They had all needed the night to unwind. Maefyl carried two very giggly fairies to the bedroom and laid them on a pillow to sleep off a night of too much wine. He returned to Gabriel as he was seeing off the last of their guests.
“I hope whatever Lucy has planned isn’t going to screw things up again.” Maefyl pulled his hair back into a ponytail and gathered Asura’s drawings from the table to tuck in one of her portfolios.
“Come sit with me.” Gabriel sat on the floor and closed his eyes. With an uncertain horizon he wanted to be prepared. He started to pull strength from the deep reaches of the chaos.
“I just want this to last.” Maefyl laid in front of Gabriel and rested his head back in his lap. Already drenched in the chaos Gabriel brought into the room, but pulling greater amounts on his own until it filled the both of them. The two of them let go of words as they shared the darkness as it swelled around them in a gentle current, filling the room with it’s sweet scent. In eerie silence their minds met and caressed. Maefyl felt Gabriel’s fingers on his neck and smiled.
Maefyl was only beginning to understand the weight of what Raziel had done. He was only starting to embrace the help Raziel had given him. Raziel had told him he could remain conscious and tap into his dreamscape, but at the moment he wanted to share it. While he strengthened and revitalized himself with the darkness and they pulled the chaos together, Maefyl pulled Gabriel into his mind.
“What is this?” Gabriel stood and helped Maefyl to his feet; the sweet mist of chaos even found its way here and swirled around their feet as Gabriel took in the vibrant landscapes inside of Maefyl’s mind.
“I wanted to show you.” Maefyl laced his fingers through Gabriel’s and tugged him forward. He smiled at Gabriel’s reaction to the doors that sprung up beside them. “This is what Raziel did to keep me from losing it.”
Faint whispers hung in the air as Maefyl shuffled away the last of the thoughts and memories he had collected that evening until there was silence.
“It’s so peaceful.” Gabriel let his fingers brush over one of the doors as they walked and jumped slightly when its attached building appeared suddenly.
“I had about the same reaction.” Maefyl smiled at him. “I’m still a bit lost in here. Most of this was Raziel’s”
“Have you…” Gabriel begun and thought better of the question, as curious as Maefyl tended to be he was also cautious. He doubted he had spent any time behind any of these doors.
“Opened them?” Maefyl laughed as he concentrated to pull a particular door to him. “Only this one and only the ones inside it I needed to.”
“Raziel’s” Gabriel looked over the crest on the door. “His personal memories?”
“I avoid what I can.” Maefyl pushed the door open and pulled Gabriel through it into a seemingly endless hall filled with doors. He went to one and pulled Gabriel into an enormous library. “Some of what I needed to know involved a look into what led to all of this.”
“Which is how you learned of Kage’s fangs?” Gabriel sighed as he recalled finding Raziel bruised, bleeding and at his wits end. How he had refused aid and justice and wandered off. It had been the last anyone had seen of Raziel’s emotion. “His attack on Raziel?”
“Kage has always been such a charming individual. It’s not like I was all that surprised by it.” Maefyl squeezed Gabriel’s hand in his. “You however have always been amazing in every way.”
“We all do things we regret.” Gabriel sighed. “I just hope when you stumble onto some of my more questionable moments you still think so highly of me.”
“Why wouldn’t I?” Maefyl hugged him. “I doubt I could find anything in Raziel’s head that is going to change what I think of you. Raziel puts you on a bit of a pedestal himself. If you have dark secrets he either doesn’t know them or they are completely forgivable.”
“I would be relieved, but what he finds forgivable, you may not.” Gabriel hoped Maefyl would wait and let him share the secrets himself.
“I told you I would be asking you. I’m not going digging for your secrets.” Maefyl rested his fingers on the back of Gabriel’s neck. “Stop worrying. All I’ve seen are a few of your interactions with Raziel and his reactions to them.”
“Whatever you’ve seen here has made you more accepting of Raziel.” Gabriel looked around the room and wondered how many of these books Maefyl had opened.
“I guess seeing what he went through made me appreciate his odd way of handling things.” Maefyl explained. “Sometimes even dark secrets aren’t as bad as you would think. I could have gone without seeing some of his time with Galik, but Raziel isn’t the monster everyone seems to think.”
“We made Raziel a monster.” Gabriel admitted sadly.
“You didn’t.” Maefyl smiled. “Of all of you, you were the only one who showed him kindness. It’s not like he’s the only monster the seven of you managed to create. Kage didn’t start out as the vicious bastard we all love so much.”
“He has always been vicious.” Gabriel walked to one of the shelves; the spines were without mark until he ran his fingers over them. “But complicated. At some point he became more than vicious; he became bitter and cruel.”
