A/N: Remember when I wanted to make this all one chapter, combined with the last? Ha ha. Special shout-out to Eriquin, part-time beta-er-er, who's been doing that for a few chapters now, and I've just never actually put that in an Author's Note for some damn reason. Pretty sure some of Dean's jokes were actually hers. Also, ha ha, Season 12, amirite? Ignoring that.

Song worth mention: "How Did You Love" by Shinedown

Sam's mind wouldn't stop. Gabriel still lay blessedly asleep on their bed, but Sam couldn't seem to get his mind off...everything.

He'd meant what he'd said to Gabriel. The Archangel had helped them a lot since joining them, even if he hadn't been so gung-ho about it at the start. Sam was certain that the reason for his charity work wasn't the sex, either. He'd tried way too hard to avoid that, too. No, Gabriel's problem was that he cared. Though he might try and deny it, he and Castiel shared a lot more in common than either one of them thought. They went about trying to prove themselves in different ways, but their core principles were the same. No wonder Cas wants Gabriel to lead. The older, stronger brother certainly knows what he's doing, right?

Sam huffed a laughed at the thought. The older, stronger brother certainly did not know what he was doing. It was Sam's experience that none of them did. Everyone was just winging it and pretending they had everything under control. Their lives. The universe.


His stomach still twisted at the idea that God had acted through him. He didn't completely understand how that worked. He figured a power boost was most likely, but he couldn't be sure without any proof. Either way, he'd done what he'd did. Taking on the Darkness was a good thing. They'd won. But why had they needed to?

Gabriel's anger at God came from a sense of betrayal. He blamed God for what had happened to Lucifer, all while he still held Lucifer responsible for his actions.

Sam understood that. After all, he'd spent months watching Dean become worse as the Mark on his arm dug into his soul and corrupted him, tried to make him a demon. Months ago, Gabriel had warned Sam about what Dean would do to him if the Mark remained. He would die. Something would set Dean off and he would die. And I would still believe that wasn't my brother, that he didn't mean it, blame it all on something else. How easy it would be to lie to himself.

Sam had seen what the Mark could do to a human soul, he could only imagine what it'd done to Lucifer or his grace. Not that he sympathized with the Devil. That would never happen. Though, Sam had to admit that purposefully giving your child something that could harm them, watching it harm them, and then locking them away when it got to be too bad was...kind of more than a dick move. In fact, it was pretty fucked up.

But that's how God reacted to those he couldn't stop, right? He locked them away? That's what Gabriel had accused him of doing. He'd done it with the Darkness. The Leviathan. Lucifer.


The one decision of Dean's that Sam couldn't blame on the Mark.

Sam played with the plastic fork that had come with his salad, wiggling it back and forth between his fingers, as he stared at the gentle rise and fall of Gabriel's chest.

He didn't like to think about Gadreel. Yet, there the angel was, at the forefront of his mind. Again.

Echoes of Metatron's first talk with Gadreel hung, faded like a photograph, in the back of his mind. Gadreel had been God's most trusted. It had hurt God to lock Gadreel away. Then, there was Gabriel's admittance of the dirty politics of Heaven that had resulted in Gadreel's punishment.

Prison. Time after time, horrific, torturous prison was the answer.

Sam took a deep breath and slowly slid his all-but-gone meal across the small desk he sat at. He placed his fork in the plastic container.

He had to talk to Gadreel. He had to stop delaying the inevitable. It was impossible to predict how long they'd need Gadreel, how long they'd be chasing after Metatron to undo everything he'd done. Sam couldn't work with the angel. Not yet.

The day before, Sam had thought that, maybe, he could avoid even going near the bastard. But that was a pipe dream. Life was never that easy. Their paths would eventually cross again, compromises would have to be made, as they had been when Sam had pleaded for Gadreel to stop using the misnamed Horn of Gabriel.

The only way Sam ever saw himself on the same side as Metatron's former lackey was if they came to an understanding. He needs to know where I stand. He needs to know where he stands. He needs to know what he did wrong. Not the textbook reasonings or the logical conclusions. Gadreel had openly admitted he was in the wrong. However, Sam doubted Gadreel understood the emotional impact of his actions. Angels rarely did. Like children who say they're sorry and don't truly know why they should be.

But, more importantly, Sam needed closure. He'd never been able to truly confront Gadreel over what had happened to him. Stuff always got in the way of it. Dean telling him to go check on Cas. Handing Gadreel back over to Metatron in exchange for Cas' life. Needing to run back home to make sure Gabriel was okay. A building full of nosey, stab-happy angels.

Now, Gadreel couldn't run. He had nowhere to be. No one was going to snatch him out from under Sam.

Sam took a deep breath, pushed himself out of his chair, and then walked quickly over to Gabriel. He didn't want to wake the other up, be the 'annoying brother' alarm Gabriel had joked about earlier. He wanted Gabriel to heal as fast as he could. However, he needed Gadreel's room number, and Gabriel was the easiest person to get that information from.

"Gabriel," Sam spoke gently as he half-climbed, half-leaned onto the bed beside Gabriel. "Gabriel, I need you to wake up." When Gabriel didn't respond, Sam raked his fingers through the other's hair and again stressed, "Gabriel."

His answer was a drowsy, annoyed grunt.

"Gabriel, c'mon."

"'Go to sleep,'" Gabriel slurred, refusing to open his eyes. "'Wake up.' Can ya make up your mind, Sam? Because mine's getting a li'l tired of the whiplash."

"Sorry," Sam apologized. He trucked on before he could start to doubt himself. "I need Gadreel's room number and key."

At hearing such a request, Gabriel sluggishly opened his eyes to stare at Sam. His frown meant that he neither understood why he was being asked for such a thing nor why Sam thought he'd humor him by giving it to him.

"I just want to talk to him," Sam explained.

Gabriel's brows pinched together. He wasn't convinced.

"I'm not going to try and kill him, okay?" Sam shook his head, "At least, not unless he tries to kill me. But, look, I… I need to get some things off my chest. If we're going to be working with him, he… Just-just give me the room number and key. Please?" Sam thought for a moment and then added, "With a strawberry on top?"

Gabriel blinked. "Cute. Trying to use my own weakness against me." He tutted. "Sorry, kiddo. I'm afraid that not even strawberries will make me immediately give you the opportunity to put yourself and another in harm's way. Especially after rudely waking me up from a very refreshing catnap. Or, I should say, what would have been a refreshing catnap had you not woken me up barely an hour into it." He smiled.

Sam stared at him. "Please?" He repeated.

Seconds ticked by before Gabriel sighed and rolled his eyes. "Why now? What made you-?"

"If I don't do it now, I might never do it," Sam interrupted. "Gabriel, don't make me beg."

Gabriel pursed his lips. He shrugged his shoulders. He pulled his arm out from under him and, between his fingers, he held out a keycard for Sam to take. When Sam went to grab it from him, Gabriel's other hand grabbed Sam's wrist so quickly that he startled. He fell over, catching himself on his elbow, leaving his face close to Gabriel's. Gabriel's hold wasn't harsh, only firm.

He searched Sam's eyes. "Don't make me regret this," Gabriel nearly whispered.

"You won't."

Gabriel tilted his head back to study Sam as Sam took the keycard from him. "Room's 502. Remember: He's caged. Not completely, but enough."

"Treat him like a cornered, abused dog. Got it." Sam paused. "You realize I'm not gonna be nice, right?"

Gabriel smiled fondly, sleep clinging to his eyelids. "He's all yours, tiger. If anyone deserves to tear his ass a new one, it's you."

Sam returned the smile. He closed the distance between them and gave Gabriel a lingering, chaste kiss. When he pulled away, he could tell Gabriel was half asleep. He tugged his right arm gently and Gabriel let go of his ensnared wrist. Sam pushed an errant hair away from Gabriel's forehead and brushed his thumb across it. He left his fingers in Gabriel's hair.

"Love you," Sam mumbled.

"Mm." Gabriel hummed to return the sentiment, eyes closed.

Sam smiled down at him. He leaned forward to whisper into Gabriel's ear, "If I need anything, I'll call for you."

Gabriel didn't respond, already asleep.

Sam shook his head at him. He pushed himself from the bed, pocketed the keycard, and left, shutting the door behind him as quiet as he could. He made it a few steps down the hall towards the elevator before he realized the futility of such an action. He smiled at himself. Yeah, because a slamming door's gonna wake him up. He may as well be dead to the world. Hopefully, he wouldn't need Gabriel's help with Gadreel. Sam doubted the Archangel would be able to hear any prayers that were beamed directly into his unconscious head let alone hear the phone ringing from across the room.

The journey to the fifth floor was uneventful. The nameless faces that passed him in the halls and joined him on the elevator were none the wiser to Sam's intentions, his nerves, the practiced way he convinced himself that he wasn't nervous. Not at all. Confronting Gadreel was just business as usual. He could do this.

The Hilton's guests surely had no clue that sitting in Room 502 was an angel. A bonafide being of light and sound that had existed before time itself. They had no way of knowing that slathered all over that room's walls were occult-looking sigils, perhaps written in blood, perhaps in marker, but no less effective at caging and limiting a creature that could kill them with a thought, a snap of his fingers, and not even think twice about it. Ignorance was bliss, in the right scenarios.

