Title: The Dead Man’s Game: Family and Memories
Characters: Dean Winchester ♂, Castiel ♂, Kafziel (OC) ♂, Gabriel ♂, Crowley ♂
Rating: T" width="32px" /> (L2 N0 S0 V1 D1)
Warnings: Expletives, memory loss, blasphemy, crackomatic crackfic of crack, we put the fun in dysfunctional
Notes: Cas and Crowley on speaking terms?! What madness is this? Gabriel and Kafziel have a nice long chat about how things are, how things might have been, and what Gabriel doesn’t remember.
I admit it. I had the fucking dumb, in the last chapter, but I fixed it. Kafziel has a strange way of speaking, regarding Gabriel, and I corrected something I shouldn’t have, but have since un-corrected it. It took me a couple chapters to figure out what was actually going on, there. Speaking to Gabriel, he’s always ‘Jibril’. Speaking about Gabriel, he’s always ‘Gabriel’. I still don’t know why. I may never know why.
Two hours, a burger, and some well-placed whining about the lack of twinkies later, Castiel had settled onto the sofa with Crowley and a bottle of Blue Nun, to debate the relative merits of the classic wartime romance films. This deep understanding of several centuries of popular culture was, all told, the only thing Metatron really gave him, Castiel thought, other than a sense of perspective, that like all perspective would have been much more useful long before he acquired it.
"You’re right. It is better with a hint of violet," Crowley conceded, of the wine. "I never would have taken you for such a sensualist, your nighttime acrobatics aside."
"It isn’t written into us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take it. In the absence of heaven, a whole world has opened to me, in infinitely minute detail I never had the time or the will to consider." Castiel sipped his wine. "And Kafziel has corrected my perception of taste. The world is much more enjoyable at this magnification, than at either extreme."
"He means the wine doesn’t taste like molecules," Dean filled in from the armchair, where he sat, distinctly uncomfortable with his angel and his demon sharing a love of a wine he couldn’t stand. Or, really, with them conversing in a way that didn’t involve miles of snark and thinly veiled threats. He kind of wished his brother would hurry back with the twinkies, in the hope that might break things up a little.
Elsewhere, Kafziel and Gabriel had settled into a discussion, neither one yet willing to cross the holy oil-filled moat carved into the concrete floor around the bed — which was one of the few sane places to sit — which left Gabriel with the only chair in the room and Kafziel sitting on the corner of a dresser.
"You expect me to believe that you’ve removed my memory of you, and that I not only allowed this, but encouraged it?" Gabriel was still picking at the remains of the halva.
"Don’t trust me. Trust the books. I was your standard-bearer. Hizkiel was your aide. We were a team, once. And I can give that back to you, without touching you, because I took it away." Kafziel scratched his beard and shrugged. "I can tell you what you need to do, but you’ll have to do it, yourself. Neither of us is stupid, Jibril. I gave you a key that was safe and that you were unlikely to trigger by accident."
"Let’s see what you consider ‘safe’." Gabriel licked his fingers.
"There’s paper and pens in the drawer." Kafziel pointed to the desk Gabriel sat beside. "Draw your own sigil and look at it while you recite the first fifty of the seventy-two names of our father."
Gabriel crumbled, first a wheezing giggle that gradually dissolved into guffaws so strong he rested his head on the edge of the desk, not to fall off the chair. "The first fifty?"
"Hey, I didn’t want you accidentally getting dad involved, if it wasn’t necessary. You know he doesn’t start paying attention until at least sixty-five, but it’s you, so I figured a little leeway was probably a good idea. Besides, that was then. I think we all thought he might still be listening, then." Kafziel chewed on the edge of his thumb, absently. "And sit on the floor. I don’t want to worry about you hitting your head if you fall off the chair."
"Archangel. Demigod. I’m not going to fall down and hit my head."
"Keep in mind that I don’t know who else has been in your head, but if I were to guess, Metatron tops that list. Castiel was booby-trapped, and that has some unpleasant implications." The hangnail started to bleed, and Kafziel shook his hand, irritatedly, healing it. "I need to get my work out of the way, and then you can worry about what else you might be missing."
"You really became human, didn’t you?" Gabriel stopped arguing, taking a pen and a sheet of paper to the floor with him.
