A/N: Hello, folks! Just a quick note, I'm not sure how long this is going to be at the moment, as I've only written the first of five parts so far and it's already far too big to be even spread across two chapters I think. I'm going to aim for 15-20 chapters, which is long I know, but I have a lot of stuff to pack in as this is *IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT* a Destiel/Sabriel story. That's both pairings. Which is hard to write I'll tell you right now. Okay, so hope you enjoy this ridiculous concept haha, reviews would be just lovely at any point.
Gabriel gritted his teeth, his four magnificent wings slicing through the darkening air as he transcended from the Earthly plane. This feeling consuming him was utterly infuriating, sending heat pulsing through his entire being, clouding his every thought. He felt the familiar push of the barrier separating Earth and Heaven slide over his rippling feathers and silently, so as not to attract the attention of the Seraphs guarding the gate to The Garden, he slipped through a small passage invisible to those who did not know of its existence. As Gabriel glided as quietly as possible through the narrow, dark avenue, one thought consumed him, its rhetoric poignance utterly consuming his every action:
Why doesn't Sam Winchester like me?!
Gabriel knew, on some level, that he was being pathetic. But there were many other levels to him that argued that Sam Winchester was funny, and smart, and …okay, hot. And those other levels made some damn good arguments. So he'd failed once again in his attempts to capture the younger Winchester's attention; the kid had barely even said two words to him throughout the whole arduous and angelically draining 'trapped-in-TV' experience. What was he doing wrong? Sam just looked perpetually unamused by everything Gabriel conjured up, and he was giving Sam special attention here!
Come on dude, the nutcracker… genital herpes… doesn't it seem like I might have a teensy fixation here?, Gabriel thought, annoyed.
It was hardly his fault that his big brothers had decided to go and destroy the world by having another raging bitch fit was it? And when he'd presented the facts of the final fight to Sam and Dean in an amusing, fun little package tied up with a bow, suddenly he was the bad guy!
Gabriel reached the end of the passage and began to slow, his wings beating far more gradually now. He saw the opening up ahead, taking a breath of relief when he saw it was still open and unguarded even after all this time. He edged closer and snuck through the hole, quickly standing up and taking a moment to shake out his glorious wings. That Dean had given him a thorough telling-off too. It wasn't like he had to put up with their crap. If it were anyone else, Dean Winchester would currently be on the receiving end of a hilarious and deadly prank, but – purely because Gabriel knew first-hand what Sammy's (puppy-eyed) reaction was to Dean dying – he would leave the idiot alone.
Centuries ago, possibly longer, Gabriel had created several little 'back entrances' into the Heavenly Garden. He had been tricking long before that became his job title, though few people knew, and whilst Gabriel had enjoyed many hundreds of years of being able to 'sneak-out' whenever he pleased without his brothers catching him, over time most of these secret passageways had been sealed off. Gabriel hardly minded, even he could see it was reckless to have unguarded secret entrances into Heaven of all places – what if Demons somehow discovered them? Unlikely, but theoretically possible – and anyway, it's not like Michael and Raphael had managed to find them all. Hence, Gabriel was able to sneak into his old home after his latest run in with the Winchesters, right after they'd trapped him in a holy fire and squeezed out every last drop of information and dignity he had left.
He looked around himself curiously. This passageway had led him right into the middle of his own personal hiding place, founded by him when he was still a favoured member of the Archangelic 'merry men'. It was, technically speaking, off the map, under the radar –carefully designed to go unnoticed to his big, scary brothers as they flitted about pretending God was whispering in their ears. He'd designed it himself of course – a garden in itself, circular, and surrounded by tall, lush green trees that sealed off any views of the departed soul's paradises that lay just beyond. Gabriel would retreat here when his brothers fought, as they often did, refusing to get involved or pick a side. Sometimes they would look for him, and Gabriel would hear them calling his name (in its original Enochian form) – despite its jarring sound against the fragile ears of the souls resting peacefully in their own paradises – but he would never answer.
Gabriel looked around the hiding spot now, at the dewy blades of grass beneath his feet, remembering how he would sit for hours, contemplating a life elsewhere. But that meant falling, he'd thought then, before he'd run away, and he didn't want to fall.
Gabriel spun round, eyes wide, his Grace running like liquid silver down his forearm and pooling into the cold dagger of his Archangel's blade in his palm quicker than a blink. He took in the trenchcoat, the weary expression, the pure, innocent youth in two shining blue eyes.
"Castiel?" Gabriel's grip on the blade loosened slightly, his head tilting – an unconscious reaction. "How…"
"I admired you a great deal when we belonged in Heaven together, Gabriel. I once followed you here, back when…" Castiel trailed off, not wanting to speak of a time that was so deeply rooted in the past it was physically painful to think about. Gabriel's lips formed a thin straight line. "I come here sometimes now. It is quiet here. Peaceful."
"Private." Gabriel grumbled, tucking the blade securely away. Castiel looked up, but sensed there was no real venom behind Gabriel's words. He was flattered at Castiel's admiration. He was a prideful creature after all.
A few moments of silence passed between them, teetering on the edge between companionable and awkward. Sighing, Gabriel snapped his fingers and a wooden bench appeared in the centre of the garden; its wood a rich mahogany, framed in curled, twisting black iron. Gabriel slumped down onto it, his face brooding.