I wonder if Gabriel or Cas remembered to put a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the door before they left him? Sam thought as he stepped out of the elevator. Then, it dawned on him. Shit. He sent a hurried text message to Dean, warning him of any possible mishaps regarding cleaning service, comatose angels, and an utterly decimated room.

When he pocketed his phone and looked up, he noticed that he'd missed his mark by about five doors. He took a deep breath, turned around, and retraced his steps.

What do you know? They did remember. Gotta give them more credit.

Sam stared down at the door's handle. Long seconds passed before he finally reached into his pocket, pulled out the keycard, and placed it into the door. He pushed the handle down and stepped into the room as if he owned it. His eye barely twitched at the feeling that raced across his shoulders and made his stomach drop the moment his eyes locked with Gadreel's. The sigils were made with marker, but that detail faded into the background, drowned out by the hyperactive focus Sam gave Gadreel.

Gadreel had been sitting on the edge of the bed, hunched over, elbows on his thighs, his head bowed and eyes closed. He'd looked like he was praying, his hands clasped before him. However, the first step Sam had taken into the room had been enough to draw Gadreel's attention from whatever meditation he'd been doing. He'd lifted his head calmly to greet his guest.

When their eyes had met, Gadreel gave no indication that he'd expected anyone other than Sam. No flinch, no gasp, nothing. He merely blinked and straightened his back, as he always did, and spoke.

"Hello, Sam."

Two little words that Sam was so used to hearing from many different sources and never said them the same way.

Sam didn't reply. He closed the door behind him as quietly as he had his and Gabriel's.

Gadreel glanced at it then refocused on Sam. His face remained carefully blank as Sam slowly walked towards a chair nearby.

"Why are you here, Sam?" Gadreel intoned.

Sam dragged the chair to rest in front of the door, across from Gadreel.

His silence was a tactic. He wanted Gadreel to squirm, to be unsure of his intentions. It was a petty sort of revenge, but it made Sam feel a little bit better.

The legs of the chair scraped loudly against the carpeted floor as he spun it around so that the back was facing Gadreel. Sam straddled it, long legs sticking out on either side, and casually placed his arms across the top. He stared at the angel.

Gadreel took in the way he was sitting but said nothing.

At length, Sam shrugged a shoulder at him, acting cool. "Why do you think I'm here?"

Gadreel's head tilted ever so slightly to the right. He studied Sam, blue-grey eyes barely moving as they dissected Sam's face. He was searching for a tell, even as Sam kept his expression expertly neutral.

"You want an apology?" Gadreel questioned, though he didn't seem certain it was the correct answer. "I have already said I'm sorry, that I-" The words hung in his throat. He composed himself. "That I made mistakes."

"Are you?" Sam wondered. "Sorry?"

Gadreel hesitated. A faint frown twitched across his face before he schooled his features. "Is that a threat?" He countered. "Are you next going to tell me that I should be sorry before you proceed to punish me? More so than your brother before you?" He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his thighs again. "Is this where I finally die, Sam Winchester? Locked in a room with no weapon to defend myself? Shall you be the one to play judge, jury, and executioner?"

Sam snorted and faced away from Gadreel with a smirk. It was the warehouse all over again, Gadreel bound to a chair, shouting in his face about shame and weakness. So, you're a one trick pony. Got it. Unlike last time, Sam wasn't going to fall for it. Though he wasn't against the idea, his fist wasn't going to be connecting with Gadreel's jaw this go around.

Sam adjusted himself in his chair, thought of another angle to approach the situation with. When he turned back to Gadreel, Sam appeared nonchalant.

"Why'd you do it?" He asked.

The question seemed to surprise Gadreel. He leant back to observe Sam, considered his words. He checked Sam from head to toe, as if that would clue him in on Sam's motives. "Do what?"

"All of it." Sam began. "You lied to me. You lied to Dean. You had Cas kicked out of the Bunker, after he'd just died. He'd died! You healed him and then you just had him tossed out into the streets to do it all over again! You killed Kevin! You-"

He hadn't meant to raise his voice, he hadn't meant to let the feelings he'd barely kept under the rug come through full-force, but they had, and he did. Because, truth of the matter was, he wasn't over it. And he was pissed.

"I did what I had to do," Gadreel bit, jaw muscles clenching.

And there was the excuse, the keywords being thrown around by everyone these days. Sam was guilty of using them, once. Hell, they all were. But that excuse didn't work here. Not for this.

"Did you?!" Sam snapped, wide-eyed. He motioned helplessly with his hands. "What the hell did you have to do that was so damn important that you had to fuck up all of our lives to do it?!" He pointed harshly at his chest, throat constricting with emotion. "I had to watch- I- I killed Kevin with my own hands because you made me, Gadreel! You did it! You killed him! He was an innocent kid, and now he's dead!" Sam blinked rapidly, tears threatening to spill out. He wouldn't let them.

He now pointed at Gadreel. "An innocent kid is dead because of you."

Gadreel sat back, stunned. Sam was surprised to see Gadreel's own eyes wet with emotion. Gadreel's gaze dropped to the floor. His eyes darted back and forth as he clenched his fists atop his thighs.

"I didn't- Killing Kevin was not something I wanted to do," Gadreel said, voice low and trembling.

"Then why did you?!" Sam demanded.

Furious and hurt, Gadreel's eyes lifted to burn into Sam's. "Because Dean wanted to cast me out!" He yelled. "He was going to silence me, convince you to eject me! Sam, you were not ready. You weren't healed. If he- If you had thrown me out, then your body would have fallen apart at the seams. You heard it from Vesta, did you not? I could not let that happen!"

"Why not?!" Sam pleaded. "I would have rather died than have you kill Kevin! Hell, I would have rather died than to let any of this happen! But you wouldn't let me! Dean wouldn't let me!"

"Is that not the problem?" Gadreel entreated.

Sam shook his head in disbelief. "What?"

Gadreel took a deep breath. "The only reason I came to your brother was because he needed help. I offered him my power, my loyalty, to do whatever it was he needed me to do. Because I needed help, and I had heard the name Dean Winchester before. I knew he… I knew he would be sympathetic to wanted angels."

"What, because of Cas?" Sam asked. Bits and pieces started to fall into place, memories and projected emotions. "So… So, what? You run to Dean to stay hidden from the other angels? Stay hidden in me! What the hell!"

"I did not know you were the reason I had been summoned." Gadreel fired back. "As I said, I had pledged my loyalty to Dean, thinking he needed protection, or something similar, but it turned out you were my mission, Sam. I was tasked by your brother to heal you. That was my one and only order."

"And, what, you did everything to accomplish that?" Sam accused. "Lying-"

"I did not want to lie to you, Sam, but Dean left me no choice." Gadreel steadied himself when he saw Sam about to interrupt. "I will admit that it was my idea, to get you to say yes to Dean so that I could possess you, but only after. After Dean inadvertently injured me to the point that I could not heal you normally. After-"

Sam scoffed. Yeah, right.

Gadreel tried to explain, "Holy fire. Angel warding. Combined with my injuries from the fall and the ones I later received from saving Dean from one of my brothers, the only option I had of saving you, of fulfilling my mission, was to heal you from the inside. I told Dean it was not a good way to do it, but it was the only way."

"Right. Of course it was."

"You never would have agreed to let me possess you."

"You don't know that."

Gadreel frowned as he regarded Sam. "Dean told me that under no conditions would you consider-"

"Did you ask?" Sam interrupted. At Gadreel's confused silence, he continued, "No, you didn't. You didn't even try." He smiled bitterly. "Gadreel, if you, or-or Dean, had just approached me, if you'd just told me the plan, instead of gaslighting me for months, I would have been okay with it." He shook his head. "I remember what I told Death. The only reason I was going to go with him was because I didn't want anyone else to get hurt because of me. I… If I were to die, I didn't want Dean throwing his life away, making another deal, just to get me back. Nothing ever comes of it. Just…" Gabriel's words echoed in his mind. "Blood and pain. But you didn't give me the choice."

Gadreel opened his mouth, struggled to find something to say, and soon gave up. He lowered his eyes once again, conceding to Sam's point.

"You can sit there and try and tell me that you did it all for your mission, to hold up your end of the deal with Dean, but the fact of the matter is that you made a choice. All it is is choices, Gadreel, and you fucked up nearly every one you were given. You never stopped to think, did you?"

Gadreel wouldn't look at him.

Sam huffed a laugh. He rubbed his hand across his mouth. "No. No, you did think. You just thought about yourself. You're selfish, Gadreel. You always have been. You say you're sorry, and you might mean it, but you're not sorry for the right reasons."

"And what are the right reasons?" Gadreel challenged.

"Because you hurt someone." Sam stared hard at the angel across from him.

He couldn't even completely comprehend he was having this conversation with an angel, a creature that had seen mankind come into creation-Creation-and the damn guy still couldn't understand the simplest concepts regarding it. Maybe the reason Gadreel was so messed up was because he'd been imprisoned for so long, or maybe it was because he was simply too angel to get being human, but, whatever the case, it was ridiculous.

