Gabriel watched in utter frustration as the Winchesters and his younger brother left the warehouse, leaving him under the spray of the sprinklers. He didn’t move a muscle as the holy fire ring disappeared around him. Where did we go so wrong? He thought angrily to himself. When did the world turn so upside down?
‘This is about you being too afraid to stand up to your family!’ Gabriel scoffed aloud, the sound echoed across the empty, bare walls. Like Dean was any better than him, he had no right to ask that Gabriel kill his brother when Dean had, quite literally, burned the entire world to save his.
That was how this whole mess had started, because of the boys’ inability to let each other go. Gabriel had tried to tell them, but they hadn’t listened and now... now the world was in ruins.
Maybe I hadn’t tried hard enough. Gabriel mussed as he thought over past events. Yes, maybe that was it. He hadn’t tried hard enough to stop them. He only tried twice then just gave up and washed his hands of them.
Once at Crawford Hall when he tried to give them another option of someone to turn to in their time of need. ‘Hint’ other than some demon ‘hint’. And once again with Sam at the Mystery Spot. Knowing Sam as he did now Gabriel winced at the memory of Broward County. Killing Dean over and over again was not the way he should have gone, no matter how satisfying it had been to do so. Obviously, neither method had gotten through to them which was why they were at this point now. But he shouldn’t have stopped there. He should have pushed and pushed until they had at least listened!
And yeah, maybe if he had given them more information of what was going to happen maybe they would have been more prepared. But it wasn’t like Gabriel could just go back in time and change all of that.
Maybe that was it. Go back, before the world had turned to shit and change it for the better.
Or make it worse than it already was.
Time travel, though, was a tricky thing to begin with. There would be fixed points in the timeline. And obviously he couldn’t do it alone. The Winchesters had proven themselves too stubborn to listen to anyone, except perhaps each other, even then it was a shaky deal. But there was no other real option available that Gabriel could see. So, with his mind resolved, Gabriel snapped a phone into existence and sent a message to the youngest and only reasonable Winchester.
‘I have an idea. If you still want my help, meet me at the café across from your hotel. Tonight. Come alone and don’t tell Dean. –Gabriel’
Gabriel waited in anticipation as the message was sent to see if Sam would answer. And sure enough, he did with a simple ‘Fine.’ but that was enough for him. Slipping the phone back into his pocket he stretched his wings for the first time in over a millennia and flew himself to the café to wait.
Sam had been apprehensive when he received the text from Gabriel. And even more suspicious when the false Trickster had told him to not bring Dean. Sam was tempted to tell his brother anyway, but… but Sam was curious to what the Archangel had to say.
And that’s why Sam was now walking into the café scanning over the booths until he spotted the Archangel sitting against the window at the far end. Gabriel’s arm was leaning against the windowsill as he held his chin in the palm of his hand. His whole body was ridged as he stared out at the parking lot, rubbing his chin and mouth with his hand. Sam could tell that he had been lost in thought because Gabriel jumped, slightly, in surprise as Sam slid in to seat across from him.
“I’m surprised that you actually came alone.” Gabriel commented, stretching his grace a bit to sense that Dean was nowhere within the vicinity of the café.
“Figured that I’d at least hear what you have to say. Dean didn’t seem to be in a listening mood.” Sam replied, making Gabriel roll his eyes in exasperation. “So, I’m here. What’s the idea you have?”
Gabriel sighed, heavily, as he ran his hand through his hair and across his face. Sam watched the Archangel in concern. He had never seen the man so stressed or serious in all of the time that he had known him, granted those had only been fleeting encounters. Now that he thought about it, Sam wasn’t even sure that he knew the real Gabriel at all.
“It’s a crazy, insane actually,” Gabriel corrected as he looked up into Sam’s eyes. “idea. I’m not even sure if it would succeed or just make everything worse.”
“What is it? Because at this point I think that crazy and insane ideas are all we have left to consider.” Sam urged almost at the edge of his seat as he stared at the Archangel before him. What could get Gabriel so worried? Other than the impending apocalypse before them.
“Time travel.” Gabriel said simply, Sam’s eyes widened in shock. And before he could formulate the million and one questions running through his head onto his tongue Gabriel spoke again. “I think it could be possible to go back in time and stop all of this mess from ever happening.”
