"Dean," Sam whispered—whispered being in a relative sense since the music blasting from the radio was loud enough to softly vibrate the seats.
The elder Winchester shot a glance to the rear-view mirror to indicate he had heard.
"Don't you think we should find some place to stop for the night. You've been driving for..." Sam checked his watch, "...ten hours."
Dean turned the volume down to a manageable level, "I wanna put a little more distance between us and those trappers."
Sam's eyes slid shut as he tried stretching muscles without dislodging the archangel still resting against his chest. Gabriel had been silent (a blessing, really) for the last two hours, his breathing calm and steady as if sleeping, if angels needed to sleep. Then again, maybe the pendant was disrupting his grace to the point of requiring sleep. Sam didn't have a clue, he needed to research, but he still tried not to disrupt him.
...out of politeness. Not because Sam found the peaceful archangel adorable or anything.
Sam jerked his head to the side feeling a satisfying crack in his neck. A groan automatically escaped from his throat, the sound muffled as feathers invaded his mouth. He tried his best to spit them out, but the angel's wings were everywhere, even though they were withdrawn as flat as they could be against Gabriel's back. It was a lost cause.
He managed to get most of the fluff off his tongue to finally reply to his brother, "We're not even in the same state anymore. I think we can pull over for a few hours."
"You think they wouldn't follow us to the end of the Earth for an archangel?" Dean growled, "Those bastards are gonna be right on our tails."
Sam tilted his head forward, stretching cramped neck muscles, his nose burying in more feathers, "You're exhausted. And I won't be much help with anything if I don't get out of this backseat soon. I haven't been made to be cramped back here since I was fifteen."
The Impala was silent for a few minutes until Dean let out a long breath through his nose, "Yeah, alright. Saw a sign for a motel a few miles back. Should be coming up within the next ten minutes."
Sam sighed in relief. A bed sounded like a little miracle at this point. He rested his chin atop Gabriel's head, his cheek continually brushing against a wing as his breathing shifted the archangel. The feathers were soft, the edges sliding against his skin and tickling his jaw line. He shifted his face into the feeling to prevent the light sensation.
He froze ten seconds later when his brain caught up with the notion that he was essentially nuzzling Gabriel's wing.
"Would you... mmm'fff, ssstop movin'," a drowsy voice complained from his chest, "Tryin' to do something I'm not actually made to do here."
Sam forced himself not to panic, trying like hell to keep his heart from beating quicker and his face from heating up.
"Ha, no," Gabriel sank further against Sam, his wings shifting and tugging from where they laid trapped between their bodies, "Closer to meditation. Trying to shift grace away from certain areas of a vessel requires a hell of a lot of concentration."
Sam's lips tilted in a frown, not that the archangel could see. He hadn't forgotten that even as Gabriel seemed peaceful, his very being was being molested by electricity that was just shy of trying to tear him apart. His fingers itched and flexed restlessly, his body wanting to move and start tearing into the pendent to find how to remove it.
"So, how's that going?"
"Sucks," the archangel grumbled, "It's hard enough folding something the size of a large continent into a martini glass. Doesn't exactly give me much room to maneuver."
Dean turned the Impala off the highway and almost immediately into an empty parking lot. A few of the overhead spotlights blinked and threatened to go out and the sign of the motel name had three missing letters, but overall, they had stayed in worse places.
The Impala was shut off and Dean slipped out from the driver's seat, heading towards the front office.
Sam leaned his head back against the window, "Is there...?"
And then he was falling. The sensation sent panic through his body, his hands instinctively lashing out to grab hold of something. His fingers curled around softness, but it didn't stop his acceleration.
He hit the ground, gravel digging into his back, a large weight landing heavily on his chest forced the air out of his lungs. And then he heard his brother's obnoxious laughter.
"Oh, God, I hate you so much," Sam shot Dean his best bitchface.
"Your head is going to be decorating my mantle, Winchester, when I figure out which way is up," the threat had no foundation as it was muffled and coming from somewhere near Sam's armpit.
"Don't be a bunch of bitches," and Sam could hear the smirk his brother was pitching even as he turned and walked to the check-in desk.
"Jerk!" Sam yelled.
"Bitch!" Dean shot over his shoulder.
