John knew this was the end.
His duty was finished.
Harold was safe.
He raised his gun, took out each of the soldiers sent to stop him. He was fast and efficient they did not suffer, and he sent prayers with their souls. Despite being the 'enemy' they were soldiers and always deserved his protection.
John lowered his weapon, and focused on the laptop. This situation had got out of hand, and he wasn't even sure who to blame. Humans should never try to be God. There was only one, and He may have given mankind Freewill, but consequences came with it.
The creak of the door caught his attention. He spun around, gun raised, only to lower it and stare in shock. "What are you doing here?"
"This is not your fight?" Harold limped painfully towards him. "You are not supposed to die for me."
"I was made to die for you!" John growled, turning to finish the last of the coding before turning to confront his protectee. "You are supposed to be downstairs safe from all of this."
He shook his head, determined. "No. I can't lose you."
"Harold, I'll always be with you." John's expression softened.
"I started this. I finish it." He tried to move past him, but was caught in strong arms. "John, please."
"I can't let you die." John's focused on the sound of the approaching missile. He closed his eyes, and let the power of His Grace flow through him.
Harold gripped John's hand, at least they would go together.
He refused to let John die alone.
There was no way he could go on without him, to just walk away and live his life, knowing the man he loved sacrificed his life for Harold. John didn't realize that if he died, Harold's heart would shatter, and he wouldn't be able to go on. The soldier had stolen his heart years ago with soft smiles, cups of Sencha Green Tea, donuts, walks with Bear, from his love and devotion.
"Hold on to me." John pulled him closer.
Harold gripped the lapels of the black suit coat. He let go of all his regrets, this was where he belonged. He lifted his head, to say those few words that he had held back for too long, only to stutter to a halt.
John's eyes were unearthly blue as he adoringly gazed at Harold.
"Your life is mine to protect."
And with that, Harold watched in awe as massive, bright multi-colored wings unfurled from seamlessly nowhere. They stretched outwards, then wrapped around Harold securing him against John's chest.
He could hear the world ending around him, but felt nothing of the impact or destruction. He was completely safe and secure.
The wings shuddered then opened, letting him out of the safety of John's arms. Harold looked around him, his forehead furrowed as he realized they were one building over, the very same one he had originally been on. John staggered back, falling to his knees, wings spilling over the ground.
"John…" He fell to his own knees in front of him. "John??"
"Michael!" A sharp, panicked voice came out of nowhere.
Harold startled enough that he lost his balance, arms flailed as he began to fall backwards, only to be caught in another set of strong arms. He looked up to see a young handsome man, hair slightly spiked with dark eyes and a wide smile. He was at least four inches shorter than John, though his presence was as commanding.
But what had really caught his attention was the set of emerald green wings.
"Harold." The newcomer's voice softened, as he tried to assure him. "He's going to be okay, just let me help."
Harold stared up at the 'Angel' wasn't quite sure what he was seeing. "I… I don't understand."
"He's a stubborn bastard, but he'll be fine." The Angel grinned as he helped Harold, and moved him away from John. "He depleted his strength protecting you from the blast. Give him a minute to recuperate."
Harold fought for a moment, wanting to be near John, but knew there was nothing he could do. At this moment he wasn't even sure what was going on. As he settled on the rooftop, he realized his side didn't hurt. His hand reached for the wound, but there was no blood. He pulled at his vest and shirt, surprised to see flawless skin. Harold tried to contemplate what it meant, when he noticed that his hip wasn't hurting and, considering he was sitting cross-legged on the roof that was a miracle.
But then wasn't this whole situation a miracle?
"How?" He wasn't quite sure what he was asking. How was he healed? How did they survive? How was this even possible? He looked at John, whose breathing was steady, but was still slumped forward on his knees.
"Sometimes Harold you have to go with the Mystery." The Angel grinned at him, before focusing on John. "Wakey, wakey. Don't make me call Uriel."
John's eyes flashed a brilliant blue, as he focused on the Angel. "And what did I ever do to you?"
"Dragged me into this messy world." He glanced over at Harold, waving his hand towards John. "See, he's fine."
"Harold!?" John bolted up onto his feet, cringing as his wings scraped across the rough surface. He relaxed when he saw him sitting nearby. "I told you I don't like it when you put yourself in danger."
"I had to Mr. Reese." Harold shifted until he was standing in front of him. "I couldn't live without you."
"You found your One, Michael."
"Why do you keep calling him that?" Harold's tone took a harder edge to it, he wasn't sure if he liked the other person … Angel.
He laughed lightly, ignoring John's glare. "Because, that's his name."
Harold focused back on him. "This is all very confusing, Mr. Reese. Will you please tell me what is going on?"
"What he hasn't been telling you is that he is actually St. Michael the Archangel and Prince of the Heavenly Host or, as some of us refer to him as one Badass Angel."
Michael rolled his eyes. "Gabriel, you're not helping."
"Not my fault you didn't say anything until now." The bright emerald wings shrugged.
Michael reached out, and ran a hand through Harold's hair. "I didn't know how to tell you." He cupped his face, and ran a thumb over his cheekbone. "It's not something I could easily mention over donuts."
Michael anticipated the situation, catching him as he fainted.
"Gabriel!" He glared at his fellow Archangel as he lifted Harold into his arms.
"He's going to be pissed when he wakes up." His own wings spread out, sheltering both Angel and Man.
"I'm sure he will be." John couldn't help the small smilean irate Harold was always entertaining.
"You have picked well with him."
"I did." Michael held Harold to him, a soft smile on his face as he easily jumped from the top of the building to the ground. He would take Harold back to the library, and then find Bear. He would need someone on his side, when he woke.
Harold startled awake. He laid still in the bed he was in, and tried to figure out how he got here. Shifting slightly he realized he was in the back room at the library. Had everything been a dream? He gently sat up, neck cringing at the moment, but his hip was still relatively pain free. He sat on the edge of the bed fingering the hole in his vest and shirt.
Everything began to come back to him.
His refusal to let him die.
Harold stood, determined to find Mr. Reese and demand to know what was going on. As he stepped into the old reading room, he came to a stop, watching John pulling covers off the equipment and brushing away at least a year's worth of dust. This wouldn't be an unusual sight except for the set of large wings that draped along John's back and onto the floor. They were more magnificent that he remembered. Brightly colored, like a Peacock, they even had the eyespots along the edges. He was sure when they were fully extended it would be like a thousand eyes watching you …
A bark startled him out of his thoughts.
John turned, a smile appearing on his face when he saw Harold. "Are you more rested?"
"Why are we here?" He asked waving his hand around, moving further into the room. Bear ran up to him, settling at his bad hip giving him a nudge and a happy doggie sigh. He petted the animal, emotions overwhelming him at seeing his constant friend again. "I'm delighted to see you."
Bear barked in reply, then moved towards his bed and settled down.
John stepped away from the desk, arms showing the computers were starting to boot up. "I'm going to guess there's a lot to be fixed or done, but it seems to be working. I'm not an expert on this stuff, as you know."
"Am I supposed to ignore the wings?" He waved at the pair that was draped behind him.
"What do you remember?" he asked, stepping closer to him, hand extended in invitation.
"The rooftop." Harold took his hand, walking into John's arms. "I knew I couldn't live without you, and didn't care if I died as long as we were together."
"I wouldn't truly leave you." John kissed the top of his head. "I will always be at your side."
He took a few steps back, putting distance between them and looked at the man in front of him. "Should I call you Michael?"
"At the moment, John or Mr. Reese is fine." He shrugged, the wings moving with the action.
"Have you always been John?" Harold tried not to roll his eyes at how stupid the question sounded.
"John Reese was a good soldier, he revered me daily." Michael answered, trying to word it in a way Harold would understand. "John couldn't live without Jessica, but his faith had him holding on. I gave him an opportunity to let go, and I took over."
"When?" he asked, concerned.
"Before you bailed me out of jail." He reached over, stopping halfway, letting his hand drop. "It's been me this whole time."
"You, as in Saint Michael, an Archangel!?"
"Well, when you put it like that…" Michael bit back the smile. "My duty is to protect, Harold."
"Heaven." He gestured upwards, sounding exasperated. "I'm not that religious, as you know, wait is that bad? But even I know St. Michael is the Biggest Meanest Badassest of Angels. You kicked Lucifer's ass."
Michael couldn't help the affectionate smile as he watched Harold flail at him. "I protect all of His creation."
"But you're here, with me."
"Because I choose to be." He sighed, rubbing a hand over his face. "I didn't understand why I couldn't save the most important person in His creation. My job is to protect, and I had to stand by and watch Him die. So I was assigned to live among the humans to understand why He died."
Harold blinked the implications of what John … Michael was saying. He couldn't comprehend what he was feeling, yet he could. John always protected, it broke him when they couldn't save one of the numbers, to not be able to save …
"While here, we were told we would find that one soul. That one that will connect you to the world. You are that one for me." He looked down, hands loose at his side. "If you don't want me here…"
"NO!" Harold yelled before he even thought. "I mean, yes I want you here. Don't leave me."
Michael smiled brightly at him, melting Harold's heart instantly. It was John's smile, the one he fell in love with. He made his way back across the room, straight into his arms, sighing in contentment when he felt the wings wrap around him. "I could get used to this."
"Only when we're alone will they be tangible. Outside there will be times you'll see them, but won't be able to touch or interact with them," he explained easily.
"Why the library?"
"It's safe." Michael stepped back, moving towards the kitchen to fix some tea. "It's always been safe, but I couldn't tell you that without revealing too much. My mark is on the door, no one would dare enter here."
"And The Machine?"
"It's waiting for you." He came back with a cup of tea. "You can rebuild it, and let it be what it was meant to be, not what it became."
"You're not using she," he pointed out. Harold had so many questions, like how did he get along with Root and Shaw. Let alone deal with Elias and so many other criminal elements.
"An AI is man's creation, not His. The fault was making it equal to man. You were made in His image, making a machine into yours only causes problems." Michael tried to explain not sure he could put the ideals he knew into words. "The Machine itself was not bad. It was the power that man bestowed upon it which made them beholden unto its thrall. You were right to heed it, but with Root and Greer worshipping it, it spiraled out of control believing itself Godlike.."
Harold sat down in the chair, not sure if he was having an out of body experience. He had rarely discussed religion or philosophy with John. He always had a simple view of helping others. This was much more complex thoughts from a much more complex being. Who was made to protect and follow … God.
"I'm not sure I'm ready."
"That's fine Harold, we have time. We are safe, now," he assured him.
"Fusco?" he asked suddenly, worried for his fellow teammates.
"He's home with Lee, and expected back on the Force soon. Shaw is peeved at me for stealing Bear, but happy in her way that we're alive." Michael settled onto the couch, letting Bear come for pets.
"I have so many questions…"
One of Harold's eyebrows rose at the 'Oh Dear God Help Me' expression on John's face, and he couldn't help wonder if it was an actual prayer. "Someone you know?"
"One of my brothers."
Harold looked over to see a smaller redhead walk through the door, eyeing the place with critical green eyes. He was thin, but had a strong build. "Nice. I like the apocalyptic look, it suits you."
"Uriel, I take it Gabriel called you."
"I felt a disturbance in the Force, figured it was you doing something stupid." He smiled over at Harold. "So he's the One, he's handsome." He then glanced down. "Michael, you do realize that's a Hell Hound."
"Yes." He petted Bear. "I rehabilitated him."
"Hell Hound?" Harold stared at the dog, then back at the Angel.
"I told you if anything touched you he would eat them." Michael's smirk was positively wicked.
Uriel stared at them, blinked a few times, sighed, then rolled his eyes. "I see. I'm Uriel, but you can call me Ben." He moved across the room, and held out his hand, Harold took it hesitantly. "As Michael is being rude and not introducing us."
"I was hoping you would go away."
"No luck, Gabriel and Raphael are on their way." Uriel scooted around the dog and began exploring the library.
Harold glanced back down at Bear, then at John, head tilting towards the other Angel. "Is this a good thing?"
"No." Michael stood, grabbed Ben by the collar. "Out."
He shifted and a pair of dark rich brown with a tint of red wings sprung forth, knocking Michael back. "Oh no, dear Michael." Uriel gave him a knowing look. "We've all been exploring His creation for centuries now, looking for our one, and now that you found yours. There is no way you're keeping us out. Hell Hound or not."
Harold stared at the dog for a few moments. "Is he really a Hell Hound?"
"I can see his true form." Uriel cringed at the slobbering beast. The red eyes glared at him, firmly set on protecting its Master. The Archangel had no idea how Michael rehabilitated it, but it was loyal to him and Harold. But then there were not many who didn't bow to Michael's power. "He's not pretty."
"Then I prefer this form." Harold rolled his chair to one of the filing cabinets and pulled out treats. He noticed they were fresh. It would seem John did some shopping while he was asleep. Bear yipped, making his way over to Harold, sitting at attention. "You're a good boy."
The dog snagged the treat and went back to his bed.
Uriel looked at his brother. "How did you pull that off?"
"He was exhausted, almost depleted. I'm not sure if he got lost or abandoned. Some white supremacist was using him as a guard dog. I gave him an opportunity, he took it. When I introduced him to Harold, he decided he was worth serving and has been loyal since."
"Only you." He made his way over to the computers, and sat in one of the chairs facing Harold. "So we have lots to talk about."
"I am not sure what you think you'll learn from me."
"I know all I need to know about Michael, it's you I'm curious about."
"I'm a very private person, Ben." Harold gave him a hard look, before focusing on his computer and ignoring the Angel.
"Did Uriel just get dissed?"
It was the voice from the rooftop, Harold turned to see the same young man from the rooftop, with a genuine smile. The emerald green wings were folded against his back, as he entered into the room. "Dude, that's a Hell Hound."
"He's perfectly civilized, unlike some people of late." Harold gave him a scathing look, part of him wondering if he was going to get smited.
"Oh Michael, he's perfect." Gabriel punched John in the shoulder, petted Bear, and then flopped onto the couch. "Warning… Raphael is right behind me."
"I thought I smelled fish." Uriel smiled at his brother.
