A bratty angel…
First Patrick is accosted by a hellhound with a yen for fries and ketchup. Then he encounters a beautiful, but bratty, angel who doesn’t seem to understand the concept of ‘no”… or personal space. Not to mention he demands Patrick pleasure him, which Patrick refuses to do. So why does Patrick feel a connection to this unruly seraphim? And why can’t he forget him?
Two weeks later, the brat is back, making more demands. But Patrick makes it clear he doesn’t do demands. That should be the end of it, right? Or not… Maybe there’s more to this bratty angel than meets the eye. If Patrick has the patience to get past his bratty ways.
Patrick rounded the corner fast, almost too fast. He barely kept his balance, groaning when his left knee twisted, reminding him that his ability to outrun anyone or anything had taken a turn for the worse. If that damn thing he'd only snatched a brief glimpse of got him, he'd be mauled and killed.
The huge, nightmarish thing panted as it chased after him, gusts of his surprisingly clean-smelling breath wafting to him. As Patrick raced through the deserted streets—because who the hell took a shortcut at this time of the night—he searched for a hiding spot. A fire ladder would work too, or whatever. Anything really, so he could put a safe distance between himself and the grotesque creature. He could have avoided all of this but, damn him, he'd indulged in his human body's desire for junk food. Next time he was going to order his food in—if he lived long enough.
Patrick's lungs burned, and his leg muscles screamed bloody murder at him. Fuck the universe for rendering him incapable of flying. He’d been trapped in this human body for twenty-three years already, and no one would ever think he'd once been strong and—best not to go there. Nothing good ever came of his memories.
Patrick stumbled, and a hot gust of air tickled his neck. He plunged face forward to the ground, all air rushing out in one short pained gasp. Reflexively he put his hands behind his head to protect his vulnerable neck.
The freaking thing growled and yanked at the bag containing Patrick's junk food. Patrick yelped when the bag tore open, spilling its contents all over.
Curled up on the ground, Patrick peeked over his shoulder when a chuckle drew his attention. Someone hunkered down next to him before gentle fingers pried the last string of the bag from his hand. Patrick gritted his teeth, wishing he was in possession of his power instead of lying there, almost whimpering in fear.
“Don't worry, he's not malicious. He just wants your fries,” a soft, melodious voice informed him. The fries-loving beast growled, sending goose bumps up Patrick's spine. The voice added, “Right. He wants your fries and your ketchup. You see, the ketchup is majorly important.”
The person who'd spoken to him withdrew, and the creature's paws clicked on the ground as it followed the voice. Whoever it was rustled the wraps of his food and talked soothingly to the yipping beast. Carefully and slowly, Patrick turned on his side to take a look. His heart thumped painfully hard against his ribcage, almost causing it to burst.
In the corner of the badly lit alley crouched something that seemed to be a mix between a large dog and a wolf, but the size of a pony. That wasn't even the strangest characteristic of the beast. No, the strangest characteristic was the dark brown, folded wings on the beast's back. That couldn't be!
Patrick's gaze traveled to the hands that dumped his fries on the torn bag, generously spreading ketchup all over them. The beast licked the hand in a grateful gesture before it dug into the food.
Patrick's breath caught when he observed the naked man who knelt next to the creature. The man's face was beautiful, no doubt about that. Patrick's gaze slid along a slender throat, finely toned shoulders, and a slight frame. A white, feathery wing covered the man's crotch.
An angel. Patrick sucked in air in huge gasps. Angels weren't all that uncommon a sight nowadays, the barrier between the human world and the supernatural world ripping open more and more, but he hadn't seen such a beautiful angel in a long time. He cast another glance at the beast munching on his fries. Frowning, he gasped, “A hellhound!”
The angel's face lit up in pleasure. “His name is King Kong. You're right, he's a hellhound, but there's no reason for you to fear him. I adopted him as a pup because he was unsuitable as a hellhound. Like I said, there's not one ounce of maliciousness in him.”
“King Kong?” Patrick snorted.
“A long time ago, right after I woke up in this form, I sneaked into a human's home and watched a movie with a giant ape. The resemblance between King Kong and the ape is striking, isn't it?”
Patrick tilted his head. He couldn't detect even the slightest hint of resemblance, but he wasn't going to argue. Instead, he focused on the man. He took in the sight of the golden ringlets framing the man's face. “And you are...?”
“You may call me master.”
Patrick burst out laughing. Where did this angel come from? Patrick would call no one master, not even in his less-than-powerful human form. The angel's face fell, the confusion so obvious that Patrick took pity on him after he had control of himself again. He rephrased his question. “I meant what's your name? And not to press my luck, but since when do angels have hellhounds as pets?”
“My name?” the angel replied haltingly.
“Forget it. Angels don't give out their names easily, I should've remembered.” Patrick got to his feet, brushed dirt from his pants and stepped away from the angel and his hellhound. “Well, I'll leave now. Thank you for rescuing me from your... pet.”
“Rescue, huh? I'd be willing to accept a reward for my help.” The angel arched a delicate eyebrow at him.
Patrick froze. “Excuse me?”
The angel rose to his feet, allowing Patrick to estimate his height. They were both equally tall, though Patrick lacked the finely toned body. He was much more heavily muscled, as was typical for what he'd been before—
Damn it all! Even after twenty-three years apart, he couldn't stop his thoughts from whirling around the same topic, over and over. Then again, his folks were well-known for obsessing. Giving himself permission to at least catch another full stare of the angel in front of him, he drank in the sight. The angel's skin appeared smooth, beckoning him to touch.
Patrick licked his lips before he lifted his gaze to the angel's face again. A knowing smirk played about his beautiful lips. Damn the angel for eliciting such a response from Patrick. There’d only been one to—
Patrick clenched his fists at his side, annoyed at himself. He'd survived the last twenty-three years without falling apart and he'd be damned if that would change now. Patrick's feet moved of their own accord, carrying him to the angel. With great effort, he stopped himself halfway.
The angel's eyebrows furrowed. “Why are you standing there? I demand of you to come to me. Immediately.”
A spell. Of course. No matter how beautiful and captivating angels were, they still relied on spells to draw people close. Patrick huffed, then turned around and moved away. “Thanks for your help again. The food’s on me.”
“Hey! Hey! You... you mortal! Stop walking! I demand of you—”
Patrick rolled his eyes. Spoiled brat much, eh? His blood pumped at the sheer arrogance of the angel. Only one had ever got him riled up as easily as this angel. Groaning, he shook his head, keeping his pace and ignoring the screeching complaints. He needed some distance or else he might lose his head. What the hell was going on for him to unravel?
An eerie silence settled around him, only interrupted by the sound of his shoes scuffing on the street. The junk food place had been close to home, but all that running away had led him into a part of town he didn't know well. He'd lost all sense of direction, something he'd never experienced prior to his downgrade to human.
The whoosh of wings interrupted the silence, compelling Patrick to glance up at the sky. The angel swooped down in front of him, effectively blocking his way. The wings gleamed brightly in the moonlight, adding to the angel's ethereal beauty.
“Who do you think you are?”
“Patrick Fanelly, nice to meet you. I didn't get your name?”
The angel scrutinized him. His mouth opened, and for a moment Patrick believed he saw a brief flash of holy green light circling the angel's throat. The angel said, “I'm Angel. Just... Angel.”
How odd. Angel seemed to be taken aback by the words that just left his mouth. Patrick shrugged it off. “Well, hello, Angel. Thanks again for helping me with... King Kong. Have a good night.”
Patrick moved, intent on passing the angel. An outstretched wing hindered him. “I'm still waiting for my reward.”
“Yes. Since I know you find me very attractive, let me make a suggestion. You may kneel in front of me and bring me pleasure.”
