skoosiepants: (Default)
[personal profile] skoosiepants
The Hours Have Changed | R | 15,000+
Gabe/William, Demon!Gabe AU

He’s pretty, Gabe thinks. All Farrah Fawcett hair, high cheekbones and wide fucking eyes. An April showers Bambi with - he lets his eyes linger down the length of him - Christ on cracker, just about five miles of legs. Just like an angel, fucking over a kid who’s got all his sexy years spread out in front of him.

Warnings: Demons and angels AU and all the weirdness and religious themes that implies.

A/N: This entire thing is [livejournal.com profile] starflowers' fault. And also because I watch too much Supernatural and have an intense love for The Prophecy. Thanks very much to [livejournal.com profile] insunshine for the beta! Illustrations by the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] liquitexart.

IMPORTANT ANGEL INFO: courtesy of the internets, I don't really care if it's wrong.

Gadreel - fallen angel, some claim he was the snake that tempted Eve in Eden.
Rizoel - angel with power to thwart demons
Michael - yes, that's Mike Carden
Lahabiel - angel who protects against evil


The Hours Have Changed


It’s a line he’s used hundreds of times over the years - “Did it hurt?” he’d said, and the slender guy with the sharp shoulders had just looked at him, blank eyes in the middle of this unmistakable glow, and Gabe had just plowed onward; he’d smirked and ended with, “When you fell from heaven?” - but this is the first time he’s had the satisfaction of gaining this kind of reaction. The stunned hurt, the flash of panic. It makes Gabe laugh, plant an elbow on the bar and drink it all in.

Humans, he loves. They’re everything; they’re heat and anger and life, they never stop - drinking, eating, fucking, dancing - not until their hearts give out, and then there’s something poetic about that, too.

So humans - Gabe can live with them. It’s the fucking angels that piss him off.

Gabe arches an eyebrow. The guy’s fresh as a daisy under the heat sweat of the club, pure white, smelling of just laundered towels and summer sunshine. He asks, “Baby’s first meat suit?”

The guy says, “Stop,” thickly, like he’s not quite used to his mouth.

He’s pretty, Gabe thinks. All Farrah Fawcett hair, high cheekbones and wide fucking eyes. An April showers Bambi with - he lets his eyes linger down the length of him - Christ on cracker, just about five miles of legs. Just like an angel, fucking over a kid who’s got all his sexy years spread out in front of him.

Gabe knocks his knuckles into the bar top. “C’mon, sweetheart, I’ll buy you a drink. A toast to your new status.”

“No,” he says. Then adds, “Thank you,” and Gabe says, “Well, you’re a polite motherfucker, I’ll give you that.”

The angel turns back to the bar, stares down at a drink that looks like it’s been level for a while, a melted ring dampening the napkin under it nearly to the edges. Boring.

Gabe resists the urge to hang around. He doesn’t really want to know what a member of the Heavenly Host is doing at a dance club, Fallen or not. There are codes, of course - he’s supposed to run and tell his brethren, converge and smite - but demons are fucking terrible company, and he likes to stir up his own shit, anyway.

He sighs when he steps out in the cold night, runs a hand through his hair and turns up the collar of his jacket. He lights a cigarette, tucking it in the corner of his mouth, then shoves his hands in his pockets and starts walking - his apartment’s only three convenient blocks over. Fuck, he loves this town. He’s been there for just over five years – relatively short, for how long he’s been around. He hasn’t felt the urge to move on yet.

Snow, melted and frozen again, crunches under his feet. He never gets tired of seeing his breath condense and disappear, mingling with the smoke. His lungs burn, his elbows are cold in his thin coat - there’s nothing like frigid weather to make you feel alive.

It takes him less than a minute to realize someone is following him, matching his steps. And then not bothering to match his steps at all, stride lengthening past Gabe’s steady stroll. The dude is not very stealthy. Nice.

Gabe’s mouth pulls into a grin. He takes one last draw from his cigarette before flicking it into the gutter.

Then he whirls around, and the guy - the fucking angel, Gabe actually hadn’t seen that coming - takes a surprised, stumbling step backward. Gabe doesn’t give him any time to gain his equilibrium. He grasps his throat with one hand, grabbing his upper arm with his other and spinning, slamming him up against a grimy building wall, hears the crack of his skull on the brick.

The guy cries out, high and thin, and Gabe soaks in the panic, lets it cover him in a warm fuzzy glow. He can take this angel. He’s been around, on earth, for fucking ever, he knows how to handle this body better than any spindly baby deer.

