Sariel

By: Azure A. Blue

(Revised on Nov 12, 2002)

C&C of this story will be much appreciated at aquariel2000@yahoo.com

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Author's Note: This story, while technically a standalone, occurs in the same universe as that of my long epic: Fallen In (See Azure Realm or Fevered Dreams).

                                Images, as well as character intro of Azrael, Camael, and Behemoth

could be found under the Character Files section of the page.

Jude walked alone.

Staid as a shadow, he made his way past the sea of impassive pedestrians, slipping through them with the quiet grace of the unnoticed. 

I'm down at the bottom; I can only go up.

Up the stairs he went, elevating himself higher and higher above the buzzing crowds and the roaring traffic, above the noisy silence of the very world.

Stripped of everything I once deemed important, from reputation and dignity to family and friends . . . it would only mean that I no longer have to care for such things.  

Leaning against the bridge's rail, he overlooked the roaring traffic below with gray eyes still as the sunless skies above.

Having nothing to worry myself over, I'm now free to do anything, or go anywhere;

Brown bangs falling over his upper profile, the young man began to tilt forward with almost exquisite slowness . . .

. . . aren't I?

"It'll hurt a lot," 

The voice, sardonic and playful, startled Jude enough to distract him from his resolve.  The young man turned his head to see a pale-skinned, dark-haired boy of androgynous features leaning his waif-like built languidly upon the rail right beside him.

"Hitting the pavement below at this height won't kill you immediately;" said the boy, his large, blue eyes half-narrowed in a smile.  "You'd suffer for hours before finally getting to die."

Slowly blinking, Jude pushed himself back and away from the rail, and started walking off the scene without so much as a glance at the one who words just stopped him from going over the edge.

Behind him, the boy continued to speak:

 "If you feel the urge to suicide again, please do remember that jumping off high places is one of the most undignified suicide choices?  You'd end up a bloody, immobile pulp that unsympathetic people will have to transport to the hospital in disgust.  Imagine having reporters and medics, people who knew nothing of your troubles, shaking their condescending heads at you and lamenting the moral constitution of modern youth . . . that would be really awful for a vain, sensitive soul like you, wouldn't it?"

Stopping on his tracks, Jude slowly turned around to carefully regard the young stranger from whose smirking lips came forth all these non-gentle words of advice. 

"Are you always so mouthy towards suicidal strangers who're obviously in bad moods?"

"It's what I do," replied the dark-haired boy matter-of-factly.  "I look for messed up people who can't keep their acts together, and help them through their troubles with my divine guidance."

Jude furrowed his brows at hearing that.  "Your . . . divine guidance?"

"I'm a reincarnated guardian angel," explained the boy.

" . . . what?"  Jude asked, thinking he had heard wrong.

"A reincarnated guardian angel," the boy stated with the nonchalance of a teen claiming to work part-time at a fast-food joint.  "You see, I've been running out of projects to occupy myself with lately.  Thus why I'm here at this scenic spot: to brood over my idleness.  And here you are, dropping by with a death-wish!"   He walked up towards Jude and cupped the youth's face with pale, slender hands.  "I'd call that a sign from God; won't you?"

". . . projects?"  Jude's stumbled backwards and away from the strange boy's touch.  "Sign from God?!"

"Hey, hey . . . even though I'm currently shackled in human flesh, the wisdom I've accumulated through my millenniums of existence will still serve you well . ." the boy looked Jude up and down with a faintly condescending frown,  ". . . and *do* you need it."

Snorting in bitter derision, Jude briefly considered throwing the dark-haired boy over the edge along with himself, before weariness took over and he simply resigned himself into just walking away. 

"I'm Sariel," the boy's roguishly gleeful voice came from behind Jude.  "Starting today, I'm gonna take you, Jude Barron, to be my new charge!"

"Thus speaks the mental . . ." Jude muttered, before trailing off as something occurred to him. 

"Hey!" he quickly whirled around.  "How did you know my name?"

He found himself talking to thin air.  The boy calling himself Sariel was no longer in sight.  He himself was the only one on the long-narrow stretch of pedestrian walk beside the moderate traffic.

What the . . .

 "Over here!" 

Looking up ahead, he saw Sariel leaning halfway out of the opened window of a moving jeep. 

"Feel free to conjure me up anytime you need to!"  He waved at cheerfully at Jude right before the jeep disappeared down the bridge's descending curve.  "I'm your guardian angel now!"

". . . hell?!"  Jude muttered, before finally leaving the scene in an agitated huff.  

