A/N: For spn_bigpretzel's left over plot bunnies from the Spring fic exchange and auntmo9. Prompt: Gabriel is not dead. He faked his death and has been lying low, but that is getting pretty boring. And it looks like the Queen of Moondoor could use a good Trickster jester for her court. I'm afraid I deviated pretty far from the prompt and it ended up mostly being a story about how Gabriel faked his death, but I wouldn't have had the idea for this story without the prompt, so I'm including it.

Summary: The easiest way to fake your death is to not fake it at all.

Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

You're probably asking yourself, "Self, just how does someone fool the devil himself into believing that he's killed you?"

Well … if you're a genius such as moi, then it's all rather simple – you let him kill you.

I mean kill you, kill you. As in dead, gone, kaput, ganked … I think you get the picture.

Yeah, I know … smart, huh?

Okay … so now you're thinking, "But, Gabriel … if you really were killed by Lucifer and didn't fake your death, then how are you still alive to explain all of this to us lowly simpletons?"

To answer that, I need to explain a few things about the guy I tricked – or didn't trick, however you want to see it. First of all, my big brother Lucifer, though blessed to be loved dearly by our Father, was always a bit of a bully. He didn't pick on Michael much since he was the oldest and would have opened up a can of whoop-ass on Lucifer if he tried, but to the rest of us, and me especially, he was often a straight-up dick.

And that asshole always got away with it!

No matter how much I complained to Dad about it, he would push me around, steal my harp (yes … I played a harp and I was pretty damn good at it too, thank you very much. Shut-up!) he'd give me swirlies and atomic wedgies … the list goes on and on. But in the end, he never got punished. Our father was always kind of a hands-off kind of parent and it wasn't until Lucifer full-on rebelled that Dad finally got pissed enough to do something and kicked Lucifer out of heaven. So, I guess that's why I've always felt that people like Lucifer deserved a little taste of their own medicine. I wasn't strong enough to get back at Lucy like I always wanted, but to other douchbags that deserved it – sure – I had a great time giving them their just desserts.

My point here is that Lucifer is a bully and like many bullies, his muscles are a lot bigger than his brains. He probably thought he was pretty clever figuring out that I had sent a double of myself to get killed, but seriously ...

Duh.

Hello ... I must have pulled that trick on him at least a millions times. The only tricky part was making sure that when Lucifer killed me – the real me – that is, that I had a way to fool him into thinking that he'd destroyed the angel part of me. The truth was, however, at the time of my 'death', I wasn't an angel at all.

See … it all comes down to grace. When an angel is killed, where he goes, no one really knows. Dad never told us what happens to angels when we died because either a) he didn't know himself or b) he knew that we simply ceased to exist and didn't want us to freak do know, however, that when an angel is stabbed with one of our blades, his grace is destroyed and when that happens … well … that angel never, ever comes back.

I knew before going in to face my brother that he was going to kill me, but killing my body wasn't what I had to worry about – it was my grace that I needed to protect. And like anything that needs protection, I had to find a way to hide it.

So, I took it out.

It wasn't too hard really – all it took was my angel blade and a little digging. But, son of a bitch, that hurt worse than having a Brazilian done with duct tape. The process of removing my grace, no matter how painful it was, was what ultimately saved my bacon though. By taking it out, I became mortal and a fully-souled being – with all the rights and benefits to a life after death.

All I had to do after that was give my grace to a certain trusted individual for safe keeping, march up to Lucifer, let him stab me, whisper a few, simple spells as I died that any monkey could perform, and voila - I was one dead archangel, burned feathers and all.

Simple.

Effective.

Not surprisingly, it all went off without a hitch and I died just as I planned.

Sure, it hurt, but not for very long. But then the best part came shortly after that and came toe to toe with a very confused and somewhat miffed reaper. I know it's not every day that those guys have to reap an angel, but man … you should have seen this guy's face: priceless. I don't think he really knew what to do with me.

I guess that's why the Big Cheese himself showed up only a moment or two later, looking rather annoyed and holding a to-go bag from White Castle and a large soda.

"Gabriel … " Death greeted, taking a bite from his burger, "I was just sitting down to lunch when I heard you crossed over into my territory. You shouldn't be here."

"Yeah well … ya know. I may not have been invited, but that's never stopped me from crashing a party before."

Death took a sip from his drink, his face expressionless. One might even say it was 'deadpan' … ha! Get it?

"I suppose you expect me to send you off to heaven since you died a mortal, don't you?"

"Nah – let's not go to Heaven, 'tis a silly place."

Death raised an eyebrow.

"How about you just put me back in my body?" I suggested helpfully, "I think I've been dead long enough to fool Lucy by now."

"Why should I?" Death finished off his burger and chased it down with a loud slurp from his drink.

"Because I'm sooo good looking." I smiled charmingly.

Death didn't seem too impressed "I'm sure you recall a certain prank you pulled on Sam Winchester a couple of years ago?"

I shrugged, "So?"

"So?" Death put down his drink calmly, but I'll admit to being a little intimidated as he approached and loomed over me, addressing me like a small child that needed scolding. "You killed Dean Winchester 132 times and each time he died, a reaper needed to be sent. Have you no idea the amount of man-power and logistics that takes? Your lack of respect for me and my work is frankly … appalling."

