Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Here's some exposition on my headcanons on how Heaven works, and how the war drags on.
Fiore was the youngest in his nest of angels, and they worried over him as the day of his draft drew closer and closer. The war had raged on for longer than most angels had lived; Fiore hadn’t once seen a time of peace. The longer they were in deadlock with Hell, the more it made the Seraphim anxious; it was easier to hold up an illusion of order if Heaven looked like it was winning. So, the call for soldiers became increasingly urgent, and the age of the draft dropped and dropped.
Fiore was only 4,000 years old, not yet old enough to have made his first mission to earth. He was tucked into the new nest, 2,000 years younger than the others, after tragedy fell upon his nest. The five others had been dragged to Hell as captives, the Seraphim in charge of overseeing the nest had been left disarticulated on the floor, and Fiore was found hiding silently in an alcove set off from the rest of the cave.
Still, he bore no need for vengeance in his heart, much to the dismay of his superiors, and instead spent time studying how to retrieve someone from hell; a task usually reserved for Seraphim. The Adephi were essentially raised as soldiers, their older tasks were long forgotten. He was trained, and fought with his new nestmates, until he was as equally skilled as them. Joining the war was inevitable, it was God’s will; his nestmates were still nervous about Fiore going into the field.
“Let them kill you,” Bonneville’s voice echoed through the nest.
“But why?” Fiore sang back.
“You will return, unharmed. You must die, lest they take you.”
The first day in the battlefield is successful. Fiore finds a spot with his back to the wall and slaughters all that come near him. Just hours before, the Seraphim supervising his nest had given him his sword. It was longer than he was tall, and was razor sharp. To angels, it barely weighed anything, but demons could hardly lift it. Heavenly technology was farther advanced than Hell’s, and the demons mostly relied on blunt instruments, to crack the shell of hard light that angels were made of.
Standing among the many bodies, his sword crusted with the black blood that filled his foes, Fiore tried to catch his breath. There was some respite from the fighting, most of the demon’s he’d killed had reinvigorated elsewhere. Fiore thrust his sword into the ground and pressed his hands to his face. He hears footsteps, and finds himself drawn back into the fight. This time, it’s a singular demon, and Fiore is struck, staring.
The demons look closer to humans. They’re much shorter than angels, who stand at anywhere from 8 to 12 feet tall. Their skin is thick and leathery, stained red with ichor. They have wings made of bone, with burnt flesh clinging to them, held together by Divine will as a reminder of what they could’ve been. The one in front of Fiore is about as tall as his chest, though Fiore isn’t quite at his full height because of his age. His bony wings click with each movement they make. His horns are only about ten inches long, and the rings on the bone indicate that he’s close in age to Fiore. Demons are born more frequently than angels, years of preparation and careful tending to a nest provides around six angels at a time; demons crawl from Hell’s womb every year.
“So, it’s you.” The demon is the first one to speak.
“Me?” Fiore asks in response.
“Yes, you. It’s you that’s killed all of these soldiers.”
They stand for a moment in silence, before the demon sprints forward and headbuts Fiore in the stomach. The horns pierce the hard light of his stomach and ichor leaks out, staining the tips of the demon’s horns. Fiore falls to the ground with a yelp, loud enough to shake the trees surrounding them. The demon places his hands on Fiore’s neck and presses down until his skin starts to crack, it takes several minutes for him to actually die, and the demon figures he could be doing something better than this. But he’s unarmed and the angel isn’t even struggling, just staring in shock as he crushes his throat. Finally, the hard light fades to a dark, glassy shell that used to house an angel.
The angel is standing behind him, with molten light welling in his eye sockets, he clicks his new joints, rolling his shoulders and bending his elbows to try them out.
“They didn’t tell me it would hurt so much,” Fiore whispers, not to anyone in particular. The demon looks him once in the eyes before turning and leaving. He’s eager to get back to the real fight, and uncertain of how that angel had managed to kill so many.
Fiore returns to the nest with his sword slung over his back. His nestmates chitter back and forth, all their praise blending into a roar of song. He heads to the Seraphim quarters, he walks in and drops to his knees. The Seraphim slides the door shut with a move of their arm. They loom over him, wipe the tears from his eyes.
“You have been christened with blood, child.” The room shudders with the power of their voice, “Do not cry, you serve to protect our highest glory.”
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Fiore and DeBlanc kill each other many times to disguise the fact that they're starting to become friends.
After the first meeting, it seemed like Fiore was always encountering the demon. Demons weren’t supposed to be distinctive, they were supposed to be one of many of a faceless beast. Still, the voice of the other demon burned distinctly in his mind.
The first time they see each other again, the demon smirks at Fiore.
Fiore lops his head off with his sword without thinking.
The next time, they fight back and forth for a while, almost like a dance. The demon breaks his arm, leaving it limp and dripping by his side, Fiore reaches for his sword, but before he can strike the demon, something collides with the back of his head and he wakes up near his nest.
The third time, they’re alone. Fiore cleaves the demon in half. The demon reinvigorates behind him and wraps his hands around Fiore’s neck; a mirror to the first time they met. This time, Fiore fights back. He kicks and tears at the hands around his throat. He’s not fast enough and the demon cracks his neck. After reinvigorating, Fiore runs towards the demon and guts him with his dagger.
They continue on until bodies litter the ground and blood seeps into the soil. Fiore drops to the ground, breathing heavily. The demon sits next to him.
“Well, let’s get it over with already,” Fiore braces himself for another death. Instead the demon extends his hand.
“DeBlanc,” he says, still holding his hand out. Fiore looks confused, and his confusion melts into horror when the demon, DeBlanc, grabs his hand and shakes it.
“Now you tell me your name,” DeBlanc explains, speaking calmly in a way Fiore didn’t know demons could.
“F-fiore?” He isn’t sure if he’s doing this right, and something feels very illicit and wrong about the way they’re touching. Fiore panics and stabs him with his dagger. DeBlanc looks down at the dagger jutting out of his stomach, then back to Fiore, then back to the dagger.
“Sorry,” Fiore whispers, though he doesn’t know why he says it.
“Some things never change,” Deblanc replies. He pulls the dagger out of his stomach and slits his own throat, reinvigorating somewhere else. Fiore doesn’t bother to look for him, just collects his weapons and returns home.
Fiore dodges the mace DeBlanc swings and uses his wings to lift him a couple feet off of the ground.
“Hello to you too,” DeBlanc hooks a chain around Fiore’s foot and drags him to the ground.
Fiore is covered in blood, DeBlanc’s blood, from when he nicked an artery earlier. The spurt of blood hit him, and he barely reacted. DeBlanc dropped to the ground, he knelt down next to him.
“Are you dying?” Fiore leaned over him. DeBlanc shook his head no. Fiore plunged his knife into his heart.
Now, DeBlanc has him on the ground, Fiore stays there, too trusting for his own good. DeBlanc offers a hand to help him up. Fiore takes his hand without hesitation and after he’s gotten to his feet, they stay there in awkward silence with their hands still clasped together. Neither particularly wants to let go, but the threat of discovery hangs thick over their heads.
Fiore lets go first and says very bluntly, “I need to go.”
Fiore doesn’t see DeBlanc for weeks after that. He’s filled with a mixture of anger and disgust, anger because DeBlanc is avoiding him and disgust because feeling anger is so obviously and uncomfortably human. The emotion bleeds over into his fighting and he leaves bodies in his wake wherever he goes. The nestmates comment on it, not knowing the source of the change within him.
“You’re growing quite well into your duty,” Ashwin says.
“You are a great asset to the Throne,” Bennet adds.
The nest sings his praises, and they echo into the battlefield, following him wherever he goes. It’s exhausting the keep this kind of pace up but Fiore uses it to keep his mind blank, surviving through pure instinct. He’s standing in silence, the eye of a hurricane of corpses; some of them are his, most of them belong to demons. The ichor pounds in his ears, and he shakes the blood off of his wings, spattering it across the trees surrounding him.
“I take it you missed me.”
The voice is unmistakeable, it jarrs Fiore back to the moment.
“Where were you?” The hurt in Fiore’s voice is hard to disguise.
“Busy.” DeBlanc speaks softer now, more understanding, “I was needed in Hell.”
“You should’ve told me!”
“I didn’t think you’d care.”
Fiore stays quiet for a long time, then says, “I don’t think we should do this anymore.” DeBlanc looks at the ground, trying to avoid Fiore’s gaze.
