|Lights Will Guide You Home
Author: TheTrickyOwl PM
Post World War II AU. Lieutenant General Gabriel Milton has been struggling with his own nightmares long after the end of the second world war, but could the young brother of a fallen comrade be the peace he's sought for so long? Gabriel/Sam WinchesterRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Gabriel & Sam W. - Chapters: 11 - Words: 46,314 - Reviews: 144 - Favs: 202 - Follows: 86 - Updated: 03-07-12 - Published: 10-29-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7506354
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The cold grey rays of morning sunlight that just managed to make it over the horizon pierced through the veil of skeletal trees right outside, rousing Gabriel from a sleep that was far too deep and far too peaceful. Eyelids heavy, he groaned and stirred upon the couch, face pressing into the warmth of the pillow that had managed to stay perfectly in place below his head. He was so used to finding them on the floor or tossed clear across the room.
In fact, Gabriel was used to many things when waking; heavy pants, icy cold sweat, tremors that rattled his bones, and a heartbeat so erratic, it stole the breath right from his lungs. He was used to the roar of gunfire still ringing in his ears, the heat of a bomb blast burning the insides of his eyelids. He was used to his first instinct being to curl his fingers around the familiar coolness of his flask and draw the burning whiskey from it until his stomach knotted up and whatever flickered remnants of his nightmares that remained were lost in a pleasant booze-induced fog.
He felt none of that now.
Why couldn't he remember the night terror? Why didn't he wake from it like he always had? Judging from the soft light pouring into the den through the bay window, it was only just after dawn, and he was sure he had fallen asleep in the late afternoon. Gabriel frowned deeply, his brow creasing. Had he slept the entire time? No, that couldn't have been right.
Gabriel was then vaguely aware of something else: he wasn't alone. He wondered how he didn't notice the sound of the soft snores behind him, the warm breath tickling his neck, and the firm press of a body at his back. One long arm was draped around his midsection, and he followed the length of it with his eyes, over a strong forearm covered in a light layer of soft hair, a thick wrist that looked practically unbreakable, and long, rather lovely looking fingers that were loosely curled over his own hand. The soldier hadn't noticed that before now, either.
Sam's lanky body was pretty much entangled with his, and Gabriel found it difficult to suppress the smile that tugged at his lips. Those long legs positioned so awkwardly, it couldn't have been at all comfortable for the kid. The soldier made a move to turn over, but the slight shift in position had Sam starting awake with a gasp.
Gabriel lay perfectly still, cursing himself for having woken Sam. Again.
He was bad at this.
"Gabe?" Sam's voice was groggy against the shell of his ear. "You okay?"
The soldier frowned and moved to sit up, turning to let a good look at the young man's tired face. That mussed mop of thick hair and those sleepy hazel eyes were definitely a sight he didn't mind waking up to. "I'm fine, I…" He was vaguely aware of Sam's hand at his hip. "Sam, did I really sleep as long as I did?"
Sam repositioned himself more comfortably, now laying flat on his back. He squinted, seeming to only then notice the rays of dawn light coming in through the window. "Huh. I guess so."
"How?" Gabriel asked. "I don't remember waking from a night terror."
"That's because you didn't."
The soldier just stared. That couldn't have been right.
"You had one not too long after you fell asleep, but it was just starting out, so I just kind of…" Sam seemed to struggle with the right words while rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. "…I just kind of held you through it? I guess that's what I did. I crawled onto the couch and held you and you just calmed right down in my arms." He smiled, slow and fond. "Didn't even open your eyes."
Gabriel took a few long moments to process what Sam had just revealed. Had he really slept through a night terror for the first time since returning from the war? Could they really be eased so easily? Was comfort all he needed this entire time?
"You…" Gabriel breathed as though his voice had been stolen from him. "Sam, you… you did this? You're the reason I slept all night?"
Sam shrugged. "I suppose so."
Before a single thought of hesitation could even cross Gabriel's mind, he was reaching out, cupping that soft, handsome face in either of his calloused hands, and pushing their mouths together. The action was impulse-driven and downright crazy, but God damn it if it wasn't something that hadn't crossed Gabriel's mind more times than he could count on both hands. And after everything this kid had done for him, he could fight it no longer.
Sam sucked in air through his nose, tensing to the point of being stone-like under the soldier's touch. He didn't move, didn't breathe, and when the kiss wasn't returned, Gabriel was struck with the realization of his actions and immediately pulled away, his eyes widened and heart sinking until it settled in his gut.
He mentally kicked himself. Repeatedly.
