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Second Chances

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Female Gabriel - Zoey Deutch 

Hela - Lily Collins

Sleipnir - Rodrigo Guriao Díaz

Jormungandr - Richard Rankin 

Fenrir - Michiel Huisman 

 

Chapter Text

Finally, it thought. The blissfulness of solitude, the quietness of the darkness, the embrace of nothingness. It could almost feel it on its tongue, with a stretch it allowed the corporeal image to dissolve back to its full blackness, relishing in its blankness as it melted.

“Thank you.” A voice, different from the earlier nuisance, drifted through the dark.

No. The Empty groaned to itself. Who dared to disturb its slumber once more?  “No, no. NO. You, whoever you may be, back to sleep.” The Empty moved in waves towards the warm grace.

“I was merely thanking you. There’s no need to be rude!” the archangel retorted. “After all, the Winchesters needed little Cassie a lot more than they’ll ever need me.”

“No, I said: SLEEP. Why it is so hard for you and that other annoying bug to grasp such a concept?” questioned The Empty, making a flourish with his new formed hands. Small yet strong. The Empty shook its head, honeyed wavy hair touching his ears and stared down at the being laid at his feet, his thin lips tsked, and he twitched his nose in distaste.

“But why shall I sleep when you are also awake? Let’s talk!” The archangel rose, a quirky smile on his human lips, while the Empty watched in annoyance.

“I said silence. Why can’t you accept that?” The Empty growled, invading the archangel’s space. Oh, if only he knew all the ideas that were a mile a minute in the archangel's mind.

“Oh, I see. You’re the vain type.” The archangel laughed as he circled the being who wore his usual vessel, “After all, using this kind of garment is not something to take lightly.” He whistled at the royal silk garments with details in golden embroidery.

“You talk too much. You think I don’t know your darkest secrets, tiny archangel. You can try to pry, but I know you better.” The Empty smiled cruelly at the archangel, almost challenging him.

Gabriel grinned back, "Do you really know everything about me?" It came out with a hiss as the glow of Gabriel’s true form rose from the darkness, “Because, I’ve got a lot of secrets.”

The entity should have found the archangel’s large basilisk head hilarious since it tried to move eyebrows that were nonexistent, or even felt concern as an enormous white wolf head gave him a malicious grin, or when a raven tilted its head in a calculating way, big deep pools of tar staring at him, studying it with growing curiosity. A neigh was heard as a honeyed-mane horse shook its head and hmphed in distress. The archangel’s human face was beautiful, whiskey amber eyes blinked at him, his lips in a thin line, displeasure written all over his delicate features.

“Like your little infatuation with a not-so-little Winchester? Who are you trying to fool, child? I know about your time as Loki, know of your love for those humans - the same ones that other little parasite would, and did, die for.  Luckily, I made sure he was out of here as fast as I could snap my fingers.” It eyed Gabriel. It had no more patience for these creatures who refused to sleep.

“If you do not wish me to wake all my other siblings, you can be a good and nice entity and send me--” A snap from the entity's fingers was heard and suddenly Gabriel found himself in an open field, the smell of petrichor reaching his nostrils, as if it had recently rained. He looked up the sky, marveling at the work his brothers had once created together. Billions upon billions of stars: small, large, tiny points of light, dying and being reborn, cycle upon cycle. The moon stood tall and bright, casting shadows over his body.

“I hope you are happy now!” The archangel heard in his mind, before the entity added in a sing-song voice, “You’re welcome!”

“For what, exactly?!” he shouted back and nothing could have prepared Gabriel for the shocking revelation of his own voice. Instead of the smooth, deep and melodic tone that he was familiar with, it was now a sweet yet higher tone and very much female.

“Really?!” Gabriel pouted, kicking small rocks underneath his boots, staring down at his new strange vessel. Father in heaven, he was pixie-sized, wearing jeans -- thanks Dad for small favors -- a white shirt with some rubbish written about ‘saving things’ under a long-sleeved flannel shirt. His nails were painted red. Long strawberry-blonde hair fell across his back. Add a gun to his lower back and a knife to his black boots and he could pass as a long-lost Winchester sister.

He laughed humorlessly, testing his grace and finding it depleted. “Well, this is what I get for bargaining with ancient entities,” he thought unsurprised.

The wind sang secrets in his ears, telling tales about the world since he had been gone, as sweetly as a lover’s whisper, but oh, the sadness it fell upon him. He reached for Castiel, feeling his brother's grace buzzing somewhere in the North. Still, he wasn’t strong enough to contact him via angel radio.

He pulled the shirt closer to his body, keeping himself warm as he started to walk, the stars acting as his guide. Gabriel had to stop from time to time when a particular memory from the world engulfed him. It marveled him how the Winchesters managed to break themselves and save the entire world at the same time.

He also wondered if someone had hugged those two wonderful and stupid boys. Because they needed to be hugged until all their pieces were mended together . Especially Sam. The boy he had once tried to teach a lesson was now the boy who could still see innocence and fragility when others couldn’t. It was true that the saddest people smile the brightest, that kiddo could light up an entire room.

Gabriel grinned to himself at the memory, blinking lightly and gazing up. The sky was changing ever so gently from the deep rich mix of purples, blues, and blacks to soft oranges, reds, and yellows welcoming the dawn.

As far as he could tell he still needed to walk a couple of minutes, perhaps another entire hour. He could already feel the sweat running down at his back; with rapid motions he pulled his hair up into a messy bun, drying his face with his sleeve.

One foot after the other, after the other, after the other...the rhythm settling on the archangel’s mind. How, he wondered, could humans walk so much without feeling completely miserable? And, uh, sweat. What an unnecessary body devise. He wished he could just snap his fingers and be wherever Castiel was already! How many miles had he yet to walk?

And damn, he sounded as whiny as The Empty himself before tossing him out.

Gabriel sighed, maybe he should focus on what he knew so far. Sam, Dean, and Cas were alive and together with the Nephilim kid, and said kid wasn’t dangerous as far as he could tell, otherwise the world would have gone kaboom already, right?

Yeah, right.  So far the world was still going strong, even after all the close call apocalypses they had. And there were only two people he could blame and thank for it. Sam and Dean, well, perhaps he could add Castiel to the mix too if he felt like it.

How odd. Was I so lost in thought I didn't realize where my tired feet were taking me? Gabriel thought, he didn't recall turning at this particular street or even stopping. But his body ached for rest and his mind was numb with exhaustion.

Trusting his instincts, he lifted his arm towards the metallic door, his hand formed into a fist. After debating with himself for two seconds he allowed his hand to fall on the door and resume the usual knocking motion. Praying for whoever was listening that this was the Winchester's home. It had to be, throughout his life he had never seen such awarded place. The boys had to be inside this old bunker, in this overly remote location, without a single human being for miles.


Bunker 5h30 am

“Someone is knocking,” Jack stated, raising his face from the book he was currently reading, intrigued.

“Yes,” Castiel affirmed, “Yes, there is.”

Footsteps came from the East corridor, where the dorm rooms were located before a disheveled Sam walked by the war room towards the stairs that lead to the entrance, blinking confusedly at both angel and nephil.

“Can't you hear the door?” he questioned, rubbing his eyes as he ascended the stairs, Jack and Castiel right behind him. Before either could object, Sam opened the door, staring at a young woman, not much older than her 20’s, her hand up and ready to knock again.

“May I help ya?” Sam asked her softly.

“He is going to faint. Catch him.” Castiel pleaded before the woman fell face first into Sam’s arms.

“Cas?” Sam called, his arms catching the woman's small body easily. He picked her up bridal style, and when she was secured in his arms, he gently pushed some loose strands of her strawberry hair out of her face. She looked exhausted. He glanced at Jack and Cas, listening to Castiel's anxious tone. “Bring Gabriel inside, put him in a room. He needs to rest.” Sam, bless his soul, didn't question, but glanced at Castiel with a dumbstruck expression. The seraph was too busy searching for wounds on his brother to actually answer the younger hunter.

Sam, still confused, brought the woman closer to his body. This can't be Gabriel. Not this weakened woman who is colder than the chilly air of dawn. He walked slowly towards his own room, a million thoughts running through his head. Could this be real? Could he trust that Gabriel was really alive?

Castiel watched as Sam laid his older brother softly on his own bed, wondering why Gabriel’s grace was so low. Jack looked amazed, and not for the first time Sam wished he could touch what he could easily see. Especially the wings. He was always fascinated by them.

“Are you sure that this is Gabriel?” Sam murmured, covering the archangel.

“Yes,” Castiel affirmed.

“He has four heads, one more than Cas’”. Jack added, tilting his head, curiosity winning over his initial fear.

“Ok. Yeah, I trust you,” Sam nodded, knowingly, but still gobsmacked, “I’d better go talk to Dean--” Sam started, already turning towards the door.

“No, Sam. Allow me.” Castiel suggested, putting a hand on his arm and stopping the younger hunter.

“What should I do then?” he asked, taking a quick glance at Jack and then at Castiel waiting for a lead.

“You should go back to sleep Sam. I, for one, know you haven’t slept at all. You think I didn’t notice you left the library so we wouldn’t complain that you were working too much? You need rest as much as Gabriel does.”

“Take my room,” Jack added, sitting on Sam’s bed and getting a hold of Gabriel’s hand, “I’m not using it much anyway. Meanwhile, I’ll try and give him an energy boost.”

Sam nodded conflicted. His decision was made by Castiel, who gently tugged on his sleeve and pulled him out of his own room toward Jack’s, leaving the boy and his older brother alone.

“Rest Sam. You need it,” Castiel told him, helping him onto the bed and covering him, using a bit of his grace to lull the younger hunter to sleep.

“Night, Cas,” Sam mumbled, hugging the pillow and promptly falling asleep.

Castiel smirked, happy that Sam finally was resting if only just for a moment. The angel walked with purpose towards Dean’s bedroom, teleporting inside. He touched Dean’s hair and shoulder, hearing a muffled, “Five more minutes, Sammy.”

Cas smiled, Dean was dreaming about Sam. How when they were younger and staying at Bobby’s house, the younger boy would wake him up just as quietly and loving. It never surprised Castiel that that particular trait of Sam's had stuck with him throughout his adult life.

“Dean?” Cas called, “I need to talk to you.”

Dean pulled at Castiel’s coat, bringing the angel closer, Cas’ face practically on his. “What time is it, Cas?”

“Gabriel is here,” Castiel told him, thinking it would be less painful to rip off the band-aid.

Dean blinked, sitting rapidly. “Okay, look,” he said softly, as he put his hands on Cas’ shoulders, “you had a dream, which I didn’t know was possible, but you did. So maybe, just lay down a bit and we’ll talk about this in the morning, alright?”

“Dean-” Cas voice was firm, “he really is here--,” he paused, adding as an afterthought, “currently sleeping in Sam’s room.”

“Okay,” Dean nodded, it shouldn't surprise him, not really, not so long ago Cas’ was brought back from the Empty just by the wish of a nephil, but still, he asked, “Is he, you know, fine?”

“Jack’s with him,” the angel informed, “giving him some of his grace, but he will need to stay,” Castiel explained, his head tilting at the door.

“Cas, calm down,” Dean told him, his hands enveloping the angel’s wrists, somehow predicting whatever the angel was gonna ask him. “Did you really think I would tell you to send Gabriel away?”

“Well, yes,” Cas affirmed, at Dean’s small flinch. He continued, “you and Sam don’t have the best history with him, I know that, and I wouldn’t want to--” Dean rubbed circles on Cas’ pulse, in a reassuring manner.

“Cas, this is your home too,” Dean recalled, “If Gabriel needs a room for the rest of mine and Sammy’s life, then so be it. Between him and Lucifer, I would accept two Gabriels,” he smiled, finding the idea of two Gabriels somehow hilarious.

“Thank you.” Cas breathed in relief.

“So...Can I go back to sleep now, or do you still wanna talk?” Dean asked already falling onto his pillow and hugging it. He was already asleep when Cas whispered, “Sleep tight, Dean,” the angel caressed his hair lovingly, before exiting the room.

Chapter Text

Gabriel felt his conscious pull him softly toward wakefulness. The first thing he noticed was the light scent of musk mixed with a flowery touch and some spice, vanilla perhaps. It was so inviting he turned and hugged the pillow to his face. He felt warm, calm and secure. Castiel was nearby and so was his nephew, although not in the same room.

He stretched and sat up, his feet swinging gently before touching the ground. It was warm and fluffy, most certainly a mat one of the boys had bought so the cold wouldn’t bother their feet. Gabriel’s eyes fell on the armchair in the corner of the room; where there were some clean clothes. They traveled toward a shelf, filled with books, pictures, and small objects of the hunter’s choice. The writing table in the right corner had some papers on it and an open book with notes and a pen; he could imagine Sam sitting there, a little pout as he ran his fingers over the book’s pages with care.

It suddenly occurred to him that this was Sam's room.

Gabriel walked toward the armchair, feminine hands picking up the large clothes - it would have to do. A Star Wars shirt, clearly loved, it was slightly worn out - a result of being washed multiple times through the years - and boxers with small planets printed all over it.

“What a fucking nerd,” the archangel thought as he entered the bathroom. He undressed slowly and sighed as his train of thought continued, “Still, I’m in love with him.”

He turned on the water and thanked every single entity out there that the shower was hot and the pressure was fantastic, he had never wished for a bath as much as he did since being back. How strange it was to wish for mere human needs, to feel the water running down his vessel’s hair and skin, washing away his troubled thoughts. He closed his eyes as he washed his hair, the smell hitting his nostrils. It was the same as the one in the pillow. As he dried his body - still musing on the fact that it was completely different from his previous one - Gabriel could hear his brother roaming in the kitchen. He most certainly had felt his awakening and decided to make him something to eat. Cas was that thoughtful.

The archangel dressed slowly, the feeling of fabric on skin making him shiver for a second before the scent of the shirt washed over him, soothing and familiar. He left the room as silently as he could. It was still early, at least for him, though he was slightly surprised that the boys were still in dreamland.

He peeked inside the kitchen, finding Castiel with his back turned to him, way too comfortable as he mixed some cocoa powder in a pan and softly hummed a song.

