stellawind: The Plaza After Rain - Painted by Paul Cornoyer c.1910 (Default)
[personal profile] stellawind
Title: The Importance of Truth
Author: [ profile] stellawind
Artist: [ profile] v_son_sayian
Genre: Drama, AU
Pairing: very minor Sam/Gabriel
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Manipulation, Character death
Tier/Word Count: Second Tier / ~11,200
Summary: Mystery Spot AU. One Tuesday, Gabriel slips up, and Dean is sent to Hell months ahead of schedule. Now, this early Apocalypse wouldn't be a problem for Gabriel, but Sam's stubbornness has made things...complicated.
Link to art: Here!
Also on AO3!

Part 1

Ten days. Ten days. It had been ten days and Gabriel still hadn’t been able to change things. He’d thought things might right themselves if he left Sam mostly alone, and instead the man had gone off and gotten even more determined to say no, and would likely equate any offer from Lucifer to being part of Azazel’s great plan.
In fact, as far as he could tell, Sam had decided that the whole world was out to get him.
Too bad, he didn’t seem far from wrong, as that call with demon seemed to prove. As far as Gabriel could tell, she had been Hell’s agent with the best shot at manipulating Sam, which she had just blown. Or he had, indirectly.
The bit about angels lying had just slipped out, and he wasn’t sure if it would help or not, but Sam didn’t seemed to have noticed it.
They’d ended up back onto the road after that, and Sam hadn’t spoken, instead putting on a mix tape of what had to be all the worst hits of classic rock. He didn’t really seemed to be paying attention to it, other than when it stopped and he had to flip the tape.
That was fine with Gabriel. He spent most of the morning trying to peer into the future, trying not to look any further than Sam and Lucifer. He careful tried to see what he could change, but all he could see was Sam always saying no, and then more of Gabriel’s family dying, more than he could bear.
Was it really so much to ask that Lucifer and Michael just kill each other already? There hadn’t been a reason to inflict their personal trauma on the rest of the family, but they’d had. Tearing them up along lines of ideals and beliefs until there wasn’t anything left that didn't hurt.
It had been then that Gabriel had left, tearing himself out of Heaven, away from Lucifer and Michael, just in time to see Lucifer’s Fall.
When Lucifer Fell, he’d had been like a comet across the sky, and then like a second sun, for he had burned so brightly. Then his grace abruptly shifted into something new, ripping out all that had made him like Michael, like Gabriel. It turned into something else, and hit the earth, then going deeper and going into an elsewhere that would later become Hell.
That had been when Gabriel had decided that he’d had enough, and had turned away from it all.
For all the good it had done him.
He could still see the way Lucifer had twisted, the way he had ripped his very grace up, just so that he wouldn’t be like them. He had seen then the Winchesters, had seen Sam and known that would someday end, one way or the other.
Expect it wasn’t the end.
Sam loved Dean too much to ever say yes.
Dean had sold his soul for Sam.
For all that they were humans, with free will flowing so easily in them, capable of remaking each choice, Gabriel was starting to understand them.
For each other, they would…
Well, they would do more than Lucifer and Michael had.
Loki stayed.
Sam was sure there was a reason, something that he should be asking, but he was fine with things being the way they were. He told himself again that it was good to always know where his enemy was. At the diner he picked for lunch, Loki had three milkshakes, and Sam found himself paying for them without complaint. The same was repeated at dinner with four different desserts. Sam ended up getting the usual two queen room.
Neither of them said anything when Loki took the other bed.
In retrospect, maybe one of them should, but it had seemed a natural progression at the time, had seen like something logical. It didn't have the same easiness of him and Dean, but nothing ever would, ever could, since that was something ingrained by years of childhood.
But it was easier than it ever had been with anyone else, and Sam hated himself for that thought.
He knew he always made friends fast. It had been something that was a defensive mechanism after switching schools so many times. He and Jess had gone just having met to serious relationship in three glorious days he'd never forget. He and Brady had clicked in the first few minutes of talking.
Loki didn't fit any of his past patterns though; Sam didn't like him, didn't even understand why he wanted him around, and not someone else. Here he was though, despite all of that. Despite having killed Dean.
Sam buried his head under his pillow, and tried to remind himself that it hadn't taken ten days for him to forget, only that it took him ten days to move forward.
Dean would be back.
He fell asleep to the thought.
The next morning he woke up to the smell of coffee and donuts and found them waiting along with Loki at the table. It looked like it had been a carry out box of a dozen, though only two were left.
