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Broken Wings

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Carnage was a sight Sam Winchester should have been used to by now, but on days like today, it still turned his stomach. Splayed out around him were the bodies of six witches, each killed by various methods; shot by witch-killing bullets, burned by angel's grace, and incinerated by a spell he'd cast himself.  This was one of the most powerful covens they'd ever encountered, and though they had caused enough death and destruction to justify their gruesome fate, Sam still had a twinge of guilt when it came to killing humans.  He scanned the room for his companions, Castiel looking calm and cool as ever, and Dean with steely concentration, gun still drawn, checking the other rooms for survivors.

"Think that's all of them," Dean said quietly. "Have I ever mentioned that I hate witches?"

"Yes," Cas said in his typical no-nonsense way.  "Unfortunately, now we'll never know where they were getting the angel's grace for their spells."

"Yeah," Sam lamented.  "Can't say we didn't try.  Well, let's look around.  Maybe we'll find a clue. Might as well raid the place for anything the bunker could use too - spelling supplies, books that might be of interest... Not like anyone's coming back for the stuff."

Dean nodded.  "We're low on a lot of supplies. There was a whole room full of herbs and stuff upstairs.  Cas and I will raid that, you take the basement and we'll meet up here"

Sam rolled his eyes. "Sure, give me the shitty job."  When they'd entered the basement earlier, the stench of blood and rotting carcasses was so overwhelming, they'd nearly run out of the room.  It had obviously been the site of many animal sacrifices throughout the years, evident by not only the smell, but the cages of decaying animals and the many body parts, labeled and lined up in jars along the walls.  Everything about the place was morbidly creepy, and Sam couldn't wait to get the hell out of there.

"Hey, if you don't want to see the chili cheese fries I ate earlier come back up..."

"Yeah, yeah.  I'll take the basement," Sam sighed. There was no sense in arguing about it. Besides, he'd eyed up some interesting-looking spell books down there, and you could never have too many research materials. Pulling a bandana from the old weapons bag they'd brought, he folded it a few times then tied it around his mouth and nose, hoping to block at least a bit of the smell.

He inched down the stairs, shining the flashlight around the room in a sweeping pattern, checking as much of the place as he could before cautiously working his way over to the rows of shelving. For Sam, ancient, dusty tomes were hard to resist, and if he had nothing but time, he could spend hours looking through this collection.  Unfortunately, the smell in the room was overwhelming, so he hurriedly browsed the titles, tossing the most useful ones into his duffle bag.

He had been bypassing the gory rows of jars, looking for anything of importance, when a hushed rustling noise suddenly caught his attention.  Cautiously, he drew his weapon, dropping his bag to the ground. His flashlight skimmed over the dozens of cages lining the walls and the floor, the sight of which he'd been trying to avoid. Seeing nothing menacing, he shined the light over the cages one last time. Most of them were still full of animals, or at least, they used to be animals. Whatever they had been used for, it seemed most of them had been neglected long ago. He looked back and forth between the wall of jars and the cages and shivered to think of what they'd been subjected to.  

"Sick bastards," he murmured to himself. 

He'd always had a soft spot for animals. Sam Winchester might be able to kill a monster or a monster of a human being without blinking an eye, but animal cruelty was just unforgivable. The larger cages were the most menacing. Shining the flashlight on one, he grimaced at what looked like a German Shepherd, and he partially covered his face in disgust at the next cage that seemed to be the decomposing remains of a human corpse.

"To hell with this," he murmured to himself, picking up his bag and turning towards the stairs. He'd barely set foot on the first step when he heard the rustling noise again, followed by something that sounded vaguely like a groan.

Frowning, he turned back in the direction of the noise, gun and flashlight aimed at the source of the sound. He crept toward the corner cage and aimed his light at it, half-sure he was just going to find a family of rats or a raccoon, but as he stooped to get a better look, his jaw dropped in shock.

Huddled in the back of the cage was something human and alive... Barely. The emaciated man was lying on the ground in the fetal position with his back toward Sam, naked save for a heavy-duty collar of sorts around his neck.

"Hey," Sam said softly. "I'm going to get you out of there, okay?"

Without looking at him, the man growled and tried to slink further back in the cage.

"I'm Sam," he continued quietly. "Look, I don't know who they were our what they've done to you, but I'm not one of them, alright? I'm going to get you out." He dug through his pockets for his keyring and located his bump key, the one that he used to open most padlocks. He mentally crossed his fingers and popped the key into the lock, and he breathed a sigh of relief as it sprung open. It wasn't often things went so smoothly for them.

"Come on. I promise you, they're gone." He reached into the cage and gently tapped the man's shoulder, and drew back in surprise as he was snarled at.

"Hey!  Oh shit," he said, suddenly noticing the rope tied around the cowering man's ankles. "I'm going to cut those ropes around your legs, okay?" he asked. He was met with only silence and anxious panting. Sam sighed and crawled a few inches into the cage and began sawing at the rope with his pocketknife.  He worked quickly, sensing the waves of anxiety rolling off of the bound man. "See? I'm going to get you out," he repeated to the trembling mass.  He angled his flashlight, trying to get a glimpse of the captive's face, but it was hidden beneath his arms.  


"Dammit," Sam muttered, noting that the wrists were bound together in an ancient-looking pair of handcuffs. "I don't have a key for those cuffs but I'm sure we can pick that lock. My brother has a lock pick kit. He's upstairs. Please," he said as he finally managed to sever the rope, "Come with me. We can help you."

Still, the man made no attempt to move. 

The smell in the room was seeping through his makeshift mask, making Sam's eyes water. He was fighting his gag reflex every few minutes, and the man's stubbornness was making him a bit impatient.

"You're probably too weak to even walk, huh?" Sam realized. "Alright. I'm going to pull you out of there, and I'll carry you up the stairs." He wasn't even sure if the man could hear him, but he kept talking in a soothing voice just in case. He grabbed hold of the man's elbow and tugged, and despite his growling and thrashing, he managed to pull him out of the cage.

"Please," Sam continued as the man continued to flail, kicking and making loud, incoherent noises. It was almost as if he were speaking in tongues, but it was a language Sam didn't quite recognize.

"Let me carry you," he insisted. "I'm not going to hurt you. They can't hurt you anymore either. I promise."

The thrashing slowly ceased, followed by a long, low wail and the man began sobbing. Sam still wasn't sure if the frail figure had heard him or if he'd just exhausted himself, but he took the opportunity to scoop him up and start up the stairs.

The man had a petite frame, several inches shorter than Sam, and was scarily easy to carry since he was nearly skin and bones. He was still hiding his face behind his cuffed arms as he trembled and shook violently in Sam's arms. The bawling, along with the pained, frightened noises were so heartbreaking, Sam was tearing up himself by the time he reached the top of the stairs. Dean and Cas weren't back yet and he needed more light to assess the man's injuries, so he stepped out the front door and walked toward the Impala.

The bony figure yelped as the cool air hit them, and Sam wasn't sure if it was surprise or fear, so he began quietly talking again.

"Haven't been outside in a while I guess... I know it's cold. I'm sorry. I don't have any extra clothes with me. You can have my flannel once we get those cuffs off. In the meantime, I think there's an emergency blanket in the trunk..." He managed to open the car door without setting the man down, then coaxed him gently into the back seat.

"Easy," he crooned. "You're okay. Just lie here a minute and I'll grab you that blanket, alright?" The man was clearly too weak to run, so Sam opened the trunk and located the thin metallic emergency blanket.

"Well it's not super comfortable," he said, "but it will warm you up." He shook out the foiled sheet and covered him, noting that the man was still hiding his face behind his arms.

"Really, you don't have to be embarrassed. Those were some evil, evil people. I can't even imagine what you've been through. But they're gone now, and... Hey, do you want me to get that collar-thing off of you?"

There was no response, but the trembling had subsided a little, so Sam walked around the other side of the car and opened the door nearest his head.

"Please..." He gently grabbed the man's wrists and lifted them away from his face, intending to remove the collar, but what he saw in the dim overhead light of the car made him pause. That face looked so familiar... but it couldn't be. It was pale and gaunt, and the recent stress to his body made it look older than it should. Still, the moment he locked on those honey-colored eyes, there was no doubt in his mind.

"Gabriel?"

Chapter Text

"Holy shit. Gabriel! I thought you were d..." Sam paused at his choice of words.  "I mean, when did you... How did...? Shit!"

Gabriel had covered his face with his weary arms again, cowering and hiding his head from any potential blows.

"Whoa.  Hey.  You know I'm not going to hurt you, right?" Sam asked, confused by this response. The angel still hadn't spoken or even shown any signs of recognition. "You... know who I am... right?" he asked awkwardly.

Gabriel didn't respond.  Instead, he lay there, head covered and flinching each time Sam made a move.

"Okay.  I'm getting that damn collar off of you, at least," Sam said firmly.  "Move your arms for me." He grabbed Gabriel by the wrist, and immediately, the smaller man whimpered and flailed as he tried to cover his head again.

"Shhh, shhh, shhh," Sam soothed.  "What the hell have they done to you?" he murmured.  "Look, I don't know if you recognize me... hell, I don't even know if you can hear me, but my name is Sam Winchester.  We've met before. My brother's name is Dean. Do you remember Dean Winchester?"

Gabriel just looked away, his chest rising and falling as he panted in fear, and if he weren't so weak, Sam imagined he'd be running away by now.

"Dean will be here in a minute, okay?" Sam continued. "He's not going to hurt you either. I promise. And your brother, Castiel.  You remember Cas, yeah?"

For the first time, the smallest glimmer of recognition flashed in those golden eyes.  Gabriel frowned as if he were trying hard to remember something, but almost immediately he snapped back to the present moment.

"Alright. I'm going to take that off now," Sam repeated, talking to him as if he were a scared animal.  "You're okay."  He inched his hand closer to Gabriel's neck, and Gabriel flinched again, but this time, he closed his eyes, bracing himself for a blow that never came.  

"Shhh.  It's okay... Is that a fucking shock collar?" Sam murmured.  He fiddled with the strap of leather, using his key to undo the padlock on the front, then he gently lifted Gabriel's head and slipped it off, wincing at the raw, reddened flesh beneath it.

Gabriel's eyes slowly opened, and he stared at Sam in confusion.

"I told you," Sam whispered. "You're safe." He tentatively stroked the angel's hair as he met his gaze, hoping his eyes could express what his words weren't. He fully realized he was treating Gabriel like he would an abused dog, but anything more than that seemed to frighten and upset him.

"Hey, I thought we were going to meet up on the main floor.  I almost went into that disgusting basement looking for y..."

"Shhh!" Sam spun around as Dean's voice called out behind him and he quickly tried to shut him up.  Gabriel had bolted up, huddling against the far door of the Impala as Dean shoved around Sam to get a look at the cowering man's face.

"What the hell is going on? Who is that?"

Sam motioned for him to lower his voice. "He was in the basement. In a cage."

Dean frowned and squinted curiously at the foil-covered lump. "What the hell are we going to do with him? Drop him at the hospital, I guess?"

Sam shook his head and stepped away from the car, quietly closing the door behind him. "Dean... It's Gabriel."

"Gabriel who? Wait. Gabriel, Gabriel?" Dean exclaimed.

"Yeah. Lower your voice! He's practically catatonic," Sam hissed. "I'm not sure he recognizes me, I even don't know if he can hear me... I keep talking but he hasn't said a word. He's fucked up, Dean. In every possible way. I don't know what they did to him, but it's bad."

Dean's brow furrowed in concern. "Cas can fix him, I'm sure. He's still inside looking for you... are you sure it's him? We saw him die, Sammy."

"Well, how many times has Cas come back?" Sam shrugged. "Hell, how many times have we?  It's him.  But he's not himself."

"Huh." Dean rubbed at his temples as he tried to process this information.  "But why the hell would he be back?  And why would Cas not know about it?  I'm going to go find him..." Dean turned around, and smacked directly into Cas, who had appeared out of nowhere behind them.  

"Hello Dean," Cas said casually as Dean sputtered and tried to pretend that hadn't just happened.  "I see you found Sam.  I guess we can head back to the bunker."

Sam nodded.  "Yeah, but first, I need you to heal someone. He's in the car. It's... It's Gabriel."

"Gabriel?" Cas shoved through them and threw open the car door. "Gabriel! What happened to you?" he asked in shock, jaw gaping in disbelief. 

Sam grabbed Cas by the collar of his trenchcoat and yanked him away, a move he probably would have reconsidered if he were thinking straight.

"Wait," he hissed, closing the door again, leaving a frightened Gabriel trembling in the back seat, and Cas shooting daggers. "Keep your voice down. He's messed up, Cas. I don't even think he remembers who I am. He might remember you, but you need to be quiet and be gentle with him. He's obviously been through hell." Sam sighed.  He knew he was acting awfully damn protective over someone he barely knew, but he couldn't help it.  He'd always been a bit of a bleeding heart. Hell, the one time he hit a dog with his car, he wound up adopting it.

Cas nodded. "You're right. I'm afraid my anger may have clouded my judgement. But Sam, he's damaged far beyond my capabilities for healing. He's an Archangel, I'm just a lowly Seraph. It would take my entire garrison to even begin to repair him, and that's just his physical health."

"So what the hell can we do? We can't just leave him like this!"

Cas shook his head. "No. Of course not. He'll heal on his own, but it will take time.  We'll just do what little we can until then. I can try to heal him a bit at a time, and you can help me mend his vessel's wounds.  Right now, he needs a safe place to heal, so he'll stay in the bunker," he said matter-of-factly.

Dean's brow furrowed as he looked back and forth between the two of them. "Wait, don't I get a say in this?"

"No," Cas and Sam replied in unison.

Dean sighed. "Fine. Let's just get on the road. I'm starving."

Cas nodded and slowly opened the back door again. "Gabriel," he said quietly. "Do you remember who I am?"

Gabriel shied away, but he stared curiously at Cas as he spoke.

"We're going to take you home. Can I sit with you?" He inched his way into the car, but quickly backed away as Gabriel began frantically trying to find his way out of the car.

"Okay, okay," Cas hushed.  "Well," he said turning back toward the brothers, "what are we going to do about that? I could forcibly take him and meet you back there I suppose."

"Let me try," Sam insisted. "He was calming down for me a minute ago."  Cas stepped away and motioned toward the door.

"Gabriel?" Sam asked in a hushed tone. "I'm going to sit down, okay?" Ever-so-slowly, he lowered himself into the seat, and thankfully, Gabriel didn't move; instead he just stared, a look of uncertainty creasing his face. Sam closed his door as quietly as possible, and motioned for Dean and Cas to get into the front seat.

The ride back to the bunker was long, and for Sam, it felt much longer than it should have.  Gabriel never stopped starting at him, watching suspiciously as if he were waiting for Sam to make a move, and bracing himself for the worst. Despite Sam giving him as much distance as he possibly could, they sat there locked in an awkward staring contest most of the ride home. 

"Dean?" Sam finally asked, desperate to break the silence between them. "Do you have the key for angel-proof cuffs with you?"

"He's cuffed under there? Yeah, I guess he'd have to be," he mused. "Nah, it's back at the bunker."

"Alright," Sam sighed.  He turned back toward Gabriel. "We'll get you out of those soon," he promised.

It was late when the Impala finally pulled into the bunker's garage, and even though Gabriel looked absolutely exhausted, he was still wide awake, watching everything in his paranoid state.

"I guess I'll grab some pillows and stuff for the couch," Dean said as he stepped out of the car.

"Thanks," Sam replied, "you can go to bed after.  I'll get him settled in."

Dean nodded and turned toward the stairs, and Cas hung behind, trying to sneak a better look at his practically feral brother.

"Gabriel?" Sam said softly. "We're going to go inside now. I'm going to carry you upstairs, okay?" He walked around the car and opened Gabriel's door, pausing as the angel scrambled to sit up straight.

Again, he cowered as Sam reached in and scooped him up in his arms, but Gabriel didn't fight this time. Instead, just he just whimpered and hung his head weakly, as if accepting his fate.

"Alright. You're okay," Sam whispered. "Let's go.  Can you get the doors, Cas?"

"Of course. But I can carry him for you, Sam..."

"I got him. He's not heavy," Sam grimaced as he started up the staircase.

Gabriel had begun trembling again by the time they hit the landing, and Sam continued speaking to him in a soft whisper.  He realized his efforts were fruitless, but it was the only thing he could think of to soothe the skittish angel.

Down the hallway to his bedroom, he carried Gabriel with Cas trailing closely behind, asking questions every few seconds.

"Where are you going?" he asked in concern.

"I'm taking him to my bedroom. He'll be more comfortable on the bed. Besides, he'll probably feel better if he has a quiet space to hide out. We're always downstairs doing research and stuff."

"Yes. I suppose you're right," Cas nodded thoughtfully. "But Gabriel isn't like me, Sam. He's used to eating, sleeping... I don't think he'll feel comfortable sharing a bed with you."

Sam grinned for the first time all evening. "I'll be sleeping on the couch, Cas. Get the door for me?"

"Oh. Right," Cas said sheepishly. "The couch." He opened the door to the bedroom and Sam lay Gabriel gently on the bed, flipping a small throw blanket over him for some modesty.

"Alright, let's get those cuffs off. Cas, could you go ask Dean for the key? I have no idea where he put it."

Cas frowned, not sure if he should leave his brother just yet, but Sam seemed to have him under control.  He nodded curtly and headed downstairs to find Dean.

The moment Cas left the room, Gabriel let out a long sigh. He kicked his blanket off and clumsily struggled to roll himself onto his stomach despite his cuffed wrists.  Turning his face toward the wall, he shoved his ass up in the air and waited.

"What are you... oh. Oh god. No, no, no," Sam said softly. "I-I don't want anything from you. Come on. Turn over." He coaxed Gabriel onto his back again and tucked the blanket back around him.

Gabriel squinted up at him in bewilderment, and once again, Sam instinctively began stroking his hair, as if he were calming a dog afraid of a thunderstorm.

"We're going to figure this out, alright?" he murmured. "We'll find a way to fix you somehow." He still didn't know if he was getting through to him, but he was mostly just trying to convince himself anyway. It didn't matter that he'd never been Gabriel's biggest fan. No one deserved the torture the angel had been through.

Even after all these years, he still held the tiniest grudge toward the former trickster for making him relive Dean's death a few dozen times.  Still, everything Gabriel had done, he'd done for his family, and Sam couldn't exactly fault him for that. God knows he'd done things he wasn't proud of to save his brother.  But when push came to shove, Gabriel chose what was right over his warring family's politics, and in the end, he'd paid the ultimate price. He couldn't help but admire the archangel for that. Certainly Gabriel was flawed, but in many ways, he and Sam were a lot alike.

Sam was perched gingerly on the edge of the bed, still murmuring and patting Gabriel's hair, when Cas finally returned with the key.

"I'm sorry it took so long. Dean was grumbling to me about you sleeping on the couch.  I also attempted to make Gabriel some food but I guess I don't really know how to cook," he sighed. "I started a small fire and then Dean made me get out of the kitchen. He said he'll bring up some food."

"Thanks Cas," Sam smiled. He took the key and turned toward Gabriel again. "Can you give me your wrists?" he asked, not expecting a reply, but talking nonetheless.

Timidly, Gabriel held out his arms for Sam to examine.

"You can hear me," he murmured in surprise. He beamed at the angel for a moment, and quickly unlocked the handcuffs.

A small huff of awe escaped Gabriel's lips as the cuffs fell away and he blinked dubiously at Sam as he examined the chafed, reddened skin.

"Jesus, you must have been wearing those a long time."

Without warning, Cas stepped forward and pressed two fingers to Gabriel's forehead, causing the frightened angel to go scuttling to the far edge of the bed.

"Gabriel," Cas frowned. "I'm just trying to heal what little I can..." he drifted off as Gabriel curled up in the fetal position and began trembling in fear again.

"Cas," Sam interrupted, placing a hand on his shoulder as he noticed the hurt look on Castiel's face. "There's nothing too urgent that you have to take care of tonight. Let him get settled in. You said yourself that it's going to be a long process. We can try again tomorrow, okay?" he said, guiding Cas toward the door.

"Yes. Of course," Cas nodded sullenly. "I just don't understand why he's so frightened of me," he said, trying to keep his voice down.

Sam shrugged sympathetically. "It's not just you. He's frightened of everything right now."

"Not of you."

Sam paused for a moment, pondering why the hell Gabriel was responding better to him than Cas. After all, Cas was his own brother.

"He's still scared.  But maybe he's just a little less scared of me because I pulled him out of there. I'm not even sure he knows who we are, Cas.  Whatever it is, he'll come around. Don't take it personally.  I'm just going make sure he eats, and see if he'll let me clean him up. If not, I'll just let him rest tonight."

"You're probably right," Cas sighed. "I'll come back in the morning to check on him. You'll call me if you need anything?"

"Of course.  Promise."

Cas nodded and turned away, and before either of them could say another word, he was gone.

As he doubled back toward Gabriel, Sam sighed again, thinking of how very small and frail he looked huddled beneath that blanket. While Gabriel had never been large in stature, he carried himself with an air of confidence that bordered on cocky. He was an archangel, after all. There was a big personality in that small package, and seeing him looking so broken and helpless made his heart ache. At least he had calmed down a bit now that Cas had left the room.

"So..." Sam started. "I don't know how to tell you this, but you could really use a shower," he said, wrinkling his nose. "Can I clean you up?"

Gabriel peeked slowly from beneath his blanket, and he gave the tiniest nod, making Sam break out in a wide grin.

"Good! Oh god, I am getting through to you," he murmured. "Okay, let's um..." He paused, suddenly trying to figure out how to not make this weird. "I could uh... Honestly, it'd be easier to put you in the bathtub. Are you okay with that?"

All of this stress was clearly wearing on the weary angel, but he nodded again.

"Awesome," Sam smiled. "I'm going to run the bath. Just stay here and rest for now, okay?"

Sam started down the hallway to the bathroom, relieved to see the tiniest bit of acknowledgment from his new charge. He turned on the water and adjusted the temperature, making sure it wasn't too hot, and then began digging through the bathroom cupboards for some supplies.

The bunker was equipped with several bathrooms, but Sam had claimed this one as his own. The biggest selling point was the long soaking tub, one that was even long enough to accommodate his tall, moose-like frame. Dean could tease him all he wanted, but there was nothing better after a long hunt than relaxing with a good book while soaking his sore muscles.

He took a gallon-sized jug of Epsom salt from the cupboard and dumped some into the bath, then located his favorite shampoo. Usually he kept it hidden since he wasn't willing to share, but Gabriel needed all the help he could get. After laying out a towel, washcloth, soap, and shampoo, he turned off the faucet and started back toward the bedroom.

"Hey, where's Cas?"  Dean's voice stopped him in his tracks, and Sam turned to see his brother holding a tray of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

"Oh. He left. He'll be back in the morning. Is that for Gabriel?"

"Yeah. Why don't you just let him crash in the living room? You're too damn tall to sleep on the couch. He's short. He won't exactly mind."

Sam shook his head. "He needs his own space. You saw him. He's terrified. It'll be quieter up here."

"I guess," Dean said, shoving the tray of food at him. "Look, I hope he gets better too, but if Cas says there's nothing we can do, there's nothing we can do. He said he'll heal himself.  Don't go thinking you're gonna fix him in a day, alright?"

"What?  Why would you say that?"

Dean rolled his eyes. "Because I raised you?  He's not the pigeon with the broken wing that you brought home, or the kitten with the broken leg, or the sick baby squirrel that you stayed up feeding all hours of the night. He's an archangel, Sammy. If Cas says he needs to heal himself, then there's nothing you can do, so don't stress yourself sick over it. I know how you get."

Sam frowned. "I'm still going to take care of him, Dean. He's scared shitless. If I can't help him physically, maybe I can help him trust us at least."

"I still say leave him alone and he'll come around on his own," Dean sighed. "I'm going to bed, Sam. I suppose you can keep your little pet, but you have to promise to clean up after him," he smirked, turning around and striding of to his bedroom.

Sam rolled his eyes. It wasn't that Dean lacked compassion, he just had a hard time showing it to anyone but his little brother sometimes.

"Gabriel?" Sam called as he neared the bedroom, doing his best not to startle him. "Your bath is ready, but Dean made you some food first. You hungry?"

Gabriel's eyes widened as he stared hungrily at the sandwiches, and Sam suddenly wondered how long it had been since he'd last eaten.

"Let's prop you up a bit, hmm?" Sam suggested. He grabbed every pillow from the bed, and one at a time, he lifted Gabriel enough to shove them under his head. With a final adjustment, he maneuvered him to a sitting position, and set the tray on the nightstand next to him.

"Here," he said, handing him half of a grilled cheese sandwich.

Gabriel frowned at him suspiciously.

"Yes, it's for you. Eat."

Slowly, the angel raised the morsel to his mouth and took the tiniest bite, eyes still fixated on Sam.  When he realized Sam really intended for him to eat it all, he shoved the majority of it into his mouth, barely taking the time to chew before he swallowed. He inhaled the last bite and licked his fingers, then longingly glanced back over at the tray.

Sam smiled and offered him a glass of ice water from the pitcher Dean had thoughtfully added, and Gabriel guzzled it down in seconds, using two hands to steady the glass. Sam refilled the glass for him again and again until the pitcher was almost empty and Gabriel let out a sigh of relief.

"Better?" Sam folded the legs down on the beat-up old TV tray and set it across Gabriel's lap. "Now finish eating and I'll help you to the bath."

Gabriel wolfed down his food, using the soup to dip his sandwiches in when he found his hands too shaky to hold a spoon. He lifted the bowl to his lips and gulped down the last of the soup, then let his head crash back onto the pillows, the tiniest look of contentment crossing his now-sharp features.

"Alright," Sam murmured, taking away the tray.  "I'll get you cleaned up and then you can sleep for a while."  He threw the blanket off and lifted the angel again, carefully carrying him down the hallway to the bathroom. "You're gonna love this tub. It's huge." He took a few steps to brace himself, then leaned forward and deposited Gabriel into the warm bath.

"There you go," he crooned. "God, you look so exhausted. I'll make this quick." He picked up the washcloth and dampened it, then soaped it up and lifted one of Gabriel's arms.

"This okay?" he asked as he began scrubbing.

Gabriel didn't respond, but he leaned wearily against the back of the tub, easily cooperating as Sam scrubbed his arms and chest.

"Mmm." Gabriel closed his eyes and let his head loll forward, the tiniest of groans escaping his lips as the washcloth glided over him.

