Sam never thought he would see the Gabriel ever again. Yet here he was, sitting in front of him and he knew it was the same trickster, it couldn’t be any other version of the archangel, he could see the recognition in his eyes every time he looked up into those golden pools.
The golden angel wouldn’t stop trembling, twitching nervously whenever Sam cut through the stitching on his mouth, it was a cruel punishment. “You don’t have to talk until your ready,” Sam told him, slicing through another stitch, “but I’ll wait until you are.”
Dean’s coming and going had been a blur, Sam had caught the angel eyeing his grace from afar whilst they used it for the spell. When Dean and Ketch were gone Sam turned his attention back to Gabriel, offering what he hoped to be a gentle enough smile. “How about we get you cleaned up?” he offered, going to help Gabriel up but watching as the angel flinched away, “I won’t hurt you Gabriel,” he soothed, holding his hands up.
Gabriel only stared at him, “how about I lead you to the bathroom and you can clean yourself up?” Sam offered, tilting his head in concern when Gabriel nodded quickly, “come on.”
Sam kept a close eye on the jumpy angel, making sure he didn’t run every time Sam’s foot caused an old floorboard to groan, or any of the mice in the bunker ran out to scare him. For the most part he remained twitchy, but never ran, only kept his head down as he followed Sam.
The bathroom was cold when he opened the door, but soon heated up with a thick steam when he turned on the hot tap to make it more inviting for the angel, who stood outside looking weary. “I guess you’ve never had to manually clean yourself before,” Sam coughed, startling the hesitant angel who shook his head, “c-come in.” Sam blushed when he realised he had stumbled over his words. The archangel stepped in, looking pleasantly surprised at the warmth of the room. Sam supposed the magical water system was good for one thing – they never wasted water.
Sam stared at Gabriel who had for the moment closed his eyes and tilted his neck up, just enough for Sam to see the Adam’s apple on the angel’s vessel bobbing up and down every time Gabriel breathed. “Y-you’re going to need clean clothes,” Sam informed him when he opened his eyes again, hoping that the sudden talking wouldn’t startle him again. “D-do you want to start cleaning yourself whilst I get you something to wear?” Gabriel looked down at his dirty clothing and started stripping without waiting for Sam to leave. Sam blushed bright red and raced past Gabriel who flinched away, almost falling to the ground as the human got too close. When the tall man was finally back at the door, he looked down at Gabriel who was now shirtless, and felt his stomach drop. “I-I’m just getting clothes,” he rasped, holding the door to close it, “I’ll be back in a little bit, and I’m going to shut this so that you have some privacy.” He didn’t give Gabriel time to reply before gently shutting the door and slumping against it.
It had been eight years since Gabriel had died… or not died… and his heart still fluttered like he was some love-sick teenager. He was halfway through his thirties for Chuck’s sake, and an angel in a short vessel made his body think he was back in high school.
An absent part of his brain wondered if that was how Dean often felt around Castiel, but he shook that thought out of his head with a smirk before walking to his room. The clothes would be much to big on the tiny trickster, but it would be clean, and they could burn the clothes he had been wearing. He grabbed a pair of pyjamas specifically, knowing Gabriel would probably want something comfortable until he felt less jumpy.
When he returned, Gabriel was still under the spray, cleaned of any of the muck and grime that had been on his body before, save his hair. His head was tilted up towards the spray, his body angled away from the door but front facing enough that he could see if anyone walked in. The shower curtain not pulled across, leaving everything out in the open. Sam coughed away the lump in his throat, Gabriel jumped a foot, turning to stare at him whilst backing into the wall. “Sorry,” Sam winced, holding up the clothes, “do you want to shampoo your hair?” he asked placing the clothes on the rack that held his towel. Gabriel glanced at Sam then the door, gently running the tips of his fingers over where his lips had been sown shut. Sam carefully walked over, like he was approaching a frightened animal, holding up his hands to show he meant no harm. When he was close enough to grab the shampoo he did, not minding as the water quickly soaked his arm as he held it out to the angel who still stood with his back to the wall. Gabriel tentatively reached out, taking the bottle from Sam and opening it. He squirted a small amount into his hand and handed the bottle back to Sam who placed it back where it came from.
Sam tried his hardest to keep his eyes adverted whilst the archangel lathered the soap into his hair, but his eyes couldn’t help but continuously glance at the vessel. Gabriel’s ribs were showing, there were cuts and bruises everywhere and his generally chubby physic was nowhere to be seen. Sam guessed it had something to do with the fact that his grace was being drained so he couldn’t keep it perfectly how it was before. He zoned out, staring at a particularly large scar in the same place Lucifer would have stabbed him eight years ago, bile bubbling in his gut.
He barely even registered Gabriel shutting off the water, until he saw the archangel standing there, dripping wet and looking like he didn’t know what to do next. Sam held up his finger and went to the small linen closet, pulling out the thickest, fluffiest towel in there, which he unfurled as he walked back to Gabriel. He held it out, respecting that Gabriel was obviously traumatised. Gabriel whimpered happily as he dried himself with the soft material, a noise that sent shivers down Sam’s back. He turned to the pyjamas he left on the rack, picking them up with the arm that didn’t have a soaked flannel over it before handing it to Gabriel.
By the time Gabriel was dried and dressed Sam noticed it, he looked and acted tired. So, he took him to his own room, justifying it by thinking that Gabriel shouldn’t be too far away from him until he feels like he’s safe in the bunker. Sam set the king bed up so Gabriel could sleep on it, and through the extra blanket onto the armchair he kept for late night reading. “I know angels don’t need sleep, but you clearly look like you do,” Sam told him, watching Gabriel eye the bed with distrust. “Don’t worry, I won’t let anything happen to you Gabriel,” the human promised, watching a slight colouration tint the archangel’s cheeks before he climbed into the much to big bed. Sam sat in the chair and tried to get comfortable to sleep in it when Gabriel’s hand appeared on his. The hunter stared at the angel who dragged him to the opposite side of the bed and sat him down before returning to the side Sam had set up.
The archangel curled up into the smallest ball he could have possibly managed, his face half squished into one of Sam’s pillow as he shook.
Sam moved as soon as he was sure Gabriel wasn’t going to wake up soon and made a quick drive to the nearest convenience store, not worrying about the fact he was only in pyjamas himself. As he walked through the isle full of candy, he unceremoniously shoved as much of the sweets into his basket as possible, remembering that Gabriel had shown a fondness for sugary treats before. The cashier gave him an odd look as they scanned the items – two hundred and eighty-six – in total, “ran out of snacks at a party,” he lied, looking toward the door, skin itching to make sure Gabriel was still okay.
Placing the five bags worth of sugar onto the armchair with a soft grunt, Sam wiped his brow before back into the bed with the angel, who had spread out but not by much. His eyebrows were furrowed, and he was sweating slightly. “you’re safe Gabriel, nobody is going to hurt you here,” the human purred, not touching the angel but continuing to whisper reassurances to Gabriel who gently opened his eyes and stared at Sam.
“Thank you,” he whispered to the human, his voice husky, rough and barely loud enough to be heard, before closing his eyes again. Sam decided in that moment that Gabriel would be fine, maybe not just yet, but he will be one day. Not tomorrow, not a week from now, maybe not even a year, but he would be okay. It would just take time.