Gabriel stumbled back, covering his eyes as a blinding white light filled the forest. When he came to, he was laying on the ground on his back. His eyes blinked a few times and he felt just awful. His Grace had been wounded after that fight, The Darkness was destroyed this time, not just bound. He wondered briefly if he was dead too, however he realized he was in way too much pain to be dead. He rolled over to his hands and knees, taking a few deep breaths. He lifted his gaze and saw so many trees laid flat around him, it was like he was in the epicenter of a nuclear bomb test. 

He stood and felt his wings were still in this physical plain of existence. They ached, he looked to his side as he pulled his wings around him. Feathers were stripped from them, blood was still sticky and flowing from where the feathers once resided. He reached out and touched one, gasping in pain at the contact. He realized he could not heal these himself, not right now. He had expended most of his Grace to kill the Darkness and help expel Lucifer from Castiel’s vessel. 
As the thought of Castiel touched him, he quickly looked around and saw his brother’s vessel lying motionless. He hurried over and knelt by him, smiling faintly seeing his blackened feathers. He touched his still form and reached with his grace inside of him. He felt Castiel, his little brother and no one else inside the vessel. He let a sigh of relief pass his lips. He let his gaze and grace expand around him as much as he could, hoping for any sign of Lucifer. He knew he wasn’t dead. He did live up to his end of the bargain it seemed though. The Darkness was destroyed. 
Gabriel looked back down at Castiel as he groaned, smiling sadly. “C’mon little brother.” He whispered softly, kneeling down and touching his back, whispering a spell to let his wings settle back onto the aetherial plane so they could heal. Castiel groaned again, ‘Gabriel..’ he said softly before passing out again. “Yeah you rest, bucko.” His golden eyes glowed as he used what he could gather of his Grace to pick Castiel up. He cradled Cas against his chest, and leapt into the sky unseen. 
A thought and few hours later, Gabriel appeared inside the bunker, collapsing as he landed in the library. 
Son of a bitch!” yelled Dean, standing up and knocking his beer over onto the floor. Concern quickly flew across Dean’s face as he saw it was Gabriel, breathing hard, desperately holding Castiel to him. “Holy shit, Gabe.” He ran over to them, kneeling by his side. 
Sam came running from the bookshelves and saw what his brother saw, only from behind of Gabriel with his wings spread out behind him, blood and char around them. “Gabriel?” He breathed out and stepped wide around his wings so as to not hurt him accidentally. 
Careful..Samsquatch..precious cargo.” He didn’t look up and still held tightly to Castiel. He didn’t elaborate as to whether the cargo was himself or Castiel though. At this moment for Gabriel, Castiel was more important. Without Castiel and Lucifer, he wouldn’t have been able to defeat the Darkness. He lifted his gaze to look upon Dean. He looked much better after they broke the connection from his Aunt. His gaze slid to Sam as the taller brother knelt by him, gripping Castiel still. 
Gabe,” Sam said softly as Dean tried to move Castiel from his arms when his arms tightened his younger brother. “Let us take Cas, we’ll take care of him you know that right?” Gabriel held Castiel tighter and then slowly, reluctantly, let him go as Dean pulled Cas into his arms. Gabe let his arms go limp and collapsed onto the bloodied floor himself as he too lost his fight with the waking world. 

Gabriel awoke a few days later on a bed in one of the extra rooms in the bunker. He gasped in pain as awareness brought him back around, his wings rustling on the bed and floor behind him. Gabriel was too afraid to look at them right now himself, deciding against seeing how much had healed, or if any of it had healed. He was an Archangel, one of the most beings in the universe, next to Dad, and here he was, laying on a bed in an underground bunker slowly healing. He touched upon his grace, feeling it warm him and swell around his vessel’s form. 

He stiffened when he felt Dean come into the bedroom, and the glow slowly subsided as he heard a whistling behind him. He held up his hand as if he was about to snap his fingers and heard Dean beat a hasty retreat without commenting. “Asshole.” Dean muttered softly when he thought he was out of earshot. Gabriel smirked softly, knowing he deserved the comment after everything he had put the Winchesters through. Although he had hoped they had put that behind them after recent events. His thoughts drifted to Castiel and he moved his feet and legs off the bed. 