"Bet it feels good to soak, huh?" Sam smiled as he watched Gabriel's entire body relax.  The poor guy had been through so much. All Sam wanted to do was fix him somehow, but he knew it was going to be a long process before he'd be his old self. Still, this tiny gesture gave him a glimmer of hope.

Part of him was glad he had found Gabriel rather than Dean. Of course his brother would have helped him out, but in a much more passive way. He sure as hell wouldn't be helping him take a bath. Dean could be such a child about things like this. For Sam, this was no big deal; just something that needed to be done. His motions were deliberate and clinical, intended to limit any potential awkwardness between the two of them.  He'd do the same for his brother, or Cas, or anyone else.

Still, it was a probably good thing that Dean didn't help him bathe.  While scrubbing the caked-on dirt from Gabriel's legs, Sam caught a glimpse of angel boner that he definitely could have done without. Gabriel was still lying there with his eyes closed, looking weak and completely unfazed, so Sam did his best to just ignore it.  He couldn't blame the guy for an involuntary body function, particularly when he was already in such sad shape. Hell, judging by his demeanor, he had probably forgotten what touch felt like when it didn't inflict pain.

He gently maneuvered Gabriel up for a minute, just long enough to scrub his back, and he cringed at the long, badly-healed scars flanking his ribs. He'd been so covered in filth earlier, Sam didn't realize just how bad his wounds were. He bit his lip and dampened the cloth again, trying to silently swallow down his anger and disgust.

"You're doing great, Gabe," he murmured, surprising himself as the diminutive form of Gabriel's name spilled past his lips. "How about your feet? They're pretty dirty. Can I wash them?"

Gabriel nodded slightly, raising one foot and propping it on the side of the tub.

Sam gave each of them a proper scrubbing, then kneaded his thumbs into the tender arches of Gabriel's feet, working his way up to his toes then back down to the heels as the angel hummed blissfully. He looked so pained and uncomfortable, Sam figured it was the least he could do. If he knew the guy better, he'd offer to rub his shoulders or something; not like he hadn't worked the knots out of Dean's back a million times before.

"Alright. Let's wash your hair and you go can get some rest," Sam said, picking up a plastic cup and filling it with fresh tap water. He tilted Gabriel's head back and shielded his eyes, just as one might do with a small child, then poured it over his hair. Gabriel flinched, but he sat stone-still as Sam repeated the process again and again until his hair was soaked.

"Can I tell you a secret?" Sam asked, opening his shampoo and squirting a bit into his palm. "I'd usually deny this, but I'm kind of obsessive about hair products. Dean busts my balls about it all the time, and I act like I just wash and go, but I have a whole routine," he grinned sheepishly as he massaged his soapy fingers into Gabe's scalp. He had no idea why he was telling him this, but he suddenly felt like he should keep talking.

"And it's embarrassing, but I'm really picky," he continued.  "Shampoo, deep conditioner, Argan oil, pomade.  It's really a problem.  I buy the expensive shit too, and I hoard it.  I don't share this stuff with just anyone, you know."

He may have imagined it, but Sam was pretty sure that for just a second, the tiniest hint of a smile ghosted over Gabriel's lips.

"I just like when my hair feels nice," Sam shrugged. He continued scrubbing firmly, trying to get all the dirt, dried blood, and musty basement odor from Gabriel's golden-brown hair. "Can you smell this stuff? It has black pepper, sage, leather, tobacco..." He paused to take a deep whiff. "You're going to smell so good."  He worked the lather through once more, then picked up the cup to begin rinsing again.

"There.  I think that's good. Can you pull yourself up, or should I pick you up again?"

Gabriel didn't answer, he just lay there, staring at him blankly.

"Okay." Sam stood and bent down, scooping him up under his arms and knees.  He lifted him out of the tub and set him on his feet, but it had been so long since the angel had stood upright, he had trouble keeping his balance.

"Just hold onto me while I get you dried off," Sam murmured, pulling a fluffy blue towel from beneath the cupboard.  He did the best dry job he could manage with one hand, again ignoring the raging erection, while he wrapped the towel around Gabriel's waist. Yes, Dean would have lost his shit, he thought to himself. Once again, he gathered him in his arms and carried him off to the bedroom. 

He eased Gabriel down on to the bed and turned to his dresser, throwing open the drawers, digging for any forgotten clothes that might be too small on him.  Finding nothing, he returned with one of his old Stanford t-shirts and a pair of comfortable shorts he usually wore for running.

"Well, they'll probably be huge on you, but at least the shorts have a drawstring," he grimaced apologetically.  "Maybe we can cinch them up enough so that they don't fall off.  Here."  He peeled the towel off and threaded Gabriel's feet through the leg holes, urging him to lift his hips so that he could slide them on. He fiddled with the drawstring and tightened it as best he could, knotting it around his emaciated waist.

"I think my boxers would fall off your ass, but this is better than nothing.  You'll just have to freeball it," he chuckled wryly, "Sit up."

Gabriel sat up and Sam repeated the process with the t-shirt, guiding his head and arms into the holes.

"There. Much better, right?"

Gabriel just blinked tiredly and rubbed at his eyes. Once again, he didn't respond, but Sam was just relieved to see he wasn't cowering anymore.  He tugged the covers from under him and pulled them up to Gabriel's chin, giving him a little pat as he tucked him in.

"Get some sleep." 

Sam flicked the lamp off and took a few steps toward the door, but he stopped abruptly when he heard a loud whimper.

"Gabriel?" he hurried back and snapped the light back on to see the angel, curled in on himself, wide-eyed and rocking beneath his blankets. 

"Hey, hey, hey.  Shhh.  It's alright.  Look, I'll leave the light on, okay?  Better?" He reached out to pat him on the shoulder, but he stumbled violently forward when Gabriel latched onto his arm.  

"Fuck," he muttered, catching himself just before he crushed the smaller man with his hulking body.  "You want me to stay?"

Timidly, Gabriel nodded.

"Okay.  I'll stay. Can I shut the light out?"

Gabriel's eyes widened again.

"Okay, okay.  Lights on. Here, I'll uh..." He reached over to pull up a chair, but Gabriel had a death grip on his arm.  "I'll just uh... sit right here," he said awkwardly, kneeling down to sit cross-legged on the floor. "Now, try to get some rest."  He propped up his head with his free arm on the mattress, trying to get somewhat comfortable despite this completely inconvenient arrangement.

Gabriel let out a sigh of relief and finally closed his tired, swollen eyes.

"Goodnight, Gabriel."

Chapter Text

Sleep used to be the only respite Gabriel had.  And then the nightmares started.

After living the dark for so long, the light in Sam's bedroom hurt his eyes, and still, Gabriel couldn't bear to have it off.  As soon as that lightbulb went out, he was right back in that damp basement, chained and cowering, the fetid stench of rotting animal carcasses seared into his nostrils. He was so tired, and yet he dreaded falling asleep, so he would lie awake as much as possible, becoming more and more neurotic by the day.  Despite his best efforts, he occasionally drifted off, but when he did, the nightmares were a special kind of psychological torture.

Gabriel woke with a start, yelling and thrashing on the bed, but to his surprise, this time he could move his arms and legs. He may have escaped the coven, but unfortunately, he couldn't escape the memories.

"Gabriel! You're okay. Shhh..." the tall, dark-haired man was still at his bedside, touching his arm to ground him.

Gabriel looked around the room, trying hard to control his breathing before he started hyperventilating.  He was in a bedroom. Not in a cage.  In a bed, not on the floor. He looked down at his wrists, red and raw, but free of their shackles. His hand reached up and touched his neck, and he gasped in amazement to find that the collar really wasn't there.

"You okay?" the man asked. "No, it wasn't a dream. You're safe."

Sam Winchester. The name sounded familiar, but he had no idea why the guy kept acting like they knew each other. Regardless, this 'Sam' had rescued him from that hellhole and shown him more kindness in the last few hours than he'd seen in months.  He'd even offered himself to Sam last night as a thank you, and the man refused.  That alone reminded him that not all humans were like them. Perhaps foolishly, Gabriel was already beginning to trust him.

Gabriel looked down at chest, still heaving as he tried to calm himself.  The too-big clothes he was wearing looked ridiculous, but he was just thankful to covered again.  He remembered the day two of those bastards decided it was easier to just leave him unclothed. He had woken up one morning sore all over, covered in blood and dirt and bodily fluids, still groggy from whatever potion they had forced on him. Before that day, members of the coven had only stolen his grace, his blood, his hair. They'd cut into him for a scraping of rib, or pulled a tooth, or clipped his nails.  It was bad enough they were using him for their spells, but the day they started using him for their own personal amusement and pleasure was the day the hopelessness set in.  He lay in that cage every night, just hoping they'd go too far, hoping they'd finally kill him.

"Gabe? Err, Gabriel? Hey, there you are. You zoned out on me for a minute. Did I scare you? Sorry, my shoulder was aching, and I just needed to move my arm," Sam grimaced.

Gabriel shook his head.

"Ah. Nightmare then? I'm sorry... If it's any consolation, every last one of them is dead. We made sure of it.  They can't hurt you any more, okay?"

Dead. They were dead? So many nights he had trembled in that squalid basement, thinking of he could just free himself from those cuffs, he would smite them in a heartbeat. He'd always been more merciful than most of his brethren, but he wouldn't have hesitated to make every last one of them suffer.

He feebly rubbed at his face, trying to thwart the few tears that were stinging his eyes, and he was shocked when a loud, gasping sob escaped his throat.  He saw Sam's face contort in a look of panic for just a brief second before the tears clouded the vision. Quickly, he clamped a hand over his mouth to quiet the unexpected sobs. He wasn't sure why he was crying. All those nights he'd never cried, but suddenly, now that it was over, he couldn't stop himself if he tried.

This wasn't like him at all; he was an archangel for fuck's sake. Or at least, he used to be.  They had drained so much of his grace, he certainly wasn't much of an angel right now. He couldn't bear to look at his wings. He could feel how tattered and sickly they were, so there was no point in manifesting them... Not that he was strong enough to do that anyway.

"Can I sit with you?" Sam asked quietly.

Gabriel nodded and sniffled as he choked on another sob.

"Shhhh," Sam shushed as he took a seat on the bed and gently slipped an arm around his shoulder. "Breathe," he reminded him. "I can't even imagine what you've been through.  It's okay to cry it out. Look, if I can do anything, anything at all, tell me, alright? I mean... let me know somehow."

Gabriel took a heaving breath and continued bawling, and before he realized what he was doing, he had thrown his arms around Sam.

"Oh!" Sam gasped in surprise, but he returned the embrace, pulling him in close to his chest. "I know," he soothed, one big hand weaving it's way through the back of his hair, gently rubbing at his scalp. "It's over."

Gabriel stayed there, weeping for god knows what reason and gripping Sam for what seemed like hours.  Somewhere in his mind, he realized it might be awkward later, but for now, Sam was the only comfort he had, and he was going to cling to that luxury for as long as he could.  

"It's still really early,"  Sam said, handing him a few tissues from his nightstand. "Why don't you lie down and try to sleep a little more?  You look so exhausted. I'm not going anywhere."

Gabriel dabbed at his face, nodding doubtfully.  He opened his mouth to speak, but for some reason, the words still wouldn't come out.  As he crashed back down on the bed, he grabbed Sam's arm again, holding tightly to that modicum of comfort.  It was humiliating, really. He was acting like a frightened, needy child. A human child, at that. But none of that mattered.  Right now he was in survival mode, and he was going to hold tight to whatever kept him going.

"Can I lie down here?" Sam asked, rolling his stiff shoulders from the awkward angle of his arm, though he was trying valiantly to hide his discomfort.

Again, he nodded, and Sam slowly swung his long legs up onto the bed, stretching out next to him, but still keeping some distance. "Get some sleep, okay?  No more nightmares.  I'm right here."

Gabriel was tired, but it was the kind of tired he wasn't sure he could ever sleep away. Still, he rolled onto his side and pretended to close his eyes, watching Sam curiously as he tried to will himself to sleep. He still didn't understand why this strange man was being so kind and accommodating.  Part of him thought he must be crazy to trust another human, but he just didn't feel threatened by Sam.

He was still leery of the other two men, Sam's brother Dean, and Castiel. The angel made him particularly nervous. He wasn't an archangel, but he was definitely far more powerful than he was right now.

Castiel.

That name rolled off his tongue so easily. It sounded so familiar, but he was sure he'd never met the guy. Why did they all act like they knew him? Everything was so damn confusing.

He closed his eyes for real this time, clutching Sam's arm and wrapping himself around it.  After so much time in cold, damp, solitary confinement, the warmth of a body next to him felt so good he could cry. He wanted to inch closer, suck up every last bit that body heat, listen to the sound of a heartbeat that wasn't his own. But he wouldn't. He might be a little messed up right now, but he wasn't crazy. He couldn't just curl up next to a random stranger; particularly a stranger who was already humoring him far more than any sane person should.  He couldn't risk losing Sam's kindness by making things awkward. With a final, heavy sigh, he let his body relax again and drifted off.

::::::::::::::::::::::::

Now that he could hear the gentle whoosh of Gabriel's breathing, Sam finally closed his eyes. He hadn't slept yet, and the exhaustion and stress of the day were starting to set in. He'd been sitting on the floor all night, trying to stay as still as possible as Gabriel clung to his arm for fear of waking him.  Though he felt bad about the nightmare, he was also relieved when the angel awoke so that he could shake the pins and needles feeling from his ass and legs.  It was way less painful lying here on his bed, and as long as Gabriel was sleeping, he figured he'd try to get a few hours in too. His arm was locked in that vice-like grip again, so it was hard to really get comfortable, but it still beat sitting on the floor. For someone so weak, he still managed to hold on tightly.

Under normal circumstances, lying in bed with Gabriel would have been weird, but right now, it just felt like the natural thing to do for the damaged angel. He was a nurturer, and once again, he was just thankful that he had found Gabriel instead of Dean. After all, Dean probably would have just let him cry it out alone on the couch.

He was fading in and out of sleep, listening to the faint little sighs of contentment coming from Gabriel as he cuddled with his arm. This was the most relaxed he'd seem him so far, and he hoped like hell that his dreams didn't turn to nightmares again. It was painful to see him so utterly broken, and he wasn't sure he could handle another crying episode.

He fell into a restless sleep, hyper aware of the angel's every little squeak and movement.
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Gabriel managed to get a few good hours of sleep before the nightmares found him again, but when they did, they were relentless.

They weren't really dead. They were coming to find him. Their cruel laughter at the thought of defiling an Archangel, the sneer and the ugly cigarette-stained teeth, the fetid taste of their bodily fluids on his lips...  It was all still there. He was running, or trying to anyway, but his legs were so stiff and sore it was hard to even walk. No matter how many times he thought he lost them, they just kept coming after him, taunting him with threats of drugging and beating, and god knows what else.  He tripped and fell again and again, but this time he couldn't get back up. The ropes were cutting into his ankles again.  He tried frantically to pull them off, but the cuffs suddenly appeared from nowhere around his wrists.  The light of day suddenly became the darkness of the cold basement. He was trapped. Again. And still they were rushing toward him.

"Gabriel," a voice called.

Gabriel shook his head and thrashed, trying to break free of his restraints. He couldn't let them get to him. 

"Wake up, Gabriel," the voice said, louder this time. "You're dreaming. Wake up."

What? He knew that voice.  It wasn't one of their voices. It was softer, kinder... No.  They were trying to trick him.  He wasn't dreaming.  This was too real to be a dream. They were so close now. 

Gabriel screamed, a throaty, heart-wrenching scream, just as his eyes flew open.  He scanned the room frantically in confusion, and it took a few seconds to register that he'd been dreaming.   He was safe.  He was with Sam.  He was panting so hard his chest ached, and those damn tears had sprung to his eyes again.

"Hey.  Come here," Sam whispered.  "Shhhh. You're safe." Sam's arms instantly encircled him, pulling him in close to his chest, and Gabriel wrapped around him like an octopus.

"You're okay,"  Sam whispered again. "You're okay.  I know. It's awful. But I promise there will be a day when things get easier, alright?"

Gabriel nodded, unconvinced, wiping his face on the sleeve of Sam's t-shirt.  He knew he should really show a bit more self-control, but he wasn't thinking rationally.  Every last thought of awkwardness had gone out the window when he woke up screaming. To hell with it. He needed this. If Sam was willing to provide him this comfort, he was going to take it.

"And I'll be here to help you until then. And Dean, and Cas. They aren't going to hurt you either. I promise you." Sam's fingers had made their way to his hair again, stroking soothingly as he squeezed him a little tighter.

"We're going to get you feeling better, okay?  Before you know it, you'll be strong again, playing your pranks and driving us crazy like usual," he chuckled softly.

Gabriel loosened his grip and took a deep breath, not letting go, but determined to at least stop clenching in fear. He was fond of playing pranks. He had spent much of his time on earth as a trickster, after all. But how did Sam know that?  Every single one of them acted like they knew him.  He was slowly starting to realize that maybe they weren't crazy; maybe there was something wrong with him.  He took a few more deep breaths, trying to make the sobs subside.

"That's it," Sam murmured, gently patting his back. "Just breathe."

They lay there in silence, Sam stroking at his hair as Gabriel sniffled and listened to the sound of Sam's heartbeat.  Again he opened his mouth, knowing full well he should at least say thank you, but he just couldn't force himself to speak. Instead, he nuzzled his cheek against his chest like a cat might, hoping he'd at least get the idea.

"You're gonna be okay," Sam murmured. "Cas will be here in a few hours, and he's going to try healing you a bit. You remember how angels heal, right? All he has to do is touch you. Do you think that would be alright?"

Gabriel thought for a moment. The seraph scared him. All he saw when he came near was a signature of grace and a hulking pair of black wings, but if Sam said this Cas guy was okay, maybe he could try it. He nodded slowly.

"Good. And if it's okay with you, I'd like to clean up some of those infected wounds. That one on your side feels red-hot. I'll bet it hurts pretty bad, huh? We'll clean it up and get you some medicine."

Come to think of it, the wound on his side did hurt, but most of his body ached in one way or another.

Sam continued. "Just rest here for now. And in a little bit, I'll go down and make you some breakfast. What do you think? Eggs and bacon? Pancakes?"

Gabriel nodded, perking up a bit.

"Both?" Sam laughed. "Yeah, I can do both. That'll make Dean happy too. He'd have pancakes every day if I'd let him. I'm forever getting on his case about all the junk he eats. I mean, all things in moderation, you know?"

Just listening to Sam talk was so comforting, he could read the phone book and Gabriel would be happy.  Anything was better than that solitary silence he'd become accustomed to. Sam kept speaking to him as if he was carrying on a casual conversation with a friend instead of a mute basketcase, and Gabriel was grateful for that tiny bit of normalcy.

"You should see when we go on hunts," Sam shook his head. "He hoards convenience store junk food. Candy, beef jerky, chips. I'm forever confiscating stuff. In fact... Hold on." Sam pulled away for a moment and grabbed his jacket from the chair next to the bed and produced two king-size bags of m&ms. "Plain and peanut!  You're a candy guy, right?"

Gabriel felt his eyes light up at those yellow and brown packages. It had been so long since he'd touched a piece of candy, that his mouth was watering just looking at them. He must have been practically drooling because Sam began to laugh.

"They're all yours. Have them right after breakfast for all I care... Or now," he grinned.

In a flurry of excitement, Gabriel had already attempted to open the yellow bag, but he fumbled with his damn shaky hands.  He flipped the bag over, as if he might have better luck with the other end, and he floundered some more before he dropped it back on the bed, scowling at at his inability to perform such a mundane task.

"Here," Sam said softly. He took the package and tore the top off, then handed them back to a suddenly grabby archangel.

Gabriel dumped the colorful treats into a small pile on the bed, then picked up a green one and shoved it in his mouth. His eyes fluttered closed as he savored the melting chocolate and a tiny sigh of happiness hummed from his lips.  Everything tasted so much more intense than he remembered.  He wanted to savor them slowly, but that proved to be much harder than he expected. Shoving two and three at a time in his mouth, he sighed happily, pausing only to offer one to Sam.

"Nah, I'm good," Sam grinned, glancing at his alarm clock. "Five a.m. is a little early for me."

With the bag now empty, and his stomach sated, Gabriel crashed back down on the bed, feeling somewhat content.  He stretched out, lengthening his arms and legs and arching his back, enjoying the burning stretch of being able to move freely again.

Out the corner of his eye, he noticed Sam watching him, and he wondered how weird it would be if he curled up to him now that he was no longer crying.  How was it possible that being held by a complete stranger made him feel safe and comfortable?  Oh, wait.  He wasn't a stranger.  Probably.

"What are you thinking over there?" Sam voice startled him, shaking him from his train of thought.  "Ohhh.  Come on," he laughed, holding out an arm. "It's not a big deal. We've been through a lot together in the last few hours.  No sense in being shy. "

Yes, he decided as he snuggled in close again.  He was going to cling to Sam for dear life until he was feeling better.  He just hoped Sam was up to the task of taking care of him, because he sure as hell couldn't take care of himself. He latched an arm around his waist in a possessive little gesture, and nodded to himself resolutely.  For now, this was his human, and he wasn't letting go. At least not tonight.

Chapter Text

Sam glanced in the mirror and combed his fingers through his wet hair. Gabriel had fallen asleep again, and since he had to use the bathroom anyway, he figured he'd take a quick shower before he woke up.  Since he spent most of the night getting their new house guest settled in, he hadn't had a chance to shower after the last night's hunt, and between being covered in witch blood and crawling on that filthy basement floor, he felt all sorts of disgusting.

He knew he should hurry back, so he wrapped a towel around his waist, cursing himself for not bringing clean clothes in with him. Throwing open the door, he had barely taken two steps into the hallway before he startled at a figure slumped over on the floor. 

"Gabriel? Hey. What are you doing?" Sam asked softly, touching a hand to his shoulder. The angel was curled up on himself, knees pulled up to his chest with his face buried in his arms. 

Gabriel looked up, wiping at his puffy red eyes before glancing away again.

"Oh. Oh god, I didn't leave you!  I'm sorry, I just went to use the bathroom and have a quick shower. I was coming right back!"

Gabriel nodded, unconvinced, as Sam offered him a hand up.

"I wouldn't drag you out of there just to leave you.  Come on." He pulled the angel to his feet and steadied him as they hobbled down the hallway.  "Your legs must be really stiff."  Slowly, the awkwardly-dressed hunter and the sniffling archangel made their way back to the bedroom. 

"Did you have another nightmare?" Sam asked as he eased him down onto the bed.  

Gabriel shook his head 'no'.

"Good. I told you, I'm going to stay with you until you're feeling stronger. I promise, I won't leave you.  I'll try to be more considerate when I have to leave the room for a minute though, alright?  Hey, I'm just going to get changed," Sam said, motioning to his towel.  "I'll head back to the bathroom, and..."

Gabriel shook his head and closed his eyes.

"Thanks," Sam chuckled, whipping his towel off, "I'll be quick." He grabbed a pair of boxer-briefs from his drawer and tugged them on, followed by his jeans from last night. Opening another drawer and pulling out a clean t-shirt, he slid it over his head, thinking he'd have to grab a button-down out of the dryer later. 

"That's better. So anyway... Whoa, what's going on?" he asked as he noticed Gabriel grimacing and clutching his thigh. "Leg cramp?"

Gabriel nodded, his teeth clenched in a pained expression.

"Here," Sam said, sitting down on the bed and coaxing him to put his leg out straight. He dug his fingers into his thigh and massaged the twitching muscles as Gabriel groaned.

"I get these every so often if I overdo my runs," Sam said as he worked. "The ones in the quads are the worst, aren't they?  I bet your legs are a mess after not walking for so long," he said as he continued rubbing down both legs, pumping Gabriel's foot up and down to stretch out his calf muscles.  "This is what our trainer used to do when I ran track in college.  It always seemed to help when I cramped up. How's that?"

Gabriel rubbed at his thighs, breathing a sigh of relief.

"You should try to walk a little bit every day now, just to get used to it again. I'll help you.  Now about that breakfast I promised you... are you going to come downstairs with me, or stay here while I cook? Dean will be downstairs. He won't hurt you though."

The angel sighed heavily, torn between staying close to Sam and avoiding Dean.

"Okay.  You stay here, and I'll bring it up. I'll be a few minutes, but I'll come back.  I promise.  Dean and I are the only ones here right now, so no one will bug you."

Gabriel nodded.

"Good.  I'll be back in a few minutes." 

The smell of coffee was already wafting from the kitchen as Sam made his way down the stairs, and his mouth was watering just thinking about it.  It had been an exhausting night, both physically and emotionally, and all he wanted to do was doze off for a few more hours.  Unfortunately, he just couldn't stand to sleep while Gabriel was upset, so he would have to compensate with copious amounts of coffee.  

"Where the hell were you?" his brother greeted him.  Dean had been drumming impatiently on the counter, waiting for the coffee to finish, but he took a break long enough to lay into him. "I made up the couch and you never came down."

"Oh. I slept on the floor in my room," Sam lied, realizing that sleeping in the same bed as Gabriel half the night would sound completely insane to his brother.  "He didn't want me to leave."

"Hmm.  How is he?"

Sam shrugged.  "He's a mess. Dean, the shit they put him through..." he shivered. "He hasn't even spoken yet, but you can just feel the fear coming off of him. There are burns and bruises and gashes everywhere, he's totally emaciated... and I think they abused him sexually too."

"Jesus," Dean muttered.  "He's still not talking, huh?"

"No," Sam shook his head.  "He's not talking, his hands are shaky, he stumbles when he walks.  I guess from not standing for so long. He cried a lot of the night."

"Gabriel? Cry?"

"Yeah," Sam sighed. "He's really fucked up. I'm not even sure he recognizes us... but I think he's starting to trust me a little. Anyway," he said, digging through the cupboards for the flour. "I'm gonna make him breakfast. You want pancakes? Bacon? Eggs? Hash browns?"

"Uh, all of the above?"

"I knew you'd say that."  Sam took the electric griddle from beneath the counter and turned it on, then started mixing up his ingredients.  "Why don't you start the bacon while I make pancakes?" 

"How come you're making all this shit for Gabriel, yet you get on my case when I want pancakes and bacon?"

"Well," Sam said, pouring batter onto the hot griddle. "First of all, you eat like shit all the time. It would be different if it were once in a while. And if you haven't noticed, Gabriel's been starved for god knows how long, so he can eat whatever he wants right now."

