Title: Non timebo mala
Characters and/or Pairing: Dean/Gabriel, Sam, Bobby and some surprise characters ;)
Spoilers: Up to 6.11, goes AU from there.
Warnings: cursing, graphic sexual content (male/male), bottom!Gabriel
Word Count: ~ 14 000
Summary: Sequel to Dies Irae. Dean and Gabriel prepare to finish what the archangel started while Sam and Bobby search desperately for the older Winchester brother.
Disclaimer: All names and characters in this story belong to CW/WB and Kripke. I'm making no profit whatsoever. It's just for fun! Don't sue me! =D
AN: This is the eighth and final story of my "Numinous verse"
Un-betad, sorry for that. Ignore my mistakes please!
First Story: Numinous
Dean reached wakefulness slowly, like his body and mind was too lazy to let the hazy sleep behind, slowly reaching awareness like some sated animal stretching out sluggishly. He was warm and comfortable. He already recognized the smell of the soft sheets, it reminded him of mint chocolate, but with that unmistakable scent of rain he associated with Gabriel. He stopped giving a damn about how it might look the way he kept wrapping his body around the archangel's, since there was no one there to see it and it was a really good way to sleep. Well if Gabriel had enough time to stay while Dean slept that is. Now as Dean was slowly waking up he felt as Gabriel was tracing light patterns on the sigil on his back with his fingertips. The angel obviously loved seeing it on Dean's skin, just like his eyes and fingers always lingered on the pendant Dean still wore around his neck. So Dean just shifted to get even closer, his arm tightening around Gabriel's chest, his head still resting on his shoulder, his lips softly pressed to the skin of his neck.
'Slept well?' Gabriel asked. Dean hummed in response as he buried his face in Gabriel's neck even more he was way too comfortable to move and it seemed like the archangel didn't want him to either. Gabriel's hand went up from his back and his fingers slid into his short hair and even if it was just a light shift he also pulled Dean a bit closer. That gesture made Dean take a deep breath, he put a kiss on Gabriel's neck and he pulled himself up, leaning on one elbow so he could look at him. Gabriel looked back and now that Dean saw his face he became aware of the slight tension in him, the way he schooled his face to almost blankness told Dean more than enough.
'Risking sounding like a cliché' he started, but he couldn't make his voice light like he wanted, not really. 'Everything's gonna be fine, nothing can go wrong, you thought of everything.'
'Are you kidding?' Gabriel reacted. 'Thousand things can go wrong' Dean sighed, because the angel was way more anxious than he first thought.
'Look, I'm doing my best here man, but if you start freakin' out, I'm gonna freak out too' he admitted, because he sure as hell won't be able to keep his cool and resolve if Gabriel didn't keep his confidence in all this. Then without thinking too much about it he spoke again.
'Turn around' he said. Gabriel frowned at him for a second, but then did just that. Dean straddled his hips after he was on his stomach. He put his hands down on Gabriel's back. 'And if you mind relaxing so you don't feel like a piece of rock.' He added when he pushed his fingers in, because damn he was tense as marvel. Gabriel took a breath and he became "alive" under Dean's hands. The tense stiffness now felt like soft human skin, muscles and bones. He knew for a fact that Gabriel was practically one with his vessel after so many years, completely comfortable in every cell of the body, probably much more than the crusader that said yes to the archangel back in 1148 AD. Dean teased Gabriel that the guy was pretty short for a knight, but the angel just shrugged it off by saying that back in the day he counted as a rather big guy, humans just got freakishly tall in the past millennia.
Dean knew every part of that body now, but he could never tell which small scar or mark belonged to the vessel and which not, the wound where Raphael stabbed him never faded away and Dean knew that it meant that it left a scar on his true self as well. So sometimes Dean wondered about the scars, which belonged to the vessel and which the angel? Gabriel had a very small scar on his right eyebrow, barely visible. There was a scar on the inside of his left wrist, like something burnt him once. And the most visible were the three gashes on his back, from his right shoulder, across the shoulder blade until his spine. When Dean first saw and asked where they were from Gabriel just looked at him and said that it was 'ancient history'. Dean was a hunter so he recognized right away that those were claw-marks, but the angel's face told him not to ask more about it, so he didn't, he almost dreaded to know what could've possibly scarred an archangel like that.
He stroked the skin under his palms, but then started to put force into it, pushing and kneading the muscles.
'Ok, this is actually pretty awesome' Gabriel told him and Dean had to smile how much lighter his tone became already. So he continued, stroking his neck and shoulders with sure movements until the muscles relaxed and softened, then he continued on his back. He had to slide down a bit when he finished with the shoulder blades to have better leverage and he just couldn't resist with all the naked skin just spread out in front of him. So he leaned down and put a kiss on Gabriel's neck, then once his lips were on the warm skin he didn't want to pull them away. So he put kisses on his neck and shoulders, mapping it with his lips, tasting. He moved even a bit down, his mouth moving, following the long line of the scars.
'I was wrong, this is beyond awesome' Gabriel told him and it made Dean chuckle, but he still didn't want to tear his lips away from the skin. His hands were roaming Gabriel's back and sides, stroking skin and rubbing muscles, digging his fingers into flesh. His breath ghosting over the warm skin between kisses, then he had to lean down to kiss where shoulder met his neck, opening his mouth to lick on the skin to suck the flesh between his lips, to graze his teeth over the sensitive place. Dean's chest was pressed against Gabriel's back so he felt the small shudder that ran through the angel's body and it made his breath hitch, his heartbeat rise and made the slow hum of arousal to flare up in his body. He was already hard – not at all surprising with both of them naked and so close to each other – but as heat washed through his body he instinctively rolled down his hips to search for friction. Gabriel hummed in an almost contented way; Dean felt the vibration in his own chest.
'You want something there, De?' Gabriel asked. 'Because I'm game.'
This made Dean stop abruptly, he pushed himself on his arms and looked down at the angel, he was pretty sure that he misheard that.
'What? Really?' he breathed, and maybe it was because most of his blood was otherwise occupied that he couldn't form his question better.
Gabriel didn't move, but he looked at Dean as he turned his head on to the pillows.
'I admit that it's not something I would offer just to anyone, but yeah really' Dean kept looking at him in a pretty dumbfounded way, which made Gabriel roll his eyes in half-fond, half-annoyed kind of a way, then he moved to turn around so Dean lifted up to give him space. When Gabriel was on his back Dean sat down again and bit on his lips as his dick lined up next to Gabriel's equally hard member, that didn't help him to make his mind work better. One of Gabriel's hands came up to stroke patterns on Dean's hip.
'Ok, I know we really hate having "moments", especially from the chick flick variety' Gabriel said. 'But you might recall out disgustingly romantic exchange of love declarations?' he lifted an eyebrow and Dean grinned. Not just because of the words and how their meaning effected him, but also at the so familiar expression on Gabriel's face, and that smile he just had to kiss, so he did, parting his lips exploring Gabriel's mouth. He pushed his fingers in the soft gold-brown locks of the angel's hair, while he pushed his body onto his, it was still him straddling Gabriel, but they could change that later, now Dean just wanted to feel. He kissed him until he had to pull away so he could take a few deep breaths. For a moment he felt uncertain, because of course he wanted it and Gabriel seemed to be more than okay with it, but it was still something new, another milestone, even if he almost lost count of those along the way, since there was almost no bridge left they haven't crossed yet. And he also knew that what he felt along with the fire burning under his skin was too huge to simply call it 'love', he never wanted it to be gone and it gripped his chest and heart painfully when he thought that he never wanted to lose it. Gabriel pulled him down into a kiss this time and Dean didn't resist.
'My soul' Dean breathed when they parted. 'You wanted… you wanted to mark my soul too.'
'Dean' Gabriel started.
