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Name: Falling – Chapter 13
Pairing: Matt/Mohinder
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Spiritual revisionism? Angels, demons, religion, all battered and abused.
Note: Historical fiction

The meat of Nathan’s corpse drops to the ground.

The rain stops. The sky clears. Somewhere in the distance a cow is lowing.

‘Would you please free Luke while they’re still too stunned to do anything?’ Mohinder murmurs to Matt.

‘It’s a miracle!’ shouts a young male voice. ‘God’s spoken, free the monk!’

‘Or witchcraft,’ someone mutters, eyeing Mohinder suspiciously.

‘Did the Lord not say that a house divided against itself cannot stand?’ Mohinder demands. ‘The devil cannot cast out demons. Witchcraft cannot create miracles.’

‘It’s a miracle!’ the voice shouts again. This time people murmur and mutter in accord.

‘Apparently it is,’ remarks the local lord, Lord Grey. ‘You, peasants, disperse!’

Matt supports Luke with his arm as he helps him down.

‘Are you peasants?’ Mohinder tartly asks the monks who are beginning to drift away. ‘Kindly carry these bodies into the abbey so they may be buried properly.’

‘God smote them,’ Brother Eric says heavily.

‘And your point is what?’

Grumbling, the monks carry the two bodies away as the villagers slowly drift off, unwilling to entirely leave while there is still some entertainment to be had.

‘Brother Robert will regret travelling to town,’ Lord Grey remarks. ‘Though you are considerably easier on the eye, Brother.’

‘We ought to get Brother Luke back into the abbey,’ Matt says firmly. ‘I fear a nervous collapse may be near.’

Lord Grey bows to Mohinder. ‘I hope to make your acquaintance better and soon, Brother,’ he says.

Mohinder waits until he is out of earshot before turning to Adam. ‘I thought I heard you shouting.’

‘I was disappointed no-one took up the cry of miracle,’ Adam says, shaking his head. He joins them as they begin walking towards the abbey.

A shape coalesces next to Mohinder.

‘I can’t say that is my primary concern,’ Nathan says dryly, folding his arms as he regards Mohinder.

‘Dying is bad enough but being killed by lightning is painful as well as unnecessarily gaudy,’ Nathan complains.

Mohinder shuts the door to his cell. ‘That was no choice of mine.’

‘You were hardly mourning.’

‘Why are you here?’ Mohinder demands.

Nathan raises his eyebrows. ‘I was disembodied, violently, against my will.’

Mohinder pours water into a bowl rolls up his sleeves. ‘Again, not by my choice.’

‘He means that he’s unable to leave the abbey,’ Elle says shortly. ‘But he’s going to leave this room, right now.’

Nathan puts his hands up and takes a few steps back. ‘I would like to speak to-’

Elle points at the door. ‘Out!’

Nathan bows mockingly to Mohinder and fades through the wall.

‘I beg forgiveness for offending you,’ Mohinder says meekly.

Elle plants her hands on her hips. ‘I told you that I would do what I could.’

‘I know.’

‘I’m talking,’ she scowls. ‘I will not have my hand forced, Mohinder! When a human demands miracles as though it were his due it is arrogance and folly but you should know better. You do know better! I am not to be tested, Mohinder.’ She waves her hand. ‘Now you may speak.’

‘I apologise. I should have had more faith.’

‘That I would do as you wished?’

‘That you know what should be done.’

Elle stalks about the room. ‘I am the one who determines what is right and wrong.’

‘It’s difficult,’ he says awkwardly. He licks his lips. ‘What seems so clear and simple in heaven appears a good deal more complicated when here. It is problematic to accept that sacrifices are needed, that humans will have their rewards after death, when one sees them up on their level. When you speak to them, hear their anxieties, their hopes, it becomes very hard to know that they may die for little reason.’

‘I know that,’ she says more gently. ‘I don’t expect you to remain aloof from them, Mohinder, not at all, but you cannot save them all.’

Mohinder nods. ‘It won’t happen again.’

‘You try it again and I’ll put you up on the stake myself,’ she says, scowling at him. ‘Still, it’s not a disaster. It does no harm to surprise the demons from time to time and Nathan might benefit from some time to consider his existence.’

‘How long will he be trapped in the abbey?’

Elle shrugs easily. ‘Until he’s freed. Angela can’t do it of course; the devil can’t cast out demons!’

‘I can’t pretend I’ll relish his presence.’

