God gives Sam Gabriel’s grace for a week as punishment for failing in his duties as an archangel — Gabriel gets feelings of inadequacy.
Pairings: Sabriel, Destiel
Author’s Notes: I ended up making this a bit more Sam-centric than I was intending to, but it follows the basic prompt. Lollipops ahead.
It was lucky that they’d ordered pizza that night instead of going to the diner across the street from the motel. Sam wasn’t sure how the patrons would’ve handle the ethereal blue mist creeping beneath the door and through the open window, settling at the feet of “Agent Hetfield” before being absorbed into him through every orifice, but it was probably better than how they’d have handled the sudden appearance of a naked, shivering Gabriel a second later.
And yet, in that instant, he knew exactly how it would have gone. He knew the same of the chubby waitress who would have flirted with Dean - Anne Jameson - and he knew that she had a bad break up last week with another diner patron, an older man named Richard. He knew that the diner was built in the 1950s by a middle aged couple who lost their son in the war. In an instant, Sam knew… everything.
"God has given me Gabriel’s grace," he said to Dean before he could ask what the hell just happened. For a week. He knew it would be humbling for the archangel, to teach him a lesson about humanity. God obscured the details of why he picked Sam. Why not the Righteous Man? Why not any random human? It was the one thing unclear to him in this state.
Sam looked down at Gabriel with soft eyes, snapping his fingers and clothing the fallen archangel. Gabriel seemed to react to the use of his grace, immediately silencing and straightening up, putting on a smile that Sam could feel was false. The awareness was unsettling. He could read Dean’s thoughts before his brother had even collected them, questions about why and how and ‘this’ll make ganking that demon a hell of a lot simpler’ and beneath it all, an unconscious prayer to Castiel.
"Yeah, Dad’s put me in a time out," Gabriel said with a light tone in his voice, "Guess I deserved it, running away from home and all. What is it they tell kids who get grounded? ‘It just shows that he cares.’" He seemed to be justifying the situation more to himself than to the Winchesters. Sam put a hand on him, letting his grace reach out to the archangel and comfort him. Gabriel’s tensed shoulders eased at the touch.
"Damn, why the hell would God make you an angel?"
“Archangel,” Gabriel corrected. Dean rolled his eyes, but amended the question.
“Archangel, then. Point is: why? Why not just let him fall? And what about Lucifer? Can you even be a vessel if you’re already holding in all of the Trickster’s?” Dean had a thousand more questions running through his mind: would this be the end of the apocalypse, without the Winchester brothers in their human form? Was it even Sam in there, or just his body filled with grace, or worse yet, Gabriel?
Castiel appeared before any question could be answered. He looked at them both with wide eyes.
"Brother, what did you—?"
"Not me, Cassie," Gabriel pointed skyward, "it was daddy dearest, teaching me a lesson. Can’t say I get why a week of living on Earth is punishment for living on Earth, but hey, can’t ask questions, can we?" Castiel looked at Sam with the question in his eyes. He didn’t need to know his thoughts; it was obvious.
"God is still watching, Cas. He hides himself, but he is there. This whole," Sam waved his arms around vaguely, "soul exchange thing is only going to last a week. Guess we just need to keep Gabriel alive until the timer’s run out." There wasn’t much else to say. Nothing much else that could be done. So went the week, with Sam smiting every demon they came across and Sam sifting through the infinite banks of knowledge he had to learn all that he could about the upcoming apocalypse… and anything else that rushed to the front of his mind.
One such thought hit him while they were at the diner on the fourth day. Dean and Gabriel were eating breakfast - Gabriel’s pancakes coated in powdered sugar and enough maple syrup to make the whole thing unpleasantly soggy. Sam wasn’t eating; he didn’t have to. He’d spent the morning looking through their history, looking for something they’d missed that might help them escape their fate. That’s when he realized a few… revealing memories.
"Dude, you’re sleeping with Castiel?” Dean choked on his piece of apple pie, pounding his chest a couple of times to dislodge the bite, and all the while sputtering denials between his coughs. Gabriel, rather than helping, opted to fall over in laughter. In spite of the startling revelation, Sam couldn’t help but feel better about seeing a real smile on the Trickster’s face this week.
"It was a rhetorical question, Dean, I can read your mind. Why the hell didn’t you tell me?" Dean sat up straight, clearing his throat of the last few coughs, and stabbed his fork back into the pie.
"I figured you didn’t want details."
"Yeah, details, Dean, you can still give me the spark notes.” He wasn’t keen to mention that he’d just seen far more than anything Dean could have described. Those images would haunt him for a while.
Dean glared at him, grumbling, but choosing not to answer and instead eating his pie with far more ferocity than anyone had ever eaten a pie before. Sam, of course, could still read his mind. Fears that Sam would think he’s replaced, that he wouldn’t want Castiel around after the apocalypse, that Castiel wouldn’t stay after the apocalypse (and Sam realized as he did it that it went a fair bit further than just sex), and… fear that Sam would reject it. Reminders of their father’s less open mind.
"Well, good for you. Cas is a great guy," Sam said. Dean made an indifferent noise, one Sam would have thought was a sign of an unchanged mood, but the easiness in his thoughts showed that it meant more. It felt… invasive. People put on masks for reasons, and he just cracked some of Dean’s. Ones he’d spent years building, ones Sam couldn’t see through even after all these years on the road together.