"I guess," Dean frowned, abandoning his coffee in favor of cooking.  "So what's the plan here, Sammy? We're just going to keep him here until he recovers?  Not to sound insensitive here, but it could be months!"

"What choice do we have? You heard Cas. He needs a safe place to heal. What safer place for a wounded angel than the bunker?"

Dean stared hungrily at the bacon as he lay a few slices in the pan.  "I guess. I can just see you falling into that injured baby squirrel mode already and he hasn't even been here a day. You're a good person, Sammy.  Too good sometimes. Taking care of a person, er, an angel is a way bigger deal than a squirrel.  You know how caretaking takes a toll on you. Cas said he'll heal on his own. I have no problem with him staying here or feeding him, but you can't be there twenty-four seven, or you'll go nuts."

"I'm fine.  He just got here last night, Dean! I told you, he can't even walk right. He's going to need a little more help than leaving him in a room for weeks. What would you do if it were Cas?"

Dean scowled as he shoved the bacon around with a spatula.  "I'm just saying, don't overextend yourself."

"I'll be fine. Now get out of my way so I can make the eggs."

 

Precariously balancing a tray with Gabriel's breakfast, along with some syrup, coffee, and juice, Sam made his way back up the stairs.

"Gabriel?" he called softly as he neared the bedroom door. "It's just me."

Gabriel was sitting up in the bed, scratching at his thickly stubbled jaw when he entered.

"Breakfast!" Sam called. "I hope you're hungry."

Gabriel nodded eagerly, his eyes trained on the food.

"Here," he said, setting the tray down on the bed. "Bon appétit." He moved the liquid items to the nightstand next to them so they wouldn't spill, and Gabriel dug in wholeheartedly.

"You know, I can help you shave if you want," Sam said thoughtfully. "I mean, you can do it yourself if you want to, but I know your hands are kind of shaky.  If you need help..."

Gabriel rubbed at his chin again and nodded.

"The stubble isn't as bad as I would have expected for as long as you were gone. I'm surprised you don't have a full-blown beard.  Wait, I thought you guys didn't need to shave?"

Gabriel sighed and shrugged before finding solace in a stack of pancakes.

"Well, we'll take care of it if you want.  You look a bit less pale today at least," he noted.

Gabriel was too busy gorging himself on his breakfast to answer, so Sam decided to leave him alone for a while. He sat down in the chair across from him and picked up the book he'd been reading, skimming through it as he watched the angel pack away more food than he imagined possible for his small frame.

When he had finally cleared all of the plates, Gabriel reached for the juice on the nightstand, and he guzzled it down, then he lay back down and curled up on his side, sighing blissfully at the feeling of a full stomach.

"Are you full enough?  Do you want anything else?" Sam asked.

Gabriel shook his head 'no'.

"Alright.  Let me get this stuff cleaned up, and then, I was thinking I'd take a look at that gash on your side. Would that be okay?"

Gabriel lifted the side of his t-shirt, frowning at the red, infected wound.  He tentatively poked at it and flinched, nodding to Sam.

"I know. I bet it really hurts.  Give me five minutes, okay?   Sam gathered up all the dishes and hauled them back down to the kitchen.

When he returned a few minutes later with a first-aid kit, Gabriel was lying in bed with his shirt pulled up to his armpits, ready for Sam to set to work.

"Alright," Sam said, sitting on the edge of the bed.  "I hope I can do something with this. I'm sure you're not really up to a hospital or anything..." He opened the kit and slipped some rubber gloves onto his hands, and then wiped down the area with an alcohol pad. "I'm going to have to give this a little poke and drain it, okay?  It might hurt, but it'll feel better once we get it all cleaned up."

Gabriel sighed and nodded his head.

"I know, buddy," Sam hummed sympathetically.  "You've been through enough pain. But if we don't take care of it, the pain will just get worse."

Gabriel nodded again.  He steeled his gaze toward the wall as Sam took a small scalpel from his bag.

Sam wiped down the blade with another alcohol pad and inched in closer.  "Don't watch. It won't be that bad, but close your eyes anyway, okay?"  He waited for Gabriel to close his eyes, then carefully sliced a half-inch long nick in the top of the skin.

Gabriel yelped as he felt the blade puncture his skin, but still he kept his eyes closed, clenching his fist in the pillow.

"Shhh, I know," Sam murmured, noticing that the angel was trembling again.  "It'll just take a minute..." He gently pushed on the area, dabbing up the infected goop with a pile of gauze pads.  "You know, it's..." he started, but he abruptly stopped talking.  "Gabriel?"

Sam wasn't quite sure what changed, but he could sense something was wrong.  Gabriel was still trembling, his hands balled up into tight fists on the pillow, but his body had also tensed considerably.  As Sam drew back, Gabriel whimpered and lashed out, then immediately shielded his head again as if waiting to be hit.

Sam rubbed at his thigh where Gabriel had made contact with him and gently grabbed his wrist with the other.

"Hey," he said softly, pulling his arm away from his face.  "Gabriel.  Open your eyes. Look at me."

Cringing, Gabriel opened his eyes, and he clamped a hand over his mouth in apology as he recognized Sam.

"It's alright.  I'm sorry. I guess having you close your eyes while I poke at your wounds wasn't the best idea, huh?  Nothing like throwing you into flashbacks," he sighed.  "I'm sorry. I'm apparently not very good at this.  Can I finish cleaning this up?"

Gabriel took a deep breath and nodded.

"Okay. Eyes open this time.  Just look away. It's kinda gross." Sam pressed and pinched the area, expressing as much of the fluid as he could. "You're doing great," he encouraged as Gabriel fixed his eyes on his face. "The worst is just about over." He dabbed away the mess and took a small can out of his kit.

"This is just saline solution, okay?" he said, holding the can up for Gabriel to read before turning back to his work.  "You know, I used to clean wounds with peroxide, but I've read that can kill healthy skin tissue. Not sure how true that is, but if it'll heal faster without it, there's no harm in just cleaning it with saline. The good thing is, it doesn't sting like peroxide either." He paused, suddenly wondering why he was explaining these trivial things, especially to someone who didn't talk back.

"I know you don't want to talk right now, but am I annoying you by rambling about stupid stuff like this?"

Gabriel shook his head vehemently.

"No? Well that's good at least. I don't know why I keep talking... Anyway, I'm just gonna spray this a few times," he said as he did his best to clean out the wound. "And then..." He dug through the first-aid kit again and located a small tube. "A little antibiotic ointment. This is the pain relief one, so hopefully it'll help a bit." He smeared some of the product into the cut and covered it up with gauze and tape.  "Okay. All done."

Gabriel looked down at the bandage on his side and sighed in relief as Sam packed his supplies back into the kit.

"You did great. I'm sure that hurt like hell. Here, take this," Sam said, handing him a tiny, white pill.

Gabriel frowned and shook his head.

"It's just an antibiotic. I can't tell how deep that infection goes, but I think you should take it for a few days, just in case."

Glaring at the pill as if it had bit him, Gabriel huffed nervously.  He looked up at Sam with wide, imploring eyes.

"Gabe," Sam stopped packing up his bag for a moment, intentionally making eye contact.  "I'm not going to force you to take it.  I'm asking you to.  Please. I promise, it's just an antibiotic. I know you're used to healing yourself, but your vessel needs some healing you can't provide just yet. You don't want that infection spreading.  Please, just take it."

Slowly, Gabriel nodded, eyes never leaving Sam's as he put the pill in his mouth and washed it down with the last of his juice.

"Good," Sam hummed. "You're doing really we..."

"Sammy!"  Dean's voice bellowing up the stairs made him pause mid-sentence, and the reminder that they weren't the only ones in the bunker made Gabriel jump.

"Yeah?" Sam stood and walked to the door, sticking his head into the hallway.

"Cas is here."

"Oh, thanks.  Send him up."  Turning back to Gabriel, he noticed that the angel was trembling yet again.

"Remember what I told you about Cas?  He won't hurt you. He's a friend.  He's just here to help," Sam said, sitting down on the bed next to him.

Gabriel nodded and took a deep breath.  He sat up straight on the bed, setting his jaw determinedly, but the moment Cas entered the room, he turned into a quivering mess again.

"Hello, Sam. Hello, Gabriel." Cas's voice was softer than usual, and his motions were slow and careful this time.  He took a few tentative steps into the bedroom and closed the door behind him before sitting down in the chair across from the bed.  "How is he?"

"He's..."  Sam thought for a moment, glancing over as Gabriel clutched at his arm.  "He's doing better than I hoped, all things considered.  He's not talking, but he can understand us, can't you, Gabe?"

Gabriel nodded, not taking his suspicious eyes off of Cas.

"He's eating well, and he let me clean him up last night.  And a few minutes ago, he let me clean that gash on his side.  He's having some awful nightmares, but I guess that's to be expected."

"Mmmhmm," Cas hummed.  "I can sense much of what they did to him.  I can feel the fear... and his wings..." he trailed off sadly.  "Our wings are an indicator of health and power, and his are in terrible shape."

Gabriel's face contorted in shame and he subconsciously shifted closer to Sam.

"Gabriel," Cas said, "can I try healing you?"

Clutching Sam's arm even tighter, Gabriel took a shaky breath, and he looked to him for guidance.  

"Please.  He won't hurt you," Sam whispered. 

With one last deep, trembling breath, Gabriel closed his eyes and nodded.

Chapter Text

Gabriel heard Sam's soothing voice whispering to him as Castiel came closer, and before he could change his mind and pull away, he felt two fingers press firmly against his forehead.

A warming sensation and a flash of light filled his body, and suddenly his limbs felt heavy and relaxed. The strangest thoughts began racing through his head: thoughts of his family, of a house...  his house?  A brief glimpse of a little brown and white dog, a large keyring, a drab-colored janitor's uniform.

Cas pulled his hand away and the flow of memories stopped. Slowly, Gabriel let go of Sam's arm, squinting hard at the angel in front of him. He was sure he knew this 'Castiel', but how?  There was a sudden, vague familiarity about him, and it gave him just the slightest sense of ease.

"I don't know how much good it did, but I can try again tomorrow," Cas said. "Unfortunately, it depletes me to do much more than that for now."

"That's okay, Cas. We'll just do the best we can."

Cas nodded. "He's very comfortable with you. That's good I guess..."

"Yeah.  Aw, don't worry. He'll remember you. I still think he just latched on to me first because I was the one who pulled him out of there. Look, he's already calmer with you around. I'm sure things will only continue to get better," Sam said, turning back toward Gabriel. "You'll remember Castiel soon, won't you? After all, he is your brother. And frankly, the best one of the bunch. He's a good man. Err, angel?"

Castiel was his brother? How could he not remember him?  Gabriel adored his family. Despite his siblings' constant bickering, he would do anything for them: Uriel, Raphael, Michael... and Lucifer and... as the last two names crossed his mind, another vague memory started to form; Michael and Lucifer fighting for... something. The sudden thought that Sam was connected to his brothers somehow washed over him, but try he might, he couldn't remember any more.

"Are you alright?" Castiel asked, shaking his concentration.

Gabriel nodded, and tentatively reached out, placing his hand on top of Cas's. Why couldn't he remember?

"You're remembering something," Cas mused. "Sam's right.  It will all come back to you.  And we're going to take care of you until you're feeling better," Cas assured him, patting Gabriel's knee with his free hand.  "I have a feeling you're still a bit uncomfortable with me around though, so I'll leave for now. I'll be here in the bunker with Dean if you need anything," he said, giving Sam a sad little smile. "I'll be back to check on you."

"Thank you, Cas," Sam said. "Don't worry. He'll be back to his old self soon."

Cas nodded silently and exited the room.

"We have to get your memory back," Sam murmured he sat down on the edge of the bed. "How did that feel? Did you feel anything?"

Gabriel nodded, still staring hard as he tried to figure out how he knew the tall man in front of him.

"Why are you looking at me strangely all of a sudden? You remembered something, didn't you? Do you remember me?"

The angel ran a hand through his disheveled hair, gripping it in frustration. He could feel himself scowling again, and he shrugged helplessly.

"Hmm. Well, don't worry. It's a good sign if bits are coming back to you already. It might take time, but it will happen. Don't get discouraged."

There was something so comforting about the way Sam spoke to him; so confident and encouraging. It was hard for Gabriel to feel this weak and helpless in front of anyone, but he was thankful that Sam didn't treat him like the fuck-up he was. He hadn't even flinched when he wrapped himself around him and bawled last night, an act that was both humiliating and awkward.

"Sooooo. Um. Do you want to be left alone? I don't want to keep bothering you if you need some space. I can leave and come back in a few hours when it's time for lunch if you want?"

Gabriel felt his heart rate quicken at the thought of Sam leaving him.  This morning when he awoke alone, he had flown into a wild panic. After he had stopped crying and rocking on the bed, a little habit he'd developed in that cage as an attempt to calm himself, he'd ventured out into the hallway to find him.

He hadn't made it far.

The lights were too bright and it was all so big and overwhelming that he just gave up, slumping down into a pathetic lump on the floor.

He looked up at Sam, who was still patiently waiting for an answer and he shook his head firmly, latching onto his arm again in the process.  He'd been alone for far too long, and he wasn't emotionally prepared for it to happen again.  Not even for a few hours.

"Alright," Sam smiled warmly. "I won't leave. I do have to go to the bathroom again though. Will you be okay here for a minute?"

Gabriel grimaced. He'd been holding it for almost twenty-four hours now, but he didn't know how to tell Sam he needed to go. The walk down that hallway alone was frightening, and he wasn't even sure he could make it that far with his constant stumbling. He bit his lip in embarrassment and pointed to his crotch and then the door.

"What? Oh! Shit, do you have to go? I didn't think angels had to... Uh. Yeah. Come on. I'll help you to the bathroom."

Usually Gabriel didn't have to belittle himself with things like urinating. He could usually just snap his fingers and wish it away, but with his grace being so depleted, he was practically human. He was much more aware of his vessel's needs these days. Prior to this, he ate and slept simply because he found it enjoyable. Now, he had to out of necessity. He hadn't experienced pain like this before either. As an archangel, not much could hurt him, but now his entire body ached and whined with every little movement.

Sam slipped a shoulder under his arm and helped him out of bed, then wrapped his other arm around his waist. "Alright. Come on. Left foot, right foot..."

Every muscle in his legs burned and strained as they made their way down the hallway, and he held Sam tightly for support. His knees buckled a few times, but slowly, they made their way to the bathroom.

"Here you go," Sam said tentatively as he walked him to the toilet. "Are you okay from here?"

Gabriel nodded, determined to at least manage this simple task on his own. He held onto the back of the toilet and Sam stepped into the hallway to wait for him.  He was able to pull his shorts down with his free hand, then he maneuvered himself to an awkward sitting position. It wasn't the most dignified thing in the world, but at least he could do this on his own. He sighed at he relieved himself, but he quickly realized that standing up might be more difficult.

Frowning, he tried to wedge his hands underneath him to push up off the seat, and he had almost managed to stand when his right knee buckled, sending him sprawling face-first onto the ground. He grunted and hit the floor with his fist in frustration. He couldn't let Sam see him like this, face planted on the floor with his pants around his ankles, and his ass in the air.

"Gabriel? You okay?" Sam jiggled the door handle and popped his head in. "Oh shit. Let me help you up."

Those burning little tears of humiliation had sprung to his eyes again, and Gabriel did his best to blink them away. Fuck, he hated feeling so helpless. He let Sam help him to his feet, and he grabbed desperately at his shorts, tugging then up onto his hips. Though he was trying hard to avoid looking him in the eye, Sam turned his chin in his direction anyway to be sure he hadn't smashed his jaw.

"I think you're okay," he murmured. "Did you hurt yourself?"

Does my pride count?  Gabriel sulked to himself, though to be honest, he didn't have much pride left.

Sam led him to the sink to wash his hands, and Gabriel drew back in disgust at his own reflection in the mirror.  The dark circles under his eyes and the frown lines on his forehead made him look older than he remembered. His cheeks were ugly with tear tracks, and his red nose was raw from rubbing it, the ruddiness a stark contrast to the dark, thick facial hair he was now sporting.  Sam handed him a towel to dry his hands, and then without warning, he scooped him up in his arms. It felt strange now that he was more coherent, and yet, as he carried him back to the bedroom, Gabriel found himself wrapping his arms around Sam's neck, burying his face in his shoulder for comfort.

"Don't worry about it," Sam whispered. "I should have waited for you."

Poor Sam was already doing way more than anyone should be expected to, and still he needed more help.

Helpless.  Useless.

The words kept echoing through his head, fighting with the tiny part of his ego that kept reminding him he was an archangel. Well, he used to be.  He'd been so confident and cocky back then. It wasn't long ago, but it was already hard to remember what that felt like. He was feeling sorry for himself again, and as Sam lay him down on the bed, he couldn't bring himself to let go.

"Whoa!" Sam laughed as he stumbled forward, nearly falling into bed with him. "You want me to lie down with you?"

Gabriel nodded meekly.

"I can do that," Sam smiled and crawled in next to him. "You gonna to try to sleep some more?"

Though he was tired, sleep was the last thing on his mind right now. He didn't want the nightmares coming after him when he was already feeling this sad and pathetic. And lonely.  After all that time alone in a cage, all he wanted was to be held.  That was a strange feeling. Even prior to this, he'd never really been a 'being held' kinda guy. Sam had been accommodating so far, but he still wasn't sure how he'd react if he tried to curl up to him again.

"Come on, " Sam coaxed, as if reading his mind again. "Get in here."  He held his arm out again and Gabriel lunged at the opportunity to snuggle in close. He felt so safe and small in the larger man's arms, and he was already craving Sam's scent every time he wandered too far.  That smell, of his coveted shampoo, and his clean, woodsy cologne, mixed with his own faintly musky scent was intoxicating and comforting at the same time. It was the scent of safety, of kindness, of food and shelter, and something strangely like home. Sam was his lifeline, and he was clinging to him with all his might.

He breathed in deeply, rubbing his cheek against Sam's chest again as if he were a cat, and Sam was his catnip. Talking still seemed difficult, and he didn't know how else to show his gratitude, so for now, this strange display of affection would have to suffice.

"I did not expect you to be a cuddler," Sam chuckled, playfully ruffling his hair. "You've always been so snarky and cocky... Don't get me wrong, I don't mind.  I'm actually pretty comfy."

Gabriel just continued rubbing against him until he tired of it, then rested his head on Sam's chest, again just enjoying the warmth and the sound of someone breathing next to him.  He lay there for a long time, not quite asleep, but not entirely coherent either.

When Castiel returned with lunch a few hours later to find them in the same position, it wasn't just Gabriel who startled this time.  Sam scrambled to sit up a little, while Gabriel just scrambled to get closer to Sam.

"Oh, uh, hey Cas.  I know this probably looks weird, but..."

Despite sensing how awkward this situation was, Gabriel wrapped possessively around Sam as Cas took a few steps forward.

"Sorry to interrupt," Cas said, setting a tray of food on the nightstand. "But Dean wanted me to bring this up to you. Is everything okay?" he asked, wrinkling his brow in confusion.

"Yeah um, heh," Sam laughed nervously as he tried to sit up, but Gabriel's octopus grip pulled him back down.  "We've been sleeping this way.  He keeps having these nightmares, and uhh.  I don't know, it calms him down."

Cas looked back and forth between the two of them and frowned skeptically. "Do you think it's wise to..."

"Does it look like I could stop him, Cas?" Sam laughed, trying unsuccessfully to pull away.

My human.  Don't tell me I can't hold onto my human.  He didn't care if Castiel was his brother, he could fuck off of he was trying to keep him away from his human.

"Hmm. Well, if it makes him feel more secure, I guess," Cas shrugged. "He does seem more content than earlier. He seems to be reverting to his slightly more angelic side. It's... well, a bit more wild and animal-like. Have you noticed that as well?"

Sam sighed and thought for a moment. "Yeah, sometimes.  Sometimes he's okay, other times he seems... I don't know. Feral, almost. Like he was so accustomed to abuse, he just shut down. Just basic functions, no talking. Even still, I know I'm getting through to him. And he trusts me, at least a little. I know he'll pull through."

Feral?  He knew he wasn't acting like himself, but was he really that far gone? Yes, he supposed he was. He was caught somewhere in limbo between his own thoughts, in which he felt like himself, and his irrational actions.

"I mean, the Gabriel you and I know would probably not be so clingy and possessive, huh?"

Cas agreed.

"But, I figure he's been through a lot of trauma, and we both know well enough how much that can change you. So it's okay. He'll come around. If he needs to hold onto me to feel safer, I'm going to let him."

Castiel stared at him thoughtfully. "You're very kind, Sam. I can't imagine Dean doing the same."

Sam snorted with laughter. "Yeah. Dean would freak the fuck out. He's not very secure in his masculinity, nor is he touchy-feely.  We're just sleeping.  It's not like we're making out up here," he said, rolling his eyes. "But uh, don't tell Dean anyway. He's so upright."

"Yes, he certainly can be. I was thinking, Gabriel. After you have lunch, I'd like clean up your wings. So many broken and twisted feathers... And they're very dull. They could use a good oiling."

Just thinking about his wings filled Gabriel with a sense of shame. Cas might be able to see them, but he sure as hell didn't want Sam seeing them in their current condition. That would be mortifying.   As a general rule, angels didn't show their wings to humans at all, except as a scare tactic or during mating, so it would be embarrassing even in their normal condition.  He frowned at Castiel and shook his head.

"Gabriel," Cas said calmly. "You know as well as I do that new feathers won't grow until we take care of the ones you have.  The broken ones that are no longer connected to their blood source need pulled to encourage new ones to grow. We're trying to heal you as best we can, but your wings need attention first."

He knew this was true, but it was just so damn humiliating.

"Gabriel?" Sam asked softly. "Can Cas and I please work on your wings? We'll do it now and get it over with."

Gabriel swallowed hard. It was one thing for Cas to touch his wings, but Sam?  It wasn't like a human had never touched his wings before, but that was during sex. He could be naked all day long and it wouldn't bother him much, but whipping out his wings  for a stranger would just be awkward.

"Gabriel?" Sam asked again. "Can you spread your wings for me?"

Cas covered his mouth, trying not to laugh at Sam's inadvertent innuendo, and Gabriel turned red to the tips of his ears. "Sam. I may need to do this one on my own. Humans touching angels' wings can sometimes be construed as... sexual in nature."

"Wha...Oh!  Shit.  Um.  It is?"

"Well, it can be.  It's generally reserved for people we're close to: Family, a close friend.  And there are erogenous zones, which obviously are reserved for lovers.  Humans generally don't know where the erogenous zones are on wings, of course."

"Oh. Well what if you just tell me where they are and I'll avoid them?" he asked, looking at Gabriel.  "Would that be okay?"

Gabriel sighed, looking back and forth between the two of them. His wings were itchy and uncomfortable, and he did slightly trust Sam more than he did Cas right now. He nodded and closed his eyes, trying his best to manifest them, but he couldn't even manage to use the tiniest bit of grace.  

"Let me," Cas said. He touched a few fingers to his forehead and Gabriel's scraggly wings unfurled around him.

His face burned at how disgraceful he looked, and Gabriel hung his head, too ashamed to make eye contact with either of them. He could see his formerly golden feathers, looking drab and ratty, sticking out in all directions. From the corner of his eye, he saw Sam staring in a mixture of awe and sorrow, and he suddenly wished he could disappear like he used to.

"Hey." Sam's hand touched his chin and he looked up into those soft, concerned eyes.  "Don't worry.  We'll fix them."

Gabriel closed his eyes and nodded sadly, trying to hide the fact that his stupid eyes were watering again. He nuzzled against Sam's hand, taking in what little bit of comfort he could manage.

"He really trusts you," Cas murmured in amazement.  "Now, you should avoid the base of his wings, the underside closest to his body, and the oil gland here," he pointed, "Aside from that, just be gentle. We'll need to pull the badly broken ones, and straighten out the bent ones. His wings probably aren't producing much oil, so I'll use mine and we can condition his feathers and get the barbs all zipped together again."

"Barbs?"

Cas nodded. "See how this one looks like there's a chunk missing? It's just separated. If you just run your fingers over them, they'll sort of zip themselves back together like Velcro." He demonstrated, coaxing the bits of feather back into shape. "They'll look better once we get them oiled."

"Okay. So uh, I'll start on this side, you start on that one?" Sam said, stretching one of Gabriel's wings out to further inspect the damage.

"Sure." 

Gabriel sighed again as two pairs of hands picked and plucked at his feathers. He couldn't deny that it felt good, but the shame and the awkwardness of it all was making him feel a bit nauseated. He closed his eyes and focused on the sensation, trying to remember when he was a fledgling and Lucifer used to preen his feathers for him.

"You have to stop playing tricks on everyone, Gabriel, or you can't complain when they retaliate," Lucifer said as he worked his hands through sticky, syrup-covered wings. 

The memory was almost enough to bring a smile to his face. He let the warmth of that moment flood over him, and relaxed his wings.

"That's it," Sam murmured. "Just relax. We'll be done in no time. Your feathers are so soft... I don't know what I was expecting, but I've never touched angel wings before. I didn't expect them to be beige either for some reason."

Cas nodded as he zipped a long flight feather back into shape."Wait until we oil them. They're dull and dingy now, but Gabriel has always had the most beautiful wings. I used to envy him as a fledgling. I hated my boring, black ones. When I was very young, I once tried to paint mine to look like his," he smiled wistfully. "Of course that was a disaster. I couldn't fly they were so caked with paint. Gabriel must have scrubbed my wings for hours trying to get it all out. He was still learning how to control his power back then. These days, he could just snap his fingers and it would all be gone... or, at least, he will be able to, once he's healed."

As he listened silently, letting the hands massage and caress his wings, Gabriel's mind flashed to a young, dark-haired fledgling with haunting blue eyes; of running his fingers through short black feathers, picking out burrs and bits of twig. It couldn't be... His eyes flew open as he glanced over his shoulder.

Cassie.  Castiel.  'Cas'. 

Frantically he searched his memory as tiny bits and pieces started coming back to him.
Castiel.  How could he possibly have forgotten Castiel?

Violently snapping his wings back, Gabriel turned and threw himself at his stupefied baby brother, knocking him onto his back as he wrapped him in a huge bear hug.

"Gabriel?" Cas asked, glancing at Sam in confusion. "What are you..."

The tears were flowing again, but this time they were tears of joy, tears of relief.

"I think he remembers you," Sam smiled softly.

Gabriel nodded and pulled away long enough to smile at him before lunging again.

"You do," Cas murmured, closing his eyes and smiling as he embraced him. "Gabriel," he breathed. "You're safe, brother. I'll make sure of it."

If Castiel was here, he really was safe. He'd found no reason to not trust Sam, but deep down, he couldn't help being a bit paranoid, wondering when that kind facade might be stripped away. He pulled back, still sobbing and wiping at his eyes as Castiel patted his shoulder.

He could see Sam beaming at the two of them, his light green eyes sparkling in a way they hadn't before.

"Do you remember Sam?" Cas asked quietly.

He didn't. Not quite yet. But he kept seeing Sam's face flash through his mind in bits and pieces. He saw him at a diner, at a motel, at a hospital... The memories kept swirling, trying to form a coherent picture, but they just wouldn't come to a head. Still, if Castiel trusted Sam, then he could trust him too. He turned, squinting in concentration at that kind face yet again, wishing it would come to him.

"That's okay," Sam assured him. "It'll come."

Gabriel nodded.

"Now, why don't you let us finish your wings so that we can eat some lunch? Looks like Dean made his famous burgers," Sam said.

The two wings unfurled again, and Gabriel relaxed this time, giving in to the gentle strokes and caresses. Closing his eyes, he sighed happily and stayed as still as possible until every feather was smoothed back in place with the help of Cas's preen oil.

"Wow," Sam breathed as he stepped back to examine their work. "They're gold."

Cas nodded and smiled. "They're even prettier in the sunlight." He touched Gabriel's arm and the wings disappeared. "Now, you two have some lunch, then rest a bit more. You still look exhausted.  I'll be back in a while to check on you. I've decided I'll stay here in the bunker until you're well again. Just call if you need me," he said, crossing the room and giving a final smile before closing the door behind him.

"I'm glad you remember Cas. It was breaking his heart that you didn't remember him," Sam smiled, handing him a loaded cheeseburger on a plate.

Gabriel accepted it gratefully and took a huge bite, moaning at how good it felt to sink his teeth into a burger again.

"Dean really makes a good burger, doesn't he?" Sam said, again making pleasant conversation. "He doesn't cook often, but when he does, it's pretty damn good."

Gabriel nodded in agreement.

"Can I tell you a secret?"

The angel shrugged.

"I think Dean and Cas have a thing for each other."

Gabriel's eyes widened.

"I know, right?" Sam laughed. "Dean acts like he's God's gift to women, but I think he's overcompensating."  He shrugged.  "Oh, I definitely think he's into women, but I think he's into men too.  I've suspected for a while, but he doesn't seem to want to tell me.  I don't know why he's so uptight about it.  I could be wrong, but I really think there's something going on between those two...  Anyway, when we're done eating, maybe we can watch TV for a bit. Get a little noise in here?"

The thought of just relaxing and watching television seemed so utterly normal, Gabriel could cry again. But he wouldn't. Not this time. All this crying was exhausting.

Sam removed their empty plates and propped himself up on the bed so that he could see the TV better, then he turned his attention to Gabriel's pillows, fluffing them as he encouraged him to sit back.

Gabriel shook his head, still reeling from the events of the morning. Right now, he needed to be closer than that, so he curled up in a ball on the bed, using Sam's thigh as a pillow.

"As long as you're comfortable," Sam chuckled, playfully fluffing his hair. He picked up the remote control and started flipping through channels.

With the calming scent of Cas's preen oil on his wings, and the feeling of safety and protection from Sam, Gabriel was feeling pretty comfortable.  After spending so many days in silence, the soft noise of the television was a welcome treat. He'd always been a little more human than most angels; eating, sleeping, lying around watching TV on the couch... His couch. In his home. His brief memory from earlier was true - he'd had an actual home.

The memories were coming faster now, swirling and clicking into place without having to think, and each new piece of the puzzle made him want to share his excitement with Sam. He stared blankly at the television, only half-watching as a million visions flooded over him.

"Ugh. Dr. Sexy," Sam's voice interrupted his thoughts. "Dean loves this show. I don't get it," he muttered, changing the channel again.

The picture on the television kept changing; a drug commercial, a sitcom, a hokey daytime game show, and suddenly Gabriel grabbed his head and yelled at the flood of memories hitting him all at once.

"Gabriel?" Sam's voice cut through the confusion clouding his brain and Gabriel rolled onto his back, looking up at those concerned seafoam green eyes.

"S-Sam?"

Chapter Text

Sam Winchester. He'd been cozying up to Sam fucking Winchester?

Gabriel scrambled to sit up, staring at him in disbelief.

"Hey, hey, hey," Sam shushed, completely bewildered by his sudden panic. "Everything's okay. What's going on?"

Gabriel swallowed hard, feeling his heartbeat quicken. This couldn't be happening. How could he be this damaged and broken in front of Sam Winchester?   He was embarrassed by his neediness to begin with, but in a matter of seconds, his anxiety had increased tenfold. 

Why the hell would Sam be so damn nice to him?  They hadn't exactly seen eye-to-eye most of the times they'd ran into each other. Well, to be fair, it was his own fault for trying to force the brothers into being apocalyptic vessels for Michael and Lucifer. He'd put Sam through hell for it too, forcing him to relive Dean's death over and over again. He'd seen the error of his ways, and he'd helped them out in the end, but he had a feeling killing someone's brother wasn't something you got over quickly.

"Come on, I know you can talk now. Say something," Sam urged, grabbing his wrist.

But he couldn't. The words that kept forming in his head were buried by the crushing shame and embarrassment.

"Alright," Sam sighed.  "I'm guessing you remember me."

Wide-eyed, Gabriel nodded.

"Good.  So what's the problem? You still know I'm not going to hurt you, right?"

It was true that he didn't think Sam was going to hurt him.  It was just... weird.  Sam had held him, bathed him, touched his wings. All of that was just way too intimate and embarrassing considering their past history.  Tears were prickling at his eyes yet again, and he turned his head as he tried to will them away.  God, what was wrong with him?  He was crying at every little thing lately. 

"I get it," Sam said quietly as he flipped the TV off.  "You're embarrassed. You're used to being all powerful, waving your hand when something happens that you don't like. Well I'm sorry, but you can't do that right now. You're stuck with me.  And trust me, you could do a lot worse.  I promised that I'd take care of you until you're feeling better, so suck it up and get over yourself already."

Gabriel huffed angrily. He wished he could just disappear right now. Or at least storm away.  Who was he kidding?  He could barely even walk. 

"Look, I can go downstairs if you want. Like I said before, if you want some space, I can sleep on the couch. I just thought you'd be more comfortable here than down in the living room with us going in and out all the time."

Gabriel felt the muscles in his face twitch as he tried to hold his indignant glare. So much for accepting his situation. He knew he couldn't stand being alone yet and it pissed him off. How the hell could Sam just humor him like this?  Weren't male humans generally upright about physical contact with other males?

"Want me to leave?" Sam repeated.

Sighing, Gabriel shook his head. Regardless of how awkward it was, the thought of being left alone again was too overwhelming, even if he was safe.  He lay back down on the bed and rolled onto his side, too ashamed to even look at Sam.

"Alright. Silent treatment. Gotcha."  Sam lay down next to him and crossed his arms.

Gabriel lay there stewing for a few minutes, listening to the deafening silence until it became too much to bear. "Why did it have to be you?" he finally blurted, his voice gravelly and ragged from lack of use.

"Ohhhhh, he speaks!" Sam chided. "Why me? Why not me? Have I not been decent to you since you got here? You're the one who didn't want me to leave. You're the one who has been cuddling up to me! And you know what? I don't mind if it makes you feel better. Just don't be shitty to me now because your pride is hurt."

Frowning, Gabriel curled up into a ball and closed his eyes. "Just go," he murmured as a few errant tears slipped down his cheeks.

"Fine..." Sam started to get out of bed, but he paused.  "No, you know what? You just told me you didn't want me to leave..." He inched closer until he was pressed against Gabriel's back, and tightly wrapped an arm around his waist.

Gabriel shifted uncomfortably.

"What's wrong with this if it makes you feel safer?"

"Sam, it's weird," Gabriel managed, fighting with the voice in his head telling him to just take whatever comfort he could get.

"Why?  You didn't think it was weird an hour ago."

He knew it didn't make any sense. Sam was the same person he was before he remembered him.  No.  Before he was his human, the random human who saved him from that hellhole and protected him from the nightmares.  Now he was Sam Winchester.  
 As an archangel, Gabriel didn't have many regrets, but hurting Sam so deeply in the past was one of them.  Not to mention, he had a reputation to uphold.  He'd always been a bit arrogant around the hunters, and to humans in general, so being so weak and frail was an enormous blow to his ego. 

"Why are you being so nice to me?" he uttered weakly.

"Because you're hurt, and I want you to get better.  That's it.  No hidden agenda."

"But you could have just dumped me up here and fed me every once in a while!  Why have you been humoring me like this? Who in their right mind lets someone just randomly... I don't know... snuggle with them?" The word felt dirty on his lips and he grimaced as he thought again about how weak and pathetic he'd been.

"What does it matter?  If you want it, why question it?" Sam shrugged.  "I guess I'm not as hung up about platonic touching as most guys are. I thought angels were above all that bullshit?  Like I told Cas, we're just sleeping and watching TV.  It's not like we're fucking up here."

Gabriel felt his cheeks flush as he continued staring at the wall, feeling the warmth and comfort of Sam's body behind him.  Why did he still feel like he needed this? This was so fucking embarrassing.  It probably didn't help that he'd always found Sam ten shades of good-looking either.

Abruptly, Gabriel pulled away and sat up, inching his feet onto the floor.

"What are you doing?" 

"I'm going to take a piss," he snapped.

"Let me help you."

Gabriel shook his head vehemently. "You've helped enough!  I'm not totally incapable!"

"Okay, okay," Sam sighed.

Gabriel groaned as he pushed up off the bed and Sam lunged forward to catch him as he tried to steady himself.

"I'm fine!" Gabriel growled, yanking his arm away.  "I can do this on my own!"

Silently, Sam pulled away and let him stumble toward the door.

Perhaps inevitably, it only took a few steps before his leg buckled, and it sent him sprawling once again, face-first on the floor in front of Sam. Gabriel growled in anger but he didn't move. Instead, he lay there panting as he tried to calm himself.  Why was this happening to him?

Without another word, Sam's arms scooped him up and began carrying him down the hallway again.

"Shhhhh. I know. Just relax," Sam hummed as the silent sobbing began again.

He was fooling himself to think he could do any of this on his own.  Sam Winchester or not, he needed help. Gabriel wrapped his arms around Sam's neck, resting his head against his shoulder and weeping for what he swore would be the last time, for his pride, for his wings, and for what he used to be.  He made a promise to himself that he would be that Gabriel again. Eventually.  But for now, he had to surrender his pride and let that base, feral part of him take over, no matter how difficult it was.

Sam gently placed his feet on the floor in front of the toilet again and let him get his balance, and he turned around to give him a modicum of privacy.

Not like he hasn't seen everything already, Gabriel moped to himself. He quickly sat down before his wobbly legs sent him hurtling to the ground again, but this time when he needed to stand, he didn't force himself.

"Sam?" he asked weakly.

"Yeah, buddy, I got you," Sam said, reaching for his hand to pull him up and steady him while averting his eyes.  Gabriel fixed his pants with one hand, flushed the toilet, and sighed as Sam helped walk him to the sink.

"Well," Sam said as Gabriel washed his hands.  "How about that shave I mentioned? We could do that now since we're here. Maybe trim your hair up a little? It's almost as long as mine," he noted. "You might feel a little better if we get you cleaned up and looking like yourself again."

Gabriel stared at his reflection, frowning at the wild tangle of hair and the short, scraggly beard. He was as big a mess on the outside as he was on the inside. 

"Thanks," he muttered sheepishly.  He let Sam dab at his eyes with a wet washcloth and then lift him up onto the counter.

Sam dug through a drawer and pulled out a pair of clippers, and then, turning to the cupboard next to him, he located a rolled-up hair-cutting kit.

"You'd almost think you've done this before," Gabriel said wryly, closing his eyes as Sam came at him with a spray bottle, spritzing his hair down with water.

"I lived on the road most of my life. Didn't always have time or money to go to a barber, so yeah, I learned to cut my own hair. I did Dean's too for a while. I can't do anything fancy, but trimming I can do."

"I see."  Gabriel sat very still as Sam combed through his hair.

"You were gonna make some smartass comment, weren't you?"

"Me? Never."

"Mmmhmm," Sam hummed. "Trust a guy with your deepest, darkest secret and see what happens?"

"The fact that you're obsessed with your hair? If that's your deepest, darkest secret, you're not living right, kiddo."

Sam grinned. "There's the Gabriel I know. Hold still."  Over and over he ran his hands through Gabriel's hair, dragging pieces through his fingers and snipping off the ends. "Your hair is really soft," he murmured.

"Must be that special Sasquatch shampoo."

"Good to see you can still be a pain in the ass through all of this," Sam quipped with a smile.

The quiet snipping of scissors and the hypnotic brush strokes were enough to lull Gabriel to sleep. Or at least, they would be if he weren't suddenly so self-conscious.  All of this grooming was such a foreign concept to him.  He'd never had to cut his hair or shave before, and all of the stroking and personal attention was giving his vessel goosebumps.  He closed his eyes and let Sam work, trying hard not to think about the fact that he might be getting a bit aroused.

When he heard the metal clink of the scissors finally rest against the counter, he tried to turn around to check himself out in the mirror, but Sam stopped him.

"Nope, no looking until I'm finished. I still have to get rid of that beard."  

Gabriel sighed and closed his eyes again, enjoying the attention, but wishing for it to be over at the same time.  Ten minutes later, after clipping, and lathering, and shaving, Sam wiped the excess shaving cream off his face and finally let him turn around.

"Not bad, huh?" he said with a lopsided grin.

Gabriel stared blankly for a moment, trying to process how much relief was flowing through him from something as simple as a haircut and a shave.  He looked a little tired, but otherwise he looked like himself again. He ran his hands over the smooth skin of his jaw and sighed softly.  "Not bad at all."

Sam nodded. "So much better. Now, do you wanna go try watching TV again for a while?"

He still didn't understand why Sam was bending over backwards for him, but he supposed he had to suck it up for a while and accept the help. It wasn't like he had much choice. Sam was right; He knew from experience, there were a lot of worse places he could be.

"Yeah...  But we're watching Dr. Sexy.  If you can help me stumble my sorry ass back there, that is."

Sam smiled. "Of course."

Chapter Text

 

5:02 a.m.

The red glare of the alarm clock taunted him as Sam tried to fall back to sleep.  It had been a rough night.  He'd only been sleeping for about an hour before Gabriel awoke in a screaming panic, swinging his fists hard enough to give Sam a good bruise on his upper arm before he snapped back to reality.  Despite his flippant attitude during the day, in those frightened, vulnerable moments, Gabriel let his guard down; the snark was gone, leaving only a quivering, sobbing mass that was more than grateful to curl up in Sam's arms.

Usually when he was awake this early, Sam would go for a long run. He'd been in the bedroom for far too long this week since Gabriel still didn't like being left alone, and his body was beyond restless. Dean had been on his case for days to go on a hunt or at least come downstairs more, and though a tiny part of him wanted to leave the house, the other was thoroughly immersed in taking care of the sick angel.  Cas was still staying in the bunker, and he'd temporarily taken over Sam's role on hunts, so he wasn't too worried about Dean.  Still, it was strange being home and doing nothing for such a long period of time.

At least, he supposed, he was comfortable.  Once again, he was spooned up behind Gabriel with an arm wrapped around his waist, listening to his gentle snoring. It had been a long time since anyone has shared his bed, and though this was completely different, it was still strangely soothing.  He yawned and stretched for a moment before cuddling up again, burying his nose in Gabriel's hair and breathing in that clean shampoo smell he loved so much.

"What are you doing?" a sleep-heavy voice suddenly grumbled.

"Hmm? Nothing. Why?"

"You were clearly sniffing my hair."

Sam chuckled softly. "I'm sorry, it smells good."

"Hmmm. Must be that shampoo again. For a minute, I thought you were falling for me or something."

Sam snorted. "You wish."

They lay there silently for a few minutes, Gabriel still trying to fully awaken while Sam rested his tired, burning eyes.

"Sorry I kept you awake again," Gabriel finally murmured.  "I hate this."

"I know you do.  I'm sorry."

"Everything.  I hate all of it," he continued.  "I hate feeling pain.  I hate not being able to heal myself. I hate stumbling. I hate having to piss and shit and shave.  I hate the nightmares and feeling so damn scared... This isn't me, Sam. I'm supposed to be stronger than this."

Sam sat quietly for a moment, trying to figure out what to say. "I'm sorry. I know this is hard for you. But you're safe, and you're healing. All of the physical wounds and the menial tasks are just temporary."

"What about the fact that I'm a bit of a basketcase right now?"

"That'll take a little longer," Sam responded honestly. "But it will get easier." He tightened his grip around Gabriel's waist in a reassuring half-hug.

"I really misjudged humans. You're a lot stronger than I ever gave you credit for."

"Hmph.  I don't know. Some days I feel like I could take on the world.  Other days life beats me down and I feel insignificant and frail. Maybe it's the same for angels."

"Maybe," Gabriel said, unconvincingly. "Sam, I owe you a big apology."

"For what?"

"You know what. Dean? Trying to force you into all that heaven drama? I never really apologized for..."

Sam shrugged. "That was a long time ago. Let's not dredge that up. I get why you did it. You love your family. Family makes you do stupid things sometimes. I'm embarrassed to say that the Winchesters have sold their souls, or at least tried to, on multiple occasions. Anything to save each other, you know?"

Gabriel nodded slowly. "Well, doesn't make it right in my case. For what it's worth, I am sorry."

"Well, apology accepted. Besides, you figured shit out and helped us stop a full-blown Apocalypse. You died trying to save humankind. That kind of makes up for it," he chuckled.

Despite Sam's weak attempt to lighten the mood, Gabriel continued rambling on somberly.  "I heard what happened to you afterwards. I'm sorry. What I've been through is probably nothing compared to what happened to you in the cage."

"I try not to think about it," Sam flinched. "That gets easier with time. It will for you too. Don't minimize what happened to you. Your cage was a different kind of Hell, but it was Hell nonetheless."

Gabriel nodded and sighed.

"Hey," Sam said, attempting to change the subject. "How'd you get back here anyway?"

"No idea. Dad's been screwing around I guess.  I woke up in the middle of a trailer park in Alabama. I remember thinking I'd track down Cas to catch up on things, but my 'angel radar', if you will, was still a little foggy.  So I hitched a ride to Kansas, figuring you two might know where he is. I remember we stopped at a convenience store... I grabbed some candy and I walked out past this big white conversion van. Then things suddenly went dark and I woke up in the basement. I still don't know if they used a spell on me or what.  I think they'd been tracking me."

"Shit," Sam murmured.  "You know, I hate killing humans. I remember feeling bad seeing them all sprawled out dead on the floor.  Then I found you and I suddenly didn't feel so bad."

"Trust me, they deserved worse," Gabriel spat.

"Can't say I disagree. I'm glad you're alright. Well, relatively. And I'm glad you're back. I didn't realize how much I missed your smartass comments," Sam teased.

Gabriel smiled sadly.  "I'm full of shit, kiddo. You know that, right? I'm not nearly as confident as I pretend to be.  I mean, even before all of this."

"I suspected... You're much deeper than I thought you were. It's been kind of nice getting to know you the past few days.  I wish the circumstances were better, of course..."

"Yeah, me too.  I mean, I'd prefer a scenario in which you don't have to help me to the can and all," he scoffed.  "You're generous to a fault, you know that, Sam?  You just spent another night awake keeping me company, holding me for shit's sake, while I cried like a little kid with a skinned knee.  Fuck, you've bathed me, fed me, shaved me!  You don't have to indulge me, you know.  I'll figure shit out on my own somehow."

"I don't mind."

"I know you don't. You don't mind anything!  But you can say 'no' once in a while."

"Gabriel, really, I don't mind.  I told you, whatever you need.  If it helps you heal and feel better, I don't mind."

Gabriel huffed and rolled over, meeting his gaze and staring him down.  "You're too damn nice. People will take advantage of you with an attitude like that."

"Hey, I'm laid back, but I'm not a total pushover.  This just isn't a big deal. I say no plenty of times."

"Really?"  Gabriel frowned.  "Hmph."  With one quick motion, he pushed Sam onto his back and lay on top of him, pinning his arms above his head. "I'm comfortable here, Sam," he said with a smirk.  "Lying here makes me feel so much better."

Sam laughed nervously and licked his lips.  "Now your'e just being an ass."

"No, no.  I feel safer being this close," the angel sneered, letting his full weight press into him.   "You gonna let me just lie here?" he taunted, so close that their noses bumped.

Sam swallowed hard, his eyes locked on Gabriel's as he tried to hide his slight discomfort.  "Whatever you need," he repeated firmly.

Gabriel sighed and let his head collapse against Sam's shoulder as he took a minute to regroup.  "Alright." With every last bit of his strength, he dug his legs into Sam's hips and muscled him over on top of him.

Sam bit back a strangled groan and tried to keep his breathing in check.

"This is much better, isn't it?  I mean, I feel so safe trapped under your giant Sasquatch body.  Maybe we can sleep like this," he snickered.  He wrapped his arms tightly around Sam's torso and hooked his legs under his knees, making Sam hiss through his gritted teeth.

"Okay, I give up!" he grunted.

Gabriel snorted in laughter and released his grip, giving him a little shove as Sam rolled off.  "Lightweight.  Seriously, Sam.  I appreciate everything, but don't let me take advantage of your kindness, alright?"

"Yeah, yeah."

The angel sighed dramatically.  "You're impossible."

"You really like getting under my skin, don't you?" Sam grumbled, his heart still pounding in his chest at Gabriel's twisted game of one-upmanship.

Gabriel shrugged. "Hello? Trickster? Messing with people is what I do."

Sam didn't have a chance to respond, because suddenly there was a knock on the door.

"Yeah?"

"It's Castiel. Can I come in?"

"Of course,"

The door slowly opened and Cas entered with two steaming mugs of coffee. "Hello Sam. Gabriel." He handed each of them a mug as they sat up, and he pulled up a chair. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything."

Sam shook his head. "Of course not."

"What the hell are you wearing?" Gabriel blurted.

"Oh," Cas flushed, glancing down at his faded AC/DC t-shirt and flannel sleep pants. "Dean let me borrow them to sleep in."

"You slept?" Gabriel asked skeptically.

"What else am I going to do while the rest of you are sleeping?  I was bored. It passes the time. That's why I came up, actually. Dean is still asleep, and I was bored. I sensed that you two were awake, so I thought I'd try Gabriel's healing early today. Dean and I will be checking out a vampire nest later, so I don't know when we'll return."

"Alright," Gabriel agreed, setting his coffee on the nightstand. "Just don't overdo it if you're chasing monsters today."

Cas nodded. Pressing two fingers to his forehead once again, he closed his eyes and focused as a bright light filled the room.

As the warm, tingly feeling flowed into him, Gabriel's body began to visibly relax. He let his head fall forward and hummed blissfully as Cas's grace washed over him. Cas held it for as long as he comfortably could, and just as he was about to draw back, Gabriel's wings came springing forth, smacking Cas in the face and almost knocking Sam off of the bed.

Gabriel's eyes flew open and he looked up at the hulking, golden wings overhead. "Cassie?" he asked tentatively. "Did you do that, or did I?"

"I didn't do it," Cas said, clearly as surprised as Gabriel.

"No way..." Gabriel closed his eyes again and took a deep breath, and his wings snapped back and then disappeared. "Holy shit!" he beamed, throwing his arms around Cas's neck. "I was starting to think nothing was happening," he muttered, closing his eyes and sighing with relief.

"The damage done to you was extensive," Cas said, patting him on the back. "It's working, but it will take time."

Gabriel nodded and pulled away. "Thank you, Cas. Without you and Sam, I... I don't think I'd be here."

Cas smiled. "Well I'm glad you are.  I'm glad Sam is here to fill your emotional needs as well."

"What?"

Cas shrugged. "I can feel your emotions when I'm healing you. While I still feel a lot of fear and sadness, overall, you're getting better. I even sense some brief moments of contentment, where before there was nothing."

"I have my moments I guess."

Sam sat quietly listening to their conversation, relieved to hear that Cas could feel him improving.

"I should go see if Dean's awake," Cas finally said. "He wants to be on the road early. Will you be okay if I leave?" he asked.

"Yeah. I uh. I don't think I can be alone just yet," Gabriel admitted sheepishly. "But I'll be fine if Sam's here."

Castiel smiled softly. "Call if you need me. Sam? Thank you for taking such good care of him," he said, patting him on the back.

"Don't worry about us. Call if you need me too. I'll figure something out."

Cas nodded and turned away, and a second later, he was gone.

"Well," Sam started, setting his coffee on the table, "Since you're awake, let me check your bandages. We haven't checked them in a few days and I'm sure the wound needs cleaned."

"Yeah, okay," Gabriel sighed, lying down and rolling onto his good side to give Sam access to the bandage.

Sam dug the first aid kit out from under the bed where he had left it.  He turned to Gabriel and peeled off the adhesive tape, and gingerly pulled away the soiled gauze pad.

"Umm," he laughed, rubbing his fingers over the smooth, unmarred skin. "Guess we don't have to worry about that anymore." He tossed the old bandage in the trash can and closed up the first aid kit again.

Gabriel's head perked up. "It's gone?" He asked in amazement.

"Completely."

Gabriel let out a choked sob-turned-laugh, then quickly covered his mouth to silence it. He jumped up and pounced at Sam, wrapping his arms around his neck and his legs around his hips in pure, unbridled excitement.

"Whoa," Sam laughed. He squeezed him tightly and patted him on the back, easily supporting the smaller man's weight. "I'm excited for you too," he grinned.

Without warning, Gabriel unleashed his wings again, the enormous span of them filling the room. They arched and stretched for a moment, and then wrapped around Sam's back, tightly cocooning him.

"Oh!" Sam yelped, losing his balance as Gabriel threw his weight back, causing him to fall forward on the bed, directly on top of him. While he was still a bit disoriented, Gabriel managed to roll them over, Sam still pinned under him by the enormous wings.

Frantically, Gabriel lunged forward and kissed him on the cheek over and over as Sam chuckled nervously.

"I uhhhh. Guess you're a little excited," he managed, but Gabriel didn't respond. He was grunting and gnashing his teeth, back in feral mode, and seemingly unaware of his actions. His lips latched onto Sam's neck, licking, and sucking, and nibbling little kisses there, causing Sam to whimper softly.  He knew he should try to do something, try to snap Gabriel out of this unlikely mindset, but it was easier said than done. The angel had grown stronger in just a few days, and to his surprise, Sam wasn't exactly hating this.

"Uh.  Gabe," he choked.  "W-what are you doing.  Gabriel?"

Gabriel paused, blinking hard.  "Oh.  Oh shit.   Fuck!  Sam, I'm so sorry!" He struggled to get up but his wings were pinned underneath Sam.  "Uhh.  Roll us over?" he muttered meekly.

Sam muscled him onto his back and Gabriel gasped as the full weight of the hunter pressed him into the bed.  He freed his wings and Sam pushed himself up and off the bed to avoid mashing the already disheveled feathers.

"Sam, I'm so sorry," Gabriel repeated, eyes suddenly wide and fearful.  "I-I don't know what happened. I didn't even realize what I was doing until..."

"I-I know," Sam stuttered.  "It's okay."

"No it's not!  In what world is that okay?"  Gabriel's breath was heaving in his chest and his wings were heaving with him, and suddenly Sam wondered if angels could get panic attacks.  

"You uh.  You're going to leave me, aren't you?" he squeaked, eyes filling up with tears.

He looked so utterly broken and scared again that Sam immediately rushed forward to hug him.  "No, Gabe. Shhhhh. Don't cry. I'm not going anywhere," he said, shoving him back down on the bed while laying on an outstretched wing.  "Look at me," he demanded, lifting his chin to meet his gaze.

Gabriel's red-ringed golden eyes darted to the side, too embarrassed to make eye contact.

"I told you, I'm in it for the long haul. I'm not going to leave you. It was no big deal, alright? Just a lot of emotions from so much good news today. Let's not sully that momentum by stressing over something so trivial.  Hey.  Please look at me," Sam begged.

Gabriel's lip quivered and his nostrils flared, but he sat absolutely still as the tears began to flow.

"Shhhhh. Hey," Sam soothed.  It didn't matter how many times Gabriel had cried in the past few days, every time he started again, it broke Sam's heart.  "I'm not leaving." He used the pad of his thumb to wipe away one tear after another. "Shhhh." Before he could fully comprehend why, he leaned in and kissed the next tear away.  "Please don't cry."  Over and over, he shushed the cries and kissed the tears as they fell, while Gabriel sniffled and sobbed.  He nuzzled against his cheek, kissing away another tear at the corner of his mouth, unintentionally grazing the edge of Gabriel's lips.

Gabriel's sob caught in his throat as Sam paused, his bright green eyes locked on his. The soft, warm breath ghosting against his lips sent a wave of goosebumps up his arms, and his wings fluttered gently as the seconds seemingly stretched on.

"S-Sam?" he croaked.

Tentatively, Sam kissed again, a gentle brush against his lips that made Gabriel huff in surprise. Nevertheless, the angel's eyes drifted closed, and Sam drew him in for a frantic, needy kiss.

Gabriel moaned, once again throwing his arms and legs around Sam's body, clinging desperately as Sam's tongue dominated his mouth with deep, long strokes. 

"Sam," Gabriel gasped, still crying, but laughing at the same time as they pulled away for air.

"No more crying," Sam whispered, trailing soft little kisses down the side of his neck. "You're safe, and I'm not going anywhere. I've got you, alright?"

Gabriel's wings flapped excitedly as Sam went in for another kiss, and instinctively, they wrapped around him again, enshrouding them as they kissed, and nibbled, and teased at each other.

Sam finally pulled away, slightly dazed and breathless.  He had no idea what had just come over him.  He knew that he'd been feeling a little overprotective lately, and though he swore this platonic closeness was no big deal at first, it was clearly changing their relationship.  He'd never thought about Gabriel this way before, but suddenly, he wanted this with every fibre of his being. Still, Gabriel was vulnerable and hurting. He couldn't go doing stupid things like this that might scare him. 

"I uh... Shouldn't have done that, huh?" he asked quietly, backing up off of him again.

"Don't." 

"What?"

"Just don't.  Please don't tell me you didn't want that, because holy shit, Sam, that was..." Gabriel shook his head slowly. "Perfect."

"I uhh..."  Sam rubbed at his temples, still slightly confused by this new revelation.  "I  didn't realize how much I wanted it until just now." 

Gabriel smiled and wiped the rest of his tears away. "So.  What do we do now?" 

Sam shrugged and shot him an awkward grin. "Now, we go have breakfast."

Chapter Text

"Gabriel?  Gabriel!  Wake up!"

It was so dark, Gabriel almost didn't make out the silhouette of the person coming near him until they were fumbling with the lock of his cage. Immediately he was filled with panic, but he knew from months of experience that there was no point in trying to fight anymore. His arms and legs were bound so tightly, there was nothing he could do but lie there while they took whatever they wanted from him. 

"Gabriel!"

That voice. It didn't belong to any of his captors.  He could hear it, but he couldn't tell where it was coming from. Squinting into the inky blackness, he tried scanned the room, but he couldn't locate the source.  He didn't have time to question it, because just then, the lock fell from the cage door, and he screamed in helpless rage as the hand yanked at his chains. 

"Gabriel, it's Sam.  Wake up!"

Sam Winchester's voice called to him from the darkness of the basement and suddenly the horrors of the cage dissolved around him.   He'd been dreaming again.

His eyes flew open as he glanced around the room, wondering what that awful noise was until he realized he was screaming.

"Gabriel, look at me. You're safe. You're okay." Sam's hand caressed the side of his face, forcing him to look in his direction.

Sam. Safe. 

He was still breathing so heavily, he thought his lungs might burst, and even though he knew where he was now, he still couldn't seem to calm himself. Instinctively, he curled up in the fetal position and began rocking back and forth, just like he had done so many times before in the cage.

Sam.  Safe.  He let those two words echo through his mind as he withdrew into himself, eyes wide open so as to not forget where he was.

"Hey," Sam said softly, trying  to coax him to a sitting position. "Come here."

Gabriel began to sit up, but he paused abruptly as he realized something didn't feel quite right.  He looked at Sam and shook his head vehemently. Oh, this was humiliating.  This could not be happening. 

He felt Sam slide in behind him anyway and wrap an arm around his waist, gently rocking with him. "Shhhhh. You're okay," he soothed.

"N-no, Sam, I... I..." he just couldn't bring himself to say it.

"What's wrong?" 

"I..." Gabriel covered his face in his hands. "I ruined your bed," he managed weakly.

"What?"  Sam peered over his shoulder at the wet spot on the mattress as everything clicked into place. "Oh!  Hey, don't worry about it.  We'll get you cleaned up, alright? I'll run you a nice bath and you can relax while I clean everything up."

"I'm so sorry," Gabriel blubbered. "Oh my god, I can't believe that happened. I don't know how I..."

"Relax," Sam hushed him.  "I'm more worried about you than the bed.  Must have been a hell of a dream. Are you okay?" He tried again, pulling him up to a sitting position and wrapping his arms around his chest.

"Yeah," Gabriel sighed, defeat weighing heavily in his voice.  "I'm fine."  He sat there for what felt like hours, wiping silent tears as Sam cradled him like something delicate and precious.

"I already can't remember any of their faces," he finally managed in a strained voice. "And I'm glad I can't, but the thought that I might remember them scares the shit out of me.  It's like some of the details are missing, and yet somehow, that makes it worse."

Sam nodded in sympathy.  "Sometimes your brain block details of a trauma because it's too much to deal with.  It may come back, it may not.  But obviously, your brain needs to not remember right now."

"I guess so," Gabriel shrugged.  "Either way, that's no excuse for this!  I still can't believe I..."

"Stop.  Look, It's no big deal, alright?  It's happened to me before too."

Gabriel snorted indignantly.  "What, when you were six years old?"

"No... When I started to remember Hell.  I know it's embarrassing, but it is what it is. You can't control what happens when you sleep.  Come on," he said, carefully crawling out of bed and helping Gabriel to his feet. "I'll start your bath."

Slowly, they fumbled down the hallway to the bathroom with Gabriel holding a hand over his crotch, desperately hoping they wouldn't run into Dean or Cas.

"You're walking better."

Gabriel frowned. "My legs still feel weak as hell."

"Well, you're less stiff.  We're gonna work on that this week. Maybe take a little trip out of the bunker when you're feeling up to it?"

"Uh... Sam, I..." The thought of going outside again was still way too overwhelming.

"Don't worry.  Not right now."  Sam nudged the bathroom door open with his shoulder then closed it behind them, propping Gabriel awkwardly against the wall as he began running the bath water.  He opened the cupboard containing a myriad of bath products and selected a container of Epsom salt with lavender. After adding a few scoops to the running water and digging out his favorite shampoo, Sam turned back toward him.

"Do you want some help?" he asked, gesturing toward his clothes.

"Um. Just stay close in case I fall over," Gabriel muttered, pulling his shirt up over his head. He sheepishly kicked off his wet shorts, a bit more embarrassed to be naked now that his memories were back. Still, Sam was so nonchalant about the whole thing, it could have been worse.

Gently, Sam lifted him into the scented tub, and Gabriel swooned as the warmth of the water lapped over his thighs.

"You'll be okay here by yourself for a few minutes?" Sam asked.  "I'm just going to clean up and I'll come back to help you out."

"Yeah. I'll be fine," Gabriel murmured, his cheeks still burning in embarrassment. "Hey Sam?"

"Yeah?"

Gabriel took a deep breath.  "This has to stop sometime, right?"

"Yeah. It'll get easier."

Resting his head on the back of the tub, Gabriel closed his eyes, trying hard to process all the emotions running through his head.   Another week had passed, and while he had been healing physically, his mental state was still fragile, at best. Every time he dared to think he might be getting better, something like this would happen, leaving him temporarily catatonic. Daytime wasn't so bad, but when night came, he turned into a crying, sniveling baby again. At least Sam had yet to suggest sleeping with the lights off, so he didn't have to admit that the dark was still terrifying.

Sam.  If someone had told him a year ago Sam Winchester would be the best damn thing that ever happened to him, he'd have laughed in their face.  While he'd always found Sam ridiculously good-looking,  they had just clashed too many times in the past for him to even consider befriending the guy.  And yet, here he was, cuddled up in the bunker, relying on Sam for not only his physical needs, but his emotional ones as well. 

 They still hadn't spoken of the incident last week, but things had been more comfortable without having to hide his attraction to the hunter.  They hadn't kissed again, but Gabriel was honestly relieved. Kissing led to relationships, and he was far too emotionally unstable for something like that. Sam seemed to be mindful of that fact, and though he treated him a bit gentler than Gabriel would typically prefer, he was content.
Since then, however, any last bit of awkwardness between them seemed to have dissipated.  Soft touches and caresses were coming easier, and chaste little comfort kisses between the two of them were becoming a regular occurrence. 

What the hell was happening to him?  He'd always been much more of a love-em-and-leave-em type.  He wasn't usually this sentimental.  Or maybe he was.  This whole, surreal situation had him questioning everything he thought he knew about himself. It was confusing, in a good way.

He breathed in deeply, letting the steam and the lavender soothe him as he sunk down a little further into the tub.

By the time Sam popped his head in the door again, the relaxing scent of lavender and the soothing Epsom salt had him so comfortable, he was close to dozing off.

"How are you doing in here?"

"Hmmm? Oh, I'm okay... You know something, kiddo? I think I'm starting to understand your bath fetish."

Sam grinned. "I guess you're comfy then?"

"It is relaxing."

"Next time I'll dim the lights and light some candles for you," Sam winked.

"You don't really do that..."

"Sometimes," Sam laughed. "Not often, but on occasion. So uhhhh. Do you want me to wait out there, or...?"

Gabriel glanced over at the lanky hunter, who was suddenly trying extra hard to advert his eyes. "You can stay," he said, wondering what had brought on the change. Usually Sam was so casual about helping him to the bathroom and into the bath.  He shrugged to himself, and picked up the washcloth Sam had left on the side of the tub, soaped it up, and... Oh. He'd just decided to start on his legs when he noticed a certain part of his anatomy was proudly standing at attention, head protruding from the water.

Quickly he tossed the washcloth over it and glanced at Sam again, hoping he hadn't noticed, but Sam was already covering his mouth, trying hard to not burst out laughing.

"Oh god, this is the worst day," Gabriel sighed, leaning his head against the back of the tub and covering face.

"No, no," Sam insisted, his laughter finally bubbling to the surface. "I-it's okay. It happens. I'm sorry, my brain is being totally juvenile."

One look at the giggling giant across the room was all it took for Gabriel to start laughing too.

"Can we just start today over?" he groaned. "I'm sorry!  I was so comfortable, I guess it just... Uh.  Happened."

"Stop stressing," Sam grinned. "Finish your bath and I'll help you stretch your legs. Then I think we should try venturing downstairs for breakfast today.  You can do that for me, right?"

Gabriel paused for a moment.  If Sam had just asked him to come downstairs, he would have downright balked, but he phrased it like he'd be doing him a favor.  Very crafty, Winchester.  After all Sam had done for him, he couldn't exactly say no to his request.

"Uhhh.  I'll try."

"Good. Now wash your hair and I'll help you out, horndog."

"Help me out with what, exactly?" Gabriel smirked.  He just couldn't help himself. Despite the shitty start to the day, he had to admit, small bits of his former self were returning, and the setup was just too good.

"Of the tub!" Sam exclaimed, rubbing his temples as his face reddened.

Gabriel casually removed the washcloth and began scrubbing under his arms. "Oh. Here I thought you were offering to take care of this monster for me."

"Oh my god," Sam murmured. "At least you're starting to feel more like yourself," he said, shaking his head. He closed the lid of the toilet and sat, waiting patiently for Gabriel to wash his hair.

"Hey, I just pissed the damn bed. At least let me salvage what's left of my pride with a dick joke."

Try as he might, Sam couldn't help but chuckle.  "Come on. I'm starving. Are you ready to get out yet?"

Gabriel nodded, and Sam grabbed his hand, slipping his free arm around his back to pull him up out of the water. He helped him step out of the tub and made him hold onto the wall while he dried him off with a fluffy green towel.

"You sure?" Gabriel teased. "I mean it's right there..." he motioned to his member, still standing tall as Sam carefully dried his legs.

"You're such an ass," Sam laughed, rolling his eyes.  "I was trying so hard not to let it be awkward, and here you are all but shoving it in my face."  He stood and began working the towel over his damp hair.

"Hey, a guy can dream."

"Hmmm?"

"Nothing. What's for breakfast?"

"Well, if Dean did the grocery shopping like I asked, chocolate chip pancakes." He tossed the towel into the hamper and picked up the fresh set of clothes he'd brought in.  "I also had Cas go buy you some clothes. I thought you'd like to wear something that actually fits you for a change."

"You're the best, you know that, kiddo?" Gabriel murmured, throwing his arms around his waist.

Sam smiled and returned his embrace. "Yeah, I have my moments...  You smell good," he said as he buried his face in Gabriel's hair.

Every so often, Gabriel would find himself feeling a little extra grabby and sentimental when he was close to Sam. Even as an angel, he'd rarely experienced a human so completely selfless and kind, and sometimes, it could be a bit overwhelming. He didn't deserve this much personal attention, and at the same time, he wasn't sure he would have survived without it.

"Thank you," he whispered, pressing tiny kisses against his chest. He'd known many people in his long lifetime, and he'd been intimate with plenty of them, but he'd never felt such pure affection as he did right now. It was doing all kinds of weird things to his brain.

"I kind of like when you get all sappy," Sam mused. "It's nice seeing the softer side of you."

"Speaking of seeing another side of me..." Gabriel waggled his eyebrows as he pulled away, eyes motioning to his groin.

Sam snorted with laughter. "Get your damn clothes on."

Gabriel shot him a dazzling smile and turned toward the mirror again as Sam held up his shirt and coaxed his arms into the armholes.

"Yeah, this is much more 'you'," Sam nodded.

Gabriel huffed as Sam's arms wrapped around him and began fastening the buttons. "I can button it myself, you know.  I'm not totally useless."

"I know," Sam murmured, nuzzling and kissing at his neck as he buttoned the next one.

Goosebumps rose up on his arms and legs and Gabriel shuddered and closed his eyes.  "Mmm. Okay, in that case, you'd better do it."

Sam grinned and tugged at his earlobe with his teeth before trailing kisses to the junction of his neck and shoulder.

"Ohh.  What are you doin' to me, Sam?" Gabriel breathed.

"Should I stop?"

"Hell no."  Gabriel turned his head to the side to catch him in a tender kiss. "Just not sure what the hell you'd see in me," he murmured.  "I'm a millions-of-years old celestial being that just pissed his pants and then cried about it."

Sam frowned and pulled away, returning to buttoning his shirt with a little help from the mirror before he answered. "You're much more than that.  Stop putting yourself down. You're hurting, and dealing with it as best you can. No matter how weak you feel right now,  I think you're the strongest person on the planet for fighting through this."

Gabriel sighed and ran his fingers through his wet hair. "You know, Sam, there was a time I would have thrown you to the ground and ravished you for making sweet comments like that..." He frowned as he tried to smooth some loose strands into place.  "I think that's the worst part of all of this. They've ruined sex for me."

Sam paused, frowning at Gabriel's reflection. "What do you mean? Oh. Right. Does the thought of it scare you?"

"I-I don't know. A little. I don't want to flashback to... Well. You know.  I mean, decadence has always kinda been my thing.  Good food, good sex, and plenty of it!  Hell, it's been so long, I'm not even sure the damn thing still works," he grimaced, starting down at his still-erect cock.  

He suddenly became very aware that Sam was no longer averting his gaze, instead staring at his reflection quite a few inches lower than his face.

"Uh, Sam?" 

Sam jumped as if he had been in his own little world.  "Fuck. Uh. Sorry," he stammered, red-faced. 

Squinting suspiciously, Gabriel looked from Sam to his cock and back again.  "What were you thinking about just then?" he asked coyly.

"Uhhh.  Honestly? For a brief second I was actually considering about helping you out with that," he tittered nervously. 

"What?  Sammy, Sammy, Sammy.  I know it's hard to resist all of this," he gestured, "but at least don't be so obvious about it."

Sam just smiled and began kissing down the side of his neck again, making Gabriel hiss in pleasure. Slowly, his hands began making their way down his torso, caressing and rubbing in a way that had Gabriel purring beneath his touch.

Fingers graced over his bare hipbones for a second before dipping forward to tease the sensitive crease between his groin and legs and Gabriel moaned as he realized what was about to happen.

A warm fist closed around his shaft and he shuddered quietly.  In breathless awe, his eyes met Sam's in the mirror, pleading, begging for him to take care of him just once more.

Yes, it had been way too long since he'd sought out sexual pleasure.  His legs were shaky to begin with, but they buckled as he swooned and Sam's arm wrapped around his chest, holding him tightly against his body.

"S-Sam?" he hissed.

"This okay?"

He nodded, whimpering softly as Sam nibbled at his neck and began stroking. If he hadn't seen himself in the mirror, he would almost have to question whether or not this was really happening. He watched Sam intently, the tight curl of his first wrapped around his swollen cock, the gentle way he was kissing every bit of him he could reach.  His motions were firm and deliberate, but steeped in such tenderness he almost wanted to cry.

Gabriel arched his back, shoving his neck backward to allow Sam's lips better access.

"Mmm. Feel good?"

"Y-yeees."

"Good. Hold onto me if you're shaky. I've got you, alright?"

Gabriel nodded, desperately gripping at Sam's arm as he quickened his strokes. "F-fuck," he whispered. "Sam, I'm gonna..." He didn't even finish his sentence before the wave of pleasure hit him. He yelped and panted as Sam worked him harder, and a second later, his body spasmed as he began splashing the sink basin with cum.

"That's it," Sam murmured. "Shhhhh." He wrapped both arms around his chest to support him as Gabriel slumped forward on his weak legs.

"Holy shit," he squeaked, struggling to free himself from Sam's grip. "W-where did that come from?" 

Sam shrugged, and Gabriel threw his arms around his neck in a tight embrace.  "I don't know," he blushed. "You had a rough morning. What better pick up than an orgasm, right?" he laughed as Gabriel jumped, wrapping his legs around his hips.

He felt like a grabby little octopus again, but he clung to Sam for all he was worth. "Sam..." he whispered, frantically kissing his neck. "Please don't leave me."

"What? Why would I leave you?"

"I-I mean, even when this is over. When I'm better. Don't leave. Please," he finished feebly.

Sam stood there for a second, soothingly rubbing his back. "You're not fallin' for me or something, are you?" he rasped teasingly.

Gabriel laughed, burying his head against Sam's chest. "Shut up."

"I'm not going anywhere. I'll be around as long as you want me around. Hey, let me set you down and help you with your pants."

"Nuh uh," Gabriel yawned. "Carry me back to bed."

Sam laughed. "Dean and Cas are here. You wanna be bare-assed in the hallway?"

"I'm not letting go of you, so they'll have to deal with it," he murmured sleepily. "Besides, they're probably still in bed together."

Sam burst into laughter. "You think?"

Gabriel nodded and dug his heels into his back as if he were a horse. "Go already. I need to lie down with you."

"Alright, alright," Sam smiled, gripping him as best he could for the trek down the hall.  "You just want me to grab your ass," he teased.

"So?"

They managed to make it back into the bedroom without running into anyone, and Sam gently lay him down on the bed.

"Take your shirt off," Gabriel murmured.

"What?"

"Just do it."

Sam peeled his t-shirt off and crawled into bed next to him where Gabriel curled up to his bare chest.

"I want to smell like you," he whispered, so tired suddenly, he could barely keep his eyes open. "I want your scent all over me."

"Uh. Is this an angel thing?"

Gabriel nodded and unleashed his wings, wrapping one around Sam's body and rubbing it against him.

"Now we smell the same," he hummed softly.  "My human."

Sam smiled, obviously not sure what was happening, but amused anyway by the sleepy angel's antics.

"I'm not going anywhere," he repeated firmly. "Get some rest. Breakfast can wait."

Chapter Text

"Come on, Gabriel. You have to get out of the bunker sometime." Sam stared at the archangel, who was curled up on the bed wearing nothing but an old pair of Sam's running shorts.

"I-I know. I will! Just not yet."

"Nope. It's happening today. I'll help you get dressed, and then the two of us are going out. We need to work on getting your legs back to normal. Don't you want to walk around without stumbling again?"

"Yes, but..."

"No 'buts'. Here, put this on," he said, tossing a t-shirt at him.

Gabriel sat up and shrugged the shirt down over his shoulders. "Really, Sam, I just can't do it yet."

Sam ignored his protests, humming to himself as he threw a few clothes from the dresser into a bag. "I guess you can just wear those shorts. It's warm out today. Alright. Up." He walked back to the bed and pulled Gabriel to his feet.

"Come on, kiddo. Don't make me beg. I don't want to do this."

"I know you don't, but the longer you put it off, the harder it will be. Let's go."

Gabriel dug his heels in and resisted, trying to throw himself back on the bed. "Please don't make me," he uttered weakly. "Sam, please!" His voice grew frenzied as Sam tugged harder. "Sam!"

Though it hurt like hell to see Gabriel so terrified, Sam was determined to get him out of the bunker, come hell or high water. They'd had this same discussion every day this week, and today he was not taking 'no' for an answer. After all, it was for his own damn good. Tough love, he reminded himself.

"Please don't make me."

Sam sighed and let go of his arm and Gabriel clamored for the bed. "Look," he said, sitting on the edge of the mattress. "You know I'm not just doing this to be an asshole, right? I know it's scary, but you're going to have to face your fear. They're dead, Gabriel. They can't hurt you anymore."

Gabriel looked away, lip quivering as he stuttered a weak reply. "What if there are more out there? What if there are more that I didn't even know about?"

"Then I'll kill those bastards too."

Gabriel sat stone-still, staring at the wall as a tear slipped down his cheek.

"I promise I won't let anything happen to you. You've put so much trust in me over the past few weeks. I'm asking you... Please. Just once more."

The hurt expression on Gabriel's face was enough to tear his heart out, but Sam didn't budge.

Finally, Gabriel sighed. "Fine. I really, really don't want to, but I will."

"Thank you," Sam smiled. "I promise you'll be safe."

"We'll see," Gabriel grumbled.

Sam just shook his head. "Alright, let's go. I'll carry you downstairs. Cas and Dean are still here, but they should be leaving soon

"Aw, Sam, it's fuckin' embarrassing! Dean hasn't even seen me since... you know."

"Well it's better than falling down the stairs, isn't it? And don't worry about Dean. Come on."

Gabriel sighed and wrapped his arms around Sam's neck and Sam picked him up, carrying him like he would a child.

One careful step at a time, he hauled the smaller man down the stairs, very aware that two sets of eyes were staring at them from the war room table. Sam steadied himself as he took the last stair, then gently set Gabriel on his feet.

"Gabriel!" Cas said in surprise. "You're... Here. I mean, out of the bedroom."

"Uh. Yeah," Gabriel nodded uncomfortably.

"He's been downstairs," Sam interrupted. "We've been having breakfast down here all week while you guys were out, haven't we?"

Gabriel nodded again, his face flushed pink.

Finally tearing his eyes away, Dean cleared his throat. "Good to see you on your feet again."

"Thanks," he murmured as Sam slipped an arm under his shoulder and led him to a chair. "Thank you for letting me stay here. And for loaning me your brother. Ah, what you must think of me, kid," Gabriel sighed.

Dean frowned. "What I think? I think you had a bad break and you're coping with it as best you can," he said matter-of-factly. "We've all been there. Okay, maybe not the exact same place, but you know what I mean."

Gabriel's shoulders slowly untensed, and an unmistakable wave of relief washed over his face. "Thanks," he murmured feebly.

Sam smiled as he watched Gabriel nervously pick at an imaginary loose thread on his shirt. "You guys have no plans today, right?" he asked Dean.

"Nope. I'm being a lazy bastard today." Dean took long sip of his coffee. "Gonna stay in my robe, watch a little TV, stuff my face, and relax."

"Good. Can I borrow the car?"

"I suppose. You guys going somewhere?" Dean asked, skeptically glancing at the anxious angel.

Sam nodded. "Just going for some air, and to get him out of the house for a bit. We won't be too long."

Dean shrugged and dug the keys out of his pocket. "Bring back pizza on your way home and you can take her," he said, tossing him the keyring.

"Deal."

