Gabriel really got the short end of the stick in this whole polyamorous adventure they had going on. It wasn't only that he'd had to swear on his daddy's scruffy beard that he would do no more killing of humans, no matter how much the little asswipes he came across might deserve it. He'd also somehow agreed to more or less be the sugar daddy for the other three, although that might have had less to do with the others abusing his powers and more to do with how much he complained about everything not being up to his usual standards. Car journeys were slow and boring as fuck, motel rooms were always nasty, no matter how clean they looked on the surface, and while he totally approved of conning morons out of their petty cash, those handfuls of grubby bills won from hustling would just never cut it to pay for the level of living Gabriel preferred. Being a mighty and powerful entity just got you used to some basic creature comforts, okay?
Not to mention the fact that the four of them in one bed was only happening by magic, since the Winchesters were still adamant about not setting up a home base anywhere, and Castiel always took their side, the traitor.
So Gabriel went along with being their Mister Wizard, snapping up better accommodations, bigger beds and decent booze. He was still never allowed to do anything about the car journeys, though. For some strange reason he seemed to be the only one taking issue with being stuck in a cramped tin can for hours on end. He suspected there might be some brotherly bonding happening with Sam and Dean, but that didn't explain why even Castiel seemed to love it. Especially since Dean was still firmly demanding that there would be no making out in the back seat, filthy hypocrite that he was. Gabriel could smell all the sex Dean had had on this back seat without even using any angel senses, so why Gabriel couldn't pass a boring few hours by necking Castiel's face off was a mystery to him.
It wasn't like he wouldn't let Dean join in on the fun. Hell, he'd gladly put on a show in the rear view mirror if he could just be allowed to try and relieve the boredom every once in a while. But nobody ever seemed to listen to him.
Short end of the stick here. Definitely. It was a mystery why he even bothered sticking around.
Although, to be fair, it was kinda sorta totally Gabriel's fault they'd even ended up in this tangled mess of a relationship anyway. Depending on who you asked, it was either because of insanity, guilt or copious amounts of booze. But those reasons all still pointed back to Gabriel, of course.
As far as Gabriel could tell, Sam was on the insanity wagon. He was still half convinced that he must have gotten some wires crossed somewhere to not only fall into bed with the trickster/archangel who'd tormented him more than enough to back up a theory of Stockholm Syndrome or something, but also his own brother and his brother's broken angel boyfriend.
Castiel would probably never actually volunteer why he'd gone along with it all, but Gabriel was pretty sure it was guilt. After all, he'd killed more than a few of his own brothers and sisters, trying to stop the apocalypse, and sometimes he'd look at Gabriel with so much sadness in his eyes. It was pretty much unbearable to be the focus of, and Gabriel prescribed an infinite number of orgasms as the cure-all for Castiel's self-flagellation.
Dean blamed the booze. Which Gabriel had to concede was a good point. He might have gone just a teensy weensy bit overboard with the we-saved-the-goddamn-world party. But come on, they saved the world! How often do you even get to say that?!
So there had been booze. In staggering amounts. Enough that even Gabriel had managed to get somewhat tingly, and Castiel had been utterly and completely hammered. And because he was an awesome guy, Gabriel had made sure Sam and Dean had stopped absorbing alcohol once they'd reached that stage where everything is funny and walking is a little weird. So basically, thanks to Gabriel, it had been an awesome party. Nobody had puked, everyone had done unspeakable acts to each other, and just to round things off, he'd also made sure they all remembered every single second of it the next day.
But curing hangovers? Not his department. Watching Castiel sob quietly into his coffee when Gabriel had called his name loudly had been simply glorious.
So yeah, the others probably had a point blaming Gabriel.
What really nagged at Gabriel, though, was why they even bothered to keep including him at all. Dean and Castiel had already been something by the time Apocalypse-Not rolled around, and Gabriel had peeked into Sam and Dean's heads enough to know that it would only take the slightest push for them to become as erotically co-dependent as Zachariah's dirtiest fantasies. So they were basically a threesome waiting to happen.
Sure, Gabriel had been the instigator that first drunken time, but after that there was really no point in letting him join again. They'd all made it very clear that while his obliging snapping was appreciated, it was not needed, thank you. And more often than not they told him to fuck off and stop being a douche.
But apparently there'd been a pow-wow, which Gabriel had not been invited to, where it had been decided that no polyamorous shenanigans would be going on without him.
Not that he was complaining, fuck no. It just... didn't make a lot of sense, that's all. But then again, Gabriel wasn't known for making a lot of sense either, so he rolled with it. He still wondered, though...