'I'm okay with that now' the hunter said and it surprised even him that the thought didn't concern him, he wasn't anxious about saying it, agreeing to it. 'I want that now' he added. Gabriel looked at him for moment than gave a small nod. 'Okay' Dean smiled. 'So where were we?' he asked playfully, because he didn't want to follow his previous train of thoughts, it was already almost too much to handle and he didn't want to think about anything but the present. 'Oh yes, so as it turns out you only bottom for true love?' he grinned down at the angel. Gabriel grabbed his chin and pulled him down so they were only a breath away.
'Shut up or I flip us over and fuck you instead' he threatened and his tone sent a thrill down Dean's spine even if it didn't manage to make his grin disappear. He moved his legs so that he stopped straddling Gabriel and instead he made space for his body between the angel's legs pushing his thighs apart while settling it.
'Later' he said after and ran his hand down Gabriel's side, while he kept looking down on him. And without wasting any more time he leaned down and sealed his lips on the angel's again, while he rolled his hips down in the same movement. Gabriel gripped the back of his neck and angled Dean's head as they kissed, that touch of dominance from the archangel was enough to ground Dean as his emotions were storming like a whirlwind inside of him the second he thought about what they were about to do, just thinking about being inside of the archangel made him shudder in lust and anticipation. His right hand kept stroking Gabriel's side and thigh, but then he tore his lips away from the angel's to talk, but he kept kissing his jaw and cheek.
'Um… I think we might need some-' he couldn't finish as Gabriel already pushed a small bottle into his hand.
'Anything else?' he asked, Dean shook his head with a smile and continued the kiss.
Gabriel was like a thunderstorm; enormous, dangerous, unchainable wave of power, electric brilliance and all-covering shadow, harsh and mesmerizing but still it brought the scent of fresh rain, purity and when seen in its completeness it was a terrifying beauty worth of awe. Dean often felt overwhelmed being with Gabriel, but never before so much as when he finally covered his fingers in lubricant and slowly pushed in his first finger, breathing the archangel's name into his skin, his heart threatened to burst out of his chest, sweat covered his heated skin. His mind was barely following what he was doing, he took his time opening him up, enjoying every breath, every small noise he could hear from him. He already had three fingers inside, when Gabriel's back arched up from the bed, his muscles tensing for a moment in pleasure.
'Dean, now!' he almost growled as he grabbed Dean's head again in a searing kiss. Dean pulled his fingers out and shifted his body and the second the head of his dick lined up to Gabriel's slick entrance he looked at the archangel.
'Oh… fuck, Gabriel' he breathed as he had to lean down and kiss him, close his eyes as he pushed in, Gabriel's hands on his back, his fingers digging into his skin where the sigil covered it. And Dean felt so much, too much, he could never name it, his mind was nothing but a litany of Gabriel's name as he was slowly encircled in the tight hotness. At that very second it meant more than anything, that he was inside him, inside his terrifying powerful angel. He buried his face in Gabriel's neck when he let go of his lips to suck a mark onto his neck even if he knew it would be gone soon. When he was fully inside he took a deep breath to keep himself grounded, but he heard as Gabriel breathed his name so he started to move, moaning loudly. He dug his fingers into one of Gabriel's thighs as he took up a pace, the first few thrusts slow but still deep and steady then speeding up more. He leaned on his left elbow to look down onto the angel and he just didn't want to tear his eyes away anymore. He pushed his fingers into Gabriel's hair again and the angel's eyes opened and locked on his. It caused Dean to shiver, the way Gabriel's amber eyes were darkened with lust and Dean changed his angle a little, trying to thrust even deeper, it dragged a low moan out of Gabriel.
'Right there, like this, just like this Dean' he panted and Dean loved to see how he was also getting lost in pleasure. Dean thrust his hips forward even harder, not quickening up his speed, but stroking Gabriel's sweet spot with every movement and the angel moaned deliciously under the ministration. Dean felt a rush of power whenever it seemed that Gabriel got lost in lust during sex, but now he felt that more than ever. He mouthed at Gabriel's throat, when the angel threw his head back and he enjoyed feeling the heavy beating pulse, the rushing blood under his lips. Gabriel's grip also became tighter and the angel was meeting his every thrust, pushing back trying to get him deeper. Their bodies moved in perfect synch.
Dean let go of Gabriel thigh and reached between them to wrap his fingers around Gabriel's hard dick. He wanted nothing more but fuck the archangel as long as he came untouched, but he knew he wouldn't last that long, not now, not the first time he was allowed to take him like this. Dean only speeded up a little as he began to stroke the angel, he too felt the edge of his own release, how pleasure just waited to explode in his body.
'So perfect' Dean breathed, he didn't even know what he meant exactly, being together like this, being together or Gabriel himself but he didn't care, he couldn't think and the angel would feel what he felt, words didn't matter so much. 'So fucking perfect.'
Gabriel grabbed his cheeks and pulled him in for a kiss and the hunter felt like his senses exploded all at once and he knew that it was not just the orgasm that washed through his body. But he couldn't tell what he felt or how it felt it was so beyond his comprehension that he didn't even try he just let it happen.
He wasn't sure whether he blacked out for a second there or not, but he was panting heavily when he opened his eyes, his head was on Gabriel's chest, his forehead resting on his collarbone. Gabriel's chest was rapidly rising and sinking as well and Dean felt the hot wetness between their bodies, okay at least he didn't pass out without getting Gabriel off too, so that was good. He gathered his strength and moved, pulled out before moving only a bit over and collapsing back onto Gabriel, he was an archangel he wouldn't be crushed under Dean's weight that was sure.
'You're really something' breathed Gabriel and it made Dean laugh in a pleased way.
'That last bit thought, that was you, right?' he asked. 'The mark?'
'That's right' Gabriel answered.
'So that's like… forever, or you can just take it down again, make it disappear?'
'Maybe I could, but I don't want it gone… ever' and the fierce almost possessive tone in his voice was more assuring than anything else.
'So even if I'm really dead, like for good… you will still know where I am an could come to me?' Gabriel hummed in confirmation. 'Okay' Dean said, his arms tightening around Gabriel. 'It's forever then so you better fucking stay forever, you understand me?' Gabriel laid his hand on his sigil, pulling Dean closer for a moment.
'I'll do my best' he answered. He put another kiss on Dean's lips then he sat up.
'It's go time?' Dean asked.
'Yes, let's go' Gabriel answered.
Sam and Bobby were searching for days after Dean disappeared at the Devils Lake and not surprisingly, there was no sign of him. No matter which one of his numbers he called he didn't even get a voicemail, just a pleasant female voice telling him that the number he tried to call is out of service. Sam wanted to smash his own cell to the wall when he heard the same automatic answer for the third time. It seemed like Dean didn't even want to give him a chance.
Well they obviously would've tried to find Dean by the GPS in his phone if they could've so probably that was the reason why none of his phones were working. It left Sam with the thought that his brother was either still close to them or he planned to return.
Bobby wanted to focus on the symbol Gabriel apparently managed to finish. When he and Rufus arrived to Greys Lake is was soon obvious for them that whatever supernatural presence was there it was already long gone, left only the confused police and some mourning relatives. By Dean's words the last focus of the symbol was done by him at Devils Lake so Bobby didn't understand why nothing went down so far, but as far as he could tell – and Rufus was out checking out some of the towns involved – everything was quiet.
That gave more reason for Sam to focus on finding his brother, but he had nowhere to start. He was close to doing a summoning spell for Gabriel, but Bobby quickly talked him out of it, the archangel was not stupid and even if he was forced to appear they won't be able to trap him or wound him, mostly because all the holy oil they had was in the Impala's trunk and that disappeared along with Dean. Sam still had the witch-knife from Ruby, but no angel blades and no nothing. The only thing they could do to an angel was banishing it and that wouldn't have helped them one bit.
So Sam was frustrated to say the least, but after three days Bobby managed to get him to work on the meaning of the symbol instead. The older hunter pointed out that since Dean was involved in it maybe if they figure out what Gabriel's gameplan was they will know where to look for Dean.
