AN:This chapter is so late it's not even funny, I know.
It's just that I've been crazy busy and then had a Big Bang to finish which ended up over twice as long as I entended it to be which put me off of writing for a bit and, most important of all, I had to figure out where I was going with this story since the first chapter was really just something I wrote on a whim with only a very vague idea in the back of my head.
This chapter may also be a little inconsistend since I wrote it over a rather large span of time, little bits here and there.
Chapter II: Irish Coffee
The next few days went by as always until one Saturday, just past noon. Things were just starting to calm down after the rush of people stopping by on their lunch breaks for a cup of coffee or a pastry as dessert. Gabriel was in the process of refilling the display with Castiel's new batches when a soft chiming resounded through the shop, signalling a customer. He poked his head out from behind the display to take a look.
"Oh, no, not you again." He muttered, rolling his eyes.
An amused chuckle sounded through the air as the person walked over to the counter, placed his arms atop it and leaned forwards to look Gabriel in the face.
" Oh Gaby, you know you love me. You're just denying it because you're afraid of your feeeelings for me." He said in a sing-sing voice, accent smooth and heavy.
"Yeah, love to see you get run over by a bus." Gabriel replied, sharply.
The man let himself fall back on the chair behind him. "Ouch."
Gabriel paid no attention to his dramatic act as he closed the display.
"What do you want, Balthazar?" Balthazar shrugged as he watched Gabriel bend down to open a small cabinet underneath where the coffee machine stood and take out a bag of coffee beans.
"Oh, you know, money, women, booze. The kinda stuff every man wants. Well, except little Cassie maybe. How's our baker boy anyway?"
Gabriel had been pouring beans into the almost-empty reservoir but stopped mid-way so he could turn around and look at Balthazar with a complete deadpan expression. "You. Are. Insufferable."
A shrug as Balthazar put a foot against the counter and pushed, balancing on the two back-legs of the chair. "You love me for it and you know it. Now make me a coffee, seeing as that's what you do."
Gabriel shook his head and let out an exaggerated sigh, solely as a mean to irritate the other but grabbed a mug anyway.
"For that matter, what is it you do for a living this time. I'm amazed that with all the job-hopping you do you're still able to afford all those expensive suits of yours." He pressed some buttons on the machine before turning his head and taking a good look at Balthazar. "You know what? I don't really think I want to know."
Both men were silent for a while as Gabriel reached somewhere underneath the counter for a bottle of whiskey he kept there for times like this, when Balthazar decided to pop in. The man was as unpredictable as the wind, and just as fickle. Sometimes he'd stay in the area for weeks, coming by every few days, other times he'd stay away for months, years even. The longest period of time between two visits had been a little under two years. And never, ever, did he warn you in advance.
Balthazar took one last, good look at the interior of the shop before splaying his arms and upper body all over the counter.
"You didn't listen to a word I said last time. All that precious advise I gave you, and you didn't change a thing." Gabriel poured a generous amount of whiskey into the coffee, followed by a spoon of brown sugar. He stirred until it all dissolved before pouring the cream on top.
Out of the corner of his eye he could see Balthazar lift a hand and wave it around a little to indicate the entirety of the shop.
"You could get so much more customers, cater to a younger public. I mean, I can't imagine anyone but old ladies or some hurried businessmen coming in here. You need to bring this place alive."
Gabriel placed the Irish Coffee on the counter with just a little bit more force than necessary. "For the last time, Balthazar. I'm not turning this place into a bar. It's a coffee shop for heaven's sake."
"Fine, fine." Balthazar said as he lifted himself off of the counter, hands raised but pale blue eyes sparkling at the steaming mug in front of him. "Just don't come running to me for help when this place goes bust. All you'll hear from me then will be 'I told you so' and in no small amounts. I just thought that since quite a bit of time had passed since we last saw each other you would have changed at least something about the place. The only thing that ever does change in this place are the hands on that horrendously old fashioned clock."
Gabriel grabbed his cleaning rag from the sink and threw it at Balthazar's face. Balthazar managed to dodge it just enough for it to land on his hair instead of in his face. "Been a long time indeed. Thought we'd finally gotten rid of you for good."
Balthazar made a disgusted face at the damp rag as he pulled it from his hair before hurling it back towards Gabriel, who caught it with ease. "Just shut up and drink your coffee, Balthy-Boy. See if I'll make you something that's not on the board ever again.
Balthazar merely rolled his eyes a bit before taking a sip from his coffee.
