Title: Promises To Keep
Author: smitha r
Summary: Mohinder wanders the wilds and the angel Gabriel appears, willing to change his fate.
Notes: AU, character deaths, slash. Hooray for crazy biblical-esque wingfic. Don't mind the wacky language, it's just the style I was feeling for this fic. I blame swallowdream for this completely... thank you for the inspiration and the beta omg!
Truly, there had never been one tested as Mohinder, son of a murdered scholar.
Young and idealistic, he had accompanied his father on a journey to visit the great Persian king, so famed for his renowned justice and righteousness. Alas, the journey had come to an ill end for the both of them; caught unawares in the strange and foreign city, thieves had struck their unwitting selves, slaying the older man and beating the younger one until he was overcome with unconsciousness. When Mohinder finally awoke from the darkness, he was no longer in the city but lying in an abandoned field of tangled scrub. What possessions he and his father had once borne on their backs was gone, stolen by the cruel thieves. He was alone in the world, with no means of survival.
There was no time for Mohinder to grieve for his fallen father, for he knew that he had no choice but to be strong and survive this trial, accursed as his fate had been as of late. His mother and sister had no one else and it was a son's obligation to fulfill the duties as provider, lest his kin was left destitute or worse.
Standing up was a challenge unto itself, as his very bones ached from his beating. But stand he did and after surveying his surroundings he set off in what looked like the direction that would most likely lead him to civilization.
The sun rose in all it's glory, soaring to such great heights that the very earth gasped with thirst. And so Mohinder walked onward, as the rays of sunlight beat down upon his forehead and back without mercy. He had not eaten nor had drink for many hours, such that his mind was unable to concentrate on the path before him. His feet swayed with uncertainty before his knees gave way and he fell to the hard ground, weary and hopeless beyond recognition.
"Arise, Mohinder. Shelter is nearby."
Despite his fading strength, Mohinder leapt to his feet and turned at the calm and powerful voice behind him, for he had assumed his walk had been a solitary torture. When he turned, he was greeted with a sight that was not of this earth. Standing before him was a man, dressed in a dark tunic that mirrored his own light (now filthy) tunic. The man had fair skin, like a Grecian, and held himself proudly like one of the Archons of Athens. But this could be no archon, as there were large wings sprouting from his back, richly brown like the colour of his hair. Mohinder was unable to come to a conclusion other than that his senses had been addled from the trauma of his experiences. He could not believe that an angel stood before him. He did not believe in angels of this sort, with fair, glowing skin and eagle-like wings. He believed in devas and rakshasas and the ocean of milk where one found the greatest of the lord's treasures.
Mohinder felt light-headed as he looked at the creature that he was certain was not there. A strange dizziness passed over him. "Speak your name, for you already know mine."
The 'angel' smiled slowly, which added to the illusion of his unearthly glow. "I have many names, but you may call me Gabriel."
Mohinder couldn't help but try to decipher the answer, even in this strange moment. Being a scholar's son came to good use; his father had studied the religion of the exiled people, and the name sounded familiar to his ears. Mohinder thought that it made sense, that he would hallucinate a creature his father had spoken of. Starvation and grief would be his ultimate condemners, to be sure.
"Do not think of such things, Mohinder." Gabriel said solemnly, as if he were granting a great boon to the man. "Salvation is at hand if you salvage the last of your strength and do as I command. Walk four by forty paces to your left and you will find refuge in a large cave, tunneling deep within the cliffs there."
Mohinder felt his limbs getting weaker as he eyed Gabriel disbelievingly. "You are not real. You are in my mind because you are of my own conception. My murdered father spoke of you, and you stand before me due to the pain of my loss."
His words seemed to agitate the 'angel', who stepped closer to Mohinder, wings spread outwards in a show of power. "I am no one's creation but my own." His words were spoken with resounding confidence and pride. Gabriel did not back away from Mohinder after he spoke, choosing instead to gaze upon the dark-skinned man as only one of god's creations could gaze upon a mortal.
Mohinder blinked slowly, his conviction faltering in the face of the creature's proclamation. Could he really be in the presence of an angel? Turning to his left, he squinted and searched for the cliffs that Gabriel had mentioned, but he could see nothing in sight. He turned back to Gabriel, in askance of the cliffs, and found that he was once again alone in the wilderness.
