"Fucking hell," the writer muttered again, taking several deep breaths, trying to calm down. He closed his eyes and let the tears fall, wrapping his arms around himself. Wren. The kid hadn't done anything to deserve this. He'd tried to help them the only way he thought he'd could. The first time, he ran, even warned Nathan that he was dangerous because of the Sin possessing him. Before that, he'd tried to keep it a secret, scared for his life. And even before that, when all this had only barely begun, he had helped rescue Avery. The teen did not deserve to die, and most certainly not like that.
Just as he'd begun to calm down, a thought occurred to him. Nathan curled his fingers into his arms, squeezing tightly. "It's my fault," he said, tears welling up again. "If I hadn't climbed up here..." He choked out a sob. If he hadn't gone to investigate, Wren wouldn't have attacked him, and if he hadn't attacked him, Micah wouldn't have shot him. But it made no difference now. He dug his nails into his skin. "This is all my fault..."
"Nathan." Micah moved in front of him, crouching down and placing his hands on top of his. "Nathan, stop that. Look at me." He pulled his hands away from his arms and made him hold them out in front of him, waiting until the writer looked up and met his gaze. For once, the angel's steely expression was tempered with concern, and he slowly rose, pulling Nathan to his feet again. "This was not your fault," he told him. "You could not have guessed that this would happen. You did only what your instincts told you to: you prayed." He drew a deep breath. "I believe we may need to give you a more efficient way of summoning us than our signatures. This was too close."
All Nathan could do was absentmindedly nod, still trying to reel in his emotions. He barely registered what Micah had said. "Something other than the signatures," he mumbled, saying it out loud to pull his thoughts together. "Yeah, I tried when he first swung at me, but I couldn't write fast enough." He was calming down again, even if he was still a little disoriented from all the energy crying had drained from him. He took one strong, deep breath and let it out slowly, finally collecting himself. "Not signatures." Nathan looked at Micah again, his brows knotted. "But what other way is there?"
The angel frowned: not his usual scowl, but an apprehensive, unsure one. "Our Names." He waited a moment to let that sink in. "I believe that, given the current circumstances, you should be able to summon at least one of us without any chance we will not come. By speaking one of our Names, we will be compelled to arrive to assist you immediately."
"I thought the signatures did that."
"They do, but we may choose to ignore the call of our signatures. Our Names, however, we cannot."
Nathan chewed his lip. Even if he didn't want to and at that moment, he wasn't sure that he did he couldn't argue with that. The Sins were becoming more and more dangerous, and if they no longer cared whether or not he was killed... "Okay," he agreed. "Tell me your Name."
But Micah said nothing, remaining silent for what seemed like several minutes, simply staring at Nathan. His icy, golden stare made the writer nervous. "Um..." He shifted from one foot to the other. "Aren't you going to tell me?"
"It is not so simple as speaking it to you," the angel told him, seeming to be nervous himself. "Angelic Names are more complicated than that. Nathan, I hope you will forgive me."
Nathan raised an eyebrow, now worried and confused. "Forgive you? Forgive you for wh...?"
His question was cut off when Micah suddenly took his chin and crushed his mouth with his in a forceful kiss. A sudden rush of heat surged from where their lips met, prickling up Nathan's cheeks and through his scalp before rushing down his spine. His skin became tingly with goosebumps, and he found he could not move as his senses became overwhelmed with new, strange, and shockingly euphoric sensations. He shivered.
Then, just as abruptly as it had happened, Micah pulled away. "There," he said plainly. "Now you know my Name."
Nathan touched his lips with the tips of his fingers, his skin still warm. Confused and startled, he opened his mouth to ask him what had just happened, but nothing came out. Even if he had managed to form words, however, his question would have been interrupted by the low growl that suddenly came from behind him.
"You shouldn't have done that..."
Nathan saw Micah draw his gun and point it towards him just before he jerked around, stumbling backwards. He hadn't noticed until that moment that Wren had moved, and now the teen was perched on the ledge of the roof, grinning, baring his horrible fangs at them.
"Go on," he taunted, raising his chin towards the angel and patting his chest. "Shoot me again. See how well your bullets work this time."
"Nathan," Micah said through gritted teeth. "Get behind me."
The angel never lost focus, his eyes narrowing, and Nathan didn't hesitate to obey his command and get out from in between them. Wren only sneered.
"I'm done with you," the teen said, straightening. "But mark my words, Michael, you will pay for your mistake." He made one more roar at them, then jumped back from the roof, disappearing into the alleyway below.
"Invulnerability. Somehow, I'm not surprised that's Wrath's power, though I had honestly expected something more along the lines of inhuman strength. This is much more problematic."
Alton was looking much better than he had several days ago, the breathing tubes removed and most of the monitoring equipment gone. He sat up in the hospital bed with the remains of his lunch sitting on a tray beside him, half of a hot cup of tea in his hand. His deep blue stare bore into Nathan. "It means that you're the only one who can actually hurt him."
Nathan leaned against the edge of the window, hugging himself tightly while he shook his head. "Is that why he tried to kill me?"
"Maybe, though it's more likely you just upset him. It should go without saying that Wrath has a very short fuse."
"Thank you, Captain Obvious."
"So what do you propose we do?" Micah asked. He was clear across at the other side of the room, and he wouldn't look at the other angel. Alton sighed, shaking his head.
"I don't know."
This is bad. If Alton doesn't know what to do about the Sins, and they were supposed to be under his control, then how are we going to handle them now? We don't even know what their motives are, except...
It seems everyone except Alton realizes that he's their target, even if we don't know why. Maybe I should tell him, especially since Wrath made it pretty obvious he wanted to confront Lumiel.
But then again, maybe there's a reason the other angels haven't said anything. What should I do?