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               Tyrael paced, face buried in his book. He leafed through the pages, searching almost desperately for any sign of his brother.

                Inarius had vanished without so much as a word to anyone, and Tyrael was bordering on frantic. Was his brother dead? Had he been captured once more? And above all, how was he hidden from the Book of Fate?

                The Worldstone was missing as well. It had to be connected. Tyrael would give his wings to just know what had happened. He’d always been worried about his brother, even been over-protective.  No one could blame him either; his brother was small for an angel, and while he could see several hours into the future, Inarius was otherwise completely blind.

                As the Archangel of Fate continued to pace a hole into the floor, he did not notice the entrance of one of his Council-members. It was only when Imperius wrapped his arms around his waist that Tyrael realized he was no longer alone.

                “You’re going to tire yourself and the floor out at this rate Tyrael,” Imperius’ voice was low, soothing. “At least have a seat while you search.”

                Tyrael said nothing, but relaxed when he felt the Archangel of Hope’s scarf draped over his shoulders. He allowed the tall angel to lead him out of the Library of Fate, and into the Gardens of Hope. Imperius’ hand was warm and reassuring around his own, and Tyrael gave it a small squeeze.  A pleased smile was sent his way in response.

                The two sat beside each other beneath one of the biggest trees in the gardens. Imperius held him close, hands running in soothing circles over his armor.

                “Inarius will be all right. You will see.” He sounded so sure. Tyrael wanted to believe him.

                “What about the Stone? And Auriel? She has not taken its disappearance well…”

                “She continues to search for it. Itherael has not left her side. I trust him to keep her well.” Imperius fussed with his scarf, bundling it around the smaller angel. He placed a gentle kiss on Tyrael’s head, and Fate couldn’t help but lean into Hope.

                Tyrael sighed in comfort. Imperius had a way of making everything seem okay, if only for the moment.

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            To the casual on-looker, Imperius and Tyrael hated each other. To the rest of the great evils, they shared a close bond that was almost as hard to comprehend as it was unlikely.

            It was simple really. When left to stew and grow agitated, Imperius would eventually snap. Everyone was a target when this happened. So Tyrael had taken it upon himself to give the larger demon and outlet of sorts.

            Tyrael liked pain. He like being in pain. Whether it was the dull throb of a healing wound, or the fresh agony of ripped skin; it didn't matter, he just wanted it. And Imperius was happy to give it to him.

            And so when Wrath was nearing a breaking point, he would come in, banter a bit, make the other demon mad, and start a fight. Imperius was made to cause suffering in others. He did his job well.

            Sometimes, when all the blood had been spilt, the skin broken and the bones cracked, Malthael would approach. With his fresh wounds screaming in protest, Tyrael would drag himself out of the other demon's way, tail flicking in disgust. Any other time, he'd be happy to go a few rounds with Death, but after a beat-down by Imperius, he simply wasn't up to it.

            He knew the two would fuck once he was gone, and that made him burn with hatred. One of these days he'd show the skinny demon exactly what he thought of him, but Tyrael knew the value of patience. 

           Eventually, Wrath would be his. He'd make sure of it.  

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                French was a very beautiful language. This Malthael would happily admit. That didn’t necessarily mean he wanted to take it.

                Unfortunately, in his school, students were required to take at least one year of a language class. Malthael’s schedule hadn’t allowed him to take one before senior year, so here he was.

                Now this wouldn’t have been that bad, except that the class was primarily freshmen. Even that was okay; majority of them were good students. There was just one pair that tended to derail the class on a daily basis. They were always arguing about something, be it how you pronounced a word (they were both usually wrong), who did better in gym, who played a better instrument, or a thousand other pointless little things.

                Malthael had grown used to tuning them out, but then the instructor changed seats. And plunked Malthael down right between them. The bigger of the two, Imperius, sat in front of him, with his smaller ‘friend’ behind the two of them. Why the instructor hadn’t put them on opposite sides of the room, he did not understand.

                As the darker angel waited in trepidation, class plodded on. There were maybe fifteen minutes left in that hour, and Malthael was just starting to hope that there would be no incident. Then Imperius turned around.

