You let out a groan as you rolled over and buried your face deeper into the pillows of the bed you were in, your head aching and vision swimming as you slowly woke up.
You shot up straight and rubbed the sleep out of your eyes while they adjusted to the dim light in the room. This was definitely not the same room you had been in before. It was filled with dark wooden furniture and ornate rugs covering the stone floor, as well as a large hearth that had a steadily burning fire in it, right across from the foot of the bed you had apparently been sleeping in.
The high, misty ceilings and stone walls seemed to be consistent with every room you'd been in so far, but you had to wonder why you were now being kept here instead of in the cold cell where they had been keeping you before.
How long had it been anyways?
Your head was a little clearer now that you'd caught up on sleep, and you immediately began to worry about your father again, about how heartbroken he probably was having to re-live the pain of losing his family.
Tears quickly began rolling down your cheeks and you buried your face in your hands, the guilt of being the cause of your father's pain and another family member's death overwhelming you for once again. If you had just been able to keep your grip on that damn ring, then Kain would still be alive and you wouldn't be in this mess.
You looked up when you felt another presence in the room and then quickly wiped your tears away while sniffling and trying to even out your breathing. For some reason you hated looking so weak in front of these powerful beings, even though you knew they would see you like that anyways and there was nothing you could do to change it.
"So, Namjoon let you stay in his room," the pale angel said from the edge of the room. You squinted, trying to see him better while he stayed hidden in the shadows. You knew who it was by his gruff voice and patronizing tone, but the only detail you could see of him was the tips of his black shoes as he leaned against the stone wall. "I thought he would have killed you by now, seeing as you're completely useless."
You swallowed hard and he pushed off the wall, his eyes zeroing in on you and making you shrink back into the blankets as he approached. His features seemed to be made for the shadows. You couldn't peel your eyes away from his menacing gaze despite how urgently your instincts screamed at you to run. It was completely unexpected, the effect he had on you, but you weren't about to question it.
You stared at him while he glared you down, until he eventually came to a halt at the foot of the bed.
"What did you say that convinced him to let you live, hmm?" he asked you lowly, his eyes burning into yours and making your thoughts jumble into an incoherent mess. You couldn't help but focus on his mouth as he spoke. His lips looked so soft and sweet, the complete opposite of the rest of him. Somehow his appearance was both soft and scary at the same time.
His suspicion was clear and for some reason it hurt your feelings that he didn't trust you, although he had every reason not to. Thankfully, you were saved from having to answer him by another voice ringing through the room.
"Oh, lay off her Yoongi. She seems innocent enough."
You almost smiled when you saw that it was Taehyung that had entered the room next, but it quickly faltered as you watched Jungkook follow in closely behind him. Your hands moved to twist the ring on your finger nervously until you realized that it was no longer there. Taehyung chuckled as he watched you frantically search the blankets, worried that you were now in trouble for taking it off when you weren't supposed to, before you thought to look at Jungkook's hands.
And there it was, adorning his right hand as Taehyung held it up for you to see.
"Missing something?" he teased with a smirk, making Yoongi roll his eyes and let out an annoyed sigh. "Don't worry, little one. We took it off of you while you were out. Looks better on Jungkookie anyways, doesn't it?"
You glanced at Jungkook and he was staring at you intensely, his hand still being held up by Taehyung while they each waited for you to respond.
"It looks like it's back where it belongs," you finally answered, and Taehyung dropped the youngest's hand along with the smile on his face. "It's yours isn't it?"
You directed your question at Jungkook, but Taehyung answered for him.
"It is. You should apologize for stealing it."
His voice had lowered to a more threatening and expectant tone, taking you off guard.
"Now who needs to lay off?" Yoongi grumbled while crossing his arms over his chest and pouting at the floor.
You couldn't figure out who was scariest here. Yoongi had been so cold minutes ago but now he almost looked cute, and the relief you had felt seeing Taehyung come in had quickly dissipated now that his demeanor was so darkened. Jungkook hadn't taken his eyes off you this entire time and it felt like they were burning a hole right through your head.
"I- I'm sorry, I didn't know it belonged to anyone," you managed to mumble out, averting your gaze from all of them by staring at your hands in your lap instead. Taehyung scoffed and his charming smile returned as quickly as it had left.
"That's kind of the definition of stealing," he said as he hopped up on the bed next to you, dragging Jungkook with him and patting the covers to get him to join. "So, Jimin and I were talking, and we realized that you never did tell us your name."
You noticed Yoongi perk up at the mention of the small blue haired angel before he quickly returned the scowl to his face.
"Oh, it's Ash," you answered, relieved that Taehyung seemed to be back to his perky self. You didn't think you could handle being near him any longer when he was straight faced. It was somehow the most intimidating thing you'd witnessed here so far.
