Summary: Adam wakes up, surprised to find himself alive, and the world comes tumbling down.

Adam was warm. Pleasantly so. Which was…odd. He was pretty sure that death was supposed to be cold. The thought of being in Heaven crossed his mind, but it was quickly tossed out the window because, well, he could feel things. Like, he was pretty sure he was lying on his living room floor. The carpet fibers under his fingers and arms felt a lot like his living room's. Also, he could feel gravity. Heaven wasn't supposed to have gravity, he didn't think. He was breathing, too. He could feel his heartbeat, and there was another heart beating against his chest.

Yeah, no. He wasn't in Heaven.

Opening his eyes, Adam saw that he was, indeed, in his living room. That was his coffee table peeking over this massive expanse of feathers. His boring ass curtains. His boring, creme-colored walls. Ah, no place like home.

Why was there a massive expanse of feathers in his line of sight?

Blinking once, Adam tilted his head to look at himself. Well, more like he was looking at the conked out angel that was laying on top of him. Explained the warmth. It didn't make any other sense, but it explained the warmth. The heartbeat was also reassuring. After all, last time he'd seen Samandriel, the guy was getting ripped to shreds by an invisible dog from Hell.

Yet, Samandriel appeared to be fine. No gashes littered his back like they should have, his wings weren't broken. No blood was anywhere, in fact.

Adam scrunched his face up in confusion at that. There should have been blood, right? And he should have holes in his abdomen, but they weren't there. Sliding his arms out from under the angel and glancing over them, he realized he didn't have teeth marks on those, either.

He was fine. He felt right as rain. Samandriel appeared fine, too. This turn of events made no sense to him.

He was pretty sure what had happened hadn't been a dream. Like, it's a little hard to imagine getting disemboweled realistically. Plus, why would he have fallen asleep on the floor with Samandriel haphazardly strewn across him? If he were the drinking type, this would make more sense. But he wasn't, and it didn't, and he was pretty sure he hadn't been dreaming but his brain was still confused as all fuck and making him doubt reality.

He could only think of one way to get to the bottom of the situation.

He plopped a hand down, perhaps a bit too hard, onto Samandriel's back, most of his hand connecting with wing, and demanded, "Hey."

Samandriel jerked as if he'd been shot, eyes popping open, wide and alert. Then he was pushing himself off Adam, pressing his hand painfully into Adam's stomach for leverage. His wings flapped once, sending wind and dust into Adam's face.

"Dude!" He complained, blinking repeatedly.

Samandriel wasn't paying him any attention, however. He was crouched, wings raised to the ceiling and ready for anything, as he quickly glanced all around them.

Adam observed him for a short moment, wariness creeping upon him. He made a point of not addressing that, though. Danger was too real and too close for his comfort. He wanted to keep it away. So, instead, he joked.

"Little trigger happy there, aren't ya?"

Samandriel finally looked at him, the corner of his lips pulled down into an uneasy frown. Well, that wasn't good.

"We're alone," the angel stated, though he didn't seemed pleased at the fact.

"Uh-huh," Adam drawled. "That's a good thing, right? No more… No more evil dogs and stuff?"

"I killed those," Samandriel admitted, "I couldn't… I didn't heal us."

Adam was surprised. Not at the healing part. That part made sense. The angel had healed himself before, though it'd taken time. Healing others wasn't so shocking, really. In all honestly, he probably should have thought about that sooner.

No, it was the killing part that had thrown him. Samandriel was probably the most docile person, angel, that he'd ever met. When he hadn't been picked on to his breaking point, anyway. Hearing that he'd taken out the hellhounds? Especially in the condition he'd been in? …It was a bit of an eye-opener.

He opened his mouth to say something, but Samandriel tensed and brought himself to his feet. He turned to face the door, and then there was a man standing there. Adam nearly jumped out of his skin, crawling backwards as quickly, and ridiculously, as possible.

