Athen’s hand swept along the table searching for the source of the annoying ringing. She decided it was far too early for anyone to call her. It was far too early for Ford to even bug her. Athen’s face turned hot, blushing at the name of her housemate, now roommate and lover. She thought about last night on the couch and her face got even hotter. Seizing the annoying device Athen stood from her bed. Looking at the message she read out loud to herself.
"Athen, the angel…" She started, her throat was sore and dry, she cleared it with a cough. Mumbling she took a step, with a sway she landed back on the bed. She blamed it on the initial fatigue of waking up and continued reading. "Found; possible gate way. Location.” The message linked to a picture. Athen smiled brightly, and cheered. Finally a clue, and some help!
She stood quickly and went to prepare to go search the suggested spot. A rush of nausea assaulted her however, and she sped towards the bathroom. She would search later today, after she felt better. Or at least that’s what she thought as she leaned over the toilet puking her guts out.
"I think I’m dying." Was the delusional moan as Athen tossed and turned on the bed. Her body fought to remove the blankets that covered her. She was hot, too hot, it was suffocating.
"You aren’t dying." Ford smiled at the girl’s dramatic behaviour "It’s only a cold. You have to sweat it out." Ford lied to both Athen and himself. This was something more than a simple cold.
Athen felt like she was being ripped apart, her body was trying to escape her. What shocked her the most was the pain she was feeling wasn’t just skin deep. Her whole celestial body was also on fire and the two caused her to wither in the extremities of pain.
"No, I’m dying I have to be." She responded, though her eyes were closed and her ears were not functioning properly. Ford’s voice was just a murmur compared to the pounding in her head. She wanted to lift her arms but just a twitch of her finger sent the sharpest pain to the base of her shoulder blades. As if her very wings were being torn off.
At the time when Ford found her half unconscious crying in the bathroom she had wanted to feel anything apart from what she was at the time. But now in this new situation laying hopelessly on their bed her body cocooned in blankets she would pay any price to go back to that comparatively blissful state.
Ford paced along the length of the bed. He had no idea what was going on. There was no sickness he knew that would cause the girl so much pain. He wished beyond all else to bear the pain for her. Or at least calm it somehow.
A particularly loud cry alerted Ford out of his pacing. The girl on the bed now laid stock still eyes wide open and dilated. Her mouth was parted and her breathing, the only sign she was even still alive was coming out in short pants. The pants continued to increase. Ford rushed to the woman’s side, placing his hand on her hot cheek, trying to comfort her. He stopped himself from pulling back even though the temperature of her skin was far hotter than any living human should be able to take.
It was cool, so cool and refreshing. Athen moaned silently. The thing on her cheek was cooling her skin at such a remarkable rate. Her breathing calmed to a slow lulled pace.
Ford sighed, the girl’s breathing had calmed and she had relaxed. He let out the breath he didn’t realize he was holding. He went to remove his hand but in the most movement Ford has seen from the girl since he carried her to their bed. Athen hands clasped tightly onto his wrist and placed his hand back on her cheek. Her sigh was audible and Ford raised his eyebrow.
Taking his other hand he held her hand, the sweaty hand clutching to his. They stayed like that for what seemed like hours. Every once and a while Ford’s hand moving to the top of Athen’s head to check her rapidly cooling temperature.
"See I told you, you weren’t dying."
"No because you saved me." Ford smiled at the sweet half sleeping girl. He rested his head on her stomach. Somewhere in his life he must have done something really good, or really bad, to have this girl. He smiled, wondering what his father would think.
"Come on Athen, We’ve got to eat." Ford felt pained to leave the girl in her state
"Not hungry." The girl frowned; she was now able to speak without her throat feeling like it just caught fire.
"You want me to starve too?" The man teased and the hand that held his so securely let go.
"Hurry back then." The girl started fine but ended in a dry coughing fit. With one last look Ford left the room in a quick pace, he couldn’t bear leave the girl for too long.
