Title: A New Day (1/?)
Rating: PG13 for this part, will probably rise in later chapters
Pairing: Dean/Cas slash, Sam/Gabe pre-slash
Spoilers: Season 5 through to Hammer of the Gods.
Warnings: ummm...none that I can think of :-D
Word Count: 2616
Disclaimer: It only belongs to me when I'm dreaming - property of the almighty Kripke!
Author's Note: The series so far: Last Night, followed by Their Darkest Hour. This story picks up mid-'Their Darkest Hour', but from Lucifer's point of view - it may help to re-read it quickly (it's only 2800-ish words) first to make this easier to follow at the start *grins*
Lucifer glanced over at the older hunter. He could feel Dean's desperation, could hear his silent protests.
He knew Sam wasn't going to say yes yet – he could feel the man's guilt as he made his decision, as he picked mankind over the brother who'd raised him. Dean's support would have lessened that delightful pain, and so he withheld it.
The fear and anguish he felt from the elder brother made it that little bit sweeter – the frustration and hate and anger reminded him of Hell, and fed his hatred of the creatures, the insects, in front of him.
Sam's refusal when it came brought no anger. It was expected, and Lucifer intended to enjoy what came next. Sam Winchester was going to say 'Yes', and it would be interesting to see how long it took.
"I won't ask nicely again Sam..." he said, his voice low, tone menacing.
After a few seconds of silence, Lucifer let out a sigh – he'd invented the concept of a reluctant, reasonable enemy after all...most demons these days just didn't seem to understand how much more effective it was, to have a confused victim who would turn to you for help in the end, instead of a quivering terrified mess.
Not that the quivering terrified messes weren't fun to play with – but situations like this required more...finesse...than demons like Alastair possessed.
It was one of the things that set the fallen apart from their formerly human counterparts. The human demons could be vicious, imaginative, cruel...but his own brethren were more capable of true evil than they would ever be.
Good or evil, the humans would always be lesser.
"As you wish."
He reached out with his blackened Grace, grasping Dean and cutting off his breath. Only slightly at first, but his grip tightened slowly as he spoke to Sam again.
"His death will not be quick. It also won't be the end."
He watched as Sam twisted to stare at his brother.
"I will kill him, again and again Sam, until you say yes. Can you watch him die over and over?"
Horror flooded the hunter's mind and shone in his eyes, and Lucifer hid a smirk.
"All because you're too selfish to give one single right answer…"
He could feel the terror, the guilt, the pain rising up within the man.
Only one thought was clear enough for him to distinguish in the chaos of Sam's mind.
*Not again. Not again. Not again.*
A litany. A prayer. Repeated over and over in desperation.
Squeezing harder, he watched as Dean's eyes dimmed, internally sneering at the man's last thoughts.
He heard a broken sob, and looked down at Sam in time to hear him whisper
Distantly he heard Dean fall, barely breathing, to the floor as he released his hold. He felt his vessel falling away, felt it crumble as he left it, little more than dust and ash now without his Grace to hold it together.
He sunk himself into Sam, pushing aside the hunter's consciousness with little effort, spreading himself throughout the vessel – his true vessel – feeling the way it held his Grace, the way it moulded to him almost perfectly.
By the time he realised anything was wrong, it was already too late.
Three hours earlier…
"I'm still not sure about this dude…there's so many ways this could go wrong it's not even funny…"
"You're just worried I'll make you squawk like a chicken whenever someone mentions pie once I'm done playing with your memories…"
"Okay see, that there? Not helping."
"I will make sure Gabriel does not make you squawk like a chicken Dean."
"Aww, where's your sense of humour bro? If you don't like chickens, I bet he'd make a mean parrot…it's easy, just repeat after me Dean-o: Who's a pretty boy then?"
Sam stuffed his fist in his mouth to keep from laughing, quickly looking to the ground so that Dean might not notice. He'd never seen his brother go red so fast, in fact if this was a cartoon he'd probably have had steam shooting out his ears by now.
Before Dean could reply Cas interrupted, taking the hunter by the elbow and leading him a short distance away after shooting Gabriel an exasperated glare.
When he'd finally got the urge to laugh under control, Sam looked up, only to see Gabriel smirking at him. The mental image of Dean squawking like a parrot as Cas fed him crackers caught Sam off-guard and he barked out a laugh before catching himself and glaring at Gabriel.
A quick glance at Dean and Cas, and Sam realised he could probably laugh all he liked, since it was highly unlikely either party would notice.
