Characters and/or Pairing: Lucifer, OMCs/Gabriel, Sam, Dean, Sam/Gabriel if you've got the goggles
Spoilers: Through 7x4, to be on the safe side.
Warnings: Oh boy. Rape, more rape (aka gangrape), bestiality, bondage, spit-roasting, drugs, humiliation, starvation, lack of kind deities, mention of double penetration, forced orgasm, object insertion, figging, whipping, mummification, watersports, scat, self-harm/attempted suicide
Word Count: 11996
Notes/Prompts: From SpnKink: "You like humans so much, Gabriel? Let's see how much you like being their bitch."
Instead of killing Gabriel at Elysian Fields, Lucifer binds his brother's power (temporarily or permanently, I don't care). He sets Gabriel up in a little underground room, which is locked at all times except when - nightly - a group of men comes in to have some fun. (They have no idea he's an angel - they just know there's a free fuck out of it). They get off on roughing him up; anything that's humiliating and painful goes - DP, object insertion, spit roasting, whips, chains, blindfolds, forced orgasm, etc. Lucifer tells him that if he can make it out of the room and up the stairs to the street, he'll go free. But he's not that big, not compared to these guys, and they always grab him before he can even get to the door.
Maybe some of the men think it's all part of the scene - Gabe's not really unwilling. After all, he never says the safeword his dom gave them.
Bonus points if Team Free Will finds him and stages a rescue.
Please no demons - just normal human sadism.
Gabriel wakes up with a pounding headache. He considers never moving again for about ten minutes, which is a highly subjective length of time down here, and eventually pushes himself up with a long exhale. "Fuck," he says. It's not particularly satisfying, and he gets shakily to his feet. No more drugs. Never. He'd rather have the dog. Hopefully the skinny man with the thick glasses who'd brought them isn't going to come back.
Gabriel isn't hopeful.
He staggers over to the little room. He's clean, of course - whatever cleans the room cleans him if he's still in there, and they hadn't bothered to beat him up much while he was high, but he splashes the water over himself anyway. It doesn't help the headache, and so he sinks down along the wall beside the cot. He doesn't know what time it is. Hopefully he didn't sleep long. Hopefully he at least has a little while.
He dozes off for a little, then eats, savoring each tiny bite of oatmeal. He can't afford to let it go to waste - he tried saving it, once, but everything he'd left had disappeared by the next day, and the hunger pangs were even worse that week. The apple is getting smaller, he thinks, and spends a minute sniffing it before picking up the can of beans first. It's easily the best part of his day, because there's not only sugar but tiny little pieces of meat in it. He licks out the can, then sets it on the floor. He's considered using it to cut his throat again, but he's not sure what would happen, since Lucifer isn't coming. Would he be helpless? Perpetually dying? Would one of the men come in and find him, take him to a hospital, save him from this prison? He rather doubts the latter. The kinder ones have filtered out, gotten bored, and only the angrier, rougher, filthier ones remain.
He thinks the apple is Lucifer's attempt to be funny, because every time they strip him naked now he finds himself ashamed. Never mind that the Tree of Knowledge had nothing to do with apples. He peels off the skin with his teeth, sucks on it and swallows, then laps at the white inside. It takes him probably an hour to eat the apple, biting off a good-sized chunk at the end and eating the seeds and core first. The flesh that he saved helps wash out the bitter taste.
He only sees himself in a mirror when someone decides he needs to see how broken and wanton he is, but just looking down his body he thinks something's wrong. Not because he's too skinny - he is skinny, and he doesn't know how anyone could think this body is at all good-looking anymore - but because he knows he should be skinnier. He's seen people starve. His ribs should be jutting out, his knees larger than his thighs, his belly large and protruding with gas. He hasn't even got many symptoms of starvation, and he wonders if it's because he's still an archangel or because Lucifer wants him to stay alive.
