?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

{Fic} Where All My Journeys End Act One 1/2

*Act One: May you find some comfort here*
Masterpost




Gabriel showed up in the midst of a hunt. Dean and Sam walked out of the latest victim's house and found the archangel sitting cross-legged on the Impala's roof with a sucker between his lips.

"How the hell did you find us?" Dean snapped, gaze darting around in search of other angels.

With a roll of his eyes Gabriel dismissed their concerns. "Relax, the other mooks after you are complete idiots or you'd have been hauled in by now. You're really not that hard to find, you know. Simple guesswork to figure out what sort of hunt's going to attract you – then all it takes is a little waiting."

"What do you want?" Sam asked warily.

The angel jumped down from the car and snapped away the sucker. "Let's say I'm giving you kids a trial run. I'll admit it's rather impressive you've lasted this long."

Dean glowered. "We don't have time for your damn tests."

Sam stepped in front of Dean, casting his brother a quelling look before turning his focus to Gabriel. "What do you mean by trial run?"

Gabriel spread his hands in a placating gesture. "I just want to hang around a few days. Get front row seats to the Winchester show, sit in on your anti-Apocalypse pow-wows. That's it, I swear."

Although Dean's expression remained sour, he didn't protest and Sam knew they were grasping at straws for any bit of help they could get. Before agreeing, he clarified, "If you decide to leave, you just leave. You're not handing us over?"

"Oh please, like those heavenly idiots deserve to see my gorgeous face." Gabriel rolled his eyes. "Nah, if you guys are a dead end, I'm outta here – it's time for a holiday. Party like it's 1999 time."

Sam glanced back at Dean. His brother's expression had gone blank, about the closest to agreement as he was going to give. Sam took a moment longer to consider their limited options, then extended his hand. "Okay."

Gabriel stared at the offered hand dubiously but accepted the handshake.

*

“What do you expect will happen?” Sam asked one night when he was alone in the latest motel room with Gabriel.

“Let's see, the world ending?”

Sam scowled. “You're a happy ray of sunshine. Thank you for your inspiring speech.”

“That's what I'm here for. Well, that and watching you jokers tackle your side jobs.”

“Just because the world's falling apart doesn't mean we can ignore the smaller stuff.”

“I thought you humans liked to kick back for a last hurrah before major trials. Enjoy your last breaths and all.”

“Like I said, thanks for the uplifting speech. We can fight this, you know. If you don't think we can, why are you still here?”

Gabriel shrugged languidly, expression passive. The lack of a familiar smirk lessened Sam's frustration until the ever-present exhaustion sapped away the last of his irritation. “Look, can you just... Dean's giving up and Cas is losing faith. I just need to... hold onto something. Anything. Can you not take that away?”

The archangel muttered something under his breath. A moment later he snapped his fingers and an open book popped into existence in Sam's lap. "Should detail the best way to handle the monster of the week," he said in way of explanation.

Sam blinked stupidly at the well-thumbed pages. By the time he looked up to say thanks, Gabriel had gone.

*

Sam strained against the soft-lined restraints as another wave of pain rolled through his entire body. Even his damn teeth ached. The last time he had to go through detox, he hadn't binged on demon blood to the same extent. Famine's demise may have gotten rid of the cravings of most of his victims, but Sam knew he wouldn't be so lucky.

He'd been free of the cravings for months. Whatever or whoever (God?) had put the Winchesters on a plane, temporarily out of harm's way, had also seemed to purge the gut-deep conviction that he needed demon blood.

The next wave of pain brought along a swell of anger and he screamed. Fuck it. Castiel had been reduced to primitive, human gluttony for meat; had he been mortal, he would have died from the overeating. Sam had fought for over a day against the sickening cramps and feverish desire to taste demon blood on his tongue. He had held out longer than he should have been able to, and even after—

The cot began to shake as Sam's telekinetic powers manifested in short, uncontrolled bursts. He clenched his hands and bit his lip, trying to control it. Why? Why am I even trying? It'll fade. All of it just burns out. It would take hours (how long had he been trapped here in the panic room?), but eventually the demon blood and its effects would drain away.

When his lip began to bleed, Sam unclenched his jaw. He hadn't planned on the loud, drawn-out sob that followed. His eyes stung with tears of frustration as his tongue tasted his bloody lip. His heart pounded against his ribs so hard that he felt like his chest would burst. Wrong blood, wrong. Need, need, need, repeated in his mind with every heartbeat.

He didn't know how long the episode lasted or when he'd begun to form words instead of screaming nonsense; when he regained a level of coherency, Sam realized he was vacillating between rough curses and half-formed prayers. He broke off the litany with a frustrated sob. The cot had stopped shaking but his limbs trembled from hours of tension.

