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*Act Two: Memories seep from my veins*
Masterpost



There were many reasons not to mix magics. Even more reasons not to disrupt the threads of life and death. However, the powerful rarely follow all the rules. Kali had no qualms about her plan of action. She was a goddess, a powerful being and one of the last of her kind. Her domain revolved around the cycle of death. Although the ritual had to be customized to the particular circumstances, she felt confident in her abilities.

Had there been anyone around to question her motivation, she would have dismissed them with a glare. In truth she didn’t have a clear answer for herself. The demigod she’d known had meant something to her in the past, of course, but she had let many lovers’ deaths pass without a second’s pause. The archangel-in-hiding hadn’t meant more to her than any of her other long-term lovers. Perhaps there was a sense of debt to be paid since his sacrifice had allowed her to be the only god to survive the hotel massacre. Then there was the half-hidden looks exchanged between Gabriel and the younger Winchester. And the poleaxed expression on the human’s face when they drove away.

Kali didn’t dwell on her reasons for making the decision. Instead she focused her energy on adjusting the resurrection ritual and, perhaps more important, searching for the multitude of pieces that had made Gabriel whole. She had no example to follow in terms of her search. She relied on instinct and tracking spells to find his essence.

In the end she had to hope she found every piece. It was less like fitting a jigsaw puzzle together and more like trying to reconstruct a statue that had been reduced to rubble. The process was far from perfect, but she could feel the pulse of life grow stronger with each addition.

Kali spent almost a month preparing for the revival ritual. Although she stayed clear of the battling angels, demons, and Winchesters, she kept tabs on the events. Being informed aided in self-preservation as well as gave her something to tell Gabriel when he returned. She assumed he would continue the fight; as long as the Apocalypse didn’t come to its conclusion before she could complete the ritual.

*

Lightning arced across the sky the night Kali performed the ritual. Thunder rumbled loud enough that the ground seemed to vibrate. Kali and the archangel’s empty vessel were sheltered from the downpour by the large, abandoned warehouse she’d chosen for the ritual site. Symbols and candles spread across the entirety of the floor space. Protection and binding spells formed the outer boundary. The markings within were a strange mix of pagan symbology and Enochian writing.

She murmured the memorized incantations as she walked the designated path between symbols. Where her bare feet met the hard floor, small bursts of flame bloomed momentarily before fading. Ideally she might have conducted the ceremony outdoors, but the warehouse had allowed her to take additional warding measures.

The natural power of the storm lent itself well to the ritual's purpose. Kali felt the thunder rumble through her bones with every step she took toward her final position. She could feel the charge of lightning across her skin. Magics wove through the large space, twining together around the goddess and empty vessel at the heart of the ritual plane.

Kali took her place above the vessel's head, her feet settling almost close enough for her toes to brush his hair. She spread her hands above her head and beckoned Gabriel's essence to her so that she could channel it into the vessel. She began to rely more on instinct than preplanned steps as the ritual continued. She could feel the pieces of Gabriel's being reforming into a whole; as that progressed, his spirit seemed to take on its own power.

The candles at the outermost edges of the spellwork flared high for a minute before dying out. The air around the vessel began to glow as Gabriel's essence did, growing stronger with every moment. Kali struggled to stand her ground and act as guide to properly ease the spirit into place.

Finally Gabriel's essence flared bright and spiraled toward the waiting vessel. Kali closed her eyes against the light, although she was more than human and could have withstood the sight of the archangel's Grace-infused being.

A loud clap of thunder coincided with the sudden expiration of every candle. The glow slowly faded from the skin of Gabriel's vessel, the light seeming to sink into the flesh. Kali dropped her hands to her sides and panted quietly. The only other sound besides her breathing came from the storm outside. Her limbs shook in the aftermath but she remained standing in place, staring down at the body resting at her feet.

*

His body tingled with the feel of powerful magic. The air smelled of storms and sacrificial blood and herbs. He was lying on his back, arms at his sides and palms turned up.

"Gabriel."

He opened his eyes at the sound of his true name. As he stared up into Kali's face, he tried to place why it didn't seem as wrong as it should for her to say his name. She moved to kneel by his side as he carefully pushed himself into a seated position. His vessel's body ached as if he'd been prone for days. Around him he could feel a variety of magics dissipating, tendrils of it unwrapping from around his limbs.

"Gabriel, it's been weeks," Kali informed him.

"What do you mean?" he asked, searching his memories for what she could be talking about.

Her eyes narrowed as she ran a considering gaze over his face. "At the hotel you enabled our escape. Lucifer killed you."

Gabriel snapped, "What?" His jaw clenched in frustration. Lucifer was free, he remembered that now, and the resignation he'd felt knowing that his brothers were preparing for the final fight.

Kali looked startled. "You don't remember?" Her hand rose and hovered above his shoulder for a moment before she withdrew it again with a frown.

"No, no, it's fine. I..." he broke off with an angry growl. "You brought me back?"

For the first time that he could recall, Kali looked uncertain. "Yes... Perhaps you need some time to process everything."

