Sam corners his flown archangel – if you can actually corner an archangel – on one of the balconies of the hotel's top floor penthouse. The French doors are flung wide open and the rain is blowing in, soaking the carpet for at least five feet.
Gabriel is outside, leaning on the railing, and the water runs down his body.
The line of Gabriel's back tightens. "You never learned the fine art of subtle hints, did you? What part of the concept of 'space' escaped your little human brain? Fine, you found me. Run along now."
So this is how it's gonna play? He can do this. Sam snorts. "Subtle? That's rich, coming from you." Sam's half-soaked just from standing near the doorway; might as well step outside and do it right. "Gabriel, you're drenched."
"Well, give the kid a prize."
"What the hell are you doing?"
"Like that's any the hell of your business."
"You are the hell my business, I told you that."
Gabriel tips his head back and laughs into the storm, and it's an awful sound. "Am I, now." He turns sideways to face Sam and leans a casual elbow on the railing, and then –
Then there are wings.
Sam gasps and takes a step back despite himself as they unfurl and mantle, much too big for the space and for the body they surround. No half-seen silhouette this time but real as the floor Sam's standing on, giant, graceful curves of copper banded in gold at the lower edges. They glitter and flow in the breeze, more like things mineral than animal, feathers crafted of jewels and wire and light.
Gabriel watches, superior and mocking, everything Sam hates about the Trickster rolled up in his smile. "I'm an archangel, Samuel. Your Stanford-sized brain's not a hundredth of what you'd need to comprehend what I am. I am literally older than dirt, I saw the creation of this planet. Your lifespan's not even a goldfish's worth next to mine, but somehow you think I'm your business."
Oh, yes, Sam knows this game, and it's one he's not going to lose. In fact, armed now with what Castiel has told him, he's not even going to waste precious time playing. With no real clue how he's doing it, he reaches for the thing, the – bond – stretched between them, takes hold, and pulls.
Gabriel's eyes go wide and he gasps, face going white and supercilious expression falling away like the rain has washed it, and grabs for the railing with both hands.
Not the reaction Sam is expecting.
He lunges forward and gets an arm around Gabriel's waist and winds up on the floor with his arms full of archangel for the second time in twenty-four hours, this time with bonus wings. But thankfully a lot less blood, and Sam leans them both against the railing.
He aches, all over, every whiplashed muscle bitching about the move he just made and reminding him that Gabriel's not the only one who got banged up. But Gabriel's trembling, just a little, and Sam murmurs wordless apologies into wet hair as the rain pounds down on them both. "So, yeah," he says after a few minutes. "I think you're my business."
Gabriel shakes his head. "It's not real, Sam," he says wearily, all mockery gone. "It's just the bond making you think it is. You don't really want this."
Okay, now it's official – Sam's pissed. "You know," he says conversationally, through gritted teeth, "I have never been too good with people telling me what I want, or what I think, or what I am."
"You can read my mind; in fact, I'll bet it's even easier now." He cups Gabriel's chin and tilts it up. "So read me, and then tell me if I want this." And drags his moment of epiphany front and center and shoves it forward.
He knows the instant Gabriel gets it. Amber eyes go wide again; Gabriel's breath catches hard.
And a dam somewhere breaks, and Sam's flooded with pain and regret and relief and love. God, so much love, as deep and broad and fierce as the ocean, and Sam can barely breathe around it.
"Oh," Gabriel whispers, and he reaches up and touches Sam's cheekbone. His eyes look damp, but it's probably just the rain.
"Yeah, oh," Sam manages to whisper back, and kisses him softly. "Idiot."
Gabriel digs his fingers into Sam's dripping hair and kisses him back, hard. Something like desperation laces it and Sam lets it bend him, lets Gabriel take what he needs from the touch and tries to push love and reassurance back through the bond. The hum in Sam's bones broadens, turning from an echo to a murmur like a cheerful brook, brightening and soothing his soul.
