Finn trailed his tongue from the base of his cock all the way up to the up to the tip, licking and nipping at the sensitive underside before enveloping the head in his supple mouth.
Finn rolled over on the pavement as he started to feel lightheaded. His eyes shifted restlessly in their sockets, watching as countless pedestrians stepped carelessly past his weakening form. They side-stepped, creeping around his huddled body as if he were vermin. He wanted to spit at them. He wanted to give them all something to really be afraid of.
He could feel his own blood soaking into his white downy wings as the feathers stuck to his skin. This wasn’t the first time he had been attacked, but it could well be the last.
His kind weren’t exactly accepted in society, but Finn wasn’t exactly the type of person who cared. It had been required for of his people to cover their wings in public so as not to cause a disturbance. You could always tell a Numen by his floor-length government issued overcoat – the simultaneous disguise and earmark of an oppressed race. But you could always tell Finn by the towering snowy wings he flaunted, covered in diaphanous gossamer feathers.
Finn had once donned the disguise. He had once held shame. But after the death of his parents at the hands of those fucking bigots… He wasn’t going to let himself die hiding what he was. Not like his family.
And now, he thought, it seemed that his boldness had bought him the same fate as his family.
A warmth crept up Finn’s body as he continued to spill blood from the jagged twin knife wounds marring the ivory skin of his abdomen. He shuddered as he closed his eyes, an almost undetectable masochistic smile staining his lips.
He felt a hand on his shoulder as he slipped from consciousness.
Eli crouched on the dark polished hardwood, observing the steady rise and fall of the man’s chest in his bed with a watchful eye, as if it would stop at any moment. His drab National Numina Suppression Department linen coat, whose sleeves were still spattered and smeared with blood, pooled on the floor around him. His noble features were clouded with worry as he carefully oversaw the other man’s well-being.
Suddenly, Eli saw the boy’s sable lashes flutter on his cheeks.
“You’re awake!” Eli beamed.
Eli had found the young man crumpled beaten and bloody on the street. The sight of the boy’s beautiful blood-soaked plumage was almost too much for his heart to take. He immediately checked for a pulse, his own heart quickening as he worked, pressing his fingers to the soft skin beneath the boy’s jaw. Though faint, he could feel a slow, steady thump of a heart beneath his touch. Eli carefully gathered the battered and neglected fledgling in his arms and laid him gently across the dark leather seats in the rear of his car.
He drove like a madman back to his apartment. He couldn’t have taken the boy to a hospital. Only a handful of hospitals and clinics in the entire country would give emergency treatment to a Numen, much less one who so blatantly defied the country’s laws regarding their race. The boy would just have to count himself lucky – a fortunate player in some divine game of chance – that the man who happened upon his broken body was one of the very few Numina to have received some medical training.
The boy was hauled up several flights of stairs by Eli. Passersby stared in shock and horror at the sullied wings the inert young man dared to bare in public as they rushed past in a blur. Once inside, Eli laid the unconscious angel back on his kitchen table and began a careful and swift examination and treatment of his wounds. Much to his relief, the lacerations were not very deep and seemed to have avoided all internal organs, but he had lost a lot of blood and was still bleeding. He would have to close the wounds and hope his body was in good enough condition to recuperate fully. Eli’s apartment wasn’t exactly equipped to give a man a blood transfusion, but stitches – that, he could do.
Eli made a mad dash for his supply closet and fetched his suture kit, gauze, and a bottle of rubbing alcohol large enough to disinfect an entire hospital wing. He snapped on his latex gloves and got to work, gently cleaning the wounds and applying a small number of carefully placed sutures. He deposited a few large pads of gauze on the raw flesh and began to wrap a thick, stretchy bandage around the young man’s waist. Eli took a step back to admire his quick handiwork.
The boy still looked rough, but really was a pretty one, even through the cuts and bruises. His soft and delicate features were frozen, nearly lifeless, on his ghostly pale face. His long dark lashes fanned out across his cheeks, as if attempting to hide the raw red road rash where the left side of his face had hit the pavement. His dark hair was of an unusual style, with the back and sides, up to his temples, shorn to less than an inch in length while top remained long enough to almost reach past his ears if he decided to comb it down rather than leave it natural and wild.
Smooth milk-white skin covered every inch of the body that was revealed to Eli, aside from his left arm. The thin limb was scattered with an assortment of colorful tattoos from shoulder to wrist, the largest of which being a sizable human heart wrapped in a banner on his upper arm. Eli leaned closer in an attempt to read the message written across the heart. Maybe something about a guy named Ben? The rest was incomprehensible as Eli failed to recognize the language. Though Eli didn’t usually go for the tattooed look, he had to admit the boy’s artwork was gorgeous – it suited him to a tee.
His massive white wings, still caked with dirt and blood, stretched the length of Eli’s table as his lithe body lay limp. Eli would have to clean those wings. But not tonight. When he wakes up.
‘If he wakes up,’ Eli mumbled then immediately admonished himself for his brief foray into pessimism.
“You’re awake!” Eli beamed.
He stood from his crouched position, his knees sore from staying static for so long. He stretched his legs and sat carefully on the edge of the bed near the boy’s feet.
He was definitely starting to stir. The boy’s eyes began to flicker apart before clamping shut again as his wings stretched out, the tips peeking out from beneath Eli’s white fluffy duvet. Slowly, his eyes opened wide, revealing one iris to be startlingly icy blue and the other a deep grassy green. Eli admired those eyes as they vaguely stared off into the distance. His soft yet dry lips parted as he inhaled deeply.
The young man groaned at the dull ache he suddenly felt in is stomach as he placed his hand where his bandaged wounds hid beneath the covers. As he looked down toward his stomach, he spotted Eli and his eyes widened even more. “Did I die?” he asked with an almost terrified look about him as he furrowed his brows.
Eli couldn’t help but chuckle, “No, of course not,” he said in his most comforting voice as he stroked the boy’s calf through his blanket. “You almost did, though. And you probably would have, if I hadn’t found you,” he added. Less comforting this time.
The boy began to look suspicious, “Who are you? Why are you helping me?”
“We’re not looking a gift horse in the mouth are we?” Eli said in a voice akin to motherly scorn. The younger man averted his eyes, slightly ashamed of how he had just phrased his questions. Eli just smiled back at him and patted his leg firmly, “I’m just kidding around with you. I saw so many people walk past you while you were hurt without even blinking an eye. I can understand why you would want to know what special interest anyone would have in your safety. I feel the same way sometimes. I’m Eli, by the way. Eli Byrne.”
“Finn Mosshart,” the boy mumbled, still trying to get his bearings on his situation. He had no idea where he was but he had to know why. That was the one thing that was plaguing his mind. Why would someone try to help him? “I really don’t want to sound inconsiderate, because I couldn’t tell you how much I appreciate your help, but I feel like I need to know why you decided to help me.” Finn looked directly into Eli’s eyes as he said this, his piercing gaze shaking him to the core. Eli stood, not saying a word, their eyes still fixed on one another as he removed his long overcoat – which Finn had failed to recognize as an NNSD coat – and white T-shirt. Eli’s fingers slowly and steadily went through the routine of unbuckling the straps that wrapped around his chest and waist, setting himself free in his home.
Eli stretched outward, his wings unfurling to their full glory. Though Finn and Eli were both Numina, they were so different from one another. Eli was probably a full head taller than Finn and held a greater degree of musculature, though he still was lean. His olive complexion suggested a hint of Greek or possibly Italian somewhere down the line. He was definitely handsome, with a wild quality that marked his aquiline features and his short brunette shock which seemed to be eternally mussed. And his wings…
“They’re beautiful,” Finn near-whispered as wonder filled his voice.
The tips of Eli’s wings twitched, stretching the width of the room as Finn’s gaze wandered across them. His wings were beautiful. They weren’t of the same pure white that Finn possessed, but were a warm ivory color that made you want to run your fingers through the softness you knew lay within. But they weren’t one solid color, no, that’s what truly gave them a striking appearance. Each pinion turned from rich ivory to a deep inky black which lined the edges of both wings.
“You think so? I’ve always liked them, but I feel like they somehow don’t suit me. I mean, they don’t even go with my hair,” he said, tugging a lock of his chestnut hair and smiling. “Not that I really need to worry about how they look when I wear these damnable things…” Eli kicked at the crumpled coat and black leather straps as he trailed off, his wings drooping slightly as thoughts of his restraint crossed his mind.
“Never seen… anything… like…” Finn was looking weak as his eyes suddenly rolled upward, as if his pupils had some more important business in the back of his skull. “Shit!” Eli exclaimed, running to they younger man’s side. He checked Finn’s pulse for the second time in two days and was relieved to not only feel his heart, but also feel his steady breath in a warm breeze across his bare chest as the boy turned his head toward Eli. “I should have gotten you food first thing, but I just had to keep blathering on. I’ll be right back, Finn,” he promised, as he tucked away one of many stray locks of wild dark hair.
Eli returned with a relative cornucopia of fruits, nuts, and vegetables as well as two glasses of wine, one carafe of milk and one of water. Eli gently roused the sleeping boy and placed the tray in his own lap as he sat, back against the headboard, next to Finn. Finn looked up at him weakly, then down at the abundance of food before him, bringing a spark to his beautiful and disparate eyes. He tried to sit up and push himself back in bed, but he was stopped by Eli’s hand on his shoulder. “Be careful, I had to put stitches on those wounds on your belly. Try not to strain them just yet,” Eli gently lifted his head and tucked a couple of extra pillows beneath his neck to give the boy a better dining position. “That better?” Eli asked. Finn just nodded, still eyeing the feast before him.
For the next two hours or so, Eli helped Finn regain his strength, slowly feeding him from a variety of berries and the other delicious morsels for which Finn’s hunger seemed near endless. As Finn’s health began to return, Eli passed on the duty of feeding to the boy, and resigned himself to sipping his wine and smiling as he watched young Finn as he overzealously ate his fill. He admired the smooth curve of Finn’s mouth as a single rosy droplet from a particularly juicy strawberry ran its course over the boy’s full bottom lip. Finn quickly picked up the cloth napkin on the tray and dabbed the juice away from his mouth. He glanced up at Eli who was intently staring at his face as he licked his own lips.
Finn recognized the look in his eyes and looked down toward the bedcovers, blushing softly. Something about this man made him uncharacteristically shy.
Eli immediately noticed the change in mood. ‘Good job, Eli, go ahead and scare the kid half to death,’ he thought. He quickly scrambled to replace the tension with conversation. “So, Finn, tell me about yourself.”
“Not much to tell,” Finn said quietly, twisting the duvet in his clenched fists.
“Well, ah, you got family? Friends? A mate maybe? You look awful young to be on your own.”
Finn flinched at his words, “No family. My parents were… they, uh, died a couple years ago. I don’t have many friends either. I only know two other Numina. I’ve been on my own since my parents. I know I look a lot younger than I am. I’m twenty. And no, I don’t have a… a mate,” Finn glanced up at Eli, wide-eyed, then stared back at his hands in his lap.
Eli sat quietly for a moment and nodded. “So, what were you doing out at night without your coat and straps? Not that I don’t admire your bravery, because I do. I hate those things more than you’d care to know, but you could have been killed. I mean, you nearly were…”
Finn looked up once more, this time holding his eye contact with Eli as his bright eyes burned and glistened with anger, “I won’t die like they did!” He said in a firm voice, not quite shouting. His eyes started to fill with tears, “How many of us do you think died wearing those straps- those fucking cages?” He paused, shaking his head, “My family did. I won’t be one of them.”
Eli, still sitting next to the now trembling Finn, was filled with such sorrow and longing for the broken and brave angel in his bed. He reached up, his warm hand caressing Finn’s tear-stained cheek, brushing his tears away from the still red scrape beneath his eye. Though he tried, he failed in resisting the urge to run his finger over the boy’s soft mouth. Finn trembled, his green eye and blue eye burning holes in Eli’s deep hazel gaze as he glanced up helplessly at the touch.
Finn bit his lower lip where Eli’s finger had just grazed as he noticed the already miniscule space between them close in. Eli leaned forward, placing a gentle closed-mouthed kiss on Finn’s beautiful lips. It was the softest of touches, but held the strongest of feelings.
It hit him like a lead weight as visions flew through Finn’s mind and he saw what this fleeting touch would bring into his life. It was an intoxicating feeling, like he was drunk from Eli’s touch – like he could never give it up. He quickly turned his head, shaking off the contact he held with Eli as the sensations got too intense.
“Eli… I…” Finn started, his fingers brushing his lips as if he had just let something slip past them that he could never get back. If only he knew…
“You saw that too?” Eli said, excitement creeping into his serene features.
“What just happened?”
Eli didn’t answer. He had to know if he was being deceived. He had to kiss those lips again. Could it be true?
Eli leaned in again in an attempt to claim Finn’s mouth once more. He was stopped, by Finn’s hand on his chest, pushing him back.
“No,” was all Finn could say as he looked down at the floor, trembling as if the room had suddenly grown cold.
“But don’t you want to see? I mean, if we’re really…”
“NO,” Finn said more firmly, his hand still keeping Eli at arm’s length, “I just… I don’t think I can do this… Not now.. I don’t know… I’ve never…”
“Of course you’ve never! I’ve never! This only happens once, Finn. And you don’t want to at least make sure?”
“Just give me time,” Finn said, his voice dropping to a whisper as the the luster drained from his eyes completely.
Eli didn’t say a word, crushed by Finn’s anxiety and trepidation, but he was capable of patience – he could could give him time. He stood and walked to his bedroom door. “The bathroom’s through that door over there,” he pointed to the small closed door near the bed, “when you decide to get cleaned up. I’ll be in my office down the hall if you need anything,” he spoke, his back turned to the apprehensive angel. The he went, leaving Finn to stew in though.
Finn had absolutely no idea what to do. He thought all this was just myth – a fairy tale told to nestlings. Eli couldn’t be his mate.
Finn awoke stiff, sore and in desperate need of a bath. And a cigarette.
He swept his hand down his body to the site of his discomfort and suddenly everything came rushing back to him. He pulled the covers back to see the blood-stained gauze wrapped around his stomach. He had been attacked – beaten, stabbed. He felt as if his chest was crushed in a vice as he remembered his assailant’s face, twisted and hateful as the blade glinted in the light of the street lamp. He recalled the feel of his own blood on his skin, warm and somehow comforting in his pain. Then he remembered waking, and the feeling of floating in a sea of fleecy white bedding. And seeing that face…
Finn was suddenly flooded with a torrent of emotions when he thought about Eli. He didn’t even know the man, but he had been so kind and so tender. But had he been brought here just so Eli could get his kicks? Eli had seemed just as shocked as Finn was at the phantasmagoria of fondness and devotion that flowed through their kiss, though. And the effects of that one kiss were still strong, maybe even stronger than they had been. All he had to do was think of that handsome gentle face and he was gone, like being drawn into an inescapable maelstrom.
Finn shook his head, as if the physical action could erase the memories like an Etch-A-Sketch. He had to distract himself. He couldn’t think clearly right now. Maybe whatever effects he was still feeling would start to fade soon.
He slowly sat up, being careful not to pull his stitches as he bent at the waist. He slung his legs over the side of the bed as he noticed for the first time during his stay in… wherever the hell he was, that he was still wearing his pants. They were more than a little dirty, stained with his own blood and general dirt and grime, but the fact soothed Finn’s agitated mind a bit. Maybe Eli had brought him here with genuinely honorable intentions after all.
He stumbled to his feet as he shuffled toward the door that had been indicated to him as the bathroom. The room was absolutely gargantuan – eggshell white ceramic tile stretched out before him and continued over the edge of the massive whirlpool bath opposite the door. After setting his eyes on that tub, Finn didn’t have to look at anything else. He crossed the room and sat on the edge of the deep square bathtub. Upon sitting, he noticed a lump in his back pocket. “Sweet lord,” Finn let out in a sigh of relief as he stood, extricating a pack of cigarettes and a lighter from the back pocket of his black denims.
Finn laid his wonderful guilty pleasure on the tiled lip as he filled the tub with piping hot water. He wiggled his jeans and underwear down his narrow hips as he stepped out of them and into the steaming bath. He practically had to swim across to the other side of the tub to rest in the large triangular seat in the corner. Finn settled into the seat, nestling back into his wings as he reached for a cigarette. He placed the long black coffin nail gently in the corner of his mouth as he lit and inhaled, immediately inundating him with sweet relief. The scent of tobacco and cloves filled the air as Finn soaked in the deep, near-scalding water. Things were looking up.
Finn was beginning to drift off into a comfortable sleep when a loud, high-pitched noise permeated the atmosphere he had created. His eyes snapped open and his brows jumped up to his hairline as he looked around for the source of the ear-piercing and clearly electronic sound. He extinguished his cigarette in the bath water and prepared to investigate. Before he could move a muscle, however, he heard the bedroom door open with a thump against the wall and a quick succession of footsteps. Then a knock on the bathroom door.