My Gabby isn’t particularly thrilled by the assignment so, following the tutelage of the great Ron Swanson, will there ever be an option to call Daniel by the wrong name so he knows we’re not that close?
I totally want that as well
Gabriel: Go to bed Dean!
Daniel: Its Daniel…
Gabriel: Yeah whatever Denise.
who wouldn’t want to follow the greatest man alive?
Snuck in a little update (20+k words for Laniwynn’s route through the fae village. Only one of the options for your sexual experience is currently available; the other two will be coming soon, along with the dancing with both option, followed by the skipping the fae village route, which will be noticeable shorted, and then finally the trial route.)
More like Iain, Karyn, and Ryder. Iro will sleep with any Gabriel, but will only have a relationship (of sorts) with dark Gabriel.
It’s no longer available.
Michael was always in love with Gabriel, but originally the mc wasn’t going to get the option to romance Michael because Michael’s behavior isn’t really healthy.
It is such a delight to write the awkward fumblings of those two.
There will be much feels when we get there. It’s getting closer. About 1.5 scenes away before we return to the present day.
Lucifer wouldn’t ever ask that of Gabriel. And yes, it was God. Gabriel isn’t that gullible.
I have read Strays, but I have zero recollection of that character at all. It’s also been a while since I’ve read it, so if it’s not Feral or Meela, I’m going to draw a complete blank. For me, Leo is more like an overeager puppy with some moments of mature confidence–if he survives.
But to Lucifer, they aren’t family. They aren’t even the same species. His human-hybrid offspring are just distractions, pawns at best, rabid dogs at worst. He’s not rejecting them because that would mean that they have to first register as something of meaning to him. It’s not a conscious deliberate decision; to Lucifer, it just is. If he wasn’t allowed to be a parent to the one child he considered his, why would he even think that being a father to the hybrids is a thing? And he would never hate Gabriel, never fear.
Sort of. From a selection.
I wonder if I have tipped my hand too soon. There are certain truths in your wonderings, though I will not confirm which are valid and which are just rumor.
It will certainly be an interesting balancing act, and at times Gabriel may feel stretched too thin by the pair.
More salt will be available for pouring on Ramiel’s emotional wounds before he Falls.
Ah, this comment soothes my anxious muse. I’m so glad that all the variations I write out feel worth-wile (since forward progress is often delayed by writing out parallel paths).
I do like to throw in surprises on occasion. I am, of course, biased, but I recommend reading through selected options. No one dies as a result of your choices… yet.
And yay! @cookiemonsta Love the fancast (though I cannot see Joe Manganiello as anything other than Alcide Herveaux, and my vision of Ryder does not quite align with yours ) Your Gabby is absolutely adorable.
That fancast is uncannily good.
Ahhhh! They’re all so lovely! Thanks for sharing them
Sweet and fun aren’t the first words I would use to describe Ryder… but if you like guys who want to serve up the world to you on a platter, he’s your
And really, it’s the degree of the sin that would have the Council marking it as a Cardinal sin. No one expects the angels to be perfectly squeaky clean, as long as Heaven’s dirty laundry is kept behind closed doors.
Hmmm, we’ll see. My intention was more for them to keep calling Daniel as ‘hey you’ or ‘child’–not even bothering with a name.
Please tell me spaghetti or pizza is on that list?!
Yay, you have no idea how much of a relief that is!
The guy I shared the pic of is the one that was fighting Feral and nearly killed Meela.
Honestly, only in appearance and “race” did Leo remind me of the other guy. Personality wise they are as different as night and day.
In which case, following the tutelage of Sterling Archer, can Gabby refer to him as “Help”? Oh, also I’m in love with the project, thank you for sharing your vision with us
no problem! c: I had alot of fun~
Ramiel was fun to draw tbh hahah
My God … I just do not have words to describe my emotions from this demo. (And the correctness in writing, too.Forgive me.)
So, firstly I really liked the plot and how it unfolds. It’s very interesting to see how my choices affect the further replicas of the characters, especially when the time has passed. They still remember, huh.
Secondly, I would like to note excellent spelling. The text is read easily and pleasantly, which is very rare. At least for me. The bed scene with Leohlan is just a separate conversation, but it is more likely that I will build a temple and I will pray to you as a writer. Thank you for that.
But I would like to ask something about Leochlan. I hope that I do not irritate you like that and you can not answer. So, I checked the available RO and I did not see him there. Consequently, he is not our possible future lover, just like his sister. Or I make hasty conclusions.I’m so embarrassed.
If he can not be with Gabriel, can we see him again? Because this man stole my heart.
I want to thank you for such a game and I wish you inspiration and strength to continue creating such a wonderful masterpiece. All the best :3
You’re right, Leochlan and Laniwynn are not ROs. There are 15 (!) revealed ROs, and apparently some that haven’t been announced yet.
We will see them again. You will be able to try to have children with one of them in case your Gabriel wants to compete with Ramiel for the Olympic gold medal in stupid decisions. I don’t know if it will actually work though.
@Dae-kalina does write some good sin though.
edit: someone call the police, she’s trying to kill me
Far brighter than my ask in regards to a dead Gabriel whose existence is erased forevermore.
Yes, I am wicked.
Do any envision the fae village not being smote unto dust, and likely not beyond Michael eager to lend his sword? No faengel babies would remain…
LMAO poor Michael.
Gabby: Michael come meet my nephilim kids!
Also I love that his first attempt to dress like a human looks like something out of Miami Vice.
after such a long time being absent, i visit this wip thread again (thanks god)… and spent several hours reading the tumblr (which is rare for me as it such a pain to do coz tumblr was/is banned in my country)… im just gonna saying i fall so hard for Iain and i love his date scene --Daniel is so adorable when he meet his would-be Papa –
Intriguing story and setting.
I’m probably nosediving straight into spoiler territory here, and speculating wildly and inaccurately. Still.
Just ignore whatever you don’t feel like answering.
How do souls work?
Do they spontaneously pop into existence when any child is born, and then exist forever either in Heaven, Hell, or various other afterlifes? Since Hell is keeping humanity alive for the sake of farming souls, that would mean that they are created through a mechanic that they can’t understand or control. Or is there some kind of recycling system, like reincarnation?
What species have souls? Humans, obviously. What of werewolves, werepanthers, fae, any other supernatural creatures you choose to include? Ordinary and un-magical wolves, panthers, etc? Chickens, pigs, cows? Plants? Insects? Microbes?
Since this is biblically themed, I’m guessing our evolution from monkeys never happened. So were we arbitrarily created one day and ‘given dominion over Earth’?
What happened to all the other gods, and their allegedly monstrous creations?
Did Lucifer fall into a pre-existing Hell, or did Lucifer create Hell? Who decided the ‘corrupting souls grants power’ and ‘corrupting pure souls grants more power’ mechanics, in-universe?
What happens to souls that get corrupted? They go to hell, and then… become demons and come out to corrupt others? Get tortured for eternity? Disintegrate after out-‘living’ their usefulness?
