un_fallen: (color - got my eye on you)
A light rain is falling onto the wastes of Jubilee; still falling, if indeed it has ever stopped. The ground is beyond saturated, colorless mud and desolation as far as the eye can see, and the rain only promises to intensify. A bleak horizon is broken only by a low, equally colorless fueling station nearly invisible in the murk.

Raguel stomps around in it, his shoes making schlock, schlock noises in the mud, and if he realizes it's raining he pays it no attention. He felt something: perhaps no more than the stirrings of a wildly overactive imagination, but this was oddly familiar. By long practice he's learned to sort the instinct from the white noise and confusion that clouds most of his mind, and Raguel has always trusted his instincts.
un_fallen: (LAFD)
FRIDAY.

It's very late, and the darkness is made complete by thick, black smoke that billows around Raguel like a living creature. Though he's wearing a small plastic mask in case anyone spots him, it would be ineffective in smoke this dense. He already looks like something less than human, covered in soot and waving his arms around like a madman. Of course, when Raguel waves his arms around, the smoke and the fire generally follow where he directs them.

If they can get just this part of the blaze under control, he'll feel that he can go. It's the last of the major fires that threaten houses and man-made structures in this region. The other firemen will rest. If they can just get this part locked down.

But here there's a howling, rushing noise that he recognizes from unpleasant experience; the wind is picking up again and carrying embers with it. Burning pieces fly through the air by the hundreds and he can't stop them all. It seems that he's going to need to get closer to the fire itself to push it back.

He can see a faint glow ahead, and moves toward it through the roaring and the smoke.

Someone takes a swipe at his head with a sword.

He ducks, cursing, thanking Somebody that his wings weren't out or they'd have been sheared off at the join. He glances to his right, where the flash of metal had appeared, and sees grayish feathers.

Something isn't right.

He slows, feeling the weight of the wings.

The howling is louder now, though the wind can't possibly have picked up this much; it's stronger than any whirlwind, and the fire wouldn't generate drafts this strong so far away. There are flashes up ahead - not flashes of fire but of bright lights, wavering and insubstantial and familiar and not quite on this plane of reality and suddenly - no - it's too large, he doesn't want to go any further. He steps backward, yelling something; he has no idea what, and someone catches him and holds him fast. He keeps yelling, but he can't move, and the figure holding him looks like - like -

Crowley


Benjamin Lott, a firefighter he recognizes from the truck. There's something wrong with his face.

"Fred!" Benjamin is yelling through the thick mask he's wearing - much more substantial than Raguel's. Raguel stares at him. Benjamin drags him back toward clearer air, and Raguel remembers that he introduced himself as Fred, that it's sewn onto his jacket. Fred. He glances back into the smoke, but there are no more flashes, glances back at

Ben

and thinks he has an idea what he imagined he saw on that unmasked face.



He thinks it might have been a scar.
un_fallen: (color - got my eye on you)
[From here.]

Raguel is very good, but he is not River Tam; in a physical fight his movements are strong, quick, but he lacks her unerring instinct, the unthinking grace.

At first it had been only four Reavers, then five, then all too soon it was ten... and twenty. Too many. A firestorm to destroy them all would also have destroyed any evidence remaining here, and would potentially have broken the Shé Xuán apart.

He'd searched it. He'd been ready to abandon it. But Destroying The Evidence is a repulsive idea that has been long entrenched in the very core of him. It was becoming clear, however, that he wasn't going to have a choice if he wanted to be around to find his target.

But then the flood had - suddenly - lessened. The nearest dock had been damaged when Raguel's skimmer had been rammed away from it, so that the moment he'd pulled the airlock's lever down to admit a torrent of madness and violence, the ship's air had begun venting out through a fracture. The Reaver ships had begun a sluggish process of undocking and abandoning their fellows; the lack of air had finally reached a critical point and one by one those on board fell, gasping, to the floor.

There'd been one more major change in the look of his surroundings. The door to that bizarrely well-organized room must have locked when it had swung closed, because he'd found a hundred new marks on it; dents and scuffs and    smears    were all over the door and extending for several feet around it. He'd gone to check the room again (stepping over a few new corpses) and found everything inside as he left it, with one exception. The strange stick with the button on it, abandoned on top of the folders, had retracted its prongs.

