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08 August 2011 @ 02:21 pm
[fanfic] Tale as Old as Time (Fourteen Kisses - Kisses 1-5) (Castiel/Gabriel, PG-13)  
Title: Tale as Old as Time (Fourteen Kisses), Part 1 of 3 (1-5)
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: PG-13 for some sexual innuendo
Pairing: Gabriel/Castiel
Words: About 13,000
Summary: With his new divine power, Castiel brings back Gabriel and gets more than he bargained for.



i. The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam (first, accidental)

Castiel walks alone in a graveyard of souls.

Here, in the pieces of a shattered heaven, he sees the true impact of the apocalypse that almost was. He sees the extent of the damage, the ruins of a destiny brought down, the carcasses of monsters and demons and angels alike, brought here to this final resting place of things with neither bodies nor souls in perpetuity.

It saddens him, but this is his duty now, his responsibility as both lord and caretaker. Joshua has fled, one of the sad aftereffects of Castiel's ascendancy. He does not blame the angel for choosing to leave. If anything, he understands that all may choose their loyalties freely. And Joshua was always unfailingly loyal to his fellow Gardener. Castiel will permit him that loyalty. Nonetheless, this means Castiel is here alone, to sweep away the detritus of the catastrophe he's helped to cause.

Should he regret what he has done? The question nags, especially considering the enormity of the task given to him, but he has never cared for his own fatigue, and he cannot bring himself to rue his decisions. He has done the right thing. It is only a shame that so many have been lost for it to happen.

Some of the bodies glow with dying celestial light. Some hang heavy with black smoke. But from the end of the expanse comes a glow of gold, a particular brand of radiance that makes Castiel ache with longing. He hurries to the source of the glow, the holy light that belongs only to those who were once his superior brethren, the higher order of angels. And thus a god kneels, struck with sudden grief, at the feet of his brother.

"You should have not died, Gabriel," he says. "That was an injustice."

And one he mourned, too -- though he did not speak of it, he had admired his brother's glory, before the fall. And when he learned of Gabriel's sacrifice, even though their last meeting had been chilly at best, Castiel had been sad. Gabriel would have been a good warrior to have on his side. And it would have been good to speak with him, at least once, of their stand against both Heaven and Hell, of their mutual appreciation for the things that really mattered.

He never got that conversation. But that no longer means he never will.

Now, he has now the power to undo these things that should not have happened. He has gained entry with his godhood to this most mysterious of places, the afterlife beyond afterlives. And now his heart can reach out to the heart of an angel who is no more and pull him back from the void. It is in his power to bring Gabriel back.

He imagines their bodies, as he's come to know them. He mutters an ancient incantation that he never knew until this moment. And he reaches in to pull out a grace that was gone from this world.

And then, abruptly, everything is physical.

The souls scatter from his vision. Rays of sunshine beat down from above. And Castiel is falling, backward, borne and buoyed by wings that aren't his, held by a body whose touch he has not felt for millennia.

And his lips are touched by a kiss of life.

His eyes widen. He fights for control and balance. He struggles, but warm living lips are fast against his, holding him up just as fiercely as Gabriel's arms secure him, as Gabriel's wings slow their descent.

Gabriel's lips break from his long enough for Castiel to give a shout of confusion and surprise.

"Shh," Gabriel warns him, "I'm right here. I won't let you fall."

God though he is, unafraid though he is, Castiel is relieved to hear it.

Below them, the green of an endless forest approaches. Castiel faces upward, but he can see without looking. He can smell, too, the scent of the trees. They will glide down, alight on the treetops. He smiles at Gabriel. "Welcome back," he says, beaming proudly at what he has been able to do, at the gratitude he'll surely receive.

Gabriel's brow twitches. "On the other hand," he says, "you could stand to fall a bit."

He lets go. Castiel hurtles through the trees. Arms and legs catch on branches; clothing rips; skin scrapes and tears. He shouts in surprise and pain, looks up, but his brother's out of sight. His hands close around wood, but the boughs break. He's dropped, foot by painful foot, down through branches and bramble, nettles stinging his skin, and finally crunches to the ground inside a sturdy bush with leathery leaves. Dirt flies up and into his mouth.

Gabriel alights, dainty as you please, beside him.

"God?" he says. "God? Seriously?"

Castiel just groans.

ii. Been around the block before with blockheads just like you (first/on purpose)

Cuts and bruises are easy to repair. Torn clothing is made new in a heartbeat. None of these are a problem. But the fact that he was dropped -- that he fell, that he didn't stop himself -- that is an embarrassment beyond imagining, and Castiel huffs with anger as he finds his way to his feet. "Where are we?" he asks.

