Note: Sort of epilogue, sort of 'deleted scenes'. Just wanted to give a glimpse into their established relationships. Enjoy.
Dean experienced a moment of insight into exactly how surreal everyday life had become when he walked into the kitchen one afternoon to find Gabriel, Cas and Crowley playing poker at the table. Crowley seemed to be teaching Gabriel how to cheat without the benefit of powers (presumably in case the whole debacle or something similar ever happened again) by demonstrating the tricks of counting cards and slight of hand, while both of them tried to teach Cas how to bluff convincingly. Dean, having witnessed Castiel's few attempts at lying in the past, could have told them right off the bat that it was a wasted effort.
Looking up from his game, Gabriel winked at him in casual greeting as he passed. He scowled back on general principle and went to get a soda from the fridge. Sam was already hovering there, watching the spectacle with a mildly worried frown.
"Shouldn't you maybe... go rescue him or something? Those two are sharks."
"Who, Cas?" Dean snorted dismissively, popping the tab on his drink. "Why? Let him play, if he wants to. Not like he's got any money to lose, is it?"
Sam shrugged uncertainly, and Castiel chose that moment to turn in his seat and inquire of them, "What's the difference between regular poker and strip poker?"
Dean promptly inhaled half a can of soda, almost dying yet another ignoble death that was all Gabriel's fault.
They were all packed up and finally ready to hit the road, get themselves out of Bobby's hair and back to the hunt – and instead Sam found himself standing alone by the Impala, wondering incredulously where the hell his brother had disappeared to. He'd already rang Dean's phone twice, to no avail, and now, having no doubt whatsoever that Dean had gotten distracted in making out with an angel somewhere, Sam irritably typed in Castiel's number and hit dial. After a second or two, though, it sent him to voicemail, and he waited resignedly to hear Cas's latest mangled attempt at a recorded message.
Unexpectedly, his brother's voice greeted him.
"Hey, you've reached Castiel's voicemail. He's too busy with Important Angel Business right now, but leave your name and number after the beep and he may or may not get back to you."
Sam waited impatiently for a beep.
It didn't come.
Instead, Dean's voice continued.
"See, Cas, how hard was that? You just keep calm and talk. Don't let technology intimidate you, man."
"I mean, you've totally mastered computers now, right? This should be–"
"Dean. I don't believe you ended the recording correctly."
"Oh shi–" BEEP!
Sam rolled his eyes so hard he potentially strained something. "Oh my god, you two are made for each other," he said into the phone, and hung up.
Completely unhelpful, Gabriel slouched about watching Sam gather up their things from the motel room floor, shoving clothes and books and snacks into a duffel bag as they prepared to move on. He wanted the human to get a move on already, so they could get out to the car before the other two and he could accidentally on purpose let Dean catch him with his tongue down Sam's throat. It was always a good way to start the morning, he'd found.
"Come ooonn already. Hurry it up, babe."
Sam promptly froze, straightening up from where he was collecting the mess of candy wrappers by the bed. "Did you just call me 'babe'? Dude, you're way too short to be calling me 'babe'." Snorting dismissively, he threw one of the wrappers in the archangel's direction and went back to his task.
Gabriel, however, shot him a look, eyes immediately bright with defiance. "Well if you're sure about it, sweet-cheeks."
Sam stopped again, turning around with eyebrows raised towards his hairline. "Yeah, that's not gonna work for me either."
"How about baby-cakes? Or honey-bunch? Ooh, snicker-doodle!"
Expression increasingly horrified, Sam practically recoiled. "Oh my god, you're kidding with this, right?"
"What, too flippant? ...Light-of-my-life?"
"Alright, fine! Jesus, you can say 'babe' if you really fucking must. Just don't let Dean hear you..."
The archangel smirked, sauntering for the door with a playful swat to Sam's ass as he passed. "Nah. Think you were right to encourage my creativity. Now move it, sugar-pants, I wanna go mess with the radio so it only plays Justin Bieber when your brother turns it on."
Dean walked into the motel room and threw something at Sam's head. "Hey, look what I found down the back of the car seats."
Disgruntled, Sam fumbled to catch what turned out to be a DVD case, emblazoned with the title Casa Erotica. He scowled, his first reaction to snap at Dean to keep his porn to himself, before memory belatedly struck.
He was holding Gabriel's goodbye message. His suicide note. He hadn't even realised they'd kept it.
Dean rolled his eyes, exasperated. "I didn't give it you to angst over, dude." He shook his head and sighed with something very close to wistfulness. "Swear to god, Sammy, of the two of us? Never saw you being the one to date a pornstar..."
Sam blinked, a little poleaxed by the truth of that observation, and Dean's laughter rang in his ears for the next five minutes.
"You staying tonight?"
Unruly spikes of black hair grazed the underside of Dean's chin as Cas settled himself more comfortably against his shoulder. It wasn't technically cuddling, he told himself yet again. He was just helping the angel get used to the whole physical contact thing, was all.