“What is this? Take me down, get in good with your daddy again?” He pushes harder, feels the oh-so-delicate knot of his Adam’s apple under his palm, and the guy scrabbles at his hand with slim, ineffectual fingers. Gabe cocks his head, curious. With a shake, he knocks him back into the wall again, and Gabe watches as his eyes go blurry - with pain, lack of air. Really fucking curious.

“Please,” the guy gasps, soft, barely audible, and then his mouth goes slack, whole body slumping.

Gabe’s so surprised he lets up for a second, then catches him around his waist, up under an arm, as he falls nearly on top of him. Blood, warm and thick, is slippery on Gabe’s fingers brushing up under the guy’s nape - which happens, they’re wearing the costumes, pumping and functioning. It just doesn’t happen like this.

“Shit,” Gabe says, staring down at the soft, pale skin around his eyes. “Shit, you’re fucking human.”

*

Gabe should have smelled it, the humanity on him. The club had been packed, but that’s no excuse - Gabe had been fucking angry at the turf encroachment, he hadn’t been looking for his clipped wings.

So now he’s got a brand new, just born human on his hands, with just enough angel spit and shine to make him glow like an advent candle, a tasty snack to every demon dumb enough to stroll into Gabe’s part of town. Awesome.

Gabe settles down on the coffee table, legs spread, hands clasped between his knees. “Who are you?” he asks.

The guy, throat red, purpling at the edges already, awkwardly holds a pack of ice to the back of his head. He’s folded up in the corner of Gabe’s couch, sock feet poking in between the cushions. “William,” he says.

“Who are you?” Gabe asks again, and the guy’s eyes get tight and narrow.

“William.” His voice is quiet, but strong with conviction, and Gabe’ll take that. For now.

Gabe bobs his head. “All right. William. Bill. Billvy. Feel like telling me what the fuck is going on?”

William stares at him, dark and steady. There’s a measure of shock in his gaze, so Gabe’s gonna take a wild stab here and say that whatever happened to him happened recently. Hours recently, everything on him looks brand new, from his clear, smooth skin to his creased blue jeans.

“How about you tell me why you were following me instead?” Gabe says.

William has smile lines when his mouth moves, even though there’s nothing resembling a smile on his face. “You knew me.”

“Shit, yeah,” Gabe says, almost amused. “Baby boy, you look like an angel, and that isn’t a fucking line.”

William cocks his head like a bird. “Okay,” he says. “I wanted to know why.”

Why. Because Gabe’s a fucking demon, that’s why. “You know what I am,” he says.

William dips his head, barely a nod, and says, “Now.” Now, not before.

Gabe believes him. Not because angels are shitty liars - angels are fucking masters at lying, they’re sneaky, self-sacrificing, righteous-pants wearing assholes - but because William has no idea what he’s doing with this body, he can’t hide anything behind those glossy, innocent eyes.

Gabe sighs. He says, “I don’t take in strays.” He doesn’t, but he’s also not going to shove the kid back out on the street, not like he is now - he wouldn’t exactly call it a conscience, it’s more like Victoria would fucking chew him out for days.

William doesn’t say anything, and Gabe reaches out, only to have him flinch away, scoot further into the couch arm.

Gabe says, “Calm the fuck down;” it’s not like he can get very far, if he decides to run and Gabe decides to not let him go. He presses the flat of his palm along William’s forehead, cups the other under his chin, and William’s wide, wary eyes focus on Gabe’s face. “Calm down,” Gabe says again, softer, gentler - though he’s doing it more out of frustration than sympathy - and he pushes a dreamless sleep right through his palm and into William’s brain.

William drops like he’s had his strings cut, all tension fleeing; his neck flops back, and Gabe winces a little as his head bangs into the least cushioned part of the couch - he could have planned that better. William’s out, though. He’ll probably be out for hours, giving Gabe time to think.

He pats him down, nimble fingers slipping into impossibly tight pockets, jeans like a second skin, searching for a wallet, license, anything, but he comes up empty. No cash, no ID. No angel mojo, nothing stopping him from getting himself carelessly fucking killed, and one of the stiffs up there must have a sense of humor, dropping him practically in Gabe’s lap. A present. He wonders if it was on purpose, and if they knew Gabe wouldn’t kill him on sight.

Gabe licks his lips. Tempting, maybe. If he didn’t have a soul.

If there’s a flaw in Gabe’s demonic character, it’s that he’s never gotten a whole lot of satisfaction out of preying on the weak, and he has too much admiration for a feisty spirit to do much of anything to them, either. Humans are messy and fragile, but inherently strong-willed. Gabe hasn’t participated in a good old-fashioned slaughtering since the French Revolution. He’s long since run out of blood lust, and he much prefers a dry martini. Or a wet one, he’s not all that picky when it comes to alcohol.

So it’s got nothing to do with scruples, and everything to do with love.

