Pairing: Sam/Gabriel, Dean/Castiel, Crowley
Summary: The night Gabriel sat down across from him, Sam had been looking for life’s answers in a stained napkin.
Disclaimer: I don’t own it.
Notes: AU. This happens when I write a 30k big bang in under a month and need something to bring me back into the fandom. I hope you guys enjoy this, I know I enjoyed writing it.
EDIT: rhaiwk has made an audiofic! Everyone should check it out ASAP!
Ellen and Jo’s coffee shop was Sam’s favorite coffee shop, mainly because it was open twenty four hours, seven days a week. In San Francisco, that was very, very valuable. He’d stop there every morning before work, and sometimes in the middle of the night when he couldn’t sleep.
The night when Gabriel sat down across from him had been a bad night.
Sam Winchester was twenty-six, and he was having a midlife crisis. At his miserable job for a miserable company, after the seventh miserable call and after saying “did you try to turn it off then on” for the millionth time, Sam had a bit of a meltdown. It didn’t help that the guy who always sat next to him, Sam couldn’t even remember his name, turned to him to say that the pens they usually got would be changing and how he was upset about that.
It made something deep inside of Sam snap, and he realized just how boring he was. That was how he found himself having his third cup of coffee at two in the morning while he doodled on a napkin absentmindedly. He ignored Jo’s sympathetic glances and just stared at the few drops of coffee that had spilled onto his napkin.
He wondered, distantly, if that coffee stained napkin could tell how pathetic Sam was. Maybe, during the witching hours, the napkin would speak to him and offer him sage advice. Sam snorted to himself, sipping his coffee as he stared down at the bit of cloth. It was mocking him with its silence. Sam was probably losing his mind, but he thought it would be funny if God decided to speak to him through a napkin.
Better than a burning bush, because Sam wasn’t really tired enough to start lighting bits and pieces of vegetation on fire---
“Can I sit here?” Sam blinked, because technically the napkin was lying, not sitting, and holy shit if a napkin just spoke to him Sam was pretty sure he might start crying because what else could possibly--- “Hey, kiddo, up here.”
Someone bumped his sneaker and he looked up to see amber eyes looking down at him, twinkling a bit. Maybe twinkling wasn’t involved, after all, it was late and Sam had just been trying to will a napkin into speaking to him.
It had been a long day.
“Um… I’m sorry, what?”
“Can I sit here?” The man was bouncing a bit, like he had too much energy. Sam looked around the coffee shop. All the other tables were free. As if reading his mind, the other man sighed. “The seats are sticky and the ones in the dark corner are eleven kinds of shady and I really don’t want to get mugged or wake up in a pile of cockroach eggs. And you don’t strike me as the mugging type. Or a cockroach collector. So, can I sit with you?”
It was better than staring at the napkin, so Sam just nodded dumbly, and he hoped his mouth wasn’t hanging open. Ellen just poured the guy a cup of coffee, her hand brushing Sam’s shoulder in a way that he figured was motherly. The guy who apparently didn’t like the dark or cockroaches smiled at him, and Sam blurted out the first thing that came into his head.
“You smell like fire.”
Sam was mortified, and he figured he’d be more mortified if it wasn’t two in the morning. The guy blinked, and then he leaned forward and smelled Sam like it was something totally normal. Nothing to see here, just two dudes smelling each other. Sam needed sleep.
“And you smell like nine to five misery and,” he paused, “soap.” Usually Sam didn’t remember how he’d first met people. He’d known his older brother Dean for his whole life, and as friends came and went, he’d never actually taken the time to think of how he’d first bumped into them. Before he even knew this man’s name, Sam knew that he was different. The man held out his hand. “I’m Gabriel.”
When Sam took his hand, even though his was bigger, Gabriel’s seemed to envelop him anyway, like he didn’t give a damn about how tall or big Sam was.
Gabriel’s hand felt weird, and when Sam pulled his hand away he got a quick glance at Gabriel’s palms. They were burned and scarred heavily, and Sam was willing to bet that the man’s hands were more scar tissue than skin. Sam wanted to ask where the burns came from, but he had enough of his sanity left to know that it was impolite to ask a stranger questions like that.
Not a stranger, he thought to himself, Gabriel.
Still, Sam didn’t ask. He just went back to his napkin, and the doodle had started to fade, but Gabriel tapped on the edge of the cloth and smiled a little.
Silence enveloped them, and it was too early in the morning for it to be awkward. They both just sipped their coffee and Gabriel told Sam a story of a man he’d met in Tibet who drew the future, whole walls of pictures and rivers of ink and words that would come to pass, maybe in seconds, or in years. When he was done he asked Sam if he had any good stories. Sam just shook his head and said he was boring, and just when he was about to slip into an abyss of misery, Gabriel just kicked Sam’s toes and snickered.
“No one’s boring, kiddo. We’ve all got something exciting about us, sometimes,” he flicked the very tip of Sam’s nose, “we just don’t know it yet.”
Still, Sam couldn’t think of anything, he was too lost on the story about the Tibetan. Gabriel must have understood because he cleared his throat and said, “have you heard about the wandering shadow?”
Of course, Sam said, “no.”
