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Title: Ananta Trikōṇa (Mythklok, Chapter 59)
Author: tikistitch
Rating: PG-13
Summary:
Warnings: Slash, AU, OCs. Also, there's a character death, but he gets better (like a lot of my characters tend to do).
Notes: Notes after the jump.

OK, are we all ready to jump back into this? I think LJ is up. But if not, it's over on Dreamwidth too. This is probably the second to last chapter of this arc.



Mythklok is a Metalocalypse AU. If you're behind and for some strange reason wanna catch up, the best place is my fic journal, [personal profile] tikific, where you are welcome to come visit the bits I’ve written and maybe poke them with a pointed stick. I've also written a general introduction in case you wanna jump in the middle of things, or have forgotten all this stuff due to Real Life.

Last time: We're still lost in a weird dreamlike universe of swords, sorcery and nacho chips, where everyone has lost either their powers or their memories. Charles seems to no longer be an angel, which you'd think would make him happy, but only seems to make him crankier. Ganesh blew up his lab restoring Raziel's angel powers, so he decided to take everybody to visit his mom. We encountered some of my annoying OCs, and they also picked up Nathan, Pickles, Skwisgaar, Murderface and Knubbler along the way. And we learned that Pickles and Skwisgaar messed stuff up by signing a contract with some discount witches. As we left off, they had reached the outskirts of Parvati's estate. But for whatever reason, Parvati's fertile valley is completely blanketed in snow.




Many years ago....

Perhaps you have heard the story of Lord Shiva, and how he despaired of life. And of how The Powers sent Lady Parvati to him, to bring him back into the world.

And for many years, Parvati was Shiva's consort. And then, in a time of peace and contentment, she bore him a child, a fine and healthy boy. And on his Naming Day, the boy was Named Skanda.

A year later, the world was not so peaceful. And Parvati bore another son. This one appeared not so fine and healthy, but small, and weak. And he caused Lady Parvati much worry. So much so that, in her vexation, she neglected her consort, Lord Shiva.

And Lord Shiva grew to think that the child was actually a curse, sent by his enemies, that Lady Parvati would turn her back on him.

Then the time came to ride to battle. And Lord Shiva came to Parvati as she stood over her son in his nursery, and told her, “You will ride at my side, as you always do.”

“Alas,” she told her consort, “while the boy is alive, I cannot leave his side, for I fear he will die without me.”

Lord Shiva, who was not used to being contradicted, especially by a female aspect such as Parvati, insisted, “You will ride at my side, as you always do.”

“My child is sick, my lord.”

Lord Shiva frowned. “A sickly child. Is he even mine?”

“How can you even ask such a question?”

“For the last time,” warned Shiva, “I am riding.”

“I am sorry, my husband, but while the boy lives, I cannot accompany you.”

And Shiva regarded her, and his anger was great, and so was his determination. “If that is how you will have it, then step aside.”

And Parvati knew in her bones what he meant. “I cannot do that, my husband.”

“Step aside,” repeated Lord Shiva.

“I cannot do that,” pleaded Parvati. “Please, do not ask me again.”

“I will ask you again, for the third and last time. Step aside.”

And so Parvati stepped aside, as she was ordered by her husband, as his anger was great, and his vengeance was swift.

And Lady Parvati put her head in her hands.

And Lord Shiva departed for war.

But Lady Parvati was not at his side.

Her grief was was deeper than the deepest ocean, and more boundless than the cold emptiness of space.

For six days, she sat in her garden, unaware of life or death.

And then on the seventh day, there was a thundering. The Wise Ones emerged from the tangle of jungle underbrush, and strode proudly up to Parvati as she sat in mourning and despair.

She looked sadly upon them. “Great king of the forest, why have you come?”

Their leader stepped forward. He was the largest and the oldest. One of his great tusks was broken. “We have been sent by Lord Brahma himself,” the Wise One told her. “Lord Brahma in his wisdom sent new life to you and your consort, but you have wasted it. He was greatly annoyed! He has spent days rattling his newspaper. I've never seen such a fuss. But we have observed that your grief is sincere. We have come to bargain.”

“What bargain can you possibly offer me now?” sighed Parvati.

“We will restore the child to you.”

Parvati held her breath. “And what is the price?” she asked.

“He will be your child, but he will also be ours. He will carry on the name of your house, but he will also carry our wisdom. He will be your son, but there will be parts of him you will never understand.”

“I accept this bargain,” Parvati told them. For truly, what else could she do.

And so the Wise Ones took up the child tenderly in their gentle trunks, and they sang him sweet songs in their ancient language.

And presently, the Wise Ones presented the child to Parvati. He was still small, but he appeared no longer sickly. He sat up, and his eyes were bright.

And his ears were very large.

He held up his little arms for her.

“Oh,” said Parvati. But she took him up in her arms, and he wrapped four arms around her, and softly touched her face with his tiny trunk.

