Sometimes, he thinks he should be angrier then he feels.
Landing in the pit had not been his desire, had not been his plan. He had not asked for Sam to grab his body and drag him into the open maw of Lucifer's Cage, dragging not only him but two of the oldest archangels in history down with him until the lid snapped shut behind them. Sam had dragged them down into the literal depths of Hell, and Adam hadn't been able to do a damn thing about it.
Sam had dragged them all down. He should hate his half-brother. Hatred should bubble over in his pours, seeping through as he listened from his self-proclaimed 'sanctuary' in the pit, listening to snarled words in the language of the angels—what was it called? Enochian?—listening to Sam's tortured screams and trying to convince himself that it's just deserved, that Sam was the root cause of this and deserved every inch of punishment the archangels delivered onto him. That every slice he receives is one Adam hadn't deserved, every scream burning the tall man's throat was one that wasn't wrenched from him. But he can't convince himself, can't fool himself into placing all the blame on Sam. It does take the edge off, dull the sharp corners of pain and helps to make his eternity in Hell a bit less painful. It's horribly selfish of him, and if only his mother knew.
If only his mother knew he'd given into an archangel who wanted to start the End of the World. All to see her again.
That promise to him had never been kept, and with each clash of sword, with each scream came the painful reminder of what a total fool he'd been.
So, a dark part of Adam's mind soothed his fears and tremors, passing mental judgment and blame onto Sam, where it doesn't deserve to be if only so he doesn't have to think about his own fuck-ups for the moment.
He isn't sure when Sam's body goes up and disappears on them. Adam's almost always got his eyes shut, trying to block out the visual cacophony haunting him at all hours of the day, every day of the week, weeks upon months, months upon years. Years upon decades. Time is an insane concept in the Cage, he's learned from Sam. In the pit, time had passed decades in months. Adam isn't sure if the Cage passes at the same rate, but he's felt as if he lived for an entire lifespan and a mere nanosecond at the same time.
Guilt would occasionally slither in past the wall he's built himself while he's brooding, curling with the midnight black mindset he'd sunk into to protect himself. It felt something like that family instinct that the Winchesters had tried to implant in him eons ago, to protect his 'brother' from the wrath of two angry and bored archangels. To stand up for Sam, to try and relieve some of the pressure off of him.
But then his self-preservation kicks in, and Adam doesn't speak, doesn't do a damn thing in Sam's defense. And it hurts.
Adam remembers the first moments of being locked in the cage. He calls them moments, simply because he isn't sure what else to really call them. He isn't sure how much time had lapsed for sure. Minutes, days, years. Could be any of them. It's hard to keep track when you lose the ability to sleep as a gauge to track your penance in Hell.
The Cage was an indescribable horror, when he was hurdling down towards it. He doesn't remember landing, or crashing. Just one moment he's in total free fall, and the next...
He remembers Sam standing in front of him, protecting him with body and soul. Playing the big brother that he never got to be until recently. Adam remembers soothing words, promises that he'd protect him. He would try his hardest to not allow Adam to be hurt.
Adam would feel touched if, y'know, they weren't in Hell.
Michael had released him mid-fall into the cage, and now spent his time flitting edge to edge of the enormous prison, wings beating against walls like those of a caged bird. He was enraged, infuriated to be trapped in a prison meant for his fallen brother, not for him. Lucifer is torn between mocking Michael or staring down Sam. The devil's visage had reverted back, with no need of Sam's meat suit back in his domain. Instead of staring at a wavelength of celestial energy, he had taken on the form of his former vessel, Nick. At another pained hit to Sam, another person he couldn't save. Michael had taken on the form of his last vessel before himself—namely, a young John Winchester. It was a dull ache in itself, for both Sam and himself.
It didn't take long after landing in the Cage that Michael and Lucifer clashed; fighting and screaming and biting words in another language thrown between the two. Wings in full, vibrant display that would have been beautiful, had it not been for the moment, the location, the angels who wore him and Sam as walking, talking puppets.
Adam hides behind Sam, forgotten and unwanted. This wasn't his fight. Had never been his fight.
But he'd given himself a front row ticket by signing off to Michael.
Adam should hate Sam even more, now.
He isn't sure how many years had gone by by now. How many decades of nothing but bitter loneliness and Sam's tortured screams filling him. Lucifer refuses to even acknowledge him, would much rather punish his toy vessel for the life sentence he gave them. Michael, he feels, sometimes pins him down with a harsh stare and it's all Adam can do to shut his eyes tighter and suppress the whines and whimpers that claw up his throat.
He hates weakness, hates the cracks in his defensive walls.
But this is Hell, he's here on a sentence he only half signed up for and the decades upon decades of loneliness are building up.
It's soon after Lucifer ripped a rather wide gash in Sam's soul that he arrived.
Dressed in rather smooth, smart clothing looked right out of place. Slicked white hair, a perpetual sneer on his face as Death surveyed the occupants of the cage before him.
