[<- The Dead Man’s Game]
Title: The Dead Man’s Game: Beer and Dominion
Characters: Sam Winchester ♂, Dean Winchester ♂, Castiel ♂, Kafziel (OC) ♂, Gabriel ♂, Crowley ♂
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V1 D1)
Warnings: Expletives, memory loss, blasphemy, crackomatic crackfic of crack, we put the fun in dysfunctional
Notes: Dean just wants things to be normal. Of course, Dean’s in no position to be passing judgements on ‘normal’ in his current condition, nor is anyone else in the room.
When Gabriel walked into the room, it was like a wall of holy power had followed him in. The ambient pressure in the room arced up, and a sub-visual crackle ran across everything, including Crowley.
"He’s trying to kill me! From across the room!" Crowley leapt off the sofa.
"Siddown, Crowley." Dean tried to remain sensible, but his skin was threatening to crawl off and take up residence in the next room. "If he meant it, you’d be dead already."
"Oh. Right. Sorry." With a sound like a flock of geese taking off, Gabriel contained himself to his vessel, and tilted the half-box of twinkies in his hand toward Sam. "Sam, my man, so sorry you couldn’t join us. Conciliatory twinkie?"
"Yeah, actually. Thanks." Sam froze with his fingers in the box. "They’re just twinkies, right? You didn’t do anything to them? They’re not enchanted?"
Kafziel ducked under something Sam couldn’t see, as he came into the room, a glass of red wine in one hand and a six of whatever had been bottled and in the fridge, in the other. "If he pranks you with the twinkies, I’ll help you kick his ass. Beer?"
Sam let his eyes linger, pointedly on Gabriel as he took a twinkie, and then glanced across the row of bottles stretching across the coffee table, between himself and Dean. "Yeah, I think I could use another. So, what’s that tattoo under your shoulderblade, Kaz? I, ah, it was kind of visible."
"I hope it is. Pretty sure Crowley can see it through my chest." Kafziel arched his eyebrows suggestively at the demon on the sofa and sat down next to Sam’s chair, leaning back against the arm. "Just a little something I picked up in Morocco. Makes me look like much scarier shit than I am. Keeps most of the nasties off, since I don’t look like an angel. Which has, obviously enough, led to the occasional tangle with a hunter, but nothing I couldn’t get myself out of. Didn’t even have to kill them. Not every hunter is your lunatic brother."
"I am not a lunatic," Dean protested, loudly.
"Understand that I’m speaking in my role as the king of hell, here, Squirrel. I’ve seen things that would make Alastair piss himself in terror, and you should have been one of them — would have been, under other circumstances. You’re a lunatic. A raving bedlam escapee. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of the things I like about you. That and your abject inability to consider your course of action before engaging upon it." Crowley snagged a beer from where Kafziel had set them next to the empties. Castiel tapped the bottle, and the cap popped off, leaving Crowley to refill their empty glasses. "From Riesling to… what is this… cheap and American, no doubt. Pass me another of those sweets, would you, darling?"
"Promise never to call me that again," Castiel demanded.
"Fine, you ghastly hound of heaven. Is that better?" Crowley held out his glass of beer.
"Still inaccurate, but I like it." Castiel dropped a violet pastille into Crowley’s glass, and after a moment’s consideration, into his own. "I suspect this is an unwise choice."
"What, putting sweets in the beer, or drinking with me? If it’s the latter you object to, now’s an odd time for it."
"I want it absolutely clear that I objected to this from the start!" Dean threw in, still obviously offended.
"Enough, Dean. Can’t you just be glad they’re not obviously plotting to destroy each other, over dinner?" Sam sighed and opened another beer for himself, lazily chucking the cap at Dean’s head.
"I’m more concerned about what they’re quietly plotting. You remember what happened last time they were quietly plotting."
"We may have miscalculated, somewhat! Nobody’s perfect!" Crowley protested, twisting to look over his shoulder at Dean.
"Miscalculated. Yes. There was no way we could have expected that." Castiel’s shoulders twitched as if he were resettling his wings.
"Oh, you know, except for the part where we actually did expect that, and we tried to stop you?" Dean sniped, reaching for another bottle of beer.
"Dean, let it go." Sam’s voice was quiet.
"I’m just pointing out that these two have a really unfortunate history where collaborating is concerned." Dean leaned back, forcefully into the armchair and swigged his beer.
Gabriel’s ass settled on the back of the couch, beside Castiel’s head. "What have you been getting up to, little brother?"
