Lamentation

By Jia Zhang


"…Michael."

Time had passed on in the Republic of Heaven. After the Wake, the once glorified Kingdom lay in ruins, a mere shadow of its former magnificence. There was no longer a God to govern them, no longer a Father to control their destiny. The race of the Angels had finally come to terms with their existence, and the great responsibility left to them from this failed experiment.

But Michael never gave too much thought into the politics of Heaven. He derived his existence from a single perspective—one sole goal he had wished to accomplish. But now, after the War, what was there left to fight?

There were not many Satans remaining after the death of his brother—their King, the Demon of all Demons, the Prince of Darkness, the once holy Angel Lucifiel. The ones that remained—Belial, Asmodeus, and the rest—could care less about Heaven now that their former General was gone. And the lesser demons of the Gehenna Empire were the Republic's closest ally to rebuild their world.

So now all that was left for Michael was to truly fulfill his requirement as one of the Great Powers, to take on the responsibility of rebuilding the Empire into a Republic, as the Romans did in their time of glory after all was fought and destroyed.

Michael didn't like his job too much, either. Many of his subordinates would hear daily of his complaints and curses at Raziel, who now led Heaven after the crumbling of Sevotharte's government. Then there was Barbiel, who saw him every time he went to see Raphael; may he be a Power, she still often scolded him on certain comments he made about the new leader of Heaven.

But Michael could do no more and no less than what he was told to do, nowadays. There were no battles to be fought, no enemies to destroy. For the first time, in a long time, their world was finally at peace.

And Michael thought that he liked this much better.

If only Raphael could see him now…

"…Michael."

He turned his eyes to the woman who now stood before him. She was fair, her ebony hair as black as night, and her eyes were a colour of pure sapphire. She held herself in a strict manner, adorning a long-sleeved beige gown that ran up to her neck. She stood before him, in the utmost polite manner, waiting for him to respond.

Michael smirked unconsciously.

This woman would've been Raphael's worst nightmare—impossible to seduce.

"Well, well…Xaphina, what are ya doin' here?" he asked as he leaned back on his chair, placing his feet across his desk, and sliding his hands behind his head. "I thought you didn't like me…what did you call me again?"

"A senile, cocky, egomaniac with no concern for the well-being of the Republic," replied the ebony haired beauty rather placidly. "And you're right; I don't like you. But that doesn't stop the fact that you have the latest reports on Hell's condition. I've told you a million times before already to bring those reports to me as soon as you've returned." She sighed, showing her frustration in a very limited amount. "Why did Raziel-dono ever select you of all people to be Heaven's representative to Hell is beyond my imagination…"

"If you have any," muttered the Power.

The Seraph shot him a small glare. "I heard that." She sighed once more as she approached his desk, her hands folded neatly in front of her. "You should be grateful towards Raziel-dono's kindness. He has to reconstruct the Republic all on his own—the government, the people, the Kingdom, and to care for the people of Assiah. He was even kind enough to give you this position as Heaven's representative, yet you still continue to complain about him. Sometimes Michael, I wish you'd grow up."

Michael glowered at the woman. "Watch it, Xaphina. You may be head of the Embryo Project, but I am Heaven's General."

"What good is a General when there's no war?"

"Don't pick a fight where you know you'll lose, Xaphina."

The ebony haired Seraph rolled her eyes. "Forget it. I just want the reports, please."

Muttering some curses under his breath, Michael opened his drawer and took out the report and dropped it heavily on the desk. "There ya go; all one hundred and thirty-three pages of the report on the Gehenna Empire and the Satans, and Hell." He smiled sardonically.

"Thank you." And with that, she took the papers and left, closing the door with a loud 'thunk'.

"What crawled up her arse and died?" muttered the Great Power rather angrily—Xaphina always had a way of getting under his skin, and the only person who was able to do that was Gabriel. In fact, the Angel of Water was probably even stricter than Xaphina, since even though Gabriel looked so gentle and sweet, she could be real scary and harsh.

Michael smiled rather softly at the memory.

But where Gabriel was now, Michael didn't know.

Sighing, Michael was suddenly reminded of Raphael. Perhaps it was time to see him today, thought the Angel as he got up from his seat and left to find the Healer, who lies asleep as the Heaven and people he once knew changed and evolved to what they were meant to be.

