Chapter 25 - The New Angel
Kyu shifted under his bed covers. The pillow felt like a piece of perfection specifically made just for the contours of his head. He rustled and moved the bed sheets between his legs. Their billowy softness were the perfect length, thickness, and texture, as if made just for his body. Everything was so perfect. Then his alarm went off. The quiet tones of a cell phone jingle sounded innocent enough, but it quickly turned to the loud wailing of sirens. He swiped his phone from across the counter behind the head of his bed. After some mad button punching, he stuffed the cell phone under his pillow and relaxed again. But he slowly opened his eyes.
"I can miss political science, right?" he asked. He let his face sink into a frown as he choked his pillow. "No, you can't."
He got out of bed, letting his covers slide off his shoulders. He yawned and wiped his eyes. He then wandered to the bathroom. After he came out he scratched his back and then sat down at his computer chair. The glowing stars that sped past him showed a generic scene of hyperspace. He flicked his mouse and a word document came up. He had a knack for finishing things at the last minute. But this time, he had finished it last night and even printed it. The paper was already stuffed in his backpack.
It was close to noon. He turned his chair and pulled open the curtains behind it. He then twisted the handle and tugged. The window slanted toward him, opening up. He looked down outside and watched the other people already walking with colored backpacks slung behind their shoulders. His eyes wandered to a small spot directly across from the street under his window. The small grove of pine trees were hidden by shade.
When he was returned to Earth, a week had passed. He couldn't remember much, only that Michael asked him to continue with his life per usual. Having the lead angel of angels say something like that was absurd to begin with. When he asked Michael about Astral and the others, Michael gave a simple smile. He shook his head and then disappeared. And all that was a week ago. He stared at the pine trees, resting his arms and head on the window. He tried to keep track of how long he and Astral had their little adventure, eventually picking up Yossele, Valinth and Fenris, and then Jing. It felt like they had been together for months; a little spot in time and space just for the group of them.
Kyu moved away from the window. But it wasn't completely done yet. Astral managed to sneak him a message saying that she was busy with hearings, judges, and juries. She might be given a new position of higher rank. Or she could be thrown in a kind of celestial prison until her sentence was up. She sent him that message by note on a carrier dove. Kyu thought about the irony of doves being messengers. He shook his head and laughed into the emptiness of his room. His echoes reached his ears and he sighed. There was no way he could just try and live life normally again.
He went into the kitchen and stopped. His eyes went to the top of the fridge where a box of pancake mix sat undisturbed. Beside it was everything he needed for a spaghetti dinner. He had bought them the day after he came back and had meant to eat them, but didn't. Each time he grabbed the box of mix or the box of noodles, he just stared. After a few minutes, he put them back on the fridge, and told himself he would eat them later.
He got dressed and went to his political science class. He got their early. Apparently, going through so many life and death situations made him realize that he shouldn't take anything for granted. But there was something to be said about laziness. Even though he got there early and took out his notebooks. Only three lines of notes made it onto his paper. He spent the rest of the time wondering what Astral and the others were doing.
The rest of his classes went by in a similar manner. He stared at his empty notebook, or the walls and ceilings, or the back of people's heads, and daydreamed of his former life. After all, he did die. In light of recent events, he felt empty about everything around him. After his last class he sighed and walked home. He was already plotting out things he could put off until the last minute and remembering deadlines that were looming over him like tragic experiences. He stopped at a bench near the school library and turned his head. There was a strange girl staring back at him. She had a slim body and long jagged blue hair. The tips just above her waist curved up and out like little blue claws. The young woman had a wide smile plastered to her face.
Kyu turned away and began walking a little faster. The girl looked vaguely familiar, but he didn't like the idea of confronting something that looked vaguely familiar. Everything that had happened to him left scarred impressions of dangerous places and equally strange people. He hadn't recovered enough to jump back into the thick of what could possibly be immediate danger to his personal health. And one of the things he had learned to appreciate was his personal health.