“We’re not s’posed to be doing this,” he tries to explain his reasoning. DeBlanc steps closer, and Fiore moves to a fighting stance. DeBlanc slowly raises his hand in a gesture of peace, then touches it to Fiore’s cheek.
“We both know that isn’t going to work out, my dear.” Fiore leans into the touch, eyes closed, and before he even realizes it, DeBlanc is gone.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
Fiore comes to terms with his feelings; Genesis is born.
Fiore’s certain his nestmates must know something’s wrong, but still they whisper praise and tell stories of his conquests to his brethren on the field. It feels strange to have a secret, his nestmates shared everything between them. He carried the secret privately, and his mind drifted back to it whenever he’d let it.
Days turn into weeks, and it takes everything he has not to go slaughter every demon he can find until one can lead him to DeBlanc. He keeps his mind focused on the battle, heaven celebrates a victory, then mourns a loss, then celebrates another victory. The cycle carries on, he slashes and cuts away at flesh.
The anger still sings loudly and constantly behind his eyes, sadness works its way into the song every once in awhile, no matter how hard he tries to drown it out with his anger. One day, he hears another clear note cut through the deafening roar of anger. It’s different than sadness, it’s sharper and clearer and bright as the sun. Fiore tries to keep it quiet until it surpasses even the jarring chord of anger, the pulse of ichor in his veins.
Love. That’s what it is. A messy and irrational melody that he can’t stop. It’s terrifying and electrifying at the same time. Fiore feels a far more urgent need to push DeBlanc out of his mind.
The nestmates notice a difference almost immediately, not in how he acts or how he speaks, but in how he fights. He spends more time in the air than on the ground, killing swiftly and quickly. He is less inclined to make others suffer. He keeps watch for DeBlanc, scanning face after face. He guards his brethren and takes care to never be alone.
He and one of his sisters are ambushed one day. A group of seven demons take them by surprise in an exposed area near the angel’s base. Fiore extends his wings and twirls, knocking them down with the bony part of them. His sister strikes out as his halo glows with divine fire, burning the flesh from the bones of the two demons nearest to him. Fiore rarely uses his sword now, he sticks to his dagger and the challenges that come with it. His sister uses her sword, easily cutting three demons in half at the stomach.
The three she killed reinvigorate nearby; the burst of heavenly light from earlier on winds Fiore and he drops to the ground, folding his wings around him for protection. He closes his eyes and tries to drown out the sound of fighting. It goes silent with a final thud, and Fiore uncurls his wings. His sister is lying face down on the ground with a knife sticking out of the back of her head, ichor bubbles in the sun and pools on the ground beneath her.
“Hello,” a familiar voice speaks, and a hand extends itself to help Fiore up.
“Are you hurt?” No matter how long he’s known DeBlanc, it’s still strange to hear such a gentle voice from a demon. Fiore shakes his head no.
“You shouldn’t be fighting when you’re like this.” DeBlanc still holds his hand and he can’t find the strength within him to let go.
“‘M okay, just need to recharge,” Fiore doesn’t feel like explaining the new power that developed as he got older.
“And you will, my dear, just somewhere safer .”
Fiore leads him back to the nest without thinking. It’s located deep underground, the nurseries for angels are piled one on top of another. Fiore leads DeBlanc through tunnel after tunnel, it’s his second nature and no matter where he was, he would be able to find his way home. Fiore finally stops in one of the back chambers of the nest, as far away from the Seraphim quarters as he can get.
Fiore folds his wings in as close as they’ll get to his body. DeBlanc kneels on the ground in front of him. He’s still holding onto Fiore’s hand for dear life, and when he notices he quickly lets go.
“I should leave.” he sounds dejected and Fiore’s chest aches.
“No,” Fiore smiles, “Don’t.”
Fiore closes his eyes. DeBlanc watches the patterns the light from Fiore’s halo makes on the ceiling. Fiore opens his eyes, and DeBlanc swears that he looked surprised to see him still there.
“I love you,” Fiore breaks the silence, “at least I think that’s the right word for what this is.”