"I think it's Michigan," Gabriel says. "Or maybe Manitoba. One of those North American M's. Anyway, it's the middle of nowhere, which I figure's the safest place for you until you get over yourself."

Castiel frowns at him.

"What? You don't think I heard all that 'I am God now, check me out, bringing an archangel back to life' crap you were thinking when you pulled me out of the black hole? Didn't take long for me to search through your memory files. You can have the best security system in the world, brother, but if you leave it unlocked..."

Reddening, Castiel devotes a moment of his time to securing the recesses of his mind and memories from outside intrusion. A blink, and he's unreadable.

"Oh, you lock that barn door, little bro." Gabriel smiles and claps his hands. "The horse is already gonzo."

"You should be thanking me," Castiel says, his face clouding with anger. "I saved your life."

Gabriel tilts his head to one side, then the other, his lips pursed with thought. "I suppose," he says. "But then again, I've already saved your bacon. If it weren't for me, you wouldn't have had a clue how to stop the apocalypse, much less go all Strangelove on the world. So I'd say we're just about even."

"You don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, I don't know what I'm talking about? That's rich. You have lost your gourd, Castiel, and I can't let you go on like this."

Castiel approaches him on steady steps. "You don't have a choice."

"Oh, don't I?"

Gabriel plants a banana peel.

One minute the ground is solid, and the next minute Castiel's slipping, falling for the second time today. He's on his rear in a second, the victim of the oldest joke in the book. God with a bruised tailbone.

"It doesn't matter how many souls you've swallowed there," Gabriel says, crossing his arms over his chest. "Nuclear or not, they're still just a bunch of fish eggs. They rev the motor, but they don't make you any smarter. And they sure as hell don't make you get it."

His pride smarting more than his rear, Castiel sits up and looks at his brother. Centuries of respect and obedience keep him frozen to the ground. Though technically he could disappear at any moment, it just doesn't occur to him.

"This is the deal I'm going to make with you, brother," Gabriel says, crouching before him. "You and I are going to stick around Earth for a while."

"I'm not interested in playing any games with you."

"Tough. You abandoned heaven when your pets needed you, you betrayed earth when it suited your purposes, now you're going to take some time to do what I need you to do. Don't tell me you don't have time. You own time. This is your universe, so let's live in it for a while. Even our father managed to do that a bit, remember?"

Castiel's anger is fading to skeptical curiosity. "And what would you have me do while I'm here?"

"Learn. And live. And remember why it is that you thought this was a good idea to begin with. You gave up heavenly powers once before, didn't you? You thought there was a time for that. I'm going to remind you what that was like. And then, when I'm convinced you remember what it is to really love -- not this magnanimous God-love bullcrap, but really, really love -- then you get set free. Or do you not think you can still love the way you used to? Have you lost that ability, all juiced up like you are?"

The words hit home. Castiel vaguely remembers loving, and he even more vaguely remembers not caring if he was loved in return. Jealousy and pride got the better of him -- he is the first to admit that -- and he made ill-advised decisions, but things were the way they were, and he did it for the sake of the universe -- but he barely remembers why he thought the universe was such an important thing.

He hangs his head. He can't look Gabriel in the eye, can't admit to this failing. "How will I prove to you I've learned your lesson?" he says, bitterness on his tongue and in his voice.

"Hm. Good question. Well, we do seem to be in the middle of Walt Disney's favorite forest." Gabriel winks at a chipmunk, which runs away, terrified. "I think I'll let you go when you've experienced the Kiss of True Love."

In all his infinite power, Castiel has absolutely nothing to counteract that one. His jaw drops.

"What, nothing?" Gabriel cackles. "Aw, you're adorable when you're flummoxed, little brother. All you have to do is find some worthy maiden, fall for her, and smooch her. But until you do, you're mine. Got--"

He shuts up. Because Castiel's on his feet. In front of him. Grabbing him.

"Does it have to be a maiden?" he asks. His fingers curl around Gabriel's shoulders.

His mouth is on Gabriel's before the archangel can say a word -- the kiss is deliberate, sensual, everything a kiss ought to be, and Gabriel quivers, allowing it to happen and deepen. He can sense more emotion there than he expected, even having plumbed through the morass of Castiel's tortured mind as he did, and Gabriel's suddenly clinging to him, proud, proud beyond belief that his brother still has a heart that's pure beneath all of its layers of corruption. They can be stripped away. Castiel can be saved. And Gabriel can be the one to save him. That makes him happier than he has any right to be.

The kiss breaks. Castiel's lips remain in a puckered "o" just inches from Gabriel's mouth.

