Chapter 11

Sam took another weary breath and stroked Dickie's back, as he brought his eyes to rest on the refrigerator across the kitchen. He wasn't exactly looking at it, but looking through it; trying very hard not think or feel. But it wasn't working. Because even the refrigerator reminded him of Gabriel...

After the whole altar thing happened, Dean asked Cas to fly them back to Rufus's cabin before he started his search for the archangels. Cas, of course, did as Dean requested. He showed up to fly the Winchesters home, and Sam was barely able to move when he arrived. The altar room was still warm, where the ring of holy fire had been burning, and Sam was kneeling in the same spot Gabriel had been standing in just moments before. The initial shock of Gabe's disappearance was still affecting him when he climbed shakily to his feet; making his insides quake with anxiousness, and his heart pound hard with grief.

Sam was vaguely aware that the scenery changed around him, the second after Cas touched his shoulder. The cabin was directly in front of him, now. The sky was dark but the moon was out, casting a white glow on the mossy wooden porch. The windows were lit with warm light and, for a brief moment, Sam thought that Gabriel might have come back. Maybe the trickster was already waiting on the couch inside, wearing a smug expression, prepared to say, 'What took you guys so long?' But, to Sam's utter despair, the cabin was empty. The only soul occupying the house was Dickie, and he was waiting patiently at the door for them when they arrived.

Coming home to Dickie was probably the hardest part of it all. The little dog was so excited at first; barking, jumping up and down, and wiggling with energy at the sight of them. But, after greeting Sam, Dean, and Cas, the dog seemed to notice that someone was missing. Sam watched him sniff around the door and do a few laps around the room; searching for his owner, probably confused by his absence. But, after a few moments of anxious wandering, Dickie seemed to realize that Gabriel wasn't there. The dog's tiny, wagging tail gradually slowed to stop, and he shuffled back over to the rug in front of the door and sat down on it; to stare at the door and wait.

The sight of Dickie sitting so patiently by the front door made Sam's tears start up again. How many abandoned animals were able to actually comprehend the fact that they were abandoned? How long did they sit and wait for their owners to come back, before it finally sunk in that they were on their own? How long would it take Dickie to get used to the idea that Gabriel was gone? How long would it take Sam? After wiping his tears away, Sam walked over and scooped the little dog up into his arms. He couldn't bear the thought of Dickie just sitting there for the rest of his life, waiting for Gabriel to come back. He had to pick up Dickie, and get him away from the door. Because, if he didn't move the dog, Sam probably would have joined him...

Sam didn't sleep at all that night. He couldn't lay on the bunk bed, because the couch was in his direct line of view, and made him recall the first night Gabriel fell asleep there. He couldn't lay on the couch, either, because that was the spot where Gabriel always slept. And forget about the basement. Sam couldn't even bring himself to look at the damn basement door, without thinking of their night of passion, and wanting to burst into tears again. It seemed like every inch of the cabin was imprinted with some kind of memory that made Sam think of Gabe. The bathroom, where Sam first saw him naked. The fireplace, where Gabe fell asleep texting Sam. The kitchen table, where Gabe ate his first Butterfinger. Everything was a memory. And everything hurt.

Dean was doing the stoic, brotherly thing; just like always. He asked Sam if he wanted dinner, which Sam declined woefully. And Dean made Sam a sandwich anyway, even though Sam never ate it. The thing sat on the table all night, untouched. Dean refrained from mentioning anything that related to the angels. He didn't even mention Cas, and Sam was glad. Because even Cas reminded Sam of Gabriel. At some point during the night, Dean eventually wandered over to lay on the couch. The older brother fell asleep, leaving the younger to sit at the kitchen table and repeatedly stroke the warm dog in his arms.

For a long time, Sam just sat in the dark and thought about things. There was a strong possibility that Gabriel was dead. Sam couldn't deny that, no matter how much it hurt. But, what if he wasn't? What if Dean's other prediction was true? What if Gabriel had gotten his grace back, and was now strolling around on earth somewhere, not caring about Sam anymore? Though it made his heart ache, Sam hoped that it was true. Even if Gabe didn't love Sam anymore – even if he never gave Sam another smile, or batted those beautiful eyelashes at him, or shared another delicious kiss with him – at least the archangel would be alive. At least Gabe would still be out there; wreaking havoc on the world, one candy bar at a time...

