Authors Note: My huge thanks to everyone who has reviewed any of the chapters or put this story on their alerts and favourites. Those things really keep an author working hard! Special thanks to everyone who reviewed the last chapter: KittyBePraised, Akatsuki Feathers, Mizuni-no-neko, Bethany C. MacKenzie, Determined (thanks for picking up on that mistake in my French! I've been back and corrected it), hikaru h and Hayze-Chan! I do send out review replies for the last chapter.
And so, the final chapter. I'm kinda sad to have finished this story, it was a total blast to work on. But y'know, I learned something in the process. That Dip rocks, that writing Christophe is the most fun a girl can have with her clothes on (even if he has a mind of his bloody own and refuses to co-operate with what I intended him to do) and that I prefer Kenny without the angst. I was having a kinda Wayne's World experience with the last chapter – let's do this ending! No, let's do this ending! But this is the ending I've decided on. No going back now!
Onto something new – what that might be, I've no idea, since my muse appears to have buggered off with the last of the tequila and left me bereft of ideas! Seriously, I've got nothing. Whatever I might end up working on, I hope you'll keep an eye out for it. Hope you enjoy the ending and please review!
I know you've sinned every sin, but I'll still take you in.
Damien's occasional excursions from Hell usually saw his return through through the same portals used by his father; a shooting pillar of fire for dramatic effect, the immediate transferral from his current position back into the pit. It was relatively dignified, it appealed to his sense of self and it was completely painless.
Not so after dying in the mortal world.
The first thing Damien was aware of was a sense of velocity, moving at great speed although he couldn't quite work out how he was being propelled. There was darkness all around him, total blackness that he couldn't see through and the sense of a distance, that he could reach out his hand and not touch a thing.
And suddenly, there was a light from beneath him. Blinking, he realised it was the hellfire he was so used to, only it was very, very far away. Although it was getting closer quickly.
Because he was falling.
The rest of the word was lost as he crashed face-first into the rock that made the surface of hell. When he was younger, he would laugh at the sight of the damned smashing down, not always escaping the process with all their limbs. He finally understood why it wasn't actually very funny.
Groaning, he got to his feet, his injuries healing rapidly as his body realised where it was and the lack of limitations upon it. He examined himself curiously, not exactly surprised to have form but wondering at the physics of the realm that had made it possible, if he would still be able to return to the mortal world or if that body was the only one he would ever have up there. The first Dagger of Megiddo was the one to kill his mortal form, it took all of them to wipe him from existence entirely and of course, there had only been one in the car.
And that led him back to thinking of how he had died so ignobly in the first place.
Satan strode over to him, occasionally stepping on the figures of the damned still lying around. Damien rolled his eyes, not in the mood to explain himself.
"Did you take back the demon?"
"It jumped," snapped Damien. "You have to send me back right now..."
There was a sound, a yammering, screaming noise that Damien immediately recognised; one of the lesser demons in an extremity of torment. But this was not the place where those creatures were held, this was where the recently deceased fell. So why?
His answer came as the demon that had fancied itself as Asmodeus burst through the sky, screaming its horror and despair at being back in Hell again, this time with no chance of escape. Damien glared at it as it cowered and grovelled on the floor in front of Satan.
"Well, it's back," said Satan. "I suppose that's the important thing. Although I don't understand why it came back after you."
"Neither do I." Damien snarled at the demon, his eyes burning, noting the way it showed subservient fear – and something else. It was gloating.
"You jumped," said Damien. "What happened?"
Damien's voice was cold, commanding and held only evil intent; there was no question of disobeying. The demon scrabbled at the floor. "The boy, Pip, contained me. He was soaked in sacramental water. He pulled out his own eyes."
"Dead?" Damien's voice was barely a whisper and Satan looked at him sharply. "Pip – he's dead?"
"His soul took me with it," replied the demon, a hint of glee entering its voice. "It was most painful, for both of us."
Frozen to the spot, Damien remembered the times he had looked into Pip's eyes, the clear blue of the irises, the way they broadcast his emotions. The sorrow in them when he had stabbed Damien. The memory was replaced by an image of Pip, skin burning and melting, holding his eyes in the palm of his hands as if in supplication.
Grief and fury and murderous rage overtook him. Damien took a step toward the demon, his eyes sparking fire, flames bursting from his right hand as he pulled back his arm to strike the demon – and then stopped, the fire dwindling. "But he's not here."
He looked around wildly as if to confirm his words, while Satan frowned in confusion. "Pip? Not your little friend from third grade surely."
"Dad," said Damien urgently, turning to leave. "I need you to keep hold of the demon for me. We're going to have some quality time later on. But I've gotta do something more important first."
"Damien!" Satan looked completely bewildered as his son strode away. "Where are you going?"
"I haven't got much time before he's past the gate!"
"Damien, you're not."
"Sorry dad, but I have to get to Heaven!"