The man appeared young. Dirty blond hair and dark eyes. Just a little bit of facial hair that made him look a tad older than he was meant to. Obviously, he was an angel, even if he were wearing all black. The little cross earring in his ear was a bit much, Adam thought. Points for style, he supposed, but the irony was a bit suffocating. Though, the angel probably wasn't wearing it for ironic purposes, which just kinda made it worse.

"No," the newcomer answered in a smooth voice, glancing at Adam and then Samandriel.

He was smiling. Marginally, and mostly with his eyes, but he was smiling. It was creeping Adam out.

"That would be Raphael."

The breath that caught in Samandriel's throat didn't seem like a good omen. Nor was the way he took a step back from what's-his-face, tucking his spread wings behind his back like he'd done something wrong.

Who was Raphael? Adam vaguely remembered a Raphael. Also an angel, obviously. He just didn't remember why that name was important enough to be vaguely remembered. When he tried to think about it harder, his scumbag brain merely gave him info about old painters and ninja turtles. Yeah, no, not quite. Thanks, brain.

"I didn't mean -," Samandriel cut himself off, fidgeting a little. "I hadn't meant to call Raphael down, I -"

The annoying, almost ethereal, smile on the stranger's face grew. Adam glared at the expression. He didn't know what it was about this guy, but he didn't like him. …Also, perhaps he should stop sitting on the floor, like an idiot, and stand, like everyone else.

Pushing himself to his feet didn't even warrant the new angel's attention. So, Adam stepped closer to Samandriel. He had to at least try to be noticed in his own house.

The action didn't work. He remained soundly ignored.

"You didn't," the stranger corrected. "Not technically. Raphael received both of your prayers-"

"Both?" Samandriel questioned, then he looked at Adam. Adam only shrugged.

"-and ze followed orders."

"Ze?" Adam asked.

"Raphael's neither male nor female," Samandriel explained.


The newcomer hummed, eyes finally traveling to Adam. He didn't seem pleased with him, though a polite smile remained on his face. Adam smiled back and put his hand forward for the angel to shake.

"Hi," he greeted. "Name's Adam."

The angel didn't even look down at the offered hand as he replied, "I know who you are."

"He wants you to introduce yourself," Samandriel said awkwardly.

"I am called Ephraim," the other replied, as if on cue.

Ephraim looked down at Adam's hand blankly. Slowly, he reached forward and clasped Adam's hand in his own. He didn't shake it, though. He merely held it loosely. Then he let go. Adam nodded his head once, pursing his lips. Well, points for trying, angel man. The smile returned to Ephraim's face.

"I mean no disrespect, but why are you here, Ephraim?" Samandriel asked, the tension slowly draining from his body. "We're already healed…"

Ephraim faced him, "I was sent by Raphael to make sure you were still breathing. Gabriel left before he should have, and the last thing my commander wants is to have failed a mission because of zir brother's flippantness. But, you are both well. For now."

"Oh, great," Adam snarked. "'For now.' That's not foreboding at all."

"You were made by demons," Ephraim replied strongly. When he cut his eyes back to Adam there was no mirth in them anymore. "Did you expect them to leave you be? Even with Gabriel's warding around this house, they'll find a way to destroy you as long as you remain here. More…human ways. Until you leave, you might as well be knocking at the Gates."

Adam wasn't entirely sure Samandriel realized what he was doing when he stretched a wing out to put it between Adam and Ephraim. Ephraim noticed, however. He didn't seem to care about the show of allegiance.

"Michael was made aware of your situation, Samandriel," Ephraim stated instead. "He will decide what to do with you and your friend here. Trust in his judgment. Raphael has already washed zir hands of the situation. It would be wise to not fall prey to more hellhounds; ze won't heal you again. I might be sent instead."

With the sound of wings beating, Ephraim vanished.

Adam scoffed immediately. He couldn't hold it in any longer. He got the feeling that guy - when he wasn't being an almost emotionless drone - was an asshole. Not the fun kind of asshole, either.

"And what the hell was with that threat at the end of his little speech?"

