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“Sir? Do you have a visitor's pass?"

Adam's eyes flickered around under their closed lids at the sound of a woman's voice. His ears were suddenly absorbing every sound around him; the soft metronomic beeping noise of a machine, the tiny scratch of pen against paper, the internal rustle of air filling his own lungs... But there was mostly silence. Gentle silence and the distinct smell of sterilization. The kind of scent that only existed in hospitals.

“I don't need one. I'm not a visitor.”

The deep voice that answered belonged to a man, that much Adam knew for sure. It was low and hard and steady, the kind of tone that commanded a room. But it wasn't familiar at all. Adam had no idea who the two voices belonged to, nor what they were talking about. In fact, Adam didn't even know where the hell he was. Why did his body feel so weak? Why did opening his own eyes feel like such a difficult task? The young man struggled to lift his heavy eyelids while the voices started up again.

“I'm sorry, sir, but all visitors must get a pass from the front desk. For safety reasons, you know,” the lady continued, sounding like she was trying her best to be persuasive, “You wouldn't want your son to get hurt by someone who waltzed in here without a visitor's pass, would you?”

Adam's eyelids tightened in confusion. Son? Was she referring to Adam as the man's son? Was the man... John Winchester?

“He's not my son,” the deep voice replied, causing Adam to breathe with relief.

The lady huffed in aggravation and there was a brief sound of rustling papers, as if she was putting down whatever she had been holding. Adam was trying his best to open his eyes, to try and see who these people were and what they were doing. But he was terribly weak and his body wouldn't obey his internal commands.

“Please come with me and get a visitor's pass, sir. For the boy's safety,” she insisted, sounding like she was making the man get up from a chair, “It will only take a few minutes. Come on. Up you go. That's it. The front desk is this way.”

Though his eyes were still closed, Adam could sense that the man had paused by his bed. Heavy, warm fingers briefly rested against the back of Adam's left hand, which was cast limply at his side. Adam knew it was an affectionate gesture, probably meant as a way of saying 'I'll be right back.' But who was doing it? What man would be kind enough to gently clasp Adam's hand in a firm grip before leaving the room? Adam never really had a male role model in his life. No father, no grandfathers, no uncles... No brothers... So, who could it possibly be?

At the sound of a curtain being pulled shut, Adam finally succeeded in opening his eyes. The fluorescent lights shining from the ceiling were harsh on his vision, making him blink repeatedly. Once his sight finally focused, Adam could see that he was, in fact, laying in a hospital bed. The two people were gone now, leaving him to lay alone in a confined space. An empty chair was positioned on his left side and a heart monitor was beeping softly on his right. Adam glanced down and struggled to lift his arms, seeing that one of his wrists had an IV.

The thin, nineteen-year-old boy carefully inspected his own body, trying to figure out what had happened to him. He didn't seem to be injured at all; no broken bones or missing limbs. Hell, there wasn't even a scratch on him. Why was he in the hospital if there was nothing wrong with him? Maybe he had gotten too drunk at a college party and passed out or something. Or maybe he had been in a coma for a while. Because the last thing Adam could remember was giving his mom a goodbye hug before she left his dorm room with a bag of his laundry. And that felt like weeks ago...

Adam carefully raised his eyes to glance around the empty room. Where was his mother? Someone must have told her that her son was in the hospital, right? Was she at work? Was this the same hospital she worked in? A mix of panic and homesickness melted together in Adam's empty stomach as he glanced toward the small gap of the curtains to see the hospital buzzing with activity beyond. He missed his mom like crazy all of the sudden.

Hey,” Adam wheezed.

The teenager instantly went into a fit of coughs afterward, hacking weakly on the bed. Ugh, his throat was so dry. When was the last time he had a drink? Geez, his tongue felt like sandpaper or something. Adam smacked his cracked lips together as his eyes darted around the boxed-in area. Where was a glass of water when he needed one?

Luckily, it seemed that someone heard his call. Footsteps rapidly approached from the right side of the curtain, along with a joyful whistle. It sounded like whoever was coming over was whistling a tune similar to the oompa-loompa song from Willy Wonka. Though he found the noise a bit strange, Adam tried to ready his words as the sounds drew nearer to his bed. His first question was going to be, 'Can I have some water, please?' The second was going to be, 'Where is my mom?'

Unfortunately, Adam didn't get to ask either of these questions. Because the guy who popped his head into the curtain kind of startled him. The man was short and petite with shaggy blonde hair and eyes that held too much mischief to belong to an adult. The very second the man looked down at Adam, his jolly whistle cut short and his golden eyes blew wide. Adam gulped, unsure of why this complete stranger was looking at him as if he were a ghost. The blonde man at the curtain blinked once, his face filling with irritation, before he mumbled,

“Oh, shit.”

Adam's eyebrows drew together. Oh, shit? What did that mean? Adam glanced down at himself again, thinking that his IV was loose or he had accidentally wet the bed or something. But no. The blonde man hadn't said 'oh, shit' because something was wrong. He had said it for some other reason.

“Um,” Adam breathed, “Do I know y – ?”

Before Adam could even finish his raspy sentence, the blonde man was gone. Literally gone. Vanished into thin air like some sort of magic trick. Adam gasped and blinked toward the vacant spot, feeling a tad bit frightened. Holy shit! How did that guy do that?! Was Adam seeing things?! The teenager forced himself to lay back on his bed, trying his best not to freak out. You're probably on some hallucinogenic meds, he told himself, Don't worry about it. Mom will fix it when she gets here.

Adam was back to thinking about his mom again as he stared blankly up at the white ceiling. She had been a nurse for at least twenty years, working her ass off during graveyard shifts while still trying to be a good mother during the day. And Adam was damn proud of her for it. He strongly admired her ability to manage being a full-time nurse and a full-time mom. In fact, watching her work was part of the reason he was currently in pre-med at the University of Wisconsin. He loved his mother's ability to heal sick and wounded people and even bring a few back from the brink of death. Helping people must have been a strong family trait of theirs, because Adam always did his best to help anyone in need...

But now, as he lay motionless in his own hospital bed, Adam was feeling utterly useless. Which was probably why he craved to see his mother so badly. If he couldn't fix this, then she sure as hell could. His mother could adjust his medicine at least, so that he wouldn't keep seeing guys who could disappear at random.

A slight sound of breezing air – kind of like a rustle of wings – briefly filled the hospital. Adam glanced toward the sound, seeing the curtain around his bed swaying as if the subtle gust of air had moved it. Just beyond the curtain, a cluster of footsteps were suddenly making their way toward Adam's bed. The teenager's heart rate began to increase when he listened to the large number of feet walking straight for him. A voice was talking, too. The same voice that had been whistling that stupid oompa-loompa song.

“I'm telling you! It's Mikey's vessel! Except it's all empty and stuff!” the voice exclaimed.

“Humans aren't just empty vessels, Gabe,” a different voice said, sounding annoyed, “They're living, breathing people.”

“Okay, fine. Then it's a living, breathing, empty vessel. Does that make you feel better, moose?”

“Both of you shut up,” another, much deeper voice interrupted, “Look, I don't care what you say, shorty. Whoever is in there cannot be Adam. We saw him fall into the pit with our own eyes. He was locked up tight in the cage, remember? He fell right in with Michael and Lucifer and all of that shit is history. Hell, I was just starting to forget about that kid.”

“Ladies and gentleman, the 'Shittiest Brother of the Year' award goes to...” the whistling man cooed.

“That's not what I meant,” the deeper voice said instantly, as if trying to regain composure, “What I meant was... I just now started to forget about that kid's screams. I just now stopped seeing his face in my mind every time I close my damn eyes. I just now stopped hearing dad's voice in my head, yelling at me for letting his youngest child – the one he tried to protect the most – die in my place. I just now got used to baring all the damn guilt, okay?!”

There was a small silence on the other side of the curtain. Adam shifted slightly in his uncomfortable bed as he eyed the pastel patterns on the fabric. What the absolute hell were those men talking about? And why did they keep mentioning his name as if they knew him?

“Look,” the deep voice eventually said, “All I'm saying is, if that's really Adam in there, I'm gonna feel like total shit.”

Adam barely had time to brace himself before the curtain to his right was suddenly yanked back. Four men, including the blonde whistler from earlier, were now standing at Adam's bed side. They all had very different appearances. One was really tall with shaggy dark hair and a calm look about him. Another was shorter and more stout, wearing freckles and a no-bullshit expression. The third man looked like he was on his way to a business meeting or something; full suit and tie, with a heavy trench coat to match. And the fourth was the whistling man of course, the blonde with the golden eyes. They were all staring down at Adam as if he was a long-lost cousin or something, large eyes and open mouths all around. Adam wasn't sure what to say or do at the moment. He only laid there and received looks of absolute shock.

“... I feel like total shit...” the freckle-faced man mumbled, seeming pale.

Adam casually attempted to clear his throat, which resulted in a few hard coughs because his mouth was so dry, before glancing among the men. He had never seen any of them before and he was sure that he would have remembered them if he did. Their blank stares of shock were kind of starting to freak him out...

“Uh... Who the hell are you?” Adam eventually breathed, his voice still weak.

All of the men seemed astounded by this question, like Adam had just asked if they were aliens or something. The stout one – the one with the spiky hair, who kept rambling on about feeling guilty – took a step closer to Adam's bed, making the teenager lean away with discomfort.

“Who – who are we? You mean, you don't remember us?” he asked, green eyes full of confusion.

Adam's heart was starting to beat faster as his discomfort was shifting into nervousness. The urge to call for a nurse was pressing at the back of his tongue but he held it down. These guys didn't seem like they wanted to hurt him. Maybe they were just mistaking him for someone else.

“Um, no,” Adam replied carefully, “Am I supposed to?”

They might have been talking about nonsense behind the curtain, but maybe these men could tell Adam what had happened to him. It would be nice if someone could let him know why he was in a hospital bed. All four of the guys glanced at each other, the tallest one in plaid giving a shrug.

“Maybe the cage messed with his memory,” he suggested to the bow-legged man.

Cage? What cage were they talking about? Was it some kind of prison reference? The spiky-haired guy spun back to give Adam a hopeful look.

“What do you remember?” he asked, sounding curious.

Adam used his weak limbs to try to sit up in bed as he racked his brain for an answer. Still, the only thing he could remember was waving goodbye to his mom at college. The men were all still staring at him, waiting impatiently for an answer as if the fate of the world depended on it or something...

“Well, the last thing I remember was saying goodbye to my mom,” he admitted, glancing around at them all, “She came by to pick up my laundry at school. I go to the University of Wisconsin. Do – do any of you go there? Did you see what happened to me?”

Adam was hoping that at least one of these men knew what had happened to him and how he had ended up in the hospital. The teenager was still under the assumption that he had gotten drunk at a party or something, because he didn't have any visible injuries. But unfortunately, the curiosity on the men's faces quickly turned to defeat. They all glanced around at each other like Adam's answer made them upset.

“He doesn't remember any of it,” the tall man nearly whispered, “Not even the ghouls.”

“Son of a bitch,” Bow-legs mumbled, face palming.

Adam's eyes narrowed. Ghouls? It wasn't close to Halloween, was it? Were the men referring to a horror movie?

“Perhaps his memory was effected by the explosion,” the man in the trench coat suggested.

“Yeah? Then, how can we know for sure?” another asked.

Adam watched as the business man took a few steps closer to his bed. Though the teenager leaned farther away, the man in the trench coat reached out to tap his forehead with two fingers. Adam was completely shocked. Didn't that guy have any sense of personal space?! Adam was okay with these men babbling nonsense, but touching him? That shit was just over the line.

“Don't touch me,” Adam said, smacking the man's hand away.

But it seemed like the man had accomplished whatever he was trying to do. After huffing a sigh, he turned back to the others to give them a raised eyebrow.

“It appears that his memory was erased on purpose,” he informed, “I suspect it was Michael's handiwork. His grace is still lingering in the boy's subconscious.”

Adam was done with all of this bullshit. His mouth was dry, his mother wasn't there, and these four guys were standing around his hospital bed yacking about weird shit. His level of discomfort was gradually beginning to peak, making his temper rise with it.

“Hey,” Adam snapped, making all the eyes fall back to him, “I don't know any of you guys. So, unless you can tell me how I ended up in here, then I suggest you leave. Before I... call the nurse or something...”

Adam knew his threat sounded totally lame, but it was all he could really say. He was obviously outnumbered and too weak to run. Calling the nurse was the only reliable option that he had. And after hearing her bitch at the first guy that was here, Adam was sure she would escort the rest of these guy to the front desk to get visitor's passes, too.

After the teenager's remark, though, the tallest man in the line seemed to soften instantly. He held up both hands in defense and carefully rounded the end of the bed, headed for the vacant chair on the left side. Adam's eyes stayed locked on him, hoping the guy wasn't coming close to hurt him.

“Hey, man. I understand that you're confused,” the giant man said gently as he eased into the chair, “but you can relax. We are honestly not here to hurt you.”

“Then what do you want?” Adam asked, “How do you know me?”

The two men in plaid shirts – the freckle-face, and the tall one – met eyes briefly. The freckle-face gave a nod before the tall one looked back at Adam. His eyes were large and apologetic, staring at Adam as if he was about to tell him some terrible news.

“I'm Sam. And that's Dean,” he said carefully, pointing toward freckle-face, “We're brothers. And our last name is... Winchester.”

Adam's heart seemed to beat erratically for a few moments. Winchester? As in 'John Winchester'? The teenager's eyes flickered between the two men, instantly able to see the family resemblance. Yep. They were related to Adam's father alright. Same plaid outfits, same stern expressions, same thick muscles and mysterious eyes.

“We're John's sons,” Dean added, “Which makes you our half-brother.”

Adam wasn't exactly sure how to take this news. He always assumed that he had relatives on his father's side of the family that he never knew about. But brothers? Sam and Dean both looked much older than him, so why didn't they ever look for him? Why didn't they ever stop by and ask to be part of his life? Was it possible that they didn't even know that he existed?

“Um. Well. It's nice to finally meet you, I guess,” Adam mumbled, still too surprised to properly respond.

“Actually, the thing is, we've already met before,” Sam explained, leaning closer to his bed, “I know you're gonna think this sounds crazy... But you helped us stop the apocalypse.”

Adam blink hard once, trying to let the words sink in. The apocalypse? What the hell was he talking about? These men were totally nuts! The urge to call a nurse was growing stronger in Adam's stomach. These guys were obviously Doom's Day preparers or something. And they were probably going to kidnap Adam to sacrifice him to the gods...

“Way to go, Sammy-boy. You broke the kid,” the blonde man said, gesturing to Adam's unmoving form.

“No, it's true,” Sam said, able to see Adam's disbelief, “Adam, please listen. Three years ago, the angels – angels from heaven – came to Earth and opened Lucifer's cage -”

“Sam, you're freaking him out,” Dean interrupted, obviously able to see the total shock on Adam's face.

“But it's the truth. He needs to know it, Dean,” Sam argued, before turning his sight back to Adam, “I know this must sound like a story from some psychedelic comic book, but we... you and I... we were vessels for Lucifer and Michael. They were going to fight each other in our bodies, but we stopped them. We fell into the pit together and we were locked in the cage in hell -”

Stop,” Adam demanded, feeling lightheaded, “Just stop. I don't know what kind of drugs you're on, pal, but you need to leave before I call a nurse.”

Uncomfortable silence rested around the space for a moment after Adam's threat. The blonde guy – the one that Adam saw first – strolled closer to the bed and reached out a small hand to pat his shoulder. His golden eyes were playful, but Adam still didn't like being touched.

“Oh, simmer down, little Winchester,” the blonde guy sang, “Everything's gonna be okay.”

“My last name is Milligan,” Adam corrected, shooting him a glare.

“Okay, fine. Simmer down, Milli-Vanilli,” he revised, “Sammy's not on drugs. You really were possessed by my brother three years ago.”

“I was a junior in high school three years ago,” Adam spat, starting to feel angry.

“Sorry, kid. But you are missing a huge chunk of your time line,” Dean insisted, “We stopped the apocalypse three years ago and we met you a year before that. And you were already in college by then, and you and your mom were killed by ghouls...”

Dean kept talking but Adam had stopped listening. The teenager was suddenly outraged. How dare they talk about his mother that way! She wasn't dead! He just saw her carrying his laundry! She was perfectly fine!

“My mom's not dead,” Adam said flatly, interrupting Dean's absurd rant.

“Uh, I hate to break it to you, kid. But, yeah. She is. She was eaten to death,” the blonde said, shrugging.

Adam's mouth fell open. Eaten to death?! What the hell was he talking about?! Were all of these men crazy?!

“Dammit, Gabriel,” Dean growled lowly across the space, “Would you shut up and let us do the talking?!”

“Hey! You were the one who said he needed to know the truth,” Gabriel retorted.

“No, Sam said that,” Dean spat.

“Both of you stop,” Sam requested, getting up from the chair to walk back over to the group, “This kid isn't going to believe any of us if we keep telling him everything at once.”

“Cas, do you think you could put the memories back in his head?” Dean asked.

“Sorry, Dean,” the business man answered, shaking his head, “Michael's grace is much stronger than mine. I cannot undo whatever he has done to Adam's head.”

Adam was listening to all of this and feeling sicker by the second. These crazy men were coming up with the most ridiculous stories and the most outlandish theories. And the worst part was that they were trying to tell him that his mother was dead. She couldn't be dead! The thought alone made Adam raw with fury.

The teenager noticed, as he lay on the edge of his bed, that the four men weren't paying attention to him anymore. They were all in a huddle, voices whispering about ways to get Adam to remember things he had never heard of. And Adam was glad that they were distracted. Because he recognized that it was a golden opportunity to sneak away. Adam kept his eyes fixed on the four of them as he carefully lowered his blankets and crept his legs off the side of the bed. He was not going to listen to another word from any of them. He was done hearing about the end of the world, and half-brothers, and angels. Screw all that shit. Adam just wanted to see his mother again...

Being as slow and agile as possible, Adam maneuvered himself into the ice-cold hospital floor. He was only wearing a thin gown that was tied up in the back and the glossy floor was freezing against his bare feet and hands. But he ignored his body's discomfort in order to crawl away from the men. They were still arguing with each other by the time Adam removed his IV and unplugged his heart monitor from the wall. He ripped all the wires from his body and slid his way carefully under the curtain. And once he was on the other side, Adam stood up in a bustling hospital area and quickly blended into the scene.

Nurses and doctors were breezing passed him as Adam started quickly down the hall. He knew his way around a hospital, given that his mother took him to work with her several times. As a matter of fact, this hospital seemed like the same one she worked in. A few familiar faces caught his attention as he dashed toward a supply closet. It was one in which they kept extra scrubs, in case the nurses needed a fresh set of clothes during work hours. Adam jumped into the small room and immediately started changing, tugging off the gown and yanking on some green scrubs and white tennis shoes. He thought that changing his appearance might help him get out of the hospital, especially if those weird guys started to look for him.

Once he was fully dressed, Adam exited the closet and made a b-line for the stairs. He didn't want to risk being seen by one of the Winchesters just because he had to wait for an elevator. So, instead, he galloped down the stairs two at a time, making his way to the first floor in a hurry. His plan was to go to the head nurses' station and ask for his mom, or at least ask when her shift was. He was so looking forward to seeing her face; to finally see someone familiar after his uncomfortable conversation with the Winchesters. Boy, he couldn't wait to hear what his mother had to say about his father's side of the family.

The ground floor of the hospital was bright with daylight when Adam strolled in from the stairwell. The nurses' station was just ahead of him and the desk was thankfully full of people. Relief was already beginning to crest in Adam's mind. Oh, thank God. These people actually seemed familiar. The teenager strode up to the desk and gave a polite smile to the nurse seated there, who offered a kind smile in return.

“Can I help you, sir?” she asked sweetly.

“I'm looking for my mom,” Adam said, his voice still raspy from lack of moisture.

“What's her name, sweetheart?” the nurse asked.

“Kate Milligan,” Adam replied, “She works here on the night shift.”

Adam's heart plummeted when he saw pure confusion light up the woman's eyes. She glanced around for a moment like she was studying the other nurses before she looked back at him. There was apology in her expression.

“I'm so sorry, sweetie. But I've never heard that name before,” she said quietly.

“This is Windom Area Hospital, right?” Adam asked, making sure.

“Yes,” she answered, “But I've worked here for two years and I've never met anyone by that name, honey.”

Adam's heart was beating awkwardly all of the sudden. How could someone have worked at the same place for two years and not have met a coworker that had been there for twenty? Was this nurse mistaken, too?

Or was it Adam who was mistaken?

“If she works on the night shift, then maybe she's at home right now,” the nurse suggested, pulling Adam from his worried thoughts, “Have you tried calling her?”

For some reason, Adam's throat felt even drier than before. The teenager coughed again and rubbed his neck as he carefully backed away from the desk.

“N – no,” he wheezed, “but I will. Thank you.”

“You're welcome,” the nurse smiled, “Have a nice day, sweetie.”

Though he had just received kind words, Adam didn't feel comforted at all. He still felt sick with worry. But the nurse was right. If his mom wasn't here, then she was probably at home, trying to get as much sleep as possible before her shift started. Adam spun around to start for the exit at once. Now that he had a good idea of where his mother was, his next plan was clear. All he needed to do was catch the next bus into town.

And avoid those crazy Winchesters at all costs.

Chapter Text

A light dusting of snow was starting to cover the hospital parking lot when Adam carefully climbed inside the city bus. He tossed a few coins into the machine to pay the fare – coins that he had bummed from an old lady at the bus stop – before ducking down to sit in the first vacant seat he came to. His eyes were continuously glancing toward the entrance of the hospital a few yards away as everyone filed on board, watching to make sure that he wasn't being followed. He knew that those Winchesters would have noticed that he was missing by now. But, thankfully, it seemed like they hadn't found him yet.

Adam was relieved when the bus finally began to pull away from the hospital. White snow was blurring by the windows as they picked up speed, heading into town. Adam had to admit that the cold weather sort of worried him. He was certain that the fall semester had just started at school. He had just gotten settled into his dorm before he woke on in the hospital... right? How could it be snowing in September? Though the first signs of winter were staring him in the face, Adam didn't want to believe it. It was still autumn in his mind. Global warming must have finally been taking affect or something, shifting the weather to make it snow in September. Adam had to believe that.

Because the alternative was to believe those Winchesters. And there was no way in hell he was going to take them seriously...

Just remembering the conversation with them earlier made Adam's stomach turn again. His mother flashed into his mind at once, making the anxiousness grow in his chest. He couldn't stand the thought of anything bad happening to her. She was all the family he had. She played the role of both parents for much of the time. John Winchester only showed his face once every few years and he never stuck around long enough to earn the title of 'parent.' To Adam, John Winchester was basically just a stranger that took him to a baseball game every now and then in a desperate effort to remain relevant. But over the years, as John's visits became less and less frequent, Adam sort of stopped caring about him. The teenager came to love his mother even more for her ability to stay strong in the face of single-parenthood.

The bus came to its first stop near the supermarket on main street and Adam briefly glanced out the window to take it all in. The sight of his neighborhood kind of startled him. What happened to all the trees that had lined the parking lot? They were gone now, chopped down and ripped up by the roots. His eyes traveled around the scenery, noticing that a lot of things had changed there during his short hospital visit. A new pet store had gone up next to the car wash and the gas station had changed ownership. The pizza restaurant on the corner had closed... and weeds had started to grow up the sides of the building... which made it seem like it had been unoccupied for a very long time...

Adam blinked hard as he turned in his seat to glare down at his lap. No. It couldn't be possible. So what, the place looked different? Lots of changes could take place in a few weeks. It wasn't like he was gone for years or anything. Just a few weeks. Adam had only been in the hospital for a few weeks. Right?

The bus started pulling away again and Adam tried his best not to look up. He didn't want to see anymore changes; afraid that he would actually start believing the Winchesters' story. We stopped the apocalypse three years ago, Dean had said, and we met you a year before that. This made their story begin four years ago. And as much as Adam hated it, he couldn't deny that everything around him looked at least a few years older...

It wasn't long before the bus finally rolled to a stop at Adam's destination. The teenager nearly jumped out of his seat and dashed to the exit, feeling relief rushing through him. He was home now, where his mother was probably sleeping. And he couldn't wait to wrap her into a giant hug and give her a peck on the cheek. He couldn't wait sit down with her at the kitchen table and tell her about the strange morning he had with those Winchesters. He couldn't wait to be home . But as Adam paused on the sidewalk and the bus pulled away to reveal the other side of the street, his mouth fell open and the air escaped his lungs.

His house – the house he grew up in, the house his mother was supposed to be sleeping in – was completely boarded up.

For a moment, Adam was simply frozen in place, too shocked to even move. Every window of his house was covered in plywood and plastered with 'no trespassing' posters. The entire lawn had grown over, swamping the house in a sea of tall grass. The hedges were unkempt and being strangled by vines. The tire tracks of the driveway were barely visible underneath the growth, and the garage was decorated with more 'no trespassing' tape. Even the mailbox showed signs of deterioration. The dark letters had chipped away to almost nothing, leaving the box bare and nameless...

Adam wasn't sure how long he stood there with his blurring eyes flickering to every part of his house. How could this have happened in such a short amount of time? How did the grass grow so quickly? How did the mailbox get so worn out so fast? Dammit. Maybe those Winchesters were right about the time... And if they were right about the time, then that meant they were right about -

Mom,” Adam breathed.

The teenager was suddenly running toward the house, sprinting across the street and through the tall grass to get to the porch. His weight caused the first step to crack under his foot, but he kept running, stumbling up the steps to get to the front door. It, too, was boarded shut, but Adam yanked at the wood anyway; using all his strength to rip the boards free. Something deep down in Adam's soul was propelling him to get inside the house. His frantic and desperate mind sincerely believed that his mother was in there.

Once the door was free, Adam forced his way inside, using his shoulder to break through the lock. He stumbled into the house afterward and coughed at the amount of dust that drifted into the air. The teenager raced into the living room at once, searching the area for his mother's lovely face. All the lights were off and no sunlight could get in from the boarded windows, so he could hardly see a thing. But he could smell the faint scent time ; the smell of aged wood, dusty air, and staleness of things that hadn't been moved in a long while.

“M – mom?” Adam asked, his voice high.

Just as he feared, no reply came to him. Adam staggered into the kitchen from there, bumping into the table without seeing it. Dammit, he couldn't see anything! He felt around for the light switch on the wall and flicked it up – but nothing happened. His heart started pounding and his breathing became harsher as he flicked the light switch up and down repeatedly. Ugh, why wouldn't the light turn on?! Why wouldn't his mother answer?!

Mom?” he asked again, voice cracking.

A gust of air swept through the kitchen, accompanied by the faint sound of flapping wings. Adam spun toward the noise with surprise, hoping that it was his mom coming in from the backdoor or something. Though he couldn't see a thing, he could hear footsteps shuffling in front of him. But to his great disappointment, the voice that spoke afterward didn't belong to her. It belonged to one of those damn Winchesters.

“Where the hell are we, Cas? I can't see a damn thing.”

Before Adam could even think of running or hiding, he heard the sound of fingers snapping together – and the light suddenly flooded the room. The teenager blinked in the bright light as he stumbled back against the dusty table. All four men from the hospital were standing in his kitchen now, still wearing those stern faces and plaid clothes. Adam's heart fluttered with fear at the sight of them. Shit. They found him again! How did they get here? They were probably going to hog-tie him and throw him in the back of their trunk this time!

“Like my dad always said, let there be light,” the blonde man – was his name Gabriel? – said, hoping up to sit on the counter by the fridge.

The Winchesters, Sam and Dean, were both staring at Adam with their hands hovering in the air as if they were trying to seem nonthreatening. But it didn't matter how nice they tried to be. Adam didn't want to be near the guys that had predicted the changing of time. He didn't want to talk to the men who said that his mother was dead.

“Stay away from me,” Adam warned quickly, gripping a kitchen chair tightly at his back.

He was prepared to use any means necessary to keep himself safe, even if it meant hurting someone. And it seemed like the Winchesters could see his determination. They were both softening their expressions and easing back like a pair of cops trying to talk down a crazy person.

“Whoa, Adam. Calm down, alright? We're not here to hurt you, remember?” Sam said, hands open, “Look, I'm sorry that we scared you back at the hospital. We were just surprised to see you, that's all. We just wanted to get you up to speed. It's very important for us to figure out what happened to you. Because, um... Even though we're glad you're alive, you being here is a bad sign.”

“I don't know what the hell you're talking about,” Adam breathed, feeling sick again.

Gabriel, the guy perched on the counter, reached over to grab a dusty plastic apple from one of the kitchen decorations. He started tossing it around in the air as he gave Adam a shrug.

“Okay, then. I'll make it simple for you,” he purred, “Once upon a time, there was a boy named Adam who was savagely eaten by ghouls -”

“Stop talking,” Dean snapped toward Gabriel, before turning to give Adam a look of weariness, “Look, kid. The bottom line is that you need to believe what we say. For your own good. You're our brother, and you were in hell with Michael and Lucifer. All of you fell into the cage together, three years ago. And now, you've popped up out of nowhere and you're somehow walking around on earth in perfect condition. Tell me: If you got out of the cage scotfree, what do you think happened to the other two guys?”

Adam gulped and glanced around his dirty kitchen. He really didn't want to play along with the Winchesters' crazy nonsense. All that bullshit about ghouls and hell and angels was just too much. But he couldn't deny that they had been right about four years passing without his awareness. Adam had seen the proof for himself; the changes in his neighborhood, the overgrown lawn in front of his house. So, if the changing of time was real, what if this ridiculous story was real, too? What if – God forbid – all that shit actually happened?

“Lucifer,” Adam mumbled, his grip on the chair easing, “You mean the devil, right?”

“Well, we ain't talkin' about Hitler,” Gabriel grinned, shaking his head.

“Yes,” Dean answered, ignoring Gabriel's comment, “Sam was his vessel. And you were Michael's.”

“Michael?” Adam repeated, “Who the hell is Michael?”

“They are both archangels,” the guy in the trench coat answered, stepping forward, “Brothers, to Gabriel and me. They were sent to earth to fight one another and bring about the end of the world. But we were able to foil their plans and lock them in a cage in hell, saving the world but causing chaos to befall heaven in the wake of Michael's – and our father's – absence.”

Adam blinked several times, trying his best to believe what he was hearing. He didn't really grow up in a religious household, so all this talk about heaven and angels was hard for him to come to terms with. His eyes were flickering between the trench coat man and Gabriel, searching them. They didn't exactly look like angels. But, then again, what were angels supposed to look like?

“You – you're angels?” the teenager mumbled.

Gabriel and the business man glanced at each other before nodding at Adam. Still, the teenager didn't quite believe it.

“Prove it,” Adam asked.

Maybe if he saw some actual proof, Adam might be more inclined to believe this ridiculous story. And it seemed like Gabriel was more than willing to comply with his request. The blonde guy simply raised his hand and snapped his fingers together – and Sam's clothes suddenly disappeared. The tallest Winchester was left standing in the middle of the kitchen, wearing nothing but a pair of tiny boxers that were decorated with moose cartoons. Sam gasped out loud and reached down to cover his underwear as he spun around to glare at the blonde guy.

Gabriel!” Sam hissed, his face blushing.

Gabriel just giggled on the counter, seeming proud of himself. Dean, though, was not amused. He scowled and pointed a stern finger at Gabriel.

“Give Sam his clothes back,” he demanded.

Adam could see a mischievous twinkle light up Gabriel's eyes. The guy simply snapped his fingers again and Sam's clothes appeared out of nowhere and fell into a pile on the floor. Sam glared at his clothes and mumbled something like 'of course you would force me to put them on myself,' before quickly yanking the fabrics back on. Adam didn't miss that Gabriel was watching him get dressed with delighted eyes, taking in Sam's every movement as if he was watching a show.

