Actions

Work Header

Stardust

Work Text:

"Sam, you okay?" Dean asked, offhandedly, after a rather rough fight against a couple of ghouls.

Sam looked up to his brother, across the room. He hesitated, but eventually nodded, "Yeah, yeah. Nothing Cas or Gabe couldn't fix up."

He had a gash running down the length of his arm, but he managed to get the bleeding to stop before they got back to the motel. Once Dean knew his brother wasn't going to bleed out, he bitched loudly about the thought of him getting blood on his Baby.

Dean nodded, checking his watch, "They said they'd be back before midnight. We got ten minutes before they're liars."

Sam forced a weak smile, nodding as he slowly sat down on his bed, pressing an old flannel against his arm. Dean, who somehow managed only minor injuries during their battle, and a lot of mud caked into his hair, decided he was going to take a quick shower before the God Squad showed up.

The silence that filled the room with Dean's absence was not a welcomed one. Sam looked down at his hand, gripping a shirt tight against his flesh to ensure he doesn't bleed to death. Dean's words, just spoken three minutes ago, echo in his head.

Sam, you okay?

You okay?

Okay?

No. He really, really wasn't.

Physically, sure, he's fine. He's had worse cuts than this. A lot worse. But that didn't mean he wasn't in pain. Yeah, his arm was on the far end of going numb. That wasn't the pain he was thinking of. No, a different kind of pain steals his attention. A deeper one; one that doesn't fade; a pain that no one can see but him.

It's expected in this line of work. With all the darkness they see, all the people who get hurt, with what little brightness they ever get in their day… Well, who wouldn't be sad?

But it's not just sadness. Being sad is so simple. You're upset, maybe you cry, time passes, you feel better. The end.

This is different.

The way Sam feels, it's like a frigid, rocky hand is reaching into his stomach, up under his ribcage, gripping his heart and squeezing. That same hand snakes around to the back of Sam's head, shoves cold fingers into his ears, and fills his head with hateful whispers. It tugs his hair and jabs at his confidence. It grips any joy in Sam's life and rips it out of him, leaving gaping holes in his chest.

Sam and Dean used to have a system. When Dean felt like this. Sam would ask how he's feeling. Dean would answer simply: Good, Okay, Not Okay, or Bad. It allowed Sam to figure out what would be the best course of action for the day and it let Dean slip out of a chick-flick moment with his dignity intact. The system was pretty self explanatory.

Good.

I'm feeling awesome! No worries! I'm on top of the world! I'm Good!

Okay.

I don't feel my best, in fact, I'm a bit on the sad side. But it's not worth getting upset over. Don't worry, I'm Okay.

Not Okay.

I feel like shit. I'm not feeling alright, there's definitely something wrong. I need time. I'm not myself today. Might not be for a while. I'm Not Okay.

Bad.

This is the worst I've ever been. Send help.

If Dean asked, right now Sam'd say he's Not Okay, borderline Bad.

Sam bites his lip, his body shaking with the effort to keep it together, when everything inside him is telling him to just fall apart.

'Stop.' He tells himself. 'Stop. Stop. You're fine. Just. Stop.'

It doesn't help. Not really. If anything, telling himself to stop only makes the hand grip him harder. He tries to ignore it, but he can't. The world fades away to nothing but himself and this painful hand.

It builds up inside him; and another second of this will break the dam that's doing its hardest to keep back his emotions and panic.

Thankfully, a distraction comes just when he needs it most.
"Honey! We're home!" Gabriel called as he and Cas snapped into existence.

Sam swallowed past the lump in his throat, keeping his voice even, "Hey, how's Heaven?"

"Good," Cas said at the same time Gabe groaned, "Horrible!"

The archangel plopped down next to Sam, gesticulating wildly as he said, "These little winged rats want me to stay there. In Heaven. With them!"

Something akin to panic swirled inside Sam, clawing up his throat and spilling out his mouth, "You won't though, right?"

Gabe studied him for a second, brushing his fingers gently over Sam's arm, effectively healing the gash to nothingness. Not even a scar.

"Hell no." Gabe grunted. Cas gave him a weak glare of disapproval. "I swear, Adriel was up my ass the entire time. And Hadraniel literally tried to touch my wings. My wings! It was suffocating. Like, I love my siblings and all, but I really hate them."

Cas rolled his eyes, "They were excited. It was the first time an archangel was in Heaven since the apocalypse."

Gabe snapped a candy bar into existence, muttering, "Still. T'was traumatizing."

Sam chuckled, but the action only made the fingers in his chest tighten. Sam shifted as he balled up the bloody flannel and tossed it near his bag.

Gabe glanced at him, but didn't comment. Dean came out of the shower, and Cas hovered around him, talking in quiet words and not-so-subtle touches.

Gabe started talking and never really stopped, the entire time his fingers roamed Sam's arms, back, and legs.

Sam sat there and listened, occasionally nodding or humming, forcing a smile in all the right places. He didn't comment on the touching, because he really didn't care. He knew he should care, because Gabe can be be a little sketchy sometimes and Sam didn't really give his consent for this feel-fest. But Gabe hadn't even brushed against somewhere inappropriate yet.

And even still. Sam tried, actually tried, to push past the hand and pull up some concern or irritation or, hell, even arousal. Nothing. The hand only wrapped itself around his attempts and greeted him with a cold numbness.

After an hour or so the humans couldn't keep their eyes open any longer.

Just like that, another day done. Sam made it through another 24 hours of pain.

And no one even knew about it.


Gabe knew something was up with Sam.

He was observant, despite what people tended to believe. He could tell that Sam was upset, yet he still smiled? Gabe didn't get it. Humans are weird. But he knew - to an extent - the feeling.

Back when Gabe was in Heaven, his brothers would fight every single day. Michael and Lucifer at each other's throats. Sometimes Raph would join in and then Gabe panicked. He didn't know what to do. He wouldn't pick a side, but they wouldn't listen to his reason. So. He made jokes. He laughed it off. He smiled through the pain. And when that didn't work, he ran away.

He thinks Sam is doing the same thing now. But… no one is fighting. What could Sam be upset about?

There wasn't an apocalypse or a big, angry villain. No one had recently died. They were still hunting things and saving people, but that's not that upsetting. Is it?

Gabe didn't know, but sometimes reading Sam's mind helped. Gabe could tell what Sam was feeling just by looking at his soul, but that doesn't explain at all why Sam would smile when he's sad. And it's not a very hopeful smile, either. It's more like he's trying to convince others he's happy. Which is strange. Angels aren't deceitful about their emotions. If an angel is sad, everyone in the garrison would know about it and come to help.

It's actually really nice. All of the angels would share Grace and massage wings. They offer sweet silence or calming conversation. Everyone is together, protecting and healing the angel. It's a moment that almost makes Heaven deserve its name.

But, of course, angel's emotions are very different than human ones. After sharing Grace and brushing feathers, the sad angel is fine. Easy peasy. Emotions are rarely a strong factor for angels. That might be why they're so open about them. Everyone's just trying to figure out what's happening.

So… why does Sam not tell them, or at least Dean, how he feels?

Gabe didn't know.

He tried to see if he could feel any more injuries on Sam. His fingers gently brushed against Sam's arms or back or legs, searching for a spot he might've missed. But there was nothing. Sam was completely healthy. So… why was he in pain?

Humans were weird.

Gabe made sure Sam was dreaming peacefully before he left.


The next time Gabe saw Sam, they were at a diner. Gabriel and Castiel walked into the building, because the humans kept fussing at them for appearing out of nowhere in public.

Gabe immediately slid into the booth next to Sam, making sure their thighs were touching. The hunter barely acknowledged his arrival.

"So. What's on the up and up today?" He asked as he stole a fry from Dean's plate.

"Nothing." Dean shrugged, scowling at his lost dead potato strip, "We were gonna take a bit of a break. Head back to the bunker, relax for a day or two."

Gabe stopped listening because he was, in fact, sitting next to a wonderfully gorgeous, but unfortunately upset, human that was thinking incredibly loud.

'Eat.' Sam thought. 'Just. Eat. It's not hard. Just put it in your mouth.'

Gabe glanced at Sam, who was staring determinedly at his salad. Strange… did he forget how to eat? No, because his soul shows no signs of confusion. Just… apathy and a bit of anger.

'Eat!' Sam's mind yelled at himself. 'Eat. You didn't have anything for breakfast. And barely half a sandwich for lunch. Dean will notice. Eat.'

Gabe raised an eyebrow at that. Sam wasn't eating at all? ...Why? It was important for humans to eat. They needed it to… Gabe didn't really know. But they needed it or they'll die.

Gabe continued to listen to Sam. He appeared to be gathering his courage. Sam swallowed as his mind thought, 'Pick up the damn fork and eat. Just eat, you stupid prick.'

Gabe watched as Sam picked up his fork, blinked down at his food, turned to Gabriel and smiled.

"Want some?" He asked pleasantly.

Sam's thoughts deadpanned, 'Sam, you dumb fuck.'

The hunter didn't even blink at the nasty thought he shot to himself.

Gabe didn't know what to say, so he just nodded. Sam looked relieved as he passed the salad over to the archangel. Gabe stared at the salad for a second before him brilliant mind came up with an even brillianter idea.

"I don't think I've ever had a salad before." Gabe commented. Poking the leaves with his fork he grins, "No sugar in it, you know?"

Sam's lip quirked and for a second it seemed genuine. "That's the point, Gabe."

The archangel squinted at the plate in front of him. Eventually he took a big bite, he never did anything halfway.

After a second of chewing, Gabe moaned loudly. "Holy shit, Sammich!"

Sam raised an eyebrow at him, but otherwise stayed silent.

His mind was a simple, 'Whatever. It's Gabe being Gabe.'

But the archangel wasn't done there. "Dad, it's like sweet, but not like, sweet sweet. You know?" Gabe rambled, taking another bite. "What is this? An olive? I think I love olives. Do all salads taste like this?"

Sam shrugged, his eyes tired and his body heavy, "Probably."

"No, I mean, this is a part of Heaven that crash-landed onto your plate. You have to try it." Gabe said, getting another forkful and holding it out for Sam.

The hunter stared at it. Then his eyes slowly flicked up to Gabe.

The air was tense as the archangel wondered if Sam would take the bait. Sam's mind was screaming at him to eat it. But he didn't really listen to his brain the first time…

Thankfully, Sam let out the smallest of shrugs - a motion meant for himself, something Gabe almost thought he imagined - and ducked his head to eat the salad off Gabe's fork.

Pulling away, Gabe heard Sam's mind cheer in victory. The archangel smiled as he listened to Sam's thoughts of praise. But it didn't last long. Sam looked down at his hands while he chewed.

'Now why was that so hard, you stupid piece of shit?'

Gabriel was shocked by the complete 180 Sam's thoughts went. He was so proud of himself, for just a second, but now he's back to being upset again…

Gabe didn't know how to react, so he ignored it. He talked to fill the silence Sam created. As he talked, laughed, and joked, he continued to feed Sam.

The hunter didn't once comment on the fairly affectionate action. He hardly commented at all during the entire meal. Although his mind had a lot to say.

At one point, Gabe glanced across the table to Dean and Cas, who were watching them solemnly. Dean's own meal was forgotten.

Cas's concerned eyes were locked on Sam, the angel would definately see the dimness in Sam's soul. He was probably trying to figure out the issue with the younger Winchester as well.

Dean, on the other hand, was watching Gabe. Gabriel couldn't read Dean's mind. He didn't know what the hunter was thinking.

He used to be able to.

But one day - one of the rare times Dean and Gabe were alone together - Gabe called Dean out on having bedroom thoughts about a certain angel of the Lord.

"Dude. Make a move already. You're thoughts are starting to get a little desperate." Gabe commented, flipping a page of his magazine nonchalantly.

Dean choked on the beer he was drinking. "W-what?"

There was definitely fear in his voice. Along with anger and embarrassment. But mostly fear.

"When are you going to ask Cassie out?" Gabe asked.

Dean's mind raced with panicked thoughts of 'Never.' and 'I'll ruin everything.'

Gabe rolled his eyes, "Trust me, Dean. He'll say yes." He muttered the last part, "The fledgling's head over wings for you."

The only thought that echoed in Dean's mind was an untrusting, 'Liar!'

"I'm not lying!" Gabe said, glaring at Dean over his magazine.

"Stop reading my mind, dammit!" Dean growled.

"Make a move for Cas and I will!" Gabe replied, just as harsh.

"When will you make a move on Sam?" Dean suddenly threw at the archangel.

Gabe blinked, surprised. "That's… that's different."

"How?" Dean asked.

What kind of question was that? It was obvious.

"Sam doesn't like me! Cas likes you! That's how!" Gabe almost yelled.

To make a long story short, Dean and Gabe were screaming at the top of their lungs, chest to chest, about to throw punches, when Cas and Sam walked in.

"Guys, what the hell?" Sam asked, hands up in a please-don't-destroy-the-motel-room-again gesture.

Dean pointed an accusatory finger at Gabe, "Cas, tell your brother to stop reading my mind!"

"Cas, Dean has something he wants to tell you!" Gabe said, pointing a finger at Dean.

"Don't you dare, you little winged shit." Dean hissed. Gabe smirked, about to continue, but the words got choked in his throat when Dean said, "Sam, Gabe wants to-"

"Alright, that's enough." Cas said, silencing Dean with a meaningfully hard look. "Dean, I'm putting up a wall of Grace around your mind. No one will be able to hear your thoughts. Gabe. Please, control yourself."

That was that. Dean glared at Gabe a few more times than usual that week. But neither of them made a move on their, to put it childishly, crushes. And neither of them mentioned it again.

So Gabe had nothing to go off of except for Dean's expression; which was annoyingly blank.

Dean's eyes were focused on the archangel with such an intensity, that he probably wished he could see into Gabriel, like how Cas was looking into Sam. The hunter's eyes flicked to Gabe's and after a tense second of staring, Dean nodded. Big brother approved.

Gabe hopes this meant he'd be making his move on Cas soon. Their stupid eye sex is getting annoying.


The boys ended up stopping to do a quick salt and burn before they made it back to the bunker. Sam was on interview the witness duty, and Gabe, unsurprisingly, decided to tag along.

Sam listened to the witness as she described through tears how she saw her dead uncle kill her father.

"You must think I'm crazy, but it was him. It was Uncle Brian. ...But it couldn't've been him, right? B-because he died in a car crash three weeks ago." The witness was shaking her head, looking out the window. "I just want this all to go away."

Sam could relate. He put on his most conforming smile and shook the girl's hand. "Thank you for talking about this. I promise you, my partner and I will do the most we can to fix this."

The girl nodded, "Yeah, okay."

Sam glanced down at their hands. He frowned when he was a sliver of ink on the girl's wrist. He glanced at her as he slowly turned their hands a bit to the left so he could see the entire tattoo.

It was a small, black semicolon. On her wrist, just below her thumb.

The girl's shoulders slumped, she rubbed her eyes with her free hand.

"I, um, I got it after he passed. It's been …really rough."

Sam nodded, giving her hand a squeeze before letting go. "I understand. ...I might consider getting one myself."

The girl's expression crumbled, "I'm so sorry. I hope you get better."

Sam's "You too." was almost inaudible.

Gabe quickly shook the girl's hand, Sam noticed the slight bluish-glow that flowed through them, highlighting the tattoo even more. They said their goodbyes and thank yous one more time and then they left.

As they were walking to the Impala, Gabe commented, "So. I feel like I just missed something."

"It's nothing." Sam brushed it off. The hand gripping his heart tugged harshly as he thinks about that poor young girl being depressed.

"What did her tattoo mean? Was it some nerdy thing? It's a grammar thing, right?" Gabe asked as he slid into the passenger's seat.

"Yeah. Just a nerdy thing." Sam lied, starting the car.

They drive for a few minutes in silence, until Gabriel said quietly, almost too quiet to be heard.

"I gave her some Grace. Tried to heal her." Sam gripped the steering wheel harder. "But she didn't have any injuries. ...How was she in pain without any injuries?"