"You know, if you keep using the same threats no one's ever going to take you serious." He waited for Gabriel to sigh and focus his attention on something else before he quickly extended his arm and ruffled Gabriel's hair.
Used to Balthazar's antics Gabriel merely swung an arm in such a way that it caught Balthazar's arm, removed his fingers from his hair and caused it to slam into the countertop. Balthazar let out a pained groan and quickly pulled in his arm close to his chest, cradling it. "That. Hurt." Balthazar said, eyes narrowed at the back of Gabriel's head.
Gabriel only turned his head just enough so that Balthazar could see his face and raised an eyebrow. "It was meant to.
"What did I ever do to deserve such a violent and hateful family?" Balthazar said, dramatically gesturing with his arms, a hint of a whine slipping into his voice. "All I ever wanted to do was help."
Gabriel snorted at that. "Yeah, sure."
Balthazar lifted his cup and took a long swallow while blankly staring at Gabriel. "You know, I was going to be nice and tell you about the fact that I heard that Lucifer might be coming back to town, but now I won't."
This caused Gabriel to freeze for a moment before slowly turning around completely and leaning his arms on the counter so that his face was merely inches away from Balthazar's.
"Lucifer? Is coming back here?" Balthazar nodded, humming softly.
"You have got to be shitting me. I mean, what reason could he possibly have to come here instead of staying in whatever hellhole he currently calls home. After everything with Michael I clearly remember him saying that if he never saw this town again it would be too early." Gabriel shook his head.
Balthazar just shrugged to that. "Honestly, I haven't got a clue as to the why. All I know is that, supposedly, he's coming back. He may not even actually come, it may just be a rumour or something, who knows." After that he stood up from his stool, pushed himself up on the counter until he lay on his belly and started to rummage through its contents. When he located the bottle of whiskey he let out a small noise of triumph.
"Now that that's been said, I'd like something in return for that answer." Balthazar unscrewed the top of the bottle before putting the mouth to the top of his glass and pouring in a healthy amount so that now his coffee consisted of more alcohol that actual coffee.
Gabriel sighed and rolled his eyes, snatching back the bottle and putting on the top before storing it in the far end of the counter so that should Balthazar would want it he would have to climb over the displays, something Gabriel wouldn't allow under no circumstances. "As if I'm giving you anything after those previous times. Nu-uh, not this time."
Balthazar gave Gabriel a mock indignant look, bringing a hand to his heart. "You wound me, couz. Or should I say brother? I mean, you and Cassie are more like brothers than anything really, and seeing as I'm his brother…"
"No." Gabriel said flatly before taking a few steps to the side, smile in place to serve the girl who had walked up to the counter. She gave Balthazar a quick scowl when she noticed him checking her out without any scruples.
Gabriel quickly flipped him off from behind his back before going back to being all smiles and warm eyes towards the girl as he took her order. "Ignore him, he's and idiot." He said as a way of apology before getting started on her order.
As soon as he was done and she was gone he went back to Balthazar and slapped him up the head. "Behave. With every time you show up here I'm getting more and more tempted to just not allow you inside anymore.
Balthazar raised his hands in defence but Gabriel could see the glimmer in his pale eyes. "Anyway. Back to my payment. Could I crash here for a couple of days… a week… maybe two…"
"Really?" Gabriel asked in amazement. "You're asking if you can stay here, again, after last time? I do have to tell you, Cas was absolutely pissed at you about what you did to his pots."
Balthazar just stared at Gabriel for a bit, mouth slightly agape. "He was pissed? He threw a cast iron pot at me! I had to get stitches! I've still got the scar!" He brought his hands up in his hair to part it and show Gabriel the scar. "See!"
"Dude, you had sex with a half dozen girls in his bed and his kitchen, especially the kitchen, in the time you were staying with us. I mean, sure, you can go ask him but this time I won't drive you to the hospital, you can crawl there for all I care."
Balthazar downed the rest of his drink in one go before getting up. "Fine, I'll find someplace else to stay. See if I'll ever be willing to help you again with this place."
"We don't need your help, Balthy-boy." Gabriel huffed.
Balthazar pointed a finger at Gabriel. "Violent and hateful family, right there." With that he turned around and left.
Gabriel let his head hang down for just a moment, sighing. Right then Castiel opened up the kitchen door to ask Gabriel about how much he estimated they would need for the rest of the day when he saw him all slumped and leaning against the counter.