"Very funny, brother." The voice startled Harold, as it held a thicker accent. Though Ben's accent had a slight hint of British or cultured, this one sounded as if he was from Europe. "Well the Hell Hound is new, but the abandoned library isn't."
"Raphael." Michael sighed as he stood up, moving towards Harold to give him some form of protection from his brothers. "Now that your curiosity is settled, you can leave."
"That's adorable; he thinks we're just going to leave?" Gabriel smirked.
"You disappeared from us, Michael." Raphael pointed out, taking off his sunglasses and putting them in his suit pocket. "It's not like you."
"Are you wearing Armani?" Harold asked, taking in the new Angel's wardrobe. It was a designer suit, dark black, with a white shirt, very much 'The Man in the Suit', and if he looked carefully he was sure he was wearing hand-crafted leather shoes. "I mean … well compared to." His hand waved between Gabriel and Uriel, who both shrugged.
Gabriel had preferred simple fashions: jeans, t-shirt, work boots. It was comfortable and it help easy him into a variety of different crowds.
Uriel wasn't at all insulted, and much like Gabriel, he preferred comfortable clothes, but then his job didn't entail needing a suit. The jeans and oversized sweater, with biker boots and jacket was good enough for him.
Michael gave his brother a once over. "He has to look sharp at his job, guarding the Pope. He's been playing the Inspector of the Vatican Police."
"Don't forget Commandante of the Vatican Fire Brigade also." Raphael gave him a smirk. "Though I should hand that job over to Uriel."
"I carry the Flame of God, not put it out, you'll need to talk to Florian." Uriel smirked. "But we're not talking about me, we're talking about Michael's One." He waved his hand over to Harold.
Everyone turned to see Harold typing into the computer. He was pulling up websites and information on The Vatican, Vatican Police, Swiss Guard, Saints … He paused and looked up. "I'm a bit behind on this whole Angel network."
Reese bit back a snort, only Raphael had the ability to make him feel like he was in trouble. He swears he learned the tone from the Pope. "So who's guarding His Holiness?"
"The Swiss Guard doesn't carry those pikes for show, plus I got my men on it, and added a few guardian angels. St. Peter said he would keep an eye out for me." He walked into the room, pausing for a moment taking in Bear. "Think I could get one? I could go with the whole eat someone if they hurt him kinda thing. Plus the Pope likes dogs."
"You do realize it's a Hell Hound?" Uriel asked, giving his brother a once over. "And you work at the Vatican."
"Hence the eating them if they hurt him thing." Raphael patted the dog, who gave him a sniff, before settling onto his bed, deciding to take a nap.
"How many death threats is Pius getting?" Gabriel asked, concerned. Over the centuries, they had seen the good, the bad, and the ugly sit in St. Peter's Chair. Pius XVII was a breath of fresh air, these past years.
"He added recycling and environmental concerns to the corporal works of mercy, and had a prayer service with a former priest, who's gay."
"I adore him so much." Uriel grinned, clapping his hands. "He's annoying the overzealous conservatives that make us Angels work harder."
"Wait, you were demoted." Harold spoke without thinking, half listening to their conversation.
It was fascinating, hearing all the inside talk, yet having no clue what half of it meant. He was browsing through websites, trying to get a grasp on the situation. Harold wasn't raised religious, let alone Catholic. He knew of the birth and death of Christ. Read about St. Michael, his imagery is all over medieval art. Had some knowledge of the Catholic Church, mainly there was a Vatican and a Pope, and the Swiss Guards wore bright uniforms. But sitting in a room filled with the 'famed' Four Archangels had him desperate for more information.
And so much of it was contradictory.
Harold pointed at the screen, looking over at Ben. "According to this, Uriel isn't an Archangel."
Gabriel moaned. "Don't get him started."
"Damn it." Raphael rolled his eyes.
Michael sighed, pinching his nose.
Uriel's eyes narrowed. "Like it was my fault, a group of humans got overzealous in their reverence. The Church decided that it was too cult-like, and demoted me. Like they could. Hello, I'm an Archangel, I got the job before God came up with this crazy idea of humans."
"Some Bishops in the Catholic Church decided things a few centuries back." Michael placed a calming hand on his brother's shoulder. "As much as man is made in His image, they still do not understand the workings of God."
"And mankind is flawed." Raphael added, with a knowing shrug. "And since the Church is run by mankind, it makes it just as fallible."
"Hence we get the Borgias." Gabriel shrugged. "Or the US Catholic Bishops." Michael just gave him a look. "What? It's true."
"Do not get Pius started!" Raphael shook his head, cursing low in Italian, making Harold's eyebrow rise in question. "He is the reason I took this job."
"How do you get the job?" Harold asked, and then looked at all of them. "John Reese was a real person, I think I understand, that he allowed you in?"
"We don't possess someone." Gabriel's tone dropped slightly, not towards Harold, but he instantly knew this was a touchy subject. "Low-life demons do that. We ask the human's permission, it's usually in a time of death or crisis. The soul goes home, and we take over the body."
"We do not take over anyone who has a family, or someone who is in a coma." Uriel added, with a sigh. "It's why we have a tendency to stay for a while, keeping the one we like."
"And all of you, these men were ready to die?" he asked, concerned.
Gabriel stood and started pacing slightly. "Nick." He waved his hand towards himself. "Came from a large Catholic family, was the youngest boy in a sea of girls. To get away from the family, he became a CSI in Las Vegas. On a case he was taken, placed in a plexiglas coffin and buried alive. He fought. He prayed. He called out to me. I was his Patron Saint, when he was Confirmed. I knew his team wasn't going to make it, they were so damn close, but his body was shutting down from the ant bites, air was getting thinner. I offered him a chance to let go."
Harold swallowed, heart aching for the poor man.
"I opened my eyes to see his co-workers, pulling back the dirt. He wasn't the only one I saved that night. It would've destroyed all of them, if he they had found him dead. I stayed as a CSI for a few more years, and then moved on." He gave Harold a smile. "Do not mourn Nick, he's in good hands. As a cop, he had Michael's extra blessing."
Harold looked over at Reese. "All soldiers and cops have my protection, even if they don't ask for it."
"Ernesto knew Pius was going to be different. He sensed it, which is what made him a damn good Inspector General." Raphael smiled softly, as if remembering an old friend. "Two days after the white smoke was seen, he discovered the cancer he had fought as a young man, had returned. They gave him six months. He went to Pius, asking for prayers not for himself, but for a good replacement. I answered him. I gave him the strength he needed, and when the time came, he went home. I wasn't surprised to see the previous Pope waiting for him, they were good friends. The doctors declared it a Miracle, Pius looked at me and softly stated 'his prayers were answered'. And that is why I protect him."
Harold startled when he felt John wipe a tear from his cheek. He looked up to see so much love and devotion staring back at him. He took a deep breath and looked at Ben.
"I found mine wandering the desert, don't ask." He gave him a sloppy grin. "We talked for hours, and at the end he was tired, so I carried on for him."
"Well that was anti-climactic." Harold stared at the redhead.
"Not all of us have the dramatic stories." Uriel leaned over and patted him on the knee. "Now that the emotional conversations are over, what have you been doing these past years Michael?"
John glanced down at Harold, a smirk on his face. "The same thing I always do … help people."
The three siblings narrowed their eyes, even as Raphael raised an eyebrow. "You disappeared, and that isn't like you."
"I had my reasons."
"And I found you on a roof, with a missile coming straight at you." Gabriel added to the conversation.
"The situation was taken care of."
"We're going to get nothing out of you, are we?" Uriel crossed his hands over his chest.
Michael smiled at them. "I have one confessor and you three aren't Him."
"Annoying, stubborn, bastard!" Raphael threw his arms up in surrender, as he glared at him.
"They really do know you, Mr. Reese."
Gabriel laughed out loud, bending over trying to get air. "I like him, Michael." The Angel smiled brightly at Harold, as he got his breath back. "If you ever need help dealing with badass Angel there, just call out to any of us, and we'll show up."
"Is there a prayer for that?" Harold asked, in all seriousness.
Raphael smiled softly. "Just say our names, it's that simple."
"You can even hashtag us!" Gabriel added, as he moved towards the front entrance. "As I know you're into computers, #stgabrielprayforus."
"Angels follow Twitter?" He looked between the four brothers.
"Even the Pope has Twitter." Raphael slipped on his glasses, following his brother. "I just don't let him read the replies to his tweets. Ever."
"Michael, do not disappear on us again." Gabriel pointed at him. "We will call mom, dude."
"She likes me better." Michael gave them a small bow. "I promise to be more in touch."
"We'll hold you to that." Raphael, snagged Gabriel's arm and the two headed out of the library.
Michael looked over at Uriel, one eyebrow raised. "What?"
"I worry." He gave his brother a once over. "It's not like you to hide from us."
"I had my reasons." John gave him a half smile. "If I had truly needed you, I would've called for help."
"No, you wouldn't. You're Michael." He gave him a knowing smile. "We'll have to do lunch, introduce our Ones to each other."
"I'm sure Brian will be happy to know there's another." Michael held out his hand.
Uriel pulled him into his arms, wrapping his wings around him. "I know this feeling my brother, it's joyous and terrifying." He spoke in their native tongue. "Don't fear it, embrace it."
"I have learned that lesson, my friend." Michael stepped back, and gave him a soft smile.
Uriel stepped back, gave Harold a nod, eyed the Hell Hound, then followed his brothers out the door. Michael was pretty sure Uriel, along with his One, would be sticking around New York for a while.
"He has a One?" Harold asked.
"Brian." Michael took a deep breath, before focusing on Harold. "They've been together for a while now. This is their second trip back to Earth."
"The One travels with the Angel?" Bear moved over to his Master, head in his lap asking for pets. Harold scratched his ears automatically.
"Always." Michael knelt in front of him. "I would not have left your side. This body may have been destroyed, but I would've returned to you. And when it's time to let this body go…" He placed a hand on Harold's chest over his heart. "I will escort your soul to Heaven, where we can rest, and when the time is right, return to Earth."
Michael leaned forward, and kissed him softly. "Whatever you want."
"And if I want to go home, and lay down with you?" Harold asked, his gaze locked onto the vibrant blue, he leaned forward and took his lips in a sweet kiss. "I've dreamt of you so many times."
Michael's hand slid behind his neck, keeping it steady as he deepened the kiss. Harold shifted, wanting to be closer, and would have fallen out of the chair if it wasn't for John's grip. Bear huffed, barking at the two as he moved to his bed.
"Maybe we should take this someplace more suited," he suggested, helping Harold stand.
"Whistler's apartment is compromised…"
The Angel stepped in front of Harold. "We're safe. We can go wherever you want."
Michael nodded, before turning and grabbing his coat. As he slipped it on, Harold watched as the wings disappeared.
Stood before him was John Reese, the Man in the Suit.
Physically, there was no indication of Michael.
John called Bear over, hooked on his leash, grabbed Harold's coat, holding it open for him. "We can walk Bear for a few blocks, and then get a taxi."
Harold nodded, as he slipped his arms into the coat, letting John button it up. "Why doesn't my hip hurt anymore?"
"When I wrapped you in my wings, His Grace was flowing through me." His hand traveled to Harold's hips, resting it there gently. "They were touching your side and hip. His Grace is very powerful, and your injuries were healed instantly."
Harold wasn't sure he could go running again, as he still felt an ache, but not the constant pain. He looked up when he realized John was still talking.
"Raphael could heal your neck, if you so wish." He was studying Harold, tone neutral. He knew this was Harold's decision.
"A part of me should be delighted." Harold took his hand, leading them down the stairs and out of the library. "The other part is hesitant. I received these injuries from my own choicesand not everyone gets an Angel to heal them."
"They have not stopped you from doing the right thing, or helping others." John pointed out, as they started towards the park. Bear barked happily next to them, he could feel a sense of contentment from the Hell Hound.
'How it should be.'
Michael patted the dog's head. 'It is now.'
"I'm more than enough healed." Harold leaned into John slightly. "I still can't go running, but can get away from the bad guys quicker now."
"Harold, you know how I get when you go into the field without me."
Harold startled at the feel of power that surged through John's body. "I promise to take Bear more."
The guard dog barked in agreement.
"Now that you know what he is, he'll be harder to ditch." John smirked at him. "There's a reason no one has ever out ran a Hell Hound. He has your scent, and he will find you anywhere."
Bear barked, and Harold swore gave him a smug look.
"Does he understand me?"
"To an extent any well trained animal could, he will follow your orders. I can communicate with him, to a degree." Michael patted the dog on the head. "His loyalty is to you, his oath is to me."
"Do I want to see what his real form?" Harold paused, moving in front of Bear holding out his hand, smiling as the dog nuzzled seeking pets.
"It's not for the faint of heart." The Angel looked between them. "If he transformed right now, many would not see him, those that could have touched darkness."
Harold looked down at Bear, and gave him a scratch behind the ears. "I prefer him this way."
"He likes being your dog, Harold." The two moved further through the park, John letting Bear off his leash so he could play. They sat down on the bench, and looked out across the park. "I sense you have a lot of questions."
"I don't even know where to start." Harold shifted in his seat to look at his companion. He was having a hard time adjusting to the difference between Michael and John. Next to him was Mr. Reese, everything about him was the man who worked for him, stayed by his side for four years. He couldn't see the Archangel, part of him questioned if it actually happened.
"From the beginning is always the best." John gave him a sideways look, but his focus was on everything around him.
"You said John Reese let you take over. Why did you pick him?" Harold was curious if the qualities that had attracted Harold to employ John, were the same Michael picked up on.
"Despite everything, he still called out to me. His soul hurt from the dark deeds he committed, his heart ached from the loss of Jessica, but his faith held him to this Earth. I hear all soldiers and cops, their fears, pains, joys. He pulled to me, and I started to follow him around. I knew he was not long for the world he might not have taken his own life, but he was careless. I found him at St. Patrick's."
He closed his eyes, remembering the pained soldier, a man's soul torn, for doing his duty for his country. John had called out to St. Michael, and he appeared to him. He eased his suffering, and gave him an offer. It was not a sin to let go, he had fought the good fight and now it was time to go home.
