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11 June 2010 @ 12:01 pm
The Baking Angel: Day One - Croissants  
Title: The Baking Angel (1/7)
Author: tiptoe39 , with art by bumblee
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairing(s): Dean/Castiel, some Sam/Gabriel
Rating: PG-13
Warning: No major warnings apply
Word Count: ~ 27,000
Summary: Castiel and Gabriel have been running their bakeshop for thirty years, waiting for the Vessels to show and signal the end of the world. When the waiting ends, the two brother angels find their loyalties -- and their world -- changing. Romance, brotherly love, and a hefty dose of brown sugar.


Day One: Croissants



"Those are not for you."

Gabriel looked up from behind the bins, where he'd been happily scooping butterscotch chips into his mouth. He looked like a chipmunk, his cheeks full and lumpy with sweets. "Bwwff wff lfff thrrmr," he said.

Castiel rolled his eyes and crossed the kitchen. He'd long ago been smart enough to work Gabriel's scarfing of the supplies into their budget, but sometimes he just wished he had a ruler with which to slap his brother on the wrist. "If you would devote half the enthusiasm to baking that you do to eating our ingredients, we might make some money," he scolded.

"Um." Gabriel swallowed hard -- another mouthful down the drain, Castiel thought ruefully -- and strolled over. "In case you've forgotten, we don't actually need to make money. This is a front organization. A dummy company. We're incognito."

"That's no reason to waste resources."

"They're butterscotch chips, Castiel." Gabriel exaggerated each syllable, forming ridiculous faces around the words just for impact.

Castiel looked at him through narrow eyes. "Plus," he said, "you're gaining weight."

"I am not! Hey, you!" But he stole a look down at his gut and patted it carefully, looking more or less like a pregnant woman concerned for her baby's welfare. Castiel smirked and spread flour across the counter to roll more croissants.

The croissants were Castiel's favorite. Although The Baking Angel served all manner of sweets, breads, and other goodies, the cherub that hung on the sign in the small South Dakota bakeshop was kept company by croissant-shaped clouds, as white and fluffy as the confections themselves. To Castiel, they were the most angelic of pastries: weightless, powerful, and undeniably good. You could keep your cinnamon buns and chocolate cookies-- to him it was all about the croissants.

And the croissants were the real moneymakers. Nobody could believe, upon tasting them, that Castiel had not indeed been schooled in baking at the finest French patisseries. He hadn't. Gabriel had, but then again, before they'd been assigned to this outpost near the turn of the century, Gabriel had done a lot more than Castiel had ever wanted to.

The bakeshop idea had been Gabriel's. He'd just come back from France, and the first thing he did upon getting this assignment was lay in to Castiel about the amazing sense that was human taste. Once Castiel had sugar, Gabriel said, he'd never go back. It wasn't the sugar that finally hooked Castiel on the idea, though -- it was the process of baking. Gabriel showed him how to watch a loaf of bread rise, how to tell how much water dough needed before it was dry but not too dry, how to roll and cut perfect shapes, and Castiel's heart had opened to the experience. Mixing ingredients with vigor and care, watching them come together to become something more than what they were. A little bit of Creation every day. The truth was, watching bread rise or seeing pastry turn just golden enough around the crust... it made him feel closer to God.

And so began thirty years of rolling soft dough thin, mixing up butter with flour and sugar, tearing sheets of wax paper, and waiting.



It was good to be back in Sioux Falls. They'd been on the road for so long after Dad's death that a familiar face, a landscape and a town they'd visited before, was a relief. Sam and Dean Winchester had been through enough in the past few months to make a normal man mad. And considering how abnormal the two of them were, it was even more miraculous that they were still borderline sane.

Sam was having a nightmare in the passenger seat. It happened most nights. He still saw the disappearing figure of his girlfriend behind his closed eyelids, still called her name. Even though it had been a year and he'd learned to at least start to move on.

True that their lifestyle wasn't suited to lasting romance -- you took what you could before you had to go away again -- but for a long time Sam hadn't even seemed to notice girls. It worried Dean. Releasing tension was an important part of the life they led. If you couldn't hang back and get drunk or laid once in a while, you weren't likely to stay mentally healthy for long.

Of course, Dean himself had withdrawn since Dad's death. He and Sam had started this endless journey of theirs with the intent of finding their father; once they had him back, they'd lost him again within days, this time permanently. There didn't seem to be a point to anything anymore. Without Dad, there wasn't a quest. There was only Dean, trying to hold himself together. And that was hard to do when you had nothing to tie you down.

And when you knew you couldn't quite trust the family you had left.