"Uh huh," he'd mumbled, and pocketed it.



There had been two inhabitable moons in an escape pod's range of the ship when it had been attacked, he'd remembered. One of them was a sparsely populated mining colony. The other was a moderately populous border moon with a budding economy and a promising climate.

He'd headed for the mining colony in the battered flagship. If you were going to crash-land a vessel (just as he was) on a moon, the last thing you wanted was pictures of it beamed around the 'verse by some technologically shrewd wunderkind. The colony might not even have had electricity, let alone have recognized the Shé Xuán from broadcasted pictures. If he'd been planning this sort of thing, he couldn't have wished for a better place. And it was beginning to look as though ELIZABETH RYDELL had planned this down to the second.

--


She does not stay long on either of the moons, but there are traces of the escape pod to be found there if you know what you're looking for. It's been disassembled, then certain parts melted down and 'found' in one of the mines with the rest of the ore. From there she leads him on a long trail winding from one planet to another, using a string of different names that he discovers when he bothers to check. But there are very few places that are not covered by surveillance of some kind; certainly not the places that ELIZABETH RYDELL frequents, and not all of them have been erased. They aren't centers of commerce, but there are crowds or centralized food and shopping, there are electronic eyes and there are people. Someone's always seen her, and Raguel doesn't have to rely on electronic records alone to know where she's been.

He knows what she looks like: young, fair complexion, blue eyes, hair falling in reddish-blonde waves past her chin. As the weeks pass, it falls down to her shoulders. She never cuts or colors her hair, which he finds odd. She's smart, that much is clear, but she's not a professional. Careful, but still makes mistakes. Moves around, but doesn't disappear. She relies on the kindness of strangers that she never trusts with more than a heavy bag, never for more than a moment. And she's finally found a place to settle down when Raguel arrives to highlight where she went wrong.
un_fallen: (color - angeltianshi)
It took a jolt to get Raguel to leave Southdown. The need to find out what happened had been growing for a while, but it was a half-heard conversation between Aziraphael and Gabriel Tam that finally got him to do it. There are still more questions he didn't want to ask the angel, and the longer he stayed, the harder it became to ask them. He needs some face time with the Senator.

He's planted himself in the crowd watching Tam's latest speech to calm the paranoia over yet another Reaver attack on a settlement, but he isn't really watching it. He's thinking, talking to himself - and if we are completely honest - justifying his absence from Persephone.

In his opinion, tracking is a pleasant change from moping and doing nothing at the abbey. That was necessary, but now it's time for action, if action is possible. Someone planned this. Someone pulled the trigger. Gabriel is another step toward getting there.

And once he's found the one behind it, maybe then he'll allow himself to go back.
un_fallen: (color - fire)
Raguel doesn't like being this close to the Core if he can help it, but business has taken him there and he always follows business, even when it runs.

The location means he finds himself in the bar of a larger club than usual, trying to dig up some information on the particularly fleet-footed, paranoid target who'd jumped onto the nearest ship and fled for the Core. Raguel had watched the ship take off, then went to find something to eat before following. More interesting if you let them get a head start. But the chase that began with the border planets has led him to this dive, all sleek screens and dust-free furniture, and he's never been what you'd call comfortable with luxury.

He didn't bother wishing up any nicer clothes as he doesn't intend to be here long. He's in the middle of a nice chat with the shapely bartender about what she had for breakfast (he could almost see it, with a neckline that dipped that low) when he sees a still image of Crowley come up on the video newsfeed behind her.

He's already entertained some vague ideas about stopping off on Lavinia as long as he's in the neighborhood, so to speak, and if Crowley isn't at home then there's little point in him going by and scaring the Bentley employees. Besides the fun of it, of course.

He turns up the silent feed with a gesture, and the girl behind the bar disappears with some loud excuse about power fluctuations and nosy customers. Completely absorbed now, he doesn't notice.

"...ship's location is currently unknown," says the reporter, "but it is now feared that Bentley Aeronautics' flagship, as well as its CEO, have fallen prey to the very Reaver collective the group was following to Amesbury."

Five minutes later, he's waving Southdown Abbey.



