A/N: Happy Summer! (I seem to spend an awful lot of time referencing the season in these author's notes, but I'm enjoying our unusual summer, here on the Rock, since it's been warmer and earlier than usual.) I'm finished my final finals of high school, and I think I'm going to bawl. Going to a small school like I did, you know most of the teachers pretty well, so going to university is going to be a bit of culture shock. But I cannot wait. ^-^ However, that's summer away. (Although that isn't really that long), so I'll try to get this story as far along as possible.

For anyone who wants to read them, (and this is why this chapter was delayed and why it's so short), I've posted a new comic series on a blog. The comic is called My Whole Life is an Awkward Situation, and can be found on .. Please let me know what you think: I'm trying to make a decision, and feedback is much needed!

Letters from Hell

Chapter 10: Normalcy

"Damn him! Lemme go Ivan! I can take that bloody bastard!"

"Will you lot move it?" Chrono dropped his head against the shadow of the elevator's wall as Lucky slammed the cage door shut behind them and they began to descend, down and down, away, away. He swallowed.

"You think you're so tough!" Marty howled, freeing one arm from Ivan's grasp to bang on the bars as they dropped; a metal wall slamming shut behind them, blocking the sight of a golden winged girl racing to the shaft. He blinked hard, slumping, salt burning his eyes.

Rosette…

"Marty give up, you idiot!" Uma growled from the corner behind Ivan where she'd been wedged. "You wouldn't stand a chance fighting up there- all that stupid angel had to do was haul off your cloak and you'd be toast."

"Ashes, actually." Lucky shrugged with a grin. "They don't want to take any chances with demon's infiltrating their pristine city."

"Ya think?" Marty finally wriggled out of Ivan's grasp, swearing as his head cracked off the floor. "They seem real happy for our help too. "I'm going to need a lot of air fresheners to get rid of your stench." Bastard."

"They're angels. They don't like those of us who tread in the dirt. Can't stand getting their clothes dirty."

Chrono opened one eye, watching the red-robed guard lazily brush a stray hair under his cap, leaning against the grate. The whirr of the elevator slowed. Somewhere, far too close, he could hear the low rumble of feet in narrow passage ways, the high whine of the Breath. He shut his eyes, the ache resuming in his temples.

Two pairs of feet stopped before him, a pair of worn leather loafers and a pair of black, high heeled shoes; two scents he recognized, but the sky was too bright to see them clearly; he had to squint at their shadows.

"Chrono." They knew him?

"Please, sir, miss," he couldn't remember their names. It all seemed so grainy; hazy memories, so far away. "Would you take this?" He shoved the letter towards them, pain searing through him as the light touched his singed hand, his foot. The gong was ringing, below, calling him back, not that he wasn't trouble anyway. The voices of the guards rose to shouts. "Please deliver this!" he jumped up, a familiar rattling of chains harassing his ears. "Please deliver this!" Somewhere beyond the light overwhelming his eyes, the gates to Heaven would be closing soon, and then they would be cast down with him. "Hurry- you won't- you-" The Chains of the Damned swooped around him, cold metal on his chest, his arms, his legs, a web of ice and rage, dragging him back into frozen non-existence, and he offered no fight- he was so tired… the darkness….

He'd delivered the letter, despite that… Hands grabbed him by the neck, the collar, shoving him against a cold stone wall. He blinked: a shadow red and dark...green cat eyes… horns? Why did a Heaven's Guard have horns? "I've got him!"

His eyes snapped open again, dilating in the shadows of the elevator, his breath jolting in his chest as he stared at Lucky.

"How is it you can go to Heaven?" His voice was a raspy as it had been in Heaven, although he didn't flinch at the sound as it reverberated in the narrow passage. The others turned to him, their hidden faces questioning. Lucky narrowed his eyes, his hand half-rising to the red cap again.

"I'm one of the Guard." He snorted. "I'm from Heaven." The door of the elevator swooped open and the Hellions jolted, stumbling out through the closet into Lucky's office. Chrono clamped his mouth shut as his stomach heaved, the dull, copper smell of blood, ice and sweat rolling over his senses, down the back of his throat. His ears folded back, the wind rising in them again from beyond the door. Shuddering, he shed the cloak and hung it on the hanger Uma stuffed into his hand, replacing it in the closet. Slowly, he turned, pulling off the halo and laying it on Lucky's desk with the others. Calmly, the guard scooped the tinkling pile into a rough, burlap bag and tucked it into the top drawer of the desk, locking it shut with a tiny, silver key. Chrono winced as the dark haired angel caught his eye.

