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Thread: [M] In Excelsis Deo [Ashen & Hannelorian]

  1. #51
    The Ashen One
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    Genevieve's curt words felt like a slap in the face. Sam stood stupidly in her doorway, stung. So, she was mad about him leaving, too. Hadn't she been the one who had said she needed space from him? He'd only been giving her what she'd wanted. Sam shifted awkwardly, trying to figure out how this had gone wrong too. Maybe, he mused, he would just never understand humans at all.

    But as confusing as this all was, he still knew he was at fault. Sam had lied to Genevieve, and he had committed an unspeakable crime besides, and he had dumped all of this on her without giving her a chance to properly respond to him. Sam didn’t know where to begin in addressing all that. He let himself inside her house and let out a long, low breath as he turned his words over in his head. “Genevieve, I…” His voice was quiet, as if speaking any louder might somehow make things even worse. He turned to face her and started again.

    “I am sorry. I didn’t want to tell the truth about how I was because even now it still sounds ridiculous. The second angel to have ever been thrown out of my god’s embrace. How humiliating. But while that’s an explanation, it’s not an excuse. You still deserved the truth, and the option to decide for yourself what to make of me.” Sam turned away, his thoughts whirring. She had still let him back into the house, so that meant she wasn’t completely repulsed by him… right?

    “I’m sorry for leaving too,” he said, bringing his attention back to her. “Angels don’t have emotions, you see. Not in the same way humans do. So all of the things I’ve been experiencing this past while are completely new to me. I was a guardian, so I worked with humans every day, and I was required to study their emotional responses, but that’s nothing like actually feeling them. They’re disarming, and I feel completely out of my depth.” Sam bit his tongue to stop himself from rambling further. He then added, “But again, that doesn’t excuse what I’ve done.”

    This was so painfully awkward. Sam didn’t know if Genevieve would want anything to do with him, or why, and the stress of the situation was making his head hurt. He took a moment to count his breaths and focus on his surroundings, steadying himself. “I don’t…” he started, but that thought died on its way to his mouth, which was now feeling especially dry. Sam looked into Genevieve’s eyes, as if the murky color of them would tell him how she was feeling, but they didn’t. Sam was hopeless at that, too. Emotions were simply beyond his understanding at this point, his and others’.

    He did, however, recognize the sadness in her body language, and the regret in himself for putting it there. Unable to handle these things, Sam decided the best thing he could do was communicate with the one he’d hurt. “So,” he said to her, “you know what I am, and you know what I did. What do you want to do?”
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  2. #52
    The Grey Lady
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    "You came just in time." Genevieve nodded toward the window as the clouded skies finally opened up and rain burst forth from their heavy bodies and fell onto the surface of the earth. "You'd have gotten sick out in that." She seemed, at least for a moment to be distant from the matter at hand, as though she were still thinking of how to appropriately respond to the situation. Seele was lost, it seemed this was all for naught as a fallen Angel held little use unless they truly desired to rise back into heaven, something her own master could not even do.

    "You should rest." Genevieve said with a faint smile as she now returned her attention to Sam. "I think God puts too much pressure on his Angels... and even God makes mistakes, yet who is there to punish him?" Genevieve seemed to be showing a degree of empathy, though truly what it was, was an utter hatred of the divine. Had Sam really done so wrong? Yes, a child had died, surely a great loss for someone... but how is one creature meant to be so perfectly sinless? So perfectly aware and able to swoop in at just the right times. Surely Sam was not the only Angel to make a mistake, but he was punished gravely for it. "Surely you are aware... we have two versions of the Bible. New and Old."

    Genevieve looked at him with a sigh. "The New Testament paints God as kind and forgiving. Soft. Loving. Whereas in the Old, he is described for what he truly is. A monster. An entity for whom vengeance and justice are important, at any cost. Who has the right to tell us not to make mistakes?" Genevieve sighed deeper still and shook her head seemingly lost in thought, in some kind of emotion that was hard to discern from her face alone.