Sam tried his best to focus at the task at hand, to bury himself in research trying to find out more, but sometimes he couldn't do anything but stop as the image of his brother turning around and walking away came into his mind. Dean never turned his back on him. Dean didn't trust him and they got separated (at Sam's suggestion) after Lucifer rose and it seemed like he wanted nothing to do with him anymore, but it was him who called again offered to team up and fight together. This… this felt different. Dean wasn't desperate with an apocalypse looming over their heads; he wasn't deeply hurt or betrayed. He was calm and certain, he talked with a conviction he usually reserved to the people and things he believed in with absolute certainty. Sam didn't want to think about it, but as the days passed and he replayed their last conversation in his head over and over again he couldn't help, but feel that Gabriel managed to get something Heaven almost desperately wanted for two years, Dean Winchester's loyalty. And love, Sam reminded himself bitterly, he knew it was true even if he hated it, Gabriel had his brother's love as well.
He still couldn't believe that Dean would side with someone else but him. Dean was always there and Sam's chest clenched painfully at the possibility that he won't be anymore. He almost desperately clung to the thought that Gabriel did something to his brother to get him on his side, because he couldn't allow himself to think of the other option, that his brother was finally – maybe rightfully after everything – abandoning him. He didn't even know what he might've done to him while he didn't have his soul but he didn't try to get to the memories, it was too dangerous, he knew that now and if something happened again this time there would be no archangel flying in to fix him.
Sam's been staring at the map and the symbol and at books way too long. But they didn't even know where to start. Did it have anything to do with heaven and the angels? Not like the way too enormous Gabriel-lore could be in any way helpful. Gabriel had tricksters with him, they were sure of that. The name "Coyote" and "Raven" were easily recognizable so Sam assumed that the other who were in Bobby's house for a few days were probably some sort of gods as well. That took Sam to Norse Mythology, most info on "Loki" was not new for him, and he didn't like the new information he found one bit, because aside from the few tales of adventures and banters all other texts were about deadly jokes, mythical monsters and Ragnarök. In any other situation he would've found it interesting how Gabriel and Loki were both considered as the signalers of the end of the world – probably not a coincidence – but this time he just snorted. He was 99% sure that no matter what Dean would never help Gabriel do his own little pagan apocalypse, he was also pretty sure that Gabriel would not want to do it himself, but he only put that around 60% because everything considered he still thought that he was a grade-A bastard.
So aside from the tremendous amount of information, myths and lore on Gabriel and Loki that could've filled up a smaller library they had jack squat. Even the symbol didn't help, because just its form without any symbols didn't tell what it was for. Sam's eyes widened when he realized it.
'I got it!' he exclaimed. Bobby looked up from his own book. 'The symbol… it's unfinished.'
'What do you mean unfinished, your brother said-'
'That he finished the last focus, the towns. It's just dots Bobby, we linked the dots together to see the symbol, but it's not there, we just have the focus points. No lines, no symbols… it's the frame.'
'They need a ritual' Bobby concluded. And Sam blamed them being worried about Dean that they didn't think of this sooner. They had to activate it, whatever it was, because only the focus-points were nothing and since they couldn't exactly draw giant lines over nine states they had to make a spell or a ritual to make the symbol real.
Bobby and Sam spread the map on the desk to look at the symbol again.
'Would they have to do it in the centre?' Sam asked. 'Worthington?' That was where Gabriel got rid of the water sprites in the Okabena Lake.
'Not necessarily' Bobby answered. 'Maybe at the point of the last focus, maybe at the first or maybe it doesn't matter they just have to be inside the outer lines.'
'Okay, so if it's a ritual, what are they waiting for? It's been almost a week.'
'Rituals sometimes need to be done at a specific date.'
'The Spring Equinox was a few days ago' Sam said. 'Is there any other significant pagan date around this time?
'Nothing in the next few weeks' Bobby answered. 'I doubt they would wait that long.'
'Then what? No full moon, no new moon' Sam kept roaming his mind and he was about to go back to his laptop when Bobby groaned and looked up at the ceiling, clearly annoyed.
'It's nothing pagan. Tomorrow is the 26th of March' the older hunter said with, Sam just frowned at him in confusion. 'That's the day of the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel.'
'I don't remember that holiday from Pastor Jim' Sam said with a frown.
'Because it's an Orthodox feast day, but it still means that millions of people will be praying to him, invoke his name and worship him. Call me crazy but that sounds just like the perfect time for him to do some heavy spell work.'
'But how does that add up with all the pagan deities involved in this?' Sam questioned.
'Maybe he just asked his buddies to help him out' Bobby said. 'Or it is a pagan ritual, but it doesn't matter how he boosts his powers.'
'Okay, we have the date, but that doesn't give us the location, just that we almost ran out of time' Sam said in a frustrated tone. 'There's gotta be a reason he involved the pagans' he said after a moment. 'For something he couldn't do alone, maybe with the doors or the preparations.'
'What doors?' Bobby asked.
'That's what Dean said. He opened the last door' Sam repeated. 'I told you that.'
'No you didn't ya idjit' grumbled Bobby. 'If the focus-points of the symbols are doors' the older hunter murmured being deep in thought. 'The stranger, the one Dean left with. What did he look like?' he asked suddenly. Sam thought about it for a second.
'He was tall, almost my height. I didn't see his face as he was wearing some sort of a hat. Long dark overcoat, that's about it. He and Dean definitely knew each other. And he appeared in those dark blue flames, and he and Dean walked back into it before they disappeared. I definitely told you that before.'
'Yes, but now that I know that bit about the door…' Bobby trailed off as he walked to one of his bookshelves obviously looking for something, after a few moments he pulled a big leather-bound book out and opened it. 'Something like this?' he asked then he put the book down in front of Sam, now opened. On the right side were some types of runes Sam couldn't read, but on the left side was a picture, a copper engraving that showed a man in a long dark coat or cloak, he had a wide-brimmed hat on his head and he was encircled with flames. Some of the flames were shown as they were transforming into wild looking black foxes baring their teeth.
'Yeah, exactly… minus the foxes' he added and Bobby cursed under his breath. 'Who is this?' Bobby ran a hand down his face.
'Someone big if it's really him' the older hunter replied. 'He's called Urdung and before people gave that title to Lucifer, he was the one to be called The Devil.'
'What?' Sam couldn't hide the shock from his voice.
'He's a pagan god' Bobby continued. 'One of the very old ones, a creator god, which makes him more powerful than your average deity, but when you see him like that… he's also known as the Dark Traveler' he put a finger on the picture. 'He walks the earth and it's his habit to make bets with humans to see if they become corrupted, when they pass his test he rewards them if they fail they get punished. Some worshipped him as some kind of a Guardian Spirit, who brings good luck or bad luck to humans, everyone gets what he thinks they deserve.'
'Like a trickster' Sam concluded.
'Exactly' Bobby agreed. 'But he's more than that' he continued. 'He can be summoned and he's always willing to seal a deal, but he doesn't ask for the soul, but for the human's child.'
'He takes children?'
'He grants a wish and comes back seven years later and takes the youngest child of the human he sealed a deal with.'
'Shit!' Sam cursed. 'How can Dean-'
'That's not all' Bobby interrupted him. 'Lore said he is the Lord of his Lands, the absolute king of his own realm. People assumed him to be the Lord or the Underworld, but we know that Hell is not the place where pagan gods hang out.'
'You think that's where the doors lead, his realm?' Sam asked.
'Or just one of the doors' Bobby said. 'There were sprites in Worthington, maybe Gabriel let a door open when he shoved their asses back to their own world. The thing is that we don't know what could be out there at this point. Those doors could lead anywhere, places we never even heard of and this guy… he's bad news.' The hunter said as he tapped the picture of Urgung in the book again.
'A trickster god that has to be paid with children, so I figured that.'
'Ya think?' Bobby asked and turned a page in the book. Sam looked down, one side was again covered in the same runes, but the picture in the other side was different. It showed a pitch-black faun, with long claws and horns.
