Disclaimer: I do not own the Archangel Michael. What a surprise. I also make no money out of writing about him.
Rating: A rather startling G, given the heavy subject matter. Maybe PG at the outside.
Continuity: This is set immediately after the end of the sixth Lucifer trade paper back collection, The Mansions of the Silence.
Author's Notes: This was written for the Psalm Challenge, run by victoria p. I'm indebted to her for pointing me in the direction of Michael, too, because otherwise I'd still have writer's block on this. I was assigned Psalm 50, from whence I take my title.
The Fullness Thereof
Michael recalled, with the long, unbroken memory of an angel, the last time a shock that approached this one had come upon the Host. The day that his brother had rebelled had been ... but no. There was no true basis for comparison.
He stood in silence as those around him reacted to his words - falling to their knees, or weeping, or speaking to one another in incredulous voices. A few of the more adventurous among them even hurried past him into the chamber, to be sure that he had spoken the truth. Nothing they did mattered.
"This is punishment," Uriel said, and Michael could hear fear competing with the anger in his voice. "Punishment brought down on all of us in payment for your rebellion. We must -"
"No," Michael said. "It is worse than that. It is a reward."
Uriel looked at him as if he had spontaneously metamorphosed into Lucifer himself. "God has abandoned us, and you call it a reward? For what? I do not understand."
Michael found himself laughing, a sound that had an edge of bitter hysteria. "Then we have something in common."
He did not understand. He had shown perfect trust and obedience in the eternity he was held chained by Sandalphon. He lay in the pit and wept with longing for the Silver City. Yet when the fallen creature used him to make monsters, Michael had known that this, too, must be the plan of Yahweh. Bound there, it had been surprisingly easy to remain faithful. It was that or give in to despair, after all, and he could not stand to despair.
When he was set free, he allowed his brother to kill him - to use him - because he needed to be remade in order to return home. Perhaps that had been a mistake, but he had told himself that it was what he had to do, in order to be fit to serve his lord and master again.
If after a too-brief return to the light he had disobeyed, stretched out his hand to save his most perfect daughter ... Michel had told himself that he could not allow the geological ages of his suffering to come to nothing. What had he been tortured for, if not so that the child would exist? What sense could he make of his long exile, if Elaine should be gone before she had begun? Surely his father must have intended her existence, had some higher purpose for her to serve?
Even so, Michael had known that he had done wrong. He had expected punishment, deserved it, accepted it. Not this.
"A reward for who, for what?" Uriel was asking insistently. "Why would he do this?"
"He was ..." Michael hesitated, but it wouldn't do him any good to conceal the truth. "Waiting. For us to mature, to find our own way." There was no need to explain who he was referring to. "Waiting to decide which of us he would choose."
He had been exiled in the world, among angels long departed from Heaven and fallen Cherubim. He had slept, eaten, lived almost like a creature of the material. He had done it with joy in his heart, because he was receiving justice and learning what his father wished to teach him.
Michael had possessed little opportunity to appreciate the creation from the bottom of his pit. The irony that he had less room to maneuver than the rebel he had opposed had not escaped him, and he had wished to see the world with his own eyes almost as much as he had wished to return to the City. His exile had, at least, given him a chance to do that. Locked out of his home, he had begun to understand that his home was everywhere. Yet if he had known the true purpose of the lesson, that he was being forced to rebell ...
"Choose for what?"
For an archangel of enlightenment, Uriel could be quite slow at times. "To take over from him, of course. He has gone away and left all of this in our hands - in my hands. All of this is mine."
Uriel looked almost as horrified as Michael felt.
Samael might have dreamed that he has made a godless creation, but Michael knew that that there could never be such a thing. All beings required something to serve, to pray to, to fear. Now, it seemed, that was to be his responsibility.
From imprisonment, to exile, to home without his father. If hell was the absence of God ...
Michael looked up into the darkness above the light of the Silver City, and felt the crushing weight of having nothing above him at all. He could not help but wonder if he has been punished enough.