A/N: As stated in the summary, this is a sequel to my fic The Horn's Grace. As I told a few reviewers, I had plans of just uploading this when it was completely finished, but... As the first chapter is 10.5k words, and I've merely scratched the surface with the story, I feel I'd better update as I finish a chapter. Y'know, to avoid people forgetting the first installment. And, if you haven't, ya might wanna read the that. Or not. Yolo, right?

Sam shook his head, scoffing as he looked over at Gabriel.

The Archangel had been pacing the entire time he'd given Sam a little rundown on what had happened to him after they'd left him to his fate with Lucifer.

He had died, he'd said. Sam got the feeling he'd known that he would. That his plan hadn't been to take out his older brother, but to simply buy time to get them away.

It was a depressing thought. Sam knew how it felt going on a suicide mission. It sucked. Even knowing he was doing the right thing...it still sucked.

And, then, Gabriel wasn't dead. Just zwoop and he was back in Elysian Fields. Naturally, Gabriel'd been a little creeped out. Confused. He was pretty sure that angels didn't have the Winchester odds when it came to escaping Death.

No one was pulling for him. Not the Host. Certainly not his brothers.

...Except that someone had. Just this once. And Gabriel knew who it'd been. Dear ol' Pops.

Gabriel had done nothing but laugh at the thought. Millenia of silence and then the deadbeat shows up to give him a pat on the back for killing himself? Grade A parenting there. But, he wasn't going to look the gift horse in the mouth. Wherever that horse was. No, he was getting the hell out of Dodge before someone decided that an Archangel needed to get his ass back to Heaven.

So, he got his ass back to Heaven, anyway. Figured he'd do it so he wouldn't have to be dragged. Probably violently dragged, given his history. Angels loved giving spankings before letting people go about their business. No exceptions.

No, thank you.

He and Lucifer had been a bit mischievous 'growing up.' They'd gone places they shouldn't have. And they'd been smart enough to keep their mouth shut about said places. If God knew what was up, He certainly hadn't said anything about it.

It was one of these places that Gabriel had set up shop. Dug in his heels, made a comfy little nest, and was fully intent on just sitting there until the fallout of Michael and Lucifer's failures faded away.

Why, oh why, did he ever think it would be that easy?

No, things didn't get better. They got worse. Thanks to Raphael and God's new favorite. Little Castiel. A seraph now! Like that was any boost in power compared to an Archangel. Raphael could have swatted Cas like a bug and never blinked. Not like he hadn't done it before.

Yeah, Gabriel was around while the civil war raged on. And he'd shoved his head in the sand. Again. Because he knew his presence would tip the scale. He knew angels would flock to him for guidance or support.

He wasn't a leader. He couldn't make them fight each other. And he sure as hell wasn't going to get on Raphael's bad side. Lucifer'd taken him out once, and they'd been close. Raphael? Not so much. That determined stick-in-the-mud would have no problem sticking him.

No, thank you.

And then Godstiel had happened. Boy, what a mess that'd been. The death toll was one thing, but after? The survivors rallying together and all, scrounging for a place at the top of the food chain? It'd been chaos. Chaos in Heaven, of all places. Hilarious.

Gabriel's head stayed in the sand. He was no hero. No knight in shining armor.

Maybe the angels would sort themselves out. Or wipe each other out.

Faction leaders amassed soldiers. Sheep. Sometimes they'd fight. Other times, they'd just...separate. Like tribes. It was kind of funny to think about.

The angels had almost gotten to a settled point. ...and then there was Metatron. Oh, yes, Gabriel had heard when the Scribe had been found. The news had traveled across Angel Radio at the speed of light.

Gabriel wasn't fond of Metatron, either. There was something off about him that had always rubbed the Archangel the wrong way. And after the shit that went down with Eden? Well.

Then, all the angels Fell. Like Humpty Dumpty. And douchebag found his way to the metaphorical Throne. Gabriel knew the implications, so he'd hid.

Yes, again.

What could he say? He was good at it.

Sam couldn't believe what he was hearing. He could but he couldn't.

He could because this was Gabriel. He knew the Archangel was good at running - at squirreling his way out of his responsibilities and even blame. But to hear that that's all he seemed to prefer to do? It was mind blowing.

"So, you just...ran and hid?" He asked in disbelief. "While all this shit was going down and you could have done something to stop it?"

Gabriel snorted, "Oh, please, Sam. You know I'm not the bleeding heart type."

The Archangel looked briefly at the crumpled up papers on the floor. Papers Castiel had torn down to draw the angel siren. Papers that held the faces and names of Gadreel's victims...or his newest allies.

Sam studied said look. Yeah, sure. Not the bleeding heart type.

"Right," he began sarcastically, "because that's why you punish assholes and put yourself in harm's way to help save the world."

Gabriel smirked, cutting his eyes to Sam. He didn't respond to the jab, however. Simply ignored it as he began to pace again. Sam got the feeling Gabriel was anxious. He probably wanted to leave. Run. Sam frowned.

"Were you injured like the others?" He asked.

"Yup. Extra crispy wings and everything. You saw them, remember?" Gabriel asked, knowing the answer.

"So," Sam drawled. "You're stuck with us, aren't you?"

At that, Gabriel took a deep breath and spun on his heel to face Sam. His face gave it away. Yes, he was stuck with them. No, he wasn't pleased at the idea.

Sam tried not to be annoyed at the lack of enthusiasm. At least he understood it. They had kind of ruined Gabriel's life a few times. ...Not that he hadn't gotten them back for it, but still.

"Metatron's going to be after my ass," Gabriel explained. "Especially now that he can't use me like a puppet anymore. Guess I have to genuinely thank you for that one."

"You're welcome."

Gabriel smiled briefly. Mockingly. He probably didn't want to be in their debt.

"And I am so not sticking with Castiel," he mumbled.

Sam frowned, "Why not?"

"Didja miss all the times I tried to keep my nose out of Heaven's business?"

"Seriously?" Sam questioned blankly.

Gabriel threw up his hands, "Hey! What can I say? I like saving my own ass."

"Ever thought about saving someone else's ass?"

The Archangel stared at him for a few seconds, unblinking.

"Right. Last time you did it, you got stabbed. Ever thought that maybe that was a one-time fluke? I mean, Metatron's not Lucifer."

"No. He's, apparently, God." Gabriel quipped, glancing at the door. "I'd rather not take my chances again, thanks."

Sam sighed and rolled his eyes. Yeah, Gabriel was most definitely not like his Grace. He'd known that, of course, but experiencing the difference was jarring. The old annoyance at the Trickster was worming its way back into his feelings towards the other. Only, now, it was combined with the...want he'd had towards the Grace. Yipee.

"When's your brother coming back?" Gabriel complained.

"You could just go ask him to hurry it up. He's probably still in the parking lot."