Stumbling as he got off the bed and looked down at his clothes. He blinked seeing he was wearing sweatpants. Not that he should complain, his clothes were mostly destroyed in the explosion, but still. Someone had put those things on him. He figured they belonged to Dean because they were a bit long and a little big. If they were Sam’s he’d be swimming in them. His wings twitched and he pulled them around himself. He sighed softly in relief as he saw they were slowly healing. The tertials and flight feathers were beginning to heal and straighten out. She ran his fingers along them and up further. The damaged feathers had changed color, still a golden color, but no longer as metallic. He sighed and closed his eyes, using his Grace to put his wings back into the aethereal plane to finish healing. He felt considerably lighter and rubbed his chest where the muscles were still sore from moving his wings while weak. He touched upon his grace briefly again to change his clothes into black jeans, a black military style jacket and black button down shirt. Barefoot for now, he hadn’t even though of shoes actually. It showed how tired he was. 

He padded out of the room down the hallway to where he felt Castiel was resting. He was certain his brother had yet to wake up after he knew he himself had been out for days. He was lost in thought as he almost ran into Sam and looked up at him. 

Cas is still asleep.” Gabriel nodded a bit. “Yeah I know Samsquatch. I was just going to go in and see if I could work my mojo on him.” Sam nodded and walked along with Gabriel to the bedroom. 

Gabriel saw Cas laid out on his own cot. He was pleased to see he was still alive, but healing so slowly. Gabriel sat down next to him, sliding his hand gently through his hair and scratching the back of his neck where he could feel the feathers needed preening. He took his time straightening them out, feeling Castiel relax even more into a healing sleep while he did so. He was glad Sam kept his trap shut while he worked. Finally he opened the channel that connected him to Heaven and let it flow into him to heal Castiel. He knew the wings would have to heal on their own in due time, but he could give his grace a boost to get him to heal. 

When Gabriel moved his hand, all Castiel’s injuries outwardly were healed. He smiled and closed the channel, both to no longer give away where he was or let Heaven know he was still alive. Sure he could have used the power to heal himself completely, but he was more intent on getting Castiel healed. He gave his sleeping brother a weak but fond smile. “Heal and be well, little brother.” He slid his hand through Castiel’s hair again and moved to stand, swaying when he got to his feet. Sam swooped in and slid his arm around him. He never said a word, just helped the Archangel back into the bedroom where he was staying. Gabriel nearly melted once he sat down on the bed, nodding his thanks to Sam. Sam patted him on the back and wandered back out into the hallway, letting him have some time alone. 

Gabriel was used to time alone. Although he would be hard pressed to admit he missed Castiel, and well hiding out in Heaven to be honest before The Fall. He took his jacket off like a normal human and curled back up on the bed. His thoughts wandered around what he could do to keep Castiel safe, and of course Sam and Dean. He felt he owed the Winchesters after giving him the courage to stand up to Lucifer and helping him make sure Lucifer would be expelled from Castiel’s vessel when they destroyed The Darkness. Castiel had been in there the whole time, but locked in a sort of cage that was similar to his time in Purgatory. Never really truly knowing that Lucifer put on the whole show for him in his head. Using his grace much like Gabriel used his own to create constructs. After all, Gabriel had learned those tricks from Lucifer, and he was the best at it. 

Gabriel slept for a few more days on and off, going in to check on Castiel. Preening his brother’s wing and neck feathers on the aethereal plane when he visited with him. When he felt Castiel was healed enough to wake up in the next day or so was when Gabriel decided it was time to leave. He had let himself heal as well and slipped into the mask of the confident Trickster. Dean and Sam saw through it as he leaned against the door frame of the library. ‘Castiel should wake up tomorrow sometime. I’m leaving. All I ask is if he asks what happened, he and Lucifer worked together to defeat The Darkness.” He didn’t miss Dean wincing at his mention of her. He also felt Dean didn’t want to lie to Cas either. 

Sam voiced his concern and he shrugged. “Better he think I’m still dead. Lucifer is still out there somewhere. I can’t feel him anymore. He is probably hiding, but he’s still alive. Lucifer kept him ignorant of what I was doing here, how we broke the bond you and she shared, Dean. He didn’t even know Lucifer used Castiel’s grace to help defeat her. It’s for the best. Just let it alone.” He leveled the Archangel of the Lord glare at the brothers. They both swallowed and nodded. Gabriel nodded, snapped his fingers, and he was gone from the bunker.