Gabriel told story after story until five in the morning. Ellen kicked them out, claiming to need to clean but Sam was pretty sure she was sick of Gabriel’s stories. Sam couldn’t see how that was possible. Gabriel had the best stories. They stood outside of the coffee shop, the city sky just beginning to get a bit lighter. In the back of his mind, Sam was glad that it was Saturday, which meant he didn’t have work. Gabriel cleared his throat, pulling Sam out of his thoughts.
“Give me your hand.”
Sam obeyed Gabriel, and soon there was a pen writing into his skin, going over the dark curves to make the numbers really stand out. Sam frowned a little.
“You’re giving me your number?”
“Yep.” Gabriel smiled like it was the most normal thing in the world to write his phone number on the arms of a giant, boring loser. “I liked our chat.”
“But I didn’t say anything.”
Sam would later realize that it wasn’t a smart thing to try and dissuade someone from giving you their number. It was a good thing, though, that Gabriel was determined.
“No, but I figure that’ll come later. Good stories are worth the wait.”
They went their separate ways that morning, and when Sam woke up on his small and uncomfortable bed, the numbers were still on his arm, a little smudged, but still there.
It took two days of unpaid overtime and Chinese takeout for Sam to finally call Gabriel. It was ten o’clock at night, and maybe that was late for people to call other people, but Sam wasn’t most people.
Sam was pretty sure his brain was tying itself into knots.
The phone rang twice, and when it picked up a voice that was definitely not Gabriel spoke to Sam.
“You will have to call Gabriel back, he is preparing for---”
There was a scuffle and Sam was going to hang up when he heard Gabriel’s familiar voice crackle over the line.
“Jesus Christ, Cas, we’ve got fifteen minutes I can take a phone call.” There was some fumbling, and then Gabriel was there, speaking brightly like they were back in Ellen and Jo’s coffee shop. “Hello?”
“Hi.” It took Sam a little while to remember that Gabriel didn’t have his number or anything, so Sam cleared his throat nervously. “It’s Sam from the---”
“Sam! Yeah, I remember, I was wondering when you were gonna call.” Sam felt himself smiling and he closed his eyes and wondered where Gabriel was at that very moment. “Think of any good stories?”
“I told you, I’m boring.”
“And I told you that no one is boring. Keep workin’ on it, kiddo.”
Just hearing the mysterious Gabriel’s voice made Sam’s shitty apartment seem more hospitable. He curled under the covers and smiled into the phone.
“Who picked up?”
“Oh, that was just my brother Castiel. He’s neurotic and needs to get laid.” There was a low grunt of threatening disagreement, but Gabriel just laughed and said, “I can’t help it if it’s true, bro.”
In the dark under the cheapest covers money could buy, Sam could hear distant voices in the background, like there was a crowd. Or a mob. Sam licked his lips nervously.
“Are you busy? I can hear…” Sam thought of how to say ‘potential mob’ without sounding crazy. “Things.”
Sam buried his face into his pillow, but Gabriel laughed like Sam wasn’t a total freak when it came to words.
“Kind of. I’m going to have to cut our awesome conversation short, but I’ll call you back after I’m done, I promise, kiddo.”
Sam said “okay,” and Gabriel hung up. Sam figured that Gabriel wouldn’t call him back, because Sam was boring. He lived in a small apartment with an even smaller bed and he drank coffee and tried to talk to napkins. Sometimes, Sam thought that his life could use some old piano music.
Sam fell asleep for about twenty minutes when his phone vibrated against his face. He flipped it open and didn’t even check the name before he sleepily answered.
“Did I wake you up? I’ll start calling you Sleeping Beauty from now on.” Gabriel’s voice was on the other end, and Sam could tell he was smiling just from his voice. “I can call back tomorrow---”
“No.” Sam kept his eyes closed. “No, it’s okay. You’re not working anymore?”
“I’m free. The crowd went nuts.”
Ah, so there was a crowd. Sam remembered Gabriel saying something about copper and lampblack, fire, and how he was disappointed with the turquoise, not that Sam had any idea what he was talking about. Sam might have said something along the lines of “all colors are nice, no matter what.” Gabriel laughed. Sam remembered that.
Along the line of that night, Sam fell asleep. He dreamed that Gabriel was the ringleader of a circus and that he’d burned his hands when he’d learned how to breathe fire. In the dream, Sam had been in the audience, but the spotlight stopped on him. Gabriel waved him down, and he walked around Sam, looking up at him. When Sam looked back at the audience, he saw that everyone had vanished. In the dream, Gabriel had reached up with his baton and said, “Well, you’re as tall as a tree.” Sam had started to say something, anything back, but he heard creaking. When he looked down, his feet were turning into roots and leaves and vines started to fall down from his hair. Instead of being horrifying, which it should have been, Sam wasn’t sure how to feel as he grew taller and his arms became branches.
Sam woke up to see a new text message from Gabriel. It read, “We should grab lunch sometime. By the way, you talk in your sleep.”
“Please tell me what I said.” Later in the week, Gabriel had led Sam from Ellen and Jo’s to a bakery. Gabriel’s amber eyes were sweeping over the glass display case and Sam kicked the back of Gabriel’s knee, making the shorter man stumble. “Plus, this isn’t lunch, dude. This is dessert.”
Gabriel rolled his eyes when he turned back around to Sam.
“Dessert can be eaten at any time of the day. That’s why it’s so awesome. And no, I’m not telling you anything.” Gabriel giggled. “I’m keeping your sleepy ramblings all to myself.”
The lady behind the counter raised her eyebrows at Sam, and he could already feel his face turning beet-red. Gabriel was still laughing as he proceeded to order one of every seasonal muffin they had. Gabriel left the bakery, Sam in tow until they found a nice park bench.
Gabriel let Sam pick first, so he went for blueberry. It was heavenly. Gabriel picked apart banana-nut and seemed to savor every last crumb. Sam would sneak glances at the scars on Gabriel’s fingers, shiny spider webs of past pains.
“Think of any cool stories?”
Sam forced his eyes to lift from Gabriel’s hands to his face.
“Uh…” He figured that it would be rude to blow him off again, so Sam bit his lip. “Yesterday, when I went into the elevator at work, there was this old guy I’d never seen before. Even the people you don’t know by name you usually know the face, does that make sense?” Gabriel nodded, and Sam continued. “Well, I was the only one on, besides him, and while we waited, he told me about how he’d always wished that people didn’t talk about the weather in elevators. He said, ‘it’s not like there’s a window to look out of. Besides, it’s so cliché, talking about the weather.’ And he just looked at me, like I was supposed to break the tradition and start a new one. So, I just said, ‘But what if there’s a hurricane? That’s interesting.’” Sam paused. “And… and then I got off on my floor.” Gabriel was silent, and Sam covered his face with one of his crazy-big hands. “I told you, I’m---”
“That’s what I’m talking about!” Gabriel nudged Sam’s knee with his own. “Even the stuff that wouldn’t matter to most people, that’s what’s worth paying attention to.”
Two more muffins later, Sam figured that Gabriel had a point. Gabriel had to go back to his work, just like Sam had to go back to taking calls about frozen computers and jammed printers. They’d walked together back toward the grey building where Sam worked, Gabriel apparently set up his own hours and breaks. Sam remembered that people would get out of Gabriel’s way and would bump into Sam. It was probably how Gabriel held himself, so high even though he was average height.
Sam thought about turning into a tree and how weird it was that he wasn’t scared. Maybe it was because Gabriel had been there. Still, turning into a tree wouldn’t be all that fun, Sam figured.
“Thanks for the muffins.”
Gabriel snorted and elbowed Sam again.
“No problem.” They stood outside of the terribly boring building when Gabriel bounced on his heels. “Hey, when’s the next time you’ve got a whole day free?”
“Saturday, I think. Why?”
Gabriel just waggled his eyebrows and grinned like Sam had just told the best story ever.
“I want to show you where I work.”
Dean called from Lawrence a lot. He worked with a family friend called Bobby, and he’d make sure to call Sam at least once a week. The conversations weren’t always the greatest, but Sam appreciated Dean’s concern and interest, he really did.
It was weird, because Dean called on the Friday before Gabriel promised to take Sam to his work. Halfway through the conversation, Dean cleared his throat.
“You sound better, Sammy.” Better. Sam knew he wasn’t exactly… mentally healthy, but then again, who really was? Everyone had insecurities, bouts of mania and depression, even Dean was insecure sometimes even if he didn’t talk about it. Still, Sam wasn’t sure that people found themselves in coffee shops at two in the morning hoping that a worn napkin would give him the all of life’s answers. “I’m sorry I’m not there more--- I’ve been saving up for plane tickets out there. I should have enough in a few weeks.”
“It’s okay, Dean.” Sam sighed. “I’m not a kid anymore, I’m able to… get by.” Dean didn’t have to say that Sam should be doing more than getting by. “I met someone.”
“Oh yeah? Is she hot?”
Sam snorted, and he could just picture Dean smiling on the other end, knowing that he was able to pull Sam out of his own thoughts long enough for a laugh.
“Classy, Dean. No, his name is, uh, Gabriel.” Sam kicked off his shoes and began to heat up the crappy leftovers from the night before. “He’s… odd.”
Which, considering that Sam was odd too, that wasn’t too bad. But Sam wasn’t odd in the way Gabriel was odd. Gabriel made being odd cool. Sam just made it awkward. Dean cleared his throat.
“Think I’ll be able to meet him when I come over?”
Gabriel showed up at Sam’s apartment at noon, and he didn’t even spare a glance at the water stains and cracks in the walls. He just nodded his head toward the door and smiled.
Sam nodded and just like that they were out of the apartment. Gabriel hailed a cab, whistling in a way that almost made Sam cover his ears it was so loud. The cab pulled right on up and Sam had to squeeze himself inside the car despite the laws of nature telling him to just give up already. When he finally got in, he was squashed against Gabriel in such a way that the smaller man was breathing against Sam’s neck, sending goose bumps all over Sam’s skin. He rattled off an address, and soon they were speeding off.
Every bump made Sam slide closer to Gabriel, and he kept trying to stop it, but it was no use. He sighed.
“Sorry, Gabriel, I don’t mean to---”
“Psh. Don’t apologize, kiddo. It’s not every day I get groped by a hot tamale like you.”
Sam was still blushing from that comment even with Gabriel’s following laughter and when they pulled up to a warehouse. Gabriel crawled out of the car, helping Sam’s giant body unfold itself. Once they got out, Gabriel had paid the driver and dusted Sam off, grinning up at him.
“Man, you really are like a tree, huh?”
A flash of Sam’s dream came back to him, and he almost checked his fingers just to make sure that they weren’t turning into branches. Luckily he caught himself and hid his hands in his pockets so that Gabriel didn’t see him being weird. Again.
“Um, is this… you’re not going to kill me, are you?” Sam bit his lip. “I mean, I can totally take you, but still, I like you. It would totally suck if you were a serial murderer or something.”
Gabriel’s smile faded, and Sam worried that maybe he’d gone too far. People generally don’t like being called potential serial killers. But then Gabriel laughed and kept laughing until he had to wipe his eyes so that he could laugh some more. Sam felt a small swell of pride that he could make a man like Gabriel laugh.
“Damn… Sam, you are somethin’ else.” He tugged on Sam’s hand, pulling him toward the warehouse. “Don’t worry, kiddo. I like you too.”
Sam was smiling and he was going to say something when there was a loud explosion that made the windows of the warehouse light up bright blue before flickering back to darkness. Sam flinched, but Gabriel didn’t, as if exploding things with blue lights were totally normal.
The door flew open and a man in a singed suit fell out, swearing and turning back to scream at whoever was inside.
“You fucking warn someone before you just light up like that, you bloody moron!” The Englishman snarled and then saw Gabriel. “Get your ass in here and control that pyromaniac you call a brother before he kills me!”
Sam had little choice but to keep following because the Englishman dragged Gabriel, who was still holding onto Sam. The warehouse smelled like fire and ash, just like Gabriel, and there was a man in a trench coat with big blue eyes waiting inside. His hair was blown back and he had dirt on his face, but he seemed perfectly calm like his workplace hadn’t just exploded.
“Crowley, you were in no danger of being harmed. You were far enough away that---”
“My suit was on fire.”
The blue-eyed man shrugged.
“But you’re still alive.” The trench coat man turned to Sam. “Hello, you must be Sam. Gabriel’s been talking about you.” Gabriel muttered something under his breath, and Sam didn’t know what to do so he just shook the trench coat man’s hand, who smiled at Sam serenely. “I am Castiel.”
“Don’t get too close.” The Englishman, Crowley, growled. “He’ll set you on fire.”
Castiel crossed his arms.
“I’d do no such thing.”
Gabriel seemed to welcome the distraction and rocked back on heels.
“Children, children, can’t we all just get along?” The look Castiel sent Gabriel seemed to say that no, they could not. Gabriel just puffed out a long breath, blowing his bangs out of his face. “Sam, you’ve met my littler brother. The English guy over there is an agent of evil.”
Sam wasn’t sure how evil Crowley could be, but he did regard Crowley warily as the man dug through his inside jacket pocket. He finally handed Sam a card with a name Sam had seen millions of times.
When Sam turned it over, it read, “Crowley: Event Coordinator.” Before Sam had time to even try to figure out what Crowley was doing in an explosion-prone warehouse, Gabriel was bouncing again, just like the first night Sam had met him.
“Want to see what I do?”
Sam nodded and let himself be led deeper into the warehouse. Gabriel ran ahead to a separate room full of… powders. He got right to work and Sam watched Gabriel diligently separate the powders and putting them into a little ball. He sealed it up and attached a fuse to it.
Sam watched, his skin buzzing as Gabriel lit the fuse and tossed it out into the main room.
“Fire in the hole!”
Crowley groaned, and Sam could see that Castiel didn’t even move. Sam flinched when it went off, but was surprised to see sparkling red lights and dust instead of fire.
The light shimmered and flickered away slowly, leaving behind small puffs of smoke and ash. Gabriel was grinning, and Sam finally found his voice.
“You make fireworks?”
“Only the best of the best.”
Castiel went toward the powders, separating and mixing them carefully.
“We mix the colors ourselves and measure our own fuses. Also, we’ve got a few tricks that most other companies do not have.”
Crowley crossed his arms and his shoes clicked against the concrete as he put himself between the two brothers.
“Speaking of other companies, Disney wants you again. We’ll be adding an additional twenty percent pay this time round.” Crowley smiled like he was the cat who’d caught all the canaries. “We’d like it to be synced with the music again.”
Castiel made a noise of subtle frustration, but Gabriel just nodded.
“No problem.” Crowley opened his mouth but Gabriel cut him off. “Nope, we’re not going to be yours exclusively. Sorry, sweetheart.”
Crowley huffed and crossed his arms. Sam wasn’t a genius, but it didn’t take one to see that it wasn’t the first time the coordinator had this conversation. Sam could tell that the Englishman wasn’t angry as other coordinators and representatives might have been. It was all very strange.
Castiel was aloof, but once he was working he was laser focused. Gabriel seemed to take everything in stride with lots of sugar and smiles. He’d toss in a few bits and pieces of powder to see what they’d do, writing down the stuff that worked and the stuff that didn’t.