“You are up, Brother. How do you feel?” Castiel asked as he turned and presented Gabriel with a mug filled with hot chocolate and tiny marshmallows.

“Still tired. It will take more time to regenerate than I dare to think of,” He mumbled as he wrapped his fingers around the cup. “When did you became so domestic?” Gabriel wondered as he sipped the beverage.

“When I lost my grace and became human. Sam helped me with technology and whatever other things I was confused about whenever Dean wasn’t around.” Castiel told him, joining him at the table.

“It baffles me, little brother, that after all this time you and Dean aren’t an item.” Gabriel’s true voice sounded pleasant and playful through angel radio, Castiel had missed him so.

“He loves me the best way he can, Gabriel. I shall not ask him more of such a thing. Nor from Sam.” Castiel answered, his eyes falling at the cup of hot chocolate in his hands.

“You fell in love with Sammy too?” Gabriel inquired, tilting his head in confusion, long strawberry-blonde locks falling over his shoulder with the motion.

“Of course not! He is my best friend, an amazing listener and conversationalist. I enjoy spending time with him. But we both know where my heart lies.” Castiel’s blue eyes found Gabriel’s warm golden brown, slightly different from the soulful whiskey eyes he once had.

“Why, brother? Are you interested in Samuel?” Castiel lifted his eyebrows teasingly.

Gabriel’s micro expression of surprise was covered with forced casualness, “I cannot deny the boy is beautiful Castiel, but we are talking about you and Dean-o. He is your true soulmate, Cassie. I’m concerned that you haven’t talked to him about it.”

Castiel blinked and remained silent, inhaling and exhaling, such an unnecessary action for him, yet soothing, as he tried to hold himself together. Whilst years of love, joy, and companionship were turned to ash. Crumbled down until all he could see behind his eyelashes were the atrocities he had committed, the lives he had taken, the teardrops of blood still dripping from his fingertips.

“Cassie?” Gabriel’s soft tone drew him back to the present.

“I don’t deserve them,” he vowed, sighing sadly.

“Of course you do. What has you thinking that those two boys shouldn’t be under your protection or that you shouldn’t proclaim to all corners of the world that you love that dickhead?”

Castiel was about to retort but remained quiet as a disheveled Sam entered the kitchen, making a beeline for the coffee pot. He rubbed his eyes like a tired child, yawning and blinking, most certainly trying to wake himself up. His movements were calculated and he was about to pour himself some coffee when he noticed the pot was empty.

“There’s hot cocoa in the pan if you so desire.” 

Sam rotated in his socked feet, his hair fluffing all over the place, “Cas, hey. What time is it?”

“Nearly three pm. Where’s Jack?” Castiel wondered, as Sam warmed the hot cocoa and smiled gently at both angels.

“Sleeping. The poor kid fell asleep on his armchair, I tucked him in bed. I imagined he would need the rest after healing Gabriel.”

“‘m not tired,” mumbled Jack as he entered the kitchen, hair messy and a yawn leaving his pink lips. “It smells good in here. What did you make, Sam?”

“Cas did some hot cocoa extravaganza, it's delicious.” Sam enlightened him as he sipped his drink with gusto.

Apparently, Dean had been dragged from bed by the sweet smell too, as he appeared at the kitchen slightly confused.

“Since when did we start to bring girls to the bunker? I thought we had--”

“A rule?” Castiel interrupted him, “we do, but I also recall telling you that Gabriel was going to stay with us for a while.”

“Short-stack? You in there? Oh, man.” Dean asked as he stared at Gabriel, holding on a laugh, confusion still written on his face, he turned to his angel,  “Cas, you didn't mention he was wearing a chick. I was expecting the chubby kinda guy, golden locks, and a lollipop on his lips?”

“Aww Dean-o, you're making me feel so loved!” Gabriel teased, batting his eyes, and resting his face on his hands.

“I need coffee. I was so not prepared for this,” Dean grudged more to himself than anybody else, going straight for the coffee pot and mourning when he found it empty.

“Stop being a cry-baby. There's delicious hot cocoa on the pan.” Sam called out his brother.

“There was--” Jack said grinning at his steaming cup. Gabriel’s smile was fond when he realized the boy had warmed the drink with his own grace, grabbing marshmallows and adding on his drink.

“I would snap you some if my powers weren't so low right now,” Gabriel told him gently.

“It’s cool, Gabe. Thank you, though.” Dean walked towards the fridge and took out some ingredients for pancakes and some juice.

“What is the next course of action for you?” the older hunter asked as he mixed flour, milk, eggs and some vanilla in a bowl.

“Considering Jack’s boost of energy, my grace is--” the archangel stopped not sure how to continue, he blinked several times while Sam, Cas, and Jack watched his every move.

“To put it simply, my grace is 2 out of 10.  There are a lot of ways I could get that energy but none that I particularly enjoy.”

“Does it involve a human sacrifice?”

If Gabriel had anything in his mouth he sure would have spat it out. But, somehow, Dean asking it didn't sound as disgusting as it should. The boy didn't look worried by that thought or nauseous, he stated it as a simple fact.

Natural. When it shouldn't be. How long had he been dead, again? This disregard for a human sacrifice scared Gabriel. What had he missed?

“Not that we enjoy the idea, far from it,” continued Sam in a converse tone, “but I'm quite sure we could easily find a scum to this propose.”

“Sammy is right. If you needed, of course.” Dean added, flipping the pancakes absentmindedly.

Did Gabriel wake up in some sort of Twilight Zone? Where were the boys he had met once? Why were Dean and Sam suddenly agreeing with cold-blooded murder? When had they become this heartless? This irrational?

These were not the boys he remembered. What in the name of Father had he missed? What, how, why-- Gabriel felt the world spiraling in his head.

“Time out,” Gabriel called, making the universal sign. “You have to be kidding me. Is this some sort of joke?”

“Gabe-”

“Hush, Cassie.” He said an accusatory finger in the air. “I cannot think. It’s too much. Too much info in just one sitting and you, boy-o, have anything to say?” Gabriel questioned, looking up at Jack.

“Ah-well, I can’t control my powers--“ Jack stared lamely.

“No- no. I mean, aren’t you against killing a human?” It was an almost comical sight, that 5’4 young woman, larger than life pointing a perfectly manicured finger at Jack, eyes narrowed.

Jack turned to Sam, his voice sounding nervous, “Is there a correct answer to this? I think it must have a correct answer to it.”

Sam rubbed the bridge of his nose, his patience running thin. And to think they had yet to reveal to Gabriel that his big-bad bro was out and about.

“You know the answer, Jack. You felt guilty and wanted to bring back the guy you accidentally killed, even though he had been possessed for years.” Castiel supplied, as his cell phone rang.

Gabriel narrowed his eyes and sat down in one of the available seats once again, his feet swinging slowly, “Don't you dare think this conversation it's over.” He pouted, eyes filled with sorrow.

“Yes. Oh, hello, Claire.” Sam, Dean, Gabriel, and Jack stared at him, Gabriel looking confused. Who and why was this Claire calling?

“Cas, is she okay?” Sam asked, getting up from his seat.

“She needs help with a hunt.”

“Awesome. Can I come?” Jack asked, already getting up.

“Not this time, champ.” Said Dean, as he exchanged a quick glance with Castiel, “We’d rather you stay here with Gabe and Sam.”

Castiel was already moving towards the door, with Dean telling him to grab his bag and to meet him in the car as well. Giving instructions for keeping themselves safe and that he would have his phone at all times.

“Is it always like that?” Gabriel asked in wonder.

“You mean the unspoken words, the synchronicity of movements and the eye-fucking? Yeah. Pretty much. I got used to it already. I feel kinda sorry for Cas, my brother is just afraid to admit he loves him.” Sam told Gabriel as if he was simply telling him the sun was hot.

“How long have I been gone again?” Gabriel wondered. How long was Castiel pretending his soulmate wasn't right in front of him? And at the same time damaging both of them?

“Around seven-ish years. Give or take a few months. Last time we saw you was at the Elysian Hotel.” Sam told him, getting up and putting his cup on the sink, “We should probably find something else for you to wear, not that I mind. I just don’t want you to accidentally trip on my clothes.”

“Very funny, Sammich. I’m rolling with laughter in case you cannot see it.” Gabriel felt his heart ache, for two reasons Sam - for his kindness held no limits and Castiel for keeping his love so concealed.

“I bet.” Sam smiled as if he was included in his inside joke.

“He really is. It’s a funny picture, I didn’t know a wolf could grin.” Jack added, watching his uncle’s true form, although weak in grace his faces were equally fascinating and intriguing as Castiel’s. Sam laughed softly and continued to walk. The boy watched as his uncle walked faster trying to catch Sam. It was cute really, how they both clearly cared for each other, like Cas and Dean. Maybe, they just needed a push, Lord knows he has been trying with his father and Dean, but they were either blind or stupid. Jack wasn’t sure each. Maybe both.

“Wait up, giant! I have tiny legs!” Gabriel exclaimed, Sam, stopped and lowered down on his knees, his back to Gabriel. Jack smiled to himself, maybe he could do some research while they made each other company.

“What are you doing?” Gabriel asked, tilting his head in confusion, an eyebrow arched.

“Climb up. Is not like I haven’t done this for every girl I’ve known before.” Sam supplied.

“Technically, I’m not a girl.” Gabriel protested.

Sam rolled his eyes. As if he didn’t know that. Sometimes he wondered if all angels thought he was some small child. They kept forgetting the time he spent trapped with Lucifer in the cage. They forgot all the people he lost under the pretense of doing the greater good or saving someone that was more important to their so-called scheme of things. It was like everything was swept under a rug, all his past mistakes and misdoings and all they saw was his older self, bangs falling over his eyes whenever he was absorbed in research.

“I don’t have the entire day, Gabriel. I really do have other things to--” Sam said, tiredness clouding his true feelings. Gabriel was suddenly touching his shoulder with his small hands, unsure if he should hug Sam’s shoulders and wrap his legs around the man’s torso or jump on his back. Sam seemed to understand his fear, grabbing his wrist and pulling him, well for now at least physically, her up. As Gabriel’s breath tickled Sam’s neck, he was swept into a long lost memory, one that had been locked deep inside his soul.

Sam had been in a sour mood the entire day, he missed his brother, his hands were practically itching to pick up the phone and call him. Tell him all about his classes, how his Philosophy teacher looked like one of the things they used to hunt and how Jess was an angel. He couldn't even believe sometimes that she actually loved him.

He blinked as he heard the door open and had to restrain himself not to react as Jess jumped on his back and ravished his neck with kisses, mumbling 'thank you’s and ‘I love you's. her happiness was an instant balm to his soul and he smiled grabbing one of her hands and kissing her knuckles.

She always smelled like vanilla, night lady flowers and petrichor. Sam still didn't know what he had done to deserve her, but for the first time in his life he was happy, light, as if nothing could touch him.

He brought her to his arms and claimed her lips softly, before deepening the kiss, a pleasure  moan reached his ears--

“Sam?” Sam shook his head as to dismiss the memory, blinking back tears and stood, walking effortlessly towards the room where most of their friends had left something, or where they kept something. There were enough clothes that had belonged to Charlie and his mom there, but also some of Jody’s, Claire’s and Alex’s.

“It’s nothing, I was just lost in thought,” Sam answered, opening the door with his left hand. Standing backward to the single bed, he waited until Gabriel slipped from his back and stood in his bare feet over the bed.

“Okay. I think that maybe Claire’s clothes are closer to your side, but I'm not sure about underwear, we should probably buy that for you later.”

“Don't worry, Sasquatch,” Gabriel said flopping on the bed, watching Sam roam inside the wardrobe, wishing he could understand the melancholy coming in waves from the human. The hunter picked a shirt, some jeans, and a leather jacket, while Gabriel observed the room. It was plain, grey walls, a single bed, no windows - well, obviously, it was a bunker - but at a better inspection he saw a framed picture of Sam, Dean and a blond woman - their mother - it was obvious by the way she smiled and held onto them.

“She’s very beautiful, Sam.” Gabriel said running his finger softly over the picture.

“Hm?” He asked distracted, as he closed the wardrobe and regarded the archangel.

“Your mother.” Gabriel answered, adjusting the frame back to its place.

“Oh, yes. She’s not exactly the cuddling type, but she is just as awesome.” Sam told him, smiling shyly to himself.

Gabriel smiled and accepted the clothes, confused as for how and why his leather jacket was there. “Where did you get this?” He asked in wonder. Sam turned on his heels, eyebrow perched up, he had been leaving the room, to give Gabriel some privacy, not that the archangel cared for it at all, but Sam was ever the gentleman.

“What? The shirt? Or the jacket?” Sam asked, absentmindedly.

“The jacket.” Gabriel answered, holding the garment adoringly.

“Ah, well, no idea. Probably something forgotten in the Impala and we just tossed it in there.” Sam disregarded as an afterthought.

“Thanks, Sam.”

Sam nodded and closed the door after him. Gabriel was cute as a girl, but even he had to admit she looked, well, he looked way too fragile to stay like that. There was no way Sam was gonna call and question Cas, he was probably too busy keeping Dean save and Claire too. He wasn’t gonna ask Jack, the kid was way too loyal and without a doubt would question Cas or Gabriel and he couldn’t have that, now could he?

 

Chapter Text

Gabriel got dressed and left the room, his mind still on Sam. Being this weak sucked royally. He couldn’t read the boy, couldn’t penetrate the barrier he somehow had inside his mind. He wished he could see what Sam went through in the cage with his siblings, there had to be so much untreated PTSD there.

He sighed. The only other occupant in the bunker was his nephew. His older brother’s son, whom he didn’t even want to know where it was to begin with. As long as Jack was safe under the Winchesters’ protection he could ignore his parentage. As far as he knew, he was Cas’, Dean's and Sam’s, the kid belonged to them and he could easily pick up on some learned habits that were already sticking with the boy.

He found Jack in his room, some religious books over his bed and a marathon of Scooby-Doo on the TV.

“Uncle!” Jack exclaimed, a happy grin on his boyish features.

“Do you mind if I join you, kiddo?” Gabriel asked, already knowing the answer.

