by saint's hands
chapter one: Baraqiel
I don't care if I die
as long as I can have you by my side
all forgotten is gone to sing this lonely song;
things just happen without no reason;
Love's a stolen season
One moment it was coldness, the other the fresh, lush air of the creation they'd once been banished from. Everyone was there; he could sense their joy of release and felt it spread through him like an electric jolt as well. It'd been years since his last release from their prison and even that visit had been brief in nature. Humans and their weaknesses had come between his master's plans and sealed them all away once again.
He didn't waste his breath on contemplating old things though, no, he knew he'd been summoned here for a reason. Unlike with some members of the Nephilim their reunion wouldn't be a drunken moment wasted in reminiscent of the old days and old women and old sins. He was more farsighted than that; work was still ahead even if Azazeal had succeeded in bringing his offspring into this world.
Baraqiel stretched his wings and limbs, feeling how flesh and tendons moved the slightest bit after finally being able to breathe. Like most of the fallen ones he'd been spent most of the time of his imprisonment in a stasis of sorts, barely awake at all. That rest is what made his body ache now that he used it once again. He made sure he'd returned as whole before he eventually reversed into his human guise.
Upon realizing his hard skin had become soft and pink and his long claws had turned into dexterous fingers Baraqiel smiled to himself and rose from the floor where he'd kneeled. The cloud of his transformation soon conjured forth his old clothing that time had not treated with the same grace as his body. One moment he was shivering over the cold floor and the next he wiped the dust from his clothes. They didn't feel at all warm or comforting but at least offered some protection from the public eye as well as the outside air that his human shell so easily reacted to.
He remained unsatisfied however and decided to tear the high collar from his white shirt for bothering his freedom. Upon acting on this thought he finally breathed in the dusty air more zealously than the first time around. Its composition was grainy but the fresh feel and the gentle touch of impurities tickled his sensitive throat when he inhaled rather made him enjoy the simple act of inhaling. The human world has always been such a curious place…
His green eyes scanned the clothes further for other annoyances but he was satisfied with them now. Baraqiel's stiff fingers raked his blonde hair curiously, sensing no change in his looks. His wondrous green eyes were still captivating and his hair short unlike when it'd been during his time as a servant of God. Many things had changed since then but when he wore this human shell, it was almost as if nothing had changed.
During his most glorious days as a servant of heaven he'd enjoyed the favor of many men and women for his beauty. Then God had seen fit to take it from him upon his learning of his sin; losing his heart to a little enchantress, who had silk as her skin and fire as her spirit, had been the cause of his exile and the shame and boredom that'd followed and lasted for centuries. Now his true guise wasn't beautiful in God's face but ugly and distorted. He hated how God had looked at him afterwards and how humans had stared at him in terror.
Mortal women weren't worth all that anguish, Baraqiel had sworn to himself after learning to take a false human form during the times he ventured among them. Yet he found solace in their arms each time Azazeal had managed to bend the borders of their prison just enough for a few of his favorites to slip through. After the original sin had been committed nothing had kept Baraqiel from sinning more in the hope of drawing God's gaze upon his ugly form and deed.
"You look like a mess," A gentle voice called, making the other Watcher glare around him and then bow theatrically at nothingness after he'd recognized the voice calling to him.
"Forgive me Azazeal, I must still be far more beautiful than you are after all these years if you're alerted by this vision of disorder," Baraqiel taunted back and felt the soft shivering of air around him as Azazeal revealed himself from the shadows, appearing by his side.
"In your dreams boy," Azazeal replied softly, landing his hand on the angel's shoulder. He was taller than Baraqiel, whom he still considered to be a youngling despite their always identical age and level of power. It had to Baraqiel's carefree nature that always imprinted a youthful impression into people's minds whereas Azazeal's quiet brooding look instantly gave him more age despite his gorgeous appearance.
These two had competed even before they'd fallen together as brothers and time hadn't been able to change that. It'd never been serious, not even before Azazeal had gained his status as the ruler of the Nephilim. Baraqiel had always been eager to follow commands and pass them onto his followers. He didn't waste his time in waging war between the Watchers, although there had been others who'd been willing to question Azazeal's leadership in the past.
"I believe you summoned me for a reason other than allowing me the chance to take a walk?" Baraqiel asked, rather amused by the effect his question had on Azazeal; his face brightened up as proof of his successful campaign. "I see you've sired another child then," Baraqiel continued, simply glad that at least something was going according to plan this time.