Watching them work was like witnessing lions take down a gazelle or artists work together on a mural. Sam thought of how just a few weeks ago he was slowly losing his mind in a coffee shop, and now he was watching Gabriel toss small snippets of fireworks at his little brother, his laughter floating up into the rafters.
“Brilliant, aren’t they?”
Crowley spoke up from beside Sam, and the taller man flinched a little. Then Gabriel and Castiel tossed two bulbs on the floor which quickly exploded into shimmering flickers of blue light, some drifting past Sam’s hair and ears. He didn’t answer Crowley, but Sam was pretty sure his answer was written quite clearly on his face.
Dean came over early in the morning and said that he’d stay for a few days. Sam cleaned up and fixed up the couch so that the springs weren’t as uncomfortable. His apartment was still shitty, but Dean never held that against him. They were brothers, they were above that.
“Your job still sucks, huh?”
He wasn’t lying, but every weekend he’d go to the warehouse and watch Gabriel mix and launch fireworks. Before Gabriel, Sam didn’t really have much to look forward to except sleeping and takeout. As the weekends kept on gathering up, Sam picked up on little things. Little things like aluminum make silver and that copper makes blue, and that Castiel loves to add magnesium to his mixtures to make it burn even brighter. On a Saturday, Sam took Dean out to breakfast and fidgeted the whole time until his brother let out a rough breath.
“Okay, what is it, Sammy?”
“I kind of… lied about going to a museum today.” Sam smiled a little when he saw his older brother relax. Dean wasn’t really the museum type, but he’d put up with it for Sam. Dean popped some fries into his mouth, waiting for Sam to find the words that allowed him to elaborate. “I do this… thing every weekend now. I want you to see it. I think,” Sam paused, “I think you’ll like it.”
Dean was always a sucker for a good mystery, and soon he was fidgeting as much as Sam as they piled into a cab. Dean had been around for the death of their mother, and while their father fell into alcoholism, Sam kind of… fell into his imagination. Dean never was one to stare out of windows and draw up whole worlds in his mind, but Sam was.
Even though he was older now, Sam sometimes doodled and might do a double-take at a person on the subway or at a shadow on the sidewalk. Plus, his dreams were pretty intense. Anyway, sometimes Sam worried that maybe he was schizophrenic. What if Gabriel and the warehouse was just his imagination’s way of keeping Sam’s heart from stopping out of sheer boredom? If he took Dean there, then it would be real.
Sometimes, if his weird worries got too bad, he’d call Gabriel. One time Sam called him at four in the morning, and Gabriel, though tired, didn’t question or ask why. They talked about ordering the powders and metals for fireworks and music. They’d talk until Sam fell asleep, and he’d always wake up to a witty and half-sarcastic text in the morning.
Sam didn’t tell Dean this because then Dean would call him a girl and the teasing would never end.
They pulled into the warehouse’s parking lot and Sam paid the driver before he turned back to Dean. His older brother had his hands in his pockets, biting his lip.
“I’m gonna be honest, Sammy, this place looks shady.” Dean might have continued, but a shrill whistle and a bright explosion, green or otherwise known as barium, shook the windows. “Holy crap what was that?”
Sam grinned so hard that his face hurt. It was real. The warehouse was real. Gabriel was real and Sam wasn’t crazy. He opened the door in time to see Gabriel dusting ash off of his shirt, his face a bit dirty from the latest test. He couldn’t see Castiel, but he sure the blue-eyed wonder wasn’t too far off.
Gabriel looked up and waved, a crooked smile on his face.
“Hey, kiddo!” When Sam snuck a glance at Dean, his older brother looked like he wanted to tell Gabriel to stop, drop, and roll. But Gabriel was already holding out his burned hand. Dean took it because their dad might have been a drunk, but he raised his boys to be polite. Gabriel shook Dean’s hand hard, Sam could tell by how Dean’s eyebrows rose a bit. Gabriel smiled widely. “So you’re Dean, huh? I was wonderin’ when Sam would bring you around.”
“Uh…” Dean cleared his throat as Gabriel let his hand go. “Sam didn’t tell me that you… blow things up.”
“Dean,” Sam sighed, “they don’t--- they mix and make their own---”
Sam stopped talking, because silver-white sparks rained down from the ceiling from a contraption that hadn’t been there last week. It looked like stars were falling and though the little pricks of light made Sam blink they didn’t actually burn. Dean flinched, but eventually held out his hand and watched the sparks disappear on his skin, leaving behind smudges of ash.
“Gabriel, I’ve added magnesium to the---” Castiel came out from the mixing room, and he froze once he saw Dean. Sam felt a little bad, because he knew that Castiel was… a little shy and more than a little weird. Maybe he should have called ahead--- but then Castiel tilted his head to the side, blinking in a way that was normal. Crisis averted. “Hello.”
He wasn’t talking to Sam or Gabriel. Those blue eyes that burned brighter than magnesium were trained on Dean, who cleared his throat.
Later, Sam would think it was funny that when Dean met his soul mate, he literally saw fireworks. Gabriel cleared his throat and waggled his eyebrows in a way that wasn’t subtle at all. Good thing Dean was too busy staring at Castiel to really do anything.
“Well, Sam, I’ve got some new mixtures I’ve been working on. Cas, I’ll leave you with Dean-o. You two should… get to know each other.”
