Angel's Requiem (Epilogue)
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. This is the end, kids, so R/R.
He stood before the house and sighed deeply, wishing that there was some other way of doing this. At times like this, Josh Guthrie really hated having a soul. However, he had promised Matthew Risman he would do this and, after all the man had done for him, Josh figured it was time to start returning the favor. He quietly walked up to the door and rang the bell. It had taken some time with the school's computers and a few minutes with Emma Frost before he had located Piper Risman. Once he had an address though, Josh had wasted no time in arriving here. It was best to get this over with quickly.
"Hi," said a voice. Josh looked down at the girl that had answered the door. He could tell she was Matthew's daughter. He had hoped she would be in bed at this hour.
"Hi," replied Josh as he knelt down so he was eye-level with Grace, "I need to talk to your mother about something very important. Is she around?"
"Mom," said Grace as she turned back inside the house. Josh smiled a little as he stepped into the house. He watched as a woman made her way to the front door.
"Mrs. Risman?" asked Josh, "Piper?"
"I don't use that last name anymore," replied Piper, "Who are you and what do you want?"
"It's about your husband," explained Josh quietly, "Can we talk in private?" Piper nodded and motioned for Josh to follow her into the kitchen. Josh obliged and followed the woman into the room, taking a seat at the table while she closed the door.
"He's dead, isn't he?" asked Piper as she turned to face Josh.
"Yeah," replied Josh with a solemn nod, "I don't know how much you know about his work."
"He used to kill people for just money," said Piper with slight disgust, "I think I liked it better than I liked him killing people for Jesus. I've known this day was going to come. The Matthew I fell in love with was already dead."
"He saved my life," said Josh matter-of-factly, "He hated me because I was a mutant and I hated him for hating me. In the end, he took a bullet for me. He gave his life for me."
"That kinda sounds like Matt," admitted Piper as she sat down next to Josh, "That sounds like the Matt I knew before he got on this kick about God and getting right with Jesus."
"He told me to tell you he had to do the Lord's work," explained Josh quietly, "I think he finally understood it all in the end."
"Is there something I should do?" asked Piper, "Do I need to identify a body or something?"
"Teach your daughter to love people instead of hate them," replied Josh as he got up to leave, "I don't know if there is a God but if there is then that's what He'd want us to do. At the very least, it's what your husband would've wanted." Josh continued walking and stepped out of the house. He had a few other things to do before he faded away into the night to find his own path.
"Will you be back?" asked Piper.
"I'll be around," assured Josh without turning to look at her. With that, he simply vanished into the night like a ghost.
"You know you don't have to do that, right?" Sooraya Qadir finished her prayer and turned from Josh's grave to face the man himself.
"It is a healthy habit," assured Dust with a smile, "I would not wish you to be forgotten."
"Something tells me I won't be," said Josh as he came up next to her and stared at the headstone. It was somewhat creepy to stare at your own grave.
"Orpheus," said Josh, his voice so low that it was almost a whisper.
"Hm?" asked Dust as she looked at him quizzically.
"I told you before that I needed a new name," reminded Josh, "I think I'm going to call myself 'Orpheus'."
"I am unfamiliar with the name," admitted Dust.
"Orpheus was a character in Greek mythology," explained Josh, "He journeyed to the realm of Hades to retrieve his wife. Hades promised to let them both go but the catch was that he had to walk in front of her and never look back to make sure she was behind him. Orpheus couldn't resist doing so and she vanished from his sight forever when he looked back."
"I take it you no longer wish to look back?" asked Dust.
"I was told not to," replied Josh, "I think it's finally time I looked forward. Plus, the Greeks believed that Orpheus was a great poet and musician."
"Very fitting then," said Dust with a nod, "Will you be staying with us, Jay?" They both knew the question was coming sooner or later. He knew she wanted him to stay and he hated to break her heart.
"I can't," admitted Josh, "These new powers will take time to control and I'd like to do that alone. It's part of looking forward. I can't stay here and be reminded of what's happened, of what I've done."
"Will I see you again?" asked Dust hopefully.
"God willing, yes," replied Josh with a smile as he reached up to touch the veil covering Sooraya's face. Dust's hand instinctively moved to stop him from removing the veil.
"I can't," explained Dust.
"I know," replied Josh, "It's just that I'd rather not kiss you through cloth."
"Oh," said Dust as Josh's hand retreated. She felt the sweat on her palms as she slowly removed the veil and shook her head to get her hair to flow out before looking at Josh again.
"You have beautiful eyes," whispered Josh as he cupped her chin and then brought her into a deep, passionate kiss that left her cold and warm at the same time.
"You are the only one who could help me heal," whispered Josh as their lips parted, "I will find my way back to you."
"I'll be waiting," assured Dust as Josh turned and began walking away. He knew in some way he was in love with this girl, this mysterious rose of the desert. It didn't matter. He had to find himself and then once he had done so perhaps he would be the type of person who deserved someone like Sooraya.
"Mama always said you were a heartbreaker." Josh turned to look at his older sister as she leaned against a tree. He smiled and shook his head, staring at her as if this was truly the first time he had seen her in a very long time.
"Leaving too?" asked Josh.
"Eventually," assured Paige, "Warren might want to stick around longer. I think he likes seeing Scott and the others. I don't really know where I'll go."
"I'm sure Sam's team could use a hand," said Josh.
"He can take care of himself," assured Paige with a shake of her head, "You're enough of a handful."
"I bet," said Josh as he closed the distance between them and hugged her, "Thanks, sis."
"Nothing I wouldn't do for any of my siblings," assured Paige, "Besides, you're my favorite brother anyway."
"Take care of yourself," said Josh, "Keep an eye on these kids when you can."
"I'll try," promised Paige as the two siblings separated. Josh waved goodbye as he turned and walked silently into the woods before simply disappearing. Paige stood staring at where he had been. She swore she could hear music coming from somewhere. The tune was new but she could tell the voice was still Josh's. It no longer sounded hollow and mournful. It was the song of a man who had been damaged but was walking down the road to recovery. Paige closed her eyes and listened to the music until little by little it faded away into the night.