The door slammed open, loud in the sudden quiet. Gideon glanced over to see Michel in the doorway, eyes wide in shock with Talon behind him.
“I’ll find Adalrik,” Talon said before disappearing.
“Are you all right?” Michel breathed taking in the ruined room. He had barely been able to close the door before a blast that shook the entire mountain pushed through the rock, slamming him into the wall across the hall.
“Not sure,” Gideon answered hoarsely, his expression and voice dazed. As Michel walked towards them, Gideon refocused on the empty bed, his hand resting on Fallon’s back as the angel groaned. “There was a light and heat and Sara screamed.” He closed his eyes, shaking his head in denial. She could not be gone. Swallowing hard, he opened his eyes to see Michel kneeling on one knee before him, his expression wary. “Fallon shielded us with his wings, but there was nothing we could do to save Sara.”
Michel sighed, bowing his head. He looked as defeated as Gideon felt. When Michel finally looked up at him, his expression was almost afraid. Suddenly Gideon knew there was something Michel had kept from him, and the angel was unsure of his reaction. Gideon was not sure he could take any more surprises.
“Gideon,” Michel started but a commotion at the door stopped him.
“Holy Mother Mary of God,” Quinn breathed from the doorway staring wide-eyed around the room.
“What detonated in here?” Loghan asked in awe as he and Adalrik pushed their way in. Adalrik’s eyes were only for the angels on the floor.
“Are you hurt?” he asked Gideon kneeling down next to him.
Gideon shook his head no. “Fallon took the brunt of it,” he answered hoarsely.
Eyeing Gideon with an expression that clearly said he did not believe him, Adalrik moved around Michel to kneel next to Fallon who was trying to push himself to his hands and knees.
“Easy,” Adalrik soothed putting a gently hand on Fallon’s back as he helped him.
“What aren’t you telling me,” Gideon demanded his attention back on Michel.
“Nothing that you do not already know,” Michel sighed putting out a hand for Gideon to take. Gideon hesitated for an only a moment then allowed the angel to pull him to his feet.
“That makes absolute no sense since no one will tell me a damn thing!” his frustration returning. “Something happened in here and you look as if you know exactly what it is. Even Fallon knows, but for some reason I don’t. I’m tired of games and riddles, Michel. Answer the question. What do you know about what happened in here?”
“Tell him,” Fallon said weakly.
They looked to see Adalrik and Loghan holding him up from either side. He looked tired and older than Gideon knew he was, but it was the grief that really cut Gideon deep. Grief that only a great loss could create. Was Sara…dead? No. A world without her was an impossibility Gideon could not fathom.
“Not here,” Michel said softly looking at the blackened bed.
“The infirmary then,” Adalrik suggested. “Gideon’s back is bleeding again and what I need to tend to him and Fallon are there.”
Gideon reluctantly allowed Michel to lead him out of Sara’s room, Adalrik and Loghan following with Fallon at a much slower pace. Their kind healed quickly, so whatever had happened to Fallon must have been bad for them to be so careful.
Then another impossibility occurred.
“WHERE IS SHE!” a familiar unwanted voice bellowed through the halls.
“How the hell did he find us?” Michel hissed.
“Better yet, how is he even here?” Logan asked bewildered.
From around the corner Talon suddenly emerged, his face grim sword in hand. “The wards are down,” he announced stopping in front of Gideon.
“We gathered that,” Loghan said sliding out from under Fallon’s arm, pulling his sword and moving towards the front of the small group.
From the same corner Talon had come, another more formable figure appeared, stopping dead when he saw what waited in front of him. His eyes swept the angels then landed on one in particular. Snarling he pushed his way through as if they were dolls until he grabbed Fallon by his coat lapels and slammed him hard enough against the monastery wall to shake it.
“Where is my daughter?” Lucifer snarled.
“Gone,” Fallon wheezed, the pain that radiated out from his burnt wings sending spots before his eyes.
There must have been something in Fallon’s voice because Lucifer let go of his coat and staggered back so suddenly that Fallon could not get his feet under him quickly enough and fell to the floor.
“Damien?” Lucifer whispered.
From his hands and knees, face down so the others could not see the anguish that threatened to incapacitate him, Fallon nodded.
Lucifer turned away, one hand over his mouth the other on his hip, the others forgotten. This was not good. Not good at all.
When he turned back to the crowd staring at him as if he were an apparition, he sighed. “I suppose you have questions.”
“A few,” Talon answered his voice cautious.
When his eyes locked with Gideon’s, there was a fair amount of hatred in the angel’s eyes that Lucifer knew he rightly deserved. He would not let the angel know that though. Steeling himself for the answer, Lucifer asked a question that had been burning in his mind for over too many millennia to count.
“You never told them, did you?” Lucifer asked quietly.
There was a subtle change in Gideon’s eyes. A long ago pain that never quite healed. When he shook his head once, his eyes never leaving Lucifer’s, Lucifer closed his and sighed. Years of anger, of keenly feeling the pain of betrayal, of hurting the ones that meant the most to him for nothing. Looking down at Fallon who was now sitting back on his heels, Lucifer found the fallen glaring up at him with the same look Gideon had just given him, and Lucifer knew he had been lied to.
“Who?” Lucifer asked to no one in particular.
“Lucinda,” Gideon answered.
Taking a large breath and letting it out slowly, trying to release his anger with the air, Lucifer nodded. Made sense when he calmed down and thought it through. The bitch loved to meddle where she was not wanted and she was good at deflecting the blame to some hapless victim.
“Is there someplace we can talk? And I could really use a drink,” Lucifer said calmly.
“Gideon and Fallon need medical attention,” Adalrik answered moving to help Fallon to his feet. His movement seemed to unfreeze everyone and they began to help.
“I’m worried about who else will be showing up on our doorstep,” Talon said stopping everyone once again. “The monastery is no longer safe. We need to find someplace that is.”
“They will not be able to sense us in my realm,” Lucifer suggested.
Everyone looked at him as if he were daft. Trust him after everything he had done?
“I don’t think so,” Michel said evenly.
“Damien and Sapphira’s safety are just as if not more important to me than they are to you,” Lucifer snapped.
“Yes, you have shown your love for them quite thoroughly over the years,” Fallon sneered. Shrugging Adalrik off, he moved so he was directly in front of Lucifer. “I should kill you for what you did to her.”
“She was not yours to claim,” Lucifer said evenly. “I had to do what I could to break your hold on her.”
“By giving her to every bastard in your dungeon as a prize like some cheap camp whore!” Fallon roared.
“I thought since she had already whored herself out to my mortal enemy, why not the rest! Dig that knife a little deeper into my back!” Lucifer shouted.
The silence was deafening.
“She did not betray you, you bastard,” Fallon said with a calm that was frightening. A calm that spoke of violence barely contained. “The moment she walked into my cell and we locked eyes, before she even knew who I was or why I was there, the mating bond solidified. It was months before I could even trust her to come close enough to touch me. Neither one of us knew what had happened, just that being without the other was excruciating.” His voice dropped to an angry hiss. “The Gods were the ones who forged our bond and you took your anger and jealousy out on the one person who had spent her entire existence trying to please you. No, Lucifer, it was not Sapphira who betrayed you. It was you who betrayed Sapphira.”
“You could have saved her that pain. You could have renounced her,” Lucifer reminded between clenched teeth.
“No, I couldn’t.” Fallon’s eyes were full of a pain Gideon knew all too well. The pain that permeates every cell of your body at the thought of losing someone who is your entire life. “I could no more renounce her than I could have ripped off my own wings.”
Again silence filled the air, but it was not soothing. There was too much tension, too much grief in that small space for there to be any serenity.
“I did what I thought best to ready her for what was to come,” Lucifer recited calmly his eyes not wavering from Fallon’s. “For what she was destined for.”
Fallon snorted in disgust. “Thought was best. Gods you’re a conceited asshole,” he spat walking a few steps away, his hands buried deep in his hair as the reality of what had just happened sunk into his very soul. The only female he ever loved, would ever love, was nothing but a dark stain on a sheet. Nothing in his existence had prepared him for the amount of pain that tore through every cell of his body. All because her bastard of a father did what was best for her. He turned and glared at Lucifer. “She was your daughter.”
“No. She isn’t,” Lucifer announced quietly.
“What do you mean she isn’t?” Gideon asked moving so he stood next to them. The fact that Lucifer spoke in the present tense gave him hope that maybe Sara was still alive.
This time it was Lucifer’s eyes that were haunted by an old memory.
“As part of my…punishment, Sachi and I were rendered sterile. No matter how much we wished it, we could not bear children. Yet she became pregnant. Because your betrayals were so fresh in my mind,” he glared at Fallon and Gideon, “my first thought was she had betrayed me too. As the pregnancy progressed much quicker than it should have, even for our kind, and it became obvious she carried twins, I knew something else had to have happened. Some divine intervention if you will,” he said with disgust.
“Lucifer,” Michel warned quietly.
“It’s time they learned the truth,” Lucifer snapped glaring at the angel.
Everyone else in the hall looked between the two angels as they continued to glare at each other.
“Know what? What the hell are you talking about?” Gideon demanded. He looked at Fallon whose expression was calculating as he stared at Lucifer.
“Answer him, Lucifer,” Fallon said his voice low and even. When Michel opened his mouth to protest, Fallon held up his hand stopping him. Turning his glare to Michel he said, “I have listened to you for the last time. It’s obvious you withheld information that day. No more. What is Lucifer talking about? What truth?”
“It has been a long few days and this is far from over. There will be others looking for them, so we don’t have a lot of time if we are going to find them first,” Lucifer sighed.
“If you think we are going to allow you anywhere near them,” Fallon snarled pushing Lucifer back into the wall. That little bit of emotion and movement cost Fallon his last reserves. Groaning, he swayed then collapsed. Gideon and Lucifer were the only ones close enough to catch him before he hit the ground.
“Heal first, talk later,” Adalrik commanded, his voice brooking no argument as he moved to take Fallon from Gideon. “Infirmary. Now!”
Copyright © 2018 Heidi Barnes