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Fic: Crossroads

Title: Crossroads
Summary: It’s not really a time paradox. Father would make him clean that up. This is just a quick outsourcing of research for a weapon that can kill anything.
Author's Note: Written or spn_reversebang
Art post 

It was a lousy start to the day. Bobby had stumbled into bed around two in the morning, exhausted after thirty-eight straight hours of research into Greek exorcisms and expected to get up by nine to start on the day-to-day minutiae involved in keeping his business afloat.

Instead, he woke up about twenty minutes before the sun came up when a rooster began crowing. Bobby rolled over and cursed at the bird in five languages, three of them dead, before the realization that he didn’t keep chickens and had no close neighbors caught up to him.

He literally rolled out of bed, hitting the floor with a disoriented thump as he fought off the fog of sleep. The room was colder than it should be which helped to shock him awake. As he sat on the cold wooden floor, his scrambled senses pointed out that something was up with the smell as well. Bobby was a long-time bachelor and his place hadn’t smelled like roses since Karen. It was more like beer and gunpowder and sweat and occasionally blood, and one sadly memorable time when a feral cat had crawled into the vents and died, but he was used to the scent. It was part of what defined his home.

It was also not something that could be confused with the pungent aroma of cow and animal manure, which was the odor curling into his lungs at an unbelievably early hour. His brain finally struggled into gear and Bobby’s eyes snapped open, taking in the unfamiliar surroundings with a mixed reaction of disgust and resignation. The room was small and plain, with only a narrow bed, a chair, and a small table with a pitcher of water and a bowl to break up the monotony of four bare walls. It was most definitely not his own familiar room in his own home. “Aw, hell.”

“Took you long enough.”

Bobby looked up at the voice and let out a string of curses in Japanese. “I thought you were dead.”

The being he’d spent years calling ‘The Trickster’ smiled from the chair where he was sprawled and took a bite from a Snickers bar. “I was. Dad’s handing out resets for some of us. We just have to make sure a few things get handled the way they’re supposed to be handled.”

“What does that have to do with me?” Bobby asked. He’d never been one of the Archangels targets except in the most tangential way. Gabriel’s attention had always been on Sam and Dean, for which Bobby had always been thankful.

“You’re the one to go to when it comes to knowledge of the strange,” the Trickster said, finishing off the candy bar and shoving the wrapper in his pocket.

“Somehow I doubt there’s anything I know that you don’t.”

“You’d be surprised,” Gabriel said absently, standing up and moving to the window. “Some things were never meant for angels. That’s what’s happening to Castiel, honestly. We’re not really equipped for that much freedom. But you’re right. As far as this situation goes, I know everything that needs to be done. I just can’t do it.”

“And why is that?”

“Because I’m not human,” Gabriel shrugged. “This particular puzzle wasn’t meant for anybody but a pure human being. If I stepped in it could have major consequences for the human race, and I’m all about avoiding consequences whenever possible.”

“What do you need me to do?” Bobby sighed. He’d spied a pile of clothing on the rickety table and was counting down the seconds until he could change out of this nightshirt (seriously, what the hell?) and into something a little more appropriate.

There was a smile, sharp and slightly devious in the half-light of early dawn. “I need you to see a man about a gun.”

Bobby rolled his eyes at the less-than helpful answer and picked himself up off of the floor. “Which man, which gun, and where am I?” Though he was starting to get the idea that the more appropriate question would be when, not where.

“I want you to spend some time with Samuel Colt. Hopefully that should answer the other questions.”

It didn’t answer the where question or narrow down his unanswered ‘when?’ but it did give Bobby a glimmer of insight to what was going on. “You setting up some kind of time paradox?”

“No,” the Trickster said, fidgeting with his time period-appropriate hat. “Those are an unbelievable mess to clean up and now that Dad’s back he’d make me fix it.” The expression on the Trickster’s face was very nearly a pout and Bobby’s hand itched to slap the back of his head, but as he had no desire to break his fingers this early in the morning he settled for a muttered insult and a pointed stare.

“What is it you want, exactly?”