He turned around and noticed that the girl was still following him. She flashed him a quaint smile of satisfaction. Kyu felt his skin crawl. He quickly walked to his apartment and went up the stairs to his door. He fumbled his keys and trembled nervously. He looked to the door at the end of the hall. Through the hazy glass, he could see her silhouette standing on the other side. He cried and quickly jammed his key into the lock. He opened the door and barged inside, quickly shutting it behind. His eyes went to the handle as he moved backward. He stared at it for a few seconds until his heart rate and pulse returned to relief. The doorknob jingled.
Kyu jumped back in fright, glancing around the room for something to use for defense. He went to his knives. They were too small. He opened the drawer and saw his multipurpose pocketknife. After holding it up, he stared at it blankly.
"Somehow this situation has turned into a bad joke," he muttered.
"Sheep! Can you unlock this door!"
"Sheep?" Kyu stuttered. He put down the tool and walked to the door. There was only one person that called him that, and the girl stalking him looked nothing like Astral.
"Sheep?" the voice called again. "I mean no harm. I wish to ascertain your opinion on my aesthetics."
Kyu made a ghastly realization. "Unless…" he moaned. He unlocked the door and opened it. The girl on the other side giggled wildly and flung herself at him. He spun for a moment in a daze and then fell down. She hugged him tightly and then sat on his chest, holding a finger up.
"So, what is your opinion on this matter?" she asked. "After HQ realized that I had dismantled myself, they created a sythetic hybrid for my original form to reside. HQ then relinquished me of my duties, temporarily, to extract data on the functionality of the synthetic hybrid."
"Yossele?" Kyu asked.
The girl on his chest looked down with sparkling blue eyes. "What is it Sheep?"
"My name isn't—" he began. He grimaced and pointed at her. "It is you! How are did you…why are you…" He smiled happily. "Yossele!"
She mimicked his giddy expression and dropped back onto his chest. Kyu suddenly realized what was happening and forced his stupor to the back of his mind. "Hey wait, get off me! Why are you here?"
He shoved her off and staggered to the counter near the kitchen. After relaxing his nerves he straightened his body. He took off his backpack and rubbed his shoulder. After tossing his bag aside he turned back to her. She was still staring with an anxious expression, letting her mouth hang open like she was about to get a present. "You seem…giddier than usual."
"I am!" she shouted. The shout took Kyu by surprise. She tilted her head and raised her hand. "Or would you rather I continued to speak in coherent sentences backed by logical conclusions. But regardless, the truth of the matter is that not only was I allowed a trial run in this new form, but I was granted permission to move to this dimension or plane as you called it."
"On second thought, the giddiness is just fine with me."
"Great!" Her face softened as she remembered something that was bothering her. "Sheep, can you look at this? You've got a normal body, so you know what's normal." Her hands went to the bottom of white long sleeve sweater, above her silver belt and light blue miniskirt. She grabbed its edge and pulled it up over her chest. She had on a light blue bra with patterned flowers stitched into its sides.
"AH! What're you doing!?"
"I want you to probe—"
Kyu grabbed her hands and slid her sweater back down. He closed his eyes and thought for a moment. He slowly shook his head, silently arguing with himself. He made a contorted face and shook his head again. After a few seconds he sighed and began crying weakly. He heard a noise from the side of his apartment and thought carefully.
"Are you okay, Sheep?" Yossele asked. Kyu looked at her face. He realized she had dirt smudged against her forehead and cheeks.
"You've got dirt on you."
She smiled in embarrassment. "I landed in a clod of dirt. I haven't understood exactly how to use this body, but I'm working on it."
"Let me get a washrag," he said. He walked over to the kitchen but didn't see anything near the sink. He turned and went to the bathroom instead. As he opened the door and stood in front of the sink, he felt his skin tingle. Something eerie was strangling his spine and the gut instinct he used every now and then. He slowly turned his head.
Mimi was looking at him with a face of surprise. She had her body turned sideways, slightly bent forward about to sit down on his toilet. Her red panties were around her knees. From the side he couldn't see anything, but the entire air of the situation reeked of something horrendous that would explode into some huge misunderstanding. To his fearful surprise, Mimi giggled, still holding her self half up. "Aw, Kyu, don't you know you're supposed to knock?"
"This is my apartment," he croaked.
She narrowed her eyes with mischievous smile. "If you wanted to watch me—"
After Kyu slammed the door shut, he panted nervously in the hall. He pushed himself off the door and slowly shook his head, scratching his hair. "Sorry Yossele, there was another invited guest, I couldn't find a rag."
"That's okay, Fenris licked it off," she giggled.
"Eh?" Kyu asked. He turned and saw a mass of fur obscuring his vision. He cried out as the large wolf tackled him to the ground. It padded his chest with its arms playfully as it licked his face. "Fenris!" he shouted. The combination of paw pressure, drool, and relief gave him a strange combination of awkward happiness. "If you're here then…"
Fenris stepped away as a woman's hand went down. "You should train. Even you can become a great hero if you try," Valinth said with as smile. She was wearing a short white gown with orange stripes along its bottom edge, and another set going up the middle between her legs. Over her chest she had a cut orange jacket, made of the same cloth as her gown. It looked like a casual version of her mead-maiden dress.
"Valinth, it's good to see you," Kyu said. He looked at her with a smile. "Why did you come here?"
"It was an invitation," she said.
"Something like that," Mimi called from behind. She walked up behind Kyu and wrapped one arm around his neck and the other around his chest. "Kyu, you're not going to kick us out, are you?"
He smirked. After grabbing her hands and prying them off his body, he heard a knock at the door. Yossele ran to the door and opened it.
"Ah, I am looking for a Mr. Kyu?" a familiar voice said. "Does he live in this palace?"
"Sure he does!" Yossele said. "Come on in, Jing. How are you?"
"I am doing fine," Jing answered. He looked at the girl. "Please forgive me, but how do you know my name?"
"I am SP02, ZRM-9989; combat model for urban security," she answered with a rigid salute. Her expression changed to lucid jesting. "But you probably remember me as Yossele."
"The strange man made of armor?" Jing said in shock.
Yossele nodded. "But by specie comparison, I was closer to a woman than a man."
Kyu walked to Jing. "Jing! How are you! What are you doing here?"
"I was asked to come," he answered. "Astral said we were going to meet here."
"She did!?" Kyu shouted. His tone was part shock and part excitement. Mimi hovered near him with a demented smile, pretending to hide something. She reached under her dress and pulled out an envelope. She pushed it into his chest, widening her grin. She even added a veiled laugh of superiority too.
Valinth sat down on the couch with Jing, talking quietly with him about the last moments of their epic battle. Yossele walked over to them and sat down beside Fenris, nodding her head as she recalled some of the more memorable scenes. She brushed her hands against Fenris' head and stroked its fur. Mimi walked over and whispered something to them. All of their heads turned to Kyu. He grimaced and stared back anxiously. They all laughed and returned to their friendly chat.
"Don't worry about me," Kyu mumbled. "I only died in that fight. I didn't even do anything and I still died." He sighed at the pathetic worth of his life. He looked up with a renewed smile. "Can I trust all of you not to make a mess while I'm gone?"
"Where are you going?" Mimi asked.
"Well if we're going to have a party here, I need to buy food and drinks."
Mimi giggled and nodded her head. Kyu asked them to wait in the apartment. He didn't particularly care for the idea of explaining an android-turn-alien-turn-girl, a valkyrie with her wolf sidekick, a dimensional witch who dressed like Halloween was everyday, and a Chinese monk that could probably pass as a foreign film star, to anyone on the street.
Kyu went to the little grocery store five minutes away from his apartment. He bought a few things and checked the isles twice. After getting everything he needed, he paid for the groceries and left the store. He carried three bags in each hand. When he got home, he went in through the back lot, which was always quicker when coming from the grocery store. But as he reached the door, he felt a swirl of air behind him. The back of his neck prickled.
"I hope you have pancake mix in one of those bags," Astral giggled.
Kyu set down the plastic bags and turned around. "So what's this about invitations behind my back?"
"I just thought I would take the initiative in inviting a few friends over," she answered. She walked closer. Her long golden yellow hair still shined brightly from the few rays of sunlight left over the horizon. Her light green eyes sparkled with refreshed intensity. She smiled and walked faster. Kyu moved toward her too, wrapping his arms around her back. They hugged each other tightly. Astral's eyes filled with tears. She laughed and tried to wipe her face on his shirt.
"You have no idea how long this week was," Kyu said, moving his fingers into her hair.
"I can say the same thing you know," Astral muttered back. She relaxed and pushed him away. "So what have you been doing since coming back to life?"
"Did you know Michael came down and asked me to live life normally?" Kyu laughed.
Astral's cheeks burned red as she looked down. She tried to nod. "H-He told me something like that too."
"Eh?" Kyu asked suspiciously. "Well, what have you been doing? Did you get the promotion you wanted? Please don't tell me this is the last time I'm going to see you, they didn't throw you in angel jail or whatever, did they?"
Astral scratched her cheek with a pink smile. She laughed nervously. "Ah, no, not exactly."
"What is it then? What was the verdict?"
Astral made another smile of embarrassment. "I was demoted." She fidgeted with her dress as two wings floated toward her shoulders, flapping gently. "I lost the title of seraph."
"That's terrible," Kyu said with a sympathetic voice. He put his hands on her shoulders and held her gently. "I'm sorry."
She looked up at his face with a warm smile. "It wasn't…that bad."
Astral slowly put her arms around his neck, keeping her anxious eyes locked with his. "Want to guess what kind of angel I am now?"
Kyu could feel his heart beating into a speed he didn't know he had. "Wh…wh…what?" he stuttered with a blushing face. Her chest was pressed against his as she squeezed harder.
"Today is my first job as a guardian angel," she said. "Want to guess who I'm guarding?"
Kyu turned his eyes sideways as he smiled nervously. Astral quickly pulled him close and cupped her mouth against his. She let her senses focus on the soft lips hanging onto hers. The taste, sensation, and warmth, made her cringe in tears. She let go and looked into his eyes anxiously. "You don't mind do you?" she asked.
"S-So," Kyu stumbled shyly. "Does that mean…you'll watch over me, umm, physically or umm, spiritually?"
Astral's cheeks prickled pink again. "Which do you prefer?"
Kyu's mouth widened into a hesitant grin. She mimicked the expression and giggled. Then they heard a noise. Mimi was standing up with a hand to her mouth. She giggled silently, grinning with satisfaction. Jing stood beside her, giving a bow of friendliness. Fenris lied on the ground, sniffing the air as Valinth had her hands on her hips. She smiled. Yossele was squatting with a hand to her lips and one pressed against her stomach.
"I'm hungry," she moaned. "What do lips taste like?"
Mimi laughed loudly, patting the girl's head like a doll. "No Yossele, that was just two lovers finally having a chance to themselves."
"I am impressed Astral," Valinth complimented. "It seems you have finished your battle with Kyu. I congratulate you on your victory."
"I shall send tidings when your baby is born," Jing added with a happy nod.
"Hey wait a second!" Kyu shouted, panicking with a flushed face. "We were just—"
"Don't go jumping to conclusions!" Astral stammered, also blushing. "Why are all of you out here anyway?"
"We were wondering where the two of you went," Mimi giggled. "Come on everyone; let's leave the two of them to their privacy." Valinth agreed and followed Fenris back into the apartment. Jing and Yossele walked away too. Mimi shot Kyu a wicked smile and formed her fingers into a rectangle. "Open it up," she called. She then walked away, disappearing up the stairs.
"What did that mean?" Astral asked.
"She gave me an envelope," he answered. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the letter. It had Kyu and Astral's name written on the front. He tore the edge and ran his finger across the inside. He then folded it back and opened it. A small piece of laminated white paper came out. He flipped it over and stared down at the picture.
It was a Polaroid shot of Astral sitting on Kyu's lap. She had her arms around his neck showing off an excited smile. Kyu stared back with a soft smile on his face. It was the same picture that Mimi took when they were back in her cottage.
Astral's face was still going through different shades of pink and red. "There's something written under the picture," she said.
"What is it?" Kyu asked.
Astral looked closely. "And then they lived happily ever after…the end."
Kyu felt his lungs give way. He began laughing. Astral looked at him and then slowly widened her smile. She put a hand up to her mouth and laughed as well. The bags of food lay at their feet while the screen door was left open. The sunlight draped its shine over them like a blanket. The sky extended forever. Heaven was smiling down at them.