Out of nowhere, he came, a flippant angel who cruelly denied me death by trivializing my bleeding pain.

Thanks to him, I now get to stay alive and face my bitter life.

Jude regarded his school locker in numb, stony silence. Covered in almost every hate-filled homophobic curse word imaginable to mankind, it was easily set apart from all the others lining the hallway.  Glancing briefly at the predatorily smirking schoolmates rudely staring at him from all sides, Jude then attempted to unlock his marred locker in as nonchalant as manner as possible. "Hey, Barron," one of the boys standing around called out to him.  "It was a moving confession you made to Roy last week.  I totally enjoyed listening to it on tape."

            "Yeah . . . my favorite part is when you try and explain how your love for him goes beyond the boundaries of gender," another boy piped in with a leer. "It's so cool of you to mix transgenderism with romance."

            "So," a third boy leaned closer towards Jude, who remained tensely silent as he packed up.  "Think you're going to make a second try at gay confession anytime soon?  I just brought this nifty set of bugs-"

            Slamming his locker door shut and cutting off the boy, Jude stiffly strode past his tormentors and away.

"Feel free to conjure me up anytime you need to!" 

"Sure, sure," Jude muttered out loud.  "Where's your holy ass now that I needed divine intervention?"

From behind, the pack of hallway bullies all stared after him varying looks of disdain on their faces.

            "How rude," muttered the third boy.  "And he wonders why we pick on him, the little homo."

            "Holy blame the victim . . ."

            At the sarcastic voice, all turned around to see a slender, dark-haired boy standing behind them with narrowed eyes and crossed arms.

            "Who the hell are you?"  they asked him.

            "This is Sariel Fairchild," introduced the teacher to her class.  "He'll be joining our class starting today, and I'd like for you all to make him feel welcomed."

            "Oh, some of them have already made the effort to do just that," Sariel said while beaming at a few somewhat sulky-looking students who were staring warily at him.  "Having sampled of their warm welcome, I knew coming here to study would be fun."

" . . . great," uninterested in the undercurrents going on between her students, the teacher hurried things along.  "Sariel, you can take that empty seat at the back beside Jude."

"Sure."

            With that, Sariel stepped down the aisle and sat himself right beside the now wide-eyed Jude.

            "Hello again," he greeted the stunned young man, who slowly nodded back.

            The obnoxious angel fell into my life once more, ready to further annoy me . . .

 "Didn't take you long to start conjuring me," said the self-proclaimed angel from between bites of his apple as he smiled at his "new charge" from across the cafeteria table. 

            " Conjuring . . . you?"  Jude asked after swallowing a mouthful of sandwich.

            "Just moments ago, I heard your soul calling out to me in acute anguish," Sariel stated.  "So here I am to answer your distress signal."

            " . . . never mind," Jude muttered after a rather long pause.  "I'm not even going to try and make sense of whatever fevered dreams you're spouting."

            "Speaking of fevered . . ." Sariel whispered in conspiratorial glee as he subtly gestured at the couple of girls at another table who were giving him interested looks.

            Jude rolled his eyes at that.  "Oh, vanity . . . how angel-like."

            "Hey, we've got to be proud of what God give us, Jude," Sariel defended himseelf, before smiling indulgently and yet condescendingly as he rested his pointed chin on a palm.  "Seeing that you're born into this godless age, I can understand how you might have problems believing in angels . . ."

            "Not at all," Jude shrugged in a pointedly dismissive manner.  "I used to be a firm believer in angels and Santa, right up till I turned five."

             "Jude  . . ." Sariel began, but was quickly cut off by the young man he was annoying.

            "And even if you're for real, where do you get off thinking me of all people would turn to God's agent for guidance?"

            Sariel blinked at Jude's question.  "Where's the conflict?"

            "Well," Jude chuckled, edgily.  "If you are indeed the angel boy you say you are, you should already have known that *I* am *gay*."

            "Oh, I knew that," Sariel said immediately.  "You're pining after that Roy guy who taped your big love confession for his buddies' amusement, right?  I heard about that: your vicious classmates were all talking about it."

            Jude narrowed his eyes at Sariel.  "And you, supposedly an angel, see no problem with that?"

            Sariel arched a dark brow at him.  "You mean aside from your bad taste?  I've seen the object of your manly desire: he's a walking mass of steroids and meat."

            " . . . all this viciousness and you call yourself an angel?"  Jude asked, torn between amusement and indignation.

Sariel glared back at him. "I've spent huge portions of my previous incarnation battling demons, forgive me for not being meek."                    

            Chuckling, in perhaps a not entirely bitter voice, Jude asked the boy, "So . . . you really have no problem with me being gay?"

            "Should I have a problem?" Sariel asked back.

            "Seeing that you call yourself an angel, I thought you'd at least follow Christian teachings-" Jude began but was waved off by Sariel's dismissive hand.

            "I don't follow human religious practices; I follow but my Father's will."

            "Which is . . .?"

            "A multitude of things,"  Sariel said,  "one of which is to promote love between the members of your vilely self-centered race instead of hate . . . which brings me to why you need my help.  Ever since meatboy out-ed you for fun, you've become the center of a lot of hateful emotions.  Some of them are yours, some are from others, and all spell bad news for you."  His once flippant voice turn darkly grave.  "Hate is a scary thing; not only does it cause premature aging in humans, but the energy that it emits attracts demons like sharks to spilled blood.  In fact, that time when you almost jumped off the bridge?  You were under the influence of a demon, one who was intent on killing off your body and seizing your soul for her own empowerment."

            " 'Her?' " Jude raised an eyebrow incredulously.  "You're saying that my suicidal urges were induced by a she demon?"

            "One of the bitchier ones, yes," Sariel's face grimaced with distaste.  "Back then, I drove her away with help from some old friends.  But as long as you remain soaked in the hate and bitterness that she so loves, she'll come back to haunt you gain."  Blue eyes narrowed with dark intensity.  "Demons are persistent like that."

            "I see . . . and how do you plan to help me through this?"  Jude asked, in what he hoped was a serious manner.

            Sariel perked up at seeing the change in Jude's attitude. 

"Well, getting rid of the hate around you is of course our most pressing concern . . ."

              It wasn't like I had anything else better to do, Jude reasoned to himself as he resigned himself to playing along with the strange boy's delusional games.  Me, who has been made an outcast by this hypocritical world.

            " . . . if you hate your enemies back, you'd only create a vicious, unhealthy cycle . . ."

            Contrasted by the hostile setting, this obnoxious loon in front of me actually seems rather gentle.

            The sunlight coming through cafeteria windows was at such an angle that it cast a golden sheen upon Sariel, highlighting the exquisiteness of his androgynous features as he spoke on:

            " . . . try not to care so much about what others think of you, and just focus on the reality of who you really are . . ."

            And those dark lashes really stood out against his luminous skin-

            Jude almost visibly jumped at that last thought. 

            Where in the world had that come from?

Just days ago, he was proclaiming his undying love to Roy, and now he was having interest in this feisty little mental patient?

            It's the rebound talking, Jude tried convincing himself, just the rebound and nothing more . . .

            A hand waved itself right in front of his eyes, jolting Jude out of his reverie.

"Hello~" Sariel dragged on his voice.  "I'm talking to you about very important stuff here.  Will you please not zone out?"

            " . . . umm," Jude bit down on his lower-lip with a faint flush on his face.  "Go on."

            "Anyway . . ."  Sariel studied Jude's expression with a cautious frown.  "As I just said, even though I have the authority to bring divine punishment upon those bigots bothering you, you are the only one who can truly standup for yourself. "

            ". . . authority . . . to bring divine punishment?" Jude asked, clearly disbelieving.

            "Well, yes, but I only use that as a last resort, " Sariel explained casually.   "I prefer to deal with humans by human means only, since, you know, our power difference is so huge."

            "Now *that's* divine fairness," Jude muttered, flatly.  Taking that in, Sariel exhaled loudly. 

"I can see that you still have doubts about my competency . . ." said the boy.  "But just think about this: we've been here a while now.  Has any of the usual suspects began to bother you yet?"

            Looking around, Jude realized to his surprise that all the "usual suspects" (as Sariel had just called them) were all seated at tables furthest away from them, watching them.  Yet, the usual sadistic, predatory smirks were gone from their faces, replaced by looks of wariness and uncertainty.

            "What's going on?"  Jude asked, bewildered and confused. 

            "Oh, they had yet to recover from their encounter with my tongue, that's all," Sariel commented offhandedly.

            Jude's eyes widened in shock at hearing that.  "What?!"

            "My tongue," Sariel repeated, seemingly perplexed by Jude's reaction.  "My whippy, sarcastic tongue that is my favorite offence yet."

            " . . . oh, okay,"  Jude blushed as he sighed in relief somehow.  "Wow . . . for a moment I thought-"

            "Hey, Jude!" 