It wasn't his job to make Gadreel see. God knew he didn't have the energy for it. But he would try. Because he'd be damned if he worked with the guy who'd hurt him, and so many others, only to sit back and watch him do it again to someone else out of ignorance.

"You hurt people, Gadreel. You've been hurt! Repeatedly! Why are you surprised that we're pissed at you for what you did? Why do you think you deserve our forgiveness after everything you've done? You didn't forgive Thadeus. You didn't forgive Gabriel.

"'I did what I had to do,' doesn't cut it, and you know it, Gadreel. It's not an excuse! Not for Kevin, not for-for...Abner, or the hundreds of other angels you've slaughtered. It sure as hell doesn't work for me!" Sam took a shaky breath. "Blood is on your hands, and you have to live with that. Do you get that?"

Gadreel didn't answer. He was confused, angry, afraid. He glared at the ground near Sam's feet, but he said not one word. He didn't apologize, he didn't try to stand up for himself, nothing. He merely listened and fumed.

Sam laughed, the hitch in his throat caused by a sob that nearly escaped. He shook his head and stood, pushed his chair away from him and back towards the table it came from. Fuck it. I can't do this. I can't.

It wasn't until he turned his back, felt the door handle under his palm, that he heard Gadreel move. The sound of jeans dragging across a rough comforter had never sounded so ominous before.

Sam gasped. He spun his head around too quickly and fell against the door. His eyes couldn't focus on his surroundings for an agonizing second, too overwhelmed by every thought that flashed through his mind in the blink of an eye.

His shoulder was against the door. He didn't have the right angle to defend himself. The door wouldn't open unless he pushed down on the handle. Would he have enough time to do that? He'd failed to bring an angel blade with him. There were no lamps haphazardly lying on the floor beside his head to save him this time.

However, after another heartbeat, Sam's panicked eyes locked with Gadreel's.

Gadreel had taken two steps towards him, but that's as far as he'd gone. His expression had changed. He was desperate, so very desperate, and Sam couldn't for the life of him figure out why.

"What do I do?" Gadreel implored, the question genuine.

Sam's eyelids flickered, and, suddenly, it wasn't Gadreel strapped to a chair in a warehouse that he saw. No, now it was Crowley staring back at Sam, laying bare all his sins, asking the question, "Where do I start to even look for forgiveness?"

The bone-deep sigh of relief Sam gave was involuntary. He still shook from adrenaline, but at least he could scratch dying off his to-do list for the day. For now.

Sam gathered his thoughts. Where do you start to even look for forgiveness? Where did I start? After Ruby. After Lucifer. After Purgatory. What would Sam Winchester do? As if Gadreel didn't already know.

Sam could see it on his face. Gadreel already had the answer to his question. Gabriel had given it to him back at Cas' hideout. All Gadreel was doing was asking for a chance, one small, impossible chance, that there was another way. Because to acknowledge what he had to do to make things right meant he'd have to own up and work to fix things. He had to try to do better. There were no easy fixes, no one to tell you the exact way to make it right.

Sam knew exactly how hard it was to come to terms with that.

He licked his lips. When in doubt, go with the classics. "Who let Lucifer out of his Cage?" He asked, voice cracking.

Those seven short words were all it took. Gadreel's face crumbled into nothing but helplessness. Hopelessness. A choked whimper escaped him.

Sam waited for an answer. Gadreel tried to give him one, mouth moving, but nothing could make it past the lump in his throat. Sam watched him break, and Sam couldn't find it in him to care. Let him break. Let him realize. It was the only way to learn.

"Who let Lucifer out of his Cage?" He repeated.

At length, Gadreel admitted, "You did."

"And who put him back in?"

Sam was surprised to see Gadreel's bottom lip quiver as he tried to hold himself straighter, to fake his strength as he always had. "You did."

Sam nodded. He looked away from Gadreel. Then, he pressed down on the door handle and went to leave. He was a stone's throw away from breaking himself, and like hell he was going to do that in front of Gadreel. The damn bastard had already made it clear once before what he'd thought of Sam's shame and weakness. He wasn't going to give Gadreel more ammo.

He made it one step out the door before Gadreel croaked, "Sam."

Sam stopped. He stopped and stupidly turned his head to look over his shoulder at Gadreel and let him say his peace.

Gadreel took a shuddering breath. His fists were clenched so tightly at his sides that his knuckles had turned white. His pitiful attempt to keep himself grounded.

"I was created for one purpose and one purpose only." His breath caught in his chest. "To protect humanity. To protect those who could not and would not protect themselves." His jaws clenched as he fought back his tears. "I failed the Garden. I failed because I thought I was saving them. But all I had done was throw them at the mercy of Lucifer. I… I thought myself innocent of his crimes. Even Gabriel-" Gadreel shook his head. "But I was wrong. And I failed you, Sam. And Kevin. That young man at the hunter's shop. I have failed so many because I put- I put my pride above my mission, let others sway me into being something I was never meant to be, and, for that, I am sorry."

Sam pinched his lips together.

"I am sorry, Sam Winchester." Gadreel insisted. "And I will do whatever is necessary to fix my mistakes. Whether that be by helping you and your brother, my brothers, take down Metatron and restore Heaven...or by my death. Do you understand?"

Sincerity and regret shone on Gadreel's face, clear as day, and Sam couldn't handle them. Not from him.

"Yeah," Sam squeaked. He tried to clear his throat. "Yeah, I think I kinda do." I have to get out of here.

Sam turned and rushed from the room. He jerked the door closed behind him and flinched at the loud slam that followed. Then, he took off down the hallway as fast as his feet could carry him. His vision blurred as the tears kept coming, despite his best efforts to blink them away. He knew his face was getting red. Soon, he'd be a spectacle, and that was the last thing he needed. I can't. I can't. The internal mantra carried him from the elevators, down to the first floor, and, ultimately, to the Impala.

He still had the keys from when he'd retrieved the holy oil earlier. With practised ease, he slid the key into the passenger-side door and practically fell onto the bench seat. He slammed the door shut, narrowly avoiding his legs, and then collapsed in on himself, face buried in his hands.

He sobbed. All of the frustration, the grief, the hatred, finally came out in one big, messy burst.

Though he loved Gabriel, and Dean, and Cas, he couldn't go to them. Not now. Because he didn't want cuddling, or "I'm here for you, Sammy," or even Castiel's forlorn stare of, "How do I help?" He didn't even want the retribution he knew they would enact on Gadreel simply for setting him off. What good would that do?

Sam cried until his head ached. He thanked his lucky stars that Dean had a nasty habit of constantly going out to eat, ordering to-go and taking as many napkins as he could with him. He kept them stuffed in the glove compartment and often forgot to remove them. They proved their worth. Their thanks? A shallow grave in the floorboard. I'll have to clean those out. Dean'll kill me otherwise. And ask questions. Probably think something dirty. No, scratch that, he will think something dirty. Ugh.

He lost track of time, willingly, as he rested his head against the back of his seat. Eyes closed, it was harder for the tears to continue their steady trek down his face.

He'd long worn himself out. Taking an honest to God nap in the Impala seemed as good an idea as any. By the time he'd wake up, all indication that he'd ever been emotionally compromised would be long gone.

He dozed. However, just as the calming sensation of sleep started to settle over him, the quick rapping of someone's knuckles on the window beside his head startled him out of that blissful state.

It's probably Dean. Great. Because I definitely want to have this conversation right now. He looked over.

"Wah!" Sam jumped.

It was not Dean. Dean didn't wear a grey suit or have long, dark hair. He certainly didn't have blue eyes that gave new meaning to the expression "piercing."

"Hannah," Sam squeaked. He tried to play it off like he hadn't sounded like his prepubescent self. "D'ya… D'ya mind? I'm kinda," he motioned to his red, drying face, "busy at the moment."

Hannah's disapproving frown intensified. "Let me in. We need to talk."

Yeah, sure, because that doesn't sound vaguely threatening. Still, Sam threw his hands into the air, opened the passenger-side door, and scooted across the bench seat to the driver's side.

Hannah climbed in after him, oddly mindful of the wadded up napkins at her feet. She shut the door and glanced around the front seat of the Impala. The glove compartment, the dashboard, the radio and its old-school cassette player. Her fascination was mild at best, and it reminded Sam a lot of Castiel, the way he handled books and other gadgets he knew of but had never physically come in contact with before.

"So," Sam drawled as he studied her. She didn't seem hostile. "What do you wanna talk about?"

His question snapped her out of her lazy inspection of the car. She faced him, her ill mood returning. "How is Castiel?"

"He's fine," Sam replied. However, Hannah's stare demanded more information. Sam sighed. "Alright, look. I don't know how much you know about what's going on with us, how much Cas has told you, but… We had to get rid of a curse, and it was a very powerful curse, and it took a lot out of Cas. He's healed up, he just needs to recharge. So, he's napping."

"What curse?"

Sam rolled his eyes. "Do you need to know that?"

