“So that’s it for announcements, kiddo, did you remember to bring the Grimoire?”
Sam Winchester looked up from the scrap of paper he had been doodling on as he tossed Gabriel the worn book. The Grimoire was the place where the Supernatural Club recorded all their knowledge of supernatural encounters. The book was filled with drawings, supplied by Castiel, and long descriptions of creatures and ghost stories penned by Gabriel in a neat cursive script that thoroughly contradicted his personality. Dean had contributed with sarcastic comments and annotations, whereas Sam preferred to add extra information, further reading, and bibliographies on sticky notes throughout the book. As the most responsible member of the group, Sam was in charge of keeping the book.
“Have you seen Dean-o and Cas today?” Gabriel asked, casually thumbing through the book.
“Yeah, they said they had to cram for a Chem test tomorrow,” lied Sam, knowing full well that their brothers had skipped out on club to make out in the Impala. Sam would have kicked up a shitstorm about their betrayal if it wasn’t for the fact that without the other two members of the club, he and Gabriel were left alone in the club room for a full hour.
Sam had been harboring a crush for the energetic senior since they met on the first day of Sam’s freshman year, when Gabriel had bounded up to him at his locker.
“Hey kid, you’re Dean’s brother right?” Gabriel had grinned up at him. “I’m Gabriel, Castiel’s older brother.”
“Yeah, I’m Sam,” he’d replied, holding his free hand out for Gabriel to shake enthusiastically. Gabriel handed him a flyer from the crook of his arm.
“Would you consider joining the Supernatural Club? We meet twice a week after school. Your brother’s already agreed to become a member, so I figure you might as well join too Sammy. I think you’d really enjoy it.”
“It’s Sam,” Sam had said, mostly out of habit, taken aback by the waves of excitement emanating from the golden-eyed senior.
“If you need more convincing, just come along to the meeting today in room 208, and take this,” Gabriel had offered him a bright red lollipop. Sam took the lollipop from his outstretched palm, thanking the quirky boy, before watching bemusedly as Gabriel bounded away like an excitable puppy.
Yeah, Sam had it bad for a total lunatic.
After English that day, he’d made his way to room 208, which was barely even a room at all, and settled into his first meeting as a member of the Supernatural Club. Gabriel, as the chairman, explained the purpose of the club; to find the truth behind urban legends and myths, solve mysteries and hunt ghosts. Dean had immediately raised his hand to ask Gabriel how many ghosts he’d actually hunted, earning a swift kick under the table from his best friend. Sam knew that Dean had only joined the club because of Castiel. No matter how much he protested, anyone could see that Dean Winchester was utterly and completely whipped, and he didn’t even know it.
When Castiel and Dean had finally got together at the end of Sam’s Freshman year, he hadn’t even blinked. It just seemed so natural. For as long as he could remember, it had always been Dean and Cas, Cas and Dean. They were practically attached at the hip since the moment they met in elementary school, and Sam had never seen anyone make his brother as happy as the quiet blue-eyed boy did. At first, Sam had been jealous of Castiel for taking up so much of Dean’s time, but when Castiel began to spend more time at the Winchester house, Sam had gotten to know him better. Sam and Castiel had a lot in common, and became fast friend’s bonding over Doctor Who and Star Trek. Dean fondly referred to them as his little dorks, but still curled up dutifully on the couch with them whenever they decided to have a Lord of the Rings marathon. Dean always claimed he was only there for the popcorn and hey, that elf chick is pretty hot, but Sam knew his brother just enjoyed spending time with Castiel.
The summer Dean and Castiel started dating, Gabriel began organizing what he liked to call mystery missions, which were actually a lot less Scooby-Doo than they sounded. Gabriel would find a building that was supposedly haunted, and drag the four of them out in the middle of the night to check if the rumours were true. More often than not, Dean and Castiel would disappear, leaving Gabriel and Sam with a flashlight and a pack of cards. That summer had passed quickly with Gabriel’s missions to distract him, and by the time September came around, Sam had already signed up for another year of supernatural shenanigans.