"A good start," Gabriel says. "But not quite there yet. We'll have to practice."

iii. Ask 'em my questions and get some answers (educational)

They build a cottage in the middle of the forest, creating cement and glass from the atoms of trees that had stood in that space for a hundred years beforehand. When it's done -- and it's quaint, the very picture of a log cabin from a wilderness movie -- Castiel stands inside and looks out the window. The light is moving through the leaves in a thousand overlapping shades of green, like fragment patterns from a kaleidoscope projected onto a sunny screen. The patterns vacillate before his eyes, and he sighs, fascinated. There is geometry there, a subtle symmetry, visual music -- and there is also a sort of abstract art, a duality of existence that he might never have noticed had he not come to see the world in this way.

Gabriel is wrong. He can never give this power back willingly. It's shown him too much, given him too much beauty.

Something bittersweet nudges him then, a sense that there's something missing from that resolve, that it’s a betrayal in itself. He shakes it aside. He has no time for second-guessing. He must run Gabriel's gauntlet and be through it.

The kiss of true love. What in the hell does that mean, anyway?

Castiel has never been good at subterfuge. He pauses in the doorway as he sees Gabriel happily milling about in the kitchen. He seems to have gone grocery shopping in the meantime, and imported some furniture, while Castiel was busy pondering the patterns of leaves. They now have a kitchen table, and place settings, and there's a sweet smell in the air.

"You're cooking," Castiel says.

"You're observant."

"But you don't need to cook."

"And therein lies one of your Disney-esque life lessons," Gabriel says, spinning. He's holding a wooden spoon covered with red sauce, something that could equally well be ketchup or cherries or fresh blood, and quite out of keeping with any human traditions of hygiene, he licks it with a long pink tongue before returning it to whatever pot he was just stirring. It occurs to Castiel that if Sam Winchester were here, he'd make a face. The thought makes a corner of his mouth quirk up , an impulse to smile that he immediately tamps down on.

"Explain," he says, crossing past the brand-new dinner table to join Gabriel in front of the stove. It is marinara sauce, and the bubbling pots are full of pasta and sauce and steaming vegetables. There's something lovely and symmetrical about the range of colors, the evenness of the circular pots and the variety of what's inside, and Castiel thinks he could stop and ponder it for a very long time.

But Gabriel's busy complaining. "What's with 'explain'? What, have you forgotten manners too? Yeesh, Castiel, at the very least you used to be polite? 'Explain.' Explain what, exactly?"

Castiel winces but otherwise ignores the rant. "I thought the question was obvious. Explain your Disney-esque life lesson."

"Oh, Casti-el." Gabriel tilted his head and clucked his tongue. "It's not that simple."

As much as Castiel considers himself a god, he has never been one to give orders rather than take them. He accepts what Gabriel says with a sort of resignation and frustration, frowning hard at him and at the happily humming stove, trying to find a way around the frustrating blockade that Gabriel's put up in his way. He could demand that Gabriel tell him. He could probably even hold Gabriel's life ransom. Or he could quit this entire scene in a moment and fly off into nowhere.

But then he'd be alone again. And then he'd never know.

"May I make a request?" he asks feeling strangely humbled and shy before Gabriel's ease.

"You can make one," Gabriel says, singsong, the second half of his sentence not needing to be spoken -- but I can't guarantee I'll answer.

"You said I must have the kiss of true love."

"Mm-hm." Gabriel sips a bit of sauce, moves to the sink to strain the vegetables.

"But the only instruction I've ever had in kissing comes from a pornographic video," Castiel says. "I don’t think love was involved."

"Well, you were hanging out with the Winchesters. Wankchesters, more like." With a sizzle, the vegetables scatter across a shallow pan. Gabriel lifts up the marinara sauce and pours it across their backs. "Heroes, sure, but legendary lovers they ain't."

"Will you teach me, then?" Castiel asks, and Gabriel very nearly sprays marinara sauce all over the kitchen. His ladle clatters into the pot and sends a half-dozen dots of red across the range top and the wall. Castiel sees nothing odd in it.

"You want me to teach you how to kiss." Gabriel's voice is flat when it finds the words to speak. "It's bad enough I'm letting you use me for target practice, yeesh."

Castiel steps closer to him, the toes of his shoes brushing Gabriel's. "You know how. You are my judge. I think it's only fair that I know the criteria."

Gabriel rolls his eyes. "It's not something you can teach, genius."

"Perhaps love is not." Castiel takes him by the shoulders. "But kissing is. There is technique. That much is clear to me."

"Oh, for cripes' sake!" Gabriel throws up his arms. "Fine, fine. I'll teach you. What the hell. Can we eat dinner first?"

