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Dark Avenger

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Summary: Dexter reeled. "What? You're -- God isn't supposed to -- God doesn't do what I do! God has no place in what I do!" Dexter screamed, then, as a lance of fire slashed his face and he fell to his knees.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Dexter
Movies > Constantine
Movies > Dogma
AngelfirenzeFR18314,8030134,7956 Jun 1014 Aug 11No

Disciples (Of All That's Human)

Illustration

Dark Avenger
By Angelfirenze

Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Jeff Lindsay, and Alan Moore own the characters, Showtime owns the execution of the show, Dexter's plot. My Chemical Romance. "I Never Told You What I Do For A Living.". Reprise, Warner Bros., Eyeball, 2004. (Because that's not appropriate at all...)

Summary: All these emotions...the night he killed Brian, the night he killed the used car salesman right when he'd so viciously disrespected Rita -- dragging Arthur Mitchell into his kitchen to get him away from Jonah...they were overwhelming.

Notes: In this 'verse, Dexter kept Joe Driscoll's house instead of selling it.

Timeline: AtS, ep. 2.10; Dexter, ep. 4.12; post-Dogma, Constantine. Spoilers for Dexter, seasons one through four;

Part II: Disciples (Of All That's Human)

"There hasn't been an Angel of Death since you quit, doesn't that mean anything to you?" - Bartleby, Dogma

Dexter found Jonah almost too easily. He knew the boy wouldn't want to abandon his mother and sister, even with their completely traumatized state weighing him down.

When he told Jonah the truth, showed him everything, Jonah's eyes had widened, his face flushing with astonishment.

"Kyle," he'd breathed and Dexter had held up a hand, stopping him from speaking any further.

"I lied. I lied to protect my family from your father. You understand."

Jonah's head bobbed up and down in the shadow of the jail cell he'd been given shelter in, never wanting to go back to that house, but not having anywhere else for the time being. He'd stared at the wings on Dexter's back and the chainsaw in Dexter's hands and it was obvious he didn't understand, but was willing to accept anything that didn't have anything to do with his father.

Dexter hated Arthur Mitchell terribly in that moment, almost as much as every time he looked in his own childrens' eyes.

"They want to lock my mom and sister away," Jonah had gasped, falling to his knees before Dexter and staring up with pleading eyes. "They're -- "

"Tearing your family apart," Dexter finished, but he was shaking his head. "Your father did that, Jonah. All along. You knew. You've always known. Thanksgiving was just your reckoning. You couldn't take it anymore. God gave you strength that day and you used it."

But Jonah only shook his head, "Everything went right back to the way it was," he said morosely, running his hands over his slightly lengthened hair.

Dexter shook his own head and placed a hand on Jonah's shoulder, "No, it didn't. It never will. It can't. You struck your independence that day. You can walk in God's footsteps without your father putting up roadblocks. You can disown him. He's dead, Jonah. He's never coming back. What you have to do is take that fact and use it to move on. You might be able to help your family, you might not. But you can help other people."

Jonah laughed, tears coming to his eyes, "I don't even know your real name, if what you said was true."

Dexter smiled similarly, "Believe it or not, when God spoke to me, I said something of the same. But the point is that you have a purpose. It's up to you to find it."

Jonah's head popped up from where he had placed it between his knees. "You're an angel. You came to me. What if my purpose is with you?"

Dexter resisted the urge to laugh, "And Arthur said you were stupid. Shows how much he knew."

Jonah actually smiled and then flinched. They both looked down to see the splint that was still on his broken finger.

"Let me have that," Dexter said softly, taking Jonah's hand in his. He gave the palm a soft squeeze and Jonah's eyes widened as the constant throbbing went away. "I wasn't lying about everything. I just needed to get close to your father -- my original mission was to hunt him down and make sure he never -- I messed up. You suffered and my family suffered because I faltered. I was blinded by his light."

Dexter frowned at himself before letting Jonah's hand go. Jonah carefully placed it on his knees.

"I'm sorry."

Jonah shook his head, biting his lip. "You were only trying to help. The only person my father cared about was himself. And I'll never forget that you saved me." Jonah rubbed his neck, remembering his father's hands around it and the way --

Jonah perked up again, his earlier thought coming back to him. "What's your name?"

Dexter grinned, his wings and chainsaw now away from Jonah's sight, his normal clothes again visible. "Dexter Morgan. I..." His smile faded. "I saw your father hurting you, the way he hurt your mother and sisters was hidden, but you -- all it took was enough prodding and he exploded at you. No father should do what Arthur did.

