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Adfectus (Samifer) AU

Chapter Text

For countless millennia, since the dawn of creation, he has been sealed away in complete isolation, removed from light and life itself. He had nothing but his thoughts to keep him company. As the eons dragged on, he slowly became unstable, maddened by his own mind.

That is what true damnation is like.

There was nothing that the Archangel Lucifer wouldn't do if it meant he could feel sunlight on his skin again, walk the earth and feel the grass between his toes, anything to be free from his personal prison in the deepest and darkest pits of Hell.

It had taken him eons, the passage of time dragged on which felt like forever, to find a way out. Azazel had died years ago, so his freedom all depended on himself. Constructed by God himself, the Cage was supposed to be perfect, but Lucifer had found a weak spot, a crack he could wiggle through. It did come at a price, he had realized, but wanting to do anything if it meant his freedom, he was willing to pay.

Doing just that, he freed himself in a burst of a radiant light which lit up every corner of Hell as he blazed through it in his true form, towards his own freedom.

~~

As time passed, he was able to find himself a vessel. A mortal man who went by the name of Nick. Spreading out his immense wings and feeling the wind move through his sensitive feathers, he soared freely after having been trapped for eons, letting the wind take him away to wherever as he allowed his heart to feel a moment of peace - something which seemed to amuse his vessel very much.

His moment was only short-lived, for it didn't take long for the cracks in his mind to appear. It was as if something took away big chunks of his memories. His memories were what made him who he was, the very core of his existence. A cry tore from Lucifer's throat and he staggered, nearly dropping from the sky as he held on to the fading pieces of himself.

Everything comes at a prize, Lucifer remembered. Now it was time for him to pay.

Having succumbed to his fate, the Archangel completely tensed up in dismay when he felt a surge of celestial energy through the air. Trusting his instincts, he flew up, evading the angel who had dived his way.

Michael.

His brother looked up at him with blazing eyes, yet Lucifer could see the underlying confusion. "How did you get free?!" Michael called out to him through the wind.

"I found a weak spot," Lucifer simply replied, clenching his jaw. He really couldn't afford to lose time with Michael like this. "Michael, listen to me. We're brothers. We don't have to fight each other! Let's just walk off the chessboard," he desperately tried. He knew how stubborn his brother could get but no matter what had happened between them in the past, Lucifer still loved him, and he did not want to fight if he could avoid it.

Michael fell silent, and Lucifer's heart skipped a beat upon the prospect of Michael actually agreeing with him, but Michael's next words completely crushed any hope he had left. "I'm sorry, Brother. But you are a monster and I have to kill you."

"I just want to be free and live like everyone!" Lucifer screamed out in desperation, voice hoarse as he concentrated his powers and made sure that Michael couldn't sense it, all the while keeping a hold of his very being to make sure it did not fall apart right now. I just need to hold it out for a bit longer, he thought to himself.

"I have my orders." Avoiding his eyes, Michael flew up in a flash, his mind set. The only reason that Lucifer could see him move, was because he was an angel himself. Folding one wing against his side, Lucifer flew sideways to avoid his brother's deadly attack, but he wasn't fast enough, Michael's blade piercing his skin and sinking deep into his flesh.

Throwing back his head, Lucifer screamed, his true voice piercing through and shattering the sky as some of his grace leaked from the wound, mixed with blood.

"Lucifer!" He heard his vessel call out to him in panic. The angel and the vessel were intertwined, their fates connected. Any pain Lucifer felt, Nick felt just the same. If Lucifer died... Nick did as well.

As a tear escaped from his now fiery red eyes, Lucifer unleashed the powers he held trapped within and managed to catch Michael by surprise as the celestial energy explodes high in the sky, creating a shockwave which made the sky tremble and banish Michael back to Heaven for the time being.

The blade had torn free from his side during the blast and the Archangel fell, closing his eyes tightly as he wrapped his shaking wings around himself to somewhat protect his body from the coming impact. He landed in a field, surrounded by a forest, with a yelp and loud thud as the ground shook. A groan came from his lips as the world spun around him both from the impact he made, and the wound inflicted on him by most likely an Archangel Blade.

Lucifer's memories dwindled, slowly drifting away from him despite his efforts to keep his mind together. His very essence, the very core of who he was slipped through his mental fingers. His vessel screamed his name in full on panic - but as he slowly forgot who he was, not sure if Nick was real or a figment of his imagination anymore, the man's voice grew fainter and fainter until Lucifer couldn't hear him at all anymore.

Vaguely, he heard a dog barking in the distance as he lost the last of his memories and darkness took him.

There is always a price to pay. And the price for his freedom were his own memories.

Chapter Text

November 2014, Northern California

"Gabriel! Don't go off too far!" Sam called after his dog, watching the Cardigan corgi disappear amongst the bushes with a sigh. But it wasn't long before Gabriel reappeared, chasing after a squirrel until it ran up a tree, leaving the small dog behind to bark at it. Sam whistled sharply, and Gabriel's large ears perked up before the dog turned to look at him. "Come!"

Shooting one last glance up at the squirrel in the tree, Gabriel turned around and trotted back towards his side, pink tongue hanging out of his mouth as his foxlike tail wagged slightly. "Don't bully the poor squirrels so much," he said, grinning in amusement when the dog's ears jolted at the word 'squirrels'.

"You know very well what I mean," Sam continued to his dog who happily walked next to him on the trail as they continued on their way, "let's just head home, Gabe. It's getting late. We can play here again tomorrow," he added, nervously looking up towards what he could see of the sky through the trees looming above his head. Streaks of orange and pink were already painting the sky, signaling that the setting of the sun was drawing near.

While the woods might be beautiful during the sunset, with all the radiant colors giving it an enchanting feel, he would rather not be stuck here in the darkness just because his dog felt the need to chase every small animal he could find. Holding Gabriel's leash in his hands, he bent through his knees to attach it to the dog's collar, and they could go home.

Too late he noticed the tensing in Gabriel's muscles and how the dog's ears perked up in a direction leading off the walking trail. Sensing something only animals could. When Sam noticed that he was about to run off again, he nearly jumped at the dog to catch him, but Gabriel had already dashed away in a flash of reddish-gold. Landing face-down on the leaf-covered ground, Sam quickly stood up and looked at the direction his dog had run off too. Damn corgis and their speed.

He put his hands around his mouth as he stood back to his full height. "GABRIEL!! COME!" He yelled, but Gabriel did not come back like he normally would. Seeing the corgi running in the distance, Sam sighed once before he sprinted after him, calling the dog's name along the way in the hope that he would return.

Sprinting past the trees that towered high above him, he noticed how the forest became denser the further he chased after Gabriel and the trees thicker until they were wider than even a truck. "Gabriel!" Sam huffed again, looking around for any sign of the corgi. Nearly tripping on a tree root that was in his way, he managed to catch his balance before he would catch another mouthful of dirt.

Nearly jumping out of his skin, he heard what sounded like a screech high up in the sky, but when he looked up in a panic he could see nothing out of the ordinary. Probably just a bird, he thought, unsure but not wanting to dwell on it much longer.

Plucking a few twigs and leaves out of his shaggy hair, he noticed a flash of reddish fur in the distance. Sam huffed again and went in that direction - hoping that it was his dog and he hadn't gotten lost and was chasing after a fox or something. His heart hammered against his ribcage as his feet thundered over the ground, the sound of his tread dulled by the leaves and small plants under him. At this very moment, he took a second to appreciate the nearly daily jogs he took which enabled him to be able to chase Gabriel this far off the walking trail and deeper into the forest.

Suddenly, the ground shook underneath his feet and the man screamed in shock and fell again. An earthquake? Right now?! Before the panic could fully settle in, the earthquake had already stopped, and the forest settled down again, but silence now hung over it as even the birds had fallen quiet. Breathing heavily, he rose on unsteady feet, failing to notice how unusual everything going on was as his mind was all over the place.

"Gabriel!" Sam called out again in annoyance, a hint of panic leaking through. The corgi had run off before when he saw or smelled something interesting, but never this far, and Sam wasn't amused by his shenanigans. Hearing a chorus of barking in the distance, Sam stilled and strained his ears to hear.

Recognizing that bark anywhere, he set off again, failing to notice how the trees cleared out around him - his mind set on finding his dog and getting them home safely before it became too dark.

He ran past a few trees and stopped short in his tracks when he noticed he had entered a clearing deep within the forest. His eyes widened as his mouth dropped open slightly as he was reminded again why he loved this area so much. Mountains with snowy peaks rose in the distance, and he could hear the faint sound of running water. But no other sounds were heard - even Gabriel had fallen quiet by now.

Sam took a few steps forward as he moved through the pale grass which reached just past his ankles. Noticing a tree in the middle of the clearing, he stopped again and tilted his head at how different it looked from the other trees most of the forest consisted out of. This tree had a white outer bark with fiery red and orange leaves hanging on the low branches, while most trees here had an almost reddish bark and the leaves were only found at the very top as the trees towered above everything else.

He almost hadn't noticed him at first, but Gabriel stood in front of the odd tree, something having caught his attention as his tail had stilled all movement and the dog stood there looking almost suspiciously, still like a statue.

Silently, Sam moved closer, feeling like he would disturb the tranquility hanging over this place by called out for his dog.

The closer he came, the more details of the tree he could make out, like how the bark almost seemed to glow in the setting sun and appeared to be cracked, with deep red spatters over the bark which moving down in a trail. Blood, he knew, without having to look closer. The thought unnerved him, and he rather not drew closer to the blood-spattered tree, but if he wanted to get Gabriel, he knew he had no choice.

Then his eyes moved down, following the trail of blood, and he froze once he noticed what had caught Gabriel's attention in the first place.

It was the body of a man.

Chapter Text

For a second, Sam stood paralyzed as he stared at the body his dog had found. All color draining from his face as he wondered if the man in the torn clothes was dead and he just accidentally stumbled across a corpse in the woods.

Movement in the corner of his eye unfroze him from his shock and he watched how Gabriel carefully went closer to the man, sniffing his face and whining softly before looking up at Sam again, his ears flopping down slightly.

"What is it?" Sam asked doubtfully. In reply, Gabriel whined again and stepped even closer to the man, like he was trying to tell Sam something. The dog started licking the man's face and Sam's eyes widened as his mouth dropped open in disbelief. "Gabriel!"

Sam's mouth dropped open further when the man twisted his face in displeasure at getting slobbered by the dog's tongue. He's still alive! Were the words ringing around in his head.

Dazed, he knelt before him, clearing his mind with a shake of his head as he inspected the wound on his side more closely to see if there was something he could do. He was no medic or cop, but it looked suspiciously like a stab wound. "How did you get here?" He muttered under his breath. He took a glance at his dog, who whined and was already looking at him with a tilted head.

Eyes trailing up the trail of blood on the tree, which looked more like a smear closer to where the guy laid, Sam tilted his head as he noticed the broken branches of the tree... it was almost like he fell from the sky. Blinking at this crazy idea, he shook his head. Don't zone off, Sam. This guy obviously needs help, he mentally scolded himself.

"Alright," Sam said as he shook off his jacket, reaching down to tightly wrap it around the man's middle to try to lessen the bleeding before he tried to pick up the guy, being as careful as he could be. "It's time to go," he said, mostly to himself, as he stood up again with the man hoisted over his shoulders, his breath fanning over his neck. Sam knew he couldn't just leave him there. He looked down at Gabriel. "Gabe. Home."

The corgi's ears perked up and he whined softly before turning around and trotting away, going the way they came from as Sam followed him, trusting the dog's sense of direction as his hands supported the blond guy's legs as he walked the way they came from, heading out of the woods.

~~

Having managed to open the door to his home as he carried the still unconscious man on his shoulder, Sam took a deep breath once he set a foot on his doorway. Gabriel ran past his legs, barking wildly, as Sam kicked the door shut behind him. Adjusting the man on his shoulders, he walked through the hallway, thinking twice about it before taking the first door on his left, entering his bedroom. He's hurt. He should stay in the bed, Sam figured, shooting a worried glance at the blond he was carrying.

The man was still alive and breathing, but he had yet to fully gain consciousness which couldn't be a good sign.

Managing to get him down on the bed, he went to the small bathroom attached to his room, wetting a towel and getting the first aid kit he always kept under the sink, before going back to the man's side. Sitting down on the corner of the bed, he carefully unwrapped the jacket he had wrapped around the man's middle. Frowning at the bloodied shirt underneath it, he didn't decide to take any changes and pulled his phone out of his pocket.

There wasn't any reception deep in the woods, but he should be able to call an ambulance from his own home. Looking at the screen to unlock his phone, he frowned.

'No service,' it read.

"Damn it, why now out of all times?!" He grumbled. Shaking his head in displeasure, he grabbed the first aid kit he got, feeling like he had to do something.

He carefully ripping open the bloodied and torn shirt the man wore. Pulling a face at all the blood, he reached out with the wet towel and carefully wiped away some blood around the wound, sighing in relief when he noticed that it looked worse than it actually was.

It was definitely a stab wound, but whatever he had been stabbed with, seemed to have missed any fatal organs and didn't went as deep as Sam had feared. It will probably form a scar in the future, but he was sure that the man would live through it. "You definitely got lucky," he said, continuing to clean the wound. Disinfecting it, he put a dressing on it before he wrapped it up with Gauze Rolls.

When he had covered up the wound to the best of his abilities, Sam stood up and put the blanket up to the man's chest. Placing the first aid kit on his nightstand, he took the bloodied towel with him, as well as the torn-up shirt the man had worn - which was beyond saving - and went to leave the room.

Noticing Gabriel standing by the open door, he watched how the corgi walked into the room, jumped up the large bed and laid down at the other side of the man, his furry body pressed close as his muzzle disappeared amongst the blankets.

Sam grinned and shook his head. "Keep an eye on him, will you, Gabriel?" Sam whispered to the dog. Gabriel's large ears perked up, but other than that, there was no reaction from the dog as he laid watch.

Throwing the shirt and towel in the wash basket, he exited the room and entered the living room, taking a few blankets and a pillow along with him. Placing the pillow on the couch, Sam went ahead and wrapped himself up with the blankets as he laid down and folded one arm underneath his head. Closing his eyes, he eventually fell into a restless sleep.

~~

The next day, Sam awoke to a chorus of barking. Groaning, he rubbed his eyes before groggily sitting up. "Gabriel, shut up," he grumbled. Not yet fully awake, he combed a hand through his messy hair as he shook his head and yawned.

That was when the events of the previous day came rushing back. That he bought a wounded, unconscious man back home. And that said man was in his bed as he had taken up the couch himself. Eyes widening slightly, he jumped up and nearly sprinted back to his room, carefully pushing open the door and peeking inside.

Gabriel stood on the corner of the bed, barking at the man who had shuffled away from the dog with wide eyes, nearly falling off the bed as he did so.

"Gabriel!" Sam called out to get the dog's attention. "Here!" Looking at him, the corgi did as he was told and jumped off the bed.

The man's clear eyes followed the dog until they landed on Sam, trailing up as he stayed quiet. "Uhm, hi," Sam awkwardly spoke, giving a small smile, just realizing how weird this all was. He took a wounded stranger to his home, whom he had found in a forest... did that meant that he pretty much kidnapped someone?

The man, on the other hand, didn't seem that bothered by it. He merely tilted his head as he gave Sam a somewhat blank look as he sat up slowly.

"You might not want to do that," Sam warned him, stumbling over his own words as he took a step closer. "You were hurt pretty badly when I found you, so I patched you up as good as I could. If you move around too much the bleeding might worsen," he fell quiet when noticed that the man still gave him that blank look. "The phone line is down... so I couldn't call an ambulance, and the hospital is too far away."

From the lack of reaction on the man's part, Sam couldn't help but wonder if he even understood what he was saying. Maybe he's an immigrant? He figured he should ask, just to be sure. "Do you... do you understand what I'm saying? Can you speak English?" He asked, speaking slowly.

Looking almost unsure, the man nodded barely noticeable and Sam breathed out in relief. That does make this a bit easier, he thought, not having any idea on what to do if he wasn't understood. Carefully stepping closer, he continued to talk, the man's wary gaze focused on him and Gabriel watching on from the doorway with his ears perked up. "I'm sorry for... just taking you in like this, but I couldn't just leave you out there. You would have died if you didn't get any help, so I hope you can somewhat understand."

Having reached the bed, he awkwardly stood there, fumbling with his hands behind his back as he averted his eyes. Clearing his throat, he stiffly sat down on the uttermost corner of his bed as he looked back at the man. His dirty blond hair got stuck in all directions during his sleep and those icy blue eyes were focused on him, still with that blank look in them. Sam guessed him to be about his brother's age, but he couldn't be sure for there was something about the man, which he couldn't wrap his mind around, that said differently.

"If you would like me to bring you to the hospital either way or perhaps to your home," at that, a frown formed on the man's face, "I will make the drive. But you're also welcome to stay here if you prefer." One corner of his lips curling up in a half-smile.

He held out his hand for the other to shake. "My name is Sam Winchester. I do wish it was on different circumstances... but nice to meet you, I guess."

Patiently, he waited for the man to shake his hand and introduce himself, but that did not happen. He looked at Sam's hand in confusion, appearing to be at a loss on what to do as he shaped Sam's name a few times with his lips. Then he looked up and that haunting gaze fell on him, and he cleared his throat before he spoke his first words to Sam.

"Who... who am I?"

Chapter Text

"You... don't know who you are?" Sam repeated stupidly, lowering his hand back to his side. This does explain the blank looks I've been getting, he realized.

The man shook his head, looking down with a frown. "You don't know who I am, do you?" He asked, refusing to lift his gaze as it stayed fixed on the blankets that were still covering him.

Shifting around on the bed, Sam faced the man fully. "No, I'm sorry," he truthfully spoke. "But you're welcome to stay here until you remember. If you want, that is," he added. The man nodded again at that.

"Could I... look at your wound? I would probably need to refresh it," Sam awkwardly spoke. He wasn't entirely sure how to say it, how to bring it over to make it less awkward between them, but he couldn't really think of anything, so he figured that being blunt and honest would be the best way to do so.

The man blinked once, blanking out for a second before realization seemed to settle in. Nodding once, he pulled down the blanket to reveal his wrapped-up stab-wound.

Placing the first aid box next to him, Sam went to unwrap the rolls around the man's upper body, being careful so he wouldn't accidentally make it worse, so he could refresh them as clear blue eyes cautiously followed his every movement. He tilted his head slightly once the Gauze Rolls were removed to reveal the wound. Some fresh blood leaked out of it, but it was nothing too horrid. "It appears to be healing up quite well," Sam commented, gathering that the man must have been very lucky and that it could have been much worse.

Very carefully, he cleaned away some of the blood and repeated what he had done last night; disinfecting and wrapping it up once again. Once he was done, he stepped back. The man looked up at him. "When I found you, your own shirt was completely torn up, so you cannot really wear that. But I can give you one of my own." He said, at which the man nodded – something he seemed to do often in comparison to speaking.

Going towards the closet in his room, he threw it open and picked out an old flannel shirt – figuring that it would be easy to put on, looking at the fact that the blond was injured. Walking back, he handed it to him. The man took the shirt and looked at it with a frown, tilting his head as he moved it around in his hands, testing the material and flexibility. "It's a flannel shirt. You wear it for warmth and to cover yourself up," Sam explained, wondering to himself if there was anything that he remembered.

"Here, I'll help you put that on." Taking the shirt back, he carefully guided the man's arms through the sleeves before he buttoned it up around the top – all the while, the man looked on in inquisitiveness. "This should be fine," he commented, taking a step back as the man looked at the sleeves that were now covering his arms with a tilted head.

"I have to walk my dog soon, but I'll make sure to bring you some breakfast first," Sam said.

The man looked up again. "Dog?" He repeated with a frown.

