Brotherly Duties

By ROSSELLA1

Note: I do not own Supernatural or any of its characters. Takes place sometime after Changing Chanels but before Hammer of the Gods. Unless you're like me and believe that Gabriel is not dead. He's just hiding somewhere. And hasn't contacted anyone for some obscure reason.

"It's okay, Sammy." Dean whispered, pushing the hair off his brother's sweaty forehead. "It's probably just a 24-hour thing." Sam gave a small moan in his sleep and nestled closer. "Cas'll be back with the meds soon." Sighing, Dean closed his eyes and rested his head on top of Sam's.

"Dean." A voice to his right said.

"Speak of the Devil." Dean grinned and sat up. "You get it?"

"Why do you wish to converse of the Devil? Have you found a-"

"Never mind. Did you get the medicine?"

"Yes. Here." Castiel handed Dean the bag.

"Great. Sammy." Dean turned and shook Sam's shoulder, at the same time digging the Vicks out of the bag. "Hey, Sammy. Dude, you need to wake up." His brother stirred and blinked up at him.

"Wha? Dean, I'b dired. 'y're 'ou 'akin' me ub'?"

"Cas came back with the medicine." Dean tore the plastic off and poured some into the cup. "Here, take this and you can go back to sleep."

Sam grabbed the cup, downed it, and let his head fall back on Dean's chest. "G'nighd."

"Night, Sammy." Dean turned back to Castiel. "Thanks, Cas. I'd have gone, but I didn't want to leave him alone while he was like this."

"Of course. I have never experienced the influenza virus, but I do not envy your brother."

"Yeah, me neither." Dean lay his head back down and waited a few moments. "Uh… Cas? I'd talk, but I don't want to wake…." He nodded towards Sammy.

"I understand."

Another moment. "Is…uh…there a reason you're just standing there? Or…"

The angel shook his head. "I'm sorry…it's just, what are you and Sam doing?"

Dean narrowed his eyes. "Umm…well, Sam's asleep and I'm lying down…"

"But you have your own bed. And you are embracing him."

"Well…" Dean coughed and felt blood rush to his face. God, why had Cas had to walk in now? "You know…Sam has nightmares sometimes and…when he's sick, they're always worse. So, well…" Dean dropped his eyes. "You know…"

"No. I don't. Please inform me."

"I…uh…well…he's my brother see…so I…I thought cuddling him might help... it always did when he was a kid…and…" Dean trailed off. 'There was nothing chick-flicky about it.' He told himself.' 'Just one brother taking care of another.'

"Cuddling?"

"Yeah."

"I have heard of that concept before, but I thought it was only between a man and a woman or a parent and his or her child. You are not Sam's father…you and Sam are not…" Castiel trailed off.

"What? No…I mean…hell no!" Dean shifted uncomfortably. "I mean that's just wrong!"

"Agreed. But then why are you-"

"Look, Cas...uh, brothers can cuddle, too. It's uh…just something people who care about each other do when one of them's scared or hurt…" 'Damn, Cas! It was sure chick-flicky now!'

"I see. " The angel replied, thoughtfully. "And brothers are supposed to do this?"

"Uh…yeah, I guess so…"

Castiel's expression turned grim. "Then I apologize. I have urgent business to attend to." There was a soft flutter and then Castiel was gone.

Dean spent a second staring at the place where the angel had been and then shrugged. Who knew what went on in Cas's mind? He'd be back later and Dean could ask him then. At least he'd stayed long enough to bring them the medicine. Dean hesitated a moment. Now that Cas had called attention to the fact that Dean and Sam were cuddling, it did seem a bit too much like a chick-flick moment for his taste. With a sigh, he started to get up, only to be yanked back down. Sam was still holding on to him, anchoring them both to the bed. Rolling his eyes, Dean reached down and tried to unravel Sam's arms, but he couldn't.

"Sammy? Sam…"

With a groan, Sam glanced up at him. "Wha' now?"

Dean hesitated. "Nothing." He said finally. "Just go back to sleep." If it meant Sam getting a good night's sleep, then Dean would suffer through a chick-flick moment. But, when Sam got better, it'd be his turn to fill up the Impala.

…..

The archangel Gabriel liked sex. No, like wasn't even the right word. He loved sex! He spent several hours a day thinking up different things to try with his illusions. So, that was why, when his brother appeared in the middle of Gabriel having a threesome with two women he'd gotten the blueprint out of Playboy for, he was upset. Of all the things Gabriel had imagined in his fantasy, his baby brother definitely wasn't one of them.

"Brother, I need to talk to you."

"It can wait." Gabriel snapped. "I'm busy right now."

"It's important."

