Angel, 2

Cooperation Is a Virtue that All Angels Should Strive to Reach

Ao3 Link

Dilapidated old amphitheatre seats were not comfortable to sit in for hours and hours, and Jude was really happy that the making of history was willing to accommodate the fact that his ass was sore and his lower back hurt like fuck.

“Being an angel should have actual perks,” Jude complained as he stood up, rubbing his back.

Rebecca rolled her eyes. “There’s immortality. Powers. Proximity to God.”

“Yeah, but my back shouldn’t hurt.” Jude sighed. “And proximity to God doesn’t help much if he’s trying to kill us all.”

“He’s not trying to kill us all,” Rebecca said, pushing Jude into the aisle so they could move. “Don’t let them get to you so easily.”

They’d sat all day through the synod, mostly listening to Cameron and Raphael talk at each other about what they’d seen in the Citadel and what it could mean. Cameron was sure that Nathen attacking them was a sign that she’d been right all along, that he was a danger who needed killing. Raphael insisted that there was no cause for such an extreme response and that the ideals that the angels had followed all this time still held despite a minor aberration. He said it in a way that made it seem like he might not totally think that. Or at least that was the impression Jude got.

It was a meeting between all of them, so there’d been questions, interruptions. Bartholomew had talked more than Jude knew he was comfortable doing, though Sullivan had remained oddly reticent considering he’d been hanging out with Nathen for months. He hadn’t said a whole lot for most of the day except when directly asked something.

He hadn’t really wanted to side with the demons, Jude remembered that. But he had anyway. It was why they’d broken up. Maybe he was regretting that. Probably not the breakup—would have happened anyway—but the decision.

“I don’t know,” Jude said, in response to Rebecca. “It’s just…I was there. It’s kind of hard to buy that he was just having a bad day. He really tried hard to kill Raphael.”

Rebecca shrugged. “Raphael’s a bitch. I don’t blame him.”

“Don’t say that.”

“It’s true.”

“Just because it’s true doesn’t mean you should say it where he can hear you,” Jude muttered, glancing down at Raphael, who was talking to Bartholomew and a few other angels.

“Whatever. It’s not impossible that he was disoriented. He’d just woken up, which doesn’t normally happen. It bears remembering that Raphael wasn’t always his champion. Maybe he was confused. Maybe he doesn’t know who we are.”

Jude frowned at that, wringing his hands a little. “I know. I somehow never thought of that, though. I just kind of assumed that he would.” He knew, just like they all knew, that Nathen hadn’t intended to be what he’d become, and had no idea that any of this would happen. But it was so easy to buy into the humans’ ideas about him wanting to save them—and Jude did think that was what he’d wanted to do—and assume that other things the humans believed were also right. They’d helped them build a church around it, after all.

“Me too. Anyway, we’re supposed to use this time to talk,” Rebecca reminded him, looking around. Raphael and Cameron had dismissed them to speak among themselves, form opinions. Consensus was the goal here. Which wasn’t going to happen, but it was worth a shot.

“We are talking.”

“We talk all the time, and I already know what you think,” Rebecca reminded him. “I’m going to go argue with Roland.”

“You don’t know that you’ll end up arguing,” Jude said, wishing she wouldn’t. Mostly because he didn’t want to go talk to Roland.

“We will. He’s a tool. Want to come?”

“No.” Jude backed up a step, then stumbled on the stair. “I’m going to go talk to someone I haven’t broken up with.”

“So if I need you I’ll find you either with a lady or a demon. Got it.”

Rebecca headed off to argue with Roland, not letting Jude give his rebuttal. It wasn’t like he’d dated all the guys in the angelic pool.

Just the ones who were into men.

And really, it wasn’t that big a pool, and it had been four thousand years. It wasn’t like he had a new boyfriend every week or something.


Anyway, there were more important issues at stake here than Jude’s dating history, and also now he was standing here by himself like a dumbass, so he turned around and looked for someone to talk to, scanning the clusters of angels who’d gathered together and looking for a viable conversation to join.

On second thought, they were supposed to be here in the spirit of cooperation and all. Maybe he should talk to some demons. Just to get a different opinion. Really try to see their perspective on the situation. The demons were all in their own groups, talking amongst themselves on their side of the amphitheatre, and really that was a shame. Someone was going to have to be the first one to cross the border.

Jude had always been a boundary-crosser. He turned and crossed the aisle, looking into the groups of demons for someone who wouldn’t disembowel him. This turned out to just as harrowing a decision as before, if for slightly different reasons. He remembered fighting a lot of these guys. Shit. It was almost like being at war with someone for millennia made it harder to be friends with them or something.

Okay. Jude knew where to start here. He walked up to the top of the amphitheatre, aiming for a small group of three demons who’d all been at the Citadel. “Hey, guys,” he said in a friendly manner. “Mind if I join you?”

The demons looked at each other. Tam, with his multi-coloured eyes, smiled at him. The other two were named Ned and Sheila. Jude hadn’t known either of them well even before the schism. “Is…it shitty if we say yes?” Ned asked, shivering a little. It was winter, and his feet were big and clawed, so he couldn’t wear shoes.

“Yes,” Jude told him. “Since we’re supposed to be here in the spirit of cooperation. You’re not allowed to be racist.”

“I don’t think it’s racist to tell you to buzz off,” Tam said, crossing his arms. “You’re not a different race. You’re just shinier than we are.”

