Gabriel held his breath. Soft gentle hands covered his eyes. His heart beat fast at the overwhelming excitement. Not just excitement for the date of all dates or the person he was with. But excitement because he knew what would happen after. Yes he was scared, actually terrified. So many things he had just experienced in the last couple of days. So many things he still had to discover. That terrifying feeling, Michael’s voice in his head, his doubt, everything was slowly fading away leaving behind something he had yet to comprehend. All because of one man. “Ready?” A deep voice caressed his ear.
“Yes.” Gabriel whispered in anticipation.
The hands were lifted and for a second he didn’t open his eyes afraid if he did he would wake up back home in his lab. He took a chance and slowly opened them. The first thing he saw was clear water. The second thing he saw we’re fins. Colorful fins, engulfing the clear water. He looked up to see a giant tank of water with every fish imaginable. “What do you think?” A hesitant voice asked.
Gabriel turned with tears in his eyes to look at a startled Sam and gave him a smile. “Its perfect.” Sam visibly relaxed and reached over to caress Gabriel’s cheek. It was still late afternoon so children and adults were scattered around but they ignored the people around them lost in their own little world. Gabriel grabbed Sam’s hand and began walking. He could see all the small little fish swimming around and wondered for a second if they we’re following him. The large room was dimly lit to better see the aquatic life but Sam could still see Gabriel’s eyes light up when they would pass cylindrical tanks scattered around the room. “Its so amazing. I love this Sam!” Gabriel said excitedly as he pressed his nose into the glass of a jelly fish thank.
“Why do you like fish so much? Is it because they are tiny like you?” Sam asked approaching Gabriel and wrapping his hands around his waist.
“No, it’s not because they are tiny like me.” Gabriel mocked turning his head and sticking out his tongue to Sam but kissing his cheek right after. “And it’s not just fish. It’s all ocean life. Our planet is so big. Bigger than you even!” He said playfully turning around in Sam’s arms to look at him as he spoke. Sam chuckled and gave him his full attention. “And most of it is a mystery buried under water waiting to be discovered. Who knows what’s down there.” Gabriel watched Sam’s face carefully. “Its also so diverse. Colorful reefs, happy fish and crabs, green seaweed all moving with the soft current of the water. And then you swim a bit and emptiness, darkness, a force to be reckoned with. All that within inches of each other. It’s incredible something like that exist.”
“Kind of like you?” Sam asked tightening his grip on Gabriel. At Gabriel’s confused smile he continued. “You become shy with a soft kiss, but you smile mischievously when I grab your butt. You couldn’t figure out how to hook up the control to the x box, but you solved a big piece of the puzzle in mere hours, something a whole army couldn’t do. You bump into walls and stump your toes into things, but tossed a pillow to catch a falling dog from the couch with accuracy. One second you are hurt and the next is like nothing happened. You’re a bundle of contradiction and mystery yourself. Amazing in every way.” Sam summarized and ended with a kiss.
Somehow the voices in his head had gone silent, all Gabriel could hear we’re Sam’s words. There was a time when Gabriel was truly happy. That was when they had barley made it out of the lab. After mourning their family and before Michael turned into the Michael of today. He never thought he could feel that again. But he was in that very moment. “I think you’re amazing too.” Was all Gabriel could say before he stood on the tip of his toes and kissed Sam with everything he had. A voice cleared next to them breaking their kiss and they turned to see a smiling woman. The two little kids at her feet were giggling. “Sorry.” Gabriel apologized aware they should real back the PDA. The woman shook her head with fondness and walked left as they continued right.
They kept walking around the aquarium. Sam would tell Gabriel random facts about the different sea life and Gabriel would hold on to every word. A few people had approached the couple giving Gabriel gratitude for one thing or another and apologizing for interrupting what was clearly a date. Neither of them minded because all of them were friendly. Sam took many pictures of a child like Gabriel while Gabriel did the same with the phone Castiel had gifted him. They made it to a tunnel where Sam leaned against the glass watching Gabriel look up at the sharks around them. Gabriel looked at Sam while pointing up and giggled. “Don’t move Samsquach.” He requested taking out his phone. He took a picture and ran up to show Sam. A shark was right next to Sam’s head giving the appearance of him getting a kiss on the cheek. “Oh no. I have to admit I’m a bit jealous.” Gabriel said teasingly. Sam looked down the tunnel. He hadn’t seen that many people in a while.
He lifted Gabriel up into the rail and kissed him. “You have nothing to be jealous about.” Sam said with a smile. He cupped Gabriel’s ass to bring him closer but the gesture wasn’t lustful rather gentle. “I love you.” He whispered into Gabriel’s ear.
