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Dead Space

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Sam likes to think he's good at the face by now.

The face that says everything's fine, everything's good. The face that does its best to look like it's just any other day, any other hunt. A little bit tired, a little bit distracted a little bit exasperated with whatever Dean's done that he should probably disapprove of.

It's good enough to pass, good enough that Dean won't look at it too long. Won't look for cracks at the edges.

He wears it in the passenger seat while Dean complains about perverted witches and their overpowering need to get people naked and paint symbols all over them. Like they're compensating for their own sexual failure. He wears it while Dean rants about how it always happens to them. Like the universe seems to consider fucking with them a permanent fixture on its 'to do' list.

Sam slithers on the leather, tries to get comfortable, tries to put more of his weight on his hip because he's not used to this. Not used to feeling that strange impossible to ignore ache whenever he moves, breathes, while the car eats up miles like an irritating song of twinges and stiffness.

Dean's voice drones on and Sam's only paying attention to the parts that are actual statements rather than complaints and general bitchery. He picks at one of the buttons that managed to stay on his shirt, trailing cotton like all it wants is to unravel and fall. He thinks he's feeling a little of that himself at the minute.

He thinks he can feel Castiel staring a hole into the back of his head.

He's been doing that since Gabriel disappeared. Since the other angel just checked out the moment Castiel shoved the basement door open and broke the wards. And on the one hand, yeah, they're clearly not going to have a super awkward conversation about it all. Which Sam's grateful for. But on the other - hell, Sam doesn’t even know what the other hand's even holding.

He'd managed to trudge his way unhappily up through the house and into the car an hour ago. It had been slow and not as steady as he was going for. He'd faked a knee injury, said he fell on the stone when the building came down. Dean's fallen badly enough times that he knows what that's like. That he isn't going to question he's just going to wince in sympathy.

This time at least Sam doesn’t have to feel guilty about the lying.

It's not like he did anything wrong.

But Dean's more interested in Gabriel's apparent inability to watch anyone's back than he is suspicious about Sam's clumsiness. Sam had been weirdly uncomfortable listening to it. He just wants to get back, have a shower, get changed, do ordinary things, ordinary everyday stuff.

Because he feels weird and he thinks normal everyday stuff will help.

Castiel is still carefully silent and Sam doesn’t know if it's normal silence or not. If it's normal, blank and not-really-serene-at-all angel silence, or something else. Sam's not looking at him so he can't tell. He's being very careful not to look at him. Because the way Castiel looks at him sometimes, like he can see everything. Sam's not exactly excited about the prospect of that at the moment.

Dean decides to stop rather than drive out of state tonight and Sam's grateful, so damn grateful. Though he doesn’t say anything, doesn’t move, doesn’t look at his brother or Castiel. He just nods and says something like it's a good idea, a great idea. Some useless words that Dean ignores anyway. Mouth working on automatic.

He wears the 'everything's ok' face all the way to their room. He takes it into the bathroom and locks the door behind him. Then tosses his bag down by the door and stares at himself in the mirror until the expression slides away, falls away. Leaves him staring blankly back at himself.

He tells himself it's like coming back from any number of tough hunts. The way he feels like he's been thrown around, thrown into things. Skin too sensitive, spatter of bruises where supernatural fingers have dug in too hard. Muscles protesting every stretch, every lean down to pull off his boots and socks.

It's not the first time Sam's felt like that. Not the first time he's suffered through that.

He's used to that.

Only it's not like that at all.

This is hunting and skin-twitching magical fallout and sex all rolled up together. No, this is feeling like he's had sex in a way he's never felt it before, from the inside. This is...he doesn’t even know what this is. But he's scowling at himself in the mirror like - like he's done something wrong.

The him in the mirror doesn't help with that. But his hair's too long and his skin is too warm and he's kind of amazed that Dean didn't notice how huge his pupils are. Because they're too big even in the sharp bathroom light.

