Travis shook himself and looked around frantically, trying his best to come up with a way to escape. He and Fell exchanged looks, then Travis narrowed his eyes up at the ceiling as though to suggest they fly out. Fell's eyes widened and he shook his head vigorously, silently begging for another way, but that was just it—there was no other, faster way that they could get out. Several golden robed men with white beards and very nefarious looking books in their sashes hovered down to where their toes nearly touched the hardwood floors. Their eyes were icy and gray, and as they floated through the rooms, closing in on the two boys, Fell could sense his death upon him. It felt more like fire seizing up his whole body, and for a moment he did go limp, falling back into Travis' arms.

Everything moved in slow motion as Travis unfurled his great black wings, shooting skyward, molding his and Fell's cells and atoms to slip through the pores of the roof, then reforming to rocket with another jolt of speed into the heavens. The gray men were left in a cloud of dust and were looking quite peeved as they watched their adversary make his successful escape.

"We need to work on our speed and agility," one of the older men stated, tossing his book uselessly at another man who fumbled around with it until he caught it firmly between his weathered hands. He went on, "This cannot happen again. The felons have violated now more laws than I can honestly count." He attempted to count the insubordinations on his fingers, but failed.

"The next time we have them within range," the decrepit man smiled sourly and finished, "kill them."

--

The wind blustered through the feathers of his wings, a few of them shedding in response to severe stress. However he was comforted slightly when he felt a little eye open against his chest. The eyelashes tickled his skin and caused him to give a little twitch. Fell's brown eyes looked up at him, his face looking quite green again.

Fell could feel the color in his own face and gave a little chortle then commented, "Now our skin matches."

Travis laughed as well, tucking Fell's green little head back into his chest. "I don't want the wind to sting your eyes."

Fell didn't seem to care anymore about anything; he had never been whisked away by an angel before. It was quite nice to feel the heartbeat of him against his cheek, to breathe deeply the sweet scent of him mingling with all the aromas of the afternoon air, and to run his fingers through those downy feathers. He felt safe in Travis' arms now, all hatred for the boy suddenly gone. If only they could stay this way forever—just continue to fly out into space and never return. Then Fell thought of his mum; he thought of her sweet face sopping with tears, and he knew that he had to come back—whether from outer space or wherever it was they were going now.

"We can't fly around here forever, because eventually I will get tired, and eventually they will come and find us"—

"And kill us," Fell said in a soft voice, as though it wasn't as bad as it sounded.

"Yes, and that. What I don't understand is why you lied to me and said that this place was safer than any other."

"Yes, Travis. Safer than any other place on Earth."

Travis felt embarrassed now, and his grip loosened a bit on Fell, but then he began to slip and Fell gave out a yelp of panic. He hoisted Fell up a bit further so that their faces were touching now. Fell's heart gave a lurch. Now that he really looked at Travis, he was quite elegant and beautiful—maybe a bit peculiar and with a keen eye for danger, but definitely not a sore sight.

"Does Earth have any other occult bookstores that might hold a certain document that would mention a place like mine?" Though he knew there may be a very slim chance for hope at a bookstore, it was his only hope, and that being so he had to scour through as many places as possible.

"Well…" Fell thought hard for a good while and came up with several locations. "There's the Botanica, the Barnes and Noble, and a few other locally owned places I could guide you to." Gazing downward into the bustle of the city he spotted a promising place to look. "There!" Fell shouted with more gusto than was needed, nearly deafening poor Travis.

Willing his body to be undetectable, Travis stiffened his wings, held his breath, and leaned backward into the wind. Slowly, they descended, as though they were strapped to a parachute. His feet touched down on hot concrete behind a very large building where no one ever seemed to go. There were trees lined up about twenty yards away that concealed them from the rushing highway. He released Fell to his own two feet, and then surveyed the area before continuing around the building to the main entrance.

Fell looked down at the hand he hadn't noticed that Travis held before; it seemed to be a glowing tan color now, even after he wiped it on his pants the glow adhered. Realizing that Travis had walked nearly fifty feet ahead of him he started running to catch up.