"I'll approach each of you with your assignments as soon as I can move you to your correct department." Lucky strode over to the door, his boots clacking as he put his hand on the handle. "For now, return to your normal positions and do nothing out of the ordinary. Keep your ears and eyes open for any information, no matter how insignificant and do not speak of this meeting, even amongst yourselves. Delacroix has spies everywhere." For a moment, none of them moved. Then, silently, the Heaven's Horn headed for the screaming hallway, flinching as the sound rose up again around then, worse again after the respite, already a faded dream. Chrono squared his shoulders, trying not to wrinkle his nose as he stepped onto the rough stone.

Lucky's arm dropped in from of him, halting him mid-step. For a moment, the Guard looked at him, eyes like a cat's in their luminosity. Chrono glared back, noting the oblong shape of the other man's pupils.

"You should watch your tongue. And keep your ears open this time." there was a step further down the corridor and Lucky stiffened, shoving him out of the office so hard the demon landed on his knees on the ice, skidding into the cold rock of the wall with a thud.

"Get out of my sight!" David, the Guard who had addressed Lucky before they left- was it only four hours ago- frowned at him before entering the office. Lurching onto trembling legs, Chrono gave a final glance over his shoulder before stumbling down the corridor to the nearest drive, his ears echoing and chest burning from a pair of ghost arms wrapped around him.

He snorted.

Angels seemed to enjoy their games, didn't they?

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"Well, it's certainly been awhile, hasn't it?" Elder chucked; rubbing his swollen cheek. "I certainly missed you, Rosette. You should've come to visit! And Ewan- I wasn't aware that you'd joined us. Kate as well?" Rosette snorted, glaring at the inventor. Like Kate and Remington, he had reverted to a younger version of himself, appearing to be in his late 30s.

"I didn't think they let perverts into Heaven." She muttered, smacking him over the head again as he made another pass for her rear.

"Well, you know, since the codes have been relaxed… plus, there're so many fine women here!"

Ewan shook his head. "Kate's here too, yes. You haven't changed a bit Edward."

"I've been too busy the change!" Elder cracked his knuckles, his brown eyes flashing behind a newer pair of goggles than the ones he'd had on earth. "Godren's had me plugging away in preparation for this for many years now. In secret, naturally. We didn't want to incur any panic." He paused, pressing his thumb to a scanner and adjusting a dial on a side panel. With a low hiss, two layers of metal doors pulled back.

Her neck prickled, and for a moment she prepared to see a wall of legion towering above her, a figure drenched in blood. Instead, they passed from the hall into a lab, and the chill of memory passed. Rosette shook her head to clear it.

The room was the size of a football field, and looking up, had to be two stories high. Work benches stretched in rows across its length, stopping only when they reached one of the enormous warehouse shelves that ran to the bald lights and slow drone of the ceiling fans. Ewan whistled, gazing around at the ranks of cardboard and steel boxes and crates overflowing with tools, light bulbs, tubing, scrap metal and insulation. Scattered amongst the boxes, machines of all sizes hunched, some shining, others spewing various cables, wires and abrupt glimpses of internal panels. Elder waved a blocky hand at the room.

"Miss Godren didn't want to risk any spies snooping about, nor any attention drawn to this. A bit of a step up after the Order, wouldn't you say, Ewan? Materials are hard to come by though, and most of what we needed on earth is useless here- Now this! I'm proud of this one. Detects the change air motion caused by wings- useless? It can even tell if it's feathered or scaled." Elder dropped the small box with its blinking screen back onto the table, strolling between the rows. Rosette raised an eyebrow, reaching for a pink stuffed rabbit lying on one workstation. Elder grabbed her hand.

"I wouldn't touch that." He pointed to a series of wires running to the little animal with a grin. "It's my 'Baby Bomb'. Ah, here we are!" They stopped at a bench and Elder beamed, holding up the gun. Rosette whistled.

"A new version of the Gospel, far more powerful, mind you, although I don't think we'll need it here- most of the demon's we'll be facing are low levels." Rosette frowned, taking the gun and turning it over to test its balance. The cool body seemed to slow her blood, settling sweetly against her palm.

