on top of him as the front doors slammed shut, one after the other.

“Go, go, go!” Gabriel shouted, shaking violently as he felt a surge of Amara’s power. Lucifer grabbed his arm as he struggled to sit upright, nearly falling back over when Sam threw his foot on the gas, sending them all back against their seats as he began driving- putting it mildly. The back door slammed shut with a loud clank and the two archangels and prophet jerked slightly at the sound.

“Gabriel- please tell me you can get us out.”

“Just drive.” Gabriel ordered him, dragging his fingers through his hair and whipping his head back to stare at the warehouse.

‘Run.’ Metatron’s prayer only barely pierced his grace before the scream that followed.

“What the hell!” Sam shouted as the car’s speed boosted. Dean could complain about the damage he was doing to the thing later. If he knew about it.

“I’m trying to get us out of the range- we’ve only got- shit!” The car squealed to a dead halt, sending him flying into the back of the front seat and an indignant Lucifer onto the floorboard.

Father if you have ever cared- ever pretended to care- help! The prayer was frantic as Sam tried throwing the car into reverse.

“You really aren't worth sparing. None of you.” Amara’s voice somehow pierced the sound of the squealing tires, her arms raising to the side and-

Then they were in the Bunker and the car was off.

“What! Happened?!” Donatello shouted in a panic, Gabriel’s head whipping around to look around. The Bunker. They were in the Bunker… and he was certain that he felt His power. Go figure.

Sam climbed out of the car carefully, coughing in the smoke as Gabriel helped a glaring Lucifer off the floorboard.

“Where are we?” Donatello asked as he climbed out.

“Not yet.” Lucifer said quietly and Gabriel snorted, waiting for the hunter and prophet to leave the room before climbing out of the back. “Swear you won’t kill me.”

“Swear you won’t kill me and we’ll talk.” Gabriel responded bitterly.

“Promise for a promise.” Lucifer offered his hand and Gabriel took it with narrowed eyes. “We won’t kill each other.”

“Yeah, fine. Come on.” Gabriel carefully pulled Lucifer to his feet outside the car, letting the Morningstar drape an arm over his shoulder. “Give Cassie a break too, Luce. I know what you’ve been doing to him and you know it’s wrong.”

“I don’t care about him.”

“You got what you wanted and you know it. Leave him. Let him wallow in his own guilt.”

Lucifer didn’t respond as they stepped out into the main room where Chuck was standing. Either he would do it, or he wouldn’t.

“You've changed.” Chuck acknowledged Lucifer, taking a drink of a beer.

“You've changed.” Lucifer responded, shoving off of Gabriel’s shoulder and stumbling forward to catch himself on the pillar.

“Well, still... I'm really pretty much the same.” Chuck waved his hand and all of Lucifer’s wounds healed over.

“This doesn’t make us even.” Lucifer bit out angrily.

“No.” Chuck responded, turning away and sauntering out of the room.

“Where are the bedrooms, Gabriel?”

“That way.” Nodding his head, Gabriel crossed his arms over his chest to glare after Chuck. Oh this was going to go over well. Lucifer disappeared down the hallway and Sam looked over at him. “He’s not giving Cassie up, Sam. Not right now. And he’s not going to possess you because of where he is. Best thing you can do for him? Let it happen. Make sure my brother knows it bothers you. The more he knows its getting to you, the less time he’ll spend tormenting Cas. You know how his game goes.”

“I’m asking, Gabriel.”

“I’ll talk to him, Sam but I’m not making any promises.” Gabriel huffed, scowling and crossing his arms over his chest. “There’s bigger problems right now.”

“That’s all.”

“Yeah, whatever. Your brother should be back soon. Tell him thanks.” Gabriel huffed and headed down the hall to throw himself into his own room. It didn’t pass his notice that Lucifer disappeared into Sam’s room and he couldn’t make himself really care. They’d talk later. Right now, he needed to think.

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

“Lucifer! Y’know, sometime you’re gonna have to come out and… talk to… God.” Gabriel laid back on Sam’s bed next to Lucifer, staring at the ceiling.

“They’re right, you know?”

“Let them seethe for a bit.” Lucifer responded, tucking his arms behind his head and nearly elbowing Gabriel in the face.

“Luce.”

“Gabe.” His brother retorted with a hum. “Here, I’ll decommission them for a minute.” He waved his hand and the music stopped. “If Dad has something to say to me, I’ll hear it from him! Until then, I’ll be in my room.”

“It-” The music restarted and Gabriel turned his head slightly.

“Having fun?”

“No. I’m not helping Him.”

“I’m not asking you to, Lucifer. I wouldn’t. I don’t want to. I’m asking-”

“You’re gonna have to try harder than that. You don’t want to any more than I do. You may have convinced them that you’re on their side but I know you better.”

“You don’t know me anymore, Lucifer. Even if you did, you have my intentions sorely mistaken. Do you think for a second that I would’ve come with them to save you if I didn’t plan on doing my part?”

“Yes.” He responded without missing a beat. “You wanted me here, because I’m the only one that’s going to force him to say it.”

“He’s not going to apologize, Lucifer. You know it as well as I do.”

“He will.”

“If He doesn’t? We had a deal.”

“Our deal was that I wouldn’t kill you. I was gonna help but you know what I’ve decided? Until He gets off his ass and apologizes, I’m not doing anything. Amara can have her victory. Go Amara!”

“Are you really that petty, Lucifer?” Gabriel huffed, rolling off his side to sit up.

“I’m not being petty, Gabe. I’m being rational. Don’t tell me you don’t want the same exact thing.”

“I want it, I’m just not stupid enough to think I’ll get it. I’m not childish enough to think I’ll get it. This is bigger than you, damn it!”

“If it’s big enough that I’m needed, he’ll get past himself and give us- me the apology I deserve.”

“He won’t give you what you want.” Gabriel rose to his feet, crossing the room. “You know why you hate him so much, Luce? It’s because you and him- you’re so alike that you forget that you’re not always right. The both of you are so arrogant and self absorbed that you would rather burn the entire universe than admit you’re wrong. I don’t know when it happened- but you became him. God, your ego. All you did was grow and grow and he grew to match it. The both of you are so arrogant and self absorbed it’s a wonder your very existence hasn’t wiped it all out.”

“Gabriel, we aren’t done talking.”

“Oh, yes we are. Until you pull your head outta your ass I’m not doing anything for you. Got it, bro?” Gabriel scowled as he threw open the door, storming into the hallway and ignoring the nagging sense of dread that followed him all the way.

*~-~*

“You need to talk to him.” Gabriel huffed, glowering at his father from where he was leaned against the wall while Chuck cooked up pancakes. That was what they needed. Damned pancakes. Pancakes he could make without cooking.

“Won’t do any good.” Chuck responded passively, glancing at Gabriel with his usual unreadable expression.

“Why not?” Sam asked carefully.

“Because I can’t give him what he wants.”

“And what’s that?” Dean asked while casting an uneasy look at Gabriel.

“What everyone wants. My sister, my children, you humans – an apology. A big, wet ‘I’m sorry’.”

“Well, so give it to him. It’s not like he’s askin’ for a weapon, or for Hell, or for Heaven. He’s askin’ for words.”

“I can’t say I’m sorry if I’m not.” Chuck set a plate of pancakes in front of the brothers. “What he wants an apology for, I did it for humanity. For the world. Look, Lucifer wants what everybody wants, Amara gone. ‘kay? Let’s just give him a little time to cool off.”

“He’s not going to cool off.” Gabriel bit out, snapping his fingers and summoning a larger plate of pancakes. “Every damned second you sit around screwing off- playing lazy gardener, she’s getting closer and he’s getting angrier! In case you haven’t noticed, your world- your kids, we’re dying and you- the both of you!” A bitter laugh tore from his lips and he shook his head. “You’re so much alike. That’s the problem- I figured it out! I know why he’s your favorite, why he’s always been your favorite!”

“Gabriel-”

“You’re just alike. Spitting image! Both of you too damned arrogant to get past your own egos and deal with each other. You know, I get a lot of shit for what I did, but the two of you? Man, what I wouldn’t give to show the world the truth of your cowardice.”

Gabriel.”

“Talk to him! Get past yourself and talk to him. We’re your kids- but him? You put him through hell! Literal Hell- with the big H because that’s where he was! He might’ve killed me, but it was because I didn’t really give him much of a choice. At least I’m willing to acknowledge my own screwups!”

Gabriel.” His voice vanished in a whoosh of air and he was left to glare violently at Chuck who was watching him with silent fury. “I want to make one thing very clear to you- I am still your father. I am more than willing to acknowledge where I went wrong, and you do not want me to cross into that territory. Not here, not now. I am not going to apologize, not to Lucifer, because what I did to him was a necessity.”

“Hey- uh, Chuck.” Dean spoke up tentatively, glancing between the two warily, Sam looking just as uncomfortable as his brother but not quite as panicked.

“What?”

“Okay, well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a little time is not something that we have. The end is frickin’ nigh. Just- stow the crap. I can’t believe I’m saying this but… Talk to Lucifer. You don’t have to apologize- but talk to him.”

“That work for you, Gabriel?”

“It’s a start.” Gabriel huffed to his father when his voice returned.

“We’ll talk then.” Chuck spread his arms to the side, “I’m willing to listen.”

“Are you willing to talk, though?”

“I’m amiable.”

Gabriel snorted and shoved off the wall. “This is going to go horribly, boys. I’m not gonna stick around to see it blow up.”

“What? Where are you going?” Dean demanded as he made for the doorway.

“I’m going on my farewell tour. Either Luci’ll nuke the planet, or Amara will- assuming they don’t blow it up trying to talk it out. Might as well enjoy the ride.”

“You were the one that agreed we needed Lucifer’s help, you dick!”

“I did. What I didn’t think about was their egos. We’re screwed, Dean-o.”

“Standing right here, Gabriel.”

“You’re always here, doesn’t mean you’re actually paying attention.” Gabriel quipped with all the hostility he could muster, sending a final glare at his father before disappearing from the Bunker.

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

‘Hey, Gabriel. Time to get your game shoes on. They made up.’

Part of him wanted to kill something. That was the irrational, angry half. The other part, the level one, was completely stunned.

God… and Lucifer had made up. Just like that?

Gabriel appeared in the middle of the kitchen where Lucifer was helping himself to the candy stash Gabriel had set aside as a precautionary measure.

“Not yours.” Gabriel muttered, gaze flicking to Chuck.

“You’re good? Just like that?”

“Just like that.” He responded, averting his gaze. “And I guess, I owe you one too. I’m uh- I shouldn’t have abandoned you, left you and your brothers to take care of Heaven. I was… wrong.”

“Don’t hurt yourself there, pops.” Gabriel rolled his eyes, “I’ll take my apology in the form of my kids and call it good.”

“Later. After this is settled.” Gabriel nodded once, crossing his arms over his chest and crossing the room to grab a chocolate bar from his brother’s hand.

“Really, Gabriel?”

“Really, Lucifer?” He retorted, raising an eyebrow and turning back on the room. “So, what’s the plan? What’d I miss while I was moping?”

“Well we’ve got you both on board, drop a nuke on Amara and end this?” Dean suggested, the three ancient beings already shaking their heads.

“There’s a harmony, a balance, in the universe. Light needs dark. Dark needs light. If you blow one of them up, then, I mean-”

“It wouldn’t be a good thing.” Lucifer and Gabriel said at the same time.

“It’d be really not a good thing. Like ‘end of reality’ not good.”

“Okay, so we gift-wrap Amara. I mean, we got the team back together, so-”

“Not quite. We’re still a few members short of the original line-up.” The two archangels shifted uncomfortably at Chuck’s words.

“Yeah, first time it took the combined strength of me and my brothers to weaken Amara before Dad finished her off.” Lucifer added.

“Even then it was close. Not to mention the surprise element. Now with just the three of us, we’ll lose.”

“Okay, so what? We need more, uh, group therapy between you and the archangels if we wanna have a shot?”

“It’s not that simple.” Chuck responded. “I could bring Raphael back, but Michael’s an entirely different story.”

“He’s out of his mind.” Gabriel added as explanation, fighting back the wave of emotion that the memory of his brother’s death threatened to open.

“You can’t just… erase the crazy?” Dean asked and Gabriel glowered at him.

“I was thorough.” Lucifer responded with a lazy grin.

“grace is like a soul. You can’t just chop out the bits you don’t want.” Chuck spoke up, the look he gave Lucifer extremely distasteful.

“No, but… Death, he walled off Sam’s crazy.”

“Yeah, and it blew up in your face.” Sam reminded him.

“We can’t have a crazy Michael on the loose.” Gabriel interrupted. “You can’t bring him back. I saw him- you have to understand why that’s a bad idea.” The look he gave Chuck was pleading, because the condition that Michael had been in before he killed him…

“Which is why I was going to recommend against it.” Chuck responded. “Raphael would be easier, it will take some time, but I can bring him back.”