He's paced out both rooms too many times to count, but he still looks around for anything new when he goes into the other one to mark off the days. The whip stand long ago filled up, and he's etching them painstakingly into the wall now. The men never notice. He has two to make today, because he lost his chance yesterday when he was high and trying to tear his skin off instead.
Thirty-three days ago, he'd tried to escape using the crowbar as a weapon. He doesn't like to think about what they first brought it in for, but it had been there a while, and that time they'd seen fit to beat him with it until his arms and legs were bloody and broken. He'd barely managed to crawl to the little room before the next group came in, barely managed to even heal before the familiar pushing sensation forced him into the bigger room for the next night. He hid the crowbar the next day, and only uses it now to scratch at the wall with one jagged end. He thinks it takes half an hour to make one tally. It's not like he has a watch, only a small plastic egg timer. He doesn't use it. He thinks they brought it in on a Sunday. It's always the ones on Sunday. Jamie stopped coming after the thing with the dog - so did a lot of people. It just means the ones who still come are even crueler.
He still doesn't know most of their names. They don't bother to tell each other, and they wouldn't tell him. They don't know his name, either, probably. They only ever call him bitch, or whore, or fucktoy.
He finishes the tallies, and wonders if he could keep them out using sigils scratched into the wall. He doesn't need grace to work that magic, after all. He doesn't know if there's one that will turn away a human. At least he could have hurt demons, spat holy words at them to make them cringe in pain. Blessed his water and flung it in their eyes.
It doesn't seem fair.
On the two-hundred-forty-ninth day, they leave him suspended by his ankles to the ceiling. It takes him until some time after the room cleans itself to get free, and he nearly breaks his neck descending from the position. He does break several fingers on the way, and one thumb intentionally to slip his hand through the shackles. The ropes and chains replace themselves, snaking over the floor, and he stumbles over to the little room.
It's another food day, and he's been looking forward to it since the last. He dips his hands in the basin, ready to feel the sting and itch of fingers reshaping themselves. Nothing happens.
He panics. He looks over to the place where the food arrives, and it's there, thankfully, stable and constant. He immerses his hands in the water, splashes it over his bruised lip, and cries with relief when the spell works and his body heals.
Maybe it was a fluke. Maybe he didn't really get his fingers wet at first, he just thought he did. He was just dizzy with anticipation, that's all.
He eats, then falls asleep on the cot. When he wakes up, there are new clothes beside him, but he doesn't bother to put them on.
He starts to test sigils, spending days to carve just one by the doorway. He goes through all the normal ones, tries to see whether any of them react. They don't even notice the sigils, let alone feel an itch.
He tweaks them. Combines languages, combines prayers, sets up little rituals around them. He even sacrifices his apple, once, because maybe there's a god that can see him and would help. The apple is gone by nightfall, but they still come, and he still can't escape. He doesn't know if it was Lucifer who took it, or the room, or a god, or even just himself gone mad and forgetful.
He doesn't go mad, though. Really. The sigils keep him focused, and he stares at them, thinking of ways to change them, even as the men push ginger root up into him and then fuck him two at a time. He modifies his wording as he's kept immobile by duct tape and saran wrap bound around everything but his nose and anus. He invents new languages as they pour sewage down his throat and draw patterns into his skin with silver knives. They've realized by now that he heals. They think they can do anything to him. They probably can.
None of the sigils work, but he keeps trying.
On the four-hundred-sixty-fifth day, he prays to Kali, huddled in the soothing darkness of his little room. He hasn't tried praying to a specific god before. She is a protector in one guise, after all. She is the mother of languages. Maybe she will send him inspiration.
He gnaws at his fingers until they bleed, and draws her name on the floor, kissing it with his bloody lips and chanting mantras until his voice is only a whisper.
She does not come.
The six-hundred-fiftieth day, they crucify him, and he cries out, "Abba, abba, lema sabachthani?" There's one man there that night who understands ancient Aramaic. He's a theologian. He laughs.
Gabriel's Father does not answer. Gabriel does not call on Him again.