"The celestial energy that blew out the window of your room was unlike anything I've ever felt before, and any angel within a mile's radius would've felt it. Human's memories I can wipe. Angels? Not quite. And if any of Metatron's forces are here?" Hannah shook her head. "So, yes, Sam, I would like to know what curse requires the attention of not just one angel but also an Archangel."

Great. And here I was worried about cleaning ladies. Sam bit at the inside of his lip. "Fine. Okay? Fine. You wanna know, fine. Just don't go blabbering to your entire flock, or garrison, or whatever you guys are calling it. Because we don't need that hassle."

Hannah nodded slowly, eyes downcast. When she looked back up, she replied, "Very well."

"Dean…" Sam licked his lips. "Dean has the Mark of Cain, okay?" He continued despite Hannah's growing look of horror. "Long story short, Abaddon's dead and the Mark's been taken care of, thanks to Gabriel. The end."



Hannah frowned at the dashboard. "We thought Abaddon dead with the other Knights of Hell."

"Yeah, well, Cain missed one."

Hannah faced him again. She picked his face apart as she tried to piece together the facts. Sam wondered what intel Heaven had on that whole situation, what conclusions Hannah was drawing. Whatever they were, she decided to drop that line of conversation and began another, one she was no doubt more interested in.

She accused, "You acquired holy oil from the trunk of this car, earlier."

"You could tell that was holy oil? You watched me?"

"It comes in a very distinctive jar and has a very distinctive smell. And, yes, I observed you. I meant to guard the place in the event any enemy forces decided to investigate the blast from earlier. Instead, I found you being somewhat suspicious. With holy oil."

"Ah," Sam nodded. "Well, we didn't toast Cas with it. I used it to get rid of the First Blade."

Hannah's brow furrowed. "The First Blade? I've heard rumors of it. I'm surprised something like holy fire could do away with it."

"It's just a bone," Sam parroted Gabriel.

"Physically," Hannah confirmed. She faced the window. "It's said to be able to curse the souls it comes in contact with."

"Yeah. Gabriel told us about Abel."

They fell silent. Hannah continued to peer up at the hotel. Sam continued to watch her. He still wasn't sure why she'd felt the need to talk to him, why it was pertinent that she do so right then and there. Was she just worried about Cas? If so, why's she still here? She's got the answer she was looking for. What's her angle? Does she even have one?

He was about to ask her if she wanted anything else when she spoke again. "The angels back at headquarters told me that Gadreel had come to us, to Castiel, and that he'd sworn allegiance to our cause, turned his back against Metatron. I found it hard to believe. But he's here, isn't he?" She turned her head and stared at Sam.

"Uh," Sam hesitated.

He didn't know what answer to give. The truth could jeopardize Gadreel's safety. Dean didn't even know Gadreel was in their backyard, literally over their heads. I should tell him about that, now that he's not hopped up on Darkness juice. If Sam told Hannah, she could tell the others back at Castiel's base. They could tell the mole. However, if he lied…

"I figured as much," Hannah stated, interrupting his train of thought.

"I…" Sam stuttered. "I didn't say anything."

"Because you were looking for a way to lie, meaning that the truth must be that he's here." She sounded so matter-of-fact that Sam wasn't even offended to be called out on his slip-up.

Still, he had to ask, "What made you think he was here?"

"There are two rooms in the hotel that are warded against angels...and humans. Yet, I can sense Gabriel, meaning he's not in either of the rooms. Castiel is in the warded room that I fixed. Who else would be in the remaining one? I was told that Gadreel left with them."

"Wow," Sam muttered. "I'm...actually pretty impressed right now. And a little worried. Because, if you can tell rooms are warded…"

"Then any other angel that glances at this particular building may wonder why it's protected?" She shrugged, the movement stiff, as if she hadn't done it often in her vessel. "At least they'll only wonder who's being protected, instead of immediately sensing Heaven's most wanted."

"Maybe you're right."

"Gadreel killed my brothers and sisters." Her admission was so abrupt that it caused Sam to raise his brows in question. She didn't notice. "He tried to kill me." She sighed deeply, lost in her memories. "I understand that this is war and that allegiances can shift. We follow whoever's strongest, or who has our best interests in mind. But…" Sam understood now what room she was checking. "I don't like him. I don't trust him."

Sam huffed a quiet, sympathetic laugh. "Yeah, uh. I kinda think we're in the same boat."

"We're not in a boat."

Sam stared at the back of her head. The reason Castiel hung out with her finally hit him. When some angels call each other siblings, they really mean it. Like two peas in a pod.

"Right," Sam agreed. "We're in a car," he joked. "Y'know, for being an angel buddy of Cas', I kinda expected you to be more like that Benjamin guy. Especially after your threat over the phone."

Hannah gave him an apologetic, embarrassed smile. "Benjamin's more...territorial than I am. He's very devoted to Castiel, but sometimes it comes across as…"

"Creepily overbearing and stalkerish?"

"To put it bluntly."

The conversation lulled again. The silence between them seemed companionable enough. Which was weird, considering it was the first time they'd truly met one another. Though, Hannah didn't seem all that bad. Protective, but not too volatile. Her energy read like Cas' from when Sam had first met him, calm but with a sense of otherness that Sam could never quite explain.

His attention fell to the napkins scattered around Hannah's feet. Thanks to their little chat, he didn't feel so tired anymore. No nap was in his foreseeable future. Though, with the sun setting, simply passing out on the bed beside Gabriel seemed just as good, if not better. At least in bed he would be warm and comfortable and Gabriel would be there. The Impala, though he loved and appreciated it, was lacking in those departments.

With ulterior motive, Sam asked, "There anything else you need? I mean, I have to go and talk to Dean about something." And you're still sitting in our car.

Hannah fidgeted in her seat. "Um. Yes, actually, now that you mention it." She straightened her back. "I had planned to remain here, to help Castiel with whatever he needed. However, with him recovering, your assurance that everything's fine, and the angel-warding, I feel that my time here is wasted. Furthermore, Gabriel's here. He can no doubt take care of any stragglers that might wander this way." She seemed reluctant to admit, "I'd probably be more useful back at base, gathering intel I can pass onto Castiel later."

"Sounds like a plan."

"Castiel drove me here."


"I don't want to leave him stranded by taking his vehicle. And… I've never driven it before."

"Oh." His brain kicked in. "Oh! Right. You leave and he's stuck either waiting on us to chauffer him around or walking."

"Exactly. I think I just said that?"

"No, no, you did, I-" Sam cleared his throat. He stuck his hand in his pocket to get the keys. "You want me to take you home, then? Er, to headquarters?"

"If it's not too much trouble."

"No, it's fine. I had nothing better to do, anyway," he lied. He stuck the key in the ignition and turned it. The Impala's engine came to life and then fell into its signature, hypnotic purr. "Lemme just text Dean and tell him what I'm doing."

Sam pulled out his phone from his other pocket and did just that. Because Sam knew exactly how Dean reacted when the Impala was suddenly not where he'd left it. It wasn't pretty. And neither would be Dean's wrath, Mark of Cain or no.

"Thank you," Hannah mumbled, her gratitude sincere. While Sam waited for an answer from Dean, Hannah continued, "I… I may have misjudged you. Before. 'Winchester' is a name known well in Heaven, and not for good reasons. But, I think I'm starting to understand why you and your brother are so hated by angels."

Sam slowly looked away from his phone to give her an uncomfortable look. "Um. Thanks?"

"It's a compliment," she clarified with a small smile. "You've influenced Castiel, changed him. Others see that as weakness, that a human could make an angel consistently disobey Heaven. Yet… He's the only one of us still remaining that's trying not only to pacify our ranks but also keep humans out of our fights. He wants no more bloodshed. It's a noble, if idealized, desire. It's why those of us who do so follow him, regardless of his involvement in past transgressions against Heaven." Cheekily, she finished, "It's as good a reason as any to be hated."

Sam considered her as his phone vibrated twice against his limp hands.

Having Heaven gun for him and his brother had never felt good. Before actually encountering angels, Sam had always held a favorable view of them. They were saviors, protectors, messengers, the normal hogwash that Sunday schools everywhere preached. The belief I used to help mold a tulpa into one. But then he'd met Uriel. Zachariah. Even Anna, in the end. Angels, as a whole, often were the dicks with wings Dean claimed them to be. Orders above everything. Heaven ruled supreme, despite who had to be crushed under heel to maintain the status quo.

However, Castiel was different. As was Gabriel. Though, it was Castiel Sam had been around the longest, Castiel the one that he'd seen struggle with doing the right thing, dying for it, only to start the whole process over again. And again. He wouldn't go so far as to say Cas' moral compass came entirely from them, but he could see why Hannah, or any angel, might come to think so. After all, the angels believed free will wasn't something they possessed, because it'd been denied them for so long. The idea that any of them could think like Castiel without outsider interference probably didn't seem logical at all.

Sam smiled, a brief twitch of his lips, and looked down at his phone.

If you wreck Baby, it'll be the last thing you ever do, Dean's text warned. The next message read, I mean it, Sammy. Some asshole T-bones you and you kick the bucket? I'll drag you back and kill you again. You know how I am.