'What is this?' Sam asked.
'Same guy' Bobby answered. 'When he's pissed. He usually doesn't kill humans. The only way to really anger him is if you mess with his kids, you harm one of those and you'll have to face his fury and he is capable of every nasty thing you can possibly imagine from someone who's labeled as a Devil. And his kids are the children he took. And guess what…' Bobby turned a few pages in the book; there were only small pictures in the corners when he finally found the page he was looking for. 'No longer men, but not devils themselves, spoiled, clever mischievous creatures of chaos, playful and delighted by disobeying rules and playing with men and women alike. Does that sound familiar to you?'
'Tricksters' Sam said. 'What's that supposed to mean, this guy's like the big daddy Trickster? Father of all?' Sam asked.
'Not every one of them, tricksters are dime a dozen all around the globe, from full-fledged pagan gods to demigods and animal spirits, but yes many of them are, probably most, and from what I understand from the texts, after all the time they spend on the other side with their new loving father who wraps them in his power, almost soaking them in magic and protection, when they come back they're closer to demigods than humans.'
'So they come over to mess with humans, but if you harm them daddy comes and kills you, very nice.'
'Well, he's a dangerous one I give you that even if mostly only to humans who commit evil. Anyways, we can find' Bobby added after a beat of silence.
'If it's really him and he's helping Gabriel with all this then he probably will be there when the ritual goes down and for humans he is easy to find when he's in this world.'
'Good, then let's find him' Sam said with absolute conviction. Gabriel alone was a bigger threat than anything so a big shot pagan god didn't really matter in Sam's opinion at this point.
Fox Lake, Wisconsin
'Are we being symbolic here or something?' Dean asked and both Gabriel and Urdung looked at him for a second. 'Fox Lake' he added if it wasn't obvious from the start. The archangel just smiled and made a "Go on" gesture at Urdung. The god looked out at the lake before turning his dark eyes back at Dean.
'Well, we are most certainly symbolic in the way that we're close to water since that makes it much easier for Gabriel to channel his powers, but you already knew that. As for the name "Fox", the Winnebago Indians simply called it Hosh-a-rac-ah-tah first, it was only later when people in need, close to death or getting lost in these waters were mysteriously saved by a man whom the shaman called "The Big Fox" did they change its name.'
'Mysteriously' Gabriel repeated while he lifted his eyebrow pointedly. Dean chuckled.
'And even if the natives no longer live here people kept the name' Urdung continued pointedly ignoring Gabriel. 'A name is a powerful thing, young hunter, especially in magic, even more so it is important what that name represents.'
'So this lake was named after you so it's linked to you and not because it's called fox in general' Dean concluded.
'Correct' Urdung nodded with a slight smile on his lips. Dean gazed up at the still dark sky and the thick clouds above them, he knew there will be a storm, a heavy one, but that was given.
'Are you well Gabriel?' spoke Urdung and Dean turned his head back on the two. Gabriel had his face turned towards the sky with his eyes closed.
'Prayers' Gabriel said as he opened his eyes. 'This is the day when it's worship and not pleading. Makes my grace burn… let's start.'
'I'm almost there Bobby' Sam shouted into the phone. 'What do you know?'
'-range lights, heavy storms the-rything fits- it started in- nsas and Missouri-'
'I can't hear you Bobby!' Sam shouted as the line was breaking up, Sioux Falls was way inside the symbol and in the seven hours Sam's been driving down Highway 90 even in the dark he could see how storm clouds were gathering in the sky hiding all stars and light. The sun was coming up now, but it only managed to make the deep dark blue clouds to black and grey.
'No dama-ower outrage-but whatever it is-'
'Bobby! Repeat that!' Sam told him.
'No sign of any- in the other towns it's only hap- Fox Lake.' Sam knew enough.
'I call you when I found Dean!' Sam said into the phone then he hung up, he pushed the gas down even more, grateful that the old land rover Bobby lent to him was in top condition. He passed the sign pointing him towards Randolph so he was only minutes away from the lake.
Dean stood a bit away from Gabriel. Urdung did his part opening a pass way, his dark flames burning on the surface of the lake, while thunder rang high up in the sky and storm clouds covered every trace of light that tried to filter through from the upcoming sun. Only Gabriel stood at the edge of the water, Dean was watching him; he's never seen him be like that. His skin was almost glowing with power and Dean knew that this was only the beginning. He saw as Lucifer broke out of his cage with his own eyes, but this… this took his breath away, his skin was covered with goose bumps and it was not the morning chill of the air, his heart was beating vehemently and he felt as adrenaline rushed in his veins.
'…shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him' Urdung spoke standing next to him. 'Luke 1:12' at Dean's widened eyes he added. 'It's that propaganda nonsense from Gabriel's so-called father.' Dean smiled, but it was not a true smile, he was too tense for that. 'Be calm young hunter… it is almost time.' Dean nodded firmly then Urdung swiftly disappeared from his side in a flick of dark flame. He would know, when every door was open, he would see it is what Gabriel said and he was ready for that.
'Dean!' the older Winchester brother swiftly turned on his heel at the voice.
Sam ran down on the last of the Chief Kuno Trail and by the time he noticed his brother and a bit further away the archangel he was out of breath. He stopped dead in his track when the second after Dean turned around he drew a gun out of his jacket. They stood like that for a few long moments only the sound of thunder, the stormy waters and the flickering of fire was heard.
'You gonna shoot me?' Sam asked. Dean's eyes were locked on him.
'Tranquilizer gun, Sammy' Dean supplied. 'I don't underestimate you y'know, so I expected you to find us.'
Even in the low light Sam could see that when he actually looked at the gun closely, it eased some of the pressure in him.
'And yeah, I'm more than willing to shoot you with this' Dean added. 'Turn around and walk away.'
'No' Sam answered. 'What you're doing here? It's insane! I'm trying to help you, get you out of this!'
'I don't need your help! I don't want to get out of this, I do exactly what I have to do, so you either walk away now or you're going to sleep.'
Dean's face was determined.
'He did something to you, Dean. Why won't you believe me?'
'And why can't you trust me?' Dean shouted. 'After everything, everything I've done for you! Trust, Sam! To have fucking faith in my once in our fucking life without questioning me, without fighting me!'
Thunder rang loudly in the sky as the flames on the lake flared up. Dean briefly looked over his shoulder at Gabriel, even Sam's eyes widened as it seemed like the light was pouring out of his skin, making him dazzling to look at.
'If I ever meant something to you… Sam' Dean looked back at him. 'You asked me to trust you, even if what you wanted to do was something my whole being screamed against… and I did… I let you make that choice… do the same! Don't stop me.' he said as he turned around and ran down to the lakeside and Sam found that his legs didn't want to move. He was torn, everything he thought told him to move, his mind was screaming at him to run after Dean, to draw a sigil and banish Gabriel, but his body didn't move, couldn't. He knew that look in Dean's hazel-green eyes, it meant clearly that his decision was long made and not even Sam had a chance to change that. Then Dean's voice rang in the air and Sam knew his chance to stop him slipped away.
Dean knew the words, repeated them in the past weeks so many times that he felt like it was seared in his brain. And Gabriel was right; he knew when the time arrived. When he saw the crystal glowing in front of Gabriel, just floating above his outstretched hand, white brilliance storming within it, fighting to be let free, he knew that this was it.
'I call upon the Archangel Raphael, master of the air, to make open the way. I invoke you great grace of purity, guide of travelers lead us towards those we are waiting for, those who are waiting for us!'
The crystal in front of Gabriel shattered into million pieces and Dean had to close his eyes from the brilliance that broke out. It made the almost darkness shine and the grace of an archangel wrapped around the dark flames and Gabriel. The first bright lightning lit up the sky as heavy wind started to blow.
'I call upon the Archangel Gabriel, master of waters and rain, to make open the way. I invoke you great grace of strength, spirit of truth and judgment your guidance will light the path of glory!'