"You already met him when you woke up. He stood guard over you throughout the night," Sam clarified, pointing at Gabriel who was still watching on from the doorway of the room. "His name is Gabriel. He's a Cardigan corgi." At the mention of his name, Gabriel's ears perked up and he barked once.

"Ah. The loud animal," the man acknowledged.

Sam couldn't help but let an amused chuckle slip past his mouth as his lips curled up. "Yes. The loud animal," he agreed.

"I'll get some breakfast now. Just stay here, alright?" He left the room with Gabriel trailing after him, going through the hallway and living room to reach his kitchen. He stopped short as he realized something.

Sam had no idea what his guest liked to eat.

He had already turned around to go back and ask when he thought twice about it. The poor guy didn't even know his own name, nor did he seem to recognize the word 'dog.' So Sam sincerely doubted he knew what types of food he liked or disliked.

"Guess I'll have to figure something out then," he murmured under his breath. Glancing down at Gabriel, he asked. "I don't think you know what he likes?"

Gabriel merely tilted his head as he whined, flopping down his ears. Sam rolled his eyes. "Don't worry. We will go out for a walk after breakfast," he said, at which Gabriel whined some more as Sam moved towards the fridge and threw it open. Looking at what he still had, his gaze fell on some leftover pancakes from yesterday.

"I think he would enjoy pancakes. Everybody loves pancakes," he said to himself. Figuring that pancakes were a safe bet, he took the plate out and quickly heated it up in the microwave, getting a bottle of maple syrup and a glass of juice along the way.

Gabriel had stopped whining the moment Sam had taken the food out of the fridge. Large ears perked up, the corgi sat quietly as he looked intensely at the food. Sam scoffed at that. "You know that you cannot have this. It's not good for your health."

With the corgi trailing after him, he returned to the room. The man looked up when he entered the room and frowned at the plate of food Sam carried. "They're called pancakes. They're leftover from yesterday. They're pretty good, you should try them," Sam told him as he sat down on the bed again and handed the plate and maple syrup to the man as he put the glass of juice on the nightstand.

He grinned slightly when noticed the confused look that the man had as he looked between the plate and bottle of syrup with a confused expression which looked almost comical. He's so much like a child. "The bottle contains maple syrup," Sam said, "you put that on the pancakes."

The man looks up. "Why?" He simply asked, still wearing that frown.

"Because it tastes better that way," Sam replied, not sure how else to explain it.

The man shrugged at that, and much to Sam's bafflement literally dropped the bottle on top of the pancakes. He looked at the bottle full of expectation, probably thinking that something was about to happen. But when nothing happened, he gave Sam a hopeless look. "Nothing is happening," the man stated sadly.

Unable to help himself, Sam burst out laughing, tilting his head back as he nearly fell backward. Gabriel started barking loudly at that and managed to jump on the bed. There the corgi stilled and stared at the plate of pancakes, ears peeking up ever so slowly as he jumped. Sam's eyes widened, and he jumped forward, catching the corgi midair before he could jump the man and snatch the pancakes for himself.

The man's eyes had widened upon witnessing the turmoil before him. Sam gave him a slight smile as he held the corgi firmly against his chest, who was wiggling around and still trying to reach the pancakes. "Don't mind him," Sam apologized. "Give me a second and I'll help you with that."

Standing up, he carried Gabriel towards the door and put him down, closing the door as Gabriel started barking again. "I'll let you in again soon," he called out to him before turning around to face the man again. "Sorry about that," he added.

"It's alright. The dog is funny," the man laughed out, shaking his head.

He walked back towards the bed. Aware of Gabriel barking and scratching the door, he took the plate and bottle of syrup from the man. "You're supposed to do it like this," he said, popping open the bottle and pouring the syrup over the pancakes. The man watched on, mouth dropping open slightly as he reached out his hand - and with a wonder that was much like a child's, held his finger right under the stream of syrup, frowning at the strange feeling.

"It's sticky," he stated, "is it supposed to be sticky?"

"Yes. It's supposed to be sticky," Sam replied, putting the bottle away. "Do you remember how to eat?" He asked stupidly, figuring he could best ask now.

"You put it in your mouth." As if to prove his point, he picked up a pancake - the syrup dripping off his fingers - and he took a bite, chewing thoughtfully with a growing frown. Tilting his head, he looked down at the pancake.

"You don't like it?" Sam questioned, adjusting himself on top of the blankets.

"I'm not sure," the man replied, turning over the pancake - not bothered by the syrup on his fingers at all, "it tastes... not bad really, but strange mostly. Somewhat overwhelming."

"Overwhelming?" Sam couldn't help but repeat after him. He has never met anyone who called pancakes 'overwhelming' and, in an odd way, he found it somewhat intriguing. This blond on his bed was like nobody he ever met before. And part of Sam was sure it wasn't only because of the fact he seemed to have amnesia.

The man nodded at that, still focused on the pancake in his hold. Shrugging, he took another bite. "But I guess I do enjoy it," he added, "it's just getting used to."

"Alright, that's good," Sam commented, standing up again. The man caught his movement and his head snapped up, giving Sam an inquiring look with those clear eyes of his. "I'm going to walk my dog, but I promise to be back soon. Will you be fine on your own?"

The man blinked. "Oh, yeah. I guess so."

~~

"You can be a real jerk sometimes," Sam told his dog with a scowl once they got home again. Gabriel merely gave him a corgi-smile as if he did not just made Sam run after him as he himself was happily chasing rabbits. "What would you have done if you actually got one of those poor rabbits? Kill it? That's just gruel, Gabe."

Gabriel whined and tugged on the leash. "Don't go acting so innocent now. We both know you aren't," Sam muttered. He rolled his eyes as he took the keys out of his pocket, momentarily wondering if the man was doing alright during the time he had taken a stroll with his dog.

Turning the key, he opened the door and stepped in. After he had shut the door and removed Gabriel's leash, the corgi immediately ran off – as he often did after they returned home again.

Hearing a sound coming from the kitchen, he quietened and tilted his head. He knew that it wasn't Gabriel – for the corgi often tended to curl up in the living room after their morning walk – and that would only leave one other choice. Hand trailing the wall, Sam moved closer towards the source of the sound he now recognized as somebody who was rummaging around in his cupboards. If it is indeed the man... what is he doing out of bed? He thought, hoping that he wasn't getting robbed.

Rounding the corner, he noticed the man standing in the kitchen. Wearing nothing but a pair of boxers and the flannel shirt Sam had given him, as he had opened every cupboard and was looking at their contents. He had taken out seemingly random items, pots and pans, plates and cans – scattered over the kitchen counter – and he was currently holding a bag of flour, looking it over with a great deal of interest, appearing to be fascinated by the white powder within.

"What are you doing?" Sam asked in amusement, glancing around the kitchen. Luckily, the man didn't make much of a mess in his absence and had only really taken cans and bags, and the like, out of the cupboards.

At the sound of his voice, the man jumped, startled. The bag of flour fell out of his hands, scattering its contents all over the floor. Wide-eyed, the man looked up at him. "I... was looking around," he said. He pointed at the white powder on the floor. "What's that?"

"It's flour," Sam explained, "you use it to bake stuff. Such as pizza and bread. Do you recognize any of those?"

The man shook his head and Sam frowned at that, gathering that his memory loss was rather acute and serious. "What's wrong?" The man asked, noticing Sam's look.

"I'm just worried about you," Sam admitted. "If you indeed have amnesia, it's a rather severe case. My brother used to have it as well years ago, but nothing like this."

That appealed to his interest. "You have a brother?"

"His name is Dean," Sam confirmed with a nod of his head, "he's my older brother. He got in a car accident about fifteen years ago and ended up with amnesia thanks to the brain damage he got." Noticing the horrified look he was getting, he quickly added. "He's doing fine now. It was nothing too bad. He was just being reckless and stupid."

"Do you... get along?"

A frown grew on Sam's face as he looked up, leaning against the wall behind him, feeling the wood in his back. "We don't hate each other or anything, but we just have nothing in common." He shrugged. "We were closer when we were kids but grew apart over the years. Now we only really see each other a few times a year. We live our own lives." Tilting his head, he added, curious if a memory was perhaps triggered. "Do you maybe have any siblings, from what you can remember?"

"I'm not sure... maybe."

Sam nodded. That was a start. "Once the phones are working I should perhaps try to contact Dean. He has the direct experience with amnesia and all that." As he said that, he moved towards the kitchen sink to get the dustpan and brush he kept there, kneeling before the spilled flour and starting to clean it. The man watched on with sparkling eyes, his curiosity triggered. The man kneeled himself and attempted to shove the flour together into a pile with his bare hands – trying to help Sam in his own way – as Sam continued to talk to him. "You still don't remember your name, do you?" The man shook his head, focused on the task at hand. "I do need to be able to call you by something, so is there maybe one you like?"

The man stilled as he thought about it. "I don't really know many names," he looked up, "why don't you give me one?"

"You want me... to give you a name?" Sam blinked. The man nodded exuberantly and folded his legs underneath himself as he addressed Sam in expectation. "Uhm, okay. Let's see," Sam frowned, copying the way the man sat so they were facing each other, both still seated in the flour.

"How about Mark?" He asked after a while, choosing something that just seemed to fit and somehow stood out to him.

The man tilted his head. "Mark?" He repeated after him.

Almost awkwardly, Sam smiled. "You just remind me of a friend I had in elementary school back in Lawrence. His name was Mark," he admitted, unable to completely hide the awkward blush beginning to tint his cheeks. "If you don't like it I can pick something else for you," he added quickly.

But the man shook his head. "No, it's fine," he nearly hummed. "I like it."

"Well," Sam's smile widened, "it's nice to meet you then, Mark."

Chapter Text

It was getting used to, to have someone living with you, however temporary it might be. And Mark was someone Sam needed to get used to alright. The day wasn't even over yet, but he had already figured that much out from spending some time with the blond.

Most of the time it was like he was with a child and he needed a moment to remind himself that Mark was, in fact, an adult. Just one who didn't remember the life he's lived until now. Sam knew it was most likely because of his loss of memories, but there was a certain curiosity about him that most people lost when reaching adulthood. The most ordinary things were what piqued his interest the most.

They quickly made a game about it; Mark was walking around the house, pointing at seemingly random objects, and Sam explained to him what it was as Gabriel faithfully trailed after them.

"What is this?" Mark asked, bringing Sam out of his train of thoughts. Blinking, he looked at the object the other proudly presented to him.

"That's called a mug," he replied, "you generally use it to drink hot beverages from. Like chocolate milk."

"Chocolate milk?" Mark tilted his head at that, glancing down at the blue mug he was holding like it was the Holy Grail and moving it around in his hold, so he could inspect it at every angle.

Sam smiled slightly at that. Mark's cluelessness was rather refreshing. "I'll give you some to try later today. I think you will like it," he offered. Mark nodded at that and inspected the mug for a while longer before setting it back and continuing to look around with large eyes.

"Would you perhaps like to go outside?" Sam questioned once Mark was inspecting the curtains. Clear eyes focused on him. "It doesn't look like your wound is hindering you much, so you should be able to. And the weather is nice."

Mark looked out of the window, at the blue sky and the mountains stretching out in the distance. "It's where you found me, right?" He asked as his gaze was fixated on the woods.

"Yes, I did," Sam confirmed, giving him a sideways glance. "You still don't remember, do you? How you got there?" He fell silent for a while. "You were pretty deep into the woods."

Mark merely shook his head, placing his hand on the window as he looked outside with a frown. "I still don't remember anything."

"That's fine," Sam quickly reassured him, putting a smile on his face. "Let's just take a walk then, the outdoors might do you well." In the corner of his eyes, he saw Gabriel sprint past the two of them, heading towards the front door – having caught on to the fact that they were going outside.

~~

"It's warm," was the first thing Mark said when they stood outside.

Sam laughed lightly. "Welcome to California. Where the sun always shines." Tilting up his head, he allowed the sunlight to warm his face for a while, sighing in content. Even in the middle of November, while cooler compared to midsummer, it was still warm.

"It does?" Mark blinked in bafflement.

"It's just a figure of speech," Sam laughed, shaking his head lightly as he leveled his gaze once more. He pushed a lock of hair out of his eyes. "Come on, let's go. Or Gabriel might decide to ditch us."

At the man's confused look, Sam nodded ahead of them, towards the corgi who was waiting for them in the distance. Near the wood's edge. The dog was shuffling around on his paws, nearly jumping in impatience.

So the two men started to walk towards the corgi, in the direction of the woods. Sam kept a close eye on Mark as they did so, watching out for the way he walked. If he maybe stumbled a bit or anything else that could show that his wounds were hurting him, but he seemed perfectly fine. Perhaps he walked a bit slow, but Sam figured that had more to do with the fact he tried to look everywhere at once. With even the smallest movement or sound, Mark's head snapped up to see what the source of it was. And in a way, Sam found it almost comical to watch.

"Just wait until we actually enter the woods," Sam commented as they followed the path that would lead them, "there's much more to see there."

Gabriel barked loudly and came rushing back, sinking his teeth in Sam's trousers and tugging on his pants. "Gabriel," Sam cursed, trying to wiggle his foot free from the dog's jaw, "don't be so impatient. We're coming!"

Mark had laughed loudly at that, watching the dog try to drag Sam along by his trousers. "Is he always like that?" He asked.

"He knows what he wants, and he always tries to see it done," Sam groaned in reply as he managed to free himself. Gabriel shot him a smile and ran off again.

"Did it... hurt?"

"Oh no," he quickly replied, "he only took my trousers really. He doesn't actually bite me."

Looking up when they entered the forest, he grinned when all the woodland smells hit his nostrils. He glanced sideways when he noticed Gabriel running off again, barking as he went and nothing but a flash of reddish fur, and then he was alone with Mark.

For while, they walked in silence as Sam awkwardly stared ahead, focusing on not stumbling over anything and falling flat on his face as he kept an eye on Gabriel who was running around in the distance and appeared to be trying to catch birds. Compared to Sam, Mark did not appear to be bothered by the awkward silence around them – or he simply didn't notice as he was busy gawking up at the immense trees surrounding them.

"How do you like the woods so far?" Sam blurted out, just wanting the silence between them to be over with.

Mark looked up at him, blinking those clear eyes of him. "The wooden sticks are very tall," he announced.

Sam blinked at that. "Wooden... sticks?" Then he realized that the man was referring to the trees. A chuckle left his lips. "They're called 'trees', and I agree with you there, they are indeed very tall."

"Those trees are redwood trees. They're the tallest living things on Earth," he added, his inner geek and bookworm resurfacing. Sam has always been one to know his facts, and it showed on the most random of moments. Something his brother always used to make fun of when they were teenagers. Mark looked at him, eyes sparkling as he listened. "And they've existed here, on the Coast, for more than twenty million years."

"Is that a lot?" Mark questioned, tilting his head. He vaguely resembled a puppy as he did so, but Sam decided to keep that thought to himself.

"Yes, it is," he patiently spoke, "trees are organisms capable of living a very long life. Longer than any other creature that I know of. Definitely longer than humans." He nodded towards one of the trees. "The wider they are, the greater their age," he added.

Mark looked at the trees again with a renewed interest, tilting his head up all the way so he could gaze up at the high branches and leaves far above them. Part of Sam feared that he might fall over. "That's rather impressive," Mark commented.

As the other male took his time to admire the trees, Sam took the change to give Mark a closer look. With the sunlight filtering through the leaves above, it shined down on his head and gave him what appeared to be a halo of light. Like a king crowned in gold. Just like he usually did, he viewed the world with a child-like sense of wonder, as if he saw everything for the first time. Which, in a way, Sam suspected was the truth, thanks to his loss of memories. Yet there was something else about him, something beyond which Sam could perceive. He was just so different from anyone he ever met before, in more ways than one.

While Sam had been busy studying him, Mark's gaze had shifted back to the other male. Sam blinked when those clear eyes settled on him again. "What is it?" Mark asked him.

A blush rose on Sam's cheeks at being caught staring and he looked away. "It's nothing. Don't worry about it," he replied, perhaps a bit too hurriedly, hoping that the other would let it go. Mark looked at him a bit longer, seeming to analyze him in a way, before he shrugged and looked back up at the trees.

Sam looked back ahead and frowned when he couldn't spot his corgi anywhere. Did he ran off too far again? "Damn it, Gabe," he muttered, which caught Mark's attention.

"What is it?"

Sam shook his head as his gaze swiped around. "Just that I cannot see Gabe anymore," he replied. He whistled sharply, the sound startling Mark, who jumped. "GABRIEL!!" He called out, looking around for any signs of the dog.

"Oh, I can see him!" Mark announced, pointing ahead of them.

Sam's head snapped up and he followed the man's line of sight. At first, he saw nothing but trees and bushes. Squinting his eyes, he could vaguely make out a flash of reddish fur between the bushes. But as far as he knew, it could be a deer as well. It was too far away to make out any characterizing details. Yet Mark seemed to see it just fine without even having to squint. "You got some pretty sharp eyes," Sam commented.

"I guess so?" Mark merely tilted his head. "I think he's dragging something along."

Some of the color drained from Sam's face. "Don't tell me he killed some poor animal..." He half-closed his eyes and groaned in displeasure.

"I don't think so," Mark replied as the two of them continued walking, "I'm not sure what it is. I don't recognize it."

Of course he doesn't. He barely remembers anything, Sam's inner-voice pointed out. "Well, he should get here soon enough and then we'll know for sure." Whenever Gabriel found something 'interesting', he had the tendency to bring it before Sam.

Eventually, the corgi came close enough for Sam to see what he was dragging along. "Is that..." Sam gasped out, "Gabriel!" He pushes himself off and then he was running. Mark watched him go in utter bewilderment - and perhaps with a flash of fear at his sudden movement. When Sam reached the dog, he bends through his knees. "Gabe, where did you find the blade?"

Gabriel threw the blade down before Sam and barked loudly, waggling his tail as he did so. Sam noticed that the blade was covered in dried blood, which he found somewhat unnerving. It made him think of when he found Mark, and the blood on the white tree. Before Sam could pick up the blade, Gabriel took it again and ran off towards Mark. He dropped it before the startled man and sat down as he looked up at him, tail wagging. The corgi barked, and Mark shot Sam a hopeless look. Signing, Sam went over to them, but Mark’s look stopped him.

The man had turned to look down at the blade at his feet, and Sam watched how all color drained from his face and he jolted back. Mark gripped his bandaged side, and then Sam knew enough. “You recognize this blade?” He asked, looking down at the blade himself in shock. Is that the weapon he was stabbed with?

Mark nodded silently. Sam waited for a while, patiently, to see if he was going to say anything, but the blond stayed silent. “What do you remember?” He asked carefully, almost fearing the answer.

“Just that it hurt,” Mark replied in a small voice.

Carefully, Sam went over to him. “Hey, it’s alright. You’re fine now, okay?” He said with a smile. He picked up the blade and held it somewhat awkwardly, not used to holding weapons. “Let’s just go back, alright?” He offered, slightly worried at Mark’s pale face. Sam dreaded that he might faint.

Mark nodded at that and with his other hand, Sam took a hold of Mark’s upper arm as he guided them back the way they came. Gabriel tried to grab the blade again as they did so, jumping as he barked. “Gabriel, this is not a throwing stick,” Sam spoke at that. Mark cracked a small smile – which went unnoticed by the other.

~~

Still upset by the fact that his phone wasn't working, Sam just hoped that his laptop operated just fine.

He had taken out his laptop and sat down on the couch with it on his lap, aware of Mark's highly fascinated gaze on him as he opened the laptop and turned it on, pretty much holding his breath as the screen was loading.

"What's that?" Mark asked him.