“I think you should bring Michael back.” Lucifer spoke up with a shrug. “He might be dangerous, but he’s terrified of me. I’ve got him wrapped around my pinkie finger like the good little soldier he is.”

“That’s exactly why he was in Heaven when I found him? He’s so well controlled that he slipped the Cage the second he had a chance?” The idea made him physically ill, a Michael that subjugated himself to Lucifer? That was an idea more horrifying than the Apocalypse.

“Hey, I sent him out. Told him to check the condition of Heaven. Figured we’d be making our move after Sammy broke- then you killed him.”

“You’re lying-“

“Michael’s smart, and he was betting on your… humanity. Neither of us thought for a moment that you’d be bold enough to kill him.”

“Chuck?” Gabriel asked, looking at his father, pleading.

“I- your brother does not lie, Gabriel.” Chuck was looking at Lucifer though, almost like he was trying to read him. That was the problem, what had always been the problem. God’s omnipotence wasn’t like people thought, it wasn’t a hundred percent and he didn’t know everything. Lucifer’s truth wasn’t always everyone else’s truth. Lucifer could believe every word coming from his mouth was true, and God wouldn’t be able to see the difference. If he hadn’t been paying attention before then, if he’d been ignoring the Earth, there was no tell. Time travel was a solution but if they were bringing archangels back it wasn’t a smart one. Even God had his limits.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Dean demanded. “I bullshit for a living, Chuck. What’s that look for?”

“Lucifer could be lying and I would never know it.” Chuck responded with unbridled honesty.

“I don’t lie.” Lucifer responded with a scowl.

“No, but your truths are definitely not ours.” Gabriel responded with a glower.

“Would you like to see, Gabbie?” His brother asked mockingly and he bit his tongue.

“No.” If Lucifer shared his memories it definitely wouldn’t just be the ones that he wanted to prove the point. It would be worse and he wasn’t anywhere close to prepared to see just how low his brother had Fallen. “Swear on your grace.”

“What?”

“You value nothing more in your life than your power. Swear that Michael is mentally sound enough to fight Amara. Swear on your grace that he won’t flip his lid the second he touches down.”

There was a moment of silence before Lucifer turned his back. “He might be a bit deluded.”

“But?”

“I brainwashed him. I can guarantee he will fight. I can’t swear he’s near good enough shape to function on his own.”

“No.” Both Sam and Dean spoke up firmly.

“That’s a bad idea.” Sam added.

“They’re right. We’ll deal without Michael.”

“Do you really trust me so-“

“Michael’s his own ticking timebomb of power. Last thing we need is him under your thumb like some kinda heavenly attack dog. Answer's no.”

“I have to agree with your brother on this one. The both of you are far too volatile to have present on Earth at the same moment.”

“That’s it?” Lucifer demanded, looking like someone had kicked his puppy.

“Yes, Lucifer. That is it. Unless you have a valid reason to being him back that doesn’t end in the destruction of the Earth, the answer is no.”

“I do actually.” Lucifer responded, looking between the group with an air of bitterness. “Surely I’m not the only one thinking about the risk of not having him? As much as I hate to say it, it took the five of us the first time- and we had the element of surprise. I’m not going to be able to seduce Auntie again, she’s not naïve enough to fall for it and I’m too corrupt to do it. We’ve seen what Dad plus my full strength does-“

“Actually, that was your strength, not mine. You can’t use my Hands, Lucifer.” Chuck was frowning though, glancing at Gabriel with a thread of familiar discomfort. Neither of them liked it, because what Lucifer was saying? It made painful sense.

“That’s not the point.” Lucifer glared at Chuck. “Maybe the little angels that could tried before and did damage, but Rowena healed her and more. She’s stronger than she’s been since the start.”

“You don’t think the four of you are enough.”

“You can see it too.” Gabriel swallowed heavily, shifting uncomfortably as dread pooled in his gut. The reality of Lucifer’s words, the logic of it. “Come on, Father. I know you see what needs to be done.”

“Four archangels, and all of Heaven.” Chuck responded.

“What’re you talking about?” Dean broke the reverie of the conversation, piercing it and reminding them that, right, they weren’t alone.

“We need Michael, and we need Raphael.”

“But you just said-“

“We can’t trust Lucifer.” Gabriel agreed, holding his brother’s gaze and trying hard to ignore the victory smile on his face. “I haven’t ever trusted him less.”

“Michael has a significant amount of angelic power, power we need to stand a chance.” Chuck spoke up slowly. “Michael and Raphael are necessary.”

“And the little heavenly fluffballs.” Lucifer added with a smirk.

“Because this ain’t going to go south. You’re all serious?”

“How can you not- you’re God!”

“I’m not lying. I’ve never lied to you, Sam, and I have no reason to lie about this.”

“You told us you could take Amara out on your own!” Sam snapped back angrily, “You might’ve been honest at one point, but you’re a lying dickbag now. He trusted you, you bastard! Then you fucking lied to him!”

“Sam-“

“Get out of him! Now!” There was a lethal moment of silence after that, Chuck and Gabriel held equally tense breaths while Lucifer stared at Sam, long and hard. One, two, three, four, five-

A tense smile broke across Lucifer’s face and he looked over at Chuck. “I need a Vessel.”

“It will take some time.” Chuck responded, soft, wary, gaze flicking between Sam and Lucifer as though he didn’t know what to think- was he surprised? Well, Gabriel was. He was beyond surprised. What the hell was happening there? Why had- oh.

“I want you out of him.”

“Sam, it will-“

Yes.”

“Sammy, don’t!” Dean started a second too late, Lucifer rolling his shoulders and shifting slightly.

“Very well.” Lips curling into a smile, Castiel’s mouth fell open.

“Dean cover your eyes!” Gabriel hissed out as a bright light enveloped the room, Lucifer’s bright light, True Form, glowing bright and beautiful even beneath the hard shell of darkness surrounding it.

At his core, Lucifer remained beautiful, blindingly, shockingly beautiful. The same archangel that had drawn thousands of angels to their deaths, the same one that had tempted The Darkness and allowed Creation to happen.

For those few seconds, Gabriel was lost. Then he was inside Sam- and Father help them because he had never been unfortunate enough to see that sight in the past. Never in his life had Gabriel seen an archangel in their True Vessel and it was an image he would never unsee.

Envy burned deep in his gut and for the first time he understood the reason why Lucifer had pushed so hard for Sam.

He also understood why Chuck hadn’t put any of that information into The Winchester Gospels.

“I didn't even write it into the books. I was afraid it would make you look unsympathetic.”

In the end Chuck had put it all in the books, he’d shared the dirty details of the demon blood- and then he’d skipped out on the details of Lucifer’s possession.

There was a familiarity in the way that Lucifer’s grace touched Sam’s soul within his body, something Gabriel never could have dreamed of. It was almost as though Lucifer’s grace was humming with approval, like he is purring.

No wonder he’d been so pissed that Sam overpowered him, it had to be intoxicating, raw and pure, and Gabriel wondered if it reflected in Sam, it probably did. How angry Lucifer had to have been to refuse consent in that church.

“Gabriel.” Chuck’s fingers appeared in his face, the loud snap snapping him out of his reverie and he shot an accusing look at his Father, a look that conveyed every ounce of anger and envy he was feeling in the moment, and Chuck’s return response was apologetic, silent.

“Sam- what have you done?” Castiel was leaning against the table, gripping the wood and staring at Lucifer- Samifer as he had mentally dubbed the combination at one point- appalled.

“It’s temporary.” Chuck answered Castiel, a thread of discomfort leaking into his voice as a nervous Dean tried to steady his friend.

You sure about that, Dad? Gabriel prayed quietly, bitterly.

“Castiel.” Lucifer- not Sam smiled broadly from Sam’s Vessel, rolling his shoulders and stretching out a bit.

“Get out of him!”

“Just can’t win with Winchesters and Co.” Lucifer sighed dramatically, rolling his eyes. “On second thought, though. I’m quite liking the new housing.”

“Lucifer, no.” Gabriel spoke up, throwing himself forward and grabbing his brother’s shoulder as they both shot from the room, landing in Gabriel’s room where Lucifer shoved him off and into the wall by his throat.

“Watch yourself, little brother.”

“You’re not doing this.”

“Doing what? Enjoying myself? Come on, Gabriel. I know I was angry at him and I know you’ve been lusting after the older one but look at me. Even you’ve got to see why it’s hard to give it up. Not to mention the protection it offers. Where’s the downside?”

“How about having Dean Winchester after your ass?” Gabriel reached up and shoved at his brother’s shoulders to no avail. “Lucifer, this is serious!”

“I know it’s serious. I also know I have the upperhand, a safety net for my survival as long as I have him.”

“What-“ A wave of nausea clawed at him as Lucifer’s meaning clicked, and the only alternative solution to their problem…

“I want a guarantee for my life.” Lucifer continued, grabbing his shoulder with his free hand and shoving him back against the wall with it, releasing his throat and staring down at him with Sam Winchester’s hazel eyes. “I want to know that when it’s over, I won’t be stabbed in the heart. Castiel’s been my guarantee, Sam’s a better one, but if you’re going to insist I’m moved…”

“You want to bond.”

“Grace to grace.” Lucifer responded, patting his cheek with his free hand. “Lifeline from the Empty, guarantee for my life if I die.” Letting go, he turned and strolled over to the bed, leaving Gabriel to stare after him, leaning against the wall as his legs shook under him.

“You’re disgusting, Lucifer.” Gabriel scowled, “It’s… forbidden.”

“That’s a weak excuse and you know it. Free will’s part of the deal, even for us. Not to mention all your misdeeds. You just don’t want to be the reason I keep living.”

“You’re right. I don’t. Things might be… okay with us, but don’t think for a second that this is fine. None of this is fine. What’re you going to do when it’s over? What do you think Michael will do when he sees!”

“Michael will do what Dad tells him to, or what I tell him. That’s not the problem right now, and you know it isn’t. You might not care about Sam, hell you don’t really care much for the little seraph. But, I’ve seen you and Dean-o swap heart eyes. Granted I wouldn’t call it love, but you wouldn’t turn him down if he asked. I’m not judging. I’ve got no place to stand in Vessel lusting after all-”

“Don’t you dare try to compare my willingness to acknowledge the looks Dean Winchester possesses with your warped- don’t you dare!”

“I’ll stop if you’ll agree.”

“What kinda deal is that!”

“The kind I’m happy to make. Come on, Gabriel. What do you really have to lose at this point? Unless you want to share how you brought yourself back with me.”

“No-” That would never happen. Not in a million years. “Damn it, fine.” Gabriel groaned, shaking his head. “I’ll bond with you- but it’s a courtesy thing. We’re breaking it off the second that Dad’s got her in her cage. Got it?”

“A month after she’s gone.” Lucifer countered, “I’m not going to have you stab me in the back the second she’s down.”

Sighing heavily, he leaned back into the wall, spreading his arms to the side. “Deal.” Assuming they lived through it, it was likely that Raphael or Michael would do it anyways. Assuming Michael was in any decent shape.

“Wonderful.” Lucifer responded with a grin, crossing back through the room. “Do you, Gabriel, take me as your mate- to follow each other through the passion of battle and beyond?”

“Ugh. Do you have to say it like that?”

“I could say it in proper Enochian but considering you’re not in your True Vessel they might explode. Do you?”

“Yes.” Gabriel huffed, flinching as Lucifer touched his face, their grace tingling beneath the contact of skin. “Do you Lucifer… take me as your mate, to follow each other through… the passion of battle and beyond?”

“Yes.”

“Wonderful. Let’s get this over with.” A dark glint in his brother’s eye was all that preceded the next action- a single kiss that Gabriel would never admit to because it didn’t happen. Nope. Not at all.

“That should do it.” Gabriel ignored the smug look on his brother’s face -Sam Winchester's face- Dean will kill me if he finds out, snapping them both to the kitchen- instead being moved by a brush of his Father’s power and appearing in the main room where Chuck was standing over the war table, Dean on the other side with an angry Castiel at his side.

“So, we came to an agreement.” Lucifer chimed cheerily, crossing over to the table and clapping Castiel on the shoulder who stared in horror in response.

“You-“

“It was necessary.” Gabriel interceded, joining Chuck’s side.

“What? What’d they do?”

“We talked. Made a deal. Don’t worry, no kissing was involved.” Because they hadn’t kissed. Gabriel refused to acknowledge that any touching of lips or mingling of grace had happened.

“Where’d you get that?” Lucifer grabbed a tuft of hair off the middle of the table, long and a deep brown. Sam’s.

“None of your business.” Dean responded, looking between Lucifer and Gabriel with distrust.

“Are you using it to make a new body?”

“Yes.” Chuck responded as Gabriel shifted uncomfortably. “These bodies should be able to contain you and Michael at a similar level as Sam and Dean.” Chuck explained as Dean set another tuft of his own hair on the table after pulling it from his pocket.