Every time he looked at Sam, he remembered. He saw his father's face, heard the same terrible words.  He wasn't any closer to understanding them, either.

Now, as dawn broke and they entered city limits, Dean put a hand on Sam's knee. "Wake up. Sam, we're here." Sam snuffled and turned over, facing the window. Dean groaned and shook him harder. "Come on, Sammy. Rise and shine."

"Hmnmn... wake me up when we get to Bobby's."

"Ass." Dean slapped his arm. Sam winced and pouted at him. "I'm not dragging you up Bobby's front steps. We're stopping for coffee."

Sam peered through bleary eyes out the window as Dean pulled over to the side of the street. "Hey, isn't that...?"

Dean grinned. "Time for a blast from the past."



A cluster of silver bells rang as a pair of young men opened the rickety front door. Gabriel hurried to the front counter. "Hello, welcome to the Baking Angel. What can I do you for?"

The taller of the two came up to the counter. He seemed the type that was unsure of how to present himself, itching a bit in his own skin. "Yeah," he said, "we'll have two coffees and two croissants, please."

"A wise choice," Gabriel said with a pleased nod, but the smile was wiped off his face when he noticed the shorter of the two scowling at him. Sniffing, Gabriel shot him an equally scathing look and crouched to fish the croissants out of the display case, still peering up suspiciously.

"Is it just me," muttered the short one, "or do they look exactly the same as they did ten years ago?"

"Must be their kids, maybe?" The taller one shrugged. Catching Gabriel's gaze, he smiled nervously and explained, "We used to come in here with our dad."

And all avarice vanished from Gabriel's countenance. "Wait," he said, straightening up and snapping his fingers. "Don't tell me you're John Winchester's boys! Sam, and, what was it?"

"Dean," said the shorter one, raising a hand. His scowl had disappeared. "You remember us, huh?"

"Sure I do," Gabriel said. "You boys have grown!" He whistled and looked over his shoulder. "Hey, Castiel! Look who it --"

Castiel was standing with oven mitts on both hands, his apron covered with flour. He was staring at the new arrivals with a look of near-horror on his face.

"Pardon me a minute, guys," Gabriel said hurriedly, and put his arm around Castiel's shoulder, leading him back into the kitchen. "Cas. Snap out of it. What is the matter with you?"

"Them," Castiel said. "There's something about them."

"Like I said, they're John Winchester's kids. You remember, they used to be tiny, and John would bring them over to the corner table..."

"No." Castiel shook his head. "It's something else."

"Whatever." Gabriel rolled his eyes. "Snap yourself back into reality and come out and say hello, would you? They remember you." He patted Castiel's shoulder a few times, coughed away the plume of flour that rose into the air, and rejoined the pair at the counter.

They were a good-looking pair of kids, Gabriel had to say. Dean, all bravado with a leather jacket and expressive eyes, and serious schoolboy Sam with a mop of unkempt copper hair and an incisive gaze. John had brought them in every so often, when they were up visiting friends in the area, and even though they weren't locals Gabriel had gotten to know John fairly well. He had an air of mystery to him that was always intriguing. And he tended to buy in bulk, as though he were going camping in Antarctica for the foreseeable future. Gabriel's lips twisted as he thought about John Winchester in ski goggles and a fur-lined hood, braving the frozen tundra with nothing but coffee and a dozen muffins for sustenance. He just seemed like that kind of guy.

When Castiel finally did come out front again, Sam had just handed over his credit card. Gabriel ran it through the machine  (it said Tommy Lee on it, but what was a little fraud among friends?) after sliding the bag across the counter. When he next looked up to hand over the receipt, Dean had a full mouth and a half-empty bag.

"Dude," Sam said, glancing at him. "Did you just eat that whole croissant?"

Dean held up one finger, working on swallowing the last mouthful. Smacking his lips, he grinned hugely. "It was good."

"That's disgusting," Sam said with a groan. "You have crumbs all over you. I bet you didn't even taste that."

Dean's collar was littered with flakes of pastry, and crumbs stuck to his lips and chin. For an instant Gabriel thought Castiel might have a coronary. He took such pride in his croissants, and here this guy had downed it like a fifty-cent snack cake, and Castiel wasn't so good with the social graces to begin with, and...

"If you like it that much," Castiel said, "have another one on the house."

Gabriel did a double-take. Were Castiel's eyes sparkling?

"Seriously?" Dean's face lit up. "Sweet!" He grinned at Castiel, and something seemed to spark in that instant. Castiel's cheeks filled with color, and he took another croissant in a folded sheet of wax paper and handed it over, smiling shyly the whole time.