‘Maybe you’ll consider that when next you insist I provide you with a miracle,’ she says tartly. ‘That and the pilgrims you will be tripping over.’


‘They tend to turn up at the site of every wall-eyed drunk proclaiming they can cure scrofula,’ she says. ‘You, Mohinder, called down lightning on two people and prevented the burning of a third.’ She throws herself onto his bed and looks up at the ceiling. ‘Unless of course that they decide that you’re a witch.’

‘You wouldn’t let me be burned at the stake,’ Mohinder says, climbing onto the bed next to her. ‘Would you?’

She rolls to face him and pokes him in the chest with her finger. ‘I should. You deserve it.’

‘But then how should I ensure the artist paints the ceiling?’

‘Oh well, then I suppose that I had best ensure that you don’t end up lit up like a torch,’ she says airily.

‘Thank you.’

Elle flicks his nose with her finger. ‘I wait with interest to see how you explain your miracle to him.’

Mohinder squirms at the thought. ‘He is a pragmatic man. He will likely think the storm a coincidence.’

‘Don’t confuse pragmatism with a lack of faith. He’s not lacking and he’s a better grasp of what is truly important than most. Better a compassionate pragmatist than a callous idealist.’

‘I suspect that idealism might make for better art,’ Mohinder says meekly.

‘Skill makes for good art but passionate makes it great.’ She waggles her eyebrows. ‘The artist is a man of deep passion.’

Mohinder feels his cheeks warm. ‘He’s awaiting inspiration.’

‘Inspiration doesn’t strike from the sky, it comes from the accumulation of a thousand influences, a hundred moments, and one final spark to set the whole thing ablaze.’ She kisses him on the forehead. ‘But do try to keep out of trouble from here won’t you?’

Adam inclines his head towards Matt as Matt rubs his shoulder.

‘You can do a nice painting of the prosecutor being struck by lightning,’ Matt suggests.

‘That’s not funny,’ Adam says, smiling and digging an elbow in Matt’s ribs.

‘It’s a little funny.’

Adam’s mouth twitches. ‘Two men died.’

Matt shrugs easily. ‘I would find it hard to cry for two men who would have had us both up on the stake if they could.’

‘Not because they were fixing to put Brother Mohinder on the fire beside Luke?’

Matt slaps Adam sharply on the rump and then drops his arm. ‘No, though if he had been up on the pyre it would’ve been his choice. That one needs a greater appreciation of danger.’

‘Why bother when he has you to appreciate it and everything else?’

Matt looks sideways at the younger man and raises his eyebrows. ‘This again?’

‘What this? There’s no “this” to be again.’ Adam stamps to the other side of the scaffold. ‘Have you made a compound for the filling of this hole?’

‘I make no complaint when you take lovers.’

‘He’s your lover now is he?’ Adam asks but with none of the tartness that Matt would have expected.

‘Not yet,’ Matt says, folding his arms.

‘Such confidence is most becoming,’ Adam smirks. ‘Are you planning a seduction?’

Matt blushes slightly and sets about making the compound. ‘You know that’s not my way.’

‘It seems unlikely to be his way.’ Adam nudges Matt with his shoulder. ‘You play with fire when you dally with a monk.’

‘I make no habit of it!’

‘I should hope that you don’t make a habit of tarrying with habits,’ Adam says lightly. ‘No good will come of it.’

Matt dashes the trowel into the pot. ‘I think I know that!’

‘There’s no necessity to lose your temper.’

Matt rubs his face. ‘You’re young and beautiful with the entirety of your career and life before you. I’m not. I have little to offer anyone but myself and little enough of worth there. The further along the path of my life I travel the more I wish for a constant companion and the less likelihood there is of finding one.’

Adam takes his hand and squeezes it gently. ‘I’m here.’

Matt kisses his forehead. ‘You’ve no desire to shackle yourself to me and I wouldn’t hobble you with me if you did.’

‘You want to shackle the monk to you, do you?’ Adam demands.

‘Don’t pout.’

Adam pulls a face. ‘You know I tend to jealousy.’

Matt chuckles and shakes his head. ‘Not many men could say that in such a way that manages to somehow absolve you of the responsibility.’

‘I have my skills.’ Adam looks down at the chapel floor. ‘Hark, here’s the miracle maker now. Be pleasant to him or he might call lightning down upon you.’

‘Wretch, you get you to the kitchen and see what food you can fetch for us.’

