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This is a finished story.  All parts will be posted as soon as I wrestle the code into submission. ;-)

 

Title:  Be My Savior
Author:  [livejournal.com profile] jessebee 
Rating:  NC-17
Genre:  Hurt/comfort, slash, binding/bonding fic, wingfic, AU
Pairing:  Sam/Gabriel, background Dean/Castiel UST
Spoilers: not unless you missed the whole Gabriel thing
Warnings:  Angel abuse and Winchester angst
Disclaimer:  It's Kripke's sandbox, I only play and run away
Word Count:  ~12,000


Summary:  Few things can kill an archangel.  Even fewer can save one.


Note:  Set somewhere in S5, goes AU somewhere between 5.08 and 5.19.  Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] cageyklio for awesome beta stuff and pointing out early on where things weren't working, and also to [livejournal.com profile] samjohnsson for equally awesome beta stuff; any remaining weirdness is completely my own fault.  And last but never least, to my darling [livejournal.com profile] morganoconner for never giving up on me.  The first section of this story was posted ages ago on [livejournal.com profile] comment_fic.

 

 

 

 
Be my savior,

And I will be your downfall.

 "Downfall" - Matchbox Twenty

 

 

 

 

It happens faster than Sam can blink.  They're holding their own when one of the demons raises its arm and hurls something at Castiel.  In the next second Gabriel is there, and in the melee Sam nearly misses the low squelch that is the distinct sound of wood penetrating flesh. 

 

The cry that comes after it, though, nobody could miss.

 

Sam jerks around.  "Gabriel?"

 

There's a slender spear of something wooden sticking a good six inches out of Gabriel's chest.  Blood is welling from the wound, and Gabriel's face is chalk-white.

 

"Gabriel!  What - ?"

 

Gabriel's lips move, but it's another second before any sound makes it out.  "Binding.  Binding – ah, Father."

 

Sam lunges, and he's barely in time as the archangel's knees buckle.

 

"Back!" Dean yells, and Sam half-drags Gabriel into the room behind them.  Dean and Castiel cover them, Dean slamming the door and Castiel doing something to it just in time as it starts to shake, but holds. 

 

Then Cas is next to them, angel-quick, kneeling at Gabriel's other side even as Sam sits him down, supporting him.  Blood soaks Gabriel's shirt with no signs of stopping – Gabriel's not healing.  At all.  The weapon is covered in symbols – Enochian, it looks like – and the point protrudes like an obscene thing from Gabriel's back, just to the inside of his shoulderblade. 

 

"Gabriel, why did you – "  Castiel's eyes go wide.  "Brother.  That's – "

 

"'S coming back to me now, why I left – the whole war nonsense to you seraphs," Gabriel grits out, his breath coming short and harsh.  "Don't – touch – it."

 

"The hell is that thing?" Dean asks, eyes narrow, as he leans in next to Castiel.

 

"Binding rod," Castiel says, low and more furious than Sam's ever heard him.  Something in the room vibrates, and Sam doesn't think it's from the demons attacking outside.  "Forbidden Adamical magic, anathema.  It injures our grace and binds us into a vessel, and we can't be released until the rod is removed or the vessel – and the angel within – dies.  But any other angel who touches the rod is also caught by the spell."

 

"Other angel," Sam says, catching the wording immediately.  "But not a human.  So I can touch it."

 

"Yes," Castiel says.  But he's hesitating.

 

"I hear a 'but' in there," Dean says.

 

"More than a – pretty face," Gabriel gets out, and Sam's mouth twitches, because apparently the Trickster will snark until he's – no.  No, damn it.  At some point he'd taken Gabriel's hand and now the archangel's fingers clench until Sam's eyes water, but he's not letting go.  He won't let go.

 

"The release is – violent," Castiel says.

 

Dean's eyes widen.  "How v– "

 

"Doesn't matter," Sam snaps.  "I'll do it."  Because while they're getting the lesson, Gabriel's bleeding out right here in Sam's arms.  Because with that chunk of wood in him he's practically human, and no human survives a chest shot like this for long.  He's shaking against Sam's body, fighting to get air he shouldn't need into a lung that won't hold it, and he's –

 

"No."  It's faint but definite, and Sam looks down to see Gabriel's eyes open.  His pupils are ringed with gold.  "Castiel.  Don't let him."

 

Sam's own breath catches.  "Gabriel – "

 

"No."