The hunter refused to look away from the road. His shoulders were tense and his mind was foggy. Sam licked his lips and mumbled, "It's a different type of pain."

Gabe frowned in confusion, but, thankfully, didn't push it further. He could probably tell that Sam didn't want to talk about it.

The hunter was grateful when Gabe changed subject.

"So when we get back to the bunker, Dean has mentioned this thing called a Net Flicks?"


After the salt and burn, Sam didn't want to stay another night in a motel room. He longed for the comfort of his own bed. So he could curl up in blankets that didn't smell like dust or cigarette smoke or someone else's sweat.

Dean drove got the first three hours. But then he was just too exhausted to continue. They did a good, old fashioned Chinese fire drill and Dean ended up in the back with Cas. The hunter couldn't fight sleep anymore and in his drowsiness, Dean rested his head on Castiel's shoulder.

Cas smiled as he looked down at Dean, curled up against him.

Gabe winked at his brother from the passenger seat.

Sam drove in silence for a while. The radio was low, playing classic rock quietly. There were no clouds in the sky and on the backroads, Gabe could see all the stars his brothers and he created.

Sam's mind was mostly quiet. He would think off handed things. Like how cute Cas and Dean were in the back seat. How empty the road is right now. How many more miles until they get to the bunker. How endless the amount of stars were.

Everything was alright for a while.

Then Sam thought something incredibly disturbing.

'If I take a hard turn, just yank the car to the left, I'd run right into that tree. And I'd probably die instantly.'

Sam glanced out the window to the left. His fingers twitching on the steering wheel. 'I could do it. I could fucking do it.'

Gabe swallowed hard, prepared to stop the car if Sam went through with his thoughts.

Dean groaned in the back seat. Sam's eyes flicked to the rear view mirror, catching a glimpse of his brother with the angel. Cas had more respect for privacy than Gabe. The angel had no idea what was about to happen.

But then.

Sam's shoulders slumped. He looked back at the road and sighed. His hands relaxed against the wheel.

'Dean's in the car. I can't hurt him.'

Sam looked back at his brother again in the mirror.

'Next time.'

Gabe blinked rapidly at what just happened. Why the fuck would Sam think crashing the Impala into a tree would be okay? As long as Dean wasn't in the car?

The archangel didn't know what to do. He didn't want Sam to keep thinking like that. Because one day he might go through with it. But how does he get him to stop? Using Grace doesn't work. Maybe Sam just needs sleep?

"Hey, Sammich." Gabe said, snapping Sam out of his thoughts. "You look tired. Let me drive the rest of the way."

The hunter actually smiled as he said, "Can you even drive?"

"I'll have you know, I won the Indy 500 three times." Gabe said, crossing his arms.

Sam's smile grew wider and his soul lost some of its dimness. "I don't think I believe you."

"You should. I'm a very trustworthy angel." Cas snorted at Gabe's comment. He was thoroughly ignored. "Now, come on, let Jesus's better looking half-brother take the wheel."

Sam glanced to the left, to the row of trees they were passing. 'Probably a good idea.'

With a smile that was only a little bit forced, he said, "Okay, okay." As he pulled over the car, he added, "But I didn't know Balthazar was here."

Gabe threw Sam a scandalized look. "Samuel Patricia Winchester. Are you suggesting that Balthazar, Protector of the Three Wise Men, is prettier than me?!"

Sam actually laughed (the kind that wasn't forced!) and said, "Don't worry, babe, it's all in the accent."

Gabe almost tripped when he got out of the car. Babe. Babe. He literally just called Gabriel "babe". A quick look into Sam's mind told him that the hunter didn't even realize he said it. Never one to spoil a moment (or give someone an opportunity to crush his hopes and dreams) Gabe didn't say anything about it. Instead he slid into the driver's seat and sat back, grinning as Sam situated himself in the passenger's side.

"What?" Sam asked once he looked up to see Gabe staring.

"N-nothing." The archangel stuttered. He cursed himself in his head. He's an archangel of the Lord. He doesn't stutter. He cleared his throat, looking away from Sam. "Nothing. Go to sleep, Sammy."

"Okaaay…" Sam shifted to make himself more comfortable and settled down for the night. His mind quieted quickly as he drifted off.

Gabe made sure the drive was as smooth as possible for Sam, avoiding potholes and using (read: wasting) Grace to smooth over bumps in the asphalt.

Cas chuckled at him a few times, but didn't comment. He didn't have much room to talk, Gabe could tell he was feeding Dean dreams of pie and spending time with his family. Gabe would do the same for Sam, but he had to actually make sure he didn't crash the Impala. That'd be all kinds of counterproductive.

They got to the bunker in another two hours. Would be three, but Gabe doesn't care for speed limits.

When they arrive at the bunker, neither Gabe nor Cas wanted to wake the boys from their rare peaceful slumbers. So they each gathered their respective hunters into their arms and carried them into the bunker.

If Dean was awake, he'd laugh at seeing Gabe's small vessel hold Sam's beanstalk body.

It wasn't difficult to hold the man; he wasn't heavy (for an archangel). It was just cumbersome to move Sam through the halls.

The archangel was actually panting when he gently lowered Sam to his bed. Before Gabe could pull away; unwrap himself from Sam, a sleepy voice mumbled in his ear:

"You should work out more."

Gabe's hands flew off Sam as he hissed, "Shit, did I wake you?!"

Sam chuckled, a deep sound that reverberated around the room and straight to Gabe's stomach, twisting it in pleasant knots.

"No, I uh…" Sam smiled almost shyly, "I never actually went to sleep."

Gabe watched him for a moment. So Sam just… meditated? Cleared his mind and layed there? Alright, resting is resting. But sleep really should happen sometime soon for the hunter. Meditation doesn't do shit for you if you can't stand because you're internal organs are shutting down.

Then it clicked.

"Wait." Gabe said, eyes snapping to Sam's slightly pink expression, "You were awake! I didn't have to carry you!"

Sam grinned, "Nope. Thanks, though. Loved the ride."

"I'll ride you." Gabe grumbled. It took only 2.47 seconds for Gabe to realize what he just said. His face turned bright red as he babbled, "Shit, I meant, fuck- no, that's not what I meant-"

Sam was laughing so hard it was difficult to breath. He curled up in himself and laughed, tears running down his eyes.

Gabe stopped talking altogether and simply watched Sam, letting out a few giggles of his own.

For the first time in a while, Sam's soul had almost no dimness. His mind was a pure joyous repeat of Gabe's bright red expression.

"You good?" Gabe asked when Sam finally caught his breath.

Sam smiled, nodding. "Yeah, I really am."

"Cool. I'll head out so you can get some sleep." Gabe said, patting Sam's leg once.

He turned to leave but Sam's insecure thoughts stopped him in his tracks.

What if this feeling doesn't last all night?

Gabe turned to look back at Sam, who was staring at the wall blankly.

Stupid, you'll be asleep. It doesn't matter.

"Hey," Gabe said as casually as he could muster, "I'll be right out here. In case you want a midnight snack or something."

Sam gave him an odd look at how quickly Gabe said the last part.

He nodded and said, "Thanks, Gabe."

You gonna sleep now, or will you be a little bitch?

Sam smiled and mumbled a small, "Goodnight."

"Night, Sam." Once Gabe closed the door behind him, he let his smile drop.

Sam's thoughts were really worrying him. And Gabe had to watch as Sam's soul dimmed slowly, while he thought such horrible things. Gabe didn't know how to fix this. It wasn't something Grace could heal.

But it was something that was infecting many humans. What Gabe previously thought was just someone with poor morals, was actually someone who had the same injury Sam had. Gabe's noticed it in lots of people they passed on the streets. Some of them showed their sadness. Most of them didn't. They hid it behind a mask of "I'm good!"s and "This is great!"s.

How many of them had the same self-loathing thoughts?

Gabe figured he'd have to make more of an effort to help Sam get better.


"I made breakfast." Gabe smiled at Sam when he walked in early in the morning.

Sam gave Gabe a forced smile and the sight of it was starting to feel insulting.

"Thanks, but I'm not hungry." Sam said apologetically. His stomach constricted in disagreement. But the thought of eating right now was nauseating.

"Humor me." Gabriel muttered, setting a plate of fruit, bacon and toast down in front of him.

Sam glared at the archangel before he could stop himself. He glanced down, staring at his food like it offended him.

I wish I didn't wake up this morning.

Gabe sat down across from him with his own plate. "So I think Cas spent the night in Dean's room."

It would make things easier, just sleeping in. Not existing for a while.

Sam didn't even look up, lost in his thoughts. "Hmm."

Gabe pursed his lips.

"Lucifer called me yesterday. Hell stopped burning."

What if I was caught by a djinn? Maybe in a perfect world, I'd be Okay. Maybe I'd be Good.

Sam frowned at his thoughts, not even noticing Gabe talked.

"I decided I'm switching vessels. Might become a black woman. Or an Indian man. Or a peacock. I dunno. My options are open. What do you think?"

Sam nodded, fingers brushing against his toast, but not bothering to make an attempt at eating it.

Dean would be pissed. I could make it seem like an accident? Where would I find a djinn?

Gabe pouted, thinking up a way to snap Sam out of his thoughts.

I could look for a case, I guess.

There was a sudden lethargic-ness that sunk through Sam slowly. Turning his body to lead. He could go find a djinn that might make him feel better as he slowly dies, but actually getting up and doing it would be four times as much effort as the reward would be worth. Sam could barely pick up his toast, let alone find a djinn case.

"Have I ever told you how beautiful you are?" Gabe's voice was finally able to pull him out of his dark veil of thoughts.

"What?" Sam asked, eyes wide. Yeah, Gabe flirted mindlessly all the time. But the tone he said that in, it wasn't like how Gabe usually flirted. It was sincere, and honest.

Gabe threw his hands in the air. "Sure, you hear that one!"

Way to go, Sam.

The hunter's heart sank as he realized that a) he'd been ignoring Gabe, 2) Gabe's comment was a joke, and III) he still hadn't eaten anything.

"Sorry." Sam muttered, shifting in his seat. "What were you saying?"

Gabe waved his hand, dismissively "Nothing, it was nothing."

Sam nodded, looking back down at his plate. He kinda wished Dean or Cas would come in at this moment. Or he could leave. If the floor would swallow him whole. Or if Heaven just exploded and Gabe had to rush off. Really, he kinda just wanted to be alone.

How could you not want to spend time with your friends? Heartless dick.

"What are your plans for today?" Gabe asked, picking at his mostly-full plate.

Sam shrugged, "Dunno. Maybe find a case."

Gabe's face turned stony at that. His shoulders stiffened as he said, "Yeah? About what?"

The hunter raised an eyebrow, "Hunters don't usually search for a specific thing to hunt, Gabe."

The archangel relaxed slightly at Sam's teasing tone. "How'd I know? I've only been here for a while. I figured you'd just go, 'hmm, let's kill some vamps today'. And Google 'Vampire activity in America'."

Sam shook his head, "If only it was that easy."

Gabe's face lit up suddenly with his wonderfully brilliant idea. "Hey, you just got off from a case, relax a little! How about you show me that Net Flicks thing?"

Do it. You really shouldn't be around bullets and knives right now.

"If you want." Sam shrugged, leaning back slightly, "I can't believe you've never watched Netflix before. It seems right up your alley."

Gabe shrugged, "You gotta learn somehow, don't you?"

"Fair enough."

That's how they ended up in Sam's bed, unfortunately clothed, staring at Sam's large TV. They chose a show called "Doctor Who" because Gabe wanted to see if he knew any of the aliens.

"Aliens are real?" Sam asked when Gabe pointed to a scaley one in the background.

"Oh, yeah. You think Dad made humans and was like, 'well, that's enough for this entire universe. No need to make literally anything else.'? He let us help. I got to make my own planet. Full of giant platypuses. Platypi? Whatever." Gabe said. "Michael's planet was completely underwater. Raph's had a lot of plants. And I think Lucifer's is lifeless."

Sam snorted. "Wouldn't surprise me."

Gabe noticed that Sam's soul grew in brightness the more they watched. His thoughts no longer were berating, and instead completely consisted of the storyline.

Yay! Doctor!

Oh, that's gross.

Rose! She's a cool companion.

Wait, what just happened?

WAIT! WHAT?

At some point, Gabe stopped monitoring Sam's thoughts. Instead, he engrossed himself in the world that the TV created for them.

"Oh, Dad! Did he just say he's dying?" Gabe asked, his arms swinging out, one hand on the bed, the other landing on Sam's leg.

Sam sat up too, eyes wide, his hand pressed against Gabe's side. "No! He can't die! He's the main character!?"

"Wait. What's he doing?" Gabe asked as a golden glow shot out the Doctor's body, like a beautiful alien flaming torch.

"I don't know." Sam mumbled.

"What the fuck?" Gabe pointed as the Doctor changed forms.

"I don't know." Sam swatted at his hands.

"How the fuck?"

"I don't know!"

'Oh, right!' The new Doctor on screen cheered. 'Barcelona!'

Then the episode ended.

Gabe sat back, his back hitting the headboard. "What the shit just happened?"

"He was… reincarnated?" Sam guessed.

"He got hot, that's what he did." Gabe said, gesturing to the screen.

Sam laughed. "Oh my God, Gabe."

"What? Can you object?" Gabe said. He sat up on his knees, flicking his wrist to rewind the TV. He stopped when it was just a close up of David Tennant's face. "Have you seen a more beautiful creature?"

Yeah… I think I have.

Gabe blinked rapidly as he heard the thought. He looked over his shoulder at Sam, trying to keep his expression neutral.

Sam smiled and shook his head. "Whatever you say, Gabe."

"I'm um, I'm going to get more popcorn." Gabe mumbled, quickly crawling off of the bed.

"Hurry, or I'll start without you." Sam replied, an easy smile on his face.

Gabe almost ran into the door on his way out.

His mind raced as he thought about Sam's thoughts. He probably meant Jess. Or even Ruby. Maybe Dean. Hell, anyone. Anybody could be prettier than David Tennant in Sam's mind. It didn't mean it was Gabe. In fact. It probably wasn't Gabe.

Come on, Gabriel. Get your feathers out of your ass. Sam doesn't see you like that. He never will. He's obviously straight, and even if he wasn't… he could do better than Gabriel. Easy.

The archangel paced in the kitchen, forgetting about how he could just mojo popcorn into existence. The soft hum of the microwave was the perfect soundtrack to his internal panicking.

Really, Gabe was reading into things (like Sam's mind) too much. It was just a wayward thought. People have them all the time. They don't mean anything. Obviously. Sam didn't give a fuck about Gabe. Simple as that.

Gabe told himself that as he walked back to Sam's room. Sam didn't care about him. This wasn't like that.


Sam smiled, watching Gabe go. After a second, his smile dropped. Sam's gaze lowered to the floor, unfocused. Frustration seeped out of him as he felt the fingers of that cold hand wrapped around his heart. He cleared his throat for a second, trying to dislodge the lump in there.

Why now? Why does this have to happen now?

Sam was having fun. He and Gabe were hanging out. There was no reason for him to be upset about anything. Except for the Doctor not-dying. But that shouldn't cause his heart to constrict painfully. Sam felt a tiredness wash over him. His limbs felt like lead, keeping him pinned to his bed.

What was wrong with him? Why was he so stupid? Couldn't he just be okay for a few hours while he hangs out with his friend?

"So I was thinking we could-" Gabriel started started as walked into the room. His smile faltered slightly at Sam's expression.

Sam cleared his throat, forcing a smile. "We could what?"

His mind was echoing a mantra of 'please don't notice, please don't notice, please don't notice.'

Gabe hesitated, but smiled again, just as friendly as before, "We should have Dean make burgers for dinner. I feel like the Doctor would love burgers."

Sam nodded, thankful that Gabe didn't mention the sadness he obviously saw when he walked in. "You think?"

"Definitely." Gabe climbed back into bed next to him, putting the popcorn in his lap.

As Gabe started the next episode, Sam watched the screen. But his heart was no longer in it. He started blankly at the actors, not really watching, not really thinking. Just … there.