As Michael wandered towards the hospice where Raphael was kept, he gazed at the streets of their Republic. Many of the buildings were still under construction, given their disastrous condition after Anima Mundi's rebellion against the Kingdom. Even now, several buildings were in ruins, the left over carcass of what once used to be Heaven. But even those ruins were beginning to fade, swallowed by the sands of time and the ages. It had been a long time since that great war—and much had changed—yet their Republic still had a long way to go before it could become what humanity truly believed them to be.

But Michael saw…their people—their world—were finally at peace.

It was what they always hoped for…what the Angels, in the deepest of their heart, wanted most of all—Michael understood this now…it was Gabriel's greatest lesson to him, the woman who understands Man and Angel, and their commonality.

The fiery haired Power walked up the stairs of Heaven's hospice, his shoes clicking, making soft sounds like droplets of rain on windows.

"Wait! Aeliel! Stop!"

Michael turned at the sound of the voice to see a child rush past him, so fast that he could barely comprehend anything but a flash of silver hair. And like that, the child was gone. Michael saw at the end of the stairwell a Sister, pausing by the railing as she puffed for air.

"Oh, that insufferable child…" She looked up. "Oh, Michael-sama, are you here to see Raphael-dono? Barbiel-san was hoping to speak with you."

"Ah…yeah." Michael turned to look up the stairs. "Hey, Sis, who was that kid?"

"Oh…that was Aeliel…one of the more vigorous children from the Embryo Project. Physically she is completely healthy, but she has a horrible temper. She's one of the few surviving I Children…but thanks to Xaphina-sama, she's as healthy as any other Angel in Heaven. But my goodness! The stamina of that child! I'm probably one of the few of the Sisters who can keep up with her."

Michael smirked unconsciously. "What's she runnin' from you for?"

"Oh, she stole food from the kitchen. Again! This must be…the sixteenth time already. She's a crafty one, that Aeliel…Never listens to anyone. I've told her again and again to stop snacking before dinner…it ruins her appetite. And she keeps throwing rocks at members of the Council, not caring about the consequences at all! I'm so worried about her…"

"Hey, don't worry 'bout it Sis," smirked the Power, "I'll catch that little thief for ya."

The Nurse looked suddenly slightly troubled. "You don't need to do that Michael-sama, I should be able to find her in a hour or two…besides, I don't want you to halt your business here. Barbiel-san did say that she wanted to speak with you."

Michael waved it off. "Nah…it's okay. Raphael's not going anywhere, and Barbiel probably is just gonna scold me anyways."

"Oh thank you, Michael-sama…I really can't keep up with that troublesome child."

"I'll bring her back to the Nursery when I've found her."

"Thank you, Michael-sama…Thank you…"

A smile crossed Michael's face as he walked up the stairs after the little girl. She was an interesting little thing, that was the thought that crossed his mind. For some reason, that child reminded him of himself. He always had the infamous reputation in Heaven as a bit of a hot head. Back when he was younger, when he first became a Power, he used to get into lots of trouble in Heaven. Some building or another was getting demolished due to his temper and fights daily, and it was usually Raphael or Gabriel that came to find him. Raphael being the first on the scene, and Gabriel being the one to scold him.

Michael remembers one episode very clearly; it was just after he was given the title "Great Power", to many other of Heaven's High Council's great displeasure. He was now officially Heaven's Supreme General, with the defect of his brother, Lucifiel, now known as the Father of Lies—Lucifer. Of course, he shared much of this power and authority with Zaphikiel, who at the time had yet to become a reserved Priest.

On this night, Michael was celebrating with his men. They were drinking in his promotion, and celebrating his achievement. Their small brawls, fights, and binges lasted long into the night. Of course, Heaven did not have such establishments—bars, brothels, and what not. This was a place rarely touched by Angels, a secluded area in Hades that had been a safe house for Angels during the war between Lucifer and God. Rather, many of the souls here were neither Angel nor Devil, but Human.

The taverns of this small region, nicknamed by the human souls who resided here as Limbo, were a hotspot of activity. But now the war was over, and Michael and his army would be retreating by the morn back into Heaven, leaving this desolate mortal plane.

So Michael gave his men the opportunity to celebrate before their return.

