Prompt: 003. Flashes of Euphoria

Rating: K+

Fandom: Demon: The Fallen

Characters: Catherine Walker

Word Count: 1334

Warnings: N/A

Author's Note: A piece written from the perspective of the creepiest villain I've ever created. It's filled with her bias and euphemisms, so she doesn't sound as bad as she is, but I hope that some undertones of creepy was still conveyed. The pacing of this fic isn't that good, since I've essentially condensed a few millennia of experiences into just over a thousand words…but this fic, like all my fics, is more centred on the internal, so, hopefully, it's not as bad as it could be.

Humanity is God's greatest work.

Caroline knew that, had always known that, but she hadn't truly appreciated the significance of those words until now.

She had appreciated it once, when her own soul was still untarnished and she was blind to the dark side of creation. When she still served God faithfully and somehow restrained herself to just peeking in on the humans, hiding her presence from them as if she was a dirty secret.

There were very few of them then, but they had been beautiful. Beyond beautiful. Not even when she prayed to God had she experienced such glory and grace. And the most amazing thing was how they seemed to hardly notice how breath-taking they were. It was as if they couldn't hear the trees sing with joy when they were near, as if they couldn't hear the whispers of endearment from the very earth itself, as if they couldn't feel how the entirety of creation resonated around them, revolving with them at the centre.

She had spent centuries, millennia, spying upon their activities, and every single time, no matter how long she had been doing it, they never failed to make her chest tighten and her soul flare in delight.

But then she had fell, and whilst the humans were still beautiful and she could still see their beauty…she paid it less mind, being much too focused on the war effort. She had closed herself in, deep inside the Stone Capital, and worked amongst cold, unfeeling metals and earths, with only her fellow fallen angels for company.

For a while, she had almost forgotten the blazing heat of humanity and how it had once invigorated and enthralled her.

But eventually, after gruelling millennia filled with strife and bloodshed, the darkest period of the war was over, and she could once again wander amongst humans and bask in their presence.

And she did exactly that.

They were as beautiful and moving as she remembered them to be, and she devoted herself to their service, willing to do anything and everything to spend one more moment next to that bonfire, that storm of life, energy, love, and hope.

But then…then, hell came, and there were no humans, no souls, no angels…not even her native elements of metal and earth to keep her company. Her, an angel of Firmament, was forced to float through the eternal darkness and void, to experience the Is Not when she had only known the Is…sometimes, she thinks, the only reason she had survived at all was because of her memories of the humans, so strong, so resilient…surely, whatever was happening out there couldn't possibly break them, right?

And so she clung to that silver of hope and wished that she could still pray.

And then, her hell was cracked open. The first ray of light since the beginning of creation shone in and illuminated the non-existence of the Pit, and she could feel her soul stirring, yearning, longing, knowing that her love, her children were beyond the storm that raged beyond her confinement.

She barely hesitated.

She threw herself into the storm and fought and clawed and shrieked and barely noticed the winds lashing and tearing and ripping at her flesh.

She'd have been happy to die there, she thought, in a blaze of glory, fighting to regain the perfection she dimly remembered.

But then, just as she was certain she was about to be torn apart, the storm abated, and she found herself descending upon the world…

Except it wasn't the world she knew anymore.

There were humans, billions upon billions of them, cluttering the surface, milling about without purpose; there were strange new structures, rigid, inflexible, shallow - a grotesque projection distorting the fabric of creation; there were creatures, vampires and changeling and ghosts and sin-eaters, each a blight upon god's work, each a menace to humanity.

But most of all, the change that had devastated her and sent her spiralling into a despair so profound that she had never experienced anything like it in her tenure in hell, was the souls. The wonderful souls which she had been willing to slave away for. The souls which had been her only comfort in hell.

They were dim now, tiny embers that flickered in the night, easily put out by the slightest breeze. Their light, which had once penetrated her being and filled her with warmth and life, now only illuminated the few inches around them, and beyond that, lay a darkness so complete and absolute that she refused to look upon it, for it reminded her far too much of her prison.

What was this place? What had happened?

As she fell, she couldn't help the cry that wrenched itself from her chest, a mourning wail for what was she had lost.

At that moment, she almost wished that she had been killed during the war, that she had been wiped from existence. After all, what was the purpose of existing if the creatures she had fought tooth and claw for had been reduced to this - a broken, incoherent babble, stumbling through life, blind and deaf?

But something, some residual shred of hope that refuse to fade, kept her living, dealing with the terrible pangs of longing her host body suffered, coping with the startling frailty of humans – beings that she had thought of as perfection before.

The years past, and slowly, she found herself coming to appreciate the dull embers the human soul has been reduced to. When she had first fallen, she had been preoccupied with their flaws, which were glaring and ubiquitous, but now, after so many years, she could finally tear her eyes away and see their beauty.

Sure, they were not the bonfires they had once been, but candlesticks had their own air of charm as well. And after experiencing the suffocating darkness of hell, frankly, she was grateful for any shred of light she can get.

And after a while, she had really started to appreciate the dancing flames of the billions of candles that lit this earth, maybe even preferring them to the bonfires. The latter consumed all that was in its way in its blazing brilliance and subdued her and overwhelmed her and made her its subject. The former cast its light upon all that was around it, illuminating them and elevating them into equal glory as itself. And it seduced her with its warmth and light and awakened inside her an instinct she hadn't known was there – the instinct to love, to protect, to nurture.

The latter tore the shadows of the world apart, banished them and made them No More. The former made even the shadowy parts of the words attractive and alluring, even as its flickering caused the darkness to dance to its whims.

Was it any wonder that she found herself more and more drawn to them? Was it a surprise that she would, again, be mesmerised by those dancing flames that thawed her very soul?

It was when she was standing here, gazing upon the millions of pitiful embers that, together, created a light that filled the word, that she first truly understood the words that she had heard echoed millennia ago.

Humanity is God's greatest work.

And she will not allow that work to be tainted, sullied, defiled.

Fallen though she might be, she did fall for humanity and, even now, she has a duty towards them.

No. She would stand by them and shield their fire from the ravaging winds and the creeping darkness.

This time, she would not let anything take her from her station.

Humanity needed her, just as she needed them. And as long as they continued to need her, she would never leave.

They were her children, her love, her salvation. They were what she fell for, fought for, and endured hell for.

They were hers, and she was theirs, and not even God could take them away from her a second time.

Never again.