Sam's Very Bad No Good Day
Sam was obsessed. There was no other word for it, but that didn’t mean he liked it. His thoughts consumed him. He let out a deep sigh that failed to loosen the heaviness on his heart.
Certain images played on a loop inside his head, unable to be turned off, as if possessed by some vengeful spirit. Sam had been here before, obsessed with wanting something or someone he shouldn’t. The demon blood came to mind. Sneaking around behind Dean’s back, meeting with Ruby. But this wasn't that. This was different. Less evil and more… he didn't know what. Seriously--what was this? But he couldn't stop the projector. Couldn't stop his thoughts: Gabriel huddled in a corner almost unrecognizable, dirty and helpless, fear radiating off him. It was so unusual for the trickster-demigod-Archangel. Whatever role he played, victim was never one of them. Helpless was never one of them. Sam found himself drawn to him. He wanted to help him, take care of him.
The next image was Gabriel still afraid yet trusting enough to let Sam cut the stitches off his mouth where Asmodeus had sewed it shut. Gabriel had always been quick witted, although sometimes annoying. It was heart wrenching to think of him not able to talk, not able to respond, not able to voice his own oh so superior opinions. Gabriel should never be silenced. He’d blinked slowly as Sam cut away the stitches. The pain bright in those golden eyes as he seemed to let down his guard. Would he have let anyone else do this? Sam could admit, at least to himself, that there's always been something between them. It wasn’t always good and often not healthy but there was something there. He wouldn't go as far as to say it's a profound bond like Cas and Dean but there was something, some thread that connected them. The next scene that played in the movie Sam tortured himself with was Sam telling Gabriel that he needed him. He’d tried everything else to get him to respond and finally in desperation spoke the truth. He desperately needed Gabriel to be okay.
There'd been no reaction from Gabriel. Until there was. This time it wasn't just a blank look. He actually spoke as if none of this had happened. “It was porn stars, Sam.” Beautiful words because they meant that not only was Gabe going to be okay, but that their connection was still there. He remembered him. Sam almost sank to his knees in relief. The Archangel’s recovery wouldn’t be easy. Sam knew that better than anyone. But Gabriel was going to recover.
Just before Gabriel incinerated Asmodeus, he shone bright, beautiful and whole. Then when he spread his wings across the room, Sam found it difficult to breathe. His heart felt like it forgot how to beat and then pounded in overtime to make up for it. The feeling of relief had him deliriously happy for a moment and then crashed when Gabe left without another thought.
The movie fast forwarded through Gabe needing them, and Sam stepping up because he knew that feeling. That need for revenge. It wouldn’t help Gabriel feel better but that didn’t matter. He tried not to think of the horrors that Gabriel went through. It brought back memories of his own torture-- of being locked in the cage with Lucifer. Another thing that connected them and brought them closer. And then Gabriel was part of the team, not entirely trusted by everyone, but he was still part of the team. Gabriel had helped them in the past but this was different. They were doing this together. Sam didn’t realize how much he wanted that until it happened. And then the werewolves, and he couldn’t think about that. The terror of dying and knowing no one could help him. The fear that Dean (or Cas or Gabriel) would try to help him and also die. Then he was alive, and Lucifer was there but that's not what played over and over in his mind. No, it was the look on Gabriel's face when he realized Sam was alive. What was it in his eyes? Was it relief? Joy? There was a protectiveness there. Sam had thought briefly, more delirious than malicious, how does it feel, jackass? He’d watched Gabriel die so many times and then come back to life. Those thoughts were very brief because they were replaced by the image of Gabe stepping forward to fight Michael, facing his family, coming out of hiding. He redeemed himself only to die again. That memory shatters him every time because the pain he felt in that moment was too vivid to ever be forgotten. He suspected that one of the reasons Gabe stepped forward was because he couldn’t bear to see Sam die again. Feelings of guilt were never far behind.
Sam had felt lost when everyone else was celebrating. Dean spoke proudly about what Gabriel had done. But Sam felt it was all so pointless. Gabriel knew he couldn’t win against Michael. He wasn’t at full power. But it gave Dean and Sam time to get out. Gave them time to close the rift. It hurt, worse than any of the other time’s Gabriel had died. But he couldn’t even mourn because they were fighting Lucifer and Michael and doing the apocalypse dance once again and losing once again. Then Michael lit up like an all-white Angelic Christmas tree and as his body slid to the ground, Gabriel's smiling face was behind it. Sam couldn't celebrate in that moment because Lucifer was still a threat. All of them together with Jack’s help were able to put the Devil back in the cage. They could've killed him, maybe should've killed him, but there needed to be a balance of good and evil in the world or it really would be destroyed.
