The queen of the Angels, Avery Dorivard, sat in her husband's office, his hands rubbing her shoulders as she read the letter over and over and over again.
It had arrived this morning, curtesy of a teleporting Demon with a black eye and regret painted on his face. It had arrived the day she was going to depart to take her son home.
But, instead, she'd been given this letter. Not her son.
That letter. More of a note, if anything. A threat.
Three sentences. Three damning sentences.
You son ran off. We know where he's gone, and we're going to go pick him up.
Don't expect to get him back.
The Demons were going to hunt her son down. The Demons were going to kill him.
She'd never get to see her son again. She'd never get to apologize, to ask for forgiveness, to make things right. She'd never get to hold her firstborn again.
She'd never see him again.
She'd never see her son again.
She'd never see her baby boy again.
A sob wracked her body, and her husband pressed a soft kiss to her hair.
"We're looking for him, Ava. We'll find him. It'll be okay," Christopher promised.
Indeed, he'd sent out hundreds of legions the moment he'd learned that his son was alive, and out there waiting for them. Then he'd taken her into his office, sat her down, began massaging her shoulders, and let her read the letter.
The search parties didn't help. In fact, it made things worse.
If they failed to find him after giving her this hope, if the Demons found her son anyway...
It would ruin her. It would break her. It would destroy her.
She'd already lost his twin. She couldn't lose him, too. Not before she fixed things. Not before she made things right.
She didn't care if he didn't want to stay after they made up. She didn't care if he didn't want to take up his birthright and rule this nation. She just wanted to see her son once, just to know that he was okay, that he was alive, that he was happy. Just once, so that she would have the time to apologize, to let him know that she loved him, that she'd just done what she'd thought was best for him at the time.
She wanted to see him just once.
Another sob tore from her throat.
"Ava," Chris murmured, his hands still massaging her shoulders, "We're going to find him. Everything is going to be okay."
She whirled on him, knocking her chair to the floor, and she exclaimed, "How? How can you say that? How can you know that? How can you give me that hope?"
Christopher sighed, and beckoned her into his arms. Needing the comfort, she threw herself into his embrace without a moment's hesitation.
He brushed a hand over her hair, offering her as much comfort as he possibly could. When he spoke, it was soft, gentle, careful, comforting.
"I'm going to go out. I'm going to bring our best tracker, and I'm bringing Gabe. We're going to find him before they do, and I'm going to bring our son home," Chris promised.
"And if you don't?" Avery asked.
"Then I'm going to tear that country apart until I get our son back," he replied.
"If you don't, the Demons are going to kill him," she said, the tears still pouring down her cheeks.
"No, they won't," he said, his hands finding her cheeks, "I don't know what they want him for, but they won't kill him. And I am going to bring him home."
"You promise?" she asked.
Chris nodded, leaning his forehead against hers. "I swear it on my life, he'll come home."
She nodded, and he poked her nose, slowing her tears and bringing a small smile to her lips. Giving her lips a quick peck, he murmured, "I'm leaving tomorrow, love."
She nodded, closing her eyes and leaning in to kiss him. "Be careful. And bring him home."
He answered her with a soft, loving kiss.