"Shit, ow." The abrupt force of pain had not helped his cramping back at all.
"You can say that, again," Gabriel shifted, untangling his body from Sam's and standing up. He grabbed at his left wing, trying to maneuver it to peer over the bony ridge, "I think you ripped out some feathers."
Sam sat up quickly, ignoring the sudden rush of blood to his head. He stared in horror at the two golden feathers caught between his fingers.
"I'm so sorry!" the hunter blurted out as he quickly picked himself off the ground, "I hadn't meant to...!"
"Oh, can it, Samsquatch," Gabriel waved a dismissing hand at him, "They'll grow back."
"But, I...!" he made an abortive movement to the archangel's wings, "Wait... did you call me Samsquatch?"
"Yeah, you're like the giant to my Keebler elf, the moose to my mouse," Gabriel cocked his neck back to glance up at Sam, his golden eyes shining in amusement in the horrible lighting, "You're tall, kiddo."
Sam caught the laugh in his throat, but couldn't manage to stave off the upward tilt of his lips—until the two golden feathers caught his attention, again. He instantly frowned, holding them out gingerly to the archangel.
"Sorry... here... I'm not exactly sure..." but Gabriel cut him off.
"Quit with the puppy eyes before I have to start worrying about you marking everything in site. Keep 'em if you want 'em," Gabriel stretched nonchalantly, giving his wings a restrictive flap, "Throw 'em away—I don't care. Not like I can reattach them."
Sam glanced between the feathers and the archangel, not quite sure what to say. Luckily, Dean gave him something else to focus on as the crunch of rock beneath his boots caught their attention.
"Here," Dean tossed the Impala's keys to Sam, "do something useful."
Sam glared at his brother, but grabbed their bags from the trunk and the Halo's remote from the floorboards. He slipped the two feathers discreetly into his pocket and followed Dean inside the room, Gabriel right on his heels.
Dean was already pacing through their little room, his cell phone clutched in his hands, when Sam stepped over the threshold.
"I'm just gonna..." he waved the phone in the air.
Sam nodded, "Yeah, give Cas a call."
Dean was out the door, already thumbing buttons. Sam winced as he heard plastic crack in resistance to his brother's not-so-delicate administrations. All well... the phone had lasted two months, was about time to put it out of its misery anyway.
He shoved the bags against the far wall and placed the remote and his laptop on the table, opening the lid and powering it up.
"Alright, sit here and let me take a look at it," Sam pulled out a chair and gestured towards it.
Gabriel was glaring hard at his right wing before he turned his attention to Sam, a mask of indifference set firmly in place. He took two steps before his wing fluttered from side to side.
Sam's eyebrows narrowed in concern, "You alright?"
"Yeah," Gabriel brushed off, "Just a little restless—was cooped up in that car too long."
His wing jerked and shuddered, an unhappy grunt ripping from Gabriel's throat.
"That doesn't look like alright," Sam stepped up into the archangel's space, "What's wrong with it?"
"Nothing!" Gabriel snapped.
Sam placed his hands up in a gesture of peace, his eyes widening into a sad, worried face that Dean always told him he exploited way too often.
Gabriel took a step back and huffed, glancing at the ground then back up at Sam. He waved his hand towards his wing. "Spasm," he mumbled, "I can't stretch it."
Sam understood and gave, what he hoped, was a reassuring look. Halos only allowed for so much movement.
Sam reached to the table and picked up the remote, running his bitten nail along the side in a nervous motion. Gabriel was watching him with rapt attention.
"May I?" Sam asked warily, gesturing towards the controller.
Gabriel crossed his arms against his chest, leaning back and baring his weight on one leg. His lips were turned downward and he was glaring at the remote.
Finally, he sighed, "Just...fine."
Sam gave a comforting smile and placed his thumb lightly on the analog stick.
"It's not gonna kill me," Gabriel growled, "and the damn thing needs to be moved anyway."
As if agreeing, his wing gave another flutter.
Sam gently moved the stick out to the side. Gabriel let out a soft gasp as his wing slowly started to reach towards the wall.
"Yeah," he confirmed, running a hand through his hair, "Just... you know... go slow. They haven't really been stretched in weeks."
