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{Fic} Stay (Awake) With Me | 4/10


Four: ___

Sam gulped in air like he had been drowning. He could feel Gabriel's hands holding him up and something more ephemeral caressing his skin. He didn't pay attention to anything else for the time being, letting it all fade to the periphery as he focused on the sensation of gentle grace attempting to soothe his turbulent emotions and painful breaths.

"Sam! Sammy, you okay?" Dean's voice eventually broke through the white noise and Sam opened his eyes and turned his head. Dean half stood from his mattress but remained across the small space between the beds.

"'M fine," Sam said, despite the obvious lie, made all the more obvious by Sam pressing closely against Gabriel. He breathed a sigh of relief when the archangel's arms wrapped around him securely and he felt Gabriel press himself against Sam's side.

"You're not fine," Dean retorted, making a face.

Gabriel nuzzled against Sam's neck and muttered, "But you will be."

"Jesus." Dean dropped back to the mattress and dragged a hand over his face. "Sammy... I didn't know. I had no idea the painkillers would be a problem."

Sam made a confused noise and moved his gaze between his brother and the two angels. It took a few moments to form a guess and then he asked, "That's why I couldn't wake up?"

Dean grimaced. "Yeah, guess so."

Gabriel's arms tightened around Sam and the human realized he could see a glow faintly outlining what must be a pair of wings surrounding them.

"How are you feeling, Sam?" Castiel asked, voice grave.

Sam thought for a moment on how he might respond. Not that he was feeling particularly well but it was better than nothing. "I'm... tired," he admitted, then laughed a little. It was true. Nightmares, both remembered and newly created, were not conducive to rest.

"What do you..." Dean trailed off, almost flinching when Sam looked him in the eye. Dean's gaze slid away as he mumbled the rest of the question, "What do you dream about?"

Sam tensed, suddenly rushed by images and sensations: freezing cold then boiling hot; Adam's face, pleas to make things right; Michael laughing, chuckling, prodding aside Sam's lungs so that Lucifer could reach into the open chest cavity and clutch Sam's heart—!


"Jesus Christ, Sammy! I'm sorry! I'm sorry, okay?"

Sam still took a while to come back to reality. When Sam brought himself back to a semblance of coherence, he found himself blinking up at Gabriel's determined face. Amber eyes glowed brightly and behind the archangel Sam could see the sparking outlines of wings.

"Sam, I need you to focus." Gabriel's hands felt like clamps over Sam's biceps. "I need you to stay with me here, okay?"

"Y-yeah," the human replied, nodding slowly. His breathing was still a little fast, but he focused on Gabriel filling his vision, giving off heat and light and grace. Sam could still see the wings.

"I-I'm sorry," Dean muttered again, sounding like a chastised child.

Sam couldn't tear his gaze away from Gabriel's wings but he replied, "It's okay, Dean. I'm okay... It's... I c-can't talk about it."

"That's fine. No problem," Dean quickly said.

Gabriel didn't take his eyes away from Sam as he addressed their brothers, "Cas, take Dean somewhere for a bit, okay? We'll be fine here."

"Gabriel—" Dean began in a warning growl.

Castiel interrupted, "I recommend we do as he requests, Dean."

"Damn it," Dean muttered. Sam could hear movement and from the corner of his eyes, though Gabriel's wings made part of his vision hazy, Sam could see Dean stand and move closer to Castiel. "Fine, let's go."

For a while they waited as Dean and Cas left the room. Gabriel continued to watch Sam, eyes worried. His hands lessened the intense grip as he moved his thumbs in comforting circles over Sam's skin.

"Sam, you with me?" the archangel asked, actually looking uncertain.


"Yeah, I'm..." Sam cut himself off with a humorless chuckle. He turned his head to the side and closed his eyes. "Yeah. Well, I'm here. It's not... my head's not a happy place to be," he admitted.

Gabriel's fingers trailed gently over the human's face. "I wish I could take it all away."

Sam shook his head a little, though he wasn't sure what he might be responding to. Gabriel sighed quietly, breath brushing over Sam's cheek.

Sam opened his eyes and blinked when he realized he could still see Gabriel's wings. Not just the outline or faint impression of wings, but literally the archangel's wings. He blinked again before commenting, "Uh, Gabriel...? Why can I see them?"

Gabriel made a curious noise. "See what?"

Sam hesitantly raised his hand, coming within a hairsbreadth of touching the shimmering light. "Your wings."

