Chapter 1: Chapter One
As Robert woke up on that Sunday morning, he immediately noticed something was wrong. Something was horribly wrong.
It was only 8AM, but he was reasonably scared, as anyone would’ve been given his current situation.
His mother stood at the foot of the bed. She’d been dead for years, since Robert was fourteen.
Annie was a nice lady—generous, compassionate, funny, and soft in all the right places. She was blunt enough to tell you when you had garlic in your teeth or tell you to stand up for yourself, but she was always be there to comfort you, holding you in her arms like she could protect you from the world.
Robert missed that. He missed not having a mother figure around, as anyone would. He certainly didn’t miss the rays of light that shone in through his bedroom window and the lights that seemed to outline his mother, though.
His brows creased in confusion and he sat up slowly, leaning against the headboard. Seeming to understand his puzzled state, Annie spoke up:
...Which would be great if she did, really. He hoped she would’ve said anything, he hoped she would’ve explained why the hell she was there. Instead, she stood, watched him watch her, then disappeared.
She didn’t speak up. Strange for a woman who never stopped talking.
It happened all too quickly. One moment, Robert was waiting for her to say something. The next, she was gone, along with the lights. Strange. Fucking strange.
As if his morning couldn’t get any more confusing and life changing, a sharp pain erupted from his shoulder blades. He yelped in pain, scooting away from the headboard. The ache continued.
Robert spent the whole day in bed, wincing every few minutes when his back and shoulders stung with a toe curling jab of pain. No one called, no one stopped by. It’s as if everyone forgot his existed that day. Strange.
He didn’t get up to retrieve the mail, he didn’t get up to eat, he didn’t get up to feed the dog. To put it simply: he couldn’t. It was all too much, the mere thought of moving gave him a headache.
The day slowly ticked by, seconds feeling like hours as he groaned every time a burst of pain shot through his body. It was the opposite of this morning when his mom had disappeared, everything moving way too slow.
He couldn’t think straight. All he could see was his mother, different variations of her. Some crying, some smiling, some frowning, some grimacing. If only he had heard her voice again, that was all he wanted...just an explanation.
His only other thought was “oh, shit, what’s that on my fucking back?” as he reached behind him at around five. Two wet and furry stubs stuck out from his shoulder blades.
No. There’s no possible way.
He began to panic. The ‘What If’’s ran through his head, making it spin and urging his headache on. He didn’t dare touch them again, in fear of discovering something new.
Now, it was eight—8PM, rather than 8AM. Twelve hours had passed since he’d seen his mother, twelve hours had passed. During all twelve, he was in agony.
Earlier, some time after he noticed the weird growths on his back, he noticed red spots appearing on his sheets. He didn’t dare move, too scared to find out.
The pain suddenly stopped some time after eight. His body felt normal again, yet it didn’t look normal. He glanced down at his shaking, clammy hands, gulping way too loudly.
A slight tickling sensation at the base of his neck made him jump. He probably should’ve gotten up and checked was it was earlier, because now, almost everything on his bed was a deep red. Strange.
Robert stood up, the muscles in his back aching uncomfortably. Caked blood made him grimace in disgust and he ignored the sight of pooled blood on his white mattress. He’d just clean it up later.
He avoided his bedroom mirror on the way to the bathroom, keeping his hands to his sides as he shuffled his weak legs and feet into the small room. Before entering, he took a deep breath. He knew he wasn’t going to like what he saw.
As he stood in front of the mirror, his hands shook considerably more than they had been while he was in bed. The thoughts going through his head were ones he’d never disuse to think.
Summoning up all the courage Robert had in his tired body at the moment, he turned around and screamed in fright.
Two bloody and feathery bones were protruding from his shoulder blades, both about two feet in length.
Really, truly, fucking strange.
Of course, Robert being Robert, the only thing he thought in that moment was “Fuck, how am I going to explain this on a first date?” Then, he promptly fainted onto the ground, as anyone would given his current situation.
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
Nothing extremely special, but Robert gets his shit together before meeting two important people to the plot.
After lying in bed for quite a few days and avoiding the obvious problem on his back, Robert finally decided he’d phone a friend. They’d probably all be wondering where the hell he was, not showing up at work for three days in a row and missing rehearsal.
He looked over at the telephone on his nightstand. Who wouldn’t freak out over this? Who would calmly help him understand the situation he was in?
The only thing he could thing of was a witch, someone with experience and deep knowledge about whatever creature he had become. Fortunately, he’d only encountered one in his life so far, so he got his lazy ass out of bed and phoned Bonzo.
John Bonham was a sweet, boisterous man. He was one hell of a drummer, too. He happened to be in Robert’s band, Hobbstweedle, but he didn’t bother to ring Robert while he was gone. Robert didn’t take it personally, though, because Bonzo was just like that. Or was Bonzo purposely ignoring him? Should Robert be worried about Bonzo? Was he going to kill him—Jesus Christ, Robert needs to see a shrink.
Robert knew he could count on him, though, being one of the only one’s in Bonzo’s life to know about his involvement with black magic. He sat next to his bed on a rocking chair and picked up the phone, dialing Bonzo’s number.
After exactly three rings, there was a crackle and a loud “‘Ello, who’s this?”
Robert sighed in relief. “Bonz, it’s Robert. Look, can you—“
“God, mate, I thought you were dead!” Well, maybe not dead, but close enough, Robert thought to himself, chuckling as Bonzo went on. “Where have you been?”
Robert cleared his throat, lowering his voice. He felt the new bones in his back move slightly upward, something soft touching his hair. Another fucking feather. “Can you...come over? It’s an emergency.”
“What happened?” Robert heard some more crackling on the other end of the line. “Did you get hurt? Who did it? I swear to God I’ll—“
“Just hurry. Please.” Robert swore he never sounded more desperate in his life. Bonzo whispered something to someone before sighing into the receiver.
“Do I need to bring a friend?”
Robert looked at his blood stained sheets. “Yes.” He slammed the phone back into its cradle and curled his knees to his chest.
Being alone for three straight days certainly did something to Robert’s mental stability. The lack of food and water in his system was tearing his stomach apart, the dramatic loss of blood just adding onto the list of things that made him feel even more sick.
He looked at his bed again and sighed, his chest rattling. He wasn’t even going to bother cleaning up.
When Bonzo arrived, he barged in, surprising both himself and Robert. The door was unlocked and he didn’t even know it. Someone could’ve snuck in and killed him—
“Robert? Where y’at?” Bonzo’s deep voice split through the deafening silence in Robert’s small apartment.
Robert lifted his head from his knees, still in the same spot as earlier. He was too weak to move himself again and he faintly spoke up: “I’m in here.”
The sound of hurrying footsteps on his hardwood floor gave him a pounding headache and he ignored the surprised look on Bonzo and—
Robert’s eyes went wide. This was the friend he brought? Did he want to give Robert a heart attack? This man was pure perfection, pale skin, a small button nose, black, fluffy hair, piercing green eyes—Christ, he was beautiful.
“Shit, what—did you—?” Bonzo couldn’t finish a sentence before the beautiful man approached Robert with a grin wide and bright enough to blind anyone.
“Bonzo, you didn’t tell me he was an angel!” The man’s hands flew up in the air in excitement. Robert stared at him with pure fear, although he’d never admit that some of it was lust. He couldn’t help it, that man was gorgeous.
“Robert, how the fuck did this happen? Did someone hex you?” Bonzo stepped forward and touched one of the newly grown feathers on his left wing, making Robert jolt back.
He looked at Bonzo in terror again, on the verge of breaking down. “Don’t touch me! I know it—I know I look fucking awful.”
“Well, yeah, you’ve got horrific bags underneath your eyes.” The beautiful man chuckled, sending Robert’s heart into the next dimension.
Robert sighed. “I truly don’t know why or how this happened. I just—I woke up Sunday and my mum was here—“
“Your what? Why?”
Robert glared at Bonzo, letting his legs fall to the floor. He crossed them and rolled his eyes before looked between the man and Bonzo, scared to make eye contact now that he had to explain. “I don’t know. She didn’t do anything, she just...she was just there, then she wasn’t.”
Seemingly feeling Robert’s pain, the man sat down in front of him and on his bed, trying not to sit too close to the blood. “You shouldn’t feel so bad about yourself, you know. This is amazing. I’ve only met one other angel in my whole lifetime—“
“I’m not a fucking angel, don’t say that.” Robert clenched his fists. He couldn’t even begin to think of how he’d have to live now, trying to conceal his huge masses of feathers and bones. Fuck, he was screwed big time.
“There’s no other way to explain this, Robert.” Bonzo kneeled beside him and carefully placed his hand on his arm. “You’re an angel, mate. You’ve got wings, you’ve got powers...there’s no way around it now.”
Robert felt his bottom lip tremble. “I’m not. I don’t. This is all a fucking dream and you’re both going to go away when I wake up—“
“Would this really be a dream if you’ve been here for half a week letting them grow?” The man silenced Robert. “See? It’s real.”
Robert sniffled as a stray tear left his eye. He fucking hated that fact. He’d never be able to go out in public again. People would think he’s a freak and, fuck, didn’t Bonzo mention something about angel wing hunters before?
“I’m fucked. I’m royally fucked.” He sighed and leaned back in his chair, rubbing at his eyes.
Bonzo laughed. “This is amazing. Don’t look at it like it’s some deadly disease.”
“It’s a death wish, Bonzo. I’m gonna fucking die—“
“Jesus, would you stop being such a downer?” The man stood up, making Robert look at him in disbelief.
“You’re seriously going to barge into my house, marvel at me like I’m some kind of roadside attraction, and yell at me for becoming something that I didn’t even ask to become—all without telling me your fucking name?”
The man and Bonzo both shared a look. He stepped forward with a knowing smile and held out his hand. “Jimmy Page, black magician. I’ve been in this business for a long time. I also work with your lovely Bonzo.”
Robert slowly shook his hand, still suspicious of this beautiful man. At least he knew his name now, he could call him Jimmy in his wet dreams instead of calling out “beautiful man.”
“And why exactly should I trust you?”
Jimmy cackled. He seriously had the capacity to do that in Robert’s state. What an asshole. “Great question. Maybe you’ll find out later.” He shoot Robert. Could this guy get any more cryptic?
Bonzo watched Robert sink down in his chair and he turned to Jimmy. “Didn’t you say you knew another angel?”
Bonzo grinned, making Robert shiver all over. He looked like a bear ready to maul someone. “Call him down here so he can help Robert.” Robert and Jimmy both looked at him in surprise. “What, I can’t be the only person who had that great idea, can I?”
While they waited for the other mysterious angel to arrive, Bonzo tossed Robert’s sheets in the wash and Jimmy brought Robert down to the kitchen. He sat him at the table and began to make a meal out of what little food Robert had in his cupboards.
“Why didn’t your girlfriend try and help you?” Jimmy asked as he buttered some toast on the countertop.
Robert scoffed. “‘Cos I don’t have one.” Never have, never will.
“I find that extremely unlikely.” Jimmy smirked, but it was hidden behind the thick curtain of his hair.
Robert considered Jimmy’s answer for a moment. That wasn’t flirtatious, was it? Was he just going insane now? God, Robert should really stop jumping to conclusions.
They sat in silence for a while, well, as silent as you can get with the sound of someone preparing a feast. Jimmy made buttered toast, scrambled eggs, some more toast, this time with jam, and a bowl of strawberries with sugar sprinkled on them.
He brought the plates over to Robert and chuckled as his stomach growled. “I know it’s not a lot, but I did what I could with your barren cupboards,” he laughed again, watching Robert dig in. Neither of them thought he’d have the strength to do so, but here he was, shoveling bites of eggs into his mouth. Quite endearing, really.
Bonzo came downstairs as soon as Jimmy caught himself staring at Robert in complete adoration. He looked up at him with an expectant look on his face, getting a shrug and a sigh in response.
“Jonesy called back. He’ll be here soon. He said he saw Grant and Cole, so he had to take a little detour.”
Jimmy’s eyes widened and Robert watched their exchange in absolute confusion, still eating like a pig. “Shit, is he alone? I forgot what time it was, fuck!” He slammed his hands down on the table, making the dishes rattle.
