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11 June 2010 @ 12:02 am
The Baking Angel: Day Six - Sugar Cookies  
Title: The Baking Angel (6/7)
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 Six: Sugar Cookies

Sam woke before dawn to find the message light flashing on his cell phone.

"Sam, it's me. I just wanted to let you know, I'm probably not coming home tonight. If you need me, I'm at Cas' place. Call my cell."

Great. Mental image he did not need, on the heels of being chased by what apparently were angels. How could Dean still trust Castiel after all of that? He'd given Sam the story in pretty meaningful detail of what had happened after Sam was busy running for his life. It seemed like any conversation would inevitably end in a fistfight.

Or sex, Sam supposed. Come to think of it, that made a lot of sense, knowing Dean.
 He'd spent the past night with a tornado blowing through his head. Or maybe it was circus music. Whatever it was, it was too much. Too much to process. All these revelations, all these things he'd learned. And as the capstone of a truly ridiculous twenty-four hours, that kiss. Not that romantic proclivities had any importance at all compared to what had come before. But there was always something about love that overshadowed everything else...

Well, not love. He wasn't Dean. This wasn't his story. He wasn't the one having a grand romance. This was just one more confusion to add to the rest. Besides, if things were the way Gabriel made them out to be-- that was, if Gabriel was really the Gabriel-- then how could it be romance? Weren't they all supposed to be above earthly pleasures? Sam was a little put out. Nothing he'd learned about angels in the past day had been anything near what he'd expected.

He came downstairs and left a note on the kitchen table, then drove out in the tow truck back to the barn. It was the only place he could think clearly, and besides, something had happened there yesterday that required further investigation. Gabriel had used no magic Sam had ever seen. There had to be remnants, or clues, or something. Something that would give Sam a little more of a clue as to what he was up against, and how to hold out against it.  He wasn't going to be a dancing monkey for the devil or for angels or for anything in between. He'd been doing this too long to give up now.

The hay bales that had sat in the barn since time immemorial were burned through in straight stripes, as though someone had split them with a laser. Sam vaguely remembered seeing the oddity yesterday, but at the time he was too upset, too rattled to really think about it. Now, the unnatural nature of it really settled on his eyes. It was as though the fire had burned straight up, without spreading to the side as normal fires do, and where it had burned the hay had been reduced to black cinders. The lines of ash extended out past the hay bales into a complete circle -- a ring of ash and brown liquid that looked suspiciously like dried blood. In the middle and along the fringes of the circle, strange shapes he'd never seen before, in the same awful brown hue.

"It's Enochian," said a voice above him. Sam straightened and tipped his chin upward to see a shower of stardust.

No, not stardust. Sugar.

Gabriel was sitting in the loft, a paper bag clutched in one hand, a sugar cookie in the other. He was chomping at the oversized sweet so voraciously that sugar was shaking off his lips and hands and falling in a sparse stream of crystals from the upper level to the floor. As Sam stared at him, gaping, Gabriel finished that cookie, brushed the excess sugar off his hands in another flood of the stuff, and drew another from the bag. "Enochian," he repeated. "Angelic script. It'ff gffd stff for mffgic," he added through another big bite.

"What--" Sam squinted up at him. "What are you doing here?"

"You said I could come here and think anytime I wanted. So that's what I'm doing."

"At six in the morning?" Sam's voice slid up into an incredulous soprano. "With cookies?"

"Hey." Gabriel shook the confection at him sternly. "It's never too early for cookies."

Sam blinked up at him. His heart was thumping. "We need to talk," he said, even though he was terrified of talking.

"Oh, don't be stupid," Gabriel frowned at him. "You've got bigger fish to fry."

"Gabriel," Sam said, and then he stopped. He didn't want to have this conversation, not at dawn, not when Gabriel didn't want to have it. If Gabriel was perfectly willing to pretend the kiss didn't happen, then Sam could do the same. He looked down and away, continuing to memorize the pattern on the floor, filing each angle and shape away for future research.