"Looks like they finally got the hint…" Sam said, quickly looking back to Gabriel.
"And not a moment too soon Sammy. You should know though, if he hurts my brother, he'll think Hell was a nice vacation after I'm through with him."
Gabriel's tone was light as he spoke, but Sam could sense the steel beneath it. He couldn't blame him either – Cas was the only brother the guy had who wasn't a complete douchebag. Still…
"I think if there was ever a time when the 'hurt my brother' speeches were unnecessary, this is probably it Gabe…but just in case, you should know that even being an archangel won't help Cas if he hurts Dean."
He kept his own tone conversational, and after a second, continued.
"If Dean ever hurts Cas rest assured I'll kick his ass for it too though…Dean's my brother, but Cas is family too and my brother is occasionally a stupid dick."
"Well I'm not gonna argue with you there Sammy," Gabriel grinned. "Ever notice how we seem to be doing all the work lately, and they get all the fun?"
"They've got someone to have fun with…which would be nice, but right now I'd settle for chocolate…?" Sam replied with a hopeful smile.
"Your wish…" the archangel paused briefly as he raised his hand, fingers poised, "…is my command kiddo!"
He snapped his fingers and was suddenly holding a big bag of Hershey's chocolate kisses. At Sam's look, he shrugged with a grin.
"Figured this was the next best thing," he said, holding the now open bag out to the hunter.
Dean held his tongue as Cas led him away from the infuriating archangel.
He wasn't stupid – he knew the guy was just trying to lighten the atmosphere, and he gained major points for making Sammy actually laugh – even if it was at Dean's expense.
"Dean, I agree that this plan is not without its risks, but you cannot deny that it is much more likely to succeed than our original plan…"
"Assuming Lucifer doesn't see through the fake memories, or notice all the mojo floating around, and assuming he doesn't just kill me outright when he gets here. Assuming Gabriel, who hasn't seen his brother in thousands of years, has guessed the guy's reactions right, and what he's assuming will happen happens… There's just way too much assuming going on for me to ever feel comfortable with it Cas…"
"Do you trust me Dean?"
"Of course." Dean didn't have to think about it, didn't hesitate. He trusted his angel with his life…even more, he trusted him with Sam's life.
"Then even if you can't fully trust Gabriel, trust that I trust my brother – to make this work if it can, and to do what's necessary if it fails."
"Cas…I…" Dean trailed off, leaning in to the angel. He brought their foreheads together gently, hands resting softly on arms and necks as Cas returned the light embrace.
"Please, Dean…" Cas' voice was soft, barely above a murmur.
"Okay Cas, okay…"
Cas closed the remaining distance as his lips pressed softly against the hunter's, the kiss quickly turning more heated and desperate.
"Okay lovebirds, break it up…time's a'wasting after all…"
Dean and Cas pulled apart and Dean flashed Sam a guilty look, unsure how his brother would react to this new development.
"Uh…Sammy, I uh…I was gonna say something…uh…"
"Dude, I thought we agreed – no chick-flick moments, remember?" Sam said lightly, not really in the mood to draw out his brother's discomfort. "Dean?" He waited until Dean met his eyes before continuing. "I'm happy for you, really." And then, because someone had to break the moment – they were Winchesters after all – he added, "Just don't screw it up dude."
"Yeah yeah yeah, we both wish you lots of happiness and little angel kiddies…can we get on with stopping my brother's temper tantrum now?"
Before anyone could make more of a response than Dean's panicked yelp of "Angel kiddies?", Gabriel began handing out jobs – Sam and Dean were in charge of the standard demon-proofing (because as Dean had pointed out, unexpected interruptions would be bad…), while he and Cas worked on tweaking the required sigils, placing them for maximum effect and triple checking each other's work to ensure no mistakes were made.
When it was all done to the elder archangel's satisfaction he snapped his fingers and steered the brothers towards the buffet table that had appeared.
"Eat up boys, don't want either of you going all girly and passing out from hunger."
Before either brother could argue their stomachs decided to back Gabriel up, complaining loudly – breakfast had been neglected in favour of filling Dean and Cas in on the new plan and working out the kinks and details.
Gabriel plucked a hair from Sam's head, ignoring the hunter's surprised shout as he turned to Cas.
"Come on bro, we've got work to do whilst these two stuff their faces."
With that the angels moved to the far side of the room and Sam and Dean headed for the food.
They were ready.
*Well, as ready as four idiots on the run from Heaven and about to face-down the devil can be,* Gabriel thought wryly.