So here he was, sixteen years old and spending every Monday and Thursday researching the occult in a vain effort to get the Senior he was in love with to notice him. Someone out there really did have it in for the younger Winchester.
“So I was thinking we could head out on a field trip this weekend,” said Gabriel, pulling Sam back into the present.
“What sort of field trip?” asked Sam suspiciously. Suspicious tended to be a default reaction for anyone who’d spent even a fraction of a moment with Gabriel.
“The haunted kind,” winked Gabriel, straddling the chair in front of Sam’s desk. “I’m working Saturday and Sunday, but we could go tomorrow after dark?” said Gabriel conversationally. “Hey, you should stop by the shop this weekend, Mr. Emrys said you might like to check out the new stock.”
“You’re only saying that so I’ll come by the store and keep you company,” grinned Sam.
“Oh Sammy, you know me so well.”
Together with Dean steering through the open window, the four boys rolled the Impala from the driveway and halfway down the street to avoid Mary and John hearing her engine fire up. They all piled into Dean’s car, Castiel riding shotgun as always, with Sam folded uncomfortably in the back seat with Gabriel and a large duffle bag pressed into his side.
The abandoned house sat just outside of town, and twenty minutes later, Dean found himself picking the lock as Castiel held the flashlight and Gabriel munched contentedly on a king-sized snickers.
"Gabriel, are you sure nobody lives here?" Asked Sam.
"No-one lives here kiddo." shrugged Gabriel, as the door creaked open, Dean having finally worked out the locking mechanism.
"Okay, Cas and I'll take upstairs," said Dean, grabbing his boyfriend and dragging him up the ancient staircase to the upper floors.
"Well I guess that leaves us with the main floor then Sammy," Gabriel grinned. "I've got a good feeling about this one."
Sam followed Gabriel across the foyer and through a sculpted arch, leading to a spacious living room. Gabriel dumped his duffel bag of equipment on the bare floor, bending to search for his EMF and other ghost hunting equipment. Sam couldn't help checking out Gabriel from this angle, admiring the way his tattered old jeans curved around his ass. Luckily Sam caught himself staring before Gabriel did, flushing and turning his attention to the rest of the room. Moonlight trickled in through the large grimy windows, playing across the floor. The room was empty of all furniture and decoration, stains on the wall indicating where pictures had once hung. He gripped the flashlight tightly, pointing it at the bag as Gabriel zipped it up, having found everything he needed. He took one of the earbuds attached to the EMF and offered it to Sam so he could listen in on the sound waves. The pair were forced closer together as they walked so as not to dislodge the headphones, with Gabriel waving the curious device about. The pair made their way through some sliding doors and into the kitchen area, which was stripped bare of countertops and furniture like the living room.
"Still picking up nothing," said Gabriel, shaking his head gently.
"What about in here?" said Sam, pushing open a door to the side of the room, only to reveal a set of stairs leading down into a dark and damp-smelling cellar.
They crept down the concrete steps, Gabriel clutching the back of Sam's shirt for guidance in the dark. For once Sam was thankful that Gabriel had spent the last of their club money on the infrared camera currently hanging from around his neck, and not brighter flashlights. The basement, without the benefit of windows to let in the moonlight, was even darker than the upper level. Gabriel pressed closer into Sam's side as they walked through the narrow passage into what appeared to be an abandoned wine cellar. Unlike the rest of the rooms, the concrete cellar was filled with wooden racks, plastic sheets and other debris. Sam pointed the beam of light at the floor, noticing the way it glinted off the patches of broken glass. The EMF whined in Sam's right ear, and Gabriel's face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. He held up the infrared camera scanning the room for ghostly activity as Sam's cell vibrated in his pocket. Sam whipped it out irately.
“Nothing upstairs, stay downstairs with Gabe.”
"It's from Dean," explained Sam.
"Kiddo, I told you that cell phones screw with the EMF," frowned Gabriel. "Turn it off."
"What if Dean and Cas need us?"
