A/N: Heh heh…….no, I'm not dead. I've had TERRIBLE writer's block, my family is falling apart, my life is a mess, college anxiety is killing me, I have no boyfriend, and Bush was re-elected. So yeah……..no, this is not over……pardon me for the EXCRUTIATINGLY LONG update. I'm so sorry, everyone…………..Lolly, Haley--I'm running right now to catch up on Flashlight….but it's late and I have crazy homework to do, so I can't read right now…..but I'll save it all to my comp. and read it later, I promise!!!!!! I HOPE YOU'RE THE STORY YOU SENT TO THE PUBLISHER GETS—UM—PUBLISHED!!!!!!

Please don't hate me…and thank you for still caring, you guys rock unbelieveably…

NOTE: I tried reposting it because its hard to tell when the POV changes, but it's not letting me put ANY kind of break between the lines, I have NO idea why, God just hates me, so...so the est you can...I'm sorry!

Rebirth Chapter 15

"Oh, Dark Angel

You are still, an angel at heart

An angel in spirit

Your wings shine brightly

Pray that they will work

Pray that you won't fall…"

Cold. Bitter cold. It stung like needles, pricked like knives. I wanted to get out. I wanted to escape. But…I was blind. Everything looked the same…endless void…lost…

I hugged my arms around my body. My fingers slipped over my naked back. A thick wetness covered the skin there. The moment I touched it, my stomach lurched at the sensory memory, and my throat convulsed. I remembered the pain. The worst pain imaginable. Indescribable in mere human words. The pain of having them…slashed away from my body. So vital, a part of the soul. Without them, I was no longer what God made me. Without them, I had no power, no beauty.

All hope abandoned. I knew where I was. It was a place Father had told me of in bedtime stories, and only when Mommy didn't know. He would lean over me, so close that I felt my body squirm, and whisper so that his breath was a hot wind on my face. My eyes would grow wider with every horrible word. Sick fascination would make me stay there, trapped beneath him in the dark, while he terrified me with his smile, his memories, his touches…

True Hell.

He told me that what lied upon the earth was a mere shadow of it. The truest Hell, the deepest Evil, he said, lied inside each of us. Deep inside…deeeeeep inside, in places we never dared to look. He told me that True Hell was entrapment of the Heart. That one day, he would release it, and the universe would nothing but pure evil. And he would rule over it all. He would be God. And I would be beside him, helping him rule over the poor souls twisted by their own hearts.

The Princess of Decadence, he called me. He said it with love.

Even Mommy would suffer, he said.

And at the time, I smiled back at him. It all sounded so…glamorous.

Until now. Until it was my turn. Until I saw it, felt it. Felt his dream.

This was Father's dream…the death of everything. Pure destruction. Nothingness.

This was True Hell…and it was me.

"Rose…Rose, my sweet…"

I looked up, and amidst the swell of blackness, I saw something. A light. Warmth. It washed over my broken body, at once welcome. At once, beautiful. I lifted my arms to that light, and it reached down and caught me. Plucked me from the depths of my nightmares, and brought me into reality.

The same nightmare, I'd had for days now. Like some kind of prophecy, which somehow would be self-fulfilling. It was within me. That intelligence, that presence. It was common to all in my bloodline, but it did not hold quite the same power over me as it did over my ancestors, because I also had the blood of an angel. It could not control my actions, but it held domain over my thoughts, my dreams, my fantasies. I knew I had thoughts no eight-year-old was meant to have. I knew I had visions that would haunt ordinary children.

"Rose…please, help me…my child…"

"I'm coming, Father," I said tonelessly. I flung my feet over the edge of the bed, and dropped to the floor.

