Helena opened the sliding glass door, taking in a deep breath full of ocean mist. Reaching into her back pocket, she pulled out a cigarette. The sky was in different shades of pinks and oranges, casting an eerie glow against the ocean waves. They finally made it, exhausted and weary.
Digging her toes into the cold sand, Helena brushed her hair back and looked towards the sea. She lit her cigarette. Karma was in the ocean, floating on the surface as she watched the sky. Helena then looked up, seeing the clouds glide across the sky as they formed shapes. Karma lifted herself up in the water, her dark hair flipping around. She flashed a smile in Helena’s direction before diving under. Water splashed up and glistened around her purple tail in front of the sunset.
“Hey, Helena,” Sophia called. Helena turned around and saw Sophia sitting on a weather-beaten log that by the campfire. Sophia had her legs crossed, Tale of Two Cities falling apart on her lap as she leaned around the fire. Her blonde hair clung to her neck, and she was smiling. “Come here and sit. You look a little tired.” Helena smiled.
“Yeah, alright,” Helena said. She walked across the sand and sat down on the log beside Sophia’s. With her elbows on her knees, Helena leaned forward as her eyes began to droop.
Helena walked out onto the street. The door shut behind her, a comforting smell of alcohol wrapping around her. She moved her hair over to her left shoulder, the hilt of her blade peeking over her right shoulder. Few civilians were in this part of the city; no one would question her weapon. Her eyes glanced up at the darkening sky, the sun falling behind the buildings. Strange shadows fell over the city of Seattle, Washington. Taking another glance behind her shoulder, she straightened up her blazer. Turning on her toes, she started towards her apartment.
As she turned the corner into an alleyway, bright flashes caught her attention. The rays seemed familiar, but it still caught her off guard. She hadn’t seen those types of flashes since she had been in a Training Academy years ago. The sky grew even darker, and the breeze began to turn into a gust. There was only one explanation for what she saw. Helena tilted her head to the side and swore under her breath and started a run. Her heels clicked against the concrete. Another flash took place, blinding her as she flattened herself against the wall. Inching towards the corner, her right hand instinctively went to the hilt of her blade. As she neared the corner, she reached her head out. Two people were yelling at each other, surrounded by the flashing lights.
“Why are you mad?” the man asked, his hands up in self-defense. “I’ve promised to aid you.” He took a few steps forward. “Silly girl, don’t you remember? I’m the only one who knows.” Helena leaned forward. Something about this conversation was strange, even for Seattle.
“Honestly! I can’t believe you right now,” the girl countered, her hands balled into tight fists, her knuckles pale. “You make empty promises!”
“I’ve done so much for you! I’ve kept you hidden, taken people off your trail. You’re in the clear.”
“You don’t get it! I want to go back to Heaven!” Helena raised an eyebrow and took a step back until she saw something that answered every question she had about the argument. The man released a pair of black wings and flew backward, the flashing lights growing brighter with each pulse. His shirt flew around in scattered pieces, revealing his bare chest. Helena realized that it was a boundary line, to prohibit humans from viewing the scene. And the only way in was to throw yourself inside.
“I get it! Your wings are tainted,” the man said.
“No, you don’t know what it’s like to be hunted all the time! I can’t trust you!” The girl jumped backward, releasing a pair of white wings. Her shirt fell to the ground. Helena noticed guaze wrapped around her body. From where Helena was standing, her wings seemed to be pure. According to the man, though, she was a banished Angel; part of the Fallen, meaning her wings shouldn’t be there. A fire began to form on the palms of the man’s hands, his black wings flashing red around the edges. The girl stretched her wings out and covered herself with them, creating a shield that seemed brighter than the flashing lights. A gust of wind blew around them and Helena almost fell backward.
“Hey!” Helena yelled, covering her eyes as she broke into a sprint and threw herself at the boundary. The lights parted as she made contact, and she stumbled into the middle. The man lowered his hands as he saw Helena standing up straight, her hand at her blade. The girl opened her wings enough to reveal her eyes.
“Sicarius,” the man hissed, his eyes narrowing at her. “This is not your fight!” The fireball in his palms began to grow bigger and brighter. It seemed to have been taunting Helena, threatening to lash out at her any second.
“This could easily be resolved without fighting,” Helena said as she unsheathed her blade in one swift motion. The pattern along her blade was glowing an eerie blue under the lights. “State your name, under Covenant Law.” For a moment, the man faltered, his eyes growing wide as he noticed the patterns on her blade.
“I do not follow the Law, which your hypocritical kind follows,” he said, barring his teeth at her. “Therefore, I don’t have to answer to you, little Cloud Chaser.” Helena narrowed her eyes at the man.