Sam knew he had been angry about something. His exhausted mind struggled to recapture his thoughts from earlier, desperate for a distraction as he slid into another nightmarish stage of detox. He remembered seeing Cas on the floor, hunched over a basin of raw hamburger. He remembered how it felt to turn away from the temptation of demon blood on his knife, the struggle to wipe it clean before he could give in. He remembered the expression on Dean's face when Sam had reached out and torn the demons from their stolen bodies.

This time he had to struggle to keep anger at the forefront as despair threatened to overwhelm him. Anger was an appropriate response. Anger at Famine, at the moronic demons who didn't have the smarts to realize they were being sacrificed as a meal, at Castiel for succumbing to Famine's power, at Gabriel for not being around on the hunt, and at Dean. Dean who had sounded angry and looked disappointed when Sam admitted to his renewed cravings. Dean who had looked scared when Sam had destroyed Famine. Dean who had convinced Sam to let himself be tied down again in the panic room.

He felt so much anger over the fact that Dean had somehow been beyond Famine's reach. Dean didn't get it, didn't understand just how deep desperation could go. Famine was gone but Sam could still feel the desperate need gnawing at his gut and digging its way from the inside out. If he didn't shake apart from the withdrawal, he thought he might be shredded from the inside.

Sam didn't realize how much of his thoughts he voiced aloud. He would scream and sob until long after he went hoarse and his mouth dried.

~

Sam felt like he barely had the strength to open his eyes when he heard the telltale clanks of the panic room's door unlocking. He managed to part his eyelids enough that he could watch blearily as the door opened. He felt hollow and fragile, yet impossibly heavy. He didn’t even have enough energy to feel more than fleeting surprise when the person that stepped into the room first was Gabriel. Castiel followed a couple steps behind. No Bobby, no Dean.

Apparently guessing, or reading, Sam's thoughts, Gabriel said, "Finally asleep."

Castiel made the very human movement of rubbing a hand over his face. "Gabriel facilitated their rest."

Sam tried to grunt his approval but only a strange whistle of breath passed his lips. He thought he saw the angels flinch at the noise, but he couldn't be sure.

The restraints released him with a snap from Gabriel. Castiel approached with a thermos. He stood at the side of the cot awkwardly for a moment before Gabriel gave a huff of frustration and pulled Sam into a sitting position. Sam slumped against the archangel, willing to accept that right now he didn't have the strength to struggle.

The water tasted wrong as it slid over his tongue and down his throat. Sam didn't know if that was because he was so dehydrated or if his body still craved demon blood. Regardless, the cool water eased the parched sensation of his mouth and tongue.

"The shit you get into," Gabriel muttered against Sam's hair. Sam half-laid against the archangel, his shoulders pressing awkwardly at Gabriel's chest, and his head propped against the curve of Gabriel's neck and lower jaw.

"Brother," Castiel's voice held a note of warning. If Sam had been able to, he would've told Castiel not to bother.

"Seriously, bro," Gabriel started off snappishly; "taking on Famine?" His voice changed, taking on the more familiar tone of the Trickster. "I can't believe I missed it. Bet the bastard's expression was priceless when he realized he was beat! And you really thought a cupid would sully their busiest, lovey-dovey day with cannibalistic tendencies?"

Castiel sounded offended although Sam could no longer make out the words. He let his eyes fall closed and he relaxed, truly relaxed, into the warmth and strength of the body holding him up. Sam smiled as he drifted off, strangely content with the sounds of angelic brothers bickering.

*

The first time "it" happened, Sam had been trying to fend off the persistent advances of a drunk, middle-aged woman. She was either oblivious to or purposefully ignoring Sam's obvious attempts to give her the brush-off. Just as Sam was about to despair of ever getting clear of her, Gabriel appeared at his elbow.

"'Cuse me," Gabriel directed at the woman with a toothy grin. Before Sam could think to question the situation, Gabriel's hands linked behind Sam's head and tugged him down. Their lips smashed together, awkward at first, but it took less than a second to improve the angle. Sam found himself perfectly happy to follow Gabriel's lead – parting his lips at the urge of a tongue, licking the edge of teeth, tilting his head just enough to catch a lip with a quick bite.

Somewhere in the haze that was their surroundings – a bar, Sam remembered, a bar the victims frequented – a woman whistled loudly, giggled a little, and then she seemed to disappear. Everything seemed to disappear. When Sam turned his head to gasp for breath, he opened his eyes and took in the sight of tasteful beige walls, the simple anonymous furniture of a hotel room, and a wide bed. He made a quizzical sound as Gabriel nipped along his jaw and down his neck.

"Wh-what is this? Gabriel?" The end of the angel's name drew out into a moan as Sam arched his neck into the mouth attached to the base of his throat.

Gabriel spent a good while sucking and licking the sensitive spot before responding. "Relax and take a damn break, Sammy."

