Inwardly he chafed at following the formal routine. Who would want to invade this place? What did these forlorn remnants of humanity have to offer in terms of money or goods?
Fortunately, the woman at the front desk was one of the nicer sorts. Her bored expression dropped away when she saw him. "Well, look who it is. You're a little early. You know visiting hours aren't for another ten minutes."
"I know, Shirley. Can't we bend the rules a little today? I'm in kind of a hurry."
Pale brown eyebrows rose. "Really? You usually take your time. I got the feeling you'd stay here forever if we didn't kick you out."
"Not today. I-I really need to see him quickly. I nearly left it too late," he finished in a mutter.
"Nearly left what too late?"
"Nothing. Can't I see him early? Just this once? Pleeeease?"
Damn, she just couldn't resist him when he gave her that pleading puppy dog look. "Oh, well, all right. But just this once. And if anybody catches you, I deny everything."
"Thanks, Shirley. You're an angel. There's a special place waiting for you in Heaven."
"From your lips to God's ears," she laughed. He took the nametag she held out to him and strode down the hall with quickening steps. He had been here so often he didn't need to be told the way.
The nurse coming out of the room smiled at the slight figure trotting towards her. "Oh, there you are! Good to see you again."
"Hi, Melissa." He beamed up at her. Even though he was racing against the clock, he enjoyed these little social interactions. She was unlikely to let him go until she'd spoken to him, anyway.
"He's awake. So you two will be able to talk for a bit. Don't expect too much in the way of intelligent conversation, though."
"So he's in a good mood?" he asked cautiously.
"As good as he's ever in." She smiled at his crestfallen face. "But I'm sure he knows you're visiting. That means a lot, you know. Not many family members are as faithful in their visits as you are."
"If you're done whispering out there, you can fuck off," came a waspish voice from inside the room.
She grimaced. "He's all yours," she whispered before walking down the hall.
The teenager let the door close softly behind him. A lone, shrunken figure was seated in front of the only window in the room. Late afternoon sunlight slanted through the window, not too sharp as to irritate weak eyes but strong enough to light up the sparsely furnished space.
He stepped lightly to the still form, squatting on his haunches to stare intently into the masklike face. The doctors had told him every detail of the illness his beloved suffered--the gradual erasure of memory and personality, the mental decline and the stony features that usually afflicted its victims.
"Hi. It's me." He laid a hand upon the wrinkled hand nearest him. "I've got a story to tell you. Would you like to hear it?"
The man seated in front of the window didn't react. His visitor smiled brightly and continued as if the other had answered. "Once upon a time, there was an Angel named Finnian. He was a bright, happy Angel although he was a bit on the curious side. He'd been created to be the perfect companion for the greatest Commander of Heaven's army, the handsome and powerful Anifiel.
"Anifiel and Finnian were very happy together for a time. But Finnian became restless. He kept hearing stories of this wonderful, scary, exciting place called Earth. One day, no longer able to contain his curiosity, he flew down there to find out just what it was like."
The elderly man continued to stare out the window. If the story caught his attention, he gave no sign of it.
"When he arrived, he found a lost, helpless soul named Jeremy. Jeremy looked like he was injured and Finnian promised to help him. A mistake, as it turned out. Nothing could help Jeremy except patient doctors. But Finnian was too stubborn to believe that, in spite of all the good advice that was given to him.
"While he was on Earth tending to Jeremy, he met a policeman searching for a killer. John Stonebrook was a good man but he was hurting inside because this murderer had killed his wife and only child. He thought that Jeremy was the man he was hunting for but he wasn't sure. Finnian tried to draw him off the scent by seducing John Stonebrook.
"Then something wonderful happened." He leaned forward, peering into the other man's face. He thought there was a spark of interest in the rheumy eyes but he wasn't sure.
"Finnian had fallen in love with John Stonebrook. The man was strong but vulnerable and fragile in a way that appealed to Finnian. Maybe it was his instincts crying out to him that here was another wounded soul in need of him. But, if that were all, then Finnian would have fallen for Jeremy.
"Finnian didn't understand why he felt this way. But he didn't question it. He desired to be with John Stonebrook in a way he never did with Anifiel. He wanted to be close to the human. He wanted to share in his joys and his sorrows. He wanted to kiss his eyes shut and touch him all over his body. He wanted the big man to make love to him every day and every night.