"Are you going to be okay?" Cas asked, frowning at Gabriel in concern. "You don't look so good."

Gabriel shrugged grudgingly. "If Sam says I'll be okay, I guess I'll be okay." The bitterness in his voice was not lost on Sam.

"Do you want me to come with you?"

"Nah. You stay here and do... Whatever it is you guys do when we're not around."

Cas paled and looked down at the floor. "Well," he said, quickly recovering, "At least let me heal you first." He stood and took a few steps toward Gabriel, and pressed two fingers firmly to his forehead. That warm, familiar glow filled the room as Gabriel closed his eyes and appeared to be lit from within. He sighed happily, letting his anxiety go for just a moment, until Cas pulled away and the light slowly faded.

"You're healing faster lately," Castiel noted. "You should be able to use some of your power now, but I think it would be wise to conserve it a while longer. You don't want to exert too much until you're strong enough."

"You really think I can?" Gabriel scanned the room, and finally reached for Cas's empty coffee cup. Placing the mug in front of him, he closed his eyes in concentration and touched the rim. When he opened them again, the mug was full and steaming. A wide grin spread over his face as he stared down at the coffee and Sam patted him on the shoulder.

"See? You're getting there."

"Yeah," Gabriel sighed. "Now if my mind and my meatsuit would just fall in line..."

"They'll get there too. Hey, I haven't had to walk you to the bathroom in two days. That's a good sign, right?"

"Holy shit, you're right," Gabriel murmured.

"See?" Sam said. "Stop overthinking and just let yourself heal. Now, we should probably get going before you lose your nerve." Sam took two steps toward Gabriel to help him up, but he was interrupted when Cas stood to block his path.

"Sam, can I talk to you first? In the kitchen?" The stern nature of his voice left no room for arguing.

Blindsided by the sudden demanding tone, Sam frowned. "Uh. Yeah. I guess," he floundered. He glanced at Gabriel, who was still staring at the cup of coffee in amazement. "I'll be right back."

Cas quickly ushered him out of the library and into the kitchen.

"So what do you want to talk abo... whoa!" Before Sam could even process what was happening, he was slammed hard against the wall.

"Wh-what are you doing?"

Cas didn't speak, glowering as he sniffed up and down Sam's neck like a bloodhound. Slowly, he released his grip, eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Why do you smell like him?"

"What?" Sam looked down, guiltily sniffing at himself. He sure as hell didn't smell anything but his usual soap and cologne. "I-I don't know. You know he's been sleeping with me. I-I mean... well, you know what I mean."

"Yes," Cas mused. "I understand his need for security, but I thought that might prove problematic..."

"What? You wanna let me in on whatever you're talking about?"

"He's had his wings out, hasn't he?"

"Yeah. I guess. He's been sleeping with them out a lot lately. Why does that matter?" Sam could feel the guilt creeping up his chest, coloring his face a pale pink.

Cas cocked his head, staring at him in that unsettling way of his. "I could smell it before, in the bedroom, but I didn't realize the scent was all over you. Sam, he's scenting you."

"Scenting? What?"

"Scent marking! Rubbing his wings on you? Wrapping them around you? He's leaving his scent. He's claiming you as his mate."

Sam's frowned, taking a minute to pick his jaw up off the floor. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Cas sighed, seemingly bothered to be explaining something he considered blatantly obvious. "Remember how I told you that wings out with a human can be construed as sexual?"

"Uh Yeah. But you said..."

"And that there are erogenous zones on the wings, including the oil gland? On the underside of his right wing? You smell like his preen oil because he's rubbing it all over you."

"Oh," Sam paled. "Isn't the oil gland usually near a bird's tail?"

The offended look on Cas's face was enough to make Sam die laughing. "We're not birds, Sam. Nor do we have tails. At least, not in our earthly form. It has to be in a place where we can easily reach it, and... That's not important! The point is, he's marking you as his mate."

"W-what does that mean?"

"It means," Cas sighed again, "that you need to be more careful. Gabriel is not in his right state of mind. He could be confusing your kindness for courtship behavior."

"Oh."

Cas squinted curiously at his lukewarm response. "Why do I feel like you're not as concerned as you should be?"

"I am!" Sam blurted. "...kinda."

Cas frowned again, staring long enough to make him uncomfortable. "You're haven't already mated with him, have you?"

"Mated? Oh my god. No! We're not... No! I'm just saying, we've spent every waking minute together for the past few weeks, and..." He sighed, choosing his words carefully. "We've become kind of... I don't know. Close."

"How close?"

Sam sighed, rubbing at his temples in agitation. "I don't know, Cas! Spending so much time together has been confusing. I never intended for it to get confusing! I really did just want to help!"

"I know," Cas interrupted. "Calm down. I know you were just trying to help, Sam. And you did, with every ounce of your being. He's healing much faster than I would have expected, and you have been a big part of that."

Sam shook his head. "You're the one doing the healing. I'm just hanging out with him."

"You're helping him heal emotionally. Remember how badly your head was messed up after Hell? I could feel his thoughts, his memories. He was just as messed up as you were back then. And I should know," he grimaced at the memory of taking on Sam's mental state. "The fact that he can function somewhat normally in less than a month is incredible."

"Okay..."

"My point is, I know you're genuine in wanting to help him, but I should have realized that the hands-on affection might be too much. Sam, you can't let this happen. At least not now. After he's back to normal, do whatever you want, but for now, please. He needs to focus on healing. He's already practically nesting in your bedroom."

Sam grimaced, running his fingers through his hair. "You just said that being around me was helping his mental health."

"It is. You are. I'm just..." Cas sighed heavily. "You're right. It is confusing, isn't it?"

"You don't know the half of it."

Cas pursed his lips, staring at the floor in thought. "I'm sorry, Sam," he finally said. "I'm just worried about him. You know that, right?"

Sam nodded. "I'm worried about him too."

"I know. I'm sorry," Cas sighed again. "I trust you. And the trust Gabriel has shown in you tells me that you're doing something right. I can tell you really care about him. If you want to mate with my brother, I give you my blessing."

Sam snorted, nearly choking on his own saliva. "Cas! I'm not... doing that. Look, I'm with you. Getting him better is the most important thing. I know I said it's confusing, but I'm not going to do anything stupid to set his progress back, okay?"

"Of course. Thank you, Sam."

"Sammy?" Dean's voice in the doorway made Sam jump, guiltily wondering how much of the conversation he had heard.

"Yeah?"

"I think he's getting antsy out there... I offered to help him to the kitchen, but he's still kind of skittish around me."

"Alright, I'm coming."

"I haven't actually seen him since that night. Cas has been updating me, but... He was really fucked up, wasn't he?"

"Why do you think I've been spending so much time with him?"

Dean shrugged. "I don't know, I thought maybe you two were just banging."

"Fuck," Sam rolled his eyes, exasperated. "Well obviously he's way better than he was, but he still has a way to go. Anyway, I'd should get back. He doesn't do well being alone for long periods of time yet." He turned around and abruptly headed back to the library, Cas and Dean in tow.

"You ready to head out?" he asked.

Gabriel grimaced, his face paling as Sam helped him stand. He waved a silent goodbye to Cas and Dean, pouting as if he would never see them again, and Sam helped him stumble to the Impala.

"I don't think I can do this," he groaned again as Sam started the car.

"You'll be fine."

The moment the car started moving, Gabriel lost his composure. "N-no. Sam! I can't. Please."

"Gabriel," Sam said calmly. "They're gone and I won't let anything happen to you." The car inched out of the garage and into the sunlight, and Gabriel whimpered, gripping frantically at the armrest.

"I can't. Sam, turn around. Please!"

"Close your eyes."

"Sam..."

"Close your eyes."

Gabriel huffed indignantly, but he did as he was told, chest heaving as he tried to contain his panic.

"Take a deep breath," Sam instructed. "It's just you and me, okay? I'm not taking you anywhere crowded. We'll probably be the only ones there. Keep breathing."

Gabriel took a series of deep breaths until he was calm enough to open his eyes. "Can you at least tell me where we're going?"

"Well, first, I'm going to get you ice cream to get you sugared up and relaxed," Sam winked. "Then we're going for little swim."

"What?"

"You heard me. Walking around in the water will be good for your leg muscles. The water takes all the pressure off your joints, so it should be a little easier to move."

Gabriel frowned. "I don't know how to tell you this, kiddo, but I don't even know how to swim."

"Really?"

Gabriel nodded. "Aside from the occasional shower, I haven't been in water that much. Never saw the point, honestly. I mean, I have wings. Why would I ever need to swim? Hell, I hadn't even been in a bath until I came here."

"Really?" Sam asked again, this time a bit more surprised. "Well, you'll be fine. We're not really swimming, we're just going to walk around in the lake."

"The lake? "  Gabriel wrinkled his nose. "You know fish shit in there, right?"

"Yeah," Sam grinned and rolled his eyes. "You can have another bath when we get home. Now, what kind of ice cream do you want?"

 

Once Gabriel had been plied with a hot fudge sundae with every imaginable topping, he suddenly seemed a bit more content

"You sure you don't want a bite?" Gabriel asked, spooning the last few bits from his dessert cup. "You're missing out."

Sam grimaced. "No offense, but my stomach hurts just looking at that monstrosity."

"Hey, tell your delicate hippie stomach to grow a pair already! Who gets plain vanilla frozen yogurt?"

"God, it's just like being out with Dean," Sam sighed. "Are you done?"

Gabriel nodded. "Yeah. But I'm so full now. I'm not sure swimming is such a good idea. You know, they say you should wait thirty minutes after you eat... don't want to get stomach cramps or anything."

"That's a myth," Sam said, fairly certain Gabriel already knew that judging by his guilty facial expression. "But nice try."

"Dammit."

Sam grinned and turned the car back onto the road.

There was no one around when they pulled into the small dirt parking lot, and Sam said a silent 'thank you' to anyone that might be listening. Even without a crowd, Gabriel was jumpy, so at least they wouldn't have to worry about people triggering him. He grabbed the bag he'd packed from the back seat and helped Gabriel out of the car, despite the angel's constant grumbling as they made their way down to the shore.

After kicking his shoes off, he spread two large beach towels on the ground, then slipped his arm under Gabriel's shoulder to help him to the water's edge.

"So what do we do? We just... Walk into it?" Gabriel asked, skeptically looking out at the horizon.

"Yep" Sam laughed. "Hold onto me." Slowly, they inched closer to the water, and Gabriel balked as soon as his toes touched the wet rocks.

"I still don't want to, you know," he muttered.

"I know." Sam stripped off his shirt and tossed it onto beach behind them. "But you're going to anyway."

Gabriel sighed and let Sam lead him knee-deep into the water.

"You okay?"

"I guess. Is this good? How deep do we have to go?"

Sam shrugged. "Up to your chest anyway."

"That far?"

"Yep."

Gabriel took a few more careful steps, clinging tightly to Sam's arm. "I don't like it. This whole open-water thing is kind of freakin' me out."

"You're fine. Just a little further," Sam coaxed.

They continued wading until the water was up to Gabriel's chest.

"Okay. I'm here. Happy? I hate this. I feel like I'm moving so slowly."

"Everyone moves slower in the water," Sam laughed. "Now hold on to me. Let's walk that way a bit."

Gabriel sighed and latched onto his arm. For the next few minutes, he was strangely quiet, using all of his focus to hold onto Sam and walk a straight line while the waves lapped at him. "I feel so vulnerable out here," he finally sighed.

"How come?"

"I don't know. The outside still feels too big, Sam. Just being out here is hard. I know it shouldn't be after all this time, but it is."

"Hey," Sam frowned. "It hasn't been that long. There's nothing that says you have to be completely healed in a few weeks. Or a year, or ten years, or a hundred years for that matter. It takes time, and it's different for everyone. You'll get there."

Gabriel didn't respond, sulking as they continued taking slow, careful steps. "It is easier to walk here," he admitted grudgingly. "Slower, but easier."

Sam smiled to himself, resisting the urge to yell 'Told you so.'

"Yeah, yeah. I see that smirk," Gabriel grumbled. "Still doesn't mean I like it. I'm walking through a fish's toilet, for God's sake."

"I had no idea you were so high maintenance," Sam quipped. "I don't want to get dirty!" he mocked in his best condescending tone.

Gabriel paused, glaring at him for a moment before winding back his arm and sending a wall of water hurtling in his direction.

"Hey!" Sam sputtered, wiping water from his eyes.

"How do you like your fish-toilet water now?" Gabriel smirked.

"Oh you little bastard..." Without warning, Sam drew back and splashed a huge wave of water directly into Gabriel's face.

"My mouth was open!" the angel protested in shock, spitting out a mouthful of dirty lake water. "Oh that's disgusting! You're gonna pay for that!" he yelled, but Sam grabbed his wrists before he could do anything. "Hey! Let me g..."

"What are you gonna do?" Sam taunted.

Almost immediately, Gabriel's eyes glazed over in panic and his body thrashed wildly as he struggled to free his wrists.

"Whoa, hey," Sam said, releasing his grip. "Gabriel, I'm sorry. I was playing around, and I shouldn't have..." He mentally kicked himself as he stared at the faint indents the handcuffs had left on Gabriel's wrists.

Gabriel shook his head, frowning and covering his eyes as if trying to will the flashback from his mind. He let out a long, shaky breath as he finally opened his eyes. "N-No. I'm okay. Not your fault..." He looked away, wiping a tear threatening the corner of his eye.

"I wasn't thinking, I just..."

"It's okay."

"No. It's not." Sam hurriedly wrapped him in his arms, pulling him in close like he did when Gabriel awoke from a nightmare. "God, I'm so sorry," he murmured.

"Sam," Gabriel started, but he couldn't finish his sentence, instead burying his face in Sam's chest as he choked on a sob.

Sam nuzzled his hair and kissed the top of his head, still stunned at how quickly the atmosphere had changed. "You're okay," he whispered. "I've got you. Come on, let's get out of the water for a while."

Gabriel nodded and wrapped his arms around Sam's neck, not even protesting when Sam lifted him up like a child this time.

It didn't matter how often Sam had felt that tension in Gabriel's body, or heard the breath hitching in his throat; each time it happened hurt like the first time. That overwhelming ache in his chest rushed over him and all he wanted was to protect the formerly powerful being in front of him. "I'm sorry," he whispered, brushing his lips against his forehead. He kissed his cheek, uttering little words of comfort, and before they even reached the shore, Gabriel was kissing him.

Despite his first instinct, Sam held back, not quite sure what he should do in this situation. It wasn't as if they'd never kissed before, but he was always cautious when Gabriel's emotions got the best of him. Once again, the angel was acting grabby and possessive, desperately clinging to Sam like he was his salvation.

Finally he couldn't stand it any longer. Sam pulled Gabriel in tighter, hands roaming and caressing his body as he did his best to kiss away the pain and anxiety. He staggered blindly from the water's edge, where he stumbled, falling to his knees as he tried to protect Gabriel's body from being crushed by his own. Despite being tossed around, Gabriel never let go, and as they fell, he coaxed Sam on top of him.

"Sam," he choked, tears streaming down his face once again. "I-I need you to do something for me," he stammered in between kisses.

"Hrmm?"

"Y-you said... Ohhhhh," he moaned as Sam's lips found his favorite spot on his neck. "You said you'd do anything to help me, right?"

Sam paused, pulling back to look at him. "Of course. What can I do?"

Gabriel swallowed hard. "Fuck me."

"What?" Sam scrambled to his knees again. "You want me to... Wait, what?"

Red-faced, Gabriel sat up and nervously brushed the tears from his eyes. "Please, kiddo. I've gotta know that this shit isn't gonna scare me forever. I mean, sex used to be fun. Take the angel-proof cuffs, bend me over and ride me like a fucking racehorse."

"Gabriel!" Sam wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. "No! Jesus, no!"

"Come on, Sam," he pleaded tearfully. "I-I need to know it can still be a good thing. It's so fucked up! One minute I'm horny, the next minute I'm freaking out just thinking about sex! I don't want to be like this forever. Scared? Hurt? Crying? This isn't me, Sam! It's not fucking me!"

"Gabe..." Sam's face softened. "I'm not going to... I mean..." He sighed, grabbing Gabriel's hand and pulling him to his feet. "Come here." He wrapped his arms around him again and squeezed him tightly. "You can't just force yourself to get over something. That would be completely traumatic. It could set you back ages!"

Gabriel sighed and nodded sadly. "I guess. I just want to feel normal again."

"You will. Soon enough you'll be your old self again, playing your Trickster gags on everyone, living your normal life of decadence and debauchery," he smiled softly. "I think you've had enough of the outside for today. Let's get you home."

Gabriel nodded and leaned into him as they trudged back to the car. "I'm sorry," he muttered sheepishly.

"Don't be." Sam just shook his head and started the car.

For a few moments they drove in quiet, the awkwardness of what had just transpired hanging heavy in the air. Finally, Gabriel broke the silence.

"Soo... just for the record, you totally wanted to though, right?" he asked, a mischievous sparkle glinting in his golden eyes.

Sam burst out laughing, relieved to hear the wry, cocky tone return to his voice. "Yeah," he grinned. "Of course."

Chapter Text

He was back. 

Though Gabriel hated all of his captors with a deep, burning passion, there was one he dreaded most of all.

"What's the matter, angel?  Not talking anymore?  It's not as fun when you don't struggle."

Faceless.  

There was a time that face haunted his dreams, but now he couldn't remember what it looked like. It was dark in the basement, and all he could see was a vague silhouette creeping up behind him. There was no point screaming anymore, and fighting just made his attacker violent, so he lay there, stone-still until he had taken all he wanted from him, closing his eyes and waiting for it to end.

A brush of stubble against his shoulder and the stench of cigarettes made him cringe as that depraved voice whispered against his ear.

"See you tomorrow."

The next thing he remembered was being shoved roughly back in his cage. He lay there exhausted for a few moments, covered in sweat and dirt and bodily fluids,  waiting for the temporary relief that came when the door closed. As the door slammed shut, he weakly dragged himself to the furthest corner of his cage and vomited, though it was mostly bile since he hadn't eaten in a while.   Afterwards, he collapsed in a ball on the dirt floor, and stared into the blackness, too afraid to close his eyes, too paranoid to sleep.  He cursed himself as the tears began to fall again, and he said a silent prayer, hoping he'd dead by morning. 

"Gabriel, wake up.  You're dreaming." The words echoed through his mind, but he couldn't figure out where they were coming from. There was nothing but darkness all around him, and the voice sounded too kind to be his captors.

"Wake up, Gabriel!"

His entire body jolted and suddenly, he was back in the bunker. Sam was staring down at him with a worried look and Gabriel rubbed his eyes in bewilderment as he tried to process what had just happened. He'd been dreaming again. 

"You okay?" Sam asked, gently reaching out to run his fingers through Gabriel's hair as he often did to calm him.

Gabriel drew in a shaky breath and nodded. "Yeah.  Yeah, I'm alright.  They've gotta stop eventually, right?" he squeaked in a wavering voice.

Sam smiled sadly and nodded.  "You're shaking," he murmured.  "Come here."  Like so many times before, he wrapped Gabriel up in his arms in a way that had become almost second nature to the both of them. "It's okay," he soothed.  "I've got you now."

"Doesn't matter how many times this happens, Sam, I feel stupid every time."

"Well don't.  Take a deep breath and try to relax."

Gabriel closed his eyes and focused on his breathing, taking in the comforting scent of Sam with each inhale. He'd become so accustomed to that scent, it was hard to be away from it anymore. Slowly, the trembling ceased; his breathing returned to normal, and he was left with just the slightest remainder of lingering embarrassment. 

"Hey, let me preen your wings."  

The surprising request was enough to make him stop feeling sorry for himself.   What?"

Sam shrugged. "You were so relaxed that time Cas and I cleaned them up.  Just thought it might calm you.  Your whole body just tenses up when this happens.   I'll give you a little... I don't know, wing massage?"

Now completely distracted from the terror of a few moments ago, Gabriel gave him a suspicious squint. "I know I've had 'em out before, but you've never asked to see them."

Sam shifted uncomfortably. "Was that inappropriate? I just thought it would relax you.  Cas said you only let people close to you groom them, and uh... Well I thought maybe you'd consider me close enough to..." Sam trailed off as Gabriel gave him an awkward grin and sat up, letting his wings unfurl.

"You want me to spread 'em again, kiddo?" he winked.

"Oh shut up!" Sam simpered"I didn't know it was an innuendo!"

"Uhh huh. Do you want me to take my pants off first or...?"

Sam rubbed at his temples, exasperated. "Try to do something nice, and I never hear the end of it."

Gabriel grinned. "I'm sorry. It is a nice gesture. C'mon. Touch my wings," he said, flapping them gently in his direction.

"I don't even want to now..."

"Oh, just touch my damn wings!"

"Alright, alright." Sam laughed. He sat up and began ruffling his fingers through the golden fluff.

Gabriel sighed and let his head bob forward. "Thanks," he murmured. "It was a bad one tonight."

"I'm sorry."  

"I remembered a few details," he continued.  "His voice. Thick stubble. Ugly, nicotine-stained teeth. They were all awful, but he was the worst."

Sam paused. "I know which one you're talking about. I shot him three times before he went down. He must have been using some spell, because there's no way a normal person would keep coming at me like that with two shots to the chest.  It took a headshot to finally take him down."

Gabriel shook his head, disgusted by the memory, and Sam continued rhythmically running his hands through the mass of feathers. "Probably from all the grace they stole from me. Two, three times a day they'd come at me and extract it with some cursed needle.  If I never see a needle again, I'll be happy," he sighed.  "Ohhh, that feels good, kiddo...  How do you always know how to calm me down?"

"You're easy. No offense," Sam shrugged.  "You like a little physical contact when you're upset. It makes you feel safer.  Plus, you talk about your feelings more than I ever expected too, so that helps."

Gabriel's face screwed up in a look of disgust.  "Ugh. I'm one of those people?"

Sam laughed. "It's not a bad thing. I prefer it, actually.  You should try to cheer Dean up someday. He's such a pain in the ass with his repressed feelings and avoidance issues," he rolled his eyes.  "I swear, he'd save himself half the heartache if he'd just sit down and talk about things like an adult once in a while."

Gabriel smiled let his wings droop even further as he relaxed into Sam's gentle caresses.

"I figured you'd be the same way," Sam continued, laughing softly at his misjudgment.  "The way you've used humor as a coping mechanism in the past..."

The angel nodded his acknowledgment. "Yeah, well, once a guy has to help you bathe and take a piss, I guess there's no point in holding back anything.  You went above and beyond to earn my trust, you know."

"I'm glad I did."

"Yeah. Me t... Whoa!" Gabriel jumped suddenly, causing Sam to draw back.

"Shit, did I hurt you?"

"No. Erogenous zones, remember?" Gabriel giggled breathlessly as he looked over his shoulder at Sam.  "Caught me off guard."

Sam groaned and shyly ducked his head. "Right. Oh god, I'm sorry! I was in a zone and I..."

"I gotta be honest, kiddo,  I kind of liked it."

Red-faced, Sam shook his head. "Uhhh.  I'm not sure what to do right now.  What do I do?" he laughed nervously.

"You keep rubbing, that's what you do!  Just warn a guy before you go playing with his sensitive bits next time, huh?"

Sam grinned and continued his wing grooming, rhythmically letting his fingertips glide over the silky feathers. "Hey Gabriel?"

"Hmmm?"

"I'm about to play with your sensitive bits," he whispered, mischievously digging his fingertips into the base of the his wings.

"Haaaa..." Gabriel hissed and arched his back, his wings jerking so violently they almost knocked Sam off the bed. "You'd better not start something you can't finish, Winchester," he warned.

"Like what?" Sam feigned innocence.

Gabriel whipped around and lunged, knocking him flat on his back.  "Like what? Seriously, Sam, the sexual tension is killin' me!  You can't tell me you don't want to just fuck and get it over with?" Forcefully, he mashed their lips together, delighting in the way he could feel Sam straining to control himself.

"G-Gabriel. I...mmm." Sam's arms wrapped around his waist, pulling him down closer as his wings flapped wildly.

"Tell me you want me," Gabriel breathed.

Sam's lips devoured him with another heated kiss. "You haven't figured that out by now?"

Gabriel let out a satisfied grunt, and rolled his hips.  "Then do something about it!  Fuck me!"

"N-no, no," Sam stuttered.  "Not now. We will. Eventually."

"Sam," Gabriel protested. "I'm horny as hell! I know I'm still a fucking mess, but come on!  I have to get over it sometime!"

"I know," Sam nodded breathlessly as Gabriel continued rutting against him.  "And what you're doing there isn't exactly turning me off... But... Mmm. The last thing I want is for you to wind up regressing if things get too intense."

"Fuck that!"

Sam laughed. "No, really.  I'm getting kind of attached, and I couldn't deal if you secretly resented me for it."

"Dammit, Sam," Gabriel grunted. "You're too fucking nice.  A guy literally throws himself at you, and you shoot him down because feelings?"

"Well," Sam grinned. "I just said I wasn't going to fuck you yet.  I can still get you off." He kissed him again as he rolled them over, pinning Gabriel's wings to the bed.

"Holy shit," Gabriel swooned.

Sam's fingertips worked their way into all the sensitive parts he could remember as he kissed and licked and nibbled at Gabriel's neck.

Reaching forward to pull Sam's body down on top of him, Gabriel grunted and hissed as he felt Sam's already-hard cock rub against his own.

"What's..." Sam paused abruptly, holding up a damp hand as he stared at wet spot on the angel's wing.

"Oil gland," Gabriel panted.

"Oh!" Sam dug his hands back into the feathers until he felt the little wet nub. "Does it...uh... That turns you on?"

Gabriel whimpered loudly and nodded as Sam rubbed, coating his palm in the sweet-smelling oil.

"Holy shit," Sam murmured, "your feathers are going to be soaked."

"They're not the only wet thing."

"Tell me about it," Sam chuckled softly. He moved his hips, grinding faster against him, one hand still toying with the dripping oil gland.

"S-Sam!" Gabriel yelped.  His head jerked back and his wings sprung violently forward, tightening around Sam's body.

"That's it," Sam purred, thrusting his hips faster.  "Come.  Now."

"Sam! Unnggh. Fuck! Ohh yeah!  Mmph.  Yessssss."

"Fuck, you look so good right now," Sam panted.  "Oh!" Any further thoughts were drowned out in a flurry of grunting and cursing as he gave into the toe-tingling pleasure swirling in his groin. Just as he was about to collapse on top of the angel in exhaustion, Gabriel began tearing at his shirt.

