A/N: This was written for Haru Kinome. Hope you (and everyone else) likes it.
It began on a quiet street on the outskirts of a small, peaceful town. Well, it actually began before then but then most things do. The night was just lazily passing by, it wasn't close to any clubs so there wasn't that noise to pierce the stillness, and most of the residents were happily curled up in their homes. Most, but not all. For one teenage boy was out and about, not because he was a delinquent out partying but because he was in love. No, not with a person but with the feeling of contentment gained as he strolled, being watched by the pinpricks of lights illuminating the night sky.
However it would be a lonely tale if he were the only one out that night. There were, in fact, two others that were about those same streets. All three of them had secrets. Then again, doesn't everybody?
The teenager, named Nathaniel but called Nathan, believed he was alone, therefore there was no danger in going to the small park and sitting on the swing, swaying gently and thinking. He couldn't do that during the day because he had to help his mum. She said that just because it was Summer it was no excuse to do nothing. But even when he could get away the park was always overfilled with young, screaming children. Hardly the best conditions to attempt some soul searching.
Sauntering towards the park was a young woman, who appeared to be in her early twenties. Her high heels clicked against the paved walkway, alerting Nathan to her presence. She didn't mind. She made sure that she was smiling as she entered the park through one of the gates, and immediately made for her target. Nathan.
After sitting on the empty swing next to the teenager, and making sure that her dress was hitched up just enough to show a little too much leg, but artfully done of course, she turned her dazzling smile onto Nathan. "Well, hello," she said, fluttering her lashes slightly. She shifted and her leg was pressed against his, and under the pretence of straightening out her small black dressed, her hand wandered dangerously close to Nathan's crotch.
He didn't know what to do. He blushed and would have tried to escape but he wasn't sure how, and his body didn't seem to be co-operating with what he wanted, which was to be oh so far away. She must have mistook his lack of action as an invitation, although, either way, she would do what she wanted. So she leaned forward, took his hand, and kissed him. Nothing steamy, neither of them had the emotion for that, all he was feeling was panic, whilst she was determined. He felt a tingling in his hand, and wondered why, and what it had to do with kissing.
Disentangling her hand, she left with a small wave, all the while still smiling. Nathan felt dirty. He didn't lust after the so called fairer sex, all he had gotten in his attempts to court them was grief and hassle. Completely unjustified. At least if he was gay he had an excuse for being so uncertain, and that made him feel better.
Now if you remember there were three people out that night, and the third soon made his appearance. He was probably the same age as the woman who came before him, but whilst she may have been playful at times, although still dedicated to her cause, he seemed to be all business. He barely made a sound, and approached Nathan from behind. The first thing he knew about the other was the hand on his shoulder.
"Shit!" he cursed, utterly surprised and scared at that moment. The man didn't attempt to re-assure the teenager and so Nathan watched the stranger warily, even though he had the feeling that should it come down to a fight he didn't stand a chance in hell.
"Where is she?" he asked in his baritone voice. Nathan thought that he was mysterious but those thoughts were replaced by ones of confusion. 'She?' He wasn't sure who he meant, although he had the suspicion that it was the dark haired woman from before. His look of confusion was cute, and painfully obvious. The man sighed. He could tell that he wasn't aware of knowing anything, but Kali, that was her name, seldom did nothing without a reason.
"Should you be out alone?" His voice had changed, became softer, and Nathan found that he liked this stranger more than before. The teenager shrugged, not knowing how to respond to the personality change. If it was rudeness he would fight fire with fire, but kindness and concern were a whole different ball game. Especially when the giver was as attractive as he was.
Yeah, Nathan was gay. He was a gay guy with a recently acquired crush, but like most of them he didn't know if the other was interested. He didn't even know if the other was so inclined, if you get the meaning.
The stranger smiled, and it was a beautiful honest thing, unlike that of Kali's which was only shrouding the true meaning to her words and actions. The person, who really needs a name at this point, certainly appeared to be the lesser of the two evils. Like that sentiment was a summoning he offered his hand and an introduction. "I'm Gabriel, and incredibly self conscious about how strange I most seem coming up to you in the middle of the night." He blushed ever so slightly and Nathan found that any worries that he had had dissipate like smoke on the wind. Although one should always remember where there is smoke, there is fire. But that was the furthest thing from the teen's mind.
"Nice to meet you," he replied politely, having always been taught that good manners are a must. As he shook the other's hand, noting how smooth it seemed, his father had workman's hands, calloused and rough. He told him, "And I'm Nathan." The younger didn't notice the small, quickly stifled laugh, the other gave.
The night quickly bled into morning and although Nathan was accustomed to staying out late even he was yawning, although Gabriel seemed unaffected by the late night spent talking, most of it centric on the teenager. As it was Summer the sun rose early and Nathan was practically home when the soft rays were gracing the town with their presence, the lighting making Nathan's hair appear golden where normal it was a dull sandy colour.
He quickly succumbed to sleep, his dreams filled with fantastical images of angels and demons fighting. He didn't remember the details, most don't upon waking, but he knew that he was confused. Angels were actually demons and vice versa, and there was some side swapping involved. He was glad to get up and deal with the tasks at hand. He cringed when he saw that it was almost noon, and he threw on a pair of faded jeans and a blue tee-shirt before rushing downstairs, thankful that he lived above the flower shop where his mum forced him to help. At least he wouldn't be quite as late as if he had to traipse across town to reach it. Still she wasn't exactly impressed.
Upon arrival he received a stern look, and was informed that he should count himself lucky that she had just hired a new assistant. Nathan half hoped that that would mean he could stop helping out, but he wasn't stupid, he knew not to voice those thoughts to his mother. He wondered when he was going to meet this assistant, who, according to his mum, seemed like a nice young man with short, 'sensible' black hair and beautiful green eyes. Some people said that anticipation is half the fun, well knowing poor Nathan's luck it was going to be most of the fun. Along with some pretty vivid dreams. Provided the assistant was attractive enough to thrust the stranger, well Gabriel, from his mind. It seemed unlikely.
It was just after lunch, maybe around half one, when the aforementioned assistant arrived to begin helping out. At the time Nathan was in the back sorting out various items, mainly packaging and bows. Things to make the flowers look even more attractive, especially helpful to help impress or reconcile with a girl. Not that the teenager would know.
For the second time in around twelve hours he never heard anybody approach. If he had lived in a dangerous neighbourhood it was doubtful he'd still be alive. If anything he might not be working in a flower shop. An arm wrapped around his waist and Nathan froze. "We meet again," Gabriel said, completely different than when the two first met.
Nathan couldn't help but smile. Apparently the assistant wouldn't be getting the man from the park out of his head. Well he wouldn't complain, it wasn't too tedious to have fantasy's about an attractive older man as most would surely agree.
That was Monday. The next day passed with Nathan casting longing looks at somebody he thought that he couldn't have. He also had to work hard, but it was easier now that Gabriel was there, although if that was because there were two to do the work or he was just a very big, good, distraction he wasn't too sure. It didn't really matter. And that was Tuesday. And Wednesday. The rest of the week in fact.
When the weekend came neither Nathan nor Gabriel had to work after lunch on the Saturday and the shop was closed on a Sunday. The older man had asked the younger out for a coffee, and his offer had been eagerly accepted. Sure he wondered why, but he wasn't going to miss a golden opportunity to be close to his crush. It wasn't like it could be called much else, to name it love would be stupid. They'd known each other less than a week and what Gabriel knew about Nathan far outweighed what the teen knew about the man.
As was the normal pattern of their conversations it centred on the youth. He found himself giving up information he hadn't wanted to and not knowing why. It was disconcerting and horribly one-sided. He wasn't used to being the centre of attention, he had never been so before, and was content to let sleeping lions lie. He knew that when you were gay and centre of attention it probably wouldn't be a good thing.
Gabriel had good reason for lavishing the attention on Nathan. The youth had something that he wanted, something that he had wanted for a long time now. It wasn't that he just frivolously wanted it, he needed it. You could almost say that it was his purpose to find it. If he didn't he was stuck in that small, peaceful town where the crime rate was low and he was separated from all that he knew, all that was familiar. Even though he was accustomed to long periods away from home he wasn't accepting of the fact that he'd never be able to return. And all because something so small had been stolen from him.
Each night he tried to find Kali, for he knew that she had been the one who was the thief, even if she no longer had the stone. It was small and beautiful, each one that his kind possessed were individual, a means of identification and showing their rank. How would he get back home without it? Already he had been gone too long, and his weren't the sentimental sort. Missing in Action like he was on the front lines, but with an influx in immorality it wasn't so far from the truth. Demon's were getting their claws into this world easier than ever before, so maybe it wasn't such a surprise that he had been robbed. One thing he needed to know was why he was targeted, or was it just a coincidence? And it would be helpful to know Kali's intentions, but for that he needed her or someone who knew of her and her motives. It was a slow going and tedious process, not helped by the fact that he could tell that the human boy, Nathan, liked him more than he should. But Gabriel wasn't one for sentimentality, and even if he was it wouldn't be a human, for that was forbidden. For nobody so lowly would he sacrifice his place in Heaven.
However he needed to find out what had become of the stone as it passed into the human's possession. If he simply thought it a trinket, if he even knew he had it, it shouldn't be too difficult for him to regain possession, which, Gabriel grudgingly admitted, at least to himself, wouldn't cause to much of a problem because he could use (exploit) the feelings that Nathan felt towards him.
But there was another possibility. Kali could have fused the stone with a certain aspect (soul, heart) of the human, in which case there were only two ways for that to be recovered. The first way would be for the person who caused the initial fusing to reverse the process, although that would require the assistance of the demon woman, which was likely to never happen. The second, more likely, option was for the boy to die, and even then Gabriel would need to be close to hand to retrieve the stone, which was easier said than done, because the easiest way for that to happen would be for him to kill Nathan, however the killing of humans, unless specified in their mission, was against the rules. To do so was worse than death, it meant banishment. Who would really want to give up their home in order for a life of misery in the mortal, or demon, realms.
But he felt he was getting too far ahead of himself. Of course it was good to recognise all possible eventualities, however first he needed to know how the human was holding the stone, as well as try and figure out Kali's motives. He was fortunate not to require as much sleep as mortals otherwise he wouldn't have enough time to attempt to find out what he needed to know. The days were spent trying to gleam what he could from the boy, whilst he spent his nights searching for any trace of Kali. Both weren't providing him with as much information as he needed, and he was beginning to feel the strain of being away from his home. If he didn't return soon he may not have much of a life to return to. After so long his position would be filled with somebody else, somebody who was actually around to do their job. The family of the missing angel would perform a funeral ceremony of sorts, and then get on with their lives. It may not be the most compassionate society, but that wasn't what they were there for. They were fighting a war, and in war there are always causalities, and every weakness needed to be covered up, strengthened so that the whole could remain strong. Besides he expected no less. He knew the system, and it had worked for as long as all could remember. If it's not broken don't fix it.
One night, around three weeks after having met the mortal boy, Gabriel had a lead, and was eagerly pursuing it. All the signs pointed that he was getting close to Kali, and although he had to remain detached he felt the faintest fluttering of hope and relief within him. It had been so long since he had seen his home.
He found himself away from the idyllic town he had been staying in, whenever he wasn't out all night, and in a monstrous city with all traces of the natural world gone. It was a world of bright lights and dim dreams, where 'love' could be bought in a myriad of forms. It was a world of sin, in its way both foreign and familiar to Gabriel. It was so unlike his home, which seemed like perfection, even though it wasn't, but with the repeated missions to this world he had witnessed the increase in decadence. It was proof of demons' cold grasp on the world.
Gabriel cringed as people came near him not wanting to be tainted by such touch, even as he knew that that couldn't happen if he didn't want it to. And he didn't. if he had wanted to he need not apply all the effort he was in escaping his prison of the mortal world.
The informant he had found told him to go to a club, Hellfire, and Gabriel suspected that there would be an array of characters there. None of them good. But that couldn't be helped and so that was how he found himself dressed for the occasion so that he aroused less attention than if he appeared in a blaze of glory and purity announcing himself to the demon world. He was a warrior, a spy, definitely not an idiot.
His green eyes were complimented by a similar shaded shirt that was tight and showed off his quite muscular frame; his intention being to discourage people from messing with him. He wore simple black jeans, as dark as his hair but dull in comparison. And he carried himself like he knew how to take of himself, and he did at that.
Then he was at his destination, a building lit with red lighting and the sign proudly proclaimed Hellfire in its simple script. He strode in with barely a pause, knowing that Kali was meant to be there tonight. It was just a matter of finding her in the writhing mass of bodies. Wandering around he ignored the appraising looks that he received, the offers to 'drink, dance, fuck' and kept himself focused on the task. Who knew how much longer he had until he lost everything in heaven, until he'd know where Kali would be.
As he made a beeline for the bar, aiming to navigate between the tables between here and there he spotted her exiting the toilets, after all even demons, and angels, had urges that needed to be taken care of, especially in such limiting human skin. He couldn't help the way that it crawled as he thought about having to remain on Earth, with the young boy that fawned over him, imaging that it wasn't obvious.
Pushing those thoughts out of his mind Gabriel found himself stood in front of Kali, her smoky eyes showing no surprise, after all this was a trap she had devised to capture, or kill, the angel before her. Just as fusing the stone with Nathan's heart had been a part of the same plan. She was determined, one way or another, to make Gabriel fall, then, at the very least he could not fight against the demon's for they will be brethren. That's what happened when an angel fell, none of the becoming human crap, that's too easy if the crime was falling in love with a mortal, instead you became a demon, one of the things you hated the most. She knew that all too well.
"What do you want?" she asked coolly, appearing to be impatient. She didn't have time for the angel. But he didn't buy it, he wanted answers and he sure wasn't going to waste time being polite about it.
"The stone. What did you do with it?" He tried to hide his desperation but how could he? It was as if he had an internal clock, counting down, telling him that it was already too late. He had his suspicions about what happened to those who had stayed away for too long. If they did return they weren't allowed in. Nor were they cast out, rather they were unmade. They should be thankful for the mercy shown them. It was held to be the worse fate being cast out, after all you had to live, as a demon, who were just as immortal as the angels, knowing what you were missing.
"Which stone would this be?" She grinned evilly, and started to walk away. Well, Gabriel couldn't allow that to happen and so he followed after her, as she left the club (something he was thankful for) and entered an alleyway which seemed suspicious to him but he needed answers.
"You know what stone. Why did you steal it? Where is it?" He was losing his patience, but as mentioned the human flesh is a prison, and it means that any power he had was limited but it didn't mean that he was useless. That would serve no purpose, and it surely wouldn't win the war. But life was a compromise, angels and demons couldn't walk about the mortal world in their true forms, and so they had temporary bodies of flesh, however this decreased their power.
"Oh," she said, acting like she was having a revelation, "that stone. Surely you know that I don't have it anymore. And it's obvious why. I'm a demon, it's what we do, fuck the 'good' guys up. Is it working yet?" Her tone was dark, and it matched the hardness in her eyes, and heart. To begin with she had wished that things were different but it wasn't to be, so instead she embraced her new role as a trouble causing demon.
Gabriel knew. Nathan had it, fused to his heart or soul. Either way he had a difficult task coming up, to try and convince Kali to extract the stone and return it. He opened his mouth to speak, to beg, plead, whatever it would take, and he felt disgust at himself for being willing to take such actions but before he could do anything, all persuasion was stolen from him.
Kali slumped to the ground, exposing her back where a large scorch mark could be seen, and the smell of burning flesh made the air thick and hard to inhale. It was obvious that the woman was dead, and it was someone powerful indeed that did the deed. Who knew what the ex-angel had gotten herself mixed up in.
It was dangerous to remain where he was, he needed to get away from there, just in case whoever had killed Kali decided to come back for more. As he walked Gabriel thought of his now limited options. The only way for him to get what was his would be for Nathan to do. If he waited for it to occur like it would have done he would be waiting too long, already he feared that it had been too long but he wouldn't give up. The alternative would be to orchestrate the death, only to do such a thing would be difficult and need much subtlety else it would be treated as him killing a mortal that he wasn't supposed to, which is simply unacceptable. Therefore he wouldn't be able to walk up to the boy and just be done with it.
The thoughts and possibilities were running riot in his mind so when he returned to the room he was staying in, courtesy of an old, kindly woman with failing sight and her small boarding house, he couldn't rest. He was glad that it would affect him too much, although as the sun rose he found himself yawning. Was he being affected by all the mortals he had had contact with?
One of the hardest things was going to the small flower shop that morning and working with Nathan. Before he had known that there was another way, in which the teenage boy would be able to carry on with his life, fall in love and be happy but now… Gabriel didn't know what to do. He had to return home, he couldn't stay on the mortal plane, it would eat at him until he found away to be rid of the pain. As the younger prattled on about some useless junk, his confidence having grown from what it was originally, the angel had some not so angelic thoughts. Red flowed through his mind, a mockery of what would coursed through Nathan's vein. Poor, unsuspecting Nathan.
He didn't realise Gabriel's intentions, although neither did the dark haired man, as he invited him out that night, to the park where they first met. The teenager had noticed the attention the older man had paid him and so he entertained thoughts of them being a couple. Maybe it would develop into love. His heart did little flips at the prospect and so he had readily accepted the rushed invitation.
When he returned home he jumped in the shower, and he felt his body responding to the thought of his crush. The weeks had blurred by, and Summer had reached it's peak and was cooling, however the same could not be said of his feelings for Gabriel. He thought it seemed like such a good, solid, dependable name to go with such a stunning man. Of course there was plenty that remained unknown, and sometimes he had such a personality change, but to Nathan none of that mattered. Love truly is blind, no matter if it is true or false.
Darkness had descended and both males were in the park. Gabriel could focus on only one thing. The burning need to return home, it obscured all else and it was driving him over the edge. Nathan was nervous, but attempted to hide it and he didn't do too shabby a job, although the angel wouldn't have noticed either way.
The height difference was apparent as Nathan boldly stepped up to the older man, going on to his tiptoes so that he could place a kiss on Gabriel's lips. Instead of standing unresponsive like the teen feared he returned and deepened it. And that wasn't the only thing entering the youths body. A dagger, which the black haired man didn't even realise he had hold of plunged into the chest of the teen, carefully calculated to sever the aorta, the main artery for taking oxygenated blood around the body. The red spread outwards, staining the pale blue shirt Nathan had chosen.
Gabriel blinked, confused, uncertain on what had happened, not knowing the crime he had committed. And then he saw it. A large white feather, stained with blood. He watched as the red darkened to a scarlet, then until it was so dark it in fact appeared to be black.
Then he realised. He was no longer an angel. He had been cast out.