This idea came to me a little after "Appointment in Samarra." Seems like so many people went in and out of the cage, and usually on Sam's behalf, I started wondering what it must have seemed like to someone else.
Spoilers up through 6.11, only.
Thanks to geminigrl11 for the fast beta. I own nothing. Reviews craved.
A View from the Cage
Michael tosses him aside as soon as he realizes that the cage door has slammed shut. Angels don't need vessels here, and Adam is an unnecessary hindrance. Lucifer sheds Sam almost as fast, and both humans fall to the bottom of the cold, pitch black pit.
The fall from Earth is disorienting, and even in the dark, the world seems to spin off axis, wildly gyrating until both humans are nauseous. The floor feels like stone, rough and unyielding, but it's difficult to see anything else. The only light comes from Michael, who seems even brighter here than when he'd come for Adam in that gilded room. Adam isn't sure how long ago that was.
Lucifer puts out light too, but it's darker, like some radioactive material. Adam has to shield his eyes, either way. It's painful to even see either devil or angel, but from a distance it seems bearable if he doesn't make direct eye contact. Same rules as an eclipse, he figures.
From what little can be made out through the glare, Adam can see eight different sets of wings on Michael, and more than one head, but he's not sure if they're all human.
Lucifer's harder to make out. His body is all black and glowing with energy, but the shapes are distorted, like his body is putting out smoke or vapors. He can see four huge, leathery, bat-like wings, and long, razor sharp claws on his hands, but not much else. The Devil is the complete physical opposite of his older brother. Adam figures that make sense, in a way.
For a time, the two huge creatures pound on the invisible door—at least, Adam thinks it must be a door. It sounds like a giant, metal door. They scream in a chaotic mixture of shock, terror and rage. It's pretty obvious that neither expected to be in this situation. Adam has only heard and seen fragments of the confrontation at the old cemetery, but he is fairly certain that Michael was supposed to kill the Devil, not fall into…whatever this place is with him.
The vertigo fades quickly enough, but so do the two angels' frantic attacks on the cage. All too soon, they turn their attention elsewhere. Adam has finally made it to his feet, and is stumbling toward where Sam lays against the opposite wall when the two enormous beings swoop down like birds of prey. They descend on Sam angrily, yanking him off the stone floor and taking him skyward. Adam tries to follow, but the walls are too smooth; he can't climb them. He watches, but soon the trio is too high, and the oppressive gloom blocks his vision.
He can hear the two angels shouting: shrill voices that make Adam think his head is going to explode even at this distance. They are speaking some unknown tongue, words barely discernable in their natural voices. Some small part of his brain calls it Enochian—he's sure he heard that somewhere, though he can't translate the language. They sound furious, and not just with each other.
It's a few minutes later that he hears the first scream. It's not in Enochian. He hasn't known his long-lost brothers very long, but he remembers voices when he hears them, and the scream is definitely Sam's. It's loud and deep and it cuts off abruptly.
Adam wants to pretend that the drops that hit him and the floor a moment later are rain, but he knows better.
What confuses him, however, is how just a few minutes later he hears another scream, again from Sam. If what Adam thinks has just happened has happened—that shouldn't be possible.
Angels are bullies. Adam believes that now. If Zachariah hadn't convinced him of that, what he's seen over the past few days—weeks? months?—certainly has. Whatever they look like, whatever they've done throughout history, however superior they claim to be, Adam knows now they are just vindictive, cruel things that don't deserve to be memorialized in the statues humans have built of them.
As far as Adam is concerned, they all deserve to die, and he can't fathom why God would let them live.
Sam can't hurt them. Sam can't even fight back, any more than that girl in King Kong could fight the ape. But, that doesn't stop Michael or Lucifer. It doesn't matter that they are all pretty much in the same boat now—all four of them—and it doesn't matter how many times Adam shouts exactly those words to them.
They ignore him.
They torture Sam.
Adam has never seen anyone as angry as these two winged nightmares. He's never heard anyone scream as long or rant as insanely. Enochian doesn't make any more sense now than when he first heard it, but he can pick out tones and the feelings behind the words, if not the exact meaning.
Trying to make sense of their language seems futile, at first, but it beats just standing in a corner, dodging showers of Sam's blood and the occasional body part. He tries to get to Sam, to somehow pull him away and find a place to hide, but every time he does, one of the angels bats him away like the gnat he apparently is. Adam keeps track of the times he approaches them. Forty-two times result in lacerations and twenty-eight in broken bones and the closest he gets to Sam is thirty feet.
The two times he is gutted, he doesn't even get that close.
Each time, his body mends itself within an hour, as though nothing has happened. It doesn't take Adam long to realize that death is no escape down here.
He thinks he should feel more when he thinks about the times he's been mauled, but with everything he's seen, Adam just feels desensitized to it all. What's another drop of blood when you're swimming in it?
In any event, Adam doesn't feel much of anything anymore. After so long in the dark, it's just easier to stop caring.
The only thing that cuts through the haze of indifference is the sound of Sam's screams. The sound stirs something inside Adam, something long forgotten. It makes him remember what it was like before the universe went crazy.
Maybe that's why he keeps trying to get to Sam whenever his brother is close by.
Maybe that's why he keeps going back, no matter how many times he's swatted away or killed.
Or maybe he just can't stand to hear Sam shrieking like that.
Somewhere along the way, either Michael or Lucifer hits upon the idea of separating Sam's soul from his body. It is ingenious, in a sick sort of way. They can "play" with both, and Sam gets to feel everything double.
Michael and Lucifer clearly favor the soul, and fight over who's turn it is, like big children, fighting over who gets to barbeque ants with a magnifying glass. Sam's soul seems to be a more satisfying target.
The body tears too easily.
That doesn't stop them from splitting it one day, like Sam's a wishbone at Thanksgiving dinner. Adam screams just at the memory of the sound.
Apparently, souls are more than just balls of light. They are more like goo…or that liquid metal from the second Terminator movie. The little ball of light stretches, and tangles as they fight over it, two rabid, greedy dogs that should have been put down centuries ago.
Adam's lost his faith down here. If there was a God, he wouldn't allow things like this. And, if there is and he does, Adam never wants to meet him. He'll take his chances somewhere else.
Sometimes, when Michael and Lucifer get overzealous, the soul pops. Literally. A rubber band pulled too tight. Little globs and fragments of light spray everywhere. The angels paint the smooth, obsidian walls with the residue, drawing patterns that mean nothing to human eyes, then wipe it all away and start over.
When they're done, the bits and blobs of soul slide back together, just like that Terminator. There's no end for souls here, either.
What surprises—and maybe horrifies—Adam most, though, is that he can still hear Sam screaming. It's not spoken, but he can hear it. Deep and resonating, an ethereal version of his older brother's voice, faint and loud all at once. The soul's scream. Somehow, even after everything he's seen and heard, Adam still tears up when he hears it. No one should ever make that sound...or have to hear it for days on end.
When Lucifer and Michael play with the body, too, the cacophony is in stereo.
Adam tries to find something sharp to jab into his ears those days, but the cage is empty.
The angels talk to each other all the time. Barbs, insults, snide innuendos. Adam can hear it in the tones and words chosen. They try to hurt each other verbally, even as they work together to torment Sam. They are family, brothers that hate each other beyond reason but still have a common enemy.
One day, after Sam explodes, Michael chides Lucifer about something. Whatever it is, the Devil is incensed. He turns and lunges at his older brother, and the two towering beasts go rocketing skyward, wings carrying them off as they slice into each other, howling their hateful accusations back and forth.
It isn't the first time it's happened, but it's the first time that they've flown off, battling ferociously.
Adam takes a chance and leaves his lonely spot by the wall, crawling as fast as he can toward Sam. Well, part of Sam, anyway. The 6'4" body is smeared all over the floor, so Adam heads for the glowing plasma ball that's slowly reassembling itself in the corner.
He slips on—something nauseating—but staggers onward, muscles and limbs uncoordinated after being inactive so long. The gory mess is slithering itself back together, too. He reaches the soul, finally, as it finishes coming together.
Adam reaches out. "Sam? Can you— Can you hear me?"
The ball of light cringes—and Adam can honestly say he never thought he'd see something like that—and tries to get away, but it's sluggish. Adam slows his movements, holding out his hands, palms up, as though trying to placate a frightened dog.
"It's okay. It's only me."
"Yeah, bro, it's me."
The ball of light slinks closer, hovering just above Adam's palms. He can feel the energy, tingling along his nerve endings. Like those glass plasma balls he used to see at science museums. It's warm, and Adam curls his hands around it.
He never thought he'd be hugging a ball of light, either. But, then, everything in Adam's life had pretty much gone to hell the moment that ghoul tore into him, however long ago that was. It is time to throw out the list of expectations.
"We might not have much time."
You…need to find a way out. They won't miss you while they've got me.
Sam is still in agony, Adam can sense it. He's like a burn victim, all exposed nerves and raw pain. He can't help Sam with any of that, but he decides not to show it. One of them has to be the confident one.
Adam grinned ruefully. "Little late to be playing the protective big brother, don't you think?"
"Sam! There's no way out. I've had time to look. But, there's a little nook over there," Adam nods over his shoulder. "It'll be a tight fit, but I think we can both get in. It's a long shot, but maybe we can hide before they come back and start their whole Great White versus goldfish act again."
He can feel the indecision, somehow, in his hands, but Sam doesn't argue. Adam turns, holding his brother's soul as delicately as he can as he faces the pile of Sam's bloody but slowly knitting flesh. "Now, if I can just figure out how to get you back in that."
I—I have no idea…. Sam quivers, in fear and pain, in his hands. Adam closes his hands tighter, as tight as he dares, but he can't seem to comfort Sam much.
"Did someone spill the Legos?" A new voice interrupts snidely.
Adam looks up; Sam doesn't seem to notice the newcomer. A swirling mass of black smoke is filtering through small cracks in the stone walls, forming into a smirking, dark-haired man with a Scottish accent.
"Who the hell are you?" Adam challenges, sliding back toward the wall, clutching Sam's soul to him.
The man eyes him only for a moment, before glancing up into the gloom. Sonic booms can be heard, just barely. The visitor looks back down at Sam's remains and grimaces. "Name's Crowley, Pipsqueak, and I had the deal of a lifetime for Gigantor here…but, I didn't expect him to be so…wet. This won't do at all."
Crowley holds his hands out, then slowly starts moving them together. Sam's flesh begins to knit faster, muscles, veins and tendons reattach as blood drains off the walls and begins moving back toward the corpse. Whatever Crowley's doing, it's working. Sam is coming back together. Adam stands, holding out the ball of light in his hands.
"Here, put this back."
Crowley keeps glancing up into the darkness, then back at the reforming body. "Bullocks! This is taking too long…."
Adam steps forward, speaking more forcefully. The man has to listen to him. "This is Sam's soul, you've got to put it back—"
"It takes time, boy!" Crowley hisses, snarling at him. "And we don't have it!" He glances up again, and his expression changes to panic. Crowley looks down at Sam's body, which is finally finishing up, and then back at Adam and shrugs. "Hard knocks, lad, I was going to make you an offer, too, but it's too late. I'll have to settle for this."
Crowley reaches down and grabs Sam's broad shoulders, then they're both gone, puffing into smoke and flowing out the way Crowley came.
"Wait!" Adam moves to follow, but Crowley's gone.
A blast of singing heat and burning cold behind him is the first indication of trouble. Sam's soul is yanked away as Adam is catapulted across the cage, smashing into the opposite wall hard enough to crush his ribcage.
He hears shrill, irate Enochian behind him. Whatever words the angels are spitting at him, it has the tone of "what have you done?"
Lucifer's razor sharp talons rip into Adam's torso, and his blood begins to boil in his veins. The flesh of his back and legs is shredded in seconds, and his internal organs catch fire.
Shortly, Adam and Sam are screaming in harmony for the first time.
Adam gets more attention after that day, though still not as much as Sam. Lucifer and Michael apparently blame him for Sam's body going missing, and he is punished accordingly and regularly.
Sam still takes the brunt of the abuse. Lucifer likes to peel the little ball of light like an orange, then slice the insides to ribbons a little at a time. Michael talks more, kneading and spreading Sam in his hands, then squeezing until he bursts like a water balloon. Sometimes the angels work together; sometimes they just take hold and pull until Sam snaps.
Other times, they just hold Sam in their hands, whispering to him. There's obviously more going on than Adam can see with his eyes, because those days Sam screams even harder than usual. And begs, for all the good it does. Every now and then, Adam hears "Dean."
As the days turn into weeks, and then into months, Sam's cries become disjointed. The ball of light takes longer to reassemble every day. When the angels are impatient, they cram the pieces back together, forcing them into place so they can start again.
When Adam isn't screaming with Sam, he can only watch. Sam's soul seems to be growing…thinner. The light flashes erratically. The screams become long, incoherent wails, carrying on longer than the angels' torments. The echoes around the cage are enough to drive someone mad.
Eventually, Adam just tries not to listen.
Time has no meaning where they are, but Adam tries to keep track. Scratching marks into the walls is useless, since there's no way to tell if it's day or night.
After a long while, the angels stop punishing Adam for "losing" Sam's body, and just focus on the flickering, roiling bundle of light in their clutches.
Adam isn't sure, but he gets the impression that they think he's boring.
When the man comes through the wall in front of him, Adam almost misses it. The movement is smooth, like the stone is merely a curtain, rather than the franticness of Crowley's entrance.
The man is pale, thin, with high cheekbones and an almost skeletal face. He wears a black suit and walks with a gentleman's cane, like he's Sherlock Holmes or something. He doesn't notice Adam, even though he's barely an arm's length away. Instead, he's looking up, cocking a distinctly perturbed eyebrow in the direction of Michael and Lucifer.
"Like rotten children fighting over a toy," the man says. His cultured, aristocratic voice booms in the cage, despite his frail appearance. He lifts his right hand as the angels turn to face him. Adam spies a ring with a pale white jewel of some kind. Sam's soul pulls away, snatched from Lucifer's grip as though the task is simple. "It's not at all surprising that your father's hopes for you are fading."
The soul glides smoothly to the frail man's hand, and he casually drops it into a black satchel that appears from the ether.
Lucifer and Michael shriek in blind fury, descending toward the man. He isn't impressed.
"You will not take that tone with me," the man says haughtily. "I'm already tempted to reap you both ahead of schedule."
Whatever that means, the angels stop in their tracks, and…cower! Adam can't believe his eyes. He didn't think anything could frighten beings like that.
The pale man closes the satchel and turns back toward the wall, cane clicking on the cold stone of the floor. As the man's gaze sweeps over Adam, he feels a chill go down his spine. The man stops. Adam glances from him to the wall he entered through, his expression asking the obvious question silently.
For an instant, Adam thinks he sees regret in the man's dark, shark-like eyes, but it's gone before he's sure, and only the cold stare remains.
"I'm not here for you, child."
Then he's gone.
It starts right after Sam's soul is taken. Michael says something. Lucifer says something back. Michael replies…and then all hell breaks loose—again.
Somewhere in the gloomy expanse above Adam, World War Three is being fought. It goes nuclear almost immediately, and the two angels don't stop. Any normal beings, in any normal place, would have exterminated each other already. Adam suspects that had this happened on Earth, the whole planet would be dust by now. But, here in the cage, nothing dies, nothing ends…the brothers are locked in mortal combat forever, now. Sam isn't there to distract them anymore, and Adam never was of much interest to them.
Or anyone else, apparently. Crowley came for Sam's body. The well-dressed guy came for Sam's soul.
No one seems to be coming for Adam.
He's sort of resigned himself to it. Even though it hurts just being here, it actually isn't that bad. The air is hot and acidic, his skin crawls constantly and his eyes water a lot. His shredded clothes offer no protection from the environment. He's been hungry and thirsty for years. Gravity doesn't seem to be a constant anymore: some days Adam is so light he floats, others he's so heavy he can barely breathe. Maybe the archangels' brutal war is affecting the physics of the cage in some small way. Adam doesn't remember it always being this way.
Despite some random attacks over the years, neither Michael nor Lucifer try to hurt him, not like they did poor Sam. They are far more interested in tearing each others' wings off…which suits Adam just fine.
He wonders what happened to his brothers. If Sam was ever put back together, if Dean's still up there somewhere. Zachariah said they were joined at the hip. Unhealthily so, even. Maybe they found each other, even after everything. Part of him hopes so.
Part of him hates the very notion.
Adam's way past fighting, or crying, or raging, or delusions, though. No one's coming for him, he's not going to find a way out…and he's just used to it, now.
Of all the bizarre visitors Adam has seen coming and going into the cage over the years, the last one takes the proverbial cake.
A burst of light, like a tiny star exploding, lights up the wall where Adam is slumped, and a circle of wispy clouds and smoke blossoms open. A man steps through the whirlpool, carrying a cane. He is dressed simply, a greenish brown waist-length jacket, a plaid shirt, and brown pants. He's balding and on the other side of middle age, and he's smiling like someone who knows he's better than anyone in the room, and he's the only one that realizes it.
He looks around, smirking, and mutters. "Child's play."
Adam blinks for a moment, and almost tells him that he's wasting his time, Sam's already gone, but he decides not to say anything. After a moment of looking around, the man turns toward him, and looks him over with a slight frown.
"You're not the one I was expecting to find," he says, not unkindly. Actually, he sounds bemused.
Adam shrugs. I knew it. "Sam's gone."
"Is he now? How interesting. And, who would you be?"
It takes him a moment to remember. "Adam…Adam Milligan."
The man peers closely at him. "Hmm. Even more interesting. Blood relative…but different mother, yes?"
"Who are you?" Adam asks, his curiosity getting the better of him. If today's like any other day, he will probably regret it.
"Well," the man glances around the floor again. "Since it's just the two of us, Adam Milligan, I suppose I'm your benefactor."
Adam glances to the left and right, then looks back at the man with a confused frown. Surely the man is referring to someone else. No one cares about Adam Milligan. "Mine?"
A beat goes by, until the man steps forward. "Well?"
The man sighs, looking around again. "I suppose this drab place does dull the senses after a while. Do you have a wish, son? Something I could do for you, perhaps?"
"A wish?" Adam asks. He can't figure out if this is real, or he is delusional after all.
"My, my," the man sighs deeply. "And I thought the tall one was dense. But, at least you still have your soul. Now, please, pay attention: Adam, if you could make a wish, right now, what would it be?"
It doesn't take long to think of one. "I'd…I'd want to leave this place."
"Ah, of course!" The man says cheerfully. "I can make that happen, if you're willing to pay a price."
Adam's tiny spark of hope, somehow still smoldering after so long, falters. "What kind of price?"
"Well, nothing as bad as staying here, I assure you. Maybe a few years of servitude, but unlike this place, we can set up a release date. We're not nearly as rigid as these, ahem, religious types. Our deals are much more profitable for all concerned."
Adam wavers. Doesn't sound too bad, and this guy doesn't seem to be an angel or demon, the way he is talking. Still, there is something unsettling about it all. "Where would I go? Home?"
"Eventually, I'm sure something can be arranged. It all really depends on whether Oberon likes you, I suppose."
He doesn't know who this Oberon is or what the words mean, but it doesn't really matter. Escaping does. With a glance into the gloom above, hearing another round of explosive battle erupting, Adam makes his decision.
"How bad can it be? Okay."
The man smirks. "A yes or a no, sonny. Even our union has rules."
"Yes. We have a deal. Just get me out of here."
"It's your lucky day, lad!" The man extends his hand, and helps Adam to his feet.
As Adam steps into the swirling light of the portal that suddenly appears, he takes one look back, and smiles for the first time in...maybe forever. Lucifer and Michael are going to be pissed when they come back.