“We will return on the child's Naming Day. We will select a Name for him, and call him our own,” the Wise Ones told her. And then they were gone, striding proudly back into the jungle.

And when at last Lord Shiva returned from battle, victorious, Parvati told him, “This is our child. The Wise Ones came, and they have restored him to us.”

“Yes,” agreed Shiva. “This has augured well for our success in battle. This is truly my child.”



The estate of Lady Parvati, the present day....

“Urd, kindly cease entwining your spells into my spells!”

“Orula, darling! You are the one mixing up your magic with mine!”

“And please remain over on your side of the road!”

“That is definitely not the kind of white line I enjoy encountering! I am having trouble walking in these heels!”

“You have trouble walking in any heels.”

“You two!” Ganesh scolded from horseback. “Do I need to come down there?”

“Noooo,” sulked Ourla, flipping his cape.

“No,” pouted Urd, glaring over her cats eye glasses.

“All right then! Carry on!”

The two beings continued their work, slowly and laboriously working magic to clear snow from the roadway so William Murderface could guide his hybrid Cadillac down the many switchbacks into the wintery valley that was Lady Parvati's estate.

Charles, riding behind Ganesh, found himself in a distinctly odd mood. When Ganesh had mounted his jet black horse, Falhofnir, to lead the party down the road, he had grabbed up Charles to ride with him. Which Charles had to agree was very, very nice compared to the standoffish behavior of the last few days. And it felt good, up there in the saddle, his arms around Ganesh's waist. He was not cold at all (despite the fact that he had never bothered to don his shoes, as his feet were still a bit sore), and was mostly free of the terribly hunger pains that had plagued him – not to mention clouded his thinking – since he had arrived here.

However, what Charles found he really wanted to be doing right now was something he might never have ventured in his wildest dreams: having a discussion with Raziel, of all people. As it was, Ganesh was supervising clearing the road, which was a bit of a delicate venture. The use of too strong a magic risked bringing down an avalanche, so the work was tedious, and not aided by the happenstance that the two best practitioners among the party apparently utterly despised one another. In truth, what Charles had been doing was mostly soothing Ganesh's temper towards Orula and Urd, which, by its earth-trembling nature threatened by itself to trigger snow cascading down the mountainside.

“This is like Ice Road Truckers! It's TOTALLY AWESOME!” enthused Nathan from the back of the Cadillac.

“That's the spirit, Nathan!” said Ganesh. “Although you may want to attend to the volume of your voice?”

“Oh, yeah dude. SORRY!” whispered Nathan as the mountain trembled.

“We are going to ride ahead for a bit and scout the road. We will be back shortly!” Ganesh announced just as he passed Urd and Orula, who took the occasion to stare murderously at one another.

Ganesh took off, and with surprising speed. Unlike the car, his swift and agile mount seemed to have no problem negotiating the snowy pathway. “It is like attending to infants!” Ganesh grumbled as soon as they were around the first turn. “Can they not work together for a few hours without tantrums?”

“Jaanu,” Charles soothed. “It is nothing like infants. I have one. For one thing, there's no peanut butter.”

“I'm sorry?”

“Maybe you could let me down to talk to Urd and Orula when we get back? I work with rock stars. They're not much different than demanding babies. Only maybe they drool a bit more.”

“You're joking now, aren't you?”

“Well. Yeah, but not a whole lot. Look, Ganesh, since we're out here, maybe we could talk?”

“What would you care to talk about?”

“In case I get stuck like this? Pickles' wish? As a mortal?”

“Are you still on about that?”

“Yes I'm still on about this!”

“Stop fretting. We will be at my mother's soon, and we will take care of it.”

"Ganesh. Your mother's estate in a protected valley is covered in snow. Don't you expect they might have their own problems down there?"

"Nothing I shouldn't be able to deal with."

“But just in case....”

“Why do you dwell on this?”

“We need to figure a worst case scenario!”

“That sounds depressing.”

“Ganesh. Back home, we have a child. We have to make sure....”

“Sariel! For the gods' sakes, even if you're mortal, you are hardly going to perish this very afternoon! Besides, I am a physician.”

Charles sighed and decided to try one more time. “Yes, but this isn't what you expected when you got into the relationship. We're married back home-”

“We are?” Ganesh stopped the horse and turned around.

“Yeah, it was just a little while ago-”

“Then. I have you all to myself?”

Great, thought Charles. Now I'm not going to be able to think a single rational thought for probably the rest of the afternoon. And then he let it all fall away as Ganesh kissed him.

“Look, there it is straight ahead!” Ganesh said as he urged on the horse. Charles looked down, desperately trying to reboot his brain. It resembled Parvati's summer palace as he remembered it from the world, only, perversely, blanketed under a cover of fresh snow.

He squinted through the eyeglasses Ganesh had given him. There seemed to be someone in the courtyard, staring back at them. A being with purple demon-like wings. “That's not Parvati,” he muttered.



“Hypnos, what are you doing here?” asked Charles.

