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Freddie sat in his cell, smiling. What a stupid situation, sitting locked up in here, when he could be at home, playing his piano. He could be reading French books. He could be leafing through girls’ profiles – no. No, that last one was bad. Freddie chuckled to himself. Very bad. It was such a shame, how excellent he was at all that was bad…

Dinner was a dreary little affair, but suppose he was happy they fed him at all. He was in isolation this week, again. For his own protection, they had said. Well, Freddie didn’t know about that. He could hold his own, could he not? Ah, pudding on the side. Must be Saturday…

Even Father James hadn’t come back. Freddie slowly licked the lid of his pudding pot, before dipping his spoon into the soft substance. The cook had asked him once if he’d prefer his meat uncooked, but he certainly would not. He didn’t trust the hygiene in here. No, if you had to have it raw, you had to have it fresh. Right from the source. Wait even an hour, and it’ll all be spoiled… oh, there would have been ages where he would have been celebrated. A King, a God walking amongst men, eating of their flesh and drinking of their blood, like prey… Freddie bit his lip, and smiled sweetly. The tragedy of having been born in just the wrong time…

 

He hadn’t noticed the door opening. Freddie noticed everything around him, and here he was, lying in bed, only waking up and noticing someone was in his room when the person put their hand over his mouth. And… no sound would come from him, no matter how loud he tried to scream against it. This wasn’t good. If the other prisoners had ganged up on him, if he was drugged, or incapacitated… Freddie struggled, flailed, but the other was strong. Extremely strong. And... what? It was dark in his room, but there were two silvery lights that seemed to shoot out of… the man’s eyes? Was that even a man? What kind of creature-

[You are broken.]

- What the fuck are you?! - Freddie screamed in his head. - Get off of me! -

[I will free you. But first I have to fix you.]

- No way, no way in hell, get OFF of me! –

But it was no use. The man held him down with one large hand across his mouth and the other hoovering over his head, while the rest of his body seemed fixed in place. This was an outrage. He couldn’t die like this, it was undignified! Or… was it perhaps epic? It might make the news, it might-

Pain.

Indescribable pain, and the man let go and Freddie… howled…

“What did you do to me, what did you *do*…”
[I made you feel… I made you care…]

Twenty-five years of life rushed over Freddie like a wave, no a tsunami. The things he had done, oh god… those people… he killed… He would drown, he was drowning, losing his mind, and he made no move to resist the man picking him up in arms and walking out of his cell. He couldn’t even ask, how all this was possible. It would have been a dream, but no dream, not even an acid trip, had been this visceral. The pain… Freddie reeled and held on feebly, as the man carried him into the elevator, took it up to the top, the restricted level that only cleared personnel could access… opened the door and got onto the prison’s flat roof. There was a fierce wind up here, and it blew through Freddie’s clothes, and the man’s hair. Dark hair, down to his chin. Beautiful features, beautiful and terrifying eyes… completely black, now the light had stopped. Slowly, the deafening pain levelled. It was still everywhere, but Freddie was able to start forming words...

“What… are you?”

[Same as you. An angel.]

Freddie burst out laughing, then began to cry.

“I’m not a fucking angel. I'm a monster!”
[Same thing.]
“No, you don’t understand. I’ve done bad things, really bad things…”
[So have I. Someone needs to find us. Teach us. I’m going to teach you…]

As the man spoke, Freddie saw something rising up behind him, growing… out of his back? Wings, black wings, huge and strong. And it felt... natural. It felt right that he had them, not just rationally, but... deeply. It made sense, somehow.

“Do you have a name?”

The man looked down at Freddie, but softly... deep, warm obsidian eyes that he could have lost himself in… but when the man spoke, it pulled Freddie back. That was… the first time he heard his actual voice. He wasn’t speaking into his mind anymore, it was real.

“My human name is Marcus..”
“Marcus… that’s pretty. I’m Frederic. Freddie for short.”
“I know…”, Marcus nodded, and moved his wings. Freddie gasped. The wings hadn’t just been for show, he was really… flying… There was no one stopping them, no one holding them back, and below them, the whole city… all the lights…

“This is all so beautiful…”
“I know…”
“Marcus? What is your angel name?”
“It isn't a personal name. It's my task. Saraqaelite. I watch the fallen ones, find them, bring them back.”
“Will I have an angel name, too?”
“Yes. We will find out where you belong…”

Belong. Freddie couldn’t remember ever feeling at home, like he belonged. In the past, he had felt special because of that, but now he just felt wretched. Marcus offering him a home brought tears to his eyes, and as he nuzzled his head against the angel’s neck, he began kissing it. Marcus drew in breath, and kept flying.

“Sorry, is that… inappropriate? I just… sorry, I felt… I felt love… I know that’s crazy…”
“It’s not crazy. As an angel I love you, too, Frederic.”
“Right, but as a man…”
“As a man… I think you have a beautiful face… and you feel good in my arms… but I don’t want you to get mixed up. Most of what you’re feeling right now is just a response to my nature, our natures, and a reaction to getting your heart back… take it slow.”

Freddie nodded. He didn’t want to take it slow, but he felt… good, doing what Marcus said, trusting him… he curled up in his arms, and closed his eyes. Breathed slowly, let himself process his millions of feelings, let himself feel how they saturated his memories, making everything so... raw... and yet, he felt safe in Marcus' arms, trusted him that this was a process. That he could get through to the other side, and be trained... Trained to... atone... maybe... Freddie wanted that so much now. He wanted that so badly...

They flew for what seemed like an hour or more, left the city, left the country, reached the shore and went right over it, flying over deep dark ocean. When Marcus began to lower them down, they had reached a small island.

“It’s hidden. Like we were in the prison. Only other angels can see it.”

Freddie nodded, and followed him inside.

“When-“
“You can sleep with me tonight. Every night, if you like. It is good for you, for your training.”
“That… thank you. Do you know when-“
“You’ll feel it. When you’re ready, reach out for me. I’ll be waiting.”

Freddie stopped walking, frowning softly.

“You… please, I need to understand clearly. We are talking about… You want me?”
“I do. When you can separate it out from everything else. There’s no rush, I’ll be here…”

Freddie’s eyes widened, he nodded slowly, whispered a Thank you, and started walking again...
No, he would not be walking like a King amongst men, he would be a servant, that much he knew, and that much was right.
But Marcus… Marcus made him feel… Real. Seen.

That was more precious than all the kingdoms on earth…