Castiel waves a hand. The pots stop mid-jump, and the air hangs dead in the room.

"Apparently not," Gabriel says, gazing at them. "For the love of corn syrup, you're pushy."

"Show me" is all Castiel says.

Gabriel smiles. He starts to speak, then shakes his head and just moves into Castiel's waiting arms. His eyes lock with Castiel's, and the gaze holds for several seconds. Enough for Castiel to want to ask why the wait, where's more, but then Gabriel's thumb is on his lower lip, fingers tucking under his chin, and Castiel's breathless, suddenly understanding, wanting so badly he can't contain himself. He closes his eyes tight, fists curling, and forces himself to wait for the touch of Gabriel's lips.

It comes at an angle, tentative at first, pressing, and then they're melding, exploring with the safe, chaste pressure and slide of lips. Almost unbearable desire swells through Castiel, and his every instinct is to fold Gabriel up in his arms, tug on his hair, force his mouth to open and plunder it like a conqueror would. But this is his lesson to learn, so he lets Gabriel pull away, lets his mouth pucker longingly at the end of the kiss, and waits for more.

Gabriel waits until he has the common sense to open his eyes.

"That's right, Castiel, I'm over here," he says, breaking into a grin.

Castiel regards him. "That was frustrating," he says.

"Well, of course it was." Gabriel slides out of his arms, cool and casual as if nothing had happened. "How else am I supposed to keep you wanting more?"

It infuriates Castiel. "Why not give me more?"

Gabriel's lips press together. "Why not, indeed," he says, and lifts the bubbling sauce from the range top, shutting off the burner. "Could you pass me that bowl?"

Bubbling with want and confusion and anger, Castiel blinks the bowl out of existence and blinks it back in at Gabriel's elbow. Gabriel frowns an instant, then does the same in reverse. The bowl disappears from the counter as readily as it showed up, and reappears in front of Castiel. "I said, could you pass me that bowl?"

Castiel's brow darkens. He picks up the glass bowl and hands it mutely to Gabriel.

Their fingers touch, and a glimmer of bright excitement filters into Castiel's hand, shivers up his arm. He very nearly drops it.

Gabriel watches the reaction, smirks, and finally says, "Well?"

Castiel looks at his fingers. His gaze wanders to Gabriel's lips. And then his hand follows his gaze.

"The pleasure is not in the gratification," he murmurs, tracing Gabriel's bottom lip with his index finger. "It is in the wanting itself."

Gabriel's mouth crinkles into a smile beneath Castiel's touch.

"And that's why I'm cooking," he says.

iv. Knowing them as they will never know me (awkward)

"Let's go on a date," Castiel says the following day.

Gabriel is finger painting, his hands a rainbow splash, the tarp thrown on the ground far more colorful than the unfinished canvas, as though he's doing a spectacular failure of a Jackson Pollock impression. "Hmm?" he says, pursing his lips and quite literally bending over backward to stare at Castiel.

"I want to take you on a date," Castiel says.

Gabriel takes one look at him, sees the way his thumbnail is biting into the flesh of his index finger, and suppresses his laughter in favor of a simple "Where'd this come from?"

"From your lesson." Castiel walks to the canvas, touches his hand to a red blob of paint, and traces it across the canvas despite Gabriel's horrified face. "If love is about the wanting, then I can understand why humans court. I should practice."

"For your fair maiden?" Gabriel saunters across the room to the bathroom, and runs the sink to wash his hands.

"A fair maiden was your stipulation, not mine."

"Well, I suppose if you're dying to lay one on Dean Winchester--"

Castiel falls into a coughing fit so furious he honestly thinks he might not be able to breathe for another hour.

Gabriel peeks out from the bathroom. "No-go on Dean, then? And here I thought--"

"I doubt Dean appreciates what assets I bring to the table," Castiel says tonelessly.

Gabriel throws back his head and laughs. "That was funny! You're doing better than I thought."

"So will you go on a date with me?"

"On one condition."

Castiel frowns.

"Oh, relax, I'm not making you wear a dress. It just has to be in town, all right? Among real honest-to-You human beings." Gabriel winks. "See what I did there?" The frown darkens to a glower. "Right, then, moving on. Take me out on the town, see how it feels, sure. I can't say as I have any other hot dates tonight. But if you cop a feel before you buy me dinner, all bets are off."

The conversation is long over by the time Castiel realizes he's been steadily memorizing every wrinkle that forms around Gabriel's eyes when he laughs.

It's not so long before they're walking into town, side by side, and Castiel's his old, awkward self.