“No, hop up!” Jack called, creating space in his bed for his uncle. He hoped he could make as many questions as his heart wished now since no one else was around.

Gabriel closed the door and sat in front of his nephew. It was strange how alike he was to the three people he was around instead of his own father. It relaxed Gabriel, made him feel safe and at the same time proud.

“Uncle? Can I ask you a question?”

“Aren’t you already asking me one?” Gabriel teased, as he started to braid his hair distractly.

“I heard you telling Cas that you had other ways of getting your grace back, but you didn’t want to use it--”

“And you want to know what are the ways to get it back?”

Jack nodded, waiting eagerly for his uncle's next words. “Draining a soul is possible, but it’s a definite no-go. I’m an archangel, Jack. Do you have any idea how many souls I would have to consume to reach my full power? I couldn’t possibly do so.”

Jack still watched him, waiting, “I could contact my family. My own nephilim children from when I was Loki. I hid them because I couldn’t stand the idea of my Father or my brothers finding them and ending their lives. They were innocent children.”

Jack nodded softly, curious blue eyes studying his uncle’s face, “I could visit heaven too, although I don’t know or think I would be welcomed to it.”

Gabriel exhaled, blinking lazily, “The best option though, would be a soulmate. Why do you think Cas is always coming back or Dean is for that instance? They belong together, as long as one is alive the other has to be as well.” Gabriel sighed, before adding sadly, “But Father never gave me a soulmate.”

“Never? Why not? I imagined that if Cas has Dean, you would have someone as well or had.”

“Us, archangels, we were supposed to be Father’s perfect creations, but Lucifer was too curious at first and then too easily corrupted later. Before we noticed, our flock, our little family of united soulmates was crumbling apart. It was painful, raw, and I couldn’t take it. You see, a soulmate doesn’t need to be romantic. Of course, it’s stronger if there’s a bond created by soul and grace, but that isn’t necessary, unless the feeling is already there unassured, which is where Castiel and Dean are.”

“If they don’t attend to it, will they die?” Jack mused.

“No, but they could stop hurting each other without meaning to.” Gabriel explained.

“But, what if you had a soulmate, uncle? Maybe they were just out of reach?” Jack asked curiously.

“Aren’t you a dreamer, kid?” Jack smiled, falling in bed and stretching, Gabriel following him.

“Can you teach me any tricks?” the boy asked, sensing a little change on the subject would do his uncle some good.   

Gabriel grinned, as he started to explain in excruciating details how Jack should reach for his grace and shape it. How to snap things and read minds without alerting the person. Jack was such a good listener that before Gabriel knew he was telling him stories about Heaven, Asgard and the people he met and loved throughout the eons he has been alive.

“Didn’t you ever imagine that maybe Angrboda was your soulmate?” Jack inquired. Making another plastic star appear on his ceiling.

“I loved her, that’s true.”

“But she didn't complete you, like Cas and uncle Dean complete each other, right?”

Gabriel smiled and brought the boy into a side hug, running his fingers through his silky hair. “Yeah, she didn't, but she gave me beautiful children. Whom, like my father, I ended up neglecting.”

Jack searched his uncle's eyes and softly said, “I'm sure they knew you loved them,” he yawned, “it's hard to miss it.”

Gabriel kissed the crown of the boy's hair, smiling as the scent of vanilla, flowers, and spice assaulted him. He shouldn't be surprised, he had noticed how adoringly Jack looked at Sam, of course, he would be using the same shampoo, and he could bet they robbed Sam’s fancy shampoo without the big moose’s knowledge. His eyelids felt tired as the sound of Jack's breathing gently rocked him back to sleep dreaming of the past.


 

Sam passed by the kitchen and grabbed another cup of coffee, he could use the waking up call of the beverage, he would need the focus for what he would do next. After a quick research, he got down to their basement or as Dean liked calling “Sam’s witchy herbs place”. In sum, it was where they kept herbs, plants or anything necessary for a spell. They had also bottles with their blood. Castiel had insisted that if anything ever happened with him (which wasn’t actually hard) they needed a backup plan to find each other. Neither of the brothers protested.

Sam had read more than enough myths, legends, and stories about Loki and his children, he also hoped some weren’t true, he couldn’t imagine Loki or in this instance Gabriel several years drinking his own son’s venom. Or leaving Sleipnir behind in the hands of Odin, or allowing Hela to be the ruler in a godforsaken place such as Hel, although he still wondered if all the myths were actually close to the truth.

He needed to stop this overthinking if his goal was to help Gabriel. Hopefully, the archangel wouldn’t look for him too soon, preferring to rest, eat or spend time with Jack over losing time with a mess of a human.

Sam closed the heavy door as the smell of mold, herbs and time welcomed him like an old friend’s embrace. Walking up to one of the tables, he grabbed an ancient book, one he had been adding to since they had moved to the bunker; it was leather covered and the pages were yellowed by time, whatever new spell he found or combined he would enter in the book.

It was a relatively simple spell, he could easily find all the ingredients he needed in here, he ran his eyes over the piece of paper where he had scribed in his fast handwriting the necessary items: some deadly nightshade, a wolf tooth, a strand of horse mane, two pieces of shed serpent skin, two spoons of honey and some blood. Ah, well, it’s not like he hadn’t bled for anyone before .

First Sam found a ceramic bowl. Later he gently took each bottle with the labeled ingredients (ever the over organizer) and set at the bowls side, a dagger especially for rituals, a spoon, and a wood punch so he could punch the herbs.

Delicately he tapped the deadly nightshade bottle, allowing dry flowers of deadly nightshade to fall softly at the bowl,  next he fished the wolf tooth with one of his fingers inside the pot, making sure only one ended in the mix, using a clip to take the horse mane he threw it in the bowl, the fur falling as slowly as a feather would, then he did the same with the serpent skin, adding the honey and mixing it. He took a quick look at the spell again, and in perfect Latin, he started the incantation as he slit a small but deep cut in his palm, the same one he already had a scar on. His blood flowed at a quick pace and before he got distracted by the sight of it burning as it touched the ingredients, Sam wrapped his hand in a cloth, continuing the ritual.

Hel, queen of the underworld, I summon thee, hear my plea

I come bearing gifts, a flower that blooms in the night for free

Fenrir, father of all wolves, protector of life, I summon thee, hear my request

I have nothing but a tooth and my words to profess

Jormungand, Midgard serpent, I summon thee, hear my voice

My hands are tired and my mind is numb, I have no choice

Sleipnir, wrongful steed of Odin Child Stealer, I summon thee, hear my prayer

I have ran as fast as I could, fought as hard as I could, still, I’m bare

Children of Loki, I summon thee not for me, his grace is battered and weak

He will not beseech the heavens nor will he beseech for you

I am naught but a human, all I have to offer is my blood and if needed my love

Please, hear my request for Loki, son of Odin, the archangel of justice, your father  needs you.

(Even though he is a dickhead, stubborn, pain in the ass archangel, and honestly doesn’t know how to ask for help when it is staring right in front of his mischievous eyes).

The smoke was colorful, a mix of green, purple, red, blue and white. It stood over the bowl for a second or two before dissipating. A flowered sweet fragrance filled the air as if Sam had just run truth a field of wildflowers, he blinked, the smell was washed by a warmth feeling, like the embrace of his own mother, then he was assaulted by a light breeze, fluffing his hair, like a brother would, when Sam thought it was over he once again was swept by a scent, this time of petrichor, one of his favorites.

Hoping he hadn't offended the entities with his outburst, Sam added as an afterthought, “Thank you, Goddess and Gods for listening to my plea.”

 

Chapter Text

Gabriel was awakened by the pull of ancient power. It was pure and raw. It had been eons since he felt it. He disentangled himself from Jack as slowly as possible as not to wake the young nephil, sitting and blinking away the sleep from his eyes.

Without a second thought, he grabbed the jacket he had previously discarded over the armchair. As he watched his nephew peacefully dreaming, Gabriel walked out of the room following the siren’s call of power.


 

Castiel felt a rush of primordial power pass through him at the same time Dean was laying out one of his famous speeches about entering into a situation without knowing all the facts, how it wasn't saved, what the hell was she thinking… Dean's voice was naught but an echo, Cas could feel each and every hair of his body stand up in tension.

“Cas?” Claire called him, her blue eyes staring up in confusion.

“I have to go, now. Dean will take you home.” Cas stressed out already moving to leave the abandoned mansion. Now, also ex-haunted.

“Cas, what’s going on?” Dean exchanged a with look Claire, then followed his friend outside, his heart hammering in his chest.

“Is it Sam?” Castiel shook his head, unable to answer, fear creeping up inside his grace.

“I'll call you. I just need to get there.” And as if he had done this a thousand times before, Castiel bent down and gave Dean a quick peck on his lips and fled, leaving a stricken confused hunter behind.

Dean stood frozen in the wood stairs, staring at the place his angel had been seconds before. His brain short-circuiting.

“Did Cas just kiss me?” Dean wondered as he entered the abandoned mansion and called for Claire once again. They better move, he needed to reach the bunker as soon as possible. He kind of needed to reach Cas too, that little soft touch of his lips had been spreading this warm tingling feeling towards his entire being and Dean was sure none of the one-night stands he had throughout his life were close comparing to that.

“Oh, great. This is fantastic. Now I'm in love with my best friend, who also happens to be an angel of the Lord.” Dean complained, exasperated.

“I wouldn't worry much, Dean. He loves you, you know that, right?” Claire mumbled sleepily from the shotgun, her eyes closed.

“I--uhm, I didn't. But you do know, right? He has been in your body before.”

“Don't get me wrong, dude. But the only person who doesn't know Cas is head heels over you,” she stated as a matter of fact, then teasingly she added, “It's well, you."

Dean hummed in understanding, as she continued, sleep claiming her softly, her long eyelashes kissing her cheeks, “It's kind of beautiful the way he lights up around you. Like a fucking Christmas tree."

Dean smiled, imagining soft blue eyes staring back at him.

“Uhm, I kinda wish that too.” She murmured as she seemed to hug herself and Dean reached towards her, running his left-hand fingers gently on her hair.

“And you will have it. Until then, me, Cas, Sammy, Jody and the girls will fill in his or her place, okay?”

Claire didn't answer, but Dean told her anyway, “You are loved, kid. Even if we suck at showing it.”


As Gabriel stood in front of the library door, the feeling intensified. He opened them, entering fearlessly. He knew Jack was still asleep since he unconsciously had donated some of his power to Gabriel again and he hoped– no, he prayed that Sam was asleep too.

Please, Father, let Samuel be asleep and tucked sweetly in his bed.

“Hello, Daddy. Long time no see,” Were his ears betraying him or could he hear his daughter's voice behind his back? She was so close Gabriel bet she could touch him.

“You don't call, you don't write, you don't even send emails and Hel has told me these are quite popular these days.” Jormungandr, oh, how he had missed his boy. They should’ve been angry, but all he could feel was sadness and longing coming out in waves from the four nephilim.

Fenrir’s voice was heard next, “Yes, Papa. I'm wounded, like a giant pup without his favorite bone.”

“Good gods, Fen, you always had a flair for the dramatics. Let Mother be,” Sleipnir added, standing in front of Gabriel, a sweet smile on his face.

“We like your human, Daddy,” Hela proclaimed, hugging Gabriel's side, and before he could say anything he was engulfed in a giant hug, wings all around him. His children's grace rubbing on him, tears running down his face without his consent.

“I'm sorry.” He murmured into their minds. “I should have taken all of you with me. I--”

“No. You did what you did to protect us. We always knew you loved us. You always left something to remember us by it,” Sleipnir told him, as he kissed his father's cheeks, holding his face between his larger hands.

“Also, where is your human?” wondered Jor, hopping onto a table, his legs swinging.

“My human? I don't have a human--” Gabriel tried to follow their logic, but he was too overwhelmed. His grace was humming pleasantly like it hadn't in eons with their mere presence.

“Then, someone clearly cares a lot about you, old man. And he is--” Jor mumbled, conjuring a lollipop and sucking on the sweet.

“Tall, Adonis-like, sunflower eyes, although I think humans would give a common blend name like hazel for his eyes--” Sleipnir added, as he paced, gesturing flowery with his hands.

“But Sleip, you're forgetting the most important thing!” Hela chimed in, eyes shining with mischief.

“Yes, yes! The pup's hair is absolutely perfect.” Fenrir added, the last word sounding like a caress from a lover.

“Uhm, is so soft, boys.” Hela grinned dreamily. She yearned to play with Sam’s hair once again and this time she hoped he would keep the memory instead of taking it as a childhood dream.

“Wait, do you mean--” Gabriel started with frowned eyebrows and a tilted head.

“Sam? Of course, we mean Sam, Father. Who else?” Hela told him, arching her eyebrows and smiling sassily at him.

Sass was most definitely a family trait.

Suddenly, there was a commotion. Two voices could be heard, one a strong baritone, stressed out and worried speaking, while the other was apologetic, confused and slightly out of breath.

“Well, I don't know why you have your feathers in a twist, Cas! Relax, it didn't work.”

“It didn’t work…it didn’t work?!” Cas mocked, mimicking Sam's tone.  “Of course, it did! What were you thinking, Sam?"

“That Gabriel needed help! Have you actually looked at him? He’s fragile, that body isn’t as strong as the one he inhabited before!” Sam argued.

“Sam, what have you done?” Castiel had his hands locked on the boy's arms, keeping him from moving.

“I took an educated guess!” Sam yelled in frustration, his voice breaking at the end.

“An educated guess? They could have killed you on spot! Do you hear me?” Castiel shook him desperately, his blue eyes burning a hole in his soul, but it was the lightning invisible to most humans that made Sam flinch under his touch.

Castiel frowned. Sam hardly ever shrunk away from his touch.

“Sam? What? Did I hurt you somehow? I didn't--” Castiel demeanor changed completely, Sam could see all his four heads tilted in complete worry and wish to care. He was about to use his grace to heal whatever wound he hadn’t noticed he had caused when Sam stopped him.

“No, Cas.” Sam reached the seraph’s hand with his larger one, covering it. “It's silly. I just reacted.”

