It was a couple of weeks before the ingredients for the ritual were successfully gathered. With only Sam, Dean and Bobby on the search, it had taken much longer than any of them would have liked. Gabriel and Cas had been coming and going a lot since the ritual had been revealed in the first place, often several times a day. Where they were going or why, was a big secret that not even Dean or Bobby were allowed to know. They would disappear without a word and return anywhere from an hour to two days later with no mention of what had happened. One thing that seemed to be consistent was that Gabriel was becoming more and more haggard and impatient as the days passed. Sometimes he would appear and collapse on the sofa with nothing but an 'mmph' as a greeting. Meanwhile Cas seemed to be developing an unusually anxious manner around his brother, standing never more than arms reach from him and insisting on making him rest and stopping from using his powers whenever Cas could do it for him.

There was one upside to it the angel's intermittent presence. Without Gabriel around much and the ingredients for the ritual to be collected, Sam was kept busy. Without too much time on his hands, the constant questions that had sprung up about the mystery angel that Trickster had told him about relented. Something that Dean was more than happy about. After he'd found about what Gabriel had managed to do he'd nearly strangled the guy.

Not that he got very far. The whole Archangel thing was enough on its on but the Archangel was never around, disappearing off with no clue as to where he was going or where he'd been. No matter how many times Dean had pushed, Gabriel was able to brush past every argument that Dean threw at him and Castiel wasn't going to budge from the orders that he'd been given by his brother. Their lips were sealed. To the endless frustration of Dean. He'd gotten into shouting matches almost every time he came face to face with the Archangel and nearly gotten himself disintegrated on multiple occasions.

The last fight had gotten so heated he'd nearly blown Gabriel's cover. Had Castiel not stepped in when he did and muttered something quietly to his brother and the two of them disappearing off somewhere, Dean may have ended up plastered across the seven continents.

That had been four days ago. No matter how many times any of them tried to get in contact, they heard nothing back from any of them.

Dean sighed as he looked up from the book to where Sam was preparing some unknown item on Bobby's countertop.

"You know, the last ingredient we need is a gallon of fresh human blood?" Dean commented, drawing Sam's attention. A part of him was well aware that Sam had planned to use this very ritual himself once. Where he had planned to get the blood from, Dean didn't want to know.

Sam glanced up from whatever it was that he was preparing and nodded, "Yeah I know. I saw earlier. Where are we going to get that? It's enough to kill someone."

Dean snorted, silently thankful that Sam hadn't remembered from his previous experience from the ritual, "No idea. But without it we got no ritual," he ran a hand through his hair, "This would be a perfect time for a little celestial assistance!" he called a little louder than necessary, in some vain hope.

Sam raised an eyebrow at him, "Save it Dean, I've been trying for ages. Do you even have any idea where they are? Or how they're doing?"

"No," Dean replied, with a tone that made it obvious he was sick of being asked, "Why do you care how they're doing? They're pretty damn powerful, I'm sure they're just peachy probably lounging it up on some beach drinking cocktails and skinny dipping."

Sam shrugged, "I'm just thinking we're nearly ready and I don't want to go through with this without our Trickster here."

Dean paused, eyebrows furrowing ever so slightly, "Our Trickster? I didn't know you were so attached."

A flustered look dropped onto Sam's face and he turned away quickly, "You know what I mean."

Dean's eyebrows went up, "You are aren't you! Are you serious Sam? You know who he is right?"

Sam turned with a disdainful sigh, "Ok, Dean, I get it. Just drop it ok! We've had this conversation!"

Dean blinked, caught completely off guard. It was true, they had had that conversation, but that was when Dean first found out about how Sam was feeling about the Archangel Gabriel. Months ago. A time that Sam shouldn't remember. Taking a couple of seconds to get himself sorted, Dean licked his lips.

"No we haven't Sam," he replied, gaining an scowl from his brother.

"Yes we have Dean, just the other…"Sam drifted off as he found himself unable to find the information he was looking for, "I'm sure we have."

"I doubt it, since when was the last time you thought about hooking with a Trickster?" Dean asked, hoping to god that he wasn't just making things worse.

