I didn’t sleep and I skipped school, because right now understanding everything was a little more important. I found Marilyn at her place, and waited for her to wake up. I didn’t get what the test was or how Michael and I were supposed to make sure Brian passed. I could tell she didn’t like the questions she could read in my mind, but I have a problem with the fact that Lucifer was the only one willing to tell us.
“He doesn’t lose anything if Brian passes the test.” She tells me, sitting down in front of me.
“I don’t understand what the test is.” I tell her.
She looked off into space, debating with someone before saying anything. “Brian’s whole life here was the test. Every situation he was put in was a test to see what he would do.” She tells me.
“Why did they let me die?” I ask.
She blew a huge breath out, before answering me. “You were born without sin. But everything you and Brian did, well it pushed you towards it. They felt like Brian was taking you away from the life you were born to live. When you came here, it was just to watch and see if the darkness was winning in Brian.” She tells me.
“Michael was supposed to see that he made the wrong ones?” I ask.
“No. Just that Brian could understand why people made the wrong ones.” She tells me.
“But they wanted me out of it, which left him to embrace only one side of himself.” I comment out loud.
“You balanced him, something they didn’t understand.” She tells me.
“How do we help him pass a test, when we don’t have a clue how, or exactly what, the test is?” I ask her.
“If you listened to me instead of being angry, you would know.” She tells me.
“I’m supposed to stay for years until he passes?” I ask, starting to see what she was telling me for a change.
“I don’t think the Big Guy is going to make you live this life all over again. Just get things where they need to be for the other two to come back and take over.” She tells me.
“What was prom?” I ask her.
“The mistake that splintered this timeline. The first time, you were supposed to survive, just like you did the second time. We were all told to back off and watch what would have happened if no one interfered. He didn’t let you or Brian come back knowing anything, to show the ones who thought they knew better that nothing Brian did would have changed who and what you are. The only reason you’re back now is in hopes that you and Brian are willing to take your places back.” She tells me.
“What happens to the life that we were building?” I ask.
“Nothing. You can both live it here or in Heaven. The only thing that will be different is that you both know who you really are.” She tells me.
“So we live our happy life, but have to make time to do what we were born to do?” I ask.
“As strange as it sounds, it’s really that simple.” She tells me.
“As long as Brian passes the test?” I ask.
“Yes. And one was the night you met. He tempted you, but also took care of you.” She tells me.
“The angels didn’t see that?” I ask, starting to feel violated at the idea that there were people watching everything we did.
“All they understood was that the Prince of Light was enjoying the darkness that the In Between showed him. One thing you need to understand is that even being who they were, it didn’t mean they were told everything God planned. It’s why they were jealous of you three, they thought he loved you more, and what they were seeing is the loss of sons, the way they lost their brother.” She tells me.
“Brian and I talked about it when Uriel let Brian come here, it made sense that no one knew anything about us.” I tell her.
“You were both right, and the Angels feared that more.” She tells me.
“Gabriel seems more pissed than anything.” I tell her.
“Brian is part of him, and seeing what his brothers did is the reason he’s pissed. He’s never been happy about the human race, but only because in everything he did, the wars he fought, and seeing the things humans were given, he never lost his faith in his father. They lost their faith, and let his son be sacrificed for it.” She tells me.
“So they really see us as their children?” I ask.
“The only ones they could ever have. Uriel didn’t agree for any reason other than the fact that he worried about you.” She tells me.
“Sorry, but right now I’m not really feeling like he did anything better than Craig Taylor did.” I tell her, leaving.
Gabriel stayed at my house, glaring at Justin and Michael. I really didn’t get what his problem was. Gus changed everything when he came stumbling in for breakfast. Gabriel ignored everything but him.
“I never liked the person you and they chose for his mother.” He said, finally speaking.
“What about Kira?” I ask him.
“I didn’t like why my brother created her, but eventually didn’t care because she was a part of you.” He tells me.
“Why would you care about me, remember, I’m one of the Pets?” I ask.
“You were created in my image. The Pets call you their children.” He says, smiling down when Gus yanks on his pants.
“Jenny’s wet.” Gus tells him, like Gabriel was supposed to do something.
“Not any more little one.” He tells him.
“Isn’t that cheating?” I ask.
“I didn’t sign up for that job.” He smirks at me, which was a bit weird to see when all he ever seemed to do was frown.
The frown returned when Justin and Michael came in the house, still bickering about God only knew what this time. I felt like I was just spinning wheels until My Justin returned. It really fucked with my head having to send Justin out of my bedroom every night.
“Why are you still here?” I ask him.
“It’s time to bring Kira, the one who can break all the rules, here. Which means you have to get this one (pointing to Justin) to make everyone believe he’s the one they know.” He tells me.