"God, those brats are annoying." Gabriel whined, leaning his head back and closing his eyes.
Castiel hesitated for a moment, looking uncomfortable. Then he sighed, seeming to let all defences slip along with his rigid posture. His shoulders drooped and he sat down next to his brother on the bench, still upright but significantly less robot-like.
"They can be a nuisance at times, I will allow." Castiel agreed, and Gabriel opened one eye to look at him, shocked.
"No! Don't tell me you agree with me little brother? You, who kisses the ground before that older chucklehead takes a step?" Gabriel feigned surprise, one hand fluttering over his heart, and his jaw dropping wide. Castiel glared.
"Dean Winchester is many things. Loyal, moral, righteous, brave-"
"Cute, sexy, handsome?" Gabriel interrupted, grinning now at Castiel as he listed Dean's attributes.
"-loving." Castiel corrected, glaring again. "But he is also stubborn, and self-deprecating, and yes, often very annoying."
"Huh." Gabriel said, his arms spreading out across the back of the bench. He gazed over at his stoic little brother curiously, regarding him with renewed interest. Castiel seemed to grow irritable under the staring and snarled.
"You lurrrve him." Gabriel sang, delighted at the discovery.
Castiel flushed immediately, and sat up ramrod straight. All rookie mistakes, betraying his youth and inexperience. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Gabriel grinned and shimmied closer to the younger Angel, new ideas swarming in his mind already with this new information. "Oh, I think you do. You were told to clutch that pretty boy and hoist him out of the fire, but he got his scent on you didn't he?" Castiel frowned at him, but shifted uncomfortably, attempting to move away from Gabriel, who was now seriously invading any personal space he may have once had. "What happened? You get a little greedy? You smoothing out all his bumps and scrapes and leave a little claim on your hand-sculpted piece of ass?"
Gabriel was half-joking, but Castiel was immediately defensive. "It's not like that! The mark I left on Dean was a reminder of his torment, a warning to other creatures that he was the righteous man and not to be touched. Or I would come for them." Castiel's eyes darkened at the idea. "It wasn't some petty territorial claim!"
Gabriel expertly arched one eyebrow, leaning back and folding his arms. "Uh-huh."
Castiel turned away, shaking his head a little. "What you did today was… foolish."
Gabriel chuckled and shrugged a little, unable to disagree. "Mmmmaybe…" He grinned and gave Castiel a playful punch on the shoulder. "I had my reasons."
"And what were they? To terrify the Winchesters into accepting Lucifer and Michael's ridiculous plan for them? Gabriel, this whole plan is flawed, not to mention overplayed. I am certain that God would never have wanted this, he loved us. He loved them, humans, his greatest creation. Why would he support a plan that would destroy them?" Castiel shook his head, clearly unable to comprehend.
"I agree, bro." Gabriel said, shrugging again. "It's a stupid, stupid plan. But it's also the only one anyone's got so…"
"So you thought you'd just create hundreds of alternate realities and trap the brothers in there until they go through with it, even though you disagree?" Castiel asked, disbelief etched onto his face. Gabriel turned away, pouting. "Or maybe you also have a hidden agenda?"
Gabriel's head whipped back around to face Castiel, and he became immediately wary of the glint in his little brother's eyes. "I don't know what you're-"
"Perhaps you thought that your fixation on Sam Winchester had escaped my notice, brother?" Castiel asked, his small smile an ironic mirror of Gabriel's just moments before.
"Now hold on-" Gabriel began, but Castiel wasn't finished.
"Sam is a remarkable individual, it's really of little wonder why you took such an interest in him. You are similar to him in many ways. The running away, the disobedience of your father, your little… bad streak…" Anger stained Gabriel's face. "Although I do think your methods of courting could do with a little work." Castiel finished, fully smiling now at Gabriel's enraged expression.
"Oh yeah?" Gabriel spat, Castiel's final words suddenly sending the urge to prove him wrong tumbling out of him like a waterfall. He felt interest begin to spark at the edges of his mind. "…And what would you suggest instead?"
Castiel's eyes widened. "W-what?"
Ideas, beautiful and bright, swarmed Gabriel's mind, stirred his Grace excitedly, sending it coursing through his veins until his whole body was thrumming. Alone, he was near useless – Sam barely had time for him at all; he was too different in all the wrong ways, too jokey, too sarcastic, too cruel for good-natured, kind-hearted little Sammy. But Cas – once Heaven's little poster boy – he was like a friggin encyclopaedia of know-how about how to get little Sammy all riled up and romanced.
And he, Gabriel, was perfect to help Cas too! Dean was all bravado and humour-defence-mechanisms. Hell, if anyone knew about that crap it was Gabriel. He'd been at it thousands of years! It hit him in a tidal wave, a tsunami of realisation raining down upon him on a wooden bench in a hidden garden:
Alone we're useless, we don't know what the hell we're doing. But together…
"Castiel!" Gabriel suddenly cried, and Cas's petrified expression at the sudden outburst was probably an indication that Gabriel had been silent for a good few minutes while his epiphany had come to him. He gripped his brother by his trenchcoated shoulders and laughed delightedly. "Cas kiddo, don't you worry about a thing. You and I, we're gonna come up with a plan."
The Five Ways to Court a Winchester