"I watched him going at you and all I saw...was red. Apparently, the Lord acted through me that day, or maybe one of his disciples, because...I just wanted him to stop hurting his family, hurting you, and all of a sudden we were in the kitchen and I wanted nothing more than to enact vengeance for the family he'd destroyed."

Dexter exhaled carefully, wondering at the truth of his own words, but then he looked at Jonah's face and watched the captivation in his eyes. "He was hurting you and I wanted him to stop. I used to think...before God made me what I am, I used to think I was just another serial killer. That God had little, if any place in what I do, but I was told -- repeatedly -- differently. But I always thought I was a monster. Empty.

"It's what my adoptive father always believed and what he taught me about myself. My adoptive mother had...misgivings and doubts about me that only reinforced what everyone but my sister thought. He said I was a sociopath. But at the same time, he said my urges didn't control me, that it was the other way around. That I could restrain myself from destroying if I really wanted to."

Dexter stared past Jonah, at the cement wall beyond them both. "Harry Morgan. He was wrong, he was right. He...in the end, he couldn't handle what I was, because he, himself, didn't know. But he was also very flawed. My sister and I, we didn't know..."

"What'd your sister think?" Jonah asked quietly, his face apprehensive and hopeful at the same time.

Dexter could only smile, a small chuckle coming to his lips, "She said quite plainly to me about two years ago, 'You're the only one I can count on, jackass.'"

At the look on Jonah's face, Dexter smiled bashfully, "Yeah, I have a sister. She's younger than me, but she's our father's blood daughter. I'm adopted. But she calls me her big brother and she's my little sister.

"It turns out, though, that I'm a middle child -- as it were -- like you, as you now know. Like I said, my father was very flawed. He tried to help me, but he gave in to his own urges often and with great vigor. It turns out my sister and I had another sister in Los Angeles, like you had a sister here in Miami -- "

"Christine," Jonah breathed, his voice saddened and his undamaged hand clenching again in sorrow.

"Yeah. Her name's Lilah and I just had to save her life. Deb -- my sister -- doesn't know about her yet because I plan to tell her everything all at once. But Lilah...I honestly don't know if she ever met our father and it doesn't really matter. Our familial connection pretty much ends there. Blood."

Dexter exhaled slowly, "My sister and I have, over time, found out that our father wasn't the be all that ends all -- as I've found out, not by far. I have to tell you, honestly, until very recently, I was an atheist. My sister is. We weren't raised in any religion and I doubt I could have been, given what we -- except Deb -- thought I was.

"But...one thing this sister of ours is is amoral. I was told by God to spare her life because she has an important destiny, but if I had a choice, she would be dead. I fear she'll hurt others and have no qualms about it. I know she has.

"My father told me once that I was a good kid. I didn't believe him at the time and now that I have had to think about all my years in such vivid detail, maybe that's God's point. My wife, before Arthur murdered her, told me I was a good man -- the one good man in Miami. I didn't believe her. Perhaps I should have."

Dexter sighed and sat back until his back was against the opposite bunk. "Perhaps I've doubted myself too much. Maybe I need reminders."

He looked at Jonah. "And you need reminders that God loves you and that your father made his choices, just like mine did. Both. I met my biological father a few years ago and he...I suppose we had some things in common. In-born skill at bowling.

"Demons -- or maybe not, considering what I turned out to be -- in our closets we desperately wanted to keep shut away. He was very successful and when I think about it, I have to let myself be proud of that. He didn't sink back into drugs or alcohol or crime. He stayed clean."

Dexter sighed and stared upward at the ceiling, remembering how Joe Driscoll looked in all the photographs of his bowling team, "He was so...my parents didn't let he and I meet when I was a kid because they didn't think he was a nice enough man. Maybe that's why he jumped on the wagon and stayed on it."

Dexter frowned, then, "I just wish I'd known. He did deserve to have someone be proud of him, whatever my sister thought. At the time, she was still of the opinion that Harry -- my -- adoptive father -- was perfect. I was beginning to find out that this was far from the case."

Dexter let his arms fall from atop his knees and drew invisible shapes in the floor, looking back up at Jonah to find him hanging onto every word. "You've known your whole life that your father -- the man responsible for your existence because he was nothing of a father to you and we both know it -- was a demon in man's skin. I've never known I was an angel of any kind. Others would tell me -- my sister, my wife, my children, like I said -- but I didn't believe them.

"I remembered when I was about fourteen or so and my mother was terribly worried about my behavior -- as well she should have been. Harry coached me on what to say, how to act and respond to anything the analyst said and did. I fooled him perfectly, apparently."

