I never meant to be so bad to you
One thing I said that I would never do
A look from you and I would fall from grace
And that would wipe this smile right from my face
(Heat of the Moment - Asia)
“That’s it…” Dean announced, swinging his feet up onto the table and uncapping his beer with the strength of his hand, “That’s me officially bored out of my damn wits”
“You’ve only repeated that five times in the last hour, Dean” Sam sighed, not looking up from his laptop. The younger Winchester knew what his brother was going through; he too wished he could get lost in a case, even one as simple as a salt and burn. The monsters had apparently decided to gang up on Dean and Sam in a novel way: by being annoyingly quiet.
“Well, I’m gonna say it again, lately our life has been as exciting as watching paint dry on the walls. Makes me wonder if there is a reason why the monsters are hiding… like you know when animals feel a natural catastrophe coming and they run for the hills?”
Sam could not help but snicker at the comparison, but he then realised that Dean was being serious. Rolling his eyes, the younger Winchester snapped his laptop shut and rose from his chair so he could stretch his stiff limbs. “You are acting crazy when you’re bored, you know that? Conspiracy theories about monsters… that’s a new low, even for you”
“Shut up, bitch” Dean muttered under his breath, taking another sip of his beer.
“Jerk” Sam replied, making his way to the kitchen to make himself a banana and chocolate smoothie, his favourite treat on his cheat days.
“Hey, have you heard from Cas lately?” Sam shouted at his brother, trying to divert his attention from the mind-numbing boredom.
“Nope. Nothing but radio silence from that jerk. Honestly, he used to appear whenever I called and now he’s sure taking his sweet time” Sam smiled slightly at the hurt tone in Dean’s voice.
“Cas and Dean sitting in a tree… K-I-S-S-I-N-G” the younger Winchester hummed softly, loud enough so his brother who was sitting in the next room could hear him. The guttural groan and annoyed mumbling only made Sam’s grin grow wider when he realised that his teasing had gotten to his older brother. The younger Winchester knew for a fact that Dean was blushing so hard Sam could have fried an egg on his face.
“Cas and Dean sitting in a tree… K-I-S-S-I-N-G…”
“Shut your frickin’ cake hole, Sammy, or I swear to God…” Dean’s threat was cut off by the deafening sound of Sam’s blender mixing the banana, milk and the two scoops of chocolate ice cream. Only after Sam noticed that Dean’s lips stopped moving did he release the pressure on the button with a toothy grin.
“You know it’s blasphemous to use your father-in-law’s name in vain, right?”
“You’re just jealous because God is my boyfriend’s dad… I have better contacts than you” Dean stated with a satisfied smile on plastered on his face. Sam merely rolled his eyes and left the kitchen, making sure to shove Dean forcefully on his way out.
“Alright that’s it, you little…”
Dean’s insult was lost on the two brothers when the quietness of the bunker was broken by the sound of someone crashing onto their wooden table, which cracked under the impact of two bodies collapsing onto it. Dean and Sam immediately assumed a defensive position, suddenly wishing they carried their guns around in the bunker for cases like these. When the two brothers realised who had managed to break their massive wooden table, both their jaws went slack in surprise.
“Gabriel?” both brothers cried out simultaneously.
“The one and…” the end of Gabriel’s sentence was cut short by a coughing fit that had the archangel doubled over as if he were in pain before spitting blood over the wooden debris scattered across the floor. Cas instantly reached out for his brother in an attempt to heal him, but Gabriel was quick to stop him. “No, brother… seraphs can’t heal archangels, remember?”
Sam thought there was something odd about the archangel’s tone and the way he shot Cas a knowing look that seemed to speak louder than words ever could for the other angel merely nodded in approval and retracted his hand. To say that Sam was confused by that scene was an understatement. What was there not to be confused about? Gabriel, the trickster archangel that had sacrificed himself years ago to save Dean and Sam from Lucifer was back… his whole face was caked in dried blood, his nose looked broken and he sported an impressive black eye that extended nearly to the top part of his cheekbone. Something had managed to beat up an archangel, and Sam was curious to know what they were up against and how the hell they would manage to fight it if Gabriel himself could not defeat it.
