Pairings: Castiel/Dean, Gabriel/Sam.
Rating: NC-17, occasionally.
Warnings: Some gore, similar levels to the show. Some swearing, in dialogue and in Dean’s narrative voice. Use of real historical characters.
Length: c. 152 000 words.
Written: September 2011 - March 2012, for the 2012 Gabriel Big Bang.
Betaed by mistalagan, who has amazing powers of reading both fast and attentively, and whose own gorgeous redemptive Gabriel BB is over here.
I should probably also note that, upon re-reading this, entangled_now has definitely been a major stylistic influence, on account of being generally awesome.
Summary: Kali can breathe life back into a corpse, but what exactly is Gabriel now? Gabriel flits around various centuries trying to work that out, Dean has another powered-down angel and a little brother to look out for, Castiel has forgotten how to trust, and someone keeps sending Sam annoying little notes on his laptop. Oh, and Bobby would like to remind you all that there’s an Apocalypse still going on. Covers season 5 from Gabriel’s death to the finale.
Note: As is suggested by the list of chapter titles, this fic contains a lot of other languages and dialects, mostly archaic or extinct - especially, for obvious reasons, in the time-travel chapters. Any underlined text has a mouse-over translation or note attached to it.
Click on the image for the art post and a full-size version of xenoamorist's gorgeous work.
Askes and Armes: In which an Indian goddess rebuilds something that used to be an archangel. Kali, Gabriel.
He hadn’t needed air before. But she could not create such a being.
His eyes, when they opened, were the dull colour of dirty old honey, and his voice was a rasp.
Kali smiled, slow. “No.”
Beholden: In which Cathy Randolph is not mistaken about what she sees – probably. Cathy Randolph, Gabriel.
“I thought angels were...” She trailed off, thinking of stained-glass images full of colour and light, faces lifted in fierce adoration and song, faces looking down the length of a bright sword in stern righteousness, certain and sure and beautiful. “Joyous.”
He chuckled, harsh and short. “So did I, once. Long ago.”
Cracking: In which Sam rethinks what really happened in the panic room after Famine and tells Dean; then makes a decision, and doesn’t tell Dean. Sam, Dean, Gabriel (flashback only).
Dean drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “You often rationalise away weird shit by making out with archangels, Sammy?”
... That </i>would be the part Dean fixated on.
“Signor Casanova, you have a guest.”
I raised myself on my elbow to greet the newcomer (such are the niceties of imprisonment, and I felt myself too ill to stand and bow). On the one hand, I could hardly work towards escape with a cellmate; on the other, I had no immediate prospect of success in any case, and with another man in the cell Lorenzo could not leave me stifled and starved.
The man was lighter in colour than an Italian, and curiously attired, but his language and accent were flawlessly Venetian, though his tongue was heavy with wine and his choice of expression unusual. “Hells. Even for this century, this place is ripe. Don’t you lads know how to crack a window?”
Elect: In which Sam seeks advice from someone Dean really wouldn’t approve of. Sam, Lucifer.
Sam laughed softly, without amusement. “Don’t trust me with compulsion?”
Lucifer looked at him with distant grey eyes, old and resigned. “Should I, Sam? Should I really?”
F(r)iction: In which Dean suspects words are not entirely reliable, and a town is mysteriously not destroyed. Dean, Sam.
Dean gave the laptop a dark look. It sat there, smugly continuing with its new lifestyle choice of displaying annoying yellow sticky notes.
“You think a demon could possess a computer?”
Guess: In which Dean wins at the Internet, and Sam is not transparent. Dean, Sam.
“Uh, Bobby, I have to go. Yeah, thanks.”
He hung up. Stood there awkwardly with the stupid shiny phone dangling far too small in his stupidly enormous hand.
Dean’s voice felt like it scraped his throat harsh on the way out. “Archangels, huh Sammy? That what you’re trying to summon?”