Sam's smile this time was more genuine, mixed with a side of mischief. He pocketed his phone and then pressed on the brake, moving his hand up to put the car into reverse. Sometimes I think he forgets I used to own Baby. After he let Meg crash her into a sign.

It was dark by the time Sam got back to the hotel. He'd dropped Hannah off without incident. She'd thanked him for his generosity, told him she'd keep in touch with Castiel, said something about how their combined efforts should make the hunt for Metatron that much easier, and then disappeared into the not-as-abandoned power station that served as their secret headquarters.

Now, he stood in front of Dean's door, staring at it as he tried to gather his thoughts.

He had to tell him about Gadreel. He had to. Gabriel wasn't going to do it, because Gabriel didn't want to hear Dean's mouth. Cas wasn't going to do it, because Cas didn't want to upset Dean or make him worried. Sam? He didn't want any of it. But he deserves to know, and we're not supposed to be keeping secrets anymore. ...Even if we're still struggling with that. He sighed and knocked on the door.

When no one said anything and he heard no movement from inside the room, Sam rolled his eyes. "Dean, it's me. Open up."

Then he heard movement. The sound of footsteps grew closer before the door opened to reveal his annoyed brother.

"You could've texted to say you were coming, y'know," he griped. He held the door open for Sam to enter. "Or called. Anything."

"Your car's fine, Dean."

"Oh, good. That's great. Not the only reason I was worried."

He walked across the room, back towards the chair he'd claimed earlier in the day. The room was still as destroyed as ever, though it appeared an attempt had been made to clean up the loose shards of glass. Gabriel's jacket has joined the shards in the small trash can the hotel provided. I'll pretend I didn't see that. The paintings had been shoved into a corner of the room. A quick peek around the corner to his left, and Sam spotted a similar cleaning job had happened in the bathroom. I know what Dean did to keep from losing it.

"You chaperoned Hannah, Sam. Hannah. The angel that threatened to punish us if we hurt Cas? Sue me if I had some doubts on just how that car ride was gonna go."

Sam nodded. He took a careful look at Cas. The poor guy was still laid out on the bed, asleep. Or unconscious. What's the difference? Despite everything he'd been through, he seemed quite peaceful, his face relaxed as he slumbered. The time Cas had nearly Fallen during the Apocalypse immediately came to mind.

The comparison worried Sam. He didn't want Cas to suffer. He didn't want him to die.

"Hannah's fine," Sam replied. He looked around for the other chair. It'd been pushed back under the table. He went for it. "We talked."

"About what?" Dean's gruff tone indicated that he didn't care.

"Angels." Sam brought his chair over to Dean's and sat down beside him.

"How original."

Sam rubbed his hands together. Now or never. "I need to tell you something."

"Lemme guess: You're pregnant."

Sam snorted. A cocky grin spread across his face. "Well, we don't use condoms."

"O-kay," Dean interrupted. "That was entirely too much information. Forget I said anything. That- Nope."

Sam's lingering smirk slowly slid from his face. "No, I, uh…" His eyes fell to a spot on the floor. "I talked to Gadreel."

A beat passed before Dean demanded, "When?"

"About two hours ago. Give or take." He didn't wait for Dean to interject. Not this time. "Talked to him about Kevin and… And me. Mostly me." He shrugged. "He apologized. Again. This time, I think he meant it."

Dean scoffed. "Sam, please don't tell me you're forgivin' the guy. Please-"

"No! No. Trust me, that's not what this is about. I just… I had to get some things off my chest. And he let me." He twitched his head to the side. "He got a few things off his chest, too. And, I think… I think he's actually gonna be on our side this time. I honestly think he's starting to see where he screwed up."

"A little late for that," Dean replied, angry. Sam didn't disagree. "Finally seeing the light's not gonna bring Kevin back, or undo what he did to you, to us, to the angels!"

"I know. I told him that."

"Well… Good." Dean sighed. He rubbed at his mouth and faced Cas. He admitted, "I still wanna gank that sonuvabitch."

"He'd probably let you."

"And don't think that doesn't piss me off more."

After a moment, Sam told him, "He's on the fifth floor."

Ever so slowly, Dean faced him. His stare was carefully blank, as if the slightest thing would set him off. "What?"

"Yeah. Gabe and Cas couldn't figure out where to put him, so they figured to keep our enemies close. He's been here since yesterday. Gabriel didn't tell me until last night. With everything that's happened so far, I just now got around to telling you."

"Oh, great." Dean snarked. "Great. Cas is down for the count, your boyfriend's a secretive asshole, and our favorite turncoat is havin' some R&R over our heads as we speak. Sam, I don't need to tell you just how on edge I am right now. And that's not even mentioning the Darkness, or-or God's… Godness!"

"I know." It's not like I'm having a good time of it, either.

As if hearing his thoughts, Dean's expression shifted. Gone was the grumpy bitterness and in its place was horrified concern.

"Sam," Dean warned. "Sam, don't tell me you went and met Gadreel." So, Sam didn't. "Goddammit, Sam!" After Sam shrugged, Dean stressed, "You know what he-! Scratch that. You do know what he could do to you. Why?"

"Because I needed closure."

His answer shut Dean's mouth real quick. With a deep breath, he looked away from Sam, putting all of his focus on Castiel.

Sam let him back away from the conversation. He was growing tired of it, too. Tired of opening old wounds, ones that hadn't really healed right in the first place. He might have let himself grieve earlier, but that didn't mean the feelings were gone. Instead, they hid, buried beneath the surface. I'll be glad when they burrow deep enough to smother.

Taking pity on Dean, Sam jerked his chin towards Cas. "How's he doin'?"

The breath of air Dean let out was one-hundred percent relief. "He's doin,'" Dean replied. "He tried to stay awake after you guys left, but the poor guy couldn't keep his eyes open." He paused, upset. "I dunno, man. One minute, I think, hey, he's sleeping. That means he's healin', right? The next, I'm afraid… I'm afraid he won't wake up, y'know?"

The sudden crack in Dean's voice hurt to hear. "I'm sure he will," Sam offered. "Gabriel wouldn't have left him if he'd thought Cas was in danger of not pulling through."

"Maybe he'll pull through, now," Dean complained. "But what about next time? Or the time after that?" His worried eyes asked Sam for answers. "Dammit, Sam, his grace is failing. Gabriel told him not to do anything involving grand displays of power or healing, and he did both." His lips twitched. "And I'm the one who called him here."


"And I'm the one who let Gadreel in. And I'm the one who-"


Dean shut up, but not because he was done beating himself up. He had more he wanted to say, clawing at his insides, but the lump in his throat wouldn't let him. Sam knew. He knew better than anyone.

"He'll be fine," Sam stressed. "Because we're gonna find his grace, his real grace, and he's going to get better. Hannah and the angels are still looking for Metatron. Gadreel said he'd help us, and he knows all about what Metatron's doing. Dean, look at me." When Dean finally tore his gaze away from Castiel, Sam promised, "The end's in sight, Dean. We just have to get there."

Dean didn't seem so convinced. "Yeah. Yeah, maybe you're right. God, I hope you're right."

Sam patted him on the shoulder and then stood up.

"Where're you going?"

"To return to my boyfriend." He looked down at Dean and gave him a gentle smile. "When I left him, he was kinda in the same state Cas is. Wanna make sure he's doing alright. And also sleep. I really wanna sleep."

Dean huffed. The return of his grouchy attitude gave Sam hope that he wouldn't dwell on his depressing thoughts too much longer. Hopefully, he'll go back to cleaning. Take his mind off things that aren't the best way to dispose of the gallons of glass left behind by the shower.

"Fine. Be that way," Dean attempted at a joke. He frowned. "At least you got a bed to sleep in."

Sam smirked. "You have a bed."

"Ha ha ha."

"I'm sure Cas wouldn't mind." Sam continued to tease. "Sleeping next to him would probably be less creepy than watching him sleep through the entire night."

"Dude, c'mon." He glared at Sam and shooed him away. "Run along and go play Brokeback Mountain, or something."

"Right." He dragged the chair behind him and placed it where he'd found it. As he left the room, he called over his shoulder, "Have fun being Edward!"

"Shut up, bitch!" Dean yelled after him.

"Jerk!" Sam fired back just before he closed the door behind him.

The grin he wore became a smile. As he walked down the hallway to his own room, it disappeared entirely. None of it was funny. Cas. Gadreel. But how they coped was how they coped. If it gets us through the night, what does it matter?

As quietly as he could, he slid the keycard into the lock on the door and pushed his way into his and Gabriel's room. One quick look at Gabriel confirmed that he was, indeed, still snoozing away on the bed. He'd rolled over onto his left side, facing away from Sam, but that was the only hint that Gabriel had moved at all while Sam had been gone.

Sam shut the door with a soft click and walked over to the bed. He flung the keycard down onto nightstand, turned, and sat down. He brought his foot up and began untying his shoe.

"Happy to see you're not fingerpaint."