"So, uh." Dean pursed his lips. "You made these?" He broke off a piece of crust from the second croissant and savored it. "They're kind of amazing." He leaned an elbow on the counter and plopped his hand on his fist, grinning like he was getting a massage, or something else equally pleasant.

Castiel's voice was still its usual, serious monotone, but he was smiling. This had to be the longest-lasting smile on record for him. "I'm glad you like them. They're my favorite to make."

"So what's your secret, then?"

"It's in the rolling," Castiel explained. He began to explain to Dean in great detail about how he crafted his fine artisan croissants, and Gabriel yawned loudly. Dean didn't seem like the baking type, but he was nodding and paying attention and even asking occasional questions. And Castiel was enjoying the attention. Holy smokes, was Castiel actually making a friend? They should declare a national holiday.

Sam, meanwhile, was looking at him through slit-narrow eyes. "So you really are the same guys who were here ten years ago? How's that possible? You guys can't be much older than we are."

"Baked goods, my friend," Gabriel said with a grin. "The secret to immortality."

Some time later, when the brothers Winchester had extricated themselves from the front counter and were chatting intensely over their croissants at a corner table, Castiel put a hand on Gabriel's shoulder. "I need to talk to you," he said, and headed back into the kitchen.

"Now? But there's customers." But Castiel was already gone. Rubbing a thumb along the counter with a long sigh, Gabriel flashed a smile at the line. "I'm sorry folks, just a sec." He breezed through the doorway and came up an inch from Castiel's frowning face. "Whoa. Save the close encounters for your new boyfri--"

"It's them," Castiel said.

"What? What it? What them? Swear on my halo, Cas, sometimes you make no s--"

Then it occurred to him what Castiel meant. He blinked, and his jaw dropped.

"Dean and Sam Winchester," Castiel said. He was looking past Gabriel toward the doorway. "They're the ones.'

"Those yahoos?" His heart still pounding, Gabriel fought the urge to run away. He rolled his eyes. "No way. With all the people who have walked in and out of here, you think Mr. Bad Hair and Sir Eats-a-lot are our men? You've been frying fritters too long, Cas."

Castiel scowled at him. "My fritters aren't fried, they're baked," he said. "And I'm sure of it. It's them."

"I'm reserving judgment," Gabriel said with a circumspect frown. He walked back out front casually, but inside he was panicking. If Castiel was right, their whole lives could be turned upside down, and the world along with it.

That was the thing about a prophetic narrative. Once it was believed to be prophetic, it was self-fulfilling. And the story had been laid out for centuries: One of these days, it said, Lucifer would return, and there would be a fight to the death, and Paradise would be realized. The one catch: The fight would happen on the human plane, and the angels would be battling within human vessels.

The Vessels' birth had been highly anticipated, not just by angels but by demons and their ilk as well, for obvious reasons. Gabriel was not as enthused about it, and Castiel had no feelings on the matter one way or another, but there was obviously excitement in the firmament on the topic.

Gabriel had been larking about in the human world for quite a while now, and when he met up with Castiel again, it was just after a Parisian misadventure. Hence the bakeshop. Hence the somewhat cheeky name of it. And hence a good thirty-year stretch of waiting for the little runts to show their faces. Oh well. At least Gabriel kept mostly out of trouble. Castiel had been a little horrified to realize just how much killing he'd been doing, and for no other reason other than brotherly loyalty, Gabriel had stopped. Besides, as long as Cas kept him nice and sugared up, he didn't have quite the anger issues he used to.

But it looked like the closing chapter on that story was starting to be written. It had always been just a matter of time. Truth was, Gabriel knew it just as clearly as Castiel did. He just didn't want to acknowledge it.

Things were so good down here. Why ruin it with Paradise?


To Day Two...
 
 
 
carma_baby: TodayCakecarma_baby on June 11th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
Yay!!! I've been waiting with baited breath for this. Especially since I started actually watching SPN. I'm excited to see where this goes. ^_^

Love. I'll write a better review when it isn't a;most 3:30 in the morning...

Love!!!
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on June 11th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
Oh your icon is so appropriate!!! :D

Thanks baby! I'm so excited to finally have it done with. PHEW!
Linsey: Dean/Cas: Lovepyjamagurl on June 12th, 2010 12:41 am (UTC)
This is awesome! I really love the idea of Castiel and Gabriel having their own bakery, its all kinds of adorable :D I love that Cas is completely taken by Dean the moment he lays eyes on him, lol!

Cool story, I am looking forward to reading the rest of it ^__^
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on June 12th, 2010 12:58 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad you are enjoying it. Yes, Cas is a goopfest in this. :D

Thanks so much for commenting!
cris: spnalexwolfchan on June 12th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
Awesome and adorable and gah! Thank you for writing this.