Before Helena could retort with something witty, he threw the fireball at her. She tightened the grip on her blade, sending a quick prayer to the Angels above as the space around her grew warm. The fireball hit her blade and bounced back, disappearing into thin air in front of the man’s face. He hissed at her again, a smoky color hovering around his body as his hands balled into fists. Helena lowered her blade as she realized what he was.
“You’re Half,” she whispered. It was rare to come across half demon half Angel bred children. Many times the demon side would become too powerful, and they would fall under the power of the Fey. When they were split down the middle, they were like this man; hazy, too pure and too wicked all at once. His eyes were a dark purple, almost hypnotizing. His hair was the perfect shade of red, one black strand framing his angular face.
“Oh, quit it,” the girl said from behind them. Her high-pitched voice sounded annoyed as she took two steps towards the center. Her emerald green eyes narrowed towards the man, but when they shifted over to Helena, they softened. “Sicarius, as he said, this isn’t your fight to deal with. I’ll have him dead in less than thirty seconds.” Helena searched her eyes, her brows furrowing. That’s when Helena noticed a blue impurity that surrounded her white wings. The Angel tucked a piece of her blonde hair behind her ear, waiting for a response.
“You guys are a public distraction for those who can see behind the wall,” Helena said. “Also, both Angels and Half-Breeds are under the Law, and I uphold the Law, even if I don’t always agree with it. Surely, though, this wouldn’t have to end in death.” The Angel spread out her wings again, dragging against the floor as she neared Helena. Her hand reached out, touching Helena’s arm with feather-like softness.
“The Half-Angel and I have unfinished business,” she said with a soft smile. “Even though I hate myself for sticking around with him for so long, it is between us.” Helena took a step back, the Angel’s hand falling back to her side. She narrowed her eyes at the Angel and then looked over at her shoulder to the man.
“Well then,” Helena said as she sheathed her blade and rubbed her wrist, right where the first crest on her skin was. “Can’t argue with that.” She started to walk away as the boundary began to fade away. Pausing for a moment, she turned around and walked backward, her steps unheard. “If I catch one of you guys - alone, that is - I’m holding you responsible under Covenant Law.” She nodded towards both of them and began to turn away from them.
“It was a pleasure meeting you,” the man called, sarcasm dripping in his voice. Helena rolled her eyes at him, pushing up the sleeves of her blazer as the first crest on her wrist revealed itself. It was small enough not to be quite as noticeable, but it covered that patch of her skin rather harshly.
“Likewise,” Helena called as she turned the corner.
Tsuna let out a loud sigh, his back relaxing as the Sicarius walked away. The tattoo on the inside of her wrist faded into her caramel skin the farther she got. He could see bits and pieces of it, but it didn’t give much indication to her lineage. Her blade tapped the back of her thigh, her long black hair swaying in the wind. She turned the corner underneath the dull streetlight and was gone. Tsuna began to wonder how many humans thought it was normal to have a blade to your back at all times. A small shiver passed through Tsuna, knowing that he could’ve been reported or murdered if Sophia hadn’t defended him.
“Could you not bring in the Sicarii Council next time?” Sophia snapped, hiding her wings. The sky had grown black, the street lights above them casting shadows all around them. Her emerald eyes narrowed at him as she cracked her knuckles, the sound echoing around him. He gave her a small smile, taking a step towards her.
“It was only one.” Tsuna hid his wings as Sophia rolled her eyes at him, almost in the same manner the Sicarius had. Sophia started to walk away from him, the boundary lines fading and turning in circles around them, vanishing. “Ah, ah, ah.” He shook his finger at her, placing his other hand on her shoulder to turn her back around. “We still have unfinished business, Sophia darling. My death. Remember?” She let out a bright laugh that was void of humor, her head tilting back.
“Oh, how I loathe thee,” she said. “I have nothing to finish with you!” She shook her head. “You tried to kill me years ago. I explained myself and everything, and you couldn’t even brush it off. It’s not my fault that you guards are a bunch of idiots.” She shook off his hand from her shoulder, her head turning to the side. Tsuna bit his lip and shook his head again. “I thought we were friends.”
“Oh, c’mon,” Tsuna said, removing a piece of dirt from underneath his nail before looking back at her. “You told the girl that we had unfinished business, so you must’ve meant that, right?”
“Only to get her to go away. I’m tired of dealing with you and asking for the same thing over and over again that you’ll never give me. I’m going to find the girl.” She turned her head to him. “I have nowhere to go. Maybe she could find me a place to crash until my next move. Or some advice on how to get your friends to keep their promises.” Tsuna rolled his eyes at her.
“You’re being dramatic again,” he said as he grabbed her by the arm. “Let’s go.” His voice softened, his thumb brushing against her forearm. “My apartment is a few blocks up, and I promise to help you.”
“You always said that you’d help, and it’s been four hundred years. Each time, I’m rejected, and I’ve become some street urchin, hoping to get back to the palace.” She sighed. “Besides, you’re a Guardian of the Gates. One, you’re lucky that she didn’t recognize you.” Tsuna stiffened. “And two, you have better things to do than take care of a Fallen working up the ladder.” She tugged her arm away from his grip.
