I don't own Supernatural or it's characters. I just play with them. A big thank you to my beta reader Daiya Amaya.
Soon after Lucifer escaped his cage and revealed to Sam that he was Lucifer's true vessel, Sam just stopped. He stopped eating, drinking, sleeping, he just stopped. Dean didn't know this since Sam was in Garber, Oklahoma and he wasn't. Castiel didn't know this since the Enochian sigils on Sam's ribs kept the hunter invisible to all angels. Bobby didn't know because no-one called him. Lucifer knew but couldn't reach Sam as he went further and further into his own mind. The hospital personnel knew but didn't have anyone they could call since Sam had smashed his cell and threw it away before he stopped.
Gabriel was the one who finally found Sam. He was in Garber to work a few pranks on the hospital administrator. While he was there, he heard about the John Doe in the long term care ward who was catatonic. The nurses had fallen in love with the young man who, they said, had such beautiful eyes that were full of pain. Gabriel was curious and went to see the patient they were talking about and found the young man staring at the ceiling.
Gabriel's heart hurt when he saw Sam. Sam was hooked up to a heart monitor, ventilator, catheter and had a feeding tube. Gabriel went over to the man and put his hand on the man's forehead. Closing his eyes, he reached into Sam's mind. After a few minutes, Gabriel pulled back. He was pale and sick to his core: he couldn't find Sam. Sure, Sam had his soul but his mind was no longer accessible. With tears in his eyes, Gabriel took all the equipment off of the hunter and disappeared with him.
The disappearance of a catatonic patient was the only word that Dean and Bobby had about where Sam had been. When they went to the hospital to ask questions, the nurses mentioned seeing a slight orderly in the room with the patient before he disappeared. From their description, the two knew that the one who had Sam now was the Trickster.
Gabriel looked at the broken young man on his bed. He had rehooked Sam up to the ventilator after it was apparent that Sam wouldn't breathe on his own. He also put the feeding tube back in but didn't worry about the EKG machine. To keep Sam hydrated, Gabriel put in an IV line. He knew he could keep Sam's vessel alive but he needed to find the man's mind. In order to do that, he would have to travel further into Sam than he had before. It would be a mess if Sam's condition was any indication.
In preparation, Gabriel painted Enochian symbols on both of their foreheads, above their hearts, and on their eyes. Then he filled a brazier with herbs to aid in memory, love and help. He set the lights low in the room, lit the herbs and touched Sam's head. Breathing slowly, he started his journey to locate the mind of the hunter he respected and cared for.
After a few minutes, he came back. He was unable to continue because of all the self-loathing and loneliness he found. Gabriel now knew that Sam had hidden himself to keep from being hurt and used. He also knew that since he was able to connect with that tiny part of Sam's mind he would be able to use it as a guide to find the rest of Sam.
It took many weeks to be able to say he found the whole Sam-mind. Each time he went in, Gabriel would find a tiny bit more and would pull out, not wanting to put Sam into shock. Most of what he found distressed him. All of Sam's memories were now hurtful to the young man, even the memories of his loving brother and uncle. They were distorted and Dean was now remembered as cruel and a prison guard type who always followed daddy's orders. Bobby had been seen as someone who would throw the shortest lifeline ever and laugh when Sam tried to reach it. Even Castiel was seen as a monster who rejected the young man. John, Jess, Mary and the rest of the people who had been in Sam's life were also now torturers and people who abandoned him when he did anything wrong. Every time Gabriel pulled out of Sam's head, he cried for the pain in the soul and mind of the man he respected and loved.
The last time he went in, Gabriel was shocked. No memories, good or bad came to meet him. Sam Winchester had stopped existing and Sammy lived. Sammy was a young innocent who clung to Gabriel with child-like abandon. Sam Winchester was the vessel of Lucifer, Sammy was not. Gabriel smiled; he always knew the youngest Winchester was the smarter brother.
"Hey Sammy, you want to go with me for ice cream?" Gabriel asked the four year old in a twenty four year old body.
Sam smiled and nodded. He had not said a word since he woke up months ago. Gabriel was okay with that since, if need be he could read Sam's mind. He had also toyed with the idea of de-aging the body to match the mind but decided against it. Gabriel wanted to show those dick brothers of his that Sam had indeed exercised his free will and nothing they did or said could change his mind. Gabriel got Sam ready and put him in his wheelchair to go to the diner. After putting his coat on, they left the house.
Gabriel had settled them in a small and quiet town. It was a nice place to be with the neighbors caring about the brain-damaged younger brother of Gabriel Archer. In fact, Glenda Lawrence loved the brothers so much, she had adopted them and made sure they ate and gave Gabriel had some time for himself. She owned the diner and Gabriel knew that she made sure she had Sam's favorite ice cream always in stock. What he also liked about her was that she never treated Sam as a child. She even gave Gabriel a job, not that he needed it but it made them look like a human family. So he took it and every evening he worked, Glenda would watch Sam. It was a very heartwarming feeling to see a family form.