He looked at the cup of coffee, suddenly remembering the two empty cups that were still in the Impala. He wondered how long Loki had waited for him the day before.
Loki didn't say much too him, and while he didn't have bags under his eyes and he didn't yawn, Sam had a feeling the night before hadn't been a restful one for him. That said, he was still at a lost to if a trickster rested or slept. Maybe it was just Loki missed fucking up someone’s life.
When Sam was almost half way through his coffee, Loki finally spoke.
“What do you want to know about angels?”
“What do you know?” Sam asked cautiously after he managed not to spit out his coffee. Was Loki volunteering the information?
“If I was going to tell you everything I knew, you'd be dead of old age before I finished.”
“Right. What do you think is important?”
Loki stole the last donut, and ate it absently.
Sam prudently finished the last few bites of his.
“You have a bloodline.”
“A... bloodline,” Sam repeated, remembering what Ruby had said.
“Yes. On both sides of your family. They combine to make one very specific thing possible.”
Loki looked almost sick as he spoke, and his eyes were... odd. Too steady and too bright.
“What do you mean?”
“It makes you vessels.”
“Vessels for angels.”
“Okay,” he finally said, not sure what else he could say to that.
“Very specific angels,” Loki continued, like he couldn't quite believe what he was saying either. No, like he couldn't believe he was saying it to Sam.
“Dean is Michael’s vessel–”
“As in the archangel?”
“You're Lucifer's,” Loki continued, like Sam hadn't said anything.
“No,” Sam said, slowly shaking his head, even as he remembered a demon calling him boy-king.
“Yes,” Loki said. “The answer I'm looking for is yes.”
Sam could only shake his head even more furiously, and then bolted to the bathroom, standing over the sink, feeling like he should be hurling. He wasn't. His stomach was steady even as his blood raced, and his mind went in circles, still trying to understand.
Lucifer? The devil, Satan himself. He couldn't– he wasn't...
Sam finally turned the water on and splashed washed his face, like that would somehow help.
Loki was still sitting at the table when Sam came back out, and he looked like he was just as wrecked as Sam was, just better at hiding it.
“Gotten over your panic attack yet, princess?” he asked.
Sam rolled his eyes automatically, and then slid back into the chair.
“What does this mean for Dean?” Sam asked. “Am I... going to have do something to get him back? Is that what you've been dancing around?”
“No,” Loki said after yet another drawn out moment, where he seemed to be weighing something. “It's after Dean comes back you need to worry.”
“He'll start it. The Apocalypse.”
Loki then broke it down further, and it was only through Sam's ability –hard won at Stanford– to panic and take notes at the same time, that let him understand. There were so many forces at work here, and not even Heaven was in the right here. Both sides wanted it, and he and Dean were stuck in the middle. The Righteous Man and the Boy-King. The true vessels of Michael and Lucifer.
Finally, Loki wound down, trailing off as he looked at Sam, but didn't seem to see him.
“Why are you telling me?” he finally asked.
“Because I want to change the future,” he said with a twist of a smile. “And because I thought that you knowing the same as all the other big players would change it.”
It hadn't changed anything.
By that point, Gabriel knew it wouldn't. It had been worth a try, he'd figured, and gambled away the information.
The odd thing, the worrying thing was that he was in some small way happy about it. That Sam would stay by Dean, despite knowing it all.
He didn't tell Sam everything of course, not all the sordid little details, but enough that he would know what would happen, when Dean would be back, and what he would have had to do.
It didn't feel like enough though, and while he should leave now, he didn't.
He wanted to know what would happen next.
That wasn't true.
He wanted to help create what would happen next.
Fuck him sidewise, he was starting to care. Nothing good could come of this.
They were back in the car an hour later, after Sam stopped looking like he should be feeling sick and after he stopped pacing. Gabriel was beginning to understand their fondness of the car. Besides the awesome look of the car, there was something infinitely comforting about the hum of the engine, the rattle of the tape player.
Most of the day was spent with Sam quizzing him on what angels did and why. There were one or two places where he made a crack about Michael that did (he would later admit) come awful close to sounding like he meant something about Dean, and Sam didn’t quite to seem ready to kill him over it again, but it was a near thing. The other rocky spot came a little bit after lunch.
“It seems a little funny that you, a Norse god would know so much.”
“Eh, I’ve always had a… professional interest in other pantheons, especially the powerful ones. You should ask me about Kali someday.”
Sam had seemed to accept it, and they moved one, but Gabriel hadn't been able to stop worrying until over an hour later.
