Oh, how it hurt. But Loki couldn't leave. He just couldn't.

It was Bartleby's eyes. It had to be. They trapped him like nothing else. God's eyes, so entrancing, could not even hope to hold a candle to Bartleby's. Bartleby had chocolate colored eyes, Loki decided. Milk chocolate that had been melted down and mixed with Hershey's chocolate sauce in a pan, swirled around and around and around…

Beautiful.

So when Bartleby began talking like the Morning Star, began ranting and raving, Loki tried to pass it off to himself as Bartleby just frustrated with the entire world and trying to get it off of his chest. The metal pole against his back made everything seem that much more real, and Loki shivered.

It certainly didn't help that Bartleby's eyes were paralyzing him with every step.

And even though they were getting into some serious deep shit, Loki followed his friend. Because that's what they were. Friends, right? Just friends.

Yeah. Right. Because whenever Loki thought something naughty, it just always had to be about Bartleby. And in the way humans say God intended for a man and a woman, no less.

So it hurt. It hurt bad. It hurt when Bartleby got power crazy, and couldn't stop, and Loki could do nothing to stop him himself. Even when things got really bad.

And then in the fight at the church, Loki's wings were wrenched from his body. As soon as he could, he threw up. He retched into the grass as he felt his grace leave him, and he knew without a doubt that there was nothing for him now. Not even Bartleby, who would probably take any two-dollar hooker if he could, would have him now.

God wouldn't want him. Lucifer, his own brother, would sneer and laugh at him.

Despite all these realizations, Loki managed to hold back tears. He didn't know how, but he did. He found the best, biggest bottle of wine he could and pulled the cork out with his teeth. It wasn't a good idea to drink right after throwing up, he knew that from watching humans do it, but he did it anyways. He didn't care about the consequences now. He'd never be able to go home. Not really.

So he sat against a news truck, watching as Bartleby began to pick up random people from the street and drop them from the sky. He hoped Bartleby was having fun. In his drunken state, Loki still clung to the thought of Bartleby. All that mattered in this world was his compadre. He just hoped that Bartleby was having fun, that Bartleby was happy. Loki had only ever done all of this for Bartleby.

As drunk as he was, Loki recognized the muse. She was beautiful, certainly, but she, like God, couldn't hold a candle to Bartleby.

Oh, he had it bad. He had it so bad.

Exhausted and… Just exhausted, Loki managed to speak when Bartleby finally came down from the skies.

"I… Can't let you do this, Bartleby." Loki swayed on his feet and almost lost grip on the wine bottle. "I… Might have to take you down." None of his fathers Creations deserved that. So he took a stance and waited. For what he didn't know.

"It's okay." Bartleby's voice was soft, and gentle. Reassuring. As was his touch. Loki almost dropped the entire thing. Almost.

"I'll do it." He reassured himself. But he had already dropped his fist, already gone as limp as a rag doll, all of his energy lost.

Their heads, so close together. Loki could have kissed him. Something in his stomach rolled back, however, writhed away from the rejection that would have been sure to come afterwards. So he didn't.

"My compatriot." Loki had the feeling Bartleby wasn't talking to him anymore. But that was okay. Anything to listen to Bartleby talk. "Genocide takes a lot out of him." The hand on his shoulder was warm. "He's weakened."

"You're weak." Loki joked, smirking cockily. He just wanted things to be normal again. He wanted to be home, and by his Mother, and his Brothers and Sisters and he wanted his life back again. And if not that… Then please, please, God, just give him Bartleby.

"More importantly, he's also a human being." Loki's smirk faded. Here it came. The rejection, the hate. "A condition which carries two liabilities." Oh, Bartleby, Pray tell. What would those be? "A conscience." Bartleby paused, looking down at Loki's waist.

Loki wondered what he was looking for. And then he knew. The stab to his gut was more painful than anything he had experienced short of his grace being taken from his very soul. What hurt even more than the physical pain was the sting of betrayal. The worst rejection Loki could have ever imagined, here before him. Loki's eyebrows went up with surprise, showing his hurt features.

Why, Bartleby? Was I just not good enough? Needless to say, the pain sobered him up quite a bit. But I still love you. What's wrong with me, Bartleby? Why do I still love you? Why can't I just hate you and move on? I love you. I'm sorry. Please, Bartleby…? Help me. Please.

These were his last thoughts as he hit the ground, not hearing Bartleby's words. Did he not even warrant a goodbye?