And, there was always one more possibility. Though it was small and very unlikely, there was always a chance that Gabriel was alive, with his grace, and trying his damnedest to get back to the cabin. The tiny notion both excited and sickened Sam. The other conclusions – of Gabriel being dead or just not caring anymore – were so much more plausible than him actually wanting to come back to Sam. In many ways, it felt like this entire week had been just a daydream. Sam wasn't that important, in the grand scheme of things, and he especially wasn't important enough to warrant the love and affection of an archangel.

You are the brightest, most precious thing that has ever walked the face of this earth.

Sam gulped hard, as Gabriel's voice briefly passed through his mind. Why did Gabe have to say those words to him? How did he have the power to make Sam feel so wonderful and so terrible, just by saying a single sentence? No matter what happens from here on out, sweetheart, just know that I only want you to be happy. Okay? Ugh. Those words only made Sam feel worse, now. Sam could practically see Gabe's precious face in his mind again; remembering him standing on that hillside. His golden hair tossing around in the breeze, his moist lips curved into a smirk, his eyes – God, those eyes – so full of childlike adoration.

These thoughts tormented Sam for hours. The man just sat in a numb, motionless heap in the kitchen, as the sun steadily rose to light the cabin windows. He found himself glancing repeatedly toward the front door, secretly hoping that Cas would appear there with Gabriel at his side. He knew it was a long shot, but he couldn't stop himself from waiting anxiously. Sam's actions slowly started to loop themselves; glance at the door, pet Dickie, think about Gabriel, glance at the door, pet Dickie, think about Gabriel...

Sam wasn't sure how many times his eyes flickered to the door, by the time Dean woke up. The sun had lit up most of the cabin by then, making almost everything visible again. Dean yawned, rubbed his eyes, and rolled off the couch; looking around, like he was recalling all the events that had taken place the day before. The older brother's expression was shifting between disappointment and sympathy, when he walked into the kitchen to see Sam sitting there; unmoved, from when he last saw him. Sam's hand was still petting the same gentle line down Dickie's back, as his eyes wandered up to meet Dean's.

“Did you sleep at all, Sam?” Dean asked, his voice gruff.

Sam's head slowly shook back and forth. No. He had not slept. He was too grief stricken to sleep...

The older brother sighed aloud, and wandered over to fall into the chair on the opposite side of the table. Though Dean had come to keep him company, Sam wasn't paying much attention to his brother at all. He was still watching and waiting for Cas to appear in the living room. Even if Cas didn't have Gabriel with him, the angel would at least be able to give Sam some information. He would at least know whether Gabe was alive or not, right?

“You didn't eat, either, did you?” Dean grumbled, nudging the untouched sandwich on the table, “Dammit, Sammy. You need to eat something.”

Sam wanted to tell Dean that he wasn't hungry, or that he would eat when he was ready, but nothing came out of his mouth. It was too difficult to locate his voice, so he just left Dean's comment alone. His eyes wandered back to the living room for the millionth time. Where was Cas? What was taking him so long?

“Look, man,” Dean began, leaning forward to rest his elbows on the table, “refusing sleep and starving yourself won't bring him back.”

An icy chill ran down Sam's spine, as his eyes flashed back to Dean. He knew that his brother's words were true, but did Dean really have to say them that way? Did he have to sound so bitter and accusing? Sam's hand drew to a stop on Dickie's soft back. Oh, great. Now he was thinking about Gabriel again; imagining him saying, 'Yeah, kid. There's no need to starve yourself for me. Fasting is my dad's thing, not mine.' Sam's heart ached. Shit, he missed that humor so much...

A rustle of wings filled the cabin.