"Unless you haven't noticed, they're big boys now. You worry too much," smiled Gabriel, leaning up to ruffle Sam's hair affectionately. "You know Sammy, I -"
The flashlight flickered, interrupting the moment before plunging them into almost complete darkness.
“God damn it, have you got any spare batteries?”
“They’re in the duffel upstairs, we’ll just go grab them.”
He was interrupted as a series of loud thuds echoed through the house.
"It's coming from upstairs, whispered Gabriel, grabbing Sam's hand in the darkness and scrambling in the general direction of the stairs. Their free hands ghosted over the dusty brick walls to guide them up the narrow stairway.
They had no trouble finding their way through the moonlit upper rooms, and after a quick dash up the same staircase their brothers had disappeared up earlier, they found themselves rounding the corner of the hallway to the source of the muffled sounds. Sam threw open the rotting door only to find his fellow club members tangled up in Castiel’s ever-present trench coat on the floor under a window, in an apparent fit of hysterics.
"Are you guys okay?" asked Sam, relieved that everyone seemed to be conscious and unhurt. Dean and Cas looked over at their brothers, a light blush dusting Castiel’s cheeks, and a disgruntled frown plastered on Deans face.
"Sammy, I told you to stay downstairs!" he grunted from under Castiel.
"We thought something had happened!" protested Sam.
"Well, Princess here didn't want to get his ass dirty,” smirked Dean, earning a soft thump from Castiel.
“Dean, the floor’s dirty, and I told you we both couldn’t fit on that window ledge.”
“We’re just gonna go wait in the car,” suggested Sam awkwardly.
“Hey Sammy, why are you guys holding hands?” asked Dean, glancing over at the doorway. They broke apart, Gabriel sheepishly rubbing the back of his neck.
“Our flashlight died in the cellar, and we were leading each other through the dark,” explained Sam defensively.
“Yeah right, Bitch.”
“Jerk,” responded Sam, “come on Gabriel, we’ll gather all the stuff and wait outside.”
“Sure kiddo, I don’t think this house is haunted anyway. The wallpaper isn’t menacing enough,” grinned Gabriel, closing the door behind them.
Sam was still tired the next morning, worn out by the harsh demands of being an amateur ghost hunter. As it was a Saturday, he’d slept in until he could no longer resist the scent of his mother’s cooking drifting through the vents, and had padded softly downstairs for food, greeting his parents with a mumbled “G’morning.” Dean was obviously thinking along the same lines as he appeared moments later in an old band t-shirt with his hair sticking up in odd directions.
“Hey Dean, could you give me a ride to the Emporium?” Sam asked once he’d finished his first slice of french toast.”
“Sure, I’m meeting Cas at eleven so you better be ready to go five minutes before that.”
Saturday breakfasts had always been an unspoken Winchester tradition, a time where everyone caught up with each other at the end of the week, or rather, a time for their parents to interrogate the boys.
“You boys wouldn’t happen to know what happened to your mother’s planter?” John inquired, and Sam almost choked on his breakfast remembering how Gabriel had tripped over it in the dark, trying not to laugh as Sam had rolled his eyes and practically lifted Gabriel back to his feet while Castiel tried valiantly to stifle Dean’s loud bark of laughter with the palms of his hands. They’d righted the ruined planter as best they could, re-planting the crumpled looking flowers in a vague approximation of how they assumed the plants had looked before, but it was almost impossible to get all the dirt off the paved driveway.
“Those darn racoons!” Dean exclaimed unconvincingly.
“Well if you see this raccoon again, tell him to stay away from my wife’s flowers,”
Dean mumbled a guilty “yes, Sir,” before looking up at the clock and hastily declaring that he and Sam better go get ready to leave.
A bell jingled lightly overhead as Sam pushed open the door to The Emrys Emporium of Magic.
"Oh hello there Sam," said Emrys in his cheery british accent, “Would you like some tea? Biscuits? Perhaps I could read your tarot cards!”
“No, thank you,” smiled Sam, throwing himself onto the leather couch in the corner of the store that was set up like a small living room.
