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I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to do next, but I certainly wasn’t going to be the one to start the conversational ball rolling.  I kept my glance downcast, not that I could see them with my eyes. For me it was more of a knowing, a feeling of another presence.  I could tell the two surrounding me were both making an effort not to overwhelm my insignificance.  Michael was more adept than his brother. He probably had more practice at it.  I was surprised by the feeling of close intimacy between them, almost as if they were more than brothers.  More like twins.

I willed myself not to panic when Michael withdrew a little so as to give his brother some privacy for this conversation he requested.   He stopped a short distance away.  Despite my earlier intention not to break the silence I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I was hoping to get this encounter over and done with as quickly and painlessly as possible. “You wanted to see me.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“I was curious as to the reason our Father sent my brother to you.”

“Me too.”

“You don’t know?”

“No, do you?”

He laughed at the hopeful anticipation in my voice.  “I think it is not for me to say.”

“Fine.”  I sighed away my disappointment. I didn’t really expect him to tell me.  The firstborn weren’t exactly the gregarious type.

“Your understanding is so limited it is difficult for there to be a shared reference point.”

I guess you didn’t need to be gregarious when you could read minds.

I could see his point, but then what was I doing here.

“I wanted to ask you something.”

Curious-er and curious-er.  “What is it?”

“You pray for me.”

I shouldn’t be surprised he knew my secret.  “Yes.”

“Why?”

I shrugged.  “If I was lost I hope someone would pray for me.”

“So you’re a sucker for lost causes?”

His sarcasm was grating, but I swallowed my snippy response. “No, not ordinarily.  I don’t really believe any cause is ever completely lost.  God heals all, renews all, lifts all.”

If it was possible for the firstborn to feel confusion, I could sense his.  “You still haven’t answered my question.”

Even though Michael distanced himself, I could still feel his protective presence close by.  I glanced back in his direction just to be sure and then turned back to his brother. “He loves you.”

I could feel his attention slide away from me towards his brother.  His thoughts were far away when he replied. “Yes.”

I hesitated, and then added softly.  “It hurts him…that you left.  He feels responsible.”

In the silence that followed I felt as though I added one more burden to the heavy weight he already bore.  He may find man’s existence irritating, but his brothers were a different story.  He loved them.  He felt responsible for them.

He finally pulled his attention away from his own musings to point out the contradiction in the explanation I offered him.  “You prayed for me before you met my brother.”

“Yes.”  It was a reluctant admission on my part.  A secret between me and God, or so I thought.

“I heard you.”

“Oh.” It was embarrassing knowing he could hear my prayers for his redemption.  Sort of like a stranger reading your diary.

“Why?”

It was my turn to draw my attention away from his direct focus to a place beyond wherever it was we were…all the way to heaven.  “It hurts Him, too.  He loves you so much.  I can feel His pain whenever He speaks of you…His beloved Luciel.”

Another long pause, before he spoke.  “The love between us was never at issue.”

I guess I understood that now.  I wanted to ask what the issue was, but I was reminded of his earlier comment and acknowledged the surety of his conclusion.  If I couldn’t even comprehend the question, how could I ever hope to understand his response?  Even if he was willing to share his reasons with me, which I doubted.

“You still haven’t answered my question.”

I shrugged and tried to explain why I felt compelled to pray for him.  “I don’t like seeing His pain…feeling it.  I know there’s nothing I can do about it, but He can.  So I pray you’ll get to go home some day and heal Michael’s pain, and fill the hole in God’s heart you carved out when you left.  You’re the only one who can.  Even if everyone else comes home but you, for Him it wouldn’t be enough.  For Him, for your brothers, there is no heaven without you.”

Heaven is not only lost to the fallen…Heaven is lost to everyone bound by love to those who fell…The reminder whispered through my mind and I thought I understood it better now after seeing the aftermath from both sides, from the perspective of the fallen and those he left behind.

I could feel his focus on me, the surprise in his voice when he commented, “You’ve grown.”

I brushed real tears from my eyes. “I don’t know if that’s true.  I hope it is.  If so, it’s because there were so many willing to help me along my way.”

“We will meet again.”

I didn’t know what he meant by that.  I was hoping it wasn’t a reference to my eventual eternal resting place. Before I could ask for an explanation, he was already gone.  It was Michael now who stood close, watching me.  I could feel his presence along with his amazement.

“You prayed for my brother?”  I guess when you could read minds distance wasn’t really a factor when it came to eavesdropping.

“Yes.”   More tears.  This time it was Michael who brushed them away.

“Thank you.”