I am the wind, I am the light
The gold, shimmering, leads my path
Until I can see you again,
My feathers will shine for you
I love you.
There was a legend, an ancient story, that had passed from generation to generation. A legend that talked of hope, of light, of love, a story that small children always asked to be told just before they went to sleep. It followed them into their dreams, filling them with warmth and making them smile.
It was a legend that Lavi wasn’t really fond of, but he still knew the short story by heart, and he was reminded of it at least once a year, when part of the legend became true.
“For thousands of years, once a year, the night sky is crossed by millions of shooting stars.”
That day was one of those times, as he carried the boxes from his car to his house, eye threatening to fall closed and sleep creeping up to him by the second.
“Those shooting stars are angel tears. Why do they cry? Because they care about us, they protect us, and their tears are a present, a beautiful present made from light and hope.”
He kicked his door open and he tried to find the switch with his elbow, hitting the wall multiple times with it, the objects in the box chiming and only making his headache worse. He thanked the angels when he managed to turn on the light.
“The angels are our guardians. They live in Heaven and they have beautiful big wings that are made of light and clouds. And, most importantly, they sometimes come to Earth.”
He left all the boxes on the living room, hidden behind his sofa, in an attempt to ignore their existence, and he yawned again, stumbling into the kitchen. He needed to eat something before he collapsed on his bed and, hopefully, passed out for an entire day. That way he could avoid his grandfather’s calls and even annoy him.
He had made sure that the old man didn’t have keys to his house. And he couldn’t pick his lock, either, because he wasn’t that amateur Alchemist anymore. He was sure that Gramps would be proud, if he wasn’t that annoyed with him.
“They come to Earth to do a mission, something that only they know. Sometimes it takes them days, sometimes months, sometimes years. But they aren’t alone.”
He didn’t really remember what he had in his fridge, to be honest. A lot of the food would be expired, he mused. Probably.
He squinted at the light when he opened the door and took the first thing he laid his eye on, which turned out to be a salad. He left it on the kitchen counter, closing the fridge with a kick. It wasn’t as agile as he’d expected and he almost face-planted on the floor, but he managed to brace himself against the counter.
“The angels have a guide, a human that will help them through their mission. They will confide in one another and, at the end of the mission, the angel will grant the human a wish.”
Lavi was tempted to just lie down on the sofa, eating the salad that was, surprisingly, in good condition, and probably doze off to the sound of one of those ridiculous reality shows. But he dragged his feet to one of the nearest windows, moving away the dark curtains with one hand and holding the plate with the other.
The shooting stars were a beautiful sight, even if he didn’t really like the legend tied to them. His house was on top of one of the hills that surrounded the city and he could see all the city lights under him from his garden, so it was no wonder he’d made a little hideout, just under the huge tree that troubled his neighbour so much.
It was on this night, when numerous shooting stars crossed the sky, when he took a moment to just stare, to take a breath of fresh air and relax while angel tears fell down around him in a mix of silver and gold.
“The wish can be anything that the human desires, but it cannot bring the death back to life again, no matter how much it’s longed for.”
He leaned on the wall, green eye following a luminous trail and then another, feeling more at peace by the second. He debated with himself whether he should go outside, to the garden, where he could lie down on the grass and admire the stars even better. They seemed to call him, in a way that reminded him of when he was younger, a child, when he stayed awake almost all the night, waiting for his companion to ask him for help and who would grant him a wish.
He sighed and finished his salad, yawning behind his hand. He left the plate on the coffee table as silently as he could, feeling as if just the faintest sound could break the peace that hung around his house. He looked back at the hallway where the door to his bedroom was, staring at it for a moment, before shaking his head with a slight smile and walking to the curtains that hid the sliding doors that led to the garden.
“The angels always come to Earth when they cry. The light leads them to the human that will guide them.”
Lavi moved away the long curtains, and then he slided the door to the side, his gaze moving immediately to the sky, streaked with shooting stars that crossed the dark in a way that was almost lazy. A smile appeared on his face and he stepped out. He’d missed this. It was like coming home, a home he hadn’t seen in a year.
“The human will find the angel, and the angel will find the human, and their mission will start at once. Their bond will last in the stars.”
He left his shoes and socks by the door, stepping on the soft grass barefooted, head upwards to the sky.
He wanted to just fall down on the grass, arms stretched to the stars, eye bright like them. But something was calling him, making him walk further, closer to the tree and the edge, from where he could see the city under him and the sky open above him.