"Gabriel?" Castiel made his way over towards his cousin and placed a hand on his shoulder. Gabriel must've been lost in thought because he startled.
"Are you okay?" Castiel asked, looking worried. "Dis something happen?"
Gabriel straightened himself so that he could look straight at Castiel. "Not really. Just Balthazar who's back in town and kinda pissed because I said no to his request to crash with us and apparently Lucifer's coming back to town."
"You're serious?" Castiel asked, disbelieving.
Gabriel nodded. "Yeah.
Dean was hard at work in the yard, dismantling a car to see what parts could be salvaged and which ones were completely useless.
As Sam was making himself a cup of coffee in the kitchen he gazed out of the window while waiting for it to drip through. He thought about how maybe Bobby should take a marker to the sign up front and change it from 'Singer Repair' to 'Singer Repair and Salvage'. Half of the yard was filled with either car wrecks or pieces from ones, and all of that because of one person.
Sam shook his head a little at the memory. A friend of Bobby's, Rufus Turner, had asked if Bobby could take over his car. Bobby had told him that this was a garage, not a salvage yard. In the end he had agreed if only because Rufus wouldn't stop asking.
As fate would have it, a few days later a man brought in his car, an older model for which they didn't produce the parts anymore. Guess what, Rufus' car was of the same model. The part Bobby needed was among the few that weren't completely bust and so he managed to fix the man's car.
Over time other people saw the stripped car sitting in the yard and asked Bobby if he could take their old cars off their hands for them.
Some of those cars had pieces that were still in almost perfect working condition, or, like Rufus' car, were of a make that wasn't being produced anymore. It was cheaper than having to order everything new.
The only problem was that Bobby had a bit of a problem with throwing things away, so the unusable cars and part all piled up over time.
Full mug in hand Sam was about to leave the kitchen when he saw a familiar Mini Cooper drive into the yard.
With a grin on his face he went to stand closer to the window and wondered when Dean would notice the car. As it was he didn't have to wait very long. Mere seconds after Sam had spotted the car Dean's head shot up, recognizing the familiar sound of the little car.
Having parked the car not too far from where Dean's working Castiel stepped out, the faintest trace of a blush colouring his cheeks. Dean wiped his hands on the rag hanging from his belt before walking the few steps to Cas' car.
"Hey, Cas. Having trouble again?" Dean asked, charming smile in place.
Cas nods. "It's the radio. It only plays static, no matter what I do."
Dean makes his way over to the car, nodding lightly. He pulls open the passenger's door and sits down to have look. Cas standing just next to the door, fingers running up and down the side of it.
"I'm really sorry I have to bother you so much like this."
"No problem, man." Dean says while removing the front of the radio. "It is my job, isn't it, and it's not like you're breaking things on purpose."
Castiel let out a nervous chuckle at that, blushing a little more while rubbing his neck.
During their conversation Bobby had returned. Parking his truck next to the house he raises an eyebrow at the two of them before going inside.
Once inside he puts the bags he was holding on the kitchen table and joins Sam by the window.
Sam shoots a glance at Bobby, massive grin in place. Bobby just shakes his head.
It didn't take Dean very long to figure out what was wrong with the radio. A few wires had come a little loose.
Castiel was thanking Dean profoundly as he got out of the car, asking him how much he owed him. Dean just shook his head.
"Oh, but I can't just give you nothing." Castiel protested.
"It's fine, really." Dean insisted, shaking his head.
Dean thought that Cas had finally accepted that he didn't need anything in return when he saw him going back to his car. He was wrong, though. Cas emerging with several Tupperware boxes.
"At least take these. I tried out some new recipes and made way too many for just me and Gabe to eat and since today's our closing day I can't sell them."
Dean took one look at the stuffed boxes and felt his mouth water. He didn't even need to know exactly what was in them, he just knew that everything Cas made was delicious.
"Well, okay then. But only because I don't want them to go bad."
Castiel gave Dean a bright smile in return while he handed them over.
"Thanks again for fixing my radio. He said, getting into his car. "Until next time, I guess."
Dean nodded, raising a hand in goodbye. "Yeah, until next time."
He watched as Cas drove out of the yard before turning around to go put the boxes inside, all the while resisting taking the lid off the top box. He was sure it would all smell amazing.
When he entered the kitchen Sam and Bobby had quickly moved from the window to the middle of the room, lest Dean find out they were spying on him.
"Cas gave me these as a thanks for fixing his radio." Both Sam and Bobby gave a nod while Dean placed them onto the counter.