Sam glowered at the floor for a moment before exhaling sharply, "Yeah I guess."

"Exactly, we just need to finish this ritual and he can get the hell out of our hair," Dean said with a nod, trying to ignore the dejected sigh of his brother, "It would just be easier if we had a little winged help!"

"Forget it Dean. They'll be half away around the Earth by now, if they're still on the planet at all."

"Actually it is rare for us to leave Earth."

Dean flinched at the angel appeared in the corner of the room, "Dammit Cas, we need some kind of early warning system. One of these days you're going get yourself shot."

"My apologies," Cas replied, bowing his head slightly, "In regards to your worries about the final ingredients. The Trickster will be dealing with that."

Dean narrowed his eyes, "I'm not sure I like the sound of that…"

"Hey, you know when he's coming back?" Sam asked, turning fully away from the counter, ignoring the warning look that Dean was sending him.

"I don't know, he didn't say," Cas replied, a regretful tone to his voice, "He still has some…business that he needs to deal with."

With a nod, Sam's shoulder's sagged almost unnoticeably before turning back to what he was doing. Dean raised an eyebrow at his brother's back before shaking his head and looking back to Cas, "We could really do with his help you know."

"I'm sorry, but he has other priorities at the moment," Cas replied shortly, "He will return as soon as he is able."

Dean rolled his eyes, "Yeah course he will."

"Dean stop getting so worked up about it?" Sam interjected from the kitchen, "It was you who got into that argument with him in the first place."

Dean glowered at his brother, "It's not my fault he ran off."

"He left because Cas convinced him not to kill you," Sam pointed out, shooting Dean a look over his shoulder.

Dean shuffled a little in his seat and reopened the book in front of him, muttering something inaudible. Sam smirked at the victory and returned to what he was doing.

"Well I've finished setting up out back," Bobby announced as he wheeled in from the porch, "Any news on featherhead number two?"

"Turns out he has more important things to do," Dean grumbled, violently turning the pages of the book he wasn't quite reading.

Bobby rolled his eyes, "Well you'll have to put a complaint in with demi-god human resources."

Dean glowered at the older hunter, but said nothing.

Bobby flashed him a sarcastic smile before exhaling, "So you two knuckleheads manage to quit your whining long enough to get everything sorted?"

"Think so," Sam answered, laying down the knife he had been using, lifting the chopping board and scraping herbs into a wooden bowl placed close to him on the counter, "There's still one thing we need though," he added, hesitantly.

Bobby nodded with a heavy sigh, "Yeah I know. Anyone willing to volunteer?"

"There will be no need," Cas said, "The Trickster has already promised to provide the final ingredients. He will bring it when the rest of the ritual is prepared."

Bobby eyed the angel for a long moment, "Well that doesn't sound ominous at all."

"My thoughts exactly," Dean muttered, shutting the book, "Hang on, if he's so busy, how will he know that we're ready?"

"You never heard of the Force?" the Trickster smirked, appearing seated on the desk directly in front of Dean, causing the Winchester to recoil violently, almost falling backwards off the chair he was sat in. Sam stifled a chuckle as Dean jumped out of the chair and glowered violently at him. The Trickster's mouth lifted into a cocky smile, "So, you ready to get this fire burning?"

Bobby scanned his gaze over him, "We are as soon as we have the blood that, rumour has it, you were bringing to the party."

The Trickster spun on the table and snapped his fingers, materialising a gallon bottle beside him that was thankfully opaque, "I was always taught not to come to party empty handed."

Bobby eyed the bottle suspiciously, "I don't want to know where you got that from," he muttered to himself before gesturing out the back door, "We set up in the garage."

"Well then, last one there's a rotten egg," the Trickster grinned and disappeared, along with the bottle and Cas, leaving the hunters mildly bewildered.

Gabriel sagged a little when he reached the garage, sending Cas a reassuring smile as the angel appeared beside him and immediately shuffled closer to him. Once he was sure that Cas was placated he placed the bottle on the table and looked around at the markings and sigils the Winchesters had set up. The main one had been draw out on the garage floor, the Trickster's red knife stabbed into the ground at its centre. They were all drawn out to the specifications that he had supplied.