*

The first thing Victoria says when she stumbles in past three, spiked heels hooked between her fingers, is, “Holy fuck, Gabe, are you kidding me?”

“It’s not what it looks like.” Gabe is slouched down in the arm chair, idly flipping through channels on the TV. William is still sprawled like a broken doll all over the couch, the bag of ice from earlier a dripping mess on the floor. Every once in a while his breath hitches - Gabe needs to brush up on his whole dreamless sleep crap, he doesn’t usually have much call or inclination to use it.

Victoria flicks his temple with a sharp-nailed finger as she steps by him. “It looks like you’re littering our apartment with coked-up rent boys.”

Gabe arches an amused eyebrow at her. “Definitely not what it looks like, but I like the way you think.”

She rolls her eyes. “Of course you do.” She stops in front of the couch, one hand on a hip, staring down at William. There’s a tear in the back of her stockings, Gabe focuses on her thighs a second, stunning under the micro mini, before blinking and taking in the expression on her face, the way it melts from pissy to concerned, softening her mouth. “What the actual fuck,” she says. Bending over, tentative fingers slide over William’s throat.

“I didn’t mean to,” Gabe says with a shrug.

“You.” She’s shocked for a half-second, despite all that she knows about him, he can see it in her eyes, but then she just tucks her hair behind her ears and shakes her head. “Of course you did.”

Gabe pushes himself to his feet. “It helps that I thought he was an angel at the time.”

“A little,” she says. Victoria is one hundred percent human - if he’d wanted to hang around demons, he’d have stayed in Hell. “Are you keeping him?”

Gabe says, “He’s got nowhere else to go,” because he’s not keeping him, but Victoria already has a stubborn line to her jaw, eyes flicking back and forth, darting around the apartment, and Gabe knows she’s planning out logistics - food, job, where he’ll sleep.

Victoria is tough; she’s savvy, doesn’t take any bullshit, yet she’s soft-hearted where it counts, and it’s those incongruities that make Gabe admire the shit out of her.

She looks at William again, thoughtful. “So he’s not an angel,” she says.

“Not anymore.”

“Did he fall?” she asks, and Gabe doesn’t answer, because he didn’t fall, not really, but to her it’s probably the same thing.

The Fallen are ostracized, exiled, and they either fight their way back or are torn apart by the horde, pieced together again into something nearly unrecognizable - millennia ago, that’s how Gabe was made, though he’s only got fuzzy memories to prove it.

Becoming human, well. That’s something completely different.

Gabe says, “You’ll have to ask him when he wakes up,” and goes to the kitchen to make himself a drink.

*

Gabe sleeps because he likes it, not because he has to.

He stretches out on his bed, feels the morning sun warm on his arm as it slowly creeps across the mattress. When he finally opens his eyes, he’s somehow unsurprised to see an angel perched on top of his dresser. Fucking perched, knees folded up, bare feet curled over the cheap, pressed plywood edge, arms crossed over his knees, chin resting on his layered wrists. Impressions of wings, shadows on Gabe’s wall, sweep out behind him.

“Brother,” the angel says, and Gabe snorts, like he’s their goddamn brother still, what the fuck.

Gabe sits up, lets the sheet pool to his waist, leaving his chest naked; he’s not modest, and angels don’t generally care. He takes in the unsmiling mouth, the level green gaze - they’ve got a couple hundred years and a couple dozen bodies between them, but Gabe would know that freaky intense stare anywhere. “Mike,” he says. “Cool of you to stop by. Now get the fuck out.”

Michael doesn’t blink, but Gabe hadn’t expected him to - that’s kind of his thing. Gabe’s always thought it was creepy, but he’s not impressed.

Gabe tosses aside his covers and gets to his feet, rolling his shoulders. Michael tilts his head, watching him step into boxers, scratch his belly, yawn. Gabe figures he’ll talk when he wants to talk, and Gabe actually has no interest in what he has to say, anyway.

He pulls a t-shirt over his head, and when he looks up again, Michael is gone.

“Shit,” Gabe says, resigned. No threats, no douchebag angel posturing - this is going to be trouble later on, he knows it.

The couch is empty when he makes his way through the living room, and he finds both Victoria and William in the kitchen, Victoria leaning against the counter with a mug of coffee, William sitting at the table, hands folded neatly one on top of the other.

He glances up when Gabe noisily falls upon the coffee maker – Victoria laughs and nudges a mug his way. William just stares – he’s got that angel, bird-of-prey thing still going on, gaze sharp and assessing.

“Morning,” Gabe says.

Victoria nods. She says, “I was thinking of taking William with me to Pete’s.”

“Knock yourself out,” Gabe says. “Has he eaten?”

