Grimm pulled Hana through the door and into a brightly lit forest. Hana gasped at the sudden change in scenery. “How did we-? Where are we?” Grimm snickered. “What’s so funny?” She snapped turning, and noticed Grimm’s clothes had been changed. He was wearing a knee length, white garment, which could only be called a toga, gathered at his left shoulder, and tight at his waist, complete with leather sandals. “What’s with the get up? You look ridiculous.”
“You’re one to talk,” Grimm said pointing. Hana looked down at herself and found her clothes had also been changed without her knowing. She had on a long, white toga, gathered at her shoulders and tight just under her bust line, no sandals though. “The look suits you better than me.”
“No it doesn’t! This is weird.”
“Sorry about that,” Michael said as he walked up to them. His clothes had also been changed, but not to a toga. Instead he wore brightly polished, gold armour, with a roaring lion emblazoned on the breastplate; complete with a helmet and shield. “The Father is fond of things like that. I don’t agree with it, it’s very cliché.” He tapped his breastplate. “Luckily, he doesn’t change my armour.”
“That’s weird. Why do you walk around in armour in this day and age?”
Michael smiled lightly. “All angels wear armour child.” He started walking down a stone paved path.
“Angels… but angels are supposed to be chubby babies with wings, or at least people with wings.” Hana scrunched up her nose in thought as she tailed Grimm. “You don’t exactly fit that description. You are very pretty though, for a guy, in a fierce, exotic kind of way.”
Michael glanced back at her, with a slight smile, then tipped his head back and laughed loudly. “What gave you the idea that we are babies? Angels walk like men; the heavenly beings with wings you should know of would be cherubim and seraphim. None of us are chubby babies, though; we are warriors, we have always been warriors.”
“Reality- 1; pop culture- 0,” Hana mumbled.
“I warned you flower,” Grimm smiled.
“Yeah, yeah, I know.”
Michael stopped outside of a stone gate that led into a small clearing. “He’s waiting for you just in here.”
“Thank you Michael.” Grimm gently pulled Hana through the gate.
She looked up at the canopy of leaves, and the birds perched there, watching. She heard a quiet laugh and looked to see a man, who looked to be in his late 20s early 30s, standing at a table under a gazebo. He wore a short sleeved plaid shirt and blue jeans. He didn’t strike Hana as handsome, more average. She thought he was the kind of person you’d look over in a crowd. He was tall with thick, shoulder length, black hair, and features with a strong Middle Eastern resemblance. The lower part of his face was covered in a dense beard, warm brown eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled broadly at them.
“Joshua!” Grimm cried, happily, as he ran over to hug the man. “How have you been? I haven’t seen you in a while.”
“That’s because you never come see me anymore. I’m doing well.” The man held Grimm’s shoulders at arm’s length as he looked him over. “You never change over all these years, besides that hair, it’s getting long. How are you?”
“I’ve been better.”
“Yes, I heard Acheron is acting up again. I’ll help take care of whatever it is he’s done now. What did he do this time? Let me see.”
Grimm pulled back. “Well actually, he didn’t get to me directly. He used my flower.”
“Yes,” Joshua looked to Hana, “delicate things, flowers, but still they persist.” He walked over to her and lightly touched her hand. “Juniper, oh we’d been hoping well for you, Father and me. You went through so much. I wish it hadn’t had to be that way. But it’s a good thing Grimm picked you; he’s a good one, and he can make up for what you went through.”
“Do I know you?” Hana asked, feeling a little bit of Juniper slipping back into her.
Joshua smiled softly. “No, you don’t, but I know you, I always have.”
“Who-who are you?”
He laughed a little. “People call me a lot of names: I Am, Lion of Judah, King of the Jews, the Lamb, Messiah, and a lot more. Really it’s a bit much, but that’s how things are.” His smile widened. “Most call me Jesus Christ, of Nazareth, my mother calls me Yeshua, but you can call me Joshua if you like.”
“Jesus Christ,” Hana said putting a hand to her forehead.
“Yes, that’s me.” Joshua put a hand on Hana’s shoulder. “I’m sorry for what you went through. But, you know, all things that happened are for the good of my Father’s will. And if you didn’t go through those trials Grimm wouldn’t have picked you.” He tapped the tip of Hana’s nose. “And that is a good thing of my Father’s will, as well as a good number of the other deities out there. Grimm is fairly popular in many circles.”
“Wow,” Hana breathed.
“See, I told you he’s cool,” Grimm said from under the gazebo.
“You talk about me too much,” Joshua smiled back at him, and then faced Hana again, suddenly very serious. “Now, let me see what Acheron’s done.” He touched Hana’s pendant.