“How?” Sam burst out. “Other angels have tried to go back and stop me and Dean from even being born, they couldn’t. Hell even Dean has…”
“No, no, no!” Gabriel interrupted, waving his hands a bit. “I’m not talking about stopping you and Dean from being born, or saving you mother from being killed by Azazel.” Gabriel added when he saw the look on Sam’s face. “I’m sorry Sam but that’s a fixed point in the timeline, there are, or will be, some things in the past that just can’t be stopped. And if we would try and stop them then the universe would just find another way to get the job done. Sometimes in an even worse ways than before.”
Sam nodded in sad understanding. “Wait, what do you mean we?”
“That’s why I asked you here Sam, I need you to come with me. I can’t do this alone.” Gabriel confessed looking earnestly at Sam.
“Why? Why do you need me?” Sam asked in absolute bewilderment. Gabriel was an Archangel, the Messenger of God, the Star of Bethlehem, Herald of the Host. Why would he need his help changing the past?
“Let me put it to you this way. If I did go back in time and try to change the very fabric of this timeline do you think that you or you idiot of a brother would let me get a word in?” Gabriel asked incredulously. “This is the longest, pleasant, conversation I’ve had with either of you.” He burst out indicating to the two of them.
It only took a moment for Sam to think over it before he nodded in agreement. “Okay, okay, I see your point. But I don’t think Dean, or my past self, will be very willing to listen if we just pop in and say that ‘we’re from the future to save them’.” He stated in a mocking tone.
Gabriel snorted in amusement at that statement. “Not exactly my plan, but the basic gist of it.”
“Alright then, what is your plan then? Lock us up so we don’t screw up anything?” Sam asked sarcastically and threw bitch face #27 ‘that seriously wasn’t your plan was it’ when Gabriel’s face light up at the idea.
“No, no that wasn’t my plan. No matter how tempting that would be.” Gabriel relented. “My plan is this. When we figure a good time for us to jump into time, preferably before the world wasn’t too much of a mess for us to deal with. We’d jump, find our younger counterparts, merge with them, and proceed to drastically influence the flow of the cosmos.” Gabriel stated with flourish.
Sam stared at him in shock, not quite sure where to start asking questions. “Merge with our younger selves…?” He asked hesitantly.
“That’s the idea. Basically, I’d merge your soul with your younger self’s one. And since you’ve already gone through all of his experiences your consciousness would become dominate. It would be you in your younger body, same goes for me.” Gabriel explained, watching Sam anxiously as this sunk into him.
“And that would basically erase my younger self from existence?” Sam asked as he tried to wrap his mind around the concept.
“Not quite,” Gabriel tried to assure him. “In a way sure, the experiences you would have had would be gone because technically you hadn’t done them, and already have at the same time.”
“That’s very confusing Gabriel.” Sam stated staring at him in bewilderment, already feeling a headache coming on from that puzzle.
“Time is a very confusion concept to grasp.” Gabriel conceded. “But it could work, the only thing I am unsure of is what will happen when time catches up to us.”
“What do you mean?”
“Think about it Sam, we’re going back in time to change events that we’ve lived. Once they’ve changed, if they change at all, then our reality would be gone forever. What happens when time catches up to the very moment that we left? Will we forget this whole reality? What if we’ve already done it and this is what happened because of it and now we’re stuck in an endless loop? What…” Gabriel began to rant in an almost frantic tone.
“Alright, alright calm down Gabriel.” Sam interjected placing a firm hand on the other man’s shoulder. “Even if all of that is true, don’t you think it’s worth a try? To stop the countless deaths that have happened and maybe knock some sense into Dean and I?”
“I don’t think that last one will be possible.” Gabriel deadpanned making Sam chuckle at him, his hand moving back to his side.
“So, when were you thinking we should ‘jump’ to?” Sam asked.
“So, you’re actually considering doing it?” Gabriel asked in astonishment. “Going back and changing, well, everything.”
Sam paused for a moment to think of the concept of going back and reliving a large chunk of his life. Only this time with the knowledge and skill to actually have a fighting chance against what they had already faced. And the possibility of saving the friends and loved ones that had died because his and Dean’s stupidity and recklessness. There really wasn’t anything to consider with that in mind.
“Yes, let’s do it.” Sam resolved staring Gabriel right in the eye trying to convey just how serious he was.
Gabriel only had to meet his eyes for a few moments before nodding in agreement. “Right, now we just need a time to jump to. Any ideas?”
Sam placed his elbow on the table and his chin in his hand as he thought back through his memories. “It would be helpful if we choose a time that we were at the same place at the same time. So that we don’t have to go looking for our younger selves across the country.” He mussed aloud and looked to Gabriel to see if he agreed.