Fallout. Like having sex with an angel wouldn’t have consequences. Even when you didn't mean to, even when you never would have.

Sam thinks maybe he's secretly afraid that he did something stupid.

That he did something human.

Sam had no way of knowing whether Gabriel would have been ok if he'd just left him alone. Maybe he shouldn't have pushed, maybe Gabriel hadn't wanted - hadn't wanted or needed him to do that.

Maybe he was the one that left Gabriel with no fucking choice the moment he touched him.

Which is a horrible way to look at things. It leaves a curl of unpleasantness in his chest. The thought that maybe he didn't know enough, that he tried to help without understanding and did something bad. They don't know enough about how angels work, they know nothing about how Archangels work. It's not like Castiel's been sharing. The only impression Sam's gotten about angels is their obedience, their determination and their ability to be assholes.

He doesn't - they're nothing like Sam ever thought they would be. If he'd ever had a properly formed thought. If it had ever been anything more than a vague sense of hope, a sense of justice. The thought that they'd be powerful and peaceful and merciful and alien and God -

Sam's seen their power, he's felt it.

Though he never thought he'd ever end up in some dusty basement with the taste of one in his mouth and the soft give of their skin under his fingers.

That one would beg.

He looks in the mirror again and he can't even tell what expression he's wearing now. Something that looks like it hurts, something that maybe looks a little guilty, and it isn't like he didn't have enough to feel guilty for already.

Sam leaves the expression in the mirror and turns the shower on, doesn't look back at it.

He half-drowns himself while he washes his hair and complains under his breath with noises and sighs about the fact that pain isn't as easy to wash out as blood and dirt and building dust. That if anything is unfair for the Winchesters then it's that. He's going to have bruises, weirdly placed and incriminating for days. They're already tender under his fingers and so he ignores them.

He ends up clean but stiff, dripping water everywhere.

When he finally steps out, lifts his head and looks in the mirror he thinks maybe he looks normal again.

Or close enough.

He dresses while he's still damp, clothes sticking to him, but they're clean and he doesn't care. By the time he opens the door he doesn't even have to fake an expression.

Castiel is sitting at the small table, Dean's bag is tossed on the bed but he's not in the room.

"Where's Dean?" Sam asks cautiously.

"He went to collect something to eat," Castiel says quietly and he stands as if he was waiting for Sam to come out of the shower. Just sat there waiting for him. And yeah, that's not exactly comforting. "I said I would stay."

Sam thinks maybe he puts weight into the words on purpose. Like he's trying subtlety. Which he really hasn't nailed yet. Because the serious angel face is not subtle. The serious angel face is mostly just serious. An ever present threat of conversation. He'd been kind of happy about that showing up less when Castiel spoke to him now.

He doesn't expect Castiel to look at him like he looks at Dean because - yeah - Sam is never going to get that quiet, almost desperate earnestness. Like Castiel wants nothing more than to understand him. Or maybe, on days when Dean is being less of a dick than usual, to worship him.

He wonders if his brother knows that an angel's in love with him.

He wonders if bringing it up will get him out of having this conversation?

Castiel lifts a hand and then seems to think better of it, frowns and lowers it again. Sam tell by the new weight of his stare, by the insistence, that this is a conversation he's going to have, whether he wants to or not.

"Castiel," he says simply, because he's damned if he's starting it.

"The spell wasn't stopped," Castiel says. Which is a statement and not a question but it's a statement that's making a point. Sam thinks maybe angels have to learn about questions. People grow up questioning every damn thing but angels, angels just obey.

Sam's known Castiel long enough to know that it's not a statement of accusation though. It's pointed, it's worried. It's Castiel trying to help, trying to understand.

"No, it wasn't," Sam says carefully.

"And yet the town was unharmed." Castiel's voice is cautious but firm.

Sam holds an 'obviously' behind his teeth.

"Gabriel didn't let it out of the room," he says carefully and the admission feel strange to say. Like he's admitting to something he's not supposed to.