"Hurry…"

I scurried across the darkened carpet, to the door, which was cracked open. Bright light filtered in through that inch. I peered out from the shadow of the bedroom, and saw a lump beneath a blanket thrown across the couch. Bonnie was sleeping. I crept past her noiselessly, and reached the hall without incident. My eyes were drawn to the room across from ours, where I knew Mommy was. Mommy…and Jesse. My eyes lingered a moment on that door. I had an urge to knock on it. I wanted to stop myself from fulfilling the prophecy. I wanted to curl up between them beneath the covers. I wanted to have a home. I wanted…to be a kid…

"Rose! Hurry!"

My feet began moving as if they had a mind of their own. I flitted down the silent hallway like a phantom, my sleeping gown trailing over the floor behind me.

So tiny…so useless…I was born for this sacrifice…

At the end of the hallway, the entire wall was covered with glass. A gleaming window. A portal to my death. Outside, I could see the stars dancing in the sky. Fake stars. The moon was perfectly round, dazzling in its radiant luminosity…a fake moon. A farce. The real world was dead. Life was dead. He had killed it. All of it.

"Rose…I am just below…"

I gritted my teeth, tensed my body to take that final leap…

…but nothing happened. I wouldn't move. I couldn't. I was rooted to the floor.

"Rose…I'm…dying…"

Born…to awaken Alexiel…born…to die…

"ROSE!"

I flinched at his scream, inside my mind. My skull trembled with the force of it. I…I wanted to. I wanted to fly to him. But I couldn't move! Why didn't he understand? Why? Why? Where was my Father?

Useless…useless…

I've been struggling all along…and now he's come for me, finally…come to take me away.

And I couldn't do it. At the very last moment, my stupid childish fears have gotten in the way of his dreams.

"Do it…now…or I'll hate you forever…I'll kill your mother, and HIM…I'll kill everything you've come to love…"

"I'm sorry, Father," I whimpered pathetically. "I'm so sorry! I'm sorry I'm so weak!"

"JUMP NOW!"

My fingertips touched the cold glass. It seemed to bend beneath my hands, like plastic. I stared outside at the beautiful metropolis, so full of life, so full of busy people. They had their silly plan to overthrow the king, to conquer the kingdom of Hell. But they didn't know what I knew. I knew the secret.

It was unkillable. Because it was inside all of us. Inside of me…yes, even inside of a baby angel.

That is why I have no purpose but this. To give his dream life by creating death.

His perfect world. Father. My true Father. The Ultimate.

Amen.

BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB

So…warm…strong…

The night flitted by me like a thief, so quickly I almost felt it had stolen the very breath out of me. Memories were so vague…twisted sheets…strong, knowing fingers…eyes that burned into me so they were there even when I shut my eyes…a smile that played upon his lips every time he made me scream out in sweet ecstasy. He gave no mercy. Once I laid myself down before him, he shattered me with that painful pleasure over and over again. His face, half-cast into the shadows…oh, that pleasure that was so sinful…his wicked delight…he never once gave in, not until the bitter end, when we finally twined out limbs together, tangling ourselves into one, sweaty, heaving pretzel.

Okay, yeah. Bad image there.

But God…was this so sinful? Am I damned now, for my sexy demon lover who had me twisted around his pinky finger and could bend me to his will in so many ways? Is this precious night a flaw, a mistake, in Your all-seeing eyes?

"Jesse?" I whispered. My body was still trembling from him, and my voice was almost gone. Damn, was my throat sore.

"Mmmmm?"

I shut my eyes as I felt the his voice rumble against my body, deep in his chest…

"Did we really just do this?"

"Regrets, querida?" There was a smirk on his face. Like he knew…who the hell would regret that?

"No," I said. But only a tired croak wheezed itself out of my throbbing vocal cords.

He laughed, a deep, masculine sound behind me. He sounded so…satisfied with himself. Like he had conquered me, or something. Vague fury uncoiled itself, deep within me, knowing no target. What was I trying to say? What did I want to say? I didn't remember. I couldn't remember. But something felt wrong. Something felt so wrong. Why? Why?