“World peace and a pony,” the Trickster replied. “And chocolate from that one store that makes fifty different kinds of fudge. But that’s not what Dad wants right now, so I’m here in 1837 instead.” He pulled a bag of gummy bears from his pocket and opened them up. “Samuel didn’t exactly take notes when he made his little peashooter, but that info really needs to be passed down to the next generation. You’re the one who knows the most about how the thing works since it was made, so you’re the lucky contestant.”

“Balls,” Bobby spat out, pulling up his pants.

The Trickster’s smile widened. “Sucks to be special, doesn’t it?”

Bobby snapped the suspenders into place, shrugged into the coat provided, and jammed the hat onto his head. “Nothing but trouble since we ran into you feathered idjits. I don’t know why you didn’t just yank Sam and Dean into this and leave me out of it.”

“Those two don’t do anything subtle,” the Trickster pointed out as he tucked his bag of candy out of sight. “If I wanted every scrap of supernatural attention focused here I’d bring the Winchesters. This needed something a little sneakier.” He raised his left hand and snapped his fingers, and Bobby felt the sadly familiar twist of what Dean had termed ‘Angel Air.’ The angel started walking away before he had truly recovered his bearings. “You can ride a horse, right?”

Bobby could, in fact, ride a horse. There were still some portions of the United States that were reachable only by horse, burro, or helicopter, and those areas were usually home to some of the more vicious creatures out there. “Where exactly am I going?”

“Relax. It’s this little town three miles down the road. It’ll just look suspicious if you show up in the middle of town.”

Bobby wasn’t sure if he trusted the sometime-trickster. This felt like a setup, for one, and there was a smirk lurking on the supposed angel’s face. It wasn’t exactly like there were a ton of other options, though, so he mounted up. The Trickster did the same on the horse next to him and started the animal down the dusty road. “You coming?”

There was a sigh. “What the hell. Might as well.” It would be a nice break from the search for Purgatory, at any rate, and he might even come out of it alive.


Samuel had met the individual who went by ‘Loki’ before, two years ago while he was in England refining the design for what would hopefully only be the first of many revolvers. Loki had been the one to introduce him to the other side of things, which had been the impetus to start working on this little side project whenever the business portions of his firearms company started to grate. He’d dropped by a time or two since then, apparently checking on his progress, but this was the first time he’d brought someone along.

“Samuel Colt, soon-to-be-famous gunsmith, meet Robert Singer.” The being was grinning in a most unbecoming fashion. “Robert knows more about creatures and ghosts and demons than pretty much anyone alive, and, I might add, he’s the only man alive who knows how to kill me.”

The man in question muttered something under his breath before reaching out his hand for a handshake. “Good to meet you,” he said. The man’s voice was rough, his accent seemingly uneducated, but Samuel could see the glint of intelligence in those faded eyes. “I hear we’ve got some things we need to talk about.”

“I’ll just leave you two kids here. Be back later!” Loki raised his left hand and snapped his fingers, disappearing before their eyes.

Robert sighed, removing his hat and revealing thinning hair. “That idjit better not forget where he left me,” he said, rubbing at his forehead before looking back up. “I’m here to help with your little side-project.”

“Will you tell me how to kill him?” Samuel asked, feeling a little hopeful. “He keeps showing up and disturbing things.” Not to mention he hadn’t slept well since he’d learned about the things hiding in the dark.

“I can tell you how to kill a pagan god,” Robert replied, taking off his coat and setting it and his hat aside. “Good luck on getting it to stick. That one’s been dead before. Now, let’s get started.”

“He told you, then?”

Robert nodded. “Let’s make a gun that can kill anything.”

Gabriel watched, slightly out of phase so that he would remain unseen, as Bobby Singer and Samuel Colt got right to business. All right, sue him, it was a little bit of a time paradox. Without Bobby as a mentor, the kid would never have figured out how to make the Colt work. He would have come up with several different versions of the gun, all good at killing one specific thing, and never the all-purpose weapon that would have such future importance. Someday Dean Winchester might be able to do the same thing, especially once Bobby had taken the knowledge back to his timeline.

In the meantime, The Messenger had several other things to occupy his time and attention while he waited. Traveling back in time like this was likely to attract the attention of any number of things. High-level demons, for example, might notice his sudden presence back here in 1837, and might get a little curious about what he was doing mucking around with Samuel Colt. Therefore, he could absolutely not be Gabriel right now.