Patrick gaped. Did he hear right? He'd met a lot of angels in his long life, but never had he encountered one as forthcoming—yeah, you could almost say aggressive—as this angel. No angel in their right mind would offer his body to anybody, especially not him. But maybe he'd finally weakened so much the angel couldn't detect his real nature anymore. Despite all this, the prospect of sucking Angel off was tempting. Just not tempting enough to face a visit from some enraged angels. Not again. He said, “I already thanked you. That's enough.”
“How dare you!” Angel hissed. He pulled back his wing and stomped away.
Patrick shook his head, smiling at the angel's behavior, and moved again. There had been a time— No! Damn it all to hell! Home. He needed to head home, right now, set his head straight.
Seconds later, wings swept through the night's air. Angel landed in front of him, again blocking his way. Not even the scowl on his face could diminish his beauty.
“You are supposed to come to me and not to walk away from me,” Angel stated, scandalized.
“Yes. When I stomp off, everyone follows me to make up with me.”
“I'm not everyone.”
“But...” The angel trailed off, his eyes large. His throat worked, and another flash of green light flared up when he added, “You need to demonstrate respect for me.”
“Oh, do I?”
Angel smiled and, with an imperious gesture, pointed at his feet. “Yes, you do. I knew you'd understand. Kneel.”
“Let me spell it out for you—N. O. No.”
“You—you can't deny me!” Angel sputtered. Despite the arrogance, there was a hint of despair in his voice. He straightened up, his wings flapping wildly and raising dust. “I demand—”
Patrick's patience snapped. He grasped the angel's elbow, turned him around, and landed two sharp smacks on Angel's naked ass.
Angel screeched and pushed off the ground. He looked down at Patrick from a safe distance, both hands clutching his behind. The hellhound—King Kong—appeared at his master's side, cocking his head this way and that, obviously concerned about Angel's well-being.
“You... you... you!” Angel screamed.
“You smacked my bottom! You were supposed to pleasure me!”
“I found it very pleasing to smack your lovely bottom.” Patrick grinned when he discovered the tip of Angel's wings coloring in a soft pink. He pointed upward and asked, “You liked that, didn't you?”
Hurriedly, Angel tucked his wings behind his back. Patrick gasped in horror at the same time Angel realized he'd made a crucial error. Angel fell to the ground, yelping when his butt thudded onto the concrete. He stared at Patrick accusingly. “Ouch.”
Patrick rushed toward him. “Are you okay? Are you hurt?”
Patrick helped Angel to his feet, and turned him around to brush off dirt and tiny pieces of gravel from his backside. Angel gasped softly at the contact.
Patrick turned him back around, smiling when he became aware of the downcast eyes. Angel folded his wings neatly on his back but Patrick still saw the feathers turn pink up to their roots.
“Take your hellhound and go home, Angel,” Patrick said.
Angel lifted his gaze, the desire in his eyes causing Patrick's breath to hitch. In a reckless bout of boldness, he cupped Angel's face in his hands and pressed a gentle kiss on his full lips. The kiss reminded him of— No. Patrick jolted backward, snatching his hands away. This... this was just too bizarre.
Swallowing, he walked away, but couldn't help a quick glance over his shoulder. Angel touched his lips with the fingers of one hand and waved with the other one. He called, “I'll find you, and then you're going to do what I demand of you.”
Patrick laughed. That sounded like a challenge. One he might take on.
* * * *
Two weeks later, Patrick wished he still had the ability to rip someone to shreds. There should be enough deserving mortals around. He grimaced. Mortals, humans, whatever. After twenty-three years, he should adjust to his new life without all that yammering about the things he couldn't do anymore.
Whenever he went outside, Patrick looked around for Angel. Sure, Angel had been pretty. No, beautiful. No wait—he'd been more than beautiful. Words eluded Patrick to describe Angel sufficiently. He wasn't merely drawn to the angel with the fascinating companion because of his physical appearance. There had been more, a certain vibe that had sparked between them, which now caused Patrick to pine for him. Impossible. He hadn’t felt anything like that for twenty-three years and he didn't really want to. Despite the long time, he still carried the loss deep in his heart, like a never-ending festering wound, slowly poisoning him.
“Get over yourself,” he muttered, annoyed at his own dramatics, as he came back from watching a movie. A movie that made him laugh while everyone else had screamed their heads off. Seriously, he wished humans wouldn't make such ridiculous movies about demons. Yet he always went, in the hope of real entertainment.
Mr. Toffee, his large cat, greeted him at the door as soon as he inserted the key in the lock. Patrick frowned. Mr. Toffee didn't usually greet him except on the rare occasions Patrick forgot to feed him in the morning. He was sure he'd filled the cat's bowls this morning, so why was Mr. Toffee meowing?
Patrick cracked the door open, pushed Mr. Toffee back into the house, and squeezed inside too. The cat weaved through his legs, bumping his head firmly against Patrick's shins. He bent down to pet Mr. Toffee. When all was to Mr. Toffee's satisfaction, he ambled toward the living room, jumped on the ledge of the large window, and hissed.
Patrick rolled his eyes, hung up his jacket, exchanged his shoes for comfortable slippers, and pulled his shirt from his pants. Flipping on the lights as he went, he walked to the kitchen, where he put the kettle on. Not even the boiling water could tune out Mr. Toffee's hisses and snarls.
“Hey, Mr. Toffee! What is it? A big bird? Want me to let you out so you can chase it?”
The cat hissed again, sounding even sharper and more annoyed than before. Intrigued, Patrick stepped into the living room. Mr. Toffee stood on the ledge and arched his back. Coming closer, Patrick peered through the window.
A large shadow jumped against the window, causing a new hissing fit from Mr. Toffee, while Patrick stumbled backward a few steps. One of his hands covered his erratically beating heart as he gaped outside.
“What the hell?” he asked.
The shadow pressed his large head against the windowpane, showing off a red-glowing eye. Cautiously, Patrick walked back to the window. He picked Mr. Toffee up and stared. He remembered this... thing, uh, hell-hound.
“What's he doing here?” Patrick asked Mr. Toffee. The cat's ears twitched, and he swiped at Patrick's hand. “Ow, stop that. I told you about the angel and his hell-hound. I have no idea what it’s doing here. I don't have any fries.”
Mr. Toffee regarded him with a look that got the message across clearly. Patrick pursed his lips, hitching the large cat higher up. “I'm not stupid, even though you’d like to believe that.”
The cat turned his head, his green eyes riveted to the hell-hound on the other side of the window. King Kong howled and stepped back from the window. Patrick gazed after him. King Kong trudged over to the fence with his tail tucked between his hind legs. On the fence sat Angel.
Patrick sucked in a breath. It really was Angel, perched precariously on a small fence post, his legs swinging back and forth, probably to balance himself. Angel held out both arms for the hell-hound. The beast hauled himself up on his big hind legs and laid both forepaws on Angel's shoulder. He nuzzled Angel's face, and his small wings fluttered in excitement.
“I'm not sure whether I should say ew or aw,” Patrick said. Mr. Toffee meowed as he pushed his paws against Patrick's chest, indicating his desire to leave Patrick's arms.
After setting Mr. Toffee on the floor, Patrick ventured out through the back door. Slowly, he walked up to Angel and the beast. He cleared his throat when neither of them seemed to notice his presence.
King Kong directed his glowing red eyes at him, his stubby tail swishing from side to side. Patrick asked, “Is he excited to see me, or does he expect me to get him some fries?”
King Kong gave one single bark, sounding like a whole pack of hounds barking at once. Patrick started at the sound. Damn, he'd forgotten how incredibly loud hell-hounds were.
“Shhh, King Kong,” Angel admonished his pet. King Kong immediately lowered himself to the ground and sat there primly, waiting for his master's next command.
“He's... very well trained,” Patrick offered.
