Pairings: Sam/Gabriel (and kinda sorta Castiel/Balthazar).
Rating: R (For language mostly. Lots of F-bombs.)
Word count: 30.234
Spoilers: None really, although it helps if you know who Gabriel and Balthazar are.
Warnings: Lots and lots of swearing. Age difference.
Feedback: Yes please.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything even remotely related to Supernatural. (But if anyone wanted to give me Gabriel for Christmas I sure wouldn't complain.)
Beta: mithrel was a champion for taking on this monster and teaching me a few new tricks along the way. THANK YOU!
Notes: Human AU.
Summary: The story of how Sam got the sweetest job in history and how Gabriel learned how to run away. In which there are cute dogs, texting, boners and friends with benefits. There's trouble in Winchester-land, Balthazar butts in a lot, and Gabriel's brothers are dicks, except for the one you least expect.
It was late Wednesday evening when Gabriel finally made it back home. He'd texted Sam and had to his joy been informed that he was still at Gabriel's apartment and that he was cooking them dinner. So while Gabriel dragged himself inside, feeling worn out and exhausted, he was also smiling. Because if Sam was still there, then there was at least hope that he wasn't hurt too badly by the rejection, which Gabriel had spent pretty much every quiet moment all day thinking about.
Sam was at the stove, stirring something which smelled absolutely delicious, and he turned his head when Gabriel entered the kitchen. “Hey,” he said softly, a weak but sincere smile on his face.
“Hey, kiddo. What's cooking?”
“Pasta. And... I don't think this tomato-concoction really has a name. You did tell me to raid your fridge, but seriously, there were some strange things in there. I had to get a little creative,” Sam shrugged.
“Well it smells awesome,” Gabriel said, peeking into the pot of mostly tomato red. “I guess my spice rack didn't disappoint.”
“You do have a nice rack,” Sam grinned.
Gabriel snorted out a surprised laugh. “Oh, Sammy! Dinner and banter? You're spoiling me.”
“You're letting me camp out here, eat your food, mooch off your wifi and you forced me to steal your bed. I'd say dinner is a small token of gratitude.”
“Don't mention it,” Gabriel mumbled, but then he smirked. “No really, don't.”
“Fine, be that way,” Sam said mildly. “Would you set the table, please?”
“Yes, dear,” Gabriel simpered and got a half-hearted kick to his shin for it.
It seemed to Gabriel like their interactions were the same as always. Light, friendly and comfortable. And he reveled in it. As much as he knew they could never go further, he was at least admitting to himself now that he craved Sam's presence, and exchanges like this were like balm on his soul, even it made his heart hurt with want.
They settled down to eat and it was almost painfully domestic. Sam asked about Gabriel's day, to which he lied smoothly without going into too much detail. He changed the subject by praising the food and the rest of the meal went by with cheerful debating over what did or did not actually belong in a well-stocked fridge.
The dogs stuck their noses up at the leftovers because they knew that Gabriel had treats. Under the force of two sets of puppy eyes, Gabriel folded like wet tissue paper and spoiled the dogs rotten while Sam cleaned up. He wiped his hands on a towel and leaned back against the small dining table, just watching Gabriel half-heartedly trying to get the dogs to do tricks in exchange for the treats, but mostly just giving them out.
“They'll get fat if you keep that up,” Sam admonished, but he smiled while saying it.
“Good thing I have a top quality dog walker then, huh?”
Sam smirked, then fell silent. Gabriel almost jumped when he spoke again. “You know... I got a really interesting phone call today.”
“Turns out dad and Dean got a special order this morning. Some guy walked in and commissioned a custom-made Cadillac.”
“Is that so?” Gabriel offered, keeping his voice level.
“Yeah. Paid half of the estimated costs in advance. Cash.”
“Really? I guess all their problems are solved then.”
“Uh-huh. Quite a coincidence, wouldn't you say?”
Gabriel shrugged. “It happens.”
Sam stared at him with an incredulous frown, but then he snorted. “Seriously, Gabriel? A fire engine red Caddy with pink fuzzy interior?”