For one thing, he's wearing a black sweater and jeans, something Gabriel's picked out for him so as to make him look like a guy who knows how to have a little fun, but Castiel might as well be naked for how the outfit feels, scratchy and invasive, like a false set of skin. He can't stop scratching under the collar, and Gabriel's annoyed as he puffs out little breaths over in his direction. At last he finally grabs Castiel's hand away, instructing him to stop worrying about it, and Castiel gives him soulful, pleading eyes before remembering that yeah, he can probably deaden those nerves just slightly and continue his walk along. The embarrassment and discomfort in his heart, though, is harder to quell, and it gets worse when he realizes that they're being watched at they walk down the street, watched with eyes both curious and critical, and the locus of those gazes is very clearly the junction between his and Gabriel's hands.

He tries to shake free, but Gabriel grips tight and levels a severe look at him. "What's your problem?" he asks. "You're sweating like a Mexican wrestler."

Castiel runs his free hand over his forehead, surprised. "I'm not sure. I have suddenly realized I'm being identified, with you. As a unit. It's ... it's objectifying. I'm not being looked at for who i am."

"You're wearing a vessel," Gabriel reminds him. "You've never been seen on this plane for who you are, Castiel. Me neither."

"But I'm being-- there's derision in their thoughts--"

"Oh, that's just good old homophobia," Gabriel scoffs. "Don't let it get to you."

"That's a difficult order to obey," Castiel snaps.

"I'm not giving you orders," retorts Gabriel, and then his face softens. "C'mon, it's a date. Be proud to be seen with me. Imagine it's a beautiful girl on your arm."

Castiel almost protests - his jaw opens and he's sure he's going to say something embarrassing - but in the end he just snaps his jaw back shut again and swallows it. Whatever it was going to be.

"What if I were to kiss you now?" he asks after a moment of silence.

Gabriel laughs. "What if?"

"That would prove to you that I'm proud to be seen with you, wouldn't it?"

Gabriel looks at him funny, through squinting eyes and a slanting head, for a long moment. "I suppose," he says. "Why, do you think that's something I'm terribly worried about?"

Castiel is about to retort, but he doesn't think he knows what he's about to say, more than knowing that it could potentially be something very dangerous.

"I am just practice," Gabriel reminds him. "Don't forget that, Castiel. It's only because I happen to have a perverted sense of humor that I'm letting you use me as practice. But don't you go on and start thinking I'm the one you're really going after. Your true love has always been humans. Don't get confused and think I'm one of 'em, because I’m part of the problem. You need a solution."

"What if you are the solution?" Castiel snaps.

"Oh, don't." Gabriel waves a dismissive hand. "Don't get all confused on me now, Castiel."

A seed of anger plants itself in Castiel's chest and burns there, like a hot brand against his skin. He squirms against it and finally gives a huff and takes Gabriel by the shoulders. "You're only practice?" he says.

Gabriel's brow furrows, and he looks at Castiel like he once looked at a brother who'd managed to run him through with a blade.

"Then let's practice," Castiel says, and his mouth comes down on Gabriel's, hard and uncompromising. Gabriel struggles, and beats at Castiel's chest trying to get free.

And then someone speaks up.

"Oh my!"

"Shouldn't someone call the police?"

"Oh come, now, you know they let them marry in Massachusetts."

"It's unsightly."

"Hooligans."

"Mommy, why are the two men kissing?"

"Shh, never mind them."

"But why?"

"Ask your father."

What started as a determined kiss has faded into a joint, lips-touching eavesdropping session. Gabriel's reddening, and Castiel is a little afraid to move. His eyes open, and he looks to and fro suspiciously, his brow furrowing when he catches sight of one of the nay-sayers. They back off, clamp their jaws' shut, or glare back. And it takes Gabriel talking against his mouth-- "Castiel. Castiel, this is getting a mite awkward--" to pry him loose.

He stumbles backward, his blood racing, anger slowly simmering downward again. These people aren't worth his ire.

Gabriel, on the other hand, whirls and faces down the crowd. "Why don't you all mind your own damn business? I have it on good authority that God is gay, or at least bisexual, so get over yourselves. If God doesn't care who you kiss, you should go kiss as many people as you can. It's fun! No, seriously! Way more fun than clicking your tongue at strangers, I promise. Now shoo, before I turn you all into chicks with dicks. And I can do that!"

By the end of his rant, he's red-faced and panting. Even those who hadn't been watching before have now turned to look, astonished. He shrinks a bit. "Oh," he said, "I guess that was kind of awkward, too."

Castiel, on the other hand, just holds his head high and grabs Gabriel by the wrist, leading him down the street.