"Finnian knew that a life lived with this mortal would be filled with all sorts of emotions and experiences he would never know in Heaven. So, even when he was ordered to return to Heaven, he wouldn't do it. Finn chose to stay on Earth with John Stonebrook."
"And they lived happily ever after, right?" The words were accompanied by a rusty chuckle and the teenager looked up hopefully into the wrinkled face. The man was giving him a wry smile and the light of intelligence flickered in the blue eyes.
"Something like that," he answered softly.
The man snorted. "Complete bullshit, all of it. But it's a nice story, kid." He squinted quizzically at the young man. "Who are you, anyway? You're not one of the nurses."
The turquoise eyes filmed with tears. No matter how often he came and told the story, it always ended the same way: his lover didn't know him. In a few minutes, his amnesia wouldn't matter. But it still hurt.
The momentary interest in his presence died away and the old man turned to stare out the window again. "You should leave, kid. My wife and daughter are going to be here soon and we'd like some privacy," he mumbled.
"Sure, John Stonebrook. You're going to see them very soon." He laid his head on the man's leg and listened intently to the harsh inhalations until they filled his entire being.
Nurse Melissa Davis knocked on the door. "Finn? Visiting hour is over. You'll have to leave now." There was no answer and she hesitated. She was tempted to give Finn more time alone with his grandfather. But she had a schedule to keep.
She found his commitment very sweet. Most relatives of the elderly hated visiting old folk's homes. It wasn't that the haunting specter of death was so terrifying. They were simply bothered by the limited activities, disgusted by the smell of old people and bored by the stifling need to hold conversation about events past and gone. The only reason any bothered to come was out of a sense of guilt and obligation.
By contrast, Finn always looked so happy to be here. Privately Melissa thought Finn could have been happy at an insurance salesman's convention. But there was no denying his radiant joy at visiting his grandfather. She just hoped the old man appreciated it.
She rapped again. When she got no answer, she eased the door open. "Okay, you two. Time to break "
Except for the old man in front of the window, the room was empty. When had Finn left? She usually had to pry him away from John.
She walked to the man in the chair and spoke to him gently but firmly. "Mr. Stonebrook, it's time for your medication." When he didn't respond, she reached out and touched him on the shoulder. At the slight touch, John crumpled sideways in the chair, his head hanging at an awkward angle.
Expert fingers felt for the pulse in the neck. "Oh, dear," she sighed. Had Finn been here when this happened? No wonder he had bolted.
It was odd that he hadn't alerted the staff. Finn was perfectly aware of every aspect of John's routine; he would have known that she was coming around with the medication. Why would he simply leave his grandfather like this for her to find?
Well, that was a mystery to be solved later. She pressed the call button near the bed and informed the front desk of another patient demise.
"Hello, John Stonebrook." John swung around and saw Finn standing behind him.
The kid wore a sleeveless lace-up leather vest that exposed his midriff and form-fitting leather short shorts. A pair of high-heeled boots that came up to mid-thigh completed the ensemble. Every article was in a bright teal that nearly rivaled his eyes. Shockingly, his wings were fully exposed. Unfurled as yet, they trailed in twin feathery towers down to his heels.
"Finn, what are you doing? Your wings--anybody can see " He trailed away, his forehead wrinkling. Something about this whole scenario wasn't right.
One moment he'd been struggling to breathe in his worn-out body. Then he'd had the sensation of--he wasn't sure what. Now that he was here, wherever here was, he couldn't quite remember how he'd arrived.
His memories of the last few years were similarly fuzzy around the edges. But he'd been lucid enough at times to know what had happened to him.
Old age and decrepitude had caught up to him at last, reducing him to a fragile shell. However, he had refused to be stuck inside a place for old people and Finn had been in agreement. Neither of them wanted to be separated from the other.
Still, Finn had become anxious at leaving John alone. Once, during a cold fall day, he had come home to find the front door wide open and the place vacant. John hadn't left a note and Finn had been frantic. Finally he had tracked John down to the bench where he used to sit with his wife and daughter.
