Home Is a Fire

A/N: For lack of a better title, used the name of a Death Cab For Cutie song.


They'd first met at age eight, when Damien was never taken seriously and Pip was always mercilessly bullied by the other children. Though the two of them had quickly connected, bonding at first over their shared social problems, their just-blossoming acquaintanceship was shattered with one desperate move on Damien's part. Pip didn't blame the other; Damien, however, blamed himself for the next seven years, spending his time tormenting the others in hell to assuage his guilt.

The conclusion of the boys' seventh year apart was when Damien's father forced him back to earth, where he was told to seek out the Son of God as he had before. He wasn't sure why he was to do this - or, rather, he hadn't been sure, until he noticed a very sullen-looking Pip Pirrup sitting alone on the sidewalk, and realized at once that his father simply wanted him to face his demons (less literally than he'd been doing for the past few years.)

Though Pip was fifteen now, Damien could tell it was him; his hair had stayed the same, as did his clothing style, but what really tipped the devil off was his face - how striking it was. Then again, Pip had always been beautiful. Even now, with his eyes puffed up and his cheeks tinged red, he looked no less unappealing. That, of course, was hardly Damien's concern, now that he'd realized the blonde was crying.

And this marked their second meeting: With Pip quietly sobbing and Damien reluctantly moving in to play the good guy for once. When the devil sat down beside the teen, he found that Pip had noticed his presence prior to his approach, because he simply grabbed onto Damien's jacket and continued crying, pressing his face against the other's sleeve. Damien allowed him to, but he wasn't about to let him off without an explanation.

It started out simple, as if they'd never had their friendship ruined - as if they'd never even been apart. "Why are you crying?"

Pip responded with a hiccup that Damien refused to think of as cute, then, "B-because my m-mum just p-p-passed away."

That startled the black-haired male - he'd been expecting something a little less drastic. Considering that, it took him a moment to gather what to say, and even then all he could manage was a weak, "Oh."

"She was t-too young for d-death. But c-cancer took her from m-me." Again, the blonde hiccuped, earning a scowl from his companion.

"Everyone dies," he said bluntly. He figured he should regret it, but he doesn't. It was the truth, after all.

"I know that." Pip straightened, took a breath, calmed himself - and promptly broke out into another sob, hiding his nose and mouth behind the too-long sleeves of his sweater. "B-b-but..." His eyebrows furrowed as he searched for the remaining pieces of his sentence. "But...why?"

Damien didn't think twice about what he was offering in response, but even as he replied, he guessed that "Why do people die?" wasn't what Pip was asking him.

"No..." (He was right.) "I mean...why now?" Pip's voice was beginning to crack now; Damien didn't want to stick around to hear it, but he reasoned with himself that if he could help the Brit now, he would no longer feel guilty and therefore wouldn't pester hell's residents anymore.

"Because she had cancer?" Pip squeezed his eyes closed at this; Damien backtracked. "Well, she was very sick. It's better that she die than suffer, right?"

"W-well, yes..."

The silence that followed sunk into Damien's skin, making him feel vulnerable and, frankly, uncomfortably itchy; he shifted awkwardly, turning his head a fraction when he felt Pip scoot away from him. Though the quiet continued, the itch slowly dissipated as he studied the other intently, counting the number of drops that dripped off his chin until a connection finally clicked in his brain.

"It's good that you're crying."

With the silence between them shattered, Pip looked a little at loss. "U-um, but..." A small croak left his hardly-parted lips, and he turned his head away. "Yes, I sup-pose you're r-right. I always hear that crying h-helps you feel b-better."

"That's why people are lucky," Damien replied, his tone wavering a little in its strength. "A devil's tears are acidic. When they cry, there are always scars left behind."

Pip gave him a look, a cross between startled and awed. "They do? But, then, you've never c-cried at all."

This prompted the black-haired teen's demeanor to turn icy, and his expression to harden at a surprisingly fast pace. "There's nothing worth crying over."

"But you just-! Y-you said that it was good to cry."

Damien winced and mentally reminded himself to just play it nice this one time. "It is, for people. Not for devils, or demons, or...creatures, like me."

"But you aren't a creature, Damien," Pip said, his voice softening as his stammers finally leveled themselves out.

