This was written as a birthday gift for enmuse over on the lj comm 'Sabriel's Everlasting Birthday Challenge' (sabriel_bday).

Title: The First Time We Met
Author: lonelyphoenix85
Rating: PG
Pairing and/or Characters: Sam, Gabriel
Spoilers: Season 5
Warnings: None
Word Count: 777 (was 666, had to add a few *grins*)

Disclaimer: I own nothing. It's very sad.

Summary: Tall Tales wasn't the first time Gabriel and Sam Winchester met...


- Now -

Sam had met Gabriel before.

Not that the hunter recognised him, of course.

He didn't recognise him when the brothers thought Gabriel was just a Trickster, and he didn't recognise him when they found out his big secret either.

He didn't recognise him when Gabriel barely escaped his big brother in the Elysian Fields motel, or as they slowly started to become friends.

When Sam told Gabriel about his trip to Heaven before the big show-down – he'd been sure to track down the hunters responsible and make them sorry for hunting down his human – he had had to bite his tongue to stop from spilling the beans, because he'd been in Sam's Heaven?

When they faced down Michael and Lucifer together Sam was still in the dark.

Now though…

Now it was finally time to tell Sam exactly how long he'd known the youngest Winchester, and exactly why he'd never been very fond of Dean or John.

- Then -

Sam was all on his own.

There was no Dean watching his back, no Dad ordering him around…he could finally just do what he wanted for a change.

It had been brilliant, right up until he'd realised that something was following him.

He quickened his pace slightly, eyes firmly locked on the motel room across the parking lot. If he could just get inside…

The faint rustling and soft breathing behind him crept closer, and he quickened his step again – he wanted to run, but the lot was uneven and slippery with ice, and if he fell he'd really be screwed.

The door was a few metres away when he heard a low growl behind him.

Putting on a last burst of speed – and thanking his lucky stars he hadn't bothered to lock up while he went to the diner – Sam dashed for the door, crossing the salted threshold before turning to see what was behind him.

He really hadn't expected to see a golden retriever baring its teeth at his big brother.

Except it wasn't Dean, was it?

The charm that he'd given his brother for Christmas was missing – Dean never took it off.

And now that he thought about it, the stance of the imposter was all wrong. And the look he was giving the dog… Sam shivered at the chill fake-Dean's expression sent up his back.

The dog growled again, and the thing glanced in his direction one last time before running off into the woods across the road.

The dog turned and trotted cheerfully up to Sam, walking unceremoniously into the young hunter's motel room as if he owned the place.

- Now -

"Sammy?"

"Yeah Gabe?"

The hunter looked up from his laptop, the Archangel's tone making him a little nervous.

It was his "I've done something, and you're probably going to be pissed that I didn't tell you about it before now…" tone of voice.

Yes, Sam had started categorising his tones.

No, he didn't think it bordered on obsessive behaviour.

After all, Dean did the same thing with Sam's facial expressions, didn't he?

The younger hunter had heard his brother whisper about his "If you don't leave me and my computer in peace I'm going to shoot you…" bitch-face to Castiel just yesterday, hadn't he?

"Remember the first time we met?"

Oh, this was going to be good. What had he done that they didn't notice? And that he felt the need to confess to now after all this time?

Sam hoped it wasn't anything to do with the Impala – Gabe and Dean had only just called a cease-fire on the prank war, and he really couldn't take a second round.

"Sure – you were a dick, and we staked you. Why?"

"No, not then. I'm talking about the very first time…"

The Archangel shifted slightly, and he looked almost…nervous?

"As far as I can remember that was the first time Gabe…"

If someone had been messing with his memories…

He kept the glare that wanted to form at that thought off his face, wanting to hear what Gabriel would say next.

He could see the second Gabriel settled on a plan of action. His shifting ceased, and his whole stance changed as he relaxed.

He grinned cockily at the hunter, and spoke.

"I looked a little different back then Sasquatch – so did you, for that matter…that must've been one hell of a growth spurt when puberty kicked in, kiddo. Maybe this'll jog your memory…"

With that, Gabe snapped his fingers, and Sam had to blink at what suddenly stood before him.

And then he rubbed his eyes and blinked again.

Because that couldn't possibly be…

"…Bones?"