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{Fic} Stay (Awake) With Me | 8/10


Eight: ____

Gabriel tried to process the scene in which he'd arrived. Bobby and Dean knelt on the floor with Sam between them. The tall hunter's head lolled against his brother's shoulder.

"What the hell happened?" Gabriel knelt on one knee in front of Sam and reached out to wipe away the blood trailing from his nose; it only took a moment to heal.

"He said he saw Lucifer," Bobby replied.

"The moose was waving about a damn knife," Crowley added.

Gabriel took Sam's hand and smoothed his fingertips along the thin slice crossing the palm. He returned his attention to Sam's face and cursed under his breath at the sight of pale, sweaty skin.

"What the fuck is going on?" Dean finally asked, his voice sounding a little hoarse.

Gabriel reached out with his grace to try and get a sense of what was happening. Something tightened in his chest as he caught traces of unwelcome grace – a twisted, twinned version of Lucifer's and Michael's presences. What? No... Gabriel leaned forward to press his fingertips against Sam's forehead.

It was disturbingly easy to enter Sam's mind, like pushing through a ratty curtain when there should have been a solid, locked door. Gabriel was immediately assaulted by a cacophonous chorus of voices, too many to count. The visuals were no easier to decipher, too many images flashing by at an impossible pace.

Gabriel withdrew with a gasp and leaned back.

"Dude, what did you do?" Dean demanded as Sam started to shiver.

"I didn't—" Gabriel cut himself off. "Something's really wrong, his mind's a mess." He could see Sam's eyes moving rapidly beneath closed eyelids. "I don't know what's going on, but I can sense Lucifer."

"He's in the Cage," Crowley stated flatly.

"Could he be reaching from there?"

"I don't know!" Gabriel responded sharply, hating that he didn't have any answers.

Sam's head suddenly jerked against Dean's shoulder, and his shivers turned into full-body shudders.


Gabriel and Dean moved into action, rearranging Sam so that he lay flat on the floor as he seized. Dean kept up a steady stream of curses while the other waited in tense silence for the episode to end.

As the seizures subsided, Dean stared at the archangel and ordered, "Fix him!"

"I can't!" Gabriel snapped. His fingers curled tightly in Sam's shirt. "There's already too much going on in his mind. Even going in again to look is a risk. I can't mess around in there!" He could feel himself shaking from the effort to keep his wings and grace contained. His lover's mind was coming apart and he couldn't do anything with the high chance that he could make things even worse.

"Damn it!" Dean slammed his fist against the floor. "Then what the hell good are you?"

"Dean," Bobby cautioned.

Gabriel refrained from flinching although he was aware that his skin began to glow. "Do not question my commitment to your brother," he warned.

From a safe distance, Crowley said, "As I understand it, you're not the healer of the family."

Gabriel's focus swung to the demon; Crowley took another step back. "Raphael," Gabriel muttered. He stared down at Sam and wiped sweat from the human's brow with a shaking hand. He didn't know the last time that Raphael had healed a human, almost certainly long before Gabriel had left Heaven. "I will try."

With a snap, Gabriel sent the Winchesters to Sam's room upstairs. He sent a mental call to Castiel as he stood up. "I need to speak to Raphael. If he won't— He may still know how to help." He nodded at Crowley in silent thanks for the idea.

"Is there anything we can do to make things better?" Bobby asked, not looking particularly hopeful.

"I don't know what's going to happen," Gabriel admitted quietly. "Call me if anything changes."

A flap of wings announced Castiel's arrival. "What is happening? You sounded distressed."

Gabriel crossed to his brother and clasped Castiel's shoulder. "The barrier Kali had put in place broke. Sam's mind is trying to process too much at once. Please, keep an eye on him."

Looking startled, Castiel asked, "Where are you going?"

"To talk to Raphael." Gabriel could sense Castiel's doubt about the good that would do, but he had to hope. "You know him different than I do," he reminded quietly.

Castiel lowered his eyes and nodded shortly. "I will do as you ask. Good luck."