The man's lips and skin had been blue with cold; there was no telling how long he had been sitting there oblivious to the chill. Miserable and confused, he had insisted that he was waiting for Sarah and Katie to join him. It had taken several minutes and all Finn's powers of persuasion to convince John to come back with him.
Another time, Finn had returned from shopping to find that John had accidentally set the stovetop on fire while making himself a grilled cheese sandwich. He had wandered away from the stove in a moment of inattention and the flames had caught the grease. Only his quick intervention with a fire extinguisher had averted disaster.
After that, in spite of the heartache Finn felt, it had been decided it was best for John to have constant supervision. The rest home had not been unpleasant and he had visited John every day. The mortal still hadn't liked it. Gradually slipping away from the present had been a welcome relief for him if not for Finn. But it had attained the comfort of familiarity.
Where they were now was strange yet very soothing. The sky was an iridescent blue with no sign of the pollution that afflicted the city. Clouds scudded gently across the sky causing the bright sun to play hide-and-seek behind their impossible whiteness. He could smell the scent of growing things--leaves, flowers, trees, grass--with a freshness and clarity he'd never known before.
John took a step towards Finn and stopped, surprised by the lack of stiffness or pain in his joints. There was strength and ease in his body such as he hadn't felt for a long time. His hands were those of a younger man, curiously unwrinkled although covered with the usual expanse of hair. He made a fist, absurdly pleased that he could do so without the rigidity of arthritis in his bones.
He stared down at the rest of his body and did a double take. He was wearing a tunic, one light enough to be comfortable and covering most of his large frame. On his feet were strapping sandals with delicate ties lacing them up the ankles. Definitely not his usual style.
None of this made sense. "Finn. What's going on? Where are we?"
"I think you know, John Stonebrook." Finn threw his arms around him. "Welcome to Heaven, Daddy."
"Heaven?" He had died? Odd that he hadn't even felt it. He'd figured there would be more to the process than this.
"Um hum." Finn wriggled against him and John was shocked to feel his privates spring to immediate attention.
Finn's description of this place had led John to think of Heaven as a mostly peaceful place, devoid of all the human urges that made life on Earth so confusing. No jealousy, no hatred, no hunger cravings for nachos and ice cream beer floats in the middle of the night, no explosive farts--and no lust. Especially lust. Wasn't that supposed to be one of the seven deadlies?
"John Stonebrook, you're thinking too much. I can tell." When he opened his mouth to protest or ask another question, Finn gripped John's neck with angelic strength and brought his head down to kiss him thoroughly. He arched up against the broad body and John's arms automatically clasped him close.
The kiss grew more passionate as the plushy lips parted and Finn's tongue came out to sweep across John's own. The familiar rush of desire swept over John. But it was so much stronger than he could remember and his senses began to swim.
When the lips drew away for a second, sweeping down his neck, John shuddered. There was a wobbling in his knees like that of a baby still struggling to walk. Sweat popped out on his brow and he gasped for air he surely didn't need.
John didn't understand it. Finn had barely touched him and he was ready to explode. "F-Finn goddamn," he choked out.
Finn stopped what he was doing for a moment and breathed across his ear. "Relax, John Stonebrook. Just go with it."
But now that the Angel wasn't kissing him any longer, John could feel a measure of control returning. He struggled to escape from Finn's octopus grip and finally tugged hard on one wing. "Finn, hold on a sec. Stop!"
"Ow." The redhead drew back and frowned in reproach. "What'd you do that for?"
"Look, I'm still a little spun by all this. I'd like to get my bearings. Besides, isn't it wrong for an Angel and a human to get, uh, frisky here?"
Finn rolled his eyes. "This is Heaven, John Stonebrook. Anything that makes you happy and doesn't hurt others is okay here."
"Oh. So we can have sex?"
"Let's find out." Finn stood on his toes for another kiss. This time John closed his eyes and succumbed to the delicious fog tugging at his senses.
"Hey! Is that who I think it is?" The voice came from somewhere above them, a detail John didn't notice right away. Finn's lips were withdrawn and he growled with frustration. Then he followed the redhead's upturned gaze.
Hovering several feet above them was a brunette man with warm blue eyes. Snowy white bird wings easily held him aloft. With a mild "whoosh" of displaced air, he alighted next to the pair.
"I knew I recognized that red hair! God, I can't believe it. Finnian, you're back in Heaven again!" The other Angel grinned and opened his arms.