"Hey, what about your"— and before Fell could mention the great wings jutting from the other boy's back, they were retracted, making a sickening crunch as they did. Travis winced noticeably, but went on walking.

"It's the one with the green front," Fell said, pointing over at a section of the strip that read MYSTERY BOOKSTORE.

"I don't understand," Travis' brow furrowed in perplexity. "What's the mystery? It's obviously a bookstore."

Fell threw his head back and laughed, though Travis seemed genuinely concerned about the name. Hastily, he marched onward, eyes keen on the door as he whisked it open and didn't bother to take the time to hold it for Fell. He was on a very serious mission and he had to focus solely on what it was he had to do. Even as his heart was thrumming loudly in his head, he walked with great, long strides to the occult section of the store and began thumbing through the older copies of Angelic Myth and Lore. His eyes scanned over every word like a fine toothed comb, his fingers following the lines, then flipping pages and tracing the outlines of every drawing.

Fell piped up and asked, "Anything I can do to help?"

Travis held up a hand to silence him, though not to be rude, just to be sure he had full concentration on the words he read. It didn't look to Fell like he really was reading, but just skimming. Later on Fell realized that Travis was just a very fast reader.

Suddenly, Travis' eyes lit up with intrigue and Fell was so painfully curious, yet he kept his mouth shut and quietly surveyed the books adjacent Travis. When the angel was done raising his eyebrows and lifting one and then the other, making little wrinkles in his forehead, he slammed the book closed and tucked it securely under his arm then began his searching process over again.

It must have been nearly twenty minutes before he stopped pawing through the ancient books, and he was left standing with four very decrepit copies of the same book.

"Don't they all have the same information?" Fell leaned closer to peer at the spines of the books and noticed that they seemed to each put off a different energy—the very same eerie energy that he experienced when the gray men infiltrated his home— except this energy was a lot kinder than the other.

"No, they don't. Each book contains a different piece of a map leading to the oldest entrance—the supposedly mythical one." Travis stalked away ahead of Fell, his eyes narrowing at every passerby… Somehow, Fell didn't think it was because he was scrutinizing them.

"So, wait… why would these books be here? I mean if they're a part of your Realm's history and all, why would they be in my Realm?"

"It's because the histories are generally the same. Our worlds weren't divided until nearly zero A.D. It's been over two thousand years, and these copies are almost exact replicas of the older documents. They would be here because your human kind has always been fascinated by our world. I think they even hunger it for a time before they forgot it…" He trailed off, a sly smile curving his lips.

Fell looked down at his feet as they kept walking and thought really hard about all this. To gain all this knowledge about a forgotten Realm, someone must have found a way into it through this older entrance, under the detection of those highly magical beings. Fell believed that their powers were most definitely superior. However, thought Fell, not superior enough to track a human and an angel of their own kind down in twenty minutes. Fell perked up at this thought.

"Why haven't they been able to find us yet?"

Travis looked a bit perplexed. "Who?"

Fell smacked his hand against his forehead and said a bit more aggressively, "The officers of your Realm, Travis! Why haven't they found us yet if they're so mighty and powerful?"

Travis tilted his head to the side as they walked down several more aisles of books.

"Well, I suppose it has been ages since a human has ever been exposed. Back in the day, when it happened frequently—that is before all the entrances were locked and every angel and every man were separated into their own Realms—we had a very keen sense for Human Blood. The scent was strong and briny, but now that the exposures have been down to zero since the beginning of your A.D. time, we've lost all Human Hunting skills. That must be why it's hard to even track me—because I'm with a Human. Also, it's been said that once an Angel has fallen from his Realm, that he becomes half Human."

Digging his arm between a row of books, Travis produced another book that looked the same as the other four. Fell guessed it contained another piece of the map.

"Hmm," Travis was flipping through pages, and then started looking around him to check if anyone could see him as he ripped out a page of text.

"TRAVIS!" Fell chastised in a sharp whisper. "What are you doing?!"

"I'm not exactly an expert on these things," Travis whispered back in the same harsh tone, "but I don't think"—he looked at the back of the book he was holding—"you nor I have enough money to pay for five thirty five dollar books." Travis proceeded to rip out several other pages from the same book as Fell did his best to act as though they weren't committing a crime.

"How many more pages?" Fell asked gruffly.

"Nearly fourteen," Travis replied shortly, giving Fell a bit of a shove so he would stand out of his light.

With a great sigh, Fell plopped down cross legged onto the floor and picked up a book that Travis had already finished destroying, and then began to read through some of the chapters. One whole chapter was about what an Angel really was; it went into the whole spiel about how they were not biblical beings, but that they existed way before the time even before Jesus' time. All of it was quite radical for Fell to comprehend and he soon stopped reading for both his own mentality and because Travis finished desecrating the books.

Forcefully, Travis shoved all the pages into Fell's messenger bag and looked up at a few books on the higher shelves but made no incentive to harm them. Instead of leaving abruptly and showing signs of guiltiness, they lingered around the science fiction section and then made their way out of the store triumphant.

When they were a good distance away from the place Fell jogged a bit to catch up with Travis to talk about what had just happened.

"Why didn't you at least buy one of the books? At least that way we would have made some sort of donation"—

Travis halted and rounded sharply to face Fell, his eyes were angry and his shoulders were a bit hunched as he leaned forward and pointed a finger in Fell's face. Fell coward back a few paces and shielded his face, thinking that a bolt of lightning would zap from Travis' finger and strike him between the eyes.

"Listen to me good, okay? This is not going to be fun for either one of us, and I can't have you screwing things up as we go along. Just leave all the work to me, okay? I can figure this all out on my own without any of your fucking help."

Fell looked as though he had been struck by lightning, and he was beginning to shake a bit.

"I'm sorry," Travis seemed to relax as he turned his back to the other boy. "I… I'm scared." The Angel seemed as if those words were being spoken from his mouth for the very first time, and Fell was beginning to think they were, because at first impression Travis had appeared completely insane and totally oblivious. Now he did look very frightened—like a very small child.

Fell slowly walked up behind him and placed his hands on his shoulders, and then gently kissed his cheek. "I have faith in you, Travis. You seem like a very strong willed person and I know that you can figure this out. But…" he paused, wondering whether or not he should say what he was about to say.

Then, Travis turned around, his blue eyes sullen and filled with tears. Fell could tell that he was fighting the tears back, straining with all his might not to let them fall.

"But what?" His voice was slightly shaky.

"But you have to let me help. I know I don't know anything about your world, but then again you don't know very much about mine. We can help each other out, okay? Don't try and think you have to do everything all by yourself." Fell stepped in closer and wrapped his arms around the Angel, squeezing his arms tighter and tighter until they hurt.

There was a whoosh of hot breath by Fell's ear, and then Travis released him and started walking back to the spot where they had landed earlier.

"Do we need to go to the other bookstores?"

"No. That would waste time. We have enough information here to get us there, and then we're on our own."

"What do you mean?" Fell was getting worried again.

"We have to enter four different realms between ours before we make it to the actual entrance. Then, the entrance is hidden by centuries and millenniums of god knows what. We'll need weapons."

"WEAPONS?! WHAT THE HELL, TRAVIS?"

Fell flailed his arms above his head, but before he had any time to protest, Travis was scooping him into his arms and extending his wings, once again willing their invisibility.

As he shot upward into the sky, a flock of buzzards whizzed by their heads, one of the sharp beaks narrowly missing Fell's right ear. The near collision had startled Fell too much for him to notice the familiar sizzling cracks gaining up on their rear. When he'd finished complaining about Travis' awful flying skills his ears honed in on the sound.

"Do you hear that?" Fell strained his ears hard to listen.

Travis did the same, squinting his eyes against the intensity of the sun, and then veering off to the right and diving downward at a velocity that must have been faster than the speed of sound. He could feel the pressure of another body slip down from his own, he panicked only briefly before grappling Fell securely back into his arms.

"HOLD YOUR BREATH." Travis was shouting to Fell over the sickening sounds of innumerous cracking sources.

