Hello folks! This is an epilogue; kinda-sorta and totally not. It's sequel time! The timeline is a little jumpy in this one, but its pretty simple if you think about it. Which, technically, makes it not-so-simple. Read it a couple times. The important thing is that this part is made of snip-its of the first week- week and a half of Gabe being back :)
I own nothing.
They were back at Bobby's just as the sun was rising. Gabriel hadn't moved from Sam's arms for the entire car ride and Dean and Cas clutched at each others hands in the front seat. They had gotten Gabriel from the farmhouse almost two weeks prior, but he wasn't really back. Now til then.
The house was empty- Bobby left a message on Dean's phone about some hunt in Oregon with Rufus- and Gabriel took a long moment to just be there. He'd only ever been to Bobby's a few times, and they always served such a fast purpose that he didn't stay long. Not to mention, his relationship with the old hunter was about as rocky as his and Dean's, so it wasn't really like he was wanted when he'd been there. Once Sam forgave him, Dean and Bobby warmed up a bit, along with the new relationship of Cas and Dean. He felt a little bit closer then, just in time for it all to end.
It was strange to think about the fact he had actually died. He 'died' all the time- Dean, Bobby, and Sam had all committed the act at least once- but angels were almost never resurrected, and when you died, you really died. Angel grace became stardust in the atmosphere- at least, that's what he'd been told.
For the first time in his new life, Gabriel just closed his eyes and took a breath to just really be there. It felt different, almost like he'd been there much more recently- for longer than he ever had- and... he felt loved.
"Did the old man get new drapes or somethin'? It feels different..." he asked absently to the air.
"What? No..." Sam smirked and Gabriel expertly masked his flinch as the hunter put an arm around his waist from close behind him. Flinch? Whoa, Gabe; little jumpy. It wasn't exactly a threatening motion. It was gentle and sweet and slightly clumsy. It was purely Sammy, and he lov- Calm down. He just kissed you in the car, cool the jets! He did love him. Gabriel knew the second he saw him, but Sam didn't know that. The archangel literally took that to his grave, and he always regretted it, but that didn't mean 'say it at the next possible time!' But it also didn't mean he couldn't have a little fun... he grinned openly, closing his eyes and forcing himself to relax into Sam – he wasn't expecting it to be so hard to do- turning and looping his arms around the taller man's neck and kissing him with everything he had and more. Sam grinned against his lips and squeezed his waist as he pulled him up to his lips. He felt loved and at home and-
You don't deserve him, you don't deserve any of this. You should've died and you know it...
Guilty. Incredibly, cripplingly guilty. He wanted to kiss Sam- more than anything- and in the car it was perfect, but now there was a moment when he felt this sudden revulsion and the need to pull away. It was gone in an instant, but it seemed to dig itself a pit into his grace and seat itself deep in there. The permanence of the feeling terrified him but he kissed Sam deeper, willing the trembling away because he was fine, damnit. He forced the word to the front of his brain in neon lights and carefully tucked the bitter feeling into a shadow at the back of his mind, letting himself get lost when Sam simply held him close that night as he slept.
Gabriel rested his head over the taller man's chest, and tried to breathe evenly in the wake of his last nightmare. Nightmares; that was all they were, no matter how real they seemed... you don't believe that. Scrunching his eyes up until he saw stars, feeling Sam's grip on his back tighten in his sleep. He was fine. He had Sam.
He's out of your league. He's better off without you. He belongs with a human: a beautiful, whole, pure member of his own species. You're nothing but another purebred bitch, and all you'll do is hurt him, you're damaged beyond repair... STOP IT! He took a deep breath of sandalwood and cinnamon and gun powder and Sam as he pressed himself close to his heart.
A pounding heart against his fingers and warm muscle stretching out under his palms. A soul reached out to him through the flesh and helped him returning him to the present... breathing steady... in out in out....
He barely remembered anything from his time as a comatose vegetable. He knew what had happened when Sam and the others found him in... wherever he was, and he remembered Sam telling him about how the apocalypse ended. But all those were remembered like he was seeing them through a film, or like they didn't really happen. All he knew now was that nothing ever felt as calming as Sammy's pulse and body heat under his cheek; but sometimes his clothes felt itchy and unnatural, or he just zoned out completely. It was like he stopped feeling anything at all for sudden periods of time. It happened mostly during the strange times that he'd feel... uncomfortable, or threatened. He knew he almost died, but the feeling of being on-guard never seemed to go away now. Wasn't he better?
