STORY

Angel Hunt + Streifen: Morning pt 04

Angel Hunt and Streifen in Modern Day

ahstreifenmodernday

Morning 04

Jun: there’s little time to think about how long it’s been since he’s held his sword and used it in earnest as he fights to remain in his place, too desperate to keep himself between the two Bright and the one he loves to bother with coherent thought. Pain edges every movement he makes and there’s moments here and there where he nearly gives in to it, moments where he comes so close to resealing his wings. But he forces himself to leave them unbound because despite the fact that he’s forgotten how to use them to fly, they create a better barrier of protection than he can manage with his body alone.

It’s been a very long time since he was last in the Heavens and yet here in this warehouse, with every thought but protection wiped from his mind, it’s almost as if he never left. His movements are as swift as they’ve ever been, the training he received from Haniel dictating every fluid shift, every parry and every retaliatory strike he gives in return. Unfortunately his body isn’t on the same page as his mind and before long; the two partners begin to get the better of him anyway. With one cheap shot that he doesn’t even see coming, the female Bright hits him with an explosion of magic from behind but when there’s no immediate reaction he assumes that whatever she did had failed. Quickly met with the other face to face, he doesn’t have time to think much on it either before he finds himself exchanging another set of blows. Within seconds however his shoulder and wing begins to go numb and realizing the gravity of the situation, he grits his teeth and works to push past it -a task that becomes harder and harder as the two Selestarri start hammering away at him from above and below.

God, if he could just get in a hit to one of them he’d be good but with the feeling draining from one side and his wing growing heavier by the instant, he can’t gain enough ground to land a clean shot. Even though he’s determined to keep up his forward momentum, his movements begin to visibly slow and just when Mijah is about to strike in a way that will send him flying, the third Bright –Innic suddenly joins the fray. Both surprise and relief floods through focused features as Zephyr’s former best friend pulls the other Selestarri away from him, allowing him to fully concentrate on Aly alone.

But even as he renews his fighting in earnest, his body is all too soon nearly spent and despite his best efforts, his arm and dragging wing become little more than dead weight working successfully to pull him down. Swearing under his breath, he’s two seconds away from sealing the near useless appendages simply to get them out of the way when the Selestarri’s blow catches him hard, a sweeping motion slicing him from one shoulder to the next. A surprised cry of pain pierces the charged air as he stumbles a few paces back, his weapon dropping from his hand and fingers spreading instinctively over a wound that he has no hope of covering with a single hand alone. Just before his sword is about to clatter against the ground it’s re-summoned on instinct and a second later, his wings are rebound as well. The pain that follows is immediate -akin to an explosion, one that causes bright spots of white to blossom behind his eyes.

Giving him no time to recover, the Bright is back in motion, her glittering rapier swinging forward and this time aimed for his head. Sparks flare bright in front of wide pink eyes as the weapon makes contact but where he expects a blow, he finds instead a shimmering blade –one he’s only seen once, almost a year before. It takes him a moment to realize a long arm is wrapped around his waist protectively while another is holding out a long, crystal bladed sword. Early dawn hued orbs slip back to find blazing gold that are edged in a strange sort of ice and despite the look swimming in the taller teen’s gaze that works to shake him somewhere deep inside and despite the direness of the situation, the numbness of both arm and shoulder and the agony quickly settling in from his wound, the world still manages to melt away for those few seconds and he’s able to sink back just a little and take comfort in the one he loves…

“Shit, Zeph…” Jun whispers despite himself, the room and its other occupants jumping immediately back to life before taking on a slight aura of fuzzy white, “I think I might have screwed up here… just a little.”

Zephyr: The baleful glare that emanates from golden eyes is nearly enough to burn as he unleashes it on Aly, sending her stumbling two steps back even as the resounding shriek of metal skidding off crystal echoes in the tall spaces of the warehouse. The blistering cold that fills the Dark emanates in waves, frosting the tips of blonde hair and slowing the blood that trickles from the wound in his side. Skeins of ice etch over the blade of his sword and fan out from where he sits to delicately swirl over the concrete floor. The air temperature drops enough to chill expelled breath into white clouds, the magic that thickens it nearly enough to choke, and drawn so taught that the slightest movement will send it snapping.

The Dark slowly turns his face toward his boyfriend, his nose sliding into strands of pink and white as he leaves a gentle kiss just above the delicate curve of Jun’s ear. “Everything will be fine,” he whispers, his tone much more flat than he intends.

There is precious little left of his control, restraints clinging in place under the assault of magic, blood, and emotion. These two people that he once loved, that he once pledged to protect with his own life, that his whole fucking world was once settled on have come seeking retribution. They couldn’t let go of that old pain and forgive him, instead twisting it into an obligation of honor and the need to destroy someone they’d labeled as their enemy. This is what they wanted, what they worked all these years to achieve. They kidnapped his boyfriend, forced the Angel to fight, caused him fear and pain and drawn his blood. The person he loves is bleeding in his arms and that is unforgivable.

So now he’ll finish what they started.

The longsword blinks out of sight between one moment and the next, replaced by a thin scroll that immediately begins to unravel. Gilded eyes shift to Innic, all color drained from the dark-haired Selestarri’s face, but that single exchange of glances is all that’s necessary and the Bright drops instantly into motion. The magic held in such a fragile grasp begins to fray its restraints, snapping through the air with a sound like breaking ice. He’s not going to have much time. The teleport takes Zeph from the side of the one he loves and places him between Aly and Mijah, the movement so fast it catches both of the Bright partners off guard. A few feet away, Innic skids to a stop in front of Jun, wings expanding from his back to flare out protectively over them both.

The barriers on held magic shatter, the energy streaming out of the Dark’s slender frame and upward, shattering the skylights set into the storeroom’s ceiling. Glass falls in a glittering rain to slice at those standing below, exploding when it makes contact with the ice glazing the floor. Rain falls with it, turning to sleet as it hits the wall of cold rolling off the blonde. “You betrayed us!” Aly’s voice cuts across the thickened air when the golden glare levels on her, an edge of panic tracing her words. Faint traces of blood mar her face and arms from the glass. Mijah’s voice adds to her own. “We loved you and you walked away from us like it was nothing!”

Deep inside pain knots around Zeph’s core, clenching down with the strength of iron. “No…” he corrects the Bright, “that’s not what happened.” The battle scroll in Zeph’s hand unspools, elegantly written runes sliding from the parchment to hang in the air, forming the lines of a complex weave. “I promised to always stay with you, to always love you…” and he had meant it, he would have loved them all for the rest of his life, no matter which faction he ended up on. When he gives his love he gives it with everything he has and it’s not something that he changes on a whim. “You knew what was happening to me, you knew I had to leave, but when I did…” The pain inside sharpens violently, dragging old misery and heartbreak to the surface. “You turned your backs on me. I was willing to stay together, no matter what the distance, but it was the rest of you that left me standing on that tower alone.” Long fingers trace over the rune set to activate the spell, and the glowing lines and circles begin to dissipate.

Wind screeches from the exposed sky above, swirling into the storeroom to whip at those standing within, tearing at hair and clothes with a sharp edge. In its wake comes the rain, whittled into razor-sharp pellets of ice, driving through clothing to pierce skin. The released magic of the spell combines with the dregs of Zeph’s own to seize the moisture from the low hanging clouds above and rip it downward, harnessing the power in a contained storm. Both Bright throw up their hands in defense as their weapons are torn away in the assault of wind and ice. Despite the injuries to his own body, Zeph remains still, his golden glare still bright in the darkness as the storm rages. “You destroyed all the memories we had of one another and replaced them with your own hate.” Anger surges hard, almost enough to break through and take the control it desires and he almost allows the rage overtake him, almost lets it free because the pain is too jagged, splintering him from within and if he just lets go it will all be over. There can finally be an end…

But… Zephyr’s gaze slips to the protective white wings of his former best friend and the one they shelter beneath. Jun is the person he loves with all his heart now, the person who has become his present and his future. If he lets go, there’s no way he can ensure the Angel’s safety and that would destroy him as surely as any weapon, physical or emotional, that the ones before him could ever wield.

The storm is ramping up, freed from the Dark’s control to spend its fury on those in the storeroom. Drained of magic, Zeph turns his attention once again to Aly and Mijah, his voice pitched over the howling wind. “You’ve ruined yourselves in order to punish me… but if I never existed to you, then you’ll both be able to move on.” Reaching out, the blonde easily collapses the psychic barriers of both Bright, tearing into their memories and sending each of them screaming to the floor. “In the end, that’s all I ever wanted for any of us…”

Jun: he stands within the protective shield of wings as the storm of magic rages all around them and while shards of glass and splinters of ice batter at Innic’s partially exposed body, not one of the sharp missiles reach the Angel he protects. Screams suddenly pierce the air before dying immediately out, signaling a bitter end to the confrontation as Aly and Mijah collapse unconscious onto the floor. A second after their bodies thump mercilessly down, the storm follows, the howling wind, the rain and sleet snapping from reality as if a switch has been flicked off to leave the warehouse room in a state of still and eerie calm.

