Author's note: the fina two chapters for you... and let me know what yu all think okay... enjoy... oh and BTW i'll be uploading the editted versions soon... alll errors will (hopefully) be corrected... :D i love you all... Read and Review!

Chapter 17

I gave up on all attempts to make things a little lighter when Celes stopped eating her desert and eyed me. She smiled; I think her smile was different. I turned serious too.

"There's no other way to say this, so I'll just say it," Sebastian said. He and Celes exchanged glances nervously. "You're an angel."

I stifled my impending flood of laughter; I could not hold it for very long. Upon catching my breath and my senses good enough to talk, I scoffed "Me? An angel? Well, you're right about one thing, Sebastian that definitely is ridiculous."

"If I may?" Celes asked Sebastian, the way she spoke seemed like there was a rift between them, a rank. Sebastian nodded.

"Lia, I know how you feel, you should have seen me when I was told the truth. I—"

"Okay, both of you, I do mean no offense, but by reputation and common sense tell me, I am far from being an angel." I was still smiling amused. Did they think I would actually fall for something that ridiculous?

"Well, you aren't one exactly, neither are we," Celes tried again.

"Of course we aren't one exactly, we need wings and halos and we definitely don't have that, don't we?" My tone was a bit mocking but hello? I'm not exactly crazy right now, neither am I drunk.

"Oh, but we do have wings, halos are something we lack," Sebastian cut in.

"Really, now? Mind showing me?" I challenged. Celes let out a sigh of exasperation.

"We would but we're in the middle of Florence, it wouldn't be too polite." Sebastian pointed out.

I took a sip of my drink and eyed the both of them trying to look for some sign of amusement. I saw none. "Alright, let's just say there really are angels, what proof do you have that I actually am one of them, or as you say, one of you."

"You felt the peace. The Peace that we can only feel, secure that there is God. A peace, man takes years and years of devotion and belief to find. You felt it instantly in the house of the Lord," Sebastian stated matter-of-factly.

"Well, yeah, but what if I have been devoted for years and years," I said knowing full well that I was not one of those people.

"You know when death is close, when things that are life-changing are about to happen, you feel guidance not just words but also in action, urges to keep yourself from danger, strong urges," Celes said. I stayed quiet remembering the many instances that I somehow did know death was coming; the anxious feeling when something unhappy comes about. "Only, we can do this and so much more."

"I don't feel death," I said tentatively, trying to convince myself more than them.

Sebastian smiled, "There is just no easy way with you, Halia,"

"Excuse me?" I countered.

"Celes," Sebastian nodded at his companion. Celes rummaged through her bag, brought out a red folder, and slid across the table towards me. "Open it, Halia."

"My name isn't Halia, just Lia," I said as I opened the folder. "What? How did you get this?" Various newspaper clippings, pictures and pieces of paper from my life. My first published essay was there. A photo of my first bike ride. My first publication ad. Things I thought I lost, like my charm bracelet in middle school. The first poem I ever wrote. It was for Granpapa when he passed away. The list goes on. I closed the folder, good and bad memories flooded me. I was shaken, "Who are you people?" I got up from my chair.

"Lia, please, let us explain," Celes said as she stood up.

"What do you want from me? I'm only a writer. I have nothing to offer you,"

"Halia, please, you are one of us, we just want to take you home," Sebastian intoned as he rose as well. I backed away from the two of them, people in the café started whispering among themselves.

"Don't you dare come near me," I said as I grabbed a bread knife from the table, brandishing it at them.

"Halia, please -"

"I'm not Halia, whoever you're looking for, you have the wrong person," Then I bolted for the hotel.

I took track during my college days, I run fast. I ran with fear, and confusion. Why did I want to leave, what was it that I was afraid of? All those pictures, memories, secrets… how? Why?

"Halia, you can't run from the truth," Sebastian said as he suddenly was beside me, keeping in pace with me. I sped forward, pulling at every ounce of energy I had left. My foot caught on a rock on the uneven pavement, his hand closed the gap between us and grabbed my wrist. He jerked me towards him. I stumbled forward falling against him.

"Sleep and dream, my love, awaken to the truth," He whispered into my ear as he drew me against him. My vision blurred. The last thing I remember were his eyes - gentle, loving.

I awoke with a start. Bright lights filled my vision, my head was throbbing, and I had a horrible nightmare. Demons and hell, death of so many and blood on my hands, fear beyond measure, the need to escape. I shielded my eyes from the light, trying to remember where I was. Sebastian! I snapped awake and took in my surroundings.

I was in the hotel lobby. I looked at what I was wearing it. Jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers, but not the ones I had on during our shopping spree with Celes. Maybe it was just a bad dream, you're still waiting for Celes and you fell asleep. I told myself taking in deep breaths. I brought my hands to my face.

"I'm glad you're up," Celes said.

I turned to where she sat, flipping through a magazine beside me, "What day is it? What time?" I said still trying to get my world in order and trying to keep the shaking from my voice. Please let it still be Thursday, please…

"It's Friday, you were out the entire day, it's nearly eight o'clock," she said not even looking up at me.

"It can't be. Yesterday it was…"

"It happened Halia, you are one of us, it would be easier if you accepted it or at least open your mind to the possibility," Celes said as she looked me in the eye.

"Stop calling me that, Celestia," slipped out of my mouth, grit in anger.

A small smile began to curve from her lips, "I never told you my name was Celestia," I stood up gauging my escape route. "Don't bother, Sebastian will be back from checking you out. He can just sedate you again, you know."

I felt weak. These people were crazy and they were after me. I was going crazy; there was confusion within me, my rationality versus… something else. Belief? Angels? One of them?