Suddenly Gabriel's weight shifted and the archangel sat back. His wings rose up and seemed to ripple as he moved. Sam turned his head to get a full view of the wings, and he realized that he could count at least a clear three pairs.

"You see... What exactly do you see?" Gabriel's eyes were wide, a look of surprise overtaking his expression.

Sam pushed himself up on one arm. His fingers twitched, wondering what it would be like to touch his lover's wings. Part of Gabriel's grace, belonging to his lover, someone who cared for him. Despite the obvious power radiating from the wings, Sam didn't feel afraid. Gabriel lacked the menace that Lucifer and Michael had.

"I see..." Sam shook his head a little as he tried to find the words to aptly describe the vision. "Three pairs. Not... not feathers. Light, so full of light and shining..." Sam's hand raised of its own accord and he gasped quietly when the nearest wing twitched towards him. Although he could make out the outlines of the room's contents beyond the wing, they had solid mass; the wings seemed to flex beneath Sam's fingertips and his skin tingled. "Beautiful."

Gabriel cupped Sam's face in his hands and gently turned Sam's head to capture the hunter's gaze. The archangel looked stunned or awed, it reminded Sam of how the angel had looked when Gabriel had picked up on Sam's emotions months ago as they sat on Bobby's porch steps. "What? Sam, you shouldn't be able to... They're not— I'm not—" Gabriel opened and closed his mouth for a few seconds, apparently at a loss for words.

"I don't know how you can," Gabriel whispered. His wings shifted, the inner pair curling close and framing Sam in a warm circle. "I hid them so I didn't hurt your brother or you when you work up."

"I don't hurt," Sam assured. His gaze drifted to his hand and fingers which had begun caressing the bright, semitransparent... membrane? It wasn't exactly the right word, but the wings felt a little like how Sam imagined a bat's wings would feel. Not like a bird, no feathers. Shimmering like water ripples or light from a prism.

Gabriel's thumbs caressed Sam's cheeks. "Oh Sam. It's... I'm sorry I wasn't there to help you."

Sam didn't pay much attention to the words at first, focused still on studying his lover's wings. He made a small noise of inquiry; "Hmm?"

"I was here, wasting my time, with no idea..." Gabriel sounded like his breath caught. "I should have come to get you. I had no idea—"

Sam's stomach clenched with a sense of dread. "You didn't know what?"

Gabriel's wings pressed close until Sam felt cocooned in the glowing appendages. "I should have protected you. I was wrong, I shouldn't have waited. I should have found a way to stop them when it first began."

Sam's eyes widened and his gaze darted to Gabriel's face in surprise. "You saw," he stated numbly. His fingers curled into his palm and he withdrew his hand from Gabriel's wings. He took a shuddering breath and averted his eyes. "You shouldn't have seen."

Gabriel's hand caught Sam's. "And you shouldn't have to deal with this alone," he replied, expression determined. Gabriel shifted himself so that he could comfortably lay his head on Sam's shoulder. With his body and wings, the archangel blanketed his human lover.

"Gabriel..." Sam trailed off as he searched for what he wanted to say. His heart hammered against his chest as he realized Gabriel had now seen some of the details Sam had tried to keep hidden. "I'm sorry you saw them like that," he finally said with a small grimace. He hadn't wanted Gabriel to see his brothers twisted and broken.

"It's not them I'm worried about," Gabriel growled. "Stop hiding things from me, Sammy. I know you're trying to spare my feelings or something silly and noble like that, but I don't care about it." Gabriel kissed Sam's neck and pressed his hand over the sigil on Sam's arm. "You're the one that matters."

Sam felt overwhelmed as a thread of grace – that had to be what it was – wove through his body as Gabriel nuzzled against his neck. Emotions followed the trail, clearly backing up Gabriel's words with the sense of grief, protection, 'Mine, you're everything', love.

Sam didn't think he'd ever meant so much to someone other than his brother. That depth of emotion, the unwavering devotion and stubbornness, went soul-deep and did not fade; and as amazing as it felt now, as it usually felt, Sam knew from experience that it led to trouble.

But, God, I need it. Let me have this, he begged silently. He threaded his fingers through Gabriel's hair and urged the angel's head up. He captured Gabriel's lips in a desperate kiss, pressing hard and close. Please let us be.