Unfortunately, their celebration did not go well. An Angel by the name of Dazriel, a Commander under Zaphikiel during the war, had strong opposition as to what Michael allowed his men to do, drink in this human pleasure. Michael, of course, was never one you should argue against—he never listened to anyone, after all. Maybe, not even God, at the present time of the Father's reign.

Michael felt that Dazriel had no right to command anything of his men, so of course he did not listen to Dazriel's advice.

At first, Dazriel didn't do anything, but when the militia returned to Heaven, he filed a report to the High Council, to dethrone Michael from his pedestal as a Great Power. Michael, like his normal self, became furious at this. The argument that ensued between him and Dazriel was catastrophic, one of the worst brawls the Power was ever in—and afterwards, well, Dazriel didn't ever bother to be anything higher than a Commander and an Arc.

Michael still remembers clearly the events that unfolded after that dispute.

The Angel puffed for air as he stood before the mountain of rubble and ash, his blade firmly held in his hand, the tip having been struck into the earth. Michael breathed in, satisfied with his accomplishment, as the battered and beaten Dazriel laid a wreck in the debris of concrete. The fiery haired Power smirked triumphantly, feeling pride in his achievement.

"Now you've done it."

Michael rolled his eyes.

"He deserved that, Raphael. That lousy prick; trying to take my job. Ya know, that's what he was after?" Michael cursed under his breath. "It's not like Zaphikiel is gonna complain so much—he has his own issues to deal with."

"These destructive crazes of yours aren't going to get you on God's good side, Mika-chan…" said the Virtue rather absent-mindedly.

"Hn, right, and like you're on God's good side," snorted the Power. "Shouldn't you do your job, Mr. Healer, and fix him up…"

Raphael looked at the battered body of Dazriel. "Yeah…I—"

"Do nothing, Raphael. Don't fix his problems for him. Michael, take Dazriel to the Hospice…"

Michael grimaced. "Ah, crap…" Michael turned and put on a fake smile. "Gabriel, didn't expect to see ya here…this isn't normally your territory. What, the tabloids of the government not interesting enough anymore?"

"Oh, they're well interesting," Gabriel replied rather sarcastically, "that's how I heard a certain General was going around acting like a child and destroying his toys…" She gestured to the building for the armada, half sheltered in ash and dust.

"Don't call me a child, Gabriel!" shouted the Angel, flaring up in anger.

Quietly, unscarred or unaffected, as she always is, the Cherubim glided towards the body of Dazriel. She sighed heavily. "When you're constantly doing stunts like this, why shouldn't you be surprised that people call you the Child General? Hn?"

Michael shunted his head to the side and cursed. "Well, it's not like Raphael has no faults! He—"

"I know perfectly well what Raphael does…" spoke the Angel of Water, turning her gaze for a temporary moment on her fellow Elemental Angel, who stared back at her with no remorse or shame. "But I am more concerned about what you do. At least Raphael has some self-restraint, while you have none!"

"And it's your business because—?"

"Because I don't want to see you walk into a similar situation as your brother did, upsetting the order and disobeying the Law!"

In a flash, Michael grabbed Gabriel's neck and slammed her onto a large piece of wall that still remained intact into the earth. The Water Angel's head collided with the concrete, bouncing a little as Michael pinned her to the wall. He glared at her painfully, yet Gabriel remained still, a monotone Angel, her blue eyes staring deep into Michael.

"Michael!" shouted Raphael in surprise. "What are you doing?"

"You know, I can snap your neck in half…"

"I'd expect you to, if you were your brother, Michael…but you're not," replied Gabriel. "Don't act so harshly because of what happened…"

He suddenly let go of her, and she landed softly back onto the ground. "I have no idea what you're talking about, Gabs." He turned away from her, meaning to walk away with Raphael.

"You know perfectly well what I mean, Michael. Don't hang on to old retributions, beating it out into hate and anger and anguish." She turned away from them to stare up into the sky, wistful, dreaming, as if she weren't sure what she was looking for in the basking glory of blue. "Your passion, it has no place in this hatred you have brewed…there is something else we should all focus on…"

"What, the politics of Heaven?"

Gabriel suddenly smiled rather mournfully. "No…Nothing as close as that…"

Michael never forgot that day, or the words Gabriel spoke of. The woman was wise beyond her years, millennias of knowledge other Angels possessed couldn't compare to what she knew. To Michael, Gabriel will always be a mystery, with her gentle features, and her enigmatic eyes, portraying no emotion, or all emotion. To Michael, Gabriel was always someone he could not fathom. She was unable to read…but she could read everything so easily. Michael knew he should have listened to her more when she was still…corporeal. But he'd remember, for all his days, her words.