Gabriel finally ends the kiss about the time Sam decides that breathing is overrated, and fits himself against Sam with a sigh, nose against Sam's throat. Contentment and weariness/pain flow off of him in roughly equal measure, and Sam tightens his embrace. Gabriel's left wing arcs, then settles as Gabriel tucks it in over them like a blanket. Water beads and runs off the feathers in a way that's rather hypnotizing, and tiny rainbows glint and fracture and reform. "Gabriel?"
"Why didn't you just pick that out of my mind earlier tonight?"
Gabriel sighs again. "Human minds are usually stupidly easy to read, but Castiel's little art project with your ribs makes yours a lot fuzzier than most."
Sam grins. "Can you hear me now?"
"Leave the off-the-cuff humorous remarks to the professionals, please. Plus, angels have something of a – protocol, you could say, for it. The bond gave you that, but I didn't realize it, I was too…."
"'Whipped and scrambled' is probably closer," Gabriel admits. His hand tightens in Sam's shirt. "I fucking hurt, frankly, and I don't like it." His tone is petulant and Sam has to smile again.
"First step to fixing that? Is to get in out of the rain."
Gabriel, Sam finds out, pretty much half-owns the place; the penthouse is one of his getaways. They end up in the ginormous master bed, where Gabriel strips them both naked, arranges Sam to his satisfaction and proceeds to lay on him, as close as possible. He's put the wings back wherever it is that he keeps them, which is a shame, even if they would take up most of the room.
He shivers, though, a little fly-bitten ruffle of skin, when Sam runs a hand just so between his shoulderblades. Gabriel's own hand drifts up and down Sam's bare chest in a languid rhythm, and Sam's halfway between aroused and asleep when he realizes. "Dean."
"Castiel knows where we are," Gabriel mutters.
Sam imagines the conversation pending with his brother and scrunches his face up. "He's not going to be happy."
"And that would be new – how?" Sam pokes him on the back of his head, and Gabriel bats lazily at Sam's hand. "He'll have to get over it, because you're mine now." Said simply and imperiously and damn, that warms Sam in new and scary ways.
Sam laughs into soft chestnut hair. "Possessive much?" And he's laughing but he's kinda not, too, because really, him? Why him? Dark, tainted, the devil literally on his heels, none of which makes for much possibility of happily ever after.
"Stop that," Gabriel says, and punctuates it with a hard flick of fingers against Sam's chest.
"Why not you? Yes, you're tainted, but you didn't ask for it. You've made some pretty stupid moves since then, but you've done the wrong things for the right reasons. And you found your way back. You want to do good, Sam. I've known that since before I trapped you and Dean in 'Groundhog Day.'" He shifts, fingers rubbing gently at the spot he'd just thumped. "You – might as well ask, why with me?"
Gabriel's tone – not regret, but rather an almost unfathomable sadness – has Sam's arms tightening almost before he's aware he's doing it. "Yeah, okay, you're not perfect either," he murmurs. "But I get it now, what you were trying to do, in
Gabriel relaxes. "So there you have it." The tone is flip, but what Sam is feeling through the bond is anything but. "And possessive always. I don't share what's mine."
A thread of unease creeps into Sam's contentment again. "Dean's my brother. That's not going to change."
Gabriel shifts again, hitching up until he can look Sam in the eyes. "Of course not. But he's gotta understand that I'm here now."
"He will. Eventually." And Sam wishes he was quite as sure of that as he –
Gabriel's face pinches, just a little.
But then he feels it, Gabriel's body protesting the move it just made, the ache only the physical manifestation of a much deeper pain. Sam raises his hand and lays it gently against the now-unbroken skin. Gabriel makes no sound, but his face pinches again and he leans into Sam's hand.
Sam gets him down on his side on the bed and then pulls him close. "What can I do?" he asks quietly.