"Look," Gabriel snapped his fingers, making another woman appear, "if you wanna stick around, help yourself. Just, in a different room, okay? Take care of him." He told the woman and turned his attention back to the women at hand. He heard a growl off to the side and turned his head to see his brother trying to deter the woman from wrapping her arms around him. "Look, bro if you're going to be a party pooper…" He met Castiel's eyes and paused. There was a desperateness in them that he'd hadn't seen since Lucifer had fallen. "Excuse us, ladies." He snapped his fingers and they vaporized. He could bring them back later; right now, something was dreadfully wrong with his brother. "What is it bro? Did something happen to the Winchesters?" He gave a humorless chuckle.

"No." Castiel shook his head, his expression never wavering. "Sam and Dean are fine. Sam's sick, but nothing worse than the flu."

"So what is it? What's wrong?" Gabriel tried to keep his tone light, but it was difficult. No matter how much of the Trickster's persona, no matter how much he pretended nothing mattered to him but himself, if there was one thing that he'd drop any of that for, it was his family.

"We have been remiss in our duties."

Gabriel raised a brow. "What duties? I think I would have heard-"

Castiel shook his head. "Not orders from our Father. We have been remiss in our duties as brothers."

"To Mike? Raph?" Gabriel stood up with a smile. "You finally changed your mind? I-"

"No. In our brotherly duties to each other."

"Okay, Cas, now you've lost me."

"Brother, we have never cuddled."

"Excuse me?" Gabriel gave a dry laugh. "You interrupted my threesome for cuddling time?"

Castiel's brow furrowed. "You mean you have heard of this concept and failed to tell me?"

"What? It's not like it's that big a deal."

"It's a very big deal, Gabriel!" Castiel growled, and if Gabriel had held any lesser status than archangel, he would have jumped at how serious his brother sounded. "I have just come from the Winchesters and I have learned that brothers are supposed to cuddle."

"Yeah, so I've heard-"

"So, I have never done that before! If we are to be brothers-"

"Woah, woah, woah!" Gabriel had to laugh for real this time. "Slow down there, Cas! It's not a requirement or anything. It's just something brothers do sometimes. It's not…we can still be brothers without it!"

"You are certain?"

"Trust me. I've been around longer than you have; if there was a rule out there, I'd know."

A look of relief came over Castiel's face. "Good." Then the look turned to one of embarrassment. "I-I am sorry I disturbed you." He glanced from side to side as if naked women might be hiding somewhere in the room. "I-I should… I'll let you get back to…uh…goodbye…" Castiel turned to go.

"Wait…" Gabriel held up a hand to stop his brother. Something still wasn't sitting right with him. "So…you just found out that brothers…cuddled?"

"Yes." Was Castiel's simple reply.

"You mean, you've never…uh…not with Mike? Or Raph?"

"Of course not. Why would they want anything to do with common angels?"

The stunned look on Cas' face only served to deepen the pit that was growing in Gabriel's stomach. Shit, what had happened to his brothers after he'd left? Before Lucifer had fallen, Heaven had been a place of love! It wasn't as if cuddling was an everyday occurrence. But all his siblings, archangels or not, had lived in peace. They had been a family! When Gabriel had left, he'd known that Michael and Raphael had become…well, assholes…but he'd assumed that they'd at least keep their family safe, take care of their siblings. If what Castiel was saying was true, then Heaven really had gone to Hell!

"Well…uh…you know, it's not a requirement, but, if you want to…I mean, brothers do…cuddle…now and again…If you want to stay…" Gabriel trailed off, trying to keep himself from blushing.

But the look on Castiel's face made the embarrassment worth it. "You are certain?"

"Yeah! I mean when in Rome, you know?"

Castiel frowned. "But we are not in-"

"Never mind." Gabriel cut him off. "Come on." He scooted over, patting the place next to him.

Looking unbelievably unsure of himself, Cas slowly approached the bed and sat down.

"That's a good start." Gabriel encouraged. "Now, I'm going to put my arms around you and you're going to lay your head down on my shoulder and hug me back, okay?" Castiel nodded and did so, albeit a bit stiffly, as if unsure why he was doing this. "That's good. Now, we just stay like this."

"For how long?"

"Until we feel like stopping." Gabriel rubbed Cas' back. "Just relax a bit, bro." After a minute, the tension started to leave Castiel's shoulders and Gabriel allowed himself a smirk. "So…I'm your favorite brother, huh?"

"What?" Castiel's eyes widened, looking up at Gabriel's.

"Well," Gabriel laughed, "you think brothers need to cuddle to be brothers and you come straight to me? I've got to be your favorite brother or you would have gone to find someone else first. I mean, I get it, I'm awesome! I just-"

"I never said that." Cas replied, hiding his face in Gabriel's chest. But Gabriel could feel his brother smile and the archangel noticed that Cas didn't deny it.