"Where am I?"

Adam's eyes snap open to the sharp gray light of early morning, so much brighter and clearer than the ruddy red of hellfire he's become accustomed to. It takes him longer than a moment to sort out what details he can- the pale blue eyes looking into his, the wooden bench holding him up, the cold glass being pressed into his hand.

"Outside a Denny's in Hastings, Minnesota," the boy next to him answers, a grin splitting his freckled face at the sound of Adam's voice.

"I was in Hell."

"Now you're in Hastings," the other boy says, wrapping Adam's hand around the glass of chocolate milk. "Drink." He's wearing a Wiener Hut uniform, Adam notices, as he finds the bendy straw in front of him and sucks down half the glass before he really acknowledges what he's doing, the feel of the cool milk sluicing through him too good and relieving to question.

He does stop, though, and he shakes his head, the straw dancing around the rim of the glass. "No, wait. What's going on? Who are you?"

"I'm Samandriel," he answers, looking put-out that Adam didn't finish the milk. "I'm an angel. I saved you from Lucifer's Cage. Drink." He brings the cup back up to Adam, whose thirst overrides his curiosity and he sips obediently. As the chocolate milk quenches and calms him, he begins to remember more about the Cage, particularly the last few minutes, the cold hands grabbing him from behind, a hand on his mouth, "Sit still and shut up," before the feeling of feathers had engulfed him.

"No," Adam says again once he's drained the glass. "That's impossible."

"Well, they said it was impossible to get the little stuffed dog out of the claw machine in there," he says, shrugging towards the Denny's, "but that didn't stop me." Samandriel's mouth twitches up as he waves a toy puppy dog in front of Adam's face before dropping it in his lap.

Adam lets Samandriel take the empty glass away as he reaches for the stuffed animal, the cheap material feeling rough but real in his fingers, a bit of fuzz brushing off of the floppy ears. "I don't think I follow."

"I have a certain skill set," Samandriel explains, cradling the glass between his hands and staring forward. "I'm good at getting things away from places."

It takes Adam a moment of thinking, absently rubbing his finger along the dog, before he says, "You're a thief?"


"Thought angels were supposed to be, I dunno, virtuous," he says, eyeing Samandriel with a sideways glance.

"Virtuous? Is that how you thought of Michael and Lucifer?" Samandriel asks, a little taken aback before he smiles. "Besides, you didn't seem to have a problem with my being a thief when you were the thing I was stealing."

"Yeah, well, thanks," Adam says, the whole situation too bizarre for him to find the right words. He glances down at the dog, at Samandriel, at the parking lot full of early-morning breakfast-goers. The distant pangs of torture ride his memories and dissipate. "I'm sorry, I don't know what the hell I'm s'posed to do now."

"You want a refill?" Samandriel asks, tilting the glass toward him.

After a moment of contemplation, Adam replies, "Yeah. Yeah, I'd like that."