“Dasha.” Azrael insisted as he held out a cup to Shiroi.
“I don’t want it.” Shiroi squeezed her eyes closed to refuse the offer. When Kage left she had cried again for hours, but now she just couldn’t do it anymore. She had been laying in the bed feeling abandoned and angry and wanted to refuse every kindness from her kidnappers because she had received none from the ones who wee supposed to care for her. When she felt Azrael sit on the edge of the bed beside her she peeked out of one eye to look at him. His lip quivered as he looked at the blood filled cup in his hand and she felt guilty again for making him so miserable. She sat up and snatched the cup from his hands, finishing it quickly before she handed it back to him. “Happy now?”
“De haka sek na shepi helsek.” Azrael pouted. He was glad she had taken the offer, but she looked so angry that it hurt him.
“You know I don’t understand you.” Shiroi mumbled and looked away.
“He said he wants you to be happy.” Samael translated as he stood in the doorway. “As do I. You however seem determined to stay miserable. You should at least explore beyond the sitting room and the bed that you have been kind enough to soak with your tears.”
“If you want me to be happy undo this mess you’ve made of me.” Shiroi shouted as she clutched her throat. “Take me home.”
Azrael gently pulled her hands away from her neck and tilted up her chin before he leaned close to look at the collar and grinned. “Se saba bol ise mess. Se saba paraki.”
“What are you doing?” Shiroi backed away from him quickly. “I don’t want you to touch me.”
“He was not hurting you.” Samael sighed as Azrael ran over to him for comfort. He embraced him before leading him back into the room and stood at the bedside. “Have we been cruel to you? Aside from the pain from taking you as our own; which I have already apologized for, have we been in anyway unkind?”
“No.” Shiroi admitted reluctantly as she hugged her knees and looked at their thin-scaled white feet and the ends of the white tails that slightly dragged the ground. Anything to focus on that wouldn’t involve looking at their faces that gave her warmth she was determined to refuse and disappointment she could not bear.
“Welak Isa, I don’t want you to be miserable here.” Samael explained. “My intention was never to hurt you, but you are being cruel to Azrael and I can’t understand why you will not even give him a chance. He tries to be kind to you. If you must hate someone for bringing you here, that was my decision. Be more patient with Azrael, he only wants to love you.”
“Love me?” Shiroi almost laughed at the thought of it. “You took me prisoner and threatened to…”
“Stop.” Samael pressed a finger to her lips. “I made the threat to keep others away. It was only words, Shiroi. Do you believe me to be so vile that you think I could ever do something so foul?”
“I don’t know what you are.” Shiroi answered quietly. “You threatened more than me.”
“That part I meant.” Samael grinned. He may have never meant any harm to Shiroi, but he would gladly burn every Circle to the ground. “I won’t allow you to be taken from me. Unlike others, I protect what is mine.”
“Lucifer sesa vade na Parasek.” Azrael scowled.
“I know.” Samael nodded “I sensed him and the one he brought with him.”
“My Father is here?” Shiroi lifted her head quickly and looked at Samael with hopeful desperation.
“De bara kabak ken na ench har.” Azrael’s expression became harsh and his eyes filled with rage.
“I don’t believe that is the reason for his visit.” Samael knew the sent of the guest Lucifer had brought along from their observations and looked to Shiroi for clarity. “Eidolon’s feline bride, you are close?”
“Kaneko is my sister.” Shiroi nodded. “Half-sister. Is she here?”
“Azrael, have them meet us on the patio.” Samael kissed Azrael and sent him off to greet their guests. He sat casually on the edge of the bed and faced Shiroi. “If you will sit between Azrael and myself and conduct yourself with at least some small consideration for Azrael’s feelings I would like you to join me.”
“I’m not going to pretend I’m okay with this.” Shiroi sneered at him.
“I’m not asking you to.” Samael offered his hand to take her to see her father. “I’m asking you to be kind to Azrael. If you upset him in front of Lucifer, I will have to punish you.”
Shiroi touched the collar at her throat, not in panic over his threat but in the realization that he had not made it before. Not once. They had not used it to scold her, to force her into anything, not to express their anger or disappointment over her difficult behavior. Nothing. She took his hand and he helped her to her feet before shifting them beside a table in the garden and releasing her fingers once he offered a chair beside his own.
