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Title: Skittles Never Tasted So Bitter (Or Sweet) As Family
Fandom: Supernatural
Characters: Gabriel, Castiel (brief mentions of Castiel/Dean)
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 789 words
Summary: Gabriel and Castiel take advantage of the commercial breaks to have a little chat. (Set during 5x08, "Changing Channels")
Notes: Takes place during "Changing Channels." Written for a prompt from polarisnorth: "a sweet Castiel moment with any of the following: Sam, Gabriel, Jo & Ellen." Gabriel and sweet are BFFs! (Except when he is bitter.)

"Castiel," Gabriel acknowledged, his smirk both amused and somewhat pained. It wasn't enough that the brothers Winchester had to stumble into his life again; his baby brother had to join the picture.

Castiel didn't even bother with so much as a hello: "Let them go."

His time on Earth with the Winchesters had worked wonders with his manners, apparently. There was a time Castiel would've at least pretended at the pleasantries. Then again, it was entirely possible that, cut off from the Host and significantly weakened, Castiel didn't recognize Gabriel.

With anyone else, Gabriel would have danced around the point, but Castiel's earnestness was exhausting. "No. They've got a lesson to learn."

Castiel tilted his head, and his brows drew close in a look of near-confusion, like recognition was fluttering just out of reach and he thought his sad cat eyes could draw it back in. "Dean and Sam are important to the fate of this world," Castiel said. It seemed he thought he could appeal to Gabriel's logic. "It would be in your best interest to release them."

"Let me think about it." Gabriel tapped a finger against his chin, assuming an exaggerated expression of consideration. Castiel waited with poorly concealed impatience. It was sweet, how after all these years he clung to hope. Gabriel shook his head. "Answer's still no."

Castiel's eyes darkened. "Don't test me."

"I'm not testing you," Gabriel said.

Speaking of—his brother could wait. He wanted to check in on the Winchesters. He left Castiel alone with a few of his puppets in an angelic remake of Fight Club with the warning to "Be good."

This was something of a mistake, as Dean Winchester's constant defiance had rubbed off on his usually obedient baby brother, and Castiel abandoned the playpen Gabriel had carefully crafted for him to gate crash the Winchester's party. Gabriel barely intervened in time, before Castiel could finally have that epiphany about the identity of their resident Trickster and share it with the rest of the class. A snap of the fingers and some duct tape put an end to that, and this time, Castiel's betrayed look held a hint of recognition.

"You'd think you'd be with me on this," Gabriel said when he made time for his brother again. "It's not like either side appeals much more to you if recent events are anything to go by. You told Heaven and Hell to fuck off."

Castiel tried to frown around the duct tape, and it was such a sad sight that Gabriel took pity and removed it. This was also a mistake, because Castiel had no shame.

"I've chosen Dean's side," Castiel said. Then, "I implore you: let them go."

Gabriel shook his head. "Of all the reasons to leave our dysfunctional family, you chose love?"

Castiel froze. Then, cautiously, "I don't understand."

"I'm the one who doesn't understand," Gabriel said, but he was half-laughing now, rueful and endlessly amused. Of course Castiel would take the most difficult road. "And for a Winchester? Have you seen what happens to people they get close to? I think that woman Cassie was the only one who got away. They give black widows a run for their money."

Castiel's frown was adorable, like a kitten attacking a mirror. "I'm not—"

"Save it for someone who hasn't spent a few centuries with humanity," Gabriel said. "Love. I tried it once or twice—for kicks, you know. Chocolate's better."

He nearly summoned some and offered it to Castiel to prove the point—and if he had, maybe Castiel could've learned an important lesson of his own, avoided some later heartbreak—but Dean was calling, and while it wasn't the most polite of summons, Gabriel didn't expect anything more when he'd just turned the guy's brother into a car.

Not checking for holy oil and an angel trap wasn't the last mistake Gabriel made, but that moment in the warehouse was the last he saw of his little brother for a long time. The Winchesters took off, but Castiel came back to say, "You could still join us, take the path of the righteous."

Gabriel laughed, and if it came out on the bitter side, well, he still had some Skittles in his pocket to wash the taste away. "How's that working for you?"

Castiel's expression went distant, as if he was replaying the question and answer a few times over in his mind first. Finally, with the barest hint of a smile curling the edges of his mouth, "It has its rewards."

"I'll think it over," Gabriel said.

Gabriel's biggest surprise of the evening—from his baby brother's presence to the holy oil to Dean Winchester actually caring what happened to Castiel, demanding him back—was that he wasn't lying.


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