He wonders if this is what the other Winchester felt like when Gabriel trapped him - helpless, angry, alone. Caught in a cycle of days that never ends, only gets worse and worse until something deeper than a bone or sinew snaps.
His salvation does not come by angels, or gods, or magic.
"It's in the Talmud." Sam slams his copy down on the desk. "I don't know why we didn't look here earlier, honestly."
Dean looks up. "We did. It had some crap about Leviathans being afraid of tiny fish and eagles being afraid of frigging swallows."
"No, no, there's a different part. Um. 'Gabriel is to arrange in the future a chase of Leviathan; for it is said: Canst thou draw out Leviathan with a fish hook? Or press down his tongue with a cord? And if the Holy One, blessed be He, will not help him, he will be unable to prevail over him; for it is said: He only that made him can make His sword to approach unto him.'"
"…Gabriel's dead. And I'm pretty sure the rest of that little passage means we'd have to look for God again, anyway. Which went really well the last time."
Sam deflates slightly. "Yeah. I guess."
Dean rolls his eyes. "Look, man, I know you had this massive hate-crush on him, but - "
"I did not!"
"Sure thing, Sammy. Whatever you say."
Lucifer smirks at him, one eyebrow raised, and Sam presses his hand until he goes away.
Fisting is pretty much standard by now. What's different this time is that it's a woman doing it, and he thinks it took them a damn long time to get a woman here. She's kinda hot, but her hair is made of snakes and they're crawling up his arms, which he doesn't feel comfortable with. He's glad they haven't brought in any snakes that weren't attached to a person. Or horses. A horse would be bad. He could be like Catherine the Great, except she never actually slept with a horse. He giggles at the thought.
They've drugged him again, which is probably why he's seeing snakes. He doubts that a Gorgon would be here. Or be able to get in. There's definitely something against Gorgones etched on the wall there. Or maybe it was against Gorgo. No. That was a movie. Right? Maybe he has something against it anyway.
She wants him to like it, though, and he obliges, spreading his legs wider and grinding down on her arm. "Hey there, sweetheart," he tries to say, "maybe I could buy you a drink sometime?" but it comes out all wrong. Not English. Or Spanish, or French, which might be appropriate. She just looks at him oddly and pulls her arm out, crawling on top of him instead and settling all the way down. He thinks he should like that, too, so he makes a little moaning noise.
Someone comes up behind them and starts fucking him, which doesn't hurt very much at all so he lets them. If it had hurt he'd smite whoever it was, and he says so loudly, but this time it's in Chinese. Not even Mandarin. Something weirder, with twelve tones instead of four and a completely different syntax. Speaking of twelve tones, he tries to hum but never quite gets that far. He screams instead. He thinks it's because someone stuck a needle in his thigh.
The woman looks alarmed, and Gabriel wants to calm her down. "It's okay," he says, "they probably won't do it to you, and I've had worse before. It's just a needle. A - " he looks down at his bleeding thigh " - sail needle, which means it isn't a sharp, which means they're probably not injecting anything there which is good because I'd hate to get addicted to heroin or anything. I'm on something right now, but I don't think it's addictive because they keep giving it to me and I'm not addicted yet. It's different than the first drug, though." He pauses. He's not sure where to go from there.
She looks more alarmed. That time it came out right, though, so he doesn't know why she'd be scared. "Sweetie," she says, and Gabriel doesn't think she's talking to him but he's going to answer anyway, "I thought you told me this was all - consensual."
Gabriel nods. "Of course. Completely consensual. It's a much better option than working for Lucifer. Though I'm not sure about that anymore." He wants her to keep moving, and pushes his hips up a little.
She's staring. "Luci - what - you let them stick fucking - steel rods in you?"
"I wouldn't say let. Although I am letting them. I suppose. In one sense of the term." He's just glad he's managed to stick to the right language. Humans. They switch it up all the time, it's so hard to keep track.
She gets off him. "I want to go home," she says.
"Aw, babe, we're just getting started. I thought you said you wanted to try it."