"This looks like it'll be fine," Gabriel nodded to himself snapping his fingers to touch up some of the thinner lines.

Castiel spared only the quickest of glances before returning his gaze to his brother, a concerned look in his eye, "What happened Gabriel? Why did you send me away?"

"You were cramping my style," he replied flashing a grin before turning and calling across the scrap yard, "Could you lot walk any slower? This blood ain't getting any fresher!"

There was an incoherent grumble as a response, probably from Dean. Gabriel flashed Cas a victorious smirk and turned away.

"I'm serious Gabriel," Cas urged, "If there is something I can do, tell me and I will do it."

Gabriel shook his head and wafted his hand, "Not this time Cas."

The angel held his brother's gaze for a long moment before nodding. He said nothing more as the hunters arrived, but made sure to place himself close to his brother, ready to heed anything that Gabriel might ask of him. But as soon as the Winchesters entered the garage the Archangel's shoulders were pulled back and his mask of cheery sarcasm was dropped back into place. The atmosphere was too charged for any proper conversation to be exchanged. The only one who even acknowledged him at all was Sam who flashed him a small, nervous smile as he entered. Gabriel returned it as best he could, but the anxiousness in the Winchester's eyes just reminded him of a time that didn't seem so long ago when Sam was using this very ritual to hunt him down. With every intention of killing him no less. A part of him was grateful that he didn't remember that. As soon as Sam looked away, the smile slipped away.

The Trickster remained unusually quiet throughout the ritual, Sam noted in between bouts of nerves as Bobby read out the incantation sent directions to both him and his brother as the three of them carried out the ritual. Not even the passing sarcastic comments, or pointing out where they were going wrong, he'd simply correct it himself with a snap of his fingers or waft of his hand. From the short time he'd known the Trickster properly, it was odd for him not to point out mistakes with an accompanying snide remark. He just sat silently on a table at the side of the room, eyes fixed on the main sigil in the centre of the room, occasionally glancing at Cas who would disappear and reappear within a couple of seconds and give a minute shake of the head to the Trickster, not that it seemed to relax him to any extent, the tension was obvious.

A few minutes later, Bobby finished the incantation and the ritual was done. The group waited nervously, eyeing the sigil nervously and glancing around themselves, but as a tense minute limped by they looked to the Trickster who didn't seem that worried. He simply watched the knife or let his eyes tick sideways to his brother momentarily, the way they had been doing the whole time.

"What's happened?" Dean asked hurriedly, glancing around the room frantically, "It didn't work?"

"Did we do something wrong?" Sam asked quickly.

The Trickster didn't look up from staring at the knife, "Oh it worked, she's just trying to wriggle off the hook," he replied, adding a chuckle that seemed pretty forced, "Which would be possible without the knife."

Sam swallowed and nodded, sharing a look with his brother.

"You guys nervous?" the Trickster smirked, straightening his jacket and running a hand through his hair, "Don't you worry your pretty little heads," he flashed a smirked before his attention snapped back to the sigil and he took a step closer.

A bright flash of red light filled the room, forcing the hunters to throw up their arms to cover their eyes, lasting for several seconds before a gleeful chuckle accompanied it. An all too familiar tone that made Sam wince.

"So you came back for round three huh?" she chimed, excitedly as the light dimmed, revealing the tall red-haired woman stood in the centre of the sigil, one hand on her hip, the other brushing a few strands out of her eyes as she smirked at Sam.

Sam simply glowered, shuffling slightly in place.

"Ah but this time, we're playing tag team."

The look in the red-haired trickster eyes at the sight of her new opponent was enough to bring a small smirk to Sam's face. Seeing it, eliminated any form of nerves he had previously had about confronting this trickster once and for all. With a snap of his fingers, their enemy found her arms clamped to her sides by some invisible force. She raised her chin as their Trickster stepped forward a victorious smirk on his face.

Gabriel raised an eyebrow as he approached the trickster, "You messed with the wrong guy," he whispered, glancing over his shoulder, "Tricksters are usually smarter than to mess with us."

