I slowly woke up feeling like a train ran me over, backed up, and ran me over again. My eyes are slow to open, and I instantly wish I could fall back into the painlessness of sleep. White-hot agony shoots through my shoulder and knee as they’re being ripped apart as the daggers, the ever so kind monsters left buried in my body. My neck and head scream as the hands tangled in my hair dragged across the uneven forest floor. I try to move, only to find my hands and feet bound together by invisible ropes. Gods above and below do I wish I had died.
I thrash, trying to enact my death smoke before I could use it on the fuckers, one of the fuckers starts talking. “don’t even try lover-boy.”
“What’s stopping me from trying?” I bite back through the pain. No way in hell would I, the son of death, roll over and let them dominate me. If they weren’t going to kill me, then I’ll give them plenty of reason to regret it.
“The fact that we’re going to find the bitch nevertheless. We found a blood trail. My bet is that it will lead us straight to her,” one of them cackles.
“Seems that’s all the more reason to,” I growl, trying to focus on my magic. I feel it is just out of reach. My mental fingertips barely brush against it, but it’s not enough. I don’t stop, I can’t afford to fail.
Scarface comes up to me next to me, his foot lands heavily into my already shattered rib cage. I finally get a hold of my magic, and a thin wispy layer of smoke surrounds my hands, and I grab the man’s foot. The smoke turns the skin to rot. The scarred asshole grits his teeth and rips a branch off a nearby tree, stabbing me in the arm I can actually feel. I scream in pain, my throat feels like it’s being torn apart from the inside. My hands slip from his ankle, and he smirks down at me, enjoying my suffering.
My breathing becomes harder to find, as I’m guessing my blood loss is finally catching up with me. My muscles begin to relax as black dots flash before my eyes. The heartbeat in my ears is loud, I can clearly hear the slowing of my pulse. Maybe the basters fucked up, and I was going to die anyway? Did my life really matter? Kiela got away right, she has a head start I promised her. Yeah, that’s all that matters.
I suddenly feel fear and anger that isn’t mine, it slams into my mind like a brick wall crashing down. It acts as a breath of air, filling my lungs despite the pain. I close my eyes, squeezing them shut while I try to block them out. I hear a female scream over the pounding in my ears.
Scarface laughs maniacally, “Come here, bitch! Get your little lover boy!”
I feel my life slip from away, right off my tongue as I yell each word. “Kiela! Shawn! Run please! You have to run!” I was going to die, I needed her to not be around when that happened.
I open my bury eyes just in time to see a flash of silver light. The hands dragging me along suddenly release their grip on me. A new set of hands find their way onto my body and pull me away from the look-alikes. I don’t fight whoever it is, just yelp in pain, and hope that they would kill me already.
The blinding silver light fades, and I can see both figures of scarface frozen in place. Kiela’s hovering above them, her eyes glowing a cold blue-sliver her wings flapping softly. She has pitch black horns that curl around her ears now and a matching black tail with small spikes at the end. My eyes slowly drift to the person that stops pulling me. Shawn stands by my feet, his eyes watching my raven in all of her beauty.
With the twin scarfaces dying, their magic dies with them, releasing my limbs from their ropes. I roll over and my side, coughing up blood. The red droplets splattered across the leaf-littered floor. I over my hacking, I hear Shawn kneel down next to me with a soft gunt. “Shit...” he whispers panicky.
I lay back down, I wanted the last thing I see to be my chosen. Kiela looks over at me, and the glow fading from her eyes, turning back to the soft brown I’ve grown to love. The horns and tail recede into her body. She looks kinda scared and nervous, hesitant to get down from her spot in the sky.
“Shoulda...” I struggle to speak around my coughing. “... you should have left me...”
“Trust me, I tried. She wouldn’t let me.” Shawn grumbles, pulling his cloak out of the bag I had given them, and rips strips of it off. “don’t die yet.” He seems to add like an afterthought.
