Well, I forgot to add this. *sigh*

Disclaimer: As much as I would love to add a certain angel to my personal collection, along with my vampires, neither he nor the world of Dominion belongs to me. I would like to express my gratitude to Vaun Wilmott for bringing the world of Dominion to life. All characters are his babies, and they are absolutely wonderful. Vaun is pretty wonderful himself.

AN: To my regular readers: I'm currently working on completing DJ, and should have that up very soon. I apologize for this, but I couldn't properly concentrate with this blasted angel flapping about. He is pretty sexy though, and if you haven't, you might want to check out Dominion. It's a nice diversion. ;-) Now, please enjoy as I get back to work. Love you all.

Michael was motionless as he stood watching General Riesen depart the interrogation room. He knew that he had fulfilled his duty as protector of the city, but something still felt amiss. He knew that the Lord of the City would consult with those trusted few who were closest to him, and share with them the intel Alex's unauthorized venture had uncovered. Together, in the face of this new threat, they would strategize a plan to tighten the security of Vega even further for the safety of their citizens.

Riesen had been wise in his instructions to Alex. As long as the soldier remained tight lipped about the eightballs, the Corps and the Senate could better concentrate on the job at hand. The less the masses knew, the easier they could sleep at night under their false sense of security — the easier they were to lead and control.

A shadow of sadness drifted through the archangel's clear blue eyes as he found himself wishing all members of society were as easily controlled. It appeared that Father had graced Alex Lannon with an extra dose of freewill at his conception. The Sergeant was rebellious, but his bravery and sense of duty generally countered that fault. When it didn't — well sometimes stronger deterrents had to be employed.

The angel fingered the coil of leather in his hand before tossing the whip onto the table and turning away in disgust. It was not his preferred method of dealing with his charge's disobedience, but it was one of the most effective. Michael was no stranger to pain, neither as recipient nor executioner. Long ago he came to view pain as simply a part of living. One bore it with as much grace as possible and continued on. This was his personal coping method, and one that he required from his underlings, but Alex was a different case. Suffering humans were common place, but to see Alex suffer — to be the cause of that suffering... Michael closed his eyes and sighed inwardly.

Punishment served to temporary stifle the youth's wild streak, but it also solidified the human's preconceived opinion of him. The angel was only too well aware of how his Sergeant viewed him. Alex thought of him as a cold tyrannical creature whose sole reason for existing was to make the boy's life a living hell. He had once heard the term 'sadistic' uttered through clenched teeth. Uncompassionate. Heartless. If the boy only knew.

Opening his eyes, Michael thoughtfully cocked a brow as he gazed dispassionately at the braided lash.

'Boy' didn't seem to be the correct term any longer. He couldn't help but note the cues of annoyance Alex had projected when Riesen addressed him with that term.

Clasping his hands behind his back, the divine protector began to pace slowly, his booted feet thudding softly against the concrete floor.

Now that he considered it, many years had come to past since Alex had truly been a boy. His childhood had been stripe away at an early age when Jeep abandoned him to the streets. The struggle of being on his own had done him a world of good. It toughened him up and made him self reliant, just as Michael knew it would.

Physically, he was still in his youth, but he had matured into a very capable young man. A young man who served the city well, when focused. All too often, however, the young man's bullheadedness took over, causing him to flaunt his orders at nearly every turn as he chased a dream of a utopia based on equality. It was a concept that Michael couldn't quite comprehend.

The division of power and responsibility among his kind was structured similarly to the caste system which served Vega. Everyone and everything served a purpose. When each knew his or her place, the machinery ran smoothly in its service to the greater good. It wasn't a hard concept, but for whatever reason, humans had struggled with it since the dawn of time. Father's gift of freewill appeared to have overwhelmed his favored creation, sending them spiraling out of control more times that the archangel could count.

His thoughts circled back to Alex with his reckless actions and over abundance of pride. He recalled images of the stubborn youth's slow response to his order to stand. The stiff neck, the hard set of the jaw, the taunt bowed shoulders. The soldier's entire being had seethed with resistance and outrage as just punishment was meted out.

Michael suddenly clenched his teeth in frustration at the memory. A part of him was still furious with Riesen's interruption. Alex needed to learn his place now, so he would be better apt at accepting and performing his future tasks. The unruly youth's time was fast approaching. The eightball at the gate was a precursor for what was yet to come. Michael could feel it in his being. He had seen it all before. He knew the signs.

Alex was an adult and nearly ready to take his place in the history of mankind, but he couldn't do it alone. He still needed guidance. He needed discipline. He needed his...

In a rare show of near human-like emotion, the archangel exhaustedly slumped down onto the lone stool near the table. The worn wooden seat still retained the weakening impressions of Alex's feelings.

Raising his head to look to the whip, he allowed the echoes of his subordinate's emotions to filter though him. As expected, there was arrogance, anger and obstinance, but he also felt a tinge of fear. Good. At least the boy... Michael lightly shook his head as he automatically corrected his thought. At least the man was wise enough to recognize danger, even if he was too stubborned to avoid it.

Drawing a soft breath, the angel made an unexpected discovery. It was incredibly faint, but it was still there, mingled with the staunch, negative emotions — the silent ring of respect. Whether that feeling was directed towards the instrument or himself, Michael couldn't be sure, but it existed and was certainly something to explore.

The Defender of Vega casted his thoughts back through a sea of memories in search of the face of a human that, long ago, had won his respect and heart. Emerging faintly at first, but solidifying quickly, was a vision of bright, determined blue eyes. Fair curling locks, the color of sun-kissed wheat framed the most beautiful of feminine faces, but it was those eyes — those very same eyes that he had looking into today as he clutched the whip firmly in a sweaty palm.

Tears glistened in his eyes at the memory of Charlie. She had been an exceptional mortal who brought warmth and light into an otherwise cold, dark world. While, as with all humans, her death had been expected, Michael found himself effected by it in a way that he had never experienced before. Death, like pain, was a part of life. It maintained the balance by making room for new life, which was as it should be. Still that single woman's death felt like a colossal tragedy, and he couldn't understand why. She had served her purpose, after all. She had delivered mankind's greatest hope for survival. She raised him and protected him— nobly giving her life in his defence. What greater glory could any human expect to achieve?

A tiny flame ignited deep within the archangel as his reflections were once again brought to the present. How dare that boy dishonor his mother's sacrifice by endangering his life so recklessly. He had an obligation to fulfill, and Michael would see to it that he succeeded. He would not allow Alex to continue to behave like a disobedient child, putting his own desires above all else.

Riesen had managed to shield the youth from the consequences of his shortsightedness today, but that was the last bit of interference Michael would allow. He was the boy's guardian. He had been his protector while still in the womb. It was his obligation to see to it that Alex met his potential and embraced his destiny. The mother will not have given her life in vain, for the archangel would mold and hone this champion of the human race, by any means necessary, until failure was no longer an option. Gabriel would make no allowances for Alex's youthful foolishness, and neither would he.

Rising with enough force to send the stool clattering to the floor, Michael snatched the whip from it's resting place and attached it to his hip. He still wished no pain on the soldier, but better pain at his defender's hand than death at the hands of his enemy. If he had to flay the skin from Alex's back to drive the lesson home, so be it.

The unveiling of the Chosen One was imminent. Soon the human race would be forced to make it's stand, and Michael swore that he would have Alex ready when Gabriel's horn sounded, and the final battle began.

The angel swallowed hard then drew a breath to speak, his low voice echoing in the empty room.

"I have kept my promise. I have watched over him — protecting him when needed, but allowed him to find his way on his own. His life hasn't been easy, but he has more courage than any man I have known. You should be proud of him."

Michael's jaw clenched as he glanced up towards the heavens.

"I swear to you, Alex will triumph. Gabriel and his forces shall fall. I will see to his victory, and will never abandon our son's side as long as there is breath in this body. This is my oath to you, Charlie — as unbreakable as Father's own."