Castiel appeared in front of Gabe a few days later. His held onto the archangel's elbow and steered him to a more secluded hallway.

"Whoa, whoa, Cassie! I love you, but not like that. I think you're looking for Balthazar." Gabe teased, gesturing to the close proximity between them. "Or better yet, De-"

"I'm concerned about Sam." The angel cut straight to the point, interrupting Gabriel.

Gabe's smile fell. "Me too."

"I have tried to heal him-" Cas glanced down and away, failure obvious in his voice.

"Me too…" Gabe mumbled, surprising Cas.

There was a pause, and then Cas said, "His soul is brighter when he's around you."

Gabe snorted, "For about three seconds."

"That's still three seconds of brightness." Cas said. "For what it's worth. Three seconds could be all he needs."

The archangel shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe."

"Have you seen him today?" Cas asked.

He looked down the hall, where Sam's room was. "No. He hasn't come out all day. And he put up angel wards. ...I don't think he wants to see me."

The sigils weren't that strong. Gabe could still get in, easy. But he didn't. Because it would probably only make Sam more upset.

The day was a tense, silent one. Dean kept looking down the hall to Sam's room, worry etched into his features. Cas had mojoed food and water into the room, concerned about the human's eating habits. Gabe…

Gabe sat outside the door. He stared at the wood blankly. Not moving. Not blinking. Not thinking. Not breathing.

He didn't need it. His Grace could keep his vessel in perfect condition.

The archangel was a statue. And he refused to be moved until Sam came out.

For four hours, the only time the archangel moved was when he heard Sam pick up the sandwich Cas made for him. His lip twitched into a small smile.

A little victory was still a victory.

Gabriel monitored Sam's thoughts only to ensure he wasn't going to harm himself. The worst he got was when the hunter scraped his nails up his arms, leaving long, red marks. It seemed, just by listening, that the hunter would read for a while. But he'd always get distracted with negative thoughts. He'd mark up his arms. Then those thoughts would pull him under into a dreamless sleep. He'd wake up feeling distorted and, eventually, continue to read.

It was another three hours after Sam ate the sandwich. Gabriel watched as the impassable door opened.

He blinked. His entire being refocusing.

For the first time in seven hours, Gabriel let out a breath.

"Oh- Gabe?!" The hunter was obviously not expecting him.

It was late now. Sometime in the night. Sam spent an entire day in his room. Dean is no doubt killing himself in worry. Cas is probably trying to calm him down. But Gabe was far more focused on the fact that Sam was standing in front of him, wearing dirty clothes and his hair in knots. Bags under his eyes and scratch marks up and down his arms.

He'd never looked more beautiful.

"What are you doing?" Sam asked.

"Waiting for you." Gabriel replied simply.

A tsunami of guilt crashed into Sam. "Did you need me? Is there a case? You should've knocked, I would've-"

Gabe looked away, shrugging. Sam frowned, realization hitting him.

"Oh. The sigils." Sam mumbled, a hand coming up to touch his face nervously.

He probably thought he wasn't welcome.

Well of course he wasn't welcome!

You wanted to be alone, didn't you?

Well…

If you wanted to see him, why would you put up angel sigils?

Why do you do anything?

Because you're stupid. That's why.

Shut up! Stop thinking!

"It's no big deal." Gabe said, stealing Sam's attention away from his brain. Then, slowly, he added, "...I just wanted to be the first one to tell you."

"Tell me what?" Sam asked, frowning slightly with concern.

Gabriel motioned for him to come closer. It's not physically possible for Sam to lean down that far. So the hunter squatted down in front of the archangel.

"Feel my jacket." Gabriel whispered, holding out his arm for the hunter.

Sam blinked at him. "Is this a trick?"

"No, just feel it." Gabe's lips quirked up for a second.

Sam cautiously reached forward and brushed his fingers against Gabe's sleeve.

And…

Oh.

That's weird.

The jacket looked like a bomber jacket; made out of leather or something strong. But the sleeve under Sam's fingers was incredibly soft.

"What's it made out of?" Pure confusion. That was the only thing on Sam's mind right now.

Gabe had to hold back a grin. He said as seriously as he could, "Boyfriend material."

Sam stared at the sleeve for what felt like an hour; his body tense, his mind blank. After a few long moments, Sam's eyes flicked up to gage Gabe's face.

A slow smile spread across the archangel's face. He couldn't help it. He started to giggle. The stupidity of the moment made Sam smile, too. Small giggles fell from his mouth. Soon they were full out laughing on the floor of the dark hallway.

Gabe grinned when he saw the brightness of Sam's soul.

"You should've seen your face!"

"My face? You should've seen your's!"

Once they caught their breaths, Sam smiled down at the floor, a small blush across his cheeks. Gabe stared at him, memorizing the sight. Because, oh Dad, he was beautiful in this moment. He's always beautiful. But in this moment, he was the most wonderful thing God ever created.

Sam looked up at him, and Gabe forced himself to look away. Sam cleared his throat and looked in the other direction.

Stupidstupidstupid!

"I was, um, craving something." Sam muttered, Gabe looked back at him, raising an eyebrow. "'T's why I, uh, left the room."

Stop talking!

"What did you have in mind?" Gabe asked.

God, you think he likes you, don't you?

Sam shrugged; gaze darting up to make eye contact with the archangel. "Something sweet."

Idiot.

Gabriel grinned, "You came to the right place."

Gabe lifted his hand, ready to snap his fingers and mojo a diabetic's worst nightmare, but Sam's hand shot out and stopped him.

"Wait." He said, his fingers curling around Gabe's wrist gently. "Nothing crazy. ...How does normal vanilla ice cream sound?"

"Painfully boring." Gabe deadpanned. "But bearable."

Sam smiled, his fingers sliding off of Gabe's wrist.

So that's what Gabe did. He snapped two small bowls of regular, non-coma-inducing, barely exciting, vanilla ice cream.

With rainbow sprinkles.

Sam flicked Gabe's knee for that. Gabe rolled his eyes.

"Sorry sprinkles are too intense for you."

"Sorry plain vanilla is too intense for you." Sam replied, eating a small spoonful.

"Nothing is too intense for me." Gabe dared. "I'm an archangel,for Dad's sake."

Sam smiled a mocking smile, "Oh yeah? I distinctly remember you hiding in the Impala from your brother."

Gabe flicked his hand in dismissal. "That's different. Luci's also an archangel. It's a whole other ball field."

Sam nodded, leaning back slightly, "Right, right. So nothing is too intense for you. Except for archangels."

"Exactly." Gabe said, shoving a huge spoonful into his mouth. "Dad, they're crazy. Have you ever been star-ending with them? I do not recommend."

"What's star-ending?" Sam asked after swallowing some frozen sugar milk.

Instead of replying, Gabriel snapped his fingers.

Sam blinked and suddenly his hair was blowing in the gentle breeze. A checkered picnic blanket under him, and a thick quilt on his shoulders. Glancing around, he could tell he was in a field. Where the field was located, he had no idea.

"Here."

Sam jumped at the sudden voice next to him. He looked over to see Gabe, sitting cross-legged on the blanket next to him, holding out a big mug of steaming something.

"It's hot chocolate." Gabe said, practically reading his mind.

Sam nodded, holding onto it with both hands. It took Sam only a second to realize how close Gabe was sitting to him. Their knees were touching; Sam's basically on top of Gabe's. And they were shoulder to shoulder. If Gabe wanted to - which obviously he wouldn't - he could lean his head against Sam's shoulder.

"Up there," Gabe said, gesturing with the arm that wasn't pressed against Sam's. "Are billions upon billions of stars. A zillion."

Sam snorted, following Gabe's arm to look up at the twinkling sky. The archangel was right. From here, it looked like zillions. It was breathtaking. Sam remembered all the times he and Dean pulled over in a field like this one, grabbed some beers, and watched the stars.

"And every once in awhile," Gabe lowered his hand, "A star has to die."

Sam's eyes stayed on the sky while Gabe talked.

"Now, Dad didn't want to deal with that, because he's a lazy bastard. So he put me and my brothers on the job of star-ending. Like we didn't have enough to deal with, trying to be big brothers to a thousand angels. Anyway. What we do, is we go to a star that's at the end of its life, and we…"

Sam glanced down at Gabe, wondering why he stopped. Surprisingly, the angel had a fond smile on his face.

"We, uh, we beat it up, basically. It's a big pile of rock and gas. Our job is to crush it down to nothingness. So usually, it's a, uh, crush-and-scatter. But one day, Luci decided to throw the dying star right at Mike. Of course, it hit him in the head, because," Gabe chuckled as he spoke, "Mike could never catch a damn thing. So he got all pissy and lectured Luci about the respect we should show to Dad's work - like we didn't help make half of those floating rocks up there - and while he was lecturing, I crushed down a star to the size of my fist. Not a dying one, a live one. And I chucked it as hard as I could at Mike. Boom! Universe's first shooting star!"

Sam didn't know when he stopped looking at the sky and started watching Gabe. But he was happy he did. The archangel was so expressive and engaged in the story he was telling. It made Sam want to lean closer and listen to the man talk all day.

"Luci was my older bro. The cool older bro, not the stuck up ones. So I wanted to be like him." Gabe's smile faded slightly. Sam waited as the archangel thought to himself. He looked back up at the stars, and after a moment, Gabe began again, just as much enthusiasm as before. "So we made a game out of it. If you crushed up a star, 2 points. If you broke a star by throwing it at Mikey, 4 points. If you managed to even hit Raph, 6 points. If you got away with it without Dad seeing, 8 points. And if you destroyed a star so epically that it created a black hole, 10 points." Gabe beamed at Sam, "I made two black holes in one day, once."

"I'm so proud." Sam responded, a little too affectionately for it to be platonic.

Shit, Sam. Focus. If you scare him off with your dumbass feelings-

"You should be." Gabriel said quickly, eyes down on the mug in his hands, a wide smile on his face. "Anyway, it was kind of like dodgeball, but with giant-ass flaming balls of gas."

Sam nodded, seeing how that could be both fun and terrifying.

"Why did the stars have to die, anyway?" Sam asked.

Gabe looked up at him, a small smile on his face. "To make you."

Sam blinked in confusion. He let out a huff and said, "Yeah, you'll have to explain that."

"You know when they say that someone hung the moon for you?" Gabe asked. Sam stared at him, feeling his cheeks heat up. He was thankful for the darkness of the night. Gabe carried on quickly, "Or something. I don't know. It's a human phrase. But, uh, I crushed the stars for you. ...Not you, specifically, but, you as in life."

Sam watched as Gabe stumbled over his words. It was cute, seeing this great and powerful being all flustered.

Gabe almost choked on his hot chocolate. He coughed painfully, hurrying on with what he was trying to say. "Shit, I mean, that, the stars are the backbone of life. Not just in the, uh, photosynthesis way, but also, with-"

Sam couldn't listen anymore. The hand that had been fairly inactive since he started talking to Gabe wrapped it's jagged fingers around Sam's heart.

He felt a little nauseous suddenly. The drink in his hand now looked like a liquid curse. And the gentle wind cut through his skin easily, chilling his bones.

If you were asleep right now, you wouldn't feel like this.

Why'd you have to leave your room anyway?

Dumb peice of shit.

No, stop, we were having fun…

Why do you always have to ruin everything?

Sam swallowed painfully around the knot in his throat. Oh, shit. Was he about to cry? In front of Gabriel? God, please, no. The hunter tried to keep his breathing under control.

"Hey." Gabe said, placing a warm hand on his knee. "Just listen to my voice, alright?"

Sam can't tell if he nodded or not. But he could feel a small stream of Grace flow into him from Gabe's hand. It warmed his skin, loosened his muscles, untwisted his stomach. It even healed the scratches on his arms. But it did nothing to the nails digging into his heart.

"You're stardust, Sam. When stars are crushed, their dust gathers together again and a planet is made. The only reason God was able to create something as beautiful as you… Was to borrow some beauty from the sky."

Sam looked up at the twinkling stars.

"You were once up there. One of those bright, beautiful lights. God used some stardust to make you, each and every one of you. Humans. Dogs. Cats. Moose. Aliens. Everything came from the sky."

Sam looked back down at Gabe, his heart heavy, but the rest of him feeling fantastic. It was a weird feeling. Being both buzzed with energy and feeling like Death was holding you down. It was intense and confusing.

"And you know what?" Gabe said, his voice softer now. "I know for a fact that you - that earth - was made from a star that was in a constellation. And aliens looked at it every day. It meant a lot to them. And you know what they called it?"

Sam's voice only cracked a little when he whispered, "What?"

"Some fucking alien word, I don't know." Gabe whispered back.

Sam grinned, a small laugh escaping him. The hand on his heart gripped him tighter and he pushed right back against it.

"Oh my god, Gabe…"

Gabe smiled at him, something unreadable in his eyes. "But seriously. The word they called that constellation, it translated into 'strength'. You've been strong from the very beginning. Every little, beautiful drop of stardust is holding on inside you; giving you strength."

Sam stared at the angel for a moment. Without thinking, he placed a hand gently on the back of Gabe's neck. Slowly, softly, he pressed his lips against the archangel's forehead. He thought he heard Gabriel's breath hitch, but he must've imagined it. He pulled away after a moment and watched Gabe's reaction.

The archangel was staring at him with pure shock. Sam brushed his thumb against Gabe's skin soothingly. He probably should feel foolish for kissing something that could kill him with a snap of their fingers. But he didn't. He just felt tired and a little bit better than before. The fingers around his heart loosened their grip considerably. Tomorrow, he'll probably hate himself for doing that. But not today.

"Thank you for this." Sam whispered, "I really appreciate it."

Gabe nodded, eyes wide, he whispered, just as quiet, "No problem."

"Can you take me home now?" Sam started to pull away from the very intimate embrace. The hunter looked away, up to the stars.

"Y-yeah." Gabriel leaned forward, a fraction of a centimeter, trying to stay Sam's focus.

"I need some sleep."

Gabe leaned back, eyes falling to the ground. "R-right, of course."

When Sam blinked again, he was in his bed, warm covers cocooning him. His eyes felt heavy, and he didn't try to fight them. When he closed his eyes, he could still see the stars. The last thing he heard before losing consciousness was a soft, sweet echo.

You're stardust, Sam.


A few days later, they were in a library somewhere in the Midwest. Sam was giving this huge explanation about the history of djinns and Gabe was pretending he didn't watch them evolve with his own eyes.

"That's fascinating." Gabe smiled, holding his chin in his hand, eyes focused on Sam's excited smile.

"Right? And so the really cool part is when they spread out and started to diversitize." Sam made gestures with his hands, his entire being telling the story with such energy and, well, Grace. Or as close to Grace as a human can get. Oh! Maybe that's what human musicians mean by "soul" music? Sam should be a soul musician. He'd probably be good at it.

Gabe smiled as Sam started describing how different djinns create different worlds for their victims.

"There's some djinns that make you believe completely that you're in the right world. They change your memories and basically shape you to fit in this perfect world. Some others don't even bother with that. They just make the perfect world. And even if you know it's wrong, you choose to stay, because, well," Sam looked down at his hands for just a second, to emphasize the difference between the two different types of djinn.

And then it happened.

Sam's soul, which was bright and shining with joy and life, darkened considerably. It was like throwing water onto a fire. Sam's shoulders slumped, a light flickered out in his eyes. His voice lowered considerably and eventually his words puttered to a stop. His hands, which were just painting a world in the air, now sat on the table; heavy stones.

Do you seriously think he cares?

Sam bit his lip, pulling his arms closer to himself. His eyes stayed on the table.

"So. Um. That's what I think we're facing here." Sam said, quietly, his voice empty.

Gabriel reached out to grab his arm, to maybe pull him back, or heal him fast, or brighten his soul, or something. But Sam shifted away, pulling his arms off the table.

Gabe dropped his hand, hurt clear on his face. Sam didn't see it. He was staring at the old books on the shelves, eyes distant.

Do everyone a favor and get lost.

"Sam?"

