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Catch Me a Candy Catch

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“Sam!”

Sam wasn’t sure if it was Dean’s barking voice or the smelly socks that bounced off his forehead that did it, but he was definitely awake now. “What the hell, Dean?”

“Will you turn off your goddamn phone already? It’s been blowing up for the last hour.”

Sam halfheartedly tossed Dean’s socks back in his general direction and fumbled around in his bed for his phone. Finally locating it half in his pillowcase, Sam blinked blearily at his screen to see who had been pissing off his brother so spectacularly. Whomever it was probably deserved a present.

“You must be some kind of freak to have slept through all that racket,” Dean started, only to cut off when he noticed the blush coloring Sam’s cheeks. “What?”

“Nothing,” Sam muttered, blushing furiously.

“Bullshit. Is Gabriel texting you midget porn again?”

Sam didn’t think it was possible, but his blush deepened. “God, no. Gross.”

Dean smirked knowingly. “Ah, but it is Gabriel, isn’t it? I know that look, Sammy.” Dean settled back on his pillows with his arm under his head. “My little boy is all grown up. I think it’s maybe time I give you the talk about the birds and the bees.”

Sam rolled his eyes and swung his legs out of bed to shove his feet into his boots. “Jerk,” he muttered. No way he was getting back to sleep now.

“Bitch,” Dean answered, smiling.

...

Sam pulled his jacket tighter around himself and hunched against the side of the impala. He scrolled through the whopping 39 texts that Gabriel had sent him.

“Your muscles remind me of Greek statuary.”

“We could make a spectacular student/teacher porn together. You be the young, innocent, fresh out of school professor. I call the handsome and rakish troublemaker that’s always in your detention.”

And then there were the texts that made him blush for a decidedly different reason.

“You always smell like rain.”

“I could watch you smile every day and never get bored.”

“You don’t deserve any of the shit that you’ve had to go through.”

“You’re a better person than most of the saints I knew. Of course, at least three of the them were alcoholics and one was a child beater, so maybe that bar wasn’t set too high.”

“You can always reach the top shelf.”

Sam started laughing helplessly by the end, and quickly dialed up Gabriel, cringing slightly at the realization that their very own archangel trickster was on his speed dial.

“You can speak eight languages,” Gabriel blurted into the phone as soon as he picked up, promptly hanging up again.

Sam took a minute to look at his now silent phone in consternation before dialing again.

“You almost never snore.”

“How the hell would you know that?” Sam asked, before realizing he was again talking to an empty phone line. Rolling his eyes, he tried again.

“Your favorite candy is Sour Patch Kids.”

“Don’t hang up!” Sam blurted out quickly, talking over the end of Gabriel’s comment. Sam bit his lip cautiously as he was answered by silence. He quickly darted a look at the screen to discover that the call was, in fact, still connected.

“Gabriel?”

“Yeah?”

“What is this?”

“What is what?” Gabriel asked innocently.

“Gabriel,” Sam tried to growl, but he discovered he was still smiling from all the ridiculous compliments that Gabriel had been sending him, so it didn’t come out nearly as threateningly as he intended.

“What, have you never been complimented before, Sammy?”

“It’s Sam, and of course I have. But come on, what are you trying to get out of this?”

“Who said I want anything?” Gabriel asked simply.

“I’m sorry, have you met yourself?”

“Well, there was this one time that Kali mentioned that she could do some really kinky things if there were two of me, so technically – “

“Oh my God, I so do not want to hear this.”

Sam could practically hear Gabriel’s smirk radiating across the line. “Well, you did ask, kiddo.”

“Yes, and now thanks to that, I’m scarred for life.” Sam smiled and shook his head helplessly. “So let’s try again. What do you want, Gabriel?”

Gabriel paused for a minute before answering. “Maybe I just like seeing you smile. You don’t do it often enough.”

Sam raised an eyebrow. “So what does texting me these ridiculous compliments accomplish? You can’t see me.”

“Hellooooo, trickster.”

Sam narrowed his eyes and spun quickly to look around himself. He didn’t see anything out of place.

“Are you messing with me right now?”

Gabriel laughed. “Maybe. Maybe not.”

“Gabriel – “

“I’ll be seeing you, Sammy.”