DeBlanc leans forward and lightly presses a kiss to Fiore’s lips. It’s such a strange feeling, angels aren’t big on physical contact, they looked down on it as something only humans and demons did. It feels good, unbelievably good, and Fiore moves his hands up to rest on DeBlanc’s cheeks, holding them together in the moment. Then, Fiore guides DeBlanc’s head to his chest, he presses his ear against the center of it.
“Can you hear it?”
DeBlanc can hear something like a song, “Yes.”
DeBlanc shifts to sit on Fiore’s lap and kisses him again. Light from Fiore’s halo bleeds into the room, surrounding them like the aurora borealis. DeBlanc breaks away and presses his forehead against Fiore’s.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Fiore moves his thumbs against the leathery skin on DeBlanc’s face and kisses him again. The words ‘ I love you’ echoes through the minds of every Seraphim, and a handful of demons in the higher up positions of hell.
The Seraphim fly into chaos, this wasn’t planned for, this was the result of a power they’d never seen before. A series of images, golden light and sharp teeth and lips locked together, project into their minds soon after. The need to track the power source down is unbelievably urgent, and a secret truce is quickly worked out between several demons of high stature.
The light from Fiore’s halo coalesces into a rippling warbling force in the corner of the room, it burbles like a creek and fluctuates in colors akin to the night sky. Fiore breaks away from the kiss and sighs.
“I’m so tired, DeBlanc,” he hangs his head, halo faded to a dull glow, “Of the fighting and everything.”
“I know, Fiore, I know.” He moves to sit next to the angel and laces their fingers together. Fiore leans his head against the demon’s shoulder and closes his eyes.
The ball of light in the corner sends off a final message: Genesis. I’m Genesis.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
Seraphim have to fuck everything up; Fiore and DeBlanc go on trial and become Genesis' custodians.
Fiore and DeBlanc wake up after Genesis screams; it’s a horrible shrill noise bouncing off of the inside of their heads. The Seraphim clutch at their ears and a demon closes a glass case over Genesis. Fiore rubs his head against DeBlanc’s neck and he can hear a faint hum of the song from earlier. Genesis echoes it back, louder in both of their heads. DeBlanc sits there, eyes open, watching it all in sorrowful silence.
Genesis bursts out of the glass container, sending shards flying across the room, and moves to rest at their feet. The demon picks shards of glass out of the thick flesh of her arms like it’s a minor inconvenience. The Seraphim hover in the air, almost touching the ceiling.
“It’s not his fault,” DeBlanc pleads, “He’s young, he didn’t understand what was happening.” The Seraphim don’t speak; the demon scowls at him.
“I seduced him,” He keeps trying to explain; the angels will like that explanation, the big bad demon ruining an innocent angel. The Seraphim spit at the ground in front of them. Fiore knows something very wrong is happening, but he keeps his eyes closed, trying to stay in the moment and absolutely not have to deal with what’s going on. The demon kicks him in the leg and he jerks away. Fiore brings his knees towards his chest and leans forward, pressing his forehead against his kneecaps.
“We know you’re awake, traitor. ” The Seraphim speak in unision.
One breaks off from the chorus and barks, “What are you doing, we need to detain it.”
“It won’t stay in,” the demon sounds frustrated, “It broke the glass.”
“Let me try,” DeBlanc whispers, not sure if he wants them to hear him say it. The whole room drops into silence.
“ What? ” The single syllable word drips with contempt.
“Let me try,” DeBlanc speaks louder. One of the Seraphim slip out of the room and returns. There’s some quiet deliberation between the other Seraphim, but eventually they all nod. The first Seraph returns and drops an empty can of Old Timer’s Coffee on the ground, it spins for a second before clattering to the ground. It’s a challenge and DeBlanc knows it; he reaches for it, but as soon as they see movement, the demon kicks it towards him.
DeBlanc pulls the lid off, then he holds the can in both hands.
“Genesis?” he knows it’s in the room, but he doesn’t want to scare it.
“You named it?” the demon’s lip curls in contempt.
“It named itself.”
Genesis shifts from a clear blurry force to a light blue one.
“Can you come here?” DeBlanc asks the question very softly, and he finds himself using the same tone he uses with Fiore. Genesis wavers in the air, before rushing over to them. It hangs in front of him expectedly.
“Can you go in there?” He glances down at the coffee can; Genesis whirs into it, denting the side slightly, then circles around three times before settling down.