They would be better without you.

"Sam, please."

You finally found that djinn.

"Hey, let's get out of here, yeah?"

Let it take you to a place that's Okay.

"Sam!"

When Sam blinked back into focus, Gabe's face was a inch away from his. Worried golden eyes watched his every move. Gabe had one hand on Sam's knee and the other on his shoulder. Both were pumping Grace into him.

"Are you okay?" Gabe asked, voice shaking with fear.

"Yeah." Sam mumbled. He was really starting to hate that question. All it did was remind him how horribly Not Okay he was. He pulled away from the archangel. "Let's go."

Sam stood up, gathering his books quickly.

"Sam-"

"I said I'm fine, Gabe." Sam hissed. The hand twisted in his chest, turning his skin cold. Gabe touch felt like fire, and not in a welcoming warmth kind of way. Sam desperately didn't want to be touched right now. He wanted to lock himself in his room and sleep this pain off. His fingers itched to drag his nails down his arms. To scratch off Gabe's touch.

Gabe lowered his outstretched hands. "Right. Okay."

"I'm just tired." Sam mumbled.

"Yeah…" Gabe watched as Sam turned and walked out if the library, not looking back. The archangel didn't follow him. He could see the anger flowing off of Sam.

He wanted to be alone.

Gabe flew away, his vessel feeling cold and heavy.


Later, Sam walked into the kitchen to see Dean and Cas. Dean was leaning against the counter, Cas standing in front of him, their chests almost touching. Dean's fingers brushed against Cas's sleeves, not quite holding on, but not willing to let go. They each had a small, private smile on their faces. Cas tipped his head forward slightly, eyes questioning. Dean sucked in a breath, eyes watching the angel's lips.

Sam walked out of the room silently, leaving the two to their own world. He knew he should be happy for them. And, in a way, he was. But it was hard to feel any kind of joy when the hand shoved it down under a sea of pain.

Maybe later - when he feels a little more okay - he'll congratulate them.

For right now, all he could think is, 'It probably feels good. Being loved.'

His mind swirled with thoughts of Jess and how alone he is. He laughed bitterly at that. When had he ever cared about how alone he is? When had he ever considered himself alone? He wasn't alone. He had Dean. And Cas. And Gabe.

That wasn't alone.

So why did he feel so empty inside?

Sam looked up and found himself in the bunker library. It seemed like there were more books on the shelves than usual. Sam blinked at them, running his fingers over the nearest shelf. He smiled when he recognized the names of the authors. Lee. Bradbury. Fitzgerald. Steinbeck.

Not hunters. These books were for pleasure. The thought made something in Sam flicker to life.

He picked up a copy of Gulliver's Travels.

As he opened the cover, a picture slipped onto the floor. He bent down at picked it up. It was a picture of Sam, Dean, Cas, and Gabe. Sam couldn't tell where they were. A white-sand beach.

The sun was setting, painting the sky behind them. The ocean shined, reflecting the pinks from above.

Sam and Dean were shirtless, but both the angels decided to keep their shirts on.

Cas didn't want to show his scars. Gabe was being supportive.

Remember?

Sam nodded to himself, flipping the picture over to see what was written on the back.

June, 2015.

Something tugged at Sam's mind. A thought. A year. Wasn't it just 2009? No, it couldn't be… Time just flies after you save the world.

Sam flipped the photograph back again, looking at their happy faces. Dean was grinning wildly, his fingers hidden up Cas's shirt, tickling the fallen angel so he'd smile. Sam was laughing at their antics. And Gabe, when Sam looked at Gabe, his breath hitched slightly. The archangel was watching Sam with the softest, most affectionate expression he'd ever seen.

Warm arms wrapped around Sam's middle. He stiffened against the embrace.

"Remember that?" Gabe asked, his face hidden against Sam's back. "Dean and Cas insisted we go. Cas brought his camera."

"The water was so cold." Sam mumbled as memories cleared in his head.

"Who's fault was that?" Gabe asked, turning Sam around with gentle hands on his hips. "Mr. Stardust wanted to swim at night."

Sam laughed, "I thought it'd be romantic."

"And it was." Gabe chuckled, pulling Sam forward with a gentle hand on the back of his neck, "Our first kiss."

Sam felt his heart flutter, blood rushing to his cheeks. He knew they've done this hundreds of times. But, really, it just felt like the first time. Sam was giddy with the thought of getting to finally kiss Gabe, even though they just kissed each other goodnight yesterday.

"You almost missed." Sam smiled, a warmth filling him. His hands grabbed Gabe's hips and pulled him impossibly closer.

"Not my fault, you're so damn tall." Gabe grinned. Sam didn't get a chance to reply, the archangel closed the rest of the distance. Their lips pressed together softly, lovingly. Gabe pulled away, far too quickly for Sam's liking. "But I can fix that."

Sam laughed as Gabe teleported them to their shared bed.

"I love when you do that." Sam gasped under Gabe.

"Hmmm, and I love you, Sam." Gabe hummed, pressing small kisses to Sam's jaw.

Sam smiled, his fingers carding through Gabe's hair. He closed his eyes, sighing happily as Gabe scraped his teeth against Sam's collarbone.

Sam was laughing, he could feel tears form in his eyes. His abs hurt from laughing so hard.

"Oh my G- are you okay?!" Sam asked, seeing past the tears to watch Gabe shake cake off his arm. The archangel had slipped and landed right into Dean's birthday cake.

Gabe stood up, licking the icing off his fingers. "I'm good." He winked up at Sam, "If you eat this off of me, then it's a dream come true."

Sam rolled his eyes, "Not on Dean's birthday."

"C'mon, we got an hour before our brothers get here. Do you expect me to be all sticky this entire time?"

"I expect you to fix that cake. I expect you to play nice when Dean gets here. And I expect, that if all goes well..." Sam walked up to Gabe as he talked. Gabe gasped as Sam ducked down, licking a small splash of icing off of his jaw. He pulled back slowly, licking the sweet taste from his lips, "I expect that I'll make that dream of yours come true."

Gabe leaned forward, wanting to taste the icing on Sam's lips, to but the human leaned back, grinning.

Sam tsk'd him, "Not until later. Now, get cleaned up."

"Tease." Gabe grumbled.

Sam winked, "Only for you."

Sam blinked and found himself curled around a warm body. He didn't have to look to see, he already knew the soft humming was Gabe. They were on a pile of pillows, blankets hanging above them; propped up by chairs and books.

"Are...we in a fort?" Sam asked.

A head pressed against his bare chest shook.

"Then what is it?"

"Sex castle."

Sam laughed, "Sure, okay."

The human brushed his fingers slowly up and down Gabe's back; sending shivers down Gabe's spine. Sam inhaled deeply, loving the smell of sex and sweat and Gabe.

Speaking of which, the archangel was falling asleep in Sam's arms. The bigger man chuckled, running his fingers through soft hair.

"How did I manage to make an archangel tired?" Sam asked.

Gabe moaned, hiding his face deeper into Sam's embrace. "Handcuffs were involved. Got messy. Remember?"

Sam kissed the drowsy angel's head, "Of course."

Because really, the noises Gabe made were unforgettable.

Sam looked down, there was a book in his hands; a thick hardback with aging papers. He was in a big Lay Z Boy, with an archangel in his lap. Gabe was curled up, his head on Sam's shoulder, his feet buried under the chair's cushy armrest. There was music playing softly, something classical. Maybe Mozart?

Gabe shifted, brushing his nose against Sam's neck, his eyes closed, "You stopped reading."

"Yeah, sorry, I just…" What was he doing? Sam didn't have an answer. He cleared his throat, holding Gabe closer as he continued to read. "'You'll stay with me?' 'Until the very end,' said James."

Sam could feel the smile pressing into his neck as his voice echoed softly around the warm room. As he blinked, he took a deep, pleasing breath.

When Sam opened his eyes again, something was jumping on his stomach. Sam gasped painfully as he woke up.

"Daddy! Daddy!"

Sam reached forward to stop the girl from jumping on him. He laughed at her chubby face.

"Hey, princess." Sam smiled, despite the pain in his abs.

"Dad said we're gonna go to the park today!" The girl, Sam recognized her as his daughter, but he couldn't remember her name, informed him excitedly.

"Oh, did he?"

"Yeah!"

"Did he tell you to jump on me, too?"

The girl laughed and said, "Maybe."

"He did! Didn't he?"

"No, Daddy, no!" She kept giggling, though, so he understandably didn't believe her.

"Oh, let's go get him!" Sam said. "We're gonna attack Dad, 'kay?"

Her golden eyes lit up, "Yeah!"

"Be really quiet." Sam whispered. The girl nodded and slid off the bed. Together they snuck into the kitchen. The girl ran forward and grabbed Gabe's legs. The archangel jumped, looking down at the girl.

"Hey! Where's Daddy?" The archangel asked, picking up the girl easily. She giggled in his arms, pointing to where Sam was hiding.

Sam pouted, walking into the room, "Hey! Who's side are you on?!"

He got retaliation by tickling her. She squealed gleefully in Gabe's arms. Once Sam decided she had enough punishment, he turned his attention to Gabe.

"Good morning, darling." Sam smiled, pressing a kiss to Gabe's lips.

"Morning, sugar." Gabe turned, nodding to the table. "I made breakfast."

Sam sat down at the small table. His seat was right next to the window and the early rays of the sun warmed him soothingly as he ate. His daughter sat at her chair, scribbling in her Hello Kitty coloring book. Gabe snapped his mess clean, and then sat across from Sam, commenting on their child's artwork.

Sam blinked, his head hurting suddenly. He looked around the kitchen, pictures of their family were hung on the pale blue walls. The fridge was normal-sized… you couldn't fit a body in that. Well, maybe you could. If you removed all the shelves or something. It was really quiet. Where was Dean? And Cas? And… wait a second…

"Sammich, are you alright?" Gabe was reaching across the table, holding Sam's hand in concern.

Sam blinked hard, looking from Gabe to the girl and back again. "I… yeah. It's just... "

He looked around the room, something was off…

Finally it clicked.

"When did we move out of the bunker?" Sam asked.

Gabe rubbed Sam's hand soothingly with his thumb, "When I got pregnant with Grace. Remember?"

Sam nodded as he remembered everything now. Gabe switching vessels to a female, so he could get pregnant "the human way". Their special night, out under the stars. And the results starting to show a few months later. Sam deciding the bunker wasn't safe enough to raise a child. Them moving to a nice neighborhood an hour away. Dean and Cas visiting for Thanksgiving. Gabe going into labor and delivering a beautiful baby girl.

Sam smiled, chuckling to himself. "Right, right. It's just too early to think."

"Coffee?" Gabe asked, raising his fingers to snap.

"Please."

The archangel made a nice, perfect cup of coffee appear on the table in front of Sam. Grace, her name was Grace, obviously, clapped her hands, smiling at the trick.

Sam blew Gabe a kiss. "You're a godsend."

Gabe winked, grinning.

The next thing Sam knew, they were at the park, watching Grace slide down the slide.

Sam leaned back on the bench, his arm wrapped around Gabe's shoulder. Gabe smiled up at him. The human looked down at him once he noticed Gabe's gaze.

"What?" He asked.

"I'm just memorizing how beautiful you are." Gabe smiled.

Sam snorted, "If I knew you were going to be a hopeless romantic…"

The archangel grinned, "It's your fault for being so perfect!"

"Sure, sure." Sam said, enjoying a weightlessness in his heart that he could get used to.

This is so much better than before.

Sam blinked at his thoughts. Before? Before what? Maybe before Gracie? Before Dean and Cas got together? Before… what were they doing before? It was important. They were doing something important…

"Sugar?" Gabe asked, a concerned frown on his face.

"What were we doing… before?" Sam asked, blinking hard, searching his brain for something, anything to grasp onto.

"We ate breakfast." Gabe replied, shifting so he could watch Sam's face. "And Gracie showed you her drawing. Remember?"

Yes. He did

Sam hung her drawing on the fridge and they sent a picture of it to Dean.

But he was trying to remember something else. Something that was… different.

Before he could think on it much more, there was a loud thunk noise and Gracie cried out. Sam jumped up off the bench and ran to his crying girl.

"Oh, are you okay?" He asked, inspecting her scraped knee. Grace opened her arms and Sam quickly pulled her into a warm hug. "Shh, it's alright."

He heard footsteps behind him. Gabe squatted down next to them, his hand resting on Sam's back. "Hey, drama queen. Don't trick Daddy like that. It's not fun."

She leaned back and wiped tears from her eyes. "I w-wasn't trickin' him! I f-fell!"

Gabe snorted, "From the sky? Darling, you don't know what that feels like. Ask Uncle Cas and see if he appreciates that joke."

Sam shot a glare at Gabe. How could he be so mean to their hurt daughter?

Gabe smiled, brushing a tear from her face. "Now come on, heal it on up."

Grace pouted but patted her knee anyway. Small sparks of Grace flew from her fingertips and before long, she was perfectly healed. Sam stared down at her in amazement.

"That's my fledgling." Gabe praised. "Go play. And no more crocodile tears."

Grace nodded and climbed out of Sam's lap. She ran up to the swings; her favorite part of any park.

Gabe stood up, snapping a lollipop into existence. "See, that's what you get for spoiling her. If she wants a hug, she'll damn well get one."

Sam stared at the girl. She was a nephilim. Right. Of course. Sam knew that. He did. He remembered during a bad lightning storm how he could see the shadows of her small wings. He remembered her eyes flashing blue when she wanted something and Sam said no. He remembered the pride in Gabe's eyes when she made her toy appear out of nowhere. She had Grace. She had wings. She was powerful.

Pride swirled in Sam's gut as he watched her swing.

That was his daughter. Second generation trickster. The Girl it the Angel Grace.

Sam blinked and he was in a house. Not his house. A different one.

"It's Dean's house. Remember?" Gabe whispered, pressing a warm hand against Sam's back. Sam nodded. Right. He remembered. He helped pick it out. Dean wanted a lake house. Cas wanted a big kitchen. It's only twenty minutes away from Sam's home.

Cas came into the room, a wide smile on his face, softly he said, "Come look at Dean and Hunter."

Gabe held his hand as Sam followed Cas into the living room. Dean was asleep on the couch, with a small baby on his chest. The baby, Hunter, Sam remember when Dean and Cas adopted him, was fast asleep. Cas smiled widely at them.

"This is the part where you say, 'My boys!' and everyone in the audience goes, 'Awww!'." Gabe stage whispered to his brother.

"They are my boys." Cas replied quietly. Gabe smiled fondly, shaking his head.

"Awww!" Grace said as quietly as possible. Which, for a five year old, isn't that quiet.

Dean stirred, a hand coming up to hold onto Hunter's back as he looked up at the crowd around him.

"What'd I miss?" He asked groggily.

Sam smiled at them. Dean and Hunter. His brother was a father. And a pretty good one at that. There was just something that made Sam's heart twist painfully. He pressed his hand to his chest. This dark feeling inside him, he's never felt it before. It felt like he was breathing dust and his heart was a metal ball.

"Sam?" Gabe was at his side, holding him up, "You're okay now, remember?"

At Gabe's touch, the feeling flickered out of Sam. But the memory stayed. What was that? It felt… sad.

"Forget it, darling. You don't have anything to worry about now."

Sam nodded at the words, but his fingers still dug gently into his chest. That was… odd.

Sam blinked and the feeling was gone. He was at a zoo, a small child on his shoulders, and Grace holding his hand.

"Daddy, Daddy! Look at the birds!" She said pointing to the penguins.

Dean knelt down next to her, "Do you know what birds those are?"

"Penguins!" Grace proudly announced.

"Thadda girl!" Dean fist bumped her. Sam smiled at the sight. Dean continued, pointing as a penguin jumped into the water. "They can't fly, but they can swim."

"I can fly." Grace boasted. "Dad and I went flying yesterday. We flew above a plane!"

"Yeah? Don't ever take me." Dean said, obviously trying to hide how hard it is to swallow at the mention of the word 'plane'.