"But— Thanks for helping me ditch her, but... This isn't— we shouldn't—"

Gabriel guided Sam's mouth back to his, kissing away the halfhearted protests. When Sam was thoroughly breathless, Gabriel pulled back and fixed the human with a piercing stare.

“Stop thinking so damn hard. Take a little, Sam.” Gabriel’s hands slid across Sam’s shoulders and fisted in the front of his jacket. “Just us here, and I’m offering. Take it or leave it.” His eyes flashed bright with challenge.

The words played over in Sam’s mind. Take a little. He could do that.

*

Sam stared blankly at the bag of Maple Nut Goodies that he'd encountered when he reached into his bag for the fake IDs. Dean arched an eyebrow and snatched the bag away to look at it. He made a face, "Ugh, really? Boring."

Sam didn't reply as he dug out the pair of arson investigator badges. "Here," he said, tossing one of them to Dean. His brother caught it and set aside the bag of candy.

"Let's go, Sammy, times a'wasting."

By the time Dean stepped outside, Sam had managed to tear open the corner of the candy bag and sneak a few into his hand. Before locking the door, Sam muttered a quick "thanks" to the seemingly empty room.

*

Sam choked on a laugh when he caught sight of Dean's perplexed expression as the older Winchester opened the fridge in their motel room and finding, instead of the usual beer, bottles of chocolate liqueur.

"Seriously? Seriously? Godiva? What the hell is this?" Dean demanded, a look of disgust on his face as he prodded a bottle suspiciously. He turned to glare around the room. "Where the hell is he?"

Sam smothered his amusement with a hand before Dean could see his grin. "I don't think he's here, Dean."

"Thank you Captain Obvious," Dean muttered. He slammed the fridge door shut and headed to his bed to pull on his jacket. "Never mind. I'm going out. See if you can call the prankster and get him to put my stuff back."

Sam frowned as he didn't get a chance to answer before Dean swept out the door. With a roll of his eyes, Sam went to lay down. He pulled out his cellphone and sent a text to Gabriel.

'Dean not amused. Went in search of nearest dive.'

A few moments after the message went through, Gabriel appeared next to Sam's bed with a smirk. "He didn't like my gift?"

"Hmm, let me think," Sam said drily, "manly beer or a fancy liqueur?"

Gabriel sniffed disdainfully as he turned to the fridge. He removed the bottle of dark chocolate liqueur and snapped up a glass. "I'll have you know this is perfectly delicious. Far better than the yeasty crap passing for American beer."

Sam sat up and shrugged. His nose wrinkled as he watched Gabriel pour the drink straight. "Really?"

"And ruin something this good with mixers? Please."

Deciding to move on, Sam turned his head slightly in a show of innocent confusion. "Was there some reason you wanted him out of the room?"

Gabriel sipped from his glass with his eyes sparking in promise above the rim. He set aside the bottle as he released a satisfied sigh. "I don't have any idea what you're talking about, Sam." Gabriel twirled the contents of his glass before taking another swallow. He crossed the room and settled at the foot of Sam's bed. "What's the plan? Where's your research?"

Sam stifled a frustrated sigh, knowing that Gabriel was leaving him to take the lead. It wasn't like these encounters were new anymore, but Sam still preferred to follow Gabriel's direction. However, his hesitance wasn't enough to keep him from reaching out, and he moved close enough that he could grasp Gabriel's shoulder. The angel's eyebrows arched in silent challenge, his lips widening in a grin.

"Something you want?"

"Oh, shut up." Sam yanked Gabriel close for a sloppy meeting of mouths. He felt Gabriel's glass fall against his thigh, leaving splotches of sticky alcohol in its wake.

The liqueur made Gabriel's mouth taste sweeter than normal with just an edge of bitterness from the dark chocolate.

Once Sam had initiated the contact, Gabriel seemed perfectly willing to take his own advantage. He crawled up the bed to straddle Sam's legs. Their movements sped up, Sam insistently tugging at buttons and cloth, sliding his fingers beneath Gabriel's shirt. He clutched at Gabriel's fingers when the angel made a move to snap away their clothes. Some things Sam preferred to do by hand.

Gabriel huffed laughter against Sam's mouth before turning his attention away from Sam's lips. While the human focused on disrobing them, Gabriel licked and nipped his way along Sam's jaw and down his neck.

Sam lay back and tugged Gabriel with him.

*

"Gabriel," Sam began cautiously. "What are you planning?" He looked down suspiciously at his suddenly parka-clad body.

The archangel grinned unrepentantly with his hand raised, prepared to snap. "Wait and see, Sammy."

"But why do I—" midway through Sam's question, Gabriel snapped—"need to wear... this. Oh." Sam watched his breath fog in front of him. His booted feet crunched into a layer of snow that spread out for miles and sparkled under the brightly lit night sky.