"He welshed on a deal, that’s what." Crowley managed to look impressively offended at the idea. "So little integrity left in the holy host."
Gabriel just laughed. "You think he’s bad, you should meet my older brothers. Me, I’m not in the habit of breaking my word. Bending the truth, sure, but … bending."
"Bending. Yeah, just like you bend reality. What he tells you is a hundred percent true, in whatever universe you’re in when he says it," Sam griped.
"You see this? More honesty in Hell, since I took over." Crowley looked smug and slightly ruffled.
Behind Crowley, Dean struggled with the idea, a thousand objections crawling across his face, but never exiting his mouth. "Something fucking wrong with the world," he snarled into his beer.
Kafziel’s head tipped back onto the arm of Sam’s chair as he laughed, and Gabriel’s eyes subtly darkened at the sight. "You’re just noticing that? You’ve been doing this for thirty-odd years, and you’re just noticing that?"
"That’s normal," Sam protested. "This is anything but normal."
"Yeah, anything but normal. Because it’s only been going on for a sixth of your life, so far, within your field of vision," Gabriel drawled. "Never mind what’s been going on behind the scenes for millennia."
"I think we may want to reconsider the idea of ‘normal’, collectively," Kafziel pointed out.
"Runaway son of a dysfunctional family that sent my brother to kill me, so my other brother would go home? Our father was so tired of us fighting, he walked out. Our brother was so pissed about you mud-monkeys he turned you into his own special toys — and then he decided he hated his own work and wanted to kill everything. And I’m pretty sure demonic accountants weren’t a popular theme until the last half-century, which I’m absolutely sure had something to do with you." He gestured with his beer, first at Castiel and Gabriel, then Sam, then Dean and Crowley. "We’re not exactly what generations of poets and preachers were thinking of, when they wrote about heaven and hell."
"So, we’re all a little dysfunctional. I still know what normal looks like when I see it," Dean insisted.
"Normal’s relative," Gabriel proposed.
"Normal is boring," Crowley declared.
"Normal and I have never really been on good terms for very long," Sam conceded.
"Normal is irrelevant," Castiel argued. "This is the way things are, right now, regardless of the averages. Do we wish to let this stand, or do we wish to change it?"
"The highest of the holy host and the King of Hell are sitting on the same sofa, in the most well-warded location I have ever had the opportunity to witness. And no-one’s got a knife out. I think this is what we wanted, when we walked out." Kafziel lifted his eyes to where Gabriel sat on the back of the couch.
"It could be better," Gabriel pointed out. "You could pass me a beer."
Kafziel gently lobbed a bottle to the archangel.
"Or my brothers could have sorted out their problems in some way that didn’t leave me the biggest badass in the known world. That would’ve been downright spiffy." Gabriel snapped his fingers and the bottle uncapped itself.
"At least two of your brothers had it in for my entire species," Crowley pointed out. "And I didn’t much trust the other one, near the end. I like you. You’re not looking at me like I’m disposable."
"Nobody’s disposable, but we’re all going to die. Yeah, even you. Even me." Gabriel’s eyes swirled strangely, blue and gold. "Dad lied to us. Or maybe he didn’t. Maybe we lied to him, but I don’t think we knew how to lie, at the time. He gave us forever. And then Lucifer had to go fuck it up, and then the two of you had to break the damned world — thanks for that, by the way — and now we’re all fucked. Or maybe we’re not. The only thing out there that’s got more whomp than what’s in this room is Cain, and he’s retired. The world’s ours, gentlemen. Whether we want it or not."
Greed shot across Crowley’s eyes, and then, strangely, it passed. "Hell-adjacent or not, I’ve come to the conclusion that Purgatory’s not worth the effort, and anything that keeps us from dealing with certain of its inhabitants again is probably a good thing. I’m happy to be your devil, Gabriel, but only if you’re more trustworthy than your little brother, here. I’ve had bad experiences with angels, in the last few years. If we’re going to work together, you’re going to have to give me a reason to trust you."
"You’re living here; I’m living here. You’ll either get there, or you won’t." Gabriel shrugged and laid down along the back of the couch, beer bottle following his lips down, until he lifted his head to pull it away without spilling beer down his chest. "I’m not big on the idea of filling dad’s shoes. That was always more Michael’s thing, but I know we can’t leave the angels to their own devices. Cas already tried that. Didn’t really work out."
Kafziel flicked a bottlecap that bounced off Gabriel’s chest and landed between Castiel and Crowley. "Fuck politics, Jibril."
