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Fallen: Part 17

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I didn't believe what I was hearing.

"An angel?" It seemed like the millionth time I'd asked, and, yet, Grace patiently nodded once again.

"Technically, we're called Lapsus Ones." She raised a hand and dropped it back to the table. "You know, the Fallen Ones. It's a long story, and, frankly, your little human brain is nowhere near capable of grasping the concept."

"Why am I supposed to believe you?"

She snorted and rolled her eyes. "You just are. There's no way for me to prove it, so don't even think about asking."

I had been thinking about asking. I still was.

"You were . . . cast . . . out of heaven for . . ." I trailed away. I was beginning to give Rayne's insanity theory some credibility.

"We killed a couple thousand. Nothing really."

A couple thousand?

"Anyways, how we got here is unimportant. It's how we get back that matters."

"Get back? You can get back?"

She laughed, a dry lifeless sound. "The pearly gates weren't built with locks, Sean. Everyone can get back in . . . at the right price."

"So, there's no locks, but there's a cash register?"

"In a manner of speaking, yes." She hummed a few bars of a well known song. "You've heard of St. Peter?"

I nodded.

"Well, the man never forgets anything. He enjoys sentencing a little too much. Or, at least, carrying out the sentences."

An idea occurred to me. "Couldn't you just die, and you're back? Bada bing, bada boom?"

She smiled and sighed. "If it were that easy, there wouldn't be seven of us still walking the earth. No. We've gone down that road before. Not me, but another one, Raziel. He was sent to Abyssus for it. Not a place you want to spend eternity, especially after Raziel turned on Lucifer."


She laughed. "You mortals know him as Satan."

I blinked. "You know the devil?"

"Knew. And yes. I was his particular favorite. Angel of Destruction. I brought Atlantis to ruins for him." Grace developed a far away look. "He liked Azrael too. Angel of Death. We made a nice pair, even if we were just that to him."

Another idea, lightning streaking across my mind. "If you're not Azi's fiancee . . . Then what are you to him?"

The look evaporated under the sudden heat in her eyes. "He is Azrael. I am Abbadon."

"I know, but, like . . . are you guys . . . related?"

"Yes. No. I am what you mortals would call . . . His mother, I believe. Out of Destruction was born Death, as the old saying used to go. But he is also my brother, as well as my husband. We are all things to each other."

"So . . . you're engaged to your . . . brother, who also happens to be . . . your son?"

"From your limited viewpoint, yes."

"I see." I didn't, but this conversation was quickly growing awkward. "So, if you can't get back into Heaven through death, how do you get back in?"

"I didn't say death was not the answer. Our death is not. Our lives start again, over and over, save for Raziel, who sinned in his human lifetimes. The death of a human, however . . . Well. We must prove we show remorse."

"So . . . you need to feel bad, and you're home?"

"It's more than a tummy ache, Sean. It's . . . excruciating. You wish you were the one dead, instead of the mortal."

Okay, that, I got.

"So . . . Why are you telling me this?"

"Because, I cannot lose Azrael. Not again, and not to that . . . that . . . girl." She spit on the floor and ground her heel in it.

"Wait . . . Lose Azi to Rayne? How? They're not . . . involved, as far as I know . . ."

"That's not what I mean."

There was a silence, and, although a million questions threatened to bark out, I stilled them.

I knew what she meant now.

"He's going to . . ."

"Yes. He will sacrifice Rayne, and he will be lost to me forever."

"And I'm supposed to stop this . . .?"

She got up from her kitchen chair, walked around the kitchen a few times, then stopped behind me. Her soft hands rested on my neck.

"There are very few ways to kill an Angel, did you know that, Sean?" She asked softly, abstractly.

I shook my head.

"Not much does it, you see. When we die, us especially, we come back. To be completely gone . . . It has never been done before, but we were warned against it."


"The Sword, of course. The only thing that can kill us, body and soul. It is strong enough to kill an Angel. It will do on a Lapsus."

"Why me?"

"I cannot touch the sword."


Her fingers tightened momentarily on my neck, slowly released. "Because I love him."

I understood. She could, hypothetically, pick up the sword and plunge it through him. Physically, it would have been easy.

But she loved him. With every imaginable fiber of her being.

I knew, in that second, that I believed her.

And I also knew that, for the same reason, I would pick up that sword and kill Azi if he even so much as touched my girl.

"When do we do this?" I asked. I turned in my chair. She was smiling.

Her arm snaked down her side, into the top of one very high boot, and extracted something the size of a toothpick. Not very impressive. Light, gold . . . It seemed to hum some kind of tune, thought I couldn't recognize it.

"Tonight. I can feel him . . . He's going to do it tonight."

Tonight, then.

Tonight would be the last night Azrael would ever see.

I hoped he had been enjoying himself.


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