But lo did the lord smile upon Mohinder, accursed though he was. The cliffs were indeed where Gabriel had said them to be, and Mohinder began to realize that it had not been trickery of the mind that caused him to see the angel. Though he did not believe in those heavenly creatures, he had been blessed enough to see one, to be saved by one.
The inside of the cave was cool. To Mohinder's great surprise, laying on the floor of the cave was a woven mat that was covered with an excess of food and drink. How such a feast had appeared in the middle of nowhere was beyond Mohinder's comprehension, unless he were to assume Gabriel had prepared this for him. He did not stop to ponder this conclusion for long, for his thirst and his hunger were great and demanded to be satisfied immediately. Mohinder consumed his fill of the cool water, sweet fruits, warm breads, and succulent meats that lay before him, until he felt his body grow tired and contented.
"Satisfied, are you?" The voice that spoke was cool and measured, with a shade of amusement as well. Mohinder looked over his shoulder to see that Gabriel had appeared behind him, leaning forward slightly.
Mohinder turned with his head bowed, affording the angel the reverence it deserved. "Yes. I thank you, Gabriel, for this gift you have given to me. Forgive me for doubting your true nature; it was the mistake of a learned man, as well as one unprepared to see you in this incarnation." Mohinder once again thought of the devas, the angels of his childhood tales who waged sometimes senseless war with the demons, who could be so petty and cowardly and ego-filled as to earn the wrath of the gods. The angel before him was different from the ones he was familiar with.
Mohinder's words drew a brilliant smile from Gabriel. "You are a good man, Mohinder, and do not deserve to lie in the wastes of the desert."
"All I require now is to sleep, after which I can continue my journey to civilization." Mohinder explained, stifling a yawn.
Gabriel looked at the man for a moment before he stepped forward, wings outstretched. Mohinder was surprised as he felt the wings wrap around his body, warm and soothing, as well as Gabriel's arms around his shoulders. That dizzy feeling overcame him again; it was difficult to consider what was happening when he felt so light-headed, while the angel Gabriel was trailing his hands down Mohinder's back and chest and whispering to him.
"I will grant you the deepest of sleeps, Mohinder." Gabriel murmured, the angel's lips brushing against his ear, wings bringing him closer. "One that will restore your strength to the fullest, so that you may complete your quest. It is my second gift to you."
When Gabriel pressed his lips against Mohinder's, he kissed back, unable to do anything else under the staggering dizziness that was coursing through his mind. When Gabriel's tongue passed through Mohinder's parted lips, he replied in kind, the light-headedness (and the warmth of the angel's wings) flooded through his blood. Gabriel tasted like... nothing. Like breathing in clouds from a remote mountain-top. Gabriel's skin was cool and smooth, even in the oppressing heat of the desert. But the pressure of the angel against him was intoxicating and Mohinder found himself grabbing the dark tunic Gabriel wore so that he could pull him closer, pressing his body against the lithe frame of the angel. He did not know for how long they stood there, locked in their strange embrace and drinking each other in like fevered lovers, but it came to an abrupt end when Gabriel's wings pulled away and the shaft of a sword was thrust through Mohinder's back.
He cried out in pain, stumbling backwards and falling to the floor of the cave. He looked up at the angel and the bloody sword, eyes blazing with accusation. Mohinder's voice was hoarse. "What have you done?!"
Gabriel's familiar smile returned, looking cruel and heartless in the light of his treachery. "My dear Mohinder, I was not lying when I said you were a good man. But you should have studied your father's words with closer attention, for then you would have known my full name." He crouched down, mouth to Mohinder's ear. "Not even good men are spared from the Angel of Death. This is my third gift to you."
And then Gabriel straightened himself with a shake of his wings, walking out from the cave without a second look. For he was the most feared of the lord's angels and did not regret his actions; a soul to be taken was nothing more than a soul to be taken. His was a tiresome task, to forever severe the mortal coils that shackled men and women. So Gabriel amused himself with the tasks in whichever way he could, never with regard for anything other than his mark and his desires. What his victims thought of him was not his concern, no matter how good or intelligent or beautiful, begging to be saved in the heat of the desert sun.