“Good,” DeBlanc smiles, “Very good.” He moves the can to the crook of his left arm and puts his left and into it. Genesis rubs up against it; it feels almost like a hairless cat, despite the fact that it didn’t have a solid form.
“I’m going to put a lid on this now, okay? You don’t have to worry, I’ll be here.”
The demon’s mouth hangs open wide; the Seraphim look like they want to kill him. He offers either of them Genesis in a futile display of peace. The demon unwraps a length of barbed wire from her wrist; she grabs Fiore hands first and binds them together, the barbs crack the glowing shell of the angel’s arms and ichor drips to the ground. She stretches the rest of the wire over to DeBlanc and binds him too, still keeping Genesis tucked under his arm; the thick leather of demon flesh isn’t so easily pierced by barbed wire. She yanks them both to their feet.
They’re dragged through the winding tunnels, Fiore’s nestmates are all there, watching the show. He keeps his eyes trained on the ground and walks wherever he’s led. He can still hear them chittering away.
Fiore? Fiore? It’s Fiore? Who is that? Why is Fiore with a demon? What’s happening?
A Seraph raises their hand and everyone falls silent; Fiore isn’t sure which one was worse.
The courtroom is filled a deafening roar from every side talking at once. The Seraphim are still panicking because of the disruption of order, the demons are devouring the panic. DeBlanc can only make bits and pieces out of the conversations writhing around them. Genesis is crying because Fiore is crying; the molten light drips to the table they’re sitting at and burns holes through the wood.
“Heaven should never find out about this,” the Seraphim argue.
“I’m fine with whatever you decide as long as we get that one’s wings,” a short and stocky demon with curling horns points at Fiore, DeBlanc meets the demon’s eyes and scowls.The general consensus is that they should all be killed permanently, but that’s not going to happen unless the Seraphim consult those on heaven’s throne.
DeBlanc figures he’s already fucked, so he gets to his feet and yells, “WE’LL WATCH HIM.” The room freezes, everyone stares down at the prisoners as if they’d forgotten they were there.
“We’ll watch Genesis. No one has to know.” He stays standing, even more of a beacon of defiance than he was before. Fiore stares up at him, eyes wide. The courtroom fills with deliberation again, this time quieter. DeBlanc sits down slowly and Fiore looks away.
It feels like it takes hours, but finally the chorus of Seraphim speak, “We’ll allow it.” Fiore are DeBlanc are led away, still bound together. This time a Seraph holds the barbed wire, they wind their way deeper and deeper into the mountain. Fear builds up in Fiore’s stomach, they’re already farther than he’s ever been.
The only light in the hallway comes from the Seraph’s halo, and the dim flicker of Fiore’s. The hallway gets smaller and smaller until they’re walking single file, then the Seraph stops at a thick wooden door. The Seraph unlocks the door and shows them inside, then unbinds them and leaves. The room is bare, but at the very least they were given two beds and a handful of glowing stones set into the ceiling that lit up the room. DeBlanc sets Genesis down on the singular table in the room. The only other thing in the room was a phone, sitting on the table.
Fiore settles down on the bed, he shifts carefully on his side so as not to crush his wings, then folds them in toward his back, DeBlanc joins him on the bed as well. He faces Fiore and presses their foreheads together.
“We’ll figure this out, my dear.” Fiore still doesn’t say anything, but DeBlanc is willing to wait as long as it takes.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
A little bit of domestic-ness, but mostly angst, and Genesis escaping.
The first few weeks are the hardest, Fiore stays quiet and contemplative. DeBlanc spends most of his time with Genesis, who’s upset often. They fall into a routine, an awkward and stilted one, but a routine nonetheless. Fiore sleeps a lot, enough that it’s worrying, considering that angels don’t have to sleep at all. DeBlanc stays up and sings to Genesis until he’ll stay quiet.
“Are you okay?” DeBlanc asks each day, and each day Fiore just looks at him.
“Are you okay?” he asks like clockwork because he’s afraid not to. Fiore never says no, but he never says yes either.
“Are you okay?” he asks, because it’s easier to say than ‘I love you’.
“Are you okay?” he asks and one day Fiore says yes.
“I think so,” Fiore adds, “It’s strange, being away from the fighting.”