After Aziraphael comes into the room, sits down, dismisses his messenger, fiddles with the reception, and can't reasonably occupy himself with other minutiae, the fact that Raguel hasn't actually said anything becomes much more conspicuous. When Aziraphael looks up, Raguel is watching him and twisting at the hem of his fraying shirt. Finally he leans in, anxious eyes searching the angel's face.

"Do you know?"
un_fallen: (liberty street)
"We should talk," was all he'd said to Coyote in the bar, after a few aborted (and silent, aside from the stilted greetings) attempts at broaching a conversation. There wasn't a corner removed enough, though, and the idea of the rooms upstairs, well. They didn't have the most appropriate atmosphere.

"Come see my new place!" he'd said instead, with a little too much enthusiasm. So they'd strolled through the door, up the street, and into his new apartment building with Raguel in grim silence and Coyote apparently in relaxed spirits. Once inside, though, Raguel came partially back to life to play tour guide.

"Front door opens onto the living room, but I don't mind. Er. Got a new table. Black," he adds helpfully.
un_fallen: (serious - for a change)
Crowley,

Keep an eye out when you're in the bar in the next couple weeks. There's a new patron who's got some specialized weapons to take out demons and he's used them already.

Blue eyes, blond hair, can't be more than 14. Wears a lot of white. He's trigger-happy and has a good aim. Lucky thing that I am what I am, for once. Security knows about it and they're keeping an eye on him.

Raguel
un_fallen: (i also clean up rather well)
"I have to say, I'm glad that you chose the zoo," Raguel says enthusiastically, piloting the battered pickup along a climbing, winding road toward Griffith Park. "I spend as much time as I can in this area, but I don't get to wander that part of it much."

Once they enter the park, the road takes them through an area that has clearly been devastated by fire, now with signs of new growth here and there as the greenery starts to come back. Around and around goes the road, Raguel taking turns confidently enough but with no apparent reasoning. He points out landmarks as they go, some more recognizable through the devastation than others.

"There was a fire here last year," he says by way of explanation. "A few of these roads are still closed, but I think it's worth the detours to come this way instead of the freeway."

He glances over at her hopefully. Though at this point he should be mostly hopeful that she's not about to be sick.
un_fallen: (LAFD)
(after this)



Sallie,

Don't think I can visit your time, but if you're tired of the Observation Window and you'd like to come to mine, here are some ideas. I don't go out much. Anything look interesting?

Raguel




There are several touristy brochures accompanying the note, all touting various places to spend a pleasant afternoon in and around Los Angeles. Griffith Park is the top one, but there's also the Queen Mary, Mulholland Drive, several art museums, and Mann's Chinese Theatre.
un_fallen: (color - fire)
His mission is simple enough: get a large supply of weapons out of the hands of a man who has proven time and again that he can not handle them properly. If asked, Raguel could not explain what is meant by 'properly,' but he can be fairly certain that it does not include threatening unsuspecting people into giving you money and food. That would be like stealing, and stealing is an injustice. The man should be taken quietly out of play.

Unfortunately, under the circumstances Raguel is not interested in 'quiet.'

There's a lot of shooting, followed by cursing (mostly theirs), followed by screaming (mostly his). After he opens his wings, there's more screaming (mostly theirs).

The house the gang had taken over burns to the ground, killing eight people and critically wounding two others. Raguel thinks it's too bad that there were other people present since he'd only meant to go after the one. Wrong place at the wrong time. It happened.

But he can bet those other two won't be following in their former employer's footsteps.

Raguel is whistling as he gets on the train to the next town.
un_fallen: (memory)
Want to know what Raguel ([livejournal.com profile] un_fallen) thinks of character X? Get 'em here. You can have the present or future version if that's the way your multiverse turns, or Famine ([livejournal.com profile] die_tician) if you prefer. Famine's opinion, though, is likely to be kind of one-dimensional. ;)
un_fallen: (i also clean up rather well)
Crowley has been surprisingly charitable for most of the time spent in Raguel's new apartment - criticizing everything, of course, but only in the most general way. He pronounces it barely habitable, which Raguel takes to mean that he's done a decent job. And if the shower (and by necessity, the bathroom) has slightly larger dimensions when Crowley walks out of it than when he walked in, Raguel doesn't mention it.