The large, golden wing was fascinating to Sam. He'd seen dozens of angel wings, but never with so much time to actually stop and consider what he was seeing. Usually, he was too busy focusing on removing collars and once they were gone, most angels immediately hid them. There was never any time to just look at them.
Gabriel's wings couldn't be considered anything but beautiful. Even in the dinginess of the light, the color shown a brilliant gold, matching the archangel's hair and eyes. Each feather was set in its place in perfect rows, only shifting to accommodate the movement of the structures underneath. They were glorious, everything a human would expect an angel's wings to be. And they looked so incredibly soft that Sam just wanted to card a few fingers through them, maybe see what would happen if he ruffled a few feathers in the wrong direction.
Would Gabriel be more amused or annoyed? Or maybe aroused...
"Stop!" Gabriel barked urgently, "Sam, stop!"
Sam immediately released his thumb from the remote, "What? What's wrong?!"
"Not..." the archangel released a heavy breath from his nose, "Charlie horse."
Sam set down the remote and stepped closer, "Where?"
Gabriel had wrapped an arm around his body, trying to reach a spot somewhere close to his back. He let out a pained whine as his wing jerked upward.
"Let me," Sam impatiently slapped the archangel's hand out of the way while he bent down, the look of surprise completely missed by the hunter.
He dug his fingers into feathers near the base of the wing, not even really thinking about what he was actually doing. He expertly ran up and down muscle structures until he felt a knot about the size of a quarter beneath his fingertips.
"Here?" he asked while pressing down.
Gabriel groaned and nodded.
Sam rubbed at the stubborn knot, rolling it beneath his fingers, digging his thumb up along the sides of muscle. He continually moved in small circles, upsetting feathers, the soft down tickling his skin. He was fascinated by the feel of the strong appendage under his touch.
A soft whimper came from the archangel followed by a whispered, "Dammit," that Sam had caught anyway.
"You okay?" he asked, still working against the resistance of the sore muscle.
"Yeah," came a fast reply, "Just stiff iz'all."
Sam finally felt the tension release, not only in the knot but in the archangel, as well. Gabriel had taken to leaning on Sam with his arm, then his side as he finished soothing the last of the pain away. Both of his wings had started to droop toward the floor.
"Anything else that needs rubbed out?" Sam softly spoke because the archangel's ear was just under his chin.
Gabriel stiffened, his body straightening as he took his own weight, again. A lecherous smirk worked its way to his lips, "Oh, I got something you can rub out, Sammy-boy."
Sam's eyes shot open. He groaned to draw attention away from the flush that was burning into his cheeks, "What are you, twelve?"
"And you're blushing like a virgin girl," Gabriel shot back.
The young hunter ran a hand down his face, "Just go sit over there, and try to behave."
Gabriel sauntered passed Sam, waggling his eyebrows, "And if I don't?"
"Just sit down and shut up," Sam pinched the bridge of his nose in distress. He felt a migraine begging to start behind his left eye, "And unbutton your shirt."
"I like you all forceful," the archangel purred, but at least he sat down, "And I like where this is going."
Sam grabbed the small screwdriver kit from his bag as Gabriel slowly unpopped each button, giving a lewd wink halfway down. The young Winchester rolled his eyes and just tried to keep the burning sensation from spreading on his face.
He knelt down and shifted the archangel's shirt until the pendant was in view. Getting a closer look, Sam could see the irritation of the skin adjacent to the embedded heads, the multitude of different colors of bruising surrounding the entire thing.
"This is getting better by the minute."
"Gabriel," Sam growled in warning.
"What's the price for a lap dance?"
"Gabriel!" Sam barked.
The archangel looked less than impressed.
Sam inhaled sharply through his nose, "Will you please just let me concentrate?"
"Sure thing, Sam-a-lam. All you needed to do was ask."
Sam blinked slowly in exasperation, but immediately started dismantling the pendant while the archangel had his mouth shut. Four tiny screws held the plating together and he quickly had it off only to stare at the amount of wires that the internal components contained. He huffed out a breath to calm himself and grabbed for a small probe to move wires about and see underneath them.
This thing was just hardware mounted onto hardware cauterized onto more hardware.
He pulled his laptop closer to the edge of the table, grabbed a pencil and paper, and set off to work.