By: Ember

Warnings: Oh, god. Yaoi, sexual content, violence, disturbing imagery, religious content and possibly religious offense, a good deal of profanity, overuse of alliteration, overuse of symbolism, complete lack of any and all humor, blood, gore, and evidence of a strage and twisted mind.

A/N: Once upon a time, I was sitting alone, felt the roaring rush of female hormones, and decided to write a yaoi story. It was supposed to be short, simple and get the lurking sense of fifteen-year-old out of my system. It ended up, of course, as a thirty-page tale whose true nature is obscurely hidden deep within religious symbolism. Why religious? I have no idea. I'm not Christian, but for some reason, the idea of Apollyon, the angel who begins the appocalypse in the Book of Revelations, worked his way in here in a symbolic manner. Anywho, there will be yaoi in here eventually, as well as some other stuff. Be patient.

All characters © to me. I might one day make this into a graphic novel of some sort; I could use the practice in poses and humans. Tell me what you think, of the idea and of the story itself, and I'll link it in my FP bio if I ever do.


Chapter One


The streets were slick with the pelting rain, puddles gathering by the foreboding, roaring storm drains and giving the image of a tiny, round, stormy sky trapped on the earth by water and light. Syx watched the storm through reddish eyes, tracing the lines of lightning across the clouds, and pushing back further as wind threw water through the broken window and into the pathetic little place he called his home. It used to be a store, he gathered, before some fire had wrecked the place and its poor owners didn't bother to pay for its rebuilding and had been unable to get a good price for the property as of yet. The first floor was an ashy ruin, and the second floor hardly there at all, but the basement, as looted and broken as it was, and cluttered with old boxes, broken dishes, melted plastic lumps and other odds and ends, was serviceable. Because of the distorted mess that was the rest of the house, the basement was no longer accessible from the upper floors, but only through the square-foot, smashed-in window, near the roof of the basement, that was always open, no matter what weather streamed through.

iAnd damn that fact, anyway,/i Syx thought angrily. He pressed into the clutter that made up most of his 'home,' and sighed into the darkness. No electricity, no light, unless he wanted to risk more fire. If this place went up, though, he'd more than likely get caught in it. And anyway, what would there be to see? Nothing he hadn't already seen, or that he'd even WANT to see. His tenants were examples of the latter, the dozens and dozens of roommates that somehow escaped ever paying him.

He let bitter laughter scorch the air around him for a moment, then shook his head. Such frivolous, stupid thoughts did nothing to help this pathetic excuse for a hovel, nor did they give him back the life of luxury he had before all of this began, or the security to reclaim it. The lean, tall adolescent sighed and sank to the stone floor, sweeping over it with clawed hands before settling onto it, and watched the rain lash down at the earth through the splinters of glass that still clung to the windowpanes. There was a light, almost melodic tinkle of chains that hung from his neck and belt as he shifted to look at the outside world, then another as he attempted to make himself comfortable. It didn't look like the rain was contemplating clearing anytime soon, so he may as well.

At least the dingy place was safe, if nothing else. Syx was stupid, he knew as much; had it rubbed into his face every time someone followed him for more than a block or two, or every time he found himself alone, without masses of humans all around him like a breathing shield, or every time he got into a part of the city that was too nice, too high class, and might house those who fed off the humans Syx lived with, now. Every time he met red-tinted eyes and felt his heart pound faster with fear, felt his blood rush through his body, felt his shoulders tense as if there was already a knife pointed between the blades on his upper back. Stupid, weak, painfully dim-witted Syx, stumbling through the gutters to try and eke a living out of the hell he had made from his life.

iStupid. Stupid stupid stupid. /iHe raised one clawed hand and ran it down his face, shutting the dark basement and the stormy window and the entire world out as the palm passed over red-orange, cat-like eyes, the long, lean face, the fanged mouth. Stray hairs loose from his indigo Mohawk fell across his face to be impatiently pushed back. He pushed the memory of jeering eyes from him, and watched a rat walk across the square of faint illumination that a flash of lightning cast on the stone floor. It was stupid. I didn't know I could be that stupid... His clawed hand met with a sharp rock, and he hurled it at the rat, which scurried off into the darkness. There was a clatter as the stone hit to floor and the scrape of panicked claws as the rat escaped to feed as a parasite off the charred ruin for another week or so.

Syx leaned back against the boxes and shut out the flickering light from the window with one hand, draping it over his eyes and willing himself into sleep.

When he woke up, it wasn't with the cold collection of a predator waking to survey his land, as it might once have been. It was with the fevered panic of a mouse caught napping in the open, the cold-fingered fear of someone used to waking up to a knife to his throat. He knew, with an intensity that burned inside of him, that he wasn't alone in the basement with the tenants. There was a little light coming into the window, but it was weak, gray, and smelled still of rain. How many hours had he slept- two, four? Surely not more than that, or it would be blazing noon already.

Trying not to move anything, trying not to make noise, Syx inched back, putting distance between himself and the gray-glowing window. He watched the far wall, eyes glued to the only entrance into his little lair- had that shard of glass always been awry? He wasn't alone, the tenants were too silent, the room felt too small, and if he listened, he could hear breathing- was that his own, or someone else's? He couldn't see, the basement was too small, and there was too much in it. All he could do was try and stay as quiet as possible.

There was a feather caught in the glass of the window. Syx felt the fear tighten it's cold talons around his heart, and thought his breathing had stopped- a feather, white and innocent, moving a little in the wind. His drew his only weapon that he had managed to escape with, a five-inch knife, and gripped it in his left hand, using his right to navigate his path. No longer away from the window. Now he inched with haste towards it, towards the silver square in the wall.

"Ah," said a soft tenor to his right, an empty right like a shadow-colored void, a solid twelve feet of space with nothing to obscure the crouching figure trying to escape out the window from the upright, cocky assassin who looked down at his victim, illuminated by the dawn. Twin eagle wings stretched from the human body, but demon eyes were set into the otherwise beautiful face. He was a hitman- but what else would an angel be, in a world where faith was a joke and humanity, a curse? He was one of the Holy Ones, sent to reap payment from the world for sins that were unredeemable, more human than angel; fallible, as humans are, but yet divine, favored. A silver sword appeared in his open grip, and he lifted it as though it were merely another of his feathers and looking over the shining blade to glower at Syx. "There is the little renegade. Amusing game of hide-and-seek, but I don't feel much like playing, kid."

It took a few tries before Syx could conquer his tongue, which seemed to have died and become useless baggage in his mouth. His little knife against a Holy One and his silver sword- there was no contest. But hell would freeze over before he just let the damned gods have their way. iGo down fucking fighting. /iThere was no way he could win the fight- but if he could distract the hitman and run for it.... "Funny. You're the first assassin who wasn't human to be sent after me. They're going up in skill, I see. Albeit, in gradual stages."

The sword pulsed blue for a moment with the Holy One's anger- he hadn't expected the prey to look up at him and reply, as if he wasn't scared at all. But soon, it was the placid gray again, and those eyes never left Syx's. He could see more than the vague form of the angel, now- as the hitman walked a little closer and the sunlight got a little stronger, he could make out the huge, black-tipped white wings, the loose, simple clothing, the dark shirt, the chains that bore resemblance to the jewelry the vampire wore, the black boots, the long, light hair, the blue eyes that were locked onto Syx's red-tinted ones....

"Not at all," he demurred, advancing two swift steps closer to the vampire- and closer to interposing between he and the window. In his mind, Syx cursed. "They simply got fed up with the little tramp continuously getting underfoot and in the way. They told me, 'He's a traitor, a fool, and too weak to get away with what he's doing.' And I agreed to hunt you, for the sheer sport of chasing after someone too weak to fight, but a challenge to run down."

Syx frowned; the angel was in his way, almost completely obscuring his view of the window. He couldn't get past the Holy One, couldn't move, because the instant he twitched he'd be watching himself through eyes in a bodiless head halfway across the room. He talked, talked without thinking, tried to get the hitman to speak, anything to distract him. Already, he looked like he tired of the repast. "How much did they pay you?" He wanted to know it, anyway- it helped him sleep at night, to hear empty figures higher than he'd ever be able to pay, shelled out for the capture and destruction of one homeless vampire.

It was the wrong question. The angel took a few steps forward and struck down with the sword, hitting the stone with a shower of sparks. Cursing under his breath, Syx got unsteadily to his feet, his shoulder hurting where he had hit it, throwing himself down and rolling from the angel's strike. He snatched up his knife from where he had dropped it, then backed up to get into stance before the Holy One came at him again.

The hitman took the offensive posture; his wings were pressed back, his sword shimmering in the strengthening light. Syx pulled back, his knife raised in pathetic defense, and tried to tally up the odds. They were depressing.

There was a long moment of silence. The vampire had never been face-to-face with one of the Holy Ones; he had never been faced with an opponent so meticulous in his scrutiny. The angel's eyes moved up his opponent, taking in everything of his stance, his posture, the whole package. Syx didn't know all he was taking in, and scrambled for the chance to distract the angel, or lure him into an early strike. He talked again without thinking, blurting the first thing that came to mind, and the only thing that, in the past three years, he had been certain of. "I'm Syx, by the way."

The Holy One seemed somewhat surprised by the sudden break in the silence, and raised one eyebrow before lunging forward, sweeping an arc with his sword. Syx threw himself backwards, mentally cursing himself. Damn, the angel was fast- and he knew more than one move; the silver blade reversed itself and arced down, crashing for the vampire's head. Syx threw up his knife, crying out in pain as the immense force behind the strike channeled into the boy's right arm through the tiny knife. He thought his arm would break, so horrible was the pulsing pain, but then there was a screech of metal along metal and the heavier blade lifted from the knife. As fast as he could, Syx spun and grabbed, snatching at the clutter. His hand encountered something long and smooth, and he wielded it, hitting the Holy One with what used to be a mop handle as hard as possible. The angel assassin cursed once when the wood hit his shoulder, then moved away, clearing a path to the window. Clutching the half-burned mop in his left hand and his precious knife in his right, Syx ran for it, striving for the glowing silver square in the shadowed basement.

The angel was just a little faster. He bore the shiny silver sword above his head when he cut in front of the vampire, grinning evilly. "Pleased to meet you," he hissed, in reply to Syx's earlier words. "I'm Nainye. It will be a pleasure to see you again, Syx, when both of us are rotting in hell." And the sword came down, fast and hard and glittering darkly.

Syx bore the wooden handle in weak defense. It splintered and gave easily, but the vampire dropped it and ducked down and to the right, landing on his left knee and twisting his right ankle. He hissed in pain and tried to get to his feet, crying out when he put weight on his right arm. iDammit! Dammit dammit dammit damn..../i Scrambling to his feet and limping furiously back to the darker rear of the basement, Syx muttered a plethora of profane phrases and pressed back into the piles of boxes of useless merchandise that looters and tenants had not yet reached. iDammit. Fuck the fucking fucker to the fucking deepest fucking hell..../i Footsteps advanced, the purring tenor of the Holy One called out to him. "Hiding again, are we? Are you going to try to jump out at me, little vampire, or only hide until you can make a break for it? I can hear you breathing, little vampire. I can hear your heart...." It was easy to believe the murmuring voice. Syx could hear his breathing, gasping and ragged; he could hear the thundering hammer of his heart. The footsteps came closer, closer. "Are you frightened, little renegade? Are you scared of death, scared of hell, scared of what I'm bringing to you? My name, little vampire, is Nainye, but those such as you may call me Apollyon. The Destroyer. Have you heard of me, my little prey? iAnd the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit; he opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft."/i

Syx forced his heartbeat to slow, tried not to be frightened off by the words of the forsaken Lord. Always, the Holy Ones gave themselves the names of other angels from the sixty-odd books of the Bible- Gabriel, Michael; they adorned themselves in the cast-off cloaks of their superiors. They quoted words from the Holy Book as if they referred to the half-fallen angels as much as the original ones. He paid no mind to the words, or tried to, tried to wedge himself deeper into his nook.

i"The locusts he summoned were allowed to torture the people of mankind for five months, but not to kill them, and their torture was like the torture of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in these days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will flee from them."/i

Syx forced himself back, felt his back touch the rear wall of the basement and edged along it, slowly, silently. His hand touched the right wall, and he pressed into the corner, then moved towards the window, moved forward for a goal he couldn't see. He could still hear Nainye's words, closer, it seemed, than before. "Are you afraid, little vampire? Are you trying to get away? iThey will have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit..." /i He was close, then, so close that the hairs along Syx's arms rose. He moved among the boxes and the wall, breathing hard. Could the angel truly hear his breath? Truly hear the hammering pulse of his heart? i"...his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon."/i

He could see the light from the window. He ran for it, just as a feathered figure moved to interpose himself, grinning wildly, and drew close enough to Syx that his bangs fell into the vampire's eyes. Syx drew back, hissing and grabbing to a pillar of boxes when his ankle gave out, while the angel continued to advance, blue eyes glittering. "Are you scared of me?" he whispered.

Syx snarled, dug his claws into the pile of boxes, and threw them into his path, moving back as swiftly as he could, then limp-running as fast as he could for the window, not looking back. There was a shriek of terrified rodents, a loud curse from the Holy One, and a deafening crash, while Syx threw himself for the square of light, clawed at the outside world for purchase, and pulled himself through the jagged maw of the basement and into the dawn.