“Sophia!” he called, but she was already gone.
Sophia ran behind one of the buildings surrounding her, glancing around at each noise. She could hear Tsuna cursing nearby as his feet shuffled against the gravel. No civilians were running around, and a good thing too. Rolling her shoulders back, her wings exploded out from behind her. The feeling of free wings was liberating. A smile broke on her face as she pushed herself off of the ground and launched into the air. The air was cool, civilians walking down the sidewalk as they headed back home or wherever. The sky was turning different shades of blue fading to black. Sophia spotted someone with the same black hair the girl had, walking in a deserted alleyway headed towards an apartment complex.
“Sicarius!” Sophia called, diving down and twirling in the air before landing a few feet away from the Huntress. Gravel and trash began to lift around her as her wings furled out and behind her. The Huntress raised an eyebrow, lifting up her hand to run it through her hair that reached her hips. Her blue eyes were much darker in this lighting, contrasting against her dark skin. Her eyes were so dark; so dark that they seemed to resemble the night sky. She shifted her weight over to one leg and for the first time, Sophia realized that she had been wearing heels, towering over Sophia’s short stature.
“Turning yourself in I suppose?” Her tone was dripping with sarcasm as she placed her cigarette between her teeth. “State your name.” Sophia nodded as she wet her lips before taking a deep breath as she followed procedure.
“My name is Sophia Luna,” Sophia said, her voice coming out breathy. “I came to you for help.” She glanced down at the ground, her hands going behind her back as she brushed her feathers.
“You expect me to assist you after all that?” the Huntress asked, giving a soft laugh and shaking her head. “What do you need help with?”
“Well, I … I need a place to stay, and I was wondering if you knew of any available places in the area. After all, you are part of the Sicarii Council.”
“A place to stay?” She was silent for a moment. Cars and buses were the only noises coming from the street that ran parallel to the alleyway. Sophia felt her breathing becoming shallow as she watched the Huntress think. Her face was thoughtful, the corner of her mouth lifting. “Well, I’m sure I can find something somewhere for your kind,” she said after a few moments.
“You … You can?”
“Of course I can! After all, I may be Sicarii Council property, but I live in the one town they don’t care for. Helping you technically isn’t against Covenant Law since you came straight to me.” The Huntress was still smiling. “You’ll be living with me then.”
“Wait what?” Sophia’s eyes widened.
“I’m going to let you live with me,” the Huntress repeated as she threw away the end of her cigarette. “I mean, why not?”
“But, you said you would turn me in!”
“You came to me anyway.” Sophia held her breath, not knowing what to say. She felt her cheeks turning red. “It’s a good thing, too, that you came to this Sicarii Council member.” The Huntress pointed at herself with a grin. “I’ll allow you to live with me until everything gets sorted out between you and your little friend.” She started to walk past Sophia, pulling out a key from her back pocket.
“Little … friend?” Sophia asked, tilting her head to the side as she followed behind her. “Oh, Lord!” Sophia blushed again and grinned. “You can’t think that he and I are together!” The Huntress glanced over her shoulder and shrugged, the corners of her mouth pulling down into a small frown. “We are not together. He’s an old friend of mine.” Sophia gave a nervous laugh. The Huntress gave Sophia a half-smile, a deep dimple showing.
“Hmm,” she mused. “Well, I apologize for thinking that you two were.”
“So, what’s your name?” The sky had grown black, only one light leading the way up the stairs to the apartment complex. The Huntress’s heels clicked against the metal stairs.
“My name?” the Huntress asked, placing the key in the keyhole and turned the knob. After a few moments, she answered. “My name is Helena of the Nightshade lineage.” Sophia recognized the name.
“That’s a very beautiful name,” Sophia replied, walking after Helena into the apartment. Helena flicked on the lights in one quick movement, blinding Sophia for a few moments. She began to look around. The apartment was pretty roomy. There was a nice sized kitchen with stainless steel appliances and a wooden table set for four. A large metallic couch sat in front of a television, pillows scattered across it. There was also a black upright piano placed in the corner, music books stacked and scattered around the floor.
“I may have some fresh gauze around here,” Helena said, motioning to Sophia’s chest. Sophia looked down and smiled. “That’s smart.”
“Women can’t run around topless on Earth, so I had to fashion something to keep me covered but not restrictive of my wings.”
“Guaze worked the best?” Helena asked. “Not leather or cloth?”
“I found it to be more secure and breathable. It’s not like I could fashion special armor for it. That I had to leave behind.”
Helena removed her blade from her back and placed against the wall, her touch delicate. Removing her heels, she placed them by the door. Sophia also removed her shoes, placing them right next to Helena’s. Sophia then noticed exactly how tall Helena was; she was easily 5’10 barefoot. Helena then removed her blazer and hung it up on the coat rack, smoothing her hands down her jeans.
