"Birds of Pray"
STANDARD DISCLAIMER: The Prophecy belongs to Gregory Widen and I'm not making any money from this.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Despite repeatedly e mailing The Powers That Be here on FFN, there is no category for the The Prophecy series of movies. So, I guess I'll post them here.
This fic contains a few naughty words. Later chapters may have references to hermaphroditism, as the first Prophecy movie established that angels are hermaphrodites (i.e. in possession of both male and female sex organs and presumably genitalia). Sorry to disappoint, but there will be no graphic sex in this fic – I just don't write that kind of stuff.
The faculty meeting was over. When Katherine Henley returned to her empty third grade classroom, she was surprised to see that it wasn't completely empty after all.
A man was perched on the back of the chair behind her desk, his knees drawn up against his chest and his long grey coat hanging down behind him, adding to the birdlike effect. He was reading the teacher's edition of Our World, the third grade social studies textbook. Despite the long softly curling red hair that curtained his face, Katherine recognized him right away.
"Simon," she said quietly, disbelieving. "I thought you were dead."
He looked up from his book and smiled at her. Silhouetted against the late afternoon sunlight slanting in through the big windows, his hair shown like a halo of golden red fire.
She ran a hand through her hair. "I – "
He dropped the textbook on her desk and stood, effortlessly balancing on the back of her chair for a moment before jumping lightly to the ground.
She backed away as he approached her. "Don't be afraid, Katherine. I bring you glad tidings."
"I can't do this," she protested, holding her hands up as though to push him away. "I can't deal with you people anymore!"
"The War is over," he continued, as though she hadn't spoken. "Heaven has been opened to your kind, and my brothers are my brothers once again."
"Good for you," she said shortly, backing out the door.
He stopped her with a hand on her arm. "My brother Gabriel has regained his grace and once again sits at our Father's left hand."
"Great," she said, yanking her arm out of Simon's grasp. "That's terrific. Tell him I said 'hi'."
"Katherine – "
She pushed past him into her classroom and began gathering up books and papers from her desk, stuffing them into a straw tote bag. He followed her inside, his hands spread wide in supplication. "If you would only listen to me for a minute – "
"Go away, Simon," she said harshly, not looking up from her task. "Just leave me alone."
"But you need to know – "
She slammed a book down on the desk and looked up at him, glaring. "No, I don't need to know. And whatever it is, I don't want to know." She grabbed the handle of her tote bag. "Don't you get it? I am through with you people!" And with that she was out the door.
Simon watched her hurry up the hall. "I'm so sorry, Katherine," he said quietly, stroking his goatee in thought. "But it seems that we may not be through with you."
He pressed two fingers to his lips and kissed them, then extended them in blessing in the departing woman's direction.
A moment later, the hallway was completely empty.
By the time Katherine had stopped at the dry cleaners to pick up her clothing, Blockbuster to return a DVD, the bank to withdraw some cash, and the grocery store, it was nearly dark.
She opened her front door and stepped into the dim foyer. She tossed her keys on a little table near the door and flipped on the light. She was about to go back outside to retrieve her dry cleaning and groceries, but something made her stop.
With a frown, she walked into the living room.
The gloaming had turned the furniture to indistinct shapes, but she sensed that something just wasn't right. She fumbled at the wall for the light switch. The lights came on, and she gasped in surprise and fright.
There he was, perched on the edge of her coffee table like a great big raven: the Archangel Gabriel, the Angel of Death.
His hands were folded, resting on his knees. His head was bent at what looked like a very uncomfortable angle, his right cheek resting against his shoulder.
She stood still for a moment, eyeing him warily. He hadn't moved when the lights came on, and she could hear the even rhythm of his breathing in the empty, quiet living room. Do angels sleep? she wondered.
She took a deep breath and bit her lip. "OK," she said, backing away slowly and quietly. "OK," she repeated, as if to reassure herself. She tiptoed gingerly back through the foyer and out the front door.
"What city, please?" the operator asked.
Katherine sighed, closing her eyes and leaning her head back against the headrest of the driver's seat. She heard several clicks in her ear, and the sound of a distant phone ringing.
"What city, please?" a new operator asked.
"Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Police Department, Homicide Division."
There were more clicks. Katherine looked up through the windshield at her living room window, still lit from within. "Come on, come on," she urged the cell phone, willing the connection to be made.
"LAPD, Homicide," a male voice said in her ear. Katherine sighed with relief.
"Detective Thomas Daggett, please," she said.
"I'm sorry, Ma'am, but Detective Daggett is no longer with the force."
Katherine sat up straighter in her seat. "Really? Well, do you know how I can reach him? It's really, really important. I'm an old friend… Katherine Henley from Chimney Rock, Arizona."
"Hold on," the man said. She glanced up at her living room window again, licking her lips nervously.
After several uncomfortable minutes waiting on hold, a new voice came on the line. "Ms. Henley, this is Captain John Billingsley. I hear you're inquiring about Detective Daggett?"
"Yes," she said, swallowing hard. She suddenly had a very bad feeling.
"I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but Detective Daggett passed away several years ago."
Katherine closed her eyes, fighting tears. "I see," she finally said. "How did it happen?"
"I'm afraid I can't release that information," he told her apologetically.
"Listen, I'm really sorry. Is there anything I can do for you?"
Well, the Angel of Death is roosting on my coffee table… think you could come to Phoenix and arrest him for trespassing?
She sighed. "I'm afraid not, Captain. But thank you for your time."