The ground was white, which was pretty usual. What wasn't usual was that this didn't seem to be snow and although he was kneeling in it, it wasn't cold. He was shirtless, allowing him to see his unmarked torso, but that wasn't right either because something – something had happened...
And then he remembered he shouldn't be seeing anything at all.
Looking up, Pip was struck by a sense of vastness. A set of gates were closed ahead of him, golden and so huge that he felt dwarfed by them. Beyond them, he could hear music and laughter, the sound calming him, bringing a peace he had never previously known. The skies stretching off into the distance were cloudless and blue, he could see no sign of an end before the horizon. In this massive, unfamiliar place, after everything that had happened, he should have been terrified – yet he wasn't. He felt very strongly that nothing here could harm him.
And yet as peaceful as he felt, as serene as his surroundings were, he was aware that all was not as it should be.
Someone was stood behind him. Looking over his shoulder, he saw a young woman, easily as tall as he was and as naked as the day she was born – although he somehow doubted she had been born in the usual way.
"I'm in Heaven?"
"Most people sound happier about it," she told him, making a complicated motion on his back, tickling him so that he squirmed from the touch. A moment later, there was a painless but alien feeling beneath his skin and he twisted around, staring at his back in alarm as a set of wings burst from his shoulder blades.
He gave an experimental twitch of his shoulder blades, a grin breaking out on his face as the wings moved. A few attempts saw him able to coax the wings into flapping gently, although he wasn't about to try flying with them until he saw an instruction manual or possibly some kind of training video.
The young woman left his field of vision but as soon as he turned to keep watching her, he realised she had vanished from sight, although there was nowhere she could have realistically gone in the moment she had been unwatched. Deciding it wasn't important, Pip went back to testing out his wings, although the initial delight was wearing off. The memories of his life and the manner of his death were creeping into his mind again, leaving him with unanswered questions and a deep-seated sense of anxiety.
"Welcome to Heaven."
Pip looked over at the gates, realising that they had opened a fraction, allowing a man to emerge. Man in appearance at least. Long chestnut hair flowed over his shoulders and he was dressed in armour that seemed to come from some far gone era, the Greeks perhaps, or the Romans. He too had wings, folded neatly behind his back and a halo caught the light, completing the vision. He was easily the most handsome man Pip had ever laid eyes on, making the Brit feel more than a little uncomfortable, like he had gone to a formal event in fancy dress.
"Um, hello," said Pip nervously.
"We're very glad to have you here," said the angel in a booming voice that somehow both inspired awe and created a secure feeling in Pip's chest. "I'm Raphael and I'll be your guide for your Heavenly orientation. Should you have any questions at any time, feel free to..."
"Wait," said Pip hurriedly. "I think there's been a mistake."
Raphael looked unamused by the assertion. "This is Heaven. We don't make mistakes."
"Well, I just want to make absolutely certain that you know all about me." Pip gave a nervous smile. "Just recently, I killed four people, had gay sex with the Antichrist and committed suicide."
"It's been a funny sort of week," agreed Pip.
"Although the killings happened by your hand, they were in reality the work of a lesser demon possessing your body," Raphael reminded him. "And what you described as suicide was an act of self-sacrifice for a greater good, ridding the world of a great evil. It actually makes you a martyr."
"It does?" Pip considered this for a moment. "Okay, but what about the other thing?"
"What about it?"
"I'm gay," said Pip, slowly and carefully.
"We fail to see how that affects your afterlife status."
"You don't see how it affects it? I had sex with the Antichrist!"
The voice from behind him sounded wryly amused. "Are you bragging or complaining?"
Pip spun around, shock etched into his features. "Damien?"
"Hey." Damien stood among the clouds, looking uncomfortable and nervous, apparently trying not to touch anything. "Wow, wings. That's a good look for you."
"But – how are you here?"
"It's as far as I go," replied Damien. "God and Satan have a little understanding. Dad sometimes asks for help with his love life. This is how he gets here, but y'know, I'm not him and I don't want to go any closer. All this holiness sets my teeth on edge."
"But when we were at the church, you uh, were a little upset."
Damien flipped off the smirking Raphael without even looking at him. "I'm not as strong in mortal form as I am in the afterlife. That's how I can come here."
"So why..." Pip trailed off. "What did you come here for?"
Damien shrugged, not meeting Pip's eye. "I just wanted to say thanks. And sorry. And goodbye."
"Goodbye?" Pip bit his lip. "But – I thought I'd be going to Hell, I don't know why I'm here!"
"Being gay isn't a sin Pip," said Raphael.
"Not since they relaxed the Mormon Law anyway," added Damien.
"But it was you and – I just assumed I'd be damned by association."
"I don't get it either," said Damien. "But if I were you, I'd just be glad. You can go to Heaven and be happy. I'm – I'm glad you're not going to be damned. You deserve this. I'm sorry about everything I dragged you into and – well, I guess I'll see you during the next war."
