"Alex, you're seventeen years old, it's time you start taking responsibility for your actions."

Alex Dresner did nothing but roll his eyes in response. It was partly due to the common admonishment delivered from an adult to a teenager, and partly because the classic "mom" line was not given by his mother Caraline, but by his Keeper.

"Is it really that bad?" He asked offhandedly and slouched in his chair.

"Alex, you are on the brink of falling. Do you know what that means?"

The youth shifted uncomfortably, "No."

"It means that you would lose all the abilities that make you an angel. You would lose your ability to fly, your charisma, your strength, your impeccable good health. Decades, maybe even centuries would be shaved off your lifetime depending on how long it would take you to repent, and from the way things have been going, it would take you a very long time. This is much more serious than getting a slap on the wrist for sneaking into the house late at night. This concerns your soul, Alex."

The Keeper's words hung venomously in the air and Alex thought about the different perks he enjoyed. People liked him, for some strange reason. He was an athlete, something he prided himself on even though he didn't have to work nearly as hard to excel as others did.

"And most fallen angels can never get themselves to a level where they can repent. Meaning that they live with the knowledge of what they were and what they did to deny themselves the privileges they once enjoyed until they die a lonely death far sooner than any angel should have to suffer. Do you understand how serious this is now?"

"Maybe," Alex said, "You could just be trying to scare me because repenting would mean a lot of work for you too."

"Dammit Alex!" The Keeper slammed his hand down on the coffee table and the magazines strewn on top of it jumped, "What do I have to do to get you to understand that this is a very grave situation. Do you want the demons to get an upper hand? Because that's what will happen if you fall. Fallen angels don't turn into demons, but they can't fight them anymore either. Is that what you want?"

The Keeper finally struck a nerve in Alex, who straightened up with a look of steel on his face.

"Of course not. You know I hate them."

"Alright then," the Keeper leaned back in his chair, "I swear Alex, you're going to be the death of me someday."

"Why do you say that?"

"What have we just been yelling back and forth about? You use your gifts in ways that an angel never should. You use your charisma to selfishly manipulate people, you toe the line of safe sky when you fly, you've nearly revealed yourself multiple times, and overall, you aren't a terribly nice person. In fact I believe some of the humans you know call you an asshole behind your back. Regularly."

"So I'm a douchebag, it kinda comes with the territory of 'teenage guy' you know?"

"But that's the thing Alex, you have to find a better way to balance the two halves of your nature. I would settle for you balancing them at all. You want to be that cavalier teenage screw off, but you are required to be better than that, a job at which you have been failing."

"Are you done?" Alex turned round blue eyes on his Keeper, who merely sighed.

"Yes, I suppose I am." The Keeper sighed, "our monthly meetings have been getting more and more stressful as I hear reports of your shenanigans."

"What 'shenanigans'?" Alex asked incredulously

"How about we start with putting freshmen in trash cans? Or maybe the time you got drunk at a graduation party last year? I know I don't need to remind you about what happened with Karissa."

"She deserves better than Matthew and you know it."

"Oh, because at that time you were so much better weren't you Alex?"

"Dammit!" Alex stood up quickly, knocking the chair to the ground behind him

"Don't lose your temper." The Keeper said in the placating tone that only makes an annoyed person even more agitated.

"If you don't want me to lose my temper, then stop bringing up Karissa, you know that is one of the only things that really gets to me. Besides, if I lost my temper as much as you think I do, I would have been revealed a long time ago."

"You need to find what really gets under your skin, Alex. I know that you hate demons, that's why you are so good at fighting them and their influence on the world. You need to find the other causes you are passionate about and defend them, in the name of good. That is your job as an angel. Righteous anger is a good thing. It's healthy."

"Bull." Alex said evenly, one more sentence away from calling his Keeper a hypocrite for telling him not to lose his temper and then saying righteous anger was healthy.


"I'll see you next month." Alex said and turned his back, stalking across the tan living room of the magician's house. He let himself out and slammed the door behind him.