“There’s a room in the back,” Helena said, pointing down the hall. There were paintings of people and flowers lined down the hallway, leading down to the room. “It’s a spare. My room, though, is up those stairs.” Sophia looked at the stairs and felt confused. Few apartments had the feel of houses. She began to wonder how much Helena paid to have this apartment and why she had so much space. “Feel free to come and go as you please, because rules are boring.” Helena walked over to the kitchen cupboard and pulled out a small metal object. She tossed it to Sophia is one swift movement. When she caught it, she opened her palm and looked down. It was a key to the apartment. “But, if I do find you breaking the Law-”
“Then I must be turned into the Sicarii Council, as stated under Covenant Law, and the Angel Council will be contacted,” Sophia finished in a quiet voice as she stared at the silver key in her hand. She had known everything about the Sicarius Covenant Law as an Angel of Heaven.
“Glad someone knows their stuff.” Helena looked around the kitchen. “Do you drink?”
“I do,” Sophia replied as she walked over to the piano and opened one of the larger books of music. The book was a book of solos, classic works bookmarked, pencil markings covering the empty spaces.
“Well, I have plenty of wine in my fridge and liquor in the cabinets. Feel free to drink whenever. I also have ridiculous amounts of food.” Helena smiled. “My home is your home now.” Sophia smiled.
“Often,” Helena said, walking over to Sophia with her arms crossed. Sophia knew the Sicarii were fond of music, something passed down to them by the Angels. But this was the most music she had ever seen a single Sicarius own. “If you need anything else, I’ll be upstairs.” She paused before walking up the stairs. “Oh, let me write my number down for you.” She grabbed an empty sheet of paper and a pencil from the piano and scribbled down a ten-digit number, handing it over. Sophia recognized the area code being from California. Helena gave a quick half-smile before ascending the stairs. Sophia heard a door close with a soft click.
Sophia went to close the book of music, seeing works from Debussy and Chopin - two of her favorite composers - as well as Beethoven, Mozart, and Dvořák. Passing by the kitchen table, she let her fingertips graze over the white tablecloth, bending her head forward to smell the roses that were in a gold vase. When she began to walk down the hallway, she noticed three doors. She also noticed that the paintings of people looked like they could be Helena’s family. Reaching for the first doorknob, Sophia opened it and saw a bunch of old clothes scattered around the floor. Disregarding the room, she closed it and opened the door across from it. It was a large bathroom with a futon in the corner and dressing curtain on the other side. It was very neat, decorated, but Sophia began to wonder why a futon would be in a bathroom.
Before she opened the last door, she noticed a fourth door off to the side, the Nightshade Crest painted on top of it. Narrowing her eyes, she crept towards it. She placed her hand on the handle, but then found it best that she should leave it alone. Walking back to the third door, she opened it. It was a bedroom with a full-sized bed pushed up against the wall, a large closet with some clothes in there and another bathroom. Sophia looked around, scratched her head and shrugged. The walls were a soft blue color, the curtains pushed back, revealing a decent view of Seattle.
“It’s like she knew this room would be used,” Sophia muttered as she closed the door behind her.
Tsuna walked up the streets, not sure where to go or what to do at this very moment. Seattle was currently dead, few people out and about, but he knew the only places to go at this hour to have some company would be a bar. Usually, he’d be talking to Sophia, or he would be somewhere else in the United States. He never thought that he’d be back in Seattle for any reason, but there had to have been one, right? Looking up at the sky, he saw that the sun was gone, replaced with a bright full moon that drowned out the stars. His wings retracted into his back and shrugged on his jacket. He opened the door to his favorite bar, Nic’s.
The bar had dim lighting, a soft humming coming from the television sets scattered around the bar. People shuffled their feet across the wooden floors as they sat down at the tables, the drunkards sleeping in the corners. The bar wasn’t as busy as it could’ve been, but there was still enough business.
When Tsuna walked inside, a lot of the murmuring ceased as they looked up to see him. Many knew Tsuna as The Guardian, although there were many other Guardians. The ones before him seemed to have vanished into the wind, leaving Tsuna with the title, commanding those below him. Narrowed eyes followed him across the bar, and Tsuna returned their scowls and glares with one of his own. By the sensation that prickled against his skin, he could sense another Sicarius in the building - but it wasn’t the one from earlier. He sighed with relief. He looked around, seeing various races and other strange creatures of the supernatural realm. Coming towards the bar, there was the Sicarius he sensed. He had fair hair that was very tousled as if he had woken up a few moments ago.
“Sir,” Nic, the bartender said. “What’s the matter?” Tsuna looked over at the Hunter from the corner of his eye. The bartender placed a shot of dark liquid in front of the Hunter. He lifted the glass with his slim fingers, took the shot and slammed the glass on the counter, letting out a dragging sigh.