                “Hey smack Tyrael for me wouldja?” he whispered. Glancing over his shoulder, Tyrael was determinedly scribbling in a notebook. He had some of the messiest handwriting Malthael had ever seen.

                “Why would I do that?” Malthael whispered back, a bit of an edge in his voice.

                Imperius blinked. “’Cause I need to ask him something.”

                “I could ask him for you.”

                “It’s kinda personal.”

                “Then surely it can wait till after class.”

                “Look, either you get his attention or I’ll do it myself, just didn’t wanna reach past ya. “

                Malthael gave him the flattest look he could manage, and Imperius just shrugged at him. The big seraph then grabbed a pen off Malthael’s desk, and before he could stop him, chucked it at Tyrael. It smacked him in the forehead.

                Tyrael, who was not expecting to get hit in the face with a pen, gave a startled yell, and immediately launched into an angry tirade at Imperius. Imperius, predictably, began snarling right back.  Thus, Malthael found himself sitting in the middle of one of their infamous arguments.

                After a solid three minutes of this, the instructor finally noticed, and sent the two out in the hall. Where they kept arguing.

                Malthael had a whole year of this class to go. It was certainly going to be interesting, to say the least.

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“So it cannot be a coincidence.”

It took him a moment to realize he was being addressed. Izual looked up from the report he was reading, and at Inarius who was staring at him like he should know exactly what the younger angel was talking about.

“Come again?” he politely responded.  Inarius straightened, flicked his wings, and Izual was struck by how much he reminded him of Tyrael.

“Your name. It can’t be a coincidence, that’s statistically improbable.” 

“A coincidence with…?” He honestly could not imagine what the other was talking about.

Inarius made an exasperated sound. “The z an all the lieutenant’s names!”

…oh. Whatever he’d been expecting, this had not come even close to it.

“Izual, Balzael, Urzael and – “

“Yes I see your point.” He had wondered about the shared syllable before, when he’d first met the other lieutenant’s. It wasn’t exactly a common letter.

“…And?” Inarius prompted after a beat. He was peering close at Izual, almost leaning forward, as though there was some great secret to be had.

“And what?”

“Well, there must be a reason for it. There’s a reason for everything.” Sometimes Izual forgot that the advisor was still so new. While he’d been born with the knowledge necessary to operate, there was still much he’d yet to experience. It was both tiresome, and refreshing.

“If there is, I’ve yet to find it. Sometimes a letter is just a letter.” Inarius’ wings visibly lowered (in what must have been disappointment) at that. “Perhaps you could ask Urzael? He is older than most of us.” Indeed, Wisdom’s lieutenant had been the first of them to emerge from the arch, following in his Archangel’s footsteps.

“Oh, perhaps he would know. I will go ask him.” And like that, the other angel was off, turning back only long enough to offer a quick thank-you-for-the-time. Izual shook his head. Always asking questions Inarius was. Always finding something to wonder and marvel over, and then moving onto the next thing when he’d exhausted the last.

Izual got a brief feeling of foreboding; what would happen if Inarius ran out of things to wonder over?

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           “Imperius, if I may confide in you.” A noncommittal growl was the reply.

            “My brother’s acting like a complete tit. And not the good kind.” Inarius had perched himself on the bigger demon’s shoulder, one curvy leg crossed over the other. “You haven’t been much better.”

            Imperius stopped, and twisted to side-eye the Incubus. They were in the Halls of Wrath, with strange light streaming in the windows. It was one of the few places in Hell that wasn’t completely dark, or on fire.    

            “How about you two just make life easier for the rest of us and fuck already?” Inarius gave him his best winning smile, perfectly aware that he was about to be sent back to the Abyss. Imperius did not disappoint.

            The Lord of Wrath eyed the bloody stain that had been the Lord of Lust but a moment ago, before turning away. He briefly considered the other’s words – Tyrael was awfully pretty for a demon, in a terrible, dangerous way. He loved the little gasps and moans of pain he’d make when they’d have their little spats. His blood tasted the best.

            Perhaps…perhaps Inarius had a point.  


Wrath and Lust