The Trickster's jaw clenched as she fought to hold Gabriel's gaze, "He doesn't know does he?" she hissed, ticking her eyes sideways to where Sam was watching.

Gabriel's lips tried to twitch into a smug smirk but whatever pride came with outsmarting the Trickster was written off by what outsmarting the Trickster had cost him, "He doesn't know anything."

The Trickster's eyes narrowed and a small smile crept onto her face, "I could tell him you know," she teased, forcing herself closer, "Ruin your whole little game."

"You'd die before your lips parted," Gabriel replied cheerily, successfully silencing any further comments from the Trickster. He spared her a small, sarcastic smile before raising a finger, "Now, I don't have much time before I've got to blow this joint. So I'm going to cut you a deal," he paused for dramatic effect, "You mosey on out of Sam Winchester's life. For good."

She raised an unimpressed eyebrow, "What do I get in return?"

"Oh you get the bonus prize," Gabriel replied, "You don't get me ripping you apart one extremity at a time over and over again from now until kingdom come," he finished with a polite smile that wiped the Trickster's expression back to fear laced neutral, "Do we have a deal?"

The Trickster clenched her jaw for a long moment, breathing quickly.

"You know the size of the world of hurt I can land you in," Gabriel chuckled, "And you don't want to go there. So do we have a deal?"

"Fine," she spat through gritted teeth, "Now let me go."

"One last thing," Gabriel snapped his fingers and the Trickster bent double with a scream of pain.

"What the hell did you do?" she yelled, grimacing once the pain had subsided enough so that she could speak.

Gabriel shrugged, "Call it an insurance policy. This way I won't have to go through so much ball-ache to find you," he smirked, "Now how about you piss off. I'll find you later."

She scowled, "But you said you'd drop it," she hissed.

Gabriel wrinkled his nose, "Mm, I don't think that's what I said. I still have beef with you. But not right now," he gave a small wave before snapping his fingers once again and the Trickster was gone.

There was a moment's silence in which Gabriel took a deep breath and ran a hand through his hair before turning to the others. Point number one was finally off his list. Even if he hadn't finished with her, the enochian he had marked her with would mean she was no longer able to hide from him again. That's if he survived the next few days. At that thought, any relief he might have felt having gotten this done was eradicated. He allowed himself a second to compose himself before turning to the Winchesters with a clap of his hands.

"Well boys," he announced, "This has been fun, but I gotta split."

Dean and Sam frowned. The former with a slight angrier edge to it than his brother.

"What the hell?"Dean yelled, "You didn't do anything!"

Gabriel didn't rise to the volume that Dean had gone to, "I've still got bigger fish to fry right now. But don't worry, you're not on her to do list anymore."

Sam's frown wasn't abated, "So, that's it? You're leaving?"

He gave an apologetic shrug, doing his best to block out the genuine sorrow that he could feel rolling off the younger Winchester, "This was never a permanent gig, kid. I might drop in from time to time after I've sorted out a few things. If I didn't think I'd get my throat slit that is."

Sam chuckled ever so slightly, but Dean wasn't for laughing, his incredulous expression was still firmly in place, "Sorted some things out? Are you serious?"

Gabriel's eyes narrowed, "You don't want to do there Dean. You would not believe the hell I have been through and to come back here to fix your little messes you would be kissing the ground at my feet!"

"Oh yeah?" Dean yelled, "And whose fault is this little mess?"

Sam frowned slightly looking between the two of them. Gabriel's throat bobbed as he swallowed before his expression darkened. He took a step forward and opened his mouth only to stop as Cas appeared beside him, a look on his face panicked enough to make everyone stop in their tracks.

Cas stared fearfully at his brother for a long moment before licking his lips, "Brother. Raphael is almost upon us."

Hey thar, sorry for the delay, took a short break to sort out plot and stuff. Stupid plot getting in the way of a good fanfiction…

Still sorry for the poor quality! I hope you still enjoy it, thank you for sticking with meeee. Please let me know what you think?

I love you all so muccchhh xxxx