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Chapter Twelve: Molting with an Angel

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The six wings stretched before him. They were various shades of gold. They looked soft and downy. Bits of fluff flaked off and new feathers seemed to be growing in the bald patches on the wings.

 

Despite the state they were in, they were gorgeous. Sam wanted to touch them. The wings shied away from his fingers.

 

“Sam.” The shaky exhale of his name made shivers race down his spine.

 

“Hmm?” Sam hummed. His fingers connected with the shiny feathered appendages.

 

“Sam.” The voice called. “I need you.”

 

Sam ran his hands down the soft wings. A feather broke off into his palms.

 

“Sam, Sam, Sam.” The voice sounded needy and breathless.

 

“Sam. Wake up.”

 

“Sam. Need you.”

 

“Sam!”

 

Dean’s voice broke into Sam’s dream and woke him up.

Sam sat up. His dream faded. The only thing he remembered was the feeling that someone needed him desperately.

 

“Dude come on. We have to hit the road.” Dean tossed a rolled-up pair of socks at him.

 

“What?” Sam’s voice reflected his grogginess.

 

“What were you dreaming about?” Dean frowned. “You have been humming in your sleep for the past week.”

 

Sam shrugged. “I don’t remember. They fade before I’m fully conscious. It’s like they have been blocked. The only thing I remember is gold and someone calling for my help.” Sam pulled on his over shirt and slipped on his shoes.

 

“Huh.” Dean thought.

 

“Where are we headed?” Sam started packing his bag.

 

“The bunker. Cas needs me.” Dean went back to throwing things into his duffle bag.

Sam gave an involuntary shiver. That sounded very familiar. “Miss your boyfriend?” Sam teased.

 

“Shut up Sam.” Dean barked. “Cas is just going through something angel related and I need to help him. It’s very painful otherwise. You can go have fun with your own angel.”

 

Sam froze. “I don’t have an angel.”

 

“Yeah?” Dean smirked. “Gabriel doesn’t stick around for me or Cas. He obviously sticks around for you.”

 

“You’re crazy.” Sam tossed a pair of jeans in the bag and zipped it shut.

 

Dean just gazed at him. “Do me a favor and try to remember those dreams. It might be important.”

 

“Dean?” Sam started to ask.

 

“Come on. We need to go. We have two days at best to get back to Kansas.” Dean interrupted.

 

Sam and Dean left the hotel, unknowing of the drama happening in their home base.

^^^^^^^^

 

Gabriel rubbed his back across the corner of a wall. Back and forth. Scratch. Scratch.

 

“Gabriel, please, consider Sam to help you.” Castiel pleaded. It was something he had been

trying to get Gabriel to agree to for a few days now.

 

“No.” Gabriel set his jaw. “Who knows if he is having the dreams or not. We haven’t seen those boys in a week. No. I got this on my own.”

 

“Gabriel…”

 

“Castiel! I said no!” Gabriel’s grace flared with his annoyance.

 

Cas turned and left the room without a word.

 

Gabriel felt awful. He hurt his little brother. Not cool. Gabriel forced the itch back and ran after Cas.

 

“Cassie, I’m sorry.” Gabriel laid a hand on Cas’ shoulder. “I just want Sam to want me on his own. Not because of angelic instincts.”

 

Castiel stared at him. “Dean and I got together because of ‘angelic instincts’.” Castiel’s finger quotes made Gabriel smile.

 

“Dean-o has loved you for years before you showed your instincts.” Gabriel protested.

 

“And yet you have known the Winchesters longer than I have.” Castiel turned it back around on Gabriel. “From what Dean says, you knew them two years before he went to hell and I pulled him out.”

 

Gabriel paused. “Good point. But still… I tortured him. You didn’t see him after some of those times.”

 

Castiel didn’t say anything for a while. “’I believe forgiveness is the best form of love in any relationship. It takes a strong person to say they’re sorry and an even stronger person to forgive.’”

 

“Where is that from?” Gabriel raised an eyebrow. “That can’t have been you.”

 

“Ah. No. It’s from a celebrity called Yolanda Hadid.” Cas admitted. “I have taken to watching TV at night while the Winchesters sleep.”

 

Gabriel snorted. “I see. How is The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills treating you?”

 

Castiel looked away. “I have to go get things ready for Dean and I.” Cas hurried off down the

hall.

