"What'd he do to himself this time?" Miki asked, glancing over at a very worried looking Aku. The young man sat against a tree, hugging his knees up to his chest and biting on a knuckle. A bandage covered his bruised cheek, a treatment he'd barely been able to sit still through while Enjeru was on the healer's table across from him. His obvious worry was the reason they'd been banished to the outside of the tent.
Exchanging his knuckle for his bottom lip, Aku answered without looking up. "He took out most of Yuurei's forces and took me right out from Yuurei's hands."
"Really..." Suzu whispered, slowly coming over to sit beside the young man. "He does like you then... He wouldn't do something like that for just anyone." She shook herself out of her reflective reverie. "So... tell me all about it. It isn't everyday I get to find out something about Enjeru-kun I didn't know before. How'd he do it?"
"He cut through the back-up forces on his way there then swept their camp. Took most of their soldiers out with a few huge fire spells; I only heard a few explosions so it couldn't have been too many." He glanced up to see Suzu and Miki exchanging a very confused look. "What?"
Miki was the one to answer. "Enjeru hasn't used fire magic since his okaasan died."
"Come to think of it, that was the last time I heard of him show his wings. We met him two months later." She frowned. "Remember how upset Uziel-san was that Enjeru wouldn't use his wings?"
"It pissed him off to no end."
"Why?" Aku couldn't help asking.
"The whole reason Uziel put Enjeru through such hellish training when he was little was because of the prophecy."
Suzu grinned slightly, thought it was nowhere near as cheerful as her usual ones. "That's right; we tried to keep Yuurei and his allies from finding out about it. There is an old prophecy over hereabout two children of a ningen and an immortal being that would be born with wings and would destroy the darkness forever. For a long time," she snickered here, "the immortals were sleeping with any ningen who would give them the time of day, and there were some children born, but none of them had wings, and the immortals began to lose hope and the wars between the gods and demons grew steadily worse. Hundreds of years passed since the prophecy was given, and Uziel-san meets Lady Kiera-sama. From what Enjeru-kun told me, they were only together a night, then he left her. Nine months later, Enjeru-kun was born, with wings; that's why Lady Kiera-sama named him that, you know."
"I was wondering about that."
"Well, Lady Kiera-san managed to teach Enjeru-kun to hide his wings early on, and they kept it a secret for a very long time. Lady Kiera-sama tried to teach him to love life and be happy and how to live like a ningen. But when he was eight, he and his mother were in one of the cities and he saw a young child about to fall off a building. He did the very thing Lady Kiera-sama had been teaching him to do: help others. And he flew up and saved her - in front of everyone."
Miki took the story over then. "Uziel heard about it from someone there and decided to take the child back to Michael himself. Lady Kiera-sama refused to let him go, so Uziel told Enjeru that he'd kill his mother if he didn't go with him. So Enjeru left with Uziel right away. Lady Kiera-sama died two years later..."
"Enjeru-kun was all she'd been living for," Suzu jumped back in, "and without him, she couldn't go on." She sighed. "He closed his wings up and never opened them again the moment she died, as if he'd felt it despite how far apart they were, and quit using some of his better powers. He started shutting himself off from everything that day."
"He'd been difficult for Uziel to train anyway - Lady Kiera-sama had taught him humanity too well - and he'd lost his temper with him a lot of times, beat him up a bit, but after Lady Kiera-sama died and Enjeru started withdrawing from the world, it just got worse. There were times he beat Enjeru within an inch of his life, completely forgetting about the prophecy."
"So Uziel-san decided to see if being around the children of immortals would teach Enjeru-kun his responsibilities. He brought him to the collective home Marie's family lived at at the same time Miki-kun and I were being brought there as well - and left him there."
"Marie instantly recognized him as someone who needed help, something she's always been a sucker for, and she took him under her wing, even though he was four years older than her. He didn't know how to act around people after two years with Uziel. He was..."
"...fragile," Suzu stated firmly, "like one unkind word would shatter him."
"We didn't quite know how to treat him, so we avoided him." Miki smiled fondly. "Marie... informed us that the only special treatment he needed was to be treated like a normal kid."