"I eased into him, and he let go. He found Jessica, who was waiting for him, and they moved on." Michael smiled at the memory. "It takes a while to adjust into being a human. Everything feels tight and constricted, plus adjusting to his memories. We don't take over a human who has a family, as our duty takes us past their familiar ties. But we still have their memories in case we run into or have to work with those they knew."
"I guess that make sense. That's how you knew Mark and Stanton."
Michael snarled slightly. "I ache to see good men and woman used for greed and corruption, but also recognize when they choose the greed and corruption over their own conscience. John's soul cried out with each gunshot, but he truly believed he was doing good. Stanton and Snow moved from being good soldiers to part of the system, leaving behind their humanity. It's why they didn't know how to handle John or you for that matter. In their minds a human helping another just because, didn't register. Hence Snow never found us, when he shot me."
"Would you have died from the wounds?"
"The body could have yes, but my goal was not to die in a corner that day, but to keep you safe so I could heal myself." He looked over at Harold, eyes bright and blue. "But you came for me, despite the danger, you came. That made you special Harold. It was when I knew you were my one."
"How long after you became John did I find you?" He reached over and took his hand.
"That night." He squeezed his hand, a small laugh escaping. "I was still disoriented when the kids attacked me on the subway. I reacted without much thought, and it didn't help that you drugged and tied me to a bed not soon after. By the time I was fully oriented, you intrigued me enough to stick around. Once you told me about The Machine, I realized why I had been led to New York, to John, to you."
Bear came bundling up to them, panting happily. John gave him a pat, clipping on his leash before standing, and helping Harold up tucking him into his side as they walked out of the park.
"Let's go home."
Harold was surprised that the Loft was in immaculate condition. There was dust, but overall it looked as if John had left it that morning, instead of a year ago. Bear ran past them, moving around the open space, sniffing everything. He snuffled at a few dust piles, finished his circuit then landed on the large dog bed that was by the window.
John helped Harold with his coat, then proceeded to take his own off. Harold startled, stepping backwards when the wings re-emerged. "Will it always be that way?"
"The coat helps me keep them contained. They may not always be tangible to you, but they are for me. And those who are holy or innocent will see them. Leila loved to play with them."
He smiled at the memory of the little one, she was a pure soul who wanted to pet his wings, and when they were hidden she pouted. It was the one time he almost revealed himself, by ripping the freezer truck apart with His Grace. But he calmed, and listened to the path he was to take, the plans of man were no match for those of God. Michael made sure the Guardian Angel on her was well trained, and reported back to him from time to time.
He hung up their coats, and made his way to the kitchen, quickly digging through the cupboard for a bowl, rinsed it out before filling it with water, and setting it on the ground. Bear instantly lapped it up, spilling half of it on the floor.
Harold looked around the loft, it was as sparse as it had been when he bought it. John had put a few things in it, but there was nothing personal. He had always wondered if John just didn't buy anything, but now he wondered if it had more to do with Michael. Harold was still amazed it was as clean as it was. "It looks as if you never left."
"I didn't." John grabbed the take out menus on the counter. He knew they needed to eat, and he didn't feel like fixing anything. His goal at the moment was to get Harold into a shower, relaxed and fed. He was sure he had a million and one questions. "The loft also carries my mark, so it's protected."
"Samaritan would've been able to track you!" Harold made his way over to the kitchen area, upset with John. "You put your life in danger!"
"Did you ever wonder why or how I disappeared from the cameras?" He asked tone deadly serious. "You never mentioned it, but I knew you wanted to."
"I figured it was training you had in the CIA." Harold frowned, remembering back to the times in the early days of their partnership. "I didn't always keep you on surveillance."
"I know, but there were times I had to be out of yours and its sight." He quickly ordered food, before focusing back on the situation. "The cameras in this area never saw me. I had a hard time those first months we were separated. Instincts were telling me to destroy Samaritan, to be done with it. But I was reminded that while humans have free choice, there are influences in this world that take that away. It was then I realized that there could be more at work than corrupt humans, wanting to play god. So the loft became my 'secret hideout', no one could enter unless they had my blessing."
"When you say other influences, you mean…"
"Demons." Michael sighed, rubbing a hand over his neck.
"And they were involved with Samaritan?" Harold reached out to one of the kitchen chairs, to steady himself.
"A few were looking for more power." He made his way to his one, pulling out the chair and helping him sit. "Irony, they never realized they were dealing with Michael, they thought I was either a Saint or 'Holy Warrior'".
"What's the difference between the two?" Harold reached out to John, who pulled out another chair and sat down, taking his hand. "I know a Saint is a person who is Canonized by the Church. Someone to revere, and to ask for their help. Though I never quite understood it."
"Ever asked big brother help in dealing with dad?"
"Only child." Harold for the first time told him something about himself.
"How many times did Will come to you, seeking help in dealing with Nathan?" Michael gave him a small smile. "Ask you to bail him out of jail, so dad wouldn't know."
Harold chuckled. "Okay, I get it."
"I heard a priest once say 'every Saint has past, every sinner has a future'. They're here to help." Michael tried to explain a concept that was as complex as it was simple.
"Like Angels, Saints are all around you." He gave him a small smile. "They are there to be called upon when you need help."
"You just call their name?" Harold shook his head. "I don't understand all of this."
"It's okay Harold, you're not meant to. Sometimes you just need to go with the Mystery." Michael stood, pulling the smaller man out of his seat. "Go take a shower, I'll put some clothes in the bathroom for you, we'll eat when you get out. You'll feel better after a hot shower and food."
"Do all humans have a Guardian Angel?" Harold asked as he made his way towards the bathroom.
"Yours is a bit miffed at me for taking over his job, let alone adding Bear into the mix." Michael chuckled lightly.
"Could I meet him?"
"All you have to do is ask." Michael pointed towards the bathroom. "Go."
Harold closed the bathroom door, leaned against it and sighed. So much had happened in the past 24 hours. He wasn't even sure he was living the same life. He went from destroying a rogue AI to having conversations about Saints with an Archangel.
An Archangel he had fallen in love with.
Somewhere, that had to be a sin.
He sighed and looked into the mirror, he didn't recognize the person staring back at him. His eyes were brighter, hair a bit thicker, and he swore there were fewer wrinkles.
"That's what happens when you hug an Archangel."
Harold startled, jerking back away from the vanity, spinning around cringing at the pain shooting through his neck and hip. He stared in shock at the person leaning against the bathroom door.
"Nathan?" He stared in shock at his best friend. "Am I seeing ghosts now?"
"Not really a ghost." He shrugged shifting slightly. "I'm sure if you think hard on it…"
"You're my Guardian Angel?" He shook his head, having a hard time figuring that out. "But I've known you since MIT!"
"You were special Harold. He knew who you were going to be, especially to Michael. So I was ordered to infiltrate your life." Nathan gave him a bright smile. "But really it was easy being your friend."
"I'm so going to hell. I've fucked an Angel."
"Hate to tell you this Harold, you're a few seconds from fucking an Archangel." Nathan's waggled his eyebrows at his friend. "And considering you have his mark, you're not going to hell. And even if some lowlife demon was able to drag you into…" He paused, staring off for a moment. "If they thought the damage he did in the first battle, taking on Lucifer, was bad …"
The door opened, a hand reached in and grabbed Nathan by the collar yanking him out of the bathroom. "Harold, shower."
The door closed.
He blinked, blinked a second time, blinked again.
Harold wasn't sure if he wanted to laugh, cry, or both. Instead he stripped out of his clothes and looked back at the mirror. There wasn't even a scar where he had been shot, and the scars on his hip from the surgery were faint, but still there. But what had got his attention was the small mark on his hip, it looked like a sword and feather crossed over each other. He ran a hand over it, but didn't feel any scaring - the skin was completely smooth.
He wasn't getting any answers staring at it. He turned on the faucet and stepped inside the cubicle, sighing in contentment at the instant hot water. Harold had made sure Mr. Reese's apartment was luxurious, wanting to give the soldier every comfort, knowing that John had lived a hard life. The bathroom was designed to fit a man of his size, he made sure there was a tankless water heater for continuous hot water for those aching muscles after chasing down the Numbers. He had many fantasies of sharing this shower with John, but had never made a move to make them real.
He looked down to see that he was getting hard.
This was not the time!
But his thoughts were filled with John … Michael.
He closed his eyes, hand moving down his stomach, taking his hard cock into his hand. Biting back the moan, as he stroked himself, thinking about having John laid out on the luxury bed he had bought, sprawled out on the 1000 thread count, Egyptian Cotton grey sheets, the ones he picked because he knew they would bring out the blue in his eyes.
He stroked firm, yet slow. Letting himself enjoy the moment. They weren't on the run. They had their lives ahead of them.
A moan escaped as he slipped closer to the edge.
An image popped into his mind of Michael standing before him, wings stretched out around his naked body. He came with a groan, spilling all over his hand. Harold slumped against the shower wall, trying to catch his breath.
A noise startled him.
Harold blinked and looked out of the glass shower stall to see Michael standing there watching him, blue eyes flashing. Harold stilled in shock, as the piercing gaze moved across his naked skin, Michael smirked as he set the clothes on the counter, and with a wink left the bathroom, leaving Harold in mortification.
Well at least he didn't get smited.
Harold quickly dressed, and with every inch of dignity he had, exited the bathroom to find Nathan eating Chinese food. He walked over the open space, took it out of his hand grabbed a new set of chopsticks then sat down besides Michael on the couch. Bear settled next to him, whining and staring longingly at the food.
"You know the sad thing is, that the weirdest part of this day, isn't my dead friend sitting in the living room eating Chinese food." Harold glared at him, then looked at his Archangel. "Is he really my Guardian Angel?"
"He was assigned to you when you entered MIT." Michael nodded. "Most Angels don't show themselves or live as humans to stay with their protectee, but as he was just explaining to me and which I had confirmed from a Higher source, he was ordered to stay that close to you."
"What about Olivia and Will?" Harold asked frowning. "Does that make Will one of those mythological creatures, a Nephilim?"
"That word doesn't quite mean what you think it does." Michael put his arm around Harold. "But considering how words have changed over the centuries, it could fit."
"No, Will isn't half Angel." Nathan moved over to the counter to grab more food. "I told Olivia I couldn't have children, which in reality I can't, and we used vitro fertilization. Will is still very much mine, as he has my name and protection."
"You could've told me that." Harold stared at his friend.
"Not really, I couldn't." He pointed at Harold with his own chopsticks. "As we built The Machine, I suddenly knew why I was there and what I had to do to protect you, but my guardian instincts kicked in when the Numbers started coming in. There was no way I couldn't help those people, which led to me disappearing from your life. I took that blast to protect you. I regretted not being more forceful, but realized His plan was not my plan."
"He kept guarding you, afterwards, just not in this realm." Michael added to the conversation. "When I appeared, he wasn't happy."
"I thought I had screwed up to the point that they sent Michael of all Angels to replace me." Nathan shrugged, eating the chow mien. "When I realized he was in someone you hired to help with the Numbers, I stayed in the background watching. The night he was shot, and you came to save him … I suddenly knew what was going on. You were his One. I only bitched when he brought in a Hell Hound!"
Bear ignored him, still begging for food.
"You have to admit he's been a good guard dog." Michael tossed him an eggroll. "You saw what he did to that drug dealer."
"Oh yeah." Nathan's smirk was positively wicked. "I kinda liked him after that."
"I don't want to know do I?" Harold looked between them, concerned by the twin self-satisfied grins. "I don't want to know."
"When everything went to hell, no pun intended." Nathan smirked at Michael. "And you two were separated, I protected you. I also made sure he knew where you were at all times."
Harold leaned closer into Michael, taking comfort from him. "I never want to be separated from you, not like that. Never again."
"I will never leave your side." He kissed the top of Harold's head, one of his wings wrapping around him holding him close.
"On that note." Nathan stood up, tossing the empty container into the trash. "I'll go do my guarding duties out of ear shot!" He winked at Harold. "Enjoy."
"Why are we friends?" Harold glared at him, despite the rising blush.
"Well obviously because I'm handsome, charming…" Bear started growling. "And that's my cue to leave."
Harold gave the Hound a look, before making his way out of Michael's embrace. He made his way over to his friend. Nathan smiled and opened his arms, letting Harold slip into them easily holding him tightly. He glanced over the smaller man's shoulder, seeing only kindness and gratitude in Michael's eyes. "If you need me."
"I'll call for you." Harold nodded, stepping back. "Thank you, for everything Nathan. Your friendship, protection, love."
"As I said." He cupped Harold's face, gave him a soft kiss. "You were easy to care for. Be happy, Harold. You deserve it."
In a blink he was gone.
Harold stood there for a few seconds, as the dread he had felt when he lost Nathan began to sneak back in. He startled slightly when John's arms moved around him, followed by the large wings. "He's always with you."
"It will take time to sort all this out."
"We have time." He kissed the side of his neck. "How about some rest, this has been a stressful day for you. Dealing with my brothers is bad enough, add in the emotional impact of finding about Nathan."
"I want to be with you." Harold turned in Michael's arms. "In all ways, is that legal?"
Michael sighed, pulling him closer, letting him feel how having Harold in his arms affected his physical body. "Angels are not man or woman, we're spiritual beings. We do not crave sex or need it, as we do not reproduce." He cupped Harold's face in his large hands and kissed him passionately. "When we're in human bodies we feel the same attraction and want. It's intensified with you, as you were made for me, as I was made for you."
Harold's hand slipped into the dark hair, playing with the short ends across his collar, before pulling him back into a deep kiss. "What about the fact we're men? I'm pretty sure that it's been said a lot that homosexuality is a sin."
"Oh it's amazing how man gets wrapped up in the small details." Michael walked him back towards the bed. "As said we're not man or woman, so the attraction is to your soul. I've not always chosen a male body to walk this earth."
Harold pushed against Michael's chest, stepping back to look at him. "What?"
"There's a reason some imagery of Michael looks like Cate Blanchett." He smirked him, eyes glowing with mirth. "Ask Uriel about the statues showing him with curly hair."
"So I'm not going to hell for jerking off to the images of an Archangel." Harold asked, as he was laid out on the bed.
"No, and if any lowlife demon ever tried to drag you into hell, they would feel my righteous fury along with the wrath of my sword." Michael crawled on top of him, kissing him deeply. "You're mine to protect Harold, no one shall tear us asunder."
