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Road-stop Attraction

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Wings of an archangel were the most beautiful kind. The feathers would be described as golden if not for the way if you turned your head at just the right angle then other colours would be revealed. Deep blues, luscious greens, even hints of muted pinks peeked through the gold. The thing was the feathers were unkempt, not dirty though, ruffled spots here and there. The feeling of seeing what a mess the wings were was akin to having a brand new shiny car and then trash filled to the brim in the back seat.

Beelzebub could hardly stand not being able to fix them but they sat in front of the campfire and took to staring.

“So- that’s it for the dare? Rather easy, if you ask me,” Gabriel beamed, which he had done several times on this trip but most of them when they’d played this childish game. Beelzebub tried their best to respond to each grin with a grimace but found, in a night as nice as this one, it is hard to do such.

“I wazz expecting you to be more reserved about showing them off. Ezzpecially since I’m a demon,”

“You… can’t be serious? They’re amazing- Why wouldn’t I want to show them?”

Beelzebub shut their eyes and basked in their companions lack of self awareness. Sometimes they question why they could stand him.

“They’re rather a mess though- I wouldn’t be caught dead with wingzz looking like that,” Beelzebub said sneering, ignoring the fact they’d never get caught with their wings out anyway (for multiple reasons).

“A mess?” Gabriel looked back his massive wings (he was quite happy he got to expand them outside the last earth place he showcased his wings was at a bathhouse in Rome and he found it rather cramped) and he squints his face screwing up.

“Yeah- Look at these thingzz,” Gabriel is about to voice he is looking rather closely to them but his voice died when Beelzebub trails one of their fingers partially the way down. He closes his eyes (yes, the opposite of what Beelzebub told him to do but since when is he taking orders from a demon) and lets out a breathy sigh.

“Well, it’s rather hard to groom your own wings, especially considering I’d have to bend at weird angles just to reach it all, so how about you do it. That’s your dare”

“I didn’t choose truth or dare yet, idiot,” Beelzebub says but already is running their hands through the wings. With every touch he shivers and twists but he never once speaks any distaste. “Do you want me to get the comb(1) from the truck?”

“The currently broken down truck that stranded us here?”

“No, Old Man Jenkins who owns this stupid lot of land- Of course my truck!” Beelzebub rolls their eyes.

“I mean it doesn’t work; how can you get in?”

“The doors work! It just won’t start!” Beelzebub gave Gabriel one of their you-are-such-a-moron-stares which their sure won’t be their last. As they walk away they swear they here Gabriel mutter ‘I knew that’.

They take it out of the compartment, awkwardly holding onto it. It’d been a long time since they used it and they snapped the dust disappearing that once covered it.

They return and couldn’t help but gulp. These wings weren’t completely unfamiliar but they were a distant memory. The most recent of seeing them, though, wasn’t from grooming. The wings had been gleaming, from the abundance of holy energy, and stood tall. The feathers were the last thing they saw before a wave of angels (2) cascaded into a pool of magma.

Beelzebub pushes the past out of their mind and starts to brush the top of the wings on the edge closest to Gabriel’s shoulder. Another shiver seizes through his body and they give a quick glance(3) demanding the fire to grow.

“You zzhould really have your Arcangel friends do this more often,” Beelzebub said interrupting the thick silence.

“Oh, we don’t really, do this” he makes a vague gesture toward his back; Beelzebub can’t help thinking he looks a little frazzled. The stress of not finding those traitors must be really getting to him; not that they aren’t affected by it either.

“You don’t clean each others wings?” It would explain why there was so many fly away feathers.

“Nope,”

“Thazz stupid,” They return to silence.

Well almost silence, Gabriel made little incomprehensible squeaks as they combed through. A thrill went through them,only because their rival was so openly weak in this state nothing more, and an idea wriggled(4) in their mind. They brush a hand through the glimmering feathers. Gabriel drew in a sharp breath and Beelzebub could feel him tense under the physical touch.

“I’ll admit- They aren’t to shabby,” They were a little coarser than they expected but nothing unbearable. The texture was akin to wool and they found themselves setting down the comb in favor for fingers.

“Do you think you can groom both of my wings?” Gabriel asked feeling uncharacteristically out of breath. Actually, he decided everything he was feeling was uncharacteristic of him, his heart ( something he didn’t even need) was rapidly beating, his mouth was dry (which was fine as he never drank anything but he found it irritating nonetheless), and his mind was whispering things that no angel (especially not himself) could think of. Nonetheless he still asked, and not an ounce of regret followed.

Beelzebub closed their eyes, tuning into the world surrounding them. Not an angel nor demon aura, save for their own obviously, was present; the two were far from the gaze of traitors or annoying coworkers. They did notice the hum that had finally started in the engine of the truck(5). The two should be on their way- They only had a month to catch these troublesome two (well, before they had to return to Hell and file way more paperwork than necessary) and they proved to be difficult to find.

Then again, it wasn’t every day that they got to clean the Archangel Gabriel’s feathers. Nor usual to see him hold his breath at their every move. Another shiver seized him when they ran a finger swiftly through and that made up their mind.

“Alright, juzzt don’t move around too much,”. The rest of the night proved peaceful.