Gabriel flew away after squeezing Castiel's shoulder. He hated leaving Sam's side, but he would be useless sitting there without knowing what to do. He prayed Raphael would help.


Sam opened his eyes to see a familiar fan spinning overhead above an ironwork devil's trap. His eyes felt gritty and he tried to move but got caught short with pressure tight around his wrists. He tugged and felt the familiar padded cuffs of the panic room's restraints severely limiting his ability to move his limbs. He swallowed back a scream of dread; he hated the feeling of being tied up, it was all the worse since the Cage. Why was he in the panic room?

"Dean?" he called, voice cracking. He swallowed hard and tried again. "Dean? Bobby?" Sam vaguely remembered the sound of an angel landing before he'd passed out in the kitchen, so he also tried, "Gabriel? Cas?"

The door clanked open and Dean walked in, face scrunched in concern; Cas trailed behind him, expression blank. "Hey, Sam."

"Dean. What's going on?" Sam twisted his fists, trying to draw attention to the restraints. "Let me up, huh?"

Dean shook his head. "Can't, Sammy. You were pretty wild up there. Don't know if you'll remember it all, you were striking out and seized after you passed out. Until we can sort things out, it's just better to keep the restraints." He offered an unconvincing apologetic frown. "Sorry."

Sam turned his pleading gaze to Castiel. "Cas, what if I stayed in here? I could... I could be on my own, but let me up?"

"No, Sam. You would still be a danger."

With a grimace, Sam relented and slumped back onto the cot. "Okay," he whispered. He looked to the door, hoping to see a familiar archangel. "Where's Gabriel?" he asked, voice still small-sounding.

"He is busy with matters in Heaven," Cas stated. "He asked me to check. Now that you are awake, I will return."

Dean frowned a little. "Could use your help here, you know."

Cas shook his head. "I apologize, but I must leave."

With a sigh, Dean nodded. "Okay, fine. Hey, Sammy, I got some things I need to do—"

"What?" Sam tensed again, surprised that they were both leaving him. "Wait, why are you going?"

"Told you, there's things I gotta do. Look, you get some rest and I'll check on you in a bit. You'll be okay, we'll figure this out." Dean stiffly patted Sam's shoulder.

Cas had already moved to the doorway and Dean was turning away as well. Sam pulled hard on the restraints, making the cot shake. "Wait, please. Please, don't leave me alone."

Dean shook his head as he made for the door. "Sammy, it'll be fine. I'll check back, promise."

"Dean... Cas...?" Sam called, not even caring that he sounded pitiful as his brother and the angel left, closing the door behind them.

Locks slid noisily into place and Sam grimaced. He squeezed his eyes shut tight and held back the urge to sob. He hated this place.

Countless minutes passed with Sam struggling through flows and ebbs of panic at being left alone, tied up.

Finally, an unwelcome voice said, "Hello, Sam."

Sam's eyes opened wide and he turned his head sharply in the direction of the voice. He gasped at the sight of Lucifer leaning against the wall, staring at him with a bright, attune gaze.


"What are you doing in here alone, Sammy?" came another equally feared voice from behind him. Sam looked back and stared up at Michael's grinning face.

"How much do they really care about you?" Lucifer wondered aloud. "Here you are, all by yourself, wrapped up like a present. We're not complaining, but I don't think this is quite what you'd plan." Lucifer pushed off from the wall with a smile.

Michael circled the cot to stand at Sam's feet. "You knew it would happen sooner or later, Sam. You don't get to just go free after all you've done." When he laid his hands on Sam's ankles, it felt like he was pressing burning coals against the skin.

Lucifer closed in with a knife in hand. "Let's see how much they care. Scream for help, Sam."

Sam feared what would happen if anyone came to help him, knowing that the Fallen archangels would use the others as weapons against him. But as Michael burned his body and Lucifer cut into his skin, Sam began to whimper in pain. He screamed – inevitably he always screamed under their ministrations.

It felt like ages before he saw movement by the door, though it didn't open. The little barred window opened and through blurred sight Sam thought he saw someone watching. He pleaded for whoever was outside the door to help him; he begged.

