And so we come to my fiftieth fic. I wrote this a couple months ago and first posted it on Tumblr, and I meant to write a Hetalia one for number fifty but I just haven't had the time or the muse. To the people that sent me ideas: I appreciate the hell out of you, and they'll all be written. I can't promise when, but they will. With that in mind, please enjoy this little big of wing madness I cooked up for the Sabriel fandom.
Wings to Great Deeds
Sam Winchester had always had a track record for seeing things he wasn't supposed to. It was how he had gotten into the "family business" in the first place, after all, which in turn had lead him to here. And right now, "here" consisted of a park bench, about ten metres away from a playground for children, a few dead demons, resurrected archangels and a defeated Lucifer later.
The smile that flickered across Sam's face was slow but content, and he allowed himself to close his eyes and just bask in the joyous laughter of the children on the playground as they scrambled over obstacles and slid down slides, blissfully unaware of how close they had come to having their small worlds turned every which way.
We prevented that, Sam thought with a happy sigh. Finally.
"Thinking deep, Winchester?"
Sam's eyes snapped open as the new voice broke through the pleasant, relaxed haze he had allowed to cloud his mind, and he raised an eyebrow when his eyes focused enough to allow him to recognize the smug smile on the face of the archangel Gabriel.
"Well, that answers that," Gabriel said smugly, shifting on his feet.
"Gabriel," Sam greeted. "What brings you here?" His eyes flickered pointedly between Gabriel and the children on the playground, and he sat up a little more on the bench, giving Gabriel his full attention, as he knew the archangel would demand. And really, if he were honest, he was far too content right now to argue with Gabriel over petty issues.
"Oh, you know, the usual business: Maintaining the Heavenly order, delivering the occasional message, and keeping an eye on you boys."
Sam's eyebrow stayed raised. "Oh really? Don't think we can take care of ourselves?"
"Don't take this too personally, kid, but the higher-ups—namely us—just want to make sure the apocalypse stays avoided, you know?" Gabriel grinned as he spoke, but as Sam watched as a shadow of uncharacteristic discomfort passed over his face, marring the cheeky expression somewhat. He didn't comment, not at first, instead opting to shift over a little, making room for the archangel, which Gabriel was quick to take advantage of. As he sat, however, Sam's eyes were quick to snap to the glimmering outline of a pair of large wings, and he couldn't help but suck in a small breath at the sight of them.
It was common knowledge—at least to Sam—that an angel's wings could not be fully witnessed by a human, lest the holy greatness of it all burn out their eyes. Or so he was told. Honestly, all he knew was that he never saw anything of Castiel's (or any other angel's) save for a faint, glimmering outline every now and then, and he never brought it up with Dean because Sam could only begin to imagine how that particular conversation would go.
"So, uh, Dean, you know how we're not supposed to be able to see an angel's wings? Well, sometimes I can sort of see them. Demon blood and all that, I'm thinking. You understand."
So no, Sam wasn't going to touch that particular issue with a ten-foot pole, thank you very much.
"Aaaaand there's that look again. Spill, Winchester—is there something on my face?" Gabriel asked, raising an eyebrow of his own as Sam turned his head towards him, but the smile on the younger Winchester's face faded quickly when he noticed Gabriel fidget on the bench, his face briefly twisting into a grimace again.
"You all right, Gabriel?" Sam asked, consciously thinking about how weird it was to be asking an archangel if he was all right. Archangels were supposed to be indestructible, right? They weren't supposed to feel things like discomfort or pain or anything. But right now Gabriel was displaying the classic signs both discomfort and pain, and was rather irked about it, if the way he quickly plastered a smirk on his face was anything to go by.
"Why, Sam, I'm touched; I didn't know you cared," he drawled, and as he spoke Sam caught a flash of his wings out of the corner of his eyes, the outline shimmering in the sunlight. They were massive things, if the small sighting was any indication, stretching well away from Gabriel, flaring out behind his back. If they were corporal, Sam knew they would have been able to drape them both, as well as the playground, in shadows. But as he watched, the wings—or at least their faint outlines—seemed to fold in on themselves before spreading out again, shuddering, and Gabriel muttered what sounded like a curse under his breath in a language Sam could only guess to be something ancient like Enochian or Malachim.