Days rolled by like miles in the Impala, and it was one day, when Gabriel spotted geese heading north in a V did he realize that it had been over three months, since he’d sat in the Impala that day with two empty cups of coffee, waiting.
They’d spent the last few months going from one coast to the other, only spending the night in the same place if they stumbled across a hunt.
The only exception had been the one and a half nights they had been in a motel on the outskirts of Toledo. The first night had been routine, with Gabriel watching a horribly dated movies and making loud comments about it until Sam either joined in or told him turn it off. That night, Sam had joined in, and they had just been ready to leave when he’d come back from the Impala, his cell phone in hand, and said that they were staying another night.
They’d spent the day mostly doing nothing, and around nine at night, Sam had said he had something to do, and left.
Sam did that sometimes, finding a pool hall, a bar, or an abandoned stretch road. Then, with a terribly empty look in his eyes, he’d lose himself in a game or drink or simply staring at the sky. The only time Sam’s eyes would lose the fathomless quality was when he looked at Gabriel, and dark, thoughtfulness would come on him, and his gaze would turn heartless and bloodthirsty.  Gabriel always avoided him during those times, if possible.
Gabriel had no thought of following Sam then either. There had been a mostly full bag of old Easter candy that had been calling his name and Bond marathon on.
Halfway through Diamonds Are Forever, Sam stumbled in, bloody, with a wicked little knife in his hands.
He stank of demon.
Gabriel had cleaned up the blood with a snap of his fingers, but insisted Sam take a warm shower before they left. If nothing else, it would wash away the stench. Also, he didn’t really feel like getting in a car crash, and thought the shower would study Sam’s nerves. It did, though Gabriel had to call for him a few times, before he came out. He’d come out, dry eyed, but with skin too red.
The next morning, when they stopped for an early lunch, Sam intently watched a news reporter talking about the body of a blonde twenty something grad student who had been missing for months. There were no current suspects in who stabbed her.
 It was another thing that slipped into the cracks, and Sam only spoke of it once.
“Dean would be saying he told me so.”
It was three days later in St. Louis when everything went pear shaped.
Sam spent most of a day going over micro-film at a university library until Gabriel gave up, and went off to find something else to do. He got the star quarterback of the local high school suspended after being caught doing something illegal with a goat (it wasn't x-rated, but Gabriel felt the overall mental trauma of him trying wine and dine it was more effective, let alone the damage to his bank account of buying it designer shoes).
He came back to the motel with a dinner, something healthy and doubtless utterly tasteless for Sam, and two pieces of cake for himself.
Sam was already back, and Gabriel wondered if the library had closed early until he felt it.
Pure grace, the likes of which he hadn't felt outside of Heaven in eons.
A pure note, an echo of the song of creation, calling for rightness, for what should be, rather than the falsity.
His own Horn. The Horn of Truth, and Sam had just used it.
On him.
A rage like he rarely felt swept through him. How dare this mortal try to entrap him? He, who had flown on the winds, had seen the world born and knew the secrets of gods and angels. He was Gabriel, one of the archangels, and he was Loki, who had his own duties come Ragnarök. Did this... creature think he had the power to command anything from him?
Then, like water down a drain, the rage left him. Of course Sam had used it.
“How did you get that?” Gabriel asked instead.
“The micro-films were from Archivio Segreto Vaticano, a part the Vatican Library.  It took a while, but eventually– “
“You found that book,” Gabriel said, rolling his eyes. He’d found all but one copy of the ravings of that particular prophet, something he’d made sure of after he realized that it mentioned that he wasn’t dead (though in a rather obscure and ecclesiastical bent). The exception had ended up in the Vatican Secret Archives, which actually weren’t nearly as secretive as he would have liked.
And evidently had been turned into a micro-copy, and probably presented as some fine example of early French book-binding or some other nonsense.
Sam nodded, and slowly traced a finger over the Horn, and the very grace of it swirled at his touch. Gabriel wanted to shiver, to snatch up the Horn himself, and to…
“Why are you helping me?”
“Because I want to,” he began, before he felt the tug of the Horn pulling out the rest. It was probably his best work and almost purely grace given shape. “Because I think that you shouldn’t be trapped in the old battle.”
“And whose battle is it?”
“Michael’s, Lucifer’s, and mine, when I make it so.”
“Who are you?”
Ah, that would be question Sam would ask. Third, most deadly, most necessary, and most needed.
Sam’s hand faltered, and he looked from him to the Horn and then back.
“Yes, that’s mine.”
