I only missed by half an inch, though! Its not so bad! I exclaimed. Even as I defended myself from the raving woman, I hid my bow and quiver behind my back. If I kept them in her sight, shed probably break them like she had last timed shed truly lost it over my missing a shot.
Not so bad?! Only half an inch?! The point isnt that you missed by a certain amount, its that you missed at all! Missing by half an inch is just as bad as missing by a mile! she yelled at me. I backed up a step or two as she loomed over me, breathing deeply and harshly like any person on the edge does. She was trying to keep from snapping further and killing me. I just knew she was.
But you used to tell me missing wasnt so bad if it was only by a little bit! I said.
I only ever said that so youd try harder to fix your aim! I thought if I tried urging you on, youd actually get better at this! But you havent! Youre the worst cupid I have ever laid eyes on! Actually, as far as Im concerned, you dont deserve to be angel, let alone an angel of love! she roared. As she screamed in my face she knocked my halo from above my head, causing me to squeak and fall to the ground.
Its not like I meant to! I shouted, trying still to defend myself. She was seriously scaring me now. She had to have gone some kind of crazy to go so far as to knock my halo off.
You never mean to! Thats no goddamn excuse! You dont have any idea how much trouble you cause others each time you miss! You dont realize the work it takes to fix your mess-ups! Each time you miss and hit the wrong person, you ruin two lives and two loves! Even after we fix them, theyre never the same as God intended them to be! Youre a life-ruiner! she shrieked, looming over me so much more now than before.
Im sorry, I barely whispered out, tears gathering in my eyes.
Sorry doesnt do anything! Sorry isnt good enough! If sorry solved everything, there would be no problems in the universe! she screamed down at me. I was trembling as I stared up at her with tear-filled eyes. I wasnt the type to cry normally, but right then a few of the tears fell free. I hadnt realized I was such a pain. I hadnt realized I was so much trouble. I hadnt realized I was such a stupid cupid.
Screaming at the boy certainly doesnt solve anything, either, came a voice. My eyes as well as my bosss eyes flew over to the direction the voice came from. There stood four of the most beautiful beings in Heaven: Michael, an archangel, Azrael, the top cupid, Gabriel, the top archangel, and Toriel, the only dark cupid ever. They had undoubtedly been sent down to deal with the stupid cupid that had made his hundredth missed shot.
Sirs, I was just my boss started to say, but she was cut off.
Losing the love youre sworn to have for all, especially those that need it, Toriel supplied flatly. He didnt look happy. Not that the others looked happy, but he actually looked upset.
Ill leave now, my boss said softly after a silence. She left the room swiftly, and I stared after her. No pat on the head like she normally gave me when leaving. Did she really hate me now? Was I so bad a cupid I caused people to hate, rather than love?
Its Zexsiel, isnt it? came a soft question. I turned my eyes forward and found Azrael crouching down in front of me with a questioning smile on his face.
I said slowly. I took this moment to quickly wipe at my eyes. I didnt know if I was crying or not, but I wasnt going to take a chance. The last thing I needed was for four of the greatest names in Heaven to see me crying just because my boss had gone slightly psycho on me.
You know who we are, right? he asked, the smile less questioning and more friendly now. What was I, five? He was acting like I was a baby. If I didnt feel I was in so much trouble and if he wasnt the top cupid, I mightve gotten him for acting like I was a little kid.
Yeah, I said again, this time with much less hesitation. Now that I thought about it, if he was treating me like a little kid, maybe Id only get punished like one. Perhaps my head wouldnt be had after all.
Good, good. Now, Zexsiel, can you tell me why you want to be a cupid? he asked, still smiling and talking kindly. I threw a quick glance at the other three. Toriel looked like he was trying not to roll his eyes. I was willing to bet that he wouldnt be so easy on me, if he got a word in edgewise.
I looked back at Azrael now, tilting my head up proudly as I spoke. Because I want to spread the joy of love to everyone, I declared with pride. There was silence as Azrael just sat there, still smiling at me. He was waiting for me to give my real reason. Crap. After a few minutes I looked away, an embarrassed blush coming to my face. Because my dads a cupid, I mumbled lowly. No pride this time around.
So youre just doing this cause of daddy, huh? You dont care to spread the love? Toriel shot.
I do! I exclaimed, looking over at him, Thats just not my main reason
I added as I looked away again. Azrael reached out and grabbed my chin, turning my head so that I had to look at him.