“This is my domain,” said the Elder Goddess, pushing her thick glasses up her nose. She looked over the motley assemblage of humans, gods and angels wiping muddy boots in the entryway of Parvati's grand palace. “There is something badly amiss with the Dreamtime. I came here seeking Lady Parvati's counsel. But the land is ill favored now, and she is sick.”

“Then this is a dream?” Charles asked.

“My mother is ill? May I see her?” asked Ganesh.

“Of course. But she has been asleep, and no one can wake her.”

“Dude,” said Nathan. “If you go to sleep here in a dream, where do you go?”

“Hey. That's a good question!” said Raziel.

“What's wrong with the Dreamtime?” asked Charles.

“Easier to show you,” said Hypnos. She led the party into the palace. There was a smaller, darkened room off one of the corridors.

Hypnos picked up the remote control.

“They have TV here?” asked Charles.

“Only basic cable,” explained Hypnos. “I've told Parvati hundreds of times she should get a dish. Anyway, look here.”

The room went silent as the darkness was bathed in the bluish light of a flat screen television.

“WHAT?” shouted Nathan.

“That'sch not posschible!” sputtered Murderface.

“HOW CAN CORAZON DE AZUL BE ON HIATUS?” wailed Raziel, who was now kneeling at the foot of the screen, her hands flat on it, as if she might leap inside and divine some answers.

“And we had celebrity guests coming this month,” Hypnos sighed.

“Oh, who ams it?” wondered Skwisgaar.

“Welllll, this is unofficial, but, Alejandro Hernando Fernando,” said Hypnos.

“NOOOOOO!” squealed Raziel.

“Who the hell is Alejandro Hernando Fernando,” groused Charles.

“He is the sixth sexiest man in Argentina!” supplied Ganesh.

“You don't remember about our kid, but you remembered THAT?” Charles asked him.

Ganesh grinned a bit sheepishly.

“Ams useful informations to haves!” protested Skwisgaar.

“What's that?” asked Charles, hearing a commotion outside in the courtyard.

“Oh, it's Rev. Wartooth and his group,” sighed Hypnos, looking at her watch. “They're here protesting every day at this time.”

“Reverend-?” said Charles.

“Wait, I thought that ASSHOLE slipped UNDER THE ICE?” growled Nathan. He strode out of the room to investigate.

“I need to attend to my Mum,” Ganesh told Charles as he excused himself, along with Hypnos. Charles nodded, and followed Nathan and Skwisgaar back to the exterior courtyard at the front of the palace, where there now was indeed a little group gathered with rainbow-colored picket signs. The placards bore slogans like, “THANK GOD FOR SNOW,” and “GOD HATES DREAMS.”

“Uhhhhhhh,” Nathan asked the dude holding the latter sign. “If He hates dreams, why did He make us sleep? Doesn't that make God sort of AN ASSHOLE?”

A tall man dressed all in black, his face hidden under a large, broad-brimmed hat, came to stand among the protestors.

“Is that Toki's asshole dad again?” Nathan grumbled.

“I ams thoughts Toki ams killed hims,” Skwisgaar snickered.

“Dude, let's find some ice,” said Nathan.

“Guys, you need to cool it I think,” Charles told them.

“Why?” asked Nathan.

“It's not who you think.”

“You ams all kabombsinationses!” extolled the man in black.

“TOKI WHAT THE FUCK?” boomed Nathan.

“Oh, hi Nat'ans!” said Toki pleasantly. “Hey, Skwisgaar, what ams happens to you?”

“I ams cursed.”

“Hey, wowee! Dat ams too bads.”

“WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING HERE?” Nathan demanded.

“Oh, we ams needs to protests Lady Parvatis. She ams da kabombulations against Gods.”

“So, you remember everything, Toki?” Charles asked.

“Oh, ja! I ams appears here, and dey ams wants me to leads da protests!”

“THAT'S NOT POLITE!” said Nathan. “Dude, you're coming to Parvati's home and INSULTING her?”

“Oh, I ams sorries. We ams not means anyt'ings by dis, reallies!”

Skwisgaar and Nathan exchanged a glance.

“Tokis, you ams maybes wanna comes insides wit' us and has da drinks?”

“Oh, ja sure! Dat would be nice!”

“REVEREND WARTOOTH!' yelled a protester. “What do you think you're doing?”

“Oh, you guys can carries ons! Dese ams my band mates, and we goes has da drinks.” And with that, Toki flung away his sign and wandered inside, chattering with Skwisgaar and Nathan.

Charles stood, grinning after them. He turned to see several protestors glaring at him. “Um, sorry, would love to stay and chat, but need to go … do stuff.” And with that, he too escaped inside.

He prowled around the palace for a while. He finally found Raziel in one of the many comfortable sitting rooms, looking as if she was attempting to knit something.

“Raziel,” he said, sitting down next to her, “we gotta talk.”

“Hands!” said Raziel. He looked confused, and then stuck out his hands so she could wind her yarn around them.