“Am I allowed to talk to them?” Shiroi asked quietly expecting the answer she so often received when ‘important things’ were to be discussed.
“Yes. Of course.” Samael smiled. “I just ask that you mind Azrael’s feelings.”
“Fanet.” Azrael led Lucifer and Kaneko into the garden and pointed to their seats before he sat beside Shiroi and looked past her to Samael. He was puzzled by Samael bringing her before he knew Lucifer’s intentions.
“Voldrakena, Lucifer.” Samael pulled one foot up onto his chair and rested his arm across his knee. “Do you still take your tea with cynicism and bitterness?”
“Sugar.” Lucifer grinned as he seated Kaneko beside him. She had remained quiet and docile when Azrael came to fetch them but upon seeing Shiroi he could see her irritation and doubted she would remain silent much longer. He made his introductions as he sat. “Kaneko, our other charming host is Samael. And this is Kaneko.”
“Yes, yes. De supas.” Samael yawned to mock Lucifer for his mundane waste of time. “Eidolon’s bride, Kage’s daughter. Neither fact is why I allowed her here.”
“Of course not.” Lucifer glared at Samael. “You mean to please your stolen bride.”
“Give Snowflake back.” Kaneko growled across the table.
“As much as I adore your father and your husband, if you speak to me in that tone again I will be sending them what is left of you home in Lucifer’s pocket.” Samael made the threat with a smile on his face that frightened Shiroi. “This is my home. Show some respect.”
“Shush Kaneko.” Lucifer patted her head to keep her from making any threats. “This isn’t what we came for.”
“What did you come for?” Shiroi shouted at Lucifer as she stood and slammed her hands on the table. “You were the one who let them take me. At least Kaneko cares enough to say something instead of making introductions like nothing is wrong.”
“You are over-reacting as usual.” Lucifer laughed. “Sit. I would not be here if I didn’t care.”
Shiroi flopped down into the chair angrily and curled her fingers into fists until her nails broke her skin and she bled on her pants. Azrael kneeled beside her chair and shook his head as he unfolded her fingers and healed the slits in her palm.
“Snowflake, are they being mean to you?” Kaneko watched the silver haired Watcher tending to Shiroi and was unsure how to react. “Does Kaneko need to claw their eyes out?”
“No Kaneko.” Shiroi pouted. “They haven’t been mean.”
“I see Kage’s daughter has a love of violence that matches his own.” Samael laughed and watched with enthusiastic optimism as Shiroi watched Azrael return to his seat with gratitude for his gesture evident on her face. “But they each have their mother’s lovely red eyes.”
“Kasu dane sek vade, Vasun Lucifer?” Azrael asked impatiently.
“To see my daughter.” Lucifer poured himself a cup of tea from the pot Samael had left for him. “I wanted to see she was being well cared for before I gave my blessing to this theft.”
“I prefer to think of it as a rescue.” Samael grinned.
“A view you’ve managed to convince the Viper and the Falcon of.” Lucifer sipped his tea.
“Eidolon too?” Shiroi whispered to herself. “Does no one want me around?”
“Deseka dan.” Azrael leaned over awkwardly to look up at her as she hung her head. “Deseka kosh sek.”
“Is that true, Azrael?” Lucifer asked. “Dan sek kosh det kaluha?”
“Tek, Vasun.” Azrael sat up and smiled at Lucifer. “Ha saba det volbaken fetnakalu. Dedesek Welak Isa.”
“Is Maefyl your son?” Shiroi clutched the edge of the table as she looked at Lucifer and hoped for once he would give her an honest answer. She remembered how furiously Maefyl had guarded the identity of his father, of the chaotic rage that took him over when he finally told her about god and the misery of being his son. How could it possibly be true that Lucifer was his father?
“He is.” Lucifer nodded and tried to ignore the shocked stare from Kaneko. “Iehovah only woke up what I had already given Lilith.”
“I…” Shiroi pushed herself away from the table and walked away feeling ill.
“Azrael, vonek hala har.” Samael frowned and Azrael followed after Shiroi.