Damien didn't know what it was about the other's tone, but for the briefest of moments, he believed him. Then, in the next instant, he remembered what he'd done to this boy, and suddenly he didn't feel quite as human anymore. "Regardless of that, for me, there is nothing worth crying over, and there never will be."

"Now that just isn't true, you-"

"You can stop right there," the devil said flatly, standing up in one swift, fluid movement. "I don't cry. End of story."

"Okay, but-"

"I really need to go." He took a step forward, then paused: "Sorry about your mother. She's in heaven, though, since I'm sure you'd want to know."


He contemplated looking back - even if it was just over his shoulder - at the blonde, to see what expression his face held, but at last moment, decided that it was too much of a risk. Somewhere in him, he did have a heart, and if he'd bothered to look back, he was sure it would have cracked.


It wasn't until Damien was back at home that he felt safe in admitting his infatuation (if he could even call it that) with the British boy.

In leaving him so abruptly like he had, he felt like scum; he knew that none of the neighborhood kids were going to talk to the poor kid about what had happened, and he'd just...disappeared. He was afraid, he guessed - afraid of what, though, he had no idea. Maybe he was scared of hurting Pip, or maybe he was scared of not hurting him, because devils weren't supposed to be good, and if he was, then...then he'd probably be banished, or shunned, or something, and he certainly didn't want that.

Still, the whole situation just made him hurt in ways he couldn't describe.

The rampant emotions soon made their mark in the form of cracked columns, fleeing demons, and fiery wreckage stretching to all four corners of hell. His father may have been proud of the chaos at first, but in the following year, when he'd realized that the hearth of these disasters was the same as before, he decided that something had to be done.

Thus, Damien was back on earth, banished this time, - as he'd feared he would be - until he could make peace with his inner struggles. His dad had even taken a cue from ancient Nordic mythology and stripped him of his powers, leaving him as nothing more than a human in the bumpkin town of South Park. With his worst nightmare a reality now, he realized that he had no choice in the matter - he had to find Pip.

Finding the Brit should have been easy, considering it had only been a year since he'd last seen him, but the accomplishment was blocked from his grasp by a barrage of barriers, the first one being he didn't know where the hell Pip lived. This obstacle was easiest to overcome: All he'd had to do to remedy his lack of knowledge was ask a nearby adult, whose name escaped him but whom he was sure he'd known when he was younger. Mr. Mickey, or something. No, it was Mackey, he recalled. Mr. Mackey.

"The Pirrups live just across the street, in that little brick house," the man told him, his voice the same melodious drawl it had always been.

"Thank you, sir," the devil replied politely (because, well, it was the one guy on earth that ever gave a damn about him, save Pip), glancing over his shoulder at the bare road behind him. "Just across the street?" he repeated, looking to the scrawny man for confirmation.

"Yes, but be careful, mmkay? I hear Pip's father has been flying off the handle a lot lately, considering what happened last year."

"I heard about that. His wife died last year, right?"

Mr. Mackey nodded, then paused and began shaking his head. "But that isn't what I meant."

Damien's brows knitted together, matching the downward tilt of his lips. "Well, then, tell me what happened so I can hurry up and see the damned kid."

"Oh, you want to see Pip." Judging by the tone in the elder's voice now, Damien guessed he wouldn't be finding the boy he sought in that house. "Mm, no, I'm afraid you won't be able to do that. He moved away from South Park last year: Became an emancipated minor and up 'n' left Mr. Pirrup behind to his own devices."

"Do you know where he went?"

Mr. Mackey shook his head once, accompanying the gesture with a grim, "I'm afraid not."

Great. Damien's father had damned him to Earth to find a boy that was no longer even in the same town, and what was he to do about that? He was only human, - and this thought was still brought about with contempt - so he couldn't magically wish himself across city borders in order to find the blonde. He couldn't even summon an occult method of finding out where Pip was, so why was he expected to do so?

Pausing in his pondering, he caught sight of another familiar face, who had been staring curiously at him up until Damien decided to meet his gaze. The kid looked down at the sidewalk and began to hastily walk away. Damien attempted to halt him with a cry of "Wait!" that sounded much too desperate, even to his own ears. Forgoing the proper thanks he had meant to give Mr. Mackey, he carelessly raced across the road, grabbing the boy by the shoulder and eliciting from him a sharp yell.

"Hey, hey! Let me go, bastard!"

Damien had to remind himself to not let his temper flare and to keep his voice even. "Kyle. Kyle Broflovski, right?"