It's late afternoon when they step out into the hallway and furtively climb the ladder to the roof. It's not much of a view, but the sunlight through dry air casts sharp shadows that make the grunge a little harder to see.

"You don't think anyone will notice us, with the sun still up?" Raguel asks, a little nervously.

Meanwhile

Jan. 1st, 2008 05:22 pm
un_fallen: (color - got my eye on you)
Somewhere in the vicinity of New Melbourne, Raguel is brokering a deal.

They're a ragtag group - all the unsavory types he's used to dealing with (except maybe for one sandy-haired kid in the corner, panic in his face, as green around the gills as anyone he's ever seen). This many weapons, that many bags of grain - and the sellers want weapons a lot more than they want grain, that's clear enough. They do seem to have quite a few weapons of their own, though.

Raguel is about to comment on this – even here, no one would dare to contradict him - when a door opens up on another planet and his head splinters apart.

"Again," he growls, knees already hitting the floor.

The dealers begin arguing - the 'mediator' is down, sick or something. At least a couple of them stare at him curiously, but make no move to help.

Flashes of Crowley, pale as a ghost, looking anxious. A roaring sound over the gunfire, and sickly fog blurs his vision.

Voices escalate. A few shots are fired, then there's the sound of people scrambling behind crates, running out of the room, more yelling, more shots. Raguel, lying between the two groups, doesn't hear much of it.

Mal, Kaylee, Gabriel Tam - they swam in and out of focus and then Crowley is speaking to him again. Him.

"Go home," he snarls from the ground. "Tianshi."

Phantom feathers tug on him from behind. There's a voice in his ear, many voices, one voice. He stares around, seeing only fear on the faces of his friends.

And suddenly, he can feel something separating him from the other. It's not gone, but it's muffled - behind a paper wall. He can't see it. Thinking his own thoughts is just a little closer to possible.

"Get out," he hisses at the kid who's nearest to him, now cowering behind a crate and holding his gun wrong. The kid looks at him with wide eyes and doesn't move.

Raguel pushes his upper body off the floor but doesn't get very far before the ragged gunfire picks up again and a stray shot takes him right in the neck. He curses loudly at the culprit, too weak to make either the wound or the pain vanish.

Using the edge of the nearest crate, he manages to climb all the way to his feet amid the flying bullets. Blood from the wound streams down over his collarbone and begins to soak his clothes, and in a flash of lucidity he sees the kid with the gun staring at him in terror.

And in an instant, the terrible duality in his head has vanished.

"That's it," Raguel mutters viciously, and for a fraction of a second there is a flare of light blindingly strong and crimson and hot – hot like the core of the sun. And then it's gone.

The walls have melted slightly and warped, making the whole warehouse bow outward. The grain and the guns are gone. And there's not a trace remaining of anyone else who was in the room.

Well, that kid probably would have gone bad, anyway, he thinks, collapsing back to the floor. With only people like that to guide him - it happened. Sort of.

Raguel stays in the room for a while longer, elbows on his knees, head down. He half-expects some kind of retribution, but it doesn't come.

Bits and pieces of the encounter do, though. The time before and after. And suddenly, urgently, he needs to go and visit Crowley.
un_fallen: (glare light)
The staff of the 24-hour diner leave him alone, for the most part. The coffee's nearly cold when he finally comes to his decision.

He's known for a long time that this was coming, he reasons. He found out it could happen from the kid by the lake that night. He even had a conversation with Aziraphael about it, more than a year ago. Both exchanges had touched on the impossibility of stopping the creature he would become.

They'd assumed, of course, that the Angel of Vengeance would be unavailable.

He waves away another fresh top-off, standing at last and listening to the creaking of his bad knee. Glancing around, he notices the wait staff looking at him oddly. He can't really blame them; he's been there for over 20 hours and all he's ordered is coffee. Guiltily, he adds a ridiculously large tip to the crumpled bills on the table, and flees. He takes a bus heading west.

Back in Los Angeles the haze has vanished. He walks back to his apartment slowly, like a visitor taking in the glorious sights of the chain drugstores, the gas stations, the last-chance-discount signs.