Strained pink eyes slide up to meet sunset colored orange soon after -both Angel and Bright standing immobile for a brief moment longer before each figure begins straightening and blood flecked wings slowly begin to unfurl. Jun’s gaze shifts past the one standing before him just as slivers of gold drain rapidly from shutting eyes and with no more thought lent to his pain he pulls his hand away from his wound and reaches out, crimson stained fingers quickly pushing the taller figure off to the side. An instant later he lunges forward, his breath labored and body burning as he sprints to his boyfriend’s side.

Skidding onto his knees he manages to reach Zephyr in time and while shards of glass tear at skin and cloth alike, he pays the new wounds no mind -instead throwing his good arm out to catch the Dark as he crumples completely down. Pain shockwaves through his lithe frame as the taller teenager collapses against him and he can’t help but cry out when they connect, the heart wrenching sound that escapes him bouncing off every wall and surface that surrounds.

Pulling the unconscious Selestarri close to him, he stifles another cry as he slides his head downward before he touches his forehead to the top of Zeph’s own. “I’m so sorry…” Jun whispers against the warmth of the other teen’s skin and as he spends a moment riding out the new onslaught of agony wracking his body he’s only half aware of the footfalls that are bringing the only conscious Selestarri closer to his side. “I should have never opened the damn door…”

While he knows deep down that this whole thing was inevitable, he still feels some responsibility for it all. This is the second time he’s been strung up and used as bait, and the second time he’s the reason someone he’s given his heart to has been hurt. Tightening his grip around Zephyr, he pulls him a little closer and as pink eyes reopen to stare down at the bruised and cut features of the one he loves, he swears to the unconscious teenager that it will be the last time it happens as well.

“Thank you…” the Angel begins quietly without lifting his head, speaking to the person now standing behind. “For you know… helping me during all this… crap.” Slowly dragging his eyes away from the blonde’s face, he glances over at the two prone Bright and frowns hard, unable to help the anger he feels for them from surging briefly to the surface before he manages to tear his gaze away and slide it up. “I can’t move him.” He confesses flatly to Innic, “And I’m kinda grounded… so now I need you to help me get him home.”

space02

Innic: The colors of dawn light the morning sky in shades of orange, peach, and rose, chasing away the last of night’s indigo shadows and stormy clouds. Lit in the soft colors as they stream through the loft’s tall windows, Innic methodically sorts bandages and antiseptic creams, setting aside the soiled wraps and empty containers. The Bright scarcely pays attention to the items that pass through his hands, the field medic training he’d received at the Eyrie ingrained enough to run on autopilot. Instead he covertly watches the room’s other occupants as he works, although the stealth is unnecessary when one is unconscious and the other completely focused on his boyfriend.

Jun sits with his back against the headboard of the huge bed, Zephyr’s head cradled in his lap and long fingers stroking white-gold hair as if the Dark is made of the most fragile glass. Deep pink eyes stare down at the blonde, watching for the smallest signs of movement that may signal a shift toward wakefulness. There have been none so far, not through the trip home or the dozen stitches the Bright had placed while cleaning wounds and applying bandages. Still, Jun remains focused on the one he loves and it’s obvious to anyone with eyes that Zephyr is his world, and Innic is quite sure that the blonde would say Jun is his as well. Earlier he’d told Jun that the Dark had chosen well and after everything that has happened tonight, his assessment remains the same.

Other than the small lacerations from the glass and ice, the other Selestarri has managed to walk away with only a few cracked ribs and the rapier wound. Not that he’s surprised, or should be, given Zephyr’s strength he had the ability to kill everyone in that warehouse several times over. The physical injuries are only superficial and will heal with time and attention. What concerns him more is the emotional backlash. That is where the true healing will be difficult and where the Dark will need the one he loves the most. He knew Zeph better than anyone while they were growing up and he knows that when the blonde loves, he loves with his whole heart, without holding back, and it means that when he gets hurt, the pain cuts deep and lasts a very long time.

Once he was the person the other Selestarri would turn to and he would have sat in the place Jun occupies now. He lost it foolishly, gave it up when he’d turned Zephyr away that final night on the tower. The blonde had begged him, he had promised nothing would change, but he’d been too selfishly mired in the fear that he’d was losing his best friend completely. So he’d agreed with Aly and Mijah, lacking their conviction that Zeph had betrayed them for the evilness of the Dark, but hurt and angry for his own reasons and so he turned his back along with them. At the time, he’d thought Zephyr would return despite the issues he was having with the Bright faction, issues he’d been given privy to from the moment they began, but that he chose to ignore in the end. His choice to abandon the person he loved the most had reaped exactly what he had sowed: Zeph never returned to the Eyrie. The disbelief on the blonde’s face that night in the rain, the rising fear as he questioned them and the agony that crumpled his tall frame had haunted the Bright for years afterwards. Innic had let his own pain eclipse his best friend’s and his punishment was to lose him forever.

Hollow, familiar pain spreads though his chest and he lets it settle deep, watching for another minute as Jun softly traces along the Dark’s cheek before he holds up a roll of gauze. The pink and white haired teen begins to softly protest, receiving only a flat look in response. “If you don’t let me at least do a basic bandage, you know he’s going to kill both of us when he wakes up.” Jun seems to consider the truth of that for a moment, his skin flushing a bright red, but reluctantly eases himself away from his boyfriend, careful not to jostle him in the slightest before settling on the far end of the bed. The small scissors from the first aid kit make short work of the bloodied, ruined shirt still clinging to his slender frame and Innic begins to gently clean the wound left by rapier.

“It’s a clean cut and shallow,” he tells the other teenager, “I don’t think stitches are necessary, but it will continue to bleed if you try to do too much for the next several days…” His inspection trails off as he wipes the last crimson stains away and reaches for the salve. Jun sits quietly, clearly uncomfortable at either their closeness or with Innic himself, his pink eyes slowly shifting from the window to Zeph’s still form and back again. Teeth clench lightly when the thick, oily cream is applied, but otherwise there’s no response as the Bright works his way from one shoulder to the other. “He’s going to need you,” he says after a moment, his voice so low that Jun almost misses the blunt words that follow. “What he had to do to win that fight, the memories he erased—you know how much that will hurt him, right?”

Jun: He’s hesitant when the Bright suggests dressing his wound for more reasons than one. The main reason is that he doesn’t want to leave his boyfriend’s side because Zeph could wake up at any moment and he wants to be right there when he does. Aside from that however is the fact that even with the help Innic has offered him, he’s still wary of the Selestarri and when it comes down to it, he can just heal his wounds in the end –even if he is currently in too much pain and too exhausted from the first fight he’s been in since the Heavens to actually do so. But after the taller figure makes his valid argument as to why it should be allowed and after a moment of careful contemplation, the pink and white haired Angel decides to give in. He’s right after all and he knows it, and the last thing he wants is to cause Zephyr more grief just because he’d been too preoccupied to clean himself up while the Dark was passed out.

With all the care in the world he slips long fingers beneath the blonde’s neck and lifts his head away from his lap, setting him back down on the plush pillows with the care of someone who is handling something made of the most fragile glass. Every muscle screams as he then shifts his lithe frame upwards before moving to take his place at the end of the bed. As scissors cut the remnants of his torn and bloodied shirt away, he can’t help looking away, finding the gentle hands that touch him a bit disconcerting and the close proximity to the Bright uncomfortable in more than one way.

This is the person his boyfriend once loved, the one he once called his best friend and had they never had that falling out, he’d probably still be the one holding the Dark’s heart to this day. He knows that it’s all over between them, the same way it’s over between himself and Haniel and while Zephyr has promised never to leave him just as he’s promised never to leave in return, sitting here with the Bright and being up close and personal as Zeph’s past came crashing back, old insecurities rise back up to the surface and it leaves him with an odd feeling he can’t quite identify…

“I know it…” the Angel replies softly after a few moments of silence, his pink gaze shifting slowly away from his boyfriend’s sleeping frame and back to the window again. “Better than anyone maybe… I know it.” The pain and loss of memories are things he’s become far too familiar with over the last … couple of thousand years. He’s had someone he once gave his heart to ripped forcibly from his mind, he’s had his memories of her, of the life he had and her very face erased from his existence. He’s had new memories implanted, given, then taken, and taken again. He’s been stripped down over and over by his own people, held in place by his own best friend. He’s had his life changed and molded to suit what others wanted, and then had everything he’d lost slam mercilessly back the moment he broke his seal.

It may not be exactly the same as what’s happened to Zephyr and what will keep happening when he wakes, it may be Zephyr who will continue carrying the burden of taken memories when the ones who forced his hand in it will now carry none, but he knows enough about it in his own way to understand it just the same. “Of course I’m going to be here for him.” He continues, “There’s no way in hell I’d let him ride this out alone.” His voice dropping slightly, fists clench and teeth grit just a little. “I’d die first…” When he broke the seal he nearly lost it… in fact, he’d have gone completely off the edge if Zephyr hadn’t been there to pull him back. He’d be lost to this day without him now. Zephyr has become his world; he’s his morning, his day and his night. Without Zephyr he has no reason to live and there’s no force in Heaven or on Earth that could take him from the other teenager’s side now that he’s needed in return.

Not now, not ever.

“I get that all this had to happen… that you guys had some falling out that you couldn’t let go even after all of these years, but…” Jun starts again, brows furrowing and despite the uncomfortable flush that still taints his pale skin he pulls pink eyes away from the window –glancing briefly at the blonde for reassurance before seeking out Innic’s orange own. “What I don’t get is why you helped me… because I thought… you hated him too.”

Innic: Old pain squeezes tight at Jun’s words, the vise-like grip seizing his heart and chest, clutching at ribs so hard it feels as though they will splinter under the pressure. Not a bit of it shows on the Bright’s face, the placid veneer held firmly in place by long practice. This is not a story he particularly wishes to tell, the memories old but still painful, and his behavior at the end, even after the passage of years, was still shameful. No one likes a story where fear is the main motivation, especially if it ruins a love story, and that is exactly the plot. He very much doubts it will go over well. Unfortunately he’s the only one left who can fit together all the pieces that lead up to what happened at that warehouse last night.

Orange eyes slowly pull away from the shorter teen, shifting down to take stock of the neat rolls of bandages lined up in the first aid kit. Innic takes his time selecting one, weighing the width and thickness of each and then going onto the next, stalling as much as he can before the quiet lapses into awkwardness. Easing a roll free, he peels away the bit of medical tape holding the edge in place before beginning. “I knew Zeph was going to leave the Eyrie. His life was falling apart after learning about the prophecy and Sashi and all the manipulation surrounding their lives from both factions. He was having a lot of trouble with the memories his father had leaked before he died—nightmares, hallucinations, that kind of stuff—and it was bad. I was the one he confided in, the one he came to what he didn’t know what else to do. I held him when the nightmares were so intense that he’d wake screaming. I watched when he began to fall into himself, slipping further and further away and… I didn’t know what to do.”

The words tumble out in a long stream, a story he’s never told before, not like this. While he talks, practiced hands begin to wind the bandage around Jun’s chest, starting beneath his arm and over to the opposite shoulder and then back again. “When Zephyr stopped hedging and committed to leaving, it felt as though my own world was crumbling. Even though I knew full well he didn’t feel as though there were any other options, it was still like a kick in the chest.” He had failed to help his best friend, a person he loved deeply, and his failure left Zeph to take the only out he could find. “When he finally said the words out loud was when the fear set in.”

Slipping long fingers over a length of white gauze, he carefully adjusts the lay of the bandage against Jun’s shoulder, making sure it sits correctly, orange eyes locked in concentration. “Aly and Mijah didn’t understand at all. Zeph tried to explain, but none of his words got through, and I was too scared to help him.” The last of the roll slips beneath the other teen’s shoulder and Innic carefully tucks it into place. “It felt like if I did, I was giving consent and that was the opposite of how I really felt.” In those last few days he’d been useless, locked up in the furthest corner of the library, hiding from his best friend and drowning in despair. His disappearance, although not uncommon, had only confused and hurt Zeph deeper when he’d needed someone in his corner. When push came to shove, he couldn’t be that person, not even for the one he loved.

“On that last night, Aly and Mijah caught up with me in the tower.” The Bright’s voice drops a bit, his hands finally falling still. “They were deeply hurt and angry and they named Zeph’s leaving a betrayal. They claimed he was switching factions and they couldn’t tolerate a traitor. They couldn’t allow it and they wouldn’t.” The pain in his chest is thickening, ratcheting down with each breath he takes. Almost woodenly, Innic begins to repack the first aid kit, needing something to distract from the old memories so he can tell the end of the story. “Like a fool I agreed with them. Not because they were right, but because I was afraid this was really happening, Zeph was leaving me and I was terrified of losing him.” Grasping at straws, the humans call it, and that’s exactly what he was doing. “When we confronted him on the roof of the tower I said nothing, and the silence broke both our hearts.”

Setting the last of the glass jars into the metal box, the Bright gently closes the lid. “Our separation and the end of our friendship have never been about hate. It was about not trusting Zeph when it mattered the most. It was about being so afraid that in the end my fears became a reality.” Innic finally drags his gaze back up to meet dawn-tinted pink. “It was about not being able to forgive myself …”

space01

…to continue.

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