"Oh!" Sam breathed as he stared up at the broad ribbons of color in the sky. He felt his jaw drop as he watched the gentle waves of the aurora cross the sky.

"Yep." Gabriel sidled up to Sam so that their arms pressed together. "Bet you never had a view like this."

Sam shook his head slowly. "No I... Well, sometimes we'd catch a glimpse. If we were far enough north, during a hunt. But this is..."

"Nothing quite like it," Gabriel agreed quietly.

They watched the lights in silence for a long while. Eventually Sam realized he was shivering despite the winter layers Gabriel had provided. He tucked his gloved hands under his armpits and hunched his shoulders a bit.

"Cold?"

"I don't want to go—" Sam started. Gabriel's fingers pressed against his lips and the hunter glanced down at the smirking face tilted up toward him.

"Wasn't planning on it. Just this." The archangel snapped and a pile of blankets and pillows appeared on the ground next to them. Gabriel pulled Sam down and the air seemed to change, the wind disappearing and the temperature warming. In response to the hunter's look of wonderment, Gabriel winked; "Awesome powers."

Sam chuckled and relaxed against some pillows so he could look up at the sky. A moment later he was covered by Gabriel's body. The angel unzipped Sam's parka and eased his hands under the human's shirts. "Still cold?" Gabriel asked with a predatory grin.

Lips twitching towards a grin of his own, Sam replied, "Maybe a little."

Gabriel leaned forward, tilting his head just enough that Sam could still see the aurora high above them. "Then let me warm you up."

*

The Apocalypse was a terrible time to be falling in love. There wasn't necessarily an optimum time to fall in love with an angel, but with the Apocalypse coming and being Satan's true vessel, well, Sam's timing was truly awful.

In the interest of self-preservation (of his hope, his heart, and his sanity), Sam suppressed the more complicated feelings. He knew from experience that even if Gabriel chose to respect the privacy of others' thoughts, the archangel was quick to pick up on “projected emotions.”

There were more important things to worry about, anyway.

*

Sam didn't fully realize how dangerous their recent nonstop activities and lack of sleep had been until he woke up to a gun muzzle digging into his forehead. He opened his eyes to look up the barrel of a shotgun and found a man wearing a ski mask standing over him. A quick glance to his left revealed Dean still sprawled out on his stomach and a second man standing at the end of the bed.

The man standing over Sam backed up a bit but left his gun fixed on Sam. Warily Sam sat up in bed. Sliding his hand back under his pillow revealed that his knife had been removed. A moment later Dean moved. Sam watched balefully as Dean rolled over.

"Looking for this?" The cartridge from Dean's handgun dropped to the floor.

Dean turned his head to Sam, gaze quickly taking in the scene. "Some morning."

"Shut up. Hands where I can see them."

Only the one man had spoken so far and the voice was kind of familiar. As Dean pushed himself upright and raised his hands, Sam could tell that his brother had the same sense of recognition.

"Wait a minute. Is that you, Roy?" Dean's smile held a definite edge. "It is, isn’t it. Which makes you Walt. Hiya, Walt."

The hunters removed their masks after a moment and Sam felt his heart drop. Jesus. Roy and Walt wore tight, determined expressions. Sam glanced sidelong at his brother, wondering if there was a way they could get out of this. What a great night to bypass giving Cas and Gabriel a heads-up on our location.

Dean still had his hands up as he prodded, "Well, is it just me, or do you two seem a tad upset?"

Walt, the hunter holding the gun on Sam, ignored Dean. "You think you can flip the switch on the Apocalypse and just walk away, Sam?"

Oh hell. "Who told you that?" Sam asked, truly hoping he'd get an answer.

"We ain't the only hunters after you," Walt sneered. He pumped his shotgun and Sam's heartbeat sped up in response. "See you in the next life."

"Hear me out!" Sam raised his hands higher in a placating gesture, desperate. "I can explain, okay? Please. This won't work."

He held his breath as the seconds ticked by, maybe, just maybe—

Sam felt the blast rip through his chest and then a sensation of falling. He wondered how long it would take for Lucifer to follow through on the promise to bring him back.

*

Sam didn't know where to look as he tried to process recent events. Dashing through memories – his and Dean's visions of Heaven – and running into Ash while trying to avoid Zachariah; meeting Joshua and arriving in the Garden; the announcement that God had decided to piss off to some solo retreat on Earth. And then Joshua confirmed what Sam had started to suspect, Dean had reached the end of his rope. This desperate quest, Castiel's search for God, had become Dean's last hope.

"So now what?" Dean's voice lacked all emotion, and Sam wished he knew what he could do to offer comfort.

Joshua's expression was sympathetic as he replied, "You go home again. I'm afraid this time won't be like the last." He lifted one hand towards them. "This time, God wants you to remember."

