From the Story Arc: Phoenyx Rising

Previous Story in the Arc: 30 Minut by Shyft (Tuesday, June 14, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: Temptations by Seraphym (Friday, June 17, 2005)

(posted Tuesday, June 14, 2005)

He was asleep again, asleep in her arms. Seraphic Flame marveled at the sensations, the emotions, as she eased John Murdock’s pain with a feather-brush of fingers bearing healing fire, stroking his bow. Tenderness and grief, protectiveness and loss. And love—

The Seraphim were the angels of Fire and Love, but that was the impersonal Love of the Infinite for all of its creations. This was—personal. Immediate. Reciprocated.

She had known this thing might happen between them before she ever arrived here. It was one of the many possible futures before her, that she would fall in mortal love with this mortal, and he with her. She had thought to let her choice be guided by his.

“The law above all is the Law of Free Will: We make our choices freely, and live with the consequences, because mortals are not children, nor slaves, nor toys.: So the trials come to us by the choices we make. And we are judged by how we pass through them.” How many times had she said that? And one of his choices had been to follow the love that had passed on, or—

Or hers. Because by that time, she was already in love with him. How could she have guessed that her choice had been made from the second meeting with him?
When I was a spirit only--- I did not truly understand what made mortals so cling to life in the face of all odds. Now I think I know.

Ain't life I'm holding onto....it's livin' with you, Flame.

Exactly John, my beloved. It is not life. It is living. It is feeling the moments passing, and cherishing them as they pass.

Like dying stars...more brilliant for their brevity.

Yes. We burn brightly, we two. We condense a lifetime into the time we have left together, and it is the sweeter for that.

Only one regret.


That I couldn't have spread out everything, savoring our love over time.

She held him tightly, resting her cheek on his forehead. Tears would wake him. She held them back. Only she knew why the Kheld fusion would go badly—because the Kheld in question was a damaged and dangerous thing. But to redeem them both—

Free Will requires that in order for there to be a miracle, something equally miraculous must be given in exchange. This is called the Law of Equivalent Exchange. To save him, I must sacrifice my connection with the Infinite and become fully incarnate

... and there it is. Why can't it ever be easy? Sorry, sorry... I’m frustrated.. What will this mean for you?

I will no longer be able to "hear God" directly, but only as mortals do.: I will not hear the voices of my siblings, I will no longer know the futures. : I will become fully incarnate, subject to all the pains of mortality, which means, I suppose I will have to find an apartment.

She smiled. Red Djinni had thought that very funny. She was enjoying humor. She understood now why mortals made jokes in the face of sadness.

She could not save him alone. That had been set by his actions, his choices, and that of the Kheld, before she ever set incarnate foot on Atlas Plaza. It had to be both, or none. She did not know this Kheldian, except as an abstract. She did not love it, except as another mortal capable of redemption. And its very presence would take the memories of her from John’s mind.

But there is also another sacrifice that will occur. John will return to the state he was before he entered the Super Soldier program and he will lose his memories of the time subsequent to that moment..

Then.. you.. and he... aw hell. : Flame, he won't remember you.

But I will have had love.

Would have love. His forgetting her would not change her love for him. She could not see past that moment; the futures were now dark to her beyond her sacrifice. If he chose to accept it. There were two futures now, one in which he accepted her gift and one in which he did not. She could see the other—she would complete her tasks here and return home, and grief would always color her song.

And for a Seraphim, “always” is a very long time indeed.

Or the darkened time, and she did not know what that held. Uncertainty was a very new thing for her. She didn’t much care for it. But then, she was very well aware that there would be a great many things in that future that she would not much care for. Perhaps it would give her siblings, who would continue to experience mortality through her, a great deal to think about.

Nevertheless, if it was by her choice—that is the future she would choose.

I think that what is before us is my test.

What do you mean?

I think—I think it will be a test of my spirit in full mortality. It is easy to be a thing of all love and no jealousy when one can hear the voice of the Infinite. When that voice is dimmed—I think that will be my test. And if I can pass that trial, and hold onto what is good and true and right—

Her arms tightened around him, and he stirred a little. Sleep, she told him, mind to mind, heart to heart. Sleep. Let me give you strength—

A tiny smile played on her lips when she considered what use he would make of that strength when he did awaken.

Red Djinni was right. There were blessings to being incarnate.

She would remember them and hold to them when she was fully mortal. A new song in her heart perhaps….

For now—she would treasure every second in this time of waiting.