I’ll come an’ visit ye. D’ye like it here?
It has its challenges, but at the end of the day, I consider it a home of sorts. It will never truly be my home, as there is one true home for me, but I like Camden. It’s changed me. Made me grow… introduced me to some of the best people I’ve ever met.
M’not so sure I like to see ye sad, Patrick. But I think my time here is up. Maybe our paths will cross again.
I very much hope they do. I’ll be here for quite some time though. Jobs and all that.
Don’t people come an’ go all the time? M’no one special. But for what it’s worth, I’ll miss ye too.
They do, but it doesn’t make their departure any less sad.
Because s’nothin’ here for me, Patrick. I’ve no sense of purpose, few friends. I quit the band. Why stick around?
Well I suppose if you aren’t stuck here, and you want to find something that will make you happy, I shouldn’t stand in your way. But I’ll miss you very much Kendra.
Home. M’goin’ home.
I’ve a pet. A cat. But aye, it’s packed up an’ empty s’what I meant.
Where are you going, my dear?
I thought you were getting a pet. Or do you mean it’s packed up and empty?
Jeff couldn’t help but laugh at the angel’s words. Nephilim. The spawn of their kind, wandering the earth looking for revenge on imagined slights. Was it any wonder they were taken out in the fashion they were? They meant nothing to him in general and tonight of all nights, he wished he’d run across one. But the only abomination in a close range was Jetmir, and that man child barely counted as an enemy.
“Jett? Really? If he weren’t pissing himself by now, he would be by the time he showed up.” He rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. “Even if he tried to grow the balls to face me, I’d rip them off and feed them to him. My ability to defend myself supersedes any ‘contract’ he might have.”
“That may very well be the case, but I think there are more important matters to discuss.” Patrick took another step toward him and Jefferson dropped his wall slightly as a warning. The angel stopped, out of respect not fear, and Jefferson felt that rage burn deep within him again.
Patrick was an odd angel, that was for sure. A creature who had survived the worst horror in any of their history, and still held his ground on Nephilim and how he thought they should have been treated. Though he hadn’t met Patrick while his grace was in tact, Jefferson had heard of him. An agent of God, cut from a different cloth completely. At the time it was interesting, but now it was just annoying. “There are no important matters, old man. Just a demon letting off some steam.”
The man across from him shrugged slightly and made a show of investigating his surroundings before turning back to Jeff. “Your idea of letting off steam could set in motion a chain of events that neither side has asked for. Mind letting it off via your words? I’ve been told I’m a good listener.” He took another step forward, and Jefferson sent out another warning wave of energy.
Only this time, the angel sent one out of his own. It was nothing more than a show of power, but the energy knocked the demon back onto his ass, kicking up dust around him. Before he had time to get his bearings Patrick was in front of him, a hand outstretched, ready to help the demon to his feet. Jeff smacked his hand away and picked himself up, not bothering to dust himself off. He was angry that was for sure, but he wasn’t stupid. He’d been dumb enough to play the power game with Patrick and had lost. He wouldn’t make that mistake again.
The angel, raising his eyebrow at him spoke again, this time more sternly. “Are you going to tell me what it is that has you in such a mood or am I going to have to go searching for answers myself?”
It had been so long since he’d had his mind invaded in such a way that at first, Jeff didn’t understand what he meant by searching for answers himself. But once realization hit him, the demon visibly panicked. “Don’t you fucking dare Pa-” Too late. The angel grabbed him by the back of the neck and slammed his palm into Jefferson’s forehead. At once the memories began to flash by.
Sifting through the images flashing through Jefferson’s mind for the right information, was like watching 100 televisions at the same time trying to find one detail that made them all make sense. Invading the mind of another like this, was looked down upon by both sides, but Patrick had made an executive decision. Jefferson was a volatile demon, and the smallest things could set him off. He needed to be sure the Camden was safe for the time being. Image after image flew by, but one image kept popping up over and over, and focusing on that Patrick dove in.
“We can leave this place, live a life anywhere you choose. I can give you anything you need”
The words were spoken not by a demon, but by an angel. Though he wore a different face and went by a different name, Patrick knew this was Jefferson. Before he’d fallen, and before he’d become the mangled creature that the Archangel knew today. A gentle and pure heart beat under the robes of a desperate man. He was willing to give up his wings for the woman in front of him. The woman laughing in his face.
“Why would I ever run off with a merchant? My life is here, money, power. I have everything I want with Caius.” She waved a hand dismissively “You were a distraction. Someone to keep me entertained until my Caius came back to me. But even that was for not. By the gods, could there be a more boring man?” The words were harsh, and they would have sent any man into a rage, made him storm off, cursing her name and her unborn children. But not Jefferson. Something in him snapped and instead of lunging for the woman, he went for the man at her side.
“Boring? We’ll see just how boring I am, when I drain the life from your precious Caius.” The words were hissed through gritted teeth, and Patrick knew he’d seen enough. He released his hold on the demon and found himself standing in front of him once more. Though the years had passed Patrick still knew the importance of this event. It was the day Jefferson had his wings ripped from him, his grace carved out, and had been cast down to Hell. There was a moment in each of their lives that marked them. For Patrick it was the massacre the death of his family that changed his world forever. For Jefferson it was this moment. He knew what had happened next, through the link they’d just shared.
