Warning: This story contains male/male relationships. If you are offended by this, go read something else.
Gabriel had long since written off most of his 'brothers' as a waste of time, but he has to admit, Castiel shows promise. He's still a bit too rigid in some things, despite rebelling and all that came with it, and he's stubborn, but he's also curious.
He can work with that.
And the part of him that is still very much a Trickster thinks teaching Castiel about humanity - most of it even true - is very amusing.
"Look, those little staring contests you have with Dean aside, humans just don't do the whole communion thing. They don't have any grace to mingle. You're not going to actually achieve anything by standing too close and staring meaningfully into his eyes, because humans don't work that way." Although it was always fun to watch, because Dean got so flustered.
"I know," Castiel replied. "Dean says that I have to respect his personal space. He said I should imagine a bubble, and stay outside of it." The look of confusion that accompanies this statement makes Gabriel snicker.
"Yeah, don't pop Dean's bubble," he laughs. Castiel gives him a Look, the kind that comes with a capital letter, and he sobers up a little. "I'm just saying, humans have different ways of expressing closeness and affection."
"I should call him names."
"That's a Sam-and-Dean thing, and not exactly typical. Let's face it, the Winchesters are kind of messed up when it comes to expressing their feelings. But if you stick to some of the more... normal human interactions, they'll get the point."
"Well... smiling. When you're happy to see someone, you smile. Often, they'll smile back." Gabriel tilts his head, an easy grin on his face. "See? Not hard."
Castiel's looks more like a grimace.
"We'll work on that one. Maybe you should track down a mirror and practice. But there are other things. Touching each other - usually above the waist if you want to avoid trouble. Things like a pat on the back, or just a brush of the arm, that sort of thing."
"Is this not invading personal space?"
"Yes, but in an appropriate way. Standing close enough to breathe in somebody's ear is not appropriate."
"I do not breathe."
"Not the point." Gabriel sighs. His little brother is just a bit slow on the uptake. Or maybe he's spent so long around humans that he doesn't remember how confusing it was at first. He's had a lot more time to watch how they do things. Maybe he should make Castiel watch more TV. Then again, he'd probably end up even more confused, or hopelessly addicted to Dr Sexy, MD. "Look, the Winchester boys are a bit slow about some things," just like you, "so maybe you should stick to something more obvious."
"Like hugging or kissing. They're really obvious expressions of affection that even Dean Winchester can't misunderstand." Gabriel smirks a little at the idea of Castiel laying one on Dean. The heterosexual panic alone should be worth the popcorn. Never mind that Castiel has no real clue about sexual attraction, and he's just trying to make it clear to Dean that he likes him - sadly, in a strictly platonic way.
Dean's not the only one who thinks Castiel needs to get laid. Gabriel wishes he could have been there for the trip to the brothel; not only does it sound hilarious, but hey, he's never been one to shy away from scantily clad women of negotiable virtue. Still, he probably would have gotten distracted by the aforementioned women and missed the spectacle of his chaste and upright little brother being thrown out of a whorehouse, anyway.
Castiel considers this. "I believe hugging would constitute popping Dean's imaginary bubble. I have seen Sam do it, and he protests a lot."
"Yeah, but he still likes it." He pictures Castiel walking up to Dean and giving him a bear-hug, his face all intense and serious the way it usually is, and it's hilarious. Being Castiel, he'd probably hold on longer than was really necessary, so that Dean ends up flailing and complaining about chick-flick moments.
"He does kiss a lot of women, though. Are you sure this is an appropriate sign of affection and closeness? I think he barely knows some of them."
Gabriel blinks. His brother has it completely the wrong way around, and Gabriel hasn't had to even say anything. "Dean is very... friendly, that's all." He can just picture the sudden I'm-not-gay freak-out from here. It will be awesome, and he doesn't have to lift a finger. He thinks Sam will also probably appreciate it, which makes it even better, because the best pranks deserve an audience. Dean will never hear the end of it. "So you know about kissing?"
Castiel nods seriously. "It's when two humans put their mouths together."
Gabriel makes a face. "Well, that's the general idea of it, yes. But there is more to it than that."
Gabriel chokes a little. "Uh, yeah, that is one component." The look on Dean Winchester's face when Castiel slips him some tongue - that will be just priceless. Gleeful anticipation almost makes him miss Castiel's next words.
"I should practice."
So he's not really ready for it when Castiel leans forward, nervous and tense, and presses his lips - still closed and not even really puckered up or anything - against Gabriel's own.
It's not much a of a kiss, but it makes Gabriel's breath catch. (He doesn't need to breathe, either, but being in a human form for so long means he's picked up a few bad habits.) It's been a very long time since he was this close to any of his brethren, and even though they're both confined within human - or human-shaped - vessels, he can feel Castiel's grace leaking through, brushing lightly against his own.
It makes him ache for the closeness he once knew, even though he still wants nothing to do with Heaven. This, he thinks, is why he couldn't quite stay away from the Winchesters and their renegade angel, why he's sitting here trying to teach Castiel how to act like a human. For all that he mocks Castiel's attempts to 'commune' with Dean Winchester, he still remembers how it was to feel that aching lack of communion, to feel alone in ways that angels were never meant to be.
"You should part your lips a little," he says, not really thinking.
Castiel nods and leans forward again.
This time when their lips meet, it's softer. Castiel's lips are dry and a little chapped, but just beyond their edges, his mouth is moist and warm. Gabriel lets his tongue slide along the opening, dip just inside, and feels his little brother mimic the movements.
Castiel's not such a slow learner after all.
It feels like the best of both worlds: the physicality and immediacy that comes with being inside a human form, all those wants and urges that push two bodies to try and get as close as possible, to climb inside each other as far as they can go; the soft whisper of another's grace against his, that warm, electric feeling of overlap because angels have no boundaries in the physical sense.
He can feel so many things from Castiel, and many of them are unexpected: admiration, respect, affection. Gabriel's quite sure he doesn't deserve any of them - he was trying to get Castiel to kiss Dean as a prank, after all - but Castiel has no reservations, even though he must be picking up just as much from Gabriel.
"Uh," he says intelligently when they draw apart once again.
Castiel looks - feels - just a little smug. He might not be able to smile without it looking completely wrong, but the beginnings of a smirk tug at his lips, and Gabriel's pretty sure the brat learned it from him.
Eyes narrowed, Gabriel looks at him, then thinks, 'What the hell.'
It's Gabriel who leans forward this time. Apparently, he's a pretty good teacher, even without resorting to tricks. But Castiel still has a lot to learn, and more practice is definitely called for.