She ended the call and stuffed her cell phone back into her purse. "What am I going to do?" she wondered aloud. She suddenly wished that she hadn't been so eager to get away from Simon that she hadn't stopped to listen to what he'd had to say.
"Serves me right," she said with a sigh. "They're not called God's Messengers for nothing." She leaned forward, resting her forehead against the steering wheel. She felt like banging her head against it instead. "Idiot!"
Katherine stayed in that position for a while, trying to relax enough to be able to think rationally about what to do next. I could go to a hotel… just start the car, drive off and leave him there in my living room, doing whatever the hell it is he's doing.
The idea had definite appeal until she realized that an angel could probably find her fairly easily no matter where she was, just like Simon had done earlier that very day.
Simon! Of course! Why didn't I think of that before?
She sat up again, leaning back in her seat. "Simon," she said, shutting her eyes tight and concentrating. "I'm sorry I blew you off like that. What I wouldn't give to see you here right now, sitting in the seat next to me. I promise I'd listen to whatever you want to tell me." She waited a moment and opened her eyes, glancing over hopefully.
The passenger seat was empty.
"Rats!" Well, it was a bit much to hope for, she supposed… especially after the way she'd treated him. She tried to remember what little he had said – or rather, what little she'd allowed him to get out before running off like a scared little girl. She thought back to their conversation earlier that day:
Don't be afraid, Katherine. Ha. Fat chance, after all she'd been through with angels!
I bring you glad tidings. That line sounded familiar, but at the moment she couldn't think where she'd heard it before.
The War is over; Heaven has been opened to your kind, and my brothers are my brothers again. My brother Gabriel has regained his grace and once again sits at our Father's left hand.
Katherine rubbed her eyes. If that's true, then Gabriel is a good angel again, she thought. Then she laughed out loud at the absurdity: a "good" angel. Was there supposed to be any other kind?
Well, there was Lucifer, she reminded herself with a shudder. And speaking of Lucifer, I thought he took Gabriel to Hell with him. So what's he doing in my living room?
Suddenly, she heard a voice – Simon's voice – in her ear, as clearly as if he'd been sitting right there next to her. "Why don't you go inside and ask him, Katherine?"
Her hand was on the car door before another thought brought her up short: Can I trust Simon?
Thomas Daggett had trusted Simon, she reminded herself. And who had been the first person she had tried to contact tonight?
"All right, Simon," she said with a sigh of resignation. "You win. I'll go inside and ask him."
Working as quietly as she could, Katherine brought in her groceries and put her dry cleaning away, occasionally poking her head into the living room to see if the activity had woken the apparently slumbering angel. She still wasn't sure if he was sleeping, unconscious, or in some weird state of hibernation unique to his species. And why he'd chosen her coffee table to do it on was totally beyond her. Well, maybe he'd wake up and tell her.
As she was putting groceries away, she noticed that the red light on the answering machine sitting on the counter was blinking. She pressed the message retrieval button.
Hi Katie, a male voice said. It's me. I'm not going to be able to make it for dinner tonight… have to work late on the Altman case. Hope you understand. Can I have a rain check for tomorrow night? Call me!
Katherine groaned. With all of the stressful new developments of the day, she had completely forgotten that she was supposed to make dinner for Greg. Good thing he was stuck at the office. She finished putting the groceries away and decided to go check on her uninvited, unwelcome guest.
She took off her shoes and padded into the living room as quietly as she could. She stood for a moment, just watching him. When it became apparent that he wasn't going to awaken, she gathered her courage and stole closer.
He was dressed exactly as he'd been the last time Katherine had seen him, in a white shirt, a long black coat with many buttons down the front, and black leather pants. His black boots would probably leave marks on her coffee table, she reflected. She noticed that he was perched with his toes pointing inward, making her think of a pigeon.
Emboldened by her success so far, she crept closer yet and stood directly over him. Still he showed no sign of waking.
His black hair was combed back from his forehead. It feathered lightly around his ears and neck, and its texture didn't look much like human hair at close range. Instead, she was reminded of soft downy feathers. She only just managed to resist the temptation to reach out to touch it, to see if it felt like feathers.
His skin was as pale and smooth as ever, like an alabaster statue. She could see something like a tattoo or possibly a brand on the left side of his neck, partially hidden by the white collar of his shirt. His neck was still bent in that very uncomfortable-looking way, but now she realized that there was something familiar about his posture. Finally, it came to her: Birds sleep with their heads tucked under one wing. Using her imagination, she added large white wings to his sleeping form, and knew that she had gotten it right.
His fingernails were the color of charcoal, which she assumed must be natural; somehow she couldn't imagine him polishing them. He smelled like a rainy night, or a foggy morning; she hadn't noticed that the last time she'd seen him, probably because she had been preoccupied with more important matters.
As she was standing there studying him, he opened his eyes, the same impossibly blue eyes that she still sometimes saw in her nightmares.
"Hello, Katherine," he said, and she jumped back with a little cry, almost tripping over her own feet in her haste to put space between them. "I hope I'm not imposing on your hospitality," he continued, either ignoring her reaction or oblivious to it.
Katherine watched him stretch his neck and flex his shoulders in a way that made her think that he was stretching appendages that she couldn't see. Well, maybe he was. Finally, she found her voice.
"What are you doing here? What do you want?"
"A cup of coffee would be nice." He stood and jumped down from his perch. "If it's not too much trouble."
She nodded wordlessly, and he followed her into the kitchen.