Chapter 6

Dickie raced across the kitchen to dive his nose into the food bowl, when Sam started pouring some kibble inside. The dog was chomping away hungrily, like he hadn't had a meal in days; even though he'd eaten his own weight in dog food that very same morning. Once the bowl was nearly full, Sam tucked the bag closed and made sure to put it on top of the refrigerator; far out of the dog's – and his owner's – reach.

“There,” Sam smirked, kneeling down to pet Dickie's warm fur, “Once you're done with that, come and see me, okay? I've got something else for you.”

Of course, the Jack Russel Terrier didn't reply. Dickie was too busy pigging out to acknowledge that Sam was talking to him. But Sam didn't mind. He was just glad to have the privilege of caring for such a sweet dog. Besides, there were bigger things plaguing Sam at the moment; like wondering where the hell Dean and Cas were...

And trying to figure out what to do about his feelings for Gabriel.

A tingle raced up Sam's spine. Ugh, even the slightest thought of the trickster made shock waves ripple through Sam's whole body. The man eased over to the kitchen doorway and timidly poked his head into the living room, stealing another glance at Gabriel from a distance. The archangel was still relaxing on the couch, with his feet propped up in the coffee table and Sam's computer resting in his lap.

After retrieving some dog food in town, Sam and Gabriel immediately came back to Rufus's cabin; not wanting to miss Dean and Cas when they returned. And, throughout the entire trip back, Sam was feeling more nervous than ever; unable to form proper thoughts, losing his voice whenever Gabriel asked him a question, being fully aware of the slightest touch archangel gave his shoulder... It seemed like everything Gabriel did during the trip back to the cabin was affecting Sam in a million ways.

Dickie was the only one that greeted them at the door when they arrived. Sam texted Dean, to ask him how the search was going and if he was okay, but he never texted back. When Sam and Gabriel eventually got settled back in to wait for Dean and Cas, Gabe requested to watch a movie on Sam's laptop. And, of course, Sam couldn't say no to him – especially not after he batted those golden eyelashes and made that irresistible face.

“Hey, why can't they both fit on the big floating door?” Gabriel called, his golden eyes never leaving the screen, “I mean, it's simple physics. Just let her lay on top of you, Jack! It's not like she hasn't laid on top of your skinny ass once already.”

Sam briefly glanced toward the computer, to see that the movie – Titanic – was nearing the end. Sam wasn't concerned with the movie, though. He was too busy staring at Gabriel. Even from a few feet away, Sam was being affected by every tiny detail of the archangel's physique. Watching the trickster crunch into yet another Butterfinger was doing unholy things to Sam's body; making his stomach constrict into a tangled mess, and causing blood to flow toward his crotch in waves. Sam grimaced in the kitchen, caught between confusion and infatuation. Dammit, how could this be happening? How could Sam be feeling all of these emotional – and sexual – urges for another guy? For Gabriel?

“Well, don't just bob in the water like a dumbass, Jackie! Go and find something to float on,” Gabriel snapped toward the computer, before shouting, “Hey, Sammy-boy? Where'd you go? I thought you were gonna watch this with me.”

Sam gulped, realizing that he was being summoned to the couch. Though he was internally struggling with the question of his own sexuality, Sam tried his best to play it off. He didn't want to give Gabriel the impression that he liked him, even though he did. Because Sam knew there was no way in hell that Gabriel felt the same way. Genuinely loving someone – or loving anything, for that matter – just wasn't in the trickster's DNA... was it?

In an attempt to be casual, Sam cleared his throat and shuffled nonchalantly to the couch. He sat himself down slowly next to Gabriel – making sure to leave a nice open gap between the two of them, to reinforce his act – before turning his attention to the screen. By this point in the movie, the lifeboats were coming back for survivors; sifting through the floating corpses and scattered debris in the water. Sam had seen this movie countless times, mostly against his will. Dean watched it every single time it came on TV to – as he so rudely put it – “check out the redhead's rack one more time.” Sam knew that his older brother secretly watched it for the sappy romance, too, but he never said anything.