"Nothing," Gabriel says, muffled, because he's buried his face against Sam's throat. Then - /You're here. You – love me. That helps, as much as anything will./
Gabriel's mental voice is something like his physical one but richer, more resonant. And the thread of strain in it is much more evident as well, like it's harder for Gabriel to hide like this. Sam'll have to remember that. /Cas said that my being near you might help you heal, somehow./
/Castiel?/ Weary surprise, amusement. /Knew the moment he saw you, no doubt. No flies on that angel./ Something like a sigh. /Dad poured His thought in a bowl with grace and starstuff, hit it with the mixer, and out came us. He wanted a cheering section, so He built one. We were made, literally, to follow and adore Him. So love, in all of its forms, affects us. Or did, before…./
From there, the leap is easy to make. /So something like this, a bond, one on one…./
/Strongest hit there is, unless you're getting it from the Host. Or the Source./ Gabriel's sigh is audible this time, and he's caressing idle lines on Sam's back, waist to shoulders and back down. And Sam's never considered his back as an erogenous zone before, but he might have to rethink that, because Gabriel's touch is causing the beginnings of a tingle low in Sam's belly. He mirrors the motion, sweeping one hand up from Gabriel's hip to rub between the archangel's shoulderblades.
Gabriel breathes in, and a new thread colors the bond – fine and faint, but there. Arousal?
Why would that – oh. Oh.
That's about where the joints of Gabriel's wings would be.
Sam presses just a little harder, only a little, and Gabriel's breath pulls in again. He arches, pushing his back against Sam's hand. The thread quivers. "Gabriel?"
"Yes." The word is warm across Sam's skin, in his mind. /Yes./
Gabriel shifts, tiny movements but telling ones, as Sam brushes long strokes over his back, his shoulders, the hollow at his waist. Languid caresses of skin against skin as Gabriel moves, rubbing his face against Sam's throat, nudging a knee between Sam's thighs, dragging the top of his foot sluggishly up the curve of Sam's calf.
It's slow, so slow, and unexpectedly delicious for that very slowness, and Sam lets himself sink into it and drift for a while. The arousal is there but it's unhurried, a steady glow beneath the simple joy of skin on skin. Sam's not sure he remembers the last time there was someone in his life who he could just touch like this, for the caring and connection of it and maybe they'd get to the sweaty tango thing and maybe they wouldn't, because that isn't really the point.
/Not that I'd be opposed to the whole sweaty tango thing, you know, for the record,/ Gabriel says lazily. He's planting slow kisses on Sam's neck, and Sam thinks he doesn't sound quite as strained as he did a little while ago.
/Tell me you're not going to be reading my mind all the time, please?/
/I'm not reading it now, really. You're projecting at me, loud and clear. And weirdly good at it, too, for a human./
Sam grins. /I'm good at lots of things./
/Bragging, Sam? You? For shame. I'm appalled./
/Uh-huh, I'm sure./ "Besides," Sam murmurs, shifting until he can catch Gabriel's mouth with his own, "it's not bragging if you can back it up."
Fingers catch in Sam's hair and pull him back, and there's a bright, teasing look in Gabriel's eyes that Sam hasn't seen since this whole mess began. In fact, he's not sure he's ever seen it. "Prove it," Gabriel says, and there's "I dare you" written all over his face.
Resist that? Sam is pretty much only human, when it comes right down to it.
He leans in and kisses Gabriel again, gently wrecks the pout of that mouth. Sam knows he's a good kisser and he uses that skill now, nudges and nibbles, licks Gabriel's mouth open and explores. He kisses Gabriel until they're both breathless with it, then he urges Gabriel gently over onto his back, looms over him, and does it all again.
When Sam lets him up this time, more because Sam needs to breathe than any other reason, Gabriel's eyes have gone from bright to hot. "Not bad," he says dryly, but Sam wouldn't believe the tone even if he couldn't feel the pleasure humming between them.