When everything was calm again, there was Gabe standing there, and Sam wanted to set him on fire and hold him all at the same time. He wanted to wipe that smirk off his face. He could slap it off or… no, he shook his head at that. He couldn’t let his thoughts go there. It was too dangerous, too heartbreaking, because although they had a bond, there were trust issues. It was apparent that he was right not to trust those feelings or Gabriel for that matter because once everything was done, Gabe was gone with a quick, “Toodaloo, Gents.” And that was it.
“Sam are you moping again?”
Sam blinked away the memories and stared up at his older brother. “I'm fine, Dean.” He closed his laptop. It was open just for show anyway. He’d thought about looking for any sign of Gabriel out there in the world but decided against it. If Gabriel didn’t want to be around him, then that was that. Sam just needed to get over it.
“Yeah, sure you are.’
Sam didn’t reply. They’d had this conversation before and it always ended with Sam feeling guilty for bringing everyone else down. He was done with that. He had a right to mope. He picked up his coffee cup in search of more caffeine. He needed the stuff to make it through the day or even another conversation with Dean. He wasn’t sleeping well. Dreams alternated between watching Gabriel die over and over, and Gabe telling him he had better things to do then hang around with someone so boring. Sam shook off those thoughts. He should be happy for the angel. He was alive and able to go out and do what he wanted. But Sam was too damn angry. Gabriel just left him.
Dean followed him to the kitchen. “Seriously, Sammy. We saved the world. Again. You’re allowed to be happy.”
He bit back a sigh. He wasn’t in the mood for Dean and his cheerfulness although he was glad his brother was happy. Dean just couldn't accept that Sam didn't feel like celebrating. “Sorry, Dean,” he said. “I’m just not feeling it.” He took a sip of the strong drink, closing his eyes to enjoy a moment of peace. It lasted a moment too long. Longer than he expected. He could feel Dean’s eyes on him. He glanced over at his brother. Yup, he was staring. “Cut it out, Dean.”
Dean smirked as he walked over to the coffee pot. “Touchy. I don’t know what crawled up your ass,” Dean said. “At least your angel came back to life.”
His pulse ramped up. “This is not about Gabriel.”
Dean glanced over at him, accidently pouring coffee on his hand. “Shit!” He ran his hand under cold water, scowling at Sam the whole time. “Oh my God. This moping is because of Gabriel?”
“I just said it wasn’t.”
“Yeah, well, it's not what you said, Sammy it’s how you said it.” Dean shook his head as he cleaned the counter of spilled coffee and then poured himself a new cup. He turned his attention back on Sam, staring expectantly.
The way to handle Dean was to just shrug him off. Pretend like he didn’t care. But his nerves were too raw. That plus the lack of sleep, made him irritable. He really didn’t care what his brother thought. Not really.
“Just drop it, Dean,” he said, setting his cup down on the table harder than he meant to. He rubbed his hand over his face. “I’m just tired. It’s been an exhausting week. Hell, an exhausting year.”
“Yeah, I hear you.” He downed his coffee like it was a glass of Hunter’s Helper and set the cup in the sink. Crossing his arms, he stared at Sam like he was trying to figure him out. “I’m just worried about you.”
“Thanks, but there’s no reason to worry.” Sam ignored his brother’s speculative gaze as he made his way back to the main area of the bunker. He sat down reaching for his laptop. There was nothing he wanted to do on it, but it was comfortable, like a security blanket. Plus, if he looked busy, maybe Dean would lay off.
“I get why he left.”
Okay, maybe not. Dean sat across from him at the table, and Sam resisted the urge to give him the Bitch-face. It wouldn’t do any good anyway. But the thought of Dean siding with Gabriel felt like a betrayal.
“I mean, the guy was caged up for seven years,” Dean continued unaware or maybe he was just trying to rile Sam up. It was working. “I know you know what that's like. I can't blame him for not want to sit around the bunker.”
“I know.” Didn’t he say he didn’t want to talk about this? Of course, he understood how Gabriel felt. It wasn’t even that he left. It was the way he left with a quick smile and wave of his hand like nothing had happened. Like things hadn’t changed between them.
“And it's not like the guy’s out in Vegas partying,” Dean said, picking up a discarded TV magazine with Dr. Sexy, MD on the cover. “At least he’s doing something useful.”