The teen shouldered his hand off and turned to face him, regarding him with knitted eyebrows and, beneath them, hidden behind rectangular glasses, slightly-narrowed eyes. "Yeah. So you are who I thought you were."

The devil suddenly got the feeling that no one besides Kyle would even remember who he was, which only increased his desperation to get information out of someone he could talk to in at least a remotely comfortable manner. "Never mind that. I just need to ask you something."

"Well, I'm kind of in a hurry here, dude."

"So am I. I really, really need your help."

Kyle pursed his lips in an awkward manner that could only mean he had braces; this brought a sort of amused grin to Damien's face, therefore prompting the redhead's eyes to narrow further. "The almighty son of the devil needs my help?"

"Don't mock me, fucker. I will-"

"Ah, ah, ah - wait. If you need my help, you're going to have to play nice." Damien already wanted to murder the boy, but, reluctantly, he nodded to signal his agreement. Kyle's face brightened considerably. "Walk with me. At least if I can't help you, Stan can."

The two of them started down the path Kyle had previously been walking on, and Damien spared a glance back at where Mr. Mackey had been standing, only to be met with empty space. For reasons he couldn't quite put a finger on, he felt a sudden sting of loneliness.


"Huh?" Damien's eyes narrowed reflexively and darted to his lower left to meet the redhead's.

"What's your issue?"

"I need to find Pip."

"Really? But nobody ever needs to find Pip."

Damien sneered at a passing tree and drew a loud breath to calm himself. "I do."

"Sure. Why?"

"Why is that important?"

"Fair enough," Kyle answered airily, leafing through a battered copy of To Kill a Mockingbird and setting to work on reading it. This slowed his pace, which only made the devil more irritable.

"Listen, I just wanna know where the fuck he is. If you can't tell me, you're wasting my fucking time."

"Chill out, dude. I don't know exactly-"

"Then-!" Damien halted abruptly and clenched his fists at his sides. "Why are you stringing me along like you know something worth a-"

"Hey, seriously, calm your shit. I can find him for you when we get to Stan's house. I'll just use his computer to search him." Kyle's tone was becoming more flippant by the second, and the black-haired boy had half a mind to hit him.

Luckily for the both of them, Stan's house was just on the horizon. The walk took no more than five minutes, and the door was already open, so their progress toward the computer was uninterrupted until Stan himself showed up - at this point, he and Kyle were involved in a lengthy catch-up of everything they'd done since they'd last seen each other the night before.

Damien had had enough; frustrated, he grabbed Kyle by the collar, successfully yanking him away from his friend. His voice was a slow, deliberate growl when he spoke. "You said you'd help me, and I swear, if you don't do just that in the next five minutes, I will hurt you."

"O-okay! Jesus, dude!" Kyle made a move to shove his hands off, but something in Damien's eyes must have stopped him.

What Damien hadn't anticipated was that, as a human being, there were now other human beings that were stronger than he - this was proven to him in a matter of seconds, when Stan nearly jerked him off his feet in one backwards pull. "Devil's son or not, I won't have you touching my best friend like that."

Though the hell-resident felt like he should be angry, he instead felt a pang of something akin to respect hit him. Stan was calm about this whole situation - he didn't even seem to mind Damien showing up out of the blue, and he remembered who he was, which was somewhat of a good thing. "...All right, all right, you got me. I won't touch anyone or anything."

Stan smiled amiably and let his hand fall from the back of Damien's jacket. "Good." With an air of finality, he turned and left the room. It only took a mere ten minutes after that for Pip's whereabouts to be located.


It turns out that Pip had become emancipated with good reason: With his mother gone and his father having turned to alcohol as an outlet to deal with that, Pip had supposedly become more of a nuisance than anything around the house and eventually relayed information of received beatings to the local police. The fact that even his own dad physically hurt him made Damien sick to his stomach.

But, now, Pip was on his own in a Colorado city not far from the town he'd fled from - Stan's search pinpointed that city to be Salida, which was just south of Park county.

Once Kyle had persuaded his friend to spare their "guest" enough money for the bus, Damien was on his way to Salida in search of one surprisingly trouble-causing Brit.

That trip took two hours; Damien regretted ever having let Kyle and Stan coerce him into taking the public transit, because he soon found out that a private trip would have taken half that time, but at least he was inPip's general region.