“In other words, they won’t spontaneously combust when we go after Amara.”

“In theory.” Chuck answered dryly, the atmosphere shifting in front of them. “Fill his hair with your grace, Lucifer.”

“Oooh, you’re making a nephillim body!” Gabriel said suddenly, snickering slightly as a suddenly offended Lucifer did as told.

“You do the same with Dean’s.”

“What!” Gabriel yelped, feeling mortified. All desires to taunt his brother for what could’ve been a beautiful joke about Lucifer and Sam’s child dissipated.

“Trust me, Gabriel. You don’t want me to use Lucifer’s Grace for Michael’s. Stop being difficult and merge your grace with it.”

“But-“ Groaning, “Fine.” Gabriel snagged the hair off the table and focused his grace onto the hair in his hand, merging his power with the base core of the DNA of Dean Winchester. A small spark of light glistened beneath the hair before both archangels dropped the hair tufts on the table. A couple seconds passed, the air sparking around them as God drew on something ancient before the hair tufts began to twist and turn, shifting and growing.

“So… what’s it going to look like?” Dean asked, swallowing heavily and looking anywhere but at his brother.

“You- and him. The closest human manifestation of his grace and your body.” Chuck began to explain apologetically, much to the chagrin of the hunter. “I’m sorry, Dean but I can’t just make something from nothing and I don’t have the time to drag together the primordial essence to create a new human that’ll hold him. It’d be like… creating Earth again.”

“So we’re like… Adam.”

“That’s pretty close.” Chuck accepted the spot-on analogy, “Gabriel, do you remember whose grace I used for Eve?”

“Anael.” Gabriel responded, watching as the hair tufts morphed into fetal forms, still growing, aging and taking shape. A small nudge of his grace changed a single aspect of the growing body of Lucifer’s future vessel that Chuck didn’t acknowledge, much to Gabriel’s contentment.

“So… Eve was a nephillim?”

“Why do you think it’s Cain and Able’s bloodline that houses Lucifer and Michael? Direct descendants of a nephillim enhances it- plus my own meddling.”

“You know, I like it better when I make myself forget how involved you all have been in unhinging our lives.” Dean muttered.

“Nothing personal.” Lucifer smiled widely. “How about you go catch up with Cas? Let the big boys talk.”

“What-”

“Don’t worry, your baby bro will be in perfect shape when you’re back.” Lucifer grinned, trying- and failing, to snap Dean away. “Really?”

“Safety net.” Chuck responded, most of his focus completely planted on the still growing fetus in the middle of the table. “He’s right, Dean. I need to talk to my sons alone before I bring back Raphael and Michael. There’s a lot of… unresolved anger there and it will be easier if you aren’t involved.”

“I’m not leaving-“

“He’s right, Dean-o. See you two later.” Gabriel snapped his fingers and they were a Winchester and seraph short.

“And then there were three.” Lucifer mused.

“Five.” Gabriel corrected, “You’ve got a baby on the way, Luci.”

“It’s not my baby.” Lucifer was not amused.

“It’s absolutely your baby.”

“Well, it does hold you grace, Lucifer.” Chuck spoke up, smiling slightly. “And Michael’s holds yours, Gabriel. Welcome to fatherhood, boys. Since the two of you decided to elope, I hope you enjoy fatherhood as a married couple.”

Almost immediately Gabriel’s smile fell, “That’s so not- no!” Shaking his head, “Hells no, fine. Okay, not his kid- and Luci’s not my wife! Or my husband!”

“I see a ring around your grace that says otherwise. Now how about you both leave me alone so I can finish this? Go talk to the angels, get them on our side.”

“Fine.” Both archangels huffed out, each disappearing in their own annoyed flutter of wings.

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

There were a lot of things Gabriel would never acknowledge agreeing with his brother on. However, the one he could gladly -and would gladly- flaunt was dramatic entrances. The two of them arrived side by side, though Gabriel kept himself hidden for the time being, and Lucifer was almost instantly surrounded by shock-stricken angels.

“And here I thought I had made real inroads with you guys.” Lucifer was practically beaming as he was escorted down the hall. The angels were not amused. What had started as a small party of four was quickly increasing in number as more and more angry angels appeared, one after the next.

“You thought wrong, Serpent.” Abriel huffed, holding a blade to Lucifer. As though it could actually kill him, especially in Sam.

“Serpent.” Honestly, Gabriel almost laughed at that one too- the only thing he could do was muffle himself and resist it.

“We loathe you. We'll always loathe you.” Another angel- one Gabriel didn’t know the name of.

“Welp, I came here to ask a good-faith favor of you folks, but as you are clearly less than kindly disposed, perhaps you'll, uh, lend an ear to my very own Jiminy Cricket. Hmm?”

Gabriel moved to the front of the escorting group, drawing all of his power to the center of his vessel and rolling his shoulders before making himself visible. “Brothers, Sisters.” Gabriel spoke, truly spoke, and the crowd of angels whipped around- staring at him in shock as he spread his arms to the side, his wings, his power rippling across Heaven in a way he was sure they hadn’t felt since Michael left. As it ripped across Heaven, as he spread, he broke down walls, ripped open doors and removed barricades until all of Heaven, all at once, was exposed to itself.

“Gabriel!” Thousands of angels cried in horror and awe as they left their posts, returned to Heaven, souls cried out in shock and surprise as they were given free reign to all of Heaven again- just as it had been the last time he was there.

“How about you let my wife go?” Gabriel grinned widely, watching as confused and disturbed angels stumbled away from Lucifer.

“I am not the wife.”

“You absolutely are.” Gabriel brushed his brother’s annoyance off, turning around slowly and letting his gaze search across Heaven, billions of souls were awake for the first time since their deaths, confusion, shock, and panic resonating across all of it as angels continued to flock in from all corners of the planet.

“You were dead.” Abriel’s voice broke across them all, “He killed you.”

“You know what they say, can’t keep a bad man down. Or is it a good man? Well… I guess I’m not really either so screw it. Guess who’s home, and newsflash, it ain’t me.”

“What are you talking about?” Several angels spoke up at the same moment while others bowed, ugh. As Loki it had been fun, as an archangel it was just plain annoying.

“Daddy’s back from the liquor store and man does he have a plan.”

“I think it was my plan, Gabriel.”

“I think you’re the only one counting, Lucifer.” A glance at Lucifer who had joined his side confirmed that he really didn’t want Chuck taking credit for it, which was a fair request. “But yes, it was Lucifer’s idea. The man… -or woman? Who can really remember those days anyways-, with a plan. But we need your help.”  

“Our help? You expect us to bow to you? To believe you?” Ah, there it was. The reaction he’d been looking for.

“Gods no. I’d never ask you little fuzzballs to bow to me. That’s our big bros’ thing. I do expect you to believe me, though.” A glance around the entirety of the gathered crowd found him meeting the distrustful glare of Brendiel who was making his way to the front of the crowd.

“Why-”

“Because, no matter how strong an archangel is, we can’t do this.” A snap of his fingers and the power that Chuck had loaned him burst across Heaven, healing the wings of every angel it touched and earning a united cry of shock and joy. “I’m not telling you to do anything. I’m not a leader, I’m a runaway. You all have every reason in the world to hate me, because I did abandon you, but I’m asking- no, begging you.” Shoving all of his pride, his confidence, and ego to the side Gabriel dropped to his knees. Every instinct as both an archangel and god made him want to reject the concept, to get back on his feet and tell them to help or fuck off, but they did need the young ones- and he had to do this to make the point.  

‘Gabriel, what are you doing?’

“Please. We need your help, and we can’t win without you.”

All of Heaven was dead silent, even the souls were quiet and Gabriel couldn’t imagine what kind of picture he painted. The youngest of the archangels, one of the proudest, on his knees before them, begging them for their help.

But there was another reason for it, a reason that Lucifer couldn’t understand. Gabriel needed the trust of these angels, because when it came to it, when the fight with Amara was over, Lucifer and Michael would both be back on the playing field and Gabriel didn’t have any clue what they would do.

“Yes.” The first angel broke the silence, then another, and another. A thousand yeses broke across Heaven in a single moment.

A silent promise.

All he could hope was that it was enough.

“We will call you when the time is right.” Gabriel said quietly, disappearing in a snap of fingers.

*~-~*

“Where’s Chuck?” Gabriel asked when he returned to the front room of the Bunker, scanning the room and watching with a bit of envy he was more than willing to admit as Chuck walked in with a woman and man in their mid-twenties at his side. Well, woman and man was a subjective term. They didn’t have souls. To top it off they were freshly made so they didn’t have any memories to fuel them. Empty shells.

“Holy shit.” Dean was staring, eyes wide. “Dude- he looks like me!”

They both looked just like the brothers, hell Michael’s could’ve been Dean’s twin brother. He was shorter by a couple inches, hair a bit longer- hair which he definitely didn’t get from Dean-, it looked like the closest early representation of his golden grace, glimmering a bit in the light of the room.

As for the female? She looked like the perfect offspring between Lucifer’s grace and Sam’s soul. Hazel eyes, strong build for the most part. Not identical, but close enough that it was clear she was definitely his offspring. There were etches of Lucifer’s true form mixed in as well, especially clear in the pure white hair that almost glowed with his grace.

“Why is she female?” Lucifer demanded as he appeared in the room.

“My addition.” Gabriel chimed happily. “Gotta say, kinda envious.”

“Then you take her.”

“Nope. This body’s me, and you’ve got a deal to hold up. So, vacate the hunter.”

“You did make a deal, Lucifer.” Chuck added, guiding the bodies to chairs and pushing them each until they sat.

“I’m well aware of the agreement I made. I just- damn it, fine. I’d close your eyes, Dean.” Lucifer huffed as he walked over to the empty female body.

“He’s right.” Gabriel added, to clarify that his brother was being serious.

“Are we not going to talk about the fact that she looks like my brother?” Dean demanded, shutting his eyes anyways.

“Better than him wearing your brother.” Gabriel responded, looking away as Lucifer vacated Sam, bright light flooding the room for a solid twenty seconds as he clearly had trouble infiltrating an empty body.

The moment the light dissipated Gabriel looked back to see Lucifer in the new body, flexing his fingers and rolling his shoulders while Sam collapsed to his knees, Chuck placing a hand on his shoulder and healing any of the damage that Lucifer may have done while possessing Sam- not that there was likely to be any.

“Woah.” Gabriel’s gaze moved as both Castiel and Dean dropped down next to him. “Cas-”

Without any care for the present audience Castiel tugged a flustered Sam into a kiss, Dean groaning loudly with annoyance but not saying anything as he backed off.

“As much as I’m enjoying the peep show…” Gabriel snapped his fingers, sending the two lovebirds off to Sam’s room. “Alright, let them rekindle a bit while we talk about the plan.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“You got into the middle of their bullshit, Luci. You don’t get to complain.”

“I hate to agree with him- her?” Dean looked over at a glowering Lucifer. “But… is this really the best time to send them off to screw?”

“It’s fine.” Gabriel waved his hand. “They’ve done their part, they’ll play the rest when it gets down to business.”

“It’ll work.” Chuck agreed, watching Lucifer as he rose to his feet, making his way around the room slowly.

“So we’ve got me, Luci, and Heaven.”

“Michael and Raphael are manifesting.”

“Where?” Dean’s head snapped to Chuck, astonishment clear in his expression.

“The dungeon, I increased the warding for you as well as adding Archangel traps to the floor. I don’t trust either of them on their own yet.”

“I’m going down there.”

“Be careful, Gabriel.” Chuck warned him as he turned, “The warding will affect you as well.”

“I’ve lived without my grace before, I’ll be fine.”

“It will also affect your pagan portion.”

“I’ve been human before. I’ll be fine.” Gabriel repeated, huffing a breath of annoyance as he left the room.

In truth, he needed some time to himself, away from his brother and Father and fucking Dean. All of it was happening too damned fast and yet, it was nowhere near fast enough. They were coming down to the final showdown and Amara was fully aware of just who was involved. It was only a matter of time before she made her move and Gabriel was terrified of what that might mean for the planet if they couldn’t pull themselves together enough to fight her again.

“You swore that you wouldn’t do something stupid. You promised.”

“So did you.” A snap of his fingers put warding on Sam’s room before he was subjected to sounds that would ultimately lead him to needing his ears bleached.

Taking a deep breath, Gabriel stopped outside the dungeon, staring at the door as the warding pressed at his powers from the inside. It was going to be hell inside, but if it was placed down by Chuck it meant that it would keep Michael and Raphael subdued- though he didn’t doubt that Raphael would be more reasonable.

No, the problem was with Michael. Michael, who the last time Gabriel had seen him, had been a broken down mess. Michael, who very well under the direct influence of fucking Lucifer.

There was a thread of hope in that story, though. The first being the bond- Lucifer had actively sought it out, which meant he was afraid, even after saying Michael was under his control. The second was that Gabriel had found Michael in Heaven. It was that Michael had let him kill him.