Sam stared at the phone in his hand for a good two minutes before slowly heading back inside. He wasn’t sure if he expected it to ring again, or for Gabriel to pop out from behind the nearest bush or what, but he certainly wasn’t anticipating Gabriel would just leave it there. Suppressing a wave of disappointment, Sam opened the door and walked past a sleeping Dean back to his side of the motel room.

On his pillow was an unopened bag of Sour Patch Kids that definitely hadn’t been there fifteen minutes ago. Smiling softly, Sam reached for it and discovered a note that had been slipped underneath.

You have big feet.

“Hey!” Sam cried out instinctively, quickly darting a glance at Dean to make sure he was still snoring away. Satisfied that he wasn’t in imminent danger of any other dirty clothing being flung at his face, Sam flipped the note over.

And yes, that was a compliment. You know what they say ...

Grinning outright now, Sam flopped onto his bed and ripped open the bag of candy. He had a feeling he had an interesting time ahead of him.

“So how about that midget porn?” Dean grunted from the other side of the room.

Sam chucked a Sour Patch Kid at him and was pleased to see it bounce off of Dean’s face.

“Bitch,” Dean grumbled, making one irritated swipe at his cheek.

Sam was too busy eating candy to respond. After all, Sam had only thrown candy when Dean had thrown clothes drenched in his stink. As far as he was concerned, Dean had gotten the better end of the deal.

...

Over the course of the next few weeks, Sam was unsurprised to find the random candy bar in his jacket pocket, or in the backseat of the impala, or in the dust jacket of the book he took out of the public library. But it wasn’t just the sweet treats that Gabriel was leaving for him, each candy bar would have a note attached to it, or scrawled on the inside of the wrapper.

The way you killed that wraith was really hot.

Your hair is not in any way, shape, or form, girly.

And Sam’s personal favorite:

You have better taste in music than your brother.

It was equal parts unfortunate and poetic that that particular compliment was attached to a packet of Skittles that Dean happened to find with a squeal (yes it was a squeal, no matter what Dean may claim) of glee.

For a good 24 hours after that, Dean was too pissy to give Sam a hard time about what were essentially love notes being left to him by an archangel. Even though it meant every time he tried to speak he ended up being drowned out by Led Zeppelin, Sam still counted that one a win.

The next night found Sam lounging in their motel room watching the news and eating a tin of caramel popcorn while Dean lay on the other bed looking at what Sam was desperately hoping was not porn on his laptop.

“So are you ever going to answer him?” Dean asked conversationally.

“Huh?” Sam answered dumbly, a couple of kernels of popcorn tumbling down his shirt.

“Gabriel. Are you ever going to respond to his declarations of undying love?”

Sam blushed. “I’m pretty sure that’s not what this is, Dean.”

Dean smirked. “Oh yeah?”

Sam tried to shrug off the little niggling feeling that Dean knew something he didn’t. “He’s probably just bored. You know how he likes to mess with people.”

Dean’s smirk widened. “As a matter of fact I do know how he likes to mess with people. It usually involves dismemberment and a bloody death. Their “just desserts” as it were, not just dessert,” Dean said, pointing to the tin of popcorn on Sam’s lap.

Sam hastily swallowed his current mouthful and put the top back on the popcorn, his appetite suddenly and mysteriously gone.

“Still don’t believe me? I guess it’s time to bring in an expert.”

Sam didn’t really know where Dean was going with this, but he was pretty sure that he wasn’t going to like it.

“Cas! Get your feathery butt down here!” Dean barked at the ceiling.

A whoosh of air later, a very annoyed looking angel was standing in the middle of their room. “You don’t have to shout and wake up the entire motel, Dean. I could hear you perfectly fine,” Cas said crossly.

“How is Cas going to help?” Sam asked, a little desperately.

Dean shrugged. “Well, I figure if there’s some sort of messed up angel mating ritual going on here, he would probably be able to tell us.”

Cas gave Dean a weird look. “Is there something you wish to tell me, Dean?”

Dean blinked for a minute before catching on. “What? No, dude, you’re barking up the wrong Winchester here. It’s Sammy who might need to go out and buy that perfect white dress pretty soon.”

Cas turned his soul-searching gaze to the younger Winchester. “Is that true, Sam?”

“No!” Sam cried out, feeling his desperation growing by the minute. “There’s no mating of any sort going on with anyone. It was just a couple of compliments.”

“Compliments?” Cas asked seriously, bestowing Sam with his trademarked head tilt.

“Yeah,” Sam said, feeling flustered. “And some candy, but what’s the big deal about that?”