"This is a laptop, you uhm," Sam stopped for a while when he realized he wasn't sure how to explain to someone what a laptop exactly was. "It's a portable human invention that you can easily carry around. It can be used to look up things, and watch movies and play games, for example." Mark tilted his head at that, pretty sure that he didn't fully understand, Sam added, "It's a bit hard to explain. I can show you later, but first I have to look up a few things."

"Like what?"

Sam nodded towards the blade he had placed next to himself on the couch, laying atop a cloth. He had washed off most of the blood so that the blade's curved design and symbols on the hilt and blade were better visible. It was almost metallic gold in color and Sam was surprised at how light it was. He has never held a weapon like that before, but he figured it would be heavier from seeing daggers and blades from the times he has visited countless museums during his childhood and teen years. "I'm going to try and see if I can figure out anything about this blade. Or at least, to find a specialist who can tell me more."

Mark had taken a step away when he saw the blade and Sam shot him a concerned look. "You still look a bit pale. Maybe you should lay down for a while and take a short rest," he suggested.

But Mark shook his head and sat down next to him – on Sam's other side and the further edge of the couch, away from the blade. "No, it's fine. I'm not really tired."

"Alright, if you say so." Sam's eyes glanced back towards his laptop and his face lit up when noticing that it was working.

"You seem relieved," Mark pointed out, studying Sam with a somewhat blank expression.

"I was just worrying that it wouldn't work just like my phone. The phone lines seem to be down, but it doesn't seem to affect the internet connection." He replied, noticing Mark's baffled expression at his words, most likely not understanding a word he just said. A smile formed on his lips. "Don't worry about it," Sam chuckled. "Everything is working fine."

Opening Google Chrome, Sam went and started looking up weapons to see if there was anything matching the one laying next to him. Mark watched on in fascination, seemingly intrigued by the laptop and all the pictures that popped up. Sam tried his best to ignore the hot breath fanning over his neck and instead attempted to focus on the task at hand.

~~

"And? Did you find anything yet?" Mark asked from his spot on the floor. After about thirty minutes, he seemed to have grown bored with watching over Sam's shoulder and Sam had let him try out a 5,000-piece puzzle - which he was attempting to solve now. Gabriel was laying down in front of him, ears perked up as the corgi watched him move the pieces around on the floor.

"Not about the blade itself," Sam replied, scribbling down an address on a sticky note, "but I did find someone who might be able to help me out. A so-called specialist in ancient artifacts and weaponry. He lives about five, maybe six, hours from here."

"Are you going to see this specialist now?" Mark asked next, yet to look up from his puzzle. His brows were furrowed together in concentration as he laid on his stomach. Sam wasn't sure it was the most comfortable position with his bandaged side, but he did not seem to be bothered by it, so he decided to let it go.

Sam glanced outside the window. "I'm not sure. If I went now, I would be home pretty late."

"Well, you don't have to stay for me at least." Mark placed another piece in his puzzle, seeming to think twice about his decision before he put it elsewhere. "I'm going to be busy with this puzzle-thing for the entire day either way."

"Alright then." Sam stood up. "Would you like to come with me or would you rather stay here?" He offered.

"I think I'll stay here and finish my puzzle. I don't think that I will like other people much."

That caught his interest. "Why do you think that?"

Mark shrugged, a slight frown forming on his face. "I'm not sure. It's a feeling, mostly." Gabriel stood up and walked over to Mark, where he proceeded to lay down right next to him like a great ball of fluff.

“You’re free to stay here then,” Sam assured him, standing up and stretching out his arms above his head, hearing a satisfying pop come from his shoulders. “Just make sure that you stay inside, and I’ll make you a couple of sandwiches before I leave. As well as the hot chocolate milk I promised.”

“Okay.”

~~

Sam shut off the rumbling engine of his car and looked up at the building before him with a growing frown. ‘Dump’ would come closer to describing it, though, instead of a ‘home.’ There was a sign – what was written on it barely visible – and old cars were piled up all over the place. After confirming from his sticky note that he, indeed, had the right address and did not got lost, he checked that he had the weapon secured and opened the door of his Land Rover. Stepping out, he squinted up at the sun.

If he indeed was at the wrong place, Sam figured that he could at least ask for directions. With that in mind, he walked up to the front door and knocked two times, after which he waited patiently.

It took a while for footsteps and grumbling to sound from within the building. And it took even longer for the door to open. Sam could hear three – maybe even four, or more – slots getting unlocked before the door opened a tiny bit. Then he found himself staring down the barrel of a gun. Eyes widening drastically, Sam was slowly starting to regret his decision of coming here and took a step back, hands lifting slowly to show he meant no harm.

A pair of hard blue eyes glared at him from underneath an old basketball cap. And a gruff voice spoke, sounding about as annoyed as it could get. “Who the heck do you think you are, and what are you doing here, ya idjit?”

Chapter Text

"I'm uhm," Sam stammered out, seeing nothing beyond the gun pointed at his head. His hands became somewhat clammy as his shirt awkwardly stuck to his neck. Yet he did not dare to move an inch to ease his growing nerves. Perhaps he should have gone to this one university a few hours further either way.

"Well? What is it? I don't have all night to deal with snot-nosed brats like you," the man grumbled back, gaze unwavering.

"I-I'm Sam," he finally managed to say, "Sam Winchester. Are you... Bobby Singer?"

"Winchester," he mumbled so lowly that Sam barely caught it. "What do you want?" He added, much louder now.

Sam decided to take that as a yes. "According to your website you are a specialist of weapons and artifacts... and I have a weapon I cannot find anything about," he stumbled out, still slightly unnerved by the gun pointed at him.

Bobby lowered his gun and pushed the door open. "Well, in that case, you might as well come in. And hurry up, the night can be dangerous with all things going bump in the dark," he turned around and strolled inside, clearly expecting Sam to follow him. "Don't mind the mess, I wasn't exactly expecting company."

After standing stupefied in the doorway for a while, Sam followed cautiously, his curiosity to find out more about the weapon getting the best of him. Perhaps it was a good idea that Mark didn't come with him after all, he realized, for Sam had no idea how he would have reacted to this grumpy old guy with the gun. In an odd way, a way unfamiliar to himself, Sam wanted to protect him from that. He blinked at his own thoughts, shaking his head lightly. I barely know the guy, he told himself, yet it sounded empty in even his own mind. He stepped further into the house, closing the door firmly behind himself as he went after the old man.

The first thing that Sam noticed, were the books. Countless books - and stacks of paper - lined the walls and covered basically every available surface. Most of them appeared to be rather old as well - and not all of them were written in English. He thought he could recognize Latin amongst them. "You like books?" Bobby asked, noticing where his attention has gone off too.

"Yeah, I do," Sam replied, his gaze settling back on the man.

"Either way, let's get to business," Bobby said as he rearranged some papers on his bureau. "You said that you have a weapon," he looked up when he said that, "so I suggest that you show it to me."

"Alright." Sam's hand went underneath the jacket he wore over his flannel shirt. He took out the blade which he had wrapped in a towel, held together by a leather strap. Silently, he put it on top of some books and unwrapped it, revealing the blade it contained.

Bobby leaned closer, frowning slightly as he stepped forward. "May I?" When Sam nodded, he carefully picked it up. Sam watched as he turned it around a few times in his hold; inspected the engravings on the handle and the blade's design. "It's lighter than you would expect," the man muttered, "and has an unusual design."

He looked up. "Where did you get this?"

"I... found it in the woods," Sam awkwardly replied, realizing how weird that must sound when he said it aloud. The man arched up his eyebrows. "Well, my dog did," Sam quickly added, carefully sitting down on one of the few available surfaces.

"Interesting," was all Bobby said as he went back to inspecting the blade. He frowned. "There's some blood on it," he announced, giving Sam an unreadable look.

Sam panicked slightly. He had made sure to clean the blade once he had bought it home, but it was definitely a possibility that he forgot some or that it was harder to get off than he thought. Bobby took a cloth and rubbed the blade, presumably trying to wipe off the remaining blood. "Better," he muttered as he bought it closer to his face to take a closer look.

Bobby did not appear to be greatly bothered by the blood - or worried about it, for that matter, which kind of confused Sam. What an odd man, he couldn't help but think. "And?" Sam asked aloud after a while. "Did you find out anything?"

"It's very old. Those symbols are the proof of that," Bobby said, looking up and tapping the symbols on the handle with his finger, "I'm not sure what it says. It's not in any language that I know of. But even with its age, it's kept in a really good condition. But that's not the strangest thing about it though."

"What is?"

"It's not made from metal. Or at least, it's not a material that I recognize. A rather light, but strong material." As if to prove his point, Bobby spun around on his heels and sliced the blade at the wall. Sam already jumped to his feet, shocked and worried he would break the blade. But that did not happen. His eyes widened when the blade sliced through the stone wall with ease and left a large scratch behind. Bobby held the blade up for him to see. No dents or scratches could be seen. Sam's eyes widened even more, and he stood left gaping. "See? Still in perfect shape. It's a strange weapon that you've found there, Sam."

Bobby held the weapon out for him to take back and Sam took it silently, his mind racing. If this is indeed the blade Mark was stabbed with, how is he even alive? He thought, shooting a glance at the wall and only being able to imagine what it could do to a human body. Sam wasn't an expert, but he figured that bones would have a similar resistance to the blade as the rock wall has. The blade suddenly felt heavy in his hold as he was bought aware of how dangerous it truly was. What was he supposed to be doing with it now? Bring it to the police? Hide it in the back of his closet and never speak of it again?

"I do suggest you to be careful," Bobby suggested, giving him a pointed look, "that fancy blade is not a common weapon. I imagine that whoever lost it in the first place, will come looking for it." He added. Sam gulped, tightening his hold on the blade's hilt.

"Want to take some advice from an old man?" Bobby asked him.

Sam frowned slightly but nodded. "Sure."

"Some things are better left undisturbed. Don't go sticking your nose where it doesn't belong, and no trouble will come to you."

~~

After that, Sam left rather quickly, in a hurry to get back home to check on Mark. He told himself that he just wanted to make sure that his wound was really healing, but deep down he wasn't so sure. A lot of things weren't adding up and Sam felt that the more he learned, the more confused he got.

Bobby Singer had seen him out and watched him get in his car and leave with hooded eyes, the gaze of someone who had seen too much and lost too many, and Sam had to force himself to suppress a shiver. That old man is definitely hiding things, his subconsciousness silently pointed out. And Sam was fairly sure he did not want to know what it was.

Sighing deeply, Sam rubbed his head as his gaze stayed focused on the road in front of him, squinting in the dark seeing as night had fallen upon the world hours ago. This far up north, the roads were barely lit, and he had to do with his headlights. Luckily, he was almost home and knew the way well, yet he did not take any unnecessary risks and stayed to the speed limit. He shot a quick glance at the blade on the passenger seat next to him, wrapped up again in the towel and laying there almost mockingly.

Sam gulped and focused his attention back on the road.

~~

"Mark!" Sam called out once he got home. He just hoped he didn't wake the man up for if he had gone to sleep. It was about midnight by now after all.

Claws scraped on the floor and Gabriel jumped right at his legs, barking loudly and waggling his bushy tail. A light laugh slipping past his lips, Sam fell down on his knees and grabbed the corgi's cheeks. Rubbing his cheeks and stroking the soft fur, Gabriel attempted to lick his hands as Sam laughed. "Don't worry," he said, "I missed you too, Gabe."

Gabriel had rolled on his back and Sam complied, rubbing his fluffy belly for a while before he stood up again. The corgi gave him an almost accusing look and stayed on his back stubbornly, paws in the air. "Gabe, where is Mark?" He asked the dog. Gabriel whined, flopping his ears, and Sam rolled his eyes.

"Come on, Gabe. Don't be so difficult. It's already late," Sam scolded the corgi, who seemed to realize that he wasn't getting a belly rub anymore and rolled back to his feet, padding away. Shrugging, Sam decided to follow his dog towards the living room.

Getting closer, he could hear that the TV had been turned on. Frowning, Sam sped up his pace, and when he had reached the living room he couldn't help but let a large smile form on his face.

Mark was seated right in front of the television, eyes wide in child-like wonder and with his face nearly pressed against the glowing screen as he watched on in utter fascination, mesmerized by whatever he was seeing. He had taken Sam's blanket off the couch, had draped it on the floor in front of the TV, and had perched himself right on top of it. Gabriel walked over to him and laid down next to the man, stomach completely on the blanket and all four paws pointing behind him in a sploot.

"Mark, how did you manage to turn on the TV?" Sam asked in curiosity, taking a few steps closer.

Mark tilted up his head, gaze staying fixated on the TV. "Teefee?" He frowned.

"T.V," Sam repeated himself. "A television. It's the glowing screen you're looking at."

"It's a magic box, Sam. Not a teefee," Mark announced, nodding to himself. "And I got bored after I completed my puzzle and then the people inside the magic box suddenly started to move and talk. So I went and watched them." A large smile formed on his face and he shook his head in bafflement. "The magic box is amazing."

TV's are not supposed to turn on all on their own accord, Sam thought. He shook his head. It was too late to be thinking about things like that. He was sure there was a logical explanation somewhere. There always was. Deciding to see what had managed to catch Mark's attention like that, Sam walked over and curiously looked at the screen.

"Mark," he said, desperately trying not to burst out laughing, "that's a soap commercial."

Chapter Text

Carefully, Sam traced his finger over Mark's wound. The man shivered under his touch, watching him carefully with those clear blue eyes of his. He had removed the bandages, almost anxious to check after his talk with Bobby, and had found that the wound had almost completely healed. It was still red and stark against his skin, but the muscles and body tissues seemed to have managed to fix themselves just fine. "I don't think you need those bandages anymore. You seem to have a swift recovery, we just need to keep an eye out for any infections," Sam said, mind whirling as he tried to grasp what he was seeing.

"Is that... good?" Mark frowned.

Even with his mind racing, Sam couldn't help but smile lightly at the innocence he still seemed to possess. "Yes, Mark. That's a good thing."

"Then why were you frowning?"

Surprised, Sam looked up. Mark was already looking at him in honest curiosity. "I guess I just tend to frown when I'm thinking deeply enough about something," he said. He could already see the question before Mark could say it aloud. "I'm not a doctor. I guess that I'm just surprised at how fast you're healing," he shook his head lightly, "I believe that you just got really lucky there."

That must be it, Sam thought, allowing his muscles to relax, releasing some tension from his shoulders. It was just a series of lucky circumstances, no matter how unlikely it might seem, that is what must have happened. After all, what else could it possibly be?

Mark nodded and put his flannel on again after Sam gave it back to him. Sam glanced at Gabriel, who was curled up in his dog bed and appeared to be dozing off. "We should go to sleep as well. It's already late," Sam commented as he stood up to his full height. Mark looked up to him with sparkling eyes. "Would you like to take the bed again?" Sam offered.

"I think I'll stay here," Mark said. Sam nodded, not finding himself minding much and part of him glad that he could sleep in his own bed again.

~~

The next day, Sam woke to something falling over in his kitchen and Gabriel barking continuously. Startled, he fell off his bed in a heap of blankets and long limbs. He allowed himself to lay there for a few seconds before he heaved himself up and threw off the blankets, standing up slowly. Quickly pulling his legs through the first pair of pants he found, he tumbled downstairs as he tried to comb his hair somewhat with his fingers.

"Mark? Gabriel?" He called out, yawning once and rubbing at his tired eyes as he stumbled towards the kitchen. There he found Mark, pressed against the wall with large eyes, standing close enough to the wall as if he wanted to disappear into the wood. Gabriel stood in front of him, almost protectively and appeared to be barking at... a toaster? He could see a pan laying on the floor, figuring that must have made the noise. "Mark, what's wrong?" Sam asked in alarm, instinctively taking a step closer.

"What's the black stuff coming out of the shiny box?" The man whimpered, pressing himself even closer against the wall.

Alarmed, Sam spun around - still half asleep - in the direction both Mark and Gabriel were facing. His eyes fell on the toaster and his still tired mind took a second to progress that smoke was coming out of it. "Mark, why is there smoke coming out of the toaster?"

"I wanted to surprise you with breakfast... for taking care of me," Mark whimpered, his large feral eyes not leaving the toaster. "And I remembered how that box worked. Or I thought I did."

Shaking his head in surprise, Sam went closer to the burning toaster to see what he had put in it. Trying to look past the smoke, he saw something that looked like blackened toast, barely recognizable from how burned it was. Sam was aware of Mark doubtfully coming closer. "That's really nice of you," Sam told him, "but you don't need to feel obligated to make me breakfast. Especially if you're still unsure about how something works. Just call for me, alright?"

Mark stood now next to him, looking down at the toaster in what almost appeared to be fear. The toaster pinged, and the blackened toast flew out. Sam managed to duck out of the way, but Mark wasn't as lucky, clearly not expecting anything to fly out. The toaster hit his face and he screamed, stumbling backward. Sam noticed in a flash how his eyes, strangely enough, appeared to change to a different color. A fiery red, glowing like hellfire, instead of their usual sky-blue. Gabriel's howled as Mark's scream became more high-pitched until Sam was forced to cover up his ears as a ringing noise sounded within his head. Then there was a flash of light, brighter than anything he had ever seen or felt before and leaving him stumbling within the radiance. Grasping his skull tightly, temporarily blinded, he fell to the floor as his windows exploded and glass rained down around his hunched form.

The light disappeared as suddenly as it had come, and Sam laid still amongst the shards of glass for the longest of time, his body shaking and the ringing not quite out of his ears yet. What just happened?! He tried to come to a conclusion, but his mind seemed to fail him as it completely blanked, unable to come to a reasonable cause.

Mark, was the one thing that did come to him. Slowly, Sam sat up, being utterly careful of the glass that was everywhere, and he turned towards the direction he knew Mark was at.

Just to take a double take as the air got knocked out of his lungs at what he was seeing.

The blond was hunched together in the corner of his kitchen, his back was turned towards him. But what caught Sam's attention where the large feathered wings that rose from his back, wrapped tightly around his shaking body. Rising tall and proud like mountains, and graceful beyond words in any language he knew of. Before he knew it, he had come closer. The glass had cut open his knees, but he didn't seem to notice, all his attention on the wings that were very much real and attached to his guest's back.

Mark's wings were every imaginable shade of pink and each feather sparkled as if made from thousands of precious gems, with a celestial light shining from within like the rising and falling of the sun and the birth of the universe itself. The feathers were darker closer to his shoulders and a near radiant white around the very edges. Sam reached out his hand in awe as if meaning to touch them. Perhaps he wanted to confirm that it was real, and his eyes weren't deceiving him, or perhaps it was something else altogether – like the mundane need to get as close to the divine as possible. But before his hand could meet the soft-looking plumage, Mark tensed up and he disappeared in a whooshing sound, a gust of wind picking up out of nowhere and carrying him away.

Startled, Sam himself jumped back and he looked around the room. Mark seemed to have reappeared at the other side of the kitchen, amidst the shards of glass where Sam sat previously. He was looking at his wings now, just appearing to have noticed their presence and looking more confused than Sam ever saw him before. As if he couldn't quite grasp or understand why he had them in the first place.

"You have wings," Sam blurted out. Having said it aloud calmed him down slightly and seemed to settle his erratic thoughts. It's real. This is actually real.

Mark flinched back from his voice and looked at him again. His eyes were still a fiery red and for a while, Sam was mesmerized by their odd coloring. Mark's voice helped him focus again. "Sam, what am I? What is happening to me?!" He cried out, gripping his head as his radiant wings shook, feathers rustling.

"I'm not sure, but I think that you're an angel," Sam said, slowly going over to him - being careful not to startle him more than needed. Mark's red eyes settled on him. "It's the light and wings combined," he helplessly tried to explain his best guess.

Mark curled in on himself again, shaking his head as a small whimper came from him. "Please, make it stop! Sam, make it stop!" He cried out. Sam frowned, confused. "Make it stop! It hurts."