            At that loud, rowdy voice, the two turned to see a bulky, muscle-bound teen standing beside their table.  A few equally tall but even heavier boys were flanking him from the sides, leering down upon them along with said teen. 

            " Roy . . ."  Jude tensed up almost immediately upon sight of the bulky teen.  From cross the table, Sariel's blue eyes narrowed at seeing that.

            Arrogant sneer accentuating his almost animalistic virility, Roy McNeil clasped a big hand upon Jude's shoulder. 

"Already hitting on another guy?"   Roy sneered.  "I'm hurt.  You sounded like such a sincere little girl back when you confessed to me last week."

 "Thus whined the bleeding heart," Sariel's bored, dismissive voice cut into the conversation, startling all into turning towards him. 

Releasing Jude, Roy narrowed his eyes at the small-boned transfer student with the prettiness of a girl. 

"You must be  . . . a member of Jude's sisterhood?"

"Wow, homophobic remarks from the queer-bait," Sariel exclaimed.  "Talk about slapping oneself . . . which I do believe is how you get your jollies, am I right?  Roy-boy?"

Face darkening, Roy leaned his huge bulk over the table to stare down upon the small, mouthy boy.  "You wanna step outside with us?"

"No thanks," Sariel stared up at the intimidating youth with taunting flatness.  "I'm physically repulsed by bulky jocks getting fat on pizza." He gestured at Jude. "Perhaps meat-lover here would appreciate your offer more than I do?" 

"Hey!" Jude protested.

". . . I mean to fight, you big mouthed girl-boy!"  Roy gritted from between his teeth.

"Okay . . ."  Sariel acted as if considering his words.  "Is there any reason why we can't fight here?"  He slapped a fist into a palm.  "Oh, that's right!  There is a teacher over there watching us like a hawk.  Now if he sees you and your fat buddies attempting violence on a lightweight like me, you'd all be suspended in second."  He sneered at Roy and his sidekicks.  "That's why bullies are pathetic: they have to use superior numbers against individual targets half their sizes, and are afraid of teachers who're triple their age."  He then turned back to Jude.  "You actually made a love confession to *that*?  No wonder your friends laugh at you."

Jude, who was already stunned into speechlessness, could not reply to that.

His shock quadrupled at the thunderous applause came from all sides.  Looking around, he saw his peers (all alienating him since his being out-ed) now wildly cheering Sariel on.

"That was so *good*!"

"Chew them out, guy!"

"Yeah!  Put those losers in their place!"

Beaming widely, Sariel ate up their support with much satisfaction.  Looking considerably less cocky than before, Roy and his gang shot a few sullen looks at Sariel, before making their awkward exit under everyone's booing and jeering.

Like a falling star, he impacted my once dreary world, revolutionizing it with his blazing, piercing light . . .

"He's . . . cool," said a perplexed random male student to his friends.  "He doesn't do sports, he doesn't do drugs, his best friend is gay, and somehow I *still* I find him cool!"

"Fairchild has backbone," another guy reasoned.  "The way he doesn't bother with becoming a people pleaser despite being in a new school, the way he shot down those intimidating school toughs in public without so much as flinching . . ."

"And he shouldn't have to flinch," yet another guy spoke up then.  "This is school, not juvie; the bad guys shouldn't get to harass us just because they are heavyset and run in packs.  One wrong move on their part, and they'd get kicked out."

"And into real juvies," added the first boy with a chuckle.  "Gay rape and all . . ."

"Speaking of which . . . don't you think Jude had changed a lot lately?"

"Come to think of it, he has become a lot easier to approach . . ."

At another corner of the cafeteria, Sariel and Jude were sitting together with a group of their classmates.  The former was totally enjoying himself, contributing a biting joke now and then to liven up the chattering.  The latter, so sullen and tense in the past, actually looked at ease as he joined in their talking about light, inconsequential topics that formed the basis of in-school socializing. 

The difference that had made me an outcast no longer hindered me, now that I'm less defensive and sullen than before.  Aside from having to endure the occasion joke directed at my preference, I now get to coexist peacefully with the rest of the world.

He brought me out with startling ease, against insurmountable odds.

"I never thought I'd say this about two boys, but . . .  god, do they look cute together~~!" gushed one of the many girls watching the two boys from afar with dreamy looks. 

"Call me a perv, but I'd really like to know who goes on top!  I mean, Jude is more masculine, but it's pretty little Sariel who has got the strong personality!"

"It's been more than a month since Sariel transferred here.   I wonder how far their relationship has progressed during this time?"