Feeling his spirits lift the slightest bit, he glanced up at the sky and shielded his eyes, trying to gauge the approximate time. He judged it to be late in the afternoon, because, although still glaring, the sun was lazily drooping close to the horizon and the sky wasn't as painfully bright a hue as it had been a couple hours prior.

Despite the moment of optimism the devil experienced, it had just as suddenly dawned on him that he had no idea where to go from where he was - he supposed that he could ask around, but then remembered that it wouldn't do him much good, for Salida was the largest city in its county; asking everyone, even just the ones around him at the moment, would take quite a large chunk of his time. Though, now, he silently wondered if he would be willing to spend all night searching. The answer was obvious. Unfortunate as it was, he already knew that he would - so he did. He was still looking for the Pirrup boy, who was as elusive as he was troublesome, long after the sun had vanished.

The moon was a much more accommodating companion, in his opinion. Unlike the sun, the moon didn't impose upon his limited supply of happiness with its irritating brightness and vivacity. It was a lot like him, with its envelope of gray hiding an equally gray interior and a hope it could equate to something by unjustly stealing light from its sun.

Did Damien have a sun? If he did, he thought it ought to be Pip, considering that was who this whole trip he was making was for in the first place. But, then, did that mean he was doomed to steal from the blonde? Would he rob Pip of his happiness and peace of mind by seeking him out? Would he depress him? Damien depressed even himself, so that made it a frighteningly likely possibility. At that instant, for the first time, he desperately wished he had the sun back, both literally and metaphorically.

Hours later, even the moon had abandoned him, stranding him in the cold abyss of a time period too late to be called nighttime, yet too early to be called daytime. He was alone, which was all right with him. He was used to that.

The next several minutes of his time were spent with him sitting on the sidewalk, staring down at his shoes until a stranger quietly shuffled by and prompted him to look back up and face the darkness again. Damien saw nothing but the whites of the stranger's eyes, as illuminated by the cigarette between their lips, but obviously the other could see him, because they greeted him with, "You look like someone a friend of mine told me about." Based on the voice, it was a female.

The woman untucked her cigarette from between her lips, turning the dim orange light from her eyes down to her stockings and boots instead. "You're even dressed all in black."

After examining the lower portion of the woman's apparel, the boy had come to the realization that he was slowly perishing in the cold purgatory between day and night. He wrapped his arms around himself and muttered, "Yeah. So?" in response to her statement. "So're you."

"You can't see a damned thing, can you?"

Damien ignored that, which the other paid no heed to. He listened to the gentle rustling of her clothes as she moved to sit beside him a respectable distance away. "Why are you out here at this hour?"

"The same reason you are?" the teen guessed, tucking his knees closer to his chest in a vain attempt at gaining warmth. For once, he missed the heat of hell; Colorado was fucking freezing.

"Running away from home?"

"You're running away?"

This time he heard her laugh in the darkness; it was soft and like something he'd expect from Pip, only without any warmth. "No, not literally - I'm too old for that sort of shit." She snorted, then puffed at her cigarette. "My name's Beatrice, since I know you're dyin' to know."

The sarcasm in her tone actually got Damien to smirk for a moment. "Damien."

"I know."

The devil looked swiftly in her direction, his eyes adjusting enough to catch a glimpse of golden blonde hair swinging around her shoulders. Again, he remembered Pip, and his heart began to hurt a little more while his brain kicked that annoyance out of the way to be dealt with later.

With a sigh, the not-quite stranger stood up again, stomped her cigarette out, and laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. "There's a hospital right up the road. You'll find Pip there."

Damien's breath caught in his throat in such a forceful manner that he actually choked on his next words: "H-he's - hos-pital - Pi-p?"

A sad sort of laughter flowed from the woman's lips. "I'm afraid so." With nothing more, she withdrew her hand. The sound of her boots retreating down the road was the last thing Damien heard before the sound of his own shoes running, full-speed, in the opposite direction.


When Damien burst through the front doors of the hospital and approached the secretary's desk, the somber mood within the building failed to hit him (considering he'd spent ample time in hell, he'd seen worse), yet his environment seemed disturbed by his mere presence. The hospital had been mostly quiet, only appearing alive through the sounds of heart monitors beeping and televisions murmuring down the lengths of each corridor, but his entry had somehow made those noises seem quieter.