“To what?” Castiel suddenly jumped in front of the hunter at the stranger's question, pulling Sam behind his vessel as quickly as Dean would.

“Oh, please, Uncle,” Sleipnir snorted, rolling his eyes.

Sam gasped. What a vision the god was! An ebony giant horse, strong eight legs, his mane as shiny as a black tourmaline stone. But when Sam blinked he was met by a man with dirty blond hair, full kissable lips, high cheekbones, and mischief grass green eyes. It eerily reminded him of Dean, except he had large and powerful wings as white as a dove.

“Why would we ever be interested in hurting, our dearest Samuel?” Jor asked, his tone smooth and evolving. For some reason, Sam was expecting another woman, but this God was slightly shorter than him, with dirty blond hair, deep blue-grey eyes, and just a tad tanner than Gabriel's old vessel. His true form though was completely different, imposing and strong, it reminded him of a mix of a basilisk and a snake, his body curling lazily underneath him. It was somehow scaring and endearing at the same time and Sam felt safe in his presence.

In his human form, Sam could still see a silhouette of his wings. They looked a lot like normal bird feathers and iridescent light, they were grey and beige with small dots of black here and there. It was beautiful and as usual, Sam wanted to touch it.

“It's been ages since someone summoned us with such care. I got flowers. Do you have any idea how hard is for a girl who is half dead to actually receive flowers?” Hela added, twirling in her high heels, her bar dress flowing gently as she appeared in front of Castiel.

Pretending to peek behind her uncle’s body, she asked sweetly, “You can see us, can’t you, sugar?”

Sam blinked rapidly. She was such an ethereal beauty. Half her face was skinless, her cheekbones appearing, her lips purple as if she was cold all the time, her right eye was colorless, alike of a blind person and white as snow just as her hair, that had small skulls hanging from it, clearly she found it amusing. Her right hand was only bones with tiny dry bougainvillea buttons interlaced to each finger, same could be said about her legs and unbarred feet. Her left side was the exact opposite. It was screaming life. Her golden eyes were enchanting, a mess of curly red hair, glossy pink lips, perfectly manicured nails that stood up on her light skin. An intricate work of a silver crown over her head and magnificent wings towering over her, one side was fluffy like the ones he had observed in her siblings back, the other one was skin to bone or rather feathers to bone, scarce feathers in the bone structure, a claw up high on the wing, reminding Sam of illustrations he had seen of demons wings.

“What does she mean with that, Sam?” Castiel turned on his heels, tilting his head to gather the hunter.

“It’s that I can see more than just the vessel,” Sam replied eyes cast low, his fingers pressuring on his arm.

“Sam…” Castiel whispered stressing his name, "Why didn't you ever tell me that?” Castiel’s concern was softly spoken as he saw the hunter in a new light.

“It must have slipped out of my mind. And let’s face it Cas, I didn’t want to worry you. Plus, it’s kind of awesome to see your cat and coyote’s faces.”

“Oh, Sam--” the angel whispered reaching towards Sam and holding his face between his hands, as delicate as he would with a child. Sam was his charge too, even if the boy couldn’t understand such a concept.

“I thought it was a small price to pay since you took a large part of the crazy with you,” Sam argued, seeing each head of Castiel tilt a little studying him. He kind of wished he could touch their fur or his wings, somehow they look a lot stronger and healthier than the last time he had seen them.

“And I would have done it again. I had been wrong, Sam. Blinded by the rules Heaven made me follow,” Castiel replied. Noticing Sam watchful eyes he asked,  “What’s wrong?”

“Your wings look different,” Sam informed blinking again, sometimes seeing them was tiring, but how could he deny himself such a marvelous sight?

“Of course they do. Did you say something to Dean, little brother?” Gabriel teased from where he was sandwiched between Fenrir and Sleipnir, a small grin dancing at his lips.

Castiel looked ashamed and murmured, ever so low, “I might have kissed Dean. I wasn’t thinking.”

Sam let a loud bark of laugh erupt from him, hugging his stomach and waving with his hand at the same time as if saying ‘don’t mind me’ but his hand landed on Jor’s arm since the man had fled to his side without a sound. “I’m sorry,” Sam tried to compose himself, but his voice was still breathless.

“I needed that.” He took a deep breath and stood again looking at Cas and biting his lip to control his laughter. He coughed, hiding behind his hand, before saying, “I’m okay, seriously, I’m okay.”

“This is not funny, Sam.”

“Are you kidding us?” Gabriel called amused beyond words.

“This is good news, Cas. I mean, at least the cat is out of the bag now.” Sam told him, smiling at his friend.

“I don’t have a bag and certainly my head couldn’t come out of it,” Castiel replied, clearly unamused, but seeing Sam’s face filled with delight, he understood, “Oh, it’s a figure of speech.”

Castiel smiled softly, shaking his head. What a mess of a family he had. He wouldn’t exchange it for anything in this world. Not even the return of all his brothers and sisters, or the glory of the first days in heaven, or the warmth of his Father’s embrace. Because for once he knew what love really felt and he would give anything up for Dean, heck, he had already.

He watched as Sam’s eyes fell on Hela again, his brow furrowed in concentration, “I like your crown, it suits you beautifully.”

“Oh, do you, honey?” Hela hinted, as she picked the crown from her head and made it corporeal, so the hunter could touch it when she put it on his hands.

“I wonder, do you remember making it, Pup?” Fenrir hypothesized, finally catching Sam's full attention. The giant wolf was mesmerizing, a mixture of black, brown and golden in his fur, perfect white teeth, strong paws, and relaxed posture.

Sam blinked, the image changing right before his eyes, he was now looking at a tall, slender man, with messy dark hair, strong cheekbones, hazel-grey eyes, and a gentle smile tugging at his lips. His wings were as dark as the night sky. Celestial like.

“Making it?” Sam shook his head slightly, confused, his hair falling over his cheeks.

“It’s probably a buried memory,” Jor mentioned, standing at Hela’s side.

Sam studied the jewelry. It was delicate with tiny white Herbst-anemone and an intricate twist of silver, that reminded him of stems, small leaves, and baby’s breath completely the crown. “A memory?”

Hela touched the crown and it transformed itself into a green flower crown, with thin fragile stems intertwined perfectly with the smallest Herbst-anemone Sam had ever seen, and actual baby’s breath wrapped around the stems and over the flowers.

“I might have inserted a little shine into it, but Hela loved it so much she said she wouldn’t part from it.” Fenrir smiled at his brother’s proclamation. Jor had a tender heart, and he, like Fenrir himself, loved to spoil their sister. Sleipnir wasn’t that far behind either, he enjoyed being the dutiful son more than he allowed others to see.

“Do you recognize it now, sweetheart?” Hela asked while Sam contemplated the crown that was back to its original form, shining in his hands. He shook his head no as an answer.

“I can show it to you, I would only have to touch your temple and --”

“No, Sam wouldn’t like that,” Castiel claimed.

Hela didn’t seem fazed by it. But Fenrir felt his father’s heartache. Something was wrong with the boy and he wouldn’t tell anyone. Sleipnir nodded at his brother, kissing his mother’s hair, also feeling his distress. Their wings spreading behind them and involving him.

“Well, that’s okay, honey. But I still think we should do something about that nasty thing nagging in your soul,” the goddess of death informed him, taking the crown from his hands and placing it back at the top of her head.

“I beg your pardon?” Castiel replied defensively. Was she saying that his grace was nasty? Sam’s soul was pure, and all the healing he had done shouldn’t have left a mark on his soul. Castiel’s grace swirled in turmoil and he was just about to turn to Sam and beg him forgiveness when his niece spoke again.

“Oh, no, Uncle. Not you. Never you,” Hela voiced gently, surprised her uncle could even think it. “I meant the other one.” She rolled her eyes, tone flat as if she rather never bring said uncle names up.

“Lucifer,” Sam added tiredness overcoming him. “Gadreel has also used me as a vessel.”

“Let’s not forget the demons, either.” Castiel murmured.

“That scum! I’m killing him!” Gabriel had left the security of his children’s arms and was fuming towards the hunter, “What in the flying Father have you done, Gigantor?”

“Don’t lose your breath, Gabriel. He’s already gone,” Sam enlightened him, finding his outburst cute, but right now Gabriel looked like a pixie dog trying to bite someone’s heels. “Gadreel was Dean’s fault, though. I was dying, the trials made me too weak and when the angels fell Dean saw that as a way to save me.” Sam yawned. This entire conversation was exhausting him.

“The trials?” Gabriel was shocked. How this boy could be so reckless? Doesn't he know how important he is? How loved? This world wouldn't be the same without the Winchester's.

Hela smirked to herself, her father's thoughts being broadcasted to all of them, except Sam, who seemed somehow diverted, “Oh, that explains it.” She affirmed, biting her nails and babbling, “The reason why you can see our true forms. Uhm, but this grace... lodged inside your being is old, ancient even. Somehow the purification of your soul through the trials wasn’t enough. This dark spot is still ingrained in you. Uncle sure did a terrific job hiding it.”

“I bet you can hear it though, Pup. Nagging at your mind, whispering, belittling, taunting, scaring, cursing, as a nasty little bug,” Fenrir spoke, gesturing with his hands.

Sam knew that and was aware of all the things they had mentioned, but he never thought Lucifer’s grace could still be rooted inside his soul. It was a horrible memory, one he often tried to forget, but the fog would come, and he couldn’t hide. It often felt as if his mind was crumbling again, and Castiel couldn’t help him this time, the angel wouldn’t be able to take the craziness away. He was once again at the cage, without his soul, or locked in a white room with Lucifer as his caretaker and the voice was filled with sarcasm and hiss sounds that drove Sam to the wall. Lucifer’s true form had been beautiful once, Sam reminded himself that, but now his true form was a mess. He could see the animal faces, a lynx that once was majestic but now was missing an eye and a part of an ear, a lizard whose eyes were dark and his skin was damaged by scars. The seahorse often gave Sam the chills. It looked like it was dead, a mere reflection of what once was enchanting. His human face was a double of Sam, except he had blue eyes and curly long blond hair. His lips were dry and his tongue was forked, similar to what Sam had seen many times on the vessel Lucifer wore.

The feeling was suffocating as if he was underwater incapable of breathing, that chill up and down his spine, the image staring back from the mirror, the ghosts in the corner of his eyes, the shadows behind closed doors.

Taunting, whispering, reminding, frightening … cold fingers touching his skin and delving in his mind.

“You are nothing.”

“You are mere stardust under my fingertips, don’t you enjoy the pain?”

“Do you think you deserve love?”

“How dare you think angels are watching over you!”

“The only one who ever cared was me, Sammy.”

“Pay attention to me, I’ll be here until you die and beyond.”

“Shall we play a game, Sam? Oh, how many people have you killed so far?”

“There was your mother, she was the first, wasn’t she? Then Jessica, oh she was so lovely, with those gorgeous blue eyes and long wavy blonde hair, uhm. I would have loved tasting her. Oh, boo, Sammy. Don't go all macho man on me now, after all, she burned, burned, burned, just like your momma and you couldn't do a damn thing. Because you are weak.”

Who else? Cute sweet Sarah, then my rebellious Meg, taunting Ruby, and Eileen, this last one sure was a blow, uhm? Falling in love is a pain for you, uhm, dear vessel of mine?”

“Oh, poor darling Sam, no one loves you. What, Sammy boy? Lucifer ain’t enough of an archangel for you?”

“You prayed for my lil’ brother. Oh, how adorable! He is dead! Has been for eons, how tragic that your worship him and he is all gone… Poor Samuel, in love with an archangel who will never love him back. Archangels are not capable of loving, we weren’t made for that.”

“Foolish human.”

Gabriel noticed Sam’s glazed eyes, his erratic breathing, a tremor in his entire being. Delicate hands framed the hunter’s face as Gabriel called him with a hint of his true voice.

“Sam,” No response, he was still locked in a panic dream state. “Samuel,” he tried again, Hela, Jormungandr, Sleipnir, and Fenrir formed a circle behind him. Castiel reached into his coat pocket and took out his cell phone, it was time to call Dean. First, because he had promised he would call and second because Sam needed him.

“Sammy!” Gabriel yelled in a whisper to him and Sam blinked finding Gabriel a breath away from his face, his golden eyes filled with sorrow and pain. “Oh kiddo, you were miles away, I thought he had lost you for a moment.”

“Gabriel?” Sam’s voice came in a strangled whisper.

“It’s me, bucko. Are you with me?” Gabriel asked him, his fingers gently brushing the man's cheeks.

Sam blinked once more and swallowed, sighing tiredly.

“Where were you, pup?” Fenrir asked him gently.

“I'm not sure I know how to explain it,” Sam said, finding Gabriel's eyes.

“At least try.” Hela coerced him, resting her hand in his elbow.

Gabriel caressed his face once more, cleaning the silent years that had fallen without Sam's consent. The hunter closed his eyes and relaxed at the touch, the memories clearly made him touch starving and at the same time afraid of any touch whatsoever.

“It’s like I’m underwater? I can’t breathe and I can’t swim my way out of it. It feels as if I was being buried alive, and as the coffin closes I start to hyperventilate.. and his voice is so loud and it chills my bones. Sometimes the words are like caresses, breezes underneath my skin, scarring themselves in my bloodstream.” Sam shook under Gabriel’s fingers, his body running a bit colder than it should. Gabriel brought his wings out, surprising Sam, who gaped in marvel as the archangel engulfed him with it creating a cocoon.

“Will it hurt?” Sam murmured, somehow he had been tucked in Gabriel’s chest, both sitting on the floor now, the archangel’s fingers running lovingly through strands of Sam’s brown hair.

“What, Samoose? Taking my brother’s grace from you?” Gabriel asked as he pressed a gentle kiss on Sam’s forehead. Sam nodded, blinking sluggishly as he relaxed under Gabriel’s touch.

Gabriel allowed one of his wings to relax further into himself showing the two of them, Hela kneeled down to his side, seeing that Sam was almost asleep she replied, “It won’t hurt a thing, darling.”

Sam sighed, “When Cas had to touch my soul, I felt excruciating pain, how can you promise me it won’t be the same?”

