"Shut up. I'm trying to sleep."
"But we're here, Christian. Look."
Christian felt a hand rubbing his arm in a vaguely homoerotic way. He sat up, bones clicking, and shook it off rather roughly.
The angel that the hand belonged to looked slightly affronted.
"That's a little rude, Christian. Especially since I drove while you slept."
Christian blinked the grogginess out of his eyes, letting this sink in. So he'd fallen asleep, had he? And while he was asleep, an incompetent angel who couldn't tie shoelaces and struggled with a toothbrush had driven his car.
Christian glanced around. They were still in his car, and still in the desert, but parked next to a cabin not entirely unlike his own. He blinked. "This is it? This is where your bastard of a demon took Colette?"
"He's not mine. It wasn't like that."
Christian blanched. "You what?"
Emmanuel seemed to realise his mistake, and hurriedly backtracked, stumbling over his words in an attempt to explain himself. He stopped rather suddenly as he noted Christian's raised brows, and climbed out without another word. Christian followed, and together they approached the cabin.
Christian could hear Emmanuel dragging his feet, and took an almost sadistic pleasure that the angel was finding this as nerve-wracking as he was.
They arrived at the door.
It was a very nice door, really. It had a sort of happy glow about it, as if the very fact that it was a door- a door- was enough to brighten anyone's day. It was a hope-filled door.
A hope-filled door that hid a kid-snatching demon.
Christian glanced at Emmanuel, who gave a nod, raised his hand, and knocked on the door.
Colette was jerked from her sleep by a harsh knock. She blinked, stretching her cramped muscles. The two demons were also standing by the door, as though they couldn't figure out whether to open it or not.
They did eventually, and there was an exceedingly awkward silence.
The chain demon gave a cough. "I have... been expecting you."
Emmanuel nodded. "That's what I expected. Christian?"
"You may want to get your seven year old daughter?"
"Oh yeah. Colette?"
Colette ran to her father, swinging herself into his arms. Christian backed away with her, watching the exchange at the door intently.
"Why not step inside, Emmanuel?"
"You know why."
"I do not wish to be caught in a spell that will chain me to Hell forever."
"You do not wish to be like me?" The chain demon sounded plaintive- sad. It lifted one heavy arm and touched Emmanuel's face lightly. Christian couldn't see particularly well, but he guessed Emmanuel's eyes were closed.
Even the sun seemed to still its rays in respect.
"We could be together once more, Emmanuel."
Emmanuel seemed to snap out of his daze. He stepped back slightly. "That is what you promised before you sinned against God!"
Christian felt a tiny intake of breath next to his ear, and the arms that clutched his tightened slightly.
The chain demon seemed to grow in size, and the sun dimmed to a dramatic grey colour, casting hard shadows on the creatures below.
"I did what I did because God is flawed!" A crack of thunder in the distance. "He takes life liberally, and so should we! It is the privilege of the angels to be as great as our creator! WE ARE PERFECT!"
Rain lashed at Christian's face, and cries seemed to fill the crackling air. Emmanuel was stepping closer to the chain demon, seemingly fighting against an invisible force to reach his own hand out to the creature's face.
Christian could not hear Emmanuel's quiet words, but through the lashing grey rain he could see his mouth shape words of love.
Then the world snapped back into balance, the sun began to shine once more, and the chain demon was gone.
Emmanuel stood silent for a while, then walked a little way away from the house. Christian let Colette drop gently to the ground and looked into her eyes.
"Go back to the car, Colette. Don't listen. Okay?"
Colette nodded, and walked shakily away.
As Christian approached Emmanuel, he felt rather like he imagined Moses felt approaching God.
"We fell in love." Emmanuel didn't turn to see Christian. Perhaps he could sense his presence anyway.
"You and chain demon?"
"Basasael and I, yes."
Christian felt slightly out of his depth. "So... then what?"
"Basasael wanted to be as powerful as God, so he joined Lucifer's army."
"And he was... banished?"
"Yes. And I suppose he got lonely, learnt I was was on Earth, and tried to trick me into going in that cabin, where I assume he set up a trap to drag me into Hell with him."
Christian glanced at Emmanuel's profile. It was easy to forget that Emmanuel was millions of years old. "You gonna tell me why you were dumped?"
"Whatever. You gonna tell me?"
Emmanuel quirked a smile. "I spoke out of place. I..." he tilted his head. "I believed that Lucifer should be given a chance to repent."
Christian turned to face Emmanuel for the first time since he'd argued with the chain- Basasael. His eyelids were lowered over his bright blue eyes, and Christian realised for the first time that Emmanuel had wormed his way into his heart and would never leave.
Christian thought that if angels could love angels, then humans could surely love angels too. And if they could, if it was possible, then he sure as Hell loved Emmanuel.
There was another silence, then a voice from behind them, almost too quiet to hear, spoke. "Do you have to go now?"
Both man and angel turned. Christian glanced at Emmanuel, and knew he understood that goodbyes were not needed. They weren't really saying goodbye- just parting for a small amount of time. He kissed Emmanuel on the cheek and walked to the car.
Colette put a hand to Emmanuel's face as he crouched to her level. "I don't want you to go."
Emmanuel stroked her hair. "Neither do I, Colette." Emmanuel could see Christian standing by his truck. "But I have to. Will you promise me something?"
"Something number one: Look after your father."
"Something number three-two: If anyone ever upsets you, or you ever feel sad, just remember-"
"That you'll be watching over me?"
"No, I'll probably be too busy. Just remember that any human emotion only lasts seventeen seconds and anything after that is just in your head. Okay?"
Colette nodded again, saluted, and ran away into the arms of her father.
Christian put a hand on her head, and together they watched as Emmanuel began to glow with a heavenly aura. He just had time to wave, before he was redeemed in a flash of light.
Then he was gone, and all that was left was the lingering scent of Heaven.