“Oh.” Sam flushed, though he didn’t seem to be falling over himself to apologize, which was something. The last time he’d told a human his true name had been awkward, and next thing he had known there was yet another religion popping up. He’d sworn it off then.
“I made a long time ago. Before I…”
“Before I left Heaven. Before the Fall, before everything else. Then Lucifer used it on Michael when they fought, and I put it with the rest of Heaven’s weapons. That was when I learned how deadly truth was.”
“They’re your brothers,” Sam breathed.
Sam swore and tore himself away from the Horn, away from where Gabriel stood in the doorway, still holding dinner.
“My god, your brothers. You’ve been…”
Gabriel didn’t want to hear the conclusion to that thought, and finally slammed the door shut and shoved dinner on the table. The salad dressing tumbled over and it’s plastic lid flew off, along with half the dressing. It was a lurid orange and spattered the carpet. Gabriel stared, and then decided to ignore it, and went for his cake.
“I didn’t know,” Sam finally said. “I mean, I knew that you weren’t a trickster, but– “
“How?” asked Gabriel, offended. He’d been Loki for over a thousand years now. He had it down to an art now.
“The sweets. You go for them when you think about them, or maybe when you’re stressed. It’s not a metabolism thing at all.”
“Hunters,” he finally said and rolled his eyes. “A god doesn’t need food. Worship, possibly necessary, but not food. Also, there’s no way a stake would be enough to kill us. Someone got their wires crossed or Coyote was having a really good joke on one of you.”
Sam grimaced. “Well, there was also how you knew everything, and the Apocalypse got under your skin more than it should.”
“End of the world? Of course it does!”
“No, end of the world for you should be Ragnarök.”
“And I should also be chained under a snake with a drooling issue, but Skadi and I worked out our issues after a few decades.”
“You just didn’t fit the role!” Sam protested. 
Gabriel snorted. “You just had a feeling and went with it. There was no deduction involved.”
Sam nodded, but it looked more like he was humoring him and Gabriel scowled.
Sam snagged the other piece of cake. Gabriel made a feint to take it back, and Sam grabbed half of it with his hand and shoved it into his mouth, choking on it a little as he laughed. Gabriel managed to snag the rest of it for himself.
“You said an angel would bring Dean back,” Sam said, as he watched Gabriel finish the last bite. “Is that you?”
“No. Hell is too much for me.” The very idea of going into that place that Lucifer had created at his darkest hour, after he had burned the brightest, terrifed him. “Even now, with Micheal at the head in all his grace, Heaven’s army can barely creep forward. It’s not their time to win yet.”
Sam hummed in acknowledgement, but the hunch to his shoulders spoke far more clearly.
It was later when Sam had tucked the Horn away in the trunk, with all the other weapons, that he asked Gabriel another question.
“How mad are you about that?”
“The Horn?” Gabriel shrugged once, and then flopped down on his bed. “It was a good call.”
“But not necessary,” Sam agreed.
“No, it was,” Gabriel said, knowing it for truth.
He’d forgotten who he was.
“I’m sorry,” Sam sighed.
“Don’t be.”
“It was more than needing to know though, I… liked Ruby. A lot. It could have been something more. I thought she wasn’t telling me everything, but I thought she’d told me enough. She hadn’t.”
Gabriel worked through what was unsaid.
“Do you mean we’ve been wasting all these motel room beds these past few months?”
Sam snorted. “God, no. It might be something to think about, someday, and I can’t– Not until Dean…”
“Kinky,” Gabriel remarked.
Sam threw a pillow at him.
Gabriel knew what he meant though. He would not lay with his brother’s killer.
There was no question to Gabriel’s own answer. He hadn’t spent so much time with a mortal in over a thousand years.
After that, things flowed a little more freely between them, Sam felt. Truth, trust and a name was all it took.
It was in that vein, he presented his newest plan to Gabriel.
“I think it would work.”
“Uh, yeah, problem? It’s been done.”
“The Horn has a one person, one time use clause?”
“No, but last time Lucifer ended up flinging up a few asteroids around during his temper tantrum, and Michael started talking about exiling him. Using the Horn again is not going to help.”
“The right questions weren’t asked,” Sam said earnestly. “He was trying to get a reaction, something to throw back at him, right?” It’s what he would do, if he was fighting with Dean.
“Well, yes, but–”
“It’ll be a moderated session, with you in control. It should work.”
Gabriel snorted. “I think looking for Dad is more likely to than that. You can’t seriously be thinking they’ll just talk it out.”
“If Lucifer breaks free, I think it’s our best option. I’ll do my best to keep from killing Lilith, but if she throws herself on my knife, there’s not much I can do.”