Loki was about to have a little fun.

He had so far never existed in a time period when pranks had not been enjoyable. The more skeptical people were, the more fun it was to play them, but there had always been pompous jerks needing to be taken down a peg and egos that needed deflating, two things at which he both loved and excelled.

He started slow, feeling out the closest town for it’s most obvious blowhards. It wasn’t hard to choose his first target, a wealthy landowner who had made his fortune on the backs of slaves. Normally this wasn’t quite enough to grab his attention: slave owners were incredibly common in this time period and going after them got very boring very quickly. He preferred a little variety in his victims. This one in particular, though, was justifying the slavery as a right granted to him by God and the conditions they were forced to live in as the punishment for being heathens, and that detail was enough to warrant the full treatment.

The real trick was to do the slow burn in such a way that the man couldn’t take it out on his slaves, which meant that Gabriel mostly stuck with the physical body. His first volley wasn’t even on the man, but rather on his Scarlett O’Hara cliché of a daughter. Her teeth, already not the greatest because of current dental practices, began decaying and falling out at a rate or two or three a day. Blemishes appeared on carefully tended porcelain skin. Dark, thick ringlets of hair became brittle and started turning grey, frosting over the dark gloss with wispy cobwebs.

He left the wife alone because she avoided most of the pitfalls of this time period. She was sincere in her attempts to help those less fortunate in her small community, even though she didn’t do much outside of what was currently socially acceptable, and she made a point to avoid the gossip and viciously polite back-stabbing of current polite society. Even better, she clearly realized that her daughter was a spoiled brat and her husband a slimy asshole, and had washed her hands of both of them. That won major points with Gabriel, who could understand walking away from the family train wreck. Instead, he checked in on Bobby and Samuel Colt with a visible appearance instead of the constant unseen monitoring that he usually did, got chased off by a gruff man with a penchant for hats, and turned his effort back to the scumbag landowner.


The Trickster (he’d always had a hard time thinking of the thing as Gabriel, no matter what Sam and Dean said) vanished from the building with his usual theatrics, annoying smirk firmly on its smug face. Bobby sighed and turned back to the work at hand. “You’ve already got the basic weapon design,” he said, turning a page or two of the sketches and other notes that the two of them had been hammering out over the last three days. It was admittedly a bit of a time paradox of his own making, since the cartridge revolver wouldn’t be invented for twenty years and wouldn’t be able to be used for at least another decade because of patent laws, but the thing had always been a cartridge revolver in a Colt Paterson design as far as he knew, so the Trickster could kiss his ass if it caused trouble. “Now you just need to make it so the thing will do what we want it to, and that’s pretty much the hard part. The real problem with the supernatural is that there is no universal solution. Some things are killed by consecrated iron, but others need salt or fire or silver or something else entirely.” Bobby drew the Enochian symbols that he remembered from taking the Colt apart in his timeline, the ones that had been etched into the inside of the barrel and on each bullet. Ruby had originally drawn pagan symbols of protection and purity for the bullets she had helped design, but once they’d met Castiel Bobby had moved into Enochian. “The materials matter, but in the end it’s going to need more than that. It’s a magic weapon as much as it is a physical one, and if you don’t have the right intent and meaning behind it.”

Colt nodded, his attention on the drawings that Bobby would have to remember to grab before he left. “I’ll get started, then. You will begin gathering the materials for the ammunition?”

Bobby nodded and jammed his hat back onto his head. It was going to be a bitch, tracking down enough silver to make the bullets, and he better get started.


It had been a while since he could really cut loose like this. For the most part, Gabriel had curtailed his Trickster activities to minor pranks that took place while he was on one of Father’s assignments. He’d been keeping to the party line since he’d been brought back, but he had a feeling that Dad wouldn’t mind if he laid down some old-fashioned justice.