Gabriel was planning out the rest of their day while walking to the diner so he didn't notice the sleek black car parked in front. He didn't notice the three men in the diner who looked up with their mouths open in shock. Why should he? After all, he was an Archangel, a deadly being if provoked.
Gabriel parked Sam's chair at the table Glenda kept for them and sat down next to his "baby brother". "Hey Sammy, would you like some ice cream? I think Glenda has some just for you." Sam nodded and when it came, Gabriel patiently fed it to him. Like any toddler, Sam managed to get most of it on his face instead in his mouth. But the grins that Gabriel got were worth the mess and effort. Glenda brought them a warm, wet towel which Gabriel used to clean Sam's face. Sam squirmed but, in the end, he was cleaned.
"Where are the two of you going now?" inquired Glenda.
"Sammy wants to go to the library since his books are due and I think we'll be picking up the Percy Jackson series next. He likes stories that are full of action. Ha! You should have seen his face the first time I tried to read Dr. Seuss to him. I thought I'd die from all the daggers coming from his eyes!" Gabriel laughed.
Sam frowned and reached over to tug Gabriel's arm. When Gabriel looked at him, Sam glared not funny! Gabriel sobered and said, "I'm sorry Sammy. I'm not making fun of you. Can you forgive me?"
Sam looked thoughtful and then smiled. He could never keep a grudge against his brother for long. Gabriel smiled back. He knew Sam was a sweet boy that didn't have a mean bone in his body and would forgive him anything. He got up and paid for their treats, and then the pair left.
The three men who had watched the whole thing suddenly stood up. Two went to the car but the third, an older gentleman, went to the register to pay for their meals. When he got there, he asked Glenda, "Those two are very interesting. Was the younger man born that way?"
"No. His brother said he was in an accident a while ago and got brain damaged pretty heavily. Poor boy can't even do anything for himself but, from what I understand, the doctors seem to think that he may be able to after a lot of therapy. Gabriel is a marvel when it comes to Sam, so patient and loving."
"Have they always lived here?" asked the interested man.
"No, they moved here a few months ago. That'll be $25.94," she said. The man gave her a twenty and a ten with which she made change and gave back, "Have a great day and come again!"
The man left the diner and got into the large car. They pulled away and after a few blocks, the driver turned to the passenger in the back and said, "What the hell, Cas?"
"I am not sure but the man, the being you pointed out as the Trickster is an Angel. Gabriel to be exact," answered Castiel. "He left Heaven many millennium ago when Michael and Lucifer were fighting. No one had heard from him since."
Bobby chipped in, "The gal in the diner said his name was Gabriel and named Sam as his brother. Said Gabriel told her Sam had been in an accident and got brain damaged so bad he can't do anything on his own. And you two saw how he didn't speak. There's something definitely going on here."
After the library and a stop at the store, Gabriel and Sam went home. Sam was put on the floor with his favorite stuffed animals and some blocks while Gabriel made their dinner. Gabriel found out that Sam's system couldn't tolerate anything other than soft foods so while he may eat steaks or burgers, Sam usually ate scrambled eggs, oatmeal or finely ground meat and vegetables. Sam would also drink a smoothie from a bottle to keep his caloric intake up. Gabriel fed him at least five times a day since Sam couldn't eat much at one sitting. After dinner and dishes were done, Gabriel gave Sam a bath. On the days he worked, Sam's bath would come later when he came home but since Gabriel had today off, the bath came early.
With Sam cleaned and dressed again, Gabriel sat down with his brother and they watched some t.v. together. At 8:00, Gabriel got up and made another smoothie to give to Sam. He sat down again and gathering his brother in his arms, fed Sam from the bottle. In never failed to put the young man to sleep. Gabriel tugged the nipple from Sam's mouth and carried him to bed. Putting the youngster under the covers, Gabriel snapped his fingers to change his clothes then he too laid down. He hummed under his breath and fell into a meditative trance.
As he usually did when Sam slept, Gabriel slipped into his mind to help rebuild what he could. He couldn't bring Sam Winchester back, that person was dead, but he could help Sammy Archer with some of his problems and maybe bring him back slowly to his rightful age. He was happy to see Sam's memories of the recent months stick. It meant that the boy he was now would survive. Gabriel also checked to see if the demon blood was still around and found that somehow when Sam Winchester died, the blood also died. That meant no blood lust or addiction. Sam had purified himself. It was still a very high price, this death of a personality to coin a phrase from Babylon 5.