Finn squealed in delight. "RYAN! Look at you! You've ascended!" The red-haired Angel threw himself into the other man's embrace. As they clasped each other tight, John noticed that Ryan was only a couple of heads taller than the diminutive Angel with curled chestnut brown hair and sky blue eyes.
Serenity and shy sweetness were on his smiling face, making the brunette Angel cute rather than handsome. But it still irked John to see Finn hugging him with such enthusiasm. Finn turned his head as though he sensed his lover's exasperation. "John, this is Ryan. He's the one who got me interested in visiting Earth."
Ryan groaned. "Don't remind me. I got so much flak from Anifiel about that. He made my existence here hell."
"It couldn't have been that bad," Finn countered.
"How does his yanking me around on a leash and collar sound to you?"
"Kinky," John interjected dryly.
The redhead grinned. "I'll say. But I can't believe Anifiel would do something like that!"
"Believe it. But it was worth it if you were happy on Earth." He stroked Finn's back and then frowned. "Finn, what happened to your wings? They look different." His eyes widened. "They've turned gray!"
Finn shrugged. "Things happened to me on Earth. They tainted my wings a little, that's all." His tone was light but John could hear the faint trace of sadness underneath it.
John wound his arm around Finn's back. "I told you, Finn. The color of your wings doesn't matter--to me or to God. You're here, aren't you?" The smile returned, wide in its relief, the white teeth even more blinding here.
Ryan noticed it. "You really do make him happy, don't you?" he murmured. The blue-eyed Angel beamed at John and the mortal blinked.
Something of Finn's exquisite radiance was in that smile and he found his annoyance magically melting away. This Angel meant him no harm and he couldn't stay angry even while Ryan was squeezing Finn in that familiar way.
Ryan was making his own observations; his scrutiny of John held more than a little appreciation. "So this is the human you left Anifiel for? He looks like a great catch. Tall. Brawny. Big. Just the way I like 'em." He smirked at John's obvious discomfiture.
"He is. His name's John Stonebrook and I love him," Finn asserted. "But he's a little nervous about making love to an Angel. He thinks the Creator will disapprove."
"No worries there. He didn't disapprove when I had sex with Vithius."
"WHAT?!?" John flinched. Finn's voice hit such a volume, he was surprised nobody came running--or flying--to see what was causing the ruckus.
Finn looked like he was about to swallow his tongue. "Y-You, Vithius and Anifiel? Really?" he squeaked.
Ryan's grin widened. Evidently he was delighting in shocking Finn. "Yup. I fought it like crazy at first. But Vithius told me I had to accept my real feelings for Anifiel. So I ended up falling for both of them. It took awhile for it to happen, though--Anifiel's not the easiest person to get along with."
Finn raised an eyebrow. "Anifiel is the most glorious Angel "
"In Heaven. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. Vithius kept on singing the same song. I just needed to see that for myself. But I have to admit, underneath that bullying, muy macho act, he's a really nice guy and a bit of a softie."
That startled a giggle out of the little Angel. "I'm glad that he's found happiness elsewhere. I knew he could if given the chance. But a softie? Anifiel!?"
Suddenly a huge shadow fell over them. "Finnian? Is that you? Have you finally returned to your rightful place in Heaven?" The voice was a rumbling boom, like the muffled thunder of distant storm clouds. To John, it was as though the air was suddenly snapping with electricity.
He craned up his neck again. Hanging in the air was a vision of such angelic power he couldn't speak, only stare in astonishment. If Finn was pretty with his cherubic androgyny and Ryan like the boyishly cute kid next door, this Angel had to be the epitome of brawny masculine beauty and Heavenly majesty.
Hair the color of the noon sun floated around the handsome face. Emerald eyes that were aloof and piercing at the same time set off a high forehead. A long nose jutted proudly between two broad high cheekbones. A square chin that seemed to convey strength and invulnerability finished off the whole.
The Angel was solidly built and the wingspan was suitably sized to match. It must have been the width of four humans laid end to end. They dwarfed those of the two other Angels and blotted out the sun.
With a mighty "whomp" of his wings that nearly knocked John down, he settled near the watching trio. Green eyes flicked over the ex-cop and John somehow got the feeling that he'd been judged and found unimpressive. He squared his shoulders, determined not to let this guy intimidate him. But this angelic presence made him nervous as he hadn't been since he'd tracked down his first armed suspect.
The enormous Angel gazed at Finn. An emotion too fleeting to name flitted across his face before it settled into a distinct coolness. "Finnian, it is good to have you back. Your hair is shorter than I remember," he added, a faint disapproval in his voice.
Finn ran his hands through his tussled bob. "Yep. I decided I like it short." He wound his arms around the mortal and the possessive gesture warmed John all over. "This is my lover, John Stonebrook. John Stonebrook, meet Anifiel, the Commander of Heaven's army."
John swallowed hard and hoped the brawny being didn't notice. This was Anifiel? Okay, Finn had told John about his former boyfriend. But the reality outweighed any reports.
He could well believe this Angel had been created to fight demons. He was taller than John by at least a foot. In spite of the full-length tunic he wore, John could easily see the rippling body underneath it.
This guy looked like his muscles had muscles. You could probably break rocks across his pecs. The fact that he was also stunningly handsome didn't help bolster John's self-esteem. He did his best to look calm. "Hi. Finn's told me a lot about you."
The winged Adonis nodded curtly but didn't respond otherwise to the greeting. He frowned as he looked over his former consort. "Finnian, why are you dressed in that fashion?"
Finn put his hand on one hip and thrust it out provocatively. "It's one of the ways humans dress on Earth. Like it?"
The blond's expression registered boredom and disdain. "I do not."
"I like it. I think you look great," Ryan asserted.
Anifiel's brows cinched together. "No one asked your opinion, Ryan," he growled.
John recognized that tone. Anifiel was jealous! It seemed the Commander had found another to replace Finn in his heart.
Good. John didn't fancy having to fight for Finn's affections with someone who looked like he could bend steel girders with his bare hands.
Ryan evidently picked up on Anifiel's mood change as well. "I was just thinking that you'd look pretty hot in leather, Anifiel."
The green eyes narrowed as Anifiel gazed at Finn more appraisingly. "You do? What is so preferable about this material compared to what I already wear?"
Ryan counted on his fingers as he recited the virtues of cowhide. "Well, it clings to the body so it emphasizes the curves. It rubs over you like a second skin, bringing a sexy charge to whoever's wearing it. It carries the warmth and suppleness of flesh when you touch it. And it can be made into all sorts of shapes and colors so each piece is as individual as the person wearing it." His eyes wandered unconsciously over to Finn again.
Anifiel stepped closer to Ryan. "And you would find me appealing in such a costume?"
Ryan's cheeks flushed. "Well, that's not I mean, yeah, I'd like it. Not that what you're wearing isn't okay." He looked into Anifiel's eyes and his own glazed over.
Desire hit John like a fist to the gut. His heart beat so hard, he could feel the pulse of it behind his eyeballs. Suddenly, his prick was hard as a bar of steel and tented the front of his tunic.
He felt dizzy. He felt drunk. He wanted to throw Finn and the other two down on the ground and fuck them until he went blind. Just what in Hell--or Heaven--was going on?
The brunette Angel was starting to look dazed. "Anifiel, don't. N-Not now."
An unearthly shine glowed in the meadow-green eyes. Anifiel grabbed the curly-haired Angel by his hips and pulled him to his body. "I cannot control myself, Ryan," he murmured in a husky voice. "When you speak like this, you are quite irresistible."
There was a sense of heat--no, that wasn't it. Light, tingling, a wave of prickly sensation flowed from the two other Angels causing John's senses to reel. Without thinking, he took a trembling step towards Anifiel.
Finn grabbed him and began tugging him away. "Come on, John Stonebrook. We should go."
"Finn, what ?" he gulped.
"Ssh, it's okay. I know what you're feeling. Let's just get away from them before things get too hot for us."
Finn's wings extended as he held John and the mortal found himself being lifted into the air as if he weighed no more than a pillow. He stared back longingly at the two winged figures on the ground, wondering why Finn was in such a hurry to leave them.
The panorama of Heaven rushed away beneath him. John could see what looked like forests, buildings and crystal pools zipping beneath his dazed vision. Finally they set down near a building with Grecian columns.