Although the whole 'disappearing clothes' act was kind of impressive, Adam still wasn't fully convinced that they were angels. They could have just been magicians, for all he knew. While Sam got redressed, Adam brought his sight back to Dean and the businessman.

“I thought angels had wings and halos,” the teenager pointed out, “Not trench coats.”

“This is only a vessel,” the businessman replied, gesturing to himself, “Angels must possess human bodies to walk the earth. Our true forms are not exactly physical.”

“Vessels,” Adam mumbled to himself, trying to understand, “... So, you're saying that I was a vessel for an angel named Michael?”

“Yes.”

Adam's answered didn't come from any of the men in front of him. It had come from behind him, from somewhere in the dark hallway at his back. Everyone tensed at the new voice and their eyes were all staring passed Adam with fear and disbelief. Goosebumps rose on the teenager's skin as he heard heavy footsteps beginning to clomp up behind him.

At first, Adam was too afraid to turn around. He was scared that he would see a monster, or the devil, or some other terrifying creature from the Winchesters' story. But then, after his mind had time to register the voice that had just spoken, Adam realized he had heard it before. It was the same voice he heard at the hospital before the Winchesters showed up. It was the voice that belonged to the person who squeezed his hand and left with the nurse.

The footsteps made it all the way to Adam's back before a figure carefully edged around him to stop at his side. It took Adam a few seconds to build up enough courage to finally turn his head and look at the person next to him. It was a man of course, with dark hair, olive skin, and deep hazel eyes. He was taller than Adam by a few inches, slightly muscular, and had a distinct look of authority. He was wearing a gray t-shirt with blue jeans – and there was a visitor's pass clipped to the front of his denim jacket...

Just the sight of the man gave Adam chills. He was giving off the impression that he didn't put up with bullshit. He seemed like a leader; someone who could command a room with his presence alone. And Adam could tell that he was currently doing just that. The entire kitchen was silent with surprise as everyone stared at him with looks of disbelief. Tension was thick in the air, making it difficult to breathe without feeling uncomfortable. The man was staring back at everyone, allowing his dark eyes to slowly glance at every face – including Adam's. The teenager swallowed harshly as he met eyes with the man for the first time. Who the hell was he? And why had he been at Adam's bedside back at the hospital?

The man in the trench coat was the first person to move. He took two large steps in front of Dean and crouched down a bit, setting his blue-eyes toward the new guy with fierce determination. It looked as though he was trying to protect Dean from the man, like he thought the guy was there to hurt him. But the new man only shook his head at the businessman's stance, seeming kind of amused by the dramatic defense of Dean.

“You can relax, Castiel,” the new man assured, “I'm not here for Dean.”

Though his words were probably meant to comfort the man in the trench coat – Was his name really Castiel? What kind of name was that? – the guy never wavered. He stayed fixed in front of Dean, eyes locked and fists clinched. Gabriel carefully hoped off the counter and eased over to stand next to Sam. He seemed to be more comfortable around the new guy than the rest of them.

“Well, Mikey,” he breathed, “I think I speak for everyone when I say, you're lookin' pretty hot.” Afterward, he elbowed Sam, and whispered, “Get it, moose? Hot? Because of hell?”

“I get it,” Sam mumbled, rolling his eyes.

Adam glanced up at the man beside him. Mikey? Was Mikey short for... Michael? Was this the same Michael that Adam was a vessel for? The guy only took a large breath before giving Gabriel a hard stare. Castiel squinted his eyes more fiercely at Michael, appearing dead serious.

“How did you get out of the cage?” he asked, his voice severe.

“Where is Lucifer?” Sam asked next, sounding kind of frightened.

“Who the hell are you possessing now?” Dean asked, eyebrow raised.

“And, for the love of dad, tell me where Noah's ark is buried! I've been looking for that thing since the dark ages,” Gabriel whined, crossing his arms like an impatient child.

Adam, of course, had a long list of his own questions to ask the man standing next to him, but nothing came out of his mouth. The teenager chalked it up to stage fright and remained silent. He figured that listening to Michael answer the Winchesters' questions might give him a better idea of what to ask later. Michael simply took a large breath and glanced toward the ceiling for a moment as if he was preparing his words before glancing back among them.

“Sam,” he began, his eyes fixed on the tallest man in the room, “I don't know exactly where Lucifer is, at the moment. But I can tell you that he is on earth. And he is in desperate need of a vessel. If I had to make an educated guess, I would assume that my brother is currently attempting to manipulate his way into a vessel right now. But he will only use it long enough to get to you. I have no doubt that you are his first priority, Sam. Believe me when I say that he was very upset when you were taken from him in the cage.”

Sam's face seemed to drain of color as he stood staring at Michael in shock. It seemed as though Michael had just given him the one answer that he didn't want to hear. Even Gabriel seemed effected my Michael's prediction. The blonde guy was inching steadily closer to Sam in the room and glancing up at his face with concern. Adam, though, found the statements unsettling. Someone had taken Sam from the cage? Did that mean Sam had been saved from hell? If someone saved Sam, then why didn't they save Adam, too?

“Dean,” Michael went on, turning his stare to the other Winchester, “I'm not possessing anyone. When we exited the cage, I simply appeared in this body. I... I believe that my father handcrafted this vessel for me, to both reward and punish me for my past behavior. I am able to walk among humans and sustain this form without needing you as a vessel. But my grace is limited and will be of no use against Lucifer. I know that the choices I made all those years ago have influenced my father's actions and I am here simply because he wants me to be.”

Dean seemed to take this answer with a grain of salt. His shoulders relaxed but his eyebrow remained lifted, appearing as though he didn't fully believe Michael's words. Again, the statements made Adam curious. If Michael was an angel, then did that make God his father? Was he trying to say that God was punishing and rewarding him with a body? With another small breath, Michael turned his attention to Castiel. His voice lowered considerably and he seemed kind of irritated, but answered the guy's question anyway.

“Castiel,” Michael sighed, “the cage was created for Lucifer, and Lucifer alone. It was not designed to hold more than one archangel. It was only a matter of time before our combined grace caused the walls to give way. The cage was weakened from the start and continued to decay over time. Especially after it was tampered with, by you and Death himself. So one could say that we all had a hand in breaking the cage. Winchesters and angels alike.”

Adam watched as a flash of guilt briefly crossed Castiel's expression. The angel seemed to relax his posture after Michael's answer and he shared a remorseful look with Dean over his shoulder. Adam's eyes flickered from their stare back up to Michael's face. Though he couldn't quite tell for sure, Adam thought he could almost see a hint of hesitance in the man's eyes, like Michael was withholding more information or omitting part of the truth. Michael gave Gabriel a single, lazy glance.

“Noah's ark is buried in eastern Turkey, Gabriel,” he hesitantly mumbled, making it sound like Gabriel should have known the answer already.

The blonde guy gasped dramatically, placing both hands on his hips and shaking his head afterward.

“The one place I didn't look,” he uttered, “I should have known...”

Adam blinked and glanced between the men, feeling sick again. Noah's ark? That was a real story? There was actual proof of that buried in the earth? Adam took a long, deep breath and carefully let go of the kitchen chair. He was suddenly done listening to these people stand around in his kitchen and chat about bible stories. So what, if they were really angels or whatever? So what, if they had all been in hell and the devil was walking around on earth? Adam didn't care about any of that shit. All he wanted to do was see his mother again. Hell, that was the only reason he was even still standing there, because he was subconsciously waiting for her to walk in through the front door. But it seemed like that wasn't going to happen.

As an uncomfortable silence stretched on in the kitchen, Adam took the time to study the men around him. Maybe one of these guys could help him find his mother. Maybe Castiel or Gabriel, or even Michael, would be willing to do a magic trick and take him to where ever she was. Because his level of discomfort was through the roof and he really needed her to calm him down.

“I want to see my mom,” the teenager blurted.

Every eye seemed to fall on him with equal amounts of pity. Adam hated being looked at like that by everyone, like they felt sorry for him or something. Even Michael was wearing a look of apology. The hardened expression had fallen away from his face making him look more human than before.

“Your mom is dead, kid,” Gabriel repeated quietly, his voice flat.

A large ache briefly pulsed through Adam's chest at the sound of that damn sentence. But he stood strong against the pain, refusing to let himself feel the grief. No. He was not going to get upset. Not until he had proof.

“I want to see her grave, then,” Adam forced out, his voice barely audible.

The teenager was fairly certain that they wouldn't be able to take him to her grave. Because, frankly, he didn't believe that she actually had a grave. His mother couldn't be dead. Adam felt like he had just seen her recently and she was in perfect condition. At Adam's request, a few things seemed to happen at once. Michael was taking firm steps closer to him while Dean's head began to shake back and forth across the room.

“No,” Dean spat, “You're not going anywhere. Not until we figure out what we're gonna do about this whole -”

The older Winchester was talking in the background, but Adam had stopped listening to him because he was too distracted by Michael's hand. The man's soft fingers gently raised up to press against Adam's forehead and the teenager briefly closed his eyes. There was another gust of wind and a small flash of light in the few seconds that Adam couldn't see. And when he opened his eyes again, he realized that the kitchen was gone.

The teenager blinked and looked around in the brightness, seeing snow-covered trees, bushes, and rocks. He instantly reached up to wrap his arms around himself, feeling the cold air pierce through the thin fabric of his stolen scrubs. Where did his kitchen go? Where were the Winchesters and those other two guys? How did he end up outside in the snow? Thankfully, Adam wasn't alone. Michael was with him and was carefully lowering his hand, making it seem like his touch had transported them to this new place. Adam shivered against the cold temperature as he brought his eyes to meet Michael's again. Did the guy seriously just 'poof' them somewhere? How did he do that just by touching Adam's forehead?

Although he was a bit confused by the new location, Adam kind of felt thankful to be alone with Michael for a moment. Maybe now, Adam could finally start on that long list of questions he had been thinking of back in the kitchen. Michael only stood there in the snow, letting the flakes build up on his denim jacket. He was staring back at Adam silently like he was waiting for something. Maybe he wanted Adam to ask questions. Is that why he had brought him here? To be alone, away from the other guys so Adam could speak freely?

“Where are we?” Adam asked first, his jaw beginning to chatter, “Why are we here?”

Michael's throat quivered as if he was swallowing harshly. His hazel eyes slowly fell away from Adam's in order to glance toward his left. As Michael carefully turned to face that direction, Adam followed his line of sight, curious to see what the guy was looking at. It took Adam a moment to realize that they were standing next to a rather large, snow-covered stone. In fact, there were many stones scattered around them. But Michael carefully knelt down in front of the one nearest to them and reached out to gently dust away the snow from it. Carved letters were being revealed on the stone behind Michael's moving hand.

And Adam's heart crumbled into pieces inside his ribcage once he could see the full message written there.

Katherine Milligan. Beloved Mother. Faithful Friend.

Chapter Text

The words carved into the stone in front of Adam began to blur when tears swelled up in his eyes. His mother's name was morphing into an unreadable scribble while he stood there, swaying around in the snow as if he might fall over at the slightest breeze. Dead? How could she be dead? How did this happen? Why did this happen? A strange, unearthly moan erupted from Adam's throat and his legs suddenly gave out. The teenager fell to his knees in the snow, no longer hugging himself to try to keep warm. Hot tears were burning streaks down his face while his jaw chattered violently.

His mind was everywhere, thinking about everything all at once. Kate Milligan was so kind, generous, and friendly with everyone she met. Why did she have to die? She was too young. She had so much to live for, so much left to see. If she was gone, that meant she would never get to do any of the things she always talked about doing. She would never get to see the Grand Canyon or visit Hawaii. She would never see her only child graduate from college, or watch him get married, or meet her own grandchildren...

Another whimper squeaked from Adam's mouth as he reached up to place his trembling hand against the freezing stone. He never even got to say goodbye to her. He never got to remind her that he loved her one last time. What if she passed away thinking that he was mad at her or something? What if she was feeling lonely before she died? How exactly did she die, anyway? Was her death as peaceful as falling asleep like Adam hoped? Or had it been violent and painful like the Winchesters described it? Adam cringed and sobbed out loud again, shivering in the snow. God, he hoped they were wrong. He hoped that the Winchesters were making it all up about her being eaten or whatever. Because Adam didn't think his body could handle anymore heartache. One more piece of bad news and his heart would completely give out from the pain.

While he sat grieving in the snow at his mother's grave, Adam suddenly felt warm fabric being placed around his shoulders. The teenager blinked away a few more hot tears and glanced up to see what was happening. It seemed that Michael had taken off his own denim jacket and was now hanging it on Adam's shoulders, wrapping him in an extra layer of warmth. Adam stared up at Michael for a moment, watching him smooth out the fabric on his shoulders, before the guy crouched down next to the teenager in the snow. Michael's apologetic eyes were glancing between the stone in front of them and Adam's face, watching his grieving process with harbored pain.

Adam sniffled, watching white snow flakes pepper Michael's dark hair and gray t-shirt. Why did Michael take off his own jacket and give it to Adam? Why was he being so nice to him? Even the Winchesters – his own brothers – weren't nice enough to offer him a jacket. Although Adam was completely baffled by this stranger's kindness, he used his trembling hands to tighten the warm fabric around himself, secretly enjoying the faint scent of aged pine embedded in the fibers. Michael seemed to notice that Adam was staring at him. The man bowed his head a bit as if he was trying to show respect.

“I'm... sorry for your loss,” the guy mumbled, his voice soft against the snowy silence.

Adam whimpered again as more tears ran down his cheeks. Loss. That single word seemed to make everything feel real. The teenager's eyes flickered back to his mother's name and fresh wave of grief swept through him, accompanied by anger. Why didn't anyone try to save her? If those angels were so magical, why didn't they stop this from happening? Adam shot a fierce stare at Michael beside him.

Bring her back,” he whispered, his voice hoarse from the cold.

Michael's deep eyes suddenly filled with an emotion that Adam had difficulty assessing. In a way, he looked apologetic. But at second glance, he looked offended, as if Adam had just accused him of killing her.

“I can't,” Michael admitted, his warm breath fogging, “I would if I could, Adam. But it's... It's not in my power.”

A hard shiver raced down Adam's back as a snowy breeze swept across the cemetery. Why did Adam's name sound so nice when it was spoken in Michael's voice? Why did it seem like he had heard Michael say it before? Though it pained him, Adam accepted Michael's reply. Of all the people he had met today, Michael seemed like the most caring. None of the Winchesters gave Adam time to process anything they had told him. They all just spit out a bunch of crazy facts to try and force Adam into believing them. But not Michael. Michael actually let Adam have some space and gave him the proof that he wanted. Even now, the guy was being absolutely silent, waiting patiently for Adam to come to terms with his surroundings.

Adam sniffled again and edged a little closer to Michael's crouching form. He was trying to cling to the guy's heat because the wind was beginning to whip around them and his jaw was still chattering mechanically. Michael seemed to shift a little closer too, bracing his shoulder against the wind in an effort to protect Adam from it. The teenager looked up into Michael's deep eyes for a second, aching to understand why everything in his life had changed for the worst.

“What happened?” Adam asked.

He was finally ready to know what had caused his mother's death and wanted to hear Michael's explanation. Although the pain of losing her was still as fresh as an open wound, Adam felt he needed to hear it, if only just to get it over with. And he was willing to believe whatever Michael told him, because he trusted Michael far more than any of the Winchesters at the moment. The guy took a deep breath, allowing his broad chest to expand greatly, before exhaling slowly. His hazel eyes were softly set on the gravestone in front of them when he began to speak.

“I don't think that the manner in which your mother died is important,” he uttered carefully, “I think the only thing that is truly important, is that she is safe now. In her own heaven. Where she can never be harmed again.”

More tears slipped from Adam's eyes as he felt his entire chest throbbing with emotion. Michael had a very good point. It probably wasn't best to dwell on her death, especially if she died in some horrible way. But was she really in heaven? Adam had never given much thought to the afterlife. Mostly because he had never lost someone close to him. And frankly, he didn't much care to think about it. But the way Michael phrased it made it seem nice. Like she was happy or something.

“H – Heaven?” Adam prompted, jaw still hammering.

“Yes. It was handcrafted by my father, just for her,” Michael explained, “I believe it resembles a certain playground where she used to take you when you were a child. Her soul is at peace in every way. And her happiness could only be improved by your presence alone... Does that comfort you?”

Adam sobbed again, letting his head fall into his hands. Oh, God. Michael made it sound so good; like his mom was better now than she ever had been before. And it did comfort Adam to know that she was in a better place. The playground, of all places! There was no doubt in Adam's mind that Michael was telling the truth. Because the guy couldn't have possibly known about the playground. It was something that only he and his mother knew about. She took him there every chance she could when he was a kid. They would spend hours just playing around and laughing, bonding over a shared love of swing sets and slides... God. Adam was never going to be the same again, was he? There was always going to be a mom-shaped hole in his heart...

Adam's head raised again at the feeling of a hand resting on his back. Michael had reached over to place his palm there, touching Adam softly like he was trying offer a bit of condolence in his time of grief. A chill rattled down the teenager's spine at the warmth. He was suddenly staring at Michael again, wanting more answers.

“When did it happen?” Adam asked, still confused by the time, “Were Sam and Dean telling the truth? Was it four years ago?”

Michael's mouth tilted downward in the corners as he slowly forced a nod.

“How?” Adam uttered, feeling so lost, “How – How could I not remember this stuff? What happened to me? Why did I wake up in the hospital?”

Michael seemed to be put off by these questions. The more Adam talked, the more uncomfortable Michael became. His eyes were flickering away and his head was dipping farther down as if he didn't want to think about it. But thankfully, he started to carefully answer Adam's questions.

“My brother, Lucifer, despises all of humanity,” Michael said, hazel eyes wandering around, “Our father wanted us to love you above all else, but Lucifer disagreed. Thus, prompting our father to cast him out. He shut Lucifer away in hell to protect humanity from his destructive power. Four years ago, however, the door to his cage opened. And he walked among the earth seeking vengeance and forcing me to come down and... start the war. In short, we both required vessels in order to combat one another. And Lucifer and I could only obtain stable vessels from within the Winchester bloodline...”

“Me and Sam,” Adam mumbled, finally understanding.

“Actually, Dean was meant to be my true vessel,” Michael admitted, shifting with discomfort, “But I... I was forced to...”

Adam gulped as he nestled tighter inside Michael's denim jacket. He didn't quite understand Michael's hesitation to talk about the 'vessel' subject. But luckily, the guy moved on from it.

“We all fell into the pit together. Lucifer, Sam, you, and I,” he continued, “Dean and Castiel were able to reclaim Sam and his soul from the pit shortly after our arrival. But you and I were left to face Lucifer on our own. And for hundreds of years – time in hell is extended, you see – we fought each other in a cycle that seemed endless... Until this morning, when the cage finally broke open and released us.”

If Adam's jaw wasn't chattering so much, it would have probably fallen open. Dean and Castiel saved Sam and deliberately left Adam in the pit? If they could save Sam, then why couldn't they save Adam too? Though bitterness was trying to take root in his heart, Adam tried his best not to linger on the subject for too long. Michael kept talking and Adam kept listening.

“Like I said before, I simply manifested in this vessel when we surfaced on earth,” he said, gesturing to his own body, “Lucifer was not so lucky. He set off in search of a vessel the moment we arrived. And I escorted you to the hospital because you were unconscious and I – I wanted you to wake up in a familiar surrounding.”

Adam's eyes narrowed a bit as the snowy wind breezed around them. Why did it seem like Michael was leaving out huge chunks of the story? Was he doing it on purpose or was it just trying to give Adam the shortened version? While he was glad to finally have most of the information, Adam found that he rather enjoyed hearing the part about Michael escorting him to the hospital. At least someone cared about his safety.

“Thank you,” the teenager mumbled, unsure of what else to say.

Michael seemed to perk up a bit at Adam's gratitude. His head raised slightly and his hazel eyes traveled all over Adam's face, searching him with appreciation. Did it really mean that much to him to hear Adam say 'thank you?' Or was he simply glad to know that Adam actually wanted to talk to him instead of the Winchesters?

A heavier gust of wind blew through the cemetery, making Adam shiver his way closer to Michael. The sound of wings had accompanied the action and both of them glanced over their shoulders in the direction it had come from. Adam blinked a few times in surprise, seeing that the Winchesters – all four of them – had suddenly popped up in the snow. Geez, how did they get here so fast? Were they able to 'poof' around like Michael could? And why were they following Adam everywhere? Didn't they have anything better to do? Hadn't they caused him enough distress today?

All of the Winchesters were spinning around, obviously looking for Adam and Michael, but Dean was the first to spot them. The man's green eyes lit up with an odd mixture of relief and anger – the same kind Adam's mom use to have when she caught him trying to cross the road by himself – before he bounded forward. Adam scooted closer to Michael out of fear, causing their shoulders to bump together.

“Hey! What the hell do you think you're doing?! Lucifer is walking free!” Dean nearly shouted at Michael as he stomped closer, pointing a finger toward Adam's kneeling form, “That kid is just as vulnerable as the rest of us! Don't you ever zap him away like that again!”

Apparently, this was a very wrong thing to say to Michael. Because the guy instantly jumped to his feet and spun to face Dean with his fists clinched and shoulders squared. Even from the ground, Adam could see the raw fury suddenly painted on Michael's features. He looked like a fierce lion that had just been challenged by one of his own cubs; betrayed, angered, and powerful all at once. Michael's overruling stance made Dean stop in his tracks. The older Winchester stood a few feet away, eyes remaining fixed but hand dropping limply to his side.

“Don't you dare try to give me orders, Dean Winchester,” Michael barked, his deep voice echoing around the graveyard and causing everyone to flinch, “I'm fully aware of the current circumstances and the risk that comes with acting on free will. But I am also aware of Adam's state of grief and I care about his well-being. Which is more than I can say of you. So, the next time you open your mouth to spew such hatred toward me, be sure that you've meditated on the words prepared to come out of it. For they may be your last.”

An icy chill seemed to cover the entire cemetery after Michael's threatening statement. Snow was still whipping between everyone, making it difficult for them to see each other clearly. Dean's face had grown pale enough to match the snow, while Castiel's had turned blood-red with fury. Sam and Gabriel were both glancing at each other with equal looks of surprise as if they couldn't believe what they had just heard.

Adam, however, felt kind of torn. On one hand, he felt kind of glad that Michael had stood up for him like that, even being so bold as to mention Dean's disregard for Adam's well-being. But on the other hand, Adam felt terrible. He didn't want everyone to yell at each other. They were all family, weren't they? In some way, whether through blood or bond, all of these guys were related. And they were all related to Adam. And Adam didn't want his new family to fight like this... Not when they were the only family he had left...

“Geez, Mikey. Lighten up, bro,” Gabriel said quietly, as if he was trying to break up the tension, “We were just worried about the kid, that's all. We didn't know what you were gonna do to him. Your track record with him isn't the greatest, you know.”

Adam glanced briefly up at Michael standing next to him, feeling confused. Track record? What kind of track record were they talking about? Maybe Gabriel was referring to the fact that Adam had been his vessel or something. But whatever the case was, Adam didn't have much time to think about it. Because a new voice entered the conversation. It drifted in on the snowy breeze from a few yards away in the opposite direction. And the eerily broken sound made Adam's skin crawl.

“What's this? A family reunion? Without me?”

Everyone turned to face the new voice. Adam shuffled around in the snow on his knees, clinging to the jacket around his shoulders as he looked up to see who had spoken. It was a man – well, he looked like a man, at least – but he appeared badly injured. Blood was pouring in streams down his face and out from under his coat sleeves, dripping from his fingers to paint the white snow red. He was standing with a limp as if one of his legs was broken and much of his skin looked burned.

The sight of him gave Adam the creeps. Why was he acting so calm even though he was bleeding profusely? Wasn't he in pain? Who the hell was he? It seemed that Adam wasn't the only one effected by the new person's presence. All of the Winchesters stiffened at the sight of him. Adam could tell that Sam was the most disturbed, though. The tallest man edged quickly behind Gabriel's short body, clutching his small shoulders and peeking over him as if he was trying to hide from the new guy. Pure fear was written all over Sam's face. Why did he look so scared?

Adam grabbed Michael's arm and used it to hoist himself up in order to climb to his feet. Michael, of course, didn't seem to mind. In fact, he helped Adam up and stood in front of him, never breaking eye contact with the new man. They were all looking at the badly injured person then, watching him glance around with amusement.

“My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail,” he wheezed, sounding weak. He gestured to his own chest, before saying, “You'll have to forgive my mangled attire. It was the only thing I could find to wear on such short notice.”

“Leave now, Lucifer,” Michael demanded, “This is not the time or place.”

Adam trembled inside Michael's jacket, his eyes blowing wide. Lucifer? This man was Lucifer? This guy was the devil himself? Adam's heart began to pound inside his ribcage as he stared at the bloody man in front of them. Oh, shit. Was he here to kill everyone? Why did he look so weak? A deep gargle of laughter came up from the man's throat, causing a drip of blood to escape the corner of his grinning mouth.

“Michael,” Lucifer sighed, “I always knew you were daddy's favorite little princess. Look at you, all dolled up in your own meat suit. All those centuries of kissing Dad's ass must have finally paid off, huh?”

Adam gulped. Was he really talking about God in that disrespectful way? Was he trying to get himself struck by lightening?

“What have all those centuries of disobedience gotten you, Lucifer?” Michael shot back, indifferent to the guy's taunting words, “A cage? A broken vessel? Eternal banishment?”

Lucifer seemed to be affected by Michael's question. His smile vanished and his eyes grew fierce. He hobbled a little closer, shuffling through the snow in a distorted manner as if he was forcing his legs to move.

“I didn't come here to talk about daddy's mind with you. I can't even stand the sight of you anymore, Michael. Dad knows we've spend enough time together in that pit. Why don't you run off and enjoy your freedom?” Lucifer prompted, “I'm not gonna need you for this next part.”

“There isn't gonna be a next part,” Dean snapped.

Adam briefly glanced over at the Winchesters, seeing that they were all huddled together. Dean, Castiel, and Gabriel all seemed to be standing in front of Sam, blocking him from Lucifer's reach. Adam gripped Michael's warm arm a little tighter, watching Lucifer's unyielding sight zero in on Sam. Why did he seem so focused on Sam? Gabriel – the funniest, most laid back guy of the group – was actually glaring at Lucifer, tilting his head down and raising up a shiny blade. Where did he get that blade thing? Lucifer seemed amused by Gabriel's defense of Sam. He actually stifled a chuckle before his eyes bore into Sam's.

“Ah, Sam,” Lucifer purred, sounding out of breath, “Look how beautiful you are. I guess those few years in the cage didn't do anything to you, did they, my precious vessel? You look so good, I could just crawl inside of you and eat you alive...”

“Go back to hell, Lucifer,” Gabriel growled, his voice deep and severe, “or I'll give you a one-way trip myself.”

Lucifer only gave another small chuckle and swayed around on his unsteady feet. He was acting like he didn't understand why everyone was so mad at him. Adam only clung to Michael's arm and tried his best not to be noticed. The teenager had never been a religious person. But that didn't stop him from fearing the devil...

“What's wrong with you all?” Lucifer asked, his tone playful, “You're acting like you never thought you'd see me again! Did you really think I would stay in the cage? Did you really think Michael and I weren't going to finish killing each other?”

“I'm not going to fight you, Lucifer,” Michael spoke up, his head shaking, “Not anymore.”

Everyone looked toward Michael with surprise. Adam didn't understand why the Winchesters looked just as shocked as Lucifer. Did they really think Michael would be that violent? Lucifer seemed outraged at Michael's declaration. The bloody man turned to fully face Michael – and his hands started to glow. Adam blinked, watching the white light start to glow all over Lucifer's body. How was he doing that? Why did it look like he was about to explode?

I didn't say we were going to fight, Mikey,” Lucifer barked, his eyes shining.

A sudden blast of white light exploded around the cemetery and Adam shut his eyes tightly. The teenager grabbed Michael's arm with both hands as he buried his face into the guy's back, trying to shield himself from the destructive force. The light burned, the ground quaked, and a high-pitched electrical sound ripped through the air. It was a fast and brutal flash, only lasting a few seconds. But Adam was hesitant to open his eyes after the noise disappeared, afraid that he would see something horrible.

But after a moment of calm silence, Adam carefully blinked his eyes open to stare at the back of Michael's gray shirt. He noticed that the air around him was drastically warmer and smelled familiar. The bright snow was gone and replaced by dim ceiling lights. Though he wanted to look around, Adam didn't move. The teenager didn't even let go of Michael's arm until he heard the guy speak.

“Is everyone alright?” he asked.

At the sound of Michael's question, a few grumbles came from nearby. Adam eventually gained the courage to look up and see where it had come from. Apparently, everyone – Michael, Sam, Dean, Castiel, Gabriel, and Adam – had popped back to Adam's kitchen. The Winchesters all looked shaken and confused. And Adam felt pretty confused, too. How did they get back to the kitchen so fast? What happened to Lucifer? Didn't he just try to shot them with lightening or something?

“Nice save, Mikey,” Gabriel mumbled, lowering his shiny blade, “But, next time, could you fly us away before Luci has a chance to kill us? Feels like my eyebrows were singed off.”

Adam took a few easing breaths. So, Michael had flown everyone away just in the nick of time? How did he do that? As Adam let go of Michael's arm, the guy sort of slumped against the nearest wall, looking very weak. He was pale and breathing a little harsher, making it seem like 'flying' everyone around had exhausted him. As Michael tried to catch his breath, Castiel took a step closer to him in the crowded room and reached out to grab hold of his shoulder.

“Look at me, brother, and tell me the truth,” the blue-eyed angel requested, “Are you truly done quarreling with Lucifer, or were you saying those words to simply agitate him?”

Michael took a few deep breaths and struggled to stand back up on his feet. He glanced around at each face – lingering on Adam's the longest – but eventually faced Castiel and answered his question with sincerity.

“I'm finished with it, Castiel,” he said quietly, “I've fought him for long enough.”

“Does that mean you're gonna help us, then?” Gabriel piped up.

Adam and Michael both gave Gabriel a strange look. Were they seriously going to try and take on the devil? Did they not see what just happened? Everyone could have died a moment ago!

“Help you?” Michael repeated, confused, “Help you do what?”

“You might not be here to stir up shit, anymore. But Lucifer sure as hell is,” Dean explained, “He wants to wear Sam and destroy the world, and we're not gonna let that happen. So, are you going to help us stop him or what?”

Adam's heart was racing as he stared wondrously at Dean's hard expression. How could these guys talk like that? Did they think they were superheroes or something? Did they really have the guts to face Satan? Michael seemed to be genuinely considering their offer. His hazel eyes briefly glanced toward Adam once more – as if looking at the teenager would help him decide his answer – before he nodding toward Castiel.

“I'll do what I can,” he uttered, “... for Adam's sake.”

Adam gulped nervously, feeling everyone's eyes flicker toward him. A strange tingle tickled the pit of the teenager's stomach, too. He still didn't understand why Michael was being so kind to him; why Michael was putting his safety first and protecting him from danger. But whatever the reason was, Adam found that he liked it. It was nice to be someone's favorite for once...

Castiel eased closer to Michael in the small kitchen, eyes narrowing and jaw tightening. He was giving Michael a look so cold that it could turn water into ice.

“Let us get one thing straight before this all begins,” Castiel growled lowly, tone unyielding, “If you ever threaten Dean's life again, I won't hesitate to risk my own in order to take yours.”

Adam's eyes widened slightly as he glanced between the two angels in his kitchen. Wow, Castiel must have really cared about Dean for some reason. Were they best friends? War buddies? Even Dean seemed a little awed by Castiel's powerful statement. His cheeks were filling with red and his mouth was hanging open. Michael reacted to Castiel in a very respectful way, though. He held both hands up in surrender and bowed his head apologetically.

“Understood,” he replied, “I will control my emotions from now on, Castiel. In fact, I believe we should all remain peaceful with one another until this deed is done. If we are to work together, we must also respect each other.”

An agreeing silence rested among the kitchen as everybody sort of nodded. Adam, however remained motionless. Were they including him in this whole 'let's stop Lucifer' gig? What could Adam possibly contribute to this crazy plan? It wasn't like he could walk through walls or fly. All those other guys might be able to do it, but Adam couldn't even climb the rope in gym class. He didn't stand a chance against the devil.

While everyone in his kitchen started mumbling about plans to kill Satan, Adam was shrugging Michael's jacket off. The teenager felt like being alone all of the sudden. He needed time to think and be away from everyone else, angels and humans alike. Once the denim jacket was off, Adam brushed some of the wet snow from the fabric and held it toward Michael, watching the visitor's pass dangle around from the front pocket. The dark-haired angel carefully took his jacket with hesitant hands as if he didn't understand why Adam was giving it back.

“I'm going upstairs to my room,” the teenager breathed, feeling tired.

Although everyone was probably watching him, Adam made his way through the living room and toward the dusty staircase. The house was silent and the air was still stale, but he hoped that he would find comfort in his room. Because even if it was dark and dirty in there, his room was probably the one thing from his old life that could still offer him sanctuary.

Chapter Text

When Adam opened the door to his bedroom and he saw his familiar furniture for the first time, a sense of relief washed over him. The teenager edged into the room and quickly closed the door at his back, shutting himself away from the rest of the world. Adam filled his lungs with the aged scent of his own surroundings, making sure to hold the oxygen in his chest for as long as he could before exhaling slowly. For the first time since he had woken up in the hospital, Adam actually felt comfortable. This was his room; the place he used to study, relax, and sleep. This room was more than just four walls and a bed. It was Adam's safe haven away from life's cruelness.

For a moment, Adam stood there and looked over his worldly possessions. Everything was covered in dust. Untouched for years, exactly the way he left it. Some of his rock band posters had fallen off the walls, though, where the tape had lost its stickiness. But his bed was still made, of course. His mother always told him that it would be ready for him to use whenever he came home from college. Another ache radiated through Adam's chest at the memory of his mother. Ugh, it hurt so much to think about her. It was like breaking a rib every time she came to mind.

Seeking refuge from the pain, Adam shuffled over to the bed and sat on the very end. He was then facing his cluttered desk and the window beyond, where the setting sun was stretching a ray of light through the gap between the boards. It was the only source of light in the room; one small, orange sun ray, casting an oddly shaped beam of light on the floor. Adam watched the dust particles swirl around in the illumination, blinking slowly. He felt strangely vacant. Body numb and emotions lost.

In all honestly, Adam was surprised by his own calm behavior. After all of the heart shattering news he'd learned today, the teenager assumed that he would still be crying. He thought that his tears would never stop flowing once he knew his mother was dead. He thought that he would be furious with the Winchesters for delivering such terrible news and putting him in harms way. He thought that he would be in a constant state of fear after coming face-to-face with the devil.

Adam was fully prepared to deal with all of these horrible emotions, but they were gone. Some weird form of numbness had taken over instead, leaving him immobile and void of feeling. Although he was confused by his current state of being, Adam hoped that it was normal. Maybe this was the calm after the storm; the strange transition of time after everything had settled down and only the devastation remained. Oh, God, what if he stayed like this forever? What if he never felt happiness again? Maybe this was the way his life was going to be from now on. Just a broken path full of strangers and heartache.

Adam sat motionless for a long time – was it a few minutes? An hour? – before there was a faint knock at the door. The teenager merely turned his head toward the sound and glanced around the wooden frame. Ah, shit. It was one of those Winchesters, wasn't it? Adam remained silent, hoping that the knocker would simply go away and leave him alone. But a few more quiet taps echoed in persistence.

“Adam? May I come in?”

An airy feeling came over Adam as he sat staring at the door. The voice belonged to Michael, not a Winchester. And the teenager could almost picture him standing at the door, leaning forward and listening closely for a reply. At least he was courteous enough to knock before entering. For some reason, Adam thought that the Winchesters were the kind of people that barged into a room and then asked for permission to be there, if they ever asked at all.

Adam wanted to tell Michael that it was okay for him to enter, but the teenager couldn't find his voice. He only stared at the door in the semi-dark, still blinking slowly and feeling like a zombie. Eventually, the door opened on its own and Michael's head popped in. The man – or was he an angel? – searched the room to find Adam sitting on the bed. Adam stared at Michael's hazel eyes and remorseful expression as the guy inched his way inside and closed the door. The two of them were alone again, in Adam's room this time. Adam found that he actually liked the addition of Michael's presence. He may have felt numb, but at least he didn't have to feel it alone.

For a few seconds, Adam and Michael only stared at each other while the single ray of sunlight dimmed in the room. Michael was silent for the most part, but Adam could see concern clouding his expression. Once it was obvious that Adam wouldn't be speaking, Michael cleared his throat.

“How are you feeling?” he asked quietly.

Adam blinked slowly again before heaving a sigh. There was really no point in keeping it all bottled up, was there? Maybe it would be best to get it all out and move on. Maybe talking about everything would help him deal with it. Adam uncomfortably shifted on the bed before forcing himself to speak.

“Well, my house is boarded up,” he began, voice weary, “I just found out my mom is dead, and I have two brothers downstairs who are planning to kill Satan. I'm feeling just great, man. Couldn't get any better.”

Michael's pink lips twitched with a smirk at Adam's acidic remark. The angel took a cautious step forward to lean his elbow on top of the dusty bookshelf to his left. Adam noticed that he had put his denim jacket back on and the visitor's pass was still clipped to the front pocket.

“Sarcasm,” Michael pointed out, nodding a little, “A family trait you share with your brothers.”

Adam wanted to roll his eyes, but he couldn't. He was too exhausted from the day's events to do much of anything except sit there. Michael was probably right about sarcasm being a Winchester family trait, though. Whenever John felt like coming around to take Adam to a baseball game or something, the teenager noticed that his father would give short quips when the situation arose. And from what he had witnessed today, Adam was sure that Dean and Sam's tones were just as short sometimes. Especially with each other.

A small silence occupied the room again while Adam and Michael stared at each other. It seemed like neither of them knew what to say next, like they were too nervous or shy to speak. Adam wanted to blame his lack of words on his current state of grief. But he could feel that there was another reason he was too shy to talk, though he didn't quite understand it. Michael made Adam feel nervous in a way he couldn't describe. It was sort of like coming into a classroom expecting a normal boring session, only to find out that a really hot substitute teacher was in charge for the day. Michael caught Adam off guard, but in a good way; a way that made his heart flutter and stomach tighten. Michael effected Adam on a physical level. The teenager didn't understand why... but he liked it.

Michael shifted his elbow on top of the bookshelf in the dark and the motion caused a textbook to fall. The heavy book teetered off the shelf and took a nosedive, thumping to the floor with a loud echoing smack. Adam flinched at the sound, even though he saw it coming. And Michael was instantly worried about it.

“I – I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to do that,” the angel said, quickly reaching down to pick the book up.

“It's fine,” Adam assured, watching him dust off the cover.

Michael appeared to be about to put the book back on the shelf when something on the cover caught his attention. His hazel eyes stared hard at the front of the book for a second before he carefully opened it. Adam stared at him from the bed, watching him glance over a few pages. It was a book about science, one of many scattered throughout the room that Adam had used during high school and college. Being a biology major came with a lot of textbooks that were chalk full of science stuff. Cellular anatomy, structures of chemical compounds, ecosystem functions – the list went on and on.

But whatever was written on the page Michael was reading seemed to be pissing him off. His dark eyes were almost glaring at the book and his lips were turning downward, morphing his expression into a mild scowl. Adam glanced between Michael's face and the book in his hand, wondering what was making him so upset.

“My poor father,” the angel mumbled, shaking his head a bit, “He created the entire species of mankind with his own two hands, and yet, mankind has the nerve to believe that it evolved from nothing. Such a tragedy.”

Adam blinked hard, focusing his sight on the hazel-eyed man across the room. Was Michael disputing evolution? Adam felt a little uncomfortable at the thought of discussing such a touchy subject with someone he was growing to admire. But evolution was a proven fact; millenniums of evidence resting in the earth. Michael knew that, right?

“But we did evolve,” Adam said quietly, gaining Michael's attention, “from a single-celled organisms.”

Michael's eyes narrowed slightly and he snapped the book shut. He seemed baffled and perturbed by Adam's comment, as if Adam had just offended him and hurt him greatly.

“Yes, you did evolve from a single cell. In your mother's womb,” Michael corrected, slapping the book back on the shelf, “after my father handcrafted your soul in heaven. Mankind did not simply crawl out of the sea billions of years ago, Adam. It was created. For a purpose.”

Adam blinked, letting his eyebrows lift with surprise. A lot of things had happened that day that made Adam reconsider religion. Meeting angels, wondering if his mother was in heaven, coming face-to-face with the devil. Adam had witnessed Lucifer for himself; saw him walk around on broken legs and explode into a ball of light. The teenager had been standing right there when it happened, which made him more inclined to believe it. And while Adam was not present at the dawn of mankind, he knew there were facts about evolution. Various stages of it were found throughout the crust of the earth. Even so, Adam didn't really have an opinion on the formation of the world. If scientists and religious experts wanted to duke it out over something that happened tons of years ago, Adam didn't care. Fighting over hypothetical theories was just plain stupid.

But seeing Michael become so animated about it – watching the passion flare up in his eyes and hearing his voice lower with authority – made Adam want to keep listening. This subject seemed very important to Michael; so important that he would defend it with his entire being. And Adam adored that type of passion. Creation or evolution, Adam didn't care. He just loved seeing the light shine through Michael's personality when the subject arose.

Michael's eyes had grown soft in the few seconds Adam spent pondering to himself. The guy seemed to be looking at Adam with sadness and despair, as if his heart had just been broken.

“You don't believe me, do you?” Michael mumbled, his hazel eyes searching Adam's face.

Adam was about to firmly dispel Michael's assumption when a strange sound interrupted their conversation. It was a scratching noise, coming from the bottom of Adam's bedroom door. Adam and Michael both looked toward wooden frame, wondering what the sound was. Fear and paranoia flashed through the teenager and, for a split-second, he thought that it might have been Lucifer; back from the cemetery and ready to kill them. Adam eased back on the bed as he watched Michael step closer to the door and reach for the knob. What was he doing? Was he going to let Lucifer in?!

Thankfully, the devil was not at the door. In fact, it looked like no one was at the door because Adam didn't see anyone standing there. But once Michael opened the door all the way, a white streak suddenly dashed across the floor. Adam backed up even farther on his bed, fearing that it was a beam of magical light or something. But as his vision focused on it in the semi-darkness, Adam realized that it was a small dog. The furry little animal trotted right into the room without a care and came up to sniff around the bed.

Adam relaxed his fearful posture as he shared a glance of confusion with Michael. Where did this dog come from? Adam's mom never kept any animals. Was it a stray that had occupied the house while it was empty? Did the dog belong to one of the Winchesters or something? It seemed like Michael had never laid eyes on this particular dog, either. The teenager's eyes fell back to the Jack Russel Terrier on his bedroom floor and he couldn't help but feel a little comforted. It was nice to see a friendly animal today instead of another rude human.

“Um,” Adam coughed, “Hi?”

The dog, though, wasn't paying any attention to him. It seemed like he was on a mission, sniffing around the mattress for a reason like it was looking for something. Adam was debating on reaching down to pet the dog, when the Jack Russel Terrier seemed to have found what it was looking for. The dog was tugging something out from under the bed with its teeth... Something flexible and made of paper...

The blood drained from Adam's face and he nearly gasped out loud. The dog had found a magazine. But it wasn't just any magazine. It was a Playboy; one that Adam kept hidden under the mattress to keep it safe from his mom's prying eyes. He bought it when he was in high school and 'used it' occasionally, as any teenage boy would. It was full of dirty pictures of naked women posing in various erotic positions. And now, it was out in the open. For Michael to see.

Adam was frozen with embarrassment, feeling his cheeks growing hot. How did that dog find his porn stash?! What the hell was it doing?! The dog's tail was wagging playfully as he leaned down to pick up the dirty magazine with his teeth. And – oh, shit! – the dog was suddenly prancing away with it in his mouth! He was running out the door! And carrying it toward the stairs!

“No!” Adam gasped.

The teenager leaped from his bed and instantly dashed to follow the dog, trying to catch it before it made it downstairs. Adam was freaking out the whole time he called for the mutt to get his furry little ass back to him. Oh, God, what if the dog brought the magazine to those Winchesters? What if they saw his porn magazine?! It was bad enough that Michael had seen it, but the Winchesters would probably never let him live it down!

Adam could faintly hear Michael's footsteps behind him as he chased after the dog, trying so hard to keep up with his quick feet. But the Jack Russel Terrier was too fast. The dog made it to the crowded kitchen by the time Adam finally caught up with it and ripped the magazine from its mouth. As soon as the paper was in his hands, Adam wrenched it behind his own back and looked around, hoping that the Winchesters didn't see the suggestive picture on the front cover.

But sadly, it was too late. All four of them were standing around the kitchen table, where a pizza box was sitting, and they were all looking at Adam with surprise. Dean's eyebrow was raised in a questioning manner as of he was thinking, 'Really, kid? A porn magazine?' Castiel looked a little lost and Sam was wearing an expression of pity. Gabriel, however, was staring at the dog on the floor with a huge grin.

“Good boy, Dickie,” Gabriel mused, “Way to get the kid out of his room.”

Dickie? Was the dog's name 'Dickie'? Was it Gabriel's dog? Did they plan that or something? Adam was still frozen in fear when Michael stepped up beside him. The guy seemed absolutely confused by what had just happened. He looked down at Adam with concern, actually reaching out to clutch the teenager's shoulder.

“Is everything okay?” he asked, sounding genuinely worried.

“Y – yeah,” Adam squeaked, trying desperately to stuff the magazine under the back of his shirt, “the dog... it just took my -”

“Playboy. October issue from five years ago. Ms. Arizona is the centerfold,” Dean mumbled from across the room.

Adam's eyes blew wide. How the hell did he know all of that from just one glance?! Dean must have seen the look of shock on Adam's – and Castiel's – face, because he gave a look of bewilderment in return.

“What?” he said nonchalantly, fixing his sight on Castiel, “Sam had a subscription.”

“No, I didn't,” Sam spat instantly, giving his brother a dumb look, “What address would I have used, Dean? '67 Chevy Impala?”

While the Winchesters began bickering over subscribing to porn, Adam could feel the magazine being tugged out of his grip. The teenager spun around in surprise, wondering who was taking it away from him – and his heart skipped a beat when he saw Michael pull it the rest of the way out of his hands. The angel was staring hard at the barely-dressed woman on the front cover and appeared almost as offended by it as he was by the science textbook upstairs.

Adam swallowed a hard gulp, feeling extremely uncomfortable. Great, the teenager thought to himself, Now the one person that you actually like is going to think you're a disgusting pervert. Michael's eyes eventually flickered up to meet Adam's, full of confusion. And pain.

“I... I thought you were a virgin,” Michael said quietly.

Embarrassment blazed hotter across Adam's face as the room suddenly became quiet. The Winchesters were no longer talking amongst themselves but staring at Adam, eying him with disbelief and waiting patently to hear his reply. The teenager's heart was hammering against his ribcage. Ugh, why would Michael say that? Why was he looking at Adam with pain, as if he was actually hoping that Adam was a virgin? And why the hell did it even matter? Weren't they all supposed to be fighting the devil? Weren't they supposed to be planning an attack against him instead of talking about Adam's nonexistent sex life?!

“It's none of your business,” Adam grumbled as he yanked the magazine back out of Michael's hands, “I thought you were going to kill the devil or something.”

The teenager was desperately trying to change the subject, struggling to stop the heat from radiating on his own cheeks. Michael glanced toward the kitchen, meeting eyes with all of the Winchesters. Gabriel flipped open the pizza box on the table – where did that pizza come from? – and grabbed a slice before taking a huge bite of it.

“Chillax, Bieber,” the angel said, his mouth full of food, “Luci just exploded his own vessel. We've got plenty of time to catch him him. Besides, we can't exactly hunt him in the dark. Well, I guess we could hunt in the dark, but it would probably be safer to -”

“Just get over here and eat,” Dean interrupted Gabriel's rant, nudging the pizza box toward Adam.

Adam rolled up the magazine in his hand as he glanced down at the food on the table. The pizza did nothing for his senses. The sight of it didn't make him hungry and the smell of it only turned his stomach. Adam didn't feel like eating and he knew that it was probably because of his current state of grief.

While Adam stood nearby and debated on forcing himself to eat, Sam, Gabriel, and Castiel started into the living room. The three of them began to shift around the furniture; pushing the coffee tables out of the way, shoving the chairs toward the walls, moving the couch back. It looked like they were clearing out the middle of the room to make a large space on the floor. Adam felt a little upset watching his living room being rearranged by strangers without his permission. But, on the other hand, he was a little curious. Why exactly were they doing it? Why did they need that big open space on the floor?

“Adam.”

The teenager looked back toward Dean at the sound of his name. The oldest Winchester had lingered in the kitchen on purpose, leaning back against the counter with his hands stuffed in his pockets. A few traces of guilt were hinted in his expression as he looked at Adam with his head tilted down.

“Can I talk to you, for a minute?” Dean asked, voice low, “... Alone?”

Adam knew that Dean had tacked on that last word because Michael was still hovering close by. Both of them looked toward the angel when his name was mentioned and Michael glanced between them with confusion. He seemed hesitant about leaving Adam alone with Dean. In fact, it seemed like Michael was hesitant about leaving Adam at all. But the dark-haired angel eventually gave a slight nod before bowing out of the kitchen. He wandered over to the living room archway to watch the furniture being moved around, giving Adam and Dean some space.

Adam brought his attention back to Dean, wondering why the oldest Winchester wanted to talk to him. He really hoped this wasn't going to turn out to be one of those 'I'm your older brother, so you have to do what I say or else' speeches. But by the look Dean's face, Adam could tell that this was about something else; something more meaningful. Dean cleared his throat a little bit and shifted around as if he was having difficulty trying to figure out his words.

“Listen, um,” he began, voice barely audible, “I know you don't remember any of it, but... I – I just want to say... I'm sorry.”

Adam's eyebrows curved together with sympathetic confusion. Sorry? What was Dean apologizing for? Had he done something to Adam without the teenager being aware of it? Dean must have seen the total loss in Adam's features because he quickly went on.

“You kind of ended up in hell because of me,” Dean explained, “I tried to keep you safe. I did everything I could to try and stop it. I even tried to get you out of hell once you were in there, but... It all went up in flames.”

“Literally,” Adam mumbled, referring to the flames of hell.

Although Adam was attempting to make a joke, Dean didn't smile at all. His woeful expression only seemed to get worse. He was wearing sort of the same expression John Winchester wore when he was about to leave again, looking all disheartened and guilty like he was mad at himself.

“I'm glad you're safe, now,” Dean said, voice full of honesty.

Adam nodded slowly, searching his older brother's face with understanding. Though he didn't fully comprehend why Dean was apologizing, it felt good to know the guy was being genuine. For the first time since he met them, Adam was starting think that having the Winchesters for brothers was actually kind of cool. He had always wanted a sibling; someone close to his own age that he could talk to about life and stuff. And Dean seemed like a guy that would talk about anything.

“Thanks,” Adam said quietly, unsure of what to say.

Both of them were quiet for a moment, which allowed awkwardness to seep into their conversation. Adam took the time to glance back toward the living room and noticed that the other people were piling up cushions and blankets on the floor. Sam, Gabriel, and Castiel were all forming some type of soft padding on the hardwood as if they were setting up for a slumber party.

“What are they doing?” Adam asked out loud, giving Dean a glance.

“We're gonna sleep here tonight,” the older brother explained, standing up from the counter and leading the way toward the living room, “and by 'we,' I mean you, me, and Sam. The angels are gonna stand guard until morning. Tomorrow, we're going to go see a friend of ours named Bobby. We're hoping he can help us find a way to stick Lucifer back in the cage.”

Adam blinked strangely at Dean beside him as they both stopped in the archway. They were planning to put Lucifer back in hell? Adam had been under the assumption that they were going to kill him, not send him home.

“Stick him back in the cage?” Adam asked, raising an eyebrow.

Dean heaved a sigh and briefly rubbed his forehead before meeting Adam's stare again. There was a certain amount of wisdom in Dean's eyes, like he had already dealt with this question before.

“Take it from me, kid. Most angels are dicks,” he said lowly, as if he was trying to keep his voice from being heard by anyone else, “They'll give you stomach cancer and shove you into a parallel universe just to prove a point. But there are a few – very few – who will actually give a shit about you. There are two or three angels that will actually put their lives on the line without a second thought and do everything in their power to keep you safe and happy... And they're all standing in this room right now.”

Adam took the time to glance around the room to Castiel, Gabriel, and Michael, seeing them in a different light. Did Castiel really put his own life on the line to save the Winchesters? Did Gabriel really try to keep them safe and happy all the time? Adam's eyes lingered on Michael, recalling how protective and kind he was. Would Michael do the same for him? Adam glanced back toward Dean, wondering what any of this had to do with killing Lucifer. The older brother stepped closer and spoke lower, making it seem like he didn't want his voice to be heard by anyone else.

“So, when those same angels look you in the eye and ask you not to kill their brother,” he whispered, “how are you supposed to say no?”

Adam gulped. Whoa. He didn't realize that Lucifer's death would upset the angels. But in a strange way, he kind of understood their reasoning. If Adam was in the angels' shoes – if Sam and Dean were the ones about to be killed – he would probably try to find a different solution, too. Even if he had just met them. Besides, it probably boiled down to the old, 'don't stoop to their level' kind of thing. Just because Lucifer hated humanity and wanted to kill everyone, it didn't mean he had to be killed.

Dean reached up to pat the back of Adam's shoulder before wandering off toward the others. Adam watched him go, feeling a little more at peace. It was so good to have a fresh perspective on things. He was happy to learn that his brothers were admirable and that the angels were there to protect them. It gave him a good feeling and alleviated some of the pain from missing his mother. Adam might not have her in his life anymore, but at least he had new brothers. At least he still had a family...

Something gently pressed against Adam's leg and the teenager nearly jumped at the sensation. He glanced down to see that the dog – Dickie – was jumping up and down in front of him, whimpering a little as he tried to get to the magazine in Adam's hand. The teenager lifted the paper higher, looking down to stare at the dog in bewilderment. What was wrong with this dog? Why was he so desperate to have a porn magazine? What was he going to do if he got it? Chew on it?

“Uh, hey,” Adam called to Gabriel, “Can you call off the dog?”

Gabriel grinned from across the room as he nibbled on the crust of his pizza. He and Sam were both staring at the dog on the floor, watching up jump in front of Adam.

“Aww. I can't. It's too adorable,” the angel mused.

Adam glared. Really? Gabriel wasn't going to stop his dog from making a stranger uncomfortable? Luckily, Sam was more understanding. He gave a short whistle, which made the dog to stop and look toward him.

“Go get your moose, boy,” Sam said, pointing toward the doorway, “It's in my duffel bag. Go on. Go get it.”

Though Adam was thoroughly confused by the moose reference – What was with Sam and all the moose comments? – he watched the dog scamper away toward the other room before looking back at Sam. The younger of the two Winchesters gestured to some of the cushions on the floor, shrugging his shoulders.

“It's, uh, only for one night,” he said, trying to defend the whole 'slumber party' situation, “We all need to get some sleep. And if Lucifer shows up in the middle of the night, we've got more chance of taking him on while we're together. I'm sure you've seen enough horror movies to know that it's safer to stay in a group, right?”

Adam heaved a sigh. Since when did his life turn into a horror movie?

“Y – yeah,” the teenager mumbled, tossing his dirty magazine onto the fireplace mantle, “I'll... I'll just curl up over here, then.”

Although he thought it was a bit strange to sleep on the floor of his own living room while he had a perfectly good bed upstairs, Adam forced himself to kneel down and crawl onto the small sliver of cushions near the couch. As soon as he was in a horizontal position, the teenager seemed to become aware of how exhausted he was. Every muscle in his body was crying out for sleep; especially his eyes, where his tear ducts were aching with overuse. He blinked a few times toward the kitchen, feeling so tired. And the smell of his mother's comforting scent in the fabric beneath him was making him even more drowsy, inducing him feel relaxed and peaceful.

As Adam listened to the other Winchesters shifting around behind him, a figure suddenly moved in front of his eyes. He blinked slowly, watching Michael lower himself into the floor. The angel sat down next to Adam, letting his lengthy legs jut straight out while he leaned his back up against the couch. His eyes were wandering over Adam's face from above – when the light suddenly went out.

Adam flinched at the sudden darkness. He figured that one of the Winchesters must have turned off the light switch because no one said anything about it. They were all quietly whispering to one another about a guy named Bobby. Though Adam was extremely tired, the dull ache of grief and the discomfort of uncertainty were keeping him awake. What if Lucifer came in the middle of the night like Sam had mentioned? What if the devil showed up to blast everyone away? The teenager's heart was beating fast as he eyed Michael's close form in the dark, trying to calm himself down. The angels would protect him if anything bad happened, right? Oh, no. What if they couldn't? What if Adam woke up and everyone was gone? Or worse – what if they were all dead?

In a rush of adrenaline, Adam's hand lunged forward to grab a handful of Michael's jacket. He gripped it as tightly as he could with his weary strength as he let his eyes wander up to meet Michael's in the dark. The teenager could clearly see concern in the angel's features when they stared at each other.

Please don't leave,” Adam requested in a whisper, his voice weak and frail.

Michael's throat quivered with a gulp as one of his large hands reached downward in the dark. Adam felt it a moment later in his own hair. Michael's warm fingertips were gently running against Adam's scalp, reminding him of the way his mother used to sooth him when he was a child. Adam's eyelids slowly closed as he savored the feeling, but his hand remained firmly clasped around Michael's denim jacket. Sleep was finally washing over him, at last. His muscles were relaxing and his mind was easing when he heard the faint sound of Michael's deep voice drift its way down to him.

“I won't,” Michael promised.

Chapter Text

Sunlight glistened off the playground equipment as Adam swung back and forth on the swing set. With every forward swoop, his small feet reached for the blue sky, helping him get higher and higher. He could hear the beautiful sound of his mother's laughter echoing behind him and feel her gentle hands pushing against his lower back with every swing. Man, he loved doing this. He loved being with his mom and playing on the playground. Being with her was so much fun.

As Adam kicked his way higher, he noticed that all of the other children in the area had disappeared. The playground was vacant save Adam and his mother, leaving the empty swings to sway sadly in the breeze and the lonely slide to stand forgotten. Adam thought it was a little strange that all the kids were gone because the weather was so perfect and there was so much to play with. Did their moms take them home? Was it supposed to rain?

Mom?” Adam asked swinging backward, “Where did everyone go?”

While he waited to hear the answer, Adam slowly began to realize that his mother's soft hands weren't pushing him anymore. He was swinging by himself, being propelled by his own legs. Was his mother gone, too? Where did she go? A wave of panic swept through him and he suddenly dug this feet into the soft ground, bringing the swing to a wobbling halt. As soon as he was standing on his feet, Adam spun around to look for his mother. But she was gone.

Mom?” Adam called again, searching for her face.

But she was nowhere to be found. The playground had grown silent and dark. The clouds overhead were gathering into a giant gray mass and the wind was starting to pick up. Adam could feel his own heart racing as the storm approached. Where did it come from? How did it get here so fast? Why did Adam's mother leave him there alone, without anyone to cling to?

A sudden crackle of lightening struck the ground near the slide – and a man appeared there. He was hunched over and bleeding, standing in bloodstained clothes and on broken legs. Though his body appeared injured, his expression held humor and malice. His blood-shot eyes raised to meet Adam's from across the playground and the man began staggering forward, dragging his crooked feet and grinning like a maniac.

Adam stumbled backward in an effort to get away from the crazy man, but he tripped over his own feet and fell to his back. The broken bones in the man's jagged legs were grinding together loudly with his steps as he forced his way closer to Adam. And Adam was almost paralyzed with fear; frozen on the ground while leaves and dirt whipped around in the heavy wind. The bloody man was getting closer! There was anger and pleasure in his dark eyes and Adam couldn't move! He was utterly defenseless, laying on the ground like a rabbit in a trap. Adam wanted to scream out. He wanted to call for help and beg for rescue. But who would come? Who would be willing to stand between the devil and his prey?

“Adam.”

The teenager's flew open and he gasped for air, feeling a hand shake him out of his nightmare. His eyes were blurry with sleep and he could hardly see the figure in front of him, but he scrambled away from it anyway, fearing that it was the man from his dream. Adam rolled over and scrunched against the couch behind him, trying to make himself invisible. But as he sat cowering against the furniture, a gentle hand clutched his shoulder.

“Adam. It's okay.”

The teenager carefully raised his head at the sound of the familiar voice. The room was fairly lit and Adam could see that Michael was kneeling next to him on the floor. The angel's eyes were full of sympathy and his mouth was tilted down with concern when he gripped Adam's shoulder. Adam briefly glanced around at his mother's living room and slowly began to relax. Oh, it was just a dream. That terrible, awful, bloody man – he wasn't really there. It was only a memory that had morphed into a nightmare...

Adam swallowed the small amount of moisture in his mouth as he looked up and down Michael's crouching form. Though he would have never admitted it, Adam was actually happy to wake up next to Michael. It meant that the angel had stayed near him all night, just like he promised. The teenager was grateful to see Michael's firm expression and the denim jacket with the visitor's pass clipped to the front.

“Was it a bad dream?” the angel asked, voice housing curiosity and protectiveness.

Adam forced a nod. Hell yes, it was a bad dream. One of the worst he ever had. The teenager glanced around afterward, trying to find his brothers. Were the Winchesters okay, too? Did they have bad dreams? Did everyone make it through the night?

“Wh – where are they?” Adam breathed, not seeing them in the living room.

Although Adam's question was pretty vague, Michael seemed to understand. He took a breath and nodded toward the kitchen before standing up to hold out his hand, offering Adam help to climb to his feet. The teenager eyed Michael's extended fingers before cautiously taking them with his own. With a stern but gentle pull, Michael raised Adam to his feet, giving him a clear view of the Winchesters in the next room.

They were all huddled around the kitchen table; Dean and Sam sitting while Gabriel and Castiel hovered over them. All of them were staring hard at the radio on the table, listening attentively and wearing expressions of concern. Adam took a step closer to the kitchen in order to hear the voice coming from the radio, wondering why it was making the Winchesters look so upset.

The death toll continues to rise in western Pennsylvania this morning, where a massive explosion has engulfed the city of Pittsburgh in flames. Authorities have not yet confirmed cause of the initial blast, but various witnesses have reported seeing a flash of 'blinding white light' and hearing the sound of 'crackling thunder' before the fire was underway. Emergency vehicles are being requested from neighboring states to help combat the spreading flames and police are asking that all Pittsburgh residents evacuate the city immediately to prevent -

Dean reached over and spun the dial on the radio, sliding it to different station where a new voice began talking.

- White House, reporting that at least five major cities in the U.S have been victim to explosions of atomic proportions. Although there has been no evidence to suggest nuclear attack, the president has issued a warning to all American citizens, urging them to stay indoors and prepare for -

Dean spun the dial again to a different station. The new voice that came across the radio sounded out of breath and frightened, as if he had been at the scene of one of the explosions.

- everywhere. I mean, the fire was spraying out like lit gasoline, man. Dogs and cats were running around on fire! There were guys jumping out of windows and people were being trampled by the crowd, trying to get away! I passed a dead kid on the street, man! A burnt dead kid, just laying there holding a teddy bear -

Apparently, Dean had heard enough because he reached over and turned the radio off with a forceful click. The kitchen was somber afterward, filled with woeful expressions and painful silence. Everyone was staring off in different directions, trying to let it all sink in. Adam felt sick to his stomach. Lucifer may not have visited them in the middle of the night, but he sure as hell visited at least five major cities. Why was he doing this? Why was he burning his way across the country? Was it just in his nature to spread fire and kill everyone? Would it only be a matter of time before he came to Minnesota? Oh, God. What if his next target was Adam's hometown?