Dexter leaned forward slightly and folded his hands behind his head, looking upward, "Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I'd told the truth. But then I think of my daughter and my sons and my sister and my friends and I accept that lie for what it was: a reprieve. Because I'm paying for my sins. We all are."

Jonah shrank back into the bunk drawing his own legs as well as one of his arms up to partially cover his face with his knees. Dexter eased up on talking about God because he knew the Lord had been warped for Jonah, his family. Being told God loved him was now almost impossible for Jonah to swallow, except...

"Jonah, would you like to help me? Like you did before?"

Jonah started and Dexter raised his hands in an open gesture. "Help me help people. Help us both remember that God isn't about what your father did. That God cares for you and I and your mother and our sisters and that your father was responsible for the torment you endured, but that God...God helped you through it with a clear mind. You can help your sister in ways that the doctors can't. They didn't live it. You passed through acid and came out unburned."

"I'm not," Jonah denied, shaking his head vigorously. "I'm not un..." Jonah tried to breathe then and Dexter nodded. Jonah's breath slowly came back to him and Dexter finally allowed himself to continue.

"I understand. My biological mother was murdered in front of my biological older brother and I. He ended up like your own older sister. For the safety of mine, I was forced to destroy him. He wanted me to kill her and reject my fake family. But I'm not a puppet, no matter what the so-called master's intentions may be. And neither are you. You can get through this."

"Help you how? By...I don't want to kill anybody."

"I would never ask that of you," Dexter denied, wishing he could place a hand on Jonah's shoulder to reassure him but knowing it would be rebuffed violently. "My children. They need someone to watch over them while I'm away. My sister can only do so much. Do you care to help her? Do you care to become a part of my family?"

Jonah's eyes were wide now, his entire body still. "I...how...I..."

"We can worry about the specifics later, but right now you do need a place to stay. My sister would love a younger brother of her own." Dexter paused. "I'll make sure she doesn't rub it in too much. She hated being the youngest when we were little."

Jonah was plainly caught between amusement and further lack of surety. "What about...are you going to tell her what you are? Any of it?"

Dexter grimaced, but forced himself to look back up at Jonah. "I suppose I owe her that. I already have to tell her Harry's Whoring, as she calls it, has scored us a sister around my age, if not a bit older. Lilah's...well, she's a lawyer, but as I said, amoral. The entire firm is. Wolfram and Hart."

Jonah startled unexpectedly and Dexter frowned in curiosity.

"That's the firm Dad had all his papers written up through when I researched him while he was gone! So...they're evil?"

Dexter nodded, "Yep. A good swath was just gutted out of their personnel, but they're still making things difficult for he who is called the Angel of Protection, in L.A. I had to do something about them."

Jonah stilled again, his face becoming solemn and slightly frightened at once. Dexter sighed inwardly, knowing Jonah had figured it out.

"You're the Angel of Death," he whispered, glancing out of the cell even though Dexter had made certain all of his colleagues were preoccupied and/or out.

"Got it in one," Dexter assured and again allowed his wings and chainsaw to come into the mortal plane. "We all have roles, Jonah. This is mine. Do you think you can handle that?"

Jonah stared at the chainsaw for a moment before asking, "Is your sister -- ?"

"No, no," Dexter denied pointedly. "She's a normal woman and always has been. Well, normal except for being traumatized constantly. I try to take care of that as best I can, but all I can offer her is support. I try to be the best brother I can and you'll have to do the same, even if you're not sure how. It's all you can do."

"Does this mean I'm an..." Jonah leaned forward and whispered, "An angel?"

Dexter shook his head, "I have no idea. It's hard to tell. I thought I was a sociopath and the Angel of Protection is a balancing demon going through a crisis of faith that made mine look like...Dear God in Heaven, help him.

"He's dying bit by bit, his soul withering away, and all I can do is try to even the scales a little bit so the darkness doesn't destroy him quite so easily. It's one thing to have your soul stolen from you. It's another to voluntarily try and give it up and I fear he's headed toward exactly that."

Jonah's eyes widened, "Well, you've got to do something! We do!"

But Dexter could only shake his head. "I know it's hard for you to understand, but choice is the only thing that's going to end this. He has to make a choice. Wolfram and Hart have corrupted him terribly already. He's just...so dead inside. It actually hurt to be anywhere near him and I thought that was impossible for me to register, let alone endure.

"I honestly think that if you tried anything, he'd harm you and I can't allow that. It's nothing he's trying to do, I know this for a fact, but his pain is just so great...have you ever seen a corpse, Jonah?"