Sam could hear Gabriel’s breathing stop. For a second he feared he had said the wrong thing. “I love you too.” Came the soft whisper that washed it away. They kissed for some time and basked in each other’s warmth. Gabriel at that moment forgot about Michael and Lucifer, the war and the monster, everything except Sam.
Sam pulled away and looked into watery eyes with a smile. “Come on, there’s still more.” He said pulling Gabriel to his feet. They made it out to a large area with bright lights up ahead giving it the illusion of standing under the warm sun. They were in the playing area of the aquarium. Where you could get snacks, children could pet star fish in the little pools and they could play games and win prizes. “Do you want a snack?”
“Hmmm….. no I think I wanna… is that a shark?!” Gabriel grabbed Sam’s hand and pulled him into a run to one of the booths. He bounced up on the balls of his feet. “What do I have to do to win that giant shark?” He asked the brown haired booth attendant dressed in a colorful dress with little sea horses.
“Hello there! My name is Bela. And it’s very simple really, all you have to do is get all three of those tiny little fish into the tank to their family by knocking over that mean shark holding them hostage.” She pointed up to the big shark holding what looked like a piece of long coral to where the fish we’re tied up. “You have to hit the dorsal fin to get it to open it’s mouth and release the fishies. You get three tries but if you need another one, Mr. Novak, I’ll give it to you. Just don’t tell anyone.” She said with a wink.
Sam held back a glare at that. He noticed that Gabriel was oblivious but everyone seemed to either flirt or check him out upon meeting. He didn’t think it was simple. The game had to be rigged. The shark was at an angle and the spot that said 'stand here’ was directly in front of it. “Its Gabriel. That’s fine. I only need one.” Gabriel said taking a small base ball. He took a deep breath and stood in position. He shook his head and turned back to Sam. Without warning he kissed him on the lips. “For luck.” He said pulling away. He went back and stood in position again as Sam watched with a smile.
Bela and Sam watched as Gabriel took aim and swung the ball. “Missed.” Bela said in disappointment as she saw the ball completely miss the shark. To their surprise the ball bounced off the back wall at an angle and collided straight into the dorsal fin with so much force the shark broke off the mechanism that was holding it up.
“Oops!” Gabriel covered his mouth and jumped over the counter Sam following close behind. “Sorry. I’ll fix it.” Gabriel bend down to see the metal had shaped and broken. Sam noticed him going into a controlled panic and didn’t like that.
“Oh no, it’s fine. I can just call maintenance.” Bela said running to their side.
“But I broke it. I need to fix it before Michael comes. Otherwise he is going to get mad.” Gabriel said not realizing what had just come out of his mouth.
I knew it! Sam thought. It seemed no matter where Michael was he always ruined the good time they were having. Bela shared a look of sadness with Sam. “I think there’s a box of tools somewhere in one of the other booths. I’ll bring it.” She told Sam in a whisper. Somehow Sam didn’t doubt people around the base we’re aware of Gabriel’s captor. He nodded and watched her go.
Sam went over to Gabriel to help him. “Don’t worry Gabriel. We’ll have this fixed in no time.” Sam said putting two hinges together. It appeared it would be easy to fix. The only thing that was really broken was a metal rod and that could be taken off and replaced. Gabriel looked up at Sam with panic in his eyes. His eyes seemed to fill with realization as he remembered where he was. “Its going to be okay.” Sam repeated cupping Gabriel’s cheek.
“Yeah.” Gabriel said as a smile grew on his face and he leaned into Sam’s touch. He felt Sam was so patient and understanding.
They took off the broken metal rod just in time for Bela to come back. “Look what I found.” She said holding up a couple of metal rods like the one they needed.
“Thank you.” Gabriel said taking it. Sam lifted up the large shark with no difficulty. “Strong, smart and handsome.” Gabriel praised as he stood on a stool to reach the mechanism and replace the rod. He took a step back forgetting he was on the stool and was caught by Sam. “Fast reflexes too. How lucky am I?” Gabriel said bumping their foreheads together.
“I’m the lucky one.” Sam said putting him down. “Come on, time for the next surprise.”
“Wait. Here, you won!” Bela said pulling the giant shark down and handing it to Gabriel. It was just a little shorter than him. “Thank you guys for fixing the game. Have fun.” Bela smiled at Sam and Gabriel and went to the next player.
“Thank you.” Gabriel said before she turned. “Here Sammich for you.” Gabriel said with a smile offering the plush.
Sam took it and pulled Gabriel in along with it. “Thank you sweetheart. I love it.” He gave him a peck on the cheek and started walking towards the live shows.