‘Do you think he hates me?’ Adam asks quietly.

Matt squeezes Adam’s hand. ‘Don’t go running to Luke, not yet. He’ll need time.’

Mohinder nods at Adam as the young man scuttles off guiltily out of the chapel. Remorse like so many natural functions is easily perverted into a stick the Rebel uses to beat the vulnerable, estranging them from the forgiveness they could easily claim.

‘I’ve brought some ale,’ Mohinder says, climbing onto the platform.

‘A good way to ensure a welcome,’ Matt says dryly. ‘Is Luke recovering?’

Mohinder nods and puts the earthenware bottle down. ‘The herbalist gave him a tincture to help him sleep and gain his strength. I don’t think he’s eaten or slept since this all began.’

‘Will he stay in the abbey?’

‘I don’t know. He seems to have a genuine faith unlike many of the brothers here,’ Mohinder says, rolling his eyes. ‘There’s one of the tragedies of it.’

‘He was fortunate you were here.’

Mohinder shakes his head. ‘If I wasn’t here then Nathan wouldn’t have done it. He used Luke against me.’

Matt nods distractedly. ‘If you say so.’

‘Have I offended you? I think I deserve to be told if I have,’ Mohinder says stiffly.

‘No.’ Matt runs his fingers through his hair. ‘Sit down, let’s have some ale.’

Mohinder nods silently and sits. He unstoppers the bottle and pours it into the two beakers that Matt hands him. ‘I haven’t thanked you for standing by me at the pyre.’

‘There’s no need.’ Matt sits down and takes a sip of ale.

Mohinder chews his lip. ‘Are you angry? I don’t understand why you’re being this way.’

Matt rubs his face. ‘I’m sorry I just… I’m shaken.’

‘Is there anything I can do?’

Matt stares into the beaker of ale. ‘You can tell me how you called down lightning.’

‘I didn’t call down lightning. I just asked for a miracle but there was a storm and the prosecutor was waving a sword.’

‘Please don’t lie to me,’ Matt says quietly.

Mohinder feels his stomach lurch. ‘No man can call down a miracle.’

Matt looks up from his ale. ‘I know. I’m an artist, Mohinder, I pay attention to details.’

‘What do you mean?’ Mohinder asks quietly.

‘You were sure that Luke wasn’t going to be burned. Absolutely sure. That might not mean anything, even the sudden storm might not mean anything, but you called on God to rescue Luke and he did.’ Matt rubs his forehead with the heel of his hand. ‘I hear you talking when there’s nobody there. Long conversations where you talk like you were never in England before never mind in a monastery.’ Matt shrugs. ‘And you eat like you never had food before, you look at the sky like you saw it before, and…’

‘And what?’

Matt smiles wistfully. ‘And you look at me like you have no idea how beautiful you are and how ordinary I am.’

‘You’re not ordinary,’ Mohinder promises. He reaches out tentatively and takes Matt’s hand. He tries to smile when Matt meets his eyes.

‘You try not to lie. If I ask you what you are will you tell me the truth?’

Mohinder licks his lips. ‘I’m not supposed to.’

‘Even if I think I already know?’ Matt asks gently.

Mohinder smiles and squeezes his hand. ‘Particularly then because you are so much likelier to believe me.’

‘I don’t believe you’re a witch, I never saw an accused witch who wasn’t some poor woman hounded for threatening some man or another, and I don’t believe you’re a demon. No demon ever cared about a person the way you care about Luke. The abbot, maybe, certainly there’s something causing such animosity between you.’

Mohinder licks his lips and takes a deep breath. ‘I’m glad to be thought neither witch nor demon.’

Matt smiles slightly. ‘I see that you intend to make me struggle all the way through.’

‘I’m not supposed to tell you and I don’t believe I should assist in your attempt at discovery,’ Mohinder laughs nervously.

‘When I heard you arguing in the empty room I thought perhaps you might be a prophet, though I think few likely to argue with God.’ Matt scratches his forehead. ‘Though if anyone would it might be you.’

‘I’m not a prophet.’

‘No, you’d be prophesying by now,’ Matt says sheepishly. ‘It wouldn’t explain the other things. So, not a witch, not a demon, and not a prophet.’

‘Does it matter what I am?’ Mohinder says. ‘I’m here and we… like each other.’

Matt takes a deep breath. ‘It matters if you’re an angel.’


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