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The Art of Healing

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SAM

Sam re-adjusts his easel for the 100th time. He doesn’t really know what to do with himself. The tutor, Ellen, asked him to come by early so she could see his previous work in person, get a feel for how he works. She seemed to like what she saw, seemed to think he deserved another chance at his education… but… It still feels weird to be here. It’s been almost 6 years. Almost six years since he stepped into a life drawing class. Since…

He’s just glad it isn’t Stanford. He loved his time there. His tutors taught him so much and he felt the weight of their disappointment when he left, he knows they would have taken him back, but… he couldn’t. He couldn’t go back there. Not after…

Students begin to filter into the class. They give him curious looks, but no one talks to him. Most seem to have their little group of friends; others just seem happy to quietly arrange their materials and relax before the session starts. In a way it’s a relief. He’s not sure he wants to answer the inevitable questions. Where did you study? Why the long gap? It’s been 6 years. He knows he should be able to talk about it by now. The pain, it did fade with time, as everyone said it would. The guilt… Well that’s been a little harder to shake. And being back at college, even if it isn’t the same college… Yeah, it’s been a little tougher than he thought it would be.

But there’s definitely a part of him that’s desperate to get back to this. To feel the thrill of creation, to get lost in a subject, looking and really seeing the essence of that subject and drawing that essence out onto the paper.

A little over a year ago, Sam’s brother Dean, gifted him with a leather bound book. Curious, he had opened the ties to find nothing but blank pages. Fresh start Sammy, Dean had said, with a small smile and a hopeful look in his eyes. You know you miss it. And he had. Hell had he missed it. And so he had picked up a simple pencil, not even a drawing one, and he’d just stepped out there. Just begun.

Wherever he went, he had kept his sketchbook with him. Capturing snap shots of his daily life. His dead end job. His commute. The people surrounding him, passing him by.

Sam has always been fascinated by people. They’ve always been his favorite subject. Capturing expressions, body language, seeing not just the surface, but dipping underneath, trying to tease out a little of who they are. His sketchbooks offered him a snapshot only, a fleeting moment, people saying something, but nothing at all.

Life drawing though… that was different. Everything stripped away, literally and figuratively. This he missed most of all. Seeing beneath the front that everyone displays to the world. The naked beauty of bared flesh, unforced expression. It's tricky in a way. It's posed, expression serene and blank. But if you really look, if you catch the moments inbetween… Sam hasn’t seen the model yet. They must still be preparing. He has to admit he’s curious. What sort of person will they be?

“Hey you must be the Noob.”

Sam is startled from his thoughts by the cheerful voice beside him. He’s been so lost in his own head, that he didn’t see the girl approach and take up place at the easel beside him.

“Uh hey. Yeah I guess I am,” Sam turns and takes in the friendly smile before him. She’s pale, with pretty, open features and striking red hair. She’s wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words, Choose your weapon, set above a line of multi sided die. Nerdy, very nerdy. He’s not a table top gamer, but he’s certainly dabbled in online gaming and nerdy is most definitely his crowd.

“You guess?” The girl quirks an eyebrow at him. “Someone strike you with a memory charm?”

Sam snorts out a laugh and shakes his head. “Not that I remember,” he replies with a smile.

“Touché.” She holds out her hand, “Charlie Bradbury… Ravenclaw.”

Sam’s smile widens at that. “Sam Winchester,” he takes hold of her hand and shakes it. “Also Ravenclaw.”

“No way!” She exclaims brightly, before punching him companionably in the arm… a little too hard. “Did we just become best friends?”

Yeah that may very well bruise, but Sam finds himself smiling back nevertheless.

Ellen clears her throat and Sam turns back towards the platform, eyes briefly taking in the model’s turned back – male, longish brown hair, shorter than average, particularly for a life model – before looking to Ellen for instruction.

“We’re going to warm up with two 10 minute poses, then we’ll go straight into a 30 minute. Keep it simple. Keep it fluid. You can introduce a little color for the 30 minute. I’ll leave it up to you.”

She walks over to the model and gives him her instructions. Sam still can’t see his face properly, just enough to note that he has a fairly prominent, rather pointy nose and that at least one of his eyebrows seems to like to dance around when he talks. Huh. The man waves his hands around as he confers with Ellen in a low voice, then tilts his head to the side a little before nodding. Sam finds himself watching the way his hands move, the way he talks with them. He notices the way the man’s hair flicks up at the back and bounces slightly as he nods. And there… Not just brown. When the model tilts his head, the light catches his hair and Sam can see golden strands threaded through the chestnut brown. This man is definitely going to make for a fascinating subject.

Sam rummages in his bag for his chalk pastels. He most definitely wants to explore color.

When he looks up again, the model is already positioned, robe discarded on a nearby chair. Looks like he has a back view for now. Sam’s not too disappointed, with any luck, he’ll get at least a partial front view for the 30 minute pose and hell, this guy’s backside is fascinating enough… uh shit… where did that thought come from? It’s clearly been way too long. Too long since he last experienced any life drawing. Too long since… well… that. Apparently the first relatively young naked body he’s seen in months is going to have that effect on him, especially one with a rather shapely rear. Christ. He really needs to get with the program.

As Ellen starts the timer, Sam bites down on his lower lip, and wills his mind to focus. The first few marks he makes are tentative and maybe not quite where he wants them, but little by little, he finds the tension leaving his body, he finds his rythmn and the lines flow more freely.

He’s rusty, that much is clear. The proportions aren’t quite right in the first sketch. So many of the life models he’s encountered in the past have been former dancers or fashion models, with a tendency towards legs that are almost as long as Sam’s. Sam has automatically made the legs a little too long. This man is clearly no dancer, his legs are marginally on the short side of average, and his frame a little more solid, rather than lithe.

Sam quickly makes the rough measurements as the model shifts position. When he settles, his face is still mostly turned away, though his body is angled a little more to the side. Sam takes a moment to really look, before he commits any marks to the page. The model has a pretty strong structure of underlying muscle, not overstated, Sam doesn’t think the guy lifts weights, but there is a strength there. There’s also a softness too. He doesn’t look particularly overweight, but what Sam can see of his belly, is a little squishy looking. It’s not unpleasant, it’s rather the opposite…

Christ what the hell is wrong with him? He’s never had these sorts of inappropriate thoughts about a model before. Sam drops his gaze and looks at his feet for a moment. He draws in a deep breath, before looking up again. Line and form. Line and form. Back to basics. Having lost too much time, he works rapidly, keeping his marks loose and fluid, gestural. All too soon, ten minutes have slipped by.

It’s time to really focus. The model is shifting around. It looks like he may be due a near profile. He sorts through his materials, making sure his pastels are within reach. Those look like they’ll blend pretty well for the hair. That’s a good pale base skintone. What color are his eyes? Sam glances up as the model settles into position. And… Sam finds himself just standing staring. The model is in near profile, head tilted slightly back, looking somewhere over Charlie’s left shoulder. He’s attractive, really strikingly attractive. His nose is prominent yes, but not just plain pointy, it’s… sculptural. (Sam feels a weird urge to pick up some clay and explore the angles of it). Lightly stubbled chin quite prominent too, small neat mouth with thin lips. High forehead, with a sweep of chestnut brown hair, that curls and flicks out at the ends.

But his eyes, his eyes are what really draws Sam’s focus. They’re such an unusual color. Sam picks up an earthy olive green and looks back. No that’s not quite right. Nougat? Almost… but. The man turns his head a fraction and the light catches the irises of his eyes. Firelight through whiskey. Molten honey in the late afternoon sunlight. Holy shit, the man’s eyes are the most fascinating, beautiful shade of gold. Sam swallows around the lump in his throat and picks the green gold from the box, setting it aside with the other colors he picked out. It’s the best he can do.

As Ellen starts the timer, Sam starts to map out the positions of the model’s features. He knows this isn’t a portrait session, he knows he should be focusing on capturing more of man’s form, but his face holds too much fascination and Sam just has to explore it.

Sam gets lost in the process, lost in the feel of the materials in his hand, the way they glide over the surface of the paper as he draws. He doesn’t feel hesitant any more, doesn’t feel so rusty. The lines flow easily, the form takes shape. He takes a step back and looks from his work to the model and back again. Yeah that actually really works. He’s managed to achieve an impressively good likeness. Sam’s eyes are drawn back to the model again. Those eyes. Sam doesn’t think he’s ever seen eyes like that before. They’re extraordinary.

“Good work, Sam.” Ellen’s voice by his side startles him.

Just how long has he been staring? Sam feels a faint flush creep over his cheeks. Christ he really can’t afford to get distracted right now. And he especially can’t afford to develop a damn teenage crush on one of the life models. Sam hopes to hell that Ellen will interpret his entranced gaze as an artist’s assessing study.

“You’ve got the likeness spot on. Now, were you considering color?”

Just before Sam turns to face her, he notices the slightest hint of movement. One corner of the model’s mouth twitches upwards in the smallest of smiles, eyes brightening the tinest of fractions. It’s the barest hint of an expression, but there’s something about it that makes Sam’s pulse start to quicken.

“Uh… yeah.” His voice comes out sounding thick and cracking horribly. He clears his throat and tries again. “I was going to try a little chalk pastel. Have I um… How much time do I have?”

Ellen checks her watch. “You got another 6, 7 minutes give or take. You think you can doing something with it in that time?”

Sam nods and Ellen nods back, a small smile on her face, before she moves around to view Charlie’s progress.

Sam picks up the green-gold. He knows exactly where to start.

~~~

He’s timed it perfectly. He picks out the last highlight as Ellen’s wristwatch beeps, signalling the end of the 30 minute pose.

“Ok, that’s it class.” She turns to the model, who’s limbs are starting to relax, “Thank you, Gabriel.”

Gabriel. Sam finds himself watching as the model turns his head to look at Ellen, lips quirking into a wide smile, dimples forming at the corners, eyes crinkling a little. Sam feels his heart stutter in his rib cage, because hell… with that smile the guy just went from strikingly attractive, to stunningly beautiful.

“… take a half hour break…”

Ellen is speaking, but Sam can’t focus on the words, because the model, Gabriel – even his name is damn beautiful - is stretching out his arms, arching his back a little to stretch his spine… and then his gaze flicks over to Sam. Shit. Sam drops his eyes, feeling his cheeks flush. Fuck, did Gabriel see him staring? Sam busies himself tidying his materials, feeling the weight of Gabriel’s gaze on him. He fumbles a pastel and has to bend down to pick it up. Damn is this embarassing.

“So Noob, wanna catch some lunch?”

Sam replaces the pastel and smiles at Charlie, greatful for the distraction. She gives his flustered appearance a curious glance, but thankfully doesn’t question it.

“Damn Noob, you rolled a crit. Dude, how’d you do that? I can never get his nose right.”

“Uh,” Sam dips his head and rubs the back of his neck, “I guess I find faces kind of fascinating, you know. Especially when they’re…” Sam trails off, not knowing exactly where he’s going with that.

Charlie gives him a look, like she can see right through him, but she doesn’t take it further. Just smiles a small smile and wiggles her Princess Leia lunch pack at him. Right lunch. If his stomach will stop flip flopping for a second, a little sustenence will do him the world of good.

Chapter Text

GABRIEL

Gabriel pulls off his robe and flings it onto the chair next to Zachariah. Zachariah looks up from his neatly organised materials and glares at him. Fuck you too Zachy, fuck you too. Gabriel smirks and considers flipping him off, but Ellen has already chewed him out once this morning and there’s only so much shit he can get away with before he actually risks loosing this pretty sweet gig. Hells it’s not an easy job exactly, the first time he worked a full shift he ached in muscles he never even knew he had. But there aint that many willing to bear all for a buck. And as such, the hourly rate is damn fine.

Gabriel is hella glad the summer break is finally over. With term out, he barely makes the rent, even running three jobs. His part time janitorial job doesn’t exactly pay him the big bucks. They don’t need to staff the Roadhouse so heavily without the student clientele, so he can’t pick up extra shifts and there simply aint much call for life models. Just the Cougars (his fortnightly randy-retirees class) and a handful of eager grad students and staff who need a bit of practice or a hot bod for a project of two. It’s been Ramen and bargin basement junk all summer and Gabriel is over it. He wants to live a little. Blow off a little steam. Have a fucking meal that resembles actual food.

Gabriel purses his lips and settles into his first pose, thinking idly over what he’s going to spend his next pay check on. Pastries. Fancy pants pastries from that overpriced, over hyped, but damn good deli down the road. Profiteroles. Hells yeah. Then a night on the town. Visit that new cocktail bar in New Bern. Maybe hit up the night club. Heaven ‘n’ Hell. It aint exactly classy, but it’ll do the trick. Contrary to popular belief, Gabriel isn’t actually one for one night stands. The sex is clumsy and unsatisfying, alcohol fulled and yet still self concious. Relationships may be hard work and ultimately, at least in his abysmal experience, doomed to failure… But sex with actual feelings… Way more fun. That said, well sometimes beggars can’t be choosers and it’s been too damn long.

Right sex… sooooooo not the thing to think about right now. Lucy’s revolting apartment. Cleaning up the aftermath of a new student’s epic introduction to college life. Emergency averted.

Ellen’s wristwatch beeps and he knows it’s time to shift positions.

He’s facing Becky now. He gives her a small smile and makes sure he cants his hips just right to give her a good view. Cute kid. Massively obsessed with cock. It is alwaaaaaaays the quiet ones. Why the hell didn’t he discover that little gem back in the yester year? He was the class clown; clearly shoulda been hanging with the nerds. But they were never that keen on the asshole who goofed around all year then shot their test scores to pieces without breaking a sweat. He lets his mind drift. It’s amazing how quickly the minutes slip by when he zones out.

Another beep and it’s time to move on again. Gabriel knows this is a longer pose, so he quickly stretches his arms and legs a little. Ellen had asked if he wanted the chair, but hell, what is he, an amateur? He can take it. He’s 37 years old, not some old has been. He does yoga most days. Helps with the strength and stamina (ooh and that ever important flexibility), both in the life drawing room and in the sack. Also, he looks damn fine in yoga pants. He can take 30 minutes, no sweat. Easy peasy, like a breeze-y.

He tilts his head back and looks over Charlie’s shoulder. Gabriel’s always liked Charlie. Utterly unapologetic in her nerdiness. Passionate. Wicked sense of humor. He doesn’t know her well, but she always acknowledges him when they pass in the hallway. Something that so few of the class actually do. He’s a glorified mannequin to some of them, albeit without the fashion accessories. Charlie even invited him to join her D&D group. Honestly, he was curious, but his wacky schedule would play havock with their campaign so he regretfully declined. One day perhaps. He kinda likes the idea of dabbling in a bit of Dungeon Master chicanery. Setting up a plethora of highly entertaining traps. Chucking a few players into a sphere of annihilation, just to see their faces when their 10th level, built like a brick shithouse Barbarian Warrior, gets disintegrated in a blink of an eye, along with their highly covetable magical items. Ok so maybe he’s thought about this a little too much. Maybe he dowloaded the pdfs of the first edition DM guide and Monster Manual.

Honestly it’s a pretty good way to while away the time on these long poses. Thinking up the best tricks he could play. He wonders idly if he could set up scenario that would force a player character to slow dance with a Wight, watch the color drain from their faces as their character’s life force slowly ebbs away. It would be a total dick move, but damn would it be hilarious…

“Good work, Sam.”

Sam? He doesn’t remember there being a Sam in this class… Oh right, the new guy. Ellen had mentioned something about a transfer joining the class when she called him to book in a few sessions for the start of term. Gabriel had only half listened. Apparently the kid’s got some serious talent. Tragic back story. Perfect creative genius cliché.

“You’ve got the likeness spot on. Now, were you considering color?”

Ooh now that would be a turn up for the books. Now Gabriel’s actually kinda curious. He feels the corner of his mouth twitch upwards. He can’t help it. Because a drawing of his face that doesn’t look like a rendition of the joker on a deck of cards… that would be a nice change of pace.

The kid stammers out a reply and Gabriel has to fight back another smile. Cute. Definitely cute, but… Kinda sexy voice. Now Gabriel is curious about that too...

The minutes tick by as Gabriel tries to form a mental picture. Emo kid all in black. Guyliner and skinny jeans. Hmm Gabriel’s not entirely adverse to that idea… Rebel without a cause… leather jacket and motorcycle. Faded band t-shirt. Growls everything he says… no that doesn’t seem to fit. Going by the stuttering reply… Gabriel’s thinking… nerd. He’s pretty sure Charlie was talking to him earlier. The two seemed to hit it off. Well that could be interesting. Kinky nerd? That would definitely be interesting.

It’s all academic of course. Gabriel has his limits. At his age, fooling around with any of the students… kinda tacky. They’re practically still kids. 10 years, give or take. That’s as low as he’ll go. A little life experience goes a long way, especially in the sack. Transfer though… hmm did Ellen mention any time out? Woah he hasn’t even seen the guy yet. Clearly it’s been way too long. That’s it. This weekend. Heaven n’ Hell. Gonna get laid. Big time. Sex toys are a pleasant distraction, but sometimes, sometimes he needs a real dick in his ass.

He quickly shifts his focus elsewhere. Getting horny in the altogether at a life drawing class… Tends to get a little… awkward.

He’s just contemplating what costume to wear this year for Hallowe’en, something that’ll flaunt his best assets, maybe lead to a little hanky panky on Hallowe’en night, when Ellen’s wrist watch beeps. He finally relaxes his limbs and shoots her a smile when she thanks him. Ellen may not always take his shit, but she’s a damn good boss really.

Gabriel stretches out his arms and arches his back. Hells that feels good. He was starting to get an ache between his shoulderblades. Now’s his chance. Act natural. Take a quick gander. And… Holy smokin hot bod… That is not a new student… That is a wet dream… Legs that go on for miles, long flowing hair, broad shoulders... Their eyes meet for a fraction of a second and it feels like his heart is trying to do a trapeze act in his chest. He’s an adonis, belongs on a porno-cum-fantasy drama on HBO, but hells if he isn’t also a giant puppy dog. As he drops his gaze, his cheeks flush. Adorable. But sexy, hella sexy.

Gabriel knows he’s staring, but he can’t help it. Why didn’t Ellen give him the heads up? Oh by the by Gabriel. New student starting. Artistic genius. Sex God. Ass that’ll make you want to weep. Gabriel bites his lip as Sam bends over to pick up a fumbled chalk pastel. Hells if he had known, he would have made more of an effort. Given his hair more than just a cursary run through with a comb. Shaved. Maybe waxed… yeesh no, a trim though? As Sam straightens, Gabriel glances down at his groin. It’s looking a little wild down there… Ah oh… Better make a grab for the robe. Seems his dick is also a fan. Big fan. Shit. He chances a glance around the room. No-one’s noticed. So far. He saunters oh so casually over to the chair, one hand held surreptitiously over his groin. Nothin to see here.

As he pulls on the robe, Zachariah looks up. Of course he does. His lip curls into a disgusted sneer as Gabriel ties the robe tightly about his middle. Oh screw you Zachy, just because you can’t get it up anymore. Unable to help himself, lips twitching into a smirk, he wiggles his eyebrows, enjoying the way Zachariah’s face turns scarlet, eyes narrowing at him as he mutters something that sounds pretty derogatory under his breath. Something about hellfire and damnation. Ooh sounds fun.

Gabriel shoots one more smirk in Zachariah’s direction, before spinning on his heel and heading in the direction of the restrooms. Zachy’s face might have dampened his lust a little, but his dick is gonna need a little more of a talking down before the next session starts.

~~~

Gabriel leans back against the cubicle wall and gives his groin a hard stare. Lucy’s overflowing laundry basket… Sam’s puppy dog eyes… Shit no… Cleaning the porcelain at the Roadhouse after someone downed a few too many purple nurples… Sam’s jean clad ass, waving around in the air as he bends to pick up… No!... Right gotta bring out the big guns… Zachariah and his wife bumping uglies, Zachy’s face twisting as… Sam’s head thrown back, mouth open, cheeks flushed… Seriously?

Gabriel glares at his dick. Still pointing to the skies. Ready for action. Well this is goddamn inconvenient. Maybe a quick wank in the janitor’s office? No he didn’t bring his keys. He looks at the toilet and makes a face. No, just no.

Someone comes into the room and takes a piss. Gabriel leans his head back against the cubicle wall and listens to the sound of the tap running and the blow dryer. Looks like he’s just going to have to wait this one out.

The minutes tick by. He checks his wrist watch. Shit, if he doesn’t leave here soon, he won’t have time to catch some lunch before the afternoon session starts. He’s only half hard now, but still… It’s still kinda obvious. Sighing, he unlocks the cubicle and heads over to the sink. He stares at his own reflection. Hells this is ridiculous. Sam is clearly out of his league…

Not that he’s let that stop him before… No he’s a student… But clearly a mature one. He looks young, but not that young. He could stretch to a 12 year gap… maybe. He stands back and takes a quick look around the room. He’s alone. He opens his robe and runs an assessing gaze over his body. Hmm not great, tummy’s a little soft, he’s a bit rough around the edges, but… it’s not awful. And a little charm, a little flirting goes a long way. He tries for a smouldering look. Yeah that could work. He tries to imagine Sam’s reaction. The kid had been looking at him. He’s sure of it… Ok so maybe he was just trying to see if he’d really captured that likeness... but the gorgeously flushed cheeks? Maybe there’s something he can work with there.

Maybe he’s deluding himself big time. But… no game, no gain. He’s gotta try. He can’t look at that giant hunk of sexiness and not try. He glances at his groin. Ok maybe not this session. Cock’s getting pretty interested again. Damn. Ok next session. Bit of prep work. Quick wank beforehand, ease a bit of that sexual tension away… Hells why not?

That settled, Gabriel turns his attention back to the dick problem. He checks his watch. Shit, less than 10 minutes. Lips set into a firm line. He strides forward to the sink, runs the tap, cups some cold water and dumps it over his head.

He blinks back water droplets from his eyelashes and winces at his reflection. His dick may have been shocked into retiring for now, but he looks like a damn drowned rat. Clearly he did not think this one through properly. He can’t go out there like this. He pulls a face at his reflection and looks about the room. He eyes the dryer. Raises one eyebrow. No time to think of something else.

~~~

SAM

Sam looks over his shoulder as he pushes through the rest room door.

“Yeah just gimme a minute,” he calls back to Charlie as he steps forward… and something, someone, barrels into his chest. Shit. He lets go of the door and grabs for the person’s shoulder’s on instinct, steadying them before they can stumble backwards and fall in heap.

“Uh sorry,” he says as he looks down into wide golden eyes. Oh.

Gabriel blinks up at him. He’s looking… disheveled is the only word Sam can think of. His hair is sticking up in all directions, wild and little tangled, his robe is hanging part way open, mouth making a little ‘o’ shape.

As Sam just stares, Gabriel blinks once more and runs a hand ineffectually through his hair, cheeks flushing lightly. “Um didn’t see you there Gigantor.” He snorts out a little laugh at the absurdity of that statement, lips curving up into a brilliant dimpled smile.

“Are you ok? I didn’t hurt you?” Sam asks furrowing his brow. Gabriel had rammed into his chest pretty hard and given that Sam towers a whole head above him… that had to hurt.

Gabriel quirks his lips and tilts his head to the side, hair falling over his face in the process. “Nooooo. Hard head. Almost as hard as your…” he looks down at Sam’s chest, eyes widening almost comically as he realises what he he’s doing, before he flicks them back up to Sam’s face, “uh yeah, any old how…”

Shit Sam still has his hands on Gabriel’s shoulders. He quickly removes them and lets them hang awkwardly at his sides.

They just look at each other, Sam’s pulse rate starts to quicken. He should step back. He really should. They’re standing way too close. And Gabriel looks all sorts of alluring. Hair all mussed up, a faint rosy flush on his cheeks that seems to be spreading down to the centre of his chest. Sam doesn’t know why he does it, it makes no sense at all, but before he can stop himself, he finds himself reaching up and brushing the lock of hair from Gabriel’s forehead. Fuck. Why the fuck would he do that?

Gabriel is looking a little wide eyed again. Sam clears his throat and looks away.

He can’t, he really can’t do this. It would be so goddamn stupid to start something right now. His second day back at College? He needs to focus on his studies for christ’s sake.

He mutters his apologies to the man’s bare feet and shuffles past him. He shuts the cubicle door behind him and leans his head against it. A moment later, he hears the rest room door swing shut.

Fuck. What the hell is wrong with him? Sure, maybe a one time thing would help him work off some steam, it has been way too long… but to do that with the life model? It would be fool hardy in the extreme. Even if the man happened to be up for such an arrangement. And Sam get’s the feeling he might be. No. It would be way too awkward. And given how goddamn beautiful the guy is? There’s no way Sam could keep it to a one time thing. One thing would lead to another and… no he won’t do that… he can’t do that. He’s a goddamn mess. He can’t inflinct that anyone. Can’t hurt someone like that. Not again.

~~~

Sam settles back at his easel. Charlie shoots him a concerned look. He tries to give her a reassuring smile. He’s not sure she buys it, but she smiles back anyhow and they turn their attention to the overhead projection as Ellen starts up a presentation relating to their focus for this afternoon’s session. Taking inspiration from such artist’s as Rembrant, they’re going to practice cross hatching techniques.

Unbidden, Sam’s gaze starts to wander across the room, wanders until he finds him. Gabriel is sitting perched on a table, swinging his legs back and forth and devouring what looks suspiciously like a chocolate bar. For lunch? He is not a delicate eater either. Sam watches as he drops a bit down the front of his robe, raises one eyebrow as he frowns down into the opening and then shrugs a shoulder before continuing his meal. It should be kinda gross, it should be off putting. But instead Sam finds it damned adorable. As Gabriels pops the remains into his mouth, he follows up by sucking a chocolate coated finger into his mouth…

Shit, Sam has to avert his eyes as feels the heat starting to pool in his groin. He is so, so screwed.

~~~

Somehow he makes it through the rest of the session without embarassing himself too much. The first long pose was the hardest, with Gabriel facing him almost head on. Their eyes had briefly met, beautiful lips quirking into a small smile, but then Gabriel had tilted his head and averted his gaze. And eventually Sam found that he could focus on his work, at least well enough to get by. For the second long pose, Gabriel was mercifully facing away and Sam had found himself lost in the process of decribing the light playing across Gabriel’s spine.

He sprays fixative on his drawings and tidies his materials away while it dries, chatting to Charlie as she does the same. They compare notes on their respective timetables. Charlie’s main focus is digitally based and as such they don’t share many classes, just this one and a couple of art history modules. On most days their lunch breaks do align though, and Sam is incredibly greatful when Charlie suggests he join her and her friends in the canteen, once he’s finished with his mixed media class.

Ellen passes by and asks if he can leave his portfolio behind so that she can look over his work again, see where she can help him fill it out. Sam nods his head and thanks her. That sort of guidance will be damn invaluable. He’ll swing by tomorrow to pick it up before heading home.

He shoulders his backpack and thanks her once more before following Charlie out the door, glancing over his shoulder as he leaves. Gabriel must still be changing. Sam absolutely does not feel a pang of disappointment. Maybe he’ll be modelling again next session… But he can’t think like that. His libido may be saying one thing, but he really can’t afford to listen to it right now. Sam sighs and scrubs a hand over his face as he walks down the busy hallway. Damn it, a cold shower when he gets home may just be in order.

Chapter Text

GABRIEL

Gabriel draws his lower lip into his mouth as he looks down at the image before him. Hells does the kid have some serious talent. Ludicrously gorgeous and uber talented? He blows out a breath between his teeth. But it’s not just skill that’s drawing his attention back to this piece. He’s never seen a drawing like this of himself before. It’s clearly him, clearly a good likeness, but… he looks… Gabriel swallows around a lump in his throat. Do his eyes really look like that? He almost looks… Gabriel shakes his head, unsure how to take it.

“So, what do you think?” Ellen’s voice beside him startles him out of his thoughts.

Gabriel looks across at her and waggles his eyebrows. Ellen rolls her eyes in return and shakes her head before sighing.

“Soooooo,” Gabriel starts.

Ellen gives him a hard stare. “Not a good idea Gabriel,” she says before he can start to weasel any information out of her.

Gabriel quirks an eyebrow at her and gives her his very best puppy dog eyes. She sighs heavily and shakes her head.

“Kid’s been through enough, don’t need you, or any one else for that matter… hitting on him. He needs to focus on getting back on his feet.”

She shakes her head again and turns away.

Gabriel looks down at the drawing on the floor, remembers the brush of Sam’s long fingers across his forehead. Remember’s the look in Sam’s eyes before he dropped his gaze. He knaws on his lower lip. He can’t let this go.

Setting his shoulders, he turns and walks over to Ellen’s office where she’s busily arranging papers.

“I’m not gonna hurt him.”

Ellen looks up from her work and just stares at him, eyes assessing, trying to weed out any of his bullshit. Gabriel levels his gaze at her. No bullshit present.

After a moment, she pinches the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger, sighing another deep sigh before looking up at him again.

“You screw around with the best student I’ve had in a decade and I’m gonna open up a can of whoop ass on you so big-”

“I won’t, I swear,” Gabriel holds up both hands, eyebrows raised almost to his hairline.

She must see something in his expression, because her eyes soften a fraction.

“Go easy on him. Kid’s dealt with a lot of loss… Just go easy.”

Gabriel bites his lip and nods his head. That… he can relate to.

They fall into silence for a few moments. Ellen goes back to shuffling her papers and Gabriel just watches her, head spinning. He knows she can’t tell him more, but he really should know one thing.

“24? 25?” he looks at her hopefully as she rolls her eyes at him before resuming her paperwork.

Perhaps sensing he’s not going anywhere in a hurry, she huffs out a breath. “27”.

Gabriel only just resists the urge to whoop out a sound of poor joy. 10 years! Just within his self impossed age gap limit. Perfect.

“Gay?” Gabriel asks tentatively.

Ellen huffs out an irritated breath. “Gabriel. I actually have work to do.”

“Just… do I… do I stand a chance?” Gabriel presses his lips together, hoping Ellen didn’t hear the waver in his voice.

She looks up, eyes softening again. “I can’t answer that question, but I’d hazzard a guess at the ‘B’ in the LGBTQ equation.” She gives him a small smile. “And if anyone can get that boy’s attention, I’d wager it’s you.”

Gabriel draws his lips into a wide smile.

“Now get out of here. I got a shit tonne of paperwork to get through and I can’t do it with you standing there, mooning over your boy crush. You’re like a damn teenage girl. Jo wasn’t half as bad as you.”

Gabriel throws her a quick smirk and turns to leave.

“Gabriel, what the hell happened to your hair?”

He turns on his heel, purses his lips and shrugs his shoulders.

She quirks an eyebrow at him. “Looks like you tried to get rid of a bad hairdo by standing in front of a damn wind turbine.”

Gabriel rolls his eyes and turns to leave, surreptitiously running a hand through his unruly locks.

“That aint helping,” Ellen calls after him, amusement clear in her voice.

~~~

Gabriel flops unceremoniously onto his bed. Hells is he glad he spend a small fortune on this bed. Kali was definitely right about it, he grimaces… He doesn’t want to think about his ex right now. It was fun while it lasted, despite the faint scars he still has on his back… but the break-up? Yeesh...

He looks up at the ceiling and sighs. It’s been a long day. His muscles are aching – getting back into the modelling after summer break is always a painful adjustment, even with the yoga – but he still feels kinda giddy. Jo had taken one look at him when he turned up for his shift at the Roadhouse and – after insulting his hair – proceeded to interrogate him… all night. Jesus that girl does not know when to give up. He just hopes Ellen doesn’t mention anything to her. It normally wouldn’t bother him. After all, it usually doesn’t take long before every one knows he has a crush on someone. He’s never been known to be exactly… subtle. Why should he be? But this time. He doesn’t know why… but this time he wants to keep it to himself… at least for a little while.

He’s exhausted, but he needs to start thinking this thing through. Time to figure out a game plan. Sam is a whole new level of hot. He’s sex personified and a creative genius to boot, all bundled up into a giant, but absurdly cute, flannel clad package. Is he even single? Gabriel frowns. Judging by what Ellen said… she seems to think so… he’s not sure if that’s knowledge or guess work. Ok assume he is. If he isn’t, he’ll politely decline – or laugh in Gabriel’s face… no that doesn’t seem like Sam’s style – and Gabriel can soothe away the sting of rejection with a shit tonne of liquor and random stranger. No harm done… except to his very soul. Wow that’s melodramatic, even for him.

Anyways… Assuming Sam is single… how does he approach this? If Sam is single, chances are, he won’t stay that way for long. Folks are gonna be taking a crack at him from the get go. Gabriel can’t afford to mess around. He’s gotta go for the big play. Show off his best assets, make his attentions clear. Sure, Ellen had said go gentle, but there would be time enough for that when he wins Sam over. They can take it slow. Gentle sex… before proceeding to the hot and heavy fucking. He can feel his cock start to fill at the thought. He cranes his neck and looks down his body, raising one eyebrow as he stares at his groin, hells not yet.

He flops his head back down and thinks furiously. Ellen booked him in for the next life drawing session. He’d only have a coupla days to prepare, but… think of the possibilites... Angle his body just right, show Sam the goods in just the right light, maybe throw him a smouldering look or two… If he plays it right, will Sam be able to resist his charms?

He purses his lips. Probably gonna need a bit of maintenance. Wincing at the dull ache between his shoulders, he pushes himself up off the bed and pads through to the bathroom.

He stares at his reflection in the full length mirror. Christ that’s not good. Ellen definitely has a point about his hair. Hand dryer not withstanding, it does tend to get a bit messy and out of control. He’s trying to grow it out a bit, but should he get a haircut? He thinks about the portrait Sam drew of him, about the way he marked out Gabriel’s hair, the way he seemed to pay particular attention to the way it flicks out at the ends. He thinks about Sam’s own shaggy head of gorgeous brown locks. No… no haircut. Just make damn sure he carries a comb with him.

He sighs as he looks at his worn out face. He’s really not looking his best. A shave in the morning and some damn sleep will help a little. Chest… not bad. Would Sam mind a bit of chest hair? The overly waxed look is definitely on the way out, thanks to the delectable Aidan Turner, and Gabriel really doesn’t have much. At least the yoga’s done the trick, he doesn’t look weedy or anything. Belly… he makes a face. Ok so maybe he needs to lay off the desserts for awhile. He makes a noise in the back of his throat as he thinks about those profiteroles. Maybe he could just cut back a little…

And the goods? He certainly hasn’t had any complaints before… Pubes are definitely looking a bit out of control though. Should he bite the bullet and go for that wax?… Clean and smooth… Yeesh no, even the thought of it. Maybe he could shave himself? He raises an eyebrow. Hmm. Well definitely not tonight. He’s beyond tired. And a slip of the razor? Yikes. No, quick wank and then he needs to get his beauty sleep.

He eyes his half hard cock in the mirror and takes hold of it, giving it a long stroke, feeling it lengthen and fill out in the palm of his hand. He bites his lip and watches his reflection as his cheeks start to flush and his nipples harden. Reaching up with his other hand, he rubs a thumb over the little hard nub of flesh. How would Sam react if he started touching himself. If he spread his legs wide and started stroking himself. Would he get hard? Would his cheeks start to flush too? What if Gabriel gave him an inviting smouldering look. No, not like that. He looks like he just smelled a fart. He snorts out a laugh at his own ridiculous reflection.

Try again... Heated eyes, lips slightly parted… Hmm ok that’s a little better. He’s still flaring his nostrils too much though. Tone it down. Perfect. He starts to stroke himself a little quicker, letting his head fall back, fuck that feels good. He would give Sam a come hither look and Sam would drop his paintbrush, push aside his easel and rip open his own flanel shirt. Yes fuck. That chest felt like a solid wall of muscle. Just the thought of it. And then Sam would be on him. Enormous hands grabbing his hair, gorgeous lips pressed against his, tongue dipping inside. And then his hands would explore a little southwards.

Gabriel bites his lip. He needs… He lets go of his leaking cock and scrabbles around in the bathroom cabinet. He could have sworn he left some in here. Sighing, he pads back through to his bedroom and retrieves a bottle from his night stand. He squeezes some lube out onto his fingers and flops back on his bed. Right, where was he…

Sam would run a hand over his hip and then back behind his balls and fuck yes. He blows out a long breath as he eases a finger inside his body, inner muscles clenching, then relaxing around the intrusion. He starts to stroke himself again. Picking up a modest rhythm. What would it be like if Sam did this to him? God, just the thought of those long artist’s fingers, slipping inside his body, touching deep inside him, stretching and massaging. Delving so much deeper than he can. Pressing in just the right spot... He arches off the bed, coming with a strangled yell.

As Gabriel listens to his own breaths even out, he wonders at just how damn quickly he just came. Just the mere though of Sam finger fucking him? What if Sam actually fucks him? Will he want to? God, Gabriel really, really hopes so.

~~~

Gabriel arches an eyebrow and stares down at the gathered bathroom products, flicks his eyes to the razor and scissors, then looks down at his groin. He runs his fingers through the coarse curls. To shave or not shave, that is the question? God the dilemma. Would Sam like to feel smooth hairless skin? Would he like the look of it? The pornos would seem to suggest as much. Well most of then. He never did that himself… He squirts out a little foam and starts to spread it over the hair. No wait a minute. Shouldn’t he trim it first?

He sighs. Runs a hand back through his hair. Ah crap, shaving foam in his damn hair. Well he was gonna need a shower anyways. He steps up to the mirror and eyes his reflection critically, taking hold of his dick and lifting it up, really taking a good look at his wild pubes. Screw it. Stubble growing back down there simply aint a pleasant thought. Au natural will have to do. And if Sam doesn’t happen to like it, then hells, Gabriel would not have a problem with Sam shaving them off for him. Maybe giving him a nice little BJ right after.

He quirks a grin at his own reflection and hops into the shower. Time to get this glorious day started.

~~~

SAM

Sam glares at his clock radio. Christ has it been a hard week. He forgot just how punishing a college schedule could be. It doesn’t help that he’s been playing catch up and will probably need to work hard to keep up all year. He lost most of his portfolio when… in the fire. Anything he might have developed into a senior project is just gone. He has to start from scratch. Build up 3 years worth of solid work and keep up with lessons, pass assessments and exams, and make a start on his senior project. And he doesn’t have a clue where to start.

At least he only has one class today. He can spend the morning in the library, pick up some books and see if he can get his brain thinking, spark an idea. Maybe he can spend the afternoon out with his sketchbook too. He gets up, stretches and pulls on his shorts and a plain tee. He’s exhausted, but maybe some fresh air will help wake him up.

~~~

He stretches out his calf muscles and starts off at a slow easy pace. No need to push it when he’s feeling this wiped. The air is fresh, the clouds still limned with the orange tinge of sunrise. There are a few dog walkers out, but otherwise it’s quiet. He jogs into town, winding his way towards the small park. It’s so peaceful here at this time in the morning.

His thoughts turn to the day ahead. His second life drawing class. He bites his lip as he thinks about the last one. The model. Gabriel. That moment in the rest room when they just stood there, looking into each other’s eyes. His heart skips a beat when he remembers those stunning gold eyes looking up at him, the ridiculously messy hair, the pale flushed skin, the brilliant dimpled smile. Will Gabriel be modelling today? God Sam hopes he is… and an instant later, he hopes to hell he isn’t. It was hard enough to concentrate the first time. Sam really needs to produce high quality work, he needs to fill out his portfolio. And if all he’s capable of doing is staring wide eyed at Gabriel’s naked body and thinking highly inappropriate thoughts? He’s going to be next to useless.

Sam sighs and picks up his pace. He’s just going to have to deal with it. He’s not a damn teenager anymore. He just needs to learn to control himself.

~~~

Sam settles down in a corner of the library, surrounded by a pile of books. Apparently he can’t even decide on where to start with research today. When he had returned from his morning run, Dean had been up and was badgering him about checking out the local, unofficial campus bar tonight. Somewhere called the Roadhouse. Sam had made a noncommital noise. He should be working through the weekend. Make a start at least… but then again, it’s a Friday and he’s had a tough week. Maybe he should blow off a little steam. Maybe take his mind off a certain life model…

He runs a hand through his hair and picks up a book entitled, “How to Start Your Creative Journey: Methods for developing your work and generating ideas.” Well that actually sounds like a place to start. He opens the book and starts reading.

Chapter Text

Sam settles behind his easel, almost forgetting about his earlier worries, head spinning with ideas. Don’t dismiss your past, the book had said. Draw inspiration from your life experiences. Why not create from what you already know? Could that be the answer he was looking for. Instead of running away from his past, maybe he needs to face it. Maybe he needs to use all that pain… make something of it.

“Noob!” Charlie’s bouyant voice brings him back from his thoughts.

“Hey Charlie.”

“Got any plans for the weekend?” she asks conversationally, as she fixes some cartridge paper to her board and starts rummaging in her backpack for materials.

“Uh, my brother wants to check out the Roadhouse tonight. Asked me to tag along.”

She looks up at him. “Hey ditto.” She waves a hand in the air. “Not the brother part. The Roadhouse.”

“No brothers?” He asks, curious. She hasn’t spoken about her family. “Sisters?”

“Actually, I have two. Their names are Xbox and PS3.”

He snorts out a laugh and shakes his head.

“Wanna meet up? Super hot chick behind the bar. She works most Fridays.”

He purses his lips. He had thought casually about maybe trying to meet someone earlier, but honestly, the thought of it just exhausts him. “Uh… sure. But I’m not really looking for anyone right now.”

She rolls her eyes at him and Sam gives her a confused look. “Not for you doofus. The lady’s my not so secret crush.”

Oh. He laughs and shakes his head. “Ok then.”

“You can be my wingman.”

Sam smiles and nods his head a fraction. Charlie smiles back then looks up at the platform and gives a little wave. Sam turns his head to follow her gaze and his stomach does a little flip flop, because God it is him. Gabriel.

Sam can’t help but watch as Gabriel quirks a smile at Charlie. God those lips. So mobile, so beautiful. Sam notes that Gabriel’s lower lip is a little asymmetric, narrowing more in one corner than the other. It’s gorgeous. Perfect in it’s imperfection. He wonders what it would be like to kiss those lips. To run his tongue over that lower lip and…

Shit he’s staring again and Gabriel’s eyes have flicked over to him. He should drop his gaze, but Gabriel is quirking a smile at him now. He attempts a small smile of his own, knowing without looking in a mirror, that he just flashed the dorkiest, most awkward smile imaginable. Crap.

Thankfully he’s saved by Ellen. She walks up to Gabriel and the two start to confer. Sam lowers his gaze and busies himself with his materials. God this is already awkward, he’s already a distracted mess.

“Ok class, we’re going to start with a series of short poses for the first hour. I’ve got a pile of paperwork to do so I’ll leave you in Gabriel’s hands. Just holler if you need help.” Ellen walks over to one of Sam’s classmates and shows them how to work the timer on her watch, then makes her way over to the office.

Gabriel is still in his robe, watching her retreating back. Sam furrows his brow as he takes in the odd expression on his face. The student with the stop watch clears their throat. Every one’s waiting for him, so why is he just standing there?

The office door closes and Gabriel finally turns around. The expression on his face is… Christ. He’s looking directly at Sam as he slowly unties the robe and slips it from his shoulders. His gaze is… heated. Holy shit is Gabriel flirting with him? Sam swallows around the lump in his throat as he stares with wide eyes, unable to look away. A few students make impatient noises, some, those on Sam’s side of the room, sound decidely more uncomfortable and there’s at least one stiffled giggle.

Divested of his robe, Gabriel flings it to one side and Sam watches it fly through the air and get caught on a student’s easel. The student looks with wide eyes at his friend, before untangling it and depositing it on a nearby chair. When Sam looks up again at the platform, Gabriel is thankfully no longer looking at him, but the pose he’s stretched into… it’s a little… provocative. His head is tilted back, lips parted, one hand behind his head, arm muscles beautifully defined, the other at his hip. It’s almost a classic pose, it’s just… far more pronounced. His legs are wider than they need to be, pelvis most definitely tilted in Sam’s direction. Almost like he’s… displaying himself.

The student with the stopwatch, coughs awkwardly and starts the timer. It takes Sam a long moment to move. He can’t help but stand and stare. Last session Sam had been distracted by Gabriel’s extraordinary eyes, but now, now there’s something else distracting him. Because, with Gabriel’s hips thrust towards him, Sam can’t help but notice how attractive his dick is. It’s a pretty, flushed pink tone, more sizeable than one might think given his short stature. And Gabriel hasn’t waxed or shaved. His pubic hair is pleasingly natural.

Sam feels heat pool rapidly in his groin, his jeans suddenly feeling way too tight. Christ. He picks up a stick of charcoal, inevitably fumbling and dropping it. Clenching his jaw, he picks up another and just… tries to make the most of it.

He barely makes any progress before the timer beeps. Sighing, he removes the paper from his board and replaces it with a second sheet, fighting to keep his shaking hands steady.

When he looks up, Gabriel is already in the next pose. It’s no better than the first. He’s side on, legs spread in a wide lunge, hands on hips and chest pushed forward. Great, now Sam can see his dick and his shapely ass. Sam hears a small squeak of delight and looks over to see a petite blonde girl, staring wide eyed at Gabriel’s stance, with a decidely manic, gleeful look on her face. Gabriel’s lips twitch a little before he settles into a manly, distant stare.

Sam bites his lip and glances about the room. Most people seem to be as shocked as he is. Some decidedly amused. One older man, another mature student, has his lips pressed into a firm line. His face is a little red and he’s glaring at Gabriel. No one is looking in Sam’s direction. He takes the chance to surreptiously adjust himself before the timer beeps to indicate the start of their ten minutes.

Forcing himself to really focus this time, Sam works rapidly, using fluid lines to describe Gabriel’s… unusal stance. As the timer beeps again, Sam finds he’s a little more satisfied with the outcome. If nothing else, this is practice in out of the ordinary poses.

Sam’s heart skips a beat as Gabriel turns to face him again, eyebrows actually doing a little dance before he drops to his knees.

He almost jumps out of his skin when he feels an elbow jab his side. He turns to face Charlie, who’s eyes are alight with amusement. Leaning into him a little, she says in a low voice, “I think someone might be crushing on you. Big time. Need a wingwoman?”

Sam just gapes at her. She snorts out a laugh then elbows him again as she shifts her eyes back to Gabriel. He follows her gaze and let’s out a rather undignified, strangled, choked off cry of exclamation, because holy shit.

Gabriel is still kneeling, but he’s bent over completely, back arched right over, hands holding on to his ankles, hips thrust forward. He can’t stop staring, even as he hears the timer beep, he just keeps gaping. That’s not a life drawing pose at all. Sam thinks vaguely that it might be yoga. But yoga is really not intended to be done in the nude… in front of a class full of art students. Holy shit he can’t even... He lifts the charcoal up to his paper, but he doesn’t make a mark. God he’s so flexible. Sam would never have thought…

Inevitably his mind starts going where it shouldn’t, where he was determined not to let it wander. He pictures Gabriel above him, chest flushed, a sheen of sweat covering him as he arches his back and fucks himself… Shit no. Sam squeezes his eyes shut for a second and tries to talk his cock down. When he opens his eyes again, he knows it’ll do no good, because Gabriel’s cock just twitched. It’s not obvious, not yet, but Sam can see it’s starting to fill with arousal.

The watch beeps and Gabriel straightens up. He’s looking flushed, his hair is messy and his pupils dilated. He’s utterly, ridiculously beautiful. Sam’s heart is hammering in his chest as he watches him. After a moment he smirks a little and shifts around on his knees, sounding a little out of breath from the strain of the last position.

Sam blows out a breath and runs a shaky hand through his hair. Damn. Then Gabriel falls into position. Sam can hear a few people start to mutter, can see them exchange looks. The man across the room is looking utterly furious. He slams down his drawing implement and storms across the room to Ellen’s office. Sam looks back at Gabriel, kneeling on the platform, legs slightly parted and body stretched downwards, backside pointing into the air. Leaving almost nothing up to the imagination. If he was to part his knees just a scant inch more and angle his ass a little into the light, then Sam would be able to see…

Sam bites his lip and frowns, heart suddenly clenching in his chest. What are you doing? He suddenly feels afraid for the man he doesn’t even know. He could loose his job over this. All because he’s trying to attract Sam’s attention? But he had that already. He had that with a simple smile.

~~~

GABRIEL

It’s all going swimmingly. Perfectly. Sam is flushed and flustered. He keeps staring and Gabriel thinks he might just like what he sees. That last pose with the back arched… That went down especially well. God is he going to feel that tomorrow. He might find the pose relatively easy to get into, but holding it for 10 minutes. Yeesh. He knows he’s getting a little sweaty and disheveled, but surely that just adds to the overall sex appeal… What to do next? He only thought up three poses. Didn’t dream he’d get a chance to go for a fourth. Thought Ellen would have taken him aside by now, but what luck! She’s holed away in her office and he has free reign to carry out Operation Seduce-Sam.

What has he not shown off yet? Of course! He’s only really given Sam a side on view of his ass and he’s been told that’s one of his best ass-ets. He smirks to himself at the play on words. Ok time to go for the money shot. One backside coming up. He shuffles around on his knees. He looks down. Yikes, despite the morning wank session, it seems his dick is starting to get a bit interested. Ok, better hide it, he’ll just have to figure out a way to shuffle out without being seen afterwards. He stretches his body forward, head almost touching the floor, and pushes his ass a little further up into the air and…

He knows the moment he’s gone too far. He hears something slamming down, a huffed sound of anger and someone – he instantly knows exactly who – is storming over in the direction of Ellen’s office. He bites his lip as he hears a sharp intake of breath. Ok so maybe… maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

“Class we’re breaking early for lunch.” Ellen’s voice is even, but Gabriel knows her too well, he can hear the barely suppressed anger in her tone. She’s pissed, she’s really pissed.

Well at least his dick isn’t excited any more. Gabriel closes his eyes tightly as he listens to the students filter out of the class, whispering and muttering under their breaths.

“Gabriel, my office now.”

He hears her drop the robe beside him and stalk away. Shit. Is she going to fire him? He’d been so caught up in the moment, so caught up in the idea of winning Sam over, he never thought. But hells, it’s suddenly forefront in his mind. If he looses this job, forget about blowing off steam and fancy pastries. He won’t be able to keep up with the rent. He could loose his apartment. Cassie won’t see him out on the street of course, but the last thing he wants is to be a burden to his little brother.

He slowly uncurls himself and staggers to his feet, picking up the robe and wrapping it around himself. He glances towards the door, heart stuttering in his chest. Not everyone has left. Sam is standing in the doorway, brow furrowed with… worry? His breath catches in his throat. Sam is worried about him? That’s… He can’t even begin to process that. He presses his lips together and nods his head. Sam still looks concerned, but he nods back and slips out of the room. Christ.

Swallowing down the fear that’s busily climbing up his throat, he walks to Ellen’s office. She looks up as he enters, mouth set into a firm line. He doesn’t even need to be asked. He closes the door behind him and turns back to face her, lips quirked, ready to play this off as not such a big deal… but when he takes in her expression, his face falls. Sure she’s chewed him out, countless times before. But this. This is different. There’s no trace of humor on her features.

“Gabriel Novak, what the hell do you think you’re playing at?” She holds up a hand when he opens his mouth. He doesn’t even know what he was going to say. What can he say. “Don’t even… I don’t want to hear it.”

She takes in a deep breath and paces the length of the small office. Back held rigid with anger. Gabriel can only stand there, thinking furiously of a way to defuse this situation. But he’s coming up completely empty.

Finally she rounds on him. “Do you have any idea how hard I had to fight to get you this job?”

He stares at her, stomach twisting unpleasantly.

“That man, he’s looking for any excuse, anything he can use to have you removed.” The corners of her mouth turn downward. “And you just hand it to him on a silver platter. First you have an inappropriate bodily reaction...”

Gabriel’s eyes narrow at that. Fuck’s sake, what an asshole. Zachariah really brought that up? It really shouldn’t surprise him.

“That would have been excusable. It happens from time to time, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last. But then you go and put on that… display out there.”

She gives him a hard stare. “Gabriel, this is a life drawing class, not Casa Erotica 17!”

He flinches. He feels like he’s been punched in the gut. She never brings up his past. She never judged him for it. At least he thought…

She must see something in his expression, as all that anger, all that tension, seems to flow away and she regards him now, not with fury, but with sadness. Christ, somehow that’s worse.

She sighs and pinches the bridge of her nose between her thumb and her forefinger. It’s something he’s seen her do countless times before, something she does when she’s feeling stressed. He feels a pang of guilt. She’s always been good to him. Took him on when no one else would. Took a chance on him. And he just screwed it all up.

“I’m suspending your contract for a week,” she says into the stillness of the room.

Gabriel clenches his eyes shut and presses his mouth into a thin line. Christ, that isn’t exactly great, he desperately needs the money… but maybe he’ll still have a job to go back to.

“Had to promise Zachariah something. You didn’t leave me much choice.” She sighs heavily. “But I’m damned if that snide bastard will have his way.”

Gabriel opens his eyes and looks at her.

“They took a hell of a lot from you. I will not stand to see them take this job too. You hear me?”

Gabriel can feel his eyes start to sting and he rubs at them furiously.

She stands and regards him carefully as he attempts to get his shit together.

“Gabriel,” she says at length, “why did you feel like you had to do that?”

He frowns and opens his mouth, a little unsure of what’s going to come out of it, but she holds up a hand again to silence him.

“You got more to offer that boy than just your body.”

Gabriel can feel his eyebrows raise almost to his hairline, his cheeks flushing in embarassment.

“You’re a sexual person, aint nothing wrong with that. You have nothing to feel ashamed of, so don’t you start getting notions on that front. But there are times and there are places…”

He feels his cheeks heat even more. He’s got an enormous urge to crack some crude joke, deflect the situation, but his mind is frustratingly blank and he knows, he knows it’s not the time for it.

“Just think on it. You’re worth more than you think you are. I can’t tell you if anything’s going to happen here. But if Sam’s the sort of person I think he is, then he’ll see that too, if you let him.”

Gabriel’s breath hitches. He can’t meet her eyes, but he nods his head.

“Now go on home. Take a goddamn cold shower or something. I’ll have them draw damn portraits of each other.”

Gabriel’s huffs out a small laugh. He knows he dodged a bullet here. Big time. His head is still spinning. Heading home sounds damn good idea right now.

~~~

SAM

Sam frowns when they re-enter the life drawing room and the set up has been changed. There are fewer easels and in front of each is set a chair. Gabriel is nowhere in sight. Sam’s stomach sinks. Did Gabriel get fired? Shit.

As he listens to Ellen explain their task for the afternoon session, he feels like hell. He can’t help but feel like this is somehow his fault. If he hadn’t been so goddamn obvious about his attraction to Gabriel, then maybe he wouldn’t have tried to… to what? Sam’s still a little confused about the whole thing. If Gabriel could see he was interested, then why not just ask him out? Why the grand display? Sam feels like he’s been witness to some crazy mating ritual.

But maybe he didn’t know… not for sure. The whole thing’s still off the wall crazy. But the craziest thing? The craziest thing… is that Sam isn’t put off by it. If anything, Sam feels somehow more drawn to the man. He’s not exactly sure what that says about him, but there’s something about Gabriel that lights a fire in the pit of his belly. It’s not his naked body, though hell does the sight of it make Sam’s pulse race. But it’s something in his nature. He’s wild and impulsive and he dances to the beat of his own drum. Doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of him. And that… that does something to Sam.

But he can’t. Sam’s a mess. And the people who get close to him, they get hurt. Gabriel has merely shown an interest in him… and look where that’s got him. Sam didn’t think he believed in bad luck, but the statistics are starting to stack up. It’s like he’s goddamn cursed or something.

Sam is startled from his thoughts as Charlie clears her throat. You ok Noob? She mouths. Sam furrows his brow. That’s a loaded question. As Ellen finishes speaking. Charlie gives him one more concerned look, then walks over to Ellen. Sam raises his brows as he looks after her.

After a few moments, that Sam spends fidgeting by the easel, she sidles up to him.

“The down low is that he’s taking a little unplanned leave,” she gives him a kind look as he furrows his brow with worry. Christ, she can clearly see right through him. “Not to worry, he’ll be back a week Tuesday.” She looks furtively about as Sam feels the relief flow through him. Suspension, she mouths at him when she’s sure no one is looking.

That’s not great of course, but it could have been so much worse. Thanks, he mouths back as they settle down to the afternoon’s session.

Chapter Text

SAM

The sky is a brilliant blue, the sunlight pleasantly warm on his upturned face. He looks up through the leaves of the overhanging tree. Some are already starting to turn. Soon the park will be a riot of color. Fall is almost here. Sam watches as a light breeze moves through the branches. A single leaf dances in the breeze, then drifts down into his lap. Sam picks it up and studies it. Brown and gold, with a touch of green still present. Bright golden eyes looking directly at him, alight with desire. He sighs. Is everything going to remind him of Gabriel? He holds his hand out and watches as the wind picks it up and sends it swirling away towards the pathway.

It’s time he gets some work done. He opens his backpack and pulls out his sketchbook, opening it to a fresh page. He looks about him, wondering what will catch his attention. He smiles as he sees a young woman walking hand in hand with a little girl. The girl is skipping along, but every now and then she gets distracted by something. She stops abruptly now and gazes up through the leaves, a look of wonder in her eyes.

Picking up his fountain pen, Sam quickly captures the scene: the look of amazement, the fond smile on the mother’s face. A moment later they press on. The girl resumes her skipping. The mother takes her hand and they pass out of sight.

An overexcited black labrador next draws his attention. Dogs are damn fast, but Sam loves trying to express that motion. As the dog leaps up to snatch a ball out the air, before bounding up to it’s owner, Sam quickly sketches out the twists and turns of it’s body in rough gestural outline. It’s just an impression, but he captures all that playful energy on the page.

Sam spends almost half an hour sitting on the bench, watching the people pass him by. Every now and then, finding something that draws his attention. But eventually he feels restless. He needs to move his legs. He doesn’t pack away his sketchbook, not yet, but he shoulders his backpack and starts a slow meandering walk through the park.

As he walks, he scribbles down the odd detail: some birds flying overhead, a worn out broken bench, a discarded shoe. He rounds the corner and looks out across the open space. He can’t help but smile as he looks over to the far side. Someone is sprawled out on their back, gazing up through the leaves of the tree they’re lying under, looking absurdly like they got half way through making a snow angel before realising there isn’t any snow. Sam’s too far away to even see if it’s a man or a woman and certainly too far to see the person’s face, but there’s something about the carefree posture that captivates him. A couple walk past and give the stranger an odd look, but the person seems utterly unconcerned. They just keep staring up through the branches, perhaps contemplating life itself.

Sam opens a fresh page. This is definitely something he wants to capture.

~~~

The Roadhouse doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside it’s oddly homely. There’s an old jukebox over by the corner and a pool table at the far end. Most of the furniture looks old and a little rickety, but it’s clean. Unlike the official student bar on campus, the floor is mercifully not sticky with spilt alcohol and the place is busy, but not heaving with bodies. Sam spies Charlie and her group pretty quickly and he pulls a distracted Dean over towards the table.

“No hitting on my friends,” Sam hisses into Dean’s ear. Dean makes a face at him. “You promised.”

He rolls his eyes, but then smirks as his attention is caught by a pretty, slender blonde, who’s collecting glasses from a nearby table.

Sam sighs and drags him towards the table. Charlie looks up as they approach, a broad smile streched across her features.

“Noob, you made it!” she hops up and gives him a big hug. Dean raises his eyebrows and Sam makes a face and shakes his head.

“Come meet the fellowship,” she says excitedly, gesturing towards the table. Dean makes face this time and Sam has to elbow him in the side. He sighs. It already feels like it’s going to be a long night.

~~~

Sam takes a long swig from his beer and watches as his brother flirts with the blonde bartender. Her name’s Jo and she unfortunately happens to be Charlie’s big crush. He doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere at least, but he’s clearly not going to give up anytime soon.

Charlie’s looking a little dispondent. He captures her attention and gives her a small smile. “Uh sorry about my brother,” he says leaning towards her.

She looks over at the bar and sighs. “It’s no biggie. You’re brother’s a heart breaker right?”

Sam winces and nods.

“So I bide my time, swoop in and dry her tears, play BFF, sleepovers and braiding each other’s hair. Pillow fights. Then she’ll realise that hey, maybe we’re more than friends… friends with certain benefits.” She wiggles her eyebrows and Sam snorts out a laugh.

Kevin and the brunette, Natalie, Sam thinks her name is, start to talk about the ending of Game of Thrones and Charlie joins in enthusiastically. Sam goes back to looking around the room. It’s getting busier and the bar staff are looking a little harried. Jo rolls her eyes at Dean and moves along to serve the next customer. Dean shrugs his shoulders and heads off towards the pool table where a couple of clearly very drunk girls are failing to pot any balls. Sam sighs and shakes his head. Looking back to the bar, he sees that some of the customers are starting to get impatient. Clearly they could do with more staff. The other bartender, a tall blonde man, glares at the customer and narrows his eyes, before turning back to the man he’s serving.

“I just want some goddamn peanuts,” the impatient man yells. He turns to his companion and says in a voice that carries across the room. “See I told you, the people who work in this place are useless imbeciles.”

The bartender’s face stretches into a dangerous smile and he reaches under the counter. For a moment Sam is worried he’s going to pull out a goddamn weapon, but instead he lifts out a pack of peanuts and lobs them hard at the man’s face.

“Here’s your peanuts,” the bartender smirks, “and here’s a drink to go with them.” He picks up a soda tap and as the surrounding customers gape, he sprays the drink directly into the man’s face.

Dripping wet, the man looks like he’s ready to throw a punch, but his companion, clearly seeing that his friend wouldn’t stand a chance in a bar fight against this guy, drags him towards the exit.

“Hey, no need to thank me, no need to leave a tip,” the bartender yells after them. “All part of the service.”

“Dude, I would not want to piss that guy off.” Sam looks up to see that Dean’s sidled back to join them.

“Clearly zero luck with the ladies,” Charlie whispers into his ear and he has to stifle his laugh as his brother gives him a look.

“Well his name is Lucifer,” Natalie pipes up from across the table.

Sam raises his eyebrows. Seriously?

Charlie rolls her eyes. “His name’s Luke, he just says that to intimidate people and impress the ladies.”

Sam makes a face. How exactly does that work?

Charlie looks over at him and with a devious smile on her face she adds, “Oh and he just happens to be big brother to someone we both know.”

Sam quirks a questioning eyebrow at her, not sure what she’s getting at. He looks over at the bartender, who’s regarding another customer with a murderous look on his face, and back at Charlie’s wide grin.

“Gabriel.”

She actually winks at him as his eyes widen. Oh… oh that’s just great. Now he has something else to worry about. If the guy would do that to a customer that pissed him off, what will he do to Sam if he ends up hurting Gabriel’s feelings? Of course that’s the last thing he wants to do, but he really doesn’t have a clue what he’s going to do.

“Who’s Gabriel?” his brother asks, looking curiously between Charlie’s teasing expression and his no doubt horrified one.

Sam just looks at Charlie and hopes to hell that she won’t answer that question.

~~~

GABRIEL

Gabriel sighs and looks up through the leaves above him. Bright blue skies. The sunlight is filtering through the leaves, turning them brilliant jeweled shades of emerald and amber. He sprawls his arms and legs out and just lies there, feeling the dappled sunlight warm his skin, listening to the sounds of birdsong and the odd snatch of conversation. Some people make comments of course, but he couldn’t care less. He can’t even summon the energy to make a sarcastic reply or flip them off.

He lets his mind drift; inevitably it circles back to the events of this morning. So today could have gone… better. In hindsight it probably wasn’t the most brilliant idea he’s ever had. He has another joyful week of ramen and chocolate bars to look forward to, so that’s fucking brilliant. He lets out a long breath. Maybe he can persuade Garth to throw him a bone and sign him up for a few extra shifts…

It wasn’t a complete and total disaster though was it? Well… Ok maybe it was. Complete. Total. Definitely a disaster. But… but… he can’t help but remember Sam hovering in the doorway, brow furrowed with concern. He had been concerned. Gabriel’s sure of it. Why else had he looked back, why else had he stayed? Of course that’s probably just the sort of person he is. Even worried for the damn fool who tried to seduce him with a handful of uber raunchy poses. At the time Gabriel had thought it was working. That Sam was turned on. That maybe Gabriel was winning him over…

But now… now Gabriel just wonders how much he was deluding himself. Sam is Sam. He’s gorgeous. Tall, dark and devilishly handsome. And Gabriel is… Well he’s great in bed. He knows that much. If he can charm Sam into sharing one with him, he knows they’ll have a great time… for awhile anyway. But after that little hoopla… will Sam even give him the time of day?

Well at least he’s got a week, a whole week to figure out how to smooth things over, how to make Sam forget all about the embarassment of their last encounter and fall for his charms. He smiles to himself. He’ll find a way. There’s no way he’s giving up now.

~~~

Gabriel dumps his cargo jacket on the chair and strolls up to the swing door. Shit, it sounds busy out there. Luke is going to kick his ass for being almost an hour late, Jo too probably. But hells, after the day he’s had? Honestly, it can’t get worse. He wonders idly what’s worse, being chewed out by his brother or Ellen? Definitely Ellen. And he’s already been there, done that, got the t-shirt. He can handle his dickbag of big bro and Jo may be feisty, but she hasn’t quite got her mother’s glare down pat yet. This should be a breeze in comparison. He plasters his most shit eating grin on his face and pushes through the doorway into the busy bar beyond.

“Hey Lucy, Jo-kins sorry I’m late, traffic was hell.”

Jo rolls her eyes as he shuffles his way to the bar and swings open the entrance.

“I know you don’t drive, smartass. Where the hell have you been? We’re swamped tonight,” she leans towards him, “and you’re brother’s riling up the customers. Almost had a coupla fist fights and it’s not yet gone 9.”

Gabriel can’t help but snort out a laugh at the faces Luke is making over her shoulder.

“Least I haven’t almost bedded any of them. How many is it tonight Jo?”

Gabriel chuckles as Jo jabs her elbow backwards, narrowly missing Luke’s ribs, while he makes kissy faces over her shoulder.

A customer clears their throat impatiently, Jo shoots Luke another annoyed glance before stepping up to serve them. Luke rolls his eyes as another tries to grab his attention and he steps over to the taps.

“How can I be of service this evening?” he drawls in the most unenthusiastic sounding voice he can muster.

Gabriel smirks, shakes his head, and rolls up his sleeves. Looks like he’s on glass cleaning duty. He leans over to pick up a bunch of empties that have been left on the bar, glancing out at the bustling room beyond…

And he freezes. Shit! Shit shit shit! He’s here! Holy mother of fuck, he’s here! And God damn it, he’s coming over to the bar. He hasn’t looked over yet, his head’s dipped. But any moment now he will.

Gabriel drops to the floor and dives hurriedly under bar, trying to squeeze his knees up to his chest as far as they’ll go.

Jo shoots him an incredulous look. “Gabe, what the f-”

“Shhh, I’m not here.”

He flicks his eyes between her face and the edge of the bar, darting his head out a fraction, before dipping back under. Couldn’t see a thing. Jo is still staring at him. Damn.

“Act natural,” he hisses under his breath. Her lips twitch in amusement, but finally she looks away.

He hears the unmistakable sound of his brother chuckling and he turns his head just enough to glare at him.

“Uh hey can I get-”

Gabriel’s heart skips a beat at the familiar sound of Sam’s voice. Another customer is trying to get Jo’s attention at the same time. Sam apologises and says he can wait.

“It’s ok I’ll get this one.”

Shit, now Lucy’s coming over to serve Sam. He directs a smirk at Gabriel’s crouched form before sidling up to the bar. Gabriel narrows his eyes, Luke’s going to try something on, but he can’t exactly do anything about it from down here.

“Uh thanks,” Sam says and Gabriel can hear the smile in his voice. “Can I get-”

“I haven’t seen you round here before,” Luke interrupts as he leans forward over the bar, “I would have remembered a fella like you.”

That asshole is goddamn flirting! Gabriel wonders idly if he can risk reaching out a leg and kicking him in the shin.

“Um no… I mean, my brother and I just moved here.”

Sam sounds a little flustered. Is that dickbag making eyes at him? Gabriel edges out a fraction, but he still can’t see anything.

“Well isn’t that great, welcome to the neighborhood.” Luke leans further over the bar and in a deep seductive purr adds, “What can I get for you sweet cheeks?”

That’s it, his ass is toast. Gabriel leans out futher and tries to make a grab for something across the counter. Ok maybe not the bottle, cork screw’s a bit stabby…

“Hey Gabriel.”

Ah crap. A familiar face pops over the top of the bar, sporting flaming red hair and a knowing grin.

“Whatcha doing down there?”

Gabriel draws in a deep breath through his nose, thinking furiously of an excuse. He shuffles carefully out from his hiding place and makes a pretense at searching around on the floor.

“I was just looking for…” Gabriel’s mind is still drawing a blank.

Lucy snorts out a laugh and damn it, he can actually see a long shadow shift across the ground. He spots a small crumb on the floor and picks it up. Well this will have to do.

“Ah found it,” he exclaims as he straightens up and holds the crumb up in Luke’s direction. Brow furrowed he asks, “Is this a piece of your brain?”

Lucy rolls his eyes and Sam snorts out a loud undignified laugh. Gabriel turns to glance up at him, lips quirking into a smile as he sees that Sam has a hand clamped over his mouth and is struggling with what appears to be a fit of giggles. Ooh he got that reference. That’s it, forget fucking, Gabriel’s going to goddamn marry this man.

Brushing aside his embarassment, completely disregarding how awkward this should be, Gabriel wipes his hands off on his jeans and steps up to the bar. He leans over and looks from Sam, to Charlie and back again.

Raising one eyebrow he says in a low conspiratorial voice, “Don’t mind my brother. We think he was possessed by Satan at an early age.” He purses his lips. “Of course we could never confirm it, but he even gets close to a church and,” he wiggles his fingers near his ears, “actual steam. I think he singed his hair once.”

“Saving all the best torture implements for you little bro,” Luke smirks as he sidles past to to grab a bottle off the top shelf.

Charlie’s eyes widen in mock horror as she exclaims, “Not the comfy chair!”

Gabriel grins widely at her, then looks on in wonder as Sam descends into another giggling fit by her side.

He’s tempted to say it, but really he kind of wants to hear Sam do it, so he waits until Sam snorts out a last laugh and with a huge dorky grin on his face says, “He’s gonna poke you with the soft cushions.”

And now Gabriel desperately wants to reach up and pull that goddamn beautiful dorky face into a searing kiss, lick into his lips, grab hold of all the sexy long hair. Hells, he wants to kiss him so badly right now. He wants to do a hell of a lot more than kiss him.

Gabriel doesn’t know how long they’ve been standing there just staring at each other, but apparently it must have been a little too long and he’s maybe gone into a teensy bit of a trance, because he just about jumps out of his skin when Luke passes by him again and blows in his ear. Fucking asshole. He turns to glare at his brother, before returning his attention to Sam and a slightly uncomfortable looking Charlie.

He’s just about to break the awkward silence and ask them what he can get for them, when Sam frowns and he reaches forward… and suddenly his long fingers are in Gabriel’s hair. Gabriel’s heart makes a valiant attempt to take a flying leap out of his chest. He must be dreaming, surely? But no, those fingers brushing through his locks… are sending a tingling sensation through his scalp, that’s spreading down his neck and shivering down his spine. He’s vaguely aware of Charlie saying something along the lines of, This isn’t awkward at all, under her breath. But he’s way too focused on watching Sam as he pulls back and holds up… a leaf?

“You um, you had this in your hair,” Sam says at length as Gabriel just blinks stupidly at him.

“I’m a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar,” Gabriel finds himself babbling.

The grin that Sam gives him is as blinding as the sun. Samshine, Gabriel thinks absently, you’re my Samshine.

Chapter Text

SAM

“Dude, seriously, how long does it take to order a couple of beers?”

Sam makes a face at his brother as he sets the tray down. Charlie is smirking and he quickly shoots her a look in the hope that she won’t blurt anything out. The last thing he needs is for his brother to find out anything about his damn near uncontrollable crush.

Sam sighs and picks up his beer, settling down into his seat. Wow that was… He doesn’t even know what happened there. One minute they’re laughing and joking around and then Gabriel’s just looking up at him with those damn beautiful eyes. And Sam can’t look away. Then when Gabriel does break eye contact and turns, that’s when he spots the leaf. It would have been so easy to just say, Hey you’ve got something in your hair, but no, no Sam has to reach out and run his goddamn fingers through that gorgeous – soft, it’s so wonderfully soft – flicky hair.

And then… then Gabriel has to go and quote his favorite movie of all time. Shit, he is so so screwed.

“Sammy, Sammy, Sammy. You sly dog.”

Sam swallows his mouthful of beer and looks up at his brother, brow furrowed in confusion. Dean’s holding up a beer mat and has a shit eating grin on his face. It takes a moment for Sam’s scrambled brain to register that there’s something drawn on it. There’s no writing, no name or number. But that is unmistakably a scribbled heart. Sam starts to feel his cheeks heat up. He did not notice Gabriel doing that.

“Dude, seriously? I laid on the Winchester charm for a good twenty minutes, but she wasn’t biting.”

Sam just looks at his brother. She? Clearly Dean hadn’t been watching too closely. But Sam isn’t going to rush to correct him.

“Nu-huh, you were distracted by the hot chick in the leather pants. It was the guy,” Natalie says.

“Well Sammy is flexible,” Dean says casually as he looks over to the bar… at Luke. “Dude’s a bit old and growly, but hey, why not go for it? You really need to get laid, big time. All work and no play-”

“Dude,” Sam interrupts, glaring daggers at him. Fuck’s sake.

“No, not that one. The cute one with the hair.” Natalie makes flicking motions around her head with her long fingers.

Sam feels his cheeks heating even more as Dean turns his assessing gaze to Gabriel, who rather unfortunately, seems to be struggling to reach a bottle of gin on the top shelf.

“What the midget?” Dean says incredulously, as Gabriel gives up and drags over a step stool and finally grabs the bottle. Christ.

“He’s not that-” Sam begins as Natalie furrows her brow and says, “Charlie, isn’t he one of the life models? I thought you mentioned that’s how you met.”

Sam clenches his jaw as he sees Dean’s lips twitch, eyes alight with humor. It really can’t get any worse. At least he can trust that Charlie won’t mention what happened this session…

“Hang on a minute,” Kevin pipes up. “That… that isn’t the guy who went loopy and started doing a strip tease to impress one of the students is it?... Becky told me all about it…”

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Sam doesn’t know who Becky is, but he’s suddenly plotting her murder. Dean and Natalie are leaning forward, hanging on every word Kevin says. Charlie is trying to desperately signal him to stop speaking and Sam… Sam is wondering if anyone would notice if he made a run a for it. Christ. Just shut up, please shut up.

“… Of course she thought it was the best thing she’d ever seen. Guy flings off his robe and gives the ‘tall hot dreamboat’… her words not mine,” Kevin’s eyes flick over to Sam and Sam sees the instant he realises who she was talking about. Just don’t. Please. “Hey I guess that was you…Gives him… you… the sex eyes… Come hither look, whatever you want to call it…”

Of course Dean’s eyes also flick up to his, and he looks like he’s never heard anything so incredibly hilarious in all his life. Sam idly wishes that a damn meteorite would break through the atmosphere and incinerate the whole place in firey ball of destruction.

“Anyway, according to Becky, the model then proceeded to stretch into the most unbelieveably pornographic poses imaginable. Pointed his butt right at…” Kevin clears his throat as he finally seems to take note of Sam’s expression. “Um well… you get the picture.”

Dean leans back in his chair and blows out a long breath. “Wow… Kevin was it?” Kevin nods, a goddamn look of wonder on his face, like he can’t quite believe the cool guy remembered his name. “Kevin, that is quite the picture you just painted for us.”

Sam knows his face is bright red, but he still attempts a deathly stare as Dean looks over at Gabriel once more, before turning to him with a broad smirk on his face.

“Dude, you got a midget model macking on you.” Dean leans over and raises one eyebrow. “Does he carry around that step stool so he can try and make out with you? Or does he just try to climb up your legs?”

“Uh that’s a little.. uh height-ist,” Kevin stammers out, at the same time as Natalie says, “Aw I think he’s kinda adorable.”

“Shut up, Dean,” Sam grits out through clenched teeth. Because teasing him is one thing, but Sam finds he can’t stand to hear his brother make fun of Gabriel.

Dean eyes him intently and Sam instantly knows he’s given too much away. “Woah hold up a second… You actually like him, don’t you?”

Sam opens his mouth to protest, but he finds he just can’t. He closes his mouth again and drops his gaze, feeling everyone’s eyes on him.

“Well that’s… That’s great Sammy. Go on, have some fun. Dude’s obviously up for a good time. It’s been too long man.”

Sam can’t be here anymore. It’s too much. He has to get the hell out. “I’ve… I’ve got to go,” he mumbles as he pushes back from the table, grabs his jacket and heads for the door.

He can see the looks of confusion on his companions’ faces, but he averts his eyes, he doesn’t know what to say.

As he walks out into the fresh night air, he takes in a deep breath and closes his eyes. This day is too crazy for words. His head’s spinning and he can’t think straight. He knew that restarting his education would be diffcult, exhausting, stressful… but nothing could have prepared him for this.

“Sam? Sammy?”

Dean. Christ. Why can’t he just leave Sam alone. He can’t have this conversation. Not now… Maybe not ever.

“Hey… Sam. Come back inside. Sit down and have another beer.”

“Dean I…”

“Look Sam… What happened in there?”

Sam swallows and finally opens his eyes to look across at his brother’s worried face.

He lets out a breath. “I don’t know… I just… It’s been a long week and I…” He shrugs not knowing how to continue.

“Is this to do with that guy in there? The…” Dean clears his throat, clearly stopping himself from calling Gabriel a midget again. “…the one who’s crushing on you.”

“No… yes… maybe.” Sam throws his hands in the air. “Honestly? I just don’t know.”

Dean presses his lips together and looks away. A small smile plays across his features and his gaze follows something behind Sam. Sam glances over his shoulder as a handsome man skirts around them. He’s wearing a tan trench coat and has full lips and messy dark hair. Seriously, Dean?

Sam raises his eyebrows as his brother finally draws his gaze away and looks back at him.

Dean shakes his head a little and proceeds to pretend that absolutely nothing just happened there.

“If you like the guy, then what’s the problem? Go ask him out.”

Sam shakes his head. It’s not that simple. “I can’t date anyone right now Dean. I’ve got to focus on my work. I’ve been away for too long. I’m gonna have to work my ass off just to keep up.”

Dean sighs. “No one can work all the time Sammy. You gotta take some time off once in awhile. Let off some steam. Might as well have a little fun while you do it. Have a little you know… one on one with the model… least you know what you’re getting-”

“Dean… No… just no.” Sam sighs and rubs a hand over his face.

“Look no one’s asking you to marry the dude-”

“I can’t.” Sam chokes out, voice sounding far more rough and raw than he wants it to.

Dean’s eyes soften and Sam has to look away. “Is this about-”

“Stop.” Sam swallows as he feels his eyes start to sting. “Please. Can we just, can we just not do this?”

“Ok… ok. It’s ok Sammy.” Dean steps up and wraps his arms around him. Sam’s body instantly goes rigid, but as his brother just holds him there… he finally feels himself let go.

~~~

GABRIEL

Gabriel sighs and stares at the closed door. He didn’t catch the whole show down, but he did see Sam’s reaction, saw him storming out of the door, red faced and upset, some guy – most likely the brother he mentioned – trailing after him. He doesn’t know for sure, but he has a horrible feeling it has something to do with him. They try to hide it, but Charlie’s friends keep casting furtive glances in his direction.

“Gabriel I love you man…”

Gabriel startles at Lucy’s voice, way too close to his ear. He turns and makes a face at his brother, stepping back a few paces.

“I do… honestly, truly.” Luke’s pulling a ridiculous face and holding his hand over his heart. Gabriel quirks a sardonic eyebrow at him. “But...” Oh here it comes. “…he is so far out of your league, he’s playing a whole other ball game.”

“Don’t be an ass Luke,” Jo puts in as she places the glass she was drying back on the shelf.

Gabriel rolls his eyes as Luke pulls a pouty face at him.

“Lucy, you’re my brother and I love you,” he drawls, raising his eyebrows and smirking widely, “but you… are a great big bag of dicks.”

Jo snorts out a laugh as Luke narrows his eyes.

Luke is just about to make a no-doubt scathing retort, but Gabriel is saved from the savagery of his rapier wit by the appearance of bro numero dos.

“Hey Cas,” Jo says, looking up with a smile. “You’re just in time. Your delightful brothers were about to kick off the apocalypse again.”

Cas sighs heavily and looks from Gabriel to Luke and back again. “What is it this time?”

“Gabey has widdle crush,” Luke mocks, stepping up to him and ruffling his hair. “Don’t you little one?”

Gabriel whacks him hard on the wrist and glares daggers at him.

Cas raises his eyebrows and starts to survey the room.

“He just left,” Jo says as she places a pint of beer in front of Cas.

He smiles greatfully and takes a sip. “Was it the attractive man in the leather jacket?” He asks at length, tilting his head and regarding Gabriel with a thoughtful expression on his face.

Gabriel sighs. There’s no point in denying it. Half the damn campus probably knows by now that he’s got an uber boner on for the new kid.

“No, it’s the overgrown puppy dog-cum-sex god with legs up to here,” Gabriel motions with an exaggerated sweep of his hand, “and long flowing locks you just want to grab hold of as you-”

“Damn it Gabriel,” Jo interrupts, making a face at him, at the very same time as Castiel murmurs, “I believe I get the picture Gabriel.”

Gabriel smirks at their uncomfortable faces, while Luke chuckles loudly.

“He is also very handsome Gabriel,” Castiel says after a moment. Then frowning a little he adds, “Though, I’m afraid he appeared to be in some distress.”

Gabriel’s smile falters, his heart clenching at the thought.

“Gabriel’s flirting would tend to do that to a guy,” Luke drawls.

“Stop being such a dick Luke,” Jo throws over her shoulder as she steps up to serve a customer.

Gabriel contemplates throwing something at him, but honestly, it would take too much energy and besides, he’s too damn worried about Sam.

Chapter Text

SAM

The following week passes by in blur. Sam is far too busy to worry about his crush on Gabriel and what the hell he’s going to do about it. He spends the weekend in the library, catching up on important areas of art history that don’t seem to be covered in the modules he’s chosen, then spends every spare moment of the week, sketching or staying back after class to develop his work.

Ellen pulls him aside at his next life drawing class and gives him a few pointers on the areas he might think of expanding on and incredibly, gives him permission to use her life drawing room after hours if he needs a little more room for large scale catch up pieces or just a quiet space to work in. He hasn’t made use of her offer yet, but he’s seriously considering it. He does a little development work in his room, has a big pin board for the purpose, but it’s a bit cramped for his fold out easel and there’s not really the space to stand back from his work properly. Next week maybe.

The weekend following his second week of college, he heads to the library again, but he’s restless. The research is useful, but it’s not really sparking any ideas. He pulls out the book on creative journeys and opens it at the page he bookmarked. Don’t dismiss your past. He sighs. It’s time, it’s time he really considers this. He reads over the passage again. It’s the only thing that makes sense…

He purses his lips. Ok. He doesn’t have much, but what he does have is at home. He guesses he better start there.

~~~

Sam kneels and reaches under his bed, pulling out a small battered box. Written on the top, in small neat letters, is simply a name. Jess. He climbs up onto his bed and places the box in front of him. Years ago he used to spend hours taking each item out of the box, spreading the meagre array out in front of him: looking, holding, remembering. But somewhere along the line, he realised he couldn’t do it anymore. Because holding onto these sparse possessions couldn’t turn back time, couldn’t change the past, couldn’t bring her back. He couldn’t let them go completely though, so every time they moved on, Sam brought this old battered box with him, placing it carefully under his bed wherever they ended up.

Sam’s heart stutters in his chest. He hasn’t opened it in more than a year. Letting out a long breath, he reaches forward and lifts off the lid. There’s so little in here. So few reminders of the woman he loved, the one he was going to marry. The life they built together, the memories they made: all of that went up in flames 6 years ago, burnt to ashes, along with any future they might have had.

The ring. He reaches into the box and lifts it out, holds it in the palm of his hand. The weight of it is far heavier than the sparse solidity of metal and stone. It’s simple, a narrow band of gold set with a small, single diamond. It was much less than she deserved, but all he could afford. And yet, he knew that had he had the chance to give it to her, she wouldn’t have been disappointed. She never cared much for grand gestures, but rather more for the intent behind the simplest ones.

Feeling his heart clench in his chest, he sets the ring aside. He can’t keep dwelling on the might have beens. This isn’t his future. It never can be.

He lifts out the wrist watch Jess gave him for his birthday 8 years ago. It’s a high quality time piece and he had taken good care of it. He had felt a little guilty about shutting it away in this box, but he couldn’t glance down at it without seeing the wide smile she had given him when he opened her gift. He looks down at the watch and finds that he can’t picture it anymore. He closes his eyes and tries to form an image in his mind’s eye, but her jubilent smile is lost to time. He feels his eyes start to prick with tears. How could he have forgotten.

He sets the watch down and eases out the small pile of newspaper clippings. The picture is the same in every one. A posed portrait, taken on some grand occasion Sam wasn’t a part of. She’s beautiful. Even through the grainy newspaper print, it’s clear to see. But there’s no spark. Not the spark that Sam still remembers, even if he can’t quite resolve the details.

These are all he has. All the images he has left. All those photos they took together, gone. All the sketches, drawings, paintings, burnt to ashes. He had hoped that her family… her friends… But the fury of their grief shut him out. They turned him away from her funeral, slammed doors in his face, even blocked him from her social media accounts, before erasing them altogether. They blamed him for what happened. Of course they did. And he found it impossible to argue with their point of view. Because he blamed himself. Every hour of every day.

She wasn’t supposed to be there. She was supposed to be with family. But they were so lost in each other that they spent every spare moment together. She skipped one more family do. It was her decision, he never would have asked it of her, but yet, in the years that followed, he always felt he should have done things differently. He should have persuaded her to spend more time with her family. Because family’s important. He knows that more than most. If he had only talked her into going…

If only…

He sets the clipping on the bedspread, before he can damage them with his tears and picks up the last item in the box. A simple silver necklace, shaped like a dolphin, her favorite animal. It was the first gift he gave to her. It’s inexpensive and maybe a little tacky, but she loved it anyway. Wore it most days. He remembers she was sad she left it back at the apartment she shared with one of her girlfriends. A week after the funeral, that friend had taken pity. She wouldn’t meet his eyes, but she pressed the necklace into his hand and said, She would want you to have this, before excusing herself and walking away.

Holding the necklace tightly in his hand, he lies back on his bedspread and stares up at the ceiling. Feeling the edges press into his palm, he lets the tears fall.

~~~

GABRIEL

It’s been more than a week since Gabriel last saw Sam, and he’s going crazy.

Partly due to worry. Gabriel can’t stop thinking about what Cas said. Sam had looked to be ‘in some distress’. And Cas has a tendency to understate everything almost as much as Gabriel has a teensy bit of a tendency to exaggerate. There’s that tragic backstory Gabriel knows nothing about and he can’t find out more without prying or going all creepy stalkerish. Either of those things would most certainly jeopardize operation Seduce-Sam. And there’s no way he’s willing to chance that.

Partly, it’s due to simply missing Sam. He doesn’t even have a picture of him. Breaking into the student files in Ellen’s office is tempting, but also tad stalkerish and likely to get him fired from both his jobs at the college… Though it would be a triple jackpot… tragic back story revealed, student time table discovered for arranging a few ‘chance’ meetings, and a no doubt dorkily adorable student profile pic he could surreptitiously make a copy of. But hells, he’s even creeping himself out with these thoughts, so that’s a definite no go.

And then there’s the other, slightly more delicate reason… He’s horny as hell. Horny and single. Single and horny. It had been way too long before he met Sam. But the real kicker is, now no one else will do. Even if he had the bucks to spare on a night out, even if he met a hot and willing bod… He just doesn’t want anyone else. No one else can compare. Not even close. And to make matters worse, the thought of Sam, being with Sam, having Sam run his fingers through Gabriel’s hair, or fuck his fingers into Gabriel’s body… or better yet, his cock… Those ever present thoughts are ramping up his libido even more. It’s a doozy all right.

Gabriel’s sex toys have had quite the outing these last few days. It’s not the same. Even given Gabriel’s spectacularly vivid imagination in these matters… it’s not the same. But alas, beggers most certainly can’t be choosers.

He’s equal parts desperately looking forward to and utterly dreading the prospect of his imminent life drawing session with Sam’s class. Can’t wait to see that gorgeous hunk of deliciousness again. But his cock is just as excited by the idea. And having another semi in class may just be the straw the breaks the asses back. The ass being the giant dickbag who’s so determined to see him fired. There’s little he can do about Zachy being an enormous douche, but he’s gonna have to figure out how to regain control over own dick.

Wank beforehand? Most definitely. Bring his janitor’s keys for any erectile emergencies. Maybe some slightly less masturbatory strategies too. Meditation? Maybe. Bit new agey for his tastes, but at this point he’s willing to try anything.

The next conundrum to ponder of course, is how the hell he’s going to proceed with Operation Seduce-Sam. His last field mission, didn’t exactly yield positive results. Seeing Sam flustered may have been fun, and an enormous turn on besides, but he’s still no closer to actually sealing the deal, or even knowing if Sam is definitely attracted to him. He thinks there’s something there. What with the staring. And the blushing. But maybe he’s reading things completely wrong.

All week he’s been fielding advice from his brothers and Jo. Some of it potentially useful, some of it, not so much.

Cas: Why don’t you just ask him out? – Wow, that’s genius really. Why didn’t Gabriel think of that before? Except he did. And immediately dismissed the idea. Why? Because hells, he might say no. Obviously.

Lucy: Give up and become a nun – Hmm. Not so helpful if he’s being honest. And he is. Brutally and with added shin kicking in the mix.

Jo: Ask him on a date – Ok, clearly copying Cassie on that one. The answer’s still no. No. And hell no.

Cas: I still do not understand why you do not just ask him out. Then you will surely know how he feels about you – That’s second strike and you’re out little bro.

Lucy: Follow him around and annoy him until he gives in, just to stop you from being a whiny pain in his ass – Huh, that one’s got some potential.

Jo: Don’t listen to Luke. – Wellllll…

Cas: Do not do that, you may be arrested for stalking him. – Point.

Jo: Do something romantic – Already did! Almost lost my job.

Jo: That’s not romantic… That’s certifiable insanity… I mean love notes. Gifts. – Huh.

Jo: Not a sex toy Gabriel – Would he? Honestly.

As Gabriel works his late night shift in the art building on Sunday night, he thinks back over all the suggestions he’s been given. Jo’s idea isn’t a bad one. It isn’t a bad one at all. The question is what? Gabriel leans his chin on the end of the mop he’s holding and has a good long think. He can’t exactly afford to be extravagant, but perhaps one grand gesture, the finale so to speak, would be just the ticket. Nothing flashy exactly, but something that would mean a lot to Sam. He looks absently about the room, until he hits on sudden inspiration.

He’ll have to save of course. Maybe sell a kidney. Yikes, those things can be expensive. But hells, what artist wouldn’t want to be gifted a fancy pants, top end paint brush? Especially one who can’t afford to purchase them himself. Gabriel’s seen the materials Sam uses, and experience working here for the last few years, has taught him that they’re pretty sub standard. Zachariah on the other hand, only ever uses the best. Why shouldn’t Sam have that for once. Gabriel hasn’t seen much, but from what he has seen, Sam’s got more talent in his little finger than Zachariah has in his whole damn body. Imagine what he could do with the proper materials?

It’s gonna cost an arm and a leg. More Ramen and chocolate. Oh goody. But think of the look on his face? And the rewards Gabriel might receive in return… Gotta be worth a kiss and if he’s suitably impressed, maybe he’ll let Gabriel choose where. He bites his lip as his brain provides him with a little preview. Oh yes that could definitely work. But… it is gonna take time. In the meantime, he can’t risk Sam being swept off his feet by some gym bunny or swanky business school putz. He has to keep his hand in the game, keep up a steady flow of affection, lest his Samshine forget all about him and their incendiary chemistry.

And for that he needs to turn to the classics. A broad smile spreading across his lips, Gabriel resumes his work, whistling happily to himself.

~~~

Gabriel looks about furtively. There’s no one here. No one, but him. He crouches down and slips the borrowed craft knife out of his sleeve and into his hand. Eyes scanning his surroundings once more, he quickly cuts through the stem and surreptiously slips the bloom into the prepared baggie in his jacket pocket, whistling casually as he slips the craft knife back into his sleeve and saunters off down the path in the direction of home.

As he reaches the wide open space, he tilts his head upwards and looks up at the multitude of stars. The sky is almost cloudless and a little distance away from the harsh light of the street lamps, it’s surprising how much you can see. The milky way stretches from horizon to horizon. They sky isn’t truly dark here, so it’s little more than a hazy blur, but it holds his gaze nevertheless. One day he’ll show Sam all of this. He doesn’t drive, but maybe Sam does. Maybe they can head out onto the open road. Find a quiet corner of the world and stretch out on the hood of the car. Look up at the stars… Maybe engage in a little alfresco hanky panky… He shivers as the chill starts to bite through his thin jacket a little too harshly. He hunches his shoulders and continues on home, a small smile stretching across his features. Maybe one day.

Chapter Text

SAM

Sam starts awake, biting back the scream that threatens to escape his lips. He’s covered in a sheen of sweat, sheets tangled around him. The vivid memory of thick smoke assaults his senses as dream overlaps reality; panic threatens to close his airway. But as he draws in another ragged breath, he realises it’s just an illusion. There’s no smoke. No blistering heat. He’s safe. It was just a nightmare. Like the countless nightmares he’s had before.

He doesn’t have them as frequently as he used to, but every now and then… At least he didn’t wake his brother up this time. He sighs as he rubs a hand over weary eyes. He looks over at the clock radio on his nightstand. 4 a.m.. Christ. He rolls over and tries to close his eyes, but he knows it’s useless.

He could toss and turn till daybreak… Or maybe he can put his time to better use. Flipping on his bedside lamp, he reaches into his backpack for his sketchbook, a stick of charcoal and a putty rubber. He closes his eyes and tries to bring the nightmare to the forefront of his mind. Tries to call up the images, the sensations, the fear and even the panic. Heart starting to thud out a staccato beat in his chest again, he opens his eyes and sets charcoal to paper. Lets all that pain flow out of him and onto the pages below.

~~~

It happens again on Sunday night. And the night after that. But each time he wakes, he uses it. He works until he can’t see straight and he collapses into a fitful, but dreamless slumber once more. Getting up with his alarm is hell, but a cold shower and a strong coffee or two help to smooth out the rough edges. He knows he can’t keep this up for long, that his body can’t take so little sleep, but for now he’s going to go with it instead of fighting desperately against it.

His brother gives him worried looks, says he looks like shit and that he’s working far too hard. Sam just rolls his eyes or shoots him a bitchface and it’s business as usual. Bitch. Jerk. Everything is fine.

He makes sure he doesn’t use his pin board, because he knows Dean wouldn’t approve of what he’s doing. Intead he works mostly from his sketchbook. But he needs to start working on a bigger scale, develop some of this work. And so on Tuesday morning, he packs some extra materials in his backpack before heading in. It’s about time he makes use of Ellen’s kind offer.

~~~

Sam stifles a yawn as he pushes through the door into the life drawing room. He’s had 3 coffees this morning already and he can still barely keep his eyes open. He walks over to his usual easel and sets down his backpack and portfolio folder. As he turns to adjust his easel, that’s when he notices it. A single, deep red rose is balanced on the board support. What the?...

He glances up and looks about the room. There are only a few early arrivals and non of them are paying him the slightest bit of attention. He looks back at the rose. Is this… is this for him? He carefully picks up the bloom, feeling his heart beat quicken as he notices the note hidden underneath. Placing the rose gently on top of his backpack, he picks up the little scrap of paper and opens it.

His heart stutters in his chest. Across it is written, Bonjour mon amour, in a tall untidy script. And at the end, a familiar scribbled heart. Despite the exhaustion, despite how wrung out he feels, he can’t help the small smile that tugs at the corners of him mouth, as a comforting warmth spreads through his chest.

~~~

GABRIEL

“Flowers?” Luke scrunches up his face, then twists his mouth into a mocking smile. “Is his name really Samantha? Did he let you braid his hair? Is that why you’re growing your hair out, so he can braid it too?”

Luke leans over the bar and ruffles his hair. Gabriel swats his hand away and gives him a hard glare, then snorts out a laugh as a beer mat smacks into the side of Luke’s head.

“Stop being a dick Luke,” Jo says with a smirk, as Luke chucks the offending mat back at her. She of course catches it and Gabriel chuckles and claps his hands.

Cas shakes his head. “There is nothing wrong with giving flowers to a loved one. Their gender should not matter. Your gender rules are outdated.”

Loved one? Gabriel’s stomach does a little flip flop at the phrasing and he feels his cheeks start to heat up. He quickly takes a long swallow of his alcopop, in the hope that the cool liquid will stop him flushing before anyone notices.

“Castiel speaks a lot sense. Someone gave me flowers? I’d be mighty appreciative.”

Benny gives him a small smile as he walks past and pulls a bottle from the top shelf with ease. What is it with all the giants around here? And why do they insist on keeping the posh gin bottles on that shelf where neither he nor Jo can reach the damn things?

“Did you leave a note?” Jo asks. “Did you ask him out?”

Gabriel quirks an eyebrow. “Note yes. Ask him out, hell no. It’s waaaaay too early in the game for that.”

Jo leans over the bar. “You’re worrying over nothing Gabe. I saw the way he looked at you.”

Gabriel purses his lips and averts his eyes. He takes another gulp of his drink. It’s damn easy for Jo to say. Chances are she’s never been rejected in her life. Gabriel wouldn’t normally bother about rejection. He’d roll with the punches. Plenty more fish in the sea and all that jazz. But Sam’s different. He’s invested now damn it.

Luke snorts out a laugh and sing songs Delusional. Jo may have just lobbed another beer mat at him, but Gabriel’s too distracted to pay them much attention.

The plan seems to be working. Halfway through undressing, Gabriel had watched Sam through the narrow gaps in the changing screen. Watched as the weary strained tension had fallen from his face, to be replaced with a small smile. Gabriel furrows his brow as he thinks back on just how worn out and downcast Sam had looked. Is it stress or is there something else going on there? There’s little he can do… but his gift, that had had some effect on Sam. It made him smile. Maybe he stands no chance. Maybe he’s delusional. But hells, if he can make Sam smile then it’s hardly a waste of his time.

And if he can get the paint brush, sooner rather than later… Gabriel tries to imagine the expression that the gift would elicit. Definitely worth the ramen and the puppy dog eyes he had to throw at Cassie so he’d pay for the drinks tonight.

He just needs to figure out which brush to get… and how the hell he’s going to pay for it. At least he has a plan for the first part. Wait til the class goes for lunch. Take a rummage through Zachy’s supplies. Piece of cake. Speaking of cake. Perfect idea for gift numero dos. Not cake though. Fancy pants profiteroles. The thought of watching Sam take a bite of one of those cream filled pastries, sends a shiver down his spine. Maybe he’ll get some on his lips and he’ll have to lick it off. Definitely an image Gabriel wants to see.

Luke and Jo are arguing again, Cas is giving him a strange look. But Gabriel is just happy to let it all wash over him. To indulge in a little daydreaming. It may be nothing more than a fantasy, but hells is it a good one.

~~~

Gabriel hovers inconspicously as the students filter out of the room for lunch. He tries not to stare at Sam, just flicks his eyes over, oh so casually. Damn he left the profiterole box on his bag. Hmm. Salad for lunch?… Oh of course, Gabriel’s an idiot. Body like that? Of course he eats like a rabbit. As Sam heads out of the room, chatting quietly with Charlie, Gabriel looks forlornly at the neat little box, with the inviting window in the top. Christ is he hungry. Sighing, he pulls the breakfast bar out of his pocket and hops up onto the stool. Might as well refuel while everyone clears out.

So it doesn’t look like his cream licking fantasy will become a reality. Damn. So he misjudged that one. But but but… after the mildly bemused expression on finding the box, there had been been another smile as Sam read Gabriel’s note. This one wider than the first. That he didn’t misjudge. Clearly his plan is having an effect. But is Sam truly falling for his charms?... That he’s not so sure of.

He’s been careful not to outright flirt with Sam, to avoid too much eye contact. He can’t afford another… incident. As such, his dick has been remarkably well behaved… Actually maybe it’s just as well Sam didn’t go to town on the pastries, because hells, his dick would have needed one doozy of a talking down after witnessing that little scenario. Any old how, without looking at Sam, he can’t really tell if Sam’s giving him any long lingering looks. It’s a conundrum all right. Give Sam another smouldering look to see how he reacts and risk another semi? Or trust that his ample charms, and naked bod, are having the desired effect?

“Gabriel, that’s not your lunch is it?”

Ellen’s voice breaks into his reverie. He looks up to see her giving him the ‘mother hen’ look. Wow, he must seem really pathetic, as she keeps throwing those at him left, right and centre.

He raises an eyebrow at her and shrugs. She sighs, opens her own lunch pack and hands over half of her sandwich. He thinks about refusing. He doesn’t want her to go without, just because he spent too much of his food budget on overpriced wooing pastries. But experience tells him, that denying Ellen’s maternal instincts is an exercise in utter futility. Besides, he’s starved. So instead he just thanks her with a wide smile and takes the offered food greatfully.

She asks if he’s coming out to join the class for lunch. He shakes his head and attempts to look even more pathetic. If he’s looking like he’s in one of his more morose moods, she’ll give him a little space… No that’s clearly too much. She’s hesitating. If she stays to keep him company then he’ll lose his golden opportunity and operation Seduce-Sam will suffer a set back. He tries for a reasurring smile. She doesn’t look especially convinced, but after a moment, she gives him a small nod and heads out to join the rest of the class.

Gabriel shoves the half eaten cereal bar in his pocket and takes a large bite of Ellen’s sandwich, making a loud, probably quite pornographic, sound as he does. It’s fucking hummus, but it might as well be the nectar of the Gods. Actual proper food. Damn that tastes good. Honestly, Gabriel is a fan of desserts, huge fan of desserts and he knows he voluntarily eats way too much processed foods. But when heavily processed crap is all you can afford, it suddenly becomes… not so appetizing. Part of him wants to savour the hell out of this, but he’s damn hungry and he’s got work to do, so he makes short work of the sandwich and takes a swig of crap luke warm coffee from his flask.

He listens. Nothing. Leans back on his stool to eye the doorway. Shit that’s too far. He quickly makes a grab for the nearest easel and almost topples the damn thing on top of him. Wincing, he set’s the stool back down and carefully moves the easel back into place. That was a real close call.

Coast appears to be clear however. He hops off of the stool and saunters over to Zachariah’s station, taking the odd furtive glance over his shoulder. Hoo boy what a massive dickwad. Zachariah’s materials are all meticulously ordered and spotlessly clean. Looks like a page out of a catalogue instead of an artist’s work space. He can’t help taking a peek at the work on Zachariah’s board. Honestly he normally avoids seeing it, but might as well take a gander…

Oh for fuck’s sake. He’s not that fat. Christ. Is he? He glances quickly up at the door, then unties his robe. He looks down the length of his body. Prods his belly. A little on the soft side maybe. He grimaces. Flicks his eyes up to Zachariah’s drawing and flips it off. Maybe a bit childish, even for him, but screw Zachy, seriously, screw that dick. He runs a hand back through his hair. Focus Gabriel, focus.

Brushes. He picks up a long handled flat brush and studies it. Hmm, maybe. He squints at the brand name. Rowena. Placing it down, he picks up a small elegant looking pointed brush. Huh this one’s the same brand. Running the tip of the brush up and down the inside of his arm, ooh that actually feels nice, he scans his eyes over the whole array. There are a few exceptions, but most of them appear to be the same brand. This Rowena is clearly the queen bee of the brush world. Interesting.

Ok, he knows what to google. What kind of brush though. He purses his lips and wanders over to Sam’s station. Sam’s meagre supplies look almost pathetic in comparison and yet… He sighs as he circles Sam’s easel and takes in his work. God is he good. Despite his crappy brushes, his work far outstrips what Zachariah achieved. And his rendition is hella more flattering. Gabriel smiles as he looks over Sam’s work, finding himself standing up a little straighter. Well at least in Sam’s eyes… He bites his lip… Hells maybe Sam just can’t help but see the best in everyone. Or maybe. Just maybe… Sam does have the hots for him.

Gabriel feels his heartbeat pick up. Might it be true? He stares at the painting, draws in a deep breath. Hell he needs to get with the program. Brushes.

Sam mostly seems to work in watercolor and inks here, though he’s seen him use acrylics too. Oils? Maybe. He tries to remember the advice he’s heard Ellen give students over the years. He’s pretty sure she said something about quality of brush making the most difference for watercolors. He picks up one of Sam’s watercolor brushes and studies it closely. It’s looking a little worse for wear and clearly sub standard compared to Zachariah’s. He runs the brush over the his inner arm. Yikes, no, kinda scratchy. Not nearly as smooth at Zachy’s.

A quick glance at his wrist watch tells him he doesn’t have much time, but he just wants another quick look at Zachariah’s supplies. Walking over, he runs an eye over the wide selection of watercolor brushes. Sam seems to like big, loose washes. Maybe this one. He picks up a large, gently pointed round brush. The join between the bristles and elegant wooden handle, is wrapped in a plastic sheath, wound with wire. Gabriel thinks he knows what this is. What did Ellen call it… Mop brush? Perfect for loose washes. He peers at the writing on the handle. Rowena again, but there’s also another name. Looks like an artist’s signature. Amara S.? The name vaguely rings a bell. Artist endorsed brush. This is really the fancy pants profiterole of the brush world.

He holds the brush out in front of him. It looks impressive. Bound to be a fortune. But. He runs the bristles over his inner arm. Oh yes, that definitely feels good. He shivers a little. Real good.

He glances down at his bare skin, his robe’s still hanging open. Flicks his eyes up to the closed door. Shrugs his shoulders. Keeping half an eye on the closed door, he points the brush towards himself and draws it gently over his torso. He can’t help but let out a soft moan. Hells does that feel good. His eyes flicker shut as he draws the brush a little lower and fuck yes. He can’t help but imagine it. Imagine this brush held in Sam’s long artist’s fingers, painting phantom swirls across Gabriel’s skin. Heat is pooling in his groin and… what the fuck is he doing? Shit. Fuck. He opens his eyes wide and looks in despair at his half hard cock and the brush almost dipping into his pubic hair.

He lets go of the brush and it clatters to the ground. Gives his wrist watch a panicked glance. Oh hell. He runs his hands through his hair, feeling the panick rise. What the hell was he thinking? Oh right yeah. As usual he wasn’t. Thinking. At all. He raises an eyebrow and glares down at his lengthening cock. Right that’s not helping. He quickly ties the robe tightly about his middle. Oh God. That’s not helped a whole lot either. His damn perky cock is heavily tenting the fabric. Not obvious. Not obvious at all.

He’s got all of 5 minutes before the class returns. A raging hard on and.. Oh shit, Zachy’s brush. He bends down to pick it up and freezes as he hears the door swing open. Footsteps approach. He hears a heavy sigh. Wincing, he schools his features. Act natural. Nothin going on here. He carefully straightens up, brush held behind his back, and shoots Ellen his most innocent, winning smile.

She looks him over, face impassive as she takes in the tented fabric. With another heavy sigh, she runs a hand over her face.

He clears his throat awkardly and opens his mouth to… he actually doesn’t know what he’s going to say, but he’ll think of something…

But Ellen beats him to it.

“Save it Gabriel. I don’t want to know. I’ve got a damn migrain coming on and I just… Sort your shit out. I’ll give the class another 10 minutes…”

She trails off and gives him one more look, that promises an all mighty chewing out is on the cards, but apparently he’s getting a short reprieve, because she really can’t deal with his shit right now. Thank fuck for small favors. He watches her as she heads for the door. Carefully replaces the brush, smirking slightly at the thought of Zachy finding out his uber posh brush almost had a date with Gabriel’s dick… Right so not the time.

He rushes over to the screen and grabs his Janitor’s keys from his jacket pocket. Time for an emergency wank.

~~~

SAM

Sam raises his eyebrows as Ellen announces that they’re going to take an extra 10… she sighs and pushes it to 15 minutes. It’s unlike her. Usually she’s keen to coax them back into the life drawing room promptly, in order to get more done. He wonders what’s going on. He shares a look with Charlie. She shrugs her shoulders.

A scant moment later, he has a fairly good idea what the answer might be. Gabriel pushes through the doorway and dashes off around the corner. Fast, but not so fast that Sam can’t take in a few vital and rather telling clues. His hair is a mess, cheeks flushed and he appears to be carrying a book, held rather awkwardly over the front of his robe, right where…

Despite himself, Sam can’t help the small laugh that bubbles up from his belly. Charlie quirks an equally amused smile at him and her eyebrows do a little dance that makes him snort out another, rather undignified laugh. So she noticed too. Sam’s not the only one who’s mind would be led in that sort of direction.

Sam feels a warmth spreading through his chest. He lets out a small breath. Where are these feelings coming from? The guy’s clearly going somewhere to… relieve himself. Sam would never exactly be shocked or revolted by the idea, but why the hell does he feel this odd… fondness? It makes no sense at all. And now Charlie’s giving him a knowing look. He feels his cheeks start to heat up.

He clears his throat. “Uh so, what’re you up to this weekend?”

Charlie smiles broadly and launches into an enthusiatic description of her upcoming LARPing weekend. Sam nods his head and smiles at all the right parts, but most of his mind is drifting, going places it shouldn’t go. Narrow rims of bright gold around blown pupils... Parted lips... Fingers wrapping around a swollen, flushed… A gutteral cry as he…

Sam shuffles uncomfortably in his seat and hopes to hell that Charlie’s too involved in her story to notice.

~~~

Sam watches as Gabriel slips into the room. Most of the class are pre-occupied with Ellen’s slide show, but of course his damn mind is ever distracted. Gabriel looks almost as disheveled as the first time they met - though perhaps the hair isn’t quite as crazy - cheeks lightly flushed and brow maybe a little sweaty. He appears a little flustered at first, but as Sam watches, he takes in a deep breath, squares his shoulders and saunters up to the comfortable chair that’s sometimes used for longer poses. He slouches down into it, one arm thrown over the back, one ankle resting on the other knee. Utterly at ease, exuding an air of laid back confidence. Sam finds himself smiling. This is the side of himself that Gabriel wants to show to the world. But Sam is rather fond of both sides of him.

Damn, but he can’t think like this. Pressing his lips together, he returns his gaze to the overhead screen. He’s been spending the last few evenings here. Working hard on developing several of the sketches he’s made. He’s not sure if he’s getting anywhere exactly, but it’s a relief to be doing something, even if the whole experience is leaving him weary and emotionally drained.

It’s a quiet space as Ellen promised, away from prying brothers. The only interruptions coming from the rather oddball janitor, who introduced himself as Garth Fitzgerald IV. Sam’s always subjected to a long rambling conversation, only half of which makes sense, but once Sam settles down to work, Garth makes himself scarce and just lets him get on with it.

It’s another guy on tonight though, someone Garth refers to as the Big G. Given that Garth is reasonably tall himself, Sam isn’t sure what to expect. Big in what sense? Rotund? A hulking gruff Hagrid figure? Or are we talking personality? Sam just hopes to hell he can get some work done. If he’s going to spend Friday night here instead of out enjoying a couple of beers, he hopes to at least achieve something.

Speaking of achieving something, Ellen has just finished her presentation and Gabriel’s stripping off his robe. Sam sighs. Will he produce anything worthwhile or will he just get lost looking at this beautiful man again? Or worse, start thinking again about what Gabriel was doing to his own body mere moments ago?

Chapter Text

SAM

Sam takes in a ragged, shaky breath and steps back from his work. He just poured everything into it, but it’s not… not really working. He looks at the swirling light, picked out from the dark charcoal background, the twisted dark shapes. The image is provocative perhaps. There’s pain here. But the emotion seems somehow stunted, impersonal. Maybe if he adds color? He sighs and runs the back of his hand over his mouth. He slumps down onto a chair and picks up his sketchbook, flicking through the pages. Damn he’s getting charcoal all over the edges. Well he guesses he could use a break. Clean up, maybe take a bite to eat… Shit, he forgot to pick anything up. Well fuck.

Wait… The gift. Wiping charcoal over the front of his work shirt, he opens his backpack and lifts out the box. He can’t help the small smile that spreads over his features as he notices the note, folded neatly and slotted down the side of the box. He couldn’t bring himself to throw it away, just like the other one. He carefully unfolds it. Bon appetite, Samshine. Followed by the same scribbled heart. Samshine. Gabriel gave him a nickname…

God he wants… He wants nothing more than to just walk up to Gabriel and draw him up onto his tiptoes, dip his own head and… But he can’t… He lets out a small choked off sob that sounds all too loud in the stillness of the room. If only he wasn’t so screwed up… But the stark reality is, that he’s a mess. And he can’t bring this… goddamn amazing man down. He can’t drag him down into despair. Can’t crush the joy out of him. He was selfish once and all he caused was pain. He won’t do that again. He can’t.

Sam sighs and rubs furiously at his stinging eyes. He should tell Gabriel. He should stop this… whatever it is in it’s tracks. Why doesn’t he have the courage? The decency to do the right thing? Just because his heart aches… just because Gabriel’s the only damn thing that makes him smile. But it’s selfish. He’s being selfish again. He can’t have this…

He tucks the note carefully in the back of his sketchbook, unable to let go just yet, stands and runs his hands through his hair. He needs to clean up, eat a little and get back to work. Heart clenching painfully in his chest, he walks over to the door, pushes through and heads in the direction of the rest rooms…

And stops dead in his tracks. Gabriel? For a moment his mind can’t quite process what he’s seeing. He wonders idly if he’s actually fallen asleep at his easel and this is just a dream… But no it’s him… moving slowly down the corridor, pushing a mop out in front of him, whistling quietly as he works. Sam’s breath catches in his throat. God how… how the hell can someone look so beautiful in a damn janitor’s uniform? It’s a glorified boiler suit, for fuck’s sake. But somehow, collar unbuttoned and resting on his shoulders, plain white undershirt showing underneath, sleeves rolled up to bare pale forearms… He’s gorgeous. And Sam can’t help but stand there and stare. Gabriel hasn’t noticed him yet, but it’s only a matter of time. He should move, say something…

But instead he just continues to stare, mouth hanging open like a damn idiot. This was who Garth was talking about? Big G? Sam can’t help the small smile that tugs at the corners of his mouth. It was definitely about the personality then.

Gabriel takes a few more steps, then stops. Sam freezes. Should he retreat back to the life drawing room? Act natural? Stop being so fucking weird. But it’s too late. Gabriel stifles a yawn, stretches his back out and his eyes flick up and… He catches sight of Sam, eyes widening in surprise and suddenly Sam’s heart is stuttering in his chest as Gabriel’s features stretch into a wide, dimpled smile.

“Samsquatch!” he exclaims. “What are you doing here?”

“Uh,” Sam rubs the back of his neck, feeling incredibly awkward under Gabriel’s bright gaze. “Ellen said I could use the life drawing room for… work and… uh… she didn’t mention it to you? Or Garth?”

Gabriel props the mop against the wall, strolls over and leans casually against the wall, arms crossed over his chest. Sam’s heart is thudding against his ribcage. His frazzled mind offers up the random and rather unhelpful thought that this is like the opening scene from some porno. Christ. Really not helpful. Gabriel makes a thoughtful face, then shrugs his shoulders.

“Ellen’s not exactly…” He makes a face and clears his throat. “And Garth’s a little bit of a…”

“Space cadet?” Sam supplies, then wants to slap himself in the face, because hell, the two are probably friends and that’s not exactly a complimentary thing to say.

But Gabriel just chuckles and dips his head before looking up at Sam with a small smirk on his face.

“True… I’ll give you a little advice,” he quirks one eyebrow. “Don’t ever accept his invite to go for a cuppla beers. One and he’s…” Gabriel makes a ridiculous face and pushes off the wall to mime swaying all over the place. “…Two and…” He winces leaning back again. “It aint pretty.”

Sam laughs and shakes his head. “Duly noted.”

Gabriel furrows his brow, pushes off the wall again and steps a little closer. Sam has to swallow around the sudden lump in his throat as Gabriel peers up at his face, lips slightly parted. For one panicked moment, Sam thinks that Gabriel’s going to lean up and kiss him. On instinct he almost dips his head. He wants… But then Gabriel steps back and quirks his lips. He motions with an index finger at his own face.

“You’ve got a little…”

Sam raises his eyebrows.

Gabriel purses his lips and pulls a clean rag out of his pocket, and before Sam has a clue what’s going on, Gabriel is right in his personal space, reaching up on his tip toes and wiping the rag over Sam’s cheekbone. He freezes. Pulse racing. It would be easy, so damn easy. Just bury his fingers in the soft, gently curving hair at the back of Gabriel’s neck, cradle the back of his head and press his own lips to that gorgeous, mobile mouth. So easy to just give in. He feels like he’s teetering on some precipice.

He hesitates. If he closes his eyes, he’ll see it. All the pain he’s caused, all the damage he’s done.

Gabriel pulls back, cheeks lightly flushed.

He clears his throat. “Uh… charcoal.”

He waves the charcoal smeared rag vaguely in Sam’s direction. Blinks a couple of times, eyes widening a little as he realises just how close Sam’s chest is to his nose and then he’s stepping back, turning away.

Sam feels relieved; he feels distraught. It’s all one tangled mess in his head.

He opens his mouth to say something and closes it again. Now would be the time. They’re alone. He could end it all here. He should end it all here. But the words won’t come and his heart won’t let up it’s staccato beat.

When Gabriel reaches his bucket and mop again, he turns and shoots Sam a small, uncharacteristically shy smile.

“I uh… need to clean up in…” He nods in the direction of the life drawing room. “Mind if I work around you? Long day and all that jazz. Need to get back to home sweet home and get with the… uh… beauty sleep.”

He’s kind of babbling. Sam can’t help but smile.

“Uh, yeah sure. Go ahead. I just need to… clean up anyway.” Sam holds out his messy hands and wiggles his fingers, sure that his smile just went ridiculously dorky, but unable to keep it off his face anyway.

~~~

GABRIEL

Gabriel glares at the mop handle. Why won’t the damn thing just stay upright? Fuck it, it’ll just have to stay on the floor. He runs his hands hurriedly back through his hair. Looks down the length of his body. Yeesh this uniform is hardly sexy… or is it? When Gabriel had glanced up at him, Sam had had an odd look on his face… Maybe he actually likes it… Hmm. Undo a few more buttons? No too obvious to do it now. Maybe he could pretend he’s too hot, shuck the top half? No it would drag on the floor. Get rid of the undershirt? His lip twitches. Too porno. He wipes sweaty palms on the front of his uniform. Right, just… just act natural.

Glancing around the room, he notices Sam’s workstation. Maybe he could just take a little peek? Making sure to keep one eye firmly fixed on the door this time, he quickly makes his way over to Sam’s easel and circles around it… and stops dead.

His heart clenches in his chest. Oh hells. That’s… This is what Sam’s been doing? This is what’s been keeping him up at night. He’s been looking so worn out this week. Dark circles under his eyes. Smiling a whole let less. Gabriel had wondered if something was wrong, but now he can plainly see that something’s hella wrong. He steps closer and studies the swirling patterns, picked out from the dark charcoal background. There’s no color present, but Gabriel thinks he knows what this is anyway. Oh Sam. This his tragic past? This is his loss? Why is he… why is he doing this to himself?

Ok, ok, Gabriel’s seen this sort of thing countless times before. It’s what so many artists do. He’s worked here long enough to know that. Bringing all that inner turmoil to the forefront, working with it, creating from it. For some it’s actually cathartic. Sometimes it helps them move on, but for others… For others, it only drags them deeper. And Gabriel has a gut wrenching feeling that he knows which camp Sam falls into.

Sighing, he runs a hand through his hair. He wishes he had the power to take this all away. Banish all the pain with a snap of his fingers. But there’s little he can do. He shouldn’t even be prying. Sam hasn’t show him this. Taking one last look at Sam’s suffering laid bare, Gabriel walks back over to his mop, feeling completely and utterly powerless.

~~~

Gabriel flops back on his bed and stares up at his ceiling. Ellen had warned him. He’d thought he’d taken it on board, but then he got all caught up in the excitement, in the thrill of desperately wanting someone. The incredible feeling of his heart skipping a beat whenever Sam smiles. The way his dick fills with arousal when he lets his daydreams get the better of him. It’s a heady feeling, falling for someone. And he’s never felt it quite like this before. Never so deeply, so quickly, so intensely.

He should back off… His heart clenches at the thought. The thought of never having Sam in his life. But it’s the right thing to do surely. Sam’s got some serious issues going on and Gabriel doesn’t have a clue how to go about helping him. Sure he’s dealt with loss… He’s dealt with a whole host of shit from his big bro. Lucy can be a real dick, but hells has he been through the wringer. They all have. Maybe Gabriel knows a little… but… what if he messes it up? What if he makes things worse?

He thinks back over the last week. Thinks of the way Sam acted. Downbeaten, exhausted… But then… Gabriel’s gifts, his notes. They had made Sam smile. Gabriel can’t erase Sam’s past, can’t take away the pain, but maybe what he’s already been doing is actually… weirdly helping? Or maybe he’s just being selfish, maybe he’s seeing things that aren’t there, seeing what he wants to see. He doesn’t want to give up on Sam, of the possibility of them. Is that all there is here… His wishful, selfish thinking?

Sighing, he rolls over and stares at the wall. Well this isn’t helping. He pushes himself up onto his elbow. He can’t just loll around and do nothing. A small part of him pipes up with, sleep, hello? That’s not nothing, that would be really damn good right now. But he knows he won’t sleep, not with all this swirling around in his head.

Wank? Oh for fuck’s sake. No. Not now. He gets up and paces back and forth. And pauses as a thought occurs to him.

The brush. Regardless of whether or not it gets Sam into his pants, the brush is still a good idea. If the rose and even the profiteroles – Gabriel was almost too worried to enjoy seeing Sam finally devour them, almost – if they made him smile… Then the brush would surely have an even better effect.

He pads through to the other room, his cramped kitchen-cum-dinner-cum-living room, and grabs his cellphone from his jacket pocket. Settling down on his easy chair, he pulls up google and types in ‘Rowena brushes’.

The website is kinda classy. There’s an intro blurb about the company. Based in New Bern? Woa, straight down the road. What a wacky happenstance. He could annoy Cassie into giving him a lift. But honestly, he’s feeling lazy and if he knows exactly what he wants, why not just get it delivered. A little curious he clicks on the ‘read more’.

It brings up a page, headed by a slightly odd image of the company founder. Gabriel raises an eyebrow. The shot is in profile, mostly in shadow. He’s sure it’s supposed to be artsy, but honestly? It looks more like the sort of image he’d find on a bondage website. He smirks to himself as he scans the bio. Single mother. Started out making all the brushes by hand whilst bringing up little Fergus. Odd name. Ah Scottish, though it seems she moved around a fair bit. Started out whittling brush handles and spearing beasts in the wilds of Scotland perhaps? Gabriel snorts out a laugh as he imagines this stoic, but weirdly sexy woman, child held on her hip with one hand, eviscerating dead animals with the other. Flaming red hair of course, though the image is disappointingly black and white and there’s little to be seen of her face.

But that’s all by the by. Leaving the bio page, he pulls up the online shop and searches through the menus for the mop brushes, quickly finding the correct one. Clicks. And almost has a heart attack. Holy Fuck! How much?! For a brush?!

He pushes up from the easy chair and starts pacing back and forth in the small space. Christ. He can’t afford that. It would take him weeks to save and he honestly doesn’t think his body can stand up to much more poor nutrition. To someone like fucking Zachariah it’s probably nothing, but for him... He can barely make rent while he’s still paying off his student debt. Even with the 3 jobs.

He paces some more. Thinking furiously. He wants to do this so badly. Needs to do this. But… Maybe he could sell something? His soul? He snorts out a laugh. Wouldn’t get much for that. He really doesn’t own much of value. Just… His eyes are drawn over to the corner of the room and he sighs heavily. Fuck, is he really willing to do that? The answer comes all too soon. Yes. Yes he is.

~~~

SAM

Sam stifles a yawn as he climbs into bed. It’s been another long week and he’s beyond exhausted. Dean’s out, at the Roadhouse again or somewhere else? Sam doesn’t know and he feels a little pang of guilt. He knows he’s been avoiding his brother. He can’t do it forever. But he just wants to make a little headway. Get things on track, before he faces the inevitable shit he’s going to get for this. He sighs and rubs a hand over his face. He misses the damn jerk… Just one more week.

Maybe he should suggest a night out for next Friday, keep Dean off his case and actually give himself something to look forward to.

He knows it’s necessary, but hell, he could do with a break. If he works hard enough, pushes through, then hopefully he’ll start to see some results. Sighing again, he reaches over the side of the bed and pulls his backpack onto the bedspread. He should really try to get some sleep, but he just wants to give his sketchbook one more look through.

He opens it up and starts flicking through the pages to the right part, smiling a little as his eye catches that sketch he made in the park his first week back. He stops and looks it over. That sprawled form. Utterly laid back and carefree. It almost reminds him of… Sam’s heart skips a beat. It couldn’t have been, could it? I’m a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar. The leaf in his hair. Sam lets out a breath as he traces a finger over the sketch. Could it? It’s a flight of fancy. A ridiculous notion and yet, it seems to fit. He gently opens the sketchbook at the back and pulls out the folded slip of paper, spreading it out on the bedspread. Reaching into his nightstand, he finds the other note and lays it by it’s side.

It can never happen, he can never let it be… But maybe, maybe for just one night... he can let himself have this. Let himself imagine what can never be.

Tracing a fingertip over the written words, he conjures up Gabriel’s smile. It comes to him so easily. Beautifully quirked lips. A sardonic smirk, a wide dimpled smile, a small shy one. Eyes alight with humor; eyes dark with desire.

He thinks back to their first meeting. When he brushed the lock of hair from Gabriel’s brow. Gabriel had looked at him with wide golden eyes and Sam… Sam had looked away. What if he hadn’t? Sam leans back against his headboard and closes his eyes.

This time he reaches out. He cups the side of Gabriel’s face, draws a thumb over the soft skin covering his cheek bone. Gabriel’s lips part, his eyes darken. Sam bends down as Gabriel rises up onto his tiptoes. Their lips meet. Softly at first. Just the barest press of skin on skin. Then Gabriel makes a noise in the back of his throat and he’s suddenly all grasping hands and needy desperation. Sam opens up and deepens the kiss. His hands move back into Gabriel’s soft hair…

Sam opens his eyes. God that hair. Beautiful and so soft. His mind drifts back to the night at the bar. He has no idea why he did it. Why he felt the need to touch. But he can’t get that sensation out of his head. He lets his eyes drift shut.

"I’m a leaf on the wind, watch how I"- Gabriel doesn’t finish the sentence as Sam grabs hold of the front of his shirt and pulls him forward, crashing their mouths together almost painfully. Gabriel’s startled at first, but then he’s kissing back just as hard. They’re too far apart. Sam pulls back, Gabriel making a small sound of protest. But when he realises what Sam has in mind, his mouth stretches into the most beautiful, bright dimpled smile. Sam helps him scrabble up onto the bar and swing his legs over and now, now it’s perfect.

Sam presses forward and Gabriel wraps his legs around Sam’s waist. Their lips meet again. It’s not so desperate now. Slow exploring kisses. Gabriel dips his tongue inside Sam’s mouth and Sam meets it with his own. Gabriel’s hands move into Sam’s hair as Sam makes short work of the buttons on his shirt. The shirt falls open and finally… finally Sam can touch all that soft pale skin. God.

Sam opens his eyes and draws in a breath. He really shouldn’t do this. But… Screw it. What the hell. He clears everything from his bed, making sure to place the notes carefully on his night stand, before stretching out on top of his bed covers. After a beat, he strips out of his t-shirt and boxers. He just lays there for a moment staring up at the ceiling, clenching and unclenching his hands. He lets out a low slow breath and closes his eyes once more, taking hold of his dick as it fills with arousal.

Sam reaches out and brushes his fingertips down the side of Gabriel’s neck. He shivers as Sam’s touch moves over one collar bone before drifting futher downwards. He finds Gabriel’s nipple. Flesh already peaked with arousal. He pauses and rubs the pad of his thumb over the sensitive nub. Gabriel gasps into his mouth. Sam can feel the press of Gabriel’s arousal against his belly, through the thin fabric of his shirt.

Sam sighs. He wants. Fuck it, this is his fantasy.

They’re naked. Flesh on flesh. Sam can feel the leaking tip of Gabriel’s cock as it brushes against his stomach.

No wait that’s kind of awkward. Where’s his dick in this?… Pressed against the hard edge of the bar? Yeah no that isn’t so great. He re-adjusts his thinking.

The bar is just the right height, their cocks align and…

Or… Sam bites down on his lip. If he’s only going to do this once, might as well go all the way, right? He feels his heart beat pick up, feels the heat pool in his groin. He has no idea if Gabriel would enjoy that or not. Sam’s experience with the same sex is limited. If… It’s all academic, but he thinks given the choice, he’d like to feel what it’s like to be inside Gabriel body. Would Gabriel want that? Desire that? This Gabriel does.

Gabriel’s body is ready, hole stretched and slick. Sam looks into his gold rimmed eyes, seeing the want, seeing the desire there. Gabriel rolls his eyes…

Sam snorts out a laugh despite himself. Yeah that’s… That’s Gabriel all right. He’s seen enough of how Gabriel interacts with people to guess that he’d be telling Sam to get with the program. Maybe he’s different in a relationship… but somehow Sam doesn’t think that’s the case. What would he say?

“Come on. Fuck me already Samshine.”

Sam smiles. Yeah that’s what he’d say. Then he’d follow it up with a smirk and a quirked eyebrow and…

Sam quirks an eyebrow back and stutters his hips forward. Gabriel lets out a low groan as the head of Sam’s cock breaches the outer ring of muscle. Fuck.

Shit Sam’s not going to last long. He picks up the pace of his stroking, imagining his cock sliding further into Gabriel’s body with each stroke. Would Gabriel swear? Would he cry out? Or would he just pant hot breaths into Sam’s ear. God, Sam wishes he knew. Wishes he could find out. Before his mind can dip into despair, he brings his attention back to the fantasy.

Gabriel is grabbing hold of Sam’s hair, he’s pushing his hips forward to meet Sam’s thrusts. He’s telling Sam how good it feels between ragged gasps. Sam’s close, he can feel it, but he wants to feel Gabriel come. He grasps hold of Gabriel’s beautifully flushed dick…

He’s only seen it in partial arousal, the thought of it fully erect almost tips Sam over the edge. He holds back, slows his strokes. Takes a deep breath. Not yet.

Gabriel cries out as Sam takes hold of his dick and starts to stroke it. Sam runs the palm of his hand over the tip, using the slick pre-come to ease the glide of his strokes. He’s getting close again. He can feel it. But Gabriel’s close too. Sam speeds up his rhythm, he pushes forward into Gabriel’s body with more force. Gabriel likes it a little rough. He digs his heels into the small of Sam’s back. One more stroke… One more… Fuck, fuck yes.

Sam’s throws his head back and cries out Gabriel’s name as his cock pulses over his torso. Christ that was. Fuck.

He holds Gabriel close as he shudders through his orgasm, ragged breaths loud in his ear. “Sam, Sammy…” That doesn’t sound like…

Sam’s eyes fly open. Fuck. Dean’s back.

“Sammy?”

Just how loudly did Sam cry Gabriel’s name when he came? Shit.

“Uh I’m…” Sam’s voice cracks horribly and he clears his throat before trying again. “…I’m uh in here.”

He hears Dean’s heavy booted footfalls. Oh fuck. He quickly scrambles under the bedcovers, just as Dean pushes through the doorway.

“Sam I-“

Dean’s eyes widen comically as he takes in the scene before him. He pulls a face that would be hilarious under different circumstance and averts his eyes, holding one hand up to shield his view.

“Son of a bitch! Sock on the door handle Sammy. Sock on the door handle.”

Despite his flaming red cheeks, Sam shoots his brother an almighty bitchface.

“Seriously dude, learn to fucking knock,” he yells as Dean backs out of the doorway and slams the door shut behind him.

Sam flops back on the bed and rubs his clean hand over his face. Jesus.

The door opens again and Sam cranes his neck to look incredulously as his brother’s face appears around the corner, hand firmly clamped over his eyes. Sam can definitely see his smirk though and he rolls his eyes even though he knows his brother can’t see it.

“Dude, it would be a lot more fun if you took that model out for a spin.”

“He’s not a goddamn car Dean.”

Sam grabs hold of the pillow beside him and lobs it at his brother’s grinning face. Dean ducks out of the way and chuckles to himself.

“Just sayin…”

Dean smirks and Sam flips him off before pulling the covers up and over his face. Goddamn jerk.

Chapter Text

SAM

Sam yawns and stretches, feeling the world slowly come into focus. He can faintly hear some music coming from the kitchen. Sounds like Rush. His brother has mercifully kept the volume at a low level. It’s uncharacteristically thoughtful of him. Sam turns over and blinks at his clock radio. It’s almost 11 a.m.. Wow. He can’t believe he slept so long.

No nightmares. That’s... wow. He tries to cast his mind back into the tail end of the dream he just woke from. He’s sure… Bright golden eyes, playful smirk, hands running through his hair, warm supple body beneath him… His eyebrows raise almost to his hairline. God, he was dreaming about Gabriel. And not just any kind of dream. He feels his cheeks heat up and his dick twitch.

Damn, he knew he shouldn’t have given in to these feelings. He should have known where it would lead. But… His breath catches in his throat. Damn it, but this is first peaceful night’s sleep he’s had in more than a week. He actually feels rested for once. Still a little weary, with so many sleepless hours to make up for, but he doesn’t feel a complete wreck. And that’s… that’s such a goddamn relief. He sighs and sits up. The notes are still sitting on his nightstand. He picks one up and runs it through his fingers, feeling his heart stutter in his chest.

He can’t let go. Not yet.