"Hey!" Gabriel starts by protesting, then gives in and contents himself with just eyeing Castiel suspiciously. Castiel couldn't care less. Let him stare. Let all of them stare. He is just learning what he wants.

v. Can I ignore that sound of distant drumming? (sweet)

The date's actually pretty nice after that. Castiel has settled into a mellow ease that concerns Gabriel somewhat, but he's not about to fault it, not when they're getting along so well. He's actually gotten Castiel to crack a smile a handful of times, not a small feat when you're God's court jester, and now, after dinner, they're sitting on the pier watching ladies walk by and commenting on their various states of dress and/or the recent affairs that are rushing through their minds. Every so often Gabriel encourages Castiel to go up and talk to one. Every time Castiel says no.

Somehow or other, they've forgotten to stop holding hands, too.

"Do you remember the early days, Castiel?" Gabriel says. "When they were just starting out. No clue that we'd end up with iPhones and belly button rings and strawberry margaritas?"

"Not as such," Castiel says. "But certainly, they always had potential."

"And wasn't that just the very bee that got up Luci's bonnet. Which is better, beings that are perfect from the get-go, that never ask a question and never question destiny, or beings that just have the potential for perfection but keep trying to achieve it? That's the remarkable part for me. We can do everything, but they... they can change."

"We've changed," Castiel points out. "You changed your mind about them. I changed--"

"Yes, yes, God, blah-de-blah." Gabriel rolls his eyes and pulls his hand away, thoroughly disgusted at having to even think about it.

"That wasn't what I was talking about," Castiel replies quietly. He folds his hands into his lap and sits unspeaking for a few minutes.

"Aw, Cas, come on, don't be that way." Gabriel tries to nudge him, but Castiel twitches. "What, what'd I say now?"

"You called me Cas," Castiel mutters.

"Yeah, so what? It's short."

"He called me Cas."

Gabriel takes a breath. It's the first Castiel's brought up the Winchesters since they started this foolishness, and all at once Gabriel understands why.

"It really hurt, didn't it?" he says. "Having them turn their backs on you. Especially Dean."

Castiel is silent. A flinch of his brow is the only movement in his suddenly stony face.

"You could have used one good 'I get what you're trying to do here,' " Gabriel goes on. He's guessing now, but he's pretty sure his intuition is right. "Just some validation that you were at least trying to do the right thing. If he'd given you that, maybe you could have trusted him enough to give up the souls at the end."

"You're making assumptions." Castiel glowers.

"Am I, though?" Gabriel presses closer, lays a hand on Castiel's arm. "I think I get it, Cas. I know why you did what you did, but how much of this being-God stuff is about really wanting to be God, and how much is about proving you're better than humans?"

Castiel turns to him, opens his jaw, and stays, open-mouthed, silent. Gabriel can see the horror moving through his face, the realization, the anger and the contemplation, like the march of ghosts against the ruins of a battlefield. So much he has to think about right now, so much he has to come to grips with. Gabriel doesn't envy him the task.

"Is it better, then?" he says at last. "Is it better to have a God who doesn't speak, doesn't reveal himself? Is it better to have no God at all than to have me take on the task of setting this world right? I care. I care what happens to this world. Isn't that a better option?"

Gabriel watches him. There's a thread of anger there, surely, pulsing beneath the low growl of his words, but it's not drowning out the fear and the doubt. He pities his brother right now, pities him because it's not the first time he's had to look at his own actions and decide if he's done wrong and how to make it right. Worse now than the first time, because this time it was in trying to make things right that he's done wrong.

It aches to watch and not do anything about it. So Gabriel leans over and closes his lips over Castiel's.

A dry kiss, sweet, yearning. Castiel's mouth does not open to his. It's not ready.

"Castiel," Gabriel says. "You're a good angel. You're one of the good ones. I'm sorry I never knew you before."

"Why?" Castiel's voice is mournful. "Because you could have stopped me?"

Gabriel shakes his head. "Because I like you. Does it have to be more complicated than that?"

Castiel gazes at him for a long minute, then lifts his head to stare out at the ocean. Gabriel lets him be. He has a lot to think about.



Part Two
 
 
 
Captain Nommers of the Tastypants Brigade: beast no-no placesecondplatypus on August 8th, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
with a tl;dr, she cried more, more, moooooore
M,FGAPMPYHOJ43I6J0AIOHT3972GHT90Q37HT94NWG9AH39QY5-4H9037GHAT-94HTG0A[94JYGA9084H-0[49J0[4HYPA98HORGISDUNGC,JNVKJFHGIOUA4HTOAWHTOJHJLJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHERE DO I BEGIN. SERIOUSLY. WHERE?
I don't even know how to fucking articulate all the feelings what I am feeling. I'm sitting here, having just finished this, with my head cocked to the side and my eyes Cas-wide, scrambling around in my head to find words. Unfortunately, all I'm getting is little puffs of happiness from the few neurons I have that didn't flail themselves to death.
All I'm probably going to succeed at is making myself look like a yammering dorkus, but still. I'm going to try.