"Hellooo." Gabriel made a sort of wax-on, wax-off motion with his hands. "Warded. Outside? Not so much."


"Judge me all you want, Sam, but I know what'll happen to me if Metatron gets his hands on me again," Gabriel spoke, serious for a change.

The look he gave him quickly made Sam feel like a scolded child. He knew what would happen, too, after all. The Holy Fire. The siphoning of his Grace via that damn siren. Probably something worse if Metatron couldn't find another use for him. Stuff Sam didn't want to think about because it was kind of terrifying to. And if Sam was scared of what would happen if Gabriel was caught again, he had no doubt of the fear the Archangel had. Appropriate fear, at that.

He should probably lay off.

"Sorry," he muttered, shifting uncomfortably.

Gabriel hummed an affirmation, eyes cutting back to the door. He folded his arms across his chest.

Sam thought about texting Dean to get him to come back in. Then he thought about how upset Dean had been not too long ago. How upset Dean might still be. The thought gave him pause.

With the mindset Gabriel was in regarding his personhood, to be turned down by Dean would... Well, it wouldn't end well, he knew that for certain. He couldn't predict what would go down, but there'd be more than just butting heads. The last thing he wanted was a confrontation. Or for Gabriel to be shoehorned off onto Castiel. After all, that put him directly in the path of the angels, some that might not be trustworthy.

Man, he hated sticky situations.

He didn't have to text Dean, though. It was only a minute of awkward silence before Castiel entered the room. Sam could see Dean standing outside before Cas closed the door behind him. He was frowning. That wasn't a good sign.

"Oh, don't tell me," Gabriel grumbled, arms still folded.

"He's not happy," Castiel answered. "For obvious reasons."

"This isn't Gabriel's fault," Sam spoke up, earning a somewhat surprised glance from Gabriel. "I mean, it takes two to tango, right? The Grace didn't force me to do anything. He can't blame - "

"He's not just angry at Gabriel," Cas interrupted.

"Oh." Sam frowned, shrugging once. "Of course he's not. Why wouldn't he be angry at me? I've done something he doesn't agree with. Again. What else is new?"


"Save it, Cas," he bit, perhaps too harshly. "I don't... I don't care, all right? I don't. I'm done caring. All that matters is that we get him," he nodded at Gabriel, "out of here."

Cas frowned regretfully but nodded once. He looked over at the Archangel. Gabriel looked almost bored, but Sam knew that was a façade. He was thinking. Planning, probably. Sam just hoped it was something good that wouldn't land him, or them, in hot water.

"It may be better if you come with me," Cas said gently.

"Not happening."

"We could use you."

"That's exactly why it ain't happenin'."

"Why?" Cas implored. "Why do you refuse to help us?"

Gabriel steeled himself, "I already told you, Castiel. I don't want to lead. That was never meant to be my purpose. Metatron's plan was to have you do it. I was just fodder."

Sam frowned, "Wait, what?"

Cas shifted uncomfortably, gaze glancing from his brother to Sam and back. When Gabriel didn't expound further, clenching his jaw instead in an act of defiance, Castiel sighed and turned to face him.

"Earlier, when I mentioned the story Metatron wanted to tell me? He wants me to lead the angels against him. He... He tried to use Gabriel to convince me to do that."

Cas looked at the Archangel, "I thought you said you were tired of running."

Sam followed his gaze. Gabriel shrugged noncommittally. However, the expression on his face... Tired. Resentful. He did want to stop running. But he wouldn't. Not while he was still in danger. And there was no telling how long he would stay in danger.

No wonder he was so cynical.

"I think you forgot the part where I said I was reading a script."

Sam frowned.

"What do you mean a script?" He asked hesitantly.

At that time, Dean barged into the room, nearly smacking Cas with the door since the angel hadn't thought to take a few more steps into the motel. Cas shuffled forward quickly while Dean threw him an annoyed glare. Dean closed the door behind him and, most likely sensing the atmosphere, decided not to speak. Instead, his eyes scanned expectantly around him.

Gabriel frowned at him, sizing him up a bit - gauging to see what reaction to expect. When Dean did nothing but stare back, Gabriel decided it was okay to reply.

"Just what I said," Gabriel started. "A script. Y'know, like a play? 'All the world's a stage.'"

Castiel tilted his head a little, brows furrowing.

"'And all the men and women merely players,'" he parroted the quote.

Gabriel's eyebrow rose in appreciative surprise.

"Someone's been reading Shakespeare."

Cas fidgeted, "Something like that."

"Okay, I know I just walked in," Dean interrupted, holding a hand up, "but what the fuck are y'all talking about?"

Gabriel smiled pleasantly at Dean. It was kind of creepy.

"Metatron," he answered. "Havin' a bit of story time. Why not pull up a couch, eh, Dean?"

Dean looked suspiciously at the Archangel, eyes narrowed. He turned his head to stare at the couch past the bed. He refaced Gabriel.

"I'd rather stand, thanks."

Gabriel shrugged innocently, "Suit yourself."

"What does Shakespeare have to do with Metatron?" Castiel asked.

"Metatron is Shakespeare. Figuratively, before you say anything, Castiel. He's pulling strings he has no business getting his grubby, little hands on."

"I'm not sure I'm following," Sam said.

"I'm definitely not following," Dean added.

Gabriel threw his head back. When he looked at them again, he was clearly unimpressed.

"I forgot y'all weren't the brightest bulbs in the bunch."

"Gabriel," Sam groaned.

"Look. Metatron's playing God. He's not God, but he's pretty damn close. Because he has the Angel Tablet. I don't know how the hell he got his hands on it. I'm guessing you," Gabriel glanced at Cas, "had something to do with that."

"Actually, it was Gadreel," Dean interjected, quick to defend his friend.

Gabriel rolled his eyes, "Whoever it was, it was a really dumb thing to do. Because Metatron's using it to do what came naturally to God."

"Which is?" Sam prompted.


Dean frowned, "What, like the Bible?"

"Close enough. The Winchester Gospels, to be precise."

The involuntary shudder that went through Sam and Dean was not missed by the angelic company in their midst. Castiel frowned. Gabriel smirked.

"He's influencing your stories. Making things happen against the Will. Except, there is no Will anymore. Not really. Which means: He's making you do things against your wills. Our wills. Anyone and everyone. Most of the stuff I said to Castiel was something he made me say. I had the fortune of knowing I was being used as a puppet... You guys don't."

Sam frowned. His mind was working as hard as it could to try and understand what Gabriel was saying. Metatron was using the Angel Tablet to write...scripts? Scripts that influenced their wills. ...That influenced them. Made them do things that... What?

He gave Gabriel a confused, imploring look. The Archangel took one look at it and sighed.

"Fine. I'll use an example: Metatron writes down that I want chocolate cake, so I go eat some chocolate cake. And then it comes true."