The former angel had killed the man, forcing the woman to watch, then he’d killed her. Jealousy in it’s primal form. The moment that made him the demon he was today. “Today is the anniversary of your fall.” It wasn’t a question. He looked into the demon’s eyes and saw nothing but hatred.
“You had no right, Patrick.”
“I know. I’m sorry, Jefferson.”
“Save it. Just. Fucking. Leave.”
Jefferson turned his face toward the night sky and inhaled deeply. It was so easy to forget that time moved so much differently to them than it did humans. What they remembered annually, his kind remembered by century. He’d lost count of how many years it had been exactly, but today was the day. The anniversary of his fall. The day he’d given into jealousy and lost the woman he longed for, his grace, and all illusions of love.
He could still remember the feel of his grace, of his wings. That was something that would never leave him. The overwhelming sense of peace and purpose. To be burdened with such light, well, now it made him sick. Being held to such standards, unable to live the same as the humans they swore to protect and love. And love he did. A little too much, as it turned out. In the end it would be love that would cost him the lives of others as well as the wings he’d cherrished. Love of a human woman, flawed perhaps worse than others of her species.
Antonia was as close to a goddess as the sculptures around her could describe. False gods who would have bowed to her very smile. Beauty, grace, a silver tongue, and the ability to make the most of any situation. She was an enchantress, and Jefferson though an angel of the Lord, fell under her spell. A woman, so skilled with her words and actions that even a creature of pure love and goodness could not see that she was playing a game. Perhaps it was because she was so good at spinning the truth, to the point that she could put his siblings to shame, or maybe he never cared enough to check for false truths in her stories.
But Jefferson fell in love with Antonia while on his mission all those years ago. Under the guise of a simple merchant, Jefferson was there to lead others on the correct path. But his mission was stalled when he met the woman who would ultimately be his downfall. They met in secret, spending evening after evening talking and sharing their hopes and desires. It hadn’t taken long for Jeff to decide that he wanted to give up his mission, his wings, and his family for this woman. With a gift in hand he went to her that night, ready to confess his true identity and vow a new life to her.
What he saw instead was her in the arms of a senator’s son, a man she was going to be married to. “We can leave this place, live a life anywhere you choose. I can give you anything you need” He’d pleaded. Antonia had laughed in his face. Truly laughed as if she thought not only his proposal was a joke, but he was as well. A laugh that rang loudly through the years. A laugh he could still hear to this day.
Jeff growled low in his throat, allowing himself to shed the mortal disguise he wore day in and day out. He allowed himself to shed the flesh of a human and be his true self for the first time in over a hundred years. He wasn’t as beautiful as he’d once been. No, the true form of a demon was as scared and hideous as could be. Bearing the scars of their fall from grace. What once burned white, now dripped red and black. He dropped whatever mental block he kept in place and allowed himself to radiate his signature fully. He was embracing his true form, and his signature sent waves of energy out in all directions, rising up like a beacon. Did he care that he was exposed in the small back garden of his house? Not tonight.
It still amused the angel slightly that Heaven left a paper trail. He’d been sifting through Carter’s mountain of files since he’d been promoted to Archangel, and he often feared he would never catch up. The angels who had come and gone under his watch, not to mention the ones who were under Patrick currently. It was a mess, and he’d spent almost all of his time trying to simply organize it to file away. This was a night much like all the others, when he would be settled with his endless glasses of wine and papers spread out in front of him on the desk. At least it was just another night until the wave of demonic energy hit him square in the chest.
The signature belonged to Jefferson, and that meant only one thing. Trouble was on its way. The only time demons or angels exposed themselves so openly and with absolutely no filter was when they were in a rage that could start a war, or in danger. Though demons didn’t fall under his “department”, Patrick still had to investigate. If Jefferson was about to start a war, it would be bloody, and if he was in danger, well, angels wouldn’t be far behind. He left his wine and his papers at once, blinking to the source of the energy.
Landing in the middle of the demon’s back garden, the energy was instantly turned onto him. Full and painful. Demon’s energy wasn’t the same as an angel’s. What once was pure and unstained, was now twisted and full of the agony of a fall. For just an instant, Patrick dropped his own wall and hit Jefferson with his signature, causing the demon to take his human form back and glare at him from where he stood. “What?” It was a simple word but it held all the resentment that Patrick knew he must have been feeling in that moment.
“Are you trying to scare every human and immortal within a thousand miles?” His voice was kind but still held an authority. Though they didn’t fight for the same side any longer, the chain of command was still respected. Jefferson was under Patrick, and the demon knew that.
“If I was, it would serve them all right. Challenging, poking, taunting every day.” Jefferson shook his head and looked down at the ground. “I miss the days when we could rip a succubus’ heart out just for looking at us wrong. Now it’s all business and micromanagement We’re paper pushers.” He let out a bark of humorless laughter. “It’s pathetic, really.”
“Well, I think your point has been made. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of your underlings didn’t put in for a transfer after that little display.” Patrick moved closer, knowing there was nothing to fear from the demon. He was older and far more powerful than Jefferson, and even if he weren’t his station was protection enough. “Still, I think with nephilim nearby, it would be in your best interest to tone it down just a little.”