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Beautifully Broken

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"We need you. Gabriel...I need you." Sam paused. "So please, help us." But there was no response. Sam nodded to himself as tears threatened to fall from his wounded gaze. He turned to leave, shoulders slumped. As he reached the door he heard Gabriel's response. "Porn. Stars." Gabe clarified. Sam instantly turned toward him and swallowed hard. He felt his pulse quicken. "They were porn stars, Sam." Gabe's eyebrow cocked teasingly as he spoke Sam's name. His eyes glowed a haunting blue as his grace coursed through his veins, patching what was physically broken inside. What was emotionally broken, well, Gabe knew that it would never fully be restored. "Gabriel" Sam barely managed to whisper. Tears now falling freely as emotions built up inside of him. He cautiously approached Gabe. "Heya Samsquatch!" After a moment of silence he added, "Geez, you look awful." Sam burst into a surprised laughter. All that Gabriel had been through, and now he was sitting here joking with him. After Sam collected himself, he looked Gabe up and down. There was dried blood and layers of dirt covering his exposed face, neck, hands, and feet. The sweatshirt and sweatpants he was wearing were dirty, tattered, and ripped. His normally golden locks were slicked back with grease and nearly brown from being so filthy. Tears threatened to fall from the taller mans eyes once more. "I didn't know." Sam said weakly. He sat down on the bed adjacent to Gabe, not daring to look over at him. "No one did." Gabe stated flatly before staring down at his hands in his lap. They sat like this in silence for several minutes. Sam's heart was heavy. He knew first hand what Gabe was feeling. He knew about the horrible thoughts and emotions that come from being so violently tortured. He also knew the strength required to bring yourself back to reality after hiding inside for so long. Finally, Sam cleared his throat and spoke. "We, uh. We have a communal shower down the hall." he informed the angel. Sam stood carefully and turned towards Gabe. "I mean...let's...we should get you cleaned up and then I could patch up your wounds?" Gabriel nodded, he was still accustomed to being unable to speak. He lifted his gaze to the giant above him. Sam mustered up a small smile but it came off more as a grimace. "Here, let me help you up."

The walk to the showers was slow. Gabriel hadn't stood upright in months. Sam kept one arm around Gabe, hooked underneath the arm farthest away from him. His other hand was holding Gabe's forearm closest to him. Gabriel was leaned into him and although Sam kept him steady, Gabe still walked with a limp. With every step he took the angel lost more and more of the spark that had coursed through him when he first spoke to the Winchester. Everything hurt. Especially his pride. Gabriel, the archangel, needed help from a human just to walk, just to speak. He had never felt so defeated. Tears welled up in his eyes. The sight cut deep into Sam's heart. To see the archangel so broken. A familiar rage ignited within him. 'I'm going to break every bone in that abominations body! Asmodeus will pay for what he's done!' Sam thought to himself. A pained whine escaped Gabriel on the next step and then a sob unwillingly fell from his lips. Sam's anger was quickly replaced by concern. Quickly, and as gently as possible, Sam reached down with one arm and lifted Gabe's legs up so that he was cradled in his muscular arms. Gabe buried his face into Sam's shirt to hide to the embarrassment on his face. He closed his eyes and kept his head down as Sam carried him the rest of the way to the showers.

"Sam?" Cas called, "Gabriel?" The room with enochian symbols on the walls stood empty in front of him. Puzzled, he stood frozen in the doorway, contemplating what might have happened in his absence. A moment later, however, the sound of running water drew him away from his thoughts. He followed the sound to the entrance of the communal showers, his heavy footsteps echoing through the empty hall. "Sam? Gabriel?" He called over the sound of the showers. "In here." Sam replied loudly from behind a shower curtain, "Bring towels. Grab the shampoo and conditioner from my bathroom too, and the small black bag on my nightstand." He ordered. Without hesitation, Castiel turned around and made his way to Sam's room.