Sam just smiles, the one he's been told is his "wicked" one, and applies his lips to the edge of Gabriel's jaw. The archangel's skin is smooth, beard growth obviously no match for awesome cosmic powers, and it's warm and faintly salty. Sam licks his way down over the long expanse of throat, along the tempting curve and into the deep hollow between collarbones. Salty here too, and something that might be rainwater and might just be angel, a sweet-tart taste that Sam has no word for.
He likes it.
He wants more. And he finds it over the tautness of tendons, so he opens his mouth and laves the spot with his tongue and – gently – bites down.
Gabriel shudders. His fingers dig into Sam's shoulders and then there it is, that sound, that little half-groan he'd made before. It vibrates beneath Sam's mouth and that is it. Sam's hooked.
His cock goes from "mmm, nice" to "oh hell yes" in about five seconds, and he's nudging a leg between Gabriel's thighs and pressing down almost before he realizes it. The pressure is sweet and fantastic and it's Sam who groans now, his mouth still on Gabriel's neck, the curve where it melts into shoulder.
Gabriel shifts and pushes and Sam's somehow between Gabriel's legs. Gabriel's thighs come up to press solidly against Sam's hips and Sam groans again, digging his fingers into the sheets. That's, that's Gabriel's erection, Gabriel's cock, right there against his own. It's hot and hard and so damn good he can't even breathe for a second. But he can move. Hell, he almost can't not and he does and he's panting, his mouth open against Gabriel's skin, eyes squeezed shut. It feels a shit-ton better than anything so simple ought to. "Gabriel. Oh, fuck."
"Works for me," Gabriel says hoarsely, amused and delighted, and Sam stutters out a laugh and shakes his head because somehow that's not – that's not it. Not what he wants, not now.
"No," he breathes, and keeps moving, rubbing them together in that simple, somehow perfectly right friction. He brings up a hand – his left hand – and licks his palm, then shifts up just enough to work it between them and Jesus fuck, he's never been so glad of his own size before as he wraps his long fingers around them both. The shudder feels like it comes up from his toes. Gabriel groans again, twitching under him, and Sam has to kiss him. "This," he pants against Gabriel's mouth, "just like this. Just let me, let me take care of you. Let me –"
/Let me love you./
Fingers pull at Sam's hair until their eyes meet. "Sam." That's all, just Sam's name, but everything's there in the current between them and the glow in Gabriel's eyes.
Sam kisses him as he strokes them together, drowning in Gabriel's mouth, in the pleasure that's far left and way above anything he's ever felt before. Gabriel's tongue is like the rest of him, sharp and clever and knowing and a little vicious, and he plunders Sam's mouth this time, thoroughly conquering all territory in reach and God, what would that feel like on the rest of Sam's body –
"You'll find out, I promise you," Gabriel growls, the sound falling into a moan as Sam pulls away to gasp, to lick at his neck again; writhing as Sam's fingers tighten around their cocks, stripping them faster. "I'm going to kiss you everywhere, every inch of your gorgeous skin. I'm going to taste you everywhere. Your nipples and those beautiful hips and that sweet, tight ass –"
Sam jerks at that, he can't help it because fuck, yes, he's been with guys but nobody's ever –
"Oh, you like that idea, don't you," Gabriel croons, his own hips jerking under Sam's weight. "Thinking about having my tongue in your ass, pulling you apart and licking, tasting you right there – nobody's ever done that to you, have they? But I will. My mouth around your cock and under your balls and then I'm going to push your hips up and spread you open and –"
Fingers tighten in Sam's hair and he's moaning, riding his fist and Gabriel's skin, slick with sweat and precome and maybe mojoed lube, he doesn't know and doesn't care, it's so good, too good. He's shaking now, hips and hand jerking hard as the pressure builds like wildfire between his legs, in his belly, lighting up his spine and God, Gabriel's pushing back against him and still talking, all the filthy, fantastic things he's going to do to Sam and pressing Sam's face against his shoulder and "Yes, that's it, don't look, Sam, shut your eyes, shut –"
Gabriel goes rigid beneath him and a new wet heat paints Sam's stomach, but it's lost beneath the ecstasy that slams into Sam's brain. Gabriel. He's feeling Gabriel come and there's no fighting it, only surrender to the rapture and light that race across his skin, shred him and turn him inside out, his own orgasm dragged out of him like an afterthought as it all goes white.