They sat on the front row. Sam thought it was cute that when they grabbed the thin rain coats Gabriel got one for the big shark plush. They sat down and watched as different animals splashed water on the kids and adults. A killer whale swam around the edge of the thank and used it’s tail to throw water at them. Two dolphins swam to the edge and took pictures with them. Sam took a picture of a smiling Gabriel with a seal that slapped Gabriel’s butt once done. After the show, it was time for them to go swimming. Sam was glad Gabriel seemed to have forgotten about the earlier incident.
“Okay Gabriel, there’s another surprise.” Sam said while grabbing Gabriel’s hand. The aquarium was begging to close down and the people were becoming less and less.
“Another surprise? But Samoose, I haven’t given you anything besides a shark and you keep giving me amazing things.”
“Having you by my side is all I need Gabe.” Sam said without hesitation. Gabriel didn’t respond but Sam could see him lost in thought and his cheeks darkening with a red tint. Sam felt hesitant fingers entwined with his after taking off the rain coats. Now it was time for their swim. “In here.” Sam pulled Gabriel into a large tent, he had been told to find the green tent where wet suits in their sizes would be. Then they had to follow the signs for The Cove where they would have their swim and find the instructor. Sam handed Gabriel the smaller wet suit and took off his shirt.
Gabriel looked at him with wide eyes frozen in place. Finally finding his words after a confused look from Sam he spoke. “Could….. could you turn around?” He asked almost scared.
Sam nodded and kissed his forehead before turning around. Gabriel got shy at the weirdest things. He took off his shoes and socks followed by his pants leaving only his boxers. He pulled on the wet suit and used his long arms to zip up the back. He could hear grunting and shuffling from behind him and caught himself before turning around. “Can I turn back now?” He wanted to do everything right and that meant not looking at Gabriel when he didn’t want to be watched.
“Um…… yeah.” Gabriel’s hesitant voice came.
Sam turned around and found himself gazing at an exposed back covered in scars. “Gabriel?” He whispered getting closer slowly. The scars were odd. He had seen scars similar when they had closed down human trafficking rings. In those people the scars were all over the expanse of the skin leaving no space untouched. In Gabriel, however, the scars were concentrated along his shoulder blades. To Sam it felt like Gabriel really was an angel. An angel whose wings had been ripped off. Without realizing he touched golden skin. “Who did this to you?”
Gabriel flinched and hugged himself. He didn’t want Sam to see his disgusting scars but couldn’t get his zipper. He knew if Sam saw him he would think he was gross and ugly. Michael had warned him those scars we’re one of the reasons he was no better than garbage. “I, don’t know. I’ve had them for as long as I can remember.” Gabriel had his eyes closed refusing to look back at Sam and see disgust and pity. He could still feel Sam’s touch on his back but wanted it to stop. The longer Sam touched his skin the more he feared Sam would become sick to his stomach. “Could you zip me up?” Gabriel asked wanting to cover from what he could only imagine was Sam’s disgusted gaze. He felt Sam’s fingers tracing his scars slowly and couldn’t help the tears that poured out. “Please Sam?” He pleaded in a whisper.
Sam let go of Gabriel’s skin at his request. It had brought Sam back to reality. He was so angry. How could someone hurt Gabriel like that. And what’s worse is that it had been when he was a child. Either that or Gabriel didn’t want to tell him. Maybe he was scared of telling Sam. That hurt inside, Sam had thought Gabriel trusted him at least a little bit. Sam didn’t know what to say. So he did what his soul was telling him. He wrapped his arms around Gabriel. “I love you.”
“You do? Even after seeing…..” Gabriel couldn’t even finish the sentence. His eyes were still shut tight, his arms still around himself. He knew he was enveloped in Sam’s arms, and he had just been told he was loved. But he was still scared. Scared he would open his eyes and be laughed at. Be told 'of course I don’t. Who would? Look at you. Disgusting.’ He could already feel his heart breaking at the image.
Sam let go of Gabriel and walked to stand in front of him. He slowly pulled his hands into his own. He let go of one hand and reached to caress Gabriel’s face. He ran his thumb over his bottom lip and pulled it down until Gabriel opened his mouth enough for Sam to invade it with his tongue. He tasted him. Gabriel had been told he was loved, but Sam was also determined to show him he was wanted. And Sam wanted him with every cell of his being. In every way shape and form. Gabriel was cute, funny and Charming but he was also handsome, sexy, and desirable at the same time. Sam had no doubt he had been convinced otherwise and he was determined to show him that wasn’t true. He pulled back after Gabriel began panting and started giving him low moans. “I love you. All of you” Sam repeated.
Gabriel opened his hazel eyes and met Sam’s. Sometimes he believed Sam and sometimes the voices in his head won and he didn’t. This time he did. He believed Sam for just a second. He hadn’t emptied his stomach contents after kissing him. That had to mean something. Didn’t it? He wondered. “Me too.” Gabriel said giving him a smile and forgetting why he had dried tears on his cheeks.