Jonah nodded and Dexter continued, "Imagine if this corpse were given the gift of a soul -- like you and I have -- and the choice to do good. Imagine...this corpse knowing himself and the way he thinks, the thoughts of the demon inside him that enjoys the pain of others so exquisitely...that he was afraid to be around anyone because he's sure he'd destroy them.

"But that just makes everything worse because now the corpse has nothing to hold onto, nothing to make him feel the slightest bit alive and normal. Now, you have that and I have that. Imagine if it were taken away."

Jonah paled and Dexter knew his point had hit home, at least somewhat.

"He's going to try to kill himself," Jonah said quietly and Dexter could hear the lack of doubt in his voice.

"That's my fear, yes," Dexter affirmed. He'd known it from the moment he'd seen Angel's eyes, seen the raw pain and...depthless despair within him. Dexter knew that pain, somewhat. Sergeant Doakes had told him he was spinning, that his urge to kill was only going to get worse. But this...this was darkness on a level Dexter, himself, had never experienced. He was certain even Brian had never experienced it.

He could spin all he wanted, but he wasn't going to take anyone down with him when he toppled. That, he knew. Harry was right. Dexter was in charge of himself and what he did. Angel had a demon chomping at the bit to take control and slaughter the whole world.

"What'll that mean?" Jonah asked and Dexter could only shrug.

"That's the worst part. I don't know."

...Another knife in my hands, the stain will never come off the sheets -- clean me off, I'm so dirty, babe...

"You're just taking a kid to live with you, now?" Deb asked incredulously, giving Jonah yet another once over. "What are you, Dad?"

Dexter rolled his eyes and glanced over at Astor and Cody, who were still packing.

"He needs a family. Whatever Dad did, he still had good qualities, you and I both know that. We may be angry and may feel betrayed, but in the end, would you rather we'd never been brother and sister?"

Deb sagged slightly then rolled her eyes a bit. "No, as -- " She halted sharply and glanced down at Harrison slumbering against Dexter's chest in the baby carrier. "No. We settled this already, you and I and Astor and Cody and Harrison and -- I guess, now, Jonah, you kid-collecting freak -- "

Dexter grinned for the first time in over three months and Deb bit her lip, blinking as tears fell before she could stop them.

"We're our only family so don't you effin' forget it."

Dexter's grin widened at her affirmation of his intentions and he turned to gesture grandly at Jonah, "There, so that's settled. I'm just glad to be out of suburbia. That place was -- "

And here Dexter turned back and whispered in Deb's ear, "Hell on Earth."

Deb fought back a laugh, but didn't quite manage it.

"You and I have to talk later," Deb insisted and Dexter nodded.

"Of course."

Dexter exhaled, cuddling Harrison closer to his chest as he watched Astor and Cody both pick up their suitcases and wheel them toward the door and each glanced dolefully at Jonah, but neither objected to his presence. That was a step in the right direction, Dexter decided.

...And we'll all dance along to the tune of your death and we'll love again, we'll laugh again, we'll cry again, and we'll dance again...

Dexter had been using the time off work -- bereavement period, he would call it what it was because Rita deserved as much -- to find a new house, one with enough room for everyone. Now, it seemed, he had to find one with room for Jonah, as well. Or maybe a place for Jonah's own, that might be better. That wasn't too much trouble.

The insurance money, he'd already decided to use for Astor, Cody, and Harrison's college funds. Jonah had already decided against college, particularly since going on a football scholarship...it would again tie him to his father. Dexter couldn't blame him.

They'd figure out what Jonah would do later on once everything had settled down.

But for now? Dexter had to talk to Debra. Dear God, he had to share what he now knew he was.

Sighing, Dexter knocked on his old apartment door, thankful that Astor, Cody, and Harrison all seemed to like Jonah well enough to spend time with him. Enough that Dexter had time to sit and actually talk to Deb...explain things?

How to explain one's sudden faith in a calling they were given by a higher power they've never accepted, nor particularly cared about.

But it was rather more pertinent to find Jonah somewhere to live, somewhere far away from anything that reminded him of Arthur Mitchell, but that he could still call home in Florida.

I suppose it was a good thing, then, that Rita told me that keeping my biological father's house might come in handy someday. It's nowhere I'd want to raise the kids, but gives Jonah a place of his own, some place...well, I'm not sure if clean is exactly the right word, but any place free of all that...dare I say it? Darkness.

Joe Driscoll may have been murdered by Brian, but it...how to explain that it wasn't the same?


Dexter gave his head a slight shake and looked back at Deb, who had just flicked the side of his head. They were standing in front of Deb's apartment now, both of them leaning on the railing.