"I love you."
He kissed him deeply, lying out next to him. "And I you." He pulled Harold into his arms, letting the smaller man use him as a body pillow. "Rest. Tomorrow we can finish what you started in the shower."
Harold curled into John's arms, and for the first time in years, he instantly fell asleep.
The bed was empty when he awoke. Harold groaned as he gingerly sat up, digging around for his glasses, finding them on the bedside table. He blinked a few times, letting his eyes focus on his surroundings.
Early morning light was filtering through the windows, brightening up the loft. Bear was on his bed, snoring softly, foot twitching as he likely chased drug dealers down in his dreams.
He was more alert than he had been in the past few years, he was still stiff and aching, though not in the extreme pain he had been waking up to since the ferry bomb. He swung his feet over the edge of the bed, smirking at the fact they didn't hit the ground. Contemplating a move towards the bathroom, before he tried to figure out where John was. He remembered falling asleep next to him, wrapped securely in the warm wings, holding onto the soft white shirt. Part of him had been disappointed not being skin to skin, but he had been too content to think on it.
He gingerly slid onto the soft rug, toes digging into the material. He wasn't looking forward to the cold wooden floors, only to notice the temperature in the loft was warm, but not stuffy. Harold glanced around, not sure what he was looking for, but he knew lofts had a tendency to run cool, especially one that had a wall of windows. He stepped onto the wood, finding it warm to the touch.
He had a sneaking suspicion that his Archangel was doing 'Angel' things to keep the place a certain temperature to make sure Harold was comfortable. A small grin appeared as he started to make his way across the room.
Only to stop in his tracks when John stepped out of the bathroom, wearing nothing but jogging pants. His hair was wet, feathers going in a million directions, but the only thing Harold noticed were the drops of water moving down his bare chest.
He blinked. "What?"
John smirked at him. "I asked if you slept well."
"Better than I have in years, I was disappointed to wake up alone."
Michael leaned over and kissed him deeply, before moving past him into the middle of the room. Harold watched intently not sure what was going on, he had never seen John first thing in the morning, he'd always shown up at the library dressed, carrying donuts and tea.
Let alone the morning rituals of an Archangel.
John turned, a small grin on his face. The one that always got Harold's heart pumping, it was the mischievous, yet shy, smile. Yes, he had cataloged them. He hadspent the better part of four years studying John, trying to find out what made him happy.
"The wings were a bit askew when I woke, and needed a wash down. Plus I fell asleep in my clothes, and was desperate for a shower." And with that he furled out his wings in full glory, letting them stretch out, filling the loft with their presence. "It's the only way to get them dry and preened."
Harold's fantasy stood directly in front of him, and he was instantly hard, staring at the magnificent beauty. Making his way over to one of the wings, he reached out and touched one of the feathers, then smoothed it down to lay against the others. They were softer than he expected, the colors were memorizing up close, and he truly felt as if 1000 eyes were watching him. He continued to work his way around the wings, gently brushing down each feather, until they were all smooth.
Harold glanced at Michael, his eyes were closed, mouth slightly open. His gaze dropped to see the jogging pants tented. So having his feathers fluffed turned him on, that was something Harold made note of for future reference.
Michael's eyes snapped open, the blazing blue gaze locked onto his. Harold swallowed, not in fear, but in anticipation. In less than two steps, Michael had him in his arms, kissing him with unbridled passion. Harold moaned as he was lifted and carried back to the bed. The very one he had just crawled out of … in a blink of an eye his clothes disappeared, while pillows were shifted to protect his neck and hip.
The moment John's hand touched his achingly hard dick, he came with a shout.
"Well, that was embarrassing," Harold chuckled, as he panted from the orgasm that had ripped through him.
"About as embarrassing as coming from just watching you." John muttered into his neck, as he nuzzled upwards, taking Harold's mouth into a soft kiss. "I admit this side of human interaction is not one I've partaken in, so this is all very new."
"Oh dear God, I've just deflowered an Archangel."
"You really don't want to know His answer to that."
Harold's eyes went wide as he buried his head into Michael's wings and groaned - it didn't help that the Angel was laughing.
Part two of getting ready for the morning, had Harold making it to the bathroom to shower and get dressed. He found one of his suits hanging on the back of the door. John was working to make him feel comfortable in, an 'out of the world' situation.
He dressed, and with a deep breath stepped out of the bathroom, and made his way to the living room. John was dishing out pancakes. He motioned for him to sit, setting the plate in front of him, along with a cup of Sencha Green Tea.
"Now what?" Harold asked, as he set the fork and knife down, having enjoyed breakfast immensely.
"Whatever you want, Harold." He picked up the empty plates, setting them in the sink. "If you just want to take Bear for a walk, and come back to the loft, that's fine."
"I want to go to the library." Harold nodded as if having a conversation with himself. "I want to go back… I mean, I want to work the Numbers. I want to help people. And to do that, I need to build a Machine."
John gave him that smile, the one Harold adored the most.
The one he always associated with John being Happy.
He knew he had made the right decision.
Bear whined and ran for the Archangel, seeking sanctuary. Michael bent down, gave him a doggy Danish, patted him on the head, and then sent him off to bed. "Harold, when you scare the hell hound, it may be time for a break."
"Just a few more moments…" He cursed, tossing wire out from under the desk. "We're having connection issues."
"Did you contact it?" John set down a tea on the table further back away from the keyboard. He learned not to repeat that mistake early in their relationship.
"Yes." He cursed when he hit his head, and scrambled out from under the desk.
John helped him off the ground, hand rubbing his neck soothing the ache. "It's communicating directly, but not. It's different but I can't explain how. I don't want it to get attached. I'm not its father."
"You are its creator, and it will always put you first, it's natural. It just needs to find a better set of boundaries. It's one thing to study humans, another to try and become one."
Michael kissed the top of Harold's head, trusting him to do the right thing. They had been working at the library for the past few weeks. They would work, and then go home to the loft, where they explored the physical elements of their new relationship.
Michael had John's memories, when it came to human sex. The moments with Jessica, he felt their love, connection and warmth. He cherished those memories, understood the difference between making love and sex. The encounters John had while working as a spy were cold, and even now the Angel could sense the echo of disgust, not for those John had been with, but for the situation and at himself for using them.
The only person John held darker feelings for was Stanton.
If Snow hadn't taken his revenge against her, Michael would've sought her out.
He smiled softly remembering the moment he found Harold on the roof, again risking his life. Michael had every intention to unfurl his wings, rip the contraption off and be done with it.
It had been another wasted moment to tell Harold the truth.
He shook his head and focused back on the now.
When Harold worked on The Machine, John took to patrolling, to make sure they were still secure. He was concerned with a rise in demon activity in the area. There seemed to be a lot more hate, anger, and random violence in the past weeks. He wasn't sure if had to do with the political climate or if more was going on.
Michael had seen civilizations come and go. Seen mankind rise high and fall. There was nothing new that was going on today, that hadn't happened yesterday, and likely would tomorrow.
What always brought the light to his heart was seeing everyday people, be the 'Man in the Suit'.
It was the pack of teenagers defending the gay couple from hecklers. It was the black man, helping the old Jewish woman home, because it was too icy and she was afraid to fall. It was the immigrant family who allowed those who couldn't pay, shop for food in their store. The security guard who watched over the Muslims who were praying, not to harass, but instead to make sure no one disturbed them.
They were the humanity he protects.
He blinked and focused back on Harold. "I'm sorry, was lost in thought."
Harold smiled at him, hand pointing at the screen. "We're up and running."
John moved over to the desk, and leaned over the chair to see a small black box. "Does this mean no more phone calls?"
"It would seem it wants to communicate more directly, but not via verbal communications." Harold started typing in the black box. "Who am I?"
John watched as the two communicated. Harold was right, all of what made The Machine was there, just slightly different. As if it had rebooted and turned itself back a few years. He didn't understand all of mankind's gadgets, Gabriel was the one who enjoyed human innovations. But even an Archangel had to learn how to use smartphones and computers.
'Primary Asset: Michael'
"Well looks like it learned a new trick." Michael chuckled, The Machine was very much like its creator.
He now understood why they would be on Earth longer than he had anticipated. Harold needed to keep an eye on his creation. Even he had been surprised at how much younger Harold had looked after the episode on the roof. He had looked at least ten, maybe fifteen years younger.
Harold frowned. "It can't know or understand Angels."
Images of Angels appeared on the screen, along with references to holy books and testimonies.
'Religious symbolism. Need more input. Do not understand.'
"You aren't meant to." Michael talked to it. "Man barely understands the concept of Angels, it isn't calculable, it's Faith."
"The belief in something you can't see. You were designed to see all things, but even with those abilities, you cannot see God, Faith, Hope, or Love. You can see how man acts on those things, but not why they act upon them. You only see me because I've shown myself to you."
Harold's gaze had not left John's profile. He was still getting used to the deep philosophical side of John … Michael.
'Mandate is to watch humans and calculate risks by their actions.'
Harold focused back on The Machine. "Calculate threats to society."
'Relevant and Irrelevant.'
"Everyone is relevant to someone." Harold whispered softly, he had learned that lesson too well over the past years. "Continue to split the differences, send Relevant Numbers to those who have been assigned…"
'Send Irrelevant to Admin.'
"Yes." He swallowed, knowing this is where he had made the first mistake that led down the path to destruction.
'Angels protect man.'
"Yes." Michael nodded.
'Primary Asset: Michael. Protect Irrelevants.'
He chuckled softly. "It gets it."
"Is that good?"
"It understands as an Archangel I protect man, the job of the Primary Asset is to protect the Irrelevants. It's the same job as far it's concerned."
'SS# 555-123-9876. Name: George Thompson.'
"It's giving more information." Harold stated as he started pouring through the data on George Thompson. "It might be more helpful down the road…" He paused and looked at John as he grabbed his coat, and headed for the door. "It will learn by watching us. Start making decisions based on what we do."
"It will make logical decisions. It will not always understand the right way for the wrong reason, or the wrong way for the right reason." John glanced back at him, a small smile on his face. "Let it be Harold, take out the influences of Root and Greer, and it will be what it was meant to. Do not fear it, but do not worship it."
"Isn't that with all things?"
"You'll figure it out, Harold. As will your Machine." He slipped his earpiece in, and tucked the phone into his suit pocket. "Are you there, Finch?"
"Always, Mr. Reese."
"I don't like it." Uriel commented as he walked with his brother through one of New York's many parks. "The vileness is thick in the city, more than normal."
"You've felt it then." Michael glanced around, catching at least four cameras moving to follow them. At the moment he was allowing The Machine to track them, mainly to let Harold know where he was.
"It's not just here, it's all over." Uriel waved his arm around. "Though New York feels like the epicenter."
"Does it remind you of anything?"
The Archangel stopped, found a bench and sat down. "Paris, St. Petersburg, Berlin … they all felt dark, tainted – mankind crying out in pain, and yet so much hatred."
"You have always been more sensitive, especially as you carry His light." Michael settled next to him. "Though I agree, the atmosphere is leading to a giant upheaval. Some things do not change through the centuries. The moment they stop loving God and their neighbor, it all goes to shit."
Uriel snorted, chuckling softly. "Not everyone can have your simple view of life."
"The theory is simple, living it's hard." Michael gave him a sideways glance. "How is Brian?"
"In Ireland, he's using what's he's learned from generations of Irishman, to convince two very stubborn countries to re-unite as one."
"George is still wondering how he ended up in England." Uriel smiled as he watched a mother with her two children have a picnic in the park. "A Greek, born in Turkey, who fought in the Roman Army, is the Patron Saint of England."
"Lawrence is still snickering over being the Patron Saint of BBQ Chefs." Michael pointed out.
"Yeah, well that man has a wicked since of humor." Uriel grinned, chuckling softly. "In all seriousness, Michael I'm worried."
"Always." He waved his hand towards the park. "But at this moment for you. You have your One, and he's precious. This leaves you vulnerable until he becomes more accustomed to living with an Angel. Has he realized he's de-aged?"
"I think he's noticed, but isn't sure what to do or how to ask about it. His hip is less stiff, but he still has the fused neck." Michael stated easily.
"These Numbers you two run - fits you, and I can see how he is your One. But we also know this will make him a target." Uriel shifted in his seat, until he faced Michael. "The evil one isn't going to let this opportunity go. He knows when you're down here, even if he can't find you."
"My display on the rooftop was a pretty big 'Hey look it's Michael'." He sighed softly. "I've noticed an uptick in demon activity. Numbers have started coming two to three times a day. Even Fusco and Shaw are working overtime."
"How are your pets?"
"Don't growl at me. I'm pretty sure there are a few Crossroad Demons out there slightly pissed off that you stole both of them from the brink of the wrong path." Uriel gave him a pointed look. "I'm surprised one hasn't come looking for your Hell Hound."
"Oh he did, even tried to make a deal with Harold." Michael shook his head at the memory.
He was finishing up with a Number, when every instinct went off telling him Harold was in danger. When he couldn't reach him by phone, he gave the nearest camera a pointed look, it sent him coordinates instantly.
It was good to see that The Machine hadn't lost 'Protect Admin' mode.
As he rounded the corner, he came to a screeching halt. Sitting at an outside café was Harold with Crowley. They looked like they were having a civilized conversation. He closed his eyes, asked the Holy Mother to calm his nerves, since going in 'guns blazing' wasn't going to do anyone, any good. He felt Her warm presence, and heard a soft chuckle in his ear.
Crowley's startled gasp when he looked up to see John towering over him, was worth the slow, stealth approach. He would need to ask Harold if there was a screen shot of the moment.
'What are you doing here?'
'Oh dear God.'
'Unless you want to continue that line of prayer seeking forgiveness I suggest you stop.' Michael snarled, taking a seat next to Harold. 'I repeat what are you doing here?'
'Retrieving my Hell Hound.'
'I've informed Mr. Crowley,' Harold laid his hand on Michael's leg to let him know he was safe. 'That Bear was gifted to me via you, which meant his previous employment was no longer valid.'
'And as I stated, it doesn't work that way.'
'He chose to follow me.' Michael smirked at the Crossroad Demon. 'Then gave his loyalty to Harold, who belongs with me, essentially making them both under my protection, and well you know who my Boss is.'
'And if I recall,' Harold gave the demon a pointed look. 'He kicked your boss' ass.'
'Oh feisty.' Crowley sipped his coffee. 'I had heard rumors that you found your One. That information could be worth a lot to a few of my bosses.'
'I'm sure I don't care.' Michael gave him a tight grin. 'Besides your demon lost your hell hound, finders keepers, losers weepers.'
'Oh you Angels are so annoying.' Crowley looked down at the dog, and rolled his eyes. 'So after all those years of giving you human souls to eat, you're hanging out with these guys.'
Bear moved closer to Harold, and laid his head on his knee.
'You've ruined a perfectly good Hell Hound!' He threw his hands up in the air in disgust.
'Oh don't worry Michael, I'm leaving.' He wiped his mouth with the napkin and tossed it onto the table. He took a moment, then leaned against it and looked at the two men. 'Look, I like my gig. I'm also not stupid enough to go against Archangels. But rumor has it, someone is looking to dethrone Lucie … 'cause that always ends well for the moron.' He rolled his eyes, and sighed. 'There's someone gunning for you, Michael. They think if they could take out the one who defeated Lucifer, they'll get control of Hell.'
'Yeah, I know… tale as old as time.' Crowley waved his hands around. 'But dear Michael, you have a weakness.'
'No, I have a purpose.'
Crowley leaned back in his chair and studied the two, noticing the death glare he was getting from Harold. 'Well, well, he is your One.'
The Crossroad Demon stood, and gave them a nod. 'I'll be visiting DC, it's always a good place to find souls. Don't do too much damage, I actually like this city.'
Michael waited until he was out of sight before turning to Harold.
'What did he mean?'
'Why were you talking to him?'
One of Harold's eyebrow rose, lips thinned with that disapproving look that always made Michael smile and cringe. 'He interrupted my lunch, not the other way around. What did he mean?'
'He means war is coming.'
Uriel stared at his brother. "And you've not called us here?"
"I haven't felt any disturbance." Michael shrugged. "I'm sure Crowley is right, he usually is. The boy is too good at his job, but he's always been smart on where to place his bets."
"Which would be why the bastard has survived as long as he has." The other Angel nodded in understanding. "So now what?"
"We might want to start calling in the troops."
Harold sat at the desk, fingers flying over the keyboard. He was determined to break through the company's firewall. It was impressive, but not that impressive. Fusco was at the door watching the hallway, he had become more viable to the team over the past few weeks. To the point Harold was tempted to offer him a salary, and let him quit the NYPD, but he knew Lionel had worked hard to become a respected Detective, and still did his job in honor of Carter.
He had asked John about that night, and what he had felt for the Detective. He gave Harold that small smile, the one that always settled his nerves, the one he knew was just for him.
'Joss was a good woman. She had her faults, but always tried to do what was right. As a solider and a police officer, she had my blessing.' He moved across the room, to look out the window. 'She wasn't taken out by HR, but a demon using them.'
'What?!' Harold stared at him in shock.
'I knew her time had come. I could see my own honor guards nearby, they weren't there the first time we saved her. It was how I knew it was different. They are the ones I send down for soldiers who die in the line of duty.' Michael turned and looked at his one. 'The Machine could've given us her number, but I already knew.' He paused, taking a deep breath before looking back out the window. 'I was created to obey, never question. I don't have free will like mankind. But there have been moments that I don't understand, why He lets the demons do what they do …' He chuckled slightly. 'Hence my trips to earth.'
Harold smirked remembering the first time he tried to explain how St. Michael, Archangel was roaming Earth. He knew it must be hard on all the Angels not to be able to stop evil.
'I reacted very human: annoyed and frustrated. I set out to Hunt down the Demon. It was you, Harold, who pulled me back from that, but it had scared me enough that I needed to leave. I had every intention of coming back, I needed to refocus. My end goal was to get to Rome, to the Vatican, to my Brother. To that spot where He died. But there are our plans, then His plans. He put me back where I was supposed to be, by your side.'
Harold had made his way to his Angel. Michael's arms and wings opened letting him settle into his embrace.
Harold smiled slightly at the memory, and then focused back on the task at hand. John was right, the Numbers had escalated, forcing everyone into the field. Michael had told him that there was more demon activity, which was something Harold was still trying to get his brain around. Part of him didn't believe it, but he was sleeping next to an Archangel, and if there were Angels, there had to be Demons.
And when Shaw commented about feeling a sense of dread and darkness, he realized that there may be something moving into New York. Not like he could tell Shaw or Fusco, there were times even he didn't fully understand. The amount of religious materials he had read over the past months, made his head spin.
"Glasses, we got to go, I'm getting a bad feeling." Lionel looked down the hall, then back at Harold. "Something isn't right."
"Cop instinct, Detective?"
"Yeah and I've learned to listen to it." He moved across the room, resting his hand on the smaller man's shoulder. "Harold, let's go."
Finch looked at him, studying the cop for a few moments, realizing he wasn't kidding. He nodded, typed in the last coding and stood up. "I think you may be right."
"Harold!" Shaw yelled, as she entered the room, gun raised, eyes wild. "Something weird is going on, and we need to leave."
"Demons are coming up the back stairs."
The new voice startled all three of them. Fusco grabbed Harold's arm, pulling him away from the stranger, moving to shield him.
Shaw's gun was instantly aimed at the stranger. "Who the fuck are you, and where did you come from?"
Harold leaned slightly to the left, taking in the newcomer. He was tall, about the same height as John, if not a bit taller. He noticed his eyes first - they were soft brown, yet firm … no it was more like a fire was hidden in the depths. The short cut hair, not quite military style matched his eyes. He looked older, a bit haggard, but content. He wore simple jeans, combat boots, a save the whale t-shirt and a combat style jacket.
Harold was also sure he was heavily armed.
And suddenly he knew who this was.
He was sure of it.
"Brian?" Harold stepped fully out from behind the detective. "Uriel's One."
He bowed his head, a smile on his face. "I wish we would've met under better circumstances, but I was detained in Ireland." The accent was now more pronounced. "We need to leave now. They're making a move against Michael."
"Who is Michael?" Shaw demanded, not liking the familiarity between her boss and the stranger.
"John." Harold answered.
"What?" She turned towards him. "Harold. Explain. Now."
"We don't have time." Brian nodded towards the side door he had come through. "We need to get out of the building."
"If we got unfriendlies…" Fusco wasn't quite sure what was going on, but he had worked with this ragtag team enough years to just go with it.
"We've got back up." Brian held the door open. "I assure you Ms. Shaw, that all will be explained, right now all you need to know is Harold is in grave danger."
"Well, wonderboy isn't going to like that." Lionel kept his gun lowered but ready, while pushing Harold towards the door. "He'll wreak havoc if someone hurts Harold."
"Oh, you have no idea." Harold muttered as he moved past the group and into the next room. His hip may have loosened up over these past months, but he still didn't move fast.
"What back up?" Shaw asked, as they made their way down, not liking that they were potentially going into battle blind.
"Saints and Guardians," he answered easily.
Fusco glanced up at Shaw, who just shrugged, and he had thought Cocoa Puffs was a few puffs short of a bowl.
"How are you doing Harold?" Shaw moved next to their boss, giving him a once over. She had noticed he looked younger, and seemed more able, but knew the flight of stairs was hard on him.
She still hadn't got a full answer of what happened on that roof, and was likely never going to get one. But afterwards Harold was calmer, and John was … something was different. He still annoyed her, but there was something she couldn't put her finger on.
"I'm fine, Ms. Shaw." He gave her a nod, reaching out to touch her hand to reassure her.
"Well, I don't want the big lug being grumpy if you get a papercut." She moved past him to the door, giving the new guy a once over, noticing that he had a gun out and ready. Well at least he wasn't an idiot.
"Do me a favor." Brian glanced at the two Assets. "Cover him." He nodded towards Harold. "He's the one we need to protect."
"What about you?" Harold asked. "Aren't you just as valued?"
"I've been doing this for a while." He gave Harold a smirk. "I'm also Irish, we tend to be bastards and damn hard to kill."
Lionel snorted, but raised his weapon, making sure Harold was by his side. "We're ready."
They stepped out into chaos.
The first thing Harold felt was the oppression: darkness, fear, anger, hatred. He staggered under the weight of it, before finding his footing and moving forward.
Shaw and Fusco held their weapons out, gaze searching the small crowd. They swore the people were hissing as they approached. It was like something out of a bad TV show.
"Are either of you religious?" Brian asked.
"I went to Vacation Bible School as a kid." Fusco stated, taking in the crowd.
"Are you serious?" Shaw snorted.
"Start praying." Brian raised his weapon and fired, taking out the first attacker with a shot to the head.
"In name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…" Harold breathed. "…O glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, defend us in battle…"
A bright light flashed and standing before them were two familiar presences.
"Nathan!" Harold called out in relief.
"Carter!?" Fusco and Shaw exclaimed in shock.
The Guardians' wings unfurled, making a protective barrier between the advancing demons and the humans.
"You get one warning." Carter gave the goons a smirk. "Go back into the hellhole you crawled out of or we'll shove you down it."
"You think two pathetic Guardian Angels can take us." One made his way up to them, snarling and posturing. "You're out-numbered."
Nathan pulled a weapon from his coat and shot the demon. "If you think we came alone, you're mistaken."
Suddenly 40 men began to appear out of nowhere. They were wearing military and police uniforms, both modern and ancient. World War Two. Crusaders. RCMP. Roman. Marines. Greek. SAS. Samurai. ANZAC. They advanced onto to the demons, weapons out and ready for war.
"And I thought I had seen some weird shit in my day." Fusco stated eyes wide. "But this will lead any man to church."
"That's the idea…" Brian smirked at him. "Now that they are distracted, let's get Harold out of here."
Michael felt the darkness creep around him, he shook it off and waited patiently as the demon made its grand entrance. It was always the same, intimidation to distract from the fact they were shaking in their boots being near him.
He kept his face neutral, staring silently at the demon who was trying to dethrone Lucifer. There were times he really wished the fallen Angel would take care of his domain. It was increasingly annoying to deal with these morons.
Lucifer had his role, as Michael had his.
There would be no Angel above Michael, likewise, no Demon above the Ruler of Hell.
Lucifer wasn't stupid. Though history never claimed he was, it's much easier for him to let the morons attack an Archangel thinking it would show all the other demons that it was bigger and meaner, only to get its ass handed to him.
While Lucifer smirked and lounged on his throne, letting the Archangel take out the trash.
"Demon." He wasn't going to honor it by saying its name. "This is a foolish quest, but then I shouldn't expect much from a lowly creature."
Michael bit back the smile at the snarl.
"You like my new suit?" It ran a hand down the tailored, hand-crafted outfit.
"Logan Pierce, I commend your soul to heaven. Be at Peace and go to God." His voice boomed across the street, causing the smaller demons to cower. A bright light flashed, and the Demon yelled as the soul was pulled from the body and sent home. "I could not save his life, but his soul will be spared."
"It doesn't matter. He was an annoyance. I'm more interested in your little bird. Logan's memories gave me all the information I needed."
"Then you are more of a fool than I had first thought." Michael paused, as he felt Harold call out to him through his prayer. He snapped his fingers, and the two Guardians he trusted the most were sent to protect him. "Many of your kind have made the mistake of challenging me, but none were this reckless."
"You think your rehabilitated pets will protect him. Shaw and Fusco were mine, before you dragged them into the light. It won't take long to show them where they belong." It took a few steps forward, challenging the Archangel on a physical level. "Let alone that Hell Hound of yours. It knows its place."
"As should you." He tilted his head slightly, the smirk barely there. They had got Harold out of the building and were heading to safety.
"What will your precious little bird say, when he discovers his beloved Grace was killed by demons? That the all-powerful Michael couldn't save her?"
"There is only one all-powerful being, and I am not Him." Michael adjusted his stance, wings shifting slightly, prepping for battle. "And you should know not to underestimate me."
Grace sat in her favorite spot looking out over the canals of Venice. She'd painted the scene a dozen times, but it was still mesmerizing. It had taken her a while to adjust living in Italy, to accept that something had happened to change her life, though she had no idea what it was.
The one thing she'd never let herself think about was the small nagging doubt in the back of her head that Harold arranged all of this. It had his fingerprints all over it, but that would mean thinking about the fact he was alive, and hadn't come to her.
"Your skill is very good."
She startled, jerking slightly towards the voice. If anything those days in New York had done, was made her much more aware of evil in the world.
"I am sorry. I did not mean to startle you."
He was handsome, dark black hair, with startling blue eyes. He was tall, but not overly so. His suit was nice, but simple. It took her a few moments to realize his hand was out.
"Oh, I'm sorry." She put the brush down and took it. "I'm Grace."
" Luke ." He looked at her painting again. "It is quite beautiful. I have seen many paintings of these canals, and yours is exquisite."
"I tell the truth." He put his hand on his heart and bowed. "But, I have to admit, that I am here for a purpose, Grace. I have come to take you to safety."
She stilled. "For whatever reason?"
"The man you know as Detective Stills sent me to retrieve you, stated that it was important and to trust his judgment." Luke held out his hand, waiting until she took it, even if it was hesitantly.
"Are you a police officer?" she asked, as he led her to a waiting vehicle.
"No." He nodded at the driver, who opened the back door. "I am a simple doctor, who is a Patron of the Arts. And, as you are an artist, I was requested to come."
"I don't understand." She slipped into the car, half expecting to find a gun pointed at her, but only found it empty.
Luke settled next to her. "All will come to light, my dear."
The drive was longer than she expected, doubt and fear crept in, but anytime Luke would reach over and touch her hand, she calmed. Everything was confusing, and she had no idea what was going on, but that nagging part in the back of her head reared up stronger than ever.
"Tell me the truth." She shifted and looked at the doctor. "Does this have anything to do with Harold?"
"In a way, yes." He gave her a nod. "It is beyond me to explain, but know that I am taking you to the safest place in Italy, maybe even the world."
She nodded and settled into her seat. Part of her was upset and angry, but she knew Harold wouldn't hurt her on purpose, and obviously was still watching out for her. She was more upset he didn't trust her.
"Grace, we are here."
She looked out the window, the sun had begun to set, giving an unearthly radiance to the place. She opened the door and stepped out of the vehicle. A tall man approached, wearing a dark suit, followed by two guards, she instantly recognized the bright uniforms of the Swiss Guard.
"I am Ernesto Olivetti, Inspector General of Vatican Police." He held out his hand. "Welcome to the Vatican."
"Oh my." She took his hand, and was led inside. "What has Harold gotten himself into?"
The Demon frowned, snapping his fingers, sending two Hell Hounds straight for Michael. He pulled his gun, and shot them both dead. A second gesture and a squad of attackers moved towards the Archangel.
"Is there a problem here?" A voice called out, stopping the attackers in their tracks.
Michael glanced to either side of him. There were two police officers on large black horses, watching the scene intently. "Officers."
"Do you need assistance?" One asked, his gaze not leaving the ring of men slowly advancing. The horse under him snorted, a hoof slammed against the pavement, sending up sparks, causing the attackers to hesitate.
"I am needed elsewhere."
"Dragons, snakes, demons they're all the same." In a flash, gone was the uniform of a NYPD Mounted Patrol, instead he was wearing traditional Roman Armor, holding a magnificent shield, one that bore Michael's mark. "Let's show these guys how it's done."
George now dressed in similar gear, lowered his heavy pike. The black mount, snorted and pranced eager for the fight.
Michael smiled softly at their antics.
The two had fought together over centuries, called upon by so many.
To help fight the physical and mental dragons of the world.
"Go with God." Michael stepped back, and watched as the two Saints charged into the battle. He listened for Harold's voice and in a flash, was gone.
"We need to get to hallowed ground." Brian shot two demons as they exited the building out into the open.
"Like a church?" Fusco asked, making sure to keep Harold between him and Shaw. "Isn't St. Patrick's a few blocks up on 5th Avenue?"
"A blessing indeed." Brian nodded, his brogue once again more pronounced. "Your weapons will not destroy the demons as they are not blessed, but they will slow them down. Shots to the head. No kneecaps."
"Wasn't planning on it!" Shaw shot two in the head. "Can you bless them?"
"I am many things, but I am not a priest."
They continued their way across the square towards Park Ave, coming to a halt when a half dozen snarling demons blocked their way. Harold wondered where John was, he had said if he was to ever call out for him he would be there.
"Be gone demon!" Brian yelled. "Your kind is not welcome here."
They cringed, but continued forward.
A howl echoed off the buildings, sending shivers down everyone's spines. Brian braced himself, preparing for the attack. Hell Hounds were the unholiest of creatures, and the hardest to kill.
"What was that?" Fusco asked, become more concerned with each moment.
"A Hell Hound." Brian answered, sending prayers to his own. "Uriel, I need you."
"A what?" Shaw demanded.
"It's not a Hell Hound." Harold hesitated when the three looked at him. "Well it is, but …"
A flash of brown and red slammed into the first demon, ripping out its throat with a vicious shake of its head. The dog dropped the body, looked at the small group, and then turned to face the rest of the demons. His hair was raised across its spine, blood dripped from its snout, and eyes flashed red with intent.
"…it's Bear." Harold finished.
Shaw stared at the dog, then at Harold, then at the dog, watching in gleeful horror as it shredded two more. "We need to talk about keeping secrets Harold."
"You have a Hell Hound?" Brian asked, eyes widening slightly.
"John got him for me." He shrugged, not really wanting to talk about it.
"John has a Hell Hound?" Shaw demanded. "And he didn't get me one?"
"Can we leave now?" Fusco asked in the middle of the argument, trying not to be sick from the sight of blood and gore. "Bear is doing a good job ripping these guys to shred, but more are coming."
With the Hell Hound destroying the demons behind them, the small party quickly made their way across Park Avenue, and up 52nd Street until they got to 5th Avenue, turning left they ran for the famed Cathedral.
Saint Patrick's Cathedral was built in the mid 1850's, but even it had been affected by the Civil War and wasn't finished until 1865. It is the seat of the Archdiocese of New York, and one of the most iconic structures in New York. The front steps faced Rockefeller Center, and as they ran by, they could see the famous Atlas bronze statue, standing silently.
They moved up the five smaller steps, followed by three more which led to the large bronze doors. There was a time when all church doors would be unlocked and welcoming to those who sought sanctuary, but over time, the doors began to close to those in need.
As Brian reached the heavy doors, he was prepared to use force if need be to get them open. They were safer in the enclaves, as the land from the street to the doors was considered hallowed ground, but he would prefer to get Harold inside the Cathedral.
He was surprised to find it unlocked, but then sometimes one had to go with the mystery. He pushed them open, waving everyone inside. Shaw growled, manhandling Harold into the building. She wasn't religious, never saw the use of it, but at this moment she'll take all the help she could get to make sure her boss stayed safe.
Brian walked into the building, moved directly to the fount, dipped his right fingers in the Holy Water, went down on his right knee and crossed himself. He then took Harold's arm, pulling him further down the aisle, making him sit in one of the pews. "There is a St. Michael's Altar here in the Cathedral." He pointed towards the front, just slightly left of the main Altar.
"I've called to him…"
"Aye." Brian frowned worried now that neither Michael nor Uriel had answered. "I have called upon my own. Since neither have shown, it tells me they're dealing with something far worse than we feared."
"Why is Bear still outside?" Shaw demanded.
"He's a Hell Hound." Brian answered, giving her a look. "Even if he is working for Michael, he still can't come on Sacred ground."
"But what if he needs help?" She glared at him. "He's part of our team."
"Hell Hounds are the hardest things in the underworld to kill." Brian shook his head, after this was over he would need to meet this 'Bear'. "Unless Lucifer himself rises, he'll be safe."
"Is that an option?" Fusco asked concerned. "The big cheese of hell coming after us."
"We survived Samaritan, we can take Lucy." Shaw smirked at the detective.
Lionel couldn't help the snort. "Anyone want to explain Carter?"
"Well someone had to keep an eye on you."
Fusco turned on his heel, coming face to face with his dead partner. He gave her a smile, and didn't care about pretense, wrapped his arms around her. She held him onto him just as tightly.
"I'm not the brightest one in this group, so please explain?" Lionel stepped back hand waving at the large white wings.
"We're Guardians." She gestured towards Nathan, who made his way over to Harold, pulling him into his arms wrapping the large wings around the smaller man. "Michael requested that once I came to terms with everything, to step in and watch over you, Fusco. He knew you had a lot to face yet, and wanted a Guardian who could keep up."
"So what, you die and become an angel?" Shaw frowned, it didn't sound like anything she remembered.
"It is slightly more complicated than that, my dear." They all turned to see an older man, with long white hair, and matching beard. He wasn't wearing the typical black suit of a priest, instead simple jeans and a beige woolen sweater. The two young men behind him, stood out in such a holy place. One was dark, the other light, tattoos visible on their hands and necks. Their heavy black peacoats were open showing double holstered weapons. "Boys, go help the hound with the demons."
"Aye Father." They moved past the gentleman, giving a nod to the Angels. Their strides were in sync, matched each other perfectly. As they opened the doors, they pulled their weapons. "And Shepherds we shall be. For thee, my Lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. Our feet may swiftly carry out thy commands. So we shall flow a river forth to thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be …" As the doors closed. "… In Nomeni Patri, Et Fili, Spiritus Sancti."
"Who was that?" Shaw stared at the closed doors, not sure if she wanted to join or run away.
"Holy Warriors," the older man answered.
"John mentioned them." Harold pulled himself out of Nathan's arms. "I never got an explanation. He stated that Saints walk among us, but nothing about Holy Warriors."
"Saints gain their title after their death." He smiled softly at Harold. "Holy Warriors are men and women who see the spiritual fight on earth and are called to serve. Some become priests, nuns, monks — others take up the fight on a physical level. My two boys, Connor and Murphy are two of them. They have my blessing."
"And you are?" Shaw asked.
"Patrick. Welcome to my Cathedral."
Michael touched down in the plaza just outside the building their latest number worked. Sulfur was thick in the air. He surveyed the area, not liking the silence - New York never slept.
"I see your Hell Hound made a feast of the demons." Uriel's voice carried over the square. "I will have to give him my apologies, I had truly thought he would turn on you."
"Bear is unique." Michael gave him a small smile. "He likes doggie danishes, just so you know."
"I'll remember that." Uriel chuckled lightly. "Brian is with Harold, he called for me but I had a problem further in the city. A group of demons went after a women's shelter, I had thought it odd, but now I see it was a distraction."
"Joan is taking care of it." The Archangel smirked. "One does not mess with that Saint."
"Not in life or death," Michael agreed.
"Is it me or does this smell like a trap?" Uriel paused as a dark mist rolled into the area. "He's gone all out, trying to take on two Archangels."
"There's more going on here." Michael closed his eyes, letting His Grace fill him, to give him the strength and wisdom he needed. His eyes snapped open. "This is a distraction…"
"From what?" Uriel asked, moving until his back was against Michael's, watching intently as the dark mist surrounded them.
"From what the demon is truly plotting." He pulled out his weapons, a gun in each hand. "Make this quick, we need to get to St. Patrick's."
As the mist formed into a circle of snarling demons and hell hounds, the two Archangels raised their weapons … in perfect harmony, they moved as one, back to back, guns blazing.
It was over before it began.
They were the only ones standing.
The demons were nothing but dust, the dark mist sucked back into the ground, disappearing.
The sounds of New York came back to life, the distant sound of horns and sirens.
Michael lowered his weapons, and looked across the plaza to see a homeless man staring at them. He bowed his head, acknowledging the Veteran. The former soldier nodded back, and then crossed himself. Later he would find himself at a small church tucked away in lower Manhattan, named after the very being he witnessed. He had found a new purpose for his life.
"What are they distracting us from?" Uriel demanded holstering his own weapons. "Keeping us from our Ones, will only upset us."
They set out towards St. Patrick's Cathedral, knowing they would feel better seeing their Ones. "There's more to this than Harold and …"
They stopped mid-step.
Gabriel's Trumpet sounded.
It was a call for help.
This wasn't about distracting them from their Ones, this was about using their Ones to distract them from the bigger attack.
In a blink of an eye they were inside St. Patrick's.
"Uriel!" Brian quickly made his way to the Archangel, pulling the smaller man into his arms. "What is going on?"
"This is bigger than we anticipated…"
"Michael!" Harold bolted from the pew straight into his arms. "I called for you! You said you would come when I called."
Michael felt the pleased shiver go through his body and wings, shaking them slightly. It was the first time Harold had called him by his Name. He wrapped his wings around him, holding him close. "I am sorry to have scared you."
"I never liked it when you put yourself in danger, now it seems worse." Harold laid his head on his shoulder, feeling secured tucked next to the warm body. "The thought of living without John was bad, but the very idea of losing you…"
He kissed the top of his head. "You will never lose me."
"So when did you get the wings?" Shaw waved her hand at the pair wrapped around their boss. "And when did you start sleeping with the boss?"
"Did you die on the rooftop?" Lionel asked. "And come back as an Angel?"
Harold shuffled enough to get Michael to open his wings and let him out. "He's not John. Never has been."
"Then who the hell are you?" Shaw demanded, ready to pull Harold away from the stranger that was wearing John.
"Michael," he answered.
Sameen turned around, searching for the Altar, the one the Irish guy mentioned, she then turned back, hand pointing towards it. "As in Michael?"
"As in Saint Michael?" Lionel added into the conversation. "Patron Saint of Cops?"
He nodded again.
"Well fuck me."
"Not my style." Michael teased her, letting her know he was still the 'big brother' she loved and hated.
"Obviously Harold is!" She waved her hand at him. "Isn't that like a big no no?"
Fusco shook his head still trying to get his head around what he was just told. "Wait, you mean I tried to kill an Archangel?"
"Yet, you still trusted me." He gave the Angel before him, a contemplative look.
"You're a good man, Lionel. I saw your soul and heart. You were not so far gone that couldn't be redeemed." Michael gave him a small smile. "I trust you with the safety of my One."
He nodded, trying to hold back the tears that wanted to break through. His entire career he wanted to be the good guy, to know, to really know that he wasn't lost … he felt a pair of wings around his shoulder, without hesitation he laid his head on Carter shoulder and let the tears fall.
"So…" Shaw looked at him not sure what she was feeling. "Root?"
"Everyone is redeemable, if they choose to be," he answered.
The former agent smirked slightly. "I take it she's still in line before becoming an Angel?"
"She gave her life for another, plus she had my blessing, but it will still be a while." He gave her the assurance she needed. "At the moment, we have much bigger problems."
"What is going on?" Harold asked concerned. "And is Bear okay?"
"I think my boys may have adopted him." Patrick smiled at Harold. "He'll be fine, they'll protect him."
Michael glanced over at the Saint. "Keep them here on Cathedral property, if need be, hide them in the Rectory. The 40 Martyrs have surrounded the building, keeping any smaller demons at bay. Your boys did a fine job getting rid of most of them."
"Aye." Patrick nodded.
"Is there anything you need of us?" Nathan stepped up, standing next to Carter.
"I need you to protect them," Michael stated.
"That, we'll do."
Michael turned to Uriel, and with a nod they reached out, wrapped their wings around their ones, and were gone.
Lionel stared at the empty spot where the two Angels were, then over at Patrick. "So, how does one become Catholic?"
"Son, you already are. You've been baptized by fire."
Harold stumbled as he was released from Michael's mighty wings. He glanced around frowning, not sure where they were. Brian reached out, took his arm and pulled him back gently. He tripped on the red carpeted steps, with Brian's steady hand he settled next to him.
They watched as the two Archangels went down on their right knee and bowed their heads in front of the white marble Altar. They stood simultaneously; Uriel went left, Michael right. They made their way down the steps, and then turned towards the long aisle, heading for the doors.
When Harold looked up he saw the familiar bronze Baldacchino, followed by the 99 lamps glowing softly in the dark.
Everywhere he turned there were Saints and Angels.
They were in St. Peter's Basilica.
It was then they heard the trumpet and the sounds of war.
Brian and Harold scrambled to catch up with their Angels, whose strides were purposeful and determined.
As they approached the large bronze doors, Michael turned and looked back at Harold. "I need you to stay inside. I mean it, Harold. This is not your fight or anything you need to be involved in."
He nodded in understanding. "I promise."
Michael gave him a half smirk, and then turned to face the man in white. "Your Holiness."
The Pope blinked at the sight before him. He had been coming to terms that his bodyguard, Inspector Olivetti of the Vatican Police was an Angel, but he hadn't realized until this moment that he was the Archangel Raphael, and now to see the General of all Angels, standing before him...
"Saint Michael." He bowed his head in respect, and then turned towards the smaller Angel. He didn't recognize him via his wings. Michael's were unique, described as iridescent with a thousand eyes watching you. Artists had used a variety of colors over the years to distinguish who the Angels were in their paintings. The young man with the emerald green wings, he knew to be Gabriel, well that and the trumpet gave it away. The Angel smiled softly, opened his palm and a flame appeared. The Pope gasped in awe. "Saint Uriel."
"Your Holiness." He closed his fist, and gave him a respectful nod.
Michael shifted towards the priest standing nearby. "Monsignor Kiernan, you've called upon me many times."
"Aye." His brogue Irish slipped out. "You have aided me many times."
"Watch over and keep them inside." He motioned toward Brian and Harold. "They would be used as pawns."
"Harold!" A woman's voice rang out, echoing slightly in the vast Basilica.
Harold turned on his heel, cringing at the pull on his neck and hip. He stared in shock, as Grace walked quickly towards him, flanked by Swiss Guards. "Grace?!"
"That would be your past coming home to roost, Harold." Michael patted him on the shoulder, gave the guards a bow.
"Grace…" Harold smiled as he made his way towards her. "I have so much to tell you."
"Oh, I would think so." She stopped her hands on her hips. With a watery smile, she took the last steps and hugged him. Harold held her tightly. "Before we get into everything, what is going on?"
"I think – war."
"More like a reminder." Kiernan commented from the sidelines. "The dark forces like to remind us they are still here."
"I see it daily," Harold sighed. Especially since they started with the Numbers. But as much as he saw the bad, he saw so much good in people.
"Aye." Kiernan gave him a smile, before looking back out the doors. "Like children, they push the boundaries."
"Isn't attacking the Vatican, pushing it a bit too far?" Brian moved towards the door, taking a place next to the Pope. He went to go down on his left knee, when Pius held up his hand to stop him.
"Now is not the time, if we are to go down on our knees it shall be in prayer," he said softly.
"This is sacred ground, how are they here?" Harold asked, still holding Grace's hand as they moved closer to the priest. He noticed the four guards spread behind them, their pikes down and ready. For men prepared for battle against demons, they were completely at peace.
He had read that becoming a Swiss Guard was a Calling. Michael corrected him, and stated it was a Ministry. These men were strong in their faith and their dedication to protect the Vatican and the Pope. They were the best in the world, and the only foreign army that resided in another country as their military.
He had read about the famous battle in 1527, where 147 of 189, including their commander, had died to protect the Vatican. Clement VII escaped through the Passetto di Borgo, to the Castel Sant'Angelo.
At the end of the day, Pope hadn't been captured, and the Vatican hadn't fallen.
And 600 of their enemy laid dead.
On May 6th, the Guards honor those who gave their life that day, by having their swearing in ceremony on the anniversary.
The sound of Gabriel's trumpet had them all turning to focus on what was going on outside. "Why are they attacking? I mean I know why … but isn't this like the holiest of places on earth?"
"The Basilica is sacred ground. The amount of relics, saints, and holy blessings will keep them from entering." Kiernan answered. "It is why they told you to stay in here."
"But the Church is run by man." Pius added, his gaze steady on the angel with the rich dark brown wings, standing strong in front of the Swiss Guard and Vatican Police. "And man is fallible, which means we make mistakes and do not always keep our eyes on God."
"Hence they can make a move against the church, but not get into the church." Brian finished their thoughts. "The Basilica is protected, St Peter's Square is blessed but still open."
"It's surrounded by Saints." Grace's voice was quiet, as she added into the conversation. "Does that help?"
"My dear." Pius held out his hand, she took it and stepped closer to him. "Do you see the line of soldiers coming out along the columns of the Colonades?"
"They are Swiss Guard." A voice with a soft Swiss accent came from behind them. "Our fallen brothers."
Her eyes went wide, as she realized they were surrounding the square. "They haven't done anything."
"They'll let us have first dibs." One of the guards smirked. "We may leave them a few."
Harold now understood what Michael meant.
The Swiss Guards protecting the front of the Basilica parted to let the Archangels through, none of them flinched or stared. As far as they were concerned, this was a normal day in the office.
Michael stepped up to Raphael. "Status."
"Well, head demon has been ranting for about fifteen minutes." Raphael's wings fluttered slightly as he motioned towards the same demon Michael had seen in New York, the one who had taken Logan Pierce. "I am going to guess he was waiting for you, since we stopped listening three seconds in."
Michael laid a hand on his brother's shoulder, and gave it a squeeze. "Are your men prepared?"
"Every minute of the day," he answered.
Gabriel settled next to Uriel. "So how do we want to handle this?"
"Uriel, seal them in." Michael ordered.
The Archangel stepped forward, let his wings unfurl out, as the Flame of God he carried ignited around him. He flapped the wings once, twice, and then a third time, sent the Holy Fire around the square. The fire danced in out of the columns under the Colonades, flowing past and through the spirits of the Guardians of the Vatican, until the two ends came together sealing off the square.
No one was getting in or out.
"Well that was impressive." The Demon began to clap. "So why did they demote you again?"
"It was one thing to attack me." Michael took a step out from his brothers. "To attack His Church, is another."
"Oh please. This place is as corrupt as the government buildings that surround it." It snarled, making his way towards Michael. "If I wanted to challenge Lucifer for my rightful place, I need to go big or go home."
"Be gone, Demon!" His voice boomed across the square, sending smaller demons scurrying straight into the Holy Fire, or into the pikes of the guards.
"There's enough darkness here to sustain me." It smiled at the Archangel. "And, well, when an Archangel has carnal sin with a man, you don't really have any power over me."
He would not be taunted by the pathetic creature.
"You had fair warning." Michael pulled his weapons, letting his arms rest at his sides. The safeties were off, the guns primed. "Leave. Go back to the hole you crawled out of."
"Oh what are you going to do, shoot me?"
Four demons fell at his feet, bodies dispersed into dark mist seeping back into the ground. He looked around and back to see all four the Archangels armed, spread out covering all of his army. Behind them, the Vatican Police and Swiss Guards panned out, pikes and guns ready.
In the enclave of the Basilica was a man in White.
He went down on his knees, took a deep breath, closed his eyes and prayed.
The strongest and most powerful weapon of all.
It was then the demon knew failure was close, but it really didn't matter if the plan failed, as long as chaos rained down, and the world knew the Vatican was vulnerable.
Gunfire erupted in St. Peter's Square as dawn brought forth a new day.
Most of the outlying demons didn't survive the first wave. They fell to the hail of bullets or ran straight into the Holy Fire.
The second line succumbed as quickly.
The fight began in earnest when Hell Hounds rushed in from behind the demons attacking the Angels.
Gabriel swung with his trumpet taking out one, while Uriel caught another one with fire.
A third launched itself at Michael, he easily lifted his gun and shot it without a second glance. The fourth knocked into his side, teeth ripping into his arm. He tossed it off him, only for it to be skewered by one of the Swiss Guard's Pike. Michael stumbled slightly, feeling the darkness spread around him, but he called upon His Grace to help push it from him.
He stalked towards the head Demon taking out its guards easily.
He had one goal, one purpose.
Raphael kept close to the doors. He had lost his weapons when he was overpowered by half-dozen demons. He had heard gunshots, and the bright colors of the Swiss Guard broke into his view.
One held out his hand to help him up, then handed him a pike.
He gave him a nod, and said a silent prayer for the soldier they had lost. Because the only reason a Swiss Guard would lose his pike was if he fell in battle.
With the Swiss Guards and Vatican Police flanking him, they kept all demons away from the front doors. With a glance back, he saw His Holiness still kneeling in prayer, while the Monseigneur prayed the rosary in his hands, fingers running over smooth black marble.
Brian was staring at St. Uriel, praying for his protection.
And Harold stared in shock at the chaos.
He was not Catholic and had only learned St. Michael's Prayer, he had no way to fight in this battle.
"Prayer is simple."
He turned on his heel, to stare at an older gentleman.
"I am Isidore, well, Saint Isidore of Seville actually. I'm your Patron Saint, Harold."
"You are?" he asked, eyes wide. "I thought Michael was?"
"He's more than your Saint. He's your one." He looked past them to see the battle raging. The Archangels and warriors were starting to overpower the demons. "I've been watching over your and your machine." He smiled at Harold's sudden glare. "No worries, it's not like I'm going to tell anyone."
"Who are you?" he asked again, this time a bit more snappish.
"Isidore," he answered. "I'm the Patron Saint of Computers, Programmers and the Internet. So you see Harold, I've been watching over you for a long time."
Harold turned back towards the battle.
Michael was now fighting with the demon that started all of this, and had stolen Logan Pierce. A part of him wasn't surprised that Pierce ended up in the middle, the tycoon was always looking for an expensive thrill. But no man deserved that fate.
"Prayer is simple."
"I've never done it," he said, gaze not leaving Michael.
"Oh, but you have." Isidore stepped next to him. "Every time you hoped for Michael's safety, every time you typed faster to get the information needed to save a Number, every time you begged for help … those were prayers."
"If he's the mightiest of Angels, who do I pray to protect him?"
"I think you know who, Harold."
Michael slammed his elbow into a demon trying to sneak up on him, then twisted around and snapped its neck.
"Lucifer couldn't defeat me and he is the Morningstar, what makes you think you can?"
Michael's wings furled out, as the rays of the rising sun glistened through them sending light into the darkness. The last of the army was blinded, scurrying away, fleeing the battle only to fall where they stood as the old guardians swarmed into their midst.
"I don't need to…" It smirked, latching onto Michael. "I just need to drag you down with me." The ground shifted beneath his feet, darkness crawling outwards to wrap around Michael's legs. "You have a hell hound bite, and the sin of man has tainted you…"
Michael began to lose his footing, as tendrils of dark mist moved up his body.
His brothers yelled his name as they moved towards him.
In the midst of the screams he heard Harold.
Above all of it, he heard His voice.
He always had a purpose, a mission.
He stopped struggling.
"Begone." And with that simple word, the demon faltered and disappeared. Michael looked back towards the Basilica. "Do not fear for me."
The last of the ground gave way, and he was gone.
"NO!" Harold pulled out of the grip of those who held him and fell out of the doors and into the Square. Swiss Guards moved around him, to protect him from any remaining attackers. He tried to push past them, only to be grabbed by Brian, who pulled him back into the Basilica.
The three remaining Archangels screamed out their pain, the last of the demons were destroyed in their righteous fury, and in a flash of blinding light they were gone.
Harold fell to his knees, still being held by Brian, whose own tears marred his face. The Swiss Guard circled and held their protective ring. The Monseigneur helped the Pope stand, who took a deep breath and stepped out into the Square.
He knew what he had to do.
It had been days since the battle in St. Peter's Square. The chaos that was so sought after never emerged. There were no news reports of an attack, no rumors escalating about 'demons', as far as the world was concerned, another day had dawned and the Vatican continued on with its ministry.
The ones who did know, had found solace in prayer and meditation.
The few injured Swiss Guards were recovering, along with their fellow soldiers in the Vatican Police, a bond forged between the two units that will not be broken. At the moment, Ernesto's second, Paulo was in charge of the Vatican security, working closely with Commandant Chartrand of the Swiss Guard.
The Pope had continued to see guests and dignitaries, and gave his homilies at Mass. Many noted he spoke with a softer, yet stronger conviction about reaching out to all of God's children.
To love your neighbor.
To show Mercy.
Rumor had it he was planning a Jubilee Year, ten years earlier than expected.
It was unheard of!
The visitors, the docents, the priests, and the guards rarely commented about the lone man who sat in front of St. Michael's Altar, refusing to leave.
Grace sat next to Harold, and listened to his story.
All of it.
The Ferry bombing.
Hiring Mr. Reese.
All the way up to the destruction of Samaritan and the discovery of Michael. She held his hand through the whole thing. Afterwards she gave him a kiss on the cheek and walked away. A day later she returned, took his hand, and stayed with him during his vigil.
His Holiness sat with Harold, reassuring him He had a plan in all of it. When that didn't work, he tried blackmail. That Michael would be upset if he didn't take care of himself. It was the first time they were able to get him away from the Altar on his own recognizance. The previous times, he had passed out and Brian had carried him back to the Hotel Santa Marta. The Polish nuns who ran the place, made sure he rested, showered, and fed him enough food to feed the Swiss Guard.
The Monseigneur handed him a St. Michael's Chaplet along with the book that went with it. Harold thanked him, and started to work his way around the Nine Choirs. He knew he should be more productive, but he just couldn't focus on anything until Michael was back at his side. He promised, he would never leave him even when Harold died he would be by his side, escorting him home. It had been a week since that fateful morning, when Michael fell into the pits of Hell, and his brothers were pulled home.
He also knew he wasn't the only one affected.
Brian was as lost as he was. He had been with Uriel longer, and shared the glory of Heaven. There was no Altar or statue in the Vatican for Uriel, so he had taken to roaming from Saint to Saint. Many times he would sit next to Harold, reciting Uriel's Prayers. Harold had a feeling that Brian kept his focus by taking care of him, for which he was thankful.
On the tenth day he was startled when Nathan appeared next to him. His Guardian Angel assured him all were safe in New York. Shaw was demanding information, and was taking care of Bear, after she kidnapped him from the two Irish boys. They had thought it was hilarious and taken to following her around. Fusco had started going to Mass, and seemed to have found peace in his life, but even he was getting antsy and was wondering when Glasses and the Big Guy were coming back.
Harold introduced Nathan to Grace, who politely took his hand and gave him a soft smile. "I had wished to have met you sooner than this." Nathan kissed the back of her hand. "Harold had nothing but admiration and love for you."
"He's told me everything." She waved her hand around. "I mean everything."
"Well that's a start." Nathan nodded then focused on Harold. "You need to eat, and if you don't watch it those Polish nuns will come find you."
He gave his friend a look.
"No seriously." Nathan looked behind him. "Don't mess with the Polish nuns, they keep the Swiss Guard in line."
Harold smiled softly, and then looked behind him to see two of the famous guards nearby. The Monseigneur had suggested they keep watch over him and Brian. The few times he had been dragged from the Basilica back to Santa Marta, the Vatican's version of a hotel, he had dinner with the Guards, and couldn't help be reminded how young they were. They had told him of their history, and why they do what they do. After seeing them in action, they had Harold's undying respect and admiration. He could say even a few had become his friends.
It was by day twenty, he realized that he had no control over anything. There was nothing he could do that would make Michael come back any sooner than he was supposed to. And for a man who had controlled every aspect of his life, there was a mix of enlightenment and massive amounts of flailing.
He had left the Basilica and ended up finding the Monseigneur in a section of the Vatican he had a feeling he wasn't supposed to know about, and got himself a laptop. He opened communication with The Machine, it stated that it was giving numbers to Fusco and Shaw, and had branched out to give a few to the MacManuses.
That had surprised him, yet a part of him wasn't shocked at all.
He informed it that he would be staying in the Vatican until Michael returned. The Machine sent him information he needed, including bank accounts, passport information, and an address of a local safe house.
When Harold ventured out to pick up the passport and important documents, he wasn't surprised that his two guards now in plain clothes followed him. They didn't ask questions, he didn't provide any answers.
By day twenty-five, Grace went back to Venice. She knew Harold was not her future, and that he didn't need her anymore. Harold held her tightly, and promised to visit her and introduce her to Michael. She promised to hold him to that, gave him a kiss on the cheek and went home. She could finally move on with her life.
By day thirty, he sat next to Brian in front of St Michael's Altar. "Is this normal?"
"No," he answered. "I've not been apart from Uriel for this long, since we've returned."
"How did you two meet?" Harold asked, turning towards him. "I am sorry for not seeing your own pain in this."
"Finding you're the One of an Archangel is a bit overwhelming." Brian smiled at him. "To have it pulled from you at the same time…" He turned back to look at the statue. "It was the 15th Century."
Brian nodded. "I had lost my wife during childbirth, my son died days later.. I was not in a good mindset, when I came upon a situation, one I could not just ignore. A young woman was being harassed by some overbearing lads." He chuckled at the memory. "I came to her rescue, only to watch her take care of them in a few sharp words and a smack to their faces."
"I'm sure Michael told you they don't always choose male bodies." He glanced over to Harold, who nodded. "I may have fallen in love with her at that moment, but I still mourned my family. It was a long journey for us, and when she finally told me the truth … I didn't react well."
Harold studied him for a few moments, letting Brian collect his thoughts.
"I didn't see her again, until I was on my deathbed." Brian smiled over at him. "It took that moment for me to get it. After spending time in paradise, I wanted to explore, be with Uriel like I was supposed to be, so asked if we could come back down. We've been here for a century now."
"You can do that? Did you take a body like Uriel did?" Harold asked, wanting to know how it would work for when he returned with Michael.
"I did. Once you leave this world, when you come back it's like being an Angel." He tried to explain. "You'll understand once you go through it, and then you get to explain it to the next One!"
Harold smiled softly. "So you've never really been away from him?"
"We've been separated at times, but not like this. I know we won't be separated fully. If I have to leave this world to go be with him, so be it." Uriel was important, not his attachments on earth.
Harold nodded, he completely agreed.
Day forty was a random Tuesday.
Harold started his day like he had done for the past week, by going through the St Michael Chaplet. He always sat down in one of the chairs, not able to kneel for too long of a period of time. He had spent the past few days in the Vatican Security Rooms, working with acting Inspector Paulo with updating the systems. The Vatican had made an announcement that the Olivetti had been on a retreat, for his health, to curtail any rumors of what had happened to the Inspector.
"Michael, glorious prince, chief and champion of the heavenly Host, guardian of the souls of men, conqueror of the rebel angels, steward of the palace of God under Jesus Christ, our worthy leader, endowed with superhuman excellence and virtues: vouchsafe to free us all from every ill, who with full confidence have recourse to thee; and by thy incomparable protection enable us to make progress every day in the faithful service of our God. V. Pray for us, most blessed Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ. That we may be made worthy of his promises."
A blinding light lit the Basilica, startling all those who were seeking prayers before the day started.
Harold looked up, gasping at the sight before him.
Michael was wearing Mr. Reese's traditional black suit, the white shirt opened at the collar. But there was something more about him, an unearthly glow that cascaded around him. His wings were stretched out, magnificent in all their glory.
He didn't hesitate, jumping out of his chair and into his arms. The wings wrapped around him, and he felt the sudden shift. When the wings reopened they were no longer in the Basilica, but instead in a small apartment. There was a fire in the large stone fireplace, and a scattering of candles throughout, that gave the room its warmth and soft glow.
Harold looked up to see Michael smiling down at him. He reached up and gripped the back of his neck and pulled the Angel down into a desperate kiss. Michael drew him closer, wrapping him tightly against him, as he deepened the kiss, showing how much he missed his One.
Harold stepped back, and then hit him across the chest. "Where have you been!?"
"Hell," he answered simply.
"Wait, literally?" Harold stared at him, eyes wide, and mouth open in shock. "This whole time you've been in hell? As in lakes of fire and torment?"
"Yes." Michael ran a hand through his hair, and gave him a half smile. "I needed to deal with Lucifer's inability to control his minions. We had a chat."
"You had a chat with Satan?" Harold's eye roll was epic, as he looked around to find a seat. There was a high backed chair that looked like it was from the 1700's, and he was pretty sure it was, but at the moment he didn't care. He sat down, giving Michael his patented glare. "That is such a John Reese thing to say, actually it's a Michael thing to say."
"I know you're upset."
"Forty days!" Harold yelled back. "You were gone for 40 DAYS!"
"It didn't feel like it." Michael shrugged slightly, it had felt more like 40 years but he wasn't going to say that. "It was a challenge and journey, for you as much as it was for me."
Michael knelt down in front of his One, taking his hands into his kissing them softly. "Whatever you want, Harold."
"I want you."
He stood back up, lifting Harold out of chair and back into his arms. "Then you have me." He took his mouth into a soft kiss, as if relearning everything there was between them. Taking a few steps back, he worked his way across the room, until he stumbled, forcing Michael to sit on the edge of the antique four poster bed, breaking the kiss.
Harold looked at his Angel, and then reached out to touch his cheeks, sliding his fingers over swollen lips. "These past days haven't been easy." Michael lifted his own hand, covering Harold's. "But it was needed. I had to look past John Reese, and see you. I'm sorry…"
"I've always been me." Michael frowned slightly. "John Reese was just the name you knew me as."
Harold shook his head. "It was easier to not deal with the reality that you're Michael, not just an Archangel, but the Archangel. Defender of Heaven. Warrior. Defeated Lucifer, and with what you said twice."
"This wasn't much of a showdown, more of a snark fest." Michael shrugged slightly. "Lucifer was one of us, and at times it's easy to forget that, and sometimes it's hard to remember it."
"You were in Hell, Michael. Hell. If that doesn't bring home the point you're not human, nothing well." Harold ran a hand through the dark black and silver hair. "Yes, I fell for you as John Reese, but in these past days I've learned how to stand by you as Michael."
He leaned over and kissed him on the forehead, then both his eyes, cheeks and finally lips. "I'm your One, Michael and I will stay by your side, here on earth and beyond. I would like to stay here a bit more, but if you need to be with your brothers or with Him, then that is where we will be. Forty days is a long time to come to terms with the realization that what you want is irrelevant."
"My duty is to be with you, at this moment." Michael's hand cupped Harold's cheek, thumb sliding across soft skin. "Yes, one day He will call us home, but for now you are my home."
Harold gripped the back of Michael's neck and yanked him into a hard kiss. He needed to feel all of him, wanted to be in his arms, wings wrapped around him. His hands moved to Michael's shoulders, slipping under the dark suit coat and pushing the material off. He growled in frustration as Michael's own exploration was getting in the way of Harold's desperate attempts to get to bare skin.
Michael grabbed his One's hands and stilled them. With a cocky smirk, one Harold knew all too well, their clothes were gone. Harold was laid gently on the bed, pillows in all the right places. Michael looked down at him, with so much love in his eyes. He lowered to take Harold's lips in a gentle kiss, which quickly turned into passion. Hands slid down Harold's chest, followed by a hot mouth. Harold could only hold on, letting the sensations of heat and silk slide across his skin. His hands gripped into the rich fabric that covered the ornate bed, his body arched into each touch. Michael leaned forward kissing him, desperately as he settled between his legs. "How's the hip Harold?"
"Fine. Perfectly. Fine." He snapped, not wanting him to stop.
He felt slicked fingers at his entrance, and moaned embarrassingly loud as they entered him. He had no idea where Michael got the lube, nor did he care. There was an advantage of being in a relationship with a supernatural being, things appeared and disappeared at will. He had learned to go with the mystery.
He missed his touch.
The soft caress.
The hard grip.
The warm puff of air against his skin.
He missed feeling overwhelmed by Michael's presence.
Harold sighed in pleasured relief as he was filled. His eyes snapped open, taking in the unearthly blue eyes that gazed down at him. Being in Michael's presence was at times awe inspiring, but at this moment, when the two of them were connected on such a physical level, it was like touching heaven.
He could help the internal snort, at his inner philosophizing.
Michael leaned down and kissed him, pushing into him fully. They both stilled breathing in each other's essence. Harold let go of the fabric, sliding his hands into the dark hair, and pulled him into a kiss. "Move."
In a move that Harold had not anticipated, Michael wrapped his arms around him and pulled him up and into his arms, wings sliding around them enclosing him in the warmth of Michael's embrace.
The new position had Michael slipping deeper into him, hitting that one spot perfectly.
"Ohhh." He gripped the Angel's shoulders, steadying himself.
Michael's hands gripped Harold's perfect ass, and lifted him slightly, slipping out of him just a fraction, then pushed back in as he pulled him back down. Harold's eyes closed at the sensation. He became lost in the slide of bodies, the tickle of feathers against heated skin.
One of his hands gripped the sweat slicked dark hair, the other wrapped around Michael's shoulders. His body ached, seeking release, yet he didn't want the moment to end. He wasn't sure where one of them ended, and the other began. His world narrowed to this moment, locked in Michael's embrace.
"Come for me."
The low gravelly voice sent him over the edge. As he came down from the high, he felt Michael thrust deep into him, finding his own release.
Michael laid him back down onto the bed, checking to make sure he hadn't aggravated Harold's old injuries. With his One out to the world, he made his way over to the bathroom, to get a warm cloth and clean the two of them up. With gentle care he got his One under the covers, and curled up around Harold protecting him from the world.
Harold sat at his desk, monitoring Michael as he moved through the streets to check on their latest Number. They had been back in New York for a month, settling into their routine, with a few differences in their life.
They now attended Mass with Fusco and his son. Harold was still learning and coming to terms with all the workings of the Catholic Church, the good, bad and ugly of it. He was learning the difference between faith and religion, but having an Archangel next to him helped in that regard.
Shaw was still demanding her own Hell Hound.
Bear was happy to have his parents back, he settled on his doggie bed with squeaky toy.
The MacManus' returned to Boston, with a new phone and a larger purpose.
After their night in the top apartment in the Castle St'Angelo, the two had returned to the Vatican. Raphael had returned to his position as Head of Vatican Security. His Holiness had embraced his bodyguard and friend, welcoming him back.
Uriel only stayed long enough to snag Brian, and the two disappeared. Michael assured Harold that they would see them again. At the moment they were reconnecting in Ireland, the place both felt closest to each other.
Gabriel rolled his eyes at his brothers, but was happy to see Michael more settled. He made sure Harold knew he could contact him anytime and disappeared. They weren't quite sure what he was up to, but they wouldn't be surprised if he ended up working in some law enforcement job, protecting someone.
Harold wasn't quite sure how to handle Grace meeting Michael, despite the fact they had already met a few times before. But he knew this was different. This was Grace who knew everything, and Michael the Archangel, not John Reese former CIA Agent. When the two started laughing quietly with each other, Harold knew he was doomed.
He was thankful when Michael informed him that Luke would be staying in Venice to keep an eye on her. The Saint was a Patron of the Arts and a doctor, so he would take good care of her. It had taken an embarrassingly long time for Harold to realize he was that 'Luke' as in the Gospel of Luke. He agreed it would be a good idea not to mention it to Grace.
"Mr. Caffrey is likely an alias." Harold stated giving Michael the information he needed.
"Oh it is," he answered easily. "I've run into the little thief a few times. He's got a good heart, but sticky fingers."
"According to this he's working for the FBI." Harold frowned. "I know we don't have to worry about Samaritan, but we really don't need the government to start looking into our endeavors, Mr. Reese."
They had agreed to keep up the John Reese alias while working, but in private Harold saw him as who he was, Michael.
"Patron Saint of Law Enforcement, Harold." Michael pointed out as he stepped into the FBI Building.
"Yeah but that doesn't mean you can just pull out your Archangel Badge," he pointed out, grumbling at his Angel when he winked at the nearest camera. "What do you plan on doing exactly? Last time you walked into a Federal Building, you took out at least four US Marshals."
"I don't like men who swear an oath to protect others, and then use their power to harm." Michael glanced at the elevator camera, eyes flashing.
Harold felt a shiver go down his spine, remembering when Michael had taken down corrupt cops. "Still not seeing your plan here?"
"Trust me Finch."
"It's the rest I don't trust, Mr. Reese."
Michael gave him a smile as he exited the elevator heading straight for Agent Burke's office. He knocked on the door, held out his badge. "Marshal Jennings."
Peter looked at the man standing in front of him, and sighed. "This is about Neal isn't it?"