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Hungry Ghosts

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Angela's gone when he wakes.  It's okay, this thing between them, whatever it is, isn't romance.  She'll come over sometimes and he'll fuck her, or they'll go out for drinks, and he'll fuck her.  She's not ready for anything after the death of her sister and he can't be what she needs.  But they can be friends--he has a definite shortage of those.  Friends who fuck.  It isn't all that complicated, except for how sometimes it is. 

 

There's a knock of the window, a sharp rap on the pane that alerts him to something outside.  It's raining out; whoever is knocking isn't having a good time out there.  John takes his time padding over to the window.  Lightning flashes in the sky and for a moment he can see a brief outline of wings attached to the slender form outside.  Gabriel's replacement, Jophiel.  She's thin and has straight red hair parted severely at the side, that hangs in an asymmetrical bob, longer on one side than the other.  Her eyes are the clear blue of a cloudless sky, her nose regal and the angles of her face sharp, with cheekbones that could cut glass.  John supposes she's pretty, in that androgynous way angels are, but it doesn't exactly stir anything in him.  It's like looking at a pretty stature, all hard marble that wouldn't know how to give. 

 

"John," she says, waving a hand.  He slides the window up. 

 

"What do you want, it's raining on my floor."

 

Jophiel glances down at the floor and frowns, as if this was something she hadn't considered.  "Oh yes, right.  I come with glad tidings."

 

"Get to the point, Jo."  Jophiel dislikes when he calls her Jo, so he does it often.  She blushes now when he says it, an interesting reaction he'll have to catalogue for later. 

 

"The demon formerly known as Balthazar has been made human.  As you are aware, the angel Gabriel is also human."

 

"Human, huh?  How the hell did he manage that?"

 

Jophiel blinks water out of her eyes and looks mildly uncomfortable.  "Well, it's all rather complicated."

 

"You got thirty seconds and I'm closing the window."

 

"You see, God and L-Lucifer wanted to make a bet.  To see if Gabriel would find salvation or damnation as a human.  The ultimate proof of human goodness you know, humanity saving Gabriel from his sins.  But Lucifer didn't think it was fair, seeing he had one foot in the door already.  So he suggested they add one of his children to the bet and he was already displeased with Balthazar..."

 

John wants a cigarette.  "They made a new bet.  With Gabriel and Balthazar.  Those motherfuckers."

 

"Yes, something about saving the worst of the damned or having the most holy brought low.  It didn't make much sense to me, to be honest, but I am only a messenger, it is not for me to interpret his-"

 

"His bullshit."

 

Jophiel gasps, looking scandalized.  "What's this got to do with me?"

 

Jophiel clears her throat and straightens up, standing primly.  "You have been assigned the job of saving their souls.  You managed to save your own soul from Hell, so this should be easy."

 

"No."

 

"No?" Jophiel repeats.

 

"No." John says and closes the window.

 

"John, you don't have a choice!"

 

John ignores Jophiel's yelling and heads back to bed.  Somehow, he doubts blowing this off will be that easy.