When last we left our intrepid heroes – well, when we last left God, his Archangel and the Scribe anyway – they were just about to get into some serious plotting.
Let's recap…As Metatron prodded Chuck for more info on why Dean and Castiel had to be settled romantically before any headway could be made on Sam's romantic life, their little writing circle was interrupted by the last Archangel the Scribe ever wanted to see.
No, scratch that. Gabriel was better than the other three as, insofar as Metatron was aware, Gabriel had never had any designs to kill him.
Metatron could not say the same in reverse as the door slammed open and a short, blonde angel with mischievous, golden eyes leaped through, spreading his arms wide in a tada motion. The Scribe was surprised Gabriel didn't actually say tada. He was also grateful that he didn't.
"Is it finally my turn?"
Metatron groaned and cast his eyes up to the ceiling. "Oh Chuck, not you."
"It's me baby!" Gabriel sauntered over and grabbed the beer that had just appeared. Metatron looked at it mournfully. He hadn't even been able to take a single sip.
"What'd I do to deserve this?" Rolling his eyes, he turned to glare at his father. Chuck raised an eyebrow, but otherwise remained pretty expressionless.
"Do you really want me to answer that one?"
"Never mind." Metatron moaned. Chuck clapped his hands together as Gabriel pulled a chair out of thin air and lounged in it.
"Great! Now let's get to work." God grinned. Gabriel grinned. Metatron groaned.
Nothing good could come of this, he was certain. Hours later and Metatron was most definitely not changing his mind about that thought. Gabriel was impossible to work with. While Chuck continued to chicken out of every idea he had, Gabriel proposed the most ridiculous, the most ludicrous, the most – quite simply, they were idiotic ideas.
"Gee, Metatron. Tell us how you really feel." Gabriel seemed unfazed by Metatron's ranting as he lounged perfectly at ease amid the wad of crumpled papers. Chuck had waved and all his discarded notions and failed ideas for Dean and Cas had been cleaned up and packed away – Heaven knew where. The room was refreshed for the new issue at stake: Sam's love life.
"Look, all of this is pointless right now. Sam is fucking miserable! He can't even get in out of the rain at this point because he's too afraid of his brain dribbling out by his ears. You talk about a reward, but he's about to catch Pneumonia….wait, I think that's your in!" Metatron turned excitedly to Gabriel. " That's what you need to do! He'll get sick, and you'll swoop in and nurse him back to health! He'll fall in love with his caretaker – it's one of the oldest romantic tropes in history! Proven again and again. Can't possibly fail."
Gabriel and Chuck exchanged looks for a brief instant and Gabriel grinned. He popped out of the room faster than Metatron could blink and Chuck got to writing.
Sadly, things didn't go according to plan. The Winchesters were big proponents of Free Will – there may or may not have been one or two or four storylines dedicated to that - a nd while normally that was a good thing, now it was getting in the way of Sam's own happiness. Instead of falling in love with Gabriel when he showed up, he'd become instantly suspicious of the Archangels appearance.
Not to mention the time it took to get over the shock of Gabriel not actually being dead as Team Free Will had all believed. Or the fact that Sam initially believed he was hallucinating when Gabriel had arrived. It wouldn't have been the first thing he'd hallucinated that day.
Basically, Gabriel had an uphill battle the entire time he tried to help Sam and hadn't made any headway by the time the taller Winchester had gotten better.
Then it got worse. When that idea failed, Metatron proposed another one. Chuck wrote it and again…Sam sidestepped it.
And it happened again.
Gabriel slumped in his seat in God's secret writing room, his beer and his sweets lay untouched on the table before him. The number of papers littering the room were starting to approach the levels of the previous Destiel failures.
It was all very disheartening.
Chuck was both frustrated and proud. Frustrated that his efforts were going absolutely nowhere, despite his best intentions, yet so proud of the continued demonstration of Free Will, even in the face of Gods' Word.
Metatron wanted to rip his hair out (he'd already started, actually. Gabriel was just waiting for the most opportune time to let him know he'd caused a bald spot. It was the only thing worth looking forward to right now.) because Chuck-damn it! He was a writer! He had thousands of years of human literature behind him. He had managed to get Dean and Cas together in less than a day after Chuck had asked for his help. And yet Sam Winchester continued to elude him, day after day after day.
Literally, thousands of years of human nature borne out in literature and history and not one single thing was working. How was this possible?
Gabriel, well, Gabriel's state of mind was already well known. Finally he stood up and faced his father and Metatron.