"Aw, jeez…" The soldier covered his face with his hands. "I'm sorry, kiddo, I shouldn't have done that."
"N-no, Gabriel, it's ok—"
"I don't even know what I was thinkin'. I'm sorry… it just sorta happened, and I should've been able to control myself."
Now, there were few things in this world that could take Lieutenant General Gabriel Milton by surprise. He had the ability to hear the sharp whistle of a plummeting bomb before it struck, which granted him those few precious seconds to get out of dodge. He could read people easily, simply by how they handled themselves in a moment of fear or panic. His instincts were sharp, his reactions quick. Not much could fool him, shock him, or leave him befuddled.
Not until this. Not until Sam Winchester had taken hold of his sweater in those big, beautiful hands of his, and drew him close until their mouths met a second time.
"Mm…" Gabriel made a soft, almost whimpering sound, against Sam's lips, his hands raised, but hesitant to touch the kid. His heart had leapt up from where it had sunk in his gut, and was now lodged somewhere in his throat.
The kiss was gentle and sweet, and lasted only a couple of seconds but, when Sam pulled away, Gabriel was practically breathless. They regarded each other for a few long moments, eyes searching, Sam's fingers still curled into the warm wool of the sweater he had lent Gabriel.
"Well," Gabriel forced himself to speak, his voice nought but a breath. "That was unexpected."
All at once, the familiar pink blush appeared on Sam's cheeks, and he dropped his eyes bashfully. His fingers clenched and unclenched the fabric in his hands, as though contemplating whether or not to let go. Gabriel didn't want him to. Ever. But, he did. Releasing his hold on the soldier's sweater, Sam lay back down flat on the couch, his hazel eyes falling closed. He didn't sleep, but seemed so at ease, so content. Gabriel had to smile, and he wondered if this was the first time since Dean's death that Sam had felt this much at peace.
Scooting closer across the couch, Gabriel leaned down to rest his head on the firm, broad plane that was Sam's chest. It was an odd position, awkward, and a little sore on his back considering the rest of his body was still sitting, but the soldier wouldn't move. Not yet. Not when both of Sam's arms came up and around to embrace him, fingers tangling through the back of his hair and gripping gently. Not when he distinctly heard the boy's heartbeat pick up under his ear.
Gabriel shut his eyes, letting them breathe together. Let the rhythmic thudding of Sam's heart lull him into a state of such utter peace, safety, and comfort, that tears sprung forth and spilled over his cheeks.
This boy had done so much. Changed so much. It was overwhelming.
"Thank you," Gabriel managed to choke. "For everything, just… thank you. Thank you."
The grip Sam had on him tightened and, before he knew it, Gabriel was being drawn up, closer and closer still, until he had no choice but to crawl right onto the boy's body and settle himself over him. Their legs interlocked, chests pressed flush together, faces only inches apart. It was perfect how easily they seemed to fit together, all spaces filled, like two pieces of the very same puzzle. Sam was thumbing away the tracks of tears still present on Gabriel's cheeks, and then lifted his head to kiss away the ones still beaded on his lashes.
Gabriel almost sobbed. Seizing Sam's jaw in one shaky hand, he kissed him full on that beckoning mouth of his; deep and desperate, drawing a quivered sound from the back of the boy's throat. Sam's lips were petal soft, sweet as honey. Gabriel had never tasted anything so delicious in his life. The boy's large hands had managed to slip beneath Gabriel's sweater, palms caressing his back, long fingers splaying out and tracing over every raised scar they found. Gabriel arced into them, knowing they would keep him grounded, keep him still and whole and safe.
Sam was smiling against the kisses. Gabriel could feel it, and he pulled back just slightly to look down upon the boy. They were both panting, sharing the same warm, shaky breaths, as though they'd just emerged from being underwater for too long a time. Drowning in each other; that's what they were doing. Submerging themselves and drowning in kisses and touches until their minds fogged out and their lung screamed for air.
What a perfect way to die.
A tiny, glowing white image of the window next to them was reflected in each of Sam's hazel eyes, and the soldier circled a finger tenderly over the dimple in his cheek.
"What're you smiling at?" he asked softly.
"You," Sam said simply. "You make me smile in times when I forget how to."
For the first time in a good long while, the soldier was struck positively speechless, and wasn't that just the nicest surprise. A few of the boys in his Company would have hollered with joy had they seen him right now. Gabriel had had a reputation of having a mouth on him, and he'd used it to his advantage in the field. He could slice a man to bits with just his words if he wanted to.