Before he could stop himself, Sam asked, "Something up with your wings?"
The look on Gabriel's face was enough to make Sam laugh, partially from a sudden stab of nervousness and partly because this was the archangel Gabriel, for crying out loud, gaping at him like Sam had just… well, done something remarkable that Gabriel had never seen before, and considering how long the trickster had lived Sam knew that was pretty damn impossible. Or so he thought.
"What makes you say that?" Gabriel demanded, and as he spoke Sam watched the outline of the massive appendages flare out defensively, though they twitched when they reached their full length, and, oh, Sam breathed, they were gorgeous in the light, at least from what he could see, and the sun really was shining at a perfect angle for him to behold the full outline like he never had before.
With a great effort, Sam tore his eyes away, and this time Gabriel's expression had completely lost the forced casualness, replaced with a look of severity and—was that panic?
"Oh, will wonders never cease to exist with you, Winchester?" Gabriel said, but the tone of his voice let Sam know that his words were anything but a compliment. As Sam watched, the archangel crossed his arms over his chest, standing from the bench. "Well, this has been a lovely chat—always are with you boys, really—but it's high time I head out. Things to do, people to—" He was cut off by Sam reaching out to grab his arm, the hunter's face registering his own surprise at the gesture. Gabriel was quick to snatch his arm away, but Sam noticed that he hadn't vanished.
"Your wings, they're—" he paused, searching for the words, "—nice."
Gabriel rolled his eyes, but Sam didn't miss the way his hand momentarily trembled. "You can see them," he deadpanned. "What, Sam, was your mother part-angel?" His voice twisted into something resembling a snarl at the last part, and Sam's eyes narrowed.
"Quit it, Gabriel."
"Sorry if I'm a little less than pleased at the fact that you can see something you shouldn't, again. A little privacy would be nice, Sam," Gabriel snarked. A rush of air escaped between Sam's teeth, making a hissing sound. This coming from the guy who freely admits he's been watching us?
"I can't see them," Sam deadpanned.
"Oh, don't bullshit me, Sam—"
"I mean I can't see them completely," Sam cut in, and Gabriel's face changed from a slightly terrifying darkness to wariness and confusion, though the anger was still visible in his eyes. "I only see the outlines, and it—I've never seen it so clearly before, and yours, they're—well, I think they'd be nicer if I could see them completely, but they look nice from here." He shrugged, and Gabriel's mouth thinned.
"Even that should be burning your damn retinas right out of your thick skull, kid."
"Dean saw Cas' wings, back when he first met him. Shadows, maybe, but he still did. What's wrong with me seeing this, when I've given you a possible reason for why I can?"
"Because if it's the demon blood, then you should be dead even seeing just this," Gabriel snapped, though Sam's sharp eyes noticed the way he was gradually beginning to relax, lulled into the idea of being able to chew Sam out.
"Mystery of science," Sam retorted.
"Mystery of all that is good and Holy, you mean," Gabriel bit back. Sam just laughed, and Gabriel's shocked expression only made him laugh harder.
"Good one, I haven't heard that one before," he forced out when he had calmed down, sarcasm lacing his words. "Did you spend all your thousands of years thinking that up?"
"You're hilarious, Sam, really—" but he didn't get to finish, his words bleeding into a small groan of pain, his hands reflexively reaching up to grasp at his shoulder. Immediately Sam sobered up, rising from the bench as well.
"Hey, Gabriel, seriously—what's up?" Sam asked, and he could see the archangel's revolve break as he tried to cover it with a dismissive roll of his eyes.
"It's nothing, Samsquatch—" Sam tried not to groan at the new nickname "—so why don't you just shut your cakehole and go about your child-watching, yeah? I'm sure all those young mothers appreciate having you to stare at while they try and run after screaming children."
"Gabriel," Sam said in a tone of voice that he usually used when Dean was being a stubborn dumbass about something.
"Seriously, Sam, just drop it, yeah? It'll be fine. Goes away on its own—"
"What is it?"
Gabriel narrowed his eyes at him, but with a titanic sigh he sat down on the bench, gesturing for Sam to sit beside him, his wings flaring out above the backrest. When Sam complied, he fixed his eyes up at the sky, as if he were personally holding someone up there accountable.