"I can't take this anymore. I'm going on vacation. Call me when you have an idea that might actually stand a chance." Golden wings drooping, he flapped out of the writers' room. Metatron stared at the space he'd occupied just moments before, deep in thought.
"Hey Chuck…what if the reason we keep failing…is because Gabriel was in on it each and every time? He was playing a part rather than being himself."
"You mean, come up with a new plan and don't tell him? Just make sure the two of them are in the same place at the same time?"
"Yeah, that's exactly what I mean."
"Huh. Why didn't I think of that?"
"Because! You and I are still an unbreakable team. You need me." Metatron grinned at God.
"I don't know if I'd go quite that far but, I will admit you have been very useful in the past. All right, let's get back to work."
The last few weeks of Sam's life had been a series of bizarre events he still wasn't sure he believed. It was just, all too surreal.
First, he'd trashed the Impala. Because of a moose. Then Dean and Cas had finally gotten their act together. He'd thought Hell would have frozen over before they'd figured their shit out.
Of course, the result of that was he'd gotten really sick. Dean and Castiel had both felt guilty as hell, which Sam didn't want because who knew what stupid things they'd do with that guilt. Castiel felt doubly guilty, of course, because if he'd still been an angel, he could have healed Sam in a heartbeat. Now he couldn't, and that was by choice. So yeah, guilt galore.
And then Gabriel had shown up. At the bunker. In Sam's room. Because why not?
At first, Sam had thought he was hallucinating. After all, Gabe was dead – wasn't he? But by his brothers and the ex angels reaction, he'd had to concede that maybe he wasn't hallucinating. This time. He still wasn't sure. Maybe he'd been hallucinating all of it. Certainly wouldn't have been the first time.
Gabriel had brought him blankets, tea, chicken soup, and rare books. He'd tucked Sam into bed and hovered over him like a mother hen. It had all felt so… weird to Sam. He was used to only one person worrying about him, and that was his brother. And even he didn’t go to the lengths that Gabriel did.
When he got better, Gabriel seemed to be expecting something but Sam had no idea what. He'd started to warm up to the Archangel – there was some history to be forgiven, after all – once he'd gotten past his confusion about Gabriel's existence, but other than his gratitude, Sam wasn't sure what the Archangel could possibly want.
Which made him instantly suspicious. There had to be a reason Gabriel was hanging around. And he was. A lot. When Sam tried to confront him about it, the Archangel clammed up. Nope. That wasn't suspicious at all.
Sam continued to find rare books in his room – and that wasn't disturbing, the idea that Gabriel could pop in at any time, and was. Sam liked the ability to have a little privacy now that he had his own room, and Gabriel kept intruding on that. And when it wasn't books, he'd find sweets on his pillow, or hidden in his drawers. He'd be watching Netflix and suddenly the golden eyed Archangel would be sitting next to him. It took a while to not jump every time it happened.
Slowly, he got used to the Archangels presence. But that didn't stop him from getting upset when Gabriel spoiled Game of Thrones for him. He stomped out of the room, after slamming the laptop closed, with Gabriel chasing after him.
"I’m sorry Sammy-kins! I didn't know you hadn't read all the books yet! I mean, I was sure that you had! In fact, I'm not sure how you haven't –"
"Gabriel, I'm a hunter. In case it escaped your notice, but I don't have a lot of time for, for down time. I need to be reading up on the next case, not reading nonsense!" Sam opened the fridge and grabbed one of Dean's beers – his brother would just have to suck it up – and slammed the door shut again. "And don't you ever call me Sammy-kins again."
"Awwww, but…" Sam leveled a bitch face at Gabriel so strong that the Archangel trailed off, despite the fact that he could have destroyed Sam with a simple snap. He heaved a huge sigh, and with a flutter was gone. Sam slumped into the chair and took a huge swig of his cold beer.
For the next week there was nothing. It felt a little weird to suddenly be by himself. Life was emptier and certainly quieter now with Gabriel gone. Sam felt almost like life could go back to normal – if he could somehow find a way to not walk in on Dean and Cas doing… any thing. Again. For the love of god. How his eyeballs weren't bleeding, he wasn't sure.
He needed a goddamn break.
So screw it. He was going to be completely irresponsible and go on a road trip. Not for a case, but just to get the hell out of the Bunker and away from the lovebirds. He wasn't jealous. He wasn't. He just couldn't take it anymore.