When Dean was on his way back outside Bobby softly shook his head, muttering: "Idjit."
Chuckling softly Sam dumped his now empty coffee cup in the sink before rifling through the bags on the table.
Whenever Bobby invited the two of them to dinner Sam would always help, something he'd been doing ever since he was old enough that Bobby trusted him not to hurt himself on the knives or the stove.
Standing next to Bobby, whether it was chopping vegetables, peeling potatoes or layering a lasagne, Sam always felt a wave of nostalgia wash over him, making him feel twelve years old again.
Life with Dean and Bobby looking after him was really the only stable life Sam had ever known. When he'd been six months old their mom had been murdered by a serial killer and arsonist by the name of Azazel.
Initially, everything had been left to the police, especially considering that he had killed several people in much the same way already. He always chose families with young children, only killing the mother before setting the house on fire. Some of the families had survived while other perished in the fires.
After a while and three more murders their father, John, had started to become agitated with the police, accusing them of being incapable of doing their job. As a result he decided to go after Azazel himself.
Sam and Dean travelled a lot as kids, John always following the evidence, no matter how far-fetched or vague. The fact that Azazel would now and then seemingly disappear from the globe, sometimes for months, even years before committing his next murder drove John almost to desperation.
For five years this was the only life they knew.
Every now and then, if John was unsure of the risk of certain leads he would leave the boys with Bobby. And so he had done on his latest lead. He was pretty certain that he had figured out where Azazel was hiding. Bobby had asked him, begged him not to go, to just inform the police and let them take care of it. John would hear none of it.
John managed to get his revenge, killed Azazel, clean shot through the head, and it only cost him his life.
Sam and Dean had stayed with Bobby from that moment on. As much as Bobby may have moaned and complained to John that he owned a garage, not a baby-sitting service, he actually liked having the boys around.
When they came of an age Bobby tried to teach them about fixing cars. Dean took to it like a fish to water and often helped Bobby, eager to learn more about all those different types of cars that were out there.
Sam, on the other head, was more or less apathetic towards it. Sure, it was something new to learn, but it didn't really fascinate him like it did Dean. Instead he spent most of his time in Bobby's living-room-turned-library.
Bobby had a bit of an obsession with old books, especially ones on weird or unusual things. As a result, by the time Sam was sixteen he knew the basics to half a dozen forgotten languages and more about the occult and ancient mythology than one could possibly need.
It was a hobby he had passed onto Sam just like he had passed on his love for cars to Dean. After work Sam would often drop by the second hand bookstore just out of town to see if something interesting had been brought it.
That was the other reason Sam always came over early when Bobby invited them to dinner. The two of them would always go sit down in the library and talk about any new finds.
The news about Lucifer had both Gabriel and Castiel a little on edge, especially the first few days after Balthazar's visit. When nothing out of the ordinary happened for a week both finally managed to relax. Aside from that Gabriel was extremely glad Balthazar hadn't decided to drop by again. No one ever liked dealing with a pissed-off Balthazar.
There was the usual steady trickle of customers for the weekend. Other people might have complained about how they didn't have that much of a clientele compared to other shops, But Gabriel like it this way. He had absolutely no idea how those people working at chains or stores smack-dab in the middle of a busy city did it. He liked the intimacy of it, the fact that he knew the majority of their customers to a certain extend.
He was just contemplating whether or not he should ask Cas to bake another batch of brownies as well as an apple cake when the little bell above the door chimed.
Gabriel raised an eyebrow at Sam when he noticed Dean coming in behind him. In response, Sam rolled his eyes and shook his head just the tiniest bit.
It was almost as if Castiel had a sixth-sense when it came to Dean because no sooner had the two brothers reached the counter or Cas appeared in the doorway. His eyes widening for a split second when he spotted Dean.
Sam and Gabriel were watching the two, trying their best to hide their grins.
Cas quickly ran a hand through his hair, staining it with even more flour than it already was before stepping through the doorway and behind the counter.
"Hallo Dean." He said softly, fingers fiddling with the edge of his apron. "Sam." He added, almost as an afterthought.
"Hey Cas." Dean said, smiling brightly before taking a few steps to the side so he could talk to Cas.
With a last glance to them Gabriel placed his arms on the counter and leaned over towards Sam.
"We need to do something about them." He whispered. Sam nodded in response.
"Definitely. It was amusing at first. Now? Now it's just painful to watch."
Both men nodded at each other before resting their head on their hand, trying to come up with the best way to play matchmaker.