"It's my wings."
"Now, was that so hard?" Sam didn't bother to point out that he had already figured that out. Gabriel shot him a glare.
"Look, Sam, do you want to hear my golden words or not?"
"Right, right," Sam said, holding his hands up in mock surrender. Gabriel rolled his eyes again. Sam wondered if they would fall out of the archangel's skull one day, considering how many times he did that.
"As you know, I am a glorious creature of the Father, blah blah archangel, immensely powerful and all that jazz. Dad likes pretty things. And being an archangel, I—shocker, Sam—have wings, just like normal angels. And sometimes, albeit very rarely, our wings get sore." It was Sam's turn to roll his eyes as Gabriel's tone became more condescending, as if he were explaining the colour blue to a particularly dense child. Gabriel just smirked and continued. "When this happens, it fucking sucks. Because our wings our sore. We fly on our wings. You can see how this can be a problem sometimes."
"Seems like a pretty big design flaw," Sam pointed out helpfully, and was rewarded with a flick to his arm, which he rubbed.
"Shut up, moose. The angel's talking," the archangel said.
"This vessel is all man, Sammykins," Gabriel threw back. "Don't you just love it? Anyway, long story short: Sore wings means cranky angels which furthermore means we take a teensy bit of time off unless we can get rid of it."
"And how do you do that?" Sam said, slinging his arm around the back of the bench. If Gabriel noticed he didn't comment, for once.
"In Heaven we used to sit down and—well, groom each other, for lack of a better word. Y'know, a little touch me up: Spruce up the axillars, the primaries, the marginal coverts; there's a pressure point, too, where the wings would join on a human vessel, and where it also joins on our true forms. Sometimes they give us grief. It's the equivalent to the human back massage, in some ways. Only better." Gabriel shrugged his shoulders, as if it was no big deal, and Sam couldn't help but let his eyes travel up the great expanse of Gabriel's wings, which were getting harder to see as the sun disappeared behind a cloud up above. "Now, Professor's Gabriel's finished. Any questions from the damn peanut gallery?"
Sam cleared his throat. "I—"
"Raise your hand, Sam."
"Gabriel," Sam said with exasperation as Gabriel smirked. "I could do it."
"Do what?" Gabriel replied, brow furrowing.
"I could—massage them for you," Sam said, stumbling a little over the word massage, aware that his face had reddened slightly by the smug expression that crossed Gabriel's face.
"Oh, you could, could you? Not gonna lie, Sam, it's rather intimate, and I wou—" he broke off suddenly, and though it was harder to see the large wings they weren't hidden enough for Sam to miss the way they went into a spasm behind him.
"I'm seriously, Gabriel. I know you're a big, touch archangel and all that—I'm sure Dad's super proud—but don't be a dick and refuse willing help when it's given."
"Big words coming from a Winchester," Gabriel snapped, though the edginess to his voice was rather tampered by pain Sam could hear lurking underneath.
"Turn around, Gabriel," Sam ordered, and for a moment they just stared at each other before Gabriel gave a small sigh of defeat, his shoulders slumping as he shifted on the bench, presenting his back to Sam as he drew his legs off the ground and onto the seat.
"Jacket off, trickster."
Gabriel shrugged the green item off his person, leaving him in just the thin black button-up shirt.
"So I just—"
Gabriel twitched again, and instead of finishing his sentence Sam let his hands fall on the archangel's back, his thumbs pressing just over the spot where he could see the rapidly vanishing outline of Gabriel's wings.
The effect was almost instantaneous. Gabriel slumped over completely, his mouth opening in a silent "O" as his eyes fluttered shut, a ragged breath escaping him as Sam began to rub small circles with his thumbs. He couldn't feel the wings in a physical sense, but the faint outline was enough to help him find where the joints would be, and slowly he worked his way around, gently kneading each point, watching in fascination as Gabriel relaxed even more until he was close to just collapsing entirely against Sam's chest. His eyes were closed in bliss as Sam's long fingers gently massaged tension knots away, and his head was bowed as well; unbidden, Sam found himself fascinated with the sight, not knowing that Gabriel, the archangel, could ever really look this undone.
After a few minutes of that, a thought occurred to Sam, and he paused.