"You already told me that part, Suzu," Aku stated finally. "You wanna know a little secret?" They both looked at him, and Suzu nodded excitedly. "There's a prophecy like that on the other side too: two children, born of an immortal and a ningen, born with wings, who will destroy the light of the gods or the darkness of the demons. The fate of the world, the cosmos, depends on whether or not they find each other to fulfill their destiny." He glanced back at the thin thread of light spilling out of the healer's tent. "I never would have thought Enjeru was one of the two though."
Miki and Suzu exchanged worried looks. He leaned down closer to Aku to ask, "Have they found the other person born with wings?"
He shook his head. "Nope. If they know that Enjeru is one of the two, then they'll be trying to keep an eye on everyone he meets." He frowned sharply. "And I wouldn't put it past Yuurei to try to convert Enjeru to their side."
Now it was Miki's turn to shake his head sharply. "He'd never agree to it, especially not after this. Besides, he's seen what the servants of the demons can do. He still remembers enough of what Lady Kiera-sama taught him not to follow anyone who would -"
"-torture and rape and beat someone to within of their life," Suzu finished, her voice uncharacteristically bitter and harsh.
Almost immediately, Miki was beside her, wrapping his arms around her suddenly small body. For a long moment, both were silent, then Suzu's shoulders began to shake, the slight movement followed by tiny hiccupping sobs.
Aku scrambled away from the tree and the couple there and slipped back over to the slit opening of the healer's tent, intent on taking just a peek inside and seeing if Enjeru was okay, anything to give those two some privacy. Just as he began to pull the two pieces of cloth apart, they were jerked open from the inside, and he nearly jumped out of his skin. Deborah smiled gently at him. "Just the person I was wanting to see."
"Me?" he repeated softly.
"Hai. He's awake and asking for you. Come on in, so that those two can be alone." She looked sadly at the white haired woman and the tall man who held her so gently. "Suzu has been needing to get this out of her system for a long time, and Miki's the best one to help her through it; he loves her enough for it." She glanced over at him, still speaking very softly as not to disturb the pair by the tree. "Are you and Enjeru going to be able to help each other through all that's coming?"
"'Through all that's coming'?" he repeated. "What's that mean?"
"I saw your back when you first came here, Aku. It doesn't take a genius to figure out Yuurei did it, and it's probably not the worst he's done to you, is it?" Numbly, he shook his head. How can one old woman know so much? "It also doesn't take a genius to figure out that you and Enjeru have some sort of feelings for each other. Don't even try to deny it."
"I won't. No one has ever done the things for me that Enjeru has, treated me as he has, been my friend."
"Your friend, eh?" Her wrinkled face wrinkled up even more in thought. "Is that all it is? Honestly, is that all it is?" He blushed slightly and looked away. "And you both come with so much emotional baggage." She frowned, stepped past him, and gave him a slight push through the slitted door. "Talk to Enjeru now, Aku-kun."
"You're looking better," Enjeru's familiar deep voice stated gently. He turned to see the general, minus the wings, sitting up on the bed instead of the table now, once more thoroughly bandaged.
"You too." He grinned faintly, sitting down on the edge of the bed. "Even if she did try to mummify you."
A faint smirk touched the general's lips as he looked down at himself. "Yeah, she did try to do that, didn't she?"
"Why did you come after me, Enjeru?" slipped out of his mouth, taking them both completely unawares. He rushed to cover himself. "I mean, you were already injured, and you came alone, and..."
A gentle hand covered one of the ones laying helplessly in his lap. "I went because I wanted to," he answered simply. "Because I wanted you here... where you're safe." The unspoken words with me hung in the air for a long moment.
He finally turned his hand and gripped Enjeru's. "I'm glad you did. Thank you."
19 July 2001
Saa... another two chapter day!!!!! Anyway, what's in store for the next chapter? Only time, e-mail, and reviews will tell.
See you in the next chapter!
sou tenshi ni odorasarete
Surreal ni obore
Dancing until we're angels
Drowned in the surreal
"Oh Mercy" by Weiss kreuz.