The kid on top of Sam's shoulders started squirming. Sam looked up, although all he got for his efforts was a small, sticky hand in his mouth.

"Woah. Hunter, be nice to Uncle Sam." Dean said, standing up. "Lemme get him for ya." Dean mumbled, reaching up and taking the toddler off Sam's shoulders.

Sam didn't say anything, his mind still focused on his nephew's name. Hunter. Hunter… Hunters…

"Hunters!" Sam blurted, "Dean, we're hunters!"

Grace giggled, "No, Daddy! That's Hunter!"

Sam glanced at his daughter, speaking quieter to Dean, "We're hunters, we're supposed to be saving people, hunting things, you know, the family business!"

Dean smiled at him, "Not anymore. We're retired. Haven't hunted a thing in years. Remember?"

He did remember. When they decided to call it quits. They ended the apocalypse. Nothing else could go horribly wrong now. Just minor things that go bump in the night. Other hunters can handle it. They deserve a break.

But no.

That made no sense.

Because they were hunting something. They were… they were…

When Sam blinked, he was splashed with a facefull of water. He sputtered at the chemical taste of it.

"Hey, two against one!" He shouted, "No fair!"

The kids giggled and continued to splash at Sam. Literally all he had to do was stand up and then their attacks would be useless. But, instead, Sam grabbed Grace, wrapping his arms around her.

"Whatcha gonna do now?" He teased. "Get her, Hunter!"

The four-year-old splashed as much water at his cousin as he could grab in his small hands. Grace squealed in delight.

"Sam, you're supposed to drown them at birth. Not at a decade." Gabe teased, wading up to them.

Gracie was ten. Sam smiled as he remembered her tenth birthday. Gabe took them to Antarctica. She always wanted to go. Ever since she saw the penguins in the zoo. She took a penguin home with them without Sam or Gabe noticing and Gabe had to teleport back to drop the poor bird off.

That means Hunter's five. He's a loud five year old. He likes to tackle Gabe or Grace because they'll hold onto him and fly him around. And his eating habits are an exact copy of Dean's. Minus the alcohol, of course.

Cas is finally comfortable taking off his shirt around people. The scars stretch all the way down his back and across his shoulders. His fall was the only bad thing to happen to them. And even then, it's not so bad. Because now Cas will grow old with Dean.

Now that Sam thinks about it, he can't really remember how Cas fell. Did it happen during the apocalypse? ...How did the apocalypse end? With the world being saved, obviously. But… what happened?

Sam couldn't remember.

Grace dunked him underwater then. And Sam's thoughts washed away.

When he came back up to take a breath, he was breathing deeply through his nose. The smell of slightly burnt popcorn filled the air. A warm body was pressed against each side of him. Sam cracked open his eyes to see the low light of the TV running through some animated movie about dogs. Grace was pressed against his right side, a teddy bear in her arms and a blanket thrown over her. Gabe was to his left, an arm wrapped around his middle and his head tucked under Sam's chin.

Sam smiled as the peacefulness of the scene. He pressed a kiss to Gabe's head and gently rubbed Grace's back.

He was still smiling when his eyes slipped closed again.

Sam hummed to himself as he washed the carrots for the stew tonight. Gabe was taking Gracie to her dance class, so Sam was alone for an hour or so. The human decided he'd make a big, delicious dinner for his family. Because he could. Sam really enjoyed the little things like that.

He got water all over his arm as he washed the potatoes. He scratched it absentmindedly. Sam blinked at the flash of a memory.

It was of him tearing his nails down his arm, ripping up a layer of skin. He choked slightly at the pain he felt. Not the pain of his arms. Those were just dull burns. But it was the pain in his chest, yanking him down and drowning him in a sea of venom.

He blinked multiple times, breathing hard. Sam looked down at his arms, relief washing over him when he saw no deep, angry red marks.

What just happened? He'd never done that before. He had a good life. He was happy.

….

It must've been a dream.

Sam nodded to himself and forgot that this little episode ever happened.

They were sitting down for dinner. Sam didn't exactly know how much time had passed. It wasn't the dinner he was making earlier. So it had at least been a day. Gabe not-so-subtly was checking out Sam's ass as he set the table.

Thankfully, Gracie wasn't paying attention.

Sam smiled, pulling Gabe into a close embrace. "How long have we been together, and you still do that."

Gabe groped Sam's ass, grinning up at him, "Fifteen years. Remember?"

"How could I ever forget?" Sam smiled. Pressing their foreheads together. They were holding hands, swaying softly to their own music.

"Sam, I-" Whatever Gabe was going to say was interrupted by the doorbell.

"I got it!" Grace ran to the door. Gabe slowly removed his hand from Sam's butt.

"What were you saying?" Sam asked as Grace ran off.

"I was just about to confess my undying love for you." Gabe said, pulling Sam in for a kiss.

"Again?" Sam smiled, his hands on Gabe's hips.

"I bares mentioning." Gabe clicked his tongue. His eyes on Sam's lips, "Gracie's staying over at Cassie 's tonight. She wants to spend the night playing with Hunter."

"She'll regret that when he wakes her up at 5:30 in the morning." Sam chuckled.

"Sammykins, my point, you're missing it." Gabe said, a little annoyed.

"Oh, no, I know exactly what you're getting at." Sam smiled, leaning in for another kiss.

He didn't get it, though, because Gabe leaned back. He winked. "Save it for tonight."

"Am I at the right house?" A familiar voice said. "This munchkin attacked me before you did."

Dean gestured to the nephilim that was clinging to his back. Her arms were around his shoulders and he looked a little too stiff for it to be fun.

"Gracie, leave Dean alone. You can kill him when you're at his house." Gabe said. The girl whined but climbed off Dean.

She jumped excitedly, "I already packed my bag!"

"Thadda girl." Dean said, smiling as she ran to her room to get it. Dean looked around the clean kitchen, whistling long and low. "Man, when you dream, you dream all out, don't you?"

Sam shot Gabe a confused look, who was watching Dean carefully.

"Uh, Dean are you feeling okay?" Sam asked. "You look … dirty."

Dean shook his head. "Okay, look, um, Gabe, can I talk to my brother? Alone?"

Gabriel looked hesitant, his eyes locked with Dean's. Slowly, he nodded.

He quickly pulled Sam into a kiss, effectively taking Sam's breath away with the desperate need behind it.

He pulled away after a moment, rubbing Sam's chest tenderly. He spoke in a whisper, "I'll be with Grace."

"Are you alright?" Sam asked Dean again once Gabe was gone.

"Peachy." Dean said in a not-so-peachy way. "Listen, Sam. You're going to not like what I'm about to say…"

Sam crossed his arms, "Is this about Grace staying over at your place tonight?"

"What? No." Dean frowned at him. "Sam, listen. None of this is real. This world around you is all in your mind."

"I'm dreaming?" Sam asked disbelievingly.

"You're under the influence of a djinn's spell." Dean spoke slowly.

Sam shook his head, "Dean, I haven't had alcohol in years. You know that."

Dean rolled his eye, "Not gin. Djinn. It's the monster of the week and it has you. This world," He opened his arms wide, "everything around you, it's not real."

Sam snorted, "Sure, Dean. Sure."

"I'm serious!" Dean said, his face burning with anger. "Put there, in the real world, you're bleeding to death."

"Gross."

Dean stared at him. "Gross? Gross?! That's all you have to say?"

"I think you should go home to Cas. Or let Gabe look at you. Are you sure you're alright?" Sam placed a comforting hand on Dean's shoulder.

"Oh, I'm fine. Are you?" Dean growled.

"I'm great." Sam smiled.

Dean's face fell, a mixture of heartbreak and disappointment. Sam's happy here. Unbelievably happy. But he was dying. So happy or not, he had to leave.

"Sam. Come on, we have to finish this hunt." Dean said, reaching around Sam to grab a large kitchen knife.

Sam stepped away from him, "What do you mean? What hunt?"

"We're hunters. We kill things." Dean said. "The demons? Vampires? Ghouls, djinns!? The apocalypse? Remember?"

Sam's head hurt again. There were flashes, voices screaming all at once, the smell of salt and something burning. He could feel pain and frustration and hatred swirling in his gut, at war with each other. War. He remembered War and Famine and Death. Death. Jo and Ellen. They're hunters. No, we're hunters. No. We're retired. No. We're- No. No. No.

"Sam?" Dean took a step forward, worry clear on his face.

Sam's mind was battling with itself. The world he knew, of peace and love. Of Gabe and Grace. And the world Dean had triggered. One of fighting and darkness. Of angels and demons.

Sam shook his head, his hands in his hair, tugging at his roots. He grunted in pain and frustration as the world's collided in his head.

"Sam!" Dean was holding him up now, his worried eyes watching him closely. "Sam, what's wrong?"

Everything in Sam's mind warred. He couldn't think right. Dean was a monster. Dean was a father. Dean killed someone. Dean saved a life. Dean was dirty and bloody. Dean helped Hunter get clean in the bath.

"I- I don't remember you." Sam choked out, tears growing in his eyes. The world looked dimmer than before.

"Yeah, yeah you do Sam. I know you do. The djinn is dead, okay? Gabe fucking tore it to pieces. I've never seen someone so pissed before." Dean was talking, but it didn't make sense.

"Gabe can't even kill the spiders that crawl into the house." Sam whimpered.

"I'll tell him you said that. But Sam, do you trust me?" Dean asked, eyes hard.

"Of course." Sam nodded, but it only made his headache grow.

"Then trust me when I say that this world doesn't exist. And out there," Dean pointed in a random direction. "Out there, there's a archangel that is sobbing over your body, pumping it with Grace. Because he's scared. He thinks he's lost you."

Sam was breathing hard now, his eyes flicking to the hall behind Dean. "Gabe's with Grace."

"Grace isn't real." Dean dismissed.

"I saw her be born! I remember!" Sam shouted, his voice tight.

"But it's not real!" Dean yelled back. "What's real is the archangel that loves you; the archangel that will kill me if I come back without you!"

Sam was shaking. Things were starting to feel fuzzy around the edges. This couldn't be right. His world was here. That other place was just his nightmares. When was the last time he had a nightmare? He can't remember.

"Sam, the only way to save your life is to kill yourself." Dean said. "If you want to live in the real world with a real Gabriel…"

Sam looked down at the knife being gently pressed into his hand. No, why would he, no. But then his mind changed. It twisted instead to a comforting hand, soft golden eyes, a whispered voice.

You're stardust, Sam.

His hand gripped around the knife. Okay. He could- Sam looked behind Dean, seeing Gabe and Grace, watching him with wide eyes.

"Daddy?" Grace whimpered.

Sam shook his head, eyes focusing again on Dean. His fingers fell from the knife. "I can't. I'm sorry, but I can't."

"Too bad." Dean muttered, Sam's world went black as his brother shoved the knife through his heart.


If you ever doubted Gabriel's power, you should see the way he stormed into that barn. There was no quietly sneaking in to surprise the djinn. There was no mercy.

Gabe stormed past Dean and Cas, a thunderstorm at his heels. He walked up to the djinn, who was hovering over a victim. The archangel grabbed the most we by the back of its throat, eyes glowing blue. He threw the djinn across the room easily. The wall it hit shook with the impact.

Dean was stunned by the ferocity Gabe's eyes. Cas had to push him to get him to stumble towards the victims. It was Sam and two women. One of the women woke up instantly. But she saw Gabriel rip out the djinn's heart and she passed out again. Dean wasn't going to be the one to tell the all-powerful archangel to stop.

Cas quickly healed what he could of the women. The first on would be fine. The second might take a day or two to get back on her feet. She lost a lot of blood.

Dean turned his attention to Sam, his skin was pale and wouldn't respond to Dean.

"He's not coming back up." Dean hissed. "I'll have to go in and get him."

Cas nodded, pulling out the African Dream root. They quickly made enough for one person. Cas gently lowered Dean to the ground as he went under.

Gabe finally was satisfied with the random little chunks of djinn all over the place. He didn't even need the silver knife with lamb's blood. You don't need some special weapon when you destroy something to an anatomical level.

When he turned around, his eyes were ablaze, tears streamed down his face as he approached Sam's body with shaky legs.

"Sam…" Cas flinched at the pain in his brother's voice. "I'm so so sorry."

Gabe fell to his knees, pulling Sam close to his chest. The angel's entire being glowed a soft blue as he pushed as much Grace as he could into the hunter, desperately trying to save him.

Gabe mumbled into Sam's ear, past choked sobs, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. You were mad, but I should've stayed, I-I should've been here to protect you, I'm sorry, Sam, I'm sorry…"

Sam blinked his eyes open, confused as to why his husband was crying over him. "...Gabe?"

His voice was hoarse and everything hurt. His mind was fuzzy and black dots scattered over his vision.

"Thank Dad!" Gabe whispered, holding Sam impossibly closer.

Sam looked over at Cas and an unconscious Dean. The angel was wearing a trench coat. Did Cas ever … did he ever not wear a trench coat? No, he distinctly remembered when Cas stopped wearing it.

God, his head hurt.

Dean gasped to life, sucking in a breath. Sam closed his eyes again, suddenly unbelievably tired.


Two days later, back in the bunker, and Sam had finally managed to sort out what was real world memories and what was djinn world memories. Basically, anything evolving Gabe was a djinn world memory.

Sam tried to avoid those.

You had him. And you left it.

I didn't leave it! Dean killed me!

Don't be mad at Dean. He did good.

His heart had that firm hand over it again. He stumbled around the bunker for two days, stuck between wanting to remember and wanting to forget.

He stayed in his room the entire first day and no one bothered him. He spent the day staring blankly at the wall, remembering the life he had in his perfect world.

When he finally left his room, early the next morning, Sam was surprised to see Gabe sitting on the floor in front of him. The archangel relaxed when he saw the door open. Sam didn't say anything as he sat down next to him.

They didn't talk, just stared at the door together. Sam heart hurt, but he didn't know what to do about it. He longed for the days in the djinn world where his heart felt free and warm all the time. Where he wasn't ever in pain or sad.

"I'm sorry I…" Gabe said softly, hesitating, "wasn't there for you."

Sam had to take a moment to figure out what he meant. "Oh. No, it's alright. I don't actually remember how the djinn got me. So. It's alright."

Gabe glanced at him, watching him carefully. Sam shifted under his gaze. Two days ago, he would've loved being Gabe's center of attention. Two days ago, he would've stared right back. Two days ago he easily would've leaned over and kissed Gabe.

Not anymore.

Sam played with the hem of his shirt. Wishing Gabe would just look away from him. He didn't want to be alone, but being with Gabe made his chest burn with longing.

"What was your perfect world?" Gabe asked quietly.

Sam bit his lip, scratching his neck. "Uh, you know. Normal life. House, kid, family. All that."

Gabe nodded, his eyes sad. His smile seemed a little forced when he said, "You had a pretty wife?"

Sam remembered Gabriel's female vessel, tummy round with a beautiful unborn baby girl.

He smiled softly, "The prettiest."

Gabe's smile fell slightly. He looked away, nodding. "Cool. Good."

They didn't speak again until Dean walked down the hall early in the morning, grunting something about coffee.


Sam stared down at the dinner Gabe made him. Dean and Cas made some excuse to leave for the night. Sam can't really remember what it was. He was lost in thought when they announced their departure. Gabe had to tell him they left.

So it was just Sam and Gabe.

He knew he should feel some kind of excitement or anxiety or even remorse about this situation. Instead, he just blinked down at the stake and potatoes.

Gabe talked, but it didn't seem to be about anything important. And he didn't stop for a response of any kind. Sam thinks he was just filling the silence, which Sam was great full for. It gave him something to hold on to. He focused on Gabe's voice.

"So I told Luci, 'No, I can make a better volcano!' So we each tried to make the biggest volcano possible. I made one the size of Europe. But of course that fucker had to go and make an entire planet a volcano. Mikey was pissed about that one."

Sam zoned out again, looking down at his untouched food.

You never had a problem eating in the djinn world.

Sam thought about the various meals Gabe made for him. He devoured those without problem. But now, Gabe's here, and he made him a delicious-looking meal. So why couldn't he eat now?

