Gabriel was extremely bored. The Winchesters were interviewing witnesses and connecting bodies to their Werewolf hunt. Apparently, it was interesting because the kills were happening throughout the month rather than just at the full moon.
Gabriel had chosen to remain invisible, so they wouldn't ask him to identify the Werewolf, or kill it to save them the hassle.
For the first time in centuries, Gabriel was not spending Valentine's Day surrounded by naked women. He was so disappointed with his mission to stop the Winchesters from destroying the world, that he had settled on a new hobby; cockblocking.
Gabriel figured that since he wasn't getting any, Dean should suffer through a drought, too. The tricky part was humiliating Dean in a way that did not reflect suspicion back onto himself.
After the third hour at the bar, Sam began to snicker each time Dean struck out. When a promising blonde mistook the brothers for a gay couple, Sam didn't even try to suppress his laughter.
"Not funny, dude!" Dean hissed at his brother, "It's Valentine's Day! I'm cursed or something!"
"Or something," Sam agreed evasively.
Dean narrowed his eyes at the smirk the taller man wore, "You know what's happening. What do I have to kill to get laid?"
Sam rolled his eyes, "You turn into an idiot every year. Try thinking with the brain in your head."
"Or you could stop being a jerk and just tell me?" Dean snapped.
"When we're hunting, you don't miss a thing," Sam teased, "But when you're chasing skirt, you're hopeless."
"Are you trying to get hit in the face?"
Gabriel appeared in the chair between them, startling both men. Dean nearly dropped his beer.
"You!" Dean realized, "You've been screwing with me all night!"
Gabriel was smiling happily, "I did you a favour; unless you like genital warts?"
Sam grimaced, but Dean was not convinced, "All five? Yeah, right?"
"That last one was trouble," Gabriel insisted, "Unless you're looking for a date who also has a penis?"
Sam was looking at the ceiling to try to ignore the conversation.
"Quit cockblocking, you Angelic asshat!" Dean growled.
"But it's fun and I'm bored," Gabriel complained, "I'd usually be in an orgy of beautiful, horny women on Valentine's Day. Instead, I'm babysitting you two dorks."
Dean looked thoughtful, "I only want one willing lady; two at the most. Could you -"
"Dean!" Sam hissed, "Stop talking before I have to bleach my brain. We should be looking for the Werewolf who picks up his victims from this place."
"So predictable," Gabriel sighed, "Sammy needs to focus on work, so he doesn't think of his Dhampir cuddled up next to Castiel."
A nerve twitched in Sam's jaw, "Don't call me 'Sammy'. Only Dean can call me that."
"Alright then, Doofus," Gabriel smirked, "I wanted to let you know about the extra guest at the bunker, but if you want me to leave -"
"Guest?" Sam prompted.
"What have you done now?" Dean asked with exasperation.
"The Nephilim who needs to stay alive was cautious, but curious about a bunker warded against Angels. Her name is Jane and she is very charming," Gabriel summarised, "She was pissy at Castiel, but threw me across the room for shoving memories in his head."
"I like her already," Dean mused.
"Moodiness aside, she and Faith seem to like each other," Gabriel continued, "I expect Castiel to be badgered into submission well before we return."
Sam tried to sound casual when he asked, "So, you're planning to stay with us until the case is solved?"
Dean could see that Sam was hoping for a negative reply.
"Well, I do plan to drop in on Crowley at some stage," Gabriel mused, "I assumed you two would want to be present at that meeting."
"Crowley," Dean grumbled, "I wouldn't object if you wanted to kill him."
Gabriel nodded, "As fun as that would be, it is safer to have him remain the King of Hell. He is twisted, but at his core he is a businessman. Better him than someone truly evil."
"So, we let him kidnap Kevin again? Torture him and his mother?" Sam demanded.
"Of course not," Gabriel admonished, "Once Kevin has fully translated the Demon tablet, we give it to Crowley. Depending on what it says, we could give him the translation and sign a contract not to attempt to seal Hell or share the knowledge of it."
Dean looked like he had been banned from eating meat for the rest of his life, "Why would we want to help him?"
"To give Kevin his life back," Sam realized.
Gabriel raised a beer as though Sam had made a toast.
"I still hate the idea of helping Crowley," Dean muttered.
"We'll make it a deal," Gabriel suggested, "If Crowley wants the tablet, he has to release Bobby Singer from Hell."
Sam made a wounded noise, "Bobby's in Hell? No!"
"We get him out now!" Dean hissed angrily.
Gabriel lowered his beer to the table, "We wait for Kevin to complete the translation of his half of the tablet, so we know what it contains. Offer to keep Kevin and his mother safe in the bunker under my protection."
Sam cleared his throat, "I agree with him, Dean. We have to do this properly to get Bobby out of Hell."
"And dig up the Angel tablet," Dean recalled, "Do we have to rescue Meg?"
Gabriel shrugged, "The more allies, the better; maybe she can show Castiel the fun part of being human? Who better to defile an Angel than a Demon?"
Dean hated that idea, and Gabriel knew it. The smirk the Archangel wore was infuriating to the elder Hunter. He also knew that reacting would only provoke Gabriel into being even more of an asshole.
"Fine; we wait for Kevin to finish before we approach Crowley. Can I go get laid, now?" Dean demanded hotly.
Gabriel leaned in to whisper something to Dean. Sam was extremely curious about what the Archangel could have said to make Dean blush and nearly inhale his beer at the same time.
"None of your bloody business!" Dean hissed at Gabriel.
Gabriel threw back his head and laughed loudly. He clapped Dean on the back and congratulated him on being mildly entertaining.