From the werewolf hunt the brothers turned south and drove to take care of what sounded like a typical salt and burn. Gabriel refused to let them leave without first exacting a sworn promise from Dean that the hunter would call is anything slightly unusual came up, and the archangel insisted on being present when Sam tried to sleep.

Had the nightmares and flashbacks been any less intense, Sam would have let his embarrassment rule and countered the argument. As things stood, he quietly acquiesced and decided he could accept his brother's potential teasing – or irritation, depending on Dean's mood.

Gabriel still looked displeased when Castiel insisted they needed to return to Heaven. Sam leaned in for a quick kiss and murmured promise that he'd make it worth the angel's while. Gabriel responded with a smirk and a wink. It had done the trick, and a moment later he followed Castiel without complaint.



"Raphael," Gabriel greeted. He had been busy, as had most everyone, with making meeting arrangements and moderating the more vicious arguments. Gabriel may have been gone for near a millennia, but his age and strength lent a significant advantage with the level of respect most of the other angels gave him. Due to the amount of busywork, he hadn't been able to truly speak to Raphael yet.

He supposed it was a good sign that Raphael hadn't just blasted him away. Gabriel glanced briefly at Castiel. His younger brother and Raphael didn't have the best history. Even before the whole recent Apocalypse ordeal, Castiel had not rated high on Raphael's list of favorites. Gabriel had ranked up there once upon a time, though.

"Shall we talk?" Raphael invited.

"Is this a way to take me out quietly?" Gabriel joked. "If it is, well, I've always preferred showy."

If he had been human, Raphael would be rolling his eyes, Gabriel decided. "Don't be such a child," Raphael grumbled.

"Yeah, yeah. Let's get away from the kiddies. See ya later, Cas!" Gabriel waved and darted off, searching for a specific corner of Heaven he'd been clued into only recently. Raphael followed closely.

When they landed on wood floors under the feet of tables and chairs that had seen better days, Raphael's nose scrunched up in distaste. "Where have you brought us, brother?"

Gabriel grinned and headed right up to the bar where a mullet-haired guy and a dark-haired woman were watching the angels suspiciously. Gabriel stuck out his hand to shake and addressed the woman. "Ellen Harvelle, yeah? Nice place you have here. Not sure about grumpy puss, but I'll take a glass of your fruitiest drink." He winked at her confused look. Ellen didn't take his hand, but the kid did.

"Yo. Name's Ash," the human introduced, a spark of intrigue shining in his eye. "Don't get many angels swinging 'round this way."

"Obviously they have poor taste," Gabriel said, making a face. He looked at Ellen expectantly. "What? None of your hunter folk like fruity cocktails? That's a shame. Here, let me provide the supplies." Gabriel snapped and turned away from the bar to wave Raphael over. "Seriously, bro, they don't bite." Gabriel paused to think about that for a second. "Well, they don't bite unless they've been turned into zombies, but hey, that's generally not their fault."

Raphael seemed to edge closer with caution, eyeing the floor and the humans suspiciously. Gabriel rolled his eyes as he watched his brother self-consciously lift his arm clear of a chair that was in the way.

"Who the hell are you?" Ellen demanded as she smacked a glass filled with a riot of colors and enough alcohol to carry the smell clear to Gabriel standing a couple feet away.

"Thank you." Gabriel snapped a twisty straw into the drink and took a sip before answering her. "I'm Gabriel. We have some mutual friends."

"Dude, everyone knows the Winchesters, that ain't impressive," Ash said with a laugh. "And are you talking archangel here? That's gonna be the scoop."

Ellen's gaze darted between the angels, looking wary. "What do you want?"

Raphael narrowed his eyes at Gabriel. "Indeed. What are we doing here?"

Gabriel waved a hand at their surroundings. "Why, I thought this would be a great place to chat! Sure the furniture isn't that welcoming, but I'll take care of that. Seems a fitting setting." Gabriel glanced around and pointed far across the room to a table near one of the pool tables. "Hey, let's go back there and I'll teach you pool."


"Tell me what you're doing here or so help me I will find a way to kick you out," Ellen snapped.

Ash stage-whispered, "Take her seriously, we kinda got an inside line on how to banish angels."

Raphael bristled, looking affronted.

"Chill out," Gabriel said. He rolled his eyes and dropped a hand onto his brother's shoulder. "Raphael, go on back there and wait a sec while I get the guards of the keep calmed down. Don't irritate the lady on her home turf." He arched an eyebrow when Raphael's lips parted.