Its fantastic that you want to be like your father, Zexsiel, but to be a good cupid your main reason has got to be that you want to spread the love. Even though you do want that now, if its not your main reason then your shots are less effective. Even being only second reason can cause your shots to go awry in the way that yours do, he said very softly. He still had that all too kind smile on his face, and I was kind of wishing hed just get mad at me and yell like everybody else.
I stared at him for a moment, wondering what would happen next. He didnt seem to be about to say anything more, but I didnt know what he expected me to say in reply. Maybe I should just ask what I was wondering?
Hey, stupid, you home or what? Anything going on in that head of yours? called out Toriel. I torn my eyes away and looked at him now. Seriously, what were they expecting me to say? Did they want me to resign or say Id try harder or what?
Toriel, be nice. Hes confused, and maybe even scared, Gabriel said flatly, narrowing his eyes at the dark cupid.
Bah. Hes a bloody child. He shouldnt be a cupid at all. The age limit used to be higher. The fact that we lowered it is why theres so much havoc in the realm of love nowadays, Toriel said, waving off Gabriels glare carelessly.
Im not a child! I blurted out without thinking. All eyes were on me now, and a smirk was on Toriels face.
If you arent a child, then theres no need for you to be offended by me calling you one. An adult wouldnt care what was said about him, he said smugly. I scowled a little now, knowing he was probably right, but still in denial of my being a child.
Toriel, knock it off. The only one being childish here is you, picking fights with a fourteen-year-old, Michael snapped.
Azrael suddenly grabbed my by the hand, standing up and pulling me to my feet as he did. Well, anyways, the way in which were going to deal with this is simple. Zexsiel, youll be put on the Advanced Archery Ardency Team, he said, patting my head and pulling me to his side.
The AAA? Michael asked with surprise.
Are you nuts? He isnt anywhere near their capability! Why the Hell are you putting him with them? Toriel asked.
If hes on the team, it will be easier for us to work with him personally. Besides, Ive found it helps sometimes to put someone with lesser skills amongst the best of their generation. It inspires them and helps with their want to spread the love, Azrael explained as kindly as possible, trying hard not to insult me.
Lesser skills is an understatement here, Azrael. And the others on the team will give him Hell of six different kinds, Toriel said flatly.
I highly doubt theyll be cruel to him, Toriel. Though you probably do rub off some of your bad habits on them, they know better than to be mean to their peers. Theyre the best young angels of love, after all, Gabriel said just as flatly.
Theyre teenagers, Gabriel. Not to mention they worked hard to get on that team, and hes getting put on it because hes the worst, not among the best. Theyll eat him alive, Toriel countered. I was suddenly feeling very nervous about this. Though I had seen them from afar, Id never met any of the AAA Team. Id never even heard anything about their personalities, really. This was my first take on them, and I didnt like the sound of it.
Only if you say things like that in front of them. If you dont goad them into it, theyll be respectful and proper, Azrael said.
Like Im going to watch my mouth just because kids will be kids if I dont, Toriel said, speaking more to himself than to Azrael.
You should watch your mouth anyways. You may be dark, but youre still an angel nonetheless, Michael said. This conversation continued on for several more minutes, shooting back an forth. Finally, though, Azrael took me off, and Toriel naturally followed quickly. Gabriel and Michael didnt come, probably because they had more important things to tend to. I was the problem of the top two cupids now.
I fidgeted nervously, switching between playing with the sash and crossing my arms in front of my lower half to provide more cover. I didnt like this. Id almost rather quit being a cupid than do this. But that wasnt really an option, since I doubted Azrael would just up and let me quit. He seemed like the type to force me to stay and work through this. The only way Id be allowed to quit is if I had a nervous breakdown, which I wasnt fortunate enough to be near yet.
Why am I wearing this again? I whimpered weakly. Azrael and Toriel looked up at me, the latter of the two smirking deviously.
Its the classic cupid wear. I used to wear that myself, you know. Toriel wore one as well, Azrael said.
the cupid wear has been modified a lot
.so why am I wearing this? I said.
Because youre bottom of the pyramid, kid. On the Advanced Archery Ardency Team, according to your ranking you wear a certain cupid uniform. The higher up you are, the more modified a version you get. Youre the worst, so you get the good ol classic look, Toriel said. He was truly enjoying this, unlike me.
But wont it, like
I said weakly, not quite able to get the words out. This was painfully embarrassing. Just a floating sash, my quiver, and my bow. Nothing more, nothing less.
Its enchanted, Zexsiel. It wont reveal you, so dont worry, Azrael said with a slightly amused smile. Even he found my embarrassment slightly entertaining.
