Lucifer took her seat next to Reese. The body she was wearing looked near 16, with the clean skin of possession but the cracks around her ears made Reese recoil. She would have to have been in that body longer than four years for that kind of degradation to appear. Reese stopped himself before becoming outraged, if the soul wasn’t letting the angel stay there would be a sudden expulsion. Even with all his strength, this close to the full moon he was having trouble keeping his anger down.
“So, what are you doing here?” Reese blurted out in an attempt to hide his clenched fists.
“Didn’t I say? Drink.” She looked at Mr Red, her eyes wide and pleading.
“Do you have ID for that body? Looks like I’m serving a minor.” She pulled a card out of her back pocket and handed to him.
“Oh…” She turned back to Reese while she waited for the Chimera to get her drink. “Did you mean? Do I have ulterior motives?” Reese nodded at her. “I’m hurt.”
“Don’t look hurt, maybe you should smack your head against the barrier again.”
“Okay, okay. My usual motives are the same, stay on earth, have fun, eventually gain enough power to reclaim heaven. Vengeance on my brothers and sisters, et cetera et cetera.” Reese frowned at her, Lucifer had been in politics too long.
“Out with it woman.” Mr Red placed her drink in front of her. She took long swig from it. She scrunched up her face.
“Jesus, this body has its taste buds all wrong.” She put the glass down in front of her. “I know you lot say this all the time but, trust me, the old times were much better.”
“I need a doctor.” Reese and Mr Red looked at her then at each other, both puzzled.
“What?” They asked simultaneously.
“Don’t give me that crap. I know you saw them Blackwood.” She ran her hand down the crack on the side of her face. It was like painted porcelain, the skin flaking off where the corruption started. It hadn’t opened yet but it wouldn’t be long till it did.
“Jump into another willing participant. That’s what you normally do isn’t it?” Mr Red leaned against the wall behind the bar.
“It’s getting harder and harder to find those. Especially ones that would last me as long as this one has.”
“How did you know I was here?”
“Huh?” Lucifer looked over at Reese, one eyebrow raised.
“There are only eleven people I know of who would know how to fix that blight.” Reese took another sip. “Five are working for the demons, two are working for the non-fallen angels. Isaac, wouldn’t even come back to this Refuge if he knew you’d been here and no-one knows where Hank is. That leaves me, and Thras.” Both Lucifer and Reese shivered at Thras’ name. “How did you know where I was?” She pressed her lips together breathing deeply out her nose.
“I followed you, okay?” There was a softness in her voice that Reese felt the base of his stomach.
“Fuck sake.” Reese got up and walked off before anyone could say anything.
He got to the corner of the street before he heard the patter of a girl running in chuck taylors behind him.
“Don’t Lucy!” He turned and held his hand out in front of him. “I’m done, I am so done.”
“Reese I need your help.”
“I know, I instantly knew when I saw you walk in the door with your blackened wings wrapped around you.” She stepped back.
“You can still see them?” He frowned at her again.
“Didn’t I say don’t? You can’t keep showing up next to me when you want something.”
“I know, and I didn’t want to.” She stepped forward again, dropping her head, the spiky hair brushing his face. Reese took an involuntary breath, smelling something unusual under the hair gel.
“You’ve been in there longer than four years haven’t you?” She grunted in a defeated tone. “Proud to the sticky end huh?” She pushed her head into his chest. She started sobbing.
“I don’t want to go back there Reese. After what they did to me last time. I’ve been patching this body up for so long I don’t think she’s even in here anymore.” Reese put his arms around her back and pulled her closer. She was a whole head shorter than him. Crying where his neck met his shoulders, he gave in, like he always had.
“You’re lucky you picked a smaller body this time. If you were still in that linebacker’s body this would look totally awkward.”
After she had cleaned herself up Reese took her back to the bar. With her body falling apart there were many that would pay heavily for anything that leaked out, even if it was forced out. The refuge was the safest place she could be for now. He put her back in her seat and had Mr Red give her another drink, then Reese led him down the other end of the bar.
