Tales of Glenhaven: Nerves

The second story from the Tales of Glenhaven miniseries about Nick and Gabriel. 

Nerves

Gabriel strolled into the training room to find that Nick there working over a punching bag. He couldn't help but chuckle at the kid’s dedication. He took the mission quite seriously, despite it being nothing more than a test by their leader, Peter. It might strike some as odd to send two people to pick up an abandoned sword, but it seemed to pay off, as Nick was none the wiser. He had no idea the true purpose of his mission. 

"Tired of beating a bag into a pulp?" Gabriel asked. 

Nick stopped and wiped the sweat off his forehead. "Gabriel, I was just warming up for the mission tomorrow." 

"I can tell. Pete's sending you outside the shield to find a trinket. How does that make you feel?" 

The kid went back to pounding the bag. "How do you think?" 

Gabriel could see that this wasn't exactly the greatest adventure for a young soldier, but still it would be the most action he'd see since the incident...  

"How about a sparring session?" 

Nick stopped to consider it. "With you? You're an archangel I'd get my head knocked off within the first five minutes!" 

Gabriel chuckled. "Listen, a title is a title. It is something that is earned through years of skill honing and perseverance. If you want Peter and the others to take you seriously, then you're going to have to take yourself seriously. Now are you going to beat yourself up, or are you going to fight against those odds?" 

Nick nodded. "I've trained with the best, might as well put what I've learned to some use." They both came to the center ring and with a come hither hand gesture; Gabriel let Nick make the first move. 

Nick moved quickly into his space, throwing a flurry of punches at lightning speed. Of course, compared to an archangel, these seemed to move as slow as a snail. The kid couldn't tag him. Gabriel saw the desperation on his face, the look of defeat was already clear across his face. Something was holding him back. If this kid was a demon incarnate, he definitely wasn't showing it. Gabriel kicked him in the chest, which sent Nick clear across the room. He crashed against the wall and fell flat on his face. 

"Nick, what's wrong? You're slow and predictable. Show me what you've learned." 

Nick picked himself up. "Good one, Gabriel. I'm going to feel that in my spine for weeks." 

Gabriel was disappointed? Was that it? Could the prophecy be wrong? How could someone be so easily dispatched? If Nick was the chosen one, when would his true nature show? 

Gabriel moved quickly back into range to strike once more, but as his blow was blocked by a sudden involuntary twitch. No normal soldier could stop an attack from an archangel. It was then that he noticed his eyes. Nick's eyes had changed color, transforming from a dull brown to a magnificent crimson red. There was a snarl on his face, like a flash of a demon. Out of reflex Gabriel kicked him again, knocking him out cold. 

A few minutes passed before Nick came to. He was shook his head as if coming out of a trance. "What happened?" 

"I don't know, kid. I don't know." 

It took him a moment to realize how fast his heart was beating. Gabriel caught a glimpse of Agrian and from the sight alone he had confirmed that there was a malevolent power residing within him, one that was more dangerous than they could ever comprehend.