"Good…"

His hand snaked over my stomach, so cold and burning at the same time, and I gasped, suddenly not able to think. Suddenly not able to breathe. His touch wiped away that feeling, made everything so very…RIGHT. Yes, so right…so right…

"Because I want some more…"

Holy shit, the guy was never satisfied. I wasn't sure my body could take another round before something broke, but unfortunately, I was having troubles voicing this fear. Partly because my voice was shot, and partly because he was slowly rolling me onto my back and sliding over me in a tantalizing, predatory crawl, making my throat tight, as well as other things. His hands slid up, up; those eyes dared me with scandalous lure. I stared up at him like a pathetic, trapped deer, feeling so damn…stupid. He was so in control of everything. I was so weak. I didn't give him any pleasure…he did all the work. I was so incapacitated…

I made some squeaky noises, and he cocked a brow. "Can't find your voice?" He stroked my cheek gently—but even that chaste touch sent heat rushing downwards to pool in my stomach. I was blushing, and his night-vision held nothing from him. He smiled down at me, genuine and without secret meaning. "Ah, Susannah…your rosy cheeks are so charming."

"Jesse—" I finally choked out painfully, "I'm sorry—I'm no good—I mean, I can't—shit, my voice—"

He silenced me with a finger on my lips. "Querida, you are beautiful…precious…"

"You have to be bored," I squeaked at him.

His finger, which had been stroking my chin lightly, froze. His eyes lost all humor. He looked at me and said in this deadpan voice, "You must be joking me."

I took some offense at that. I mean, this did not look to me like the time or place for jokes. Well, Jesse's kind of jokes, maybe. But not jokes about my possible less-than-stellar abilities.

He rolled his eyes up towards the ceiling. "Jesus Cristo," he said in a somewhat annoyed voice, and in one swift motion he rolled us over so that I was suddenly and unexpectedly sitting on his stomach. I wondered briefly if he was having any trouble breathing, but the way his hands on my hips were holding me in place, not letting me move an inch, I guess he liked me just where I was. Only problem was, from this angle, his face was entirely in shadows. It was really unnerving, not knowing what his face looked like, or even if he was looking at me at all. Creepy, ya know?

"I'll tell you a secret, Susannah," his voice floated up from the shadow, and I nearly swooned as his hand tickled playfully up my stomach. "The only way to make me scream…" He hit what he had learned was one of my—er—"sensitive" spots, and I quivered, "…is to use your power."

"My…power," I intoned in my rusty voice.

"Let loose, Susannah," he instructed. "Let loose…unleash the fire within."

"The fire…"

"Do it."

"It will…hurt you."

"Susannah…"

"…no."

"Susannah…" Kind of angry sounding this time.

"I said no."

"God, Susannah—"

"What?!" I sputtered. "What—I'm just worried about hurting you, okay?!"

"Susannah, I will not break." He laughed a little, and it breathed across my skin like something alive. "…unless you want me to."

I felt around, probing into my own soul, and found the corner where the power was hiding. Felt it—no, her—awaken as if from a deep sleep, blinking delicately. It was such a real sensation that I swore I could almost see her, lying on the ground, beautiful, dark ebony hair flared about her, wondering why she was being summoned. See her sit up, then realize what was taking place, and smile—should angels smile that way?—and lift up a pale, long-fingered hand. A hand that suddenly glowed with a light from within. She gave me a piece of that earth-shattering power…a tiny, bite-sized piece, just enough to shatter Jesse. I knew. I knew what she had granted me. I also knew something else.

I wasn't in control. Any plans to keep her trapped in my soul were shot, because more than anything, I was the trapped one.

I stared down at Jesse, and I could see him. The night no longer hid him from my angel eyes. I could see the way he was staring up at me, patiently, waiting for whatever I might do. When he realized I could see him, that I was looking right into his eyes, he gave a long, slow blink. And that was it. His face was slack, giving nothing away. Almost like he had died, and his eyes stared eternal at me. But dead eyes don't have that fierceness. Dead eyes don't have that animal inside, staring back out at you.