"Geh!" Sam jumped at the sudden sound of Gabriel's voice. He plopped his foot on the ground and dropped his face into his hands as he felt Gabriel stir behind him. "Can you not give me a heart attack, please?" He complained, voice muffled by his palms.

"Tit for tat, Sam," Gabriel replied. The bed dipped as he moved to sit behind Sam. He wrapped his arms around Sam's stomach and placed his chin on Sam's shoulder. "Think of it as payback for making me worry the entire time you were gone."

"Oh, you were worried were you?" Sam questioned. Again, he tried to untie his shoes. The process was made difficult by Gabriel's reluctance to let go of him.


Sam was momentarily distracted by the vibration of Gabriel's hum against his back. He recovered and slid his right shoe off. On to the left. "Really? I find that hard to believe, considering how unconscious you were when I left earlier."

"Sam," Gabriel whined. "I'm an angel. My mind is much more complicated than yours." Sam's other shoe hit the floor. "I can let my body rest while my imagination supplies me with every conceivable way you could meet your untimely demise at the hands of an unstable, murderous angel."

Sam twisted in Gabriel's hold to look down at him. His eyes nearly crossed just to focus on Gabriel's. He was entirely too close. Not that I'm complaining. "You're cute when you're being passive-aggressive and protective of me," he needled.

"You're cute when you're breathing," Gabriel countered.

Sam chuckled. "Doesn't take much to impress you, does it?" He smiled.

"Mm, not really, no."

Sam's gaze fell to Gabriel's lips.

Gabriel caught the look, but still he asked, "You okay?"

"I will be."

It wasn't a lie. When everything was said and done, when all of the angels were back in Heaven, when Metatron was taken care of, when Castiel had his grace back, when he never had to see or hear of Gadreel again, Sam would be good. He'd be golden. For now? I'll settle for good enough.

He closed the short distance between them and captured Gabriel's lips between his own. He shut his eyes as he nipped and sucked on them. His right hand wrapped around Gabriel's wrist when Gabriel's hand slid down his stomach to grip tightly at the top of his jeans.

He slid down and fell back against Gabriel as he lost himself in Gabriel's warmth, the taste of his mouth. His head on Gabriel's shoulder, he let the other take the lead. He moaned when Gabriel let go of his pants and gripped his face, gave him a deep, possessive kiss. He whined when Gabriel pulled away.

Sam opened his eyes to stare at him. The lust he saw in Gabriel's burning, whiskey-colored eyes, lust that mirrored his own, went straight to his dick.

Sam's breath hitched. He wanted nothing more than to reclaim Gabriel's mouth, but Gabriel kept Sam's head still and away from its goal. Sam's brow twitched in frustration.

"What?" Sam breathed. He didn't understand why Gabriel had stopped. Then, a particular thought broke through his dazed mind. The fact he hadn't thought of it sooner almost killed the mood. Almost. "Are you good?" He questioned.

A devious smirk pulled at Gabriel's lips. It made Sam's pulse quicken in anticipation. "Physically? I am very good." He placed his forehead against Sam's. His breath ghosted over Sam's parted, kiss-swollen lips. "Morally? Not so much." He nudged Sam's nose with his own. "And I…"

He stroked Sam's cheek with his thumb as he regarded him appreciatively. Then, he slid his hand back down Sam's chest, over his stomach, and slipped it easily into Sam's boxer briefs. His hand wrapped gingerly around Sam's hardening cock.

Sam moaned, back arching as closed his eyes and tried to press himself into Gabriel's hand. The angle wasn't right. His jeans restricted them. He whined his annoyance as his eyes fluttered open and managed to find Gabriel's again.

"I," Gabriel grinned at him, "am going to unwrap you from this damn flannel shirt," his left hand, the one still wrapped around Sam's waist, clenched and tugged at the material, "get rid of the t-shirt under that, and practically rip the pants off o' you."

Said pants were suddenly not buttoned or zipped, much to Sam's relief. Gabriel adjusted his hold, dragging his hand teasingly slow up Sam's shaft, coaxing it up towards Sam's stomach.

Sam gasped at the friction. His hips bucked. His attention was momentarily torn between the heat around his dick and Gabriel's mouth sucking at his neck, teeth grazing against muscle. Such division didn't last long, as Gabriel pulled away to whisper in his ear, his hand never slowing its methodical work.

"And I, Sam, am going to make you beg."

"Fuck," Sam groaned at the heat that spread through him at the edge in Gabriel's voice. His left hand grasped at the mattress beneath him as his right joined Gabriel's, long fingers covering the ones already working him, wordlessly guiding and commanding them not to stop.

Sam turned his head, seeking Gabriel's kisses, the ones that made him forget everything while he was devoured. And he was rewarded with them, Gabriel's arm tightening around his abdomen as he supported Sam. Sam moaned into his mouth when Gabriel's thumb purposefully dragged across the head of his cock, trailing precum with it. The aroused growl Gabriel gave in return made him shudder.

Fuck it. As much as he loved the hand job Gabriel was working on, he wanted more. Now.

This wasn't like the first time they'd had sex, when they'd taken it slow and loving. It wasn't last night, when they'd been teasing and playful. No, this was desire, frustration, release. Relief. He wanted Gabriel. Gabriel wanted him. To hell with anything else.

Sam pulled Gabriel's hand away from his cock, forced his lips from the others, and spun around with the goal of pinning Gabriel to the bed.

But Gabriel had other ideas. He grabbed hold of Sam's biceps and spun him around, pinned him. He straddled Sam and mouthed at his jaw, his neck. One hand kept Sam's wrists in place over his head as the other worked its way down Sam's chest, undoing every button his fingers came across.

Sam tested Gabriel's hold on him. The hand on his wrists tightened, commanding him to stay put. Sam's eyes fluttered as he rolled his hips against the weight on top of him. He liked giving Gabriel control.

When Gabriel nuzzled at Sam's neck, Sam obeyed his silent instruction and tilted his head back. Gabriel sucked bruising kisses along it as he slid his hand under Sam's t-shirt. His fingers danced over Sam's abs and came to rest on his ribs.

Sam wished they would go higher.

Gabriel moved further up his body, nipped at his earlobe. He whispered, "Get up."

Gabriel had barely enough time to sit back on Sam's thighs before Sam charged forward, hands now free to comb through Gabriel's hair, grab hold of his head and refuse to let him go as he kissed him heatedly. The feel of Gabriel's teeth on his bottom lip, the sounds of their gasping breaths, drove him wild.

Gabriel pushed Sam's arm's down, forcing his hands away from his face, and grabbed at Sam's flannel shirt. It took some cooperative effort on their part, but the offending article of clothing was soon tossed haphazardly over Gabriel's shoulder. Sam didn't need help to remove his t-shirt. It joined its brethren on the floor alongside Sam's shoes.

Sam attacked Gabriel's shirt, more buttons finding themselves torn from the fabric rather than properly undone. His frantic behavior brought that impish smirk back to Gabriel's face. He leaned forward and placed his forehead against Sam's while Sam furiously began to push the shirt over Gabriel's shoulders.

"I need that," Gabriel chastised, amused.

"You can fix it later," Sam panted.

He pressed an open-mouthed kiss to Gabriel's collar bone, earning a pleased hum, as he attempted to free Gabriel's wrists from his stupid shirt's cuffs. He trailed his lips downward, kissed the center of Gabriel's chest, sucked at the scar below it.

Gabriel groaned. His hips jerked. The sound of ripping fabric distracted Sam, and then Gabriel had his hands in Sam's hair, pulling his head back so he could lick his way inside Sam's mouth. He moaned his consent when Sam's hands fiddled with the front of his slacks, trying to figure out how to get them undone.

Disrobing the old-fashioned way was hot, but it had its fair share of challenges.

Yet, Sam persisted. The heat of Gabriel's dick against the back of his knuckles was all the incentive he needed. Soon, the infernal slacks were undone, and Sam's hand found its prize.

Gabriel broke their kiss, a shuddering gasp falling on Sam's lips, as he bucked into Sam's hand. He stared into Sam's eyes, control momentarily lost.

He let Sam jerk him off, allowed himself to get lost in the sensation of Sam's warm palm moving against his shaft, pulling and pushing his foreskin over the head of his dick. His fingers dug into Sam's shoulders. He pressed his forehead against Sam's and never once broke eye contact. The grunts and mewls he gave in between pants were music to Sam's ears.

Gabriel's demeanor changed. His eyes hardened, determination burning through at Sam, and he pulled away.

Sam's body tried to follow his. He wanted to pull Gabriel back. But Gabriel wouldn't let him. He gently brushed Sam away and then not-so-gently tugged at Sam's waistband, still open and showing off Sam's sizeable bulge, a wet spot having long formed on his dark boxer-briefs.

"Pants. Off," Gabriel ordered. He moved backward off the bed and made quick work getting rid of his slacks.

Sam made a valiant effort to push his underwear and pants down his legs, but he only managed to get them halfway down his ass before he was pleasantly distracted by Gabriel's cock. He'd lovingly made fun of it the first time he'd seen it, but he honestly did love it. Most likely because it's attached to Gabriel. ...Most definitely because it's attached to Gabriel.