"How may I be of service to you on this fine day?" asked the Shopkeeper, sitting down in the plush armchair beside the couch.
"I'm looking for Gabriel,"
"Pick a card," said Emrys producing a deck from thin air and offering it to Sam. Sam shuffled the deck experimentally before selecting a card, the two of spades.
“Now write your name on the card, don’t let me see it, and slide it back into the deck,” instructed the magician, handing a sharpie marker to Sam, along with the deck.
“So is Gabriel on lunch or something,” asked Sam as he scribbled his name on the card and reshuffled it back to the deck, before placing the cards onto the sturdy oak coffee table.
“I sent him on an errand, have you got a lighter?”
“No sir,” Replied Sam.
“There’s really no need to lie to me Sam,” the magician smiled softly, ignoring Sam’s puzzled face.
“I’m telling the truth!” Sam exclaimed, pretending to be offended.
“Then what do you suppose this is?” Smirked the older man, producing a silver Zippo from behind Sam’s ear.
“I see you’ve found my secret hiding place,” laughed Sam, quietly stunned at the ease in which the magician preformed his tricks.
“Get ready Sam, here’s the good part!” Clapped Emrys, snatching the deck enthusiastically from the coffee table and flicking the lighter on with practiced ease, the flames tickled the deck as Emrys waved the flame under the card’s until they set alight. An ashtray was produced and Emrys dropped the still-burning cards into it before turning to Sam with inquisitive eyes. “So when are you planning on jumping my young employee?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about Mr. Emrys,” mumbled Sam, suddenly becoming very interested in the laces of his shoes.
“Come off it, Everyone and their mothers can see this little love story playing out between the two of you, I’m merely curious as to whether you were going to make a move any time soon.”
“He’s my best friend. I can’t risk losing him over a silly crush.” frowned Sam. The magician looked at him sadly, plucking a single card from the dying embers.
“I can tell this runs far deeper than a silly crush,” Emrys frowned, turning the card between his fingers absentmindedly. “Though surely if you took that risk and he reciprocates it would be worth it?”
“It’s just hard, okay,” Sam stated dejectedly. “Is that my card then?” he added quickly, trying to change the subject.
“Oh right, no, this is the Queen of Hearts,” said the magician, handing the pristine card to Sam as the bell rang again signaling Gabriel’s return.
“Sammy! You came!” Grinned Gabriel as Sam rushed to help him with the heavy-looking package he was carrying. Gabriel’s sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, showing off his lightly muscled arms, toned mostly from lifting boxes in the shop.
“It’s Sam,” he said, returning Gabriel’s bright smile. “And pass me one of those bags, they look heavy.”
“My hero!” called Gabriel, pretending to swoon as Emrys laughed from across the room.
“Oh Gabriel, would you be a dear and check your back pocket?” The magician called. Gabriel looked confused for a moment before stuffing his free hand into the pocket in question and producing a card.
“Oh, it’s for you!” Gabriel said, holding up the two of spades with Sam’s smudged signature. Sam shot a disbelieving look over his shoulder at the lounging magician, then back to Gabriel.
“How did you two…”
“Hey don’t look at me kiddo, it was all Mr. E’s idea.”
Sam shook his head, following Gabriel into the back room of the shop with his heavy bags as Gabriel’s boss laughed melodically behind them.
Two days later during the short break between classes, Gabriel ran up to Sam, who had just finished stashing his calculus textbook in his locker.
“Hey Sammy, do you wanna come with me to the horror marathon at the Palace on Friday?” Asked Gabriel
“Aren’t Dean and Cas in DC with their History class this weekend?” asked Sam. Gabriel never planned Club outings for a time when they couldn’t all attend, and Sam was sure he knew about the trip, as sharing a room with Castiel had been all Dean had talked about that week. Sam imagined that Gabriel must have been on the receiving end of similar excited outbursts from Castiel.
“Yeah, it’s just you and me this time kiddo,” Gabriel said looking at the floor in a way that instantly made Sam suspicious. It slowly dawned on him that this was the way Gabriel acted when he was feeling shy or nervous.
