❯ Burning Bright Black – Chapter 1

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Even though he had put the distance of eons – not to mention the entire human realm – between him and that place of his birth, the wicked hold that Lucifer’s memory had on Heaven had hardly weakened. Dark tendrils, thick as ever, wrapped around and delved in… Of all the ancient angels who had been alive to see the first devil’s rebellion, not a single one would ever forget it. Take Michael, angel of flame – whenever his thoughts turned to that black stain, the righteous angel’s feelings were turned to hatred that could barely mask a bitter biting shame.

Lucifel’s prospects were shining. There was no one in Heaven who could match him. Next to that charismatic radiance of his, all other angels merely paled away into the background. He was the Morningstar. The radiant glory incarnate-

It’s all just a game. The point is to win in the end. I can kill anyone. Anyone! Someone I like. Someone I love. Even my own brother –

-back then… I couldn’t take my eyes away from that radiance.

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Michael stared moodily into the shining amber depths, glowing uncannily in the low lighting of his chambers, and massaged his rhythmically throbbing head. Ah, behold the true glory of being an angel, he mused – angels didn’t have to sleep – he could keep drinking for days… They said it shouldn’t be possible, to still be drinking when the hangover started, but he’d had literal millennia to perfect his alcohol tolerance…

His room was very quiet, and very dark – some light managed to seep through the closed blinds, but the main source of illumination came from his own body. It was only a faint glow, like a dying coal, probably not dangerous at all… Of course, he was half-smothered under a pile of blankets, so there was some risk of spontaneous combustion, but it was comfortable and he didn’t intend to come out until – well, ever, really.

Bottles, empty and full, surrounded him on all sides, scattered on the floor and the bedside table and the mattress, buried in the sheets with him…

It wasn’t like anyone was going to get on his case for it, he reasoned. First off, they’d be too scared to. Secondly, Raphael was surely much worse; they’d look like hypocrites, to go after him for a little private indulgence, and let that whore keep on spreading his sin around.

Idly, he picked the label off a bottle, and watched it burn. Ashes dribbled carelessly through his numb clumsy fingers onto a pillow.

Sometimes when he got like this, Raphael would come to him. Not always, though. It wasn’t like he could expect him to; he didn’t have boobs, for one thing.

“Onii-san, wait for me!”

“Shouldn’t you be in class?”

The little boy laughed. “Shouldn’t you?”

Luciefel just rolled his eyes and turned away…

The angel’s hand trembled slightly, and a few cinders fell free. Under his unblinking gaze, they grew to chew through the cloth cover of the pillow, down to the feathers inside… His eyes narrowed…

And I wonder just what his face looks like right now… right now, after just having been wounded by his own brother. His own brother, whom he always looked down upon…

BLAM. Michael smirked in satisfaction at the muffled shouts from the corridor as – BLAM – he set fire to first one and then another bottle of, let’s face it, highly volatile chemicals. Glass shards flew everywhere, sometimes cutting into his skin, but who cared?

Betcha now, for once in his life, he looks truly humiliated…

Tongues of flame began to burst through the sheets at random spots, burning from the inside. Michael wished Raphael was here…

Betcha now…

And just as soon as it had come, his fire faded away, leaving only cold charred remains behind. Fire needed air to burn, after all, and the memory of that smirk suffocated it all away… His tears, though, glowed like magma, bursting and dying on the alcohol spill on his mattress.

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It was truly one of the most aesthetically pleasing faces he’d ever seen. Long lashes framing eyes that were wide and blue, when she was awake, with a cute button nose, high cheekbones and lush lips below. The whole thing was shaped into a perfect oval by corkscrewed blonde locks, and there wasn’t a single blemish or freckle to be seen. And below that, well…!

Raphael coiled a few silky strands of hair around his finger, and wondered vaguely what her name was.

He’d been lying on his side next to her, subjecting her to the most expert visual scrutiny for near half an hour, and hadn’t been able for find a single flaw. A made-to-order perfect lay. He sighed… perfect people were just so… dull…

It wasn’t like anyone could really get upset over this, he reasoned. First of all, no lady would want to. Secondly, Michael was really much worse; they’d look like hypocrites, to go after him for a little private indulgence, and let that pyromaniac keep on spreading his pain around.

How many days has it been so far, this time?

With another sigh, truly heartfelt, he finally hauled himself upright. He could continue to lounge around here for the rest of the evening, but he seemed to be feeling just a little sentimental tonight. Perhaps it had something to do with what an atrocious conversational companion the beauty in his bed had been… He rooted around the floor in search of the scattered pieces of his clothing for a few minutes, before finally giving up and picking out a new outfit.

The halls of Heaven were as silent as the grave, and as cold. Raphael’s overactive imagination transformed the closed doors into dead eyes, and the lines of moonlight coming through thin windows into prison bars… He shuddered, missing the warm body next to him that he was used to at this time of night. All in all, he was thankful to slip into the stifling heat of Mika-chan’s room.

Too stifling- he wondered wryly whether the sleeping boy had passed out from tiredness or asphyxiation – but a fresh draft stirred up the stuffy air as he entered, and soon it was feeling very pleasant indeed.

Raphael shook his head and clicked his tongue as he picked his way through the empty bottles to the side of the bed, hesitating for a moment in startlement at the state of the sheets. He should have brought one of his with him, he thought, he could have kept warm on the way over too…

Gradually his expression softened, and he picked out a patch on the mattress that was neither blackened nor alcohol-stained, and took a seat. “Oh, Mika,” he scolded softly…

Stay away… stay away from me…!

Oh, come now Mika-chan. You must break free of his spell. If you yourself don’t believe you have won, then no matter how many times you try, you’ll never defeat him…

Raphael couldn’t help but smile at the memory, though there really didn’t seem to be anything pleasant about it. He paused to light a cigarette in tribute, and reached out unnecessarily to brush a non-existent stray bang out of the flame-angel’s face…

Nobody can understand Lucifer now. You’ll never get inside his head. And if that’s frustrating, become stronger. Much stronger. And make sure you never forget your resolve… because this is only the beginning…

If Michael asked now, Raphael reflected, he would probably offer him exactly the same advice. And yet… the truth was… that this boy was already so much stronger than himself…

Frowning slightly, the angel ground the half-smoked cigarette out against the blankets. Then he leaned forward and, feather-light, pressed a chaste kiss to the boy’s lips. After a second or two he pulled back, and examined him thoughtfully. Ah… he’d always hated red-heads, to be honest. Though in this case, it was only a slight imperfection…

He smiled sadly to himself. Of course, if he wasn’t mistaken, Mika-chan only liked black hair…

Then he left, and the air went stagnant again in his absence.

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Even though he had put the distance of eons – not to mention the entire human realm – between him and that place of his birth, the wicked hold that Heaven’s memory had on Lucifer had hardly weakened. Burning tendrils, bright as ever, wrapped around and delved in… Of all the ancient angels who had been alive to see the first devil’s rebellion, the devil remembered it best of all. Take Michael, angel of flame – whenever his thoughts turned to that blinding presence, the demon’s feelings were turned to hatred that could barely mask a bitter biting shame.