Title: Not Too Bad

Disclaimer: Don't own. Just playing in the sandbox.
Characters(Pairings): Gabriel/Sam implied pre-slash, Joshua
Warnings: Implied abuse

"There must be a mistake!"

Gabriel glared at the soul, which did its level best to shrink even further. Joshua sighed.

"I'm afraid not, Gabriel. It's on the missive. This soul is to be given to you."

The archangel huffed, wings clamped tight to his back in irritation. "But I don't want a soul! They're nothing but nuisances and I'm busy enough without having to look after one of them, too!"

The soul—Joshua had said its name was Samuel Winchester—couldn't get any smaller, but it tried. Even without a face, it managed to convey a sense of misery and woe. Gabriel determinedly didn't look at it again.

Joshua lifted his hands in a helpless gesture. "The form says it's relatively easy to look after and I doubt it will give you much trouble. It could have been much worse, Gabriel."

Gabriel made a face. "Yeah," he admitted reluctantly. "I could have been saddled with a soul like Raphael's."

Joshua winced at the reminder. Robert Singer—Raphael's soul—had brought some much-needed activity to the archangel's existence, but everyone except Raphael steered clear of the soul after the meditation pool incident. Michael in particular was very careful to keep a respectful distance between himself and the soul.

"I will admit that that was one matching that even I could hardly believe came from Him," the gardener muttered. Shaking off the memories, he considered the archangel. "So, shall I mark you down for this one?"

Sighing, Gabriel scowled. "Yeah, I suppose. Orders and missives and all."

The gardener nodded, scratched something onto his clipboard and smiled fondly at the soul, which seemed to unfurl a bit at the look. "Very good. I'll check in with you in a week to make sure it's settling in alright."

Gabriel nodded, already turning to leave. "Okay. Come on, then," he said, beckoning to the soul. "I'm not going to coddle you." The soul hurried to catch up.

A moment later, though, Gabriel felt a soft impact on his wings. Turning, glare already half-formed, he faltered when he saw the soul hunching back in on itself where it had fallen, as if expecting retribution. Gabriel sighed and brushed the soul back up with one wing, ignoring the sensation of warmth along the feathers that came into contact with it.

"I'm not going to hurt you," he muttered, embarrassed. "I'm not happy about being saddled with yet another responsibility, but I'm not going to take it out on you. So, relax already."

The soul cautiously unfurled and Gabriel wondered just who the soul had been matched to before him, if it was acting like this. Most souls were generally happy, easy to please and affectionate. He'd never heard of one being scared of an angel.

Nor had he seen one quite like this, either, he realized. A bit more relaxed and not folded in on itself, it was easier to see just how big the soul really was. It was nearly half again the size of every other soul Gabriel had ever seen and it seemed to be aware of this, hunched over as if trying to look more normal.

"Don't do that," he said before thinking better of it. Grimacing, he continued. "Don't hide. You're not a freak and there's nothing shameful about being tall."

It quivered and a flurry of colors passed over it, revealing jagged lines across its very being. Gabriel reached out and drew a finger down where one of the scars had been and the soul shook again. He felt a sudden surge of fury towards whoever had hurt the soul in such a way, but he carefully pushed it back down.

"Samuel Winchester, huh?" the archangel asked softly, resigning himself to this new addition to his life. "That's a mouthful to say. How about just Sam?"

The soul unfurled completely, ending up taller than Gabriel and it practically glowed. The archangel quirked a grin.

"Sam it is, then." He turned to continue on, the soul fluttering beside him. And he still wasn't happy about this, but maybe it wouldn't be too bad.