Lucifer’s story simply didn’t add up. With that in mind, he pushed open the door and stepped through. The room was one he’d been in before, nothing unfamiliar though the bookshelves had been moved to the walls, two large archangel traps were set on opposite sides of the devil’s traps and one housed a bright, twisting, ball of light that Gabriel immediately recognized as Michael.

The other had a dark-skinned woman in the middle of it who was pacing around the edges, throwing uncomfortable glances in Michael’s direction. He didn’t even look up when Gabriel came in and as Gabriel got closer he recognized why, along with the heavy warding that had him feeling more and more human by the second, there was a strong obscuring ward that he broke with a snap of his fingers. The second it was gone the dark-skinned woman- Raphael, whipped his head up, narrowed eyes meeting his from across the space.

“Gabriel.” Raphael greeted coolly, warily, and there was a thread of discomfort underlying all of the words. It was something Gabriel had no doubt his brother was trying to hide. “I should have known you were involved in this?”

“In what? Your resurrection. Ironically, I have nothing to do with it.”

Raphael stared at him for a long moment, reading him in a way that Gabriel hated. Even with his grace on low reserves, Raphael still saw through people clearly.

“Why would Lucifer possibly have me brought back, Gabriel?”

“Because the world’s ending, and this time everything goes with it.” Holding his brother’s gaze he stepped forward until he was at the edge of the trap. “This is bigger than anything ever has been. It’s bigger than the bullshit between Michael and Lucifer, and it’s bigger than us.”

“God brought us back. I am not at all surprised that there is something seriously wrong.” Raphael paused in his pacing, tilting his head and walking to the edge of the trap. “Not to mention that ring around your grace. The extents that you’ve gone to prove just how dire this is.” Pressing his palm against the invisible barrier, Raphael narrowed his eyes. “The answer is no.”

“No?”

“I’m not subjecting myself to helping Him, and you shouldn’t either, Gabriel. The answer is no.”

“This is all of reality, Raphael. Not just-”

“I have been dead, Gabriel. Whatever it is that… The Darkness does to these worlds, it will be nothing more than He deserves for abandoning us. The answer is no. If you were wise, you would stand with me. The world is suffering, screaming, and I hear every moment of it. There is nothing I can do to repair it, so the answer remains. No. I will not help.”

“Raphie, please.” Gabriel pressed his hand against the trap, touching his brother’s hand through the magical barrier and putting on his best puppy eyes. “I died for them, for the world. I’ll do it again, but I don’t want to.”

“You left, Gabriel.” Raphael responded coolly, watching him closely as their vessels’ hands touched, grace mingling just beneath the surface. “You abandoned us all.”

“I did. I abandoned Heaven. I left it all behind.” Taking a breath, Gabriel closed his eyes and sent flashes between their connected grace, images and memories of his time as Loki, his children, the joys and misery of it all.

The secret to how he survived.

“Raphael.” Michael’s voice rasped across the distance between them, sudden and sharp and jarring both of the youngest from their contact. Whipping his head from Raphael he stared at Michael, throat closing slightly. He wasn’t back together, not completely, but already it was clear… Michael was so damaged. “Don’t trust him.”

“Michael-”

“He killed me.”

A silence fell between the youngest of the archangels, long, drawn out, and then, “Gabriel.”

“I didn’t have a choice, Raphael.” Gabriel breathed out, stepping a bit closer towards Michael as the bright light that was his grace curled around, pressing against the edge of the trap. “He was a threat.”

“Do you call being on the floor, begging for mercy, a threat? Is that your definition of a threat, Gabriel?”

“No.” Gabriel responded, bristling slightly even as fear tried to claw its way up. “I call a deranged, delusional archangel a threat. Especially you.”

“You murdered Michael?” Raphael asked, somewhere between being impressed and appalled.

“A mercy killing.” Gabriel responded shortly. “Michael, I need to know something-”

“You have no idea, Gabriel. You don’t have a single clue what I went through and you killed me.”

“Yeah, I did. And it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Gabriel forced himself to hold his eldest brother’s gaze, even when everything in him screamed to run in terror. “You were deluded.”

“I was begging you for help!”

“You were begging Lucifer not to hurt you!” Gabriel retorted angrily, grace flaring bright beneath his vessel with anger. “You don’t understand-”

“Gabriel!” Raphael shouted from behind him, breaking him from his momentary reverie, “Listen to what he’s saying. Are you listening?”

“Yes.” Gabriel responded, running over the conversation again and- oh.

“Michael, look at me.”

“What do you want, Raphael?”

“What did Lucifer do to you?” Michael’s grace burned a bit brighter with his annoyance when Raphael disregarded his question, and Gabriel was admittedly impressed.

Raphael had never stood against Michael. The two had been inseparable for as long as he could remember. Two halves of the same thread of creation.

“What did he do to me?” The laugh that followed was metallic, cold and harsh. “What didn’t he do? That Winchester drug us down there and Lucifer? Oh, pity poor me! The stories really never did him justice, did they? Oh, it hurt. Father, help me did it hurt. That was the first thing he taught me- the first thing I learned. Hell? It’s his domain, even the Cage.” Michael shoved against the wall, grace twisting into some corrupt version of what could’ve been a human form made of light.

It may have been the most terrible sight Gabriel had ever seen.

“It was my prison, Sam Winchester’s prison, but for Lucifer? It was his playground.”

“Michael-”

“And who gave him the key?” Michael’s violent glare shot straight into Gabriel’s gaze, all of him at once hitting the wall of the trap and in a panicked flurry Gabriel fell back, stumbling- shit, right into Raphael who caught him under his arms. “You traitorous little coward!” Michael screeched, glass shattering in the room as Raphael tugged Gabriel behind him, acting as a physical barrier between his eldest brother and his youngest. “Face me! Let me out!”

Guilt, shame, fear, and a million other emotions leeched into him, gnawing at his mind as Michael shouted at him, called him every name in the book. All the while Raphael tried to talk Michael down. They were trapped, and Michael’s words? His anger?

Every ounce of it was justified, but Gabriel also couldn’t make himself regret a second of it.

Father, please.

*~-~*

four little archangels, together again,

two who are truly afraid, two who have lost their heads

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

Gabriel stared at the now unconscious Michael from inside the trap. Chuck was in the doorway but Gabriel paid him no attention.

Michael was destroyed.

“I’m sorry, Gabriel.”

“Fuck off.” The words flowed effortlessly and the stiffening of Raphael’s body next to him was clear as day. Not that he cared. Chuck could go rot in hell for all he cared. That apology meant absolutely nothing to him. Not after an hour.

“Are you going to let us out?” Raphael asked, gripping Gabriel’s shoulder in an oddly comforting gesture.

“You understand the situation?”

“I understand it, I just don’t care. You just let Gabriel go through the worst verbal assault of his life because you were off doing whatever it is that you do when you’re failing us. Let us out- or at the very least let him out.”

“Let us out.” Gabriel swallowed, turning his focus to Chuck, stomach churning. The words- words could hurt so bad. It had taken him an hour. Chuck hadn’t bothered showing his face for an hour and in that time Michael had effectively drawn up every ounce of shame, guilt, and pain he had ever felt. “Now.”

“I’m sorry.” Chuck repeated. Gabriel didn’t buy a word of it, leaning into Raphael’s side as the archangel trap disappeared from around them. Without a single word Raphael hooked an arm over his shoulder and walked him to the stairwell, sidestepping them around Chuck as they moved.

God didn’t stop him.

“Good luck with Michael.” Gabriel muttered bitterly as they stepped out of the warding, Raphael taking them from the Bunker in a single flap of wings.

“So Dad’s the prophet.” Raphael mused after several long silent moments, his gaze wandering across the ruins of Asgard where Gabriel had brought them.

“No.” Gabriel responded, picking a smooth, golden stone up off the ground. “Dad’s dead. Has been for a long time.”

“Denying the bitter reality of our situation will do you no good, Gabriel.”

“I died for their cause, Raph-”

“And you left our brother to the mercy of Lucifer!” Raphael was angry, bitter, and he whipped around, staring at him with hurt, angry eyes. “Did you honestly expect me to leave him down there!”

“Michael dug his own grave!” Gabriel spun around, tightening his grip on the stone and staring at his brother. “There was always a choice, Michael always had a choice and instead he chose to fight! I-” Shuddering violently, Gabriel forced himself to sit down, to stare up at his elder brother. “You made your choice, and I made mine. But what I did? It could have been any of us. Any of us could have opened that Cage. You’re the healer, the therapist of Heaven, tell me. If put in this impossible position, if put between humanity and your brothers- no, between caging Michael and the survival of the fledglings, which would you choose?”

“Between Michael and the fledglings…” Raphael’s expression went a bit distant as he warily sat across from Gabriel, blinking after a moment. “That’s what it was for you?”

“I lived on Earth for thousands of years, Raphael. Thousands of years I was among them. Not just the pagans but the monsters, the humans, and I saw the good. I saw humanity for what it was, and what it was? It was so much better than us. They’re flawed and corrupt and- I will always choose them, because Dad- not Chuck, He was right. They’re better than us, they will always be better than us. They try to, and they succeed. Us? We can never do that, because we are too obsessed with us. If it comes down to it, Raph. I’ll do exactly what I did to Lucifer, and if it went back to it… I’d make the same call. Even after everything, I’ll always make the same choice because humanity… it’s worth saving.”

“You’d let us all die, for them?” Raphael asked, tone carefully neutral. “I don’t understand, Gabriel.”

“I don’t expect you to, I just expect you to accept it. We’re all angry at Him, we have every right in the world to be. I’m not doing it for Him, I’m doing it for them. Don’t do it for Him, do it for the angels, the ones in Heaven that Amara will wipe from existence if we don’t stop her. Please, Raphael. You’re my brother, and I love you…” A small shudder rippled across him as he was reminded of his speech- the one that had ultimately led to his death to Lucifer. Except this was Raphael. Raphael wouldn’t kill him. “Tell me you don’t share the sentiment and I won’t ask again.”

“You’re still so young, Gabriel.” Raphael responded, a smile curling on his lips. “I never stopped loving you, never once did I stop loving you. You’re my brother, and you’re right. I will never stand beside Him again. I will stand with you, though.”

“Swear to me, Raphael.”

“I swear on the lives of all the angels in Heaven.” Raphael responded, smile broadening as Gabriel lifted his gaze to meet Raphael’s. “We need to talk about Michael, though.”

“What about him?” Almost immediately Gabriel averted his gaze, looking off into the distance.

“I don’t think he’s mentally going to be able to partake in this fight.”

“We need him.” Except after the verbal assault, Gabriel didn’t want him. Knowing just how far gone Michael actually was- they had the Winchesters as allies. Even if they could get him to think rationally about the fight… Michael would probably kill Sam and Dean.

“We need the warrior of Heaven, I would never send Michael into battle in this state. I never would have brought him back. Why did Chuck make that decision?”

“Lucifer claimed he had him brainwashed, and unfortunately… if he wasn’t lying, it’s our best option.”

“I don’t like it.” Raphael responded.

“Neither do I. But how else can we replicate Michael’s power?”

Raphael shifted in front of him, quiet as he rose to his feet. Gabriel lifted his head and watched his brother as he paced, grace thrumming beneath the skin of his vessel as he clearly thought over the options. There weren’t any, though. If there were-

“Purgatory.”

“What are you talking about?” Gabriel asked, getting to his feet and searching Raphael as he continued to pace.

“When Castiel killed me…” Raphael took a deep breath through his nose, meeting Gabriel’s gaze slowly, “The power of Purgatory was running through his Vessel, every soul of every monster that ever lived, and the way he overpowered me… it was a way that only Michael or Lucifer could have done.”

“You want to funnel all the Purgatory souls into yourself?” Gabriel asked slowly, eyes narrowing suspiciously.

“No.” Raphael responded, averting his gaze with a sigh. “We need to add to the power of the four of us- without Michael. The obvious solution is to channel it into the seraph we already know can handle the energy.”

“You want to power Castiel up with the souls of Purgatory?” Gabriel was openly staring and pretty sure his jaw was slack. Of all of the crazy plans, Gabriel never could’ve guessed this one, not in a million years, and there he was. Raphael recommending… well, it wasn’t a secret what Purgatory had done to Castiel.

It also wasn’t a completely terrible idea. As long as the leviathan were kept at bay, there would be nothing to corrupt Castiel in such a feat. It was… ingenious.

“You’re sure, Raph?”

“I want to kill the little traitor.” Raphael admitted with a bitter smile, “Yet, he may be our best option if Michael is unable to help us.”

“I’d really prefer if you didn’t kill Castiel. It was a lot of bullshit to get him away from Luci.”

“I will refrain.” Raphael responded, offering his hand.

“And Lucifer?”

“I’m aware. Again, I will refrain. I’m not particularly happy with him.”

“Would it help if I reminded you that we’re married?”