He'd been the picture of confidence since first suggesting the plan to Sam, but now…now he wasn't so sure. Were they biting off more than they could chew?
Probably – in fact, almost certainly. But he was working with Winchesters, and they did have a habit of pulling off impossible plans, so perhaps the chance of failure was a factor in their favour?
Shaking his head to clear it of the slightly insane logic, he took an unnecessary deep breath.
"Right, we all good to go kiddies?"
Three heads nodded slowly, and he grinned encouragingly.
"Awesome – Sam, I need you in the corner by those pretty red sigils. Keep quiet until it's your turn to speak, no matter what happens. It'll get bad, but trust me to take care of things, okay? Unless I tell you otherwise, I'll have it under control. You just get ready to act your ass off."
Sam smiled faintly and headed over to the corner, briefly wondering whether to sit on the floor or remain standing. He quickly dismissed the idea of sitting on the floor because it would slow his reaction time if anything went wrong, and half a second later a stool appeared in front of him. He glanced over at Gabriel and gave him a grin and a nod of thanks – he could sit comfortably on the stool and still be quick to move if necessary.
As he sat down, the whole corner disappeared from sight, blank walls and empty space the only thing visible.
"We are fully shielded from the Host," he said. His forehead creased in concentration for a second and the air shimmered around them.
Suddenly the warehouse was a war-zone.
Blood pooled across the ground, and bodies lay everywhere, huge ash wings spreading out from each one.
Two pairs of wings had no bodies between them, and Cas walked over to one set. He dropped to lay as though he'd fallen, the wings now appearing to be his. His skin paled as his neck shimmered and suddenly there was torn flesh where a moment ago it had been smooth. Blood coated his neck, covering his collar and chin as it spread to form a pool around him, leeching up into his clothing where it touched.
Cas raised his head in question.
"The wings…you didn't have that much Grace left…" Gabriel trailed off softly, not wanting to remind his brother of how bad things had been.
"Of course. My apologies."
The dark patterns of ash around Cas disappeared, setting him apart from the other bodies, and he lowered his head to the ground again.
Finally, Gabriel turned to Dean.
The hunter's eyes were locked on his angel, his face twisted in fear and horror.
He rested a hand lightly on the man's arm, getting his attention.
"It's not real kid."
Dean nodded slowly, tearing his eyes away.
"Where is it?"
Gabriel snapped his fingers in reply and a body appeared at their feet.
Sucking in a shaky breath, Dean knelt down beside it, his fists clenching as he glanced towards the 'empty' corner where Sam sat.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Gabriel knelt across from him, looking at him with more compassion than Dean had thought the archangel capable of.
"I'm sorry Dean…this is going to seriously suck for you, and there's nothing I can do about it. It's going to look and feel real, it has to. I can protect your real memories by holding the fake ones slightly separate, but even after I remove them they won't disappear completely – you'll have made real memories from them. I could take those too, but it'd mean you wouldn't remember what happens now…you might even lose more, memories are tricky things – the way your tiny little human brains associate things with past memories, you could lose anything that even vaguely links to what happens today…"
"No!" He wouldn't take that risk…couldn't risk losing his memories of Sam, of Cas… "No, I dealt with the memories of Hell, I'll deal with this."
"Always the hero, aye Dean-o?" Gabriel chuckled softly, but there was little humour in it. "You know I still think there's a reason it was destined to be you and Sammy – I think perhaps Dad made sure you had the right bloodline because you could do this. Not many people would've told my brothers to go screw themselves – you Winchesters really are something else, and I think perhaps that's why we'll win."
He could only pray he was right, and so he did.
He prayed to a Father he'd spent nearly two thousand years searching for that he was right, and that they would be enough.
Before Dean had a chance to speak, Gabriel donned his customary smirk and raised his eyebrows slightly in challenge.
"You ready kid? Now or never…"
Dean wrapped his arms around the bloodied body in front of him without glancing down again, and nodded. He pretended not to notice the way Gabriel's eyes had flicked down to follow the motion or the pain that filled them briefly at what he saw there. He filed it away as something to be figured out later.
Gabriel disappeared in the blink of an eye, reappearing several feet away between the remaining corpse-less wings, blood coating his chest and pooling on the ground around him. He raised his head slightly to look at first Cas then Dean with a grin, before winking at Sam's 'empty' corner.
With that Dean's world went black, his head feeling like he'd just been thrown through a wall head-first. He tightened his grip on the body he held, and gritted his teeth until the pain began to fade…