“I cannot find Helena,” the Hunter said. “She hasn’t been answering my calls or my messages, and I’ve been to her apartment, but she’s never there.” He placed his head on the counter, his fair hair moving in other directions.
“Who’s Helena?” Tsuna asked, taking a seat next to the Hunter. He looked up at him and gave him a small smile. “I would apologize for getting into your business, but perhaps I could help. After all, you are a person with a story.”
“She’s someone who I want to marry.” The Hunter lifted his head slowly and looked over at him. His green eyes puffed up with sorrow, a red line rimming around them.
“And she’s a Sicarius, like you?”
“She is,” the Hunter said, sitting up. He stretched his back, cracks heard with each motion. “I don’t suppose you’ve run into any female Sicarii recently?” Tsuna smiled, thinking of the Huntress who almost beheaded him. “It’s not like there are many of us in this area.”
“Actually,” Tsuna said, still smiling. How common was it to see a Huntress in these parts, anyway? “I recently crossed paths with one.” The Hunter stopped drinking, his eyes flashing to him. The bar grew silent. Many knew of a Huntress in these parts, but she was a rare one to see. “Maybe she could be the girl you were talking about …?”
“How did she look like?” The Hunter began to lean closer to Tsuna. Tsuna felt himself lean back, almost into the man next to him. The Werewolf grunted and glared at Tsuna, who mumbled an apology. Tsuna then felt like he was better off keeping his mouth shut for the sake of the girl. But describing her wasn’t a difficult task.
“Well, she had long black hair that reached her hips like a waterfall. She also had this blade on her back that more than likely weighs more than she does. There’s also a tattoo on the inside of her wrist, but I couldn’t make it out … And her eyes are blue. Tan skin, natural.” The Hunter smiled.
“That’s her!” The Hunter stood up and grabbed the lapels of Tsuna’s coat, leaning closer into him. His breath reeked of alcohol, and he stumbled forward but Tsuna caught him. His eyes were glistening in the light as they grew wider with excitement. “Which way did my darling Helena go?”
“I believe she headed north,” Tsuna said.
“North?” The Hunter blinked. “That’s in the direction towards her apartment, but I was there earlier. I could try again. No harm in that. Thank you, Guardian.” Tsuna nodded, smirking at the formality. The Hunter swallowed the last of his drink before paying the bartender. He grabbed his coat from the back of his chair and started for the door, almost knocking over a Vampire.
“Crossing paths once more with the Sicarii, eh Tsuna?” Nic asked, placing a bottle of beer in front of him. “Explains why you’re not wearing a shirt.” Nic was a nice bartender, even though his appearance made it seem like he was a mean man. He was strong and muscular, a scar running from the corner of his eye down to his lip. Many thought he was a Werewolf, but in fact, Nic was a regular human who could see into the realm.
“Hah,” Tsuna said, smiling as he lifted the glass to his thin lips. “I had a little quarrel with Sophia because of a few previous actions and a Huntress intervened.” He took a sip of his drink and then placed the glass on top of his napkin. He reached into his jacket pocket for his cigarettes and smiled. “One can only assume that it’s Helena. Sophia went after the Huntress after the argument.”
“If I hadn’t known any better,” Nic said, smiling, “I would say that you have quite the liking towards Miss Sophia.” Tsuna choked on his drink, dabbing his mouth with a napkin. He pounded on his chest. Nic began to laugh as Tsuna started to cough while trying to light his cigarette.
“Please,” Tsuna said after a few moments. “Sophia is more like a bratty little sister to me, you know. More than anything else.” He folded up his napkin and placed it off to the side.
“Yes, yes, I know. It’s fun to joke around with you, though.” The bar door opened again, a soft breeze causing everyone to grow silent. It was the Huntress from earlier. Eyes followed her in admiration and hatred as she neared the bar. She was weaponless, or at least it seemed like it.
“Now, Helena,” Nic said, preparing a drink for her. “You do know that you have James running around in circles, looking for you.” She gave a small smile as she reached the chair next to Tsuna, the one James was sitting in earlier. Removing her jacket, she placed it against the back of the chair. Tsuna caught the tattoo on the inside of her wrist; it was a small crescent moon.
“Has it ever occurred to you, or anybody else,” she said as she adjusted herself in the seat, “that I don’t want to be found by James, let alone found by anyone in the goddamn Sicarii Council?” Nic gave her a small smile as he placed a napkin in front of her. Helena reached for the salt and began to sprinkle it on the napkin. “Only two people know where I am and I would like to keep it that way. Besides, James is a damn idiot, too,” Helena continued. “He ran right past me. And here I thought that he had something important to do, but it seems like he’s still looking for me when I’m right in front of him.” She shook her head and rolled her eyes as she crossed her legs.