Raphael made a face, eyeing him -or more likely his grace- with disdain. “I can comprehend why you would stoop to that level of desperation, but I remain baffled that Lucifer felt it was necessary.”

“We’re about to go against Amara.” Gabriel reminded Raphael, “And guess who’ll be on the front lines? I can give you about a hundred reasons why he’d do everything in his power to guarantee I don’t turn on him.”

“I’ve seen you suicidal before, Gabriel.”

“Lucifer hasn’t.” Gabriel responded, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. “I’m not going to kill myself. Not if I can avoid it. I have a month after Amara’s dealt with to figure out something.”

“Which is why you bowed to Heaven, you want them on your side when you turn on him.” It shouldn’t have surprised him that Raphael was nosing around in his memories, but it was a bit disorienting. How much had Raphael seen? How long had he been looking?

Laughing softly, Gabriel grinned at his brother with no real emotion. “You saw right through that. I’m surprised he didn’t.”

“You shocked him too much for him to recognize what you were actually doing. Deception has always been one of your strongpoints.”

“Remember when I blew up Mars?” Gabriel asked slyly and Raphael groaned.

“I try not to. Can we go now?”

“Yeah.” Gabriel responded, taking his brother’s hand and allowing him to fly them back to the Bunker.

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

Gabriel stood in the main room of the Bunker again. To say that the Winchesters were pissed? That was an understatement. His jaw would be sporting a massive bruise from the punch Dean had thrown when he’d suggested they power Castiel up with souls from Purgatory.

Not to mention the lingering betrayal.

“Chuck.” Gabriel’s tone was firm, gaze settled on the false prophet who was sitting in a chair. “Is Michael fit for a fight?”

“In his current condition I believe that if we let him out of the trap he will kill all of you. It’s likely he’d try to kill me as well.” Chuck’s gaze settled onto Lucifer who was sitting on the edge of the war table, ankles crossed in a move that Gabriel wanted to bad to tease him for but he couldn’t because this was an important conversation.

“Could it work?” Castiel asked, slow, calculating.

“Cas-“

“Could I help you against Amara if I were to… take the souls of Purgatory again?” The young angel looked a bit sick and Sam’s jaw tightened.

“Didn’t we just agree to stop with the kamikaze bullshit!” Dean demanded, shooting a furious look at Castiel. “You can’t be seriously considering this!”

“You have a better suggestion, we’re all ears Dean-o.” Gabriel grinned broadly at the hunter who shot him a betrayed look in response.

“We have very little time.” Raphael added, tone tight and posture stiff.

“I could move the souls from Purgatory into Castiel. I can’t promise it won’t corrupt him again, though.”

“Chuck.” Sam spoke up, tone carefully neutral. “There’s nothing you can do for Michael?”

“Not without violating his free will. If he wanted to forget, it would be one thing, but he doesn’t want to forget.”

“So we’re an archangel short.” Sam responded and Chuck nodded. “Lucifer.”

“What?” Lucifer blinked, looking over at the hunter and raising an eyebrow.

“You told us you could make Michael fight for us.”

“I did. I thought I could.” Lucifer responded with a casual shrug that didn’t cover the minor distress in his grace. Lucifer had honestly believed he could control Michael, which meant that while him and Raphael had been talking… they had talked.

Gabriel almost wished he’d been there for that part of the conversation. But only almost. Michael and Lucifer’s arguments were always brutal and those same arguments were the reason he’d run from Heaven to begin with.

Nothing hurt more than watching the people he cared the most about ripping each other apart.

“What you guys call the Apocalypse, I use to call Sunday dinner.”

“You lied.”

“Nope.” Lucifer corrected, eyes flashing with his grace as he held Sam’s gaze. “I never lied, not about that. Michael was completely under my control when he escaped the Cage. Whatever it is that’s going through his head? That’s my fault, but I didn’t plan it.”

“Lucifer’s scared.” Gabriel spoke up, ignoring the dirty look Lucifer sent his way. “Michael’s a no-go option. That much is obvious. So again.” Gabriel’s gaze moved back to Sam and Castiel, Castiel catching his eyes almost immediately.

‘If I do this, Gabriel. You have to protect Sam. Whatever you do, you cannot let me harm him.’

‘I won’t let you go Godstiel on us again, little bro. That’s a promise.’ Unlike Raphael, he could- and would- fight a crazed Castiel. He didn’t need his wings to fight, he just needed the upperhand.

“Can’t some other angel do it?” Dean pressed but Sam was shaking his head, and- what had Sam done? There was a layer of something… was it shame? Guilt? What could Sam be guilty about?

“It’s a strong vessel. Cas is our best shot.” Gabriel couldn’t help but notice the fact that the younger hunter and the angel took each other’s hands, silent and nervous.

“Sam.” Dean’s tone had changed and when Gabriel looked over at him he knew something was wrong. The suspicion, worry, and irritation burning in his expression was a dead giveaway.

Sam had a secret, and whatever it was? Dean knew about it.

“It doesn’t matter.” Sam responded.

“The hell it doesn’t! Gabe,” Dean shot him a nearly pleading look and he snapped the hunters away.

“What’s that about?” Gabriel demanded of the seraph who bowed his head slightly, looking away.

“Sam is taking the Mark.” Chuck spoke up, looking between four of his children.

Well that was good information to have. “You’re serious?”

“Sam wants to redeem himself for releasing her. I could give it to one of you, of course but as Lucifer so helpfully reminded me it would ultimately do the same thing it did to him.”

“Dean’s not going to take that well.” Gabriel responded, certain he could hear shouting from the other end of the Bunker but not daring to try to listen in. “So you’re both on a suicide mission.”

“No.” Castiel responded firmly, bristling. “Sam can fight the Mark.”

“And when he doesn’t?” Gabriel countered, glowering at the seraph. “When he ultimately breaks? You’re going to tell me that you and Dean won’t do the outlandish stupid you do every damned time?”

“When it’s over,” Castiel responded, tone level, careful, “I will do what should have been done to Cain all those years ago. Sam and I will go into the Cage, and we will remain there for the rest of eternity.”

“What about-“

“I will kill Dean if I must. I am willing to go to every limit to guarantee that this sacrifice is not in vain. Just as you are, we are making the hard choices to guarantee the human race remains intact. Don’t you try to treat me as a fool, Gabriel. We have seen our mistakes, and we are doing what we can to repair them.”

It was hard to decide whether he wanted to punch the seraph or hug him. Every single word he spoke felt raw and true, and honestly? He was stunned. Yet, he also understood it. Both Castiel and Sam were carrying immense levels of guilt, they were both ashamed of their mistakes and they were doing all they could to make up for it. Dean was going to be pissed, and he wasn’t going to agree with it, but Gabriel trusted that both Castiel and Sam were set enough in their plan that they would do it.

It was a dark fate, but Gabriel had every intention in the world to hold them to it. If they didn’t pull it off, he would make sure that was exactly what happened to them- assuming he survived Amara.

‘Raph.’

‘I will happily help you ensure they don’t destroy the planet again.’

“We’ll hold you to this, Castiel.”

“I would expect nothing less from you.” Except Castiel wasn’t looking at him, he was looking at Raphael and the tension between the two was becoming heavy enough Gabriel wondered just how long they would hold out before they tried to kill each other.

Not that Gabriel particularly blamed them. Not too long ago they’d been warring soldiers fighting for the safety of the human race, and while Castiel may have had time to move past it, Raphael definitely hadn’t.

“So now that that’s settled.” Lucifer spoke up uncomfortably. “What’s being done with Michael?”

“He’s dying.” Dean’s bitter voice came from the doorframe, hair mussed up and a large bruise making itself known on his jaw along with a split lip. “One batshit archangel’s enough.”

“He’s right.” Sam grumbled, coming in behind him. The younger brother was sporting a fresh black eye and looked much better off than Dean. It was obvious who had won the brawl but it still annoyed him that he’d missed that fight. Real physical fights between the two were rarely instigated and when they were? Gabriel loved to see them.

“So we’re all on the same page?” Gabriel frowned at Dean who was glaring at Chuck with nothing but pure, raw, unadulterated hatred.

“Do we really have a choice?”

“Dean-“

“Not a word, Cas.” Dean glowered at his friend with venom- not hatred, but there was a very distinct hostility. Despite the evidence of the fight that had happened, and the aggressive stance, Gabriel was certain that Dean wasn’t quite as angry as he was acting. Not that he would dare call the elder hunter out on it.

“We’re doing what we must.”

“Yeah, and you aren’t telling me a single damned thing about it so drop it. Who’s killing Michael?”

“I’m going to kill him.” Lucifer spoke up, Gabriel grinding his teeth together but not objecting because frankly, he couldn’t do it again. As it stood… he couldn’t even face Michael again.

“No.” Chuck spoke up, “You were never meant to kill Michael, Lucifer and if I’m honest, you don’t deserve to.”

“What happened to free will?”

“I’m overriding it as your father.” A snap of his fingers and Dean had an archangel blade in hand, “Try to be quick, Dean. He is my son.”

“You’re joking, right?”

“No.” Chuck responded, expression dark. “Unless one of the others present would like to do it?”

“Except me because apparently my free will doesn’t mean anything.” Lucifer huffed bitterly.

“I’m not killing Michael again.” Gabriel admitted honestly.

“Raphael?”

“I will go with Dean.” Raphael responded after several moments of conflicted silence. “Just to be sure that Michael doesn’t kill him.”

“Very well.” Chuck responded, “While you do that I am going to take Castiel into Purgatory.”

“Already?” Sam asked suddenly as Raphael and Dean began their trek down the hallway, Dean limping visibly.

Taking pity on the hunter he snapped his fingers, healing all the injuries from the fight while summoning himself a chair to slump into at the same time, a lollipop poking out of his mouth almost absently as he sucked on the sugary sweet.

“Time crunch.” Chuck reminded Sam as Cas crossed the room, pulling Sam into an embrace and flooding the younger hunter with grace to heal his injuries. “If anything we’ve wasted way too much time as is.”

“Sam.”

“I know, Cas.” Sam responded, holding the young angel close and taking a deep breath. “Go. It’s not goodbye.” Except it could be. Depending on how Castiel reacted to the souls this time around it could be the final goodbye. No one commented on that prospect and Sam was more than smart enough to know.

The moment to couple pulled away both him and Chuck disappeared, leaving Lucifer, Gabriel, and Sam there.

“I’m impressed, Sam.” Lucifer prodded, tone mocking. “You’re doing it.”

“Go to hell, Luci.”

“Ooooh, feisty Sam is in the house. C’mon, man. Let’s talk. Just like old times. Remember the good ol’ days?”

“I remember you torturing me in the Cage, I remember you harassing me after the Cage. I don’t remember talking.”

“There was the time I helped you track your brother down. All the times during the Apocalypse where I tried to make you understand just how wrong He was. Even those moments of bonding in the Cage before your boyfriend said yes. You can’t tell me you don’t like me even a bit?”

Rolling his eyes, Gabriel leaned back, hooking his legs over the edge of the chair and laying sideways in it to stare up at the ceiling. “Ever think that maybe he’s just not that into you, Luci?”

“Ever think to fuck off? I’m just making small talk.”

“Sticks and stones.” Gabriel responded, tilting his head to the side. “You can’t kill me and nothing you can say will possibly surpass Michael’s words so why don’t you fuck off and leave the tall one alone?”

“You little-“ Lucifer’s words died as an flash of grace burst across the bunker, a silent scream then raw silence.

Michael.

‘How bad was it?’ Gabriel asked Raphael quietly.

‘I think you may have appreciated it.’ Raphael responded after a moment, ‘Michael allowed Dean to walk up to him without any conflict.’ A momentary pause, ‘Before Dean stabbed him, Michael tried to kiss him. A laugh tore past his lips uncontrolled at the visual image that followed it, because no matter how gruesome his brother’s death… the look of pure horror on Dean Winchester’s face in light of Michael trying to kiss him? It was absolutely comical.

“Gabriel?”

“Nothing, Sam.” Gabriel waved off, chuckling and grinning. “Nothing at all.”

“Michael’s dead.” Lucifer spoke up and Gabriel could practically feel him glaring. “What are you laughing about?”

“I’m sure Dean will never talk about it, that’s what.” Lazily Gabriel rolled his head to the side and eyed Lucifer from a distance. “Kinda like those things you thought about doing to tempt Sammy here before you changed your mind.”

The blood drained from Lucifer’s face and for a single second Gabriel thought he might kill him- again- then Lucifer was relaxed again. “What about the things you thought about doing to the eldest before I killed you? Hm?”

Gabriel breathed in heavily through his nose, crossing his arms over his chest and pulling the sucker from his mouth. “What about them?” His gaze flicked to meet Lucifer’s, “Dean Winchester is hot as fuck and I don’t care if he’s Mikey’s vessel, I’d let him-“

“No!” Sam yelped suddenly, breaking into the conversation and Gabriel couldn’t help but snicker. “I don’t want to- what the hell, Gabriel!”