“Of course he is. I trained him myself.”
Patrick pinched the bridge of his nose. “So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?”
Angel's face lit up as he smiled at Patrick. Swallowing heavily at the unexpected rush of lust flooding through his veins, Patrick stared at him.
Angel's next words, however, served as a cold shower. “I'm here to collect my reward. I told you I'd find you and that you'd obey me.”
Patrick frowned when flashes of holy green light burst around Angel's throat in rapid succession. Angel seemed frustrated, but kept eye contact. Patrick shook his head. “Ah, right. I didn't expect you to wait outside in my garden, I have to admit.”
Angel exhaled a long sigh. “I would have waited inside your house, of course, but I'd have to leave King Kong outside and he'd cry the whole time.”
“That's... very inconvenient.”
“It is! Just because he's a hell-hound by nature means the owner of the house has to invite him in. I can walk anywhere I want, but he has to be invited because of some stupid rules.” Angel shook his head, disapproval obvious on his beautiful face. “He's my pet, an angel's pet, he shouldn't be bound to these rules.”
Angel hopped down from the fence, one wing wrapped securely around him, covering all the interesting parts of his physique, while the other wing was neatly tucked up on his back. “I demand of you to invite King Kong into your house.”
Oh, here we go again! What was it with this Angel? Not that it wasn't somewhat entertaining, but his whole behavior remained odd. Patrick heaved a sigh. “Do you now?”
“Yes, I do. Now do as you're told.”
With great effort, Patrick managed to suppress his laughter. Calmly, he said, “No.”
Angel's mouth fell open and his eyes widened. “What?”
“I said no. I suppose it's not a word you hear often, am I right?”
“You can't say no! I demand of you—” Angel broke off when Patrick stepped closer, his right hand lifted.
“If you ask me instead of demand, I might, emphasis on might, think about it.”
Angel's cheeks colored. He scowled at Patrick, which only fueled Patrick's desire to hug him—right after putting him over his knees. Hug him? Patrick didn't do hugs. He'd only ever done them until twenty-three years ago, and only for a certain someone.
Angel pulled Patrick out of his downward spiral when he said, “I demand—”
“Ah!” Patrick said.
Angel stamped his left foot on the ground and yelled, “I'm an angel! I don't ask, I demand! And I demand of you—”
Patrick stepped even closer. Angel pushed off the ground, both wings flapping, revealing his finely toned body as well as his crotch. Patrick grinned up at the flushed angel and asked, “What was it you wanted to ask?”
“I did not want to ask! King Kong, come up here. We're done.”
Patrick shrugged, ignoring the pang of pain in his heart. He forced himself to play it cool. He waved and walked back to his house. Something wasn't right about this angel, not at all. His reactions to him were all over the place, and that worried Patrick more than he liked to admit.
When he reached the back door, wings swept through the air, twirling up old leaves in their wake. Angel called, “Wait!”
He landed behind Patrick and brushed the tip of one wing over Patrick's neck. The soft touch elicited a gasp and shiver from Patrick. He turned around to face Angel. King Kong touched down next to his master with a reverberating thunk. Patrick raised an eyebrow in amusement while Angel grimaced.
“He's not the most graceful creature,” Angel stated. Scratching the beast behind his ears, he added, “But he has other qualities.”
“I'm sure he has.”
Patrick waited while Angel petted King Kong. He caught Angel darting glances at him now and then but stopped himself from making it easy for Angel. His patience paid off in the end. Angel stared at the top of his beast's head and mumbled, “Would you please invite King Kong into your house?”
“See, that wasn't so hard,” Patrick praised. “Now try it again while looking at me.”
Angel's head shot up. “You want me to look at you while I beg you to... No! That's ridiculous. Invite him in! Now! I demand of you—”
“I swear if you're going to use the phrase I demand of you or even just the word demand one more time, I'll put you over my knee.”
Angel gazed at him in confusion. “Why would you do that? Is that a good position for me to be in to receive my reward?”
Patrick couldn't help it—he laughed. Angel kept staring at him in bewilderment until Patrick calmed down again. Still chuckling, he asked, “Have you never heard the term I'll put you over my knee before?”
“No. What does it mean?”
“It means you'll be lying across my lap and I'll be spanking your lovely bottom.”
Angel jumped back a step. He opened and closed his mouth several times, circles of green light flashing, while his eyes grew big. Angel's wings turned pink. Patrick glanced at Angel's crotch, smirking at Angel's visible arousal. Something else he had in common with—
Patrick growled as anger rose fast and hot within him. No. He was done with obsessing. Twenty-three years of mourning and he still couldn't stop thinking about him.
“Th-That's not what I had in m-mind,” Angel stuttered. “It doesn't sound very r-rewarding to me.”
Patrick drew in a deep breath, calming himself. “No? It does to me.”
“But wouldn't it hurt me?”
“Of course it would.” Though Patrick was adept at spanking without really hurting. He'd mastered that art decades ago. “That's the whole point of it, so you'll remember your manners the next time you want something from me or anyone else.”
Angel took another two steps back. A pout formed on his face, and he said, “You're not worth my attention.”
He whirled around and quickly crossed Patrick's lawn. King Kong stared from Patrick to Angel, his red eyes shining wetly. He heaved a sigh and trotted after his master.
“Some people like to get spanked. It turns them on sexually,” he called after Angel.
Angel glanced over his shoulder. A bright flash of green light burst around his throat when he yelled, “I'm not some people. I'm Angel.”
“Suit yourself,” Patrick murmured, taken aback by the frequent flashes of holy light.
He opened the door and slipped inside the house. For a moment he stood in his living room, not sure what to do with himself. Eventually, he managed to go to the kitchen, where he pulled the whistling kettle from the stove. He brewed some tea before he rummaged through his fridge, trying to find something suitable for dinner.
A knock at his window kitchen resounded, and he hit his head at the top of the fridge. Rubbing his head, he shut the fridge door and turned toward the window. He went over, opened it, and asked, “What is it now?”
“You are supposed to come after me! I told you that much the last time we met! You're not doing this right!” Angel told him. Again, his voice held a good deal of indignation, but also despair. Despair that hung thick and heavy in his kitchen. What the hell?
“You need to learn some manners. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to prepare dinner.”
Patrick was about to close the window when Angel grabbed his wrist, sending an electric tingle through his whole body. Angel moaned, and Patrick lifted his eyes to see that he glowed, a soft golden halo shimmering around him.
“Angel?” Patrick asked softly.
Angel slowly withdrew his hand before he held it in front of his eyes, scrutinizing it. His chest heaved up and down, a fine flush covering his skin. Then Angel dropped his hand. When Angel looked at him again, Patrick's breath hitched. This couldn't be and yet... Yet long-forgotten or suppressed memories floated up, holding him captive.
Before Patrick could react, Angel squeezed through the kitchen window and now crouched on the countertop, his wings draped securely around him.
King Kong put his huge paws on the windowsill and barked. If it had sounded like a pack of hounds earlier, it sounded now like a dozen packs.
“Tell him to stop!” Patrick shouted.
“He won't listen. He wants to be with me.”
“Then go back to him!”
“What?” Beads of sweat trickled down Patrick's back.
“No. I want to be where you are.”
Patrick wrapped his arms around Angel, intent on lifting him off his counter and carrying him to the back door. When his arms closed around Angel's pliant body, warmth flooded him, pooled in his gut and spread out from there. Angel uncurled his wings to push closer to Patrick and he moaned when Patrick rubbed his hands over Angel's bare skin.
“Invite him in?”
“If this is a ploy to get what you want, your lovely bottom will pay the price,” Patrick warned.
Angel looked him directly in the eyes, before pleading, “Please, Patrick?”
Patrick relented. “King Kong, please come in.”