Gabriel's eyes lit up with power as his grace shone brightly, the dark flames slowly consumed and washed away. Lightning struck down, one after another and Dean knew he had to move away now. The last thing he saw was as lightning flared up around Gabriel, looking like they were his wings and it was enough of a sign, it was familiar enough for Dean to know that the invocation worked so he turned around. He started running up the pathway, just barked a short "C'mon" at Sam and it seemed like his younger brother was not in the mood to argue about that. When they were in the right distance – Gabriel repeated about thousand times how far he had to go – he stopped and got down onto the ground into the green grass, pulling his brother down along with him.
'No matter what happens, keep your eyes closed!' he shouted at him, because with the heavy wind and the thunderstorm above the lake it was hard to be heard. Sam looked at him for a moment, like he wanted to speak, but then he shut his eyes tightly. Dean did the same, after all this he could do nothing but wait. He did his part it was all up to Gabriel now.
Sam lost track of time, with his eyes closed and the sound of the storm around them he had no idea how much time passed, the rain started falling at one point, heavy cold drops of water hitting his skin and soaking his clothes almost instantly.
And then everything went silent, abruptly, like a switch was flipped. He wasn't sure it was safe to open his eyes yet, but when he felt and heard that Dean moved he did it. His brother was already on his feet, so Sam stood up too. He couldn't get a word out as Dean was already walking back towards the lakeside, every step a bit faster than the previous. When he could see the bank he started running, but Sam just stood there with wide eyes.
The sky already cleared up there was no fire, no storm or rain, the sun was up and morning sunlight glistered on the water-surface. Gabriel stood there, no longer shining with power; he fell to his knees a second before Dean reached him. Sam hurried down the pathway too. The dark god Urdung appeared next to Dean and the archangel before Sam got there. He too kneeled down; he put a hand on Gabriel's cheek, turning his face towards his own. He whispered quiet word and the angel nodded. Dean kneeled right next to the angel too, seemingly supporting him. Urdung stood up after that. Dean and Gabriel also exchanged a few quiet words.
'This managed to surprise me and I don't easily get surprised' heard Sam a cold voice not far away from them. He never saw the man before, but his sight sent a cold shiver down his spine. He was an old skinny man with dark hair; he wore a dark grey suit with a light-grey tie and a dark coat, he had a thin black cane in his hand and was looking at Gabriel with a particular expression on his face.
Gabriel went to stand up and after a frown Dean helped him. The man walked closer.
'I may have to change my resolve about picking up strays if they are as resourceful as you are.' Gabriel didn't answer and neither did Dean, even the dark god was just watching as the man walked closer to the lakeside and gazed at the water calmly.
'I admit I was doubtful when you said that you are capable of all that you have promised, but here we are, everything is perfectly done.'
He turned and walked closer to Dean and Gabriel; the archangel straightened up, but didn't step away. The man stopped only two steps away from them.
'Dean, it's been a while' he greeted, Dean nodded curtly. 'And again' the man mused while he kept his dark eyes on the hunter. 'A surprise, certainly not the first concerning you, but still I expected Gabriel to be forced to use more drastic measures to drill my lessons into your head.'
'Yeah well' Dean cleared his throat. 'He's resourceful as you said.'
Sam just watched the man and tried to wrap his head around the conversation with not much luck, he had a suspicion of who the man could've been, but he didn't dare to guess.
'We had a deal' said Gabriel and he sounded completely exhausted, his voice was wrecked and faint and he seriously looked like someone who might pass out any second and was only standing on his own feet by sheer willpower.
'Indeed' the man turned to him. 'Still not being selfish?' he asked. 'Are you sure of your decision?'
'Do you have a new offer?' Gabriel asked in return.
'No' came the firm answer.
'Then yes, I'm sure.' Sam saw as Dean's hand tightened around Gabriel's arm at those words.
'Very well' the man told him as he stepped away. He raised his hand and he reached towards something until his hand disappeared into thin air. A moment later he started pulling back his arm. What Sam first saw was a small hand he held, but soon enough a girl stepped through seemingly from nothing or from wherever beyond the man had reached out.
She didn't look more than nineteen or twenty to Sam, she had long gold-brown hair, almost blond and she wore a plain white dress. She looked around in confusion for a moment, but then her eyes widened when he looked at Dean and Gabriel.
'Hel' Gabriel said, his voice was barely above a whisper, but it was so quiet that Sam could hear him perfectly.
'Go on child, you are free' said the man and the girl tore away from him and ran. She didn't stop until she was in Gabriel's arms. The archangel held her tightly, stroking her hair. Gabriel didn't or maybe couldn't keep him and her up as they sank down to the ground. Sam saw as his brother tried to move, kneel down too, but then thought better of it and just stood there.
'You paid for your life and her freedom, but not your own' spoke the man again looking at Gabriel. The angel looked up at him, but didn't let go of the girl in his arms. 'Like this you are still indebted to me.'
'Understood' Gabriel replied, sounding relieved even to Sam and the younger Winchester saw as his brother visibly relaxed after the last exchanged words too.
'Dean, it was good seeing you again' the man said as he looked at the hunter again.
'Likewise' Dean answered shortly, averting his eyes after looking at the man for a moment.
'Urdung' looked the man at the god.
'A pleasure as always my Lord' said the dark god as he bowed before him.
In the next blink the man was gone and the dark god moved closer to Gabriel, Dean and the girl. Dean turned.
'I'll see you later Sammy' he said.
'No, Dean wait… please…' Sam reacted immediately. Dean looked down onto Gabriel and the girl for a second then he looked back at his brother.
'I'm sorry, Sam. But not now' he said. 'I'll come back' was what he said last and Sam could only blink at the erupting flames around them, when he opened his eyes again they were gone. His brother once again gone, he still was torn and confused about everything, only his chest didn't hurt as much as it did the last time he was left alone on a lakeside.
Dean would've never thought that it was possible for an archangel to pass out, but Gabriel did. The second they arrived back to the angel's home, Dean told him the first time he was there that it was his super villain lair, because really: a luxurious place in a desert island in the middle of nowhere. Not like Dean didn't like the place, on the contrary, but it was still pretty theatrical.
So Gabriel passed out so they dropped him down onto the bed and Hel just crawled up on top of the blankets and lay down facing him, silently staring at his face, obviously waiting for him to wake up. She didn't speak a word since she showed up and Dean had no idea what to say to her especially since Gabriel was out. Urdung tapped his shoulder and gestured with his hand so Dean followed him out.
'Gabriel exhausted his powers almost completely' the god said when they were out of the bedroom. 'It may take a few hours before he becomes aware of his surroundings again, but worry not he is well.'
'And um… Hel… is there anything I should be doing or something?' he asked, because he sure had no idea what.
'She does not know you, so maybe just let her be for a while. They did not see each other in centuries so it would be probably kind of you to give them some time when Gabriel wakes up.'
'No problem' that was easy, to wait until Gabriel woke up.
'And before I forget' he turned and reached inside of his coat. 'I meant to give this to you.'
Dean automatically reached out for the object and was surprised when he saw what it was.
'Umm… a ring?' he asked while he looked at the traveler.
'I can assure you it is not meant as a token of affection' the god deadpanned and that made Dean laugh quietly. It was a silver ring not much wider than the one he used to wear for years. But this was not just some piece of silver, it had engravings all around.
'The one ring to rule them all?' he asked, because really he couldn't leave that one out.
'Hardly' Urdung said after a small chuckle. 'But many of my children are in this world, living their lives and given your… profession I certainly don't want any conflicts in case you happen to run into one of them. They will recognize you as our friend if you have this.'
Dean looked at the ring than at the god for a long second, he knew it exactly what a big deal it was when the Traveler offered friendship and the hunter was dumbfounded for a short time.
'Thank you' he said when he caught himself that he didn't say anything. 'Really, I'm grateful' the ring slipped into his right ring finger smoothly, a perfect fit, but he was sure he won't be using this one for opening beers. 'And um… the good fortune, I never thanked you for that in person.'
