In autumn, an angel in a Wiener Hut uniform pulls Adam Milligan from Hell and sets him down carefully on the ground in Stull Cemetery. Adam looks like a stunned, slumped-over ragdoll but his soul and body are intact, and he's alive, and he thinks the rain spattering through his hair and rolling down his face must be blood because it's always blood, for four hundred years it was always blood.
He's dazed, afraid, and he doesn't speak the whole time Samandriel shakes his shoulder and peers into his face and lifts him up under the arms to zap out of this abandoned graveyard. He doesn't even seem to acknowledge the angel's presence until after Samandriel has walked him through the glass doors of a diner in North Carolina and half-carried him to the nearest booth.
It's busy, fortunately, so no one seems to notice at first the state Adam's in, or they think he's drunk. Either way, Samandriel's not focused on the other patrons, just the hollow-eyed man across from him gripping the edge of the table like he's going to fall backwards, back into the Pit.
"Adam," he says, still trying to be careful, a jolt hitting him when he realizes he has no idea what to do. Adam just glances up at him like a startled animal, the vinyl of the seat below him creaking. His mouth opens and closes like a suffocating fish but he says nothing.
When the waitress comes over, twiddling a pen in her right hand, Samandriel orders a burger and a Coca-Cola for Adam, still fumbling over human colloquialisms and habits. She doesn't seem upset or annoyed, though, just gives him a small smile and disappears behind the counter. The whole encounter passes without Adam seeming to realize she's there.
"Who…" he says, like he's learning to talk again without screaming. "Who are you?" It seems like there should be so many other questions, like where he is and what happened to him and why, but he seems to have pieced together enough to be wondering who this is that saved him and is ordering him a burger.
"My name is Samandriel." Then, apologetically, "I'm an angel." As soon as he says it, Adam coils back into the booth and Samandriel looks down, feeling he should've known better. When a guy spends half a millennium stuck between an archangel and a fallen angel, he's not going to come out of it feeling all too charitable to the winged warriors. Absurdly, Samandriel wants to take it back, but it's true. He can't up and decide to not be an angel. "I'm not like… them," he says, mouth pinched at the corner. "I never wanted the apocalypse, and I don't- I don't think humans are worthless." He grasps for other confessions, other proofs that he wants nothing but peace and comfort for the man in the booth across from him.
"You got me out?" says Adam, like it's just occurred to him. Thankfully, that's when the waitress appears with an icy Coke and sets it down in front of him, and Adam takes his first sip of anything since before Michael possessed him and everything- literally- went to Hell.
"Why?" Adam says, not meeting Samandriel's eyes while he's too concerned with sucking down that soda like it's the last one on earth.
"You didn't belong there," says Samandriel."And I had to save someone."
Samandriel's mouth quirks up at the corner and he glances down, finding whirls and patterns in the wooden table that remind him of the stars in Heaven. "I've got this older brother." He can see Adam flashing back, remembering his own older brother and all those times in Hell that it could've been him getting torn and tortured but Sam stepped in, crawled to the other side of the Cage and taunted- taunted- Lucifer and Michael until they ignored Adam. "You remember Castiel?"
"The trench coat guy?" says Adam, his eyes seeming lighter as he remembers the time before Hell.
"Yes," Samandriel says. "My older brother is Castiel. I guess I just kind of wanted to be like him."
It's later, in the motel that Samandriel finds for Adam, that the half-Winchester breaks down on the corner of a moldy mattress, any and all memories of Hell he'd managed to repress in the last few hours roaring to the surface. He's got his hands fisted over his head like a helmet and is muttering a litany of Latin, Enochian, and English, names and pleas repeated over and over again. Samandriel can hardly hear what he's saying and he can hardly leave.
He sits on the bed, taking off the red and white hat for the first time and wringing it in his hands, and he wishes Castiel were here and could tell him what to do instead of locked in Purgatory and gone forever.
Adam he could help. Carefully, always carefully, Samandriel takes Adam's hands from his head and rubs one between his own, the palms calloused from scraping out of the earth and the fingers fragile, and to him Adam feels more breakable now, with his hand in Samandriel's, than he had when he was just a broken soul slipping through the bars of the Cage.
In the morning, the daylight must help because Adam seems to come back to himself. His eyes are red-rimmed and purple at the edges. After some struggling with the coffee maker, Samandriel makes him a cup and hands it down to him where Adam sits hunched at the edge of the bed.