The beast yipped in delight and hauled himself up on the windowsill. He tried squeezing his bulk through the window, but grew frustrated when his wings got stuck. Mr. Toffee chose this moment to make an appearance and jumped on the counter. Nonchalantly, he walked up to King Kong and sniffed at him.
“Oh-oh,” Patrick said.
Seconds later, Mr. Toffee bounced from the counter in triumph. King Kong howled, while Angel screeched in outrage. “Your cat scratched my pet! How dare it! I demand—”
Despite the bizarreness of the situation, Patrick did what he'd promised Angel earlier. He pulled him into his arms, carried him over to a chair, and put him over his knees. Angel let everything happen to him almost docilely—right to the point when Patrick's hand slapped down on his ass for the first time.
Angel screamed, King Kong barked, and Mr. Toffee trundled back into the kitchen, probably wanting to know what the commotion was all about.
“I told you not to use the word demand again,” Patrick said, all the while bringing his hand down on Angel's ass. He didn't use much force, but Angel screamed nonetheless. King Kong's bark worsened to the point where Patrick shouted, “Quiet!”
King Kong stopped instantly. He stared at Patrick and whimpered. The whimper was piercing, like a cacophony of whistles. Patrick cringed, while Mr. Toffee whizzed out of the room.
“I said quiet, understood?”
King Kong simply stared at him, but remained silent. Angel did no such thing. He screamed, kicked his legs, flapped his wings, and wriggled on Patrick's lap. It was like holding on to a slippery eel—almost impossible.
Angel pushed his left wing into Patrick's face, hissing and sputtering. Patrick had long stopped spanking. Hell, he hadn't gotten more than a few smacks in, but Angel kept screeching. No matter what Patrick said, nothing seemed to get through to him. In the end, he held Angel as securely as he could and waited.
Angel's struggles ceased after a while. On a sudden impulse, Patrick rubbed his face against Angel's left wing and dropped kisses on the soft feathers. He'd done that with someone else, the last time twenty-three years ago. The memory brought tears to Patrick's eyes.
Angel gasped, and he also calmed down in an instant.
“So, that's how to calm you down, hmm?” Patrick murmured into the feathers.
Angel's wings turned pink, even a bit red at the tips. Patrick bit his lower lip and slowly loosened his grasp on Angel. “I'm helping you up now.”
Patrick set Angel on his feet, curious to see Angel's face. Angel hid behind a curtain of blond curls while he reached around to feel his ass. “Y-You... you... smacked my bottom. Again.”
Angel's voice broke, and Patrick's heart stumbled a beat. Had he gone too far? “I told you I'd spank you if you used the word demand again, didn't I?”
Angel lifted his face, a few tears trickling down his cheeks. “B-But it hurts. This is not how it's supposed to go. Nothing is going as it should. Nothing. Can't you see that? What is wrong with you?”
“My poor Angel, all confused.”
“Your angel?” Angel whispered softly.
“Freudian slip,” Patrick replied, caught by surprise at his own sentiment.
“Who is Freudian and why did he slip? What has that got to do with me being your angel?”
“Freud, not Freudian, and he was—” Patrick cut himself off. “Forget it. Turn around and let me have a look.”
Angel wiped the tears off his cheeks, turned around, and slowly withdrew his hands. Patrick's eyes widened at the sight. He saw his handprints all over Angel's ass. He tentatively stroked over Angel's flesh, eliciting a moan
“I forgot how sensitive angels’ skins are. I did not slap all that hard.” Patrick swallowed when Angel gazed at him, a mix of surprise and hope edged into his face. He added, “Never mind. Okay, I'll keep your sensitive skin in mind the next time I smack you.”
Angel whirled around, both hands covering his behind. “Next time? There will be no next time!”
Patrick looked from Angel's face to his crotch. Patrick reached for Angel's shaft, giving Angel's erection one long stroke. Angel whimpered at the sensation. When Patrick pulled away, he said, “I d—, I-I mean, will you pleasure me now?”
“You mean suck you?”
“Why would you suck at me?” Angel replied, a green circle flashing, almost angrily it seemed, around his throat.
“Suck at you? No, I mean blow you.”
“Why would you blow me?”
Patrick put his hands on his hips, a frown on his face. “What exactly does pleasuring you entail?”
Angel blushed, but whenever he opened his mouth, no words came forth. He seemed put out by his inability to speak. So odd.
Patrick sat back on the chair he'd just vacated. Angel eyed him. “Are you sick?”
Patrick smiled weakly when Angel's brows formed a sharp crease and another green circle flared around his throat. He ran through different scenarios while he patted his right thigh. He needed Angel closer to think this, whatever it was, through.
When Angel didn't get his meaning, he snatched Angel's hand and pulled him on his lap. Angel hissed and squirmed, his wings flapping and rustling. Patrick grabbed a fistful of feathers and dropped kisses onto them. Angel's squirming stopped immediately. He snuggled closer to Patrick, staring at him from smoldering eyes.
“You aren't going to pleasure me, are you?” Angel asked.
“No. At least not right now.”
“Not even if I say please?”
The hint of despair was back in Angel's voice, bringing on a wave of unease. Patrick trailed his fingers along the ridges of Angel's left wing. “No, not even then.”
“Why? Your love-stick seems to be in need of pleasure itself.”
“Love-stick?” Patrick chortled. “You've got a lot to learn, my angel.”
Angel's face colored and his wings dazzled in a soft pink. “You said my angel again.”
“I guess I did.”
“Good. I dem—”
“Oops.” Angel grinned at him. “I wish you to kiss me.”
Patrick cupped Angel's face in his hands, brushed his thumbs over the high cheekbones, and gently pressed his lips to Angel's. He tasted so sweet, so incredible, so familiar.
Jerking back, Patrick swallowed around the lump in his throat. For a moment, he closed his eyes, shutting the world as it was now, out. He snapped them open when Angel asked, a pleading tone in his voice, “Are you sure you don't want to pleasure me?”
Patrick tucked some of the golden ringlets behind Angel's left ear, searching for words. How was he supposed to explain his reluctance, especially when his body had no such qualms?
Angel got up from his lap and padded away on bare feet. He asked, “Patrick?”
Patrick wiped a hand over his face. “Yes?”
“If I ask you one more time about the pleasure, will that make you angry?” Angel stood next to the back door, doorknob in his hand.
“No.” He laughed, “No, it won't.”
Angel beamed at him. “So you will pleasure me after all?”
“I didn't say that. You seem very young, maybe too young.”
Angel bristled as he let go of the doorknob. “I'm not too young. I'm twenty-three years old in Earth years. I should have been introduced to Earth and its customs years ago. Harrison just never allowed it, said I should learn patience first. He had a lot of rules, especially for me.”
Patrick's heart stuttered to a halt, even as he forced a weak smile for Angel's benefit on his face. Twenty-three years. Coincidence?
He must've closed his eyes for a moment, because next he knew Angel stood beside him, his left wing stretched out behind him in a protective gesture. The soft feathery tips stroked along his bare forearm, eliciting a groan from Patrick. He hadn't reacted that strongly to another man, be it a human, an angel or a demon for... for the last twenty-three years.
Patrick rose from the chair and stepped away from Angel's touch, out of his wings' reach. He couldn't deal with this anymore. “Don't ask me about the pleasure again.”
In a much softer voice, Patrick added, “Get your hell-hound.”
Angel's wing rustled faintly as he folded it up before he quietly padded to the backyard. Even though Patrick didn't look at Angel, he sensed an overwhelming surge of hurt pouring off him. Gritting his teeth, he wandered over to the counter and grabbed his mug. The tea had turned cold, so he put on the kettle. When he glanced into his backyard, King Kong leaped toward Angel, almost throwing him to the ground as he rose on his hind paws, licking Angel's face excitedly.
A bark rang through the air, and Angel quickly hushed the hell-hound. Patrick's lips quirked into a smile at the gesture and the ashamed look on the big beast's face.
Mr. Toffee jumped on the counter next to the stove, butting his head against Patrick's biceps.
“Hey, there you are again,” Patrick said. He lowered his head so Mr. Toffee could easily bump their heads together several times. Mr. Toffee's purr rumbled through his large, feline body. With a sigh, Patrick said, “Don't throw a hissy fit but the big, ugly thing will come inside now.”
Mr. Toffee's purr ceased. He meowed, his eyes narrowing in concentration. The kettle whistled at the same time as large paws clicked on the linoleum. Patrick pulled the kettle from the stove but kept his back to the two newcomers. Mr. Toffee rounded his back and hissed, then bounded from the counter to the floor.
“Hey!” Angel shouted.
Patrick pivoted around to see Mr. Toffee stalking toward King Kong, who cast worried glances from the cat to Angel.
Angel pointed at Mr. Toffee and said, “Your cat is scaring my pet.”
Mr. Toffee chose that moment to fake an attack on King Kong. The large beast howled, its whistle-like sounds deafening Patrick until he bellowed, “Quiet!”
King Kong crouched low on the floor with his red eyes squeezed shut while Mr. Toffee stalked closer, his tail flicking back and forth. The cat sniffed behind the hell-hound’s ears and meowed in appreciation.
“Hey, your cat likes my King Kong.” Angel clapped his hands in delight.
“His name is Mr. Toffee.”
Angel frowned. “Why would you call your cat Mr. Toffee? Can you eat it?”
Mr. Toffee's eyes narrowed to slits before he chuffed. King Kong peeled one eye open to gaze at the cat before he swiped his forked tongue tentatively over Mr. Toffee's back. Mr. Toffee jumped, then shook himself. He climbed atop King Kong's sturdy neck and nipped at his ears. King Kong jumped to his feet with a whimper that caused Angel to cringe and Patrick to clap his hands over his ears.
Mr. Toffee hissed, then nuzzled King Kong's left ear. A firm nudge from Mr. Toffee's nose later, the unlikely duo trotted out of the kitchen.
Angel gaped at them while Patrick pulled his hands from his ears. When Angel moved to follow them, Patrick called him back. “Angel, no. Mr. Toffee won't harm him.”
“Tsk!” Angel whirled around and threw his head back. “You should be worried about what King Kong could do to your cat, not the other way around.”
“It looks like my cat has everything under control.” Not to mention the fact Mr. Toffee usually showed no interest in guests. Absolutely none, except to terrorize them.
“My King Kong is a hell-hound! He's one of the most dangerous species that ever existed!”
Patrick poured hot water in his mug, searching for a tea bag. “Do you want some tea?”
“Yes, tea. You know what that is, right?”
Angel's face contorted into a pout. With those golden ringlets framing his face, he looked like the poster boy for a pouting kid that's used to getting what he wanted. In no way did he remind Patrick of—Damnation, hell, and whatever! Why couldn't he stop thinking about it... him?
Patrick focused on Angel's indignant, “Of course I know what tea is.”
“Would you like some?”
Angel tilted his head to the side, obviously puzzling over Patrick's remark. A spark ignited his blue—no, hazel—eyes and a dazzling smile appeared on his face. Patrick's knees went weak. Weak with desire and an irrational flicker of hope.
“Oh, I get it now!”
Patrick dipped a bag of Earl Grey into his hot water. “What do you get?”
“You want me to drink tea so I'll be strong enough while you pleasure me. That's fine. I don't think I'll need extra strength.”
Patrick's mouth fell open before he laughed. He laughed until tears streamed down his cheeks. Angel gazed at him from troubled eyes, at first with genuine interest, then with obvious dread. He spread his wings and folded them around his body, hiding as well as he could. The tips of his wings colored a deep blue, sobering Patrick.
“I'm sorry,” he said. “But I'm still not going to pleasure you.”
“But why not? I know I'm pleasing to the eye.”
“All angels are, but most of them come across as adult, while you... you act like a kid.”
Angel's eyes widened, not in hurt but in anger, and his throat worked to get words out. Frustration glinted in Angel's eyes when he said, “I'm not a kid.”
Patrick's brows knitted together. Damn those flashes of holy green light. He'd get to the bottom of their appearance. Right now. He demanded, “Say that again.”
Angel repeated his sentence, his words slurring together in his haste to get them out. A small circle of holy green light flashed, so fast it would've been imperceptible to human eyes. Patrick's demonic nature roused from its deep sleep. Twenty-three years had passed, but its slumber had been jostled in the last two weeks—now it rushed awake with an almighty thrust.
Angel stepped backward. Confusion, longing and anxiety battled on his angelic face. “You're no human.”
Patrick gave in to the inevitable, welcoming the way the tight reins on his demon snapped, no matter how much it hurt. Finally.
Power surged through him, heightened his senses, and re-formed his body to its former, glorious state. His muscles turned more solid, his legs and arms lengthened, ripping his clothes in its wake, and the tail stub at his rear end grew until it was back to its old length. He flicked his tail to the front and grasped the spiked tip, groaning in pleasure when the sharp edges sliced through his thumb pad. “No, I'm not.”
Angel trembled, but his wings told Patrick all about the fight within him. His throat muscles worked, and there was an almost frantic energy sizzling around him. Holy green circles appeared more and more frequently around his throat, trying to freeze what had to be said inside the angel.
“I'm a half-demon,” Patrick said. Taking a chance, mostly born out of despair and hope in equal measures, he continued, “One of the most powerful that was ever born, but deep down inside you know that already.”
Angel shook his head, took another step backward, but that was the end of his retreat. He thudded against the wall, gasping. “No, I don't.”
“Yes, you do. I wasn't sure before, because they altered your outward appearance, the way you talk and act so much, but I'm sure it is you. This time I'm sure it really is you, Julian.”
Time stood still, literally. Nothing moved, nothing happened for a long time. Patrick had believed Julian had come back several times in the last twenty-three years, but every time it had been a ploy. A ploy to bind his demon deeper into his human body, so he could never achieve what he was born to do.
“Julian, my angel, come to me,” Patrick said, a low rumble ascending from his chest to his throat, a feature Julian had loved—and one that made him horny. “Free yourself of the ties that bind you.”
Patrick held out his thumb, watching as blood droplets pearled and dripped to the floor. Julian, his angel, garbled incoherent nonsense as he cowered into the corner, his wings an ugly shade of gray with blotted black spots.
The holy green circle was now openly visible. It grew in width, enveloping Julian's form more and more. The angel whimpered and rocked back and forth on his heels.
Fury unfurled in Patrick's gut. How dare they hurt his angel? A roar escaped from his mouth and his eyes burned with hellish fire. He strode toward Julian, taking in the sight of his trembling angel. After he knelt, he slid a hand into the soft, blond ringlets, grasping Julian's chin in his blood-smeared hand. Tracing his bloody thumb along Julian's lips, he shivered at the contact.
“Suck,” Patrick demanded.
Julian's throat worked again, but the green circles tightened around his throat until he gasped for air. The larger holy circles now enveloped them both, forcing Patrick to clamp his teeth shut against the crippling pain.
Patrick pushed his thumb against Julian's pinched lips, growling, “Suck, damn it!”
A holy light cascaded over them, blinding Patrick in its intensity. Blisters popped on his skin as he cried out in agony. No way. After twenty-three years of losing hope and falling into melancholy, this could not go wrong now. His demon lashed out, forced his thumb between Julian's lips, and roared, “Take your damn pleasure. Now.”
Julian's tongue lapped at his thumb. At first tentatively, then with vigor, sending electricity through Patrick's entire body. The green circles around them pulsed, pressing closer, trapping Patrick’s breath in his chest.
A low moan drew Patrick’s attention to Julian. The angel’s wings cleared of the gray, and the blond ringlets shortened in length. Patrick inhaled deeply, the acid of holy air biting deep into his lungs, but mingled into it was Julian’s familiar smell. This was real. His angel. Coming back from wherever he’d been hidden.
Julian hollowed his cheeks and sucked on Patrick’s thumb. A threatening growl reverberated through him. A second later, the green circles exploded into tiny stars, floating to the floor and vanishing on their way.
Patrick drew in a lungful of air, sighing when his chest expanded without a trace of pain. He gazed at Julian, who sent him a quick smile, before he latched onto his thumb again. Julian’s wings had lost any gray hue, but weren’t up to his usual pristine, gleaming whiteness either.
“Open,” Patrick said in a husky voice.
Julian swiped his tongue once more over his thumb. “Say please.”
Patrick’s nostrils flared when Julian’s wings fluttered to reveal his finely toned body, with his fully engorged cock jutting out from his nest of pubic hair. Patrick grasped Julian’s thighs, pulled, and applied a solid swat to one buttock. Julian gasped and arched his back, shoving closer to Patrick.
“No way am I going to say please. Especially not if you want my love-stick anywhere close to your ass.”
Julian’s wings purpled and his cheeks reddened. “I couldn’t speak freely, you ass,” Julian hissed. Patrick spanked Julian’s other buttock, resulting in a yelped, “Ouch. Stop that. I’m sure we’ll have company soon, the breaking of the ties won’t have gone unnoticed.”
Patrick nodded. Clasping a hand around Julian’s neck, he yanked him into his arms, crushing him against his chest. His voice broke when he whispered, “I missed you.”
“I missed you too, but can you tone down the emotional breakdown until later?”
Patrick pushed Julian at arm’s length and scowled. “You were so much sweeter with the ties impeding your speech and vocabulary.”
“Stop reminding me,” Julian muttered. “The words that came out of my mouth were horrifying. Though not as horrifying as the fact it took you an eternity to realize it was me.”
Before Patrick had a chance to growl at him, Julian pushed him off-balance. Patrick landed backward on the floor with Julian straddling his hips. Julian’s hazel eyes lit up in victory, and he immediately started gyrating his hips. Patrick’s cock perked up in an instant, and he grabbed Julian’s buttocks in his hands, pulling them apart.
A shiver wracked Julian’s body, and his muscles roped in and out in a tantalizing play. His nipples darkened to their familiar color, and when Patrick looked at Julian, the usual tousled golden mop framed a beautiful face with full lips, a small nose, and dimples so deep they were visible even when he wasn’t laughing.
“You’re back,” Patrick whispered. “My angel.”
“Stop that!” Julian lost his composure and sobbed. “Those fucking bastards! They locked all my memories, and now everything comes back at once. I...”
Patrick sat up and cradled Julian’s face in his hands. Hot tears ran over them and splashed on the floor, leaving small, glistening puddles. From the corner of his eyes, Patrick caught a glance of Mr. Toffee and King Kong peering around the door. He waved them away, mouthing, “Guard.”
King Kong’s paws clicked when he turned around and Mr. Toffee hissed something.
The hiss drew Julian out of his misery. He wiped the tears of his face. “Fuck! Look what they did! First I come across as a dimwit, and now I’m a crybaby.”
Patrick rose to his feet with Julian in his arms, slapped a hand on Julian’s butt, making sure it would make Julian squeal. “Shut it. You weren’t a dimwit. Whatever they did to you wasn’t strong enough to keep you away from me. Even when you couldn’t express yourself in the way you wanted, you came to me. Also, I should’ve picked up on your phrasing right away. Remember when we first met? You asked me to pleasure you. I’ve never had anyone else ask me that same question.”
Julian rubbed his rear with one hand while the other one wrapped tightly around Patrick’s neck. “That’s how angels talk to each other. They don’t actually say Let’s go and fuck.”
“You just did,” Patrick said, grinning.
“That’s your influence on me.”
King Kong barked, a clear warning they had visitors.
Julian’s legs tightened around Patrick’s waist. Fear slammed into Patrick’s core, multiplied by the dread Julian exuded.
Mr. Toffee stuck his head around a corner, hissed, and shifted. A small dark-haired man with a pointed nose, dressed in a loose-fitting shirt, trousers, and boots directed his scrutinizing gaze at them. In a deep baritone, he asked, “Why aren’t you two fucking? I’m not going to stick around for another twenty-three years of moping around from Patrick.”
Julian laughed. “Snarks! I never thought I’d say this, but I missed you.”
“Todd probably missed you even more,” Julian added as he pointed at King Kong, coming up to Snarks.
“Why the hell did you name him King Kong? Childish much?” Snarks asked as he scratched the hell-hound behind his ears.
“I was incapacitated,” Julian replied.
“Very incapacitated,” Patrick chimed in.
A loud knock resounded from the front door. Snarks slapped King Kong’s haunch and ordered him to the back door. The big beast left without a sound. Snarks straightened up and hurried toward the front door. “I’ll try to buy time, but depending on whom they sent, I won’t be able to keep them away for long. You better get going.”
Snarks rushed out of the kitchen. Julian spread his wings and flew them a few feet through the kitchen till they reached the table. There he lay on his back, his wings fanned out and his knees tucked up to his chest, exposing himself completely to Patrick.
“I’m seriously not too young for you to pleasure me,” Julian said. “Get that image of the innocent angel out of your mind.”
Patrick positioned himself at Julian’s butt, his cock straining toward the small pucker that looked so inviting. Twenty-three years. They’d lost twenty-three fucking years due to the Angels High Council intervening. What they called intervening, anyway. Humans, shifters, witches, and demons called it kidnapping and brainwashing.
“Patrick! Please! If we don’t get you to free yourself completely, we’ll never be able to do what we’re supposed to do!”
Loud voices from the front door filtered through to them. Patrick shut his eyes for a moment before he snapped them open. “This might hurt you.”
“I don’t care. Now fuck me!”
Patrick clasped Julian’s thighs and thrust into his body. Julian shouted at the intrusion, and his body convulsed when Patrick steadily pushed forward until he was sheathed to the hilt in Julian’s warmth.
“Patrick, don’t stop now,” Julian gasped out.
He took one of Patrick’s hands and guided it around his leaking erection. Patrick tuned out the voices from his front door, which had increased in volume and intensity. Instead he concentrated on Julian, his angel, trusting Snarks to buy them as much time as possible.
This wasn’t the time for sweet loving, so Patrick pulled almost all the way out before he slammed back in. He timed his thrusts with stroking Julian’s shaft, sending him over the edge within a minute, screaming his name.
They’d reached this point twenty-three years ago, but Patrick had been dragged away from Julian and a whole armada of angels had descended on them, taking Julian away. This time had to be different. If only... if only he could climax as fast as Julian could. For fuck’s sake, why did he need to have so much stamina?
The voices turned up another notch and Snarks rambled curses and incantations left and right. King Kong’s barks hurt Patrick’s ears, making it almost impossible to think of anything else but what they’d be losing again.
Feathers touched his spine, stroked along and sent tingles through his nervous system. His cock swelled even more, surprising them both.
“What the heck’s going on? You’re getting bigger and bigger.” Julian’s eyes grew large and a hint of anxiety lurked there.
“Keep doing what you did with your feathers,” Patrick murmured.
Julian renewed his light strokes along his spine, and Patrick’s skin turned tight at his back. His cock swelled another notch, causing Julian to whimper and roll back his eyes. Patrick rubbed a hand soothingly over Julian’s belly, then fondled Julian’s balls. Julian’s shaft twitched, and only a moment later, Patrick held Julian’s engorged cock in his hand.
“Think I turned into a size queen,” Julian gasped out.
He traced his feathers from Patrick’s head over his neck, along his spine, and smoothed them over the curve of Patrick’s ass. Heat surged through Patrick’s entire being and his inner demon roared in triumph. The skin at Patrick’s back ripped open, forcing Patrick to howl in excruciating pain.
Julian clamped his channel around Patrick’s cock, allowing him to focus on pleasure instead of pain. Blood trickled from his back but Patrick thrust in and out of Julian, seeking his release with powerful rolls of his hips.
Julian arched his back when his second climax tore through him. The rhythmical clenching around Patrick’s cock hurled him over the edge and he came in long spurts, emptying himself in Julian, his angel.
Snarks sailed through the air, right over the table where Patrick was draped over Julian. He hit the ground with a pained thunk. King Kong’s barks became furious howls, and whoever had tried to enter the kitchen now cursed and yelled expletives.
Still panting, Patrick pulled out of Julian. He straightened up and unfolded his blood-dripping wings. They spanned from one side of the kitchen to the other. He closed his eyes before he threw back his head and yelled his victory.
“Why did that take so long?” Snarks muttered as he staggered to his feet. He clasped the edge of the table to steady himself, pointing a long finger at Julian. “You should really work on your ability to get him off faster.”
Julian flipped him off. “Half-demons are hard to get off, didn’t you know? It takes skill and time, but how should you know since your partner’s a hell-hound?”
Snarks narrowed his eyes. “Such an awfully bratty angel. Can I spank him for what he said?”
“No,” Patrick replied. “Spank your own lover.”
“That’s not going to work. I’m so not into that shit,” a soft tenor announced.
A sound resembling a moaned sob erupted from Snarks’ throat. “Todd,” he whispered. “Get over here, you big fool.”
Todd rolled his gleaming red eyes and tucked a stray strand of his black hair behind his left ear before he ambled over to Snarks. He dwarfed Snarks in size, and that impression deepened when he picked up Snarks and cradled him to his chest as if he was a small child. Snarks wound his trembling arms around Todd’s neck, mumbling, “No one say a word or I’ll get my books and curse you into toads.”
“Don’t mind him. I think after our long time apart he needs some cuddling time.” Todd hoisted Snarks higher in his arms. “Oh, by the way, our visitors are gone. For now at least. You might want to clean up, though.”
Patrick flexed his wings and shuddered when Julian’s white feathered wings traced the contours of his black, leathery ones. Tingles ran through his wings and tears sprang to his eyes unbidden at the realization he’d been without them for twenty-three years. His head whipped to Julian’s sated form on the table.
Come covered Julian’s belly, partly pooled in his navel, while a thin thread ran down his left flank.
“You look well-fucked.”
Julian laughed, the dimples turning into deep moles. “So do you.”
“We did it,” Patrick said as he brought his wings around, staring at them.
The smile slipped from Julian’s face as he sat up, wincing. “Ow. Wow. I guess after twenty-three years, my body was a born-again virgin. Damn it, you were fucking huge. I don’t remember you being that big.”
Julian tucked up his wings into an impossibly small package on his back, almost appearing like a small, white-feathered backpack. Patrick folded his wings around Julian’s frame, pulling him closer until Julian’s head rested on his shoulder. “My angel.”
“Yours,” Julian echoed. “Always yours, Patrick.”
Patrick pressed a hand to Julian’s abdomen, rubbing circles into his flesh. “We’ll have to go to the Council, show them that it is possible for a half-demon and a half-angel to couple without anyone combusting into dust.”
“I wonder why they thought so, given that angels and demons couple with humans or shifters all the time. Why did they try to keep us apart?” Julian asked.
“Because a demon and an angel can’t be in love. It doesn’t fit into their worldview,” Snarks shouted from the living room.
“We’re just half demon and half angel,” Patrick shouted back.
“Even worse!” Snarks replied.
Julian pushed against Patrick’s wings, but when this didn’t bring the wished outcome, he flicked out his tongue and laved the navy blue veins running through them. Patrick groaned when electricity zinged from where Julian touched him to his core. Slowly, he opened his wings and allowed Julian to step out of his embrace. After he tucked up his wings, which took more effort than he remembered but since he was out of practice he didn’t mind too much, he intertwined their hands.
Patrick gave Julian's hand a squeeze before he towed him into the living room. Todd sat on the sofa with Snarks on his lap, nuzzling Snarks’ face. Snarks clutched at Todd’s beefy arms around him, probably leaving bruises from the way he hung on for dear life. He scowled when Patrick grinned at him. In between pants, Snarks said, “Todd needs this.”
“Of course he does.”
Julian glanced from Patrick to Snarks before he shook his head in obvious disapproval. “After twenty-three years, you’re still playing this stupid game, Snarks? Doesn’t Todd deserve better?”
Snarks’ pale face flushed. Todd lifted his head, smiling contentedly. “It’s okay, Julian.”
“It’s not okay that he still pretends he only endures you and your love. He didn’t see you for twenty-three years, neither did he know you were alive, and still he treats you like shit. That is not okay!”
“Julian,” Patrick murmured, knowing too well that Snarks and Julian never saw eye-to-eye on this particular subject.
To his surprise, Snarks collapsed into himself. He curled himself up in a fetal position on Todd’s lap and clawed at Todd’s neck. In a rough voice, he said, “I knew he was alive. I could sense him. Very dull, and only once every few days, but that was the only thing that kept me going. Do you honestly think I’d endure a life as a cat for twenty-three years if I didn’t have any hope of seeing him again?”
“Why are you treating him like scum then?” Julian asked.
“He doesn’t. What comes out of his mouth is not what I listen to. Maybe he’s been bound with the same curse you were. When you used words like love-stick, I mean.” Todd winked at Julian, who blushed in various shades of red. Even the tightly tucked-up white wings turned pink.
“I’m never going to live that down, am I?” Julian asked.
Patrick towed him to the sofa and sat at the far end from Todd and Snarks. Julian settled on Patrick’s lap and leaned against his chest, expelling a breath. “Sorry, Snarks, I didn’t mean to upset you. It just... makes me angry how you talk to Todd. He’s always been good to me, guarded me and—”
“And almost got himself killed, yes, I know,” Snarks snapped. “I never thought a guardian angel could be born again as a hell-hound.”
“I didn’t mean to almost die,” Todd said softly.
“I know that, you stupid ox.”
Todd grasped Snarks’ chin in his hand and tilted his face up. “No, I don’t think you do. I did what I had to do, and that included begging for your life. The group of angels that caught us was ready to kill us all.”
Images and words took form in Patrick’s mind as his memory came back. “You made the deal with Geldren. He was the leader, and at least had some scruples. He bound my demon, took away my wings, but left most of my memory intact. He used a spell to bind you and Snarks into animals that would be closest to your inner self and—”
“Wait! What? Why did I become a cat? I’m a half-demon. I come from a long line of powerful half-demons with great magical abilities! I should’ve been something else! And you...” Snarks poked his finger against Todd’s breastbone. “Why didn’t you turn into a teddy bear or something? You’re a guardian angel!”
Todd smiled at Snarks before he kissed him. “It was either a hell-hound or a dove.”
Julian burst out laughing at Snarks’ incredulous expression. “Why didn’t I get to change my shape?”
Todd shook his head. “You’re too powerful for that, as is Patrick.”
Snarks wrinkled his nose. “But I wasn’t? That’s a real blow to my ego.”
Todd petted his hair until Snarks nuzzled back into the offered affection. After a while, Snarks asked, “You don’t remember the crux of the problem? Why a huge fraction of angels didn’t want you two to get together, right?”
Patrick exchanged a glance with Julian, who shook his head. “No, we don’t. I just knew we had to break the ties that bound Julian’s angel and my demon. And we needed to fuck. Really bad.”
Snarks grimaced and flapped a hand dismissively in the air. “Spare us the details.”
“But why? Didn’t it get you all hot and bothered?” Julian batted his eyelashes at Snarks.
“How can you be an angel?”
“Half-angel,” Julian corrected him.
“Whatever. Angels and half-angels only copulate to produce heirs, not to have fun. Demons and half-demons couple for fun first, then maybe to produce an heir. You’re both breaking so many rules here...” Snarks trailed off. A minute later, he slapped a hand against his forehead. “Of course!”
“Of course what?” Patrick asked.
Julian shifted his weight on Patrick’s lap, tucking his face into the crook of Patrick’s neck. Patrick’s wings folded out on their own accord, wrapping securely around his angel. “Julian?”
“Can we go somewhere else? This place is starting to reek and it’s making me sick.”
Patrick frowned and sniffed the air. The air was heavy with fear and death, but not so much that Julian’s angel nature should feel the effects so harshly already. Snarks got up from Todd’s lap, leaped onto the small wooden coffee table, and spread out his arms. A soft orange light glowed from his fingertips until it whirled together in circles around his body, twirling faster when Snarks’ incantations rose in volume. A sudden shout and the whirling rings expanded then flashed in a bright red and evaporated.
Snarks’ sharp-edged features stood out even more prominently when he turned around to face them. “I cleaned up the mess the big one there”—he pointed at Todd—“created. Bad doggy.”
Todd’s lips curved upward as he held his arms out for Snarks. Julian peered over the rim of Patrick’s left wing. “You’re both insane.”
Snarks swayed into Todd’s arms, panting slightly. “Before you rip me a new one for my lack of social skills, let me assure you I’ll make it up to him.”
“Oh, yes, he will.”
“That was more than I needed to know,” Julian muttered.
“Payback’s a bitch, huh?” Snarks replied. “You still haven’t figured it out, have you?”
Patrick’s tail swished over the sofa, ripping the fabric with the barbs on the end. Something prodded inside him, but every time he came close to that particular memory, it eluded him in the last moment. Frustrated, he slammed his tail into the sofa, causing the filling to burst out of the hole he’d ripped.
Julian gasped, and a low keening sound tore from his throat. Patrick started, his wings flapping and catapulting them both to the ceiling in a blink of an eye. Heart pounding, Patrick cradled Julian close, his gaze flicking from one point in the room to another, gauging what had upset Julian so much.
“I remember,” Julian said.
“What? What do you remember?” Patrick asked. How he hated to be the only one not in the know.
Lightning struck the large tree in the backyard, setting it on fire with a loud whoosh. Thunder rolled in waves, shaking the earth so much that furniture rattled and slid from one side to the other.
Another clap of thunder and the backyard was filled with a group of demons and half-demons, their dark, leathery wings flapping loudly in the air. Lightning struck again, but this time it brought a group of angels with them. They landed a few feet away from the demons, their feathery wings not making a single sound.
“Oh, shit,” Snarks said.
Patrick landed on his feet, his grip on Julian’s hand firm. Anxious hazel eyes gazed into his when Julian said, “Don’t let go. No matter what happens, don’t let go. Please.”
“I don’t think they’ll come inside,” Snarks snickered. “They probably can’t decide which group should go first.”
Todd and Snarks rose to their feet. After a quick squeeze of their hands, they sidled up next to Patrick and Julian. Together they walked out into the backyard, right between the two groups. Hell-hounds stood guard around the demons and half-demons, regarding them with their beady, red eyes. Patrick snarled at them and they dropped onto their haunches, howling a greeting at him.
He inclined his head toward both groups. “What do you want?”
The leader of the demon group, Nyram, stepped forward, but kept a respectful distance. “We’re here to congratulate you and your angel.”
The group of angels hissed. Nyram’s lips pulled into a feral grin as he continued. “Although the Angels Council deemed your union too dangerous and did everything it could to prevent you from finishing what you started, you and your angel made it.”
“Not yet,” one of the angels shouted. “We haven’t verified their union has been successful.”
Julian’s arms wrapped around Patrick’s waist, clinging with all his might. He shivered so hard it reverberated through Patrick’s body. But it wasn’t only his shiver, but that of—
Patrick gasped, the last walls the ties had built around his memory shattering into tiny crumbles, and he roared. The group of angels took hasty steps backward until they were pressed into the hedge surrounding Patrick’s property.
“You will not touch my angel. The union has been successful. He’s with my child.” An eerie silence stretched out after Patrick’s words. Taking in a deep breath, he said, “I remember now. After thousands of years there was the chance to mend the chasm between angels and demons because Julian had been born with the ability to receive a demon’s child. Not only that, but there was real love between us, a concept most of you angels don’t seem to get, what with you sitting on your high horses and looking down your nose at those who enjoy sex to have fun.”
One of the angels held up a fist and shouted, “Now all is lost. This child will destroy everything!”
Another angel grasped the fist and pulled it down. He seemed older, as he gazed with dark gray eyes from one to the other. The first angel rounded on him, yelling, “You have to kill this baby, Geldren! Now, before it’s too late.”
Geldren, the angel who had prevented their deaths twenty-three years ago. Geldren shook his head, a soft smile playing around his lips. “No. Angels do not kill. Never.”
“An angel pregnant with a demon’s child will give birth to a monster!”
“No, the prophecy said any successful union between an angel and demon will bring us a child that’ll unite all creatures in peace again. No more fights, just freedom and peace.”
“Everyone can love who they want without fear of repercussions or forced memory loss,” Nyram added.
Geldren gave a curt nod in Nyram’s direction, his gray eyes lighting with a shimmer of hope. Patrick murmured into Julian’s ear, “I think there’s a hidden story.”
“I guess so.”
Geldren straightened his shoulders and walked up to Nyram. The hell-hounds panted as they trudged toward the dark-haired half-demon and the fair-haired half-angel. They clasped hands and holy green light clashed with demonic red, causing Geldren and Nyram to suck in a breath. Through gritted teeth, Geldren said, “Come into our midst, so we can cast the protective spell and inaugurate you two as the parents of the child that’ll mend the chasm between light and dark.”
Julian flinched and rubbed a hand over his abdomen. Patrick cast a nervous glance to Nyram as he tucked Julian close to his side. Nyram called to Snarks, “Come here and supervise. You’ll see right away if something doesn’t go as it should and can call a stop to it.”
Snarks hurried over to Geldren and Nyram, where he rested his palms on their clasped hands. “It’s okay, you can come over.”
An annoyed huff from the complaining angel came first. He stormed toward Geldren and Nyram, inserting himself into the circle. “If we’re going to write history, I’ll be a part of it.”
Geldren raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. Soon all angels and demons stood in the circle, clasping hands and allowing their magic to flow freely. Awed expressions showed on their faces and gave Patrick the strength and trust to step into the middle with Julian.
Soft incantations interspersed with rough-sounding chants resounded around them, filled the air with crackling electricity and a sudden peace. Patrick cradled Julian’s head in his, pressing their lips firmly together when the incantations ended in a long-drawn moan.
“They look as if they’ve just shot their load,” Julian said in the following silence.
Patrick gazed around them, taking in the sight of the blissed out facial expressions and chuckled. “Maybe their love-sticks were in desperate need of some polishing.”
Patrick laughed, spread out his wings and pushed off the ground with a powerful thrust of his legs. Julian bounced after him, his white wings glittering silvery in the night’s sky. When he reached Patrick, he turned over on his back, so Patrick could roam his hands over his chest and along his belly. Patrick rested his hands there for a while, soaking up the heat that emanated from deep within Julian.
“Welcome, little one,” Patrick whispered.