By Emily Faerber

Ungh . . . She was still alive. Oh dear God, why was she still alive? It hurt. Everything hurt. She was covered in blood. Suddenly she was yanked up and she felt the snap. It was gone. Severed. They were both gone. Her beautiful wings. Her power. Gone.

"Come on bitch, see how you like this!"

They were laughing. She hated them, because it hurt and they were laughing. She swung her hand at one of them, but she missed and her hand sailed harmlessly through the air. That caused them to laugh harder.

"The whore still wants to fight!"

"Pour it on her! Pour it on her!"

"Do it! Do it!"

She felt the liquid splash over her back before she felt the burn. Acid. Oh God. No. Why wasn't she dead? Why wasn't she dead?! Opening her mouth, she screamed. She screamed so hard the light fled and darkness took over. She kept screaming.

Someone else was screaming, but he cut off in a gurgle and a thump. She was on the ground but she couldn't move. It hurt so much she couldn't bear it.

"Are you all right?"

"Help me!" she cried, reaching out her hand to the man who knelt in front of her. She couldn't make out his features. Her eyes were too clouded with tears. "God, help me!"

He grasped her hand. "Bring out your horns."

"No! They'll cut them off!"

"They're dead."

It hurt so much . . . "Can you make it stop?"

"Yes, I can."

Letting out a ragged breath, she let her horns appear, growing out above her ears. "Make it stop!"

"What's your name?" He grabbed both of her horns, and warmth swept through her body. He was augmenting her natural ability to heal, accelerating the process.

"Alelle," she answered.

"Mine is Benjamin."

"Benjamin," she repeated. "My wings."

"They're gone, probably permanently."

"My powers . . ."

"Are you just going to cry over it?"

Alelle looked up in surprise. The pain in her body dulled, but the stubs of her wings still stung. "What?"

"You can either accept it and move on, or lie here doing nothing and cry."

Alelle stayed silent, then after a moment pulled her arms under herself and tried to push herself up. Reaching out, Benjamin helped her stand.

"Angel!" She pushed him away and fell down to her knees.

"And you're a Devil. Your point?"

"I don't want anything to do with a servant of Heaven!"

"Then why were you calling for God's help?"

Alelle looked away, muttering, "Because He's the only one who would have . . ."

"If you would open your eyes and use your brain, you'd see that I'm no longer a servant of Heaven."

Alelle looked up at Benjamin, her eyes finally focusing. His feathered wings were pitch black, shiny and smooth. "Evil," she murmured.

"I am." Smiling, he held his hand down to her. "And so are you."

"What do you want from me?" Alelle asked, taking his hand.

"Relax. I'm not going to ask for anything from you."

"Then why did you help me?"

"I wanted to kill the Devils torturing you."

Alelle narrowed her eyes. "You're a damn bastard."

"You deserved to lose your wings, since you weren't strong enough to protect yourself."

"It took three of them to do it!"

"Do you think that still matters?"

"How am I going to fight now?" Alelle couldn't prevent herself from slumping against Benjamin, and moving with him as he started walking.

"Try guns."


"You might like them."

"Where are we going?"

"As you are now, you're too weak to survive on your own. Stick with me, and I'll make you strong. Stick with me, and we'll destroy Heaven and Hell together."

"Then I'm with you." Alelle smiled. "As long as you promise me blood, I'm with you."

A/N: This story is connected to Forgotten Angel, but I'm not going to tell you how or anything like that. Ha ha. Anyway, can you say tough love?