Sadly, just reading everyone's minds wasn't an option for Gabriel anymore as a means of figuring out what exactly his role was in this cross-species incestuous circus. As an archangel he could in theory read Castiel's mind, but it would cost him a lot of juice, and he could usually only see things like intent or strong emotions. Unless of course Castiel deliberately opened a channel, but Gabriel was so not prepared to actually ask. Not just for a do-you-like-me-yes-or-no note. Not gonna happen.
He'd read Sam and Dean a few times, but while humans were fairly easy to read if you knew how, there was always the drawback of having to dig for what you needed if it wasn't the most immediate thought in their heads. The brothers were many things, but mentally well-adjusted was not one of those things. Wading through those bottomless pits of guilt and self-loathing was just too toxic for Gabriel to stand for too long at a time. So even with the chance of hitting the jackpot of prank material, Gabriel was done reading Winchester minds. He had plenty inner torment of his own, thank you.
He wasn't proud of the fact that he'd chosen to run away the moment things got hairy between Michael and Lucifer. Sure, Gabriel had eventually ended up on the right side, but giving his big brothers a little shove into the box couldn't really make up for the millennia he'd spent ignoring everything he didn't want to face. Saving the world was all well and good. But it didn't count for a lot in Gabriel's own opinion, considering that he'd helped build the damn thing and was actually meant to be looking after it, while he'd been busy eating candy and drinking mead.
If nothing else, at least his massive load of internal issues made him fit right in with the other three.
In the end, the only theory Gabriel could come up with was that he was pretty much only there for the sex. Gabriel knew they found him deeply annoying, but he assumed they were willing to occasionally look past that because he was great in bed. And that wasn't even posturing, that was just fact. A few thousand years of practice didn't count for nothing.
It was a couple of months – and a lot of amazing orgasms – down the road before he got his first clue as to why he was even there.
Castiel was licking his way across Gabriel's hip when Sam apparently decided to take advantage of the fact that Castiel was distracted, dove right in and started rimming him with no warning. Castiel was taken by complete surprise and let out a garbled sound, which would make no sense to the humans in the room. But for Gabriel it was a huge hint, his angelic senses easily picking up the additional registers of sound, not detectable by human ears.
Enochian wasn't really angel language, it was mostly for written communication and spell work. For social purposes angels had an entirely different laguage, which didn't fit entirely under the Earthly laws-of-nature umbrella. True-form communication was a few lightyears beyond human evolution yet.
In the simplest terms, Castiel had basically just begged Gabriel to let Sam fuck him and make little angel babies with him. In less simple terms, Castiel apparently considered them all a flock and had put Gabriel down as the metaphorical alpha in the rigidly structured pattern of angel mating flocks, which couldn't actually apply when half of the flock was human. But clearly Castiel wasn't giving two shits about that. He didn't wait for Gabriel's permission either, so either the roles weren't that neatly defined in Castiel's head, or the concepts didn't translate well enough.
Gabriel didn't really give two shits either, since he got to watch Sam fuck Castiel sideways, while Dean gave Gabriel a slow and filthy blowjob. Good times.
But Castiel's little Freudian slip gave Gabriel something to think about.
Out of curiosity – or sadism, depending on your point of view – Gabriel decided to do a little experiment. The next day Sam and Dean were squabbling in low voices over which route to take to their next hunt while Castiel was deciding if it was worth the sticky experience to eat the donut Dean had forced into his hands despite his polite refusals. Gabriel waited for the first cautious bite into the pastry before he made his move.
The small chirp he directed at Castiel was not audible to the non-angelic people present, but anyone watching would probably have assumed Gabriel had shouted through a megaphone for how sharply Castiel jerked in his chair. The donut crumbled to dust in his hands, and had he needed to breathe he no doubt would have been coughing his lungs out. Instead he turned his eyes to Gabriel and cranked up his piercing stare to its full megawatt potential.
After several minutes of staring, Castiel apparently realized that answers wouldn't just magically fall out of Gabriel if he stared at his smirk for long enough, so he finally offered a quiet: “Brother?”
“Oh, come on, Cassie, you didn't seriously think I would miss your little slip-up in the throes of passion, did you?”
From the way Castiel's face colored it was a fair assumption that he'd at the very least hoped that Gabriel would ignore it.
As expected, the tiny exchange was enough to make Dean and Sam catch on that something was going on behind them. They wisely kept their mouths shut, but questioning glances were thrown in all directions for several confusing seconds.
Eventually Castiel shifted and looked down at the now atomized donut. “It's of no consequence. Please, pay no mind to it.”
