For all the things that change, some stay the same

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A conversation between Angela and Michael before the Ruck mission.

A collaboration with Crystal Storm.

 

Michael sat on the cold concrete roof, her boots pressed along the edges as she stared sightless out over the city. She thought seeing the peace the humans enjoyed would help quiet her mind, but in the silence of peace, her mind raged. The wind pulled at the loose pieces of her hair, and her mind drifted to Gabriel. His intense eyes staring up at her as he played with the fiery strands. Maybe Gabriel was right, and she was trying to be something she wasn’t. Michael looked down at her long, delicate fingers. Hands that have bought the end of things over and over again. And yet, here she was, a reaper trying to be a healer.

Was it foolish?

Michael’s fingers flexed as she remembered how Angela’s smaller hand felt in hers. She closed her eyes for a moment, and pretended. Pretended that there was room in Angela’s human life for her, an echo from the past. Michael sighed and wrapped her hands around her legs as she rested her chin on the tops of her knees. Her golden eyes drifted open to watch as the humans went about their lives, unaware of how fragile it all was. Michael had felt it, from the moment her soul became whole once again. Something was coming. It danced along her nerve endings in a vague warning.

But even with all that she could sense coming, selfishly, her mind drifted to the lover that was falling through her fingers like sand.

Gabriel. 

Would she lose him, like she lost Lucifer?

Lucifer said that she was what held Heven together. Uriel’s face twisted into a mask of rage flashed in her mind. But how could that be true, when she couldn’t even hold those most dear to her together? Even Lilith felt distant. Michael took a deep breath, and reached for her center, calming her mind before they went to Ruck.

Angela opened up the door that would bring her to the roof, her eyes seeking out who had called her. She smiled when she saw Michael’s form. She shut the door behind her and came over, sitting down next to Michael, barefoot as usual. “Your thoughts are heavier today than usual, my beautiful Angel.”

Michael smiled softly when she heard Angela, amused at the nickname. “That must be a first for me, to be accused of thinking too loudly.” She teased as her golden gaze moved from the city skyline to the human beside her. “Is it time to travel to Ruck?”

“Nearly. Clint is finishing up your profiles.” She sounded more than a touch amused. But she let the playfulness fade and gently nudged her shoulder against Michael’s. “Watcha thinking about?”

Michael smiled faintly at the familiar gesture of a gentle nudge. “I think an easier question to answer would be, ‘what am I not thinking about?’” She fell silent, her gaze moving back over the city. “I used to imagine the different lives you would live.” Michael smiled faintly, “In one you were a human …umm…what’s the word…coffee maker? Uhhh..Barista! You know, because you really enjoyed those little coffees the humans make…hellfire…what was the name? Expresso?” She laughed quietly at herself, like she realized it was childish. The laughter slowly faded, “In this life or the next.” There was a wealth of emotion in that phrase “I knew I would see you again.” She paused,  “I wanted to look for you. I thought about it a lot. Threatened you with it in the cursed timeline.” The amused expression faded, “Because I love you and I know you, what you would want, I didn’t. You have such a beautiful view on reincarnation. What did you use to say?…beautiful moments.” A soft smile teased her lips.  “I wanted you to find …peace. I wanted you to be happy.” The unspoken words implied that Michael thought Lucifer would not find that happiness as long as their fate was tied to hers. Because of this the warrior angel never looked for her soulmate. Michael looked over at Angela, “Are you?”

Angela reached out gently taking Michael’s hand in her own. “Yes. But I miss you. You and Lilith and Gabriel.” She paused then continued, “I chose this life because I knew it would bring me back into your circle.”

Michael’s gaze dropped to their hands, her jaw tensed because for how different Angela was now, some things were achingly familiar. And Michael had waited eternities to exist next to this soul again, to talk like this again, to feel this touch again. “You never left.” Her voice was quiet, rough with an emotion that she often buried. “I carry you with me, always.” Michael’s eyes moved back to Angela’s face, searching her eyes for a moment. “If…you feel this way, why didn’t you tell me you remembered?”

Angela looked down at their joined hands, gently rubbing her thumb along the back of Michael’s hands, just as Michael had done for her earlier. “Because I wanted to give you time to acclimate to this new world, to your soul healing, before your past became your present again.” Angela smiled, almost ruefully at herself. “And also because I am, per usual, not nearly as smart as I think I am.”

A soft smile pulled at the corner of her mouth at the latter, one that rarely found a place on Michael’s face. “Always trying to protect me.” She nudged her shoulder against Angela’s. “Regardless of what life we find ourselves in.” Michael paused for a moment, her voice quieter when she spoke again, “My life…is still a dangerous one. A violent one.” Her fingers traced the delicate curves of Angela’s fingers almost reverently, “I don’t want the violence that clings to me this lifetime to touch you and ruin the happiness you have found in this life.”

The frown faded then, and set her cheek against Michael’s shoulder. “That’s not a deterrent. Do you know where I work?” There was a trace of amusement in her tone.

Michael smiled at the latter as she looked down at Angela, amused, “Yes, but it’s a bit different when you invite it into your bed.” Her eyes moved over Angela’s face, “You look better.” She paused, “Before you seemed…distressed.” There was another longer pause before she asked quietly, “Did you really think that Gabriel would have hurt London?”

“Before you came back I defended Gabriel to Eve, to the rest. Assured them there was no way he would…” She sighed and shook her head. Silent for a short time as she considered Michael’s question. “I want to think he wouldn’t. But I honestly don’t know. He’s angry with me. Hurt. Because I never came back to Heven. He thinks I abandoned him and thusly refuses to loose you.”

Michael’s eyes lingered on Angela’s face for a moment, and then her gaze returned to the city skyline. “I was worse than Gabriel.” She admitted quietly after a moment. “When I lost you, I lost myself. The only thing that kept me from making the biggest mistake of my existence was …” Michael smirked, like she found something particularly amusing, “a promise.” She gently nudged Angela’s shoulder with her own. “Gabriel? He lost you, then I left. Lilith was picking up the pieces of Heven, and Gabriel was alone. Alone with his loss and the consequences of his actions.” Her eyes moved to her hands, “He needs a promise. A promise that things won’t always be like this.” Michael’s gaze moved from the skyline to Angela, “I will give him that promise, so don’t give up on him,” a small smile teased the edge of her mouth, “Light Bringer.”

Angela was quiet, listening amused at times, others there was a familiar tender look on her eyes. “He needs to find a way to heal, Michael. You and he, you don’t process your pain the same.”

Michael’s brow furrowed slightly at the first, “What are you trying to say?”

“That for you a promise was enough. But you and Gabriel are different. I don’t know what he needs, Michael, I thought I did but I’m no longer sure. But, I do know you can’t blame yourself for what happened, or the choices he makes now.”

Michael’s eyes moved over Angela’s face. “What did he say to you? For you to doubt him.”

“Him taking London suggests I don’t know him as well I thought he did. I wouldn’t have called that. I was assuring Eve, he wouldn’t harm any of them.” Angela frowned, her gaze both sad and a touch angry clearly at Gabriel. “I was wrong.”

“It was out of character.” Michael agreed. “He is…something is…wrong. That is why we cannot give up on him. Not ever, not now, when he needs us most.” She frowned as the latter registered, her body tensing, “How? Clint seemed fine. Gabriel said London was unharmed.”

“I won’t ever give up on Gabriel, I promise.” She said quietly. “But I don’t think London went to Ruck willingly. It doesn’t mean he harmed her, but I don’t fully trust his version of events either. Either way, I didn’t think he would have gone that far. I thought him… apathetic to human’s.”

Michael fell silent for a long moment, her gaze moving back to the city streets and the humans that traversed them. “Gabriel would only go so far, if he believed he had no choice to accomplish something he must deem of extraordinary importance. With Uriel involved, it doesn’t take much intelligence to guess what that something might be.” The hand not holding Angela’s curled into a white knuckled fist at her side. One moment passed and then another, and Michael’s fingers slowly uncurled. “He used to find wonder in them. But after you fell, things changed.” She took a deep breath, “A lot of things changed.”

Angela was quiet a moment. “I never foresaw another war on, Heven. Just change. And there were many many beautiful paths, that change could take on.” She gave Michael’s hand a squeeze. “He will heal. One day, I believe he will.”

Michael fell silent, very much in her head for a long moment. If Angela touched her mind, she would feel her concern for Gabriel, and for the regrets he could accrue between now and then. Michael silently vowed to make sure there were as few as possible. Then something clicked in her mind at Angela’s choice of wording, her golden gaze moved back to the human next to her. “Another war?” In the silence following that question, realization slowly dawned upon her. “You… foresaw the civil war.”

Angela slowly nodded against her shoulder. “Yes,” she said quietly. “The topic of discussion between myself and Stefano, that day.”

Michael took a deep breath and pulled her gaze away from Angela as she looked skyward. Her mind was a chaotic rush of emotions at first, each emotion demanding to be felt first. But in the chaos of digesting that information, her mind replayed the conversation that Stefano had shown her. Michael’s jaw worked for a moment, as the emotions quieted, “One of the few times, I’ve seen you so conflicted.”

Angela lifted her head from Michael’s shoulder to look at her. “I wanted to see someway to stop the war. There wasn’t. And I wanted to tell you but…” She took her bottom lip between her teeth. Releasing it when she said, “I couldn’t. I’m sorry, I couldn’t.”

Michael sighed quietly, and her eyes moved back to Angela’s, searching her face for a moment, “In the memory, you said that if you told me, I would die.” She lifted her hand not holding Angela’s and brushed Angela’s hair back behind her ear. “I cannot be angry with you for something I would have done if I had been in the same situation.”

“I’m not at all surprised, that’s the thing said that stuck the most with you.” She smiled up at Micheal. “You’re holding everything together extremely well you know.”

Michael smirked, “You mean the other bit about me being what’s holding Heven together, that I’ve always been that one holding heaven together, and not you.” She shook her head, clearly not believing Angela, the smirk turned into a playful smile. “That’s your bais speaking, your undying love that has literally seen me through several beautiful lifetimes.” The smile faded a little at the latter, “Doesn’t always feel that way, but I want to be better than I was. I want to be…more…and maybe less…” She laughed quietly at the last part.

“My love is undying, and yes, I do sometimes think myself smarter than I am but…” she reached up, placing a gentle hand on Michael’s cheek so she could meet her gaze. “Heven fell without you. It thrived and changed without me. So, my beautiful Michael, you are the one they look too. And that you are here, living in freedom, exploring all that there is to be Angel and Human, and simply a being that can exist in so many worlds, is no small thing. Not for the Angels, and not for you. The journey you are in, it is beautiful and heartbreaking and I am so honored to be able to bear witness.”

Michael closed her eyes and leaned into Angela’s touch, her next breath was released on a shaky exhale. Angela’s words caused Michael’s jaw to tense and when she spoke next, her voice was rough with emotion, “During the war, I felt like I was watching our dream rip itself to pieces. Unable to stop the path I could feel laid out before us. My words couldn’t reach them, not like yours could.”  She opened her eyes, “But, if my failure keeps Heven alive and well, then I will fail again, and again…for the glory of Heven. I want all Angels to feel such freedom. It heals in ways I …didn’t expect.” She smiled faintly if a little shaky and pressed her forehead against Angela’s, “But I don’t want you to bear witness. I want you to live this life.”

Angela closed her eyes, letting go of Michael’s hand to frame Michael’s face between the gentle touch of her hands. “You did not fail. You have not failed. War was not the failure, it was the consequence of our change. Our karma coming to call. But, I promise you I am living this life, and I am so lucky Michael, to be able to have another moment like this with you.”

A silent tear made its lonely trek over the curve of her cheek. The words Michael would only have believed if they were said by the soul gently touching her face. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to be in this moment, this beautiful moment with the other piece of her. “It’s not luck. It’s destiny.” The weight of emotion made her voice heavy and quiet. “We’re connected. We’ll always find each other again. Whether it’s a day or 4,000 years. We’ll always end up right here.” Michael’s hands moved to cover Angela’s on her face, “I’ve missed you, Morningstar.”

Angela smiled deeply at those words. She caught Michael’s tear with the brush of her thumb, and just as lovingly brushed her lips against Michael’s murmuring, “I always miss you, my beloved, Angel.”

For all the things that change, some stay the same.

Eliza Neil
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