Gabriel's shoulders slumped in defeat. “I asked them not to spread my name around. I see confidentiality counts for nothing these days. Your brother needs to learn how to keep his trap shut,” he grumbled.
“He didn't tell me anything about you. Only the car. But come on, you leave town on 'business' and a few hours later my dad's problems are all solved?”
“It could have been anyone!” Gabriel protested.
“Ordering a car like that? Please. I bet you only wanted it that outrageous so you could enjoy the look on Dean's face.”
Gabriel snickered. “He did look like he was about to puke when I mentioned the fuzzy upholstery.” He paused suddenly. “Wait, how did you know I was out of town?”
“I called your office. Your secretary told me everything.”
“Seriously? That meddling little minx.”
“You should give her a raise. She actually cares about you, you know,” Sam said gently.
Gabriel just snorted, because what could he even say to that?
“I care about you too.”
Sam's quiet words twisted Gabriel's heart and he shifted uncomfortably. “Sam, please don't go there.”
“Because–” Gabriel cut himself off. “It's complicated.”
Sam looked at him oddly but then suddenly reached out. “Gimme your hand.”
Uneasy, but curious, Gabriel came closer and let Sam take hold of his wrist. Leaning on the table, Sam was low enough to look Gabriel directly in the eye.
“Tell me you don't want this,” Sam asked clearly, his fingers a steady pressure on Gabriel's pulse.
“I don't want this,” Gabriel replied, but even to his own ears it wounded weak.
“You are such a liar.”
Gabriel huffed. “You're saying you can tell by my pulse if I'm lying? Please. That's only on TV.”
“All your pulse tells me is that your heart's racing. Mine is too,” Sam murmured, pulling gently on Gabriel's wrist. In spite of himself, Gabriel followed the pull and stepped in even closer.
“This is such a bad idea, you don't even know,” Gabriel groaned quietly, gaze dropping to the floor to avoid Sam's earnest eyes.
“Then tell me.”
“I–” Gabriel floundered, lost for words, and when he looked up he realized just how close they were. Sam was right there, leaning in, and goddammit, Gabriel was just not strong enough for this, he just wasn't.
With a small sound of surrender, Gabriel surged forward and let Sam draw him in with his long arms. Sam sighed, a heavy gust of breath through his nose, as their lips sealed tight and Gabriel breathed it right in. Lost in the heavenly sensations he pressed in as closely as possible, Sam's knees parting in invitation, and everything was a haze of pressure, soft skin and slick tongues. Carding his hands through Sam's hair prompted a wonderful rumbling moan, and Gabriel swallowed it up, determined to absorb everything Sam had to offer. And sweet stars above, did Sam offer a lot.
His lips were soft but firm on Gabriel's, and youth or not, he definitely knew what he wanted, pressing in with teeth and tongue. Gabriel opened up gladly, tilting his head back for easier access, and Sam's very presence was overpowering, leaving Gabriel shivering and struggling to just hang on. Had Sam not kept his arms tightly around him, Gabriel was fairly sure he would have fallen down, his knees feeling more like Jell-o than joints.
His heart was pounding as if it was trying to bounce right through his chest, and Sam was breathing harshly, needing more air than he was getting, but clearly unwilling to part with Gabriel's lips for a single moment. The kissing turned frantic with sudden need, and they almost toppled over in their haste to move things along. Gabriel was half-ready to just let Sam bend him over the kitchen table and get on with it right there, but Sam pushed at him, walking him backwards towards the living room, presumably planning to end up in the bedroom eventually.
Gabriel was more than happy to go along with it, until they stumbled, not even halfway across the kitchen floor, and there was a painful twinge in his back. Had it been any other time, Gabriel would have assumed it was just a coincidence or a result of long hours spent in transit that day. But in that instant it was a sudden chilling reminder that he was in fact not a teenager. It all came back to him in a sickening rush. The age gap, the fact that this was a massively big mistake, and the added concern that Sam was really just looking for comfort in a difficult situation. Never mind that Gabriel had solved the financial issue. Sam had still pretty much been cut off from his family mere hours ago, making him vulnerable and goddammit, Gabriel should know better!