Cas & Gabriel being bakers is brilliant. I love Gabriel' imagination, John's in ski's goggles made me giggle.

I can't wait to read the rest.
Tiptoe39: caketiptoe39 on June 12th, 2010 03:31 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it! I hope the rest pleases you <3
Laurenjabber_moose on June 12th, 2010 04:39 am (UTC)
Can't stop grinning
Tiptoe39: smiletiptoe39 on June 12th, 2010 04:43 am (UTC)
Nor should you have to. :D
Olympiaolympia_m on June 12th, 2010 08:29 am (UTC)
omg! baking and angels and spn oh my!!!!!

This is my favourite kind of story and I love you so much for wrting it!!!

(sadly, RL means that I'll finish it some time next Wednesday, but I managed to steal some time off to read the first chapter and OMG! It's just so perfect!!! :):):))thank you!
Tiptoe39: wonderful lifetiptoe39 on June 12th, 2010 12:24 pm (UTC)
Hee! What a lovely comment! I'm so pleased you enjoyed what you've read so far... I do hope the rest lives up to expectations! Thanks!
Gina Marie: cas smiling head tiltsycophantastic on June 12th, 2010 10:10 am (UTC)
Castiel's interest in baking because it's a little bit of creation every day? Perfect.

This is very sweet (har har) and I'm loving it so far.

Also, hehe, "larking about" & "cheeky" are very British expressions... that's awesome. I love 'em & don't hear 'em enough in the US.

Going on to chapter 2!
Tiptoe39: squeetiptoe39 on June 12th, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
Hee, maybe I'm British and don't know it. I think I just love words, though. So glad you are enjoying it! :D
jaune_chatjaune_chat on June 27th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
"Swear on my halo..."

Hee hee! It's so adorable! Gabriel as the ingredient-stealing sweet-tooth, and Castiel as the sooper-serious baker, such a great team. And how terribly clever of Castiel to keep Gabriel's occasional impulse to kill under wraps with sugar.

Sam and Dean going back to a childhood haunt right after their Dad died rings so true. And Dean flirting with Castiel over baked goods *flutters hands*.
Tiptoe39: Cas smilestiptoe39 on June 27th, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!! Handflutters are high praise. :D

Thanks sweetie!!
Captain Nommers of the Tastypants Brigadesecondplatypus on July 10th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
*FLAILS MADLY*

Gaaaaaah, I love this!
The adventures of Mister Bad-Hair and Sir-eats-a-Lot go so beautifully with your baking angels; your description of making croissants as a little act of creation was gorgeous. And your writing... yeah. it's safe to say I'm in love with this fic.
Tiptoe39: OMG ZQtiptoe39 on July 12th, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you so, so much! What sweet words. I'm really touched!
Captain Nommers of the Tastypants Brigade: cas - revelationsecondplatypus on July 12th, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)
You, my dear, are very, very welcome.
i dream of colors that have never been seenetoile444 on July 31st, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
I have begun the adventure! Wonderful story!!! I am hooked!
Tiptoe39: Cas smilestiptoe39 on July 31st, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
Hee hee! So glad you are enjoying it so far! <3
Just A Kiss Awaylostakasha on November 17th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
MY gosh, I just started reading this and had to STOP IMMEDIATELY to say that this image will stay with me forever (or all day, you never know with me):

Gabriel's lips twisted as he thought about John Winchester in ski goggles and a fur-lined hood, braving the frozen tundra with nothing but coffee and a dozen muffins for sustenance. He just seemed like that kind of guy.

Priceless and perfect -- and wow, I love your storytelling so much.

Aside: Okay, this is going in the WayBack machine, before Woody Allen was a known creeper and just ugggh. There was a scene in one of his movies where his buddy was going off to Antartica, clad in mukluks and goggles and a fur hood and he shouts over the snow and the roaring engines of his biplane: "If you need to reach me, I'll be at Frozen Tundra 5-6954" THAT RIGHT THERE. So, yeah, I'm all about the tundra humor. (Please don't run away.)

I'm going to try to read all your fics in a calm, orderly fashion, and try very hard not to reveal myself as the stalker that I am. (Again, back away slowly.)

I promise to behave. But just so you know, I am your fan. Thanks for sharing your work!
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on November 17th, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC)
Ok, you, stop and listen closely: the more stalkery you are, the more likely i am to adore you. <3 <3 <3 really. so much love. and i love that that line! haha, what do woody allen and john winchester have in common?

i'm slightly loopy on too-strong sleep aids right now but i'm <3 <3 ing all over you. please enjoy the fics and stalk away my dear!! *huggles*