“Raphael.” Michael’s booming voice cuts across the bustle of the aid tent.
Raphael glances up at his brother warily, resists the urge to roll his eyes, and lets Adam take over for him. “Michael,” he returns, politely. “Did you need something?”
Michael looks exasperated. “You know why I’m here, Raphael. It’s long overdue.”
“Not happening,” Raphael replies flatly, because he can. Adam is a healer, the best one Raphael has ever trained. Michael can’t take him – Raphael will go to any lengths to ensure that Adam doesn’t end up on the front lines with his brothers, stuck fighting a stupid, pointless war because Michael and Lucifer can’t man the fuck up and get along. “Where’s your dog?” he adds suspiciously, because if Michael is using Sam to try and get Adam out there, there will be no more niceties. None.
Michael’s expression is blank when he answers, “Samuel is busy. I came alone. This is not a kidnapping, Raphael. Adam belongs –”
“Exactly where he is,” Raphael cuts his older brother off angrily. “Adam belongs exactly where he is, doing exactly what he’s doing. And I’m guessing that Sam, at least, knows that.”
Judging by the aggravated expression that crosses Michael’s face, that’s exactly why Sam isn’t here. “Samuel is a sentimental fool,” Michael replies angrily. “Adam is a Winchester, he is a soldier. He belongs on the front lines, not in an aid tent!”
Raphael’s lips twist bitterly. “Sam is not a sentimental fool. He’s an older brother who knows how to be one,” he replies flatly, which is probably the highest praise he ever has or ever will give the middle Winchester. “Adam may be a Winchester, but he’s a healer, not a soldier.”
“And clearly his talents extend to the bedroom,” Michael sneers. “That’s your true reason for being unable to see him leave, am I right?”
Raphael snorts derisively. “That may be the single stupidest thing that’s left your mouth today, which is impressive,” he responds flatly. “I don’t want Adam to go fight on the front lines in your pathetic, pointless war because he is the best healer I have ever trained, and I will not see you destroy that because you are too selfish and petty to let go of the past.”
Michael looks enraged. “You near the point of blasphemy, little brother. This is not just my war,” he reminds Raphael angrily.
“Oh?” Raphael quirks an eyebrow. “It isn’t? I’m sorry. I must have missed something. As far as I noticed, Father left, Michael. Coincidentally, He left right about the time that you went from hating this war to loving it.”
“How dare you –”
“How dare I? Are you even listening to yourself? You come here, determined to take the best healer I’ve ever trained and turn him into a mindless soldier, you insult me, and then you have the nerve to ask how dare I? How dare you, Michael,” Raphael snarls. “How dare you tear apart our family, drawing out this pointless war for centuries, and claim that it is what Father wants! How dare you try so very hard to destroy every bit of innocence you come across! How dare you act like we have all betrayed you somehow, when the truth is, you’ve betrayed everything you are!”
Michael rocks backwards, looking shocked. “Raphael…”
“No, Michael!” Raphael cuts him off angrily. “Not this time. I can’t do this. I can’t advocate watching angels who’ve done nothing more than try to do the right thing die by the dozens because you and Lucifer can’t get over yourselves! I can’t listen to your woe is me bullshit when I know how many of us are worse off, because of your selfish actions! You’ve torn apart Adam’s family, his life, everything. You intend to destroy what he’s built up in the aftermath, as well? I refuse to support that, and I will fight you to the bitter end if I have to.”
Raphael becomes suddenly aware of the fact that dead silence has fallen around them, all eyes falling on the bickering archangels in worried shock. Adam looks absolutely astounded as he stares at them, hands hanging at his sides, disbelief etched over his features.
“It – I…” Michael tries, and stops, looking a little broken. “I do not think you truly understand my actions,” he finally says, shakily. “It is against all protocol, but I will allow you this. Adam can stay.” This said, he turns to leave, doing his best to keep his expression blank.
Raphael slumps against the wall, unable to treasure the victory. He…hadn’t intended to be so vicious, even if all of his accusations were truth. Michael is his brother. He’d had no intention of putting that shattered expression on his brother’s face. Adam is safe, now, but in the meantime Raphael has gone and added himself to the list of people who’ve broken Michael a little bit more with their careless words.
“You didn’t have to do that,” Adam says quietly from behind him, hands shoved into his pockets, his entire posture speaking of how uncomfortable he is. “I… I would’ve gone.”
Raphael closes his eyes briefly, pained. “I know you would have,” he agrees. “And they would have torn you apart, Adam. You would never have been the same. I couldn’t let that happen. Not to you.”
Adam steps closer, his movements measured and hesitant. “Let’s go home,” he says, a little desperately. There’s stark relief in his eyes, which does something to make Raphael feel a little less terrible about his conversation with Michael.
“I – we can’t, it’s –” Raphael pauses, staring at Adam in disbelief. “You knew. You knew he was coming today.”
Adam hesitates. “Sam… warned me,” he answers quietly, avoiding Raphael’s gaze. “So, yes, I knew. But I wasn’t going to… I didn’t figure you’d fight so hard to keep me around, and I didn’t want our last day together to be spent worrying that I’d have to go with him.”
Raphael stares, caught between anger at not being told and affection at Adam’s tendency to put everyone else before himself. “Of course I’d fight for you,” he finally replies calmly, giving Adam a look that casts all sorts of doubts on his intelligence. “What kind of idiotic question is that? You’re stuck with me, I thought that was clear.”
Adam grins, pleased. “Yeah, well. Home?” he repeats again, hopefully.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Raphael reminds him, and then catches a good look at Adam’s pout and resigns himself to the fact that he just can’t say no. “…oh, all right. But we aren’t making a pattern of this.”
“Oh, of course not!” Adam agrees, with a mock scandalized gasp. “We’re dedicated, adult angels who would never, ever shirk their duties!”
Raphael narrows his eyes, lips twitching in amusement. “Run,” he suggests flatly, laughing as Adam does exactly that. There is a lot of work to do. But, most of it is paperwork, it’s been pretty quiet on the front lines for the last few days. And paperwork is not, unfortunately, going to die if Raphael neglects it long enough. Adam’s right, there’s no good reason not to go home early just once.
And if they get a lot of bewildered, semi-scandalized looks as Raphael chases Adam home, trading joking insults and goads the whole time, well… gossips are going to gossip. Being with Adam is more than worth it.