"I’d rather fuck you. That bed is amazing. Whose idea was that?" Gabriel hoisted himself onto his side, without falling, his face behind and between Castiel and Crowley, when he stopped moving.
"Mine," Sam volunteered. "Cas and I did a little work in there. It’s the only, um, angel-safe room we’ve got, right now, so, you know… keep it in there. I like this place."
"No-one’s burned to death on the ceiling in here, yet," Crowley threw in. "It’s still cozy."
"You shut up about my mom." No one was quite sure they’d seen Dean move, but he suddenly towered over Crowley.
"Sit the fuck down, Dean. He’s a demon. They’re like that," Sam sighed.
"I’m a demon, Sam!"
"Yeah, Dean, you are." Bitchface #2: My brother is a dickhead.
"Ooooooh." The exact same sound from two different directions as Gabriel and Kafziel both twisted to look at Sam.
"You were one first."
"I got better."
"She turned me into a newt!" Gabriel shouted from the sidelines, and Crowley blew beer out his nose.
"But, do they weigh the same as a duck?" Castiel eyed Gabriel slyly.
"You got him to sit through Holy Grail?" Gabriel asked the brothers, who were still glaring daggers at each other.
"Wasn’t us. It was Metatron," Dean answered, without looking up from where Sam still sat.
"Metatron got you to sit through a whole Monty Python film?"
"No, he provided me with several thousand years of human popular culture."
"… Is that a fact?" Gabriel sang a few lines of Old Norse, before Castiel interrupted him.
"There is not enough alcohol in the whole of Lebanon to make either of us so intoxicated, let alone both."
"I bet there is, in Topeka."
Sam stood up so fast he slammed his shoulder into Dean’s face. "No. Absolutely not. I’ve seen him drunk. There will not be drunken angels anywhere near my home. One? Damghan. Two? That library is irreplaceable, and it’s bad enough you even know where it is. Any of you. Three? Yeah, Gabe, you’re the biggest badass still standing, but there’s only one of you, and there are two more of him out there—" He pointed at Kafziel. "—and a couple thousand angels of indeterminate loyalty who survived the fall. So, no. Let’s not."
Dean cradled his face, irritatedly, checking for blood. "He’s got a point."
"So, we don’t get them drunk, which I gather requires an exceptional quantity of alcohol, but we can keep drinking?" Crowley asked. "Does anyone mind if I step out for a couple cases of something better than this dog’s piss we’ve been drinking?"
"Get me something blackcurrant, would you?" Gabriel asked, holding up a twenty that no one was entirely sure the origins of.
"I don’t care, as long as it’s not ouzo." Kafziel’s grin suggested he and ouzo had a bit of a history.
"I appreciate your taste in wine," Castiel confessed.
"Dean, do you want anything?" The fact that Sam asked the question was all the apology Dean was going to get.
Dean muttered something against his palm that Crowley seemed to understand, and in a flash, Gabriel no longer held a bill, and the demon count of the room had decremented by one.
"C’mere, Dean-o." Gabriel held out his hand. "Lemme put your face back on."
"It’s not broken."
"No, but I can see the bruise starting, from here."
For all that Dean was in the habit of spitting on peace offerings and staking tricksters, he had the sense he’d be stuck with Gabriel for a long while, and it was better not to share a house with a tempestuous archangel. He stepped over the coffee table and offered his face to Gabriel, only to find Castiel’s hand on him, first, and a bright blue burn that lanced through his body. He could tell Castiel was talking to Gabriel, but he couldn’t make out the words.
Slowly, Dean slid to the floor, the world sparkling in pinpricks through his pain-dimmed vision. "Ok, next time? Next time the answer is no. I’ll live with the bruise."
He could hear the coffee table being pulled out, and a chattering of voices above him, as hands brushed across his face and arms. "I’m ok. Really. Don’t fix anything else."
And then Sam’s laughter cut through the haze, and a pillow from the couch slid under Dean’s head. "Dude, Cas, don’t cure my brother of himself. Yeah, he’s kind of a jerk, but so’s your brother. I think it’s what brothers are for."
An amused rumble resolved into Kafziel’s voice. "It’s exactly what brothers are for. Leave him be. He’s a knight, isn’t he? He’ll heal himself."
"So, what are we going to tell Crowley?" Sam asked, and a guilty silence settled over the room.
"You hit him in the face," Castiel pointed out.
"You’re the one that tried to heal a demon with your angel mojo," Sam shot back, and the room dissolved into squabbling.
Dean just relaxed against the floor. This was normal. This was what families were supposed to be like.