Sam opened his eyes groggily, blinking a few times. He was back in the motel room. Which meant he was awake. He sighed through his nose. Noticing the crick in his neck from where he'd slouched over during his sleep, Sam pushed himself upright and popped his neck. Then, he looked down at Gabriel.
The Archangel was awake. He was staring blankly at the ceiling, small frown on his face. He blinked.
Sam awkwardly shifted his leg away from the other where it was still touching him. Gabriel didn't react. Sam started to get nervous. So, he decided to be the one to break the ice.
"You okay?" He asked.
Gabriel huffed, but that was all he did.
"Um," Sam began. "Sorry. If-if I hurt you...with that. It was kinda the first thing to pop into my head to make you realize you weren't in a dream."
"How did you do that?" Gabriel finally spoke.
The question surprised Sam. He didn't know what he expected Gabriel to say, but that definitely had not been on the list. Sam shrugged with a shoulder, combing his hand through his hair.
"I just did?" He half-asked. "I mean, I'm used to lucid dreaming. And then I kinda got used to dream sharing with you - er - not you you. Your Grace. It's -. It's a long story."
Gabriel sighed, "Yeah. I know. Kinda got the down-low when you zapped my brain with your fancy powers."
"Oh. Oh." Sam fidgeted uncomfortably. "Even the...um...that one time?"
"Sexy times under the Tree of Knowledge?" Gabriel joked half-heartedly. "Yeah, got that visual, too. Not sure if flattered or creeped out."
Sam was pretty sure his face turned redder than Rudolph's nose.
He'd planned on addressing that at some point. When he thought he could do it without stuttering after every word. It would be awkward, he'd imagined, explaining to Gabriel that he kind of wanted, and was willing, to sleep with what was, essentially, his ghost. ...Turns out, it was weirder accidentally downloading the whole scene directly into the guy's brain.
"I didn't mean to do that," he mumbled. "Sorry..."
Gabriel didn't reply. He did, however, roll himself onto his side with a small grunt, pushing himself towards the other side of the bed.
Sam's embarrassment was replaced with concern as he leaned up from against the wall. He wasn't sure Gabriel should be taxing himself so soon. He opened his mouth to voice said concern.
Gabriel raised a hand to silence him.
Sam shut his mouth with a soft click.
The Archangel sat on the edge of the bed, his back facing Sam. He put his elbows on his knees, dropping his head into his hands. He rubbed at his forehead with the heels of his palms.
Sam looked away to stare at his outstretched legs. He'd upset Gabriel. He knew he would. And the Archangel had every right to be upset with him. Sam fiddled guiltily with the hem of his shirt.
"Sorry," he muttered again.
"Oh, wouldja stop that?" Gabriel snapped, voice muffled by his hands.
Sam looked uncertainly over at him.
Gabriel dropped his arms.
"You did nothing wrong. There's nothing to be ashamed of. I swear, you two look for reasons to guilt-trip yourselves."
"But, I -"
"Ah!" Gabriel shushed him, finally turning around to hold a finger up.
He looked frustrated. But there was something else. Sam couldn't quite pinpoint what it was, though.
"Just drop it, Sam. It doesn't bother me. It shouldn't bother you. That's how it works."
"Yeah, because you're so not bothered," Sam replied sarcastically.
Gabriel stared at him for a moment before smacking his lips.
"You're right," he nodded once. "I am bothered. But not about our little porno. Or even our heart-to-hearts. Not even about you imagining Lucifer stabbing me again. Which hurt, by the way.
"The problem is, Sam: It shouldn't have."
Sam frowned and asked, "What?"
Gabriel turned to face him, one leg drawn up onto the bed.
"Y'all were in a dream, Sam. Outside your noggin? The Grace was just energy and sentience. You injured it. Well, poked it, really. Like an annoying mosquito bite."
"I didn't know," he muttered. "But how could I have...?"
"Projected your thoughts onto the physical realm?" Gabriel guessed. "Good question."
Sam bit at his bottom lip. He knew what Gabriel was implying. At least, he thought he did. The only way to do something like what he'd done was to have some sort of psychic power. Kinda like old Frank with his cartoons.
"Oh..." He said grimly.
"Yup. Where's Castiel?"
"Uh, in another room. With Dean. Why?"
"Because I need you to get his not-so-feathered ass in here so I can get a second opinion on something. Before I freak out."
Sam reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. He scrolled through his contacts and began his message to Cas mostly on autopilot.
He felt horrible. Gabriel was implying something he didn't want to think about. Psychic powers? Again? God, he was never going to be normal. He was always going to be a freak.