"He's controlling us?" Dean questioned.

"In a manner of speaking." Gabriel shrugged, "I'm not entirely sure how it works myself. It's not absolute. Castiel was able to break the script Metatron had written because of a factual error in the little pocket reality I had made."

"Wait, you made that illusion?" Castiel questioned.


"Then... My ripped coat - ?"

"My doing. Like I said: I knew I was being played. He'd had me trapped in damn Holy Fire for weeks. Commanding me to pull the wool over your eyes? Yeah, I wasn't one-hundred percent down with it. I left the loophole on purpose. I'm just glad you caught on."

"Okay, well, how do we know if we're being controlled?" Dean asked, anxiousness lacing his voice.

Gabriel frowned a little.

"You don't."

"Oh, well, that's just peachy," Dean snapped.

"It is what it is, Dean," Gabriel replied solemnly. "I don't like it any more than you do. But, as of now, I don't know how we can stop him."

Sam scrubbed his hand over his mouth. And here he'd thought the most terrifying thing Metatron could do was take Gabriel or kill Cas. No, turned out he was some wicked puppet master playing all of them.

At least with the Apocalypse they'd had a choice. Despite what the angels had said regarding their fate, they'd had a choice. They'd broken the script. But Metatron? How the hell could they stop him from writing a destiny for them?

Whatever messed up destiny he wanted them to have.

"We really need to take the Tablet from him," Sam spoke up.

"Good idea!" Gabriel exclaimed cheerfully. "How?"

"I don't know, but it's better than nothing!" Sam snapped. "He cast out the angels, made himself God, and now he's, what, taking the angels back? Hoarding them in Heaven while he keeps the Gates closed? Souls still can't get in! And now - now he's writing a future for us? ...Whatever he's planning, he needs to be stopped, because it does not sound good."

"Yeah, I really don't like being jerked around on a leash," Dean added, not doing a good job of hiding his distaste.

"We need to find the Door," Castiel said. "Now more than ever. He's got to have the Tablet close to him. I've been in his office; I know what it looks like. I should be able to find it again once in Heaven."

Gabriel huffed, "Mighty confident there, Cas."

Castiel's jaw tightened as he glared at the Archangel, fists clenching and unclenching at his sides.

"You have a better idea?" He growled.

"Nope," Gabriel replied easily. "I'm just trying to point out that realism is better than idealism. I want to stop the little creep just as much as you three bozos do, but we don't have the means. Or the know-how. We need to step back and think before we act. Or do you want another mishap like you boys are prone to have?"

Sam sighed, rubbing his palms on his jeans. This was a mess. Worse than the bond. The hits just would not keep coming, would they? No, of course they wouldn't. Winchester curse, right?

"He's right," he admitted reluctantly. "We're working on fear right now. We need a plan. If we don't have one, we'll probably just fuck it up. Metatron's playing this game with a cool head; we need to have one, too."

"Man, this sucks," Dean growled, crossing his arms. He nodded towards Gabriel as he demanded, "And what the hell are we going to do with him?"

Cas frowned uncomfortably. Sam fidgeted, eyes leaving his brother to find Gabriel's. Gabriel, however, looked entirely too calm for the news that was about to be delivered to one not-so-happy Dean Winchester.

"I," Gabriel began jovially, "Mr. Grumpypants, will be traveling with you."

Dean was speechless. Immobile. His face frozen in the perfect picture of 'I can't believe the bullshit that just came out of your mouth.'

"No," Dean stated firmly, raising a finger.

"Mmm, yes."

"No," Dean stressed, glaring at the Archangel. "I've already had to put up with your Grace's bullshit, and now I have to deal with a possibly-psychic brother again. I am not putting up with your ass, too. You're going with Cas. End of discussion."

"Since when did you have to deal with me?" Sam demanded.

Dean gave him a look but didn't reply.

That set Sam's blood on fire, the corners of his mouth turning down as his nose flared in barely contained rage. God, he knew Dean hated any form of freakishness that came from him in the past, but... Just. Wow.

Okay, so maybe he'd lied to Cas when he'd said he didn't care what his brother thought. Because, right then? Oh, he cared. He cared a lot.


"Dean," Castiel cautioned, turning to face the Hunter completely. "You need to take him with you."

"We've been over this, Cas" Dean almost hissed.

"I know. And I understand you're upset. But I have to meet up with the other angels that came here yesterday to make sure they're doing what was asked of them correctly. We can search for the Door, too. However, if Gabriel comes with me, he risks being found out. Ultimately, that may mean Metatron's wrath. Which, as we now know, can be easily executed. We can't afford to lose him. In the Bunker, he's safe. Metatron's reach does not extend there.

"You know I'm right, Dean."

Dean's jaw worked as he stared at Castiel, his gaze occasionally snapping to Gabriel and back.

As much as it burned more to admit, Sam knew Castiel was better at dealing with his brother when he was angry than Sam was. Especially recently, since Dean either refused to trust him or was just too hurt to take Sam's opinions into consideration.

It was stupid and Sam hated it. Yet, he'd put up with it. He'd deal, as long as their chance at stopping this mess - as long as Gabriel - didn't get tossed to the curb because of Dean's stubbornness.

"I don't like it," Dean stated, resigned and resentful.

"You don't have to like it, Dean," Gabriel said. "I'm not really kickin' up my heels at the thought, either, in case you couldn't tell. But, like I said: It is what it is. You offer me sanctuary; I offer you whatever strength I got left. Within reason, of course. Unlike certain other angels who shall remain nameless."

Castiel frowned, looking over his shoulder at the Archangel. Sam had a funny feeling he wasn't whom Gabriel was talking about, though. Sam had... Well, he'd been remembering some things about Gadreel. When he'd been possessed. 'What strength I have left, I offer to you.' That's what he had said to Dean, in the beginning.

Sam wondered if Gabriel's Grace had picked up on those thoughts - those memories - too. If the Grace had then informed, or whatever it'd done, Gabriel when it had merged with him. Or, had Sam done it last night? However it had happened, there was a chance Gabriel knew.

Sam didn't know what to think about that. It made him vulnerable, after all, the Archangel knowing something personal like that. The Trickster had been known to use personal against him. Then again, he had hope - probably naïve hope - that Gabriel would take his side of things.

"And how, exactly, can you help us out?" Dean challenged. "Last time you did - "

Gabriel's expression turned dark in less than a second. The small hairs on Sam's arms and the back of his neck rose. Like they were being affected by static.

Oh, please, don't do anything drastic, he thought. Please, don't smite Dean.

"You better not finish that sentence," Gabriel growled. "I died for you, you ungrateful dick. I told you the way to stop Lucifer. I played my part."

"Yeah?" Dean snarked. "And then what? How long have you been alive?"

"Please, stop fighting," Castiel pleaded, looking at both.

"I don't owe you anything," Gabriel finished.

"Dean," Sam interrupted, trying to head off any further argument. "He helped. He can still help. The longer we stay here, the greater our chances of being caught are. Please. Lay it to rest."

Dean threw his hands up. He wasn't going to lay it to rest. But, he also didn't seem to want to pursue the argument with three people telling him off. If there was one thing he was good at, it was knowing how to pick his fights. Even amongst friends. Well, friends and one sorta-ally.

"Fine! Whatever. Me and Sam'll take him with us." Dean stared hard at Gabriel and pointed at him, "You fuck up my car, or you fuck with us, though? And, like I told your Grace: Your ass is grass."

Gabriel rolled his eyes but said nothing. He was itching to, Sam could tell, but he cleverly kept his mouth shut. Dean turned his attention back to Cas.

"And you better hope that we find Metatron, and fast, because I can't guarantee I won't stake his ass just on principle."

"That doesn't work," Gabriel grumbled.

"On. Principle," Dean stressed, not looking away from Castiel.

Cas sighed through his nose, shoulders drooping slightly as he tilted his head. Dean looked around the room at all of them.

"Ride leaves in five," he stated.

Dean left. The room was silent for all of one second before Gabriel mimed strangling something as he whined. Sam faced him. The Archangel stared at him, eyes wide and jaw tense as he pointed angrily towards the door.

"How do you put up with that?" Gabriel demanded harshly.

Sam shrugged helplessly with his hands and shoulders. He let his palms slap against his thighs when he dropped them.

"It's Dean?"

"Yeah," Gabriel agreed, nodding. "That's kinda the problem."

"Gabriel," Castiel cautioned, earning the Archangel's frown. "Please, don't set him off."

"And why shouldn't I, hmm?" Gabriel questioned. "It's not like he's not going to do everything in his power to set me off. What, I should just take and not give? I'm not really the turn-the-other-cheek type, bro."

"Gabriel: Don't."

The Archangel threw up his hands, much like Dean had not a minute earlier. Funny how the two that were constantly butting heads had certain similar characteristics. Like hardheadedness and an indomitable will. Funny how, given the current situation, both traits were faults.

"Fine! Fine. Saint Gabriel it is."

Gabriel cut his eyes to the side. Sam'd seen that look before. He was feeling trapped and he didn't like it. If there was one thing worse than an antagonistic Gabriel, it was a Gabriel who felt backed into a corner. That Gabriel was more unpredictable.

"Look," Sam started. "I know it's frustrating. Believe me, I do. I live with him, after all. But... He's dealing with some things right now, okay? Poking at him will just... It'll be counter-productive. Working with us - with him - may prove to him that you're not some gigantic asshole."

"I am a gigantic asshole," Gabriel stated firmly, looking back to Sam.

Sam rolled his eyes, "I know that. Just. Humor me, alright?"

Gabriel sighed through his nose, biting at the inside of his lip. Soon, he shrugged in defeat.

Castiel turned his attention to Sam.

"I hate to ask it of you, but can you watch after my brother, too?" He asked, only half joking.

Sam smiled a little, "Yeah. I think I can handle it."

Gabriel gave him a look that said he doubted it and that he was going to do everything in his power to make Sam eat his words. Sam still thought he could handle it. If he could deal with a sentient light bulb with an attitude that had broken free, not once but twice, he could probably deal with the Trickster. After all, it was easier to catch something in the shape of a man with no wings.

Castiel nodded and excused himself. Sam's guess was that he was going to do what he'd told Dean: Leave and meet up with the other angels.

In the back of his mind, he wondered if it was a good idea for Cas to do that. Not because he didn't trust him with the responsibility, but because of what they'd said Metatron's goal had been in Gabriel's illusion. If it was Metatron's wish for Cas to lead a faction of angels against him, if that's what he had written, wouldn't it just be playing into his plan to do so? However, it wasn't like they could not go against Metatron. He needed to be stopped. Somehow. They'd work on that soon enough.

First thing was first: Getting Gabriel to the Bunker.

"You ready?" Sam asked him.

"How long of a drive am I lookin' at?"

"Uh. Twelve? Maybe thirteen hours?"

"Then my answer is no. Come on."

Gabriel walked towards the motel door as Sam got to his feet. Sam looked around. The markings on the walls and the papers still crumpled on the floor, left discarded as they were no longer useful, would really raise questions with the housekeeping staff later. And probably the police, considering the content of what Castiel had been investigating. Too bad they didn't really have the time to get rid of that.

With a blink, all of it was gone.

Sam jolted in surprise, quickly glancing at Gabriel. The Archangel had a hand on the door handle, staring at Sam expectantly.

"You really sure you should be doing that?" Sam griped, still under the impression Gabriel wasn't as strong as he was letting on.

"Relax, Sam," Gabriel replied, opening the door and stepping out into the parking lot. "I told you I was fine."

"Actually," Sam said, "you said something about me doing more than giving you wings, but that was about it. What did you mean, anyway?"

They made their way towards the Impala. Dean was, naturally, in the driver's seat, engine already running as he drummed his fingers impatiently on the steering wheel. The slight frown on his face only worsened when his eyes landed on Gabriel. If Gabriel saw it, he made no move to show it. Cas' car was missing. He hadn't waited long.

"Well, for one, I didn't literally mean you gave me wings."

"Kinda figured."

"Alright, Einstein. You can figure out the rest, then."

"No, I - Gabriel."

"You tampered with my Grace. Gave it a little boost. A little boost, but a boost nonetheless. Add that on top of my body's natural healing and, well... I'm good."

It took a moment for Gabriel to open the car door he'd come to, staring down at it as if it'd personally offended him, but he did open it. The latch thumped open and the Archangel got in like he was used to it. Which, considering how long the angels had been on Earth, he probably was used to traveling in cars by now.

Boy, that had to be an odd switch. From teleporting everywhere to having to use human vehicles and walking? Sam hadn't really given it much thought until now. It probably sucked. No wonder Gabriel didn't feel up to the ride. Well, that and Dean.

Sam opened the passenger's side door and was immediately met with Dean's raised hand. He didn't even manage to get a foot in.

"Ah!" Dean said.

He pointed towards the back with his thumb. Gabriel frowned at it.

"You're riding with him," Dean announced.

"What?" Sam asked in disbelief. "Seriously? Dean - "

"Ah-ah-ah! I don't wanna hear it. I already gave this speech to Cas and Crowley once. I don't want him tryin' somethin', so you're gonna make sure he doesn't. In the back, Sammy."

Sam groaned but obeyed, shutting the door with an added touch of annoyance. He didn't bother to wait to see if Gabriel would scoot over for him, he just walked around the car instead and got in on the left side. Gabriel was leaning forward in his seat a little, smirking mischievously at the side of Dean's face. Oh, boy.

"You sure that's a good idea, Dean?" Gabriel nearly purred. "What if I get a little handsy?"

Sam scowled at the Archangel while Dean scoffed and put the car in gear.

"Look, I don't care what you two do in your free time. I really don't," Dean stated.

"Don't mind a few stains on the leather then?"

"If you value whatever's between your legs at all, Gabriel, you will keep it in your pants while in my car," Dean replied as they turned onto the main road.

"It's called a penis, Dean. You should know what that is."

Sam held up his hands beside his head.

"O-kay! Can we not with the immature pissing contest, or whatever it is the two of you are doing?" He pointed at Gabriel, "And no touching without permission."

Gabriel looked downright affronted, placing his hand on his chest dramatically, "Sam! I would never!"

Sam merely squinted at him. He knew the Grace had learned to keep his metaphorical hands to himself, but he wasn't too sure about the real Gabriel. In any case, whether Gabriel made an unwanted move or not, Sam could take care of himself. He'd punched Gadreel in the face; he could punch Gabriel just the same.

"Any chance you two happen to hatch a plan after I left?" Dean asked.

Gabriel sat back against the seat, crossing his arms over his chest as he pouted at the window. Yeah, he wasn't going to tell Dean anything. Sam sighed.

"Not really, no," Sam admitted.

Dean hummed an affirmation and then turned on the radio. He made sure to turn it up to a decibel that said talking was prohibited. The corners of Sam's lips twitched downward as he shifted in the backseat.

He really didn't have a lot of leg room in the back. The music was almost grating, which was kinda the point he guessed. Every time he cut his eyes to look over at Gabriel, Gabriel was doing a good impression of a statue.

Only once did Sam catch Gabriel looking somewhere other than the scenery outside the car. And that was when he was looking at the radio, eyes squinted and mouth slightly askew. Sam knew what he was thinking. He swatted his hand at the Archangel, grabbing his attention, and mouthed at him to not do it.

Do not mess with the radio, for the love of Heaven. Dean would not hesitate to leave Gabriel on the side of the road, usefulness be damned.

Gabriel made a face at him, an almost mocking snarl, and then he slid down in the seat, arms still crossed as his knees pressed into the bench seat before them. He looked like an overgrown child. For some very strange reason, it was almost endearing.

Sam mentally smacked himself in the head as he looked back out the window.

The drive was long. When wasn't a drive long when going across the United States? Especially in the West. But the atmosphere of the ride made it worse. Still no talking. Music too loud for Sam to fall asleep. Absolutely nothing else to do.

Roughly four hours in and Sam was losing it. Gabriel had been reduced to fiddling with his zipper on his jacket. Up, down, up, down. Not all the way, of course, just enough. Enough to make a racket. And Sam's brain had picked up on it despite the sound of AC/DC blaring from the car's speakers.

Eventually, he snapped, reaching over without looking to grab Gabriel's hands and squeeze. Hard. Enough to get the message across that, if Gabriel continued, there would be no saving him. He held his grip for a moment for added emphasis. Unfortunately, that was just enough time to give Gabriel an idea.

When Sam felt his hand being lifted upwards, he turned to look at the Archangel in confusion. Seeing his tongue sticking out and said hand being brought to it, Sam reacted on instinct. He yelped, jerking his hand away from Gabriel. Only...Gabriel held on. And Sam spent a few panic-stricken seconds trying, and failing, to get his hand away from Gabriel's still-threatening tongue.

"Don't make me come back there!" Dean threatened over the music.

Gabriel finally let go of Sam's hand, sitting back up from where he'd been dragged towards Sam. Sam huffed, wiping the back of his hand on his pants, even though Gabriel hadn't actually made contact with it. He glared at Gabriel. Gabriel didn't look at him, but the falsely innocent look on his face clearly meant he was pleased with himself. Asshole.

"So, Dean. We there yet?" Gabriel asked.

"Don't start, Gabriel."

"I gotta pee."

"You're an angel. You don't have to pee."

"Was hoping you'd forget that part."

"What? You want me to pull over somewhere so you can make a break for it? Fat chance."

"Yeah, like I can outrun Sam's freakishly long legs."

"Then why the hell do you want me to stop?"

"Because I'm bored!" Gabriel shouted. "I'm an Archangel trapped in the backseat of a car. For hours. I'm used to zipping wherever the hell I wanna go. I need entertainment. And, so far, you two - " he gestured with his finger, " - have been very helpful with that."

"Don't like my music?"

"No," Gabriel smiled. "More of an 80's man."

Dean scoffed, shaking his head. Sam raised his eyebrows briefly. That did kind of explain the song choices of the Trickster. His brow furrowed. One particular such song Sam still refused to listen to. He fidgeted.

"I don't know, Dean," he began, still speaking over the music. "I'm kinda hungry."

"Oh, come on, Sammy. Not you, too? I'd like to get home."

"We could use a bathroom break and my ass is starting to go numb. I have no room back here. Just pull over at the nearest gas station."

"Ugh. Fine!"

Okay, so he'd lied about his ass being numb, but he was being truthful about the other stuff. He hadn't had anything to eat since before they'd gone after Gadreel and his stomach was really getting onto him about that. His legs were also not so happy about their close quarters. Taking a short walk around the car was better than staying another six or seven hours in the same position with no break at all.

Gabriel wiggled triumphantly in his seat, smug smirk on his face. If Sam had been one-hundred percent truthful, he would have also mentioned that his main motivation had something to do with Gabriel's never-fading energy levels. Sam desperately wanted to give him that 'entertainment' he'd said he'd needed. He wouldn't stand the next set of noises the Archangel came to to occupy his time.

It was roughly twenty minutes, going by the switch in cassette tapes, before Dean pulled off the Interstate. The gas station was right beside the exit. Dean pulled up at a pump, parked, and shut the car off.

Dean turned around in his seat just as Sam's hand made it to his door handle. Sam paused as his brother looked at Gabriel and then him. Gabriel, too, had paused, in much the same position Sam was in.

"Alright, here's how this is gonna work," Dean began. "I'm gonna pump while you take a leak. We'll switch when you get back. You," he pointed at Gabriel, "are staying here."

"Oh, come on!" Gabriel exclaimed. "I'm going stir crazy in here!"

"Oh, boohoo," Dean mocked. "You're staying put. Go on, Sam."

Sam sighed, rolling his eyes. He looked over his shoulder at Gabriel as Dean exited the vehicle. The dark look Gabriel threw his brother did not bode well.

"Just..." Sam started quietly, gaining the other's attention, "try and not do anything until I get back?"

Gabriel pouted angrily, crossing his arms again as he thumped his back against the seat. When he turned away to glare heatedly at the seat in front of him, Sam got out.

It didn't take long for him to take care of his business. Just long enough for his brain to think of every worst case scenario he could come across when he looked back outside the store. The image of a smoking crater where the Impala had been crossed his mind a time or ten. He'd wanted to stretch his legs a bit, but, well... Imminent destruction of either of the two idiots outside kinda shot that idea down.

When he did get around to leaving the store, nodding politely at the clerk has he did so, he was pleased to find that none of the things he'd thought up had happened. Dean was leaning against the back of the Impala, arms and ankles crossed, as he watched for Sam. The perfect vantage point to make sure Gabriel didn't try and bolt. Not that Sam thought he would, but Dean did.

As soon as they made eye contact, Dean pushed himself off the car and began to walk towards the store. He made sure to tell Sam to not let Gabriel out of his sight or even let him out of the car. Sam merely agreed to avoid an argument. He may have been thinking of letting Gabriel step out of the car anyway. Or, at least open the door for some fresher air. As fresh as air full of cigarette smoke, gas, and oil could be.

Sam ducked into the backseat, not at all happy to be returning there, and slammed the door. He looked over at Gabriel. Gabriel was still pouting. He was a hair's breath away from fuming.

"You can open the door," Sam offered. "Stretch your legs, if you want."

"Pretty sure that's not what your dear ol' brother told you to do," Gabriel grumbled.

"Yeah, well. He's not here."

"Not going to caution me not to run off?"

Sam smirked, "Like you said: You can't outrun my freakishly long legs."

Gabriel huffed but some of the tension seemed to drain out of his body. He didn't open the car door, however. The two sat in silence for a moment. At first, it was comfortable. Until Sam started thinking about it and then it got a little uncomfortable.

"I meant what I said earlier," Gabriel spoke evenly.

Sam frowned in confusion as he looked over at him, "About what?"

"The-the touching thing," he clarified with a shrug. "I mean, I'm an asshole. Don't get me wrong. But..."

Gabriel trailed off, brow furrowing as he stared out the window. Sam watched him for a second, running his words through his head. He knew Gabriel probably did want to explain what came after the 'but'. However, he also knew that emotional vulnerability didn't seem to be something Gabriel liked.

"Alright," Sam replied.

Another beat passed.

"And I meant what I - Well, not me, but I agree with what the Grace said, too."

Sam nodded slowly before asking, again, "About what?"

Gabriel drug his gaze from the gas pump outside his window and moved it towards Sam. He didn't completely face him, though. His eyes seemed to zero in on Sam's knee, instead.

"That I..." He hesitated. "That I shouldn't have done what I did. To you. Especially not the way I did it. ...And I'm... Sorry."

For some reason, one he didn't completely understand, Sam started to laugh. It bubbled up from somewhere near his diaphragm, traveled its way up, and came out of him as a helpless giggle. His eyes shut as they began to water and he continued to laugh. He heard Gabriel huff again.

Sam waved a hand towards him to try and indicate that he wasn't laughing at him. Though, he supposed, it could be interpreted that way. Maybe he was laughing at Gabriel. But only because of the way he'd gotten the apology out. The way it had sounded. Sincere but also like it had been beaten out of him.

Soon, he got his chuckling under control. He wiped his eyes with the heels of his palm, opened them, and looked over at Gabriel. He snorted at the indignant pout on the other's face. Somehow, he'd reined in the next onslaught of giggles.

"Sorry," Sam murmured. He tried to wipe the smile off his face. "Apology accepted."

Gabriel narrowed his eyes at him.

"Was that really so hard that you had to say it to my knee, though?"

Gabriel rolled his eyes and went back to looking out the window. Sam's grin found its way back. Momentarily. Before he realized he wanted to address something a little more serious. Okay, the apology had been serious, too, but that's not what he meant. He frowned a little.

"So, about this bond thing..." He prompted.

"What about it?" Gabriel mumbled towards the window.

"Uh. How's it... How's it going to change...us? Or me?"

Gabriel finally looked at him. He seemed bored.

"Frankly? I don't know."

"Oh. Oh, you don't know? 'Cause earlier you assured me it wasn't going to do anything bad," Sam said, aggravated.

Gabriel sighed, "It's not, Sam. It's not because it can't. Look. You were psychic for a time - "

"Because of Azazel's blood," Sam interrupted forcefully. "Which wasn't a good thing!"

"No," Gabriel stressed. His eyes cut to the ceiling as he tilted his head from side to side, "Okay, yes. Technically, you were psychic because of Azazel's shenanigans. But the powers you gained from him were your own. You ever wonder why all of his little special children had different tricks up their sleeves?"

Sam frowned. Yeah. Yeah, he had. But, what difference did it make? Gabriel dropped his head for a second and then looked back up at Sam.

"The blood acted as a trigger. Gave your little mortal mind added incentive to do some fancy shit. I mean - I don't know how to shorten this.

"Psychics. Humans with special powers. Some are born with them switched on. Some aren't. But the switch is still there."

"So...Azazel just switched it on?"

"Yup. But there are a looot of switches. Think of it as a switch for every different power. Azazel's blood was a shot in the dark. There was no guaranteeing or predicting which kid got what power. Or how good they'd become. Which is why he had his little battle royales that you had the not-so-fortunate chance to take part in."

Sam shifted uncomfortably, glancing at the floorboard. He didn't like remembering that. The people like him all trapped in a ghost town. Killing each other just to survive. ...How he'd been killed because he didn't want to kill.

And then Dean...

He cast the thoughts aside and looked back up at Gabriel.

"And this-this bond just, what, did the same thing?" He asked, not sure if he was understanding.

"Eh," Gabriel shrugged a shoulder. "More like it gave the switch the electricity it needed to work the light bulb again."

"So," Sam shifted a little to better face Gabriel, hands raising so he could use them to help illustrate his ideas, "I was psychic, and then Azazel died, and the... electricity went away. But the switch was still in the on position, so all it needed was electricity again to-to do its job, or whatever?"

Gabriel frowned a little, "I hate to bring up a touchy subject, but why do you think Ruby told you you had it in ya the whole time?"

A chill ran down Sam's spine, his eyes widening slightly.

"I don't wanna end up like that. Not again," he said quickly.

"You won't," Gabriel stated firmly. He shook his head once, "Not if you don't want to. And there's no pesky addiction to have to deal with when it comes to the bond, either. At least that's a plus, huh?"

"And it'll fade, right? The bond. If we don't do the dream walking thing? And then the powers will just fade away again?" Sam asked shakily.

Gabriel paused before answering, "It should."

The Archangel turned from him and sat back against the seat.

Sam was nervous now. Uncertain. Earlier, Gabriel had said he'd hoped the bond would fade if they left it alone. Now, he was saying it should, but he didn't believe that.

"You hesitated," Sam stated. "You don't know."

Gabriel threw up his hands in helplessness. He looked back over at Sam, actual honesty reflecting in his eyes.

"No, okay? I don't know. Wish I did!

"Don't take this the wrong way, Sam, but I really don't wanna be saddled with you, either. I kinda - I kinda like my privacy, y'know?

"Thousands of years with it? Solitude kinda becomes the norm."

Gabriel looked away again, lips turned down as he did so. There was a sort of...melancholy that could be attributed to the look. An offshoot of the look that Gabriel had given when he'd first told Sam that Sam didn't have to use the bond if he didn't want to.

Sam studied the Archangel. The corner of his lips twitched upwards just for a second.

"You're a really bad liar, y'know that?" Sam asked, almost cheekily.

Gabriel blinked slowly, moving his head to stare blankly at Sam.

Movement in his peripheral caught Sam's attention. He looked away from Gabriel, spotting Dean almost a foot away from the car. In his hands was a bag of stuff. Sam frowned. One of the objects almost looked like a phone book.

The Impala's door opened with a satisfying creak - a sound his brother refused to get rid of with some WD-40 - and Dean half-sat, half-flung himself down into the driver's seat. Both Sam and Gabriel looked at the plastic bag expectantly as Dean started to dig around in it. Sam didn't know why Gabriel was curious, other than he was Gabriel, but he smelled food.

"For someone who complained about being hungry," Dean began, pulling out a foil-wrapped burger that he then handed to Sam, "you sure did a good job of forgetting to get food."

Sam frowned a little as he took the burger.

"Well, I was kinda more worried about leaving you two alone and coming back to a smoldering crater," Sam admitted.

He wasn't too thrilled that his breakfast, lunch, whatever it would be called, was a greasy, slightly gross tasting, double cheeseburger. Yet, he was ninety-percent sure that gas stations really didn't handle salads. He began to unwrap his food as Dean reached into the bag to pull out whatever book thing he'd gotten.

Sam's burger was halfway to his mouth when he looked at the cover of the book. He paused.

It was a coloring book. A very thick coloring book of My Little Pony. He slowly lowered his burger and looked cautiously over at Gabriel. Gabriel was simply staring at the book like he wasn't entirely sure why it was being shoved in his direction.

Dean wiggled the book for Gabriel to take. He then reached into the bag, pulled out a small, brand new box of crayons, and plopped them onto of the coloring book.

"Take it," he said easily. "For your 'lack of entertainment.'"

Gabriel looked up from the book to stare at Dean, mouth slightly open in disbelief. He scoffed and shook his head.

"What, you couldn't get me Dora instead?"

"All out," Dean replied, exaggerated smile gracing his lips.

Much to Sam's surprise, Gabriel took the coloring book from Dean. He didn't open it, however, or move the crayon box off it. He just thumped into the seat behind him and grumpily glared out the window. Pleased with himself, Dean turned back to face the front, starting the car and putting it into gear.

Relieved that nothing bad was going to result from Dean's really shitty sense of humor, Sam went back to eating. Dean turned the radio back on. And, though he turned down the volume just a notch, Sam got the feeling that neither his brother nor Gabriel was going to start a conversation anytime soon.

It was roughly an hour before Sam heard the sound of a cardboard box opening. (Long after Sam had finished his meal and crumpled the foil up, placing it in his pocket because - God forbid - he litter in Dean's car.) Covertly glancing over at the Archangel, he watched as Gabriel flipped through the coloring book, box of crayons already opened.

Gabriel stopped on a page of a winged pony. Sam didn't know if that was intentional, an attempt to be funny and ironic, or if Gabriel had just let chance take the wheel. Either way, he reached into the crayon box, pulled out a yellow, and began to color in the horse's mane.

Two hours after that, Gabriel had finished about five pages in the coloring book. Sam was astonished that the act of coloring could actually hold the other's attention for as long as it had. He was surprised that Gabriel had yet to do anything obscene with his artwork. ...And he was slightly annoyed every time he caught himself watching the other as he colored. Any time he did, he'd snap his gaze back out the window. And it somehow found its way back.

Four hours had Gabriel making noises with his mouth. When Sam got onto him for that, he started making noises with his thumb, tapping it against the coloring book. When Sam got onto him for that, not only did he make a point to throw Sam a sour glance, but he started to tap his foot. After that, Sam gave up.

Five hours gave them another break, curtesy of the Impala's fuel tank. Sam pumped the gas this time while Dean went to take care of business. Sam opted against another bathroom break. Instead, he slid back into his seat and addressed Gabriel, who had set his book and crayons aside and slumped down with his knees, once again, against the seat in front of him.

"We should tell Dean," Sam said.

Gabriel blinked languidly, "Is this like charades? Am I supposed to guess what we're tellin' him? Oh, oh! Wait! I got it! Is the answer: He's a jerk?"

Sam stared at him blankly.

Gabriel took one look at the expression and sighed.

"The fancy powers?"


"I'd rather not, thanks."

"If we keep it a secret - "

Gabriel held up a hand, "Ooh, believe me. I already know all about the Winchesters and their knack for lying to each other's faces. But, Sam, the problem here is that your brother wants to stab me in the face, and I kinda like my face, so telling him something that's gonna set him off is not something I wanna do."

Sam paused, "Really? Because you seemed really eager to get under his skin a few hours ago."

"There's a difference between being a mild annoyance and the guy responsible for," he used air quotes, "'ruining' his brother."

Sam scoffed, looking away. But Gabriel had a point. As Dean had mentioned in the motel room: His brother had to deal with him whenever he acted like a freak.

That didn't change anything, though.

"It'll be worse if they get stronger and he finds out then," he mumbled.

When he looked over at Gabriel, the Archangel was in the process of rolling his eyes. Somehow, even with the position he was in, he managed to look a little defeated.

"Fine," he spat. "But you're doing it. Preferably with me outta the room. And away from any pointy objects. Especially silver ones."

Sam frowned, "An angel blade won't kill you."

"Don't mean it won't hurt like Hell. What? You seriously think I get stabbed by one o' those and I'll shrug it off all, ''Tis but a scratch!' Nooo."

Sam snorted, smiling a little. He wasn't surprised that Monty Python was something Gabriel had taken the time to see. He frowned a little. However, now he was wondering about the accuracy of the Holy Grail myths. Before he could launch into an interrogation just to sate his curiosity, Dean exited the gas station.

Their trip resumed.

By the time they arrived at the Bunker, it was almost eight in the evening.

Sam was exhausted. Not just mentally but physically, as well. Even Gabriel had lost all energy he'd had that morning. If Sam hadn't known better, he would have been sure that the Archangel had fallen asleep with his eyes open during the last hour of the trip. Dean, for some reason, almost seemed right as rain. Sam was jealous.

"Home, sweet home!" Dean announced, chipper.

The zombie-like moans he received from the back only caused him to frown. He glared into the backseat.

"What the hell's y'all's problem?" He asked.

