(Warning the following contains scenes of course language)
“Alright, you care to run that by us again hotshot?” Dean insisted, pacing around the kitchen table that Sam, Sarah and Adam had been sitting around for the last twenty minutes while eating breakfast. Kay was still resting upstairs as it was only quarter to eight in the morning, besides her nightmares had been keeping her up most of the night. “You got angel mojo inside you now?”
Adam leaned back in his chair, soaking in the tension. For some reason he seemed to be enjoying the idea of being the center of a mystery. “Not exactly, since Michael and I are…kinda stuck together now…it means I sorta share a little of his power. But I can’t use too much otherwise the guy’ll probably short-circuit.”
“And that’s how you found us?” Sam impatiently added. “And how you escaped that gas-station you were at?”
“Yah you should’ve seen me,” Adam chuckled, pointing his fingers like a gun. “I totally smoked all those dead bastards without even breaking a sweat.” Then he smirked crossing his arms behind his head. “What can I say boys, I was pretty amazing back there.”
Dean could beg to differ, glaring at the cocky teenager. “Yah I bet you were.” He snarled, pounding his fist on the table directly in front of Adam. “You think this is a game, Adam people are dying out there! There are innocent, good people being ripped apart by a bunch of malicious flesh eating bitches, while you’re just sittin’ there bragging about your little cowboy act!”
“Will you chill out, it’s not like I was in serious trouble or anything,” resented the arrogant teenager, brushing off his brother’s assessment. “I handled myself out there didn’t I?”
“This is just fun for you isn’t it?” Dean vitally countered. His concern for family had always been the older Winchester’s main objective. This wasn’t about a silly argument, Adam could have gotten himself hurt, he wasn’t a hunter and didn’t know how to properly handle himself as of yet. “You could have been killed! I could strangle that winged son-of-a-bitch for dragging you into that hospital!”
Sam was resilient to let this heated discussion go any further. As much as he wanted to side with Dean on the issue, he needed to be the middle guy and sever the tension created by his brothers.
“Dean wait, maybe we should just hear him out. Arguing isn’t gonna get us anywhere.”
“He never forced me in there, Dean! That was my call; I let him take me over so I could save your sorry asses!”
“That jackass just had you thrown into Hell and you’re inexperienced to ‘handle’ yourself, so you don’t get to make calls like that!”
Adam was furious, rising from his chair inches from his brother’s face. “Where the hell do you get off? You don’t know anything about me! If I didn’t intervene you and Sam would’ve been zombie-chow by now!”
Dean clenched his jaw, face almost beat red. Beneath the surface of his anger was fear…and concern. He wasn’t trying to be exasperating towards his younger brother, he worried of losing him. In the Winchester curse almost everything and everyone the brothers touched…died. Now that Adam was among the living again, all Dean wanted was to at least keep the kid breathing until he’d at least see his 30th birthday.
“That’s not your concern Adam!” Dean lashed. “Just like this job! You’re just some punk kid who wouldn’t know the difference between a tactical plan and just plain stupidity because you’ve got your head so far up your ass!” At this point Dean had the alpha-male ego going for him, which only made Adam resent him more. “You can’t take chances with your life, you’re not meant to. You should think twice the next time you decide to be a hero!”
Sam grimaced at his brother. “Dean, that’s enough!” He stated firmly, trying to grab the older Winchester back before there was a potential brawl in the house.
Adam shook his head angrily at his eldest brother tightening his fists, grief-stricken in his blue stare. Dean was beginning to think he’d succeeded in unintentionally pushing away the hot-headed teenager. For a second he wanted to take everything back but his stubborn pride to protect Adam overpowered his sentiment.
“Screw you!” Adam snapped viciously heading out the kitchen, towards the front door. Before leaving he turned and glared back at Dean. “You know what; it wasn’t just Michael’s power that helped me rescue you jerks…it was dad.” This took aback both brothers as they never expected to hear this coming from Adam of all people. As far as Sam and Dean knew their little brother hated their father for never being around when he needed him…so why the sudden urge to respect him? “Those times that he was around…he taught me some things I never understood…not until now. He said it was necessary to keep me safe, I hated him for it because not once did he ever explain what I needed protection from…I was meat for the beast before I ever got my answers. If I hadn’t gone in there…both of you would be dead! So do me a favor and shove your useless sentiments where the sun-don’t-shine!”