The cold hand in his chest dug it's nails into Sam's heart.

Right.

That's why.

Maybe he should do something soothing. Like take a bath? Or watch a movie? He wasn't really hungry. Maybe he could just make an excuse and bail. Gabe doesn't need to eat anyway, he wouldn't mind, right?

Of course he wouldn't care. He doesn't care about you.

Sam sighed and looked up. He was met with Gabe watching him seriously from across the table.

For a second. For just a second. He was snapped back to a warm kitchen with a loving husband. Sam had the sudden urge to reach across the table and take Gabe's hand.

Instead, he absentmindedly scratched his wrist.

"I, um, need to go." Sam mumbled.

Stupid. That wasn't even an excuse!

Sam cursed himself as he quickly walked out of the room.


Sam started to avoid Gabe now. He followed around Cas or Dean. If Gabe came into the room, Sam would leave, sometimes not even bothering to make an excuse.

Cas was slightly confused at his new companion and he didn't really know what to do around Sam. Dean made an effort to engage Sam more. While Sam was locked in his mind, Dean broke through the chains and forced him out. Sam was grateful for both Cas's silence and Dean's conversation.

Gabe watched as he walked into the livingroom and Sam promptly stood up and walked past him, out of the room. Gabe watched him leave, his heart aching.

"Give him time." Dean said gruffly from the couch. "He left behind something… pretty great."

Gabe sighed, turning to look at the hunter. "What was it? You saw his world, right? What was in it?"

Dean pursed his lips, "That's not my story to tell."

"Winchester-" Gabe started to threaten.

"Why don't you just read his mind?" Dean muttered, "Never seemed to both you before."

Gabe looked away, his vessel heavy all of a sudden. "I don't want to see that. I don't… not with someone else…"

Dean looked like he was about to say something, but he must've changed his mind because he ducked his head and muttered, "Wouldn't help anyway."

"What?" Gabe asked, head snapping up.

Dean looked up at him, "Sam. He's sick. And what he has, a simple 'I love you' won't fix."

Gabe was at Dean's side in a second, "You know what's doing this and you haven't done anything about it?!"

Dean glared up at him. "Of course I've helped him. I help however I can. But there's not much you can do for this. This is a single player game, here."

Cas was sitting up now, shifting closer in interest. "What ills him?"

Dean looked slightly uncomfortable with two Angels of the Lord watching his every move. He cleared his throat.

"It's a human thing. It's called depression. It's- it's, uh, common among hunters. ...I've been depressed before. I just drank myself through it, but, Sam's better than that..." Dean looked down at his hands. He missed the way Cas's expression crumbled. "It's a battle, everyday. And I think Sam's winning. For the most part. He's still alive, so he's winning."

"How do I help?" Gabe asked.

"Do what you've been doing. Be there for him. If he wants space, give it to him." Dean shrugged. "If he needs a friend, be one."

"How do I be a friend when he avoids me every chance he gets?" Gabe asked. And it was a fairly good question. "Even when it's just us, he'll hightail it!"

Dean threw his hands up in defense, "I dunno, man. That's Sam's call."

Gabe sighed, but nodded. "Alright. Fine."

"Just give him time."


They were watching movies. Gabe and Dean wanted to educate Cas in the ways of the Jedi, so the three of them smooshed into the couch to watch the entire Star Wars series.

Sam walked in halfway through the second movie. He obviously wanted to stay, but seemed hesitant, since the only seat left was next to Gabe.

Just do it. It's not the end of the world.

Gabe didn't watch him, offering a small amount of privacy. His eyes stay locked on the screen.

Eventually Sam made his decision. Gabe smiled to himself when the couch sink down next to him. The couch was just long enough for the four of them, so Sam's thigh was pressed against his. Gabe subtly sent some Grace to Sam through that small contact, just to heal the odd ache or sooth sore muscles.

It did the trick, in no time at all, Sam was completely relaxed next to him.

As the scenes in the movies flew by, Sam and Dean slowly got more tired. Dean eventually fell asleep on Cas, and Sam was nodding off. His chin would touch his chest and he'd jerk awake suddenly. Gabe stopped watching the movie completely when Sam rubbed his eyes clumsily.

"Hey," Gabe whispered, "Let's get you to bed."

Sam nodded, his eyes almost completely closed. Gabe snapped his fingers, teleporting the two of them into Sam's room. Sam was now sitting on the side of the bed, and Gabe stood in front of him.

Sam smiled sleepily when he noticed the change of scenery. He giggled, reaching out and hooking his fingers in Gabe's belt loops.

"S-Sam?" Gabe asked as Sam pulled him forward, Sam's legs on either side of him.

"I love when you do that." Sam mumbled, pressing his face into Gabe's stomach and inhaling deeply.

Gabe could tell Sam was out of it. Just from looking at his most recent memories, this will be the first time he fell asleep in two days. His mind was a fuzzy, jumbled mess of thoughts and emotions. Gabe stayed away from the older memories, just looking at what's at the top layer of Sam's consciousness. He was confused. He thought Gabe was someone else.

But he's happy.

Sort of.

It was that kind of happy that doesn't really count as happy. The giddy feeling when you've been up for too long and you can't really think anymore.

Gabe wasn't going to break his spell, it might darken his soul when he realizes that he's not who Sam thinks he is. So he just swallowed hard and with shaky hands he gently pushed Sam away.

"Y-yeah?"

Sam hummed, his shoulders relaxing under Gabe's touch. "Yeah…"

"Go to sleep now, Sammy." Gabe said, voice quiet. He gently pushed Sam so he was laying down on the bed.

Sam's fingers curled around Gabe's affectionately, tugging him closer.

"You gonna sleep too?" Sam asked, his voice a little slurred from sleep.

Gabe back tracked, knowing that Sam wouldn't appreciate waking up next to him, "Uh, no, no. I'm, um,going to be, uh, with Cas…?"

Gabe bit his tongue, waiting for a response that never came. He blinked in the darkness to see Sam's eyes shut, his breathing slow and even. His soul was bright and content. Gabe smiled down at him, using his Grace to ensure good dreams for the hunter.


Sleeping was awkward for Sam.

Once he could get to sleep, his heart was peaceful, but his mind replayed his djinn world memories. Which he wasn't completely opposed to, because they were wonderfully enjoyable dreams. But waking up and finding Gabe sitting outside his room shattered the peaceful feeling he had.

And that was when he could get to sleep. Most nights he tossed and turned, longing for the feeling of his arms wrapped around a warm body. He missed hands on his hips. A small child wiggling into his embrace after she had a bad dream. His bed felt too big, too cold. Waaay too empty. Sam found his hands wrapped around himself , one hand on his hip, the other on his shoulder. It was a sad attempt at imitation. It wasn't enough. Sam curled his knees up against his arms, folding such a large body into such a small space.

Waking up in this position left him sore and unwilling to face the day.

He spends more days in his room, laying on his bed, staring blankly at the wall.

Whenever he opened the door, Gabe was always there. The archangel would always relax once he saw Sam. Which was both comforting and upsetting.

It shows Gabe cares, at least a little, but it also proves that Sam is making him worry. They shouldn't be upset because Sam's broken. That's not fair. They should be going on with their lives, and leave Sam to suffer in silence.

"Wanna go out?"

Sam snapped out of his thoughts, looking down at Gabe. The archangel was staring up at Sam with a blank expression.

Heat spread through Sam's face, crawling out from under the hand, up his neck and across his face. "W-what?"

"Outside, leave the bunker. Wanna go somewhere?" Gabe clarified, his expression not changing in the slightest.

"Go where?" Sam asked, glancing down the familiar halls of the bunker.

"Where ever you want." Gabe said.

The walls fell down, making a large room. People made their way around Sam and Gabe, who was still sitting on the floor. Everyone was carrying large bags full of clothes or toys. It was loud and busy, children running around and teens laughing at shared jokes. Sam could smell hotdogs from the food court.

"No? Not a mall?" Gabe asked, gagging Sam's reaction.

He shook his head, "No, uh, maybe some place quieter?"

Any other day, Sam would've loved to spend the day shopping. Finding gifts for Dean or Cas, and just enjoying being around other humans. Not today. He stepped closer to Gabe as someone brushed against his back. Gabe smirked at the crotch in his face.

"Sure thing. How about this?"

As he spoke, the world around them shifted. People faded away to nothing. The chattering of the crowds turned into the crashing of waves against the shore. Sam inhaled the salty smell of the sea. The sun was slowly rising over the horizon.

Memories of days that never happened flood Sam's mind. He can feel phantom touches of Gabe's hands on him. He can hear Dean laughing as he tickled Cas. He can feel the warm press of lips against under the stars and cold water splashing against his skin. He stumbled away from Gabe, who finally stood up, brushing sand off his pants. The archangel smiled at him, but his expression fell instantly when he saw the horror in Sam's eyes.

"Whoa, okay, no beaches!" Gabe said, raising his hands in a please-calm-down kind of way.

Sam closed his eyes, refusing to notice how beautiful Gabe looks in the soft sunlight.

Small buds pushed their ways out of the sand, growing and twisting into large trees, their branches reaching toward a shining blue sky. Orange and red leaves fell slowly around them, covering the ground in a blanket of color. The air was crisp, but not unpleasant. Sam looked around as the cicadas chirped happily.

"A forest?"

Sam opened his eyes. Birds flew overhead, jumping from branch to branch. Sam stepped forward, enjoying the soft sound of leaves crunching under his foot.

Gabe waited patiently as Sam looked around. The hunter nodded to himself, fingers reaching up to brush against a damp leaf.

"Yeah, okay…" Sam mumbled. Gabe smiled, watching as Sam took deep breaths, inhaling the scent of the forest.

He looked down to the path through the woods, he could see it twisting behind the thick forest. His eyes lit up as he looked back at Gabe.

"Is this a hiking trail?" He asked.

Gabe nodded, "There's a mountain that way, it goes up the side of it."

Sam smiled to himself, his voice unsure, "Do you wanna…?"

Gabe swaggered up to him, a grin on his face. "Lead the way, sugar."

Sam's face turned bright red, he turned and stared down the trail.

Gabe couldn't tell if that was a good or bad reaction. He glanced at Sam's ass as he trudged up the slow slope. Shrugging, he followed behind.

It didn't take long for them to relax and walk side by side, talking cheerfully.

"The trick to finding out if a plant is poisonous, is to touch every single plant in the area and if your skin starts freaking out, then you know that at least one of the plants you touched was poisonous." Gabe was saying as he ran his fingers over every leaf they passed.

Sam snorted, "That actually seems really counterproductive."

"No, it works." Gabe said, plucking a leaf off a branch.

"How do you know which plant was the one that poisoned you?" Sam asked, smiling fondly as Gabe tore the leaf to bits.

"Easy. Use Grace." Gabe said, scattering the torn up leaf on the ground as they walked.

Sam chuckled, "That's not helpful for me."

"Yeah, but you already know the names of all these plants." Gabe smirked, bumping his shoulder against Sam's. Their hands brushed in the process. Both of them ignored the warm, tingling feeling they got from the small contact.

"And besides," Gabe continued, "I could just heal you if you eat poison ivy or whatever."

Sam didn't respond, he was too busy watching the archangel climb on top of a fallen tree. He stood up and walked across the trunk, arms spread to help him balance. Still, he wobbled horribly.

Sam rushed forward when he lost his balance. His hands landed on Gabe's hips, catching the angel easily. Gabe ended up with his arms around his shoulders.

There was no height difference between them now, their eyes were level with each other. Gabe blinked away his surprise, his expression turning flirtatious.

"Well, Sammich, it seems I've fallen for you." Gabe cood, his fingers playing with some strands of hair by Sam's neck.

Sam laughed, clearing his throat awkwardly. He tried to fight down the blush on his cheeks, but it was useless.

"You alright?" Sam asked, refusing to acknowledge Gabe's jokes.

"Yeah." Gabe's smile was infectious, his eyes flicking over Sam's face, taking in every detail. "This vessel has shit balance."

Sam smiled as he picked the archangel up easily.

"Oh, Dad!" Gabe blurted, surprised at the sudden movement. He wrapped his legs around Sam's waist, trying to prevent himself from falling. His fingers dug into Sam's shoulders.

"Gabriel!" Sam hissed, a flurry of emotions running through him. He stumbled back slightly, but thankfully kept his balance. "What the hell?"

Gabe started giggling, he couldn't stop smiling. "I didn't want to fall!"

Sam sputtered, "Firstly, I wouldn't drop you. Secondly, you're two feet in the air. Thirdly, you have wings!"

Gabe nodded to each of those, smiling at the brightness of Sam's soul. "Fair. But, you would've put me down. And then I couldn't play with your hair."

Gabe laid his head on Sam's shoulder, his fingers worming through Sam's brown locks.

Gabriel, you're so weird. Sam thought to himself, ignoring the extremely intimate position.

Gabe started to hum as he braided Sam's hair. It was slightly awkward, looping his arms around Sam's neck in order to reach the locks of hair. When he was done, Gabe used some Grace to make the braid stay.

"Happy?" Sam asked as Gabe pulled away, his hands returning to Sam's shoulders.

"Lil bit." Gabe grinned, eyeing the improvement he made to Sam's hair.

"Me too." Sam said. Gabe's eyes flicked to Sam's. They held each other's gaze for a long moment. Slowly, Gabe smiled, his hands squeezing Sam's shoulders affectionately.

"Good."

Sam looked away, but his smile still stayed. The hand didn't bother him for the rest of the day.


So of course, sleeping had to be a nightmare. Sam stayed up all night, staring at the ceiling. He already knew tomorrow would be a day that fell under the Not Okay category.

He stayed in his room all day yesterday. He probably will again tomorrow.

But…

That didn't mean he had to be alone.

Some time early in the morning he fell asleep. When he woke up, it was 11:21. Sam laid in bed until it was 11:30, then he turned to his side and stared at the door to his room.

You can do it.

He thought to himself, not moving an inch.

Just sit up.

He willed himself to get the motivation to move, but none came. He stayed still, staring at the door. And of course, the longer he didn't move, the harder it was to get up.

Jesus Christ, Sam, just sit up. Get out of bed.

Sam managed to worm an arm under his head, propping it up slightly. His chest felt like it was full of sand.

He took a deep breath, imagining himself climbing out of bed easily. Like that would ever happen. Literally only in his djinn-induced dreams.

In one quick movement, he forced himself to sit up. It took far more effort than it should. Sam let out a deep breath through his nose, feeling tired even though he just woke up. His feet were already touching the floor. But he couldn't imagine putting weight on them. Walking. Talking. Being a functioning member of society. It was all too much. Sam couldn't even say 'screw it' and lay back down. His movements were like fighting through a thick fog in a deep mud pit.

It was in that moment that Sam remembered that Gabe was an Angel of the Lord.

Do it. Say it. It's not hard.

'It's not hard' is a phrase Sam's mind likes to tell him.

It should be encouraging.

'It's not hard, you can do it!'

But Sam always hears it as belittling.

'It's not hard. Why can't you do it?'

Sam opened his mouth, that in itself felt like prying open the jaw of a hellhound. He bit his lip and sat there. He tried again. Opening his mouth. Nothing came out. One more time.

It's not hard!

"Gabe…?" His voice was quiet, near silent. There's no way that counts as a prayer. He cleared his throat, trying to dislodge the knot in it. A little louder, he said, "Gabriel… Can- can you come in here? ...Amen?"

Sam sat there for a moment. When nothing happened, he hung his head; his shoulders tight, his neck hurt from the angel. Sam tried to clear his throat again, but nothing happened.

Tears formed in his eyes. Sam tried to blink them back, but they were quickly growing in size. One of them refused to stay hidden. It jumped off Sam's face, landing in his lap silently. Another soon followed it. Then another. The next one slowly rolled down his nose. The one after that traveled down his chin.

The door opened quietly. Sam couldn't look up, even if he wanted to.

"You calle-" Gabe's voice was cut off quickly, "Shit, Sam, are you okay?"

