Verina only spoke once on the rest of our journey through the ship. It was immediately after we left the medical chamber and she led me to a small storage chamber on the side. Well organized metal crates filled shelving units on each wall, and it was through one set of these that Verina began searching quickly. She found what she was looking for almost immediately, grabbed two things from the crate, then handed them to me and said, “Put this on the top of each foot and press the button.”
I examined the device before I complied. It was a small disk made of some green material I didn’t recognize. In the center was a button made of the same material. I shrugged and did as she said, and I almost dropped the other one in my surprise at what happened next. The device widened and spiraled out, wrapping around my foot tightly, but not uncomfortably. By the time the device had finished spreading out the green material covered my foot completely up to my ankles.
“What the hell?” I asked, completely surprised by what had happened.
She answered smoothly and professionally, though I could tell that she didn’t really want to talk to me. “Another one of Lucifel’s devices. I’m not entirely certain how it works, though you could find the information out from Eve if you asked her. It functions as shoes. Whatever holds the material together keeps it rigid when it interacts with outside substances, but soft and flexible on the inside to keep your feet comfortable. I still prefer boots myself, but seeing as how you didn’t bring any footwear, I recommend these.”
“Interesting.” I replied and applied the second device to my other foot. It had the exact same effect, and I was caught off guard again even though I knew it was coming, but I didn’t freak out as much. I was suddenly standing with two green feet, and wondering how silly it looked to the outside world. I was about to ask Verina’s opinion though.
“Let’s go then. Thank you for the shoes,” I said, and gestured to the hallway. She nodded, her face not showing any emotion, and stepped out into the corridor. I followed quickly behind her, but found myself stopping and staring at my new footwear. It really was quite comfortable, and warm.
I followed Verina through the corridor, taking in the sights as we went. Most of it just felt like something out of a science fiction film, with smooth metal corridors dotted occasionally with service panels and monitors, displaying data in a language that was definitely alien to me, but my real culture shock came when we finally crossed paths with one of Verina’s peers.
It was the first time I had seen an angel without their holographic projections. I had been around Verina when she hadn’t been under the effects of the device, but she had been disguising her features by other means. I learned why as we turned around a bend in the corridor and came face to face with an angel. He was wearing the same type of clothing I was, down to the shoes, and was carrying a device that resembled an iPad or some other kind of tablet, studying it carefully. I was glad for his distraction, as it meant that he missed my shocked reaction when I saw his face. His mouth was wider than a human’s, though the jaw was more slender, making his mouth seem even larger than it was. His nose was flatter, making his nostrils narrow slits that stood out on his face. His eyes were larger and closer together than human eyes, though they were downcast as he studied whatever he was reading, and I could not get as good of a look at them. What stood out to me the most though were the ears. Long and pointed, my first instinct was to term them elfin. I wondered then if the legends of elves were based on angels. As he walked past us, I noted that his dark hair hung halfway down his back, and was braided in an intricate fashion.
We passed others without incident, and each of them was dressed similarly, with similar features. The largest variance was hair color, which seemed to be similar to the human range. I could not tell a significant difference in gender, though I assumed that the smaller more slender ones were more likely to be the females. I figured I would get my answer as soon as Verina revealed herself, and that was good enough for me.
After about ten minutes of walking we reached a door that seemed the same as all the others. It had a small key panel next to the door, which Verina moved over to and pressed the large button in the corner. She spoke into the panel, “Damien is here. Open the door.”
Almost immediately the door slid open and Marc launched himself out of the room to pull me into an embrace. I hugged him back just as hard, relishing his scent and strength. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed touching him until that moment, and I held onto him like I never wanted to let him go. I buried myself in his neck and shoulder, and tried to hold back tears. After a moment he pushed me back from him just enough to lift my face and kiss me passionately. My tears started flowing almost immediately, as all the relief of the separation being over, and the joy of our reunion hit me all at once. He pulled me into the room quickly, and I was pushed onto some sort of cushioned surface that I assumed was some sort of couch, but I didn’t care. I had Marc in my arms, and I finally had the energy back to show him what he meant to me.
The sound of someone clearing their throat made us look up from our make out session, and I saw Keith standing awkwardly five feet away, a look of disgust on his face. I sighed and gently nudged for Marc to move off of me. With a reluctant groan he complied and slid onto the cushion next to me. We were indeed on a couch, though it was in a style I had never seen before. I assumed it was in tastes more suited to angelic norms, though it certainly wasn’t uncomfortable. Keith moved to a chair perpendicular to the couch that matched the style and took a seat before saying, slightly uncomfortably, “So, how are you feeling? You certainly don’t look like you’re going to pass out at any minute, unless it’s from pleasure.”
I laughed at his reference to our love making, and took note of Verina’s scowl. She had moved into the room and I suddenly noted her features. Gone were the smooth feminine features I had grown to recognize as hers, and instead she bore the same features as her angel peers. I realized that the device must be in the room somewhere and active, because she looked uncomfortable showing her own skin. Her image told me that my assumption had been correct on the difference between the genders. She was more slender, and smaller than most of the angels I had seen, though she was not as small as some of the others. There was one defining feature that made her stand out though. In her blonde hair she still bore a streak of pink. I wondered if the modesty she had once spoken so highly of was really as important to her as she had claimed.
“I am feeling better than I ever have in my life. I’ve never had this much energy, or been able to move so freely. I suppose being an angel does have some perks after all,” I replied happily, “So where is Alan?” It was good to be back among my friends.
“He’s exploring the ship,” Marc replied just as happily. Though there was an edge to his voice that I couldn’t quite identify as he went on, “He’s insanely curious about everything going on, and I have to say that I am a bit as well. Lucifel has not visited us since we arrived. All the information we have received so far has been through Verina, and I’m sure you know how that makes us all feel.”
“You know, I’m in the room still,” she chirped from her seat. I decided to brush her mind telepathically again, and found that she was actually put off by Marc’s implied insult. After what she had said to me in the medical chamber though, I wasn’t about to rush to her aid. Still, I wasn’t going to press the issue against her either. I had never been that kind of person.
“Oh, believe me, we are very aware that you are still in the room,” Keith replied coldly, fixing her with a glare that radiated his displeasure. I watched her fidget under his gaze, and knew that he had unnerved her.
She stood up and smoothed out her clothing, and said in a voice that was far from calm, “I think I should leave. Call if you need anything.”
Keith nodded and gave her a dismissive wave with his hand before turning back to us. None of us watched her walk through the door, but we gave a collective sigh as we heard it slide closed again. “I am getting really sick of her, really fast.” The Druid said tiredly. I could tell that he was far from happy with our current situation.
“Well, just keep being your normal self and I’m sure she won’t want to stick around. Being a prick tends to drive people away,” I replied, trying to lighten to mood. It had the intended effect, and Keith grinned at me before taking a swipe at me. He lightly clipped my head, so I clipped him back with telekinesis, which only widened his grin further.
“Oh, so that’s how we’re going to play this game, huh?” He said and then activated his own telekinesis. I was suddenly being tickled by invisible energy, and I exploded in laughter. Marc stared at me like I had lost my mind as I writhed on the couch, unable to stop myself. Keith let up after a minute and I stared at him with a mixture of murder, wonder, and happiness in my eyes.
“You really are a prick, but that was insanely cool. I had no idea we could do something like that,” I said once I had caught my breath.
He nodded and kept his grin as he explained, “Yeah, there’s a lot you can do if you’re creative enough. That brings me to the thing I was going to discuss with you, before I left you two alone to get reacquainted. We now have almost limitless amounts of free time to work on your training. Whatever time you don’t spend with Marc should be spent with me, working on your abilities. I think we can get a lot of work done if we spend all our energy on it. Marc has agreed to train Alan in the martial arts while you and I train, so if you’re worried about him being bored, don’t.”
Marc sighed as he joined the conversation, “Yeah, I’m really not too psyched up about it though. I mean, he really is just a kid. Plus he seems to have a slight bit of hero worship going on with Lucifel, and I’m not entire sure how I feel about that.”
I was a little annoyed by Marc’s response. “He’s only two years younger than me, Marc. If he’s just a kid then I am too. Just because he has excitement and curiosity doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the maturity to handle training with you. In fact, if you’re so worried about his maturity level, don’t you think having some discipline taught to him will probably help in that regard?”
“I suppose you’re right,” Marc replied with another sigh, and then reached out to touch my face. He grabbed me gently and pulled me in for a slow kiss to show that he was serious in agreeing with me. “But let’s not talk about that anymore, for now. You’re training with Keith, I’ll be training with Alan, and we’ll all be one happy training family. At the moment it’s time for the daddies to have some alone time.”
Keith snickered at the comment and then in mock outrage asked, “If you guys are daddy, who the hell am I in this family?”
“The crotchety old uncle,” I replied in an instant. He took another swipe at me but I dodged out of the way. He got up with a scowl and moved away like he was angry at us, but I knew the truth. I was reading his emotions the whole time. He loved the banter and the inclusion more than anything, and he was just happy to be with us.
“We love you, Uncle Keith!” I shouted as he left the room. I knew he was probably grinning by then, judging from his emotions still resonating through my skull, but I quickly dropped the link with him and turned my attention back to my boyfriend. I looked into his eyes and immediately established an emphatic link with him, pouring all of my passion and raging libido into my gaze. I was not surprised in the least to find the same reflected in his emotions.
Marc climbed on top of me, maintaining eye contact the entire time, and then leaned in to kiss me passionately. As the kiss broke he said the last words either of us would say for the next few hours. “Now, where were we?”
We lay naked on the bed, our bodies covered in sweat and other, sweeter juices. At some point we had moved to the bedroom that was part of our quarters, and had made love for hours. It had been the most intense love making session of our relationship, and I was well beyond satisfied.
Marc was practically purring as he spooned up behind me. Every point where his skin touched mine was like an anchor tying me to blissful happiness. If we could have remained like that forever, I would have never wanted anything more, but I knew that it wasn’t going to be possible. There was work to be done.
“Are we ever going to get a break, Marc?” I asked suddenly, and I hoped that I wasn’t spoiling the mood. We were very much in love, that I knew, but it was time to have a serious conversation about how crazy our lives actually were. We had been through an attempted assassination, bullying and serious injury, culminating in my coma. We had been dragged away from the last semblance of reality that I could hold on to; my father crying in a hospital room. And now we were “guests” of The Devil. It was far from the dream life.
Marc caressed the side of my face gently, and whispered in my ear, “I don’t know, my love. Maybe when this war is over, when we win, maybe things will go back to normal. Whatever normal is. All I know is that I will be with you for as long as possible. I will never willingly leave your side. Can it be enough that I promise we’ll be together?”
I smiled as I turned back to face him, kissing him gently. “Yes, that is enough for me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want us to be able to live some quiet life together without all the drama. Imagine having the opportunity to make love like that every night without having to worry about someone wanting to kill us. Wouldn’t that be amazing? I suppose you are optimistic though, so maybe such a future isn’t so hard to see for you.”
“I’ve never really considered myself optimistic, but I suppose you’re right. What makes you say so now?”
I knew I was going to kill the mood with my next words, but I went ahead with them anyway. “You said, ‘when we win’. There is no indication that we will win this war, especially if we go off of Merlin’s words. I was told that he said I would end the war, not win it. Those are not the same things. For all we know you’ve been protecting the person who will make a mistake so large Michael will have an easy victory.”
“And now who’s being pessimistic? I have every confidence in your ability, and I’m starting to have confidence in this alliance between the demons and Hell, much as I hate to admit it. Lucifel’s group is very strong, and if the angels see us working together, it might just be the push we need to gain the upper hand. I’m just surprised that she’s willing to work with us.” Marc replied as he raised himself up on one elbow. I had learned that it was his thinking pose when he was lying down.
“I’m not being pessimistic, I’m being realistic. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We could win, and we could lose. We need to be prepared for whatever is going to happen. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best, that’s the motto we need to adopt. I’m all for winning this thing, but what if we can’t?” I replied with a bit of worry. I was still insecure about being the child of legend that everyone expected me to be.
“We’ll just have to see how it’s all going to play out I guess. For now, I think we should concentrate on us,” Marc replied suggestively, as he reached out and glided his hand across my bare chest. My body responded almost immediately, and I was about to give in, when I realized I hadn’t said everything I had wanted to say.
“We’ve been focusing on us for the last few hours! Would you please give me just a moment to focus on everything else that’s happening?” I replied with frustration.
He looked as if he was about to tease me further, but then thought better of it and drew his hand away. “I’m sorry, Damien. Please understand where I’m coming from though. I have you naked in bed; I haven’t been able to do this in four months, and you’re the love of my life. I’ve missed you. I’ve been living without you, even though you were there physically. I need this, just like you need to talk about what’s going on. But you’re right; I was putting my needs first. When we’re done though, will you promise to come back to where my needs are?”
I felt a little ashamed, but also grateful for my boyfriend being so understanding. I nodded, and then admitted with a quivering voice, “I’m just scared, Marc. I don’t really know what’s going on. You and Keith have been educating me, but I still only know so much about what’s really happening out there. From my frame of mind, I’ve only known that angels and demons were real for around a month now, and that’s still not that much time considering how much has happened already. I’ve had people trying to kill me, I’ve been in the hospital, and I’ve been dragged away from everything that was once familiar in my life, and I don’t even know if I’ll ever see my father again.”
When the tears started falling down my cheeks, I felt like an idiot, and I tried to turn away from Marc so that he wouldn’t see my weakness. He didn’t let me and pulled me in to his naked chest instead. I wept like I had only done once before when my mother had died, and my father had been the one to hold me. With Marc holding me, I realized the truth of it all. The fact that I had lost my father as well was finally sinking in, and I knew my fear of never seeing him again was what was actually triggering my emotions.
Marc held me for another hour, as I went through different fits of sobbing. He would whisper quietly that it was okay, and we would get through it. I knew then that it didn’t really matter to him that we were putting off his needs. His first need was making sure I was okay. Once that finally sunk in, I knew that everything really was going to be alright, as long as I had my guardian with me. I finally looked up into his understanding eyes, and once again established a link with his mind. I allowed my pure love for him to flow across the link, and it was returned full force.
Our next kiss was not of passion, or lust, but just a message of that same pure love. I pulled him down to me, and continued my expression. We had made love many times before, several times in the last few hours even, but this was different. This wasn’t about the sex at all; it was about the connection, the purity that we shared at that moment.
He knew all of the spots where I was sensitive, and I knew all of his, and we took turns pleasuring every single one. We didn’t communicate in words, but the emotions we shared went far beyond the need for them. We were like one soul, perfect in our union of body and mind. When we found the release we did so together, enraptured in each other’s eyes and thoughts. When I kissed him again, it was no less powerful than when we had begun, and we knew that nothing would ever come between us.
We settled on to our backs, side-by-side, and did nothing more except bask in the other’s presence. It was perfect, and neither of us was going to ruin that moment. It would end when the world forced it to end, and we would be okay with it, but for the time we had it, we were going to enjoy it.
We had another hour before a knock on the door finally brought us out of our rest, and with contented sighs we both turned to the door and said in unison, “Who is it?”
Alan’s voice greeted us, and though he had interrupted our moment, I couldn’t help but smile when he said, “Damien! I’m so glad you’re back. I brought Lucifel’s chief of security with me, and he wants to talk to both of you about how your protection is going to be handled on the ship. Do you guys have a moment?”
With another shared sigh, we looked at each other and giggled. Marc answered before I could, “Yes, we’ll be right there. We just have to get dressed.” He then turned back to me and whispered. “Oh well, we’ll be able to get back to this later. Thank you, by the way. That was the best time I’ve ever spent with you. Are you feeling better?”
“You have to ask?” I replied, giving him a teasing wink. “Of course I’m better. How could I not be after that? You are amazing, Marc. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in my life. Thank you, for everything that you are.”
We shared a smile and another brief kiss before we got out of bed and got dressed. The last things I put on were the green shoes. This time I was completely ready for how they acted, and actually enjoyed watching them wrap around my feet. Marc gave me a puzzled look when he saw my smile and I just shook my head and explained, “Just taking joy in the simple pleasures brought by alien technology.”
He laughed and then gestured toward the door, indicating that he would let me go first. I nodded and stepped toward the opening, taking a deep breath to compose myself before meeting someone important. I realized suddenly that we probably reeked of sex, and I entertained the thought of showering before we left the room, but noted that we probably didn’t want to keep whoever it was waiting.
So I stepped through the door. Seated in the same chair that Verina had sat in, was an angel I would only describe as middle aged. He wore the same outfit all the other angels had worn, except that his was red and black. His most notable feature was his long white hair, braided more intricately than any of the other hair styles I had seen, and I wondered if the braid was an indication of rank. His only other defining attribute was what looked like some sort of sword hilt on his belt.
Marc apparently saw something differently than I had, for when he came into the room his first reaction was one of confusion, but then it turned to white hot rage. “You! What are you doing here? Did you sell us out; decide that working with Lucifel was better than the demons? I thought you were a friend to demonkind, Lumial! You’re going to pay for this treachery.”
The angel jumped to his feet as Marc started toward him, his face turning first from confusion, to anger, and then to sudden recognition. And then it changed to something I didn’t expect, fear. He suddenly raised his hands in surrender and said in all seriousness, “No, please, you don’t understand. It’s not like that!”
But Marc would hear none of it, and it was all I could do to shout in surprise as my boyfriend shifted into his demon form and pounced on the angel, claws raised to scratch mercilessly at his face.
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