I decided to comply until given the chance to escape. There was only one place I knew I could go, one chance.

"Then let's go, Sebastian would be at the counter correct, they might need my signature for… anything," I said and turned, I heard Celes sigh behind me and follow.

"Halia," Sebastian said as we approached, he took my hand in his concern evident in his voice, "are you alright?"

"I'm fine; do you need any help with the hotel?" I asked. I prayed I was putting on a good show of being as crazy as they are—of believing them.

"No, everything has been settled, should we have dinner here or we can always have it on the plane?"

"Plane? Oh, having it on the plain is just fine with me; I'm not really that hungry right now." Which was the truth, food was the last thing on my mind. I needed to escape was my main concern. "Though I would just like to leave a note and a few coins for the lady that takes care of my room, she has been too good to me during my stay. If I may, Sebastian?"

"Of course,"

I headed for the counter and handed a few coins to the front desk clerk, silently urging her to deliver this note to the man with purple eyes, if ever he would search for me. She smiled amused and complied, I hurriedly scribbled my message and folded the note and gave to her. Just in case I wouldn't make it, he needed to know.

"Shall we?" I asked as I joined Sebastian and Celes.

"Very well," He led my and Celes out into the driveway. They had all my things packed and a taxi was waiting. Celes slid in first as Sebastian held the door open. I smiled at him; he still held my wrist in his hand. I hoped I was strong enough to break it.

"Everything will be alright soon, Halia," he said with a smile.

I yanked my arm away from him. It was abrupt and caught him by surprise, I was free and with that, I ran. I ran and did not look back. I heard Celes and Sebastian behind me. The hotel was several blocks away from Andrei's apartment. I only pray he was there, that he would help me, and that I'd reach it in time.

I heard them calling out for me to stop. I heard them calling my name—no, Halia's name. Sweat beaded my forehead. My wonderful vacation was ending in fear and chaos, but it was not the fact that Sebastian and Celes were after me but that fact that somehow I was beginning to believe their lies.

My heart raced as I saw Andrei's apartment building ahead. I ran faster. I pounded on the door; I started punching the doorbell to his apartment. Then I remembered that he was going to have it fixed next week. I started yelling his name. Thunder boomed and rain started to fall, hard. It drowned out my cries. From the corner of my eye, I saw Celes and Sebastian round the corner.

I ran to the next building. It was relatively close to one another. I got to the top of the steps and started calling for help. Someone opened up; I closed the door behind me and bolted it.

"There are two people after me," I began through gasping breathes, "Please help me." I pleaded. The young mother with a two-year-old child nodded and told me to head to their apartment down the hall. She handed me a set of keys and told me she would do her best to ward them off.

I heard Sebastian's voice behind the door, pounding on it. I silently prayed the woman and child would be all right as left them.

I unlocked the door of the apartment and closed it behind me. The rain continued pouring outside. I leaned my ears against the door trying to listen. I heard Celes and Sebastian talking to the girl. Then silence, my heart started pounding in my ears. What did they do to her? I backed away from the door as looking about for a chance to escape.

The fire exit, I ran to one of the windows. I opened it and made my way out. Going down would have seemed futile since the ladder was rusted stiff. I could not push it down. I heard Sebastian knocking at the door. I immediately climbed upward. It was wet and slippery and I had to pull down a few ladders to get up. I made it to the roof.

I swung over ledge and ran across to the other side with luck there would be another fire exit and I can make my way down. There wasn't. No fire exit on this side of the building.

I frantically started eyeing the other building for a plan of escape. My eyes landed on something else. Andrei, his apartment window was open. It was Friday, we were supposed to meet. Our dinner together. He was all dressed up, I could see. He was pacing around with a cordless phone on his hand. I hoped he wasn't mad at me. Tears came to my eyes as I watched him, he continued calling. Maybe he had already been by the hotel and saw I was not there. Tears came to my eyes.

"Andrei," I whispered to myself.

"Lia," I turned at the familiar voice.

"Maria?" It was my editor, standing on the roof in the rain... with Sebastian and Celes.

I backed away. "Get away from me." I felt the roof's ledge on my back.

"Lia, please listen to them. What they have been telling you is the truth," Maria intoned.

"No, I am not an angel! There are no such things as angels! You're just after me for something."

"What would we be after you for?" Celes asked, "Like you said, you're only a writer, you have nothing great to offer, Lia."

"Halia, listen to me, I know this is you. You're here right now," Sebastian said as he moved closer, I looked behind me searching for an escape route, "I've come to take you back. Can't you see the truth, Halia? It's me, it's Sebastian."

"You don't belong with him, Halia," Celes called to me, "Andrei is not for you if that's what you're thinking. It can never be."

"What do you know?" I threw at them, "You don't know me. Stop assuming that you do! I'm not Halia!" I got up at the ledge. "Now stay back!" Sebastian stopped his advance.

"Lia, please," Maria begged, "I would never lie to you. You know that."

"Halia, give me your hand," Sebastian said as he reached out. "You belong with us, trust me on this. You don't belong here, not in Florence, not with him. Please, Halia,"

Thunder boomed and rain poured harder, then I saw it. Behind each of them, the rain beating on them, clearly shaping it against the night. Wings, wings attached to them. But there were black, brown, gray mixed among the white feathers. Even Maria had them.

"No, it can't be." I was going mad.

"She's awake," Maria intoned as she smiled.

"Halia, you see the truth now, you belong with us," he extended his hand.

I was going mad. I felt the darkness cloud my vision, I fell backwards, I reached for Sebastian's hand, "Sebastian, help me…" I fell into darkness.