He jumped when the Archangel's head entered his peripheral. Leaning back, he took in the narrow-eyed glare Gabriel was giving him.
"I told you to stop that," Gabriel said sternly. "Whatever the hell you're thinking: Stop it."
Sam sighed and hit send.
He tried to take Gabriel's advice. He let his mind wander as his eyes did. Unfortunately, after one pass around the room, he found his attention gravitating back to Gabriel. The Archangel had pushed himself slowly off the bed, as if testing the limits of his strength, and was now by the wall of sigils.
He furled his nose at the angel siren, gave the warding a cursory glance, then bent down to pick up the papers Cas had ripped from the floor. Sam knew the information contained on them had to do with the angel deaths Cas had been investigating. Their Vessels' pictures were all over the place. Sam briefly wondered if Gabriel would mourn any of them. He wondered if Gabriel knew who had killed them...
It wasn't long before there was a knock on the door. Sam moved to unlock it.
However, when he had only one foot on the floor, Gabriel waved his hand. The lock clicked open on its own. Sam frowned at the angel.
"Should you really be doing that in your condition?" He complained.
"Relax, kiddo," Gabriel replied, dropping the list of Vessels in his hand to the floor just as Cas stepped into the room. "You did more than give me wings last night."
Cas must have heard him, for he frowned in confusion when he looked at Gabriel. Dean entered after him, shutting the door a little too hard. His brother did not look happy. Sam wondered if Cas stared at him all night, or something.
"Gabriel," Cas greeted, still curious but also relieved.
"Hey, bro," Gabriel greeted back. He raised his arms a little, "Miss me?"
"Well... Technically, I saw you hours ago. But, yes, I am thankful you're alive. And on your feet."
Gabriel dropped his arms and rolled his eyes, "Not the typical answer, but I'll take it."
"How's it feel not to be in a burning ring of fire?" Dean snarked, smiling ruefully as he leaned against the door with his arms crossed.
"Dean~" Gabriel grinned. "I did not miss you."
"Oh, heh, feeling's mutual."
"Point, Gabriel," Sam interrupted.
The last thing he wanted was a fight happening between those two. Not only because he was sure neither one of them would back down, but also because the motel room was a bit cramped with all of them grouped together as they were. He did not want to get caught in the crossfire.
"Right." Gabriel clapped once, "I think me and Sam are uber boned."
Sam frowned at that, tilting his head at the Archangel.
"Sure you're not uber boning?" Dean mumbled.
"Oh, please, Dean. If me and your brother were doing the do, you would know. Bit loud."
"Oh, ew. Okay. Forget I said anything."
Cas looked from Dean to Gabriel, "What do you mean, Gabriel?"
Gabriel suddenly looked very uncomfortable. The expression shocked Sam. The Archangel glanced at him quickly, shifted his weight nervously, then flicked his eyes back to Cas. He huffed.
"You know how Sam kept interacting with that little, tiny, teensy-weensy, like, completely insignificant part of me that came out of the Horn?" Gabriel asked, voice high with stress.
That tone did not do anything for Sam's nerves but make them worse.
"Know how it kinda disappeared when Metatron summoned me...and it?"
Cas nodded slowly. Sam wished Gabriel would get on with it before he snapped.
"Yeah, well, it kinda returned to sender...after maybe, possibly forming a little bond."
Cas frowned, brow furrowing. The angel tilted his head in thought as his eyes narrowed. Meanwhile, Dean was staring at Gabriel like he'd grown another head.
"A bond?" Cas tried to clarify.
"What, like a profound bond?" Dean asked.
Sam recognized that phrase. Turns out, so did Cas. The angel adopted a blank face. Sam snorted at it. Cas didn't seem to appreciate the joke made at his expense.
"Well, not- I wouldn't call it profound." Gabriel explained, rocking his weight onto his heels and then back. "But it's...probably there."
"What made you think of this?" Cas questioned.
"I kept seeing Sam," Gabriel admitted, almost bashfully. "I thought it was Metatron messing with me. Sam knows. He kinda...dream walked into my head, after all."
Cas' head whipped around to stare at Sam so fast that Sam flinched.
"What?" Sam almost squeaked.
"Did you dream walk?"
"I thought you couldn't do that without dream root," Dean interjected.
"You can't," Gabriel answered. "Unless you're psychic."
The way Dean's face darkened was almost terrifying.
"Oh, lay off, Dean," Gabriel commanded. "It's not what you're thinking."
"No," Cas agreed, still looking at Sam. "It's not. I think you're right in your assumption, Gabriel."
"What?" Sam asked again. "What's going on? What's the assumption? What's wrong with me?"
