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After The Fall

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After The Fall
By Thaum


Loki knows he's luckier than most.

He's fallen out of favor with God, true. He's been cast out of Heaven for all eternity, consigned to a neverending life in a backwards neck of some benighted chunk of land that won't see the rise of cities and amenities like indoor plumbing for _centuries_. He'll never hear the clear silver trumpets sounding out the rites of the day, or the Voice of Many Waters welcoming him home. The feel of his brethren in his head, the constant reassurement of purpose and validity and duty, the congress of angels - all things gone to him forever.

And sometimes he misses the _excitement_ of the old days, the war drums beating out a steady cadence, the feel of his sword gripped avaunt in his hands. There's something about power held and power administered, judgment from on high, the beating of wings and the raising of oriflammes ad majorum Dei gloriam. Infidels beneath his blade and the Wrath of God coming crashing down with every contraction of his form. There's something to be said for acting as the conduit for something greater and holier than him.

But if he were in Heaven, he wouldn't know what things like pine smelled like, nor would he appreciate the prickling sensations that run along his body when he stands bare beneath the sun. Just today, he learned how to swim and named a thousand leaves and ate a fruit that he'd found growing along the path leading to the hut he and Bartleby call home. He had to restrain himself from moaning aloud as the juices of the as-yet-unnamed thing dribbled down the lines of his jaw, and bit his lip when he noticed that the things grew in trees that dotted the countryside for miles in all directions.

Creation, Loki is starting to think, is designed for promoting contentment in mortals' lives, and damned if Loki's grown to love a lot of things about being mortal. If he were in Heaven it would all be an abstract, a foreign concept, the knowledge of air without lungs and skin without touch. Loki's come to love his lungs and can't remember what it was like before he could touch, so he thinks that it might just be an equitable trade. A diadem of stars for skin on his palms.

Most of all, though, if he were in Heaven then Loki couldn't press his face into the back of Bartleby's neck and breathe in the heady aroma of his corporeal form. He wouldn't know what sunlight pooling in the small of Bartleby's back looks like. He wouldn't know what it feels like when nerve endings fire and electrons climb up and down his body as Bartleby's hands complete the circuit between them. He wouldn't see _that_ grin on Bartleby's face and know, just know in his bones - bones, he's got bones now! - that everything's going to be okay, one way or another.

Loki knows he's luckier than most.