Fell did as he was instructed; also closing his eyes in case something happened he didn't want to see. There was another loud crack right beside his head, and then they were plunged into icy cold air. It winded them both, Fell opened his mouth sputtering and gagging for fresh air. The frigid air met his lungs and he felt as though they were going to burst. Travis shoved the human's head into his chest and did a great motion with his arms that resembled a wounded bird and the air around them was suddenly less cold. It was still cold enough to sting their eyes but not enough to suffocate them. Fell reluctantly opened his eyes, through his blurry vision he could make out snowy mountain peaks and a clear blue sky.

"W—where are we?" Fell stammered, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand.

"Iceland."

Beyond the snowy mountains were miles and miles of vast green hills and plains—seemingly stretching out into an eternity. The air was beginning to warm as Travis beat his wings against the wind and straightened himself for a landing.

"Why Iceland?" Fell said in a less curious voice than he usually would have, for he was beginning to get used to the idea of strange happenings.

Travis thudded to the earth and dusted snow off his shirt.

"It's not your Iceland. It's the second one to the left of yours. This is the alternate of your Realm, and Angels come here often when we need medical care or"— he was cut off by a loud grunting animal noise from behind him.

They both turned around as Travis let go of Fell and found that they were staring right into the eyes of an Icelandic horse. It was a bulky animal, with a long coat of fur and thick hooves that looked as if they could break through concrete walls half a mile wide. The two boys stood in amazement for a long while before another man about three inches shorter than Fell stalked up 'round the horse's flank. The man was bulky like the horse, sporting a fiery red beard that hung down to the middle of his stomach, and a head of the same flaming red hair. His eyes were a much darker blue than Travis', and his skin was a lot paler.

"Aye! Though I'd never see yer again, Trav." The red man's voice was very low and boomed hard against their ears despite that they were in a wide open space. He threw his arms around the Angel and gave him a firm pat on the back, nearly causing Travis to swallow is tongue.

"How yer been, lad?" He smiled broadly, his dimples showing even through his beard.

"Not well, Baldur. I'm in a bit of a fix." Travis tried not to look ashamed as Baldur, the bearded man, glanced over at the Human boy behind him.

"Aye," he said, sounding a bit disappointed. "What have you done now, Trav?"

"It's nothing I've done, Baldur!" Travis sniped back defensively. "It was Gertrude."

"Aye, that great oaf of a thing that looks like me hairy Aunt Frigg?" Baldur contorted his face into disgust and stepped back from Travis, his hands still planted firmly on the boy's shoulders.

"That's him." Travis forced a laugh.

Baldur harrumphed and then turned on his heel, motioning for the two boys to follow him—or at least Fell thought it seemed that he was, he hesitated a moment, looking at Travis for a sign of permission. Travis nodded and took Fell by the hand, obediently following Baldur down a steep hill toward a sketchy looking hut.

"'Aven't got me kettle on yet. I'll make yer boys some good ole wartroot tea."

Somehow that didn't sound very appetizing to Fell, but he figured it couldn't be all that bad if Baldur sounded so enthusiastic about it, as though it was a very rare treat to have.

Now that Fell was beginning to become more observant he noticed that Baldur wore a leather vest with a peculiar looking emblem on the back. He traced the image with his eyes, feeling that it was of some importance to remember it. For a long moment he'd thought he had seen it somewhere else before, but once they stepped over the threshold inside the hut all thoughts of it had gone from his mind. It was nice and cozy inside, a small fire now being kindled in the far corner in a stone hearth. Baldur stoked the fire and hung a kettle by a hook on the metal rod above it.

Travis sat down on a rather lumpy, grungy, orange couch on the opposite wall and patted the empty spot beside him. Fell made a look of reluctance but sat beside him anyway, for he realized his arms and legs were quite exhausted from all that clinging to Travis, whilst he rode at five hundred meters per second.

There were some more sounds of clanging pots and pans, the sizzle of flesh meeting scalding iron, and then a yelp of pain from Baldur before he settled down on a wooden stool. The hut was so small that he was knee to knee with Travis, even as he was sitting in the kitchen area. For a good while he sucked on tip of his thumb where he'd burned himself, then spoke between it, still sucking.

"Now I want yer to tell me what that son of a bitch has gone and done to yer now."

Travis sighed, he had only told it once, but was already sick of telling it, but he went on anyway. This time he gave out more information than he had before to Fell.

"Well, as you know, that shit has been after my position for ages. I suppose he thought he could get me kicked out of the Realm by claiming false accusations."

"What kind-er accu-mah-sations?" Baldur pounded his fist on the wooden table beside him, sending some forks and iron plates clattering to the earthen floor.

"Fucking asshole blackmailed me. I had a few documents regarding the denouncing of the Emperor, that were not mine at all, yet somehow that traitor managed to forge my name onto the signature line. So, when I went to deliver the law papers, I had grabbed that unknowingly. When the Emperor saw what was written, he stripped my ancient power and left me with the bare minimum. Then, sent out and order for my arrest, but then decided against it and sent me to the third Realm instead. I managed to escape from there and fall down to Earth. Then…" Travis trailed off, his eyes slowly guiding Baldur's gaze to Fell.

Fell had been listening very intently, but now he felt it was his turn to speak and take up for Travis, being that Baldur was looking ready to blow a gasket.

"Then we ran into each other at a bookstore. I had no idea who or what he was, I just thought he was some homeless kid. So, I took him to my house and… I saw the gashes where his wings were… hiding inside, I guess, and they sort of leapt out at me. So, it really wasn't his fault that he was exposed." Fell said that all in one breath and was panting a little now as he finished.

Baldur narrowed his eyes at Travis.

"Yeah." Even though Travis had been explained, he still felt very guilty for what had happened. Regardless of being blackmailed and ordered for arrest for treason, the exposure is what would have him sentenced to death, even if he wasn't at fault.

"Well, yer still a young'n," Baldur sounded empathetic now. "So, I can't blame yer fer not bein' able to keep them retracted." He rose from his stool and gave Travis another hearty pat on his back.

"Thanks, Bal." The Angel boy's head drooped low, his face going red and blotchy with naked embarrassment.

Fell didn't know what else to do or say so he decided to change the subject. "Erm—how about that tea, Mister Baldur, sir?" He feigned a cheerful grin and clapped his hands together to seem eager.

With a little sniff, as though he was about to cry, Baldur went over to the kettle and poured three cups of steam water into silver goblets. The goblets bore the same emblem Fell had noticed before on the vest, but he wasn't thinking about it so he didn't think to ask any questions.

"While yer drinkin' yer tea, boys, Im'a go out ter the barn and getya what yer need." He made a motion like wiping a tear from his eye; Travis smiled faintly at this but didn't say a word.

"Thank you," Fell said for Travis, seeing as he was busy basking in his own guilt.

Even though Baldur never spoke to Fell, he could tell that he heard him, being that he had went straight to the tea when he had mentioned it. Although, he still wondered why the man wouldn't so much as look at him directly. When he had handed the boys their tea and left to the barn in a bit of a rush, still sniffing and wiping at his eyes very quickly, Fell brought it up.

"Am I like a disease or something?" Fell looked down at his murky brown tea and gave it a speculative sniff. It didn't smell like anything, thought he was still a bit afraid to drink it.

"He's a Fallen. A true Fallen. They envy Human kind because they fell so far to try and become a Human…" he paused, looking grimly into his own tea. "He clipped off his own wings just to come here. It was as close as he could get to your Realm without being illegal."

"It's illegal to go to Earth?" Fell sounded offended.

"It is if you're not sent there as a punishment. Remember what I said about how every man and every Angel was sentenced to stay on their own side? Well, some Angels don't want to be what they are, they want to be free."

The room went silent, all but for the crackling fire in the hearth.

Fell slurped a tiny sip of tea and tasted dirt, grass, and then sugar and all kinds of spice. He put his lips together and smacked them a bit, then looked over at Travis with his eyebrows raised high in approval. Travis laughed at him and then gulped his tea down quickly. Fell continued to sip his as Baldur returned, his eyes and nose puffy and red. Neither Fell nor Travis remarked, instead they stood up at once and followed the stout little man outside and around the hut to a large wooden barn. It was so enormous and much more beautiful in comparison to the hut, and Fell wondered why Baldur didn't just live in the barn instead.

However, when they entered, Fell saw that there wouldn't be enough room for another person to live. From dank wooden wall to dank wooden wall there were gadgets, weapons, cogs and gears, roosters and hens, horses, among other things that Fell could not identify. His mouth hung open in awe, head swiveling from side to side, his eyes catching a new and unfamiliar object or animal each time.

Baldur went right through the middle of the menagerie and rummaged through a few bins before pulling out two silver, square lockets with that emblem again, two daggers with black leather sheaths, and an orb of amethyst.

Travis asked the same question Fell was thinking, "Why the orb?"

"Commune-er-cation o' course. Didn't think yer'd be all the way out in the middle of no man's land and not be talkin' to good ole Baldy did yer?" He patted his chest and then swatted Travis' rear end, laughing loudly. "And here, take me good armor." Baldur produced a set of armor that looked like it'd be three time too large even on a big man, and Fell wondered how that armor ever would have fit Baldur.

Travis took the armor and gave Baldur a tight hug, then started slipping the vest around his waist—the same story as when he tried to dress himself at Fell's house.

"Aw, look at yer," Baldur cooed at Travis, "So young. Let me help yer get into those, then." Baldur seemed to make it worse before he started actually helping. The two of them wrestled into the ground trying to get on the armored boots. Finally, Travis kindly directed Baldur aside and assisted Travis once again. "Aye, yer got a good hand there, Trav." Finally, Baldur had acknowledged Fell's existence, but he was too busy to feel victorious.

At last, Fell tied the leather rope ties to secure the armor in place, he dutifully held out his arms as Baldur slapped a heap of metal and leather armor onto them.

"Suppose yer don't need any o' our help?" Baldur said it playfully, shooting a wink at the Human boy then stepping over to rummage in another metal bin to look for something else that could be of use.

"How did you know we would need all this stuff?" Fell asked as he put on his chest plate, oddly enough figuring out how to latch it onto his protective back plate. It was almost like an instinct to him…

"Well, I suppose yer wouldn't know nothin' 'bout crossin' over into bigger Realms," he spoke kindly, trying his best to show empathy for the very thing he envied. "But I gotta tell yer, it is HELL. All sorts of shadowy demon things at yer back wantin' to eat yer. I knew'd you'd need alotta protection 'gainst 'em. An' here." He tossed a large canvas sack at Fell and he caught it in one hand. "Keep yer stuff in there." Then Baldur handed him a metal pole with different creatures engraved into it.

"What're these?" Fell pointed at the horned creatures breathing fire down the middle of it.

"Icelandic Dragons. Wouldn't bet me life on meetin' one'a them, that's fer sure." He shook his head and sucked in air between his grimy teeth.

Looking around at the ceiling above him, Travis made an odd noise with his throat, calling down a massive bird that took perch upon his extended armored arm.

"Aye, Chestnut! Me pretty bird!" Baldur walked over to the brown hawk and tickled her chin as the bird twittered and chirped with glee.

"As promised, yer can take Chestnut here. She's a good lass, jus' remember to feed her twice a day. The sucking rats are her favourite. Aren't they Chessy?" He scratched her neck this time and she arched her head against his hand.

Fell didn't like the sound of sucking rats. The intensity of his fear was just increased.

"Ready?" Travis said, putting Chestnut on his shoulder and hopping up and down on the tips of his toes.

"We're going now?" Fell backed up into a machine that whirred and hissed as he collided with it.

"When did you think we were going?"

"Good luck, lads!" Baldur waved a hand at them as Travis took Fell by the arm and dragged him out of the barn a good fifteen yards.

"Oh no." Fell whispered as Travis gripped him around the waist.

"I'll keep in touch, Bal."

There was a crack. Then, everything went black.