I tried to read this slowly, to savor it.
That lasted all of ten seconds.
and now, I'm probably losing my HAHAHA, FIRST COMMENT! opportunity because I'm nattering on, butbutbut I CANNOT HELP MYSELF.

I think I'll start with the overall plot summary and author's notes, actually, which sent me into a quasi-fit of excitement. Disney quotes and Cas and Gabriel and a fractured fairy tale and and and and and and I love you forever.

Then, I'll segue to your Gabriel, mister "you could stand to fall a bit." himself. He's achingly perfect, snarky and wonderful and beautiful and everything that made me fall in love with his character in the first place, and the idea of the trickster archangel setting up a trial of True Love for Castiel in order to save him from himself tickles me in so many different ways. So many of them inappropriate.

and Castiel, being all "I knows what I want, but the artifice and the games, I fail at them. and look at me, being all godlike and fucking adorable and embarrassed and making out with an archangel in the middle of the street and having poignant self-realizations and being in such desperate, aching need of guidance and help (and by guidance and help, I clearly mean a few spirited rides on the Good Ship Archangel-cock)."

and sprinkled here and there, amidst the cooking and the kisses and the Gabriel one-liners, are some absolutely incredible insights into the mind of God-Castiel, and our beloved angel's rationale for doing the things he's done.
I don't know how you manage to do it, weaving sweet and snarky and sexy and serious together in a way that balances just so and leaves the reader feeling about twelve things at once. I'm just going to crown you Queen Brilliantpants of the Known Universe and be done with it.

I don't know why, but my brain keeps coming back to this section again and again.
There is geometry there, a subtle symmetry, visual music -- and there is also a sort of abstract art, a duality of existence that he might never have noticed had he not come to see the world in this way.

Gabriel is wrong. He can never give this power back willingly. It's shown him too much, given him too much beauty.

Something bittersweet nudges him then, a sense that there's something missing from that resolve, that it’s a betrayal in itself.



Other favorite moments and things what I love:
(don't mind me, this section is just an excuse for me to read it again)

"Hm. Good question. Well, we do seem to be in the middle of Walt Disney's favorite forest." Gabriel winks at a chipmunk, which runs away, terrified. "I think I'll let you go when you've experienced the Kiss of True Love."

the whole exchange where Gabriel is all "this cooking, it is a lesson" and Castiel is like "SPLAIN. OKAY, IF YOU WILL NOT SPLAIN, GIVE ME KISSING PRACTICE 'CAUSE I'M TOTES BEING SUBTLE"


Captain Nommers of the Tastypants Brigadesecondplatypus on August 8th, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
a pox upon your character limits!

and This.
"Well, you were hanging out with the Winchesters. Wankchesters, more like." With a sizzle, the vegetables scatter across a shallow pan. Gabriel lifts up the marinara sauce and pours it across their backs. "Heroes, sure, but legendary lovers they ain't."
I laughed so hard at that, my boyfriend turned around, looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears, and demanded to know why I was doing my best impression of a psychotic hyena.

and Castiel learning how to love and want

and ""And wasn't that just the very bee that got up Luci's bonnet. Which is better, beings that are perfect from the get-go, that never ask a question and never question destiny, or beings that just have the potential for perfection but keep trying to achieve it? That's the remarkable part for me. We can do everything, but they... they can change."

and that heartache-inducing moment where this happens
"Is it better, then?" he says at last. "Is it better to have a God who doesn't speak, doesn't reveal himself? Is it better to have no God at all than to have me take on the task of setting this world right? I care. I care what happens to this world. Isn't that a better option?"


and with that, the last shreds of my self-control have disintegrated, and I must sally forth in search of part two.
Tiptoe39: smiletiptoe39 on August 8th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
Re: a pox upon your character limits!
I am sitting here clapping and grinning and laughing and if I never write another word again I will still be satisfied because i made you happy with this and i'm so glad and eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Lady Eternal: Gabriel's In The Gameladyeternal on August 8th, 2011 07:45 pm (UTC)
Much of what I wish to say, secondplatypus has already flailed out in her epically amazingly wonderful way. I just want to add one thing:

"You called me Cas," Castiel mutters.

"Yeah, so what? It's short."

"He called me Cas."