“Well, what I’ll be doing is very similar to dream walking, sweetie.” Hela told him, “Come here, I need to touch you.”

Gabriel allowed Sam to disentangled himself from him, already missing the hunter’s warm and large body wrapped around him. The archangel folded his golden wings behind his back and exchanged a quick glance with his sons, knowing that Hela was tricking the boy. He trusted Hela to keep Sam’s soul protected from the impact of the grace extraction, truth was that the echo of Vesta’s words still rang on Gabriel’s ears, he wished he hadn’t heard it as he walked towards their bunker the first night back on earth, and mostly certainly he wished he hadn’t understood the implications. Now with the presence of his children, his grace was stronger, and the chilling words kept nudging him, Dear boy, you’re all duct tape and safety pins inside. How are you alive?”

 

Chapter Text

Sam moved slowly, sitting and crossing his longs legs, waiting for Hela to make the first move. Gabriel moved a bit to his side, hugging his legs as he watched Hela kneel in front of Sam and extend her hands towards the hunter’s face.

“Hey,” Hela greeted, a small smile pulling at the corner of her lips.

“It’s okay. I trust you won’t hurt me,” Sam vowed, eyes locked with hers.

Hela’s eyes were soft, when she spoke, “Listen to my voice. I’ll be your guide and I’ll be with you the entire time we are inside your mind,” her voice fell an octave, as fog emerged from the floor. Sam relaxed underneath her touch, blinking as if he was trying to stay alert, while the dream slowly pulled him in.

“I’m in,” Hela told them. Sam had his eyes closed and she gently laid him down, asking without words for Gabriel to sit behind him and allow Sam’s head to rest on his lap. Her eyes turned white as she entered the dream memory, her body static, she wasn’t even breathing, as she delved inside Sam’s subconscious.

Sam found himself standing in the middle of Bobby’s living room. He heard footsteps coming towards him and saw his younger self, yelling at his father, his brother passed through him as a human would pass a ghost, running towards his younger self and their father. Truth be told, Sam didn’t recall this particular day. But he bet the fighting involved his brother and father leaving him behind with Bobby while they hunted.

Sam decided to pay attention to the memory, which was suddenly loud and clear to him, like a movie on a screen.

“You’re always leaving! You promised Dean was going to stay and now you’re taking him, again!” The boy exclaimed, hugging himself, eyes filled with unshed tears.

“Don’t test my patience, Sam! I need your brother and it’s time for you to man up without him!” John told him harshly. Bobby was coming from the kitchen and his eyes fell on the boy and then at Dean who was being held by his father.

“It will be quick, Sammy. You won’t even miss me,” Dean reassured his younger brother.

It was his birthday, Sam suddenly recalled. He had been so disappointed because neither his brother or father had remembered it; and it was not like he could run to his mother and ask her for a hug, she was long gone.

The boy’s eyes were cast down and he lifted them to give one last look at Dean, their father already out of the door, towards the Impala. He watched as Dean left and closed the door behind himself. Sam felt his heartbreak in a thousand pieces as he stood there watching the closed door unmoving.

Bobby touched his shoulder, sighed deeply, breathing out in his gruff voice, “They’re both idjits. Come along, Sammy, I have these new books I wanna share with you.”

Sam felt his eyes burn. Gosh, how much he missed Bobby. The man had been more of a father to him and Dean than John himself.

Hela’s voice was soft, as she appeared next to him, “He was such a gentle soul, wasn’t he?”

“He was a grumpy old man, but he was wonderful. Do you mind if I stay and watch? I don’t remember this very well,” Sam asked her as he tilted his head towards the memory unfolding in front of his eyes.

“It’s why I brought you here, sugar.  So you can see how my crown came to be, while I work on that nasty grace over there.”

Sam gave her a small smile as she disappeared again, and he followed his younger self toward the door, into the woods behind Bobby’s garage.  He saw the older man call for him as he kept springing into the woods.

Hela blinked, looking at them. Sam was deep inside his mind, for now, he wouldn’t feel a thing.

“Is he okay?” Fenrir asked, sitting on his father’s side, while Gabriel caressed the human’s face softly, fingers tracing his forehead and cheeks as if he was painting.

“Yes,” Sleipnir told him, joining them, sitting on the other side of his father. Jormungandr sat by Sam’s torso. After a quick sign from Hela, he and his brothers rested their hands over Sam’s body, keeping him calm and still.

Hela was suddenly back inside the human’s mind and soul, traveling slowly, memories passing through cracks of the boy's soul. A joyful laugh, bright blue eyes staring him curiously, the smell of fresh coffee, a melody sang by a child’s voice. Hela was particularly fond of that last memory.

The Goddess blinked as she approached the residual grace. It was dark, like a black hole with dancing flames. It didn't remind her of the impression Sam had of Lucifer, not nearly close to the cold and sorrow the second born emanated.

As she worked, Hela could hear the echo of long lost memories being watched by Sam.


Sam appeared near his younger-self moments later, he took a long look at the boy, small, with messy brown hair, baggy shirts and tears tracking down his face. The boy cleaned his cheek with the back of his long sleeve, sniffing soundly.  

“I wish you were here. They forgot it, even Dean,” The child’s voice was heartbroken and it tugged deeply at older Sam's heart.

Sam wished he could hug his younger self and tell him everything was going to be just fine, but even as he thought it, he knew it was a ginormous lie. Sam decided to listen to the boy, who kept entering further and further into the woods. The boy kicked rocks, harshly, then grabbed a stick and slammed it in a tree until his little arms gave in and the scream he kept inside gave out, large tears staining his face. He hiccupped and sat down on a fallen tree trunk, hugging his legs, hiding his face between his arms and crying until he couldn’t any longer.

Sam had tears streaming down his face as well. He knew that agony. It was so familiar that the boy’s voice hit him like a ton of bricks, “Would you still be here, Mommy, if I wasn’t?”

Oh . For the love of Chuck. “Maybe if you hadn't had me if you had just stayed happy with Dean, I bet… I bet everyone would have been happier. They don’t need me anyway...”

Suddenly, Sam saw Hela. She was different though, no crown, with a long, black and red wine dress, that struck him as a similar version of Morticia Addams, her face bearing all the sorrow the boy felt. Sam saw as Hela touched the boy's shoulder softly, a filament of her grace surrounding him, a soft whisper, “She is still watching over you, like the angels…”

The boy sniffed a little and cleaned his face, the Goddess sitting on his side, a warm company, unseen to him. “Dean told me you said angels were watching over us, Mom. Are you watching with them now, too?”

“I like to think you are,” The boy smirked softly. She had never been watching them, but it sure was a good sentiment, fairytale-like even. “Bobby says that there are fairies and other fantasy stuff in the woods, and I think you know, he’s probably right…” The boy mumbled as he touched a baby breath flower, “but, I also don't think they would go ballistic on me, if I, you know, made you a gift.”

“Now,  don’t tell anyone this, okay? I learned how to make a flower crown in my last school. I didn’t tell Dean or dad, it was for mother’s day and I gave it to one of our teacher’s because she had been really nice to me and she also had nice blond hair like you had, Mom. I wanted to keep it to put it in your gravestone, but it’s been a long time since we visited you.” The boy explained as he picked stems and Herbst-anemone flowers. Minutes later he came back to the tree trunk, and, using his pocket knife, he started to prepare the stems and braid them softly, singing ‘Hey Jude’, telling to no one in particular, or rather to the forest about his day, and saying he was sorry for yelling, he was just really sad and frustrated.

Hela nodded on his side, running her hands gently through his hair, the boy was too distracted to notice the gesture, or maybe he simply thought it had been his mother visiting him.

Sam had been distracted by the boy’s hand movements but finally heard his babble again. “... I thought De would remember, you know? But I think I would want to forget the day you were gone too, if I were him, Mom. I’m not mad at him. He’s my best friend. You would be so proud, Mommy. De is so smart and he teaches me lots of stuff too! Did you know he was the one who taught me how to read?”

Sam then thought that Dean was also the person who taught him how to walk, talk, to be polite, to respect people, to love, who had been his actual parent his entire life. No wonder when Mom was back he had such a difficult time bonding with her. (And it didn’t help that he was jealous of Dean for having a memory to share with her when he didn’t.)

There was a strangled yell of his name as if the person was out of breath or desperate. The boy lifted his eyes from the flower crown he had just finished, setting it on a small tree, as if crowning it, and turned at the direction of the voice.

Hela allowed the spell that she had cast to fall, the boy’s brother finally able to see him.

“Sammy!” Dean exclaimed, his body slamming on his brother’s smaller form to hug the boy strongly to him. “Jesus, Sammy, I thought I had lost you!” Dean’s whole body was shaking as he pushed and pulled his brother towards him to embrace him again, checking for wounds.

“Oh, god, Sammy. I’m so sorry,” He murmured into his brother’s neck. “I didn’t mean to forget. I didn’t. But you can’t just disappear on me, Sammy. I’m not me without you, do you hear me?”

Dean felt him nod in his chest, relief flowing into his entire being.

Sam watched the exchange quietly. He really shouldn’t have been surprised that they were so codependent when everything they ever had was each other.


The Goddess, her siblings, uncle, and father were far too enthralled to notice when the Impala came bringing Dean's loud old Rock melodies in the air, failed to hear as the Impala's door was slammed, missed as Dean entered the bunker, in search of his family.

“Cas, Sammy--” there was no answer, “Jack, Gabe?”

Dreading whichever outcome Dean walked towards the library and announced his arrival, only to find four different people he had never seen before hovering over his brother while he screamed his lungs out and a woman held some sort of dark glowing ball on her hand.

“Sammy!” Of course, Dean's first reaction was to call for his brother and run to him, but Castiel was right there to stop his advance.

“Cas?” He looked confused, eyes running from Cas’ face to the scene involving his brother and a bunch of strange people.

Castiel felt his soulmate shake in his arms, and he brought Dean into an actual hug, the hunter hiding his face on the crock of his neck. Castiel felt tears wetting his skin. His grace reached to hug the hunter as well, wings enveloping the two of them as he cried. Cas’ spoke sweet nothings in Enochian to him, until he calmed down and relaxed, the feeling of home setting inside of him.

“It's okay, Dean. They are helping him,” Cas’ explained, drying the hunter's tears with his thumbs, hoping to reassure him.

“Helping? Cas, Sammy is screaming his heart out,” he grumbled, turning his face to look at where the Nephilim, archangel, and Sam were assembled. “How come... did he stop screaming? I can’t hear him anymore, Cas let me-- ”  

“No, sweetheart, not yet, once they are done I’ll let you go. What I did was block you.” Cas said, his hands cradling Dean's face. He could hear the unpronounced question on the hunter’s eyes. Why?

“I thought I wouldn't have to explain myself after the kiss, but maybe, I do?” Dean crooked a smile to his angel. Damn him and his blue eyes . And did Cas just call him sweetheart? So, yeah, he needed a damn good explanation, preferably now while he couldn’t rush to his brother's aid and his insides were boiling with anticipation again.

“You’re my soulmate,” Cas told him. Dean arched his eyebrows, shocked, and blinked, trying to find words and connect his mind to his mouth, but coming out empty.

“I’m sorry, what? That’s actually a thing? I mean, soulmates, Cas? Don’t get me wrong, I love you too. I’ve known that for--” Dean was cut off short when Cas’ lips met his, silencing the flustered hunter.

Sam was still deep in his memories, unaware of what was happening on the outside.


 “I was just here, Dean. I wasn’t going anywhere,” Sam heard the boy reply to his brother.

“Dean! Sam! Come on boys is getting dark!” Bobby’s voice had a hint of despair. Sam knew better now than when he was a child. Bobby saw them as his own and there wasn’t a thing he wouldn’t do for them.

“There you are!” Bobby exclaimed, bringing both boys in a bear hug.

“Don't scare me like this again boys, I'm not so young anymore, this old heart can’t take it.” The boys hugged him back and together they went back to the house, where an excited Bobby - like Hagrid himself did for Harry - brought a vanilla and chocolate cake with a green and blue Happy Birthday written over it. Clearly the older hunter's writing.

“I know it’s not very pretty--” Bobby started, shyly, not knowing how the boy would react but bracing himself for anything. Except the boy squealed in happiness yelling at his brother who was at his side, “Look, Dean! Dean! Isn’t perfect? An actual birthday cake!”

“What?” Bobby was flabbergasted, his eyes running from a boy to the other.

“Dad usually buys us a piece of cake, but I can’t remember the last time we actually got an entire cake!” The boy sufficed.

Sam could point out the exact moment Bobby’s heart was shattered in a million pieces. But Bobby wasn’t a hunter because he was soft, he was a hunter because even though he looked tough and was melted butter inside, he had a sharp mind.

“Well, shame on him. I ordered pizza, too.” Both boys exclaimed happily, claiming seats at the kitchen table. Sam watched them talk and eat, a big smile on his younger self’s face. Sam remembered Bobby giving him a book he loved since he was a kid as well and that he had been saving for his own children but that he knew it belonged to him. Sam still carried that book wherever he went.


Gabriel felt tears wet his fingers and stopped himself from checking inside Sam’s mind, the boy had finally stopped screaming minutes before. Hela’s eyes shone once more and suddenly a glowing dark sphere was floating in her palms. Gabriel wanted to move, to grab the sphere and to study it, figure out every bit of grace that had been inside Sam’s body, but he restrained himself; Sam was still laid over his legs, and the man was still breathing softly, as if in a deep slumber.

Fenrir and Jormungandr stood up, helping Hela to move from Sam’s torso, she seemed to be in trance, eyes focused at the glowing sphere above her hands. Sleipnir moved as well, when he finally noticed Castiel had lowered his wings and shield around the older Winchester, whom without a second thought ran towards his little brother, practically falling and hovering over Sam’s body, he was about to check for wounds - Gabriel had to control himself not to roll his eyes to infinite - when Sam opened his eyes languidly, “De? When did you get here?”

Dean pulled Sam into a hug, practically crushing the boy to his body, “Missed you, little brother.”

