Disclaimer: I'm not God.

"Good work, my child."

"No–" Tanned hands scrabbled for the missing noose around the rasping throat.

"Without you, the law of love could not have been upheld. Now, you have brought yourself to Me."

"No–I cared for him.

But–to be a disciple and as poor as the beggars we fed–to feel the eyes of hunters on me–it was shame that drove– everything–" The hands ceased to seek the noose, and lowered, to wring instead, or to sift invisible denaris.

"Be still. Teacher Jesus was fated to fail in the world so that humans might succeed beyond it. I allowed the Enemy to influence you, not so that evil may be done, but so that good may come from it. And this was a very special circumstance. Everything went according to my plan to make the world better, more complete."

"I'm a traitor. A sinner." The loud, deep voice's sighs whisper.

"Everyone sins. You are my child."

"A worm."

"My child!"

The words broke his heart.

And then he knew that he had never felt alive before.