“Adam wait!” Sam called after the enraged kid, but he was too late to reach him. Adam Milligan stormed out of the house before things could be resolved. He felt helpless as he glanced back at Dean and Sarah. “Give him some time, he’ll come around.”
“Yah right,” Dean retorted motioning to the door his little brother walked out through. “He’s a loose cannon and he’s gonna get himself killed with that attitude, regardless of what dad taught that arrogant ass.”
Sam stood, letting the recent conversation sink in as he ran his hands through his thick brown hair. “I can’t believe this first Michael…and now with dad. Why wouldn’t Adam tell us this before?”
“Maybe he would’ve but the two of you just didn’t care to listen.” Sarah offered, crossing her arms in front of her chest. “He’s just a kid and deep down he’s terrified about what’s happening to him and around him. The last thing he needs is his older brothers antagonizing him.”
Dean glanced back at the young woman wearily. “And how the hell would you know? You’ve never met Adam until today.”
“No, but I know how teenagers can be,” Sarah added confidently. “Think about what Adam has gone through. He died, was pulled out of Heaven (only to realized his father and his half-brothers are hunters), possessed by an archangel and thrown into Hell. That’s gotta do something to his self-esteem.”
“Don’t you mean his ego?” Dean countered.
“Well at least now we know why the ghoul was such a good shot at target practice.” Sam pointed out. Then Sarah stated coolly.
“All I’m saying is…he needs time to re-adjust. Give him a moment to figure things out before he faces the reality of the situation.”
Sam and Dean exchanged critical looks but Dean said. “With his mood swings yah…I’d give it say...when hell freezes over.”
Adam Milligan shuffled onto the front steps of the house and sat down shoving his hands in his jacket pockets. His blood pressure felt threw the roof as he’d punched his fist into the door, frustration boiling within him. If he hadn’t left the heated discussion with his brothers, there was no telling what he’d do if he exploded. It was bad enough they all treated him like a kid, even after taking out a small horde of undead bastards, making him feel less than competent. Adam knew what was at stake, maybe he hadn’t followed the family business (since his life was obviously cut short) for as long as Sam and Dean but his eyes weren’t closed either.
Adam had been in a few fights at school growing up, usually coming out as the victor thanks to some self-defense moves John Winchester had once shown him. And he wasn’t too bad a shot at the shooting range. He just wanted to feel accepted by his brothers, prove himself that he could be just as good as they were when it came to hunting and kicking ass. Adam understood they worried about him but sometimes…he wished they’d just back off or at least thank him for saving their butts.
Since sharing a body with an archangel, Adam had felt closer to the supernatural world more than when he was oblivious to it. Now all he cared about was discovering Michael’s hidden agenda (concerning the empath girl) and finally separating himself from his newly split celestial counterpart.
Kicking some dirt off his boot, Adam instantly became distracted by the sounds of AC/DC coming from the garage. Immediately he stood up, pressing his palm against the revolver tucked in his waistband. This was unusual since no one came outside the house besides him, but then again he never saw any dead people walking round…not since last night at the gas station. Sam and Dean wouldn’t just pop around the back to get to the garage…they’d at least let him know if they were around. That’s when Adam noticed his motorcycle was missing from where he’d parked it beside the impala.
Pulling out his gun slowly Adam carefully paced towards the garage opening, the music growing a little louder. Just as he thought his nerves would give, he let out a sigh of relief when he realized a certain young brunette girl rummaging through a tool box, tightening some loose screws and checking the bike’s engine. When did Kay come outside? He thought as he tucked away his revolver and approached the distracted empath-mechanic. The radio blaring on the counter had encouraged him to gently turn the knob so the music wasn’t as vibrant.
“Hey,” he said tapping her shoulder. Kay Forster instantly snapped up and shrieked dropping the wrench. Adam felt a little guilty for startling her as he pretended to rub something off his mouth. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you?”
Kay just grimaced at him, her expression mixed with a hint of fear, confusion and thoughtfulness. Then she let her guard down suppressing the caution in her throat.
“Oh no I”- she began but couldn’t quite get the words out. By the ghostly white exterior of her face and the observant glare in her eyes Adam realized she’d never actually met him properly at the hospital since he’d been possessed by Michael. It looked as though she was also a little weary of his intentions.
“I’m Adam…” he tried to encourage, throwing his hands up submissively. “Sam and Dean’s brother, I believe you’ve already met my ass-hat of an alter ego back at the hospital in New York.”
The empath girl sighed, laughing coyly into her hands. At least she wasn’t screaming at him or trying to run away. If anyone should be freaked out it was Kay, who’d witnessed firsthand of what Michael was capable of and now here she was standing in front of a different guy wearing the same body. It felt strange for Adam, staring at the girl he’d been searching for since his resurrection from Hell, knowing that he was supposed to watch out for her under the conservative eye of his new guardian angel. Michael had warned him that it was imperative for the young Winchester to gain her trust. Maybe it was a good time for Adam to brush up on his social skills, which he use to be good at before he died.
“Sorry, I don’t know why I felt so confused when I saw you.” She applied sweetly. “I mean I knew you were totally different compared to who I met back at Little Falls but…I guess you still kinda took me by surprise.”
Adam was baffled after exchanging a friendly handshake. “Wait, you knew I wasn’t the same guy?”
“Yah…it’s weird but your emotions are on completely different wave links. Judging by the lack of inferior nature, scarce impending doom in your eyes and the sudden rebellious ego…I figured you weren’t exactly an ancient being with the power to incinerate me simply by blinking.”
They both laughed. “Right the whole-empath-thing, forgot about that.” He chuckled as she grabbed a towel next to the tool box, wiping her hands. “Sadly no, I’m only human…on occasion.” Adam stated folding his arms over his chest, leaning against the workman’s counter. “Hey how’d you sneak out here anyway? We all thought you were still asleep back upstairs.”
Kay uneasily bit her lip then admitted. “Who could sleep through all that infernal rage of bottled emotions? It’s enough to give a girl a splitting headache. I kinda snuck out when no one was looking, thought I’d do some work here in the garage.” Then she indulged the teenager’s attention towards the bike. “Did you know your brakes were shot? I don’t know how in the world you managed to avoid an accident; luck must be on your side.”
Adam wrinkled his nose, glaring at the machine. “No kidding, remind me to thank angel-boy the next time he decides to ride shotgun during an escape.” He looked fascinated by the way Kay handled the tools in her delicate fingers. On the surface this girl seemed so timid and soft, this was definitely a side Adam never pictured her to have. “So you’re a mechanic huh, that’s pretty cool.”
“Born and bred in the ways of auto shop.” Kay smiled, insisting Adam to hand her another tool out of the box. “I love the smell of grease; the purr of the car engine, fixing things…it just makes me feel safe and normal. It’s the only time I don’t have to think about my ability interfering because I get so distracted by my work.”
“I can understand that but…you still shouldn’t be alone out here, Kay.” Adam informed the young woman with the deer-in-headlights expression glued to her face. “It’s not safe as long as those things are still roaming around.”
“I know…I do I just…I felt like I needed to get out of there. It’s hard enough trying to keep from fainting sometimes.” Kay’s gentle brown eyes shimmered back in Adam’s eyes, her vulnerability mingled in fear started to register through. Though she tried to mask her own emotions, it was a wonder to how this girl was able to sustain such painful feelings from everyone else around her. The teenager could never imagine what Kay had to endure on a daily basis, not knowing how alone she must’ve felt. “I would’ve told someone I was out here it’s just…I kinda miss having time to myself.”
Adam smirked as he scratched his brow. “Don’t we all.” he said with a slight chuckle shoving his hands back into his pockets. If there was a stick of gum resting inside there he would’ve offered. “So…how long have you been able to do what you can do? From what I hear…it can get kinda scary.”
“That’s the thing about it…sometimes it’s like a jolt of electricity jumping into my body and…during that time while consumed in pain…all I can think about is…will I make it through this?” Kay shook her head, running her hands through her pretty dark hair. Clearly this girl had been through a lot and not just in the past forty-eight hours.
“Sounds like a pretty crappy deal…not having control like that.”
Kay scoffed. “You have no idea…I mean it wasn’t until I met Sam and Dean that I was able to understand what was happening to me. They seem to know a lot about supernatural stuff huh?”
“Oh yah, they’re practically a pair of walking textbooks to the unknown. So you can absorb any emotion from anyone?”
Kay shrugged; eyes melancholy as she glanced at the motorbike.
“Not really…I’m kind of a different empath… I seem to only draw in large amounts of negative energy, which can be very excruciating, leading to something deadly…like whenever I have an attack. There are times I can read other emotions but…not always. I just feel scared all the time and now with everything going on… and it’s all because of me.”
Adam found himself scowling at the idea of such horror. Though he’d seen his fair share of monsters, hence that time he was eaten by a ghoul, it only now felt like the paranormal walls were caving in on him. He took a step towards Kay, tenderly touching her shoulder as she rose to her feet.
“Don’t say that…none of this is your fault.” He assured her. Kay smiled back at him, appreciating his consent in listening to her woes. “Look…I’ve been to hell and back so I know…that someone like you would never be capable of any of this apocalypse shit. And even if you were part of this…you couldn’t have seen what was coming…what was going to happen.”
The empath girl’s face started to ease up when she glanced back at the brash teenager. Adam grinned though he felt puzzled when she suddenly pulled away from him. He tipped his head as she wandered around the garage looking at the abandoned display of vehicle parts, touching them with her finger tips as if they’d break like glass.
“So why are you the doom-and-gloom-guy?” she asked, sighing heavily. “I mean…you left the house kinda steamed up from what I was sensing. Are you okay?”
Adam shrugged, pacing the opposite end of the garage. Once in a while he’d exchanged tentative looks with Kay. “You caught that huh? Yah I’m just so damn sick of being treated like I’m a kid.” His voice grew more impatient. “Excuse me but neither one of those dick heads were eaten alive, or pulled out of heaven and hell all at once! Now I’ve got this crazy son-of-a-bitch lurking inside my body, pulling my springs like I’m fucking Pinocchio and…”
“And you feel like your brothers don’t get it.” Kay finished.
“They don’t!” he shrieked, kicking a loose screw on the floor. “The other night I thought I could use my new angel mojo to help save the day but nope! Instead I get a load of constant criticism bullshit from my illegitimate half-brothers, which by the way I’ve only known for exactly one day.” Adam snickered bitterly at himself, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I never asked for any of this crap, all I wanted was to be a normal guy. You know attend my classes at the university in Michigan, get hammered with my friends on weekends and just…live my life.”
Kay turned to the teenager, approaching him. It was strange as it was opening up to a total stranger and yet…here they were talking as if they’d known each other for years.
“You’re a lot like your brothers you know.” She said, blushing slightly.
“What do you mean?” Adam scrutinized at the empath girl in grease stained clothes.
“Well…I haven’t known them that long but the way you talk about wanting normalcy…that’s the kind of energy I intercept from them.” Kay paused, brushing a small lock of dark hair behind her ear. “Deep down…they’re just as worried and afraid as you are, Adam. I think that’s why it’s been hard for you to connect with your brothers…why they push you… They’re afraid of losing you…especially Dean.”
Adam cocked an eyebrow, tilting his head to the side as if trying to decipher a hidden message behind the meaning of her last sentence. But mostly he was just anxious to learn why Kay read such strong feelings from his eldest brother.
“It’s not like I’m made of glass.” He countered, referring to his well-intact frame standing before the empath girl. “I’m still alive and kicking aren’t I? Why bother obsessing over it?”