But what if I snag it on something? It wont rip off or anything, right? I asked. I pulled the sash tighter around me to try to get it to stick to my skin, but it automatically pulled away from my body after I let go. Why couldnt it stick on me instead of float around me? Damnit.
It shouldnt. But, on the off chance that it does, please call me so I can come be shocked and amazed, Toriel said, still smirking.
As far as I know, there have been very few incidents where cupids accidentally lost their sash or where somebody ripped it off, Azrael said.
But it has happened? I asked, absolutely mortified now. I did not have the best of luck, obviously. I just knew I was going to lose my sash at least once.
Dont worry. If something like that happens, just cover yourself with your quiver. Azrael did that back in the day when I ripped his off, Toriel said with a laugh. Azrael threw him a glare for a moment before looking back at me with a smile.
You dont need to be so nervous, Zexsiel. Nothing is going to happen, so please calm down. Youll be just fine. I wont let anything bad happen to you, he said kindly. He was trying so hard to keep me calm, but it just wouldnt work. I had no reason not to be a ball of wrecked and wracked nerves.
Alright, the paperwork is done. Lets go meet the rest of the team, shall we? Azrael said suddenly, standing up from his chair now. He came around his desk as Toriel stood up as well, and they both headed for the door. I, however, stood there stiffly. I hadnt walked a single step since Id changed into my new uniform. I had the great fear that my sash would suddenly go flying off if I moved too much.
Kid, move it, Toriel called back to me, being the first to notice I wasnt moving. I didnt move and inch. Now both of them stopped and looked back at me silently. The more they stared at me, the more the realized why I wasnt followingI could tell that because slight amusement was coming to their faces again. They thought it was funny I was acting like this over something that had been the standard uniform back when they were young cupids.
Zexsiel, if you dont come on your own, Toriel is going to have to carry you. If he does that, his hands are going to be beyond the sash, Azrael said lightly. Despite myself, I actually had to think on that one for a moment. When Toriel took a step in my direction, though, I jumped to it real quick and walked over to them. With smiles still on their faces, we left their office.
I stood now in front of the AAA team, quiver and bow hung across my back properly for once, one hand tugging nervously at my sash and the other at my mouth as I chewed on my finger anxiously. Neither Azrael or Toriel had said my purpose for being here yet, but I could tell the group had already guessed. They were six in all, and true to Toriels words, they were all wearing different versions of the cupids uniform as it had been modified over time.
If I hadnt already known the advancement of the uniforms depended on skill level, Id have guessed it depended on age instead. It was only natural that the older ones would be more advanced, of course, so it wasnt really a surprise that the youngest looking wore the oldest uniform and the oldest looking wore the newest uniform. And I, now the youngest in the group and the weakest in skill, wore the oldest uniform of them all.
As the silence seemed to stretch on into eternity, Toriel suddenly tugged at my sash, grabbed my ass, and smirked. I let out an undignified yelp, my hand flew my mouth to keep anything else from coming out, and a burning blush came to my face. Toriel, goddamnit! Azrael roared, grabbing me and pulling me to him for protection.
You really shouldnt take the Lords name in vain, Toriel said, still smirking.
Im going to take you in vain in a second if you dont behave yourself! Azrael growled threateningly. As I huddled closely to Azrael for safety, I threw a glance at the other AAA team members. They all had amusement in their eyes, but the rest of their expressions remained stoic. Of all the ways to start my time with this team off, this had to be the worst.
Is that a promise? Toriel asked smartly.
Can we just skip all the hassle and annoyance and I resign from being a cupid? I mumbled lowly to Azrael. I didnt know where the words came from, except that they came out of my mouth. Azrael and Toriel both looked at me now.
Congratulations, Toriel. Youve made him want to quit. I hope youre happy with yourself, Azrael said, shooting the dark cupid another glare. He really would let me quit? Wow, had I ever misjudged him.
Hey, hey, hey, kid, dont be so hasty. If all it takes to make you quit is an ass-grab, its no wonder you suck so much, Toriel said, putting his hands up in surrender to Azraels glare.
It doesnt take an ass-grab, it takes you, I said without thinking. Shocked looks on everyones part now, including my own. Nobody had expected that comment.
Gutsy, arent we? Is this your defensive? Insults and calling it quits? Toriel challenged me, a smirk coming to his face. Quite stupidly, I accepted that challenge head-on.