"The nature and size of the spell would have made containment...difficult," Castiel says carefully.

"Yeah," Sam says. Because he can resist just as hard as Dean when he wants to.

Castiel frowns, expression going tight, confusion and something hard underneath. Like he wants to know the answers but doesn't quite know how to push, or doesn't want to push.

"If not impossible, even for an Archangel," he adds.

"He was a little messed up for a while," Sam admits.

Castiel says nothing at all and Sam changes his mind about resisting so hard. Because he thinks maybe they're going to be having this conversation forever if he doesn't say something.

"I offered to help," Sam says quietly, honestly. Which he thinks is a diplomatic way of phrasing it. Because if Castiel wants to paint a picture rather than ask actual questions he's game.

Castiel's frown deepens.

"You understood what sort of assistance that would require?"

"I had a pretty good idea," Sam says thickly.

"Did you consent?" Castiel asks quietly, carefully.

He's expecting the question but it's still weirdly direct, strangely threatening once voiced.

Sam thinks he'd be a lot more of a mess if he hadn't. If it had gone another way. If he hadn't offered and there'd been too much of it. But that's what they do all the time right, they jump in without looking and sometimes they get lucky and it turns out ok.

Because it is ok. He's ok, he's fine.

Castiel's expression gets tighter, harder. Sam realises he hasn't said anything for a few seconds too long and he nods quickly, jerkily.

"Yeah, I did."

Castiel's head tilts, just a little, as if he isn't quite sure whether he's lying or not. As if he isn't sure what to do with the information now he has it.

But he never gets to voice his concerns because the door swings open and Dean slides in, kicking it shut behind him. He's balancing flat boxes in one arm and keys in the other. He grins when he looks up in a way that suggests he knows how amazing the pizza smells.

Sam's pretty damn happy to see him, because something has just occurred to him.

He's absolutely starving.


Sam dreams about it.

He dreams about the half formed dizzy memories of when his skin burned. Everything hot and close and vibrant. Gabriel, heavier than he had any right to be, brighter and all different shades of strange and unstoppable need. He dreams words, words that start off low and soft and pleading. Broken edges of 'yes' and 'please' and 'God,' on his tongue. But they get low and ragged. Harder and shakier and everything had suddenly been bright and he'd felt like he was suffocating, unravelled piece by piece and curled round and under and over something a thousand times too blazing white and too hot.

He remembers that it was overwhelming. It was too much, that it was too good, too close to dying. A low gravel murmur dragged from his throat, 'don't stop.'

Or it could have been 'don't' and 'stop.'

God, everything is so smeared out.

But his skin had felt raw underneath, like Gabriel had been all the way inside him. Touching too deep with too much of himself. Like his power had bled all the way through the skin in waves-


Sam's awake, blinking confused in the blurry darkness. He's half turned in the sheets, they're tangled up round and through his legs, leaving him strangled and caught and panting.

Dean's looking at him from the other bed, half irritated and half tired in the darkness.

"Cut the volume on the porn, dude," he grumbles, voice sleep rough and easy.

Sam swallows, swallows again and tries to find his voice.

But Dean's already muttering quietly about 'things he doesn't want to be woken up by' and sliding back in the sheets, twisting round and pulling them up over his shoulder.

Sam's heart is beating a mile too fast, hair damp at the back of his neck. He untangles himself from the sheets, shifting his legs apart and feels - God - feels how hard he is, so close to the edge.

It's a low greedy stab of impatient need.

His body still remembers, still twinges in a way that remembers, what it felt like.

Sam stares at the ceiling and ignores it, ignores it until it's a blur of discomfort. Until his eyes are gritty and tired and he falls off the edge and into sleep again.


When Gabriel doesn't show up for three days Sam stops expecting him to.

Even when they get a hunt that involves unfaithful men being dragged off in the middle of the night by some giant snake creature.

Which Sam secretly thinks is the sort of thing he'd appreciate.