A sugar cookie appeared, hovering, in front of his face. Gabriel had climbed down from the loft and now stood next to him, brandishing the sweet between two fingers. "Want one?"

Sam made a face. "No, thanks."

"It's the end of the world, my friend," Gabriel said. "Eat dessert first."

"It's not the end of the world."

Gabriel raised an eyebrow at him. He withdrew the cookie and chomped on it himself, moaning a little as the buttery stuff melted on his tongue.

"It's not." Sam's face darkened. "We won't let it happen. We'll stop it."

"We? Who, the Super Winchester Brothers? With monkey wrenches and axle grease?"

"We're not..." He bit his tongue quickly. The angels didn't appear to be omniscient; they hadn't picked up on the fact that Dean and Sam were hunters, and Sam wasn't about to give them any clue. "Look," he started again, deliberately, "if they need us, we have power over them. You said we have to say yes, right? So as long as we don't..."

Gabriel shook his head. "You really are spectacularly stupid, you know that? How many people do you think Lucifer will kill to get you to say yes?"

"And if I do say yes he'll kill everybody.  Seems to me I'm still the one in control here."

A derisive snort.

"Come on." For the first time, Sam cracked a smile. "Have a little courage, Cowardly Lion."

No response.

"Or maybe you're the Scarecrow," Sam pushed. "Maybe the reason you can't think for yourself is that you don't have a brain."

Gabriel turned away from him. His shoulders were hunched.

But Sam was starting to get into this. "Then again, maybe you're Dorothy. All you want is to go home to Heaven."

"Shut up!"

Gabriel slammed his hand against one of the pylons of wood that held up the loft. The whole structure creaked dangerously.

He fixed his eyes on Sam. "Don't you dare pretend you know what it is to be me, you stupid, limited speck of dust! I ran from Heaven. I got the hell out of Dodge, because I couldn't stand to see my brothers killing each other."

Sam took in a sharp breath. Gabriel's voice trembled with emotion. "For centuries, centuries I walked this Earth, not belonging anywhere, not being anyone. And then I hear the end is near, so I phone home and volunteer to make it happen. We move here, we wait for you, and wait and wait and wait, and now after thirty years of peace and quiet here you are, and suddenly we have angels up our asses, and Castiel is playing house with your brother, and you just piss me off, and it's all gone to shit. Now the only home I've got left is the one I can go back to when this is all over."

When Gabriel walked up to him, Sam thought he saw wetness around his eyes.

"So don't you talk to me about home, and courage, and free will. Been there, done that. And still, the only thing I know for sure is that we'd finally gotten used to living here, and now because of you we're going to have to leave. And there's nothing we could do even if we wanted to. This is destined to happen, kemosabe." He poked a finger at Sam's chest. Gabriel stood a full head shorter than Sam, but he still managed to get up into his face, seething at him. "This whole world is going to blow apart. And you are going to be the sack of meat that does it."

"That's what I am to you, then." Sam met his look with equal vehemence. "A sack of meat."

"Yeah," Gabriel said, his chin tilting upward. "That's exactly what you--"

He paused. For an instant he and Sam were drawing breath in unison, staring at each other in the abandoned barn.

Abruptly Gabriel drew back. "It's destiny, kid," he said quietly. "We can run from it, but we sure as hell can't hide." His eyes were mournful.


The word came quicker than an echo. Gabriel took in a quick breath. Panic widened his eyes.

Sam felt a flutter of invisible wings. "Gabriel--" he began. But he was already alone again.

Gabriel came home to find Castiel standing in the kitchen, hands in his pockets. The ovens were off. Nothing was on the counter. Gabriel panicked. "Don't you have bread to bake?"

"We need to talk," Castiel said.

Gabriel's eyes focused on the front door of the shop behind him. The "OPEN" side of the sign was facing inward. "Aren't we opening today?"

"We're not going to give them up."

"Are you serious? You're closing shop to tell me this?" Gabriel grabbed the bin of flour and dragged it to the counter, sprinkling the surface. "Get baking."