The daughter had been drawn-out enough to serve as an appetizer. It was time to jump right into the main course and dish up a little appropriate just desserts. To be honest, Gabriel was getting a little bored with this one. There was only so much self-righteous asshole an angel could stand, and the time spent on the daughter was more than enough exposure for his tastes. He settled for scooping the guy up while he was riding along the edges of his fields, admiring the neatly ordered crops and the sullenly obedient slaves, and dropping him off in the Roman Empire. Oh, there probably could have been more of that slow extravagant torture, with the destruction of everything the guy held dear, but he was losing interest quickly.

He was on his way back to the blacksmith forge/weapons development lab where he’d stashed Bobby Singer, ready to do some quality annoying, when he caught the whiff of sulfur and brimstone that indicated a demon somewhere nearby. Demons were much more fun to mess with than humans, if only because every single one reminded him of Lucifer, plus there was the added benefit of being able to kill them without any repercussions. Father was a little more particular about what happened to the human souls, even if most of those targeted were destined for the pit. Now that he was back in those good graces, Gabriel had to make sure that if he caused the death of a human and didn’t take it back, those deaths had to be the direct result of free will in action. It made things slightly more complicated, but only by the tiniest margin. The people that Gabriel tricked were always going to choose the wrong thing. That was why they were picked in the first place.

Demons stank and their presence made Gabriel itch a little, the kind of psychosomatic twitches that humans sometimes received when they gazed upon a large number of insects. Lucifer had twisted already-dark human souls into something unbelievably disgusting, like adding dog shit to brownie batter, and he knew of some angels back in the old days who wouldn’t go near them without a direct superior’s orders.

There was no good way for an angel to tell which particular demon it was near until practically right on top of it and seeing its true face. That was why it took so long for Gabriel to realize which demon in particular he was dealing with, and not because he was a little rusty when it came to dealing with the mortal world after being dead for more than a year. He would swear to it if anyone asked.

He’d stayed invisible, thankfully, which meant he had time to come up with a cover story when dealing with Crowley. It would have been nice if he could remove the little pissant from the time stream entirely, but the demon had a part to play and he really, really didn’t want to clean up a time paradox that big. Crowley might just be a crossroads demon right now, but he was already curious and plotting ways to make the climb up that ladder. Gabriel felt his lip curl in derision. There wasn’t really ladder-climbing in Heaven, despite Zachariah’s attempts at such during the aborted apocalypse. Every being there did what they were meant to do, what they were designed to do, and to try for more was an abomination every bit as bad as the existence of demons. Castiel would be learning that lesson if that particular brother did not back down soon.

So, couldn’t kill him, can’t make him too interested, and given that the demon was annoyingly perceptive and had probably sensed that something was out of place, Gabriel couldn’t leave him alone either.

It took him an interminably long time to come up with a solution, though that happened in an instant the way the mortal world counted time. He couldn’t quite suppress the grin that followed; it was such an elegant solution. The demons couldn’t know when and where the Colt was really made, after all, or even how. It would come into demon hands on more than one occasion, but most of them would be focused on either using it or trying to keep it out of human hands. None of them wanted to lose the power inherent in the weapon by destroying it, and none of them would ever truly be able to replicate the thing, but it was best if they were just kept away.

Gabriel made sure that he was firmly in Loki mindset, moved back into the time stream, and swaggered out to meet Crowley. He ended the deal the demon was trying to broker by sending the desperate businessman to a gold-mining claim in the Yukon with a contemptuous flick of one hand. “So, Crowley. How’s business?”

The demon glared at him, adjusted his bowler, and brushed a speck of dust from his sleeve. “It was going quite well, Trickster.”

Gabriel didn’t bother to look like he was at all repentant. “I was in the neighborhood, thought I’d drop by. Wondered if you’d heard about the latest thing the humans came up with.”

“I don’t really pay attention to those things,” Crowley said. “Do you have a point, or did you just come by to make my life difficult?”

“You should be paying attention.” Gabriel gave the demon a sly smile. “They’ve come up with a gun that can kill anything.”

The demon kept its expression smug and neutral. “Where did you hear something like that?”

“Around.” Gabriel leaned in with a conspiratorial grin. “I hear that they made it during that little dustup out in Texas two years ago when that comet was visible. One of the Campbells has it right now.” Well, they would when those two clowns were done making it. Gabriel would make sure of that little detail. “That’s probably something you ought to be worried about, you know. Those jokers have never been exactly happy with Hell’s catch and release policy.”