The high-pitched sound from earlier started up again and Sam's eyes widened. Without thinking, he jumped at the man - not caring about the glass - and he took a hold of his shoulders. Mark's tear-stricken face looked up at him in shock, and then Sam pressed him against his chest and held him close in a tight embrace. Mark shook against him, but gradually, he seemed to calm down and his brilliant wings curled around them both. Being wrapped up in the soft wings was oddly chilling, it was as if a sheet of ice covered the plumage, but Sam didn't find himself mind as it wasn't unbearable. He just held the angel, something he never thought possible, as he hummed under his breath.

Hearing a small whimper, Sam lifted his head to see Gabriel padding closer to them. The corgi's ears have flopped to the sides and his tail was swiping over the floor as the dog carefully stepped around the glass. Sam imagined that he had fled from the room before the glass started to break. "It's alright now, Gabriel," he softly spoke to the dog as his arms stayed around the angel in his hold.

Visibly relaxing against him, Mark's wings stopped shaking and Sam watched wide-eyed how a ripple seemed to move through them before they turned transparent, eventually fading from view altogether. Sam reached out and found himself grasping at air. When Mark calmed down, his wings had disappeared as if they were never there in the first place. But Sam had seen them, and he knew. Their appearance seems to be linked to his direct emotional state, Sam guessed. The man nuzzled his face into the crook of his neck and Sam could feel his hot breath tickling his skin, making a shiver go down his spine.

He didn't have the heart to tell Mark that he could let go of him now. So instead, they simply stayed embraced in each other's hold amidst the destroyed kitchen, with Gabriel silently watching over them.

~~

After Mark had let go of him on his own accord, Sam's first priority had been to get him as far away from the toaster as he could.

Having seated him on the couch, Gabriel went and laid down in front of him as Sam made a start with cleaning up the shards of glass and attempting to cover up the broken windows to the best of his abilities. With the phone lines still down, he couldn't make a call to get it fixed so he figured he would have to go into town sometimes. He had spent a good hour cleaning, Mark watching him blankly from the couch in the living room all that time. And now, with most of the kitchen cleaned, Sam found himself back in his living room, on the lounge chair next to the couch. Facing an actual angel who watched him almost wearily.

"Are you alright now?" Sam asked carefully, taking a silent note of Mark's curled up position. He had wrapped the blanket that was still on the couch around himself and he made Sam think of a cocoon. He found it oddly adorable, yet he did not dare say so aloud.

Mark silently nodded. "Are you?" He whispered, a deep frown forming on his face. "Your feet got hurt."

Surprised that he even noticed amidst the chaos and confusion of this morning, Sam blinked. He appeared to have cut open his feet by the glass on the kitchen floor without even realizing it, prompting him to bandage both of his feet. "I will be fine," he replied, folding his feet underneath himself, "it's nothing I cannot handle." Seeing that Mark still seemed down, Sam put a smile on his face.

Curling in on himself some more, Mark took a hold of his knees and hugged them against his chest. The blanket was still wrapped around him, completely covering him up. "I'm... sorry."

"About what?" Sam frowned.

Mark made a near choking noise. "The kitchen. Your feet. Everything, I guess."

"It's not your fault, alright? I don't blame you for any of that, and neither should you blame yourself," Sam was quick to assure him, shifting around in his seat to face him fully. Mark did not meet his eyes. Instead, he opted to look down at his mismatched socks peeking out from under the blanket - one a bright fuzzy pink and the other a pale grey. "It was all out of your powers. It wasn't like you wanted any of that to happen."

"But what if I did?!" Mark's head snapped up. For a second, his eyes flashed fiery red before settling back to their usual blue again. "What if I did want all of that to happen but just don't realize it yet?!" His shoulders slumped slightly as he looked away again. "What if I'm a monster and don't deserve any of this..."

Shocked at his revelation, Sam stood up and went over to the couch, sitting down next to him. How can one say something like that about themselves? Mark turned him his back. "If you were a monster you wouldn't worry about any of this. Monsters don’t cry or feel sad, nor do they feel remorse. You are definitely not a bad person. Mark, look at me." Doubtfully, Mark lifted his head and looked at him over his shoulders. "You are not a monster."

Sam shuffled a bit closer, worried. "Come on, where did that come from?" He tried to ask. And then, looking at the angel’s hunched form and painful look, he knew. "What do you remember?"

Mark winched slightly. To Sam's surprise, he actually answered. "Just emotions. The pictures and faces don't make much sense and are still fuzzy," he shook his head. "But I remember being abandoned and feeling lonely," he whispered low enough that Sam could barely hear him, "and I remember the pain. There was so much pain."

For a while, Sam could only stare in shock. No wonder he's feeling so upset, he thought.

Slowly, Mark turned around and fully faced Sam. "If I were to get all of my memories back... what if I don't like who I am? Why would they send me away?" There was so much pain and emotion in his voice that Sam's heart ached, and he gulped.

"I don't know much about Heaven or angels," Sam began, "but I do know that they're missing out on the best angel of them all. And people can change over the years. Angels too, I assume. We are shaped by what happens to us and what we believe in. If you do get back your memories... you will already be a different person compared to who you were before you lost your memories in the first place."

"You really think so?" Mark asked in a tiny voice, his eyes searching Sam's face for something. What, Sam did not know.

"Yes, I do."

A tiny smile formed on Mark's face and Sam smiled back at him, his heart speeding up at being able to lift Mark's mood - even if just by a little.

The peaceful tranquility was disturbed by the sudden ringing of the doorbell. Mark yelped and jumped at the sound, nearly falling off the couch. Sam caught the angel's shoulders before he could panic too much. "Mark! It's alright. It's just a doorbell. It makes a sound like this when I have visitors."

"Visitors?!" Mark's expression was feral. "Who is it?"

"I'm not sure," Sam frowned. He definitely wasn't expecting anyone. "I'll go look. You stay here, alright?" He added. Mark nodded once as Sam went over towards his front door to see who rang the doorbell when it wasn't even noon yet.

Opening the door after he unlocked it, Sam could only stare in shock. This day keeps getting weirder and weirder, he couldn't help but think as he looked straight into leaf-green eyes he hadn't seen in a long time. A sheepish grin on a freckled face greeted him from the other side of the door.

"Dean?!"

 

Chapter Text

"Hiya, Sammy," Dean said. The first words he had spoken to his younger brother in almost two years.

"Dean... what the fuck are you doing here?" Sam hissed after coming off the shock of seeing him again, narrowing his eyes suspiciously as he glared at his brother's skull. Dean never visited him unless there was something he wanted from him in return. And with everything that had happened so far today, the last thing Sam wanted to deal with was his obnoxious excuse of a brother - and especially Dean finding out about the angel he had in his living room.

When did his life start getting so complicated?

Either unaware of Sam's dead-stare, or skillfully ignoring it, Dean pushed past him and sauntered into his home as if he already owned the place. He did not even bother taking off his shoes. "Have you got any beer?" Dean asked, already waling in the direction of Sam's kitchen. "I can use a drink. It was a long drive, you know?" Gabriel had started barking again and from the scraping of claws on the floor, Sam knew he had gone over towards Dean.

Sam's heart nearly flew out of his chest when the panic started to settle in. What would Dean do when he saw the state his kitchen was in? And what about Mark? Sam felt like he had just died. The angel had literally exploded his kitchen because he got scared by a toaster... how would he react to his loud brother? His mind set, Sam sprinted after Dean to prevent him from seeing the kitchen or Mark, but it appeared he was too late for Dean already noticed the destroyed state of his kitchen.

"What happened here?!" Dean exclaimed, gawking at the state the kitchen was in. Luckily, he hadn't noticed Mark yet - who had pressed himself to the other side of the couch, still wrapped in the blankets, and who wasn't making a sound. "Was your kitchen hit by a tornado or something?"

More like a terrified angel who got 'attacked' by a toaster, Sam thought sarcastically, perfectly aware of the fact that he shouldn't say that aloud. "I don't see how that's any of your business," he said instead.

"Come on, Sammy. Don't be like that," Dean started to say, turning around to face him fully.

Absently, Sam moved to stand between Dean and Mark. "My name is Sam. Not Sammy," he corrected him. "And what are you doing here?" He added, figuring he might as well get it over it and learn the reason behind his brother's surprise visit.

Gabriel was pacing around between them, tail still as he tried to understand the tension that hung in the room, whimpering slightly. "Mom asked me to," Dean stated. Sam blinked in surprise, not expecting that answer. "All the phone lines seem to be down in the entire state of California. And big cities like LA and San Francisco experienced power outages that lasted for more than twenty hours. It's chaos," he shrugged, "she got worried and convinced me to check up on you. So here I am," he finished his small tale, spreading his arms out wide and wearing a grin.

Sam stared at his brother. "Okay, you checked up on me. Bye, Dean."

Dean pouted. "Come on, don't go giving me the cold shoulder now. What did I ever do to deserve this?"

"Do you really want me to list it all?" Sam dared him, crossing his arms. Dean winched slightly but did not answer his question, giving Sam all the answers he needed.

Avoiding his eyes, Dean looked over Sam's shoulders as the silence settled between them. Seeing a spark of curiosity flash in his brother's eyes, Sam tensed. "Who are you?" Dean asked, having noticed Mark. Before Sam could stop him, Dean had stalked past him and gone to stand in front of the poor angel who had pressed himself further into the couch. "I don't remember ever seeing you before," Dean added with a frown and tilt of his head.

"I..." Mark stammered, pulling back further under Dean's prying gaze and appearing to be disappearing completely into his blanket, "I-I am Mark."

"Dean, leave the poor guy alone," Sam spoke up, deciding to interfere before anything could go wrong and putting himself between them. He looked down at Dean. "You can't just barge into my home, demand beer, and bother my guests. It has been a stressful day and I really don't feel like dealing with you and your Deanness now."

"It's only morning. How stressful could it have been?" Dean asked bluntly, appearing to be honestly baffled. Sam scowled at him and Dean held up his hands in surrender. "Sorry for asking," he muttered, taking a small step back.

"Well, you seem to be doing fine so I'll be on my way then," Dean stated, his voice colder compared to the lighthearted tone he had earlier. "I know when I'm not wanted somewhere." Then he spun on his heels and stalked back in the direction of the front door.

Astonished, Sam was unable to move for a while. Shooting a glance over his shoulder at Mark, who was looking on in a mixture of surprise and curiosity, Sam went after his brother. Perhaps he shouldn't have reacted that way, he realized. "Dean, hold on!"

Being much taller than his brother and thus able to take larger strides, he managed to catch up to him and take a hold of Dean's jacket. Feeling something soft and furry rub against his leg, he knew that Gabriel had followed him. Dean looked at him wearily. "Hey, listen," Sam started to say, "I'm sorry for reacting like that. As I said, it has all been rather stressful and I just don't know what to do anymore."

A sigh came from Dean. Clearly taking pity on Sam, he nodded. "It's fine. I have been a dick the past few years either way, so I guess I did have it coming," an almost nervous look formed on his face. "I guess... one of the reasons why I agreed so easily to mom’s request is that I just want to be a family again."

"Dean, we are a family. Dick brother or not."

Dean gave him a weak smile. "I'm staying around in the area for a couple of days before I drive back to Kansas. I'll be at The Prancing Pony if you need me," he told him.

Sam nodded in acknowledgment, recognizing it to be a motel in town. "You're crazy for driving all that way, you know?" He grinned at him.

"Airplanes kill people!" Dean retorted, giving him a dirty look. His expression quickly turned almost doubtful when he seemed to realize something as if there was something he wanted to say but wasn't sure how or if he even should.

"What is it?" Sam asked him.

For a second, Dean had fallen silent before he spoke again, sounding more serious than before. "This Mark guy... what do you know about him?"

Tensing up, Sam froze. "What about him?" He asked defensively, mind racing with possibilities as to why Dean would bring him up in the first place. Does he perhaps suspect something? Sam was pretty sure that he had been careful, and that Mark hadn't done anything that would reveal him as a non-human being.

Dean took note of Sam's tension. "Before going here, I went into a cafe to get some pie. There were two guys there, one old dude and one wearing a trench coat. They were asking around if anyone had seen a tall blond guy in ripped clothes who is apparently rather dangerous," he casually shrugged his shoulders, "I mean, it might be someone else altogether of course. But the guy on your sofa is blond and my guess would be that he's tall too. I'm just asking you to be careful, alright? Can't have anyone harm my pain in the ass little brother."

Sam shook his head. Mark? Dangerous? "Trust me, Dean. Mark is pretty harmless," he said. "But I appreciate the warning."

But still... Mark's clothes had been torn when he had found him in the woods. And there was a lot Sam didn't know about him - or that Mark knew about himself for that matter. Could it be that Mark was the one those men were looking for? What Sam couldn't understand is, if Mark was the blond guy Dean mentioned, why those men would be looking for him in the first place. Are they perhaps from some kind of 'paranormal division' from the FBI? Other angels who are simply looking for their buddy? Demons who wanted to kill him? Or did he somehow find himself in the middle of a supernatural war?

Sam blinked, chasing those thoughts away. He shouldn't be thinking about that now. It was all too insane for him and beyond what he could grasp. Looking up, he noticed that Dean had gone back towards his car. A black Chevrolet Impala he had called 'Baby' and inherited from their father when he had died from a heart attack years ago. Before he climbed in, he held his hand up in a silent wave and shot a single look over his shoulder. Sam waved back and silently watched Dean off.

Gabriel whimpered slightly. "It's alright, Gabriel," Sam sighed, bending down to give the corgi a pat over his head. "Let's head back inside now."

Having gone back to the living room with Gabriel running out in front of him, his eyes fell on Mark again. Who was often the first thing his gaze settled on, oddly drawn to him like a ship to the shore. The angel appeared to be more comfortable now that he wasn't the center of Dean's glare anymore. Yet he still had the blanket thrown over his shoulders. "So that was Dean. Your brother," Mark stated when he noticed him getting closer.

Sam nodded and carefully sat down next to him, Mark's clear eyes already settled on him. "What did Dean do?" He asked. Sam blinked in confusion. "He asked, 'what did I do to deserve this' and you said something about a list... what does that mean?"

"Alright," Sam started to say as he tried to think of the best way to explain it to him, "it had been a while since we last saw each other and we didn't exactly part in the best way. He wasn't around last Christmas either."

Mark's head snapped up. "What's Christmas?"

Sam smiled, slowly getting used to the interruptions and all the things he didn't know and the questions he asked. "It's a holiday that's celebrated every year around December. Originally, it was to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and it was mainly a religious holiday. But now it's pretty much a moment where families gather, eat food and exchange gifts to each other." He patiently explained. A light hum came from the angel, which Sam decided to take as a good thing. "Are there more things you want to know?"

"What is LA and this San-San Fran-" Mark frowned as he stumbled over the words, but Sam got what he meant.

"LA, or Los Angeles, and San Francisco are large cities in the state of California, which is the state where we are right now. They are both south of where I live."

Gabriel had managed to jump in between them on the couch and Mark reached out to the dog's shoulders, absently stroking the soft fur. He appeared to be thinking about something. Before Sam could ask him about it, his eyes lit up. "I think I can fix your kitchen," he suddenly spoke up, throwing the blanket off and standing up. Gabriel lifted his head, whimpering when he wasn't being petted anymore, but Mark was already gone, striding towards the kitchen. "I want to try something."

Lurching to his feet, Sam went and followed him with Gabriel hot on his trail. "Mark!" He called out, not really sure just what he exactly wanted to say but needing to say something either way. Just what does he mean? Fix it how?

He caught Mark when the angel stood on the invisible border between the living room and kitchen. Mark seemed to take a deep breath, held up his hand, and snapped his fingers once.

And then, like magic, Sam's kitchen was fixed as if nothing had happened to it in the first place. The windows were whole again, any plates that had broken were fixed and back in their usual place, and everything was even cleaned. Sam stood there gawking, feeling like his eyes were about to bulge out of his skull. Just what exactly happened?

Leaning heavily against the wall, he sunk down until his bum touched the floor. He sat there, feeling utterly baffled as his head started to hurt, drowning in his own thoughts.

"Sam?" He heard a worried voice ask, followed by footsteps. Something touched his forehead with a surprising gentleness and Sam closed his eyes as light seemed to move through his veins, combined with something that was both chilling and burning - soothing his mind and taking his pain away. Taking a gentle breath, he opened his eyes again to see Mark kneeling in front of him, eyes red as he removed his palm from Sam's head. Suddenly, Sam was reminded of when he saw Mark's fiery eyes for the first time and how their bright color made him think of hellfire. But when he saw him up close like this, he rethought his earlier statement.

It's like the birth of stars and the universe itself, Sam thought in slight awe, staring into those brilliant red eyes. In their unfathomable depth, he saw something reflect back at him. Something scarred, yet fair beyond what humans could grasp with their tiny minds. Shocked, he realized that it was a flash of the ancient being Mark truly was behind the human-skin he wore; powerful and glorious, terrifying yet beautiful. As suddenly as it came, the shimmer Sam saw disappeared and he felt like he had lost the greatest treasure the universe had to offer.

"What... what is that?" Mark frowned, the red of his eyes fading away like a dying star. Reaching out his hand, he touched Sam's cheek and the mortal froze as he felt like he was both burning and freezing and soaring amongst the radiance of the stars. It was overwhelming and like nothing he ever felt before. Mark's tough disappeared from his skin and Sam felt like he could breathe again, yet he found the absence of his touch almost saddening. The angel looked down at his fingers with a frown. They were wet. Reaching up to touch his own cheek, Sam noticed that he had been crying.

"What is this?" Mark asked him, showing him the tears on his fingers.

"Those are tears," Sam explained to him. "Sometimes, humans cry when they are really sad or happy or feel moved by something."

Tilting his head in a way that had grown overly familiar to Sam, Mark asked, "Are you sad?"

"No, Mark. I am not sad," Sam smiled. "I'm not sure myself what I am feeling, but I am not sad."

Chapter Text

"Hey, Sam?" Mark asked after a while, his gaze lifting from the book he had been looking at. A picture book about animals, if Sam remembered correctly. "Dean mentioned something about a pony he was staying at... but how can one stay in a pony?"

"You heard that?" Sam asked in surprise. But then he was reminded of how Mark was able to easily spot Gabriel in the woods way before Sam could. He guessed that next to the wings and magic, it wouldn't be too hard to imagine that angels had heightened senses as well. Of course he could hear that conversation with Dean without any issue.

"The Prancing Pony is a motel," Sam added. "Dean came a long way and a motel is a place one can stay and spend a couple of nights against a rather cheap payment. It's around the outskirts of town, actually."

The angel's eyes sparkled in interest. "What is town?"

Sam's mouth opened and closed again. "You know what?" He said, closing his laptop and putting it away. Now that things seemed a bit quieter now, he had been trying to come up with an idea for his next book. He wasn't being very successful with that yet. "That's something I can just easily show you."

Standing up, he waited for Mark to do so as well. Aware of Gabriel running out of the room, probably getting his leash, Sam grinned in amusement. "But first we should find you some pants," he laughed. The angel hadn't yet bothered himself with putting on pants. He only wore a plain T-shirt, boxers and his mismatched socks. "I might have something for you in my room. Come on."

~~

After having put Mark in one of his old flannel shirts, Sam watched in full on amusement as Mark had completely pressed himself against his car when they got outside, appearing to be marveling over how smooth and shiny it looked. "You haven't seen a car yet, have you?" Sam asked, holding Gabriel's leash in his hand. The corgi stood next to him, ears perked up and tail wagging happily at being outside.

"I saw it on the magic box when you were sleeping," Mark said, eyes not leaving the black car. "I didn't expect it to be so large."

"Well, I do have a Land Rover," Sam added to that, "and they are relatively big cars." Mark looked back to him at that and tilted his head. Sam shook his head. "Don't worry about it, let's go."