"You wanted to talk to me, Dex, now talk to me."

Dexter sighed, biting his lip. "A couple of things. First of all, do you think it's better to have Jonah living with us or to give him the house Joe Driscoll left me? It's...Rita said it was a good idea to keep it, you know? For tax purposes and other...situations. This would be one of them. You think Jonah -- "

"Would love to live in that crappy house with wood paneling and a shit ton of bowling balls?"

Dexter sighed heavily, "Deb, please. Just humor me -- do you think it's better to have him come live with me and the kids or give him a place of his own so he wouldn't have to be smothered?"

Deb took a drag on her cigarette and then flicked it away. "Well...you obviously care about the kid. And he'll want his own space, but -- at the same time, he'll need...you know, comfort. He's a teenaged boy, sure, but -- I don't know, Dex, just get a place with a room over a garage or something and give him that. He'd get space when he needs it and...he won't be lonely when he doesn't want it."

Dexter considered what Deb was telling him now and then nodded. "That's...that's good. I guess I can still keep Joe's house, like I have, just for whatever reason. Maybe I can stay in it when the kids are all grown up and far flung to the corners of the earth or whatever. Just make sure it stays clean right now, move into it then, whatever. But, yeah, your idea's...brilliant. I think I'll at least give him the record collection now, though. No reason he can't enjoy that."

Deb chuckled, "Well, thanks, Brother. Now, can we get to the real reason you asked me out here at the asscrack of dawn on a Sunday of all days? I mean, I know you get off on all this early morning bullshit, but it's not like we're headed to -- "

Dexter felt a twinge in his chest at Deb's ironic choice of words. "Deb, please -- let me finish. I've got..." Dexter sighed and looked up at the rising sun on the horizon. "I don't have the slightest idea how I'm supposed to say any of this to you without sounding like a complete lunatic.

"I'll be completely honest and tell you that I told, showed Jonah first. He was raised in this -- not like us, this wasn't our life. We lived in the world and didn't think about what was away from it except for the other planets in science class, but...God, this is hard."

"Well, just spit it out, Dex, come on."

Dexter exhaled heavily, biting his lip. "What if I told you that...that...that there's more out there than just us? Just humans on Earth? What if I told you there was more than...what if I told you that demons and angels existed outside of human hearts and minds?"

Sure enough, Deb is staring at me, now, like I've grown another head. Bravo, Dexter. Damned last resorts.

Dexter sighed and backed away carefully, "Sorry about this, Deb, I know how...never mind, there's not really words for this."

Dexter exhaled slowly and allowed his wings to expand, his breastplate and chainsaw coming into view. Deb's eyes widened like someone had grabbed her from behind and Dexter had to fight the urge to shrink away from her scrutiny, but forced himself to stay calm.

He could hear her whispering, though. "Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck..." It echoed in his ears like the toll of a bell and his heart palpated in his chest, but he forced himself yet and still to bear to brunt of her...whatever.

"Dexter, what the fuck?" Deb shrieked, jumping backward, and pointed at him, her hands shaking.

"I'm trying to explain, Deb," Dex whispered, knowing he was shaking himself by now. "It was...you know that trip I had to take? It was to Los Angeles. I had to -- my business trip was to perform..."

Suddenly words Debra said to me so long ago came echoing back, You opened your mouth and sounds came out.

Dexter forced himself to step forward, "You said you wanted me to talk to you, this is...me trying. I'm doing this the only way I know how."

Debra was shaking her head back and forth, but Dexter continued, his voice just above a whisper. "I was in...it was white everywhere and then...I know you'll say I'm crazy. I feel crazy...well, sort of. No more than usual. Anyway, I'm rambling. I've never done that before. I'm sorry. Deb...God made me something...powerful, something to help where you and others down here can't. And I have to try, so...so I have to be honest. I...I'm the Angel of Death."

...It ain't the money and it sure as hell ain't just for the fame, it's for the bodies I claim and those only go so far 'til you bury them, so deep and down we go...

Deb stared, wide-eyed, at Dexter, her eyes bouncing back and forth from the wings, to the breastplate, to the chainsaw and back again and her hand came up to touch him, but she kept snatching it away at the last moment. "No. No, Dexter, there is no -- "

Dexter let out a small chuckle, "I thought that. I even told Him as much. He...She...It. They said He's not really anything, though Serendipity and Metatron have their own ideas. But that's not the point. I told Him I didn't believe in Him and He said He believed in me. In what I do.

"He said one of my brothers in arms needed help and that I had to go to him. That's what I was doing in Los Angeles -- I'm the Angel of Death, but I had to...the Angel of Protection is falling and I needed to keep him from falling so far he could never climb back out."

