It was hard to believe that Adrian could ever call Aethyr home. For nearly a decade, he'd despised it and its laws, the demands from those above him that he had duties to carry out. Becoming an angel of death wasn't a choice, it was an obligation, and so he'd fought against it for a long time. Only recently had he realised this was his eternity, and he might as well get used to it. It still wasn't the cosiest of places, nothing like advertised, and of the angels inhabiting it, many disliked him, the ones that were sleek and opulently-dressed. They were all of the "new generation", and they looked down on him in his old duster, mud-trudging combat boots and dog-eared duffel bag that carried each piece of divine technology as it was invented. Adrian knew what he looked like to them,  on the thin line between going rogue and being one of Samael's best.

 Nonetheless, he breathed a sigh of relief as the metal doors to the lobby slid open for him, the outside mist clinging to his coat like desperate, scrambling fingers. Everything was the same, the high frescoed ceiling and the pale mosaic flooring, probably the only department that hadn't adhered to every heavenly technology. Of course, there was evidence of modernity, the intercom that echoed from the same translucent wiring running along the edges of the room, the current visible like liquid gold, powering everything from the doors to the security feeds. Adrian readjusted the duffel bag around his shoulder - said sleek angels glancing at him distastefully as he did so. They, of course, wanted to look their best, mainly due to the initiates sitting silently against the wall to his left, apprehensive of their first summoning.

Ah, to be inexperienced, he thought to himself, walking towards the two semi-circular reception desks, in the middle of which was the elevator, the spine running up to every floor of the Aethyr complex. "Hello Adrian," smiled the front receptionist, her dark hair modelled against her smooth head, wearing two earpieces, gleaming silver, like her eyes, in the shape of angel wings. "How was Africa?" she asked in a voice soft and articulate, perfect for intercom. She span around in her chair as Adrian passed her and waited for the elevator to descend to him. 

"Hot," he replied, giving her a winning smile. There was no doubt in his mind that he'd had her at some point. "A lot of lions who didn't approve of my presence." Usually, the fact that animals could see angels wasn't a problem, the occasional domesticated pet appearing to humans to be barking against a blank wall that an angel was flattened out against. Then again, it wasn't every day that Adrian was dispatched to the tribal plains to collect a shaman's soul. In no time at all, the frosted glass door span open, and he stepped into a space uncomfortably similar to a tube, the base swirling with the same divine magic that was interlaced in every system.

"Come and see me on the fifth floor again, love," he called as the door hissed shut and locked him inside, not even jolting as it began moving upwards. The frosted glass meant everything was obscured from sight, but colour and movements of blurs from outside identified each floor and its residents. Soon enough, it slowed, and Adrian had just enough time to stroke down the creases of his trench coat and check his laces before the door opened again and the Death department was revealed to him.

He cared very little for the central room at this time, he'd clocked in his delivery when the shaman's soul had been taken off by one of Uriel's lackeys, the ones who handled the "sorting" as it was known, and he was too exhausted to chat with the angels that sat at desks and consoles around him, hooked up to the system like it was life support. He went straight for the door in front of him, leading onto a glass balcony that stretched from the operating tower to offices and accomodation, and looking down he imagined as ever that he was walking amongst the clouds. When he looked up, he saw the one he was seeking out coming towards him, her hair in two thin plaits and wearing a low cut work dress that accentuated nothing.

"Sariel, you're looking especially prepubescent today," he remarked, grinning at her crookedly. Her expression was plain as they met halfway on the balcony.

"You clocked in late," she said, her tone flat.

"Did not," said Adrian indignantly. "Eleven sharp, I sent the shaman down, right on schedule,"

"I don't mean the shaman, I mean you. You registered at a little past twelve. Need I remind you our rules. NO outside interaction with the lower world outside of mission hours. I will not have you running amuck to pursue a past you should have discarded long ago."

Adrian sighed, and looked out through the glass wall where the sun was rising above the mist in a velvety red hue. He felt Sariel breeze past, murmuring irritatedly, "we will discuss this later," as she continued on her way. He reached up to his neck and pulled out the long, golden chain, attached to which was the ring, small diamonds running all around the band, with a huge emerald in the centre. It held a part of him he couldn't figure out. It was all that had been found on him when he'd ascended, and even as he held it now, he knew the memories were trying to force their way out, but couldn't.

Sariel wanted him to let go of this past, and more than anything, he wished it was that easy.

The End

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