hey guys, I'm back! a HUGE thank you to every single person who reviewed for Sword of Fire. I reached over a 100 reviews for the first time because of you guys! I dedicate this first chapter of the sequel to all of you. you guys are amazing! Enjoy, and please leave your thoughts/feedback in a review!

The dreams haunted me every night.

I couldn't sleep anymore. The instant my eyes would close, the memories would explode to life behind my eyes: Michael screaming, blood dripping from the tips of his wings, Julia and her little brother, cowering behind me, their faces bloody, their eyes sunken and dark, the sound of shattering glass, Michael diving to the ground, the feel of his lips on mine, his quiet laugh, gabriel screaming, the children crying...and Lucifer...Lucifer, laughing and laughing and laughing...

How am I supposed to live like this? My life isn't a book, it isn't a movie...I'm a teenager...a teenager who also just so happens to be an angel and is preparing for the end of the world. Yep. totally normal, right?

Sitting in bed with my knees drawn up to my chest, I rocked back and forth, trying to clear my mind and calm down. I clenched my eyes shut and gritted my teeth, shoving the memories away, far away to the darkest corner of my thoughts. Michael had said he would watch over me...he had promised. Did he see me now? What could he be thinking?

I sighed, slumping down against my headboard, my wings pulsing in an agitated rhythm against my shoulders. My whole body was tingling with energy, an aftermath of the terror I had felt moments before during the nightmares. Shuddering, I angrily swiped at my eyes, getting rid of the tears. I had been crying so much every night that I couldn't help but wonder when my body was going to run out of salt water.

Was this like, severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of something? Was I going to have to live with this every single night for the rest of my life? Wasn't there some magical spell or something that could end this? Some new science or invention, or something?

I was homesick. It wasn't just that ache in the pit of your stomach. I felt sick, and my body was practically screaming at me to fly, to be free, my spirit shrieking inside it's cage, let me fly!

Was this how Gabriel and Michael had felt when they first came to Earth? This horrible confinement, this annoying ache? How did they survive it?

Michael?I thought a little cautiously. Was there like a mind telephone back home? could he connect to me from up there? or was there bad reception? Michael I need you!

Nothing. Guess the phone wasn't working up there. Crap.

Restless and wanting to move, I pushed the covers away from me and stood up, walking to the window and resting my hands against the handles, preparing to push it up. I paused for an instant, and remembered. How many times had Michael led me through this window to go flying? this was the window Gabriel and I had jumped out of during the last battle with Lucifer...this window is almost...almost like my gateway to heaven. At least, it is my gateway to the sky.

I pushed the window up, and stepped out onto the roof.

It was cool out, the wind sighing gently through the trees, the tiles of the roof cold under my bear feet. I lifted my face to the sky and breathed deeply, allowing my wings to fully expand behind my shoulders. They stretched and hummed in the cold air, radiating energy. I turned my head, and saw that Gabriel had the same idea as me. He is sitting a few paces away from me, his eyes closed, legs folded, face lifted to the moon. In the eerie silver light, he looked even more angelic than usual, his gigantic wings casting his features in pale gold light.

I stared at him sadly, not wanting to interrupt his concentration. Ever since Michael "died" Gabriel has been...well, different. He never laughs, at least not fully. He rarely smiles, and his eyes have that far away look, as though part of his mind is always back home. I wanted to help him, I just didn't know how. I was having trouble myself coming to terms with what had happened, and I wasn't sure if I could fully comfort him the way he needed to be comforted.

If only Lucifer would hurry up and try to destroy the world again. Then, I could fight him, and we could go home...with Michael...

Slowly, reluctantly, I walked over to my brother and sat down beside him, following the direction of his gaze-the heavens. When I was younger, my preschool teacher used to say that the stars were angels watching us. Now I know they are just fiery balls of gas and particles and matter, but at the moment, I hoped that my teacher had been right. I could use some angelic support.

As though sensing my thought, Gabriel looked at me. "Another nightmare?" He touched the dried tear tracks on my cheeks.

I nodded and leaned into his touch, welcoming the warmth of his hand.

He sighed and wrapped an arm around my shoulders, pulling me close like he used to do when we were kids, tucking me against him like a child. His right wing enveloped me as well.

I rested my head against his shoulder and sighed, relaxing. We didn't speak for a long while, but then I touched his thoughts. Gabriel had told me once that I had always preferred telepathy, and I think I agree with him...talking with our minds is a more intiment, special way of communicating. Gabriel responded to my feather-light touch with a questioning thought, and tilted his head, looking at me out of the corner of his eye.

they're getting worse.I whispered, and in a series of quick images showed him what I meant.

He pressed his cheek against my head in a quick gesture of silent comfort. Oh little one...

can't you make them go away?

He turned my chin so I was looking at him squarely. do you really want that?

I looked down. The nightmares might be painful...but they are all I have left of Michael here on Earth. I can't lose that.

Gabriel nodded, following my train of thought. Michael never wanted to forget either.He ran his thumb gently along my cheekbone. I think he's proud of you.

My eyes burned and I looked away quickly, blinking before the tears could escape. I hope so.I miss him.

I miss him too.Gabriel said softly. He tugged a little on my left wing, playfully. do you know what he would say if he was here?

I thought for a moment. start flying and stop moping?

A ghost of a smile flickered across his face, and he reached for my hand. come.

just as he had done my very first flight, he led me to the edge of the roof, fingers wrapped tightly around mine. I took a deep breath and curled my toes over the roof's sharp edges, allowing the wind to rush through me, for the energy to sweep across my body, for my wings to shiver and pulse with anticipation. This was the first time I had flown since the incident with Lucifer, the first time I'd flown without Michael.

I pushed off the roof, falling out into the empty air.

And then it was simply a rush of exhilaration, as the wind sang to my ears, and my wings snapped open, halting my wild descent. I pulled on Gabriel's hand, and we twisted and spun about each other, engaging in a bizarre ariel dance under the moon. For an instant it was almost easy to forget my grief and sadness. For an instant, I was free, and I was flying.I tucked my wings close to my back and hurtled downward again, grinning as the wind compressed around me and my wings pulsed from the pressure.

And for the first time in such a long time, I heard the sound of my brother's joyous laughter.