kethni: (Matt/Mo)
[personal profile] kethni
Name: Falling – Chapter 14
Pairing: Matt/Mohinder
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Spiritual revisionism? Angels, demons, religion, all battered and abused.
Note: Historical fiction
Final Chapter




Mohinder licks his lips. ‘Why does it matter?’

‘Why does it matter?’ Matt echoes. ‘It matters because I’m an ant and you’re an eagle. An ant might dream of flying like an eagle but no eagle ever dreamt of ants. I’m nothing to you.’

‘That’s not true.’

‘How old are you? Are you as old as the mountains, Mohinder, as old as the earth, or as old as the stars? Were you full in years when Adam and Eve were young?’

Mohinder grits his teeth. ‘I don’t see why that matters.’

‘Because I’m human and you’re an angel. I’m nothing, less than nothing, to you.’

‘That’s not true!’ Mohinder has to fight not to raise his voice. ‘It’s not true. If you could hear it then you’d know that my heart beats to the sound of your voice.’

Matt smiles as he leans forward and rests his elbows on his knees. ‘If you were human you’d bestow your affections on a worthier man.’

‘I don’t believe there is such a creature,’ Mohinder says tartly.

‘You’re a romantic.’

Mohinder interlaces their fingers. ‘Angels only live longer, Matt, that’s all. If you knew how envious some of us grow of the physical world…’

‘That wasn’t exactly what I meant.’

Mohinder shakes his head. ‘Our lives are devoted to praising God, Matt, and that is enough. We have no personal achievements but you will touch the lives of so many. You’ll inspire devotion not only in yourself but in God and from more humans than currently tread the earth. Your name will be spoken of for hundreds of years.’

Matt’s always pale skin blanches almost to the colour of parchment. ‘I’m to be martyred?’

‘No! No, nothing like that.’

‘I never understood the desire,’ Matt says weakly. ‘Christians seem to idolise it but what use is it? What use is dying?’ He sighs. ‘I apologise.’

Mohinder cradles Matt’s hand between his own. ‘It’s the ceiling.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘I’m here because of the chapel ceiling. That’s why your name will be famous.’

‘It’s just a ceiling,’ Matt says blankly. ‘Most orders with a little money seek to have their buildings adorned.’

‘This will be different,’ Mohinder says confidently. ‘You’re a skilled artist and your work will make it special. God is working through you.’

‘I hope God doesn’t mean to have half the pay or I’ll be beggared.’

‘Don’t be nervous,’ Mohinder says gently.

‘You keep making jokes, and your hands are shaking.’

‘Oh,’ Matt says sheepishly. ‘What’s going to happen?’

‘I thought I might kiss you.’

Matt smiles and squeezes Mohinder’s hand. ‘I hope you will but won’t you be punished?’

‘I don’t want to fall.’

‘Would you be cast out?’

‘I don’t know,’ Mohinder says quietly. ‘Falling from grace is not about actions so much as it is about a state of mind: when one abandons faith, duty, and fealty to descend into selfishness. Every angel dreads it. There is always forgiveness for the truly repentant but once fallen repentance seems the last thing they about which they care.’

Matt licks his lips. ‘I don’t want you to risk yourself for me. My life is a moment to yours.’ He snaps his fingers. ‘That’s how quickly I’ll be gone.’

‘Don’t speak like that,’ Mohinder says, and kisses him softly.



Adam is sat outside the confessional, pulling at his fingers in silent misery when a shadow casts across him.

‘Lost your way?’ Luke asks.

Adam looks up and a muscle jumps in his cheek. ‘More than might be imagined. I thought you were medicine to sleep. Should you be wandering the abbey?’

‘God came to me,’ Luke says, sitting beside Adam on the pew.

‘Oh. I see.’

Luke shrugs. ‘In the form of a pretty blonde maiden.’

Adam raises his eyebrows. ‘A maiden.’

‘God said that he, she, contains all possibilities but that appearing male had grown boring of late and all the churched would be shocked to know it.’

‘I have no doubt,’ Adam says weakly.

‘I know what you did. I know you told Father Abbot where I was so that they might arrest me.’

Adam’s face crumples. ‘They told me not to say yet! They said it would upset you and only so that I might ease my conscience. I’m sorry! I’m so sorry… I didn’t know… He said a penance not a burning. I should have never…’ Adam tries to staunch his tears. ‘I’m sorry.’

‘Was it worth the price?’

‘I didn’t even get the price,’ Adam hiccups through his tears.

‘Would you do it again?’ Luke asks.

‘No, never.’

Luke sighs. ‘Good then.’

Adam dries his eyes and looks askance at the other man. ‘Are you going to strike me?’

‘I should. Maybe later.’ Luke smiles. ‘I’m tired and still thinking on what God said.’

‘About being a maid?’

‘There were other things.’ Luke pulls up his legs onto the pew. ‘She says that I can be a prophet, or a monk, or have a lonely life of moderate contentment. But only one.’

Adam raises his eyebrows. ‘What a choice that is. Why not continue as a monk?’

‘I know too well that cruelty and hypocrisy are not excluded from the church though I wish they were,’ Luke says quietly.

‘Why can you not be a monk and prophet?’

Luke smiles wryly. ‘She says I would be burned for heresy within the week.’

‘A prophet alone?’

‘Within five years.’

‘I wonder then that you would even consider it.’

Luke shrugs. ‘My life would have meaning. If I were to marry it would be a lie. I’ll die soon enough. What use is a long life used to achieve nothing, do nothing, and mean nothing?’

‘I meant to do things with my life. I meant to be a great artist. The greatest artist. See what that desire for meaning has done to me?’



