“Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don't. You are in good company... You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope.”
Everything hurt, a burning sensation Lucifer was all too familiar with was what woke him. Slowly, the Devil got to his feet, looking at the vast desert plains in disbelief. How did he get here? The last thing he remembered was visiting Linda and calling Chloe – he was going to tell her everything, and then… everything went black. In the far distance, Lucifer could just make out the outline of mountains through the haze caused by the glaring sunlight, though he had no idea what they were or where they were located, so that wasn’t much help. Was he even in the United States anymore? Every movement caused him pain, the grains of fine sand covering his body were doing no favours for his burned skin, and that wasn’t even the worst of it. Bracing himself, the fallen angel looked at the two offending appendages which were making it even more difficult to stand at the moment, pulling him backward with their forgotten, yet achingly familiar weight. Stark white and positively blinding as they reflected the rays of desert sunlight, Lucifer’s wings stretched out proudly from either side of him as the once favoured son glared up at the sky, knowing he would get no answers from his Father. He never did.
With a heavy sigh, Lucifer Morningstar started walking towards the unknown mountain range, as it was the only distinguishable point of reference he could see. At least there he could hope to find some water and shade. Stubborn as he was, he refused to use the “gift” he’d received and stumbled his way forward, he finally conceded defeat only by using his wings to cast some shade over his head. They flexed and followed his desires so well it was as if he’d never lost them. Muscle memory. He snorted, wondering briefly if flying could possibly be that easy too. Still, his wings felt sore and tender, his back felt like it had been torn open, which was rather apt, as that was what must have happened to him, and Lucifer wouldn’t take his chances flying at the moment. He didn’t fancy falling to the scorching, rocky surface from any higher than he was now, with his feet firmly planted on the ground, thank you very much!
Alex rushed to Michael’s side as the Archangel fell, a piece of Furiad’s blade protruding from his abdomen. She barely paid any attention to the red-armoured higher angel as he flew away after having uttered his threat. If they really did see each other soon, Alex hoped it would be over Furiad’s cold, dead body. As furious as she’d been with Michael for keeping things from her, as distrustful of his intentions, all it took was the sight of the angel getting hurt to quell her last remaining doubts, to remind her of all the times and all the different ways the Archangel had looked out for her over the years...
It was her fault! Michael wouldn’t have come here if it hadn’t been for Alex and he certainly wouldn’t have let himself be injured if he hadn’t been distracted and worried for Alex’s safety. Sergeant Lannon was a soldier and she knew how to fight, but damn it if Michael hadn’t spent most of the time with his eyes on his subordinate, his Chosen One, rather than on his own opponent! It was a foolish mistake, one anyone else in the Archangel Corps would have been severely punished for – by being assigned extra training and probably having some of their privileges revoked, to drive the lesson home. Clearly, Michael needed to learn to practise what he preached... As she tried to lift the angel’s long, heavy form and place him in the jeep without disturbing the sword shard, Alex just hoped she’d get a chance to remind her commander of this in the future. Seeing the divine being so helpless and vulnerable, bleeding profusely when Lannon hadn’t even known Archangels could bleed, it was all it took not to let panic set in. Michael was the saviour and protector of humanity, the invulnerable, powerful saviour and protector of Vega and the only constant Alex had ever known. The soldier blinked back a tear as a soft, pained moan escaped the angel’s lips when she finally managed to deposit him in the passenger’s seat. It made her gut clench and left her feeling sick. It was wrong. It was so wrong.
“Just hold on, Michael. Just hold on.” She pleaded as she secured the seatbelt to hold him in place, speaking more to calm herself than to the unconscious being. Michael’s face was pale and clammy, a pained frown between his brows. It was surreal, to see the composed, steadfast angel like this, when he had always seemed entirely void of emotion, cool and collected no matter the situation. Alex swallowed hard. Except that he wasn’t and clearly never had been as unmoved and unfeeling as he appeared. The tears he’d shed earlier, repeating a promise he’d made long ago, were something that would forever be ingrained in Alex’s memory. “Don’t leave me.” She whispered softly, daring to touch the Archangel’s face and brush a lock of hair from his forehead. “Don’t leave me, Michael.” The young woman pressed a gentle kiss against the frown line that had tantalised her for longer than she would admit and a single tear rolled down her cheek. Alex closed her eyes and took a deep breath, gathering her courage and strength: she would get Michael to Vega and he would be fine.