“When the one you admire most treats you like…” Maefyl stopped himself. “Kage has his reasons. I’m not excusing the shit he did, but I understand it.”
“The two of you have established the strangest friendship.” Gabriel smirked. “You accepted it out of pity?”
“For fuck sake, don’t ever let him hear you say that.” Maefyl laughed. “It’s understanding not pity. He’s been through as much shit as Raziel. Just different shit.”
“He’s also put everyone through as much.” Gabriel chanced mentioning a tender subject to make his point. “I doubt I have to remind you what Lilith suffered.”
“Trust me, Gabriel.” Maefyl sighed. “He’s paid for it. He’s still paying for it.”
“You’re getting as vague as Lucy.” Gabriel laughed.
“That’s not funny.” Maefyl scowled and pulled a book at random from the shelf. He sat Gabriel’s hand against the pages beneath his own and shared a bit of his talent for ‘reading’ the thoughts the pages contained.
“You will tell him or I will tear it from your mind.” Kage dug his claws into Raziel’s neck as he held him on his knees in front of Lucifer.
“If Iehovah plans to make the world his plaything,” Lucifer grinned as he watched Raziel bleed without a trace of concern on his blank expression. “I need to keep him from breaking it.”
“You are more than capable of doing that without me.” Raziel answered coldly. His pain hidden behind his emotionless gaze. “I will not give you knowledge you don’t need.”
“Why do you insist on being useless to us?” Eidolon glared at Raziel as he stood beside Lucifer. Furious with Raziel’s lack of compassion for the world they created. “Lucifer is asking your loyalty to protect what we’ve made.”
“Lucifer is asking for power he doesn’t need.” Raziel corrected. “He will not get it from me.”
“Ke saba belshesupi, Vasun Lucifer.” Kage tore open Raziel’s throat with his claws. “Kabak de na keka ken.”
“Hak, Kage.” Lucifer shook his head. “The Keeper will give me what I want eventually.”
“Why should I give you anything?” Raziel replied to the assumption blankly. “All of you hate me for the things I know. I will not share them to gain favor.”
“I was not offering favor.” Lucifer laughed. “Have fun with him Kage, just leave him alive.”
Lucifer left with Eidolon and Raziel endured days of Kage’s pent up rage. When Kage finally left him broken on the floor of a dimly lit room, Raziel forced himself to stand and started his short journey home. The demons he passed sneered and whispered as they avoided him. He heard the thoughts that he had gotten what he deserved as he slowly healed the worst of his wounds. He had almost made it home when his path crossed Gabriel’s and he felt the warmth of the angel’s hands on his shoulders.
“Who did you upset this time, Keeper?” Gabriel smiled sadly as he ran magic through Raziel’s wounds.
“No one worth mentioning.” Raziel wrapped his fingers around Gabriel’s wrists. “You need not waste your time on this IsaAnku.”
“Stop letting this happen.” Gabriel spoke warmly. “You have the strength to protect yourself from these abuses.”
“Against Zakesalek?” Raziel tilted his head. “I am the weakest among us and evidently the most despised. Good day, IsaAnku.”
“I’ll speak to Lucy.” Gabriel offered. “He’ll end the attacks.”
“As he has ordered several of them I doubt that your conversation will go well.” Raziel turned from him. “I don’t need your intervention, Gabriel. Keep your good standing with the others. I will deal with this on my own.”
“You talked to Lucy anyway, didn’t you?” Maefyl slid the book back into its home on the shelf and smiled. Gabriel could never resist doing the right thing.
“I did.” Gabriel was fascinated by the memory. It had been clear as if they were living the moment at present. “He laughed it off, but I rarely saw Raziel in such a state after that.”
“Can I ask you a strange question?” Maefyl was not even sure he wanted the answer, but it had been bothering him. “Did you and Lucy… were you ever together?”
“No.” Gabriel grimaced at the idea of it. “We were only ever friends. We have always been close. I was the first to find him; it was his voice I followed out of darkness. I love him, but as a brother would…”
“Poor choice of words.” Maefyl cut him off; sickened at the thought of his sister and further disgusted by the thought of her with Gabriel.
“I apologize.” Gabriel hung his head. “Lucy and I were never together as lovers. Why would you even ask?”
“Because Watchers seem to be libido driven fiends.” Maefyl looked away embarrassed by his own questions. “I just wanted to know who and what I’ve shared you with.”
“I hate to even have this conversation.” Gabriel pulled Maefyl close and knew the answer would hurt him. “You were the first to have my lips, the only to have my heart and only one other has known my touch.”