"You had the power to be something so much more. You had the power to protect yourself from almost anything. I was a faith-healer, a magician, a crazy monk with holy powers. You could be a god. I could be a little more than just a man. They were looking for us, Jibril, and we ran." Kafziel looked haunted, but unashamed of that decision. "Get your head back on. I need to tell you a story about our brother, out there, and you need to have the context, before I start. It was so much worse than we thought, even before we split up."
Gabriel stared down at the paper between his knees and began to recite, with Kafziel watching him nervously from the other side of the room. He knew all of the names, even if he only had dominion over the last seven of them, and why he had to recite Michael’s but not his own… And then it all rolled over him, like a breaking wave. His hands hit the concrete floor, but it wasn’t concrete, it was cracked packed earth, and he was panting like he’d run a marathon as a human and the screaming faded into other screaming, and he wasn’t panting — wasn’t even in a vessel — as he levelled the cities of the plain with his voice and his glory, two angels by his sides, ready to bring down his army, if he decided it was one of those days — and then the day he had called his army, and they broke with him, siding with Michael and Raphael, as he took his two commanders, his left hand and his right, and slammed the gate on his way out. And the floor was earth, and the roof was held up only on his wings, and the screaming and crying had given way mostly to the sound of the wind. And the floor was concrete, and he was bent over a piece of paper with his sigil on it, sweat dripping onto it from his vessel’s skin.
"Kafziel." The name is heavy on his lips. "I forgot you once, and you called me back to you, only to make me forget you again."
"I trusted you, Jibril. Don’t think I didn’t trust you. I didn’t trust them, and there were three other angels who could do the things I did. Three of them, Jibril, and at least two of them were still assigned to archangels. I couldn’t take that chance. You know your brothers. You know why."
"I am the last archangel." Gabriel hauled himself to his feet, wiping his face with his shirt. "Dad gave up on us. He’s just as tired as I am. I feel like I’m still missing a third of my brain, though."
"I have no reason to believe Hizkiel survived the fall. So many didn’t."
"But, they fell. We didn’t. He shouldn’t have." Gabriel’s face tensed up, mulishly.
"You missed so much. There was war. Not just that throwing dinner plates and shouting names crap that Lucifer pulled — actual war. Faith-driven angel-on-angel persecution of the kind I thought was the province of man." Kafziel looked deeply shaken, nearly vibrating as he continued. "And Castiel tried so hard to stay out of it — you know how he gets when things get political — but, Metatron just kept pushing. We lost so many. Gadreel died for us, died to make right what he’d made so wrong. And I believe I heard Hizkiel’s death, as well."
"So, his ‘profound bond’ with that stubborn martyr in the other room finally broke him of that last loyalty to dear old dad? I got the feeling it might have, when I ran into him. I’m glad. There’s so much he could be doing. I’m a little less into that ‘how it is writ, thus how it must be’ vibe, myself, these days, but you don’t say no to the angel holding all the strings." Gabriel reached for the last chunk of halva. "Are you sure Hizkiel’s dead? I mean, I did a great impression of dead for a few years."
"I’m not sure of anything, at this point, but that stands out as very probable. And if he died like I think he did, I’m very glad he never remembered our faces."
"Last question. Were we really that stupid? Damghan, I mean. Looking back, that seems like such an obvious precaution."
"You were preoccupied. I wasn’t an angel, at the time. Besides, it’s not something anyone had actually done, before we did, to the best of my knowledge." This time, Kafziel did look regretful. "So, yes. We really were that stupid."
"And the holy oil moat is because you and Castiel are making excellent use of that bed."
"That’s not a very large bed."
"There room for me in it?" The tone offered a very different innuendo to the words.
"There’s nothing to forgive, Jibril." Kafziel answered the question that wasn’t being asked.
"Forgive nothing. You going to give me back that piece of my grace?"
"That might be a little difficult."
"We can keep trying until you get it right. I’m a flexible guy."
"I know exactly how flexible you are."
"Oh, you ain’t seen nothing yet." Gabriel’s golden eyes sparkled. "It’s been a couple thousand years."
There was something Kafziel had meant to do. Something that was actually somewhat important, but… another hour or two probably wouldn’t destroy the world. Not after everything it had already been through — everything they had already been through.