“Oh, relax. I’m just screwing with Luci.”

“Yeah well I don’t want to hear about… you’ve got a thing for Dean?”

“What? Gods no. Well… I’d screw him, but that’s about it.” Which was about the extent of it. Why was he explaining himself with this? “I’d also screw you too, Sammy boy.” Which was bullshit, but best to keep the hunter on his toes and get this conversation off topic. “Interested? The little seraph that could isn’t invited, though.”

“What- no!”

“Offer’s on the table.” Gabriel winked over at the unamused hunter before shoving the sucker back in his mouth.

“It really is not.” If anyone asked, Gabriel didn’t jump. Gabriel did not jump because he was always prepared. There was nothing that could take him off guard, especially in a place where he was already on edge about being killed by any of his brothers.

So him falling from the chair he was in, the shout that followed.

It was all a ruse.

A practical joke to make the seraph think that he was scarier than he was. That’s what it was. It had nothing to do with the fact that he didn’t feel the return of both Chuck and Castiel.

That idea was insane. When Gabriel sat up from the floor to glare at Castiel who had appeared with Chuck next to the chair Chuck had disappeared from, it was in good humor.

What wasn’t false was the pure shock that struck him at the sight of the seraph being fueled by the souls of Purgatory.

Castiel’s vessel was almost glowing with power, a dull thrumming of grace and souls intermingled and pressing against the cells of the human body just barely containing it. Every ounce of Castiel’s form in that moment screamed danger and threat and Gabriel’s own being bristled with fear for a single moment before he masked it.

In that moment Gabriel understood exactly why Raphael had suggested this. He also understood exactly why it wasn’t a rash decision. There was one thing he could guarantee from what he was looking at, and it was a suggestion he never would have made. Because Castiel? In that state? There was no doubt in his mind that he could kill them all.

Castiel was a threat. A dangerous, dangerous angel, and if Gabriel wasn’t sure before, he was now.

Those souls could not remain there after Amara was dealt with. No matter the price.

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

At a later point Gabriel would deny that it took place. The list of denial had grown longer, longer than he had ever expected, but this detail?

It was a dangerous thing to confirm ever had happened. At least, for Lucifer to learn about it.

“Raziel.” Gabriel greeted the current ruler of Heaven, shifting uncomfortably. Five minutes. They had five minutes. “Be quick.”

“Of course.” Raziel responded.

“There are only one thousand one hundred and sixty-three angels left in Heaven.” The angel Brendiel spoke up from next to the seraph, gaze and tone radiating the immense amounts of distrust.

Brendiel did not like archangels, never had and Gabriel suspected that he never would.

“When we did our full-scale attack on Amara before, only seven hundred added their power to the strike.” Raziel explained carefully, scratching something down on a sheet of paper in Cuneiform. With every ounce of his grace on reserves he couldn’t translate it but didn’t suspect it was vital. “A thousand are willing to help with this attack, the other hundreds are requesting to be on the ground with you.”

“That’s not an option. Amara will shred them to pieces with a flick of her wrist.”

“It’s their demands.” Raziel countered, looking serious. “I understand what you’re trying to do, Gabriel. Brendiel has informed me of exactly what your plans are and by the sounds of it, having angels with you is the better option.”

After casting an annoyed look at Brendiel he looked back at Raziel, “There are- how many? One thousand one hundred and sixty-three angels in Heaven. That’s your count right. Forty-six in Hell, and seventy-nine on Earth. That’s the total angels you don’t know about-” Pausing, Gabriel moved his gaze to Brendiel, “The ones you are well aware of, Brendiel.”

“I’ve never denied that I hide the angels on Earth and in Hell.” Brendiel responded firmly, “That’s not the point. They don’t want to be involved and I won’t force them to do so. I’m an advocate for freedom, I always have been, and you should understand that, Runaway.”

He couldn’t decide whether to smite the little angel for his defiance, or to smite him. It wasn’t fair to bring that up because when it came down to it he had come off the sidelines. The angels that were hiding? They were the problem.

Yet, he was there for a reason and arguing with them was going to do nothing good. They needed to come to a solid agreement and he only had three minutes left.

“My point is that that a large portion of the angels that were in Heaven for the first attack on Amara are gone. They bolted after she brushed off your first attempt. You need all hands on deck up here when it happens. I can handle Lucifer.”

“The bond is not protection for you, Gabriel.” Raziel pressed. “You can’t do this on your own.”

“I’m not alone.” Gabriel responded, bristling slightly. “Besides, my life is the least of our problems.

“It’s the root of our problems.” Raziel countered. “You’re the only archangel in Heaven that actively supports my rule. If Raphael or Lucifer are the only survivors of the battle everything will fall apart.”

“Damn it.” Gabriel ground his teeth together as Raphael appeared next to him, “Raph.”

“Let’s start this again, Raziel.”

“Raphael-”

“Two minutes.” Raphael interrupted. “I will stand by your ruling of Heaven, Raziel if you will agree to the other stipulations.”

“Tell them all, Raphael.” Brendiel spoke up like the nosy little sidekick he was being.

“You are joking, right?”

“No. After Lucifer and Michael were gone you were the root problem.”

“You are letting the census taker speak for you?” Raphael demanded and Gabriel took a deep breath.

“They have every reason in the world not to trust us and we’re kinda on a time crunch. Just do it.”

The time crunch was the problem. Dean was driving and he was getting closer and closer to the destination with every breath. They had to hurry and Raziel was making it more difficult than it needed to be.

'I, Raphael, am denouncing my authority as ruler of Heaven and formally transferring all of my responsibilities to the seraph Raziel, my support lies with him and only him as ruler.’ Gabriel might’ve laughed at the way it sounded like his brother was swallowing nails if it wasn’t so important. There was a low murmur of surprise among all of Heaven, everyone’s wavelengths carefully concealed away from the probing of Lucifer.

“We good?” Gabriel asked, holding Raziel's gaze.

“Yes. All of Heaven will strike Amara when given the order. From you, Gabriel. You, and only you. Is that clear?”

“Perfectly.”

'Gabriel.’ Lucifer’s voice pierced his grace and he tensed a bit.

“Be ready.” Gabriel warned the two before grabbing Raphael’s hand and disappearing in a flurry of wings.

*~-~*

Chuck had chosen an abandoned powerplant in the middle of nowheresville, South Dakota. It was large and open on the interior and the four gathered angels were tense and on edge as they waited. Chuck and Sam were in a silent discussion about the Mark. About getting into the Cage when all was said and done.

'Hey, Gabe.’ Dean’s prayer broke through his train of thought for a single moment as Lucifer rolled his spear between his slim female fingers absently. 'Sam told me what you said. Guess it wasn’t a bizarre ass dream back before TV Land fucked us over. Point's this. I’m not stupid enough to ask you to do anything. I know lust just fine and it’s cool. I’m askin' though. Make sure he doesn’t… make sure he isn’t alone. The Cage screwed him up and if he goes in alone it’ll ruin him. Don’t let Cas do that to him.

Well that was his solution. A bit of anger burned in his gut at that revelation. Dean was leaving him to deal with the Sam situation if Castiel failed and… pausing he glanced across the large empty room where Chuck was now pacing while he talked, looking genuinely anxious.

Afraid.

Was Dean another part of Chuck’s plan? Another puzzle piece in the impossible task of beating Amara again?

“Gabriel.” Gabriel blinked and looked up as a spear was tossed to him, familiar and oh so very ancient. It linked up with his grace, his true form, and thrummed in his fingers with raw energy that he hadn’t felt in thousands of years.

“Where was this?” Gabriel asked Lucifer, staring at the sleek wood and angel steel. The sight of his name carved into the wood in Enochian.

“One of my crypts.” Lucifer responded with a shrug, “I’m sentimental.”

“You’re a lot of things, Luci. Sentimental ain’t one.” Gabriel countered. “Why did you have it?”

“I tried to have all of our spears combined.” Sighing, Lucifer looked away. “It fried Michael’s and Raph-”

“No.” Raphael interrupted, waving his hand as a spear manifested in it. “After you Fell I had mine hidden and replaced it with a fake. I did not trust you not to keep your hands off of it.”

“You clever asshole.” Lucifer responded, eyes wide and expression almost… fond. “So the fake was what destroyed Michael’s.”

“Most likely.” Raphael responded, shifting his spear between his fingers expertly.

“So, Castiel.” Lucifer prodded the seraph who Gabriel had been trying really hard to ignore the presence of. “How’s that feel to you? Archangel steel is just so much… purer.”

‘Lucifer.’

“It feels like a means to an end.” Castiel responded stiffly, “Like something I could use to kill you.”

“Oooh, couple million souls and you’re quite confident aren’t you, Castiel? Tell you what. When all is said and done I’ll take you in a nice game of hand-to-hand.”

“When all is said and done,” Castiel responded slowly, carefully, turning his head to look towards Sam. “We are going into your Cage to protect the world from him.”

“And what about me?” Lucifer almost sounded affronted that he wasn’t part of the plan.

“With any luck, Amara will destroy you before you can harm the Earth again.”

“If she doesn’t,” Sam spoke up from the front of the room, tone neutral, “You will come into the Cage with us.”

“Oh, really? You think you can drag me into the Cage again, Sammy?”

“I think you will go in whether you want to or not.” Sam responded tiredly. “I’m not playing games with you, Lucifer. Not anymore.”

‘She’s here.’ Dean’s prayer broke through his grace, ‘Gabe-’ The prayer broke off with a tortured cry of agony and his breathing stopped.

‘Now!’ He ordered Heaven as the sounds of a hundred angel wings broke the air. Stumbling back a bit Gabriel stared in horror at the sight of angels- the runaways as they arrived in a massive hoard.

Each and every one of them was soaked in the inky black of The Darkness and for a fraction of a second none of the angels present moved. The two groups stared at each other.

Then the other angels attacked. The first to move, Jessiel.

The second she vacated her Vessel the others flocked forward in an instant. Gabriel remained frozen at the sight of the inky blackness that dripped off of their grace. Three, two- on reflex he spun around and drove his spear through the grace of a seraph, earning a shriek as it exploded in a burst of bright light.

“Gabriel, left!” Gabriel ducked down, driving his blade up to the left at a sharp angle to kill yet another angel.

“Right, Raph!” Gabriel called out, the two younger archangels grouping closer together. They defended each other in the fray, ducking and dodging and losing count of the angels as they killed the young ones. Lucifer was openly laughing, dodging and killing the young angels with glee.

‘Lucifer, don’t waste your energy.’

‘Why? If she’s sending the young ones? Obviously, she’s afraid.’

‘You aren’t that arrogant, Luci. Think about it.’ Gabriel ducked downward as the entire building disappeared around them.

No- that wasn’t what happened. Gabriel’s head whipped around as he stared into the blackness, the vacuum of space and- Father, help us.

Flinging himself backwards a bit he was briefly disoriented as he realized that- woah. Amara had ripped him from his vessel… but more than that- Chuck.

Gabriel stared in a mixture of horror and awe as The Light and The Darkness collided with each otherA thousand unrecognizable angels of darkness manifested as a barricade between them and the two primordial beings. There was a bright flash of light and a light ringing as him and the other three angels dove into the fray.

Grace and… something resembling grace clashed together and screams tore out around him. There were also flashes of something ancient as God and The Darkness fought, bright explosions of raw, primordial power. Each strike from the fresh angels of The Darkness weighed heavy on his grace, every kill drained on his own energy as him and the three other-

“Gabriel!” Raphael cried in agony as his grace exploded from somewhere to his left, agony ripped through him at the realization that Raphael was gone- Raph. I’m sorry. So sorry.

‘Together. We need to unite.’ Castiel’s voice infiltrated his grace then, ‘Now!’ Light burned from behind him as a thousand wings fluttered. Angels.

‘I told you that you would need us.’ Brendiel. Oh the little… somehow three angels made their way through the crowd to join his side, one being just that angel.

‘You’re going to die.’

‘If she doesn’t go down, Creation will die.’ The angel countered, ‘Now move. He needs you.’ The younger angel’s grace shoved against his as all of Heaven fought the angels of The Darkness. ‘Together. Group them!’ Raziel continued on, ‘Get them to God!’

The first battle against The Darkness was vivid in his memories. It had been difficult, but not like this. Back then… It had been them versus her. There had been five against one.

This time? This time Amara had created. Amara had made an army and every movement of his spear that had warped into a sword at some point exhausted his grace, made him acutely aware of just how much stronger she was. Any of them could be Raphael in that instant because the weapons that the dark angels wielded absolutely damaged them. So, when their angels, God’s angels, started surrounding him, guiding him at an awkward angle through the crowd of the dark angels towards Lucifer and Castiel, he didn’t bother protesting it.

It said a lot that he didn’t hear Lucifer fight them either. The three remaining archangels -because at this point Castiel was their best bet at having another archangel- ended up together.