John's feet touched the ground without so much as a stagger. Finn landed neatly beside him and directed John towards a small bench. He sat down beside his mortal lover, his wings falling over the bench like the train of a feathery gown.
Now that John was away from the other two Angels, the itch that had burrowed under his skin was gone as mysteriously as it had begun. He shook his head dazedly, unable to believe he'd actually thought about screwing an Angel who looked like a linebacker. "Finn, what was that? That was like what I felt when you were pole-dancing with that guy at The Pump."
"It's called the fugue. It's something that Angels give off when they're in Heaven. It can make humans feel kinda horny."
"Horny? That's putting it mildly. I didn't know this could happen in Heaven. How come you never mentioned it before?" John accused.
The redhead looked abashed and sly at once. "I didn't want to frighten you. Besides, it doesn't always work that way. Angels bring out certain qualities in humans like courage or insight that don't have anything to do with 'fuck me' feelings. But, when Angels feel love, humans around them can pick up on those emotions, too."
"A little warning would have been nice," John growled.
"Well, it was a surprise to me, too! I didn't expect Anifiel to bang hips with Ryan. They never seemed to like each other much."
"I didn't like you much either when we first met. You were just a cheap stripper to me," John pointed out.
"But we got together eventually, didn't we?" Finn smirked.
"Yeah. Guess it's not too much of a surprise to find Anifiel screwing around with your little friend." John paused while he considered the implications of that. "So sex in Heaven really not a problem?"
"Definitely not." Finn brushed his mouth against John's neck. The touch was light but it set John's pulse racing. He turned his head until their lips met.
The kiss grew sloppy as they sucked hard, probing the depths of their mouths. Soon they were groping each other, John's hands thrust into the tight pants until his fingers closed around Finn's prick. The little Angel was already erect, his meat dripping in John's fist.
Finn was tugging off his clothes with the same impatience he used to show on Earth. When John embraced him again, the small Angel's clothes were magically gone leaving his skin bare to John's touch.
The wings spread wider and fluttered as he stroked Finn's spine. "Uh, Finn. Do you think you could pull those in? They're gonna get in the way when you're on your back."
"If you want. Most of the other Angels keep theirs exposed, though."
"Huh. Wonder why that is. Maybe it's 'cause you can't tell the difference between humans and Angels otherwise," John mused.
"Hmmm. I never thought about that," Finn answered, teal blue eyes wide as he digested this. Then he grinned. "I knew Heaven would be more interesting with you here, John Stonebrook. The Upper Tier is going to be so much more interesting when you ascend."
"Well, if it means I have to start thinking big thoughts like the state of the universe, then it can wait. I was never much of a thinker."
Finn nipped at John's chin. "Don't sell yourself short, John Stonebrook. You're smarter than you think."
"That's something else I don't get. How can you be smarter than you think? Kind of a contradiction in te--mmph!" A hot little tongue thrust in his mouth choked off his question.
John had been teasing Finn with his inane conversation, wanting to hold the Angel off a little. But apparently Finn didn't want to wait. He tugged at John's tunic until it came off over his head. When John was as bare as he was, he rubbed his nipples against the broad chest beneath his.
John drew in a sharp breath. That hazy excitement was filling the air again. There was a buzzing sensation like a thousand ants crawling over his skin. His heart was thudding in his chest and the ache in his groin had returned, a thousand times stronger than before. His thighs twitched with the blind urge to thrust into the nearest warm hole.
It didn't make any sense. He was dead but he had a pulse, a heartbeat and an erection that could drill steel! Weren't humans supposed to be beyond all this once life was over?
Tell that to his body. Heat was pouring through his veins until he thought he would explode. He wouldn't have been surprised if his hair burst into flames.
Finn's weight was placed across his thighs exactly where it would cause the most excitement. The Angel began to rock back and forth, the short jerky movements causing his hair to fall into his eyes. "J-John Stonebrook. Oh D-Daddy," the redhead gasped.
"Fuck, Finn. Wait, don't squeeze me like that. I don't want to " Another slide across his prick and John hissed and dug his fingers into Finn's ass.
The body wriggling against his slid unpredictably, now pressing against his balls and shaft, now rocking against his hipbones. John could feel every vein of that cock, every wrinkle in the little nutsack, as they slipped over his. Finn gripped his shoulders, the fingers turning into molten bands of steel on his skin, and the groan from the mortal was a guttural growl.
