It was just before dawn when I woke up and I knew that today was going to be tricky. I needed to go talk to Raziel, but I didn't have the time to go find the Mortal Cup to summon him at Lake Lyn. The only thing I could do was use the Mortal Sword in the heavens to call him to me and if that didn't work then I could use it to find him. I had to find a way to convince him to help me, and if that didn't work I'd have to "appeal to his better nature" with necessary torture.
Ryker was once again wrapped around me when I was fully awake. I had to move quietly and slowly to get out from the tangle of arms and legs. I couldn't figure out why he kept doing that, but then I remembered that Zayne used to do the same thing. He always used to think that he could keep the nightmares away if he just held me against him. I missed him more than anything.
Once out from under Ryker, I went outside and headed to the elevator. The moment I got outside, I shifted into my thief outfit. The scales shimmered as they moved and then settled for the look and texture of leather. I changed my eyes back to gold cat eyes and revealed my tattoos. Almost as if they had a mind of their own, my wings were pushed from beneath my skin, making a rather loud whooshing noise. I heard the sound of what I thought was the door creaking, but when I looked back there wasn't anything there. I looked hard at my surroundings, but no such luck in determining what could have made the sound. With a noncommittal shrug, I lifted my wings into the air, then with a strong downbeat I was airborne.
The way to get into the heavens isn't as easy as one might think. It's actually its own dimension or else mortals would have been able to fly through it a long time ago. I flew upwards as high as I could go, looking down to see the city was far below me. Then I picked up speed, flying straight towards the sun as fast as I could. I broke the sound barrier twice and started to build up a ball of magic in my palms. Once it was a large sphere of light, I shot it out in front of me and it created a portal of light that was large enough for me to fly through. I tucked my wings when I approached to make sure I fit and the next thing I knew I only saw clouds.
Everything was built from clouds, including the houses and buildings. There were even trees with leaves made of clouds. I flew straight towards the floating island that Zayne was killed on, feeling the need to go there to feel close to him one last time. Once I came close, I saw a large tree right in the middle of the island. I landed there and saw a plaque right in front of it that read:
In honor of the two angels we lost that fateful day, one to death and one to grief. We pray that the grieving angel will come back to us when she accepts love back into her life. We hope to one day have them back in the loving embrace of the light.
- Zayne & Deirdre-
I sank to my knees as I read that, my wings drooping as I felt sadness wash over me. Oh, Zayne, how I miss you, I thought to myself sadly. I felt tears building up, but I squelched the feeling because I vowed never to cry again. That was when I heard wing beats coming closer, but I ignored them completely. If they wanted to throw me out, they could sure as hell try. I am much stronger and not as ready to comply with the rules as I was back in the day. I heard an angel touch down behind me and still refused to look at them, hoping they'd get the hint that I wanted to be left alone.
"You know, when I was told by the angelic council that you were back in the heavens, I didn't completely believe them," I heard a familiar voice say. "Honestly, I still can't believe it just by looking at you."
I turned around, feeling slightly guilty when I saw who it was. "Are you here to throw me out, Raziel?"
"I would never throw out my baby sister," he told me, folding his golden wings against his spine.
"I'm your twin, so stop making it sound like I'm that much younger than you," I grumbled.
"I apologize, Deirdre," he said, giving me small smile before getting serious. "I'm sorry about Zayne. I never had a chance to tell you that before you left."
I nodded in acknowledgement, then said, "Listen, there's something I need to ask you."
"I already know. You want me to turn Ryker into an angel."
I was quite puzzled about this. "How did you know?"
"You're my sister and I love you. I just wanted to make sure you stayed safe so I could help you if you ever needed it."
"So can you do it?"
"I'm afraid not, and here's why," he said, giving me a look of sincere apology. "Shadowhunters are still mortals who have wills of their own. Unless he wishes this for himself, I can't force immortality upon him. It's not something that most people like to have."
"Bu that would mean I would have to reveal my identity as an angel to him first. I can't do that or he'll be killed!"
"I've seen the things you've had to do for Xavier," Raziel growled, and it was the first time I'd ever seen him look murderous before. "I was going to have his wings stripped from him but he left too fast for me to make it happen. No one should be able to get away with murder and still be able to call himself an angel."
I watched him for a few seconds before running over to him and hugging him tightly. He hugged me back and rested his chin on top of my head. I used to love hugs from him when I was younger because it always made me feel safe and loved. I had forgotten the feeling from being away for so long. I heard him gasp quietly as he caught sight of the new feathers on my wings.
"Those feathers… I've never seen anything like them before," he said. "Thankfully, I've heard of them."
"What are they?" I asked.