‘I saw him die.’ Lucifer’s voice pierced his grace as the three touched at their most base level.

The world around him erupted into light as they fought through the dark angels, united, killing angel after angel, grace exploding and dispersing around them at God begged them to hurry.

‘There.’ Castiel and Lucifer said in the same instant, the three of them pressing together and through the dark grace, coming out into the center of the collision of God and Amara.

There were no true words for the sight they came across. It was a blur of energy and power beyond even his own comprehension and much like the first fight… he could never put any words it. The three archangels struck Amara blindly -yet united- driving their blades into her unanimously as an agonized shriek ripped from her.

“You will regret that! I will never go back! Do you hear me! I will never-” Silence fell around him as something struck through him. A single movement and it was done.

Gabriel died.

~-.-~

Chapter Text

.-~*~-.

Death was funny. Especially for someone bonded. It was technically his first full death and he felt… well, not much. A niggling sensation in the back of his mind, maybe. Which probably said wonders for him considering… well, he was dead. The last time he’d died, it had been for an hour and he had never fully left the Earth. Yet…

Oh, right. Amara. Amara had killed him. Funny.

If Amara had killed him… well, he hoped that Castiel and Lucifer had been luckier. Maybe their final assault had been enough… possibly. Actually- oh, of course.

He was dead, but he was sentient. The bond. Almost absently he tugged at the connection between him and Lucifer, and sure enough. It was there. Which meant Lucifer was alive… and he was dead.

Dead.

The bond.

He didn’t have to stay dead, he could crawl out of The Empty over that bond. Of course, if he did that and Lucifer was in the middle of the battle… it would kill him.

One week. He would wait a week. If Lucifer didn’t die in that span of time then he would try crawling back to life.

*~-~*

Gabriel’s eyes opened slowly, every inch of his body burning and numb after a solid week of crawling across that damned bond. Two weeks since he’d died. In theory. The light above him was a blinding white and try as he could he couldn’t piece together where he was. In fact… he couldn’t really feel anything.

No… that wasn’t right. Blinking several times, he realized something horrible. Breathing sharply through his nose- because he had to do it, he tried to draw on his power… only there was none.

“Gabriel.” A female voice broke through his panicked daze as he tried- and failed- to move. Shit shit. The more he moved the more aware he became of his condition. “You’ve got to-”

“Where am I?” He demanded, voice cracking roughly. Human.

“Earth.” She responded, finally stepping into his line of sight and- shit. Lucifer. It was Lucifer. Lucifer was standing over him and- taking a sharp breath he froze as he realized something terrible- or was it perfect? Because… it was impossible, yet clear as day.

Lucifer was tired. There were dark circles under his eyes, his hair was a matted mess, and it looked like he hadn’t slept in days. Something that Gabriel had no doubt was completely possible.

“I’m not going to-”

“Lucifer.” Sam’s voice. That was Sam. Where was- oh yeah.

Raphael had died during the fight against Amara. Dean, Raphael, only Chuck knew how many of the angels were left. None of that explained his human status. Nothing explained why Lucifer- clearly human was leaning over him.

Why were they human?

“We’re human.” Lucifer huffed out, gaze wandering from Gabriel to glare at someone, probably Sam. “From what we can tell… if an angel leaves Heaven, they become human.”

“There’s more.” Sam muttered, much closer now. “Hell’s closed.” Something brushed his wrist, a hand. Then the bindings that had been holding him down were coming loose and he took a deep breath, relishing in the loss of pressure on his torso. “No one’s seen a monster since… Amara.”

“How many died?” Gabriel asked, rolling his shoulders but not daring to try to get up yet.

After all, it wasn’t his first time as a human.

“Most of them.”

“I’m guessing Amara’s gone. What happened?”

“When we attacked her, when you died- when Castiel died.” There was a sound like a wounded animal from somewhere to his left and Gabriel grimaced when he realized it came from Sam. “I managed to subdue her for a moment. Long enough for Him to bind her. They both went.”

“Chuck went in with her?” Gabriel stared at Lucifer for a moment in complete and utter shock. That had been his solution? The final move? Go in with her? Leave them to deal with… no that wasn’t right. There had been a moment where he’d suspected. A single moment where he’d entertained the idea that Chuck would go with her, something he really couldn’t remember clearly.

“Yeah, he ditched us and left us human.”

“How did I come back?” He blurted, forcing his aching muscles to move so that he could sit up. The room he was in was… a hospital room. Blinking several times, he finally took time to take in the sights around him and no, wait… that wasn’t right. It wasn’t a hospital room. It was just like one. The walls were painted white and there was a bunch of machinery around it, old hospital machines and… right. During his wandering of the Bunker he’d stumbled across this place. It was on one of the lower levels. The memories were fuzzy though and he grimaced as he realized his new human brain was clogging his perception of his history.

“Probably Dad playing favorites.” Lucifer huffed out, turning his back on him and walking over to the door.

“Stay out of his room.” Sam warned the devil irritably as he stepped out.

“Fuck off.” Then there were two and Gabriel swallowed heavily, leaning back against his pillow and staring at the ceiling.

“How’s he taking humanity?”

“He isn’t.” Sam responded and Gabriel finally looked over at him, taking in the sight of the exhausted hunter who was wearing an ugly ass orange jacket that no doubt concealed the Mark on his arm. “I’ve caught him trying to kill himself four times.”

“Are you serious?” Gabriel stared at the hunter who shrugged uncaringly. Christ. Lucifer was a lot of things but… suicidal? That definitely wasn’t anything he would ever put on the list. Never.

“I don’t think he actually wants to die. I think he’s just angry.”

“If he wanted to actually die… he’d be dead.”

“Exactly.” Sam responded, again, uncaring. “I need your help, Gabriel.”

“The Cage.”

“I can’t open it on my own and…” Swallowing heavily, Sam averted his gaze. “You’re the only one that will help.”

“What makes you so sure?”

Laughing sharply Sam picked at the sleeve of his jacket almost absently, “Dean wouldn’t have died without some sort of contingency. He knew he was going to die to her and he went, which means he would’ve normally demanded that… Cas,” Uncomfortable shifting, pacing, “protected me at all costs. Except he was pissed at Cas and the two of you had that… whatever it was.”

“Platonic lusting?” Gabriel asked, except there was a heavy weight on his chest that he tried not to think too much about. Dean was dead. Chuck had let Dean walk into his death, and Dean had done it without a second thought.

“Yeah, that.” Sam huffed. “Point is, I know he asked you to help me, and you’re not stupid enough to leave me walking around. If Dean asked you to make sure I don’t skip out on the Cage, you’re going to do it. Even if he hadn’t, you don’t want a grief-stricken Winchester on the Earth. Especially when you’re human.”

“So that’s the plan then? Go to the Cage on your own?” Gabriel asked slowly, carefully. There was a strange sensation in his gut that took a small portion of time for him to piece together. It had been a long time since he was last human and the sensations were all warped together. How was Lucifer handling it?

“No.” Sam responded, taking a deep breath. “Lucifer is going with me.”

“And he’s agreed to this?”

“Yes.” Sam’s gaze lifted to meet his. “In the Cage he won’t be exactly human. Not like he is now. When I was in there- body and soul, I didn’t need to eat or drink or anything. It kept me alive, because you can’t die in the Cage. So he figures…”

“In the Cage he won’t have to suffer being completely human.” Gabriel finished, nodding slowly. It made a lot of sense, and Gabriel could almost see himself going there for that exact reason. An escape from the terrible reality that he was human. Trapped as a human. It had to have been Chuck. A final curse from God. Nothing on Earth but humans. That had to be what it was and he’d been drug right down with it.

“Yeah. Only he can’t open the Cage. So it’s got to be you.”

“Basically, you’re asking me to shove you back in the Cage. With Lucifer.”

“Yes.”

It took a moment for him to accept that knowledge, truly accept it, and when he did… it was the least he could do. A post-grief Sam Winchester was dangerous, truly dangerous, and with the Mark burned into his skin it was only a matter of when he would fall apart.

Besides, he’d already promised himself that he would make sure it happened. The only reason he was hesitating was the revelation that Lucifer would go with him.

In reality, it was probably a bad idea to drop Sam with the Mark in the Cage with Lucifer, especially a human Lucifer. No matter the horrible things that Lucifer had done, he was still Gabriel’s brother and he really didn’t like the idea of leaving him at the mercy of an angry Sam.

“Okay…” He drawled, slowly getting to his feet and flinching at the motions. Being human sucked… a lot. “I’m going to go to the bathroom, then we’ll pop open the Cage. Sound good?”

“You’ve been human before.” Sam acknowledged, analyzing him closely.

“I like to be prepared.” Gabriel responded with a casual shrug as he made his way out of the room and into the corridors that made up the Bunker. It didn’t wake too much time or effort before he found his way to the lowest level’s bathrooms. Unlike the upstairs bathrooms there were only two stalls and one was occupied.

Which was what led to him standing outside the second stall rather than taking care of himself like he needed to. “Luce.”

“Go, Gabriel.” Lucifer responded sharply and Gabriel rolled his eyes as a scent niggled at his senses, a familiar smell. Where had he even gotten that?

“You’re willingly going into the Cage. With Sam. We need to talk about this. Stop getting high and open the damned door.”

“I-” Sighing loudly, the door clicked and he stepped back as it flung open to reveal Lucifer who was half hiding a joint behind her back. “I’m not sharing.”

“Pot was never my thing.” Gabriel responded with a roll of his eyes. “Where’d you get that?’
“In one of the locked rooms. Waiting for you to use me like a climbing rope was boring since Sam wouldn’t let me leave the Bunker.”

“Jeez, I wonder why.” Gabriel rolled his eyes. “I wouldn’t have let you leave either.”

“What do you take me for?” Lucifer demanded, shoving the end of the joint against the door then shoving it in his pocket, “I’m a homicidal narcissist, not stupid. There’s no monsters, no demons, and no angels on Earth.”

“Exactly.” Gabriel responded knowingly as his brother shoved past him, “On Earth. The only way you can possibly know about the angels is if you’ve talked to angels in Heaven.”

“What do you expect me to do!” Lucifer spun around, shoving his fingers through his long matted hair and shoving it to the back of his head, “I’m human- but worse, a human woman. Do you have any comprehension of the level of dignity I’ve lost in the two weeks since you died!” Lucifer trembled slightly, wrapping his arms around himself and staring at Gabriel with something that- on anyone else- Gabriel would call loss.

On Lucifer, though?

On Lucifer, Gabriel would call it fear. Pure, raw, fear. Filtered over in a hundred different ways that Gabriel knew Lucifer never could truly do. Not in a human body.

“Forgive me if I want away from the hunter that singlehandedly ruined everything! Forgive me if I want away from the brother that betrayed me! A fucking hour, Gabriel! I wanted an hour alone, instead I was trapped here. All I have been able to think about is what’s coming for me. What I’m about to do so I don’t have to suffer the damned indignities of being a woman! I wanted a single hour to myself, and I couldn’t even have that. I’m about to go into the Cage with the man that hates me more than anyone else in existence so I don’t have to suffer the terrible truth.”

“Which truth is that?” Gabriel asked slowly, carefully, analyzing his brother’s every motion, every breath, the flicking of his eyes and the fidgeting of everything else.

Lucifer smiled sharply, eyes narrowing, “The fucked up truth of women. God loved me most, you were right. God loved me so much that when He built His favorite? When He built them, He built them based off of me. I was so angry that I never once considered it, and now I’m having to experience it and- it reminds me of then. Why did you have to make it a woman, Gabriel!”

“Because,” Gabriel responded, slowly, carefully, taking in each and every motion of Lucifer’s posture, the movements. “I wanted to see you as a female again before I died.”

“You’re lying.” Lucifer accused him bitterly, “You did this to screw with me and now I’m trapped!”

“Gods, help us.” Gabriel scowled, shoving at his chest and glaring at him. “This isn’t my fucking fault, Luci! I didn’t plan for you to be trapped as a human, I didn’t plan for me to be stuck as one! But you know what? I’m accepting it, I’m not off trying to fucking kill myself like a damned coward!”

“Don’t you-”

“If you’re going to do it, you know how to do it so why don’t you?”

Lucifer stared at him, long and hard, expression giving away every ounce of emotion he felt.

“Fine.” He breathed out, licking his lips and taking a step back.

“What?”

“Fine.” Lucifer repeated, expression distant and hollow. “Fine.”

“Lucifer-”

Without acknowledging him, Lucifer turned and made his way from the bathroom, steps jagged and tense and Gabriel stared, trying to figure out if she was agreeing to… what? Kill herself?

Would Lucifer actually do it? When he’d talked to Sam earlier, they had both come to the conclusion that it hadn’t happened because she hadn’t been planning on doing it. But what if…

A sour taste filled his mouth as he stepped into the stall, trying to decide whether she could… no, wait. Gabriel breathed heavily, closing his eyes and tilting his head back. He never would have. Not before, not when there were other options, contingency plans and ways to get out of it.