White light flared to life at the corner of Sam's eyes. He had expected his next sight to be of the motel room; instead he blinked and found himself still staring at Joshua and surrounded by the Garden.

"Why am I...?"

Joshua smiled slightly. "He had something else to pass on."

Startled, Sam asked, "God? What is it?"

"You're stronger than you think, Samuel. Keep faith."

Sam chuckled humorlessly at that. "After you've told us God wants us to back off?"

Joshua shook his head sadly. "Faith... is more than God." He turned his hand a little, preparing to send Sam back. As their surroundings began to glow, Joshua said, "Tell Gabriel, I miss our chats."

~

The next time Sam opened his eyes, he was back in the expected motel room. He scrambled to sit up, gulping in air. Dean stood up from his bed, expression tight.

"You alright?" Sam asked.

"Define alright." Dean snorted softly and walked away to grab his cellphone from the table. "Calling Cas."

Sam stared silently at his brother's back, gaze fixed at the blood-spattered shirt full of holes. He looked down at his own shirt and picked at the cloth caked with blood. He swallowed down the feeling of nausea as he recalled the moments before dying. He remembered how it felt this time.

The sound of wings brought his attention back to the present. He looked up to find Castiel looking at Dean anxiously. Gabriel strode across the room to Sam, eyes wide as he looked the hunter over.

"We're fine. I'm fine," Sam said quickly. He held up a hand, although he wasn't sure if he actually wanted to keep Gabriel back.

Dean laughed sharply and the hollow sound made Sam cringe. "Yeah. Fine. Your Dad's gardener said to fuck off." The angels stared at him like it was the last thing they had expected to hear. Even Gabriel, who spent much of his time discouraging Castiel's search.

"He wouldn't..." Castiel started uncertainly. His brow furrowed in a look of very human confusion.

"Yeah, well, apparently He would," Dean said.

Castiel shook his head, confusion giving way to disappointment.

Gabriel seemed to have recomposed himself in the meantime. "What happened to instigate your little jaunt upstairs?" he asked, frowning at the obvious evidence of the Winchesters' deaths.

"A couple hunters," Sam admitted with a grimace.

Gabriel's eyes narrowed. "I know you two can really piss people off, but why were hunters after you?"

Sam hunched his shoulders and rubbed at spots of blood dried on his hands. "They knew that I started this."

"Not just them," Dean added. "They said others are looking for us. Somebody passed along the word." He made a disgusted sound as he looked down at his shirt. "We need to get the hell out of Dodge – after we change."

Nobody spoke again until the bathroom door closed behind Dean.

Gabriel nudged Sam's chin to get the human to look up. "Sam?" He was frowning in what looked like concern. "I'm sure a shower would feel better, but in the name of expediency..." Gabriel snapped his fingers and Sam looked down to find himself dressed in jeans and a clean shirt.

"That works," he said, smiling slightly in thanks. With a sigh Sam stood up and started looking around for what they'd need to pack. He felt Gabriel's stare as he moved around the room.

"Why would our Father stand by and let this happen?" Castiel muttered. Sam paused in his packing and exchanged an uneasy look with Gabriel. "Does He want this?"

"Bro..." Gabriel sighed. "Look, I know everyone's keen on preaching Dad's infallibility but the truth is He hasn't been interested in stepping in for centuries. The last chat He had with anyone besides Joshua, apparently, was His message to Muhammad." He shrugged dismissively. "Millennia spent in a crowd of His children, He probably needed a vacation."

The bathroom door opened and Dean stepped out fully dressed. He took in the tense atmosphere and shook his head. "Sammy, it's all—" he stopped talking when he caught sight of Sam's change of clothes. "Or we could just get out of here."

Sam zipped up his bag and looked around for his boots. A quiet snap drew his attention to Gabriel and the archangel looked pointedly at the now blood-free bed sheets.

Castiel turned away from everyone as he sagged against the room's divider. Dean glanced over as he stuffed loose items into his duffle. "Cas?"

The angel tilted his head back, but Sam was pretty sure he wasn't looking at the ceiling.

"You son of a bitch. I believed—"

Sam flinched at the depth of bitterness in the angel's voice. He saw Dean make an abortive move towards Castiel. Gabriel's expression was blank.

Castiel turned around as he dug something out of his pocket. "I don't need this anymore," he said gruffly, tossing the object in his hand to Dean. "It's worthless."

Sam realized it was the amulet he'd given Dean when they were kids; the amulet Castiel had said could detect God's presence. "Cas, wait!" The angel had already gone. "Damn it," he muttered.

Gabriel moved close to Sam, his hand curling briefly around the human's forearm. "Keep in touch." Once Sam nodded, the angel disappeared.

The sound of a zipper drew his attention to his brother. "We'll find another way. We can still stop all this, Dean," he said.

Dean looked up from his bag with a blank expression. "How?"