"Not that I don't admire the attention, Sam," Gabriel interrupted his ogling. He grabbed hold of Sam's pants legs and yanked. "But I said I wanted these off."

The force Gabriel used and the stubbornness of his jeans pulled Sam nearly to the edge of the bed. The sudden motion startled a laugh out of him. He grinned and helped Gabriel pull his underwear the rest of the way off. "Well, you did say you were gonna pull my pants offa me." He leaned forward to peck at Gabriel's lips. "I just wanted to see you do it."

Gabriel hummed. "Sure ya did." He mirrored Sam's kiss and then patted his thigh. "Spin your legs around. Unless you want your head hanging over the other side?"

Sam was pretty sure that the king-sized bed they were on was more than wide enough to accommodate them the way they were facing, but he humored Gabriel anyway. He repositioned himself and Gabriel climbed back onto the bed. He hovered over Sam, kissed him gently, and then more passionately.

Gabriel pressed into his space, guided him down, and then settled on top of him. His arms slid under Sam as he moved his head to mouth at Sam's jaw, his ear, his neck. He rolled his hips against Sam's, their dicks rubbing against one another. They both groaned in pleasure.

Sam turned his head, sought Gabriel's mouth. His hands trailed down Gabriel's back, came to rest on his ass, and squeezed, earning a surprised but no less interested noise from Gabriel. Getting the hint, Gabriel continued to grind against him.

Gabriel's hands moved down Sam's back and around his sides. He dug his fingers into Sam's hips, licking at the inside of Sam's mouth. His thrusts steadily grew faster as Sam urged him on.

Pleased with the speed Gabriel was going, Sam slid his hands up to claw at the space between Gabriel's shoulder blades. He moaned and shuddered when Gabriel bit too hard on his bottom lip. He panted when Gabriel let go of it with a choked sound, his hips stuttering against Sam's. The sight of him, the feel of his nails digging into his hipbones in ecstasy, had Sam's blood boiling.

Sam decided to go easy on Gabriel, no longer scratching but caressing the soft flesh he knew he'd marked. Gabriel dropped his head onto Sam's shoulder, trying to catch his breath. Sam grinned, equally breathless, as he asked, "Is this where you make me beg?"

"Oh, you have no idea," Gabriel huffed against his skin. He lifted himself from Sam, gave him an aroused glare, and then moved backwards down the bed.

Sam watched, cock twitching, as Gabriel settled between his legs. His pulse quickened at the light kisses Gabriel placed along his inner thigh. He kept his gaze locked with Gabriel's, even as Gabriel licked a line up the underside of his dick.

It was when Gabriel wrapped his mouth around him that Sam lost it, a guttural moan forcing its way out of him as his back arched from the mattress and his fingers wound into Gabriel's hair. He panted towards the ceiling, each wet slide of Gabriel's tongue and lips making him squirm. His world narrowed to the heat between his legs, the thick hair and warm scalp under his palms.

His breath caught when a slick finger brushed against his hole. He twitched and fluttered his eyes open, not entirely sure when he'd closed them. He looked down, caught Gabriel's mischievous stare.

Gabriel pulled off of Sam's dick, spit and precum trailing from his lips. Holy shit, that's hot. He tilted his head to mouth at Sam's flushed shaft. His right hand came up to stroke him, already slick with lube. Don't know when he did that. Don't care.

"Ah, fuck, Gabriel," Sam breathed. His practically ripped his hands from Gabriel's head to claw at the sheets under him as Gabriel's finger pushed its way inside him. "Nnh, Gabe! Ah!"

"Hm?" Gabriel questioned, feigning innocence. He quickened his strokes, sliding his finger even further into Sam. "What was that, Sam?" His breath against Sam's dick was torture.

"Fuck." He shivered. Gabriel started stretching him in earnest. Somehow, between all the different, wonderful sensations he was experiencing, he remembered the answer Gabriel was looking for. "Please. Please, Gabe."

"Please, what?"

Gabriel's pace was too quick. Sam was fast approaching the edge. "Dammit, Gabe, fu-uck me. Please! You asshole, just-ah!-fuck me!"

"But you're not ready."

The sing-song tone Gabriel replied with made Sam growl in frustration. The sheets bunched up in his fists as his hips bucked into Gabriel's hand. He wasn't going to make it. Goddammit, Gabe, I'm not-

Gabriel's hand wrapped tightly around the base of his shaft. Sam cried out, his orgasm denied him. He whimpered and shook as he came down, still obscenely aroused but no longer to the point of bursting. He glared at Gabriel.

"You dick," he hissed.

Gabriel smirked at him and resumed stretching him open, merrily placing a second finger next to the first. The hand wrapped around Sam's cock, however, remained where it was. And it was a good thing, too, for the pleasant, enticing burn of Gabriel opening him was quickly rushing him towards the edge again.

Sam slammed his head back against the bed and covered his eyes with his arm. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been teased like this, and it wasn't an unpleasant experience, but, dammit, if he didn't want Gabriel to hurry up and get the show on the road.

Gabriel fingers fell into a rhythm, and Sam began to match it, pressing himself down onto Gabriel's thrusts. It wasn't long before he removed his arm from his face, seeking out Gabriel's gaze.

Gabriel was still staring down at him, though his smirk had evened out to a fond smile. He bent back down to kiss the head of Sam's dick, the shaft. He placed open-mouthed kisses along Sam's hip bones, his stomach, dipped his tongue into Sam's navel. Each one was a silent apology and a promise to make it up to him.

Sam sighed, let his head fall back, and raked his fingers through Gabriel's hair. He gasped and twitched when Gabriel pulled his fingers from him.

Sam looked down at him, watched him pick up the elusive bottle of lube that had most definitely appeared out of nowhere. Hunh. Not flavored this time. His lust-blown eyes stared at Gabriel's cock as Gabriel lubed himself up. They jumped up to Gabriel's face when he heard him moan at the contact. He hasn't touched himself this whole time, Sam realized.

Gabriel shuddered, brows knitted, before he stopped stroking himself. He climbed over Sam, lowered himself to kiss him. His tongue brushed against Sam's, languid and sensual, a far cry from earlier hurried, demanding kisses. His lips left Sam's with a quiet, wet smack.

Gabriel's eyes asked for permission.

"Please," Sam whispered.

Gabriel smiled at him. He placed a kiss against Sam's brow in an overt display of love and affection. The gesture was in sharp contrast to the everything that had come before. Sam closed his eyes against it, a little confused over the shift in Gabriel, but his thoughts quickly returned to the moment when he felt Gabriel's dick press into him.

He inhaled sharply, eyes snapping open, as Gabriel continued to push forward. Sam kissed him for what felt like the hundredth time that night, hands traveling to Gabriel's back. He stroked up and down it, to feel him and urge him to go faster. When Gabriel wouldn't give him what he wanted, what he needed, Sam expertly dug his fingers into the spot that he knew drove Gabriel wild.

Gabriel gasped into his mouth, hips slamming into him until he bottomed out. Sam grunted at the sudden thrust, his ensnared cock twitching in Gabriel's hold, but adjusted easily enough.

Gabriel broke their kiss. "Sam," he warned.

"Keep going."

Gabriel studied him. When he seemed sure, he did as Sam asked.

Gabriel rolled his hips in slow, shallow thrusts, their moans and breaths mixing with each other. Sam adjusted himself, allowing Gabriel a better angle, and then tried to match Gabriel with his own rocking. It took them a moment to find the rhythm, Sam too overwhelmed by the feeling of fullness and having been so close to orgasm for so long, but they found it. When they did, Gabriel finally released the base of Sam's cock.

Sam sighed in relief. He mewled when Gabriel's hand wrapped around his dick and began to stroke him, timing it with his thrusts.

"Gabe," Sam breathed. A twist of Gabriel's wrist made him quiver. "Nnh! Gabe, I'm close. Don't-" Don't do that. Don't stop. Don't- Fuck, I'd wanted this to last.

Gabriel chuckled, voice thick. He picked up the pace. "Oh, you're-ha!-you're close? Try watching you writhe in bliss for aaa-while. Fuck!"

Gabriel's hips rocked into him harder than usual. He buried his face into Sam's neck and didn't stop. He was steadily losing himself, and Sam was more than happy to let him.

Sam wrapped his arms around Gabriel, clung to him as Gabriel pounded into him. He bit at Gabriel's shoulder, not hard, just enough to stop himself from crying out as much as he wanted to. Still, the sounds he did make threw off the rhythm of Gabriel's hand, his hips stuttered.

"Close… Close your eyes," Gabriel panted into his ear.

"What?" Sam questioned, lips brushing across Gabriel's skin.

Gabriel lifted himself to free his right arm and covered Sam's eyes with his hand. His left never stopped stroking him. "Close your eyes," Gabriel repeated.

Confused, Sam obeyed. Gabriel shifted his hips. His next thrust struck Sam's prostate, forcing a strangled yell from him. Gabriel didn't let up.

"Gabe. Gabe. Fuck. Gabe!" Sam cried as he desperately grabbed at Gabriel, legs twitching, unable to make up their minds what they wanted to do.