Cas’ eyes widened. “So you’ve been receiving both compliments and gifts from an angel?”

“Uh-huh,” Sam muttered, starting to feel slightly sick to his stomach.

“And has he given you any gesture of intent?”

“Intent?” Sam asked, stomach sinking further.

“Yes, statements of future plans he has for the two of you.”

Sam rapidly tried to rack his brain for anything Gabriel had said that could be construed as intent. Other than telling him that he would enjoy fucking him into next week, which Sam was pretty sure was less an admission of interest and more an attempt to make Sam feel uncomfortable, Gabriel hadn’t said anything about the future at all. Sam felt his spirits start to lift.

“These plans could, of course, include intention of future copulation.”

And there goes that little seed of hope, flying away, off to Alaska. Cas seemed to take the depressed expression on Sam’s face as his answer.

“And what ranking is this angel?”

“Is that important?”

Cas gave a slight twitch of his shoulder that could have been seen as the beginnings of a dismissive shrug. “Not necessarily, no. It would, however, tell us how far along the mating ritual has progressed and how difficult it would be to reverse it at this stage. The higher the ranking of the angel, the more difficult it is to halt a ritual that is already in progress, so –“

“It’s Gabriel, ok?” Sam blurted out, cutting Cas off. “What other angel have you ever seen me talk to? Of course it’s Gabriel.”

If possible, Cas looked even more serious. “The courting rituals of archangels are incredibly steeped in power and nuance. If you’ve been receptive to and pleased by these gifts, even if only within the safety of your own mind, then the mating ritual is already well on its way to being complete.”

Sam stared aghast at the half eaten tub of popcorn next to him, and then turned an accusatory look to Dean who was currently eating a Milky Way Bar that he had unearthed from God knows where. “This is all your fault!”

“My fault?” Dean answered, as offended as he could sound with his mouth full of chocolate and caramel. “How is it my fault that you have the hots for that asshole?”

“I only enjoyed his compliments as much as I did because of how much they were pissing you off!”

Dean gave him a knowing look. “You keep telling yourself that, Sammy.”

Sam swallowed and looked back at Cas. “You gotta help me here, Cas. I can’t be mated to Gabriel. I’m not sure I even like the guy.”

Cas nodded sagely. “I understand, Sam. Of course I’ll help you.”

Sam let out a sigh of relief. “Oh man, that was close. Ok, what do I do?”

“First, you must go out and find a goat.”

“A goat?” Sam asked in confusion.

“Yes. A goat. And not just any goat. The goat must have markings on it that look like this.” Cas paused to draw briefly on a piece of scrap paper before handing it to Sam.

Sam looked at the squiggle in his hand helplessly. “How am I supposed to do that, Cas?”

“I’m not finished,” Cas continued, as though Sam had not spoken. “Once you find the goat, you must anoint it in a mixture of sunflower oil and the blood of a sinner.”

“Ok –“

“I’m still not finished, Sam. I said I would help you, must you keep interrupting me at every opportunity?” Cas asked bitingly. Sam shut his mouth in surprise. Dean looked like he might spontaneously combust if he didn’t laugh soon. Cas stared him down until he managed to school his features into an appropriately apologetic expression. “Thank you,” Cas continued flatly. “Once the goat is properly anointed, you will give it to me.”

“Am I allowed to talk now?” Sam asked hesitantly after Cas had been silent for a minute.

“Yes, Sam,” Cas said graciously. “Did you still have a question?”

“Um, yeah, I guess I’m still just a little confused. How is giving you this goat going to help again?”

Cas looked at him serenely. “Because then I will have gotten your goat.”

Cas and Sam stared at each other for a few beats before Dean finally lost it and tumbled off the bed in a fit of laughter. Cas looked at him with a shy smile.

“Was that the appropriate use of that phrase, Dean?

Dean looked vaguely like he was trying to respond but couldn’t choke it out around his laughter and the tears in his eyes.

“Oh my God!” Sam cried out, suddenly getting it. “Cas, you were fucking with me this whole time!”

Cas looked at him again, his face expressionless other than the glimmer of humor in his eyes. “Yes. Dean assured me that ‘pranking,’ as he termed it, was an acceptable way to express affection toward someone who will soon be part of your family.”

“Wait, what?” Sam was rapidly losing the feeling of relief he had so recently gained.

“After all, Gabriel is my brother.”