"Yeah. Not into quite this level of crazy. So - I'm leaving, thanks."
Gabriel thinks that's sweet. No one's ever left on his behalf before.
"I don't want to fight you," Meg protests, while Sam holds Ruby's knife to her throat. "I swear. I just want to get by, okay? Those - things - I don't know what the fuck they are, but they're fucking scary. I want to avoid them as much as you do."
"Which doesn't explain," Sam growls, "why you're here at all."
"Coincidence! I didn't know you'd here. Look, I haven't killed anyone or anything. Just let me go."
"They're called Leviathans," Dean tells her. "And I wouldn't put it past them to use demons as minions. Sam, will you just kill her already?"
"Leviathans. Oh. I'm not, I'm not working for them!" she squeaks as Sam presses closer. "Look, if you promise not to kill me, I can tell you all about them."
"What would you know?"
"Hey. I know things. Um. Gabriel's supposed to kill one, during the - "
"Yeah, see, we got that already. And Gabriel's dead. So. Anything else, bitch?" Dean's crossed his arms, growing more impatient by the second.
Meg swallows. "…Gabriel's not dead."
"I'm not lying. He's alive, I swear!"
"Yeah? So he escaped Lucifer, ran away - " actually, that sounds plausible.
"Not exactly." Sam raises his eyebrows.
"Take the knife away and I'll tell you."
"If you're telling the truth about the Leviathans, you want them dead as much as we do."
"…Promise you won't kill me."
Meg shrugs. "Then I won't tell you. And Gabriel will be stuck where he is. Forever."
"…Fine. I won't kill you. For now. Where is he?"
"Yeah. I promise. And that's as much as you're going to get, so spit it out."
"Chicago. He's in Chicago. Go to Bound Lilies, it's a club. Ask the bartender if you can see Nick's bitch."
Sam hesitates. "…Seriously? What - "
"I don't know what they do. There's protections all around the place. Demons can't get in."
"…If you're lying, Meg? We will hunt you down."
She smiles shakily. "Yeah. I got that."
It's possibly the sketchiest club Sam's ever been to. It's not for Dean. He refuses to elaborate.
They make their way through the press of bodies in various states of undress and copulation. Dean's groped at least sixteen times, which wouldn't normally upset him, but he'd like to get out of here with a minimum of contact. When they reach the bar, he huffs a sigh of relief. It's slightly easier to breathe, here. The heavy musk of perfume and sex is lighter.
"What'll you have?" the bartender asks, and Dean shoots him his best grin.
"Two beers. And I was - "
The guy looks at Sam with a raised eyebrow. "You let your sub order?" He looks Dean up and down. "Also, you should probably put a collar on him. At least. Dunno if you're new to the scene or what, but if he's not marked everyone will think he's unclaimed."
Sam sputters. "He's - he's not - look, we were just told to come here because you knew something about, um, Nick's bitch. We're brothers," he adds.
"…You're the bitch's brother?"
"No, no, I mean. Dean and I." He gestures awkwardly at Dean. "I mean, we were just told you could tell us where he is."
The bartender snorts. "You don't seem like the type. Where'd you hear about him?" He leans in. "Have you seen Nick lately?"
Lucifer's sitting on the bar. Sam glances at him. "Um. No. It's been a while, actually. But he said if we were ever in Chicago, we should ask about him. If he's, ah, he is still there, right?"
The bartender shrugs. "Yeah." He pulls a scrap of paper out, scribbles down an address. "Have fun. Don't get there until ten, it doesn't open. Still want those beers?"
Sam accepts the paper. "…Thanks, but we'll pass." He shepherds a really pissed-off looking Dean out of the place, and looks at the address in the light from the streetlamp. "Guess this is where we're going."
Dean follows behind. "I don't really look submissive, do I? I mean. I'm just as - " Sam tunes out his muttering until they pile into the Impala. "They just call him 'bitch'," Dean says. "What do you think - I mean, you don't think they're - " he makes a little gesture with one hand.