"However the mother has proved herself difficult to control... I have not secured her yet," Azazeal confessed, sitting down over the wooden seats of the church they'd inhabited. It was only now that Baraqiel as well recognized their surroundings and felt a sting in his heart for thinking about their maker, whose house they had occupied. The tall glass paintings above filtered light of red and blue and yellow upon the aisle but even their stretched shadows didn't reach the angels. It felt like an omen in his heart.
Baraqiel set his eyes on Azazeal again, witnessing his hesitation first hand. Azazeal took notice of this but didn't care to explain the situation further just yet. Baraqiel was the only one he could trust with this dilemma and task, for he was the only fallen one Azazeal believed could understand the situation.
Cassandra had, against his expectations, proved to be beyond his control and Azazeal hadn't met too many of such women in his time. Rachel and Herath came to his mind instantly although their strength had lied with him, instead of against him. Even now the thought of that strength, how it'd felt to wield it when she'd submitted to him, made him ache. If she was still possessed he knew he could've brought her down, but with her defenses and doubts it would be too time consuming to start wooing her again. Yet Azazeal had to make sure Cassandra would not be recruited onto the other side, thus he'd summoned Baraqiel.
"I want you to watch her, make sure she's safe and that she doesn't plot anything against me."
It wasn't exactly what Baraqiel had had in mind. He'd assumed Azazeal would have him secure the route for the child, perhaps eliminate his enemies or watch over the child. A runaway spouse, doing as she willed, certainly didn't sound like Azazeal. Had the angel lost his touch with women, whom he usually wrapped around his finger and used till their deaths? It did sound intriguing though…
Baraqiel smirked at the thought, gaining a warning look from Azazeal. "You will shadow her in your true form, not this human skin," he commanded, gaining a frustrated gruff from the other angel, which only made him add, "Starting of now."
"I've been held within that prison for centuries Azazeal. You could at least allow me a single night's pleasure." Baraqiel protested, raking his hair clearly unsatisfied. Azazeal didn't change his order though. Cassandra's safety most certainly came before the angel's carnal needs that had proved to be the only flaw in Baraqiel's otherwise flawless character.
"Cassandra tried to terminate her pregnancy. If she learns our child is still alive, she might seek him out," he explained. To Baraqiel it was entertainment to hear Azazeal silently admit he might've not been able to sway her mind in such case. He could only imagine how the information had to bother Azazeal himself.
Ah… So finally there was an interesting plaything among Azazeal's conquests?
"Fine," Baraqiel admitted, sitting on the opposite bench row from Azazeal. He knew the child would soon reach maturity in which case the mother would seize being a threat. Best case scenario was of course Azazeal regaining his magical touch and seducing her again to keep her loyal to him.
"What is she like, this Cassandra?" Baraqiel asked. He was already savoring the thought of trailing her steps day and night; hoping he'd see at least as much interesting things as with Rachel. Now that woman had burned even his entrails with just a glare. His daydreaming was quickly interrupted by Azezeal's cold tone of voice however.
"She is innocent, inexperienced and prudent."
Now that certainly didn't sound like anything Azazeal would've felt attracted to; she was too saint-like. Still she was the witch, whose offspring could bring about the End of Days, and Azazeal's bride of sorts. Baraqiel was more than aware of what or who she needed to be protected from because of her status.
"I see," he simply mumbled back, falling deep in thought. Now that he thought about it there was no dilemma or sacrifice involved. It was an honor Azazeal had placed upon his shoulders. A few weeks in his true form among humans couldn't possible be that terrible, even though it did bring chills to the slightly narcissistic angel's spine.
"Does she live at Medenham?"
Azazeal didn't answer at first, merely glared intensively at the glass painting by the altar and the way its shadow had stretched even closer to them in such a short time. This lead Baraqiel to assume she did though and he nodded to himself as his beautiful green eyes became clear at the same time, "McBain…"
Baraqiel didn't give a warning before he fled and allowed his lighter being to vanish slowly into nothingness. He abandoned his human guise quickly transforming into his real self. Even the cold rain outside felt gentle against that hardened skin and its touch seemed to vanish completely when he started running on four feet, the powerful muscles in his arms and legs working in perfect harmony.
Medenham was where he'd last been when he'd tasted freedom in this world. It was curious that he should end up there again.
A/N: Lyrics are The 69 Eyes "Stolen Season"