Sam opened and closed his mouth a few times while nothing came out, feeling like he had been doused in cold water.

“Oh relax, Sammy,” Dean finally managed to choke out. “Your precious innocence is still intact. There’s no angelic mating ritual. Cas and I made it up.”

Sam closed his eyes and counted to ten. “I hate you guys so much right now.”

Cas turned to Dean, still smiling. “Actually Dean, that isn’t entirely true. There is an angelic mating ritual, it is just not currently being enacted by Gabriel toward Sam.”

Dean shrugged. “That’s nice, feathers. You can tell me all about it someday if you ever meet a nice girl.”

“I’m unsure why I would do that, Dean. A female’s presence should have no effect on the ritual, however nice she may be.”

Dean’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

“And there is a gesture of intent,” Cas continued, either oblivious to Dean’s confusion or just deciding to ignore it. “Though it is not a statement of future plans, as I erroneously told Sam. The gesture of intent could more correctly be termed a marking.”

“A marking?” Sam asked slowly, a glimmer of understanding beginning to occur to him. This understanding did not seem to be lost on Dean as he self-consciously rubbed at his shoulder.

“Yes. An angel marks his intended human with an imprint upon his or her flesh to begin the ritual.”

“And then?” Dean asked, his voice sounding slightly strangled.

Cas blinked slowly. “And then the ritual progresses through mutual closeness and prayer until it is finally consummated.”

At this point Dean’s eyes looked in danger of bugging out of his head. Cas finally seemed to take notice and patted him awkwardly on the shoulder.

“Do not worry, Dean. While swearing at me is not prayer in conventional sense, it is the thought that counts in these rituals.”

Dean looked like he might pass out. Cas turned so only Sam could see his face and slowly and deliberately winked. Sam grinned delightedly.

“I do believe I’m beginning to enjoy this ‘pranking’.” Cas said with another one of his hesitant smiles, and then with a rush of wings was gone.

Dean clutched his chest dramatically, color rapidly returning to his face. “Oh my God, he just about gave me a heart attack there.”

“You deserved it.”

“Bitch.”

“Jerk.”

Dean and Sam sat in silence for a few minutes, both trying to get their heart rates back under control.

“So ...,” Sam started cautiously, “neither one of us is in danger of being accidentally mated any time soon, right?”

Dean shrugged. “Not that I know of.”

“Ok. Good, that’s good.”

“Yeah. Good.”

Sam tried to ignore how wistful Dean sounded, just as Dean tried to ignore how Sam kept sneaking glances at his accumulated love notes out of the corner of his eye.

“Let’s go kill something,” Dean said gruffly, grabbing his gun.

“Oh, thank God,” Sam blurted out in relief, quickly following his brother out the door.

...

The satisfaction of causing some evil supernatural creature a bloody death seemed to be enough to eradicate any other feelings and worries that Dean had been struggling with that day, if his room shaking snores were anything to go by that night.

Sam, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky.

Sam sat cross-legged on his bed, staring at the notes that he had strewn out in front of him, trying to determine what to do with them. To be honest, it was a little stupid that he had kept them for as long as he had. They weren’t useful, or even particularly sentimental. There was no place for them in a hunter’s lifestyle. They were just silly little notes, at varying levels of ridiculousness, that Gabriel had given him for his own perverse entertainment.

Yup. It was time to throw them away. Any minute now.

If Dean found it strange that all of the notes were in a pile at the foot of Sam’s bed the next morning while Sam was slumped over, fully dressed and out for the count, he didn’t comment on it.

...

The next couple of weeks passed with a suspicious lack of angel activity. No calls, no texts, no candy, and certainly no notes. Sam caught himself staring wistfully at the clearance candy aisle at Walmart more than once, and had to walk away quickly after Dean asked him if he needed to be left alone with the Laffy Taffy.

Dean, for his part, wasn’t quite so obvious about missing his angel. He just seemed slightly grumpier than usual and got a hard look in his eyes when Sam suggested calling Cas for help on a case that was completely stumping them.

Which, frankly, Sam found pretty stupid. It wasn’t like Cas was ignoring Dean. If Dean just pulled his head out of his ass long enough to realize why Cas’ prank had affected him so much and gave the guy a call, they could be off practicing their very own angelic mating ritual right this very moment.

Sam hoped he wouldn’t be present for this. Perhaps another state would be the wisest place to be.