    "As for what now, that is entirely up to you Sam." Genevieve was quite honest, sincere even if one could believe it. "Do you accept your fate and live a new and pious life as a human? Or do you fight to return to your place in the universe? I cannot decide that for you... and in this state neither can you." She smiled and moved to prepare another cup of tea. She moved wordlessly and effortlessly around her kitchen before setting a fresh mug down on the table for Sam. "Drink... and then rest. The world will be here when you wake, and perhaps with a new day... answers will come."
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  3. #53
    The Ashen One
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    Sam’s gaze followed Genevieve’s to the window, where he could see the rain now steadily falling to the earth. Irritation pinched his brow; was the weather of greater importance than everything he’d just told her? What did he care about being sick right now? He turned to face her again, wondering what she was stalling for time for. What she was thinking. It was getting frustrating having to guess at her emotions. Weren’t humans supposed to communicate those sorts of things with each other?

    When she did address his words, it was impossible for Sam to feel anything but disappointment. He didn’t want to rest. There was far too much to do, too much to think about, and he doubted he would be able to sleep anyway. He needed Genevieve to give him something to work with. As she continued, and the blasphemous words fell from her lips, Sam had to stop himself from cringing. There was a truth to her words, and Sam was ashamed to admit he had thought as much while still working under his god. But angels weren’t allowed to trouble themselves with such petty things as fairness. Their only priority was serving their loving god with undying loyalty. Though… Sam wasn’t bound to those rules anymore. He was allowed to voice his complaints now, and no god would do anything about it. He was a man now. His god had proven he no longer cared about him.

    Her non-answer to his question settled between them. Sam doubted he could ever again achieve something close to piety, angel or man, and figured it was time to start looking at other options. He didn’t have to live his life for a god who had punished him. He didn’t need to devote himself to returning to a place that had never accepted him. That seemed obvious now, even if they hadn’t just a few days ago. Sam was about to voice these thoughts when Genevieve silenced him by telling him he couldn’t decide now. Sam opened his mouth to protest—he had had all this time to think, after all—but he kept himself quiet. He gratefully accepted the tea she had prepared for him and sighed again. It had been a long day, a long few days, and he couldn’t wait for all of this uncertainty to be over.

    After tea, Sam returned to his bedroom and tucked himself under the blankets. He already knew he wasn’t going to sleep, but he humored Genevieve anyway. As the restless minutes turned to hours, though, his incessant thoughts only grew louder. This entire situation was horribly frustrating. How was he meant to succeed when he was only the second immortal to be turned away from the heavens? It wasn’t like he could follow in the first’s footsteps. He didn’t know how to be a man; normal humans had years of childhood and adolescence to learn that. It was like his god wanted him to fail here, too. Sam tossed and turned, wondering where he would even go from here. His new life had been off to a bad start, but Genevieve didn’t seem to hate him yet. That was good. He needed to find something to do that would pay her back for that. He’d spent a lot of time endangering humans; maybe now it was time to finally protect them.

    After a long while of laying sleeplessly, dark resentment for his god building in his stomach, Sam sat up. This wasn’t working. He didn’t know if Genevieve would want to see him just yet, or if he had “rested” long enough to appease her, but if he stayed alone in this room any longer, he was afraid he would go insane. He didn’t even know what he was supposed to be doing here. Thinking about his future? He had nothing to go off of.

    Outside of the bedroom, Sam walked through the halls and peeked into the kitchen. He didn’t know if Genevieve was home, so he called her name. It was still raining outside, so Sam couldn’t tell by the sun what time it was, but maybe he could get started on an early dinner. After lying still for so long, he just needed to do something.
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  4. #54
    The Grey Lady
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    The demon had dismissed the now mortal angel. It was an interesting thought. He seemed so sad, and ever so remorseful. What kind of God would punish someone so severely? And had God not learned from the last time he cast an Angel from his grace? The Angel who would become the incarnation of the Devil and become legion. The same fallen angel who she had sworn her allegiance to millennia ago upon the occasion of her own creation. Was it irony? Or was it fate that had drawn them together? Was God above prepared for what would happen if Sam found the same strength of will that Lucifer had? Or did God in all of his arrogance think that Sam was incapable of such power and destruction?

    As the later evening hours drew upon them, Genevieve was on her way home from the store when the clouds gathered and rain began to pour. It felt good upon her exposed skin and then seeping into the fabric of her clothes. The rain felt clean, a chance to wash away the sin she had caused if only in her own mind. Seele within Genevieve needed to get a grip, she longed to take control and unleash the hell within upon this small village, to take her rage against the heavens out on those who prayed each day for God's love and mercy. There was no love, there was no mercy there was only suffering. If there were some kind of divine justice would Seele not have been struck down? Smote by the hand of God himself?