The window closed.

The door never opened.

Sam cried out under a particularly vicious twist of Lucifer's knife. "Stop, please, please, stop," he begged.

Lucifer's lips quirked up in an amused smile. "You beg me to stop," he mocked, "but I've never been nice, Sam. You know that."


Gabriel arrived in Heaven to find a flurry of action taking place, much busier than when he'd left in response to Dean's frantic call. He located Raphael near the center of it all, apparently organizing some of the chaos. Angels moved purposefully in small groups, voices tense as they talked in low tones.

Soon after spotting Gabriel, Raphael made his way over to his brother. "What do you know?"

"Excuse me?" Gabriel asked with a sinking feeling.

"The Cage." Raphael paused and seemed to get a good look at Gabriel. "That's not why you're here. You don't know." He began explaining before Gabriel got a chance to ask. "The Cage is broken, Lucifer and Michael are gone."

Gabriel cursed creatively as things fell into place. "How?"

Raphael shook his head. "We do not currently know, but the Cage was only made to hold Lucifer. Previously undisturbed seals suddenly broke into activity, which prompted the investigation. Rachel reported back not long ago. We're trying to organize to solve the problems of the seals. We don't know where Lucifer and Michael are."

Gabriel struggled against his rising sense of panic. "I need your help, Raphael. Sam's mind is falling apart. Memories of the Cage have been pouring back and Lucifer's poking around."

"Gabriel..." Raphael started, looking grim. "It's a—"

"Please, Raph," Gabriel begged. "The wall that was protecting him is gone. The overload's going to kill him and I... I can't do anything. I don't know how to fix this." He reached out for his brother. "I'm begging you. Please. I love him. I need your help."

The older archangel looked away, expression conflicted. It took great self-restraint but Gabriel waited quietly for his brother to think.

Finally, Raphael returned his attention to Gabriel and said, "I will see what I can do, but I must first attend to several broken seals. I could use your help."

Gabriel just wanted to get back to Sam as soon as possible. "Anything to make this go faster," he conceded.

"Do you wish to inform your friends?" Raphael asked.

"Shit." Gabriel probably should go himself, but he wanted to get things done quickly. "Rachel investigated, right? She and Cas are friends, if she's free..."

Raphael nodded and Gabriel could feel him reach out with his grace to call Rachel. A few moments later, the angel appeared at their side with a solemn nod of greeting.

"Could you go to Castiel and let him know what's going on?" Gabriel asked. "Let him know I'm helping Raphael with something, but we'll be back soon."

Rachel glanced between the two archangels before nodding. "I will do so."

"Thanks, Rachel."

When she left, Raphael touched Gabriel's shoulder and projected the image of their destination. "Let's go, brother."


Raphael directed Gabriel to help with seals that had unleashed widespread effects – the dead rising in war-torn Somalia, an outbreak of virulent influenza in Germany, suddenly shriveling crops in the American Midwest. With the power of two archangels, they were able to restore the affected areas relatively swiftly.

At Raphael's nod, Gabriel led the way to Bobby's. It was obvious as he passed onto the property that additional wards had been put in place. Castiel stood within the doorway of Sam's room, posture alert; he nodded politely at Raphael as the archangels landed. Dean rose from the chair next to the bed, his gaze flicking warily back and forth between the angels.

"How's he been?" Gabriel asked as he moved to kneel on the bed next to Sam. He flinched at the sight of almost ashen skin and the feel of twisted grace now lingering around the human.

"Not good, but no more seizures," Dean answered. "So. Think you can fix this?"

Gabriel glanced up to see Dean and Raphael sizing each other up. Gabriel remembered Castiel once explaining that he and Dean had caught Raphael in a right of holy fire shortly after Lucifer rose; that seemed to be a Winchester greeting.

Raphael raised his chin and turned away from Dean. "I am here at my brother's behest." The archangel approached the bed with a deep frown. "You realize that Lucifer is likely now actively interfering with his mind?" he directed at Gabriel.