No, this is my common sense, and it doesnt include insults. I dont need to sink down to that levelunlike you, I dont feel the need to deal with things with immortal immaturity. If youre taking offense to it, thats your own problem, because no offense is intended, I said, giving him a dark look as I pulled away from Azrael just slightly.
Ouch. Youre a vicious little one. I have immortal immaturity, you say? And thats not meant to be offensive? You must have skewed views to think that can be said in a non-offensive manner, let alone to think that the manner youre speaking in isnt supposed to be an attack, Toriel said. He was enjoying this entirely too much. Youd think hed get mad that a pathetic sap like me would dare talk down to him.
No more skewed than the views of a dark cupid, Id assume, I shot back quickly, sticking my nose in the air. All at once, Toriel and Azrael both threw their heads back and laughed loudly. Now confusion took my face as well as the faces of the other AAA team members. What was so funny?
Real cute, kid. Youve definitely got some confidence, now we just need to give you that same confidence when youre taking your aim with love on your mind, Toriel said, smiling smugly down at me before sharing that smile with Azrael. I stared up at them for a moment, digesting his words. That had all just been a ploy to test me!?
That was very bold of you, Zexsiel. Not even any of your new teammates here would have dared to talk to Toriel in such a way, back when they only first joined the team. Speaking of your teammates, its about time introductions are made, Azrael said, patting my head as he smiled down at me.
Automatically, the youngest of the group stepped forward. My name is Opael, he said, bowing to me. He kept his one visible eye on me, the other hidden by a sharply cut lock of dark green bangs, even as he bowed. He stood again after a moment, stepping back into line.
The next in age and likewise next in skill stepped forward now. My name is Chael, he said, bowing much more lowly than the first one had. There was a slightly pompous smile on his face, hidden only for two seconds, once when his long, pale purple hair slid forward over his shoulders and once when it slid back behind him again. He paused for a moment after straightening up, but then stepped back into line again.
The next stepped forward, sizing me up before he moved to bow. My name is Triel, he said, bowing such an exaggerated bow that his head nearly touched the ground. When he stood back up he tossed his pink-and-blue-streaked hair about, quite obviously showing off. After sizing me up a second time, he stepped back into line.
The next stepped forward and went to bow without hesitation. My name is Lallael, he said, bowing stiffly. He straightened up and stepped back into line right away, brushing some of his ebony hair out of his face only once he had taken his place back in line.
The next one and last male one stepped forward, sizing me up in a much more expressive way than Triel had. My name is Sariel, he purred, winking at me before he bowed. As he stood up he winked again, this time with the other eye, and flashed me a smile. He didnt step back into line until the others cleared their throats as a subtle hint for him to snap to attention. He ran a hand through his orange-and-black-striped hair as he stepped back into line, still giving me that smile.
The final member of the team, both the only female and the best of them all, stepped forward now. My name is Misael, she said, bowing a sweeping bow. She bowed and straightened up all in one fluid motion, and I couldnt help but gap a little as she stepped back into line. That had been a hell of a bow. Id seen even adults that hadnt mastered bowing so beautifully.
Realizing it was my turn to introduce myself in return, I stepped forward to them. Instead of doing multiple bows as would have been customary, I bowed only once and, in just as fluid a motion as Misael had moved, I swung my body from only the waist up along the line of them and stood up again, tossing my hair back over my shoulder. There was a smug look on my face as I met all of their eyes, giving them each their own second-long glance. Toriel and Azrael were right, I did have a lot of confidence, so long as it didnt come to my skills as a cupid. And, improper as my bow might have been, I knew Id shown them all up. My name is Zexsiel, I said in a deep, warm voice. Take that, bitches.
Before I could fully enjoy my showing off to them and showing up of them, Toriel grabbed me by the hair on the back of my head and yanked me over to him. All of my better-than-you-attitude was lost as I let out a yelp and all but fell back into the older angel. Whatre you doing?! I exclaimed, instantly going to pull away but finding that painfully impossible with him holding my hair.
I just remembered! Your halo! Youre no angel without a halo! Toriel declared. Horror took my face. I had totally forgotten about my halo after my boss had smacked it off. It was still back at the office! Or, so I thought, until the dark cupid suddenly dangled my halo before my eyes.
Its broken! I shrieked with absolute devastation now replacing my much more mild horror. On one side it was ripped and on the other side it was dented in. This was far worse than merely losing my halo. I had it, but it was ruined. A halo was an angels most important thingeven more so than their wings! To lose ones pride and joy was bad, the break ones pride and joy was awful, but to allow someone else to break your pride and joy was just horrid.