"Where else would I go?" Cas said against his collar bone, one hand drifting curiously across the slight softness of Dean's stomach (and alright, maybe he'd already totally mastered physical contact, which meant Dean was going to have to come up with a new excuse for all the not-cuddling they were doing these days).
He huffed. "Yeah, but are you actually gonna go to sleep this time, or spend the night staring creepily – which I know you do, by the way."
"Angels can't sleep, Dean."
"Can't or don't need to?"
Cas went silent, as though thinking over the small distinction. He had one bony knee digging in to Dean's thigh beneath the covers, and they fidgeted for a while until all limbs were acceptably arranged.
"I find it... difficult, as an angel," Cas said at last, "to relax sufficiently. We're vigilant, by nature. To fall asleep..."
He trailed off, unable to explain properly, but Dean thought he got it anyway. To sleep was to give up control for a few hours, to be vulnerable. He frowned up at the motel ceiling, idly scritching his nails across the tense set of the other's shoulders.
"I do miss it, sometimes," Castiel admitted quietly, like it was some secret confession. "The dreams were often very pleasant."
Dean sighed, and knew even before he'd said anything that he was about to hand over the very last of his manly credibility. Aiming for casual, he muttered, "You can, uh... You can try, if you like. To sleep, I mean. I'll take a turn staying awake."
Castiel didn't say anything, just curled his fingers tighter around the curve of Dean's ribs. The minutes passed by slowly and Dean yawned a couple of times but didn't let himself drift off, gently tapping out a tuneless rhythm against the angel's spine. He wasn't exactly a stranger to taking the night-shift with their line of work, so it was easy enough to mentally recount lyrics and map out their route for tomorrow in an effort to stay awake.
Over half an hour had gone by when he finally felt Cas's breathing get slow and steady, the weight of him somehow heavier. He pressed a self-deprecating smirk into the messy tufts of dark hair, despairing for his lost masculinity a little bit, and resignedly prepared himself to spend the night keeping vigil over a sleeping angel.
It was early morning and Sam was still mostly asleep, basking in the comfort of clean sheets and the summer sunshine that streamed through the motel window. Gabriel was a pleasant weight sprawled across his chest, warm and invasive and clinging.
"Sam. Hey, Sammy. Wake up, I need to tell you something."
So much for a late lie-in. He frowned sleepily, managing to crack one eye open. "Nhg. Wha? What's wrong?"
The archangel's face came to hover over his own, amber eyes wide and earnest above him. "It's important, okay? You listening?"
A yawn escaped him. "Yeah, sure, what is it...?"
Gabriel beamed and pressed a kiss above his eyebrow. "Sam... We're going to have an egg."
Well that woke him, at least.
As soon as he figured out exactly what Gabriel meant by 'egg', Sam almost fell off the bed in his desperate, instinctive scramble away from the archangel. He staggered to his feet, dragging the sheets with him to wrap clumsily around his waist, and stood there wild eyed and uncomprehending. "What? You're– What?"
Gabriel picked himself up from where Sam had unceremoniously dropped him, moving to sit cross-legged in the middle of the bed. He gently laid one hand over his lower stomach, wearing an expression that was beautifully, utterly serene – and that, ultimately, was what tipped Sam off.
"...You're fucking with me, aren't you? You absolute fucker, I don't believe you!"
Gabriel immediately threw back his head and laughed uproariously, not even bothering to keep up the pretence in the face of Sam's thunderous incredulity. "Oh man! Best. Wake-up call. Ever." He grinned unrepentantly and offered in a confidential whisper, "Aaw, Sammy – that's not how babies are born!"
Sam groaned as all the adrenaline left him. He moved to sit himself on the edge of the bed, burying his face in his hands. "Jesus Christ. You couldn't just wake me up with sex?"
Gabriel chuckled some more and came to kneel behind him, sliding arms around his neck like it was his personal right. "Yeah, we're so doing that in a minute, don't worry. But wait, it totally gets better."
Sam winced and braced himself, having no trust whatsoever in Gabriel's definition of 'better'.
And sure enough: "I may have convinced Castiel to say the same thing to your brother."
"No, c'mon, it'll be awesome. You've seen his poker face, he'll have Dean buying it in–"
As if on cue, there was a muffled exclamation from next door, followed by an ominous silence. Exasperated, Sam rubbed his temple as Gabriel laughed hysterically against his shoulder blade, the vibrations ticklish right through him. He twitched away, only to have nimble fingertips drag across his ribs in a more determined effort to tickle him, until he had to grab and hold them still.
They waited, still listening for further movement from next door, but when nothing more could be heard (no outraged cry or relieved cursing as Dean realised he'd been had) the archangel slowly sat up a little straighter.
"Huh. You think maybe I should have, yanno... spelled it out to Castiel that he was then supposed to say, 'I'm joking'...?"