The angel smiled inside me, and her smile curled my lips, as though it were she sitting here. My—her—power fell over us in a wash of glow, illuminating the room. Jesse watched me with those intense eyes, so damn trusting. He had seen what I did to the city, and still he trusted me. Well, I was sure he could probably do the same, but…well, he didn't lose control like me. He just didn't.

This time, the angel was guiding me. This time, she helped me control the power, instead of just giving it to me.

I leaned over him, and words that I didn't say came clear, strong… "Touch the fire, demon, and it shall burn."

He raised his brows quizzically, mildly amused at my choice of words. But his amusement died, I noticed, when I splayed my hands over his muscular chest, over his heart. Suddenly that heart pounded painfully fast against my palm, and Jesse sputtered something almost comically in Spanish, eyes wide. And right there, with just the touch of my hands, I did make Jesse scream. I was filled with her dark amusement as I watched him, saw him grow as helpless as I had been. Controlled. I had control.

Then, in the midst of that passion, his eyes flew open, brimming red with anger, beastly. The angel inside me was pleased, but I felt a sudden horror. The power crept away from me then, right when I would prefer it not to. Er—protection, please? Hello? WHERE IS MY POWER????

My night-vision was gone then, like someone had flicked a switch, and Jesse's eyes burned into me like fiery coals. Then with an animal roar that filled the room and tore a scream from my throat, he was suddenly pushing me into the sheets, and his power washed over me, into me, deeper than his body ever could. I screamed again, balling my fists and cutting bloody half-moons into my palms, and that was all I could do. Scream and tighten every muscle in my body as this horrible sensation swept over me, straddling the border between skin-melting pleasure and bone-crushing pain. He hit every cell, every zone, every realm, plunging himself so deep that my body was suddenly ripping itself apart, and his hands on my wrists kept me from doing permanent damage. Then he hit that one spot, and the world was nothing but a shimmering, flickering, white thing, with Jesse's blind red eyes glaring down at me…

That was when I felt it. It was like a burning needle had suddenly buried itself deep into my heart, and slashed across my chest. A trail of fiery agony blazed over my body, and I my mouth opened in a silent scream of pain, which I had no voice left to express. It had nothing…absolutely nothing to do with Jesse. But as Jesse's eyes dimmed back their usual liquid blackness, and the painful pleasure within cooled to a wistful thrum of energy, I heard her final prayer, and cold dread filled me.

"His perfect world. Father. My true Father. The Ultimate…Amen."

And I knew…

My Rose…was wilting…

BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB

I was calling my name in an almost obscene undertone, deep in my mind, touching me within…my heart panged with sorrow at the terrible thought of his pain.

"My Father…" I murmured. "I am coming…"

There was no more doubt. No more self-hate. I was in a cold place, where nothing mattered anymore. My thoughts were not my own. HE could not conquer my soul, and so he was ruling me from without. True Hell…entrapment…

I knew it would kill me. I knew. And I wanted it. For him. For his dream. My purpose…

I drew my fingers delicately over the smooth glass…and a moment later, it shattered beneath my touch, letting in all the sounds of the booming city, the high-whistling wind, and the grotesque smells of decadence. My tiny hand was outstretched, out into the open air—so cold! Like pure, liquid ice. Already it strangled me, and constricted my throat painfully. I swallowed hard. One final leap, and the pain would be gone, forever.

I stretched out my other arm, holding them both out towards the sky. "Take me," I begged quietly. I let my small wings unfurl from my back, and I prayed that I could fly. "Take me with you, Father…"

"Rose! STOP IT, ROSE!!!"

I could see them without even turning. My dear, dear mother, how you delude yourself. Why do you fight? Why don't you just give in to the darkness? It always wins in the end. Always. It infects everything, corrupts even the purest. Jesse, running beside you down that long, winding hall, valiantly trying to save me…he was once the purest of souls. His purity was once clear and bright enough to open the ninth Hell Gate. Now, look at him. Hardly any of that beauty remains. He is as ugly as everything else in this world. And so am I.

A cruel smile curled my lips, and through the haze of my drowsy reverie, I saw a shadow reach out from the cold, and felt the sting as it took my hands.

"Give in to the Darkness, Alexiel…it takes us all."

Takes us all………………….

Then the shadows were gently pulling me forward, and I was tipping out into eternity. My head swam with dizziness as I saw the world laid out before me, warping into a paroxysm of lights and sounds, leaning, leaning…vertigo blurred my vision, and I was trapped in that one moment. The shadows slipped away, and with it, so did the dark presence that filled my mind. Slipped away, will one final chuckle, and a sinful brush of unseen fingers where Mommy told me no one should touch…

"Yes…it takes us all…Rosie…"

And I knew what I had done. I heard hoarse screams behind me, filled with the deepest despair I had ever witnessed. Again there was that vision, and I saw my Mommy, prostrate in the hall, unable to move as her bloody fists beat against the floor. She was trying to drag herself across the hall with her arms…why was she like that? Why wasn't she saving me? Why was she so weak? Where was my strong Mommy, who told me she would always save me no matter what?

Then that painful moment of eternity shattered, and sheets of ice were beating against me as I fell from the sky, breaking my tiny, useless body into a thousand screaming ulnas. I heard my useless wings snap clear and loud, and a few seconds later the pain jolted through my body. Too small, too useless…

I opened my mouth to scream, and the cold hair flew into me, down my throat, sucking the breath out of me and burning my vocal chords. And still things were breaking…still things were falling away…pieces of my soul were dying along with my body…I could breathe, could see, couldn't cry, couldn't scream…

Why am I so weak? Why am I so stupid?

I DESERVE TO DIE.

"ROSIE!"

Reluctant hope flared within…the sound of his voice was heavenly. And he was so close…just feet above me, flying down to catch me, to snatch me from death, to—

Then something else was looming from the blackness below. Midnight wings which seemed to suck away all light, until his blackness consumed my vision. His arms were also outstretched towards me, to snatch me away…but I knew he would take me somewhere else. Somewhere terrible. Somewhere painful…

Catch me, Jesse, I thought. Catch me, please!

Darkly beautiful…a beauty that defied God, defiled holiness, denied redemption. Evil wasn't supposed to be beautiful. Evil wasn't supposed to hurt you, kill you, and then make you want it. Evil was…

Then his arms encircled me, and his icy eyes consumed me. My body screamed in protest, agony searing along my every muscle and broken bone. My tearing eyes stared up in wonder at what should have been my Father, but wasn't.

No…there were his eyes, there was his hair, his lips, his smile…but something was terribly wrong. It was not my Father who held me. It was a broken man. A shadow of glory. A Fallen. The First Dark King had at last taken full possession. His final dream…the Ultimate…would now be realized…because I was such a fool.

"F-Father…" I whispered, my voice so quiet I couldn't even hear it.

He held me tightly, his hands roughly smoothing over my back, where my broken wings lay useless. A twitch went through my body at his rough handling, but I couldn't make a sound.

"H-help me, Father…"

"Sleep, idiot child…Princess of Decadence…let the pain consume you. I promise you…it is only the beginning."

The last thing I saw before my eyes were lost to the light was the cruel, uncaring smile…of my…my Father…

BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB

"Give in to the Darkness, Alexiel…it takes us all."

It was as if something had grabbed that frail body and swept her out into the air. The last thing I saw of her before she fell from sight was her nightgown flowing behind her like the trailing mists of a spirit. Then she was gone.