A few yards away Shiroi feel to her knees in the garden and stared at the ring on her finger. Azrael crouched beside her and put his arm around her shoulders carefully expecting her to scream and push him away, but instead she leaned against him crying and clutched at his shirt as he folded his arms around her.
“Danbol zekusi, Shiroi.” Azrael lifted her into his arms and rocked her softly.
Lucifer watched with overwhelming guilt and enormous relief as Azrael comforted Shiroi through the pain of the secrets he kept. He turned to Kaneko and stroked her face. “Don’t you be angry. You’ve helped me keep secrets just as damaging.”
“Kaneko isn’t mad.” She leapt over the arm of the chair and hugged him. “Kaneko knows you wouldn’t hurt Snowflake or Maefyl.”
“Not intentionally, but my mistakes…” Lucifer began to explain as Azrael returned to the table with Shiroi. When he tried to sit her in her own seat Shiroi clung to him so he took her seat beside Samael and held her on his lap entirely focused on calming her. Samael stroked her hair and kissed Azrael’s cheek and Lucifer sighed. “My mistake seems to be correcting itself.”
Shiroi trembled as she slid the ring off of her finger and onto the table. Samael picked it up and tossed it to Lucifer.
“I believe that should be a clear enough message for your son.” Samael grinned. “Now unless you want to discuss your promise to Zakesalek, I think you have upset our bride enough for today.”
“Kaneko wants to give Shiroi hugs.” Kaneko pouted and put her hands on her hips as she jumped to her feet to make her demand. “Kaneko won’t leave until she gets hugs.”
“Come on then.” Samael stood and pulled Azrael and Shiroi back from the table to make room. Kaneko ran over purring and hugged Shiroi while she shook in Azrael’s arm.
“Can Shiroi have her phone so Kaneko can talk to her?” Kaneko looked up at Samael with her continued demands.
“This?” Samael called Shiroi’s phone into his hand and waved it at Kaneko until she grinned and nodded. Samael smiled. “Devious and demanding. You are most definitely Kage’s child.”
Samael tapped his fingers against the phone for a moment as he considered the request before he rested the edge of it on Shiroi’s shoulder. She tilted her head back to look up at him when she took it and he could see her shock at his decision.
“Don’t do anything to disappoint me.” Samael squeezed her shoulder gently and let Kaneko finish claiming her embraces while he turned to address Lucifer. “With that returned I would like you to tell any others that wish to see her to contact her. I wont tolerate any further unannounced intrusions in Parasek.”
“I should get you back to Eidolon, Kaneko. “ Lucifer finished the last of his tea and stood. “He’ll be worried.”
Once they left Samael kneeled in front of Azrael as he held Shiroi. He leaned over her to kiss Azrael before he laid his hand over the phone she stared at so miserably.
“I’m trusting you with this.” Samael explained as she looked at him. “It is filled with images that make me angry and will only serve to make you miserable.”
“If I get rid of them you’ll let me keep it?” Shiroi rubbed her face on her arm.
“I will let you keep it regardless.” Samael smiled. “As long as you respect our wish that you not speak with your former…”
“Can you just take care of it?” Shiroi pushed the phone into his hand. “I don’t think I can.”
“Done.” Samael had no desire to see the images again; he just used his magic to remove all traces of Maefyl. He handed it back to her as he stood and then he stretched his arms above him and smiled. “Dan sek shuvasa?”
“Zakesel, Samael.” Azrael giggled at the mistake as Shiroi exhaled her frustration.
“Sorry.” Samael winked at them. “Do you swim?”
“Just because I’m giving up one marriage doesn’t mean I’ve accepted this one.” Shiroi hated admitting to herself that she had even done that much, but after so much misery, so many fights, so much time alone, and lie after lie, this last truth was enough to sicken her. “My Father and my Uncle may approve, but I don’t.”
“I was only inviting you to relax.” Samael smirked. “You can stay here if you prefer. Vade`tach Azrael?”
“Tek.” Azrael hugged Shiroi to him gently as he stood and let her find her feet before he let go. He stepped back and smiled at her as he offered his hand. “Vade hala de?”