Victoria hmmms, like it hadn’t occurred to her that he should eat. “I’m not—”

“I can speak,” William says. His voice is smooth and unassuming. Pleasant. Unremarkable.

Gabe arches an eyebrow at him. He’s mussed from sleep, hair tangled around his face, oddly matted in places where blood had dried. Weave from the couch texture is imprinted faintly on one cheek; dark crescents are thumbed into the thin skin beneath his eyes. He’s gray-pale, and it seems like he’s making a conscious effort to keep his back straight, head up, there’s a tremble in the set of his shoulders – he’s tired. Exhausted, really. Vulnerable has never been one of Gabe’s kinks, but he makes an executive decision and says, “Okay, you’re not going anywhere right now.”

William doesn’t move, but his eyes go liquid with relief.

“You’ll learn all about the wonders of waffles and hot showers, and then maybe we can discuss who wants me to kill you.” Gabe’s thought it over – the easiest way to destroy an angel is to make him powerless first, and there’s no reason for a heavenly body to get its hands dirty when punishment can be so neatly mete out by an earthbound demon. Gabe’s got a couple options here. He can kill William himself, or he can put him on a bus headed out of the city – whichever it is, he has to decide fast, because there’ll be more like Michael showing up, he’s sure of it.

“Gabriel,” Victoria says. She says it darkly, like he’s running the risk of a purple nurple, but Gabe’s caught by the delightfully horrified expression on William’s face at the use of his name.

“You dare?” William says. He pushes shaky hands flat on the table, like he’s debating whether to rise.

“Sure,” Gabe says, shrugging. “I think it’s fucking hysterical.” At least, he used to find it funny. He’s been Gabe so long now, he doesn’t even really think about it anymore.

William takes a deep breath. “Gadreel—”

“Watch yourself,” Gabe says. Michael’s been a busy boy, if William knows who he is. Gabe doesn’t like it.

“Well,” Victoria says, clunking her mug down on the counter loud enough to startle William out of trying – and failing utterly – to stare Gabe down, “I’m getting out while the getting’s good. You guys have fun. Try not to get any blood on the carpet; it’s a bitch to clean.”

She throws Gabe a frown, and Gabe salutes her with his coffee mug. Killing is apparently not on the agenda for today. He might as well give William a little lesson on how to be human.

*

“Gad—”

“Gabe,” Gabe says. He tosses William a loofah, and William fumbles it, pressing the sponge into his bare chest with one hand.

“Gabe,” William says, making a face – Gabe wants to laugh, and for entirely different reasons than he’s used to.

“Yes?” Gabe crosses his arms over his chest, leans his ass back against the sink.

Steam is curling the ends of William’s hair, sticking to the underside of his jaw. The bruising of Gabe’s fingerprints around his neck is bright and garish against the whiteness of his skin. He’s bone-thin under his shirt, Gabe can count his ribs, and he seems genuinely bewildered by the zip of his jeans.

He stares at Gabe helplessly.

“I’m assuming you’ve seen humanity at play before,” Gabe says.

William slowly nods.

“So, showering. Not that hard a concept.” Gabe points at the bathtub, the curtain that’s halfway peeled back from the spray.

“Yes, I know,” William says, and yet he still continues to stand there, and then Gabe recognizes the internal struggle on his face, the almost self-disgust, and gets supremely bored with the whole situation.

Gabe says faux-brightly, “You’re human now, Bills, get used to it,” and then manhandles William into the tub, jeans and all.

William yelps and Gabe laughs, then steps back to check out his handiwork. William glares at him, sopping wet, hair plastered to his skull and jeans lagged down at his waist. Rivulets of rusty-brown snake down his shoulder, following the line of his collarbone.

“I’ll just leave you to it, then,” Gabe says, grinning. “Remember to get behind your ears, the crack of your ass – please tell me you know how to use the can.”

A scowl joins William’s glare.

Gabe’s still chuckling as he moves out into the hall and shuts the door behind him. In the living room, he plops down on the sofa, props his feet on the coffee table, and turns on the TV.

It’s not that Gabe doesn’t notice the shadow moving around his kitchen, he just doesn’t fucking care. A few minutes later, there’s a rustle, a disturbance in the air, and Michael is circling around him, pacing the room, a huge fucking knife in his hand. Gabe blinks at him in slight surprise. Interesting.

“Are we going to rumble?” Gabe asks.

Michael looks at him, not enough heat in his eyes to be a glare, before slitting the palm of his right hand open, forefinger to wrist. He lets the blood well and drip a little before moving to the far wall.

“Victoria’s going to kill you.” Gabe watches Michael trace sigils and symbols all over his walls in his own blood, floor to ceiling. Resigned, pouting slightly, he says, “We’re never getting our security deposit back.”