“Well, my apologizes, kiddo.” He placed the drink in front of her and turned away from the counter to do something.
“It’s all good,” Helena murmured, sipping her drink. Her fingers were bare, except for one little mark on the side of her left index finger; a small elegant S.
“Good evening, Huntress,” Tsuna said, smiling. She looked over at him as she placed her glass down on the counter, shaking her head. Time seemed to have slowed down as Tsuna began to analyze her up close. Her blue eyes seemed to have lightened, or perhaps it was the lighting. She had a small freckle right above her left cheekbone. Her lips were full as she gave him a small smile and Tsuna found himself fascinated by her.
“Ah, so I run into Sophia, and now I meet you,” she said, turning her head away from him for a moment as time sped up. She brushed her black hair over her right shoulder, tapping her nails against the counter. He noticed three piercings on her right ear.
“You found Sophia?” Tsuna asked. “Oh, and to be formal with you, my name is Sir Tsuna Izuna.” He bowed awkwardly in his seat towards her.
“I know who you are.” When she turned her head again, her eyes seemed to have been sparkling. “Sir Tsuna Izuna, a Guardian of the Gates of Heaven and Hell.” She took another sip of her drink, looking down. Her eyelashes were thick and full, casting a long shadow onto her high cheekbones. “Oh, and correction. Sophia found me.” Tsuna nodded.
“So, you like your beverages strong?” He gave a slight hand motion to her drink, seeing her cheek raise up with the hint of a smile.
“That I do.”
“So, where’s Sophia?” Tsuna asked, sipping his beer with ease. He had almost forgotten about that little brat. Helena took a sip of the water, tilting her head back at a slight angle.
“Back at my apartment,” she said, shrugging. The act almost seemed childish. It was as if her mind was some place else. She was staring at the bar lights above them, her eyes flickering back and forth. “I, uh, I told her that I was heading out for a bit, and she replied ‘see you in a few!’” The silence began to creep up behind them.
“So,” Tsuna said as he cleared his throat. “How old are you, anyway?” His eyes grazed her face, down her body to her feet, and came back up again. Her skin showed no flaws of any battles, but he knew the scars were there. Every Sicarius soldier had scars.
“Such an odd question. How old do you think I am?” She scratched the back of her neck, and Tsuna caught another tattoo. So far, she had three noticeable ones. It was on her other wrist, two small overlapping circles; the Mark of the Sicarii Council.
“Oh, I don’t know … Seventeen?” He smiled when Helena broke into a short, crisp laugh followed by a half-smile. There was even an impression of a dimple. Tsuna felt a wave of infatuation take hold of him that he couldn’t help but smile back at her.
“Tu penses,” she began, shaking her head. Tsuna smiled again. “You think that I, being seventeen, could walk into a bar and order a drink?” Tsuna began to notice that even when she spoke English, there was a very faint French accent.
“Well, not many supernaturals care about the age rules and all that.” Helena laughed again, a simple laugh. “But really, how old are you?”
“If you must know,” she said, that half-smile still on her face. Tsuna leaned in closer to her. “I’m twenty-three. Us Hunters age slower, you know, which makes me look younger than I am. All that celestial blood, I suppose.”
“Twenty-three and drinking strong,” he said, his eyes narrowed. “You’ve been drinking for a while then, long before you became legal. So, let’s play a guessing game.” Tsuna adjusted himself in his seat, placing a fist over his mouth, his left hand brushing over her bicep. He could catch a faint scent of flowers and a soft powder from her perfume. “Drinking is, perhaps, your third favorite hobby as a Sicarius.” She raised an eyebrow, that half-smile coming back.
“Oh alright,” she said. Her left hand rested on her neck, her right hand still lingering by her drink. She didn’t seem to mind the closeness. Her eyes were still narrowed, teasing him. “If you think you know it all, what are the first two then?” He looked down, letting out a small laugh, smiling. There was something deadly about the way she looked, how she laughed, how she did everything. With her long black hair and those piercing blue eyes, she reminded him of a panther; beautiful yet so deadly.
“Number one,” he began as he leaned back, still holding her gaze, “is the complete obvious, of course.” He took a sip of his drink, breaking the eye contact. He thought for a moment. “Killing things, fighting, things like that. You enjoy training.”
“Close enough.” She took a small sip of her drink. “Do tell me, what is number two if you know everything about me and my kind.” He laughed, resting his glass on the counter.
“Playing an instrument,” he blurted, glancing over at her again. A smile began to form again on her lips as she held the glass to her mouth.
“Which one?” Tsuna smiled again at her. “Or do you not know one thing about me, or about Cloud Chasers in general?” Her tone was teasing, challenging his knowledge.
“The cello?” She smirked. “Or, perhaps you’re more of a flute type of girl?” She laughed, shaking her head. “Wait! I’ve got it! You’re a heavy metal type of girl, and you play the bass, both types no doubt.”
