Author's Note: My sincerest apologies to everyone who reads this story (or really, those of you who were silly enough to NOT give up on me or this story) for not having updated in nearly a year, if not more. I really don't have an excuse beyond I had no computer and no internet to type up a chapter that has been complete for quite some time now. So, without any more introduction, please enjoy this next chapter of Fallen.


Eight

"Oh my god, what have I done?"

Raphe put a hand on Gabriel's back. "It's not your fault, man."

Gabe shook his head, his gold curls shining. "I did it, I judged her―"

"Shut the hell up, Gabe, we know."

Gabe sent an icy glare in Jeff's direction. "Don't tell me you don't feel guilty."

Jeff fell silent. Uri looked from his brother to Gabriel, then back to the sword lying across his knees. He could see his reflection in the metal; his eyes glowed red in a shadowed face. He sighed.

The Archangels ― those remaining ― were all sitting in the living room of Michelle's apartment. They'd been there ever since the Assembly had been dismissed. If it had been possible they would have cried; instead, all they could do was lament and feel sorrow. They couldn't express it except in words.

Gabriel resettled his wings and let out a long breath. Next to him, Raphe leaned back on the couch and stuck his hands in his pockets. Camry was sitting in a chair, her face buried in her hands. Rema was lying on her stomach in the middle of the floor, her long blond hair trailing on the carpet. She was staring across the room at Zac, who was by himself at the window, leaning against the wall. From his place on the floor, Uri could see everyone, could see the anguish etched on their flawless features. Even his brother, sitting next to him and usually so loud and obnoxious, was quiet and forlorn. Uri couldn't blame him. He was just as shocked.

"I hope she's all right," Rema said airily. Camry sat up and nodded.

"She's gotta be. As much as I hate him, Sam wouldn't let anything had happen to her."

"Personally I hope that bastard rots."

Everyone but Zac and Rema stared at Gabe, but the look on his face was so serious no one questioned him, and the room fell silent for a while.

"Why wait for him to?"

They looked at Zac; he was still staring out the window, but his fist was clenched around the hilt of his dagger. Camry frowned.

"Zac, what are you talking about?"

He faced them then, and Uri recognized the look in his amethyst eyes.

"Zac, no. Don't."

"Don't what?" he sneered.

Uri stood and gripped his sword in his hand.

"Stop thinking what you're thinking."

"You want him gone too!" Zac snapped. "It's what we should have done in the first place!"

Jeff looked back and forth between them. "What the hell are you going on about?"

Uri and Zac just kept staring each other down, so Raphe answered for them.

"He wants to kill Sam."

Jeff instantly stood up, his eyes blazing. "Well then let's do it! He's mortal now, let's slay his sorry ass!"

"And risk His wrath?" Uri snapped back. "Yeah, Jeff, that's a great idea."

"It's what He should have done in the first place," Zac repeated.

"It's thinking like that that got 'em kicked out, genius. You're not gonna touch him―"

"Uri, he's got a point," Gabe said monotonously.

"Gabe, stop--"

"Shut up, Camry." Zac looked back at Uri. "The bastard deserves to die and you know it."

"I don't think it's a good idea," Rema said. "Sam has friends, too."

"Yeah, fags and blasphemers." His eyes lit up. "They can't beat us!"

But still Uri shook his head. "I'm as pissed as you are, but we can't just go and kill someone who's already being punished by the Hand of God!"

"You call being allowed to live punishment?" Zac was screaming now, his iron-grey wings spread wide behind him. "Do you even know what being human means? That's not a punishment; it's a gift he doesn't deserve!"

"Oh, and Michelle does?" Uri sheathed his sword and got right in Zac's face; he didn't care about composure anymore. He was too pissed.

"Don't make the mistake of thinking that you're the only one who cares for her," he hissed in his face. "You go after them, and I will personally rip the wings from your back, do you understand?"

Zac sneered, and Uri grabbed the front of his shirt and yanked him forward.

"I said, do you understand me, you little punk?"

The young angel glared for all it was worth, but he nodded with gritted teeth anyway. Uri glared back, then shoved him away. The rest of the angels were watching with solemn eyes.

"That goes for the rest of you," Uri added as he made his way to the door. "Anyone lays a hand on Samael and I'll see to it that you Fall farther than Lucifer himself."

With that said, he left the apartment.


"Hey."

"…"

"Hey. Michelle."

"Nmm?"

"Michelle, wake up."

"Nmmm…"

"C'mon, get up. We need to leave."

She opened her eyes slowly, wearily. Her whole body was like lead; it refused to move. She panicked and sat up quickly, her eyes wide.

And then she saw the flesh of her hands and felt the pump of a heart in her chest and she remembered.

She had Fallen.

She took a deep breath and held it, then looked up and saw Samael crouched next to her. He was dressed in clothes he'd no doubt stolen: a pair of jeans and a hooded sweatshirt. He was staring down at her with anxious eyes.

"Have my eyes changed color?" she asked as she pulled a blanket around her. Sam must've stolen that, too.

"What?"

Michelle pushed her hair out of her face. "Your eyes aren't right. Are mine?"

He looked at her, then said, "No. They're brown. Now c'mon, we gotta go." He picked up a pile of clothes and handed them to her. "Put these on," he said, and then he stood and climbed down the ladder and out of sight.

Michelle pushed the blanket away and instantly regretted it — the morning air was cold. Shivering and wondering at it, she tried to stand, but without her wings for balance she felt awkward and her back spasmed every time she moved. She rotated her shoulder slowly, feeling the charred skin peeling and cracking on her back. She whimpered the whole time, cursed a lot, and cried out once, but in the end she'd managed to pull on the underwear, jeans, camisole, and jacket that Sam had brought her. There were no shoes, however, and her feet were freezing.

She walked over to the ladder, careful not to make any sudden movements. A peak through the trapdoor told her that Sam was waiting at the bottom, his arms crossed and his back turned.

"Hey, I'm coming down."

He turned and looked up at her. "What do you want me to do, catch you? Hurry up."

She glared at him and gingerly made her way down the rungs. By the time she made it to the bottom it felt like her wings were being ripped from her again. Sam saw her face and frowned.

"What's wrong? Why're you—"

Her eyes were burning with tears as she asked him, "How can you even move after—" Her voice choked off, but Sam's expression didn't change.

"I've gotten used to it. You will, too. C'mon, we need to go."

"Will you just hold on a minute? I can't—"

He took hold of her arm and stared down at her. "Michelle, the people that own this place are gonna be here any minute. And we're trespassing. Do you wanna go to jail? 'Cause I sure as hell don't."

She hesitated a moment before nodding and taking a couple of deep breaths. "Okay, let's go."

He led her out of the barn into an open field. The grass was high, but it was still necessary for them to crouch down so that the occupants of the house next to the field wouldn't see them. Michelle could feel her back screaming the whole way, but thankfully it didn't take long for them to make it to the road. They walked a bit farther before Sam stopped them.

"What are we doing?" Michelle asked him as he stuck his thumb out.

"Getting a ride."

"We're hitchhiking?"

He dropped his arm and stared at her. "You got a better idea?"

She fell silent. Sam nodded and stuck his thumb back out.

"That's what I thought."

An hour and five cars passed before one finally stopped: a pickup truck that looked near to rusting out. The driver was a young man with a baseball cap on his head and a friendly smile on his face.

"Where're y'all headed?"

Sam walked up to the window and leaned on the door. "Town, if that's where you're going."

The kid nodded. "Yeah, hop in."

Sam nodded and thanked him, then helped Michelle into the back of the truck. When he was in, too, he banged on the roof of the cab and the truck got back onto the road. Sam settled against the bed and put his hands behind his head and closed his eyes, almost avoiding the look Michelle was sending his way.

"What?"

"What are we doing, Sam?"

"What does it look like we're doing?"

She raised an eyebrow. "That's not what I mean. What are we going to do?"

Sam sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. "I don't know, okay? I haven't thought that far."

"Sam!"

He ignored the shocked and angry look on her face and went on. "Look, Michelle, the only thing we can do now is just live, okay? We're just gonna have to survive. That's all we can do."

"But how? Sam, we're being punished! You think He's just gonna let us live?"

He met her eyes. "Being mortal is our punishment. We were prideful of being angels so He cast us out."

"That's the reason he cast you out at the Fall. He made us human because—"

"—Because we wanted to be human."

Michelle stared at him. "What?"

He shrugged, nonchalant, like it was the obvious truth. "It's the same as last time. We were pissed because we were the greater beings, the worthier of His love, and they—" he jerked his head towards the boy driving the truck, "—got to be His pets. They got free will, the choice to serve Him." He fixed her with a fiery look. "We had no choice, and we wanted it, so we fought for it."

"Sam, I didn't want to be this way—"

A smirk appeared on his lips.

"You wanted me," he said, his voice low, and her breath caught.

"Wha—?"

"You wanted what angels couldn't have." His eyes were locked on hers. "What we used to dream about, Michelle."

She frowned, looking unsure. "I don't know what you're talking about."

But he just kept staring at her with that look. It wasn't as intense as it used to be, but the intent was still there, and it made her shiver. He was telling her that she knew with that look, that she knew exactly what he was talking about. And she did. She remembered.

"No."

He smirked.

"Face it. He's not punishing us. He gave us exactly what we wanted."

She shook her head, her lips pursed. "I refuse to believe that."

Sam shrugged. "Suit yourself. But you will eventually."

(Author's Note: A fantastic author and artist took on the difficult job of drawing these two characters for me; check out RogueHarle's profile at DeviantArtdotcom (stupid fictionpress and its un-linking ness...) /art/OC-Request-Sam-and-Michelle-98246673 if you're interested. She did an amazing job! Please REVIEW and tell me what you thought!)