Gabriel practically dragged a smirking Sam into the mixing room, and once they closed the door, they burst into a fit of laughter. Sam held his stomach, and Gabriel was laughing into Sam’s arm, like he was trying to smother the noise. He wasn’t doing a good job. They laughed until it hurt, then they caught their breath and laughed some more.
They ended up on the floor, Sam’s sneaker brushing against a small pile of ash. Gabriel leaned his head against the wall, letting out his breath slowly. When he turned to look at Sam, Sam felt an overwhelming wave of contentment sweep over him. Gabriel smiled at Sam like Sam was made of antimony and titanium, the best kind of glitter and sparkles that fireworks could make. He smiled crookedly and elbowed Sam.
“We’re like regular cupids.”
By the time Sam and Gabriel were fit to go back outside without giggling, Dean and Castiel were huddled around the prototype table, and Castiel lit up a sparkler. Sam could tell that Castiel just did it to see Dean’s eyes crinkle at the sides when he smiled.
Sam wasn’t surprised when Dean got Castiel’s number and was already texting him by the time they left. Sam was kind of glad that he was there to see his brother meet Castiel. It was weird, but Gabriel explained it perfectly. He’d said, “Sometimes you can just tell that two people are right for reach other. It’s like the light catches something in the right way, and deep down you just know that life’s never gonna be the same after that.”
Work still sucked even after Dean left. Sam would get up at seven and shower, put on the same old boring outfit, and so on and so forth. Still, his one way of salvation before Gabriel had been music. He’d doodle in the margins of notebooks as he took calls, but he’d also write down songs and ideas of when they could be used.
He had a line of songs lined up for funerals, rebellious car rides, and even a few for the first time Sam saw snow in Colorado. He’d sometimes pick songs for people. There was this one man on the subway that read the paper and sighed a lot. Sam gave him a Phillip Glass piece. Ellen was fierce on the outside, but really, she was just a mother, and Sam had a lovely piano piece that he’d saved just for her.
It wasn’t like he told these people that he picked out songs for them. It was just another one of Sam’s weird habits. And, of course, he’d picked one out for Gabriel. And Gabriel found out one night at Sam’s shitty apartment.
He pointed to a post-it note that read “Song for Jesse--- Song for Gabriel.” Sam had blushed and he’d tried to get out of it, but Gabriel was relentless. Sam forced it all out in one big rush.
“I pick out songs… and I found one that reminded me of you and it wouldn’t leave me alone so I bought it, only it kept on bothering me so sometimes it helps if I write it down. I sort of renamed it only not really, plus I’d never do that because that’s probably against copywriting laws or something and---”
Gabriel silenced Sam with a short squeeze of his fingers. It was times like those that made Sam realize why he didn’t really talk to people.
“Can I listen to it?”
Sam nodded, and he brought out his laptop and pressed play. On the couch, Sam and Gabriel sat side-by-side and listened to Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’s piece. It was magical, mysterious, and made Sam think of turning into a tree and Gabriel mixing fireworks in the middle of the night.
What Sam didn’t tell Gabriel is that when he fell asleep to this song, he’d dreamed of fireworks. He’d smelled the ash in the air and when he’d looked down he saw that he was standing on water, watching the reflections of the lightshow above him. Gabriel had walked up next to him, in the dream, and for every color he’d name the metal, his breath fogging out in front of him.
When the song finished, Sam wasn’t sure what Gabriel was going to say. Not a lot of people picked songs for other people. Sure, maybe composers made songs for others, but Sam was hardly a composer. He was just a tech guy who thought too much sometimes. Still, Gabriel smiled and when he spoke his voice was a little choked. If his eyes were glassy, Sam wasn’t going to call him out on it.
“Wow… that was…”
He never finished the sentence, and that was okay. Because Sam didn’t think there was a word to describe that moment in the night on Sam’s crappy couch. Sam had eventually put down his laptop, and the next thing he knew he woke up to Gabriel slipping back into the room with a blanket in his hands. He pulled it over Sam and sat back down next to him, and Sam licked his dry lips.
“Wait, you can take the bed, I can---”
“Sh.” Gabriel moved until his head rested on Sam’s shoulder. “It’s late. I’m tired. Go to sleep.”
That night, Sam dreamed that Dean and Castiel got married at Disneyworld. Crowley officiated the marriage, and Bobby had given Dean away. Jo had been the honorary bridesmaid, and Sam and Gabriel were the best men. Sam didn’t remember much about the ceremony, but he did remember that instead of a bouquet, Dean and Castiel lit a whole stick of magnesium that burned brighter than the sun and threw it up in the air. Gabriel had grinned and went to catch it, and Sam had screamed for him not to do it because he’d burn his hands.
He woke up in a cold sweat, and when he checked his watch it told him, quite snootily, that it was four in the morning. He looked down and Gabriel was still there. One of his hands was resting on Sam’s knee, and while they were burned… it wasn’t as bad as the dream. Sam tried to catch his breath, and Gabriel woke up anyway.
“Sam… what… is everything…?”
“Mhm. Sorry, just a stupid nightmare.”