"Hmm, Ash... simple. I like it," he mused while playing absentmindedly with the silver rings in Jungkook's ear.
His response made you blush as you chewed your lower lip and looked back down at your lap. But your eyes snapped up again when you heard Jungkook suck in a sharp intake of breath through his nose, just to find his black eyes now trained on your mouth.
Taehyung giggled at the tense angel before leaning in and putting his lips by his ear to whisper something you couldn't hear.
"Oh god, you guys are insufferable. I'm leaving," Yoongi spat out before turning and vanishing with a flourish of his wings.
"Don't listen to him, we're fun and he's just hangry," Taehyung said in return with a warm smile. You simply nodded and continued to stare at the spot where Yoongi had just been standing. "Speaking of fun," he piped, a hint of mischief creeping into his voice as he stood and offered you his hand. "You seem like you could use some. Come with us."
You easily allowed yourself to be pulled through the winding, cavernous hallways by Taehyung's large hand. His long strides made it difficult for you to keep up, but Jungkook didn't seem to have any trouble, staying shoulder to shoulder with the chatty angel every step of the way.
You eventually found yourselves standing outside of a large doorway and both males had matching grins on their faces as they looked down at you.
"What? Where are we?" you asked. Taehyung clamped a hand over your mouth while he held a finger up to his own lips.
"Hey Hyung, can you come out here for a minute?" he said then, before the two grinning angels took off without warning, leaving you standing alone and scared in the empty hallway.
You stammered after them as you stood with your eyes blown wide and your knees knocking.
Your stomach dropped when you looked up to see Seokjin's strikingly handsome face and tall frame suddenly appear in the doorway, his broad shoulders filling the space with ease.
"Oh, hello," he said as he cocked his head and looked at you in surprise.
Oh god oh god oh god, not him. Anyone but him... You thought to yourself as you swallowed hard. This man made you embarrassingly nervous despite his relatively sweet introduction. But that alluring voice and those dreamy eyes rendered you speechless, and all you could do was just look up at him like a scared puppy while he spoke.
"Those boys set you up to this, didn't they?" he asked you with a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. You felt your palms begin to sweat as you nodded, your eyes fixed on his face even though you wanted to look away, you really did. "Well, come on then. Join me."
Seokjin turned and walked back into the room and you hesitated in the doorway before following behind him. Your eyes widened as they drifted over the thousands, maybe even millions of books that were stacked along the walls, and he let out a deep sigh as he sat down in one of the large leather chairs in the room. His dark eyes ran down your frame as he brought his hand up to thoughtfully play with his lower lip, before patting his knee.
You froze while just staring at his lap. It looked so inviting but you didn't know if it was really okay that you wanted to sit there.
Oh god how badly you wanted to sit there.
He let out a soft chuckle at your obvious flustered state and then leaned back against the leather, spreading his legs out a little wider and looking at you with a raised brow.
"Don't be shy, I won't bite."
His eyes flashed as he spoke, making your brain scream at you to run the other direction, but your body seemed to move on its own. You approached him without taking your eyes off of his and he offered a sweet smile in return as you lowered yourself down onto his knee.
A cold hand found your waist and you stiffened at the contact.
He just lifted the book he had previously been reading back up in front of his face and began to rub soothing circles into your lower back with his thumb.
"I'm surprised that you're still here," he said casually after a moment, making you blink back at him in a daze. "Namjoon's not usually inclined to let people live once they're in his grasp, let alone such a dangerous girl."
His words puzzled you. Dangerous? He was calling you dangerous?
Seokjin looked up from his book to meet your gaze and his eyes narrowed as he studied your reaction to his words.
"You don't think so? What you did in that museum was very dangerous. For us as well as yourself. I don't think you should try anything like that again."
You were about to respond, but his hand drifting up your back made the words catch in your throat.
"Promise me you won't do something like that again."
"I promise," you breathed, trying to keep your voice even while chills broke out over your skin from the feeling of his large hand running up and down your spine.
"Mmm, good," he replied simply before his captivating gaze returned back to the book in his hand.
You peeked over at the pages to try and see what he was reading, but you didn't recognize the language that the text was in, so you just frowned and looked down at your lap. Seokjin noticed and let out a soft chuckle at your pout.
"You're a curious one, aren't you? Don't you know what they say about the curious cat?"
His tone was playful but you didn't miss the intent behind his words.
"How about this," he said then, making you look up hopefully. "You can ask me a question and I'll answer honestly, but then I get to ask you one of my own in return."
"Okay," you said while readjusting in his lap to face him more.
If you only got one question then you had to make it good. There was one that had been pressing on you, that you really wanted an answer to.
"How do you decide who dies? I mean, I'm assuming you don't just stand in a circle, take a vote and majority wins, so how do you do it?"
Seokjin shifted you on his lap before answering and you nearly stopped breathing when he pulled you closer into him, allowing you to relax more into his hold.
"No, you're right. We don't take a vote," he said while grinning down at you. "But we don't necessarily get to decide either. When we do, it's a choice we don't take lightly and have to make individually. Although I have to admit that my track record doesn't look so good." His voice sounded almost sad now and you resisted the urge to comfort him while he continued. "Most of the time, we act as a ferry to the other side. An escort of sorts."
"What's there? On the other side?" you asked him, but he just smirked at you and shook his head.
"No no, you've asked your question. Now it's my turn."
You chewed on your lower lip and nodded, feeling nervous about what he was going to ask you but also curious to hear what he wanted to know.
His dark, dreamy eyes held yours for a moment longer and you saw something flash in them again before he spoke.
"Are you afraid to die?"
The question took you by surprise, but your answer left your mouth so quickly that it was almost embarrassing.
Seokjin raised his eyebrows and waited for you to elaborate.
"I've never met my mother. I've lived my whole life wishing that I was never born so that she could still be alive and I know that my family has always the same," you explained. "But since I was born, and she isn't alive... then maybe I can meet her in death."
Seokjin was clearly struck by your answer. His eyes became unfocused as he considered it and his hand stilled on your back.
"I'm sorry," he said softly, his eyes refocusing on you after a period of silence.
You just shook your head and looked down, willing the tears that were now pricking your eyes to stay put. You were fully aware that one of these seven angels had been the one to ferry your mother's soul that day, but you weren't sure if you wanted to know which one it was. "No need to be. It was my fault," you said quietly.
Seokjin let out a heavy exhale and then began rubbing soothing circles into your back again as he returned his attention to his book.
You didn't know how long you sat in his lap. You fell asleep eventually, but not before getting comfortable and leaning into his broad chest, your head resting on his shoulder while his attractive scent put you into a stupor. The feeling of his hand running along your waist and up your back was comforting too and it all helped lull you into sleep while he just read quietly.
This feeling of being so safe and content in a man's arms was foreign to you, and it surprised you even more that it was found in someone so unfamiliar.
When you finally woke again, it was because Seokjin's low voice was rumbling by your ear.
"-probably tricked her into coming here, the little pests. It's okay though, she's sleeping now."
You blinked yourself awake and leaned up from your spot on his shoulder, letting a yawn escape as you looked at who had entered the room. Namjoon stood a few feet away with an irritated look on his face, his dark eyebrows pulled together and jaw tense while he took in your position on Seokjin's lap.
"Did I tell you that you could leave?" he asked as he saw you slowly waking up.
You yawned again as you rubbed your eyes. "'M sorry. I didn't mean to upset you."
Namjoon let out a heavy breath as the tension relaxed in his shoulders, his fingers stretching out from where they had been balled into fists at his sides.
"Well you did," he snapped before taking another step towards you.
Seokjin pushed you up from his lap and you stumbled forward into Namjoon's arms, who immediately threw you over his shoulder as he turned to leave the room.
"Hey! I can walk you know!" you protested while you flailed your legs and took handfuls of the back of his shirt.
"I don't care," he replied simply, making you still your movements and pout instead with your hand resting in your palm on his shoulder.
You were now face to face with his wings and you studied the glossy feathers with interest as he walked, watching the way they flexed slightly with each of his steps. They looked so smooth and silky and you just wanted to touch them. So you did. You ran your fingers through the feathers of one of his wings and felt a shudder go through the leader before he stopped in his tracks.
"What do you think you're doing?" he asked you once he'd pulled you down from his shoulder and set you back on your feet in front of him.
"I-I just thought.. I mean they looked so pretty and I wanted to know what they felt like so I-"
"Pretty?" he cut you off while studying your face intently, his dark brows pulled together as he searched your eyes for something.
"Well, yeah," you whispered. You were blushing furiously now and avoiding that intimidating gaze. His eyes were always searching, always analyzing, and you were afraid of what he might find if he looked too long. "You're all so pretty and I just- I wanted..."
"Ash, it doesn't matter what you want. It matters what I want. And right now I want you to behave."
His sentence ended in a growl and then he was tossing you back over his shoulder and taking long strides down the corridor.
You gasped when large hand suddenly came down hard on the back of your thigh and Namjoon kept it there, fingers gripping into the stinging flesh of your leg and making your cheeks flush.
"I'm sorry," you said quietly as he walked. He answered you by adjusting his grip on your thigh and smoothing over it. His touch became tender, almost apologetic. "And thank you for letting me sleep in your room."
He didn't respond, so you just laid your head down against him and relaxed into his grip, allowing yourself to be carried back to his room with bright red cheeks and a soft smile.