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Artificial Angel: Genuine Hearts

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Artificial Angels: Genuine Hearts

Chapter 01: Pandora’s Cage

                                                                      

There were no winds in purgatory, only the vast listless area of nothing surrounded them as Manabu flew into the lands with Byou and a few other angels. They had recently received intel concerning the Rebellion’s base. The news came as a shock to everyone. Nobody thought that the Rebels would be brave or stupid enough to make their central station in this area. The plane between Heaven and Earth, the bridge that was always way too risky for anyone to cross unless they were a skilled flier. And yet, they had the guts to make it so.

 

It seemed like endless minutes as they traveled; Manabu keeping an eye on his commanding officer Byou to see if there were any instructions he should be aware of.

 

Yet, before Manabu could muster up the voice to ask any questions- from a far end area of purgatory they could now see a building.

 

Byou didn’t understand why, out of all the angels, they had to be the ones sent over to this place. Purgatory was far from pleasant and, if he could, he would rather avoid it. However, they had been given this mission from Hizaki, the Seraphim who was closest to God. Goddammit. He was all about serving God and believing in his words. But seriously? It was supposed to be his day off, too. In fact, he imagined spending his weekend by sleeping in.

 

At any rate, this mission was vital because they were going to raid one of bases belonging to the rebels; which consisted of humans who were granted powers due to one of their own traitorous kind. Not to mention that angel who started all of this was a Seraphim close to God. These rebels had been a constant problem for them for more than a thousand years. As such, the Seraphims decided to call the conflict, The Rebellion. Byou thought it was a cheesy, vague name, but he wasn’t the boss, so he couldn’t call the shots.

 

“Is that what I think it is?” Byou raised one eyebrow, asking more of a rhetorical question.

 

There were other team members who had come along, but Byou didn’t consider them as useful as Manabu. Even though Manabu was of a lower rank, he possessed more brains and common sense than the other air-headed angels. His family disliked how he hung out with Manabu, but Byou didn’t care about their opinions. Out in the field, it was life or death, and he obviously had no desire to die anytime soon.

 

Since this was supposed to be a stealth mission, Byou would have to minimize any talking or discussion. They were here to raid and destroy the base. But first they would have to collect any vital information to see who was running this place. Byou was puzzled why Hizaki didn’t sent a reconnaissance team first, but whatever. He wasn’t the big boss, and he didn’t question his orders.

 

Byou signaled with his right hand, for the entire group to land first, so they would be able to quietly infiltrate the building without those rebellion soldiers noticing. The last thing he wanted was to screw up this mission and receive an earful from his superiors. These rebel fighters had been a thorn on their side for too long, and it was their chance to destroy them once and for all. Although, Byou doubted it would be so easy.

 

Once he saw everyone had made it safely to the ground, he motioned for everyone to get started and to report back here within the hour. Luckily, he already assigned details and partners to everyone, so they could hurry along the way. Unfortunately, they did not have the luxury to take a long time or else they would be spotted by the rebels. To make sure everyone would be in sync with each other, they were all instructed to wear military issued watches, which served as their timer. It not only informed everyone how much time was available to complete their reconnaissance mission, but it also signaled how long they had before they would detonate the building. After all, they had to destroy this place.

 

He looked over at Manabu who had been quiet the whole time. Manabu wasn’t a man of much words even though Byou could tell he did have many thoughts running through his mind.

 

“Are you ready?” Byou inquired to his longtime partner.

 

Manabu was already formulating ways on their escape routes from the time they had landed up until they came inside the base; in case if something went wrong. He had also been brainstorming various methods as to what they were going to do if the information they had received was incorrect. He and Byou were partnered as usual, years of fighting by each other’s side had made them compatible partners in working such tasks.

 

“I’m ready if you are.” Manabu answered nonchalantly, making sure his voice was nearly below a whisper in case there were any enemies nearby. “If we’re in the right place, there should be guards at the door.

 

They came to one hall, Manabu quickly placing his back against the walls till he came to intersection. For now, it was the brunet’s turn to check the vicinity first; slowly he peeked through the edge of the wall. There were two men guarding the room that he and Byou were planning to enter then, steal files. Manabu turned to his partner once again, nudging with his head to the direction where the guards were stationed at as he held up two fingers.

 

Without voicing his words, Manabu said through his lips. “Attack?”

 

Byou could see they were going to have to swiftly get rid of those guards. Apparently, there were some top secret files, which they would need to bring back. He had no idea what the hell it was, but apparently it was the most important one since they were specifically assigned to obtain these particular ones.

 

At any rate, Byou was surprised how easily they were able to get inside. There were only two measly guards, protecting this supposedly vital place? Pathetic. What could really be in there? Ah, whatever. He was putting way too much thought into this.  

 

Byou nodded, silently giving Manabu the signal to attack. They had been working together for so long that not all of their communication needed to be in words.

 

Without another second to waste, Byou made the first move and attacked one of the guards before he even had a chance to fight back. Byou breathed a sigh of relief since he didn’t even need to pull out his spells. Luckily, a simple stab to the heart killed the guard.

 

The moment Byou moved, Manabu was right behind him. He tackled the other angel guarding the door, quickly holding a hand to his mouth as his other brandished the blade he held and slit the man’s throat. He let the fallen soldier slump against him as the brunet carefully and as silently as he could, place the man on the ground.

 

Byou whipped his dagger in the air to clean his blade off. The sight of blood never made him feel any better about his assignment, but he was a soldier. On the field, it was a kill or be killed world. For the sake of angels and God, Byou learned early on to separate his personal emotions from the assignments he had been given. Otherwise, he had no idea if he could stomach half the shit he had to do in the name of ‘God’.

 

With the men taken care of, Manabu looked to Byou before he came to the door’s handle. There was something eerily suspicious about this whole area. There were only two angels on guard duty and this place as they’ve heard was the seemingly the most important area in the base. Something just didn’t add up and Manabu was starting to wonder if this was all a trick or trap.

 

Like Manabu, Byou found the whole situation peculiar. Deep within the recesses of his heart, an ominous feeling lingered. Something was fishy because everything appeared way too easy. However, he did not sense any malicious magic protecting the door either. What was going on?

 

Either way, they were going to find out soon as Manabu carefully held the door’s knob and slowly opened the door.

 

Inside of the room, Uruha, the man who had been assigned to take care of these precious beings, played with his hair as he stared at the computer screen. It had been so long since the two of them had been sleeping without a sign of stirring. What would it take for them to wake up? He pouted a little, finding this to be a troublesome issue.

 

One moment Uruha and Kouryu, his bodyguard, were watching the duo’s vitals; next there was a scream at the door. In a haste, Kouryu immediately came to Uruha’s side, he took out the gun from his holster and was quick to aim.

 

From the door that opened, out tumbled a screaming brunet who fell to the ground holding onto himself. Mauve electricity was visible against the man’s entire arm and Kouryu gritted his teeth at the scene. Everybody in the facility knew that no one other than, him was allowed to touch that door. If anyone wanted to communicate with either him or Uruha, they would have to call out through their communicators. Only outsiders-- God’s Angels would be dumb enough not to know this simple fact.

 

He shot two cursed bullets that had the same mauve colored electricity about them at the man with the screaming idiot; immediately Kouryu shouted. “Uruha-san! We have to go!” Taking steps backwards as he gestured for the doctor to go to their escape route.

 

Byou’s eyes widened when he spotted those deadly bullets, aiming straight for him. Like he would let cursed bullets take him down so easily!

