Samandriel finds Gabriel rooting through the weapons room one night in the midst of the oncoming apocalypse. At first, all he can do is stand there, shocked, before he finally coughs out, "Gabriel? What are you doing here?" He's almost not sure it is Gabriel, because it's been, must be, centuries since the guy was upstairs, so long that many of Samandriel's older brothers had thought him dead.
When Gabriel looks up, his lips twitch into a crooked grin that doesn't reach his eyes. "Hey little bro," he says with a shrug, like it hasn't been more than a few weeks since they last saw each other, like the world isn't ending below them. "Just looking around for some mead. Stuff they got downstairs is-"
"In the weapons room?" his little brother cuts him off, peering over his shoulder where he can see an array of angel blades that Gabriel's been gathering. "Those belong to Heaven."
"What, you came back after all this time to… steal weapons?" To Gabriel's surprise, the young angel looks genuinely hurt.
"It's not what it looks like, okay?" he says, leveling his gaze with Sandy. "I didn't have a choice."
"Oh, really?" Samandriel says, his voice tougher than it should, the war making him grow up faster than he was supposed to. "What's so important that you have to steal from your own family? Unless… you're not working for…" He won't say it, won't, because Gabriel's still one of the good guys, he thinks, an angel from Heaven, not for Hell.
"No," Gabriel says quickly, "no, I'm not working with… it's actually the opposite. Well, not really the opposite. I don't have time to explain. But I gotta do this. People's lives depend on it." Turning, he grabs up the blades he's come for and begins to edge out of the weapons room.
"What are you talking about Gabriel?" Samandriel persists, because he hasn't seen his big brother in ages and he doesn't want to let him storm in and out of Heaven without even a decent explanation. Especially not with the apocalypse nigh.
"Nothing. Forget it." Sliding the blades into the inside of his jacket, Gabriel turns once more to look Samandriel straight in the eye. "Just… Dad ever comes back, tell him I love him." It's probably the most serious Samandriel's seen him, ever.
"I'll see you, Sandy." He shuts the door to the weapons room, strides away like he's getting ready to vanish again, but Samandriel grabs him by the elbow. "Get off me."
"I'm coming with you."
"You're just gonna slow me down."
"Tough." His mouth splits into a small smile and Samandriel's eyes light up, memories of the games Gabriel used to play with him when he was a fledgling rising to the surface- playing jokes on Anna and Castiel, learning how to fly in loops and figure-eights.
Still- "This is dangerous and you could get hurt."
"So could you, Gabriel."
"Look, whatever stupid thing you're about to do, you're not doing it alone, and that's that." Samandriel's a scrawny little angel, but when he gets his mind set on something he's tough as nails. Gabriel knows this. He doesn't know what's got Samandriel so dead set on following him, though.
"I don't understand," he says. "Why are you doing this?"
"Because," Samandriel sighs, "you're still my brother."
And there's really no arguing with that. One quiet flight later, they're standing outside the Elysian Fields Hotel.
"Where are we?"
"Well, we're not in Kansas anymore," Gabriel grins, but the reference is lost on Samandriel. "Indiana."
"Alright." Flustered, Samandriel splays his arms out, feathers rustling. "What do I do? How can I help?"
"You could've helped by staying in Heaven," Gabriel mutters. In a normal voice, he says, "It's gonna get hairy. I'm gonna check you in and you're gonna stay in a hotel room until I come and get you. 'Kay?"
"No," Samandriel answers, distraught. "I didn't follow you down here so you could lock me up. I want to help."
"You will," Gabriel sighs. "Just be patient."
He is patient. For most of the night, anyway. Gabriel shows him how to work the television, and he spends the majority of the night between changing channels and pacing the floor, worrying about Gabriel. Just as he's starting to debate whether following him was a good idea, there's a knock on the door. "All clear."
Gabriel sweeps in wearing a fake moustache and angling an arm around some girl's waist. "Here," he says, handing Samandriel a camera. "Your time to shine."
"What?" Samandriel asks, bewildered, as Gabriel sits the girl down on the bed and winks at her. "I don't understand."
"Need you to film me for the next couple of minutes," Gabriel explains. "See, this button's record and this one's stop. Hold it steady, don't stop filming for anything, anything, got it?"
"But-" Gabriel just ruffles his hair affectionately and sweeps back out of the room before calling "Action!" from the other side of the door.
One mortifying experience later, Samandriel slams the camera shut and hands it over to Gabriel after the older angel's kissed the girl on the cheek and snapped his fingers, making her disappear. "I don't see how all of that was necessary."
"Trust me, you did a great service," Gabriel says with a smirk, turning to dock the camera to a laptop. His fingers fly over the keys, and minutes later he's got a DVD in his hand that he slides into a Casa Erotica case. "Thank you, on behalf of the human race." He's wearing an impish grin and his hair is still mussed up.
"What did you mean, that- that part at the beginning?" Samandriel asks, brow furrowing. "About you being dead?"
"Aw, don't worry about it, kid," he says, standing up. "Just some business I gotta take care of." As he starts to leave, Samandriel grabs his elbow again.
"What's going on downstairs, anyway?"
"You'll find out when you're older." He winks and produces a second DVD from his jacket pocket. "Oh, and here. Once this is all over, I want you to watch this."
"No thanks," Samandriel says quickly. "I'm really just fine actually being here. I don't need to see that again."
Gabriel laughs. "Relax, it's somethin' else. Just… watch it when you get a chance. Okay?"
Samandriel sighs. "Okay."
It's not until later that he finds out the whole story- his big brother's sacrifice, the showdown with Satan, who that video was really for. Up in Heaven, while the other angels bicker about politics, Samandriel privately grieves for his lost brother.
He doesn't watch that DVD. Months pass. The apocalypse comes and goes, averted by a couple of crazy humans, he hears, and a rogue angel (he doesn't find out which angel it was until a year later when the fields of Heaven are littered with scorched wings and bodies).
It's after all that, after the apocalypse and the civil war, as Heaven struggles to piece itself together after losing so many, that Samandriel remembers another lost angel, and he finally musters up the courage to sit through Gabriel's final goodbye.
The heaven of a car crash victim has a DVD player in it, and Samandriel pops in to use it, fingers trembling slightly as he figures out how to work the machine. Moments later, seated on a musty couch, he watches as Gabriel's smirk appears on screen. "Hey, Sandy," he says, and for just a second Samandriel can't help but think he's right there with him. "Guess you're the only one watching this. I mean, what with everyone else thinking I died a long time ago." In the video, he scratches the back of his neck, the smirk dropping, and he's again more serious than Samandriel ever saw him. "I just want to say that I hope this works out, in the end. The Winchesters, they may not have a plan, but they've got something there. And I think it just might work." The smile comes back, a sad smile, and he says, "So… bye."
He walks off camera like he's going to turn off the camcorder, but suddenly his head pops back into frame. "Oh, and also, it's all a trick. I'm not really dead. Later."
The screen goes blank.
Speechless, Samandriel runs forward, scrambles to eject the disc, to see if maybe there's a part two on the other side, searching for some explanation. The DVD player has trouble ejecting, though, and when the cartridge pops out he sees why.
The disc is gone. In its place is a chocolate chip cookie.