“I think I have some of this figured out. Did you hear what Pickles told us?” he asked.

“I heard a bit from Nathan. So Pickles was trying to make you mortal?”

“It's more complicated than that. But yeah. And there were angels fucking around in this somehow.”

“Which always makes it special,” she grinned, unraveling and winding.

“There's something else. Something Ganesh told me in confidence.”

“Yeah?” asked Raziel.

Charles frowned, considering what to say. “You know how some of us seem to be missing memories? And, you know, the box?”

Raziel frowned as well, but then gasped and stood, dropping her tangle of yarn. She had a sword in her hand. “I will.... I will kill him again!”

“I dunno if that's what we'll need to do. But, I wanna be prepared. For anything.”

“I guess so.”

“I know so. That's why I need something from you.”

“What?” she asked.

“Well, about my eyes? You know, getting them back to green? Before we rejoined you guys, Ganesh and I.... You know.”

“Hee. I think I can guess. That's how you fucked up your eyes before isn't it?

“But that's not all. I could do the mind trick with him too. Afterwards. And I don't think I should have been able to.”

“Huh. That’s interesting. Well, that is one way Ganesh does his magic. Do you think you absorbed some of it? Can you True Form?”

“No.”

“Well, my considered advice then, go hump Ganesh a couple more times!” she grinned.

“Maybe. Raziel. What if Ganesh is wrong? What if I'm an easy fix?"

"You? Are never easy."

"Look, what if I'm just out of magic? I mean, completely drained? Maybe that's why I've been so goddam hungry!"

"Or, maybe you're just a glutton,” said Raziel. She looked at him, thoughtfully for a moment. “Look, that doesn't make sense. How are you even able to move? When it happened to me and Ganesh, we just sort of stopped.”

“I'm different. You know I've always been different. Using magic makes me hungry.”

“Maybe.”

“And I think Pickles may have screwed up his wish. Well, screwed it up from their point of view. He said he wanted me to feel like a mortal, not necessarily to be one.”

Raziel was silent. “Sariel. What are you asking?”

"You gotta try your battery magic thing on me."

Raziel crossed her arms. “No. Absolutely not.

"What? Why the fuck not?"

"What if you're wrong, and you really are mortal, and I fucking fry you?" she asked.

"You risked Ganesh blowing you to smithereens with that spell that got your wings back!"

"That was different! I don’t care what Wotan says, Sariel! I’m still your Big Sister. The answer is no,” she said, wagging a finger at him.

Charles glared at her. Their eyes locked. Then he smiled thinly. “You want your kids back?”

She gawped at him. “Sariel. Don’t make me choose.”

“What will it be, Raziel? You're gonna need me powered up. You know that.”

She glowered, furious. “You are a bastard.”

“I've never denied it.”



“Skwisgaar. Dude. What the fuck were you thinking?”

“Ja, my friend, I ams fucksed up pretty badly.” The guitarist stared at the chessboard, and, scratching his belly, moved a knight.

“Why didn't you just have Charles deal with that stuff? He knows magic and shit.”

“He ams not beens so cool with me since I ams calls his kids da name.”

“Yeah, well, he's a fucked up kid, but he doesn't know he's fucked up. And, he's sort of cool. He can blow smoke rings.”

“Don't ams talks to me about kids, Nat'ans.”

“Yeah, I guess those kids were pretty scary. Besides, who the fuck cares if you were CURSED. That's actually pretty cool dude, having a curse? I was thinking of asking those witch chicks if they could put something on me.”

“Nat'ans! You dildos! Ams nots like getsing a tattoo!”

“Who is getting a tattoo?” inquired Ganesh, who had just entered the study, medical bag in hand. “You should assure yourself that the studio practices sterile techniques.”

“I'm not getting a tattoo! I'm GETTING CURSED!” Nathan told him.

“Whatever for?” asked Ganesh, who was busily wrapping a blood pressure cuff around Skwisgaar's arm.

“Curses are METAL!” Nathan protested.

“Hims ams dumbs dildos,” Skwisgaar grumbled.

“Nathan, how many times must we emphasize to you that magic is not to be trifled with,” lectured Ganesh, inflating the cuff. “There are inevitably consequences, not all of them forseeable.”

“You god dudes do magic! You FUCKED UP YOUR HOUSE that way!” Nathan noted.

“Wouldn't that tend to prove my point?” asked Ganesh, raising and eyebrow and donning his stethoscope.

“You checking out Skwisgaar? What, do you need insurance dude?”

“Pffft. Charles ams wants to make sures I ams not dropsing deads. I ams feelsing betters to be away from dems creepsies kids.”

“You gonna check out Pickles too, Ganesh dude? I didn't think that dude is ALL THERE. Not that he ever was. Come to think of it, I'm not sure WHERE he was.”

“Pickles? I think not now,” grumbled Ganesh, ripping off the cuff.

Nathan and Skwisgaar exchanged a glance.