"I've come to collect Mr. Winchester's soul."
Everything in Adam snaps and sinks, sobbing to himself as Sam is plucked out of the pits of the cage, and back to earth. Back to Dean, Bobby, that dick of an angel who had pulled him from his grave. Back to fresh air and hamburgers and no more torture.
As he watched Sam go, Adam didn't blame him for not looking back.
Michael and Lucifer now double their efforts, beating at the seam where Death swept in and swept out with a soul, seeking the secret passage in which he disappeared to. Soon after, their squawking turns on one another.
Adam sobs to himself, wondering time and time over as the archangels fight, that if he had worked harder, had he tried to help Sam, would he have been saved, too?
It takes less than a year for Michael and Lucifer to grow bored of their fights once more, and turn their attention onto Adam.
Lucifer didn't prefer to keep Adam on the rack for most of the torture. He'd developed quite a sickening penchant for the cat and mouse games around the Cage. Most of the time it wasn't even physical—or, at least, contact. With a simple gust of a wing Lucifer sent Adam sprawling across the room with disturbing glee in those too-blue eyes. Lucifer had also spent years picking apart Adam's brain-knowing just the subjects to twist his heart, pinch nerves and utterly destroy the walls he'd created with verbal sledgehammers.
Michael had never participated, but neither had he done anything to particularly stop the torture, either. He'd just stand by and watch, observing them like a nature documentary. It was natural, a force that couldn't be stopped so why do nothing more than to observe with an eerie detachment. Why pity the poor antelope in the claws of a cheetah who was more interested in teasing its prey then actually putting it out of its misery? It was nature, the natural order.
Adam deserved it.
Sometimes, he wondered what Michael was feeling behind those utterly stoic eyes. Was he enraged at how his former vessel was acting? Embarrassed for ever using such a wuss? Was that why he never aided him? Never came to his rescue. Never saved him. Not everyone deserved to be saved. Especially not a fool like him.
There were the few times when Michael grew too bored of watching him scrabble away from Lucifer, tail tucked firmly between his legs. He would snap at Lucifer in words that Adam no longer understood, could barely even hear. Lucifer would smirk, tossing back playful, acidic words before swords were drawn and the two unstoppable forces would meet in a flurry of feathers and light. It would give Adam time to crawl into a dark corner, lick his wounds and try to heal before the next session came.
But, then, the oddest thing happened.
Adam wouldn't have believed it, if he hadn't seen it himself.
A great gust of wind flew over the Cage, minimalistic power of one wing versus if he'd used all six. Lucifer smirked as Adam's form was sent catapulting into the air, spinning before landing with a heavy thud, eliciting a cry followed by a low groan by his broken toy. Adam had rolled as he landed, dull blue eyes watching helplessly as Lucifer slowly prowled closer to the prone form. By the angle of the boy's legs and a distinct lack of attempting to crawl away once more he was positive this last landing had injured his back.
"How's the back, Adam?" He smirked, watching those blue eyes alight with panic. "Hurting? I'll bet. That last landing was a bit.. rough." There was no sympathy in the devil's voice, only the barest of hints at his glee. This newest game had his undivided attention, even if his toy was close to crumbling. He'd have to begrudgingly heal Adam after this next one. Wouldn't want the mouse to die, when he was just learning how to have fun again.
The whimper that surfaced from Adam made him smile.
"Oh, come now, Adam. Cheer up." He extended a wing to brush against Adam's heavily bruised cheek, keeping his tone disarmingly jovial. The human shuddered and winced, keeping his pained eyes closed and giving a small cry that reminded him of a kitten. "At least you're not alone now."
Those pale blue eyes shot open, staring horrified at Lucifer. "Y- You—"
His feathers skimmed down to brush against his fractured wrist, making Adam hiss between clenched teeth. "He can speak!" Lucifer teased, adding pressure to the wound. "You knew I was looking at your mind before, child. What was stopping me from peeking when I was busy with Sam?" Shaking his head, he circled around Adam to look at his back. "You're my next puzzle, Adam. I need something to keep me busy while being shut up in my cage... again. Picking apart your brain? A simple one, but I'll take it. The fact you've still got a body to play with? A nice bonus."
The inky black feathers suddenly drew back, arching high with the other five as a frightening grin stretched across his face. "Let's see how high I can toss you with all six, hm?" Adam grunted as he slammed his eyes shut, curling in on himself as much as he could as the swoop of wings breaking through the air and he waited for the next launch.
But it never came.
Instead, Michael had leapt into the space between them, wings spread wide as a shield of silvery white feathers. Black clashed against white, graces ground out against one another in an impressive shower of light in the collision. Adam covered his eyes at the brightness of it, shuddering at the impressive pressure of battling graces.
Lucifer scowled at Michael, half tucking his wings to his side. "What are you doing, brother?"