    Genevieve opened the door to the house and stepped inside, dripping wet and shivering slightly. The frailty of the human form was amusing, a little bit of cold and suddenly the skeleton shakes and quakes and trembles. A deep sigh escaped her lips as she set down her bag on a small bench and slipped out of her shoes. It was around this time she heard Sam's voice calling out for her, but she did not yet respond. Instead Genevieve stood there, paused in thought wondering what she was supposed to do next. How was she supposed to help him? To become human would likely be the greatest mercy. To allow Sam to start a new life, to learn something from those he watched over. Or was she supposed to foment his hatred? Turn him into a monster, a weapon against an angry God.

    Come the morning Genevieve would begin to plant the seeds of rot in her garden and slowly allow it to spread across the land killing everything in it's path. A bounty of nature, one she had worked so hard for... and turn it to utter devastation. Kill the crops, kill the village. Show her true power. After all, Genevieve was the one lying now. The one with the big secret, and what would Sam think of her if he were to find out the truth? Seele wielded all the power here. But at the same time she felt utterly powerless.

    "Sam." Genevieve called as she made her way into the kitchen, her fingers moving to turn on the light switches. "I shouldn't have sent you away to your room. That was wrong... I suppose if I were you, I'd want time away. But I'm not you. I can't tell you how to cope, how to process, how to handle this life you have." Genevieve smiled. "So... tell me what I can do. And I will help you to the best of my ability. If you want to be angry, be angry. If you want to be sad... be sad. Or if you want to try for a chance at happiness... take control."

    It didn't matter that she was wet, but the first thing she needed was to make sure he trusted her completely. And from there she would figure out where to go next...
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  5. #55
    The Ashen One
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    Sam found Genevieve in standing in the kitchen. She was wet, and her hair was splashing puddles onto the tile floor. He wondered, briefly, if he had been the reason she had felt compelled to go out in the rain, but he dismissed the thought. She had come back, so she couldn’t hate him at least. But didn’t she have an umbrella? “Oh, hi,” he greeted her, then immediately cursed himself for sounding so awkward. It was like, since telling her the truth, he didn’t know how to talk to her anymore. Sam moved to take her bag from her to help, but he decided against it. If she was still mad, she probably didn’t want him touching her things and overstepping her boundaries. Again.

    When she spoke, her tone inscrutable, she was… apologizing? Sam didn’t feel like he’d earned an apology, but he stayed quiet and let her talk, nodding along. It would have been easier if she could tell him how to handle this new life, but the thought was moot. This strange resurrection was Sam’s burden to bear. Except that she was offering to help him, and Sam didn’t know what to say. Human emotions were so fickle, and he couldn’t understand how Genevieve had forgiven him so easily. He didn’t even know what he should have been doing.

    Maybe Genevieve was right. Maybe what Sam needed was to let himself feel. Was he angry? Sure. Sad, or hopeless? Probably. Though right now, he felt lost. He scratched at the back of his head absently, trying to figure out what to say. “Thank you,” he decided. Sam then glanced down the hall, towards the bathroom. “Should you change? We can discuss this after, so you don’t catch a cold.” Humans were such fragile things, after all. Sam turned towards her again, and his eye caught on the stove. “Are you hungry?” he asked. “Let me prepare something for us, something quick, so we can continue this over some food. I think that would help me.”

    Sam didn’t know what to make, and by the time he thought to ask Genevieve for suggestions, she was already down the hall. He finally decided on something simple: a garden salad garnished with hard-boiled eggs and probably too much cheese, just how he liked it. He hoped it would be filling enough, but more importantly, chopping up the vegetables put his mind at ease and gave him something to focus on so that he wouldn’t drive himself insane.