He couldn't tell Sam, Sam couldn't handle this now. He'd already spent 12 agonizing days looking after his sorry ass; the kid could use a break. Dean and him still weren't on the best of terms. No matter how close he and Sam get, the hunter and him still had the elephant in the living room of 'I killed you a billion times over the course of a Tuesday time loop', and Gabe wasn't quite sure how much the older Winchester still hated him. Not confiding in him anytime soon. And then there's Cas. Cas was sweet, but- hard as he may try- he just didn't understand. He was still trying to work out how he felt what he felt for Dean. Gabriel couldn't imagine going to him for any type of advice. And, he knew that no matter what or who he said this stuff to, it would all end up back with Sam.
It was so strange. He didn't hide things from Sam- at least, he tried not to- and Sammy hated it when he- or anyone- did it. Sam didn't know about any of the confusion or dreams, but he wasn't stupid and Gabe knew that much: Sam was worried. He was more gentle and more careful around him, like he would break if he approached too fast or spoke too loud, and it would be infuriating if it wasn't true. He would fall apart, and the archangel could already feel the seams ripping as he tried desperately to hide the problems.
It started with these weird... feelings that he got in different parts of the house- especially the bedroom he shared with Sam- that gave him phantom aches and sharp pains or sudden memories of a fight or something that he didn't remember happening. He started jumping at small sounds and unexpected touches and made every excuse in the book to hide them. Then came the dreams.
They were more like hallucinations and flashbacks, but that just sounded too... violent and post traumatic and... he wasn't crazy! He was just... he was probably going crazy. The dreams happened at completely random and unpredictable times: in the middle of the day, he could look down and his wrists would be black and blue, or look in the mirror and he'd be naked and beaten with his wings mangled behind him and it was terrifying and made no sense and-
The pain was so overpowering that it seemed to stem from every part of his body and he couldn't focus his gaze on anything as he opened his eyes to the hard metal ceiling. Hesitantly, lifting his throbbing head, he looked around.
It was all a blur of black darkness, ashen skin, and the rust of dried blood. At least forty angels- emaciated, caustic burns painting their skin, and wings out and pulled tenderly to their backs or hanging at agonizing angles- were sitting, standing, or even lying down in the dank room. Some didn't even look alive. Gabriel moved to stand in the spinning room with his hands steadily holding him up against the tin wall of the tiny barrack. He became intensely aware of his own wings, mangled and limp against his back. The tips were charred to black and every move he made suddenly caused so much pain that he could barely keep himself standing. Then the door crashed and rattled open. There was a young woman with red dotted white wings and shaking bones was shoved carelessly into the space, a guard about to shut the door behind her.
"Please, PLEASE... take me, take m-me, she's a fledgling- she's just... she's my baby, please, she-" the words were shrill and trembling and they ached somewhere deep inside Gabriel.
"-is none of your concern... filthy bird..." the human kicked her to the ground and spit at her as she collapsed into body-wracking sobs, holding her stomach and seeming not to feel the way her wing was now precariously bent against the floor. The door closed and plunged them all into a darkness only broken by the mother's harsh cries...
Her baby... they took her baby....
He woke with a start.
Sweat drenched through the t shirt he wore- Sam's- and he could feel his entire body shaking. With tentative eyes, he looked down at his wrists to check them. What was wrong with him?
"Gabe?" Sam muttered sleepily, big hand reaching up to find him in the dark. He didn't mean to shudder, but Sammy was just too damn perceptive sometimes. "Gabriel, what's wrong?" He'd just think you were weak. A nightmare? Really? A part of him really did know that Sam would try to help- would understand better than anyone else- but his pride just... wouldn't let him say the words? Was that pride or shame?
" 'M fine, Sammy. It's okay..." he said it for his benefit more than Sam's. Was it fear? He was seriously starting to doubt that he wanted to know what happened to him... Whenever he caught his hunter looking at him funny- worried, concerned, or even scared- he could tell it was something terrible, and if it had enough juice to nearly take him down?
They were gonna need a bigger boat.