“I believe you are quite healthy, Skwisgaar,” Ganesh told him. “And Nathan, as my friend Elegba has told me, one does not use magic sometimes so much as magic uses you.” Ganesh looked up, frowning, and walked to the double doors leading to the balcony that opened just above the courtyard.

“That sounds like something that Russian dude would say,” Nathan commented. “In Russia, booze drinks you! In Russia, chips eat you. Or, something like that. That whole thing was actually kind of stupid now that I remember it.”

“What are they doing out there?” asked Ganesh, peering down off the balcony at Raziel and Charles in the courtyard below. “SARIEL!”



“If you die, I will kill you.”

“I'll remember that,” said Charles. He was nonetheless nervous as hell. He locked eyes with Raziel. Glowering at him, she thrust her sword in the ground, and then grabbed him.

A mistake. He had made a terrible mistake.

He was going to explode.

Every cell of his body burned. From the soles of his bare feet to the tips of his hair.

He could actually feel the tips of his hair. It was crazy. There were nerves going everywhere. His body had turned to a nerve network, and it was on fire. And it overtopped, the electricity, the magic, spitting out his eyes and nose, shooting out his mouth, his fingertips, his dick, out his toes.

Out every single feather of his wings.

He tried to howl in pain. But then it was over. It was just him. Standing in the courtyard, magnificent wings unfurled.

Holding a sword.

“RAZIEL!”

She was on the ground, the contact having been broken some time ago. He crouched down beside her. She looked up at him, dazed.

“Holy fuck,” she whispered. “You're like a bottomless fucking pit!”

“Are you all right?”

“I think so,” she said, sitting up. “You're a fucking magic glutton. You just keep absorbing it.”

“SARIEL!”

Ganesh was now there in the courtyard, holding Charles' face in his hands.

“Are you all right? Oh, gods!”

“He's fine,” grumped Raziel, who was being helped to her feet by Nathan and Skwisgaar. “Look at me! My hair is smoking!”

“Sariel,” said Ganesh again, ignoring everybody.

Charles grinned. And then the grin widened. And then he had gathered Ganesh in his arms, and with a graceful sweep of wings, was flying away.

“Sariel! I charge you up, and THAT'S the first thing you do?” Raziel called after him.

“Well. It's probably the first thing I'd do too,” Nathan allowed.

“Ja, ams me too,” commeted Skwisgaar.

“Eh. Probably me too,” Raziel admitted. “What are you guys doing? Anyone up for playing cards?”



“It's all my fault, Tok.”

“Not, it ams nots.”

“How can yoo be so feckin' shure? Yoo don't even know da whole story?”

Toki looked up from where he was painting rainbow colors on his placard. “It can'ts all be your faults. You ain'ts dat powerfuls.” He glanced over at Pickles. “Pickle, you ams not paints da octopuses ons da protests signs!”

“Wut if yoo decide yoo wanna protest octopuses,” Pickles grinned, admiring the little red cephalopod cartoon he had just finished.

“Well, I suppose dat ams reasonabable,” Toki allowed.

“Protestors are so tacky,' sniffed Urd, smoothing her blonde beehive and pushing up her cats eyeglasses.

“They are almost as tacky as you,” reposted Orula, repositioning his own eyeglasses.

The two beings stopped and regarded Toki and Pickles. They exchanged a glance, Urd arching an elegantly plucked eyebrow.

“Dahrlings!” gushed Urd. “Are you two handsome gentlemen making up signs for the little protest soiree outside?”

“Ja, dats what we ams doings!” Toki agreed.

“Perhaps we could help,” purred Orula.



Lord Ganesh was asleep, safe and warm inside a cave in the mountainside, wrapped in the soft wings of his beloved angel.

He was as happy as a god could be.

And down in the valley below, a single flower thrust up through a snow bank. It was an orchid, a delicate tropical flower that had somehow braved the chill.

And then there was another, so delicate, frost crystals melting on the petals, shining like delicate diamonds.

And there were more flowers. And wild grasses too. Bushes, and ferns. And the bare trees, unlikely as it seemed, pushed out leaves, first a few, and then more, and then a riot of green, knocking off clumps of snow.

And soon the growth was spreading through fields, like a green wildfire, crushing back the snow and ice in its onslaught. And there was moss growing on the trees and stumps, and insects writhing within, waking up. Worms and slugs down below, and then birds up above. Something, bushy-tailed, scurrying. A shy deer, peering from between the newly awakened trees.

The sun had set on a white icy wilderness of silence. The sun rose to a riot of green and brown and yellow and red.

“Holy fuck,” said Charles, yawning at the mouth of the cave. “Did we do that?”

Ganesh watched Sariel at the mouth of the cave. How could any living being possibly have an aura like that? he wondered. It was ablaze with energy, more like some kind of magical talisman, really, than a man.

Angels had strange and wondrous magical fields around them. He rued that he had been unable to remember this. So many things were lost, as if they had been dragged away. Someone had run a magnet over his mind, stripping away electrons. What a stupid analogy. But that was how it felt.

“Ganesh?” Sariel was now kneeling beside him, a look of concern on the odd, silvery eyes.

“Yes?”

“Did you check out your mom's valley?” Sariel was asking, now pulling Ganesh near him, wrapping him back in the wings.

“Yes. I know. I know. Sariel?”

“Yeah?”

“How did my father die? I mean, back in the real world?” Ganesh was laying on Sariel's chest. He was thin, the angel, but he had the most amazing pectoral muscles. Probably for flight, Ganesh reflected. He should know more about angels. Where had it gone?

“It was heroic. He saved our asses. And, it wasn't your fault. Though you probably think it is, because that's how you are.”

“I made a grievous mistake. Here.”

'You were tricked. You help people. That's what you do. And he takes memories. That's what he does.”

“I suppose we should be getting back,” Ganesh said.

“Aw.”

“I do have a bedroom back there,” Ganesh suggested.

“Can we go straight back there?”



The members Reverend Wartooth's protest group were gripping their brand new protest signs tightly. Very tightly. As if their lives depended on it.

And they were dancing. And singing, in gospel style.

If I had a placard
I'd protest in the morning
I'd protest in the evening
With a big sign in my hand!
I'd protest about pagan gods!
I'd protest about angels!
I'd protest everyone I found different from me
Who lives in this land.

If I had a slogan
I'd sloganeer all morning
I'd sloganeer all evening
'Til It got me banned
I'd annoy everybody
I'd annoy thinking people
As long as they keep paying attention
To my rainbow sign



Urd and Orula exchanged sly glance. And then a not so sly high five.

“Hi Charles!” said Toki. “Dis ams my protests groups!”

“Well, it's very nice Toki,” said Charles, setting down Ganesh. “Full of, uh, entertainment value, I'd say.” It seemed everyone from inside the palace was out watching the protest, some of them happily clapping along to the cheery gospel number.

And then another figure appeared in the courtyard.

“What the blazes is happening here?”

“Parvati?” said Charles.

“Mum! Are you all right!” Ganesh rushed to the goddess's side, but she held him back with a look.

“I awaken to find my residence is filled with witches, ruffians, and … what is this mob supposed to be?”

Orula snapped his fingers, and Toki's protestors dropped their signs and fell over with, panting with exhaustion.

“Oi! I quite liked the number, actually,” Chango, who had been standing nearby, enthusiastically clapping along, told her. “Quality entertainment, it was!”

“And you!” Parvati continued, glaring at Ganesh. “Bringing that … being.” She looked to Charles. “After what you've done.”

Charles turned to his side. Raziel was suddenly standing there, fuming.

“He is Sariel, Mother,” Ganesh shot back. “You will use his proper name in my presence. And no other.”

“You dare! Shiva's light has gone from this land! And it is your fault!”

“My father died protecting me. Protecting me.... From Uriah.”

Raziel suddenly grabbed Charles's arm. He nodded sadly. “Ganesh! What happened?” Raziel asked.

Ganesh looked at her, stricken. “There was a man – I thought it was a man – on my grounds. He was very badly injured. It seems like weeks ago, but now I don't know how much of my memory is true. My father sensed the danger, and told me to leave him be, but I wanted to help him.

"It wasn't a man at all. It was an angel. And, after I healed him, he turned on me. He nearly killed me, but my father stepped in, at the last minute. And.... And lost his life.”

“You didn't remember?” Raziel asked. “Who Uriah was?”

Ganesh shook his head sadly. “No. Or, I remembered something, but pushed it out of my mind.”

“You were never happy about us drugging him. Well, drugging his head.”

“You drugged SOMEBODY'S HEAD?” asked Nathan, who was obviously trying to play along.

“Ganesh, before I came here,” Raziel explained, “Did Sariel tell you? I had a sense that something was wrong with Uriah.”

“Back in the real world?” Ganesh asked.

“Yeah. The room where we kept him had been broken into.”

“That's impossible!" said Ganesh. "I helped Wotan secure that room! I remember that much."

“The Dreaming is making incursions into the world of Wakefulness,” said Hypnos. She was crouching up on one of the pillars above the courtyard, her thin purple wings wrapped around her. She far more like a creature than a woman.

“Is that bad?” asked Charles, who thought he already knew the answer.

“It could be disastrous.”

“Yeah. I figured as much.”

“Who would risk this kind of magic?” asked Parvati.

“The angels want our kids,” Raziel told her.

Parvati scowled back. “Your kids?” she sniffed.

“And our son,” Ganesh said.

“Your son? What son?” asked Parvati.

“You don't like him,” Charles supplied, raising an eyebrow. “It's the wings.”

“An heir?” asked Parvati.

“You guys call him Brahma. So, yeah.”

“I believe, Lady Parvati,” said Hypnos, pushing up her thick glasses, “that they may have entered through your son's dream. They have threatened the fabric or reality, thrown back the time-stream, and have completely halted production on my television show!”

“Ams no Corazon de Azul?” asked Toki woefully. Some of the protest mob, who had been slowly recovering and rising to their feet, began to mutter among themselves.

“Look, no offense, Hypnos, but is your soap opera really that important?” Charles asked. “I mean as important as the fabric or reality?”

“There has always been a Corazon de Azul!” Parvati insisted.

“OK. Sorry I asked.”

“We need to find a remedy for this!” she told Hypnos, who had just fluttered down to stand at Parvati's side.

“I may have an idea,” said Charles, snapping his wings. “Skwisgaar, you guys signed a contract with the witches, correct?”

“Ja, in da bloods,” Skwisgaar grumbled.

“Sorry, dahrling but we didn't have a biro,” sniffed Urd, pulling on her cigarette.

“Our contracts are ironclad,” said Verdandi. “Written by my best, dearest friend of many years, an entertainment lawyer!”

“I'm an entertainment lawyer,” Charles told her.

“Oh, you're not their little gofer, or something?”

“Do I look like a gofer?” Charles thundered, his wings now fully outstretched.

“Oh, well, hum,” muttered Verdandi.

“I think this bloke is one of those avenging sorts, dahrling,” Urd snickered at her sister.

“Contract,” ordered Charles.

Verdandi glared, but handed over a document to Charles.

It was as thick as the Manhattan telephone directory.

“Oh, Christ,” signed Charles. “All right, this might take a while.”

“We don't have a while,” said Parvati. “We are in earnest!”

“Does that mean we gotta do it quickly?” whispered Raziel.

“Yes, that is precisely what it means,” Ganesh told her.

“Give me those documents, angel,” demanded Parvati.

“Parvati. Cool it," Charles grumbled.

“You do not speak to me like that in my house,” Parvati growled, as the ground started to tremble.

“Mother!” warned Ganesh.

“You know something?” said Charles. “I will speak to you any fucking way I please.” His wings were fully unfurled, and he glared.

“Sariel!” said Ganesh, starting to run over to intervene.

But as the sky darkened, Parvati suddenly reached out and slapped the contract with the flat of her hand.

There was a crash.



“Sooo, what's it gonna be, Charles?”

Charles awoke to the sound of dramatic music playing. He looked up to see Raziel leaning over next to him on the couch, staring at him with those large, dark eyes.

Charles looked around. They were in somebody's well appointed living room.

“Where are we?” he asked.

“Is it gonna be the fiery redhead, Pickles, or the dashing aristocrat, Ganesh?”

“Is it gonna be.... What? What holy fuck are you talking about?”

“We're all waiting, Charles!”

“And why the hell are you calling me Charles? You never call me by my human name!”

“I don't have a lot of time. I need to run off with the innkeeper's son,” she said, glancing at her watch.

“So, dood, is it gonna be me!” asked Pickles, as he suddenly burst into the room, lit by a dramatic spotlight, and with a dramatic theme song playing in the background. “I have long hair. An' I'm really cool,” he announced, sitting down next to Charles.

“He is really cool,” Raziel admitted.

“I don't understand,” said Charles. “Where the hell are we? And what's wrong with you two?”

“We're in your well appointed living room, where we are every week!” Raziel told him.

Suddenly, to an upswell of dramatic music, the door burst open, and a black horse galloped in and reared up over the couch.

“Ganesh, why are you on a horse inside my living room?” said Charles, who was now standing. “And what is up with the eyepatch?”

“Ooo, but he looks really suave!” said Raziel.

“Yeh, I gotta admit, dat is pretty impressive,” Pickles admitted.

“You must choose me, Charles! Because I am just so damned charming and irresistible.”

“Oooo, I could never decide. This is so exciting!” said Raziel.

“OK. Waitl Wait,” said Charles. “I'm in a Mexican fucking soap opera, right?”

“It's actually from Santa Dominica,” Ganesh told him helpfully, as his horse backed and neighed.

“Look, guys! None of this is real! This is all just crap Hypnos writes to keep everybody asleep!”

“But we're all watching you, waiting to see what you'll do!” protested Raziel.

“Well fucking QUIT watching me! Take up knitting! Or read a fucking book!”

“Wul, he's gotta pick me, I'm a feckin ROCK STAR," Pickles concluded.

“But I have a sexy accent!” said Ganesh, still on horseback.

"OK, enough of this," grumbled Charles, heading for what looked like the front door.

"Hey, where are you going?" called Raziel.

"Out!" snarled Charles, to a crashing chord on the soundtrack. He wrested open the door, and stepped out....

....and into the stables. "Wait. The stables is attached to the fucking house?" He saw a very familiar figure striding towards him. "Nathan? What are you doing here?"

"I'm the STABLE BOY! What does it look like? Why else would I be in the stables, unless I was someone who REALLY LIKED HORSES, which is also a possibility I guess. I mean, I'm here until the plotline demands that I run off with the Count's daughter. He's KIND OF AN ASHOLE. Anyway, we're all wondering WHAT WILL YOU DECIDE? Because, seriously, dude."

"OK, first thing, and no offense Nathan, but aren't you getting to be a little MATURE for a stable boy?"

They locked eyes for a moment, but then Nathan said, "Yeah, but it was either that or the Innkeeper's son, and that role is a little GAY."

"That role's not.... Well, yeah, I guess it is a little."

"Anyway, what are you gonna do?"

"He's going to be with ME!" thundered Ganesh, who had just galloped in atop his horse.

"Well, at least it makes some sense to ride around in the stables," Charles sighed.

"Dood is choosin' me," countered Pickles, who had also just entered.

"Has anyone seen the Innkeeper's son?" asked Raziel.

Charles heaved a sigh.


What will we do
When you can't choose a man
And we're so confused
What'll we do
What'll we do
When we are wondering
Who will you choose
What'll we do?

What'll we do with just a script outline
Well, that troubles you
When we don't have a show
With all the dreams of you
Mixed in your dreams of us
What'll we do



“OK, Orula, enough!” said Charles to Orula and Chango, who were standing in the corner of the stables serenading them.

“But this is one of our best numbers!” the Ifa protested.

“Oi! It were always a crowd favorite!” Chango agreed.

“Pickles! Come here, gods damn it!” grumbled Charles.

“See? Dood chose me. Heh.”

Charles angrily led Pickles out the door. Outside, it was all just two by fours and chickenwire. They had been in a stables set, not a stables.

“Pickles. I have a kid now. I married Ganesh. You can't wish it away. Even.... Even with a wish.”

"It's sorta funny, though, huh?"

"No, Pickles. It's over, don't you understand? I'm with Ganesh. And half the time I have no idea why he's with me. And I don't know what I'm doing. And I worry all the time about my kid. The one you fucking wished away. Because you're a selfish fucking little rock star asshole.... And.... And I'm the one who made you this way.”

“Chief. We'll figure it out. It'll be OK.”

“Aren't you fucking listening? I might not be able to fix this one!”

Pickles was silent for a moment. “Yoo really love him, don't yoo? I mean, it ain't between me an' Gannish, is it? It's da kid?”

“He's the good part of me. Before they fucked me up.”

“I wuz.... I wuz kinda fecked up too.”

But Charles found himself talking, unable to stop. “He doesn't care! He doesn't care if I'm the worst father in the world. Which I probably am. He doesn't care. I need him back.” Charles looked up, frowning. There was suddenly violin music playing, and he was now framed in a spotlight.

“We'll git him back. We....”

There was a crash as Ganesh, still mounted, swept off the set. He rode by and, without pausing, leaned over and grabbed Charles up onto the horse.

“Ganesh, what the fuck are you doing?” Charles demanded as they galloped away.

“The script had gotten too talky,” Ganesh explained, peering underneath his eyepatch. “It was time for a sweeping romantic gesture!”

“Where are you taking us! Hey, isn't that the end of the set?” It was true. The studio ended, and then there was....

Nothing.

Ganesh spurred his horse, and together, they leapt into the void.



“FUCK!” said Charles. He was back in the courtyard, on his ass.

Parvati was gaping at him.

The pages of the contract were blowing, everywhere.

“Well. That was exciting,” grinned Ganesh, helping Charles to his feet.

"Are you kidding? That was the best spell ever!" Raziel exclaimed. "Well, I hoped to run off with the Innkeeper's son. Maybe next time, huh?"

Charles wordlessly helped Pickles to his feet. Pickles looked at him, sadly.

“What is happening now?” asked Parvati. She pointed towards the sky. It looked at first, to human eyes at least, like a storm cloud approaching. But it was an army. A winged army.

As the army neared, two angels broke off from the pack. They were two of the biggest. Charles and Raziel knew their names.

They carried between them a woman. She was beautiful, with dark hair and large dark eyes.

The three beings alit on Parvati's courtyard.

“Uh,” Nathan whispered to Charles. “Are we screwed?”

“Well and truly,” answered Charles.

Date: 2011-07-26 12:34 pm (UTC)
nugatorytm: A group of bats flying against a yellow moon. (Default)
From: [personal profile] nugatorytm
Dood, my LJ is out. I don't have time to comment at the moment, cuz I'm ready to head off to work, but I'll have plenty of time later.

Date: 2011-07-27 02:11 am (UTC)
nugatorytm: A group of bats flying against a yellow moon. (Default)
From: [personal profile] nugatorytm
Holy crap, what a mess and a half.

It's a good thing Raziel restored Charles to his True Form, they're gonna need the firepower now that Raz's mom and the angel army showed up. Will we get to see Parvati fight as her Kali aspect? That would be way cool. "I shall wear your head as an adornment!"

I think Pickles is finally starting to realize that it's well and truly over. Despite the circumstances, I think this was a good wake-up call for him. I'm hoping the depression that he's sure to have won't drag him down too much.

No Corazon de Azul? If it's on hiatus long enough, will Seth wake back up?

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