And last, but certainly not least, Sam used to have a massive crush on Gabriel despite him trapping the two brothers in a time loop and in TV land. There was just something about the archangel that had always made Sam’s heart race in his chest; there was something about his cheeky smile, and the mischievous look in his eyes, not to mention the archangel’s childlike obsession with sweets. Sam had accepted Gabriel’s death and he had managed to get over him, no effortlessly mind you. It had not been as bad as Jessica, of course… Jess was the love of his life, after all. Still, Sam had been hurt when Gabriel disappeared, especially since he did it to save him and Dean. The younger Winchester had never truly forgiven himself for that.
“Alright” Dean interrupted the eerie silence that had settled between the four of them, clearly managing to overcome his shock easier than his younger brother, “what the hell is going on here?”
“Do we have to talk about it now? As you can see, I would appreciate some time to wash up and make myself presentable” Gabriel averted the question skilfully, motioning at his face and clothes. Dean merely shook his head, repeatedly uttering words under his breath and pacing back and forth, while Cas managed to get back onto his feet and straighten his trench coat somewhat.
“Do you really think after all the things you’ve done that I will grant you a favour?” Dean suddenly snapped at Gabriel, who shot him an affronted look.
“Eh, excuse you Dean-o, but I died to save you chuckleheads, I think a shower is the least I could ask for in repayment…”
“Oh don’t you dare play that card on me, if it had not been for me you would have fled like the coward you are” Dean was properly screaming at the archangel now, and Sam had an inkling that provoking and disrespecting an archangel was not the right move, especially if said archangel had just been beaten up seemingly within an inch of his life.
“Look man,…” Sam started, only to be interrupted by Cas’ authoritative voice.
“Dean, even though I appreciate all the sacrifices you and your brother have made to save humanity, I will not tolerate you speaking to an archangel in such a way. You will show us both some respect, or so help me Father I will discipline you until you grovel at our feet asking for forgiveness…”
Sam noticed Gabriel holding back a snort out of the corner of his eye, which really did not help the younger Winchester’s own state of mind. Sam cleared his throat to hide his amusement and pretended not to notice Dean turning a deep shade of red. The scene became even more hilarious when the older Winchester did not dare argue with Cas any longer and merely mumbled angrily under his breath as he exited the room in a huff.
“Well one’s thing for sure, you have Dean wrapped around your little finger” Sam commented with a wide grin, momentarily forgetting the absurdity of the situation. Cas tilted his head to the side and frowned in confusion. Sam merely shook his head dismissively. “Yeah dude, never mind”
Gabriel suddenly grunted in pain, drawing the seraphs and Sam’s attention to the fact that he was still struggling to get back on his feet. Both Sam and Cas instantly went to help him, and judging by the abrupt way with which Gabriel snatched his arms away when he finally felt stable enough on his feet, the archangel’s pride had definitely been wounded.
“You can use my shower if you want” Sam offered, “I’ll get some of Dean’s clothes out for you. I would give you some of mine, but…”
“I appreciate the sentiment, Samshine, but I am already weak as it is… no need to make me look like a child wearing daddy’s oversized clothes” Gabriel said shortly, dragging himself away from the mess his and Cas’ landing had created. Sam nodded sheepishly, avoiding Gabriel’s eyes as much as he could, and leading the way to his bathroom. It took them a while to get there because of Gabriel’s limp, but Sam knew better than to offer his arm for support. If the archangel was grateful for the gesture he did not show it.
“I’ll get you fresh towels and clothes” Sam told Gabriel once they had reached his bedroom, “do you need stitches?”
“No…” Gabriel answered, “most of that blood isn’t mine anyway. I can consider myself lucky… give the bruises a couple of days and I’ll look good as new”
“Yeah…” Sam wondered whether he should mention the archangel’s broken nose, but decided against it in the end, “right I’ll give you some privacy then”
“Thank you, Samshine…” Sam heard the archangel say just as the younger Winchester was about to leave the room, “Thank you for… well, being nice to me. I know that I haven’t done much to deserve your kindness…”
Sam stopped dead in his tracks, shocked by how open Gabriel spoke to him, but also hurt at the thought that the archangel thought he was not worthy of kindness.