Which meant having another presence going in could do more harm than good. Gabriel stared down at Sam's pale face and nodded. "I don't think he'll wake up on his own. Raphael, please." He met his brother's stare and let his barriers down. He left himself open, freely displaying his need to see Sam well and the depth of his devotion. He was peripherally aware of Castiel's sharp gasp of surprise.

"Very well." Raphael waved a hand at Dean and Castiel. "I need you to leave."

"Hey now—"

"Dean," Castiel interrupted quietly.

Looking put-upon, Raphael explained, "I would appreciate a lack of distractions and prefer not to be yelled at for accidently burning your eyes out."

Dean still didn't look too happy about it, but he allowed Castiel's hand on his shoulder to guide him out of the room. As the door closed, Raphael went to the side of the bed to where Dean had been sitting.

"I'm not sure how long this will take."

"Whatever you can do," Gabriel said quietly.

Raphael turned his attention to Sam and placed his palm on the human's head.


Several hours later, Raphael finally removed his hand and sat back. Sam looked pale but less ashen, and his expression had relaxed a little. "He will wake when he is rested," Raphael said.

Gabriel breathed a sigh of relief and pressed his lips to Sam's forehead. "Thank you," he whispered.

"I did what I could," Raphael said, a note of wariness in his voice. Gabriel glanced up to see his brother's cautious expression. "Anything more is... too intimate."

"What does that mean?" Gabriel asked warily.

"It means that his soul and his mind are deeply damaged. There is only so much healing I can do without sharing my grace to fill in the gaps." Raphael gave Gabriel a meaningful look. "What I have done is healed what was incapacitating him. His mind is no longer in fragments and rest will restore him to something close to normal."

Gabriel nodded as he considered his brother's word. "Will a... would bonding help him?"

Raphael studied Gabriel for a moment without saying anything, though he couldn't have meant anything else. "Yes." With a quiet sigh, the older archangel stood up. "Now we must determine what to do about Lucifer and Michael. Clearly Lucifer does not intend to use Winchester as a vessel again. If they wished, they may have created one. Gabriel, I would appreciate your help. Your lover needs his rest."

Reluctantly, Gabriel moved from the bed. He brushed his fingertips across Sam's closed eyelids. "Yeah... okay. Let me talk to his brother and Cas quick before we go."

"That is acceptable," Raphael agreed.


After confirming that Castiel could sense an improvement from Raphael's intervention, Dean resumed his seat at his brother's beside. An hour passed before he stood up, looking restless.

"Hey, Cas, have a seat. I'm gonna check with Bobby, see what he's doing. Figure I might as well grab something for when Sammy wakes up, too."

Castiel sat stiffly in the chair for several minutes after the hunter left the room. Eventually Castiel leaned forward and placed his hand on Sam's shoulder. His gaze wandered to the sigil marking the human's inner elbow; he thought about the significance of the mark and Gabriel's grace that lingered around the tattoo.

"Sam," he murmured to the sleeping human, "I apologize for my shameful behavior in the past. You are not, and have never been, an abomination. You are exceptional."

The carefully constructed wards set around the property suddenly exploded with activity that immediately reached Castiel's highly attuned sense. He managed to get to his feet before the body of Adam Milligan appeared on the opposite side of the bed. Castiel froze, stunned by the intensity of corrupted grace surrounding the archangel's vessel.

An arm wrapped around Castiel's throat from behind. His eyes darted to the side and caught a glimpse of Lucifer's lazy smirk.

"Still the little angel that could." Lucifer squeezed his arm tighter around Castiel's neck. "Well, we're not here for you. For now." The archangel abruptly released his hold and threw Castiel across the room.

Unable to recover his balance, Castiel slammed into the door; wood splintered and the doorframe cracked. He started pushing himself to his feet as he watched Lucifer lift Sam into his arms.


Michael's fist cut off anything further. The force of the punch and its surprise forced Castiel back to his knees. Between one blink and the next, the archangels were gone, along with Sam.