Unlocking the car, he let Gabriel in the backseat and opened the passenger side door for Mark - who was gawking with large eyes when the door opened - and took a minute to help him putting on his belt and explaining what it was used for before he went over to the driver's seat himself.

Before he turned the key, he thought twice and turned to the angel next to him who was looking around the car's interior with large eyes. "Mark?" Sam called out to catch his attention. Mark's curious expression fell on him. "When I turn this key," he pointed to it, "the car will start making noises before it will start to move. This noise is almost like a growl and a car can go rather fast. It's supposed to be doing that, alright?"

Enthusiastically, Mark nodded his head. Sam couldn't help but laugh lightly. He really seems to look forward to driving in a car, he thought.

Making sure not to move too fast so that Mark could easily follow his movements, Sam turned the key and the car purred to life, prompting a small gasp from the angel next to him. "Are you ready?" Sam asked him.

"Yes!" Mark was nearly bouncing in his seat now as he wore a large smile on his face.

Sam found it oddly adorable. He really is like a child in still so many ways. Putting those thoughts to the back of his mind, Sam gave him a smile of his own before he hit the pedal and the car sped off with roaring engines. A small yelp came from Mark, but when Sam looked at the angel - afraid he might 'explode' again - he saw that he had his face pressed against the window and was looking out at the passing sceneries. He was twisting around in his seat somewhat, attempting to look everywhere at once, and a small smile grew on Sam's face as he focused his attention back on the road once again.

"Hey, Mark, why don't you try turning on the radio?" He asked him.

"Radio?"

When Sam pointed towards the buttons, the angel frowned. "You press this button right here, and then you twist this one," he said, pointing at each button separately. "But don't go pressing the others." He added. Before Mark could press the button, Sam made sure to turn the volume of his car down some. You never know for sure with Mark.

When Mark pressed the button Sam had pointed at, and the music sounded through the car, his eyes widened as his mouth dropped open. It was classical music; the station Sam had last listened to. Sam found it rather soothing. And when the angel started twisting the button and discovered that would change the music station, he seemed to busy himself with that and tried to scroll through them all. Occasionally, he listened to something a bit longer before moving on to the next station. Sam noted that he seemed to like rock music. He should get along well with Dean then.

Mark seemed to think it was the most marvelous thing ever.

~~

Sam stood by Mark's door with Gabriel's leash and patiently waited as Mark looked around a few times with huge eyes before stepping out of the car. He nearly fell, not expecting the step to be that high, but managed to catch himself. Sam found himself already reaching out to him, to catch him if he were to fall.

Reaching up, Mark adjusted the old basketball cap Sam has given to him and frowned. "Just why do I have to wear this?" He asked, removing the cap and frowning at it before placing it back on his messy-styled blond hair.

Sam tilted his head lightly, reaching behind him to close the door for him. "You can think of it as a disguise," he said. No matter how badly he might want to, he couldn't forget Dean's warning. They were asking around if anyone had seen a tall blond guy in ripped clothes who is apparently rather dangerous. With the small change that people were looking for the angel standing next to him, Sam took precautions and made him wear a cap, feeling like if he went over the top with a disguise Mark would stand out even more. And with California's overall sunny weather, wearing a cap wasn't too strange - but a full-on hoodie, on the other hand, would be.

"I don't know what that is," Mark frowned sadly. "Sam, what is a disguise?" He added, shifting his helpless gaze towards the mortal who nearly melted in the sun when those clear eyes fell on him.

"Dean told me that people might be looking for someone who fits your description. I don't want to walk in any unneeded trouble," he frowned. And risk losing you. Sam blinked at his own thoughts, wondering where they even came from.

"I'm not sure why anyone would be looking for me... but alright," slowly, he nodded his head, "I'll keep this disguise."

"I'm not sure either," Sam sighed, "but there's still a chance that it's someone else altogether." Suddenly, Gabriel started to tug on the leash and dragged Sam along with him, clearly growing impatient with standing around.

After standing there for a few seconds, startled, Mark went after them. His eyes lit up when he noticed the town they were headed towards and the many different buildings it consisted out of. An excited grin formed on his face.

~~

"Alright," Sam spoke up when he had bought them to the heart of the town, "welcome to Vernon, Mark. A small town in northern California." Sam mentioned around them, which wasn't all that much honestly, yet Mark watched on in fascination. A few people gave them amused looks but both ignored it.

"So, this is a town?" Mark asked, spinning around in a circle as he looked around with sparkling eyes. "There are buildings!" He exclaimed enthusiastically. "Look, Sam, there are buildings everywhere!"

A lighthearted laugh bubbled up from Sam's throat at seeing the angel being excited about buildings. I wonder how he would react if he ever were to see a big city like LA. "Yes, there are," he said. He nodded towards one of the buildings, "That one there is called a bakery. It's a place where you can buy bread, pie, pastries and other nice things like that," he told him in a soft voice. Mark followed his line of vision as Sam went over some of the buildings and patiently explained what they were.

"There are a handful of cafes over there in that one street. There is a grocery store around the outskirts of town, as well as the motel Dean is staying at. We have two shops and that's about it," Sam finished his small tale, shrugging slightly. "There isn't really that much to see here honestly. The town has expanded slightly the past two years, but that's the most exciting thing to have happened," he added, shooting Mark a quick glance. Except for your appearance perhaps, that is.

"Come on," Sam said, mentioning for Mark to follow him, "we should get you some clothes of your own, and then we can walk around some if you want," he offered at which Mark nodded. They had started walking, with Gabriel in between them and talking with soft voices.

"Why do you live here?" Mark asked after a while. Sam glanced at him just to notice that the angel was looked at the carvings in the wall of one of the houses they just walked past. A child – or teenager – seemed to have carved stick-figures in the wood.

"I mostly just like the nature and peace that this place has," Sam replied. "I've never been one for big cities. This here is a rather quiet town and not that much happens and I... I just like it here. It's my home. What about you? Do you remember anything about your home?" He couldn't help but ask.

Mark's gaze shifted down to the tiled street they were walking on. "I don't think I have a home," he said sadly.

"What about Heaven?" Sam asked in a whisper, too late noticing his mistake when Mark winched.

The angel shook his head. "I don't know. What I remember of Heaven hurts, and if something like that hurts so much... how can it be my home?"

Feeling a pang in his heart and deciding to act on it, he reached out towards him with the hand that wasn't holding Gabriel's leash and lightly touched Mark's arm before pulling away. His fingers were tingling, he carefully flexed them, wondering if it had to do with Mark being an angel. He never had any issue with touching him before. "I'm sorry for bringing it up. It's alright if you don't know, don't want to talk about it or simply don't remember," Sam apologized with a weak smile.

"I'm not sure I even want to remember," Mark whispered so softly that Sam almost didn't hear it. But noticing the dampening in his mood, Sam decided not to reply to that.

Instead, he looked ahead. "Let's go in that store," he said, pointing at it with his finger. "We should be able to find you some clothes there." He connected Gabriel's leash to a pole outside and the corgi whined sadly. Sam gave his dog a pitiful look and a quick pat over the head. "You know you cannot get inside the stores," he muttered.

Mark stepped in front of him and reached out to open the door, but when it opened on its own, a tiny gasp left his lips. For a second, he stood frozen in the entrance but apparently shook out of it and stepped inside, flinching when the bell above the door pinged. "It's alright," Sam said to him, stepping in himself, "it's supposed to do that. It's to let the people who work here know they have possible customers."

Mark looked at him wide-eyed, but before he could open his mouth and say something, a young woman went their way. "Can I help you with something, gentlemen?" She asked with a polite smile.

"Oh no, we're just looking around some," Sam replied.

"Alrighty, let me know if you need help with anything," the girl said, giving one last smile before walking away again with a slight shake to her hips, dropping a wink Mark's way. Sam tensed up, eyes narrowing.

"Was there..." the angel started, sounding mostly confused as he looked Sam's way, "was there something in her eye?"

Sam patted his shoulder. "Don't worry about it," he said, suppressing a relieved grin as he gave him a light push in the direction of the clothes. "Let's just see if there's anything you like here, and then we can maybe grab a drink."

"Something that I like?" Mark repeated after him, looking down at the racks of clothes in front of him. Clearly not knowing what to do, he took a seemingly random item from the rack and held it up for Sam to see. It was a leather jacket.

"You like that one?" Sam asked him, arching up a single eyebrow.

Mark shrugged, looking down at the jacket and feeling the material in wonder. "I'm not sure," he said, "but it does feel funny." He nodded his head as if having made up his mind. "Yes, I guess I like this one."

Nodding his head, Sam took it from him and held it up in front of the now confused angel. "I guess this will fit," he muttered. Louder, he said, "You can fit it later. Let's continue looking around for now."

Sam quickly learned that Mark wasn't very picky about clothes. The angel just casually took random items and seemed to be fine with whatever he got his hands on. Those 'random items' just happened to be one plain shirt and a pink long-sleeved T-shirt, which he amusedly commented made him think of his own wings. Sam also got him a pair of pants, socks, and boxers of his own. He had never noticed Mark sweat, or even smell bad for that matter, so he wondered if angels even could sweat or needed to take showers in general. Sam doubted that, so he just got him one thing of each, figuring that it would be fine.

If not, they could always get more later.

~~

"Those make me very happy," Mark mused happily over a strawberry smoothie Sam got him. Having finished their tiny shopping spree - Sam also got him a pair of cheap dress shoes elsewhere - they had found themselves having smoothies at a snack bar, with Gabriel laying underneath the table they had occupied, munching on a dog snack Sam had given him.

"I know, right?!" Sam grinned up at him, having a kiwi smoothie for himself. "I always liked the smoothies here ever since I moved to this place."

That caught Mark's attention. "Where did you live before this?"

"At Stanford," Sam easily replied, "I studied law at the university they have there." A sly grin formed on his face, "But I guess I did not end up becoming a lawyer after all. And a university is like a place where you can learn high profile jobs, pretty much." Greatly simplified, that is, he mentally added. But he figured that it would do fine. He doubted that Mark would ever be interested in going to uni either way.

Sam also doubted if angels even went to university in the first place. He put the straw back in his mouth and took another sip of his smoothie.

"It... sounds difficult," Mark commented with a frown, still drinking his smoothie. He hadn't put it down yet and Sam noticed that his glass was almost empty by now. "Why didn't you become a law-" his frown deepened for a while as he tumbled over the strange word, "a lawyer." He finished, seemingly proud of himself.

Sam smiled fondly at him. "During the final year of my study I got this idea in my head and it just started growing... so I put it down and wrote a book. It was both stressful and fun to do, and I fell in love with writing stories," he said, a light chuckle leaving his lips at the memory. "It was actually a friend of mine who convinced me to get it published. Deciding to just go for it, I did, and it seemed to be quite a hit. As well as the entire trilogy, for that matter. I finished it last year."

"I like books!" Mark commented, his gaze lighting up like a lighthouse in the darkest night. Sam's breath caught in his throat. "Can I read your book?" Mark added, eyes large and hopeful.

How can I ever say no to that face? "Of course," Sam promised, expression softening, "I'm sure that I have a copy somewhere in my office. I can give it to you once we get back."

Mark nodded happily, going to take another sip of his smoothie but frowning when he noticed it was empty. "Do you want mine?" Sam offered, holding out his kiwi smoothie. There was still some left.

The angel's eyes had widened, and he started shaking his head. "No, it's fine. That one is yours, so you should have it," he said with a slight bow of his head, a lock of golden hair falling out from underneath the basketball cap he wore.

~~

After having paid for the smoothies, they found themselves outside once again, bathing in the light and warmth of the sun. Sam closed his eyes for a second to enjoy the feeling of the sun warming his skin as Mark adjusted his cap before they started walking again in the direction the car was at, taking a slightly different route so that Mark could see more of the town. Gabriel walked ahead of them, tail wagging with his steps and large ears perked up.

Sam had settled on telling him about his time at uni. The road trip they had taken towards LA and how their car broke down, the white beach with the palm trees, and he even mentioned Jess - his ex-girlfriend. "What is a girlfriend?" Mark had asked him, and Sam blinked his eyes - not entirely sure how he was supposed to explain something like that.

"A girlfriend - or a boyfriend - is someone you're together with romantically," he replied, having made up his mind and looking ahead. "You care about them and enjoy spending time with them... you love them." Whether he was still talking about Jessica, or something else now, Sam didn't know anymore.

"What is love?" Mark asked next, tilting his head in his own adorable way.

When he gave the angel a sideways glance, Sam noticed that he looked genuinely confused. "What is love?" He repeated. "That is the million-dollar question. I believe that love is something that cannot be put in words or fully understood by humanity. When you love someone, and it is time, you just know."

"This love... it sounds nice," Mark whispered, looking down with sagging shoulders. Sam frowned at that, wondering if something was wrong - at that moment, the angel just seemed so lonely; like a distant star, alone in the sky and with its light dimmed down by the surrounding darkness. Sam couldn’t help but wonder, with a pang in his heart, if he had ever experienced love earlier in his life. Before Sam could question him about it, or reach out to him, Mark completely tensed up in alarm and his head snapped up. Eyes now scorching red, he looked almost feral. "They have wings too."

Startled, Sam looked up. But he spotted nothing out of the ordinary. There were few people out on the street. Just two men who were talking to a woman with their backs turned to the two of them. "The two men. They have wings," Mark added, noticing Sam’s confusion.

Without thinking twice about his actions, Sam took hold of Mark's shoulders and pushed. Startled, the angel looked at him, but Sam had already pushed him inside a building before those two men - no, angels - could spot them, Gabriel getting half-dragged along with a low whine. Now inside the building, his hands still resting on Mark's surprisingly broad shoulders, Sam recognized the place as an old home that got abandoned about three years ago. Since then, it had become like a meeting place of the youth, with graffiti decorating the walls and empty soda cans and paper littered around. There hung a dull smell of smoke and cigars and even urine in the air, and other things Sam did not even want to know the source of.

He wasn't entirely sure why he had pushed Mark out of their possible line of vision. All three of them were - most likely - angels, and there was actually a change that those two men were buddies of Mark and simply looking for their lost friend. But still. His gut feeling told him a different story. They weren't friends or even allies. They were most likely the men Dean had mentioned - who were looking for a 'dangerous tall blond man.' With a sinking feeling, Sam realized that the change was now much bigger that it was Mark they were looking for after all - and they weren't looking for him in a positive way.

Hearing footsteps getting closer, Sam feverishly looked around, his eyes falling on an old closet in the corner of the room.

"Trust me on this, alright? Just go with me and stay quiet," Sam whispered under his breath, knowing that Mark could hear him just fine. Mark's eyes scanned his face, and seemingly finding something there, he nodded.

"Of course I trust you," the angel whispered back.

Sam took his hand and dragged him along to the closet. Gabriel went after them - for once the corgi was not barking like crazy, noticing the mood in the room. Both angel and dog quietly followed him inside the closet and Sam shut the door, wincing inwardly at the squeaking noise it made and the slightly stronger smell of urine. Hopefully they didn't hear that, he thought, quietly waiting there and looking through the tiny gap the door left open.

Mark's hot breath fanning over his face, Sam completely tensed up, somehow resisting the urge to let a gasp slip past his slightly parted lips. He might have managed to hide them for the time being, but there was at least one thing Sam did not account for.

Mark's proximity.

Looking down at the other male wide-eyed, Sam's heart rate picked up as his breathing quickened. Gabriel managed to find a way to lay around their feet as the bags were awkwardly pressed into their calves - leaving little breathing space left as the two men had their entire bodies pressed flush together. Sam could clearly feel all of Mark’s curves and muscles against his own body. Mark's arms seemed to have found their way around his waist as Sam's hands were still on his shoulder, their noses were almost touching, and all Sam could see was the now deep blue of his eyes.

He had never been so glad before to have a wall at his back as it felt like his legs turned into a pile of goo. It was both the closet wall, and Mark's arms, that kept him standing.

What did I get myself into? Was all Sam's mind managed to produce as it seemed to turn into a gibberish mess at being so close to a certain blue-eyed angel.

Chapter Text

Mark's questionable gaze focusing on him, Sam found his attention oddly drawn to the male's lips as his eyes slowly trailed down over the fair skin. Mouth parched, he felt like his own lips were completely dried out and he hadn't drunk anything for days. He could almost see the question hanging on the angel's soft-looking lips, but a voice pierced through the air, making Sam nearly jump out of his skin. His arms were still around Mark's neck and he was strongly bought aware of the fact that the angel had his own hands casually on his hips - unaware of what he was exactly doing to Sam.

"Are you sure that you sensed him here, Constantine? I really cannot see how someone as prideful as him would be at a place like this." An annoyed voice called out. "I really don't like Earth. You're always stepping into something here," the undoubtedly male voice continued. A splashing noise sounded, and a strangled groan came from him. "That was urine... I just stepped into urine. Great."

"I don't understand why you're calling me by that name," a deeper voice replied, sounding almost flat.

"Of course you don't," the first muttered. "Just do your thing and find him, Castiel. Then we can go back home to report to the Boss and finally leave this Godforsaken place behind."

A sigh sounded, and footsteps sounded again as 'Castiel' came dangerously close to the closet they were hiding in. Instinctively, Sam tightened his hold around Mark and held him closer against his chest. Mark looked up at him, wide-eyed, and his nerves were plain to see on his somewhat tight expression. Sam started to lightly rub his back, in between where his radiant wings would be, hoping that the motion would calm him down even a little bit. It seemed to work, and Mark placed his head on Sam's shoulder.

Sam noticed that he was shaking lightly, but not as if he could blame him. He could imagine that he had no idea what was going on and didn't understand why those men were after him or what they wanted. And Sam sincerely doubted it was anything good. He placed his cheek against Mark's head, his blond hair tickling his nose slightly, but Sam didn't mind. If he could help it, he would try his best to protect him. There was just something about him; like a precious light that needed to be protected whatever it took. Something Mark himself didn't even seem to realize.

Daring to peek through the cap of the closet door, Sam saw a flash of movement. A dark-haired guy stood right in front of them, looking around the room. Searching. As if sensing Sam's eyes on him, his head snapped up and Sam met clear blue eyes. The guy narrowed his gaze and threw open the closet, ripping the entire door out of its hinges with ease.

"Ah, there you are," another guy spoke up. An old balding man wearing a black suit. His gaze swiped over Sam, regarding him with plain disinterest. As if he was a lower being than a bug. "You even got yourself a pet monkey... how nice."

"What do you want from me?" Mark whimpered, absently moving behind Sam's taller frame.

At those words, the two men looked visibly confused. "You know perfectly well why," the older one spoke up. "You weren't supposed to escape from The Cage. But you did... and so we came for you." Still looking at Mark, he mentioned towards the younger looking man. "Castiel, kill the human."

Sam tensed up as Castiel stepped closer, a silver blade appearing in his hold. A flash of reddish fur flashed past Sam and hit the angel's legs in a growling mass of teeth and fur. Startled, the angel stepped back and looked down at the furious corgi who had bravely jumped between them and was barking loudly. "Gabe," Sam whispered in horror.

Before Sam could react, Castiel's eyes glowed up in a bright neon blue color. As if harshly picked up by an invisible force, Gabriel was slammed away with a terrified scream. Sam had never heard a dog scream like that, but it was a horrifying sound that pierced straight through his heart. A choking sound left his lips. "Gabriel!" He screamed. Mark had frozen from behind him and was watching with a pale face, disbelief clear to see in his eyes. Sam only had eyes for his dog, who laid still against the wall. No.

Stepping Gabriel's way, Sam started to move, too shocked to run properly. And then the angel went to him, stabbing at him with his blade. Barely managing to dodge the deadly weapon, he got a deep cut in his arm, his flannel shirt ripping apart as blood pooled free from his fresh wound. A strangled cry leaving his lips, Sam stumbled back, gripping his bleeding arm tightly.