~~~

GABRIEL

“What was that?” Gabriel says incredulously, cupping a hand to his ear and raising his eyebrows.

The goddamn putz scoffs and repeats the price.

“Take it or leave it.”

Gabriel purses his lips and crosses his arms over his chest. He draws in a deep breath through his nose, then he throws his arms out by his side.

“It’s a goddamn Fender. It’s worth twice as much.”

The kid makes a face and eyes the base guitar critically before shaking his head.

“It isn’t exactly in mint condition now is it?”

The kid actually smirks and Gabriel has to fight the urge to wipe the smile right off the arrogant dickbag’s face.

He tilts his head and narrows his eyes. “If it was in mint condition, then it would be worth 4 times the price,” he grits out.

“Suit yourself,” the kid smirks again as he turns on his heel and starts to walk away.

Gabriel’s stomach sinks. He can’t afford to wait any longer. If he wants to give the brush to Sam at his next life drawing session, that’s only a few short days away. And it isn’t as if he’s had any better offers. The last thing he wants to do is give in to this arrogant S.O.B. But he needs to do this. He needs to do this for Sam.

“Wait,” Gabriel sighs, running a hand back through his hair.

The man spins around and regards Gabriel with obvious amusement.

It takes all of Gabriel’s will not to tell this ponsy B-hole exactly what he thinks of him. But he needs the money and this dickbag knows it.

Gabriel draws in a deep breath. “Fine. You got yourself a deal.” Fuckface.

He holds out his hand and the kid drops the slim pile of money into it. He counts it carefully, while the douchebag actually sniggers.

“Peachy.” Gabriel mutters as he pockets the money and turns away.

“Nice doing business with you,” the kid calls after him, amusement clear in his tone.

Gabriel doesn’t bother turning. He just flips the asshole off over his shoulder and keeps on walking, ignoring the laughter which follows him.

~~~

Gabriel flops down on his back and looks up through the leaves. Someone sniggers, Gabriel sighs. Fuck you dickbrain.

He tunes it all out, watching the clouds slip between the branches. A light breeze blows through the leaves. He watches as a copper and gold leaf drifts down and lands on his chest. He picks it up and turns it over in his fingers.

Damn it’s not as if he’s played the thing in months. He barely picks it up anymore. Picked it up, he reminds himself. He sighs. Maybe he’s sentimental. Their band didn’t last beyond college, but they had some good times. Chuck as lead, Gabriel on base. Just the two of them. They had the odd drummer join them from time to time, but they never lasted. Whining about Gabriel’s attitude or a few harmless pranks. Yeesh. It’s all in the past though. He hardly ever sees Chuck anymore. They drifted apart a little after… well after that. Gabriel blows out a breath. Still. It’s a wrench. Letting go of something that once meant so much? He never thought he would. He never…

He sits bolt upright, heart stuttering in his chest. Holy shit. Woah that’s… He runs his hands through his hair. This isn’t just a crush. He just let go of one of the most important things he’s ever owned. Sold it willingly. For way less than it’s worth. He wouldn’t do that for just anyone. He doesn’t just want Sam in his pants…

“Fuck.”

A woman walks by with her kid and he winces a little as she glares at him and shakes her head.

Fuck though. He is so so screwed. This is going to hurt so much more. Damn is it going to hurt. He flops back down and stares up through the leaves, heart hammering in his chest.

He’s… he’s in love with Sam.

~~~

“Earth to Gabriel.”

Gabriel blinks and looks up from the glass he’s been cleaning for the last… actually he has no idea how long he’s been cleaning it.

Jo furrows her brow. “What’s up with you? I’ve never seen you so quiet.” She quirks an eyebrow. “Honestly, it’s starting to freak us all out.”

Luke walks past and flicks his ear and he almost drops the glass in the sink.

“Don’t be a dick Luke,” Lucy mimics before Jo can say anything.

Jo just rolls her eyes.

“Seriously though, what gives?”

Gabriel sighs heavily and picks up the dishcloth. He could tell her, Jo’s like a sister to him, often annoying, but always got his back when he needs it. But he’s not sure he can. He says it out loud and… And what? It’s clearly true. Now the thought is in his head, he can’t unthink it. It’s useless to try and kid himself. The more he tries to, the more he tries to tell himself that he’s just thinking with his dick, the more he realises how untrue that is.

He’s hopelessly and utterly in love with Sam and any day now, he’s going to get his heart stamped all over.

He shrugs his shoulder.

“Is it that guy? The giant with the cute smile?” She furrows her brow when he doesn’t reply. “Did he… did he say no? Damn Gabriel, I’m sorry I thought…”

“I didn’t ask him yet,” Gabriel says in a small voice.

She raises her eyebrows at that. Gabriel looks away before she sees too much in his expression.

Jo sighs and he hears her walking over, her strong hands take hold of his shoulders and he lets himself be turned around.

“Listen… Anyone asks and I’ll 100% deny I said this, but… You’re a damn good catch.”

He looks up and she gives him a small smile.

“You’re good looking...”

He can’t help the smirk that draws the corners of his lips upwards. Oh no, he will not let her forget she said that.

She rolls her eyes. “Well you’re not too hideous anyway.” She shakes her head and laughs as he pulls an exaggerated offended face. “Fuck’s sake Gabriel, I’m trying to be sincere here.”

He school’s his features and regards her with a serious expression… that’s not exactly working as one corner of his lip keeps twitching upwards.

She rolls her eyes again, but continues. “When you’re not being a smartass, you’re actually kinda funny and you can be a damn good friend when you want to be… Just be yourself. Ask him out. He’ll see what the rest of us see. And if he doesn’t-”

“-have a full frontal lobotomy...”

Luke chuckles and throws his hands up in mock surrender as they both turn to glare at him.

Jo rolls her eyes yet again, before turning back to Gabriel. “Just think on it, ok?”

Gabriel nods his head. Maybe after the brush. Maybe he’ll stand a chance then.

Jo looks across as the door opens and sighs.

“Gabe, can you take over? I need a break.”

“Yeah sure,” he replies, frowning.

By the time he looks over to see what made her leave, it’s too late. She’s already headed out back and he’s left to serve the guy who was chatting her up a couple of weeks ago. The one he’s pretty damn sure… just so happens to be Sam’s big bro. Ah crap.

The man looks disappointed. His eyes flick to the door that Jo just left through and he makes a face. Gabriel rolls his eyes. Much as he loves his sis from another mother, the whole 'so hot everyone wants to drop their pants as soon as they look at her' thing? So old. He’s not jealous per se… Ok yeah maybe a little. At least Sam didn’t seem to fall under her thrall. No… He actually… He was actually staring at Gabriel… In that way? He didn’t drop his pants, more’s the pity… But...

Right no thinking about any pant dropping when dealing with the big bro. They guy saunters up. Super casual. Gabriel has to fight the urge to snort out a laugh. Man this guy has the gruff manly man thing down pat. Leather jacket, jeans and biker boots. Real James Dean. When he reaches the bar, he leans one elbow on it and regards Gabriel with an assessing gaze. Gabriel just raises one questioning eyebrow.

“What do you want with my brother?”

No pre-amble, nothing. Oh no, this is too good. He knows he should be trying to impress this guy, or at least not piss him off, but Gabriel really, really can’t help himself. He lets his eyebrows do the talking. Sometimes they’re all he needs. He’s tempted to throw in a few obscene hand gestures too, but honestly, the eyebrows seem to be doing the trick.

The guy makes the most hilarious face and scrubs a hand over his eyes. He sighs and reaches into his back pocket to pull out a wallet.

Gabriel’s curious. Is the guy going to pay him to back off? To disappear? Wouldn’t be the first time someone’s tried that.

“Look… My brother’s...” The guy sighs. “My brother’s been through some… shit.” He looks at Gabriel like he’s trying to make some decision. Gabriel just raises an eyebrow.

“Gabriel is it?” Gabriel nods his head a fraction, eyebrow still raised. “I need you to take my brother out.” One corner of his mouth twists up into a half smile. “Show him a good time.”

Gabriel’s eyebrows rise almost to his hairline. Holy Rom Coms. That, he was not expecting. Does this make him Julia Roberts or Heath Leger? Is the guy gonna take him out to some fancy tailors and get him suited up? That would be kinda sweet.

“You know I’m a model right? And not a you know...” He makes the universal sign for a BJ and can’t help but chuckle at the guy’s horrified expression.

“Dude, I’m not paying you!” Big bro says, pulling another hilarious facial expression.

Gabriel pointedly eyes the wallet in the man’s hand.

“I was gonna order a beer,” the guy says incredulously. “And I thought you had a… thing for Sammy.”

There goes Gabriel’s makeover montage fantasy. He huffs out a breath and rolls his eyes.

“Ya got me,” Gabriel says at length. He sighs, “I’m workin on it.”

The man nods his head and they look at each other awkwardly for a moment.

“So, about that beer?” The guy finally says.

Gabriel rolls his eyes again and grabs a beer, accepting the guy’s money and giving him his change.

He’s just taking a swig and turning away, when Gabriel decides he’s so not done with this. He’s having too much fun.

“Hey James Dean,” Gabriel starts and the man turns back to face him, raising his eyebrows.

“My name’s Dean.”

Hoo boy that’s perfect.

“Dean-o.” That earns him an eyeroll, but Dean doesn’t bother correcting him. “Top or bottom?”

“’Scuse me?” Dean says, making another ridiculous face.

Gabriel just smirks and waits until Dean gets fed up enough to take a swig of his beer.

“Your baby bro,” Gabriel says grinning. “Top or bottom?” He makes accompanying hand gestures, just to really get the message across.

Dean coughs and splutters. Goes red in the face. Yikes is he actually choking? Nope he’s glaring now.

Gabriel raises both eyebrows, well? Dean opens his mouth. Closes it again. Glares. Then he just shakes his head and stalks off.

Gabriel chuckles to himself. Damn that was fun. He hopes to hell that he has a chance with Sam. Because if nothing else.... he just found a new favorite hobby.

Chapter Text

SAM

It’s Sam’s 4th week back at college and he finally feels like he’s getting settled into something of a routine. A punishing routine, no doubt, he’s working harder than he’s ever worked before, but he’s getting a handle on his courses, producing work he can feel proud of and despite working his ass off, he’s even made a good friend in Charlie and more than a passing aquaintence with her close friends too.

His senior project… Well it’s not going brilliantly, but these things are always going to be a bit of a long a twisting journey. When he finds he isn’t making any headway, he refocuses, works on a few pieces for other courses, before looking back on his progress with fresh eyes.

When the nightmares wake him from his slumber, he records everything he can. And weary and miserable as he is, he works through it, taking his sketches and trying to make something of them after hours in the life drawing room.

But he doesn’t wake every night, sweating and terror struck. Some mornings, he wakes slowly, peacefully. Contented.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out the pattern. Sam doesn’t see Gabriel in the life drawing room on Tuesday as Ellen booked another model. But he still bumps into him. Once, rather awkwardly in the rest room between classes. They nod to each other and start to go their separate ways. And Sam trys his very best not to laugh when Gabriel trips over his own feet, as he throws Sam a sultry look over his shoulder on his way out of the room.

Then there’s after hours. On Tuesday night, they round the corner at the same and Sam nearly takes Gabriel’s eye out with a brush handle. After Sam makes damn sure that Gabriel’s ok, they do that thing again with the staring and the awkward clearing of throats.

Later it’s easier. They’re more relaxed. Gabriel joins him while he eats some dinner. Sam makes a face at Gabriel’s unhealthy choices and shares a little of his meal, and Gabriel regales him with annecdotes of his time working as a janitor. He tells Sam about the student who used nothing but old underwear for his artist’s ‘rags’, leaving the charming worn out remains for Gabriel and Garth to find. Sam just about chokes on his smoothie and Gabriel slaps his back. If he leaves his hand there a little longer than necessary… neither of them are going to say anything about it.

They flirt. Both of them. Sam knows he’s doing it, but he can’t seem to help it. Even though he knows this can’t go anywhere. Even though he knows he’ll have to end this and soon. He’s falling deeper. It’s going to hurt even more, but he can’t seem to pull off that band aid, can’t seem to turn away from brilliant golden eyes.

That night he sleeps through. No nightmares. Just the pleasant buzz of well a rested night filled with warm and hopeful dreams, instead of fear and anguish.

On Thursday night, Sam bumps into Gabriel as he’s just exiting the janitor’s closet. He’s still pulling on his uniform and Sam tries his hardest not to be distracted by his strong biceps or the way his nipples show through the thin fabric of his undershirt. Gabriel smirks, but there’s definitely a little rosy flush about his cheeks. Sam excuses himself and throws freezing cold water over his face before he returns to his work.

Gabriel joins him for dinner again. Without any pre-amble, Gabriel hands him an apple, rolling his eyes when Sam tries to refuse. It’s organic is all he says and Sam can’t help shooting him a wide smile. This time Gabriel tells Sam about the time he walked in on two students making out in the dark room. Sam almost chokes again when Gabriel says that he asked to join them. Never seen anyone clear a room so fast. Kinda insulting actually. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m a damn good kisser. Sam absolutely doesn’t think about dragging Gabriel down to the dark room right now and demanding a demonstration. Gabriel just gives him a look, like he can guess what Sam’s thinking and would absolutely be up for that.

Sam jumps up and makes a noise about getting back to work. He doesn’t miss the look of disappointment on Gabriel’s face, and he wants to kick himself for putting it there.

He feels like the biggest asshole in the world. He’s stringing Gabriel along and he knows it.

But that night he goes to sleep quickly and he wakes the next morning feeling elated. It has to end. It has to. Just one more day he tells himself. Though he told himself the same on Tuesday. And he knows he’s lying to himself now as much he knew it then.

But he just can’t let go.

~~~

GABRIEL

Gabriel regards his reflection in the mirror critically. He’s shaved, showered. Hair dry and neatly combed. He’s wearing the best shirt he owns. It’s actually decent fabric, though he notes that somehow, his nipples are still showing through. Damn perky nipples. No mind. All part of the sex appeal. This is it, this is the day. Sam mentioned something about going to the Roadhouse with his brother tonight. Gabriel will leave the gift for him at the life drawing sesh, give him a little time to mull it over, then when Sam turns up at the bar… Gabriel will be ready. It’s time to pop that little question.

Honestly he’s been so close. This week has been… There have been moments. Hells have there been moments. Moments when he’s been so sure. And then… Sam turns away. Or ok, maybe once it was him loosing his nerve. Sam’s clearly not going to make that move. It’s up to him and he’s damn well going to make sure he’s got the best chance possible.

Luke’s working tonight. It’s not ideal. He knows his brother’s going to make it awkward, give Gabriel shit, but at least Jo’s going to be there too. If nothing else, she can distract his dickbag of a brother, while Gabriel sweeps Sam off his feet. Ok maybe not. He tries to pick Sam up literally, and he’s likely to give himelf a hernia. Metaphorical sweeping. Hopefully with lots of tongue action. Maybe dick action.

He sighs. He knows it’s not going to be easy. Even if Sam does say yes. Gabriel can’t forget that charcoal drawing, he can’t help but notice when Sam’s clearly had a bad night. He’s still suffering. That much is clear. But maybe if they’re together, Gabriel can pursuade him to drop it, or to move in a different direction. At the very least he can distract. Gabriel is an expert at distraction. Unexpected BJs. Wondering around with nothing on. Bending over with nothing on. Sam will be too busy having the best sex he’s had in his life to think about the past. And Gabriel will be too busy getting his brains fucked out to worry about it.

Gabriel throws himself a sultry look, snorting out a laugh as his nostrils flare too much. Shit he should have praticed more. He tries a few more times, but he can’t keep a straight face. He looks too damn ridiculous. He pulls a few hilariously exaggerated expressions before padding through to the living area.

Smiling, he picks up the package and pulls out the brush. This is going to work. It’s a damn good brush. It has to.

~~~

SAM

It’s Friday and for the first time since he got here, Sam doesn’t feel like a complete physical and emotional wreck. Actually getting some solid sleep in, has done him the world of good. His morning run feels invigorating, instead of a chore he has to drag his weary body through. Dean gives him a wide smile when he returns and reminds him about the Roadhouse tonight. And Sam’s actually looking forward to it. Charlie and her friends are going to be there. They can make a night of it.

Will Gabriel be there? Maybe. His schedule seems to vary, but Sam thinks he mentioned he would be. He’s certainly going to be at Life Drawing. Sam definitely remembers that, as well as his rather unsuccessful attempts not to flush when he thought about seeing Gabriel naked again. It shouldn’t be an issue. He should be used to it by now. But the more time he spends with Gabriel, the more inappropriate his feelings get. Gabriel’s not just gorgeous, he’s funny and charming and utterly ridiculous. And Sam can’t help falling deeper and deeper under his spell.

As he hits the shower, his mind drifts where it always goes, to Gabriel’s quirked lips, his bright eyes, his pink, flushed cock… Sam takes hold of his own swelling cock. He strokes himself long and slow, replaying memories, indulging in fantasies. One moment he sees Gabriel’s enthusiastic account of the dark room incident and the next he’s imagining deft hands in the dark, unbuttoning his fly, pulling free his erection, warm mobile lips closing over the tip of his cock. He thinks of a multitude of scenarios, each bringing him closer to the edge. When he finally cries out his release against the shower wall, he does so with Gabriel’s name on his lips.

He knows he shouldn’t be doing this. He’s told himself countless times by now. But… what harm can it really do? He just needs to keep a little distance. He can’t let himself get fooled into thinking it can be real. And if he does that… then everything will be fine.

~~~

As Sam walks into the life drawing room, he feels pretty good. A little nervous sure, but after letting off a little steam in the shower, he thinks he can handle… He pauses mid thought as he takes in the item sitting perched on his easel. What? He slowly walks over, frowning. Did someone leave this here by accident? Dropping his supplies on the floor beside him, he reaches to pick it up.

His heart skips a beat. There’s a note. A note just like the last two. This isn’t an accident, this is a gift. But… but it can’t be. He picks up the note, heart suddenly hammering in his chest. He carefully unfolds it. The same messy handwriting is staring up at him, the same scribbled heart at the end.

No power in the ‘verse can stop you.

He can’t help but smile, even though his mind is racing as fast as his heart.

But… he can’t quite wrap his head around this… He’s seen these brushes, coveted the crap out of them whenever he visited an art supply shop. They’re the best in the industry. Absolutely top of the line. It’s too much. It’s way too much. He can’t… he can’t accept this.

His smile falters. His stomach drops. He knows what this means. He let it go too far. He let it go way too far. Sam knows how much these brushes cost and this isn’t even a small one. He wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of the most expensive brushes they sell. Why would Gabriel do this? He works 3 jobs. People don’t do that unless they’re struggling financially. Christ, how the hell did he afford it? This isn’t a flower or fancy pastries. This is a far grander gesture…

He knows what he has to do. It’s going to tear him apart, but he can’t… he can’t let it go on any longer. Not here, the class is due to start any moment. After might be tricky. He’ll have to do it tonight, pull Gabriel aside, ask to have a word. His heart clenches painfully at the thought. But it has to be done. He has to let go.

~~~

Dean keeps on shooting him worried looks. He can tell something’s up, but mercifully he’s far too allergic to the sharing of feelings, to be the first to bring it up. Sam knows his solution will be to ply Sam with a steady supply of beer. The oh so healthy Winchester way of coping with emotional problems. Getting drunk is probably a spectacularly bad idea, but a couple will most certainly calm his nerves. And that, he’s definitely going to need. Afterwards... Well afterwards he might just go with Dean’s solution.

As they walk through the door, Sam’s eyes immediately go the bar. Gabriel. He is here. Shit. Sam was half hoping he’d got it wrong. And damn if he’s not looking utterly stunning. He’s wearing a plain white button down shirt that perfectly shows off the plains of his chest. Nipples too, it would appear. His hair is neatly combed, golden strands shining under the overhead lights. It’s getting long, curling at the back instead of just flicking out. It looks… Damn it looks good. Eyes… God, Sam can’t even think about his eyes.

He’s chatting to Charlie, features ever mobile, hands flying through the air. Whatever story he’s telling, he has Charlie in histerics. He pulls an utterly ridiculous expression, she laughs and then he’s laughing too. A big open mouthed laugh, eyes screwed up, chin pulled back in a way that’s kind of giving him a double chin. It’s not attractive at all… and yet it’s the most beautiful sight Sam has ever seen. His heart clenches painfully in his chest. Christ.

Dean’s trying to drag him in the direction of the bar, but Sam can’t go over there, not yet. Dean shakes his head and makes a face, but he leaves Sam to find a table and makes a beeline towards the alcohol.

Sam slumps down in the chair and just watches. As Dean approaches the bar, Charlie turns and greets him, Gabriel gives him a bright smile and says something that has Charlie sniggering and Dean rolling his eyes. Then Gabriel is leaning over the bar, head tilted to the side, searching… their eyes meet and Sam is treated to the most brilliant, heart stopping smile he’s ever seen. He knows it’s stilted, strained, but he smiles back the best he can, even though his heart is breaking.

~~~

GABRIEL

When he’s finished serving big bro Dean-o, Gabriel excuses himself and darts into the back, making his way to the staff rest room.

He shuts the door behind him and leans against it, taking a few deep breaths. No need to panic. No need at all. Sam smiled when he got the gift this morning. So it wasn’t quite the overwhelming reaction Gabriel was expecting... but maybe he was just a little… taken aback. It’ll be fine. He runs his fingers through his hair. Ah shit. He trots over to the little mirror over the sink and tries to fix his hair back into some semblance of order. God is he getting sweaty? Maybe a little. Damn, won’t that show? He dashes into the cubicle and grabs a large handful of toilet paper, hastily unbuttons his shirt and shoves a wad under each armpit. There, emergency averted.

He eyes his reflection in the mirror. He can do this. No problemo. He’s charming. He’s… okay looking. His ass looks damn good in these pants. He turns around and looks back over his shoulder. Hells yeah, he’s always had a great ass, but the yoga’s been doing wonders.

Ok so the plan. He can’t just jump right in. Let Sam get a couple of beers in. Hit up the jukebox with a song that he hopes will make Sam smile… He might not get it, but Gabriel has a little something that he hopes will get the blood rushing southwards. Maybe lean over the table to clear the glasses. Yes he should definitely do that and then…

He’s rudely interrupted from his thoughts by a snorted laugh from the doorway. Gabriel turns around and raises his eyebrows at Jo’s amused expression.

“Am I interrupting something?”

Her lips are twitching, eyes alight with humor. He rolls his eyes.

“It’s actually getting busy out there, so if you’re done primping…” she presses her lips together, failing to hold back her smile.

He makes a face, but he can’t help shooting her a smile as he heads towards the door.

“Uh Gabriel…”

He turns and raises his eyebrows.

“Might want to save the flashing for afterwards.” She looks pointedly at his chest.

He looks down. Yikes. His shirt is still open, wide open, both super perky nipples on display. Toilet paper still wadded under his armpits.

Jo completely loses her handle on that giggling fit she was trying to suppress, and after a beat, Gabriel joins her.

Chapter Text

SAM

“Dude seriously? Who put this on?” Dean makes a face and they all turn towards the jukebox, but whoever made the selection doesn’t seem to be there anymore.

Despite the way he’s feeling, Sam smiles a little, recognising the song from the Umbrella Academy series. The track plays during one of the best parts of the series. Incredibly violent fight scene, set to a incongruously upbeat, jaunty old tune.

Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows... Everything that's wonderful is what I feel when we're together

Sam’s eyes are drawn over to where Gabriel is busy clearing glasses. He wonders idly if Gabriel’s seen the series. Seems like the sort of thing he’d enjoy. He shouldn’t be thinking this way. He’s on his second beer now. He should… Gabriel turns and his eyes flick up to Sam. Shit he should look away… But Gabriel’s smiling at him. He’s reaching into his pocket and pulling out… a lollipop. Sam can’t help but stare wide eyed as Gabriel quickly unwraps the candy and then his tongue is circling the lollipop in a manner that can only be described as… obscene. Sam feels heat pool rapidly in his groin.

And I feel so fine... Just to know that you are mine... My life is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows

Oh God. Gabriel put this on. He put this on for Sam. Samshine, his mind supplies. Samshine and… and lollipops. It’s a reference to them. To his nickname for Sam, to his over the top sweet tooth. Oh shit. He’s… he’s sucking the lollipop all the way into his mouth, hollowing his cheeks. Fuck.

And everyone is watching. Sam drags his eyes away long enough to survey the room. Absolutely everyone… Well except Luke, who appears to be giving Sam an exceptionally murderous look. Well, double fuck.

Sam’s eyes are drawn to his own table. Charlie is laughing. Natalie is making a squealing sound that he’s pretty sure means she still thinks Gabriel is ultra adorable. Kevin is more about the facial expressions. And Dean. Well Dean’s expression seems equal parts horrified and… weirdly impressed. He happens to notice Sam is looking at him and he gestures with his eyes at Gabriel and mouths Dude go on. Hit that.

Sam’s eyes flick back to Gabriel. Christ. The look he’s giving Sam… Fuck. And he’s still making a display of giving oral to a fucking lollipop.

Sam can’t do this. He can’t. If he stays here one more second, he’s going to grab hold of Gabriel, take that stupid damn lollipop out of his mouth and replace it with his tongue.

Clenching his jaw and grabbing his backpack to hold over his groin, he pushes away from the table and makes for the rest rooms.

~~~

Sam leans his head back against the cubicle wall. Well this is a familiar fucking scenario. Only now, now Sam has had a chance to really fall in… Fall in, whatever the hell this is.

He needs to end this thing, right the hell now. Only Gabriel’s making it next to impossible. God, Sam’s never wanted someone so badly in his life. Not even Jess. And that is one hell of a revelation to make.

But nothing’s changed. Absolutely nothing. He’s just as messed up. The very fact that he cares about Gabriel so much, only makes it all the more important that he puts a stop this right the fuck now. He takes in a few deep breaths.

In, out. In, out.

The pain in his chest won’t go away, but the panic is starting to subside… to be replaced with a deep resolve.

If he cares about Gabriel, he’ll let him go. He has to let him go. Now.

Sam takes one more deep breath and pushes through the door back into the bustle of the busy bar beyond. Most people are back to their own little groups, chatting away, knocking back the drinks. But his table are all looking at him. Dean shoots him a What the fuck expression, the rest just look confused and concerned. Sam averts his eyes. He needs to find…

Gabriel. He’s placing glasses on the bar. Jo catches sight of Sam and whispers something in his ear. Gabriel turns. He smiles, but there’s uncertainty flickering in his eyes. Oh God.

Before he can loose his nerve, Sam walks over.

Deep breath Sam, deep breath.

“Can we,” his voice cracks and he clears his throat before trying again. “Can we talk?”

Gabriel furrows his brow, but nods. Sam tries to keep his expression neutral, he doesn’t want to do this out here, but Gabriel’s clearly reading him anyway. Will it be easier if he knows what’s coming? No probably not.

He turns to look at Jo.

“Go ahead Gabe, take 5. We can handle it.” She gives Gabriel a warm smile, but when her eyes shift to Sam, they turn cold. She knows too. God.

Gabriel motions for Sam to follow him, leading the way through the back and into a small storage room-cum-office. Sam opens his bag and pulls out the brush as Gabriel closes the door.

When Gabriel turns back, he takes in the brush in Sam’s hand and he just blinks at it, lips pressed into a thin line.

“Gabriel… I can’t… I can’t take this,” Sam stutters. He holds the brush out.

Gabriel furrows his brow and pushes Sam’s hand back.

“Yes, yes you can.” His eyes flick up to Sam’s, golden eyes bright with determination.

Sam sighs and runs his other hand back through his hair. God this isn’t going to be easy.

“You don’t understand. I can’t take this. I can’t...” He swallows around the lump in his throat. “I can’t do… this. This… whatever it is. I can’t.”

And there it is... the hurt, laid bare in his eyes, in the sudden slump of his shoulders, the the way his lips twitch downwards. It’s like a punch in the gut. Sam wants to look away. Turn away. But he owes Gabriel this much.

“I’m sorry… I never meant to…”

Why are the words so hard to find. He takes in a deep breath and tries again.

“It’s not you… it’s-”

“Oh spare me the goddamn clichés,” Gabriel snaps, eyes flaring with hurt and anger. “I’m not a fucking child. You think I haven’t been rejected before?”

He chuckles and throws out his arms. “Hells Sam, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last. Just do me favor? Don’t throw me all the damn lines. I get it ok? Message received, loud and clear.”

Sam’s stomach clenches, his heart thuds against his chest. Look at what you’ve done. You fucking coward. You should have done this weeks ago. You should never have started it at all.

“But-”

“Don’t. Just don’t.”

Sam snaps his mouth shut. There’s nothing he can say. Nothing that will make this better.

Gabriel draws a deep breath in through his nose, then scrubs a hand back through his hair.