 

Now that the distraction of Cas was gone, Gabriel’s itch came back with a vengeance. “Damn it.” He swore. A twinge of pain crept across his wings. It would only get worse without Sam’s help. “No. He won’t help me.” A sharp angry snap of his grace cracked across his wings. Gabriel clenched his teeth. “No.”

 

^^^^^^^

 

Sam was dreaming again. The six wings were back. They reached for him as the shadowed figure pulled away.

 

“Sam. Sam, need you. Please, help me. Hurts.”

 

The voice almost seemed familiar.

 

“Please. It hurts. Need you.”

 

Sam studied the wings before him. “Who are you?”

 

“You know me. Please help. Need you.” The voice cringed as if something was making it be in pain. “Ah!”

 

Sam snapped awake.

 

“Dude. What was going on?” Dean kept one hand on the wheel of the impala. With the other, he reached out and smacked Sam’s leg.

 

“We need to get back. Something is up with Gabriel.” Sam straightened. “He’s hurting. Something is hurting him.”

 

“I’m going as fast as legally possible.” Dean began.

 

“It’s not fast enough, Dean!” Sam yelled. Sam’s expression was heartbreaking. He turned puppy eyes on Dean. “Please. Go faster.”

 

Dean shot him a thoughtful look. “How long have you been dreaming of Gabriel?”

 

“I don’t know, a week?” Sam rubbed a hand down his jaw.

 

Dean clenched his jaw. “I’m trying.” Dean pressed his foot down on the gas pedal. “If we don’t get pulled over we will be there by morning. We are almost through Colorado.”

 

Sam settled back. It would have to do.

 

^^^^^^^

 

Gabriel winced. His grace was rioting. Gabriel needed to be someplace safe. He was running on pure instinct now. Gabriel hid himself in a nice smelling room.

 

Safe. His mind whispered. Safe. Home.

 

The room looked a bit sparse. No soft fluffy nest to sleep in just a pile of wood and metal. That was not soft at all.

 

Gabriel snapped, and the wood and metal turned into a soft circle of pillows and blankets. He climbed into the space. He just needed to wait for the one person who could make this better.

 

Mate.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^

 

Tires squealed as the impala came to a halt in the garage of the bunker. Dean got out of the car quickly. He tossed the keys on a table. He left his bag and ran for inside door.

 

“Dean?” Sam called. “What are you…?”

 

He got his answer when a sweaty and pale Cas opened the door. “Dean.”

 

“I got ya Cas. Sorry I’m late. Traffic around Denver was a nightmare.” Dean held Cas up and they went in the bunker.

 

Sam followed with the bags.

 

“Sam?” Cas turned around with visible effort to face Sam. “You need to help Gabriel. I haven’t seen him since three this morning.”

 

“I will.” Sam promised. “Cas? What is going on with the two of you?”

 

“Molting.” Cas answered. “Very painful without our mates to help.”

 

Sam noticed that Dean’s hand has been gently rubbing Cas’ back the whole time. Sam froze.

“Mates?”

 

“Yes.” Cas was leaning heavily on Dean. “Help him before he hurts himself.”

 

“Where is he?” Sam ran after Dean and Cas.

 

“Somewhere he would think is safe.” Cas and Dean stopped outside their room. “Don’t let him push you away.”

 

Sam gave a small smile. “I think I have experience in getting someone to do something they don’t want.”

 

“Good luck Sam. See you in a few days.” Dean entered the room with Cas.

 

Sam caught sight of a bunch of black and green pillows spread in a circle with lots of fluffy blankets.

 

Sam headed down the hall. “Where would he think he would be safe?” Sam muttered.

 

Soft rustling came from behind one of the doors. Sam realized it was his room. Bracing himself for anything, Sam opened the door.

 

^^^^^^^

 

Gabriel turned towards the door as it creaked open. Mate. Sam. SamMate.

No. Not mate. Can’t be mate. Never will be mate.

 

Gabriel grit his teeth as his grace lashed across his wings.

 

“Gabriel! Stop! You are hurting yourself!” Sam’s voice broke through the haze in his mind.

 

“No. Go away.” Gabriel snarled through his teeth. “Go to your own room.”

 

“You are in my room.” Sam’s voice was sardonic. “Please, let me help you. I don’t want to see you in pain.”

 

“You should.” Gabriel gave a harsh laugh. “I tortured you. Hurt you. Why would you want me?”