"Take your clothes off," he panted.

"What?"

"Sam, take 'em off," he begged.  "All of 'em. Now."

Sam groaned as he pried himself away and backed up off of the bed. He stood and slipped his shirt off over his head, but as he reached to unzip his jeans, he was suddenly chilled by a cool blast of air.

"What the..." he stared down at his naked body in disbelief.

"You were taking too long," Gabriel smirked, snapping his fingers and making his own clothes disappear.  "Come on!" he demanded. He reached out to grab Sam's arm and yanked him down on top of him.

"Oh! W-what are you doing?"

"Mmmm." Gabriel didn't answer, instead, he affectionately rubbed his nose against Sam's cheek and wrapped his limbs around him in his favorite grabby octopus pose.  Then he let his wings stretch forward, wrapping firmly around Sam's body, pulling him in as close as possible.

"Oww. Did you just bite me?" Sam  exclaimed, the sudden noise snapping Gabriel out of his trance.

"Sorry kiddo," he rasped. "You do things to me.  I just wanna..." He paused, rubbing his hands up and down the sinewy muscles of Sam's back. "Fuck, you look good naked," he blurted, reveling in the warmth and the weight of Sam on top of him.

"Are you..." Sam squinted, eyeing him up suspiciously. "You're marking me."

"What?" Gabriel let his wings droop as he glanced away guiltily. "W-what do you mean?"

Sam just grinned. "You're scent-marking me. With the wings?  I'm covered in your preen oil."

"Scent-what?" Gabriel frowned, pushing Sam up off of him. "I have no idea what you're talking about.  Really, Sam, I don't know what you've read about angels, but that's just weird, okay?"

"Mmmhmm.  Okay.  Well, if that's the case, I guess I should go shower.  I'm all oily, and I smell like you now.  Really, I'm covered in your preen oil.  God, it's all over me. Don't want anyone smelling that on me..."

"Are you saying I stink?"

Sam burst out laughing. "No! You smell good.  Amazing, even.  I just mean... I wouldn't want anyone to think you were marking me.  Since you're not, I mean..."

"Um. Yeah..."  Try as he might to keep his poker face, the thought of Sam washing his scent off was upsetting him more than he wanted to admit. He sighed heavily. "For fuck's sake, just get over here!"

Sam grinned, climbing back on top of him and kissing him for all he was worth.  "I'm not entirely sure what it means," Sam hummed, "but I don't exactly hate it."

"It... Mmmph. It's nothing," Gabriel mumbled in between kisses.  "How do you even know about that shit anyway?"

"Cas told me.  He nearly attacked me in the kitchen a while ago.  He said he can smell you all over me."

"Mmm. We share a bed, of course he'd smell me."

Sam bit his lip as Gabriel sucked and nibbled at his neck.  "Nuh uh. He knew you'd been rubbing your wings all over me. Marking me with your scent."

Gabriel felt his face burning in embarrassment.  He turned his head for a moment to gain his composure, only to jerk back when Sam ran his tongue up the side of his neck.

"So what does marking do?" Sam purred.  "Are you claiming me?"

"Uhhh..."

"Tell me."

"Sammy, I..."

"Gabriel," Sam warned pulling back just enough to stare him down.

"Okay!" Gabriel sighed. "Yes, it's a claiming thing! It's like claiming a... a mate.   Fuck, that's not something humans do!  I-It's an angel thing.   I-it's a signal for other angels to back off.  No one really does it anymore, so I don't know why I keep doing it! I haven't done it for thousands of years. Since I was a fledgling at least!"

Sam smiled as he fumbled to explain himself.

"I'm just all messed up lately, I've been acting more angel than human, and..."

"Mmm," Sam hummed thoughtfully.  "So tell me about this 'claiming a mate' business. That just means you want to sleep with me, right?  Why are you so nervous about telling me that?  We've talked about it before..."

"A-A mate is different. It's not just that... I... I don't want to talk about it!" Gabriel floundered.

"You think of me as your mate?"

"N-No!  I mean..."

"Shhh. Come here." Gently, Sam brushed his palm against Gabriel's cheek, forcing him to look him in the eyes.  "You're adorable," he whispered.

"Sam..."

"You know, Cas already gave me his blessing,"  Sam winked.

"What?"

"He said if I want to mate you, I have his blessing!" Sam said, biting back a sloppy, awkward grin. 

"Oh my god."  Gabriel covered his face with a hand.

Sam laughed and continued kissing a trail down his neck. "If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were fallin' for me."

Gabriel's eyes rolled back and he moaned as Sam's lips found a particularly sensitive spot behind his ear. "Shut up," he mumbled, still humiliated at being caught partaking in ancient angel mating habits.  "This is so awkward."

"You shut up," Sam retorted.  "And get those wings around me."

"What? No!  Now I'm all embarrassed."

"Gabriel."

Gabriel sighed and let his wings unfurl again, wrapping them snugly around Sam's back.  "Cas is going to smell me all over you again." 

"I should think so, considering how damp your wings are.  Hell, Dean will probably be able to smell you on me," Sam whispered, gently brushing a chain of kisses from his cheek to his chin.  "Does that bother you?"

"No."

"Good.  Now, should we talk about the fact that you used your power to take my pants off?" Sam grinned.

Gabriel glanced up at him sheepishly and chortled.  "Hey, you were taking too damn long!"

"Yeah, yeah.  I mean, you're getting stronger. You're walking better. I think the water training has helped immensely.  You're just about back to normal."

"I guess I am, huh?  Well, except for my stupid brain."

"That'll come too."

"Well, I'm pretty good right now," Gabriel mused.  "I thought having you naked and on top of me might trigger something... but honestly, I think it's just making me horny."

 Sam laughed.  "I'm still worn out, obviously.  I'm glad you're alright though.  Hey, are you hungry? What do you think about going out for breakfast today?  Well, brunch, at this point," he frowned, glancing at the clock.  "You've been pretty good about leaving the house lately.  Let's see how you do around people."

Gabriel thought for a moment. He possessively rubbed his wings up and down the length of Sam's back one last time, took a deep breath, and nodded. "Okay." He drew back his wings and snapped his fingers, and they were both suddenly back in clean, dry clothes. 

"Good," Sam smiled. "Let's see if Dean and Cas want to come with us.  C'mon."

Grudgingly, Gabriel pried himself out of their nice, warm bed and pattered bare-footed down the hallway behind Sam.

"Dean must still be in bed," Sam muttered at the closed bedroom door. "Hey Dean," he called, wiggling the door handle until it popped open. "Gabe and I are going to the State Street Diner for brunch, you wanna-ohhhh shit, sorry!" He slammed the door, covering his mouth in shock. 

"Uhhh," he managed as he turned back to Gabriel. "Cas is there.  They're a little busy. Let's go," he grabbed Gabriel's hand and hurried them down the stairs. 

 

"Sammy, I can explain!" 

Chapter Text

"I'll have the chocolate-chip pancakes with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.  Can you throw some sprinkles on that?  Oh, and a strawberry shake to drink.  Large."  Gabriel gave his order without hesitation and handed back his menu to the bubbly, big-haired waitress, and Sam stifled his laughter, strangely proud at how well he had handled his first human interaction outside of the bunker.  

"Do you eat anything other than sugar?" he chided.

"Of course.  But why would I, if I have the option?"  

"What was I thinking?"  Sam grinned and took a sip of his coffee.  "You still look nervous, but you're doing pretty well.  You okay?"

Gabriel slowly glanced around the diner and shrugged. "Yeah, I guess.  I'm a little anxious, but I'm alright.  I honestly thought this would be harder."

"Good."

"So... what do you think is going on back home? Bet Dean's just about pissed himself by now," Gabriel chuckled. "And Castiel! Who would have thought?"

Sam rolled his eyes. "I've suspected for so long, but it still took me by surprise.  Of course, I never planned on catching the live show either."  He wrinkled his nose at the memory.

"Frankly, I never imagined Cassie would hook up with a human. Or anyone for that matter. The kid's always been a little awkward, socially."

"You don't say."

They quieted for a moment as their waitress returned, setting two large plates in front of them.

"That's a heart-healthy, whole grain breakfast platter for the tall one, and a toothache special for Nervous Guy," she smiled. "Your milkshake will be right out.   Can I get you boys anything else?"

"No, I think we're fine. Thank you," Sam said.

"In that case, I'm just finishing up my shift, so Brian over there will take care of you," she casually pointed her pen at a fumbling waiter in training. "Oh! I almost forgot your napkins," she apologized, pulling a stack from her apron pocket. "There you go." She pulled a single napkin from the opposite pocket and turned to Sam.  "I saved this one for you," she winked, shoving it into the pocket of Sam's flannel shirt before returning to her other customers.

Sam fished the piece of paper out and glanced at it. 

"What's that?" Gabriel asked suspiciously.

"Nothing.  It's a napkin," Sam said, folding it back up and discarding it on the side of his plate. "How's your food?"

Gabriel ignored the question, instead practically crawling over the table to snatch the folded paper. "Hrmph," he grumbled. "Bambi, huh? Isn't that the name of the cartoon deer that gets shot?"  He stared at the scrap of paper, scowling at the phone number, while Sam tried to stifle his laughter at the angel's obvious jealousy.

"No. Bambi's mother was the one who got shot.  Are you going to eat, or...?"

Across the restaurant, Bambi took off her apron and said goodbye to another waitress, and as she sashayed past their table on her way to the door, Gabriel looked up long enough to shoot daggers at her.

"Gabriel," Sam said, louder this time. "I said, are you going to e... Oh my god, fix it now!" he hissed.

Gabriel grunted and snapped his fingers, and the green scaly tail that had briefly appeared on Bambi's backside disappeared.

"What is wrong with you?" Sam exclaimed, his disbelief dissolving in a fit of hysterical giggles. "Jealous much?"

"No." Gabriel's face reddened.  "I just don't like her.  I think she's a little too... forward. It's gross.  Not to mention, she forgot my sprinkles."

"Mmmhmm."

Gabriel huffed as the waitress gave a little wave, and Sam raised his hand in a polite, half-hearted wave back.

The next thing Gabriel remembered was sitting in the seat next to Sam, arms wrapped tightly around him as his lips kissed and sucked their way up the side of his neck.

My human. 

Mine. 

Sam yelped as Gabriel's teeth nipped at his neck, not hard enough to draw blood, but hard enough to leave a mark.

"Oww, what the hell are you doing?" he grumbled, trying to keep his voice down to avoid causing a scene. Again, sharp teeth sunk into his neck, and he hissed through gritted teeth.  "Gabriel!" Gently, he shoved the angel away as he rubbed his neck, and he frowned at the tiny trickle of blood on his hand. "That fucking hurt!"

"I..." Gabriel blinked hard and swallowed.  He was so worked up, he was panting, and suddenly aware that he needed to calm the fuck down. "I'm sorry," he murmured, embarrassed. "I... Uhh." He sat there silently, trying to figure out how to explain this one.  Fuck, why did he do that?  It was one thing while they were fooling around, but here? In public? What the hell was he doing anyway? Claiming bites? Angels hadn't done that in thousands of years! Maybe this whole ordeal really had made him feral.  Come to think of it, he didn't even know how he wound up on this side of the table.  For a brief moment, he thought about disappearing, and he would have, if Sam hadn't grabbed his arm.

"Gabriel?"

"I'm sorry!" Gabriel sighed.  "I-I don't know what came over me.  I'm such a fuck-up," he said, slumping against the table with this head in his hands.  What the hell was wrong with him?

"You're not a fuck-up.  But you are jealous as hell," Sam laughed. "Take a deep breath, okay?  Relax."

Sam waited a few moments, rubbing his back as Gabriel took a few deep breaths.  

"Was that another claiming thing?" he finally asked.

Gabriel nodded meekly.  "I haven't done that in ages!  I-I don't know what happened."

Sam smiled.  "Come here." He slipped an arm around his shoulder and pulled him in closer.  "I know you've been through hell, and your emotions are all screwy... but I'm not going anywhere."  His lips brushed gently against the angel's temple and Gabriel shivered.   "You've already got me, alright?"

Gabriel slumped down into his shoulder.  "Sorry, kiddo.  You're right.  My emotions are all weird and intense.  When you pulled me out of there, I had to rely on you for so much, and..." he sighed.  "I'm acting all possessive and needy.   I know I sound like a broken record, but this isn't like me, Sam."

"I know. It's alright."  Sam ruffled a few fingers through the top of his hair and kissed his forehead.  "For what it's worth, in the heat of the moment, the biting is kind of a turn on."

"Oh reeeally..." Gabriel pulled back, shooting him a lewd grin.

"What can I say?  I like it rough," Sam  shrugged sheepishly. "Now go eat your pancakes before they're ice cold.  And maybe keep the transporting thing to a minimum while we're in public, huh?"

Shit.

"I-I don't even remember doing that," Gabriel sighed, sheepishly hiding his reddened face. "Do you think anyone noticed?"

"Nah. It's okay. Now go on,"  Sam said, giving him a playful peck on the cheek.

Gabriel slipped out of the booth and back into his seat, but not before glaring at a pair of scowling construction workers on their lunch break.

"Who'd have thought the Midwest still isn't the best place for two guys cuddling in a restaurant?" he muttered.  "Those guys have been giving us the evil eye since we walked in."

Sam shrugged, not even looking up from his breakfast.   "Whatever. Let them stare."  He piled his egg whites onto a thick piece of multigrain toast and took a big bite. "You know, Dean's gonna kill me when he sees I took the car," he snickered.  "He can't even take off to a bar to hide from his feelings like usual."

Gabriel opened his mouth to agree, but he was quickly distracted when the waiter returned with his milkshake. Eyes wide on the giant glass, he nodded a polite 'thanks' before taking a huge sip.  There was something comforting about the sweet taste lingering on his tongue, and it was almost enough to make him forget the embarrassment he'd felt just a few minutes earlier.  Humming contently, he turned and cut to his stack of pancakes.

"Mmmm." Gabriel shoveled a big bite into his mouth, leaving a drippy trail of chocolate sauce down his chin.  "Oh, Sam, you have to try this."

"No thanks.  I'll pass."

"Oh come on, just one little bite!" Gabriel leaned over the table, shoving a forkful of chocolaty goo in his direction as Sam shook his head.  "C'mon!  One bite won't kill you.  Open, dammit!"

Sam sighed and opened his mouth.

"It's good, right?"  Gabriel stared at him expectantly.

"Yeah.  Of course it's good.  It's not like I never eat sweet stuff, you know.  I just try not to make a habit of it."

Gabriel sighed and took another big bite.  "I'll never understand you health nuts.  Though the payoff is nice, I suppose.  You're fucking ripped!"

"Uh," Sam glanced down at his food and blushed. "Thanks.  Hey, I need to use the restroom.  You wanna come with me, or will you be okay here?  I'll just be a minute."

Thoughtfully, Gabriel glanced around the room. He was anxious, of course, but not as bad as usual. Maybe he was finally starting to get over that fear of people. Regardless, Sam should be able to go the bathroom alone, for cripes sake. "I'll be fine. Go ahead," he motioned.

Sam beamed at him and nodded.

Despite his feigned confidence, Gabriel couldn't help letting his eyes follow Sam all the way to the bathroom door.  He might be feeling a bit less fearful, but he was still going to watch the door like a new puppy with separation anxiety.

As he sat there, sipping his milkshake and staring as if his life depended on it, something across the room caught his attention; one of the construction workers who had been glowering at them moments ago stood up from his table.

Usually, he wouldn't have noticed something as trivial as a random stranger walking to the restroom, but in his hyper-aware, nervous state, he was constantly on guard lately.   Staring hard enough to bore a hole in the restroom door, he chewed his straw anxiously, and for a brief moment, he wondered if he should go check on Sam.

When the man's dining companion slipped from the booth and headed toward the restroom as well, a red flag went off in his mind.  He was probably just bring paranoid, but something about the two men gave him a bad feeling.  Anxiety be damned, he slid out of the booth and hurriedly walked toward the bathroom to find Sam, trying not to cause a scene in his panic.

Shoving the door open a little harder than he needed to, he took two steps inside and froze, as did the men in front of him.

"Oh it's just the other queer," one of the men sneered.  "You come in after your little boyfriend?"

Sam was slumped over on the floor, looking dazed as he wiped blood from his nose. "Gabriel, go.  I'm fine." Slowly, he tried to get to his feet but his eyes closed as if he were having trouble focusing.

All the fear he should have been feeling went out the window when he saw that blood on Sam's face.  They had hurt Sam.  His human.  His fists clenched, his teeth gnashed, and without another thought, he sprung into action.

Gabriel's earthly vessel was nothing special. He wasn't ripped like Sam, and he certainly wasn't as tall as Sam either. To be honest, he was on the short side, but what he lacked in height, he made up for in determination. Even without his powers, he was strong and scrappy.

As one of the men advanced toward him, Gabriel's fist connected with his right temple, sending him stumbling backwards before collapsing in a heap on the floor.

His victory was short-lived however as the larger of the two men managed to get behind him, locking the angel's arm in his vice-like grip.

"Stupid move, queer."

Gabriel struggled for a second, panic flooding his mind.  What the hell was he doing?  This guy could snap him like a twig.  Oh.  Wait... A wicked grin spread across his face as he felt a wave of icy calm wash over him. "Trust me, pal, you do not wanna fuck with me," said wryly.  He glanced over at Sam, still struggling to focus as he held his nose.

"Oh? What are you gonna do, short stuff?" the man cackled. "Punch me in the kneecaps?"

"Maybe."  Gabriel glared defiantly, clenching his jaw to keep from spitting in his face.

"I told your boyfriend that this is a family establishment.  We don't need your disgusting displays of affection here.  After you pay for what you did to my friend, I want you to collect your trash," he motioned to Sam, "and get the hell out of here." He shoved Gabriel against the wall and raised his fist to hit him, but Sam suddenly lunged forward, knocking him off balance.

"You little prick!" the man yelled, grappling with Sam as they hit the floor.  "I'm gonna..."

"Oh, you're not gonna do shit, bucko."

Suddenly frozen in place, the man cried out as Sam scrambled off of him. "What the fuck?" he yelled, panicked. "I can't move!"

"Yeah... Shame about that." Gabriel smirked and walked a small circle around him, snapping his fingers at his unconscious companion in the corner. Slowly, the man's eyes opened, and he blinked hard as he tried to make sense of what had happened.

"You!" he yelled, struggling to stand.

"Not so fast." Gabriel snapped his fingers again and the man fell back down, spread eagle on the floor, unable to move anything but his head.

"What the fuck?"

"Yeah, yeah, 'What the fuck?'  We just went over that. Try not to fall asleep in class next time, huh?"

"W-what the hell are you?"

"Hell?  Nah.  Heaven.  I'm an angel, jackass."

Sam was staring at him in awe, and Gabriel gave him a little wink as he let his enormous golden wings unfurl behind him. Backlit by a luminous swirl of his own grace, he stood proudly, looking more confident and cocky than Sam could ever remember.

An audible gasp rose from each of the men as they trembled at the implausible scene in front of them. Time stood still for a moment as the men trembled, too afraid to even speak.  Finally, the larger of the two goons managed to find his voice.

"A-an angel? Like, a-a real angel?" he stuttered.

Gabriel rolled his eyes. "You think I bought these at things at Walmart?" he asked wryly, motioning to his wings. "You'll have to forgive me, I left my halo at home."

"B-but. But..."

"Yeah, turns out God doesn't hate fags," the angel quipped.  "But as it turns out, dear old dad isn't fond of assholes.  And neither am I."

"Please let us go," the smaller man croaked. "W-we're sorry. We won't..."

"You're damn right you won't.  Sam, close your eyes."  He waved a hand, barring the restroom door closed.

Sam frowned. "What?"

"Just close your eyes!"

As Sam turned around and closed his eyes, Gabriel cast a protective barrier around him, simultaneously letting himself transform into a version of himself he hadn't seen in years.   With long, sinewy limbs, six wings, and a head more alien than human, it was a smaller, yet no less terrifying, variation of his true form.

His attackers lay motionless on the floor, crying out in helpless horror as Gabriel walked slowly around them.

"Now listen to me, you sons of bitches," he snarled in an ear-splitting, unearthly voice.  "If I ever hear about you harassing or laying a finger on another human being, I will fucking devour you.  Understand?"

Both men nodded frantically.

Gabriel snapped his wings behind him, and in the blink of an eye, he was back in his human vessel again. With another snap of his fingers, the protective barrier around Sam disappeared.

"C''mon, Sam."

Dazed, Sam stood, wiping his bloody nose on his shirt sleeve once more before walking toward the door.

"Remember what I said, boys," Gabriel warned as he pressed against the door. "I'll be watching you. Oh, and clean yourselves up, for God's sake. Your waitress doesn't get paid enough to clean your piss out of the booth." He snapped his fingers once again to free them, and pushed through the door.

Sam drew his wallet and tossed a wad of bills on the table as they strode confidently out of the diner.

"I can't believe that just happened," he grinned, grabbing Gabriel's arm and dragging him through the parking lot. "I can't believe you did that!"

"Too much?"

"No." Sam shoved him against the side of the Impala and kissed him hard. "That was incredible."

Gabriel grinned and wrapped his arms around Sam's neck. "Mmm." He sighed happily, letting Sam shower his face and neck with tiny kisses. "As much as I don't wanna cut this short, kiddo, we'd better get the hell out of here."

"Oh.  Yeah.  I guess we should," Sam sighed, glancing back at the diner.  With a final kiss on his forehead, he backed off and opened the driver's side door.

"You know we can never come back to this place, right?" Gabriel laughed as he climbed into the passenger seat.

Sam snorted.  "That's alright. The food wasn't that great anyway."  He started the car and quickly put it in 'drive'.  "That was awesome," he gushed.  "I'm sorry I wasn't much help.  That asshole sucker punched me in the face just as I turned around to wash my hands!  I never saw it coming!  Not that you needed my help..."

"Oh shit, I totally forgot!"  Gabriel interrupted.  He reached over and touched a finger to the tip of Sam's nose.  "Boop."

Instantly the swelling in Sam's face disappeared, along with the last residual traces of dried blood.

"Wow," Sam murmured.  He tested his formerly sore nose by pressing on it a few times.  "Thanks."

"No problem.  God, Sam, that felt so good!  I almost forgot how much I like fucking with assholes!  I didn't even have to do anything to them and they pissed themselves!" Gabriel howled.

Sam grinned.  "What exactly did you do when you made me close my eyes?  It sounded intense, whatever it was."

"Uhh. I gave 'em a tiny taste of my true form. I'm sorry, I just didn't want you to see me like that."

"Why?"

"Because obviously, it's terrifying to most people. Besides, that's not 'me' anymore.  I haven't been that iteration of myself in thousands of years.  This is me," Gabriel shrugged, looking down at his human body.  "I like it here.  Even if this body is much more vulnerable."

Sam smiled as he guided the car down a lonely dirt road that lead to home.  "Guess you can take care of yourself now, huh?"

"Yeah," Gabriel sighed thoughtfully.  "I guess I c... No! No, I-I'm not that good yet!"

"Calm down," Sam laughed.  "What, do you think I'm going to kick you out of the bunker or something because you're a little better?  I'm just saying, you can take care of yourself better than I ever could."

"That's not true. Just because you can't warp reality doesn't mean anything. Sam, you took care of me physically when I couldn't take care of myself. And you're still taking care of me in my iffy mental state. You're good for my soul, kiddo."

Quietly, the Impala drew closer to home, with Sam not quite sure how to respond to the compliment, and Gabriel still glowing over what had happened in the diner.

"You ready to see what kind of ridiculous excuse your brother has for us?" Gabriel finally asked, grinning from ear to ear.

"Oh god, I can hear it now!"  Sam snickered "Sammy, I can explain!  Cas slipped and fell on top of me and he was only naked because...  Okay, I don't know yet, but he'll come up with something stupid."

Gabriel snorted. "By the way, did Cassie have his wings out?"

Cringing a little at the memory of black feathers and a bare-assed angel on top of his brother, Sam nodded.

"Atta boy!"

Sam shook his head and pulled the car into the bunker's garage.  "Hey. Before we go in... You know that sort of thing doesn't usually happen, right?  Fuck, your first real trip out of the bunker where you had to deal with people, and then that happened. What are the odds?"

"Yeah.  I know."

"Good. I just don't want this to discourage you from going out more.  I'm so proud of you, by the way.  You handled yourself so well.  Hell, you were even cracking jokes!"

"Kinda like the old me, huh?"

Sam smiled. "Like the old you.  It was good to see that side of you again.  You looked so strong, and confident, and powerful..." Sam paused, subconsciously licking his lips.

"You like that, huh?" Gabriel chuckled.

"Umm." Red-faced, Sam cleared his throat and swallowed.  "Let's go inside."

"Whatever you say, kiddo."

 

Chapter Text

Each step leading to the bunker's main floor felt easier than before, and Gabriel found himself taking them with a bounce in his step. It wasn't until then that he realized he really was walking better lately. In fact, since that overzealous display of power at the diner, his limp had completely disappeared.

The day may have started out terribly, but right now, he was feeling pretty damn good. It had been a long time since he'd felt gleeful, and try as he might, he just couldn't wipe the stupid smile off his face. Hell, he was even humming to himself as he followed behind Sam, making their way to the bunker's library.

"Hello Sam. Gabriel," Cas nodded their direction as he looked up from the ancient pile of books spread out in front of him. "You're looking well," he said, as he gave his brother a once over.

"I'm on top of the world, Cassie," Gabriel purred, and he laughed as Cas gave him a suspicious side-eye.

"Hey Cas," Sam chimed in. "Where's Dean?"

Cas slowly flipped the page in his book and sighed. "His bedroom. He heard you two coming and he went running. Although now that I think of it, he probably wouldn't want me to tell you that."

Sam smiled and pulled out Gabriel's chair, motioning for him to sit before plunking down in his own seat. He reached for the nearest musty tome and casually began paging through it.

"What are you two working on? I need to get back in the loop. I'm sorry I haven't been much help lately."

"What?" In his stereotypical fashion, Cas squinted and cocked his head, looking genuinely confused. "Nursing Gabriel back to health is way more important than any job, Sam."

"Yeah. I know." Sam ran his fingers nervously through his hair. "Of course it is. But you know what I mean. I feel bad that you've had to fill in all this time. It's a lot to ask of anyone. It's not like asking you to water my plants while I'm away or something."