"I'm not going to let them have him," Castiel said. He didn't move from the spot. "I've made a decision, Gabriel."

Gabriel sighed and shrugged. His  hands came up in a puff of flour. "All right, all right, I hear you," he said. "Let's talk about this. You have a crush on the Winchester boy and you don't want to hand him in. Understandable. Except for you know what? You're not going to be able to enjoy his tender lovin' when you're burned to dust from the inside out because Michael doesn't have his vessel when the time comes."

"You're as powerful as Michael," Castiel said. "You can keep him away."

"You're going to ask me to protect you?"

"Why not? You've already banished Uriel and Zachariah." A puzzled look from Gabriel. "Yes, I know they were here. Dean told me everything. Including that you activated the binding spell. This town is safe from any further encroachments. All we have to do is keep them here, and they won't be able to take them. You will help me, won't you, Gabriel? You were the one who told me in the first place--"

"I told you we could take our time. I said nothing about basically declaring war on our own kind. Hell, Castiel, we have Lucifer for that!"

"Say you'll help me." He reached forward and caught Gabriel's flour-caked hands in his own.

"No way. No fucking way, Castiel."

"What happened to you? You never used to care."

"This. Look what's happened to us. Ever since you started playing around with him, it's been one thing after another. I'm sick of it. These are my brothers, and they're trying to kill us. They're trying to kill each other. It's never going to end unless we let it end." He grabbed Castiel by the shoulders, blue eyes begging.

"I will not let anyone touch Dean."

"You're such a stupid romantic!" Gabriel threw up his arms and turned to pace around the kitchen. "Did you honestly think you could sit around baking pies all day until the end of time? You knew this day was coming. Not only knew it, you counted on it. When I was saying let's relax, enjoy ourselves, you were Mister Mission. And now Mister Mission finds his target in a pretty package and all of a sudden you're ready to rebel? How fickle can you get?"

"Gabriel, I've made up my mind."

"What mind you've got left."

"I'm not going to let anyone touch him." His eyes flashed. "You included."

"Once upon a time, you were on my side," Gabriel retorted. His nostrils flared, and his hand closed around the countertop. "Once upon a time, our family was more important than anything. What the hell is happening to us? We've been waiting thirty years for this day. Longer! And now it's here and..."

He trailed off. Castiel was examining him. He could feel the narrow eyes trying to dissect him.

"Did something happen?" Castiel said carefully.

Gabriel grumbled and made for the stairwell. "I don't want to talk about it."

He knew he was running away. Again. Given his cowardice, could he really blame Castiel for wanting to change things? He just wished he could crawl into a hole and let the war rage around him. But that was the nature of war, wasn't it? It touched everyone. And now it had singed Gabriel, right where it hurt most. And all he could think to do was take up arms and join the fray.

The silence had hung in the library for almost an hour. Nothing but the occasional clearing of a throat or the flipping of pages. Sam had drawn his best approximation of the spell on a piece of paper; Bobby had gazed at it for a long moment and then started picking out books and dividing them up, the faithful teacher distributing assignments. They settled down and got to reading, and since then, nobody had said a word.

Nothing useful seemed to be coming up. The symbol, the words led to some lore about angels, but when it was in English at all, it was so cryptic as to be completely unhelpful. Either that, or it was common knowledge already. Angels were God's army, they were righteous, they were fearsome, they were terrifying, they were...

"Dicks," Dean offered helpfully. "They're all just a bunch of dicks."

Bobby got up after another several minutes. "None of this makes any sense," he said, scratching his mustache. "There's plenty of lore about the end of the world, but none of it seems to match. There's all kind of crap about the gates of hell opening, and a righteous man shedding blood, and seals, and I haven't seen hide nor hair of it. Not a single Biblical omen or sign."

"Yeah," Dean said in a low voice, "not yet."

Sam's head shot up. "What's that supposed to mean?"

