Fic prompt: Gabriel visits his little brother Cas in the hospital.

A/N: I didn't get any more detail than that, so I just went my own way with it. Kinda angsty, but there you go. It is very early in the morning, so I apologize if I rambled.

Sam woke up to the sound of sobbing.

Leaping out of the bed he shared with his boyfriend, he ran out into the living room to see Gabriel curled up on the sofa, clutching his mobile tightly, tears running down his face. Sam was instantly by his side, grabbing Gabriel's shoulders and forcing him to look in his eyes.

"Gabe, what happened, what's wrong?" Sam asked urgently. Gabriel shuddered and leant into his boyfriends arms. Sam gripped the caramel-haired man tightly, panic rising in him. He asked again, but softer this time. "Gabe?" Gabriel looked up slowly, his expression one of utter devastation. Sam held his face gently and looked at him in concern. "Please tell me what's happened." Gabriel stayed silent for a moment, tears leaking from the corner of his eyes as he stared up at Sam listlessly. After a minute, he spoke, his voice a broken whisper.

"Michael's dead."

The Novak family had been friends with the Winchester family for over twenty years, and throughout that time Sam had become friends with all of the many siblings. There was Castiel, the youngest, then Anna, Gabriel, Balthazar and the eldest twins, Michael and Lucifer. Their angel names came from a family tradition, since the family itself wasn't actually religious. Sam had (after many years of jokes and some occasions of actual wooing) started dating Gabriel, whereas his brother Dean eventually acted on his repressed feelings for Castiel and things took off from there. Though Sam and Gabriel were now living a couple of towns over from the others, they still saw them regularly and made a big deal out of meeting up for Christmas. Despite the some of the dysfunctional elements of the Novak family, there was no doubt to anyone who knew them that they loved each other dearly. They were a close family, and looked out for their own.

It didn't surprise Sam that Michael hadn't been alone in the car when it had crashed.

Michael had died instantly, Gabriel had told him, which apparently meant he had felt no pain when it happened. The person who had called Gabriel was Balthazar, telling his younger brother to get to the hospital where Anna worked as soon as possible. Because though Michael had died, Castiel hadn't. Castiel who had been sitting shotgun in the car while Michael drove. Castiel who was fighting for his life in hospital. Castiel who was the love of Dean's life. Soon after Gabriel had told him about the accident, Sam had received a short and blunt text from Dean summarising what Gabriel had told him. The length of the text told Sam that Dean was currently too emotional to talk over the phone and would probably break down. He needed Sam, that much was obvious. And Gabriel needed Sam, too.

Upon arriving at the hospital, Sam asked where Castiel Novak was at the desk before Anna saw them and hurried over. Her face was even paler against her flaming red hair than usual, and she looked tired. As soon as she saw Gabriel she hugged him tightly, and he squeezed her back just as hard. When they pulled back, Anna reached for Sam and hugged him too. It occurred to Sam that although Anna was one of the toughest out of the Novak clan, she was still the second youngest. Castiel was her only younger sibling, as opposed to Gabriel who had both Castiel and Anna.

Anna lead the two men up a corridor until they reached the other Novaks, all of whom were sitting solemnly on benches outside a closed room. Glancing through the blinds, Sam could just make out a man covered in tubes and another man sitting beside him, head bent.

"Dean's with him," said Chuck Novak quietly. Chuck was the father of the family, and had raised them all singlehandedly when their mother had died after giving birth to Castiel. It had been a struggle for him, a writer who held down two jobs, to look after all of his children. That was when Mary and John Winchester moved next door with their little boys. They'd helped Chuck out with lifts to and from school, dinner and occasionally the mortgage on the Novak house. When his sci-fi novel series took off he was able to pay them back (although they had refused his money, so he paid for them to go on a second honeymoon instead) but the bond between the parents and the children of both families was cemented.

Sam remembered Chuck looking constantly tired until he was fifteen and Chuck's books began selling. Now Chuck didn't just look tired. He looked drained.

Gabriel gripped Sam's hand tightly as the door to Castiel's room opened and Dean came out. He looked haggard and emotionally messed, making Sam fear for the man inside the room. Gabriel let go of Sam's hand and walked through the open doorway, much to Sam's surprise. The door closed behind him and the hallway was left in silence. Sam was loathed to leave Gabriel in the room alone, but he clearly had wanted to be on his own with Castiel, and Sam respected that, albeit reluctantly.

Sam touched his brother's arm lightly, and Dean raised his watery gaze to Sam's. He nodded stiffly before sliding into an empty seat beside Balthazar. Sam remained standing in the gloom, and looked at the people he considered family.

Chuck had his arms wrapped around himself, eyes closed. It was evident to Sam that he was wondering whether he was going to lose one child or two. Balthazar was beside him, face pale and completely void of its usual humour. His hands were clasped together and he was staring at the ground in front of him blankly. Then it was Dean, eyes closed, rubbing his fingers over his amulet soothingly. Sam had given him that amulet years ago. That happy time was so different to the current atmosphere it made Sam feel ill. After Dean was Anna, tears running down her cheeks silently, and then it was Lucifer.

Lucifer was probably the scariest of all of the Novak children. He was a fantastic football player and had been captain of the team in high school, but his main strength was quiet intimidation. That being said, he'd gone off to do a degree in physics when he'd graduated and was fearlessly protective of his family, which included the Winchesters. Sam remembered when some kid called Dick Roman had been giving Dean crap, and Lucifer had gone over and scared the hell out of the boy so much that he never spoke to Dean again. Sam also knew that after Gabriel, Lucifer was the sibling that Castiel was closest to.

Lucifer was staring blankly at the wall ahead of him, evidently not paying the slightest bit of attention to the world around him. He wasn't crying, but Sam knew that Lucifer was in a worse state when he wasn't showing his emotions openly. Sam himself felt devastated and tense, but he knew that what he felt couldn't compare to the way Lucifer was feeling. Michael was his twin brother, and the two of them had been thick as thieves. Castiel was the youngest brother, the one born when Lucifer was old enough not to act like an ass to, and by the end of the night he may have lost both of them.

A doctor came around the corner. She had short blonde hair and carried a clipboard. Nodding to the gathered family, she entered Castiel's room without closing the door behind her. Upon entering she let out a surprised gasp, which alerted the attention of the waiting people. They were instantly rushing forward, pushing their way into the room to see what had happened. When they got into the room, they too gasped in shock.

Leaning against the hospital pillow, eyes wide and bright, was Castiel. There were no tubes in his mouth and he gave a small smile to his family. Gabriel was sitting beside him holding his hand, a small smile on his lips too. Dean let out a strangled gasp and stumbled forward until he was right beside his boyfriend. Nuzzling his face into Castiel's shoulder, he mumbled,

"Never do that to me again." When Castiel replied his voice cracked, but there was strength in there too.

"Okay, Dean."

They weren't ecstatic at Castiel's recovery. They couldn't be, not without Michael. But Castiel's swift recovery helped to keep the family from tipping over the edge, and though it took many years, even Lucifer was able to move on with his life. Michael was never forgotten. He was canonised when Dean and Castiel named their first son after him, Michael John Winchester. Lucifer would have drifted away, but Castiel ensured that he leant on his family when he needed their help instead of crumbling on his own. Eventually Chuck published another novel, Sam and Gabriel got married and Balthazar return to his old womanising ways. In the end, Michael lived on his in his family. And well, isn't that kind of the whole point?