The secretary gave him a disapproving look that he ignored in favor of posing a single question, the words of which were breathless and partially eclipsed by his erratic panting. Through the jumble, the name of a specific British boy seemed to strike the woman's recognition; she silently gestured for Damien to come closer.

He scrawled his name on the sign-in sheet presented to him, his normally-deft hand now shaking in time with the hasty fraying of his nerves. The secretary had barely gotten the room number out of her mouth before the black-haired teen took off, coal-colored eyes glowing burgundy in the dim light of the last hallway.

Finally, he reached the last door, already ajar as if he'd been expected - that was his father's doing, no doubt, but he barely considered the thought before gently placing his hand on the doorknob.

Pip was here, and he could very well be dying. Damien, in a way, was already dead.

Considering these things, the latter had almost lost all remaining traces of reason for his coming here. Then, a slow smile widened his mouth. It was the feeling of that smile - and the epiphany that he was smiling for Pip - that delivered one more stabbing pain to his chest.

He was in love, wasn't he? He wished that were a good thing, but the person was wrong; the time was wrong; everything was wrong.

With an unsettling, cold sort of calm settling over him, Damien let his smile harden on his lips as he turned his head to face away from Pip Pirrup's hospital room. The door in front of him now was the exit at the end of the hall, and that was the door the devil's son found himself contemplating going through.

Fate had a funny way of getting revenge on the terrible people of the world, but Damien supposed he deserved it. Demons don't fall in love with angels, and angels definitely do not love demons. It was funny, indeed, but Damien didn't laugh. He felt like he wanted to, and at the same time, he didn't want to - for a hell-spawn like himself, he knew what that meant without actually having experienced it, but now, for the first time, he would feel what that taboo was like.

He let his hand slip from the doorknob. It took him a moment to realize it, but he could feel his hellish abilities return to him, signalling that he was no longer human. It appeared his father had lost faith in his quest at the very movement he'd made. The one that followed was no better, he supposed.

The door at the end of the hall swung outward with his weight, and at the same time his face met the early morning air, he felt tears sting his skin.


Ten minutes later, they had their third (and what Damien feared was their final) meeting. The devil, with newly composed features and a stoic air about him, finally entered Pip's room, closing the door with a heavy thud behind him.

"Oh," came a weak voice from the bed just inside, "you're finally back." Damien said nothing in response, which only prompted Pip to continue. "Heavens, Damien, what's happened to you? Those scars mock the motion of dripping down your cheeks..." Slowly, the British teen sat up in the bed, pushing himself up on thin, wobbling arms. "You've been crying."

"I have," he said at length, undeterred by the hoarse quality to his voice. "I've found a reason to."

"Pray tell."

Damien sat at the edge of the bed, studying Pip with a hard stare. Amazingly, Pip did not flinch; he stared back, his bright blue eyes shiny with evident sickness. It took a moment, but Damien registered that the blond atop his head was indeed a wig, and he remembered that, for humans, this pointed towards a disease called cancer.

His stare softened the slightest bit. "I remembered how you had been crying when I'd left you last year, and I thought to myself, 'devils cry acid, but this boy cries only water.'"

Pip laughed weakly. "Why does that make you sad?"

"Because I've just realized how different we are: So different that our tears even vary." He hesitated in reaching for the other's hand, but Pip sensed this and gently laced their fingers together, causing Damien to glare at the far wall for a brief second before affixing a rather tired gaze back on him again. He looked so defeated that Pip's own expression turned worried. "What you cry are angel's tears, and when you're gone, you will ascend to heaven, whereas I will always be damned to remain in hell and remember what pain my tears have brought."

Silence rose around them, but Damien didn't try to break it. He expected Pip to deny what had been said - to tell Damien that he wasn't going to die, and that the dark-haired boy wasn't going to have to live out eternity in the fires of his father's bane. When these sentences never came, Damien knew that Pip had reluctantly agreed with him sometime during their moment of fake peace.

Pip broke the quiet at last, speaking through gently-smiling lips. "Why did you have to come now, when I am so close to death?"

"Because it's simpler that way. I don't have to regret this." At the appropriate moment, he leaned forward, kissing Pip first on the forehead, then on the tip of his nose. When the Brit closed his eyes, Damien tilted his head and placed a final kiss on his lips. He didn't bother to open his eyes again before he whispered his goodbye. "It's all right that you're knocking at death's door; I am too, now that I've done all I can here."