“So what do you say?”
“Sure, Gabe, I’ll go with you,” he smiled broadly to put Gabriel at ease.
“Thanks, Sammy!” Gabriel pulled his taller friend down into a brief hug as the bell rang. “Thanks for giving this a chance,” he whispered so quietly Sam almost didn’t hear him, before pulling away and running off to his next lesson, leaving Sam to wonder just what his friend had meant by those parting words.
Friday evening soon rolled around. Sam sat in the living room of the Winchester house nervously waiting for Gabriel. John and Mary were out at a dinner party, and with Dean away that weekend the house was almost silent. The only noise Sam could hear was the ticking of the antique grandfather clock in the next room. Sam was just about to run upstairs to check his hair for the third time when the doorbell rang. Gabriel was ten minutes early. Sam opened the door dressed in his usual flannel shirt, tan jacket and jeans, keys in hand ready to lock up behind him, but was shocked into stillness.
Gabriel wore a fitted black t-shirt, and what looked to be brand new jeans, free from the usual tears Sam had become accustomed to in Gabriel’s clothes. Instead of his usual Converse high-tops, he was wearing a pair of shiny black loafers, probably on loan from Balthazar, the eldest Novak. His hair was slicked back with gel in an unfamiliar way, and Sam immediately went to touch it without thinking.
“Gabe, what’s with the hair?” he asked, pulling at a stray piece.
“I knew it looked stupid, I should never have let Balthazar talk me into it.”
“It doesn’t look bad Gabriel, it’s just not you,” said Sam, gently ruffling Gabriel’s hair into an approximation of his usual messy style.
“Better?” asked Gabriel, blinking from under his newly mussed bangs.
“Much,” smiled Sam, locking the door. He followed Gabriel down the path to his beat-up old Beetle and slid into the passenger seat suddenly feeling a lot less self-conscious.
Gabriel drove Sam through town, the radio turned down low and playing some classic Beatles. They talked about school, and Gabriel’s plans for after graduation. Gabriel confided that he was planning on taking a year off to work, and stay in town.
“I always thought you’d run off to hunt monsters the second you graduated.”
“Well I thought I could stick around for another year or two, see how things go,” Gabriel said vaguely, switching off his engine. Sam looked up and realizfed they had arrived at a Red Lobster.
“Gabriel, I thought we were gonna see a movie,” said Sam, looking confused.
“Guy’s gotta eat Sammy.”
Sam loved Red Lobster, but had no idea why Gabriel had brought them somewhere half-decent. Usually on their Supernatural Club excursions they packed food to save money, or picked up some burgers along the way. They resumed their conversation from before at the table, stopping the easy banter only to order drinks, a seafood salad for Sam and practically the rest of the menu for Gabriel. When the food arrived, they ate slowly in between talking, Sam occasionally helping himself to Gabriel’s fries. It struck Sam how comfortable this was between them. It wasn’t like last year when he’d been pretty much forced into going out on a date with an over-excitable blonde named Becky. He’d really only done it as a favour to her brother, who needed her out of the house so he could hook up with his girlfriend. Sam had sat through a meal bored out of his mind as Becky chatted about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, before asking him if he’d read an obscure series of books he’d never even heard of. At least after they sat down in the movie theater she had quietened up. Becky had chosen some weepy chick-flick and Sam could barely contain his horror when she had begun to cry pathetically on his shoulder, clutching at him uncomfortably and whining about how two of the lead males were “meant for each other” despite being cousins and totally straight. Sam had walked her straight home after the disastrous date, and thankfully she went to the girl’s high school the next town over so he never had to see her again.
Here with Gabriel however, Sam felt relaxed and comfortable. He started to wonder if this was the sort of thing Dean and Castiel did, and whether they felt the same way when they were together as he felt now with Gabriel.
“What’re you thinking about?” Asked Gabriel from across the table.
“I was just wondering what Dean and Cas were up to,” He replied distractedly.
“Something we probably never want to witness, or hear about,” mused Gabriel from behind his third chocolate milkshake.