He would've responded to Sam, but his throat felt clogged up, his voice trapped and refusing to form words. So, instead, he just leaned in and stole kiss after kiss after kiss, plunging back into the waters and drowning all over again. Their mouths slotted together perfectly, and Gabriel didn't hesitate to glide his tongue passed the boy's lips, letting it explore and taste every last inch of that hot, wet cavern.
Soft-tipped fingers dug into the muscles of Gabriel's back, and Sam released a moan that had them both shuddering. The slow, lazy sparring of their tongues had Gabriel's mind in a dizzying whirl. He wanted more. Craved more.
And then Bobby's voice hollering from the top of the stairs ripped them both from the waters and back into reality.
"Ya idgits awake, yet?" The gruff voice called out. "Buses are up and running again."
It took Sam a minute to gather enough breath to return a shaky "Y-yeah! Yeah, we're up, Bobby."
They both listened as the older man's heavy footsteps faded away, probably to return to his room to get dressed for the day. Gabriel sat up on Sam's lap and turned his attention outside at the bright, clear morning. The streets were free of most of the snow, and neighbours were out cleaning their driveways and wiping the white dusting off of their automobiles. A cold wash of disappointment flooded through the soldier.
He had to return home today.
Sam sat up as well, and his hands were still slipped under Gabriel's sweater. He was gripping the soldier's hips, now, thumbs pressing into lean muscle, tracing the line that dipped and disappeared into Gabriel's trousers. The soldier hummed deep in his throat, especially when Sam leaned in to give the underside of his chin an affectionate nuzzle with his nose.
"C'mon…" the boy murmured. "I'll make you some coffee."
It was slow, the way they climbed off the couch together, limbs untangling and clothing rearranged. The cold emptiness between their separated bodies was all too noticeable, and it was as though they wanted to draw out the warmth of contact for as long as possible. Sam was the one who stepped away first, fingertips lingering on Gabriel's hips, before he turned and headed toward the kitchen to prepare the morning's coffee.
Heart going off like gunfire in his chest, Gabriel stood motionless, watching the boy disappear out of the doorway and down the hall, all the while dreading the moment when he'd have to say goodbye.
Sam had to admit: a single full night's rest did absolute wonders for Gabriel. The soldier was alert, energized, and that had nothing to do with the three cups of coffee he'd already downed before nine. The bags under Gabriel's eyes didn't look so deep, the dark circles not so dark. It was like a firecracker had gone off in the kitchen with the amount of light and power simply pouring out of the other man. Even his limp didn't seem as prominent, or maybe Gabriel was just so relaxed and refreshed that the pain wasn't worth focusing on.
Either way, Sam felt inexplicable joy at the sight of seeing Gabriel and Bobby laughing together in the breakfast nook over their coffees. The light that had been snuffed out in this home since Dean's passing had finally begun to glow again.
They had a simple breakfast: toast with raspberry jam and coffee. It was nothing special, but Sam found himself enjoying it more than he should have, especially when Gabriel discretely reached across the table when Bobby's attention was focused on the newspaper, and used his thumb to wipe the sticky jam off of the corner of Sam's mouth.
It was terrifying, the things this man made Sam feel in the short amount of time they had known each other. Sam was not supposed to care this much, want this much of someone.
When the time came for Gabriel to finally head to the bus stop, Sam waited in the narrow hallway next to Dean's portrait while the soldier dressed back into the clothes he'd first arrived in. Hands wrung together, he lifted his eyes and stared at the smiling face of his brother behind the glinting glass in the simple frame. Sam could almost hear Dean's voice now, telling him to man-up, and that just cause you said goodbye to someone it didn't always mean they'd be gone forever.
Not unless they were killed in the war.
But, Gabriel wasn't going back to war, was he. He was just going home. Nothing deadly about that. Nothing worth fretting about.
"Don't look at me that way," Sam muttered at the portrait. "You never came back. Dad never came back. I have every right to be scared each time someone steps out that door." Sighing, he pushed fingers back through his thick hair, still focused on the captured smile on Dean's face. "Maybe… scared isn't the right word for it. Worried maybe? I don't know."
The truth was: Sam was worried. Not because he expected a grenade to come flying in from out of nowhere and obliterate the soldier. Not because he expected there to be gunfire as soon as the door swung open.
It was the night terrors. Gabriel would continue to have them, regardless of how good a sleep he had the night before. It was never that easy to get rid of something so severe. And there would be no one there with him to bring him comfort, to give him that sense of safety he so desperately needed. Sam dreaded thinking about Gabriel gasping awake in the middle of the night, trembling, terrified, and alone, with the burn of whiskey as his only aid.
