(A.N: Yes I was heavily influenced by DMC4, but since I'm passed that obsession and am now a NORMAL fangirl, I'll probably cut out a lot of the similarities)

Fade to Black

* * * * *

Someone asked Kaelien what her hobby was, and she responded, "taking pictures." Her olive complexion turned rosy and she chuckled nervously, rubbing the back of her neck, smiling a little as if the next words were embarrassing. "I'm a little obsessed."

When asked if she'd show her photo album, Kaelien responded with a laugh, "Which one?"

But that was a long time ago…


Someone asked Ivy Lee what he did for a living and he responded, "living."

"I mean, what do you do to live in the home that you do?"

Ivy ran his fingers though curly blonde locks, combing them away from his face. His naturally green eyes changed from cat-eye green to a leafy color, with a lighter, almost white, green sun pinprincking around his irises. Those eyes, glittering with mischief a few moments ago, became haunted, dead.

Then he blinked, the moment gone, and his eyes changed once again to his normal color. The clear glint of trouble returned. He smirked and whispered, "It's a secret."

It was one of those nights that began in every classic movie and clichéd so many books: dark, stormy, and night. Well morning really, but it was early enough for the nocturnal children to be asleep, or just starting to.

Hayden was one of the few men whose household went to bed at a decent hour, but the nagging feeling making his heartbeat louder, faster, angrier in his chest made the darkness too light for him to sleep, made the raindrops sound like potato size hailstones upon a metal roof, and the man's own breathing was suddenly too much for him to bear. Frustration emanated off him with every toss and turn, anger threatened to break newly furnished walls if he didn't get at least some sleep. He was going to be cranky in the morning.


Lightning flashed outside his window, momentarily making his room light up. Thunder echoed moments later. Hayden flipped onto his back, his arms positioned in a way that completely covered his eyes.

What was that? A face? He couldn't remember. He'd been too caught up trying to sleep. Long hair. He remembered that she had long hair. Hayden wanted to say blonde, but it was like fitting puzzle pieces together perfectly, and knowing that they weren't supposed to match. He tried dark, but met with the same conclusion.

A moment passed.

Hayden sighed, a reflection of almost contentment. The sound of the falling droplets of water made his eyes feel heavier despite them being closed and under the protection of his arms. The escalated sounds of the rain fell into the rhythm of a light drizzle. If he moved now, the spell would be broken.

Long hair. He breathed in deeply.

What was it about long hair?

Long hair.

Long hai…


The masked man was friendly, she surmised, despite him not helping her at all. Or maybe he wasn't because he wasn't helping her. Maybe he was just a figure of her imagination keeping her sane enough to talk to somebody.

Ha. Ha. That was funny.

"Masquerades went out of style years ago." Damn her throat was dry. She applauded herself for not coughing while saying that.

"My high school's homecoming theme one year was masquerade."

How ironic. Hers was too.

Laughter. Warm and kind. Not cold. Not biting, like these shackles on her wrists. Warm and kind and soft. It was amazing she even remembered the meaning of those words. She wanted to lean into that sound. The softness, like a blanket— no, like a comforter, surrounding her. Soft and warm.

Soft and warm.

"How about this?" She looked up. Gray misted eyes of confusion held her for a moment. Her focus on him blurring and then clearing up again.

"Phantom of the Opera?" That's the best you can do? Really?" indignance from both sides. "Really?"

"I thought it was classy." Was he pouting?

"It's too overdone to be classy anymore."

"Scream then?"

"Do it and I'll never speak to you again."

"How 'bout Jason?"

"Drown you." She growled. What the hell was he finding so funny?

"I can't show you my face." She paused. So he knew. He reverted back to masquerade.

"Why not?"

"That is…reserved…for people in need of my expertise."

"Oh and I'm not?"

He smiled. She could see that underneath the mask, he had white skin. "No."

Hayden decided that the sunlight was monstrous. More than monstrous. Evil. Beyond evil.

He sighed. Registering that while he wasn't half conscious, he was already cranky. Scratch that. Even for a man, his attitude was leaning toward bitchy.

Great. Lovely.

And today was his turn for the early shift. Maybe he could snatch a few sheep, eat them instead of counting, and catch some hopeful Z's. Maybe that'd get himself to sleep better than that half awake crap he put up with last night. Maybe if he—



The call from downstairs revealed icy, pale blue eyes. Hayden removed the white comforter from over his head to expose glossy black locks that fell just short of his eyes. His hair fell to the nape of his neck, but trimmed to fit him handsomely. Today they stuck out of proportion to his head. Nothing short of a miracle could fix it. That or a shower.

He groaned, but didn't bother to fix his current hairstyle.

The first thing he noticed was the feet propped on his desk. The second was the sound of hysterical laughing from the feet's general direction. "Look I know you're young and all compared to the rest of the half-breeds out there, but with all the time on your hands, shouldn't you at least try to look decent?"

Hayden growled. "Get your grubby boots off my desk, asshole."

The other man sighed, looked mournfully at his feet, and slowly took one boot off then the other. He straightened up in his chair, no longer finding it comfortable to slouch.

"Take a shower dude, you'll make customers think a Sin ate you and spat you back out looking like that."

"Shift starts—"

"When you are ready. Seriously Hayden, take a shower. I can stay up another hour if it means making you smell nice."

That got Hayden's attention. He was halfway down the stairs, and the kid was at the bottom, in all his youthful glory, on the other side of the room. Kid shouldn't be able to smell Hayden this far apart. "Your senses are heightened today?" That wasn't unusual per se, but at this stage, the kid could only access that part of him when he was either agitated or the devil inside was trying to break free. Eight times out of ten, it was the demonic bugger.

The other, smaller man shrugged. "Just came back from a job."

Ice blue eyes eyed the kid, who looked at least fifteen years younger than Hayden's mid thirties features. The kid hadn't even started growing facial hair, which was odd, but it had to have come with the genes. So did the white hair, green eyes, slim body structure, and unbelievably territorial nature. Hayden knew. He had it too. Definitely a Fallen thing, among others.

But that wasn't why he paid attention to the kid whom Hayden thought of as a son. It was the way he shifted, favoring one side while trying to look discreet. It was the way the other's attention suddenly didn't seem to be on anything.

"Something on your mind, kid?"

The way those green eyes glared at Hayden creeped him out. It sent chills up the man's spine. Damn, if looks could kill. He could almost see the invisible daggers waiting to shed blood. He felt himself readying for a fight. Those green eyes glowed one moment, and the next were back to normal.

The younger man looked dejected, like all his energy had been put into that one single moment. "I have a name, old man."

"Orion then." Hayden leaned against the railing. He crossed his arms and feet. "What's up?"

Orion looked away, his pale face turning a little rosy. "Nothing, old man, just go take your shower."