“Just, no Gabriel, that’s disgusting.”
Gabriel paid for the meal, ignoring Sam’s protests at not being allowed to pay his fair share.
“You can pay me back in sexual favours” Said Gabriel, waggling his eyebrows at Sam, who half wished he wasn’t joking.
The Palace Theater was an old-fashioned theater in the middle of town. It had stood derelict for years, as the new Cineplex outside of town drew in all the custom, but in recent years the town had re-opened it as a film museum, and they often put on older films for the public as a way of funding the museum. Tonight Gabriel had tickets for back-to-back showings of The Shining and the original Japanese version of The Ring.
“Gabriel, we don’t even speak Japanese!” said Sam when he saw the tickets.
“We don’t have to speak it, we just have to listen to it kiddo,” Said Gabriel, earning himself a bitch-face from Sam. “Besides, it’s got subtitles.”
Sam brought popcorn and drinks while Gabriel was distracted by some old posters. When Gabriel noticed him carrying the snacks, he started to pout, and sigh about how he was the one who invited Sam and therefore he should be the one to pay. After a lazy argument that neither really wanted to win or lose, the two settled themselves into seats in the back row, quietly talking about the movies they were about to see. Sam hadn’t seen any of them and didn’t know what to expect, but Gabriel had seen each one several times and assured Sam that they weren’t even very scary. When lights dimmed and the film began to play, Gabriel casually leaned closer to Sam. It was going to be a long and frustrating night.
At the Intermission, Gabriel ran off for more candy, leaving Sam to sit and ponder how he would get through the next four hours without inappropriately jumping his friend. Sam wasn’t one to easily scare, but when it came to horror and suspense movies he had to admit to feeling a little nervous. Thankfully the first movie had only been mildly scary compared to some of the horror flicks Gabriel had inflicted on him in the past, and he was actually enjoying himself. When Gabriel returned with another giant bag of popcorn and two huge boxes of Juniors, Sam automatically grabbed the popcorn, tugging it free of Gabriel’s grasp and pulling it into his lap.
“Hey Sasquatch, You best not be stealing my popcorn,” joked Gabriel.
“Gabriel, you held the last bag, it’s only fair,” Sam smiled in return, stuffing a few pieces of popcorn in his mouth before choking, “I’m sorry, how much butter did you put in here?”
Sam found the second movie far more disturbing than the first, and he unconsciously began to lean toward Gabriel, hiding behind the popcorn as best he could. Something flashed on the screen, surprising him, causing him to shriek in an entirely manly fashion. Sam was eternally grateful that Dean wasn’t there to witness his moment of fear. Gabriel, however, noticed his discomfort, and reached over to link his fingers with Sam’s trembling ones.
“Relax, Sammy. It’s just a movie,” he mumbled, turning his attention back to the screen.
Sam couldn’t concentrate on the movie much after that. Gabriel’s over-active fingers traced patterns across the back of Sam’s hand soothingly as they both began to relax in each other’s company.
When the movie finally ended and people began to filter out of the theater, Sam carefully disentangled his hand from Gabriel's before standing up. Gabriel's expression turned, as if he'd only just realized they'd been holding hands that entire time. He blushed and looked away, clearing his throat.
"Umm, let's get you home kiddo."
Sam tried to hide his disappointment, grabbing the garbage and leftover candy and heading towards the fire escape, closely followed by Gabriel. It was cold outside, the only sounds coming from the rest of the audience talking and laughing, firing up engines and hailing taxis. Sam and Gabriel walked to the car in awkward silence, unbroken until Gabriel had started up his car and pulled off the curb.
"So, er, those were some seriously scary movies," Sam laughed shakily, trying to diffuse the tension that had fallen over them.
"I wasn't as scared as you seemed to have been." Gabriel threw back, regaining some of his usual happy go lucky demeneor, even if it seemed a little forced.
"You've seen those movies before, you totally knew where all the scary parts were," Sam said in mock defense.
"Let's face it, I'm far more manly than you."
“Keep dreaming Gabriel, keep dreaming.”