Guardians aren’t supposed to fall in love with ‘their’ humans. It’s not forbidden, it’s just impossible. They are not visible to the human’s eyes. Sure they can make themselves visible, but making oneself visible is not allowed yet alone make interaction with their human, it is a rule from the Seraphim as the One’s highest order.
There is another thing Guardians not allowed to do. It’s the ground rule, the most forbidden of all, and that is to interfere with human’s fate. There’s punishment to it and it is said to be worse than banishment.
Ever since Leo was a kid, he knew he’s different. His wings grew slower than the other kids, and they find it hard to understand Leo. So Leo never tried to fit in anymore.
But Dinho saw Leo as one of a kind. The Dominion sees Leo as his own son, he taught Leo everything he knows about the orders and the rules. He taught Leo how to fly when Leo had given up to. The other Dominions say Dinho has favoritism towards the Guardian boy and he will get in trouble for it one day. Dinho just laughed it off then.
As a kid, Cris always loved it when Mãe told him stories about Guardian Angels. Cris wanted to see his Guardian, but Mãe told him that they are shy beings and they will not show themselves. Cris was sad but he still loved all his Mãe’s story.
It’s the day Leo will meet his human. Dinho tells him ‘he’ will be a little bit older than Leo.
“You are 10 in the human’s age, Leo. And he will be 12,” Dino said to him before Leo enters the Concourse.
Leo doesn’t know what to expect, he’s never seen any human before. So when the Elder Guardians send him down, the first thing that comes into Leo’s mind as he sees his human for the first time is “beautiful”.
Leo’s human is crying again today. Leo learned that Cristiano—his human’s name—was sent away from his home to pursue his dream in this big city called Lisbon.
It’s been two months but Cristiano still cries almost every day.
His human's friends call him a crybaby. Leo knows other Guardians also say the same thing as their humans. But Leo sees something more than just tears, he sees strength. Leo can see the strength of his human’s heart but how soft it is at the same time. And Leo is amazed by how beautiful his human’s soul is.
That is why every time Leo sees Cristiano crying, he honestly wants to cry to. He can see his human feels alone and vulnerable. He knows how many times Cristiano asked himself is it all worth it. How Cristiano doubted his decision to chase this “unclear dream”.
And what Leo hates the most is that when he doesn’t know what to do. He is supposed to protect his human, but all he can do is watch in the corner as his human cannot see or hear him physically. Leo’s power isn’t enough yet to defeat Misery.
Cris misses his family. He misses Mãe’s homemade cooking, he misses helping Pai in the garden, he misses Hugo, Katia and Elma.
Today was a bad day, bad game. Coach was angry at him for not passing the ball. So what though, it was a goal in the end.
But the next thing Cris sees is something he know he will never forget.
He sees someone, a boy, with white robe and a pair of wings standing before him. That boy ducked his head down in a shy mannerism and asks Cris whether he is okay. Cris is afraid his mind’s going mad, but when he sees the boy’s brown Bambi eyes and dimpled smile, Cris is sure he is completely mad.
(But he also realizes this mad is not something bad, quite the opposite, even.)
The boy introduces himself as Lionel. Lionel talks with him—well, Cris talked and Leo listened—until he feels sleepy, and next thing he was falling asleep with a light feeling in his heart, as if all weight he’s been carrying around was lifted away from him.
Leo is dragged down by a Dominion with furious expression. She is holding Leo’s arms so tight it hurts.
“Stop,” Leo tries to let go of his hand.
She’s dragging him towards the Court. She slammed the doors open and shoved Leo inside. There are 9 Dominions waiting for him, sitting in a rounded table surrounding Leo. Leo doesn’t dare to raise his head to see their faces, he only sees their feets.
“Lionel, do you know what mistake you’ve made?”
Leo nodded his head slowly.
“So you do know what will happen next?”
Leo nodded again.
“Wait, he is only a kid. He didn’t know what he had done.”
Leo knows it’s Dinho. He shuts his eyes tight.
“He knew, Ronaldo. Who, at his age, could manage to form such a perfect Compaction?”
“It was his fault! He taught this boy how to do that!”
“We already told you many times before, your action would cause problem one day.”
Leo can hear so many voices debating, and Dinho keeps on standing up for him. He knew he shouldn’t have done that, he let Dinho down and Leo can feel his eyes warming up. He honestly cannot hear anything anymore, he can feel his shoulders shaking and his breathing become heavy.
Leo is sitting down while hugging his knees in front of the Court building when Dinho comes up to him after everyone was dismissed.
He sometimes forget Dinho held such a high position among the Dominions. He said he will take responsibility and talk with the Seraphim about Leo.