Horae harenarum: Canterbury, 1349. In which a former archangel goes looking for answers, and talks to an almost-former archbishop. Thomas Bradwardine, Gabriel.
Even the great Cathedral of Canterbury, lofty and remote as it was possible for any earthly creation to be, stank of the strange, foreign corruption of the flesh.
It was the Year of the Incarnation of Our Lord 1349, and the world was doomed.
(In)finite: In which Castiel is confused, the nurse is suspicious, and Sam makes contact. Castiel, Sam.
“Mr Novak, sir. How are you feeling today?”
“I am not Mr Novak.”
I am. What a strange combination of pronoun and finite verb; what an infinite concept.
Jokerman: In which Sam tells Dean that Castiel is alive, they start out for Delacroix, Bobby gets an unexpected delivery, and somebody ’fesses up. Sam, Dean, Bobby, Gabriel.
Bobby rang, not long after they’d pulled off the road to catch a few hours’ rest somewhere past the New Mexico / Texas border. His greeting was, “Either of you two chuckleheads know who’d be sending Sam a delivery van full of mediaeval books, c/o yours truly?”
Kinsen ayen Kithinge: In which both not-quite-angels exist primarily inside Sam and Dean’s respective heads, until they don’t; Crowley is impatient, and the nurse is even more suspicious. Dean, Sam, Castiel, Crowley, Bobby, Gabriel.
Of course, because Dean was useless at this sort of being sensitive crap, what he actually found himself wanting to blurt out when he walked into the hospital room was, “Jesus, you’re tiny without that trench coat.”
Legibility: In which a warehouse is raided and everyone is stuck in the car a lot. Sam, Castiel, Dean, Gabriel.
Castiel fell quiet for a minute, then posed another question that Sam had already been asking himself.
“Will Gabriel fight with us?”
Dean shrugged and settled back in the driver’s seat, a long easy shift of muscle and faded cotton. “This one’s yours, Sam.”
Maesnée: Surrey, 1323. In which Gabriel hides, and makes some unexpected acquaintances with opinions on family and civil war. Sir Thomas Engayne, Gabriel, Sir Thomas Roscelyn.
“Families, huh? Wander away for a year or two and they slam the door in your face; but soon as you don’t deserve forgiving they’re suddenly there, no questions asked. Rubbing forgiveness in your cleppyng face.”
Nadir: In which Castiel is not happy, Brady is probably less so, and Dean is very surprised. Dean, Castiel.
Castiel looked at the hands that belonged to him lying half-curled in his lap, settled there with no direct instruction from him. He was not, after all, very good at aping humanity. As Dean reminded him often, with hilarity.
Orders: In which Sam takes on the zombie apocalypse, and Gabriel makes a phone call. Sam, Gabriel, Dean.
“What else was I supposed to do, Dean? Go into town where the sheriff’s still looking for me and tell the pregnant women and the kids under two and everyone else who was too weak for the vaccine to barricade themselves in against their husbands and sisters and children?”
Possession: In which Dean and Castiel lose their prisoner, and almost their lives, and Dean makes an apology. Dean, Castiel.
It wasn’t about being in love – that was all rushes of hormones to his head and his dick, and it came and went quick enough. This was something slower and quieter and far deeper, which felt like it had been there for ages in one form or another, maybe ever since that park bench, maybe before, growing at its own pace and in its own time so Dean hadn’t really noticed most of the way along.
Quickening: In which Dean foists himself on Gabriel, while Sam, Castiel, and Bobby hit the books. Dean, Sam, Castiel, Gabriel, Bobby.
“Screw that, we’re all in this together. And broken angels are really shitty at looking after themselves. Besides.” Dean pointed at him and spoke with his mouth full. “You, my friend, need to learn to drive.”
There. He might have known the son of a bitch wouldn’t back down from a challenge.
Regroup: In which everyone relaxes a little at the end of the world. Dean, Sam, Castiel, Gabriel, Bobby.
