It’s the first Monday in May, which means it’s flash picture time. I have to say, these and the song flash fiction posts—while probably the hardest and most time consuming—are my favorite. Now, they wouldn’t be quite so in depth if I could learn to just write a short bit. But, we all know that’s just not me. And the reality is…I don’t care that it’s a flash fiction. I’m not going to compromise what’s in my head because it’s not necessarily part of a book, lol. Though this one…
Anyway, here’s the photo…
So, I wasn’t sure what to do, then damn it, what popped into my head was another scene between Kei and Gabriel. My fire mage and accidentally summoned angel. And since I’ve left this to Sunday yet again, I’m going with it. If you want to read the first bit, you can find it at this post… Key and Gabriel part 1. It’s not required, but some folks don’t like starting anywhere but the beginning. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy…
“Oh for fuck’s sake, Gabriel. Don’t stand near the damn lamplight. We’re in the middle of town. Do you want everyone to see you?”
Gabriel glared at the man standing off to his right. Kei. A fire mage, or so he claimed. Gabe still wasn’t convinced the guy wasn’t a demon posing as something less evil. Less dark. Not that it mattered. Most of the sorcerers he’d met walked a fine line when it came to moral fortitude, usually straying into the shadows rather than staying in the light. And Gabe wasn’t getting his hopes up that Kei was any different.
Gabriel crossed his arms on his chest. “Unlike you, Mage, I don’t make a habit of skulking in the dark.”
Kei cocked an eyebrow at him, his gaze traveling the length of Gabe’s body. “Then mask your damn wings and put on the shirt I gave you, unless you like walking around with nothing but some pants covering you.” He snorted. “I thought you angels were all about secrecy? Hiding what you were and some bullshit? Not messing with humans.” He waved at him. “Anyone with half a brain can tell those wings are real. Fuck, they’re practically glowing.”
Gabe clenched his jaw. While he knew the other man wasn’t a match for his sheer power, Gabe didn’t want to confess it required every bit of strength he had just to walk. If he admitted how weak he felt, it’d give Kei a chance to overtake him. Use some ancient spell to steal Gabe’s grace.
He firmed his stance. “I wasn’t the one who orchestrated all of this.”
“And I was? As I’ve told you more than a dozen times, I summoned a blood demon. Blame this unfortunate pairing on a higher power than me, buddy, because I did everything right. Something else intervened.” He snorted. “Poetic justice, I suppose. Obviously, my life wasn’t fucked up enough, already.”
“So you claim, and I doubt your shirt will fit.”
“Leave the damn sides open if you have to. That’s better than what you’ve got. Which is nothing. Now hide your damn wings and get out of the light until I can get us somewhere safe for the night.”
Gabe muttered under his breath, moving away from the soft glow of the streetlight, stopping just past a blue door. Darkness gathered around him, and he resisted the urge to brighten it with a hint of his power. Chase away the evil that lurked in the hidden recesses of this world—even if he was the only one who felt it.
He glanced at Kei. The man hadn’t stopped scouring the street and surrounding buildings since they’d left the cemetery. As if he were searching for something. Someone. Though it didn’t look as if the mage was hoping to find it. In fact, the sorcerer seemed…restless.
Gabe turned away. He didn’t need to fuel the connection between them any more than it already was. Strengthen the link created by Kei’s spell. It was a byproduct of the summoning—a fusion of Kei’s life-force with his own. And the only reason Gabe had survived the ordeal. No wonder the other man appeared weak. Gabe could only imagine how much of his power Kei had given in the hopes of gaining his prize. It also meant Gabe was more than tied to the man. Gabe was bound. Physically. Emotionally.
His cock stirred within the confines of the denim Kei had given him. Just Gabe’s luck, the sorcerer would have called to him before the spell. Long tousled brown hair that hung in an unruly mess about his head. Strong, rippling muscles that seemed to flex with every small movement. The man looked more like a warrior than a sorcerer, his shoulders nearly as wide as Gabe’s. But it was the Kei’s eyes that intrigued Gabe the most. Deep green, they rivaled the color of the leaves that rustled in the wind beside the sacred pool. The kind of gaze that drew Gabe in and refused to let go.
Gabe shook away the thoughts. Obviously having Kei’s power pulse inside him… It was more than distracting. It was dangerous. And a road Gabe couldn’t travel. Especially if the man lived up to Gabe’s assumptions.
Gabe prayed Kei was wrong. That once Gabe had regained his power, Kei would reveal the truth. One that didn’t involve a man he’d once called brother. A man he’d thought had perished centuries ago. Though if Kei was telling the truth…
Kei grabbed his wrist and yanked him farther into the grayed shadows, snapping Gabe back. The mage chuckled. “You are one stubborn bastard, aren’t you?” He shook his head. “Your wings.”
Gabriel took a deep breath, mentally assessing if he could spare the energy to make the glimmer work, when Kei tugged him against his chest, before he spun, shoving Gabe’s back against the wall as he palmed the surface on either side of Gabe’s body. Kei pressed in close, sparring a quick glance over his shoulder before turning back to Gabe.
The mage leaned in, his breath caressing Gabe’s jaw. “Put you hands on my waist and look as if you want to pull me even closer.”
“What the…get off me—”
Kei silenced him with a brush of his mouth over his. “There’s a water demon at the end of the street, and I sure as shit don’t have the power to go up against it right now. And with you practically casting a fucking spotlight on the fact you’re an angel…” He looked over his shoulder again. “It’d be best for both of us if it just continued on its way. Didn’t give us a second glance. And there’s nothing like public shows of affection to make people uncomfortable. Even folks possessed by demons.”