He walked to the tree, hands restless, and he frowned when he saw something leaning on the trunk, pale, too pale, and he paused, rubbing his eye before continuing.
“The angel will fall down on Earth surrounded by their own tears…”
He paused just by the side of the tree, shooting stars forgotten as soon as he saw what surrounded the person leaning on the trunk.
“... and the human will pick up the feathers.”
They were golden feathers.
Lavi didn’t know what to do.
He’d spent the last half an hour sitting on the sofa, staring at the plate on the coffee table, hands clasped on his lap. Sleep had left him immediately as he’d turned around from the tree, legs moving on autopilot and mind too blank.
He knew he should do something. But his mind wasn’t helping, it was like trying to fit a piece of a puzzle where it didn’t belong, like a computer flashing an error at him.
He left his head fall, and it thunked on the coffee table. Just what was he supposed to do? He didn’t even know if what he saw was real, he was still in denial because, c’mon, it was all just a children’s fairy tale, wasn’t it? He’d worked on the city’s archives various times and he hadn’t seen anything about that, anything about angels, in them. It just didn’t make sense.
“Okay, Lavi, focus,” he mumbled to himself, and he moved his head so his cheek was pressed against the glass, back arched in what should have been an uncomfortable position. “Just what are the chances that the person in your backyard is a thief and has staged this so he could rob your house?” He hummed, closing his eye. “Or maybe… it was all just your tired head… yeah, that’s it.”
He let himself fall down from the sofa and into the floor, head still pressed on the table, and he groaned. He wanted to sleep. Maybe he should do that, just, go to bed, close the door, and deal with it all in the morning. Because, let’s face it, there was just no way that someone could be in his backyard. Much less an angel.
However, when he stood up, on shaky legs, he couldn’t help going to the sliding doors again, moving away the curtains from the glass, and leaning his forehead on it, eye locked on the tree. Oh, great, he was still there. He was still there.
“Oh, hell, what do I do?” he grumbled, and pressed his head harder against the glass, groaning. The groaning turned higher and higher. It was childish, but really, what was he supposed to do? “Oh, to hell with it.”
He turned, walking quickly to his kitchen again and staring for a few seconds at the knives, wondering if it was really a good idea, if he wasn’t just being an idiot, but he just shrugged and took one of them.
The air outside was still pleasantly chilly, fresh wind crashing against his skin, and he was tempted once again to just lie down right there and sleep like he’d wanted to do for the past three hours. But he kept moving, knife heavy by his side, until he was in front of the person slumped under the tree.
He was maybe a little surprised when he saw that it was a boy around his age, maybe younger, with pale white hair that glinted under the gold and silver streaks crossing the sky. He was dressed in all white, with golden earrings dangling from his left ear. Lavi wondered again if he was making a fool of himself, raising the knife in front of him as if it was sword, gulping down his anxiety.
“Hey,” he called and, when nothing happened, he called louder, “Hey!”
He could see some movement, a twitch of a hand, a hand that had elegant tattoos wrapped around it, a deep red, like blood, he remembered, and he gulped again, calling again, feeling more insecure.
After a few minutes of calling stupid “hey”s, as Lavi refused to get closer to the boy, just in case something happened, he found himself taking a step backwards when the boy moved his head and the white hair moved away from his face, revealing another intricate tattoo on his face, the same deep red as the other, and he mumbled something.
“Are you…” started Lavi and he bit his lip, knife still posed in front of him, as if the boy in front of him would spring up and attack him any moment. “Are you a… thief? Murderer? What do you want… from me?”
The boy moved his head again, eyes fluttering open, and locking immediately on the redhead that was using a kitchen knife to defend himself. He frowned, white eyebrows knitting together.
“Do you even understand me?” asked Lavi, and the hand holding the knife wavered. The boy was staring at him now, it seemed, confusion clear on his face. Lavi sighed, and lowered the knife a few centimetres, running his other hand through his messy hair. “Look, I don’t know why you’re here or anything, but…”
He hadn’t realized that he had moved again the knife, and this time it had been too close for comfort to the boy, that he will admit. But still, it caught him by surprise. Because one second he was talking, back maybe a little slumped, and, you know, with both feet on the ground. And the next, his feet weren’t making contact with the grass. His back was, though. He coughed.
“You can’t just…” Lavi groaned as he tilted his head to the side, eye wanting to close so much, oh, his bed was such a good place to be right about now. It took him a few seconds to realize that the voice belonged to the boy, who was standing up now, leaning on the trunk, the knife in his tattooed hand. “You can’t just go around waving a knife at people! What the hell’s wrong with you?”
“Wha…” was his intelligent reply. Then he paused, closed his mouth, opened it again, and made a confused sound. “Wait, so you’re…”
The boy just looked at him with confused and tired eyes.
“Okay, so, let me get this right,” said Lavi, rubbing his temples with his fingers, eye closed tightly. He was pacing in front of the coffee table and sofa and he couldn’t, for the life of him, understand how he could be still awake. “You’re one of the guardian angels the legend talks about. Okay, right, all okay. But , you don’t remember anything.”
“Pretty much,” said the boy, who was called Allen, apparently.
Lavi opened his eye, a grimace on his face, and he growled. His day was going from bad to worse. Okay, so the so-called angel was nice enough, even if he had thrown him across his own backyard, he had a soft voice and kind eyes and, overall, he was quite pretty.
Still , Lavi’s overworked brain wasn’t helping him, at all, because the only thing he could think of was sleeping. He couldn’t even make sense of the boy’s predicament. Which was why he was pacing in the first place, keep the blood pumping to his head, think .
“Oh, great, this just makes it so easy, yes, yes ,” he mumbled to himself and he waved his hands in the air. He could see Allen staring at him from the sofa, eyes concerned for his mental health. Another one in the line, just after half the people he knew. He paused in the middle of the room, and Allen’s eyes became nervous at once. “Okay, you know what?” he said and turned his head to his guest, yes, he’d call him that for the moment, least his head exploded, a wide smile on his face. Allen grimaced, eyes even more worried. “I’m going to sleep.”
And with that, he turned on his heels, almost slipping and falling on the floor, but he managed to keep his balance and keep walking, throwing a ‘I’m perfect, worry not, angel’ after him. He almost entered the bathroom instead of his bedroom, and he slammed his leg on the wall, which, for some reason, made him laugh. He started laughing harder when he imagined himself sleeping in the bathtub.
He could swear that he saw Allen raise a hand, eyes locked on him with worry, and he was pretty sure that the angel facepalmed just a second before he closed the door.
He didn’t even think about what he had done until the next morning, when he awoke around ten in the morning, evening, whatever, to the screams of some ungodly creature from hell. Also known as the old microwave he’d bought from a thrift store months ago when he moved into his current house.
He rolled out of bed, screeching, and braced himself against the bedside table to avoid hitting the various books thrown around his bed. It was one of his (numerous) bad habits. He tended to just let the book he was reading fall to the floor when he fell asleep, because he liked to read just before doing so, and the books just kept piling and piling. Maybe it was time to tidy it up.
He jumped around his room, avoiding the books, and he opened the door, eye focused and wary. He lived alone, why did the microwave... ?
His gaze was met by a pair of surprised silver eyes and he paused.
Oh, great, yes, Lavi, you just went to sleep and left an amnesiac angel to fend for himself in the middle of the night, at an unfamiliar house, confused and…
“Do you mind if I eat these?” asked the boy, and he showed Lavi the instant noodles he had heated up in the microwave from hell. Lavi stared.
“Eh, no, you can… go ahead,” he said, voice small, and he could only watch as the angel smiled at him, making his heart skip a beat, and turned to the sofa, fishing some noodles and eating them with no trouble.
Okay, so he could fend for himself with no trouble. That was… that was good.
He turned back into his room, grabbed some random jeans, a random shirt and put on his favourite slippers. His friend Kanda wasn’t fond of them, but Lavi personally thought that they were rad. They were shaped like rabbits, okay, and he loved them. He’d used alchemy to keep them from wearing out a couple of times, and the guy from the gas station down the street had seen him wearing them various times when he went there to buy food at three in the morning.
He started making coffee, his mind trying to remember everything that had happened the previous night. Allen had found the remote control for the TV and was changing the channels while he ate the noodles. It was weird. He had a heavenly creature sitting on his sofa, eating his noodles and all he could think of was that he needed to buy more food.
“I remembered something,” said Allen then, eyes still locked on the TV. Lavi hummed, adjusting the cooktop’s temperature. Allen took another bite before answering. “You have to collect the feathers. And sign a contract with one of them.”
Lavi hummed again, absent-minded, eye still locked on the kettle, and there was silence between them again. Then he paused. He tilted his head to the side, looking out the glass door. It took him a few seconds, but then he noticed the wind rustling the tall grass and the trees’ branches.
