He wasn't difficult to find. It's hard to hide from an archangel, and this particular person wasn't even trying to hide. When Gabriel found him, he was kneeling on a neat suburban lawn somewhere in Virginia, his face characteristically bruised and his suit characteristically rumpled. He was gnawing determinedly at a large tree. He was almost halfway through the trunk, and there was a pile of wood shavings built up around him.
Gabriel took a quick look at the height of the tree and the angle of the gnawed-out wedge, calculating the path of its eventual fall. That path contained a house.
"I'm a beaver," the man was saying between bites of wood, "And if you have cut-rate insurance, when this tree falls through your roof you could be… Oh, hey! Loki!"
Gabriel smiled warmly. "Mayhem," he greeted the man, "You haven't changed."
"Neither have you," said Mayhem, straightening, "What have you been up to?"
"Funny you should ask," said Gabriel, "I'm seeing someone. I'd like you to meet him."
Mayhem scoffed loudly. "Bringing your ex to meet your current? That's bold, Loki."
"Oh, come on, Mayhem," said Gabriel expansively, "It's not like that, is it? We're still friends. Besides, you'll like him. He's pretty great, for a human."
"You're dating humans now?"
"I've dated humans before."
Mayhem squinted and turned his head as if he were trying to figure something out as he said, "No, you've fucked humans. You've never introduced them to your friends." Then he grinned. "Wow," he said, "Could it be that the God of Mischief is in love?"
"Shut up, you asshole," said Gabriel pleasantly, "It just happened, okay? I met him a few years ago, and then my little brother started dating his big brother, and one thing led to another. Now we're kind of a big, fucked-up family that lives in a '67 Impala."
Suddenly there was a glint in Mayhem's eye that hadn't been there before. "A vintage car?" he said, trying and failing to sound uninterested, "Your boyfriend's?"
"His brother's, actually."
"I'll bet he loves that car." Mayhem looked about two seconds from rubbing his hands together with glee.
"You could say that," said Gabriel, "If you wanted to win an award for understatement of the century." He was fully aware of what was on Mayhem's mind, and he wasn't too noble to use it to his advantage.
"I'm in," said Mayhem, "Where to?"
"I left them in Ohio. Follow me."
"So, what is he again?" Sam asked, rubbing his head distractedly. He had dragged Gabriel aside to question him after Gabe and Mayhem had appeared in the back seat unannounced. The surprise had nearly made Dean crash. Castiel had taken one look at Mayhem and flown away in a huff, muttering something about not coming back until Mayhem had either gone or apologized (for what he didn't say). Now Mayhem was eyeing the Impala greedily while Dean stood guard over his baby.
"He started out as an advertising campaign," Gabriel explained, "Then somewhere along the way someone drew a black magic symbol somewhere in his paperwork."
"So he's a tulpa?" said Sam.
Gabriel shook his head with a shrug. "Kind of," he said, "But the tulpa you guys faced only had the force of a few conspiracy nuts behind it. Mayhem is known all over the country. He's slipped the bonds of mere tulpa-hood. He really has more in common with a Trickster God now."
"Right," Sam sighed, "And what did he do to Cas to piss him off so bad?"
"Oh," said Gabriel with a fond smile, "It was no big deal. He liked playing pranks on my brothers back when we were dating."
Sam's eyebrows jumped. "And he was your boyfriend. This keeps getting better."
"Come on!" Gabriel said, giving Sam his best pleading smile, "You'll like him. He's a barrel of laughs. Just let him stay for a little while."
Sam shook his head as if he were already regretting what he was about to say. "If you say so."
They had been back on the road, driving in uncomfortable silence, for over an hour. Mayhem, in spite of his reputation, had been sitting quietly beside Gabriel in the back seat the whole time.
"He's kinda weird," said Sam, leaning over to whisper to Dean, "But I guess he's not too bad."
Dean gripped the steering wheel angrily. "All I know is that he made Cas take off, and now he's not answering my prayers," Dean growled, "If I don't get laid tonight, it's that guy's fault. And besides, I don't like the way he looks at Baby."
"You're just being paranoid, Dean," said Sam.
Just then, as if to prove Sam wrong, Mayhem began speaking nonchalantly to no one in particular. "I'm a disgruntled ex-girlfriend," he said, "Since you broke my heart, I've been sitting at home alone listening to Carrie Underwood songs."
Dean's eyes slowly turned in Sam's direction as he mouthed, "What the fuck?"
Sam shrugged and looked to Gabriel for guidance. Gabriel just watched Mayhem, interested to see what he would do.
"I'm looking for a little payback," said Mayhem as he pulled out a pocket knife and moved the blade toward the Impala's leather upholstery.
Dean slammed on the brakes. "What do you think you're doing?" he shouted.
"And if you have cut-rate insurance…" said Mayhem, touching the knife to the seat back.
Dean pulled out his gun and pointed it just above Mayhem's head.
Mayhem stared back at Dean innocently. "I'm a disgruntled ex-girlfriend," he repeated.
"If you don't put that knife away you'll be a disgruntled ex-head-haver," said Dean.
Mayhem did as he was told. Gabriel started giggling quietly and didn't stop.
When they stopped for gas, Sam and Gabriel stood by the car while Dean went inside to stock up on snacks. Mayhem had thrown a shopping cart through the window of the gas station attendant's office while screaming, "I'm a meth-crazed hooligan!" and was now being chased around the parking lot by the employees.
"How long is he staying?" said Sam, trying to be diplomatic.
"What, you don't like him?"
"He's pissing Dean off," said Sam, "He's pissing everyone off. He's kind of horrible."