“Leo, you know what you did is wrong right?”
“I know. I’m really sorry, Dinho. The Misery in him is too big, and it’s already two months, and I couldn’t do anything,” Leo replies, wiping his eyes with his hand.
“If I tell you not to ever do it again, can I trust you, Leo?”
Leo stays still. Dinho should’ve just let them punish Leo, Leo had let Dinho down by doing things he knew he shouldn’t have. He doesn’t deserve Dinho’s kindness at all. But he nods his head and Dinho only patted his head while saying a simple, “Good.”
Cris always remembered Lionel. On his birthdays, he always wished he could see Lionel one more time.
Ever since his encounter with Lionel, he stopped crying so often. He always remembered the weird warm, happy feeling, remembered how Leo’s hand stroked his hairs as he fell asleep on the boy’s lap and remembered Lionel’s simple word of reassurance.
“I’m always here so you’ll never be alone.”
Lionel didn’t say it explicitly, who was he, where did he come from—what was he, but Cris knew. And his “You watch me do my best, Lionel,” had become his silent prayer every time now.
And he remembers Lionel when Jorge tells him the famous Manchester United wanted Cris on their team. He called his family first, of course. Telling them the news with happy tears pouring down his face.
[“Don’t be a crybaby, you big guy,”] Hugo said, and Cris knew his brother was also crying.
But as he hangs up the call, he smiles until he can feel his cheeks hurting.
“Thank you, meu anjo.”
Leo cannot content his happiness.
He sees how hard Cristiano worked hard for what he achieves today. He trained his strength, both physically and mentally. He learned more about teamwork and a lot happened throughout the years, the good, the bad, ones that brought Cristiano to where he is today.
“Thank you, meu anjo,” Cris says with a smile Leo finds really distractingly handsome, and Leo knows it is directed to him.
Leo knows that he cannot physically hug Cristiano, but Leo does anyway. He carefully climbs up and lay himself down beside Cristiano’s sleeping form. He circled the Portuguese’s waist and covered their torsos with his wings. He wasn’t so proud of his wings before, even though Dinho had taught him how to fly with it.
But he remembered what Cristiano said to him that day.
“Your wings are beautiful. I think it suits your body,” Cristiano said playfully, which earned him a playful punch to his arm. “If it were to be any bigger, it will weigh you down, won’t it? It’s beautiful the way it is,”
It was a simple compliment, but the sincerity in it was what made Leo blush and smile.
“No, you cannot do it to him. I won’t allow it,” Leo says with shaky voice.
“There’s nothing I can do, Leo. It’s not my right to change his fate,” Dinho replies slowly, afraid Leo will break down anytime soon.
“It’s my duty to protect him.”
“It’s your duty to help him create his destiny, but you can do nothing about his fate. Please understand this, Leo.”
Leo is enraged. Dinho just told him about Azrael’s decision on Cristiano’s fate and he only got two days left.
“No, not now. Please, Dinho. Help me this one time. He just signed a contract with a big football club. It will change his life, his family’s life,” Leo begs on the verge of tears.
Cristiano just met his family today, his family was ecstatic, they celebrated together with foods and drinks and music. And in the middle of their small party Cristiano had whispered, “I wish you were here Lionel. Mãe’s feijoada is the best and you should try it,” with a longing look in his eyes.
“Leo, don’t do this.”
“No, you don’t do this. Not to him, please,” Leo get to his knees.
“You know you are not supposed to feel anything, Leo. This is what happen when you start to feel something towards your destined human,” Dinho crouches down, his hands reaching for Leo’s shoulder.
Leo cries in silent sobs. He knows, he perfectly knows. But he can’t help it. It isn’t just because Cristiano remembers him. His human treats him like someone. Leo might be invisible to the Portuguese, but he’s never lonely with Cristiano.
Also his honesty, his hard-working ethics, his sincerity, his everything are what makes Leo feel feelings towards Cristiano.
Today is Thursday, Leo’s heart is hammering in his chest.
A solo car crash, Mendes and the driver will still be okay and alive, but for Cristiano, it’s fatal. The ambulance can’t get there in time then it’s done.
Leo knows what will happen to him afterward. He will be sent away into nothingness. It’s not the Underworld, it’s just nothing. Leo will spend the rest of his time as nothing. It’s like he’s vanished, but he’s not. He cannot see, hear, speak, or feel anything.
But nothing will happen to Cristiano. He will live his life in his new football club, and he will do much better then he will have a better life. He will strive for more and he will chase it. Leo knows that, he knows Cristiano.
That’s why he can’t die today.
Cris is laughing with Mendes and the next second all he sees is red.
His head, his chest, it all hurts. He cannot feel his leg and he feel’s warm fluid flows down his head. By each second passes, he can feel his breath getting harder and shorter.
Cris is feeling his consciousness slowly leaving his body.
He sees his family before him, his teammates in Portugal, and Lionel.
But Lionel’s face is so different from what Cris remembers. He looks older, but brown Bambi eyes still the same.
Cris can also feel familiar hands behind his head and on his chest.
Cris smiles, which feels so hard. And last thing he sees is black.
Jorge says it is a miracle. Nothing happens to Cris, beside the wounds and cuts here and there, there’s nothing wrong.
But what first comes to Cris mind is Lionel.
Cris silently thanked him as Jorge disappears behind the door.
Weirdly, there’s no usual warm feeling, as if Cris is talking into only thin air.
The Dominions are all getting mad. Especially Dinho. He can’t believe what Leo just did. He gave away his life for his human and broke the One’s most forbidden rule. And this time he cannot do anything about it.
He should’ve stopped Leo from doing such stupid decision. He shouldn’t have given him access to the Dominions’ ancient epistle.
Just as Dinho is going to tell Leo’s parents about the incident, a Thrones appears on his doorway, telling Dinho to follow him now.
A Thrones’ call is rarely a good sign, as the key holders, it means their callings are directly from the One.
Dinho can only hope for the best.
Leo opened his eyes. And he sees the most beautiful scenery before him. He’s on a cliff where he can see the glorious sun setting. The warm weather and calming breeze welcomed him like open hands.
“Enjoying this place?” a voice disturbs Leo from his own mind. He finds an old man with disheveled robe standing next to him.
Leo nodded. “Yes.” But seconds later, Leo remembers something really important. “Is this where nothing is?”
The old man doesn’t answer. He sits down beside Leo instead.
“Is there something you want to do that you haven’t had the chance to, young man?”
“I—no. I think I’ve done enough,” Leo replies.
“Cristiano, wasn’t it? You don’t want to see him ever again?”
Leo goes silence at that. He badly wants to, but he knows he can’t. So he doesn’t answer, afraid if he vocalize his heart, he will just hurt himself by remembering the fact that he can’t see Cristiano ever again.
“Young man, will you stand there for me?” the old man points toward the end of the cliff. “And don’t look back.”
Leo stands up and walks to where the old man tells him to.
He doesn’t understand, but he doesn’t question it either.
But well, he clearly doesn’t expect being pushed down the cliff by the old man. And as he’s about to flap his wings, he realized they’re not there.
“What I saw in them was a really strong bond, so young and foolish but sincere. I honestly was angry, Young Lionel broke the rules two times because of that boy. But his love, Ronaldo. That little body capable of love so big I can’t believe,”
“But that Cristiano guy wasn’t worth it! Leo loves him so dearly, what about his 'dear' human?”
“Young Cristiano loves him as much, too. He couldn’t see Lionel, but he remembers him. Every day of his life, he thought about meeting Lionel again. He was silently waiting. But he also knew Lionel was there with him, he held on Lione’s words, so Cristiano treated him as someone, not no one.”
“So I’m telling you this, Ronaldo. I’m going to give Young Lionel a chance, but he has to give up his title and become one with mankind.”
Dinho couldn’t believe his own hearings. He was speechless. Leo, innocent young Leo will be given another chance to live!
“But clearly that will only make him happier, yes,” the man in front of him continued with a content laugh.
Dinho laughed too. “Yeah, it is.”
Leo opens his eyes slowly. He got up from the floor with pure confusion. His body feels hurt and he is in an unfamiliar place. There’s a flat television on the wall, and where his hand rested is a sofa that looks comfortable.
He’s taking in his surrounding, this place looks lived in, but he doesn’t know where is this. But as he walks towards the kitchen area, he remembers something about his wings!
He peeks back and saw there’s nothing on his back. What.
He panics. What is actually happening? What happens to him right now? Who was that old man that pushed him off the cliff? What happened to Cristiano?
Cristiano. Leo panicked even more. He doesn’t know where is he, his wings are gone and he doesn’t know where is Cristiano.
Leo freezes in place as he sees someone just walked out of a door he presumes the bedroom because that someone was wearing only sweats. Typical Cristiano’s sleeping attire.
Cris spent his time ‘talking’ to Lionel this past two weeks. But there was no usual warm feeling, there was nothing.
Cris was just starting to lose hope. But then there he was, standing in the middle of his flat in Manchester, with ridiculously adorable robe that looked too big on him. His wings absence peeked Cris’ curiosity, but what mattered to him was Lionel and his short knowledge about cereals.
That is why they are now sitting in Cris’ dining table with five kinds of cereal waiting to be devoured.