“Yeah, uhm. I missed you too.” Sam replied, hiding his face on his brother's neck and breathing him in. Dean pushed him and then cradle his face in his hands, searching for any trouble in his brother’s eyes, but found nothing but a bitch face mixed with a smirk.

“You are spending way too much time with that blonde asshole over there, aren’t you, bitch?” Dean teased.

“Says the man with a soulmate, who was too blind to see it right in front of his face,” Sam replied, a smile tugging at the corner of his lip.

“Excuse me? A redhead girl just took a glowing ball out of your chest--” Dean exclaimed, pointing towards Hela.

“Shut up, jerk. Her name is Hela, by the way, you know as in the Goddess of the underworld.” Sam said smugly, as he got up and pulled his brother with him, “I have so much to tell you.”

“Samuel, dear,” called Sleipnir. Sam turned to him, a brow arched in question. “Please take your brother and tell him everything, we might need Castiel to check on this particular residue. It would be best if you both left the library and stood as far away from it. We don’t know how this might react once we poke it.”

“Oh, okay. Come on, Dean. Let the Nephilim, seraph, and archangel do their work.” Dean nodded, feeling his brother’s hand on his shoulder guiding him out.

Once outside, Dean allowed a huge sigh to escape his lungs and when they finally reached the kitchen, he murmured dumbstruck, “Dude, what the hell did I miss?”

Sam moved to fill the coffee machine to start brewing, but Dean got up and picked all the necessary ingredients for a burger and waved his hand, asking for his brother to let the coffee for later.

“Let me feed ya, after all that screaming you’ve got to be hungry.”

“Screaming?” Sam seemed to consider for a moment,  before adding, “Oh! Hela said I wasn't gonna feel anything, but I wasn't aware of how I might look to them or an outsider.”

“Kind of terrifying, if you wanna know. Thought they were torturing you for a sec.” Dean told him, as he put different spices in a ball and added the ground beef to latter shape it in circles. He turned towards his brother again, finding Sam with a calm smile on his face.

“What got you smiling like that?” Dean provoked, opening a beer bottle and taking a sip.

“I'm just wondering, is Cas a good kisser?” Dean spat out his beer, his eyes growing wide at Sam's sarcastic grin.

“You little shit. How long have you been waiting to ask me that?” The question was equally measured in fondness and amusement.

“Well, I mean, kissing an angel is already a big deal, right? But an angel that’s also your soulmate? Tell me, did he went all Meg on you?” Sam prompted, resting his elbows on the table and his chin on his hands, the perfect image of mischief and innocence.

“I'm not telling...” Dean answered, blushing deeply, his hand now mixing the meat and spices. But what he didn't tell, Sam could see. Dean's soul was happy. His soul colors were dancing and mingling, and the dark spot he often saw in his brother, next to his heart was almost completely gone as if him finally accepting Cas as his destiny and his love had been the missing piece.

Jack without a single warning appeared at the kitchen door, wearing cupcake pajamas, his hair in complete disarray, eyes tired from sleep and one of his hands was rubbing one in a childish manner.

“Dean? When did you get back? And Castiel too?” The boy's voice was hoarse from sleep, but as he took a quick look at Sam, in a mere second he was completely alert.

“Oh, wow. I missed quite a lot.” Sam looked at the boy, a sweet smile at his lips. “Your soul, Sam! It's breathtaking, no more grey dots, anywhere. All these colors... and Dean! Oh, look at you! There's so much orange and pink. There's no dark green and the grey colors are fading.”

Sam smiled. He recalled weeks ago when Jack entered his room late at night, terrified out of his mind, all of sudden, Cas was absurdly tall, with animals head and giant fluffy dark wings. Sam had tucked the boy with him, like he would have done a child, and proceed to explain that maybe as Jack grew, so did his powers and now he could, like Sam himself, due to the Cage’s influence see the seraph’s true form. Jack had slept with a smile on his face while Sam played with his hair and read a book. Days later, the boy came to Sam again saying his soul was bright, with grey dots he couldn’t understand, but lots of blue, orange and pink. Sam had chased an article about colors and showed him, which delighted the boy to no end. 

“Okay, kid,” Dean gestured calling his attention, “What now?”

“Oh, you didn’t mention I could do that to him?” Jack shoot Sam an inquisitive eyebrow.

Sam shook his head, sighing, “I also didn’t tell him I could see angel’s true forms or his soul; Look, I know Dean, and he would freak out and hide somewhere in the bunker and avoid me for as long as he could until his mind stopped imploding itself.”

“Sam! I thought we had agreed to no more secrets.” Dean demolished him.

“Yes, I know, but this secret, if that’s how you wanna call it, I have been hiding it since I came back from hell. I never told Cas, until a couple hours ago. I didn’t want to worry you.” Sam vowed, biting his lower lip.

“Do I really have all these colors swimming on me?” Dean wondered, turning back to the kitchen counter.

“Yeah, you do. It’s quite fascinating, actually.” Sam smiled, watching his brother move towards the fridge and grab some beers.

“Shush, you weirdo,” Dean mumbled sipping his beer and pushing other two at Sam and Jack. Jack smiled and sat on Sam’s side, watching Dean work on their lunch. It was soothing.

Meanwhile at the Library

Hela held a mix of grace and cage residue. It was a heavy mass if she were to weigh it. Fenrir, Jormungandr, and Sleipnir stared at Gabriel, Castiel and Hela. The goddess still keeping the dark glowing ball levitating over her hands.

“Sister, what do you feel?” Fenrir asked her gently.

“Most of it is cage residue, the nasty thing. It’s like the cage took every single fear the grace or soul possessed and played with it, tainted it. Uncle’s grace is here, Lucifer, Michael, Gadreel, I can also feel two demons,” she closed her eyes as if she could feel the memory, “Meg and Crowley... It’s strange though. They weren’t trying to hurt Sam.”

“Oh, please,” Gabriel mocked, “I know Lucifer and he has done unmentionable things to Sam’s mind. Don't tell me while he was in the cage that he grew a conscience!”

“Mother…” Sleipnir called, noticing the glow in her mother’s eyes, gold burning hotter.

“I’m afraid that sister is correct, Father,” Fenrir added, seeing a memory, as his hand touched the dark glowing sphere.

Once Jormungandr and Castiel touched him, they were also pushed inside the memory.

Lucifer and Michael were standing side by side, while Sam was crouched in a corner of the cage, his head hid between his knees, his hands blocking the sounds reaching his ears.

“Please, vessel of mine, I’m trying to help. I really am this time. Brother, please,” Lucifer begged, his true form a hideous thing to look at. Michael came closer, his true voice reverberating at all sides of the cage.

“Samuel, don’t fear, little one. We only wish to help now.”

“No, no. Don’t hurt me. I beg of you!” Sam exclaimed, “No more.”

“This cage wasn't built for hosting human souls, Lu,” Michael told him, attracting Sam’s attention, poor boy, the sight he was seeing would forever be ingrained in his mind's eye. It should be impressing since Michael, like Lucifer had more than one head, that being a marvelous white swan, a fascinating Pharaoh ant, a silver swordfish, a considerable kind zebra, and his human or a rather angelic face, that of a mid-twenties man, with chocolate brown hair and dark brown eyes.

“It’s clear he is scared. What have you done to his poor soul, Lucifer?”

“I didn’t do anything, I barely stayed long enough to cause any damage. I might have taunted him, and drove him a little crazy, but that was about it.”

“Father, give me patience.”

“You come here and talk about patience, all you ever did was follow Father’s rules. Look how far that took us!? I had to kill our lightning bug. Joyful, loving, charming and caring Gabriel, all because we had to follow Father’s plans. For what?” Lucifer exclaimed, his true voice thick with emotion, unshed tears pooling in his blue eyes.

Michael turned at him, his grace lashing towards his younger brother, “You killed him? How dare you?” Michael hugged his form, tears forming in his eyes.

“I thought it was a trick,” Lucifer mumbled, tears running down his cheeks. “He was always playing tricks, he spent millennia hiding from us like that, I assumed--”

“You assumed?!” Michael yelled, his voice breaking as loud as a thunder. “It hurts, why does it hurt so much?”

“The cage is starting to affect you. As you said, it wasn’t meant for human souls, and it wasn’t meant for you either, big brother.”

“Let’s stay with Samuel, without our protection his soul will surely die.” Michael urged him, moving closer to Sam’s soul.

“Hopefully Castiel will come to his aid,” Lucifer mumbled, afraid of getting closer and simply extending his battered wings in front of Michael who had Sam cradle in his arms.

“Little Cassie? The last of the fledglings with his bright curious blue eyes and dark ebony wings? That Castiel?” Michael asked as he ran his hands over Sam's temple, Lucifer nodded, his up-down feather wings playing a tune in the cage cell bars.

“I sure hope so, if he could save the righteous man, I’m sure he can save Sam as well,” Michael commented, as he resumed his ministrations, Sam sweating underneath his fingertips.

“It’s futile, Mica, even if you infuse grace on him, it will be twisted,” Lucifer told him sitting down, feeling all the past run on him again. The screams were the worst. The memories clawing at his grace, Michael watched as his younger brother moved away from them, not wishing to hear another beg falling from Sam’s lips.

When Castiel showed up, demanding they released the boy, and they delivered Sam in his arms and powerful wings, they forgot to mention he was leaving something crucial for the human, his soul. But Castiel was already gone, terrified of what his brothers could do to him, even now with Sam Winchester carefully held between his claws and upper wings.

Castiel took a deep breath coming back to their own time, his face wet with tears, as he took on his family surrounding him, he found they were equally tired, heartbroken and disbelieving.

“Hey, guys!” Sam called from the door, “You know, I’m sure the whole glowing ball is extremely fascinating, but Dean just made burgers for an army, and Jack is already on his second, and if I were you--”

“Burgers, you say?” Castiel asked, smiling candidly. His face held a completely different expression of what he was feeling minutes prior.

“You do realize I can still see your true forms, right?” Sam ask them, arching an eyebrow.

“I'm sorry you had to see that. I know it's a lot--” Gabriel snapped and the glowing sphere was gone.

“Oh, I didn't know you were strong enough already--” Sam spoke surprised, gesturing with his hand.

“To create pocket universes and just throw away too much cage residue and grace inside of it?” Gabriel asked.

Sam smiled, watching as they easily piled around each other and couldn't figure out which one would be on his side, Hela clearly had no problem in linking her arm to Sam's, “Lead the way, darling boy.”

Fenrir stood on his other side, itching to shift, but controlling the impulse. There was something different on the pup, a mark they hadn't noticed before, a link that connected them more than his skillful spell ever would.

Castiel suddenly whispered in his brother's mind, “But I thought Father--”

He didn't, I mean, this has to be some kind of mistake--” Gabriel walked behind his children and the man he loves with all his grace, his youngest brother by his side.

“I don't think so, Gabe. It seems Father has gifted you a soulmate after all.” Castiel smirked, fondly.

“He has given me something I have wished for so long and it's someone I already--” Gabriel's voice was pure awe, too incredulous to believe this was actually happening.

“Love?” Castiel supplied, his grace has been singing since he kissed his own hunter.

“It's me, Cas. What if Sam, sweet, nerdy, caring Sam doesn't love me back?” Gabriel mumbled, fear coloring his tone.

“Then you clearly haven't noticed his interest in you. Brother, who kept you going since you arrived? Made sure you were showered, dressed, fed and comfortable? Who has called upon your children? Who trusts you not to harm him in any way?” Castiel wondered, his grace caressing Gabriel's.

“My soulmate.” The archangel whispered wistfully.

Chapter Text

Damn you, Cassie!

But the seraph was right. Sam had been there for him since the very first moment he put his feet on the bunker's doormat– metaphorically speaking.

Gabriel wondered how Sam would feel knowing he and Dean were exceptional cases. Two souls who shared a heaven and were soulmates, which clearly didn’t stop Father from gifting his favorite human children a second soulmate. And in Sammy's case, a third one. Jessica had been his second.

The archangel had seen glimpses of her in Sam's mind, with long blonde hair, piercing blue eyes, softly spoken words and the scent of chocolate mixed with jasmine. She had been perfectly sized to Sam’s muscular and tall body.

Gabriel blinked, sensing Castiel still at his side and wondered that if they didn't move right away, Sam was bound to come after the last two members of his found family.

He could envision the tall human appearing at the start of the corridor, teasing mercilessly about Dean and Castiel's new relationship, Excuse me, a being who spent the last seven-ish or so years sleeping, you weren’t here for all the long stares, the unspoken conversations...”

Castiel's amused laughter brushed on his grace and Gabriel teased the seraph with his major side wing, bumping his hip, relishing on the affection he could freely give once again. There was so much he wanted to discuss with his younger brother. But first, he needed to tell a certain human how loved he truly was.

“Hey, guys?” Like clockwork, Sam’s face appeared at the entrance of the kitchen.

"You know, even though you don't eat, it's practically a sin to deny my brother's burgers. And Cas, come on, they’re your favorites!” Sam exclaimed, his smile so genuine his dimples were making a show.

“You two better move, we have a giant mutt eating here!” Dean called, which was followed by a growl and a barked laugh.

Gabriel touched his brother's shoulder and flew them inside the kitchen. Hela grinned proudly as she munched on a burger with gusto, Jack gave his uncle a quick wink. While Dean filled two plates for the newcomers, Jor and Fen magically snapped french fries onto the table, making Sleipnir awe in delight. Sam turned to see both the seraph and the archangel at the table, his hair flying all over and kissing his cheeks.

“It seems you're getting stronger, short stack!” Dean joked, serving him and sparing Gabriel one of his trademark glances, that said without words, “You are getting better, aren't you?” They were usually reserved for Sam and Cas, but from time to time, Dean would allow other people to enter his close family.

“Don't worry, Dean-o. I'm good. Better than good. I'm fabulous,”  Gabriel assured him. Castiel smirked at his brother's antics.

“Good, good. So, the glowing grace is still a problem?” Dean asked, sitting at the table and pushing at Jack’s seat to sit at Castiel’s side.

“It's fixed for now. Gabe put it on a pocket universe,” Sam explained, picking at the fries.