A weak smile pulls at my lips, “It’s just my father, he’s not so bad...” I can feel my breathing slow. “take care of my raven for me...”
Shawn being the evil asshole he is, rips the dagger out of my knee, causing me to screams bloody murder. Using the blade to cut my pants leg and wrap one of the coat stripes around the bleeding wound.
I let my head fall back against the unforgiving ground. My eyes closed as I beg every god I know to just end it. His hand connects with my cheek to make sure I stay awake. I glare up at him, just wanting to die, so I didn’t keep living in this pain-filled body.
“Hey, it’s either this or a bitch slap for getting hurt.” Shawn defends himself as he tightens the strap around my leg.
“don’t like neither...” I growl. “besides, I blame you... they were following your blood trail...”
“Yeah, we figured...we were working on covering it up when she heard you and freaked.”
I cough again, a joke dying on my tongue. “I was trying... trying my damnedest to get killed... they ran out of blades and started stabbing me... with sticks....”
“I can tell.” Shawn agrees before yanking the other dagger out and starts to wrap the wound.
I howl, “fuck! Just let me die, please!”
Kiela finally makes her landing next to me, fuming as she gives me a heartbroken stare. At the same time, Shawn rips the branch from my arm. Out of the two, the look is what hurts the most. I switch Languages cursing everything known to man in greek and German.
Shawn’s eyes drift away from me and towards Kiela. “we should get going.”
Kiela doesn’t say anything, but I feel her eyes watching as I struggle to recover my breath. Shawn shoves the rest of the mangled cloak and the blood-stained knives into the bag. Then I’m pulled to my feet by Kiela, who holds onto my functioning arm.
Once my feet are under me again, most of my weight is held up by the smaller women. I glance down at my little raven, she’s looking at my wounds. A thousand emotions swirl in those gorgeous eyes of hers, but three dominate the others pissed, scared, and nervous.
I want to tell her I’m going ok, that her being by my side makes me feel a hundred times better. I feel the deepest part of my heart begging to tell my chosen that I loved her, that she is my whole world. However, I couldn’t. I can’t tell her anything because she means everything to me. I need her to live, yet I’m a dangerous man to be around.
So instead of saying anything, I look away from her toward the Scarfaces. They seemed frozen in time, a glassy look came over their eyes.
“Cut off their heads. It’ll slow them down. Take the heads with us.” I mumble casually, waving towards the statues.
“that’s a terrible idea for so many reasons.” Shawn grunts standing up.
I glance at him getting tired of not actually knowing what’s going on around me. “then explain, please! I’m out of my element here!”
The lion takes one look at Kiela and ignores what I said. “we should get out of here.”
I grit my teeth, really getting pissed at these two. However, I still nod, shrugging off Kiela as I shuffle forward. Each step I take has a heavy limp as the leg without a knee barely able to hold my weight.
Kiela quickly catches up, weaseling her way under my arm. From there, she helps me walk the best she can, being so much shorter than me. Shawn gets in front of us and leads us from a far distance away.
After a long time, I glance down at the little figure under my arm. “thank you, my lady.”
She glares up at me with so much hatred that it hurts my heart more than those daggers that were in my body ever did. “I told you not to get hurt, dammit.”
“And I told you that I would keep you safe,” I reply.
“dumbass,” she mumbles.
“you should have left me...” I don’t know what made me say it, but I do. She uses one of her wings to slap the back of my head, none too gently. “My lady, Little Raven...” I continue just trying to get her to understand... “I can’t die... I’m the son of death... father won’t make life that easy for me... No.... when I die... it takes me about a week to reappear...”
She stops walking and yanks me around to look at her. Her brown orbs aren’t soft as her eyes blaze with anger. “I don’t care! Don’t you get that?! I don’t care if you’re an immortal god or not! I don’t care because you’re willing to give it all up! You have no idea what I’ve been through, and you’re willing to give your life up for me! You wanted to leave before I got the chance to tell you that I love you, you are fucking dumbass! you act like you feel the same way, but then you try to leave me!” Silver tears spill from her eyes halfway through her scream.