It wasn't until the words were out of his mouth that Adam realized he'd voiced his thoughts at all. He cringed inwardly. Samandriel probably wouldn't like him bad mouthing other angels. However, when he glanced over at him, Samandriel seemed distraught more than anything. He was still staring at the spot Ephraim had been standing in seconds before. Adam frowned.

"You okay?"

"We summoned Raphael," was the reply he received. "An Archangel. The Healer."

"And that's baaad how?"

Samandriel looked at him, "Think of it as calling your President to fix your sink."

Adam pouted, "Odd metaphor, but I think I get what you're going for."

"And, now, Michael knows. Gabriel, too. Three of the Archangels know that I'm a failure and -"


"I am!" Samandriel shouted back, causing Adam to jump. "And that's not the worst of it. Michael will come. He'll come when he shouldn't have to. He hates having to move against his will. And when he finds out what the demons want to do? What they can do because of me? Oh, ho, I'm dead."

"You're not dead," Adam snapped, jaw clenching. "I threatened to stab that fucker in the face if I had to and don't think I won't try! Now, can we stop with the Doomsday talk and work out a plan on how to get out of Dodge? That's what Ephraim was hinting at, right? Get out before, I don't know, the demons plan a drive-by?"

The pained expression on Samandriel's face didn't lesson, but at least Adam could see the wheels turning in his mind. Good. The more the angel focused on a plan for an escape, the less Adam had to worry about the guy coming up with other horrible things to think up about himself. Not that Samandriel wouldn't probably think them up later, but a distraction was at least a momentary reprieve, right?

"It'd probably be best to wait for Michael," Samandriel mumbled. "Ephraim said to trust his judgment."

"And let him do whatever you're afraid of him doing to you?" Adam questioned. "Can't we be a little more proactive?"

The other sighed, "Adam. How are we going to get out ourselves? The angels know our position, the demons, too. If I fly from here, I'll leave a trail for the angels. If we take your car, there's no guaranteeing the demons won't do something… At least here we have a little protection. Just until Michael can offer you more."

"And you?"

"Stop worrying about me!" Samandriel growled, eyes on fire as he stared up at him. "That's what got you killed in the first place!"

"Tell you what," Adam growled back, taking a step into his personal space. "I'll stop worrying about you when you start worrying about yourself. Pick up the slack a little bit, hmm?"

The angel glared, jaw setting as his wings began to puff up and rise tensely from behind his shoulders. He was livid, and Adam didn't particularly care.

He wanted them to be equals, that's all. They weren't, obviously. Not when one of them had wings and powers and shit. But that wasn't what he meant. It was the self-sacrificing bullshit. How Samandriel would just lay down in front of a steamroller, for him, instead of finding another way.

Adam didn't want a relationship where one person tried to give everything and refused to accept anything in return. He didn't want a friendship where one person would take all the hits. He would fight, he had fought, he just wanted Samandriel to do so, too. For himself for once. If they died, they died, but at least they would have tried, right?

Just as quickly as it'd come, the rage tightening Samandriel's body left him. Once again, he looked defeated as he broke eye-contact with him. He surprised Adam by leaning forward and placing his forehead against his shoulder, wings slumped and arms hanging loosely towards the floor. Samandriel sighed.

"Fine," he mumbled at Adam's shirt.

"Uh," Adam stammered. "Fine what?"

The cuff from the top of Samandriel's right wing to his head was even more surprising. Adam jolted at the quick, feathered blow, but he didn't move from where his feet were practically rooted to the ground. Because Samandriel was still leaning against him like this was a normal display of affection for him. Or something.

Honestly, this was a bit new, for Adam. Samandriel usually wasn't touchy-feely with him. Even with all the wing grooming he'd done; that'd felt more like a job rather than touching someone for touch's sake. That's how Samandriel had treated it, anyway.

Adam supposed this had something to do with, y'know, full-death experiences and stress. Awkwardly - and he wasn't completely sure why he was being so hesitant about it - Adam wrapped his arms around Samandriel, pulling him into a loose hug. A friendly one. He made sure to express this cordiality by carefully patting the angel's back a few times.

The tension further eased out of Samandriel at the hug.

They stood there, in a one-sided hug, for a few seconds too long. There was an appropriate amount of time to hug someone, in Adam's opinion, and they'd crossed it. If left any longer, Adam would be holding the angel. Which…had a slightly different connotation. He took a breath, glancing at the ceiling as if it could help him.

"Right," he spoke. "So. Plan?"

Samandriel sighed, again, and pulled away from Adam. He still looked tired, but less broken as he seemed before. At least that was an improvement. He shrugged, looking up at Adam.

"We wait for Michael."

"No -"

"We don't have a choice," Samandriel interrupted, tone of voice pleading with Adam to listen. "They're going to move you. Or us. I don't know. But they're going to do it. Because it's the most logical thing to do. They can give us resources we wouldn't be able to get ourselves."

Adam frowned, "Move where?"

"I don't know."

"What couldn't we get on our own?"

"I don't know, Adam, okay?"

"So, we're just running on faith?"

The unimpressed stare and folded arms Samandriel gave him as a form of reply only proved to Adam that the angel was not amused by his pun nor his sass. With a twitch, the wings disappeared from behind his back.

Adam blinked. He'd forgotten they could do that now. He frowned. He'd forgotten a lot of things, actually. Things he'd just remembered.

"Wait. If we leave, what about school? Friends? Family?" He asked, watching Samandriel as the angel walked past him. "Are we going to be in lockdown, or?"

"I know you don't want to hear this, Adam, but you're probably going to have to quit school."

"No," Adam said firmly.

Samandriel stopped, turning on his heel to face Adam again, as he stood in the kitchen doorway.

"Yes," he stated easily. "At least until things settle down."

Adam felt himself getting angry again, "And when will that be?"

Samandriel stared at him, but he didn't reply. Instead, he turned again and entered the kitchen.

Adam fumed as he heard the angel open and shut a cabinet drawer. He glared at the floor, working his jaw.

Perfect. Great. 'An indiscriminate amount of time' was definitely going to throw a wrench in that whole become-a-doctor thing. And probably ruin his scholarships. Which would make him have to take out more loans or pay out of pocket, and…

Welp, his future'd just been tossed out the window, hadn't it? But, hey! At least he was alive, right? Ha.

Actually, no. Being alive was a good thing. And it wasn't like he couldn't freeze his progress in college. Just had to tell the university he was quitting, get the correct paperwork, get his teachers to sign off on it. Okay, that last part was going to be tricky, what with the demons hanging around outside. Yay, one more obstacle to face.

Samandriel came out of the kitchen with the salt container. Adam didn't even ask what he was doing, he knew. Placing salt at every entrance. And, though Ephraim had said they were warded, Samandriel probably wasn't taking any chances. Adam didn't blame him for that. He had no idea who Gabriel was, other than an Archangel, but he'd 'left before he should have.' Adam got the feeling the guy wasn't the most trustworthy or dependable.

"I'm going to have to go to the college," he announced, watching Samandriel pour a line of salt by the window behind the TV.

The TV that had been put back in place at some point. Alright, then. Also, the window had been repaired. He'd noticed these things sooner, obviously, but because his brain identified the house as normal he'd kinda forgotten that, last time he was conscious, it hadn't been.

Angels making repairs again. Amusing.

Samandriel didn't even pause in his work as he accused, "Why?"

"There's this thing about being human: You kinda can't drop off the face of the planet and no one bat an eye. I can't cut ties without consequences," he replied easily.

Samandriel frowned. He almost glanced at Adam but seemed to think twice, his eyes zipping back to the windowsill after only having made it halfway. He stood and walked to the door, then began to fix the salt line there, too.

"Then I'll go with you," he said.

"No offense, Samandriel, but don't you think you'd…draw attention?"

The angel's frown worsened. But Adam could tell he knew he was right. That he wasn't happy that Adam was right. And Adam suspected that the angel probably wasn't going to like his idea at all now.