 

With a wide motion of his hand, Byou managed to pull up an ice barrier in front of him to stop those cursed bullets from touching him. Phew, a second later and he would have been dead meat.

 

Uruha blinked his eyes, finally hearing all the stupid commotion. He hadn’t even heard a thing until Kouryu called his name. Oh, what now?

 

“Leave now?” Uruha scoffed, frowning in great displeasure. “How are we going to bring them with us? I hate to leave my work behind.”

 

Uruha did not want to leave all of his hard work behind. All he lived for was to carry out his scientific experiments in order to understand celestial beings better. What were they? What made them angels? What made them so different from humans? Uruha had to uncover the truth.

 

“What’s going on?” Uruha sighed, slightly oblivious to the screams coming from outside.

 

To him, those were extraneous noises not to be registered in his brain. The less he needed to know about anyone else the better. He made sure to only dedicate himself to his research and nothing else.

 

Kouryu gritted his teeth in frustration, it was always the hard way when it came to the doctor. He always seemed like he never cared about anyone or anything other than, his experiments. Quite frankly, Kouryu appreciates his dedication to his work but, not when they were in the middle of getting killed by angels.

 

“Uruha-san!” He shouted once more as Kouryu let cursed bullets rain to the duo as he grabbed a hold of the blond’s arm and pulled him close. “Get out of here now and I’ll make sure they don’t get Kazuki and Jin.” He told in a low-threatening voice, urging the doctor to try listening to him. “Don’t make me say it twice.”

 

From the ground, Manabu felt a coursing pain coming from his hand, seeping its way to his arm and slowly spreading over to his chest. It was getting harder and harder to breath as the brunet fought against the pain. It was making him nearly immobile but, Manabu would be damned if he didn’t get back up to his feet.

 

‘Get back up, get back up,’ He repeated over and over again in his head. They still had a mission to finish and they still needed to get those files. Even with the pain gradually making its way to his entire body, he stood up on shaky legs; careful not to come close to the ice shield Byou made as he was sure the bullets that are intact there made it cursed already.

 

“I’ll come in and you cover for me.” He told the other as Manabu pulled out from his pockets vines that he could use for the mission. Since they were in purgatory, the area was unpredictable and he didn’t know whether or not he would find any kind of plant life, so he came in prepared.

 

He gripped hard onto the green life, willing the vines to the grow and take on a form with thorns as he slithered them down onto the ground with their poison.

 

Byou was surprised Manabu could still move despite being cursed. He would have stopped Manabu from being so foolish, but he knew that the chestnut-haired man could be as stubborn as a bull once he set his mind upon something. The only thing he could do was to not let Manabu die at the hands of this wicked enemy.

 

“You idiot.” Byou simply muttered to himself.

 

“What the hell? Who are those inferior angels?” Uruha frowned at the disgusting sight, but he then blinked his eyes in shock when he saw vines sliding across the form as if they had their own life.

 

Uruha wondered what that was. He noticed how it came from one of the angels. Hmm, how was that possible? Oh, darn. If they weren’t getting killed, then he would have loved to ask that angel how he was able to command plants at his will. Plants were their own species with their own wills. It seemed angels could do almost anything.

 

Byou made sure to freeze those cursed bullets and decided to throw icicles at the enemy to distract them. Whatever was inside of here must have been important if they had someone who could curse them so easily.

 

By the time Manabu had already left the safety of Byou’s shield, he was running close to the man who clearly looked as though he was gifted with the ability to curse. He already knew his main target was to ‘Knock out the bodyguard and take the doctor.’ He mused internally, grabbing another handful of vines from his pockets, Manabu manipulated them into wrapping around his good arm.

 

In a split second, thorns started to appear at the vines around his arm and Manabu used those to shoot poison thorns against the bodyguard. He made the vines on the floor capture both the wielder and the doctor, trapping them down on the floor.

 

Kouryu made the doctor duck down against the attack of icicles and thorns. He made quick work of shooting cursed bullets once again to the thorns so he could free both him and Uruha. “Hurry up!” He shouted as he pushed the doctor to the direction of their exit. He hopes like hell that the angel coming towards him wasn’t an archangel, Kouryu would have a hard time fighting him if this man had another trick up his sleeve.

 

“Whoa!” Uruha shouted without even getting a chance to say anything or even move.

 

Everything had happened in such a quick flash he could hardly register what was going on. Ugh! He was a scientist, not a fighter. His brains and beauty were not meant for the battlefield! Not to mention he would get dirty and soil his precious hair. Besides his experiments, he cared about his appearance since he did not want anyone getting the wrong idea about him. Scientists were not just ugly bookworms. They could be pretty, too.

 

“But my experiments!” Uruha cried out, disliking the whole situation.

 

Argh, now he would lose the specimens vital for the eventual return of the leader. How the hell did Kouryu plan to rectify the situation?!

 

“I said just go!” Kouryu shouted as he was already out of bullets to shoot at the angels. He shoved the doctor till they came to the hidden door. Kouryu was left with no choice but to try and deflect the icicles and thorns by grabbing a nearby small table and using it as a shield. He cursed the object, making it so that whatever the angels sent at him were immediately eaten up by the cursed table and could be used to toughen it up… If only it didn’t add more weight to the table and if only Uruha would stop complaining and just leave already.

 

He opened the door, quickly forcing the doctor inside, just in time for him to deflect an attack from Manabu.

 

Byou narrowed his eyes when he heard the other guy, who was clearly not a fighter, holler out loud. Experiment? As that weird duo were making their escape, he noticed… cages? What the fuck? Were these fuckers experimenting with live human beings?

 

Manabu had came into contact with the bodyguard. He let his vines elongate into a whip so he could try and slice up the hardening table shield. Yet, no matter what he did it seemed that his whip was only being swallowed up by the curse and helped it toughen up. Manabu cursed at the situation, he quickly tried to find another angle as he made the vines on the floor to grab a hold of Kouryu’s legs again.

 

He turned his attention for a split second on the opened hidden door. Manabu willed his vines to keeps it open as well, as he fought with Kouryu who was easily removing them with the use of his curse.

 

‘Can I engage him in hand-to-hand combat?’ Manabu thought quickly as he was running out of options. ‘Direct contact with him could result in an even fatal curse.’ 

 

At the same time, Kouryu was at his wits end praying that their men in the facility would come up to their place already ‘Where’s the fucking backup when you need it?!’ For once in his life. Kouryu was hoping someone would actually help him out.

 

Byou decided to worry about those experiments later. For now, he needed to help Manabu and beat this bastard. He figured direct contact would result in a curse, and it seemed all their long-ranged attacks were being rendered useless because of his adept magical abilities. Since Manabu was distracting the guy from the front, Byou figured he should attack from the side where he left himself completely open. After all, it seemed whatever that guy touched was cursed, so if he somehow forced his enemy to let go of the table, then Manabu would be able to make his move.

 

He raced over past Manabu and snapped his fingers as a ray of fire shot out from his fingertips. Most people couldn’t control the raging fire, but Byou grew up having to deal with this nasty element all his life, so he knew perfectly well how to bend it to his will. He would burn that guy’s hand to smithereens if he didn’t let go of that table.

 

With Uruha out of the way, Kouryu could now focus his attention back to the fight at hand. It was hard for him to keep on dodging Manabu’s attacks when he had to multitask in cursing the growing vines on the floor.  He grabbed a hold of the knife he always kept with him, just in case he was in a pinch and couldn’t reload his gun.