Gabriel crossed his arms over his chest and squinted at Castiel. “First of all, it is very much of consequence, and secondly, I will most definitely pay mind to this shit. I don't remember agreeing to this part of the pony ride before getting on.”
“I doubt any of us were in a state fit to agree to anything when we... got on,” Castiel grumbled, still staring at the crumbs in front of him.
Sam and Dean were just standing there, looking from one angel to the other, desperately out of the loop but still smart enough not to butt in. Yet. Gabriel gave it five more minutes, tops.
“Yeah well, nobody complained. In fact, as I recall, nobody said even a single word the morning after. Or the morning after that. Or any of the other mornings after that,” Gabriel pointed out. “So I think maybe it's time we got a few things out in the open.”
This made Castiel look at him again, this time a definite note of pleading in his eyes, but Gabriel wasn't fooled by the baby blues. Castiel had dug himself in this far with his mix-and-match ideas and Gabriel wasn't going to let him off the hook.
Up until then Castiel might have been fooling himself slightly as to how forgiving Gabriel would be over the role he'd been cast in, but then Castiel also might have been expecting Gabriel to bring up the subject in private once he caught on. But if that was the case, then little bro needed to learn his lesson sooner rather than later.
“What things?” Sam asked cautiously.
Castiel was still as a statue, so Gabriel helpfully answered. “It would seem Castiel has decided to play happy families with us. And you'll neeever guess who's the daddy,” he concluded smugly.
Dean huffed, but then he caught Castiel's eye and went very still. “Look, man, I'm nobody's bitch,” he complained.
“Not saying you are, Dean-o. Although, rawr,” Gabriel added with a quick waggle of eyebrows. “What I'm saying is that Cassie has cast the three of us in roles I'm not sure we're all that suited for.”
Castiel looked at him sharply. “No one could be more suited for leadership than you, Gabriel. You're an archangel.”
“And were we in heaven boinking other angels that might be true. But I think you might be looking for something that ain't there with half the players on the field.”
Gabriel was being deliberately mean, hoping to provoke some answers out of Castiel, but that was obviously too much to hope for.
“If you're unhappy with our arrangement, you need only–”
“Oh, can it, bro, that's not what I'm saying. Hell, I haven't had this much great sex since the days of the Vikings. Man, those guys knew how to party, is all I'm saying,” Gabriel leered. “But don't you think you should at least share with the class when you change the rules of the game?”
“Like you said, the rules might not apply fully here. So I improvised.”
Gabriel reached over and ruffled Castiel's hair. “Aaaw, baby bro, I'm so proud! Or I would be if you hadn't gone all wedding bells on me.”
“Wedding bells?!” Dean squeaked, and Sam looked pale next to him.
Castiel rolled his eyes. “Gabriel is being overly literal for the purpose of embarrassing me. You need not worry, no one is getting married.”
“Oh, really?” Gabriel smirked. “As far as I know, there's already one mark of ownership in this foursome.” He winked at Dean, who let out a sound of distress which was totally not a whimper.
“Hang on,” Sam interjected. “So Castiel made you the leader of this... thing. What does that make us?”
Crossing his arms over his chest, Gabriel shrugged. “Toys. Probably pets,” he remarked with deliberate coldness, while Dean sputtered in the background.
“Family.” Castiel argued, his eyes angry.
“Gimme a break, bro! As unique as they are, even these two humans can't be what you're hoping for! They just don't have the right equipment for the job!”
“And yet, they are here, with us. Our other brothers and sisters are not. And all things considered, I don't think they would ever want to be so again.” He looked down and away, suddenly awkward. “And for that matter... Heaven isn't home for me or for you anymore, is it Gabriel?”
Never let it be said that Castiel couldn't be subtle. Because nothing could have nailed Gabriel's emotional issues more dead on than those few simple words.
“Low blow, little brother. Low. Blow.”
Castiel turned his eyes on Gabriel again, intensity dialed up to maximum. “Am I wrong?”
If Gabriel could have smited just by the power of his eyes, Castiel would have been a smudge on the floor.
“Right, that's it,” Dean said suddenly, stepping between the angels, facing Gabriel and effectively cutting off their staring contest.
“I don't know what your beef is with this whole thing, but I am not gonna just sit here while you compare me and Sam to a pair of... self-aware vibrators!”
“Oh please, as if me and Cas will ever be anything but monsters to you two!”
“There's a difference between knowing you're wrong and advertizing it! So yeah, we all have our freakin' issues and no amount of screwing will ever make those go away! But we have a good thing here, you giant douchewad, so why can't you just shut up and make the best of it!?”
“It's not that simple!” Gabriel snarled.