Crowley frowned, and Gabriel hoped he hadn’t lost the demon with the pop-culture references. That was always the problem with time-travel, and it made him miss the Winchesters. Sam might be a scary son of a bitch sometimes and they were both occasionally lacking in humor, but Dean at least knew his references and could be good for a laugh when he made a joke. “I’m a little more concerned about why you aren’t worried, actually.”

He flashed a Loki grin, full of smugness and superiority. “There’s already a legend on how to kill me. Humans get pretty set in those little routines of theirs. But they’ve had to settle for exorcisms for you demons, and I’m sure that’s gotta chafe. I’ll say this for them, you’ve got to admire their creativity. First chocolate and now this? What will the humans think of next?” He pulled a packet of the afore-mentioned chocolate from the pocket of his coat.

“Do you have a point, Trickster?” Crowley obviously put a lot of effort into the weariness and annoyance in the tone, when there was little doubt that the demon was already processing the information and coming up with plans regarding it.

“Not really. Just wanted to give you the same professional courtesy I’ve always enjoyed with your kind.” Gabriel took a bite out of the creamy Swiss chocolate, not as good as chocolate would be in one hundred years but still delicious. “After all, you’ve always been so very helpful. Hate to lose an ally like you.” Gabriel lifted his left hand and snapped his fingers, disappearing from Crowley’s presence and detection.

He reappeared in the vicinity of his latest project, startling Colt but not Singer. It figured that the Hunter was used to the sudden, unexpected presence of an unannounced angel. Castiel lacked the subtlety of his older brother, after all. “How’s it going?” he asked, sprawling back in the only chair in the room.

Singer rolled his eyes but didn’t look up from his task. “It was going fine, ‘til you showed up.”

Colt looked a little more nervous in Gabriel’s company, which was appreciated. This was exactly why angels hadn’t been making direct contact with humans for two thousand years. Familiarity bred contempt every single time. “We have the pistol completed,” the young man said. “Mr. Singer is putting the finishing touches on the ammunition.”

“That was fast.” He was expecting to cool his heels in this time period for a little while longer, but getting back to modern society and its perks was very much appreciated.

“I’ve been here a month,” Singer said, his attention still on the bullet he was engraving. “That’s not fast. Try slow, getting this equipment to do what we want to do.”

“Really? It’s been a month?”

“A complete lunar cycle,” Singer confirmed. “Something shiny distract you?”

“You could say that. So it’s ready for testing?”

“It’s ready. Got any candidates?”

Gabriel scowled. “The one I’d like to be the first to try it might cause some problems down the line. Give me a second.”

It wasn’t hard to find a demon. They might seem to be scarce right now, but that’s just because only the ones that know how to fly under the radar are allowed topside. One or two of the crazier ones manage to claw free and live the high life, but those are the ones that get noticed and exorcised pretty quickly.

They were also the demons least likely to be missed, now or in the future, so Gabriel did a quick search, located one that was preparing to start a small-scale war in California, and pulled it back with him with a minimum of effort.

Considering it took about one minute by mortal standards, he supposed it was understandable when that return startled even Bobby Singer.

The Hunter had taken the time to put down a Key of Solomon, probably within his first hour in the impromptu weapons shop, so Gabriel dropped the demon in that handy placeholder and stepped back to admire his handiwork.

Singer recovered first, of course, sighing and standing up with a repressed grimace. “No time like the present, I guess.” He loaded the weapon with precise, practiced movements, double-checking everything as he assembled it. “Want to do something to it?” he asked, glancing up at Gabriel.

The archangel shrugged and put his hands on the gun. He could have made a production out of this, but Singer wouldn’t be impressed and Colt was going to have his mind wiped within the hour if the weapon did as promised. There was a faint glow from the object as he willed a small fraction of his grace into it, and Singer’s hands tightened a little as he took a slight, almost involuntary step back. “One blessed handgun that can kill anything,” he said. “Go ahead and try it already. I want to get back to the world of steamshowers and ice cream parlors.”