Gabriel always knew something was not right with their Kingdom. She always sought for more—a modern idealist and visionary, even for Heaven. The words she spoke of that day, to Michael then they seemed so small and pointless at the time, but as he looks back upon them, years later…they already foretold of what they would go through—Setsuna, Sara, their entire race…and ultimately, the confrontation with the Father.

Hmph, thought Michael with a laugh, Gabriel really is God's most intellectual child.

Michael continued his way up the stairs, looking for the little Angel child.

As the Power turned at the spiraling stairwell, he saw past a large window, half-sheltered by long velvety curtains, a little girl, sitting on the floor, her back leaning against the railing of the balcony that suspended from the window. Her hair, as Michael had seen previously, was a brilliant shade of silver. In the sunlight, it seemed to sparkle even more. She was a tiny little thing, but obviously fast, as noted before. Her skin was rather pale in contrast to the more normal Angels, but her cheeks had a pink tinge to them, possibly from all the running she had done.

She seemed to be chewing on something desperately, gnawing at it. A smirk lit up on Michael's face as he quietly approached the little girl. He brushed passed the curtains, and stood silently, watching the little girl eat her stolen piece of food.

"The Nursery doesn't seem to feed you little brats enough, it seems…"

Suddenly the child looked up at the sound of Michael's voice. She seemed startled, a rabbit that had just heard a frightful gun shot. Immediately, she shoved the piece of food into her mouth as she suddenly stood up, her back leaning against the railing of the balcony. She stared at Michael with a mix between curiousity and confusion, but the child held no fear in her eyes, just simple annoyance.

"Now what are you doing here, kid?"

The girl swallowed. That was when Michael noticed—the deep shade of her eyes. They were a dark crimson colour, odd for the Children of the Embryo Project. But she was different, and she oddly reminded Michael of the many I Children who died in the War when Heaven destroyed Shamim. But then again, that was what the Sister had told him—that this child was a survivor of the Shamim Disaster, as they were now calling it.

Michael felt trapped by her enigmatic red eyes, conveying all emotion, and no emotion at all—so much like the eyes of Gabriel. For eyes that seemed to calculate and think, they were oddly dull. For a child so small, she seemed as if she knew all the answers to all of her questions. But that was to be expected, for the life of the I Children had always been a struggle. The Power felt an odd tug at his heart. He was just the General; he'd never have to deal with the lower levels of Heaven. But here stood before him an example of what he always should have protected as that General.

"Kid…wh—"

Suddenly, the girl turned towards the open sky, and two wings sprung from her back. They were small in comparison to Michael's, but without any thought or hesitation she leapt from the balcony and into the vast majority of Blue.

"Ah, dammit…" cursed Michael as he spread his wings and followed the child into the Sky.

For such a tiny little Angel, she flew fast, but of course she would never be able to fly faster than Michael. Gradually, she began to slow down, her wings tumbling and flapping with an odd sort of naïveté, and Michael was beginning catching up to her. The Power smirked lightly.

"Stupid kid, thinking you can fly faster than me? Hn…"

"Ah!"

Suddenly, her wings collapsed and she plummeted from the sky downwards. Cursing inwardly, Michael dived towards the girl. She hugged herself tightly, seemingly expected to fall. Faster and faster she plunged from the air towards the earth and the Heavenly Kingdom. Michael dived faster, hoping to catch up with her before she could fall to the ground.

"Hey kid!" he shouted as he flapped his wings furiously. "KID! Listen up! If you want to live, open your wings! Open them!"

The girl turned back to gaze at him with curious crimson eyes. Leaving room for no hesitation, she struggled, but was able to spread her wings, although she was still unable to fly. The wind caught her white wings, and the speed of her descend slowed, and Michael was able to grab her in that instant, and carried her under his arm towards the ground.

They landed in a small clearing of green grass, on the outskirts of the central city. Michael let out a breath of exasperation as he looked around to survey his environment. It was basically deserted, though he could see figures from a far distance.

The little girl under Michael's arm looked at him curiously, as he gazed at his surroundings.

"Ah…Thank yo—"

Thud!

