Frate, non far: ché tu se’ ombra, e ombra vedi.
Brother, do not so: for you are a shadow, and a shadow am I.
Già s’inchinava ad abbracciar li piedi
al mio dottor; ma el li disse: “Frate,
non far, ché tu se’ ombra e ombra vedi”.
Ed ei surgendo: “Or puoi la quantitate
comprender de l’amor ch’a te mi scalda,
quand’io dismento nostra vanitate,
trattando l’ombre come cosa salda”.
Already stooping to my lord [Virgil], he made to kiss his feet;
but my lord said to him, “Brother, do not so: for shade thou art, and look’st upon a shade.”
And the other man, rising:
“Now thou wilt understand how hot is my love for you, as I forget our nothingness,
treating these shadows as material things.”
Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio xxi ll. 130-136. Dante and Virgil encounter an old friend of Virgil’s in Purgatory.
Translation adapted from that of Dorothy L. Sayers.
Written for the Gabriel Big Bang 2013.
Art by the amazing cherishedsaulie.
Betaed by Ealasaid; and special thanks to princess_aleera for letting me bounce ideas off her about Castiel and Gabriel’s dynamics.
Summary: A Purgatory fairy tale. Finding Gabriel in Purgatory is only the start. Steeped in Purgatory’s Lethe effect, Gabriel has forgotten everything about himself and the world - or has he? Dean is determined that he’s getting all of them out Dick-land and back into the real world, but when one angel doesn’t believe he deserves to get out and the other one doesn’t know what out is, that’s easier said than done.
Characters and Pairings: Emotionally, Castiel/Dean/Gabriel. Although the only actual sex is Dean/Gabriel, all the relationships draw on elements of romance and the erotic in places.
Word count: 41k.
Genre and tropes: Purgatory!fic; threesome; amnesia; incorporeal!Gabriel (temporary).
Warnings: Various forms of PTSD, as we’d expect of Dean and Castiel following the end of season 7. Moderate angelcest. Slightly sexual dom/sub elements (used to a specific therapeutic end rather than as a regular dynamic in the relationship), including edgeplay and not-exactly-mindsex. Moderate-level sexual situation initiated by a character who isn’t capable of fully conscious consent. Amnesia. Strange narrative voice, as the P. O. V. character begins the story semi-formless in mind and body, and the narrative style gets clearer as he relearns himself and the world around him. Swearing, in Dean and Gabriel’s dialogue and (increasingly as the story progresses) in the narrative voice.
Spoilers: Through to the finale of season 7. This verse was begun before season 8 aired, so is not influenced by the show’s depiction of Purgatory. You may catch me playing with character ideas that have arisen over the course of the season, but these shouldn’t be recognisable as such unless you’ve watched the season (and therefore not spoilery).
Notes: Conceptually inspired by the eerily beautiful tumblr, wanderingthroughpurgatory. Second in the A rimirar le stelle series, and therefore sequel to La diritta via era smarrita. It isn’t essential to read that first, but it’s only 3500 words long and the dynamic between Dean and Castiel in the earlier parts of this fic will make more sense with that in mind. Besides, it has pretty, eerie Purgatory images in it; and, being mostly from Dean’s perspective, describes the visuals of Gabriel’s incorporeal and semi-corporeal forms better than incorporeal Gabriel ever bothers to do.
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“You wanna know how long it’s been since I was only an angel, kid? Hell of a lot longer than since those vamps were only human. Empires have risen and nose-dived, and so have gods. There’s nothing pure about me.”