By the look of concentration on Gabriel's slightly-bearded face, Sam could tell that this was the first time the archangel had ever seen it. Gabe was so focused on the action, that he was barely paying any attention to the melting Butterfinger in his hand. Sam's eyes flashed between the screen and Gabriel's expression; enjoying how enveloped he seemed to be.

“Why is she singing toward the sky?” Gabe mumbled, scowling a bit, “Hello! Your man is turning into a human Popsicle! Get off the damn door and trade places with him, idiot.”

Sam smiled a little. He knew what Jack's death scene was coming next, and imagined that Gabriel would shout profanities at the computer; start ranting about Rose being a 'dumb broad' or something. But as the sad music started playing, and Rose began repeating Jack's name over and over, Sam noticed that Gabriel was gradually beginning to suck on his bottom lip. The man blinked toward the archangel, watching his amber eyes slowly dilate – and glisten.

Sam was in absolute awe. Here was the trickster – the same trickster that put Sam and Dean through a ton of shit just to have a laugh – and he was actually getting emotional. Over a movie. At first, Sam assumed that maybe it was Gabe's current state of humanity, that made him react so honestly. But what if it wasn't? What if it was just Gabriel being Gabriel? What if the archangel had always been a sucker for good romance movies? What if he actually understood the indescribable pain of losing someone, or the terrible fear of dying?

What if Gabriel could actually love someone?

Dickie suddenly hopped up onto the couch, breaking Sam's stare away from Gabriel. Though Sam was somewhat distracted with the dog, he still caught that Gabriel was turning his head away; reaching up to clear his eyes in privacy. Sam pretended he that he didn't notice, and turned his attention to the dog climbing up to lick his face.

“You must be ready for your gift, huh?” Sam mentioned, reaching toward the end of the couch to grab the stuffed moose, “Here you go, boy.”

At first, Dickie only sniffed around the plush toy and nudged it with his nose; trying to make sure he was allowed to take it. Sam and Gabriel were both watching, as the dog carefully pulled it out of Sam's hands with his teeth. When Dickie jumped into the floor with it – and started molesting the poor moose like a rabid hump machine – Sam stole another glance toward Gabe, to make sure he was okay. The archangel was acting as though nothing had ever happened; eyes back to their usual playfulness and lips forming a smirk. He elbowed Sam's side and nodded toward the rape taking place on the floor.

“He's got the right idea,” the archangel winked.

Sam's heart did a sudden whoosh. The right idea? What did Gabriel mean by that? Was he talking about sex? Was he talking about the moose? Was he talking about sex with the moose? Sam didn't get to verbalize any of the questions that suddenly crowded his mind – because Dean and Cas appeared in the living room.

They popped up side-by-side near the fireplace, almost directly in front of the couch. Sam and Gabriel instantly spun forward to take in the sight of them. They both looked fairly normal; clothes and faces in the same condition they had been in that morning, though they did look a bit tired. Dean was carrying an arm full of books – presumably from Bobby's stash – and Cas was carrying some kind of rolled up paper. The room was still for a moment, as the four men took in the sight of each other, before Gabriel broke the silence.

“Well, well. Baby bird and freckles finally decided to come home,” he grinned, “Where have you guys been all day?”

“Egypt,” Dean answered glumly, starting for the table behind the couch.

Sam and Gabriel raised questioning eyebrows at each other, before closing the laptop and getting up to follow Dean and Cas across the room. Dean slammed down the stack of books on the table and took a deep breath, appearing exhausted. Cas seemed pretty weary, too; making it seem like their day had been long and trying. Sam was genuinely curious to know if the two of them had found any ingredients. And, more adamantly, if they had encountered Raphael himself.

“So, what have you got?” Sam asked, hopeful.