"I don't know," snaps Sam. "Just drive, okay?"
It's the seven-hundred-seventy-first day, and Gabriel's finished another sigil. This one's carved into the floor - it's too big to have fit on the wall with all the other ones. It's laced throughout with Enochian, Babylonian, Latin, Bashu, and a little Middle English thrown in for good measure. It's a pretty one. Very symmetric.
They'll be here soon, probably, although since he can never hear beyond the door he doesn't know exactly when it will be. He goes to put the crowbar away, then stops. Keeps it.
It's stupid. He'd learned his lesson way back in the hundred-thirties. And since this was the Sunday group, they'd probably remember what they used it for originally, and do it again. It was inspired. He's almost surprised they hadn't repeated it back then, but then again that was a period of innovation for them and they'd come up with something nearly as interesting the next week.
Last Thursday, he hadn't healed at all. And there was only oatmeal waiting for him in the little room.
Maybe the sigil will work this time. Maybe he won't have to use the crowbar at all.
He goes and puts clothes on, just in case.
The outer door is unlocked, and they proceed cautiously down a set of steps to reach the inner door. It's iron, Sam can tell at a glance, and as he runs his fingers over it he can tell it has protective symbols inscribed all over. "Huh," he says, and tries to open it. There's no visible lock, just a handle, but it doesn't open.
The door above them opens, and Dean whirls around, one hand on his gun. There's a big guy above them, staring down. "Hey," he snaps, "who the hell are you?"
Dean moves to draw the gun, but Sam's hand on his shoulder stops him. Sam grins. "Hey. We're just here to see, ah, Nick's bitch. That alright with you?"
The guy pounds down the stairs. "You're a little early. Opens at ten."
"We were, uh, really excited. You know."
The guy - some Asian dude with a scar across his lip, maybe six feet - grins. "Yeah. I know. Sorry, but you're the first new faces in a while. It's a bit sad, really. Only ten of us left. The others all chickened."
"…Right." Dean smiles tentatively. "Chickened."
Asian dude snorts. "We do some pretty nasty stuff in there. We'll see if you're up to it. I'm Daniel, by the way."
"Alright, well, we've got a little while - hey, Dave!" Someone else has come, and Daniel introduces them. "Gonna tell you a little about it, okay? Don't know how much you know, so I'll go over it all. First thing. His safeword's - "
"He's got a safeword," Dean says.
"'Course. Don't worry. He's never used it. His safeword - safe phrase, really - is 'Lucifer, save me'. Like the devil, okay?"
Sam asks, "So - did he give you this, or - "
"Nah. Nick did. Said he wanted the first time we met to be in scene. Second thing?" His grin widens. "Anything goes. And that's all for - "
"Third thing," Dave interrupts, "is that the puppy's got a bit of a bite when you first walk in. So watch out. He calms down quickly by now."
"Eh, well, he's actually been getting feistier lately." Daniel shrugs. "Should have seen him the first couple months, though. Nearly rendered Dave here impotent, huh?"
"Yeah. Has a nasty kick."
"Right. Okay then." They stand around awkwardly for a few minutes as more people come in, until Daniel taps his watch.
"It's time!" He gestures at Sam. "Want to do the honors?"
Daniel laughs at him. "I'll do it. Stand back." He pushes open the door, and the staircase is flooded with white fluorescent light.
A crowbar comes whistling up to Daniel's neck, and he barely gets out of the way in time. "Puppy's got a new bone!" he says. "Watch out guys, it's a crowbar. Where'd he - oh, I remember. That was fun. We should do it again, huh, bitch?"
The other men flooded into the room right after Daniel, and Sam and Dean glance at each other to step cautiously inside.
He's recognizable. Barely. Emaciated, wearing clothes that drape off his body in all the wrong places and holding a crowbar that looks too big for him to hold, let alone use as a weapon. He's got a beard, too, short and trimmed-looking but still there, and his hair is uncombed, stark contrast from the way they're used to seeing it - all slicked back and effortless. "Shit," Sam says, and Gabriel's attention jerks to his face. His eyes are almost the same, but hunted, and they flick back and forth across Sam's face before the expression on his face turns horrified and he freezes.