    The table was set by the time Genevieve returned, and Sam took his place across from her to poke at the greens on his plate. Having a moment to think about what he’d wanted to say to her had been helpful in theory, but now that she was here, his thoughts again turned to overwhelmed mush. He let out a long sigh before nodding to himself and muttering, “Okay.” His gaze strayed to the floor. “What would help me most, I think, is having something to do. Something with my hands, maybe. I am, um…” Sam realized then he didn’t have the words to talk about how angels’ brains were wired. Or ex-angels. “You might say I have ADHD? We don’t call it that back home—er, in heaven, but there are a lot of similarities. Hyperactive mind, hyperactive body.” That was probably obvious to Genevieve, but Sam had never made that connection before. “When I’m idle for too long, it feels wrong and painful, like I’m wasting my time and the life I’ve been gifted. If… If this is a gift.”

    He sighed and shoved a forkful of lettuce into his mouth to force himself to slow down and think before he spoke. “But I don’t know what to do,” he admitted once he’d swallowed. “I want to make up for the things I’ve down. I was a rotten angel, and I’m turning into a rotten man, and I don’t want to be. I want to do good. I want to be good. But I’m not even sure what that means.” Sam’s gaze rose to the window, where the sky was darkening outside. He thought of the walk he’d taken with Genevieve when she’d shown him the town, and an idea crossed his mind. “Those sick people,” he said, bringing his attention back to her. “Is anyone taking care of them? Is there any way you can help me do that?”
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  6. #56
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    "I should... change." Genevieve said softly as she continued to listen to him before briefly disappearing into her room only to emerge in a pair of sweat pants, old and grey, well worn and much loved and a simple tank top. Her hair still wet had been tied into something of a messy pony tail, she sat at the kitchen table as he prepared a salad, the additional cheese was a nice touch she thought. An indulgence good cheese was. Something so simple was so extraordinarily beautiful and delicious. With the fork in her hands she tasted the food he had prepared and looked at Sam with a wide smile.

    "It's good, Sam. Maybe you are ready for hot food next." Genevieve chuckled a bit. "It's a big step the stove." She chuckled lightly, teasing Sam entirely on purpose and for own amusement though it was light teasing, well meant. Genevieve, or rather Seele had taught herself to cook centuries ago, though she was entirely grateful for the advances in technology which made such things easier and took far less time. The oven was a gift from the gods. Convenience. Necessity was after all the mother of invention, or so she had heard.

    "Well... tomorrow let's get you in the garden. No more books, let's focus on practical applications. Field work is the best work, and besides, we don't keep on top of the weeds we'll have nothing to eat." The Angel was trying to fit in now, was trying to make the most of his time it seemed... so altruistic. Was he just trying to prove God wrong? Or was there something more genuine about his sudden adoption of this new sort of life?

    Genevieve set her fork down when he mentioned the sick neighbors. The ones she had made sick and nearly killed only to change her mind at the last possible moment. There was little hope for them now, but little hope wasn't exactly no hope at all. "We all take care of them, most of the town anyway. We bring food, change their towels, clean them up... Sam... it's incredibly generous of you to want to help them." Genevieve paused thinking carefully about her next words.

    "But the truth is that they likely will not survive. The sickness that plagues them is severe... and it is torture. Their waking hours are filled with crippling pain, fevers so intense that they... hallucinate, they are trapped in their own minds which work against them. I can help you... but you should be prepared that this might not have the outcome you desire." Seele had been torturing them, making them beg for their deaths but death was slow to come. A funny thing to have to beg to die, to be free of the pain of existence. She had done that countless times and her neighbors were the ones who had gotten off lightly at that. She was capable of so much worse.

    "We can take them some soup, broth really, and some food for those who have been watching over them lately. The town will appreciate it. We help of our own." Genevieve offered a small smile. She was unsure of why she was willing to indulge this. Maybe it would be best if she killed them while Sam was otherwise occupied, before he had the chance to try and tend to them.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  7. #57
    The Ashen One
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    The prospect of going into the garden tomorrow was an exciting one, and Sam looked forward to the things he would learn while working directly with the plants. That sounded a lot more productive than trying to read about things his mind wouldn’t focus on. As he thought about the vegetables growing in Genevieve’s garden, Sam looked down at his dinner and wondered about the ways he could dress it up, make it taste even better. Her jokes about the stove got a smile out of him, and his mind was already whirring with different dishes he could perfect with a little practice.

    The conversation quickly moved on to more serious matters, and Sam’s shoulders sagged. “Oh,” he murmured at the revelation that his neighbors were likely already on death row. What they were going through sounded entirely miserable, and unfair, and Sam couldn’t even guess at what they must have done to earn their god’s punishment. Sam hadn’t been here long, and he couldn’t say he knew these people, but they had all seemed so kind and welcoming towards him. It wasn’t fair. Sam turned over his ideas as he chewed his bottom lip.

    Maybe Genevieve was right. Maybe there was nothing he could do to save them. Maybe he could devote his life fully to the studies of medicine and rush to find some kind of cure to release these people from their torment, and it still wouldn’t make a difference. But that sounded like more than one man could be capable of, and besides, Sam was exactly the wrong person to spend his days trying to study. He set down his fork with a sigh and looked out the window again. He thought of the smiling faces he had passed on his walks through town. Genevieve was saying it was hopeless, but… Didn’t the hopeless deserve humanity too?

    “I want to help them.” Sam turned his attention back to Genevieve, and there was a new determination in his eyes. “Their fate doesn’t change anything. So what if they’ve all received dreadful prognoses? We’re all going to die, aren’t we? If I can make things a little easier for people before that happens, then… Well, I think that would make me feel good.” He thought about it for another moment before nodding to himself. “Bringing them broth… Yeah. Yeah, I can do that. And help with whatever else they need, too. I’m not good at anything, but anybody can cook, and clean, and keep someone company. I can do this.”

    Though his enthusiasm was halted by the realization that, altruistic as he might have been, he was still a total stranger to these people. If the town was already taking care of their own, like Genevieve had said, would they even want someone who had only stumbled in trying to take care of them too, especially at their most vulnerable? Sam didn’t think they would be outright hostile towards him, but he didn’t want to intrude on their hospitality either. He hesitated. “Would they want that?” he asked Genevieve, even if it was a question she probably couldn’t answer herself. “Can I meet them?” Sam glanced at his salad, and a new idea came to mind. “Tomorrow, once we’re finished in the garden. We can make them the soup you mentioned, and I can properly introduce myself. Do you think that would go over well?”
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  8. #58
    The Grey Lady
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    Genevieve sat at the table with her legs crossed, she leaned back in her chair and listened intently as Sam spoke. The altruism of the angels still flowed through him, even if the divinity did not. He was starting to embrace his life on Earth and amongst the people. "You are right." Genevieve admitted rather casually after taking a few moments to think the matter over for herself. "Simply because they may die, does not mean they do not deserve acts of kindness." What really was kindness and what motivated it? Seele wondered if it was truly a selfless act. Of course one could do great good for another, but were they really doing it for the recipient or for themselves? To ease their own burdens and conscience.

    "It is all humanity can hope for... a good death and kindness." Genevieve sighed. A good death was something she could give, but it was also something she could withhold. She could create so much pain and suffering. The kind of agony that would echo into the depths of hell. If she had, had a soul it would sing the praises of the devil himself and of her own innate ability to serve. But in this moment it felt hollow, even if she didn't know if the old couple would survive. She had cut her ties and simply allowed nature to run it's course... or perhaps allow time for God to intervene, to show his might and how knowing he was of her and her misdeed. Was God even watching? Was he amused knowing his cast down Angel was fraternizing with an agent of the devil?

    "I think... if you are going to stay here, the people of the town should be able to know who you are." But they would never know the truth. Just as they would never know that Genevieve was for intents and purposes dead within her own body. So far repressed that she would never see freedom again. Constantly tortured by the demon occupying her frame. A frame which Seele rather enjoyed. But if Sam was determined to start anew, this would be a good opportunity. An opportunity unlike the last time, now he was willing and excited to see the sickly, to meet the people, if not a little nervous about the whole thing.

    When the morning came, Genevieve found herself in the same yellow sundress she had worn when she first met Sam. Though this time she donned an apron with a variety of pockets designed to hold an assortment of garden tools. She strolled out into the morning sun and took a sniff of the breeze that swept through. It was going to be a gloriously sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. While she waited for Sam to emerge she first attended to the flowers, and with pruning shears in hand she made a series of small but purposeful cuts. It was around this moment when the intrusive thoughts began to creep in. What if she poisoned the garden? Just as Sam was learning... made him think that he was responsible for the destruction of all of Genevieve's hard work. Then again, she herself would be rather upset... she had worked hard on this... a troublesome thought.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

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