Which is how Sam found himself several towns away at a motel that had more character than it had creature comforts, surrounded by cosplayers. He'd checked into the room for the weekend, with intent to check out the local museum, and hadn't even realized it was booked for a con.
Actually, he was surprised there had been a room available considering the con seemed to be filling the small motel quite rapidly.
He never noticed Chuck and Metatron peeking around a pillar in the lounge as they gave each other a thumbs up. They backed away, making sure they wouldn't be spotted, and took up positions near a piano and away from the other con goers.
"Okay, step one complete. Get Sam out of the Bunker and away from his brother and my other son. Step two…should be on his way. Step three…actually, Metatron, can you explain to me why we're wearing red shirts?" The Scribe rolled his eyes at his father and huffed.
"Be cause , we want to blend in . The best way to blend in at a Star Trek convention is to dress up as a generic redshirt. They're background characters. Literally, no one cares about them. They're part of the scenery, which is what we want to be, or we might get spotted by our targets. And we wouldn't want that , now would we?"
"No, no, you're right." Chuck paused. "It's just that, are you sure about this? I don't remember any of the characters wearing outfits like this in Star Wars. Is this the Disney version?"
"Stop talking Chuck."
"Right." They ducked back just in time to watch Sam as he passed by, hauling his duffel with the intent to drop it in his room. He'd barely gotten past them when he was stopped by a pair of cosplayers, allowing them to eavesdrop without having to resort to any Heavenly powers.
"Sir, sir! Could you help us?" Sam found two women in costumes who were gesturing at him rather frantically. Decades of helping people had him stopping before he even registered the words.
"Are you ok?"
"No! Two of our buddies had to drop out and now we have no one to round out our costumes!"
Sam blinked. "I'm sorry, what?" Surely he had misheard? He'd thought from the way they were acting that something serious was afoot. A hand grabbed his arm and steered him off into the opposite direction had intended to go.
"You're the perfect height for the part of Mr. Homn!"
"Yeah, if you say so, I guess? But, to be frank, I don't even know who that is."
"Sacrilege! And you call yourself a fan?"
"No, actually, I don't. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I'm here for the con." A collective gasp came from fans all around him. He ignored them. "Me being here at this time? Purely accidental, I assure you."
"But you don't understand! I can't be Lwaxana Troi without her trusty manservant Mr. Homn! We can get away without Picard since we don't have a Vash, but Mr. Homn is the peanut butter to my jelly!" There was something familiar about the girl's' voice, but Sam couldn't place it. Maybe it was her energy. She seemed so much like Charlie. Caught in the nostalgia of memories dredged up by the other woman, Sam didn't even quite realize he'd agreed to the whole shebang.
Before Sam knew it, he'd been outfitted in a costume, makeup liberally applied to his face, and he was shelling out money to buy a badge. He clipped it onto the front of his costume and thought, What the hell , with a small internal shrug. It wasn't as if he was doing anything else right now. A break was what he was here looking for, after all. This could be exactly what he needed.
Soon, Sam found himself caught up in the con. Turned out, they were pretty fun just as long as they weren't based on his life. Who knew? He followed the girls into the main panel room, never noticing the two red shirts sitting in the back of it as he went by them. They were just two more among a throng of other redshirts. Nothing peculiar about them, nothing to see here, moving along.
Chuck and Metatron heaved a sigh of relief as they remained – for the moment – unobserved. Panels were definitely a different feel from the audience's' perspective. It was a nice change, Chuck mused.
"Step 1.2 accomplished. Now that's half of our little party. Just how do you plan to get Gabriel here without telling him anyway?" Metatron queried. Chuck deflated.
"Ummm…I guess I…I don't have an answer for you." The two of them stared at each other in near defeat. So close and yet so far. Again. Chuck was about to open his mouth when a Klingon waltzed into the room. Actually, it was several Klingons, but Chuck was focused on the shortest one of the bunch who was, literally, dancing into the room.
"What? What is it? What'd you see? I swear to You , you better start talking."
"Don't look now, Metatron, but step 2 and 2.1 have taken care of themselves. Now we just have to make sure the two of them interact." The scribe turned and noted exactly who Chuck was staring at and refrained from making a whistle.
"How'd you manage that?"
"I told you, I actually didn't have a plan. He did this all on his own. What were the odds?"
"I doubt you actually want me to list those. Oh, hey, what's to keep him from figuring out Sam is Sam and that we're hovering about in the vicinity? I mean, he is an Archangel after all."
"Yeah, and I'm God. I'm suppressing all of our auras."
