Title: Till Dawn
Disclaimer: Don't own. Just playing in the sandbox.
Warnings: Know who Gabriel is? Then you're good.
Sam hadn't woken up.
It'd been almost fourteen hours since his brother had been tossed up against the wall and Dean had spent most of that time pacing outside of the motel room du jour. The only reason he wasn't inside of the room was standing in front of the door, watching him.
"I need to check on him, Cas," Dean growled, not for the first time and probably not for the last.
"Gabriel is…tending to him," the angel said, just as he had each time before. Dean scowled, but pivoted away, resuming his pacing.
A few tense moments of silence pas, punctuated by Dean's footsteps on the pavement.
"What does that even mean, 'tending'?" he asked, spinning back. "Is he healing him or what?"
Gabriel, since joined up with Team Free Will a few months ago, had spent a fair amount of time doing just that and while Dean was grateful for the assistance and added firepower that the archangel was, he wasn't so sure about the amount of time Gabriel had been spending hovering over Sam, even when the youngest Winchester wasn't hurt.
Whenever Sam did get injured, though, the hovering always got worse. Gabriel would plant himself in a chair next to Sam's bed, snap and snarl at anyone else and more or less become a mother bear in a shrimpy meatsuit. It'd be funny if Dean hadn't nearly gotten himself smote the last time, trying to check on Sammy the morning after a fight gone sour.
However, hovering tendencies aside, any healing tended to happen with a snap and Dean was usually allowed in the room. This unusual banishment was really starting to chafe.
Castiel sighed. "I do not know what you are already aware of," he started.
"Nothing!" Dean said. "I know nothing! Nobody's telling me anything about what's going on!"
The angel hunched his shoulders. "I really shouldn't be the one to tell you," he hedged, but Dean snorted.
"If you don't, no one will. What's going on, Cas?"
"My brother has been bonding with Sam over the last few months," Castiel said.
Dean took a moment to understand that. "Bonding?" It didn't sound like Castiel was talking about going out for a couple of beers or playing pranks.
Castiel shook his head. "Perhaps a better word would be imprinting. It is the beginning stages of tying one's grace to another being."
"Tying grace…Like some sort of angelic marriage rite?"
"Not quite, but close enough for these purposes, yes."
Dean took a deep breath. "So, let me get this straight. Your brother is in there getting hitched to my brother while he's unconscious?"
The angel winced minutely. "Not entirely," he protested. "The process is lengthy and requires participation on both sides. It cannot be completed without Sam's conscious permission."
"So, not married, engaged, whatever." Dean waved the matter aside. "That doesn't explain why I can't see my brother!"
"At this stage of the process," Castiel said, crossing his arms, "Gabriel is overprotective and possessive of Sam, of the claim he's made. With Sam injured, that instinct grows greater and harder to ignore and added to the fact that he's also a Trickster…" The angel shook his head. "He is reduced to base emotions. Right now, his only thoughts are to protect and care for Sam and he'll defend Sam from any perceived threat, even you."
"I'm his brother, Cas. I need to know if he's alright," Dean said, stepping in close to the angel.
"I understand that, Dean," Castiel said, eyes steady on Dean's. "I do not want to forcibly separate you from Sam, but neither do I wish you to be blown to smithereens if Gabriel reacts badly."
Dean's expression twitched with the effort it took to not follow through on his desire to punch something and he snarled as he spun away, back onto the pavement. "What am I supposed to do, then, Cas?" he asked, fists clenched.
"Wait," the angel said. "Gabriel should be himself by morning and you'll be able to see Sam then."
Dean pointedly looked up to where the sun was still a fair ways off the horizon. "That's a long time to wait, Cas."
The angel sighed. "What do you want me to tell you, Dean? Gabriel will rip you to pieces without a thought if you go in there, now. He will not hesitate just because you are Sam's brother. Take my advice and wait."
The hunter stood for a moment, still practically vibrating with tension. Then he slumped and sighed. "Yeah, fine. Come on. Let's get a different room. No way am I sleeping in the car just because your brother decided this was a good time to go all mama bear on Sammy."
Castiel tilted his head in confusion, but obediently followed Dean to the motel's front desk.
Warnings/Spoilers: Uhm. You know Gabriel? Then you're good.
It's been almost fifteen hours and Sam hasn't woken up.
Gabriel's been there for every minute of those almost fifteen hours.
In the beginning, when he'd had the ability to think of such things, he'd been glad that Castiel knew what was up and was able to keep Dean and himself away. He can't remember it now, but he hadn't wanted to harm either of them in the state he was now in.
Now, he can't remember anything beyond the need to heal and protect Sam.
That first goal is proving harder to accomplish than he'd been expecting.
He wasn't there, didn't see it happen, so he's not sure of the sequence of events that culminated with Sam in what amounts to a coma, now. A demon-plus-wall induced coma, if he's put together what he can remember Castiel saying correctly.
The how and why don't really concern him now. All he's worried about is the fact that his not inconsiderable power is not enough to heal Sam of whatever is keeping him in this state.
It's frustrating him beyond reason.
He's aware, at some deep level of consciousness, that his behavior right now is not normal for him. He does not usually spend hours at a time curled around Sam's still form as if by doing so he can protect the comatose hunter from anything. He also doesn't usually growl at every shadow, snarl at the faint motion of the curtains when the A/C kicks on or let his eyes track restlessly around the room, cataloguing hiding places and escape routes.