"This is all you have?" she rubbed the dull side.

Elder cackled. "Why Rosette, you seem a little disappointed!"

"Underestimation never saved anyone." Rosette muttered, setting the gun down on the table.

"Indeed." Elder smirked. "Good to see the soft life hasn't diminished your tactics." Rosette snorted.

"How many of these do you have?" Ewan asked, eyeing the blue-steel line on the table. Rosette flicked her braid over her shoulder, frowning as she counted. There were only ten or so there.

"Of the Gospels? I've thousands of the bullets. We don't need many guns. As far as I know, Godren just wants a few, very able Angels to handle this, so I believe we have enough." His eyes flicked to them. "Besides, it's bound to look suspicious if huge numbers of people start carrying weapons in Heaven, would it not?" Rosette picked up another of the guns, weighing it in her hand as she had the last one, her ears buzzing with the fans above her. Would the Heaven's Horn be equipped too?

"What do the Heaven's Guard use?" Unlike the Hellions, who although angry were mostly untrained, exhausted and weak from years in, well, Hell, the Guard- their own- were well rested, since they alternated fairly regularly. She pursed her lips, thinking of all the Red Clothed angels roaming around the city. Which of them were with Delacroix?

"Nothing so powerful, believe me. And nothing with firing power. Mostly swords, since it's too dangerous to use guns in the tunnels below."

"Just swords?" Rosette leaned against the next table, running her fingers back and forth across the smooth metal. "Why are we using guns then? If we're going into the tunnels, won't we run into the same problems?"

"We may as well go sit down." Elder pointed to another door at the end of the lab. "And we have a full armament of swords, knives and the like." His lips stretched and he cackled. "These are just for an added punch when necessary."

"Do you think it will be necessary?" Rosette jumped at Ewan's voice, forgetting the former priest was there. Elder set his jaw, punching in another code to open the next door, silently leading them into a musty sitting room- infinitesimally cramped after the expanse of the lab- and shoving more boxes of old blueprints, spare pieces of scrap metal, ragged journals, wires and porn magazines to the floor.

"It depends." Elder pulled at his beard, gazing at the unintelligible marks scrawled across the wall-length black board. Suddenly he frowned, calculations from around a drawing of what looked like a lolly pop and muttering about field permeability.

"It depends?" Rosette prompted. Elder jolted, his brow wrinkling.

"Oh. Yes, of course. It depends on-" he stopped, looking again at the chalk board, then shaking his head. "How quickly we staunch Delacroix and his supporters. Now, here you are!" Rosette yelped as a thick black box was dropped into her hands.

"Hey!"

"Godren will probably be expecting you back soon, or be waiting for the damages report. That's her first batch, and tell her to let me know if they're what she's looking for! My assistant-" Elder beamed. "A pretty girl- will be here shortly. I'll send her over with the rest later."

"What?" Rosette sputtered, straining under the box until Ewan took it from her with a grunt. Elder ignored them, turning to the chalkboard again and resuming his scribbling.

"Elder!" Rosette barked; smacking him over the head- there had to be more to it then that!

"I'm here!" the door flew open and a bouncing blur whooshed in. "Sorry I'm late Elder- oh- Hey Rosette! He's at his board- he won't listen to you while he's at that- he's been trying to figure it out for weeks, but he won't listen when I tell him- oh, should I work on these today? I think I was supposed to, and I didn't mean to be late, but I had to pick up snacks…" Rosette staggered, her stomach dropping to the basement, her knees wobbling as the blur paused, her tail poking into the air as she delved into one of the boxes, pulling out some papers.

"Wha…" Beside her, Ewan's face must have mirrored her own bewilderment as the cat-eared woman finally caught Elder's attention, her glasses slipping precariously low on her nose.

"Shader, you're late!"

Rosette's throat closed, her legs wobbling.

Was every demon but Chrono allowed in Heaven?

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A/N: I'm sorry this chapter was so late coming, and that it's short. It's been kind of hard to write anything, because… well, life's gone crazy, yet again, as I'm preparing for camp… and for my first semester of university, which, to quote my best friend (a year ahead of me) looks like it will be "brutal".

I'm so excited! :D Still, I hope to post a new chapter before I leave in August (hopefully!)

Thanks for reading!