“Oh, well…” Jude glanced at his wings. “That’s just the whole angel dress code thing.” Raphael had standardized their transformations after the schism. A lot of them had opted for a permanent transformation, but Jude wasn’t alone in mostly using an illusion to maintain the angelic image. He’d never been that into serious body modification, even the first time.

“I know,” Tam told him. “We do know how angels work, you know.”

Jude blushed. “I knew that. Anyway, I was just…curious about your impressions of the Citadel.”

“It was fucking nuts,” Sheila said. She was very short and making up for it by hovering at eye height with the rest of them, her fur seeming to shimmer. “Humans, kicking our asses. You guys want to talk about Nathen and that’s all well and good, but let’s also talk about the kid with the sword who cut Belle’s hand off and killed three of our guys.”

“A human killed three of you?” Jude asked, looking around as if to discern which three. “Seriously?”

“No, I’m making it up.”

“He seemed pretty nice, and all,” Ned said, nervously. “But there is the whole murder thing. Also Cameron attacked him and his friend and neither of them died, so that’s probably bad.”

“Maybe she liked them,” Tam suggested.

“Cameron likes people now?” Jude asked. That seemed unlikely.

“Well, apparently the world’s changing and anything can happen, so I don’t see why not.”

“Just because nothing makes any sense isn’t any reason to be unrealistic,” Sheila said. “I don’t know. What’s your position on the Nathen shit, since you’re here?”

Jude shrugged.

“That’s it?”

“Yep,” Jude told her. “My eloquent theological position on the question of God is ‘I have no fucking idea.’ He…I didn’t think he seemed confused. He seemed pretty sure about killing Cameron and Raphael. Both of them.”

“Not that you can blame him for that really,” Tam joked. “They’re kind of the worst.”

“You trying to get choked with your own spleen?” Sheila asked.

“I don’t think the spleen is big enough to get choked with.”

“I think Cameron would find a way,” Ned warned.

Jude chuckled. It just sort of slipped out. “What’s funny, Feathers?” Tam challenged.

Oops. They were all kind of looking at him now like they might try the spleen choking thing with him. “It’s just…you guys talk about Cameron the same way we do. I figured you’d be more…respectful?”

Tam snorted. “She’s our boss, we can diss her if we want. Just…quietly. We’re not like you guys doing all the bowing and scraping at the hem of Raphael’s robes.”

“Who?” Jude asked, smiling. “Him? He’s kind of a bitch. We only listen to him because he’s got the heavenly light everywhere he goes.”

Now they all looked at him like he was nuts, but Tam started to laugh. Jude liked Tam. “That why you were laughing at him during the big speeches when we got here?”

“Oh.” Jude scratched behind his ear a little. “Not so much. I just couldn’t help the feeling that they’d practiced that. They were finishing each other’s sentences and even though what they were talking about was important and everything, all I could think was that we could have had this meeting a week ago if they hadn’t taken so much time to rehearse.”

“He has a point,” Tam said under his breath, but loud enough for them to hear. “So what do you think we should do?”

“I don’t know, what do you think we should do?”

“I asked you first.”

“I came here hoping the synod would help me decide,” Jude protested. “What’s the point of having it if we’ve all already made up our minds?”

“Fair enough,” Sheila said. “Even if most of us already have. A long time ago. Though Klaus being alive puts an interesting spin on it all.”

“I always liked him,” Jude said. “He seemed like he knew what he was doing. I don’t think the schism would have happened if Cameron hadn’t killed him.”

“You know, I don’t either,” Tam agreed.

“But Cameron didn’t kill him and it still happened,” Ned pointed out.

“Maybe he planned it that way,” Sheila suggested.

“What?” Tam asked. “You think he faked his own death so that his own organization would tear itself apart as part of what, some grand master plan? He was twisty, but he wasn’t nuts.”

“I think we were all a little nuts,” Jude said.

“Past tense?”

“We were talking about history. Doesn’t preclude the present.”

“You know what I think we should do?” Tam asked. “I think we should get something to eat. I thought Cameron was joking but there really isn’t any food here. People are already leaving anyway.”

It was true. A few people had already teleported out. They’d reconvene at the angels’ chosen spot tomorrow morning after forming their opinions tonight. That was the plan. “Are you…am I invited too?” Jude asked, just to make sure.

“Sure,” Tam said with another of his smiles. He was very pretty. “Spirit of cooperation, right? Maybe we can all be friends again. We can at least try to have a serious conversation about the fate of the world and the state of our theology, I think. But not while we’re hungry.”

“I suppose it can’t hurt,” Ned said, sounding nervous. “I haven’t worn my human disguise in a while.”

“I have,” Sheila said. “Not that you need to. Humans only see what they want to see. They’re weird like that.”

“They’re weird in a lot of ways,” Jude said. “Did you guys notice that Teown’s Sound isn’t built on a sound?”

“There used to be one here, didn’t there?” Tam asked him, air shimmering as he put on his illusion. The others followed suit, and soon they all looked conventionally human.

“Yeah, back when the town was fifty kilometers away and also called Iena’s Gulf, even though there’s never been a gulf.”

“I thought you wanted to talk theology,” Shelia said. “Not geography.”

“There are a lot of hours in the night and I’m single,” Jude said. “We can do both.”

“We’ll see about that.” Tam smiled. “Let’s get out of here.”

Jude went with them, kind of weirdly giddy. He’d never expected to be able to socialize normally with the other half of their erstwhile army again. Maybe the world really was changing.

Or maybe they were luring him away to murder him. That was also a possibility. But given the circumstances, he’d risk it.

Previous (Story)

Previous (Series)

Next (Story)

Next (Series)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s