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if it's true

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When he opens his eyes again, it's to the familiar eggshell white of their apartment ceiling overhead. Because he's fundamentally ridiculous and seems to have picked up nothing about normal human behavior from all their years together, Michael's laid him out like a corpse, flat on his back and arms ramrod straight at his sides. Still, he takes stock and realizes Michael at least remembered to take his shoes and socks off, and he's wearing a clean t-shirt and sweatpants instead of the same clothes he went into the Empty in. For Michael, that's a mile of progress.

He sits up, scrubs a hand over his eyes to get the last blur of sleep out of them, and finds himself face to face with Michael hunched like a mildly concerned gargoyle on the edge of the bed.

"Hey there." His voice doesn't rasp at all. Back to all the perks of cohabiting with an angel, then. "How long was I out?"

"A little under thirteen hours," Michael says. "You went into the Empty on Tuesday evening, came out early Wednesday morning, and slept until now." Which, okay, the last time Adam slept that long he'd been twelve years old and coming off a killer bout of the flu, but he figures wrangling a pissed-off cosmic entity probably ranks even higher than stomach bugs as far as good reasons to sleep in go.

"Huh." Sure enough, when he reaches up to pull up the blinds, the sun is just starting to set outside, the last rays of light catching on the edges of the windowpanes. He has a newfound appreciation for it, after so long wandering around in the pitch black of the Empty. "What'd I miss?"

Michael is quiet for a moment. "Nothing very important," he finally says. "Jack explained why you came for me and invited me to help with rebuilding Heaven, but I wanted to be sure you woke up safely first."

Adam can feel the goofy smile spreading across his face, but he also can't resist throwing a jab in anyway. "A gentleman never lets his lover wake up alone, huh? Unless he's busy being dead?" Michael goes rigid like a cat dropped in water, and Adam drops back onto the bed and laughs with his whole chest. He's going to get so much mileage out of getting Michael flustered. It's cute. He's cute. God's first angel, destroyer of worlds, and he blushes and starts when Adam cracks a joke.

"Adam, I'm so sorry -" Okay, not what he was going for, at least not until he's woken up the rest of the way.

"Hey, slow down, okay? I'm just glad you're back." He cranes his head up to smile at Michael. He still has some of that startled earnestness to him, but he nods slowly and that's good enough for Adam. "Cool. I'm going to make something to eat, we can talk about it then." That should give him enough time to wake up the rest of the way.

Michael trails him to the kitchen and sits a little awkwardly while Adam cobbles something together, more for the sake of doing it than anything. It'd been fun, actually needing to eat and stuff, but he's too relieved to have Michael back to even really miss it that much. Still, the rhythm is soothing, so he puts a pan on the stove to heat and grabs the last couple slices of bread from the cabinet. His eye catches on the coffeepot as he gets the butter and a knife from their spots at the end of the counter, and he remembers - "So you've got a nephew!"

Out of the corner of his eye he can see Michael tilt his head a little, considering. "I suppose I do," he says slowly, like he hadn't really considered it in those terms yet.


"Well-intentioned." A brief pause, and then Michael adds, half under his breath, "Very, very young."

"He seems like a good kid." The butter is starting to pop in the pan, and he stacks the bread and cheddar for a quick grilled cheese and turns the heat down a little. They'll have to go grocery shopping in the next couple days, probably, although having Michael back has made that much less a matter of life and death.

"I think he is. His plans for Heaven are certainly more... centered in the interests of humanity than we were. It's likely for the best."

"Mm, right, you mentioned he wanted you to help with rebuilding. Are you going to say yes?" The edges of the bread are starting to brown a little, and he gives the sandwich an experimental nudge. Behind him, he hears a chair scraping back over the tile floor, and he turns to see Michael on his feet, looking mildly panicked, and he sets down the spatula and turns the rest of the way, suddenly confused.

"Of course. I - I've overstayed my welcome, I apologize -"

"Whoa, where's the fire? I just got you back, you haven't overstayed anything by a long shot."

Michael shifts, looking genuinely distressed, and Adam's good mood is rapidly fading into concern. "I don't understand what you want." Yeah, that makes two of them.

Adam scrubs a hand down his face, feels the weight just under his ribs that tells him Michael's still there, he hasn't disappeared yet, and as long as that's still true they can figure this out. "Michael, I've been awake for five minutes, you gotta be patient with the limits of the human mind." He pauses, reflects on the aftereffects of being twelve-hundred-odd years old and sharing a body with an archangel, and wiggles his hand. "Human-ish. Anyway. All I want right now is one quiet meal with neither of us dead or about to be killed by your dad. Then we can field trip to Heaven or Mars or wherever you want to go." His sandwich is going to overcook, but it's not important, it's not like he needed it to survive. He clicks the burner off and shoves the pan off the heat to make sure he won't turn around to a grease fire, and turns back around to assess the other probable fire hazard in the room.

Michael is looking at him with an expression not unlike that of a man clubbed upside the head with a length of lead pipe. "You want to come with me?"

"I mean, I don't have to." Adam had kind of figured they'd gotten past the whole thing with the divine mysteries too arcane for mortal man to know when Michael had started explaining the architectural history of Heaven to him six hundred years into the Cage, but whatever, new god new rules. "But you were - Michael, you were dead for a good couple days there. I kinda lost it, I'm gonna be antsy about you vanishing on me for a while."