With monumental effort, Gabriel jerked his face away, ending the kiss, but this didn't deter Sam in the least. He simply moved his lips to Gabriel's neck instead, and it was a very near thing for Gabriel to remain standing through that.
“Sam,” he croaked. “Sam you gotta... you gotta stop.”
The only reply was a heated moan right in Gabriel's ear, and yet another insistent shove towards the door.
“I'm serious. Sam, please. Listen... Sam! Sam!”
Finally, Sam pulled back and looked Gabriel in the eye, but he most certainly didn't let go, keeping his arms locked firmly around Gabriel.
“What?” he panted, clearly confused.
Gabriel gritted his teeth against the urge to just throw all his reservations away and kiss the confusion right off Sam's face. “We... can't do this,” he grated, weakly pushing against Sam's chest. But there was no give, because Sam was not with the program and simply held Gabriel tighter.
“Why the hell not?” he hissed. “Is there someone else?”
“No!” Gabriel snapped, shocked that Sam would somehow think that.
“Are you dying from some horrible illness?” Sam barreled on.
“Then what?!” Sam was slowly getting louder, and Gabriel winced at the hurt in his voice.
“I just can't!”
The desperate cry made Gabriel squeeze his eyes shut and turn his face away. Sam was in pain again, and this time there was no doubt that Gabriel was causing it. It was pure agony.
“You're too young, Sam.” Gabriel could hear his voice quivering. “Trust me, you're better off with someone else.”
This finally made Sam loosen his grip, and Gabriel staggered when Sam pulled away abruptly.
“Bullshit,” he snarled, suddenly angry. “I'm clearly not too young for you physically. And even if I cared about your age, which I don't, the fact that you think you know what's good for me is really fucking insulting.”
“It's not about you–”
“It sure as hell feels like it! Why are you pushing me away?!”
“Because I'll hurt you!” Gabriel yelled. “I always hurt people!”
Sam stared at him, eyes wide with disbelief. “What the fuck gave you that idea?!”
Gabriel rolled his eyes. “Please, you've known me for less than a year. Assuming you know all about me is optimistic at best and dumb at worst.” He knew he was being cruel, but he was at the end of his rope. That didn't make it any easier to see Sam looking like he'd been slapped in the face.
“Fine, so maybe I don't know you,” Sam spat. “But don't make this choice for me. Give me the goddamn courtesy of at least making an informed decision on my own. Tell me why.”
Feeling like ice was pooling in his stomach, Gabriel finally realized that Sam wasn't going to let him off the hook. There was no way around it. He would have to open the one can of worms he had really been hoping he would never ever have to look into again. But he couldn't deny that Sam deserved answers. Especially after Gabriel pushing him away twice.
He crossed his arms over his chest, feeling like he would rather be anywhere else in the world at that moment. “All right then,” he said coldly. “You wanna know? Fine.” He turned and walked away a few steps before changing his mind and coming back, but stopping at least an arm's length from Sam.
“Okay, so... Back when you were barely a twinkle in your dad's eye, some shit went down in my family. It was bad.” He sighed. “I was different then. Reckless. Carefree. Typical rich kid.”
Gabriel paced back and forth in front of Sam, the caged lion metaphor coming briefly to mind, because he sure did feel trapped.
“I'd just started college here in town, but I still lived at home. Actually, we all did. Michael and Luke had just gotten their degrees and were in the middle of taking over running dad's company. Another brother of mine, Raphael, was working across town as an intern– never mind, that doesn't really matter. What you need to know is that at the time, there was dad, us four brothers and our only sister. Anna.”
“She was the baby of the family. Our mom died giving birth to her. The doctors warned her that having more kids could kill her, but she wanted a girl so badly...” he had to swallow hard before he could continue. “She got her wish. But after she died, dad was never the same. He pulled into himself, and by the time I started college, I'd hardly even seen him in years.
“Anna was sixteen then. Spoiled rotten, but God... so funny and bright. And feisty. Which was probably why one of dad's only real instructions regarding her upbringing was to pretty much lock her up until she was eighteen. For her... 'protection'. Her curfews were strict, no exceptions ever, and Michael... let's just say he took his responsibility as the oldest son really fucking seriously. He enforced those rules like you wouldn't believe.”
Gabriel was surprised to feel himself smile as he thought back to the events of his freshman year.
“That didn't stop Anna, though. She got so good at climbing out of her window that she could probably have become a cat burglar. But anyway... I was living it up at college and Anna was in the proverbial gilded cage. Then, one weekend, I accidentally found out that she was planning on jumping the fence to go to a concert.”
He shook his head sadly, and Sam shifted uncomfortably, as if sensing which way things were going.
“I was all for it,” Gabriel continued. “I mean, one night of screaming at some teen idols, what harm could it possibly do? So I helped her sneak out and I drove her there. And when the concert was over, hours after her curfew, I picked her up again to take her home. We were so proud of ourselves, total partners in crime.” He smiled weakly.
“But then... we must have been maybe half a mile from home... a drunk driver ran a red light.” Gabriel's voice was wobbling, but he forced himself to continue. “His jeep smashed into the passenger side of my car. Anna was... she never felt a thing.”
He could see Sam battling with himself, clearly wanting to offer some sort of comfort. Sweet, generous Sam. But he was also observant enough to realize that Gabriel wasn't done, so he kept his distance.
“I was barely even bruised. The drunk driver ended up in the hospital, but Anna... I don't think you can imagine what losing her did to our family. All because I thought I knew better.”
“No, don't, Sam. Just don't. You have no idea,” Gabriel interjected, rubbing a weary hand over his face. “At the time I didn't think it was my fault. And maybe it wasn't. But considering the events that followed... let's just say that it has become all too clear to me that I should never hold any kind of responsibility for anyone, ever.”
Sam was about to argue, but Gabriel hurried on. “You see, losing Anna was pretty much just one more nail in a coffin I'd been building for myself my entire life. All through my teens I broke shit all the time, I pranked the fuck out of anyone who stood still long enough, and I only started college because dad told me to. Considering he only spoke to us maybe once or twice a year, when he did speak, you listened.
“I've had pets die on me, I've crashed cars and broken windows. I drove Michael and his goddamn nanny army completely insane with my teenage thoughtlessness. Back then my motto could have been 'Just kidding!' I never took anything seriously.
“After the accident, our family fell apart. At the funeral, Raphael took one look at me and walked away. He got in his car and drove off. None of us have heard from him since. Within a year, dad died. Could have been old age, I guess, but the general consensus was that it was grief. I might as well have put a gun to his head.”
“Gabriel, you have to know that's not true. None of this is your fault!” Sam protested.
“Oh yeah? Do try and tell Michael that. And Luke, holy crap, he'd already been blaming me for just about everything since the day I was born. He was always fighting with Michael over stupid shit, but after Anna, they could at least join forces in making sure I was reminded every day what I'd done.”
Sam was pale and his eyes were pained. Gabriel couldn't bear to look at him.
“At first I didn't believe them. But I guess it was just a matter of time before I fucked up again, and trust me, it didn't take all that much convincing after that. Remember how I went out with Balthazar and Cas on New Year's Eve? Well there's a reason we usually do that on Christmas. Because Balthazar hasn't spoken to his mother since he was seventeen and she walked in on us making out. Just because I thought it would be fun. My fault. And Cas? He's always followed Balthazar everywhere, so he hasn't seen his family in ages either. Also my fault.”
“Come on, Gabriel, it can't be that simple!”
“It can, and it is. The evidence is right there. Whenever I decide something is a good idea, then it always turns out not to be. Balthazar, Cas... Anna... they were all younger than me, and they trusted that I knew better. And I let them all down. And like it or not, if we do this, sooner or later I will let you down too. It's just my nature. And you deserve better.”
The quiet that descended when Gabriel trailed off could have been cut with a knife, it was so thick.
“You need to talk to somebody about this,” Sam said eventually, his voice low but firm. “Someone professional.”
Gabriel snorted. “I did. But no matter how many times a shrink tells you that you're not to blame, it can't erase the past. Besides, as much as these paid professionals seem to believe none of it was my fault, that doesn't change the fact that dad thought it was my fault. Raphael thought it was my fault. Michael and Luke still think it's my fault. And frankly, so do I.”