"Sam!" A panicking voice called out. Before Sam knew it, strong arms found their way around his waist. A gentle wind picked up out of nowhere, accompanied by the sound of mighty wings splitting apart the sky, as he was carried away in his angel's arms.

He landed on the floor of his living room with a groan. Arm throbbing and bloody, Sam sat up carefully, cradling his hurt arm against his chest. He spun around and faced the angel who was seated not too far away from him, holding something in his arms as his radiant wings were out and wrapped around himself like a mighty shield. Red eyes looking up, one wing moved out of the way so Sam could see what he was holding. It was Gabriel.

"Gabriel!" Scrambling closer, Sam reached out for his dog with shaking hands, fearing the worst. Please don't be dead.

"Sam, it's alright," Mark said, "he's fine."

As if reacting to what was being said around him, one of Gabriel's ears twitched. It was a small movement but a beautiful sight for Sam. Carefully reached out, he gently stroked the corgi's ears. "I just cannot decide if you're the bravest dog in the world, or the stupidest one," Sam managed to say to him between the tears. He looked up at the angel with a soft smile. "Thank you."

"He was hurt at first," Mark said, lightly stroking Gabriel's fur, "but I healed him, and he seems to be fine now. Just shocked about the day's events, I think." He added, blinking when Gabriel licked his hand in gratitude and snuggled closer.

"I'm glad that he's doing fine now," Sam commented, stroking the dog's head and letting Mark hold him.

"You're hurt too," the angel frowned, looking down at Sam's bloodied arm as his wings flopped down slightly, sparkling feathers dragging over the floor. Holding Gabriel close, he reached out with one of his hands as light seemed to rain down from his palm and dance over Sam's skin, soothing the pain and healing the wound shut under the mortal's amazed gaze. "I'm sorry that this happened to you," Mark whispered, looking down as he pulled his arm back and placed it on his lap. Plumage ruffling up, he wrapped those large wings around his body and shielded himself - and Gabriel - from Sam's line of vision.

"Mark, it's alright," Sam found himself saying, carefully shuffling closer as if not to startle him too much. "We are fine. You saved us."

"But if it wasn't for me," the angel replied bitterly, "you wouldn't have gotten hurt in the first place."

Mark looked away from him, head dipping down behind his wings until he looked like a large pink cocoon. Sam tried to move into his line of vision, which proved hard thanks to the wings. Reaching out his hand as if to move the wings away to reach him, something stopped him dead in his track. Hand hovering just above the shining plumage, a small gasp came from him. "Mark, what happened to your wings?"

Lifting his gaze, Mark shook out one wing and looked at it with a frown, allowing Sam to get a better view as well. He covered his mouth with his hand when noticing that the wings were damaged; the feathers crooked and broken, and parts appearing to have been forcibly torn off. Who could do that to something so breathtakingly beautiful?

"I..." the angel blinked, "I think they have always been like this."

"Mark," Sam shook his head, "it looks like you have been burned alive." Hand still hovering over the wings, he was doubtful if he should try to touch them at all. What right did he, a mere human, had to touch the divine like that? He pulled back his hand as he slowly watched Mark's wings fade from view again. He averted his eyes, feeling as if he were intruding on some kind of sacred ritual. "Do you think they will come after you?" He whispered instead.

"I don't know," Mark replied, placing his head on his knees in despair as he was still holding Gabriel.

Sam believed him. He stood up slowly and looked around his home. Mark had fixed his kitchen so there were no traces left from when he 'exploded'. Sam knew he wouldn't be able to leave his home behind. Glancing down at the huddled angel on his floor, he did know that he would protect him if the other angels came. Or try to, at least. "Then let then try coming for us," he said slowly, tilting up his head, "for we'll be ready."

~~

Sam had no idea what he was doing.

How was one supposed to defend their house against angels? His life really got complicated in the last few days.

A sigh left his lips as he looked down on what he could get his hands on. Mark silently stood next to him, having removed his cap and put on his own clothes a while ago. There was a single handheld gun laying on the table, as well as the strange blade Gabriel had found in the woods. Sam didn't even know if guns were effective on angels, but he figured that everything would do now. While he might be unsure about the gun, he knew that the blade would be effective. It had apparently managed to harm Mark after all. But was he actually going to do this, harm angels?

They didn't think twice about trying to kill me. Or harm Gabriel, a tiny voice in the back of his mind pointed out. His hands clenched the table he was standing in front of tightly until his knuckles turned white and he feared he might break his own fingers. "Mark, are you ready for this?" He asked, just to break the tension in the air.

"I don't think so."

Neither am I, honestly. But if they do come, I won't have much of a choice. Sam nodded, absently placing his hand on Mark's shoulder. He knew the other was looking at him without having to look sideways. "I'm with you and not going anywhere," was all Sam said. Mark didn't reply, but Sam did notice some of the tension leaving his shoulders.

Sam took the gun, the weapon feeling awkward and strange in his hold, and Mark took the blade without making a sound. Sam knew he was holding his breath. And then they waited like leaves for the coming storm.

~~

"They're here," Mark suddenly spoke up, eyes burning without even their red glow. The angel had looked up and was vaguely glancing out of the window, absently tightening his hold on the blade.

Gabriel had moved silently under the table, fur standing up straight and he was growling softly as Sam stood up to his full height. He fumbled a bit with the trigger of his gun, hoping he wouldn't accidentally shoot himself. He had the gun more for safety reasons but never had a reason to use it. Until now, that is.

Mark's words were the only warning he ever got about the angels' arrival. They were suddenly there in the blink of an eye, appearing on invisible wings. Mark was surrounded by about eight angels - men and women alike - who had their odd silver blades pointed his way. "Don't try anything funny, Deceiver. Or we'll kill you ourselves without bringing you before the Viceroy first." One of them spoke up. There was no kindness in his voice, none at all.

Deceiver? Viceroy? Sam frowned at the angel's odd choice of words, taking note of how - even with their choice of words and having the upper hand in numbers - they kept their distance from Mark, looking almost doubtful. They're afraid of him, Sam realized with a shock. They are terrified of Mark.

Snapping out of it and moving to help him, he didn't dare use the gun, afraid he would hit Mark instead, he was stopped with something sharp pointing at his back. "I would advise you against doing that," a deep voice spoke up. Castiel. "I generally don't kill humans... but if you get in our way, I will make an exception and personally carve out your heart. You don't know what you got yourself into."

"Why are you doing this?" Sam tried in a whisper, holding his hands up slowly in surrender, dropping the gun. He didn't doubt for a second that the angel meant every word. But Castiel did not reply and stayed impassive like a statue, or a distant wall of ice.

With Castiel keeping him in place and the other angels having surrounded a wild-eyed Mark, the whooshing sound Sam had learned to put together with angel wings sounded and the same older man from earlier appeared in the middle of the room. "Why must you always make it so difficult for everyone here?" He told Mark, who stared at him blankly in reply. Then he turned his attention towards Sam, who was already shooting daggers at him. "Not like I'm particularly interested... but who exactly are you and why do you keep popping up?"

"I'm Sam," he replied, back rigid. "Sam Winchester." Castiel froze behind him, but Sam ignored that.

"Winchester?" The old guy repeated with a frown. Then realization seemed to hit him. "Ah, of course! A Winchester." He did not seem particularly pleased by that. "You know, Sam, we used to have plans for you and your brother... but things didn't exactly go as planned before it could be set in motion and you two sadly fell off our radar."

Sam frowned at that. Plans? What plans? He couldn't help but wonder, unable to come up with any 'plans' Heaven would need him and his brother for.

"It'll be a pity to kill you, honestly. But you're not exactly giving us much of a choice looking at your bad choice of friends," the balding man sighed. "Castiel, if you'd please."

"No, don't!" Mark called out, taking a step closer before Castiel could do anything.

The angels surrounding him made some noises of protest and their blades flashed. "Don't. You'll be dead before you could be by his side," one of them spoke up. Mark narrowed his eyes at the angel.

No, that's not it, Sam thought, if they could kill him, if they actually had the means to, they would have done so already. He blinked, surprised at his own thoughts and the conclusion he had come to. Why they were trying to act 'brave', he did not know. Perhaps they are stalling? But if so, for what?

To Sam's surprise, Castiel did not move or plunge in his blade. Instead, he whispered, "Are you Dean's brother?"

Dean? What does Dean have to do with anything? Sam frowned, wondering how Castiel even knew his brother's name. "Yes, I am," he whispered back, barely noticing how the angel caught his breath.

"Castiel, what's the matter?" The old guy frowned when he noticed that Sam was still alive. He had been talking to Mark in a hushed voice previously, but what he had been saying to him, Sam didn't know. But he did saw how Mark's eyes burned dangerously.

Noticing that Castiel wasn't going to obey - something which confused Sam - he sighed. "In the end, you always have to do everything yourself, am I right?" He spoke, looking up towards the sky almost in prayer. A blade now in his hold, he walked over towards the mortal - the other angels watching him go as Sam tried to take a step back. But he was unable to do so - Castiel might not have killed him, but the sharp tip of his blade was still pressed firmly against his back. "Then I do it myself," he added, pulling back his arm as the light reflected off the silver-like blade.

Sam closed his eyes tightly. If he was going to die, he did not want to see the final blow coming.

"NO, SAM!!" A powerful voice screamed, echoing around the room and a high-pitched sound heard through it. Sam's eyes snapped open in shock as some kind of energy seemed to move through the room, making the hairs on his arms stand up as if static. The other angels looked up at Mark, shuffling away from him with slightly fearful eyes, yet they still held their blades tightly. Gabriel howled from under the table he had been hiding and fled from the room with his tail between his legs. Sam couldn't blame his dog.

Standing just in front of the wall, Mark's red eyes burned like a rampaging firestorm as a radiant light seemed to burn from within, shining brighter and brighter underneath his very skin and putting even the brightest star in the darkest skies to shame. Darkness unfurled from his back and Sam needed a second to realize that they were his wings - materialized in the form of fearful shadows, uncurling slowly and flaring out threateningly. Fearsome and terrifying like the night itself. Much different from the soft pink plumage he had seen him with earlier.

Sam felt like he was looking straight into the burning sun in all its glory. Yet he found himself unable to look away, no matter how much it might hurt his eyes or possibly damage his vision. He could only stare in a mixture of awe and fear. Stare at this side of Mark he had never seen before, like the shimmer of his true glorious form he had seen through his bright eyes earlier. The side of him that was beyond a mere human to grasp. This was different from when Mark had accidentally destroyed his kitchen, and especially different from the angel who had asked him about what love was not too long ago. This side of Mark was much more like an avenging angel from the stories he had once heard when he was much smaller, fearful and glorious in all their might, and Sam didn't doubt he would rain down justice upon the world in fire and blood if it meant to protect those he cared about.

"Oh shit," the old guy spoke. The last thing Sam heard him say before the light became too unbearable and he was forced to look away.

Squeezing his eyes shut tightly and covering them with both of his hands, he could make out the soft sound of fluttering wings before the high-pitched sound picked up which was followed by screaming. Terrified screams of those who faced death. And then, as suddenly as it came, it was quiet again and a hand cupped his cheek.

Blinking open his eyes, Sam looked at Mark who hung above him as he realized he seemed to have fallen to the ground. Startled, Sam pulled away from him and looked around. A choking gasp came from his lips when he noticed the bodies. Bodies that were surrounded by marks that made Sam suspiciously think of wings, branded on his kitchen floor.

Standing up on shaking legs, he looked at the dead angels with large eyes. Mark killed them. All of them, his mind raced. That was when he took a double take and noticed that the bodies did not match up with the angels that had previously occupied his kitchen.

There were only eight bodies. Instead of ten. Two seem to have gotten away and escaped an otherwise certain death.

Sam couldn't spot Castiel amongst the bodies - who was easily recognizable thanks to his trench coat - as well as the old guy, whose name he still did not know. The other angels, those who had surrounded Mark and were closest, were all dead. Their pale eyes staring up at the ceiling, the horrified expression still frozen on their faces even in death.

That was when he noticed Mark. Who looked even more horrified than the dead angels. But he did not appear to be horrified at having killed them, but it was something else as his eyes seemed distant and all color slowly drained from his face. The shadowy wings had disappeared by now and the angel had managed to take a few steps back before he gripped his head tightly and soundlessly collapsed to the ground.

"Mark!" Sam yelled.

Chapter Text

 He was falling. Deeper and deeper into the darkness of his own mind. There was no light in sight. No light to guide him and pull him out.

Images flashed behind his closed eyelids, images he couldn't understand at first, but slowly started to make a little bit of sense as time dragged on. Looking down at the dead angels with the burned wings laying around him, he knew this was not the first time he had taken a life. There was blood on his hands - and a lot of it.

There was pain, unimaginable pain when his own brother called him a freak and monster before turning against him. And when another brother abandoned him he felt it too. Followed by a long and bloody war, a war caused by him. A long time ago, where angel fought angel and the sky was set ablaze in their fury and blood raining down. And then even more pain. The pain would never stop.

He took a few steps back, standing rather shaky on his own feet as his mind swirled and throbbed painfully, and memories flooded back to him. Painful memories he rather forgot.

"Brother, please! Don't do this to me. I'm scared," he had called out. To a brother whose name wouldn't come to him just yet. But he did not receive any mercy that day, or any day after, and instead he fell. Falling to be swallowed up by darkness as his terrified screams pierced through the sky and his hands clawed towards the fading light he would never be able to return to. Broken and bloodied wings helplessly flapping in the air but unable to carry him anymore.

He gripped his head, trying to force them away. But of course, it did not work that way.

There was so much loneliness. No sound. No light. Nothing but his slowly maddening mind to keep him company as lightning crashed down around his cage. Curling in on himself, sitting amidst his own broken off feathers, he rocked back and forth as he finally allowed the tears to fall down his cheeks. No one could see him either way. No one would bother. He was all alone.

A single name sounded in his head before the darkness finally took him and he was allowed a moment's rest as he collapsed in on himself. It was a name he just knew was his own.

Lucifer.

~~

A groan slipping past his lips, Lucifer blinked his eyes open slowly. For a second, he looked up at the ceiling, confused where he was, but then he recognized it as Sam's bedroom. The man seemed to have placed him on his bed, still in his clothes with a blanket gently placed over his legs.

Noticing something heavy - and very much alive - laying on his chest, he looked down and faced Gabriel, Sam's pet corgi who had apparently decided to lay down on top of his chest, keeping watch over him. His fluffy tail started waggling and ears perked up when noticing that he was awake. Lucifer frowned slightly. Gabriel. The name held something familiar, something dear to him, but he couldn't place his finger on it. The dog barked and jumped forward, licking his face enthusiastically as Lucifer pulled a face and tried to get away, which only ended with him getting more corgi salvia on his face.

He managed to get a hold of the dog's shoulders and he tried to carefully shove him away as Gabriel wrestled against him and was happily barking. He did not want to accidentally hurt him and instead tried to be somewhat gentle.

The door to the room opened and he could hear a gasp. "Mark?" He heard Sam ask, his voice pulling him out of the darkness threatening to consume him. At least for a while. Gabriel jumped off the bed at Sam's voice and went over to his side, and Lucifer looked up, slowly pushing himself up to a sitting position.

"How are you feeling?" Sam asked him carefully, walking into the room. Lucifer noticed that he was carrying a steaming mug containing a hot beverage - he could pick up the cocoa particles in the air so he knew what it was without having to ask.

"I'm not sure," he frowned, looking down at his hands that were folded on his lap as he tried to make sense of the memories that came back to him. Or at least, he assumed they were memories.

A muffled scream sounded within his head and he frowned, trying to make out what it was saying. All he caught was panic and annoyance. But when he tried to focus on the voice in his head, it faded away again, and he was left even more confused than earlier. What was that?

"Well, you did suddenly collapse out of nowhere," Sam frowned and Lucifer blinked, looking up to face him. The man went closer and handed him the mug as he sat down on the corner of the bed. Silently, Lucifer took it and looked down at the brown beverage it contained. He noticed some marshmallows floating on the surface. He took a tiny sip of it. "Just take it easy for a while and finish your hot chocolate."

"What about those angels?" He couldn't help but ask, lowering the mug. "What happened to their bodies?" His hands shook, and he tightened his hold around the mug.

Sam blinked at the question. "I haven't moved them yet," he replied sheepishly with an awkward smile, "I wasn't really sure just what to do with them."

Lucifer nodded his head absently, twirling the mug around in his hands and watching the steam curl up slowly. The curiosity burning deep within, and he knew he perhaps shouldn't, but he couldn't seem to help himself. The need to know who and what he exactly was, and to make sense of the cluster of memories was too strong to push away. So he opened his mouth. "Hey, Sam? Can I maybe use your laptop?" He asked, looking up at the man with large eyes. His knowledge of human technology was still minimal, but he remembered Sam telling him about the laptop and what it was used for. And he had seen him use it once. Using a laptop didn't seem too hard.

The human looked at him in surprise. "Sure," he replied, "what do you need it for?"

"There's just something I want to look up," he said, glancing away.

Sam stayed silent for a while, probably wondering if he would say more but when that was not the case, he slowly nodded his head and said. "Of course. I'll go get it for you." He watched Sam leave the room before he focused on his chocolate milk. Until the other returned with the laptop under his arm and Gabriel trailing after him.

Being handed the laptop, Sam went and explained a few more things to him before he went to leave the room again. "I guess I'm going to find a way to get rid of those bodies," he explained. Something flashed across his face and he winced. "Never thought I would ever have to say that," he muttered with a disbelieving shake of his head. And then Sam was gone, Gabriel jumping after him and Lucifer was left on his own.

Turning towards the laptop he had placed on his lap, facing what Sam had called 'Google', the angel took a deep breath. His fingers hovering above the keyboard, he started to slowly type out his name with his tongue poked out in uttermost concentration.

L - U - C - I - F - E - R

Looking at the laptop's screen, a flash of doubt took hold of him. What if I won't like who I am? He thought with a sinking feeling. The few things he managed to remember about his life - his life before meeting Sam - weren't exactly happy memories. He wasn't even sure if he had any happy memories to start with. Then again... there was a need to discover the truth, and he couldn't ignore it - no matter how badly he might want to.

Deciding he might as well do it and get it over with, he pressed the 'enter' button. Just as Sam had taught him to. How bad could it be?

Lucifer had not even been on the Google for an hour, and there were already a few conclusions he could draw from having looked at numerous sites. One, he was an angel who had rebelled in Heaven and fallen from grace. Two, he's the Devil, or Satan, and apparently responsible for a lot of bad things happening to humanity. Three, he's evil - according to many. And he wasn't sure how to feel about all that. He wasn't entirely sad, part of him probably expected it, but he wasn't happy either. He just was stuck between all those emotions set rampant within and he had no idea how he was supposed to be feeling.

An annoyed groan slipping past his lips, he put the laptop away and gripped his head, closing his eyes tightly. The voice had started up again, trying to tell him something and seemingly almost panicking, but what it wanted to say - or if it was even real and not a figment of his imagination - Lucifer did not know. Lifting his shaking wings, he wrapped them around himself and tried to take comfort in their presence.

~~

"Hey, Mark," he heard Sam's voice ask. Perched on the windowsill and head placed against the cool glass, the angel absently watched the outside world and did not move. He had spent his time watching Sam built a pyre out of woods to burn the bodies until the man had gone inside again. It had taken the duration of the day. "I have finished the pyre and am going to burn the bodies now. Would you like to come?"

Slowly, he lifted his head from the window and looked at his host. He did not speak, but his expression seemed to say enough for worry quickly flashed past Sam's eyes and then he was at his side. "Are you alright?" Sam asked him.