Sam wasn’t entirely sure why Gabriel had suddenly become mister incommunicado. He tried to shrug it off. It was most likely nothing. He was probably right in the first place; Gabriel was just bored and had been looking for someone to mess with to kill some time. That accomplished, he was off to find his next source of entertainment. It was nothing to worry about. It was sure as hell nothing to be disappointed over.

It was just Gabriel, after all.

The next night, Sam had heard enough of Dean’s obnoxious pouting around the motel room, and decided to go out and find a café or something with free WiFi. It was a nice night, and he didn’t really feel up to dealing with people, so when Sam found a Starbucks with outdoor seating, he thought he had struck gold.

“Is this seat taken?” Sam looked up from his iced coffee in surprise at the sound of a familiar voice.

“Gabriel?”

“Heya, Sasquatch, how’s it hangin’?” Gabriel grinned widely and sat across from Sam with some absurd concoction, piled high with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

“Uh, fine, good, I guess.” Sam managed to stammer out, eyeing his new table partner warily.

“Why are you looking at me like I’m gonna spike your drink, Sammy?” Gabriel somehow managed to pout and smirk at the exact same time. “I’m hurt.”

“No reason,” Sam started, feeling flustered. “I’m just surprised to see you, I guess.”

Gabriel shot a quick, almost imperceptible glance down at Sam’s lap, then back up to his face, grin widening. “But you’re happy to see me, aren’t you?”

Sam inwardly cursed the involuntary flush that flooded his cheeks. “Sure. You can help me figure out this case we’re working on. It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen before.”

Gabriel shrugged. “Nah, I’m not so much the research guy.” Gabriel swiped a glob of whipped cream from the top of his drink and languidly sucked it off his finger.

“Um ...” that seemed to be as far as Sam’s grasp of the English language was going to progress for the moment.

“See something you like?” Gabriel asked wickedly.

“Um ...” Sam was sure he would be able to produce another syllable at some point tonight. Maybe even a whole sentence.

“I meant the coffee, of course.” Gabriel finished smoothly, sliding his drink halfway across the table. “Wanna try it?”

Sam eyed it warily. “Is there any actual coffee in there?”

Gabriel made a show of wrapping his lips around the straw and taking a sip. “Of course there is. It’s just hiding under all the good stuff.” Gabriel’s tongue flicked out to grab a drop of coffee that had beaded on his lower lip.

Sam was pretty sure that he couldn’t even say “um” at this point, he would try to speak and only air would come out.

Something flickered in Gabriel’s eyes before he decided to take pity on him. “Relax, big guy, I’m just messing with you.”

All the air whooshed out of Sam’s lungs and he discovered the power of speech had been restored to him. “People seem to be doing a lot of that, lately,” Sam said wryly.

Gabriel grinned and started idly flipping a cell phone in his right hand. “And why do you think that is, Sammy boy?”

“”You tell me, I ... is that my phone?”

“Yup,” Gabriel said brightly, continuing to toss the phone in the air.

Sam patted his pockets in disbelief. “When did you take my phone?”

“When I sat down.”

“Ok, but, why did you take my phone?”

“I was bored?” Gabriel tried.

“Gabriel.”

“I wanted to see if you had saved the midget porn on it?”

“Gabriel!”

“Ok,” Gabe said with a big sigh, “Fine. I was just turning it on silent so you wouldn’t notice the thousand panicked calls and texts from your brother.”

“What?” Sam asked in alarm, halfway standing up from his seat. “Is Dean ok?”

“Relax, Sasquatch,” Gabriel said flippantly. “I left him a little present, but he’s going to be just fine.”

“Jesus Christ, Gabriel, what did you do?”

Gabriel narrowed his eyes at Sam. “You are so untrusting. I tell you that I did something nice for your brother, and you automatically assume that something bad is going to happen to him.”

“Well, I don’t know, maybe the fact that you killed him hundreds of times has put my guard up a little bit.”

Gabriel gave him a dirty look. “Put the research away, Sam. You’re not going to get anywhere.”

“Why not?” Sam asked, making a swipe for his phone, as Gabriel irritatingly kept it just out of reach.

“Because it’s all made up, genius. I laid a false trail for you guys.” Gabriel paused for a minute, looking at the back of Sam’s computer as if he could see everything that was on it, which, knowing him, he maybe could. “Oh, well, except for that thing on Capen Street. You might want to check that out once we’re done here.”