Athen’s bones shifted and moved inside her celestial body, as if trying to make room for something. She was sitting up, head between her knees. Her whole body rocked back and forth. The motion soothing as the pain in her back doubled and she sobbed. Ford had only been gone a mere two minutes and she was already reduced to this state. The angel had no idea what was wrong with her. She did know, however, that it wasn’t something human. The skin she wore was rejecting her, the sweat rolled off her skin in rivets.
Feeling far too hot, Athen did something she would have never done in another position. She released an amount of her celestial energy. The blankets that had previously been surrounding the girl now lay scattered along the floor. The release had felt pleasant at the moment but now the rest of her body paid for it. Her hands gripped the base of her ankles. Her fingernails dug crescent moons into the skin there.
The door to the room crashed open and Athen was too drained to look up.
"Are you okay?" Ford said placing the food to the table. He took note of the blankets sprawled along the room, one even making it as far as bathroom door. The girl’s tank top was soaked with sweat and her head was rested on her knees. Ford’s heart clenched at the sight.
He placed a kiss on the girl’s forehead and rubbed a soothing pattern on her back. The girl’s clawed hands loosened, her whole body relaxing, lulling into sleep.
"Why?" He yelled loudly. "Why?" The grown man was sobbing his body leaned against the wall. His hands pulled at his hair in frustration. Angry tears ran down his face. All his life all he wanted was someone like Athen. Something like he had with the girl. Why now after he had found her something like this had to happen? Why did it seem like this was going to kill the normally strong girl? A better question was why it seemed like it was his entire fault?
"Are you sure you will be fine?" Athen smiled a strong smile at the man.
"Yeah, yeah. I’ve been feeling great over these past few days. Besides you need to get out of this house." Actually the angel had been feeling fit as rain for the past three days now. It was just that neither she, nor Ford wanted to be separated. The last week of the sickness had been the worst on Athen. There were times when not even Ford’s touch brought her any comfort. One day, she felt as if she was going to die; and for once Ford couldn’t hold her gaze long enough to tell her she wasn’t.
That day was the hardest for both of them. She couldn’t bear to be touched, and she couldn’t eat. Her whole day was spent in an almost catatonic state. Only the will of her mind kept her able to speak and only the sweat on her body telling either person that she was still fighting whatever was affecting her.
"Fine, I’ll be back in three hours." Athen knew from experience that Ford had no sense of time. He would most likely be gone for over half the day and not realize it. This would be the perfect time for her to go out and search the location she was given over a week ago. She slipped out of bed, her body feeling fine. There wasn’t any evidence that she had even been as sick as she was.
When she heard the door close she walked over to the window and peeked through seeing Ford walk into the busy streets on his way to the grocery store. With a determined sigh she turned around and got dressed.
The forest was dark and wet, not to mention ridiculously cold. She was carefully bundled in many layers of clothing to avoid the frigid winter. However this forest proved much colder than even the snow covered streets down town. It was devoid of any weather condition besides cold. There wasn’t even a slight breeze just a feeling of dead winter.
Athen shivered looking down at the map on her phone. If she wasn’t mistaken, she would be at the suggested area soon. The path was bumpy, devoid of any flake of the white stuff Athen had come to admire. She had been walking for little over an hour. The place was so close to her house that she was baffled as to why she hadn’t found it for herself. The trees around her were covered with moss along their north side.
Athen briefly looked up at the canopy and noticed the almost complete lack of sunlight. Her movements slowed as she continued on. She supposed that she was still getting over the initial sickness, however as she pressed on her movements go increasingly more sluggish. Coming to a complete stop, unable to force her body to move on, she leaned her hand on the only tree whose moss was facing the south side.
"I told you, my friends, we had nothing to worry about." The mastermind of the plan unfurled his blue tipped wings in a large display.
"So you did my brother." Fire also celebrated as they watch the angel they plotted against fall into the fiery depths of hell. Literally.
"Why didn’t you do this from the beginning, Aqua?" Always the skeptic, Light questioned her brother.
"This was a last resort." It really shouldn’t have come to this. None of us expected she would be so easily distracted." The corrupted soul laughed, "No matter, it’s all easy sailing from here. There will be no return of the last Seraphim."
She landed crouched, low to the ground purple eyes frantic. Her sight was hindered by a foggy brightness. She wished to see and her sight cleared all at once. She didn’t question it, as she knew that where she was now anything was possible this was completely uncharted territory.
The place around her was pretty desolate, the grass that grew was a hay-like yellow and the trees…well there were no trees, just left over remains of ones that might have been. She figured she was in hell now, because she was forcefully pushed out of her human skin on her way down.
She felt a heaviness that was ill-missed on her back. Had her wings always been that heavy? She flexed them; using muscles she had almost forgotten she had.
Athen panicked as suddenly long chains caught hold of her wings, then more clasping to her ankles. Somehow, she thought, getting captured was not in the mission plan, at least not hers.
She looked around, frantically looking for her captors. She found nothing; it was empty save for the sad excuse for plant life. Two hands grabbed her face stilling her panicked movements. Two lavender eyes appeared in her line of sight, they seemed to twist in lazy patterns. Athen couldn’t help but follow the swirling motions her eyes becoming heavy. Heavier and heavier her eyes fell, until she lulled to a dreamless sleep.
"Athen, I’m back. I brought you some chocolate, I know how much you probably miss it-" The man stopped mid sentence taking note of the empty room. Frowning he placed the bags on the table that was in his room and shuffled over to the bathroom door. Giving it a few knocks he shouted. "You in there?" On a particularly hard knock the door slid open to an empty room. He became more upset and confused. There was no sign that she was even anywhere in the house.
"Athen! Athen!" Rushing down stairs he found her shoes gone. He tried calling her phone but it was out of service. Ford panicked and wanted to slap himself. He knew he shouldn’t have left the blond alone. With a painful lurch he remembered how it felt when he had almost lost her last week. He kicked himself, how could he let himself go through that again. Wasn’t there a saying somewhere saying you should protect what you hold dear?
"She doesn’t look like an angel."
"She’s pretty though."
"Aren’t angels supposed to have white wings?"
"Yea, and halos!"
"Mark! Why did you have to knock her out for so long? I want to talk to her already!"
"It’s not my fault, Joseph! I can’t control it."
"Don’t you think it would be more fun to play with her, rather than talk to her?" The evil glint in the ice blue eye made the others roll their eyes.
"But that’s not nice Akefia."
"We’re not supposed to be nice Zack." The other three reprimanded the young sounding one.
"Look she’s coming to!" Athen had been aware of what was going on for a while now. She opted to keep her eyes closed though. Instead, thinking of ways to get out of her current situation. She could tell she was still chained but her wings were free and unobstructed. Her eyes slid open, the purple orbs taking in the sight of the four demons in front of her.
One, most likely the oldest one was almost completely white. He looked as if he had been bleached, his white hair long to his knees. A scar cut through his left eye, the eye in question lacking any pupil. The other eye was an icy blue that had Athen wanting to back away. On his back, white leathery wings stood proud and menacing.
Another, with eyes Athen remembered quite well. The purple irises from before she passed out stared at her from behind sandy blond bangs. Russet ears pointed out from the top of the demon’s head. A bushy tail of the same colour popped out from his black pants.
The golden one, Athen noted, was very much dog like. Brown dog ears where hidden in a mane of unkempt golden blond hair. Amber eyes peered at her with eager enthusiasm. He was almost bouncing off the walls as he circled the confused angel.
"Hello." Lastly there was the small one. His hair was a mirage of light honey yellow and a mild red. Two small cat ears were present along with a tail. Even his speech was an almost purr.
"Hi." Athen whispered. Her voice surprising herself, it was a sensual sound. Unlike that she used to have of tinkling bells.
"My name is Zack. These are my friends, Joseph." The golden dog, Athen noted. "Mark." Athen avoided looking into that particular demon’s hypnotic eyes. "And finally Akefia." Athen nodded taking note of each Demon’s name, though as it seemed at this moment, at the mercy of the group of four she would never have a chance to use them.
"Are you vile beings planning some sort of attack?" Athen flinched at Akefia’s question, her head bowed looking at the pendent that lay on her chest. She wished beyond anything else she was still at home with Ford. Now in the hands of these dangerous beings she figured she would never see her love again.
"No." Yet again her voice came out as a smooth alto. "I was only following orders, I just happened to get sucked down here as a result."
"You’re pretty attractive for an Angel."
Athen’s head was getting lost in the confusion of the voices. Each demon was taking turns examining her. She willed herself to stop following the movements of them. Soon after she was shrouded in that same foggy brightness she was in when she landed in the confusing place.
"How did you do that?" The four questioned simultaneously. Athen’s head spun in confusion. How did she do what?
"Sorry but I have no idea what you are talking about."
"I don’t like it." Even though she couldn’t see them she could clearly tell who was talking and where they were in proximity to her. She moved her head to the direction she knew Akefia was in. "She reeks of shadows. I can’t touch her no matter how much I want to." The bat-like demon flicked his tongue along his long canine. "There’s only one thing to do."
"To the palace?" Athen noted with a small smile. These demons were far too cute for their own good.
"To the palace!" Mark and Joseph joined in Zack’s jovial call.
The palace was huge and reminded Athen a lot of the chamber. The only difference however was that this place was bustling with life. Everywhere she turned there was a demon running about, doing something.
Sometime on her journey being dragged half way across hell while watching the others blink, which was the exact same thing everyone in heaven traveled, she figured out how to control what she called “the blindness.” It was almost like moving a limb; she had complete control over it. When she wanted to lose her sight, she lost it. When she wanted them open they opened. The only thing that confused her was that her eyes, the actual ones were completely separate from those which controlled the blindness. She figured it had to do with her rank being assigned. It had already been the allotted nine months after all.
"You know I’ve been thinking. She could be a –you know what-" Athen’s curiosity peaked as she listened to Akefia’s sudden outburst.
"Isn’t that supposed to be extremely painful?"
"Yea, you know most angels die. 100% I think." Athen realized she wasn’t the only one listening in on Mark and Akefia’s conversation. Many other demons all took time out of their busy work to look at the group that walked down the hall.
Athen, still chained by the wrists, was being held on to by Zack’s vice like grip. She willed her blindness so she didn’t have to see the fifty or so demons they passed by stare at her. She felt them all move though. Another thing she was getting used to was the echolocation – like she ‘saw’ things while her blindness was up. Fine movements such as facials expressions were lost, though larger movements like steps or in this case leaps away were clear as day.
"Why did she live then?"
"Mark, Akefia. Stop causing gossip. The family isn’t going to like it~" Zack’s sing song voice taunted the two demons.
"Sorry but what were you talking about?" Athen asked when they finally came to a stop.
"Not now. Royalty calls." Athen peered at the large double doors they were in front of. With a swift and quite frankly showy push, Akefia opened the doors.
The room was empty. The Thrones all abandoned without a bum to place on them. There was a note though. “Gone fishing. Call the prince if we’re needed.” Joseph read the note and sighed.
"We should have known. When are they not on Earth?"
"Sorry, again." Athen said sheepishly knowing she was still at the mercy of these unknown enemies. "How come you are allowed in the throne room? Shouldn’t there be some sort of protection?" Athen’s curiosity far our weighed her fear by this point.
"Oh no!" Zack was the one to answer. He bounded up closer to her, his stripped tail lopping behind him. He sat beside her and tugged at her chain in such a way that the angel fell into a sitting position just out of arms reach from him. "There is protection all over the palace. Only servants can enter." Athen’s purple eyes widened, all of those demons were servants for one family? Wow, lavish.
"Stop answering her." In a second, Athen was nose to nose with the most threatening member of the group. "She’s our prisoner. She has no right to ask questions." With a last glare the albino demon left Athen’s immediate area instead searching for another soul to torment. Most likely in search of a way to contact this so called ‘prince’
"As for the throne room," Zack stuck his short furry looking tongue out at the bat demon’s back and continued. "Only we four are allowed. We’re the protectors!" He smiled proudly and Athen watched smiling as Joseph shook his head in amusement. Athen’s face immediately dropped. These vile creatures in front of her were demons. She was supposed to be frightened, hate them but yet she couldn’t help but watch them joyously as they interacted with each other.
"Why am I not dead?" Athen blurted out then instantly regretted it. Mark was now behind her, his caramel coloured hands gripping tightly on her shoulders.
"Count your blessings, we usually don’t let any intruders this far." Athen shivered, the once playful voice was full of an insane edge. "But, you’re pretty! So we saved you for the royals too look after." His playful voice was back as he moved away from Athen over to Akefia who had just returned back into the room. The angel wasn’t sure which side or Mark she was scared of more.
"I really don’t want to call in the Prince." Akefia muttered.
"Should we just kill her then?" Mark asked, and Athen had no problems believing he actually would do it.
"No! I’ll summon him." Joseph offered his hands already prepared for the summoning. Athen silently thanked the demon. She had no will to die. When she was back in heaven she would ask to be sent back to Earth. There Ford waited for her. With clap of his hands a loud rumble resounded across the room. It wasn’t so much loud to the ears but it was loud in energy.
Complete silence took over. All four demons and Athen couldn’t move. The weight of the powerful energy that collected was too great. If Athen hadn’t already been sitting she was sure she would have fallen to her knees.
"Who summons me? I was in the middle of something important." The voice was angry and loud. The chains that held Athen buckled under the pressure just from the Prince’s voice alone. In an instant there was a man sitting on one of the Thrones.
Athen let out the breath she was holding ever since the first presences of the Prince’s prowess. It was obvious the ominous figure was withholding his true power. The crackling of power along his skin glowed brightly, hoping to escape his control.
"I do." Joseph stood from his kneeled position.
"Ah, Marquis Joseph what can I do for you. You know I have important matters to take care of."
"We have caught an intruder."
"Why didn’t you just dispose of them?"
"Well, as you will see sheis quite the interesting specimen. She seems as if she means no harm." The supposed marquis stepped away allowing the prince to take a full view of the chained kneeling angel. "She is an Angel."
Athen slowly raised her head looking at the Prince for the first time. His body crackled with menacing celestial energy. A body covered in tight form-fitting black clothing. It set off the warm tanned colour of his skin and his long brown hair. On his head sat two dark horns. Her breath caught as the demon prince blinked to the spot right in front of her. His eyes closed, he inhaled deeply.
“Interesting indeed.” He moved closer, eyes still closed and Athen backed away, frightened. Her hand flew to the necklace on her neck. She clasped tightly praying for the one person to ever save her to do so once again. “Where did you get that?” The necklace was firmly ripped from her hand. The demon examined it thoroughly his lip pulling back over his teeth in a disgusted snarl. When Athen didn’t answer he hissed loudly creating a fist around her prized possession.
“Please, don’t.” She begged looking up at the demon whose eyes didn’t even see a point to look at her. She recoiled onto herself her arms wrapping around her legs. He moved closer, eyes still closed and Athen backed away frightened.
"Tell me this, then, Angel." He said the word as if it was poison on his tongue. "What is your purpose here? What caused you to drop in on my domain?" He blinked closer to her again. His body fizzling out of sight one second and the next, a pair of grey eyes were right in front of Athen’s own purple ones.