Any resolve he had broke in that instant. Like an overflowing dam, Sam couldn't stop the gross sobbing noises that spilled out of his mouth.

That question. That stupid question will be the death of him. Quite possibly literally.

Sam couldn't tell what was happening around him anymore. For all he knew, Lucifer had broken out of the cage again. The world was breaking apart at the same time he was.

He felt a hand on his back, pulling him into a warmth. Blindly, he clung to that warmth, hiding his hiccups and shuddering breaths in it. It surrounded him, soothing away his troubles and fears. Sam never wanted to move away from this warmth.

When he finally couldn't cry anymore, the hand that had ripped off a chunk of Sam's heart, loosened it's grip, ever-so-slightly.

His movements didn't take as much effort now. His head felt less foggy.

Sam rubbed his eye with the palm of his hand as he leaned away from the warmth. Gabe's chest. The warmth was Gabe's chest.

Sam looked away, shame and embarrassment holding him down. "Sorry."

"Don't be sorry." Gabe replied, placing a warm hand on Sam's arm. Sam could feel the Grace flowing through him, calming his heart; helping him breathe easier.

Sam scratched at his neck, long, deep strokes, but the Grace healed that up too.

After a moment, the feeling of angel magic protecting him slowed to a stop. But Gabe didn't remove his hand.

"Thank you." Sam mumbled. For what he was thankful for, he couldn't tell. Maybe everything? That sounded good. But now that he was thinking about it, his mouth wanted to join in. "I know it's probably annoying, having to deal with me. And I know you'd rather be in Heaven or with the Pagans or something … but I really appreciate you, just, hanging around."

Sam's heart wouldn't stop pounding, his breaths were ragged and his hands shook uncontrollably. He wouldn't look up as he waited for Gabe's response.

Gentle fingers gently pressed under his chin, forcing Sam to look up. He tried to look away, but it was impossible to tear his gaze away from Gabe's golden eyes.

"Samsquatch, the only way my feathery ass will leave you is if want me to leave." Gabe's expression was serious, his eyes promising.

Sam nodded shakily, trying to remember how to breathe. "Thank you."

Then Gabe's fingers slid to the back of Sam's neck. Gabe gently held Sam in place as he leaned forward slowly. Sam's mouth went dry as he realized what the archangel was going to do. No, no, he wouldn't. He doesn't, couldn't like Sam like that.

Gabe shifted last second, pressing his lips much higher than Sam's lips. Sam blinked as he felt a loving kiss press against his forehead.

When Gabe pulled back, Sam smiled at the shy blush on Gabe's face.

"W-what was that for?" Sam asked.

Gabe shrugged, looking away from the human, "Payback for earlier?"

Sam nodded, a warm feeling trying to squirm itself out from under the grip of the fingers. He could feel it, this small haze of content spreading over his body.

"Does that mean I owe you another?" Sam asked. His smile turned into a sly grin.

Gabe looked up at him, eyes wide, "I- yeah? I don't know if it works like that?"

Sam burst into small giggles, leaning slightly into the archangel's personal space. "Sure, sure, it does."

Gabe grinned, but it wasn't as joyful as it should be. Because he could see the dimness trying desperately to suffocate the light in Sam's soul. A little brightness, fighting to survive, is better than no light at all.

...Right?


Right. The answer is right.

Sam walked around the bunker like a zombie, his eyes almost completely blind to the world around. Dean asked him when Sam came into the room, "Where're we at today?"

Sam shrugged, not looking up at his brother.

"Not Okay?" Dean asked. Cas raised an eyebrow at Gabe, who just shrugged. "Bad?"

Sam swallowed hard, swaying on his feet, "Inbetween."

Dean nodded, shifting over on the couch to make room. "Come sit down. We'll watch something you want. History channel or Animal Planet or something."

Sam slid onto the couch, rubbing his head, "Can we watch cartoons?"

The angels were surprised by the out of character request, but Dean just nodded. "Nickelodeon or Disney?"

Sam shrugged, staring blankly at the TV as Dean switched channels. Dean switched between raptly watching the children's show and completely ignoring it in order to explain to Cas what's going on.

Unfortunately, Gabe made the mistake of sitting in between Dean and Cas, so the human was literally talking over him; sending Cas flirtatious smiles over Gabe's head.

Gabe quickly got fed up with this weird version of Monkey in the Middle.

With a snap of his fingers, he and Dean switched seats. Dean's sentence sputtered to a stop once he realized how close he was to Cas.

Gabe turned his attention to Sam, who wasn't even in the room. Physically, of course, he was right there. Mentally, he was somewhere else. Sam didn't move, he hardly breathed or blinked.

Gabe reached out, his fingers gently brushing against Sam's wrist. The hunter shifted away, not breaking his useless gaze with the TV.

"Please, don't." Sam mumbled, sounding like a scared child.

Gabe could feel Dean's warning glare on the back of his head. The archangel nodded, dropping his hand in his lap.

They sat in silence as Squidward played the clarinet horribly.


Time passes.

Some days are better than others. Sam woke up one day, feeling a little better than usual. He crawled out of bed slowly, opening the door to find Gabriel sitting there.

He's no longer surprised by the archangel's presence. If anything, he'd be concerned if Gabe wasn't there, waiting for him.

Sam bit his lip when he locked eyes with Gabriel. "I, um, don't want to…"

Gabriel's eyes fell from Sam's face to his chest, squinting slightly.

What are you trying to say, Sam? Sam thought to himself. He couldn't really put into words what he was trying to say. It was just this sense of longing that Sam was extremely familiar with by now. He was ready to do something about it.

I love you, Sam.

Ha. No he wasn't.

He just didn't want to be alone today. That's it. He's not going to throw himself at Gabe or anything.

Sam suddenly didn't feel as Okay as he did earlier.

"Do you want to ...stay?" Sam asked, looking down at the ground, "With me? In here?"

Gabe quirked his eyebrow at him, face carefully blank. "Sure. If you want."

Gabe stood up slowly, his vessel's joints popping in protest. Sam stepped back so Gabe could come in. Sam closed the door behind them. He flicked on the tv, turning on Netflix.

Gabe watched him, his face grim. He didn't seem to know what to do or say, standing in the middle of the room. His body was stiff, with his hands at his side and his head high. Sam thought he never looked more like an angel in this moment. All power and Grace reduced to a ball of awkward in a too-small vessel.

He smiled, "Relax, I'm, um…" This would be the first time he directly addressed it. He swallowed hard, "I'm kind of Okay today."

Gabe forced himself to relax, nodding, "I know."

"You do?" Sam couldn't stop the frown on his face.

"Your soul…" Gabe gestured vaguely to Sam's chest. "It's a little brighter today."

"Oh." Sam didn't know how to respond to that. He decided to just ignore it completely. "Sherlock or Doctor Who?"

Gabe jumped onto his bed, grinning, "The Doctor!"

"You always want to watch the Doctor." Sam said, sitting down on his bed too.

Gabe pointed as David Tennant came onto the screen, "Can you blame me?"

Sam laughed, happy and free. "Fair point."


Sam was in the kitchen, biting into an apple as he played on his phone. Dean grinned when he saw him, and Cas nodded in greeting, his eyes flicking to the fruit in his hands. Sam didn't comment on their odd behaviors. When Gabe came into the room, and Sam was blown away by the biggest smile he'd ever seen, he couldn't ignore it anymore.

He swallowed his apple and said, "What?"

Gabe looked like he tried to stop smiling, but he couldn't. "Nothing, nothing."

Dean shared a specific look with Cas, eyes twinkling.

Sam shrugged to himself, taking another big bite of the apple. He's surrounded by weirdos.


Gabe smiled when Sam opened the door in the morning. He comes out of his room more often now. He'll open the door and smile.

"Good morning." He'd say as he held out his hands to help Gabe up.

Gabriel loved this moment, just because of the small contact, the excuse to hold Sam's hands for a moment - just a second.

"Morning, Sammy!" He observed Sam's soul quickly. Bright with just a smudge of darkness. Good. Sam hasn't had a really dark soul in a long while. Some times his soul is a little dimmer. But it's slowly getting brighter, each day. "Any plans for today?"

"I'm thinking about looking for a case." Sam said, his fingers subconsciously interlocking with Gabe's.

The archangel's smile twitched for a moment, "Why?"

"We haven't hunted anything since…" He trailed off, his eyes getting distant. Gabe watched as Sam's soul dimmed slightly. Sam mumbled, his voice far off, "Well, you know."

The human stepped away from Gabe now, his fingers sliding out of Gabe's embrace.

Stupidstupidstupid!

Sam cleared his throat, looking away, "Figured maybe it's time we get back on the horse."

Gabe had to stop himself from reaching forward. "I dunno, Sam. Ever thought of retirement?"

Sam smiled bitterly, "Only in my dreams."

Gabe didn't know what that meant. He tried to sort it out, but Sam had continued talking.

"Besides, Dean wouldn't retire with me. He needs the hunter life."

Gabe snorted, "In know you haven't noticed, but he hasn't been looking for hunts either. I don't think he's had a violent thought in months."

Sam shrugged, "Maybe. But what about the all the people that need help?"

"There's other hunters on the job. I've been talking to my brothers" He lied simply, "and we all agree you two deserve a break."

Sam looked at him dubiously, "You serious?"

"Serious as sugar." Gabe replied, expression hard. "Trust me, Sam. Just forget about hunting for a while."

Something about Gabe's sentence made Sam's expression darken. He looked away from Gabe, "Let's just get breakfast."

The archangel didn't know what he did wrong, but Sam's soul was considerably dimmer than it was before Gabe spoke.

Shit.

All he could hear from Sam's mind was an echo of, 'Forget. Remember. Forget. Remember.'

But after a few moments, Sam's soul brightened again as he stole a piece of bacon from Dean. Gabe decided to just let it go as Dean started up a conversation.

"How we feelin' today?" He asked, eyes flicking up to Sam.

"Good, sometimes Okay." Sam said, pouring himself some juice.

Dean's face lit up, "Awesome."

They talked easily, Cas described how he fell asleep for the first time, "I believe I was hallucinating while I was unconscious."

"That's called a dream, Cas." Dean explained, "Humans have them all the time … for some reason."

"Freud said dreams are out secret wishes." Sam said, thinking back to his college psychology class, "The cognitive theory said it's just another way to process information. And the Activation-Synthesis theory said it's just the product of random chemical reactions."

Dean smiled, pointing to Sam, "See? Point proven. Happens for some reason. We don't know what the reason is. But they happen."

Sam shook his head goodnaturedly. He opened his mouth to speak, but before anything could come out, Gabe interrupted him.

"Dad, you're smart." The archangel said, his eyes fixed on Sam's face, his head resting against his arms on the table.

Sam blushed immediately, "Oh, uh, thank you."

It doesn't mean anything. His mind whispered.

He spat back at it, Shut up, it means everything.

He wasn't even sure what "everything" was supposed to be. Or even what "it" was. But it felt good to snap a finger or two of that cold hand.

Dean turned to Sam, "Speaking of dreams, I've been dreaming of some white sand. What do you say we go?"

Sam unwillingly glanced at Gabe, his heart skipping a beat. "The beach?"

"Yeah. Spend the day there. Cas n' Gabe can snap us there in the morning." Dean said, "It would be so easy, and the ocean would be a lot better than a crappy motel pool."

Sam tried to push back the memories of the djinn beach. He couldn't ruin this for Dean. Besides, it might be nice. Him, Dean, Cas…. And Gabe. Hanging out, as friends. Enjoying themselves.

"Y-"

"Sam doesn't like beaches." Gabe said. Cas was nodding along with him, seeing how Sam's soul dimmed at the mention of Dean's idea. "Maybe a fair? I can take you to Mardi Gras."

"Mardi Gras already happened this year." Sam said, suddenly off topic.

"Heeellooo?" Gabe said, drawing out the word, pointing to himself he added, "Archangel. I can take you to any Mardi Gras you want. Wanna see the first one? Or the last?"

"How very Doctor of you." Sam smiled.

"Even better," Gabe sat up suddenly. "How very TARDIS of me!"

"I'd ride through time and space on you." Sam replied with a cheeky grin.

Dean muttered, "Gross." Then, louder, "So, no, beach. Where then?"

"Oh, the beach is… the beach is fine." Sam said, "We can go to the beach."

"You sure?" Dean asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah, we've never gone before and it'd be nice." Sam emphasized the phrases for himself. Reminding him which world was real and which wasn't. All it did was get him a funny look from Dean and Gabe.

"Awesome." Dean said, deciding not to comment on Sam's weirdness. "Let's go tomorrow."

"Really?"

"What else are we gonna do?"

It was a fair point. They rarely venture out of the bunker, except to get groceries or the odd night out. It was quite the opposite of the always-on-the-move nomad lifestyle they were used to. There's only so much Netflix you can watch.

Speaking of which, that's what Sam and Gabe were watching that night after a delicious dinner that Sam ate all of.

They were laying on Sam's bed; heads propped up on a mountain of pillows. The lights are off, so the screen is brighter, cutting through the dark. They've been silent for a while, just watching the show. Doctor Who, of course.

Gabe broke the comfortable silence. "You don't have to go, you know."

Sam's eyes didn't look away from the screen, too entranced by the Doctor. "Hmm?"

"To the beach." Gabe said. "We can go somewhere else."

Sam shrugged, "It's not a big deal."

"You looked like you were going to cry when I took you to the beach." Gabe said, skeptical.

Only because it wasn't right.

"Is it the ocean? Like, sharks and stuff?" Gabe asked when Sam didn't reply.

The human sighed, "No, it's just, the beach was an important place to me… in my djinn world."

Gabe's voice fell slightly. "Oh."

"Yeah."

They watched the episode for a few more minutes, but Gabe kept squirming and Sam just knew he wanted to ask questions.

"Okay, what is it?" He paused the episode to look over at Gabe.

"I just… is that where you met your djinn-wife? At the beach?" Gabe asked.

Sam propped himself up on one elbow, looking at the shadows dancing on his wall. "No. But… it's where we got together. Our first kiss. And all that."

"Romantic." Gabe mumbled.

"I thought so." Sam said. "'Course, it was my perfect world. So everything went how I thought it should."

Gabe turned on his side, facing Sam completely. "What else did you think the perfect world should have?"

"Horribly ironic names. Or maybe just sarcastic names." At Gabe's expression, Sam explained, "Dean's kid's name was Hunter. And ou- …yours was named Grace."

"I was in your perfect world?" Gabe almost whispered, by the light of the TV, Sam could see the pleasant surprise on his face.

"Of course." Sam's voice was as quiet as Gabe's now. Somehow it made this conversation feel even more intimate than it already was. "You were a… a big part of it."

Gabe smiled at that. "Yeah? What was I? The cool uncle? The freeloader?"

He wouldn't like it if he knew.

Sam looked away, "Something like that."

Gabe bit his lip. "Right. Well, I'd definitely name my child Grace. And she'd be the coolest angelbaby ever. Could she fly?"

"Yeah." Sam smiled. "Her wings were yellow."

Gabe shifted closer, eyes sparkling, "Did she have Grace? Who was her mom? Could she shapeshift?"

"Yes. You? You turned into a chick to give birth to her-"

"Gross."

"And yes, she turns into a cat when she doesn't want to go to school."

Gabe's expression grew fond. "That's my girl."

Sam watched him for a long time, wishing he could see what Gabe was thinking. Was he picturing her? Was he already onto another topic? Did he like Grace? Or just the idea of her? Would he want her now? In the real world? ...Would he want her with Sam?

Obviously not.

The hand in his chest yanked suddenly, shooting a dark pain throughout Sam's chest.

Sam started the episode again. His chest grew even colder as Donna looked up at Dr. Moon.

'Right…' She said, 'Sorry, I forgot.'

'And then you remembered.' Dr. Moon replied.

Sam closed his eyes, trying to ignore the familiarity of the episode.

"That's creepy." Gabe mumbled.

You have no idea.


When Sam opened his eyes, there was a warm hand on his shoulder and a beautiful face in front of his.