"What the hell were you thinking you little brat? You coulda killed yourself!" shouted Michael angrily after he had dropped the child roughly onto the soft earthy ground. "Haven't you noticed that your wings aren't strong and large enough for an attempted getaway? Huh?" He pulled lightly at the tip of one of her frail wings. "Geez! What were you thinking?"

The child sat aimlessly on the ground, her hand gently rubbing her behind. "That hurt…" she mumbled to herself.

"I bet that hurt, you little squirt!" replied Michael. The red-haired Power crossed his arms together and glared angrily at the child on the ground.

"Sorry…but I thought you were going to kill me…" spoke the girl rather calmly—she seemed neither frightened nor surprised at the stranger before her. She dusted the dirt and grass from her dress, before turning her eyes back onto Michael.

Michael blinked at her, confounded by her answer. "You thought I was going to what?" he cried rather incredulously. His eyes narrowed and his brow furrowed as he continued to glare at the little girl. "Why would I kill you?"

She looked at him, rather bored and dull, no expression on her face at all. "You are Michael-sama, aren't you, the Great Power? Supreme General to Heaven? Aren't you infamous for getting in fights, and killing all of your enemies in one swoop?" She used her arms to gesture a sword being waved about.

The Power was taken back by her answer. "Well…yeah…But I wouldn't kill a little kid."

"I'm not a kid," she replied rather stiffly. "I have a name…"

"Aeliel, right?" She nodded.

"She told you, the Sister."

Michael nodded lightly. "Yeah, you bet she told me. Stealing food, and harassing the High Council of all things…Geez…You are one troublesome kid."

The child looked away from him slightly, expecting to be scolded. Instead, she heard a light 'thump', and turned to see Michael lying on the grassy ground, looking up towards the reflection in the sky. The girl blinked at him curiously. "What are you doing?"

"I'm baking…What do you think I'm doing?" he spoke rather sarcastically. Michael continued to peer out at the sky, with the child standing by his side.

"Why aren't you scolding me, like all the others?"

Michael turned his head to look at her. "What do you mean?"

The child shrugged, taking a seat by Michael. She hugged her arms around her legs, looking down towards the grass. "You know…Aeliel! What do you think you're doing! Aeliel, you shouldn't steal food! Aeliel, don't harass the High Council! Aeliel, you can't be disrespectful…think of what the Government has done for you, saving you and the remaining of the I Children…" The girl smirk, snorting at the comment. "They don't know the half of it…"

"What don't they know…?"

She shook her head.

"Oh, just come out with out. Trust me, I've said worse. Trust me. What don't they know?"

"That if it weren't for Raziel-dono's guilty conscious and respect for Zaphikiel-sama, none of the members of the High Council would have started the Embryo Project…and I certainly wouldn't be alive…The I Children…no one cares about us."

Michael sat up. "Do you hate them?"

She sighed. "I guess you can't really call it hate…I don't hate them…because if it weren't for the Embryo Project, I'd be dead. But the truth is, no body in Heaven has really ever cared for the I Children…the kids born out of union between two Angels. We're deviants, freaks…unnatural…imperfect." She placed her chin down on her knees. "The young ones, the newborns, are lucky. They're born healthy and normal thanks to Xaphina and the Embryo Project. The older ones, like me…we're still imperfect, deviants, no matter what the High Council and the rest of Heaven pretends…the only one who ever really cared for us was Shatiel…"

The Power turned back towards the sky. "Why do you think it's Raziel's guilty conscious and respect of Zaphikiel that he's created the Embryo Project?"

"I know things. Zaphikiel-sama was in love with Anael. She was the scientist who originally had the idea for the Embryo Project…during the time she was still in charge of the Sandalphon Project. Anael became pregnant with Zaphikiel-sama's child…but she died…so Zaphikiel-dono tried to save the baby…"

Michael suddenly sat up staring at her wide-eyed in surprise. "How the hell do you know all that?"

She shrugged again, as if it were obvious knowledge, and continued. "Zaphikiel-sama had told Raziel-dono this when he was predeceased, so Raziel-dono has always wanted to uphold Zaphikiel-sama's wishes, and to repent for Heaven's sins of destroying Shamim…That's why there is the Embryo Project, so Angels can reproduce without the Father…"

The fiery haired Power sighed deeply.

She turned to him. "Well, aren't you going to scold me now?"