"I give up," Dean grumbled, "Let's go back to the motel. You're a real dickbag, Gabby."
"What about the Werewolf?" Sam asked.
"None of these people are Werewolves," Gabriel revealed, "Though a few do bite."
Sam shrugged and followed Dean out of the bar. Gabriel blew them a kiss and disappeared.
Faith rarely went to bed before midnight and preferred to sleep until noon. While in a cell, her sleeping habits had adapted to her Dhampir nature and she had seen no reason to try to alter them.
The dawn was approaching when she was yanked out of slumber by Castiel's screaming.
Faith ripped open the door to Castiel's room as Jane emerged from hers. Castiel was writhing desperately amongst the blankets and the screams were replaced by agonised moaning.
"Castiel!" Faith caught his hand between her own to release him from the nightmare.
Castiel woke abruptly and swung a closed fist at the air. Faith dodged easily and called his name again. Jane used her powers to pin the man to the bed until he was completely conscious.
"Castiel?" Faith repeated worriedly. She caught his forearm in one hand to help him recognise reality.
Finally, he seemed to relax. Blue eyes darted around the room which was illuminated by the light in the hall.
"Sorry," Castiel whispered brokenly, "Nightmare."
Jane withdrew her powers and backed out of the room. The screaming had been loud and terrifying; she didn't want to know about nightmares which could trigger a reaction so intense.
Faith could see the terror in Castiel's face even in the dim light. His heart thudded furiously, and his skin was shockingly pale.
"You're safe," Faith offered reassuringly, "Whatever you saw, it wasn't real."
"They were real," Castiel whispered, "Memories."
Faith could not find any comforting words to offer, so she squeezed his hand instead.
Castiel sat up gingerly. He could feel the cold sweat on his skin as heavily as the concerned gaze of the Dhampir.
Faith was sure the slumped shoulders and silence indicated he wanted to be left alone.
"I'll be next door if you want to talk about it," she offered gently.
Castiel didn't know how to escape the dread which weighed him down. The images from the nightmares were all linked to the memories he had acquired, or already had.
The details faded, a loss which disturbed him greatly. He was left with a deep, unassailable guilt for killing Balthazar, and the horrid image of Dean as a Demon.
Castiel waited until Faith was back in her room before he headed to the bathroom to wash his face. The pale man in the mirror stared at him with bloodshot eyes.
"You look like shit," Castiel told the mirror.
By the time he returned to his room, Castiel was sure a memory hangover was worse than the alcohol-induced type.
Castiel sat on the edge of his bed and said aloud, "Gabriel, I would appreciate your presence, if you are not busy."
There was no immediate reaction, so Castiel shuffled further up the bed to rest with his back against the headboard. With a couple of pillows behind his lower back, it was relatively comfortable.
Castiel was deep in thought when Gabriel appeared next to the bed. He couldn't control the sharp movement of alarm which cause him to startle comically.
Gabriel ignored the gasp and jump in heartrate which was triggered by his arrival. There was no way to answer a prayer swiftly without surprising the frail, human body.
"Hello Castiel," Gabriel greeted simply. He sat at the foot of the bed and regarded his weary brother with concern.
"Thank-you for answering," Castiel managed, annoyed that he couldn't hide the human reaction when an Angel appeared abruptly.
"I plan to always answer your direct prayers," Gabriel revealed, "At least until you get over this penance crap and put your Grace back in."
Castiel knew he should be annoyed at the dismissive tone, but he was emotionally numb.
"I am sorry I shoved the memories in your head like that," Gabriel said carefully, "I should have explained more, or something."
"Sam gave you a lecture?" Castiel guessed.
Gabriel nodded, "He thinks I 'violated' you. Dean tried to punch me."
Castiel felt one side of his mouth twitch upwards, "Good. If I could summon the energy to care, I would try to hit you, too."
Gabriel regarded the former Angel critically, "You're struggling with the memories?"
Castiel knew the Archangel was seeing right through to his soul, assuming he had one without his Grace.
"Did you know I would get every memory back?" Castiel asked, "Every second of torture with Naomi, and every image they tried to bury?"
Gabriel narrowed his eyes at his brother, "No. I didn't think those memories were recoverable."
"Well, they're here," Castiel said wearily, tapping his temple, "All the way back to when I argued against Lucifer being punished for having an opinion. I didn't realize I was the first Angel tortured into submission. Falling in love with a human seems like a fitting middle finger to Heaven."
Gabriel tapped his chin thoughtfully, "I could try to blur those particular memories -"
"No, thank-you. I deserve my punishment, and more," Castiel said emphatically, "I can never undo the damage I inflicted on Heaven. I wanted to ask you to look after Dean and Sam, since I cannot."
Fury sparked in Gabriel's eyes, "Castiel, if you kill yourself, I swear I will bring you back, pin your down and shove your Grace down your throat," Gabriel growled.
"I will not attempt to end my life," Castiel promised blandly.
Gabriel was still glaring at the weary man, "You're planning to suffer every second of a human lifespan because you feel guilty? You had no choice but to kill Raphael; I wish I had been there to give you another option than Purgatory."
"As do I," Castiel agreed, "But, here we are. If I choose to live and die as a human, let me."
"For now," Gabriel agreed, "But of it comes down to letting you die or forcing you to reabsorb your Grace, don't expect me to sit back and let you be a self-hating nitwit."
"Just keep Dean and Sam safe," Castiel implored sadly.
Gabriel helped Castiel fall back to sleep and used his Grace to suppress the nightmares for at least a few hours.
The pity-party was annoying, and Gabriel was bored of it already.