Dean sighed, resting his hands against the back of a wooden chair.

“Do you want the good news or the bad news?” he asked, shooting his brother a weary look.

“Give us the good news,” Gabriel spoke first, seeming interested.

Cas glanced toward Dean, who gave a slight nod, before laying the roll of paper on the table. The angel gently unrolled the ancient scroll, revealing what looked like a few pieces of fine, darkened hair. Sam stepped closer to inspect the light brown strands for himself. It was a cluster of hairs that looked centuries old, probably preserved in the paper for ages.

“This is the first ingredient,” Cas informed.

“What is it?” Sam asked, curious.

Gabriel reached up to pat Sam on the back, making another wave of tingles run through his body.

“That, my big beautiful moose, is a lock of Eve's hair,” he answered.

Sam gulped, his eyes flashing between Gabriel and Dean.

“E - Eve? As in, Adam and Eve?” he nearly gasped in disbelief.

Dean nodded simply, as if he didn't care about the rarity of the item laying before him. Sam's eyes fell back to the few strands on the paper, searching them with awe. The idea that it had been dead for the entire existence of mankind was sort of gross, sure. But it was also a piece of the very first woman on earth; something that had been created by God's own two hands. And Sam was right there, standing in the same room with it...

“Where the hell did you get that?” he asked, still in shock.

“Egypt,” Cas repeated, “among one of the many tombs of royalty. It was handed down through generations of slaves, but was eventually laid to rest with one of the pharaohs.”

Dean took one of the old books and held it up, showing Sam the ancient Latin script on the front cover.

“This book tells us what we need, and it runs down the whole ritual in excruciatingly fine detail,” he grumbled, “Eve's hair is the first ingredient. The second, is the skull of the first-born lamb that Abel sacrificed to God. And the third is a piece of the -”

“The forbidden fruit,” Gabriel finished, taking a breath, “Now I remember. You've gotta burn all this crap on an alter and say the stupid 'open sesame' phrase. You remember how it goes, don't you Cassie?”

Cas blinked toward his angelic brother with bewilderment.

“No, Gabriel. I was not in court with the archangels when this spell was being created,” he hummed lowly, his voice housing a twinge of bitterness, “but it doesn't matter. Our only goal is to claim the ingredients before Raphael can obtain them.”

“Well, we've got one down,” Gabriel smirked, gesturing to the carefully preserved hair on the table, “only two more to go.”

“Yeah, that's where the bad news comes in,” Dean sighed, rubbing his forehead, “The lamb's skull is actually not far from here. Bobby said that Crowley sold it to a guy in Columbia Falls a few years ago, and the guy hung it on the wall in his bar... and Raphael is on his way to the bar as we speak.”

Sam didn't miss that Gabriel stiffened beside him. All playfulness vanished from the archangel's face in an instant. His honey eyes were wide and full of attention, making him look deadly serious.

“Raph is here?” he said, “Then, what are we waiting for? Let's go get him.”

“Go get him?” Sam repeated, lost.

“Yeah! That bastard's got my grace and I want it back,” Gabriel answered, “If we cut him off at the bar, then -”

“No,” Cas interrupted, turning to give Gabe a stern look, “We are not going anywhere near the bar. Especially not you.”

Gabriel shot a glare toward his brother.

“Excuse me, Asstiel, but who the hell put you in charge?” he snapped.

Sam gulped. There was actual anger in Gabriel's tone; more than Sam had ever heard before. Getting his grace back obviously meant a lot to Gabe. As the two angels stood glaring at each other, Dean broke the tension with another loud sigh.

“Look. If we go to the bar and Raphael sees us, he'll figure out that we're staying close by. Which is bad for me and Sam,” he said carefully, “I know you want your stupid grace back, Gabriel, but going after him now will only get you killed. Cas and I have talked this out. It would be easier for everyone if we just let Raphael take the damn skull. We already have a piece that he needs, so it's not like he could do the spell if he wanted to.”