He fell quiet again, and Sam just looked at him, the silence slowly stretching between them, until the very lack of sound felt like a bottomless crevasse keeping them apart. Even the dogs stayed still, well aware of the tension in the room. But Gabriel had no more words. It had been years since he'd even wanted to think about those events, and trudging through them again had been draining.
Feeling the long day and recent emotional rollercoaster catching up with him, he eventually turned his back on Sam, and went to the living room where he slumped into his armchair. It was a long time before Sam followed him, but he ended up hovering in the doorway to the kitchen.
“Can I just... say something?” he asked cautiously. Gabriel just nodded, too weary to argue.
“Look... it's not that I don't get what you're saying. I don't agree, but I get it. And holy fuck, I have to say that your brothers are off the douchebag chart.”
In spite of himself, Gabriel snickered. “Yeah, sounds about right.”
“But... I still don't understand what this has to do with you and me. You're a lot older than me, sure. But I'm not gonna make you into some kind of father figure. No thanks. The first time we met, you told me that you knew I wasn't stupid. Right now you're acting like you've forgotten.”
“I haven't. I've also not forgotten how I was worried about sexual harassment suits barely five minutes after hiring you. That really should have been a warning sign, but as usual I've shown an astounding lack of brains,” Gabriel said bitterly. “Thinking with my dick brought us here. I probably wouldn't have thought of hiring you at all if I'd just made sure I got laid every once in a blue moon.”
Sam gaped. “Okay, now you're lying to yourself. You're making this look worse than it is! If you only wanted to fuck me, then this would never have become a problem! You would have just used me and fired me, end of story. You don't spend this much money, time and effort on someone just because you have a freakin' hard-on!”
“No you listen!” Sam said sharply. “You are blowing this shit out of proportion, because you're so used to punishing yourself over something that happened decades ago! I'd give you a fucking fact check if I thought you'd hear it right now! But you're so deep in your own misery, and I'm just not equipped to handle that!”
“I'm not asking you to! In fact, I'm asking you not to!” Gabriel yelled back.
“But I still want you, you enormous asshole! With all your snark and self-hatred and your nightmare of a family! Maybe that makes me stupid after all, but I don't fucking care!”
“You should care! It's for your own good!”
Sam looked livid, his hands clenched into tight, white-knuckled fists, as he stalked in close to loom over Gabriel in the chair. “Didn't you just tell me that you shouldn't hold responsibility like that?” His voice was low again, with a dangerous edge to it, but even if it hadn't been, his words felt like a punch to the gut. And had Gabriel been a smarter man, a more reasonable or balanced person, he would have taken them to heart. But as it was, all he did was panic.
He froze, and his own fists clenched on the armrests. “Right then. You're fired,” he gritted out through his teeth. “Pack your stuff, and get the hell out of here.”
Sam paled. “Is that what you want?”
“Yes,” Gabriel lied. “That's what I want.”
For a long time, Sam just stood there watching him. Gabriel didn't meet his eyes, instead fixing his gaze somewhere around Sam's knees. Eventually, Sam's knees left Gabriel's line of vision, and there were the sounds of things being thrown into his bag. Barely two minutes later, Sam was clipping the leash onto Bones, ready to walk out of Gabriel's life. But he hovered in the doorway to the living room for a few agonizing heartbeats.
He really shouldn't have looked up. He should have just ignored that pleading voice, but... who knew when or even if he would ever see Sam again? There was just no stopping how his eyes flicked up to meet Sam's.
“If you ever decide to hate yourself a little less, or at least try to stop the goddamn cycle of guilt you have going... then you know where I live. Don't start telling yourself that I wouldn't wanna see you. I'm telling you now: I would. Anytime. Even if it's only as friends or hell, if it's just a dog-walker you need. Please remember that.”
He didn't wait for an answer. He simply turned on his heel, tugged a reluctant Bones along beside him, and closed the door behind them. Chewie whined at the door, and Gabriel let his head fall forward into his hands.
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