Wings of the Night
by Eternal SailorM

Statement made to save one's own ass: I don't own Slayers and I don't own Sailormoon. If I did, Valgaav and Lina would probably be surgically attached to me at the hips, and Usagi would be my best friend in the world, and I'd be swimming in a sea of bishies. ^_^ But since they're not (damn) and she isn't and I'm not (double, no, triple damn), I own nothing but a bottle of flat Mr. Pibb. Do you really want it?
Also, I do not own the title of the story; it comes from a series of books by Maggie Shayne, one of my favourite authors, who has been a great inspiration to me.

Note of the scribe: I've taken a few author liberties here and there. I'm sure you'll notice them as you go. In the meantime, also, this is a testing of the waters, so to speak; I want to see if there will be an audience for this before I commit myself to another project.

A few key words:

There was something... cold about this place. Everything glittered and shone, like it had all been touched by the gods, but it was a cold shine, like that of a newly polished weapon.

Hundreds of ningen scrambled around, each of them ignoring him, looking through him even. Most of their activity revolved around a door on the far side of the room. There, armed guards held everyone off with swords, staffs, and whatever else proved necessary. All the ningen who weren't guards seemed highly agitated; they wanted in that room badly. Must be a treasure room or something, he idly thought to himself. Baka ningen, leaving treasure in such an obv-

His thoughts were derailed as a black-haired woman in a long red dress walked through him and tapped on the door, unmolested by the guards. "Serenity-sama?" she called out.

"Go away!" a voice, silvery and light yet dark and full of pain and suffering, yelled back. "Leave me alone!"

"Serenity-sama, you haven't been out in days and -"

"Leave her alone, Rei-sama," one of the guards stated. "This is her duty."

"And it's mine to protect her!" the woman snapped back.

"And it is ours to obey all of Endymion-sama's orders. And his orders were, no one enters this room." A pleading look entered the ningen guard's eyes. "Don't make me have to hurt you, Rei-sama."

She laughed incredulously. "You think you can?!?" But she still stormed off.

When she was out of sight, the guard let out a sigh of relief. One of his companions snorted, looking at him balefully. "I can't believe you said that to Rei-sama."

"I can't believe I lived through saying it." He briefly glanced over his shoulder at the closed door, regret in his eyes. "But she is right; Serenity-sama has been in there too long. Surely, if the gods were going to answer her prayers, they would have done so by now."

"Well, Endymion-sama said to guard this door and don't let anyone in or out until we get word from him that the destruction has been averted." The second guard returned to the ready. "So I'm staying right here."

A servant of the gods? he thought for a long moment. Here? In this odd place? With casual indifference, he walked between the guards and through the door - and froze.

A huge crystal rose from the floor, the same clear silver colour of the building around it, rising up high enough to pierce the sky and the clouds far above the ground, and before it knelt a... a... woman with... wings, who appeared to be speaking softly to the monument. She wore a flowing white dress without sleeves. Golden hair fell down from an odd style and mixed into snow white wings. As he slowly circled around to see her face, he noted her eyes were closed and her hands were clasped before her, as if in prayer. And a darkened bruise marred the otherwise perfect beauty of her face.

He was close enough now to understand the words she whispered to - herself? to her gods? to the crystal? "I should let the destruction occur," she was muttering, gently brushing her hand against the bruise, "to make you pay for doing this to me, Endymion. You know good and well that I cannot just summon enough power to save your planet in a heartbeat. I'm not a god. I don't know how many more times I can do this..."

This is how servants of the gods treat someone who would be their saviour? The thought brought back bitter hatred; those despised servants of the gods were never as good as they pretended to be; and the realization: A... miko - perhaps - of this world's gods is treated like this? Like a slave? Often? A mental snort. Perhaps gods and Mazoku aren't so different after all; we are both outsiders. Hated or revered, we are both outsiders.

He turned and started to walk away. At the door, though, a suspicious sound turned him back around. Her breathing sounded... uneven, like she'd been seriously injured or something. Masaka... They wouldn't try to kill their miko, would they? Curious again now, he rapidly crossed the room. Once he stood behind her again, it was obvious she wasn't injured, per se; she was... what was the word?... crying. And for reasons he couldn't explain to himself but probably had something to do with the fact he could understand why she would cry, it almost physically hurt him to see that.

So what do you do when a woman is crying? Definitely an area he lacked experience in. Maybe if he knew exactly why...

"Why are you crying?"

She did not even turn to face him, and for a moment he wondered if she'd heard him. Then suddenly she spoke. "Because I feel so alone."

Alone... She's an outsider, like me, after all. "Why are you praying then?"

"Because I want to purify my world."

"Purify it?" It made sense. In a purified and perfected world, there would be no fighting, no destruction, and no one would hurt her again. "Because he hurt you?"

Her hand reached up again to touch her cheek. "I thought - he said I wasn't going fast enough, and he hit me. He'll apologize after the world is saved, then it will all happen again."

Pain and suffering... caught in an endless cycle, like the wars of the gods and monsters... She is so much like me...

Her breath hitched in her throat; she was about to start crying again. Only one thing made sense to do. He knelt down behind her and wrapped his arms around her. "They can only hurt you if you let them."

"I know, but..."

"No 'buts.' Don't let them make you cry again."

Faintly she nodded and leaned back against him, covering his arms with hers. What is this? he thought almost fearfully. Is this... trust? She... trusts me, and she doesn't even know me?!? That thought eased the pain inside that her tears earlier had caused, and as the pain lessened, something happened that hadn't occured in a while, since he'd been very, very young in fact: of their own will, his wings spread out. He wrapped them around her too and felt her smile as she fingered a black feather.

"Kuroppoi tenshi," she whispered.

"I'm not an angel."

"Who are you then?" He was silent; he couldn't decide... If she was a servant of the gods, then this tenuous... thing between them here would be shattered when she found out he was Mazoku. "My name is Serenity."

A name? A name he could give. "Valgaav. My name is Valgaav."

A strong force seemed to yank him away from her, and the feathers that she was touching fell out. He was being pulled away, back to his own world. A new pain, sharp and bright and as terrible as death, shot through him. Gaav-sama... what's happening to you?

10 April 2001

Okay, minna-chan. Think there's potential here, or should I keep this a private project? E-mail me or if you're on, leave me a review. And please, no matter what you think I should do with it, let me know why you think that, okay?

Okay, I love you, buh-bye!