I’m stunned by the outburst but mostly because she says she loves me. “My lady...”
Tears fall fast from her eyes as she lets go of me and steps back. “but you don’t even fucking care, do you!? You couldn’t care less about my god, damn feelings!”
I feel like she’s reached into my chest and ripped my heart out then threw it to the ground. She doesn’t know the half of how I feel or what I care about. I want to scream, I want to beat myself into a bloodier mess than I already am. I want to kill my father for hurting any of my chosen. But most of all... I want to tell her I loved her. However, I have to keep her safe, even if it kills me. She’ll recover from this heartbreak, I know she’s strong enough to. She just has to keep breathing... that’s all I ask from her. So when she steps away from me, I don’t chase her. I stand there lost in the hopelessness and pain of my decision.
“Kiela,” Shawn whispers in the silence that follows Kiela’s screaming. He had moved over to us, now only standing about five feet from me.
“shut up, Shawn!” Kiela snaps harshly.
I look down, waving him off. “it’s fine, Shawn... you both,” I swallow thickly, my tongue feeling like cotton in my mouth as I attempt to speak. However, I can’t force the words I need to say pass my lips, so I settle for the next best thing. “you both already know my opinion... I can’t afford to be with anyone.”
My raven yells in frustration and takes off into the air. I don’t lift my eyes to watch her leave. Instead, I find the ground suddenly very interesting as shame and self-hatred burn a hole through my chest and soul.
“God, you’re stupid.” Shawn sighs. I didn’t even look up, I just kept my eyes trained on the ground. I hear Shawn go and lean against a tree, “she’ll be back.”
“I don’t understand...” I whisper to no one.
“I don’t understand what she wants from me...I nearly die for her safety, and she’s unhappy... it sounds like she was blaming me for being willing to give up my life for hers.” I tell him hopelessly, looking up finally.
“she doesn’t want her safety... if you aren’t with her, she’d gladly give up her safety to be with you or for your own safety.” Shawn tries to explain.
“That’s what I don’t understand...” I can hear it in my own voice, I slowly start to sound less confused and more hopelessly panicked. “why would she do that?! What does she want from me?!”
“love. She wants your love.” Shawn cuts me off, exasperated.
“I don’t know how to give it to her.” Without hurting her, I add in my mind.
“Stop thinking you can’t fall in love and shit.”
“Now is not the time for love... whether it be mine or hers...” I whisper, and it’s true. That’s one thing I’m thankful that my father taught me. Emotions stop logical thinking, so Father trained me to shut them off. And when lives are on the line, it’s more important than ever that we have to be logical.
“she’s trying to keep her mind off of what’s actually going on by focusing on that,” Shawn says suddenly.
“So I’m just a distraction then? She likes the idea that she loves me ?” I know it’s not true, I know I wouldn’t be bonded to someone who wasn’t capable of loving me. I was still curious about his answer.
“that’s not what I said. Kiela does love you, and you’re not just a distraction. She’s just focusing on her love at the moment instead of having any of her attention on the problems at the moment.”
“Well, we need to focus on our problems if we want to live past tonight.
“she’d really rather not.”
“And I’d rather her live, so I’m willing to do what I need to keep her breathing. Are you?”
The man sighs heavily and shakes his head. “You’re impossible.”
I can feel frustration boil in my veins. I was getting tired of being questioned and pushed and trapped in conversations. “ok then! What should I do?”
“it’s simple, really. Stop being stubborn and admit you love Kiela. Stop telling us we should’ve left you to die.”
“It sounds impossible...”
“Imagine how I feel for a second.” I attempt to get Shawn to under half of what I feel. “Four days ago, I lived alone in a forest. I hadn’t talked to anyone, but my father, the god of death, for the last 900 or so years. Now I meet people with emotions, and I find someone for the first time in my life that makes my heart pound. I find someone who has the terrifying ability to control how I feel, which makes me put their life above mine. It scares me... how much I would do to make her smile...”