"Can you at least wait -"

"Until Michael? Yeah. Sure. Whatever. Y'know, why doesn't he just quit my classes for me? Save me the trouble of ever leaving my house again? Until he needs me to, of course. Hell, why not just zip me on up to Heaven? The demons will never find me there."

"Don't be an ass."

He'd poked Samandriel too hard with that little outburst. He was glaring at Adam again, and if his wings had been visible, they'd probably be as fluffed as the were minutes ago.

Adam sighed, worrying at one of his eye teeth with his tongue. Yeah, he was aggravated. What else was new? He really should stop directing it at his friend, huh?

"Right. Sorry." He motioned towards the stairs with his thumb. "Look, I'm going to go take a shower. Call my mom; tell her I'm moving. I'm just glad she won't call me a failure for dropping out. Hopefully."

"You're not a failure," Samandriel mumbled.

Adam stared at him.

"Yeah, turn that phrase around so that it's aiming at you," he replied with a twirl of his finger.

Samandriel rolled his eyes but didn't say anything else.

Adam turned and walked up the stairs, headed for his room for some clothes.

He didn't think he needed a shower. He seemed clear of cuts and blood and such. Why bother? Well, for one thing, he wanted some time alone to think and a shower was a good way of getting that. Locking himself in his room would only be questioned by Samandriel, causing one of them to be worried and the other to be annoyed. For another, he could call his mom in private. Maybe. If Samandriel didn't have extremely good hearing.

His room was exactly the way he'd left it. Too bad he had no bat to return under his bed, though. He'd blame that on the hellhounds. He'd lost his glove and ball, too. He was pretty sure Samandriel had dropped those mid-run. He hadn't really been paying attention to that at the time. For obvious reasons.

At least his favorite jeans were fine, even if they were still on Samandriel's ass.

It was the small things he had to cling to to keep from losing it.

Adam hadn't panicked when he'd first discovered Samandriel, no. Because he'd had a life to catch him. He'd had a routine and things were expected of him. One out of place thing had been no big deal. But his situation now? Everything was upended. No more college, no more acquaintances he liked to pretend were friends, and no more house. Hell, at the current rate of things, he'd even have to leave his shitty Hyundai behind. Mrs. Edwards would just love it if he left something like that on her property for her to tow away.

He was going to have to call her, too. Tell her he was breaking his lease and moving out. She'd probably worry, but it wouldn't bother her too much. Always someone else waiting to move in.

On second thought, maybe being left alone with his thoughts was a bad idea. They were kinda depressing.

Even though it was…seven in the morning, according to the clock on his wall, Adam said to hell with it and grabbed some sleeping clothes out his drawers. He felt he deserved to be comfortable all day. He would've just forgone clothes and stuck with his boxers, but he hadn't done that since Samandriel showed up. Again: Obvious reasons.

Once in the bathroom, he locked the door behind him. He placed his clothes on the small cabinet space around the sink, reached into his pocket, and pulled out his cell phone. Flipping it open, he scrolled down to his mother's number and clicked Send. He knew he was going to wake her up, and he hated to do that, but… It was kind of important he talked to her.

She answered after the third ring, voice groggy with sleep, like he knew it would be.

"Hey, sweetie," she mumbled, and Adam could hear the rustle of her pillow against the receiver, "what's wrong?

And that one little sentence, that one question, shattered whatever little grip he had on himself.

His hand tightened on his cell phone as tears burned his eyes and emotion constricted his throat.

What's wrong? Oh, nothing, mom. I just died. No big deal. And the thing that killed me is still out there, and it still wants to kill me. It probably will never stop wanting to kill me. I have to run. I have to drop everything - my hopes and dreams, my life, you - and run. Because, for all my huff and puff, I'm not strong enough. I'm not strong enough to fight what I can't see and what I don't know, and my arrogance will be the death of me. Again. Sorry.

When his lip started to tremble and he heard his mother ask if he was still there was when he finally pulled himself back from the edge. He couldn't topple forward. He wouldn't let himself. He let out a shaky breath and coughed to clear his throat, ignoring the wetness that managed to slip from his eye and down his cheek.

"Yeah," he replied to her question, wondering if she heard that crack in his voice. "Just called to tell you something's come up."

He could hear the frown in her voice as she asked, "What do you mean?"

He wondered if he should beat around the bush. If he should be vague or succinct. Whatever he chose, he knew his mom wasn't going to let this go easily. She'd question, she'd worry, and Adam knew there were no true answers he could give her.

"I gotta move out," he said lifelessly.

"Oh." She was sounding more awake. "Well, that's not too bad. Did something happen to Mrs. Edwards? You told me she had a fall."

"And quit school," he added.

"What?" She deadpanned. "Okay, Adam, what's going on? You've been hounding me for ages about going to school. You have scholarships. I..."

She sighed, "Is it drugs?"

Adam couldn't help the helpless chuckle that burst out of him.

"Why does everyone always think it's drugs?" He grinned sardonically.

"Short of the Apocalypse, I don't know anything else that would have you quit doing something you've planned for years," his mother replied easily.

Adam hummed, simultaneously amused that his mother wasn't that far off and pissed at the irony. It was like his life was one giant joke and he'd only then heard the punch line. One he should have figured out long before.

"It's not drugs," he reassured her.

"Mm-hmm. Who'd you kill?"

"Wow. Your faith in me is astounding," he teased.

"You're not going to tell me, are you?" She questioned, but it wasn't an accusation.

"No," he admitted, the seriousness of the situation dampening his spirits again. "You're just going to have to trust me on this one. It's better if I leave here."

"I do trust you," his mother replied, and the sincerity with which she spoke actually surprised him. "I trust that you know what's better for you than I do. I don't trust whatever's keeping your mouth shut."

The corner of Adam's lip twitched with a brief smirk, "That makes two of us."

"Are you coming home?"


Adam cringed at the forcefulness behind his denial. He didn't want to tip his mother off that he was in danger, and a prime way to do that was to make it sound like he was protecting her. Which, he was, but... She didn't need to know that.

When there was a long pause at the other end of the line, Adam feared he'd tipped her off after all. He grimaced, waiting for the inevitable questions to begin. Questions he couldn't answer.

"Do you know where you're going?" She asked, a question he hadn't expected.

Much to his relief.

"No," he answered truthfully.

"Go to Sam's."

Adam didn't even think to keep himself from groaning. He drug a hand down his face, wishing he hadn't just expressed to his mom how much he loathed that idea.

"Adam," she began sternly, "he's a lawyer. Whatever you've gotten yourself into, short of murder, he can help you with. And if I'm just worrying over illegal activities for nothing, the least he can do is offer you a spare room. Or the couch."

"I don't even know him," he complained.

"Nonsense. He likes you."

Feeling wasn't... Okay, well, Adam couldn't really say that the feeling wasn't mutual, but he could say that his feelings towards Sam weren't as lovey-dovey as Sam's was towards him.

He'd learned pretty early on in their relationship that Sam saw him as a bright-eyed, eager younger brother that he was nearly tripping over himself to show the ropes to. Or whatever the hell it was called.

Adam? Adam'd felt a little suffocated by the sudden surge of affection towards him from the guy he didn't know. And he still felt a little suffocated, sometimes.

Sam was a good guy. Adam liked that Sam was a good guy. He was just extremely intimidated by the unconditional love that radiated off of him like he was a giant fuckin' puppy, or something.

He was afraid that he'd show up on Sam's doorstep to a brilliant grin, and then his face would instantly be shoved into the brick wall that was Sam's chest. His death would come from the crushing hug that followed.

Because Adam didn't know how to tell the guy, 'Please, no.'

In defeat, Adam bowed his head and hit it lightly against the wall. Well, other than his mom's, he really couldn't think of anywhere else to go. And she was right about the lawyer thing and the Sam liking him thing. His brother probably wouldn't think twice about why he'd show up out of the blue. Might take the gesture to mean that Adam was finally ready to join the fam'. Ugh.