“Why can Kira break the rules?” I ask, not liking the idea of my daughter being involved in this.
“Father didn’t include her in the group who couldn’t. Loopholes Brian. Learn them and use them.” He tells me, disappearing in front of Justin and Michael.
“Dude, seriously what drugs are we on?” Justin asks.
How the hell was I going to convince anyone he was the Justin they knew?
“Stay here. Don’t answer the door. And make sure Gus and Jenny aren’t tearing down the house.” I tell them, going to find Ben.
I drove around trying to think of where Ben would go. It wasn’t like I really knew that much about what he did without Michael in any life. Eventually I went to Carnegie, since it was the one place he used to go everyday before this life. He was sitting in the middle of campus, just watching the kids walk around.
“I miss this. Being a teacher.” He tells me.
“Why did you change this part?” I ask.
“At the time, I didn’t know I was changing anything. When I came back, all I wanted to do was stop Michael from fucking up everyone's life.” He tells me.
“Being a teacher wouldn’t have changed that, and I think we all underestimated Michael.” I tell him.
“Or overestimated Lindsay.” He tells me.
“Did you know who we really were?” I ask, not skeptical about any of it. It finally made sense.
“What are you talking about?” He asks.
“Have you ever heard of Light, Darkness, and In Between?” I ask.
“There were myths about it. In fact, it’s where the idea of polytheism started.” He tells me.
“Wasn’t Polytheism first?” I ask.
“I guess it depends on if you believe in the bible, versus the way we’re taught history. In the beginning and all that. After the Garden of Eden, then we deal with the history of man, not God. Man was given the freedom to believe as they wished, and instead of one God, there were many. The thing you asked about, well it likely caused them to worship more than just God, because their afterlife was no longer decided by God. So they worshiped the sun, Light; the moon, Darkness; even the twilight, In Between. Lucifer became Hades, and so on. Eventually Christianity was born, losing the idea that there were many and returning to the one.” He tells me.
“When you think about it, maybe Polytheism wasn’t wrong. Only they lost God and created Zeus in his place.” I tell him, thinking about what I can remember.
“And gave power to the three doing God’s will. Which gave them more power in the minds of the people. They worshiped at the altars of the fates.” He adds.
“They worship idols, not the gods.” A guy tells us, from behind.
“Zain.” Ben whispers, looking like someone hit him with a bus.
“Have we met?” Zain asks him, smiling at all that was Ben.
“No. Sorry, I saw the name on your backpack.” Ben says, snapping out of it.
“My mom is forever acting like I’m still the baby who can’t remember where I put things. Sorry to interrupt you guys, but what you guys were talking about was more interesting than the usual crap about where the next kegger is going to be.” He tells Ben, as he sashays off.
“You know him?” I ask.
“Not until I leave for Tibet. He never came here.” He tells me. “Why were you asking about all of that?” He asks, ignoring the urge to chase Zain.
“It’s why everything has been happening. Light, Darkness, and the In Between were no longer willing to do what they were born to do.” I tell him.
“Brian, if any of the stories are true, it also mean souls wouldn’t be able to get into Heaven unless they lived devout lives.” He tells me.
“I guess we shouldn’t have left it up to the Angels then.” I tell him.
“You, as in you and who?” He asks.
“Justin, Michael, and I abandoned our posts, and apparently they want us back.” I tell him.
“But you’ve been back, so why would it be a problem?” He asks.
“We didn’t come back for the reason we were created.” I tell him.
“Justin is Light. Are you Darkness?” He asks.
“That would be Michael.” I tell him, letting him guess at the obvious.
“Which would make you the most powerful of the three.” He says, not even doubting it a little bit.
“Why?” I ask.
“They were the watchers. You were the one who made the decisions. There’s also the fact that you were tested for your position, while they were given theirs.” He tells me.
“What kind of tests? Think back to my life, and tell me what you would have seen as a test.” I ask him.
“Stockwell. You could have handed him the office. And at one point you were willing to do it, only in the end, you didn’t. If you’re the In Between, the reasoning would have been somewhere in the middle of right and wrong.” He tells me.
“It was partly me proving to him what happens when you fuck me over. And the other part was that he let a murderer get away with killing someone.” I tell him.
“Good and bad in one decision.” He tells me.
“Are you going to wait years, or are you going to learn from me and grab your destiny with both hands?” I ask Ben when Zain walks by again, looking at him.
“We are supposed to meet in Tibet.” He tells me.
“He was never supposed to be here, yet he is. One of the things Justin and I learned through all this was that it didn’t matter where we met, just that we did. Think of all the things you and he can teach each other. Now I’m off to make Justin grow up enough to fool everyone.” I tell him, trying to think of how to help My Justin when I can’t reach him.