Disclaimer: I own nothing, unfortunately - it's my curse...I only get to borrow the boys unfortunately.

Chapter 1

The last thing Gabriel wanted was to be dragged back into his family's feud. He'd gotten along pretty damn well on his own for this long, thank you very much. It was all the fault of those infuriating Winchesters! It grated that they'd gotten so far under his skin that he no longer had a choice. Except it wasn't they, was it? Not really. It was just him. Samuel Winchester. Messed up, demon-blood addicted, oh-so-freaking noble Sammy.

There's something about you

I want to rescue

I don't even know you

So what does that mean?

Maybe I'm cynical

I'm painfully logical

You're tragic and beautiful

And that's good enough for me.

He had just wanted the whole thing over with. His brothers wanted a showdown, and he'd tired of the role of peacekeeper a long time ago. He'd been resolved to push the Winchesters into their roles whether they liked it or not. That didn't work so well either – stupid, stubborn, irritating hunters! Not only did he not get them to play ball, but he underestimated just how few pieces the younger Winchester would need to put the puzzle together, and now they knew who he was.

~ "This is about you being too afraid to stand up to your family." ~

Dean's parting remark had been intended to cut, but it had barely scratched compared to what he'd seen in Sam's mind. With everything his life had thrown at him, Sam had still managed to retain some small measure of faith. Until now. Somehow, Gabriel had done what even his brother's trip to hell and Ruby's manipulation had been unable to. He should have seen it coming, he supposed. Even beneath his layers (upon layers upon layers) of issues, Sam's belief in good and pure had been a grounding point, something to rely on. Gabriel hadn't considered himself good or pure in a long time, but apparently Sam associated those things with his old job (and really who could blame him? The only thing better or purer than Gabriel and his Brothers had been their Father, after all), and seeing how far he had fallen (for want of a better word) had been the proverbial last straw for the camel's back that was Sam Winchester's faith.

You're looking for a hero, but it's just my old tattoo

Tonight I swear I'd sell my soul to be a hero for you.

He knew that Sam had been hoping to enlist him to fight with them against Heaven and Hell, before they'd figured out who he was. He had had no intention of getting involved in their suicidal and hopeless plans, and yet now, with Sam's devastation and disappointment ringing in his head, he found that he was desperate to do just that. The instinct to fix what he'd broken was stifling.

As soon as the fire had burned out he'd fled the warehouse, and thrown himself into trick after trick in an effort to drown out his thoughts. It wasn't working. Where there had been satisfaction and humour, now there was only shame at how damaged he'd become. Where he'd previously thrown himself into being 'The Trickster' with enthusiasm, now all he could see was how far removed he was from the Angel of Judgement he'd started out as.

Who's going to save you

When the stars fall from your sky?

And who's going to pull you in

When the tide gets too high?

Who's going to hold you

When you turn out the light?

I won't lie, I wish that I

Could be your superman tonight.

It took him a week to decide to bite the bullet, and the suspicion pouring off Sam when he found him alone in the motel room had nearly had him doing an about turn. He didn't need this, didn't need to get involved. He'd gotten as far as raising his hand to snap away, when he'd caught something. A feeling so fleeting and faint that he almost didn't notice it. Probably wouldn't have grasped its significance if it hadn't been for the bitter thoughts that followed in its wake. Focusing, he grasped the feeling in his memory, and identified it. Hope. For a fraction of a second, in amongst the suspicion and disappointment directed at him, hope that maybe something good could finally happen had flared up in Sam's chest. That the thoughts he'd crushed it down with had been bitter and cynical didn't matter to Gabriel. All that mattered was that maybe, despite the efforts of Heaven and Hell and everything in between, Sam Winchester wasn't as broken as he'd feared, and just maybe what Gabriel had come here to do wasn't impossible after all.

He might not have cared about saving the world from his Brothers, but he'd fight them for it if it meant saving Sam.