"I-I don't know, but we'll find it." Sam was desperate for Dean to believe him. "You and me, we'll find it."

The look Dean gave in response made clear he didn't believe it. He slung the strap of his bag over his shoulder and headed for the door. He paused before stepping outside, glancing briefly at the amulet dangling from his fingers. He dropped it in the trashcan to the side of the doorway and walked out.

Sam sucked in a deep breath as he continued to stare at the trash. He clenched his fists at his side, trying to tell himself that it hadn't been meant as a personal slight. Castiel and Dean were angry with God, not him.

In a minute Sam had his emotions under control and went over to fish the amulet out of the trash. He stared at it for a long moment, unable to see it as Castiel had. Dean handing it over to the angel had never been about God, for Sam; it had been an indication that Castiel had officially joined their team, become a trusted friend.

He swallowed against the rising disappointment and tucked the necklace away in his pocket.

*

Sam ran across the parking lot after the Impala, yelling for Dean to stop, turn around. You jackass! Don't you dare leave me here! The car sped up and with a squeal swung around a corner. Sam came to a halt at the sidewalk running alongside the motel and stared at the disappearing headlights.

"You... you fucking idiot," he hissed between his teeth. Hands clenching, Sam tilted his head back and shouted, "Are you enjoying this? Is this what you want?" He closed his eyes and stood there just breathing for long moments. Shit.

Shit.

"Sam?"

"Where were you?" Sam demanded, turning around to glare at Gabriel. "We needed you!"

Gabriel grimaced but otherwise stood still. "I'm sorry, Sam."

Sam lifted his hands helplessly and winced when he realized he was shaking. "Damn it, Gabriel. Dean's going to— And Cas..."

"I know," Gabriel said quietly. He stepped forward and grasped Sam's hands. "We'll figure it out. Right now I want to check on my brother."

"How can he—?" Sam sagged against Gabriel, grateful that the archangel had the strength to hold him up.

"Come on." Gabriel tilted Sam's head so that he could offer a chaste kiss. A moment later they stood in the open doorway of the motel room. Gabriel pulled away slowly and went over to the bed where Castiel was awkwardly attempting to clean Pastor Gideon's scrapes.

Castiel looked between Gabriel and Sam, his already weary expression falling even more. "Dean's going to say yes."

"He can't," Sam was quick to counter. He wouldn't accept it.

"I... don't understand." Gideon blinked blearily at them. "What exactly is going on?"

Gabriel glanced disdainfully at the nearly empty first aid kit. With a snap of his fingers, fresh supplies appeared and he waved Sam over. In response to Gideon he said, "I think you already know it's the end of the world. These jokers are trying to rewrite destiny."

Sam took over seeing to Gideon's wounds. He gave the archangel a disapproving glare. "We're going to do it."

Castiel sat on the other bed as Gabriel looked him over. Cas responded tonelessly, "Dean will say yes and Michael will have his vessel. Do you really think you'll have any other option than to say yes to Lucifer?"

"What?" Gideon jerked away from Sam's touch, eyes wide. "What is he talking about?" The pastor slid along the edge of the bed, putting some space between himself and the room's other occupants.

Gabriel rolled his eyes. "Cool it, preacher man. You're hanging with the only two sane angels left and the most stubborn human I've ever met. And let me tell you that's pretty damn stubborn since I spent days convincing Mary she was pregnant with the son of God."

"W-who are you?" Pastor Gideon looked pale and about ready to pass out.

"Gabriel. Yeah, yeah, that Gabriel. Just don't go spreading that news around, I'm keeping a low profile these days." At the startled gasp from Gideon, Gabriel grinned. "And I think the best thing for you right now is some rest." He walked over and tapped his fingers against the man's forehead. "Nighty-night."

Sam caught the pastor just before he slipped from the bed. "He'll be okay?" Sam asked as he settled Gideon on top of the covers.

"He'll be fine." Gabriel returned his attention to Castiel. "You, however, look like shit, little bro." He narrowed his eyes. "Are you hung-over?"

"He said he drank a liquor store," Sam answered for the angel. Castiel nodded solemnly.

"Nice human habit you picked up," Gabriel said drily. "You're not exactly a hundred percent these days, Castiel. If you plan on sticking around for this fight, don't act like an idiotic Winchester." He glanced at Sam with an unapologetic smirk.

"I do not understand why you continue to disparage Dean and Sam when you have joined their cause."

Gabriel patted Castiel's head, a gesture that brought a small smile to Sam's lips. "Don't worry about it, bro. You just take a little snooze while Sammy tells me whatever crazy plan he's cooking up to keep his brother from making a stupid move."

Castiel frowned. "I do not require sleep."