“Shit!” he shouted, and Allen jumped, almost spilling his remaining noodles on the carpet. The angel glared at him, but Lavi didn’t have time to go over the legends to see if angels were able to glare, because he scrambled to open the glass door and rush outside. “Please don’t fly away, please, please, please.”
He literally lunged for the feathers, almost lost a rabbit slipper and screeched when the last golden feather flew dangerously towards his neighbour’s backyard. He managed to get to it before it crossed the border, and he sighed, relieved.
He slammed the glass door after him when he entered his house again, the feathers clenched firmly in his fist, and Allen locked his eyes on them immediately, eyes wide and searching, and Lavi had to remind himself that the boy dressed in all white was actually an angel and that the golden feathers were probably his. He wondered where his wings were.
“Okay, I have your feathers,” said Lavi, numbly, and his feet moved heavily to the side of the sofa where Allen was stretched on. “What do I have to sign, exactly? Also, why can you remember that? I thought you didn’t remember anything?”
“I can remember the rules, I think,” answered Allen, scratching his head and messing his hair. Lavi grimaced.
“There are rules?” he asked, and he knew that he sounded like a child, but c’mon, rules are boring. He wasn’t the most appropriate person to say that, though, seeing as he was an Alchemist, but, you know. Rebellious age?
“There are always rules,” said Allen, and he reached out for the feathers. He counted them, handling them like they were cards, eyes focused and white brows furrowed. Lavi worried for a moment. He didn’t miss any, did he? But Allen nodded to himself and stood up with a small smile, so Lavi allowed himself to breath a sigh of relief. “Okay, you need to sign the contract that will allow you to make a wish when the mission is complete.”
And with that, the angel turned around and walked right into his study, and Lavi’s heart jumped to his throat. Hey, hey, he wasn’t supposed to go in there.
“Hey, uh, Allen, buddy?” he called, and Allen turned to him, an eyebrow raised and Lavi struggled to find words. Don’t be rude, don’t be rude. “You… aren’t supposed to go in there. It’s kind of… personal, y’know?”
Allen paused, and then he frowned, and Lavi started screaming in his mind. Ah, he’d been so rude! He didn’t know what the angel was capable of, he could… Lavi froze. He could kill him. Who knew what kind of powers the boy had, but he already knew how strong he was, he’d been able to throw him so fast that he had been disoriented after he landed.
“But I already entered there this night,” said Allen and Lavi jumped- no, he didn’t jump. He just… “And there wasn’t anything that looked suspicious or too personal.”
“What.” And Lavi could only watch as the boy turned again and entered the study, feathers clutched on his hand, steps confident.
“Just come over here,” said Allen over his shoulder and disappeared behind the wall.
Lavi sighed, and ran his hand through his messy hair. Really, the study had the documents from his research with Bookman, journals, important and ancient books, things that were related to his work and all. Did that mean that Allen didn’t really care that he was an Alchemist? A man of science? Just the opposite of his existence, which was magic and legend?
“Do you have ink?” asked Allen and Lavi jumped, raising his head at once and walking quickly to his study, where the angel had entered… how much time had he been lost in thought exactly? He needed to stop doing that.
“I think I have some around,” he said, and hastily began searching around the desk’s drawers, mumbling to himself about the various objects he found in the process. A couple of potions he distantly remembered were to form mist around him, a few iron nails, some elaborate knives he had found in one of his travels, some eyes? Why did he have that there? Gross.
All the while, Allen just started reading the titles of the books that were around the room. Lavi had read every single one of them, from the ones that explained Alchemy rituals to the ones that talked mostly about ancient magic used by wizards and sorcerers and other druids. He much prefered the Alchemy ones, but he remembered that he loved the magic ones when he was younger. He was awfully aware of how much he’d changed over the years.
He grinned when he found a bottle of ink under some papers with alchemic circles drawn and crossed out randomly. His smile faltered a little when he caught sight of them. There was a reason he had all that as hidden as it was. He really was an idiot when he was a kid.
He made sure the ink was still liquid, with a little help from his own Alchemy, before turning back to Allen, his angel guest, who was now crouching in front of the huge bookcase, brows furrowed and eyes maybe a little confused, staring at a book. Lavi got closer to him, curious, was he remembering something else?