Shawn nods, understanding with a look of loss and heartbreak in his eyes. “I know that, but...just imagine how she makes you feel when she is happy. Wouldn’t you rather that?is it really a life worth living if she spends her time mourning you.”
I look away from him, not really knowing how to answer. Of course, the answer is yes, but at the same time, I try to weigh Kiela’s unhappiness as well. It doesn’t matter if she’s happy if she’s dead.
I hear Shawn shove off the tree and the crunch of leaves under his boots as he moves over to me. His hand falls heavily on my shoulder. “I know how you feel...but trust me when I say that it’s much better to get over yourself than hold back and end up hurting you both.”
“And if she dies because of me..?”
“She won’t.” He says with such finality that I can’t help but believe him.
“Thanks, Shawn. You’re... umm, you’re not a bad guy.”
“I know” was all he deemed me worthy of.
“Wow!” A smile pulls on my lips. “never mind, I change my opinion. You’re a conceited jerk.”
Shawn laughs and immediately regrets it, clutching his side, groaning. “fuck. I hate broken ribs. ”
“Weak,” I roll my eyes. “I can’t move one of my arms, and I have no kneecap.”
“Hey, you made me laugh. Cut me some slack.”
I pretend to think about it then shake my head laughing. “Nah, you lionhearts should be tougher.”
One of his eyebrows arch up. “lionhearts?”
“I don’t know what you’re called now; I just know you can turn into a lion. A long time ago, kid, they were called lionhearts.”
“huh, I never knew that...”
“I’m a lot older than I look.” I chuckle softly. “I like the word. I think that’s what I’m going to call you from now on.”
Shawn nods happily. “I’m fine with that.”
I look skywards and feel my smiles fade. “My lady...” I see a glimpse of her flying around, seeming to be pacing in the sky above the clouds. “...I fucked up, didn’t I..?”
“Pretty much,” Shawn agrees. “but she’ll come back, and it’ll be ok.”
I notice the sky growing darker as night starts to fall and clouds roll in. The wind picks up, and I can feel Winter start to set in blowing the last of Fall’s warmth away. It will be snowing up here in the northern states soon. I shiver and pull my jack tighter around my shoulder, it might snow tonight with how fast the temperature is changing. Suddenly clouds open up and release their freezing drop of death rain down on our heads.
I can feel my magic kick in and make a small dome over my head, so only a few droplets land on my shoulders.
I catch Shawn quirking an eyebrow at me. “you know rain doesn’t hurt, right?”
He must be from somewhere that doesn’t freeze. “i don’t know where you’re from, but winters here aren’t something to mess with. the water will turn to ice against your skin if you’re not careful.”
His eyes widen as he seems to realize and hurries over to my dome as fast as he can. “good point. ”
I struggle to find something to say as we stand awkwardly close together. In the end, I didn’t have to worry about it as lighting crashed across the blackened sky. The thunder is loud enough; it shakes the trees, and the wind starts to howl through the air.
“Gods, the storms getting bad...”
“I take back the ‘it’ll be ok.’ She’s pissed...” Shawn comments.
I look at him with wide eyes. “Kiela’s causing this?” Shawn simply nods, his face turned to the sky. “She’s going to get us killed...”
“no, she won’t.” He answered my muttered words.
Then an idea across my mind. Shawn says she won’t kill us... I wonder if it would work to get her to come down. I just want to talk to her, maybe finally try what everyone has been telling me to do and tell Kiela that I love her. I refuse to tell her she’s my chosen. I don’t want that to lay on her thoughts if she decides to accept me, nor will I tell her about being my queen. I wouldn’t give up the throne, I could do that when I have people depending on me. But I refuse to drag her into my family politics.
“what are you gonna do” Shawn’s voice cuts into my thoughts.
“What I’m known for,” I shrug. “something stupid.”
He sighs and looks at me with tired eyes. “You’re gonna get us both killed.”
I wave him off. “I’ll limp away from you first.” I pull off my leather jacket handing it off to him as I limp out of the dome, leaving it in place for Shawn to use. Instantly getting soaked to the bones. The cold quickly sets in a second after, making my teeth clash and body shaking harder than the tree in the roaring wind.
Panic slowly settles in Shawn’s voice as he yells at me. “what the fuck are you doing?!”
I look to the sky, the rain petals down my face. I feel the water slowly leech the warmth from my skin. The way my teeth nash together makes my tongue trip over my words. “w-wait-ting f-for h-her-r.”
The downpour slowly fades soon after I said that. The clouds dissipate, revealing the stars twinkling in the sky. The moon’s crescent glow hangs against the silhouette of a thousand galaxies. What was even more stunning was Kiela. Her black wings flare out like an angel, her body was something I would love forever. I would worship at her feet, pray at the altar that is her will. Labor for years if only for her smile. However, her smile is long gone from her face as she lands a little away from me. Her eyes hold a hurricane of emotion: confused, angry, scared, and sad all at the same time.
My teeth chatter as I force my tongue to move. “I’m s-s-sorry I hur-rt y-you... I... I l-lov-ve you... and it sc-sc-scares me...” as soon as I finish I wait for Kiela to reject me, or slap me, I would have even accepted if she were to kill me right then. What surprised me was when I felt her arms go around my waist. She buries her face into my chest, her wings wrap her body warm around mine to warm me up.
I return the hug with my operating arm, pulling her flush against my chest. I tuck my face into her hair, taking in her warm brown sugar and apple scent. “My raven...”
“you’re a dumbass, you know that, right?” She mumbles into my chest.
“I’ve b-been told-d...” I chuckle softly.
“.. you’re freezing... aren’t you...”
“... I’m sorry...”
“It’s O-ok raven... w-we n-need mov-ve...”
Kiela wings tighten around my battered body, trying to help warm me up. However, my shattered and broken shoulder scream in agony against the pressure. I couldn’t contain and soft groan that slipped past my lips. “C-careful, raven...”
She quickly let’s go and steps back. “Oh, I’m sorry!”
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Shawn staring at us, and widen smile pulls at his lips as he tries not to laugh. I grin back at him, “told you I was going to do something stupid.”
He shakes his head, his shaggy hair falling messily around his green eyes. “I can’t believe you’ve lived this long.”
“I-I’ve died-d ab-bout 146 tim-me and c-counting.” I shrug with my good arm. “r-right we n-n-need a cav-ve and st-start a fire or th-this w-will b-b-be 147...”
“I saw one a little ways south of here when you were trying to get yourself killed. “Kiela gives me a sharp look.
“I wa-as w-wait-ting for y-you..” I try to justify
Her glare hardens, if only looks could kill, I would really be a dead man. “freezing to death is not how you wait for someone.”
“y-your the o-one th-that caused-d rain...” I small smile pulls at the corners of my lips.
“you didn’t have to stand in it, dumbass!” Kiela states, exasperated.
I shrug, this time forgetting about the broken shoulder. I yelped like my kicked puppy when I got a painful reminder from my action. The anger immediately gives way to worry in her eyes. I shake my head at her, trying to remove the pain from my face to ease her concern.
“We should get going...” she suggests softly, tucking herself back under my good shoulder again to help me walk. Her wing wraps around to my aching body, careful not to put pressure on the shoulder as she blankets me with it.
I glance towards Shawn making sure he ok. “Lionheart, you coming?”
Shawn huffs his chest. “yeah. I’m not leaving you, two idiots, alone together.”
I chuckle softly while Kiela rolls her eye. Together we both start to walk through the forest; the leaf-littered floor now covered in slick layer ice. Shawn follows carefully behind us. I almost tell Kiela to go help him after I hear him stumble for the third time. However, one look back at him tells me that he clearly doesn’t want any help. In fact, his glare gives me an intense feeling that me even suggesting he needed help would lead me to get my ass handed to me as soon as he was better again. So instead, I said nothing, focusing on my the shuffling of my feet and keeping my tongue from being bitten off by my chattering teeth.
After maybe 20 to 30 minutes of limping along, we get to a simple cave. It looks like a little sinkhole with the way it appears out of the ground. The inside is plain, made of stone and dirt. Keila leads me towards one of the walls farthest from the cave’s opening. “I’ll go get some wood for a fire.”
I struggled weakly against her efforts to push me to the ground. “let me help.”
Gives me one of the dirtiest looks I’ve ever seen from her, her dark eyes dared me to challenge her as her firm hands force me to sit down. Then she’s gone, disappearing into the night outside of the cave. My leather jacket hits me in my head. My eyes drift across to where Shawn crutches on the dusty floor, as he starts to make a fire ring out of the larger stone that litter the ground, pretending like he didn’t just throw it at.
I slip it on as I slump back against the rigid wall, mumbling to myself. “she’s scary.”
“only when angered,” Shawn answers softly, not looking up as he finishes his work then pushes himself into a sitting position.
A comfortable silence falls over us then. Shawn checks over his wounds and bandages while I watch over the mouth of the cave. I hear the soft sound of fall wildlife crunching among the ice-covered leaves. An owl makes itself known in the trees, its deep hoots and screeches add to the events of tonight. I don’t know these men I’m facing, nor why I’m fighting for my life and the life of the one I just announced I loved. I need answers, maybe not tonight, but in the morning or while we’re traveling.
Suddenly a heavy set of footfall fill the quiet air, and Kiela’s head appears over the lip of the cave. I sit up at attention, like a loyal dog when his master comes home. I feel a slight pang of disappointment when she doesn’t even glance my way. She carefully makes her way towards the ring that Shawn had put together. Her arms are laden with a generous number of long branches. Once she arranges the tree limb in the center of the stone circle, she finally spares a glance my way. The smile I’ve been dying to see on her face at last lights up her eye. Then she holds up a finger to signal I need to wait a second. With that, she turns and digs through the bag Shawn had settled on the ground. Taking a dagger out to snags one of the stones from the floor. Striking them together, she manages to get the fire to light.
Warmth quickly filled to small space, and slowly I stop shaking to death. Kiela, my little rave, moves over and sits next to me. Her wings blanket over both of us, as her head comes to rest on my working shoulder. I wrap my arm around her tiny body, holding her slender frame to mine.
I quietly look to Shawn, whos staring blankly at the flames. “Shawn... what was your plan to get to this safe place..? you can’t be thinking of walking there in the state we’re in,” I whisper.
His head snaps up and looks toward me. I watch the fog of thought leave his eyes as he realizes I’m talking to him. “I’ll be healed enough tomorrow that I can shift, and then you two could ride me. We could get there in about a week if we only stop for food.”
“We’ll need sleep. I need a few days to recover my power...”
“you guys can sleep while riding me.” he reaffirms, not wanting to listen to me.
I raise an eyebrow at him. “Let me rephrase you need sleep.”
“I’ll live. ”
I look down to see if I could get Kiela to team up with me, but instead, I find her fast asleep. She looks so peaceful, curled into my side. I can’t deny that I feel more at ease with her in my embrace as well.
“sleep. You’ll be able to knock some sense into me faster.” Shawn jokes, voice barely over a whisper.
“Wake me up if anything happens...” I yawn, resting my head against Kiela’s as sleep finds me once again.
A/N: Hey everyone! I hope you enjoyed the chapter. out two love birds finally, said they loved each other but does that count as confessing?
Also, do ya’ll think that’s the last time we’ll see Scarface?
Please don’t forget to vote and tell me what you think so far!