What is corruption, and what happened to corrupted souls before Hell existed?
What is Lucifer’s definition of ‘sin’? Does he use the notions used Upstairs, or does he have his own morality scale? Does he believe that there should be an arbitrarily determined and fixed definition of right/wrong, of good and evil, and that it should be enforced? (The mechanics of Hell certainly say so.) Does he just consider all humans sinners because of what he pulled in the Garden?
Does he see himself, or the Fallen, as sinners？
From the brief in-game encounter (which, looking back, bears a strong parallel to story of the snake and the apple), it seems that he appreciates independent thought and rebelliousness, and frowns on toeing-the-line. So why is he motivated by punishing ‘sinners’, aka people who don’t follow the rules? People who broke the rules only because of his own lackeys, even?
It is, apparently, a war between Heaven and Hell over the dominion of Earth? Why would either side want that? Do either side think they could actually get it, totally remove the other side’s influence?
If both sides want to keep humans alive and Earth inhabitable, why fight ON Earth? Why not just wing it over to some plane that nobody cares about and then murder each other?
To Hell Earth is a soul-farm, but what is it to Heaven? If they have no ulterior motive aside from genuine concern for us, then bringing about the Apocalypse is… a strange way to show they care.
Who created the horsemen, and who decided it was a good idea to let them out?
Angelic power comes from God. God’s power comes from war with other gods…? What is the purpose of establishing christianity as a religion on Earth? Why does God want to be worshipped? Does He want people to live in exactly the way He commands, or did He consider religion a necessary component of human cultural development?
If I was an angel I’ve probably fallen by now.
That’s such a perfect use of that gif, I’m dying . LOL, poor Michael indeed.
Wow, just want to say that the depth of the world lore, character individuality, and branching is really impressive and amazing. I read through the tumblr asks, and the characters seem really fleshed out with their own individual personalities and agendas.
And your writing is pretty prolific given the amount of text in the blog and in the demo. I am in awe.
It’s not a formal list exactly. It’s more like: “We’re ordering pizza for the squad: what flavor do you want?” or on dates/takeout menus there will be options. But Italian is one of the types of date food, so various types will be on there.
Seeing as I have never watched Archer, I can’t make any promises.
Aww, you’re most welcome! Thank you for playing it! (And replying!)
I’m glad it made your day better!
That’s one of the primary goals of this game, from my perspective. The characters will remember your actions and respond accordingly. I’m not a huge fan of choices that are just there to say–oh look, you got to choose something. Moving on now to the same block of text because that choice was of absolutely no consequence whatsoever.
The choicescript IDE is a huge help in this regard. I used to go from Notepad to word, but that was always a pain to format, and I was still prone to missing things. My excellent players are also a great assistance, catching things I miss!
The fae flashback has two parts, so we will be seeing him and Laniwynn again there.
If you don’t need resuscitation after I answered @Quaintrelle 's ask, I’m not doing my job.
Aha! I should have known. It’s up now (and was really fun to write!)
And you, my dear, sometimes make me concerned that my intentions are too obvious. Of course, Michael’s not actually involved this time, so it’s not too on the mark…
Right on the mark. Someone needs to monitor what this boy reads/watches to try and understand human culture.
I forget this is a thing! I can post some of the longer replies here if that would help?
Souls are something that can be created by gods or are automatically created when a living creature is born (part of the mechanics of the universe that operate beyond the gods/mortals dynamic, more along the lines of the Reapers). Souls can be recycled (reincarnated) and they can be destroyed/absorbed as a power source. Almost all sentient living creatures have souls, though they are not all equal. Plants native to earth do not have souls (not a high-enough level of sentience and reason.) An insect souls is so minuscule as to be nonexistent as far as those aware of souls are concerned. The higher-level of sentience and reason a creature has, the more important their soul is considered.
The origin of humans in this world is evolution. Some humans were created by God (Adam and Eve were his sort of hybrid experiments) but Gabriel’s god did not create humans. Most of the gods of antiquity have moved to other planes; all the other deities of earth currently worshiped by humanity maintain at least an eye on earth, though not all of them are as active as others in the daily functioning. Some of the ‘monstrous creations’ still walk earth. Others are trapped in other worlds. Some have moved to other worlds where humanity is not the dominant race. Still others have been wiped out entirely.
There were some rather bleak and desolate planes that were Hell before Lucifer fell, but it was after Lucifer’s Fall that it became the Hell to Gabriel’s god’s Heaven. Souls have always been a source of power; some species prefer to feed on pure souls, others need them corrupted first. Demons are a creation of Gabriel’s god, so the corrupting souls grants them power is a by-product of creation the workings of Hell. It wasn’t intentional, but it works well enough. Corrupted souls go to Hell. They sometimes become demons, but most demons are created from souls still on Earth as part of a contract. Rarely are tortured souls turned into demons, unless Hell needs cannon fodder. Most of the time corrupted souls are tortured until they have nothing left to give of their essence (so disintegrate-out).
Corrupted souls are nothing new to existence. As far as the timeline of Earth is concerned in SoS, however, as long as humans have been able to get into Heaven, there has been a Hell for them to be sent to.
I’m going to avoid answering most of this because I want the players to discover this diegetically through playing the story. The Hell planes existed before Lucifer, as mentioned above, but the Hell system was created by God for Lucifer after his Fall. He has his own morality, but he does see himself as a punisher of wickedness rather than a creature of evil. The ‘events of the Garden’ are not what is commonly portrayed in the Bible; it’s something different in the world of SoS. He does appreciate independent though, though rebelliousness isn’t something extols. As far as sinners, he doesn’t view it as ‘people who broke the rules only because of his own lackeys.’ Humanity has free will; they can exercise it and if they choose to let themselves sign an infernal contract, then they deserve what’s coming to them.
The Apocalypse is not something either side wants, hence why the continuous battle between Heaven and Hell is pretty civil, fought mostly through their agents on earth trying to keep souls pure-ish or corrupt them. As for fighting on Earth, angels don’t want to go to the Hell dimensions, and they work hard to keep demons out of Hell. Earth is the designated battleground. Plus, demons have no qualms about throwing humans into the line of fire while angels balk at that. Fighting on other planes tends to draw unwanted attention. The Apocalypse dream of humans (as angels see it) is more an adaptation of prophecy saying that the world will end at some point. If that were to happen, and be beyond Heaven’s control, they would make a last push to collect as many pure souls as possible. However, some angels do think an Apocalypse would cleanse the world so that it can be repopulated with better humans. Souls in Heaven do help power Heaven, as well as belief on Earth. Souls can also become angels, though it’s not a common practice. No one created the Horsemen; they arose as part of the workings of the Universe, and no one wants to let them out.
Angel power comes from God/Heaven, and one way of getting power is from fighting with other gods. Belief is a more reliable and sustainable power source. As far as the exact form of worship on Earth–God doesn’t care much. To God and Heaven, the different Abrahamic religions and subsects of each are a strange human peculiarity. It’s not like any of them actually get it all right anyways. Also, God is not a He in SoS. Angels will never refer to God as a gender binary. Humans do, but as angels have said for eons, “Humans are weird.”
Think that covered most of it? It’s a fictional world, and while it is inspired by Biblical characters, it is a very, very different world.
Thanks! Love your Gab too! (And don’t worry, I refused to work in color for years)
Also reposting the latest long ask re what would happen if Gabriel died (wiped from existence) underneath the more details to help with people who don’t want to/can’t make it over to Tumblr. (And I am throwing @Quaintrelle under the bus with me for all the angst on this one ) Had to split it into a second post because it was so long, so just ignore the double post >.>
Alice sits in the dark of the station, the last cigarette in her pack the only source of light in the dark room. The door opens, and Alice takes one last puff before stubbing out the cigarette in the ashtray on her desk.
“You missed the funeral.” Iain’s voice is soft as he enters the dark squad room, leaving the lights off.
“Gabriel is dead. Burying a fucking box doesn’t change that,” she mutters, wishing she still had more of the cigarette.
“Funerals have always been more for the living. It’s supposed to help with closure. A last chance to say goodbye.” Iain scoots a chair next to her, sitting down with a creak.
“I don’t want no goddamn closure when whoever killed Gabriel is still out there!” The sudden shout is accompanied by a clatter as Alice surges to her feet, her chair falling over backwards.
“We’ll get them, Alice. It’s what we do.” Iain tries to placate his friend, but she’s having none of it. There’s a scratching noise and two objects slide across the desk into Iain’s hands. His heart plummets.
“Take. Them.” Her words are ground out from between grit teeth, and with reluctance he picks up Alice’s detective shield and her service weapon. The latter is a formality only; he knows she has her own personal sidearm.
“Please, don’t do this,” he begs, voice breaking. “I can’t lose you too. Gabriel—”
“Don’t you fucking dare tell me what Gabriel would want,” Alice hisses, her hands flexing at her side. “I knew Gabriel better than any of you. So don’t—don’t you dare—put words in their mouth.” She takes a breath, and Iain grips the edge of the desk.
“My resignation is under Drake’s door.” Alice moves, her footsteps loud in the tomb-like silence of the station. The noise pauses, and she tosses one last warning over her shoulder. “Don’t try to stop me, Iain. Gabriel’s killer isn’t going to sit in some jail cell awaiting trial to while away their years in prison. They’re going to pay the ultimate price. Don’t make me go through you to get it.”
Father McKinnon looks over his pulpit, not surprised to see a lone figure in the pews. Everyone else has already left; the funeral mass had been done as a favor, since Gabriel had not been an official part of the Church. Given what he suspected of their origins, however, Father McKinnon saw no problems with the service, even if he did feel a little odd asking for forgiveness for an angel.
Slowly he walks down the aisle, taking a seat next to his old friend, waiting for the red-head to break the silence first. “How could God—Gabriel was—” Iain’s voice chokes, and James lays a hand on his shoulder, there as a friend, not just his priest.
“Sin and evil exist because of humanity. We must struggle against temptation. This isn’t God’s—” His soft-spoken words are cut off
“Gabriel was an archangel!” Iain’s voice echoes around the cavernous church, even up to the peak of the apse. “So don’t tell me that God didn’t have a direct hand in their death!” He stands up, running a hand through his mess of red-hair, his eyes a matching color from the tears he’s shed.
Father McKinnon tugs at his collar, torn between trying to guide Iain in his faith and wanting to comfort him as a friend. Neither option had the right words. Giving in to his emotions, he tugs out his collar, letting the strip of white settle on his knees.
“An archangel living in sin, technically,” James points out. Iain growls, pacing in the aisle.
“It’s bullshit,” he states, looking at James. “Gabriel was—archangels aren’t supposed to die, James!” His head bows, his hands clasped behind his neck.
“Gabriel was a soldier of Heaven until their last,” James states, eyes rolling upwards as he beseeches a higher power for aid.
“Then Heaven and God can carry on, but I want nothing more to do with them. Excommunicate me, James. I’m not a Catholic anymore. I can’t be. I don’t want to believe in a God who would let Gabriel die.”
James swallows hard. “I’m going to have Bridget pick you up. We can talk about this again—”
Iain levels a hard stare at James. “I’m not changing my mind, and my sister won’t be able to either. Do it, James. I’m done with religion.” The red-head turns, hands jerking at his tie, flinging the noose-like object from his frame as he strides down the aisle, slamming through the great doors.
The screech of a table saw is agony on Tom’s unprotected ears. Gritting his teeth, he opens the door to the garage, greeted by the sight of flannel bent over the large saw. The heavy-duty noise-canceling earmuffs have Tom moving to the wall, kicking out the power cord since his hands are busy trying to provide some relief to his sensitive ears.
Charleston straightens, turning slowly and removing his earmuffs with deliberate moves that have Tom resisting the urge to take a step back. His beta is a tight coil of barely restrained fury and aggression. “What?”
“You can’t keep hiding in your garage, Charleston,” Tom says, shoulders back and feet spread shoulder-width apart. He doesn’t want to fight his former enforcer; he isn’t even sure he can beat Charleston even when the other wolf isn’t itching for a fight. But he’s Charleston’s alpha, and his mental and emotional well-being are at risk.
“I still have a week of vacation left,” Charleston growls, his words half-concealed behind the beard that he has been growing out since Gabriel’s death.
“And if you want to pass the psychological evaluation you need to do something other than remain isolated in your garage,” Tom responds, pouring some of his alpha authority into his voice.Charleston’s lips draw back, revealing teeth bared in a snarl. Tom remains still holding Charleston’s eyes levelly. Show no weakness, stand your ground. “Because I understand that you are in mourning, I won’t hold this against you. But mind how you treat your alpha.” Tom adds a little growl of his own to the ends of his words, just to drive the point home. Charleston’s shoulders slump, his head dropping, baring the back of his neck to Tom. He wouldn’t show his belly unless Tom forced him, but Tom isn’t cruel enough to ask that.
“I don’t know if I can go back, Tom. Everything there just reminds me of him. I can smell Gabriel there. It’s stale, and it’s like he’s dying all over again,” the burly wolf mutters.
Tom steps forward, laying a hand on Charleston’s neck, the touch light, acknowledging his apology. “I understand,” he says. And it’s true. Tom is probably the only one who can understand Charleston’s agony. “But retreating from the pack isn’t the way.” He lifts his hand, standing back.“Let’s go for a run. You need to stretch your legs.” What Tom didn’t say is that in the forest, no one questions the mournful howls of a wolf who has lost their mate.
Charleston closes his eyes briefly, wrestling with his desire to remain holed up and the temptation to cut loose and let his wolf mourn as well as the human. “Fine,” he grouses, stripping off his flannel and tank-top in one motion.
“And shave before Josie catches you. She won’t approve.” The last comment elicits a small twitch that could have been the start to a smile before it disappeared.
The desk drawer slams as Stephanie finishes grabbing the last of her assorted personal items, putting them into the box on her desk. The rest of the squad watches her quietly from their desks, knowing better than to offer assistance. Goodbyes have already been said.
“You sure you don’t need a ride?” Alice asks the question again, leaning on one hand, her eyebrows low over her eyes.
“Baba is waiting outside with a car,” Stephanie says, wiping her sleeve over her eyes. She won’t cry, she won’t cry. The mantra runs over and over through her head.
“I can’t believe you’re already packed up. Took me forever to move last time,” Alice says, making an attempt at levity.
“It’s easier when you have a rich family,” Stephanie says. Alice arches an eyebrow. Stephanie lifts her shoulder. Rich and insanely powerful in magic, is what the gesture says.
“Sometimes,” Charleston grumbles, coming over to stand next to Stephanie, placing a small wooden figurine in her box. “For luck,” he adds, leaving the wolf sitting amongst her desk items.
Stephanie throws her arms around him, burying her head into his short, feeling the spring of his thick chest hair beneath her cheek. “I’m sorry,” she wails.
“Don’t be,” he rumbles. Alice and Iain rise as well, coming over to form a half-circle around Stephanie. She turns and throws her arm around them each in turn, Iain returning the hug with one arm and a pat on the head.
“You always have a home here,” Iain states.
“I know. Just… I need to be with family. I need to figure out if I can keep doing this.” Stephanie takes a deep breath, breaking away and picking up her box. “It’s one thing to know this is a dangerous job, but when you lose someone on the job, it changes things. The thought of losing more of you hurts too much right now. I can’t think of going out there and—I’ll be okay. I just need some time.” She walks slowly to the door, casting one last glance at the remaining squad members.
“You all better be here when I get back.”
Zaria comes out less with the group, which seeing as she didn’t like going out much before, means she is a non-existent member of their weekly outings. She can tell that the other detectives from Major Crimes want to be there for her, but they don’t know how other than to give her space.That’s fine. Being alone is something she’s good at. Possibly something she should focus on in the future.
She pauses the recorder, needing a moment before she can continue making her verbal report. She hates doing it, seeing as she can’t even hear what she says, but Alice greatly appreciates it. There was already a wrapped bottle of fine wine sitting on the corner of her desk, waiting to be opened. But it can wait. If Alice needs the full report, she can just read the written file for once. It’s too much today.
Standing up, Zaria gathers her purse, shutting the lights off and locking the door to her office. The sterile smell of her morgue soothes her as her heels clatter through the empty room, the current guests all safely concealed behind the small metal doors.
Her hands shake and her steps falter. Unwittingly her gaze turns to the middle door on the left. She had disinfected it after the last corpse had left it, but she couldn’t bring herself to put another occupant there. Logically, she knew it didn’t matter. That was why she had insisted on doing the autopsy herself, despite concerns that her close relationship with Gabriel would make it too traumatizing.That was why it had to be her. The thought of someone else, some hack cutting into the remains of her lover—
She leans on a table, taking a deep breath, the cool metal steadying her. Her eyes close, and the image of Gabriel, still and cold beneath a white sheet, haunts her. They think she is cold and callous for doing it. She sees the looks the other officers give her around the precinct. Only the detectives in Major Crimes understand. Doing her job was her way of saying goodbye, of making sure that when they catch the bastards, they never see the light of day.If she had her way, they will fry.
Her eyes open, soft violet illuminating the room. She hadn’t bothered with her contacts; the humans could screw themselves if they think it odd. She doesn’t often use her Sauti ya hila abilities, limited as they are being a half-breed, but for ensuring that the jury hands out the death sentence, she would make an exception.
Maybe this weekend she will take Rolo to the cemetery, put some fresh flowers on the grave.
Tom wipes down the counter of the bar. This floor of The Silver Bullet is deserted at five in the evening, the lounge open only after seven pm. Still, he is only half-surprised by the scent that wafts to him. A few seconds later his daughter strides into the room, sliding onto a barstool. Her messenger bag hangs lower than her shorts do, and Tom’s eyes narrow.
“Don’t think this bar means that I didn’t see those short-shorts,” he says, pausing to give her a look of parental disapproval.
Josie rolls her eyes, flicking her ponytail. “You don’t care what I wear. You just want to know if I got into trouble for wearing it to school. And no, I didn’t. They don’t feel like punishing a grieving family."
Tom closes his eyes. “Josie—” He growls her name, not in the mood to deal with her antics.
“Dad,” she says back, mimicking his tone. He opens his eyes, meeting her sharp gold ones. Alpha material, through and through, he thought, feeling a smidgen of pride even in the face of her challenge.
“You can’t act out. They won’t keep looking the other way.”
Josie looks down, and he can pick up on her sadness. “I miss her too, you know,” she says, drawing figures through the beads of moisture on stainless steel top.
Tom sighs. “Josie, I don’t—”
“You never do!” She snaps her head up, standing to be more on level with her father. Tom straightens, folding his arms across his head. “When mom died, you talked about her. You didn’t want me to forget her, even though she was murdered.” She slams her palms on the counter. “Now Gabriel is killed too, but instead of preserving her memory and remembering the good times, you act like she didn’t even exist!”
Tom looks at his daughter and realizes she is no longer a little girl, but a young woman. One who deserves the truth. “Josie, I lost my mate and alpha once. I opened my heart to another woman, and even though she wasn’t a werewolf, she felt like my mate. Then I lost her too.” Josie’s arms bend, and she slowly sinks back onto a stool. “I feel like I might break if I think about her, and I can’t do that. I’m the alpha now. I can’t wallow in my own pain.” He moves the washcloth to the sink, rinsing it out. He then pours himself two fingers of scotch and slides it to a spot next to Josie.
Tom comes around the counter and sits next to her. “But you have a point. So let’s talk—but only here, and only now. A one night offer.”
“Okay.” Josie rolls her lips in, thinking. “Why don’t we start with when you first realized you loved her?” she asks, giving her father a watery smile. He reaches out and squeezes her hand, and starts to recount the tale.
Karyn slides the coffee across the counter, avoiding Charleston’s eyes. “One black as sin coffee for the grumpy old wolf,” she calls, turning back to work on the next order. Unfortunately for her, there’s no one else ready to order. She can feel the eyes boring into the back of her neck, so she whirls, smile fixed in place. “Spit it out then. I know how much you love to talk.” She jabs a finger at his cup. “You don’t even like black coffee. Double espresso or nothing at all.”
Charleston sniffs his coffee. “It’s tolerable,” he mumbles, taking a hesitant sip.
Karyn throws her hands up, glad she is currently the only employee working. “Tolerable. Why come in here for tolerable coffee and conversation you don’t want to have?”
Charleston leans on the counter, turning his gaze out and perusing the shop. There’s a young college student with earbuds sitting at her laptop in one corner, and an older businessman tapping at his phone with a frown. “Because I’m the pack beta.”
“Ooh, Tom pulled rank on you. I see. Doesn’t want to deal with emotions so he sends in the muscle,” Karyn responds flippantly, leaning back on the rear counter.
“I knew Gabriel better.”
The words catch Karyn off-guard, and she sucks in a breath through her teeth. “So what?” Her words are shaky, her fingers digging into her arms. “You weren’t dating Gabriel. What do you really know?”
“Enough.” Charleston stares at Karyn until she looks away, lips pressing together tightly as she tries not to show her emotions.
“I’m still young enough that I feel pretty invincible most of the time,” she starts, words just loud enough for the other werewolf to pick up on them. “Never occurred to me that I could lose my other half. I mean, archangels are supposed to be these big powerful beings, and then mine goes and gets themselves killed.” She laughs, a short, bitter sound. “Fate has a cruel sense of humor, no?”
“Gabriel loved you.” The words bring tears to Karyn’s eyes.
“Yea. I know. It sucks.” Charleston reaches out, and Karyn steps up, laying her small hand in his. He squeezes her hand, and Karyn gives him a perfunctory nod. “You should get going. Go get some of that fancy shmancy stuff you bought for your squad.”
Charleston tosses his cup in the garbage. “It wasn’t that awful,” he concedes. He meets her eyes one last time. “You’re young. It may feel like the end, but you have your whole life ahead of you.”
“I’ll bounce back,” Karyn confirms, her expression serious. “I’ve got a kick-ass pack to help me too.”
Also reposting the ((rest of the)) latest long ask re what would happen if Gabriel died (wiped from existence) underneath the more details to help with people who don’t want to/can’t make it over to Tumblr. Had to split it into a second post because it was so long, so just ignore the double post >.>
Leo stirs from the gravestone, eyes flashing open to see Tadea approaching. “What is it?” he asks, struggling to his feet, leaning against the heavy marble.
“We need our alpha,” Tadea says, dipping her head, eyes darting to the engraving, her mouth pulling down in a frown. She could understand his grief, but they didn’t have the luxury for it. They never had.
“An alpha who can’t even protect the person they love?” Leo asks, fingers tracing the letters forming Gabriel’s human name.
“You can’t blame yourself,” Tadea starts, shaking her head, her fingers tracing over the new tattoo on her arm—a single bloody feather, emerging from the mouth of a skull. “Gabriel was an archangel. What could we have done that an archangel couldn’t?”
“I don’t know!” Leo snaps, tugging on the tail of his braid, wrapping his arms around his lanky frame. He hadn’t been eating, and it shows, his clothes hanging loose, his formerly fit form looking gaunt.
“Then do something you do know!” Tadea snaps back, hands going to her hips. “You are the alpha; you have a responsibility to your pack!”
“You do it then!”
Tadea flinches at his words, her hands dropping to her side. “They would never accept another governing in the place of their proper alpha while you still live,” she tells him, anger running through her words. “Are you asking me to kill you and take over?”
Leo’s shoulders sag. “If I was, would you?”
The motion catches him off-guard, and he spits out a mouthful of blood as he gingerly touches his jaw, feeling the impression left by Tadea’s left hook.
“It’s a good thing Gabriel’s dead,” she snarls, eyes flashing yellow. “Because if they could see you now, you would be nothing but a disappointment to them!”
Another visitor further off in the cemetery turns to face them, and Tadea makes a sharp, dismissive gesture with her hand, her squared shoulders and shoulder-width spread legs radiating an aura of danger.
Leo wipes the blood from his lips, straightening back up. “I’ll take that as a no,” he states, massaging his jaw. She had pulled her punch, but it had been effective in its intent. “You’re right, that wasn’t fair of me to ask.” He takes a step forward, reluctantly parting from the cool marble marker. “I do have a responsibility, and Gabriel wouldn’t want me to shirk it.” He casts one last, lingering glance at the gravestone, eyes shadowed. “But one day, Tadea, we are going to kill the bastard that did this.”
Tadea cracks a small smile. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Arm-in-arm, the pair leave the cemetery behind, Tadea catching the alpha up on what he had missed.
Tadea stirs, raising her yellow eyes to the approaching figure, letting out a low grumble of disapproval.
Leo doesn’t say a word, plopping down on the floor beside her head, reaching out and scratching the fur between her ears. Grumbling, Tadea allows the touch, butting her head against his thigh when he pauses.
The two sit in silence, Leo’s hand coming to just rest on her hand. The scent of her alpha soothes some of the agitation in her chest, but even the familiar scent that she had often fallen asleep wrapped around when they were younger did nothing to alleviate the cavernous hole in her chest. She shuffles her paws, moving the sweatshirt back in front of her nose, inhaling deeply of the scent. A low whine escapes her as she realizes that the scent is growing fainter, nearly impossible to discern over the stronger scent of Leo. Her tail lashes, and she jerks away from Leo, trying to get enough distance that she can once more submerse herself in her lover’s scent, trying to preserve the memory of her Gabriel.
Leo lets her go, remaining in his place against the wall, watching as Tadea gets up, circling agitatedly around the sweatshirt, pawing at it and letting out a few noises of distress.
“C’mon Tee,” Leo calls, his voice low and soothing. “Why don’t you shift back and take a shower. I made some pozole de frijol. I can heat it up on the stove and we can talk.”
Tadea growls, making her opinion of this idea known.
Leo purses his lips, fixing his dark eyes on her. “Tadea, I know how much pain you’re in, but I need you too. I’ve been trying to give you space, but you aren’t taking care of yourself, and I won’t stand for that.” He takes a deep breath, remaining calm as Tadea stops trying to make a nest out of the sweatshirt, her head dropping down as the growling ratchets up a notch.
“Tadea, don’t make me force you,” he says softly. She slinks forward, her posture that of a hunter.
Leo licks his lips. “Forgive me,” he says. “Tadea, shift.”
She shudders, trying to refuse the command, trying to stay in this form that isn’t so vulnerable. It’s no use, and with a cracking of bones Tadea returns to her human form. She rises silently to her feet, staring balefully at Leo.
Her alpha remains on the floor, not meeting her gaze. “I’m sorry, but you weren’t the only one in love with her,” he says, arms loosely wrapped around one knee. “We lost her, and I can’t lose you too. I have a responsibility as your alpha, but also as your family. So please, just take a shower. I’ll get dinner ready.”
Tadea clenches her hands at her side, but this time she follows his directive without him using his alpha voice. Only when the bathroom door slams can Leo breathe, getting shakily to his feet, glancing once at the sweatshirt still on the floor. The pain in his chest aches, but he pushes it aside. Right now he has to focus on the living; then he can focus on getting justice for the dead. At least that endeavor might spark some life back into Tadea, if she ever forgave him for doing this.
Sabriel paces with her hands behind her back, scrutinizing the recruits. “Again,” she orders. The guardians exchange a glance, but do as she asks, engaging once more in a practice duel.
“Stop.” The pair immediately halt, sweating profusely. “You two are holding back,” she comments, hand flexing around her wrist. “How do you expect to survive a real fight if you do not give your all in practice?” she demands, the scent of citrus filling the room.
“All due respect, Custos,” the more senior of her guardians starts, using her formal title, “using Grace, as exhausted as we are, could lead to permanent damage.”
Sabriel stops, her back rigid, standing at parade rest. Her eyes bore into the angel, and he struggles to not flinch under the intensity of her gaze. “Do you not trust me to ensure your safety?”
The question seems simple enough, but the angel swallows and exchanges a glance with his partner. The partner shakes her head, eyes darting to Sabriel. “O-of course—” he starts to reply, stuttering on the response.
Sabriel’s hands tighten. “Dismissed.” The single order has the two exchanging another glance, trying to decide on the best course of action.“I said dismissed,” she snaps.
The two angels hastily bow and retreat from the practice grounds. As soon as the echo from the door fades, Sabriel allows herself a moment of weakness. She sinks to the mats, taking a shaky breath. “How am I supposed to keep my guardians alive if I couldn’t keep a bloody archangel alive?” she asks the shadows of the room, blinking back tears.
She flops onto her back, staring up at the exposed rafters above her. “Damn you, Gabriel,” she whispers, pressing the back of her hand to her mouth. It had been a stupid decision to get involved with another angel, much less an archangel. She knows how dangerous the job can be, but she had this silly idea that Gabriel was immortal. Archangels are supposed to be some of the toughest creatures in existence. The thought that they can be snuffed out so easily—
Well, she remembers all too well the feeling of disbelief as she answered Daniel’s phone call. She remembers telling him that it wasn’t possible, that maybe the shell was destroyed but that Gabriel would still be around somewhere.
She remembers scouring the city and finding nothing. She remembers calling in everyone of her available guardians in. She remembers calling Auriel and Israfel, explaining in a level voice that they had to find Gabriel’s soul.
She remembers seeing Israfel approach her, shaking his head, his eyes telling her before he spoke the words.
She had cursed him, cursed Heaven, shut herself in her office, put up the wards, and screamed at Gabriel until her voice was raw, cursing herself and her own stupidity.
The tears roll down her cheeks, her sobs stifled behind her hand. God, she misses Gabriel so much. Slowly the tears dry up, and she sits up. She had to make sure that this couldn’t happen again. And when she was sure that she had a good replacement, she would give up her title. Then she could get the revenge she needed, Heaven and their orders be damned.
Michael trembles, his hand shaking. He sets the quill down, resting his forehead on his other hand. Pull it together, he thinks viciously, trying to stop the involuntary vibrations from spreading throughout his body. Focus. You just need to focus.
“You need rest.”
Now he is hallucinating. Michael lifts his head to stare at the bleary form across the table. Gabriel sits there, resting their cheek on one hand, looking at him with a soft smile.
“I can’t,” Michael tells his delusion, drinking in the sight even knowing that it isn’t real.
“You can, but you won’t,” Gabriel clarifies, lifting their head and peering over the mess of scrolls on the table. “Trying to find my murderer, I see,” they muse, lightly touching the ramblings on a large scroll, squinting to read the haphazard writings.
“I have to. I can’t—I can’t rest knowing that your murderer is still out there.” Michael gets to his feet, pacing, his hands trembling violently.
“But I’m dead, Michael. What’s the rush?” Gabriel asks the question with a serene smile.
Michael clutches at the robes over his heart, sinking to his knees. “I can’t breathe, Gabriel,” he sobs, watching as a pair of sandal covered feet come into his view. “You are gone, and I am still here. I have to do this.” His eyes flutter closed. “Then I can join you again.”
Michael frowns; his delusion is cracking, the voice isn’t right. Opening his eyes he rises to his feet, gaze never leaving the feet before him, afraid to see the fractures in his haunting. He wants to remember Gabriel as they were, not some macabre vision of their death.
A hand touches his shoulder, the weight feeling more real than it ought to. Once more he closes his eyes, relishing in the contact, the sensation grounding him even though it is imaginary.
“Sleep now,” the voice says.
Michael’s eyes fly open, a protest on his lips before the wave of butterscotch-scented Grace sweeps over him, dragging him into sleep.
Israfel turns to the mess on the table, debating burning the lot. Unfortunately, Michael would just start over. At this point, there isn’t much Israfel can do except watch Michael’s destructive spiral. He had already been retired as an archangel, leaving two vacancies in the roster. Soon there wouldn’t be much of anything left to the grieving angel.
Israfel takes a deep breath, burying his own pain beneath the empathetic façade. Bending over, he scoops up Michael’s form with ease and lays him on the cot. Rather than leave, the archangel finds a spot at the foot of the cot, leaning back against the wall. The least he could do is make sure Michael doesn’t do this alone. After that… well, after that they would see.
Ramiel startles awake to the door opening. “What time is it?” he asks, staring at the fuzzy hands of his watch, the human timepiece not making any sense to him at the moment.
“Just after eleven,” Daniel replies, closing the door behind him.
“Shit,” Ramiel cusses, swinging his legs off the arm of the chair and to the ground. He rubs at his eyes, trying to clear the sleep out of them. “I was supposed to pick you up after the gallery show was over,” he says, voice rough with sleep.
“Josie and Tom dropped me off,” Daniel says, moving over to the coffee table and grabbing the empty bottles.
“You don’t have to clean up after me,” Ramiel comments, looking up at the clink of glass on glass.
“You don’t seem to be capable of doing it yourself,” Daniel responds, disappearing into the kitchen where Ramiel can hear the sound of the bottles hitting the others in the recycling.
“I’m supposed to be taking care of you,” the Fallen grumbles, rising to his feet, taking a moment to steady himself on the arm of the chair. Daniel comes back and leans on the wall into the living room.
“While I appreciate the sentiment, you’ve been doing a crap job if that’s been your intent,” he states, fingering the necklace he wears. A sharp pang goes through Ramiel; he knows that beneath Daniel’s silk black shirt lies one of Gabriel’s feathers.
Ramiel runs a hand through his hair. He wants to argue, but he can’t. “I couldn’t go to the show tonight. I’m not ready to…” His words trail off, and he shrugs one shoulder helplessly.
“It was in Gabriel’s honor. It hurt, but I wanted people to see Gabriel the way I did.” Daniel’s voice is soft, lurking with unshed tears. Ramiel feels worse, and he tugs on the ends of his hair.
“Daniel, I’m so sorry. I lost… I lost the person I loved, but you lost another parent.”
Daniel sniffles, and both are glad that the lights in the penthouse are still off, letting them pretend that Daniel isn’t crying. “I know what I lost, but with the way you’re acting, it’s like I lost two,” he says.
The Fallen blinks, mouth opening and closing several times without words emerging.
“I don’t need you to take Gabriel’s place, Ramiel. I just need you to be yourself, and be here.” Daniel takes a deep breath. “It sucks that Gabriel is dead. It really, really sucks. But we can’t change that.”
“You’re right.” Ramiel walks forward towards the boy, and when they’re close enough, he pulls Daniel against him. “I’m sorry. I got so wrapped up in my own hurt that I wasn’t paying attention to what you really needed.” He feels his own tears start to fall. “I’ll try to be better.”
“It’s okay to miss them,” Daniel mutters into his shirt.
“But we still have to live,” Ramiel finishes, stroking over the boy’s hair as the two cry in the dark.
Iro studies her nails as her office doors open, feigning obliviousness.
“Don’t you care?” The succubus looks up, arching one carefully painted eyebrow.
“Care about what?” she asks, sitting forward so she offers a view of her cleavage.
“Why the fuck my partner wanted to be with you is beyond me,” Alice snarls, slamming her hands on the desk and not even sparing a glance to the assets Iro had put on display.
Iro pouts and leans back, crossing her legs and folding her arms, purposefully pushing up her breasts as she does so. “Darling, I’m fabulous. What isn’t there to like about me?” she asks, batting her eyes at the incensed Detective.
“Gabriel was murdered! You don’t show up for the funeral, and you deliberately hinder the investigation!”
Iro tries to keep a straight face, but she can’t pull it off. She breaks into laughter, leaning back in her chair, propping her stilettos up on the desk. “I am not Gabriel’s keeper. If an archangel is stupid enough to get killed, it’s hardly my problem.”
The office door opens just in time for Iain to grab Alice as she lunges forward.
You let your bulldog off leash. Careful that she doesn’t bite the wrong person,” Iro says to the red-head, ignoring Alice’s arms reaching for her.
Iain wrestles Alice to the door, pushing her out before turning back to Iro. “I may not agree with her methods, but the way you act makes you a pretty damn good suspect in my book.”
Iro scowls, leaning forward. “Trust my own self-interest, white-knight. Gabriel was going to be my ticket to more. I’m not pleased they went and died, but if they died to something like this, then they weren’t of much use to me after all.”
Iain shakes his head. “You are cold,” he says, and leaves.
Iro rolls her eyes. “Humans.”
Aelius stirs the straw around his glass, the ice having long-melted into the liquid. The door opens, and he scowls as his employee enters.
The rakshasha folds his arms, scrutinizing the maudlin incubus. “When was the last time you ate?” the rakshasha demands.
Aelius grimaces, pushing the glass of lukewarm alcohol to the edge of his desk. “Not hungry,” he mutters churlishly.
“Bullshit.” The rakshasha fumbles around his pants pocket, producing a cell-phone. With a concentrated effort, he turns the camera on and shows Aelius his own form in the screen.
The incubus narrows his eyes. “And what am I supposed to be seeing?” he asks, just to be stubborn.
Vibhishana bares his fangs, not in the mood for indulging Aelius.
The incubus chuckles. “You are nothing like your namesake,” he says, trying to annoy the rakshasha enough that his employee leaves him alone.
“You aren’t even trying to maintain your illusion,” Vibhishana says, turning his phone off and slipping it back into his pocket.
“So what?” Aelius needles, folding his hands together and resting his chin on them. He assumes a bored expression, eyelids half lowered.
“So if you want to waste away, do it on your own time and in your own place. Luckily Tandi can do the books, or none of us would have been paid and The Menagerie would be shut down. We need our boss to start acting like a boss. Go out there and feed. There’s a bachelorette party over in the Atlantis section with more than enough lust and other emotions to feed on,” Vibhishana growls.
“No.”The rakshasha throws his hands up and wheels around, slamming the office door on his way out. Aelius blinks, surprised that it took so little effort to get rid of his employee. He sags back into his chair, rubbing a hand over his face. He can feel his energy waning, feel the infernal contract burning into him, consuming his own life-force when he refuses to feed it. He doesn’t care, anymore. Gabriel is gone. The one person who dared to love a sinful creature like himself had been killed.
Aelius should have expected it. Monsters like him didn’t get happy endings.
The door slams open and Tandi strides in, throwing a framed picture on his desk. The rakshashi jabs a clawed finger at the photo. “Look at it,” she snaps, his bookkeeper glowering at him.
Aelius glances over at the photo and stops, his heart breaking all over again. He reaches out, picking up the frame woodenly. Gabriel looks back at him, along with a brighter version of himself. The two in the photo look so happy; he wants to tear them apart, tell them that it won’t last. Instead he sets the photo back on the desk. “What do you want from me?”
“You found love once, you miserable bastard. Quit wallowing, go feed yourself, and find it again.”
Aelius laughs. “It’s not so easy—”
“Nothing worthwhile in life ever is. But if Gabriel were here right now, they’d be kicking your ass. They aren’t, but I am, and I’ll do it for them. So get up and start living again.” Tandi rounds his desk and forcefully propels him out of the chair.
The incubus starts to protest but is whisked out of his office and deposited in a booth by a siren who is busy charming one of the bridesmaids while a merman tempts the bride-to-be. The wash of emotions ease the gnawing hunger, and he breathes out a sigh of relief. A drink is deposited in front of him, cool and topped with a cheerful umbrella. It isn’t happiness, far from it, but maybe he will survive this after all.
Ryder enters the house to a high-pitched scream. Nate is standing over the casket, pointing a finger at the corpse the warlock had put in stasis.
“Why is there a body in our living room?” the necromancer demands, turning to his older brother. Ryder rolls his eyes and sheds his gloves, placing them on the entry table as he shucks off his trench coat, the assortment of various potions rattling as he hangs it on the hook.
“It’s hardly the first time,” he mutters, bending over to undo the straps on his boots.
“But I didn’t put it there!” Nate runs a hand through his short-cropped blond hair, looking at the body in confusion. “At least, I don’t think I did? It’s in a casket, and usually zombies don’t carry around caskets with them.”
Ryder tucks his boots in by the wall and strides into the living room, casting a scathing glance at his brother. “No, Nate, you didn’t bring this body here. I did.”
Nate’s brows go from drawn low to arching in understanding. “Oh, that’s good.” He rummages around behind his ear, frowning. Turning about, he pats down his clothing before turning to face Ryder. “You haven’t seen my joint, have you?”
Ryder closes his eyes, counting to ten slowly. He opens them, and shakes his head. “No. And I need you to quit.”
Nate shakes his head. “Dude, no. You know it’s the only thing that takes an edge off. You can’t seriously be—”
“I am!” Ryder snarls, stepping up to the casket and looking in at the body. Reverently he reaches out a hand and strokes over the cheek of the figure within. “For once in your Loki cursed life I need you to be responsible!” He whirls on his brother, and even without the dramatic twirl of his coat, there’s a kind of elegance in the motion.
Nate raises his hands, having never seen his brother direct such anger at him before “Chill dude.” He walks over to the casket again, blinking at the corpse. “Hey, isn’t this your lover?” he asks, poking Gabriel’s cheek, the stasis spell preventing him from actually touching the skin.
“Yes,” Ryder grits out from between clenched teeth. He slaps Nate’s hand as his brother goes to poke the corpse again.
“Dude, don’t you think me making a zombie of your lover is kind of messed up?”
Ryder grabs the front of Nate’s shirt, dragging his slightly taller brother down to his level. “That’s why I need you to be sober. You aren’t going to make a zombie out of Gabriel. You are going to resurrect them.”
Nate guffaws, slapping Ryder’s shoulder. “That’s a good one, bro,” he says, wiping imaginary tears away from his eyes.
Ryder narrows his gaze. “For once in your existence, Nafarr, I need you to do me a favor. I have never asked you for anything else, and you owe me.”
Nate sobers up, shaking his head. “It’s not that I don’t want to, Eljas, but I don’t think I can.”
Ryder releases him, stepping back. “That’s why Gabriel is in stasis. I don’t care how long it takes; we are going to bring them back.”
Daniel stands in front of the centerpiece of his show, staring at the painting without really seeing it.
“You sure I can’t put a price on this one?” The gallery owner approaches him from behind, and Daniel stirs from his reverie.
“It’s not for sale.” The gallery owner huffs, giving him a side-eye.
“You’re lucky I like you kid. And your art,” she says, pulling off a black dot and placing it next to the label. Black for not for sale, red for sold, green for available.
“You mean I’m lucky you owe Lucifer a favor,” Daniel responds, his gaze passing over the large painting, remembering the moment as if it were yesterday.
“Shh!” The owner shushes him, scowling. “I like to think I would have done it even without his prompting,” she continues, giving him that fake smile of hers. “Especially given the theme of this show: The Angels in our Midst. Can’t understand why the devil he would want that kind of show, but far be it from me to complain about clearing my debt.”
Daniel turns away from the painting, winding his way through the collection of pieces, pausing before the last one he had done. His hand trembles, and he closes his eyes.
Painting was his outlet, his way of expressing himself, of working through everything that had happened to him. It wasn’t until Gabriel’s prompting that he had even thought of showing off any of his pieces. It was Gabriel’s doing that this show is even happening.
The irony of it sits heavy in his gut. This was supposed to be a celebration of all Gabriel had done for him, telling the truth the only way he could without being called a crackpot. Instead it was a tribute to his fallen parent, one that he had never expected to make. He was the human—well, satanspawn technically—he should have been the one being buried by Gabriel. Not the other way around.
“The Last Flight. A bit more fantastical than my liking, but after losing your parent like that… well, it’s fitting. I would have expected you to hold onto this one, though. That other one, with the kid staring at the angel wings from behind seems far less personal.” The gallery owner makes the comment from behind him.
“They’re all personal,” he says. He glances at the owner. “You believe in Lucifer—who is a demon, not a devil, by the way—but you still think that all these are an allegory.”
The owner blinks at him, and he notes the way the mascara has clumped on one of her eyes. “Wha—you mean?” She gestures as the painting behind them, a mixture of intense realism and chiaroscuro with abstract impressionistic backgrounds.
“Origins is true to its source material,” Daniel confirms. He looks away. “May I have a moment before the show begins?” he asks.
The gallery owner opens her red lips to speak, but stops herself. She takes in the boy’s expression and bobs her head, remembering that as mature as he is, he is still a kid who lost his whole world. The click of her heels fades and Daniel presses the heel of his palms into his eyes.
“I miss you,” he says to the single subjects of all his works here tonight. He removes his hand, staring into Gabriel’s face, resisting the urge to reach out and touch the image. It wasn’t real. The reality is that Gabriel is dead, and his memories and these paintings were all that he had left.
Israfel sits on the edge of his bed, hands folded tight in his lap. The knuckles are white from the pressure he’s exerting, and he forces his hands to relax.
Not even a day had passed and the Council wants to know if he has any recommendations for Gabriel’s replacement. As if someone could just replace his little sibling. As if Gabriel was just another drone, just like any other angel.
He stands, feeling his anger wash through him. He had told the Council he would think on it, like a good little soldier.
He had no intentions of doing so. If they wanted a replacement, they could find one themselves. He refused to find a replacement for his little sibling.
The notion still incenses him.
With a calmness that belies his inner turmoil, Israfel slips into some of his human clothing, tucking away his wings. He opens his door, surprised to see a seraph stationed outside.
“Legati Israfel!” They greet him and snap to attention.
Israfel blinks. “Why are you here?” he asks calmly.
“The Council is awaiting your input,” the seraph answers, still holding their salute.
Israfel scowls, and the seraph’s eyes widen.
“The Council wants my thoughts?”
“Yes, Legati,” the seraph states nervously.
“Then tell them this: if they had been doing their jobs, we wouldn’t have a vacancy to fill in the first place. If they hadn’t been so quick to judge every little thing Gabriel does, then my little sibling wouldn’t be dead!”
The seraph gapes at Israfel, never having heard the archangel raise his voice. “Did, Legati,” they manage to squeak out.
“What?” Israfel demands, eyes flashing.
“Did, Legati. Since Legati Gabriel is dead, everything they did—” Their voice vanishes into a squeak as Israfel sweeps an arm out.
“Leave my sight. Now.” There’s no softness to him now, his lanky figure drawn up to his full imposing height. His wings might be tucked away, but for the first time, the seraph understands why Israfel holds the position of archangel. Terrified, the seraph flees.
Wasting no more time, Israfel strides to the nearest portal, angels scattering out of his path. His normally sweet melted butterscotch Grace precedes him in a wake of burnt bitterness, turning the stomachs of those who encounter it.
Only when his feet touch Earth does Israfel breathe, sagging against the nearest building, causing people to stare at him.
Listlessly he wanders, letting the mindlessness of human daily life distract him, burying his grief once more.
Lucifer wanders through the grey world, searching for the trace he had been doggedly following since his child’s funeral.
“Come on out, you coward!” he calls.
Anger rushes through him, and he rips at his necklace, tossing the feather in a fit of fury. Almost instantly he regrets the motion, hastening to find the token of his friend, fingers wrapping around the feather in a surge of relief.
He falls back onto his knees, head bowed, almost crushing the feather in his hand.
“You take everything from me, and I still persist. I still serve you! I punish the wicked, I live in a continuous nightmare but yet I still had some hope because my child was uplifted! They were all that I could not be!”
His voice echoes strangely in this world, and part of him cautions against making so much noise. No one ever knew what lurked in these places-between, these limbo worlds that were leftovers from forgotten ages or dying dimensions.
Another part of him begs for something to try to attack him. The idea of unleashing his anguish on something, on fighting with tooth, nail, and wing appeals to him more than he likes to admit.
Slake his pain with the blood of others. Seems like he might as well.
“Gabriel was to be protected! That’s all I ever wanted from you, and you couldn’t even do that!”
Still, nothing. Not sure what he had expected. God might not even be here. Likely wasn’t. Dragging himself to his feet, he turns around, disappointed to see that not even the beasts in this wretched place wanted to tangle with him.
“I’m going to find you, God. And when I do, we will see if you are truly as immortal as they say,” the King of Hell declares.
“I will bring my armies against you, and I will not rest until Gabriel’s death has been avenged.”
stop that. I’m tearing up now. I wasn’t prepared to feel these feels.