Daniel takes the opportunity to lunge for him, and Gabriel's reflexes are dull because Daniel catches him around the throat and wrests the crowbar away. He lets go, takes a step back, and swings, catching him right under the ribs. Gabriel crumples with a cry, sinking down, eyes still trained on Sam even as Daniel forces his chin to face forward. "Yeah, they're new. We're gonna give them a good welcome, alright? So why don't you take this opportunity to strip, first."
"The clothes are new," Dave notes. "He hasn't had them for quite a while. Year?"
"Longer." Daniel swings the crowbar back and forth. "Doesn't matter, 'cause he's gonna take them off. Right?"
Gabriel looks away from Sam and up at Daniel before settling his eyes somewhere on the floor beside him. He shrugs off his jacket, and reaches up one violently shaking hand to unbutton the top button on his shirt. "Quickly," adds Daniel.
Dean's positioned himself on the other side of the group of men, and Sam steps forward. "Hey, Daniel," he says. "Mind if I take a look?"
Daniel nods. "Go for it," and steps back a little. Sam almost runs forward, catching Gabriel's hand in his as the angel reaches for a third button. Gabriel doesn't look at him, but he whispers.
"You're back," he licks his lips. "You're back."
Lucifer's standing on the other side, looking down at Gabriel with a frown. "He thinks you're me, Sam," he notes, reaching one hand down to stroke through his brother's hair. "Sad, isn't it, that he can't recognize his own brother?"
"Shut up," Sam hisses, and Gabriel shrinks back. "I mean - sorry. I wasn't - "
"Don't apologize to him," Daniel tells him, "it makes him feel like he's worth something."
"Yeah," says Sam, "it does, doesn't it?"
"I won't do it," Gabriel whispers. "I won't. You've got what you want already."
Sam nods. "You don't have to do anything," he whispers back, and beckons Daniel closer. Daniel obliges, and Sam grabs the dangling end of the crowbar. Daniel may be big, but Sam's bigger, and he's been fighting all his life.
Daniel's out like a light before he can say uncle. Sam considers hitting him a few more times, but decides against it, turning his attention instead to the other men in the room. It's two against nine. And they're just human. They've had worse odds.
Dean's got his gun out. "Hey, fellas," he says, "now, you're all gonna back slowly through that door and you're not gonna come back, okay? Hop to it." He swings the muzzle back and forth between the closest targets, and they flinch as it turns to them.
"Hey, you can't do this," Dave says, "I'll get the police in here - "
Dean laughs. "Yeah. You do that. I bet Gabriel here will have a lot of interesting things to tell them."
"…Gabriel." Dave looks surprised.
"What, you didn't know his name?" Sam snaps.
One of the other guys - some blond guy - says, "Well, no. Didn't really come up, you know?" He's got his arms crossed and is scowling. "And I've got a lot of friends, who don't necessarily have much to do with the police. And they'll be coming as soon as I call."
Dave looks slightly sick. "Wait. No, look, we're not - this is all just a scene. Look, he heals right up every week. Doesn't even use his - "
"Safeword, yeah." Sam snorts. "What was that again?" He holds up a hand as Dave starts to speak. "No, I want him to tell me. Gabe?"
Gabriel's jaw works slightly, then closes, mute.
Dave steps forward a little, flinching right back when Sam makes a threatening gesture. "C'mon, man - um, Gabriel. Just tell us. Please." He's got a panicked expression, and keeps making little movements with his fingers.
Dean's disgusted. "You seriously think - look at him! How long's it been since he's eaten? He tries to attack you every time you come in the room!"
"Lots of people are skinny - "
"Dude, that's not skinny. That's African orphan right there. Seriously? I'm tempted to kill you right now, for frigging stupidity if nothing else."