"It's okay now Gabriel." Sam gently reassured the archangel over and over as he ran a wet soapy cloth over massive bruises and deep cuts. Sam had abandoned his clothes on the tile floor and Gabriel also sat naked, holding his knees to his chest. The warm water rained down over their naked bodies, washing away the mud and blood stained soap bubbles. Sam scrubbed diligently at Gabriel's skin. He knew that it hurt him but he also knew he had to clean the wounds thoroughly, least they become infected. "Let the pain ground you." Sam told him. "That's how I used to keep in touch with reality when Lucifer would plague me with hallucinations." Gabriel just nodded. A deep gravelly voice agreed, "Pain can be a very powerful tool." The two men looked up to see Cas placing the towels and the black bag on a shower bench. Cas then handed Sam the shampoo and conditioner he requested. Cas stood there for a moment drinking in the severity of his brothers wounds. He took in a deep breath and prepared to speak. He started to form words but he was unsure of them, so instead he just let out a sigh. "Brother..." Cas tried again. "I'm so sorry this happened to you." Cas spoke quietly. Guilt formed heavily in the pit of his stomach. "I should have known you weren't dead. I should have at least tried to look for you." Gabriel held Cas' gaze but he didn't speak. Sam opened the shampoo bottle and emptied a quarter sized amount into his palm. He rubbed his hands together and lathered the liquid before running his fingers through Gabe's hair. The two angels stared at each other for a few more moments before Gabriel looked away. It was as if they had a wordless conversation. "Sam, do you need any help?" Cas asked, unsure if he should stay or go. "Nah, I got him." With a nod Cas left the showers. Sam dug his fingers gently into the archangels scalp, scrubbing the dirt away. "I've got you." Sam repeated softly. "Hey, look at me." He whispered. Gabe lifted his head and looked into the hazel eyes of the man that was tending to him. He saw the genuine caring and concern behind those eyes too. Sam moved a hand to rest just along the angels jawline. His touch was soft and Gabriel managed to not retreat in response. Gabe's eyes were glued to Sam's. "You're going to be okay, Gabriel. You won't be the same, but I promise you that you will be okay. It'll just take some time." A faint smile played on Gabe's lips. He tilted his head back to rinse the shampoo, then shook his hair back and forth resembling a dog. "How long did it take you until you felt okay?" He asked. Sam thought about it for a minute. "A few months, maybe? I dunno. Dean really helped me get to a better place mentally. I still have nightmares though. You just have to take it one day at a time." Sam absentmindedly rubbed his palm as he spoke. "I don't really have anyone that I'm close to." Gabriel replied solemnly. "Even the few beings that I had managed to get close with...I've, well, I've never truly been cared for." The realization of that truth as he spoke it slapped him hard on the face. It brought tears back to his eyes and it made him feel so hollow and alone. He heard Sam open the conditioner and squeeze a bunch of it onto his hand. Gabriel closed his eyes, afraid he might cry. He felt Sam massage the conditioner into his hair. It felt nice. "I care about you." Sam stated matter-of-factually. Gabriel opened his eyes. His brow furrowed in confusion. "Why?" he asked. "I haven't done anything to deserve it. In fact you should probably hate me." Sam stopped rubbing the conditioner in and dropped his hands. Gabriel was looking much more like himself now. "Yeah, maybe I should. But I don't." Sam shrugged. "I can't really explain it. I've just always..." Sam motioned his hand in a circle, trying to find the word he wanted. "...admired you." He confessed. Gabe actually snorted in disbelievement. "Admiration? Pah-leeze Sam. What could you possibly admire about me?" Gabe tilted his head back again, this time to rinse the conditioner. Sam stood up and turned the water off once Gabe was done.

Making his way over to the shower bench, Sam picked up his small black canvas bag and some towels. Sam laid a towel across a dry spot on the tile floor and motioned Gabe over. Gabe cocked an eyebrow in question but he came over and sat on the towel. Sam draped another towel over the angel's shoulders and then sat in front of him and opened his bag. From it, Sam pulled a curved sewing needle, some dental floss, a miniature bottle of clear liquor, and a pair of latex gloves. Gabe watch him meticulously care for the open cuts on his skin. He doused them with the alcohol, and where needed he stitched skin back together. Sam spoke as he worked, eyes focused intensely on what he was doing. "Gabriel, you are wickedly smart. I mean, you were always two steps ahead of everyone else. You are insanely fun and always up for a good time..." Gabriel grinned at that one, despite the small needle's sting. "...You have thee most incredible sense of humor..." Gabe nodded, his smile growing bigger. "Go on..." the angel encouraged. "...and you're not bad to look at either." Sam blushed a bit with that last statement. He looked up at Gabe after splashing some alcohol into a small cut. "I'll help you through this, if you'll let me." It was Gabe's turn to blush. "Gee, Samuel, are you trying to flirt with an archangel? I'm impressed kiddo." He said, earning a small laugh from Sam. "Here, I'll fix up your back now." Sam moved behind Gabriel to clean and stitch his wounds back there. Once the towel was removed he bit his lower lip as he took in the sight of the angel's back. There was an abundance of gashes, many of them overlaying each other. "I can't do much back here." Sam informed him. If they were at a hospital, doctor's would have put skin graphs over his mangled flesh. Sam asked Gabriel to hold his breath and then poured the remainder of the alcohol across his back. Gabriel grunted in pain. "Ahh..hh..holy mother of Jesus Christ!" He yelled. "I'm sorry Gabe. I had to. It's all done now." Gabriel rocked back and forth, breathing heavily. "I won't be as pleasant to look at anymore now, huh?" He barked through gritted teeth. Sam put away his little "repair" kit and returned to his spot in front of Gabe. He sighed and dropped his head, shaking it slightly. "Do my scars make me any less appealing?" he asked, looking up. "No..." Gabriel huffed and rested his gaze on Sam's collar blade where a long, thin scar sat. "Exactly." Sam replied. Hesitating at first, he gently ran a hand through Gabriel's hair and rested their foreheads together for a moment. When he pulled back, he placed a soft kiss on the archangel's forehead. "Now, let's go find you some clean clothes."