n. an incomplete electrical circuit in which no current flows
“All right! All *ffft* right,” Gabriel says after finally appearing in their motel room. “What's the big deal? You do know you don't all need to call me at the same time, right?” he asks as if they're a bunch of four-year-olds and they've called him away from something very important.
Sam gasps, and Dean knows it's because Sam has never heard Gabriel's noises before. Sam's not quite over being able to hear Cas' noises yet.
“Are you okay, kid?” Gabe asks, looking Sam over.
“Gabriel,” Cas says, then a flurry of noises come from Cas that make Dean's head spin.
Sam groans and holds his hands over his head as if it'll stop the noises from bouncing around inside there. Dean knows there's no way in hell Sam can tell what's being said. Dean can't catch more than a few noises and meanings. Cas is making noises Dean's never heard before, and Cas isn't taking the time to share the meanings with Dean or Sam.
“Oh,” Gabe says once the noises stop, his eyes a little wider than normal. He turns to Sam, and Dean can tell he's looking deeper than skin this time. “Oh,” he says again. *Grunt* comes from Gabe as he walks up to Sam, reaching out and touching his forehead.
“No!” Sam says, pulling away.
“Hey, calm down,” Gabriel says, his hands coming to rest on Sam's forearms in a gentle and calming gesture. “I wasn't gonna whammy you.”
Sam stills, looking relieved, but still a little freaked out. “Oh, okay,” he says.
“You can hear Cas' wings?” Gabriel asks, his right hand reaching up to Sam's forehead again, this time brushing his fingers over Sam's skin, and Dean thinks it looks adorable with the height difference between the two of them.
“Yeah,” Sam says, looking nervous.
“Can you see them?” Gabe asks.
Sam squints, looking toward Cas, then shakes his head and looks at Gabriel again. “When I'm not looking directly at them, I can see something shiny in the corner of my eye, and now that you're here, I see something a little darker, but more, ah, I don't know, substantial? I can't see it when I'm looking directly at you,” he says.
“Sam!” Dean barks, a flash of worry for his baby brother going through his body like an electrical charge.
“What?” Sam asks, sounding exasperated.
“You're supposed to share these things!” Dean says, his arms out at his sides, shocked that Sam hadn't told him this.
“You knew I was getting residual from you guys!” Sam says defensively. “I don't get what the big deal is!”
*Cuh* Gabe says as he shakes his head. “Dean was changed by the power and grace that exploded all over his soul. That gave him the ability to see an angel's trueform without going blind.”
*Click, eh* Cas says. “Even though you're connected to us right now, you shouldn't be able to see my wings.”
“But what about the noises?” Sam asks. “Why is it okay for me to hear them but not see your wings?”
“The noises are on a frequency that humans can't hear,” Gabriel says. “If humans could hear them, it wouldn't deafen them. Dean's powers and the grace absorbed into his soul give him the ability to hear them, which you're tapping into right now kind of like you'd be moved by the waves if Dean' did a belly flop into a pool two feet away from you.”
Cas shakes his head. “The ability to see an angel's trueform without your eyes burning out of your head is different than just tapping into Dean's power or being moved by the waves.”
“Uhm,” Sam says, looking around at them all. “Is this a bad thing?”
*Wheek* Gabe says, bouncing on the balls of his feet a little. “No, I just didn't expect it.”
Dean huffs. “So what does it mean?” he asks.
“It means,” Gabriel drawls, “that I underestimated our brothers.”
*Click* “What do you mean by that?” Cas asks.
Dean hadn't spent much time around Gabriel, and he doesn't know why he's realizing this now, but Gabriel doesn't use as many noises as Cas does. Cas uses them before he uses his vessel's voice, almost as if he speaks as an afterthought. He also inserts them in between words. Gabriel has only made a few noises. Dean has no idea why, and he hopes he remembers to ask later.
Gabriel chuckles. “When our brothers choose vessels, they really don't play around.”
*Squeak* Cas says, and Dean feels the wave of surprise and a little fear coming from him.
Dean's getting impatient. This is his brother they're talking about. “I'm going to need more than a squeak to tell me what's going on.”
“Sam,” Cas says, sounding desperate, sounding devastated. “I'm so sorry.”