"Umm . . . from what they told me, those two are just friends,"  a bespectacled girl pointed out hesitantly, and was immediately pounced upon by her friends.

"Don't burst our romantic bubble!!!"

A miracle; I 'd expect no less from someone who claimed to be my guardian angel.

. . . a benevolent, deluded someone . . .

Not long after their somewhat unusual friendship had begun, Jude had had the opportunity to meet the self-proclaimed angel's "maker", so to speak . . .

"It's so kind of you to indulge my son's eccentricities," the matronly Mrs. Fairchild had whispered gratefully to Jude during the one time he was invited to Sariel's home (her son was in the washroom then).  "You have no idea how many youngsters Sariel had managed to scare away in the past with offers of 'divine guidance'."

"Does he really think he's an angel?"  Jude had asked then. 

"The psychiatrist said he does."  

Well, it isn't like I didn't know from the start that Sariel is delusional.  In fact, I'd have problems if he really is some elite messenger sent by a distant God.

Beside, what's a little mental problem when one has charisma? Jude mused as he stared wistfully at Sariel, who was clearly the most commanding presence within their little group.

Noticing his gaze, Sariel beamed at him in winsome roguishness

 . . . I'm not even ashamed to admit that I'm drawn to him, not anymore.

Come to think of it, Sariel was the very first person I have bonded with on a emotional level.

Mom died giving birth to me; my only connection to her is an old photo album with pictures of her dating back to before I was born.  And Dad, he always manages to be away somehow; I don't think he could deal with a son who had not only killed his wife, but would never have a wife of his own. 

I have no siblings; what "friends" I've made at school are really just acquaintances, people who have nothing in common with me

Then there was Roy; strapping, bestial Roy so magnetic in his virility . . . I had only ever coveted him from afar.  Had he not caught me staring at him once too often and played that cruel joke upon me, I'd never even get to talk to him, much less confess . . .  

What I've felt for him was as purely physical as it was one-sided. 

Living a lonely life that was as unblessed as they come, Sariel was the first to ever care for me as a person.  He gets me.  

. . . I want to make him my first.

". . . and Jacob's inviting us to his party this Friday night,"  Sariel read off his electronic notebook as he and Jude walked home after school.  "You feel like going?"

"I don't mind either way," Jude shrugged.  "I'll go if you go."

"Then we're going,"  Sariel decided.  "Now, about this mothball thing that Tim and the other guys are going to during the weekend-"

"Sariel,"

Cut off by Jude's soft voice, Sariel turned to face the other boy.  "Yes?"

Mustering up his courage, Jude force the words out of his nervous mouth.  "How do you . . . feel about me?"

"Well, despite the sullen act, you turn out to be one of the more agreeable humans I've had the pleasure of guarding-"

"No," Jude chuckled as he shook his head, before turning to stare right into Sariel's blue eyes.  "I mean . . . how do you feel about me?  Personally?"

At that, Sariel blinked his blue eyes with innocence befitting of a real angel, before widening them as realization dawned on him. 

"My God," he breathed out in a voice gone flat from shock.  "You're confessing."

Jude's heart sank in at seeing that less than encouraging reaction from Sariel.  Was he making a huge mistake in revealing his feelings?  Just because Sariel harbors a delusion of being his "guardian angel" doesn't necessarily mean that he would have any romantic interest in him, who's another boy.   In fact, hadn't the boy always enjoyed basking under the admiring looks of the girls at school?  Androgynous looks and lack of homophobia aside, Sariel had never given any indication of being anything other than straight . . .

Had he just done something irreparable to this odd, yet precious thing they now share by opening his mouth like this?

 "Sariel, I-"

WHACK!!!
            With wide eyes, Jude watched as Sariel got knocked to the ground after getting struck in the back of his head by a baseball bat.  With a savage look in his eyes, the assailant lowered his bat and smirked at the stunned boy.

"It's been a while, little Jude,"

"Roy . . ."  Jude had problem getting even that one word past his suddenly constricted throat.  "What are you doing?"

"Just . . . giving a little playback to you new playmate for keep on dissing me and my gang for an entire *month*!!"  Roy accentuated his menacing snarl with an aggressive step forward, and Jude found himself backing away . . . and into two of Roy's rough-looking friends, who grabbed his by the arms.

"What-" Jude protested, and was struck hard across the face. 

Sneering, Roy grabbed the smaller, captive youth by his brown hair, and yanked up his head such that the latter had to look up at him.