"Cas, I think it might be good if you rest for a bit," Sam encouraged. "You don't have to sleep, but maybe just lay down?" He exchanged a sidelong glance with Gabriel. "We can't do anything right this moment, anyway."

The angel seemed to consider that for a minute before nodding. He glanced over his shoulder at the bed and slowly pushed himself back. He laid down hesitantly, each movement stiff and unsure. Gabriel rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers; Castiel's shoes landed on the floor, his tie came undone, and his jacket and trench coat reappeared on the comforter at his side.

"Get comfortable," Gabriel told him. He turned to look at Sam and pointed at the couch.

~

"Should he really be sleeping?" Sam asked quietly as he watched Castiel from across the room.

Gabriel's fingers paused in the middle of stroking Sam's hair. "Not involuntarily," he admitted. His fingers resumed their movement.

Sam let his head fall back into Gabriel's lap with a sigh. "How bad is he?"

"He's alright," Gabriel said dismissively. His expression tightened, however, and he added, "He'll be a whole lot worse if we don't stop your idiot brother."

"I'll stop him, I promise." Sam pressed his face against Gabriel's thigh as his breath hitched. He just needed a few hours to think. Dean wouldn't go straight to Michael, there was still time to catch up with him.

"Sam, Sam, Sam," Gabriel tsked quietly. He tucked Sam's hair behind the hunter's ear and ran his fingertip along the exposed rim. "You just had to pick up the weight of the world when your brother shrugged. When did you last get a full night's sleep?"

Sam chuckled humorlessly against Gabriel's leg. "Shouldn't you know?"

Silence followed his response and Sam was content to lay there and let his mind drift. A few minutes later he felt insistent hands urging him to roll over. With a reluctant sigh Sam rolled onto his back and opened his eyes to find Gabriel staring down at him intently.

"What?" the hunter prompted wearily.

Gabriel said nothing for a while longer. Then he bent down and kissed Sam. His lips parted and he curled a hand behind Sam's head. Although the kiss was firm, it lacked the insistence that usually prefaced their sexual encounters. Sam shifted into a better position and wrapped an arm around Gabriel's back. He pressed closer, drawn to the archangel's warmth and eager for the respite only the angel offered these days.

The weight of recent events was crushing him; Sam could admit that to himself and to Gabriel. They've given up, Sam thought bleakly. Cas has no faith. Dean's sure submitting to Michael is the only option left. Bobby's just going through the motions. How can I...?

Sam turned his head to break the kiss. He continued to cling to Gabriel as he searched the unfathomable amber eyes. "Why?" Sam asked brokenly, "Why do you keep coming back?"

Gabriel's expression was unusually serious as he stared down at Sam. He stayed quiet for long moments, his fingers gently rubbing the back of Sam's head. When he finally responded, his voice was low and held a resonance that Sam thought might be a faint echo of angelic Voice. "Because I believe in you, Sam."

It didn't make sense but it was what Sam desperately needed to hear, so he decided not to question further. He might not understand, but he trusted Gabriel.

"Think it's time for you to join the slumber party," Gabriel said. He leaned in to press a kiss to Sam's forehead. "Sleep. I'll make sure you're up bright and early to stop your crazy brother."

Gabriel's words seemed to permit exhaustion to overtake Sam. The human relaxed, trusting that at least for the night he'd get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.

*

"Not that Michigan's a barrel of fun, but why don't you want me to go?" Gabriel crossed his arms and tapped his foot in a clear sign of irritation.

Sam set his bag down on the bed with the other supplies. "Cas and I can handle Dean. He needs to focus on me, think that I'm alone. You like showy, Gabriel, and that's not going to work."

"I can do subtle when it's needed," Gabriel argued.

"I guess, but this is going to go a lot better with just Cas and I. Besides, we need to be sure Gideon and the people here are okay. It shouldn't take too long and then you can get over to Bobby's."

Gabriel sighed as he looked at the bed. "And act as your porter, right?"

"Yeah, a real difficult finger snap." Sam glanced out the doorway where the pastor stood looking out over the empty parking lot. "Please, we don't have a lot of time to argue."

The archangel waved his hand dismissively. "Fine, you go get your self-sacrificing brother." He glanced over his shoulder at Castiel, who stood watching them silently. "You're up for this?"

Castiel nodded with a grave expression. "I will impress upon Dean the folly of his decision."

That surprised a huff of laughter from Gabriel. "Go get 'im, tiger." He nodded at Sam before walking over to Gideon.

"Sam," Castiel said, stepping close. When he had the human's attention, he raised his hand and tapped his fingers against Sam's forehead.

~

Castiel brought the Winchesters to Bobby's where the hunter was in the middle of what sounded like an argument with Gabriel. Dean wore a sour expression as he glared at everyone.

"Oh good, you're here." Gabriel arched an eyebrow in Dean's direction. "Martyrs are overrated, kid."