"You know, you were practically all I thought about when I was here in this accursed bed."

"You've crossed my mind more than I care to admit."

Pip smiled again, prompting Damien to back up and examine it. "How did this happen?"

Damien knew the boy was just wondering aloud, but he answered anyway. "Maybe God hates us."

"I don't believe that's it."

"He hates me."

"No, not that, either. I think..." The Brit drew a steady breath, coughed, and laid back down with a small groan. "I think God loves us both very much, and He wanted us to be like this, at least one time..."

Damien closed his eyes. They still stung. "You'll love heaven."

"I think I'd prefer spending my days in purgatory, so long as I got to be with you."

Again, the devil leaned forward, gently touching his forehead to Pip's. He took a short breath and held it. "It's wrong and I don't know why, but I love you."

"It isn't wrong that I love you back, is it?" Pip asked softly. Somehow Damien knew that the corners of the blonde's mouth were quirking up again in that pretty smile he regrettably had no time left to become accustomed to.

"No. Angels can do no wrong, remember?"

"Maybe I'm not an angel like you say."

There was a long pause, worrying Damien enough to get him to open his eyes. To his relief, Pip was still staring up at him - still smiling. "Maybe you aren't a devil, either, like you say. Just because you were born in misfortune doesn't make you bad, Damien."

"And just because you believe that doesn't make me good," he said, choking on his words again.

"Are you sorry?"

"Sorry about what?"

"About being bad?"

He thought about this, then half-smiled, feeling the acidic tears burning at the corners of his eyes again. A split-second later, the burning was gone, replaced by a cool sensation that simply prickled on the edge of his lower eyelids.

"Damien," Pip stammered, his voice lightening with the sound of fleeting chuckles. "The scars are gone."

A legitimate fear pulsed through the devil's body when his fingertips came in contact with the suddenly-unblemished skin of his cheeks. Had his father taken away what was to be his only reminders of this? His tears no longer burned.


Without any inhibitions now, Damien's tears flowed freely. He didn't like them any more than he had before, for they still made him feel weak, but he found he suddenly couldn't control them. "Pip?"

"I told you." Pip's eyes were worryingly dark now, but Damien didn't break the look between them. "God wants to take both of us to heaven. He doesn't want to separate us."

"But- But father- But I-"

"Damien, you aren't your father. You control your own destiny." Pip closed his eyes. "Do you want this?"

The question brought them into silence once again. Damien followed suit and closed his eyes as well, reaching for Pip's other hand and holding them both to his chest. After a moment, he whispered lowly, "No."

Pip shut his eyes tighter and sniffled, nodding once to signal he understood. Damien delivered another kiss to the other's lips. "No, I want you to come to purgatory with me."

The blonde made a soft gasping sound, opening his eyes a quarter of the way to regard his companion. "We can't. ...Can we?"

"Can't we?" He laughed once, bitingly. "Come on, stay with me. I know it's selfish, but there's got to be a reason I can't go to heaven. A son of the devil can't just-" Before he could finish, he looked up in time to see the light flicker in Pip's eyes, and a weak curse escaped him via his subconscious. "Pip? Pip, please, don't... Pip."

The other wasn't able to verbalize an answer before the light went out completely. He'd just barely mouthed the words, "Love you," before his eyes had closed and Damien was left there as he'd been since the beginning: Alone.


"He's crying, but it isn't burning him anymore."

"No, God cured that. Damien is human now."

"I feel bad for him, but he just...isn't ready."

"He will be one day; he'll miss you and he'll want to do good. He's never wanted to stay in hell, nor does he really want purgatory."

A smile lit up Pip's face, and his blue eyes flickered from his newly-acquired wings to the angel beside him, then back down to the hospital room on earth where his former body and his black-clad lover lie.

"He'll be able to come up here?"

"When he's ready, yes."



"When he's here, you'll tell me, right?"

"Of course. I am the messenger angel, after all."


Their final meeting was brief, but it was that meeting they consider their most fond, as they looked toward the fact that they wouldn't have to separate again with much optimism.

It occurred at an early hour of day the following year, when Gabriel, ever-loyal to his word, alerted Pip the moment the Golden Gates swung open. The latter hurried to the Gates to be met with the sight of one very familiar angel named Damien.