by Rana Eros
And now for something completely different, though still for Eliza. Title from the movie "The Prophecy." Summary from the movie "The Thin Red Line." The phrase "most dearly loved of God" is from the play "Doctor Faustus," by Christopher Marlowe.
The thing people forget about angels is they're fighters, warriors, God's assassins. They slay dragons, kill the firstborn of those without blood on the lintel, strike men deaf and mute on the road away from the holy city, place burning coals on the tongues of the faithful. It's not that they're conscienceless, or soul-less, or heartless. It's that they're singularly devoted, and they'll do anything in the name of that devotion. Nothing else is important.
If that sounds like obsession, it is. This is the thing people forget.
Angels are devils who haven't fallen yet.
Jaejoong's a perfect angel. He's pure in beauty, voice, purpose. He commands a host against the forces of darkness, and he sings before the Lord like joy given form. He is all grace on the wing. His stillness is like God holding His breath.
Those Jaejoong visits weep even before he speaks and drives them mad. They poke their eyes out so they never see anything to mar the vision of him, scream as their ears bleed so they can't hear anything after his voice. He knows, but he doesn't care. The weakness of those under God isn't his concern.
Yunho's a perfect angel. Then he meets Jaejoong.
Angels don't get distracted. They want one thing. They're divine desire personified, yearning to return to the source from whence they sprang. Every breath they breathe is God's name, every thought, every heartbeat belongs to Him. They can't imagine anything else.
A failure of imagination gets you every time.
The hosts of heaven and hell face each other on a battlefield old and blasted by their two kinds of heat. Yunho is on the frontline, fighting devils he doesn't recognize as former comrades. They may be the ones cut off from God, but it's those left behind who don't remember. Who aren't supposed to remember.
Beside Yunho, Junsu makes an odd noise. Angels tend each other's wounds as God commands, so Yunho looks at Junsu. He's not wounded. He's staring, and Yunho follows his gaze to a particular devil, beautiful as they all are, full mouth and melting eyes. Yunho doesn't know what's caught Junsu's attention about this one. He doesn't remember Yoochun.
A hush washes over the host of hell from behind. The devil farthest back is tall, his face clear to angelic vision. He is sharp-edged, long-limbed, soft-skinned as a youth. His eyes are sweet and merciless, and in them Yunho sees Jaejoong. He sees himself with Jaejoong. His heart stutters, his breath catches, and all he can think is Jaejoong's name.
The next moment, Yunho remembers, and tears his gaze away, feeling bruised at his temple. He sees Junsu bleeding from a cut on his forarm, the devil who did it nowhere in sight. From across the field of battle, he hears the Morning Star laugh, low and intimate, in his ear.
"You're falling," Junsu says while Yunho tends him, and Yunho wonders how Junsu can tell. There are no mirrors in heaven, but maybe he really is bruised. Or maybe Junsu's seeing something else, something Yunho wouldn't even with a mirror. The reddish light of hell reflected in his corona perhaps, the unnatural shedding of feathers. What are the signs? Other than dreams that deviate from the praise of God.
"How did you get this?" Yunho focuses on his work, drawing his finger over Junsu's torn skin. Junsu pulls away.
"You didn't see." Yunho looks up at the flatness of Junsu's voice, which matches the flatness of Junsu's eyes. "You saw something else."
Jaejoong. "How do you know?"
Junsu looks away. Movement catches Yunho's eye, and he turns his head to see a half dozen bedraggled feathers float free of Junsu's right wing. As he watches their downward spiral, Junsu says, "I know."
Perhaps it's meant as a mere greeting, the kind of acknowledgement even angels make. Perhaps it's meant as the more Yunho hears. What's important is what he doesn't hear, which is God in it, and he thinks of what he saw in the devil's eyes.
"Jaejoong," he says, no mere greeting. Jaejoong steps closer to him in a whirl of feathers and red light. They reach out together, move together, as though their damnation is choreographed.
It's not a perfect fall, because no fall is. But it's close.
They call the devil the father of lies. This isn't because he's particularly prone to falsehoods, but the truths he tells are so painful that people lie to themselves rather than face those truths. So when Yunho comes back to himself, he knows what's missing, knows exactly where he is. He just makes himself believe he's shocked.
"Jaejoong?" he says, as though he expects an answer, and hears the devil laugh again.
"That's not the name that should be on your lips, Yunho."
The voice is as melodious as it ever was, and Changmin has grown more beautiful. Stunning, Yunho thinks, and feels it. Most dearly loved of God. He remembers.
"Are you going to bargain, Yunho?"
"Am I?" His own voice sounds hollow to his ears. He knows what's missing, and he knows he can't get it back. He and Changmin both know he'll try.
Changmin smiles, touches their lips together. Yunho closes his eyes against the taste of desolation and presses into the devil's kiss.