Sam's head turned toward Adam and Michael and his eyes narrowed with accusation. The younger Winchester was almost glaring at Michael, appearing bitter and hurt.

“I thought you said I was his first priority,” Sam spat, “I thought you said he needed a vessel before he could do any real damage.”

“I didn't say he couldn't do any real damage without one,” Michael challenged respectfully.

Adam gulped, feeling uncomfortable tension flare up in the room. Was this going to turn into another argument? Dean spun in his seat to look at Michael too, seeming angered and confused.

“Why is he doing this, huh?” the oldest brother asked, “Last time, all he wanted to do was get inside Sam and kick your ass. Now, he's out there torching the whole world like a pyromaniac in a bad mood. He hasn't even tried to look for us.”

“Or so he would have you believe,” Michael interjected, raising an eyebrow, “Lucifer is cunning, Dean. He didn't force Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and he didn't force Sam to say yes the first time. Maybe this is his way of -”

“What? Trying to get me to say yes again?” Sam breathed, looking pale, “Is he killing all of these people because he thinks it will make me agree to let him in? Well, it's not going to work! I'm not going to do it! I don't care if the world ends because of me! I'm not going to say yes again! I can't do it! I can't!”

Gabriel lurched closer to Sam instantly in order to rake a small hand through Sam's lengthy hair.

“Shhh, baby moose,” Gabriel purred comfortingly, “Don't freak out. Everything's gonna be okay.”

Adam watched as Sam's head fell against Gabriel's chest. Gabriel was stroking Sam's hair affectionately and Sam was clinging to Gabriel's waist in a way that Adam could only describe as – intimately. The teenager blinked strangely at the private exchange, feeling his own cheeks grow warm with embarrassment. Wow, Sam and Gabriel must have been pretty close to hold each other like that. The only person Adam hugged like that was his own mother – and even then, he didn't stroke her back like Sam was doing to Gabriel's...

“Is there any way Lucifer is simply trying to destroy the world without using a proper vessel?” Castiel asked, standing up straight to give Michael a questioning look, “Three hundred years in the cage has the power to change anyone's perspective. Is there a chance he has moved on from the Winchesters?”

Adam looked up at Michael along with everyone else, wanting to hear the answer. Although Michael's expression remained steadfast, Adam noticed that his cheeks were slightly pink. A strange hint of shyness had overcome his features as eyes flickered toward Adam's.

“I agree with you, Castiel. Three hundred years in the cage does have the power to change one's perspective,” Michael said quietly, “... But I was with Lucifer the entire time. I know his true intentions, for he spoke of them fervently. He wishes to end all of humanity and requires a proper vessel to do it. This is merely the opening act of his destructive play. And I fear that act two will consist of more familiar characters.”

At Michael's prediction, Dean's eyes widened considerably. The oldest Winchester looked sick at his stomach, as if he was going to vomit. But he lurched up from the table a moment later, seeming prepared.

“We're going to Bobby's. Right now,” Dean said, grabbing his jacket from the back of the chair, “Sammy, get your stuff. Adam, pack a bag. You've got five minutes.”

Without hesitation, Sam unwound his arms from Gabriel's waist and got up to retrieve his duffel bag. But Adam was momentarily frozen in place. Pack a bag? Did the Winchesters seriously want him to come along on the 'let's get Satan' tour? As much as he wanted to stay with them, Adam knew he wouldn't be a useful addition to their kick-ass group. What would he even put in his duffel bag? He didn't own any weapons. He didn't have knives or guns or even a passport. Did the Winchesters really want to keep a dead weight like him?

Dean seemed to notice Adam's motionless form because he came over to put a hand on his shoulder. The teenager's eyes flickered up to meet his older brother's and he could see a bit of understanding in Dean's expression.

“The world is burning alive, kid. And you're a Winchester,” he reminded, voice low, “It's safer for all of us to stay together... Just for now, okay?”

Dean probably tacked on the last bit because he thought that Adam wanted to be on his own. But it wasn't true. Adam didn't want to be alone, especially now that his mother was gone and Satan was trying to kill everyone. Adam actually wanted to be with his older brothers. He just didn't think he was worthy enough...

After nodding in agreement, Adam forced himself to start walking toward the the stairs. It wasn't until he was in the hallway on the second floor that the teenager noticed another set of footsteps following him. As he quickly ducked into his room, Adam glanced back to see that it was Michael behind him, hovering close like a living shadow. Though Adam was somewhat distracted by Michael's presence – again – he did his best to focus on packing a bag as Dean had instructed.

The teenager grabbed the shoulder bag from the back of his desk chair and just started filling it with stuff. He ripped open the drawers from his dresser and grabbed handfuls of clothes, shoving them into the bag without even looking at them. He didn't care if he had the correct ratio of shirts to pants or whether he had enough underwear to last at least a week. Hell, Adam was still wearing the green scrubs he stole from the hospital the day before. Clothes were the least of his worries right now.

As Adam packed halfheartedly in a rush, Michael was lingering at the door, watching silently. It seemed like he wanted to help because every so often he would reach for something like he was going to pick it up. But then, his arm would drop back to his side as if he was too unsure – or too nervous – to actually touch it. Once his shoulder bag was nearly full of clothes, Adam paused to look fully at Michael, giving him a chance to actually offer something. The angel cleared his throat before pointing across the room.

“I – I know you like music,” he said quietly.

Adam's eyebrows scrunched as he spun around to look at the dusty iPod on his desk. Music? The world was on fire and Satan was massacring entire cities and Michael wanted Adam to include music in his emergency bag? The teenager gave the angel a look of bewilderment to which Michael quickly responded.

“It... It might help you cope with all of this chaos,” he added softly, appearing embarrassed.

Adam glanced between the angel at the door and the iPod on his desk in wonder. Why did Michael care how Adam felt? Was Adam's happiness more important to him than the well-being of the entire world? The longer Adam stared at Michael, the more he could see the honesty in his hazel eyes. Maybe Adam did mean more to Michael than the rest of the world. And the teenager didn't understand why...

Dean called Adam's name from downstairs, making them both flinch out of their stare. The teenager cleared his throat, trying to rid his stomach of butterflies, before he reached over and swiped the dusty iPod from his desk. He carefully tucked the music player in his bag and zipped it up as he breezed passed Michael to get to the stairs. Adam didn't miss that there was a small smile playing on the angel's lips when he followed close behind.

Downstairs, the Winchesters were huddled into a group in the living room. Dean and Sam both had bags of their own but Castiel and Gabriel weren't carrying anything. They all watched Adam and Michael enter the room, seeming eager to leave.

“Ready to go?” Sam asked, able to see that Adam was less than enthusiastic.

The teenager took the time to glance around his living room and kitchen – taking in the comforting sight of it all one last time – before shuffling over to his brothers. He was assuming that they were all about to load up in a car or head to the bus stop to catch a ride back into town. But as soon as he was close enough, Castiel grabbed Adam by the shoulder -

And they were suddenly standing in a junkyard.

Everyone was there of course, all of the Winchesters and angels. Everyone else seemed to be unimpressed by the fact that they had just been transported to a new location by a single touch. Adam, on the other hand, was still amazed by it. How did they get from Adam's house to this junkyard in the blink of an eye? There had to be some kind of scientific explanation for it. Although Adam thought this, his eyes glanced over toward Michael and he remembered that not everything needed a scientific explanation...

“Ah. Home sweet salvage yard,” Gabriel sang, taking a dramatic deep breath, “Doesn't get much better than the smell of crushed metal and moldy tires, does it, Sammy-boy?”

Sam only sighed in response before turning to start down the aisle of stacked cars. Everyone was migrating toward the two-story house a few yards away, silently following one another with their heads down. Adam followed along quietly, not wanting to be left behind. The teenager assumed that this was Bobby's residence. And going by the cluttered exterior, he figured that Bobby liked fixing up junk cars or selling them for parts. Adam found it to be kind of fitting, actually. He always did admire John Winchester's classic set of wheels. Maybe John had purchased the Impala from Bobby.

“What if he can't help us, Dean?” Sam mumbled to his brother as they walked in stride, “What if he's fresh out of ideas just like us?”

“Sam, this is Bobby you're talking about,” Dean replied, rounding the last stack of cars, “The dude built a ghost-proof, demon-proof safe chamber in his basement over a weekend just because he had free time. I'm sure he'll help us think of something.”

Adam's eyes raised to squint at the back of his brothers' heads. Help them think of something? Did Sam and Dean not have a plan yet? Were they still trying to figure out how to cage Lucifer? For some reason, Adam had been thinking that his brothers already had a plan. He thought that since the Winchesters had caged Lucifer once already, they would know how to do it again. But maybe they didn't. Maybe they were just as lost and scared as Adam was...

As the two older Winchester brothers spoke to each other in hushed tones, Adam saw something from the corner of his eye. It was a very brief flicker of light that jetted through the white clouds overhead. The teenager only had time to look up and register that it was zooming toward the two-story house –

Before the whole thing exploded in a storm of breaking wood and shattering glass.

The entire house combusted in a fiery blast, sending debris flying in every direction. The devastatingly thunderous sound of it tangibly reverberated through the air and the massive explosion held enough force to knock all of the Winchesters off their feet, tossing them several yards backward and smacking them to the ground. Chunks of wood, shards of glass, and bits of plastic siding were raining down from the sky, peppering them all with rubble.

Adam was momentarily def from the explosion. The teenager quickly covered his head and rolled toward Sam, who happened to be the closest person to him. Wreckage from the blast was still sprinkling on top of them, some of it sharp and some of it heavy. Adam could only shut his eyes tightly and hope that his hearing would return because his ears were ringing loudly, making it impossible to hear anything else. But even though one of his senses had been disabled, Adam was still experiencing the catastrophe with the rest of them. He could still see the devastation. He could still smell the scent of burning wood and feel the heat of fire at his back.

Everything seemed to be happening very quickly after that. Adam could feel Sam tugging him upward and see him shouting the words 'Move! Hurry!' While Adam tried to comply with his older brother's commands, he was looking around, seeing flashes of Castiel crawling toward Dean on the ground, and Michael patting out a fire that had spread on Gabriel's back – and an old man struggling to climb to his feet. Adam blinked toward the new person, eying his faded blue hat and puffy vest jacket. Where did that old man come from? Was that Bobby? Adam's heart was beating a mile a minute as he watched his family trying to recover from the sudden blast. What the hell had happened? Had there been a gas leak inside the house? What the hell was that streak of white light that had zoomed toward the scene? Had it been a bomb?

All of Adam's questions seemed to be answered by the second explosion. This one was much smaller than the first; a mere fire-cracker compared to the one before it. But the small bang was just enough to get everyone's attention. The Winchesters and angels all turned to look at what was left of the burning house – and a figure started moving from within the flames. Adam blinked repeatedly, trying to make sure that he was truly seeing the sight before him. A person was walking out from the fire – he was on fire! – and moving forward slowly, strolling toward all of the men laying on the ground.

Pure terror swelled inside Adam's body as his eyes took in the sight of the fiery figure moving closer. It was him. It was the devil. He just popped out of nowhere, the same way he did in Adam's nightmare. While Adam clung to Sam beside him, he felt like screaming at the top of his lungs. No! He didn't want to be in the devil's presence! He didn't want those dark eyes to stare right at him or that broken grin to spread! Adam didn't want to be in the devil's cross hairs!

The smell of burning flesh was heavy in the air when the charred man stalked forward. His lips had burned away, revealing most of his toothy grin, and his skin was nearly black as coal, making his eyes look bright by contrast. Just as before, it seemed like Lucifer was forcing himself to walk, making every step look like a difficult chore. But his smile never faltered. Once Sam and Adam were in his sight, Lucifer appeared more enthusiastic than ever. He began speaking in a haunting tone, voice deep and gravelly. And the ringing in Adam's ears had died down just enough to hear it.

Little pigs, little pigs... Let me in,” Lucifer cooed sweetly, dragging his burning form closer to Sam and Adam, “Or I'll huff... and I'll puff... and I'll -”

Adam didn't get to hear the rest of Lucifer's twisted fable because a sudden blast of white light knocked the devil away. The teenager watched Lucifer's fiery vessel tumble through the air before he realized that Michael was standing in front of him. The angel had dashed in between Lucifer and the Winchesters and delivered a swift blow of angelic grace to the devil, rescuing Sam and Adam from his reach. Adam blinked up at the back of Michael's denim jacket in awe, feeling relieved.

“End this madness, Lucifer. Or you will not live long enough to regret it,” Michael commanded, his deep voice causing the ground to quake.

The blazing figure lurched up from the ground and began sprinting toward Michael, arms raised and fists glowing.

“Madness? Madness?! You know nothing of madness!” Lucifer growled, reaching up to strike Michael.

Adam closed his eyes tightly and rolled toward Sam again, shielding himself from the loud bright collision of angels' fists. He was expecting another loud boom, loud enough to shake the ground and cause yet another explosion – but there was suddenly silence. Adam was quivering against Sam, covering his head with both arms and bracing for the new blast. But it never came. In fact, the longer Adam waited for it, the more he realized that the heat at his back was gone. It was replaced with a chilling wind and melting snow.

“Sammy-boy? Are – are you okay?”

Adam carefully raised his head at the sound of Gabriel's voice. Snow was falling heavily from the sky, making it difficult to see clearly. When he felt Sam being tugged out from under him, Adam scrambled in the deep snow to see what the hell was going on, afraid that Lucifer was trying to take him. But it was Gabriel, pulling Sam close to inspect him. All three of them were laying in a bed of thick snow on a high mountain surrounded by pine trees. Adam was utterly dumbfounded by his surroundings. Where was he now? Did Gabriel fly Sam and Adam away just in the nick of time? Where was everyone else?

As Adam thought this, something large fell into the snow nearby. The teenager scurried to sit up and look toward it, fearing that it was Lucifer. But Adam was relieved to see that Dean and Bobby had landed in the deep snow, piled on top of Castiel as if the angel had just flown them there. Adam's heart pounded as he tried to get a good look at them through the blizzard of snowflakes. Was this a safe place? Had the angels carried everyone here to get away from Lucifer?

“My – my house,” the old man groaned from the dog pile, rolling over to rest on his knees, “Everything I own... was in there... all my... guns and books, they're... they're gone...”

“You're still alive, Bobby. That's what matters,” Dean mumbled, reaching over to help Castiel stand before dusting off the angel's trench coat.

Though his entire body was still quivering, Adam climbed to his feet in the snow. Hearing Dean's sentence had made him realize that not everyone was present at this sudden rendezvous in the mountains. Every face was here except one – and it was the most important one of all.

“M – Michael?” Adam asked out loud, his jaw beginning to chatter.

Everyone looked up at Adam when he spoke and they all seemed to realize that Michael was missing, too. They all looked around with Adam, searching the snow for his familiar denim jacket and dark hair. Adam's heart was beating hard against his chest to the point that he thought he might faint. Oh, no. Was Michael still back there? With Lucifer? Oh, God, what if something happened to him? What if Michael – the one person that Adam had come to rely on, the one person that he felt so strongly for – was being hurt? What if he was dying?!

“Michael?!” Adam shouted frantically, his voice higher and full of panic.

Fear was coursing through the teenager's system at the thought of something terrible happening to Michael. It was not the same fear that he felt in the face of Lucifer. No. This was a deeper, more potent kind of emotion, as if Adam's sanity depended on Michael's safety. Adam didn't just need Michael. He wanted Michael; wanted the reassurance of his support and the warmth of his companionship. And Adam wanted Michael back at his side in safety. Not out there, being attacked by the devil.

Michael?!” Adam screamed again, his echoing voice cracking loudly.

As the teenager spun around in desperate circles, a tiny thunk came from near the tree line. Adam instantly whirled toward the sound and his heart fluttered at the sight. Michael had appeared near the base of a large pine tree and stumbled into the snow, fully intact and appearing unharmed. His breath was fogging in front of his mouth as he panted and raised shakily to his feet. The very sight of his familiar hazel eyes made rivers of relief gush through Adam's veins. He was alive! Lucifer didn't kill him! Michael was safe and sound, just the way Adam wanted!

Before Adam knew it, he was slowly moving toward Michael. His feet sped from a walk, to a jog, to a flat-out sprint. The teenager was kicking up snow with every step and his arms were spreading out as he ran to the angel near the tree. Adam briefly caught Michael's surprised expression before they collided, chest to chest and arms circling around one another. The teenager's lungs were working fast with adrenaline and his nose was filling with the lovely smell of Michael's scent when he hugged the angel tight. Damn, Adam had never been so happy to see anyone in his life. He had never been so glad to feel another person's heart beating against his own chest and hear the breath flowing through someone else's lungs. No one gave Adam comfort quite like Michael did.

After what seemed like several minutes, Adam forced himself to let go. He knew that the other guys were watching and that few of them – particularly his brothers – would start to wonder why their hug was so long. The teenager carefully stepped back to see Michael's face and make sure he was okay. Thankfully, his features were unchanged. His cheeks had grown a bit pink, but his hazel eyes were brimming with their usual solemnity. The angel seemed stunned that Adam had actually hugged him, as if Michael had never taken part in such a loving act. And Adam was secretly proud to see the mixture of shock and fondness on Michael's face. Had the guy never been hugged before?

“I'm glad... I'm glad you're alive,” Adam stuttered, trying to offer an explanation for the meaningful embrace.

Michael's throat quivered with a gulp as he eyed Adam's entire face.

“So am I,” he admitted quietly.

Chapter Text

“Would someone please tell me what the hell just happened?” Dean asked wearily, glancing around at everyone in the snow, “I don't care who. Just somebody. Explain to me why Bobby's house exploded and tell me where the hell we're standing right now.”

Adam took a deep breath of freezing air and hugged himself while he and Michael inched closer to the group nearby. The chilling wind blasted his bare arms with snow as he shivered against the extreme temperature. The teenager could tell that the other men – Dean, Sam, and Bobby – were acting just as affected by the cold weather as he was; shaking, chattering, bracing against the harsh wind. But the angels – Castiel, Gabriel, and Michael – all appeared to be indifferent to the snow. They stood firmly in the whipping wind, breathing normally and looking around calmly.

Adam was very eager to hear the answer to Dean's question, too. Whatever happened back at that salvage yard was totally unexpected. Nobody knew that Lucifer was going to show up. Especially not in that burning body...

“Lucifer knew we were going to be there,” Michael answered from behind Adam, sounding sure, “All of these explosions, all of the carnage he caused overnight – I'm certain that it was premeditated. He did it to lure us to a specific location.”

“Whoa, wait a second,” Sam gasped, his breath fogging and jaw chattering, “Are – are you saying that Lucifer bombed the world on p – purpose, knowing that it would freak us out enough to g – go to Bobby's house?”

As Adam turned around to look at Michael and hear the answer, he saw that the angel had removed his own denim jacket. Michael was holding the fabric open toward Adam and waiting patiently, politely offering it to him with a hopeful look. The guy appeared more concerned about putting a jacket on Adam than he was about relaying important information to the Winchesters. Adam bit his trembling bottom lip and forced a nervous glance around, seeing that everyone's eyes were on him, waiting for him to step inside Michael's jacket so that the angel would continue. The teenager's sight eventually fell back to Michael himself and he could see genuine protectiveness in the angel's features.

Not wanting to hold up the conversation, Adam stepped over and slid his arms into Michael's jacket. The fabric was already warm from Michael's body heat and smelled just the way Adam remembered, embedded with aged pine and a hint of spice. Though most of his body was freezing, Adam could feel that his face was burning hot. Somehow, he thought that the act of wearing someone else's jacket was kind of personal. It was something that only mothers did with their children – or boyfriends did with girlfriends. But even though he was embarrassed by the intimate nature of it, Adam couldn't deny that he was secretly delighted to be back inside Michael's jacket again. It was like wearing a security blanket, complete with comforting warmth and the feeling of home.

“It seems very likely,” Michael eventually answered, brushing off Adam's shoulders and stepped up to stand beside him, “Lucifer needed to find us. But instead of hunting us down -”

“He brought us to him,” Gabriel finished, shaking his head in disbelief, “That crazy, homicidal genius. If I wasn't so pissed at him for wanting to hurt my moose, I would give him a round of applause.”

The oldest man of the group shuffled closer in the snow. Adam glanced along Bobby's bearded face and hardened expression, seeing clear signs of sorrow and confusion in his aged features.

Lucifer?” the old man growled, glancing around at everyone in the circle, “Ah, balls. What have you dipshits done, now? Don't tell me that this is your fault. Don't tell me that I lost everything that I own just because you forgot to lock the cage door behind you after you got Sam out.”

Dean and Sam shared a sorrowful glance before giving Bobby a look of regret. Adam tightened Michael's jacket around him as he watched his brothers struggle for words. He could tell that Sam and Dean admired Bobby like he was their uncle or something and the thought made Adam curious. Was Bobby actually their uncle? Did that make Bobby his uncle, too?

“It was the result of many contributing factors, Bobby,” Castiel replied as the snowy wind tossed around the long hem of his coat, “But what's done is done. The cage is broken, Lucifer is planning to destroy the world, and he is determined to use Sam as a vessel. We came to you in the hope that you would be able to lend your expertise on the matter and help us stop -”

“What? Stop the devil?” Bobby interrupted, flustered and angered as he shivered in the snow, “Am I havin' a bad case of deja vu or somethin'? Didn't we already go through this?”

“He's back, Bobby,” Sam chattered, huddling close to Gabriel's petite form, “Please, you've – you've gotta help us.”

The old man heaved a great sigh in the cold, making a large gust of steam billow from his mouth. His head dipped down a bit as if he was actually considering what his answer was going to be. Adam silently hoped that Bobby would agree to help, or at least come along with them. Their group may have included three angels already, but the more the merrier. Seven against one seemed like pretty good odds. Bobby carefully raised his head again after a moment to glance between Dean and Sam.

“Alright. I'll do what I can. But just remember,” he warned, pointing a stern finger, “You boys owe me a house. I ain't stayin' in random-ass motel rooms for the rest of my life like a damn gypsy, Understand? I'm too old for that horseshit.”

“Consider it done,” Dean nodded, “But right now, we need a place to hide. Do you know of anywhere we could regroup and come up with a plan?”

“You mean, a place that even the devil wouldn't think of lookin'?” Bobby grumbled, rolling his eyes,“... Actually, yeah. I do. But it's way the hell out in the middle of nowhere.”

“What are the exact coordinates?” Castiel asked, stepping closer to carefully take Bobby's arm.

“Does it look like I know the longitude and latitude, son?” Bobby snapped, narrowing his eyes beneath the bill of his hat.

Adam gulped nervously. The old man was obviously still pissed about his house being blown up. Castiel shared a small look of frustration with Dean before turning his attention back to the old man.

“Just... Just think of the location. Picture it in your mind with as much detail as you can,” the angel instructed, “and I'll attempt to transport us there.”

At the sound of Castiel's directions, Dean instantly grabbed Sam and Cas by their arms. Then everyone was doing it, reaching out for each others' arms in a circle as if they were going to start singing a campfire song or something. Sam's large hand grasped one of Adam's biceps – and Michael took hold of his other. The teenager only had time to look up at Michael next to him and feel an odd rush of chemicals at the sensation before the scenery around them changed. The freezing snow and towering pine trees disappeared and were replaced with warm air and a clear blue sky.

Adam blinked several times, staring at Michael's face against the beautiful setting that had popped up around them. His heart was beating erratically, his stomach was fluttering, and his head felt light. And he honestly couldn't tell whether he was feeling all of this because of the sudden inertia of flying around... or because Michael looked so handsome with his hazel eyes glistening in natural sunlight...

“A pumpkin patch?”

Adam tore his eyes away from Michael's at the sound of Sam's bewildered voice. The teenager looked around to see that everyone had let go of each others' arms – except for Michael, who still had a firm grip on Adam's bicep – and they were all standing in a large field full of pumpkins. The orange gourds were ripe and plump, linked together by green vines and planted firmly in groups. Rolling green hills were surrounding the pumpkin patch, stretching out to touch the vast mountains that towered in the west. A small town was nestled in a green valley a few miles away, making it seem like this was a farming town with miles of crops but a limited supply of people.

“Nice,” Gabriel grinned, reaching down to pluck a tiny pumpkin from its vine, “If the boys get hungry, we can make them some pie. You'd like that, wouldn't you, freckles?”

Adam assumed that Gabriel was talking to Dean, but Dean didn't seem to be paying any attention to him. The oldest brother was too busy stepping closer to Bobby and dusting the melting snow from his jacket.

“Seriously, Bobby? A pumpkin patch?” he asked, sounding annoyed, “Of all the places in the world, this is what you come up with? Is this even the right place?”

“Watch your tone, boy,” Bobby snapped, narrowing his eyes at Dean, “As a matter of fact, it is the right place. So quit yer bitchin' and help me find the damn trapdoor. It's around here somewhere.”

Adam felt a small smile creeping across his own mouth as he watched everyone start to maneuver the pumpkins around. Though he had only known him for twenty minutes, Adam could tell that he was really going to like Bobby. Only in movies and TV did Adam think that old men were sassy and rude. Apart from the occasional visit from John Winchester, Adam was never around any older men. But now, there was literally a whole field full of them; two older brothers and four male role models that were all happy to be near Adam.

Especially Michael. Who still hadn't let go of his arm.

“Found it,” Sam called, from across the field.

When all of the guys scattered around the pumpkin patch started to migrate towards Sam, Adam took the time to look up at Michael. As much as the teenager enjoyed the feeling of Michael's warm hand drawn gently around his arm, he kind of needed the guy to let go so that he could walk. When they met eyes again, Michael seemed to realize what he was doing.

“I'm sorry,” the angel offered, carefully letting go to run a nervous hand through his own hair.

“It's all good,” Adam mumbled, desperately attempting to be casual.

Heat flared up on Adam's face as he started toward the other side of the field in a rush. It's all good? Why did Adam say that? Ugh, it was so lame! He should have said something like, 'it's no big deal,' or, 'no problem.' Now, Michael probably thought he was a dork! Although Adam wanted to smack himself for saying something so stupid to someone that he admired, the teenager settled for disappearing to the crowd of guys in front of him.

Apparently, there was a trapdoor hidden underneath the vines. Sam and Gabriel had shifted some of the large pumpkins away in order to lift up the heavy wooden door. Adam stepped up to peer around Dean's shoulder and saw a set of stairs leading underground. Everyone paused to raise their sights to Bobby, all wearing equal looks of curiosity.

“What's down there?” Dean asked.

Bobby reached into his vest pocket and retrieved a small flashlight. He clicked it on and started climbing down the stairs, motioning everyone to follow him before giving Dean an answer.

“This is an old fallout shelter,” the old man explained, his voice echoing up the stairs, “Built back in the fifties, when nukes were bein' dropped in Japan. An ol' hunter-friend of mine redesigned it into a safe house. Said I could use it anytime I need it.”

“Well, we definitely need it,” Sam breathed.

Adam adjusted himself inside Michael's warm jacket before following closely behind Dean. He had never been inside an actual fallout shelter before. Hell, Adam never did anything worthy of being called adventurous. He had been to more places and witnessed more action in the last twenty four hours with his brothers than he had in his entire life. But it wasn't a necessarily bad thing. Considering that the world was on its last leg, getting to hang out inside an old fallout shelter seemed pretty cool.

Bobby led the way inside, lifting up a large steel beam in order to push open the heavy metal door. When the old man went inside, he reached over and flipped a light switch on. Through the small gap of people in front of him, Adam could see the inside of the shelter. The walls, floors, and ceiling were all made of glossy gray material. There was a single table in the center of the room and a long hallway beyond it. Several wooden doors were positioned on either side and another small room was at the other end; a tiny kitchen, by the looks of the appliances. Everyone gathered around the first table to sit their duffel bags down and take deep breaths. Adam held onto his own though, not wanting to take off Michael's jacket to remove it.

“So, is this just a case of puttin' the jack back in the box or is it something I'm gonna need more alcohol for?” Bobby uttered, rubbing his forehead under the bill of his hat.

As Adam glanced around the circle to hear who was going to answer, Dean reached back to place a hand on his shoulder. The oldest Winchester was wearing a look of authority and apology. It was kind of the same expression Adam's mom wore when she was getting ready to talk to other adults about private things and wanted to politely excuse him.

“Why don't you go and pick out a room?” Dean suggested, his tone housing positivity, “Any one you want. Your choice.”

Adam may have been the youngest person in the room, but he was not an idiot. He could tell that he wasn't exactly welcome to listen to the conversation about what to do with Satan. But to be honest, he didn't want to stick around anyway. He was more than happy to leave the Justice League to their private discussion. Adam knew there wasn't anything he could truly offer to help them. After forcing a nod, Adam wandered away from the group at the table. They all remained silent as he went, as if they were waiting for him to be out of range before talking. But again, Adam didn't mind. Maybe his absence would help them focus on a plan.

Once he was in the hallway of doors, Adam simply chose the closest one to his right. He pushed it open and flipped on the light before closing it behind him. The teenager was alone again for the second time since he woke up in the hospital. The room around him consisted of a single-sized bed, a small dresser, and a wooden chair in the farthest corner. It was roughly the size of a jail cell, big enough to sustain life but small enough to be a constant reminder that it wasn't home. Adam wandered over and sat on the edge of the bed, noticing a layer of dust on the dark-green blanket.

The silence was kind of disturbing this time around. Instead of being a comfort, the absence of sound was making Adam feel lonely. The teenager's eyes fell to the faded denim jacket wrapped around his torso and he briefly thought about calling Michael, just so he wouldn't have to be alone. But he didn't have the guts to do it. He was still worried about his flustered actions from earlier; still embarrassed about saying 'it's all good.' Plus, he didn't want to Michael to think he was desperate for companionship or anything. He didn't want to come off as 'clingy.' Who would want to hang out with someone like that?

Instead of speaking, Adam decided to fill the void with music. He was suddenly grateful that Michael had appointed his iPod as a necessity because music seemed like a beautiful alternative to the silence. The teenager shifted his shoulder bag around and unzipped the top flap, reaching down inside to grasp the tiny device. He unraveled his earbuds from around the iPod and stuck one in his ear, leaving the other to dangle freely. Adam hoped that the battery wasn't completely dead from it's time in his room. But by some miracle, the screen actually came on when he pressed the button.

And the very first song took his breath away.

The instant he heard the soft background melody start to play, Adam's eyes were swimming in tears. His heart was thumping in his chest, propelling agony through his veins and making goosebumps rise on his skin. He had listened to this song more times than he could count. But this was the first time he actually felt it.

Every time I think of you, I always catch my breath.

A soulful whimper squeaked from Adam's throat at the sound of the painful lyrics. He covered his mouth with his hand as tears suddenly streamed down his cheeks. Oh, God. Of all the hundreds of songs on his iPod, why did this have to be the first one to play?! He thought he was finished grieving for his mother, but now the song was bringing her back; making him remember her in a way he didn't want to.

As Adam listened to the heartbreaking song and got lost beneath new waves of grief, he saw a hand reaching toward his face. He quickly raised his head and blinked a few tears away to see that Michael was standing in front of him. Adam assumed that the angel must have walked in while he was distracted. Michael's hand made it all the way to Adam's cheek, where it carefully cupped the teenager's face. Though his sight was a little blurry, Adam could see that honest concern was written all over Michael's expression. He appeared confused and pained by Adam's grief. His thumb gently wiped away a stray tear while he slowly knelt down to Adam's eye level.

“What's the matter?” the angel asked, hazel eyes searching.

Adam sniffled a little, trying to cover up his emotions. He didn't want Michael to see him crying like this; like a whiny little kid who had gotten hurt on the playground or something. The song, however, was still playing in one of his ears which made it impossible to stop crying altogether.

“My – my mom,” Adam whimpered, wiping his face, “She, uh... She used to listen to this song every time John left. I guess she thought it would convince her that she didn't miss him. But it didn't work. Because it... it always made her cry.”

Adam was recalling the terrible image in his mind; the sight of his mother standing at the window while the radio played, clinging to a pillow from the couch to muffle her tears as she watched John Winchester's Impala drive off for the millionth time. It was part of the reason Adam hated when John showed up. Because he knew the guy would leave again soon and his mother would be a total wreck when he disappeared. And she would play this song on repeat until she finally came to terms with his absence again...

Michael grimaced at the sound of Adam's broken sentence as if it physically pained him to see Adam so upset. The angel's hand fell away from the teenager's face, where he grabbed the free earbud and brought it to his own ear. They both listened to the song for a moment, staring at each other deeply while the powerful melody chimed on.

“It's a beautiful song,” Michael mentioned quietly, barely audible under the tune.

Adam nodded a bit, agreeing with the words. Yeah, it was a nice song. Because it made him think of his mother every single time he heard it. In the car, at the supermarket, at parties. He was forced to picture her crying in his mind each time; standing at the window forever, longing for a man that would never come back.

And now, it was Adam's turn to stand and wait for a mother that would never come back...

Another sob escaped Adam's throat at the thought and Michael flinched at the sound. It seemed that watching Adam cry had upset him to the breaking point. In a swift motion, the angel carefully tugged both earbuds from their ears and gently plucked the iPod from Adam's hand. He placed the device near the pillow on the bed, deliberately pushing it away as if he was trying to physically get rid of Adam's grief.

The teenager blinked strangely at his discarded iPod before bringing his eyes back to Michael, wondering why he did it. The angel was kneeling almost completely in the floor now, positioned a foot in front of the teenager's legs at an angle in which he had to look up into Adam's face. There was a new expression in Michael's features, too. He didn't look heartbroken and sympathetic anymore. Now, he appeared determined. His hazel eyes were set firmly on Adam's face and the edges of his moist lips were twitching with a hidden smile. It seemed like he had just come up with a clever idea or something. And Adam desperately wanted to know what he was thinking.

Before he said anything, Michael raised both of his hands and cupped them towards each other as if he was holding an invisible basketball. Adam sniffled and wiped his face with his denim jacket sleeve, no longer thinking of his mother, but focusing on Michael's hands. What was he doing? It looked like he was about to do some more magic or something. The angel's eyes were boring into the teenager's when he finally started speaking.

“In the beginning,” Michael said, his voice low and steady, “there was darkness.”

Adam's mouth fell open as he watched smoke suddenly cloud between Michael's palms. It took up a small space between them, roughly the size of a globe. It swirled around like a live version of Michael's words. Adam gulped and glanced between Michael's smug face and the darkness between his hands, feeling a little confused. What exactly was he doing? Was he trying to distract Adam from his grief by giving a show-and-tell presentation of the dawn of creation? Even though the notion threw him off, Adam secretly enjoyed it. He remained silent, waiting for Michael to continue.

“My father moved upon the face of the deep and commanded light to appear,” the angel continued, smiling a little, “... and it did.”

Between his hands, light began to shine against the darkness. The scene was changing fast between them; shifting from dark to light, spinning around in circles, showing glimpses of the earth dancing with the sun.

“He separated day from night,” Michael continued, his voice like silk against the silence, “Heaven from the Earth, and land from sea. He created every fish, even to the depths of the ocean trenches.”

The magic scene in Michael's hands displayed sights of jellyfish floating up from his palms and crabs crawling along the ocean floor. A glowing fish shimmered by, as if it was swimming in the air.

“Just as he created every bird in the sky.”

Cranes, geese, doves, ravens, swans, ducks, owls, pelicans – they all burst from Michael's hands in miniature form, flying in circles around his fingers and flapping toward the ceiling. Adam's mouth fell farther open. It was like watching a movie come to life! He felt like he could reach out and touch them. Like they were real.

“Every creature that walks the earth was made by my father's hands. I know this, because I watched it. Every mouse -”

All of the birds morphed into a tiny mouse in his hands that squeaked and scurried around.

“To every tiger.”

The mouse suddenly transformed into a giant tiger's head, from which a loud growl ripped through the room. Adam flinched at the sound but there was a genuine smile on his lips. How was Michael doing this? Why was he so determined to make a point? All Adam knew for sure was that he was loving this show. And Michael was the best part. His eyes were full of passion, brimming with pride and glowing with honesty. He was doing his damnedest to convince Adam of creation. To be honest, the guy had already succeeded. But Adam didn't want to stop him. He was enjoying the show too much.

The tiger disappeared from Michael's hands and the smoke carefully dulled to a gray mist. Adam's eyes flickered to meet Michael's and he could see that the angel was staring very hard at him already. There was a look on his face that Adam faintly recognized. It was the same look that he, himself, wore years ago when he was at the prom with Kristen McGee. It was the same look he gave her... just before he kissed her...

“But, on the sixth day,” Michael began, allowing the smoke to disappear from his hands so that he could clutch Adam's knees, “my father made his most precious creation of all.”

Adam's heart was beating fast, thumping forcefully against his ribcage. As Michael spoke, he was also inching higher; bringing his face closer and closer to Adam's. And, oh, his strong hands were clutching Adam's knees so tightly. So tenderly. Adam's eyes flickered to every part of Michael's face as he watched it draw nearer. His deep eyes were full of emotion, his cheeks were tinted with pink, his lips – gah, his lips – were so open and moist. Adam could barely remember how to breathe.

“From the dust of the earth, he created a man in his own image...”

Shit. Michael's voice sounded so good. The guy's face was mere inches from Adam's. One slight nudge and their lips would be meeting. And though it scared him a little, Adam rather like the idea. His body was physically reacting to Michael's close proximity; heart racing, hands clammy, face draining of blood. But, good God, Adam wanted their mouths to meet. In that moment, he would have given anything for it. Michael's hazel eyes were pointed toward Adam's lips when he whispered his next words.

“And, do you know what my father named him?”

Adam's eyes were tracing every inch of Michael's face as the two of them shared the same hot breath. Though he was hoping their mouths would collide, Adam also knew the answer to Michael's question. His own name was teetering on the edge of his lips – when a voice interrupted from beyond the door.

Bieber,” Gabriel called, sounding far away, “Paging Justin Bieder! Hey! Biebs! Soup's on, kiddo! Come and get it!”

The sudden interruption made Adam and Michael both flinch out of their intense moment. Michael took a large breath and tore his eyes away from Adam's. letting his sight wander away and become clouded with emotion. Adam, on the other hand, didn't want their moment to slip away. No! They had been so close! They couldn't just let a distraction ruin the moment! Not when it meant so much!

But Michael seemed to have been changed by Gabriel's voice. He stared off blankly for a second as if he was trying to come to terms with his new emotions. His firm hands carefully released Adam's knees and he slowly raised back to his feet. After he was standing, he held out a hand to Adam, offering the teenager some assistance.

“You... you need to eat,” the angel said quietly, his voice empty and eyes turned away.

Though it felt like his heart was throbbing with despair, Adam took the hand that was offered to him and allowed Michael to raise him up. The teenager deliberately clung to Michael's warm fingers for an extra few seconds – remembering how those same fingers could create such a spectacular show – before forcing himself to let go. Michael, of course, was close behind when he ventured back into the hallway.

Part of Adam was disappointed that they didn't get to have their moment together. In some ways, it felt like he had been denied a chance to show his true feelings. Because despite all of their differences, Adam felt something for Michael that couldn't be explained. Old or young, guy or girl, human or angel. Adam didn't care. Whatever Michael was – everything Michael was – Adam wanted it. Michael appealed to him the same way girls did, because of their beauty and fire. And Michael definitely had both, especially when talking about the dawn of time.

But Adam knew that he couldn't do anything about his feelings right now. Not when his brothers were always hovering around. Though he may not have known the Winchesters very well, Adam was pretty sure that they wouldn't approve of his feelings for Michael. Besides, even if they did, what advice could they give him?

Dean and Sam probably didn't know what it was like to fall in love with an angel.

Chapter Text

Adam was fully aware of Michael's presence when the two of them walked back into the main part of the fallout shelter. The angel was hovering close behind the teenager as he walked toward the kitchen. Close enough to bump into him when he made the sudden stop in the doorway. Both of them took a cautious step away from each other afterward, faces pink and eyes darting away. It was painfully obvious that they were still being affected by the private moment they had just shared in the bedroom.

And unfortunately, everyone else could see it too.

Castiel, Gabriel, and Sam were all loitering around the small table in the room and snacking on various foods when Adam and Michael entered. And they all paused their conversation to give the new comers a strange look. Adam hated when everyone stared at him like that. But it felt even worse now, after his amazing moment was ruined. Adam was paranoid enough to think that his and Michael's almost-kiss was actually written on his face; as if everyone else could plainly see how he truly felt about Michael.

“Everything okay?” Sam asked, glancing between them.

Adam could tell that Sam was a bit suspicious and so was Gabriel. The blonde angel was practically staring a hole through Michael, not convinced by his overly casual behavior. But Adam was determined to keep their moment to himself. The song, the story of creation, the close kiss – all of that stuff belonged to Adam and Michael and no one else.

“Yeah,” the teenager said quickly, walking up to the table to look at all the food, “I'm starving.”

Adam may have been trying to change the subject but he was also telling the truth. His stomach gurgled with delight at the very smell of food. Geez, when was the last time he ate? Everything on the table – the steaming bucket of chicken, the stack of warm burgers, the plate of fresh baked cookies – all looked so damn delicious. Adam was a little confused about where all of this fresh food came from because he knew this stuff wouldn't have been in laying around a fallout shelter. But he had an inkling that Gabriel was responsible for the feast. Because the shortest angel was happily stuffing his own face with candy.

Even though Adam walked up to admire the table of food, Michael remained close to the kitchen doorway. Though he only stole a small glance at him, Adam could see that Michael's hazel eyes refused to look directly back at him. Michael was looking at Castiel instead, seeming unwilling to acknowledge that Adam was staring.

“Castiel,” Michael uttered, voice low, “I need to speak with you. Privately.”

Adam toward around fully, feeling confused and anxious. Michael wanted to talk to Castiel? In private? But why? Did he need a confidant for some reason? What did he want to talk about? Was it about Lucifer? Was it about Adam? As questions raced through the teenager's mind, Castiel gave a slight nod and stepped firmly toward his brother. Worry took root in Adam's heart as he watched the two angels leave the room together. The teenager was almost certain that Michael was going to tell Castiel about their moment together. He just didn't know why...

“Adam, would you like a beer?”

Adam spun around at the sound of Sam's voice, feeling his own mouth fall open. He thought that Sam was poking fun at him, teasing him about being too young to drink by offering him something that he couldn't have. But no. Sam was actually being serious. A cold beer bottle was in his outstretched hand while a polite smile flashed on his lips. Adam was frozen for a few seconds, only able to blink between his older brother and the beer in his hand.

“But, I'm... I'm only nineteen,” Adam hesitantly reminded.

“If you wanna get hung up on your age, then go right ahead,” Gabriel smirked, taking a giant bite out of his Butterfinger and leaning back in his chair, “But when a Winchester offers you a beer, kid, you take it. No matter how old you are. Trust me. You've earned it.”

Adam took a breath before giving in to Gabriel's persuasion. He took the beer from Sam and snapped the cap off, but paused to smell the contents first. The scent was thick with fermentation, just as he always expected. Adam looked up at his older brother with appreciation before taking his first swig of alcohol. The taste was bitter and terrible but Adam gulped it anyway. Sam watched him with a subtle smile, obviously enjoying the sight of his younger brother drinking his first beer. Maybe this was like some Winchester initiation thing. Maybe having your first underage beer was a passage into being a badass or something.

“Grab yourself a plate and dig in,” Sam requested, gesturing to the full table as he sat down next to Gabriel.

After one more drink, Adam did as Sam said. He instantly grabbed a plate from the end of the table and began filling it, starting with the chicken. His mouth was watering at all the smells, making his stomach gargle louder. It felt like he hadn't eaten in so long that he had forgotten what food tasted like. Oh, man, those burgers looked so greasy and delicious. And those powered doughnuts looked sinfully sweet. God, Adam was so hungry.

Once his plate was full to the max, Adam plopped himself down at the table and started shoveling the food into his mouth. That first bite of warm, succulent chicken made his entire mouth tingle. Shit, food had never tasted so good. For a few moments, Adam didn't speak or even look up. He was solely focused on feverishly chewing and swallowing, giving his stomach something to digest besides its own bile. As soon as his body had been brought back from the brink of starvation, Adam took the time to look back up at Sam.

“Where did all of this food come from?” the teenager asked.

“That would be me,” Gabriel said, proving Adam's assumption correct, “Midas may have the touch of gold, but I've got the touch of gluttony. Isn't that right, Sammy-boy?”

Sam rolled his eyes, but nodded. Adam gnawed away on a chicken bone as he looked along the full table again. He felt like he should have been surprised by it all, but he whole 'angelic magic' thing was kind of growing on him... Especially the kind of magic that Michael used to tell his bible story. Adam swallowed a mouth-full of food in a rush, feeling jittery. He didn't want to think about their private moment right now; not when Sam and Gabriel were staring at him.

“So, what are you guys gonna do about Satan?” the teenager asked, trying to change the subject again.

Adam didn't miss that Sam and Gabriel gave each other a look of weariness. From their tense body language alone, Adam was able to figure out that no one had come up with a plan yet. Sam raked a hand through his lengthy hair, sighing loudly.

“Dean and Bobby are consulting every option that they can think of to try and find a way to put the cage back together,” Sam carefully explained, “But so far, it... it looks like the only way to stop him... is to kill him.”

Adam took another drink from his beer bottle to wash down some of the food before giving Sam a strange look. Why did it seem like he had difficulty saying that? And why did Sam glance toward Gabriel afterward, as if he felt bad about mentioning it? It wasn't until Adam noticed the seriousness on Gabriel's face that he remembered that all the angels were related. Lucifer was as much of a brother to Gabriel and Michael as Adam was to Sam and Dean. No wonder the thought of him dying made Gabriel upset...

While Adam stared between Sam and Gabriel, something moving on the floor caught his eye. The teenager looked down to see a familiar dog roaming around near the table. It was Dickie, the Jack Russel Terrier that had been snooping around in Adam's room the day before. Adam had to double-take at him out of shock. How did that dog get here? Did one of the angels 'poof' him to the hideout?

“Uh,” Adam uttered, pointing his fork toward the dog, “How did he get here?”

Sam and Gabriel both glanced over the side of the table to give Dickie a couple of smiles.

“Oh. He's a 'free range' kind of dog,” Gabriel shrugged, seeming to have gotten his sense of humor back, “You know, he comes and goes when he pleases. Although, I'm pretty sure he does a lot more coming than going. Am I right, moosie?”

Sam, once again, rolled his eyes at Gabriel's witty remark but continued to watch the dog. Adam took a closer look for himself, able to see that Dickie was standing on top of something. It was flat and made of paper – and covered in pictures of naked women.

“That's my magazine!” Adam gasped, unable to believe it, “How – how the hell did he get it off the fireplace mantle?! Why does he have it?!”

Dickie was carelessly lapping at the front cover, licking the busty lady pictured in her underwear. Adam was at a loss for words. There was no way that dog could have reached it! Someone must have gotten it down for him. Or he was some kind of magical porn-magnet, able to claim anything sexual within a hundred yards or something.

“Sorry about that,” Sam said, nervously scratching the back of his head, “Dickie sort of has a problem.”

“We're working on it,” Gabriel added, “It's a serious issue. He's had it for a while. It's gonna take some time.”

Adam huffed a breath of exasperation as he stuck his fork into the pile of food on his plate. So much for trying to keep his only source of porn in good condition... While Adam took another drink from his beer – and Dickie helped himself to the porn magazine on the floor – Sam pushed his chair back and got up from the table.

“I think I'm gonna get another beer out of the fridge,” he sighed, starting for the door on the left side of the kitchen, “Adam, do you want another?”

“Uh, no,” the teenager declined politely, “I think I'll just work on this one for a while.”

“Okay,” Sam smiled.

Adam was aware that Sam deliberately took the time to meet eyes with Gabriel, locking him in a specific type of stare before asking his next question.

“Gabe, do you want want something from in here?” he said, tone steady – and kind of mischievous.

The smirk that flashed on Gabriel's face made Adam curious. Was there something about Sam's question that Adam was missing? Was there a hidden meaning in there somewhere? As Adam pondered on it, Gabriel got up from the table and started for the door himself.

“You bet your ass I do,” the angel grinned, following Sam.

Adam's eyes narrowed as he watched the pair of them exit the room and close the door behind them. The teenager was left alone in the kitchen to stare at the door in confusion. What the hell was all that about? Did they plan on leaving the room together on purpose? Were they wanting to discuss something private, like Michael did with Castiel? Did they want to leave Adam alone so that he would bond with Dickie or something? The teenager glanced down at the porn-crazed dog laying on his magazine and frowned. No, that couldn't possibly be why. Adam took a long breath as he reached for his beer bottle again. Maybe he was just thinking about it too much. Maybe Sam and Gabriel really did go into the other room to get a couple of beers.

While Adam ate alone at the table, his mind wandered back to his and Michael's private moment again. He was picturing it in his mind; seeing Michael's face on a steady rise to meet his own, watching his lips come closer and closer. Adam wished that he could understand why his heart pounded the way it did when Michael was so close to him. His body reacted to Michael the same way an infant would react to its mothers voice. Michael woke Adam up; made him feel things he had never felt before, made him see things in a way never saw them before. And the strangest part, was that Adam had only known him for less than two days... or was it longer?

Adam chugged the rest of his beer, feeling liked he had just solved a difficult puzzle. Maybe that was the reason Michael affected him so much; because Adam had been his vessel once. That meant they had known each other for a long time, right? Michael said that they had been in the cage together, fighting Lucifer. Maybe they had bonded during all that time and Adam just didn't remember it. Maybe that was why he felt so comfortable around Michael and preferred his company over the Winchesters'. He just wished he knew for sure what had happened.

Adam's mind may not have remembered being with Michael, but his soul sure did.

The teenager sighed out loud and placed the empty bottle back on table, lazily flicking his thumb against the wet rim. The alcohol was giving his stomach a tiny tingle, which made him think that he was on his way to tipsiness. Now that he thought about it, another beer didn't sound too bad. Maybe if he got drunk enough, Adam wouldn't have to worry about what Michael and Castiel were talking about in private.

Instead of calling to ask Sam to bring an extra bottle, Adam climbed carefully to his feet and started toward the door. He had to step over Dickie and his ruined magazine in order to get there, but as soon as he was close enough, Adam pushed the door open -

And saw Sam and Gabriel doing something with each other.

At first, Adam thought that they were fighting because their hands were pushing on each other and they were standing incredibly too close together. But after hearing a quiet giggle, watching Sam hoist Gabriel up to sit him on the counter, and seeing Gabriel's legs circle around Sam's waist, Adam was absolutely sure that they were making out. Their shaggy hair was blocking their faces but Adam didn't need to see the kissing to know that it was happening. Sam and Gabriel were definitely tonguing each other. And Adam was frozen in the doorway, unable to tear his wide eyes away from it.

Luckily, Gabriel spotted him after a few seconds and instantly pushed Sam away. And once Sam backed up and turned around to meet his little brother's stare, his face went paler than a fresh sail. Adam's eyes flashed between the angel perched on the counter and the tall man standing near him, feeling shocked. Sam and Gabriel were a couple?! But how?! Sam began to cough with discomfort, appearing utterly humiliated.

“Um,” the younger Winchester squeaked, briefly coughing and gesturing toward Gabriel, “I... we – we were, um...”

“We were checking for cavities,” Gabriel blurted, chuckling nervously, “You know... w – with our tongues...”

While Sam shot Gabriel a glare, Adam took a tiny step forward. The initial shock of seeing two guys kiss had begun to wear off and now he was stuck wondering how the hell it was possible. Adam didn't think that Sam and Gabriel were that close. But now that he thought about it, Adam never saw either of them without each other.

“You – you guys are together?” he asked, his voice quiet.

Sam raked his hand through his hair again, revealing a larger portion of his pale face before he reached for a stool nearby. His shaky hands placed the small seat in the middle of the room and he sat down on it, facing Adam. After taking a few bracing breaths, Sam met Adam's eyes again. There was a certain vulnerability on Sam's face now, like he was about to tell his biggest secret and was worried about the reaction he was going to receive from it.

“Yes,” Sam eventually answered, searching Adam's face, “Gabe and I are together.”

Adam wasn't sure how he felt about this news. It was surprising, to say the least. When he first met them, Adam had assumed that Dean and Sam were probably just like John Winchester; sassy, rude, ready to run at the first sign of commitment. And though Adam barely knew John at all, he did know that John wasn't the sort of guy to put up with dudes kissing other dudes – especially if it was being done by his own son. So finding out that Sam was with a guy was a huge shock.

“You're... gay?” Adam asked, feeling confused.

“Whoa there, Milli-Vanilli,” Gabriel interrupted, hopping off the counter to step to Sam's side, “Let's not go putting labels on things. Nobody here is gay. And they're certainly not straight, either. In fact, it's probably safe to say that everybody is a little bit of both.”

Adam's eyebrows knitted together at Gabriel's riddled words. What the hell was he talking about?

“He means... sexual orientation doesn't matter, because... because love is blind,” Sam explained, attempting to rescue the conversation by meeting Adam's eyes again, “Love is genderless, colorless, ageless. And yeah, Gabriel and I are together, but that doesn't make us gay. It makes us -”

“Two smitten idiots who have a dog with a porn addiction,” Gabriel finished, grinning.

Sam sighed at Gabriel's interruption but bobbed his head.

“Yeah. That's us,” the man agreed, looking back up at his little brother, “Look, Adam. I know that it wasn't fair to let you find out about it by catching us in the middle of a make out session -”

“Which we're going to be finishing later, right, moose?” Gabe asked quietly.

But,” Sam said loudly, ignoring Gabriel's question, “I hope that it doesn't freak you out. We should have told you about it sooner, but we were kind of busy avoiding Lucifer. And I was – I was afraid that you'd peg us for something that we're not.... Does it bother you?”

Adam took a long-overdue breath as he glanced between Sam and Gabriel's anxious eyes. He could see the nervous anticipation written on their faces. It was clear to see that they actually cared about Adam's opinion of them and the notion made Adam feel kind of awed. Did they really think he would judge them for loving each other? No, Adam couldn't possibly be mad at Sam for loving a guy. Especially when he, himself, was kind of falling for a guy of his own...

“No, it doesn't bother me,” Adam replied honestly, “I just didn't -”

The door behind Adam swung open, making everyone jump. Dean casually strolled into the room, seeming like he was on his way to get something out of the refrigerator. But he stopped near the door and glanced around at everyone after seeing all of their surprised faces. It must have been obvious that they were in the middle of a private discussion because Dean made a strange face at their abrupt silence.

“What's going on in here?” the eldest Winchester asked, confused.

“Oh, we were just telling the kid about the power of angelic love,” Gabriel grinned, batting his eyelashes.

After hearing Gabe's answer, the color seemed to drain from Dean's face. He looked outraged in an instant, filling the room with discomfort again.

“You told him about me and Cas?!” Dean gasped, overcome with embarrassment.

Adam's mouth fell open for the second time. Dean and Cas?! They were together, too?! What the hell was going on in this family? Why were all the Winchesters paired off with angels? Ugh, Adam felt like he was starring in a bad episode of Maury or something! Sam shook his head, appearing amused.

“No, Dean,” he said sweetly, “but you just did.”

Dean's cheeks faded into a darker shade of red as his green eyes hesitantly rose to meet Adam's. The teenager was too shocked to even move, let alone speak. But he wished that he could somehow tell Dean the same thing he had told Sam. He didn't care if Dean was with Cas, or Sam was with Gabriel. Hell, Adam wouldn't even care if Bobby turned out to be Buddha and was having a fling with Aphrodite. The only thing Adam cared about was that he had a family that cared about him. And to be honest, he was sort of glad to hear that his brothers were so open to the idea of angelic love. Because it made it easier for him to feel the same way about Michael...

“I... uh...” Dean gulped, obviously struggling for words, “See, the thing – the thing is -”

“You don't have to explain,” Adam interrupted, smiling a little, “I get it. Angels are awesome, all you need is love, yadda yadda. I'm cool with it. Honestly.”

Dean seemed to relax a little bit after Adam's reassuring words but his cheeks stayed as red as a traffic light. Apparently, he didn't have any intention of outing himself and Castiel anytime soon. An awkward silence rested in the room for a second as everyone tried to find a new subject to discuss besides their own personal relationships. But luckily, Sam saved the conversation again.

“Did you and Bobby find anything?” he asked quietly, eying Dean.

Dean seemed to shake himself out of his own discomfort before finishing the journey to the fridge. He was careful to keep his sight set on the food inside, instead of the people in the room.

“Nope,” the oldest brother sighed, “Couldn't find a damn thing about the cage written anywhere. But I decided to call it a night, anyway.”

“Call it a night? Sure,” Gabriel scoffed, voice full of sarcasm,“Let's all just snuggle up in our comfy beds and drift to sleep while Luci blazes up another part of the world trying to look for us.”

Dean slammed the refrigerator door shut and turned a solid glare toward Gabriel. The air of the room changed drastically in an instant, filling with tangible tension.

“Bobby has been through a lot of shit today,” Dean said, tone as hard as a scolding parent, “Hell, we all have. How are any of us supposed to figure out a way to shut Lucifer back in his box when we can't even hold our own heads up?”

Adam gulped with discomfort and dropped his eyes to the floor. He knew that he wasn't the target of Dean's biting words, but he could still feel the pain of them. Dean was right, as he usually was. Angels might not have needed to rest or recover, but humans did. Yes, the world was probably being destroyed one town at a time right now, but the Winchesters were only human. It was going to take a little bit more time to get everything figured out.

“Adam,” Dean sighed.

The teenager instantly looked up at his older brother, seeing that he had lightened up a little.

“You should get a shower and some sleep,” he suggested, “Sam, you too. Tomorrow is probably going to be an absolute pain in the ass and we all need to be ready for it.”

Adam filled his lungs and carefully exhaled, letting his eyes wander to each face around the room. Oh, man. Tomorrow – and every day after it, until Lucifer was stopped – really was going to be a pain in the ass, wasn't it? The teenager gave his oldest brother a nod before turning to walk back out of the room. He wasn't really heading in any particular direction. He just needed to escape the room and be by himself for awhile.

Adam noticed that Dickie had fallen asleep on top of his porn magazine as he walked through the kitchen to get to the long hall of doors. Part of him wanted to be mad at the dog. But how could he be when the little guy looked so adorable? Dickie was sprawled out on the Playboy with his paws in the air, snoring quietly. Adam only shook his head as he walked out of the kitchen. At least someone was still having a good time...

While he wandered down the hallway to find the bathroom and prepare for a shower, Adam heard a faint noise coming from nearby. It sounded like whispers or distant voices. The teenager's feet drew to a halt as he looked toward the large metal door at the entrance of the shelter. He was expecting to see Bobby or someone sitting at the table, researching ways to defeat Lucifer. But the space was vacant. Adam took a step closer to the sound, realizing that the heavy metal door was cracked open.

And the voices belonged to Castiel and Michael.

Taken with curiosity, Adam instantly tip-toed his way closer to the open door. He desperately wanted to know what they were talking about and find out if Michael had told Cas about their moment. Hoping to get some answers, Adam loitered near the door; staying as silent as possible and waiting to hear what was being said.

“ - these emotions are so difficult to understand,” Michael's lovely voice said, slightly echoing down the set of stairs, “How did you do it, Castiel? How did you manage them when you first rebelled?”

“In many ways, I'm still figuring it out,” Castiel's voice replied, “but with a bit of guidance and time, I came to learn that not all emotions can be controlled. Anger, fear, love. All of those things are instinctual, and prolonged exposure to humans will only magnify those feelings. But allowing yourself to feel them does not mean that you're giving in to weakness. It simply means you are willing to experience things from a human perspective. Especially love, brother. Love is the most potent emotion of all.”

A small silence lingered between the two angels for a moment while Adam stared blankly toward the wooden table in the center of the room. Why were they talking about emotions?

“And... and you know this because of Dean?” Michael prompted, “You've experienced it first hand with him?”

“Yes,” Castiel answered carefully, “Dean has opened my eyes to many things, but love is something that I cherish the most. Because we felt it together.”

“Exactly,” Michael said, his voice weary, “It took consent from both sides of your union in order to transform your platonic relationship into a romantic one.”

“And you fear that the boy does not feel the same way you do?” Castiel assumed.

Chills tingled down Adam's entire spine. The boy? Were they talking about Adam? Was Michael feeling something for him? The teenager eased even closer to the gap of the door, desperate to hear Michael's response.

“Why would he?” Michael replied, “I've given him no reason to feel anything toward me but distrust.”

Adam's eyes narrowed at the door. Distrust? Ugh, how could Michael possibly think that? Adam trusted him more than anyone!

“If his trust is what you desire,” Castiel said quietly, “then perhaps you should try being honest with him. Tell him of what happened during his time as your vessel and explain your true feelings for him.”

“But... What if my words only cut him deeper?” Michael asked, his voice sounding full of anxiety.

“The only way to know for sure is to tell him,” Castiel answered.

Adam felt like running outside. He felt like bolting up the stairs, racing up to Michael, and telling him that it was okay; that he could handle anything Michael wanted to tell him. But his feet didn't move. As much as Adam wanted so badly to hear Michael's explanation – for his missing memories, secret love, and everything – he also didn't want to get hurt again. What if Michael was right? What if hearing about what happened in the cage only cut him deeper? Adam was already grieving for his mother. Would he be able to bear even more pain?

Though part of him wanted to stand at the door and wait for Michael to come back inside, Adam forced himself to step away. He knew he shouldn't have been eavesdropping on Michael's private conversation and he shouldn't have heard anything that was said just now. But somewhere deep down in the pit of his soul, Adam was content with what he had learned. Because even if Michael never took Castiel's advice and told him how he felt, Adam knew one thing for certain.

Between Adam and Michael, love ran both ways.

Chapter Text

Adam made sure to be gentle with Michael's jacket when he laid it on the bathroom sink. The laminated visitor's pass was fogging with steam from the shower. Hot water was already running inside the nearby stall, beckoning Adam with its warm allure. He was naked and about to step under the cascading water, but his eyes were fixed on the denim jacket. All he had to do was take a shower and go to bed. But those two simple tasks seemed so difficult now that he knew about Michael's secret feelings.

While he quickly washed up, Adam was trying to figure out how he felt about the private conversation he had overheard. He knew that he shouldn't have been listening, but he was kind of glad that he did. Because now, Adam knew that Michael was feeling something for him. Castiel kept going on and on about love and how it was the most important emotion of all. Did that mean the Michael loved Adam? Or did it just mean that Michael was a confused angel, struggling to understand human emotions? Ugh, it was so damn frustrating to not know for sure.

Once he was done in the shower, Adam toweled off and climbed into a fresh pair of boxers, sweatpants, and a Nirvana t-shirt that he had thrown into his emergency bag. His eyes were back to staring at the denim jacket on the sink as he got dressed, mind still stuck on thoughts of Michael. Adam always had a feeling that Michael was withholding more information about the cage. But it never dawned on him that the information might be hurtful. What if my words only cut him deeper? Oh, God, what if they did? What if Michael's knowledge of the cage gave Adam more pain than seeing his own mother's grave? Adam wanted to know the truth. But he also wanted to keep what was left of his heart in working condition. And he didn't want to see Michael in a bad light. Not after realizing how much he cared about him...

Adam grabbed the denim jacket off the sink before ducking back out into the hallway. He was expecting to see Dean or Sam loitering around or at least one of the angels. But the entire place appeared to be vacant. It seemed like everyone was already in bed and being alone made Adam feel worse. He wished that he could talk to someone. He wished that he could tell someone about his current situation and ask for advice on what to do. But the one person that he wanted to talk to was the very same person that he wanted to talk about. So instead of hunting someone else down to get things off his chest, Adam just wandered back to the bedroom he chose earlier. Maybe sleeping on it would help him cope with it.