Hana felt her fever spike quickly, and she became nauseous and weak. Behind Joshua Grimm gripped the back of the chair next to him as his face flushed. Joshua murmured to himself, frowning slightly. Hana’s muscles seized more painfully than before, and she screamed as she lost her balance; Joshua caught her arm reflexively. A second later Grimm wailed, clutching at his middle; his form flickered in Hana’s vision, and he collapsed to his knees.
“Grimm,” Joshua turned, as he pulled Hana to stand, his eyes widening when he saw Grimm. “What in heaven?”
Hana took a deep breath, fighting the nausea. “Acheron did something to my necklace,” she held onto Joshua’s shirt tightly, the feel of the fabric comforted her. “Now, what I feel from what he did, Grimm gets worse.”
“Oh dear,” Joshua and Hana walked to Grimm, and Joshua put a hand on Grimm’s shoulder. “Let me see your back.” Grimm’s shoulders hitched up, like he was cringing. “Please, let me see so I can help.” Joshua took the gather at Grimm’s shoulder and pulled in off, exposing the planes of his back, and with it an intricate, black tattoo that went from his shoulders to his hips. Little, bright red lines branched out from the edges of the tattoo, similar to the black webbing Shin would get.
“Why are those red lines there?” Hana asked, quiet at seeing the tattoo for the first time.
“It’s because of the spell Acheron used. They aren’t compatible magic’s so the tattoo is trying to fight back. But it’s not holding up well against the strength of Acheron’s power. It’ll only get worse from now unless it’s taken care of.” Joshua laid a hand on Grimm’s shoulder. “Let me-”
“No,” Grimm said, his voice had gone rusty from the yell. “Take care of Hana first.”
“But I can-”
“Please, just help her first. I’ll be fine.”
“Grimm, are you sure?” Hana asked, kneeling next to him. “I’d rather make sure you’re ok.”
“I can’t be ok if you aren’t.” He looked at her. “You know that.”
“Do you two realize,” Joshua said, “that I’m not limited to healing one person at a time?”
Grimm gave a short laugh. “I forgot we were with the Great Physician.”
“You should try harder to keep it in mind. Now, come sit both of you.” Joshua motioned to the table.
Hana and Grimm sat in the metal chairs as Joshua stood behind them. Then Hana looked up at him and asked, “Will this be hard for you?”
“No not at all. Once I figure out this cocktail of nasty Acheron cooked up we’ll be finished before you can say Artaxerxes three times fast.”
“Arta what now?”
“See,” Joshua grinned at her then grew serious. “Now, let’s see what this is.” He put a hand on Hana’s shoulder, and the other on Grimm’s. They fell into silence, even the birds, which were still watching from the canopy were silent. After a few minutes Joshua went, “Oh, so that’s what it is.” A few seconds later he lifted his hands away. “Do you feel better now?”
Hana blinked up at him, then felt her fever go down and nausea disappear. “Yes I feel much better. Thank you so much.”
Joshua smiled kindly, “that’s good. It’s my pleasure. And you Grimm?”
“Yeah, I’m alright.” Grimm smiled at Joshua. “Thanks for all the help you give me. I owe you big time.”
“I’ll never hold you to it and you know it. I like helping out. Just be sure to take care and visit me more. I don’t like that the only way I get to see you is when I send Michael. Remember, the door’s always open.” Grimm nodded, and Joshua turned and called, “Michael!”
Michael looked in, “Yes?”
“We’re all done here. Would you take these two back home please? I’d appreciate it.”
“Of course,” Michael nodded and waved for them to follow. “Come on, this way.”
Grimm gave Joshua a quick hug, took Hana’s hand, and they followed after Michael. “So, what do you think of Joshua?” He asked her.
“I like him,” she nodded. “He’s pretty cool. He kind of caught me off guard though.”
“It felt like he knew everything about me, I don't know if I like it. And he doesn’t really look like much. If I’d seen him anywhere else I don’t think I’d have really paid much attention to him.”
“That’s how he was made to be child,” Michael said. “Though, he only showed you his earthly appearance.”
“Most beings aren’t allowed to see Joshua’s heavenly body, or the sheer power he possesses will kill them,” Grimm explained. “It’s too much for the mind to handle.”
“Yes, but he likes to spend time with people, so he isn’t in his heavenly body very often.” Silence fell, besides the sound of their feet on the ground as they walked, until they reached a door. “Here we are.” Michael took out the key from before and unlocked the door. “You know how to contact us if you want to visit my master.”
“Yeah, I’ll let you know.”
Michael smiled, “Take care my friend.”
“You too, I’ll see you around.” Michael opened the door to a bright light, and Grimm and Hana walked through.