"Fine," he groused. "I'll see what I can do."

"Good," she chirped. At least one of them was in a better mood. "I'll call him and tell him you're coming."


"I'm doing it," she said, entirely too smug. "And there's nothing you can do to stop me."

"Okay, well, when I don't show up."

"You'll only have yourself to blame. I'm sure you can imagine the crestfallen look on his face when you don't."

Adam grimaced. He could, unfortunately. It was a tad depressing. Actually, it was a lot depressing. God, but why did that guilt trip work? More ugh.

"Well, with that taken care of," she continued, "I'm guessing this is where you hang up? Since I'm pretty sure you're still not going to tell me what you're dealing with."

"Yeah," he agreed sullenly. "I was just about to take a shower, anyway."

His mother sighed, "Alright. Call me when you get to Sam's. Talk to you later, sweetie. Love you."

"Love you, too, mom."

She hung up first, and Adam listened to the silence coming from his cell phone with a small frown on his face.

She'd said 'talk to you later.' Not good-bye. And Adam didn't know what to do with that.

Did he dare hope it wasn't a good-bye?

Because, if he did, there'd be no turning back. He'd be running to something instead of from something. He'd be running back to her, and his life, even if he took so many twisting paths along the road, and took so long, that he forgot who he was. All of his efforts would simply be because he didn't want to let her down.

Her. Kate Milligan. The woman who sacrificed so much for him, even when his deadbeat of a father had abandoned her.

It's not easy being a single mother.

And didn't she deserve to talk to him later? To see him again? To see him put to use everything she ever taught him?

Goddammit, but she did, Adam thought. She deserved more. And he would run. It may not be to Sam's, as she hoped, and he might never live his dream, as she hoped, but he'd fucking run if it meant she didn't have to bury a child. He'd be damned if he put her through that.

He flipped his phone shut and placed it on the bathroom sink, ignoring his reflection in the mirror.

He had a goal now. He'd given himself a goal. All he had to do was make sure he kept pursuing it. It would keep him from cracking again, keep him from becoming so overwhelmed that he stumbled and fate would catch up to him. He was giving himself another crutch, and he would use it.

With a steadying breath, nerves calming, Adam began to get ready for his shower. He'd take a shower, it'd help him relax, and then he'd put on his pjs and work on conveniently ignoring how he was going to have to visit his teachers tomorrow only to be seen as a complete and utter failure.

Lord willing, of course, and - oh! - how that thought burned Adam.

He grabbed the bottom of his shirt and pulled it up and over his head, tossing it haphazardly to the floor. He paused when he looked down to unbutton his pants.

"What the fuck?" He asked his stomach.

Last time he'd checked, there most certainly had not been a red handprint just below his sternum. He gestured to it, once again wondering just what the fuck it thought it was doing there. He had enough crazy shit going on right now, he didn't need another thing.

He poked at the offending mark and then cringed at the sensation it produced. Sunburn. That's what it felt like. A really bad sunburn. One that only got pissed off when he poked it because, before then, he'd felt nothing. Well, then.

And there was only one person in the house that could explain why this handprint was where it was, and he was most likely the source of it, too.

"Samandriel!" Adam shouted, storming out of the bathroom with intent.

The angel had heard him, hard not to, and appeared at the bottom of the stairs, a mix of confusion and panic clearly written on his face.

Adam remained where he was at the top of the stairs, glaring down at the other, and pointed at the handprint.

"Explain," he commanded.

Samandriel's eyes had already flickered to the burn, and he'd instantly relaxed, but at Adam's tone he cringed. He fidgeted, looking at the floor as he wrung his hands. He sighed and then looked up at Adam. He shrugged.

"It's from where I healed you," he replied. "Or, I was trying to heal you. Raphael... Like Ephraim said, Raphael took care of the rest."

