Author's Note:

This will be two chapters, the first covering how Sam took care of Gabriel, and the second covering how Gabriel took care of Sam. Reviews are amazing and definitely inspire me!

Chapter 1 - Secrets Never Told

When you're dying, you tend to regret stuff. The longer you've lived, the more you have to regret. The archangel Gabriel had lived for a really long time, and he had a multitude of regrets. One stood out from the others though, and it was this regret that was haunting Gabriel as he was literally on his deathbed.

He had lied to Sam Winchester.

That wasn't strictly true. He hadn't lied to the kid exactly, but he'd never told him the truth.

Every angel has a perfect mate. Sam was Gabriel's, and he had never told him.

That first time he had met Sam and Dean Winchester hadn't been an accident. Sure, the Trickster gig was real enough, but he set up there so that the boys would find him. He wanted to meet the children of prophecy. Dean irritated him from the get go, but Sam was special. For a kid so tainted by the evil manipulations of others, he was astonishingly pure of heart. That was when Gabriel knew that Sam was his, but he kept quiet. He didn't believe that it could be true.

So had begun his fascination. Gabriel hadn't exactly followed the Winchesters, but he'd kept an eye out. Unfortunately, he hadn't kept a close enough eye out, and Sam had died under his very nose. That had been horrifying to realize, especially since Gabriel couldn't do anything about it. Either fortunately or unfortunately, Dean fixed it, and the next day Gabriel was relieved to see Sam, alive and kicking. Of course, now Dean was earmarked for hell, which was it's own problem. Gabriel knew all about the prophecies and actions leading to the apocalypse, and he was well aware of the fact that Dean was the first domino. Of course, Sam's action would be a big part of the rest of the domino pile, and if he was prevented from going batshit crazy after Dean died, maybe Gabriel could stop his family from annihilating the world.

Enter the Mystery Spot plan. In a perfect world, Sam would have learned to live without Dean and become and independent hunter with his wits about him. In the real world, he had dissolved into a wreck of himself and become obsessed with Gabriel as the Trickster. It hadn't worked, and even worse in Gabriel's eyes, Sam hated him now. He didn't understand what Gabriel had been trying to teach him, and in the end he hadn't been able to avert the coming apocalypse at all.

Once Lucifer was walking free and the eventual showdown seemed inevitable, Gabriel was torn between his draw to Sam and his desire to help his family. Turning his back on the angels again seemed traitorous, so Gabriel had attempted the TV Land scheme. Ultimately, after getting a severe talking-to from Dean, Gabriel had realized his error. The vessels saying yes was a terrible idea. Gabriel couldn't just let this fight happen. Even if he managed to save his brothers, he would lose Sam, and he was not okay with that. Even if the hunter never knew of their bond, Gabriel wasn't going to let the kid die.

This of course eventually led to Gabriel's big showdown with Lucifer after the pagan meeting. He hadn't wanted to fight Lucifer, but Dean had again been the one to remind him of what was important. Earth was important. People were important. And above all, Sam was important, even if he didn't know it.

So, Gabriel had sacrificed himself to provide Sam and Dean with time to escape. They had fled with Kali, his former flame, and left Gabriel to face his brother.

Was it too much to hope that Lucifer would just kill him? Yes, it was.

Lucifer was no idiot. Any angel could sense the bond between mates. It was blatantly obvious to Gabriel that a bond existed between his baby brother Castiel and Dean Winchester, although clearly neither one of them had figured that out yet. In the same way, Lucifer could tell that Gabriel had a bond with the devil's perfect vessel.

And he was pissed.

All of that had led to Gabriel being tied down on a wooden x, his wings extended and clamped with some device of Lucifer's own making. Gabriel couldn't access any of his grace, and every torture his older brother inflicted on him was left to fester, never healing.

Surely his vessel couldn't last much longer. Why wasn't he dead yet?