"You learn to put up a wall once you get close," Gabriel said. He might not be able to read minds, but he knew the look on Sam’s face, he knew how it felt to know too much. "There’s only so many times you can see every one of Zeus’ conquests and still have to talk to him about business before you just learn how to keep out of people’s thoughts."
That sadness was back, the emptiness without a grace. Sam let his grace extend - like tendrils - to the archangel, easing him as he finished up his breakfast with less enthusiasm than before. Angels were odd. Even after he met Castiel, there’d been an image of… not apathy, but ascension above the need for emotion. Yet he had one of the most powerful graces inside him and he was still Sam.
He could get used to the power, though. It made him uncomfortable, thinking of Lucifer. He wasn’t like him, he wasn’t, but he could feel those choices. He looked at Gabriel as he tried to collect the remaining maple syrup on his fork, resisting the urge to just lick the plate, and projected a thought into him.
'What do you miss the most?' Gabriel looked startled. He'd pulled that same trick on many mortals, but nobody had the power to project thoughts like that but the angels. The foreign voice was odd, but he realized instantly that it was Sam. He thought about the question. His life as a Trickster. Creating TV lands and dreams. Flight was certainly handy. But he knew what he missed most of all:
'Summoning a lollipop from anywhere in the world.'
Sam chuckled, earning him an odd look from Dean, and smiled at Gabriel. He snapped, a strawberry lollipop appearing between his fingers the instant after they collided. He handed it to Gabriel with a flourish of his hand, like a man might hand a girl a rose, and Gabriel looked at it like Christmas had come early, eagerly taking it and popping it in his mouth, a real smile on his face.
Sam was going to get good at snapping by the end of this week.
On the seventh day, not long before the switchback, Gabriel was anxious. He kept up his Trickster smile, teasing Dean about Castiel, teasing Castiel about Dean, and begging Sam for some new candy every thirty minutes until his ‘mortal stomach’, as he called it, gave out on him and he had to lie down for an hour just to face the sight of food again. But he was nervous beneath it. What if this was permanent? What if he was fallen? What if God took away the grace and let him live on Earth?
Dean and Castiel left the motel room for reasons Sam was now unpleasantly aware of. He let his grace wrap itself around Gabriel, trying to comfort him, but it wasn’t doing any good. With the other two out of the room, Gabriel finally broke his mask, knowing Sam could see through it.
"Sammy, what am I going to do if I fall forever? I mean, I ain’t gonna go back to being a god. I’m human. I’d have to eat meat and vegetables. I don’t have a name or a family on Earth. And let’s face it, no matter how hilarious, stand up gigs ain’t gonna pay the rent.” he asked.
"Whatever you’d like, I guess. Bobby can get you the ID, a degree, whatever you needed. We might not have the best past, but we wouldn’t leave you on your own. Hell, I think Dean’s already prepared an FBI badge for Cas in case he falls helping us out." He left the ‘you could join us’ unsaid, but Gabriel seemed to pick up on the implication.
"The wisecracking cop is always my favourite character," he said faintly, imaging himself in the role on the eight hundredth spinoff of CSI. Sam snapped his fingers, changing the motel room into the illusion of a precinct and swapping their street clothes for suits, Sam dressed in blue and Gabriel dressed in tweed with a bright red tie. He snapped again and a lollipop appearing in his fingers.
Gabriel smiled, reaching to grab the candy, but something in Sam pulled his hand back. A teasing smile on his face. He held the lollipop up above his head, stretching his hand up high, nearly tapping against the ceiling of the motel beneath the mirage. Gabriel huffed, obviously too short to reach the hunter’s hand, but he got in close and started standing on his tippy toes to reach the candy.
Sam kept switching which hand he held the lollipop in, laughing as Gabriel started jumping to reach the treat. Sam chuckled at his efforts, and Gabriel glared back. Sam wasn’t sure what compelled him to do what he did next. Maybe it was just the playful atmosphere - a Trickster illusion, a petty children’s game of keep away. Maybe it was week of trying to get Gabriel to smile. Maybe it was just knowing that Dean was off in the next room with his own angel.
Whatever the reason, Sam lowered the candy just an inch, enough to renew the archangel’s efforts. And when Gabriel got on his toes, his face an inch from Sam’s, he just couldn’t help but close the distance. Gabriel started, falling an inch as he flattened his feet, but with the grace, Sam could hold him up easily. The angel closed his eyes, responding to the kiss with the same enthusiasm he put into eating a bag of Skittles, and that’s when the two began to glow blue.
The precinct faded as they kissed, hints of mist surrounding the two as the grace poured back into Gabriel. Sam felt the power fade from him, realizing that Gabriel must be floating since the weight of the angel wasn’t pulling him down. He heard a snap and felt the lollipop he’d been holding disappear from his hands. The snap was enough for him to pull back.
Gabriel looked at him with a smile only a Trickster could have and popped the lollipop he’d taken into his mouth. He snapped his fingers again, and a folder appeared in Sam’s hands. He opened it and found a pile of fake IDs and FBI badges with Gabriel’s photograph, each giving a goofier smile than the next, and names that looked like they came from stand up comedians.
"Looks like there’s a den of vamps not far from Houston. Need to go cut some ties, then I’ll meet you there. I’ll let you pick which one captures my good side." He pulled Sam down, spilling the badges on the motel carpet, and gave him a quick kiss. "See you in Texas, Sammy." With a familiar flutter of wings, the angel vanished from the room, leaving Sam with a pile of pictures and the taste of strawberry on his lips.