“I don’t have anything to wear.” Shiroi looked at his fingers and wanted to cry. The strange, scaled hands of her captors had been kinder to her then most. “I don’t have anything at all.”
“Sek sesa de en Samael.” Azrael took her hand.
“I’ll have your things brought here.” Samael pushed her hair over her shoulder and rested his fingers against her neck as he changed her attire. “Until then let us provide for you.”
“I don’t always have the best luck with magic. I usually just wear clothes.” Shiroi rubbed her arms as she crossed them over herself feeling terribly exposed even though Samael had been kind enough to dress her modestly. As she flushed Azrael pulled a towel around her waist and tucked it closed at her hip before he brought her to the waters edge. “Thanks.”
“Wait until we’re in the water, Welak Isa.” Samael turned her away gently as Azrael giggled and he heard the splash behind him.
“Why?” Shiroi got a chill from the feel of his hands resting on her bare shoulders.
“Because we are not as modest.” Samael laughed as he ran over to the water and shed his clothes as he fell into it.
Shiroi knew her face had gone as red as the swimsuit he had dressed her in and was glad to have been facing away from them. When she heard them splashing around and thought it safe enough to show her face she walked over to the lake and set her phone and towel aside, hoping she could slip into the water unnoticed. Unfortunately it was deeper than she thought and she slid from the slippery rocks and splashed into the water as she tried to find footing. She surfaced to the sound of Azrael laughing and watched Samael tackle him under the surface.
Shiroi kept her distance as she watched them. Even as they played she could see them watching her as well and they were playfully closing the distance between her and them. Once they were close enough to talk without shouting they held themselves away to keep her comfortable, which Shiroi was thankful for considering their lack of modesty.
“Are the two of you married?” Shiroi asked as Samael kissed Azrael’s neck and Azrael bit the edge of Samael’s long ear.
“To you.” Samael answered. “Not to each other.”
“You’re together though.” Shiroi sighed. She was not even certain why she cared, but after barely a year with Maefyl his interest in Gabriel had killed off most of his interest in her.
“Welak Isa, are you jealous?” Samael grinned and splashed at her.
“No.” Shiroi pouted. “Never mind. And will you please stop calling me that?”
“You would prefer Snowflake?” Samael laughed.
“Only Kaneko calls me that.” Shiroi noticed suddenly that Azrael had gone missing. “Where did he go?”
“Vana.” Azrael laughed and wrapped his arms around her from behind. “De haka na hosha sek.”
“Azrael, nepu kesek.” Samael scolded him when he saw her expression grow troubled. “Vade. She doesn’t want you to hold her, she was upset before.”
“And you’re naked…” Shiroi closed her eyes.
“Don’t rush things, Azrael.” Samael smiled at him and Azrael let Shiroi go reluctantly. When he swam past her he let his tail brush against her leg and looked back to watch her blush. When he reached Samael he kissed him forcefully and Samael pulled him close. “Not the best time, kosha.”
“De haka sek.” Azrael wrapped his legs around Samael.
“A moment ago you wanted to hold her.” Samael laughed softly and shifted them both to shore wrapping a towel at each of their waists to save Shiroi the embarrassment. “Shiroi, he wants to go inside and Parasek may be dangerous for you.”
“Okay.” Shiroi shifted herself onto the rocks and quickly pulled the towel up in front of her. She caught herself staring at the scales that didn’t cover as much as she would have thought of them and blushed as she waited for them to start walking away so she could see where the scales of the tails stopped. “Can I have my clothes back?”
“Bret de sesa ise selsul?” Azrael laughed.
“Don’t do that, Azrael.” Samael scolded as he raised his hand to Shiroi and dried her before wrapping her in fresh clothes. “Don’t expect favors for kindness.”
“De supas.” Azrael grinned at him.
“Bol helasa.” Samael tapped his nose.
“Kabil.” Shiroi sighed. She was going to have to learn a lot more if she was every going to figure Azrael out. “What did he want?”
“Kabil?” Samael smiled when he heard her thank him in Zakesel. For every effort she made to deny their claim and refuse their kindness she was making equal effort to learn about them and had made several compromises. Now she even attempted to learn their tongue. “You’re very welcome. You’ve been paying attention, Shiroi.”
