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This One Is Free

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The problem starts when Sam kills the Maenad by drowning it in the lake.

In the frozen lake.

In the middle of Winter.

Dean's still dealing with the one fifty miles up the road.

There's a cabin close enough but all the wood's too wet to burn and all Sam's clothes are soaking. The hole-spotted cabin blankets are too small and too damp. No matter how tightly Sam winds them around himself there's a spike of deep cold that he can't get rid of.

He feels heavy and slow, and then he doesn't feel cold any more.

He pulls the blankets as close as possible and shunts back across the floor to find the musty edge of the couch. He pushes himself back against it, and hopes to God he can stay awake long enough to start shivering again, or he's pretty much screwed -


Sam wakes up.

Which is his first surprise.

The second is that he's pressed into - or maybe sprawled over, he's too dizzy to orient himself - someone else. All warm skin and tight fold of arms.

He figures it's Dean, somehow. Because it wouldn’t be the first time his brother has dragged him back from the edge - or out of the fall even.

But it's not Dean, the waist he has an arm curled round is too small and too soft, and even in dire life saving emergencies Sam's pretty sure his brother would never be pressed quite this close. Especially with so much nudity involved.

He spends a moment trying to absorb that while he shivers quietly, painfully. Then with more self-preservation than caution, he tries to wind his legs round legs that aren't even close to as long as his own. But they're warm, every single inch of skin he's shoved into is impossibly warm.

Human beings don't give off heat like this.

Sam turns his head, one slow, uncomfortable ache of movement. Cold air shivers across his ear and cheek, making him groan unhappily.

But he's far enough to see a long line of throat and the almost-familiar curve of amused mouth.

His head falls back before he's certain. His brain takes a long shivery moment to give him the answer. Until he huffs and awkwardly breathes out the word 'Gabriel.'

It takes a second for that to sink in.

"M'dreaming," Sam mutters into the warm skin under his mouth.

There's a soft breath of laugher from just above his head.

"If that makes it easier." The words vibrate through the chest he's pressed against. But the voice confirms the identity. "Let's say that you are."

Because if he isn't dreaming Sam will have to move. He'll have to haul his body away from the flare of impossible warmth that is Gabriel. He'll have to push him away and fight this. He'll have to make it about everything else. He'll have to be angry and cold and miserable.

Sam honestly doesn't have the energy, he just doesn't.

It may actually kill him.

Even this much careful tension is making trails of cold run along his spine and he twitches, hard and unpleasant.

A warm hand flattens, then slides on his back, spreading warmth in wide lines and Sam huffs something like relief and turns his head. He finds a spot he hasn't made cold with his hair and breathes into it.

The world is just quiet and warm for a handful of minutes.

"If this is a dream I should probably take advantage of you," Gabriel murmurs into his hair.

"Don't push it," Sam grumbles sluggishly against his skin.