Lucifer looks up from where's he's petting Gabriel. "He's going to hell," he interjects, "the whole lot of them, actually. In case you were wondering."
Sam ignores him. "Get out. All of you. Now. And you - " he directs at the blonde guy " - you go ahead and call your friends. Whatever the hell you want. I think we can take a pack of low-life rapists like you."
Dave gives a full-body shudder at the word 'rapist', and he looks over at Gabriel pleadingly.
"Out!" Dean barks, and they filter out, Dave still staring back at Gabriel, sparing a glance for Daniel still out cold on the floor.
Dean shuts the door behind them, and proceeds to tie Daniel's limp form up with the myriad of ropes hung along the walls. Sam turns back to Gabriel, holding out one hand like the angel's a frightened deer or something. "Gabriel. It's me."
Gabriel hasn't moved his hand from his third button, and he swallows as he looks up at Sam. "…Winchester?" he rasps out, "Sam?" and Sam nods, holds onto his shoulder as Gabriel reaches his hand up to touch Sam's face reverently. "You're alive," he says.
"So are you," Sam says.
Gabriel plows on. "I - he stopped coming. I thought it was because he didn't need me to say yes anymore. I thought he'd already won."
Sam shakes his head. "No. No, he's in the Cage, Gabriel. We won. Humanity. Free will. And we're gonna get you out of here, okay?"
Lucifer smiles. "Yep. In the Cage."
Gabriel nods slowly, lets Sam lift him to his feet and holds on tightly as they make their way to the door. Dean holds it open, gun still out as he peers around to make sure there aren't any nasty surprises waiting for them. There aren't, and they continue on through the door.
Gabriel stops suddenly at the first step. He furrows his brow, looking down and up, places a hand against an invisible wall. "I. I can't - I can't get out." He breathing speeds up, and he starts to hyperventilate, shaking. Sam grips him tightly.
"Gabriel. Gabriel, look at me. We're getting you out. There's probably just - something there stopping you from moving, okay? But we're gonna find it."
Dean runs his fingers along the wall, stows his gun and flashes his light up at the ceiling and down at the floor. He glances at Sam. "I - "
"Check under the floorboard. Those stairs have got to be wood for a reason."
Dean nods, takes out a knife and starts to pry up the topmost layer. As he peels it away, he shines the light on it. There are symbols carved deeply into the wood, and Gabriel lets out a moan when he sees them, sinks down and starts rocking back and forth.
"Gabriel?" Sam hefts him up - fuck, he couldn't weigh much more than a hundred pounds - "Gabriel, focus, how do you break them? Is there something we need?"
"Gabriel!" Deans snaps his fingers in front of the angel's face. "We've got all sorts of things in the car. Hell, you remember, we had holy oil. Can't be rarer than holy oil. Just - "
Gabriel interrupts him. "No. No, you just, carve through them. Just mess up the language." He's leaning against Sam much more heavily now, barely supporting his own weight.
Dean blinks. "…Okay. Okay, I'll do that." He carves thick lines through the writing, then continues up the stairs. "That do it?"
Sam lifts Gabriel up, and he passes through easily. "Seems like it."
Gabriel whispers into Sam's chest. "He told me I could get out. The door locked, except when they came. But if I could have gotten past them, he said, he'd let me go. I just had to get through the door and up - up the stairs," he chokes out.
Sam nods. "Alright. Alright. He - he was - he lied to you, Gabriel, I'm sorry - "
He laughs. "No, no, he didn't lie. He just left out a very important detail." His voice drops. "I did that. A lot."
"Yeah. Yeah, you did. But it's okay now, Gabriel. Just keep moving."
They run into three more boundaries before they reach the top. Gabriel's face is shining in the light from the streetlamp, and Sam can't help but think he almost looks divine as he stares open-mouthed at the filthy Chicago street. Dean opens the last door, checks around the corners. "Come on," he says, holding it open, and as Sam and Gabriel stumble through Gabriel's laughing and sobbing, breathing the polluted air in as deep as if it were the wind of heaven itself.