 

“Shh.” Sam laid a hand on Gabriel’s back. “I got you. Let me help. We can talk when you are

more coherent.”

 

Gabriel let out a soft whine and pushed back into the soft comfort of Sam’s hand. He sighed blissfully. The pain was gone.

 

^^^^^^^^^^

Sam stared at the archangel before him. Six golden wings were tucked behind the small body. The same wings as in his dreams.

 

“Scoot forward.” Sam nudged the angel in the back. When he complied, Sam crawled into the soft space behind. “Wait? Where’s my bed?” Sam looked around the room. There was no sign of his soft mattress and bed frame.

 

Gabriel scoffed. “You call that a place where you sleep? No.  This is where we sleep.”

 

Sam gave a small nod and began combing his fingers through the feathers. He plucked broken ones and loose ones and stuck them in a pile by his leg. He helped the new feathers lay straight and smooth.

 

Gabriel let out soft coos and small purrs as he worked. It took Sam three hours to do the backside of all six wings.

 

Sam sighed. His arms ached more than when he first learned to shovel a grave as fast as he could.

 

Gabriel turned around. There was an unreadable look in his eyes.

 

Sam reached out and smoothed a feather on the top left wing. “You coherent now?”

 

Gabriel gave a small shrug but wouldn’t speak. His eyes were fixed on Sam’s.

 

“Then I talk, and you can listen.” Sam absently began fixing feathers while he spoke. “I know what you were trying to teach me all those years ago. It took me eight years, but I got it. Dean and I are ridiculously co-dependent and will do anything to not be alone. I got it. TV land was kinda of funny once the whole thing was behind us. I still owe you for making me be the car and hitting me in the nuts, but it was funny. Then you supposedly died for us.” Sam went quiet as he tried to put his thoughts into words.

 

“I still have nightmares about it. Of Lucifer killing you. I went back and gave what I thought was your body a hunter’s funeral.” Sam felt more than heard Gabriel’s soft rumbling purr. “I felt terrible. All you wanted was it to be over. To have your brothers be your brothers again and you died for it. All those years I had that nightmare. When I was in the cage Lucifer found out and made it even worse. I would experience you dying over and over and could do nothing to save you. Everything I tried failed. Then I got out. A few years passed, and Gadreel happened.” Sam sniffed deeply.

 

Gabriel gave an inquiring chirp.  

 

“Dean. I took on the trials to close the gates of Hell forever. Dean found out that it would kill me and forced me to stop. I had severe injuries and wouldn’t have survived it. I was all ready to die. I made my peace with it. Dean tricked me into saying yes for Gadreel to possess me.” Sam laid his hands on the snarling angry archangel. “Shh. We can get him after this. Castiel needs him. Remember? Castiel? He will be in pain if you take care of Dean now.”

 

Gabriel gave a disgruntled snort and settled back down in Sam’s lap.

 

Sam continued fixing his wings. “I knew then that Dean would stop at nothing to keep me with him.  That was when I got your lesson. Gadreel did terrible things. With my hands he… he killed Kevin. I have nightmares about it. He killed other angels. Angels that were adapting to life on Earth and were just minding their business. There was one who had taken possession of an abusive man and was turning his family around.”

 

Sam didn’t know he had tears dripping down his face until fingers wiped them away. Gabriel tucked his head under Sam’s chin and made soft comforting coos. Sam was forced to wrap his arms around Gabriel because his wings went around the hunter.

 

Sam stroked the soft feathers and hummed along with the archangel. “Thanks Gabriel.” Sam whispered.

THREE DAYS LATER….

 

Sam woke up to something poking his shoulder. Sam blinked awake and saw Gabriel’s fully feathered golden wings stretch before vanishing. Sam blinked. He was lying in his bed not on the soft nest on the floor. All the feathers were gone including the huge pile that Sam had made from pulling loose and broken ones.

 

“Gabriel? What?” Sam yawned.

 

“Don’t mention this to anyone.” Gabriel warned. He flapped his wings and flew off.

 

Sam caught the long golden feather that softly floated to the ground when Gabriel left. Sam studied it. It was not a flight feather and not down. He guessed it came from the middle of the wing. Sam sat up and tucked it into the journal he was writing.

 

Chuck wasn’t the best of writers out there. Sam wanted to write the story his way.

Sam snorted. “Chapter twelve: Molting with an Angel.”