“Shiroi.” Maefyl cringed. She had been his first. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. It meant I could have you.” Gabriel held him as he explained. “Not all of us felt the need to act on our appetites, I can’t speak for the others, but I never had much interest to begin with. Not until you. If you are through with this field trip, I can show you how strong that interest remains.”
“I want to show you something first.” Maefyl pulled Gabriel out of the halls of Raziel’s memories and led him through the dreamscape to another door.
“Your own?” Gabriel laid his hand against the door bearing Maefyl’s crest. It pulsed with strange warmth that nearly echoed the beating of Maefyl’s heart.
“Yea.” Maefyl pushed open the door and walked down the long dark corridors watching for Gabriel’s reactions to the sights and sounds around him. Screams spilled from behind doors that seemed to breath, others that cracked and bled as they passed. The halls were dark; the floor swirled with thick dark mists.
Gabriel’s tears fell as they passed through hall after hall of misery. Sobs and screams left whispers of anguish in the air of Maefyl’s mind and it was painful to know his love had lived in such darkness.
“It’s not all like this.” Maefyl squeezed Gabriel around his waist and wiped his face. He sped him along to more pleasant halls and Gabriel let out a sigh of relief when they reached corridors that were still, silent, and well lit. Instead of screams, laughter snuck its way through the doors they passed.
“What is it you want to show me?” Gabriel asked once he was able to breathe again without weeping. They turned down a hall with walls of white and doors of silver that seemed to polish themselves to a gloss as they passed.
“You said you’ve always loved me, always wanted me.” Maefyl pushed open a door and led Gabriel to a table with a book laid open in waiting. He pushed Gabriel’s fingers to the page and slid his own through them. “I want you to know this.”
“Get the fuck out.” Maefyl screamed at Gabriel. “Let me live my damned life the way I want to.”
Gabriel recognized the memory instantly and wanted to pull away from the pain of what he remembered well enough on his own, but he wanted to see this through Maefyl’s own recollection. Maefyl was so young, still very blonde, and living as a human. Every bit as beautiful as Gabriel remembered. And every bit as angry.
“I’ll return when you’ve had time to calm down.” Gabriel laid his fingers against Maefyl’s blonde hair and sighed. “I am not trying to make these decisions for you. Only passing on your father’s will to you.”
“Just go.” Maefyl grabbed Gabriel’s wrist and pushed him away. Lilith was a room away screaming profanities and throwing things against he walls. “I need to be alone right now.”
When Gabriel had gone Maefyl saw to cleaning up after Lilith’s outburst and calmed her as best as he could until she slept. Once he was finally alone he went through his belongings in a frenzy looking for something he had hidden away. He pulled an impossibly white cloak from its hiding place and hugged it to his chest. He had stolen it from Gabriel on one of his visits and kept it so he always had a piece of him.
“Why do we both have to be men?” Maefyl murmured softly as he inhaled the scent of Gabriel from his clothes. “I hate wanting you like this.”
Gabriel watched silently. Nearly ashamed to be seeing what became a private moment he would have been glad to interrupt.
A very young Maefyl, still living his life as a human man, closed his eyes. He clutched the white fabric that smelled so much of Gabriel against his shoulder, leaning his face against it and thinking of the skin it had touched. As he touched himself he wished for the fingers of his angel. He slid to the floor torn between pleasure and misery and whispered a confession into the robe he wet with his tears. “I don’t care if it’s sinful, I would gladly burn if I could be yours.”
“You were always so angry with me…” Gabriel’s fingers fell away from the book and he felt them trembling against Maefyl’s neck as his lover released them from his mind.
“You were always pissing me off.” Maefyl looked up at Gabriel and smiled. “I was a kid. I had no idea how to deal with that. You were constantly preaching at me and all I wanted to do was break every rule you were telling me to follow.”
“Do you think it was any easier for me?” Gabriel pulled Maefyl up into his lap before sliding his fingers of one hand into his hair and the other into his pants. “If I had seen you then, I would have taken you.”
“Deviant angel.” Maefyl smiled and kissed him. Enjoying the touch he had longed for as a boy. Gabriel filled his ear with vivid memories of his own, confessing years of watching and wanting and the same shameful indulgence as he thought of taking the thing he desired most. He stroked and caressed Maefyl into a maddening state of desire and kissed him passionately through a release that satisfied the long denied young man in his buried memories.
“I have always and will always love you.” Gabriel smiled at the blissful state of the one who meant more to him than anyone else possibly could. “Whatever happens you will always be mine and I am yours alone.”
“Then let’s break some more rules.” Maefyl grinned and pounced on Gabriel, knocking him to the floor as he gave him a darker kiss and tore at his clothes.