You take him away from that howling mad place, away from the burning and ripping and terror, and at first you're so proud, so happy that you could do something so good for someone who deserves it so much. Adam, this beaten and broken soul, leans up towards the light of you like a plant following the brightness of the sun, and even when you're dimmed, diminished by Alfie's pale skin and polyester clothes, he doesn't stop.

Michael's old vessel- Adam, you tell yourself, his name is Adam and he's not a body, he's a person- shrinks away from the hand you knead in his shoulder, from the palm you place on his forehead to be sure he's alright now, but that doesn't stop you from getting him away from the cemetery, from carting him into a motel room and stocking up on bottles of water and something you think is called Ibuprofen.

It's Hell, you know, and you doubt any human methods could ease the pain, but then again, you've been wrong about humans before. And it's not like anything you could do would help- Michael and Lucifer are so much older than you, so much stronger, and a finger on Adam's forehead isn't enough to take away decades or ages or eons (because you can't know, can you?) of torture.

When he starts talking, you make sure you've always got a hand on him, his knee or his shoulder, a silent way of letting him know he's not alone. He talks about how he was tricked, about Zachariah and Michael and finally Lucifer, lashing out at him in the Cage when he wasn't working on Sam, eventually turning his full attention over to him once Sam was gone. When you tell him you're an angel, he doesn't seem surprised, doesn't even flinch, and you guess he probably expected it.

And yet- "Then why not try to get away?" You're sliding a fresh bottle of water into his hands all the while wondering why he lets you.

"You're different," he says, voice hoarse, before tipping his head back for a much-awaited sip.

You don't press it further, just dig around in the convenience store bag you've brought for cans of soup because you guess the two of you will be here awhile and Adam needs food. Time passes like that, with you bustling around the tiny motel room, helping him walk across the floor when you can tell his legs are too weak to make the trip alone. You tell him your name is Samandriel, and he tells you about his mother.

You trade stories, like soldiers holed up in a dangerous stake-out for an indefinite amount of time. Yours feature wars and fire as well as softer things, older brothers teaching you the ways of the world and watching the souls in paradise. His are more about friends than family, trips to the only movie theater in Windom and the first day of college and baseball games with his father.

On the third day, Adam starts screaming. He wakes up like that, screeching up to the ceiling from his huddled spot on the bed, and when your alarm settles down, he's still screaming and you can make out the words. They're pleas, begging for mercy and cries to "Stop, just stop, don't, please!" Running to his side, you grip him by the shoulder, the knees, his right hand, you try to tell him over and over that he's fine, he's okay, you got him out and the archangels can't hurt him anymore.

You manage to calm him down enough to stop the screaming, but the pleas don't stop, whimpered prayers you don't know how to answer. This isn't something you'd prepared for when you set out to save him, these scars that go so much deeper than the skin. He's out of it for another few hours, lost in his head and in Hell.

When he's quiet, you say, "You're home. You're safe. I promise," though this isn't really his home and you can't really promise anything.

It happens again, and again, each time longer and more wrenching than the last. At first it's just nightmares and the subsequent terrors, but eventually he doesn't even need to be asleep for the memories to set in. You can't help him, and he can't help himself, so eventually it's just you and him hanging onto each other on the edge of a smoke-stained motel bed, lost.

When he's lucid, Adam apologizes, apologizes, like falling into the Cage was something he did on purpose, like he feels guilty that you have to hear about the fear and pain he's endured, and is enduring. You open your mouth to tell him he has nothing to be sorry for, but you just apologize too, and you can't stop either. You're sorry you can't save him from this. You're sorry you messed it up. You're sorry any of it ever happened to him.

It's been a week, but it feels like forever, shut up in this motel room with the tormented human and you're running circles into his calloused palm because it feels like all you can do. He's calm, for once, but his face is twisted into a sort of cringe and you guess he's reliving something awful. "I'm sorry," you tell him. "I'm sorry I screwed this up. Sorry I can't do anything." You're a little alarmed to feel the tears brimming your eyes when you realize you're crying, actually crying, like a child finding a bird with a broken wing. "I'm sorry."

"You…" Adam says, voice hoarse from shouting, "you can do something for me."

It's a strain, but he manages to pull himself into a sitting position, legs slung over the side of the bed so he's facing you in your wooden chair. He tells you what he wants, about the empty promise of seeing his mother again that Zachariah had made him once upon a time, and it's a struggle for you to keep from crying more.

"Are you sure?" you say, wiping a tear away from your nose with your sleeve. Adam nods, and you put a hand over his chest. His tense shoulders settle a bit, like the spot where you put your hand doesn't hurt anymore. "When you wake up," you tell him, "I promise you, I'll be right there."

Adam shuts his eyes.