Sam drifts in the afterglow for years, Gabriel warm under him. There's an arm around his waist and fingers at his nape, and the most beautiful melody he's ever heard singing wordlessly in the back of his mind. His face is wet, he slowly realizes, and he can't care. The joy beneath his skin makes him finally crack his eyes open to see if he's actually glowing. If he were to die in the next five minutes, he'd go happy, because he finally, finally understands.
/Well, I wouldn't be happy about it. We just got here. I'm not done with you yet./
Sam snorts. /Only you could manage to sound blissed out and peeved all at the same time./
Gabriel shrugs. /Sheer talent./
Sam laughs, a little unsteadily, and wipes at his eyes before he turns his head to kiss the skin beneath his cheek.
/The tears weren't strictly necessary, you know. I'm aware that I'm awesome./
Sam thumps him on the ribs, because the Trickster will always tease, and somehow that's okay now. "Hey, how are you feeling?" he asks and winches himself up on one elbow to look because emotion-sharing bond and the love affecting angels thing aside, Sam's pretty sure that one bout of the horizontal tango isn't going to do the – "Oh."
"Sam?" Gabriel stills, following Sam's gaze, then relaxes again. "Ah. Had your horizons expanded, eh?"
"Uhm, yeah? Wow." Sam swallows, staring at the fuck-off huge wings sharing the bed space with them. They're splayed out high and wide, copper and gold shimmering against the snow-white sheets, and Sam's only missed laying on the left one by about six inches and okay, yeah, the size of the mattress makes sense now. "This – isn't like before, on the balcony, is it? When you were showing them deliberately? So how am I seeing them now?"
"You've just had half an ocean's worth of grace pour through you again, Sambo. Add that to the bond, and I'm not surprised there are side effects."
Sam catches the undertone. "But you don't know for sure?"
Gabriel shrugs again and his right wing shifts as well, throwing a million fractures of light. It's mesmerizing. "It's been millennia and a paradigm shift since anything like this last happened. There's not exactly a manual."
The feathers still look like things carved from topaz and ruby and citrine, but they ruffle in the slightest breath of air and Sam reaches without thinking, fascinated. And then catches himself. "Wow. Sorry. Can I –"
"I don't know, can you?" Gabriel says. His eyes are warm and possibly nervous, but he doesn't move, and Sam reaches again.
Soft is Sam's first thought as his fingers make contact. Soft but not, like dipping his fingers into a living electric pool, and he's perfectly aware that the analogy doesn't make a fuck's worth of sense. He'll think about it later though, when his brain isn't completely swamped with the reality that he's touching Gabriel.
"Oh." Gabriel sucks in a sharp breath and Sam looks up. Gabriel's eyes are half-closed, his face gone slack, mouth open, and –
Dear God, he's touching Gabriel. Him, not the body, the vessel, or whatever it is that Gabriel's wearing, but Gabriel himself. "Gabriel?"
"That's – new," Gabriel says, and swallows.
"New how?" Sam's not going to panic, he's not.
"New because nothing's ever, not since –" He swallows again, amber eyes opening wide. "You shouldn't be able to do that."
"Because it's you I'm touching, right? You-you."
"Me-me? You've got such a way with those big words, Sam." But his eyes are hazing over, closing again.
Sam's stroking, he realizes, almost unconsciously; tiny movements that are burrowing his fingers further into Gabriel's feathers, soft-hot-cold-tingle-hum.
/…close as you can get wearing skin…./
"Don't stop," Gabriel whispers, and there's something so naked there, so real, so – yearning, that Sam almost can't stand it. /Don't stop./
The ringtone is irritating as hell, even though Sam had programmed that particular one to be softer. Doesn't matter much when it's dragging him out of the most comfortable doze he's had in years, though. He gropes for the phone, groans when he realizes that it's in the pocket of his jeans. Which are all the way over there.