“Okay, look. This has been… What’s the opposite of fun? That.” Gabriel sighs. He looks up at Sam and promptly rolls his eyes. “Enough with the puppy dog eyes. Yeesh.”

He takes a step closer to Sam and takes hold of the hand still holding the brush. Sam’s heart skips a beat. He wants nothing more than to say that this was all a mistake. To tell Gabriel how fucking amazing he is, tell him how much he means to Sam, tell him how everything seems that much brighter when he walks in the room. God he wants to so much.

“Don’t sweat it kiddo.” One side of his mouth quirks upwards in a facsimile of a smile. He pushes the brush back to Sam and lets go. “Take it.”

“Gabriel I…”

Gabriel makes a frustrated sound in the back of his throat and turns around. He starts pacing back and forth in the small space.

“Kid, you got talent,” he says at length. “You’re gonna go a long way. You deserve…” He trails off, presses his lips together and looks up at Sam. A small smirk tugs at the corner of his mouth. “Think of it this way. Zachariah sees you with this,” he makes a long low whistle. “He’s gonna soil himself.”

Despite himself, Sam snorts out a small laugh and shakes his head. “He’ll probably think I stole it.”

Gabriel shoots him a bright dimpled smile and Sam feels his heart stutter in his chest.

“Yeah that woulda been a whole lot easier. Why didn’t I think of that?” He chuckles to himself, but Sam doesn’t miss the way his smile falters as he looks away.

“Sam… You’re friends, big bro… They’re gonna wonder where you got to. Gonna start jumping to all sorts of uncomfortable conclusions.” He looks up and wiggles his eyebrows.

Sam swallows. Gabriel’s trying to make him laugh again, but he can’t… Because he can see past the façade. It’s all too obvious. Gabriel’s eyes aren’t bright with humor. They’re starting to water. He’s fighting not to cry. God. Sam hesitates. He wants to say something to make this better. But there’s nothing to say.

“Just gimme a minute kiddo,” Gabriel says, averting his eyes.

Sam averts his eyes too. He gives a small nod, turns and starts to head back towards the bar. He pauses at the door. Looks back. And wishes to hell he hadn’t. I caused that. All I cause is pain.

He slips silently out of the door and walks back into the busy bar, feeling like all the color has gone out of the world.

~~~

GABRIEL

Gabriel slumps to the cold concrete floor. He hits too hard and pain flares from his tailbone up his spine. He barely notices it.

He knew this was coming, hells did he know. But the cold reality of it? Far worse than he expected. He was such a fool to think he ever stood a chance. That little bit of hope, thinking that a damn paint brush could make all the difference. Of course it wouldn’t. He stares across at the shelves of liquor bottles lining the opposite wall, vision blurring, wetness trailing down his cheeks.

But the signs were all there. Weren’t they? This last week… Sam was flirting with him. Wasn’t he? Or was he just being nice? But… but the staring… what the hell had that been about? Maybe Sam had been a little interested, physically, but Gabriel’s just not… not dating material. Yeah that sounds about right. He’s an embarassment. He routinely goes too far, completely misses the mark, screws things up royally. He’s a joke.

Fuck, why didn’t anyone try to warn him? Jo was all gung ho about it. Cassie too, though he’d barely seen Sam. They’d all told him to go for it. Even Sam’s big bro. Hells, Dean-o had practically pimped out his little bro... or was it the other way round. Gabriel’s pretty sure he was the floozy in that little scenario.

All except Luke, he realises with a jolt. Fucking Luke. In all his twisted assholery, Luke was the only one who tried to tell him the truth. Sam was always way out of his league. He never stood a chance. If only he’d listened to his dickbag of a big bro. Sure he was an ass about it, but in his own fucked up way, Gabriel thinks that maybe Luke had been trying to protect him.

He rubs a hand over his stinging eyes. Good ol Lucy. Always the one to clip his wings and bring him tumbling back to Earth. Shit, he needs a drink. He eyes the bottles of liquor. Fuck it. He scrabbles across the floor and scans his eyes across the bottles. He’ll have to replace what he takes, so maybe not the single malt. Vodka? Yeesh, he doesn’t want to burn his throat out. Spiced rum? Hells, why not? He grabs the bottle off the shelf and glances around for a glass. No glasses. No matter. He unscrews the top and takes a long drag, immediately coughing and spluttering. Fuck, that shit’s actually stronger than he remembered. He’s used to sickly sweet alcopops. It’s be awhile since he hit the hard liquor.

He crosses his legs beneath him and takes another, more considered drag. A pleasant, calming warmth spreads through his chest. That’s better. He can’t hide away in here forever, drowning his sorrows of course, but maybe a few minutes more.

~~~

“Hey peeps, how’s it hanging?”

He struts up to the bar and swings open the entrance.

“Gabriel, are you ok?” Jo regards him with worried eyes, brow adorably furrowed. He has a weird urge to go up to her and pinch her cheeks, even though he knows he’d get a smack in the face for his troubles.

He flashes her a huge shit eating grin instead and flings his arms out, almost knocking over a couple of empties on the bar. “Swell, Jo. Absolutely peachy.”

“Are you… Are you drunk?”

He purses his lips and makes a considering face. “I’m gonna go with no.” He snaps his fingers in the air. “Not yet anyways.” He saunters over to the shelves and grabs a couple of shot glasses and a bottle of purple liquid. He pours out a couple of measures, spilling a fair bit on the surface and downs the first glass before Jo can say anything.

“Gabriel no…”

There goes the second glass. He tries to make a grab for the bottle again, but Lucy’s got a hold of it.

“Never thought you’d be the party pooper, big bro-ster.” He chuckles as Luke clenches his jaw.

Luke narrows his eyes and Gabriel wonders if he’s going to take a swipe at him. The thought makes him laugh. Oh that would top off this glorious night.

Instead he steps closer and Gabriel thinks he might be going a little cross eyed as he looks up at his big brother’s growly face.

“I will fucking end him.” He snarls and then he’s turning away…

Woah woah woah. No that’s not... Gabriel grabs for his arm at the same time as Jo says. “No Luke.”

Gabriel’s eyes dart across to Sam, who’s sitting back at his table, looking forlornly down at an empty beer bottle. Shit no. Sam doesn’t deserve that. This is all on Gabriel and his idiotic over reaching.

Luke turns back to him and gives him an incredulous look. Why the hell not?

Gabriel runs a hand back through his hair. He’s feeling a bit tipsy, but Luke’s rage has sobered him somewhat. “You said it yourself. Waaaaay out of my league. I should have listened. Sam’s not the asshole here, I am.”

Luke makes a face. He looks like he’s going to argue, but then he gives Gabriel the barest hint of a smile and ruffles his hair. Gabriel rolls his eyes and shakes his head. Luke gives him one more look. If you change your mind... Gabriel tilts his head a little and gives his brother a half smile. He knows. Luke turns and walks back to the till. Satisfied for now at least.

He feels strong hands on his shoulders and let’s himself be turned around. Is Jo gonna offer to defend his virtue next? The thought makes him chuckle to himself.

Jo just gives him a considering look… and then he’s being enveloped in tight hug. Oh God damn it. He hooks his chin over her shoulder and feels his eyes start to sting again. Shit, he can’t loose it out here where everyone can see.

“I’m sorry Gabe,” Jo says softly in his ear. “He’s a damn fool.”

No he will not cry.

“You wanna go home? Luke and I can handle it.”

He nods, knowing that she can feel the motion against her shoulder. Yeah he can’t stay here, that’s for sure. And he’s already starting to sober up. He needs to be away. Far away.

~~~

Gabriel doesn’t go home. He means to… but hells, he’s just not ready to fall into a depressed stuper. Before he met Sam, he was going to head over to New Bern. Make a night of it. Get laid. Hells yeah. That’ll take his mind off Sam. The brush was eye wateringly expressive, but he still has a little left from the sale of his guitar. Should be enough for one night out. Biting his lip and shoving his hands in his pockets, he changes direction and heads for the bus stop instead.

Chapter Text

SAM

Sam picks at the label on the empty beer bottle. The conversation around him is stilted. He doesn’t pay it much attention. At least they seem to have stopped looking at him like he just kicked a puppy. To be fair to them, Gabriel did indeed look like a kicked puppy when he left. Hair all fluffed up, eyes downcast, lips pursed in an unhappy frown. God he’d looked so unhappy, though he’d tried to hide it up at the bar with wide smiles and sweeping arm gestures. But he couldn’t hide his red rimmed eyes and it was pretty clear he was a little drunk. Sam had tried not to look, but found his eyes kept flicking over, that was until he caught sight of Luke’s expression. Then he very much averted his eyes, found the empty bottle in his hand suddenly incredibly interesting.

Sam’s somewhat tempted to follow suite. Go up to the bar and order a line of shots. But hey, guess what? Both of the remaining bar staff look like they want to murder him and frankly he doesn’t blame them.

Another beer is placed in front of him and he looks up to give Charlie a small smile of thanks. Charlie hesitates, opens her mouth like she wants to say something, but after a beat closes it, and just gives him a small smile in return before circling around to her seat beside Natalie. Natalie quirks her lips at him when she sees him looking. Seeing as she’s a card holding member of the Gabriel’s an adorable puppy club, he appreciates the gesture.

Dean, sitting on Natalie’s other side, doesn’t seem so impressed. His lips are pressed into a thin line and he keeps shaking his head a little and looking away. Sam doesn’t really understand his attitude. Dean doesn’t know Gabriel. The last time they were here, he was all too ready to poke fun at Gabriel’s height. So why the silent treatment? Why the disappointed looks. Is Dean really that desperate to see him get laid? Why the hell does it matter so much to him?

Sam sighs and takes a long pull of his beer. He lets the sounds of the busy bar wash over him. The beer should be giving him a pleasant buzz by now, but it’s only serving to make him feel more maudlin.

When he nears the bottom of the bottle, he decides he’s had enough. He wants to get home and curl up into a ball on his bed. He wants to feel sorry for himself for awhile, alone and away from judging eyes. He makes his excuses and pulls away from the table, collecting his belongings and shrugging on his jacket. If anything, everyone looks relieved. Right. Makes sense.

Sam hunches his shoulders against the chill night air and makes his way across the parking lot. It’s a relief to be out of there, to be out from under the weight of everyone’s disappointment, resentment, anger. The only problem being, that the person who’s most disappointed and angry at him, is his damn self. And unfortunately that’s the one person he can’t get away from…

“Sam? Sammy?”

…apart from his brother. Hell, apparently he can’t get away from his brother either. He’s childishly tempted to lengthen his stride and just keep going. He’s taller, maybe he can outrun him. He sighs. No, Dean’s nothing if not stubborn. He wants to say his piece, he will.

He turns and throws his hands up in the air. What?

Dean makes a face at him, before shoving his hands in his pockets and striding over.

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

Sam raises his eyebrows. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me… What the hell is wrong with you Sammy?”

Sam snorts out a disbelieving laugh. “I’m sorry, what? Are you pissed because I didn’t take your advice or are you suddenly part of the ‘I love Gabriel’ club?”

Dean makes another face at him. “Dude, I couldn’t care less about Gabriel. Kind of an annoying little douche. What I do have a problem with, is you acting like you don’t give a damn.”

Sam rubs a hand over his face, all the frustrated anger flowing away, to be replaced with something that’s a little harder to deal with.

“I care,” he says in a small voice. “I didn’t mean to hurt him.”

“Then why did you?” Dean asks.

Sam throws him a bitchface and Dean rolls his eyes.

“You know what I mean. Why the rejection? You’re free, you’re single. You like the weird little dude. Can’t say I get it, but each to their own.” He throws his hands up in the air. “Tell me what I’m not getting. And don’t throw me some crap about work.”

“I told you Dean, I don’t want to have this conversation.” Sam shoves his hands in his pockets and gives his brother a pained look.

“Screw that Sammy. We are having this conversation, whether you like it or not.” Dean’s voice is rising, hands clenching into fists at his side. “You’re having nightmares again. Don’t think I haven't noticed.”

Sam flinches. Hell, he guesses it was only a matter of time.

“You’re working all hours of the day and night. Don’t think I haven’t noticed that too. Except here’s the thing. I walk in on you,” he clears his throat, an awkward smirk on his lips. “Dude, you said his name.”

Sam feels his cheeks flare bright red. Christ, Dean heard that.

“Ever since then, you seemed to be getting better. You would go off in these little day dreams, get a smile on your face. And I hadn’t seen you smile in weeks.” Dean shakes his head. “Why would you throw that all away?”

Sam looks away. “You don’t understand.”

“Then make me understand,” Dean yells. He rubs a hand over his face and looks up at Sam, eyes filled with sadness. “Jess was 6 years ago. She would want you to move on man.”

Sam purses his lips. He doesn’t know what to say.

“Son of bitch,” Dean grits out after a beat. Sam doesn’t know what Dean just read into his silence, but it can’t be good. “This isn’t about Jess is it? It’s never been about Jess.” Dean lets out a frustrated noise.

Sam furrows his brow, he opens his mouth, but the words won’t come.

“That goddamn piece of shit really did a number on you didn’t she?”

“Christ Dean. That’s not. That’s not what happened. You didn’t know her. I screwed things up, I was a mess. I hurt her. I fucked up so badly that-”

“Don’t you damn well say it Sammy!” Dean’s eyes flare with anger. He breathes in deeply. Clenches his jaw.

“Dean-”

Dean holds up a hand and Sam falls silent. Dean wasn’t there. He wouldn’t understand. It doesn’t matter what he says.

After a long moment, Dean narrows his eyes and takes a step forward. “She saw that you were vulnerable and she used you.” Sam shakes his head, but it only makes Dean clench his jaw even tighter. “You were so damn afraid of losing someone else… She knew that. She used it against you. Manipulated you. Everyone saw it. But she saw that too. And so she turned you against us. Isolated you. And you were hurting too badly to see it. God you have no idea what it was like from the outside Sammy. We could see you pulling away from us. And we couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it.”

Sam’s heart is thundering in his chest. He stares at Dean. It’s not… That’s not what happened. Was it? Suddenly he’s not so sure. Not so sure about anything.

Dean pauses and looks up at the sky, with a cold shock he notices that Dean is… Dean is crying?

“I don’t know what shifted, maybe we got lucky. I honestly thought you’d wised up to her game. But I think maybe it was something else… You thought you were hurting her? Thought it would be better if you left?”

Sam swallows around the lump in his throat. He can’t speak, but he nods his head.

Dean shakes his head. “Then she delivered the kicker didn’t she. Let you see what would happen if you left her. Thought it would make you tow the line. But she screwed up. In more ways than one. Maybe thought the damn stuff wasn’t so strong. Almost lost her life… But she also fucked up with you. She scared the hell out of you. You blamed yourself like she wanted you to. But you also reckoned she was better off without you. Something she didn’t bargain on…”

Dean trails off. Head hung low. Sam’s head is spinning. He feels like something’s been pulled out from beneath him. He feels his own eyes sting with tears. God is Dean right? If he is then…

“It wasn’t your fault man,” Dean says in a small voice. “I don’t know if you’ll ever believe that… But it wasn’t.”

Sam’s heart clenches at the defeated cadence of Dean’s voice. He wants to believe it, but he’s not sure if he can. What he thought was the absolute truth, is all muddled in his head.

Dean chuckles and the sound is so incongruous that Sam snaps his head upwards and regards Dean with a confused frown.

“Dude, sorry it’s just that… Gabriel is so fucking far from being Ruby, it’s goddamn hilarious.” Dean smirks and shakes his head. “Apart from them both being… What is it with you and midgets?”

Sam can’t help it, despite himself, despite everything, he feels his shoulders shaking with laughter.

“Seriously though.”

Dean snorts out an undignified laugh and Sam lets a pretty fucking inappropriate giggling fit take him over.

“Man I know you don’t want to hear this,” Dean says at length, when Sam’s giggles have finally subsided. “But… you’ve been shutting people out. And you don’t need to. Gabriel’s more than a few cards short of a deck… but he’s not her and you’re not the person she made you think you were.”

Sam wipes a hand over his face and in a shaking voice says, “It’s too late… Even if I… It’s too late.”

“Maybe,” Dean conceeds. He raises his eyebrows. “Maybe not. You won’t know unless you try. Just think on it?”

Sam looks at his brother. Could he? Could he really have that? Be with Gabriel… He’s really not sure, but he nods his head. He’ll think on it. It’s likely he’ll find it hard to think on anything else.

Chapter Text

GABRIEL

Gabriel eyes the line of shots on the bar and rubs his hands together. Might as well start as he means to go along. He picks up the first glass and tips his head back, feeling the liquor slide down his throat. Nice. Plenty of sugar to soothe the burn of the high alcohol content. He picks up the second. Down the hatch. That hit the spot. He’s starting to get his buzz back. No more moping. It’s time to let loose and live a little.

He takes a moment to lean back against the bar and survey the room. He’d been a little worried the place would be filled with kids barely out of their teens, but it’s a good mixed crown. Plenty of potential. Speaking of. A petite bleached blonde, with a wicked red lipped smile, is looking over in his direction. Oh she’s trouble. Gabriel arches an eyebrow. Definitely got potential. Most of the time he’s all about the dick, but once in awhile… it’s nice to have a change of pace. While he has his preferences, he’s dated both and certainly fooled around with both. And this lavacious lady, practically the polar opposite of Sam, might just be the ticket to mend his broken heart. So it’ll be a little like putting a band aid on an arterial wound, but fuck it, at least it’s a distraction.

She’s walking over. Confident stride. Dressed like she means to have a good time, that or eviscerate her next victim. She looks like she belongs downstairs, all in black, leather pants, biker boots. But here she is, up here in the bright heavens, eyeing him up, biting down on her lower lip. Talk about eye fucking. Damn. He stretches his mouth into a smirk and gives his eyebrows a little wiggle.

“Hey sugarpants,” she purrs as she leans back against the bar beside him. “You all on your lonesome?”

Sugarpants? And people say the nicknames he doles out are ridiculous. He likes her style.

“Not anymore,” he drawls, making a show of drawing his gaze over her body, as he picks up two shot glasses, and hands one to her.

They clink the glasses together and knock them back.

She eyes the last two shots. He raises an eyebrow and nods his head. One each, clink, down they go. He’s really starting to feel it, the world around him pleasantly fuzzy, the pain receeding.

She’s drawing closer, right up into his personal space. He feels the heat from her body, smells her cheap perfume, mixed with cigarette smoke and alcohol. She reaches out a hand and draws her thumb over his cheekbone.

“Well, aren’t you a beautiful mess.” Her warm breath tickles his ear and sends shivers down his spine. She leans back and holds his gaze. “What’s her name?”

He feels the smile drop from his face. He shakes his head. He came here to forget. His heart clenches painfully as he pictures Sam’s bright smile, his puppy dog eyes.

She laughs. The sound isn’t pleasant. “Not a she then… A he. Did he break your heart?”

Gabriel clenches his jaw.

“Don’t you worry big boy, I’m here now. You want to forget all about him?”

Gabriel parts his lips and nods his head.

She takes hold of his hand and draws him onto the dancefloor and they get swallowed by the crowd.

~~~

Gabriel laughs and grinds his hips backwards. She grabs hold of him roughly, digging her fingernails into his hipbones and pulls him further back against her. Then her hands are all over his chest, running those fingernails down the front of his shirt. Woah hands in his pants. Gabriel snorts out a laugh as her hand freezes.

“No underwear? Kinky, I like,” she whispers in his ear as she gives him a rough squeeze.

Woah ow. “Hey gentle with the goods,” he says as he removes her hands and spins around.

She laughs and he just rolls his eyes.

~~~

How many drinks is that? He lost count. She drags him close and turns him around, points her phone at both of them. Ooh selfies. He pulls a ridiculous face as she licks a stripe up his neck. The girl… What’s her name again?... He keeps forgetting… She picks up the next two shots and hands one to him. One two three. Ha another selfie. He grabs her phone and takes a look at the picture she just took. They look hilarious. She grabs the phone back and takes a close up of his smirk. Another drink? He arches an eyebrow. If he has many more he’ll puke. Probably not the way to impress the lady. Oh hell, just one more.

He maybe missed his mouth a little… Oops. He giggles as the sticky liquid runs down the front of his shirt.

~~~

They’re on the dancefloor again. He doesn’t remember how they got here. No matter. And where did that come from. He squints down at the glowstick necklace he seems to have acquired. Ooooh. The girl sniggers in his ear, calls him her beautiful mess again and pulls him into a close embrace. What the hell are they dancing to? Ed Sheeran? Yikes no. He makes a sound of complaint and starts dragging her towards the stairs. Time they decended into the bowels of hell.

~~~

Her friends think he’s hilarious. They insist he has another drink. Well he doesn’t want to be a party-pooper now, does he. Hells no.

~~~

He drags her onto the dancefloor. He loves this song. They dance energetically. He stumbles, she catches him and they both laugh. Ah now it’s a slower number. He thinks he recognises it, but he can’t remember. She turns him around and pulls his hips back. Her hands start to wander again. He giggles as she pulls his shirt right up with one hand and shoves the other hand down the front of his pants. She’s too rough again. He yelps, then laughs. Someone wolf whistles. He looks up. His vision’s a teensy bit blurry, but he thinks it might be one of her friends. They’re pointing their phone, so he pulls his very best smouldering look before decending into a fit of giggles.

~~~

I see a red door and I want it painted black... No colors anymore I want them to turn black

Gabriel frowns. He loves this song. He’s pretty sure that he can play it… But there’s something about it that reminds him of someone. A large charcoal drawing swims into his mind. Dark twisted shapes. All that pain. All that suffering. He sees a face. Brow furrowed as he regards Gabriel with sad eyes. I’m sorry… It’s not you…

He let’s out a sob.

“Hey sugarpants.”

His vision swims back. There’s a pretty face in front of him. Pretty… but… there’s something about the arch of her brow, the look in her eyes. What is that? Amusement?

She grabs his hand and starts dragging him across to the other side of the room. Where are they going? He doesn’t know. He just follows.

~~~

She pushes him back against the cubicle wall and tries to kiss him. He doesn’t want that so he turns his head. She just laughs and attacks his neck instead. Her hands are in his pants again. She’s unbuttoning them, pulling him out. Does he want this? He thought he did… Her hands go up into his hair and…

Long artists fingers brush through his hair, his scalp is tingling, the sensation shivering down his spine.

No… No he can’t. He can’t do this.

He pushes her gently away. Looks her in the eyes.

“I… I can’t do this.” He sounds kind of slurred, but by the look on her face, she heard him.

“What the hell?!” She growls and shoves him backwards with enough force to hurt.

She glares. He thinks she might actually smack him and he flinches. It makes her laugh.

He clenches his jaw and starts to button himself up with shaking fingers as she just looks on. Sighing, he runs a hand back through his hair and looks across at her pouting face.

“I’m sorry… It’s not you, it’s… me.” Oh the irony. He almost laughs, but he’s pretty sure he really would get a smack for that, so he clenches his teeth and gives her the puppy dog eyes.

She just rolls her eyes and opens the door with more force than is strictly necessary, storming out. Wincing he follows her out, shooting a few apologetic looks at the startled looking ladies in the room beyond.

As he pushes through the swing doors, he finds himself in some sort of foyer. The music can still be heard and there a lot of people standing around in groups, chatting and laughing. A few glance his way and raise their eyebrows or laugh. Right… he just came out of the ladies. He’s tempted to wiggle his eyebrows, but somehow he knows it really wouldn’t be a good idea. Ah yes, the girl in question has just spun around. He’s not so drunk that he doesn’t see the malicious edge to her smile. Gabriel sighs. He knows what’s coming.

“That wasn’t exactly what I’d call… satisying,” she drawls in a voice that carries easily over the background chatter. She smirks and raises her hand up, thumb and forefinger, held little more than an inch apart. “Should have known not to go for the charity case.”

He rolls his eyes, shoves his hands in his pockets, and ignoring the laughter her outburst elicits from the people around them, starts to head in what he hopes is that direction of the cloakroom. He’s going to be the bigger person here.

“You know you should really talk to a doctor about that... Premature ejaculation? At your age?” She snorts out a mocking laugh. Several people around them snigger and mutter unflattering comments.

Gabriel lets out a breath, purses his lips.

A smirk twisting his lips upwards, he spins around, taking a step when he almost stumbles.

“Hey, no need to feel ashamed. Genital herpies… aint exactly pretty… but I’m sure you can get meds for that. Of course the side effects… yeesh.” He gives her an exaggerated sympathetic face, trying his best not to laugh at the way her face twists in horror and rage. The laughter around them is a lot more pronounced. He receives a smattering of applause. He’s tempted to take a bow, but he’s pretty sure he’d fall over.

Satisfied, he turns on his heel and keeps walking, ignoring the littany of colorful abuse that follows behind him.

~~~

“Gabriel?”

Gabriel furrows his brow. He recognises that low gravely voice… Cas? What the hell is Cassie doing in his apartment? Uughh. His neck hurts and the surface under his cheek is cold. Fuck he’s actually freezing. And what’s with the rank smell. He curls up into a tighter ball and grimaces at the hard surface under his hip. Did he fall asleep in the bathroom again?

“Gabriel… You must wake up. You cannot stay here.”

A hand brushes the hair from his brow. He tries to swat it away, but misses completely.

There’s a sigh.

He mutters out an annoyed huff and tries to turn over… Fuck! He’s falling. He yelps and reaches out a hand, but someone’s caught him. He’s being pulled upright, against a warm body. He makes a small sound of complaint… but the warmth is actually kinda nice, so he curls into it instead.

There’s another sigh, this one longer than the last.

“Gabriel…”

The warmth beneath his cheek vibrates with the sound. He burrows further into it and feels something wrap around him. Arms, his frazzled mind supplies. And that’s a chin on top of his head. He appears to be snuggling with someone. Sam? He feels something clench in his chest. No not Sam… No Sam… he… Sam doesn’t want him.

“Gabriel, we should… we should go.”

Oh God, that’s right, that’s his brother. He's snuggling with his baby bro. Yikes. He sits bolt upright and cracks his eyes open, ugh no, the room is spinning… nope not even a room… it’s an outside. He chuckles to himself. Hells, where is he? He blinks, willing his vision to clear. There’s a building across from him, he might vaguely recognise, but he’s not sure. He glances around him, trying to ignore his brother’s worried frown. Looks down. Ah so he did vomit. That would explain why his mouth tastes like a small animal took a crap in it.

Hmm this looks suspiciously like a bus stop. Why is he at a bus stop?

And that’s when it all comes flooding back. Well at least pieces of it. Flashes, glimpses, pictures flitting through his mind. Oh God. Hmm that one’s not so bad. Yikes. Wow, he didn’t? Nope he definitely did. Ughh the girl. Fucking Handsy McHandsy. Kept on grabbing hold of his dick, like it was a dildo and not actually attached to a body with nerve endings. Did he have sex? He tries to wrack his brains. No? Why the hells not? The girl was clearly up for it… Oh. Oh God. He couldn’t do it. In the end he couldn’t go through with it. All because his stupid goddamn brain and heart wouldn’t let him. Because he’s in love with Sam.

He lets out a sob. Cassie reaches for him and he pulls away, tries to stand. But his legs won’t work properly. Cassie’s holding him again and he’s too tired and drunk to argue. Ever dependable Cas. Always here to sweep up Gabriel’s messes. Hang on… How is he here? Gabriel’s pretty sure he didn’t tell anyone where he was going. How did Cas know where to find him?

“Why are you here?” He winces as his voice comes out sounding all squeaky.

Cas sighs. Christ, is he that pathetic that Cassie has to sigh a million times? He considers for a moment. Yes, yes he probably is. He lets himself be led back to the bus stop bench and sat down. Cassie takes the seat next to him. Gabriel looks at his frowny face expectantly.

“Jo told me what happened. I am sorry Gabriel… I know that Sam means a lot to you.” He shakes his head a fraction. “If it is any consolation, I believe that he is not… taking the situation well either.”

Gabriel raises an eyebrow. What?

“He was arguing with the attractive man in the leather jacket. I don’t think they saw me… I did not mean to pry… but I do believe that Sam is sorry that he hurt you.”

Gabriel blinks. Ok that’s the second time Cassie’s refered to Dean-o as ‘the attractive man’. He files away the info for future reference. Sam though… Dean and Sam were arguing. About him? Something else? He opens his mouth to ask if Cassie heard anything more.

Cas shakes his head. “I will not say any more. It was a private conversation, Gabriel. And out of context, I do not think it would make much sense. But his regret… that much was clear. I believe he does care for you.”

Just not in that way Gabriel wants him to. He sighs and hunches his shoulders. Wait, Cassie still hasn’t answered his question.

“But how did you…”

Gabriel’s voice trails off as he sees an odd look pass over Cassie’s face. There’s something he doesn’t want to say.

“I searched for you at home. I wished to make sure you were ok. But you were not there. No one seemed to know where you were.” He pauses. Flicks his eyes away, takes in a breath. “And then I received a message from Balthazar... which led me here”

Balthy? What? How the hell did Balthy know where he was? He’s thousands of miles and several time zones away. Isn’t he? Isn’t he?

Gabriel narrows his eyes and stares at Cas’ uncomfortable face.

Cas clears his throat and sighs for the millionth time. “It would seem that you may have had… relations with a young woman…”

Gabriel rolls his eyes. He remembers that part… albeit vaguely.

“…She appears to have posted several images on…” He frowns. “Instasnap?”

Gabriel rolls his eyes again. “Instagram?... But how… How did Balthy… I don’t even remember her name, how the hell does Balthy know her?”

Cas clears his throat again. “She…” He frowns. “I do not know how to phrase it. She put your name on it in a way that it… links? That it links to your account.”

“She tagged me?!” Oh hells. He doesn’t remember giving her any of his deets. He rubs a hand over his face.

“How… how bad?” Gabriel asks at length, not sure he really wants to know the answer.

Cassie makes another uncomfortable face that would be hilarious under different circumstances.

“I do not believe… they are especially… flattering.”

Gabriel groans and hold his head in his hands. And this is from his brother. The one who always… without fail… understates everything.

“Do you wish to go home now?”

Defeated, weary and still a little drunk, Gabriel just nods his head.

Chapter Text

GABRIEL

Gabriel draws in a sharp breath when he catches sight of himself in the bathroom mirror. Yikes. He knew he should have undressed and hopped in the shower with his eyes tightly shut... But he’s still a little unsteady and the last thing he needs right now, is to walk into his shower door and give himself a concussion.

He stares despairingly at his reflection. Christ. Is there puke in his hair? How the hell did he manage that? His hair is getting long, but not that long. Dark circles under bloodshot eyes. He can’t decide whether he looks about 20 years older than he is or like he just crawled out of a grave. Probably both. Shirt’s lost a few buttons. He’s practically flashing. Oh and how lovely, some sort of sticky blue substance is all over the front. He looks down into the opening… all down his chest too. He looks up again and sighs. Oh yeah and then there’s the dark purpling bruise on his neck, half hidden under smears of red lipstick.

He makes a face at his reflection – well that’s hardly and improvement – then turns away, quickly stripping off his ruined clothes and climbing gingerly into the shower.

He steps under the spray and tilts his head back, letting the water wash away all the dirt and grime and unmentionables, the heat and pressure soothing away the aches and pains. Of his body anyway. His heart still feels like it’s been run over by a steam roller. He has a horrible suspicion that sensation’s not going to go away anytime soon.

Silver lining… is there a silver lining?… Well at least Sam wasn’t there to witness his horrifying drunken ecscapades. And it’s unlikely he’ll see the pictures. Charlie aside, they don’t run in the same circles. He frowns. Becky’s a bit of a wild card of course. But Gabriel doesn’t think they really interact. She just stares at Sam wide eyed and Sam just looks uncomfortable. No it should be ok. He still has no idea exactly how bad the pictures are, as he really can’t confront that little situation right now. He’s feeling crappy enough as it is…

He sighs. Maybe he should just get it over and done with… After the shower and a shit tonne of coffee. Maybe he’ll feel vaguely human by then. He leans his forehead against the shower wall and closes his eyes tightly. He wonders what Sam’s doing. Does he really feel bad? Was Cas right about that? They were becoming friends of a sort… Maybe Sam will miss him. He knows he’ll miss Sam.

~~~

Gabriel bites his lip and arches an eyebrow at the cellphone in his hand. Does he really want to do this? No. He drops it on the bedspread and flops back. He’s being ridiculous, he knows he is. It’s out there, not looking at it isn’t going to make it magically disappear.

“Shit.”

He sits up again and flicks on his phone before he can change his mind. Message from Balthy? Well maybe some forewarning will help.

Mon cher cousin! What ever have you been up to? Or should I ask… who have you been up?! Might want to take a little peek at your Insta. Don’t think she’s a keeper. Whatever happened to that man giant you were swooning over? B x

Well that was forthcoming… Time to face the music. App open. Notifications.

Meg_ho_nuggets tagged you in a post.

