Title: Too Late
Rating: R (bad language)
Pairing and/or Characters: Sam/Gabriel, Dean/Cas, John, Sam, Gabriel, Dean, Castiel, Raphael, Bobby, Samuel Campbell, Adam.
Spoilers: Season 5, with a tiny character one for season 6 (Samuel Campbell).
Warnings: At the end (in the tags), since it is spoilery. If you really want to read it first, just scroll straight to the bottom of the fic and check out the tags first *grins*
Word Count: 1353
Summary: John has a lot to deal with when he is brought back to life after the apocalypse that wasn't. There's one thing in particular that gives him real trouble though...
Notes: Written as part of sabriel_bday, this is a birthday gift for trollmela, based on her prompt that John finds out Sam is in a relationship with Gabriel, and has to figure out how to deal with it. I hope you like it hun *grins* having said that, I feel it encumbent to say: I am so so so so sorry! I'm almost certain you weren't expecting such an angsty response to your prompt, but I just couldn't get anything else to work...
As phrases went, John didn't think he'd ever come across one that quite so completely understated what he wanted to express, but it was the best he could come up with.
His life was seriously Fucked Up.
(Capitalisation totally freaking necessary, thank you very much!)
The thing was, Fucked Up had seemed a perfectly acceptable description of his life when he made the deal with Azazel to save Dean.
No, before he'd died it hadn't been such an understatement.
Now, he was alive again.
As was his father-in-law, who looked to be about the same age as him.
His sons – all three of them! – and his best-friend had fought to stop the freaking Apocalypse, against and along-side Angels and Archangels, and they'd WON.
And now his sons…
John shook his head and took a long pull from the beer bottle he currently had a death-grip on.
Now his sons were dating…
He took a deep breath, another swig of beer, and then forced himself to repeat back to himself what he'd just found out.
His sons were dating ARCHANGELS!
Fucked Up didn't even come close to describing his life anymore.
It sounded ridiculous on the surface, but he could actually understand it with Dean.
His eldest son, despite his former womanising, was actually in the relationship that made sense.
It had taken a few days observation to come to that conclusion, but once he'd seen it John was surprised it'd taken him so long to realise.
It was the way Castiel would watch his son, the way Dean would patiently explain some little cultural nuance that the newly promoted Archangel hadn't quite grasped…they had a bond, a strong bond, forged in battle and strengthened and tempered in the hell they'd fought through, but it was more than that.
They complimented one another perfectly, worked together seamlessly, understood how to handle one another…
It made his heart ache for Mary, watching the two of them.
She would have been so proud of her son, and so very happy to see him now.
Sam and Gabriel though…
Try as he might he still couldn't figure them out.
What the Hell was his younger son thinking?
To be getting involved with something they'd hunted…it was wrong.
And when he'd heard the story from Bobby about what had happened in Broward County…
How could Sam even consider being in a relationship with the thing that had killed his brother over and over again?
And how could Dean and Bobby sit there and watch it with smiles on their faces?
Was he missing something?
He shook his head.
No, his son was in a bad relationship – that much was certain.
He just needed to figure out what the Archangel was holding over Dean and Bobby's – and even Castiel's – heads that they would allow it.
John didn't know what to do.
He'd tried watching Sam like a hawk, but he couldn't spot any aberrant behaviour other than the fact that he was dating a monster.
Castiel's behaviour he could understand – Gabriel was his brother…he was family. And perhaps this could have explained Dean's tolerance of the Trickster, if tolerance were all Dean had.
Between Dean and Gabriel there was a happy mutual antagonism that smacked worryingly of actual friendship and regard.
His sons were completely taken in.
Bobby's reaction to the Archangel was even more confusing than worrying, and it was plenty worrying.
His friend treated Gabriel with something akin to actual respect.
Bobby, who understood John's hatred for all things supernatural, who shared it since losing his own wife…Bobby held neither fear nor revulsion for this creature…this interloper in their midst.
John didn't know what to do.
How could he protect his family when they refused to see the danger?
They were running.
It was a familiar feeling for John…being hunted.
It brought back memories of when the boys had been younger…too young to be hunting, too young to even know about hunting…
Memories of researching and running and fighting for the lives of his children against things that were straight out of horror movies…
Things that kept finding them, no matter how fast he ran or how far they went.
When he'd met Missouri and learned the truth…
She'd taken one look at his youngest and told him straight – either he taught the boys how to fight, or they would never be safe. There was something about Sam – the demon blood from Azazel, he now knew – that drew evil things in like moths to a flame.
So they had run. They had moved from town to town, state to state, never stopping longer than necessary in any one place as John learned everything he could about what really went bump in the night.
They'd kept running right up until the boys were old enough to be told the truth.
Then they'd started fighting back.
The hunted became the hunters, and soon the name 'Winchester' was known and respected, and John had two little soldiers where once he'd had sons.
Now though…now they were running because even with two Archangels on their side – however suspect one of those might still be – they were out-gunned.
Raphael – who'd been unnervingly quiet since the Apocalypse that wasn't – had re-surfaced at last, and in style too.
He had Heaven up in arms over Michael's fate, and was leading a whole garrison of Angels down on their heads.
Militant extremists, Dean had called them. John agreed.
They'd been running for over a week now, and he couldn't help being a tiny bit impressed with Castiel and…reluctantly…Gabriel, that they had been able to keep ahead of their brothers for so long with the Winchesters in tow.
They were getting tired though, he could see it on their faces.
In their eyes as they conversed silently behind his sons' backs.
They were nearing the end of the road here.
They would need to make some sort of stand, soon, while they still had the energy to mount a defense.
As the Angels returned from warding their current hide-out, John stood. It was time, he decided.
When all eyes were on him, he spoke.
There were protests, as he knew there would be, but the tired, sad resignation in the eyes of those arguing belied their words, and John knew.
This was where they would make their stand.
As he struggled to draw another shaky breath, John half walked, half dragged himself to Sam's side.
The boy…the man, he corrected himself…sat staring vacantly at the charred ground in front of him, eyes fixed.
His broken ribs pinched and grated with every move as he reached out and lay a hand softly on his son's head.
Glancing off to the left he could see Samuel and Adam checking each other over, whilst Dean and Bobby tended to a stab wound in Castiel's side. The Angel's expression was far too like his younger son's for comfort as he stared past John and Sam to the prone form on his right.
The form Sam was very carefully not looking at.
So why didn't it feel like that?
John shook his head softly as he turned slightly to look at what Sam couldn't.
He finally understood.
He wished more than anything that he'd tried to see sooner. That it hadn't taken something so extreme…so incredible…so final, to make him realise just what his son had seen in Gabriel.
Sam shuddered and inched away, shaking John's hand off.
The Archangel had saved them all, had died doing it, and Sam would never forgive John now for not accepting him, and rightly so.
Because John would never forget the look on Gabriel's face as he died.
His head had twisted to look at Sam, and even as Castiel yelled a warning to the humans to close their eyes John had seen it.
The look on Gabriel's face as he said a final goodbye to Sam had been the most potent mix of love, gratitude, apology and regret John had ever seen, and he had finally understood.