I stopped and blinked in horror. Susannah suddenly collapsed beside me, her knees buckling, and she screamed so loud and so terribly that I winced at the sound of it. We were both only half dressed…she had grabbed a robe and run out into the hall without a word, and I had barely had time to slip on some pants before running out to see what the hell was wrong. I'll admit for a second I thought I had seriously scared her into running away from me…the idea had been enough to cause pain in my chest…

But I saw what she was running for when I followed. I saw the little girl, her Rosie…our Rose?…I saw her at the end of the hall, seemingly miles away.

And I ran, too.

It was such a thick, heavy evil…like invisible draperies we had to push through…there was no way we could catch her in time. Susannah was as frantic as I'd ever seen her. And I'll admit, I'd become fond enough of the girl that I was just as scared…perhaps even more so.

And then she was gone. Taken by the shadows, and the night. Taken by that evil…the evil I knew so well.

It was Paul out there. It was Paul, and yet it wasn't. I knew because I shared his curse, his blood, his soul. I could hear him crying out in misery and defeat, pushed down deep inside where he had no control, and I could feel the Evil feeding from his hate of us, fueling his misplaced vengeance. But it was intelligent…Rose was merely a tool. A pure, innocent, untainted tool.

"Dammit!" Suze was at my feet, the perfect picture of weakness when her daughter needed her the most. Could it be I had exhausted her too much? I wouldn't have, if I knew…

"Jesse…" she pleaded silently in her dead voice. "Our…"

The next thing I knew, my legs were carrying me swiftly down the hall once more. All barriers had vanished, and a coldness coursed through my blood, colder than the air that flew in through the smashed window. I would kill him. No thought. No regret. No pain. If I went down with him, oh-fucking-well.

I dived from the building, and let my body free-fall toward the small, crumpled figure that was falling so fast…logic and reason were no more. There was only that deep, silent cold. I was lost in it, taken by it, and it protected me from feelings that I had forgotten how to understand. My humanity was peeled away from me like the flesh from an apple, and as I reached out to take her, dead or alive, I saw him rushing up at us from below. Our eyes met for an instant, and my resolve quivered, barely. Burning…his low, tantalizing voice trying to force its way into my mind…

I steeled myself, shut my eyes against his, and lunged forward for her.

My arms swept only the cold wind.

I blinked my eyes open, and caught the wind on my wings, stopping myself in midair, halfway to the ground below.

She was gone. Vanished as though she hadn't been a mere inch from my grasp a moment before. Vanished as though she had been nothing more than a vision. A fleeting, hopeless vision.

"Rosie," I whispered. My hands still clutched at the air, and a swell of deadness filled me. My eyes were drawn across the sky, over the moon, and there I saw them.

They were hung in that glorious light, dark silhouettes against the untouched purity of it. He grinned down at me with triumph as he held his unconscious daughter loosely in his hands. She was already more than halfway to death.

My heart stopped as my keen eyes followed a trail of blood trickling steadily from her mouth…

"Paul," I called out.

His smile widened.

"…Lucifer…"

"Ah! I have been discovered!" he laughed, as though there had been a chance for secrecy. I knew him too intimately.

I took a deep, calming breath. The girl was not dead. Perhaps I could reason with him…

I let myself rise until I was level with him, and I stared directly into those eyes, ignoring the whispers brushing against my mind like silk. I could be stronger than that, for my Rosie. I strong gust picked up, tousling her hair in a weak flurry, and my heart ached with a sadness I had only felt once, long, long ago…in a long-lost era, barely remembered.

"Let her go," I demanded. Like that would accomplish anything.

He answered with more vile laughter. It was echoed inside me, and I knew that he had the power to take similar control of me, and stop all of my vain attempts to take Rose back. This was futile. This was a game.

"Make me…Jesse."

A game…but I played, anyway. A dangerous recklessness pounded through me and I flew at him with every ounce of speed I could muster, hoping to catch him off guard. It was as though…should I lose Rose, there would be nothing else to lose. When did this happen? Susannah, I could understand…but the child…? I had only known her for days! What was this achingly sweet connection I had to her? I had felt it from the moment I first saw her on the roof, soothing her broken mother. So sweet, with Susannah's strength. So kind. So intelligent, and fearless.

