An Angels Pain
Chapter 3: Angels
Vincent groaned, a great pain rousing him from slumber. He tried to move, but found his body disobeying his commands. He was extremely vulnerable and it scared the living hell out of him. He immediately shot his eyes open. He wasn’t in Cloud’s room anymore. He was….. somewhere. He looked around, examining the area for any dangers that may come. It wasn’t until his mind fully awakened did he realize exactly where he was.
"Why am I here?" he shouted into the emptiness. The area was well lit; it’s just there was nothing to see. He was just floating in a blue hue of space.
"Poor fledgling, have you forgotten what I’ve taught you so soon?"
Vincent winced at the question, recognizing the voice.
"Arios! Show yourself!"
A blinding flash lit the area, causing Vincent to avert his gaze. When his vision returned, he found himself standing in the middle a comfortable room. Two couches adorned the center of the floor and a fire roared at the far end of the room in a well kept fireplace. Before Vincent stood a tall and slender man, a slight smile garnishing his face. He was very handsome, beautiful by some standards, with his angular face and green shoulder length hair. His eyes gleamed with a violet fire, a very uncommon trait among humans. Then again, the feathered wings comfortably folded behind his back weren’t common amongst humans either.
"You always knew how to make an entrance." Vincent scoffed.
Arios’ smile widened as he motion Vincent to take a seat. If looks could kill, Arios would have died that very moment due to the glare Vincent’s crimson eyes were giving him. He sat down, Arios taking a seat across from him on the other couch. Lavender eyes narrowed as they searched their way up Vincent’s form. Vincent shifted, the soft couch conforming to him to make him more comfortable. Regardless of how comfy those magicked couches seemed to be, Vincent couldn’t seem to keep down the lump that rose in his throat every time he was in the presence of this particular archangel.
"So, how is he?" Arios implored, getting straight to the point.
Vincent stiffened, not wishing to muse over Cloud’s current condition. "He…..isn’t well." He answered after a long moment of silence.
Arios raised an eyebrow, a smirk forming on his lips. "Oh?"
Vincent’s evil glare deepened. "Don’t mock me, Arios," he said sternly. "I’m not in the mood."
Arios sighed. "You are never ‘in the mood,’ dear Vincent, so that doesn’t act as much of an excuse….." he replied calmly.
"Why did you bring me here?" Vincent demanded. He hated being called to this realm without his own consent.
"Just to see how you were doing with the current situation."
"Yuffie said the same thing and I didn’t believe her then so why should I believe you now?" Vincent countered, anger rising in his voice. He really didn’t like this realm.
"Ah, Yuffie, such a pleasant young girl-"
"Quit trying to change the subject!" Vincent interrupted irately. Arios gave him a pleasant smile, amused by Vincent’s tension.
"Why did you really bring me here?" Vincent insisted.
After a long moment of silence, Arios stood up and leaned against the fireplace, eyes intent on the leaping flames. His annoyingly pleasant demeanor had changed, he had become calmer. Seeing such a quick change in the angel disturbed Vincent, causing him to shift again in his seat.
"I called you here to tell you that Tifa’s illness was no accident….." Arios finally announced.
"What do you mean?" Vincent inquired.
Arios turned and approached Vincent. He gently placed a hand on Vincent’s former claw, now a perfect image of its previous form. Vincent shivered at the touch, but made no move to imply he wanted the angel’s caress to leave.
"I never did thank you for helping me regain my hand….." Vincent whispered quietly.
"Indeed." Arios replied, his hand still resting comfortably on Vincent’s. "You remember what we needed to do in order to replenish your hand, yes?"
"I do." He sighed. "We had to rid my mind and body of the evil that haunted me."
"Chaos….." Arios mumbled. Vincent nodded slowly, recalling the demon that drove him to near insanity. "We also did another thing to assure Chaos could never inhabit your body again." Arios continued.
Vincent allowed a soft smile to surface as he shook a few stray strands of ebony hair out of his face. "You did it, not I."
"Of course. Would you mind showing me?"
"Must I?" Vincent asked, his tone coming out in almost a slight whine.
"Please, my fledgling, my masterpiece…"
Vincent calmed at the sound of those words. "As you wish."
"Vincent rose from the seat and closed his eyes. His body began to glow with a new aura, an iridescent white that would have blinded any mortal. Arios merely watched in appreciation. A grimace formed on the gunslinger’s thin lips as he held back a scream. His back contorted angrily as if something within him begged to be released. Finally, the pain grew to strong as Vincent released an agonized scream as two bloodied feathery wings shot out from his back.
Arios hated watching angels go from one form to another, but he truly despised the sound. A heart wrenching scream harmonizing with the cracking a reforming of bones as the wings spread to their full span. Blood dripped from every feather, though as the crimson liquid slid from each quill; one could see their true beauty shine through. Each feather was clear, yet white. No color could escape their grasp, so if one looked at them from a different angle every time, then every color from every spectrum could be found nestled amongst the glowing feathers.
Vincent fell to his knees, breathing labored. He stretched his wings once more in hopes of relieving some of the pain. The glow had left him, but his once pure ebony hair was now streaked in silver. The only thing Arios found he could not change was his eyes. That crimson shade that set Vincent apart from any other angel.
"And you needed me to do this…..why?" Vincent asked, tenderly rubbing streaks of blood from his wings.
"To prove that you are protected from Chaos’ grasp, but your friends….."
Vincent loosed a deep glare but the cocky smile that usually followed never came. Vincent was surprised to see a look of dismay on the angel’s flawless face.
"…..are not." Arios finished.
Vincent gave Arios a confused look. "I…..I don’t understand….."
Arios placed a gentle hand on Vincent’s cheek. "Listen to me, angels, and do not interrupt." He commanded softly. Vincent nodded. "Chaos was angered by the fact that he was forced out of his mortal body, you. So, he vowed revenge, and as you well know, he adapted your feelings and your….." he paused, searching for the right word. "…..grudges."
"Grudges?" Vincent repeated.
Arios sighed. "Grudges against Tifa….."
"I still don’t understand….."
"Damn it, Vincent! Chaos inhabited Tifa’s body and killed her!"
Vincent’s mouth fell agape. "What…..?" he stuttered, not quite believing what he was being told.
"Vincent, I’m sorry, I tried to tell you more gently, but there was no other way to get it through to you."
Arios nodded. "I may have sent him from your body, but I did not kill him-"
"Well, why the fuck not!?" Vincent retorted angrily, jerking away from the angel that made him.
"No! Do…..do you know what this means? It means that it was my fault Tifa grew ill. It was my fault she died. It’s my fault Cloud is….." he stopped, not able to continue due to his growing sobs. He fell forward into Arios’ comforting grasp, where the archangel gently stroked his ebon hair.
"Nay, it wasn’t your fault, fledgling. Never yours. Now listen to me well. I need you to take care of Cloud. Help him until I find Chaos. When he is found, we will banish him together, I promise this to you. Until then, do your best to heal the one you love and cherish so much." Arios ended with a soft kiss on Vincent’s forehead, like that of a parent soothing a child.
"Arios….." Vincent whispered, holding tight to the archangel. "Thank you."
"Rest well, young one. It’s time for you to return." Everything around the both of them began to fade into darkness; Vincent could feel the warm body of the archangel fading from his grasp.
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