Hm? Oh, well Ill be, it is broken, Toriel said, looking at my halo with slight surprise. He hadnt even noticed until now?!
Oh my GOD! Its broken! I wailed and sobbed at the same. I grabbed at my fallen open jaw and bit my fingers, half trying to stifle myself and half trying to convince myself that this was a dream and that if I hurt myself enough Id wake up. No dice. I collapsed to my knees, absolutely losing my head now.
No worries! Calm down! I can fix this! Toriel declared. I stared up at him with tears and apprehension in my eyes. Could he really fix it? If he could, I didnt care how much of an asshole he was, I would bow down and kiss his feet.
This wont turn out well, Azrael whispered to himself as Toriel turned around and hunched over my halo, fixing it beyond the sight of the rest of us. After a few tense moments of work, he spun back around and held my halo up in triumph.
Voila! One fixed halo! he declared, showing it around the group before holding it out to me. As he held out to me the fixed halo, weak laughter that held signs of insanity and the tears that had been threatening to fall escaped me.
Its bent beyond repair now
. And is that tape holding the ripped parts together? Its dead
. Its dead
My halo is dead
I whispered with soft whimpers as I stared at what used to be my most beautiful halo.
What do you mean I killed it? I made it heart-shaped! Only the best cupids get heart shaped halos. In case you hadnt noticed, your teammates all have heart-shaped halos, just like Azrael and me, Toriel said, sounding a bit offended by my accusations. Now I snapped to a new level of mind-loss, this level being pissed.
I snatched my halo away and jumped up, shooting Toriel a glare of death even as tears still streamed down my face. All of your fucking halos were made to be heart-shaped! They werent tormented and tortured into being that way, you stupid bastard! What the Hell is wrong with you?! What kind of stupid motherfucker makes a round halo into a heart-shaped one?! Are you trying to be an asshole, or are you naturally this fucked up in the head?! I screamed.
Everyone looked taken aback now. They hadnt expected that reaction. I swear, if this was just another test to see how far I dared to go, I was going to stuff all of their stupid halos down their throats. Calm down, kid. I can fix it. Ill just bend it ba Toriel said, slowly reaching for my halo. I jerked around, holding my halo far from his reach, but never taking my eyes narrowed in a death glare off of him.
Youre not going to do anything! Youre not touching my halo anymore, you idiotic asshole! I dont need you to ruin it more than you already have! Youre nothing but bad karma! Keep your hands to yourself! I snarled viciously. I no longer was willing to trust this guy in the least. Now I could see why he was the one and only dark cupid. He was a friggin psychotic jerkoff. It was probably only his talent with a bow and arrow that even kept him the job of cupid.
Zexsiel, calm down, please. Toriel really didnt mean to upset you or hurt your halo. He just wasnt thinking, Azrael said in a weak attempt to calm me down. He reached for me, moving his hands in a calm down gesture as though that would make me any less pissed.
I have doubts that he ever thinks. Im not freaking putting up with him. I dont care who the Hell he is. This is all bloody insane. This stupid uniform, him not knowing to keep his hands to himself, my halo being murderedall of it is insane! If this is what it takes to be a stupid cupid, Im not going to be one ever! Screw this and screw you, Toriel! I exclaimed. I turned around fully now and went to storm off, but I found a very pissed looking Misael in my face, blocking my movement.
What in Gods good name do you think youre doing?! You have a little trouble, so you think you can just tell off the top cupids and quit?! What kind of cupid are you, acting like this!? You can get your halo replaced! You can get your uniform altered! You can get your personal space back! You can learn to be one of the greatest cupids! But you cant quit if you ever expect to get any of that done! she shouted furiously.
Maybe I dont want to get any of that done! Maybe I dont want to be a cupid! Whats it to you anyways?! I shouted back. I wasnt about to back down just because the teachers pet was mad that Id told them off.
I just hate seeing cupids be stupid and quit for no good reason! Youre wasting the power of love if you quit! You should know not everyone has the power to bring love to others! If you quit now, youre wasting the gift God gave you! she shouted, sounding less furious and more merely annoyed now.
In case you hadnt noticed, the power to bring love to others isnt one God gave me! Im a screw up, so screw off! If I dont want to be a cupid, itll never work out! So get out of my face! I shouted, still sounding very much pissed off. Surprisingly, she did get out of my face. She pulled back slowly, breathing deeply as she tried to calm herself, her eyes slowly widening from their glare as realization came to her. I wasnt cupid material, and I didnt want to be a cupid, not really.