From the hand over his eyes, Sam felt a familiar warmth. Not skin. Not the blood pumping through Gabriel's veins. No, this felt like energy. Grace? It spread further into his body, made him shiver and gasp. The shrill sound of it began in his ears, steadily getting louder.

"See me," Gabriel commanded, begged, against his lips. "Look at me, Sam."

Sam whimpered and tried to focus. The order was lost in everything happening to him, around him. And then it clicked.

As Gabriel's pace faltered, as he fell apart, the grace spreading into Sam grew even hotter. The shriek of power was changing into a more melodious tune. One Sam had heard before. He fought to follow it, as he'd once traced a pale-yellow string of light to its owner. There you are.

The darkness that was his vision cleared in an instant, revealing Gabriel. He was there, riding Sam, but his eyes shone with the bright, pale-yellow light of his grace. His halo was still pointed at the four cardinal directions, illuminating his hair and, well, everything. His wings… His wings were the tattered, burnt, mangled things Sam remembered. But still they stretched above them, golden and imposing. At least, the pair that emerged from near Gabriel's shoulder blades did. The second pair didn't seem to be able to fully manifest on whatever plane Sam was seeing. Instead, they shimmered in and out of existence, light flickering on water.

It was Gabriel's grace that ultimately took his breath away. It flowed from where Gabriel touched him, everywhere Gabriel touched him, and into Sam. It wrapped around and became intertwined with the blue-white light tinged with red, jagged scars that came from Sam, from in Sam.

His soul. Gabriel was merging with his soul.

With a too-short breath, Sam came, his body arching towards Gabriel's.

His eyes fluttered. He saw nothing. Fear shot through him for a split second. Shit, my eyes-! He blinked. No pain came from it. That's good, right? His next blink brought with it the extremely faint shape of the rumpled sheets his face was lying on. Oh, good. Not blind. Just really dark.

He went over a mental checklist of everything.

His muscles were sore, but that was no surprise. Good sex will do that. His heart rate was near back to normal. His breathing, too. Gabriel had moved. One of his arms, half of his chest, and a leg were thrown over Sam. No lights were on. The room was eerily silent except for the sound of their breathing. Outside, cars honked in response to one another.

Sam flinched, body fatigued, and rolled his head over to look at Gabriel. Rather, he tried to look at Gabriel. He could barely make out the shape of the top of Gabriel's head, his hair tickling at Sam's chin and mouth. He used my shampoo earlier. Sam squinted his eyes and tried to look at where he knew to be the window, but nothing came through.

"I think…" Sam tried to clear his throat. "I think I passed out?"

"I think you're right," Gabriel mumbled against his chest.

Sam frowned. Okay. So, that happened. "Did… Did you blow out the lights?"



"Not that strong." Gabriel took a deep breath and stretched. He then wrapped himself tighter around Sam. "Probably took out the substation or something."

"'Or something,'" Sam repeated. He raised his hand to caress the arm Gabriel had placed over him. "Don't you think knocking out that much power is a bit of a red flag for anything not, y'know, people?"

Gabriel growled. He raised his arm, Sam stubbornly still clinging to it, and snapped his fingers.

Sam cringed at the light that speared his eyes. The hum of electricity returned to the room. "Ow," he complained.

Gabriel dropped his hand and went back to his cuddling.

Now that Sam could see, he took in the state of their room. He'd expected to find nothing but destruction, blown glass and fluttering blinds and curtains, like what had happened to Dean's room, but everything in their room was surprisingly intact. The oddity made Sam frown as he stroked Gabriel's side with his other, semi-trapped hand.

Sam only then realized he was cum free. Not too surprising, as Gabriel seemed to be personally against manually trying to clean that up any time they had sex. And Sam didn't mind one less thing he had to worry about before getting to bask in the afterglow. Even if 'shower with Gabriel' was rapidly climbing up his bucket list. However.

Sam turned his head to rest his chin against the top of Gabriel's head. "So… You cleaned us up and fixed the room but didn't bother with anything else?"

"Sam," Gabriel sniffed. "I'm trying to enjoy coming down from one of the best orgasms I've ever had in my extremely long life, and you are throwing a pretty big wrench into that. Please, and I know how corny this sounds: Just hold me, love me, and zip it. Just shush! These questions and more can be answered tomorrow."

Sam grinned. "Okay." He adjusted his hold on Gabriel and did as he was told. He zipped it. He did not, however, stop thinking.

The kiss he placed against Gabriel's head drew his attention to the golden highlights within Gabriel's hair. He remembered vividly how they'd shined under the light of Gabriel's halo. Already he missed being able to see that, to see Gabriel. If I try, I wonder if I can. But he wouldn't try. Not without knowing how such things worked, if it had been his powers, or Gabriel's, or both that had allowed him to see a plane of existence reserved for supernatural entities, psychics, and select prophets. Even though I am psychic now. Still might want to hold off, though. I kinda value my eyes.

Ever the clever one, he stated, "You touched my soul," as he trailed his fingers up Gabriel's side, earning a small shiver from the other.

Gabriel nuzzled against Sam's chest, faint stubble dragging nicely along Sam's skin. He sighed. "Thought I'd give it a whirl. Never done it before. Not like that."

"Hm." Sam blinked at the far wall, eyelids heavy. The center of his brow twitched as he thought of something. He tilted his head. "Was… Was touching my soul what healed you?"

He knew that Gabriel had spent hours recuperating from his run-in with the Darkness and healing all of them, but Sam was beginning to suspect that even that much rest wasn't enough to recharge Gabriel completely. Not after the state Sam had left him in when he'd gone to interrogate Gadreel.

Gabriel tensed. He looked up at Sam, eyes earnest and almost panicked. "I didn't mean it like that." He spoke so fast that his words nearly sounded like one.

"No. No, yeah, I know, I mean." Sam shook his head. "I'm not upset if that's what happened. I'm glad I could help."

Gabriel relaxed at Sam's assurance. A small smile pulled at his lips as he lowered his eyes from Sam's. He chuckled.

"What?" Sam questioned, smiling.

"Oh, trust me, Sam," Gabriel looked back up at him, "I wasn't trying to syphon offa your soul. Especially not without your permission." He pulled his head back, moved his left arm from Sam's waist, and poked him on the nose. "You slammed into me."


Gabriel smirked. "I was only lightly fondling your soul while not-so-lightly fondling you. I guess I overstimulated you because, haaa. One second I'm watching your glorious o-face, and the next I'm trying not to level the entire building by the sudden surge of energy you flooded into my grace." He rolled his eyes in good humor. "Not that I'm complaining. Just warn a guy next time, huh?"

"Oh, okay. Yeah, I'll try to remember that. For next time." He stared at Gabriel, memorizing the laugh lines on his face. "Y'know, it's kinda funny. I distinctly remember saying I wanted to knock you out with mind-blowing sex."

"And I remember telling you ya didn't have it in ya."

Sam scowled. "Why not?"

"Archangel," Gabriel sing-songed. "Even with your powers and frisky soul, I still have way more control than you do."

"Really?" Sam deadpanned. "Even when I do this?" He rolled over onto his side and dug his fingers into Gabriel's back in the exact place he knew his wings to be.

Gabriel's eyes widened, affronted, as he arched his back to try and get away from Sam's prodding. His futile attempt to save himself only resulted in pressing himself up against Sam.

Seeing his opening, Sam wrapped his arms around Gabriel and continued his onslaught, rolling on top of him to keep him from escaping.

"Sam!" Gabriel barked. He smacked at Sam's back. "Sam! Stop- Sam." He writhed under Sam, legs kicking against the mattress as he tried to squirm free.

Sam was relentless. He massaged his fingers between Gabriel's shoulder blades, up and down, never letting up. The look of petty determination on his face cracked when he realized the twitches he was feeling from Gabriel were, in fact, the other's attempts to not laugh.

Gabriel's tugs at his back grew weaker. "Dammit, Sam, you're-hehehe-cheating. You're-ha HA ha ha-fuck! You're cheating!"

With a growl, Gabriel finally used his inhuman strength to shove Sam off of him. He clambered for the edge of the bed, hoping to escape.

Unfortunately for him, he hadn't pushed Sam far. He yelped when Sam tackled him.

Sam wrapped Gabriel up in a bear hug, hands grasping tightly at Gabriel's arms, as he pulled him away from the edge. He laughed as Gabriel tried to rock them off the bed anyway. He pulled him back again.

"Where do you think you're going?" He teased against Gabriel's ear.

"Away from you, you big meanie."

"Thought I was a cheater."

"That, too."

Sam grinned over Gabriel's shoulder as he rested his chin on it. He loosened his hold on Gabriel and repositioned himself so that he was spooning him. "I don't think I'm the only cheater here, Mr. I-Touched-Your-Soul."

Gabriel turned in his arms to stick his tongue out at him and then refaced the wall.

"Real mature."

"Says the guy who initiated a tickle fight."

Sam chuckled. He nuzzled at the back of Gabriel's neck. With a smile, he declared, "I love you."

Gabriel's voice was low and sincere when he replied, "Love you, too, Sam."