“I can play them all,” she admitted. “But, there is one instrument that has been in my heart and blood since I was born. It’s as if it was passed down in my genetics. If I don’t play at least one masterpiece a day, it will drive me crazy.” He smiled.
“Oh, the piano?” The answer came without him thinking. “I mean, many Sicarii take on the piano when they’re children, so why would you be any different. That makes sense.” He was joking, but in an instant, her expression changed.
“Correct,” she said as if she had grown bored. “And, I am plenty different, not that I have to prove that to you.” She finished the last of her drink, pulling out money from her pocket to pay Nic. “The Sicarii are hypocrites, but at least I admit my faults.” She picked up her pleather jacket and shrugged it on as she stood up.
“Wait, you’re leaving?” Tsuna asked, almost starting to reach towards her, but he caught himself. She looked down at him, over her shoulder. “I didn’t mean to -”
“Don’t cry. Demons don’t cry.” Tsuna blinked at her expression. He had heard it before. She walked outside, the leftover crowd following after her.
Sophia was sitting on the edge of her new bed, staring at the now empty closet. There were clothes scattered around and she had asked Helena what to do with it and she simply said “do whatever you want with them”. There wasn’t much to do without Helena here. Sophia had so many unanswered questions about Helena and what she could do to help Sophia get what she truly wanted: her wings.
Standing up, Sophia rolled her shoulders back and released the pair of wings she was granted once she fell from Heaven. They weren’t stripped away completely due to the fact that once she Fell, she had become lost on the map. The other Angels had trouble tracking her. It was a rare thing, to lose someone once they became Fallen. It was an even rarer thing not to remove their wings before the Fall. Sophia thought of it as a sign, something to her keep going to regain her rightful status back in Heaven; to fight the darkness. Without her perfect set of wings, she would simply be a target for the Hunters and Guardians like Tsuna.
Sophia looked at herself in the reflection of the mirror, her fingers going up to touch the rough edges of her wings. Many thought that wings were soft, fluffy, but the wings Sophia had were rough. Scars carved deep into the folds of her feathers. They were sturdy and would drag on the ground behind her when she would walk. Sophia knew how to walk better with her wings than without them. They were her support in every way possible.
The edges of her wings stained blue, a reminder that if she got too careless, she could be captured again. Somehow Sophia had managed to escape and keep her wings for longer than she was supposed to have them. Tsuna promised that he wouldn’t remove her wings, but that he would help her regain her status in Heaven. But for many years after that promise, they’ve had trouble in training and sticking together long enough to request a summon. So, Sophia had to learn how to watch her back and sustain herself on her own.
But now that Sophia met Helena, there seemed to be hope. If Helena wouldn’t help her, Sophia would then be at a complete loss. She walked out to the living room and settled on the couch.
Nothing seemed to have been catching Sophia’s attention on the channels. Sitting up, she reached over to the side where the movie collection Helena had been sitting. They ranged anywhere from Pride and Prejudice to Casablanca, all the way up to The Notebook and the latest blockbuster hit. There were a lot of foreign movies within the pile as well, and movies that Sophia has never seen, let alone heard of. Helena must be a huge movie buff to have a collection so grand. Star Wars: Episode IV was on the top of the pile, an obvious sign that that Helena had watched it recently. Without a second thought, Sophia grabbed the DVD and popped into the player. She reached for her wine glass and sat back down. After a few moments into the movie, there was an obnoxious knock on the apartment door. Sophia sighed, paused the movie and got up.
“Yes?” Sophia asked as she opened the door. In front of the door was a tall blond boy with green eyes as dark and soft as those of Sophia’s. There was on a small tattoo of a sun etched on the inside of his left wrist, opposite of Helena’s secondary crest. On his right hand was the two overlapping circles of the Sicarii Council.
“Wait, you’re not Helena,” the boy said. He wrinkled his nose at the sight of her. “Where is she?”
“Helena?” Sophia asked, narrowing her eyes at the blond boy. “Who are you?”
“My name is James; James Dawnblade.” He bowed in front of Sophia in one swift motion, his hand fidgeting with the rolled up sleeves of his jacket. “I came down here to look for her.” Sophia nodded, taking a sip of the wine.
“I’m sorry, James, but I haven’t seen Helena in a while. I share the place with her.” James sighed, lifting his hand to place it against his forehead. He closed his eyes in frustration, letting out a sigh. His breath reeked of alcohol and cigarettes.
“If you .. Rather, when you see her again, could you please tell her that I was looking for her?”
“Sure thing,” Sophia said as she closed the door. Sophia turned off the television set and dimmed the lights as she laid back down on the couch and closed her eyes. Hours seemed to have passed before the apartment door opened and closed with an audible click, shoes falling to the floor. Sophia opened her eyes. The fridge opened and closed, and something clanked on the counter. Sophia pulled herself up to see exactly was Helena was up too.