Both Winchesters looked toward the living room, to see Cas standing there. Sam lurched to his feet at once, jumping up to meet Cas's eyes. The quick motion startled Dickie awake, and the dog's tiny head popped up from the crook of Sam's arm to scan the scene. Sam heart raced, as he eyed Cas's expressionless form. Gabriel obviously wasn't with him, but he at least knew something, right? Did he find Gabe and Raphael? Did he know where Gabriel was? Was Gabe alive? Was he okay?

All of these questions must have been written on Sam's face, because Cas's blue eyes searched over him with understanding. The angel's mouth slowly opened to release a sigh, and he glanced toward the ground and shook his head. Sam's heart plummeted. No. Why was Cas shaking his head like that? What the hell did it mean?!

“I'm sorry, Sam,” the angel mumbled, “I looked everywhere, but... I didn't find them.”

Sam swallowed harshly, making his Adam's apple rise and fall with a hard thud. Cas didn't find them? What did that mean? Was he saying that he didn't find them because they were busy fighting each other somewhere? Or was he saying that he couldn't find the aftermath of their fight? Was he saying that he couldn't find their bodies? Apparently, it could have been either one, because Cas didn't expand on his statement. He just left it like that, to be taken the way it was said.

Sam carefully stumbled back to plop down into the chair behind him again, letting Dickie wiggle out of his arm and jump to the floor. This whole situation couldn't suck any worse. Cas was back, and Sam still didn't know whether Gabriel was alive or not. He had nothing to go on; no evidence or facts. All Sam had was a tiny sliver of hope, and it was quickly dwindling away...

Dean sighed out loud, probably hoping to catch Sam's attention. But Sam found it impossible to meet his brother's eyes. How could he look at Dean, now? Sam was sure that the words 'I told you so' were bound to fall out of Dean's mouth eventually. Dean probably couldn't wait to rub in the fact that he was right about saying, 'this is only going to end in one of two ways.' And Sam didn't want to give him the satisfaction of seeing the disappointment on his face.

But, surprisingly, Dean didn't say a word. He only reached over to grab something off a nearby counter, and slide it across the table to Sam. The younger brother assumed that it was a cup of coffee or glass of water. But it wasn't.

It was an unopened Butterfinger.

A fresh wave of grief swept through Sam, as he looked up from the candy bar to finally meet his brother's eyes. Contrary to Sam's assumption, Dean didn't look arrogant at all. His green eyes were full of apology, and his mouth was tilted downward in a frown. It was apparent that Dean actually felt sorry for Sam, and sliding a Butterfinger across the table was his way of saying it.

Sam's heart was hammering hard with emotion, as his eyes dropped back down to the candy bar. He knew Dean was trying to do a nice thing, by giving him an item that he and Gabriel talked about all the time. Dean probably thought that it would make Sam feel a little better. But, unfortunately, it had the opposite effect. Guilt and pain were coursing through Sam's body, the longer he stared at the golden wrapper.

Feeling the urge to escape, Sam ripped the Butterfinger off the table and raised to his feet; instantly starting for the front door. Dickie was following close behind Sam, as the man ventured off the wooden front porch and out into Rufus's yard. He needed some fresh air. He needed sunshine. He needed to get out of the cabin that held too many memories of Gabriel. He needed to find a way to deal with this pain.

Sam was quite used to being in pain. In fact, when he broke his toe while running from a pack of werewolves a few years ago, he didn't even notice it until he took his shoe off and saw the swelling. The doctor said his big toe was broken in two different places, but Sam hadn't felt a thing. Being a hunter didn't come with a lot of perks, but Sam assumed that resistance to pain must have been one of them. After taking so many hits during physical combat, the pain just kind of fades away, and you're only left with scars.

But this pain wasn't physical. It was something much deeper than that. And it hurt even worse.

Sam had felt this type of pain only one other time, and that was when he lost Jessica. It wasn't just the fact that she had died, but the way she had died, that made Sam grieve over her for such a long time. Even now, Sam would sometimes catch himself dwelling on Jessica's death; picturing her on the ceiling surrounded by fire, hearing her cry out, smelling her burn... It was safe to say that Sam was always in a perpetual state of grief for Jessica, and probably would be forever.

