His skin was the blue Iofiel had changed her hair to, a deep and oceanic hue dotted with dapples of gold and shades of other colors, like he had dozed too long in the sunlight and the sunbeams had stuck. His hair was teal and his six eyes were closed in permanent exasperation, his fingers interlocked, dark black nails digging into sapphire skin. He dressed like a nomad, not a soldier, but Michael was Michael— the Archangel, the one who would conquer the beast on Judgement Day.
He sat on the desk in the headmasters’ office, and towered. Amariah sung for him, while Adramelek faced the ground, perhaps remembering an old wound that still marked his body.
Iofiel was trying to regale him with the tale of her utter betrayal, but every few words she struggled to continue. She felt sick in his presence, not afflicted but affected. He really was dreamy, drearily beautiful and utterly swoon worthy, but it felt like if you fell into his arms he’d lead you away to death’s embrace. That the dream he reminded you of was born in a fever, and every ounce of him was not supposed to exist on an earthly plain like this.
And this was true. His Grace, his Greatness— it leaked out of every pore. He was more galaxy than flesh.
He was hard to talk to, and he had to yet to speak a single word.
“So you see, in a way I was doing the divine way, helping those who needed it… I was just made with a flawed sense of empathy.” She swallowed. She’d tried to ask Maalik about him— as if he’d know— but her roommate had refused to speak the second he’d read that name. Rightfully concerned he’d already knew about the two of them. “I would never do anything bad. I’m too g-g-good, too… good to betray Our G-Good…”
She really wished Michael would respond in some way, but he was still. Not breathing, because he didn’t need to. Not responding, because what would be the point? He wasn’t always this blue, this inhuman— the poster in her room had him human-tone, still six-eyed and still with bright teal hair. But he was manageable that way, his golden freckles more like stubborn glitter than ink drops on water.
“How much do I need to say?” she asked, but despite the small room being quite stuffed with beings capable of answering, she felt alone. Like she was confessing her mistakes to the ocean while she was swimming a hundred feet down inside it, very alone, and very far from anything warm. “If I made a mistake, then put me back. I will do whatever you want— I’ll— I can— I could be a soldier, even. Take me off Earth, and I’ll fight tomorrow. I’ll die in that way, so that the next Iofiel can live a better life. But please don’t…”
For the second time in her life, Iofiel was crying.
“I have one rule for you.” Michael spoke, grave and grim but utterly higher than expected. In many ways he sounded like Maalik; if he were a human he would not quite be a man, but not a child either. “One promise, and this may continue. Your affairs are not mine. If you die, none the matter. If you survive, you must stand by this: Take an oath. Swear fidelity to me. Promise you’ll be on my side.”
“Y-Your side…?” Like she hadn’t already known the end was coming, like others hadn’t alluded it might be due, Iofiel felt truly heartsick at the concept, her blood pulsing through her veins with— well, blood did not have emotions, did not respond to hers, but suddenly she was more aware of how her heart was beating. The world, which she was too young to have known well, would be over. Soon. But in the terms of angels, this could still be a hundred years yet. “Of course.” She placed a few fingers against her throat. “Until the end, and into the beyond, I will be on your side. No matter what, I am pledged to you.”
Michael did not stir.
“Not like I’m ever going to be a threat, you know?” Not even a joke, it was in poor timing, capped off with an awkward laugh. Michael’s stony gaze suggested a worrying possibility that fate had other plans.
He really was beautiful, in every sort of way. Her quick dive into sin with Maalik seemed to help her realize this, how lovely he was, how bioluminescent and impossible. But he frowned deeply, with very real bags under his eyes, and a deep, red cut stretching up from under his tunic. His brother’s sin had been pride, so he had embraced humility.
He stood up and walked over to her, the formless shapes of his clothes finally falling into a somewhat passable robe of muddy green and brown, his pink and grey wings merely an impression upon the air behind him. He gently touched her face, closing her eyes, and in a strike of heat he was gone entirely.
Back to Heaven. Iofiel hoped, sincerely, that she’d never see him again in any other place but above her bedpost.
That night she’d return again to Maalik pretending to sleep, and consider taking the poster of the Archangel down. But instead she reached into her bag and with a thick black marker wrote:
“Always on his side.”
And again, in Angelic, she wrote mantra:
“Always on his side.”
And then one more time, in shaky Infernal. Because it was time she started embracing that, too.
(this is copyright @ A M Blaushild, 2017, exclusive text, etc, etc)