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 Sam lay between the charred outline of once-beautiful wings burned into the ground. The sky was grey.

 

 There was no color here, but maybe it would start coming back now that Michael and Lucifer were both gone.

 

“Finally, no more douchebag archangels to deal with,” Dean chuckled. “Right, Sammy?”

 

“Dean,” Cas shot him a withering glare. “That’s enough.”

 

 He came here a lot. There was no reason for it, but since they’d found a way to walk from this world to their own, Sam had made this his spot. Nobody went by here, and he knew it was because of him. He didn’t mind.

 

 Sometimes Jack stopped by. He never said anything, he would just sit at Sam’s feet and look up at the sky with him. They never needed to say anything.

 

“What? What’d I say?”

 

 “Yeah, no more douchebag archangels,” Sam laughed weakly. “It’s been a long time coming, huh?”

 

 Dean paled, and Sam knew he remembered. “Sam, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean…”

 

 “We should get back home. Jack needs to recuperate.”

 

 Sam let Jack lean on him and walked them out without another word.

 

 Other times, Sam would come by and find Jack lying in Sam’s spot. He always lay there crying, looking up at the sky and talking to someone Sam couldn’t see. Jack always ended by screaming curses in Enochian, what little he’d picked up from Cas.

 

 Sam never let on that he knew. It seemed like something private.

 

“So, Cas filled me in.”

 

 “On what?”

 

“On you and...you know,” Dean made an awkward flapping motion probably meant to mimic wings.

 

 “No, Dean. I don’t think I know,” Sam set his book down a bit louder than necessary, giving his brother a dangerous look. “Why don’t you explain it to me?”

 

 Sam would never tell anyone, but he would talk too.

 

 He talked to Gabriel. Sam told him all the reasons why he couldn’t possibly be dead. There were only two wings on the ground, he had six. There had been too much grace for a powered-down archangel. His eyes had been open.

 

 He wouldn’t have sacrificed him for a human. Not again.

 

 Sam always ended up screaming curses in English, the many words he’d learned over the years. He didn’t need anyone to teach him to be angry, Sam knew how to do that all on his own.

 

“You and Gabriel. I didn’t know.”

 

 “Yeah, that was on purpose.”

 

“Sam, why didn’t you tell me?”

 

 “It doesn’t matter now, Dean,” He clenched his jaw. His head hurt. “Can I keep reading my book, or do you want to keep talking about this? Because I really don’t want to talk about this.”

 

“I just want to know why you didn’t tell me,” Dean sounded hurt. He had to keep himself from laughing. He didn’t have any right to be hurt.

 

 “Like I said, it doesn’t matter now. All the douchebag archangels are dead, let’s get on with our lives,” He picked his book up and kept reading.

 

 Dean opened his mouth and promptly shut it again. He walked away.

 

 Sometimes Sam would think he’d see Gabriel. Those days he would sit up and talk to the fake Gabriel. He would apologize. He would laugh. He would smile.

 

 And when he disappeared again, he would cry.

 

 Sam never said “I love you”. The real Gabriel never got to hear it, so the fake one wouldn’t either. It wouldn’t be fair.

 

“We found his body.”

 

 “What?”

 

“Gabriel. We found his body,” Cas sounded like he’d gotten punched in the stomach. Sam knew the feeling. “I came to you to ask what you think we should do with it.”

 

 “I don’t know.”

 

“Neither do I.”

 

 Sam sat next to Cas for a while. They were quiet.

 

 Castiel had lost his older brother again and it hurt, it was obvious in the furrow in his brow and his glossy eyes.

 

 Sam had lost his lover again and it hurt, it was obvious in his clenched fists and dark circles under his eyes.

 

 “Let’s bury him.”

 

 Sometimes, Sam fell asleep and dreamed of the Empty. He dreamed that Gabriel played his stupid golden kazoo in his doppleganger’s ear until it kicked him out and he woke up next to Sam.

 

 He always went back home and drank himself stupid when he had those dreams. He would always wake up alone.

 

  They buried him between his wings. The sight of Gabriel with black wings made Sam sick. He dry heaved into the bushes.

 

 Both of them knew they buried him for selfish reasons. Dean hadn’t been involved in the decision or Gabriel’s body would be burning on a pyre right now.

 

 Gabriel had never been a hunter, but he could have been. Sam and Cas agreed that he had been a part of their team, for however short a time it had been. He did deserve a hunter’s funeral, but then his vessel would be gone.

 

 They buried him between his wings. His vessel was there in case he came back.

 

 Other times, Cas would drop by. He always brought Gabriel’s favorite candies. They would sit and talk, but never about Gabriel. It hurt too much.

 

 Dean tried coming by once. Sam didn’t know that, but he had. He found Sam curled up between the wings and sleeping with Gabriel’s old green jacket held tightly to his chest. There were tear stains on it.

 

 Cas had come back to Dean. He remembered what it felt like to lose him. Cas had only been gone a few weeks, but Gabriel had been gone years. When he thought about it, he realized just how in love Sam had been. When he thought about it, Dean’s heart broke for his little brother.

 

 He didn’t come back.

 

  “God, I know you’re listening,” Sam said. He didn’t have to yell, he knew God was listening. “I know you go by Chuck, but I like God better.”

 

 He knew he was just talking out loud. Sam never got an answer.

 

 “You brought me back a lot, same with Cas and Dean. I’m just asking if you could please bring Gabriel back too,” He didn’t even have to talk out loud, he knew God was listening. “He didn’t ask for any of this. He just wanted his family to stop fighting. Please, please bring him back.”

 

 It was quiet. Sam never got an answer.

 

 Most of the time, it was just Sam and nothingness. He never claimed to feel Gabriel around him. He knew he wasn’t there. He knew he wasn’t coming back.

 

 He knew neither of them were that lucky.

 

  Sam lay between the charred outline of once-beautiful wings burned into the ground. The sky was grey.