"Here," he says a little awkwardly, holding it by the handle so Adam has to wrap his hand around the piping surface. He doesn't cringe, doesn't flinch, and some part of Samandriel wonders if this is resistance built up after centuries in hellfire. It makes him want to wrap an arm around Adam, hold him, fix him, but he restrains himself.
"Thanks," Adam says, exhaustion weighing down his voice. "For everything," he adds, looking up at Samandriel. "You didn't have to stay with me last night, but… you did. So thanks."
"Well, I wasn't going to leave you like that," Samandriel shrugs like it's nothing, because he's young and hasn't made enough mistakes for the other angels to drill into him any of their upheld ideals or prejudices. He knows Castiel, and of friends and faith and freewill.
Adam squints at him, the tired wrinkles around his eyes creasing further. "Why do you care so much?"
The question surprises Samandriel, who hadn't really thought anything through enough to wonder why he did it at all. "I told you," he says. "Castiel is my older brother."
Adam's too worn down or too traumatized or too scarred, pick one, to go outside so he and Samandriel spend the entire day on the couch watching Seinfeld reruns, the angel sprawling into his lap occasionally. Maybe, Adam thinks, he should have some kind of boundaries talk with him, but when the commercial rolls around and Samandriel drifts closer, he shrugs it off, because Hell was cold and hot all at once and Samandriel is warm and apparently comfort can come from anyone, even a scrawny angel in a Wiener Hut uniform.
The next few weeks pass welcome and warm, nights in front of the television and whispered conversations and waking up from nightmares too terrible for words, lying there in the dark gasping back strangled sobs while Samandriel pulls him in close and tells him stories and prayers and eventually bad jokes that at least make him laugh for a moment.
Adam doesn't have to leave his motel room ever if he doesn't want to, because Samandriel brings him food and clothes and medicine, but eventually he does venture back to that diner, Samandriel beside him all the time. It's a small battle, but it's a won battle.
In spring, after too many unanswered prayers and empty pleas, Adam finally gets the news about his angel from a stuffy business man-looking angel who appears practically in a cloud of dust. "Adam Milligan?" he huffs out, looking almost comical with his tie flipped backwards over his shoulder. "You're the one who's been praying to, ah, Samandriel?"
"Where is he?" asks Adam, wincing when he hears his voice crack, because maybe he thought he could get on alone for the weeks when Samandriel told him he had business to attend to, but when weeks turned into months and the updates stopped coming, he couldn't do it, just couldn't do it anymore.
"He's gone, kid," said the angel. "Killed, um, sometime in January. Showdown up in Nebraska. I'm sorry, but, uh, your prayers are clouding up the servers in Heaven. You're going to have to stop."
Just like that, like a phone company shutting him down after leaving too many voicemails. Just like that, he'll never see Samandriel again, and something in him makes him want to throw himself against this haphazard angel before him, to pound his fists on him and shout, "Don't you know who I am?"
He doesn't, though. He nods, bows his head, tries to play the words over again in his head to see if they've become numb announcements, but no, they still cut him deeper than Lucifer's nails ever could. When he looks up again, the angel is gone and he's well and truly alone.
Summer passes slow and hazy like melting wax, with Adam living off credit card scams to support his regular purchases of motel rooms and liquor. It's too much, it's all too much, and with no one to share it with he regularly feels like his head might split. When he turns on the TV now, it sounds like screaming.
Autumn again, and Adam is huddled in his motel room, scattered bottles on the carpet, clenching and unclenching his fists just to assure himself that they are his own and not just Michael's hammers. The knock at the door comes three times before Adam realizes it isn't only in his head.
Feeling like a pile of bones and nothing else, Adam opens the door, convinced he's hallucinating when he sees who's standing there.
Because it's Samandriel, fresh and alive and finally wearing something other than that uniform, and Adam blinks back surprise, then tears when it begins to sink in. "You can't be here," he blurts out. "You died."
"I did, a bit," says Samandriel, leaning against the doorframe. "Sort of a trick. The death was, I mean."
"How…" Adam trails off, eyes raking up and down the thin, freckled, and very-much-alive angel, confusion and exuberance washing over him in dizzying waves.
Samandriel smirks, and though it's unfamiliar on his face, it's definitely not unwelcome. "I've got this other brother," he says. "His name is Gabriel."