Michael grunts.

“I hope you’re not demon-proofing this place. It’d be kind of hard to live here.” Gabe wishes he had some popcorn – Michael slices open his hands five more times before moving on to the hallway.

The water in the bathroom cuts off just as Michael passes by Gabe again, disappearing into the kitchen. There’s a clatter of metal on metal, Michael dropping the knife into the sink. Sighing, Gabe gets to his feet and follows him in.

Gabe says, hanging in the doorway, one arm braced on the jamb, “So Bill’s not talking, and you just fortified my apartment against the army of darkness. Want to tell me what the fuck is going on?”

Michael almost smiles; Gabe can see the tiny twitch at the corner of his mouth. “No,” he says, and then he fucking disappears again, Gabe’s really starting to get irritated. Maybe he should move. Someplace tropical, he hasn’t been south of the border for a while. Heat tends to disagree with him, though; he’d never liked the fires of Hell, either.

William has a pair of Gabe’s sweats on and a t-shirt that makes him look even thinner than he actually is; which is pretty damn thin. Gabe’s stomach growls in commiseration – food’s optional, but his body prefers it. William’s up close and personal with the front door, hand hovering over the markings Michael had left there. The shirt’s nearly translucent around his neck and shoulders, wet from his hair.

Gabe clasps his shoulder. “Someone up there likes you,” he says. “Fuck if I can figure out why they gave you to me, not unless they wanted me to eat you.” Michael could be off the clock, a rogue. Doesn’t explain why he just left William there, though. The trust implicit in that makes his skin itch.

William presses two fingers against the edge of a circle. “It’s a great honor,” he says.

“For me? Fuck, no.”

There’s a small smile on William’s mouth when he turns around. “No,” he says. “Not for you.”

*

William loves waffles. And bacon and syrup and butter and chocolate and milk, and Gabe watches him eat, amused, kicking back in the kitchen chair, his fourth cup of coffee in his hands.

Afterward, he watches William nap, no longer wound tight with confusion and fear, like he’s settling into his human body and is familiar and easy in Gabe’s hands. It’s strange. Gabe doesn’t know whether to call it naivety or faith.

Victoria comes home for lunch, knuckles the top of Gabe’s head, and Gabe realizes he hasn’t moved for hours. That he’s been focused on the slow, rhythmic rise and fall of William’s chest, the loose curl of his fingers over his heart. He stretches to his feet, cracking his back, and pokes at William’s stomach until he slits his eyelids, a cranky moue on his mouth.

Gabe says, “Up, get up. You’re having fun with Victoria this afternoon.”

“He is?” Victoria stands in the kitchen doorway, munching on a sandwich.

“Yeah.” Gabe needs a break. He needs some cheap alcohol and rough company. Gabe isn’t strictly interested in sin; he’s interested in living, and if the two happen to come hand in hand, well – he’s not complaining.

Victoria shrugs. “Okay,” she says, and, “By the way, you’re paying for all the paint to fix these walls, and all the pine sol we’re gonna need to scrub the marks off the linoleum in here.”

“Sure, yeah, and it’s totally not blood either.”

Victoria makes a face, but she’s pretty used to him, so it doesn’t slow down the consumption of her food.

William sits up, disgruntled, pushing his palms into the sofa cushions on either side of his thighs, and Gabe ignores him and grabs his coat and a Pop Tart. He slips out of the apartment before William’s awake enough to try and stop him – if he even wanted to – and Gabe ends up passing two bars and his favorite pizza parlor in favor of St. Francis of Assisi’s.

He tilts his head back, takes in the sprawling front steps of the old church, the ornate arched doorway, the carved statue of the patron saint, wrought iron fencing, with vicious-looking tips, surrounding it. It’s not very impressive by Catholic church standards, which is probably why Gabe likes it so much. He scratches under his chin, then bypasses the front doors and turns the corner down the dim alley leading to the rectory.

Father Way is huddled in a battered army jacket, smoking. He grimaces when he sees Gabe, eyes his cigarette, then shrugs. It’s not like Gabe hasn’t seen him worse off. He shakes lank, dark hair off his forehead and says, “Crisis of faith?”

“Nah.” Gabe kicks at some gravel, slumps his back against the wall next to Father Way. Tugging out a crumpled pack of Marlboros, he lights his own cigarette, and smiles with half his mouth at the brick across from them when Father Way huffs out a short laugh.

Companionable. Gabe’s always felt that way around him.

“Repent all your sins,” Father Way says absently. “It’s the end of the world.” He’s grinning wonkily at him when Gabe turns his head.

“Do you believe in angels, Father?” Gabe asks, strangely curious, even though he knows how he’ll answer.