Youre a waste, she said softly, sounding more upset with that fact than with me.
I know, I responded flatly. I then moved off, shouldering her as I moved by her. Id lost some of my steam from yelling at her, so it was more of a seething stalking than a pissed storming. The farther I stalked away from the AAA team, the farther I stalked away from my job as a cupid, and the father I stalked away from my job as a cupid, the farther I stalked away from the only plans I had ever had for my life.
Being a cupid was all I had ever dreamed of or thought about. Even if I had never been good at it, its all I had ever done. My entire life, the only thing Id ever known was that my father was a cupid and that I was going to become one just to be like him. My own goals had always been his goals; never had my own goals really been my goals. And suddenly those goals were lost to me, and there was nothing to take their place.
Before I knew it, I had nothing for me. No goals. No job. No life. Being a cupid had been everything to me, and now that my everything was gone, I had nothing at all for me. This realization, as it slowly settled in on me, was horrible. What was more horrible than that, though, was the thought of what my father would do when he learned about all of this.
As bad a cupid as I had been, he had always said he was proud of me for continuing to try so hard to be something just because I wanted to be that, not because it was expected or required. Now, though
Id quit. He had no reason to be proud, but every reason to be disappointed. I hadnt merely failedId been failing all along, reallybut I had now given up. That was totally different, and much worse. I wasnt just his son, the failure now. I was his son, the quitter.
By the time all of this had truly settled in and gripped my mind, I had gone home and changed out of that pathetic excuse for a uniform. I dropped the sash on the floor, along with my bow, quiver of arrows, and my halo. All of those things held the image of me as a cupid within them. I was no longer a cupid, though, and thusly I would no longer use or wear those things.
The only one I really needed now was the halo, and that had to be replaced by a new one. Not only was it broken, but it was red. It was the red that only a cupids halo would be. And I wasnt a cupid anymore, so I could not wear that halo even if it werent ruined. A crippling feeling came now as I stared down at the abandoned items. I was fully covered, but I somehow felt more bare and naked now than I had when Id been wearing the things piled on the floor. They didnt provide much physical coverage, but they had provided a coverage that was my identity. Not anymore, though. Never again would my identity be held in those items.
I glanced towards my bedroom door, knowing just on the other side my parents probably were waiting with worry for me to come out. The second I walked out that door, they would ask me what was wrong. Then they would notice my lack of bow, my lack of arrow, and my lack of cupid-red halo. And then they would realize their son was both a failure and a quitter. And then they would realize there son was no good as a cupid, and no good as an angel.
I shuddered as I tried to suppress more tears. No luck with that. As I looked back down at the pile on the floor, fresh tears began to fall. I wasnt ready for them to know yet. I wasnt ready for them to see me like thisidentitylessyet. But I didnt want to stay here, knowing they were on the other side of the door, and knowing that my previous identity lay on the floor at my feet.
Within moments I was out my bedroom window, and within minutes I was out of Heavens Gates, on my way to Earth. It was against the rules to leave when not on a job assignment or without a pass signed by one of the archangels, but I knew a small place to sneak out, and I really needed to be out of Heaven for a little while. Besides, its not like it would hurt to be out for just a little while. Id been to Earth countless times, so I knew the whole deal about how to be down there without endangering myself or anyone else.
I sat very still amongst the rose bushes, watching a couple watch the setting sun lower down on the hillside I was on. It might have been minutes since Id left Heaven, or it might have been hours, or it might even have been days. I wasnt too good at calculating the change from Heavens time to Earths time. Hell, it might have even been weeks without me having noticed. This might have been the first sunset Id seen since coming down here, or it might have been the seventh. I didnt know. I wasnt paying attention at all anymore.
The girl leaned over to the guy she was withher boyfriend, I would assumeand leaned her head on his shoulder just slightly. He either didnt notice, or he wanted to pretend he didnt. He was either oblivious or nervous. She wanted him to wrap his arm around her, I could tell. She was longing for his embrace. She was longing for his love.
I ran my hands along my pants pockets lightly, never taking my eyes from the couple. I still had my compact crossbow and a few love bolts. I was uphill from them and behind them. The sun was setting in front of us, so it made them a perfect silhouette amongst the rest of the world. I could probably hit him. Even on the off chance that they were already lovebirds, the bolt would put him in a more lovey-dovey mood, and hed put his arm around her like she wanted. All it would take is a single, quick shot.
Its illegal for anyone but a cupid to dabble in the makings of love. If you shoot him, youll be in big trouble, whispered a soft voice from behind me. I froze, my hands halting their thoughtful fingering of the crossbow and bolts in my pocket. I hadnt been paying attention, so of course he would be able to sneak up on me. Yes, I recognized him without even turning to look at him, though wed only met briefly once.
They need a little love. I cant help the urge. Anyone who would look at this would want to give the guy a little push, I said softly, my hand falling away from my pocket now.
Wrong. Any cupid who would look at this would want to give the guy a little push, because only a cupid would be able to tell how much he needs one and how much she wants him to hold her, he said just as softly. He moved around to my side now and sat down, and I couldnt help but slide him a look out of the corner of my eyes.
I was a cupid before, so its only natural Id notice such things, I said flatly.
Youre still a cupid. You quit verbally, but the paperwork hasnt been done yet. And even if you had done the paperwork, youd still be a cupid at heart, Zexsiel, he said, giving off a smile that wasnt quite smug. He slid neon green eyes to me, watching me for a reaction. He didnt have to look closely, though. My reaction was nice and loud.
Youre an idiot, Sariel. You dont know anything about what I am. And what was with that last line? Still a cupid at heart? Thats so freaking cliché, and such a stupid pun. Seriously, if youre trying to impart words of wisdom, dont. You may be a good cupidHell, you may be a great cupid even!but you cant make me into one. No matter how great you are, you cant turn the bad into the good if it isnt your own badness that youre working with, I said sharply.
Im not trying to impart words of wisdom. Im just trying to let you know that your options are still open, he said, looking away at the couple now.
They may be open on paper, but they arent open in actuality. Im not a cupid. I cant ever be a cupid. Not like a cupid is supposed to be. Im not meant to make others fall in love, I said, looking at the couple again as well.
That doesnt mean youre not a cupid. You could be special division, he said.
I didnt respond at first, trying to think of a good way to tell him to fuck off. That last statement got me, though. Id never heard of the special division. He could possibly be pulling my leg about that, but I just had to ask. Special division? Whats that? I asked in the most nonchalant way possible, fighting the urge to slide my eyes his way again.
Special division is the cupids that protect and prolong love, rather than create it, Sariel said.
Hows that work? I asked, looking at him now. It was a stupid sounding question, but really it was me asking for more details. When he phrased it that way, I recalled my father mentioning it once or twice before, but hed never really gone into it.
Now that I was looking back at him, he looked back at me. Special division cupids are cupids who werent so good at making people fall in love, but still wanted very much to help in the affairs of the heart. They deal with problems when two people have been made to fall in love begin to have trouble. Its their job to help work out the problem as best they can, whether they must work to keep the love going or end it before it grows sour, he explained. As he spoke there came into his eyes a deep feeling that I couldnt place, that darkened them from neon to a darker shade of green.
.like a very nice job
I said slowly, looking down now.
Its not always a nice job, but its better than outright quitting being a cupid just because you cant create love so well, he said. He glanced away now, the dark feeling leaving his eyes. Only now that he looked away did I dare raise my own eyes back up to him.
I couldnt end love, even at the risk of it turning bad, I whispered softly. He smiled knowingly, as though he had expected me to say that.
Not all love ends badly. Sometimes its just time to let an old love go and find a new one. It takes a long time for our systems to pair up souls, and sometimes it never actually does until its too late. In the meantime, though, before we can find their soulmates, people still are in need of love. And so, though only temporarily, we put people in love that dont really go together, just because thats what they need for the time being, he explained softly.
Because its not a love that is meant to be, though, it wears off after awhilesometimes slowly, sometimes quicklybut it does eventually wear off if it is not true love. The special division cupids are there to end those temporary loves before they come to a point where they damage the true love waiting to happen. If they didnt end those temporary loves before they ended themselves, there would never be any true love in the world, he went on casually.
Not all angels are meant to be angels of love, but the ones who are truly can feel that they are meant to be a cupid, he finished, sliding his eyes to me once more. I knew the next thing he wanted to say but would not: Can you feel it, Zexsiel? Can you feel that you are meant to be a cupid? Can you feel that love is your destiny?
I can, I whispered softly, my eyes locking onto his. Then I felt a little sting in my left shoulder blade, followed shortly by a blush rising to my face. I noticed him flinch before a blush came to his face as well. Shock overcame me. There was no way
We both looked down our backs, and we both saw the heart-tipped arrows moments before they faded into dust. Wed been shot!
Now we both looked around quickly, and our eyes locked in on a very smug looking Toriel. Only the dark cupid can mess with the affairs of love when it comes to non-mortal beings. Thats why there is even a dark cupid at all. God created him and him alone to allow love to come to those that the regular cupid had no power over, I whispered. I looked back at Sariel to find his eyes already back on me.
Im training to be a dark cupid, not just a regular cupid, he stated flatly. Another wave of shock.
If youre his pupil specifically, you know all of his assignments, I whispered. A very seductive look came over Sariels face now, and a smile not smug but something else worrisome was included with the look. My blush went to full force. Holy crap. Keep away from me, you
you stupid cupid! I exclaimed, crawling backwards away from him.
Dont be like that, Zexsiel. Were a perfect match, you know. Both cupids, around the same age, around the same height and build
he purred, crawling towards me faster than I could crawl away.
Both boys! I exclaimed in a panicked way.
You know that love has no boundaries, and I know youve done same sex couples before. Thats just an excuse, and we both know that, he purred, pouncing forward suddenly and pinning me down.
I dont want a temporary love! I dont need one to tide me over until the true one! I exclaimed.
His smile grew more now as he leaned down into my face. He waited a moment before responding, allowing his weight and body to carefully settle on me. This isnt a temporary love, Zexsiel. Only humans have temporary loves. Angels, demons, and all other beings
when were in love, its only true love, he whispered, entwining his fingers with mine as he spoke.
did our match
come through the system? I asked.
Just this morning. Thats why Gabriel and Michael were there today when Toriel and Azrael went to fetch you. They wanted to assess you and see with their own eyes that you were the right one for my match. They cant put the second dark cupid ever to exist with just anybody, you know, he purred, his eyes dancing with delight.
.if thats why they came
.they shouldve seen I wasnt right for your m-match, I whimpered pathetically.
Dont be silly, Zexsiel. Youre perfect for me, and Im perfect for you. A little love is just what you need to inspire you to become a better cupid, and a little love is just what I need to keep me content when Im shooting everyone else full of love, Sariel murmured, his lips all but against mine now.
The closer his lips came to mine, the more my panic was replaced with embarrassment and shyness. This was love at work. Whether I thought this was the best of ideas or not, Id been shot, and Id been made to fall in love. As my resistance slowly faded, my eyes slowly closed. And then we were kissing, and I was gripping his hands in the same loving way he was gripping mine, and I was in love with him, and he was in love with me, and it didnt matter that it only happened because that jerkoff Toriel had made it happen.
My mind spiraled not only from this sudden, new love, but from all of the different kinds of love Id seen before. Special division cupids werent needed for loves like thistrue lovebut they were needed for the other kinds of love. I couldnt for the life of me create a love of this sort, but I could create temporary love, and I wanted to protect the kind of love that I knew I could make. It would be a waste and rather cruel of me to be selfish and accept this love, without using my powers to protect the loves that werent strong enough to protect themselves.
The kiss was broken and so were my thoughts. I opened my eyes rather unwillingly, staring up at Sariel as I tried to figure out why hed stopped. He was smiling that wonderful smile of his, though, so I couldnt be mad at him. So, what do you say? he asked softly.
I love you? I asked, unsure of what he meant. He laughed softly, shaking his head.
Im glad to hear that, but I meant about being and staying a cupid, he said.
.yeah, sure, whatever, I said, trying not to frown. Was he really interrupting our newly made love over that? Damn him for being so stupid. And damn his smile that made me unable to hit him for being so stupid.
Well then, we need to go through the paperwork to transfer you, and we need to talk to Azrael and Toriel, and you need to apologize for Misael for shouting at her, and we need to get you a new halo, and he started listing off our To-Do list, but I cut him off.
Right. Well do all of that. Later. Right now, kiss me, or I swear Ill stop loving you right now, I growled with frustration, forcing a half-assed glare onto my face.
You cant do that, he stated flatly, arching an eyebrow.
I can try! I exclaimed. He smirked and then smiled and then claimed my lips in another kiss. The bastard was arrogant, just because he was the second best cupid of our generation and just because he was going to be the second ever dark cupid to exist. For somebody who was only second place in both instances, he sure was cocky. The stupid bastard. The stupid cupid. If I didnt already love him, Id probably hate him.
He broke off the kiss again suddenly, and my just-closed eyes opened again. Now I was frowning. What did he have to say this time that couldnt wait!? I almost forgot to say: I love you too, he said. I rolled my eyes and pulled him back down to resume the kiss. Just one last time, I really must say, I was a bad cupid, but he was just a plain stupid cupid.