When he had convinced his brother to go, Gabriel turned back to the humans with a broad smile. "Didn't think you needed a reservation here. First to your question," he said, pointing at Ash. "Yes, archangels. Last two roaming free, by the way. Pretty sure you know that by now given that your friends were the ones causing the commotion."

"And which side were you on?" Ellen asked, arms folded across her chest.

"For a long time? None," Gabriel replied seriously. "But this crazy ragtag group of misfits turned out to have a lot in common with me. Who am I to pass that up?" He winked. "If you've got a message, I'll drop it with the crew when I get back."

"You still visit?" Ellen looked intrigued despite herself. Ash looked like he was memorizing every word of the conversation.

"Nightly visits," Gabriel said with a brief waggle of his eyebrows. "Daily, when I can manage it. Heavenly bureaucracy is a royal pain, though, and since your world was just saved, it doesn't seem right to immediately put it back in peril, right?" Without letting the humans get another comment or question in, Gabriel said, "Now I've got to go get reacquainted with my big brother over there, okay? You and you and me can chat later."

Instead of snapping across the room, he took a humanly stroll across the floor. Gabriel thought again that he rather liked the atmosphere of the Roadhouse.

Raphael wore a bemused expression when Gabriel joined him near a pool table. With a quick snap, Gabriel conjured two comfortable leather armchairs; he figured his brother would appreciate something a little more sophisticated.

"You're quite at home with humans and their things," Raphael commented as he sat. He ran his fingers over the smooth leather as he spoke.

"I've sort of been consorting with pagans since Muhammad received the Word," Gabriel replied with a wry grin. "But you know that."

Raphael inclined his head in silent agreement.

Gabriel was pretty sure Raphael had gotten more difficult to read over the centuries. Stifling the urge to sigh, Gabriel leaned back in his chair and crossed his ankle over his opposite knee. "So, you're not looking for a battle. You don't know how relieved I am to hear that."

Raphael's expression flickered with emotion, almost too brief to catch, but Gabriel knew what grief and regret looked like; he was all too familiar with it.

"I will take up arms when it is required," Raphael stated firmly. "But I have seen too many siblings die on a misguided quest."

Gabriel poked his twisty straw around his drink as he considered that. "Dad wasn't exactly real clear on things. What went on up here... it was what they thought was right. And probably throwing a fit, trying to get Dad's attention."

"Yes," Raphael said, voice bitter. "And when He finally deemed to return, it's to say hello."

The distaste with which his brother spoke the word made Gabriel chuckle. "Yeah, Dad's kinda been chilling with the humans, too."

"He returned after we lost Michael to the Cage with our brother; after so many deaths and raising you and Castiel."

Gabriel frowned a little. "One, Dad put my Grace to rights but he didn't raise me. Two, I don't know why He's returned Cas twice, but I'm guessing He actually has some sort of Plan. Maybe it's a surprise party," Gabriel mused.

Raphael looked torn between amusement and disgust. "He might at that," he admitted grudgingly.

"I don't know why he waited so long," Gabriel said, seriousness taking over again. He ache with the reminder of the deaths of so many of his brethren; but he also remembered all too clearly Sam trapped in his flashbacks, bleeding and barely holding on and at the mercy of two Fallen archangels.

"Gabriel," Raphael said.

The younger archangel met his brother stare and thought, This is it. Do we get to mend bridges or are we done?

Raphael looked perplexed. "You chose them over your family and your own wellbeing. Why?"

Gabriel smiled a little at that. "Luci asked me the same thing. Know what I said? Humans are flawed and breakable. Some are full of such evil, but others are as pure as God's love. Most fall in between, and most of them try to be better. They're filled with such emotion and life... They struggle and they overcome. Maybe there's something to be learned from that, from them."

For a long while Raphael said nothing, gaze distant. Gabriel finished his drink and started fishing out bits of fruit with his finger. He could hear the humans whispering over at the bar, and if he stretched his senses a bit he could feel several other souls drifting their way. Apparently the Roadhouse was a popular place.

"You're not claiming some grand gesture out of the pureness of your being," Raphael said, not exactly accusing. "You've changed, brother, and your grace shows it."

It took great self-control for Gabriel to keep from shifting uncomfortably. He wanted to curl his grace close, cautiously keep it near on instinct because in the presence of Heaven and all of his family, it was painfully obvious how different he'd become. His grace was not twisted, not like Lucifer's, nor was it burned and torn as Michael's had looked in Sam's memories; but Gabriel's still showed wear and stains from centuries of hedonistic choices and sadistic whims.