Finn was alternately squealing and gasping and the jiggling from his writhing body added another exquisite fillip to every movement. His wings were flapping violently, striking John's bare legs like a feathered lash. It hurt but in a good way, creating a fiery stinging over his skin.
There was a vigorous windy thudding accompanying each beat of the feathers. The sound was a drumbeat in John's ears until he was aware of nothing but this: his beloved, surrounding him everywhere
John hadn't entered him yet. But Finn didn't care. The fugue was affecting him as well, causing all the sensations to be multiplied, folding his desire back upon himself until he could barely breathe. The excitement from his human lover was almost palpable; mingled with his own, it was more powerful than he could remember.
Another tense jerk over his privates and the little Angel came, his body shuddering so hard it seemed that he would fly apart. Moments later, John's spunk splattered all over his chest, mingling their seed together.
John breathed hard, swallowing as he tried to get his voice under control. "S-sorry, Finn. I wanted to wait but I just couldn't. Damn, it was like I was out of control."
The last time he had come with so little stimulation was when he was 13. He couldn't stop thinking about girls and his immature body hadn't known how to handle it. Every morning he had woken up with a semi-woody and a wet spot in the bed. Embarrassing to have it happen when he was a grown man even if he was dead.
But the Angel didn't look disappointed. If anything, he was just as disheveled as he would have been on Earth. The ruby-red hair was plastered to his head and cheeks with rivulets of sweat. His nipples were tight and rosy, trembling with his every breath, and his arms shook with the effort of holding his body upright.
John hugged the slight body and held him close. As they snuggled, he wondered if someone might catch them lying naked on the ground like this. But Finn didn't seem concerned so he decided not to get worked up about it. "I gotta tell ya, Finn, Heaven isn't what I thought it'd be."
"You know you like it, John Stonebrook," Finn murmured, nuzzling and licking along John's throat.
"Uh huh," John breathed. "So we can actually have sex forever?"
Finn grinned at him. "Sure! But there's lots of other stuff to do up here. We can visit the Dreaming Coils, the Path of Inspiration, some of the bathing pools and the Forest of Contemplation. Although that would be for later," he added in a musing tone.
Finn had told him about the Forest of Contemplation while they were on Earth. It was the last place humans went before they ascended to the Upper Tier. They were supposed to think about the paths their lives had taken on Earth, meditate on their flaws and reach a tranquility that would prepare them for the final crossing.
It had depressed John to hear that. Philosophizing just wasn't his thing. Sure, he'd done plenty of brooding after Sarah and Katie had been taken from him. But that wasn't the same as quiet meditation while gazing at your navel.
He sat upright, the motion startling Finn who stared at him curiously. Sarah and Katie. Shit, he'd forgotten all about them. In his last few years on Earth, they'd been constantly on his mind, the disease causing his past relationship with them to loom so large his time with Finn was almost obliterated. Now thoughts of them returned in force, causing his heart to contract with guilt.
A small hand patting his face drew back his attention. "John Stonebrook? What is it?"
"Sarah and Katie. I want to see them. Where are they?"
Finn shook his head. "They're not here, John Stonebrook."
"WHAT?!?" John jumped to his feet. "What do you mean, they're not here?" His heart clenched. "Are you saying they went--to Hell?" Surely his lovely wife and innocent daughter couldn't be there, in the Beneath!
"No no no! That's not what I meant at all!" Finn waved his hands in denial as he stood. John noticed distractedly that Finn was once again clothed in his leather gear. His own clothes had returned as well but he was too upset to think about that now.
"You just said they weren't here," he hissed. "Where else could they be?"
Finn clasped John's hands, smiling into his face. "I only meant that Sarah and Katie have ascended."
"They have?" Finn nodded and the tight band of fear around his chest loosened. Of course. If anybody had inner serenity, it was his lovely Sarah. And Katie hadn't had any major sins on her head. What was there to hold her back?
But he felt a nagging fear nonetheless. "Are you sure, Finn? I mean, how do you know? Were you watching them when you were in Heaven with Anifiel?"
"No. I wasn't aware of any of your family while I was here. Ryan was the closest human friend I had when I was Anifiel's consort."