Dean rattled it off as though it were in the book right in front of him "What Cas said was, they were sent here to watch over all of that stuff. To make sure we were in the right place when it happens, so it all goes down according to Scripture."

"According to Scripture," Sam pointed out, "there's supposed to be rains of fire and famine and all kinds of crap."

"Yep." Dean scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. "Pretty much."

"We can't let that happen."

"Damn straight we can't."

Dean's straightforward answers were starting to grate on Sam. "So how are we supposed to stop what hasn't happened yet, if we don't know when or where it's going to happen?"

"We stay," Dean said quietly.

Sam slammed his book shut. "What?"

"We stay in this town." Dean cleared his throat and looked up at Sam sheepishly. "Apparently Cas and Gabe worked some mojo on this place. That's what that flash was. A binding spell. As long as we stay within city limits, they can't get to us."

"And you were going to share this with us when?" Bobby scowled at him.

Dean turned. "I just did, didn't I?"

"And that doesn't strike you as being a trap?" Sam's eyes were bugged out. "Like maybe they just want us right where they can find us, so they can pluck us out when the day comes?"

A deep grumble sounded under Dean's tone. "Cas is on our side."

"And how do you know that?" Sam rose to his feet. His books thunked to the floor in a ruffle of dust and pages.

"I know."

"It wouldn't be because he's got sweet lips, would it?"

"Enough, don't want to hear, low on brain bleach." Bobby had a way of hijacking the conversation when he wanted to get a point across. With that grumpy declaration, he earned silence from the rest of the room. "Damn it, boy, I have enough trouble picturing you having sex with a woman."

"Don't look at me, I didn't bring it up!" Dean and Sam both looked a little sheepish. It wasn't cool to talk about such thing in front of your parents. or the nearest thing you had to them.

Bobby grumbled. "In any case, Sam's right. You have a crush on the man. And even if that didn't make my stomach squirm, it still wouldn't mean you can trust him."

"It's the best lead we've got," Dean contended.

"Never mind whether we can trust Cas," Sam jumped in. "We can't just stay here forever. It's not who we are. It's not what we do."

Where the rage came from Dean wasn't sure, but it came, and it came in spades. "Are you kidding me? Is this really you talking? Listen to yourself. It wasn't a year ago, you were all set to have the happily-ever-after. Law school, the wife, the picket fence, the works."

Sam shook his head slowly. "Don't bring her into this."

"It's the same thing, isn't it? You were trying to fight the inevitable, Sammy. You thought you could run away from family, make your own home. Why can't I have a shot at it, too?"

"Because it worked out so well for me." He stuttered over the words, chewed on his lip. His voice trembled. "Damn it, Dean, this life is all I've got left."

"All you've got left, you mean." Dean's tone was low and constant. "I'm sorry, Sammy, but it's the truth. You told me you were happy for me. You said I deserved this. Now you're going to tell me I can't have it?"

Sam began to speak, but the words wouldn't come out. He was regretting coming back from the barn. He was regretting ever going there in the first place. He was regretting even coming to town.

When Castiel was really, really stressed out, he made cookies. Reams of cookies. Rows of cookies. He rolled and cut and baked and folded and cooled and sprinkled until the kitchen was piled high with tiny little perfect creations. It was hard to get cookies wrong. So at a time when he felt he was getting everything else wrong, cookies were the way to go. 

Usually, he pawned off whatever he couldn't sell on Gabriel, who could down them faster than anyone he'd ever seen. Today, he'd have no such luck: Gabriel had stomped off, and the shop remained closed, to the dismay of a tiny girl clutching Mom's purse strings like a leash. Castiel peeked into the front of the shop and gave her an apologetic look, then went back to rolling and cutting. A robot couldn't have made cookies any more efficiently or perfectly than he did.

Castiel knew his craft. It was all he'd done for thirty years. And now Gabriel wanted him to pick up and go back to a place he no longer even remembered? Eternity was a long time, yes, but in heaven you didn't experience each day the way you did here. Here, thirty years felt like his whole life. How could he possibly give up what he'd been doing his whole life? Here, in the kitchen, with these cookies, felt so damn right.