“You're strong enough to do that, but you're still keeping this vessel, so what’s up with that?” Dean questioned, slapping his little brother’s giant paws from the fries so he could take a bit for himself. Sam played a thumbs fight for a moment with him, before letting go. Clearly, the brothers sometimes forgot they had an audience and acted like five-year-olds.

“I thought I should save my strength. Something tells me I’ll need it,” Gabriel told him, taking a large bit of the hamburger and humming in pleasure.

“Yeah, well, you’re might be right about that,” Castiel told him through angel radio.

Gabriel and Castiel saw the brothers have their usual silence conversation with glances and eyebrows quirks. The younger Winchester was displeased, shaking his head, and saying, “Dean, don’t--”

“We need his help, Sammy! I mean, I’m far from being okay with the idea of Gabe dying on our front again, but Lucifer is trapped with Mom out there and honestly, I know we can’t trust his sorry feathered ass!” Dean exclaimed, running his fingers through his hair in distress.

“Lucifer is out of the cage?” Hela asked while sipping her coke, Fenrir following suit after her,  “And what about Michael?”

“Well, we assumed Michael’s still in there,” Sam confessed.

“And we’ve got to get him out!” Castiel exclaimed his feathers up in defense.

“Wait a second there, buddy,” Dean said, touching Castiel’s shoulder. The seraph turned huge blue eyes at him. “You gotta agree with me that, uhm, Michael is not exactly the cool and nicey archangel who would want to save our asses, ok?”

“I know that,” Castiel rolled his eyes at this human, “but Dean,” Castiel stressed out his name, “he thought he was doing the right thing. Following Father’s orders.” Dean nodded, his hand pressing Castiel's shoulder in comfort.

“A complete insanity in my humble opinion,” Jormungandr told them, “Grandfather is kind of a bastard. He finds whatever happens with his creations interesting, as if we were all lab rats, simply here for his entertainment.”

Fenrir sighed, while the others exchanged quick glances.

“Once we took the cage residue mixed with grace from our dear heart, Samuel, a very different picture was shown to us,” Hela started, snapping and making the food and kitchen utensils disappear. A second later she created a hologram of the memories they had seen over the lunch table, “As you all can see, Lucifer and Michael had been working together to keep Sam’s soul alive.”

Sam looked perplexed. “So, does that mean all the times Lucifer taunted me, it wasn’t really him?”

“Of course he’s been a brat to you and made terrible mistakes, but I assume he was only trying to fit his part,” Gabriel added, sadly.

“What? Do you think he thought this was some sort of Broadway play?” Dean questioned, tsking.

“Dean!” Castiel chastised him, followed by Sam.

“I hear you! But if that's true, then, Lucifer might keep our Mom alive,” Dean affirmed and Sam agreed, nodding. He had never given up on the idea of their Mom being safe and alive.

“Okay! That's fantastic,” Gabriel started, putting his hands together in a clap, “Hela, you and Sleipnir are tasked with finding and releasing Michael. Jormungandr and Fenrir, once he’s back, you're both to restore his mind and, if necessary, his grace. Castiel, your chore is to keep this place in harmony until I'm back. Aaand, Jackie, be a nice and good fledgling and help your uncle. Dean, you must work on your patience and resilience. I know that's a hard task but, if we want Michael's help as well, you must be willing to see past his misdoings.” Gabriel finished, exchanging glances and touching his children's grace lovingly. Jack smiled at his reassurance as did Castiel to his mate’s grimace.

“And what about--” Sam was about to question when he felt Gabriel's light touch on his arm.

“You're with me, Sammy.” And before Sam could argue, there was a silent snap that took them far away from the bunker. When Sam blinked his eyes open again he was graced with a beautiful landscape, somewhere he had never been, but that Gabriel clearly loved. The sun was hidden behind large clouds, white as snow and as fluffy as cotton candy. Glimpses of pink, yellow and blue danced around it castings shadows of himself and Gabriel on the snow. It was an interesting view, his human figure at the side of a winged one. It was quite mesmerizing.

“I've learned something new, Sam. Something I wasn't aware it was possible,” Gabriel spoke, a glimpse of his true voice showing.

Sam closed his eyes, tilting his head behind and breathing in, cold air filling his lungs. A heavy furred coat hung over his shoulders and he brought it closer to his body. It was extraordinary: somehow ancient and new at the same time. As a second thought he drew the coat over to his face and smelled it, it felt safe, like a cocoon of protection and warmth. Like Gabriel.

Sam opened his eyes and gazed at the archangel, how could he be so absolutely absurd? “You didn't just bring me to the very ends of the earth to tell me that. And to top it, all this unnecessary use of grace!”

“I didn't want to tell this to you at the bunker… which now seems like a stupid idea, but--” Gabriel conversed, walking and gesturing with his hand, his back to Sam.

“Gabriel,” Sam chastised, walking softly and turning Gabriel towards him, his eyes gentle as he gazed down at the archangel.

“Can't we move somewhere warmer? I'm kind of freezing my butt off here,” Sam asked, his lips pink, puffs of his breath dancing in the cold air, his cheeks rosy kissed by the frosty wind. Gabriel had to stop himself from meeting the man's lips halfway, they were so inviting.

The archangel snapped again, taking them to one of his favorite houses. It had never been home, not like the bunker was. Not like Sam was. His human looked around, taking in everything and then resting his eyes on him. Or his wings, Gabriel couldn’t be sure.

He sat down in one of his many armchairs and with an exasperated sigh, asked, “Are you sure you're fine with your brother having a soulmate, having Cas?”

Sam smiled softly, taking the furred coat off, already missing the embrace it gave him, especially since it smelled so much like the archangel he was secretly in love with. “Look, Gabe, I have been shipping them before I even knew what shipping was.”

Gabriel laughed, shaking his head in amusement,  “Oh, the joys of fanfiction.”

“I kid you not, there are some incredible things out there. It's like they can actually understand us better than we do, you know?” Sam vowed, putting the coat over the couch and sitting there.

Gabriel hummed, listening to Sam's low voice, “But answering your question. Yes, I am. They deserve it.”

“And you don't?” The archangel blurted it out before he could stop himself. “Please, Sam, after everything we have been through, after everything we did, don’t tell me you think you don’t deserve love.” Gabriel murmured, eyes cast down, his heart on his sleeve, “I couldn’t take it.”

Sam sighed, mirroring Gabriel’s position on the couch, eyes waiting to meet the archangel’s warm ones, “Of course I deserve to be loved. But I can’t bring another person to my life. The last time I connected to someone when I thought I could take things further, she was ripped out of my life like a band-aid.”

Gabriel lifted his face, multiple eyes roamed the room finding Sam standing in front of the large window, the hunter had moved while he was too engrossed in his own mind, the snow was  falling lazily outside, the archangel breathed his name in anguish, “Sam--”

“Let’s face it, my track record is-- terrible. They’re either dead, demons, possessed, wolves or some other mythical creature.”

Gabriel appeared at his side, resting his head on Sam’s upper arm, his thoughts running a mile a minute in his mind. How to explain to Sam that he would never feel alone as long as Dean was with him? How to make the hunter, his human, understand such a concept? Or rather how to tell Sam, that even though he misses Jessica, he wasn’t soulmateless --- was that even a word? Or how to tell him that he had: “bewitched him body and soul, and that he love, love, love him and that he  never wished to be parted from him from this day on.”

Quote. Unquote.

“Penny for your thoughts?” Sam nudged him, his tone light.

“I can’t seem to find the words. I feel like I might over simplificate this for you--” Gabriel vowed, already on the other side of the room.

“It’s fine, Gabriel. Stop fidgeting, you’re making me nervous.”

“Uhm. Okay. So you know that you and Dean share a heaven, right? Because you are soulmates and before you look shocked or something, soulmates come in all shapes and sizes.” Gabriel was pacing and Sam nodded patiently.

“I understand that. Well, at least our codependency makes a lot more sense now.” Sam sighed, and almost timidly asked, “What about Jess? I--I know it sounds silly, but I always thought she was my soulmate.”

Gabriel hummed, looming in front of Sam and taking his hands on his, “She was.”

Sam watched their joined hands, his heart pounding frantically in his chest, his breath coming shallow and fast. Since Gabriel's return the hole left in his heart had been getting smaller and smaller, the mere idea of another person being his soulmate that wasn't Gabriel, terrified Sam. He had fallen in love hard and fast with the petite archangel, albeit he still missed Gabriel’s old vessel and his mesmerizing whiskey soulful eyes.

“And imagine my surprise...” Gabriel began but stopped mid-sentence as he felt Sam’s emotions bombarding him, and the sudden terror coming from the youngest man.

“Hey, hey. Sam, relax. It's me. Just me.” Gabriel brought him back with a strand of his grace, grounding him to the present.

“Gabe?” Sam breathed out his name in a soft whisper, watching Gabriel’s concern shone in his eyes.

“There you go. Do you want to sit? What in the world scared you, dear heart?” Sam couldn’t comprehend what he was hearing, the beating of his heart too loud in his ears. Gabriel touched light fingers on his cheek and delicately put a strand of his hair behind his ear. Sam stood in front of him, Gabriel’s hands holding him in place, the hunter’s breath coming in shallows.

“I- I don’t want another soulmate,” Sam mumbled, sadness coming in waves out of him. Gabriel ran his hands down Sam’s upper arms until he reached his hands and took a step back, giving him space.

Gabriel’s heart ached, Sam’s words affecting him instantly. The human couldn’t look at him, nervously reaching for his own hand and pressuring his scar, grounding himself now that Gabriel’s touch wasn’t there. If Sam hadn't been daydreaming about the object of his affection he would have noticed how his words affected the archangel. As a star that had spent years shining and bringing joy to the world gave way, so did Gabriel, the smile that had been about to show in his lips replaced by rejection. The stung of it perpetrating his heart and grace, his light dimming, the words repeating over, and over and over, until--

“Because I'm afraid. I'm afraid it won't be you.” Sam confessed, lifting his face towards the archangel, “I need you and your quirky ways. I need that stupid smirk you wear whenever you’re about to cause mischief at me or some other poor soul. I need to be able to stare at your wings without having to police myself for acting like a creep. God, damn it, Gabriel,” Sam stepped closer to him, took the archangel’s face between his hands and murmured, “I love you, you idiot.”

Gabriel's grace had been in turmoil for half a millisecond when Sam's words reached each and every part of his being, the feeling so powerful he thought he might explode from sheer happiness. If he didn't hold his true form carefully he might accidentally hurt his human. His Sam.

Sam's eyelids were closed without his accord and a blast of light and wind shook his clothes and messed his hair, before subsiding and in place Gabriel stood. Glorious . All six golden wings filled with more power than he could grasp in millennia. Golden eyes flashing with warmth and love. The ethereal energy could be felt in the air, electric and static.

“Oh, Samshine,” Gabriel disclosed cheerfully, hands falling from Sam’s eyes to frame his face lovingly, Sam blinked rapidly to see him, dots dancing in his vision, “Imagine my surprise once we took that mixed grace from you and I could see something that I didn’t know was possible. A mark that connects you to my children and to me more than any ritual could. This imprint in your soul that could only mean one thing--”

“That I’m yours?” Sam breathed out. 

“For as long as you’ll have me,” Gabriel vowed, touching his forehead to Sam’s, “I hope you don’t mind--”

“Having your old you back? I don’t mind at all.” Sam hinted, his fingers brushing the back of Gabriel’s neck, curling on the tuft of hair there.

I was wondering how long it would take until I saw those gorgeous eyes again. Sam thought, his lips curling in a drowsy smile. Gabriel relaxed under his care, closing his eyes at the light touch. Sam choose that moment to kiss his cheeks, then his forehead, his nose, and finally claim his lips.

Sam's lips were impressively soft and the hunter tasted faintly of burgers, fresh fries, and orange juice, his hands were both exploring, one caressed Gabriel's lower back, bringing the archangel closer to his body, while the other was messing Gabriel's hair in the best way possible. The archangel moaned, tangling his hands on the hunter's hair and tugging at it, Sam coming out to breath and moving his face to trail open mouth kisses at Gabriel's collar. The archangel jumped into Sam's arms, the hunter's hands going straight to Gabriel's ass, pulling him up and claiming the angel's lips once again, Sam walked them to a wall, slamming Gabriel's back into it. Their breaths mingled and Sam rested his forehead to Gabriel's, his heart beating fast. Gabriel kissed his nose, legs still hooked behind Sam’s lower back.

A flash of light unexpectedly appeared out of thin air, Gabriel rapidly disengaged from Sam, jumping in front of his hunter and pushing the younger man behind him, his wings in full protective mode. At the same time, two people burst out of what could only be described as a rip in the universe frame.

Chapter Text

Lucifer stood quietly, hugging the coat his brother had allowed him to wear minutes prior closer to his body. It smelled like the Fourth Born and also like the human Gabriel clearly adored and was in the process of bonding with. What a mess. There were rituals and gift exchanges when a brother was to take an intended, but clearly, no ritual had been made, no gift had been exchanged. How could it be, when Heaven was in shambles, Michael still stuck in the cage, Raphael dead and Gabriel -- to all purposes and ends -- Gabriel had been dead too.

And now his mind had taken him elsewhere. He should’ve focused on the present, or rather on the latest minutes after his arrival at his and Mary’s world. What a ridiculous thought. An archangel, one of the most powerful creatures in the universe, afraid of dealing with his youngest and most treasured sibling. Lucifer laughed to himself, the sound echoing off of each and every wall of the enormous house. It was hysterical and melancholic, and a touch anguished.

Lucifer could still see Castiel falling, his hands stained with the seraph’s grace. It was like he wasn’t there at all. He had heard a human once talk about out of body experiences, and at that moment Lucifer finally understood it. He felt disconnected of his own mind, grace, and vessel. He had - dare he say - once again killed his brother. And to think Castiel had been one of his favorites. The darling seraph didn’t even recall their past, and if he did, he had buried it deep inside his grace so he could never touch it again.

Lucifer sighed tiredly. It was hard to believe his eyes and his mind, even if the memories running through it were true. Gabriel alive, Mary safe in her son’s arms, being welcomed by them. He brought the coat even closer to his body and closed his eyes, allowing the memory to replay it once again.