 

"Think of water behind a dam," Castiel says, low and rough.  "Too much, and water runs over the top.  With this spell, there's no top to run over, so the pressure builds.  If the dam cracks, even the slightest bit …."

 

"Boom."  Dean exhales, eyes wide. 

 

Castiel nods.  "Every bit of us, released all at once.  The spell victim may survive, but –"

 

"You'd be – toast," Gabriel gasps.  His eyes are closed again and there's blood everywhere, a growing puddle on the floor, soaking into Sam's jeans.  "Not worth it."

 

And he means it, Sam realizes with horror.  Gabriel won't let them save him, not at that cost.

 

Everything in Sam, every fiber of his being, rebels.  There has got to be a way -

 

He looks across at Dean, and a lifetime of reading his brother's face tells him that the whole Trickster thing notwithstanding, Dean is right there with him.  Gabriel just saved Castiel's life – no way will Dean let Gabriel go now without a fight.  "Cas," Dean says, his hand on Castiel's arm.  "Can you do something to protect us, Sam and me?"

 

"Castiel," Gabriel grates out.

 

But all Castiel's attention in that moment is on Dean, and Sam wonders for at least the two-hundredth time if Dean has any clue at all, if he ever actually sees the way Castiel looks at him.  "In some part, yes. I'm –"

 

"Castiel, no."

 

"– I'm willing.  We must try."

 

"No."  But there's no force, no breath, behind it.

 

"Shut up," Sam says, harsher than he intends.  "You don't get a vote.  Dean."  Together they lay Gabriel down, the archangel's face twisting as the movement shifts the thing in his chest.  He clutches at Sam but there's no force here either, now, the strength bled out of his grip like the blood from his body, and that's the final piece that slams it all home for Sam.  Gabriel is dying. 

 

And Sam's never even kissed him –

 

Kissed…him.

 

Well, crap.

 

His track record for the timing of life-changing epiphanies isn't getting any better, is it?

 

What the fuck, then.

 

He leans into close and gives himself three seconds to just breathe, finding a trace of the sweetish smell that always seems to hang around Gabriel, and then presses his lips to Gabriel's forehead.  When he lifts away, Gabriel's eyes are open again, glazed.  Wet.  His expression is four parts agony and one part Sam can't possibly be seeing right.  "Sam."  It's barely a whisper.  "Don't.  Please."

 

The "please" nearly breaks him.  "We save people," Sam murmurs around the knot in his throat.  "Family business."

 

"'m not – 'r business."

 

"Yes you are.  And family, too.  Look at it this way – it doesn't work?  My pesky devil-vessel problem is solved."  Gabriel's eyes fall shut and his mouth twitches, and Sam has no clue what the fuck-all he's feeling but it's making it hard to breathe. 

 

"Sam," Castiel says, and Sam looks to see Castiel braced and ready in some way Sam can't define, one hand on Dean's shoulder and the other held out to Sam.  "Now.  Quickly."

 

Sam locks gazes with his brother.  Dean's eyes are wide, with that look that says he's read a lot more into the last thirty seconds than Sam ever wanted to tell him, but he doesn't hesitate.  "Do it, bro."

 

Sam flattens one hand to Gabriel's chest, fingers spread around the rod, and grabs the rod itself with the other, hissing at the sting of the magic.  Gabriel cries out soundlessly and something pushes, chews at Sam's palm, and Sam grits his teeth and pulls, hard.

 

The thing resists, biting until Sam's grip goes slick with blood, but finally comes loose with an awful sucking sort of sound that's going to haunt Sam's dreams, he just knows it.  He flings it away, fighting the urge to hork up every single thing he's ever eaten, then and there, and reaches out to Castiel. 

 

There's a split-second of hush, the demons breaking through the door notwithstanding, like existence is holding its breath.  Then Gabriel's eyes snap open, and Sam's looking into the sun.

 

Lurch and he's somewhere else, Dean's arm against his back and Castiel's iron grip and something like warm electricity all around him and Sam gets in one breath, just one, before the world explodes.

 

It's ground zero, the center of a nuclear bomb.  Light unthinkably bright, sonic boom flattening them to the ground.  Shrieking roar more felt than heard and at the heart of it, a voice crying out words Sam doesn't understand.  It's terrible and the most beautiful thing he's ever heard.  Sam holds on as hard as he can, Dean's arms around him and the force that he knows, somehow, is Castiel around them both.  It goes on, buffeting and twisting and pounding, and on and on and on until he's a second away from screaming –

 

And then, silence.