Sam could never have said afterwards how long that time lasted, between settling down with half a library of ancient manuscripts and Pestilence’s endgame. The days and the time in them seemed to stretch out slowly, warm and languid like taffy, hovering on the edge of the world.
Sariel: In which Gabriel brings someone back with him, and Sam reaches a decision. Sariel, Sam, Gabriel, Dean, Bobby, Castiel.
Her borrowed feet felt very cold against the heat of the roof slabs as she turned. The cathedral to her back, the Thames to her right with its burden of history and panic-filled barges, the Tower ahead of her in the fire’s path, laden with its deadly stores of gunpowder.
Tr(e/an)sfigurer: In which Castiel asks for something, and Dean gives it to him; and Gabriel asks for something, and Sam denies it. Dean, Castiel, Sam, Gabriel.
Something warm, thudding softly with Castiel’s heartbeat. Something that had always been there, but that he’d never been able to see, because Dean had always been so busy stubbornly trying to make Castiel into a human. Into his own image.
Unfurled: Surrey, 1406. In which Gabriel visits a woman for whom tears are not a bad thing, and makes a decision; and the last brother he would have expected calls for him. Margery Kempe, Gabriel.
And she reached out to touch the memory of broken wings, for she wanted to comfort him; and though she felt nothing, the angel shook.
“How suffryth God swech a thyng?”
The angel answered, “I wote not – he spekyth not onto me.”
Volo: In which Stull Cemetery sees far more angels than expected. Sam, Lucifer, Michael, Gabriel, Castiel.
Dean spoke through a broken jaw. “Sam, it’s okay.”
Sam raged helplessly.
Dean, sprawled and broken against the Impala, home, every one of Sam’s memories of safety and family and love and fighting for what had to be done. Dean, about to die and staring at him and... so very very far from broken.
Winging it: In which Dean, despite having his little brother back and the run of a villa in Tuscany, is a moody bastard, until he gets some messy work to do and some angels to boss around. Dean, Sam, Gabriel, Castiel.
“Ow! What the hell, angel?”
“Back at you, Winchester. I look away for five minutes and you turn into the selfish martyr type? Who do you think you are, Harry bloody Potter with his trophy girl for the end of the war?”
Þeodrædene: In which Sam and Gabriel play a game, and Raphael comes to call. Sam, Gabriel, Dean, Castiel, Raphael.
“You’re impossible,” Sam sighed.
“Exactly!” Gabriel beamed at him, like Sam had just brought home an A on his report card.
Yblissede: In which Castiel and Dean get their act together. Castiel, Dean, Sam, Gabriel.
Castiel had thought that he knew the human body because he knew every organ and function within it, and every moment in its evolution.
Zwitter: In which Gabriel finally gets the narrative voice. Gabriel, Sam, Castiel, Dean, Cathy Randolph.
Disclaimer: I have no religious beliefs; but I find them, on the whole, to be fascinating, curious things, most particularly for the way they become vehicles for people’s ideas of self and of the world around them. Whatever my opinions on their details, the emotions behind them, particularly in moments of change and stress, are very real, and very powerful things. As such, when any character in this story talks about God, divinities, Heaven, etc., it’s only the character talking, making sense of their world and their experiences, not me. When Gabriel has his breakthrough about where he believes God has been all along, when Casanova makes curious observations about Muslims, when Gabriel and a dying archbishop discuss theology, when a woman receives divine revelation or a fourteenth-century knight laments the way England’s political system doesn’t follow the natural order laid down by God or Dean thinks there might be someone up there who cares after all, that says nothing about any God who’s ‘real’ in terms of this fic, and everything about them. If you find any of the historical chapters offensively religious, try looking at it from that point of view: it’s really just a cultural shift, and the emotions underneath mean the same in any century.
“You guys know you’re still in the kitchen, right?”
Gabriel flipped Dean off with the hand that wasn’t busy with more important things.
“Whatever. You get jizz on the floor, you clean it up, ’sall I’m saying.”