Then he spotted Gabriel's knees pressed into the front seat. He swatted at them, earning a yelp from the Archangel and a glare. Gabriel wriggled back up to sit in his seat properly. Sam discreetly pulled himself away from Dean's seat, as well.

"Thirteen hours, Dean," Sam groaned. "No sleep. Yeah, we're kinda tired."

Dean scoffed, opening his door and getting out of the Impala. Sam followed, grunting a little when he finally got to stretch his legs. Sure, he was in pretty good condition physically, what with the running he did, but that long of a car ride? Anyone's joints wouldn't be too thrilled afterwards. When Gabriel got out, Sam was a little surprised to see him carrying his coloring book and crayons.

"I don't need to sleep and I wanna sleep," Gabriel complained, shaking his legs and then hopping in place once.

Dean frowned at him. Sam, however, went to the trunk to get their things. He was a tad resentful Dean was too busy focusing on Gabriel to remember his bag was in the back, too. Sam grabbed both, one on each shoulder, and joined the others.

"Wow," Dean mocked, walking towards the entrance of the Bunker. "Alert the presses. The great Archangel Gabriel can't stomach an old, American pastime."

Gabriel hummed pleasantly, a phony smile directed at the back of Dean's head. It was the perfect look to convey, 'I want to stab you but I can't.' He and Sam followed Dean down the concrete steps and to the Bunker door. Dean pulled the key from his pocket. He hesitated before putting it in the lock, however. Instead, he turned to look at Gabriel.

"Fuck with anything - "

"Stab. Yeah. Got it, Rambo," Gabriel answered, clearly unimpressed.

Sam huffed. And here he'd thought the car ride was annoying. He was just now coming to appreciate, and dislike, the fact that he was going to be stuck in the Bunker with these two and their ever-simmering feud. Yay.

Dean didn't retort. He finally opened the door.

The Bunker was, naturally, in the same state they'd left it. Sam walked down the staircase behind Dean, Gabriel behind him. His main focus was dropping their bags on the map table in the center of the foyer. As such, he failed to notice Gabriel's reactions.

Until he happened to catch Dean's double take when he passed him to drop their supplies on the table. Removing the straps from his shoulders, Sam turned to look at the Archangel.

Gabriel's brow was furrowed, his lips puckered, as he stood just at the end of the stairs. His eyes raked over the machines on the walls, the map, the entrance to the library portion of the Bunker. He nodded once.

"I'm having a really weird feeling of Déjà vu," he commented uneasily.

"Yeah, well," Dean replied, "your Grace was kind of a pain in our asses for almost a month, so. Scenery should be a little familiar."

Gabriel ignored the jab, finally walking over towards them.

"Gotta admit, boys: This place is impressive. A little too impressive."

"What do you mean?" Sam asked, trying to ignore the fatigue in his whole body.

"I mean that I'm suspicious of your precious Men of Letters," Gabriel remarked, placing his book and crayons beside their bags.

"You?" Dean asked in disbelief. "The Trickster? An Archangel? Worried about some dusty tomes and old relics a bunch of nerds collected and hid away from the world?"

Gabriel cut his eyes to look at Dean, "In case you've forgotten, my Horn was in this place. Also? There's an angel banishing sigil on the floor over there," he nodded towards one of the center pillars.


"What the hell were they doing that made them knowledgeable about a species Hunters didn't even think existed until a few years ago and why were they worried that they'd have to protect themselves from said species?"

"He has a good point," Sam said. "I don't know about suspicious, but it's curious in any case."

Dean shrugged, "Whatever. I don't care."

Sam returned the shrug.

"Look," he began. "I'm tired. I'm going to bed. Dean, you take care of the supplies. I hauled them in here."

He took two steps before Dean was calling him back.

"Ho, ho," Dean stressed. He pointed at Gabriel, "You're takin' him with you."

"What?" Sam asked as he tried to wrap his mind around the ridiculousness of that command.

Gabriel frowned at Dean.

"I'm not down with letting Gabriel run around the Bunker unattended. And I sure as hell don't want him in my room -"

"What makes you think I want him in mine?"

"Sam. Don't make me answer that."

Gabriel was trying, and failing, to keep his face neutral. Sam could see how awkward the conversation was making him.

Sam rolled his eyes, raising his arms and then letting them drop to his sides.

"Fine!" He exclaimed. "Fine. Unlike you, I don't get bothered by people watching me sleep."

Gabriel frowned, eyes cutting to the side as he tilted his head just a little. He seemed confused and slightly concerned about Sam's statement. Dean nodded slowly, eyes still trained on Sam.

"That was a brilliant comeback, Sammy," he joked.

Sam clenched his jaw, refusing to say anything else, and turned on his heel. He didn't bother to check and see if Gabriel was following him. He stormed all the way to his room. He was tired, he was cranky - thanks to his oh-so-considerate brother - and he actually did have a little bit of an issue with people creepily staring at him while he slept.

But whatever. A good night's sleep would get rid of more than half of his problems, so that's what he was going to focus on.

Gabriel was following him. He could hear the other's footsteps on the hard floor under their feet. When he reached his room, he turned to notice that Gabriel had picked up his coloring book and crayons before he'd come along. Well, at least that solved the staring issue.

Once in his room, Gabriel went straight for the chair, plopping down with a little too much gusto.

"And your brother gets onto me for being the paranoid one," the Archangel muttered.

Sam grunted, stripping off his brown jacket. Gabriel snorted. Sam glared over his shoulder at him, yet Gabriel's barely-concealed grin was aimed towards the brilliantly colored ponies of his coloring book instead of Sam.

"Get your head out of the gutter," he grumbled, moving on to remove his shirt.

"Would if I could, kiddo," Gabriel replied, amused. "But, in case you haven't noticed, I typically have the emotional maturity of a frat boy."

"Explains the janitor career."

"Ha! Well-played."

Gabriel didn't say anything after that. He made no more unwanted noises about Sam's state of undress. Finally in his sleeping clothes, Sam faced the Archangel. He was a little surprised to see the other staring intently at the television. He had been, honestly, expecting Gabriel to have been watching him. Gabriel did kind of have a reputation, after all.

"Right," Sam began. "So, I don't care what you do as long as, y'know..."

"No touchie. Of any kind. And I'm assuming I'm not allowed to make any loud noises, either. Wouldn't be smart, considering there's a pistol under your pillow."

Sam frowned, "How'd - "

"Elementary, my dear Watson."

Sam paused as he nodded.

"You do know that's not really ever said in those books, right?"

Gabriel finally turned to look at him.

"Go to sleep, Sam," he said. "I'm not going to do anything you don't want. Told you that before."

Sam nodded again, this time in confirmation. He shifted awkwardly and then climbed into bed. When he glanced over at Gabriel, he had returned to staring at the screen. Sam wouldn't be all that surprised if he woke up with it on. He'd become very accustomed to the restlessness of the Archangel, after all.