 

Kouryu moved forward, aiming at any vital parts of the brunet so he could stop him from trapping him. Yet, what Kouryu didn’t anticipate was the other’s partner coming in close range. One moment, he and Manabu were fighting and the next there was another angel in close proximity, and Kouryu’s eyes widened as a sudden burn came to him.

 

“Ah!” Kouryu yelped as he as though he was being incinerated by the heat. There was no way he could curse fucking fire. As the burning sensation on his shield distracted him, Kouryu forgot that he was supposed to be cursing at the vines wrapping around his legs.

 

Once Manabu had gotten a good grip on Kouryu again, he pulled the man down so he could wrap his vines at the man’s entire body, trying to render him immobile.

 

“Stop moving or else, I’ll tell my partner here to roast you.” Manabu stated with a wince, his body had been shaking the entire time from the curse coursing throughout his hand. When he had caught the bodyguard, Manabu still forced himself to exert more effort in restraining the man. It was better to be safer than sorry; and they also still had to catch the doctor from earlier.

 

Byou noticed how Manabu strained himself to trap the enemy. He feared that Manabu might be pushing himself too hard and would have to deal with the consequences later. Fucking idiot. Why did he always exert so much pressure on himself? Byou supposed it might have something to do with the fact that Manabu was a lower-ranking angel and held a strong desire to prove himself worthy.

 

“Don’t bother to deal with him. Just burn him alive.” Byou shrugged his shoulders, not caring that much about their opponent. He also had a feeling this bastard who cursed Manabu good would not open his lips with any useful secrets.

 

Plus, if the doctor had any sense, he would have already run away on his two little feet since he couldn’t fight at all. Keeping this enemy alive might do them more harm than good. If it were up to him, he would kill the guy, but Manabu held the guy’s life in his hand. Also, Manabu liked making the decisions when it came to revenge or retribution. Byou learned early on never to seriously piss the guy off or else he would come back with a deadly vengeance.

 

There were now black veins appearing on his arm, forcing Manabu to stretch out his hand to keep Kouryu in his hands, the vines tightening and tightening their bonds on the human. “We can get info on him and the doctor.” Manabu suffices to Byou. Even as he looked as though he was in control, the brunet knew his place and asked for Byou’s permission whenever a heavy decision needed to be made.

 

“Now, tell us--” Yet, before he could finish his sentence, the floor crumbled beneath their feet was felt.//

 

Kouryu was not one to be captured so easily, the vines that binded him actually gave the wielder time to think everything through. It seems that their base had been compromised and he needed to make a decision now. He could either fight for the experiments for their leader or save both him and Uruha as he knows that only the doctor could finish the work at hand.

 

‘The doctor…’ The thought suddenly came to him.

 

If there were two angels that came for him and Uruha, who knows how many more were surrounding their area? Kouryu gritted his teeth, knowing that for now the best thing to do was to retreat. He let the duo chat up on what to do as he sneakily chanted a curse under his breath. The floor beneath him turned dark and eventually, a dark rot in the shape of him appeared underneath him that had the floor crumbling. Seconds later, before Manabu could finish whatever he wanted to say to Kouryu was cut off as the floor and vines gave out.

 

Kouryu easily slipped away from the angels, passing through one of the many hidden doors in their base so that he could find Uruha again. ‘This isn’t over, I’ll get back at you angel.’ The wielder mused internally as he clenched his hands in fury. ‘I’m sorry Uruha-san, I’ll find a way to get them back.’

 

Byou didn’t expect the guy to escape before either of them had a chance to do a thing. He thought about chasing after the enemy, but Manabu was hurt, and they were right where they needed to be to collect the information. And those two twerps were speaking something about an experiment, which Byou wished to check out first.

 

With the enemy gone and out of sight, he could let his guard down and take a closer examination of the room. He turned around to discover what secrets were buried within this place.

 

“Are you going to be okay, Manabu?” Byou asked as he surveyed the room.

 

Byou’s eyes bugged out when he spotted two freaking cages standing before them. He had seen them briefly before, but not in full detail. Now that he had a chance to carefully inspect the sight before him, he felt his heart stop. The cages themselves were harmless. What shocked him to the core were the contents inside of the prison. It was… two freaking people? At first glance, it appeared to be two humans, but he sensed a different aura than usual humans or those silly cursed wielders. Could they be… angels? But how was that possible?

 

He cautiously strolled over to the cages and called out to Manabu.

 

“Hey, Manabu. Look at that.” Byou pointed with his index finger to direct Manabu’s attention towards the sleeping figures.

 

Huh. One of them seemed pretty cute. Ahem, not that he would ever say that out loud.

 

Manabu held his arm, willing the pain to go away for now since they had more work to do. He knew that as of now, he couldn’t chase after the enemy in his current state. “I’ll be fine,” the brunet answered. The pain wasn’t something he couldn’t handle, so far he was still able to walk and conjure his vines earlier so Manabu thinks he can still make it to their trip back to the heaven. “What is it? We need to get as much of the files as possi--”

 

The brunet couldn’t finish his sentence when he looked to the direction that Byou was pointing.

 

“No…” he said followed by the thought. ‘It couldn’t be…’

 

“Are those?” He questioned to their leader, looking over to Byou. “I don’t think we should let our guard down with those two.” Manabu quickly said. They may be sleeping so peacefully in that… Cage and they may or may not know what’s happening right now, but Manabu still insists that he and Byou would be cautious.

 

“Is there anything on the files here that say who and what they are?” Manabu inquires this time as he moves over to the computers in front of the cage. They needed the files and research, any information on who the two people in the cage are. Manabu looked at them skeptically, not knowing what their next course of action should be as he looked to Byou for guidance.

 

“I’ll look over the computers for now,” Manabu tells his partner.

 

Byou sighed at Manabu’s overprotective statement. “Please. If they were harmful, they would have put them in tighter prison cells or whatever the hell they’re supposed to be in.”

 

He would let Manabu do all the computer stuff and any other work that was necessary. He didn’t like that bureaucratic shit. It didn’t fit his loose, spur-of-the-moment style.

 

He took a few steps around the cages, briefly examining the unconscious living beings. Byou began to wonder what they were like. He then chuckled a little before he sauntered over and teased Manabu, “What do you think of those two guys?”

 

Eh, Manabu was a hard worker. In fact, he was way too obsessed with work, but hey. A little fun couldn’t hurt anyone on the job. Either way, they were waiting for the data to load. What could be more exciting?

 

As he busied himself on copying files and listening to Byou, the question made Manabu stop and look at the leader in a deadpan expression. “Really? Right now?” He asks the other in a flat-toned voice.

 

Byou grinned and dragged Manabu over to look at the poor living beings lying on the ground.

 

“Come on. Pick. I won’t let you continue with your work if you don’t.” Byou playfully threatened him.

 

Heh, he liked to pick on Manabu because the brunet was always so damn serious and pretended like nothing was ever funny or hilarious. Manabu could also be quite comical when he got irritated.

 

“Hey, come on! Stop it!” Manabu complained to the other, trying to pull away from Byou. Sadly, the curse from earlier had already rendered him weak and when it came to physical strength Byou had the upper hand, so the brunet was left to groan in annoyance at Byou’s antics.

 

“If I do this, you’ll let me get back to work?” Manabu grumbled, rolling his eyes at the leader’s childlike playfulness. How did this powerful archangel who could lead a battalion of angels have such a spontaneous and easy-going personality!? One of the many mysterious Manabu may never receive an answer to.

 

“Come on. Just pick.” Byou smirked right back at him without answering him. “Who do you think looks better?”

 

Haha, that should rile a response right out of the extremely serious, conservative Manabu. Honestly, if Byou didn’t know any better, he would have pegged Manabu to be a robot. He never talked or discussed about love, relationships, or anything of that nature. Damn, the dude didn’t have a secret stash of porn. Every guy had one. Regardless of their gender preferences.

 

Manabu sighed in exasperation, looking over to the cage where the two – Humans? Angels? – were sleeping. He squinted his eyes, not really wanting to do this right now, but if he wanted to get back to work, he had to do what Byou says. Byou, in his opinion, was quite stubborn in bothering him till he got what he wanted from Manabu. He figured later on that it seemed like an endearing way of friendship with Byou… He hated it still though.

 

He stared at the duo who were sleeping. He admitted that both of them looked all right but, he did lean a little more to the other guy.  The one with auburn hair and sharper features who looked as though he could be breathtakingly handsome when awake.

 

Manabu shook the thoughts away. He did not need to be thinking of such things right now, they needed to work. The brunet looked to Byou, he had known the other for such a long time now that they both knew each other like the back of their hand - from years of training and doing missions together - that Manabu knew Byou’s type already.

 

“I like the blond one. Now, can I go back to work?” He lied on purpose, looking straight to Byou’s eyes as he said so.

 

Byou snorted at Manabu’s answer and widely grinned, “Liar. I saw you shift your eyes for a second.”

 

Ha, as if he would miss Manabu take a sneak peak at one of them. They had basically grew up together as kids and Manabu seemed to always prefer to those handsomer men anyways. Hehe.

 

“Just admit it. Go find out his name.” Byou dared him as a challenge.

 

“No, I’m no--” Manabu was about to defend himself when Byou’s words caught him off-guard. They were definitely not doing this right now! “What!? No way! If you let me work, I’ll find out their names through the files!” Manabu argues to the other. “If you’re so curious, why don’t you go and find out yourself.” He adds off in a haughty tone of voice, challenging Byou back.

 

Byou chuckled, restraining himself from bursting out into a laughter since he knew that would make Manabu blow up for sure. He knew he shouldn’t poke at Manabu’s pride, but he couldn’t resist.

 

“Oh, what? Too afraid of… skin-to-skin contact? Getting close to people?” Byou purposely taunted him.

 

Oh, man. They were completely straying off from their task, but Byou had to poke fun of Manabu since they hardly ever encountered other “strangers” or “beings” in their line of work. They mainly interacted with angels, which was fine with him. But he liked variety, and he hated his mundane, routine-like life. Although, Manabu was the complete opposite. How did they ever get along?

 

“Fuck you.” Manabu pulled his middle finger up at the other. “You’re too chicken to do it yourself.” He said with much finality before going back to the computers. “I’m opening the cage and doing it myself.”

 

When he was copying the files, he had already seen a button to open the cage. Manabu had thought against it earlier, thinking it was unsafe for them to casually stroll inside and try to save the two people inside but, screw safety. Ain’t nobody telling Manabu he’s afraid, especially not Byou.

 

His finger was pointed to the open button, contemplating for a split second if he should open it. His eyes glanced from the cage then, back to the button.

 

Byou decided to be devious and made the choice for Manabu. He quickly pressed that button Manabu’s finger kept on hovering over. That guy was taking way too damn long to think. What seriously ran through his mind? It was a simple press.

 

He then grabbed Manabu and shoved him inside of the prison cell. He was about to push him into that handsome guy, but somehow Manabu stumbled forward towards that shorty blonde hair dude. What the fuck? Shit! He didn’t mean to do that!

 

Manabu hated being dragged by Byou, it meant that he had no means of escaping from whatever stupid idea was going on through the other’s head. “No, wait wait--” He tried to stop the other from pushing him inside the cage because apparently, Byou seemed to be too distracted to notice that their antics had seemed to have woken up the duo.

 

When he came inside the cage, Manabu lost his footing. He tried to balance himself back but, before he knew it he was falling towards the blond who was slowly stirring awake. The events seemed to happen too fast, Manabu didn’t even notice how their positions had changed. One moment, he saw the two beings sleeping side-by-side, facing each other and the next, he was falling onto the cute one who was now laying on his back slowly waking up.

 

This was not the best wake up call.

 

He fell on top of him, Manabu trying to his best to dodge the other, but his actions only seemed to have made it worse as he accidentally put himself in a position that made him face the blond and accidentally kiss him on the lips.

 

Yup, definitely the worst way to wake someone up.

 

Kazuki heard the rattling of metal and rapid footsteps reverberating in his ears. He barely had any time to open his eyes and register the cool air entering the place where he was sleeping. When he finally opened his eyes, he was shocked unable to comprehend what he was staring at. He expected to just see Jin. However, he spotted a guy… on top of Jin. What the fuck was going on?

 

Byou froze not expecting the situation to spiral out of control. Fuck! Why did that happen? Oh, shit. Byou could already predict Manabu chewing him out later. Well… What could he say? Things happened. Goddammit. Manabu even got to kiss the guy. Why should he even be complaining?

 

One moment it was dark and the next, Jin slowly came into consciousness. The light felt too harsh on his eyes as he blearily tried to wake himself up. He moved onto his back, scooting away a bit from Kazuki. He felt the other’s presence, knowing for a fact that Kazuki would be right beside him yet, what he didn’t anticipate was the presence of another stranger.

 

The body that fell on top of him was what woke Jin to the fullest but, what shocked him the most was coming face to face with a complete stranger that apparently was kissing him.

 

“Ah!” Jin quickly screamed out in fear, quickly putting his hands between them as he pushed the stranger away from him. Once there was space between them, Jin was quick to pull his hand up to slap the other’s cheek. “Who the hell are you?!” He shouted as the blond quickly looked to his side to find Kazuki, in a haste Jin scooted close to the other.

 

Manabu didn’t know what to expect but, he sure wasn’t hoping for them to wake up so soon, to accidentally kiss the blond, and now to be slapped on the cheek like some sort of pervert. Oh, he’d give Byou a beating after this for sure!

 

He held his slapped cheek with his injured arm, quickly noticing the lack of black veins and pain in them. As much as Manabu wanted to handle the current problem at hand, he couldn’t help but check how the curse in his hand had miraculously disappeared all of a sudden.

 

Byou whistled to himself when he saw the whole scene unfold. Whoa. That short guy could pack a punch for Manabu to be shoved away that fast. Huh. He seemed feisty, too. He wondered what his personality was like.

 

Kazuki blinked his eyes at Jin’s actions and everything, which transpired in front of him. He should have been more afraid of these strangers who they had never seen before. However, he felt relaxed and at ease. What was this calming feeling when he gazed at that angry guy in front of them?

 

“Who are you?” Kazuki ventured to ask the guy who had slightly messy curls in his hair.

 

“Who the heck are you guys?” Byou figured he should say something before Manabu really chewed his head off.

 

Manabu was lost for a second, wondering how is it that from one moment he was almost curling from pain from the curse earlier and now… It seemed as though he was completely healed. Well, not completely since the wounds from the curse earlier were still there but, the curse is no longer there. When Kazuki spoke, Manabu was quickly brought back to Earth and he followed the sound of that voice. He was mesmerized for a moment, staring at the duo.

 

And then his attention came back to Byou and Manabu knew he needed to get his act together again. The brunet cleared his throat, standing up as he held both hands up as a sign that he wouldn’t do any harm to the duo.

 

“We won’t do anything to you guys.” Manabu spoke this time, eyeing the two of them as Manabu found name tags on the white gowns they wore. “Jin, Kazuki.” He said their names respectively, looking from one to the other.

 

“We’re trying to find out why you guys are inside this cage.” Manabu added off.

 

Jin scoffed, obviously not believing a word coming out from the other. He huffed in indignation. “Yeah right, shut up pervert.” Jin accused him as he inched closer to Kazuki, holding onto the other for support.

 

Byou loudly snorted at Jin’s insult. Manabu was a pervert? Oh, man. Manabu really was the epitome of an angel - literally. He had never even seen the guy dating around or talking about people. However, he could tell that the shorty wasn’t going to play nice with them after that awkward kissing situation.

 

“Well… we aren’t going to leave them here, are we?” Byou shifted his eyes towards Manabu who kept his eyes glued on the two strangers. Underneath that stoic face, Byou noticed a hidden sparkle in Manabu’s usual dull eyes. He wondered that expression on Manabu’s face meant.

 

“You don’t look like bad guys. What do you think, Jin?” Kazuki wish to place his trust in them.

 

Not to mention, Kazuki could tell they came from a totally different place - a place outside of this pitiful prison. Kazuki thought they had those exotic white wings, which gleamed in the lights as if they had descended from somewhere high above. To him, those wings glimmered like rays of sunlight.

 

Jin looked to Kazuki, wanting to trust the other’s judgement. Yet, when he glanced back at the man with chestnut-coloured hair Jin ended up glaring at the man. No matter how pretty he appeared to be and even more beautiful did his wings seem, Jin definitely did not trust him.

 

“I don’t trust him,” Jin told Kazuki as he glared at Manabu then, he glanced to the door where he spotted the other stranger. That one seemed nice enough so far, so Jin pointed an index finger to the other and said. “But, I trust that other guy.” He concluded.

 

Manabu sighed, feeling a headache come to him. He did not need this right now, but he understood why Jin didn’t feel like trusting him. Manabu wouldn’t trust himself as well if someone asked him if he could trust himself. He turned his attention to Kazuki, watching the other man examining his wings as though he was in awe. The brunet figured this was maybe the way to get both men’s trust.

 

“You can trust me,” Manabu said, eyes staring straight into Kazuki’s. “I promise.”

 

“I hope so. My life is in your hands after all.” Kazuki slightly joked with Manabu who appeared to be a very serious person since he hadn’t even cracked a smile on his face yet.

 

Kazuki noticed those soft, dark brown eyes, which shimmered underneath the fluorescent bright lights. In his mind, he tried to craft an image of Manabu lusciously smiling. Those messy curls and brunet hair accentuated his white, porcelain-like face and those extremely rosy red lips. How could anyone naturally look that way? For some inexplicable reason, Kazuki had a strong desire to see him break out in a natural laughter or grin.

 

Byou inwardly chuckled at the awkward moment between Manabu and Kazuki. Manabu was too much of a dunce to realize what was transpiring. Kazuki had been completely entranced by Manabu’s presence unlike Jin. Although, was surprised that Jin, the shorty, trusted him. Hmm, probably because he didn’t unexpectedly kiss him. Now, he contemplated as to what it would be like to kiss that guy’s lips. Damn Manabu.

 

“Ahem, Manabu. What do you want to do?” Byou cleared his throat, seeing that Manabu was too busy with his eyes looking at a certain someone.

 

“Well, I don’t think we can leave them here.” Manabu answered in his mind, ‘Now that we’ve woken them up.’ He continued in his thoughts. Manabu already partially made up his mind of suggesting to Byou to leave the duo in their cages until they obtained more information. But since someone was too adamant on playing their little game earlier, now they obviously had no choice but to take Jin and Kazuki with them.

 

It’d look hella bad for him if he came up and told Byou ‘Hey let’s leave them here for now, till we get back up.’

 

“If you guys are willing,” Manabu started off as he looked from Kazuki to Jin. “I would prefer it if you guys came along with us. If we leave you here, you might be in danger of being experimented on and that won’t settle well in our conscience.”

 

“Experimented?” Jin echoed out the other’s word as he arched up one brow in puzzlement. “What are you talking about?”

 

Byou’s heart pounded in fear, but not because he himself was scared. What frightened him most was the lack of knowledge and ignorance they had about themselves. They had no idea they were being experimented on? That was odd. But that might explain their sleeping state and the obvious confusion written on their faces. Fuck. Maybe they shouldn’t have let that stupid doctor and wielder escape.

 

“Experimented?” Kazuki carefully eyed the area around him to survey the room, but he didn’t see anyone that would resemble someone of authority in these matters. And he doubted either of these handsome angels were scientists. “I don’t think we were?”

 

“Oh, boy.” Byou simply muttered to himself, not knowing what sort of fucking mess they dived into.

 

What the hell were they going to do? There was no way they could start spewing about random shit if these guys didn’t know what was going on with themselves.

 

Byou motioned for Manabu to come over and step away from Kazuki. They needed to discuss their next course of action, but they couldn’t be so blunt about it in front of these guys since it seemed they didn’t know much about anything.

 

Manabu slowly and with caution came back to Byou’s direction. He and the leader had the same thoughts in wanting to discuss their next course of action for now. As much as he wanted to leave them alone here earlier, that was before they woke up and when Manabu was sure that they could get some back-up first before doing anything major.

 

“What do you think?” Manabu spoke up first, glancing from time-to-time at the duo behind him. He was at a loss for what to do, but all the brunet knows is that since the two who were experimented on had woken up, they now needed to keep a close eye on them in case they were dangerous or worse, innocents who were being imprisoned and tortured in this lab. “You’re calling the shots here.”

 

Jin listened closely to the two angel’s conversation. Even though they were whispering, the blond had an inkling as to what they could be discussing about. Whether or not, they would forcefully drag him and Kazuki to wherever they wanted or worse… Jin didn’t even want to think about what could be worse than, that.

 

“Kazuki, what--” He tried to ask the other, obviously at a loss for what was currently happening to them but, something else caught his attention.

 

Now that he was fully awake and aware of his surroundings, Jin had now only noticed where they currently were. They were in a brightly lit area, the walls a dull white yet what really got to him were the golden bars. His eyes averted from side to side, then looking to his back. He had only now noticed that they were inside a cage and he felt afraid.

 

‘Where’s Uruha and Kouryu? What’s happening?’ Jin thought to himself as he gripped tighter on Kazuki’s arm. “Kazuki,” He started again, looking at the other in almost panic. “What’s happening?”

 

“I’m not sure either. But they don’t seem like bad people, do they?” Kazuki spoke to Jin as they waited for those two angels to finish their discussion.

 

He should have been more concerned, but he felt as though he could trust them. He didn’t know why either. His natural instincts told them to put his guard up, but he didn’t. In fact, he wished he could joke around with them especially with that serious, smaller one. He was an interesting character with a pretty face. Kazuki had a feeling that something about Manabu was more complicated than the stone-faced demeanor he wore on the outside.

 

“They don’t look harmful at the moment. You gather the rest of the data from the computer and I’ll keep a close eye on them. Of course, we’ll have to report to Hizaki about them later when we return.” Byou hesitantly gave the order.

 

He actually wasn’t sure how the heck to proceed, but he felt as though he needed to protect and save them. From the way they spoke, and moved, he doubted they held any important information. But Hizaki and the other higher-ups might feel different and would probably try to lock them up again. Simply because they would be assumed to have plenty of information about the rebels. For some reason, he felt he couldn’t let that happen.

 

“Is that okay with you?” Byou stole a quick glance over at the two guys sitting there and looking at them with curious eyes.

 

“Yeah, that’s fine with me.” Manabu said with a nod as he took one more glance at the duo. “You’ll have to persuade them on your own. You know I’m not good with words.” He added off with a pat on the other’s shoulder as to tell him that Byou was now all on his own with this one, if there was one more thing that Manabu lacked in skills, it was definitely in the socializing department.

 

The brunet was better when it came to objects, like computers or weapons or anything that didn’t need him talking… Aside from his plants of course, they only needed words of encouragement from him from time to time. But, people? Yup, Manabu would rather not.

 

As Manabu left, Jin’s eyes followed him. For some odd reason, Jin didn’t know whether or not he felt relieved that the brunet was gone or disappointed that he had left them all alone in this cage. Didn’t he tell both him and Kazuki earlier that they could trust him? But now, he left both Jin and Kazuki inside this cage, walking to what seemed to be a computer and now minding his own business.

 

The nerve of the guy! Jin was definitely feeling more and more conflicted with him than, before. But, he tried not to dwell on it too much; right now he and Kazuki had more problems at hand.

 

“I can’t tell if we can trust them or not really,” Jin answers finally in a low toned whisper to his companion. He leans in close to Kazuki’s ear. “But, you know I’ll follow you so what should we do?”

 

Kazuki patted Jin’s hand on his arm and firmly gripped onto it. For some strange reason, Kazuki didn’t know Jin too well, but he knew he had to stick next to him. It almost seemed his instincts drew him in to stay close by and never to separate from Jin. He wondered why, but that was the case. Although, at the same time, their lives were in the hands of these obviously powerful angels, so they had to be careful as well. But still. He wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt since those angels didn’t kill them on sight.

 

“We’ll be fine. Just trust me.” Kazuki tried his best to reassure Jin who appeared to be even more physically and emotionally vulnerable right now.

 

Jin felt relieved by Kazuki’s words, as though the tightening in his chest had somewhat loosened a little when he heard the other’s reply. He didn’t know why, but for some odd reason he knew he could trust Kazuki. He was the only familiar thing he knew at the moment and so, the blond would cling to him. “Alright,” he answered with a nod, looking firmly in the auburn’s eyes. “I trust you.”

 

Byou wondered how he was going to convince these people especially the shorty who had long blond hair. He knew he shouldn’t grow emotionally attached at first, but damn that guy looked hot. He was sort of jealous that Manabu got to kiss him, too. Fuck. He should be concentrated at the task at hand instead of thinking about other matters.

 

“Yo, you can trust us both. We’re not going to hurt you. And it looks like you’ve been stuck here for some time, too, right?” Byou tried his best to persuade these helpless-looking guys.

 

Honestly, he disliked talking to total strangers because he had no idea what kind of motives they had. How was he going to freaking convince them? For all he knew, they probably suspected he would murder them.

 

Jin visibly winced at the other’s casual tone, scooting closer to Kazuki. It was another stranger, and although he did point to this guy earlier as willing to ‘trust’ him, Jin wasn’t really whole-heartedly on board with the idea… But, then again he had already let out those words so, he ain’t eating them any time soon.

 

“I don’t think so?” Jin replied, mostly to Kazuki as he drew his attention back to the other. “Do you remember anything?” He inquired, somewhat ignoring the other angel who was now talking to them. To the eyes of others, Jin may have looked too snobbish from his actions but that was him trying to cover up the feeling of panic inside. He didn’t know if Kazuki had caught up on that, but he had hoped that by the way he way holding onto the other and almost literally squishing himself to the auburn’s side that it was at least somewhat obvious that everything and everyone around them was making the blond uncomfortable.

 

Uncomfortable to the point that Jin really did feel like panicking but, knew that doing such a thing would be useless and unhelpful at all.

 

Kazuki could feel Jin’s worries, which were lodged deep within his heart. To ease Jin’s fears, he hugged Jin with one of his arms, so he would feel more relaxed. The last thing he wanted was Jin being irrational or doing something which would only make him more worried. They may have not been blood related, but Kazuki felt a familial bond and, in his eyes, Jin was like his younger brother. After all, he was the shorter one.

 

“I’m not sure honestly.” Kazuki took the initiative to directly respond to Byou who seemed to be the guy in charge. “It feels we have been stuck here for a while. But more importantly, what’s going to happen to us? What are you planning to do with us?”

 

He had to find out if they were going to be sent off to the slaughterhouse or not. If they were, Kazuki would have to think of a plan to escape with Jin. Survival right now was the only thing that mattered. Even if these two angels did look exquisite beyond belief.

 

Byou could sense their uneasiness and hesitancy when they interacted with him. He couldn’t blame them. If the situation were reversed, he would probably act the same way. He saw he would have to be straightforward about the situation with them, otherwise, they might resist being brought along.

 

“Look. We’re obviously angels. My name is Byou and my partner over there on the computer is Manabu.” Byou glanced over at Manabu who was conveniently too engrossed to the computer screen to make any gesture. That nerd was avoiding any interaction with them, huh? He saw how it was. He would have to do all the stupid legwork of persuasion. “We are here on a mission with some other angels, and I’m the leader responsible for them. And I promise I will ensure your safety. Nothing will happen to you guys if you choose to come with us.”

 

Fuck. Byou had no idea what the hell was going to happen to them. What the hell were the superiors going to say? No, he already promised them. He would ensure their safety no matter what. He would not let them suffer after whatever crap those other two bastards put them through.

 

“And I never ever break my promise.” Byou added as a last statement of affirmation.

 

At those words, Jin finally looked up at Byou. There was something in the way he spoke and the words he used that made it seems so </i>genuine</i>. He stared at him, trying to gauge any lies that could have been written in the other’s face but, he saw none. It seemed as though that this guy Byou was a man of his words… or at least that was what Jin hoped he would truly be.

 

“Well,” Jin started, glancing over to Kazuki for support. He was slowly starting to warm up to the idea of coming along with the angels. Besides, earlier Kazuki already seemed to be sure enough of coming along with them and Jin did already say that wherever Kazuki goes, he goes as well. “I guess if you’ll make sure that we’re safe?” He said finally, a small smile appearing on his lips.

 

Kazuki was glad to see Jin easing up and not being so tense. He even sensed Jin’s muscles loosening. Jin mostly likely feared for their lives since these two angels were complete strangers. Nevertheless, he appreciated Jin for being the more extra cautious one. Maybe his personality could probably be considered a bit too wild, but hey, Jin would spot him as his good partner, right?

 

The blond did like the idea that there was someone who would make sure that they wouldn’t stay in an awful place like this. Whenever Jin would look around them, it seemed so lonely, so lifeless, and so empty. The blond did not feel like staying in a room like this any longer.

 

“Kazuki, what do you think?” Jin questioned the other this time, since he still had to make sure that they were both on the same page for this decision.

 

From outside the cage, Manabu quietly worked on the files of the Rebellion. He was already ninety percent done copying the files and was simply waiting for it to download onto his USB device. All the while, he had been listening closely to the trio’s conversation. He ignored Byou’s looks earlier of seemingly wanting to get some back-up in explaining the current circumstances. Byou had already screwed up and made him play that little game earlier, so now it was only fair that Byou would clean up the mess and convince Kazuki and Jin to come along with them.

 

He watched and listened closely though, trying to decipher if there was anything weird with the two of them. Mostly, he watched Kazuki comforting and hugging his blond companion, and it made him wonder ‘What is their relationship?’. If they were imprisoned here alone for many years in that cage, then it could be the cause of their close kinship. The blond seemed to be holding onto him for support so, he would guess that they had some sort of history.