Okay, that's it. Dean wants answers. “Somebody explain,” he yells.
“Calm down, Dean-o,” Gabe says. “I see something in Sam that I haven't seen before. And now that I'm looking, I can see it in you. I believe our brothers not only bred you two to be vessels, but they built a little something inside you that only activated when you were bonded with an angel. When Cas rebuilt you, as he pulled you from Hell, I think he didn't realize that he'd rebuilt that part of you because he didn't know what it was.”
“So,” Dean says, “I've had the ability to see and hear you guys all along, it just wasn't activated?”
Gabriel nods. “Until you were fully bonded,” he says. “The full bonding didn't happen until you reached for each other in the explosion.”
“Uhm,” Sam says, “what does that have to do with me?”
*Zzz, eh* Cas says, pushing apology and regret and shame through their connection. “I reached out for you when Dean started to absorb the bicorn's power. I didn't know you were reaching out for me, that we were close enough, loved each other enough, and were desperate enough to bind ourselves together.”
“What?” Dean breathes, feeling as if he's been punched in the gut. “You two are angel-married now?” he asks, flapping his hand back and forth between them, pinning Cas with a hard look. “Did we get a divorce or is this now a threesome? Oh, fuck, I'm a polygamist!” he yells, running his fingers through his hair and tugging.
“A four-syllable word,” Gabe says. “I'm impressed, Dean.”
“Shut the fuck up,” Dean barks as he points at Gabriel.
Dean knows the love Sam and Cas have for each other isn't sexual. He's never had a reason to question either one of them even before he could feel what they felt. It's still a shock to hear your brother angel-married the one you're already angel-married to.
*Zzz* Cas says. “I didn't mean to make a bond with you, Sam. I'm sorry.”
Gabriel snorts. “It never would've happened if you two hadn't been close to begin with. Add in the fact that Dean thought he could absorb dark magics without any consequences and you were trying to save him, then yes, a bond formed out of desperation and the need to save a loved one.”
“So,” Sam says, looking around at them all, then meeting Gabe's eyes, “what do we do now?”
Dean can feel the hurt coming from both Cas and Sam. He can feel just how much Gabriel means to Sam already and how this whole thing feels like a violation. Dean can feel Cas' misery at causing the situation. He can feel Cas berating himself, and he knows Cas feels like a fool.
Just as Dean is ready to let them feel his own regret over causing the situation, he realizes the whole thing is ridiculous. He snorts. “Not to break up the pity party or anything,” he says with a grin, “but you do realize the two of you love me so much that you angel-married to save me, right?”
Cas' head tilts and Sam's jaw drops. Dean hears Gabriel's *bleat* and Dean thinks possibly he may have stopped the emotional roller coaster that Cas and Sam were about to take them all on. Dean gives himself a mental pat on the back for a job well done.
Sam's lip twitches, then he smiles. “You're such a jerk. I don't know why we saved you,” he says as he shakes his head.
“Because you love me. And the two of you are giant girls,” Dean says.
Gabe snorts. “Says the polygamist married to his own brother,” he says.
*Bleat* says Cas as Sam lets out a bark of laughter. Dean chuckles, shaking his head at Gabriel.
“But, no, seriously,” Dean says, looking between Cas and Gabriel. “Did this do anything to my bond with Cas?” he asks, trying to sound unaffected, but he's kind of freaking out over it.
“No,” Cas says confidently. “You and I still have a bond. It would only be broken if one of us died or we both wanted to break the bond, and even then it is difficult.”
Dean feels a surge of pain and worry laced with sorrow coming from Sam so strong that both he and Cas turn to look at him.
Sam huffs out a bitter laugh. “I'm sorry. I know you guys felt that,” he says, shaking his head.
Gabriel rubs Sam's arm in a comforting gesture. “It can be fixed, Sam,” he says softly.
The way Gabe looks at Sam, the way he's gentle and obviously concerned, the way Sam melts just from his touch, and the way Sam feels relief just from that little interaction warms Dean's heart. He'd had a hard time picturing what the two of them had before, but he's having no trouble with it now. He feels happy for Sam, happy for Gabriel.
*Zzz* “It's not easy,” Cas says.
“What about life is easy?” Gabe says with a snort.
Dean nods. “It can't be harder than the worst we've faced in the past, right?” he asks, fairly confident, but he'd still like some reassurance.
Cas looks at Gabriel. “There's something that makes it easier,” he says.
*Squeak, squeal* Gabe says as he shakes his head. “Don't, Cas,” he says.
Dean's surprised by the lack of emotion on Gabriel's face. By using those noises in combination, it means Gabriel is really not happy over what Cas is trying to say, and he's freaked that Cas would mention it. Dean assumes Gabriel is keeping his facial features in check so Sam doesn't realize how freaked out he is.
“Don't what?” Dean asks.
*Nih, Kra* Cas says, and Dean swears he can taste the encouragement coming from the words. He's never thought he could say he tasted encouragement, but he's done a lot of things lately he never thought were possible.
*Honk* comes from Gabe, his eyes wide.
“Okay,” Sam says, turning to Gabriel and fixing him with a determined look, “I know what that noise means. Tell me what you're freaking out over. Now.”
Dean tries not to chuckle, and he manages just a smirk. It's awesome to see his brother standing up to an archangel. It's even more awesome when Gabe's shoulders drop and he sighs, giving in.
“The process of breaking a bond is painful in more than just a physical sense,” Gabriel says. “It's like losing a limb on an emotional, spiritual, and metaphysical level. Cas is wrapped up with your soul right now.”
“I can take pain,” Sam says. “It's survivable, right?”
“Yes,” Gabe says, throwing a quick look at Cas that Dean would describe as 'are you really gonna make me do this?'
*Nih, coo* Cas says.
Gabe sighs again. “Bonding with another angel, letting both angels transfer the bond from one to the other would be much less of an ordeal,” he says, and Dean can nearly feel the grimace even though there's not one on Gabe's face.
“Let's do it,” Sam says with a nod, completely confident and radiating it almost palpably.
Gabriel snorts, and it sounds sad. “Sam, you don't know what you're say-oomph,” Gabe says, cut off by Sam darting forward and kissing the shit out of him, a rough kiss that's possessive and demanding.
Sam reaches up and cups Gabe's face with his hands, and Dean smiles as Gabe's hands flutter at his sides for a moment before reaching up, his fingers gripping Sam's shirt and holding on tight. Sam pulls away from the kiss, grinning down at Gabe.
“I know you like me,” Sam says, “so quit being an idiot and angel-marry me.”
Gabe laughs like it's been punched out of him. “You suck at marriage proposals,” he says, but he's smiling, his eyes bright with excitement.
Dean flinches as Gabriel's eyes flash a dark red, flaring a little, then dying down yet not going away completely. Dean's jaw drops, seeing the same slivers of what Dean calls sunlight in Cas' eyes now in Gabe's eyes but in the same dark red that had just flared. Dean feels stupid for having never wondered why Gabe's eyes didn't have slivers of light, and he's taken aback by the different color. He wonders why it's different.
“Beautiful,” Sam breathes, looking into Gabriel's eyes. Gabriel smiles, and it's nearly bashful. “Why didn't you show them before?” Sam asks softly.
“I've been around humans for so long that I suppress a lot of my trueform even though I don't need to,” Gabe says, shrugging.
Sam frowns. “Is that why you don't make as many noises as Cas?” he asks.
Gabriel huffs out a laugh. “Yeah,” he says.
“Suppress,” Sam says, like he's mulling over the meaning of the word. “Does that mean you have to work at it?”
Gabe nods. “Yeah.”
“Stop it,” Sam says, and it's said with such authority and confidence that Dean almost feels like obeying even though it wasn't directed at him. Sam's not requesting. He's demanding it.
Gabriel smiles as if the weight of the world has lifted off his shoulders. Dean gasps as he sees a dark presence come over the room. It's all around them, and Dean instantly knows it's Gabe's wings. They're behaving like Cas' wings, but they're so different that Dean wants to run his fingers through them, learn them, and see their power.
Sam reaches up and brushes his fingers over the wing closest to him. Like Cas' wings, they're swirling in a way that has nothing to do with swirling. They're fractionated groups of light, but even though Dean could never name all the colors, they're not the same as Cas'. They're darker, and the power that screams and sings from his wings is deeper, stronger, and carry a fiercely protective feel.
The dominant colors in Cas' wings, if Dean was pressed to pick, would be the yellow like the slivers in his eyes and the blackness of depth. Gabe's dominant colors are the red like the slivers of his eyes, the blackness oozing the experience of innumerable millennia, a power that's bigger than the room they're standing in, bigger than the state they're in.
The tips of the feathers are silver, and it reminds Dean of the tips of very sharp blades. As they move through the room, Dean gets the sense they're slicing through the physical world and touching things Dean can't see even with his powers.
Dean suddenly remembers that Cas usually suppresses Dean's ability to see everything because it overwhelms his brain. “Dude! Put those away!” Dean barks, his eyes wide, and he knows he's sending fear through their connection.
Everyone turns to look at him, Gabe's wings dimming out of his field of vision. Sam looks pissed, and he sends annoyance out through their connection directed at Dean.
“What?” Sam asks, sounding frustrated.
Dean realizes Sam doesn't seem overwhelmed at all. In fact there's nothing but bitch face looking back at Dean. Dean turns to Cas. “What the fuck? Why can he handle it?”
“Sam has been exposed to powers since he was a baby,” Cas says. “He's used telekinetic powers as well as telepathic and he's received visions since the age of six months.”
Dean growls, ignoring the fact that Sam has different powers than he does for the moment. “You're saying he can handle this because that bastard fed him demon blood?”
“Calm down, Dean-o,” Gabe says. “Sam can handle it because he grew up with powerful abilities. The only thing the demon blood did was activate a small amount of his powers and taint him with some darkness.”
Sam holds up a finger. “I thought you said we needed a bond to activate our powers?”
Gabe nods. “Yes, to fully activate them, but what Azazel did was the equivalent of hooking a triple A battery up to a Mack truck. Sure, it'll put out a little bit of power, but instead of starting the truck, you might be able to use the battery to turn on one of the headlights,” he says with a shrug.
*Nih* Cas says, a small smile directed at Dean. “This proves that eventually you'll be able to use your powers on your own, without me suppressing them. Sam grew up with them, his brain adapting. I'm helping you do the same thing by slowly giving you more control over your powers.”
“Awesome,” Sam says, grinning at Dean like only a little brother could. It's a look that says 'I get to do the cool thing before you do' as well as just plain being thrilled about everything they've been saying.
Dean snorts. “As long as you don't break his brain, I don't have to break your neck,” he says to Gabe.
“I believe you'd find a way to do that,” Gabriel says with a smirk. “So are you done freaking out? Can I show my new mate my wings without you crying like a little bitch?”
Dean's jaw drops, then he chuckles. “You're an asshole.”
“Does that mean my shitty marriage proposal was accepted?” Sam asks, smile so big his dimples are showing.
“Hell, yeah!” Gabriel says.
“Great,” Dean says, grabbing Cas' arm and dragging him over to Gabriel. “Let's get you guys divorced.”
Gabe smirks. “Don't like sharing?” he asks.
“No,” Dean growls.
Dean feels a swell of affection from Cas, and he tries not to rolls his eyes as he feels a distinct 'aww, that's cute' from Sam.
“What do I do?” Sam asks.
“Do you want my help?” Dean asks.
Gabe shakes his head. “You don't need to help, but when we do this, try and keep from reaching out for me, huh?”
Dean snorts. “I don't like you that much,” he says with a grimace.
“Oh, please,” Gabe says, rolling his eyes. “You think I'm awesome and you totally love me because of how happy Sam is with me.”
Dean frowns. “You're not awesome,” he grumbles, though he doesn't deny anything else Gabe said.
“All right, all right,” Sam says, smacking Dean's arm with the back of his right hand. “Knock it off. No fighting on my wedding day,” he says with a grin.
Dean snorts. “You didn't ask for my blessing,” he says with a teasingly haughty tone to his voice.
“You already gave it to me!” Sam says, his eyes wide.
Dean thinks back to his conversation with Sam, sitting at a table in some random motel, letting Sam know he'd known about the two of them getting together, that he was happy for them, happy for Sam.
Dean chuckles. “Well, apparently I did. I apologize, Sammy,” he says with a grin.
Gabriel looks at Dean with such a mushy expression on his face that Dean nearly feels the need to insult him just to knock the look off his face.
“Okay, Sam,” Gabe says, looking up at Sam. “When me and Cas start doing this, it's going to feel wrong. You're going to want to hold onto Cas, but focus on grabbing me, reaching out to me, and I swear it'll feel better once it's done.”
“Okay,” Sam says, the confidence in his voice saying that he accepts Gabe's words without a doubt in his mind.
Dean feels the difference immediately. Gabriel pushes out, and Dean can feel him reaching out and grabbing something, something that he'd swear was a physical part of Sam's body, yet he'd be unable to name the body part. It reminds him of the power he'd sent out to grab the bicorn's magics, like a finger, only Gabriel's finger is bigger, stronger, more solid in a non-physical way.
He feels it through Sam, not himself, and he remembers he's still connected to Sam. Dean feels Gabe yank on the part of Sam he'd grabbed. It hurts. It's not the worst pain he's ever felt, but it's uncomfortable and wrong in a way he can't describe.
Dean forces himself to remain calm, to not fight what they're doing, and he can feel Sam doing the same. He feels Cas grabbing onto him, almost like the feeling of Cas leaning on his soul, but Cas isn't using his powers or supporting himself. Cas is holding him so he doesn't lose him, so their own bond doesn't break.
The yanking and tugging is a horrible feeling, and Dean knows Cas is holding onto Dean partly because he wants the comfort. He can feel Sam getting upset, the wrongness of the feeling getting to him, but then he feels Gabriel sending out another pulse of power, one that wraps around Sam, hugs him, asks for permission, begs for trust, promises safety and protection, even if it kills Gabriel.
Dean feels the connection between Sam and Cas retracting from Cas' grace, slithering away reluctantly, but he can also feel the trust Sam has in Gabe, the willingness on Sam's part to let go because he knows Gabriel will be there for him.
Cas pulls on his own grace, almost as if he's gently shaking Sam free. Dean feels Gabriel's love for Sam, feels Gabe's grace connecting and wrapping around Sam's soul like Dean knows Cas' grace is wrapped up with his own.
The connection cries out, as if this non-physical part of Sam's body, his soul, is scared, is floundering, is crying out for help. Gabriel's grace spreads out from Sam's soul, wrapping itself around the connection in a comforting way, and instead of yanking, this time it sings, letting Sam know it's okay, that he can let go. Everything's going to be okay.
Dean is jarred by the severing of Sam's connection, and he can feel the loss in his own soul as well as the pain of the loss from Cas. Dean reaches out for Cas, comforting him and shoving himself into all the places Sam had been, healing the loss, and reaffirming his bond with Cas, that it's Dean's, that he'd never wanted someone else to have a part of Cas, and he fiercely insists that not happen again.
Cas allows it, his grace quivering with joy and affection. Dean wraps his physical arms around Cas, pulling him in tight and shoving his face into Cas' neck.
“I love you, Cas,” Dean breathes into Cas' skin.
“Love *dook* you,” Cas says, his voice sounding wrecked.
Dean looks to where his brother and Gabe had been standing and flinches. He refuses to let go of Cas, but he's shocked that they're gone.
Cas chuckles. *Hnnn, Eh, Kra* “They're consummating their bond,” he says, not letting go of Dean, sending his nearly overwhelming joy over the fact that Sam and Gabe have found each other, that they're happy, that the two beings that mean the most to Cas and Dean are happy with each other.
“I'm so fucking glad that connection broke before they started the consummating,” Dean says with a shiver.
“You think it's funny, but I would seriously need you to wipe my memory if I ever felt and saw that shit,” Dean says.
*Snuffle* “I think we should re-consummate our bond,” Cas says.
Dean chuckles, his dick already letting him know it's on board by twitching. “You have awesome ideas,” he says.
*Rumble* comes from Cas as their clothes disappear.
Dean laughs as Cas shoves him onto the bed, loving that playful side of his mate that warms him to the core. He feels as if he's got everything he ever wanted, and for now he lets himself bask in the glow of everything being right.
Everything could go to Hell at any time, but right now he's holding the love of his life, his mate, who is smiling down at him as if Dean's the center of his world. And Sam has found happiness with someone who can actually give just as good as he gets, someone Dean will reluctantly admit is a really decent being and deserves happiness himself.
Dean couldn't ask for more.