“So, we're just going to sit here? And do nothing?” Gabriel spat, outraged.

“Pretty much,” Dean said, glaring back, “We don't have a lot of options right now. Raphael could kill us all with the snap of his fingers. We should let him go this time, and live to fight another day.”

After a few solid moments of glaring at Dean and Cas, Gabriel finally huffed a breath of aggravation. The archangel shook his head, before reaching passed Sam to grab another Butterfinger. He ripped the candy bar from the table and stomped away from the group without another word; acting like a teenager, mad at his parents. Sam watched Gabe plop himself on the couch, feeling terrible. The man didn't like it when the trickster's playfulness was gone. Was there something Sam could do or say, to make Gabriel feel better?

“I'm going to start the search for the fruit in northern Asia, Dean,” Cas said, turning toward him.

“What, by yourself? You could get killed, Cas. We're supposed to be using the buddy system, remember?” Dean nearly growled.

“Yes, I'm aware of that. But you need rest,” the angel pointed out, “and as long as Raphael is preoccupied with the skull, I should have a safe passage.”

Dean seemed overly hesitant, to let Cas go back out on his own. And for a brief moment, as Dean and Cas stared so powerfully toward one another, Sam was almost convinced that what Gabriel said about them was true – that Dean and Cas really were more than just friends...

“Alright, fine. Here,” Dean said, pulling out a map from one of the books, “Show me where you're gonna be.”

Sam glanced back and Dean and Cas, making sure they were lost in their own conversation, before easing over toward the couch. Gabriel had laid down and curled himself toward the back of the sofa, in order to glare at the cushions. He was nibbling angrily on his Butterfinger, too; behaving in a way that Sam could only describe as sulky pouting. The sight was rather pitiful, and it tugged at Sam's heart.

Hoping to at least get a smile from Gabe, Sam grabbed the blanket from the back of the couch and tossed it over the archangel. Gabriel shifted a bit and raised his eyes to look at Sam, probably wondering why the man was tucking him in. After Gabe looked nice and cozy, Sam sat himself on the edge of the coffee table, and leaned forward to whisper.

“Rose made it to New York, you know,” he said quietly, “and she had the blue diamond in her pocket the whole time.”

Gabriel's golden eyes widened slightly, as he blinked toward Sam. At first, it seemed like he wasn't interested in hearing about the end of Titanic. But the archangel eventually rolled over to look at Sam properly, still clutching his half-eaten Butterfinger.

“But Jack died,” Gabe mumbled, still clinging to bitterness.

“Yeah,” Sam nodded, “but Rose did everything they talked about doing. She flew in an airplane, and rode a horse on the beach.”

“With one leg on each side?” Gabe asked, as a smile played on his lips.

Sam grinned. He was so glad to see the happiness lighting up Gabriel's pretty face again.

“Yep. One leg on each side,” he replied. Sam lowered his voice considerably, before adding, “Listen, Gabe. I'm – I'm sorry that we can't get your grace back right now. And, I don't know if it means anything to you, but, um... I think you're pretty cool, whether you have grace or not.”

Sam's heart was racing again. He could feel it pounding in his ribcage, as if he had just confessed a secret or something. Gabriel's smile grew, making him look even more beautiful than before. His small hand reached out to clutch Sam's knee, and Sam could somehow feel the touch in every part of his body.

“Thanks, kid,” the archangel smirked, “that... that actually means everything to me.”

Sam searched Gabriel's face, looking for the slightest hint of dishonesty. But there wasn't any. Gabriel truly meant what he said. Sam's approval really did mean everything to him...

“Goodnight, Gabriel,” Sam forced out, carefully shifting his knee out from under the archangel's hand.

“Goodnight, baby moose,” the archangel called, as Sam made his way toward the bunk beds, “I hope you have good dreams.”