“It could be! It's only complicated because you're making it that way!”
“I'm with him,” Sam piped up.
“Shut up, Sam!” Dean and Gabriel snapped simultaneously. Then fell a truly awkward silence where nobody looked at each other, until Castiel cautiously spoke again.
“Would you be more comfortable if I took on the commanding position?”
Gabriel sighed. “No, frankly, I'd prefer if there wasn't any such position to be had at all.”
“If that's dickhead-speak for let's just have sex, I'm gonna have to agree with him,” Dean grumbled, and Gabriel sent him a sarcastic smile.
“It's not that easy, Dean,” Sam said carefully. “This thing we have can never be just sex.” He cast a glance at Castiel. “But at the same time, I don't think it needs to be more complicated than it already is.”
“So what do you propose we do?” Castiel asked, ignoring how Dean shifted at the word propose.
“Long term, I don't know. But at least for now... couldn't we just keep going like before, but maybe all of us could make an effort not to assume anything?”
“Hey, I wasn't the one assuming!” Gabriel protested.
“You assumed that me deferring to you during a heated moment meant I wanted you to command me,” Castiel pointed out.
“You're telling me it didn't, huh soldier boy?”
“Yes, that's what I'm telling you.”
“Then what the hell was it about?!”
Castiel rolled his eyes. “It was a moment of unguarded passion and a childish fantasy, which you read far too much into thanks to your own feelings of inadequacy.”
“My feelings of– You just offered to step up and be the new sheriff!”
“I was willing to do so if that was what you needed to be comfortable. I am well aware of the unlikelihood of this group fitting the parameters for a heavenly flock. And in the event that you didn't make note of it last night, I also felt no need to await your orders.”
Gabriel had to take a moment to digest that revelation.
“Wait, you lost me. What happened last night?” Sam cut in.
Castiel gave Gabriel a long look before turning to Sam. “While we were all being intimate, I inadvertently uttered some things in angelic tongue which Gabriel interpreted as a wish on my part for more than he felt he was prepared to give, and more than you two would be capable of.”
“So, what, you begged for kinky halo sex or something?” Dean asked, his frown deepening.
In spite of himself, Gabriel snorted. “If only. What he asked for was more like: oh mighty general, allow this big strong warrior to grant me his seed so that I may carry his offspring!”he said, voice a mocking falsetto. Dean and Sam exchanged looks of mild horror.
“Grossly simplified, of course,” Castiel grumbled, shifting awkwardly. “It had much greater social implications, but as I said before, I had no misconceptions of it becoming a reality.”
“Could have fooled me,” Gabriel muttered.
“Only because you believe that there must be an ulterior motive for us wanting you here.”
Gabriel froze, and Castiel's eyes softened. “I am not the only one letting my guard down, brother. You have on occasion broadcasted your insecurities quite loudly.”
“Shit,” Gabriel gritted out and was just about to snap himself and his mortification away to somewhere not here, when he was stopped by a hand on his arm. Sam had stepped over to him, and as if there hadn't been enough significant looks going around, Sam had his patented puppy eyes focused squarely on Gabriel.
“Is it true? You think we don't want you here?”
“Are you kidding me?” Gabriel said weakly. “Just this morning Dean told me to fuck off.”
“Because you were dumping skittles down his shirt.”
“Seriously, dude, you know I just talk shit, right?” Dean asked gruffly, and Gabriel nodded shortly, not feeling up to much more of this Oprah crap. “Because honestly – and listen up, because I'm only gonna say this once – I for one like having you around.”
“As do I,” Castiel added, a soft smile tugging at his cheek.
Sam was most likely about to offer some similar sentiment, but Dean cut him off. “Sorry Sam, but I have officially had enough. One more heartfelt declaration, and I'm gonna grow a uterus.”
“You love it, bitch.”
Gabriel couldn't help the sappy grin breaking out on his face, and tried to salvage what was left of his tattered pride by jumping up and clapping his hands together. “Right, this has been fun, but really guys, why are we talking when we could be fucking?”
“Dude's got a point,” Dean remarked and pinched Sam hard on the ass, only to be tackled onto the bed for a brotherly wrestling match which was more like foreplay lately. Gabriel was totally ready to join in, when Castiel slid in close and chirped at him.
“I allow you to accept the seed of these strong warriors.”
Gabriel stared for a moment and then broke into choked laughter when Castiel gave a slow smirk.
“Are you mocking me, bro?”
Clapping Castiel on the back Gabriel nodded: “I like it,” he said warmly, before shoving Castiel onto the bed too and proceeded to give them all noogies.
Because that's what family is all about.