“I saw him die.

“I’m sentimental.”

Gabriel’s breath caught in his throat and he fumbled a bit before rushing from the bathroom, head whipping to the left and right as he debated… where would- Sam’s room. Then he was running, cutting across and through the Bunker’s shortcuts as fast as he could, up the stairs and as he turned a corner he faceplanted right into the back of Lucifer’s skull earning an angry shout from said ex-archangel and a startled one from himself as the both collapsed to the floor in a heap.

“Get off of me!”

“Give me the damned gun.” Try as she might, Lucifer’s flailing did nothing but give him the necessary leverage to snatch the metal from her hand. “I didn’t mean it! Fucking hell-”

“Get off!” She screeched, struggling as he pressed her into the floor with ease, her head turned to the side as she glared at him from the corner of her hazel eyes, “Now!”

“Not until you talk to me.” Gabriel responded, removing the clip from what he knew for a fact was Dean’s .45 before throwing it down the hallway. “Christ, Luci. I never thought I’d see the day.”

“What do you want me to say?” She responded, finally giving up on struggling and letting his weight crush her. Not that he was putting near enough on any part of her to actually do any damage. They both knew it.

“How about why in the ever-living hell you’d think I’d actually want you to kill yourself? I’ve done a lot of things- said a lot, and I’m sorry. I am so damned sorry because no matter what you’ve been… what you’ve done, that was out of line.”

“It was over the line.” She responded bitterly, tiredly, “I can’t do this, Gabe. I can’t.”

“If you go with him, if you join him in the Cage, do you have any idea what he’ll do to you?”

“Everything I did,” She responded tiredly, “And more. Anything is better than this, though.”

“You would rather suffer at the hands of Sam Winchester for the rest of eternity… or kill yourself, than suffer through… fifty, sixty years as a human.”

“Yes.” She responded without a secondary thought.

“What the hell did Amara do to you?”

“Stripped her essence away from me.” When she erupted into a choking fit of laughter Gabriel finally released her, falling back on his knees and staring as Lucifer struggled into a sitting position, tugging her knees to her chest and pressing her forehead against them to hide her face. “I should have guessed. It was arrogant to assume I would come out of that battle unscathed, because I didn’t and Father help me, it was a mistake to think that I was right. Amara ripped everything that her Mark twisted and corrupted in me out. So, I guess Dad was right. The Mark never changed me, but it sure as hell made it all the difference in the world.”

“You still hate them, even without the corruption of the Mark.” Gabriel acknowledged slowly, considering it carefully. It made sense, it solidified that inkling suspicion that had him seeing Lucifer as his sister again. The thing that was wrong.

It wasn’t the humanity, it wasn’t the situation with her grace, it was the loss of the corruption. A Lucifer without the embodiment of evil clinging to her very essence was a Lucifer from a long time ago, but not too far away. The Lucifer that, during the dawn of Creation, had been the brightest and purest and most loved angel. The big sister of him an Raphael, Michael’s baby sister.

Amara had effectively given him his sister back, and in the crossfire she had effectively ruined her. There was no fixing Lucifer, nothing could be said or done to fix it because the damage was done. Just like Chuck couldn’t wall off the crazy in Michael, Amara hadn’t been able to just delete the evil in Lucifer.

Because nothing worked like that. The world didn’t work like that. So, instead, they had back Gabriel’s sister, with all of the bitter resentment that had been built up over the years. The difference was the emotional variances, this Lucifer could feel. He could love and hate and grieve.

And they’d just lost Raphael, Lucifer had watched him die. Then she’d lost herself. The thing that made her more, the only thing that connected Lucifer to the life they lost, and it was gone. Then to top it all off? Sam and him both assuming the worst, when in reality… it was a ruse. Lucifer wanted a final farewell to the planet before all was said and done, before she ultimately subjected herself to the final punishment for every crime she had ever committed following her Fall.

All of it was a convoluted mess, contradictory because Lucifer was an overly complicated being with personality traits that liked to contradict themselves when it was necessary. Yet, in it all, Gabriel could be certain of one thing.

Lucifer needed to see the Earth, needed to have something cementing before she made that final choice. “Swear to me you won’t kill yourself.”

She snorted, visibly taking a deep breath before she lifted tear rimmed eyes to meet his. “Swear you’ll help put us in the Cage.”

“I promise that I’ll help with the cage.” Gabriel responded.

“Then I promise I won’t kill myself.” She sighed back to him before putting her face back in her knees. “Tell Sam that he wins.”

“Wins what?”

“I told him there was no way you’d agree to let me go back in the Cage with him. Guess I had a lot more faith in you than I should’ve.”

“You killed me.” Gabriel reminded her as he got to his feet, “And I never said I was letting you do anything.”

Before he could catch her response, he rose to his feet, continuing the trip towards Sam’s room and stopping outside the closed door. Knock, knock, knock.

There were several long moments of silence before a door clicked open, not in front of him but from close behind him. “Gabriel.”

Right. Castiel was dead. The silent grieving process he’d used for his kids sat hand in hand with the idea of Sam staying in Castiel’s room. “I’m not letting her go into the Cage without her seeing the outside world.”

When Gabriel turned around Sam was no longer wearing the jacket, flannel shirt on with the sleeves rolled up a bit. The way his arms were turned Gabriel couldn’t see the Mark and he wasn’t sure he wanted to. There was a long moment where Sam stared at him, quiet, before he finally shrugged slightly, “Fine.”

“Just like that?”

“Final road trip before we spend an eternity in Hell doesn’t seem like a terrible idea.” Sam’s words were hollow, expression distant, as he rubbed absently at the Mark that was distinctly visible on his arm now.

“We?”

“Lucifer can’t drive, I imagine you can’t either, and even if you can I don’t really trust either of you not to stab me in the back so yeah. I’m going with you.” Sam sounded impatient and irritable and if Gabriel was honest he wasn’t sure he trusted Sam in this scenario. A Sam with the Mark remained a serious threat to anyone.

Yet, there wasn’t much he could do. Not if he wanted to confirm that Lucifer had no reservations about the idea of remaining human.

“Okay.”

“Okay.” Sam repeated back, stepping back into the room, “Three hours and we’ll go.”

Then the door closed and Gabriel was alone in the hallway. Three hours, then a road trip. A road trip, then Sam Winchester and potentially Lucifer went into the Cage.

Maybe he would go with them.

*~-~*

It had been three weeks since the road trip began and they were wanted in three states for four murders. If he was honest, he wasn’t sure how it happened. It had been a strange assortment of waking up in the morning and being rushed into the car by Sam with the audible muttering variations of, “He was a bad person,” and they had left town in a rush.

They were wanted in three states. Gabriel stared at the Mark each time with dread coiling deep in his gut. Sam had insisted they continued the trip and Gabriel was caught between a rock and a hard place because he couldn’t open the Cage himself. Not that it mattered now.

Now it was time.

Sam was pulling materials from the back of the truck that they’d gotten in the last town, materials and items for the ritual. Gabriel didn’t have the first clue what it did but it was supposed to help so he let the hunter deal with it while him and Lucifer stood by a nearby true. It was an empty field somewhere in the middle of Maine and the chill of spring was biting at him through his jacket.

“You still want to go?” Gabriel finally asked his sister who rubbed her shoe into the dirt absently.

“I can’t stay like this.” Lucifer responded honestly and he nodded, not having expected any other answer, “Besides, I owe something to him. Call me old, but I have to repay it.”

“I can’t believe I’m saying it but I think I prefer the selfish dick you became.”

“You just don’t want to be left alone.” She accused, leaning into his side and sighing. “I don’t want to be trapped, Gabriel. Not like this.”

“If you could get your grace back you’d stay, though.”

“Maybe.” Lucifer responded, a bit distant, and Gabriel glanced from the corner of his eye to see her watching Sam set the ritual circle up. “You think it’ll still work? With the magic barring on Earth.”

“I guess it depends whether it was done by Chuck or Amara.” Gabriel sighed out, acknowledging a topic they’d addressed a couple times over the last few weeks. The idea that it was possibly Amara that sucked the magic from Earth. However, if that was the case, Gabriel was pretty sure that he wouldn’t have been able to come back. His resurrection was an exception to the no-magic rule.

So hopefully, the Cage was as well.

“You could come with us.”

“Tempting.” Gabriel responded, and a couple weeks ago, it had been. The idea of spending the rest of eternity in the Cage with his sister had been an interesting prospect, until it changed and he realized that… no, it wasn’t a fun idea. Not with the inevitable outcome for what would happen there. “But, no. I’m going to stay here. Maybe find a way into Asgard.”

“You’re lying.”

“Coming from the father of them.” Gabriel retorted.

“You’re going to try to be a human.”

“Am I really that transparent?”

“Absolutely.” Lucifer responded, moving forward. “But whatever. You want to waste your life being boring, you do that. I’m going to judge you for it every second of the rest of my tortured existence.”

Smiling grimly, Gabriel stared at his sister’s back. “I’ll judge you for every second of the rest of my existence for throwing yourself into the fire.”

“Seems like a fair exchange.” Lucifer responded.

“It’s ready!” Sam called from the outside of the ritual circle and Gabriel saw his sister visibly tense.

“Ready, Luce?”

“Not at all.” She sighed heavily, beginning the short walk to where Sam was standing. Hesitating for only a moment, he pushed off the tree and trailed after her.

“Take this.” Sam tossed him a dagger which he only barely caught, not that it stopped the sharp end from catching on his skin and cutting.

“Was that necessary?”

“Yes.” Sam responded seriously, and Gabriel ignored the glare he received because Sam was actively blaming both him and Lucifer for both Cas and Dean’s death at this point. It bothered him, set him on edge, because if Sam had been unsettling on demon blood it was nothing compared to him with the Mark.

The bodies, that Gabriel knew about, were proof. The doubt that the ones he knew about were the only ones cemented it. Sam Winchester was dangerous, a true threat.

I can’t do that to her.

“Do you remember Enochian?”

“I’ve never spoken it in a vessel but I can manage if you give me the words.” Gabriel responded, moving a bit closer to his sister.

“Six words. I say three of them, we add our blood to the bowl and it’ll open. Me and her jump in, and you say your three and it closes.”

“Simple enough.” Gabriel responded, watching Sam closely.

“uls oi emna.” Sam told him and Gabriel nodded once.

“uls oi emna.” The words felt weird and foreign on his human tongue but they still came across with foreign familiarity. Like words spoken several lifetimes ago.

“Speak softer on the a.” Sam told him reprimandingly and he made an annoyed sound, not bothering to respond. Enochian was his native tongue and Sam was not going to try to tell him how to speak it.

“odo oi emna.” Sam spoke up firmly and the air around them began to crackle, humming and buzzing as Sam cut into the meaty part of his palm, blood dripping into the bowl in the center of the circle. After a single moment of hesitation Gabriel cut into his own palm, flinching away from the sharp pain before holding his own hand over the bowl. The second his blood began to trickle into the bowl the ground started to vibrate under his feet, air crackling more and more.

“Goodbye, Gabriel.” Lucifer told him, turning suddenly and shoving him back, hard. As he stumbled back the ground ripped open beneath them.

It was a hauntingly familiar sight, watching Lucifer and Sam fall into the Cage together. It wasn’t his first time witnessing this fall. Gabriel had seen Sam drag his brothers into the Cage what felt like hundreds of years ago.

None of it made what he was watching better. The two of them didn’t have a chance to react and Gabriel felt his eyes burning as he watched the only remaining of his siblings, his true siblings, disappear into a dark pit.

The Cage.

“Goodbye, Gabriel.” In only three -no five- weeks Lucifer had changed so much… Improved for the better, and it burned in his chest like a live flame because she could have done it.

Lucifer could’ve stayed, she was strong enough and she was improving.

Amara had done her good and now… now she was going to be at the mercy of Sam.

“Raph would’ve been proud.” Gabriel breathed around the lump in his throat, as he struggled to rise to his feet. “Lucifer… you had a chance and you just…” Grinding his teeth together, swiping at his eyes, he moved forward… every step felt like he was walking on nails. “You gave up too soon. No one deserves this.” It hurt. Every second that the door remained open his breathing became more erratic, eyes burning with unshed tears, heart pounding painfully in his chest and thrumming in his ears. “I-“

Without thinking he threw himself forward, piercing the black veil of the final prison because he couldn’t do that. Not to his sister.

Or maybe he did it for himself, because he was a coward and he couldn’t bear the thought of being alone. Not again. Not after everything that had happened to them.

Take care of them, Raziel.

“Never alone again.” Gabriel breathed out, tumbling through the endless void, air whipping through his hair and across his body. “uls oi emna.”

The Cage closed.

.-~*~-.

no little archangels, not on the Earth, two Fell to Hell, two died of hurt.

a hundred little angels, the last in the sky, trapped in their home, nowhere else to fly.

~-.-~