Chapter 9: Secrets, Blood and One Hell of a Dream

I opened his eyes as I felt something disturb my mind. All I could see in the dark bedroom was the silhouettes of Charlie's guitars and the heater that resided under the window. I sighed and tried to turn, but the pain in my arms and legs was almost overwhelming. Screw Charlie, I thought to myself.

Charlie had been working me night and day with physical training and mental exercises to help me hone my abilities and gain access to new powers, but it was starting to take a toll on my body. Yes, I felt my body beginning to harden and he already saw the lean muscles toning up, I had felt my mind grow and saw new possibilities in everything, but I was so exhausted by the end of a day's training that there was nothing much I could do but crash on Charlie's bed and drift off to sleep. Most nights Charlie just let me sleep there and took the couch bed as his own and tonight was no different.

You felt that? Came a voice to my mind and I closed my eyes tiredly. Yeah, I sent back and Charlie opened his eyes, staring at the ceiling where he knew Ben was laying on his bed. It'll be alright, Ben, he said and I managed a smile, albeit a weary one. You know I know you're lying, right? I sent to Charlie and Charlie shook his head and turned over in his bed. Try to sleep, Ben, you have a lot to do tomorrow, Charlie sent and smirked as he heard Ben's groan.

I turned in my own bed and stared at the cupboard that faced the bed. On it there was a beautiful stencil of a woman wearing a long dress, looking almost elflike. She had her index finger to her lips, like she was saying to be quiet. I stared at the woman and as I did, I thought he saw her smile at me and wink before I fell into a dream-filled sleep.

There was fire in the sky and the ground quivered like a never ending earthquake. I stood on top of a high hill, staring at the chaos in from of him; forests razed to the ground, rivers and lakes poisoned and bubbling a sickly green. Carcasses of animals littered the ground and there was a stench in the air unlike anything I had ever smelt before.

"It is beautiful, is it not?" a voice came from behind him and when I turned, I saw a beautiful man standing in front of him. Golden curls hugged his face and ended at his shoulders. Shimmering white robes fitted his body perfectly and there was a sword sheathed on his side. He had a kind yet cruel face, capable of so much and his eyes… so blue, like the sky. "Who are you," I asked and the man smiled at me."Oh, Benjamin, don't you know already?" he asked and I shook my head. He smiled and looked out at the chaos in front of him and spread out his arms before he bowed in front of me and as he rose, I saw his blue eyes turn a liquid gold and his face crack open. Literally crack, like it was a mask and beneath the cracks, I saw flesh and bone. "I am Abbadon, Benjamin. I am the Destruction of the world. I am the end that will be," he said and smiled at me a smile that was wider than humanly possible.

I fell backwards and hit something sharp. When I looked down, I saw that it was a bloodied bone. A human bone. I shouted and scrambled back, but all I saw was more bones and skulls, bloodied, some with flesh still clinging to them. Suddenly I was falling off the hill and I realized that the whole hill was made out of bones, everything was human. As I fell, I saw Abbadon unfurl his huge black wings and laugh into the wind, a terrible laugh that echoed throughout the whole world.

"Ben… Ben…?" I heard a voice calling my name, but I couldn't open my eyes. Something in me was afraid to open my eyes, too afraid to see anything. The dream had been too real; the smell, the fires, the bones, everything had been too real. "Benjamin!" a warm hand shook my shoulder and I recognized the voice. I opened my eyes to see warm powder-blue eyes staring at me with concern. "Hey, are you okay?" Charlie asked, but I couldn't do anything but hold his hand on my shoulder and close my eyes, letting his emotions wash over me, filling me with warmth and security.

Charlie understood that there was something Benjamin was afraid of, but he didn't pry. He simply let Benjamin have his moment and when he thought Benjamin was okay, he smiled at Ben.

"I think we should go to school today, huh?" he said and I looked at him incredulously. "Seriously, school?" I asked and he shrugged, "I think the spell I put on the school might be wearing off and it would be a good time for a break right about now." I was partly relieved for a day of doing anything but training, but at the same time, school was a daunting prospect. That demon Miss Genevieve might still be in school and there's no telling how many more demons could have me into the school, but Charlie's offer was too good to give up.

But as Charlie pulled up to the school, both of us had a feeling that something had changed. "You know," I began, "I think I didn't do that Psychic Lift thing properly yesterday, how about we go back and practice?" I asked hopefully, but Charlie just smiled at me. "We'll be fine, Ben. I've worked it out," he said and I raised an eyebrow at him. "What, we're going to waltz up to school and just say, "Hey everyone! We're back after a month of not attending school, everyone's cool with that right?" and everything will be hunky-dory?" I asked and Charlie laughed. "Close, but no," he said.

"TOGETHER?!" Emma whisper-screamed at Charlie and shoved him against the lockers in the hallway. Charlie grinned sheepishly and I couldn't help but laugh too. Emma looked at me and I immediately shut up. She could look menacing when she wanted too, but right now she was full on killer. She looked back at Charlie and snarled at him. "What are you playing at, Charles," she said, "You not only bring Ben back into school, but you got some frickin' aneurism in your head and told people that you two are together. Tell me why, Charles, before I tear your face off with my nails," but Charlie just shrugged. "Look Emma, it's really quite simple," he said and he grunted as though he was in pain and I noticed Emma's nails digging into Charlie's chest.

I wanted to step forward, but Charlie glanced at me and shook his head. "If the demons think that he's with me, they won't touch him, at least not here," Charlie said and Emma scoffed at that. "You think your feathery butt is going to defend Ben against the demons in this school? Sugar you've got another thing coming," she said and Charlie's eyes hardened. He opened his palm and Emma was launched backwards, but before she hit the lockers on the other side, she stopped and was lowered to the ground. Shock crossed her face as Charlie stood up and dusted the dust from his jacket. "Don't think that just because I am peaceful most of the time that I do not know how to defend myself or Benjamin, Emma," he said, his voice unusually deep and full of command. "You and I both know what we are capable of, and if you have forgotten what I am capable of, I would be happy to remind you," he said, challenging her.

Emma smiled at him and shook out her hair. "I forgot how sexy you are when you take charge like that, Charlie," she said and Charlie's face softened into a smile. "I don't like doing that, you know that, Emma," he said and Emma rolled her eyes at him. "Just take care of Ben, Charlie," she said and looked at me with a smirk on her face. "Cassiel sends his love, Ben," she said and I tried to not let that affect me so much. I missed Cassiel, even the weird habits and the sudden disappearances. "Thanks," I said quietly and Emma came up to me and gave me a hug. "He loves you more than the world," she whispered to me and let go of me. I couldn't be sure if she was talking about Cassiel or Charlie, but at the time, Cassiel was the one on my mind.

"See y'all in class, kay?" she said and turned to walk to class, her heels click-clacking down the hallway. I looked at Charlie and he offered me his hand. I took it and rolled my eyes at him, "You really know how to persuade someone to do something, you know," I said and he smirked at me. "It's a gift," he said and I didn't doubt it.

We walked into class hand in hand and it was like a wind picking up. Blatant stares, whispers, some wolf whistles and three or four smirks from mutual friends who had been joking for years that Charlie and I should get together. I instinctively moved closer to Charlie as I was hit by a huge wave of emotion from the class and Charlie looked down at me, put his arm around me and led me to a place in the back. He sat next to me and smiled at me a little. Are you okay? he asked and I nodded. "It's just emotions taking over," I sang in my head and he chuckled a little.

"Hey Ben," came a voice from next to me and I turned to see Billy Collins looking at me questioningly. "Hey Billy," I said and smiled at him. "So what's the deal, eh?" he asked and I cocked my head to the side a little. "What's the deal with what?" I asked and Billy nodded at Charlie who was very pointedly not looking at me, but I felt his smile. I narrowed my eyes and looked back at Billy. "It just happened, you know?" I said and Billy shook his head but smirked at me. "Well, I'm happy for you and all, but just be careful okay? I heard some guys talking about the two of you earlier. And it didn't sound like they wanted to invite you over for a beer either," he said and worry crossed my face. I said thank you to Billy and turned to my books.

Charlie? I sent and he looked at the blackboard. I heard, he sent; Don't worry about it, okay? I shook my head. Yeah, easy for you to say, I said and he smiled at me and shook his head in my direction. I scowled at him and looked back at my books.

The rest of the day was spent in between a nervous breakdown and the ADHD a squirrel experiences. I was hyperaware of everything around me and everything became crystal clear to me when I looked at it which caused me to have a bit of a migraine by lunch time. Emma met up with us during lunch and when she saw the state I was in, she just raised an eyebrow at Charlie and sighed before she led us out to the football field to have lunch on the bleachers. While we were there, Emma sat behind me, rubbing my head and muttering curses to Charlie at the same time. Slowly the migraine dissipated and in ten minutes I was feeling fine. "I swear, you have magic fingers," I said to Emma then remembered that she really did have some funky fingers.

I leaned back into Charlie's chest and he offered me a bite of his sandwich which I took. Emma looked at us and smiled. "You two are awfully good actors, you know" she said slyly, "It's almost like you are actually together." I sat up straight and glanced at Charlie and then at Emma and mumbled a sorry, but Emma laughed and Charlie smiled at me. "Did you not tell him, Charlie?" Emma asked and Charlie shook his head. I looked at them and said, "Tell me what?" Emma threw a grape at Charlie and laughed, "You evil angel, you let the poor thing in the dark!"Charlie dodged the grape and grinned sheepishly, "I was going to tell him eventually." I was starting to get a little annoyed and thunder rumbled overhead. "Tell me what, EXACTLY," I said and they both looked at me, sobering up.

"Right, I'm going to leave you two alone to sort this out," Emma said, gesturing at us and I narrowed my eyes. "No, you're going to sit here and explain this to me," I said and she sat down again. "Why me?" she said and I smiled, "Because you mentioned it first." Charlie smirked at her and she sneered at him, but I took my seat in the middle of the both of them and looked at her. "So explain," I said and she heaved a sigh before she began.

"See Charlie, the thing about being a Medias is that they're very specific and at the same time random. What you have to understand is that no one makes choices in this. It's like God plays roulette with every Medias and their guardians when they are being made and sometimes things get a little wonky. See for example, the last Medias that was born, her name was Lucy. Her demon guardian was a man named Caleb and her angel guardian was a woman called Alexa. What happened then was fine, because when Lucy was born, it was the '20s and she fell in love with her demon guardian. But now, now god reversed everything. He caused the Medias, you, to be born a boy, your angel guardian to be born a boy too and your demon guardian to be a woman. But he also made you so that you and Charlie would be intertwined until your dying day. The day you die is the day Charlie dies too. You didn't choose who to love, Ben. It was set in stone by God him… her… It was set in stone by God. That's why Charlie has always looked ut for you. That's why he's always there when you need him and why you miss him so much when he's away from you."

I just stared at Emma then looked at Charlie. He had taken a bite of his sandwich and when he noticed me staring at him, he stopped chewing and swallowed. "Hi," he said awkwardly and I burst out laughing. That made Charlie and Emma look at each other skeptically and then at me. "What exactly is so funny?" Emma said and I shook my head. "I have two dads and now this. Could my life get a little more exciting, please?" I said and I leaned back against Charlie who put an arm around my chest protectively.

Is that why you're always so caring to me? I asked and Charlie smiled down at me. Yes and no, he said, I truly do love you, Ben. I can't help but love you, yes, but somewhere along the way, that obligation because a real love. And now I can show it to you, if you'd let me. I thought about and I decided that there was no point in denial any more. I did love Charlie in some inexplicable way, and now I knew why. Although I knew that God had set it in stone or whatever, it was different. I knew what we had was different.

The school bell rang and we gathered our food things and threw them away. As we walked back to class, I held Charlie's hand and then I held Emma's. "I love you both just for the record," I said and Emma and Charlie laughed. I joined in the laughter and we headed for our lockers together. But unseen in one of the unlit classrooms, a group of jocks and A/V club members stood together in a circle. In the middle of the circle sat Billy, tied and gagged to a chair.

"This is the one?" a sultry voice came from the shadows and the group nodded in unison. "This is the one," they said together and Miss Genevieve walked out of the shadows holding a golden knife in her hand. "You're going to be my little worker bee now, Billy," she said and stabbed him in the belly. She slit him open from belly to throat and just before Billy died, she took a piece of wood and put it into his body next to his heart. Instantly the slit closed and Billy's eyes turned a murky shade of green, nothing like the lively green it had once been.

Miss Genevieve took the gag out of Billy's mouth and he smiled at her. "Took you long enough," he said and Miss Genevieve leaned down and kissed him on the mouth before smiling at him. "Now watch and learn and report back," she said and Billy nodded before his bonds were cut and he left the room.

Miss Genevieve went over to the teacher's desk and sat down, resting her feet on the table, fingering her knife slowly. "Whatever that bastard is planning with his little posse," she said and licked the knife clean of blood, "He's going to fail."