 

Whatever the situation is, Manabu’s kind of hoping that he and Byou won’t get into heaps of trouble for bringing strangers into heaven. Hopefully, the Seraphims would see the good in their actions instead, trying to save two clueless and innocent victims from the hands of the Rebellion.

 

Kazuki gazed at Jin for a moment before he turned his attention towards Byou, the leader. If Byou was the commander who promised to ensure their safety, then Kazuki decided to place his faith in him. However, his partner hadn’t spoken a single word throughout the entire conversation. Even though Byou seemed like a decent person, Kazuki wondered what the quiet, unique one thought. Were Byou and he close? Would Manabu be on Byou’s side or go against him? Kazuki had to confirm what the partner thought.

 

“Okay, I’ll take your word for it. But what about your partner, Manabu?” Kazuki purposely said to see what they would say.

 

Byou was surprised that Kazuki would bring Manabu into the conversation. Most people took his word for it. He then shifted his eyes towards Manabu who appeared to be busy. As if. That stance was meant to deceive others, so no one would bother him since he hated others interacting with him at times.

 

“Manabu?” Byou called out his name, knowing full well that Manabu was listening in on the entire discussion.

 

The question concerning about him almost made Manabu arch up a brow. Almost. Kazuki had every right to question and know their thoughts about this decision. He had hoped that he didn’t need to interact with them anymore, given that the brunet was doing more important work with trying to bring down the Rebellion. But, he could give a slice of his attention to Kazuki and Jin anyways.

 

Manabu cleared his throat, focusing on the duo. “The decision to help you guys and offer to bring you to our home was made by Byou and me.” He said off firstly, staring down at the computer for a moment as the files were now officially copied. He took his USB then, proceeded to make his way back to the cage.

 

“I know Byou said earlier that he will ensure your safety but, he won’t be the only one doing that.” He confirmed as he looked from Byou then, back to the duo. “Originally, our mission was to infiltrate this place, we didn’t expect it to be a rescue mission at all.” he told a grain of truth to them. They needed to know that much anyways and since, Byou had been so honest already earlier, he supposed that it was his turn.

 

“So, believe in our words. Byou and I don’t make empty promises. I’ll put my life on the line in Heaven to protect both of you.” He said, looking at Jin then, to Kazuki straight in the eye. “That you can be sure of.”

 

Byou had been taken back by Manabu when so many words at once came out of his mouth. Not to mention it sounded so damn convincing. Where did he manage to pull that from? If only Manabu spoke like that all the time, then most of the other angels would find him more tolerable and even friendly. Huh. A stubborn attitude, but a secretly kind heart.

 

Byou shouldn’t have been surprised since he grew up with Manabu and spent most of his time with him. But sometimes Manabu could still pull out a trick or two out of his hat and do the unexpected. It was like Manabu buried himself away and only exposed certain parts of himself depending on the situation.

 

Most of the time, Manabu was silent, but could get easily embarrassed or angry at people for doing foolish shit. Furthermore, he was a workaholic who seemed to be dedicated at his work. Even when they went out to relax or have fun, Manabu wouldn’t say much and let him do all the talking or chatting.

 

There was a certain way that Manabu spoke that had more impact to Jin. Sure, he hated the guy’s guts from the beginning since he had an unbearably rude way of waking a stranger up. But, when he’s talking about his work and speaking about how he would put himself in front of Jin and Kazuki to protect them… He had to admit, that sounded way too cool for a pervert to say.

 

“I guess that sounds… Good.” Jin spoke up, trying to let his brain come to the conclusion of giving the brunet a second chance. Trying. “What do you think, Kazu?”

 

Kazuki couldn’t believe Jin already called him that silly nickname. He smirked at the shorter blonde man. Ha! He would give Jin an embarrassment later if that was how he wanted to be. He then glanced at the stoic man who spoke with such fervor in his voice. His voice was deep and soothing to hear. Kazuki wondered what he sounded like when he was happy and smiled. He was curious. Somehow, he wanted to learn more and discover who was underneath that hard-shell man.

 

“Okay. Since little Jinny here trusts you, I’ll place my life in your hands as well.” Kazuki flashed a confident smile.

 

Jin’s eyes widened at the nickname… Well now, technically not the nickname but the added ‘little’ to the nickname. “Hey!” The blond complained as he lightly punched at Kazuki’s arm. “Who are you calling little?” He complained with a pout, clearly not amused. “Kazu, you’re not being nice.” He added off, teasing the other again with the nickname.

 

Kazuki smirked at Jin’s playful and hostile response. He had a feeling Jin might not take a liking to it. But Jin’s height was calling for that name.

 

“I am being nice. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be so kind to you!” Kazuki exclaimed, pretending to not notice Jin’s frown.

 

Manabu watched the scene before, earlier the duo looked afraid and too skeptical of both him and Byou. But now, he watched them easily relax and now even be playful with each other. It almost left him offended that the duo seemed to be totally clueless at their situation. Were they really that easy? That trusting? Manabu almost felt bad for them, but at the same time it worked in their favor.

 

Manabu cleared his throat. “Alright, joking aside.” He started off, trying to get everyone’s attention. “I still have to make sure that we got all the files needed in this lab. I’ll check the cabinets and shelves. I think Byou can handle you two.” Manabu said off as he slapped Byou’s back, pushing him towards the duo. “Play nice.” and with that, the brunet went back to his work before he could give the clear signal to Byou that they have indeed finished their mission in infiltrating the Rebellion’s base and raiding all information they can.

 

Byou scoffed and said out loud, “What the hell? I’m not their nanny.”

 

He disliked the way Manabu took command and went about his merry way. Wasn’t he supposed to be one giving off orders? Stupid Manabu. That guy was lucky he worked hard and was somewhat intelligent, otherwise, Byou doubted he could handle Manabu’s snobby personality.

 

“Besides, I can’t carry both of them at the same time.” Byou pointed out even as Manabu checked out the area.

 

Manabu was about to ignore and return to the computers in case he missed something, but Byou’s words made him turn around. “You’re right.” One of the many moments that Manabu had to agree with Byou sadly. “I’ll carry the shorter one, he’s probably lighter.” he easily decided and coolly said, knowing for a fact that he would have difficulties carrying Kazuki due to their height difference.

 

Yet, Jin was quick protest in Manabu’s decision. “Like hell you will!” The blond shouted, clearly being fiercely against the idea of Manabu actually carrying him out. “What are you guys even talking about? Can’t we like… Walk or something out of here instead?” He questioned, looking over to Kazuki for support. “Ne Kazu, back me up here.”

 

Byou was about to protest, but that little short guy beat him to it. He wasn’t even half-interested in that tall guy. Anyways, Manabu was more into him, right? He purposely stayed quiet to not look like he was against Manabu’s idea.

 

“Where are we? I mean, why do we have to fly?” Kazuki decided to ask since Jin seemed quite against the idea.

 

Kazuki figured they must be in a place where they couldn’t travel by foot. Otherwise, there would be no need to fly. At least that was what he assumed.

 

Byou turned his head over, staring at Manabu to explain since he was the guy who brought up the whole issue of who to carry. Okay, fine. Since he liked to play boss, he could be the boss in this situation.

 

Manabu looked to Byou, waiting for him to reply back but the look on the other’s face told him that they would instead have a staring contest if Manabu waited for his partner to explain. The brunet rolled his eyes, groaning internally at the nuisance.