Castiel revels in his 'being the bearer of bad news' job and tells them they're chasing a Gorgon.

Dean protests that being turned to stone is not exactly how he planned to spend his weekend. Sam has to agree because he's been researching since Castiel flapped in and he's fairly sure that the 'turning to stone' thing isn't a myth.

If even Castiel looks worried then it's definitely not the sort of thing they want to blunder their way in unprepared.

Dean's a big fan of blundering. Sam's honestly amazed that he's lucky enough, and has a thick enough skull to have survived it all.

But when they get inside the cave they've tracked it to they find the thing impaled on a jagged piece of stone with its head twenty feet away.

"Well that was a complete anti-climax," Dean grumbles.

Sam's still staring at the thing's head. Because they actually do have snakes for hair, tiny ones, limp and tangled now it's dead. The part of him that's always amazed at learning new things thinks that's pretty amazing.

He's fairly sure it'd be less amazing if it was alive and trying to kill him. The Gorgon's broken corpse is disturbing large.

"I would not like to meet whatever this thing pissed off," Sam says carefully.

Dean grunts agreement from where he's poking the end of the Gorgon's tail with his boot.

"Dude, stop poking it," Sam tells him. He looks back the way they come, trying to judge the size of the cave mouth, to wonder if they have to worry about something bigger starting on the town.

He catches Castiel's eye and the angel gives him a look, which he doesn't get at all.

Until he does.


Hunting is a lot easier than it should be for a while.

Dean keeps loudly declaring that he's just fine with incompetent demons and monsters that keep accidentally dying in mysterious circumstances.

Sam knows him well enough to know he secretly finds it irritating.

But he just sits in the passenger seat and doesn't say anything at all.


Sam's on the computer and half way through a bottle of coke two weeks later when Dean comes back with not one but two angels.

Castiel is protesting something and Dean isn't listening. Gabriel is trailing behind like he has nothing better to do, expression the same as it ever is. Half amusement and half certainty that he could be absolutely anywhere else having more fun.

Sam knows for a fact that Dean and Castiel are going to drift off together, because they always do and Gabriel will end up in here, feet up on the table, harassing him. It's what he always does - what he always used to do.

He tries to think of something to say. Something ordinary, something that in no way references what happened three weeks ago. But his brain refuses to cooperate. He can't think of anything and that's a special sort of frustrating, because Sam thinks maybe they finally all worked out how to get along in some sort of strange ceasefire. Gabriel consenting to behave, to a certain extent. With the occasional pause to make fun of them all and occasionally threaten to do something embarrassing to Dean and Castiel. Or making dirty comments whenever Sam says something even remotely suggestive.

It used to be easy.

But now there's nothing.

Sam's used to sex making things weird, sex always makes things a little weird. That's a completely different way to know someone. Dean may be able to do things like that and then never think about it again but Sam doesn't work that way.

Sure he's had to do things on a hunt before that he's felt embarrassed about the next day. Things he'd felt a little wrong about the next time he's had to interact with them. He's had sex with a demon he knows all about morning after guilt.

This isn't that.

Because on one hand yes, Gabriel is Gabriel. He's annoying and ridiculous and unpredictable and short and he makes a habit of inventively fucking with them. He was a pagan god for hundreds of years and Sam thinks more than a little of that rubbed off.

But on the other hand, he's the Archangel Gabriel.

Sam thinks what happened in that room, what happened between them - he thinks he felt both and he doesn't quite know how to go back to before that.

So he's left staring at the computer like an idiot while Gabriel and Castiel do their angel thing where they just look at each other. Castiel with the barest hint of expression Gabriel all eyebrows and unhappy mouth. Sam figures it's angel talking. Just because their mouths aren't moving doesn't mean they're not saying anything.

He has a horrible feeling that they're not-talking about him. Because Castiel's wearing his 'I am judging you' face.

Sam pretends he hasn't noticed anything and adds a few pages to his bookmarks.

Until a hand curls round the top of the screen and the computer beeps in protest of absolutely nothing he's done to it.

Sam looks up.

Gabriel's watching him with a sort of careful, uncertainty. Like he's not entirely sure what Sam's reaction might be.

"Hey," Sam says quietly.

"Hey, Sam," Gabriel's voice is smooth and fluid and the same as it always is. Which is oddly reassuring. If anyone's not going to change it should be Gabriel.

Castiel has disappeared, though whether he vanished or just walked out Sam doesn’t have a clue. He has that freakish angel thing where he manages to make no sound, and the same way he never says 'hey' when he appears he never feels the need to tell them he's going either.

Judging by the way Gabriel flicks his eyes in that direction too, Castiel probably did the other face at him as well. The one that manages to look sad and disappointed at the same time. Sam has to wonder where Castiel learned that, and how it apparently works on Archangels now. Maybe God did bring him back to life with secret powers after all.

He looks at Gabriel again.

"I guess we're talking about this then, huh?"

Gabriel's face is abruptly as calm and as blank as a mask - as an angel.

The blank expression doesn’t look right on Gabriel. Sam's too used to seeing him amused, to seeing him irritated, mocking, faking terrible long sufferance. The nothing on his face makes it look like he's someone else, like he's some other Gabriel, some faraway freezing cold version.

"Don't do that," Sam says on a whim, forgetting everything he might have said instead. "That's a Castiel and Anna face not a you face. When you do that, it's weird."

Gabriel looks surprised for a second, then he rolls his eyes and it's like his face is his own again, all eyebrows and mouth and interested tilt.

Sam lifts a hand to shut the laptop and for a second their fingers are pressed together. Sam had almost forgotten the strange warmth of Gabriel's skin.

Gabriel pulls his hand away first, one quick jerk of motion. Like he doesn't think he's allowed to touch any more. Like he'd done something wrong when Sam knows perfectly well that there was an equal amount of wrong that led them - where they ended up.

The silence is so thick he thinks maybe he's going to choke on it.

"I'm sorry," Sam says eventually, can't help but say.

Gabriel lifts an eyebrow,

"About last time," Sam explains. "If I made you do something you didn't want to do. I was trying to help, and I didn't mean to...make that the only option."

Gabriel makes a noise, somewhere between laughter and something else, something thinner.

"Are you actually apologising for letting me have sex with you?" Gabriel asks slowly.

"No, I'm apologising for pushing," Sam says. "That's a really human thing to do and I didn't know if it was right."

"It's not a human thing it's a Winchester thing. You're all as ridiculous as each other." Gabriel takes a breath as if he never meant to say that. As if maybe he's aware that insulting the Winchesters is not a good way for this conversation to go, even if he does do it on a semi-regular basis.

He sighs, one quiet rush of sound that Sam thinks is maybe as unnecessary as every other noise he makes.

"It wasn't exactly my favourite thing, being on the other end of that irritating self sacrificing streak," he says eventually.

Sam's tempted to point out his end isn't exactly all flowers and candy either.

"And it was a stupid thing to do. Clearly you missed the part where I come with phenomenal cosmic powers."

Sam's not touching that one, he figures if Gabriel ever had to fill in paperwork on 'abuse of powers' he'd probably be writing for the rest of time.

"It seemed like the right thing to do at the time and everyone walked away fine. That's a good day in my book." Hell, that's a great day in his book considering a bad day involves ending up dead, or starting the apocalypse.

"You barely walked," Gabriel points out quietly. "And you looked like you'd been through an earthquake." He shuts his mouth and pulls a face.

Sam debates mentioning that it felt a little like that too.

"It was kind of a new thing for me, I needed some time to process."

"It wasn't exactly regular sex, Sam, and I think the magical influence counts as special circumstances."

"Like drunk sex?"

"Yes, exactly like drunk sex," Gabriel says smoothly. "And at the same time, nothing like that at all."

Sam rolls his eyes at him.

Gabriel looks amused for a long second and then he shoves his hands in his pockets and looks away. Like he's convincing himself, forcing himself to do something unpleasant.

"I'm sorry that I got a carried away, that I got confused. You're not exactly built to handle -" Gabriel tries for a complicated hand gesture.

"Angel sex?" Sam offers, because he thinks maybe he gets that now. The fact that Gabriel out of his head tried to do something Sam was physically incapable of.

Gabriel makes a noise, something that's too complicated for Sam to unravel. He sees it sideways and it might be apology, or guilt, or embarrassment.

"It's not exactly sex," Gabriel says instead, and Sam thinks that's maybe him giving, just a little. He makes a little gesture with his hand a sort of personal and self-mocking 'ta da.' "Asexual remember."

Sam's tempted to point out that Gabriel has apparently missed the point of asexual entirely.

"It felt like sex," Sam insists. It had felt a lot like sex.

Gabriel looks at him, like he desperately wants to say something but he's holding on to it instead. That there's still that sharpness, something unpleasant that he's holding behind his teeth. Sam knows from experience that never ends well.

"I think I liked it," Sam offers.

"Not all of it," Gabriel says stiffly and his mouth presses tight and thin.

"I don't remember it," Sam says with a shrug, which is mostly the truth. "Anyway, it's like you said, magical influence doesn't count. We both said ok, we were both a little -" he can't think of a good word. He doesn’t think 'high' would work. "Out of it."

"I didn't mean to leave you so -" Gabriel grits his teeth as if he's searching for a word that doesn't make him sound like an abusive boyfriend.

"Dishevelled?" Sam offers, because he thinks he's getting good at this putting words into Archangel's mouths thing.

Gabriel gives him a sharp look, like he knows Sam's letting him off there. But he makes a strange shrugging movement, like he doesn't like thinking about it, doesn't like remembering it.

"I was going to fix you. But then at the end...I thought it best if I just didn't touch you any more."

"I was ok," Sam says quietly.

Gabriel gives him a look which plainly doesn’t believe him.

"Really, I was, a little bruised and a little oversensitive, a little bit confused. Also, a little freaked out by what you were, but I was ok."

Gabriel looks at him for a long second, then he nods slowly and looks away, like maybe he'd been waiting for that.

Sam thinks about asking for almost a minute before he actually makes himself.

"Were you ok?"

Gabriel blinks at him as if he doesn't expect the question, then he makes a rough noise. Sam can almost hear him thinking 'of course you'd ask that, Sam Winchester, you predictable idiot.'

He's almost expecting a flippant answer, but he doesn't get one.

Gabriel leans his hips on the table so hard it creaks.

"I liked it," he admits, like it's something he should feel bad about. "I liked it a lot."

It's soft and honest and it drags out of him like Gabriel's reluctant to let it go.

Sam doesn't expect the sharp ache of unexpected sense memory and he's not sure if it's the words or the way Gabriel looks at him like maybe he wants to do it again. And for some bizarre reason the thought had never occurred to Sam, that there might be a thing. That there might be something afterwards. His brain sort of wants to turn that over and poke at it for a while.

But then Gabriel's looking at the door again, arms crossed.

"That's kind of the point," Sam offers. Because it is, that's why people do it. He figures anyone under the influence of sex magic who gets to fuck anyone else is going to have a good time. Even if they feel shitty about it later.

Gabriel huffs something annoyed.

"I think you're supposed to be madder than this."

"You just think I should be mad because you feel guilty. You shouldn't. You're kind of one of us, you look out for us, we look out for you. It's kind of what friends do."

"Are we friends, Sam?" Gabriel asks and it's some strange mixture of serious and curious.

"Sure," Sam says, without having to think about it. But then he frowns because he's never actually heard Gabriel say anything suggesting that's anything close to what they are before. Maybe he doesn't - "I mean, unless you don't want to be."

"I never said that," Gabriel counters, too fast, and maybe he realises as much because he smiles too wide and turns his head away.

"Also, you've apparently been working out your issues on the monsters we've been hunting," Sam points out. It's not an accusation, it's more of a guess. Though Sam's fairly sure it's a damn good guess.

Gabriel pouts like Sam's discovered an embarrassing hobby. He doesn't even try to deny it.

"And what have you been doing with your issues?" Gabriel asks curiously.

"Mostly repressing, " Sam says with a nod. "That's what we do, we bottle it all up and then go mad at the least convenient moment apparently."

Gabriel nods like this is news to him.

"That does explain a lot," he says slowly.

Though Sam's noticed that he's been less angry at the world lately. Less inclined to take everything as a sign of fierce inevitability. To take every look as an expression of mistrust. He's not quite sure how that happened. Or why that happened.

"It's the human condition, I think maybe it's catching," Sam says seriously.

"Don't even joke about that," Gabriel says flatly. Like it's the most horrible idea in the world.

"Angels are above all that, of course," Sam offers slowly, by which he means 'I call bullshit.

"We're supposed to be," Gabriel points out.

"Like that thing that wasn't supposed to be sex."

Gabriel raises an eyebrow at him and he can't seem to help himself because it's still all suggestiveness and dare.

"It's not," he insists. Though there's a smile somewhere behind the words. There's something there that Sam's tempted to poke at. Something he thinks Gabriel might let him, that maybe if he wants answers Gabriel will give some of them. But he finds he doesn't want them as some sort of peace offering.

So he raises an eyebrow in a way he's seen Gabriel do a hundred times instead.

The mimicry gets him that amused curve of mouth that's still trying to be serious.

"You're human, you manage to make everything relate to sex in some way," Gabriel complains, like it's a terrible failing in the human experiment. One that he's clearly pretending he hasn't been taking advantage of for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. Or maybe he thinks it's all their fault.

"That must be something you caught off of us then, huh?" Sam offers and he knows he's caught Gabriel out because he gets a laugh and it's bright and dirty and real.

He takes a minute to finish the last of his coke, Gabriel leans against the table, fingers tapping on the closed screen of his computer.

"I'm pretty sure being human is not a disability," Sam says carefully.

Gabriel makes a face.

"Does that mean I have to stop feeling sorry for you?"

"Yeah, I think it does."

Gabriel huffs, like Sam's always making him do things he doesn't want to do.

"And seriously no more ridiculous displays of self sacrifice, Gabriel," Sam tells him, voice carefully serious. "You have to leave that to the professionals."

The angel's startled into messy laughter and he looks at Sam like he's surprised him again. Sam decides he likes that face.

"You're only saying that because you've managed not to die ninety nine percent of the time." Gabriel rolls his eyes at the ridiculousness of it all.

"Well it's a good job I was there then," Sam says sensibly.

Gabriel looks at him as if to see if he means it.

Sam shrugs.

"Yeah, I'm pretty good at that - the sacrificing part not the uh-"

"The being fucked part," Gabriel fills in helpfully, then shifts his jaw, like he immediately regrets saying it.

Sam surprised by how much hearing it doesn't bother him.

"Yeah, that was different," he admits and manages to hold Gabriel's eyes.

Gabriel's mouth opens then shuts again, like he's reconsidering what he was about to say.

Sam leans back in his chair.

"You can say whatever you like you know, I won't hold your complete lack of tact against you. You're an angel and you don't know any better."

Gabriel takes a moment to glare amusement at him.

Sam realises he's enjoying this, he's enjoying this a lot.

He has the weirdest feeling that they're taking this conversation in a direction he wouldn’t have expected. Because whatever they're doing, it feels a hell of a lot like they're doing it together, that they're doing it on purpose.

Sam thinks Gabriel is just as surprised as he is. About the fact that they're - for want of a better word - flirting, and Sam's not even close to as bothered about that as he'd thought he would be.

As he maybe should be.

He kind of wants to see where it goes.