“Don’t worry about that… You saved me and Dean back then, let’s call it even”
Sam offered Gabriel a small smile before gently shutting the door behind him. His heart was doing that thing again where it raced in his chest to the point where Sam thought he might faint from the intensity of the sensation. He had been a fool all along for believing that he had managed to get over his crush for Gabriel.
Oh fate, thou art a heartless bitch.
“So basically you were ambushed out of nowhere by a horde of angry demons and they managed to beat the crap out of a fricking archangel, and when you realised you were outnumbered you prayed to Cas of all people to come and save you?” Dean repeated Gabriel’s story, a deep frown on his face as he tried to make sense of the situation.
“Pretty much sums it up, Dean-o” Gabriel confirmed, holding back a weary sigh.
“So where are those demons now?” Sam queried.
“Dead” Cas replied before Gabriel had a chance to do so himself, “our combined powers made it easy for us to kill them. The bodies have been burnt, the demon essences sent back to hell”
“Okay, but why can’t you heal yourself then Gabriel?” Sam noticed how the question made Gabriel feel visibly uncomfortable. Shifting slightly on his seat in a strikingly human way, the archangel seemed to struggle to find the right words. Dean was growing more and more impatient and was about to urge Gabriel to speak when Sam kicked him under the table and shot him a warning glare.
“It just needs to recharge, you know? So rather than wasting it now on little wounds and extending the recharge process, I decided to wait until my powers were up before fixing my vessel. He’s a cool guy, he’ll understand”
“Well, in the meantime you are more than welcome to stay at the bunker” Sam told the archangel with a warm smile on his lips. He ignored the appalled look Dean shot him, leaving it to Cas to convince his boyfriend that keeping Gabriel around was a good idea. Sam was confident that the seraph would be on his side, and considering his earlier display of authority, he knew how to get Dean on board with pretty much anything.
Besides, Dean would surely grow fond of the archangel eventually… right?
“That is very generous Samoose, but I know when I’m not welcomed” Gabriel said, flicking his eyes briefly in Dean’s direction.
“Good, at least we’re on the same page” Dean rose from his chair intended to end the conversation, but the pleading looks from both his baby brother and his lover made him reconsider his actions. They were ganging up on him… and Dean found this very unfair. “No guys, come on. Don’t do this to me, you are grown men! Not kids in a toy store!”
“Dean… he’s my brother. Please, wouldn’t you want your brother to be safe if he was injured?” Cas begged, his voice higher than usual and his puppy eyes almost rivalling Sam’s.
“My brother doesn’t go around trapping people in time loops and TV lands…” Dean countered, sounding less convinced about sending Gabriel away than he had before.
“To be fair man, I go around triggering the apocalypse instead… I mean compared to me, Gabe looks more like a petty prankster…” Sam reasoned.
“Hey, believe me Samoose I could trigger an apocalypse too, you don’t want to test me” Gabriel cried out, the outrage clear in his voice.
“Gabe? Samoose? Really Sammy, you two are already on nickname basis?” Dean took a deep breath and closed his eyes in an effort to stay calm, “Do you know what, fine he can stay! Not much I can do about it anyway, you lot are just the worst. But Gabriel I’m warning you… one single step out of line, and you’d wish those demons had managed to kill you. Mark my words”
Sam knew that Dean was still pissed at the archangel… majorly, in fact. And he had all the reason in the world to be. Or rather, Gabriel had never given him any reason not to feel the way he did. Sam understood that, and he was willing to live with Dean’s grumpy moods. Gabriel was allowed to stay at least until his grace was restored, and the thought made Sam really happy. Not that he would ever admit that to anyone, especially not Dean. His older brother would lose his mind if he found out about Sam’s crush on Gabriel.