"Nothing's wrong with you Sam," Cas answered gently. "This is Gabriel's fault."
The angel turned to stare accusingly at his brother. Dean joined in, though he looked downright murderous. Gabriel was like a deer caught in the headlights, frozen in place. Except for his eyes, and they couldn't figure out which of the two to stay focused on.
"What the hell did you do to my brother?" Dean growled.
"I didn't do anything," Gabriel retorted, pointing at himself. "The Grace did."
"The Grace was you, Gabriel," Cas explained impatiently. "It was your thoughts and desires. It behaved as you would. And the fact that Sam was able to walk into your dreams after it rejoined you only helps solidify the point. Your fault."
Sam took a deep breath and let it slowly. He counted to ten, though that never really helped him in the past.
"If you two don't tell me what the hell is going on, I'm going to stab both of you," he threatened.
"Fine!" Gabriel exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air. He turned to face Sam. "You want the Cliff's Notes version? I formed a bond with you and now you have psychic powers. There. I said it."
"What's that mean, Gabriel?" Dean demanded. "And don't lie to me because I will shank you."
Gabriel rolled his eyes and looked over his shoulder at Dean.
"My Grace accessed Sam's mind so frequently, and Sam allowed it to, that a psychic link was formed. A sort of bond. A favoritism. North and south. Positive and negative. Trick is: Sam's mind is already wired for psychic powers. Think of him as one of those annoying, battery-operated fountains. Pour water in him and watch him go. I was the water."
"Me projecting pain onto the Grace," Sam said. "Like a psychic blast traveling along a conduit."
"And me dreaming about those cords... I grabbed yours. I followed the-the bond, or whatever."
Sam nodded once. So, he was going to be a freak again. Just...not a demonic one. At least that was a plus.
Even though he didn't like the idea of having any sort of psychic power - it reminded too much of Azazel - he couldn't really blame Gabriel for this outcome. After all, he'd willing gone to the Grace himself in the end. This was just an accident. Gabriel didn't seem to be too pleased with it, either, so...
Dean made a sound of disgust, "I knew letting you two hang around one another was a bad idea."
"Knock it off, Dean," Cas warned.
Dean was genuinely stunned at the order. So much so that he actually kept his mouth shut.
"So, what, am I going to be like Carrie now?" Sam asked, only half joking.
"Haaa, no," Gabriel replied. "At least, I don't think. And especially if we stop our little mind-melds at night."
"You think the bond will fade without further strengthening?" Cas asked, looking at the Archangel.
"I hope," Gabriel answered sullenly.
"This is ridiculous," Dean complained.
Cas actually rolled his eyes. He turned and grabbed Dean by his arm. Dean frowned, staring at Cas' hand like it had personally offended him.
"We need to talk," Cas said. He looked briefly at Gabriel, "Fix this."
With that, Cas opened the door, dragging an already shouting Dean out of the room. The door slammed shut behind them. Sam frowned at the door until he could no longer hear his ranting and raving brother. Gabriel cleared his throat awkwardly, drawing Sam's attention.
"I see your brother's still a dick," Gabriel said, most likely aiming for a distraction.
"He's just worried," Sam defended. "Isn't he right to?"
Gabriel looked wounded at his accusation, gaze dropping to the floor.
"It's not..." Gabriel trailed off. "The bond's not toxic, Sam. It's not going to hurt you. It can't. It just is. It'll probably fade away on its own."
"And if it doesn't?"
Gabriel looked up at him, eyebrows drawn together with a small frown on his face. There was that longing again. Sam could see it in his eyes. Damn, but why did that hurt to see?
"Just because it's there doesn't mean you have to use it."
That was true, wasn't it? Just because a beer bottle was in the room didn't mean it had to be drunk.
Then again, like the beer, it was tempting. Especially if there were no ill side-effects.
He didn't know where he stood regarding the bond. He didn't know where he wanted to stand. So, he'd think about it later. Put it off for a bit. Right now, he just wanted a distraction. Something that wasn't magic. Something that wasn't his brother probably stomping around outside like a pissed-off dragon breathing flame. He shrugged.
"So," he began. "What have you been up to?"
Gabriel raised an amused brow at that.
"You sure you want me to bore you with my scars?"
"Yeah. I'm sure."
Gabriel smiled despite himself.
A/N: The end. Or is it? You may have noticed this fic ends on an open-ended note. There's two reasons for that. One, I feel that I can expand on this universe. I like the relationship I've got going between Sam and Gabriel and I'd love to explore it further. Two, I haven't been completely sold on the idea, though. Depends on how much...demand...I get to continue. If there isn't one? Well, y'all can imagine your own outcomes, can't ya?