Damien took a last, lingering look at Pip, trying to memorise everything about him; the way he stood poised as if ready to move, his bare torso no longer marked by life's casual cruelties, or death, or Damien himself, the fine blonde hair loose around his shoulders, slightly parted lips, blue eyes widened in incomprehension. And the wings, marking out the reason that the two of them could never be together again.
Damien had stormed up to Heaven with every intent of claiming possession of Pip, his mind shouting I want, gimme, mine. He'd been planning on tearing the angels realm apart if he had to, laying waste to the whole of Heaven just to get the boy back.
But seeing Pip standing at the gates, he had changed his mind.
Not about the wanting – more than anything else, he wanted to tell Raphael to shove it and spirit Pip back to Hell with him. But that wasn't what Pip wanted. Mortals spent a lifetime of sacrifice and self-denial trying to get to Heaven and no one deserved it more than Pip. Damien couldn't deny him that.
It might be what was best for Pip, but the decision was making Damien miserable and he didn't know why he was sticking to it instead of just taking what he wanted. Something about Pip fucked up his way of thinking and damn, he missed selfishness at that moment.
"Yeah," said Damien quietly, unsuccessfully trying to keep the confusion and sadness out of his voice. Knowing that he was never again going to see the blonde made him feel desolate and that was a new and unwelcome emotion for him. "Bye."
He turned his back on Heaven and prepared to leave.
Damien froze at the sound of Pip's yell, letting the word sink into his brain before turning slowly. Pip had started toward him, but under Damien's gaze he faltered and stopped. The look on his face was very much afraid, but determined. A part of Damien expected him to want a goodbye kiss or something and that was going to make leaving him behind that much harder – but he wasn't about to deny the request either.
"I – I don't want to go to Heaven."
Of all the things Damien had been expecting, these words weren't among them. "What?"
Pip's voice trembled, but his look remained defiant. "I don't want to go. I want to be where ever you are. I don't need a place to make me happy, or an eternity with clouds and harps and bloody angels. I need you."
Damien's eyes widened and he had to force himself to remain calm. He wasn't entirely convinced that Pip knew just what he was asking.
"Look Pip – I – I'm not worth throwing away your chance of Heaven for! I can't promise you anything. I can't tell you things will work out if you do come with me. I was born to be evil and you – weren't. You were made for this." Damien indicated to the Heavens with a slight sneer.
"I'm not asking you to promise anything," said Pip quietly. "I'm not asking you to change. I know what you say you are and how you are with other people. And I know how you are with me."
Raphael sighed. "Philip, he is his Fathers child. All he does, he does for his own benefit. He is lies and deceit made flesh. You cannot trust your emotions around him, because his purpose is manipulating them."
"Who invited you to stick your oar in?" snapped Pip.
Damien gave a laugh and quickly stifled it, trying to remember the reasons he was arguing against what he wanted. But somewhere within himself, he dared to hope. "Pip, this isn't something you can go back on if you decide it's a mistake – I mean, we only had a couple of days..."
"And it isn't enough," continued Pip, gathering his courage and closing the distance between them. "I want to be with you Damien. If you'll have me of course. I mean, I did kill you earlier."
"No one's perfect," replied Damien, trying to keep the grin off his face and look serious. "I rip out peoples intestines when I get bored."
"I once threw a kitten into a patch of nettles."
"That's it. You're definitely evil. You belong in Hell."
"I belong with you."
Damien caught Pip's hands and looked into his eyes. "Are you sure about this? I – I want you with me but I don't want you to make a mistake – shit, there's something seriously wrong with my mind since I met you. It's all confusion and chaos."
"Do you want me to back away?"
"Hell no. I like confusion and chaos. Gimme more."
"As much as you want."
"And you're sure?"
"I've never been more sure about anything." Pip leaned forward and caught Damien's lips with his own, chuckling deep in his throat as Damien immediately deepened the kiss, wrapping his arms protectively around the boy and pulling him close. Pip put his arms around Damien's neck, burying his hands in his hair.
Damien pulled away for a moment, slightly breathless. "You think they'll let you keep the wings?"
"They're a turn-on."
"I always wanted to screw an angel."
"I'm quite sure turning down Heaven means I'm not technically an angel."
"Fuck technicalities. You're close enough."
At the gates, Raphael watched the display, forgotten. He turned slightly and looked down as he was joined by another figure.
"Is this a part of your plan?" Raphael's voice was doubtful.
God regarded the pair. "I gave all mortals free will. Pip made his choice."
Raphael sighed. "I don't pretend to understand, but the Antichrist is standing at the gates of Heaven with a hand – wait, now it's both hands, on the ass of an angel. It looks bad."
God gave Raphael an amused glance. "Maybe it all depends on the way you view the situation."
Raphael sighed. The Lord truly did work in mysterious ways and just like any underling working for an omnipotent boss, trying to fathom out the logic was giving him a headache. But before he could enquire any further, he was distracted by a pillar of flame as Damien and Pip vanished from Heaven together.
There was a pause, then God spoke. "They ran off with the wings, didn't they?"