Well, Gabriel had to admit it was just about as good (read: desperate) an idea as throwing them both in timeout, which depended on finding all the Horsemen and Death was a tricky bastard.
It had the additional benefit of closure, that he’d really know what his brothers thought of him. If it came down to it, they had their last option: his sword.
The holy oil was pretty easy to get and fix into place around the Mustang, with the help of deep trench, lined with plastic and an armed small remote explosive. The hard part was convincing Bobby to not kill Gabriel, and that he really was Gabriel.
In the end, Sam had found himself pulling out the Horn again. He knew he was being smug that it had worked, but couldn’t stop bring it up when either of them expressed doubt about his plan on how to stop Michael and Lucifer.
The plan was refined a little, however. Bobby had sensibly pointed out that part of the problem was that heaven was going along with the Apocalypse.
Gabriel had agreed, getting that internal, abstracted look again. He’d then brought up the idea of subverting all the other angels he could. As far as Sam could understand, he would be pulling rank, giving the angels another path to follow.
Hence the new plan. Their very first convert would be the angel that brought Dean back.
Mostly the new plan involved a lot of waiting, watching the Mustang from about a quarter mile off, as Gabriel had been pretty graphic in the amount of physical destruction that could be caused. Supposedly, the oil would be fine, and the explosive immersed in it, due to the oils meta-physical properties.
Sam was just glad to know that he shouldn’t leave Dean’s stuff there. He’d had Gabriel get it in the end, not really want to see… anything close up. Still, he would have never heard the end of it, if he’d let Dean’s favorite gun, not to mention everything else, get blasted to bits.
It was a good thing he hadn’t left him in the Impala, really.
It was May 20th when it happened.
“He’s saved,” Gabriel said.
Then light, far too bright. For an instant less than a heartbeat, everything was beyond white and Sam could see something, all wings, awe, and fury before Gabriel slapped his hand over Sam’s face, but Sam could almost see it still, something like a sun’s afterimage, and his eyes ached like he hadn’t slept in weeks.
Then, there was a small explosion, and the whoosh of flames.
By the time he was halfway there, climbing around over turned cars, Dean was leaping out of the circle of flames, tearing off a blindfold, which eased one of Sam’s worries, even as the rest of his heart lifted.
What had to be one of the most ridiculous grins in the history of mankind was on his face, but he didn’t care.
Dean was alive, and that was all that mattered.
He ran to him, stumbling and tripping until Dean was there, finally in his arms again, alive. Of course, it was a Tuesday, but it was another Tuesday. A new Tuesday.
“Him,” Dean snarled, and then he was going at Gabriel.
Sam couldn’t stop himself, he laughed, tugging at Dean’s arms, holding him back.
“It’s all right,” he tried to explain, but he found himself grinning again at the wild, worried look in Dean’s eyes.
“He’s an angel,” Sam tried to explain.
As punch drunk as Sam was, it took a while for him to explain, but by the end of it, he had stopped trying to get at Gabriel, which Gabriel considered to be close enough. Sam had managed to get out a mostly coherent truth, despite a mad grin.
“And what about him?” Dean jerked his hand at Castiel, still standing in the circle of flame.
“I’ll handle him,” Gabriel said.
“It’ll be a good first test,” Sam agreed.
“It will work, have faith.” His own faith sang at his touch, wanting to proclaim itself to all, but for now it would be best to be quiet.
“Right,” Dean said, and dragged Sam a little further away, hissing something in his ears that he probably wasn’t supposed to hear.
Sam objected, and Gabriel had a warm feeling to hear himself so defended, but that wasn’t the matter at hand.
He looked to his brother and slowly approached.
“Release me at once!” Castiel thundered, and his voice shattered car windows. His grace sparked and shuddered against the barrier of the oil in show which would have been impressive if Gabriel wasn’t who he was.
For the first time since he had fled, he let his grace unfurl fully and brought his wings into existence. They caught the sun and flamed brilliantly, shattering the spectrum of light and turning all wavelengths of it to another type of energy, and converting it to something visible.
“Be not afraid, little brother.”
“Who are you?” Castiel breathed.
“I am Gabriel, and I am the messenger of truth.”

This was a really fun story to write and I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Special thanks again goes to the mods of the [ profile] sabriel_mini, to my artist ([ profile] v_son_sayian), and to [ profile] fateofshadow for beta work. And hand-holding.

According to Wikipedia, the '65 Mustang was what Kripke originally planned for Sam and Dean to drive.
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