But, to think about staying this way over Gabriel – to always wonder whether Gabe was alive or dead, to take care of Dickie for the rest of his dog years and know that he missed his owner, to stay in an endless loop of grief and hope – was simply too much. How could one person feel so much pain, and not die from it? How was Sam ever supposed to get over this?

How the hell did Rose move on with her life, after she lost Jack?

Sam's restless feet brought him to the edge of Rufus's lawn, where an old picnic table was sitting by a tin shed. The wooden table was facing a neighboring farm, where the wheat fields stretched on for miles. The sun was still rising, and casting a beautiful glow on the swaying, golden crops, but Sam wasn't in the mood for appreciating the scenery. He was just here to get away from his thoughts and feelings. Dickie was still wandering around on the ground next to him; sniffing the air, as if he was searching for something. Or someone. Sam shook his head at Dickie's futile efforts. Poor little dog. He was never going to stop looking for Gabe, was he?

After taking another large breath, Sam brought himself to sit on the edge of the table. The warm morning breeze was tossing his lengthy hair around, when he finally looked down at the Butterfinger in his hand. Gabe's first night in the cabin was suddenly brought to mind, at the sight of the blue lettering on the package. Crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery? Dammit, why don't I ever read the fine print? Sam smiled sadly, at the remembrance of Gabriel's funny comment. Man, Sam was so glad that he found that Butterfinger in the bottom of his duffel bag. He was so glad that he and Gabriel were able to bond over something so small; that they had shared so much laughter and affection, based on a single candy bar. Even if Sam never saw Gabriel again, at least he had this. He would always have the memories they had shared together...

Though new tears were beginning to blur his vision, Sam looked down to carefully maneuver the candy bar in his hands. He was trying to grab both sides of the wrapper in order to open it, but his stubborn, trembling fingers were refusing to work properly. Just as he was about to pull the sides apart, the candy bar slipped from his hands and fell into the tall grass. Sam blinked down at the pitiful sight of his Butterfinger laying on the ground, and immediately felt worse. Son of a bitch. He couldn't even hold on to a damn candy bar, for God's sake...

“It's a sin to let those touch the ground, you know.”

Tingles raced through Sam's entire body, making goosebumps rise on his skin. The sentence had drifted on the breeze from his left, and the voice sounded like a whisper from heaven. He knew that playful tone by heart. He knew exactly who it belonged to... The man carefully raised his head, in order to look toward the sound, hoping that his mind didn't make it up.

To Sam's great surprise, Gabriel was standing near the tin shed on his left. The archangel was casually leaning up against the old building, as if he'd been standing there the whole time. And he looked absolutely perfect; smirk intact, shaggy blonde hair tossed around his head, golden eyes glowing with amusement... For a moment, Sam was convinced that his eyes were playing tricks on him. No way! Was it really him?! Did he really win his fight against Raphael?! Was he really alive?!

As Sam stared toward Gabriel in shock, Dickie zoomed across the yard in a blur; racing through the grass to bark and jump up and down at Gabriel's feet. The little dog's tail was wagging furiously, and he was trying his best to get his owner's attention. Gabe scooped him up at once, to let Dickie lick his face a bit, but Gabe's eyes never left Sam's. The two of them were searching each others' expressions; Sam with disbelief and Gabe with slight confusion. In all honesty, Gabriel was probably wondering why Sam was frozen in place, because the man found himself incapable of moving or saying words. His body was too busy pumping happiness and excitement back into his system to be concerned with motor function.

“Hey, moose,” Gabe said softly, putting Dickie back on the ground and tossing a slight wave, as if he was hoping to get Sam to react.

As Sam's heart hammered hard with emotion, he finally found his voice, and spoke for the first time in hours.

“G – Gabe?” he breathed, hoping to God that it was really him.

A beautiful, meaningful smile lit up Gabriel's face at the sound of Sam's voice.

“The one and only,” he answered, holding his arms wide open for effect.

That was all Sam needed to hear. He was suddenly sliding off the picnic table and stumbling toward Gabriel with his arms stretched out; lurching toward him, without a second thought. The man instantly took the archangel's head in his hands first, cradling Gabe's lovely face so that he could search it. Gabriel's blonde hair was soft against Sam's trembling fingers, and his skin was smooth and warm. It was him! It was really him! Gabriel's signature playfulness was present in those shining, honey eyes...

Gabe!” Sam repeated with a smile.

The man crushed the archangel into a sudden, frantic hug; squeezing him tight and spinning around. He could hear the sweet sound of Gabriel chuckling in his ear as they spun, and feel Dickie dancing around at their feet with delight. Sam's heart felt swollen with joy. It felt like all the pain he'd been feeling for hours was finally fading away. Gabriel was alive. His heart was beating and his laugh was echoing through Rufus's yard. And he was in Sam's arms, where he belonged.

“Whoa, kid, this is quite the welcome,” Gabe laughed, clinging to Sam's shoulders, “Did you miss me or something?”

Instead of replying to Gabriel's question, Sam merely stopped spinning in order to bring their mouths together. They stumbled against the tin shed with their lips connected; clinging tightly to one another, as their eyes fluttered shut. Never before, did a kiss made Sam feel so alive. It was as if the mere act of kissing Gabriel was able to revive every cell in his body; waking it back up, so that it could cope with the amount of happiness running through it. And, shit, Gabe's mouth tasted so damn good; better than it ever had before. Sam's tongue was practically running laps around Gabriel's, circling it in a nonstop sprint. Only when his lungs begged for oxygen, did Sam's mouth finally release Gabe's. The man's hands never let go of him, though. They stayed clenched around the archangel's tiny back; unwilling to depart from him. Gabriel stared back at him with dazed eyes, as if their reunion kiss had effected him, too.

“Wow,” he grinned, reaching up to rake Sam's hair back, “I guess you did miss me.”

“I – I thought you were dead,” Sam panted, blinking down at Gabe's beautiful face again, “I thought Raphael was gonna -”

Dead?” Gabe interrupted, sounding on the verge of more laughter, “Oh, come on, Sammy-boy. You know that nobody can kill the trickster. Not even your bonehead brother could kill me, remember?”

“But, Raphael had your grace,” Sam reminded, his hands still caressing Gabe's back, “You were just human. What happened when you disappeared, Gabe? Where did you go?”

A hint of guilt flickered on Gabriel's expression, as he played with a strand of Sam's hair. His golden eyes were boring up at Sam with honest emotion, as if he was about to relive a painful memory.

“I'm so sorry I sent you away, Sam,” the archangel mumbled truthfully, “I was just trying to keep you safe. 'Cause I knew Raphie was gonna snap his fingers the minute I opened that trap, and I couldn't stand the thought of you getting hurt, kid. I didn't want you to leave, but I had to do it without you.”

Sam gulped, feeling a subtle twinge of his own guilt. He shook his head a bit, to show that he was fine with it, so Gabriel would continue his story. The archangel cleared his throat before going on.

“As soon as I knew you were safe on the other side of that door, I sprung Raphie out of the trap. I was pretty sure he was going to kill me the second he was free, and he did snap his fingers. But, when he gave his little love snap, we were both blasted to the desert instead.”

“The desert?” Sam repeated, lost.

“Yeah. I'm not sure which one. Probably the Sahara. The sand was really grainy,” Gabriel shrugged.

“But, why?” Sam asked.

“Well, I'm probably going out on a limb by saying this, but I'm pretty sure that angel can't be killed by his own grace,” Gabe smirked, “When we landed in the sand, Raphael was trying his best to blast me away, but it just wasn't working. My grace just kept misfiring on him, like it was refusing to hit me. He eventually gave up trying to smite me, and started beating the shit out of me instead. I tried running away from him. But, do you know how hard it is to run away from an archangel that's hell-bent on killing you, while you're in the desert with nothing to hide behind? It's virtually impossible, kid. Believe me.”

Gabe paused for a second, probably realizing that Sam's face was tight with concern, before moving on with the story.

“Anyway,” Gabriel said, his fingers still playing in Sam's hair, “we fought for a few hours like that. I kept running, and he kept popping up in front of me with another punch. I still had the angel blade, so I was able to get a few good scrapes in, but I eventually ran out of steam. The sun was coming up by then, and I was flat on my back staring up at the sky. He was hovering over me and I was sure that I was a goner. One more good hit, and I was gonna be seeing my daddy again. The angel blade was still in my hand, but I barely had enough strength left to lift it, and Raphael was already raising his fist. But, do you know what I was thinking about, in that moment, Sam?”

Sam instantly shook his head, unable to imagine what thoughts must have been racing through Gabe's head at the time. The archangel smiled meaningfully, as his hand dropped down to cup the side of the man's face.

“I was thinking, 'Man. What would Sam Winchester do right now?” he grinned, making Sam's insides bubble with delight, “So, I fought against the pain, and raised that angel blade up to strike him. I slit Raphie's throat, just like he did to me, and my grace came pouring of his neck. It filled me back up like it couldn't wait to see me again. Ugh, it felt so good to have my grace back... but...”

Sam gulped, seeing pain briefly fill Gabe's honey eyes. His smile slipped away for a second, as he glanced down at the ground.

“But,” he repeated, taking a weary breath, “I had to kill my brother to do it. And I'm not proud of that.”

Sam hated seeing Gabe in such a state of guilt. He knew that archangels had some weird unwritten law; that they never killed each other unless absolutely necessary. And, even though Raphael had fully earned the right to have justice served on him, Gabriel still felt guilty about ending his life. And Sam could understand his disposition. The man reached down to tilt the archangel's chin back up, so that their eyes would meet again.

“You can't even begin to imagine how happy I am to see you,” Sam said gently, hoping to comfort him, “No matter what it took to get you here, I'm glad you did it.”

Gabriel's smile carefully returned, brightening up his pretty face again.

“Me too,” he replied softly, rubbing his thumb against Sam's cheek, “It's so good to see your big, moosie face again, sweetheart. You're just as peachy and perfect as ever.”

Sam's face filled with a blush. Only Gabriel could say something like that, and make him feel as shy as a school girl.

“So, you got your grace back?” Sam asked, wanting to make sure.

The mischievous grin that spread on Gabe's lips made Sam's insides tighten with excitement. One of the archangel's hands slipped away from Sam's body, and he snapped his fingers together with a raised eyebrow. And, suddenly, the clouds above them broke open – and Butterfingers started raining from the sky. Sam laughed out loud, as the candy fell all around them; surrounding them in a sea of yellow and blue wrappers. Dickie was dashing around, too, dodging random Butterfingers with bewilderment. Hell yes, Gabriel had gotten his grace back. And it seemed like he was very eager to put it to use. The ridiculous amount of candy was starting to pile up around them, when Sam leaned down to join their lips together again. Gabe kissed Sam back for a moment, before pulling away to sigh dramatically.

“Ah. I've always wanted to kiss you while candy rained from the sky,” he mused, reaching out to grab a Butterfinger in midair, “You want to share one, moose?”

Sam's eyebrows suddenly raised in surprise. The mention of eating food had reminded him of Dean trying to get him to eat earlier – and made him realize that neither Dean nor Cas knew that Gabriel was back yet.

“Dean and Cas,” Sam gasped, over the sound of Butterfingers hitting the ground, “They don't know that you're back, Gabe.”

Gabriel raised his hand, and the candy bars stopped falling from the sky. Butterfingers were scattered all over Rufus's yard. The only bare spot was the small circle of grass that Sam and Gabe were standing in. The archangel's smile flickered wider, as he reached down to take the man by the arm and tug him toward the cabin.

“Well, let's go show them!” Gabriel rejoiced, “Come on, moose! Move those big hooves!”

Sam chuckled as he raced behind Gabe; trying his best to avoid stepping on all the Butterfingers sprinkled on the ground. Dickie was barking and running at their heels, seeming overwhelmingly happy to be with his reunited owners. Sam was sure that Cas would be happy to see Gabriel again. He thought the angel might actually even hug Gabe for once, and let himself feel emotion. Dean, of course, probably wouldn't be as happy as Sam or even Cas, but he might at least be happy for Sam. Gabriel came to stop but the cabin door and tossed a wink at Sam, before opening the door and dashing inside.

“Cassie! Freckles! Guess who's back!” he sang.

Sam was grinning when he followed Gabe into the cabin – but his mouth fell open in shock, as soon as he looked up to see what was happening in the living room. Cas and Dean were standing near the fireplace; both topless, with their arms wrapped around each other. It seemed like their lips were darkened and wet, and their hair was tussled – as if they had been making out. And their bare chests were touching; rubbing against each other, as they panted for breath. Dean and Cas were were both looking toward Sam and Gabriel with large, fearful eyes; pale and frozen, like deer in headlights.

Sam was honestly too shocked to blink, let alone move. Gabe had been right! Dean and Cas really were banging each other! He couldn't believe it! Dean's huge eyes were glancing between Sam and Gabriel, as he tightened his arms around Cas and his cheeks filled with blood. The room was filled with awkward silence for a solid ten seconds, before Gabriel chuckled nervously.

“Oops,” he smiled, backing toward the door and pulling Sam along, “Sorry for interrupting you guys. We'll, uh, we'll just be outside. Let us know when you're done.”

Sam's feet stumbled alone with Gabriel's grip, but his eyes remained glued to his older brother and the blue-eyed angel in his arms; unable to look away. Dean and Sam's eyes were connected when Gabe slammed the door shut, finally blocking their view of each other. Sam blinked repeatedly at the wood, still full of disbelief. Gabriel was giggling at his side; doubled over with humor.

“They – they're banging each other!” Sam breathed in shock, glancing down at the laughing archangel.

Gabe wiped his golden eyes free of moisture, before looking up at Sam.

“Well, duh. I told you they were,” he grinned, “Say, don't you owe me some money, now?”

“What? No,” Sam denied, “We didn't make a bet.”

“Hmph. That's too bad,” Gabriel said, stepping close to wrap his small arms around Sam's torso, “I would be rolling in dough right now.”

“Ha. Yeah, right,” Sam smiled, cradling Gabe close on the porch, “You, of all people, should know that I don't have money to give away.”

“Who says I would ask you for money?” Gabe replied, his face easing upward, “No, no, baby moose. I wouldn't take your money.”

Sam knew that tone Gabriel was using. It was his playful tone; his sexy tone. The man was leaning his own lips downward, in order to whisper.

“Oh, yeah? Then, what would you take from me? All my Butterfingers?” he asked, knowing it was probably the answer.

Gabriel shook his golden head, letting his eyes wander toward Sam's lips.

“I would take all of your kisses,” he answered.

Sam sighed with happiness, as he closed the distance between their lips. This kiss was more meaningful than all the ones they had shared before it; full of love, and relentless passion. Sam cradled Gabriel's tiny form as close to him as possible, making sure that no space was left between them. He was never going to let him go again. Not for anything. Their lips carefully parted, allowing them to look at each other properly again. Sam rested his forehead against Gabriel's, staring down into his beautiful eyes.

“You wouldn't have to take them, Gabe. I would give them to you,” he said truthfully.

Gabriel's smile dimmed a bit, and he stared up at Sam with total seriousness.

“I love you, Sam,” he uttered, sounding more honest than ever.

Sam smiled and took a deep breath, letting his lungs fill with Gabriel's sweet scent. He would never get tired of hearing those words spoken in Gabe's voice. He wanted to hear them everyday for the rest of his life. He wanted to wake up every morning and see the very same, beautiful face he was staring at now. Sam wanted to keep Gabriel forever, and never let him go.

“I love you, too, Gabe,” he breathed softly.

“More than Butterfingers?” Gabriel asked, wearing his best smirk.

Sam gave a chuckle, nuzzling deeper into his arms.

“More than Butterfingers,” Sam agreed.

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