"Hey," His husband whispered. "It's time to get up now."

Sam smiled, reaching forward easily. His hand slid under Gabe's shirt, landing on his warm side, pulling him closer to himself. Gabe's eyes flew wide as his face was pressed against Sam's chest.

"Morning, darling." Sam mumbled, inhaling the scent of all things Gabriel.

Gabe was stone in his arms, not even breathing. Sam pulled away slightly, tilting Gabe's head up with his thumb.

"What's wrong?"

Gabe's face went pink as Sam kissed his forehead softly.

"S-Sam, it's- it's me! Gabriel!"

Sam hummed, "Yeah…"

"I'm not your wife!"

Sam snorted at that, "Well not right now."

"What?" Gabe was pushing him away now, Sam grabbed his left hand, looking down at it. There was no ring. Sam had a sickening feeling in his gut as he looked down at his own hand. No ring.

"Shit." Sam hissed, untangling himself from Gabe forcefully. He was painfully awake now. No, Gabe wasn't his wife. Or his husband. Gabe wasn't even dating him. Because this was the real world. "What are you doing in my bed?"

"I-I'm sorry! We were watching Netflix and then you feel asleep on me and I didn't want to move- I mean, I couldn't move-" Gabe was rambling, his face a burning pink.

God, he's cute like this.

Gabe's face burned even darker suddenly as he inhaled sharply and finished, "And Dean just came in to get us up. Because we're going to the beach today."

Sam nodded as everything cleared up in his mind. Fucking djinn. Who knew it'd have such a huge affect on him? He still couldn't remember some of the hunts he and Dean went on. And he still could swear that he and Gabe had… done certain things together. Some memories were stubborn to stick around.

"Right. I know. Right." He cleared his throat, gesturing to Gabe, "I'm sorry, I, uh…"

"Had grabby hands?" Gabe supplied.

Sam smiled, "Yeah."

"Sugar, you can grab at me any time you want." Gabe said in his usual flirtatious voice. The joking kind that made Sam kind of want to cry. Because he knew it wasn't real. Sam knew it was just a coping mechanism. Joking and flirting. Gabe was trying to calm down after Sam practically molested him.

The human cleared his throat, looking away, "Can you get out now?"

Gabe's smile fell instantly. "Uh, yeah, yeah…"

Sam's ribs felt like they were made of ice. "I just have to get dressed, Gabe."

"Right. Duh. Sorry." Gabe stumbled to the door. His hands fumbled with the doorknob for a few moments. His hands only got shakier as he couldn't get door to open. He hissed an embarrassed, frustrated, "Fuckit." And snapped out of existence.

Sam got dressed slowly, his movements disconnected from himself. He was stuck in his own mind again. It felt so real, just then. He could've sworn… The way Gabe was looking at him- it had to be- he thought it was…

Of course he doesn't love you. Who would?

Jess did.

Did she?

Please stop.

Sam swallowed hard, pulling a new shirt over his head. When he was fully clothed and ready for the beach, he slid out of his room. He took a quick detour to the bunker's communal bathroom.

He marched up to the sinks, forcing the cold water on. He splashed three handfuls into his face, trying to clear his mind. He was panting when he looked up into the mirror at his reflection.

Disgusting.

No.

Pathetic.

Stop.

Useless.

I'm not.

"Hey," A voice said from the doorway. Sam focused behind him in the mirror. Dean. "How you feeling?"

"Good." Sam lied. He wouldn't ruin today for Dean. He smiled, "Just, uh, bad dream."

"Awesome. We leave in ten."

The beach was empty. A perk that Gabriel somehow made possible.

Dean's face instantly lit up at the sight of the water crashing against the shore. He pulled off his shirt and sent Cas a challenging look.

"Race you to the water."

In response, Cas teleported down to the water's edge. He yelled over the sound of the waves, "I believe I have won, Dean!"

Dean let out a laugh. "He thinks he's funny." The hunter ran down to the water, shouting, "You cheated!"

Sam shook his head fondly, "They're completely head over heels for each other."

He looked over to Gabe, expecting a response. What he got instead was the exact same expression he saw when he looked at the photograph djinn world. Gabe had this look on his face like he just wanted to reach out and touch Sam. The human couldn't tear his eyes away. Gabe's gaze slowly moved up from Sam's lips to his eyes.

The air around them was charged with a magnetic pull that made Sam slowly step closer to Gabe. The archangel's smile was open, hopeful.

You're unlovable.

You'll fuck everything up.

Because you're Sam Winchester.

And that's what you do.

Sam looked away, stepping back, his hands finding each other rather than soft angel skin. He eyed the sand on his feet, refusing to see Gabe's obviously grateful expression. Sam was reading this all wrong. His mind was right, of course it was. This was the real world. There weren't any happy endings.

"I'm just gonna…" Sam pointed to the water, dragging himself away.

You don't deserve this.

He made it through the day with forced smiles and fairly believable laughter. The important thing was that Dean had a good day. It didn't matter if Sam was falling apart again.


Sam only occasionally had trouble eating.

Usually, Gabe would slide a warm plate of delicious food in front of him, fingers gently brushing against Sam's neck as he did so. And Sam would be able to eat half, if not all, of it easily. It always seemed to make Gabe happier, knowing his food was good enough to eat.

Sometimes Cas cooked. On those days, only Dean was able to choke down the "food".

No one blamed Sam for skipping dessert on those days.


It was early in the morning.

Sam woke up to find Gabe next to him again. He was watching Netflix on silent, reading the subtitles on the screen. There was no mistaking the situation this time. Sam knew they weren't' together. He knew that Gabe only spent the nights next to Sam because he was addicted to fictional alien characters.

There was a hand on his head, carding fingers through his hair gently. It made a warmth blossom inside him that shooed away the hand.

Sam let the feeling lull him back to sleep. If he shifted closer to Gabe- if he wrapped an arm over Gabe's waist, it didn't mean anything.


They were at that meadow again.

The stars were as beautiful as ever. Sam and Gabe sat close to each other. Because the blanket they were sitting on was small. That's it.

Gabe was describing in painstaking detail what it was like to create a new species. He kept looking away from Sam, a smile on his face every time they made eye contact.

"A lot of it is evolution, you take a look at something that might be struggling and you think, 'alright, how can I help you along?' and then you give it to them. Sometimes it's a tail, or better hearing or gills. When you make something from scratch, it's a little more fun. Because you can make it look so, so stupid."

Hey, look, he's talking about you.

Stop. Don't ruin this.

"Um," Gabe struggled to carry on, to ignore Sam's mean thoughts, "You know the blobfish? Ugliest creature on earth?"

Excluding myself?

"Yeah, I've heard about it." Sam said easily.

"I made that. Luci and I were in charge of ocean creatures. For a while we behaved. But once we got to the deepwater stuff, we were like, 'Fuck it. Let's give it horns. And lights. And huge-ass teeth.' We made it a competition. Made some creepy shit."

"You and Lucifer are the direct cause of so many poor children's nightmares." Sam said. "Have you ever looked at those fish? They're terrifying."

Gabe grinned, "That was the point! We were trying to scare Mikey! And we never thought humans would actually see them."

Sam laughed, "Well, that backfired. Did you ever make anything pretty?"

"Are you insulting my work?" Gabe asked, pretending to be offended.

"Yes."

"Rude, man. Rude. You try to make an animal. It's hard." Gabe said.

Sam just smiled, looking up to the stars. "It's impressive."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. You made this. You had a part in creating the universe. The stars, the trees, the… the everything. That's really cool. Incredible." Sam was smiling, "Everything beautiful, you're a part of it."

Gabe scratched his head, "Yeah, well… It'd all be destroyed if it weren't for you. Stopping Luci and all. I don't think I ever properly thanked you for that."

Sam shrugged, "Thanks for pulling me out of Hell."

Gabe sat up on his knees, facing Sam. A hand hesitantly landed on Sam's shoulder, about the same place where Dean's scar would be on his arm. "No, I'm serious, Sam. Thank you. You've done so much, and you deserve praise."

"No, I don't." Sam couldn't stop the words from falling out of his mouth.

"Yes, you do." Gabe whispered, he leaned forward, kissing Sam's forehead, "Thank you."

Sam let himself feel warm at feeling of familiar lips on his skin. He closed his eyes and let himself pretend that everything would be Okay from this point on. When he opened them, Gabe was staring at him, a smile on his face.

"I knew that my world would change when God created you. I just never knew it would be to this extent." Gabe's hand had moved up to Sam's neck.

Woah, okay, no more daydreaming, Sam. This isn't the djinn world. You can't just pretend-

"What do you mean?" Sam mumbled, his hand finding Gabe's hip as he leaned forward slightly.

that Gabe actually cares about you. You're going to make a fool of yourself. He's an archangel of the Lord, he has better things to do than just-

"I mean that you are my world..." Gabe's lips quirked up at that, "My whole universe, actually. The world, the moon, the stars, and all the stardust that makes everything worth it…"

play house with you and everything will be Good after this, because it won't. He'll pull away from you or you'll get depressed again. He won't stay with you.

Because you're broken.

You don't deserve him.

Sam couldn't ignore his thoughts. He knew they were right. Gabe would leave him once he found out how Bad Sam was. How his heart was torn to pieces. How his mind is a ball of fucked up. Sam pulled away, the hand in his chest winning yet again.

Gabe dropped his hands, his eyes looking down. There was obviously pain on his face, but all Sam could notice was how cold it was outside and how much he wanted to be alone.

"Alright, look!" Gabe yelled, causing Sam to jump. His voice was an array of emotions, "I like you, okay?! A shit-ton! I'm pretty damn sure I love you! And sometimes… sometimes I think you like me, too!"

Liar.

"Dad! Both of you- I'm not lying!" Gabe said, he pulled Sam's hands into his own grip, "Samuel Debrah Winchester, it would be a great honor if you would just kiss me already."

Sam's mind couldn't process what was happening. "I- what?"

Gabe huffed, his hands holding onto Sam's face. Sam had a second to figure out what was happening before soft lips were smashed against his. He was shaking with emotion. Sam thought he was going to fall off the earth, the world was so topsy-turvy. His hands found Gabe to hold onto, and his eyes slid closed, preparing for the worst.

But when Gabe pulled away, his lips reluctantly sliding away from Sam's, he didn't sneer or spit or laugh. The archangel was holding his breath, waiting for Sam's response. Sam blinked. When he didn't get shot forward through time, he knew that this was (probably) real. He licked his lips, tasting Gabe on them.

"...Okay." Sam said.

"Okay?" Gabe replied, eyes searching. "So, uh, will you-" He had to think of the human word for it, "-will you date me?"

"Gabriel Helen Jehovah, are you asking me to be your boyfriend?" Sam asked, his voice teasing.

Gabe laughed, "That is nowhere close to my name."

"Yeah? Then what is it?"

"I'm thinking Gabriel Winchester works."

"Moving a bit fast, don't you think?" Sam didn't know when Gabe climbed onto his lap, or when his hands slid under Gabe's shirt. But he had no objections.

"I've been waiting for this since you were a small speck in a stellar nebula. So, no."

Sam laughed and for the rest of the night, his mind was silenced, the hand on his heart forgotten.


Things slowly got a little better after that. Sam forced himself to be more open with Gabe, who was trying his hardest to understand.

"It, um, feels like this… this hand inside me."

"Kinky."

"Gabe."

"Sorry."


Gabriel had a habit of sitting in Sam's lap. He'd walk into the room and make a B line for Sam, settling happily between Sam's legs. Sam liked to wrap his arms around Gabe's waist and hide his face in his neck. When Sam didn't want to face the day, he'd curl into Gabe and hide from the world.


Any time Sam had horrible thoughts, Gabe would press soft kisses to his skin and murmur soothing words.

You're idiotic.

"You're the smartest man I know. God included."

I'm ugly.

"You're beautiful stardust."

No one cares, Sam.

"I care. I always care."


If Sam ever needed a distraction, a change of scenery, Gabe would make it happen within the blink of an eye. Which was only a little freaky the first time.

"A waterfall?" Sam asked as Gabe began to unbutton Sam's flannel for him.

"The water's warm. It's soothing." Gabe said as he brushed off Sam's flannel and pulled the undershirt over Sam's head.

"Thank you." Sam mumbled, feeling a small spark of affection push through the dark haze of apathy.

"Of course." Gabe kissed Sam's forehead, "Go relax."

Sam stood under the waterfall for hours; letting the roar of the water drown out his thoughts.


Gabe also offered a different type of distraction.

Useless, pathetic piece or shit.

Sam quickly stormed through the bunker, searching for Gabe desperately. He forgot that he could just pray to the archangel. His mind was too busy yelling at himself.

Stop.

He won't be there.

He left you.

Stop!

Obvious relief flooded through Sam as he saw Gabe sitting on a couch by himself in the livingroom.

"Hey, Sugar." Gabe said, expression concerned, as Sam strode up to him. "You Okay?"

"No." Sam sat down next to him, grabbed a hold of Gabe's jacket and pulled the small archangel into his lap. "Distract me."

Gabe squeaked in surprise, as Sam's hands settled on his shoulders, pulling him impossibly closer. "Yes, sir."

As Gabe's lips devoured Sam's awaiting skin, all the horrible thoughts dropped away, leaving nothing but him and Gabe.


Sam was laying on their bed, staring at the closet across the room. Gabe's hand was brushing up and down his back slowly.

"You can do it." Gabe whispered, "I know you can."

Sam shook his head; not even able to talk. He felt his heart sinking lower and lower with each painful tug by the cold hand. His body felt like stone, his head hurt and all he wanted to do was curl up in bed with Gabe. But they had plans today. They were going to visit Bobby today. Which meant putting on clothes. Which meant getting out of bed.

"We can just do it tomorrow." Gabe offered. I can fly you to Sioux Falls whenever you want."

Sam swallowed. No, it had to be today. Bobby cleared his schedule for them. Which was a huge job in and of itself. He never had a day off, being the CEO of hunters.

It took a lot of effort just to drag the words out of his mouth, "I'll be... better... once I get out of bed... Once I see him."

Gabe nodded, flicking his wrist. Sam could feel the new clothes on him.

Perk of angel boyfriend #546- He puts your clothes on for you when you can't.

The warmth behind Sam disappeared and suddenly Gabe was standing in front of him, "Come on, darling, you can do it."

He held out his hands for Sam to take. Slowly, the hunter forced himself to move, his palms sliding against Gabe's slowly. The archangel smiled as Sam sat up slowly.

"See? You've got this. I'm so proud." Gabe gently pulled Sam to his feet. "You'll see Bobby and get to talking and after awhile, you'll completely forget about this. Yeah?"

Sam nodded.

"That's my boy." Gabe tugged on Sam's hands gently, "Now, lets get some breakfast. Just a little bit. Okay?"

He really didn't feel like eating. But he could force some dry toast down his throat if it meant Gabe would keep rubbing his hands like that. The human suddenly felt a rush of gratitude and affection for the surprisingly patient archangel in front of him. Gabe could've left. He could've decided Sam wasn't fixable. But he stayed.

Sam ducked his head to press a kiss to Gabe's forehead. "Thank you."

"Of course."


Sam looked up at himself in the mirror. Instead of hearing nasty insults, he imagined how Gabe would react. He smiled as he pictured the archangel making kissy faces at himself in the mirror.

'Who's the hottest angel in the garrison?'

'Okay, Michael. But who's the hottest banished angel?'

"Alright, that'd be Luci. But who's dating Sam Winchester?!'

'That's right! I am!'

Sam laughed at himself in the mirror, liking the smile that he saw shining back at him.


When Sam opened his eyes, there was an archangel curled up against him and Netflix playing on his TV. Dean was singing off-key somewhere in the bunker, and the smell of Cas's burnt pancakes drifted through the air. He smiled and pulled Gabriel closer to himself.

The days where he was Not Okay or Bad were far, far behind him. They felt just as distant and foggy as the leftover memories the djinn had left him.

Some days he'd just be Okay.

But he hasn't fallen below that in a long time.

He did it. He won the battle.

He was Good.