Gabriel relaxed a little. "Better than being dead," he said as he pushed himself to his feet. He looked around the warehouse, taking in the intricacies of Kali's handiwork. He let out a low whistle. "You held nothing back, did you? All this for little ol' me?" He turned a leering grin her way.

Kali pursed her lips in annoyance. "Don't make me reconsider my decision. I could just kill you again." She reached into the sash around her waist and withdrew a silver blade – Gabriel's sword. His amusement vanished as he stared at it. "An archangel's blade," Kali murmured, turning it over in her hands. "It can kill Lucifer."

"Oh, please. Like anyone besides Michael wants to get that close to him." Gabriel rolled his eyes.

"You seemed ready to do it!" she argued.

"What, before I died? Yeah, that little experience really encourages an encore."

"Fine, give it to the Winchesters. I hear they're out of options."

Gabriel grabbed his blade while Kali was busy scowling at him. "And the end is nigh, yeah, yeah. Got it." He banished the blade to a safe place only he could access. "But here's an idea, those chuckleheads could accept their roles and then get their own pointy blades."

Kali stared at him, lips parted in what looked like astonishment. Gabriel frowned and wondered what she had gotten herself into recently. However, they'd been standing around long enough, and if Kali was only interested in chatting about the Biblical Apocalypse, then he was done.

"Look, sweetheart, thanks for the pick-me-up. I save your life, you save mine; even-Stevens. But I have plenty to do before this ship sinks, so if that's all? I'm outta here."

"You—" Kali gripped his shoulders tightly and tried to shake him. "What is wrong with you?" Anger and worry flared to life in her eyes.

Gabriel shoved her away and took a step back. "Back off, Kali," he warned.

"Something's wrong!" she retorted. Her eyes widened as Gabriel raised his hand. "Wait! Your memories—"

He snapped his fingers.

*

Dean drove back to Bobby's in a numb state of shock. Thanks to Castiel's angelic instant-healing, he didn't have the usual physical aches and pains to distract him.

By the time Dean parked alongside Bobby in the yard, he realized that regardless of what Sammy thought, the All-American Dream wasn't in his future.

~

It was four days before Dean broke down and asked Bobby to help research Lucifer's Cage. The older hunter fixed Dean with a stare and scratched his beard thoughtfully.

"Sammy... he wanted me to promise." Dean shifted uneasily in his chair. "But I can't not try, Bobby."

Eventually Bobby muttered, "Took you long enough, idjit."

Dean looked up in surprise. "You're okay with this?"

"I'd sure as hell rather you be using your head before haring off to make some fool demonic deal," Bobby answered. He picked up a pile of books from the floor and dropped them with a thump onto the desk. "Here's your starting point."

Dean eyed the books warily. "And what are you looking at?"

"Plenty. Don't start bitchin' to me about reading material, boy."

~

A couple days later, Dean was in the midst of setting aside yet another unhelpful tome when he smelled a mix of expensive cologne and sulfur.

"Don't you bloody dare," a familiar voice growled.

Dean turned around with his hand still on the demon-killing knife. Just because Crowley had helped in the past weeks didn't mean he would trust the demon. "What're you doing here?"

Crowley smirked as he slipped his hands into his pockets and leaned against the doorway. "Well isn't that interesting, Robert didn't care to keep you informed."

"Bobby!" Dean called, eyes narrowed in suspicion. The older hunter could be heard muttering under his breath as he came down the hall. "Why's there a demon lurking around your house?"

Bobby stopped outside the door to glare at Crowley. When the demon merely widened his smirk, flashing his teeth, the hunter pushed past and headed for the whiskey on the shelf. "Don't get any fool ideas," he warned.

"Oh, like what?" Dean crossed his arms. "He's a crossroads demon and it seems to me that the last person who made a deal was you."

"No deals, promise." Crowley waved a hand and a moment later he held a tumbler filled with something dark. "Doesn't mean I lack insight into your rather unique problem."

Setting down a glass in front of Dean, Bobby explained, "A lot of the stuff we want ain't in a library." Crowley snorted something that sounded amused and Bobby glared at him. "Figured getting as much information as possible would be a good plan."

"Don't need you lot springing the Devil again when you try pulling out the moose," Crowley added. He took a drink and smiled indulgently at Dean's skeptical expression.

"And we're supposed to trust you?" Dean asked.

Crowley shrugged. "Doesn't matter to me. It's been made plenty clear Lucifer's no friend of mine. Call me curious for wanting to see if you can actually pull this off."

With one last look between the two, Dean relaxed enough to turn back to his research.

~

"Drunk off your tits, I see."

"Fuck off," Dean muttered. He refused to even look up at the demon; instead he continued to peer at the bleary words on the page in front of him.

Two weeks had passed since Stull Cemetery. For the third night in a row Dean had woken from a nightmare of his own experiences of Hell with the addition of Sam trapped beside him. Like the other nights, he'd gone downstairs to research. Unlike the other nights, he'd steadily been drinking his weight in liquor.

Another lamp flickered to life as Crowley crossed the room. "Having trouble with that?"

"I really, really don't need to deal with you right now."

"If you're serious about bringing your brother back, this is going nowhere."