“I think it’s because…you’re a part of their family.” Kay revealed, swallowing back a lingering sadness. “They’re afraid that any moment, especially with all that’s happening with the virus, they’ll lose you…knowing that you’re alive again terrifies your brothers. It’s why I keep picking on that strong urge to protect you whenever I’m around them.”
“You really do understand people don’t you?” Adam grinned widely. “And here I thought it was just the whole-empath-thing giving it away. Pretty slick move.”
Kay smiled mischievously rolling her eyes. “I guess it does give me the upper advantage.” Then her face got serious and sincere. “But really…don’t close up on them, Adam…not while they need you. I mean…you may not believe me but…Sam and Dean can both actually be really understanding and considerate most of the time. Even Dean, you have the same look in your eyes that he does when he cares about something or…someone.”
Adam was nearly taken aback when he finally zeroed onto what this girl had been so stubborn to admit all this time during their conversation. Kay’s rosier cheeks and timid smirk were evident enough that she’d definitely been crushing on the hunky, elder Winchester brother.
“You like Dean don’t you?” he blurted impulsively.
Embarrassment flashed through Kay’s eyes, paralyzing her voice like a snake’s venom. The teenager had completely caught her off guard and worse…he’d nailed on the one person that made her heart pound harder than a drum. Biting her lower lip, Kay was debating on whether to reply when another voice substituted for her response.
“What the hell’s going on here?” Dean snapped glaring back at Adam then he stared furiously at Kay.
“Dean.” she blurted, nervously brushing some hair behind her ears.
“You weren’t upstairs when I checked,” he scowled hastily, rubbing his forehead. Kay could hardly contain her buckling knees and the obvious blushing line spreading across her porcelain face. “And no one saw you leave the house…I was worried something might’ve happened to you. Kay it’s dangerous outside, there could be zombies lurking around this place. Did you guys forget world went Romero a few nights ago?” Dean’s concern felt more aimed at Kay as he held her in his solid gaze. “Were you…alone this whole time?”
“No, I-I’m fine… Adam was just keeping me company while I fixed his bike.”
Dean looked back at his brother, who’d been staring at the ground pursing his lips, trying to avoid being caught in the middle. It was just like Dean to raid in on his parade like some macho pit-bull ready to lunge without thinking.
“Can I have a word with you?” Dean asked Adam impatiently, crossing his arms.
“Whatever dude.” The teenager sulked rolling his eyes as Kay took it upon herself to leave the garage, though the relentless young hunter was more than reluctant to let her disappear from his sight.
“I want you to go straight into the house and stay there!” he commanded fierily. Dean’s tone rattled the empath girl, normally he was so gentle whenever he spoke to her but now…it was like the compassion had been hollowed out of him. Even his eyes appeared distressed.
“I told you I was fine!” Kay flew back at him. “You don’t have to get so excited.”
“Kay, just go in the house now!” Dean was practically barking at her.
The empath girl scowled icily at the young hunter, posed in a very defensive state. The softness of her eyes glazed in repulsion, shaking her head. Even if his tone was out of concern for her safety the least Dean Winchester could’ve done was show a little courtesy. Kay wasn’t some child that he could just bark orders at and as much as she wanted to lash back at him, she held her tongue storming up the steps and into the house.
“You don’t have to be such a dick you know!” Adam snapped stalking towards his brother combatively.
Dean clenched his jaw, grabbing the teenager by the shoulders. “In case you forgot the entire world just went down the toilet in less than a day! Don’t you get it, everyone’s dead and there’s no escaping it jackass! Not unless wanna wake up the next time with a severe case of the munchies for human flesh!”
“Oh that’s right, I forgot I was so use to seeing people walking around with their limbs off!” Adam discouraged smugly, struggling out of his brother’s grasp. Then he smirked. “Thanks for the news flash Rambo, appreciate the brotherly pep-talk and all but I can take care of myself.”
“Don't get cocky with me kid! We’re soaking in a friggin zombie-apocalypse here!” Dean pressed edgily, smacking the teenager the side of the head. Perhaps that’d shift him back into reality. “These things are vicious, they’re violent, I mean didn’t you ever see Dawn of the Dead?”
“Not a big horror fan.”
“Yah well this isn’t like the movies smart-ass, its real! And if I gotta be stuck babysitting a bunch of inexperienced pansies, the first thing you should know is I don’t plan on taking anyone’s crap not even yours. Now I want the truth and I want it now!” Dean demanded crucially, enough to make his voice sharper than he intended. Adam didn’t flinch. “What the hell does Michael want with Kay, huh? What does he gain with protecting an empath?”
Adam glowered at the young hunter leaning against the side of the garage. Something instantly occurred to him…this girl carried a secret within her blood, which made her more valuable than her ability alone. Michael had constantly informed the teenager that Kay was important alive but was yet to reveal any reasons behind protective snare over the empath girl.
“I wish I knew…but I don’t.” Adam replied lowering his eye lids. “We’re not exactly tight.”
“Well is he planning on kicking it back with us anytime soon?”
The teenager shrugged biting his lip. “Hell if I know, he doesn’t really give me a schedule on his daily possessions. He shows up when he wants to. Is that all you ever care about…the job?”
Dean breathed in deeply, signing with frustrations towards his uncooperative half-brother. He almost wanted to do more than antagonize Adam for answers. Anger had clouded his consent to care for the impulsive teenager’s well being. Too many things were at stake and lives were hanging in the balance. But at the end of the day Dean Winchester just wanted to protect the people he and Sam loved…which definitely included Adam, Sarah and now Kay. For a bitter part of his life as a hunter, pain seemed to be the only thing the Winchester brothers were familiar with…more than human connections. Letting the harsh mask disintegrate he walked up to Adam and pulled him close.
“No that’s not all I care about,” Dean confessed, vulnerability conflicting his voice. Adam was stunned, unable to figure out what reaction he was suppose to feel. “I care about you…and everyone else in that house.” He then closed his eyes, haunted by flashbacks of Michael and Lucifer plunging into the pit wearing both his brothers’ meat suits. “I know I’m being an ass but it’s for your own good, Adam. You and Sam are the only brothers I’ve got. And that means I’m entitled to be a real douche full time-as long as it means keeping your asses out of dodge.”
“Then do me a favor and stop with the third degree.” Adam bellowed, disengaging himself away from Dean. “I know at this point I’m basically a target for monsters…hence that one time. But now’s not the time for strapping the kid brother in the car-seat, I’m not pathetic you know. I mean you’ve gotta admit I did a sweet-ass job icing those maggot-infested bitches back at the gas station and Michael basically made me look badass incinerating that fat-dude from strangling you to death.”
Dean and Adam found themselves mischievously grinning at one another. “Yah that was pretty awesome, bastard was all kinds of ugly.”
“Damn straight.” Adam snickered, slapping Dean’s shoulder. “Alright then, just so we’re clear…we’re not gonna go back to the whole skewering-the-little-brother crap every time I decide to jump in and save your ass from dying.”
Dean paused; glaring at the teenager, secretly denying the fact his younger brother was incapable of handling any real danger. He and Sam were the professionals, their skills and smarts alone were the only thing keeping the small group of survivors alive. Instead of rejecting Adam’s statement, Dean simply said:
“We’ll see about that…truce?”
They pounded fists with Adam replying: “Yah whatever man…truce.”
“Just out of curiosity…what were you and Kay chatting about before I decided to throw a wrench into the conversation?”
For moment it occurred to the teenager that his brother was trying to hint at something…something he refused to admit openly. This made the glee in Adam’s blue eyes ecstatic.
“Are you…are you actually jealous?”
Dean scowled at his younger brother, face flushed with red embarrassment. He nearly stumbled on his words. “No!” a nervous smile conflicted him instantly. “No of course not, why the hell would you say something stupid like that?”
The snarky teenager wasn’t convinced.
“Nothing man.” As they headed back into the house, Adam whispered close to Dean’s ear. “She is kinda hot though isn’t she…for a mechanic?”
“Watch it,” Dean warned playfully. “Or I’m about two seconds away from kicking your ass back to hell. You get me?”
“Sure thing…Romeo.” Adam chuckled; disappearing into the kitchen.