Gabriel takes a breath. It's the first Castiel's brought up the Winchesters since they started this foolishness, and all at once Gabriel understands why.

"It really hurt, didn't it?" he says. "Having them turn their backs on you. Especially Dean."

Castiel is silent. A flinch of his brow is the only movement in his suddenly stony face.

"You could have used one good 'I get what you're trying to do here,' " Gabriel goes on. He's guessing now, but he's pretty sure his intuition is right. "Just some validation that you were at least trying to do the right thing. If he'd given you that, maybe you could have trusted him enough to give up the souls at the end."


FASD'KLJGA'LDKSFNMBALDFNGADLFM"S;LDKGLKADFNBLAMNFMDLKAGMBANDF;LABK DF/DMBL MADLADGF ALKSDMFGAKLNRGJAN DF,MSDNVGAMF NBWROIWJOEKLAMLFBNALDKJNBALKDMS FLAWLESS CHARACTERIZATION & TOTALLY EVERYTHING I WAS SAYING FOR THE LAST 3 HOURS OF S6.

YOU ARE CLEARLY AWESOMESAUSE FOREVER & I'M LUCKY TO GET TO READ YOUR AMAZINGNESS, LET ALONE WRITE IT WITH YOU.

::scrambles off to read Part Two::
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on August 8th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee omg :DD yay. Someone needs to understand Cas! I'm heartbroken it wasn't Dean- but someone has to look at him and say "I get it." I was so happy that I got to have Gabriel do so <33333

Thank you!!!!! And I'm so lucky to get to write with YOU and your amazing OT4 brain!! *smishes*
333 - Halfway to Hell: Castiel-Gabrielscyllaya on August 8th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC)
LOVE IT!! Love it so much. Gabriel yes, he can understand. Makes me so happy.

And Castiel's struggle to look at himself, not resisting the lesson Gabriel wants to teach him. Gosh I can't form a real good long comment because all the feelings just make my brain chaotic *runs to read next part* Loving this!
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on August 8th, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you so, so much hon!! I'm so glad this rings true to you!! *snuggle* i hope you enjoy the rest!!
The Ramblings of a Dreamer: *headtilt* (Cas)starrfire on August 10th, 2011 02:19 am (UTC)
Can I just say how much I love you for this? All that needed to be said about the amazing bits has been said, but let it be known that right now you are my favorite...because you're making this seem canon to me. This is my SPN universe...and you wrote it so well.

(Can I give you a little criticism though? Some of the language you used, was unnecessarily big...the ones that I can think of off the top of my head were "vacillate" and "flummoxed". It was distracting to me, because I had to go google what the words meant... Personally, I can appreciate the use of "big words" but sometimes it takes away from the story.... Just my opinion.) I hope this doesn't offend you, it's just my opinion.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on August 10th, 2011 11:07 am (UTC)
Hey baby... of course you can give me criticism. And you're not the first person to mention the language. I stand by the words I wrote, though, and I think that they work with the sort of story I'm trying to tell. I think it also has to do with what kind of stories you're used to reading and telling. I might be a tad overeducated ;D

I thank you for it, and it's certainly something to keep in mind as I edit from here on out :) *smishes*

And I'm so glad the story overall works for you!
The Ramblings of a Dreamerstarrfire on August 10th, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
*smiles* that's good to know. Sometimes people get really insulted when you make constructive critiques of their work. I'm glad you're not that way. I totally understand your wishing to stick with your words here, and I can appreciate that as I said, I do appreciate the use of words like that, but in this case, I felt it took away from my experience because I had to pause and look them up. Mind you it was only two words out of I don't know how many, so.. but I imagine my grasp on vocabulary is fairly average thought in the past I'm sure it was more than that. I can appreciate a challenge now and again, so it didn't ruin the story for me at all. I sometimes enjoy learning new words. I'm perhaps due for change in book reading...though I will always love my romance novels...perhaps I need to read something else. *shrug* I do enjoy reading your works my dear, just so you know. I don't think you're over-educated at all. I find you're eloquent, and brilliant writer...who captures these characters as if you had somehow lived inside their heads, and hearts. Not many writers can capture that, and you have. *applauds you* really, you are spectacular.

that's all I can ask, is that you keep it in mind in the future. *smishes you*

I love this story. It's by far, one of my all time favorites!
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on August 10th, 2011 09:44 pm (UTC)
And of course I will. All feedback informs how I approach future stories.

*kisses* you're lovely!
The Ramblings of a Dreamer: kitty!Sebastianstarrfire on August 12th, 2011 04:12 am (UTC)
oh good! ^_^

*blush* you're sweet! *huggles*