"Well, female archangels have silver feathers because they're strictly healers. Male archangels have gold because they're fighters or guards. If an angel has translucent feathers, they're a pure soul. Before your grief stage, you had translucent white wings that were turning silver. Now, you've been a fighter and you're still a pure soul, regardless of the things you've had to do. You're turning into an archangel, but since you're a fighter now you're wings are turning translucent gold. You'll be the first female archangel with wings like that."
"That's pretty neat," I said mostly to myself.
I told Raziel that I would come back to visit, even going so far as to say that he could visit me if he looked human enough. That made him smile, and he told me he'd find a human phone to have so he could contact me later. He also said he'd find my number easy enough. After one last hug, he bid me farewell and kissed my forehead to bless me and my travels with luck. I took one last look at him before I hopped down from the island. He was standing before the shrine with his golden wings outstretched. He looked the same as when I'd left, his blue black hair just as short and his eyes just as bright and otherworldly.
I used the same process to get back to New York, only this time I saw it was nighttime. I'd forgotten that time ran faster here than in my old home. I dove down to the city, loving the look of the city at night. I twisted in a spiral as I came down and looked for the Institute in midair. I found it after a while of flying, since I didn't want to stop early because my skin wasn't ready for the burns of my feathers. When I landed on the roof, I looked back up at the sky longingly before I heard a stone shift on the roof. I turned around and in my horror I saw Ryker standing before me.
"I should have known," he said with a barely contained rage. "I just should have known that you were too good to be true."
"Ryker, please, I can explain," I said, trying to show how sorry I was, my wings drooping and touching the roof.
"I don't want to hear it," he said, turning to leave and walking to the door.
Feeling an acute sense of panic, I used my full speed to run to the door before he could open it. I put my back against the door and spread my wings out. "No, you need to listen! You can't tell anyone you know about me, especially that informant that came here the other night!"
"Why should I?!" he yelled and finally the damn broke. "You made me believe that you were a Shadowhunter! You're the thief! There's no other way about it since you've got the Mortal Sword and the silver electrum whip attached to your belt! How can I trust you?"
"Listen to me, Ryker! I'm dead serious!" I yelled back, feeling panic course through my veins and that was when Ryker paid me some attention even though he was still angry. A part of me wondered if we were being observed, so I slid my wings back beneath my skin, concealed my tattoos with magic, and changed my eyes to black. "You cannot say a word about me and what I am. If someone finds out that you know and tell that informant of yours, he will kill you without hesitation."
"Why?" he asked simply, his anger at bay for the moment as his suspicion peaked.
"It's a long story," I said quietly.
He grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me gently, keeping me pressed against the door and glaring at me after. "No, you're going to tell me. I have a right to know after all this."
I didn't say anything for the longest time, feeling more panicked about having to explain my story than having Xavier know that Ryker knows. "Do you want the whole story or just the important parts?"
"The whole story, Deirdre. I don't want to miss anything."
I nodded and beckoned that we take this inside. When Ryker led me to the garden, I was rather upset but I started to tell the story. I talked about this stalker angel named Xavier, my fiancé Zayne that had been with me since the beginning of time, and I even mentioned my brother. That part definitely surprised him. I then told him about how Xavier killed Zayne, how Zayne then disappeared to be reincarnated over and over, and about the entirety of the deal I had to make with Xavier so that Zayne's reincarnations stayed alive.
"And that's why I have to steal stuff and why you have to promise you won't tell anyone or let anyone know about this."
"So you're telling me that I'm a reincarnation of Zayne?" he calmly asked, his rage all gone.
"Yes, but you are your own person and I know that."
He stood there for a while, staring at me as if he could see me in a new light. I waited for him to say something and was beginning to feel anxious enough that my wings were shivering against my spine. Finally, he walked closer to me and making the anxiety get worse. He then placed both hands on either side of my face, looked into my eyes, and kissed me. I made a tiny noise of surprise, then grabbed his shirt to pull him closer. He kissed me again and I shivered as my soul felt like it was fluttering hard enough to be ripped out of me. The third time he kissed me had me leaning against him and he smiled against my lips. He pulled away slightly, wrapping his arms around me comfortingly.
"You better not have let me kiss you because you were thinking I was Zayne," he teased, kissing my forehead.
"You do remind me of Zayne because of a few of your quirks, but I did it because I wanted to kiss you right then," I said, looking up at him.
Thank you, I felt him mouth in relief against my forehead. "Can I see your wings? I didn't get to have a close look at them."
"If we can head to your room so I can sleep, you can look but not touch."