As everything faded to black, Loki sobbed deep within his forever human soul.

He shuffled his feet outside the gates of Heaven. Apparently, he did not deserve Hell, but did not warrant Heaven, either. Forever stuck in Limbo. Loki didn't care, though. Though there was no longer a wound in his side, Loki's body still hurt. It hurt and his heart hurt and his head hurt and oh, God of all things Holy, what was he going to do?

Loki sobbed. He screamed and cried and pounded the not-so-earth below him, because he had no other way to express himself. It wasn't like anyone was watching. Not even St. Peter, who guarded the gates, would look at him. No one cared. Bartleby, who he had thought at least regarded him as a comrade at the very least, didn't even care.

Well, then again, why should he have?

Loki was only human.

A light graced the crying soul, shining deeply. Metatron stood beside it, looking down upon Loki with pity and sympathy. Although Loki had the body of a twenty-something, his mentality drifted between a five year old and a teenager. This was his five-year-old side, the side in which he was too innocent and naïve to believe that angels could be used by each other in such a fashion.

Metatron knew that Loki had loved someone forbidden to him. It was easy to see in the way Loki moved about Bartleby, the way he spoke to him- careful not to mean any insult, whatever the provocation. And Metatron knew that Loki needed Bartleby like God's creations needed air. Bartleby was the only one who could reign Loki in at times, the only one that could really keep him on his feet.

And now that was gone, taken from him all in one swipe. Metatron would never dream of wishing that on anyone. Except maybe Lucifer. Yeah, except Lucifer. Loki, who had always done what God asked of him, could no longer know the warm and gentle touch of their Creator, could never again hear Her sweet voice (when it wasn't so loud in Heaven, that is), could never ever again be truly whole.

He stood by as God came forward, Enveloping Loki in Her wondrous light. Maybe Metatron was wrong on a couple of the things Loki would never get again. Maybe. He tried not to listen in on their whispered words.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, God, I'm so fucking sorry." Loki sobbed into his Mother's shoulder, holding tight to Her as She to him, crying and apologizing for shit he didn't even do. Stuff he'd seen humans do and stuff he had thought about doing and shit that he had caught himself almost doing.

He even apologized for existing. He didn't know anymore, what was right and what was wrong. Bartleby had fucked that all up. Not that Loki cared, really, because he had it so hard for Bartleby that that had stopped mattering a long time ago, so long as he had the brunette by his side.

There had been a time when Loki felt invincible. He was the strongest that he could ever imagine himself of being, and now that, too, was gone. He was the weakest, most pathetic soul he'd ever met, including those of sinners. He hated it, too. Hated it so much that it transcended all negative feelings.

"I'm sorry." His voice broke and quivered before he fell silent.

"Shhh, my child." God hushed him, smiling fondly upon him. "It's okay now." She kissed the top of his head.

Unbidden from his back, wings sprouted. Exactly as they had been. Loki's back bowed, and he arched away from his great appendages. Their return had been quite unexpected, after all. Loki could say nothing of his gratitude. He didn't know how to express it in words. So he let God in on his feelings, bared his entire soul for Her. Metatron turned away- there were some things he did not need to see.

And God knew. She couldn't say she was entirely pleased with Loki, but his actions before had redeemed him. God had tests for everyone, this just happened to be a test for all. Loki, thankfully, had passed. This time. God held out her arm to the gates of Heaven, which St. Peter opened, and Loki hurriedly found his way inside with a single glance back.

"…Will… Will he be here, too? Or… Or will he be outside?" He whispered.

God just winked and left with Metatron in a bright flashing of light.

Loki walked inside, broken. Hardly a shell of the Angel he once was, trying not to be too pathetic in his wake. As the gates slammed shut behind him, Loki went to his old cloud. It was just as he'd left it- not even a little dusty. Loki sat down. And he stared. He stared off into space and tried not to dwell on his own little pity party. There'd been enough of that to last him a fucking lifetime and a half. Which it already had.

For now, he just relaxed in his Mother's ways. Even if Bartleby wouldn't have him, maybe… Just maybe, Loki could still be there with him. He'd gladly go to Hell, if Bartleby were there. He'd have his grace ripped from him dozens of times over, if Bartleby were there to piece him back together.

And then he remembered the betrayal, and Loki curled up on his side and tried not to think anymore as hard as he possibly could, his wings tucked around him like protective shields.