“Hey, calm down, you’ll break Robert’s house,” Bonzo said with a chuckle. “Mind filling us in on who the hell these Grant and Cole guys are?” He sat down next to Robert and stole a bite of his toast, earning a sharp glare from the blonde.
“Ah, sure. They’re very skilled wing hunters.” Robert almost choked on his eggs.
“So they’re real? Bonzo wasn’t just fucking around?” Robert considered this for a moment. He had worried about them earlier but thought that the idea was so insanely stupid that it couldn’t have been real. Man, was he wrong. There was even a whole business—
“Nope.” Jimmy laughed. “You gotta watch out for them, though. They’re also magickal, but they’re...” He sighed, staring off into the distance rather dramatically. “They’re pretty fucking good. Point is, they’re bad, so stay away.”
“Fuck,” Robert said through a mouthful of toast. “All you wizards are conspiring against me.”
Jimmy grinned, the corners of his eyes crinkling up and making Robert’s heart do all sorts of things he’d rather not discuss. “Mmm, I wouldn’t say we all are. Just...eighty five percent of us.”
“That many of you hunt angels? What the hell did they even do?”
“They’re rare, worth a lot.” Jimmy leaned in, lowering his voice and reaching across the table to touch one of Robert’s feathers. “I heard just one angel wing feather goes for as little as a hundred quid.”
Bonzo rolled his eyes as Robert froze in fear. “Jesus, Page, you’re scaring the kid!”
Jimmy leaned back and cackled again. God, that man and his cackling was soon to be the death of Robert, he was sure of it.
Before Robert got the chance to prod on the subject of selling angel wings, there was a gentle knock at the door. At first, Robert thought it was the hunters, but he relaxed when he remembered Jimmy had called another angel down for assistance.
Robert quickly finished his plates of food as Jimmy got the door, exchanging “hello”’s and other niceties as the angel walked in. Robert spun around in his chair, hoping to see some extravagant wings, but was disappointed when he saw nothing. He just looked like a normal guy.
“You must be Robert! I’m John Paul Jones.” The man walked towards Robert and into the kitchen, reached out to shake his hand. His hair was about shoulder length, his eyes were kind and inviting, and he had the most prominent jawline Robert had ever seen in his life. He hesitantly shook his hand and nodded.
“Jimmy said you were an angel, too. Where are your wings?” Robert gave him a confused look as he stood up from the table.
The shorter man chuckled. “Already jumping into it?” He took his arms out of the straps of the backpack he was wearing and—fucking Christ, his wings were huge.
“Jesus, how did those—what?” Robert marveled at how insanely wide his wingspan was, completely ignoring the way Bonzo’s jaw had dropped off to the side.
“It’s...kind of difficult to just waltz outside with your wings, so...” His wings flexed outward before folding in on themselves neatly. “I had this backpack made for me. It just has a hole that I slide over my wings to conceal them. Nothing too magickal.”
Robert nodded slowly and watched as he put the bag back on, straightening himself out. “Now, Jimmy said you needed help understanding, correct?”
“Um, I—sure. I guess.” Robert glanced behind him at Jimmy before looking at Bonzo again. Was he having an aneurysm? He couldn’t keep his eyes off of the other angel for two seconds. “Hey, Bonz, you alright?”
Bonzo blinked harshly before looking at Robert in a daze. “What? Yeah. Why? What’s wrong?”
Robert shot him a knowing smile before shaking his head and dismissing it. Bonzo might have the hots for Paul John Jones or John Jones Paul or whatever the hell his complex name was.
The other angel stared at Bonzo for a quick second before looking at Robert, slightly puzzled. “Before we, um,” he cleared his throat, his cheeks flushing as he noticed everyone in the room looking at him. “Before we get started, you should wash up. You kinda—“
“You bloody reek, Robert,” Jimmy grinned, a lighthearted and soft chuckle leaving his lips.
Robert contemplated the state of his life for a moment.
He had bothered these three people, barely even knowing them, then tossed all of his troubles onto their shoulders. He’s making them give him information they probably never should’ve given out, yet the only thing they’re worried about is how he smells...?
Fuck, these three idiots might’ve been the best people he’d ever met.