But it wasn’t really a nightmare. Dean and Castiel were getting married, and Sam remembered feeling happy. It was just… he didn’t want Gabriel to get hurt. That part had scared him.
Gabriel shifted on the couch, and then, without picking his head off of Sam’s shoulder, he whispered.
“Are you okay?” Sam’s throat was tight, so he just nodded. Gabriel let out a soft breath, and his scarred hand squeezed Sam’s knee. “Good. Go back to sleep, we’ve got work in the morning.”
Sam had been working on a pretty spectacular drawing of Gabriel and Castiel silhouettes behind some even more spectacular fireworks when a throat cleared itself outside of Sam’s cubicle. Sam hadn’t heard it, and it did it again. Sam turned, and Crowley was there in a suit that wasn’t singed or covered in splotches of ash. Sam blinked.
Sam looked around, frowning a bit.
“How did you get in?”
“I can go anywhere. I work for Disney.” Sam could picture Crowley smiling wickedly as he’d say that to various doormen and supervisors. Gabriel said that Crowley was like a demon, making deals so fast that it would make Sam’s head spin. But, Gabriel had also said that him and Crowley and him were old friends, so that he wasn’t completely evil. Just enough to make him worth liking. Crowley knocked on Sam’s head. “What are you doing for Christmas?”
Sam frowned. Christmas was in a few weeks.
“I don’t… nothing. Why?”
“Because you’re going to Florida. All inclusive,” Crowley smiled, “on us.” By “us” he meant Disney. Before Sam could draw in a breath, he continued. “And yes, you’re brother is coming, but Castiel was being a royal brat and wouldn’t give me his address, so I had to settle for you.”
Sam was handed two plane tickets and a brochure… and he only read the first few words and choked, almost dropping the papers on the floor.
“Beach Club Villa--- I don’t, I can’t afford---”
“What part of ‘this is on the house’ don’t you understand?”
Sam was quiet. He looked at the one that was circled… the two bedroom villa. He’d get a private balcony, king sized bed with a private bath and whirlpool tub… Sam was starting to feel dizzy. And a bit nauseous. He licked his lips and looked up at Crowley.
“Gabriel’s a good friend of mine.” Crowley shrugged. “We’ve hired him and Castiel to organize and light our Christmas show, and since you’re his new best friend, I figured it would be prudent for you to be there.” Crowley smirked. “Merry Christmas.”
Sam wondered vaguely how many times Crowley had ever uttered that phrase before. He checked the dates of the plane tickets and realized that it was only a few days away.
“Wait, Crowley, I’ve still got work and---”
“Nope. You’re taking a paid leave. Don’t worry, I discussed it with your boss.” The way Crowley said discussed told Sam that there wasn’t much of a discussion at all. Crowley probably just walked in, flashed his Disney badge, and said that Sam was taking a paid leave, no arguments and no questions. “Pack your bags.”
Dean met Sam in the airport in Florida with a fierce hug before they were escorted away by a woman named Kali in a crisp pantsuit. Dean didn’t even look twice at her, and even Sam could see that she was fiercely attractive. Cas and him must be pretty serious.
The ride over was mostly filled with buzzed silence. Sam’s room was ridiculous, all sorts of drinks waiting on ice for him. When he called Dean, Dean said his room was the same. Sometimes, Sam wondered how any of this was real. Luckily, Crowley didn’t allow him much time to get lost in his own head. He knocked on Sam’s door, as prim and proper as ever, looking Sam over.
“I’ll be taking you guys through the back of Disney. If I see you taking pictures with your cell phones, I’ll end you.”
He gave Dean the same very serious threat, and they were off. Security guards eyed Sam and Dean warily when they went into some sort of tunnel, but once they saw Crowley it was like everything was okay. The tunnels were full of the secrets of how the park worked. On their way to Magic Kingdom, Sam saw a man half dressed as the fairy godmother running to look for the rest of his periwinkle dress. Another time he saw Belle giving Cinderella a quick kiss.
The tunnel opened up into a back road full of long grass and tall walls. Sam could just hear the children on the other side, and Crowley grabbed a lantern hanging off of the door so that they could see. Sam hadn’t ever been a particular fan of Disney before, but he had to admit that the hidden parts of it were funny. Dean was quiet, and just over the walls, Sam caught a glimpse of the famous castle. They went through another tunnel, and this one was dimly lit. Sam was glad for the lantern.
Sam wasn’t sure how long they walked, but suddenly there were stairs and everything was opening up and they were behind the castle and---
Music started, something Christmas-y with swelling voices that were too happy to be real. But that wasn’t what grabbed Sam’s attention. Gabriel and Castiel were there, their sleeves rolled up. Gabriel broke out into a run, and Castiel followed. They lit up rockets and missiles alike, and Sam and Dean looked up to see the fireworks lighting up in time with the music.
Shimmering sparkles and bright white fizzling magic filled the sky, and yeah, the dialogue breaks were kind of too sugary for Sam, but Gabriel worked with it. As the trumpets’ fanfare began, short little bursts came from the side. All were timed perfectly with Gabriel biting his tongue between his teeth, not even batting an eye as a rocket would whizz by his face, no doubt singing his hair.
Dean stared at Castiel as they lit bunches at a time, perfectly in sync with the strong brass before easing off for some light golden dust for the nostalgic strings. For the first time, Christmas wasn’t making Sam feel bitter. Watching the soft shimmering lights fill the sky, he smiled.
Crowley watched, the lights filling his eyes, and Sam knew why Disney wanted Gabriel and Castiel to sign with them permanently so badly. They were perfect, the red bursts accentuating the choir’s swell. The audience would “ooh” and “ahh” and none of it made Gabriel or Castiel stop and gloat for a minute.
The grand finale came with white sparks as a little tease, and Gabriel and Castiel set off the opening rockets of white sparkles to introduce the long hanging gold bursts that always reminded Sam of weeping willows. The finale was just like Gabriel, big and loud, bright and so brilliant that it almost hurt Sam’s eyes, but he still never looked away.
The castle lit up behind them, but Sam didn’t care. He watched as the show ended and Gabriel took a deep breath, covered in ash and still glowing like a star. Gabriel looked up, and when he saw Sam, it was cosmic. The stars and the moons aligned, and Sam stepped forward, into the ash and smoke and squeezed Gabriel’s shoulder.
“I really want to kiss you… now.”
Gabriel laughed, his eyes crinkling up, and he didn’t have to say “finally” for Sam to get it.
Gabriel tasted like sunbeams and hot chocolate. His laugh sounded like waves crashing on the beach, and Sam wondered if he was going too fast, if normal people dated and kissed before they went back to their rooms and took off each other’s clothes as fast as they could. Then again, Sam was staying in a freaking villa.
Sam pushed Gabriel onto the bed, crawling over him and kissing him, stealing the breath right out of him. He loved the feel of Gabriel’s scarred hands on his body, the way his fingers dug into Sam’s hips like he wanted to keep Sam there forever and ever. He was hard and hot against Sam, and Sam didn’t have any condoms or lube with him.
The universe was a cruel bitch sometimes. He pulled back from Gabriel’s lips, and he actually couldn’t find it in himself to complain because wow. Gabriel’s lips were swollen, his hair, which was impossibly soft, going everywhere as he looked up at Sam with dark eyes. He smiled and waggled his eyebrows.
“Like what you see?”
Sam nodded vehemently.
“Yes. You have no idea.”
He wrapped one his hand around Gabriel’s cock, his thumb swiping over the head. Gabriel’s breath stuttered, his back arching off the bed. Sam kissed down Gabriel’s chest, stroking him as he kissed and nibbled on Gabriel’s nipples, making soft whimpers fall out of Gabriel’s lips like Sam was killing him. Like Sam was the only one keeping him in reality.
Sam whispered into his skin, about how bright Gabriel shined. That Gabriel was brighter than any metal they could burn, that sometimes Sam wondered if Gabriel wasn’t some kind of angel, he burned so brightly. Sam sucked a bruise just above Gabriel’s heart, and he twisted his wrist and moaned Gabriel’s name into his skin.
Gabriel’s breath hitched, and his eyes widened like he’d seen something so spectacular that it left him breathless, even though it was only Sam.
He came all over Sam’s fist, and Sam watched Gabriel’s muscles twitch as he eased him through his orgasm. Sam wanted to watch Gabriel blink in his afterglow forever, but Gabriel had other plans. He somehow managed to push Sam down on the mattress, and Sam wondered why he didn’t fall off when he remembered that it was a king. Gabriel didn’t tease or anything like that, he just swallowed Sam down in that hot, wet mouth of his and went to town like it was the last thing he was going to do.
Sam had been given blowjobs before, and it wasn’t like he didn’t like them. They were nice. Gabriel’s weren’t nice. They were relentless and so precise and thought-out that Sam’s toes curled as Gabriel’s tongue swiped on the vein on the underside. Gabriel looked up and Sam tangled his fingers in Gabriel’s hair, pulling a little, and Gabriel’s eyes fluttered shut and moaned.
A series of sparks went up and down Sam’s spine, and Sam’s vision went white and he came so hard that he forgot his own name for a minute.
The mattress dipped and moved as Gabriel let Sam slide from his mouth, kissing his way back up Sam’s body, his hands coming to a rest above Sam’s heart. Sam pulled Gabriel close, kissing his forehead and closing his eyes. Gabriel snuggled closer.
A few minutes passed, and in the sleepy haze that drifted over them, Sam made a soft confession in the dark.
“I think I was losing my mind before I met you.”
Gabriel snorted into Sam’s skin, and he pressed a lazy, open-mouthed kiss into Sam’s shoulder.
“The chairs weren’t sticky and no one gets mugged in a coffee store ever. I just wanted to talk to you.”
Sam’s throat tightened painfully, and he pulled Gabriel up for a kiss, and Gabriel seemed fine with that plan. Gabriel tasted like ash, fire, and aluminum.
That night, Sam dreamed of a beach made of white stones that glowed under the moon. Gabriel was there, laying on his back and staring up at the night sky. Sam joined him, and Gabriel reached down and tangled their fingers together. He turned to Sam, and the stars began to fall from the sky and would splash into the dark water around their little island. Gabriel just started to sing “When You Wish Upon a Star” and Sam just laughed.
P.S. If you guys want to see the fireworks show I got it from, go here :)