"I just wish I could help him as much as he's helped me, you know?" Sam asked his brother's image. "I mean, I can walk inside your room, now. I can smile again. I'm finally thinking about applying to Stanford, and it's all because of the things Gabriel did. I mourned you for months like I was dead inside, and then he came and slapped me back to life."
The creak in the hallway upstairs alerted Sam that Gabriel was done dressing, and was heading down.
"I'll say one thing, though," The slightest hint of a smile tugged at Sam's mouth. "I have a feeling that you're the one who sent him to me. If you hadn't given him your jacket that day, he would never have needed a reason to come here. I wouldn't have known he even existed." He laughed softly. "Call me nuts all you like, and I have a feeling you are right now, but it just seems like something you'd do. You always looked out for me, Dean."
Gabriel's approaching footsteps drew Sam's attention away, and he grinned at the sight of the soldier on the stairs, clad in his own trousers, button-down, and blazer, caramel hair freshly showered and feathery soft.
"Ah, feels good to be wearing clothes that fit again," the soldier winked. "Not that I really minded the ones you let me borrow."
Sam eyed Gabriel closely as he limped over to gather up his pilot's jacket. "Actually, I think I prefer you in my clothing."
Gabriel paused before he could stuff his second arm into his jacket, and gave the much taller man a mischievous little smirk. "My, my, look at you. Getting fresh with me, kiddo?"
"Maybe," Sam had to mirror the smirk, before leaning down and brushing their lips together in a long, sweet kiss.
His hands cradled Gabriel's face, and the soldier quickly slipped the rest of his jacket on so that he could stand on his tiptoes and curl his arms right around Sam's strong neck. The man was so damn short, that Sam had thoughts of lifting him up, but decided against it. If he had Gabriel fully in his arms, if those legs wrapped around his hips… well, Sam would rather not imagine the things he might do. Not with his uncle still in the house.
"You'll be okay, won't you?" Sam breathed against Gabriel's mouth when they finally parted for air. "On your own, I mean. With the night terrors?"
Gabriel's eyes, warm and gold like bottled honey, crinkled at the very corners when he smiled. "Yeah, I'll be all right."
"You're sure? These things don't go away so easily."
"Shh…" Gabriel kissed him again to shut him up, which worked. "Stop worrying about me, kiddo. I've dealt with a million times worse. These things I can handle."
The boy sighed heavily and pressed their foreheads together, Gabriel's words doing little to bring him comfort. "I wish I could do more for you."
"You've done enough. More than enough. Now, quit pouting and keep kissing me."
Sam obliged more than willingly, lips suckling and teeth scraping and biting over Gabriel's mouth until he was certain that some form of mark was being left behind. Their tongues danced, and the soldier almost went limp in his arms.
"Mm…" Gabriel huffed a breath as he smiled. "Damn, you're good at that."
Sam had to blush. "Did you say goodbye to my uncle, yet?"
"Mhm. Upstairs when I was done dressing,"
"You have your flask?"
"In my pocket." Gabriel nodded and pulled away, smoothing down the front of his jacket and fixing his hair. "Well… guess I should head out. The bus will be at the stop in less than ten minutes, and God knows I'm not exactly the fastest walker."
Sam led him to the front door and opened it wide, inviting in a gust of icy wind and the occasional dancing flurry. Outside, the world was blinding white and beautiful. There were some children across the street busy building a snowman, their laughter bright and clear in Sam's ears. During the war, it had been so hard to believe that there would ever be this kind of peace again.
He supposed he had Gabriel and all the men of his Company to thank for that.
Gabriel took Sam's hand in his and brought it up to his face, where he proceeded to press a long, lingering kiss to his palm. For a split second, Sam forgot his own name.
"You take care of yourself, kiddo," the soldier whispered hot against his skin.
Sam swallowed hard and caressed Gabriel's strong, angular jaw with the pad of his thumb. "You, too."
Those were the only words the two of them exchanged. There were no goodbyes, and Sam was beyond thankful for that. A goodbye seemed too final. He'd said goodbye far too many times, only to have that person never return. As they parted, Sam watched with a heavy heart while Gabriel carefully limped down the icy steps and trudged through the ankle-deep layer of sparkling snow toward the sidewalk. He turned, then, and gave one last wave of farewell while the sun glinted through his silky caramel hair and lit up his eyes, even at a distance.
It took Sam's breath away.
He looked downright angelic.