And then it felt even more right.

Dean was standing in the doorway, leather jacket draped around his shoulders, looking like he'd just weathered a storm. He was breathing heavily, and his eyes on Castiel were steady and unusually clear.

"I won't go," he said.

Castiel stood stock-still, surveying him, for a second. "No?" The word was breathy, incredulous.

Dean shook his head and began to move forward. "I've wanted this too bad. I can't leave now. Now that I've actually got it."

Castiel broke into a run, closing the few steps between them, and barreled full-tilt into Dean's arms. His head sank against Dean's shoulder. "Thank you. Thank you." He hung on Dean's coat, his hands clutching the leather, pulling it into tight brown lines.

Dean smiled against the soft prickle of Castiel's hair. "Sammy's gonna be mad as hell."

"But he'll stay. Right?"

A shrug. "I don't know. I can't promise."

"You know what will happen." There was a low, dangerous growl to Castiel's voice, and Dean could see him all at once as a heavenly warrior, as the soldier he'd said he was. It frightened and thrilled him. "He sets foot outside this town and the forces of Heaven and Hell will fight over him until one wins. Whichever does, Sam won't survive."

"Don't underestimate him."

"What do you mean?" A quizzical look.

Dean caught his breath. "Nothing. Never mind." His gaze flickered across the room. "Hey, are those sugar cookies?"

Castiel's severe face broke into a grin. "You're always hungry." He moved over to the counter to pick up some cookies. "Well, at least I now who I can give my extras to from now--"

He stopped short as Dean's arms came around his waist from behind. "Cas." He kissed a delicate angel's ear. Castiel shuddered.

"I love you." The words came out unbidden. He couldn't tell if Dean answered. They were too crushed together into the kiss that followed to know for sure.

Sam was thinking about Jessica. It was hard for him not to on the best of days; on a day like today, when it felt like the world was coming apart, he couldn't help but wonder if he'd be any safer, any saner and any less likely to self-destruct if she were still with him.  Jessica had been such a special existence to him. For the first time in his life he'd met someone who understood him, who complemented him in all ways. She raised him up and made him a better person. Not just normal, but good. Special in a way that felt good. He'd never had that definition of the word special before, never had it since. She was the only one.

Dean was right, of course. Of course Sam couldn't begrudge him that sense of happiness. But the irony was unbelievable. Wherever Dean looked, he had people trying to convince him he was some sort of savior. Fighting on the side of the angels. Telling him over and over he was a good person when he never believed that of himself. And enter Sam, actually trying to be that good person, or trying to be normal at the very, very least, and what was his destiny? To serve the devil. It was disgusting. He thought he saw now just what road his good intentions had been paving all this time, and it made him sick to think about it. The world was a fundamentally unfair place.

At least now Gabriel's sort of visceral disgust of him made sense in the new context he had. Gabriel had been taught to despise everything Sam was -- no, everything Sam was destined to be. Of course he was confused. He'd probably never counted on his precious vessel actually being a whole person.

And then there was the fact that Gabriel had kissed him. Which brought up more issues than Sam was comfortable dealing with right now.

What would Jess say? What would she tell him?

He closed his eyes and summoned her face, her voice and her touch. So gentle, a hand on his. Level eyes that grounded him when he was feeling out of control. Jessica had often taken on the role of mother as well as lover, because Sam had never before in his life had that quiet female voice of reason. "Sometimes you just have to deal with the things that are right in front of you, Sam," she would say in times when he thought he'd explode from frustration or anger. "Sometimes that's the best you can do."

His eyes darted over the pages of the book he'd been reading, and he looked again at the flask in his hands. If he'd said the words of the spell accurately, what he held would be sufficient insurance. And even in his mind, Jess was always right.

He gave a half-smile into the air. "Miss you, Jess," he whispered. And he grabbed the car keys.