"Bullshit," Deb whispered, tears sliding out of her eyes. "This is bullshit."

"No, Deb, it's not," Dexter whispered, tears of his own matching hers. "Just...just give me a moment."

Dexter resisted the urge to take Deb's hand and simply backed away from her, keeping eye contact the entire time as he stepped up onto the railing and jumped down off it, landing smoothly on the grass below, trying to ignore the petrified expression on Deb's face as she gripped the railing in turn, her mouth opening to tell him -- call his name, Dexter didn't know what, but when he landed on his feet, she froze.

Dexter took a breath and sighed, "Into the Light, I Command Thee."

Within seconds, Metatron dropped out of nowhere, landing next to Dexter and giving him a dirty look. Debra managed to muffle a scream, but not by much.

"What the -- who the hell are you?"

Metatron rolled his eyes, "Bloody hell, Dexter, I may be the Lord's Messenger, but not yours."

Dexter gave the other angel a desperate look, "Metatron, I need your help, you know I do. You helped Bethany -- you've tried to help Angel even though he's not listening at the moment."

"How strong of you to admit you need help, Dexter," Metatron said in a deadpan voice.

Metatron sighed and stared upward at Debra, who was gaping like a fish at the pair of angels standing down on the grass. "I know how difficult that is for you."

"Lord's Messenger?" Debra asked weakly, and Metatron nodded, throwing another deeply irritated look at Dexter, who ignored it in favor of gazing hopefully up at his sister.

"Metatron. Voice of the Almighty and the One True God," Metatron said softly, but Deb winced and Dexter elbowed Metatron in the ribs because he knew the other angel's voice was probably echoing within Deb's head, likely giving her a headache.

Deb shook her head, covering her ears in pain before removing her hands and glaring at them both. "You honestly -- God, Dex, this is fucking insane!"

"You think I don't know that?" Dexter asked softly, still more desperately. "I didn't..." Dexter sighed. "Last Friday -- Shabbat, you might say if we were Jewish -- I used this -- "

Dexter hefted his chainsaw, which glowed brightly even in the early morning sun. "To destroy thirty-two wicked souls in a wine cellar in Los Angeles and was forced to look the demonic ancestor of my deceased wife in her face and thank God Rita didn't meet that particular end. She and Darla -- that's this vampire's name -- look so alike, it was like my heart had been skewered and was being roasted.

"Last week, I found -- and spared, at God's command -- our half-sister, Lilah Morgan, and her colleague, Lindsey McDonald from that same fate. The one who allowed it to happen was my brother, Angelus -- Liam, Angel. The Angel of Protection, the One with the Angelic Face. He's falling, like I said, and the Lord asked me to help him not fall quite so far."

"Half-sister?" Debra asked weakly and Dexter nodded.

"She was born in Miami-Dade County, but she lives in L.A. now. She's older than us both, actually, meaning I'm a middle child like Jonah. Her name is Lilah -- she has Dad's last name, unfortunately, and she works at a law firm that specializes in defending the evil cocksuckers you work so hard to put away every day. They're amoral, as a rule. I was asked to spare her because Angel's brother, in soul not in blood, or...whatever it is we do...needs her. His path...look, it doesn't matter.

"I just thought you deserved to know and while I know Metatron doesn't appreciate being treated like a show pony, this was the best proof I could give. Gabriel's been stripped of his wings for going against God's wishes, and Metatron is the closest angel to me, anyway -- only a bit up from me in command.

"You already think you're hallucinating, I know, but I swear on my life, I'm here to protect you and the rest of -- well, the world, it would seem. But I need your help, Sister, and I can't do this without you.

"I would have told you first, but -- like I said -- Jonah was raised knowing all of this. He was the easier sell, simply put. I can't tell Astor or Cody, of course. Harrison, they -- God promised me that his soul was washed clean, he won't be like me, like I was. Traumatized and stunted. I don't know what his future holds, but it'll be different from mine."

"What the -- hell are you -- talking about?" Debra whispered, tears trailing down her face now as she forced herself to breathe and keep from screaming in fear and disbelief.

Metatron glanced at Dexter and said in that same deadpan yet, this time, more comforting voice, "I think it would be better to take this indoors, don't you?"

Dexter sighed as he watched Metatron snap his fingers and then they were inside Debra's apartment, around the living room table on the couch she'd inherited from him.

Debra clenched her eyes shut before forcing them open again and seeing the same crazy sight. Her brother and some black-haired guy with a British accent both dressed in regular clothes now, but she couldn't stop staring.