Gabe stiffened. He didn’t have the strength to wage a battle. Not yet. Hell, he couldn’t even put up a glimmer.
Kei eased back ever so slightly. “I can still see your wings, Gabe. You got a death wish I’m unaware of?” Kei stared at him, then huffed. “Shit, you can’t, can you? You’re not strong enough.”
Gabe sneered at him. “Despite how it might appear, casting a convincing glimmer to hide my purity is extremely taxing. A feat requiring a great deal of power. Normally, I can toss one up without thinking about it—”
“But you’re out of juice. Fuck.” Kei sparred a quick peek down the street. “Damn it, it’s still coming this way. And there’s nowhere else to go.” He met Gabe’s stare. “Two choices. I challenge it, or I give you the energy you need to hide those damn feathers. Pray it walks past. Either way, I won’t be much help for a while. I haven’t recharged nearly enough.”
Gave furrowed his brow. “You expect me to believe you’d risk your life for me?”
“Not every being other than your self-righteous brothers and sisters are evil, buddy. And I didn’t exactly ask for this.” He glanced away for a moment. “I hate to admit it, but…not sure I’d even buy you enough time to get away if I challenge it. I’m…” His voice faded. “Oh, fuck it.”
Kei moved one hand to the back of Gabe’s head, spearing his fingers through Gabe’s hair as he fisted the strands, holding Gabe’s head still. He closed the distant, giving Gabe one gentle brush of his mouth before sealing his lips to Gabe’s. Gabe gasped, moaning when the man slipped his tongue inside, tangling it with his. Spicy heat engulfed his senses, followed by a rush of pure power.
Kei hummed, deepening the kiss as more of his life-force curled through Gabe, coiling heat low in his core. Kei’s muscles tensed, flexing beneath Gabe’s hands before the man slowly eased back, his forehead resting against his. Gabe blinked open his eyes as tiny sparks flashed across Kei’s skin, bursting into shards of warm, orange light before winking out. The mage’s breath mixed with his, the rough exhalations matching Gabe’s.
Energy surged along Gabriel’s flesh, swirling inward as he used the power to mask his appearance, grunting as his wings trembled, fluttering wildly against the gray stone behind him before retracting, leaving a light sheen of sweat along his skin. He drew in a few shaky breaths, relaxing slightly as the straining in his muscles eased. He glanced at his arms, watching as the last of his golden glow sank back into his flesh.
Key clenched his jaw, moving his hand to the wall again, bracing it beside Gabe’s head as footsteps echoed close by. Kei held firm, shifting his eyes slightly as a man moved into view beyond Kei’s shoulder. They guy glanced at them, frowning as he mumbled something under his breath, turning away in seeming disgust. A shudder raced along Kei’s limbs as his head bowed forward.
Gabe pushed against the man’s chest. “You can move, now.”
Kei lifted his head, pain creasing the edges of his mouth. “Wait until it’s out of sight.”
Gabe pursed his lips, looking up the street, waiting until the stranger had crossed the road and disappeared down another alley. He let his head fall against the building, raising his brow in question. “That good enough for you?”
“Must you be such an ass?” Kei twisted, obviously checking for himself, before he nodded. “We should try to avoid any further contact until we’re able to hold our own.”
“There’s no us once I regain my strength.”
Kei flashed him a cocky grin. “I never said there was. I was merely making a suggestion.” He grunted, shoulders slumping. “How long can you hold that glimmer?”
“A while.” Gabe sighed. He wouldn’t be feeling half as strong if the other man hadn’t given up more of his energy. He surveyed the sorcerer. “You okay?”
Kei shoved off the wall, taking half a dozen shaky steps back. “Fine. But we’ve still got a few more blocks to go before we reach my place. We should head out.” He turned, tripping onto one knee—his hand smacking the pavement as it bridged the rest of his weight.
Gabe darted over to him, kneeling at his side. He brushed back the man’s messy locks, frowning at Kei’s obvious pain. “You gave me too much.”
Kei snorted. “You needed to mask your appearance. What good is holding some back if we’re both dead?”
“What if that demon had recognized me for what I am?”
“Then I’d be dead, and it still wouldn’t matter.”
Gabe blew out a long breath. “Why did you help me? You could have run.”
Kei glanced at him, the smugness Gabe had expected to see in Kei’s expression noticeably absent. “I’m far from innocent, but even I don’t want the blood of an angel on my conscience. Especially since you’re here because of me.” He drew in a few ragged pants. “You should go ahead. I’ll follow when I can.”
Gabe cocked his brow. “I still think you’re hiding the truth from me, Mage, but…” He wrapped his arm under Kei’s, levering him up. “I’ll help you get to this refuge you seek. Payback for what you did.”
Kei grunted, the strain to simply move his feet forward painfully obvious. “And here I thought you were still pissed because I’d summoned you.”
“You didn’t have to give me your power. It was actually quite foolish, considering I could kill you with nothing more than my hands right now.”
“You. Merrick. My future seems to hold the same end, regardless.”
Gabe, studied Kei. If the man was lying about Merrick’s involvment, Gabe certainly couldn’t sense it. Though that didn’t mean Kei was honorable. Or even trying to do as he’d claimed.
Gabe balanced their weight as they moved slowly along the sideway. “Thank you.”
Kei chuckled. “Don’t thank me, yet. Shit could still go wrong.”
Gabe sighed, ignoring the way the man’s body felt dangerously right against his. This was nothing more than erasing a debt. Helping someone in return for their kindness. It didn’t mean anything. And it sure as hell didn’t mean Gabe was hanging around. That he cared.
And that’s it for me. Now bounce on over to the other ladies and see what stroke of genius they created this week.