“But why would you do that?” Sam asked, feeling stupid.

Gabriel gave Sam a piercing look. “Sam. You’re supposed to be the smart one here.”

“Just spit it out already, Gabriel,” Sam growled.

Gabe rolled his eyes. “Once my construct shows up at your motel room, seemingly exactly what reports say flattened those houses, who do you think Dean is going to call?”

“Me, you asshole, and you turned off my phone so he couldn’t get me!”

“Bingo!” Gabriel cried, looking triumphant. “So once that failed, who do you think is left for him to call?”

Realization slowly dawned on Sam. “You did this to force Dean to call Cas.”

Gabriel smirked and put his feet up on the table. “Cas will show up, the construct will be triggered by an angel’s presence to dissolve into thin air, no harm done, your brother will realize how much he’s missed the feathery bastard, and wham, bam,” Gabriel dusted his hands together, “well, you fill in the rest.”

Sam stared at Gabriel incredulously. “This was your idea of matchmaking?”

“Well, you can’t say it doesn’t have style.”

Sam looked over at where his phone was lighting up next to Gabriel’s coffee with yet another missed call from Dean. “Gabriel, what if Cas can’t show up for some reason?”

“Are you kidding? Your brother has that kid so whipped he’ll run over there just for the privilege of wiping his ass.”

Sam cast the still ringing phone a significant look. A tine line of worry furrowed Gabriel’s brows.

“Huh. Didn’t think of that.” And with a snap of fingers, Gabriel was gone.

Sam stood up feeling slightly panicked. “Gabriel!” He shouted into the empty air, earning a few strange looks from some passersby. “Shit,” he muttered under his breath, hurriedly packing his computer into his bag before rushing to the car.

...

“You’re a dick.”

Perhaps not the most profound thing that Dean had ever uttered, but Sam had to admit he had a point there.

Gabriel seemed unconcerned, both by the insult, and by the baleful glare Dean was sending his way as he held an ice pack on his forehead. “Suck it up. You’ll live,” he said mildly.

“No thanks to you.”

Gabriel looked mock offended. “What on earth do you mean, Dean-o? My showing up saved your ass.”

“Yeah, and if you had just stayed the hell away from us in the first place, I would have never needed you to save my ass!”

“While we’re on the subject of your ass, don’t you think it’s about time you let a certain brother of mine get a piece of it?”

The color Dean began to turn at Gabriel’s words was a fascinating purple, but nevertheless, Sam decided it was probably time to step in. Fortunately, he was saved the trouble of actually having to come up with something to say that wouldn’t make himself a bigger target for both Gabriel and Dean by the appearance of said angel in the middle of the room.

“Get out,” Cas growled, looking sort of like he’d love nothing better than to feed his brother through a meat grinder, piece by piece.

“Yeah, you heard him, Gabe,” Dean started, looking triumphant.

“Not him,” Cas interrupted. “You two. Get out. I need to speak with my brother alone.”

Dean’s pleased expression quickly morphed into offended and obstinate. “Bullshit, Cas. This is my hotel room and I’m not going –“

“Anywhere,” Dean finished lamely to Sam as they found themselves standing outside of a nearby diner.

Sam raised his eyebrow.

“Shut up, Samantha.”

“Real mature, Dean.”

“Whatever.” Dean rolled his shoulders back and winced at the stretch. “Oh well, might as well see if they have some pie.”

“You are way too easy to appease,” Sam muttered under his breath, following his brother into the diner.

Dean settled into his favorite easy saunter as soon as he saw the busty twenty-something behind the counter. “Hello, gorgeous.”

She tittered. Honest to God, tittered. Sam thought he might have to shoot himself before this night was over.

“I was just wondering if you could tell me about your pie.”

She looked vaguely confused for a second, as if ‘her pie’ was some sort of big city euphemism that she wasn’t quite getting, but she quickly recovered enough to answer Dean, chest thrust out. “Best in the tri-county area.”

Dean smirked. “Now you’re speaking my language, sweetheart.”

“The peach cobbler is my favorite.”

Sam rolled his eyes and sat down. This was likely to take a while.

“Well then, looks like I’ll just have to have a –“

“piece of that then,” Dean finished.

“I always knew you wanted to be lucky enough to get a piece of me, you big old softie,” Gabe replied, smirking.

Dean growled. “Son of a bitch, Gabriel, I was about to get me some pie!”