"You can't expect me to just believe this."

"No," Dexter said softly and Metatron sighed and glanced at the ceiling. "No, I most certainly do not. There's been a lot of lying in our lives, Deb. I can't afford to do it to you. You pointed out to me once that you weren't my sister, that Harry was your father. Well, Harry wasn't only your father, but Lilah's. Just like -- " Dexter sighed. "You remember...Rudy?"

Deb stiffened slightly, but forced herself to relax. "Yeah, Dex. Kind of hard to forget the son of a bitch who almost killed you. Who the hell was he, really? Since that's obviously what you're getting at."

Dexter bit his lip in slight disgust, though he couldn't figure out exactly whom it was aimed at. He took a wild guess and decided God, but felt that was pointless. Brian could only work so hard to overcome his wounds. Harry. God. They were both to and not to blame, if blame was supposed to be apportioned here.

But that wasn't the point right now.

"My older half-brother by a year. He was -- we watched our mother murdered in a shipping container when I was three and he was four and Harry decided to leave him behind. Apparently -- " And here Dexter couldn't help but shoot Metatron, himself, a filthy look, which Metatron took in stead. "Harry thought he was too damaged, just like God said he was too damned."

Deb felt her eyes burn as tears slipped out of them and flashes of the night Rudy kidnapped her flashing through her mind. Before she knew it, the one called Metatron was next to her, rubbing her back, and Deb was surprised to find comfort radiating out of his hand into her, washing her anxiety away and filling it with acceptance in its place.

Dex was still talking and Deb forced herself to relax and simply listen.

"But...me...they thought I was different. I knew something went inside me that day, taking over when it wanted to...but...where Brian was a killer, Dad always told me, killing had to have a purpose, otherwise it was just murder.

"Rudy...his name was really Brian, sorry. He was my older brother, like I said. I...remember him from then, now. He...God said he was too sick. I remember him yelling at me that you can't be a killer and a hero -- it doesn't work that way! He was wrong. He was old enough for demons to take the place of..."

"Angels?" Deb bit out, trying so hard to make sense of all of this and failing once again.

"Just one," Dexter said softly, knowing rejection when he saw it. He bit his lip again, a breath forcing its way in as he struggled not to cry.

All these emotions...the night he killed Brian, the night he killed the used car salesman right when he'd so viciously disrespected Rita -- dragging Arthur Mitchell into his kitchen to get him away from Jonah...they were overwhelming.

"It's...it's alright, Deb," he whispered now, tears coming to his eyes for the first time since he found Rita in the bathtub. Her entire funeral, he'd been nothing but numb. Empty inside. It was comforting. He was used to that. It was like a security blanket. Funny how he'd never needed one before.

"You don't have to do anything. Not any -- "

"Will you shut up for five seconds?" Deb burst out, staring in awe and almost fear at seeing her brother cry for the first time that she could remember.

Dexter glanced up, blinking as his eyes stung and he fought a shudder. "What?"

"You really think I'm just going to -- G -- " Deb glanced at Metatron and winced, shooting him a withering glare of her own that he merely raised an eyebrow to. "You think I'm just going to -- what, throw you away?"

"Seemed logical," Dexter muttered and he fought the urge to curl up with his knees under his chin.

"You take care of me, jackass," Debra snapped, "Better than Dad -- you've put me first more than I can count. Yeah, you told Jonah all -- this first, but -- but so what? You -- we didn't ask for any of this. You didn't ask to -- holy fuck, you didn't ask for your mother to be murdered in front of you any more than Harrison did. I'm not -- if God's decided you're going to help people, then you better do a damned good fucking job of it, got that, jerkoff?"

Dexter blinked again, his mouth falling open to reveal reddened bite marks he'd left in his lower lip. "You're...okay with this?"

"I..." Deb sighed. "Not -- not yet, but -- not because of -- of you. It's a whole mess of shit, like the fact that we have a fucking half-sister in California and who the hell knows where else because, of course, Dad couldn't keep his dick to himself for five minutes. It's the fact that some other angel's been made your responsibility because the dumbass couldn't -- how the hell do angels fall, anyway?"

Metatron sighed this time, answering calmly, "A myriad of reasons, really. This one was quite purposely driven insane and corrupted by the law firm your older sister represents because they have a vested interest in him. He's quite far from the half-wit you think he is, mind you. His cunning and intelligence are part of his appeal to them.

"The employees at Wolfram and Hart don't have the information we do and don't receive it until after death. Their contracts don't expire when their bodies do. Just like there's more to your brother, there's more to Angel -- that's his, well, not his birth name, but the one he goes by -- "

"Short for Angelus?"