"What do you care? You've done nothing to stop this," Dean snapped.

Sam reached out quickly to grab Gabriel's shoulder, even though he knew that if the archangel wanted to he could easily break the hold. Thankfully Gabriel stayed put and settled for an angry glare. "Watch your tongue, Winchester. You wanted options and I don't want to kill my brothers. If you haven't gotten it through your thick skull, there's not a lot of options to manage that."

"Exactly! I get it now, Michael can do his thing and we can save a boatload of people for a change."

Bobby intervened; "Sure, but not all of them! What's wrong with you?"

Sam pleaded with his brother, "We're going to figure this out together. Don't throw it all away."

"What the hell do you think we can do, Sam? How is it I'm the only one accepting reality?"

"You're a contradicting dick." Gabriel shrugged off Sam's hand and moved directly into Dean's personal space. "You talk a good game but then you run off. Admit it, this is about making things easier for you."

"Gabriel," Sam started quietly, but he couldn't finish the protest. Castiel and Bobby were silent, and Sam was having difficulty coming up with a defense for his brother.

The archangel stood there a moment more before stepping back. He turned to Sam and Castiel, explaining, "I need to leave. Can I trust you chuckleheads to knock some sense into him?"

"Where are you going?" Sam asked, surprised that Gabriel wasn't sticking around.

Bobby let out an irritated sigh. "He thinks a chat with Death could help us out."

"Don’t knock it, buddy," Gabriel replied. He focused his gaze on Sam and some of the tightness of his expression seemed to ease. "There's a chance—`well, I'll tell you about it if it pans out." For a moment it looked like he would add something else; then he disappeared with a snap.

Dean let out a humorless chuckle. "You can't seriously be relying on him."

"Seems to me he's not the one throwing his life away," Bobby said.

"This isn't down to one person, Dean." Sam looked around the room. "In this together, remember?" He couldn't suppress his disappointment when Dean just turned away.

*

Sam leaned back against the warehouse wall after spitting out another mouthful of blood. Dean paced nearby, occasionally glancing at his cellphone and cursing.

"He'll get here," Sam assured. He scrubbed at his mouth with his shirtsleeve. Luckily it didn't seem that Zachariah's damage was permanent, but they wanted one of their angels' confirmation. Neither Castiel nor Gabriel had answered their phones, but of the two, Sam expected Gabriel to respond.

"Two minutes, Sammy, then I'm getting us out of here."

The rustling sound of an angel's arrival caught their attention. "Thanks for the vote of confidence." Gabriel looked around the warehouse with a frown. "What are you doing out here?"

"Zachariah," Dean replied darkly.

"He took Adam," Sam explained further. "He lured us out here and called—" he broke off to cough. He felt fresh blood on his lips. "Shit."

"Sam?"

Gabriel moved far faster than Dean, instantly appearing at Sam's side and looking him over worriedly. "What the... Fuck. Always hated that bastard." Gabriel pressed his hand to Sam's chest. Almost immediately warmth spread from his touch, and Sam could feel the difference as his body healed.

"Thanks," he sighed in relief.

Gabriel nodded tightly, gaze falling to Sam's mouth. He pulled the cuff of his jacket over his palm and leaned in to rub the blood from Sam's face. "I'm sorry," he said, so quiet that Sam thought Dean probably didn't hear it.

Dean's face held an expression of confusion as he looked between the two. "We need to get back to Bobby's," he said. He looked uncomfortable standing nearby.

"Right."

A moment later, they appeared in Bobby's library.

"Damn it! You need warning bells or something." Bobby set his shotgun back on the desk once he recognized his visitors. He took a long look at them and his expression darkened. "Adam? Castiel?"

Sam and Dean slumped into the free chairs near the desk. "Cas took on the angels pulling guard duty," Dean said. "He... did a banishing spell."

"What?" Gabriel hissed. "Including himself? Shit, I need to find him."

"Wait!" Sam caught Gabriel's wrist. "You should know Zachariah called Michael down. He... he probably has a body now."

Bobby grimaced. "Adam." Dean bowed his head in acknowledgement.

Gabriel nodded his understanding before disappearing. Sam sighed wearily and turned back to Bobby to finish explaining.

~

Act One, Part 2

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
auntmo9
Oct. 20th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
I loved Sam's extra conversation with Joshua!And Sam retrieving the amulet has always been my own personal head canon,so I am glad you included it in your story! :D

On to the next part!
enmuse
Oct. 20th, 2011 01:03 am (UTC)
I'm intrigued by several angels we got to see only briefly in the show... I should consider finding a way to make Joshua relevant in the sequel, hrmm...

And the amulet! Yeah, that bit had to be included at Q's insistence; and when I thought about it I realized I have some of my own head-canon for what it represented (as is now shown in fic). ;)

Looking forward to reading your other comments! ♥
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )