The candles shed their soft, ever burning light as the
Archangel of Judgement cheerfully made his way to the
:This may just have been one of the best ideas I've had in a long time,: he thought happily as he entered his side of the box.
:I deal with the unrepentant sinful so often that I can forget that there are those who actually regret it when they do wrong.:
Hearing Confession allowed him to regularly meet with those who voluntarily sought out Judgement, in the hope that they could find some peace with themselves: it felt good to help them find it.
Needless to say, the experiment wasn't completely successful.
:Michael, of course, took it as another opportunity to be insulting. I really could wish that he could learn to get past his anger.: The Archangel of Judgement had his own suspicions about why his colleague was so abrasive, and felt an old pity.
:He cannot accept that his oldest friend is likely forever lost, and he cannot permit himself to hate God for allowing it, so he unleashes his rage and frustration on others. It is enough to make one weep.: And then, of course, there was Eli's little escapade.
:By now, the story's all over Heaven about how he eluded me yet again, in the very heart of my sanctum.: Dominic grinned underneath his hood.
Dominic's train of thought was broken at that point by the sound of someone entering the other half of the confessional. He could 'hear' the power that denoted a Superior, although whoever it was kept it muted.
:Hmmm… I wonder who this one will be. Laurence? Actually, I almost hope not. You would think that someone who fostered Vatican II would take the time to consider its implications.: Dominic was not looking forward to that session. Trying to explain that many things rightly discouraged among humans simply weren't relevant to angels - or Archangels - promised to be a chore. :Perhaps Marc, or Janus: I am really looking forward to getting Janus nailed down long enough to have a _very_ long chat with him...:
The voice on the other side cleared her throat and began to speak.
"Bless me, Most Just, for I have sinned." A chuckle. "And sinned, and sinned, and sinned…"
All of Dominic's eyes opened wide with shock ... and a fierce anger. Trying to keep it out of his voice, he responded, "And how long has it been since your last confession, my daughter?"
"Why, now that you mention it, Most Just, I don't think that I've ever actually done one before. You would think that I would have gotten around to it in the last two thousand years, but something else always came up. Lax of me, I'm sure. But I'm here now, and isn't that what's important?"
"One does wonder how you managed the trick, Lilith."
"Oh, we get to use names, Dominique? I was expecting something much more formal." The voice turned cold for a moment. "Never forget who I am, Archangel. I go where I will, always. My colleagues may find this rarified atmosphere too thin for their tastes, but we humans are made of sterner ... I believe the word that the Host often uses is "grosser" ... stuff. I can handle it long enough for us to do business." Dominic kept his voice free of irritation as he responded.
"This is not a place for 'business', Lilith. This is a place for God, and his Truth."
"And you don't think that's business? Careless of you, Dominique: this is just another type of transaction. You have a Need: I have the ability to fill it. I'll give you some of your precious Truth, never you fear: I'll howl my sins into your ears until they bleed. I'll tell you about it all, and you won't be able to stop listening to it. I'll fill a Need that you never wanted to admit you ever had: the Need to vicariously appreciate the joys of true Freedom. Freedom without limits, or rules made by an absent tyrant. Freedom you're too afraid to seek yourself." The voice turned gloating.
"And when I do, why then, after all these years... _you'll_ _owe_ _me_ _one_."
The box was silent for a long time. Lilith sat back, waiting for the right moment to begin ... and then was distracted by the one thing she never expected.
Whoops of laughter. Wild, merry whoops of laughter: the kind that comes from a entity that hasn't heard such a good joke in millennia, and is laughing all the harder because he suspected, deep down, that he might have forgotten how to know mirth completely. The kind of laughter that causes even an Archangel to hug his belly and kick at the walls. The box wasn't just shuddering: it was actually _rocking_ from the half-mad joy coming from one half of it.
It took Dominic a full five minutes to speak again: every time he tried, he would only get a few words out before he was convulsed with mirth. Eventually, though, the pleasant baritone came through the grill.
"I'm sorry... it's just that... you actually thought that I Needed to hear that kind of thing? Right, right... but, still, Lilith, frankly, my child, oh thou errant child of God, how could you oppose us for so long and not know us at all? Not know me?" Dominic's voice became more serious.
"Still, you came here to find out my Need, and I would be a poor host if I didn't oblige you. I'll tell you what I Need." The slotted grill opened up, allowing Lilith to see that Dominic had opened his hood to look at her directly. The multiple eyes of a golden, ancient serpent looked at her compassionately, and not quite somberly.
"What I Truly Need right now, First Woman... is to hear you make a good confession."
The two Superiors locked eyes for an endless moment, and it was Lilith who broke the gaze first.
"A draw then, Archangel. I Choose not to give you one."
"Then I regret to say that I cannot give you absolution." The Princess of Freedom gave a reluctantly respectful nod and began to exit the booth.
As she turned to go, Dominic called to her, "But the door is always open, if you Choose to have it so." Lilith stiffened, then quickened her pace. The Archangel of Judgement had a half-moment of temptation, but let it slide.
:I did say, "Anybody who wanted to come was welcome, without repercussions." My word is my word.:
And Dominic sat back to wait for the next penitent.
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