"You... still want to be my vessel." Well, Adam hadn't expected that one to come up again, but sure.

"Uh, unless Dean did an about-face on the whole thing while I was asleep, yeah? I assume you still want one, and I assume you don't have the heavenly roster of other options handy these days?" At the incomprehensible look Michael's giving him, he adds, "Okay, I think we're missing each other somewhere."

He feels Michael's grace churning inside him for a split second before it all bursts out. "After everything that's happened?" Michael demands, something desperate and half-furious in his voice. "After I had you dragged out of Heaven only to pull you straight into Hell? After my father destroyed you and the rest of this planet because of my inaction? I'm grateful you brought me back from the Empty at all; to ask for more -"

"Michael, I love you." Into the shocked silence that lands on the heels of that, Adam adds, "I mean, yes, I'm a little upset about you getting us both killed, but we're both alive again and the world is - mostly intact. I forgave you the first time you gave the end of days a boost and fucked my life over, I can handle one more. Because I know you're trying to be better, and because I love you." The pause goes on long enough that he feels apprehension twist in his gut. "Unless you... didn't mean what you said in the Empty? It's fine, it was a weird time -" okay, it wouldn't be fine, he has no idea what he'd do in that case, but Michael had sounded serious -

"No!" Michael says, quickly, which is a relief. "No, I did, I - you love me?" And the wondering, disbelieving look is back. This, Adam thinks he knows how to deal with.

"Yeah," he says gently. "I do. C'mere, look for yourself." He hasn't done this in a while, because he and Michael usually like to keep a little distance between them just to keep themselves sane and preserve some of the illusion of privacy, but it still feels easy as breathing to lay out the core of himself, every thread of emotion gleaming fine as silver wire. The grief and anger rise easily to the surface, and he knows Michael can see them by the way his face twists into that quietly pained expression of guilt and self-deprecation. Adam doesn't let him wallow there. Deeper than that, he lets him see the waves of gentle affection, the joy and the wonder and a little bit of the hunger too, and Michael goes beet red and lets out a strangled little noise that's honestly adorable. Adam deliberately lingers there for a long moment, eyebrows raised, before he relents and adds, softly, "I don't go crawling through pitch-black hell-dimensions for people I don't love, Michael."


Adam can't help himself, he does laugh. "Yeah, oh, dumbass. What, you really thought I went through all of that just to kick you out -" and then Michael hits him with an equal burst of feeling and Adam really can't manage words anymore.

I meant it, he hears, echoing through himself, every word and more, let me show you. Michael is a torrent of light, vast and inhuman and mostly incomprehensible but Adam's always heard words where everyone else collapsed with bleeding ears and Adam's always seen the glittering beauty of Michael where everyone else went blind and he can feel the love rippling off him, woven through to the very heart of him. He catches devotion and longing and amazement, and he laughs between crying because it feels kind of absurd that Michael is somehow just as fascinated with him as he is with Michael. He doesn't have time to dwell on it for long, though, because Michael echoes back to him his own joy ringed around with tentative hope, and Adam can't help reaching out with all of him and pulling Michael closer, tangling him around every part of Adam's soul until it's almost impossible to tell where they both start and end.

"I love you," he says, feeling how very inadequate the words are after seeing the whole depth of Michael's heart spread out in front of him, but Michael still blossoms with joy around him like Adam's just given him the entire world in three words.

You did, Michael hums through the very core of his being, you did, you are, I would give you anything in exchange, all of myself for all of eternity, and Adam had no idea Michael was such a sappy bastard but he's two inches away from crying all over again.

"Start with dinner," he manages, and then takes in the slightly scorched bread and cold, rubbery cheese, and reconsiders. "Okay, maybe not dinner, but - stay. Just stay."

Michael's expression is achingly soft and just a little awestruck. I will, for as long as you'll have me.

"Okay." He feels his throat tighten a little, and has to swallow a couple times before he can speak again. "Okay, that's good." There's a shiver of light along the edge of his soul, where Michael's coiled up with him, warm and sweet and achingly soft. 

I'm sorry about your sandwich.

Adam huffs out a startled laugh. "It's okay." They relax back into comfortable silence, drifting loose and light in the space between them. Adam doesn't think he's going to get tired of this as long as he lives, which is probably going to be a pretty long time now. He's looking forward to every second of it.

There's a moment's pause as Michael seems to be gathering himself up to something. Adam lets him, wondering what deeply romantic sentiment he's going to come out with this time, but mostly just basking in the wash of pure love eddying between them. That's why it catches him entirely off guard when Michael, the edges of his grace almost tentative but still distinctly teasing, pushes the echo of a very different sort of hunger back at him. It's gone almost too quickly for Adam to catch, but he thinks he's about got the gist of it. 

"You -" he manages, between sputtering and coughing. The emotions rippling off Michael are entirely too smug, and Adam doesn't waste a moment before their arms are around each other, lips meeting clumsy and awkward but they're both too caught up in their riotous, almost scalding joy to care even a little bit. Michael's grace is singing, exultant and alight like Adam's never seen it before. He wants it to last forever, and he wants to bottle this moment and tuck it away somewhere inside himself so he'll never forget it, and he wants -

I'm here, Michael whispers, I'm here, you have me forever, and at the end of the day, that's what Adam wants more than anything else. They've got each other and a second chance, past all doubt or regret or fear. Adam smiles into the liquid-sunlight wash of Michael's grace, and lets forever roll in.