 

‘Oh, I’d so make him pay later for this.’ Manabu cursed internally, slowly getting royally pissed.

 

The brunet had to clear his throat again, preparing to explain their current situation. “We’re currently in purgatory.” He started off, vaguely gesturing with his hands. “There are only three ways to escape this place. You either have wings, a special ship, or a wielder for magic. Our unit came to this place using only our wings, currently the other members of our unit are busy doing their own stuff so you two,” He pointed at Jin and Kazuki. “Are stuck with us for now.”

 

Jin grumbled. “Can’t I be stuck with him instead?” Jin pointed towards Byou.

 

Manabu glanced at his leader, knowing for a fact that he was relishing in the fact that the cute guy he liked was literally asking for Byou. But, Manabu was an asshole, and he wouldn’t give Byou that kind of satisfaction. “Sadly, I’ll have difficulty carrying your friend Kazuki out of purgatory if you force yourself with Byou instead,” Manabu reasoned, somewhat logical although he’s pretty sure he can carry Kazuki, it’ll be uncomfortable because of… Well, his height? Yup, definitely because of their height difference. “And I don’t think you want to be the reason that I accidentally fall and crash with Kazuki because you want to bunk fly with Byou instead right?” Manabu inquired, tilting his head to the side cockily at Jin. He’d like to see the blond try to protest against his decision now.

 

Byou felt elated that the shorter so readily trusted him, but Manabu immediately shot that idea down. What the fuck? Manabu wanted to play this game now?!

 

“I don’t think you’d have a problem carrying Kazuki. Besides, you don’t want Jin accidentally falling out of your grip just because he feels uncomfortable.” Byou crossed his arms together.

 

Kazuki was confused why this was such a big deal. Although, he supposed Jin might be uncomfortable with Manabu after that crazy kissing occurrence. But the last thing he wanted was to hurt the people who were going to help them leave.

 

“Well, I wouldn’t want to crush, Manabu.” Kazuki slightly joked, inserting himself into the conversation.

 

Jin looked to Kazuki, somewhat understanding his predicament. “I guess you might be too heavy for him to carry, look at his weak noodle arms.” Jin pointed, leaning in to Kazuki’s ear as though he was sharing the latest gossip to the other. “And I guess I don’t want you to fall off.” Even if it meant at the expense of having to uncomfortably be carried by that pervert, the blond thought that Kazuki’s safety was more important.

 

The blond crossed his arms, glaring at Manabu. “Fine. I’ll go with you but, I’m not afraid to kick the living hell out of you if you do any funny business.”

 

Manabu angrily stared back at Jin, clearly not pleased with the comment.  He crossed his arms as well, leaning in as if to further insinuate that he needed to look down to see Jin. “Fine! Who would want to be bunk flying with your uncute ass anyways!” Manabu insulted before he walked out huffing indignantly, finishing his work and ignoring all distractions now.

 

Byou whistled, finding that short guy’s comment fiesty but hilarious. No one had ever been so blunt and straightforward with Manabu. Not to mention Manabu threw out such an exasperated response. Must have meant he was freaking ticked off. Although, it stunk because that stupid Kazuki guy acted like a samaritan, so he had no choice but to not carry that cuter looking guy. Goddamn his bad luck.

 

“Excuse me?!” Jin shouted back, offended. The blond looked to Kazuki. “Do I look uncute?” He asked, looking as though he was genuinely curious if it was true or not.

 

Kazuki burst out into laughter at Jin’s statement, unable to restrain himself. “I thought you didn’t like being called cute, Jinny.”

 

If anything, Jin acted like he was a super, tough guy who could wrestle six people at the same time. For Jin, it was all about his man pride. Kazuki supposed the blonde shorty acted that way to make-up for his height. Good thing he didn’t have that problem.

 

It took Manabu at least thirty minutes to clear out the entire lab. He had to work in a hurry since the trio had already distracted him way too much to properly complete his job earlier. The computers, files, and books inside the lab were now cleared and copied by the brunet. He double checked the area one more time, before confirming to Byou that his task was done.

 

“Time check,” The brunet stated off as both him and Byou had now escorted Jin and Kazuki out of the lab. “We have fifteen minutes till demolition time, so I suggest we get going before the crew gives the go signal.” Manabu explained off to their leader as the brunet fixed himself up for the flight.

 

Kazuki felt strange walking out of that place and into some area he had never seen before. It was even stranger for him to be breathing in natural air. He couldn’t remember when he arrived or even got to that strange place, but he enjoyed the feeling of being outside. He almost couldn’t wait to explore and see what he had been missing all these years. He hoped they wouldn’t simply be locked away somewhere else once they were brought to wherever these two angels lived.

 

He glanced over at the brunet man who seemed so serious as he talked to Byou. He knew it was mean, but he kind of liked seeing him slightly irritated. It looked kind of cute. Ahem. Somehow, he got the feeling Manabu wouldn’t appreciate that comment.

 

“You work fast.” Byou smirked, then nodding, agreeing with Manabu’s statement. “You’re right. Let’s get going. We’ve already spent too much time here.”

 

“Can you guys keep up? We’re going to make haste to the front.” Byou asked Jin and Kazuki, wondering if they would be fit enough, considering they appeared as though they had been locked up for a long time.

 

Jin wasn’t excited for the whole flying trip. He had hoped that they could prevent this from happening to a later time in order for him to find a friendlier person to carry him out. But sadly, it seems that he had little choice. The blond had stuck close to Byou instead, wanting to stay as far away as possible from Manabu for the time being.

 

“Demolition?” Jin questioned, looking at the two angels. “You guys are blowing this place up?” He added off and was taken aback when Manabu had suddenly invaded his personal space once they had made it to the entrance of the building.

 

“Yes, we’re blowing the area up, so we need to hurry up and get out of here.” Manabu calmly replied back as he opened his arms for Jin. “Now come on, we don’t have all day.” He continued urging Jin to get into his arms already so they can fly off.

 

The blond glowered at Manabu, very reluctantly wrapping his arms around him as the brunet proceeded to hoist him up then, carry Jin. Manabu turned to Byou this time, waiting for his partner. “Ten minutes, we need to hurry.” He said in a poker face, ignoring the squirming blond in his arms.

 

“All right, boss.” Byou mockingly agreed, knowing it would piss Manabu off.

 

Unlike other people, Byou didn’t mind as much whenever Manabu tended to take control of the situation. Manabu never meant any harm and only thought about the success of the mission. In all aspects, Manabu was like the perfect soldier - always calculative, distant, and thinking two steps ahead. It was unfortunate that Manabu was ranked lower because of his status as an angel.


“Anyways, hurry up. We don’t have all day.” Byou grouchily said as he bent down because Kazuki had to be tall.

 

Kazuki chuckled at the Byou’s grumpy response. Did the guy already taking a liking to Jin? He shrugged the thought off for now. Byou didn’t seem like an evil guy, so Kazuki decided not to be rude to him. For now.

 

“Okay, okay, mister.” Kazuki complied with his request.

 

“Are we all good?” Byou asked once Kazuki got into his arms and stood up on his feet.

 

Manabu nodded, preparing as he spread his wings out and adjusted the way he held Jin so it wouldn’t be too uncomfortable for the both of them. “Ready when you are.” He said as he looked over to Byou, holding the blond close to his chest.

 

Byou still felt envious about the whole situation, but he clamped his mouth, knowing they were on a mission and not out having fun.

 

“All right, then. Let’s go home.” Byou smiled with a grin, wondering what would happen from here on out now as he gazed over to the horizon and took flight.