Michael smirked, shaking his head in disbelief, before lying back down. "Why the hell would I scold you for? I get scolded myself…" he replied. "You sure know a lot for a little kid…" He gave her a small smile. "…Aeliel."

"And you're not like the infamous hothead they all say you are," said the girl. Michael gave her a rather annoyed look. "But they say you're brother was…a monster…" The last words were said so very quietly, as if they were a whisper on the wind.

All colour disappeared from his face as he stared at the little girl. Aeliel stared back at him, with the same look Gabriel used to give him. The look said—I know what you're thinking. It unnerved him, the odd resemblance between the two. "Where did you hear that?" questioned Michael calmly, as he turned back towards the sky.

"I hear a lot of things."

"Well…I guess you really can call my brother a monster. After all, he was Lucifer." He smirked, a mournful and pathetic smirk.

"But you didn't think he was a monster."

"He was my brother…"

Silence passed between them.

"I had a brother, too," spoke Aeliel suddenly. "We were twins, he and I. After mother and father were Wing-Cut, we were taken in my Shatiel, and into Shamim. We were always together. He was my big brother, and the two of us promised to always protect each other, because no one would take care of us. But he died, when Shamim was destroyed. My friends were dead, my family dead, my home gone. So now…all I can do is take care of myself…"

Michael gave a small smile. "I used to think that too, when I was little, that my brother and I would always be together. But I lost him too, just like you did. Just in a different way." He turned to her. "But I had people around me, after he left…and so do you."

"I don't have anyone."

"Yeah, you do if I say you do." White clouds floated about in the sky, and Michael gazed at them enviously—they who were carefree, they who were unburdened, they who were forever able to float amidst the ocean of Blue Sky. "I used to think I had no one. After brother abandoned Heaven, I became so angry. Angry that he left me…angry that he betrayed me…angry that he didn't take me with him. I thought, after he left, that I was alone. But I gained friends, where I lost him…"

Michael smiled softly as he closed his eyes.

I met Raphael a long time ago…it was so long ago, that I almost forgot about it. I met him, just after brother left. After my heart broke. I took out the anger and pain on anything I knew—fighting, breaking, hurting other things, to lessen the pain I felt within. I remember destroying everything I could touch when I found out what brother had done…and in the ruins, the ash…I remember seeing Raphael. He looked at me so dully, so unaffected by everything…no matter how I acted, how cruel, how childish, how angry and hurt I was…he stayed by my side, through everything…I had no friend greater than him.

Then…there was Gabriel. Dear Gabriel…she looks a lot like you. She was truly the wisest woman I have and ever will meet in my lifetime, or any other lifetime. She was so devoted to creating a world that was at peace…She always understood me best, I think. She understood what was in my heart, even though I never wanted to acknowledge it. She always accepted me for what I was, and never asked me for anymore than I could give.

In a lot of ways, Uriel was like that too. He was always too kind and patient for his own good—the gentlest of all of us, who had to take on the cruelest task. I was always too hotheaded and impatient, but Uriel was always the opposite of me—able to add in a wise word or two, to be that unchanging and unmoved constant.

Where I lost brother, I gained them.

The four of us would eternally be the Four Elemental Angels, the Highest of our Chairs. Even when we parted, the four of us, we were together in heart. Fire, Water, Wind and Earth. We elements would always be a component of each other.

When I thought I was alone, they were by my side. When I had fallen, they helped me up.

It was the end of my lament.

"I thought I was alone…but I never was. I had them. And neither are you, Aeliel…" said the Power. "You may not know it, but there are people around you who care." Michael opened his eyes. "You know…I've always complained about Raziel, giving me one boring job after another, how he's too much of a child to be leading Heaven. I compared him too much to Gabriel and Zaphikiel. But Raziel…he has done a better job than either of them could've done. He works for the people, understands the people, and sympathizes with all walks of life, because he has been there, inside of that darkness and anguish and abandonment." He turned to Aeliel. "People do care, that's why they help you. It's not just their responsibility. Our people want to change."

"But will we change?"

Michael gave a small laugh. "Yeah…we already have."

Aeliel lay down beside him quietly. "I…want to change…I don't want to be alone."

"You're not, not if you don't let yourself be. You just have to open up, and stop being such a troublemaker." He ruffled her short silvery hair. "That way, you'll make lots of friends, even if you are a little brat."