Sam glanced up at his brother in surprise. “What?”
“What?” Dean thumbed through the magazine, already distracted from their conversation.
“You were saying Gabe’s doing something useful?” How did Dean know more about Gabriel than he did? Sam was pretty sure he knew the answer.
“Yeah, that’s what Cas says.”
Sam huffed in frustration. Now that he wanted to talk about it, Dean was barely answering. He would have to pry it out of him. “So, what's he doing?”
Dean glanced up from his magazine. “Sorting out Angels in Heaven or something like that.” He waved his hand dismissively.
“And you didn't tell me?” He glared at his brother. Dean knew where Gabriel was. All. This. Time.
“What with Gabe being your bestie, I thought you knew. Seriously, Sam take a Midol already.”
“Yeah. Whatever.” Sam ran a hand through his hair. Dean was right. He was overreacting. But it hurt just a little bit that he hadn't heard anything from Gabriel. Still, he had to get his crap together. At least there were no porn stars in heaven. Probably.
“Cas could tell you all about it.”
Cue the angel. Dean just had to mention his name and Castiel was by his side.
“Hello, Dean,” he said. “Sam.”
“Sam wants to know about Gabriel,” Dean said.
“No, I don’t.” He response was pure reflex.
“So you do or you don’t?” Cas asked, squinting in confusion.
“I mean, I guess I’d like to know if he's doing okay.”
“Gabriel has been helping us get Heaven back together. He is fulfilling his duty as an Archangel.”
“That’s great,” Sam said.
Just like that, Dean was done with the conversation. He stood up. “But you can still take a day off, right Cas?”
“Of course, Dean.” Their eyes met, and it was like Sam wasn’t even there.
Sam cleared his throat.
Dean glanced away, his cheeks a little red. “Anyway, Cas and I are going bowling.”
“I wanted to try it,” Cas said. “You are welcome to join us, Sam.”
“Nah, I’m good. You guys go on ahead.” He tried hard not to sound jealous. Was it wrong of him to want with Gabriel, what Dean had with Cas? A friendship? He couldn’t think past that. It would be enough. Wouldn’t it? Suddenly, he was moping again, but Dean didn’t notice. He had Cas to distract him.
It wasn’t long before they were off, and Sam was alone. Which was fine with him. Easier not having to pretend everything was okay. He rested his head in his hands. He just needed to get some perspective.
“I thought those two clowns would never leave.”
Sam's head snapped up at the sound of Gabriel's voice. “Gabe,” he said, and his voice sounded breathless to his own ears. He took a deep breath.
The greeting was full of something. Was it warmth? Affection? Finally, Gabriel’s words made it to his brain. “Wait, were you watching us?”
“Pftt, no,” he said. “Cas said he was on his way here, so I knew they’d be leaving soon. I didn’t think it would take that long.”
“Why were you waiting for them to leave?”
Gabriel ignored the question. “How are you doing, kiddo?” He picked up the magazine Dean had been reading and smirked, pointing at the picture on the cover. “That was some of my best work.”
Sam rolled his eyes. “Seriously?”
He closed his eyes, trying to hold back the smile. He didn’t want to think about their time in TV Land. Or the fact that he felt lighter right now than he had in days.
“You don't look like you’ve just saved the world again.”
“Yeah, I guess I'm just tired.”
Gabriel walked around the room, touching whatever he could find. Sam tried not to notice how good Gabriel looked. Heaven definitely agreed with him. He had on black jeans and a tight t-shirt that showed off his body. A leather jacket finished the look. Sam rubbed the back of his neck. He was practically drooling. He had to cut it out before Gabriel noticed. But the Archangel seemed to be preoccupied. He was twirling the globe on the desk, watching the world go by. That’s when Sam realized Gabe was stalling. Interesting.
“Why are you here, Gabriel?” Sam stood to even things up. Gabriel was intimidating as Hell. Which was ridiculous considering their height difference, but Archangel and power… He shut those thoughts down quickly. No need to think about that.
Gabriel smiled at him. It didn’t quite reach his eyes. Was he nervous? It seemed impossible. “You and I have some unfinished business.”
“So, you’re here to finish it?” he said swallowing the sudden dryness in his throat. “Our business?” And that sounded way more seductive than he meant it to be. But fuck it. He was tired of pretending.
“Actually, Sam,” he said stepping closer. “I’m here to start it.”