Almost. Almost perfect. Almost.

So I played this game for her, and I knew I could die with a mere thought from him. Then, at the last moment, when my fist was milli-seconds from colliding with his grinning face, his foot suddenly came out of nowhere and caught my chin. I flew backwards, shaking away the trivial pain and stopping myself. I prepared another pointless attack, but then he suddenly lifted Rose high in one hand, as though she were a broken doll. My eyes widened as he reared back that hand, and launched her forward, high into the sky. She zoomed out of sight in a blink, and my jaw dropped open in shock. It was almost too ridiculous to be true.

"What—the—FUCK???" I sputtered. "WHAT—SHE—YOU—YOU—" I jabbed an accusing finger at him, and screeched in a tone that was sounded painfully womanly even to me, "YOU WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO THROW HER INTO OUTER SPACE, YOU FUCKING NUT!!! I AM FIGHTING YOU TO SAVE HER!!! THERE IS NO FUCKING WAY IN HEAVEN, HELL, AND EARTH I CAN—I MEAN—WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO THAT FOR, YOU—"

I then descended into a fit of useless curses. English, Spanish, and French. It was too freaking crazy. I could he just—just toss her away like that??? IT MADE NO SENSE!!!

"Be calm, mortal," he laughed, and I shuddered as I saw those eyes…the icy blue was gone, replaced by the deep, flaming red I knew so well. Gone, too, was Paul's voice, and again there was that horrible rumble of death issuing from those lips. "Think of it as…a timer. We fight. Beat me before the timer runs out…or the child goes SPLAT." He chuckled as I winced slightly, and went on in a lazy drawl, "After all, what goes up must come down…"

I spared a glance back up at the sky where she had vanished, and groaned inwardly. This whole thing had taken a crazily whimsical turn the moment he saw Rose…just vanish into nothingness. That feat of impossible strength…for a second, I had almost wanted to laugh, it seemed so…cartoony. But that was terrible—

"Let me remind you how real this is, Jesse." The cold voice slithered deep inside, those eyes were suddenly inches from mine, and his hand slammed into my chest, hard. HARD. There was barely a feeling of motion before my back slammed into the building far behind, and a cry was ripped from my throat at the impact.

PAIN. Pain so great I could barely feel it…

My eyes shot upward, and I caught Susannah staring down at me in shock, miles above, her head poking out through the missing window. There were other heads, as well…I couldn't see them as clearly as Susannah's but I lamented that it would most likely be Father Dom, and her immediate friends and family, awakened from their rooms by the commotion…and wisely staying where they were. The only one who could truly stand a fight against this being was Susannah, but she was too frightened and anxious for the power within to unfold…Alexiel was bound by her humanity. And that left me…the one who truly stood the smallest chance.

Below, far, far below, the streets were filled with onlookers. Hundreds. Thousands. We were hard to miss at this point. Nobody could miss the power radiating from that evil…

High above, Rose was still missing in sight. 'Splat'? Somebody would dare to catch her if they could…wouldn't they?

I shuddered at the thought of everyone watching without a thought of offering aid as she smashed into the ground…

My body peeled away from the wall of the building, with great effort. We had an audience. The world was watching. Surely, the demons were watching. Perhaps even God himself was honoring us with his attention. The truest dark had awakened, and our only light was trapped in a mortal who was afraid of herself to save us…

Let the game begin.

A/N: Ack, overdramatic….okay, go REVIEW…..I figured it was time for the story to take some kind of turn, I've been trucking along in the same vein for too long…..GO JESSE!!! (waves flags and throws confetti…..ducks as tomatoes are lobbed at her) Okay, okay….I'm trying to write faster, I swear…..things are just crazy right now….and I'm also simultaneously working on a novel that I hope to get published someday….I'm quite proud of it….okay, shutting up now….

Everybody, have a Merry Christmas!!!

TTFN