Way nods, not thrown by Gabe’s question at all. “Of course.”

Gabe nods back. “Demons?”

“I don’t believe in them, Gabe, but I know they’re there.” He drops the butt of his cigarette and stubs the ember out with his heel. “Why?”

Gabe stares at him. Sees the coil of darkness on the underside of his heart. He sees healed scars all over his soul, and Gabe has always loved his imperfections; that he can preach salvation because he was saved. He fights battles with want and pain every single day – he suffers, and is happier for it. God’s most treasured creations. He will always, always forgive them.

“No reason.” Gabe smiles. He loses the smoke, flicking it into a puddle of melting snow. He pats Father Way on the shoulder and turns to go.

“Will we see you Sunday?” Father Way calls after him.

Gabe lifts a hand in wave, strolling out into the high noon sunlight.

*

Gabe pokes at the mutilated cat with his toe, disgusted. “You’re such a sick fucking fuck, Lacey,” he says.

“And you’re a pussy. Harboring angels now, Gabe?” Lacey jumps down from the stone wall, grins at the corpse. “A present. To show I still care.”

Gabe scowls. The stray had been a fucking beast – he’d named it Jackal, and it’d kept the alley next to their apartment building rat free; he’s pretty sure it’d taken down a raccoon once. “What are you doing here?”

“What, you don’t love me anymore?” Lacey presses a hand to his chest. A reminder, probably. Last time they’d crossed paths, Gabe had very neatly ripped out his then-body’s heart. Messy, but effective; Lacey hasn’t bothered Gabe for nearly fifty years.

“Lacey,” Gabe says darkly.

“I’m here to share your spoils.” Lacey rubs his hands together, grinning manically.

Gabe flexes his fingers. “You really want to get into this now?”

“You know,” Lacey says with an exaggerated pout, “you’ve been a fucking downer for, like, the past two hundred fucking years.”

“I will rip your brain out through your nose with my pinky finger.”

Lacey punches his shoulder. “That’s the spirit.”

“Oh, that’s it,” Gabe says, and punches Lacey in the face. There’s a satisfying crunch, knuckles smashing like an iron bar into his nose, and Lacey curses wetly, spitting blood out on the ground. “Get the fuck out of here.”

Lacey giggles a little, hand cupping his mouth, blood dripping down his chin, and then he disappears.

Jackal is still a mess on his front stoop.

Gabe kneels in front it, rubs his bottom lip, thinking, because he could do something here, he almost wants to, but he doesn’t like messing with life - there are always unexpected consequences. Instead, he says to the deceptively empty air, “If you’re going to hang around, you might as well make yourself useful.”

Michael appears with a rustle of wings. He hunches down next to Gabe, one knee to the pavement. “I’m always useful,” he says, but he reaches out a hand, hovers it over Jackal’s side. The Latin rolls smoothly off his tongue, setting the cat’s soul to rest - the familiar words make something burn deep inside of Gabe, unpleasant and powerful. Michael gently presses the cat’s eyes closed, and then squeezes Gabe’s forearm.

He says, “You should remove him before William sees.”

Right. Because William’s got delicate angel-turned-human sensibilities, and they wouldn’t want him to fucking cry or something. Gabe makes a face.

Michael looks at him steadily, quiet - with fuck-you eyes that Gabe’s probably only half imagining, Michael can apparently get away with a lot of nasty shit, for an angel of the Lord - and Gabe says, “Fuck’s sake, fine,” and eyes up the broken remains of Jackal. Sighing, he scorches the sidewalk with a wave of his hand, body burned to ashes, ashes turned to dust.

“Happy?” Gabe asks, and finds himself talking to—absolutely no one. Son of a bitch, that’s annoying.

Gabe stomps up the stairs to the apartment and decides to eat all of Victoria’s multigrain bread, and then realizes with vague horror that Victoria will probably flip the fuck out on him - the walls are bad enough - and starts cooking dinner to help appease some of her inevitable anger.

He’s just pulling the garlic bread out of the oven when Victoria gets home, William wandering into the kitchen behind her. He’s wearing the same jeans he’d worn the night before, paired with one of Gabe’s t-shirts, and there’s a new shine to his eyes, like whatever he’d done at the record store where Victoria works had been endlessly fascinating.

“Who died?” Victoria asks, surveying the pots on the stove.

“Poor choice of words, my friend.” He tugs off his oven mitt and tosses it on the counter.

She blanches. “You didn’t kill anyone, did you?”

Gabe rolls his eyes. “Yes,” he says. “I left him in your bed.” Of course, he would never ever do that to anyone. Again.

Victoria snags a piece of garlic bread and says, “It’s always an adventure, Gabe, living with you. Also,” she nods her head toward the other side of the room, “there’s a dude in our window.”