“Hey, I got the ink,” he said, and the angel didn’t jump like he expected to, he just kept staring at the book. Lavi frowned, and leaned down, eye on the same book. ‘The Duality of Magic’, uh?
“I feel as if I’ve seen this book before,” said Allen, voice soft and confused and Lavi arched an eyebrow. An angel interested in that kind of magic?
“That’s the hardest type of magic, you know?” he commented off-handedly, and Allen turned to him for a moment, before going back to the book. Then he sighed.
“This is not really the time for this,” he mumbled and Lavi found himself staring at the angel as he got up and took the bottle of ink from his hands.
Something was off about the angel, he thought, as he watched him open the bottle and get a paper from the pile in the corner. Now that he thought about it, from where did the angels came from? Were they just born at heaven or something? Or…?
“So, how does this work?” he asked, walking to the desk, and he watched as Allen took one feather, inspecting it with his sharp eyes, before dipping it into the bottle of ink and pressing the tip of it on the white paper. The gold glinted under the sun that came from the window.
“Think of it as a normal contract,” said Allen as he began writing, hand steady but hesitant for a moment, before he got the hang of it and wrote the next lines of text easily. Lavi wondered what it was like writing with one of your own feathers. Weird, he supposed. Allen sighed as he finished writing and he turned to Lavi with a bright smile that caught the redhead off-guard for a moment, before he managed to grin back, and the angel handed him the contract and the golden feather. “Sign below the last line.”
Lavi took the paper from the angel’s hands and signed below the last line as he had been instructed, closing his fingers awkwardly around the feather. It was harder than he thought, but it wasn’t the first time he had written with a feather. He was an Alchemist, after all, and some traditions and rituals were really specific. It had been a while, though, his methods were usually more modern than the rest, something that never failed to annoy his grandfather. He leaned back and looked at the contract with conflicted emotions and hesitation. He… really made the right choice, ...didn’t he?
“And that’s it?” he asked and turned his head to the angel, who nodded. He hummed. “I didn’t expect it to be this simple.”
“What did you expect, then?” asked Allen, and he took the contract and read it carefully. Lavi shrugged.
“I don’t know, maybe some flashy stuff, golden light, runes, a blood sacrifice, a curse that said ‘if you don’t follow this contract you will die’... usual stuff,” he explained and Allen looked at him, bemused, before he let out a long laugh. Allen hugged his sides and Lavi watched as the angel’s eyes watered, feeling proud of himself and his charisma and charm and wow, he was great, wasn’t he?
“Well, I could do some flashy stuff for you if you want,” said Allen when his laughter had died down to a soft chuckle.
Lavi arched an eyebrow, clearly interested. Who wouldn’t want to see an angel’s legendary powers? Specially , if that angel had launched him across his yard. Yes, he was still kinda salty and impressed about it.
“Oh, you could?” he asked and Allen just smiled softly at him. Lavi paused. “Wait, I have a little question, Al.”
“Shoot away,” said the angel, shrugging and he started walking to the living room, waving a hand at the contract. “You should probably keep that contract safe if you want to have your wish granted by the end of this. Remember, if you lose it or it’s destroyed you won’t be able to.”
“Good to know,” said Lavi and he immediately took hold of the paper, reading it again for good measure, just in case, before he locked it away in one of his drawers. He walked out from the study, and to where Allen was continuing to eat his noodles. For breakfast. He was an angel, maybe it was an angel thing? “So, my question… is… Do you have wings?”
Allen tilted his head back to stare at him with eyes that screamed ‘you’re such an idiot’ at him, and hey, he took offense to that! He was actually quite intelligent, thank you very much.
“I’m an angel, I think it was obvious,” said Allen, and Lavi pouted. Allen shrugged and returned to his meal, breakfast, lunch? Whatever. Angel stuff.
“Yes, yes, but you don’t have them now ,” explained Lavi, and maybe he was a bit annoyed, because he didn’t know everything and anything about the guy sitting on his sofa. And he needed to know. It was his thing to know, and he was supposed to help him and all that jazz, which was kind of difficult if the guy, as ethereal as he was, didn’t tell him anything . He was nice enough, though, had a top rate smile that shone like the sun. It compensated for the secrecy, he supposed. Still. “So?”
“They are a pain,” said Allen simply, and Lavi stared. He was complaining about having wings that let him fly? Seriously? “They are huge, and flashy and I keep moving them all the time and knocking and breaking things… Also, you don’t need to worry about that right now. I’ll show them when we need them.”
Damn the stupid secrecy.