 

It's almost as painful at first, and breath Sam hadn't known he was holding punches out of him.  There's an undertone hum in his ears and he works his jaw, trying to relieve the pressure as he eases away from the haven of Dean's shoulder and cracks his eyes open, to see –

 

Iridescent gray and black that isn't black, shimmering blue and purple and the faintest hint of green, glowing like lit from within, a vast sheltering arc – wings.  Holy fuck.  Castiel's wings –

 

"Sammy?" 

 

Sam blinks and they're gone, only tan fabric covering the shoulders of the slender, rumpled man who's got his arms around them.  "Yeah, Dean, 'm good."  His throat's sore like he's been screaming.  Hell, he's sore, period; every muscle feels wrenched, skin bruised and scratched and torn.  The palm of his right hand hurts like hell.  "You okay?"

 

"Feel like I've been tumble-dried, but yeah, I – Jesus fuck," Dean breathes, and Sam looks around.

 

Of the abandoned assembly plant they'd been fighting in, there is nothing.  The room they'd been in, the demons, the entire building, nothing is left but a vast slab of concrete and a few pieces of rubble and beyond that, a space of seared earth.  And perhaps twenty yards away from them – a body.

 

Sam's heart skips. 

 

"Dean," Castiel says hoarsely.

 

"Yeah, we're fine, you did it, Cas, you – " Dean cuts off as Castiel raises his head.  Blood's running from his nose, from the corners of his eyes.  "Cas.  Shit."

 

"You…and Sam.  Good."

 

"Cas!"  Dean grabs him as Castiel's eyes roll up and he slumps backward like someone cut his strings.

 

Something in Sam's chest feels like it's tearing; he likes Castiel, more than likes, but – "Dean," Sam says urgently, and points.

 

His brother's eyes narrow, but he nods.  "Go."

 

Sam staggers to his feet and moves, his legs – his whole body – protesting every step of the way.

 

Gabriel is sprawled on his back, still as death.  The puddle of blood beneath him is still wet, his shirt still ripped and sodden, his flesh still torn where Sam touches it, his own blood dripping down to add to the mess.

 

Sam presses two shaking fingers beneath Gabriel's sharp chin, leaving red prints, searching for a pulse.  He feels nothing. 

 

Nothing.

 

No.  No, it can't end like this, it fucking well can't, not after –

 

– something hums, trembling the concrete under his knees –

 

– Dean's panicked shout – "SAM!  Shut your eyes, shut – " your eyes, shut them, Sam, please, if there was ever any chance of you hearing me, hear me now

 

– curling down over Gabriel if he could protect –

 

– blinding light, scorching even through eyes clenched shut, beating against his skin, under his skin, pouring through him, vast and fierce and electric and warm, so warm, like a lover's touch –

 

Gone.

 

Sam opens his eyes and levers himself up, gasping, blinking against the spots, staring down, hoping –

 

The body beside him comes alive with a lurch, back arching as air is dragged in, eyes snapping open, and Sam sees hazel and a shimmering ring of gold. 

 

Sam catches him as he sits up abruptly, one hand slapping to his chest where the rod had been and then pulling it away again to stare at the blood.

 

"Gabriel?" Sam breathes.

 

"It worked," Gabriel says hoarsely.  "Dear sweet Father, it worked."  He looks at Sam, and the gold isn't fading but there's something else there too, something utterly astonished.  Overjoyed.  "And you're alive.  You incredible idiot."  He reaches over and touches his bloody fingers to Sam's face.  That electricity tingles through Sam again, running through his veins like a drug, and Gabriel's looking at him like he's going to punch him or kiss him.  "You're all still –"  He breaks off, turns.  "Castiel."

 

Sam starts as the rest of the world comes back.  He's dizzy, like he's mainlined five shots of high-test scotch.  "Yeah, he did it, kept us in one piece, but it took it out of him, he's –"

 

"So weak I can barely feel him."  Gabriel's mouth thins.  "We need to be out of here yesterday."

 

Sam blinks.  "Okay, but the demons are –"

 

"Sam, I just angelled out for the first time in more than a thousand years and sent up a 'here I am!' flare the size of fucking Montana.  Anything with eyes will have seen it.  We are gone.  Now."

 

The world blurs away.

 

#


Part Two

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