Metatron nodded shortly, "He took the first name after he was Sired and the shortened form after he regained his soul. His name before that was Liam, which means 'Protector', hence his title and what he does even when he tries not to."

Dexter continued, "He's a vampire, so is Darla -- Rita's ancestor -- she Sired him in the mid-eighteenth century. He's the only one with a soul, though. It's a long story. I've seen a whole lot -- it was sort of jammed into my head once I accepted my Calling. His is a really, really long story. Plus, he's a bit of a drama queen, I think."

Metatron snorted and Debra found herself chuckling before she caught herself and glared at both of them. Dexter sighed and continued.

"Wolfram and Hart has more information on him than any other being on this plane or any other -- vested interest, hence their driving him out of his mind and somehow expecting that not to have any consequences. But Angel's falling hard as hell, right now, and I was asked to try and make sure he didn't far so far he couldn't climb back out. Hopefully, I did the job correctly."

"Only time will tell," Metatron said woefully, though betraying his worry by picking a bit of lint off his hooded sweatshirt. "Those lawyers were meant to die anyway, hence your role, but -- like the Roma who cursed Angelus in the first place, they're messing about with forces and lives they have no business with. Playing God. The Lord does not abide that, if you hadn't noticed."

"That's why the Kalderash clan was massacred at the hands of Angelus' cohorts, the rest of the Scourge of Europe -- " Dexter sat up then, blinking and wiping his face once and for all. "Because they played God and snatched Angel's human soul out of Heaven and strapped it back into a body that carried a demon who had been committing unspeakable acts for well over a century."

"The Father said you were brilliant," Metatron gave a hint of a smile.

Dexter grimaced, actually blushing a bit, and Deb stared at them both before looking at her own hands. "Oh, my -- I have to be dreaming. I'm acting like my brother turning out to be the Angel of Death and his buddy, the Voice of God, sitting on my fucking couch are just -- oh, hey, let's mix drinks next!"

But here both Dexter and Metatron declined, "Thanks to the previous Angel of Death and a Grigory -- a Watcher, some of the first who guided Vampire Slayers -- God decreed that angels are never again allowed to imbibe alcohol. Not that your brother would anyway, given his history as a teetotaler as well as that of his two elder children's biological father being the exact opposite. Still, we literally cannot swallow it."

Deb stared at Metatron now, the beginnings of a smirk on her face, "Either you're shitting me or -- sucks for you."

"At least I don't have to try Masuka's idea of tequila," Dexter shot back and Deb made a face.

"Ugh, fucking tightwad. Who the hell ever heard of pumpkin tequila?"

"Vincent Masuka, apparently," Metatron said dryly and Deb's eyes widened.

"Whoa. You...you actually know about that."

Metatron rolled his eyes and then Deb got very excited and jumped up, pointing, "Okay, that pervert Masuka's totally going to some level of Hell, right?"

"You say that like you want him to," Dexter objected plaintively and Deb scowled, "Fine, asshole. I'm just saying -- isn't Lust one of those cardinal sins?"

Both Metatron and Dexter nodded, but then Dexter added, "Deb, if there was no lust, none of humanity would exist. Each of the sins, no matter their...distasteful nature...has a purpose. The key is repenting and most people have the conscience to do that."

"Not Ru -- Brian, or what -- " Deb cut herself off and glanced at Dexter who, despite her fears, nodded in agreement.

"The only salvation I could give him, the only mercy, was to kill him."

Deb's eyes widened, "You..."

Dexter nodded, "It was either he or you. There was no choice, Deb. Not one I was willing to ever make in his favor."

Tears came to Deb's eyes again and she felt her throat constricting as she really thought of Brian for the first time in nearly two years.

"I'm sorry," Deb whispered, reaching out and taking Dexter's hand, gratified when he let her.

"You have nothing to be sorry for," Dexter assured her and Deb smiled a bit.

Her eye caught the clock on the wall and she groaned, "Ugh, well, what -- do angels get to eat? It's fuckin' breakfast time here."

Metatron watched Dexter blink in confusion yet again as Deb got up to search for something to eat and clapped the young man on the shoulder to wake him from his stupor.

"Would it make you feel better if she ran you through with the flaming sword Loki used?"

Dexter chuckled, truly nervous for the first time in his life, and took the cue to get up and follow his sister into the kitchen.

"So this Lilah chick, what is she, a real bitch?"

...And it's better off this way, so much better off this way -- I CAN'T CLEAN THE BLOOD OFF THE SHEETS IN MY BED!

...TBC...
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