“He was trying to teach me.” Shiroi admitted as she looked at the seals on her arms. “Until I made him mad.”
“I’m certain he’ll be glad to teach you more.” Samael gently took Shiroi by her wrist and brought them all inside. “For now though make yourself comfortable, or explore. Just stay inside so we don’t have to worry.”
“I thought you said you weren’t going to leave me alone?” Shiroi stomped her foot and pouted. “The second I start to trust anyone is the second they start lying to me.”
“Deseka dane bol lusek.” Azrael bit Samael’s ear and ran finger’s through his short gold hair.
“We aren’t leaving. I mean to earn and keep your trust. I will not lie to you.” Samael laughed softly as Azrael pulled himself close. “You are welcome to join us upstairs, but I thought you would prefer to explore on your own.”
“Oh.” Shiroi felt childish for screaming such a jealous tirade when she did not even want to be there. Then as she watched Azrael’s longing grow more lustful she realized what she was being excused from witnessing. She covered her face as she flushed. “Oh. I’m sorry. I thought… I mean I don’t want to…”
“Shiroi, calm yourself.” Samael shifted closer as she stammered and ran his fingers slowly up her neck and lifted her chin until she dropped her hands and looked at him. He leaned close enough to kiss her but only smiled and spoke quietly. “This is new for all of us. Give me a few hours with Azrael and we can talk more.”
Shiroi nervously clutched the phone in her hand as she looked away. His offer to explore the estate alone was meant to be kind but it felt like an invitation to map out her own prison cell. As gentle as his hands were and as sweetly as he spoke, his presence was dominating. She was scared to make any request, especially one she imagined was going to make him angry with her, but if nothing else it would be a test of not only her boundaries within her cell, but his willingness to prove all the love he claimed.
“Can I have company?” Shiroi asked softly, still going through names in her head and wondering is there was anyone at all she could talk to that could help her through this.
“I said that you could.” Samael stood upright but kept his fingers under her chin as he spoke.
“I meant now.” Shiroi closed her eyes tightly expecting them to start screaming at her for making the request, but the cool fingers on her skin remained gentle and she opened her eyes to see them both smiling warmly. “I know you don’t trust me, but I just want someone to talk to.”
“Who is it you want to see?” Samael did not enjoy the idea of her taking company when he wasn’t right beside her, but was so thrilled she had not pulled away from his touch and touched by the sincerity of her request that he was willing to consider it depending on her answer.
“Nexus.” Shiroi was uncertain why that was the name that came out, but as soon as it did she embraced the sense in it. If there was anyone she knew who could empathize with her situation it would be the one who had been the victim of so many lies herself and lived her life under in the cage of her love for Kage. “My mother.”
“May I?” Samael tapped her fingers and Shiroi handed him the phone with a look of disappointment. Samael leaned and kissed her cheek before he took his hand away and navigated his way through her phone. Finding Lucifer’s love of gadgets amusing. This seemed like such a pointless means of conversation when he could easily call out to him. “I’m not taking it from you. I’m sending a message to Kage.”
“Why?” Shiroi could see Azrael was getting impatient with the delay she had caused and started to reach for his arm before she decided against touching him and just apologized. “Azrael, kono. I shouldn’t have asked.”
“Helbe, fetnakalu.” Azrael reached over and pushed at the corners of her mouth trying to force her to smile.
“It isn’t any trouble, Shiroi.” Samael handed the phone back to her displaying Kage’s reply and let his fingers linger against hers. “Azrael wants some of my time, and while we will still be close I did promise I would not leave you lonely.”
“What does ‘chet muta’ mean?” Shiroi looked at the screen a moment before she looked up at Samael.
“Ten minutes.” Samael smiled as she clutched her phone, squeezing his fingers as she did so. “They will meet you in the garden. I would like him to stay, but if Kage becomes a nuisance tell him to leave until you’ve finished.”
“Kabil.” Shiroi shivered when they both leaned to kiss her cheeks and vanished. She went back through the glass doors and wandered over to the patio they had entertained on a short time ago assuming that was where Kage would bring Nexus. She was not sure why Samael had agreed, but this was a better alternative to exploring her way into trouble.