Gabriel had been the Trickster in one guise or another long enough to appreciate a good joke. Even when the joke was on him. He just simply could not understand the punch line here though.
He loitered, invisible, watching the Winchester brothers stride down the street. Sam looked a little ragged around the edges. Gabriel frowned. He had only cycled through one Tuesday; this did not bode well for his future sanity. You shall wield the hammer and make him unbreakable.
This wasn’t exactly how he thought it would go.
“I don’t know what the hell you’re doing, Dad,” he muttered, following along as they passed the arguing workmen (“what do you want, a Pulitzer?”)
trying to get a piano into a second floor apartment. “But if anyone asks, I’m saying I got my sense of humor from you.”
He got as close as he dared, almost too close as his Grace reacted to the portion of itself he’d left in Sam’s soul a long time ago and Sam’s eyes darted around uncertainly. Gabriel backed off a quick couple of paces and resumed studying the boys from afar.
Dean, he could dismiss almost without second thought. Contact lens cases had more depth than the elder Winchester. He liked women, and hunting, and his Impala and his horrible music. And he hated just about everything else with varying degrees. He had unswerving faith and blind devotion to his cause which, as far as Gabriel could tell without drawing too much attention to himself, seemed to be about keeping Sam safe and alive. Gabriel could appreciate that. But there was something about Dean, a holier-than-thou righteousness that smacked of MIkey’s influence.
Michael was the least favorite of his brothers. Yes, even Luci was more favorite than Michael.
Sam. Ah, Sam. Lovely, brilliant, wounded Sam. Gabriel wanted to wrap his wings around him and drag him somewhere no one and nothing could ever hurt him again. Just watching him brought back all those ancient, naïve longings to meet and spend time with and watch over the soul within him.
Gabriel was older and wiser than that now, and the world had moved on from personal guardian angels. But that didn’t mean the urge wasn’t there. And it didn’t hurt to dream, did it?
He peered closer, letting just a hint of his power out if its cage. The wounds on Sam’s soul were twisted, deep, and ugly scars. Some were fresh, others ancient. Something stirred in Gabriel. A rage fed y eons of longing, because no matter how much he tried to forget himself, his brothers, and his Father, he could never, ever
He wouldn’t forget the oily black lines snaking through the pure silver. Wouldn’t forget the fraying edges. Wouldn’t forget the core of him
Which brought him to his next question. Who had dared
to injure his…
His what? His soul? His human? His pet? His beloved?
It was confusing. And Gabriel hated being confused.
Suddenly discontent with watching, Gabriel snapped his fingers and the old geezer from the diner ran Dean down in his shitbox car. Gabriel chortled for a moment – who knew that Dean Winchester could spin so gracefully in the air; how acrobatic was that
? – but then he caught the look on Sam’s face.
Terror. Heartbreak. Loss. Grief. Rage.
Helpless, no longer laughing, he watched Sam cradling Dean’s bloodied body in the street, the old man slowly getting out of his car to stare in disbelief. Gabriel’s head went down. He designed that soul, Dad-dammit. He should be protecting and nurturing it, not tormenting it for cheap laughs.
Who dared scar Sam Winchester’s soul? Looked like this time, it was him
He watched as long as he could bear. When he could take it no longer, he snapped his fingers. The cycle reset. OoOoOoO “Heeeeeeeat of the moment!”
“Rise and shine, Sammy!” OoOoOoO
Gabriel took the next few cycles off, set Groundhog Day on auto-pilot and random selection, then took himself to the farthest corner of town where he was certain Dean and Sam wouldn’t go. He sat, invisible, atop the bank with his elbows on his knees. He wasn’t brooding, and he’d shiv anyone who dared say he was.
Above him, the sky roiled as Dean died again and again. The sun raced across the sky, reversed itself, seized and shook, and Gabriel did his best to ignore it. He couldn’t, though, because every death was another wound, another cut, another stab, to Sam.
What the hell had he been thinking? That this was funny? That he could drill some half-baked lesson into Sam’s head about Dean’s impending death?
He used to have more finesse than this. He had been an excellent teacher at one time in his long existence. His lessons had subtlety, meaning, metaphor. He had instructed angels and men on many metaphysical levels with refinement and grace. Once upon a time, he had been sought after.
Was he seriously reduced to cribbing the plots of Bill Murray movies?