“So that settles that. Gabe, I don’t know if you need much sleep, but if you do then there’s plenty rooms to pick from. Some of them have en-suite bathrooms if you prefer” Sam noticed the small smirk that appeared on Gabriel’s lips, and in that instant the younger Winchester wondered if the archangel could read his mind.
“Thanks Sammykins. Always nice to feel welcomed”
The last comment was obviously intended as a sarcastic jab at Dean, but for once the older Winchester decided to be the bigger person and leave the room rather than strangle their guest. Sam shot Cas and Gabriel an apologetic smile.
“Sorry about that. He’ll get over it, just give him a couple of days…and please don’t try to prank him, that won’t go down well” Sam advised Gabriel before standing up, “I’ll be in my room of any of you need anything. See you around guys”
“Thank you again Samshine… much appreciated” Gabriel thanked the taller man once more, winking at him casually. Sam truly hoped Gabriel could not see the obscene pictures that action created in his mind and without another word, he disappeared into his bedroom leaving both brothers alone in the library. When Gabriel made sure that Sam was safely out of ear-range, he focused his attention on Castiel.
“That was a close call… I’m safe now, brother. You may leave if you wish so” the archangel said dismissively, but he should have known better than to assume that Cas was one to follow orders without a fight.
“Why are you hiding this from them, brother? The Winchesters can’t keep you safe if they don’t know the whole truth” Cas chastised, and Gabriel could not say that he appreciated the patronising undertone, but he decided to let it slide.
“Tell me Castiel, when you told Dean about your newly found humanity, how did that pan out for you?”
Gabriel knew that his words hit home as soon as he had spoken them, and frankly he hated seeing Cas’ shoulders slump ever so slightly in sadness as he was reminded of Dean sending him away. But his brother needed to understand the former archangel’s reasons for doing what he was doing.
“That was different… Gadreel got into his head then… Besides, our circumstances are different, too. I had no idea how to be human, or how to act around them. You’ve been living as one of them for centuries”
“Close to a millennium, actually, and yes I do know how to act human. I never actually had to be one. I mean, this constant urge to relieve my bladder is starting to get old already and it’s only been twelve hours! Castiel, I can’t afford to be on the streets. I have powerful enemies, and if they found out about my condition, they’ll track me down and they’ll kill me. Unless you hadn’t noticed, I don’t miss heaven and I don’t want to go back there anytime soon. This bunker the Winchester bros call home is pretty much demon and angel proof. It’s the safest place I could think of”
Gabriel hated the pity he saw in his brother’s eyes, especially since if confronted Cas would brush it off as compassion or some crap like that. No, the seraph pitied him. Castiel knew how terribly it felt for angels to lose their grace and their wings… it was humiliating to say the very least, devastatingly humiliating. Especially when Gabriel had once been one of heaven’s most powerful weapons. What did he have to show for it now?
“What do you expect me to do, brother? Lie to the Winchesters?”
“You’ve done it before, only this time it’s so you can have your brother’s back. You’re really only giving them a taste of their own medicine” Gabriel announced cheerfully, as if moralising the use of lies was the solution to all the world’s problems.
“I don’t feel comfortable lying to them…” Cas objected, visibly getting more agitated as the conversation progressed.
“Castiel, listen to me: I raised you, I taught you how to fly, I trained you to become the warrior that you are today… one of my lessons, if you recall, was that sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures…”
Gabriel knew that Cas would remember each lesson the archangel had taught him. After all, he had been one of the lucky fledglings to prove himself worthy enough to be trained by one of the big four at the time. Gabriel had taken a liking to Castiel immediately, and Cas had regarded him as a father figure for most of his life considering God was, to say the least, an absent parent. Gabriel knew it was wrong, but he would make use of that fatherly authority if he had to. Castiel would not refuse him much for very long, and the words he spoke next were a proof of this.
“Fine, but I won’t keep your secret forever brother. You’ll have to tell them at some point, or I will do it for you”
“They’ll find out soon enough, Cas” Gabriel assured his brother, tapping his cheek affectionately, “I promise”