Sam grinned and stole a glance back at Gabe, taking in the sight of him snuggled up warmly on the couch one last time, before venturing to bed himself. He wanted so badly to confess his feelings; to tell Gabriel how he really felt. But he was still too chicken to do it. Sam hoped that by morning, he could work up the courage to say it out loud...

The sudden roar of the Impala's engine startled Sam awake.

The cabin was almost completely dark, save the shine of headlights in the windows. Sam blinked toward the light for a second, wondering why Dean had started up the car and turned the headlights on. It wasn't until the sound of the engine started fading away and the lights moved away from the cabin windows, that Sam realized the car was leaving. He assumed that Dean was going to get food or meet Cas or something... until he heard Dean's voice directly overhead.

What the hell?!” the older brother hissed from the top bunk.

Sam instantly bolted to sit up – which caused him to hit his head on the top bunk – before groaning and rolling out of bed. Dean was already scrambling out of the bed above him; tossing back the sheet to jump to the floor. Although Dean ran toward the front door, Sam's first instinct was to check the couch and make sure Gabriel was okay. Dean ducked outside and Sam dashed over to the couch, to toss back the blanket -

But Gabriel was gone.

Sam could hear Dean shouting in the driveway; cursing at the thief for taking his car. In the meantime, Sam was freaking out. Where was Gabriel?! Had someone kidnapped him?! Did Raphael get to him?! Did he kill him?! Sam searched the surrounding area for clues with his blurry eyes; hoping that something could tell him what had happened to Gabriel. He started with the couch and moved on to the table – where a scrap of paper caught his eye. He noticed that the ancient scroll containing Eve's hair was gone, and that a note was left in its place. Sam ripped the paper off the table and searched the handwritten note to read -

Went to get grace. BRB.

An actual gasp fled Sam's lips. His sleepy mind had finally put two and two together. Gabriel hadn't been kidnapped! The trickster had stolen the freakin' Impala! And Eve's hair! And he was going after Raphael! Sam's heart began pounding with fear, realizing what Gabriel was planning to do. Dean was stomping back into the cabin, when Sam dashed to grab his shoes and jacket. He couldn't let Gabriel do this! He couldn't let Gabe get himself killed!

“Cas!” Dean shouted toward the ceiling, “Get your ass back to the cabin! Right now! Sam? What the hell are you doing?”

“Gabriel took the lock of Eve's hair,” Sam said, racing to his duffel bag to grab the angel blade from inside, “and he's gonna try to trade it to Raphael for his grace!”

What?! That stupid son of a bitch is gonna get himself killed!” Dean spat.

“I know! I've gotta stop it!” Sam said, running passed his brother.

Dean tried to grab Sam's jacket, as the younger brother ran by, but Sam yanked himself free. Sam's mind was only set on one goal, right now, and that was to stop Raphael from harming Gabriel. And Sam was going to do it with or without Dean's help. Once outside, the younger brother dove into Rufus's old pick-up truck and ripped the keys down from the sun visor. Dean was running up to the truck as Sam tried to start the engine; shouting the whole time.

“Get out of the truck, Sam! Don't you dare try to chase that dumb bastard! Do you know what Raphael will do to you?! Get out, Sam! Get -”

Luckily, an not a moment too soon, the old pick-up truck growled to life; cutting off Dean's frantic voice with the sound of the gurgling motor. Sam knew what he was doing was risky, and he knew that Dean was just doing his best to stop his little brother from walking into danger. But Sam loved Gabriel too much, to just stand by and let him get himself killed.

“I have to do this, Dean!” Sam shouted out the window, as he pulled away.

Sam watched, in the rear view mirror, Dean chase the truck for a minute or so. He was still shouting Sam's name, and begging him to stop. But Sam couldn't. He was being fueled by fear and emotion; running on instinct alone. Come hell or high water, he was going to make sure Gabriel stayed alive.