Gabriel snorts out a laugh. If it wasn’t for the whole showdown last night, he’d actually consider befriending her. Definitely no fucking though. He likes it a little rough, but he’s no masochist.

He squeezes his eyes shut, cracks one open… opens the link. He blinks. That’s… that’s not the worst picture he’s ever taken. It’s not exactly great… What the hell happened to his hair? It’s all weirdly fluffy at the front. He sighs. Oh look, multiple images. He swipes. Well they both look ridiculous in that one. Swipe. His smirky mouth. God his lips look weird close up. He thinks he’s got vague memories of these ones, but there appears to be another… Oh lovely… He appears to be having a giggling fit after spilling half his drink down himself. Does he really look like that when he laughs? Maybe it’s just because he’s utterly wasted…

Ok so these images don’t exactly show him in his best light, but… maybe Cas wasn’t understating this time, maybe he was simply stating.

He glances at the blurb. It just consists of two tags.

#mybeautifulmess #sugarpants

He shakes his head. Then he sees the first comment…

Ali_666 Beautiful? Think you need your eyes tested sweetheart

Fuck you Ali with the clichéd name. You try having your heart ripped out. See how good you look. He knows he should probably quit now, but he scrolls down.

Knight_of_hell Wow where did you pick that one up? U must’ve been wasted.

x_Bela_x #hobag #beergoggles

Ominously, someone called Lilith, appears to have commented with a link to her own Instagram. To click or not to click, that is the question. Knowing that he’ll probably regret it, he follows the link… And immediately regrets it.

He drops the cellphone on the bedspread and flops back, presses the heels of his hands into his eyesockets. Nope that’s not helping. The image is now branded into his brain. God he thinks he almost remembers. They were on the dancefloor. She was getting all handsy again. Real handsy. Then one of her friends pointed a camera at them. At the time he thought it was hilarious. Now… not so much.

Groaning he levers himself up and picks up the phone again. Christ. Is that supposed to be a smouldering look? Definitely flaring his nostrils too much. But his ‘just smelled a fart’ expression is not the worst thing about this picture… not by a long shot… He’s sweaty and red faced, clumped hair sticking to his forehead, eyes unfocused, fucking double chin. Again not the worst thing… One of her hands is all the way down the front of his pants. Attacking his dick again no doubt. He winces at the thought… But probably the absolute worst thing about this picture, is the other hand, pulling his shirt all the way up, exposing pretty much his entire chest and belly. God that is not flattering at all. He can only assume he kind of hunched over a bit, probably trying to protect his dick, as his belly is looking especially flabby. He looks like he’s got a goddamn muffin top. Sticky blue crap caught in his chest hair. Sweaty and red chested too… Christ he’s hardly a catch. Sam really dodged a bullet…

Feeling utterly miserable he glances at the blurb.

Someone’s got beer goggles on tonight #dirtyhobag #slumminit

He scrolls to the comments.

Aba_badass_btch pls tell me you did not hit that

Meg’s replied to that one. Oh goody.

Meg_ho_nuggets pulease ditched the microdick, got myself a real man

Ok that’s you off the Christmas list. Gabriel scrolls down through the messages. They all say pretty much the same thing, in a variety of colorful, derogatory terms. He gets called fat, ugly, a state, several people comment on the size of his dick. It’s fucking delightful. He stops scrolling, a smile stretching across his features. Samlicker81. He snorts out a laugh. He knows who this is. She changed her handle shortly after Sam joined the class. He reads her comment. Hoo boy, apparently he has a knight in shining armor. He scrolls further. Hells does he. Who would have thought it? Becky Rosen, defending his virtue. Well maybe that’s not quite the right phrasing. More like defending his dick, waxing lyrical about his sexploits. Yikes, he is never playing Never Have I Ever with that girl again. She’s linked to several images on her own instagram. Lots of huge drawings of his dick. Oh and a cute one of both of them grinning into the camera with Chuck squashed between them.

Some of the S.O.B.s argue back. Someone, this Lilith bitch herself, asks for proof. Becky links to… Ah… Casa Erotica’s online website. She’s even helpfully added a few timestamps. Hells, never knew you were such a fan kiddo. Then again, it makes sense with her boy-o being el Director himself. He idly wonders which scenes she’s highlighted. Probably the handful of full frontals. He hopes it isn’t the puppy pile scene.

Sighing and running a hand back through his still damp hair, he drops his cellphone on the bedsheets and pads through to the kitchen. He grabs a tub of Ben and Jerry’s from the freezer, and a spoon. Bowl? Fuck it. Let’s not kid ourselves. He’s going to eat the entire thing. Flopping down on the easy chair, he sticks on the tv and shoves the spoon into the tub.

~~~

SAM

Sam looks out over the rooftops. You can see for miles up here. It’s beautiful, it’s… the clouds darken. A flash. An image. Darkness. Then he’s back on the hilltop. Looking out. There’s a scent in the air. What is that? He looks over the view below. Smoke curls up… it grows thicker… he’s choking on it. Panick. That’s… that’s his apartment.

The view shifts. Heat blisters his skin. He’s looking up. The ceiling is engulfed in flame. And in all that bright, searing intensity… a shape, her form. She’s smiling. She’s screaming. He’s screaming, but no sound comes out. The image flickers. It’s not her anymore. It’s… no no no no no… A ragged scream finally escapes his lips. Throat raw and blistered, he chokes out a name…

“Sam! Sammy!”

Sam starts awake. His bedsheets are tangled around him. For a moment he can’t breathe. His brother’s face swims into his vision. He looks worried.

Sam clears his throat. Crap, he didn’t mean to wake Dean up.

“Uh… sorry,” Sam rasps. His voice is cracked, his throat feels raw. Did he actually scream this time? He’s pretty sure he did. “Sorry I… I didn’t mean to wake you.”

Dean shakes his head. It’s ok. It doesn’t matter. But hell it does. That’s 3 times this week and he’s woken Dean every time.

“Same again?” Dean asks, brow furrowed in worry.

“Uh pretty much.” Well except for that little addition at the end. He’s had plenty of bad dreams involving Gabriel too, but never tangled together like that.

Dean rubs the back of his neck, his eyes dart away. “You uh… you shouted a name.”

Oh. Sam winces. Right.

“You thought any more on what we talked about?”

Sam takes a deep breath and lets it out. He hasn’t even seen Gabriel, not in days. Not since… He gets the very strong impression that Gabriel’s avoiding him. There was a different model on Tuesday. That’s not exactly unusual on it’s own. They don’t always draw Gabriel, but he’s also only seen Garth after hours. He’s thought about casually asking Garth when Gabriel’s next shift is, but he doesn’t know how to do that without it sounding weird.

“I… I’m not sure.”

He has taken a good hard look at his past. What Dean said… when he looks back on things, he’s starting to see things in a different light. The way she was all sympathy and understanding at first, then his nightmares were almost an insult… Like she was jealous of Jess somehow… The way they always argued… The way it always turned out to be his fault. He always ended up apologising. Often because he started to feel like he had caused it. Other times it was fear of losing her that led him to give in. He had felt used sometimes… but she had a way of turning things around. Of changing the way he saw things.

But it wasn’t entirely a one sided thing. He wasn’t the perfect victim. When he thinks back, he also remembers the way he was. The way he talked to people, the things he did. She brought out the worst in him, certainly, but he was definitely to blame for his own actions.

Shit. Dean’s still hovering anxiously at the door…

“Maybe…” he says at length. “Uh… I’m ok. You should get back to sleep. I’ll be ok.”

Dean throws him a worried look. You sure. He nods his head. Yeah.

~~~

When Friday rolls by, Sam’s disappointed, but not surprised, when the model behind the screen turns out to be an elegant elderly woman. Of course he gets a hell of a lot more done, but he’s worried. And not just worried… he misses Gabriel.

He returns after hours to work on his senior project. Dean tried to encourage him to come out of course, but the thought of going to the Roadhouse and bumping into Gabriel’s big brother… No he’s kind of putting that one off for as long as possible. To appease Dean he has agreed to go out for Hallowe’en. Dean of course made a face. It’s more than a week away after all, but Sam does have a hell of a lot of work to get through before then. They’ll be going to Roadhouse. Something about a free drink if you turn up in costume. He hopes to hell tempers have cooled by then.

He idly wonders if Gabriel will be working. Will he be in costume? What costume will he be wearing? Probably something inapproriately tight or skimpy… Damn after everything, Sam still can’t stop thinking that way…

When he stops for a break he bumps into Garth in the hallway. Garth, again?

Garth smiles brightly when he catches sight of Sam and launches straight into a long rambling description of his day.

“Uh how’s Gabriel? I haven’t seen him in awhile,” Sam asks casually when Garth’s soliloquy finally draws to a close.

Garth chuckles and shakes his head. Sam just looks at him, slightly bewildered. Uh what’s that supposed to mean?

“Oh the Big G’s been all fruit loopy lately. Switching shifts around all the time. Honestly. Must be something to do with the new gal.”

Sam’s heart sinks to his feet. Gabriel’s found someone? He’s moved on already? Of course he has. Why wouldn’t he.

Garth’s still chuckling. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his cellphone. Seemingly completely unaware of Sam’s distress, he turns the phone around and shows Sam a picture of Gabriel and a girl with bleached blonde hair. She looks like she might be pretty, though it’s difficult to tell, as she’s attacking Gabriel’s neck with her tongue. Gabriel’s pulling a ridiculous face and looks a little like he’s had a few too many drinks. But he looks… he looks happy.

“Looks like a riot, doesn’t she?” Garth beams.

Sam just nods his head, trying his very best to pretend that his heart isn’t breaking all over again.

Chapter Text

GABRIEL

He knew he couldn’t avoid this forever. He was running out of excuses after all. Ellen was definitely starting to get suspicious. So finally, eventually, he agreed to model again for Sam’s class. It’s been more than a week, but he still doesn’t feel ready. He hasn’t seen Sam since… Well, since that spectularly bad night. Operation Seduce-Sam, has turned into Opertation Avoid-Sam-at-all-costs. He should be over it by now. Shouldn’t he? But hells, he’s not sure he’s actually ever felt this way for someone before and as such, this is brand new territory. Will the pain ever go away? Maybe. Maybe not. But he’s damned if he’s going to spend the rest of his life like a hermit. Moping away and eating tub after tub of Ben and Jerry’s. That certainly won’t do his waistline any good.

Damn he’s getting sweaty. He rubs his hands on the front of his undershirt before pulling it off over his head. Heart’s dancing a goddamn foxtrot too. He hears voices. Sam? He takes a peak through the narrow gaps in his changing screen. Aw no, it’s his shield maiden, Becks, chatting away to the kid beside her. She’s turning her head though, looking especially excited about something… God it’s him. 6 ft 4” of pure sex. Wow… Did he get hotter? Often times, Gabriel’s imagination is better than reality. But with Sam… it’s completely the opposite. Charlie walks in and Sam throws her a brilliant smile. Oh God, that smile should be illegal.

How the hell’s he going to get through this. It’s not like he can hide here for the whole session. Biting down on his lower lip, he takes one more long look at Sam before unbuttoning his jeans and sliding them over his hips. He can do this…

Back straight. Shoulders back. Head held high. Casual. He can do casual and confident. Taking one more deep breath, he saunters out. He glances in Sam’s direction, oh so casually. Uh… what is that expression? Sam looks… taken aback? Charlie’s looking slightly bemused. Has he got something on his face or something? He glances down. Ah oops. Forgot the robe. It’s not like he wasn’t gonna drop it in a few minutes away, but this is decidedly awkward. Should he pretend it’s deliberate? Ah no… there’s Ellen, arms crossed over her chest, one eyebrow raised. He swings around on his heel and ducks back behind the changing screen. Well that could have gone better…

~~~

SAM

Sam shoulders his backpack and heads back to the life drawing room. God earlier was… It was harder than he expected. When Gabriel stepped out from behind the screen… Sam’s heart just about leapt out of his chest. He’s goddamn cartoon cliché. Of course it didn’t help that Gabriel had somehow forgotten to put on his robe. First time he’s seen Gabriel in more than a week and Sam’s treated to the sight of him in all his naked glory. Clearly that was going to happen. It’s a life drawing class after all. But Sam wasn’t quite prepared… he didn’t exactly expect… And cliché after cliché, but Sam had somehow forgotten just how beautfiful he is. Of course, the faint flush at discovering his mistake, had not helped matters at all.

God if only Sam hadn’t been so stupid. If only he hadn’t been clinging to his past… Maybe he still is. If Gabriel was actually single, would he make a move? He’s still not sure. But it’s all academic anyway. He lost his chance. And now he just has to sit back and watch the one he let go, the opportunity he let pass him by… naked… repeatedly. Maybe in time these feelings will pass. But for now, for now he just has to grin and bear it.

He rounds the corner… and walks straight into a solid mass. Shit. He reaches his hands out on reflex and… Oh God, talk about déjà vu. Gabriel blinks up at him. Golden eyes looking decidedly startled.

He opens his mouth and closes it with a snap, only narrowly stopping himself from throwing out an incredibly hokey line straight out of a rom com. Christ. No.

Gabriel blinks once more, then steps back. Right arms. Sam drops them awkwardly by side. They stare at each other for a beat, then one corner of Gabriel’s lips quirks upwards.

“Might be time to invest in some protective head gear,” he says, making a show of rubbing his forehead.

Sam winces. “Ah sorry about that. I guess I maybe need mirrors or something…”

Gabriel snorts out a laugh and rocks back on his heels. “Any old how. Better… get with the…” He sweeps a hand down his still casually clothed form. “…and the… mop and things.”

“Right uh. I’ll uh leave you to it. Just going to…” he gestures in the direction of the life drawing room. Wow that was eloquent. At least Gabriel seems to be awkward too.

They look at each other a moment longer, before heading off in opposite directions.

~~~

Sam steps back from his work. Fuck. It’s really not working. Still too impersonal. Why the hell can’t he get it to work? Damn. He flops down on a chair and stares at it. Fuck fuck fuck.

He rubs a hand over his face. It’s really time he went home. He’s sure Gabriel must want to leave by now. Sam hasn’t seen any sign of him. Part of him was hoping they could… What was he hoping? That they could go back to the way things were? No, things are far too awkward for that. Maybe in time. He just… Sam really misses him. Misses him like crazy.

~~~

Another nightmare. Another night of broken sleep and waking to the sound of his own screams. Dean is starting to look as weary as he feels and the sight is killing him. Why won’t these nightmares stop? Why can’t he find some peace?

He works through his day in a daze. Barely keeps his eyes open in his art history lecture, tips over a pot of solvent in his Figurative Oil Painting Class. He’s a wreck and he knows it.

~~~

He really should go home. He can’t work like this. But some stubborn part of him feels like he has to. At least that last nightmare gave him an idea. He’s not sure why he didn’t think of it before. There’s only one way forward...

Tearing off a strip of masking tape, he tapes the image to the edge of his canvas. It’s a photocopy of course. Enlarged. Although the enlargement hasn’t improved the quality of the image any. But he needs to try…

~~~

It looks nothing like her. Fuck. He can’t get her features right. Why can’t he? Why can’t he see her any more. Angry and pissed with himself, he pulls the canvas off the board and throws it on the floor. He’ll need to paint over these. Reuse them. But for now he just doesn’t have the patience. Time to try again.

~~~

Sam grits his teeth. The noise is grating. He can’t focus. It’s melodic, sure, not out of tune at all, not even loud. But he can’t fucking concentrate. He holds the brush to the canvas, makes a mark. It’s all wrong. It’s the noise. Why does he have to…

“Do you have to do that?” Sam grits out between clenched teeth.

It comes out sounding far harsher than he intended. He never intended to say anything at all. He looks on helplessly as Gabriel freezes, then looks up at him with a startled look on his face, that soon descends into something that looks a whole lot like hurt.

He runs a shaking hand back through his hair.

“Shit Gabe… I’m sorry… I just…” He makes a frustrated noise in the back of his throat. “It’s been a long day and I can’t… Shit I’m sorry.”

Gabriel just stares at him, a variety of expressions flitting across his face. None of which Sam can decifer. Finally his jaw sets and he props the mop against the wall. He strides over. Sam doesn’t know what to do. What to expect.

Gabriel’s eyes scan over the abandoned canvases on the floor, he circles around and takes a long look at the canvas on Sam’s easel. Sam just watches helplessly. He doesn’t… He doesn’t want Gabriel to see this. He’s suddenly afraid, though he’s not sure what he’s afraid of. That Gabriel will think he’s lost his mind? Well he probably has. Why should it matter so much. It’s not as if…

Gabriel walks right up to him. Right up into his personal space. And Sam has to fight the urge to step backwards. Golden eyes are looking up at him with a fierce determination.

“You have to stop this kiddo.”

Sam just stares for a moment; words completely escape him.

“Do you understand?” Gabriel’s eyes are burning with an intensity that’s difficult to look at. But also impossible to look away from.

He reaches out. Sam thinks he’s going to take hold of his arm, but something stops him from making the contact. Instead he draws his lower lip into his mouth and steps back a pace. He glaces down at the canvases again and shakes his head.

“This isn’t art Sam… it’s torture. Why are you… why are you doing this to yourself?”

When Gabriel looks up at him again, his eyes have softened. Filled with a deep sadness… an understanding.

Sam’s breath hitches in his throat. He feels his own features twisting. He doesn’t know the story his face is telling. He wants to ask Gabriel, how did you know? It’s obvious… But at the same time… It’s like he knows on a deeper, more visceral level.

“How…” Sam stutters. It’s all the words he can manage.

Gabriel’s eyes drop. He suddenly looks so small. One corner of his mouth pulls upwards and he hunches a shoulder.

“I know a thing or two about trauma kiddo.”

He draws in a deep breath, then he’s walking over again. He reaches out. Stops himself again. Eyes flicking up to Sam’s face he simply says, “Come with me.” Uncertainty flickers in his eyes. “I want to show you something.”

Sam just nods his head. And follows.

They step out onto the rooftop. The air is chill, but not unpleasantly cold. He takes a deep breath, feels the fresh air fill his lungs. As nice as it is… He doesn’t really understand. All that’s up here is a single deck lounger, looking strangely out of place. Gabriel walks over. Sam is momentarily distracted by the outline of his curls, blowing in the breeze. But then Gabriel is beckoning him over. Sam’s heart skips a beat. Gabriel doesn’t mean… No of course not. He has someone new.

Taking a deep breath to calm his nerves, Sam walks over and sits when Gabriel motions him to. He watches as Gabriel lowers himself onto the rooftop, then leans back on his elbows and simply looks up.

Finally Sam gets it. He lies back in the lounger and stares up into the almost cloudless sky. He doesn’t see much of anything at first. But little by little, the heavens open up above him. The longer he looks, the more he can see, almost like the fainter stars are slowly winking into existence. He hardly ever takes the time to look. Maybe hasn’t looked properly since he was a young boy. Somewhere along the line, he lost that sense of wonder. Though perhaps it’s no surprise. Jess wasn’t the first loss. She wasn’t the last.

“It’s not worth it,” Gabriel says into the stillness of the night. He says it in a quiet voice, like he doesn’t want to startle Sam, maybe like he doesn’t want to break the spell. “It’s not worth you. You got that?”

Sam feels his heart clench in his chest, feels tears prick at the corners of his eyes.

They stay like that for a few moments more. Silent. Just staring up at the vastness of the sky. Then Sam hears the rustling of fabric and looks up to see the outline of Gabriel limned by the faint moonlight.

“Anytime you need to… I’ll leave the door unlocked.” He squeezes Sam’s shoulder, making contact at last. It’s all too brief, then he’s walking back towards the stairwell.

“Oh uh…” A few steps away he pauses and turns back. “No um, throwing yourself off the edge. Health in safety would have my keister if they knew about this.”

Sam snorts out a laugh. “No late night base jumping? Uh sure. Guess I can agree to that.”

Gabriel chuckles and a moment later Sam hears his footsteps again as he turns and walks away.

Sam’s alone. He looks up again, getting lost amongst the stars. His vision starts to blur, wetness trails down the side of his face and into his hair. He just lets go... He weeps for all that loss. Mom. Dad. Jess. He weeps for their stolen futures. He weeps for the childhood he never really got to live. He weeps for Dean, having to grow up too fast, going from brother to substitute Dad in the blink of an eye, when their father was far too broken to do the job himself. And he weeps for Gabriel. For undertanding. For knowing

Chapter Text

SAM

Things are a little easier. The nightmares still come, but they’re growing less frequent with every day that passes. Sam is starting to feel more human again. Gabriel was right. Of course he was. He saw what Sam was far too lost to see. Sam had been torturing himself. He had tried tell himself he was doing something useful, creating something from his misery and pain. But instead all he was doing was drowning in it. He doesn’t think that feeling of guilt will ever really go away, but acting like that, doing that to himself… it won’t bring Jess back and Sam knows she never would have wanted that for him.

Things are a little easier with Gabriel too. There’s still a little awkwardness. Sam thinks that maybe Gabriel’s still attracted to him, but clearly that can’t go anywhere, so Sam tries his very best to stop himself from initiating any awkward staring and tries his hardest not to flirt. Gabriel just seems to be a very flirty person, so it’s definitely not always easy.

The last thing Sam wants to do though, is draw Gabriel away from his new relationship. That wouldn’t be fair on the girl. Gabriel never talks about her. Perhaps he knows just how awkward it would be. Sam’s relieved. He doesn’t think he could listen to Gabriel talk about it her… And that just makes him feel like a complete jerk. They’re fast becoming friends… In actual fact, they are friends. Gabriel should feel like he can talk to Sam about all aspects of his life… Ok maybe not all aspects. Sam really doesn’t want to hear about the sex…

~~~

GABRIEL

“You want me to what now?” Jo looks at him incredulously.

Gabriel rolls his eyes and steps closer. He really doesn’t want to repeat himself and risk big bro overhearing.

“I want you to curl my hair,” Gabriel hisses under his breath.

Jo purses her lips, she looks like she’s trying her very hardest not to laugh. “You’re hair’s already curly Gabe,” She says in a whisper as she reaches out and springs one of the curls at the back of his neck.

Gabriel swats her hand away and gives her a hard stare.

She huffs out a breath that’s half laugh and throws up her hands. “Ok fine, I’ll do it. But what’s with the do? What’re you going as anyway?”

Gabriel thinks about not telling her, but it seems pointless since Luke already knows, costume coordination and all that jazz. Of course Cassie refused to get on board, but Luke was only too happy to oblige given the theme.

“Why I’m going as my very own heavenly alter-ego Jo-ster.”

Jo really does laugh now. Gabriel pulls an exaggerated pout.

She snorts out one final laugh before rolling her eyes at Gabriel’s expression. “You as an Angel though? I assume you’re going as the stripper version.”

Gabriel pulls a mock hurt expression now. “Are you trying to slut shame me?” He quirks an eyebrow.

“You’d have to actually have some shame for that,” she throws back.

“Point.” Gabriel grins.

Jo grins back. “Wouldn’t have you any other way Gabe.”

~~~

Gabriel looks down at the costume spread out on his bed spread. It’s perfect. Exactly what he was hoping for. Stripping, he pulls it on and carefully adds the wings on top. Ok maybe he should have gone for a smaller size with the wings. Working behind the bar with these on is going to be challenging. But sometimes you just have to go for the wow factor.

He pads through to the bathroom, narrowly avoiding getting stuck in the doorway. Yeah definitely challenging. No matter though. It’s perfect. Costume’s maybe a bit shorter than he was expecting. How the hell does this thing work for a tall person? That answer is probably, it doesn’t. His cheeks flush as he gets a sudden image of Sam wearing it. Hells he’d probably be flashing half his ass cheeks… and quite probably his dick too. Gabriel’s own dick seems to really like that idea. Wow, he’ll have to be hella careful in this costume. Even a semi’s blindingly obvious.

Better check he’s not actually flashing at the back… Well he won’t be able to bend very far over, that’s for sure. Looking back over his shoulder, he bends over experimentally. Yeah… not very far at all. No mind. If he’s careful, he can use it to his advantage.

He turns back around and meets his own eyes in the mirror. Is he really considering this? After how much it hurt the first time? Hells, maybe he is a masochist after all… But… things have changed haven’t they? Something’s shifted. Part of it is Sam abandoning his self destructive art project, but Gabriel feels like there’s more to the story than that… Whatever it is, Sam seems more relaxed with him. He maybe even flirts back sometimes… Maybe… Or is that just wishful thinking again?

He purses his lips and draws his gaze over his own reflection. Well if this costume doesn’t make Sam hot for him, then nothing will. Just one more day and then it’s Hallowe’en. Sam had mentioned his brother’s dragging him along… Before casually asking if Gabriel would be working that night… Just one last time. If it doesn’t work, then he’ll give it up as a lost cause. Gabriel’s heart clenches at the thought. He’d still have Sam as friend. That’s something right? A good way to torture himself, his mind supplies. But then, that’s what he’s been doing these last few times. It isn’t so bad, right?

He makes a face at himself in the mirror, before stripping off the costume and heading for bed.

~~~

SAM

“Break for dinner Samsquatch?”

Sam looks up from his work to see Gabriel’s head appear around the doorway. He’s waving a tupperware box, which appears to contain…

“Salad?” Sam asks, arching an incredulous eyebrow. “You’re actually having salad for dinner?”

“I can be healthy,” Gabriel says in a mock offended tone. But Sam can see one corner of his lips twitching upwards.

“And for dessert?” Sam asks, finding the corners of his own mouth turning upwards.

Gabriel rolls his eyes and holds up a box of pastries from the deli down the road.

“Are you coming to dinner or am I gonna have to eat these myself.”

Sam smiles and holds up his hands. “Just gimme 5 to clean up.”

“Catcha up there?” Gabriel asks.

“Sure.”

Sam watches as Gabriel shoots him a brilliant, dimpled smile, before turning on his heel and disappearing from sight. Sam absolutely does not check out the curve of his ass in his janitor’s uniform, or the curls bouncing at the back of his neck.

Yeah this crush isn’t going away anytime soon. Sighing, Sam dips his brushes in the solvent and wipes them on a rag, before heading to the restrooms to wash his hands.

~~~

Sam steps out on to the rooftop and hunches his shoulders against the cool air. It’s getting a little late in the year to do this, but at the same time, the colder air means better visibility. Sam looks up. They’ve lucked out on another clear night.

Gabriel appears to already be settled on the lounger. He’s set a few tealights around so they can see what they’re eating. They’ll blow them out later to catch a proper view of the night sky. He also appears to have aquired a snuggle blanket. He looks equal parts adorable and beautiful, lit by the gentle candlelight, curled up in his blanket. As Sam watches, he cranes his neck around and raises an eyebrow.

Right. Sam was staring again. It’s a difficult habit to break. He quirks a small smile at Gabriel and walks over to the deckchair.

They sit quietly for a few moments, eating their food and looking up at the stars. When Sam shivers, Gabriel offers him a corner of the blanket and Sam greatfully accepts. Of course a moment later it feels weird. Here they are, sharing a meal on a quiet rooftop by candlelight, looking up at the stars… now snuggled under the same blanket… Yeah this isn’t like a date at all…

Sam reminds himself for the millionth time that Gabriel isn’t single. That they’re just friends. His heart clenches, but he tries to ignore it.

“Soooo Hallowe’en tomorrow…” Gabriel’s voice startles him out of his thoughts.

“Uh yeah… wait… tomorrow?” Damn, Sam had completely forgotten. He hasn’t even sorted a costume out yet. He’s been kind of pre-occupied.

Gabriel chuckles, then stops abruptly. He clears his throat. “You are still coming to the Roadhouse, aren’t you?” He turns his head and arches an eyebrow. Sam tries not to get distracted by the way the candlelight catches his eyes. He nods his head. “Gonna be one helluva night. You should see Jo’s costume. Dean-o’s gonna wet himself when he sees it. So will half the bar.”

Sam raises an eyebrow.

“No can do Sam-a-lam, I’m sworn to secrecy.”

“What are you dressing up as?” Sam asks curiously. He could do with a few ideas himself.

“Hells no Sammy, can’t tell you that. It would ruin the big surprise.”

Sam blows out a breath. Trying not to let his mind run over all the enticing possibilities. Knowing Gabriel, it’s likely to be something pretty revealing, that will set Sam on edge all evening. Well at least Gabriel won’t be hooking up with anyone else. Sam couldn’t bear to watch that- Oh God, but maybe the new girl will be there. Christ. Sam hadn’t even thought of that.

Sam opens his mouth, hestitates… he’s been reluctant to bring it up, but a little forewarning might just save his sanity on this count.

Gabriel quirks a confused eyebrow at him.

Right… he can do this… “Uh, is your… uh… girlfriend going to be there?”

“My what now?” Gabriel asks, both eyebrows raised.

Christ, this is more awkward than Sam hoped it would be. Is girlfriend the wrong word? Are they dating, but haven’t defined it yet?…

Sam clears his throat and tries again. “Uh Garth… Garth mentioned you had a new… that you were seeing someone new…” Sam stutters as Gabriel’s expression goes from confused to mildly alarmed.

Is Gabriel worried how he’ll react? Sam tries to force his voice to sound pleasantly casual. Like someone asking a friend about their love life. The way it’s supposed to be.

“…Garth showed me a picture…”

Gabriel’s eyes go almost comically wide before Sam’s even finished his sentence.

“Which… which one?” Gabriel croaks out in a voice that sounds oddly squeaky.

Sam furrows his brow, confused. Is… is Gabriel seeing more than one girl? God… Sam’s definitely not one to judge, but it never even occurred to him.

“The uh… one with the um blonde hair?”

Now Gabriel looks confused. “Which… picture?”

Oh. Christ. Ok that makes more sense. Only now he has to describe it? Why should that matter?

“The ah… the one with the um… licking?”

Gabriel slumps back in the lounger and blows out a long breath, scrubs his hands over his face.

Sam doesn’t know what to do… Should he leave? Was he not supposed to bring it up?

Gabriel makes a weird sound in the back of his throat, then he’s shaking. It takes Sam a moment to realise he’s giggling. What? What’s so funny? Christ this is uncomfortable enough without Gabriel getting a goddamn giggling fit.

Gabriel takes in a ragged breath, hiccups and shakes his head. “Never counted on the Garth factor.”

Chuckling to himself, Gabriel picks up the box of pastries and grabs one for himself before handing the box over. Sam just stares at the box bewildered.

Gabriel gestures. Take one. Sighing, Sam picks out a pistachio filled cannoli. He just holds it as Gabriel replaces the box and takes a large bite out of his own pastry. Gabriel swallows the bite, and is about to take another, when his eyes flick up to Sam and his lips form a little ‘o’ shape.

“I’m not…” He waves the half eaten profiterole in the air. “Not dating.”

Oh.

“The girl…” Gabriel makes a face. “Let’s just say there was a whole lotta liquor involved. Fun was had. Mistakes were made. I puked on a bus stop.”

Sam snorts out a laugh. “You puked on a bus stop?”

“Ok maybe it was bus stop adjacent. Not my finest hour. Ended up snuggling with Cassie.”

“The girl from the…”

Gabriel barks out a loud laugh. “Hells no Sammy! My brother. Ok that actually sounds worse. Maybe I shoulda gone with the girl line.”

“I thought your brother was called Luke?” Sam asks, confused.

Gabriel raises an eyebrow. “Coulda swore I’d mentioned Cassie... a.k.a. Castiel? Bro numero dos?”

Sam just shakes his head. He’s pretty sure he didn’t know Gabriel has another brother.

Gabriel shrugs a shoulder and pops the rest of the profiterole in his mouth. “Lil bro’s the black sheep of the fam. He’s the rebellious one. Grad student. Work’s way too hard… You sure you haven’t seen him at the bar? Tall, dark and annoyingly handsome? Big blue eyes? Always wears a ridiculous trench coat?”

That guy? Wow.

Sam snorts out a laugh and shakes his head. Gabriel raises an eyebrow.

“Sorry, it’s just… I think my brother… We were in the parking lot and your brother walked by and… I think Dean has the hots for him.”

“Holy cats, no way? Dean-o’s got the hots for my baby bro?” Gabriel raises both eyebrows.

Sam winces. Yeah he can see why that might not be the best thing to hear. “Ah sorry?”

Gabriel chuckles and shakes his head. “Oh no kiddo, you don’t get it. Your big bro also caught my little bro’s attention. Called him ‘the attractive man’. Twice.”