He'd mumbled that last part, his whole body practically drooping, and Adam knew he was ashamed that he hadn't been able to do it all himself. But, they'd already discussed that and that wasn't the problem at hand now.

Adam nodded his head slowly, folding his arms across his chest, "That's not explaining why I'm branded. I'd think healing me wouldn't, y'know, leave a mark?"

"Raphael's power is far greater than mine. Greater than you can imagine, as cliché as you think that sounds. When ze healed us, my Grace must have surged and..." He trailed off and sheepishly motioned towards Adam.


"I can remove it, if you want."

"Yeah, yeah, that'd be nice."

Samandriel fidgeted again, nodded once, and began to walk up the stairs to him.

Adam stepped back to give him room on the landing. He dropped his arms to his sides, allowing Samandriel to do whatever the hell it was he needed to do, and watched the angel.

Samandriel wouldn't look at him. Not at his face, anyway. He kept his eyes trained on the handprint. The hand that reached towards Adam hesitated for a moment before the angel finally let it rest, perfectly, over the mark.

Nothing happened at first, and Adam had half a mind to quip about how that wasn't so hard, now was it? He didn't understand why Samandriel was being so awkward about the whole thing. It was one thing to be upset because he'd accidentally branded Adam in the first place, Adam knew that was what was bothering him, but since an answer to get rid of the 'mistake' was easily found, why still be worked up over it? Once again, Adam wanted to tell the guy to lighten up a bit. It's all cool.

And then there was heat. Heat and the tightening of flesh and muscle, and Adam quickly found himself hissing in discomfort as he doubled over a little, grabbing onto Samandriel's shoulder with his left hand. Samandriel didn't even twitch at the sudden weight pressed down on him.

Then the heat was gone. His stomach relaxed.

Adam let out a shaky breath and stood up, dropping his hand from Samandriel. Likewise, Samandriel removed his hand from Adam's abdomen.

"Ow," Adam whined.

"Sorry," Samandriel muttered, still refusing to look at him.

"Don't," Adam held up a finger. "I asked for it, so. Don't with the guilt-tripping."

Finally, those blue eyes hesitatingly darted up to meet his own.

Adam tried to give him a light-hearted smirk, "If that's what it feels like to be touched by an angel, I'm kinda glad I was out of it last time."

Samandriel frowned slightly, distaste at Adam's joke clear. He hadn't just been out of it, he'd been dead, and Samandriel probably didn't like being reminded about that. Most likely for the same reason Adam didn't like remembering the sight of Samandriel being ripped apart by thin air.

Adam grimaced.

"Yeah, that was kinda a bad joke, huh?"

Samandriel huffed through his nose, "You wouldn't be you if you didn't shove your foot in your mouth at least once a day."

Adam grinned at that. Now that was a good joke. Light-hearted with a crack of disapproval and just a twinge of tired affection. That lazy, easy camaraderie Adam feared they'd lose in the bullshit that currently surrounded and stressed them. He, of course, hadn't helped make things easier.

His grin faded.

"I'm sorry I took my frustration out on you," he mumbled sincerely.

Samandriel was silent for a moment, seemingly searching Adam for something, and then shrugged his shoulders.

It was such an easy dismissal, but it left Adam wondering if he'd truly been forgiven or not. He frowned.

"Uh. Right." He motioned back towards the bathroom with a nod, "I'm just gonna go take my shower now... Like I've been meaning to do for, like, the past ten minutes..."

Samandriel blinked. He waited. And, when Adam still hadn't moved, he must have assumed he was meant to nod his understanding, for that's what he did. Then he turned and began to walk back down the stairs.

Adam opened his mouth. He closed it. He wondered why the hell he'd opened it in the first place, as he stared at the wall across from him. There were no tangible thoughts in his head, after all. It was all one swirling mess again.


Funny how the only time he seemed to find some semblance of peace was when talking to the people he loved. A nice distraction.

A Band-Aid on a leak of a dam.

He sighed and cast his gaze to the ceiling.

"So how long does this last, huh?" He muttered, mostly to himself.