They push the two small beds together so they can share a bed without almost falling off. Fiore starts singing to Genesis too, it’s beautiful and terrifying at the same time, the way his heavenly voice echoes off of the ceiling of their room. It’s moments like these when his halo glows brightest, it’s still not as strong as it used to be, before Genesis. DeBlanc really isn’t sure what part of Genesis is his, but he knows there must be something of him within it.
Eventually the Seraphim stop being so angry at the two. It’s mostly Fiore who talks to them, they were far more willing to listen to him than DeBlanc. DeBlanc coaches him through what to say, helps him work out scripts and say what he needs to say to get things done. Fiore is very direct and blunt, like every other angel DeBlanc’s ever encountered, but he still has a level of naivety about him instead of the cold, calloused effect most angels had. But if there’s one thing DeBlanc knows how to do, it’s how to manipulate.
“Ask them for a music box,” DeBlanc sits on the bed, Fiore sits next to the table on the floor, holding the phone on his lap.
“An’ we need a music box.” The Seraph on the other end of the phone speaks, DeBlanc can’t make out what they say, and Fiore nods despite the fact that the angel on the other end can’t see him.
“Tell them we need ‘Wynken, Blynken, and Nod’, it’s his favorite.”
“Yes, ‘Wynken, Blynken, and Nod’, it’s his favorite.”
DeBlanc sets up a deal with one of the demons that’ll still talk to him, to smuggle gifts in for Fiore. It’s nothing big, just little trinkets from Earth, his source hoards things from whenever she goes down on a trip, and was willing to give some away when DeBlanc had asked. The only reason she was doing it was because she found some sick, illicit joy in playing a part in the traitor’s lives.
Fiore’s favorite is a comic, it’s already battered and beaten when he gives it to the angel, but Fiore holds it gently. He reads it over and over again, DeBlanc estimates it’s been a good thousand times or so. He begs his source to get more comics, and she follows through with it. DeBlanc gives Fiore a new one, still wrapped in plastic, and Fiore hugs him as tightly as he can, almost lifting the demon in the air.
“We haven’t done anything wrong,” DeBlanc says one day, before pressing a kiss to the back of Fiore’s hand.
Fiore looks confused, “But, DeBlanc, the Seraphim, they said…”
“That doesn’t mean it’s true.”
“What about Genesis?” At the mention of his name, Genesis starts to hum, electrifying the room.
“Genesis is beautiful, he’s wonderful.” DeBlanc presses Fiore’s hand against his cheek.
“Genesis is dangerous.”
“He’s ours. We can keep him safe.”
They sit in silence for a long time.
Everything’s fairly good, it’s not perfect, but it’s not horrible either. When they do sleep, they sleep in shifts, always making sure someone’s watching Genesis. Fiore sleeps holding DeBlanc’s right arm, while Genesis sits between them. He sings to them both, his voice low and deep. Fiore paces around the room while DeBlanc lies on his stomach, bony wings spread wide. Fiore finally unwinds enough to kiss DeBlanc, the room shines gold and Genesis laughs.
They start to kiss more often, Genesis starts to calm down easier. Fiore tells him that he’s doing it for Genesis, but DeBlanc can hear a familiar song radiating off of Fiore, off of Genesis. He smiles whenever he can hear it, thinking of the night years ago, his head pressed to Fiore’s chest, listening to love.
Fiore shakes DeBlanc awake, he didn’t even know he was asleep.
DeBlanc blinks and yawns.
“Genesis is gone!”
Fiore’s shaking badly and DeBlanc pulls him close, steadying the angel before he speaks, “We have to go.”
“We shouldn’t, not without telling someone.”
“We’ll be back before they notice,” DeBlanc assures him, still holding him close, “and Earth is a beautiful place.”
“I’ve never been.” The reason why he’s never been hangs unspoken in the air around them.
“I have, I’ll make sure we’re safe.”
They pack as quickly and quietly as they can. Fiore tucks each of his comics into the bottom of the trunk, DeBlanc lifts up the music box, Fiore closes the phone and puts it in as well.
“We’ll need to go to the armory, we need more than just this.” It’s DeBlanc’s suggestion, of course, but Fiore nods, knowing the urgency of their mission.
They latch the trunk shut, then they wind their way through the hallway hand in hand; the only light comes from Fiore’s halo.