They both look at each other for a moment, Gabriel’s lip twitching furiously, and then a beat later they’re descending together into fits of uncontrolled laughter.

~~~

Sam shoulders his backpack and starts to walk home. He only makes it a few dozen paces when he freezes. There had been that little moment of shock of course, but he was so caught up in their conversation that he never… And then it got so late, that he ended up just clearing his things away… He didn’t really get a chance to process. But now…

Gabriel isn’t dating anyone. He’s single. Had a little fling, a one night stand… if that… Gabriel mercifully didn’t go into any details… But God that’s…

Sam feels his pulse start to race. Gabriel’s single.

Chapter Text

GABRIEL

“Gabriel, if you don’t sit still, I’m going to end up burning your scalp.”

Gabriel opens his mouth to make a complaint, then closes it with a snap. Probably best not to argue with the lady brandishing burning hot curling tongs, especially when they’re dressed as a smokin hot comic book assassin.

She pauses and lets the latest, short springy ringlet, fall from the tongs.

“Gabe, close your goddamn legs. I can see way more of you than I ever, ever wanted to.”

Gabriel blinks and looks from the reflection of her raised eyebrows down to… Oh oops. Soz there Jo-ster. Gabriel gives her a sheepish smile, which makes her roll her eyes, and draws his knees together.

Jo sighs heavily and resumes her work. “Would it have killed you to have worn underwear for once?”

“Come on Jo-ster. You think they have undies in heaven? Yeesh. What’s heavenly about wedgies?”

Jo makes an incredulous face at him and shakes her head. A curl falls from the tongs onto his forehead. Looks kinda weird for the now, but Jo assured him it’s all about the brushing out. Whatever that means.

Jo draws in a breath, suddenly looking all frowny and serious in the mirror. Yikes.

“Gabe, you’re not… Please tell me you’re not doing this for Sam?”

Gabriel purses his lips and throws her his very best innocent look.

“Shit.” Jo removes the tongs from the vicinty of his head and places them on the heat mat. She crosses her arms over her chest. Oh crap. It’s the ‘mother hen’ routine. And she learned from the master.

“After how much he hurt you the last time? You’re really going there again?”

Gabriel sighs. “Scene’s changed. We’re on a whole different act.” Jo makes a face at him. “Things are different now.”

“How?” Jo raises a skeptical eyebrow.

“Well… He calls me Gabe...”

Jo makes a face. “I call you Gabe. Doesn’t mean I want to offer myself up as your dick warmer.”

It’s Gabriel’s turn to make a face. Christ. Ew. No. Jo’s like the little sister he never wanted to have, he really does not want to picture that.

“I mean he’s more relaxed. Less uptight. We had dinner on the rooftop last night. Under the stars. Uh might not want to mention that to your mother.” Gabriel winces. He really shouldn’t have let that slip.

Jo rolls her eyes and shakes her head. “Did you stealth date him Gabe?”

“Um… maybe.” Gabriel quirks his lips. “It was romantic. There was almost snuggling.”

“And yet… nothing happened?” Jo raises an eyebrow.

Gabriel huffs out a breath. Now who’s being the smartass. “Details. Anyways, he thought I was dating ol Ho Nuggets herself. Goddamn Garth.”

Jo lets another curl fall from the tongs before letting out a loud laugh. “Christ, did Garth tell him you were going out with her?”

“With added visual aids.”

“He saw the pictures? Holy shit Gabe.”

“Only the one with the tongue action. Coulda been worse.” Gabriel shrugs his shoulder.

“Really? How?” She snorts out a laugh.

Completely forgetting about the need to sit still, Gabriel cranes his neck and glares at her over his shoulder.

Jo quickly moves the hovering tongs out of the way and makes a face at him.

“You looked like you drank an entire liquor store before deciding it would be a good idea to visit a dog salon instead of a barbers.”

“Yowch. Really lil sis-I-never-asked-for? So not feeling the love.” He pulls an exaggerated pout, before turning back to face the mirror. “Anyways, you can hardly talk, you’ve made me look the spitting image of Annie.” He makes a face at the tight curls springing up all over his head.

Jo shakes her head and huffs out an annoyed breath. “I told you, it’s all about the after styling. Anyway, don’t think I haven’t noticed, you’re deflecting. You can’t seriously be thinking about going after him again Gabe. We all saw what happened the last time. It wasn’t pretty.”

Gabriel sighs. She has a point but… “Just takin one more swing at it. It’s… it’s Sam.”

“And if he says he’s not interested… again?” Her eyes have softened, brow furrowed with worry.

Gabriel swallows around the sudden lump in his throat. He lets out a long breath. “No pilfering from the store cupboard, no grabby hands Mc-Ho-Nuggets.” Jo looks unconvinced. “I swear! Just me, my spoon and dozen tubs of Ben and Jerrys… Then I’ll join a gym.” He makes a face at the mere thought. “Or become a nun.”

Jo laughs and shakes her head as she unplugs the curling tongs.

“We’re done?” Gabriel asks with a quirked eyebrow.

“Now time for the magic,” Jo replies, brandishing a brush and a can of glitter hairspray.

~~~

Gabriel stares at his reflection in the mirror.

Jo steps up beside him and throws her arm around him. “So big bro-I-never-wanted-and-can’t-get-rid-of, what do you think?”

“Jo-ster, you are a creative genius.” Gabriel smirks at her pleased expression. “Hells, I wanna make out with me.”

Jo makes a face. He leans forward before she can stop him, and gives his own reflection a big smooch.

“Christ Gabriel, that’s gross. I don’t want your saliva all over my damn mirror.” She rolls her eyes, grabs a damp face cloth and lobs it in his direction. “You’re cleaning that shit up. We need to go in 5.”

Gabriel chuckles and picks up the damp cloth, as Jo heads through to the bathroom.

Quickly wiping off the smear, he disgards the cloth and gives his reflection an assessing once over. Damn, but he wasn’t lying, Jo’s practically worked miracles. He looks pretty… well actually yeah… kinda pretty. Lucy’s gonna shit his pants at the golden mocking opportunities... But he also looks… kinda hot too. He’s gonna freeze on the way over, but it’ll be worth it. Definitely worth it.

If this get up doesn’t turn Sam’s head? Then he’s got nothin else. This is his last chance... Oh hells. Screw that frowny face. He’s not gonna turn any heads with that pout. Taking a deep breath, he tries to think positive. It’s Hallowe’en. His favorite night of the year. The candy. The dress up. The tricks. This’ll be fun. And if he’s damn lucky, it’ll be more than fun. He gives his reflection a big smile, feeling hope blossom in his chest. This is gonna be a night to remember.

~~~

Luke looks downright gleeful when they walk through the door. Gabriel rolls his eyes and carefully places the wings and halo on a nearby table, before shucking his cargo jacket.

“You look like a girl,” Luke snorts out.

Christ, that’s not even creative. And pulease. A few years ago Gabriel dressed up as a fairy princess. That was way more more feminine. Well except for the beard.

Gabriel rolls his eyes and gestures at his half exposed chest. “You on the other hand, look like an ageing rocker. How’s it hanging Mick?”

Lucy ignores the jibe completely and smirks as he cups his chest on either side. “Don’t worry Gabey, you’re only a few candy bars away from that cleaveage you always dreamed about.” He makes a trout pout face, before chuckling loudly to himself.

Gabriel glares. He does not, by any stretch of the imagination, have moobs.

“Aw don’t get you silk panties in a twist,” Luke sing songs.

Gabriel raises an eyebrow. “Who says I’m wearing any underwear?” He smirks and starts to pull the hem of his toga upwards, enjoying the look on Lucy’s face, as his smug self satisfied sneer, rapidly twists into a look of horrified disgust.

“Christ Gabriel, no. I’ve already got that horrendous image burned into my skull… So thanks for that.” Jo makes a face at him and shudders. “Will you two quit jerking around and actually help?”

Gabriel makes one more face at Lucy, before dropping the hem of the toga and walking over to grab a few decorations.

“What are you supposed to be?” Gabriel says, frowing in Benny’s direction. He doesn’t look like he’s dressed up at all. That’s no fun.

Benny looks over from where he’s standing, hanging webbing from the ceiling, and grins.

Holy shit, that’s actually real good. His mouth is filled with razor sharp teeth. Subtle, but damn effective.

“Vampire,” he simply drawls.

~~~

“Everyone ready?... Stop being a dick Luke… Really I’m going to kick your ass in a minute. That took me ages.”

Gabriel turns around and glares at his brother, who keeps on poking at his springy hair. Luke makes a face at him, before turning towards the camera and pulling his very best smug expression. Gabriel tries for heavenly, but he’s not entirely convinced he’s capable of pulling that off.

Jo sighs heavily and presses the timer. She strides over and slides into an impressively athletic pose, just before the timer goes off.

Jo gets up, way more elegantly than Gabriel thought possible – perhaps she really is a secret assassin – and collects her cell. She checks the shot and smiles. Gabriel wanders over and checks it out over her shoulder. His lips quirk upwards. It’s actually a pretty great picture. Jo shoots him a smile and forwards the picture without having to be asked.

“How you holding up?” She asks.

Gabriel makes a face. Way to over dramatise. He’s fine and dandy. It’s no big deal.

She reaches out, as if to squeeze his shoulder, makes a face, and diverts from the bare one to the one that’s partially clothed.

“You know, I studied Akido right?” Jo says with a small smile.

Gabriel just raises his eyebrow at the apparent non sequitor.

“I know a few good choke holds. He hurts you again…”

Jesus what’s with the over protective siblings and demi-siblings.

“Then it’ll be my fault again! Hells, Jo. Sam’s done nothing wrong.”

Jo makes a face. “He keeps on leading you on Gabe. And if he isn’t actually interested-”

Or I keep on seeing what I want to see because...” Gabriel throws his hands into the air. “Because I love him Jo.”

Ah crap, he really didn’t mean to let that slip. Her eyes go comically wide. It would be hilarious under different circumstances. He looks furtively about, making sure his brother isn’t in earshot. Small mercies, he seems to be occupied, shifting more bottles up to the top shelf. Oh that dickbag. Gabriel knows exactly what he’s doing.

He sighs and looks back to Jo, who’s looking at him with an expression that’s both fond and worried. He really wants to crack a lewd joke, deflect, but he knows from experience that Jo won’t take any of that shit.

“You’re in love? I never… No wonder you won’t let this one go. Shit Gabe… Shit.”

Quite.

He rubs a hand over his face. “I know. Believe me. Look if this all goes to hell in a fruit basket… I don’t want Sam hurt. No strangling him with your shapely thighs.” Jo makes a face at him, but Gabriel can see her lips twitching in amusement. “No eviscerating… Damn do you think you can help keep Lucy in line?”

She smiles and nods her head. Lucy may be one tough asshole, but Jo’s feisty. And she fights dirty. Gabriel smiles back. Well that’s at least one worry off his plate. He only has one thing to focus on now. Jo shoots him one more reassuring smile before walking over to the door and unlocking it, turning the sign around and welcoming the first few customers.

Gabriel’s heart starts to race. But of course Sam, and especially Dean, aren’t quite the type to be such eager beavers. He’ll just have to wait it out. Heart still thumping out a latin beat in his chest, he walks over to the bar and lets himself in as the first few customers step up to order their drinks.

~~~

Soon he’s too busy to be worried. The place is packed tonight. He’s barely had a moment to take a breath. But despite all that, and despite the butterflies still taking up residence in the pit of his belly, he’s having a pretty great time. Apart from a few douches, the customers are on great form tonight. Everyone seems to be having fun. He’s so far managed to avoid any incidents with his giant wings. He did topple a couple of bottles at the start, until he got used to them, but thankfully, Jo has incredible (assassin like?) reflexes. Disaster averted.

Maybe he’s had a touch of unwanted attention… from a couple of gropes, to the group of Zombie cheerleaders who seem intent on ordering everything from the top shelf, specifically from him, so that they can, not so subtly, take a look up his toga.

Gabriel’s pretty sure Lucy’s been egging them on. In fact, his suspicions are confirmed, when he catches sight of Luke grabbing one of their cellphones and angling it in a not subtle way, as he reaches up to grab the latest must have bottle of gin. Jo thankfully also notices, and snatches the phone from him before thrusting it back at the disappointed girls. Gabriel doesn’t catch the entirity of what she says to them, but he does catch the phrases, sexual harrassment and, much to his amusement, choke hold.

The bar has been open for a good solid hour and there’s still no sign of Sam or Dean-o, but Kevin turned up half an hour ago, in a pretty impressively elaborate Legolas costume, followed ten minutes later by Natalie, looking equally impressive as Arwen.

Gabriel thinks that maybe she was flirting with him a little when she ordered their drinks. Definitely flattering, and he did flirt back a little, but he kept it light and friendly, enough to make her feel good, but not so much that she’d think there was anything in it. The girl’s cute, but definitely too young, even if he was looking for someone. He had made a point of asking about Sam too. Instead of being disappointed at his lack of interest in her, she had told him that Sam was indeed due to join them soon, with a great deal of enthusiasm and a fond smile on her face.

Gabriel looks up as he hears the door swing open, and immediately snorts out a laugh. Really Cassie? All that can be seen of his brother, are a pair of bright blue eyes. The rest of his form is completely swamped by a white bedsheet, which has been crudely cut at the bottom. Gabriel shakes his head as Castiel approaches. Not gonna turn Dean-o’s head with that one Cassie. His lil bro definitely should have heeded his advice and gone for matching costumes. Though come to think of it, Cassie is a good 3 inches taller than him. He glances down the length of his body at the hem of the toga, which is scarcely reaching mid thigh on him… and keeps on riding up. Yeah on second thoughts…

When Castiel reaches the bar he looks Gabriel over. Although Gabriel can’t exactly see his little bro’s expression, he can see enough of his exhasperation in his wide eyes.

“Gabriel, please tell me you are wearing underwear.”

Gabriel twitches one corner of his mouth upwards and lets his eyebrows do the talking. He snorts out a laugh when Castiel rolls his eyes heavenwards.

“I am not bailing you out of jail if you get arrested for public indecency,” Cas mutters as his hand appears from underneath the sheet, brandishing a wallet.

Gabriel lets out a loud bark of laughter and pulls a pint glass from the shelf.

Chapter Text

SAM

“Dude, seriously?” Dean raises both eyebrows and Sam makes a face. “You’re a freakin art student, Sammy. Is that really the best you could come up with?”

Sam smooths down the sticker and sends his brother a bitchface.

“I’ve been kind of busy Dean. It’s not long until the end of quarter assessments.”

Dean just shakes his head and shoves his wallet into the inside pocket of the lab coat he’s wearing.

“Who are you supposed to be anyway?”

Dean looks at him, like he just declared he didn’t realise the Earth goes around the sun. “Come on, Sammy.” He points to the badge, pinned to his chest.

Sam squints at the writing. Dr B. Palmer M.D. No he still doesn’t have clue.

“Christ Sam, Doctor Sexy.” Dean rolls his eyes and Sam snorts out a laugh.

“What? Chicks dig the character,” Dean says making a face at him.

“Just the chicks?” Sam says, raising both eyebrows again.

“It’s a guilty pleasure ok,” Dean huffs. “Are we ready to hit the road?”

Feeling the nerves start to take hold again, Sam takes a deep breath and nods his head.

~~~

By the time they reach the Roadhouse, Sam’s heart is playing out a staccato beat in his chest and his mouth feels horribly dry. He still doesn’t know what he’s going to do. Since finding out that Gabriel’s single, he’s thought of little else. There’s no reason to hold back. No reason not to just go for it. Logically he knows these things. But he’s still terrified to take that step. What if Gabriel decides he just wants to be friends after all? What if Dean was wrong and he screws things up? What if he hurts Gabriel again? What if he walks in there and Gabriel’s already found someone else? It’s Hallowe’en after all. All those racy costumes. Lots of liquor involved. Ok so Gabriel’s working and not drinking, but what if a really hot girl or guy’s already asked him out? Maybe he should have made more of an effort with the costume… Or any effort at all.

Dean turns to frown at him. He’s been lagging behind. Sam bites his lip and lengthens his stride, attempting to hault the panic that’s trying to claw it’s way up his throat. Trying to quiet a mind that’s racing as much as his heart.

“You ok?” Dean asks, carefully eyeing his expression.

“Uh yeah,” Sam says, trying for a reasuring smile.

Dean makes a face, clearly reading his hesitation, but instead of questioning it, he just slaps Sam on the back and nods his head. Sam’s pretty sure he’s going to be plied with alcohol again and he’s really not going to argue.

When he follows Dean through the door, Sam’s a little overwhelmed at first. It’s a lot busier and noiser than it usually is. All the tables appear to be taken, but thankfully their friends have arrived early and commandeered one over to the side. It looks like Charlie just got here a few moments ago. She waves them over as she shrugs out of her coat. Sam lets himself be led through the throng of students, dressed in a multitude of creative costumes. He passes Deadpool (who gives him a thumbs up), a group of giggling Zombie Cheerleaders (who appear to be having a rather colorful discussion about a guy dressed as an Angel) and several characters from Game of Thrones (the heart eating Daenerys is particularly impressive, if mildly disturbing). Finally they reach the table and Charlie, dressed in an incredible chain mail warrior outfit, gives him a huge hug.

Dean heads over to order drinks after greeting the group. Sam just hovers awkwardly by Charlie’s side. He hasn’t looked over at the bar yet. He’s oddly nervous about it.

“Gabriel was asking after you,” Natalie pipes up from across the table. She gives him a small smile and gestures over at the bar.

Sam and Charlie look at each other, shrug and they both turn at the same time.

“Holy crap!” Charlie exclaims. She grabs hold of Sam’s arm. “Quick pinch me. Tell me I’m not dreaming.”

Sam easily follows her gaze over to a smiling Jo, who looks the spitting image of Scarlet Johansen’s Black Widow from the recent MCU movies. She looks incredible… and incredibly dangerous.

“You’re not dreaming,” Sam says with a smile.

Sam can definitely see the attraction, but his interests lie elsewhere. He scans the bar. There’s Luke… also looking dangerous in a pair of tight leather trousers and a red t-shirt bearing the legend, Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name, clearly written in Sharpie. He’s sporting light up devils horns and appears to be chatting up one of Zombie Cheerleaders. Fairly successfully by the looks of it.

There’s the Angel. Presumably the one the other Zombie Cheerleaders were drooling over… He can clearly see what they were talking about. The guy’s toga is riding perilously high as he stretches up to grab a bottle of gin from the top- Sam freezes. Oh God. That’s not just any Angel. He’d recognise that ass anywhere... The hair threw him. It appears curly all over instead of just at the back. Tight ringlets gilded in gold glitter, topped with a plastic and wire halo… Huge costume wings strapped to his back…

Gabriel.

Sam just stands there frozen, as Gabriel steps down from the stool and turns to serve his customer. Sam’s heart does a somersault in his chest. Gabriel looks stunningly, heart stoppingly, beautiful. Those soft, gilded curls are framing his face perfectly, his prominent features looking impossibly handsome. He looks, for all the world, like he just stepped out of a neoclassical painting… He’s arching an eyebrow and quirking his lips as he pours the drink. Sam is momentarily distracted by the muscle definition in his strong biceps. His arms are bare to the shoulder… except on the left side… Christ. The toga is fastened over his right shoulder, leaving the left side of Gabriel’s chest completely exposed. One of Gabriel’s gloriously perky nipples is on display… and indeed, looking incredibly perky.

God Sam wants… part of him just deperately wants to stride over there. Push his way through the crowds. Elbow his way up to the bar. Lean over, and capture Gabriel’s mobile mouth in a searing kiss. Let his hand explore the naked planes of his exposed chest; thread the other hand back into soft curls. Christ he wants to so much. If only he had the damn courage.

Sam doesn’t know how long he’s been staring, but he almost jumps out of his skin when he feels a sharp pinch to his arm. Ow. He turns his gaze to a seemingly unrepentant Charlie, who appears to have gotten over her own wide eyed, heart stopping moment, and is now regarding him with amusement.

“You’re not dreaming,” she says with a playful smile about her lips. She quirks an eyebrow. “But you definitely are drooling.”

Sam feels his cheeks heat up. He throws Charlie a sheepish smile. Yeah ok, maybe he was… just a tiny bit.

“Hey are you guys gonna moon over your crushes all night or are you gonna come sit down.” Natalie calls over to them, eyes alight with amusement. She gestures to the free seats beside her. “Come on, you can drool just as easily from over here.”

Charlie sits beside Natalie and Sam settles down at her side as Dean returns with a tray of drinks. He keeps on looking back over his shoulder, a small smile playing about his lips. Sam follows his gaze, expecting to see Jo, but she’s over at the other side of the bar grabbing a bottle. Instead, it very much appears, that his brother is making eyes at the person leaning at the side of the bar, beer in hand, the rest of their body hidden beneath a roughly cut bedsheet. Huh? As Sam watches, the person in question, for indeed Sam can’t tell if they’re male or female or otherwise, turns to watch Dean’s retreating form, with striking blue eyes and a curious tilt of their head. There’s something about those eyes that seem familiar… Even the tilt of the head…

But before Sam can unscramble his thoughts, Dean has arrived at the table. He’s beaming at them, looking oddly flushed. Sam accepts a beer, raising his eyebrows, but Dean resolutely ignores the unasked question and hands out the rest of the drinks before settling across from them, casting one last lingering look over his shoulder.

~~~

GABRIEL

Gabriel feels something smack his ass. He looks behind him to see a beermat lying on the floor, looks round to see Jo, standing at the till, staring pointedly at him with her eyebrows raised almost to her hairline, a slightly bemused customer standing in front of her. He almost cracks his head on the underside of the bar as he straightens up. After handing the peanuts over to a giggling customer, Gabriel rolls his eyes and then turns to glare at Jo.

“What the hell was that for?” he hisses in her direction.

Jo just raises her eyebrows at him again. When Gabriel raises his in return, she stalks over and hisses into his ear. “Christ Gabriel. You were flashing half your butt cheeks. I sure as hell don’t want to see that. Pretty sure our customers feel the same way.”

Gabriel makes a face at her. Surely she’s exaggerating.

Jo just makes a face back and crosses her arms over her chest.

“She is not exaggerating,” comes a partially muffled, gravely voice from the end of the bar.

Gabriel sighs and makes a face at Castiel’s earnest blue eyes.

Cas shakes his head, making the bedsheet swing around in a hilarious manner, before taking hold of the beer in front of him and turning to face out across the room. He keeps on looking over at-

Oh God! Dean-o. He keeps looking at Dean-o. And with him is… Sam. Sam’s here! How could he not have noticed Sam arriving. Shit. Has Sam seen him yet? Damn it. Gabriel really wanted to see his reaction. He draws his lower lip into his mouth as he watches Sam open up a book and rummage in his pencil case. He smiles across at Kevin and Natalie, who strike a dramatic pose. Sam appears to be sketching them. God, he looks so fucking hot. He doesn’t appear to have dressed up. Oh no wait. There’s a sticker. Gabriel squints. It’s one of those My name is stickers, and on it in bold capital letters, Sam has simply written God. Gabriel chuckles and shakes his head. Oh Sam.

Gabriel.”

Gabriel startles. He looks over at Jo, raising both eyebrows.

“You can’t keep on bending down like that…”

His eyes keep on flicking over to Sam. He can’t help it. Fuck. So damn hot. Look at those hands. Gabriel wants those hands on his body. The hair. Oh yes the hair. He wants to grab hold of it as Sam…

“…I mean it. Someone’s going to make a complaint and… Fuck’s sake Gabriel. Are you even listening to me?”

Gabriel forceably drags his attention away from Sam and raises his eyebrows again. Jo furrows her own eyebrows and looks over to Sam’s table. She sighs heavily. He quickly darts forward and grabs her elbow, turning her away before someone notices her staring. Jesus. Talk about lack of subtlety.

“Don’t look! Act natural,” he hisses under his breath, eyes darting over to check that Sam hasn’t noticed.

Dean has apparently. He’s got a mildly disturbed look on his face. When their eyes meet, he makes a face before rolling his eyes and gesturing in his brother’s direction.

Sam catches something of his movement and furrows his brows in Dean-o’s direction. Dean’s lips twitch and his face twists into what Gabriel presumes is supposed to be an innocent expression. Oh Christ. Gabriel feels his heart start to hammer in his chest as Sam gives his brother an incredulous look and then his eyes start to wander over. And… There goes his heart doing it’s trapeze act again. Sam is looking directly at him, giving him a wide smile. Hells, is he beautiful.

Gabriel’s lips pull into a matching smile.

He vaguely hears a long sigh. “Go on then, Gabe. Go for it.”

~~~

SAM

Sam frowns at his brother. He’s up to something. Yeah… he’s not buying the innocent look. Sam makes a face at him before looking over at the bar where… Gabriel is looking directly at him, lips parted, a faint flush on his cheeks and at the centre of his chest. He’s so beautiful. Sam can feel the corners of his mouth pull into a wide smile. God he hopes he doesn’t look as dorky as he feels. His heart stutters in his chest as Gabriel’s eyes light up and his lips stretch into the most gorgeous, dimpled smile.

Then he’s… God is he coming over? Sam’s pulse is racing. His hands feel all sweaty. Sam’s not ready. He’s not nearly ready.

“Hey, how’s it rollin over here? Woah did I just slip though a multi-dimensional rift and land my feathery ass in Middle Earth?”

Gabriel spreads his arms wide and quirks a smile at Charlie and her friends. Shit of course, he should have figured it out. Charlie isn’t just any warrior, she’s dressed as Éowyn. Judging by the pointy ears and Kevin’s wig, Natalie and Kevin are Legolas and Arwen. Gabriel leans over the table to give Charlie a fist bump. Sam swallows around a lump in his throat as the motion pulls the hem of his toga at least a couple of inches up his thigh. Holy shit. Sam’s jeans suddenly feel way too tight.

There’s a choking sound across the table. Sam looks over to see Dean, coughing on a mouth full of beer. He takes in a breath. Coughs once more and pushes away from the table. He shoots Gabriel a disturbed look before heading off towards the bar, shaking his head.

Gabriel watches Dean retreat, eyes alight with humor, a mischievous smirk playing about his lips. Sam can’t help but snort out a laugh. There’s no way that was accidental. Gabriel clearly timed that perfectly. At the sound of Sam’s laugh, Gabriel turns to face him. He raises both eyebrows and feigns an innocent look, made entirely unconvincing by the smirk that’s pulling at one corner of his mouth. Sam shakes his head and laughs, Gabriel chuckles.

He eyes Sam’s label and quirks an eyebrow. “Hey, God. How’s it hanging?” He furrows his brow. “Wait, should I be calling you dad?”

It’s Sam’s turn to make a face. Christ, please don’t.

Gabriel’s face scrunches up adorably and he shakes his head. He opens his mouth to say something, but one of the bar tenders, the one Sam doesn’t know, walks past and says something in his ear. Sam looks over at the bar. It’s getting busy again. Gabriel makes a face, but nods his head. He hovers for a moment, like he wants to say something. His cheeks flush again. God, he looks so… for lack of a better word… pretty.

“Any old how… um… Got to…” He gestures over his shoulder in the direction of the bar. “Got my heavenly duties to perform.”

He clears his throat. His lips twitch upwards. He shuffles around the table until he’s standing right beside Sam’s chair. Sam’s first thought is that Gabriel’s going to goddamn lean down and kiss him, right in front of everyone at the table. His heart rate ramps up. Oh God.

But instead, Gabriel turns to face the table, gestures at the empties, says, “Let me just get those for you.”

And then he’s bending over. Holy fuck. Sam stares wide eyed as the hem of the toga shifts up his thighs with the movement. Jesus. As Gabriel gathers the bottles and glasses, Sam just gapes helplessly, heat pooling in his groin. The toga’s barely covering his ass, the scant material leaving little to the imagination. Sure Sam’s seen Gabriel’s ass on many an occasion, completely naked, and once pointing quite obviously in his direction… But never, never in such close proximity. Never where he could so easily reach out and touch…

And then Gabriel reaches further, presumably to grab Dean’s bottle…

Someone clears their throat. Sam thinks it might be Natalie. He can see movement. Sam thinks she might have pushed the bottle closer to him.

Sam doesn’t look up, he can’t tear his gaze away… because that little extra stretch… has lifted the hem all the way up Gabriel’s thighs and Sam can clearly see where the tops of his thighs meet the gorgeous curve of his ass. Sam’s mouth goes dry. His groin throbs with want… with need. His heart is hammering in his chest. Holy shit. Where the fuck’s his underwear? Sam thinks, mind spinning into delirium.

And then it’s over. Gabriel straightens up, lifts the tray. Lowers it a little as he shifts awkwardly away from the table. He’s moving away, leaving Sam achingly hard in his wake. A few steps away, he glances over his shoulder, cheeks flushed, golden eyes merely narrow rims around pupils blown wide.

Sam swallows, grabs his backpack and makes a hasty retreat to the restrooms, backpack held over his groin, trying his very best to ignore the knowing and amused looks on his friend’s faces.

~~~

Sam leans back against the cubicle wall and closes his eyes. He can feel laughter trying to bubble it’s way up from the pit of his belly, but he tries his hardest to suppress it. Fuck. Here he is again. In a damn restroom cubicle. Heart hammering in his chest. Dick painfully hard in his pants. It must be a Tuesday. He claps his hand over his mouth as a snort escapes him. Damn the rest room’s hardly empty. People are gonna think he’s in here with someone. His cock twitches at the thought. He clamps the hand harder and bites the inside of his mouth as another delirious laugh surfaces. He has got to get a hold of himself.

But hell. Gabriel was… Gabriel is… God he’s driving Sam crazy. He’s such a little… he’s such a little shit. He freaking shuffled round so he’d give Sam the best possible view. Just as he’d deliberately caused Dean to choke on his beer, he’d very deliberately positioned himself. Knew exactly what he was doing.

Of course this is the man who did a goddamn strip tease for him in front of an entire class. The one who literally, bent over backwards to thrust his groin in Sam’s direction… also in front of an entire class. The less said about the lollipop fellatio the better. Sam shouldn’t be surprised. He really shouldn’t. In all the time Sam has know him, Gabriel has never been exactly… subtle.

Well at least he can confirm one suspicion… Gabriel has made it perfectly, abundantly clear, that he’s still interested. Sam could go out there now and grab hold of him. Pull him over the bar and just… Be arrested for public indecency. Yeah maybe not. Come to think of it, just the act of leaving the cubicle right now, would probably have the same consequence.

If he’s going to do this… If he’s going to act… Then he’s going to have to choose his moment. Wait until it’s less busy. Until he can get Gabriel alone. Surely he’ll be given a break at some point. Sam just has to bide his time. Pluck up the courage. Oh and yeah… wait for his massive hard on to subside.

Sam sighs. This may take some time…

~~~

GABRIEL

He may… not have thought this thing through. It would seem that… in trying to arouse Sam… he may have accidentally aroused himself… just a touch. But in this costume… He holds the tray lower. It looks ridiculous, he’s well aware of that. But the alternative? Yeesh. Castiel is way too busy engaging in some serious eye fucking with Dean-o to take note of his approach. But the ever observant Jo… Well she’s another matter. She excuses herself from an impatient customer and stalks over to the end of the bar. She makes to grab the tray from him, but at his mildly panicked look, pauses and glares at him. She doesn’t have to say it. It’s written all over her face. You’ve got to be kidding me! Followed swiftly by, Sort your shit out. She grabs a dishcloth and thrusts it at him at the same time as yanking the tray out of his grasp. He fumbles the cloth a little before getting a proper grip on it.

He doesn’t need to look up to know that she caught a glimpse. He’s gonna have a whole lot of apologising to do by the end of the night. Crap. He throws her one more sheepish look before pushing through the staff door and into the back, only just remembering to angle himself sideways so he doesn’t get stuck in the doorway.

~~~

Gabriel leans back against the cubicle wall, grimaces as he crushes the wings, leans forward a little, and glares down at his dick. Oh it’s more than a little flushed now. In hindsight, he probably should have seen this coming. He’d kind of figured out just how far he could bend over and get away with it. Flash a lot of thigh. Just the tiniest hint of ass. Keep his legs together so he didn’t accidentally show a little too much… Sexy, but not crass.

The only thing he didn’t really count on… Was his rather vivid imagination. With Sam positioned almost directly behind him like that… Well of course his mind would wander. Of course he’d picture Sam grasping onto his hips, lifting the toga and pushing into his body in a few rough thrusts.

Well fuck. If he’s honest with himself, he’s been on edge all night. Frankly his dick has been perfectly well behaved considering the circumstances. Until now.

He really needs to get back out there. Jo will go apeshit if he leaves them in the lurch much longer. Then there’s Sam to consider. He can’t just disappear. Now he’s made his intentions clear, he needs to wait for the next opportunity and follow through.

Unfortunately his dick just isn’t getting with the program. Still pointing at the skies. Ready for action. Talk about déjà vu. He can’t exactly dump water over his head and ruin Jo’s fantastic work. That leaves only one option.

Making a face at the toilet, he closes his eyes, lifts up the toga and takes hold of his straining erection. Wait… hang on a minute. Really can’t risk getting come on the thing. Letting go of his dick, he reaches up and unclasps the toga, easing it over his erection, and letting it fall to his feet.

Sporting nothing but a huge pair of angel wings and a halo, he grabs hold of his dick, closes his eyes and gives in to the fantasy.