There wasn't a single window in the room of course, because it was underground, so when Adam turned off the light, the sheer amount of darkness kind of startled him. He quickly flipped the light switch back on and left it that way. The fluorescent light was annoyingly bright and flickering a little, but the whole room was visible, at least. And Adam wasn't about to go to sleep in the dark. Not while Lucifer was still wandering around.

The teenager grabbed his iPod from the bed and rolled down the blankets before crawling inside. He eyed the music player in his hand after he laid down, seeing that Michael had accidentally pressed the 'repeat' button when he moved it. Now, the battery was almost dead because it had been playing his mom's song over and over again for a few hours. Adam toyed with the earbuds between his fingers, debating on putting them in. He knew that the song might make him upset – but he also knew it might remind him of that amazing moment he shared with Michael. Maybe listening to its soft melody would help him recall the sight of Michael's lips inching closer to his own...

Adam stuffed an earbud into his ear before rolling over to stare at the wall. He dragged Michael's jacket over his shoulders, tucking the warm fabric tightly under his chin while he listened to the song again. This time, he wasn't picturing his mother standing at the window crying. No. This time, he was picturing Michael telling the story of creation. As the music played, Adam was imagining Michael's magic hands reaching up to tenderly cup his face and pull him closer. In his mind, he was feeling Michael's hot breath against his mouth and watching the angel's hazel eyes search his own. Adam fell asleep to the thought of finally getting to kiss Michael...

But then, there was fire.

It was everywhere, all around him in every direction. The flames were reaching higher than Adam could see. Fear and panic were quick to invade him as he spun around in frantic circles. Where the hell was he? Was he at home? Was his house on fire? Where was everyone else? Were his brothers okay? Was Michael okay?

Adam shielded himself from the searing flames as he searched for anything he could recognize. But there was nothing except fire. No tables or chairs or doors. There weren't even walls or a ceiling. Adam wasn't inside a building. He was somewhere outside – or underground. The teenager looked up to search for the sky, but it wasn't there. Just more flames raining down like a meteor shower. Adam's heart raced with terror. How was he going to get out of here? He was surrounded on all sides!

Help!” he called out, voice echoing.

The sound of crackling fire was his only reply. The flames were inching closer around him in a tightening circle, closing off the space he was standing in. Holy shit, it was so hot! Adam could barely breathe, let alone move. Where did everyone go? Why did they leave him here to die? Didn't they know he was in danger?

Dean!” Adam screamed, “Sam! Michael!”

His own voice was drowned out by the loud whoosh of fire. It was crawling dangerously close to Adam's feet; so close that his shoelaces were starting to burn. The teenager tried to kick out the fire on his shoes as his heart pounded against his ribcage. He didn't want to die this way! Not here! Not alone in a sea of fire! Shit, it was so damn hot!

Michael!” Adam nearly begged, on the verge of tears, “Please!”

Adam always thought that Michael would take care of him; that Michael would rescue him from danger and protect him at all costs. But now, Adam was about to burn to death and there was no sign of Michael anywhere. Why did Michael leave him? Did he not love Adam? The teenager looked down to watch the soles of his shoes melt to the ground as moisture blurred his sight. In his heart, Adam knew it would only be a matter of time before his oxygen ran out and he fainted headfirst into the flames. But there was nothing he could do.

Adam was trapped in a fiery cage. Alone. To Die.

“Adam.”

The teenager gasped for breath when his eyes flew open. He could instantly feel that he was burning up; face hot and skin clammy. Adam immediately sat up and searched the scene around him, fearing that he was still trapped in a sea of fire. But by some miracle, he was fine. He was back in the fallout shelter, sitting up in bed. The fluorescent light was off, but Adam could still see the main details of the room because a lit candle was placed on the dresser nearby. It was the only source of light... and it allowed him to see the outline of Michael's figure in the dark.

The angel was perched on the edge of Adam's bed, leaning close with his warm hand wrapped around the teenager's arm. Adam gulped, causing his dry tongue to briefly stick to the roof of his mouth as he blinked down at Michael's hand in the dark. Why was he touching him? Michael seemed to notice Adam's confusion because he quickly let go.

“It – it seemed that you were having another nightmare,” the angel explained quietly.

Adam brought his eyes up to study Michael's face in the semi-darkness. Though his nightmare was over, Adam's heart was still beating fast. Oh, man, Michael looked so freaking good in candlelight. The warm flickering glow was accentuating all of his facial features with such delicacy. But staring at him made Adam realize that this was the first time they had seen each other since the creation story. Since their almost-kiss.

“Are you alright?” Michael asked, still eying Adam with concern.

Adam nervously cleared his throat and forced a nod, raking a hand through his damp hair.

“I'm good. Thanks,” he mumbled.

It was a total lie, of course. Adam most certainly was not good. He felt as nervous as hell. But it wasn't just the aftershock of waking up from a nightmare that made Adam's stomach tremble on the inside. It was also because he was sitting in Michael's presence again, knowing all the while that the angel felt something powerful for him. And Michael had absolutely no idea that he knew.

For a moment, neither one of them spoke. Michael and Adam only stared at one another, each probably waiting for the other to talk. But Adam didn't know what to say. He was too afraid that he might let it slip that he was listening to Michael and Castiel's conversation earlier. Luckily, it seemed like Michael was eager to say something. His mouth was open and his dark eyes were roaming around impatiently, but he seemed hesitant to actually speak. A personal struggle was clear in his pained expression; like he was fighting with himself about what to say. And Adam wanted him to talk. Maybe Michael was thinking about taking Cas's advice and telling Adam how he really felt.

“What is it?” Adam urged, adding comfort to his tone.

The angel sighed and hung his head a bit. It seemed like Adam's voice was more persuasive than he thought. Michael finally seemed willing to open up and Adam waited patiently for it, bracing himself just in case it turned out to be something horrible. The angel's dark eyes eventually wandered back up to meet the teenager's and Adam got lost in the beautiful view of Michael's face glowing in candlelight. He looked so damn sad; so burdened with guilt. His moist lips finally parted again and he whispered -

“I opened the cage.”

Adam blinked several times after he heard the sentence, trying to let his mind process the words. Michael opened the cage? He deliberately released Lucifer into the world and virtually created hell on earth? On purpose? Adam was shocked to hear it, sure. But he was more confused than anything. Why the hell would Michael free Lucifer like that? Why did Michael lie about it by saying that everyone had a hand in breaking the cage? And why did he go all this time without telling anyone the truth?

“Why?” Adam breathed.

He was desperate for answers and could tell that Michael was finally willing to be honest. The angel's eyes softened considerably in the dark as he searched Adam's face.

“To save you,” Michael answered simply.

Adam suddenly felt like the wind had been knocked out of him. Michael let the world fall into utter ruin and chaos – just to save Adam? The teenager went kind of numb on the bed, frozen with wide eyes and an open mouth. No one – not even Dean and Sam – would have saved Adam for that devastating price. Adam wasn't worth the end of the world. Even Adam, himself, knew that. It appeared that Michael could see the look of total awe on Adam's face in the candlelight because the angel began to speak again. He was facing the dresser this time, looking forward in an attempt to get his words right.

“When you agreed to be my vessel all those years ago, you did so because you were told that you were the only one who could contain me,” Michael went on, sounding pained, “But it was a lie. Dean was my true vessel. And I – I only used you to get to him. I never intended to actually invade you. But the plan went awry. Dean never gave me his consent... but you did. And so, when I came down from heaven, I had no choice but to – to take you as my vessel.”

Adam gulped, feeling his heart throb. God, Michael's voice was so full of regret. Adam knew that he was supposed to be upset by this news, but anger never came to him. The only thing Adam felt was sympathetic remorse for Michael. Candlelight continued to dance on the angel's face as he briefly closed his eyes.

“I could feel the potency of your innocence from the moment I entered your body,” Michael recalled, his throat quivering with a swallow, “Back then, I didn't care for such human tendencies. But now, I can say with full sincerity that I never realized the pure grandeur of my father's creation until I felt your soul converge with my own.”

Adam's heart was thumping hard against his breastbone. Michael was explaining all of this as if it had happened yesterday; so sure of his words and their truthfulness. And even though Adam couldn't mentally recall any of this story, he could sure as hell feel it. Somehow, in a way he couldn't explain, Adam was remembering all of this through his emotions. It was like Michael was reminding Adam's heart of how it felt a long time ago, before he ever woke up in the hospital.

“I attempted to carry out my duties as my father instructed,” Michael went on, allowing his lovely hazel eyes to open again, “With you as my vessel, I greeted my brother Lucifer on the battlefield. But once again, the Winchesters interceded. They found a way to open the cage and throw us all in, Sam included. I always assumed that Dean would find a way to rescue both of you, because he has always been known for allowing his reverence of family to dictate his actions. And Sam was rescued from the cage. But you... you were left behind to burn with me and Lucifer.”

Michael paused, turning slightly on the bed to face Adam again. His eyes were brimming with emotion, mahogany orbs full of passion. He seemed almost vulnerable, like he was about to tell Adam a very personal secret.

“I didn't know it at the time, Adam, but I... I fell in love with you during our stay in the cage,” Michael seemed to admit, making Adam's stomach flutter, “Though we never held a verbal conversation, we came to know each other through the sharing of your body. Our thoughts and emotions mingled as one. And over time, I grew to adore you. Your strong will, caring heart, innocent soul – all of it intruded and fascinated me beyond words. You became beautiful to me in a way I didn't quite understand... But the strangest part of it all, was that you had forgiven me. Me! The very person who betrayed you and took away your future! I didn't deserve an ounce of your compassion, but you gave it willingly anyway. Because despite all of the pain I put you through... I believe you cared for me the same way I cared for you.”

Adam nodded feverishly. Yes! It was true! Though Adam's mind didn't remember any of these events, he knew in his heart that Michael was right. Adam did love Michael. The teenager leaned forward on the bed, getting as close to Michael as he could while the angel quickly continued.

“I couldn't bear the thought of you being stuck in the cage with me and my brother,” he said, shaking his head, “To think of you spending eternity there – having your body broken over and over and watching your spirit fade away – caused me immeasurable sorrow. So I – I used what was left of my grace to break open the cage. I knew very well the sort of damage Lucifer would do to earth once he was free. I knew all of this destruction would be my fault. But as long as you were saved, I didn't care about the cost. I loved you too much to let you waste away in hell.”

Michael's hand suddenly rose up and he trailed his fingertips along Adam's cheek. Adam instantly leaned closer at the sensation, feeling tingles race all the way down his back. Michael's eyes were glistening in the candlelight now, as if he was on the verge of tears.

“I know that no amount of apology will ever be able to make up for what I did to you,” he whispered, voice high, “but I hope you can find it in your compassionate heart to forgive me once more. I only lied because I feared that you no longer felt the same way for me and I didn't want to cause you more discomfort by telling you the tru -”

Adam brought Michael's sentence to an abrupt halt by lunging forward to smash their mouths together. The teenager was up on his knees, arms wrapped around the angel's shoulders while their lips smeared against each other. Adam wasn't thinking anymore. His mind wasn't directing his body. His heart had taken over. After hearing Michael's entire story, Adam was more in love with him than ever and his impatient lips were tired of waiting to finally meet Michael's. God, kissing him felt so good! It was way better than that kiss he gave Kristen McGee at prom. Shit, kissing Michael was almost like magic.

While Adam cradled the back of Michael's soft head and gave his mouth absolute hell, the angel's firm hands came up to rest on the teenager's hips. With a gentle push on Adam's waist, Michael snapped their lips apart, shaking his head away from Adam's hands. Adam could see, in the faint candlelight, that Michael's eyes were absolutely packed with confusion. Both of them were sharing the same hot breath as they eyed each other in the dark.

“Wha – what are you doing?” Michael panted, his hands gripping Adam's hips so tight.

“I'm kissing you,” Adam answered, his eyebrows scrunching together.

“But the cage – Lucifer – it's all my fault. I lied to you. Again,” the angel huffed, looking so guilty.

“You did it for me,” Adam reminded, feeling a smile flash on his own lips, “You saved me, Michael. Of course I'm going to kiss you!”

Before Michael could deny his own worthiness, Adam plunged their lips together again. This time, Michael eventually parted his own and their tongues met for the first time. A hum escaped the back of Adam's throat at the sensitive feeling of their wet, tender muscles swimming around inside each others' mouths. Adam was grateful to feel Michael reciprocating; finally letting his large hands slide around Adam's lower back and allowing himself to fully sink into their kiss. Although he didn't quite remember everything from Michael's story, Adam could tell that this interaction was long overdue. Both of them had yearned for this moment for a long time...

Their kiss, mixed with the sensation of Michael's hands carefully sliding up and down his back, caused a jolt of electricity to shot straight to Adam's pelvis. His body was reacting to Michael the same way it used to react when he looked at his old Playboy; making him relive the nervous energy of being a virgin and interacting with something sexual. The tiny thrust of Michael's tongue inside his mouth was starting to give Adam a boner. He could feel it flickering to life inside his boxers. The teenager's eyes opened to stare at the lit candle across the room while they kissed. Oh, shit. He could feel it getting harder by the second.

Strangely, when Adam felt himself getting an erection, his first thought was, 'Ah, dammit. I need to find an excuse to leave so that I can go to the bathroom and take care of this.' He was genuinely afraid that Michael would find out that he had an erection. But then, after actually taking the time to think about it, Adam realized that this was probably normal. Kissing someone – especially someone as breathtaking as Michael – probably did have the power to induce erections. But of course, Adam was a virgin. He had never been this close to anyone. Michael made him nervous, sure. But he also made Adam want to do things he had never done before. Like take off his own clothes. And touch someone else's body...

Adam whimpered a little before hesitantly parting his mouth from Michael's again. The angel's eyes fluttered open and a blissful look appeared on his lovely expression when he blinked hazily up at the teenager. Michael appeared content beyond words but Adam was literally trembling, hands quivering and heart beating fast. After a few seconds, Michael seemed to become aware of Adam's nervousness because his hazel eyes filled with concern.

“Is something wrong?” he asked, voice soft.

Adam gulped and flashed a glance down at his own crotch, seeing that he was pitching a tent with his sweatpants. Dammit. Why the hell did he choose to wear sweatpants to bed?! Although Adam was embarrassed by his body's reaction, it didn't change the fact that he still wanted to do things. He still had the urge to take off his clothes – and take off Michael's clothes – and do things that were never allowed to be shown on basic cable television. Yes, Adam was just a teenage virgin who didn't know what the hell he was doing. But, God, he wanted to do it so badly. And he wanted to do it with Michael; with the one person who had sacrificed the world to save him.

“I want to have sex with you,” Adam blurted, feeling his heart pound in his throat, “but I – I don't want to screw it up.”

Adam blinked several times after hearing his own words, still shocked that he'd actually said them out loud. He didn't know that telling the truth could be so damn easy. To the teenager's immense surprise, a subtle smile graced Michael's lips in the candlelight.

“Gabriel would applaud your choice of words,” he mused, “but, I feel that I must ask... Are you sure? I have never performed that particular act with any human before.”

“Neither have I,” Adam admitted.

Michael's eyes light up with shock at the sound of Adam's reply. It seemed like the angel had honestly believed that Adam wasn't a virgin just because he owned a porn magazine. And now that he was learning the truth about Adam's virginity, Michael looked surprised – and a bit amused. Ugh, Adam was so embarrassed. It was just like being stared at by the Winchesters all over again...

“Yes. I'm a virgin, okay?” Adam grumbled, “You got it right the first time. Go ahead. You can point and laugh at me, now. I don't care.”

Michael's eyes turned serious in an instant. His arms hooked tighter around Adam's back, bringing the teenager's torso to press against his own. Adam gulped at the mere force of being hugged closer, able to see the passion flair up in Michael's expression again.

“Point and laugh? Never,” he whispered soothingly, shaking his head back and forth, “I only wish to give your body the loving gratitude that it so rightfully deserves from me.”

Before Adam could reply to Michael's powerful statement, the angel carefully tipped him backward, laying Adam back down on the bed in order to hover over him. Their lips reconnected in a magnetic click, eyes closing and breath quickening through their noses. Adam rather liked feeling the weight of Michael's body lingering over him. And – oh – Michael was nestling himself between Adam's thighs, shifting his pelvis to rest against the bulge in Adam's boxers. More electric pulses of arousal shot to Adam's erection at the motion.

While Adam's quivering fingers buried themselves in the tufts of Michael's dark hair, the angel's lips were sliding away. Michael was kissing along Adam's jawline and all down his neck, showering every inch of it in meaningful kisses. The angel's hands were softly rubbing their way around the teenager's torso, delicately tugging up his Nirvana t-shirt in order to massage his bare, flat chest.

Adam hummed again and watched the candlelight dance on the ceiling as Michael sucked lightly at his neck. He didn't know where all of this kissing was going. He didn't know whether they were going to actually have sex or not. But, damn. Just being loved by Michael – being kissed and caressed and given physical 'gratitude' – was more than enough to get Adam off. His dick was already throbbing underneath Michael's hips, threatening to start the assent to orgasm at a moment's notice.

As the angel greedily mouthed at Adam's neck, the teenager forced his trembling hands down to pull at Michael's gray shirt. If Michael was going to take off Adam's clothes, then Adam might as well go along with it. Michael briefly raised up to aid Adam's efforts, slipping the shirt off over his head and tossing it away. Adam gulped at the sight of Michael's bare torso. Geez, the guy looked ripped. The grooves and ridges of his muscles were perfectly outlined by the orange glow of the nearby candle.

Adam didn't get to admire Michael's body for long though, because his own Nirvana shirt was suddenly blocking his view. Michael was carefully taking it off of him, cradling him close in order to remove it completely. Their bare chests pressed together for a second and Adam sucked in a sudden rush of air. Oh! So that's what it felt like to touch someone else's bare body with your own. Wow, it felt so – intimate. Adam's erection twitched as he reached up to yank Michael back down into another kiss. He was eager to actually start moving with him; grinding, or humping, or whatever they were about to do. His entire pubic region was aching to be touched.

There wasn't much space for Michael and Adam to move around because the bed was so small, but that didn't stop them from trying. Michael's hands were delicately tugging down Adam's pants and boxers while the two of them rolled back and forth, trying to find a comfortable position. Adam was so enveloped in the taste of Michael's kiss and distracted by the arousing sound of their labored breath that he didn't realize that they were both completely naked – until he felt Michael's hand wrap around his entire erection. A moan fell out of the teenager's mouth without warning, causing Michael to raise his head. Worry and guilt were quick to flood his eyes.

“Forgive me,” the angel breathed, letting go of Adam's erection, “I – I should have asked for your permission.”

“You have it,” Adam squeaked, quickly nodding, “You – you have my permission. Please do it.”

Michael looked over Adam's entire face for a moment, probably to make sure he was telling the truth, before he carefully wrapped his hand back around Adam's throbbing member. The teenager groaned again, unable to stop it from happening. Ah, Michael's hand was tugging it just the way he liked! Adam always tried to imagine what it would feel like to have someone else touch his body like this. But, holy shit, he never knew it would feel this good! His entire body was responding to the action taking place between his legs.

“Ah!” Adam panted, gripping Michael's shoulders with trembling hands, “K – keep going!”

Michael's hazel eyes were hovering over Adam when he started to rock back and forth on the bed. The motion was causing Adam's erection to slip back and forth between Michael's tight fingers – and against Michael's own erection. Adam briefly glanced down between them to see that Michael was clutching both of them, causing them to rub against each other. Oh, man. How could the sight of two dicks in one hand look so damn good?!

As pleasure radiated from Adam's pelvis, Michael nestled his face back into the groove of Adam's neck and shoulder. He was back to planting his tender lips all along Adam's collar bone and down the center of his chest, anointing him with loving kisses. Michael's free hand was gently massaging Adam's thigh as he held the teenager's leg up against his own hip. And he was still rocking back and forth slowly inducing Adam's whole body to feel sexual pleasure for the first time.

I adore you,” Michael slurred against the teenager's chest, voice pitched high with emotion, “Adam... I love you.”

Moans were falling out of Adam's mouth at a rapid pace now, as he clung desperately to Michael's tense shoulders. Ugh, those words sounded so good. Adam was so damn close to his orgasm. Just a few more thrusts and he would be there.

M – Michael,” the teenager groaned, rocking in sync with his motions, “I – I love – !”

The last word of Adam's sentence got caught in his throat as his body suddenly began quaking with orgasm. Chemicals flooded his system, his eyes blew wide, and high octave moans echoed from his mouth as he felt his erection pulsing in Michael's hand. For a moment, Adam was lost in his own pleasure; sight blurring, body convulsing, and mind void of thoughts. All he knew for sure was that he was still clinging to Michael. His thin arms were hooked tightly around the angel's neck and shoulders, holding him in a firm embrace.

Several amazing seconds went by before Adam was able to fully relax his muscles. He slumped back down onto the bed, tugging Michael with him. The angel remained fixed above him though, staring down with searching eyes as he tried to catch his breath. Hell, Adam was still trying to catch his breath too. Even though it didn't last very long, it seemed like their intense bout of sex took a lot of energy. Adam blinked up at Michael's glistening face in the candlelight, feeling dizzy. He felt bad about not being able to finish his sentence when he came. But Michael knew what he was going to say, right?

“You,” the teenager confirmed quietly, reaching up to touch the angel's warm cheek, “Just – just so we're clear. I... I was going to say... 'I love you.”

The smile that grew on Michael's wet lips made tingles dance through Adam's stomach again.

“I gathered as much,” he nodded.

Adam swallowed a bit, still trying to slow his own breath. He could feel a wet substance growing cold on his stomach. Though he didn't look down to see it for sure, Adam figured that it was semen. And the feeling of it made him wonder – Did Michael finish, too? Did Michael get to experience an orgasm like Adam did?

“Hey,” Adam gulped, unsure of how to phrase the words, “Did you... did you get to...?”

Though he left the question open-ended, Michael seemed to understand what he was trying to say. The angel's smile grew a little wider as he glanced down to look at the specks of fluid glistening on Adam's stomach.

“Yes,” Michael grinned, his eyes softening, “I believe we have, as my brother Castiel would say, 'fully consummated our romantic relationship'.”

Adam smiled up at Michael in the dark. Yep. Their relationship was most definitely consummated, alright. Adam was wearing the proof. The angel's eyes roamed around the teenager's face for a moment before Michael leaned down to recapture Adam's lips. Adam sighed deeply behind their joined mouths, letting his eyes close again. Having sex for the first time was better than he ever thought possible. But this – still being able to feel lingering pleasure and knowing that Michael still wanted him, even after it was all over – was definitively more powerful.

Again, Michael's lips eventually began to gently stamp their way down the side of Adam's face and down his neck. Adam lazily blinked up at the ceiling as it happened, too tired to really move. Michael's loving motions eventually paused though, as he laid his head flat against Adam's bare chest. The teenager took a deep breath and reached up to rake his fingers back through Michael's hair. His scalp was warm and damp, but Adam didn't mind. He just enjoyed the scent of aged pine harbored in the strands.

“I've missed your heartbeat,” Michael mumbled.

Adam looked down at the top of Michael's head in the candlelight, feeling a bit awed. Of all the things Michael remembered from their time spent in a shared vessel, the one thing he missed the most was Adam's heartbeat? Adam sighed with contentment, trying to hold back the moisture that had suddenly risen in his eyes. Man, that was such a nice thing to say. Did Michael really set his heartbeat apart from everyone else's? The notion brought Adam back to the thought of creation and how Michael said that God created the first man out of dust from the earth...

“Michael?” Adam hummed into the silence.

“Yes?” the angel replied.

“You... you were there when creation took place, right?” he asked.

Michael raised his head at the sound of Adam's question, carefully resting his chin on the teenager's chest in order to look at him properly.

“Yes,” Michael said again, seeming intrigued.

A large yawn escaped Adam's mouth, pausing their conversation. Adam was understandably tired, given that he had a nightmare and then woke up to have his first sexual experience. But he wanted to talk to Michael about this subject again because he loved watching the passion ignite in his eyes.

“What was it like?” Adam asked, his voice sounding sleepy already.

Michael smiled again, lighting up the room with his beautiful face. He could probably tell that Adam was on the verge of falling asleep.

“Perhaps one day, I'll take you back there and let you see it for yourself,” he answered simply.

Adam blinked down at Michael in the dark. Take him back there? Did he mean, like, time travel? Adam felt like giving a chuckle of disbelief, but another yawn cut him off. The teenager stretched a bit underneath the angel, feeling exhausted. His heavy eyelids closed on their own, but he kept hold of Michael's warm shoulders. Hmm. Seeing the dawn of time did sound pretty cool. If it was possible.

“You promise?” Adam mumbled.

Though his eyes were closed, Adam felt the distinct sensation of Michael's lips pressing against his chest again. The teenager smiled a bit as he felt sleep draping over him. But he forced himself to hold on to consciousness just long enough to hear the angel's reply.

“With all of my heart,” Michael's voice answered.

Chapter Text

A loud knock at the door startled Adam awake.

The teenager's entire body jerked at noise and he could feel something heavy and warm resting on top of him. The room was pitch black, so he couldn't exactly see what it was. But he could hear the tiny sound of another mouth breathing nearby – and feel a pair of hands clutching his own. Adam gulped a little bit in his sleepy stupor as the night before suddenly flashed through his mind. It was Michael. Michael was laying on top of Adam in the dark. They were both still naked from having sex and had probably fallen asleep together.

Another knock came from the door across the room and Adam blinked toward it, seeing light glowing around the frame.

“Adam?” Sam's muffled voice called, “Are you awake?”

The teenager sucked in a gasp when he realized that he was hearing his brother's voice. Oh, God, Sam was out there. Shit, what if he tried to walk in?! What if he saw Michael and Adam naked together?! In a panic, Adam blurted the first thing that came to mind.

Don't come in!” the teenager warned, voice almost shrill.

Adam didn't care how frightened he sounded. He just didn't want Sam to barge in and see what was going on inside the room. As he stared at the door, Adam could feel Michael shifting around on top of him, maneuvering toward the edge of the bed in an effort to climb off. Adam sat up in the dark, using his hands to feel around for the angel. Where was he going? Was he going to answer the door?!

“Uh, okay,” Sam said outside, sounding slightly confused, “I just wanted to let you know that everybody is waiting for you at the table in the main hall. Come and join us when you're ready, alright?”

While Sam was speaking, light suddenly flooded the room. It seemed that Michael had gotten up just to go and flip on the switch – and the fluorescent light gave Adam a clear view of Michael's entire naked body. The teenager gulped and blinked repeatedly, trying to get the sleep out of his eyes so that he could fully focus on the sight in front of him. Whoa, Michael was really naked! Only in the high school locker room did Adam see such total male nudity. And the angel seemed like he didn't even care about it. Michael just loitered by the door in nothing but his skin, staring patiently at Adam like he was waiting for him to answer Sam.

“Um,” Adam squeaked, trying his best to remember what Sam just told him, “I'll – I'll be right out.”

Thankfully, heavy footsteps faded away from the door, leaving Michael and Adam alone once again. Michael lingered silently by the door for a few extra seconds as if he was listening for something. In the meantime, Adam was glancing along every inch of Michael's body in the bright light – and carefully covering his crotch with his own hands. He was trying to suppress a new boner before it started. He didn't want to get another erection right now. Not when Sam and the others were expecting him to be outside in a few minutes.

“The Winchesters are discussing Lucifer,” Michael said quietly, like he could actually hear the conversation through the thick wall, “and they are waiting for you and Bobby to -”

The angel's sentence came to an abrupt stop, when he looked back to see Adam covering up his own dick. The teenager blushed at Michael's stare, feeling his stomach tense up with nervousness. It was a good thing that the room had been mostly dark when they had sex the night before, because Michael's lovely stare made Adam feel too nervous to even move now. Michael, however, apparently found Adam's actions to be humorous. A small smile flickered on the angel's lips.

“I have memorized every single molecule of your body in the time I've known you, Adam,” Michael uttered quietly, “There's no reason to shield yourself from me.”

Adam's blush deepened and he forced himself to look away. Wow. Michael sounded kind of stalker-ish just now. But Adam secretly loved the sound of it.

“I'm... I'm trying not to get too excited,” the teenager admitted, tossing his legs over the side of the bed, “We should, you know, probably get dressed before we go back out there.”

In an effort to keep himself distracted from Michael's glorious body, Adam got up and stepped over to the wooden chair where his shoulder bag was laying across the seat. His mind was replaying last night's events while he dug a fresh set of clothes to put on. Everything was coming back to him in a fast blur; the sound of Michael's confession, glimpses of his face in the candlelight, their first kiss, the sex. It was the only thing Adam could think about as he quickly yanked his clothes on.

The teenager briefly glanced back to see if Michael was still there and found the angel already completely dressed. He was back to wearing his signature gray t-shirt, blue jeans, and denim jacket. Adam smiled at the visitor's pass still clipped to the front pocket before finally looking at Michael's face again. There was a new look in his hazel eyes now; a new sense of contentment, like he was allowing himself to be happy for once. And Adam was so glad to see it.

“You look pretty happy,” Adam mentioned, smirking.

“That's because I am,” Michael nodded, his smile growing, “I have your love. How could I not be?”

Heat instantly rose on Adam's cheeks. Oh, man. It was so easy for Michael to get the butterflies going in his stomach. How the hell did he do that? After straightening out his shirt, Adam stepped back over to the bed so that he could let his thin arms fall around Michael's shoulders. The angel welcomed his embrace, reaching up to pull him closer. The two of them stared at each other for a moment, just searching one another with their eyes.

“I'm pretty sure you've always had it,” Adam informed, able to feel it in his own heart.

“All the more reason to smile,” Michael grinned, arching an eyebrow.

After shaking his head at the sheer amount of giddiness in Michael's voice, Adam leaned down to carefully press their lips together. Michael kissed back for a moment, keeping a respectful pace before pulling back slowly. Adam could see that the happiness had dimmed a bit on his face because his eyes looked heavy with guilt again, just like the night before when he was confessing his secrets.

“But,” he uttered, his hot breath breezing over Adam's wet lips, “I can't allow myself to be completely happy until I've cleaned up the mess I made.”

Adam forced a nod. He knew that Michael was talking about Lucifer. Somewhere out there, the devil was probably still torching the world and it was kind of Michael's fault. But it was all history, now. The only thing left to do was go out there and try to make it right again.

“Then let's go clean it,” Adam suggested with a smirk.

Michael smiled a little before standing up from the bed. The two of them carefully let go of each other and started toward the door – where Adam paused in his tracks. It suddenly hit him like a ton of bricks that no one on the other side of that door knew about Adam and Michael. Dean, Sam, Castiel, Gabriel – all of them were oblivious to the fact that Adam had lost his virginity and Michael was the one who took it. And Adam sure as hell didn't want them find out.

“Hey,” the teenager gulped, glancing up at the angel next to him, “Uh, can we keep – this – a secret?”

Adam gestured between the two of them and Michael seemed to understand. He nodded in agreement and straightened out his jacket before reaching out to open the door for Adam.

“If that's what you want, then of course,” he whispered, “I'll meet you out there in a few minutes.”

The teenager smiled bashfully before ducking out of the room in a heated fluster. God, it was so awesome to have a secret romance. Maybe this was the reason his mother loved to read those old paper-back romances all the time. Because loving someone with your whole body and soul felt amazingly good and those books probably made her feel the same way. And now Adam could feel it. With every fiber of his being, Adam completely loved Michael.

Biting down a smile, the teenager finished the trek down the hall and to the main room where everyone was huddled around the table. The smell of freshly brewed coffee was thick in the air, reminding Adam of the busy mornings he used to have with his mom. Dean and Castiel were already sitting down at the table while Sam and Gabriel were striding over to join them. They all raised their heads to look at Adam when he approached and Adam tried his best to get the blush to leave his cheeks.