“You don’t have to do this to keep our good name this time.”
“That’s not why I’m doing it.”
“Why then? Because she cried her story into your chest?” Reese almost flared up again but even the angrier side of him was tired now.
“If Lucifer ends back up in heaven the only boss level spirit walking around here is Mephistopheles. You want that? Furthermore she is the reason we can even exist let alone think past fucking and eating. Do you want it on your conscious that you let her go back to a place where they will undoubtedly torture and imprison her?” Mr Red knew he was going to lose this argument, normally it took a few more turns before Reese came out with the hard to answer questions. He sighed.
“What do you need?”
“I need you to let her stay here.”
“No way! Out of the question.”
“I don’t want to pull out owed favours George.” Mr Red had almost forgotten his first name. “She’ll only be here while I make the potion.”
“A day. If we have some Belladonna.”
“I’ll have to source some then.”
“Where are you going to get Nightshade? It’s a poison.”
Her face was still red from crying. It wasn’t often that a body displayed the emotions of the angel inside. This time she wasn’t faking the sadness and fear. She couldn’t even imagine going back home without her own very soul shaking at the core and after how she’d treated Reese before, she couldn’t have blamed him for not wanting to help. How her body reacted to her feelings scared her even more, it was possible that the body’s real soul was feeling the same in empathy. It was more likely that the body had become more hers than the original soul.
“What will this potion do?” Lucy asked Reese as he led her to her room.
“Strengthen the vessel, make it more suitable for a being of your power.”
“What will happen to the girl inside?” Reese stopped at the top of the stairs.
“Lucy, how long have you been in there?” He didn’t turn to face her.
“Twenty years. What will happen to her?” He looked down at his feet “She’ll go to where she’s supposed to end up. If she’s not there already.” He started moving again.
“What do you mean?” He stopped again this time facing her, his face reddening up.
“Venus!” Reese had never used that name for her. “You cannot tell me you don’t know!” She couldn’t tell if he was frustrated or angry at her but she definitely quivered. “You are the most powerful angel there is, humans cannot contain energy like that! Not for years! Your body is falling apart at the seams!” The knowledge of this that she was missing suddenly burst back into her mind. She pressed her hands against her temples as a powerful headache hit her. Reese grabbed her as she started to topple over.
“You should’ve come to me earlier.” Lucifer sat up on the couch, she remembered Reese carrying her there but it didn’t feel like her own memory. He was on his knees beside her, looking through some kind of pouch. “Possession doesn’t just affect the body…”
“… It affects the soul and the possessor as well.” She completed his sentence but not in her own voice it was a deeper darker voice that came out of her open and unmoving mouth. Reese flicked his body round and covered her mouth with his hand. Lucy’s eyes darted around in her skull, her irises snapped between different colours, blue, green, purple, red. Both eyes turned completely white, iris and pupil before she closed them.
She didn’t notice before but Reese had put something in her mouth, she bit down on it hard. It oozed out a thick bitter liquid onto her tongue, she let it slide down her throat. A sense of calm washed over her. As she regained control she remembered a line from an angel’s examination of possession she had once read over. ‘Over longer periods of time the possessor of a body will start to fracture just as the body does, if not released or relieved of pressure, the possessor’s energy will separate. When it does, in most cases I have observed the parts are distributed outwards through the cracks in the physical form. They are then returned to the realm they are destined for to wait for the rest to come back and reclaim them.’ Putting herself back together would be easy and painless. Getting into heaven to retrieve those pieces would be the opposite.
“You really should have come to me earlier.” Reese continued holding her mouth. He moved from where he was kneeling and sat next to her on the couch. She started to go limp, he directed her fall onto him. Laying on him, her body completely numb. Reese looked up and saw that he didn’t close the door on the way in. ‘If anyone looks in…’ He looked down at a young girl laying on him, apparently unconscious, with his hand over her mouth.