Cas frowned and shook his head. "I don't mind at all. I like spending time with Dean. As it turns out, I'm not a bad hunter. I'm just glad you could be there for Gabriel when he needed someone." Even after all this time, a touch of sadness lingered in his voice, and Gabriel couldn't help but wince.

"Castiel," he sighed heavily and slumped against the table. "I'm sorry. I know you were trying to take care of me, and I spent all this time nesting with Sam. I still don't know why I trusted him in the first place. But he uhh... He held me," Gabriel grimaced as the crimson heat of embarrassment washed over his face. He wiped at his eyes and cleared his throat, desperately trying to sound less awkward. "Umm. He held me when I needed to be held, and... well, I needed to be held a lot for a while." He sighed again, self-consciously rubbing his face. "I'm sorry, Cassie."

Cas's brow creased and his dark blue eyes grew wide and watery as he silently stared.

"There's no need to apologize," he managed. His gravelly voice cracked as he spoke, and he hurriedly tried to clear his throat.

A single tear spilled over his cheek as Gabriel smiled and stood, and he held his arms open wide. "Bring it in here, little bro."

As he wrapped his arms around his brother, he closed his eyes and sighed, breathing in the comforting scent of feathers, of preen oil, of family. For too many years, he had been content to be alone. He loved his family, but their constant arguing and attempts at power were exhausting. It was easier to love them from a distance, so he'd hidden away, creating for himself the perfect solitary life: a bachelor pad, a dog to keep him company, even an occasional job to keep himself amused. He'd had all the decadent food he could eat, a slew of sexual partners, and life without responsibility or care.

He'd loved his reclusive life, but the thought of going back to it now made him feel... well, sort of... empty. He'd been sure that getting too close to people made things messy; too many emotions, too much potential for heartbreak. He never could have imagined what an emotional creature he was beneath those walls, how much he craved the very things he tried to distance himself from. And to think, it had only taken dying and a life-changing traumatic event to figure that out.

After a long, lingering embrace, he sheepishly pulled away, dabbing at his eyes as he changed the subject.

"Well hey, let's lighten the mood in here, shall we?" he said, flopping back into his chair. "So, Castiel, how long have you been banging the surly one?"

Cas settled down into his seat with a blank expression on his face. "Hmm? Oh. You mean, since I've been indulging in pleasures of the flesh with Dean?"

"Yeah," Gabriel chortled. "That."

"Since December 20th, at approximately 11:46 p.m."

Sam covered his mouth to keep from laughing and Gabriel grinned at his brother's penchant for accuracy and numbers.

"And you're not just banging," Gabriel tittered. "Cassie has chosen a mate! You know, I never expected you to go for the bad boy type."

Cas frowned. "There's nothing bad about Dean. But yes, he and I share a deep, profound bond. Honestly, I chose him as my mate long ago, but we didn't physically consummate until then."

"Oh, Cas. Only you could make sex sound boring. Tell me it's good at least!"

For the first time since Gabriel could remember, Cas made a noise that could only be described as a giggle. His sober demeanor faded and his face reddened as he tried to choke out a response.

"That's-that's not s-something to discuss in polite company."

"Sure it is! We're brothers! Let's do a little brotherly bonding! How big is his..."

"Whoa!" Before he could finish, Sam held up a hand, face contorted in disgust. "You might want to hear details, but I really don't need to know how my brother is getting it from one of my best friends. I mean, seriously! It's like seeing your parents have sex! I'm totally happy for you guys and all, but spare me the intimate details, alright?"

"Yes," Cas nodded eagerly. "Thank you, Sam."

Gabriel rolled his eyes and sighed. "I almost forgot how uptight some humans are about sex. That's alright. That blush and giggle told me everything I needed to know. Little Cassie has taken a mate," he mused, shaking his head. "I'm so happy for you."

"Thank you." Cas rubbed at his face, desperately trying to hide his embarrassment. "So," he said, clearly trying to steer the conversation elsewhere, "now that that's out in the open, are you ever going to tell me what's going on between the two of you?"

Sam shifted uncomfortably in his chair as he looked back and forth between them, but Gabriel just shrugged.

"Actually, I'd love to stick around and talk, but I think it's time for me to take a mate as well," he winked. He stood and grabbed Sam by the back of his collar and tugged until the lanky hunter scrambled to his feet.

"Gabriel!" Sam protested, face flushed pink as he became aware of Cas's curious staring. He lowered his voice as he was pulled toward the stairs. "I told you this morning, when you're ready, we'll..."

"I'm ready now, kiddo. Get upstairs and get yourself some archangel ass."

The noise that escaped Sam's throat was strangled and high-pitched as he stared back at the suddenly-confident archangel in front of him.

"Are you s..."

"Hell yes. Come on." He tugged at Sam's arm and started up the stairs.

Sam laughed nervously and fumbled along behind him, wrist locked in a death grip as Gabriel urged him on. They barely made it to the top of the landing before Gabriel couldn't wait anymore, and he flung his arms around Sam's neck, pressing his entire body as close as he possibly could.

Sam took the hint, leaning down to kiss him and he laughed as Gabriel forcefully shoved his tongue into his mouth. The angel just smirked, tightening his grip as he wrapped his legs around him. "My human," Gabriel growled as he continued his desperate kisses. "My mate. Mmm. Mine."

"Yeah," Sam rasped. "Wings. Now."

"Can't even wait until we get to the bedroom, hmm? I like the way you operate, kiddo."

Huge golden wings sprung from Gabriel's back, the sheer force of which knocked Sam off balance. The hunter stumbled and took a few clumsy steps backward, and his back slammed into the closest door.

Giggling breathlessly, Gabriel pulled away so that he could collect himself, but not before the door swung open wide.

"What the hell is..." Dean yelped as he tried to avoid being squashed by his giant moose of a brother, who went sprawling backwards into the room. "Going on," he slowly finished, frowning at their uncontrollable laughter. "And holy shit," he murmured, his breath catching in his throat as he caught an eyeful shining gold feathers. "Gabriel? What are you... Why are... What the hell is going on?" he yelled.

He was feeling cocky for the first time in a while, so Gabriel puffed out his chest and flirtatiously fanned his wings.

"You tell me," he cooed, holding out a hand to help Sam up. "Still waiting for that explanation, bucko."

"I think they know, Dean," Cas's voice echoed from the library below, causing Sam to snort with laughter.

"Oh. Right." Dean's usually cool exterior faded, quickly replaced by red-faced stuttering. "W-we just... I'm not... We weren't... Oh, fuck off!" he grumbled, trying to close his door, but Gabriel reached over and tauntingly held it open with a single finger.

"Hey, shouldn't you ask for my blessing if you want to mate my baby brother?" Gabriel chortled.

"What? I'm, uh..."

"Dean, Dean, Dean. So inconsiderate. Just for that, I'm going to mate your little brother. Right now." He threw his arms around Sam's neck and began kissing him again, despite Sam's poor attempt not to laugh. As Gabriel jumped and wrapped his legs around his human's body, he paused, just long enough to wink at a bewildered Dean.

"Onward!" he grinned, pointing to the bedroom and digging his heels into the back of Sam's thighs.

"What the hell...?" Dean's voice faltered as he watched them walk away.

Sam struggled down the hallway to his bedroom as best he could considering he was attached at the lips to a randy archangel.

"Gabriel," he gasped as he pulled back for a breath of air. "I can't get us through the door with your wings."

"You mean you don't want to give them a free show?" Gabriel quipped, tilting his head to the downstairs level, where Dean had now joined Cas, and was muttering angrily.

"What the hell has gotten into that asshole?"

"I don't think anything yet, Dean," came Cas's earnest reply.

Gabriel snapped his wings away and they both fell in the doorway, howling with laughter.

"Oh my god!" Sam choked. "Poor Dean. I almost feel bad for him."

"Something tells me he'll be just fine," Gabriel winked. "Now get naked."

Sam rushed to unbutton his shirt, but before he finished, it, and the rest of his clothing, had disappeared once again. He paused and looked up at the naked angel in front of him.

"So I'm impatient!" Gabriel shrugged. "Lie down." The voice that spilled past his lips surprised him; so confident and demanding, he barely recognized it as his own. Sure, he'd used it in the diner, but now it sounded slicker, almost predatory, and he could even sense how much it turned Sam on.

In a flash, Gabriel was on him, wings out, mouth kissing and licking up and down the length of his thighs, over his stomach, and across his collarbone.

"I've been wanting to do this for so long," Gabriel breathed. "Seriously, Sam, from the minute I met you..." His thoughts were interrupted as Sam kissed away his words.

"Oh?"

"Mmm. I thought you were hot as hell. I mean, you were a pain in my ass, but I still would have banged you," Gabriel panted, shamelessly rubbing himself against Sam's thigh.

Sam chuckled. "Uh.  Thanks? You think I was a pain in the ass? You're lucky you're cute, because god, you really knew how to get under my skin." He shivered as Gabriel licked up the side of his neck. "I still kinda liked you though. Well, until you killed Dean."

"Hey, can we at least wait until after sex to talk about all the times I killed your brother?" Gabriel quipped.

"I suppose." Sam smiled and shook his head, and in one quick motion, Gabriel was flipped onto his back. "I liked you again later though, if it's any consolation." Teasingly, he dipped down to nuzzle their noses together. "I like you a lot now."

As Sam paused, green eyes staring into his own, lips lingering dangerously close, Gabriel was overcome with a dizzying sense of need. He flicked his chin upward, gently catching Sam's bottom lip between his teeth, and he kissed him, for all he was worth. Sam responded in kind, devouring him as his giant body mashed him into the mattress.

Every touch, every flick of his tongue, every quiet moan, Gabriel savored. It had been so long since he felt like someone actually cared about him, and he wanted this feeling burned into his brain. His wings reached forward, wrapping around Sam's back, instinctively rubbing his scent over him, marking him, claiming him as his own.

Just a few weeks ago, he wanted so desperately to curl up in a ball and never see another human again. He certainly never thought he'd want to have sex with one. He'd been so broken and damaged, he wasn't sure he could ever feel normal. Sam had changed all of that. He'd nursed his wounds and helped to heal his fragile mind. Perhaps against his better judgement, Gabriel had surrendered complete control to him, and Sam went above and beyond to give him everything he needed. With every ounce of trust and gratitude he'd felt over the last few months, he surrendered himself again, letting Sam take the lead. It wasn't like him to be so submissive in bed, but he didn't care. Yes, right now, Sam could have absolutely everything.

He whined as the warmth of Sam's body pulled away, but he was quickly pacified as he felt the tickle of long hair and a tongue gliding up the inside of his thighs.

"Mmm. You're incredible, you know that?" he murmured. "You're... ohhhhh." The rest of his thought went out the window as a hot, wet mouth closed around the head of his cock. His eyes rolled back and he moaned, mindlessly fisting a hand in Sam's hair.

"Fuck, kiddo. Ohhh that's good."

Despite his natural reflex to just close his eyes and enjoy, he couldn't help but sneak a few peeks at his beautiful human, eyes closed, pink lips sliding up and down the length of his shaft as his skilled tongue wrapped around him. He'd been on this earth a hell of a long time, but he was certain nothing had ever looked this beautiful before. 

"You know, you look even hotter sucking my cock," he teased.

Sam snorted and his eyes opened long enough to roll at him before he firmly grabbed him by the balls.

"Ahhh! Alright, alright!" Gabriel yelped. "But I have to warn you, I kinda like that."

Sam pulled off of him, cock slipping out of his mouth with an audible, wet 'pop'.

"Hey, you don't have to stop! Haaa... ohhh." Sam's fist closed around him, and suddenly his tongue slipped lower, lapping at him before he teasingly sucked his balls into his mouth.

"Fuck, Sam... You need to fuck me. Now."

"Mmm. Maybe we should switch it up this time. You know, make sure you're really okay?" Sam whispered, his breath ghosting over his spit-slicked cock.

Gabriel shivered and bit his lip as he groaned."Sam, if you don't take me, I'm going to climb on up there and ride it myself." He shoved him away and rolled over, assuming the position face-down on the bed, his wings fluttering ever-so-slightly with anticipation. "Now get on me already!"

"Jesus. Who knew that me getting my ass kicked would give you your confidence back? I should have taken you out ages ago."

Gabriel grunted as he turned his head to glare at him. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm presenting myself like a goddamn gift to you and you're still talking. Less talk, more action, Winchester."

"I love this demanding side of you," Sam grinned. "But I'll get to it... eventually." He carefully knelt on the bed, positioning himself between Gabriel's legs. Still a bit cautiously, he let his hands glide up the angel's back, underneath his wings, then he dragged them down along his sides. Again he glided forward, this time directing his caresses to the center of his back, at the spot between his wings that always made Gabriel moan.

A massage. He was giving him a fucking massage. A tiny sigh escaped Gabriel's throat, but regardless, he kept his stoic composure.

"Cut the foreplay, Sam! Just hurry up and..."

"Nope."

"You don't have to baby me, I'm f... ahhh... fine," he stammered, moaning as fingers dug into the base of each wing. "I'm not the kind of guy who needs all the mushy stuff, so just fuck me already!"

Sam shook his head and continued working his fingers through the soft, golden feathers while Gabriel shivered and twitched on the bed. "I don't think you need fucked."

"Excuse me?"

"Oh, I'll fuck you senseless eventually. But you need more than that right now."

"What?"

Sam slid his hands down his back and kneaded them into the thick, sinewy muscles of his ass, then teased a finger down the crack, making him groan and arch his back.

"Well I'm glad you're feeling like your old self, but I've spent every single minute with you the last few months. I know you now. And I know that sometimes the bravado means you're full of shit."

"Well I'm not this time!"

"Yeah? Then why are you so tense?" Sam leaned forward to knead at the stiff muscles of his shoulders, and Gabriel huffed angrily.

"C'mon, Sam!"

"Patience... I know you're full of shit because you love the mushy stuff." Sam smoothed his hands back down and over his wings, digging then into every spot he could remember as Gabriel's breath hissed between his teeth. Tortuously, he kissed a trail up his spine, pausing to lick just between the sensitive spot at the base of his wings.

The giant wings shuddered, along with the rest of his body, and from the corner of his eye, Gabriel saw Sam's lips turn up in a smirk.

"Look at how much you love this," Sam teased, straining to kiss the junction of his neck and shoulder, and sucking little red welts on his skin.

Gabriel's back arched again. His eyes rolled back and his wings fluttered softly as Sam continued his kisses up the side of his jaw.

"Shut up," he uttered weakly.

"You love being taken care of," Sam continued, his tone just a little too giddy. He gave his earlobe a gentle tug with his teeth. "You love being showered with affection..."

"Oh fuck yooooo-ou," Gabriel tried to snarl but it came out in a breathy whimper that betrayed his intentions.

Sam beamed, reaching under his thick, golden feathers to rub at the nubby oil gland. "You really are horny, huh?" he mused, smearing an oil-slicked hand over Gabriel's back.

"What the hell do you think I've been saying?"

"Alright," Sam grinned. "But you're getting some long, slow... love making," he snorted. "With lots of kissing and eye contact," he waggled a brow mischievously, biting his lip in unbridled glee at the eye roll he received. "On your back."

Gabriel's wings snapped away, and without another argument, he rolled over. "Whatever speeds this along," he grumbled. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, still eager, but trying to calm any residual anxiety as Sam gently parted his legs.

"Haaaa..." His eyes flew open a second later as he felt a tongue lick an area quite south of where he expected. "Whoa!"

Immediately Sam pulled back. "Okay, okay. I'll stop."

"No!" Gabriel exclaimed. "Don't you fucking dare! It just... surprised me. Millions of years on this earth, and that's never happened before."

Sam snorted with laughter. "Seriously? No one's ever... Never? Huh. And you had the nerve to tell me I'm the one who's not living right?" he smirked. 

"Well I'm an instant gratification kind of guy! Some of us don't waste time with all this lead up, you know. If I want sex, I just have sex! At least let me clean up first." Gabriel dismissively waved his hand. "Okay. Continue."

Sam rolled his eyes and dove in again, one hand fondling his cock as the other wandered his torso.

Much to his embarrassment, Gabriel swooned. He bit his lip and dug his toes into Sam's back, feeling his entire body vibrate with pleasure. For a brief moment, his mind flashed to sex and he tensed, hoping like hell that nothing was going to set him off again. Shaking the thought from his head, he closed his eyes, focusing on the comforting scent of their mutual love nest, and every filthy little thing Sam was doing with his tongue.

"Ohhhhh. That's good, Sam, but if you don't get in there soon, I'm... Oh!" He yelped as tongue pressed into him. "Fuck, that's weird. But good."

Sam chuckled deep in his throat, blindly reaching for the lube in his nightstand drawer, and before Gabriel even had time to mentally prepare himself, a thick finger pressed inside of him.

"Fuuuuck!" He groaned at the intrusion, desperately clutching at the sheets as his body stiffened again. "Couldn't warn a guy first, could you?"

"Thought you didn't need all the foreplay," Sam chided. "Besides, it's more fun when it's a surprise."

"For you maybe," Gabriel grumbled. Breathlessly, he steadied his gaze on those bright green eyes as Sam watched him intently for any signs of hesitation.

"You okay?"

Gabriel nodded, jaw agape as Sam took his time fingering him open. The aching stretch reminded him of how much bigger Sam's cock was going to be, and suddenly, he was slightly thankful for all this damn foreplay.

"Oh fuck... Sam, please," Gabriel begged.

Sam pulled away just long enough to slick some lube over his cock. Taking himself in hand, he lined up and slowly pushed into him. Gabriel groaned loudly, eyes screwed shut as Sam's girthy length filled him fuller than he had been in quite some time.

"Oh shit," the angel gasped. "Ohhh god..."  A flurry of whimpers and groans escaped his throat as Sam slowly began moving his hips. His eyes closed and for just a second, he was back in that dark, filthy cage, at the end of some sadistic asshole's cock, too weak to fight back. 

No. That wasn't right.

He was in the Winchester's bunker.

He was with Sam; Sam Winchester, that kind, beautiful, mountain of a man who had saved his fucking life. Sam would never hurt him. 

The tiniest of smiles quirked at his lips and Gabriel let his body relax. He may not have admitted it just yet, but Sam loved him. He'd read that in his thoughts earlier today. He hadn't meant to, but they were so damn loud and obvious, it was hard to miss. He'd never understood the whole 'love' thing, but he had to admit, he was pretty damn fond of the kid. 

He was having sex with Sam Winchester, and goddamn it, it was going to be amazing.

"Open your eyes," Sam whispered. "Look at me. What are you thinking?"

Teary golden eyes fluttered open and Gabriel choked back a sob.

"Oh no." Sam immediately flew into panic mode. "Okay, okay, we'll stop." He attempted to pull out, but Gabriel's arms gripped him tightly.

"Keep going," he hissed.

"Gabe, I'm not..."

"Don't you dare leave me!" Gabriel pleaded. "Please." He wrapped his legs around him, grabby and clingy like he had been so many times before.

Sam swallowed hard and nodded. "Okay." He adjusted his position so that he could get closer as he continued slow, gentle thrusts. Straining, he managed to give Gabriel a soft kiss on the jaw, and then a few more on the cheek before locking their lips in a passionate kiss.

"Shhhh. You're okay," Sam whispered, nuzzling away the tears. "Look at me. Gabriel. Look at me," he repeated.

Gabriel opened his eyes again, sheepishly trying to blink away tears.

"We don't have to do this," Sam paused.

"N-no. Please don't say that. I'm good. Really. I'm just all... I don't know, emotional for some reason. Can't stop fucking crying around you, apparently," he spat, wiping the tears away.

A wave of relief washed over Sam's face, and he smiled tenderly as he dipped down to kiss him again. "I think you're allowed to be," he whispered. "You just tell me if it's too much, okay?"

Gabriel grunted and shoved his hips against him in response. "Harder," he hissed, raising his legs to rest against Sam's shoulders.

Sam grinned and deepened his strokes, gripping him around the ankles as Gabriel keened and whimpered way louder than he'd ever admit to later.

Oh, how he'd missed this. Every nerve in his body was singing, in harmony with his grace for the first time in ages. As he felt the warm glow ripple through his body, he allowed a trickle of grace to envelop Sam.

"Haaa...! H-holy shit. Whaaa... What is that?" Sam moaned as his back arched.

Gabriel just shot him a smug look. "Guess I've got tricks you've never felt before too... Ohhhh. That's good, kiddo. Keep... Ungh. Right there." He reached down and gave his cock a few half-hearted tugs as his entire body rocked with Sam's rhythmic thrusting.

The warm, tingling sensations were growing stronger, both in his lower abdomen and rippling across his entire body. As the physical need for release mounted, an overwhelming surge of his own grace flooded him, and without warning, his wings sprung out beneath him. The sound of bare skin slapping and Sam's breathy grunts stopped abruptly as Sam jolted back, and Gabriel clamored to get closer.

"What the hell is that?" Sam panted, falling back on his knees.

"Just... my grace," Gabriel managed, breathless. "It's... uh. Inside you..."

"It's what? Nevermind. Come here."

Gabriel knew there would be questions later, but neither of them had the time or patience for that right now. With Sam's gentle coaxing, he lowered himself into his lap, sinking back down onto his cock again. He let those strong arms support his weight as he wrapped his legs around Sam's hips. There, he clung for dear life as Sam thrust up into him, fingers wound tightly in the back of his hair, yanking his head back so that he could lick and kiss his way up his neck and shoulder.

"Sam," Gabriel whimpered. His cock was rubbing against Sam's torso just right and he knew he wasn't going to last much longer. "Aw shit..." His back arched, his wings snapped forward and wrapped around Sam, and he sunk his teeth into his shoulder. With the warm buzz of grace coursing through his veins, and the heat pooling in his abdomen, he bucked his hips, riding him harder until he cried out, spilling his hot release between the two of them.

Sam purred happily as a tingly flood of Gabriel's grace washed over him.

"Holy shit," Sam whimpered, giving a few more weak thrusts before his hips stuttered and he groaned loudly. "Ohhhh. Gabe, I'm... I'm... ahhhh..."

Gabriel smiled wearily as Sam slumped forward, covering his face in tiny kisses.

"That was amazing," Sam murmured, shoving him back down on the bed. He continued hovering over him, staring him down with those piercing green eyes as he playfully kissed his way across his jaw and down his neck. "You okay?"

"Mmmm," Gabriel hummed, letting his wings flutter and tickle across Sam's sides. "I'm good. Better than I've been in a long, long time. Thanks, kiddo." 

Sam simpered shyly as he lay down next to him, pulling him into his arms once again. "Did you just thank me for sex?" he joked, still trying to catch his breath.

Gabriel snorted and grinned, snapping his wings away. "Smartass. You know what I meant."

"Yeah. I know."

They lay there in a comfortable quiet for a long time, snuggling close, and listening to each other breathe.

"Sooo..." Sam finally started.

"I knew you weren't going to let that go," Gabriel grimaced.

"I can still feel it."

"Because you're my mate, Sam. We're bonded. There's a bit of my grace inside you now. You'll be able to sense when I'm near, and I'll always be able to find you. You should be able to talk to me whenever now too. What do you humans call it? Telepathy? And the dream walking! Wait until you get a load of that!" He paused for a second, suddenly realizing that he probably should have mentioned all of this beforehand.

"That's... that's actually pretty cool," Sam smiled softly, rolling onto his side so that he could face him, and he lazily ruffled a few fingers through the front of Gabriel's hair. "So what happens now?"

"What do you mean?"

"I don't know," Sam shrugged. "You keep calling me your mate. I've never been anyone's mate before."

"Oh. Well now we buy a little house in the suburbs and you can pop out a couple of kids for us. Maybe we'll get a dog!"

Sam paled. "I can what?"

Gabriel grinned mischievously. "I'm kidding! You do know you're not biologically able to do that, right? Really, Sam, I thought you were the smart one!" He chuckled as the color slowly returned to the hunter's face. "I'm good, but I'm not that good."

"Ass."

Gabriel shrugged, still laughing. "Nothing changes. I mean, except that we get to fuck more often."

"Well I'm not complaining about that. But uh... Does that mean you're going to stick around?" Sam asked anxiously. 

"You think I'm going to claim you as my mate and then leave? Geez, you're starting to sound like me. I think hanging out with me has taken a toll on your confidence, kiddo. Hells yeah I'm sticking around! The bunker's plenty big enough, right? Sorry, Dean-o, Gabriel's movin' in!"

A wide grin spread across Sam's face, and Gabriel did his best to kiss it right off.

"Besides," he said as he pulled away. "Someone has to keep an eye on you Winchesters. You're always getting yourselves into some sort of trouble."

"You're gonna take care of me now, huh?"

Gabriel raised a cocky eyebrow. "You think I can't?" he huffed defiantly.

"Of course not. I think you're amazing."

Taking a long, deep breath, Gabriel snuggled in closer, apologetically kissing at a red bite mark on the side of Sam's neck."Likewise. Hey, we're covered in my preen oil," he noted, gliding a hand over Sam's oil-slicked torso. "After this, I say we have a nice, long bath together. I'll give you a backrub and wash your hair with that special Sasquatch shampoo. Then I'll make us some food and we can watch Dr. Sexy in bed."

"You cook?"

"Pssh. Who needs to cook?" Gabriel motioned over his shoulder to the opposite side of the room where a table filled with assorted food had appeared.

"You're out of control," Sam shook his head in amusement. "You're supposed to be going easy on the powers, you know."

"Hey, you'll need to keep your strength up if you're sticking with me. I'm fine!  Let me celebrate a little! Besides, you'll be headed back to work soon! We deserve to spend a few more days in bed together."

"Mmm," Sam hummed, nuzzling his forehead.

Gabriel closed his eyes for a minute, just soaking in this unusual sense of utter contentment. "Look, kiddo, I'm sure things won't always be this easy for me. Today was a good day; a really good day. Physically I'm feeling pretty good, but the truth is, I'm still a little damaged. Uh, mentally. I can't guarantee sex will always be this easy, or that I'll never wake up screaming again... But I think I'm gonna be okay."

"I know you are."

"Yeah," he nodded resolutely. "I will. But right now, I'm still feeling pretty good, so you might as well fuck me again."

Sam burst out laughing. "I have a better idea..." He pulled away and rolled over onto his stomach, suggestively looking over his shoulder as he raised his ass in the air.

"Well I'll try, but it's gonna be like a chihuahua humping a Great Dane," Gabriel said wryly. He snapped his fingers, and a bottle of lube appeared as if from thin air. "I knew you were fallin' for me."

Sam snorted. "Just get on me already."