"What the fuck do you care?" Dean demanded. He shoved the incomprehensible book off the table. "There's other ways to make sure the Devil stays locked up other than helping us."

Crowley kicked a chair over towards Dean before sitting down in the human's view. A tight frown dominated his expression. "Listen up, boy, 'cause I'm only going to say this once. I got a visit from a mutual 'acquaintance' some months ago. He might've mentioned a bit of a favor with the added incentive of being rid of the Devil."

Dean scrunched his nose as he tried to piece that together. "Uh, who?"

Crowley huffed. "The bloody archangel, you idiot."

It took a few moments for Dean's alcohol-laden brain to make the obvious connection. "Gabriel?" He straightened up a little to look Crowley in the eye. "Gabriel went to see you. Why the hell would he do that?"

The demon arched an eyebrow at that. "War makes strange bedfellows, not that that has always been the requirement."

"Huh?" Dean shook his head, deciding he didn't need to work out what that meant.

The thought of Gabriel made him recall Elysian Fields and the events that had left Sam looking haunted. "Son of a bitch," Dean muttered. He scrubbed a hand over his face as he tried to shove aside the memories. Figures the jerk finally decided to stand up just to get killed.

"Should I feel honored that I seem to be the only one who didn't get killed at any point during this Apocalypse venture?" Crowley mused.

Dean glared half-heartedly at the demon. His mind kept reenacting their escape from Lucifer. He couldn't forget Sam's anxious expression as Gabriel ordered them to go. Even Kali had looked—

"Shit!" Dean slammed his palm on the table. "Kali!"

Crowley leaned away, expression clearly showing he thought Dean had lost it. "What are you on about?"

The spark of an idea began to grow quickly as Dean let it sink in. "Kali, she's a-a... whatcha-callit goddess. Life, death, whatever."

"You—" Crowley pointed meaningfully at the human, "—are crazier than I thought."

For some reason Dean couldn't help smiling.

~

Bobby insisted on additional days of research for alternatives before agreeing to Dean's plan. Surprisingly, Crowley came around to the idea much quicker. When it became clear that Dean's drunk idea wasn't a passing fancy, the demon apparently decided to take it seriously. By the end of the third week even Bobby agreed it would be worth making contact. The three of them made preparations to call upon the goddess.

~

Kali did not look pleased about being summoned. She ran a cold gaze over the three men before focusing on Crowley. "I should have guessed you had something to do with this. Only you care to add a lion to the mix."

"A lion?" Dean asked with a frown.

Crowley grinned. "Didn't I mention it? He was a real beaut; gift-wrapped him, even."

The goddess pursed her lips and turned to Dean. "Why have you called?"

"You can get Sam out without freeing the Devil;" he didn't make it a question.

"You think so?" Kali crossed her arms and met his stare disdainfully. "It makes no difference to me. Your brother let Lucifer out and I hear Sam sealed him back in. It seems to me the balance has been restored."

Dean clenched his fists as he struggled to keep from shouting. "I know you understand there was a hell of a lot more that led to the Apocalypse. You were ready to fight to stop Lucifer. Well, my brother sacrificed himself to do that, and we helped you to escape!"

Kali's irises changed from dark-brown to blood red as she bared her teeth. "Don't you dare throw that at me," she hissed. "You did nothing at the hotel."

Her anger made Dean flinch though he managed to resist the urge to step away. Before he could muster an argument, Crowley stepped in. "Fact remains, love, Winchester did shut in Satan. And I know this idiot won't stop trying to get at his brother. Self-preservation behooves us intelligent types to step in."

Slowly Kali's eyes returned to a natural human shade and her menacing aura relaxed. She continued to glare at Dean, but it was clear that she was considering Crowley's words.

Dean licked his lips and finally added, "Please."

She snorted at that, as if amused that he thought she would be swayed by such a simple word.

Eventually the goddess turned to Crowley. "I suppose you've thought of some options already?"

Crowley's eyebrow arched. "But of course." He stepped forward and offered his arm. "Care for a stroll?" Kali rolled her eyes but placed her hand on his forearm. Crowley looked back over his shoulder to wink at Dean. "Be back in a bit."

*

End Act Two
Act Three, Part 1

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
auntmo9
Oct. 20th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
You just keep upping the ante don't you? OMG...Kali brought Gabriel back, but he doesn't remember anything?

I am glad Dean gave up on the apple pie life (mmm, pie), and they are trying to save Sammy, and asked Crowley for help along with Kali.

btw, I have read plenty of fics where Gabriel came back, in different ways, whether it was from Kali, or in other ways. but yours in one of the most detailed rituals I have seen written.It was so creative!
enmuse
Oct. 20th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
The first scene here was one of the first written for the story. Heck, Act One was supposed to be maybe a couple pages and then I'd launch into the bring-back-Gabriel and onto the amnesia. Obviously didn't happen that way!

One of my biggest problems with the canon wrap of S5 and then into S6 is the idea that it was reasonable for Dean to head off for some so-called normal life with Lisa and Ben. I could rant on it, but basically I don't see it as fair to anyone in that situation, nor does it seem very realistic to me in how I've always understood Dean.

ANYWAY - glad you liked!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )