"Missing" from Fallen Host
"Missing" from Apocalypse Array (in .PDF format)
The characters and plot of Fallen Host are copyright 2002 by Lyda Morehouse. She's just been kind enough to let me play with them. This piece contains adult content, and is based directly on the events of Fallen Host, so it would help to read it before reading this story. In fact, when I rule the world, it will be a crime not to have read Fallen Host, so you'd better run out and read it now before a freak set of coincidences slaps me on a giant floating throne in the sky.
Please do not redistribute this piece without the express permission of both Lyda Morehouse and Jennifer Pelland.
I would also like to take a moment to thank Lyda for encouraging me to write this. It was a refreshing distraction from the rigors of revising one novel and researching another one. It's good to be reminded that writing can be a simple joy.
Coffee and Promises
I like it when he rants outside my shop. It helps bring in the customers.
Don't tell him I told you that.
He's out there preaching right now. Something about the "wages of sin," I think. I keep my bad ear towards the door. The details aren't important. What is important are the three sales I've made today, which is something of a record for this shop. Oh, I don't particularly need the money, but the more people reading about me, the better. I've got just enough ego to care about my infamy. And there's always the recruitment angle for the final battle. God knows I'll need all the help I can get. Oh boy, does She.
The shop suddenly seems quieter, and I turn my good ear towards the door. Hmm. Has Michael already given up for the day? How out of character. Curiosity is one of my many vices, so I indulge it by putting down my dog-eared copy of Lavey's Satanic Bible (I like to read it whenever I need a quick chuckle) and walking to the front wall of the shop.
Peering out the window, I see him huddled on the sidewalk, soaking wet, as water pours down on him from above. The drainpipe must have burst again. Out of all the nut cases in this city, only Michael is crazy enough not to realize that rain doesn't fall in tunnels, and that all he has to do is step two feet in any direction to get out of the downpour.
I open the door and stare down my nose at him. He gazes back up, his gray eyes bruised under waterlogged black lashes. The water slows to a trickle, then stops. "John the Baptist has washed me clean," he says.
"More like John the maintenance worker has fallen asleep on the job," I say, wrinkling my nose in distaste. "The sad thing is, that foul water actually did make you cleaner."
"The day of judgment is at hand."
"Well, it's about time," I said. "Mother certainly has been jerking me around with false starts for long enough."
"The flames of perdition--"
"Would you like some coffee?"
He blinks up at me, confusion lining that perfect face. Sodden curls lie plastered to his forehead, and he'd look like an innocent little boy were it not for the three day growth of beard. Innocent. Right. He'd left Heaven for a woman and a whelp. He'd voluntarily cast aside the grace I'd craved with every fiber of my angelic being for the past millennia. His personal priority list was more twisted than anything I could have ever come up with. Two mortals above Mother's love?
"Coffee?" I repeat. "A rich, brown, caffeinated liquid that's designed to be taken internally? You must have heard of it."
"Coffee," he repeats. His voice is flat, his gaze locked with mine.
I lean against the doorframe in what I know from long practice looks like a casual pose. "You should try it sometime. Say, now. I also have towels."
His body is unprotesting as I lock the shop and lead him to my apartment. I put an arm around his shoulders, and the fool leans against me, as if he's forgotten who I am, what I have done, what Mother thinks of my little rebellion. And maybe he has. His madness is unpredictable these days. Just a few short months on earth away from Mother's grace and his sanity has completely crumbled. What a wimp. I've been down here so much longer, and my wits are as sharp as ever. This bodes well for the final battle. If Michael is any indication, I am so much stronger than any of them ever will be.
Ugh. The foul drainpipe water mixed with whatever he's been rolling in these past few days is going to do a number on my suit. Of all the days to wear silk to work. I'm either going to have to tip my drycleaner heavily, or stuff the jacket in an old oilcan and burn it.
"Brother," he mumbles, resting his head on my shoulder. "I've missed you."
Now that's a surprise. "You've also missed plumbing," I quip. "While I brew, you shower. I'm sure I have something charmingly out of date in my closet that I can lend you."
He says nothing more the rest of the trip. I don't prompt him to. He's pliant, I can sense that, and oddly cold. His fire is fading the longer he stays here. The longer he blasphemes.
Well, tonight I kill two birds with one stone, as it were. Tonight, I pop my archangel cherry, and destroy that Deirdre woman's place in Michael's life as his only lay. If I'd known that sex was all it took to corrupt an archangel, I would have fucked him centuries ago.
As it is, I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.
I strip him the moment we get through the door, but only to hasten his trip to the shower. He's revolting. I wouldn't be surprised to find vermin in his underwear. I don't look. I just stuff his clothes down the garbage chute the moment I hear the shower.
I promised coffee, didn't I?
I'm not exactly known for keeping my promises.
So I sit on the toilet, watching his body through the translucent door of my shower stall. And he's just standing there, arms by his sides, not moving under the spray. "Unless you plan to develop telekinesis, I'd suggest picking up the soap," I say. "After all, cleanliness is next to Godliness."
"Father never said that."
"If She knew what you smelled like, She would."
But he obeys, as far as I can tell through the fogged glass. I smell the lather of the sandalwood soap--of course he picked up the expensive bar--and lean my head back against the wall, breathing it in. Sandalwood, the chosen incense of so many who wanted to garner the favor of the divine. Is that why I used it? I felt a frown tug on the corners of my mouth.
Maybe I would make that coffee after all.
He steps out of the shower as the machine starts to drip, and it takes me a moment to realize that I'm hearing dripping from multiple locations. I do my best to look exasperated as I say, "Have you ever heard of a towel?" But frankly, it's hard to hold that expression, as his naked body is, as it were, divine.
His brow creases again, and I slide past him, just close enough to pick up what little heat he still gives off, and pluck a towel from the rack. "I swear," I grouse. "You're like one of those old fangled etch-a-sketches. One little jiggle and your brain is wiped clean."
"Father has a purpose for us all," he whispers. "Even you."
"So, that's why you rave in front of my store every day?" I ask, and begin toweling off his chiseled frame. I once was capable of looking like him, of wearing that broad, muscular countenance. But spending so much time cut off from Mother's love was slowly starving me down. Some days, when I catch myself in a mirror, I'm shocked at how hungry I look. I'm almost gaunt. If the last battle doesn't come soon, I'll be a walking skeleton in another couple of millennia.
He closes his eyes as I kneel and towel off the juncture between his thighs, and I watch as his sac tightens, his penis starts to thicken. "The people need to be warned, to be saved," he says. "Brother, you need to come back."
"Well, a certain parental unit won't let me," I say. "Apparently, the prodigal son metaphor doesn't extend to me." The towel drops from my hands, and I replace it with gentle fingers, teasing the insides of his thighs.
A soft breath escapes his lips, a barely audible moan.
"I'll take that as a yes," I say.
The sofa will have to do. It's closer than the bed. I'd throw him to the floor, but I'm afraid I might jar some sanity into him and end this before it even begins. I expect to need to coax him into it, but he puts his mouth over mine and pulls me to him so tightly I nearly forget I'm still wearing clothes. His hands fumble with my buttons, and I fling expensive silk as if it were confetti.
For someone who's only ever done this once, he's remarkably good. His fingers know exactly where to brush, where to stroke. It makes a certain sense. We are cut from the same cloth, as it were. But this is not about his needs. It's about mine: corruption, vice, and simple lust. Tonight, he'll forget that woman's name, and tomorrow, he'll suffer a gutwrenching crisis of conscience over his decision to stay.
Of course, he might not. There's that whole love child angle that I've completely overlooked. There's no way I can provide him with another one of those, even if I wanted to, which I most certainly don't. Mother's become something of a sucker for children of late, her earlier forays into mass murder of innocents notwithstanding. It would only make sense that the living extension of her will on earth would have the same soft spot.
This is a rather flimsy plan when I let myself think about it.
Well then, I suppose the answer is to stop thinking about it.
I want to take this slowly, make it last all night, show him that I'm a far better lay than any silly mortal. I do have my pride, after all. And he seems to understand in his own way, although what his reasons are for keeping things slow, I can't possibly fathom. He hugs my naked body to his, our feet tangled in the tiny amount of foot room available at the end of the sofa, his fingers tracing a light pattern across my back. It feels familiar, oddly sensitive, but I don't--
Oh Maker, he's tracing my bruises. The bruises from my fall.
I pull my face away and stare down at him, trying to summon up the full fury of my countenance to make him cut it out, and he smiles up at me and murmurs, "I missed you so much," before pulling me down again and twisting his hips just so. Our erections grind together, and I bite down on his lip as an electric shudder runs through my body.
Oh, fuck the plan. Fuck trying to take control of the encounter. Fuck trying to corrupt an insane, blasphemous archangel. Fuck Mother. And most important of all, fuck me. I've earned a little grace, and if I have to get it tangled on an expensive leather sofa with my mortal enemy, well then, I'll just make do.
So I do.
And yes, it is glorious, with a lower case "g", although at times, I can almost see it in capital letters flaming behind his eyes as we prove that divine bodies have far more staying power than any mortal could ever dream of. He does things with his mouth that I'd only ever experienced before under the tutelage of a Turkish prostitute, but somehow, he makes it all seem completely untawdry. Innocent, even. Pure. True to form, I live up to my reputation as the great buggerer, but also live by the proverb that it is better to receive than to give. Or do I have that backwards? Well, no good proverb should go untwisted.
"Brother," he breathes, in a combination whisper and groan, as he empties out into my body yet again. I've lost count of the times. It doesn't matter. Sex isn't about keeping score. It's about losing yourself in someone else. Maybe that's why I'm such a fan of it. I can feel him panting against my bruised back, treating it tenderly as he has all night. A small part of me rails at the kid gloves, wanting him to use a firm hand, a rough touch. But through his gentleness, I can see a small sliver of Mother's love, and I'm helpless to protest. How Oedipal of me. No, not really Oedipal. There has to be a word for it. I suppose it's "fucked". I don't want to think about it. If I think about it, then I'll have to stop, and damn me, I've earned a little peace. I've spent too long cut off from the Kingdom. The Kingdom owes me. And I want more.
But Michael pulls out and sits back on the sofa, legs akimbo, staring at me with those calm gray eyes, hands disappointingly by his side instead of teasing me to a new peak. The worry lines are gone from his face, the insanity dissipated like morning fog. He is Michael, pure and whole again. Great, I've fucked him back into sanity. Just my luck.
I suddenly feel exposed. Resisting the urge to plop a sticky sofa cushion over my dwindling erection, I pull my limbs in tight and sass, "So, how was your second lay?"
"Third," he says, a smile lighting his eyes. "Deirdre and I did it twice."
"You know what I mean."
"I do. It was...passionate." His gray eyes search my face for something, and I'm suddenly afraid of what he might find.
I stand and try to look casual. "That coffee should be ready by now." I head into the kitchen and fumble for mugs. I should have known better. Flimsy plans might work with mortals, but not with my own kind, no matter how damaged they might be. This was boomeranging back on me. I can feel it.
Strong hands encircle my waist, and I feel myself relaxing back into warmth before stiffening. "You're hungry," Michael says. "I'm glad I could be some comfort."
"Please. It was just sex." I steady my hands and fill two mugs to the brim with the black brew. "I hope you don't take milk, because I'm out."
Lips brush my bad ear, and I feel them move, whispering something I can't hear.
There's a brilliant flash of light, a roar, and I'm alone, standing naked in my kitchen in front of two full mugs of coffee, my good ear ringing and tears slowly coursing down my face.
I bring both mugs out onto the fire escape and let one drop. The shatter of porcelain on concrete brings a momentary smile to my face, and I settle naked on the metal slats. The night is cool, but what does that matter to an angelic being? This flesh is just a garment housing my true form--a garment with messy human needs, true, but they're entertaining needs. And that's all this was. Entertainment. A good lay. I didn't need a silly plan for that. Why couldn't I just have admitted that to myself from the start?
A voice drifts from my neighbor's apartment. "Who is the liar?"
I close my eyes and growl, "Thank you, Mother." The tears burn hotly on my cheeks, but I ignore them. Wiping them away would mean acknowledging their presence, and I won't deign to do that.
I will not be their charity case.
They will not win this time.
I do not need them.
The coffee is warm. I drink it, and try to think of light.
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