Sunlight glimmers through the painted glass windows and casting the top of the scaffold in a golden light.

‘What does this mean?’ Mohinder asks. He delicately lifts up the string around Matt’s neck and examines the tiny scroll tied to it. ‘Is it a spell?’ he teases.

‘It’s a fragment of the Talmud, so my mother claimed.’ Matt puts his hand over Mohinder’s. ‘It’s a bit of folklore; really, when the temple was sacked in the destruction of Jerusalem they burned everything. They smashed the altar, melted down the altar ornaments, and set fire to the scrolls. They burned the genealogy scrolls and the holy scrolls as though they were nothing.’ Matt taps the scroll with his finger. ‘This is supposed to be a fragment of one of the holy scrolls burned there.’ He shrugs. ‘It’s a superstition that it attracts goodness.’

Mohinder unbuttons Matt’s tunic with shaking hands. ‘Do you think it’s working?’

‘I have no complaints.’ Matt ducks his head and catches Mohinder’s mouth.

Mohinder’s eyes close and his breath catches. He’ll never get used to this. Never not live in this moment of communion, of pounding pulses, and of breathless anticipation.

‘I need to breathe,’ Matt whispers.

‘Overrated.’



‘I should go back to the chapel,’ Adam says, standing up.

‘I don’t think you should.’

‘Why not? What’s happening in there?’

‘They’re coming together.’ Luke brushes his hair from his face. ‘If you love him, let him have this.’

Adam’s face flushes. ‘He’s my master, is all.’

‘Right. Every apprentice is so jealous of his master’s affections as you are,’ Luke scoffs. ‘You look at Brother Mohinder at times as if you might murder him.’

‘You have a peculiar notion of how love manifests.’

‘You have a peculiar way of manifesting it,’ Luke retorts. ‘You’ve no intention to keep him even in you could.’

‘He’s not mine,’ Adam says quietly. ‘If he ever was, I lost him when he saw your Brother Mohinder.’



The wood of the scaffold is rough against Mohinder’s skin. When he closes his eyes, he can feel the trees that the wood once was, the thrusting of its roots into the soil, and the unfurling of its leaves in the summer sun.

He opens his eyes and threads his fingers into Matt’s hair.

‘Can you read my mind by playing with my hair?’

‘I can feel the sunlight that you walk in.’ Mohinder smiles. ‘I think you carry sunshine with you.’ He pulls Matt down and into a kiss.

Skin meets skin in the warm afternoon sunshine. Fingers entwine, stroke, and caress.

The world drifts away. There’s no chapel. No abbey. No realm but that circumscribed by the breadth and width of them.

Mohinder’s fingers dig into Matt’s back as he gasps and sees the world in Matt’s eyes.



The coolness of the evening touches Mohinder’s skin and wakes him from his slumber. He shivers as he sits up on the scaffold and reaches to pull his habit on. There’s no sign of Matt but when he crawls to the edge of the scaffold he sees the other man down below, surrounded by parchment.

‘Lust motivates humans to amazing feats,’ Elle remarks, looking over the scaffold. ‘They’ll climb mountains, fight duels, and cross rivers. But love strikes a match to passion and where it burns, inspiration blazes.’

Mohinder licks his lips and looks at Elle. ‘What’s he doing?’ he asks tentatively.

‘I just told you!’ she says, slapping his arm. ‘He’s inspired. He’s working on ideas for the ceiling.’

‘Oh.’

‘You were asleep,’ she says more gently. ‘He’s inspired. You wouldn’t begrudge him that.’

‘No, of course not.’ Mohinder stares at his hands. ‘It is why I’m here, is it not?’

Elle leans against him. ‘Don’t sulk,’ she chides. ‘You did nothing but by your own will.’

‘You might have told me.’

‘You’re not a temple prostitute to be sent to seduce him,’ she tuts.

Mohinder licks his lips. ‘Am I to be cast out?’

‘Do you love me, Momo?’ she asks, batting her eyes.

‘Always.’

She kisses his forehead. ‘Don’t be angry at me.’

‘I’m not. I just…’ Mohinder looks down at Matt. ‘It’ll be years before the ceiling is completed.’

‘Mohinder…’

Please?’ he begs. ‘What’s four years to us?’

Elle brushes a lock of hair behind her ear. ‘You’ve known him for a few days and you wish to devote four years to him?’

‘I love him,’ he says simply.

‘And what then? I suppose you will want ten years, thirty years, fifty years.’ Elle taps his nose. ‘His time is short.’

‘You sent me here for this; it’s hardly just to complain that I have fulfilled your plan too well.’

Elle rolls her eyes. ‘Four years and then… we will see. But I have other plans to attend to and if you end up on a pyre in the meanwhile I won’t come running to rescue you.’

‘Thank you. Thank you.’

‘There is a price.’

Mohinder looks at her cautiously. ‘Not Nathan.’

‘Nathan is feeling sorry for himself.’ She shrugs. ‘Without his mother’s influence, his better nature may prevail.’

‘That’s desperation, not repentance.’

‘If I refused all repentance born in desperate times, there would be no forgiveness,’ Elle snorts. ‘Be my conduit with him.’

‘I shan’t enjoy it.’

‘You will be with your artist; you will have enough pleasure.’ She waves a hand. ‘Go feed your artist’s ardour. Passion doesn’t live on air and memory.’

Mohinder kisses her gently. ‘Thank you for this. I will earn your indulgence.’ He moves to the ladder and begins climbing down.

‘You had to fall a little, Mohinder,’ she calls after him. ‘How will you know if you can fly if you never take a leap of faith?’



The End

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kethni

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