Gabriel knew the answer to that. His grace may have been bound, but it was still sustaining him. Short of being pierced through with an archangel blade, he could withstand Lucifer's tortures indefinitely.

He knew that he looked like hell warmed over. His body was peppered with wounds, and his normally luxuriously golden wings were broken and bloody, tatters of their natural glory. The cuffs that bound his grace were snapped around the primary bone of each wing, pinching the sensitive appendages in an incredibly painful manner.

"Hello, brother." Lucifer's voice echoed through the room, his tone warm and friendly.

Gabriel made a face. Nothing about his older brother was sweet and cuddly, no matter what he did. "Hey, Luci. Come to set me free?"

"Actually, yes," Lucifer said, amused.

Giving his brother a double take, Gabriel gave Lucifer the most skeptical look he could manage. "Why?"

"I believe that my eventual...partnership, if you will, with Sam Winchester will not become any more likely by your death. Just because he does not know of your bond does not mean it will not affect him when you die. I would rather he be indebted to me than more hostile than he currently is." Lucifer's fingers lightly untied Gabriel from the wooden x as he spoke, his tone cordial.

Gabriel elected not to respond to that, instead feeling his wrists gingerly to make sure that blood flow was restored. "He won't say yes to you, Luci, I won't let him."

"We'll see," Lucifer said mildly, finishing with his removal of the ties and helping Gabriel to his feet. "I'm going to send you to Robert Singer's home. If the boys aren't there now, they probably will be soon. Tell them I said hello." He pressed two fingers to Gabriel's temple and the younger archangel vanished.

Normally when Gabriel flew, he arrived in the same condition he had departed in, often standing in the exact same way. Flying was a casual and fun activity for an angel. This time, however, Gabriel came careening out of the sky, landing on a beat up old Toyota in Bobby's junkyard before falling to the ground.

The screen door slammed and the distinct sound of a shotgun being loaded dimly reached Gabriel's ears. "Who's out there?" Bobby hollered.

Gabriel would have responded, but the wind had been knocked out of him and he could barely move.

"Bobby? What is it?"

Sam! His voice was just the right surge of adrenalin, and Gabriel immediately felt better for the hunter's presence. With all his strength, Gabriel managed to call out faintly, "Sam, help me..." before his voice cracked and faded. Calling for help was not exactly his modus operandi, but it did not make him feel weak to need Sam at this moment.

"Hang on, Bobby, put the shotgun down, I thought I heard..." Sam's voice trailed off, but footsteps began approaching Gabriel's location.

Relaxing, Gabriel found himself content to just lay there until Sam found him. Even his destroyed wings that were lying uselessly by his sides didn't bother him at the moment.

He knew the minute Sam had seen him from the "Oh my God," that fell from the hunter's lips. "Gabriel? Oh my God, Gabriel, are you okay?"

Gabriel couldn't help but laugh. "Just peachy, kiddo," he managed to say softly. "I leave my wings in this condition all the time."

"Right, stupid question," Sam muttered to himself. "Hang on, let's get you inside." He picked Gabriel up with little effort, being careful not to jostle his wings too much, and turned back the way he had come. "Bobby!" He yelled. "I need help!"

When the older hunter saw the crumpled bundle in Sam's arms, he immediately dashed back inside, calling for Dean. "I need this living room turned into a hospital room, now!"

Sam burst through the backdoor and into the living room, which Bobby had successfully managed to clear enough for Sam to have space to lay Gabriel down.

"That's Gabriel, the archangel, right?" Bobby asked, looking to Sam for clarification.

Sam merely nodded, his expression tight with concern as he tried to make Gabriel comfortable. "Bobby, pillows, blankets, whatever you have."

Bobby left and came back a moment later holding a stack of pillows and blankets, which Sam immediately began arranging under Gabriel to make him comfortable.

Dean entered the room then, carrying an armful of medical supplies, which he nearly dropped when he saw their guest. "Dammit, Sam!" He complained. "I thought we got rid of him!"

Sam flashed him a bitch face and Dean fell silent, passing the supplies to Bobby, who arranged them near Sam so the younger Winchester could grab what he needed.

"Okay, Gabriel, I'm going to try and clean your wings, okay? I promise I'm not going to hurt them." Sam said these words gently, laying hand on Gabriel's shoulder in comfort.

"'s okay, Sammy," Gabriel said, his voice barely audible. "You're the only person I'd trust with them anyway." He extended the wounded wings slightly, wincing as he did, so that Sam would have an easier time. "You can't take off the bindings though, they're permanent. I'm not even really an angel right now."

Sam frowned at that, but began to clean the clotted blood and treat the wounds on Gabriel's topmost right wing. Turning slightly to Dean he mouthed, "Call Cas."

Nodding, Dean left the room, a look of concentration on his face.

Sam worked quickly and quietly, placing bandages on the wounds as he cleaned them and apologizing every time he had to reset a broken bone, which was too often for his liking.

To his credit, Gabriel was also quiet as Sam worked, keeping his pained reactions mostly facial and not audible.

Sam had treated two wings by the time a whoosh of wind alerted him to Castiel's arrival.

"Hey, Cas," Sam greeted the angel without turning around.

"Brother," Castiel said, his voice laced with horror, "What happened to you?"

"'s no big deal," Gabriel muttered, his eyes closed and his expression pained as Sam cleaned a particularly nasty wound. "I sided with the Winchesters and Luci wasn't cool with that. I'll be fine."

Sam ignored Gabriel and asked Castiel without turning around, "Can you look at the cuffs on his wings? He said that they're binding his grace and that they're permanent."

Castiel moved forward, kneeling down on Gabriel's left and examining the metal carefully. "These are branded in Enochian," he said solemnly. "They are indeed strong. They could be removed though."

Sam looked up at that, relief flooding his expression. "That's great! Can you...?"

Castiel was shaking his head before Sam finished the question. "I am not strong enough. I do have stronger friends, however, and perhaps combined we can unshackle Gabriel. I will return."

Before Sam could reply, Castiel had vanished. "Well, I guess we'll just have to wait then. In the meantime, I'll try and get you as healthy as I can by non-supernatural means." He smiled wryly. "It's weird to treat an archangel the human way."

"I appreciate it, Sam," Gabriel said quietly. He was dimly aware of Dean and Bobby leaving the room, letting them be alone, and he appreciated it.

"Why did Lucifer let you go?" Sam asked tentatively, not sure if he should bring it up.

Gabriel hesitated.

"You don't have to tell me," Sam added quickly. "I'm just curious."

"No, it's not that I don't want to tell you..." Gabriel trailed off, not sure how to express himself. "I don't know if I'm ready for you to know."

"I don't know what you mean," Sam admitted. "Can I tell you something though?"

"Sure," Gabriel said automatically, wincing again as Sam bound a wound.

"Okay, so, don't make fun of me or anything," Sam warned him, "but I'm relieved that you're not dead. Like, seriously relieved. You have no idea how much that was weighing on me."

Gabriel was surprised by the sincerity in Sam's voice. "Really? I thought I drove you guys nuts." He was desperate to hear more. If Sam cared for him at all, then maybe revealing the bond wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Sam chuckled. "Oh sure, Dean would deep fry you in holy oil given the chance." His eyes twinkled with mirth as he spoke. "Seriously though, I guess after awhile I understood you. When you sacrificed yourself for us, that just sort of clinched it. I felt bad that we never got to thank you. That I never got to thank you."

"Thank me for what?" Gabriel asked, dropping all attempt to veil his curiosity.

"Look, it's just that..." Sam huffed, focusing on the wound he was cleaning for a moment before continuing. "I forgave you for the Mystery Spot thing a long time ago. I never got to tell you that. I forgave you because I realized what you were doing. If I had listened to you, I would probably never have set Lucifer free." Sam's voice broke a little as he said that last part.

"Hey," Gabriel said firmly, reaching up to grip Sam's arm. "Listen to me. That was not your fault. Sure, you were a little too stubborn and didn't take good warnings to heart, but you were manipulated by evil for a long time, kiddo. Lucifer getting out of his box was not your fault."

"How can you say that?" Sam gaped at him. "Of course it was my fault, I killed Lilith!"

Gabriel sighed and moaned in irritation. "Winchesters, so dense! Sammy, you've been a pawn in this plan your whole life. My attempts to stop this from happening were in vain, and even when I tried to help my brothers I did more harm than good. Don't you dare blame the apocalypse on yourself. Blame the demon that tricked you, blame the angels that lied to you, blame even me for failing to make my point, but don't you dare blame yourself. You were manipulated, but you were never evil."

Sam didn't answer, focusing instead on the task in front of him. He finished with Gabriel's third wing on the right and shifted over to the left, beginning the process again.

"So I can see how you might have forgiven me for the Mystery Spot," Gabriel encouraged, "but how'd you manage to get over TV Land?"

"Okay, that was kind of funny in hindsight," Sam admitted. "And I get you. You wanted to see the fighting in your family end. You were choosing to help your brothers, even if you didn't realize yet that it was a moot point."

Gabriel was quiet for a moment. "I chose them over something more important that time," he said with a sigh.

"What was more important?" Sam asked, his gaze not leaving Gabriel's wings.

There was silence for a few minutes as Gabriel debated whether or not to tell Sam about the bond. Well, it was now or never, wasn't it? It wasn't like they had long lives ahead of them, what with the apocalypse going on and all. "I have...a strong bond with a human on Earth," he began after consideration. "I haven't sought after that bond because I was afraid of the consequences, and my choices almost caused me to lose it forever."

Sam's brow was furrowed as he thought about that. "What kind of bond?"

"It's...complicated. Kind of an angel thing. We don't usually end up bonded with humans. In my case, I'm not even bonded, I just feel the draw of the bond because it's so strong on my end. Think soul mates, but more powerful. It's an eternal bond of love, basically. I can feel that connection, and if the other half of this bond had any feelings for me, they would be able to feel the bond too. It's like an irresistible affection for that person, and it could manifest in strong emotions and powerful dreams for that person." Gabriel explained the affects on a human as he understood them, hoping that this description might reveal whether or not Sam felt the bond.

Sam sat up, abandoning the wing momentarily, and stared at Gabriel. "You're bonded to me, aren't you?" He demanded. His tone wasn't angry or hostile, but it was bewildered.

Gabriel hesitated before nodding, not trusting himself to speak.

"Why in the hell wouldn't you tell me something like that?" Sam demanded.

"Fear," Gabriel answered immediately. "Let's just say that the outcome of a broken or rejected bond is...not good." For an archangel it meant a slow death from shattered grace, and for a human it meant a long life of agonizing pain they would not be able to identify. Gabriel only knew of two human victims of broken bonds, and both had committed suicide because the pain was too strong. Little did they know that the pain continued after death, no matter where their soul went. Even in Heaven, one could mourn the loss of a soul mate.

Understanding lit up in Sam's eyes, following by a flash of anger. "You thought I would reject you?" He asked, his voice even but masking strong irritation.

"Yes, Sam, I admit it. I'm a twelve year old boy with a fear of rejection. Happy now? Can you really blame me for worrying that you wouldn't reciprocate? A broken bond would kill us both, but I knew that I could survive the affects of an unfulfilled bond. I figured that since you didn't have any reason to feel anything for me, it wouldn't affect you very strongly and we would both survive." Gabriel huffed, feeling like his attention to detail when it came to caring for Sam was being overlooked.

"You just assumed I didn't reciprocate," Sam said quietly.

Gabriel's eyes flashed up to meet the hunter's. "Do you?" he asked bluntly.

Not giving Gabriel any time to react, Sam leaned forward and gave the archangel a chaste kiss on the lips, pulling back after a moment and smiling softly. "Gabriel, you look at me and see a soul, not a monster. You invested huge amounts of your time into trying to keep me from jump starting the apocalypse, and until a few hours ago I thought you had died for me. How could I not have feelings for you? Even if I couldn't identify them before, they've always been there. I think I even felt something when I met you the first time, some kind of spark maybe."

Gabriel nodded in agreement, addressing the last part first. "That was when the bond formed. Us meeting created it, and it's been growing steadily stronger on my end for this entire time. The tug towards you has always been practically impossible to ignore."

"Then stop ignoring it," Sam ordered, smiling gently.

"I hardly think I'm going anywhere soon," Gabriel reminded him, but he was smiling as well.

"What completes the bond?" Sam wondered aloud.

Gabriel made an awkward coughing noise and indicated the two of them. "An activity I'm not exactly up for right this second."

Realizing what he meant, Sam blushed and quickly returned to his administrations to Gabriel's wings. "I guess we better get you healed up then. Where the hell is Cas?"

As if on cue, the dual whoosh of wings in the room signified Castiel's return with a another angel.

Gabriel groaned aloud as Sam turned to see the newcomers. "Cas, why Balthazar of all angels? Nobody in all of Heaven is more irritating."

"Hardly, brother," Balthazar said dryly, rolling his eyes. "Everyone agrees that you've got that particular crown achievement. Now, are you going to alienate me before I can help dearest Cas fix your grace?"

Gabriel grumbled, but didn't reply.

Sam had been surprised by the new angel. "Hey, I'm Sam," he said, offering a hand to the angel with the British accent. "And you're Balthazar, I guess?"

Balthazar nodded, giving Sam's hand a quick shake. "Good thing you're quick on the uptake," he said sarcastically. "Still, nice to finally meet one of the famous Winchesters." He turned his attention Gabriel, who was still scowling. "Alright, let's take a look at these bindings, shall we?"

Dean and Bobby reentered the room at that point, starting in surprise at the sight of the new arrival. "Who the hell is this?" Dean demanded.

"Oh good," Balthazar said, his tone still snide. "This must be Castiel's Winchester. And the old one, not a Winchester. Pleasure to meet you. Now, would everyone please let me concentrate on the disabled archangel?"

Castiel hurried over to explain the situation to Dean and Bobby before the oldest Winchester exploded.

Balthazar was examining the bindings on Gabriel curiously. "Ah, looks like Luci got creative!" He said appreciatively.

"Can you remove them?" Sam asked urgently.

"Possibly, with Castiel's help." Balthazar mused, still examining them. "I think we should be able to manage it. Castiel, if you don't mind?"

Castiel returned to Balthazar's side, and they quickly joined hands, allowing their grace to connect and form a stronger bond. Together, they reached out towards Gabriel, their eyes shut and muttering swiftly in Enochian.

Sam watching with fascination, shielding his eyes when the glow of grace became too bright for him to witness. In the doorway, Dean and Bobby were similarly blocking the light, practically cowering from the flow of grace coming from the angels.

When the glow faded, Sam immediately looked to Gabriel. To his immense relief, the metal bindings lay besides each of his wings, having snapped off as a result of Castiel and Balthazar's work.

"Thank you," Sam told them, his voice earnest and full of sincerity.

"No problem," Balthazar said, sounding smug. "Always happy to help. Castiel, good to see you again. Gabriel, not so much, but glad you're not dead at least. Farewell!" He gave a small bow and vanished.

"Thank you, Cas," Gabriel said softly, reverting to the Winchester's nickname for the angel. "It means a lot."

"I could hardly leave you to suffer," Castiel said seriously. "Especially not when it would cause your mate to suffer as well."

"His what now?" Dean interrupted from the doorway. "Is this angelic ass married or something?"

Gabriel ignored him, sitting up slowly and focusing his newly restored grace on certain aspects of his body one at a time, trying not to overwhelm himself.

"No, Dean, shut up," Sam griped, not answering the original question.

"You will both be fine now," Castiel informed Gabriel and Sam with a small smile. "I am glad I was able to help."

Gabriel reciprocated the smile, nodding towards an irritated Dean and added, "Perhaps now you might want to address your own unresolved bond, brother."

The look on Castiel's face was the closest thing Sam had ever seen to an angel blushing, and he immediately realized what Gabriel meant. "Seriously?" He asked Gabriel, eyebrows raised. When the archangel nodded, Sam grinned. "I knew it."

"Knew what?" Dean demanded. "What the hell are you all talking about?"

Gabriel had managed to successfully heal himself at this point, and with a relaxed sigh tucked his wings away. He looked exactly like his old self, disparaging glance at Dean and all. He looked at Sam before speaking though. "Can I tell him?" He asked.

"As long as you do it nicely," Sam conditioned, grinning.

Dean was glowering now, but Bobby was looking between Sam and Gabriel with an understanding expression. "I'm gunna go get beer," the older hunter said in a resigned voice.

"Bobby's sharp," Gabriel said, pleased. "So, Dean, let me explain. See, when two people really love each other..."

Dean stopped him. "No, no, no. Don't start any conversation with something like that. What's actually going on here? What's all this bond stuff?"

Castiel answered this time. "A bond is what we call the partnership between an angel and their true mate. It is most often another angel, but it is sometimes a human." He glanced towards Sam and Gabriel, his movement not at all subtle.

"No way," Dean muttered, connecting the dots. "What, you two are soul mates?" His voice was irritated, but not resentful.

"Pretty much," Sam confirmed, relishing in his ability to put and arm around Gabriel's shoulders without hurting the archangel as he would have an hour before.

"So I have to put up with him all the time now?" Dean asked, sounding defeated.

"He is not such bad company, Dean," Castiel informed him.

Dean rolled his eyes. "Great. This should be fun."

Gabriel chuckled. "Don't worry, Dean, I'll try not to pull your pigtails too often. Besides, I get the feeling that would piss Sammy off, and that's not really a wise move for me."

Sam grinned at that and pressed his lips to Gabriel's cheek. "You're smarter than you look," he teased.

Dean made a gagging sound and turned to leave the room. He turned back for a second to look seriously at Sam. "Honestly, dude? I'm glad your happy. Sucks that it has to be with the freaking Trickster, but I think I'll live." He turned and left the room, swiping a beer from Bobby who was just returning.

"That went better than I expected," Sam commented, accepting a beer from Bobby.

"If you two decide to make like rabbits in my house, you'd better make damn sure you soundproof the room first," Bobby said sternly, glaring mostly at Gabriel.

Sam choked on his beer, but Gabriel simply smiled sweetly and nodded at Bobby. "Of course, Bobby. I promise to be respectful of your home."

That made Sam laugh, but Bobby merely nodded his appreciation and took a seat on the couch. "Well, now that love is in the air, I guess we're putting the apocalypse averting on the sidelines?"

"Only for one night," Gabriel assured him. "I promise we'll get right on that tomorrow morning." Glancing at Sam he asked with raised eyebrows, "Care to step out and have some fun?"

"Where?" Sam asked warily.

"Oh come on, let it be a surprise!" Gabriel said with a pout.

"Fine," Sam sighed, and a second later both he and Gabriel had vanished.

Dean came back into the room and saw Bobby alone. "Where'd the lovebirds go?" He asked sullenly.

"Dunno," Bobby shrugged. "I'm guessing either DisneyWorld or Jupiter."

It was DisneyWorld, and Sam would forever after attest to the fact that nobody but Gabriel could eat twelve sticks of cotton candy before getting on a spinning ride without throwing up.