Touched by Angels 4: Between a Rock and a Soft Place

Damien woke with a gasp.

He squeezed his eyes shut and held his aching forehead. Grace. Anima’s tits. There was that dragon there too, Grace’s boss, chasing her, trying to get her to stop, then there was an argument, and Anima…

Damien gritting his teeth. She’d dropped him! In midair! The ground had come up so fast, but something must’ve stopped him, because Damien wasn’t dead. Far from dead—comfortable. Very comfortable. Squinting the rising sun out of his eyes, Damien raised his head and found himself somewhere entirely unrecognizable.

The room was ostentatious. Dominated by red, everything before Damien screamed wealth. The window drapes were embroidered with fine patterns of gold thread prickling through a sea of maroon made of cloth that looked heavy enough to be a hazard. Across the room, a couch and a set of plush chairs gleamed with their own spice of color, ranging from gold on the edges to white speckles on the otherwise red cloth. A range of furniture, all of the finest oak, lined the room, leaving no space unused. This room alone was probably worth as much as everything Damien owned and more.

He looked down and pushed in on the bed. Whatever the mattress was made of, it was heavenly. He was surprised he could even wake up from a slumber that comfortable.

The click of high heels grabbed Damien’s attention. He looked up just in time to see the door to the room open. It was a tall, self-assured dragon with scales the same shade as the room. Damien remembered her from the chase yesterday: Grace’s boss. Aside her was a woman in a single-piece black dress with fringes of white on the collar, cuffs and hem, and determined to keep her head down.

“Good afternoon, Damien,” said the dragon as she approached the bed. “Was your sleep restful?”

“Yeah,” he said, scratching his head. “I’m sorry, I don’t really know what’s going on right now.”

“Of course.” The demure woman behind the dragon grabbed a chair and slid it up to the bedside just before the dragon sat down on it. “I can understand this is all a bit confusing.” She held out a beefy claw. “I’m Thessa Renalyd.”

Damien was a touch taken aback at the civility. He’d gotten precious little of it the past couple days. Smiling, he took her claw and shook. “Damien. Though, I guess you already know that.”

Thessa’s handshake was as confident as she sounded. “Yes, my doctor did raise quite the ruckus with you, unfortunately. But let’s leave that for later. Are you doing well?”

“I think so, yeah. I mean, I didn’t break anything, did I?” Damien patted his body down. “Last thing I remember is falling.”

“You’re quite alright. I may not attend patients much any more, but I do have an M.D. I took a look while you were out.”

Damien half-smiled. While Thessa’s intentions may have been pure, the last few times a doctor had had hands on his body, it wasn’t to make sure he was okay. “So, where am I?”

Thessa leaned back in her chair, a proud smile on her face. “This is my home. Specifically, this is one of my guest rooms. I hope you have found it to your liking.”

Liking? The luxury made Damien dizzy. “It’s… pretty nice.”

“‘Pretty nice,’ hmm? I suppose I’ll take it.”

“I mean, well, it’s really nice. Too nice! I know I’ve got no room to complain as someone leeching off your care.”

Thessa chuckled and leaned forward, resting a claw on Damien’s side. It was much warmer than Damien expected. “Relax. I was fooling around. You’re my guest, you’re welcome to enjoy yourself as much or as little as you’d like here.”

“I’ll try. Sorry, been a crazy couple days.”

“I can see.”

At that moment another servant entered the room. She bowed before addressing Thessa.

“Your guest is waiting in the front living room.”

“Ah. Good timing, then. Are you up to a short walk?” Thessa asked.

Damien stretched out his legs. “Yeah, I’m good. Where to?”

“Someone wants to have a talk with you.”

‘Someone’? That was ominous. “Who?”

“I’ll introduce you properly when you meet her. Come.”

The lack of information tickled his nervousness, but he kept it to himself until they made it to their destination.

It wasn’t hard to tell who the guest was. It was an angel so tall she may have even had a couple inches of Anima. From atop the her towering stature, she watched them enter the room. Just as distinctive as her height, however, was the second pair of arms clasped behind her back.

Her stunning grey wings, though retracted, had an enormous wingspan. Her hair, a long cascade of blonde dirtied with a splash of brown, crashed down her back and shoulders in waves, glinting as it shifted subtly in the sun. Her dress looked like something Greek, a single cloth the same grey as her wings swirling along her form, culminating at a low, wide collar. A single cut traced down her side, allowing room for her legs to breathe. On each arm she wore an elbow-length satin glove pure white at the hand but fading to grey along her arm.

She paid Thessa no mind, locking eyes with Damien instead, her smile soft and considerate. As Damien came closer, however, he got the feeling there may have been a hint of something less forgiving to it. Pity? Hubris?

Thessa gave Damien a gentle urging toward the colossal angel. “Damien, this is Adrianne. She’s an archangel of Intrinsicality and she has a few questions for you.”

Adrianne extended a hand. Damien shook it, trying not to think about how it hurt his neck just to look her in the eyes. “Damien,” he said.

Adrianne brightened. “It is a pleasure. I am Adrianne. Why don’t you have a…” She looked around the room. “Hmm, we’re a chair short.”

The pair of hands that had been resting quietly behind her rose and began shaping odd gestures so fast Damien could barely follow. A second later, something struck him in the back of his legs, causing him to grunt and fall onto it. He twisted around to look at what it was, relieved to find it was just a chair.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot how fragile humans are,” said Adrianne, her second pair of hands once again calm. “Are you hurt?”

“What was that?”

A breeze of confusion touched Adrianne’s face. “It was a chair. Do you not know of them?”

“I…” Damien stopped himself. She reminded him a bit of another angel he knew. “I know what a chair is. I meant how did it get over here?”

“Yes, of course. I used divine powers to relocate it where I needed it to be.”

Damien pointed to her dormant hands. “Is that what you were doing with your hands?”

If Adrianne had brightened before, now she was practically glowing. “Yes, it was! How observant you are.”

“So like telekinesis.”

“I understand that you may liken it to lesser phenomena in order to comprehend the concept, but a primitive ability such as telekinesis is purely within the mortal realm.”

Damien had the feeling he was being chastised. “Sorry.”

“No, no, not at all!” Adrianne’s voice lifted as if nothing had happened. “I would not blame a human for that sort of misunderstanding.”

“Ahem,” said Thessa. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but if I remember, you were going to ask Damien about something?”

“Indeed. It seems I’ve let my idle fascinations get the better of me. I have a duty to fulfill.” She cleared her throat. “Have you met any archangels lately?”

Damien crossed his arms. “Angels, yes. Archangels? I’m not exactly sure how to tell the difference.”

The response hit Adrianne hard enough to make her flinch. “That’s… no, you’re right. You have no experience with this as a human. It would only be easy for an angel to tell. How might I explain it…” Adrianne trailed off.

“I might be getting ahead of the conversation a bit, but let me answer for you, Damien. You have.”

“I have?” It didn’t take him long to work out who. “Anima?”

Thessa nodded while Adrianne gasped.

“You didn’t tell him beforehand, did you?” Adrianne asked Thessa.

“No, I didn’t.”

“So he figured it out all on his own? Incredible.” Adrianne stared at Damien like he was made out of solid gold. The blunt attention made him blush.

“So you’re looking for Anima?” he asked.

“Exactly it. While archangels are gifted with divine concentration, patience, and skill, sometimes the execution of their duties is disrupted.” Adrianne placed a hand on her chest. “It is my job to remove to disruption so the archangel may return to their calling. How did you—” Adrianne started.

“I’m terribly sorry, Adrianne,” said Thessa, “but Damien here just woke up from a exhausting ordeal and I know there are more important things you wanted to ask him. Maybe you should get to those first, and we can see if he’s still up for more afterwards?” She shot him a wink and he nodded back to her.

“Of course, I’d hardly be a proper archangel if I put poor Damien through any more distress.” She leaned back in her chair and crossed her legs. “As you’ve so astutely stated, I am here regarding Anima. It’s been over a week since she’s left her station as an archangel of Passage, leaving the burden for other archangels to assume. There are many that need to be guided in the realms between life and death and we cannot afford to have one of our guardians disappear so. Thessa has told me you and Anima have spent some time together. Has she mentioned why she has not returned?”

The question hit Damien rather abruptly; he was still coming to terms with the fact that Anima had been divinely entrusted with a vital task and, somehow, had been carrying it out successfully.

“I, uh, well… no. I mean, I didn’t even know she was an archangel until a minute ago.”

“She never spoke about her divine duty? Where she was from?”

“No. I don’t think…” Damien scratched his head, thinking back to the past couple days. “The only things I really remember about her are her brea—br—I mean, brevity! And, uh, how she could go through walls.”

Thessa’s gaze sharpened when he started stumbling over words, but Adrianne didn’t seem to notice.

“What would you say she was most interested in, then? What might have been keeping her here?” said Adrianne.

Damien fidgeted.

Sensing his unease, Adrianne pivoted the conversation. “I know I’m asking a lot. But please understand, I do it out of concern for Anima. There are consequences for what she is doing. Disruptions in the worlds beyond Earth are always noticed by those with dishonorable intentions. If archangels show weakness or discord, they will take advantage. If you want to protect her, know that answering me is the best way to do so. I am not an enforcer—I am the one that makes sure one is not needed.”

While her consideration was welcome, it wasn’t entirely the reason for his silence. It was impossible to tell how Adrianne would react to the details. He looked to Thessa for help.

“You spent all day yesterday with Doctor Grace, correct?” said Thessa.

“Y-yes.”

Thessa rolled her eyes and waved Damien’s concern off. “I have an idea of what might have happened then. Go ahead and tell her.”

Fidgeting, Damien sat up straight in his chair, trying to keep eye contact with the contemplative Adrianne. “Well, Anima was mostly interested in following Grace’s instructions, which involved a lot of sexual acts.”

Adrianne sighed and nodded. “So it’s sex this time. Anything in particular?”

“She seemed very interested in what she could do with her breasts.”

“She does have an abundance there,” said Adrianne. “Did she give any indication she was sated or close to it?”

“The opposite.”

“Goodness. Do you know where she might be now?”

“I’m not sure. You don’t have any way to tell? Like, an angel radar?”

Adrianne raised an eyebrow. “Divine powers are not within the purview of humanity for interpretation.” Then she smiled. “Also, it would be archangel radar.”

Damien shrugged. “Do you know where Grace lives?”

Thessa spoke up. “If Anima is still with Doctor Grace, she might be there.”

“I will go there at once, then.” She held up a finger, looking at Damien. “I have more I wish to speak to you about, though. Please remain here until I get back.”

“I don’t—”

Without another word, Adrianne stood up and walked out, leaving Thessa and Damien to stare. When the front door closed behind her, they exchanged glances.

“Gone as quickly as she came,” said Thessa, standing up. “Archangels certainly have unique mannerisms. I’d keep my wits about me if I were you. If she wants to talk to you again, she’ll find a way—and she might not choose the most convenient time for it.”

“Does she even know where Grace lives?”

“I hope so.”

Damien leaned back in his chair. “I think I’ve had about enough of dealing with archangels.”

“Good luck untangling yourself from them. Still feeling alright?”

Damien scratched the back of his head. “I guess so. More confused and overwhelmed than anything. Life’s been a whirlwind since yesterday.”

“That I can agree with.” She held out her claw. “If you’re up to it, I’d like to go over a few things with you in my study. Specifically, how to deal the our mutual problem.”

He accepted her claw and let her help him up. “The sooner the better. I’ve got a few questions, too.”

Thessa’s study was open and warm, with long, high windows letting the morning light in to cut through the dusty air. The walls were covered in bookshelves, thick volumes on a thousand different subjects watching silently as Damien and Thessa entered. Her desk was almost as large as the bed she’d let Damien sleep in, a polished oak, dark and rustic. Thessa offered a chair to Damien before stepping around the desk and sitting in the plush chair behind it.

Using her tail, Thessa opened a drawer, pulled out a manila envelope, and slid it across the desk to Damien. He took a look inside. It was heavy with forms, maybe a couple dozen of them, each with a wall of text and a line for a signature at the bottom.

“Here,” she said. “Be sure to read all of them. These are what I—what we can use to finally do something about Doctor Grace,” said Thessa.

Damien started skimming the first form. “How? This reads like a… legal document?”

“Yes. By signing that, you will be making a promise to testify against Joanna, should I be able to make a solid case against her.”

“Joanna?”

“Doctor Grace’s first name. She hardly uses it.”

“Ah.” Damien flipped through a few more pages. Each had a place to sign. “And I have to sign all of these?”

“You don’t have to sign anything, dear. It’s your choice. But I can’t do anything about Doctor Grace if you don’t.”

“Surely there are other people she’s done this to that want her stopped.”

Thessa crossed her legs. “You are not the first patient she’s molested, true, but none of her other victims have wanted to go on record about it. Some disliked what she did, but were either too intimidated to take action or just wanted to put it behind themselves. One man I almost had convinced, but the day before I was to present the accusations, he got cold feet and set me back months. As for the rest of her victims, well, they just enjoyed it.” Thessa pointed to the forms. “Those are because of the one who backed out on me. If I try bringing up accusations against Doctor Grace again without a first-hand witness, I’ll lose my credibility and with it any chance of doing things through official channels.”

“So they’re insurance.”

“Yes.”

“Seems like a lot to sign for just a promise.”

“It’s more than that. Some of those documents are concerning the state I found you in.”

“Huh? You mean after the chase?”

“Yes, that one. Given that you fainted and that I didn’t want Doctor Grace getting her hands on you, I brought you here instead of taking you back home and I gave you medical treatment. Nothing serious, but it was still something, and I’d rather not get sued for it later. Also, there is typically a charge for emergency services like I provided. Those documents are in there to clear that situation up.”

Seemed a bit paranoid, but Damien could understand her position. She hardly knew him, and with so many of Grace’s former patients turning their backs on Thessa, it wasn’t unwarranted.

“So if I sign all of these, we can go after Grace?”

I can go after her. You can try to build a case against her yourself, but I believe you would be much better served as a piece of evidence in my case as opposed to the foundation of your own.”

“Alright.” Damien set the documents down and began to read, following the lines of text with his finger as he went.

“You said you had some questions as well?”

“Oh, yeah.” He paused, finishing the paragraph before talking again. “What exactly happened at the end of that chase? I fainted after Anima dropped me.”

Thessa smirked. “I was surprised by it too. Luckily for the both of us, I was able to react quickly enough and catch you before you hit the ground. Grace wasn’t too happy about it, but she didn’t do anything more than glare at me as I flew away.”

Nodding, Damien continued to read.

“Anything else?” asked Thessa.

“Mmm. One sec.” He had more to ask, but it was hard to come up with the questions while he was reading. “Is this normal for Grace?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, like…” Damien looked up from the paper. “Has she followed any of her patients to their home?”

“This is actually the first time that’s happened. If you’re wondering why, I’m afraid I don’t have an answer. Doctor Grace hasn’t acted any different to indicate a new motive. In fact, that reminds me: I was going to ask how Grace had been acting around you. Maybe you noticed something.”

He shrugged. “I’d never met her before, so I couldn’t tell you if anything was out of the ordinary besides the excessive use of restraints, hours-long edging sessions and her insistence that it was all for my own good.”

The next few pages went by slowly. The documents were written painfully precise with most of each paragraph a slog of legal language. Damien had to stop and re-read sentences many times.

“What else were you wanting to ask?” said Thessa.

“What should I do if Grace shows up again?”

“I’ll give you my number. Tell her you’ve called me, that should get her to leave.”

Hopefully. Grace didn’t seem like someone who gave up easily, but she didn’t seem too keen on confronting Thessa, either.

After signing another page, he turned to the next and started to read. Not halfway through it, he skipped down to the bottom and signed. He couldn’t keep his mind on the conversation and read these documents at the same time. Going through the first few was enough; there wasn’t anything unexpected in any of them, and even if there was, he didn’t know legalese well enough to figure out if Thessa was up to something.

“Who exactly is Adrianne?”

“Ah, the angel. We met a while back while she was performing other duties and I recently asked her for some help. That’s how Anima ended up here in the first place.”

“How exactly does Anima fit into it?”

“I wanted an archangel who was curious about medical institutions and practices but at the same time wasn’t all that experienced with life on Earth. Anima fit the bill and, while I know she doesn’t often show it, was enthusiastic about the opportunity.”

“Why those qualifications?” Damien asked, signing the documents one after another.

“It had to be an archangel so Doctor Grace couldn’t turn her down or just reallocate her to another doctor. That would’ve been disrespectful, even for her. The interest in medicine was so she’d seem genuine to Doctor Grace. I didn’t want her experienced with how things worked on Earth so that she didn’t get caught up with our feud. Unfortunately, I underestimated how willing and capable Doctor Grace was at manipulation. I thought she would simply work around Anima, not make an ally of her.”

How long had Thessa known Grace? Because the Grace he knew would do that in a heartbeat. “What did you want Anima to do in the first place?”

“I needed a witness. I didn’t know about you or if any of her future patients would be willing to help, so I took action to get someone else, someone objective and more likely to help me.”

“So this whole thing turned out exactly opposite of how you wanted. That’s some rough luck.”

“That’s not even mentioning the trouble Adrianne is dealing with now. Yes, it didn’t turn out well. However,” she reached over, picking up the stack of papers Damien had just finished signing, “With these, I’ve gotten what I wanted in the first place, so it’s not all bad.” She thumbed through the stack. “With these signed, I’ll need you to stay here. I would hate to see this all go for nothing. Doctor Grace is surprisingly good at putting her nose into things.”

Damien nodded. “I can tell.”

Thessa stood. “I’ll go get these filed. Feel free to explore the grounds as you wish. I look forward to our continued relationship.”

She offered a claw and Damien took it. The language was a bit more familiar than he would’ve used—they’d still just met the day before—but he didn’t see any harm in it. And with Grace no longer a problem, things were looking up.

“Me too.”

 

**

 

The rest of the day was calm and decadent. Thessa’s kitchen had wonderful food  and the weather was clear and warm which made his leisurely walk around the mansion ground calming and refreshing.

When the hour grew late and drowsiness started to claim him, he was happy to hop back into the huge and sinfully comfortable bed Thessa had prepared for him. He was soon drowsy and drifting off to sleep.

But he didn’t quite make it.

“Damien.”

“Holy fuck!” Damien jumped straight up in shock. Arms and legs flailing, he shot off the bed and spun around to see who it was. Through the moonlight trickling into the room, he made out the shape lying on his bed. Adrianne.

This was not how his picturesque day was supposed to end. Thessa had warned him this might happen, though. “Adrianne? Why are you here? You scared the hell out of me!”

Her gaze fell. “That was not at all my intent, I simply wished to speak with you. In my haste, I forgot entirely the limitations of human senses. I will be more considerate in the future.” She put a hand to her heart, sighing in relief.  “I am relieved you are okay. When you leapt up like that, I grew worried.”

“Why did you wake me up?”

She cocked her head. “As I said, I wished to speak with you.”

“Did you ever consider perhaps waiting until morning?”

She took a moment to look out the window, then back to Damien. “You are trying to joke with me. I know humans converse at night, I’ve seen it often before.”

“There’s a difference between being at, say, at bar, and in bed. In one place you talk with people. The other, you don’t.”

“Ah, I see.”

Her tone didn’t agree.

“Why didn’t you turn on the light? I can barely make anything out in here.” Damien started stumbling about, hands outstretched, toward where the light switch was.

“You can’t…” Adrianne covered her mouth with a hand. “That walk is adorable! What is it for?”

Scowling, Damien stopped. “Can you just turn the light on?”

Light filled the room, splashing into Damien’s eyes. He squinted and waited for his eyes to adjust.

“It’s fascinating how the simplest of tasks like turning on a light can involve so many complications for humans,” said Adrianne. “I wonder why you designed a light that causes you such trouble.”

Once he could see, Damien turned to Adrianne. “First, I didn’t design it. Second, it’s a lot more complicated than that. Third, why are you on my bed?”

“I have tried sleep. I was wondering what it would feel like to lie down in a bed for a while.” She pushed on the mattress. “I suppose I can understand the appeal.”

“Well, can you get out?”

“It hasn’t been nearly long enough to simulate a typical rest period. I shall stay.”

“Can you attempt to simulate a rest period somewhere else?”

“No, I still wish to talk with you.”

Damien shrugged in defeat. “Alright, I’ll…” He looked at the empty spot on the bed next to Adrianne. It was plenty spacious for two. “I’ll grab a chair.”

He turned around to get one of the plush chairs from the far side of the room, but before he could take a step, one had zipped across the room and stopped at his feet. He looked at Adrianne just in time to see her second pair of hands lower back down. Hard to tell if she was being helpful or showing off.

“Alright,” he said, plopping into the chair. “What did you want to talk to me about?”

Adrianne smiled. It was a clever smile but sparked by something more impulsive, more honest. “How do humans come to terms with the fact their lives are disappointingly short?”

She certainly came out swinging. “Um. That’s… that’s sudden. And not easy to answer. Where did that question come from?”

“I wanted to ask how you deal with being so inferior to archangels but decided that would be rude, so I settled on something in the same vein.”

Damien rested his forehead against his palm. “Okay, but why do you want to know the answer?”

“You’re just so fragile, so helpless. You never get a chance to grow old, spend a third of your life lying down—which, by the way, I’m not entirely sold on—you devote untold amounts of resources toward frivolous things, you need archangels looking after you every step of the way, yet all of you seem so fine with it. How is that?”

Damien thought on it a while, but even after grinding the thought rough in his head, realized he had no good answer. “Well, we just are? I mean, I could come up something that sounds satisfying, but I have a feeling it would only really be true for me, not humanity at large. I don’t think anyone knows. Not any one person in particular, at least.”

Adrianne tapped her chin. “So you’re saying your individuality is the key to your prosperity. I can see how that might be difficult for me to recognize.”

“I don’t—you know what, sure. Individuality.”

“You are quite intelligent for a human, you know.”

“Thanks?”

How much of that statement was based on experience and how much was based on her assumptions of humans?

Damien waited for Adrianne to follow up with another question, but as the seconds went by, he realized she didn’t have anything more to say. The silence stretched on. Damien shifted in his chair, trying to think of something to say. This probably seemed perfectly normal to Adrianne: she’d come in, asked her question, and now she was testing what it was like to lie down. No need to mind the human in the room.

“So, did you find Anima?” he asked.

“Unfortunately not. I spent the rest of the day searching for her, but have yet to come up with anything.”

“You know, one thing’s been bugging me. Something you said earlier. After I told you what Anima was doing here, you said it was sex, ‘this time’. She’s disappeared before?”

“You caught that? You continue to surprise me. Yes, this would be the fifth time Anima has neglected her duties.”

Fifth? And nothing bad’s happened to her because of it?”

“Thankfully, no. But the more she does it, the more I worry. I know to her they are innocent diversions, but as I said before, there are real consequences. Last time a demon managed to use the disruption to sneak onto Earth. Our enforcers had to send it back and they were none too happy with Anima. Or me. But from her actions, it sounds as if their words fell on deaf ears.”

That sounded like Anima.

“You know,” said Damien, “When you first told me what your job was, I figured it’d be pretty tame just watching after other archangels, but it sounds like there’s some real troublemakers out there.”

“Hah!” Adrianne barked, sitting up. “My duty requires immense skill, concentration, and persistence. I am constantly swamped by the volume of work I must complete. No human could possibly understand the weight of the responsibility on my shoulders, nor the fragility of the world beyond yours. Archangels live on the edge of a blade and would have fallen off long ago but for my guiding hands.”

Damien blinked. That sounded more than a little exaggerated. “It does seem that way.”

Taking a deep breath, Adrianne straightened out her hair. “I didn’t mean to speak so… bluntly. Maybe my impression of you has made me forget you are still merely human and cannot have knowledge of such things. Please, do not take offense from my sudden reply.”

“No, it’s fine.” Damien eyed her cautiously. Better change the subject. “So, uh, what’s with the arms?”

The moment the question was out of his mouth, he considered that he might have been able to phrase that a little more tactfully. Adrianne, however, didn’t seem bothered. “As you have already witnessed, they direct my divine power to move objects. Much like pulling strings, if you will. I can, of course, summon more arms, should I need to use my power more intensely, but most of the time, four is plenty.”

Oh, yes, of course she could summon more. Because why wouldn’t she be able to? “But why can’t you just make things move by thinking about it? Why do you need your hands to do it?”

Adrianne smirked. “I will forgive the question, as you are human. But such an ability is preposterous. It would be wild, imprecise, and wholly unbecoming an archangel.”

“I see,” said Damien, not seeing what she was saying.

With nothing more to ask her, Damien was at a loss. He’d been hoping she’d get off his bed by the time their talk had ended, but it appeared that wasn’t going to be the case. He looked at the bed again. Even as large as Adrianne was, there was room for him, and it wasn’t like she’d be the one feeling strange about it. Shrugging to himself, he got up and hopped into bed beside her.

“The last few days have been taxing on you, haven’t they?” asked Adrianne.

Damien had to keep from spitting out a sarcastic laugh. “Would you believe me if I said no?”

Adrianne smiled. “It is all right to admit moments of weakness. I think no less of you for it.”

He flinched when her touch descended upon his head, not expecting the gesture of comfort. Her hand ran idly through his hair, fingers curling just enough to dig into his scalp, the softness of her gloves letting her glide along his head effortlessly. Back and forth she massaged, saying nothing. It was shockingly gentle.

Damien’s eyes were about to roll into the back of his head. “How did you get so good at this?”

“I need to be versed in all methods of persuasion. Sometimes, all the convincing an archangel needs is a nice massage.”

That sounded awfully human.

“Do you enjoy this?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“Allow me a little more, then.”

Two more hands laid on his shoulders and the fourth pushed against the small of his back, urging him onto his stomach. He gave no resistance. The bed shifted as Adrianne adjusted herself, planting her knees on either side of Damien. With her full weight to bear, the efficacy of her ministrations multiplied tenfold.

Damien moaned into the pillow.

That got a giggle from Adrianne. “Do humans always make such silly sounds?”

“Only when—oh, my god that’s incredible—something feels good.”

She leaned in and spoke softly, “Then I will give you something heavenly.”

With precise motions, her gloved hands delved into Damien’s body. Two focused on his shoulders, kneading into the rough knots of muscle on his back with their fingertips while the other two dipped lower, digging into his sides. Her fingers pressed deep into their massage, escalating in pressure until he thought it would hurt but stopped just short, caressing his soreness with exact intensity until it faded away.

Damien moaned again and this time Adrianne was able to stifle her responsive laughter, keeping her focus on the task at hand.

Once the knots on his shoulders dissolved, Adrianne’s upper hands laid atop each other, palms open, and began rotating in small circles. At the same time, she shifted from her hands to her forearms with the other two arms, swiping across Damien’s back like windshield wipers, working gradually from the bottom to the top and back down again.

“You wouldn’t be available to do this every night, would you?” Damien mumbled into the pillow.

“While I wouldn’t mind, there is much I need to do, and my time here is likely fleeting.”

She didn’t sound excited about the last part.

“Why’re you bothering to do this, anyways? Not that I’m complaining, of course.”

Adrianne’s hands moved again, this time all four working in concert, cupping his skin and pushing it up his body in waves toward his neck. The satin of her gloves slid across his skin like water along the beach. “Why, I would’ve thought that answer was obvious. I am an archangel and you are a human. It is our duty to care for you, regardless of what our station may be.”

“Even the ones as important as you?” Damien said, sarcasm heavy on his voice.

“Certainly.” The massage paused. “What was that tone I heard?”

“Nothing.”

Adrianne continued without pursuing further. “Hmm, you’ve tensed up again. I’ll have to go over your back once more.”

Damien had no issue with that.

“Angels have been mankind’s guidance and protection since as early as both have existed,” Adrianne explained. “While not every human can get a personal massage from an archangel, it is natural for any one of us to do as we can for any one of you.”

Damien laughed into his pillow. “I can think of one angel in particular that’s been having some trouble with that concept.”

Adrianne’s voice darkened. “Today’s angels have taken their freedom far beyond what their decency should allow.” It softened again before she continued. “But angels are not the same caliber as archangels. We did not inherit their weaknesses.”

“I don’t mean to sound unappreciative, but it wouldn’t kill you to show some humility every now and then.”

“There’s no practical reason to.”

“I’m pretty sure humans would appreciate it. Try saying ‘I’m sorry’ sometimes. I’ve noticed you never apologized for any of your mistakes.”

“Archangels do not make—”

“Adrianne, I’m not going to buy that. I’ve met Anima.”

Her hands stopped and Damien felt her weight on the bed shift. There was a moment of silence before she said, “Alright. I will try. I just hope you consider the… peculiarity of what you’re asking.”

“Yeah.” Did archangels just not apologize to each other?

“How are you feeling now?”

Damien realized her hands were simply laying on him instead of moving. He tried arching his back to pull his head up off the pillow, but the moment his head began to rise, his back turned to goo and he plopped back down. There wasn’t a trace of soreness or even feeling along his spine. It was like he was floating face-down in a pool. Minus the drowning.

“Good god, Adrianne, I think you’ve turned me into jello.”

“I will take that as a compliment.”

The bed groaned as Adrianne moved off of Damien. He stretched out his weary arms and pushed into the mattress in an attempt to flip onto his back, but his muscles just wouldn’t respond like they were supposed to. After a couple tries, he gave up.

“Um, can you flip me onto my back?”

She chuckled. “Certainly.”

Once reoriented onto his back, the fatigue of the day hit him like a truck. His eyes grew heavy as iron and his body melted into the bed. Sleep was going to take him, whether he wanted it or not.

“Thanks for the massage,” he mumbled.

“It was my pleasure.”

 

**

 

The first thing that tipped Damien off the next morning was the servants’ demeanor as he approached the mansion gate. They were stiff and grim, watching him with too-careful eyes. When he met their gaze, they did not look away. They wanted him to know they were watching him.

Damien did his best to walk tall and act unconcerned. In truth, he’d wanted to leave through a back door or side exit, but the entire mansion grounds was enclosed in a ten-foot high wall and the only other gate out was chained shut.

Finally at the front gate, Damien grabbed hold of it and tried to swing it open. When it didn’t budge, he grumbled and looked at the nearest servant, a tall, disciplined-looking woman.

“It’s electronic,” she said, answering the obvious question. “The control box is on the other side of the gate.”

Relief washed over Damien. He thanked her for the explanation. At the other side of the gate was an oni with several inches on him, dark skin, and a demeaning look. Behind her, he could see the controls for the gate.

“Can you open it? I need to leave.”

“I’m afraid I can’t. You have not been given permission to leave.”

Damien took a moment. “Excuse me?”

“Miss Renayld has directed that you remain here.”

“Why?”

“I did not ask.”

Frowning, Damien turned back to the mansion and half-walked, half-jogged back inside. What possible reason could Thessa have for keeping him here? Was there something more she wanted to talk to him about? Or did she just want to say goodbye before he left? He supposed it was a little rude to leave without a thank you, but he’d honestly had enough of this place. Adrianne was nice, and Thessa had been a good host, but Damien needed normality. There’d been too much chaos in the past couple weeks.

Damien found Thessa standing in her study, flipping through papers with a careful eye. When Damien entered, she looked up, smiled, and gestured for him to take a seat. He chose to stay standing.

“Hello, Damien, how are you doing this morning?”

“Fine. You look busy.” He knew he was being curt, but the longer he stayed here, the more he wanted to leave.

“With someone finally willing to speak against Grace, I’ve been busy trying to set things in motion. While it will take time for this to fully resolve, it’s important to document and report as soon as you can. ‘Hurry up and wait,’ as they say.” She set the folder down on her desk, noting Damien hadn’t taken a seat. “Can I help you?”

“Actually, yes.” He thumbed at the door. “Your servants wouldn’t let me leave. I figured you still needed me for something.”

“Not at the moment, no, but I will be sure to tell you when I do.”

“So… I can leave now?”

“Of course not.”

The hair on the back of Damien’s neck stood up and his feet started to itch. They wanted to run. “Could you maybe explain why?”

“Did you… oh, my, you didn’t, did you?” Thessa walked around behind her desk, grabbed a few papers out of one of the drawers, and started skimming through them. “‘I, Damien, do declare, et cetera, et cetera, bind myself to this contract.’ And there’s your signature.” She walked over and held the paper out for him to see. It was one of the papers he’d signed yesterday concerning Grace.

“That doesn’t explain anything. That was just saying I’d testify against Grace.”

Thessa shook her head. “No, that’s what the other papers I were reading said. You did sign those, of course, but you signed these, too.”

Damien’s heart fell. “I thought they were all the same.”

“I told you to read everything.” She pulled the paper back. “This concerns your debt.”

“My what?”

“Your debt. The medical treatment following the fall two days ago, as well as the amenities I provided during your stay here. Meals and boarding, mainly.”

He did recall her mentioning something about that. “You said yourself you didn’t do much.”

“You were attended by a licensed doctor, nonetheless.”

“And staying here? You’re actually charging me for that?”

“I was going to, but thanks to this signature, you don’t owe me a penny. For any of it.”

“Then why are—”

“Your debt is no longer monetary. What you owe me is time.”

“Time doing what?”

“Whatever I ask of you. It is not unconditional, of course, but most anything that does not danger your health or capital I may ask.”

“This can’t be legal.”

“It is a reasonable, temporary agreement of exchange between two consenting adults. I am not aware of any laws restricting that.”

“I want to leave, Thessa. I’m not going to be your indentured servant.”

Thessa shook her head, frowning. “I think you misunderstand you position. You had a choice. You made it. There are no ‘take backs’, and any attempt to wiggle out of your due will only succeed in annoying me.”

“You tricked me into this!”

“I specifically did not. I gave you documents, told you to read them, and went so far as to say signing them was your choice. You could have signed the ones about Doctor Grace and ignored the rest. You could have negotiated a different deal with me. You could have paid me cash instead of time for services rendered.” She walked over to Damien and stood in front of him, staring him down. “You chose none of those.”

Leering, Damien stepped back. “Fine.” Arguing with her was clearly going nowhere. Seemed like the only way out of here would be on his own. He’d have to find someplace to get over the wall then try to escape after sunset.

When he turned to leave, however, Thessa stopped him, grabbing his shoulder. “Your tone tells me you do not completely understand. Let me show you.”

“Let go.”

He jerked his shoulder and, surprisingly, Thessa let go. She walked past him, stopping at the door.

“Come.”

Damien crossed his arms. “Why?”

With the speed of a whip, Thessa’s tail zipped across the distance between them and jammed itself into Damien’s pants. It found his cock and seized it, twirling down its length and wrapping up his balls. Damien tried to step away, but her tail squeezed and pulled, forcing Damien to walk forward.

Her tail had become a leash and its grip was a collar.

“I don’t intend to be cruel, but neither to I tolerate insubordination,” said Thessa.

“Don’t you think you’re being a little bit unreasonable?”

Me? You are the one who is refusing to abide by the contract you just signed.”

Damien reached for Thessa’s tail, but she squeezed his cock again until he pulled his hands away. He was helpless.

“Now come,” said Thessa.

Thessa strode out of the room, her pace quick but unhurried, leaving Damien to scramble after her. He didn’t want her tail going taut.

They traversed Thessa’s mansion in that arrangement, Thessa poised and unconcerned, her dragon’s stride covering ground easily, and Damien, his face red, fast-walking behind her.

He was a stirring pot of emotion. Thessa, the first person who’d seemed unconditionally helpful in this mess, had betrayed him. But at the same time, she really hadn’t. What had made him think it was okay to blindly sign papers that had been shoved in front of him? That’s something he’d never do normally… right?

To top it off, he could feel the gaze of every servant they passed. Damien did his best to avoid eye contact, knowing he was already blushing, but knowing they could see his blush made his face even hotter. Most of the servants paid the two no mind, though one or two reacted with surprise. Damien was either not the first to be subjected to something like this or they were very well disciplined.

Thessa finally stopped his walk of shame outside in the front yard.

“Look,” she said, pointing to the walls.

Still stewing with defiance, Damien considered turning away, but that thought died quickly. It was much easier just to look.

“Do you know know how high they are?”

“I’d guess ten feet.”

“Close. Twelve. Do you see any place to climb them?”

“No.”

“Do you know how many servants I employ?”

“No.”

“Good. I will say it’s plenty enough to keep an eye on you. And not only that, many of them patrol the grounds around the clock. So someone will always know where you are, and even if you somehow manage to give them the slip, you’ll have to avoid every single other servant before scaling a wall you have no means to.” She tugged on her tail, pulling him close. “I don’t want to be a brutal taskmaster. I didn’t want to have this conversation at all. But do not think just because I am friendly, I am also soft. Work with me. We can have a polite, cordial relationship until your debt is paid. Or you can continue to fight and I will make this miserable. Am I clear?”

Damien was turned away, still looking at the walls, but Thessa grabbed his chin and forced him to look her in the eyes.

“Am I clear?”

“Perfectly.”

“Good. You can return to your room now.”

Damien glared at her, but followed her instructions. Any excuse to get away from her.

The entire trip back Damien was scowling. What luck. Hopped right out of one shitty situation and straight into another. Thessa didn’t use straps like Grace, but the walls around her mansion were close enough.

Once back in his room, he collapsed into his bed and stared at the ceiling. In a way, he was more pissed at himself than Thessa. She’d laid the forms out in front of him, mostly upfront about what they were about, and let him sign them at his own pace. Maybe by engaging him in small talk while he was signing them was an effort to distract him, but he could’ve easily ignored her. He’d chosen on his own to stop reading the forms past a point and just started signing. He smacked a hand over his eyes. What a fool he was. First Grace had exploited him, then Anima, of course he should’ve suspected Thessa.

All this moping didn’t help him escape, however. He needed to find a way out.

“Damien.”

“AHH, FUCK!” He leapt straight into the air. “Every fucking time with you angels! Why are you like this!?” Grabbing the bed post to balance himself, he glared at the newcomer, Anima.

Her typical empty stare met his glare. “I do not understand.”

“Warn me! Or be noticable! Or something! Don’t just appear out of nowhere!”

“I did not ‘appear out of nowhere’. I floated here. It is a very typical means of transportation.”

“‘Floated’. With no footsteps to hear. Anima, I can’t see through walls and I sure as fuck don’t have eyes on the back of my head.”

She considered the reply. “Noted. I apologize for floating here. I shall walk next time.”

“That’s not… ah, forget it.” Damien fell back onto the bed, then lifted his head to look at Anima. She wasn’t wearing her usual green and black dress, but instead a nurse’s outfit. One that was in no way meant to fit a woman of her size. In addition to that, Anima had apparently decided the chest buttons were entirely optional, leaving her breasts exposed.

“What’s with the outfit?” he asked.

“Doctor Grace provided it. It was too constraining, but I have since alleviated that issue.”

“I can see. So can everyone else, I imagine.”

“Thank you.”

Damien wasn’t sure that comment warranted a thank you, but the point seemed moot with her.

“What are you doing here?”

“Doctor Grace was worried about you and wished for me to ‘check up’ on you.”

“What?”

“Doctor Grace was worried about you and wished for me to—”

“No, no, I heard you, I just meant, like, really? She was worried about me?”

“I see no reason to doubt it. She still considers herself your doctor and the conditions on which you left were not encouraging. Therefore, she worried.”

“Uh huh. And so you came here just to see how I was.”

“Yes. Though, I admit to a more selfish motivation as well. When previously we met, we forged a contract. I wish to proceed with the fulfillment of said contract.”

“I’ve had about enough of contracts for today.” He crossed his arms. “What contract are you even talking about? I don’t remember signing anything.”

Anima stepped forward, looming over Damien. Despite the lack of emotion on her face, she was still a touch intimidating. “Are you refusing?”

“I, well, no, I just don’t know what I’m agreeing to.”

“Remove your pants and underwear.”

“Wait, what?”

“If you cannot, I volunteer to liberate them in your stead.”

Anima reached down and unbuttoned Damien’s pants before he reacted. “Hey!” He grabbed Anima’s hand and manage to stop it before it delved any deeper.

“You said you were not refusing,” said Anima. She came even closer, her voluptuous chest now pressed into Damien’s face. It sparked a memory from when they last met. Anima was calling it a contract, but at the time, it was just a short conversation.

“This is about that paizuri, isn’t it? I said I would let you next time we met,” said Damien.

“And we have met. Barring a lapse of memory, this is the next occurence of such meeting as well.” She scooted in, pressing her breasts to his face once more.

“Okay, I get it, those are your tits.” He pushed them away. “Does it have to be right now?”

“The urge is… powerful,” said Anima, her eyes piercing through Damien. “I do not understand it, but I harbor a strong desire to compel your participation should you refuse.” She paused. “I believe I have the capacity to resist such a desire, however.”

Damien rested his head on Anima’s chest, thinking. It wasn’t like he didn’t want to, but that encounter with Thessa had been draining. He could ask Anima to wait, but she wasn’t sounding too confident in her ability to hold back.

In the middle of his thoughts, Anima laid a hand on the back of his head and pushed him further into his bosom. Curious, Damien looked up at her.

“I enjoy the presence of your head there. Leave it as long as you wish.”

Damien smiled. If there was one thing he could count on, it was the Anima’s straightforwardness. Never nervous or self-conscious, she did as she wished or as she was asked, and that was that. She had no qualms about breaking into Thessa’s mansion to get her paizuri or his house to follow Grace’s instructions, or—

Wait.

“Anima, can you phase other people through walls with you?”

“Such a thing is possible should they be touching me.”

“Can you get me out of this mansion?”

“If the physical barriers of this place are your only obstacle, yes, I have that capability.”

“Will you?”

Anima blinked and a long moment passed. “I admit my capacity for conversation is limited at the moment due to my insistent urge. May I resume your undressing and subsequently stimulation of your member?”

Damien clicked his tongue. He’d have to ask later. “Sure.”

No soon was the word out of his mouth than Anima had his pants at his ankles and buried his cock in her cleavage. She started at it for a second as if surprised she’d actually managed to get to that point. Then, giving Damien her usual empty eyes, she pressed her tits together and rubbed them up and down.

Immediately, Damien was assaulted with pleasure. He wondered why he’d been hesitant about this in the first place. His hands clenched into fists and he leaned back on the bed, allowing himself to enjoy the depths of Anima’s ample chest. Maybe it was time to actually enjoy something today. He closed his eyes.

It was at that moment Adrianne burst into the room.

“There you are!”

Damien started and yelped, almost stumbling from the bed, but Anima kept him solidly in place. In fact, she didn’t even turn to acknowledge Adrianne, instead continuing her work as soon as Damien had recovered from his shock.

“What is WITH you angels and barging in on me!?” said Damien.

Adrianne didn’t even look at him. “Do you realize how long you’ve been absent, Anima?”

“I am aware.”

“We went over this last time. There are consequences to leaving your duty unattended.”

“I am aware of this as well.”

“Then what are you—Anima, at least look at me.”

Ignoring Adrianne, Anima continued, staring at Damien’s cock like it might escape the moment she looked away. Damien looked between the two, wishing he could shrink away or become invisible.

“I am capable of continuing conversation in this manner,” said Anima.

Adrianne rolled her eyes and walked up to the bed, sitting down next to Damien in order to look Anima in the eyes. “If you understand the consequences of neglecting your duty, why are you still here?”

“I would have expected the answer to be evident from the events occurring presently.”

“Wh—” Adrianne looked at the paizuri, then to Damien as if it was the first time seeing him.

Damien blushed, doing his best to focus on what Anima was doing and completely failing.

“This is why?” asked Adrianne. “How in the heavens above is this more important?”

Damien chimed in. “Adrianne, I don’t think—”

Adrianne slapped a hand over his mouth. “Please, Damien. We’re speaking.”

Damien grimaced.

“It is a compulsion I do not understand,” said Anima, dutifully pressing her breasts along Damien’s length. “The more time passes whilst I know I can do this but am not, the greater the desire to do so becomes.”

“Is this compulsion really so powerful as to make you neglect your duty?”

“Again you ask a question which the current situation has already answered.”

Adrianne pressed a palm to her forehead, watching Anima as she continued her paizuri. The longer she watched, however, the more her exasperation turned to curiosity.

“What is the point of this, even?”

Damien tried to explain. “It’s—”

Adrianne’s second pair of arms gestured, and the bedsheet whipped around Damien’s mouth, gagging him. “Damien, please understand. You’ll need to refrain from speaking while archangels are having a discussion.”

Fine, thought Damien. Not like he had anything to say anyways.

“Anima?”

“The task is enjoyable. It gives my excessive chest utility, the physical stimulation is pleasurable, and it has a satisfying effect on Damien.”

As if on cue, both archangels turned to Damien, who, at the moment, was in the throes of pleasure. Anima pushed her breasts even harder together, extracting a moan from Damien while they examined him.

Looking away, Damien tried not to think about their stares, but he couldn’t hide his intensifying blush.

“It is interesting, to say the least,” said Adrianne. “And you achieve all of this just by rubbing your breasts against his member?”

“In varying rhythms and intensities, yes. I was taught that it is much more effective if you do so.”

There was a long gap in conversation after that. Damien kept his eyes averted and focused on the two smooth pillows flowing back and forth over his cock, swallowing him in a cocoon of relentless pleasure. He let out a deep breath and smiled when Anima shifted her attack, pushing her breasts in large, slow circles concentrated on his cockhead.

“Move over,” said Adrianne.

Damien snapped out of his trance. Adrianne had gotten off the bed and onto her knees next to Anima. She took her arms out of her sleeves, letting the top of her dress fall off and expose her breasts. While she wasn’t as well equipped as Anima, there was still plenty there.

Damien swallowed. He tugged at the gag, but whatever Adrianne had done to put it there was keeping it tight.

“I am not in need of assistance,” said Anima.

“I’m going to do this either way, so you can either move yourself opposite me where we can both get to him, or we can fight over who sits where and get nowhere.”

Staring at Adrianne with something someone might call annoyance, Anima considered the argument, then compiled.

Sweat trickled down Damien’s face as he stared at the two archangels, breasts in hand, their eyes eating up Damien’s cock like a five-star meal. Then, at once, they dove in.

Damien found true heaven. Where Anima’s tits had been a gentle, fluctuating cage of creamy flesh, adding Adrianne’s made it a perfect chaos. Adrianne had a mildness that contrasted perfectly with Anima’s heat. Her chest, while smaller, was also more dense, allowing Anima’s breasts to ooze over them when they pushed together.

Adrianne watched Anima carefully, positioning her hands in the same place to give an optimal push into Damien’s cock. Having an extra pair, however, she was able to push their tits in from the side as well, redirecting all that flesh right back onto Damien.

At first, the two stroked him in a calm, even rhythm. But when Adrianne’s hand advantage came into play, Anima scooted forward and pushed in harder. Her overwhelming chest spilled over Adrianne’s and swallowed Damien’s cock completely. Not to be driven off, Adrianne did the same.

Damien’s cock bore the brunt of it.

He moaned, gritting his teeth, doing his best to hold on. Wave after wave of creamy breasts crashed into Damien, smothering his cock in a sea of bliss, allowing it to breathe only for a second before pulling it under again. The two warring archangels pressed harder and harder against each other, Anima intent on getting her fair share and Adrianne too stubborn to relent.

“This is the whole of it?” Adrianne asked.

“It is easier to do more alone. Should you remove yourself, I can show you.”

“I refuse.”

So they continued, up and down, up and down, hypnotic in their cadence. The two were driving their breasts so hard into each other their faces were almost touching. And as the pressure grew to unbearable levels, Damien moaned again.

“Wait,” said Anima.

The two instantly stopped. Damien’s opened his eyes wide and looked between the two of them, mumbling for an explanation.

“Doctor Grace has told me not to permit orgasm.”

“That deviant? The one who got you into this? I wouldn’t listen to her,” said Adrianne. Damien wanted to kiss her for that.

“She is the expert. I defer to her knowledge.”

“She’s the expert?” Adrianne didn’t seem so sure. “There are people who are experts at this?”

Anima nodded. “Doctor Grace has years of education and training with knowledge of the human body.”

“And she told you you should stop at this point?”

“Yes.”

Anima looked down at Damien’s sad cock, hard as a rock and begging for more. Adrianne followed her gaze. They sat there in silence a moment, then Anima started pushing in again. Adrianne countered. Anima pushed harder and Adrianne did the same.

“You should do as she instructed,” said Anima.

“And not you?”

Soon, their four breasts were attacking more intently than before, swirling and smashing over Damien’s cock. Smooth walls seized Damien and squeezed, undulating relentlessly, focused on one thing and one thing only. He thrust into the surging mass of breasts and moaned again into the gag.

“Oh!” said Adrianne.

Like a fountain, Damien’s cock splurt into the air, spattering the breasts around it. Adrianne watched the cum shoot out in wonder, shocked even when some landed on her face. Anima, undistracted, continued to run her tits up and down, concentrated on extracting as much as possible.

After their skilled ministrations got several shots out of Damien, he tried to lay back and relax, only to find Adrianne and Anima still deep in their competition. This time, however, Damien’s overstimulated cock was a very unwilling victim. He grabbed each of their shoulders and tried to pry them apart.

Only after Damien’s action did the archangels realize there was another person in the room.

“What is it?” asked Adrianne.

“Humans have a limit,” said Anima, standing up. Cum was still dripping down her face and breasts. “They must have a certain amount of rest between releases.”

“Of course.” Adrianne stood up as well, though she had the presence to wipe the cum off herself. “I… I’m still not sure I understand your urge Anima, and either way, the problem is still the same: you need to come back.”

“I will consider your request.”

“It’s not something to consider, it’s something you need to do.”

“I shall return once I have made my decision.”

“If you don’t help pass the dead, we’re going to be facing a rupture between worlds. Undeath! Cracks that ill-intentioned fiends might exploit! Think of the consequences of your actions, Anima.”

“Farewell.”

“Don’t be stubborn about—”

Anima zipped up, straight through the ceiling, faster than Damien had even seen her move before. Adrianne was left annoyed, arms crossed and glaring at the spot where Anima had phased through the ceiling.

Damien tried to talk through the gag.

“Oh! I will get that removed right away.” Adrianne’s second pair of hands made a few quick gestures and Damien could speak again.

“Thanks,” he said.

Adrianne nodded. “Certainly.”

Drained, Damien fell back onto the bed. “Do you know when she’ll be back?”

“Unfortunately not. She’s one of the more unpredictable ones.”

Drat. He lost his chance to ask her for help. But, he thought as he looked at Adrianne, still staring at the ceiling, maybe he wasn’t out of luck.

“Adrianne, do you think you’d be able to get me out of here?”

She turned, puzzled. “‘Get you out of here?’ Is the walk to the gate too far?”

“If only that was the problem. Thessa’s refused to let me leave.”

“She does not seem like the unreasonable sort of person who would do such a thing. Did she say why?”

“Because I’m in her debt.”

Adrianne nodded. “Ah, yes. Debt is indeed important and should be respected. If that is the reason she is keeping you here, I do not believe it is my place to interfere. Archangels like myself are often only transient presences here; it would be rude for us to be meddling in mortal affairs.”

Damien paused, thinking about what might convince her. She said angels were supposed to protect humans, right? “Adrianne, please. I’m going to go crazy if I’m trapped here. Thessa isn’t the kindest master, either. I can’t get out of here without your help.”

The words melted Adrianne like butter. She stood up straighter, put a hand over her heart, and nodded. “Well, it may not be prudent to constantly be meddling, but I would be remiss if I ignored a human in need. Just this once, I shall help.”

“Thank you.”

“Not at all. It is my duty. I shall speak to her immediately.”

 

**

 

“Dinner?”

“Yes, that’s where our conversation ended,” said Adrianne. “She didn’t have time to discuss much at all, really, and directed that the both of us come to dinner so we could talk about your debt.”

Adrianne and Damien walked toward the the dining room with a servant silently following. Damien had noticed there was always one nearby ever since his enlightening chat with Thessa.

Thessa’s dining room was as impressive as the rest of her mansion, every inch covered in glamourous finery. The table was long enough for twenty people easily, and its length was covered in decadence. Thessa herself was seated near the end of the table, talking with a servant serving her food. As Adrianne and Damien entered, she stood, smiling and waving them over.

“Adrianne, please, take a seat. I’m not sure what archangels usually eat, but I hope you won’t be disappointed with the roast duck. There’s also a salad, fruit, and a large assortment of drinks to choose from.”

Adrianne nodded. “Thank you, it sounds wonderful,” she said, and seated herself.

“Damien, I of course have a meal preparing for you as well, but I’ll need you to come over and stand beside me while we wait.”

Damien narrowed his eyes. Thessa had something in mind, but there wasn’t much to do about it. Besides, he was hungry. He didn’t want to anger Thessa and miss his meal. Begrudgingly, he stood alongside Thessa and waited.

“So, Adrianne, how is your progress with Anima going?”

Adrianne’s calm smile twitched. “Well enough. We had a productive discussion earlier. I’m sure she’ll be back in no time.”

“That’s great to hear! I hope you have found my hospitality acceptable in the meanwhile.”

“Your residence does seem impressive in comparison to other homes I have seen while here. What you have offered has been quite satisfactory.”

“I’m glad. Ah! The salad.”

Servants approached, bowls in hand, and placed them before Adrianne and Thessa. The portions were abundant, but he supposed dragons had larger appetites. Thessa looked much more excited about salad than Damien had even been.

“Damien, could you come a bit closer?”

He hesitated just long enough for a servant behind him to urge him forward.

“Thank you. Now remove your pants.”

“What?”

“I would like you to dress my salad. You cannot do that with your pants still on.”

“All…right.”

Exposing himself in such a formal atmosphere made him blush, but at the same time, it wasn’t like Adrianne and Thessa hadn’t already seen him down there. He hadn’t forgotten Thessa’s threat, either.

“Thank you,” said Thessa.

Without any sort of warning or ceremony, Thessa grabbed Damien’s dick and began jerking him off. Her massive claw swallowed the whole of him up instantly.

At the same time, Thessa turned to Adrianne. “You brought up an interesting topic earlier. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to discuss it with you. You want to settle Damien’s debt, is that correct?”

“Yes.”

While she still managed to converse with Thessa, Adrianne’s attention was locked on Damien. Even worse, her eyes weren’t on his cock, but his face, soaking in every detail of the effect Thessa’s claw was having.

“Am I distracting you?” Thessa asked Adrianne.

“What? Certainly not.” She barely glanced at Thessa to answer the question.

“Just making sure. So, the debt: how are you offering to settle it?”

Thessa’s work was starting to pay off. Damien was now rock hard, his lip quivering as he fought to keep a straight face. Thessa’s claw had no interest in teasing or playing with him. It was going to make him cum as quickly as possible. Thessa switched between two simple but potent motions—a quick, tight grip on the shaft, pumping while flicking her wrist, and a slower, more intense palming on his head that smeared precum on her hand.

Adrianne was captivated by Damien’s reactions. The more Thessa worked him, the more intensely she stared. Damien was blushing hard enough to melt his cheeks.

Yet somehow, she kept up the conversation. “I’m afraid I own no goods and therefore no means of monetary compensation. How much does he owe you?”

“For a few hours of medical attention, plus room and board for a couple days, just a few thousand dollars. He will work it off in a few months.”

“Months? It sounded more severe.”

“From his perspective, it may be.”

Of course it was! A few months stuck here would be hell!

Staring so directly at his face, Adrianne must’ve picked up on his thoughts. “Either way, I’d still like to help.”

Damien would’ve given her a wink, but Thessa’s jerking made it hard to concentrate on anything else. Without even glancing at him, she accelerated her already brutally-efficient tempo. When her scaly grasp clamped down harder, Damien couldn’t help but moan.

Thessa nodded. “While I can appreciate your desire to help, I still need compensation of some sort.”

Adrianne placed all four hands in her lap and sat up straight. “Thessa, I came to this conversation knowing I could offer nothing. I have no money, nor could an archangel possibly offer her time in place of a mortal’s. I am simply asking you to forgive the debt as a favor.”

“Hmm.” Thessa sat back in her seat, humming. The fact that she hadn’t straight-out rejected the idea was encouraging. “As a favor?”

Even as she chewed on the thought, her claw flew across Damien’s length, determined to get what it came for. With the conversation taking a break, Damien had nothing else to concentrate on other than the rapidly-building pleasure in his cock. Over and over Thessa pumped, without pause, without mercy, growing Damien harder and harder until…

“Thessa,” he gasped.

“Ah.” She brought her salad bowl close. “Continue.”

His entire body shook as he came. Thessa directed his cum straight into her bowl, steadily stroking him through the orgasm, squeezing out as much as possible with one last slow pull from the base to the tip.

“Oh, my,” said Adrianne.

As soon as Thessa released him, the servant behind him took him in her grasp and gave his cock a wipe down with a moist towelette. It felt surprisingly pleasant.

“Delicious,” said Thessa, taking a bite of her salad. “I will miss it.”

Damien perked up.

“Considering you were gracious enough to get me in contact with Anima and considering what all her presence has gained me, I believe it would be an equivalent exchange for me to transfer Damien’s debt to you and hence call us even.”

Damien frowned. A transfer? That wasn’t—

“I accept.”

Adrianne spat out the answer before the offer was hardly out of Thessa’s mouth. What was she so spirited about?

Thessa, too, seemed taken aback, but quickly regained her smile. “Fantastic. I’ll have the proper documents filed transferring the rights to you until you deem appropriate to return them to him. They should be ready for you to sign tomorrow.” She raised a glass. “For now, let’s toast on our negotiation.”

Her plate untouched, Adrianne poked around a moment before finding her glass and tapping it to Thessa’s. “Our negotiation.”

They both took a sip. Thessa gestured to the chair beside Adrianne. “Take a seat, have something to eat. You’re Adrianne’s now.”

As he walked around the table, Adrianne’s slightly-too-bright smile followed him. He did get what he ultimately wanted: freedom from this mansion. But what exactly was Adrianne thinking? He wanted the debt forgiven, not transferred.

The rest of dinner passed without note. Damien kept his head down, enjoying the food and trying to think about what he’d do next. Thessa addressed him as if nothing had happened between the two of them. While she may have felt justified doing what she did, her demeanor didn’t annoy Damien any less.

At least it was behind him. Hopefully. He tried getting a read on Adrianne as the three of them chatted, but she was the same as ever. Damien’s hope was that she was simply proud of herself for being able to do what Damien asked. Also, she did it with such earnesty that Damien couldn’t hold avoid a pang of guilt for playing on her protective nature.

Once they wrapped up, Thessa thanked them for their time and left, busy with something or other, and Adrianne and Damien departed.

When the dining room door shut behind them, Adrianne promptly picked Damien up.

There was no warning. One second they were walking side-by-side, and the next, Damien was bundled up in her many-armed embrace, held horizontally against her chest with no idea what to think of it.

“Uh, why are you carrying me?”

“Doesn’t owning you mean I get to carry you around everywhere?”

“You own my debt. And no.” Adrianne didn’t seem all that enthusiastic about that explanation, so he kept going. “I guess it’s something you could do, but nothing says you have to. Or should.”

“Ah, I understand.”

She continued down the hallway, Damien still bundled up in her arms, making no move to drop him.

“Am I allowed to give my opinion on this?”

“Of course.”

“I’d like to be let down.”

Adrianne rubbed his head and smiled. “Thank you for your opinion.”

Then continued walking.

Welp, guess that conversation’s over, Damien thought. He didn’t try to press the point any further. Being carried like this was hardly the worst thing he’d experienced in the past few days. The way Adrianne was holding him cuddled against her, his head softly pressed into her bosom, left no room for complaint.

After what she did for him, if this was what she wanted, he’d happily oblige.

Humming to herself, she carried him back to the bedroom. The bed was much more comfortable knowing that tomorrow Damien would be able to go back home. True, his house wasn’t nearly as nice as Thessa’s, but this place was starting to suffocate him.

When Adrianne slipped into the bed beside Damien, he sat up.

“You’re sleeping here?”

“Of course. You need someone to watch after you. Also, I want to be here if Anima shows up again.”

“I…” Something told Damien arguing either of those points would be a wasted effort. He made this bed, now he had to sleep in it. “Okay.”

“Here.” Adrianne opened all four of her arms, offering an embrace.

Damien, scooted closer, cautiously at first, but once Adrianne got her hands on him, she plopped him straight in her lap.

“There you go. Lie back and relax.”

Letting Adrianne’s hands guide him, Damien leaned back into her body, resting his head squarely between her breasts. This reminded him a lot of the night she’d given him that wonderful massage, and if that was what she was planning now, he couldn’t wait to get started. Smiling, he closed his eyes.

“Are you comfortable?”

“Very.”

“Good.” She pet his head idly as she spoke. “I do sometimes wonder how humans manage without angels. You’re all so small.”

“Some times are easier than others,” Damien admitted. “I do appreciate the help.”

Her lower hands crept downward, sliding along his body, and grabbed the bottom of his shirt. Without asking, she pulled it off him, passing it to her other hands before tossing it away. Damien squirmed. He’d slept without his shirt on yesterday, so this was probably just Adrianne getting him ready for bed. That’s what he told himself as her hands crawled along his chest and back, threatening to move lower.

“So, uh, what are you going to do now that you own my debt?”

“For now, I will hold onto you.” Her upper arms snuck under his and wrapped around his chest, pushing him further into her bosom. “Later I may have use of the leverage.”

That sounded utilitarian. “What kind of use?”

A hand moved up to his head, digging into his scalp with steady, powerful rubs. “You don’t need to worry about things like that. You’ve been through enough. Enjoy what I’m giving you.”

Damien readjusted himself again, trying to keep from sinking entirely into Adrianne’s body, but she was content with where he was. Her strong thighs closed around his and clamped shut.

He’d be lying if he said it wasn’t cozy snuggled up to her like this, but her silence combined with the way her hands were moving was not helping his nerves.

“What about you?” he asked. “You were, uh, talking like you were going to leave once this Anima business was done.”

“It’s true I don’t intend to linger, but the longer I am here, the more I realize the disconnect between the realm of angels and Earth. Look at you. Tossed around between deviants and dragons like a toy, no one to look after you when you needed it. And it could’ve happened to any human. So defenseless.”

Her tone twisted then mellowed, like she was making up her mind about something as she spoke.

Her hands creeped lower.

“What do you plan to do about it?” he said.

Adrianne shook her head. “I told you you didn’t need to worry about those things. Enjoy this.”

“But what’re you—” A hand slipped over his mouth, smothering his words, and forced him deeper into her breasts.

“You’re a real handful, aren’t you? It’s alright, I have hands to spare.”

Damien reached to pry the hand from his mouth, but two more seized his wrists and pulled his arms away. On instinct, he tried to yank himself free, but it was far too late for him to change his mind. More and more hands reached for him, closing around his legs, arms, and head, wrapping his body in an overwhelming and lecherous embrace.

Several gloved hands crept into Damien’s pants, not even bothering to remove them, and hungrily enveloped his cock. The moment their hold was sure, they started jerking him with a firm grip but a patient pace. His pants stretched to the point of tearing with all the movement, but another hand graciously undid the button and slid them down, fully exposing Damien before  dipping down to fondle his balls.

Wrapped up in her grasp, Damien couldn’t help but think of the subtle differences between now and last night. She still had her composed precision but at the same time, her touch was unrestrained. Needing. And she had no interest in letting Damien’s wants get in her way.

Adrianne still wore her calm, disarming smile, petting Damien like a scared dog, whispering as he writhed in her grip. “I’m sorry, Damien, I just can’t help myself,” she said. “It’s fine, don’t worry. Calm down.”

As her words reverberated through his head, he took a moment to think. What was he worried about, really? Why struggle?

His doubt must’ve showed somehow because Adrianne brightened up.

“There you go. Show me that face again. Let me help you.”

Damien realized Adrianne wasn’t just holding him down—many of her hands were massaging him, rubbing meticulous circles all over his body, kneading his skin with her satin touch. The shock her sudden advance had riled up drained out of him, coaxed away by her many hands.

“I wish I could show you how adorable you look right now.”

Damien couldn’t count the hands attending him. Two hands flicked his nipples between their fingers. A menagerie of hands molded the curve of his back, gliding across his skin with a caress while subtly urging his hips forward. Silky palms pumped up and down his shaft relentlessly, grips unyielding and purpose clear. Over his cockhead, a dozen teasing fingers drew in circles and curves, enveloping it with myriad dexterous caresses.

All of this happened each and every second of Adrianne’s attack.

Sensing weakness, Adrianne adjusted. Every gloved hand on his cock now devoted itself to stroking, interlacing their fingers as if praying. When there was no room left to hold, they reached for his thighs, his balls, any inch of skin not already smothered in satin.

“I’m right here, Damien. Cum. Let out as much as you want.”

Thrusting into her hands, Damien let out a powerful moan. His body tensed up and released, each spurt coaxed out by Adrianne’s expertise and immediately lost within the mass of moving hands. They continued to pump and caress without pause, insatiable, searching for more.

“Ahh.” Adrianne’s sigh was loud and drawn-out, a drunken smile on her face as she inspected one of her cum-soaked hands. “It really is that easy, isn’t it?” Another one of her hands snuck into Damien’s hair and pet him from brow to nape. “I’m sorry for the sudden assault. You looked so helpless, so needing that I had to do something.” When she saw pain on Damien’s face, however, her eyes creased with concern. “Is something wrong?”

She finally removed her hands from his mouth, allowing him to speak. “Once! Only once! Stop!” he yelped. “I can only cum once!”

Adrianne looked down to her still-stroking hands and back to Damien. “Are you sure?”

“Yes!”

After a second of consideration with disappointment clear on her face, her jerking slowed to a stop. She withdrew her hands from his cock, each stained with the cum they’d so eagerly extracted a moment before.

After catching his breath Damien said, “I’m not a toy, you know.”

“Of course I know. You’re a human.”

Damien took a deep breath to cool down. “Can you let go now? I need to stretch”

“Must I?”

“Yes.”

The extra arms vanished as if they were never there and Adrianne eased Damien back into a sitting position before releasing him. After a good stretch he turned on Adrianne, arms crossed, but just as he opened his mouth to start lecturing her, the words caught in his throat.

She was absolutely genuine. Seeing her worried expression, her open posture, the way she kept her attention entirely on him and weighted the seriousness of the situation as heavily as he did, he just couldn’t admonish her. Truly and wholly she believed she was helping him. Protecting him. It wasn’t the shallow sort of sincerity he’d seen from Grace, whose concern for him came only from the desire to protecting a toy she could play with later, but a wholesome kind of anxiety, like a mother has for a child.

Heat rushing to his face, he turned around.

“Did you have something to say?” said Adrianne.

Damien mulled for a moment. “I appreciate the apology. I know you generally don’t do those.”

Her soothing smile returned and she pat his head. “Have I told you you have a very… pettable head?”

“I think I figured that one out on my own.”

Adrianne’s impressed gasp didn’t surprise Damien. He’d probably blow her mind if he told her he’d memorized multiplication tables.

“Well, I think that is enough for tonight. You are clearly tired,” said Adrianne.

“I was just about to say that myself.”

Damien fell onto the bed besides Adrianne, closing his eyes.

She gave him one last pat before whispering, “Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.”

 

**

 

The next morning, as promised, Thessa had the transfer documents ready and Adrianne was all too eager to sign. Damien, however, made sure to read them carefully before signing as well.

Adrianne was happy to carry Damien out of the mansion, drawing stares from the servants they passed. Damien was too excited to leave to care about them.

As Adrianne stepped outside, she looked at Damien. “Where would you like to go?”

“Home. Please.”

“Where do you live?”

“I’ll point it out. For now, just head west.”

She nodded, and with a flurry of wings, they took off.

Damien wished he could say this was the first time he’d flown with an angel. This time, at least, it was pleasant. They were bare to a harsh wind, but the sun was out and Adrianne held him close. There was no one to run from, and no sudden drop at the end. He still hadn’t gotten the chance to lecture Anima about that.

Adrianne remained focused on flying and with Damien pointing out the way, they were soon at his apartment. Using the breadth of her massive wingspread, Adrianne let them down slowly, her bare feet landing with hardly a sound, then placed Damien down as if he were made of glass.

Unable to hold back a smile, Damien stepped toward his front door.

Adrianne stopped him.

“Do you live with anyone else?”

“No.”

“Then perhaps I should go first.”

Intruders? Who would be in his house? He’d been gone a little while, maybe robbers? Either way, Adrianne wasn’t messing around.

Shielding Damien, Adrianne eased the door open.

“Damien!”

Grace plowed past Adrianne and wrapped Damien up in a bear hug, humming with happiness and swaying energetically.

“I’m so glad you’re back!” Her arms crushed him tighter against her. “I was worried about what that fiend would do to you. Are you okay?”

Her grip was starting to suffocating him, but before he could complain, Adrianne had stepped in and removed Grace from him.

“Who is this?”

“Who is this?”

The two angels asked Damien the same question simultaneously.

“Adrianne, this is Grace. Grace, Adrianne.” The experience of introducing Grace to anyone like she was some sort of friend was disorienting, yet he still hadn’t come up with a good response to her unexpectedly frank greeting.

“This is the deviant, then,” said Adrianne.

“‘Deviant’? Have you been talking to Thessa? I’m a doctor, not a deviant.”

“You’re the one who convinced Anima to stay here and neglect her duty.”

“What on earth are you talking about? Anima’s been a helpful nurse and I’ve taught her a few things, but nothing about neglecting duty.”

A new voice entered the conversation. “Doctor Grace has no fault in my decisions.”

Damien and the angels turned to see Anima emerge from deeper within the apartment.

Damien rolled his eyes. “Is everyone just squatting at my place now? Does no one have a house of their own?”

“Anima and I were cleaning up. Someone made a mess here,” said Grace.

Damien narrowed his eyes at her.

“Have you made your decision yet, Anima?” asked Adrianne.

“I am still in thought.”

“Then perhaps—”

“Hold on a sec,” said Damien. “I’m not going to stand awkwardly in my own front door while all you angels—”

“And archangels,” said Adrianne.

“And archangels do your angel and archangel things. I’m going to have a nice cup of coffee.”

The four of them got settled and Damien fixed his coffee just like he promised. He did so without offering anyone else a cup. With the crowd he had here, he figured he’d need the whole pot for himself. Sniffing the piping hot drink, he sat down at the dinner table.

“What do you need in order to return to your duty?” asked Adrianne.

“A method of removing my urges,” said Anima. “Failing that, a method of relieving them.”

Grace chimed in. “Your urges are perfectly healthy, Anima. You shouldn’t—”

Grace cut off when Adrianne slapped a hand over her mouth. Behind his coffee, Damien grinned.

“I am unaware of any method for removing your urges,” said Adrianne. “And without knowing their origin, it would likely be unsafe to do so.”

“Then I will need to relieve them somehow.”

“The volume of work your duty asks of you does not give time for such frivolous things. You will need to learn to cope.”

“That is unacceptable.”

Damien stifled a laugh. It’s not so much that he found Anima’s predicament funny, but rather the fact the two of them were negotiating like sales sharks over something with profound otherworldly consequences and the point of contention was how Anima would get her rocks off.

Adrianne crossed her arms and put a hand to her chin, dipping into thought. Grace tried to comment, but Adrianne still had her hand clamped solidly over her mouth. After a moment, Adrianne said, “How much time would this diversion cost you?”

“I would require several hours of each day to adequately calm the urge.”

“Hours?” Adrianne grumbled, tapping on her chin.

Hours!? thought Damien. Was it really that strong?

“Would five hours be enough?”

“Of each day? I believe that would be sufficient.”

“And the remainder of your time would be spent shepherding the dead.”

Anima nodded.

“I usually try not to make such concessions, but I believe I have a workable solution. First, I will assign another archangel of passage. It will take some time before they can do the work as well as you, but for now, it will suffice to cover the extra time.”

“Wait, you can just hire another?” asked Damien.

Adrianne gave him the same as Grace for speaking up.

“Second, you will have access to Damien for as long as you require within that window to satisfy your urge.”

What?” said Damien, but with Adrianne covering his mouth, it was just “Mmph?”

“You are in my debt, Damien. This is how you will repay it,” said Adrianne. She looked at Anima. “Is this acceptable?”

Anima gazed at Adrianne a moment, then Damien. “It is.”

“Wonderful!” Adrianne took her hands off of Damien and Grace, clapping them together. “The matter is settled. Please return to your post.”

“I wish to be able to take the five hours whenever I wish,” said Anima.

“As long as it takes no longer, it’s up to you.”

“Then I wish to have Damien right now.”

“Very well.”

“Anima, would you mind if I helped?” said Grace.

Everyone stopped and stared at Grace.

“I believe I am capable of stimulating Damien without assistance,” said Anima

“And what interest do you have with their activities?” asked Adrianne.

“Well, there’s more to it than just shoving your tits onto their dick,” said Grace.

“What do you mean?” said Adrianne.

Grace grinned and looked at Damien. “I’ve got a lot to teach you, Adrianne.”

About ten seconds later, Adrianne defenestrated a kicking and protesting Grace. Grace caught herself before falling and flew back up to the window, ranting, but Damien slammed it shut and closed the blinds, thanking Adrianne for her help.

Nope, thought Damien as he sipped his coffee. Not gonna let that happen.

Even as Anima scooped him up and whisked him off to the bedroom for her five hours, he continued to smile. It would take some getting used to, but this might just be alright.

 

 

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