“See?!” Lucifer exclaimed, pointing at Sam’s and Gabriel's direction,  “I told you, I told you, I told you, Mary.” His voice broke as he dug his fingers into his hair in distress. “I’m not strong enough. Look at this mess, I somehow got us in a universe where my dear brother is still alive and happy with his mate! What a poor excuse of an archangel I am. Always was.” Lucifer sat down, hugging his knees and drawing his wings around himself which reminded him of a small child shielding himself from harm.

“Luci?” Gabriel called surprise and gentleness in his tone.

“Please, don’t. I don’t need you to fake sympathy, Gabriel. I don’t deserve it. Just--” He sighed deeply, “just leave me here to die. Before that, take Mary to where she belongs, I’m too weak to do so.”

Mary was about to voice her objections when Sam cut her off. Clearly, he knew which buttons he had to press to have a reaction from the elder archangel.

“And here I thought you were the strongest archangel. I seriously overestimated you, Samael. The morning star himself, giving up?” Sam teased as he walked towards him. Gabriel watched the hunter uneasily.

“Damn it, Sam, are you even sure of what you’re doing? Pissing off a bothered archangel?” Gabriel spoke teasingly in his mind.

Lucifer stood and in a very Cas like way tilted his head at Sam, frowning, he turned his eyes at Gabriel and repeated: “I said: Take Mary and leave me. I don’t care anymore, Samuel. I can’t find my own son, I got me and your Mom--” He stopped mid-sentence as if something finally made perfect sense to him. He turned in his heels and stared at Mary, her eyes shone with unshed tears, worry clear in the woman’s face.

“But-- you’re not surprised she is here. Or that I’m with her,” Lucifer reasoned, trying to piece what had changed since he had been gone.

“Finally, he sees reason,” Gabriel muttered, rolling his eyes.

“Gabriel? Sam?” Lucifer called in Enochian, his words a whisper in the hunter’s an archangel’s minds. They nodded, both patient, both kind of relieved they wouldn't need to open a rift to another universe to find their missing family.

“I don’t understand--” He mumbled, and Mary, who clearly was not afraid of him anymore, kneeled and touched his shoulder, grounding him.

“I think, somehow, you managed to bring us back.” Mary smiled kindly at him and moved to be engulfed by her son’s arms.

“Hi, Mom.” Sam greeted warmly, kissing his mom’s forehead.

Lucifer clearly didn’t know what to do with himself now that Mary was safely in her son’s arms and his brother was staring a hole at him.

“Brother?” Lucifer called, trying hard to believe in his eyes. As fragile as he was, he still could see Gabriel in all his glory, as if he had just been made by Father that day. But Gabriel wasn’t a young, curious fledgling anymore. He was a fully-grown archangel and his job was to judge, and Lucifer wanted to be judged. He needed to pay for his sins, for all the things he had done--

“Stop that train of thought right now, big brother. Hela and Sleipnir were tasked with releasing Michael--”

“What about Castiel? I didn’t mean to kill him, I just wanted my son. I--”

“We know, Samael. You have been playing a part for far too long, haven’t you?” Gabriel asked him softly, touching his brother’s cheek. Lucifer’s true form was messier than the time he had been in the cage. He would need food, a warm bed, new clothes and time. Cuddles too, but that had to be inserted very carefully in the archangel’s life and the Winchesters’ too.

“We should go,” Sam said, his voice echoing in the silence that had been taken place at Gabriel’s house.

“I’ll take Mary and Sam first,” Gabriel vowed.

“I’ll be here, brother. I can’t fly in these conditions.” Lucifer saw Gabriel shudder visibly. Was it possible that after everything his youngest brother could still nourish some care for him? He shouldn’t hope, but he had learned that human emotions were precious and hope was a strong one. Hope moved mountains, or so he had heard.

He moved to sit closer to the fire, picking up the discarded coat over the couch and wrapping himself in it. Sam heaved a sigh at Gabriel’s side. It was painful to see such a powerful being so dainty, albeit all his mistakes. The hunter was convinced Lucifer needed a second chance too. It was only fair when he and Dean had gotten so many chances in their short life.

Gabriel touched Mary’s shoulder bringing her in a side hug and intertwined his fingers with Sam’s. He opened his six large wings and with a flash, he was once again at the bunker.


 

Gabriel, Sam, and Mary landed at the kitchen, Sam turning and resting his hands on his mother’s shoulders, hazel eyes meeting green as Sam inquired gently, putting a strand of hair behind his mother’s ear, “Mom, did he hurt you?

“No. If not for him, Michael, the other universe Michael, would have killed me. He’s lost, tired of being who he is, he wants to go home but knows he won’t be welcomed,” Mary told them, listening to footsteps coming in their direction.

“Mom!” Dean exclaimed, followed by a chorus of, “Mary!” coming from a very much alive Castiel and a younger boy with beautiful blue eyes, exactly as his father’s or Castiel’s.

“Hello, boys.” She turned, opening her arms, being sandwiched in between Dean, Castiel and whom she assumed was Jack.

“You’re here! I heard so much about you!” Jack kissed her cheek, hugging her properly.

“Where are my boys?” Gabriel questioned, not feeling either Jormungandr or Fenrir anywhere in the bunker.

Castiel’s eagle head hid, while his coyote looked ashamed and his Maine Coon face was the precise pouting of the Cats in Boots from Shrek, “They thought they could get--”

“Raphael,” Dean finished for his soulmate. Gabriel sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose and closing his eyes. He inhaled and said through their bond to Sam, “I should get to Samael now, sweetheart.”

As Gabriel snapped himself in a flash of light and in a flap of wings, another brighter and stronger light appeared. Sam, Dean, and Mary put their arms up in reflex, hiding their eyes from the powerful light.

“I’ve heard. Yes, you’re right. Of course, he is staying. I’m quite aware I screwed up. My messenger moved and I had to improvise, oh , grandson of mine.” Chuck materialized, at his left side Jormungandr, on the right Fenrir, and behind them, Raphael in what appeared to be a new vessel.

Jack smiled. Raphael was different from Gabriel and Cas. He reminded the boy of nougat, old trees, and sandy beaches. Chuck vanished as fast as he had appeared, gently touching Jack’s mind with a: “welcome to the family, dear child.”

Raphael’s eyes found Castiel’s and the archangel wished for old times, where he hadn’t hurt any of his brothers, “Castiel--” the elder archangel felt like his throat was being crushed by an invisible hand and it made him hard to breath, even more, to speak. As second nature has it, he timidly asked through angel radio, “Could you ever forgive me?”

“It is you who has to forgive yourself, brother,” Castiel said, looming in front of Raphael and bringing the archangel into a hug. “Let’s find you a room, brother. You might be as strong as you were once in heaven, but the humans find it incredibly unpleasant to have us wandering around doing nothing.”

“You are bonded,” Raphael mentioned in awe, “We haven’t even done the rituals properly. I cannot express the depths of my sorrow.”

Castiel nodded, pulling the archangel with him. There would be a time and a place for sorrow, but now Raphael needed comfort and care. And thanks to Dean and Sam (mostly Sam) Cas had become pretty good in taking care of people - in a non-cryptic way - or so Sam had told him. His soulmate - damned Dean be - enjoyed profoundly to tease him mercilessly every time he sounded too alike them.

“Where are we going, Cassie?” Raphael asked, his tunic flowing as they walked through the long corridor.

“To your room. Everyone has a room here, so I’m giving you one.” The seraph said nonchalantly. He knew sooner or later Gabriel, Lucifer and Michael - providing Hela and Sleipnir were successful - would be here and maybe the Third Born could use some time to set his mind straight so to speak.

The room was exactly like any other in the bunker, grey, with a king size bed, some clean sheets and lamp light, albeit of that Raphael felt secure as he hadn’t felt in a long time.

“You can decorate as you please, Rafa. I’ll be in the living room or the in the kitchen keeping an eye on --” Castiel assured him as he started to leave the room.

“Your flock?” Raphael asked and Castiel nodded, all in all, the Winchester’s and Jack were his flock. Which, he pleasantly reminded himself was growing bigger by the minute.


 

  • Lucifer blinked, it was so confusing, yet, here he was, watching as the snow descend slowly outside, the flames dancing up and down in the fireplace as the wind entered the house through tiny spaces. He sighed deeply as he allowed his mind to drift to past events, or rather how he and Mary had somehow created an alliance and a camaraderie until they were back home.

Lucifer fell down hard, his body rolling on the arid and rocky floor, once he stopped, he searched around with his grace for mother Winchester but she was nowhere in sight. Well, that was just lovely. He got up, watching his surroundings, was this the universe where he and his brother fought? Did he win?

He couldn’t feel another self here, or rather other doppelgangers from his siblings, at least not from Raphael or Gabriel. He thought he might have felt what could be Michael’s and Castiel’s grace’s but he could be wrong. He dusted his jacket and started walking towards where he could sense an akin to Sam’s soul. He walked for what felt like days upon hours, the gray and harsh air brushing his face, his eyes would be aching was he a human, there were sounds he wished he didn’t know, yells that crept inside his very grace and for a moment he felt real fear. What if he couldn’t find Mary? What if whatever was out there killing human and demons and any supernatural thing had got her? What if he was, once again, alone?

His eyes finally landed in what felt like a camp, and he knew, for he could feel her inside, that Mary was in danger, and he was damned with no chances of being redeemed - but for his son and for the human who once tried to understand him -  he would save Mary. He summoned all the grace he had and loomed inside the compound. Mary was awake, locked in a suspended cell, her hair the only bright color in the obscure space.

“Mother Winchester?” Lucifer called, as low as he could. Mary blinked confused at him, her mind foggy after being tortured for answers.

“Come on, please work with me, I’m taking us out of here.” Mary gazed at him, narrowing her eyes, but seeing that she had no choice but to go with the devil she knew or stay with the devil she didn’t, she chose to allow Lucifer to help her out of the cage.  He carried her out of the compound bridal style with his grace, a flap of wings hardly heard from behind his back. They landed somewhere in the forest, snow coming up to Lucifer’s knee. “It’s okay,” he murmured to her in Enochian, as he walked deeper inside the forest.

“There’s nowhere to go, Lucifer.” Mary supplied, her hands hooked behind the archangel’s neck. Lucifer cast his deep blue eyes down, ascertaining all her wounds. With a sharp intake of breath he blew gently over Mary’s face, the cold breath touching each and every wound she had in her body, healing it completely.

“Did you just heal me?” Mary asked, dumbfounded, as he sat down with her still in his arms, trying to keep her warm.

“I can’t do more than this. My grace is, well, not as strong as it once was.”

“You could have just killed me,” Mary murmured, finally moving from his arms and pushing her jacket closer to her body.

“That wouldn't help anyone. At least not me, even less you,” Lucifer told her, closing his eyes and resting his back and head against the tree trunk.

“I don’t understand--” Mary whispered softly, sitting in front of him, pulling her even jacket closer to her body.

“Well, a lot of people don’t understand me. I guess for a long time I didn’t understand myself either. I’m old, Mary. I’m tired. I miss home. I want to be loved and give love in return, I want to hug my siblings and not have them then recoil at my touch. I want to know my son.”

Mary nodded, starting in a conversational tone, “Maybe you could tell me more about yourself. Who you really are. If you have favorite siblings? You seemed decided to do anything, kill anything for your child-- I understand that -- but when you pulled me into this other world, I thought I heard a cry.”

“Because you did. It doesn’t matter, Castiel is gone once again by my hands. To think I held him right after Father made him. Gabriel was so excited too, bouncing around and flapping his wings, looming over my shoulder to take a glimpse at the last fledgling Father ever made.” Lucifer eyes were distant, lost in memory, he barely breathed.

“And of course we all wanted someone to choose us as the favorite. I was aware Gabe had favorited me since he tried to impress me all the time. But Cassie? What a troublemaker that fledgling was. He wanted to start flying before walking and poor was the angel assigned to keep tabs on him! When he almost fell on earth because he was cloud jumping, I asked Gabriel to keep an eye on the little black bird.”

Mary was about to question him, but Lucifer continued, “He doesn’t remember anything from his fledgling years, if he does, I’m most certainly not included. Father made sure of erasing endearing memories of me to my most beloved siblings. He wanted Gabe, Mike, and Rafa only to remember my misdoings or what he thought were my mistakes and flaws. Azrael was too, moved away from my sight, my grace and my care.”

“Azrael?” Mary prompted.

“You might know her as the Angel of Death. We have reapers and Death himself, but Azrael is what they also call the Angel of Mercy. She comforts children, teenagers and elders as they die, she may take many forms, sometimes appearing as a child herself with colorful wings or a teenager as well, to fit the person she is preparing to leave this world. Azrael, Castiel, and Gabriel were peculiar as fledglings, imaginative, curious, too much heart and too little conviction in accepting Father’s words and rules. Their graces were similar to mine and I loved them dearly--”

“Until you fell or rather until God decided you weren’t the soldier he wanted you to be and cast you out. Is that right?” Mary concluded, as Lucifer shyly dried a tear with the back of his fingers.

“How do we leave this place?” Mary inquired, standing, Lucifer shook his head, “I know, that if you tell them everything, they would give you a chance, Lucifer. You have to try.” Mary told him, touching his upper arm slowly.

Lucifer watched the woman, with his grace so low, the smartest idea would be to feed from a human’s soul, but so far the only one close to him was Mary and he didn’t want to hurt her. Mary could see the calculating look on his face and with a resigned sigh, she asked, “What do you need?”

Lucifer proceeds to explain he would need to touch her soul for a second to draw power and then he would try to open the portal once again using his grace. Apparently nonsense ran in the family, as soon as he mentioned it, Mary allowed him to draw power from within her soul, a small cry escaping her lips.

Opening the rift that been harder than he predicted, and Michael almost flew after them, a second later and his family wouldn't be the only thing Lucifer would have to face.

A flap of wings brought him back, Gabriel stood at his side, radiating warmth and care. Grace touching him with free abandon. Lucifer turned towards his younger brother, his damaged wings hugging him instinctively, "I've missed you, my little firecracker."

"And I, you, my morning star. You'll shine brighter than ever soon enough, Samael. Let's go home."