"Ooooh, clever." Metatron looked impressed. "Like what you did with the Samulet."
They turned their attention back to the panel and watched as the two groups of cosplayers they were most interested in managed to sit down beside each other.
Sam was having way more fun than he'd anticipated. Everyone was so enthusiastic and full of good spirits, it reminded him of that time he and Dean had wound up a case by LARPing with Charlie. How odd it was that twice in one day he'd been reminded of Charlie – no, on second thought, considering where he was, it wasn't so odd.
The group of Klingons that had joined them during the panel stuck around afterwards for a lively debate about the Borg and how all humans in the Star Trek universe were basically mad scientists in comparison to the rest of the Federation and that’s why they were so much more successful against the Borg than any other alien species. ) Which topic then segued into two different directions as they all left the motel – still in full costume – in search of food. Sam was used to strange looks and whispers, so he took the ones leveled at him and his new companions in stride. He felt…normal, for once. For the first time in a long time. Almost giddy, in fact. No impending doom, no case or monster to worry about. No nagging Dean, or no Dean to nag, take your pick. No one was prying at his feelings or his past.
He could just sit back and have some fun as someone put forth their theory on how the Borg Queen was actually the Deltan woman - "Ilia, her name was Ilia! Learn your trivia!" someone yelled - who'd merged with Decker and the sentient machine, V'ger.
Yes, Sam Winchester, hunter of the Supernatural, could definitely get used to this. He didn't have the same level of knowledge and trivia about all things Geek that his brother did, but he knew enough that he and the shortest Klingon were having a laugh over the holes they managed to poke into other people's theories.
Having somehow insinuated themselves into the two merged groups – each group thinking the two redshirts were part of the other most likely – Chuck and Metatron hovered on the edges, taking in everything.
"Okay, so you got them talking and neither suspects the other. Thank heavens there's heavy makeup involved. Step 3 accomplished. Now what?" Metatron whispered.
"Step 4. We let nature run its course." Chuck said confidently.
"Nature? Nature?! You've got to be kidding me! You're going to trust this one to nature ? Did nature make Destiel happen?"
"Well, there was all that rain, and then the moose, so I'm going with yes." Chuck protested.
"Chuck! That's not good enough!" Metatron complained.
"What are you talking about? Of course it is. Simple is always better. Didn't you say that?"
"No, I said stop chickening out. Why aren't we back upstairs in your Heavenly Writer's Garret typing any of this sappy stuff out?"
"Because Gabriel is involved. I think he's got a sixth sense for whenever I write down something for the future. He's pretty good at weaseling out of whatever I write and we do not want that to happen."
There was a pause. The two of them looked at each other.
"What about reverse psychology? Have him weasel himself into it?" Metatron gave his father a sly smile.
"Metatron, that's brilliant!" Chuck breathed. "C'mon! We've got some writing to do!"
The others never noticed the red shirts disappearing.
Then again, nobody ever did.
Six hours later, Chuck and Metatron stood back in the parking lot, watching Mr. Homn lean down to kiss a Klingon amid the cheers of the Federation. Rain poured down around them, doing little to put out the blazing motel.
"I'd ask how it all went so wrong," Metatron stated as he stared disbelievingly at the fire, "Except that it somehow went right.” He continued to stare at the flames in a daze. "That shouldn't have worked. I don't understand. Why did it work ?"
Chuck wasn't watching the flames. He was barely paying attention to Metatron. Instead he smiled indulgently at his son and the younger Winchester. Sam's hair had fallen out of the bald cap, pushing it aside, his makeup was smeared and his face and costume covered in ash, his hands cradled around the Archangels face.
Gabriel didn't much look like a Klingon anymore. In an effort to not to stand out as 'odd' among the humans, he'd done nothing to keep his costume or his makeup in one piece. The ridges on his forehead had peeled away, the wig of his hair had gone wild, one shoulder of his uniform had been ripped clean off and was dangling by threads. The color of the outfit hid the ashes and soot rather well, but his fake hair had taken on a decidedly gray cast.
None of that seemed to matter to him as he stood on his tiptoes to rather enthusiastically return the kiss of one Sam Winchester, a puppy cradled in his arms being the only reason he didn't reach out and pull Sam in closer.
It may have been one of the turning points for Sam though. Seeing a side – no, seeing multiple sides – of the Archangel that he wasn't used to seeing, sides that were not angling to get something out of him or teach him a lesson, sides that showed glimpses of the real Gabriel that he'd never even dreamt existed….