I looked up sheepishly, "Sorry. I was just trying to make a point and teach little Sammy a lesson."

"You could have done so without the excessive killing. I should erase your existence from the universe for what you have done."

"Oh?" I smirked, realizing something. If Death was really pissed at me, I wouldn't have been having any kind of discussion with him – I would have already been atomized. "Then why haven't you?" I asked with new-found confidence.

Death angrily held up his hands to show off the chain that bound him.

I whistled, "Whoa … I gotta admit. My brother's got a pair of big-ass balls."

"Your brother's testicle size is of no importance to me." I rolled my eyes. Jeez … Death was no fun. "But, I know that you told the Winchesters about the horsemen's rings and how to lock Lucifer back in his cage. For that infinitesimally small act of valor on your part, I will send you back to Earth. If anything, I'll at least have the satisfaction of knowing that your continued existence will spite Lucifer, that insolent brat."

"That's it?"

"Yes.

Somehow I knew that I wasn't going to get off so easily, "What's the catch?" I just had to ask.

He held out his palm and in the next breath, a small, glowing vial appeared in his hand. Death grinned, making his skin stretch grotesquely tight over his gaunt face. My soul shivered and I took a step back in shock as I instantly recognized the object Death held; my grace. I'd given it to Kali for safe-keeping, but guessed it hadn't been all that safe.

"Hey … that's mine!" I cried.

"I believe I shall be holding onto this for a while."

"Now hold on here … you can't do this! You can't just toss me back to Earth without my grace!" Okay … I may have whined a little bit at that point, but damn, he was being such a dick about things.

Death merely glared at me, and I knew he was, excuse the pun, dead-serious.

"But, but … that means -" I sputtered.

Death smugly finished for me, "… no powers, no snapping your fingers and tossing people into wormholes, no conjuring women from thin air, no television fantasy world, and most importantly, no throwing off the balance of the universe that I have worked so hard to maintain. You will be fully human until the time that I deem you worthy of having your powers restored. I guess you could say that you will be getting your 'just desserts'."

"Awww Man … c'mon!" I protested at having my own line tossing in my face. "How am I supposed to help those knuckleheads lock Lucy back in his box if I have no power?"

"The Winchesters already know about the rings and the rest is up to them. You have played your part in your family's petty apocalypse already and there are already far too many angels sticking their halos into places where they don't belong. You will stay out of the Winchester's way and not interfere in any way. Am I clear?"

"Crystal." I grumbled then bit my lip, holding back some choice words just in case Death decided to change his mind and snuff me anyway.

"Good." Death started to lift a hand towards my head when I was struck by a disturbing thought. "Wait!" I stopped him, "If I go back and Lucifer finds out I'm still breathing, I won't have anything to protect myself with."

Death's face was infuriatingly impassive as he ignored my concerns, "You'll think of something."

BAM!

The next think I know, I'm waking up alone on the floor of the hotel, alive, but completely powerless.

"Dude!" I shouted at the ceiling, hoping that asshole was listening. "NOT cool!"

I went directly into hiding from anything remotely angelic or demonic after that and laid as low as I possibly could. Thankfully, Lucifer must have been too preoccupied with the apocalypse to notice that I was back and the Wusschester's must have done something right for once because the world didn't end in a big ball of fire like I expected it to.

Now here I am, years later - just a simple, ordinary human being waiting for the day that Death decides to give me my grace back. In the mean time, I have to muddle through this life every day and try to survive as a mortal.

And let me tell you something: being human sucks all kinds of ass.

Since I can't just snap my fingers and call up a chocolate cake, if I get hungry, I have to go out and find food. And in order to eat it, I have to have money to buy it, because if I steal it, I could go to jail (true story: Prison is not as much fun as it looks on TV). Therefore, my need for food meant that I had to get a job and the best one I could find was with a company that delivers incontinence supplies to seniors. Lucky me now gets to spend about 10 hours a day within the confines of a 4x4 cubicle, chatting with little old ladies about which diapers they prefer all while doing everything I can to avoid my dickweed boss (Had I any powers, he would have been thrown into another dimension ages ago).

But possibly the worst part of being human is that if I want to get a little action (if you know what I mean) then I have to either a.) Buy it from a girl who would most likely give me a venereal disease or b.) Actually get to know a girl and spend all of my money taking her out on dates. Either way, I just end up broke and frustrated.

And don't even get me started on all the other kinds of disgusting bodily functions I have to perform.

So, there you have it. This is my mortal life now, such as it is.

But it's not all bad.

Sure, I miss having powers that catered to my every whim, but I haven't lost everything- there are things about me are still awesome; I'm as cool as I ever was, I have a winning personality, and people at work say that I'm the funniest guy in the whole customer service department. That's gotta count for something, right?

Plus, just a few weeks ago a new girl moved into the cubicle beside mine who brightens up the whole office and makes work less of a bore. She's a pistol, that one - all fire and gorgeous red hair. She might be a bit of a sci-fi nerd and bat for the other team, but she's funny and smart and makes being stuck as a human a little more worthwhile. She's even invited me to a Ren-fair called Moondork or something like that this weekend and I think I might just have to take her up on her offer.

I've always enjoyed role-playing anyway, and if it means I get to hang out with a cool chick like Charlie, then how could I possibly say no?

The End