Gabriel stayed in Sam's mind until he felt the young man waking up. Gently he slipped out and "woke" up himself. When Sam's eyes opened, Gabriel got them out of bed and to the bathroom to clean Sam up and put on a new pair of Depends. He only did this at night since Sammy didn't have any control over himself. Then he put Sam back in bed and went for the nightly bottle. When he came back, he got into bed and cradled his brother. Sam took the bottle eagerly. Gabriel smiled at him and started to sing softly until Sam's eyes closed and he fell asleep again. Gabriel felt content. He hadn't felt this way since the day he held Castiel in his arms. Smiling, he closed his eyes and slipped back into Sam's mind.
Castiel stood outside the house where Sam Winchester and his brother slept. He had tried to breach Gabriel's defenses once and found them to be unbreakable. He was upset that Gabriel was able to throw him away so easily when he left Heaven. Cas didn't know how much it had cost his older brother to leave the family and home he loved so much.
"If I can't go in physically, I'll need to reach Samuel mentally," Cas thought. He closed his eyes and tried to connect with the man he had known only to find…nothing. He searched frantically and still couldn't find Sam Winchester. When he opened his eyes he thought, "Oh Father! What happened?" Unable to stay, he went back to Dean, fearing the older brother's reaction.
Dean was not asleep even if his eyes were closed and he was laying on his bed. Neither was Bobby for that matter. He opened his eyes at the sound of Castiel's wings and saw the broken hearted Angel.
"Well, what did you find out? Is that dick brother of yours playing another prank?" questions left Dean quickly and harshly.
"Dean…" was all Cas could say before the tears started to fall from his eyes.
"Oh, God Cas! What's wrong?" Dean asked with trepidation.
"I…I don't know how to say this," confessed the trench coated Angel.
Bobby piped in for the first time, "So just spit it out you idgit!"
Castiel looked at the floor before raising his eyes. Both hunters could see the tear sheen in them. "Sam died. Your Sam is dead," was all he could say.
"WHAT!" came the shout from Dean before he sunk to the floor. "What did that asshole do?"
"Dean, Gabriel didn't do anything to Sam," Castiel said brokenly. "In fact, he has been trying to help Sammy. I watched as he went into Sammy's mind and organized the young one's thoughts into a cohesive pattern."
Dean didn't like the fact that Castiel was talking so clinically, so coldly. But the fact was Sam, his Sam was dead. He coughed and cleared his throat before he asked the heart shattering question, "How…how long ago?"
Cas didn't even pretend not to know what Dean was asking, he just said, "Seven months ago. That's when the new memories start."
Dean's legs went numb. Seven months ago… Sam had called him nine months ago to let him know that Lucifer was going to wear him to the Prom and Dean said that they needed to stay apart. The guilt he felt was soul crushing. He knew that his answer to Sam led to Sam's "death". The baby brother he had always been told to watch and keep safe was dead by his own hand in a way. He couldn't handle it and started to cried, scream really. All Bobby and Castiel could do was watch their friend crumble to nothing.
As Dean realized that he had gone to hell for Sam to save his life only to be the cause of his death, he…stopped. He sat down heavily and stared at the wall. Bobby tried to talk to him but Dean didn't answer. Cas went into his mind and pulled out quickly. All he could see was self-hatred and a deep sorrow for his brother.
In answer to Bobby's questioning look, Cas said, "We need Gabriel."
Gabriel was getting ready for work when a knock sounded on his door. Glenda had called to see if he could work the morning shift. She said that he would be able to bring Sam with him for the day. He looked at his little brother to see Sam was watching cartoons and went to answer it. He opened the door and was shocked to see Castiel, Bobby and Dean there. Cas' and Bobby's eyes were full of tears while Dean stared blankly ahead.
"Shit," said Gabriel. He knew what had happened to Dean. Looking at the other two, he gently took Dean's arm and led him in. Cas closed the door behind him and Bobby while Gabriel put Dean on the couch.
"When?" was all he asked.
"This morning," answered Castiel.
"I told him about Sam," was the answer.
"Shit," Gabriel said again. He gathered his thoughts then went on, "I didn't want anyone to find out what happened, especially Dean. You know about them being soul mates, right?"
Bobby and Cas both nodded. Cas had told Bobby about it soon after Dean stopped. "Because of their bond, they have always sacrificed themselves for each other. It's so ingrained in them that when Dean found out he caused Sam's 'death', he felt so guilty he is also 'dying'."
Bobby choked and he asked softly, "Dean is dying?"
Gabriel answered, "Yeah, in a way. His soul is still there and his body lives but his personality, his mind is going. This may help me out with a problem I'm having, though. Sammy is mentally four and is doing okay, but he's missing a piece of himself. If we can get Dean to a point beyond where Sam is, we may be able to raise them together. We would have to de-age them physically to match their mental age. But you have to know, they will never be Dean and Sam Winchester again. Those two will be dead."
Bobby asked a very important question, "Won't Michael and Lucifer get them to agree to be their meat suits?"