'That was nothing but a small gesture on my part, believe me, but you are welcome.' Urdung put his hat on again. 'Tell Gabriel that I would be very pleased to see him again soon.'
'Yeah sure' Dean nodded as the god turned around and walked out of the house. The hunter stood there for a while, but then felt hungry and since he had nothing better to do he headed to the kitchen.
One of the funny things about Gabriel's place (villain lair) was that every room looked like a page from a catalogue and it was possible that the archangel just snapped all into reality from a freakin' magazine, but Dean still liked it. He liked the black and white tiles and red armchair and black leather couch in the living room/kitchen. It was really way too 1960s with all the chrome on the chairs and the table, the mosaic-like walls, plastic-like furniture and the wooden kitchen cabinets, the strange looking lamps and of course the enormous paintings of chicks all around. Dean asked him why he liked all the retro stuff that much, but the angel just told him that those were fun years. Dean got used to it as it being part of Gabriel, just like the TV shows, pagan buddies, candy and the old issues of "Weekly World News" scattered around and on the coffee table and… Renfield. He thought when he heard the growl.
'Hey you little bastard' Dean greeted and the dog growled some more. And for a ridiculous little Jack Russell Terrier he could look pissed. Dean wasn't convinced that he was a real dog, he had a deep suspicion that it was some nasty creature that Gabriel snapped into the form of a small dog so he could keep it as a pet and he was hundred percent sure that the little freak was out to get him. Not that the feeling was not mutual, because he had at least half dozen things on his "How to kill Renfield" list too. Sadly he was also sure that even if he managed to execute one of his brilliant plans Gabriel would just bring the bloodthirsty little snot back. On the other hand it was a reassuring thought that if Renfield managed to kill him first Gabriel would probably resurrect him too. Draw.
'Yeah I hate you too' he told the dog and that just barked back at him. 'But guess what, you don't have opposable thumbs so only I can open the fridge' he grinned at him evilly and the dog stared back. Yeah he was trained on Castiel staring at him for minutes so no luck there pal. He might have spent way too much time doing the staring contest thing with him, but every time Renfield lost was a feeling of pure victory.
After he won the annual starting match he went to the fridge to make some food. He might've done everything slower than he usually would have, because even without Urdung telling him he knew exactly how long it was since Gabriel saw his daughter.
When Gabriel broke out this piece of information about what he was doing Dean was shocked to say the least, because he knew that there was a lot of stupid nonsense in mythology and he simply assumed this to be one of those. He of course asked about the others, because he might not like research, but he was good at his job and new basic mythology stuff like that so he knew there were others not just Hel, but Gabriel was very tight-lipped about the whole thing. The only thing Dean knew for sure that Hel was trapped while all the others were dead.
He didn't know what happened to Gabriel's sons, but the angel always became very still when asked and he always avoided to give straight answers. Dean stopped asking after the second time, because what happened was definitely not a cheerful story one tells while laughing and drinking beer. So Dean didn't push it, he knew Gabriel would tell him eventually and there was no need to hurry. Maybe he too wasn't sure whether he was ready to hear it or not.
He ate his breakfast – and gave some food to that little bastard too – but then he lay down onto the couch. He only meant to close his eyes for a bit, but he barely slept last night with all the things he knew would go down and all the tension finally eased out of him, they were done, things went well, Hel was out and Death didn't take Gabriel back, so everything was good. Dean promptly slipped into sleep after a few minutes.
The first thought that ran through Dean's head when he woke up was "Renfield didn't kill me in my sleep", that made him chuckle even before he opened his eyes. His second thought was Gabriel so he got up to check up on him. He stopped and hesitated for a moment when he heard talking from inside, but went in anyway.
Both Gabriel and Hel looked up at him.
'Hey, sorry to interrupt' He said, Gabriel looked sleepy, sort of tired and while Dean might've called him "cute" to tease him normally he kept the observation to himself this time. Hel on the other hand was looking at him searchingly and she stood up from the bed a moment later.
'So' she said as she walked closer, her voice wad calm and soothing, not too deep, but also not as light and high as he would've expected from such a small and thin girl. 'This is Dean' she finished.
'Yeah' Dean answered and boy, he was just as tense as he imagined he would be.
'My father tells me you're more than a pretty face' she continued.
'Nah, he totally just tries to make me look better. I would say I'm just the muscle, but that would be a load of bull considering this whole "human" thing I got going.' He heard that Gabriel laughed quietly from his spot on the bed watching the exchange.
'A pretty face with an attitude then' Hel told him. 'Do I need to make a detailed, creative description of all the horrible, painful things I will do to you if you betray the trust my father has in you?' she asked, while staring at him without blinking, but again Dean was used to that.
'Nope, message is loud and clear' he told her with a charming smile.
'Good' she said, she stepped him aside and left the room.
'This is the second threat I get on your behalf' Dean told the angel as he started walking towards the bed.
'Cas' Dean explained and that made the archangel laugh again. 'Speaking of, did he get Balthazar yet?' Dean asked.
'Set and Eris just delivered him locked, bound and wrapped up with a bow for Castiel' Gabriel informed him. And Dean was still surprised at how Cas handled this all, because while he was not openly against Gabriel's ritual he also didn't really want to get involved, but they needed Heaven's attention to be elsewhere, and trust Castiel to ask a favor in exchange for a favor, the sneaky little bastard. Gabriel explained it to him that if some angels asked unwanted questions this way Castiel would be able to say that he did everything for capturing Balthazar and getting back the Heavenly weapons. And Dean saw how most angels would be willing to get behind that explanation, so like he said, Cas was a sneaky bastard, but everybody won with that arrangement so there was no need to complain. And he bet that douche Balthazar did not expect some "insignificant little pagans" to kick his ass, but Dean met Eris and while she was freakin hot she was also one dangerous little thing. Earth was the gods playing field and Balthazar was still a new player around here.
Dean dropped himself down to the bed next to Gabriel. The angel surprised him when he unceremoniously flopped down half on top of Dean, using him as a big pillow.
'Tired?' he asked while he chuckled and moved to get into a more comfortable position, Gabriel just moved closer, now really lying halt on top of him, his head on his chest, his arm thrown over Dean's torso.
'I feel like that stupid regular bunny in the Duracell commercials' Gabriel mumbled and Dean burst out laughing.
'You did not just compare yourself to a bunny' Dean said while trying to stop laughing.
'Shut up' Gabriel mumbled again against his chest. The angel was obviously not used to being tired.
'Ok, but really, how you feelin'?' Dean asked when he managed to stop laughing.
'Drained, but ok. Seems like the extra grace will take up permanent residence though, I can feel it.'
'That good or bad, it's not gonna make you vessel explode or anything, right? Because man, it would be a bitch getting used to a new you.'
'No threat like that, this is my true vessel in can hold me even if my power increased' Gabriel was still just mumbling most of the words so Dean seriously expected him to be out again soon. When there was silence for a few minutes he thought that he really fell asleep, but then Gabriel spoke again.
'Do you want to stay here with us for a while?' he asked.
'Yeah, sure' Dean answered almost without thinking.
'Sam's waiting for you' Gabriel reminded him.
'Sam's a big boy, he can wait' Dean answered.
'You're gonna miss him' Gabriel said and it was not a question they both knew that.
'Yeah, but I won't regret this' Dean said with certainty. 'If Sam needs me, I can still be there for him.'
'I never expected you to choose me' Gabriel admitted.
'Well, you didn't ask me to choose, only wanted what I could give' Dean answered and he knew that it was one of the things that mattered to him much.
'That's why?' the archangel asked.
'Yeah' Dean answered. 'That and you're really-really awesome in bed' he finished with a smirk that the angel couldn't see, but surely could hear in his voice. Gabriel's laugh sounded tired, but it was definitely delighted.