He had to stop this. Reveal himself. Explain himself, if he could. Before he did more damage than he could heal. Resolutely, he stood up, fingers raised to snap. He didn’t have
to snap, but it was habit.
Suddenly, he was elsewhere. A place God had once taken him, given him a task, and smiled at what he created. A place he had no name for, except there
. Sunlight streamed through overhead foliage in pretty ribbons, lions and lambs mingled. He was alone, but he wasn’t alone
. The presence of God filled him, warm, alive, loving. Oh, Father, the love
. Gabriel tipped his head back, closed his eyes and basked in it.
It hurt to take in, he’d been so long without it. His Grace flared, brightened, wings extending in all directions with the feathers spread. He drank it in, revelling in the sensation of the Presence. Light bathed him, bright and familiar and he was happy
to the point of tears.
He almost missed the nuances, but they sharpened until he had no choice but to take notice of them. Gabriel blinked, faltered. There was gentle warning in there, admonition. Fond chiding. Suddenly, Gabriel remembered he was still pissed at the old man, and he folded his wings back into his vessel, trying not to feel like a sulking child.
“Nice to see you too, Dad,” he said, and even the Presence couldn’t soothe away the bitterness. He studied the shifting light, the interplay of shadow and sun. It had been a long, long time, but he hadn’t lost the knack of reading the subtleties and the meanings. This was going to be a distinctly one-sided conversation. They usually were. “Thanks for, you know, letting us think you were dead all this time.”
Dappling light over a leaf.
Gabriel snorted. “I don’t give a shit, Dad. You
The wind in the branches.
“What do you mean, this was for our own good? Do You have any idea
the chaos you leaving created? Oh, wait a minute. What am I saying? You’re God
. Of course
you know. It’s all a part of your Plan, right? Suuuuure, let’s let Luci and Michael tear each other to pieces, and take the world down while they’re at it.”
A fleeting glimpse of a butterfly. Wind and sun. The laughing of a brook.
Gabriel listened, and watched, and heard and saw. There were good reasons. Problem was, he just wasn’t buying
any of it. Perhaps he’d been too long on Earth, too long away from Heaven. The initial giddiness, the sheer joy of the Presence, was fading, leaving Gabriel with his confusion, his hurt and his anger. “I’m not your errand boy anymore,” he snarled. “I don’t do
messages. This was your Plan all along? Leave us floundering, let those two sorry sonsabitches fumble their way through death and sacrifice and…” His breath caught as he thought of the ugly black streaks marring Sam’s soul. “Why did you do it?”
Sunlight flared, and so did Gabriel’s wings. Not just the two he kept for show. All six of them. He flung out a hand, as if that would do anything against God. Instinct was hard to break, though. “No more cryptic bullshit, Dad. You want me to play carrier pigeon, you want me to guide that sad sasquatch, you fucking tell me why!”
Gabriel was very, very quiet. The light receded, ebbed, lingering here on a twig, there on a flower. Eventually Gabriel was alone again, truly alone in the place he had once shaped a soul, lost in thought. Twilight touched the sky, and Gabriel was wreathed in shadows.
Finally, his head rose, eyes canted towards Heaven. At least two of his six brothers still resided there, and he now had a very good idea of exactly what they were up to. “Fuck you all,” he said. “And your mother twice.” OoOoOoO
He still didn’t like it, but now he was motivated
. Gabriel threw himself into Groundhog Day curse with all the flair and subtlety of a train wreck. Dean’s deaths became bloodier, more vicious and more ridiculous with every passing reset. No matter what Sam tried to do, Gabriel was there to counter it, slide around it, reverse it. He hated
that lost, hopeless, despairing look on Sam’s face every morning he woke up and it was still Tuesday.
But Gabriel had his marching orders now. He wasn’t wielding the hammer. He was
the fucking hammer, and if Sam didn’t come out of this stronger, wiser and with more respect for his environment, Gabriel would eat his own wings.Look, Sam
, he said every Tuesday morning. Look how dangerous everything is. Look how much respect you have to give everything. Look at how you can use your environment to your advantage. Look at how your opponent will use it to theirs. Steel yourself to loss. Examine every detail. Miss nothing. Succeed. Excel. Survive.
Wield the hammer.
He would apologize later, and explain himself later. When this was all over.
If Sam wasn’t unbreakable after this, Gabriel would feed him to a moose.