I watered the plants quickly, sprinkling magic on the ones that looked like they needed a little extra love. With a smile, I let Ryker lead me out of the garden, waving goodbye to the plants before the elevator shut. Ryker kissed me again sweetly before sliding his fingers between mine and holding my hand tightly.
"I feel so much better having told you what I am," I said, waiting rather impatiently for the door to open. "It felt like there was a heavy weight on my shoulders because I wanted to tell you, but I was so afraid that he might kill you."
"He can't kill me again," Ryker told me, trying to convey a sense of calm to me.
"Ryker, he's killed you before. Granted, he only managed it because he caught you by surprise. He can do it to you again really easily since you're a mortal. We angels are stronger and faster than mortals and Downworlders. This means I have to keep an eye on you."
"Really, you don't need to protect me from him. I'll be ok."
"Oh, so we don't like it when others try to protect you? Now you know how I felt about the vampires."
"I'd almost forgotten about them. Well, I know that you can take them for sure, especially after you attacked them with that blade of yours."
"Not mine. I stole it from Magnus," I told him sheepishly.
"Give it back later," he said exasperatedly.
"He won't want it after he finds out that I've used it to stab four vampires. His ex-wife or ex-girlfriend that he was really close to is a vampire."
"What if she happened to be the boss the rogue was talking about?"
"Nah, I've met her. She leads an actual coven here in New York. She just has her deputy Raphael running it for her while she's away."
"I don't know what to call him! Second? Leader-to-be? I don't know."
"I think I like deputy better," he laughed, the elevator opening and he pulled me along.
"Are you going to call him that the next time you see him?" I asked as we walked to his room.
"Not to his face, but I'm sure you will either way."
We laughed the rest of the way to his room, and once we got there he had a hard time getting the door open. Once we finally got inside, I let my wings out to stretch. He walked around me in circle to get a full view. When he went to touch one of the new feathers, I warned him away from them for fear that he might get burned. Instead he walked to stand in front of me and touch the spot where my wings met my back. He massaged the muscles there and my eyes slid shut in bliss. Zayne used to do this all the time, but somehow Ryker did it better. I leaned up to kiss him this time, wrapping my arms around his neck as he kissed me back. When I started getting sleepy from his kisses and his massage, he took me over to the bed. I shifted my clothes into a black tank top and black shorts, then I put my wings back under my skin and crawled into bed with him. He held me in his arms all night as I fell asleep, telling myself that I had to stay alert in case Xavier tried to attack Ryker.
When I woke up the next morning, happier and still quite sleepy until I noticed how I had been sleeping all night long. I opened one eye and noticed that I was lying in a tangled heap on top of Ryker, my wings were out and blanketing the whole bed. I heard him make a content noise, his chest rumbling and he slowly woke up as well.
"You and those wings of yours are quite warm," Ryker mumbled, kissing my neck lightly and chuckling as I shivered. "And I'm also glad that you finally told me about them."
"I only kept it from you to keep you safe," I told him sleepily, closing my eyes as he slid his fingers through the feathers on the backs of my wings.
"I know and I understand why you did what you did."
I smiled as he rubbed my back, right between my wings. It was amazing how much better at this he was than Zayne. We talked a while about Zayne, just what he was like and all the funny things he did. We also talked about the serious stuff about him, like how he was an archangel like my brother and how he always tried to help anyone in need regardless of who or what they were.
"He sounded like a great guy," Ryker said.
"He was. Even though he went on missions, he always found a way to spend time with me."
"A man in love will do whatever they can to be with the love of their lives. And you said that you're a pure soul, so he probably couldn't wait to come back to you because it was a nice change of pace."
"All other pure souls never go through anything crazy like this," I told him. "In fact, they're pretty much locked away in a citadel where they can be safe and send prayers of healing to anyone who needs it."
"So why didn't you do that in the first place? Wouldn't it have been safer?"
"Of course it would have. Zayne tried so many times to get me to go to the citadel, saying he'd visit me as soon as he got back from a mission. But I wanted more than anything to become a fighter, to protect the ones I love and anyone else that needed protecting. Zayne was a bit overprotective of me and so was Raziel, so they both found a way to keep me from doing that and getting hurt. They told the guard and the battalion not to let me in. So in retaliation, I learned the art of healing and healed the fighters who went out to war."
"Wow, so you were sneaky back in the day, too," he laughed.
"Of course! If I hadn't, how do you think I could steal all those objects?"
I lifted my wings just enough so that I could get up from on top of Ryker. I hopped down from the bed and heard a buzzing noise, so I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone. I saw that it was a text from an unknown number. I opened it and got a chill down my spine, my wings drooping so fast that they made a noise hitting the ground.
"Dey, are you alright?" Ryker asked me.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"Don't lie to me. What's wrong?"
"I got a text. It's definitely from Xavier."
"What does it say?" Ryker asked, getting out of bed and walking over to me.
"It's not good," I said, a mix of anger and worry charging through me. "It says 'I saw what happened last night. The deal's off. Say your goodbyes now because I'll show up when you least expect it to kill him myself.'"
"So he thinks he's coming after me?"
"He thinks so. But he won't get that far. I'll kill him before he can."
"No, Dey, if he comes after me, I'll fight him. A seraph blade can kill anything, even an angel."
"But Ryker, he's stronger and faster than you!"
"But from what I've heard, he doesn't have any skill in fighting, which means he'll be choppy and angry. That will even the odds for me since I'm stronger and faster than most Shadowhunters. I'll be ok, Dey. If it looks like he'll win, you can step in and put an end to it."
"Whatever you say," I said, knowing that I'd still interfere if I could. "Now let's go to breakfast."
Ryker convinced me to keep my wings out so they'd have a good stretch and we went down to the dining room to have our food. The maid had already set our food out for us and we made our plates. I once again had toast, even going so far as to put a pancake on my plate as well. It was when I heard a loud bang that we were both on our feet. I was in front of Ryker faster than he could stop me, pulling the Mortal Sword out of the pocket of space and watching it light up out of the corner of my eye. The door to the dining room swung open with a bang as well, revealing a jovial looking Xavier. He had his wings stretched out behind him and a seraph blade in one hand.
"If you came here to kill him, I will kill you first before you can even move a muscle," I growled.
"Oh please," he said sarcastically, rolling his eyes. "Do you think this seraph blade in my hands is to kill someone? No, this is just in case you try to attack me before I can say what I need to."
"Well, speak quickly before I carve my name into your skin."
"We should renegotiate the deal. I'll even overlook this little indiscretion."
"What do you mean?"
"I still want you to steal stuff, but this will be a little more high risk."
"And if I say no?"
"Then I will kill him and make sure that he can't come back this time," he told me, giving us both an evil smile.
I sighed angrily, glaring at Xavier and knowing I had no other choice. "What is it that you want me to do?"
"First item on the list, I want you to steal Magnus Bane's eyes. And by steal, I mean cut them right out of his head and bring them to me."
"Are you kidding me?" I asked, gaping at him in shock.
"Nope, this is what I want," he told me with a grin plastered to his face. "Also, you have two hours to collect and bring them to me. Bye now!"
With that, he spread his wings and jumped into the air to fly out of the open doors. I thought I'd never be so angry that I wanted to destroy things, but I was right then and I slashed the Mortal Sword at the chair next to me with an angry screech. The sword sliced through it easily like a hot knife through butter. I turned around and slashed through a chest, weapons and an assortment of other items falling onto the floor.
"Deirdre, no!" Ryker yelled, grabbing me and pinning my arms to my sides.
I screamed in fury as I tried to kick my way free when he lifted me off the ground just enough. I beat my wings to try and put him off balance, but even that didn't help me. He kept hold until I started to calm down, breathing heavily and shaking him off after a bit. I shifted my clothes into the thief outfit, grabbed Ryker by the arm, and teleported straight into the room I had a meeting with Magnus. He looked to have been asleep at his desk for he jolted awake with a confused expression on his face.
"I see Ryker knows about you now," Magnus said, rubbing his eyes sleepily.
"And so does Xavier," I told him, putting on my game face. "He has another item on his list that he wants me to steal."
"He wants your eyes."
Magnus looked up at me and the sword in my hand, looking a mix of fear and anger. "He can't have them."
"Listen, he gave me a two hour time limit. Now unless you have a set of your eyes just lying around in a jar somewhere, I need to cut them out. I can even heal you right after so they'll be as good as new."
"I actually do have a jar of my eyes!" he exclaimed, looking relieved.
He grabbed it out of his desk and handed it to me rather quickly. I looked at them to see that they were in fact the genuine articles. I thanked Magnus profusely for the eyes and apologized for nearly having to cut his eyes out. I grabbed Ryker again and teleported back to the Institute.
"You can warp to different places?!" he asked in surprise.
"Only to places I've been to before. It's hard to teleport to a place I've never been when I can't picture what it looks like," I told him as I grabbed my phone from my pocket, sent Xavier a text, then sat down in one of the dining room chairs. This morning had just started and I was already tired.
"Being an angel sounds like fun," he said, trying to make me smile. "You get all the cool toys, you can fly around to different places, and you can teleport. What more would you want?"
"You know, my brother Raziel can turn you into one if you really wanted to. I already asked him."
"I don't know if I could," he said slowly. "No offense and all, but it seems like trouble."
"What do you mean?"
"If I became an angel right now, Xavier will just repeat the past all over again and keep you in yet another deal. I've seen what it's done to you. You turn into a completely different person, someone who is cold and distant. I don't want that to happen anymore."
I got up and hugged him tightly, taking comfort in his warmth. "I had no choice. I have to distance myself from what I do or it will destroy me."
"I swear I will put an end to this," he told me as I buried my face in his shoulder. "I'll make sure you never have to steal for him again or even be forced to kill for him. I just have one question."
"What is it?"
"Why hasn't Raziel done something to help you?"
"Because I knew that this was something she could handle," I heard someone say and I turned around to see Raziel in his normal form, "and the first moment it looked like she was struggling, I would have come here to help her."
He looked a little annoyed as he watched us, not moving a muscle and being so still that you could tell he wasn't human. His eyes seemed to glow his otherworldly gold color and his clothes, which was a black t-shirt and jeans, seemed to move as if there were a breeze within the room.
"What are you doing here, brother?" I asked him curiously.
"The angelic council has had enough of the rogue angel," he answered simply.
"You're not coming here for her," Ryker growled. "I won't let you do anything to her!"
"Oh, Shadowhunter, calm yourself," Raziel told him, trying to hide a smile. "Just as overprotective as Zayne. Besides, I would never let harm befall my sister under my watch. I'm here for Xavier. He's the rogue angel. The angelic council has already reviewed Deirdre's case and they know that she was blackmailed."
"So what are you going to do about it?" Ryker asked, looking a bit calmer now.
"Xavier needs to be put down. Either of us angels is qualified to do so. Next time we see him, we sever his wings and stab him through the heart."
"He might be here soon," I told them both. "I told him I got the eyes he wanted me to steal and to come get them. I had a two hour time limit."
"Whose eyes did you have to steal?" Raziel asked.
"Magnus Bane's," Ryker explained. "Xavier told her to cut them out of his head, but luckily he had a jar of his eyes on hand for her."
"Ah, Magnus," Raziel said fondly. "I have heard of his antics, even going so far as to have seen them while watching my sister. He is prepared for a lot of things due to the fact that he is immortal like us. I would like the chance to meet him one day."
"I'm sure I can arrange it," I grumbled. "I'm sure he'll like you much better than me."
I heard a small noise and turned around to see Xavier peeking in at us before taking off. Raziel roared in fury and his wings erupted from his back. He was gone in a blur of golden feathers as he screamed his name to his seraph blade. Ryker gave me a look of surprise after he caught sight of Raziel's extravagant seraph blade. I knew he was thinking about how Shadowhunters never named their blades after Raziel and I explained that archangels had seraph blades personally crafted for them. They named their blade after themselves and the blade reveals their power by their appearance.
"Don't you have one of those?" Ryker asked.
"No, I'm not an archangel. That's why I have the Mortal Sword to use and it suits me well. It's like being with an old friend you haven't seen in a long time."
"I thought only Shadowhunters and Raziel could touch the sword."
"That is quite true. But I created all three Mortal Instruments for Raziel, so I'm allowed to as well as an exception like Raziel."
"So it's like the sword is yours in a way," Ryker pointed out.
"For now, I guess you're right. When I become an archangel one day, I'll get a different sword so that the Shadowhunters will have their Mortal Sword back. Although, I'll be really sad to see it go."
I heard a loud noise and saw Raziel walking back inside the Institute, looking livid and quite close to shifting into his angelic form. If Ryker looked straight at him in that form, it could kill him. Not only that, but it would destroy the Institute altogether because Raziel's angelic form was as large as this building. I ran over to him, stood on the tips of my toes, and kissed his forehead, pouring a calm energy into him and seeing him relax slowly.
"He got away and I'm not sure how he managed it," Raziel growled to me.
"Probably because he's sneaky and never wants a confrontation that he knows he can't win."
"Why don't you make a trap for him?" Ryker asked. "Is it possible to trap angels?"
"Not yet, but I'm sure that Deirdre can come up with one if she works together with Magnus," Raziel told him. When I began to protest, he gave me a stern look before saying, "Oh no, you don't. You are the best at what you do and so is he. If I can't catch Xavier, then a trap needs to be made and this is the only way."
I just glared at him for a while before nodding my consent. Raziel gave me a small smile and told us both that the project of creating an angel trap would start tomorrow. We spent the rest of the day lounging about and talking about plans to stop Xavier if either failed. But I was certain that these were the only two plans we needed. If Raziel couldn't find him, then I wouldn't fail to trap him.