"How long's it been, Gabriel?" he asked, and the archangel, too blissed out to play his little mind games, groaned before responding.
"Long while, kid. Not since Heaven."
Sam moved his hands up, absently rubbing Gabriel's shoulders this time. "And how many years was that?"
"Too many for your tiny brain to comprehend, Winchester," Gabriel said, managing to infuse a bit of his snark into the comment. "When you're trying not to broadcast the fact that you're an archangel, you learn to deal with it when it com—" he broke off with a pleased hiss as Sam's fingers loosened a particularly tight knot right by the scapulars. "Hoo boy, Sam. Bit of a hidden talent you've got there," Gabriel said. "Shame that I'll have to kill you later."
"Oh?" Sam said, and he couldn't quite keep the amusement from his voice, though he was surprised by how low it had dropped. When he spoke next, his lips were right next to Gabriel's ear. "And why's that?"
"Mmm," Gabriel hummed, unable to repress the shudder that wracked his body. "You've seen an archangel in a state of disarray. I'm pretty sure that's a sin. And if it isn't, I'll make it one."
Sam laughed, blowing cold air against Gabriel's ear, swallowing a laugh as Gabriel tried to repress another shudder.
"If I didn't know better, Sam Winchester, I'd think you were trying to take advantage and seduce me."
"I may be next time," Sam said before he could stop himself. Gabriel craned his neck back to look at him, and Sam could see the amusement brewing in his golden eyes.
"And what makes you so sure there's going to be a next time?" Gabriel asked, though Sam could see the smirk that threatened to spread across his face.
Sam didn't even deign to reply. Instead, he pushed his thumbs down on the final knot between Gabriel's wings and watched in triumph as the archangel visibly choked on a moan and literally fell against him, his back to Sam's chest. Sam quickly wrapped his arms around Gabriel's waist, holding him there, and though he knew the archangel could vanish if he really wanted to, the fact that he didn't was rather encouraging.
"Well, Sam, if you put it like that," Gabriel managed to say after he had collected himself a bit more, and Sam laughed again, his head bending down to rest on the juncture between Gabriel's neck and his shoulder.
"I'm hard to resist, even for a tiny little thing like you."
Gabriel rolled his eyes and reached up to flick the side of Sam's head.
"Don't let it go to your head, Winchester. It's big enough already, and pretty soon the length of your freakishly long hair won't be nearly long enough to cover the whole thing. It'll be a built-in Cousin Itt costume."
Sam chuckled, and for a moment they just sat there, Gabriel resting against Sam's chest as Sam watched the children on the playground laugh and play. At one point, he realized he had been absently stroking the archangel's hair, and the fact that Gabriel hadn't made a snarky comment about it yet surprised him. In fact, Gabriel had an almost… contented look on his face as he surveyed the area with half-lidded eyes and his tiny little customary smirk. Sam found himself surprised by the idea that he'd like to see the trickster looking this relaxed more often.
Eventually, Gabriel shifted. "Well, Sam, not that I didn't enjoy using you as a pillow, but you know how it is when you're in my line of work. And besides, someone has to make sure Michael's head doesn't explode from a combination of pressure and his own hubris." Sam let out a small groan, but he released Gabriel, raising an eyebrow as the archangel rose to his feet, his wings stretching out behind him in a way that Sam knew was meant to look impressive this time.
"Show off," he muttered. Gabriel's smirk grew.
"Maybe you can cure me of it sometime," he said with a bawdy wink and a wiggle of his eyebrows that would have made the young parents cover the eyes of their children had they seen. Sam's mouth merely twisted into an expression of amusement as he shook his head.
"And you're worried about my head? See if I massage your wings next time."
"Ooh, already planning a next time, are we? Eager, Winchester?" Gabriel's grin became more wicked. "Well, cut the deck and deal me in! You've got yourself the beginning of an interesting game here, Sam. Lights, camera, action—we'll get this show on the road and in full production. Until then, adios! If you're a good boy I might even give you a kiss hello next time."
Gabriel's exit was silent, as it had always been, lacking the distinct ruffling of feathers that they had come to expect with Castiel, and Sam finally allowed himself to smile the somewhat fond smile he had been holding in the whole time.
He could hardly wait for the next encounter.