Two months later…
Sam sat in a diner terrace, it was still morning, but the sun shone brightly and it was just the right weather so he didn't want to get inside. He wanted to have a quick breakfast before he continued his way to a possible haunting a state over. He already drowned his coffee and was in the middle of finishing up his omelet when he almost dropped his fork. By the time he noticed the movement from his right Dean already sat down on the opposite side of the table. Easily, like so many times over the years.
'Hey there Sam' he greeted. Sam just stared at his brother for long moments.
'Two months Dean. Two fucking months' he imagined many times what he would do when he found Dean again, from brotherly hugs to attempt of murder everything ran through his head, now he just tried to stay calm. 'I've been looking for you' he said finally.
'I know' Dean answered. 'We've been keeping an eye on you' he explained.
'I'm still hidden from angels' Sam replied. Dean just chuckled then looked around turning on the bench until his eyes stopped on something. He waved his hand at someone, like a greeting or a calling then turned back to Sam. The younger Winchester just wanted to ask what that was about when a huge bird landed on their table. Sam didn't jump, but he was willing to admit that he startled for a second.
'Sam, meet Crow' Dean introduced and the bird cawed at him. Sam looked at Dean for a second like he was crazy.
'Crow's a good friend so he agreed to keep an eye on you, y'know in case you end up in some big trouble.' The crow shook himself then fluttered over to the back of the bench Dean was sitting on. Dean looked at Sam like he expected him to get something, but Sam had no idea what to make with that look.
'This is not a bird' Sam concluded.
'Right now he is' Dean answered. 'But no, Crow's a trickster Sammy.'
'You got some demigod to stalk me?' Sam asked and again he was pretty close to getting angry.
'No, of course not, Crow's an animal spirit, not a demigod' it was clearly meant as a joke, but Sam wasn't in the mood to laugh, nor did he get what was meant to be funny in it. 'C'mon, it's not that creepy. He can't take on human form only different animal shapes if that makes you feel better.' He added and the bird cawed again like in affirmation.
'Yeah, thanks' Sam told him in an annoyed voice.
'I just wanted to show you that I didn't abandon you, y'know.'
'Well it feels like it' Sam replied and he knew that the hurt was easily recognizable in his voice, but he wanted it to be. He wanted Dean to know how hard these two months were for him.
'But it certainly gave you enough time to calm down, and the way I know you, to think everything over thoroughly, that's really something I wanted you to do, because it's up to you what happens from now on.'
'That man' Sam started, because he was going to get some answers now dammit. 'At the lake, it was Death wasn't he?'
'Yes' Dean answered.
'He brought Gabriel back.'
'True, but it's more like Gabriel offered him a deal if he resurrected him, he bought his own life from him.'
'The symbol and the ritual, Death said he was surprised Gabriel could pull it off. I've done a lot of research, but I still don't know what it was.' Dean leaned back on the bench that made Crow to shift a bit next to him, spreading his black wings for a second before settling down again.
'Don't expect me to get into some of the details, because we're talking about heavy-weight magic here and I could only understand bits of it. But to make it simple… On one hand it was sort of a seal, they had to build this frame, all the doors and passages, linked together, reaching all worlds that are linked to ours to recreate the balance that was disturbed in the past years. And that's a lot, what the angels did with all the time travel and intervening and resurrecting it screwed up the natural order of things so bad that it was… how did… um… yes fracturing the stability of… the edges of our reality… damn I should've brought someone to help me explain this shit.' He huffed out a laugh.
'And that sounds very sinister, but it causes what exactly?' Sam asked.
'The monster activity, the creatures popping up in unexpected places, how their numbers increased, that was because of this' Dean told him.
'It was easier to get over from other places, y'know like all the fairies suddenly roaming the land while they weren't seen in centuries before that. Creatures that long disappeared now showed up again. They all tried to take a vacation on our side. But even if Death is a big fan of order that's not what got him hooked on the deal.' Dean added before Sam could ask a new question.
'Lucifer's Spell' Dean said. 'You remember why Death helped us in the first place? Why he gave us his ring and told me how to use it?'
'Because Lucifer bound him' Sam answered.
'So he wanted to get rid of him, but just because Luci is on time out again it doesn't mean that the spell he had on Death disappeared.'
'Huh' Sam thought about it for a few seconds. 'So Gabriel…'
'Gabriel told him that he can reverse the spell and lift its hold' Dean finished.
'How do these two things come together?' Sam asked.
'In a way that Death's entrapment and Lucifer's hold on him was one of the main reasons for the disturbance in the first place. Gabriel said that Death is like part of the foundation, one of the one big supporting pillars, as in if Death doesn't work right in the world then things are starting to get pretty screwed up.'
'So to restore this balance he had to lift or reverse Lucifer's spell first.'
'You got that in one.'
'This doesn't make sense, why would he have to be all secretive and scheming about this.'
'Yeah well despite what you might think Gabriel is still not Lucifer' Dean answered, Sam just threw an annoyed face at him. 'That means that they might be both archangels, but Lucifer is on a whole different power-level. That's why Death didn't really believe that Gabriel could do this. The little archangel doing that big complicated magical spell, how could that possibly happen?' his tone was teasing at the end, but also had a very pleased tone in it. And Sam knew that tone, it was the "In your face sucker, next time you won't underestimate me" attitude he saw from his brother many times, but this time he was obviously feeling cocky on Gabriel's behalf.
'The pagans' Sam continued, because he was sure that this is where they got involved.
'Yahtzee' Dean said with a grin. 'Gabriel had to find a way to compensate for the difference between his and Lucifer's power and he did. I think even I lost track of the all the small things he counted on and all the favors he called in to add up when everything went down and he really needed every single one of them to help him, a few things don't add up, if some parts don't work… Gabriel didn't want any unnecessary risks, some parts of his plan were already on shaky grounds and I think we were lucky that they worked the way they did.'
'So that's what I was, an unnecessary risk? That's why you didn't tell me a single thing, why you kept everything a secret? You didn't trust me?'
'If you would've trusted me then I could've given Gabriel a good enough reason to trust you, but you didn't. You didn't listen and you didn't even try. So yeah, Gabriel told me to give him one good reason to trust you, one reason and he will let you on in everything, but the way you were acting… I couldn't, there was nothing I could say to him to defend you or to stand up to you, you gave me nothing. And it was Gabriel's decision, not mine. This was about his life and his family.' Sam saw that Dean was getting angry with him even if only a little so he asked something else to change the topic.
'And some of the things he had to do to compensate… what you did… you did an invocation, but you called Raphael's name first. I thought Gabriel killed him and I saw the crystal like the one Gabriel had before, even if that was a smaller one before so… what exactly happened there?'
Crow shook his feathers again and cawed, Dean looked at the bird for a second.
'Ok, considering that the only angel you might speak with is Cas I think I can tell you. You're right, that was Raphael's grace and by invoking his name I invoked his power for the ritual. If Raphael wouldn't have been a grade-A bastard and an apocalypse happy son of a bitch then the ritual could've worked with two archangels easily. Now Raphael was not exactly high on the idea on helping Gabriel, but his power was needed even if he himself wasn't. So Gabriel… got creative.'
'That's why he fought Raphael, not because he wanted to help Cas to end the Civil War, he wanted Raphael's grace' Sam said.
'Yeah well, Cas wanted to get rid of Raphael one way or another so it didn't really matter to him why Gabriel helped.' Sam snorted; Dean looked at him angrily for a second. 'Long story short yeah he needed the extra power so he took it, and I won't feel sorry for that piece of shit, I just hope that getting one's grace torn out really hurts as much as Anna said it did.'
Dean's face was hard and Sam knew that he meant it, but regarding this, he couldn't feel sympathy for that archangel either, he never met him, but he heard enough about him.
'I think it's easy to understand why it would be bad if all angels knew that they can just take another's grace and use it like this.' Dean added and yes, that was easy to understand, even a lower-rank angel could get power great enough to cause real problems.
'What about Hel?' Sam asked then, because he didn't forget about that particular goddess.