He gets partway up the stairs in his building before coming to a sudden halt. Something isn't quite right. Another few cautious steps confirm that the source of the uneasiness is centered on his own room. It's - it's demonic, is what it is - a few weeks old, maybe, but definitely there. He takes the stairs more quickly, mind racing, wondering what demon would be stupid enough to turn up here, of all places.

He pushes the door open, knowing it's empty, still standing out of easy sight from inside, and when deranged imps fail to jump out at him he peers around the frame.

Oh.

There are spirals and clouds and abstract shapes traced through the dust on the windows, and he doesn't need to take fingerprints to know who was waiting for him here. There's a sudden pang of guilt as he realizes that, occupied as he was, he took off without so much as a note at the bar. And Mal might know he left, but he wouldn't know for where.

There's a paperback novel on the bed, looking a little the worse for wear, and he picks it up without thinking. It's your standard whodunit murder mystery, and he flips through for a couple of minutes, absorbed.

"It was the doctor," he concludes, tossing the book down again. "I hope Aziraphael didn't give you this crap."

He should hurry, he thinks suddenly, if only because it would be so easy to wait, to be distracted, to allow someone to talk him out of it. And in all honesty, the fewer people that know about this, the better. He can talk to Crowley when he gets back.

He gives the place another visual once-over, and heads for the door.
un_fallen: (color - let's be serious)
There's still quite a lot of blood on his shirt, but before he even thinks of wishing it away, Raguel sends a note back to Galadan. Enclosed is the wooden 'G' the messenger had been carrying in his pocket. It's a little stained now, but otherwise good as new.


You really shouldn't trust Gi Saeng with your packaging as he tends to make stops to hand-pick the stars for his next kiddie porno. Makes things late.

He dropped this at some point.

Made sure your package was delivered. The mail must go through, isn't that what they used to say? Guess you wouldn't know.

So, you're doing the security for Tam Tam's press conference. Good luck with that.



That last is just a little joke.

Raguel can't stifle the onset of snickers as he sends it off.
un_fallen: (sleeve (fahye))
Raguel was good, he found, at traveling under the radar. He didn't usually do it on purpose, but he'd never had a desire to go to ground quite so thoroughly as he did now. Skulking around Los Angeles became skulking around small towns in Nebraska, large towns in Washington, medium towns in New Hampshire. His only thought was to keep moving, keep working on what to do, as Moiraine had suggested. To not give up.

It got harder as the weeks wore on. His function still came upon him, but far less often. Lately he didn't much care whether it did or not.

December now, and there were extra lights in the windows: candles and colored decorations and lamps to guide tipsy departing guests. Raguel tried not to dwell on them. In the early morning silence he tried instead to remember how he'd always liked the sight of the road stretching out, the flatlands, the desert that went on and on as far as he could see. But he'd walked for thousands of years down those paths. Strange how he'd never noticed that an empty sky and a cool wash of desert were so damn lonely.
un_fallen: (LAFD)

When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best
When they lay me down to die
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky


After his horrible conversation with Mal all those weeks ago, Raguel went for a walk. It wasn't outwardly any different from the usual; he walked through the city because he didn't know what else to do. He'd tried sitting in his room but soon began to hate the walls of the place, and the repeating Los Angeles motif of cheapness and cardboard was pleasantly numbing at first. But then he came to the dentist located over a bail bonds shop - a juxtaposition that looked oddly familiar until he realized it was next door to the church where he'd kept his sword. Its stained glass was dark and the walls silent this weekday afternoon. He couldn't remember why he'd decided to keep the thing there.

The next building he passed was a Chevron gas station blaring 'Spirit in the Sky.' He went back to his room for the rest of the week.

When he emerged again, the outside smelled like smoke and a haze hung over everything. Something big was on fire and the hushed atmosphere, the people wearing masks, the air of impending danger matched his mood perfectly. He hesitated a moment, taking it all in.

Well, he wasn't going to the rescue this time. His presence was probably doing more harm than good anyway, and he never liked Los Angeles. Let the whole damned place burn.

Raguel turned his back and started the long walk out of town.
un_fallen: (hidden)
Raguel slinks in, head down, an air of determination and untouchability about him that keeps most patrons looking right past him. He's here to wait and to watch, and if the people he's looking for fail to turn up in an hour or so, he'll leave.

It's not the easiest thing, being in here. He tries not to look around much beyond the door.

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