“Well, somebody looks bright and perky this morning,” Gabriel chimed, grinning, “Did you have a nice dream about Ms. centerfold there, Biebs?”

Adam kept his eyes on the floor as he wandered up to a chair and sat down. Ugh, why did Gabriel always have to point out the uncomfortable stuff and call people by ridiculous nicknames? It was bad enough that Adam couldn't get his cheeks to stop burning.

“What are we going to do about Lucifer?” Adam mumbled, wanting to take the attention off of himself.

“Bobby says he has a plan,” Dean sighed, “but he's taking his sweet time getting a cup of coffee.”

“I heard that.”

Adam looked around at the sound of the old man's gruff voice. He was moseying down the hall from the kitchen; carrying a piece of paper in one hand and a steaming mug of coffee in the other. Adam could instantly tell that Bobby had a long night. There were dark circles around his wrinkled eyes and his graying beard was unkempt. His hat was slightly crooked too, but nobody said anything about it. It seemed like everyone was apologetically respectful of the old man. Except for Gabriel, that is.

“Luci's not getting any weaker out there, Singer,” the blonde angel grumbled impatiently, watching Bobby taking his time to get to the table, “Do you mind picking up the pace?”

“Don't get your britches in a knot, pipsqueak,” the old man barked, taking a sip from his mug, “You're not gonna like what I have to say anyway.”

“We're not?” Sam asked, seeming worried.

Bobby finished the journey to the table, where he sat down his coffee and took a long breath of exasperation. He braced his thick hands against the flat surface and hung his head in defeat, like something was plaguing him. Adam sat quietly and watched him, waiting to hear the bad news.

“That cage ain't getting' fixed, so, we're gonna have to gank this son-of-a-bitch,” the old man uttered calmly, “Last time I checked, killin' the devil wasn't a walk in the park. But I've got an idea of how to do it. The only problem is, it's gonna be difficult to get him where we want him... unless...”

“Unless what?” Dean prompted, narrowing his eyes.

Bobby raised his head to glance at everyone with weariness. It seemed like he really didn't want to say his next sentence but he forced it out anyway.

“... Unless we have some bait,” the old man mumbled, his eyes flickering toward Sam.

Adam gulped nervously as he turned to watch the color drain from Sam's face. Sam looked downright speechless and he had every right to be. Even Adam was outraged by what he just heard. Bobby wanted to use Sam as bait just to catch Lucifer?! That was the craziest thing ever!

“I'm... I'm sorry, Gandalf. I must not have heard you correctly,” Gabriel denied, shaking his head, “There for a second, I thought you actually suggested that we dangle my baby moose in front of Satan like a piece of meat.”

“I know it sounds terrible, but that's what I'm sayin',” Bobby nodded, “Look, we can't kill the bastard until we catch him in a trap. And in order to get him in one, we're gonna have to lure him in with somethin' that he wants. This is basic hunting stuff, fellas -”

“No,” Dean snapped, jumping up from his seat, “In fact, hell no! Do you know how many ways this could blow up in our faces, Bobby?!”

“Well, do you got a better idea?” the old man snapped, raising an eyebrow, “'Cause I'm open to suggestions.”

The room went silent for a moment and everyone glanced around with discomfort. Dean and Gabriel both seemed pretty pissed and Sam looked scared out of his mind, but no one said a word. While he looked around at his pained family, Adam wished that he could come up with something. He wished that he could somehow devise a plan that didn't include Sam putting his own life at risk. But nothing came to mind. He was just as speechless as everyone else. Gabriel huffed a loud breath and shook his head again, still angered at the mere idea of Sam being bait.

“I'm not leaving this kid's side,” Gabe hissed, reaching over to rub Sam's back, “So if he's gonna be bait in some trap, then you better make room for two.”

Adam smiled a little at Gabriel's diehard loyalty. It reminded him of all of those things Michael had said the night before while they were tangled in a naked heap. I adore you... Adam, I love you...

“Uh. That was kinda gonna be the plan anyways, idjit,” Bobby grumbled.

The old man unfolded the piece of paper in his hand and laid it flat on the table, letting everyone see what was written on it. Adam leaned closer to see a roughly drawn sketch. It appeared that Bobby had taken the time to actually draw out his plan, step by step. All of the Winchesters were staring at it, trying to make sense of the lines and circles.

“We've got a good bit of manpower, so this should be pretty easy,” Bobby said, leaning down to point at the paper, “First, we're gonna draw a huge circle of holy oil on the ground and put Sam and Gabriel in the middle -”

“I like it better already,” Gabriel mumbled, sounding serious.

“Once they're inside,” Bobby continued, “the rest of us – me, Dean, Cas, the kid, and that other angel -”

“Michael.”

Adam spun around at the sound of Michael's voice. The archangel had finally decided to join everyone else at the table. He was hovering close to Adam now, standing up in order to peer over his shoulder and look at Bobby's plan. Adam's heart rate instantly picked up speed at the mere sight of Michael's familiar face and the warm smell of his masculine scent. Adam wanted to reach out and touch the guy, put a hand around Michael's waist and pull him closer or something. But Adam resisted the selfish urge because everyone's eyes were on him.

“Nice of you to join us, Mikey. What have you been doing? Grooming your wings? Taking up yoga?” Gabriel purred, tossing Michael a sassy smirk.

Michael refused to acknowledge Gabriel's comments. He only edged a little closer to Adam's side and stared more forcefully toward the paper on the table. Bobby glanced between the two angels, waiting to see if they were done talking before going on with his plan.

“As I was sayin', the rest of us are gonna be on the outside of the circle,” he went on, pointing to various places on the drawing, “and everybody is gonna have an angel blade. After we're all in position, Sam's gonna pray to Lucifer and ask him to come and talk. If the bastard pops up close enough to you guys,” Bobby said, looking up at Sam and Gabe, “I want you to high-tail it out of there so we can light up the circle and trap him inside. If he pops up on the outside of the circle, we're gonna light it up anyway. That way, Sam will be safe on the inside and Lucifer can't reach him. But we've gotta do it quick enough to separate them, otherwise they'll be trapped together. And that's why I said Gabriel should be with him. Because, worst case scenario, it'll be Sam and Gabe against Lucifer inside a ring of holy fire. But if the first two scenarios go right, it'll be five or seven against one... Sound good?”

Adam raised his head and looked around at everyone, seeing relief in their eyes. Sam's face was back to its normal shade of peach and he seemed pretty impressed by the old man's plan.

“Yeah,” Sam mumbled, nodding a bit, “That... that actually sounds really good.”

“I still don't like it,” Dean spoke up, appearing torn, “There's still a chance something could go wrong.”

“Dean, this is Lucifer,” Castiel said quietly, “With him, there is always a chance something will go wrong.”

“Castiel is right,” Michael added, “Any other plan we come up with will have just as many shortcomings. Lucifer's intelligence and swiftness are unmatched, but we have the advantage of numbers. Together, we can overpower him.”

Dean took a breath, appearing defeated. Adam watched his oldest brother glance around at everyone, seeing determination manifest in his expression.

“Then what are we waiting for?” Dean mumbled, “Let's go kill the devil.”


A cool breeze blew across the open field as the Winchesters set up their trap for the devil.

The angels had flown everyone to some flat grassy plain, somewhere off the map where no one else would get hurt if things turned sour. Dean and Sam were kneeling on the ground with a duffel bag, digging out a few weapons to pass around while Castiel and Gabriel stood behind them. In the meantime, Adam was standing a few feet away with Michael, trying his best to stay calm.

Adam knew that he wasn't cut out for this stuff. Whatever Sam and Dean did for a living – fighting monsters and saving the world from evil – was something that Adam just didn't have the guts for. He wanted to help put an end to Lucifer's destruction; honestly, he did. But he just didn't have much to put toward the cause. He didn't have any experience. No combat skills. No fast reflexes. No knowledge of monsters. Adam didn't have a single damn thing that made him worthy of being a Winchester and it made him feel like shit.

“I can't do this,” the teenager mumbled, turning to face Michael next to him, “I'm not strong enough.”

Michael's hazel eyes widened with utter bewilderment at Adam's comment, like the teenager had just said that the sky was green and the grass was blue. The angel's gentle hand came down to rest on Adam's shoulder as he looked deeply into his eyes.

“Adam,” he breathed, shaking his head with a soft smile, “You are far stronger than you give yourself credit for.”

Adam wanted to dispute Michael's statement and disagree wholeheartedly but he was distracted by Dean and Sam. The two Winchesters were walking toward Michael and Adam, holding a couple sets of those shiny chrome-sword-things. Michael's hand instantly fell away from Adam's shoulder when they approached and he took a few respectful steps back. Dean held up one of the weapons when he came to a stop so that Adam could fully see it.

“This is an angel blade,” his oldest brother informed, “It'll kill almost anything, including archangels. This one is for you,” he paused to hold it toward Adam before saying, “You probably won't have to use it. But you should be armed, just in case.”

“Try to aim for the torso,” Sam added, gesturing toward his own, “Angels seem to die quicker if you get close to their vessels' heart.”

“And make sure you close your eyes when they die,” Dean continued, “Their grace shines through their vessel and if you look directly at it, you'll go blind.”

Adam gulped nervously as he slowly took the shiny blade from his brother's hand. Wow, that was a lot of shit to remember. It made him wonder how Dean and Sam knew all of this stuff. Did they kill angels on a regular basis or something?

“I – I'll try,” the teenager said quietly, eying the heavy weapon in his hand.

Dean must have been able to see the utter fear in Adam's eyes because he took the time to pat Adam on the shoulder and give him a reassuring look.

“Don't worry, kid. I'm sure Magic Mike over there will take care of you,” Dean said, forcing a smile.

Adam looked up to Dean at once, feeling embarrassed. Was it that obvious that Adam and Michael liked each other? Before Adam could come up with a clever deterrent from the topic of their relationship, Bobby whistled from behind them. Everyone turned to look at the old man, seeing that he was done drawing the circle.

“It's time,” Bobby called, giving a slow nod, “Let's get this shit over with.”

Dean and Sam both sighed aloud and gave each other a glance, before starting back toward the ring of oil. Adam had to force his own trembling legs to move as he followed them. Ugh, he was so nervous for Sam and he absolutely dreaded the thought of having to see Lucifer again. But even as his mind clouded with fear, Adam could feel Michael's footsteps close behind him.

“Your brother is right,” the angel's voice whispered in Adam's ear as they walked, “I will take care of you, Adam.”

“Sam is the one I'm worried about,” Adam whispered truthfully, over his shoulder, “I – I don't want anything bad to happen to him.”

Once at the circle, Sam strode over to stand next to Gabriel in the center while Dean walked through it to get to Cas. Adam watched his brothers interact with their own angels for a moment, seeing them whisper to each other and hug one another. Their intimate embraces made Adam realize that this might be the last moment that they all shared together. Lucifer was about to be on his way and he was probably carrying destruction with him.

In a moment of weakness, Adam spun around to bury himself into Michael's arms. He quickly nuzzled his face into the side of the angel's neck and breathed in the scent of Michael's warm body as he hugged him with full force. Adam didn't want to let go. He was so afraid that something bad would happen if he did. Michael's arms wrapped around his back, closing him in an embrace of comfort and safety.

“I love you,” Adam admitted again in a whisper, wanting Michael to know.

“And I love you,” Michael replied faintly, his voice vibrating against Adam's cheek.

Though Adam wanted to stay in the comfort of Michael's loving arms, he forced himself to back away. He didn't want Sam or Dean to catch him hugging Michael for too long. Instead, the teenager adjusted Michael's denim jacket and gripped his angel blade extra tight before turning to face the middle of the circle. Thankfully, Michael remained near to his side as they both watched and waited for Sam to start praying.

The tallest Winchester was holding an angel blade in one hand and Gabriel's hand with his other when he bowed his head a little and briefly closed his eyes. Everyone else was searching the area around them, watching carefully for Lucifer to pop up. Dean was already holding a lit lighter, ready to throw it on the ground the second he needed to. Sam cleared his throat a bit before finally beginning to speak.

“Lucifer,” he called, his voice hard, “I'm done running from you. I'm done trying to hide. If you want me, then you better come and get me.”

Sam's voice echoed around the field for an extra second. But then, there was total silence. It was eerily deafening, the kind of silence that played in a horror movie just before the bad guy jumped out of nowhere. Adam could feel his heart hammering hard against his ribs as he flashed glances to every part of his surroundings. Where the hell was Lucifer? What was taking him so long?

“I know you can hear me,” Sam nearly shouted, squeezing Gabriel's hand tighter, “I'm right here, dammit! I'm not going anywhere!”

“I can see that.”

Adam nearly gasped at the sound of the new voice. He whipped along with everyone else toward the left to see a new figure standing among them. Adam could only assume that it was the devil and that he had appeared outside of the circle of oil, because Dean quickly tossed the lighter on the ground, sending a blaze of flames up around Sam and Gabriel.

Lucifer was wearing a different vessel now, but there was no mistaking that it was him. His body was mangled just like all the others. And this time, he was actually missing an eyeball. A large, bloody hole was blown through the side of his face as if he had been shot with a shotgun, leaving only a single veined eye to roam around the scene. Fear filled Adam's heart at the mere sight of him standing so close. Adam's limbs were trembling with terror. Oh, God, the devil was only standing five feet away.

Everyone was motionless for a second, watching Lucifer stare at the flames in front of him. Adam was expecting him to freak out about not being about to reach Sam, but the devil was skeptically calm. Lucifer only took a step closer to the fire, raising his remaining eyebrow while blood poured from the large gash on the side of his head. Inside the circle of fire, Gabriel stepped in front of Sam, protectively shoving the tall man behind him as he pointed a blade toward his brother over the flames.

“It's over, Lucifer,” Gabriel barked, “Your temper tantrum has got to stop. You can't end the world, you can't kill all of humanity, and you can't have Sam Winchester.”

Although Gabriel's words were bold and unyielding, Lucifer started chuckling at them. He snickered humorously for a second as if Gabe had told a joke. From the corner of his eye, Adam could see that Dean and Castiel were ever so slowly converging toward the devil, angel blades raising and eyes narrowing. Adam, on the other hand, was frozen; eyes glued to the laughing maniac a few feet away. Lucifer eventually brought his laughter to a stop and raised his single eye to look at Gabriel again. He shook his gory head, seeming amused.

“Oh, Gabriel,” he purred, “I'm not here for Sam...”

Adam gulped at the morbid sound of Lucifer's sentence. He wasn't here for Sam? But then, why did he even bother showing up? It was then that Lucifer's lone eye wandered over to look directly at Adam – and blood drained from the teenager's face. The devil was staring him down through the crackling haze of fire, the same way a predator stared down its prey.

Lucifer wasn't here for Sam. He was here for Adam.

Before Adam could move – before he could take in a breath to yell, before he could even blink – the devil appeared directly in front of him. Lucifer's bloody hand suddenly wrapped around Adam's arm with force, clutching him tight enough to leave bruises.

The last thing Adam saw before Lucifer flew him away was the look of pure horror on Michael's face as the angel reached out for Adam's hand in vain.

Chapter Text

Once Adam realized that Lucifer had kidnapped him, he was expecting to feel pain immediately. In the two seconds that it took him to be aware that he was no longer in the safe company of the Winchesters, the teenager tried to brace himself for the burn of hellfire or the feeling of his own limbs being ripped off. But when his feet returned to solid ground, Adam was surprised to find himself unharmed. Lucifer didn't physically harm him at all. The devil had only transported him somewhere else.

Still, for the first few seconds after being moved, Adam refused to open his eyes. He only quivered in the spot he was standing in, clutching his angel blade with a death grip while keeping his head tilted down. He kept his eyes closed out of fear that he would see something terrible if he opened them, like Lucifer's mangled body or walls of fire surrounding him. Adam knew that it was childish to just stand their with his eyes closed, but he couldn't help it. Just like when he was a little kid, Adam wanted to believe that if he couldn't see it, then it wasn't real.

But it was definitely real now.

Adam wasn't sure how long he stood there in a cowering stance before he realized that he could feel a gentle breeze blowing around him. A tiny, metronomic squeak was echoing from somewhere behind him too, like something was swaying around with the wind. Although fear was prominent in his chest, Adam's curiosity was growing. Where the hell did Lucifer take him? And where was Lucifer himself? The devil wasn't talking or laughing or anything. It was like he dropped Adam off and disappeared. Though his hands were still trembling around the sleek angel blade handle, the teenager took a bracing breath before forcing one eye open.

The first thing that Adam saw when he gained the courage to finally look, was a single large oak tree planted in front of him. It was reaching toward the gray sky, leaves shaking and branches moving in the mild wind. It was standing on a small hillside, surrounded in mulch... and the sight of it made Adam realize that he had seen this tree before. Many times.

After opening his other eye, Adam turned around to take in the sight of his old playground. It was the same one his mom used to bring him to. Only now, it was looking a little worse for the wear. The metal slide in the corner was dented in and the wooden jungle-gym was missing a few planks from the ladder. The tiny squeaking noise was coming from the rusty hinges on the swing set as the seats moved back and forth in the breeze. Even though the park seemed to be open to the public, the place was entirely vacant. There wasn't a soul on the playground. Except for Adam.

As he looked around the nostalgic recreation area from his youth, Adam began to wonder why Lucifer brought him here. Why did the devil decide to bring him to the one place he cherished the most? How did Lucifer even know about this place? And where was Lucifer now? Did he drop Adam off here for safe keeping while he took care of other matters? Adam gulped, suddenly recalling the look of utter terror on Michael's face. Oh, God, did Lucifer go back to kill the Winchesters?!

Michael,” Adam wheezed.

Panic swept through the teenager as he wandered out into the middle of the playground. His eyes were blurring with tears while he spun around in frantic circles. He couldn't let Lucifer kill his family! He couldn't let the devil kill Michael! What was Adam going to do?! What could he do?! Adam was stuck in the middle of nowhere with an angel blade that he didn't even know how to use! It was hopeless!

“Michael!” Adam nearly begged, his voice cracking, “Can you hear me?!”

“Adam?”

Every hair on the back of Adam's neck stood on end and he drew to a complete stop. The voice that spoke didn't belong to Michael, or Lucifer, or any of the Winchesters. But Adam knew the sound by heart. Because he had heard it his whole life...

After taking several breaths, Adam lowered his angel blade and carefully turned around, facing the direction that the voice had come from. His eyes slowly wandered up toward the swings – where his mother was standing nearby. Adam felt like he had fallen into a memory. There she was! His mom was standing there like she had never left. And she looked as bright and beautiful as ever, in a nice cotton dress with her long hair pulled back.

“Mom?” Adam breathed, feeling the water from his eyes finally spill down his cheeks.

A smile spread across her lovely face at Adam's bewildered voice. She raised her arms out toward him like she was beckoning him for a hug. With everything in him, Adam wanted to run toward his mom and bury himself into the safety of her embrace. He wanted to hold her and tell her how much he had missed her. Adam wanted to finally give his mother all of the love that he had built up for her in his heart over the past few days.

But he didn't move.

Though Adam was overjoyed to see his mom again, he was a little confused by her presence. His mom was supposed to be dead, wasn't she? Adam had witnessed the sight of her gravestone for himself. Michael said she was in heaven where no one could harm her again. So, how could she be here? As Adam flashed a quick glance around, he remembered that Michael said his mother's heaven resembled the playground. So if she was here, then... that meant...

“Mom... Am I dead?” Adam asked, searching her face from a distance.

A tiny giggle squeaked from her smiling lips,\ as she quickly shook her head.

“No, sweetheart,” his mother denied, her voice sounding a bit eery, “You are very much alive. And I'm here to help you make the right decision.”

Adam tried to swallow down his own confusion as he watched the hem of his mom's dress sway around in the breeze. So, he wasn't dead? Adam wasn't in her heaven? But then, how could he see her? Was she alive, too? For a moment, Adam almost believed that it was true. He was on the verge of accepting that his mom was back from the dead and that she had returned to help him. He was ready to take her advice and do whatever she wanted.

But then, Adam remembered the words that Michael spoke at her grave. The angel had looked so pained and torn when Adam asked him to bring her back to life. And the only thing Michael could say was, 'I would if I could, Adam. But it's not in my power.' If Michael – the most powerful archangel in all of existence – couldn't bring Adam's mother back, then nothing could...

As he stared boldly into the sky-blue eyes in front of him, Adam gripped the blade tighter in his hand and carefully raised it again. The teenager pointed the sharp end of the angel blade toward the vision in front of him and narrowed his eyes in disbelief.

“You're not my mom,” Adam stated flatly.

Adam was pretty confident in his assessment. He knew there was no way his mom could come back from the dead. And how would she know that he needed help making a decision, anyway? No, this was an imposter. Adam knew it in his heart.

After the teenager's bold accusation, the smile faded away from his mother's expression. A mild scowl rested on her face for a moment – before she completely dissolved into someone else. Adam blinked repeatedly at the transformation, watching her golden hair disappear, her eyes change color, and her dress fade into shredded bloody clothes. Within seconds, Adam's mother had been altered into a mangled, gory mess.

Adam's blade was no longer pointing at his mother, but at the devil.

Lucifer took the time to raise both of his hands and clap them together a few times, making the loud smacks echo around the vacant playground. His face – or what was left of it – was contorted into an odd smirk as he gave a slow round of applause. Adam shivered in fear, but kept his weapon raised. He wasn't going to let Satan get near him again.

“Bravo,” Lucifer praised, finally dropping his hands, “You caught on just as fast as Sam did. Resistance runs deep in your blood, but I can fix that.”

“What do you want from me?!” Adam blurted.

He was done with all of these damn head games. He was done being manipulated and told what he was and what he wasn't. He was through listening to the devil's bat-shit-crazy nonsense! Lucifer's taunting scowl faded into an honest glare as he started taking small steps closer on the playground. In a panic, Adam forced his trembling legs to start backing up, causing him to retreat shakily. But even though he was scared out of his mind, he kept his blade up for defense.

“Not the brightest Winchester on the gun rack, are you, Adam?” Lucifer sneered, coming closer, “You're going to be my vessel, you stupid boy.”

“Me?” Adam breathed, still backing up, while his heart pounded with terror, “Bu – but Sam –”

“Sam is too stubborn, now,” Lucifer growled, shaking his head, “He'll never let me back in. But, you. Oh, you will be an excellent replacement. I saw the way you carried Michael for all those years. You helped him wield his grace without a hitch. You will be the one I use to end this world. Through you, I will destroy my father's creation.”

No!” Adam barked, pausing his steps to point his blade more forcefully, “I won't let you!”

In a flash, Lucifer lunged forward and knocked Adam off his feet. The angel blade went flying out of the teenager's hand and the devil pushed him down to pin him against the ground. The brutal force was enough to break a few of Adam's ribs. He knew it because he heard them cracking beneath Lucifer's hands. A loud scream erupted from Adam's mouth as he felt the pain of his bones puncturing his internal organs. Shit, he could feel his own lungs ripping open!

“Then I will break every single bone in your body,” the devil spat, pressing harder on Adam's chest, “I will peel every inch of flesh from your muscles and drain every last drop of blood from your veins. I will torture you in an endless loop for as long as it takes until you beg to be my vessel!”

Adam tried to suck in some air in order to scream again, but he couldn't breathe. Lucifer was cutting off his oxygen by pressing down on him. The only thing Adam could do was look up at the devil's gory face and panic from the inside. His mouth was gaping open, begging for air. But nothing was happening! Adam was suffocating to death!

“Let me in,” Lucifer snapped, splattering Adam's face with blood from his own mouth, “Say yes. Give me your consent or you will burn.”

Adam could feel his whole head throbbing. He could barely keep thoughts together. The last little bit of consciousness he had was draining away from him, fast. He was going to pass out soon if he didn't take a breath. But even though his body was screaming for relief, Adam still forced his head to shake back and forth. No. He was never going to agree to be Lucifer's vessel. Adam was never going to let the devil destroy what Michael's father had created. Never.

Though his vision was starting to fail, Adam could see anger growing fiercer across Lucifer's expression. One of the devil's hands rose high above them and started to glow as if he was about to blast Adam away with a glowing ball of light or something. And Adam braced himself for the impact, knowing it was going to hurt like hell. He squinted his eyes a bit and got ready for the pain -

But a flash of light came from somewhere else and knocked Lucifer away.

Once the weight of the devil was off of his chest, Adam finally sucked in a large breath and blinked repeatedly toward the gray sky above him. The teenager went into a fit of coughing after his first intake of air, causing the blood from inside his lungs to be brought up through his throat. But as he tried to breathe, Adam was also looking around in shock. Where did Lucifer go? Where did that ball of light come from?

Then, Michael appeared at Adam's side.

The teenager had to double take at him, because he had appeared so suddenly. But the instant Adam realized that he was looking at Michael – at the person he loved with his entire soul – he gasped with relief. He immediately reached up to throw both arms around Michael's neck before even saying a word, yanking the angel down into a meaningful and desperate hug. Michael was okay! Adam knew that everything was going to be alright, now. Because they were together.

Michael,” Adam coughed, accidentally getting blood on the angel's shoulder.

Michael gave Adam a single, gentle squeeze back before quickly easing up to look over the teenager's broken body. There was obvious panic in his hazel eyes, like he actually thought that Lucifer had killed Adam when he kidnapped him.

“Adam,” Michael huffed, reaching out to carefully pat along the teenager's stomach and chest, “Hold still. I'm going to heal you.”

Adam, of course, did what Michael told him to do. He lay motionless on the ground for a second while Michael pressed a firm hand against his breastbone. The angel's hand began to glow and Adam could feel every one of his broken bones clicking back into place, snapping back together like magnets inside his chest. He cringed at the weird sensation but held down his noises of discomfort. He only stared at Michael's worried face, feeling overwhelmingly grateful to see him again.

About the time Michael finished repairing the shards of bone in his chest, Adam could see dark black clouds forming overhead. The sky was morphing into a massive storm, complete with gusting winds and lightening bolts zapping between the clouds. Before Adam could even lift a finger to warn Michael of the oncoming storm, a giant streak of lightening struck the ground near them. It was dangerously close; a mere few inches from where they were sitting. And Adam felt the entire ground quake underneath him at the force of the blow.

After the close bolt of lightening, Michael spun on the ground to look behind him, clearing Adam's view and allowing him to see a glowing figure near the edge of the playground. Lucifer's entire vessel was shining and he was reaching toward the sky, causing the black clouds to swirl above him and more lightening to rain down on the park. Adam could hear the electrical sounds sparking through the air and feel the deep rumble of thunder beginning to shake the earth.

Just before the electrical storm got underway, Michael turned back to Adam and looked him dead in the eye. The angel carefully grabbed both of the teenager's arms and searched his face, letting Adam see the seriousness in his eyes.

“You need to get away from here,” Michael breathed, his tone harsh.

No,” Adam denied, reaching up to grab the front of Michael's jacket, “I'm not leaving without you!”

As both of them took breaths to argue with each other, a swift bolt of lightening struck Michael in the back. The electric current traveled straight through him and into Adam's body, making them both jump in pain and curl up. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was enough to make Adam shout with agony. Shit, that burned! Once the pain had passed though, Adam looked up to see that Michael was glowing. His hazel eyes were shining brightly and he looked like a badass superhero, ready to smite his archenemy with pure rage.

Adam,” Michael said again, his voice loud enough to shake the ground, “Go.”

Though he wanted to stay by Michael's side and help anyway he could, Adam obeyed the angel's command. He quickly gave Michael's arms one last squeeze before scrambling to his feet to scurry away. The wind was gusting heavily now, carrying leaves and debris through the dark air and making it difficult to see. The sun was blocked out by the storm but Adam trudged forward anyway, knowing that Michael wanted him to get as far away as possible.

Adam knew that Michael and Lucifer were fighting behind him. He could hear and feel massive bombs going off, feel sudden shakes of the ground, and see flashes of light. But Adam kept his legs moving. When the park entrance came into view, Adam could hear faint voices on the air. He looked toward the welcome sign, holding up his arm to shield his eyes from the debris – and saw all of the Winchesters in a huddle nearby.

“There he is!” Sam shouted, running toward Adam in the storm, “I found him! Over here!”

Adam watched his brothers and their angels run toward him in the heavy wind, seeing their jackets and hair being tossed around by the storm, and felt a little relieved. Castiel and Gabriel were here! They were both angels! That meant they could help Michael, right?

“Hey!” Adam called, cupping his hands around his mouth to make a better sound, “Michael needs -”

The teenager's voice was cut short because the ground beneath his feet suddenly gave out. Adam was falling through the air without warning, making him gasp and scramble for anything to hold onto. A giant crack had formed in the earth and was swallowing up the entire playground. Adam could hear the equipment tumbling into the hole with loud crashes behind him as he slid down with it. He eventually came to rest on a flat piece of soil a few yards below the surface.

Adam raised to sit up as he coughed in the dusty wind, looking around and trying to find out what the hell happened. He assumed that Michael and Lucifer were doing all of this in the middle of their fight, because only something as powerful as angelic grace could demolish an entire park and force it into the ground. Adam was stuck on a slope of dirt near the rim of the sinkhole, trying to look around and see if anyone else had fallen in with him. He could faintly hear the Winchesters calling from a distance as if they were far away on the surface.

As he climbed to his feet to call back to his family, Adam was suddenly shoved up against the dirt wall behind him. A hand was firmly clutching his throat in a vise grip, choking him with brutal force. Adam blinked several times before he realized that Lucifer was back, cutting off his oxygen again in an effort to make him comply. The devil was still shining through his vessel, causing Adam to squint from the sheer brightness.

Say yes,” Lucifer demanded, his voice loud enough to make Adam's ears ring, “Let me in.

Adam wanted to say 'no,' but he couldn't take a breath to speak. When he failed to answer, Lucifer raised him up and slammed him back against the wall of dirt, banging his head on the soil with enough force to rattle his entire spinal cord. Adam squinted his eyes shut against the pain, trying to hold onto consciousness.

Give me your consent,” the devil barked, “Give me -”

Thankfully, another blast of light caused Lucifer to let go of Adam again. The teenager gasped for breath and slumped to his knees, looking up to see if it was Michael that had saved him. Overhead, two massive, glowing forms were hovering in the air, battling one another in flashes of light. Thunder and lightening were continuing to chase each other across the sky in the background, roaring and screaming along with the sounds of clashing grace.

Adam tried his best to watch the combat taking place in the air but it was too bright to fully look at. It was like two bright suns were fighting with each other; two balls of light bashing together over and over again. Adam was only able to catch a few glimpses of their actual bodies – and he was pretty sure he caught the faint sight of a giant wing in mid flap – but they were moving too fast. All he could really do was brace against the wind and silently cheer for Michael.

After a particularly devastating blow that accompanied a good bit of lightening, the two glowing figures suddenly fell out of the sky. They came crashing down into the crater with Adam, plowing into the debris of broken playground equipment like giant rocks. Adam shielded himself from their impact, covering his head and ducking against the dirt wall until the loud noises stopped before turning back to see what had happened.

Out of the rubble of the broken jungle gym, Lucifer crawled out on his hands and knees, huffing loudly as if he was out of breath. Adam's heart leaped into his throat when he saw Michael crawling out of the other side. Neither of them were glowing anymore. It seemed like their small bit of fighting had taken its toll on their weakened graces, like they had retreated back inside their human bodies to cope with the stress.

Adam wanted to run over and help Michael to his feet. He wanted to give the archangel the encouragement he needed to keep going; to give Michael the loving boost that he needed to kick the devil's ass so that all of this shit would finally stop. Adam wanted to help Michael win so that they could finally be safe and happy together. So they could love each other without fear.

But while Adam debated on whether or not to go and help Michael, he realized that Lucifer was staring at him. The devil's sight was narrowing toward Adam with fury as he climbed forcefully to his feet. His breath was fiercer, his shoulders were squaring – and there was an angel blade in his fist. Adam's heart pounded as he glanced between the shiny weapon and Lucifer's death glare. Pure malice was brimming in his eyes.