'Well, when Gabriel made his offer to Death he asked to live again and asked for her freedom, since she was trapped.'
'I know that. I went through all the lore about her again and I don't know… she's… people named the Pit after her Dean, how can that not concern you?'
'You did research on Helly? Dean asked with a laugh and Sam's eyes widened a bit at the nickname. 'She totally hates that we call Hell like her by the way' he added.
'She's a Death Goddess' Sam said.
'So?' Dean shrugged. 'Those are good guys.'
'What?' Sam again thought that he didn't hear it right.
'What? They're neutral, they all work for Death' Sam made an expression that he hoped showed that he again had no idea what his brother was talking about. 'Okay, c'mon Sammy you think Death is going around the globe and kills every single human whose time has come personally, because that goes to the same level of Santa visiting every kid in one night, y'know nonsense.' He shrugged again. 'And people were dying just fine even when the big man was locked in, if you might recall that Lucifer raised him at one point, setting him free. So all these death gods everywhere are doing his job, so they're good guys y'know they only kill humans who are meant to die.'
'You are so weird' Sam admitted, because he had no idea what his brother might've been doing or where he might've been in the past two months, but it was obvious that he definitely had a lot of intel on pagans now.
'Death also said that Gabriel is in his depth' Sam continued.
'Yeah well, we were not sure about what Death would do as Gabriel didn't pay for his own freedom, but luckily it just means that he can't kick back and enjoy life on Earth, but he has some things he needs to do once in a while.'
'So he's basically Death's bitch.'
'Hey!' Dean warned and he even kicked Sam under the table. 'And FYI everyone is Death's bitch, bitch. And Gabriel's still an archangel, just well, not "of the Lord" anymore.'
'He manipulated you' Sam said after a beat of silence. 'I heard that, he was told to teach you some lessons.'
'Well I'm pretty stubborn usually, so he had to' Dean shrugged and said in a light tone.
'Are you kidding me? That's it?'
'When I told you that Gabriel told me everything, he really told me everything. Including this' Dean explained. 'Besides Death's lessons are something one needs to take seriously. He brought your soul back from the cage after I managed to learn his first lesson about the natural order of things, so I don't mind one bit that he told Gabriel to drag me into this.'
'So what now?' Sam asked after they just sat there in silence for some time.
'Now, like I said will happen what you decide, Sammy' Dean started. 'I know you still don't like Gabriel, you don't trust him either, but I do. So you gotta decide what's more important to you. That I return or that Gabriel disappears? You can't have both, because if I return Gabriel will come with me and if you want him gone I will be gone too. You understand me?'
Sam stayed silent for a few minutes, but then nodded.
'Okay' Dean nodded too. 'Think about it for a while, my third number is available again so call me if you reached a decision.'
'Ok' Sam said. Dean smiled at him.
'Take care, Sammy, I see you soon' he said as he stood up and started walking away. 'Oh and by the way, when I say "Gabriel will come with me", I mean Gabriel, Helly and about a dozen other pagan deities, just so you know, but I'm sure you're gonna like them' He grinned when Sam rolled his eyes.
'C'mon Crow' Dean called and the huge bird flew away from the bench to fly after the hunter. Sam was sure that his brother was crazy at this point, but he looked happy, happier than he saw him in years. He wasn't sure he could ever trust Gabriel, but Dean opened a door for him, and he was welcome to join that madhouse Dean's life had become apparently. He didn't know if he could do that, but he felt like maybe if anything he owned his brother a try.
Dean was walking around the diner to get back to the Impala, Crow decided that he was too lazy to fly so he just perched on Dean's shoulder, yeah and that didn't look weird at all in the human world.
'How did it go?' he heard a female voice ask from the side, he turned to see Hel walking towards him. She long got used to wearing jeans and tops instead of dresses; she didn't stand out that much like this.
'Hey Zombie Girl' Dean grinned, that was the first thing that popped into his head about the whole Death Goddess thing, of course he had to explain to her what a zombie was first, but it was funny.
'Shut it Pretty Boy' she answered, as per usual.
'Seriously, worst superheroes ever' Dean said with a chuckle.
'Hello, Crow' she greeted the spirit and Crow cawed at her in greeting. She stood now next to Dean, he was always fascinated by how much she looked like Gabriel – since his vessels genes were passed on to her as that was Gabriel's only physical form – her face and skin, her hair color everything matched, the only difference were the eyes. Hel had deep green eyes, a much darker shade then Dean's and the hunter knew that it was definitely something that she inherited from her mother, but just like he never asked about Gabriel's sons, Dean didn't ask about Hel's mother either. He wasn't sure for whose sake it was that he stayed silent, but none of them disturbed the past.
'So how did it go?' Hel asked.
'Bobby told me to better show my face archangel or no archangel' Dean started. It made him really happy how Bobby grumbled and cursed, but didn't hold a grudge. 'And Sam, well he has his own way. He's gonna mope about it, get all frustrated then hopefully gets it out of his system and accepts things the way they are.'
'I won't like him, will I?' Hel asked and Dean thought about it for a second.
'Probably not' he admitted. 'But I don't think he will like you either.' Because if he put those two in his head into the same space, he just knew that they would frustrate each other endlessly. 'But trust me that no matter how he is, it's still much better from the way he was before Death brought his soul back.'
'It is so uncharacteristic of him to help so much' Hel observed.
'Yeah well, I don't look a gift horse in the mouth; I should send him a fruit basket instead.' Because if he thought about it Sam, Gabriel and Hel, Death really was in a generous lately.
'I would suggest a good wine instead, he's not really a big fan of fruit' Hel said in a serious tone and it made Dean laugh. It was really easy to forget that Hel wasn't among humans for centuries because she caught up pretty quickly. Clothes, slang, modern weapons, TV quotes, but she still had her moments. And it was amusing, a Castiel-sort of amusing. And Dean swore that the two encountering each other was up to date the strangest and funniest thing he has ever seen. The way they were staring at each other like two curious birds for a while was priceless, Castiel was the first angel Hel met outside of her father and Hel was the first, well whatever Hel was that Castiel saw. It was like National Geographic Supernatural Edition; he was tempted to ask Gabriel for some popcorn while they stood and watched them.
'Thanks for the tip' was all he said. 'So what are you doing here anyway?' he asked then.
'I was… around' Hel answered.
'Aww, did you miss me?' he asked in a teasing tone.
'You do realize that I'm over seven centuries old, you might not want to treat me like a kid, kid.' This made Dean chuckle some more.
'But I can't help that! You're so tiny and cute.' She rolled her eyes dramatically while Dean laughed some more. It was true that she was pretty tiny compared to Dean and she was so skinny too. Dean always had the urge to stuff some cheeseburgers into her. She pointedly asked him one morning that "Have you ever seen a chubby Death God?" Dean told her that no, but he hoped to make one, then he told her very firmly to finish up her breakfast. Gabriel nearly fell of his chair and choked on his food he was laughing so hard.
'You're such a mother hen' she said, but Dean just kept chuckling. It was so easy to tease her, she always took the bait. It was so rare to see Hel smile, she never did it in front of strangers and it took Dean a few weeks before he saw the first trace of a smile on her face. But again he managed to get smiles out of Castiel too so he had practice. Dean let the "mother hen" jokes go, because when Gabriel accused Dean of being one was the first time Dean heard her laugh.
'So, you gonna ride with me?' Dean asked as he got the keys to the Impala out.
'I didn't come alone' she answered. Dean followed her line of her sight until he noticed that Gabriel was standing next to the car. Crow got off of Dean's shoulder before they reached the archangel and flew to Hel. He turned into a black ferret after landing to curl around her neck as she climbed to the back seat. Dean was annoyed when they kept opening the car without keys, but he let it go, again.
'Hey' Dean greeted.
'So, how did it go?' the angel asked.
'He'll come around' Dean said with a smile.
His phone rang a week later and it was Sam's name on the display.