Gabriel rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers. “There you go. Now stop whining. Cas has something to say to you.”

Dean eyed the suddenly materialized pie warily. “I don’t trust that thing.”

Gabriel looked at him pityingly. “How do they put up with you, Dean-o?” Gabriel tossed a smirk over his shoulder at Sam. “Come on, Sammy. Let’s give our brothers some alone time.”

This time Sam was expecting the snap and the resultant trip on angel express. He looked at Gabriel exasperatedly. “Are you happy now?”

Gabriel grinned. “Of course I’m happy. Couldn’t have gone better.”

“Cas got held up in heaven and by the time you appeared to call off your construct, my brother had a concussion and needed five stitches.”

Gabriel’s grin never wavered. “Like I said. Couldn’t have gone better.”

Sam sat down, trying to hide his smile. “You’re impossible.”

Gabriel dropped to the ground next to him and bumped their shoulders together. “I know. That’s why you love me.”

“Yeah right,” Sam muttered under his breath.

Gabriel gave him an odd look. “Alright, I give up. You win.”

Sam looked up in surprise. “What are you talking about, Gabriel?”

Gabriel spread his hands, palms out. “I said you win, kiddo. Consider yourself left alone.” Gabriel raised his right hand in preparation to snap, but Sam instinctively reached out and snagged his wrist before he could.

“And I said what are you talking about?”

Gabriel raised one eyebrow but obediently stilled his hand. “Sammy, you’ve been bitching and moaning about me paying attention to you ever since that first candy bar.”

“I have not,” Sam said, feeling surprisingly offended.

Gabriel looked even more skeptical. “You pleaded with Cas to find a way to essentially get me away from you. I believe the words ‘I’m not even sure I like the guy,’ were used. You hurt my delicate feelings, Sammy.”

Sam felt flustered. “But that was just because I thought we were getting angel married or something, I never said I didn’t like the notes.”

“It was implied.”

“No, it wasn’t, I fucking loved the notes, ok?”

Gabriel smirked and patted him on the cheek. “I know, kiddo, I just wanted to make you say it.”

Sam gaped at Gabriel for a minute before starting to laugh. “My brother was right. You really are a dick.”

“I try,” Gabriel replied, smugly.

“So ... what now?” Sam asked after a minute of awkward silence.

“You tell me, Sammy boy. Feeling up to that angel mating after all?”

“Very funny.”

“I try,” Gabriel said again, still smirking.

Sam fiddled with the grass around his right foot, trying to build up the courage to make his move. Oh well, here goes nothing. “Gabriel,” Sam blurted out, turning to face amber eyes.

“Yeah?” The ever-present smirk still played at the corner of Gabriel’s mouth, but he seemed softer, more approachable somehow. Sam figured this was it, now or never. He leaned in, almost imperceptibly. He closed his eyes.

“Huh. That is one way to eat pie that I’ve never tried. Kudos to Cas, I didn’t think he had it in him.”

Sam’s eyes flew open. “Ew! Fuck, Gabriel, I don’t want to hear that.”

“And now he does have it in him, if you know what I mean.”

Sam awkwardly pushed himself to his feet and took a shaky step back, as if backing away from the angel would magically turn back time to when he had never heard those words.

Gabriel laughed at the expression on his face. “Sit back down, Sammy, I’m not planning on painting you a picture.”

Sam cautiously sat back down, still blanching. “If you’re going to be hanging around me now, Gabriel, you have to promise to never say anything about our brothers, ever again. Ever.”

Gabriel held up a mocking salute. “Scout’s honor.”

Sam dragged his hair out of his face. “But I mean, good for them. Gross, but good for them.”

Gabriel smiled warmly. “Had enough of the awkward sex eyes?”

“Oh yeah, more than enough, thanks.”

“I figured we could start smaller,” Gabriel said smoothly.

Sam looked up in surprise, trying to hide the hope that was blossoming in his chest. “What do you mean?”

Gabriel grinned. “Just this.” And with a snap of his fingers, a Skybar fell into Sam’s lap, a piece of crumpled paper wrapped around it.

Your mouth tastes better than candy.

Sam looked up skeptically to ask Gabriel how the hell he knew that, but Gabriel very quickly made sure that Sam’s mouth was far too busy to form the words.

Sam figured he should probably get used to Gabriel getting in the last word. He was pretty ok with that.