Castiel was the one who answered, "They can't. The beings known as Sam and Dean Winchester don't exist anymore. When an Angel looks for a vessel, that vessel could be broken in body. Bodies can be fixed. But you need the soul and mind of the person to be in perfect health. An Angel can't take a vessel that, say, is insane. The graft wouldn't take."
"Sam actually figured it out before he 'died'. Since it was the last coherent thought he had, I was able to pick it up," Gabriel explained. "I need to make a call and I'll be right back." He left the room.
Bobby and Cas looked at each other then the boys. Bobby knew he would help his boys out any way he could but he didn't know how. He hoped the Angels had an idea because he was out of them.
After a while, Gabriel came back and said, "Sorry about that but I had to call Glenda and let her know I have a family emergency. My brother and I will be going to our Uncle's in South Dakota while he recovers from a massive heart attack. Should take a couple of months but we won't be back."
Bobby's tired brain tried to process what he had just heard but it kept slipping back to where his boys were dead. "What?" he asked.
Gabriel patiently explained, "A long time ago, Dad gave me a special assignment that made it look as if I had ran away from Heaven. What I really had to do was to protect a certain family until two boys were born. It was the Campbell family. In my guise as Loki, I was able to ensure the family's safety.
"I was told that there were many ways for the apocalypse to end. One was the death of the boys I guarded. Both of them. Their deaths would cause the Cage to reopen and Lucifer would be sucked back into it. Because of this little loophole, Mikey and Lucy will be looking for Dean to stop the process. Bobby, your place is the most secure place on this little planet. We need to get there before my stupid brothers find us."
Before his brother and Bobby could object, Gabriel snapped his fingers and they appeared in Bobby's living room. Sammy looked around and started to cry while Dean sat quietly on his sofa. Gabriel snapped his fingers and a bottle appeared in his hands. Sitting on the floor, he cradled his baby brother and brought the bottle to his lips. Sam eagerly attacked the nipple and sucked the smoothie fast. Gabriel pulled the nipple back a bit to get him to slow down. Bobby looked on with sadness. He hadn't known how bad Sam really was until now.
"Cas, you need to go back and pack up the house. If Glenda comes to the door, let her know that Sam and I have already left. Bring Bobby so he can drive the Impala back. I'll start the process with Dean. By the way, how old do you want him to be?" Gabriel asked.
"Can you make him be a certain age? And, if so, why couldn't you do that with Sam?" Bobby asked.
"Yes, and I couldn't do it with Sam because by the time I found him, he was already too far gone for me to influence his age. Dean is just starting so I can stop it at a certain age. Now, get going so I can put this one down for his nap and get Dean started," Gabriel said dismissively.
The other two just shrugged their shoulders. Cas touched Bobby and with a whirl of wings, they disappeared. Gabriel finished feeding Sam and then he put him down. While Sam slept, Gabriel fixed the panic room and brought Dean down to it. Putting him on a comfortable bed, Gabriel painted the sigils on Dean and himself. Burning herbs and relaxing, he started the same process he had done with Sam.
Since Gabriel caught Dean early on, the rituals he used went faster. After the first time, Gabriel made sure Sam was in the same room. He wanted to make sure the bond the boys had would survive so he would reach out to touch Sam while in Dean's mind. Over and over, Gabriel made sure the boys felt each other and knew what they meant to each other. It took a month before Dean Winchester was dead and Dean Archer was born. It was then that Gabriel brought both boys to the attention of Michael and Lucifer. Like he had told Bobby, when the Angels found their vessels were broken and unfixable, the Cage once again claimed Lucifer and Michael went back to Heaven to await the next apocalypse.
When he brought the boys back to Bobby's, Gabriel de-aged them physically to match their mental ages. Dean was a bright, active eight year old and Sam became a shy, loving four year old. Gabriel had warned Bobby that the kids needed to eat small, frequent meals. He also told Bobby that since he hadn't reached Sam at the beginning of his dying like he had with Dean, Sam would have physical and some mental problems.
Without realizing it, Bobby and Gabriel settled into a routine of helping the boys and running a household. Gabriel wanted to reward Bobby for all his love and devotion to his brothers so he had their names changed and started to call himself Gabriel Singer. He influenced the town's residence to believe that Gabriel was Bobby's son and the two boys were his grandchildren. Gabriel also made sure that the town believed that Castiel was also Bobby's son. There were birth certificates made to show that Bobby and Karen Singer had two children before she died. Bobby's house was expanded to make room for both grandchildren and sons.
Gabriel asked his Father if Castiel couldn't stay with him and Bobby. He was very lonely for his little brother and God agreed. He knew His son was lonely for family. Cas was delighted to be with him and Bobby. He was even more delighted to be "uncle" to the two boys. The family that Gabriel had seen forming so long ago now solidified.
And all it took, what started it all was one blank slate.