Sam couldn't help himself. He'd had too much fun that day and a lot of that had been because of Gabriel. Who'd been just as surprised to find out it was Sam, as Sam had been to discover it was him. He hadn't even realized he'd been missing the Archangel till he'd realized the Klingon was Gabriel and then he'd just felt so happy that he couldn't help himself.
They drew away and Sam saw wonder and hope in Gabriel's eyes. It startled him. "Gabe?" he asked hesitantly.
"Yeah Sam?" the words were the gentlest he'd ever heard come out of the Archangels mouth.
"Did you know all along that – "
"No!" Gabriel sighed and looked away. "Look, I admit, I was trying to woo you before. I like you Sam. Aaaaand I may have gone a little over the top in trying to express that. Not nearly as much as I wanted to. Believe you me, I had such grand plans but Dad shot them all down."
"Is that what you've been doing these last couple weeks?"
"Yeah, only," Gabriel gave out a harsh, shaky breath, "You seemed to hate my guts. I mean, I guess I don't really blame you. Not after the Mystery Spot, but…after Lucifer, I thought…" he shook his head. "Never mind what I thought. You still hated me and I just, I had to get outta there cause I couldn't take it anymore. Figured I'd…cut my losses and run. Hadn't decided if I would try again or not. I mean, I just, maybe it would be better for you if I just left you alone. So I left. I needed to think."
"But what about all this?" Sam waved a hand.
"Oh, this wasn't planned, Sam, you gotta believe me! I needed a distraction so I came here. There were some interesting energies stirring over here and it looked like the perfect distraction." Gabriel shrugged. "I had no idea you'd be here. Or that I'd been talking to you most of the day." Gabriel's eyes narrowed.
"Wait…that's not possible unless…" he trailed off and his eyes widened again. "Dad's here! The old coot set us up!" Gabriel whirled about and peered into the crowd. The puppy in his arms let out a startled yip and then a long yawn, causing both Sam and Gabriel to look down at it. Long moments passed before Sam reached a hand back out and raised the Archangels chin to look him in the eyes.
"Look, Gabe, I admit, I was suspicious before, but you're wrong. I forgave you the Mystery Spot when you decided to help us during the Apocalypse. And, if nothing else, today proved that we're actually, kinda compatible." Sam grinned at him, "Besides, I missed you. And after today, nobody will ever be able to get me to believe you're not just a big softy underneath the goofy, sarcastic exterior you like to project."
"What are you saying Sam?" Gabriel tried to step closer but had to halt because of the puppy in his arms. Someone reached over and plucked the puppy out of his arms and he took advantage of their sudden emptiness to finish his motion.
"I'm saying, Gabe, we can give this a shot. Might as well, right?" Sam chuckled and ducked down to pull Gabriel's lips into a willing kiss. Finally, he pulled back enough to murmur, his lips brushing against the stunned archangels, "Besides, I'm quite ready to give my brother some payback for the last week. Do you happen to know anyone who might be interested in helping with that?"
"Oh, do I?" Gabriel snickered and wrapped his arms around Sam's neck, the glow of the firelight reflecting off his hazel eyes and flickering across his skin. "You can count me in, Sam-wise."
"Count me in too, Sammy." Sam blinked. He turned. Lwaxana Troi stood there with her fairly silent companion, only their perfect makeup had slipped. Not because of soot and ash, or the mad scramble to get out of the motel, but rather more like a glamour had worn off. Charlie and Gilda stared at him.
"Charlie? But you're dead!"
"I'm back, bitches!" She shot him a couple of finger guns. "It's been real fun hanging with you Sam. But I am soooo disappointed in you."
"I'm sorry, Charlie. I did everything I could to keep you safe –"
"Not that, Sam! You didn't see through Gilda's disguise! I bet Dean would have." She pouted.
"That would be where Gilda came in. She owed a debt to me for freeing her. When she sensed my life was ending she gathered my soul and brought me back to Fairyland. She and her people rebuilt my body and…here I am! What do you think?"
She twirled in place under the scrutiny of Sam's shocked eyes. Suddenly she yelped when she was caught in his embrace, effectively putting an end to her movement. Gilda giggled and Gabriel laughed.
"All right, all right," he clapped his hands together. "Now, who's ready to give Dean-o the scare of his life?"
Chuck and Metraton slunk away with a grin and a snap. Gabriel jolted and turned but was too late to catch them. Never mind that now anyway, he had his Sam and they had some plotting to do. His little brother and Dean-o would never know what hit them…