William makes a sound in the back of his throat.

Gabe glances over, expecting Michael. It’s Lacey, one leg bent up on the sill, smoking. He grins at them and waves. Gabe stares him down and says, “Don’t worry. He can’t get in.”

*

When Gabe does sleep, he sleeps light. He watches silently under half-lidded eyes, vision as sharp as any cat’s in the dark, as William eases his door open. It’s only been a little over a day, and already the angel sheen has dulled, leaving his soul shining with regular human innocence; just as dangerous, but easier to handle.

Gabe isn’t particularly alarmed by William sneaking into his room – even when he tugs carefully on Gabe’s blankets, and especially when he slips underneath them, settling alongside Gabe, arms brushing.

Gabe shifts, rolls over to spoon up behind William, tucking an arm over his side.

William freezes up, then slowly relaxes into Gabe and the mattress and he says, “The couch hurts my back.”

Gabe grins against the top of his shoulder blade. “All right.”

William wriggles a little in his hold. “Do you have to—”

“It’s this, or I’ll end up starfishing it, and you’ll be saying hello to the floor,” Gabe says. This is actually a huge lie. If Gabe falls asleep, he usually ends up not moving at all. He doesn’t dream.

William sighs, but he stops complaining. Gabe can feel his heartbeat trapped between his palm and his chest – steady. It doesn’t escape Gabe’s notice that William is no longer afraid of him; if he ever really was. Even with his guardian angel hanging around – and doesn’t Michael have better things to do with his time? – Gabe could snuff his breath, boil his brain, crush his heart between broken ribs. It would only take a second. Not even Michael’s that fast, not when William’s placed his life directly into Gabe’s hands.

“You should be more careful,” Gabe says, voice low.

There’s a noisy yawn, and then William arranges himself even more bonelessly against him. “I have faith.”

Gabe tenses. “You shouldn’t.”

William twists, flops onto his back, turning his head so his nose nearly touches Gabe’s. His eyes are sleepy, and his fingers are loose, curling up at Gabe’s throat. There’s a smile at the corner of his mouth. Cheeky, almost, and Gabe wants to squeeze the fluttery warmth of William’s newborn soul in his fist. He wants William’s eyes shocked-wide and glassy, and he wants to eat everything good in William until all that’s left is a hard, candy-coated shell.

He also doesn’t want any of that at all.

In the quiet, William’s sleepy eyes slide all the way shut, his breathing slows and evens. His fingers loosen more, tips brushing the underside of Gabe’s chin.

Gabe doesn’t have to worry about being creepy – he is creepy, it’s one of his many demonic attributes – so he lies awake for hours, watching William sleep. He catches William’s dreams, all fluffy-cloud boring, but it doesn’t make him stop.

Around dawn, sky pink lit, brightening minutely by seconds, he spots Michael on his dresser again, statue-still, like a gargoyle.

Gabe climbs out of bed, careful not to wake William, and Michael drops to the floor on cat-feet.

He follows Gabe out into the hallway, and Gabe says, “Do I have this to look forward to every morning now?”

Michael shrugs.

Victoria’s standing by the door to her room, bathrobe cinched loosely around her waist, hair ratty, hanging half over her face. She rubs a palm over her mouth, yawning, before blinking at them. “Huh,” she says. “Are those—wings?”

Michael looks at Gabe, one eyebrow arched.

“What? I don’t live with stupid, dude, she knows my game.” Gabe swings an arm over Michael’s shoulders without thinking about it, then freezes. “So this is kind of weird.”

Victoria crosses her arms over her chest and cocks her head. “Are you giving a bro-hug to an angel?”

Gabe very slowly removes his arm from around Michael. “No.”

“Whatever.” Victoria yawns again. “You’re making breakfast.”

*

When William shuffles into the kitchen, he says, “What are you still doing here?” to Michael, frowning. “I can handle this by myself.”

Michael, closed-mouthed asshole that he is, just stares at him.

“I mean it,” William says. “I can—there’s no reason for you to—don’t you have other things you should be doing?”

Michael moves towards him. “I have faith,” he says, laying a hand on William’s arm. “But I worry.”

William makes a scoffing sound, but his cheeks are pink and pleased. He rubs the side of his face with his hand.

For the first time, looking at the two of them, Gabe thinks that maybe this isn’t a punishment for William. That this is a mission, and fuck it if angels – or ex-angels – on a mission aren’t the most annoyingly persistent bastards ever.

“It’s Sunday,” Michael says, a chiding reminder, and William’s face lights up.

“God damn it,” Gabe says.

Victoria looks amused. “Are we going to church?”