Gabriel leaned against the car. "I know he's a handful," he said, "But he's an old friend. I don't have very many of those. I just wanted you to meet someone from my life, you know?"
Sam turned his head so Gabe couldn't see him grimace as he realized that this was Gabe's idea of introducing Sam to his family. He couldn't very well be mean about it now. "Yeah, I get it," he said, "He can hang around for a bit longer."
"You really are the best," said Gabe, beaming up at Sam.
Sam started to lean down for a kiss when Mayhem suddenly swerved toward the pair and smacked Sam in the face with his open hand.
"I'm a nearsighted moth," said Mayhem as he scampered off.
They had been back on the road for a while when Mayhem suddenly disappeared. Gabriel had always been a little envious of the way he moved so silently, without even a rustle of wings to give him away. It was several minutes before Sam happened to look back and notice that Mayhem was gone.
"Did… did he leave?" Sam asked, hardly daring to believe his luck.
Gabriel shrugged. "I don't think so. He's probably making trouble somewhere nearby. Gotta love that guy."
Dean muttered, "If he'd just stay gone, that'd be great," as they approached a semi truck coming the opposite direction on the highway.
Just as the Impala and the truck were about to pass each other, a car darted out from behind them and tried to pass through the impossibly small and quickly narrowing gap. Dean slammed the brakes and cranked the wheel, yelling, "SON OF A BITCH!" The semi kept going, blasting its horn. The other car narrowly missed colliding with the Impala's bumper as it swerved in front of them and spun into the ditch.
"Holy shit!" Sam shouted as the Impala came safely to a stop.
"I know!" Dean shouted in reply.
Gabriel sat quietly and smiled as the Winchesters leaped out of the Impala and ran to the crashed car. He already knew what they would find. A second later, he teleported out to join them by the wreckage. Behind the wheel, looking only somewhat worse for wear, was Mayhem.
"I'm a little old lady," he said, staring up at Dean, "I haven't updated my eyeglasses prescription since nineteen-ninety-three." Gabriel doubled over laughing.
"Okay," said Dean with a dangerous smile, "That's it." And he dragged Mayhem out of the car by his tie.
No matter how many times Dean punched Mayhem, he never seemed to get much more tousled than he already was. He certainly didn't seem to mind the beating. He just kept rambling about how he was on his way to his granddaughter's house as Dean wore out his fist on his face.
"Gabe," said Sam as Dean continued to try to make a mark on Mayhem, "This is really not okay."
"What?" said Gabriel gleefully, "This is gold!"
Sam pinched the bridge of his nose as he said, "Remember how we talked about the difference between Trickster humor and normal-people humor?"
Gabriel's shoulders slumped in defeat. "Oh, fine," he sighed, "I'll tell him to dial it back."
"Thank you," said Sam.
They rented three rooms at a motel just off the interstate. Dean and Sam had gotten used to separate rooms after they both got tired of the precautions and maneuvering required to have sex with their respective angels without one walking in on the other. The third room was for Mayhem, since no one seemed to want to share a room with him.
Dean retired to his room to try to coax Castiel into coming back for the night. Sam and Gabriel took to their own room, finally able to enjoy a little privacy.
It was at times like these, lying naked in bed, having his dick sucked by a man with the body of a Greek god, that Gabriel allowed himself to acknowledge how very lucky he was. As Sam's head bobbed between Gabriel's legs, locks of hair fell one by one from where Sam had tucked them behind his ears. The muscles of his back rippled. His hips rolled against the mattress, grinding his own erection into the duvet as he moaned around Gabriel's cock. Oh yeah, Gabriel thought, this was the perfect view for getting a blowjob.
A heavy thumping noise made Sam jerk upright just before Gabriel was about to come. "What?" Gabriel whined.
"Did you hear that?" said Sam, wiping his mouth and panting.
There was a second thump, and this time both Sam and Gabriel turned to look at the window. There was a face pressed up against the glass from the outside, its lips and nose smushed awkwardly.
"I'm an owl," said Mayhem.
The expression on Sam's face kept Gabriel from daring to laugh.
"Gabe…" said Sam.
"Oh, but…" Gabriel began.
Sam shook his head. "No, Gabe," he said, "He has to go."
"They don't like me, do they?" said Mayhem to Gabriel the next morning. They stood in the parking lot, waiting for the Winchesters to get ready, as Gabriel explained as tactfully as he could that Mayhem would have to leave immediately.
"Well, no," said Gabriel, "But then, no one really likes you. It's kind of your thing."
Mayhem threw his arms wide. "Guilty as charged," he said with a smile, "Okay. I'll take off. Nice boyfriend you've got there, Loki, even if he doesn't have much of a sense of humor."
"Thanks, buddy," said Gabriel.
Without warning, Mayhem grabbed Gabriel's collar roughly and pulled him in for a kiss. A second later, he was gone.
"You know," said Sam from where he had come up behind Gabriel, "I think he's kinda hung up on you."
Gabriel turned, ready to defend himself. "Sam, that wasn't… I mean…"
Sam held his hands up, silencing Gabriel's excuses. "You can kiss him all you want as long as he stays away," he said.
"No," said Sam quickly, "I lied. Don't ever kiss him again."
Gabriel threw an arm around Sam's waist, laughing as they wandered back toward the Impala.
When they arrived, they found Castiel sitting on the hood wearing the biggest "I told you so" expression that had ever graced his face. Dean appeared to be having some sort of conniption fit.
On the driver's side door of the Impala, a long, deep gouge in the paint spelled out, "I'M MAYHEM."