"That is enough, Lucifer. Take your battles out on me, not Adam." Those impressive white wings were still splayed out, effectively hiding Adam from view. "Especially when he is injured so."
"Protecting him again, dear brother?" Lucifer all but sneered, sighing. "If you insist upon this, again." He projected a demurred tone, but in a flash drew his blade. Michael had his drawn just as quickly, leaping at his brother in yet another equally matched duel.
Adam shuddered, chancing opening his eyes to find both archangels gone. He couldn't just sit out in the open like this, but the persistent throb on his back begged to differ about moving. But he ground his teeth together, sliding callouses palms out over the ground before hauling himself a full six inches. That's all he managed to accomplish by the time the pain in his back flared so greatly that Adam screamed out, ending in a choked sob. His eyesight grew dim around the edges, toeing the line between consciousness and unconsciousness dangerously.
He couldn't fall into the darkness. In a world where he couldn't sleep, it could only lead to a very dangerous path.
But would it be so bad? To escape from Lucifer, to escape the torture, the pain...
Just as he was sinking down into the darkness, dark tendrils coiling around him a hand caressed his cheek. Adam flinched away, biting down a whimper.
"Hush, Adam.." His eyes snapped open, staring up at the kneeling form of Michael. "Stay awake, stay conscious." Soft, downy feathers raked down him, the soft touch bringing comfort as grace radiated into him at the contact of his cheek. The appendages covered him like a snowy blanket, radiating a calming comfort he hasn't felt in years. His wounds were slowly healed, the ache in his back dulling into nothing. Bruises that had once blossomed over his body like dark roses were instantly gone, as if never existing. He could move his wrist, the feeling flooding back into his legs.
The only thing he could say was, "Why?"
When silence was his only answer, Adam flinched and slowly dragged himself into a sitting position. The wings shifted as he did, allowing him to move without restriction but still touching, still in contact, still comforting.
"He'll just redo all the injuries, maybe even worse... Why heal me? Why do anything at all?" He narrowed his eyes slightly, daring to look up at the arch angel. "You haven't done anything before."
Michael actually flinched.
Well, not so much as a full facial wince, but his eyes conveyed it. "I did, Adam." His smallest wings suddenly curled around his form, protective, safe, .. familiar...
An echo of a memory resurfacing, the floor of the cage rapidly approaching. Grabbing onto not Sam's body, but his soul, it latching back as they were encased in silvery white, soothing as they were left on the ground as that same silvery white was suddenly being beaten against the edges of their prison.
"You, saved me and Sam from falling..." His voice was soft, almost disbelieving as he surveyed over the planes of Michael's borrowed face.
"Only you, Adam. You were holding Sam, so there was no choice in the matter." He formally reported, seemingly satisfied with Adam's condition. But he swore something glinted in those blue eyes of his. Something beyond honor-bound duty, But it was covered over in a flash.
"Thank you, Michael."
The archangel nodded, looking over his shoulder quickly. "Lucifer has healed; he will be return upon us imminently." At Adam's involuntary flinch, long feathers reached put to brush the boy's cheek. "I will not let him harm you any longer, Adam."
"Sure." Adam snorted derisively, shutting his eyes. The pain would be back. Of course it would be back. This respite was probably nothing but a fever dream, wrought upon by his inflamed back...
Hands suddenly framed his face, and a low voice growled, "Look at me." Adam's eyes snapped open unwillingly, looking up at the dark gaze of Michael's imagined vessel. Walls of white encircled him, blocking out the cage, blocking out Lucifer, blocking out Hell. "I will no longer let my brother harm you, Adam. It is not your fault you are here. It was my own doing, one I regret forcing upon you now." Lips on his forehead snapped Adam from his stupor. "You were plucked from Heaven to serve a cause that was not originally yours to face. This fate is but of my own design."
Finally, Adam could see beyond the stoic mask Michael wore as he leaned back. Human and archangel observed one another. Adam could see the pain, the guilt starting to seep through the cracks. Michael could see the loneliness, could see the self-hatred in the young human.
"Brother! I owe you for that last match." Lucifer's voice called through the wall of feathers and solitude, breaking open their world.
Michael sighed, grabbing his gleaming angel sword as he stood. Swooping wings slowly retracted from around Adam, but the calm of their touch and of Michael's grace would linger for some time. Lucifer's gaze narrowed at the sight of his toy, all healed up. But before he could say anything Michael had launched himself at his brother, sword drawn and cry at his lips. Lucifer blocked the blow, sending another in return.
Adam watched them duel for a solid moment before something twitched atop his head. Shifting, it slid down the side of his face and neck, before tumbling into his lap. It was a feather, silvery white and the length of his hand. Just touching it allowed the echo of grace that filled it to flood through him, almost making Adam smile. He clutched it close, his only prized possession in this personal Hell.
Dare he even think it, but it gave him.. hope.