"Then how can you be so sure?"
"When we first arrived here, John Stonebrook, you were dazed and unconscious. The transition from death to existence in Heaven has that effect on humans. While you slept, I spoke to the Head Guardian about your wife and daughter." His voice softened. "I knew you would ask about their fates sooner or later."
"Oh. Well, you were right." If what the little Angel said was true, no wonder he couldn't remember the trip to Heaven. And Finn had taken the time to learn about the one thing that might distress him. Gratitude for his lover's thoughtfulness swept over John.
He pulled Finn back into his arms. "Thanks, Finn. That means a lot to me."
"I know." Finn squeezed him back, his Angelic strength causing John to gasp. On Earth, the Angel had shown enormous care when they were having sex and he had never hurt John. But the ex-cop had been subjected to his strength once when Finn had attacked him in a car so he knew the kid could easily break him in half.
But they were in Heaven now. Supposedly nothing Finn could do now would hurt or kill him. Maybe that meant they could try out the more intriguing positions they'd seen in the Kama Sutra book Finn had ordered on a whim.
However, memory of Sarah and Katie was distracting him. When had they ascended? Finn said there was no concept of time in Heaven. A person could be up here for years or mere days without knowing it. "How long were they here?"
Finn sighed. Evidently he knew the answer and his pensive look upset John. Before he could ask again, the redhead replied, "They were on the Middle Tier for many years, John Stonebrook."
"Sarah feared for you. She saw how miserable you were without her. She and Katie both wanted to ascend. But they were told they wouldn't be able to see what was happening on Earth after they did. Since she wanted to keep an eye on you that bothered Sarah greatly, too much so for her to gain the serenity needed to ascend."
"Katie didn't want to leave her mother behind. She couldn't have enjoyed the Upper Tier knowing that Sarah waited down here for you to regain your spirits and joy for life."
"But they're okay now?" John pressed.
Finn nodded. "Very okay. When I came into your life, they saw the change in you. Satisfied, they allowed themselves to release the last shackles holding them here."
"Great. That's just great." Now that his curiosity was satisfied, John felt just a little annoyed. He liked the idea of his wife waiting faithfully for him to rejoin her in Heaven. That's what he had decided to do after she had died--until a certain flame-haired cherub stepped in.
It seemed the Angel in question picked up on his thought. "Don't think it means she doesn't care about you any more, John Stonebrook. She does. And she and your daughter are waiting for you in the Upper Tier."
John sighed and the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders. Weird that he needed to breathe in Heaven, but it was a strangeness he could accept. Just as he could accept that Finn's wings were extended again and they were gradually being lifted off the soft grass. "Where are we headed now?"
"There's a crystal pool with a waterfall I want you to see. I want to get you all slippery and wet before we have sex again."
John snorted and wound his arms around the Angel's neck. Finn had such a one-track mind. Settling himself comfortably, he glanced down to note the passing scenery. Now he could see people, all of them looking up and pointing as they sped by. Startled shouts were soaring up to his ears.
"Whoa. Who's the redhead?"
"Oh my God! Look! Look up there! Finnian's back!"
"He is? Where?"
"Who's that with him?"
"Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a "
"Honestly, Danny, if I have to hear your comic book references one more time "
The voices gradually petered away. Those last two made John burst out laughing. Whaddaya know, there were nerds in Heaven. This place was turning out to be full of surprises, much like Finn himself.
He didn't care when he ascended. Years could be spent exploring the Middle Tier and all of them with Finn. However much time he spent here, he was going to enjoy every minute of it.
In the pavilion below, Ryan gasped and shuddered as he sat facing forward on Anifiel's lap. The Commander was spearing him with a deliberation that made him whimper. He suspected Anifiel was punishing him for his earlier ogling of Finnian and he clenched his ass to get his lover to finish. But nothing could break the golden-haired Angel's concentration and Ryan moaned at another agonizingly slow push inside his ass.
He opened his eyes and gasped as Finnian flew past. "Damn! Finn!"
Vithius lifted his mouth from Ryan's lap and glanced in the same direction. "So it is. I shall have to give him my greetings."
"Later," Anifiel murmured, his breath tickling Ryan's ear. The former human shivered and let his head drop back on Anifiel's shoulder.