Raphael watched Gabriel carefully. Then with some exasperation he said, "I meant it as a question."

Gabriel frowned, confused and surprised by the implication. "Meaning, why'd I take a chance and get stabbed by big brother for my trouble?"

"Something like that," Raphael agreed.

Feeling strangely hesitant, Gabriel focused on swirling the ice around in his empty glass as he spoke. "The Winchesters managed to get the drop on me and asked me to join them. I refused, but they still let me go." Gabriel frowned. "They were asking me to kill our brothers and I couldn't do that. Not then. But that's what everyone wanted those kids to do, too."

"But you joined them."

Gabriel smirked. "Eventually. On my own terms. Figured we could all agree Lucifer need to be put back in timeout." Raphael shrugged, expression bland. "So yeah, I hung out with the misfits." He glanced up and caught his brother's considering stare. "What?"

"You still haven't said why," Raphael pointed out.

Gabriel got the feeling that his brother had at least some idea. Gabriel banished the glass from his hand. He couldn't quite make himself look at Raphael as he murmured, "I stayed for Sam Winchester."

Raphael was silent and when Gabriel glanced at him, he saw a contemplative frown on his brother's face.

"Yeah. For a human," Gabriel continued. His lips quirked up in a small smile. "He's... quite unique."

"He would have to be, to capture your attention."

"He deserves better than what his destiny was supposed to be. Sure, he caused some heartache and made a lot of bad decisions, but he thought they were the right things at the time. He's always been willing to fix his mistakes and tries so hard to do the right things, even if it costs him eternal torture at the hands of a pissed-off archangel!"

After a pause, Gabriel chuckled a little as he observed, "You don't get it. It's not easy to explain."

Raphael shook his head. "Human emotions... messy."

Gabriel smirked. "It can be worth it. It is worth it," he decided. He felt distracted, wondering idly what the Winchesters were up to and calculating when he would need to head back in time to crawl into bed with Sam and try to keep the nightmares at bay. That reminder was sobering and Gabriel turned his attention back to the present and Raphael.

"He was down there in the Cage with Lucifer and Michael," Gabriel reminded. He had Raphael's full attention and he could see the tension in his brother's posture. "I'm not sure how he held together. Michael is... he has Fallen." Gabriel felt anger simmering underneath the calm he was forcing upon himself as he started revealing what he had seen. "He looks almost worse than Lucifer. He's so—" Gabriel had to close his eyes and re-center himself as anger, grief, and guilt welled up in him.

Raphael's hand dropped over Gabriel's arm and rested there, a warm pressure and weight against his form. Grace – so familiar, matured but otherwise unchanged, comforting, loving, family. Gabriel's grace reached out automatically to embrace the bond, reconnecting with one of his closest brothers. It was different; it had been so long since he had shared such a connection. His relationship with Castiel would always be different, not exactly less, but it was unique; it had to deal with the order of Creation and Heavenly family lineage – Gabriel was naturally more closely connected with God's Firsts, the archangels. It felt so good to reunite with this.

With the joint sharing of grace and reconnecting of their brotherly bond, Gabriel could more directly share the feelings and impressions and even images of what he had seen through Sam's flashbacks. He could feel his brother's horror and sorrow; the pain and confusion and regret. To have lost brothers who that had known best. It was so difficult to accept it as truth, but Raphael did not doubt, he accepted it, and somehow that made it easier for Gabriel to bear.

Eventually they parted, graces returning to their separated states and surround their manifested bodies in the Heavenly Roadhouse.

Raphael tilted his head a little, momentarily looking quite a bit like Castiel. "You have changed, brother, but it... may not be as bad as I imagined it would be."

Gabriel laughed at that, hearing the nearly amused tone in his brother's voice. It had always been a triumph for Gabriel if he could get his brothers to laugh.

"Samuel Winchester means so much to you?" Raphael asked, tone lilting with an implied, Really?

Gabriel felt a bloom of warmth mine love protect bright his grace and knew it showed, perfectly obvious to Raphael and probably even to the humans, if the sudden silence across the room was any indication.

Suddenly Gabriel was swept up in a wave of fondness and— Father, Raphael was laughing. The sound was unlike any other and Gabriel let himself back in the feelings that washed over him.

This was his family. This was the love he had missed, the company. This was the family he had wanted.