“If I can't have you,” Lucifer growled, his words echoing through the trench, “Then no one can.”

Adam wanted to move. He wanted to yell for help and raise his own hands to defend himself. But there was nothing he could do. The devil flew across the pit with the angel blade in the air – with the sharp end directed at Adam's chest. As certain impending death stared him in the face, the only thing Adam could do was close his eyes. He braced his back against the dirt wall and cringed, knowing that being stabbed in the heart with that massive blade was going to hurt like a bitch.

But the pain never came. Adam heard the sound of the blade piercing through flesh and bone, but he never felt it. Though he was scared out of his mind, Adam forced his eyes to blink back open in order to see why he wasn't hurt – and the first thing he saw, was the back of Michael's head. Adam was up against the wall and Lucifer was in front of him, but Michael was sandwiched between them. Michael must have just appeared there because the angel blade found its way into the top of his shoulder instead of Adam's chest.

Thankfully, it seemed like having an angel blade in his shoulder didn't affect Michael's motor skills. He was still able to reach up and take hold of Lucifer's neck. Adam blinked between the back of Michael's head and Lucifer's face, seeing pure horror painted on the devil's expression. Lucifer seemed genuinely shocked that Michael had put himself in front of Adam. And he seemed even more frightened by the fact that Michael now had him in his grasp. Michael yanked Lucifer closer to his own face, giving the devil a meaningful stare for a second, before reaching up to place his free hand against Lucifer's forehead.

“Goodbye... brother...” Michael whispered.

In an almost silent gesture, Michael's hand lit up against Lucifer's head – and a bomb of light exploded between them. Adam closed his eyes and covered his head, bracing against Michael's back as he felt the reverberation of the blast. It was like witnessing Bobby's house blow up all over again, feeling the inertia and raw power of it exploding right in front of him. The colossal eruption shook everything so hard that Adam could feel it inside his own body like the deep boom of a base drum.

The noise eventually faded away and Adam could instantly feel the wind dying down. He carefully opened his eyes and raised his head to look around, seeing that the clouds overhead were dispersing and the debris was slowly falling out of the calming air. Beyond Michael's shoulder, Adam saw the mangled body that Lucifer had been wearing. Only now, it was crumpled on the ground, eyes burned out and mouth left open. There were images of massive wings burnt into the soil around it too, like they were spray painted there. From the looks of the body, Adam assumed that Lucifer was finally dead and that Michael had killed him with his grace.

As the sky began to lighten up a little and rain started to sprinkle down, Adam quickly turned his attention to Michael. The angel was slumped over, clutching his own shoulder where the angel blade was lodged. Adam instantly went into first-aid mode, reaching out to gently take both of Michael's shoulders and pull him backward. He carefully laid the angel down on the ground beside him in order to inspect the wound. Shit, the blade was buried in deep. It was almost all the way to the hilt.

“Michael,” Adam breathed, reaching down to cradle the angel's head with both hands, “H – hold still. I'm gonna pull this out, okay?”

No,” Michael gasped.

The angel's hand jutted up to catch Adam's wrist before he got close enough to touch the blade. Adam looked down at Michael's pale face, feeling confused. Why didn't he want to get rid of it?

“It's too late, Adam,” Michael breathed, shaking his head, “... It's too late.”

Too late? What the hell did he mean too late?! It was never too late! While Adam stared incredulously down at his angel, he could hear footsteps approaching from behind him. The Winchesters had slid their way down the slope of dirt to join Adam and Michael in the pit. Rain was starting to pick up too, adding the sound of water pecking the soil around them. Adam looked up to his brothers and their angels as he cradled Michael's head in his arms, feeling his panic rise. One of the angels could heal Michael, right? They were all magical! They could at least do something!

“Help!” Adam begged, his eyes flickering between Castiel and Gabriel, “Get over here and take this blade out!”

Though his shrill voice was echoing through the pit, no one made a move to help Adam. They all just stood around with blank pale faces, staring down at Michael's shaking body with remorse. Ugh, it was just like when he first met them; when Adam had asked to see his mom and everyone just gave him looks of pity. Because they all knew she was dead, even though he didn't believe it. And now, they were acting like Michael was dead, even though he was still alive!

“What the hell are you waiting for?!” Adam shouted, “Help him!”

“Adam.”

The teenager's sight dropped down to the angel's face in his arms at the sound of Michael's weak voice. The guy was as pale as snow and trembling like a leaf, but he forced a hand up to Adam's face. He used his quivering fingers to cup Adam's cheek and stared up into his eyes.

“It was always going to end this way,” Michael choked out, “Lucifer and I... were always meant to kill each other.”

Moisture was swelling up in Adam's eyes again. Kill each other? Did that mean Michael was going to die, too?! Right now?! But he couldn't die! No, no, Adam was holding him! They were together! Nothing bad could happen as long as they were together! Adam gently stroked the side of Michael's warm face with his quivering thumb while he shook his own head back and forth.

“N – No. You can't die,” Adam squeaked, his voice cracking.

“I am dying,” Michael breathed, sounding guilty, “No one can stop it. It has already begun.”

Tears raced down the teenager's cheeks as he let out a soft whimper. No! Adam didn't want Michael to die! He needed him! He loved him! While Adam sobbed, Michael's hand was caressing the side of his face, comforting him even though he was growing weak.

“My precious boy, p – please don't cry,” Michael requested, looking pained, “You're safe, now. That's all that matters.”

“No! You are all that matters!” Adam groaned, his tears splashing against Michael's denim jacket, “Michael, I can't make it without you! I've already lost my mom! I can't lose you, too! I can't!”

“You are a Winchester,” the angel reminded, “You'll never be alone. Your brothers will always fight for you... You have to let me go.”

Adam whimpered again, shaking his head. He didn't want to live in a world where Michael didn't exist. He couldn't bear the thought of turning around and not seeing Michael standing behind him. He didn't want to wake up in the middle of the night and not have Michael there to comfort him. What about all those things they had planned to do together? What about all those stories of creation?

“But you – you said you'd take me back to the beginning,” Adam reminded in between sobs, still stroking the angel's face, “You promised to take me there, Michael. You promised.

“I know,” Michael said lowly, briefly closing his eyes as if it hurt him to think about it, “... and I'm sorry, Adam. But I have to break that promise.”

“But... But, I love you,” Adam croaked, raking his trembling fingers through Michael's hair, “Please don't go.”

Even as Adam begged for him to stay alive, Michael was starting to glow again. The light was slowly building up in his eyes now, carefully engulfing his hazel orbs with angelic grace. He was lighting up the same way Lucifer did just before he exploded. Using what little strength he had left, Michael reached over and grabbed one of Adam's wrists. The angel carefully guided the teenager's hand toward his own face. A tiny sad smile was resting on Michael's glowing lips.

“I love you more than anything, Adam,” he replied softly, “... Cover your eyes.”

Although Adam didn't want to, he gave one more tiny whimper and placed his own hand over his eyes. He could feel the heat of Michael's grace shining warmly against his skin. Though he couldn't see it, Adam knew that the angel was glowing brightly – just before Michael went limp in his arms. From the second Michael's hand fell away, Adam's tears were at a constant flow. The teenager carefully let his hand fall from his own eyes to look back down at the angel in his arms.

Michael's hazel eyes were utterly vacant, now. They were half open and void of all life, even though they were directed at Adam. Michael's limbs were unmoving and his warmth was already beginning to fade away. And there was a new set of graffiti wings branded on the ground on each side of him as if his grace had imprinted it there... when he took his last breath...

An unearthly sob escaped Adam's open mouth as he cradled Michael closer to his own chest. He was gone. Just like that, Michael was gone. He wasn't breathing anymore. He wasn't even warm anymore. The same body that Adam had clung to for the past several days – the same arms he had taken shelter in, the same lips he had kissed, the same heart that had beaten against his own chest – was growing cold against him.

M – Michael,” Adam cried, hugging him so tight, “No. God, No.”

The teenager was vaguely aware that his family was still close by. They were all watching with pained expressions, but Dean seemed to be the most disturbed. He was swaying back and forth were he was standing like the sight of Adam's grief was eating at him.

“I can't take this,” the oldest brother said quietly from somewhere nearby, “Cas, do something.”

Adam raised his head a bit when he saw Castiel approaching him. He hoped that the angel was going to reach down and revive Michael, maybe bring him back with one touch. But once Castiel came close enough, his hand reached out for Adam instead. With the tap of two fingers against his forehead, Castiel caused Adam to slump over with unconsciousness.

Chapter Text

“Michael was the one who taught me how to fly, you know...”

Adam shifted his legs around and tightened his closed eyelids at the sound of Gabriel's nearby voice. The teenager was slowly coming out of the depths of unconsciousness and vaguely aware that he was laying down on something comfortable. He could feel a warm blanket resting on top of him and a fluffy pillow stuffed under his head. Adam kept listening to the soft voices from across the room as he struggled to wake up.

“Really?” Sam mused, so quietly that Adam almost didn't hear it.

“Well, he taught me how to conserve my grace when I flew around. So, I guess that's the same thing,” Gabriel replied softly, “... But Luci was the one who taught me all the tricks...”

There was a somber silence after Gabriel's mellow words in which Adam fought to lift his own eyelids. He wanted to sit up and look around, to see what was going on. He knew that something big had happened just before he fell asleep. But what was it? While Adam tried to recall the event, he was also gathering the strength to open his eyes.

“Those stupid bastards,” Gabriel sighed, sounding defeated, “... I miss them.”

“So do I,” Castiel added in a faint voice, “I... I always have.”

“It'll be alright, Cas, baby,” Dean's comforting voice replied, “Losing people is just part of the job.”

“Yeah? Well, it's a shitty job,” Gabriel grumbled.

“We know it is, Gabe,” Sam said gently, “We live it everyday.”

Dean sighed loudly, huffing a breath of exhaustion like he was tired, aggravated, and upset all at once.

“Poor kid,” the oldest brother mumbled, voice directed at Adam, “He's with us for three damn days and he's already lost everything. It's not fair.”

Adam finally forced his eyes open to blink toward the ceiling. As he lay motionless, staring up at the dark oak planks above him, Adam finally remembered what had taken place before he fell asleep. The playground, Lucifer, Michael, the fight; it all flooded back to him like a dam had broken in his mind. The entire event was back in fine detail. He could almost hear the sound of that metal blade piercing through Michael's shoulder. He could almost taste the salty flavor of his own tears and feel the heat of Michael's body fading away.

Adam could almost see Michael dying in his arms all over again.

Fresh tears were swelling in the teenager's eyes as he shuddered underneath the warm blanket. Oh, God. Michael was dead. Adam would never get to see him again. He would never get to talk to Michael about creation, or fall asleep in his arms, or kiss him whenever the mood struck. Adam's favorite person in the whole world was gone. How was he supposed to move on from it? There was no way he could live without Michael. It just wasn't possible...

While grief continued to radiate from his broken heart, Adam carefully rose to sit up. He found himself sprawled out on an old couch with a tattered throw blanket in a room he had never seen before. It looked like some kind of study, complete with a fireplace, a cluttered desk, and stacks of books. The whole room was dark and comfortable and gave Adam the feeling of being in an old person's house. Across the room, the Winchesters were all gathered around the desk, lounging in scattered chairs. Dean, Castiel, Sam, and Gabriel were all clinging to their own glasses of scotch and staring off in different directions, expressions mixing between blank and woeful.

A long time ago, when Adam was only fourteen, one of his mother's coworkers passed away. Adam attended the funeral with his mom and went to the reception that was held afterward at a stranger's house. All of the person's loved ones were dressed in dark clothes and wearing bleak expressions. It was like the entire house was full of people, but at the same time, it was completely vacant. Because no one was really there. They were all lost in their own heads, being tortured by grief that refused to subside. For years, Adam was haunted by the memory of all those empty people standing around the funeral reception like statues.

And now, the Winchesters were the grief-stricken statues.

None of them had even noticed that Adam was sitting up because they were so lost in thought. The scotch in their glasses remained motionless even as they breathed. Adam was trying to take in the sight of them all, but his eyes were blurring with tears faster than he could blink them away. In the back of his mind, Adam knew that Michael wouldn't have let him weep like this. If Michael was still alive and he saw Adam crying, he would have wiped his tears away and distracted him with a little bible story... Just like before...

While Adam silently wept on the couch, a tiny pitter-patter of footsteps started echoing toward him from the kitchen. The teenager swiveled his head to the left to see Gabriel's dog making his way toward the sofa. Dickie was walking slower than Adam had ever seen him walk, like he was carrying a heavy burden. Though the dog's furry head was down, Adam could see that he was holding something in his mouth. With a small jump, the Jack Russell Terrier popped up on the couch next to Adam. Once he was close enough to see it, Adam realized that Dickie was carrying the old Playboy magazine between his teeth. The front cover was all warped and distorted from where it had been wet, but the busty girl on the front was still visible.

Dickie wandered closer to Adam on the couch and blinked up at him with sweet puppy eyes before gently dropping the ruined paper in his lap. Adam gulped as he glanced between the magazine on the blanket and Dickie's remorseful face. It seemed like the dog was trying to apologize for taking it, because his ears were low, his tail was drooping, and his little head was tilted down with regret. Adam knew it was crazy to think that dogs could actually feel emotions. But he couldn't deny that Dickie was trying to send him a message. By returning Adam's magazine, the dog was clearly saying, 'I'm sorry.'

After letting out an audible sob, Adam quickly reached down and scooped the fuzzy dog into his arms. He held onto Dickie for dear life as the tears flowed, cradling his warm body tight and petting his soft fur with a trembling hand. Adam would have never imagined that receiving a porn magazine from a dog would be so comforting. Never in a million years did he think that he would be so grateful to hold a tiny animal in his hands and feel so utterly terrible on the inside. Why did Dickie have to be so sweet? Why did Michael have to die?

Adam raised his head when he felt someone sit down on the couch next to him. Gabriel had come over to lean close to Adam, gently reaching out to pat his shoulder a few times and give him a look of sincere condolence. There was honest sympathy in his golden eyes and it made Adam feel worse.

“I know, kid. It sucks,” the blonde angel nodded, resting his hand on Adam's shoulder, “If it's any consolation, I understand what you're going through. 'Cause I just lost, not one, but two brothers.”

Adam sniffled a bit as he searched Gabriel's face. Oh, that's right. Gabriel and Castiel had lost some of their family. Dickie was starting to lick the tears off of Adam's face when the teenager glanced back around the room in pain. Yeah, the angels loved Michael too... But they weren't in love with him. They didn't feel lost when he was gone. They didn't crave to feel his touch on their skin, or long to see the passion in his hazel eyes, or want to hear the sound of his deep voice just before they fell asleep. Gabriel and Castiel didn't know what it felt like to lose the person they loved the most, because they still had them.

“You've still got Sam,” Adam pointed out, flashing a glance toward him.

“And so do you,” Dean reminded, slowly getting up from his chair, “You've still got us, Adam. Look, I know we still kinda feel like strangers to you, but we are family. You're our little brother and we're always gonna look out for you. Just like Michael said...”

Dean's sentence had probably trailed off because the mention of Michael made Adam's tears start up again. But the teenager quickly tried to stop them before they got out of hand. He didn't want to appear weak in front of his tough brothers even though he was in tremendous pain.

“Wh – where are we?” Adam asked, trying to change the subject as he reached up to wipe his face.

“This is Bobby's house,” Castiel answered quietly, getting up to wander closer to Dean, “Gabriel restored it for him.”

Adam swallowed a gulp and took another look around, seeing more books and old paintings and scattered newspapers. So this was the same house that Lucifer had blown up? This was where Bobby lived? It did seem like an old man's house. But how was Gabriel able to fix it? And where was the old man himself?

“Where's Bobby?” Adam asked, his voice still frail from crying.

“He's downstairs checkin' out the new sex dungeon I whipped up for him,” Gabriel grinned, “Hmm. I wonder if he noticed the devil's trap I sneaked into the floor design. It might come in handy for him...”

“Gabriel, now is not an appropriate time to discuss Bobby's sexual privacy,” Cas scolded.

“Actually, there's never a good time for talking about that,” Dean said, giving a shudder, “'Bobby' and 'sex' do not belong in the same sentence.”

Adam sniffled again as all of the Winchesters gave each other saddened smiles. He knew that they were just trying to lighten up the dreary mood a little by joking around. But Adam wasn't ready to smile yet. In fact, it was probably going to be a good long while before he even considered being happy again. If he ever did...

“Guys,” Adam mumbled, wiping his face again, “I appreciate your company and all. But I just... I want to be alone right now.”

It was the truth. Adam really did want to be by himself, so that he could try to cope with Michael's death in his own way. And thankfully, his brothers appeared to be completely understanding. All of the guys in the room nodded and collectively rose to their feet, migrating toward the kitchen without even being asked to leave.

“Hey, man, you take as much time as you need, okay?” Sam consoled, giving Adam a tiny smile, “We'll be outside when you're ready to talk about it.”

“And if Dickster, here, tries to molest your leg while we're gone, just toss him out on his furry little ass. He'll get over it,” Gabriel added, patting the dog's head before catching up to Sam.

Adam watched his family venture through the kitchen and make their way out the back door. Dickie stayed in his lap the whole time though, silently refusing to leave Adam's side. Once the door closed behind Gabriel, the entire house settled into a disturbingly painful silence. The only sound in the space was the tiny tick of a clock from somewhere nearby. Adam took a small breath and blinked around at all the unfamiliar décor, feeling uncomfortable. Oh, shit. Maybe he had made a mistake. Maybe being alone wasn't the smartest thing to do right now. Because this silence was absolutely terrible.

While his eyes traveled to the table nearest to the couch, Adam caught sight of a particular book resting on the surface. It was on top of a stack of others and sort of blended in with the scene. In fact, Adam almost didn't see it sitting there, hidden in plain sight. It was a book that he had seen countless times in his life but never had the desire to actually pick up – until now.

As a few more hot tears slipped down his cheeks, Adam leaned over and picked up the leather-bound book. He brought it close to run his hand over the grooved lettering on the cover that read 'Holy Bible,' tracing the golden words with trembling fingertips. The only thought going through Adam's mind while he held it was, 'Michael is in here. Michael is in this book.” Dickie was staring up at Adam with puppy dog eyes when the teenager carefully opened the front cover. He leafed through a couple of thin pages to get to the actual writing and the very first words of Genesis nearly jumped off the page.

In the beginning, God created -

Adam snapped the book shut in his hands, whimpering loudly as his eyes swam in tears. Though he didn't mean to, he had read those five little words in Michael's voice. That tiny sliver of a sentence made Adam sob like a baby because they had transported him back to his room in the fallout shelter, where Michael had told him the story of creation and almost kissed him for the first time. Where they had been so in love with each other but neither of them knew it yet. Those few words made Adam feel so good and so bad, that he couldn't do anything but sit there and cry. Cry and cling to a bible with quivering hands.

In the midst of weeping, Adam realized that Dickie was barking quietly.

The teenager wiped his eyes and looked across the room to see that the dog had run over to stand by a bookshelf. Dickie's ears were back up and his tail was wagging as if he was excited by something. Once Adam's eyes were on him, the dog started jumping up and down, barking, and pawing at the bookshelf. Adam took the time to glance over the tall compartment, seeing books, boxes, pictures, and an old radio. What was Dickie barking at? Was there something he was trying to point out? Adam placed the bible on the couch beside him and moved the blanket before climbing to his feet.

“What is it, boy?” Adam mumbled, stepping up to the bookshelf, “Do you want to listen to the radio or something?”

The dog went into a fit of high pitched barking at Adam's suggestion as if he was trying to say, 'Yes! Radio! Something Noisy!' Adam couldn't deny that he was pretty anxious to fill the room with sound, too. The silence was only adding to his grief and music would be a welcome distraction. To sooth Dickie's barking, Adam reached up and carefully clicked on the radio. Some weird, ancient folk music started playing from the speakers when he did. Adam assumed that it was a station that Bobby had chosen so he left the dial alone, not wanting to mess too much with another person's possession. The folk music was strange, sure. But at least the silence was gone. Adam glanced down at the dog on the floor, noticing that he had shut up.

“There. Happy?” Adam asked.

Dickie, of course, didn't reply. But as Adam was staring at the dog, he heard white noise cut across the radio. The teenager looked back up to the device on the shelf and blinked at it strangely. Was the station fading out? Did Bobby get bad reception in the house? As Adam reached up to turn the dial and find a new station to listen to, a song abruptly started playing – and it gave him chills.

Every time I think of you, I always catch my breath...

No. No. How?! How could this song be playing?! Why was it playing?! It wasn't possible. It wasn't fair. This song always made Adam think of his mom. It made him think of Michael! No! In a fit of anger, Adam reached up and punched the off button on the radio, hitting it with enough force to knock the whole device against the back of the shelf. The song cut short, leaving silence to occupy the room again. Adam breathed harshly as more hot tears oozed from the corners of his eyes. How dare the universe mock his misery by playing that damn song.

While Adam stood glaring at the bookshelf, a hand jutted out in front of him. It reached for the radio with steady fingers... fingers that looked really familiar. Adam blinked toward the hand, watching it gently click the radio back on. The song started playing again of course, filling the room with a sweet lullaby. For a second, Adam thought that the hand belonged to Bobby or one of his brothers. It wasn't until the soft chorus of the tune chimed in that Adam realized that the hand was reaching out from underneath a denim jacket sleeve...

With his heart beginning to pound with adrenaline, Adam carefully turned his head and allowed his eyes to travel all the way up the denim sleeve, across the person's shoulder, up their neck, and finally to their face – where the sight made Adam's knees nearly give out from sheer disbelief.

“I rather like that song,” Michael said quietly, wearing an honest smile.

For a long moment, Adam just stood there in shock, staring at the angel in front of him while the song played in the background. It – It was Michael! He was just standing there like he had never left; same gray t-shirt, same blue jeans, same jacket, same dark hair, same soft lips, same hazel eyes. The only difference was that the visitor's pass was gone from his pocket. Adam blinked repeatedly as he looked up and down Michael's entire form. How was this possible? How was he alive?

“M... Mi..?” Adam managed to force out.

The teenager couldn't even bring himself to finish saying the guy's name. Though his excitement was on a steady rise, Adam was also feeling confused. There was no way Michael was really standing there. Was this just a vision? Was Adam still asleep? Was his mind just making this up? It couldn't be real. Michael was dead. He had died in Adam's arms.

Michael seemed to notice Adam's hesitation because his smile dimmed and his hazel eyes filled with comfort. Being extra careful, the angel reached out and gently took one of Adam's wrists. Tingles spread all over Adam's skin at the feeling of Michael's warm touch. Michael slowly raised Adam's hand to place it against his own gray shirt, letting Adam feel the steady heart beating against his flat chest. Hot liquid was still dripping from Adam's eyes and running wet stripes down his cheeks when he felt the soft thump-thump of Michael's heart under his palm.

“It's me,” Michael nodded, cradling the back of the teenager's hand, “Adam, I'm here.”

A whimper squeaked from Adam's lips before he quickly slid his hand up to touch Michael's face. His shaking fingertips briefly grazed over Michael's bottom lip before cupping the angel's warm cheek. Oh, God, he was really standing there! He was really speaking, and breathing, and looking into Adam's eyes! He was real!

Without another thought, Adam lunged forward, all but throwing himself at Michael's standing form. A small chuckle escaped the angel's smiling lips as he wrapped his large arms around Adam's waist. In the meantime, Adam was crushing Michael into a fierce hug, squeezing the angel so tightly that his arms were going numb. Shit, he smelled exactly the same! That aged pine scent was still embedded in the fibers of his jacket. And his body heat – oh, man! Michael's body was just as warm as the night they had made love to each other...

For a few seconds, Adam and Michael just stood in their powerful embrace, not wanting to ever let go of each other. But the longer he hugged Michael, the more Adam's curiosity peaked. How was Michael standing there if he had died at the playground? How was he breathing if Adam had witnessed his heart stop beating? The teenager carefully raised his head enough to look back into Michael's hazel eyes, searching them for understanding.

“H – How? You – you were... I saw you...” Adam breathed, raking his fingers through Michael's hair the entire time.

“Yes, Adam. I was gone,” Michael confirmed, still holding him tight, “Lucifer's blade killed me. But afterward, instead of completely fading out of existence, I... I appeared before my father.”

“Father?” Adam repeated, still crying without being aware of it.

Michael nodded, reaching up to rub the edge of his thumb against Adam's cheek, wiping his tears away with a gentle caress.

“He's been keeping an eye on humanity. A distant eye, of course, but an eye none the less,” the angel said, “He wasn't pleased with me breaking the cage and freeing Lucifer. But he was impressed with my sacrificial actions regarding you. By humbling myself to help the Winchesters and finally ending Lucifer's destruction, I was redeemed in my father's eyes. In fact, he offered me the chance to govern heaven once more... but I abdicated the position. Because I... I wanted to come back to you.”

A smile finally snaked its way across Adam's mouth. Michael came back for him. Michael had given up heaven just to come back to earth and be with Adam. Without another thought, Adam leaned forward to slam his lips hard against Michael's. The song was still chorusing in the background while they kissed each other passionately. Adam clung tightly to Michael's shoulders the entire time, locking the angel in a fierce embrace while he tasted the familiar flavor of his mouth. Adam's heart was racing with happiness too, pumping his system full of endorphins. No amount of words could ever describe how relieved and overjoyed he was to be with Michael again...

The kitchen door suddenly smacked open behind Adam, starling him out of Michael's kiss. The teenager and the angel both turned around to see Gabriel and Castiel standing in the doorway, mouths hanging open and eyes full of disbelief. For a second, they stood there and stared at Michael in awe as Sam and Dean quickly raced up behind them. But eventually, a bright and bubbly smile burst across Gabriel's face.

Mikey!” the archangel exclaimed, dashing through the kitchen and into the study, “You old ass-hat! I knew you'd come back! I knew it!”

Gabriel nearly tackled Michael into the wall with a hug, ripping him from Adam's arms and smothering him with a large embrace. Michael smiled at Gabriel's enthusiasm as he patted the short angel's back with his free hand. Dickie was dancing all around their feet, jumping up and down and barking with excitement. Adam stood by and smiled at the joyous exchange, feeling lighter than a feather. So this was what it felt like to have a family...

“Yes, Gabriel, I'm back,” Michael squeaked, “Now, please relax your grip so that I can breathe.”

Gabe let go of Michael instantly, taking a small step back to pat him on the shoulder. In the meantime, Castiel had carefully edged his way closer to the group. His blue eyes were full of relief but he seemed unsure of how to display his emotions. Adam assumed that Cas was going to hug Michael just like Gabriel did, but the angel settled for holding out an awkward hand instead. Michael shook hands with his angelic brother instantly, giving him a meaningful smile.

“It's – it's good to see you again, Michael,” the blue-eyed angel said quietly.

“It's good to see you too, Castiel,” Michael replied, “Trench coat and all.”

Dean and Sam slowly wandered up to stand next to Adam, wearing strange expressions. It seemed like they were both relieved and confused by Michael's presence, just like Adam had been. Dean stuffed both hands in his pockets and opened his mouth to speak.

“I, uh, I hate to bring the mood down a little,” the oldest brother mumbled, “But I've got a few questions that need answered. Like, how the hell are you standing here right now? And is Lucifer gonna come back, too?”

Everyone looked toward Michael after Dean's words, waiting to hear the answers. Michael of course, remained pleasant and accommodating. His hazel eyes flashed a quick glance toward Adam before he replied to Dean's questions.

“Just as our father always returns Castiel to you, Dean, so has he returned me to Adam,” the angel replied carefully, “I've come to learn that he favors those who favor his creation. It is because of our love for humanity that he continues to restore us.”

Dean seemed to be deeply moved by Michael's explanation because his green eyes quickly flickered toward Castiel and turned soft. In an almost unnoticeable gesture, Dean's hand reached out to clutch Cas's and tug the angel a bit closer as he listened to hear the rest of what Michael had to say.

“From this particular aspect, I can almost guarantee that Lucifer will not be returning,” Michael stated quietly, “His hatred for humanity ran too deep. Forgiveness and redemption were always there for him when he was ready to give up his selfish crusade and love mankind. But he refused to turn away from his vengeance to take it. Therefore, he will probably remain in exile for all of eternity...”

Everyone was silent for a moment after Michael's blunt statement. Adam knew that it probably upset the angels to hear that one of their brothers was probably never coming back, but he was kind of relieved. Now, he wouldn't have to worry about being a vessel ever again and neither would his brothers. They could all live peacefully without having to look over their shoulders every five minutes.

As the group stood around in the study, Dickie's tiny footsteps broke the silence. Everyone's eyes dropped to see the little dog making his way through the small crowd, carrying Adam's magazine in his mouth as he trotted toward the kitchen without a care in the world. Adam shook his head at the sight, feeling his own lips smile again. Apparently, Dickie had gotten over his sorriness from before because he was obviously about to go and molest that magazine again...

“Oh!” Michael gasped.

Adam spun back around to look up at his angel, wondering why he sounded so surprised. Michael's eyes stared into Adam's when they met, looking full of suppressed happiness.

“That reminds me,” the angel said, gesturing to the dog, “I stopped by and visited your mother just before I came back.”

The blood drained from Adam's face as he stared up at Michael in shock. His mom? Michael had visited Adam's mom? Like, in heaven? Michael could obviously see the pure amazement in Adam's face because he stepped closer and placed a gentle hand on Adam's shoulder, showing a bit of affection to accompany his next words.

“She wanted me to tell you that she always knew about the magazine you kept under your mattress,” Michael smiled, “but she never said a word, because she wanted to respect your privacy.”

One of Adam's hands slowly rose up to cover his open mouth as fresh tears swelled up in his eyes. She knew? His mom knew? Michael had talked to her?! They had talked to each other?! A million questions were running through Adam's mind to ask. How was his mom? Was she okay? Was she still safe in her heaven? Did Michael tell her that Adam loved her? Because he loved her so much and wanted her to know it! Luckily, all of these questions seemed to be written on Adam's face because Michael began nodding his head, still wearing a soft smile.

“Your mother is completely fine,” Michael assured, “She is safe and happy, and she still loves you with all of her heart. In fact, she asked me to watch over you for her. But then, I explained that protecting you had been my plan all along...”

Adam thought that his eyes were going to run out of tears as much as he was crying. The warm moisture was just flowing down his face in waves, emanating from the depths of his swollen heart. Though he was staring up into Michael's beautiful eyes, Adam was picturing his mother's face in his mind, seeing her smile and imagining her being happy. Because she was happy. Michael had made sure of it and Adam didn't have to worry about her anymore. He would see her again, some day. But until then, Adam would be safe in Michael's loving company.

The sound of a sniffle came from behind Adam and he took the time to turn around and see where it had come from. Dean, Sam, and their angels were all smiling, but their eyes were all glistening as if hearing about Adam's mom had effected them just as much. The Winchesters – Adam's brothers – were both smiling at him and nodding their heads, seeming grateful that everything had worked out alright for him. Dean was clinging to Cas's hand and Sam had an arm around Gabriel. And as he stared up at his family, Adam couldn't help but think that he really was the luckiest kid in the world. He had the most loyal, loving family that ever existed. And he was damn proud of it.

Adam turned back around to face Michael when he felt the angel's hand drop away from his shoulder. Michael's palm was now resting upward in front of him, outstretched toward Adam's chest like he was offering to take the teenager's hand. The angel's bright, hazel eyes were traveling all over Adam's face when he parted his lips.

“Would you like to see the beginning?” Michael asked, his tone warm and serious.

A soft smile carefully rose on Adam's face. He knew that Michael was living up to his previous promise. The angel was offering Adam the chance to take a ride to the dawn of time and see the beginning of mankind with his own eyes. But Adam was just as excited about being with Michael as he was to see the promise being fulfilled. Being with Michael was all that Adam really wanted.

Adam took a deep breath and allowed the smile on his face to grow before gently sliding his own hand into Michael's.