Gulping, Lucifer looked away from his prying gaze, feeling much like an open book. "I'm fine." I'm not.

Sam's eyes narrowed at his obvious lie, but he did not pry and instead nodded slowly. "I'll come with you," Lucifer said to bring the subject away from his own feelings, "to burn the bodies." Standing up, he gave Sam a slight smile and waited for him to lead the way, which the man eventually did, but not before giving him a slightly worried look. Is it that easy for you to read me, Sam? Yet Sam did not ask, even if Lucifer could almost see the question laying on the tip of his tongue. In a way, he liked that quality of him; Sam did not pry for information and instead allowed time, so he could tell it on his own accord.

Following Sam out of the room, they silently busied themselves with the task of carrying the bodies outside and onto the pyre. They were already starting to become stiff, Lucifer noted in surprise once they hauled up the last one. Sam rolled his shoulders in the corner of his eyes and Lucifer looked down some. He was the one who had killed them. But it's not like they were his first. He clenched his hands into fists.

"How much oil would I need to burn them?" Sam wondered aloud.

"I might have a better way of doing this," Lucifer muttered, holding up his hand and pointing it the way of the bodies. Tapping into his powers, which proved to be harder than he thought it would be, he snapped his fingers and set the bodies ablaze as white-hot flames burst free and blazed towards the sky. A startled yelp came Sam's way as the bodies were incinerated to ashes before his very eyes.

"I guess that's one way to do it," Sam shakily said as the black smoke curled up towards the sky. "Are you going to say anything?" He added, the fire's light reflected in his hazel eyes and giving him an almost feral look.

Tilting his head, Lucifer turned to look at him. "I... what do you say?" He asked, frowning. What does one say on times like this? Am I supposed to be saying something?

Sam was quiet for a while, probably thinking about how best to explain it – Lucifer wasn't sure. "Right," he said, a slight smile forming on his face at the question. He nodded slowly before finally speaking again. "You generally wish that they're at a better place. Somewhere without suffering or pain," he said slowly, "you say goodbye."

And so Lucifer looked at the burning bodies. He wished he knew their names, but he wasn't entirely sure he ever even knew in the first place. "Goodbye," he slowly said. Sam nodded from next to him and they silently watched the bodies burn and the smoke flew off. And Lucifer couldn't help but wonder where angels went when they died. Did they go back to Heaven? Did they simply disappear? Or was there perhaps another place for them they could go? He wasn't sure.

~~

"Mark, are you alright?" Sam asked. The angel looked up and tilted his head. Gabriel laid sprawled on his lap and he was absently scratching his ear. Ever after having saved his life, the corgi seemed to have grown rather fond of him. Not that Lucifer minded much – Gabriel was very soft and warm. "It's just that you've been quiet and haven't spoken since we've burned the bodies," Sam added.

"I was just thinking," he replied, looking down at the half-asleep corgi with a frown. He had seated himself on the couch, on top of the blankets that had yet to be put away.

"About what?" Sam tried, eyes widening slightly in curiosity.

Lucifer clenched his fist around Gabriel's fur, which made the corgi's ears twitch. "So you now know about angels and all that. Do you believe it?" He wasn't sure how to say it or bring it over without possibly scaring him, but he thought he had found a way that might work.

Sam's frowned at the question. "It's kinda hard not to, looking at all that has transpired so far the past few days."

Lucifer nodded and turned around, facing him fully. "Does that mean you also believe in the Devil?" He asked.

The man's frown deepened. "I," he seemed to be thinking about it for a while, "I never really gave it that much thought... but I guess I do. I mean, there are angels and most likely a Heaven and God as well... so it would stand to reason that demons, the Devil, and Hell exist as well." He said. Lucifer looked away. "Why are you asking me that?"

He stayed silent, not sure how to answer or if it would be a good idea to tell Sam about his discoveries right now when he still felt so lost himself. "I'm not sure."

Carefully, Sam went closer. "I'm not sure what this is all about. I mean, I have a guess and all, but you are not evil if that's what it's about."

Lucifer smiled an almost sad smile. "That's the thing, Sam," he said, "I now know I am."

The alarm was clear to see on Sam's face. Lucifer had to look away. "Mark, what do you remember?" Sam asked him. Lucifer did not look at him. Instead, his attention was on Gabriel. The corgi was now awake and looked up at him with a tilted head. When he did not get an answer, Sam reached out and took his face in his hands, forcing the angel to look at him. In surprise, Lucifer did so and met Sam's burning gaze. Up close, Sam's eyes were rather colorful. Mainly a golden-brown, but with pigments of a clear blue and forest green scattered throughout. "What do you remember?"

Trying to free himself from Sam's grasp, he tried to pull back and avert his eyes. He started shaking his head. "Enough... Please don't make me say it," he almost begged. So much pain. Gabriel had jumped off his lap by now and was watching them from the floor, ears perked up as he looked between them.

"Mark," Sam spoke in alarm, sounding almost terrified. "It's alright, I won't harm you. I'm just trying to help you. Please let me help you."

Lucifer shook his head. "You don't want to know," he finally said, "Sam, I've done a lot of bad things."

"Do you remember what I've told you about change?" Sam asked him after having stayed silent for a short while. In surprise, Lucifer looked at him. Sam was still holding his face, he noticed. "About how people change every day thanks to things happening to them? You're not the same person now as you were before we knew each other. Neither am I. And I still stand by that."

"But what if you've done something so bad that it cannot be forgiven? What if I cannot change, no matter what happens?" He asked shakily, reminded of something that had been told to him an apparently long time ago. By one of his own brothers.

I've known you since before the stars were born. You're incapable of change.

Sam gave him an almost sad smile. "We all have our sins and regrets. And personally, I believe that everyone can be forgiven as long as people give them a chance to."

Slowly, Sam removed his hands from around his face and they were left looking at each other, neither sure about what was going to happen now. "If you don't want to tell me, it's fine. Just know that I'm here if you ever need to talk about it," Sam said softly.

He wasn't sure what made him say it. Maybe it was that he simply couldn't - or wouldn't - keep secrets from Sam, maybe because he was looking at him like that, or maybe because the screaming and banging in his head started up again and he simply broke. "I remember that I have brothers," he whispered. Sam stayed quiet and simply listened. "And I remember them betraying and abandoning me. My elder brother called me a monster and a freak, and another said that I could never change my ways and am beyond saving." Seeing that Sam was about to open his mouth to say something, Lucifer shook his head. If he started, he might as well finish.

"There was a war, thanks to me. In Heaven. And all angels were forced to choose sides. And then I fell, beaten down by my own brother whom I loved and idolized, and I was put in a Cage in Hell," slowly, he could see realization flash on Sam's face. The man paled slightly. "I still don't remember everything, and many things still don't make sense and are fuzzy. But I remember the loneliness, and I know that the world hates me. Somehow I got out of this Cage... and then you found me in that forest and took me home."

Sam's eyes had widened, and he sat there on the couch, right next to him and gaping openly. A lot of emotions swirled through those multi-colored eyes of his, emotions Lucifer couldn't completely place. "What are you trying to tell me?" It was clear to see that Sam was confused and trying to make sense of it all. In his eyes, Lucifer could tell that he already knew the answer but wanted to have it confirmed.

So he said it rather bluntly. "Sam... my real name is Lucifer. I am the Devil."

Sam looked at him wide-eyed but stayed quiet. Gulping, Lucifer shuffled around some, his invisible wings rustling in unease. Finding Sam's silence somewhat unsettling, he stood up slowly. His sudden movement made Sam pull back slightly and Lucifer winced, his heart sinking. I have to leave, he thought, his wings already flaring out.

"I," he started to say, "I guess I'll be going then. Just... thank you," he nodded his head once. "Thank you for teaching me how to love humanity." And then he was gone, his large wings carrying him away. The further away he went, the larger the hole in his heart became. A single tear escaped his eyes and fell down his cheek. 

Chapter Text

Mark is a fallen angel. The Devil himself. Sam's mind was racing when he tried to grasp this new piece of information that was revealed about his angel. But then again, how could one ever hope to fully understand something like that?

He could do nothing but stare in shock. And he hadn't meant to, but when there was a sudden movement in his line of vision, he recoiled away.

Something which Lucifer seemed to take the wrong way. Sam noticed a flash of pain on his expression. Somehow seeing a shimmer of his beautiful wings in the air behind him, he observed that they were trembling. "I-I guess I'll be going then. Just... thank you. Thank you for teaching me how to love humanity." Lucifer stammered out as he stepped back, taking his distance. Before Sam could reach out to him, or say anything, the angel had already disappeared in a flutter of wings and Sam was left grasping for air.

No. "Mark!" He called out, but he was too late for the Angel was already gone. Sam wasn't entirely sure yet about what to think of him being the first fallen angel, but he did know that he needed to find him and apologize. He had not meant to react that way... he just needed some time to process it.

Still in a daze, he sunk through his knees and looked at Gabriel who sat in front of him. The dog gave him an almost accusing look. Scoffing, Sam reached out to pet the fluff on his cheeks. "I screwed up, didn't I, Gabriel?" He muttered more to himself than to Gabriel. "I need your help. Do you think that you can find him again?" He whispered, both hands on the corgi's cheeks. Gabriel whined softly and flopped down his ears.

Sam sighed and stood up slowly. Looking out of the window, he noticed that it wouldn't take very long anymore for the sun to set. An hour at most, probably. His heart ached at the idea of Mark, or Lucifer - or whatever he preferred to go by - to be out there during the dark. "I'm going to find him, Gabe," Sam whispered, already moving to grab a flashlight. At second thought, Sam also grabbed the blade and put it through his belt, being careful not to accidentally stab - or kill - himself. The corgi watched him do so silently, not barking for once.

Having found a flashlight, he went to the door and Gabriel silently followed him. "You coming with me?" Sam asked with an arched eyebrow. The corgi barked, and he shrugged. "Very well, let's go then."

Closing the front door behind him, Sam looked up towards the darkening sky with a frown. What if he gets lost or is even scared? Shaking his head, he gripped the flashlight tightly and turned it on before going into the woods. In the absence of the daytime, the normally peaceful and magical forest now looked eerie and brooding. He gulped once before he went inside and got swallowed up by the towering trees, Gabriel loyally trotting behind him.

"Come on, Gabriel. Search," Sam told his corgi after a while. Gabriel gave him a look over his shoulder before turning and walking around in a few circles as he sniffed the ground. Sam watched him silently until the corgi's ears perked up and he dashed away in a half-run. Sam ran after him, taking great care not to lose sight of the dog in the darkening woods.

~~

"LUCIFER!!" Sam called out, hands cupped around his mouth as he followed Gabriel, going deeper into the woods. He glanced around somewhat nervously. He liked the woods during the day, but when the night had fallen upon the lands it looked like an entirely different place. The branches were like claws curling menacingly towards the sky and the tall trees seemed ready to swallow him up whole. Sam didn't like being in the woods during the night, not at all. He'd rather sit at home, with his laptop on his lap and a soft blanket wrapped around him. Grumbling under his breath, he squared his shoulders and kept moving forward. Going faster to keep up with Gabriel, his heart hammered in his throat as his legs ached from all the running and jumping.

The corgi had sped up and Sam found it harder to keep up with him. He must have found something. "Gabriel, slow down!" Sam called after the dog, but Gabriel did not seem to hear him and darted away at full speed - nothing but a flash of reddish fur in the growing darkness. He could hear Gabriel bark a few times but then nothing as the enthusiastic corgi had completely disappeared amongst the trees and bushes.

I should have put him on a leash, Sam mentally cursed at himself. Standing still, chest heaving, he tried to catch his breath as he flashed his light around to try and get a better look at his surroundings. I remember this place, he thought, starting to run again once he got a rough idea of where he was. And of where he had to go.

It wasn't long until the trees around him started to become wider and the woods denser until they cleared out again later and Sam found himself standing at the edge of a large field in the heart of the forest. A single tree stood in the middle of the clearing; a white tree with fiery leaves. It was the place where he had met Lucifer for the first time, underneath the white tree. What caught his attention the most now though was how the tree glowed like there was a light trapped within the tree itself, allowing it to illuminate the clearing in a brilliant white light. Gabriel stood in front of the tree, looking up at the red and orange leaves above his head. Sam went closer, noticing how no sounds were heard, just like the first time he came here.

Seeing something flash at the clearing's edge, he looked up and saw countless animals lining the border between the forest and the clearing, their eyes glowing in the white light. It was like they had been called here in a way, attached to the odd light. Under the glowing eyes of the animals, Sam went over to the tree and noticed something poking out from behind it. Something pink and sparkling.

Those are Lucifer's wings. He's behind the tree, Sam knew in a heartbeat, recognizing the brilliant pink coloring everywhere.

"Mark?" He called out, not sure how the angel would react to being called by his real name. He stood next to Gabriel and the corgi looked up to him. He saw the wings still and pull back. "I'm sorry for reacting that way, or more like for my lack of any reaction, please talk to me." Sam nearly begged, talking in a low tone as if not to startle him.

"You shouldn't have come," Lucifer told him, voice sounding flat. "Aren't I supposed to be evil? I might hurt you."

"No, Mark. No," Sam shook his head. "You are not evil. Maybe I was shocked, but I'm not scared of you. You are still you."

At that, the angel stepped out from behind the tree. Pink plumage puffed up and red eyes aflame, Lucifer glared at him with those scorching eyes. His cheeks were wet from tears. All his instincts telling him to run, Sam stayed his ground. He wasn't planning on screwing it up further. "Sam, I am the literal Devil!" Lucifer yelled. "I am basically the embodiment of evil."

I don't care about any of that. You are still you, Devil or not.

"If that is the case," Sam calmly replied, "then why were you crying?" At that, Lucifer looked at him in surprise. He clearly didn't notice. "If you were evil, you wouldn't worry about it so much. You simply wouldn't care. And you especially wouldn't be crying about the possibility of being evil," he told him, taking a small step closer as he held up his hands to show he didn't mean any harm.

Lucifer shook his head and pressed his back against the white tree trunk behind him, the light that shined from within the tree reflecting off his radiant wings. "If I am not evil... why did they kick me out?!" He asked, seeming honestly lost and puzzled by it. "Why did my own brother call me a monster, and why did they say I could never change?"

"I don't know," Sam truthfully said. Who was he to speak for God and Heaven? "But I do know that they are missing out on the best angel of them all," he added with a grin, "their loss, my gain."

His expression softened when the angel looked just as lost as he ever did, and so Sam went over to him and wrapped him up in a hug - something he seemed to do often lately. Yet he didn't find it in himself to care, not with Lucifer in his arms. "Is your heart okay?" The angel frowned, head against his chest. "It's not sick, is it?" Pulling back his head, he placed his palm on the place right over Sam's heart, his touch surprisingly cold.

Sam's heart jumped at the contact, which prompted a small noise from the angel, and he couldn't help but laugh. "Don't worry. Nothing is wrong with my heart," he reassured him. "Sometimes, when you really like someone and enjoy being around them, your heart rate can pick up and it feels like your heart is running a marathon. It's not something we have control over, it just happens."

"Does it also do that when you're in love with someone?" The angel asked next. Eyes large.

"Yeah, I guess it does." Sam blinked. His mind raced as he tried to order his feelings - wondering if he could have possibly fallen for Lucifer. There's no way... we haven't even known each other for that long. Yet deep down, he wasn't so sure.

"Humans are confusing," Lucifer frowned.

Another laugh bubbled up Sam's throat. "I definitely agree with that one," he agreed with a nod of his head.

~~

They had stayed like that, holding on to each other in the light of the strange tree for quite some time. Long until the sun had completely disappeared amongst the horizon and it was the time of the stars to shine. That was when Sam was starting to grow drowsy, getting lulled to sleep by the steady rhythm of Lucifer's heartbeat and the low humming that could be heard coming from him. He was vaguely aware of the rustling sound of wings that carried him away, but by then he had already fallen asleep.

Sam awoke to barking and banging on his door. Cursing loudly, he sat up, blinking rapidly to force his headache away. Sam yawned and was startled to discover Lucifer sitting at the edge of his bed. The angel sat there with his back turned to him, wings gone, but he had turned to face Sam when he woke up. "I think it's Dean," he informed him.

Looking at the clock, Sam cursed again when he noticed it was only four in the morning. "Is a good night rest too much to ask for?" He grumpily asked. Does that fucker ever sleep? Sam couldn't help but wonder, mentally cursing out his brother’s unusual sleep patterns. The banging on his door continued and Sam grunted again.

"Do you want me to open the door?" Lucifer asked him, tilting his head.

"No, it's fine. I'm already awake anyway," Sam muttered as he dragged himself out of bed. He noted that Lucifer had placed him on top of the blankets with all his clothes still on. Pulling down his rumbled shirt he stumbled towards the front door. He was aware of Lucifer following him and Gabriel running past his legs at the door. The banging continued, more erratic now.

"I'm coming!" Sam yelled with a deep scowl on his face. He threw the door open and glared at his brother on the other side. "Dean, what do you think you are doing?! It's four in the bloody morning!"

But Dean did not answer and instead stormed past him, eyes ablaze in a barely contained fury. Is this going to become a habit now? Sam couldn't help but wonder, eyes widening in alarm when Dean went right up to Lucifer, poking him in the chest. "You! Get away from my brother!" Dean yelled at the poor angel, who whimpered in reply and stepped back.

"Dean!" Sam yelled in horror.

"Please excuse me," a deep voice muttered and then Castiel awkwardly stepped past Sam. This time, the man was too startled to do anything. He hadn't expected to see the trench coat wearing angel in his home. Yet along together with Dean out of everyone.

What's going on?

Sam concluded that it was way too early to be thinking. And he desperately needed some coffee to deal with his obnoxious brother and one of the angels who had tried to kill him - especially this early. "Dean, leave the poor guy alone!" Sam scowled, managed to push Dean back and stand in between him and Lucifer - who gladly took cover behind Sam's taller frame. "Are you going to make a habit of this? Barging into my home and scaring Mark?" Sam puffed out his chest, trying to completely cover Lucifer from Dean's glare - the angel still seemed somewhat down from earlier and Sam didn't want him to grow even more upset just because Dean couldn't keep his big mouth shut.

Both Lucifer and Castiel looked between the fuming brothers, seemingly torn on what to do about the situation they were in.

"Sam, step away," Dean scowled right back at him. "He's dangerous and do you even know what you're doing?!"

"I'm pretty sure that I know it better than you do." Sam narrowed his eyes suspiciously, wondering if Dean had somehow learned the truth about Lucifer's identity and was freaking out over it. But how? He glanced towards Castiel, wondering if the tense-looking angel had anything to do with it. And how do they even know each other? Suddenly, Sam was reminded of how Castiel tensed up when he had him at sword point and learned his name. Maybe Castiel recognized him in a way?

"Sam, it's fine," Lucifer whispered from behind him.

"No, it's not."

Dean's green eyes looked between them, appearing almost to be baffled. "I don't know how to break this to you in a gentle way, but according to Cas you know about angels and all that... but that guy you're trying to protect?" Dean started shaking his head and Sam could only stare at him in astonishment. "That is Satan. You're being best buds with the literal Devil!"

"I know," Sam replied. Now it was Dean's time to look stunned. "But so what? I don't care about any of that!"

Chapter Text

Sam took his mug of steaming coffee grumpily as he yawned loudly. It was too early to be awake, but Dean had awoken him from his beauty sleep, so Sam had to make the most out of it. Dean might as well wait for him as he prepared his own coffee and taking the time for it on purpose. It's Dean's fault for waking me up that early. Justice was served well, in Sam’s opinion.

With his coffee now done, and the smell waking him up a bit more, Sam dragged himself back towards the kitchen table where he had left Dean and the two angels. Lucifer mostly looked uncomfortable under Dean's glare and Castiel looked rather lost, but they weren't trying to kill each other so Sam called it a win. "Okay," Sam started to say as he sat down next to Lucifer, took a sip of his coffee, and faced his brother and the other angel, "talk." Gabriel laid down next to him on the floor, keeping a watchful eye on Castiel and keeping his distance.

"Perhaps you should start with explaining why you are friends with the Devil. Because I cannot understand that one," Dean muttered, refusing to meet his eyes.

"Alright, but then you tell me how you know Castiel," Sam replied, feeling like it was a fair request. Slowly, Dean nodded his head, so Sam started to talk. He explained how Gabriel had run off and found him in the woods. Bleeding and with his clothes torn. "So, I took him home and patched him up. I couldn't leave him there to die. Later I learned that he had lost his memories, so he stayed with me."

"You don't even remember being Satan and all that?" Dean asked Lucifer, arching up a single eyebrow. His expression was unreadable, and Sam wasn't sure what to think of a Dean he couldn't read.

"I," Lucifer started to say, "a few memories came back recently. But it's still rather fuzzy."

"Your turn," Sam said.

Dean shrugged. "From what I know, Castiel has always watched over me since I was a kid. And apparently, he saved my sorry bacon pretty often. We only met recently though, a few days ago. He's the one who told me about Mark being Lucifer, and that you were going down a dangerous path."

Sam moved his glare towards Castiel, who at least had the decency to look away. "I'm an Angel of the Lord," Castiel spoke in his deep voice, "Lucifer has always been painted as a villain in Heaven. And I recognized you as Dean's brother and told him about it. I thought that Lucifer was manipulating you and that you were in danger. I was only trying to help." He gave Lucifer an almost curious look. "Now I'm not so sure about anything I've ever been taught anymore."

"Why am I a villain?" Lucifer asked. Sam shot him an alarmed look, pretty sure he wouldn't like the answer, and Castiel looked mostly uncomfortable at being asked something like that.

"I was only a fledgling when it happened... but you rebelled against Heaven at your refusal to bow down to humanity. You were cast out," the angel replied. Lucifer looked down and Sam gave him a worried look. Reaching out under the table, he placed his hand on his knee and lightly tapped him before removing his touch.

Feeling like he had to change the subject away from Lucifer, he did just that and instead asked something that has been bugging him for a while now. "Dean, how do you know about angels? Did Castiel tell you?"

"He only told me that he was an angel yesterday, actually. Before that, I thought that he was just a strange human," Dean replied, shooting a quick glance at the angel next to him. "But I already knew about the existence of the supernatural... it is only angels that are new for me."

Sam looked up in curiosity and without looking at Lucifer, he knew that the angel was tilting his head in confusion. "What do you mean by that?" He asked.

Dean avoided his eyes. "Do you remember Lisa Braeden? My ex-fiancé?" He finally asked, expression unreadable.

A frown formed on Sam's face. "Yeah, she died in a car crash twenty years ago, didn't she?"

"No, she did not," Dean replied, finally looking up, eyes burning, "she was killed by demons. So, I'm hunting them down. I got a name now and Cas said he'll help me kill him." He exchanged a look with the angel next to him as Sam leaned back in his chair.

Demons. In a way, he wasn't surprised to hear those were real too, but it was something else to actually hear it and have their existence confirmed. And Dean hunts them.

Dean turned his attention to Lucifer, looking almost eager. "I get that you lost your memories and all... but does the name Abraxas ring any bells?" He asked him, leaning forward on the table.

Abraxas? Sam thought. Is that the name of the demon who killed Lisa? Sam decided he didn't like the demon at all, he has always been fond of Lisa and she was good to Dean. And that demon took it away from his brother. But glancing between Dean and Castiel, he wondered if his brother had found a new source of his happiness.

Lucifer looked down at his lap and frowned as he shaped the name with his lips a few times. He shook his head. "I don't think so. I'm sorry," he said. Dean looked disappointed at that but nodded nevertheless.

Castiel shook his head, clearly confused at how the conversation bounced around. Sam couldn't blame the poor thing. If Lucifer was anything to go by, he had learned that things that were normal to humans confused angels. "Something I would like to know is if you still have the Archangel Blade," the angel asked him.

Sam blinked. "Archangel Blade?" He repeated stupidly.

"The weapon of the Archangel Michael," Castiel clarified - as if that would tell Sam anything. The angel seemed to understand that his explanation wasn't really working. "Curled blade. Somewhat gold-like with Enochian symbols engraved on it. The only weapon in existence that can kill an Archangel."

"Oh, you mean that blade Bobby mentioned?" Dean asked, eyes sparkling in interest. His gaze turned towards Sam, who was feeling more and more baffled than anything else. "Something I would like to know as well."

"Wait, Bobby? Bobby Singer? You know that guy?" Sam spluttered out. Lucifer gave him a helpless look, having lost the conversation a while ago.

"He's a friend of mine, actually. A hunting buddy. Taught me everything I know about anything that goes bump in the dark," Dean grinned, leaning forward on the table, expression feral. "And imagine my surprise when he calls me during the middle of the night to inform me that my baby brother visited him, carrying a rather particular blade on him." Dean’s grin widened. “Mom’s request was not the only reason I drove all this way and decided to drop by.”

Sam shook his head, deciding to ignore Dean and reply to Castiel instead. "I still have it. It's in my room. Why?"

"Because Michael is looking for that blade and he will undoubtedly come looking for it," the angel said, "I suggest that you'll either toss it away and never speak of it again. Or keep a tight hold of it."

"Michael will come?" Lucifer asked, pulling back into his chair. Sam shot him a look, wondering if he remembered anything. Sam didn't know a lot about angels... but he recognized the name Michael.

"Most likely. He has been rather anxious about getting his blade back. Word has gone around that he had lost it during his tumble with Lucifer high in the sky days ago," Castiel gave both a pointed look. "I imagine that Zachariah is reporting back to Michael right now about his blade being in Lucifer's hands and about what happened to those other angels. My guess is that next time, he will come down himself for Lucifer's spell should wear off quickly."

Zachariah, Sam frowned, realizing that must be the name of the old balding guy. Glancing at Lucifer next to him, he could tell that the angel clearly couldn't remember anything about this 'spell' he had put on Michael.

"The only reason why we tried to take on Lucifer was because we knew that Michael managed to weaken him before he got banished," Castiel continued, unaware to Lucifer's confusion, "he has lost a great deal of his grace and we were stupid enough to think we could take him on."

Grace? "What is grace?" Sam questioned, giving Lucifer a curious look who merely shrugged helplessly.

"An angel's grace is the very core of our being. It's where our powers come from and everything that makes us what we are," Castiel explained. "Almost like a soul, in a way."

~~

Castiel and Dean had left not too long after that, Dean saying something about almost having closed in on Abraxas. Taking Castiel's advice, Sam got the blade from his room, got dressed, and then the two of them were alone again, with Gabriel still laying under the table and almost having fallen asleep. Lucifer was the first to speak up. "I'm so confused," he said.

Sam couldn't help but laugh. "It's alright. I cannot blame you for it is a lot to take in," he said, shaking his head in disbelief as he tried to order his thoughts.

Demons killed Lisa. Dean hunts demons. Dean and Castiel are - most likely - secretly dating. The blade belongs to a powerful Archangel and said Archangel will come back for it. Lucifer lost a great deal of his grace. It was all starting to hurt his head. "I guess we would have to find a way to get your grace back," Sam frowned. If Michael would indeed come for them, possibly try to kill them... Sam must admit that he would feel safer with a fully-powered Archangel by his side. But Lucifer did need to have all his powers for that. Glancing at the angel next to him, Sam couldn't help but wonder just how powerful he was. He had already seemed powerful and overwhelming to Sam when he destroyed those angels, or did that perhaps had something to do with Sam being human and easily overwhelmed by the unknown?

"How do we do that?" Lucifer asked him with large eyes.

Sam's frown deepened. That's a good question... even if we manage to find his grace, how do we return it? Either way, the first step would be to find it. "When you summoned those powers of yours there was a lot of light coming from within your body, right?" He asked, turning around to face Lucifer. The angel nodded silently and watched on as Sam placed his hand on his chest, right over his heart. Lucifer's heart beat strongly under his touch. "Castiel said that an angel's grace is the very core of their being, and looking at how you glowed, it has to be similar to light. Just as it also must be at the forest, for I cannot imagine it being anywhere else," he added, a smile forming when he realized.

The tree! "Mark, do you think you can fly us to that white tree? I think your grace might be there." The angel blinked at him and slowly nodded before the whooshing sound of Lucifer's mighty wings sounded and Sam's surroundings changed and whirled around him.

Feeling the wet grass under his feet, Sam stumbled for a bit - having previously sat on a chair before he was whisked away - but he managed to find his footing and looked up to see the tree before them. It has to be it. Otherwise, Sam would have no idea where else the angel's grace could be. He remembered how when Lucifer was upset he searched out the tree, Sam figured that had to mean something. It was the best bet he had.

He glanced at the angel next to him, who was already looking up at the tree with the tree's light reflecting off his clear eyes. "What do you think?" Sam asked him.

"I'm not sure," Lucifer replied, carefully going over to the white tree and placing his hand against the bark as a frown formed on his face. "I think this might be it. I'll-I'll try a few things," he added, his palm glowing up in a light that matched the tree.

Nothing else happened.

"Uhm, Mark?" Sam tried.

An almost distressing noise came from the angel. "Give me a moment," he quietly said. Sam could see his shoulders tense up and he could make out the transparent shimmer of those brilliant wings on his back.

Frowning slightly, he carefully went over to him until he stood by his side. He absently placed his hand on Lucifer's shoulder as he looked up at the tree's fiery leaves, feeling the angel's gaze move to him for a short while before he focused again. He knew that he couldn't exactly help Lucifer with getting his grace back. Sam was human and there was only so much he could do. What he could do though, was show him his support and just be there.

Lucifer slammed his head against the tree. "I can't do this," he whined.

Sam patted his shoulder. "I think you can," he encouraged him, "we already got this far. Let's not give up now, alright?"

Looking up at him helplessly, Lucifer sighed. The tree's light reflected off his eyes and seemed to be getting absorbed by his hair, giving him a halo of light. "I can feel it being here, but I don't know how to get it back. I can't remember."

"Just try to focus," Sam said, which was the best advice he could give him. "I have fate in you."

Lucifer grumbled a bit before turning back towards the tree. Eyes flashing red, he scrunched up his face in concentration. The tree's light shimmered, and Sam looked up, blinking as the angel's entire body started glowing again from within. The light becoming too harsh for his eyes, especially at this hour, Sam closed his eyes tightly, covering up his eyes as his other hand stayed on Lucifer's shoulder. The wind picked up and Sam stumbled back as he got forced away. Still blinded by the light, he fell over and curled up as the entire field seemed to explode in a burst of light - a shockwave getting unleashed with it which made it feel like as if the universe was screaming.

When it was over, Sam uncovered his eyes and looked up, gasping slightly when he looked at Lucifer. The angel's wings were out now and spread out in all their immense glory, each pink feather shining brightly as if divine light was trapped within, and they were radiant like the rising of the sun. Sam noticed that they were less damaged than earlier, and he guessed if the state of an angel’s wings had to do with their grace. The wings trembled as they slowly faded away from view and Lucifer shook his head, his skin still glowing as if he had some trouble with containing the power within.

"Are you alright?" Sam asked.

Lucifer looked up at him and blinked. "Yes, I feel... good. I feel good," he grinned. "It's just getting some used to."

"That's good to hear," Sam grinned back as he stood up. Lucifer stepped closer to him and the rustling of wings sounded in the distance, making the angel look up. An alarming sound came from him and he jumped towards Sam, but he was too late as the world was already whirling around Sam as he got whisked away.  

"Sam!"

 

Chapter Text

With a frown, Sam lifted his sore head and blinked his eyes groggily against the harsh light shining down on him from above. After blinking and wincing for a while, he realized that it was a bright lamp emitting a harsh white light. The harshness of the light dimmed after a while once his eyes got used to it, allowing him to better grasp his surroundings.

At first, he thought he ended up in some kind of castle from the Renaissance period; with golden decorations in the walls, paintings of angels and Heaven, angel statues all around the room and clouds painted on the ceiling. Standing up to his full height, Sam noticed that he wasn't cuffed or anything to keep him sustained. Instead, he was free to move around the room. Spinning around on his feet, his eyes fell on a wooden door and a disbelieving scoff left his lips as he went over, meaning to open it and walk out.

"I shouldn't do that if I were you," a voice spoke up, startling Sam, who spun around to face the other person in the room.

Sam hadn't noticed him as first in the decorated room. A blue-eyed man was seated on a chair against the wall, addressing Sam thoughtfully. He stood up in a swift and graceful movement and took a few steps closer. He walked like the royalty from times old, Sam noted. Like a prince. "Why can't I leave?" Sam asked perplexed.

"Because there is no door," he replied as if stating a fact.

Turning around as if to prove him wrong, Sam noticed that the door had disappeared. For a second, he stood gaping. Pressing his hands against the wall where the door had disappeared, he pushed and felt around as if he might activate a secret switch like in the movies. But nothing happened. "Told you," the young man behind him spoke again, sounding almost amused.

Stepping back from the wall, Sam faced him again. "Okay, who are you?" He asked.

"They call me Michael," the man - Michael - told him, "my brother might have mentioned me."

The Archangel. He's the one who had stabbed Lucifer and almost killed him, Sam realized with a pang. He took a step back, suddenly very aware of the Archangel Blade he carried around in his jacket - which felt now rather heavy against him as if recognizing its owner who was now close-by. He was mostly just glad that Michael hadn't decided to search him for any weapons he might carry. Either he just didn't saw Sam as a threat enough to bother doing so, or he was simply overconfident. "I will take that as a yes," Michael added, seeing how Sam had stepped away from him. The angel tilted his head in a way that was much like Lucifer's, and for a short while, the similarities startled Sam and he had to remind himself that this was not his angel.

Sam didn't want to tell him that it was Castiel, and not Lucifer, who had told him about Michael - he didn't want to bring the angel in any kind of trouble for Sam was pretty sure he was breaking nearly every rule in Heaven by helping Lucifer. So he decided to keep quiet about that matter. "What do you want from me?" Was something he did ask.

"You are a means to an end," the Archangel told him, looking sideways to a painting, "Lucifer will come for you and then the prophecy can finally be fulfilled."

"What kind of prophecy?" Sam asked. He didn't like the sound of this so-called prophecy, he knew that much.

Michael didn't answer and instead nodded towards the painting he had been looking at previously. Sam followed his line of sight, and his blood ran cold. He knew enough about the Bible and all of that to recognize it. He had seen a picture of it once as well in a history class a long time ago. The Final Judgment. The Apocalypse. He gave Michael a horrified look when he realized that he was going to kill Lucifer and destroy half the world along the way. And for what? Just to follow some kind of strange destiny that didn't make any sense?

"Why would you do that? Why can't you just get along? There does not need to be a fight." He tried to ask, attempting to reason with Heaven’s Holy Prince, knowing he had to be careful. He didn't want Michael to destroy him for overstepping any boundaries.

"It's our Father's will and it has been written, and so it must come to pass. When Lucifer dies, He might finally come home," Michael spoke in a tone that indicated that that was all that mattered to him - to please their 'father', who Sam assumed was God. But why would God want them to kill each other for no reason? And why would He suddenly come home either way when a life had been lost? It didn't make any sense to him.

Warily, Sam watched Michael move around the room as the angel seemed to inspect a few more paintings. All of them portrayed battles of angels fighting demons - the former mainly winning. There weren't many humans on them and those who were, were burning and dying as they were caught between the crossfire. Sam gulped as he could only imagine what would become of Earth if Michael's 'prophecy' came to pass. It wouldn't end well, he knew that much.

"All you will need to do is stay right here," Michael told him, "well, not like you actually can leave even if you wanted to." And then he was gone, accompanied by the whooshing sound of angel wings. Angels and their dramatic escapes.

Taking a few tiny steps back, Sam looked up at the ceiling and screamed in frustration. Picking up a random item - a small angel statue - he threw it around the room and watched how it crashed against the wall with a satisfying sound. "Stupid angels," he muttered, his gaze landing on two large bowls neatly placed on a table. He was pretty sure they weren't there before. One of them was filled with fruit and the other had bottles of water in them. Stepping closer, he looked at them in utter bafflement, barely believing that those angels even bothered to give him any food.

From the grumbling of his stomach, he was reminded of the fact that he hadn't had any breakfast yet. About to take a banana from the bowl, he thought again. Why would he accept any food from them? All he knew it was poisoned, and he wasn't about to give in to his hunger either and give them the satisfaction of eating their food. So Sam picked up the large bowl with fruit and forcefully threw it against the wall with a scream. He did the same with the other bowl.

I have to find a way out, he thought to himself, picking up a chair and walking up to a wall. He forcefully slammed the chair against the wall, hoping to make at least a dent. That didn't happen, so Sam repeated it a few times. The only thing he accomplished was breaking the poor chair.

Studying the wall closely, it was like nothing at all had happened. They must have strengthened it with magic, he realized with a gut-sinking feeling. Sam wasn't an angel, so he couldn't undo it, nor could he perform a miracle to free himself - for he guessed that a miracle was what he needed to get out.

Leaning against the wall, he slid down towards the floor and threw back his head as he looked up at the ceiling as if he could see the sky through it. "Lucifer, I don't know if you can hear me or if this will even work," he whispered in a soft prayer, "but don't come for me, please. They will kill you and then destroy the world. Don't worry about me, I will find a way out on my own. Just look after Gabriel until then, please." Closing his eyes, he slammed back his head until he saw stars. He just realized that was the first time he had called Lucifer by his name, his real name, and not the nickname Sam had given him.

Footsteps sounded from behind him, at the other side of the wall, but Sam ignored it. Probably angels who were standing watch. But then the wall seemed to disappear, and he fell back with a yelp. Wings rustled as Sam jumped up, looking around at the pure white corridor he now found himself in. A door was behind him, where the room must have been. What just happened?

Figuring that someone must have freed him, he looked around but didn't found anyone. Neither Castiel nor Lucifer, who were the most likely candidates to do so, and he also figured they would stay around and not disappear like that. He saw something sparkle further away, something small and golden, but before he could come over to investigate another pair of footsteps sounded further away. Deciding it wouldn't be worth the trouble to learn what it was, he slipped away in the opposite direction.

Sam seemed to have gotten his miracle. And now he needed to get out.

~~

Luck seemed to have been on his side, for he had found the way out. Strangely enough, he knew which was to go and sometimes it was like he got an invisible push in the right direction. Whatever it was, it seemed adamant on getting him out and avoiding the angels, so Sam decided to test his luck and just go with it.

And then he found himself outside with the sun starting its slow crawl up the sky. Seeing the forest stretch out around him, he slipped inside, only relaxing when he was in between the cover of the trees. He knew which way he had to go, and so he ran. Thank you, he thought to whoever had helped him. If it was a person.

When he had gotten a reasonable distance between himself and the angels’ headquarter, he slowed down and looked up at the sky stretching out above him, light shining down on him and getting scattered by the leaves. "Lucifer, I'm here," he whispered in almost a prayer, knowing that his angel could hear him. And that he would come.

Soon enough, he heard the familiar whooshing of wings. Mighty wings splitting apart the sky and holding the power of reshaping entire galaxies. Sam looked up when a shadow fell over him and then he got tackled down to the floor, landing amongst the grass and fallen leaves. He fell with a groan and shaking limps wrapped tightly around him. "Mark," Sam whispered, returning the hug and holding the angel close.

"I thought I had lost you," Lucifer whispered, nuzzling his face in his neck. Sam shivered when his wings tickled his bare skin where his shirt had ridden up.

He tightened his hold. "They would have to come with more than that if they wanted to keep me away from you."