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Chapter 17

The sun shone through the windows as it rose in the sky outside, sending rays of light in beams across the room and Lila’s eyes as she awoke.

She stretched slightly, rubbing her eyes before rolling to face Azrael’s warm body.

What she found was not what she expected.

Instead of Azrael lying next to her, she found a much taller and bulkier version of him than she was used to.

By the way he slept, she could tell that he was Azrael, she had no doubt about that. His skin was Crayola crayon black with scars racing like lightning bolts across his arms, chest, neck, and a few on his cheeks, each a light grey color.

His hair was the same black that she had always known it as, but his fingernails were claws instead of regular human-like nails, each coming to a sharp point and she could see dried bits of blood smeared on them. Those claws of his had probably been used for something Lila did not want to imagine.

While she had never seen him like this, she had so many questions.

In sleep, he breathed deeper and slower than he normally did when they slept. Intrigue was in the forefront when she normally would’ve been afraid to see a being such as the one lying next to her.

Lila wondered how many people, gods, and goddesses, had run from him in fear. To someone who didn’t know him like she did, they would fear for their life.

Reaching out to him, she ran her fingers over the many scars that littered his torso, wondering how such a powerful being such as he could have gotten them.

Surely, he was feared by the many deities, given how powerful he was and that his birth was in the primordial times.

His scars were incredibly old, all having marred his beautiful dark flesh long before she was born, and it hurt her to think that this had happened to him.

Was this why he kept parts of his past under wraps and maintained that mysteriousness about him?

She gasped as he started to awaken, her hand moving to caress his cheek. His skin was soft, soft as a moth’s wing despite the scars.

His eyes opened and pools of liquid sun met her gaze, their depths full of emotions.

Azrael’s eyes were beautiful beyond words and she had never seen anything like them before, their color captured her emotionally.

“Good morning, handsome.” Lila kissed him gently on the lips, inhaling this new spicy scent he had.

His spicy scent intoxicated her, drawing her closer to him.

He gazed at her, his golden yellow eyes taking in her features, his fingers stroking her shoulder in soft circles.

“Hello, beautiful, you’re radiant this morning.” Azrael smiled, showing off his sharp fangs.

Lila blushed, briefly hiding her face before staring at him again.

“I’ve never seen you like this before, Az. Who, or what, gave you all these scars?” Again, she ran her fingers across the scars that marred his torso.

Her eyes glittered with moisture, just imagining the pain he had gone through to get them.

Slowly, his eyes followed where her fingers were and he froze, goosebumps rising on his warmer than usual skin.

“I…didn’t want you to see me like this. Lila, I’m…a hideous monster.” He looked away, pain filling his eyes.

She took his chin in her hand, making him face her so she could look him in the eyes.

“You’re not hideous, Azrael. I think you’re handsome still. Do you normally look like this?”

Her exploring fingers traced every scar on his chest and torso, gently following the grey streaks.

Those golden eyes of his darkened slightly, “Yes, I do. People fear me even more when not in human form and I keep my human form for your sake and to fit in with the other deities. As you know, I was born long before the others and therefore predate humanity.”

Tension rolled over his body and Lila placed her hands on his chest as she straddled his hips.

Gazing down at him, she leaned down to kiss him on the lips and across his cheek and down his neck before resting her cheek on his chest.

“You’re not a monster, Az. I will love you no matter what you look like. How did you get all of these scars? Who hurt you?”

Cautiously, he wrapped his arms around her waist, holding her to him.

“I’ve done terrible things, love. A long time ago, something within me snapped and I was the cause of the Black Death. The millions who died during that time was all because of me. One day I lost control and started a massacre, slaughtering humans, and gods alike, obliterating whole families at a time. It took all of the surviving gods to stop me.” He whispered, holding her a bit tighter as he recalled his past.

Azrael remembered it as if it had occurred yesterday, fresh on his mind.

Lila listened in silence as he told his story. He has never told this much about himself before and she understood why he kept his past hidden from her.

“How did they stop you?” Her voice was low, interested in his story.

“They stopped me by forcing me into human form and beating me for a few hundred years, keeping me imprisoned in a cell in the hell realm of the Babylonians. The deities joined forces to create something to keep me in place and to cleanse my own soul. Anubis, as close to a friend as I’ll ever get, helped me to gain control and balance myself." he smiled slightly, love for his friend filling his chest.

“You see, having so much power within one being is dangerous and sometimes, if not kept in check, it takes over me and I do terrible unforgivable things. I’m still the same way as I once was in ways. I revel in bloodshed, torture, pain, and death. It’s who I am. When I assume human form, it can become painful for a few weeks out of the year, since I have so much power within that a human-like body can’t handle it. Like Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben said in the Marvel comics, 'With great power comes great responsibility.' I am a monster in ways, love, I just hide it because you deserve better after the life you had.” Lila sat up to look down at him with tears in her eyes, which he wiped.

“Thank you for telling me that, but it doesn’t change how I feel about you. I admire your strength and how far you’ve come, as a person. Babe, you’re not a monster, and your son won’t think so. Your past is the past, what matters is where you go from here.” He caressed her swollen belly gently, feeling his son’s aura within Lila’s womb.

Azrael smiled at her, his eyes glowing with love and relief.

“I was so worried you’d reject me.”

“Az, I would never. I intend to love you for a long time and our son will love you just as much.” Their lips met, exploring each other’s mouth with their tongues.

He pulled back to sit up in the bed, his eyes looking far off into the ocean through the window on the wall opposite of the bed.

“What would you like to do today? We can’t lie in bed all day and do nothing, as much as I would like to.” Lila poked his chest as she watched him gaze out the window.

Azrael snapped out of it and turned his molten eyes towards her, “I’m much too tired to do anything too crazy. Would you like to have a Netflix and chill day with me? Tonight, I have a long list to get through and I’d like to spend the day wrapped around you.” He stroked her cheek, his claws gently grazing her skin despite their sharp points.

For such a strong being, he was gentle with her. She loved that about him. His control.

“Of course, I’d love nothing more. I don’t want to make you too tired.” Lila jumped out of the bed, pulling on her pajama pants, and held out her hand for Azrael to take it.

She giggled as he lumbered out of bed awkwardly, his height making getting out of bed difficult. Together they walked to the living room where Azrael sat on the couch while Lila made some popcorn and made some drinks for them.

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