A light orange glow illuminated the forest. A pit in the center of their make-shift camp did wonders to combat the cool winter air, despite the fact that it made star gazing very, very difficult with its light.
But, keeping warm trumped stargazing, at least at the moment.
Poking the molten puddle with a stick, a sandy yellow Angel pressed her scaled wings closer to her body.
She often wished she had feathered wings, like her Demonic companion, but she supposed she could do nothing to help it.
But damn, did she hate how cold they got.
"You good?" her friend's voice broke through the silence of the forest.
"Yeah," she replied, "Just cold wings."
"You could get closer."
"I don't trust that stuff."
Amber snorted. Glancing over to Maroon, she said, "You wimp."
Maroon stuck her tongue out at the girl. Amber chuckled.
"At least my magic doesn't burn people alive," Maroon mumbled.
"That's exactly why I like mine. And you should be grateful. It's keeping you warm," she said, her scarlet eyes meeting her friend's.
"Keeping me warm, but not my wings," Maroon mumbled.
"That sounds like a you problem, Ms. Wimp."
Again, Maroon stuck her tongue out at the girl.
"Look, just finish your damn food," Amber said.
"Just because you're older than me doesn't mean you can tell me what to do," Maroon protested, even as she bit into the remaining meat left on her stick.
She'd burned it a little, putting it so close to the puddle of lava. Ignoring the flavor, she finished it off. Tossing the stick into the pit, it caught fire and burned up in seconds.
Maroon eased herself to the ground, ready to sleep.
"You know, it's kinda boring out here," Amber said as she laid down on the other side of the pit.
Maroon couldn't help but agree. After they'd figured out how to survive in the wild, things had become boring. They didn't really have a goal to work toward, save for staying alive and unfound, so life had lost its meaning and its excitement.
"I have this weird feeling," Maroon said, "Like that's going to change."
Amber snorted. "Yeah, right. What could possibly happen out in the middle of nowhere?"
Maroon shrugged, a gesture her friend hadn't seen.
"I dunno. But I have a feeling that it's gonna be something, whether it's good or bad," Maroon said.
Amber stayed quiet.
"I mean, it doesn't feel bad. It feels more like... like I should be getting ready for something," Maroon went on.
"You don't think my dad's going to find us, do you?" Amber asked.
"I should hope not. We've risked our asses far too many times to be found now," she said.
Maroon again shrugged. "I dunno."
"Yep," Maroon folded her hands behind her black and pink hair, feeling those familiar grains piling into a pillow beneath her head, "Where to tomorrow?"
"Good question," Amber closed her eyes, "Not home, that's for sure."
"Yeah," Maroon agreed.
It didn't matter which home she meant. Both of theirs were places they never wanted to return to.
Amber's life hadn't been that bad. Hell, she'd been a spoiled princess that got whatever she wanted. Well, except that Amber had wanted to be a soldier, and that was the one thing her father would never give her.
Maroon's, on the other hand...
Well, her mother had gotten pregnant at twelve, her father was in jail for getting a twelve year old pregnant, no matter that he had been thirteen and her mother had consented too mating, and Maroon's wings were made a mockery of every day.
So, at ten years of age, she got tired of being beaten up every day at school, and she'd ran away.
She tried not to think of all the stress she'd put her mother through. She knew her mother was strong enough to get through it.
After all, she had survived a lot.
She'd survived being kicked out of her house, pregnant and without a job because she refused to abort her baby at twelve.
She'd survived birthing a monstrosity of a child in a back alley with no healers in sight at thirteen.
She'd survived being a single mother on the streets at fourteen.
She'd survived balancing a job and a child at fifteen.
She'd survived a demon of a toddler at sixteen.
She'd survived loosing her job at seventeen.
She'd survived putting her demon toddler into school, and all the insults that came with it at eighteen.
She'd survived putting up with so much shit for the next four years after.
She could survive having that demon toddler running away. And never coming back.
Her mother probably thought she was dead.
But, on the bright side, her father would be out of jail and helping her mother by now.
She'd only met the man once, when her father had finally been allowed to meet her, and he'd been kind enough. She only hoped he'd be kind enough to assist his mate when he got out of jail.
He'd survived just as much shit as his mate had, if not more at an equally young age.
Maroon was sixteen now, and she still couldn't survive scaping her knee without help from her seventeen year old hostage.
"You're awfully quiet," Amber noted.
"Do you ever feel guilty about leaving?" Maroon asked.
Amber didn't reply until Maroon was about to say something else, so she promptly shut her mouth to allow her friend to speak.
Glancing over to her friend, she mumbled, "Yeah, sometimes. I mean, I did just disappear. My dad's probably been out of his mind searching for me. That was a little rude of me."
Maroon could understand that perfectly.
"Although...," Amber paused, "Although, if we went back, he'd have you executed."
Maroon snorted. "All I did was ask if you wanted to leave."
"He doesn't know that," Amber said.
"Fair point," Maroon admitted. She studied the orange glow on the leaves above her head, finding it oddly... ominous.
"We should head south," Maroon said.
Amber sat up, and Maroon glanced over to see her features drawn together.
"You say a lot of dumb shit, but that has to be the worst of it," Amber stated.
"Maroon. The demons are south. We go there, my dad finds us," Amber said.
"We stay here, we get caught up in that war," Maroon said, a mischievous grin sliding onto her lips, "Besides, it'll be exciting, being on the run. Like criminals."
"You are a criminal," Amber said.
"Exactly," her grin grew.
Amber sighed. She laid back down, her gaze skyward as the orange glow receded. The earth remained warm, and the cool air nipped at Maroon's nose, but the stars had come out.
"It's a dumb idea," Amber said.
"I'm aware," Maroon said.
A sigh escaped her friend's lips. "This wouldn't have anything to do with that feeling you have, would it?"
"That dissuades me even more."
"Oh, come on. It'll be fun," Maroon said.
Amber snorted. Maroon raised an eyebrow, despite the fact that Amber couldn't see it. "Well?"
Amber sighed. "Fine. But I get to kick your ass if anything goes wrong."
"Deal," Maroon said, rolling onto her side, holding a hand out over the warm earth.
Glancing over, Amber eyes her hand. She reached her own to meet Maroon's, and they sealed the deal.
Maroon grinned, flopping back onto her back. Adjusting her wings, she closed her eyes.
Sleep slowly overtook her, even as that feeling of excitement filled her.