Before they left, i told them to each give me a prompt for me to fill by the time they each got home. It was part motivation for me to write, part 'thank you', and part, 'oh, fuck that's a long ride home. here's something to look forward to.'
Amusingly enough, they each gave me the same pairing.
First up at bat is morganoconner's prompt, since she'll be home first.
Title (/Prompt): "When the war is over, and they're still standing."
Rating: PG-13 for slight language
Warnings/spoilers: Minor allusions to 'soul bonding'. It's very a vague 'blink and you'll miss it,' of the Sassy variety, but since my brain went there, can't hurt to mention, AU from 5x19 & 5x22
Summary: At Stull Cemetery, Lucifer (sans Sam) and Michael are sent to Hell by Gabriel. Dean has no idea where Sam is, and Cas is gone, too. The world is saved, but Dean still wants answers.
Dean never expected a happy ending. Realistically, he doubted any hunter did.
When the Apocalypse came, he expected even less of one. Part of him doubted he’d ever get any kind of ending, because if Michael did end up riding him, would he just burn out of existence? Would the bastard be sadistic enough to hold Dean’s consciousness to watch Lucifer puppeteer his baby brother into destruction?
His own hands destroying Sam?
No, Dean never expected a happy ending. Not for him…and as much as he hated to admit, not for Sam.
But he never expected the wrong ending.
The world was saved, Lucifer was secured in his box, and he wasn’t alone, like he expected. It was the wrong ending, because the one at his side wasn’t Sam. It wasn’t even Castiel. Hell, he didn’t even know where either of them were.
Dean’s mind barely registered Gabriel, at first, until a slim, hornlike instrument slipped from his fingers, dropping to the worn ground with a low ‘thud.’
The Archangel stood, the tips of his tennis shoes barely scuffing the ground where Lucifer had vanished, taking Michael with him. He was dressed as they’d last seen him at the Elysian Fields hotel before his supposed death, hair slightly more windblown, eyes a clear, burnished gold, weary.
“So,” Dean rasped out. “Destiny.”
Gabriel lifted his head. “You threw a wrench in the works,” his voice held no joviality, no mockery. It was flat, hollow. “As usual.”
It gave Dean involuntary chills.
“It was supposed to be me.”
Gabriel’s eyes flashed in irritation, and it gave Dean an unusual spark of satisfaction to see life return to the otherwise blank expression. “I just helped throw two of my brothers into Hell, a task you were dead set against doing from the get go, and now you’re bitching that you were supposed to do it?”
“Where’d you get the flute?” Dean said, after a moment. He was tired to his very core, and he didn’t want to think, didn’t want to converse, or participate in life. Lucifer hadn’t been in control of Sam when the pit had opened, and Dean didn’t know if it was a good or bad thing.
Sam was gone.
Cas was gone.
The world was saved, but Dean felt like his was teetering at the edge of destruction.
“It’s not a flute,” Gabriel said. “It’s a horn. At least try to pretend to know the important stuff?” The words were barely out when Gabriel’s legs gave, and he sank to his knees, looking tired and human, despite the electric buzz of power surrounding him.
Dean’s feet suddenly moved in the way the rest of his life for the past two years did, blindly, without thinking, in the direction of someone in need. His hand grasped Gabriel’s jacket, bunching the fabric, and he found it wasn’t as much to steady Gabriel, but himself as well.
“…where’d you get it?”
“Always had it,” Gabriel replied, brushing the soil around the horn, without touching it. “Extra pockets in clothes are always fun,” he shrugged, briefly. “My outfit was a lifestyle choice. Always kept the horn in an inside pocket, close by. When Lucifer stabbed me, the Grace from my sword fueled enough power to the horn.”
“You did plan it,” Dean muttered. “Your death. Again.”
“Always had a backup plan. The how was always up in the air.”
“You said…you knew how it all turned out. So, Sam and Cas…” Dean finally dared to break the topic he was too afraid to know the answer to. “Did you..do something?”
“They’re safe.” Gabriel looked at Dean, and Dean was slightly struck by the pain in Gabriel’s eyes. Grief. Gabriel had sent Michael and Lucifer to Hell, but somehow saved Sam and Cas. “Banished Castiel so he wouldn’t get killed trying to go up against Mike or Lucifer.”
“…And Sam?” Dean’s voice was low, on the verge of cracking.
“Sent him along for the ride. Ninety eight percent of their souls, at least.” Gabriel’s chin dropped to his chest, as if the effort of speaking was eating at him.
“Their bodies, Gabriel,” Dean pushed, tightening his hold on Gabriel’s jacket. Part of him rebelled for treating Gabriel like this, after what they did. “And how.”
“Physical bodies aren’t far off. Okay, maybe a little far off,” Gabriel amended. “Rigged it so their souls would be hidden. Safe.”
“And the other..two percent of their..souls?”
“Tethered to their bodies. That percentage would latch onto the nearest possible place they felt safe. Or at least…one of them would. The other would follow. Are we done with the questions?”
Dean shook his head. “How would one soul know to follow the other?”
“That..” Gabriel finally curled his fingers around his horn, tucking it into his pocket. “Is an explanation for when you’ve had a really, really stiff drink.” He lifted his eyes to Dean’s. “I need a change of scenery.” With a snap of his fingers, they left Stull Cemetery behind.
They reappeared in Sioux, South Dakota, in a house surrounded by a graveyard of old cars, smelling something like history and home, where Sam and Castiel were seated at the kitchen table with Bobby, healthy and whole, with Dean’s hand still grasping Gabriel’s shoulder in support.
He only let go to accept Sam’s death-grip of a hug.
The war was over, and they were still standing.