Gabriel was standing in the middle of the barn, staring at the doors, when Sam came in. The symbols were still painted in thick dried blood across the floor.

"I've been waiting for you," he said in a dark tone.

Sam took a step forward. "Good," he said. His hands were clutched into tight diamonds of fists. "Look, you might not think it's important, but we do need to talk about what happened." He couldn't reference it without reddening. "I'm beginning to think that maybe we hould just deal with it, you know? Not try and avoid the subject."

Gabriel's face was devoid of expression, either anger or agreement. His eyes were fixed on a point beyond Sam's face. Without changing that gaze, he nodded halfway, an indication that Sam should go on.

"I mean, you're not... you're not human to begin with, right? So it's probably impossible... and I don't think I have ever wanted... but, I mean, I can't say I'm not interested, you know? There was... there was something there."

He took a few more steps forward. He stood not a foot from Gabriel now, close enough to see the minute trembling of his lip.   

"I mean, if something's going to happen, it should just happen, right? We should just bite the bullet and stop fighting it. I--"

"My thoughts exactly."

There was no smile on Gabriel's face.

He extended a hand. There was a blast of white light. Sam shielded his eyes and drew back, looking down at the floor to avoid being blinded.

When the light faded, the floor he stared at was clean of blood.

"Brother," Gabriel whispered. His eyes were steel-hard. "Enter."

The single lightbulb that lit the barn exploded in a shower of sparks. A gust of wind blew the doors open. Sam whirled.

A silhouette framed in the same intense white light was heading their way. It rippled as it moved, and then split -- no, expanded, in a movement that Sam soon realized was the unfurling of gigantic wings.

"Gabriel," said a deep voice. "thank you so much for letting me in. I've been knocking for days."

"Welcome to town," Gabriel said. "Raphael."

To Day Seven...
Laurenjabber_moose on June 12th, 2010 05:51 am (UTC)
My heart. Is smished.

Just...you toy with my emotions.

And you're so very good at it
Tiptoe39: dean/cas kisstiptoe39 on June 12th, 2010 12:20 pm (UTC)
Oh noes! *unsmishes heart* Sorry about that!

Well, OK, no, I'm not.
Captain Nommers of the Tastypants Brigadesecondplatypus on July 11th, 2010 02:21 pm (UTC)
I'm relatively new to Sam/Gabriel, and I've never read this particular flavor of Gabriel in fic before.
... I like it. I like it a lot.

That was a fantastic cliff-hanger, and an unbelievable "Oh, no, he didn't" moment. Talk about douche baggery to the power of douche baggery.

Your characterizations and character interactions are mind-blowingly good.
as is your writing.
as is the way you describe a tasty sugar cookie.
I don't usually crave sweet things, but now I want donuts and cookies and cinnamon rolls all at once. You're evil. :)
Tiptoe39: broken gabrieltiptoe39 on July 12th, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
I am indeed evil. I love angsty Gabriel. The Gabriel reveal just took everything I ever knew and twisted it around and made it that much more awesome. He was BRILLIANT. And I knew I loved him broken. Some people love Cas whump; not me, I like to see Gabriel broken and angsty and upset and kind of emotionally twisted. It explains so much. So I am soooo glad you like.

And I'm still happy to make you want to pig out :DDDDDD
mancrave: Nikemancrave on February 4th, 2012 01:17 am (UTC)
Jesus Christ I am far too tense. This cannot be healthy.

I hope Gabriel knows what he is doing because I will kick his ass if he doesn't step up and fight for Sam like I am fully expecting him to.

Sam and Gabriel and all of their combined angst really took centre stage for me in this one and I loved it. Now I just need it to resolve itself exactly like I want it to ;)
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on February 4th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
omg i wonder if it will *bites fingernails* *cuddles*
auroramama on March 15th, 2012 01:38 am (UTC)
A beautifully messed-up Gabriel.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on March 15th, 2012 10:35 am (UTC)
I'm glad you approve of him!