Sam covered his face with his hands again, mostly to hide the grin that broke out against his will.
It disturbed the little bubble of peace that Crowley had found for himself these days whenever the Winchesters and their respective angels took it into their heads that they were due another visit with Robert. The roar of that hideously oversized car was usually the only warning provided, and then they'd descend: hauling in bags of laundry that needed doing, bickering already like it was their default setting, angels appearing out of nowhere without so much as a by-your-leave. It set Crowley's nerves right on edge.
Worse than the arrival, though, was enduring the visit itself. As a demon, chaos was pretty much his stock in trade, but some people just didn't seem to understand that there was a time and a place, thank you very much. Bobby's house wasn't exactly The Ritz to begin with. So far Crowley had decided to deem it 'quaint' rather than 'hovel', but honestly, even when he tried there was only so far he could push that delusion while he was being forced to live with savages. They were a bloody invasion, all four of them, loud and restless and always touching things, leaving mess behind them like a by-product.
More than anything, though, they were all so sodding young. The angels, he knew logically, had to be older than himself, but they didn't act it: Castiel with his sickening displays of innocence, Gabriel irreverent and juvenile. And always, always, at least one of the four was deep in the midst of some emotional turmoil or another. Maybe Crowley was just getting old, but having them around generally left him exhausted. They'd gotten worse, he was privately convinced, since the first time they'd all gathered here together. Only after they'd pack up that behemoth they called a car and speed off into the proverbial sunset again would he be able to relax, things returning to what had become his status quo.
At the very least, he supposed tiredly, such episodes made him newly grateful that he and Robert shared a much more... mature coexistence.
Currently, he eyed the chessboard in front of him, noticing that his own black king was in danger of being checkmated in the next couple of moves. Slyly, he reached out to nudge a critically placed white bishop over a few squares to where it would no longer pose a threat.
Before he could, there was an alarming sh-sh! sound and a stinging sensation spread across his outstretched hand.
"Ow, ow – bloody hell!"
He turned incredulously to find Bobby glaring at him, holding a spray bottle full of clear liquid which had, if Crowley wasn't mistaken, a crucifix floating in it.
"Hands to yourself, Hellspawn. No cheating."
"Don't make me holy-spray you again."
The day that Gabriel turned the Impala a shade of sherbet-lemon yellow (pink being too cliché) Sam honestly thought Dean was going to get out and cry by the side of the road.
As it was, he very nearly drove them all into oncoming traffic instead, voice ringing shrilly out of the open window, "What did you do? What the fuck did you do?"
In the backseat, Gabriel shrugged. "What? I just thought we could benefit from a little change of scenery–"
"Change it back!"
Castiel frowned across at him as well, using a particular expression that was clearly modelled on Sam's bitchface. Gabriel rolled his eyes and ignored him.
"You want another colour? Say the word, Deano." The archangel drummed his fingers against the door panel, and with each beat the exterior of the car flashed through a spectrum of other visually offensive hues.
For a long moment, Dean actually couldn't seem to catch his breath, positively overcome with indignation as he stared out at the turquoise monstrosity he was now driving. "...Stop violating my baby, you son of a bitch!"
Gabriel chuckled. "Man, you don't even get this upset when I'm violating your brother–"
"O-kay!" Sam held up his hands, slightly alarmed by the crazed look his brother was beginning to develop. "Gabriel, knock it off."
"Why? What's the big deal?"
Castiel leaned towards him. "I've been told emphatically that 'driver picks the music'. I would assume the same principle applies to the colour."
Dean grunted. "Yeah. What Cas said."
The archangel made a pfft sound, but relented with a snap of his fingers and the Impala returned to sleek black. "You're such a suck-up..." he muttered to his brother, sulking.
Castiel didn't seem particularly concerned by the insult. He stared back blandly for a second or two, before returning his attention to the ever-present book in his lap.
"Yanno what, I hope you're happy," Dean snapped up front, shooting a glare across at Sam. "That, back there? Is supposed to be your responsibility, dude. Only reason I let him in the damn car!"
Sam rolled his eyes. "What exactly do you expect me to do?"
"Hell if I know. But if he fucks with the Impala again, he can damn well fly the rest of the way."
Sam made a gesture of concession just as there was another finger-snap behind them, quickly followed by Cas's indignant, "Gabriel, bring back my book."
"Dunno what you're talking about, bro."
Finally losing his temper, Dean made an impotent strangling gesture in midair, bounced his palms off the steering wheel and then twisted around in his seat. He floundered for a moment, like he couldn't decide what to yell, before eventually resorting to tradition. "Don't fucking make me come back there!"
And suddenly Sam was laughing, even as he leaned across to grab the wheel and correct their swerve into the next lane. Dean gave him a look like he was crazy, but he couldn't help it. All the memories they'd made in this car, all the unlikely passengers it had carried in its time, and this was still the most ridiculous family road-trip he'd ever been a part of.
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