"Samandriel, kill him." It's two simple words in a simple white room, would be, should be, except the walls are flashing red and violet and the woman behind the desk is yelling the words, inflicting them like arrowheads splintering towards you. (You're supposed to listen to her.) There is fear, and there is the cold, a sliver of ice balanced in the palm of your hand. When you look down the icicle turns into a sword.

"I won't," you tell her, but the woman is gone and you're not in a white room, you maybe never were, you're in a musty motel room and the man you saved once upon a time is hunched against the wall, slumped like a ragdoll, eyes wide. The hand you reach out to help him up has a sword in it. (You're supposed to use it.)

"You will." Her lips purse, the edges of her eyes pucker, some mad panic flowing freely behind her irises is partially disguised by the impeccability of her bun and the rigidity of her stance. "Adam Milligan is an abomination- he was in that cage for ages. Kill him and prevent further bloodshed."

Logic, obedience- they beat in you like extra hearts as you look down at Adam, the fear in his eyes, the shake in his jaw. "Sandy…" His voice is weak, he's wheezing. (Your name is Samandriel.) The knock against the wall must've blown the breath out of him, and even as you crock your elbow back to swing down, you want to kneel beside him and put a hand on his chest, heal him. "S'mandriel, what…" And your hand, frozen around that frozen blade suspended above your head, begins to tremble.

"You are an angel." She always uses reason, uses it like a whip to keep you docile, following orders. You wish you could throw it back in her face but to you there is no reason, no sense, just some raging path that you've made for yourself, step after step- the steps down to Hell, the steps back and forth across this office, the steps your vessel makes even now towards the bleeding form of Adam Milligan. "He is a wounded soldier, barely human after all that's been done to him." Her face seems so earnest, you want to believe her- and yet there is that familiar tug somewhere within you, something you know, somehow, She lies she lies she lies. "You would be helping him to end his sad little life this instant."

"Sandy." The motel room again. The red and violet splotching across your mind clashes with the yellow of the peeling wallpaper Adam's crushing himself against and you almost close your eyes, just to make it easier. "You gonna kill me?" The way he says it, it's so casual that you could laugh, or cry. (You do neither, of course- you are an angel.) This is Adam, though, through and through- more irritated than afraid of death.

"I…" Your voice falters like interference in a radio signal, your hand shakes. (You must fight through this, you have a mission.)

"You can't stop it." The sorrow of a man who spent too many lifetimes in the Cage echoes in his voice. "That right?"

"That's right." Now, your voice lists and rasps. You remember how Adam had clutched at you after being pulled from the archangels, and the memory spikes you like so many pins, and with every pin you don't want to kill this man. (You will, though. You have to.)

"Do it, Samandriel," she says with finality, the white room muting the feel of the motel room, the sound of Adam's voice. "Kill him now." (Kill him now.)

You feel the hands scrabbling across your chest before you see them, like ghosts, and then there's a tug on your tie and pressure on your mouth and you're brought back to earth like a plane crashing to the ground.

Except that you always thought plane crashes must be unpleasant, and this is anything but, Adam gripping your tie in one hand, with the other threading frantic fingers through your hair as his mouth moves on yours like the world's going to end- again- if he stops. Distantly, you recognize that you should be flashing back and forth (You had an order to follow.) but pieces of Adam are anchoring pieces of you, his hand on the back of your head and his lips on your mouth.

It's like glass breaking, with you smashing through the pane and breathing in the air as you gasp, eyes widening when Adam finally pulls away, and the only one inside your head is you.

"Adam?" You must look like you've just woken up from a dream, because that's how you feel- blurry and bleary and warm. "Did- did you just kiss me?" And there are other questions, you know, like how and what, but right now this seems relevant.

Adam scratches the back of his neck, runs a hand over his lips, looking a bit blurry and bleary himself. "Well," he says after a long pause, "you tried to kill me, so I think we're fair and square." His eyes follow the blade in your hand as it falls to the floor. With it, every inch of torment that Heaven has dealt you sheds away like a second skin, and while you frown apologetically at Adam, you can't quite find the words to make it all better.

Instead, you tell him, "We should do that more. Lots."

Adam smiles.