Singer transferred the weapon into his right hand, holding it with the firm competence of someone who has been handling firearms for a very long time. Sometimes it was nice to see that kind of thing, even if it had been aimed at him on more than one occasion.

The demon chose that moment to open its stupid mouth, no doubt to start in on the usual mouthy habits of its kind. Demons couldn’t read minds, though that was a fairly common misconception. Some of the stronger ones could pick up surface thoughts and most of them could read body language, but that wasn’t the same thing. It was more like a performance from an especially talented fake medium or psychic doing a cold read on a gullible audience member, and it was just as effective ninety-five percent of the time. Luckily, Singer was part of the cynical, experienced five percent.

The Hunter set the gun down on the table and flung a bucket’s worth of holy water into the thing’s face before it could get out a word, returning his attention to the weapon in question while it was still keening. “This thing better not blow up in my hand,” he muttered, checking one last time to see that it was properly loaded before turning, aiming carefully, cocking the hammer and squeezing the trigger.

The result was exactly what they were hoping for. Gabriel could literally see the energy that composed a demon leaking away, but even on the mortal plane the flashes of lightning illuminating the dead host’s skeleton were exactly as it should be. It died without ever managing to speak a word to any of them.

“Wow, great work,” Gabriel said before reaching over and touching Samuel on the temple with one finger. It took less than a second to remove the necessary portions of his memory and avoid creating a universe-imploding time paradox and was over before the young man hit the floor. He would wake up without the knowledge of cartridge forearms or the specifics on how to recreate the Colt and a block to prevent him from ever reconstructing that second piece of knowledge. It was much too dangerous to have that kind of firepower out there, and much too easy to lose track of multiple weapons. He would make sure the thing showed up in Colt’s possession when it came time to lock up the door to Hell out in Wyoming, and that it would stay there for the rest of the man’s life.

A snap of his fingers collected all of Bobby’s written notes and designs and sent them into one of Gabriel’s personal stashes. Dad had some future plans for those things and it wouldn’t do to lose them. Then he grinned at the sight of Singer in his nineteenth-century garb, snapped them into the correct time period froze things long enough to take a few pictures, and returned things the way they should be. Potential material like that should never be wasted.


Bobby fingered the worn flannel and t-shirt he was now wearing as he relaxed and looked around his familiar home. “Good to be back,” he said, reaching up and feeling the comfortable weight of a ball cap on his head.

Gabriel shrugged. “Guess so. I don’t have to tell you to keep your mouth shut when it comes to this little adventure.” He’d already erased the specifics from Samuel Colt and had handed over the gun to a Campbell that wasn’t terribly close to the rest of his clan.

“Definitely not talking about it,” Bobby said. “I do have a question for you, though.”

“Go ahead.” He might not answer, but that wouldn’t stop the grizzled Hunter from asking, and he was a little curious about the man was going to ask.

“Back when John first got wind of the Colt he had me do a ton of research on the thing. One thing that kept coming up was this legend about how it was made at the Alamo and some bit of crap about how Halley’s Comet was overhead.”

Gabriel grinned. “Yeah, that was me.” He waggled his eyebrows and flew away before Bobby could reply.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 15th, 2011 01:35 am (UTC)
That Gabriel! He's wacky!

Nicely done. Three really interesting characters, brought together quite neatly.
Dec. 10th, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm a big fan of lesser-used characters and what might have happened behind the scenes somewhere.
Nov. 15th, 2011 03:32 am (UTC)
Awesome... I can't say anything else about a fic which has both Bobby and Gabriel in it!

I loved how Gabriel thought of Dean and his po-culture references
Dec. 10th, 2011 04:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks, glad you liked it! Gabriel will always be one of my favorite characters (which is kind of amazing, when you consider that he was only in four episodes!)
Nov. 15th, 2011 05:04 am (UTC)
Awesome little story of what-might-have(could-have)-happened!
Dec. 10th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
It might-maybe-could have happened. Show canon conflicts with real life, so I applied fanfic.
Nov. 15th, 2011 08:04 pm (UTC)
Neat! Bobby was very Bobby, and I loved how Gabe slid into his Trickster persona as camouflage and enjoyed himself.
Dec. 10th, 2011 04:04 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it! The artwork was fantastic.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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