"And I'm not forgetting about you," Roy leered down upon Jude. "Everybody knows you two pervs are an item."  The rugged voice gained a wolfish edge.  "Can you imagine how the little bastard would feel if I am to mess you up?" 

" . . . I imagine I'd feel almost as bad as you're about to,"
            Shocked, everyone quickly followed Sariel's voice, and were all shocked by what they saw.

The surroundings had changed.  The empty street, once painted golden by the late afternoon sun, had dimmed up under an eerie, deep saffron-ish glow.  Looking cool and startlingly at ease even within the now twilight surroundings, Sariel faced Roy and his sidekicks with a smile as devastating as thunder upon glacier.

"I'm the angel of Death and of War; the embodiment of the Most High's Command;" he stated.  "You who prey upon the fragile and the different . . . come face my judgment."

With those words, the dimly illuminated air surrounding them shifted like sluggish, semi-translucent beasts, before rapidly solidifying into many vaguely humanoid shapes.  With uncanny ferociousness, they attacked the group of school hooligans and quickly powering them. 

"They are pets of the demon Behemoth; familiars that you have attracted with your malice and hate," the angel informed the beaten group as he put an arm around Jude's shocked-still shoulders.  "As spiritual parasites, they feed off the dark thoughts of humans.  They poison their victim's souls too, to ensure that they would continue to be nourished with negative emotions."  He gestured at the monstrosities with a free hand.  "These little ones here have been feeding off you lot for quite a while now."

Hysterical with fear, the group of usually tough young men screamed and kicked and lost all form of rational and dignity as they struggled on madly against the demonic entities  . . .

Later, they were to be hauled off the street by authorities for disturbing the neighborhood.  Even as they were escorted into police cars, the boys were sobbing and crying over assault from monsters that nobody else but them could see or hear. 

Sariel had long since led Jude away by then.

"Ha!  That ought to have washed those little bastards out of your hair!"  Sariel laughed gloatingly as Jude walked quietly beside him.  "But vicious as it may seem, I was really only making them see the damage they are doing to their own souls.  Should those morons be smart enough to reflect on the meaning of all this, presumably after years of therapy, it will serve them in them in the end."

 "What takes you so long?" Jude asked in a quiet voice charged with tension.

"Eh?'  

"Since I was little, I have known that I was different from the other boys."  Jude said, long bangs falling over his gray eyes as he lowered his head.  "I was non-aggressive, I disliked sports, I chased butterflies instead of frogs . . . and I got bullied a lot because of this.  My Dad, my teachers . . . they all believed that the problem lies with me, that I basically brought all the bulling and hostility upon myself, for being as different as I was from the rest of my peers."  His voice dropped even as it gained tension.  "Nobody even considered the possibility that perhaps I didn't ask to be different.  That I was born that way, or perhaps even made that way . . . the latter of which I believe is actually the case, now that I have actually got one of God's angels in the flesh right here in front of me."

Jude chuckled edgily then, as Sariel stared at him with both uncertainly and worry. 

"I spent years and years waiting, praying . . . no, begging for salvation to come my way," his voice began to broke.  "It never did.  I came to believe that living is pain, there is no fairness, no justice, no hope, no God," With almost oppressive slowness, he turned to face Sariel with wide, wild eyes.  "And here you are, showing me that angels and God exist; that my creator had not only made me different, but had neglected me for more than sixteen *long* years, every moment of which I was brutalized and abused by this stupid world of *his* making!!"

"Jude-" Sariel tried to put a calming hand on the young man's shoulder, which was angrily slapped away.

"Don't touch me!"  Jude snarled in a voice like a knife, one that stabbed right into the angel's heart.   "And don't you dare come to me acting like some savior just because you helped me scare away a bully or two with your magical angel powers!"  He bit down on his lower lip (already split from Roy hitting him), the pain almost forcing the tears out of his eyes.  Almost.  "If God is about standing by impassively while people suffer, if he can't stop injustice until after the damage is done, then I don't need him!"

And finally, the knife twisted:

"I certainly don't need *you*!"

Ignoring Sariel's reaction, Jude turned on his heel and left in what he thought was a dignified manner.  He didn't look back, not even once.

Only when he was out of breath at his apartment door did Jude realized that he had ran all the way home; in tears.

Having suffered through my entire life, I used to imagine God to be some sadistic tyrant who derives pleasure from the suffering of his people.

Who knew I'd ever be proven right for real?

Leaning against a tree at a corner of the schoolyard, Jude idly listened to the talk among his classmates, the talk about Roy and his bully-gang having suddenly gone severely mental, and might actually be going away for a while . . .           

It's been three days since . . . and Sariel still isn't coming to school.

Every once in a while, some girl in class would approach him to ask about what had happened to their favorite pretty boy.  One of them actually asked him flat out if they're having a 'lover's spat'.

Last night, he had a dream.

In it, he was lying on his back.   Above him, a curvy, sinister female covered from head to toe in skin-tight brown leather was straddling his hips, grinding against his groin in brazen lewdness.

"Seems like your cocky little guardian couldn't save you after all," she drawled throatily, her pursing lips stretching the thin leather masking her face to eerie effects.  "Too bad for him that you seem to hate God as much as I do."

"I like that in my preys," she said while leaning her leather wrapped, grinning face closer down towards his . . . 

He woke up to find himself drenched in cold sweat.

Seemed that his personal demon came back, now that his personal angel had been pushed away by his own hands.

"Jude Barron?" 

Startled, Jude turned to see two slender youths standing right beside him. One of them was a silver-haired boy with pale skin and elegantly shaped amber-yellow eyes.  The other was a dark-haired, olive-skinned young man with fiery violet eyes framed by fittingly dramatic dark brows.  Despite having never seen them before, Jude immediately knew what, if not who, they were.

"Angels?" he asked, or rather, stated.

"How'd you figure?"  asked the dark featured one with a mildly surprised expression.

"You each have certain features that resemble his."

 The enigmatic dark hair, the lustrous pale skin, the slender built, the beautiful androgyny . . .   

"Ah, but we are brothers after all," smiled the silver-haired one, who extended a pale hand at the human in civil politeness.  "Azrael of Death, glad to make your acquaintance."

"Camael of War," said the other, somewhat gruffly.  "Can't say the same about meeting you.  Sariel's standards had certainly dropped since becoming humanized." 

Jude clucked his teeth, before saying, " . . . should you two be talking about this in public?" 

"Look around," the one called Camael gestured dismissively at the other students in the schoolyard, none of whom were even looking their way.  "Is the  'public' not completely oblivious to Azrael and I, despite our not inconsiderable presence?"

"More mind-blowing tricks from the angels, I see . . ." Jude commented in a pointed voice . . . one that softened as a wistful note crept into it.  " . . . you have his arrogance, I'll give you that." 

Camael narrowed his eyes suspiciously.  "You're not going to confess your love to me now, are you?"

            Jude was just about to retort with a biting remark, when Azrael cut in with his calming, level-headed voice:
            "We're here on behalf of Sariel.  From what we gathered, you two parted on less than friendly terms."

            Jude merely stared flatly at the pale angel, who continued on:

            "The reason behind this seemed to be his connection to God, whom you blame for the sufferings you've endured in life. "

"That's right," Jude readily admitted to Azrael's angelic face.  "And if you two are here trying to convince me otherwise, or to convert me somehow-"

"We're only here to tell you that Sariel is *not* angry at you for that uncalled for guilt trip you made him go through just because he works for God."  Camael stated in a blunt, flat voice.  "He also wants us to let you know that should you want to see him, he'll be at his human home."

Jude's reply was his pensive silence, which seemed to further agitate the Angel of War.

"And while we're on the subject of you blaming God for your suffering . . . does it ever occur to you to instead blame your parents for having unprotected sex?"

Jude turned incredulous at hearing that.  "What?!"
            "You people are too over-sexed, that's what!"  Camael growled in agitation.  "You whined about the world being messed up, that God obvious doesn't care since you got hurt and all . . . well, have you any idea how hard it is for a hundred and forty thousand something angels to manage the billions of humans that had resulted from Adam's fling with Eve? Add in two hundred million plus demons who hate humans almost as much as they do us, and of *course* the world's gonna become chaotic: it's a battlefield for crying out loud!"

"But are we not doing our damned best to help each and every one of you?

"Is there anyone you know who hadn't at least been given a glimpse of hope in his or her lifetime?"

Jude's voice was sullen.  "Well, I hadn't."

"What about Sariel?  He taught you how to coexist with the world despite being different, and basically revolutionized your existence!"  Camael raised his voice.   " That doesn't count as hope?"

"He came too late!"  Jude too raised his voice.  "I had already suffered for years and years before-"

"Your suffering ceased the moment Sariel had appointed himself to be your guardian angel," Azrael cut into the conversation with his cool, steady voice.  "Why dwell on a past that not only cannot be changed, but is already behind you?  Why not instead allow yourself to move on-"

"My entire past was one huge mess of pain!"  Jude shouted now.  "The childhood that is supposed to be magical, the adolescence that is supposed to be the time of my life . . . I had to spend every precious day of them getting *tormented*, just because . . . !"  

"Yes, you were abused and wronged," stated the pale angel.  "And the people who've hurt you in the past will all have face that which they've brought upon themselves, eventually."  His icy voice hardened.  "But if you insist on clinging to that bitter past, to the point of denying yourself the possibility of a better future, you'll be condemning your remaining youth and your adulthood into going down that same drain your earlier years did.

"And this time, there will be no one for you to blame your pain on; only yourself."

Azrael's words struck a core within Jude, cooling down his rage and forcing him to reflect on his miserable existence.

The doglike existence that he once led . . . how much of the pain there was he himself responsible for?

Hadn't his own self-pity always managed to worsen his already suffocating misery?

The anger that he felt for those whom he felt had wronged him . . . hadn't it always ended up hurting himself the most?

Hadn't it caused him to push away Sariel, who was his future his hope his everything?

"Go see him, Jude," Camael prompted, his voice slightly more gentle than before as he observed the human's remorseful expression.  "The guy's more of a kid than he lets on.  He's probably still locked inside his bedroom sobbing under the blankets."

Sariel . . .

"Well, seems like our job here is done,"  Azrael spoke with a pleased look that partially warmed his icy feature as he stepped up to beside Camael. "Till we meet again."

Vast, twin flashes of blackness abruptly expanded out of the pale angel's back.   One of them cloaked itself softly around an impassive Camael, while the other swept so sharply at Jude's face, the boy was forced to close his eyes . . . 

. . . when he opened them again, he found himself alone at the corner.  The angels who were talking to him but moments ago were now nowhere to be seen.

A few dark feathers were struck to his shirt.  Holding one of them up, he saw that it was similar to that of a crow, yet larger and much more lustrous.

Just like that, the angels departed, leaving me with the possibility of a better future.     

Which I took.

Lushly lashed blue eyes lowered in wistful melancholy rare for one with his whippy personality, Sariel opened his heart from where he sat upon his bed, half-leaning against the window:

"I died protecting my last charge from Behemoth, the female demon who had been haunting you; that was how I came to reincarnate into a human."

"Carrying this memory for as long as I had, I suppose I had come to view myself as a hero of sorts," his voice thickened. "And when I met you at the bridge, getting haunted by that same sadistic bitch, I . . . "  blue eyes looked up to meet gray ones.    "I just wanted to step in and be your hero.  I apologize if I had offended you with my savior complex."

"No," Jude hung his head.  "You *are* my hero; you turned my whole life around.  I was the one being unreasonable, slashing out at you after all the things you've done for me."  His voice turned pensive.  "And . . . the reason I got so threatened by the idea of you being a real angel?  It's not so much because of my antichrist sentiments, but rather . . . the assumption that if you're truly a divine being, then  . . ." he inhaled deeply, " . . . you'd be incapable of feeling what I feel for you."

You would never let me hold you the way I want to; our lips would never meet,, 

Sariel's eyes widened with that same trapped expression as the time he first got confessed to.

"And that's okay!" Jude quickly spoke on.  "You're not obligated to return my feelings.  Just because I . . ." Jude swallowed as he try to compose his words better.  "I'm not foolish enough to push you away just because my needs are earthy and yours . . . aren't."

. . . you'd never be mine.

"Yeah . . ." Sariel ran an awkward pale hand through his dark hair.  " Although . . . I have been humanized for a while now."

Slowly digesting Sariel's words, Jude leaned closer with hope in his eyes.  "So you saying that-"

"Human urges aren't easy for me to deal with," Sariel stated, looking flustered.  "God knows I never had to, before.  For now . . . I want to be just your guardian angel, if you'll still have me."

"Of course," Jude slowly leaned back. "That's . . . fine with me."

Coexistence with my surroundings aside, I'll never be truly considered as being conventional by the world I live in.

As such, its conventional restrictions have no hold on one like me; I'm free to aim as high as I want.

"Although . . . I'd like to interpret what you just said with an emphasis on the 'for now'," Jude's gray eyes now sparked with something that was prelude to a twinkle.  "Can I?"

". . . sure," Sariel nodded, slowly.  "That's . . . fine with me too." 

Jude's heart leapt with hope at seeing the faint flush blossoming from right underneath the angelic youth's pale skin.

I can aim for the impossible.

The End

Story copyrighted by its original author  (yes, Azure A. Blue is a pen name).  All rights reserved.