Sam pressed gas pedal against the floor board, as soon as the truck hit pavement. He knew that Gabriel was heading for the bar in Columbia Falls, and it was only fifteen minutes away. Sam figured that if he drove fast enough, he could catch Gabriel before the archangel even made it into town. But the longer Sam drove, the more dread filled his heart. What if he was too late? What if he got there, and Gabriel was already dead? What if Sam never got to see that beautiful, child-like spark in those golden eyes again? Sam was on the edge of his seat for the entire trip, hoping and praying that his fears wouldn't come true.

As he tried to fight off terrible thoughts from his mind, Sam finally made it into Columbia Falls. He spun the old pick-up truck toward the south side of town, knowing that the bar was at the end of the longest street. Once the bar was in his direct line of vision, Sam could see the glow of a fire just ahead. Thick clouds of dark smoke were bellowing toward the night sky from the bar, where the whole place was on fire. Flames had engulfed the entire building; broken out all the windows and chased away all the patrons. Sam's heart fluttered, at the sight of the Impala parked in front of the bar. Gabriel was here! Oh, shit. Was he inside the burning building?!

Once the truck was close enough to the bar, Sam grabbed his angel blade and jumped out. The Impala was vacant, of course, and there was no sign of anyone else around. Sam began calling Gabriel's name, as he ran close to one of the bar's windows. The heat from the fire was intense; too hot for Sam to try to battle. The man could hear liquor bottles exploding inside; adding destructive sound to the already heart wrenching sight. Sam knew that there was no way to get inside from the front, so he quickly rounded the building; hoping to gain access from the back. But once he lifted his eyes to look around the side of the bar, his feet stopped in their tracks.

Gabriel and Raphael were standing a few yards in front of him. They were facing each other in the alley; both armed with angel blades and moving closer to one another. Sam only caught a glimpse of their interaction, because he was too busy dodging flames and running toward them. But he did manage to catch the shimmer of a chrome angel blade against the fire light; glistening as it flew through the air. Before Sam knew it, Gabriel was crumbling to the ground; howling with pain and clutching his stomach.

Raw emotion gave Sam the boost he needed. He leaped over Gabriel's whimpering form and pointed his own angel blade at Raphael; crouching defensively in front of the trickster. Sam could see that Raphael had already claimed both ingredients. The ancient scroll and the lamb's skull were already in the bend of his arm, but Sam didn't care. All he cared about in that moment, was making sure Gabriel stayed alive.

“Winchester,” Raphael hummed, over the sound of the fire that raged next to them, “It's good to see that you're still alive. When I raise Lucifer, he will be pleased to learn that his vessel has remained unharmed.”

“You need to leave,” Sam warned, gripping his weapon tight.

Raphael's smirk faded, as his dark eyes gleamed in the orange light. He looked powerful – so damn powerful – standing there, with his blade pointed toward Sam's heart. The man was honestly intimidated by the look of pure authority in the archangel's face. The sheer might of all heaven was standing before Sam, and he had just told it to leave...

“Step aside,” Raphael barked, “I have unfinished business with my brother.”

“No,” Sam refused, inching closer to Raphael, “Either you leave now, or I kill you. Otherwise, you'll have to kill me. I'm not letting you touch Gabriel again.”

Though they were honest and true, Sam was kind of surprised by his own words. Not many people would look an archangel in the eye and dare it to smite them. The glare on Raphael's face tightened. Sam could feel his own heart hammering against his ribs. He was still deathly afraid that Raphael would raise his hand and snap his fingers together; that Raphael would kill Gabriel before Sam could stop him. But, by some miracle, the archangel backed away. He still had a bloody angel blade in hand, and was glaring at Sam with full force. But he actually did as Sam said.

“This isn't over, Sam,” the dark man warned, tilting his head down, “I'll be back for you all.”

Raphael disappeared in the blink of an eye; leaving only the destruction and Gabriel's wounds as proof that he was even there at all. Sam flinched at the sound of another small explosion, before he spun and dropped to his knees to inspect Gabriel. The archangel was curled up on one side and blood had pooled around him on the ground. He was trembling like a small animal and cradling his own stomach with quivering arms. But his bright golden eyes were staring up at Sam in awe.

“S – Sammy,” he croaked, as blood spilled from the corner of his mouth, “You – you're here!”

Sam gulped uneasily. Shit. Gabriel's wound was pretty severe. It looked like Raphael had nearly cut Gabriel in half; slashed open most of his internal organs. How was Gabe ever going to survive this? Another bottle exploded in the bar, spraying the ground near them with fire. Knowing that they needed to move away from the building, Sam carefully snaked his arms under Gabriel's petite form and scooped him up into his arms. Gabriel groaned out loud and clung to Sam's neck with his free arm, as Sam quickly raced to a nearby dumpster. His heart was still pounding the whole time, pulsing adrenaline through his veins. How was he going to keep Gabriel alive? How much time did he have left?

Sam gingerly propped Gabriel up behind the dumpster, making sure his head was elevated so that he could still breathe. The archangel was holding down whimpers and panting; staring down at his own injury with shock.

“Sh – shit, that's bad,” Gabe breathed, “I – I'm such an idiot... I should have... never left the damn cabin... Castiel will... will never forgive me.”

“Cas!” Sam suddenly shouted, remembering that the angel could heal any wound with a single touch, “Cas! Gabriel is hurt! Please! Help us!”

Sam knew that Cas had a compassionate heart, and assumed that it would only take the angel a few seconds to show up – if he wasn't too pissed at Gabriel, that is. In the meantime, Sam slipped off his jacket and balled it up to press it against Gabriel's opened wound. The archangel grimaced at the pressure, but allowed Sam to help. Sam could tell that his own hands were trembling almost as much as Gabriel's. The man's eyes snapped toward the sky again. Ugh, what was taking Cas so long?! His brother was dying! Didn't he care?!

“Sam?” Gabriel asked.

Sam's eyes flashed toward Gabriel's at once, meeting his stare with urgency.

“Yeah? What is it? What do you need?” Sam asked quickly, ready and willing to help in any way he could.

Gabriel's hand, wet and sticky with blood, crawled its way over to grab onto Sam's shirt. The archangel was clinging to it and blinking up at Sam with wide, honey eyes, as red liquid continued to run down his chin.

“I – I know why Jack didn't get on the floating door, now,” Gabriel coughed, his voice weak, “It's because he wanted Rose to live... he didn't mind staying in the water for her... he didn't mind dying for her... and I don't mind dying for you...”

Sam swallowed hard. Why the hell did Gabriel want to talk about Titanic right now?! Why did he want to bring up such sad things, while he lay bleeding to death?!

“You shouldn't talk right now, Gabe. You need to save your energy,” Sam nearly begged.

“No, listen, kid,” he argued, barely able to breathe, “you've gotta know something, alright? I've gotta... gotta tell you something, before it's too late... kinda like a... deathbed confession...”

Moisture was rising up in Sam's eyes, faster than he could blink it away. His heart was practically throbbing, as he watched Gabriel stare up at him with a meaningful expression. Warm blood was still flowing over Sam's hands, as he held his jacket to the archangel's stomach, but he remained silent; listening to whatever words Gabriel needed to say. Gabe kept tugging on Sam's shirt, as he continued.

“I'm sorry for... killing your brother all those times,” he panted, breath fogging in the night air, “and I – I'm sorry for that whole... TV thing... turning you into a talking car... and making you do that herpes commercial... I just did all that stuff to... to play with you, because... because I'm kind of in love with your big giant ass...”

A warm tear ran down the side of Sam's face, as his jaw slowly fell open. Gabriel loved him? The affection actually ran both ways? Gabriel actually shared the same deep, personal feelings that Sam did? The archangel gasped a bit, trying to suck in another breath, as he tugged on Sam's shirt a little harder.

“I mean it, kid. If I... ever got the chance to... do it all over again, I would m – make sure... that you and I got to spend more time together, just... just goofing off. There's nothing I love more than hearing you laugh... and seeing you smile... and watching you forget about all the... bullshit you've been through, in your sad, short little life... I'm halo over heels for you, S – Sammy-boy... I just wish I had told you sooner.”

Sam was practically on the verge of sobbing. He had no idea that Gabriel cared so much about him. And it wasn't fair, that Gabe was laying here dying, before they even got a chance to act on their feelings. Sam's heart pounded, as he searched Gabriel's pale, lovely face.

“Look, sweetheart,” Gabe said, his voice low, “I know this is gonna sound weird to you... but could I... Could I kiss you?... Just one time?... Just to see what it tastes like?”

Sam's heart fluttered again. If all Gabe wanted was a kiss, then by God, Sam was going to give him one. Tears were still running down Sam's face in waves, as the man carefully let go of the jacket on Gabriel's stomach. He brought both hands up to gently clutch the archangel's precious face, before lowering his own mouth to Gabriel's.

Sparks ignited along Sam's entire spine, as their lips collided together. Sam kissed Gabe with as much passion as he could muster; pressing in firmly, and humming from the back of his throat. Their lips eventually parted, allowing their tongues to finally meet. The salty taste of tears and the metallic flavor of blood was mixing in with their kiss, but Sam didn't mind. He just cradled Gabriel's soft head even closer, and kissed him even deeper. And Gabriel seemed to be enjoying it, too. His hand had released the front of Sam's shirt and found it's way into the man's lengthy hair; where he held on for dear life.

Sam eventually pulled back, just enough to let Gabriel breathe again. Their faces remained close together in the semi-dark, and Sam could see the utter contentment resting on Gabe's pretty face.

“Wow,” the archangel sighed, curling his fingers in Sam's hair, “that – that was totally worth dying for.”

A sad chuckle fell out of Sam's mouth, as he brushed some of the golden hair out of Gabriel's face. While he agreed with the archangel's statement, Sam still didn't want him to die. It was too soon for them to part ways; just like for Jack and Rose. A few simple days just wasn't enough time. They didn't have enough conversations, or share enough laughs, or eat enough Butterfingers. They just didn't get enough time together.

A firm hand suddenly clutched Sam's shoulder.

The man tightened his grip on Gabriel and flashed a glance behind him, fearing that Raphael had returned. But it was only Cas. The angel was wearing his usual stone-face, appearing indifferent to Gabriel's current condition, as he carefully moved Sam out of the way. Without a word, Cas reached down to remove Sam's bloody jacket and place his hand over Gabriel's wound. A bright light flashed under the angel's palm, causing Sam to shield his eyes.

Within seconds, Gabriel's stomach was completely healed; skin smooth and back to normal, underneath his shredded shirt. Sam stared at the swirls of blonde hair trailing from the archangel's navel down into his blood stained pants, feeling a strange mixture of relief and amazement. Gabriel was going to live! Sam's prayers had literally been answered! The archangel seemed just as shocked as Sam. His golden eyes were wide, as he reached down to feel along his own flat stomach. After Cas was finished healing his brother, the angel stood back up to glare at Gabriel from above. His mouth was set in a hard line and his blue eyes were narrowed into slits.

“Dean is going to be very upset,” Cas predicted in a harsh tone.

Sam gulped. Oh, shit. Cas was right. Dean was going to be pissed beyond words. Gabriel and Sam met eyes – and almost instantly looked away again. Sam could feel heat beginning to burn on his own face from their brief glance. Gabriel had just confessed his love for Sam, out of fear of dying. And Sam had sort of stated his own love, by expressing it with a kiss. The two of them were fully aware of the feelings they had for each other...

And Sam could tell that, from here on out, things were going to be very different.

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