She looked at him questioningly. "Are you my friend?"

Michael was taken back. "Doesn't matter with me…"

She smiled and suddenly stood up, her hands spreading towards the sky, as if she were trying to catch the cotton candy in the mass of Blue. "Someday…this place will be different, right?"

Michael closed his eyes.

"Yeah…the right kind of different."


"So what did you want to speak to me about?"

Barbiel gestured Michael to sit down. "There is something I wanted to speak to you about…"

The Power rolled his eyes. "Please, don't lecture me…Just for one, please just shut up…"

Barbiel sighed. "I wasn't going to scold you. There really is something important I wanted to speak to you about." She sighed. "It's about Raphael-san's condition."

Michael's eyes narrowed. It couldn't be bad news, he thought, it can't be bad news. This had been one of those days in a long time that he felt happy, and unburdened. It couldn't end like this.

"What's wrong with Raphael…?"

The Virtue gave a small smile. "There's nothing wrong with Raphael-san. We've ran some tests, like the regular ones. And…he's condition's almost completely healthy." Her smile widened more. "I think…that he's going to wake up soon. It could be any day now."

It could be any day now…

The fiery haired Power gave a small smirk.

"I thought you should be the first to hear the news," smiled Barbiel.

"Thanks…" He paused for a moment. "Can I go see him?"

She nodded in reply. She did not need to lead the way.

Michael walked down the hall, his hands in his pockets. The walls were a light colour of cream, and silence coveted the hallway. Raphael was finally going to awaken, after such a long time. If it were the Michael from the long ago, he would've been so angry that Raphael had abandoned him, all those years ago, in saving Barbiel. But the Michael of now, the Michael who had finally grown up, realized that no matter if it seemed like he had left, Raphael would always be with him.

He would never blame him for saving Barbiel, for in losing Raphael he gained her—a friend, a confident. She was the open window where the door closed.

The Great Power finally reached the Room. He opened the door, and was met with the Sunlight, that peak through the windows to shine down upon his sleeping friend. And there lied Raphael, as he did for so many years, in that chamber of his, lying deep asleep. He looked so peaceful and serene to Michael, so unaware as to the changes that transpired all around him—he did not know what Heaven had finally become while he was in his deep slumber.

But Michael knew…that just like him, Raphael would love this change.

"Hey…" he spoke as he walked over to him, sitting down on the floor and leaning his back against the chamber. He turned a little to stare past the glass at Raphael. He smiled a little inside. "You know…I hope you wake up soon. There's a lot I wanna show you. And you know I'm not that patient…so hurry up."

Michael leaned back, and closed his eyes, smiling at the memories that flowed through him—a river of sweet nostalgia.

"You know…I met a real interesting little kid today. She reminded me of Gabriel…"


Fin


Author's Note: Yahoo! I finally got Lamentations down after such a long time. You have no idea how happy I am. Next to Taboo, this fic has definitely been the longest and toughest to write out of The Bible serial. I think it's because after writing about a thousand or so words, I wasn't really sure as to what approach I wanted to give it. Michael was actually a pretty tough character to write. But when I finally sat down in the middle of the night to think about how I wanted to approach as to Michael's character, I thought it best to write him with some sort of nostalgia.

Michael is the first character out of the serial that has given his impressions of Heaven after the end of Angel Sanctuary. There is a lot of confusion about certain things, I'm sure. But that will all be revealed later on, in the final installment to The Bible, Anno Domini, which is Raziel's story.

I think that Michael's reflections in this story, as well as his conversation with Aeliel really shows his maturity and change after the end of Angel Sanctuary. I felt that this was important in also showing the change in not only Michael himself, but Heaven as well. There is a lot more I would like to say about this fic, but I'm leaving that ranting for my Live Journal.

So now there are onlythree parts to The Bible left. The next two I will be working on are called Eden and Afterlife, the story of Alexial and Lucifer, and that of Uriel. Afterlife, Uriel's story, ties in a lot with Taboo, and will explain some things left out of Taboo, like what happened to the character in Taboo after she died. I am also going to be rewriting Repentance, Rosiel's story, which I really don't like very much. That will most likely exist only on my Live Journal, unless I want to post it on FF.

Anyways, thanks for reading!

Jia Zhang

(Check my LJ for current status of all my stories…)