Crap, that means he's got to move.
"Ignore it," Gabriel mumbles, breath hot against Sam's shoulder.
"It's Dean." A put-upon sigh, and then there's plastic unexpectedly filling Sam's hand. "Thanks."
/Ye-ah, say that again after the call./
Sam snorts, cracking one eye open long enough to find the right key. "Yeah."
"Sam." His brother's voice is flat. "Where the hell are you?"
"Couple of floors up from our room." He's not going to say how many. "'m fine, Dean."
"Y'don't sound fine."
"I was asleep."
A pause. "With Gabriel."
Sam smiles. "With Gabriel."
A longer pause, and then a long, drawn-out shove of air. "The fuck d'you think you're doing, Sam?"
Sam shoves back the instinctive surge of anger that that tone of his brother's always triggers, and stares up at the ceiling. Gabriel is warm and still beside him. He'd bring up a hand to rub at his eyes, but one is holding the phone and Gabriel's using the other arm as a pillow and Sam's in no rush to dislodge him. "The same thing you should be doing, Dean," because really, what the hell. If they're gonna have this talk, might as well go for broke. "Only, y'know, with Cas."
There's an odd squeaky noise from Dean's end. "What?!" Dean practically sputters, finally, and Sam rolls his eyes.
"Oh, come on, Dean," he says, trying to keep his voice gentle. "I know you're not that thick."
"We are not having that talk, Sam," Dean grates out after a minute, low and hard, and that's as good as a confession right there; maybe better. "We're not talking about me. We are talking about your history of not-so-good decisions, dude."
Sam grits his teeth. Gabriel doesn't move, but he's a steady warmth in the back of Sam's mind and a deep certainty wrapped around Sam's bones, and Sam takes a slow breath and manages to relax. "Then we're not talking about it at all. Dean, I didn't ask for this, but it's the best thing that's happened to me in years. Possibly ever."
"Talk to Cas, all right? Please? Just – talk to Cas about it. And then we'll talk." Dean, please. My track record's shitty, I know that, but please. Trust me.
The sound of breathing, and Sam's betting a fifty that he knows the face his brother is making – jaw set, eyes hard. "Breakfast in – two hours, Sam," Dean says finally. "Downstairs." And ends the call.
Sam blows out a breath and drops the phone on the mattress beside him. He does rub his eyes now.
Gabriel's weight shifts, and when Sam drops his hand, there's an archangel on his chest, looking down at him. There's soft light in the room from somewhere, and it's turning Gabriel's hair into a messy crown of antique gold, framed by the copper curves of his folded wings. Sam's mouth goes dry.
"So," Gabriel says. "Best thing, huh?"
Sam runs a hand up Gabriel's arm and shoulder, brushing fingertips into the deep hollow between Gabriel's collarbones. "Yeah. I think you really are."
"Sam." Something in Gabriel's voice brings Sam's eyes back to his. "Don't kid yourself. Everything I said earlier was true. I am bigger than you can possibly comprehend. I am ancient and I'm not kind."
"I was my Father's Message upon the earth, and His Justice and Judgment." There's a thread of power now running beneath Gabriel's voice, thickening the air in the room. "And then I was my own judgment, and I've spent millennia now amusing myself by teaching a lesson to any jackass I decided needed one, so don't think I'm your savior.
"I am not kind, Samuel. And I am not human."
The truth of it hums across the bond like an electric charge, immense and powerful. "I know," Sam says, and his mouth is still dry and his heart's beating too fast. "As much as I can, I know what you are." And he does.
He knows the mocking sting of the Trickster and the alien, untouchable brilliance of the
Sam brings both hands up now to curve over Gabriel's cheekbones, the fox-sharp face and the golden eyes. "I wasn't looking for a savior, and I don't want kind. I want you."