“Well that really narrows it down doesn’t it.” Gabriel snarked. “I don’t think Mystery Spot would be a good idea. Dean was on the high road to hell and that’s a key moment that we could possibly stop.”
“So, Crawford Hall.” Sam concluded thinking along the same lines as Gabriel was. “How specific in time could you take us?”
“I can have us jump at any time within that event, why?” Gabriel asked trying to figure out what Sam was thinking.
“I think, if we could, we should aim to jump when we were confronting you.” Sam admitted and began to explain himself when Gabriel looked at him in question. “Think about it, at that time Dean and I thought we knew what you are so us showing up wouldn’t be too much of a shock. They would think we were nothing but an illusion. And Bobby would be there to be more of a voice of reason when Dean ultimately explodes. Plus, it’s not too out in the open as opposed to the other times that we were in the same room together.” Sam reasoned.
Slowly Gabriel nodded to all the points that Sam had made. “Alright, good idea. I’ll do my best to have us jump before you guys stake me, that would take a lot to explain.” Sam nodded in agreement, that would be hard to explain. “We should also have a plan for if Bobby and Dean refuse to listen to us at all. And our past selves.”
“I think we should just merge with our past selves before they can get a word in. That way we just have to deal with Bobby and Dean. And if they give us any trouble we can just knock them out until we can get a good word in.” Sam suggested, only partly kidding about knocking out his brother.
Gabriel smirked at the idea of knocking Dean out. “Alright, I’m on board for that. I’ve made a list of events that are fixed points or could be fixed points if the cards are played right.” He added pulling out a sheet of paper from his pocket and handed it over to Sam.
Cautiously Sam took the paper and began to read it. It was a simple enough list of all the major events that had happened with in the past three years of his life between Crawford Hall and now.
Azazel kidnapping Sam – fixed
Sam dying – can be changed
Dean selling his soul – see previous
Dean going to Hell – fixed(probably)
Castiel and Dean’s ‘profound’ bound- fixed
Sam getting addicted to demons’ blood – will be changed
Adam Winchester death – can be changed
Lucifer let out of the cage- will be changed
“How is Dean’s going to hell a fixed point?” Sam asked at he looked up from the list. “I thought you said that we’d try to change that?”
“I did and we will. The reason it’s on there is because of the bound that he and Castiel share. When Castiel pulled your brother out of hell he had to piece him back together, both his body and his soul. And he used a bit of his grace to do it. That bound was written in time before it ever happened, it is possible that Dean’s descent isn’t necessary for that bound to occur but it was a key factor in this time, so I wrote it as fixed because it could be.” Gabriel explained.
Sam nodded in understanding. “I hope that we could avoid it if we can.”
Gabriel nodded in agreement with him. “If it could be avoided defiantly, that way we don’t have to worry about Dean breaking the first seal.”
“Which started this whole mess in the first place.” Sam guessed. Gabriel shook his head wearily, making Sam look at him in question.
“The reason this whole mess started is you and your brother’s inability to let each other go Sam. No, hear me out.” Gabriel insisted when Sam bitch faced him. Sam nodded reluctantly for Gabriel to continue.
“If Dean had just let you go when you were first killed this whole mess wouldn’t have started. Dean wouldn’t have gone to hell, Castiel wouldn’t have saved him, and you wouldn’t have spiraled like you did. Are you starting to see a pattern here?” Gabriel asked sarcastically as he ticked off the events on his fingers.
“Then why aren’t you taking Dean with you?” Sam burst out in a huff. “If he really started all of this, wouldn’t he be the best to stop it?”
Gabriel gave him a look that screamed ‘how stupid do you think I am?’. “Do you really think I want to gallivant through time with your idiotic brother and spend the last three years with him reversing the timeline? We would kill each other before the first week was out, if even that.” Gabriel sighed as he ran a hand through his hair. “Plus, Dean is set on his ways Sam, if he went back with me he’d end up doing the same thing over and over again. He hasn’t learned, but you have. You are going back to changing things, even if it meant losing your own life. Because you know what would come of it if you didn’t.” Gabriel finished gesturing to the café, and Sam knew he meant the current situation that they were in now.
“You really think we can change everything?” Sam asked timidly, looking up at the Archangel through his lashes.
Gabriel looked back him, resolved overcame his features. “I know we can.”
“Alright, let’s do it.” Sam agreed resolve over taking him as well. I let Lucifer out of his cage, causing the deaths of hundreds, that will not happen again. Sam thought to himself, everything would be changed but at least he could spare the world this one catastrophe.