“Stop being so noisy,” Helena said. She hadn’t even looked up or turned her head to look at Sophia. “I can hear everything you’re doing, Sophia.” Sophia stood up straight, her eyebrows shooting up as she came into view.
“Me? Am I being noisy? You’re the one who’s throwing heels across the room and clanking pots and pans.” Helena smiled, pulling out a knife from the drawer and setting to chop carrots and onions. “Hold up, you’re cooking?”
“Would you like me to order some high-sodium takeout shit and feed you that?” Helena asked, looking up at Sophia from underneath her eyelashes. “Not that it’s bad or anything, because it’s okay to treat yourself. Or would you rather have a nice home cooked meal and know exactly what you’re consuming? I know we just started living together like two hours ago and all, but c’mon.”
“I didn’t realize you were quite the chef,” Sophia said as she sat down at the table. Her fingers played with the rose petals that were beginning to fall onto the tablecloth.
“My mother taught me how to cook when I was very young. I have all those old family recipes from both sides of my family, some handwritten by my ancestors in Nice.” Sophia smiled.
“Nice?” Sophia asked, tilting her head to the side. “But Nightshade is an English lineage.” Helena flashed a grin as she threw everything in the pot and set it to simmer.
“Aren’t you an intelligent one,” Helena said, leaning against the counter, her hip digging into the drawer handle. The lighting was bright, Sophia able to see the smudging of Helena’s makeup underneath her lash line. For a moment, Helena wasn’t so perfect, but real, human. “My mother was French and my father British. Arranged marriage, had me about two years into it, and that’s that. The rest is history.”
“Where are they? Are they in England?”
“Oh, sure,” Helena said in a small, hesitant voice. She then turned away to fumble around in the pantry. Sophia raised an eyebrow. “We don’t really talk much anymore.”
“How depressing!” Helena turned around, her hair flying around her.
“Depressing?” she asked. “How so?”
“Well, you don’t speak to your family!” Sophia clarified. “Family is the most important thing. It’s love! That’s what secular living is all about, right?”
“Love?” Helena echoed, shaking her head. “You think I don’t know what love is?” Helena gave a small smile and walked over to the bookshelf near the piano. She plucked a photo off from one of the shelves, one that was strategically placed and hidden. Walking back over to Sophia, Helena handed the photo over to her and continued with making dinner.
“What’s this?” Sophia asked as she looked at the photo. Helena was in it, her arms wrapped around a man, who was smiling brightly at her. “Who’s this?”
“My fiancé, Arthur,” Helena said. “The man whom I’m madly in love with. He’s currently living in Los Angeles and we’re to be married next year.” Sophia looked up and scanned Helena’s hand for a ring.
“You don’t have a ring?”
“It’s being fitted.” Helena looked up from the stove. “My parents are dealing with some things. They know of Arthur because they arranged it, blessed our union, and that’s it. Sicarii families are different; once children become of age to battle and travel, they become their own persons. We like being alone, until we find someone else to be with.”
“If you like being alone, then why are you letting me live with you?” Helena laughed, reaching for a spoon to stir the soup with.
“You may not be so noisy, but you sure are nosy,” Helena said, placing the wooden spoon off to the side. Sophia could feel herself turning pink as Helena looked at her again. “I let you live with me because I was ... commanded to.”
“What do you mean?”
“When I came to Seattle, I had vision from my Angel. He told me that I would meet these three people, and I will help them, and they will help me,” she said. “It was weird, but I created this huge apartment with the help of the landlord and just waited for the day I’d meet these people.”
“And I’m one of these three?” Sophia asked.
“Apparently,” Helena replied, smiling again. “There are two that are going to live with me, and they’re going to both ask me for help. And the aid I offer will be to live right here, in my apartment. Then it goes into much more extensive help later on, of course.” Sophia blinked.
“Who’s the other person?”
“All I know is that they like water enough to have a huge bathroom all to themselves,” Helena said. “Now, the third person may or may not live with me … That can be debated later.”
“How interesting,” Sophia said. “So, meeting you was fate.” Helena rolled her eyes and turned her attention back to the soup.
“I’m sure you can call it that. Fate, destiny, or whatever other ridiculous names you could possibly think of.”
“I wonder who the other two could be. When do you think we’ll meet them?”
“Hell if I know. I mean, it took me two years to find you.” Sophia laughed.
“Well, I guess it’s just you and me now, right?”
“Yup,” Helena said. “Just the two of us, eating soup and drinking nothing but wine and watching lame movies until the other two decide to reveal themselves.”
“You have quite the collection of lame movies,” Sophia said. They both laughed for a moment, a bright, sweet sound that mimicked the sound of bells. Sophia looked around the apartment once more and smiled.
What a great place to call home.
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