“Yes,” William says. He looks so damn happy about it that Gabe knows he probably won’t even put up a fight.

Michael gives Gabe a my-job-is-done, smug bitch kind of look and disappears.

Victoria blinks at the place where he’d been standing, but doesn’t say anything. She’s a rock, his Victoria. Gabe was extremely lucky to have found her; who says clubbing doesn’t yield long-lasting and meaningful relationships?

After breakfast, they disperse to get dressed - Gabe drags his feet, but Victoria makes amusing impatient noises, she’s so lucky he thinks she’s amazing - and they’re going to have to take William shopping at some point, because seeing him in his own clothes is doing something to Gabe’s brain; something not great, unless you’re into warm and cozy possessiveness. And not the kind of possessiveness that involves taxidermy.

He says, “Blech,” when William emerges from Gabe’s room in another one of his shirts, a purple hoodie hanging unzipped and too big over his shoulders.

Victoria nudges his arm. “All ready to play the blasphemer in God’s holy house?”

Gabe sighs. He wishes it was that easy.

Gabe has been to church before. Father Way is not the first theologian he’s argued religion with. He’s also not the first priest that Gabe hasn’t even bothered to try and sway into denouncing vows – they’re easy and unsatisfying targets, and Gabe finds them funny when they get everything wrong. Father Way is that rare bird who accidentally and often gets it right.

He hangs back in the chapel, watching from the front vestibule as Victoria and William take seats in a middle pew. The murals here are detailed and eerily condemning; there are depictions of angels on the walls, a man’s face with Gabriel’s eyes stares down at him. Gabe flips him off, feeling a vague discomfort that’s unfamiliar. The wings are never exact; in person, wings are just impressions and shadows, and in remembrance they’re always fantastical, huge and gilded with pure light. It usually warms him; this false radiance humans give angels.

Standing with his hands in his pockets under the painted, arched ceilings, Gabe feels a sliver of cold dread skein down his spine.

*

Pete’s music store is as good as any place for William to learn the ins and outs of humanity. Pete’s a douche, loud-mouthed and moody, but sincere, and probably entirely too trusting.

When they swing by, Patrick’s at the front counter, flipping through a box of albums. He looks up, smiles wide when he sees Victoria, and then dims it by about ninety percent when he catches sight of Gabe. Gabe weirds Patrick out. This is perfectly acceptable. Gabe enjoys it, and he drapes himself over the counter, leaning hipshot, and uses his forefinger to tip up the brim of Patrick’s hat.

Patrick presses his lips together, but doesn’t tell him to stop.

Victoria says, “Stop being creepy.”

“I can’t really help it,” Gabe says, grinning. Good old Patrick always makes him feel more like himself. He doesn’t know what Gabe is, but he has his deep suspicions.

“What’s up?” Patrick says. His hands are white-knuckled on the edge of the box.

The thing about Patrick, Gabe thinks, is that he can be so much more. He’s hindered by ridiculous self-doubts, and Gabe would be encouraging if he didn’t think Patrick would be just as likely to cry as punch him in the face - he’s stubborn and volatile by nature, but also not-so-secretly terrified of Gabe.

“I think you should give my friend William here a job,” Gabe says.

Patrick swallows hard - Gabe watches the slow-slide of his Adam’s apple with interest.

Gabe hooks a thumb over his shoulder. William is down at the end of an aisle, using earphones almost as big as his head. “William,” Gabe says. “That guy.”

“He knows who William is,” Victoria says.

“Yeah, I. From the other day.” Patrick nods, resettles his cap in a nervous gesture. “Sure, we’ll try him out.”

Gabe grins. “Cool,” he says, and then he leans forward and nearly whispers, “I’ll remember this, Patrick, I owe you one,” with a slightly arch look, just to freak Patrick out.

Patrick stares at him. The tops of his cheeks redden, but then he huffs and rolls his eyes and starts flipping through his vinyl again, ignoring the shake of his hands.

Patrick’s got gumption, Gabe will give him that. It’s really satisfying, to see someone having common sense for once - he should be afraid of Gabe. Everyone should be.

Gabe wanders over toward William, gaze hesitating on the curve of his back - he’s hunched over slightly, bobbing his head to whatever he’s listening to. He shifts and grins at Gabe when he gets close; there’s a genuine warmth in his smile, and Gabe finds it a little hard to reconcile this William with the frightened, confused William of just days before.

He lifts one of the earphones off William’s ear. “Ready to go?”

William says, “Maybe,” still grinning at him, and Gabe bites the inside of his cheek hard, reveling in the twinge of pain, the metallic taste of blood blooming across his tongue, to keep from smiling back.

part two
From:
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.

Profile

skoosiepants: (Default)
skoosiepants

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags