For as long as I could remember, I wasâ€¦ different. I couldnâ€™t really understand why I was born that wayâ€¦ I heard from my dad that my mother was some sort ofâ€¦ demon. But just because she was didnâ€™t mean I was! One day when I was about nine, I sat on my bed and examined myself in the mirror closely for the first time. The eyes hidden behind my thick glasses were a sharp, golden yellow color and were slitted almost like a catâ€™s. Big dealâ€¦ I can hardly even see without my glasses onâ€¦ I thought with a pout. My eyes traveled up to my forehead. Two identical, slender horns were starting to form right below my mop of long, wiry hair. I ran my thumb carefully over the tip. Theyâ€™re not even that sharpâ€¦ Then I turned around and examined the scrawny, maroon wings sprouting from my back and the skinny, swishing devil tail that formed right above my bottom. I canâ€™t even fly with these stupid thingsâ€¦ And so what if I have a tail? It doesnâ€™t even DO anything! It was true. Despite my frightening appearance, I was completely normal. Completely human, you might say. But people didnâ€™t understandâ€¦ No matter how much I tried to make friends, I was always shunned because of how I looked. Even my own FATHER started treating me differently. After a while, I got so sick of being despised, I all but stopped going outside of the safety of home at all. My twin brother, however, was different. Not a day went by that I didnâ€™t envy himâ€¦ Curse those sweet, baby-blue eyes and smooth, tanned skin and perfect, blonde hairâ€¦ Not a fang or claw to be seen! Even his NAME was normal! Johnâ€¦ How TYPICAL! Truth be told, John was drop-dead beautiful â€“ I donâ€™t care how weird it is for his own brother to say that. And yet, though the guy looked completely normal, he was the one gifted with the powers! Oh yes â€“ I had seen it a THOUSAND times before. With a small smirk here and a flash of his eyes thereâ€¦ He could easily manipulate anyone he wanted, and usually did. John was extremely proud of his little talent, and showed it off ALL THE TIME. Of course, I was immune to his little trick, but it DID make me awfully jealous. Secretly, I idolized John. I kinda wished I WAS my brother. But, câ€™mon, there was no way that could happenâ€¦ So for the most part I just acted asâ€¦ A personal servant to him, one might say. I spent a lot of my time being the invisible boy in the shadows, secretly doing all of his homework and washing his clothes and waiting on his every command. He never offered me any thanks, and to be honest, I never really expected any. It was just the way things were. It wasnâ€™t until my senior year in high school did all of that change. ******************************************** â€œAnishmialâ€¦â€ A soft clatter sounded as the boy dropped his fork in surprise and looked up at his father. Heâ€™d gotten so used to being ignored at the dinner table, that it was quite honestly a surprise to hear his name called. â€œYâ€¦Yes, fatherâ€¦?â€ he asked meekly. His dad was a large, formidable looking man with bleach blonde hair and a neatly-trimmed goatee. Though he had a solid, medium build, if you looked closely, you could see his gut tended to protrude a little â€“ a reminder of his apparent age. Truth be told, he looked nothing like his alleged son across the table. He took a sip out of his glass of apple-juice, and continued, â€œI got a call at work todayâ€¦ It would seem that you were absentâ€¦â€ His icy blue eyes flashed with obvious annoyance. â€œâ€¦ Again.â€ Anishmial lowered his head a bit, biting his lip with shame. He could feel his twin across the table cast him a small, fleeting smirk, though he wasnâ€™t looking up to receive it. â€œWellâ€¦ No, I wasnâ€™tâ€”â€ â€œWhy?â€ His father growled. â€œYou look fine to me.â€ Anishmial sighed a bit. â€œIâ€¦ donâ€™t get along well with the kids thereâ€¦ I donâ€™tâ€¦ Theyâ€™re always making fun of me.â€ â€œHmpf. Iâ€™d expect an excuse like that from you. Well, itâ€™s good news for you then that you two are getting transferred to ANOTHER school.â€ Anishmialâ€™s face brightened instantly, but at the same time, John began to groan. â€œAwww, MAN! AGAIN, Dad?! And in mid-semester, tooâ€¦!â€ The man sighed. â€œI know how much you hate moving, Johnny, but I got another job offer. This time in the city. You two will be going to a Catholic schoolâ€”â€ Now it was Johnâ€™s turn to grin as Anishmial began to groan. â€œCatholic?! Oh no â€“ Father, please donâ€™t do this! I HATE Catholic schools! The people treat me like even MORE crap there than in normal schools!â€ â€œWell, maybe if you got your freakinâ€™ nose out of a damned book all the ****inâ€™ time and tried to make some FRIENDS for onceâ€¦~â€ â€œMake friends? In a Catholic school looking like THIS?! Please!â€ â€œEnough!â€ their father roared. â€œThere will be no more bickering at my table. Anishmial, you will attend that school as planned AND if I catch you skipping classes again, you are IN for it! Do you hear me?!â€ Anishmial sighed, looking down. â€œYes sirâ€¦ Sorry, sirâ€¦â€ â€œThatâ€™s more like itâ€¦â€ the man scoffed. There was a tensed moment of silence as everyone resumed eating dinner. â€œSo, Johnâ€¦ How was that football game yesterday?â€ John beamed a bit and piped up with a mouth full of mashed potatoes and peas, â€œOh it was AWESHUM, Dad! We totally PWNED those Bears!â€ Anishmial sighed as John began babbling about his teamâ€™s success, poking idly at his food. These next few months would surely be a living hell. ******************************************** The loving family actually waited about two full months before the move took place â€“ Johnny didnâ€™t want to abandon his beloved foot ball season before they made it to playoffs, and whatever little Johnny wanted, little Johnny got. It was pathetic, really. Anishmial sighed as he watched his beloved suburban home roll away into the distance. He wasnâ€™t particularly attached to it â€“ the memories heâ€™d held at that place were no more pleasant than others. But stillâ€¦ He hated having to leave something so familiar to him behindâ€¦ He took one more lingering glance at the small â€“ cute even â€“ bricked home with the small, stout chimney poking out at the top, the soft black tiled roof, and the aged driveway lined lovingly with flowers and neatly cropped bushes. In the middle of the yard was a small, neatly-kept island containing about six adult pines, maples, and even a large birch. That was always something heâ€™d loved about the house â€“ it was always so surrounded by foliage and trees. Almost the exact opposite from the destruction he was so often associated with. Perhaps he WOULD miss it after allâ€¦? The light from the golden sunrise flickered off the two front windows brightly, and for a second, it was as if they were two, mournful eyes. Sighing a bit, he collapsed back into his chair, and stared off into the distance. Maybe his new home would be even betterâ€¦? After all, wishful thinking never hurtâ€¦ ******************************************** I stand corrected. Anishmial looked up glumly at the raggedy old apartment complex in the middle of a concrete jungle that would serve to be his next home. It was nothing â€“ NOTHING â€“ like the serene, sheltered little house that heâ€™d gotten so accustomed toâ€¦ He scowled inwardly at the rough, cracked pavement, rusty old stair-way, and at the paint obviously flaking off the window-panes. And, if it were even possible, he had to say that the only thing that looked worse than the little shack would be the surrounding area! A steady cacophony rose up around them, fueled by loud, crazy honking, shrill police whistles, blaring trains, barking dogs, and hundreds of other sounds he didnâ€™t even want to think about. The air was so full of lung-clogging smoke that he barely felt like he could breathe, and the sidewalks were always clogged with people EVERYWHERE. The only thing he could POSSIBLY think to say was, â€œThisâ€¦ Is it?â€ â€œThis is it?!â€ John echoed, looking almost offended. â€œI know itâ€™s not much, but for a while, itâ€™ll be all I can afford in the inner city. So get used to it, ducklings.â€ â€œOh joyâ€¦â€ John muttered, rolling his eyes and lugging in some of his stuff as he went. It was weird to think about. As long as he could remember, that was the first think he could recall them ever agreeing to. With a sigh, he grabbed a box, and began pulling his weight. It was going to be a long week. ******************************************** Anishmial stood awkwardly at the bus stop, blowing warm air into his open palms to fend away the cold and fiddling nervously with the tie he was required to wear as part of his school uniform. He sighed, snarling a bit at the cursed thing. Stupid tiesâ€¦ I donâ€™t see why theyâ€™d force you to wear this ugly thing anyway â€“ I always feel like Iâ€™m about to get strangledâ€¦ As always, John distanced himself from his brother, and was looking off serenely into the distance with his hands casually jammed into his pockets. Anishmial felt a little stab of jealousy just looking at his brother. No brother of mine has ANY right to look so freakinâ€™ cool all the timeâ€¦ Luckily, the bus wasnâ€™t far from coming, and the two brothers climbed on board. Before the ride was even over, John was already laughing and joking around with some guys around his age, all of them acting as if theyâ€™d been together since kindergarten. Anishmial, being the social butterfly that he was, just sat at the back by himself, calmly reading a book an ignoring any weird stares heâ€™d receive. Though the back of the bus was often labeled the section where all the â€œbadâ€ kids sat, he decided he liked it the best, anyway. He liked being able to watch othersâ€¦ One could say he was an observer of a sort. Besides, sitting in the back made it harder for anyone to stare without him knowing. As the bus steadily slowed to a stop and kids began standing up and picking up their book-bags, Anishmial sighed and snapped shut the book. Like heâ€™d said â€“ these next few days would be a living hell. ******************************************** SPLAT! Anishmial sighed a bit, wiping the mashed potatoes off his face and glared at the group of guys two tables across from him. John and his new pack of mates cracked up and began slapping each other high-fives. Animalsâ€¦ Anishmial thought bitterly as he sipped on some of his chocolate milk slowly in the lonely island of a lunch table. Heâ€™d tried sitting with a few other students, but theyâ€™d quickly moved away. No one had tried to sit there since. Why canâ€™t they just leave me aloneâ€¦?! I havenâ€™t done anything to themâ€¦ He was used to his brother treating him like dirt out in public. In school, it was pretty much understood that he wasnâ€™t considered anything close to a sibling anymore. In fact, John would humiliate him on a regular basis just to look cool and fit in. Which he did exceptionally, by the way. Anishmial sighed, hunching his shoulders a bit. It just wasnâ€™t fairâ€¦ It wasnâ€™tâ€¦ Why would John do this to him for no reason? They were BROTHERS â€“ he deserved to be treated better than this, andâ€” â€œHi â€“ is this seat taken?~â€ Anishmial, startled out of his thoughts, suddenly jumped and looked up to see a girl grinning down at him. Suddenly, his mouth went dry. Her tall, slender, majestic figure was incredible to behold. Her long blonde hair flowed well past her shoulders in graceful waves and her bright blue eyes twinkled with a strange light that was completely alien to him. Her perfect, pale, flawless skin seemed almost radiant with a happiness you felt more than you sawâ€¦ In short, this gal was drop-dead GORGEOUS. He felt hideous just standing next to her! He averted his eyes to the ground automatically. â€œIâ€™m sorryâ€¦ I-I didnâ€™t knowâ€”â€ he stammered, about to stand up. â€œNo â€“ noâ€¦ Itâ€™s fineâ€¦â€ she quickly assured him. â€œI just wanted to know if this seat was taken, silly!â€ He blinked, staring up at her. â€œYâ€¦You w-want to s-sitâ€¦? With m-meâ€¦?â€ he stuttered, inwardly cursing at how stupid he mustâ€™ve sounded at the moment. â€œWell, is there anyone else sitting here?â€ she asked with a little laugh. It sounds like wind chimesâ€¦ only prettierâ€¦ He smiled foolishly, head swimming. â€œNâ€¦No, I suppose thereâ€™s n-notâ€¦â€ She giggled a bit, taking a bite into her sandwich. Anishmial stared at her for a while, completely captivated. And she has such pretty white teeth, tooâ€¦ and she looks awfully good in that skirtâ€¦ It took him a moment â€“ a very long moment â€“ before he realized she was staring back. At first, he thought that was strange, but then he realized heâ€™d been doing it as well, and he reminded himself again just how socially awkward he was. He looked away with a slight blush. â€œYouâ€™re new here, arenâ€™t you? Whatâ€™s your name?â€ she asked, trying to get him to look back up at her. â€œUmâ€¦ Anishmial, m-maâ€™am.â€ â€œUghâ€¦ Donâ€™t call me â€˜maâ€™amâ€™. Makes me feel like an old lady. My nameâ€™s Inaciel.â€ â€œThatâ€™sâ€¦ beautifulâ€¦â€ She winked, slurping some chocolate milk. â€œYours isnâ€™t too shabby, either!â€ He blushed again, smiling sheepishly. â€œSo, uhâ€¦ Yeah. What are you, exactly?â€ she asked, munching on some chips. Anishmial blinked. â€œPardonâ€¦?â€ â€œAre you anâ€¦ elf or something?â€ â€œElfâ€¦? Ohâ€¦â€ He blush a bit, unconsciously placing a hand on the side of his head. â€œYou mean by the ears, rightâ€¦? Well, no, Iâ€™m not an elfâ€¦ Truth be told, I donâ€™t know WHAT I amâ€¦ But Iâ€™m certainly not the most people make me out to beâ€¦â€ She nodded thoughtfully. Anishmial exhaled deeply, happy to finally get that off his chest. He smiled at the strange girl. â€œYâ€¦Ya know, Iâ€¦ I know this sounds weird, but I really like youâ€¦ No one ever really cares about what I have to say, and I feel likeâ€¦ you really listen, ya know? Is that weird for me to say? I mean, we HAVE only just metâ€¦â€ Before Inaciel could answer, there was another SPLAT! Anishmial blinked in a dumbfounded manner and removed his glasses to see that they were now dripping with mashed potatoes. Johnâ€™s posse roared with laughter at the expression on his face. Inaciel growled at the mob. â€œJERKS!â€ she snapped. John hooted rudely about how feisty she was. For a second, Inaciel looked like she was gonna go over there and rearrange some faces, but Anishmial caught a hold of her shirt, gently pulling her back down with a shake of his head. â€œNo noâ€¦â€ he murmured with a shy smile. â€œItâ€™s okayâ€¦ Iâ€™m used to it. No need to make a fussâ€¦â€ Inaciel huffed, collapsing back down. â€œWho does that punk think he is?!â€ she muttered, munching angrily on her sandwich. â€œFlinging food around like a freakinâ€™ barbarianâ€¦ But, seriously â€“ who IS that guy?! Havenâ€™t seen him around beforeâ€¦ Freakinâ€™ new kids thinking they can just storm in and take over the placeâ€¦â€ Anishmial shot her an amused glance. â€œHeâ€™s my brother.â€ The absolute shock on her face was almost comical. â€œIâ€¦ Iâ€™m so sorry! I didnâ€™t know!â€ She gazed across the tables. â€œIâ€¦ I mean, he doesnâ€™t look anything like youâ€¦â€ She blinked a bit, watching as John burst into laughter about something one of his friends had said, exposing a mouthful of chewed-up turkey, peas, and bread. Some of it spewed on the table. â€œâ€¦ Andâ€¦This is just a wild guess, but chances are, he doesnâ€™t act much like you, eitherâ€¦â€ Anishmial laughed a bit. â€œYou could say weâ€™re as different as night and day â€“ yesâ€¦â€ â€œGood â€“ then maybe weâ€™ll actually get along,â€ the blonde said with a devious wink. As always, Anishmial blushed. ******************************************** Lunch came and went. Anishmial and his new friend talked for a pretty long time, discussing various things such as politics, weather, the ugly skull-caps the lunch ladies wore â€“ whatever. Anishmial had to say, it was nice having someone to actually talk toâ€¦ And for once, being the good brother, too. He never saw Inaciel again after lunch, but he decided that it didnâ€™t matter. All he could do for the rest of the day was doodle random pictures, thinking about Inaciel all the while. That night at dinner, it was unnaturally calm and for everyone. The twinsâ€™ father turned to John, munching a bit. â€œSo, how was your first day at school, Sport?â€ he asked. â€œEh â€“ it was good,â€ John replied smoothly. â€œDid you make any new friends?â€ â€œA couple. Nothinâ€™ big.â€ â€œThatâ€™s great.â€ Slowly, the manâ€™s eyes turned to his ******* son, full of scorn and contempt. â€œAnd what about youâ€¦?â€ he asked grudgingly â€“ as if he had to. Anishmial thought about the question long and hard. He considered the fact that he couldâ€™ve complained about how John and his buddies teamed up to harass him all day, OR how people would do nothing but stare and whisper about him behind his back all sorts of things he didnâ€™t even want to THINK about. OR that even the teachers would walk him to the principalâ€™s office nearly every period for absolutely no reason and the fact that they held him responsible for everything that happened in the class. He thought long and hard about these trials, and then shrugged with a slight smile. â€œIt was alright.â€ ******************************************** The days flew by like seconds before Anishmialâ€™s eyes. Every day during lunch he and Inaciel would meet up at the usual place and talk. It suddenly put things in a whole new light for the young half-demon. School was no longer a horrible place that he wished he could blow up and do the tango upon its smoldering ashes. Suddenly, it was the center of his life. For once, he didnâ€™t mind the barrages of balled-up paper and spit-balls John and his group constantly sent his way. In fact, he was now welcoming them with a good-natured grin and a laugh. He couldnâ€™t understand why Inaciel was so kind to himâ€¦ How she could see past his horrid appearance and appreciate who he really was, he didn't understand, but he was very grateful and absolutely DELIGHTED to have someone who finally did. John, however, wasnâ€™t as thrilled. He hated how unnaturally cheery Anishmial had gotten â€“ he wanted things to go back to the way they were. And, more than that, he could feel himself growing more and more envious of his brother. Sure, he had looks, talent, popularity, and hordes of girls at his feet, but how had ANISHMIAL out of all people gotten such a hot babe as hideous as HE was?! The more he thought about it, the more it ticked him off. And instead of Anishmial getting all upset when he threw crap at him to vent off the frustration like he was supposed to, he just laughedâ€¦ As if he KNEW. It drove John insane. Fineâ€¦ If my stupid bro can win that chick over, itâ€™ll be a piece of cake for me. Thatâ€™ll show himâ€¦ the devious twin decided in his mind. ******************************************** Anishmial grinned, approaching his friend at the table and plopping his books down. â€œHello, again, Inaciel!â€ â€œHey, Nishy! Whereâ€™s your food, man?â€ she asked, slurping on her chocolate milk. â€œOh â€“ Iâ€™m going to run and get it right now, okay? Hold on right there â€“ I have a funny story about this substitute teacher that came today!â€ Inaciel laughed and nodded as Anishmial scrambled off. She took out her ham-and-cheese sandwich and began eating with a serene look on her face. Time for me to make my moveâ€¦ John stealthily slid out of his seat and approached the blonde, slicking back his hair a little. Anishmial stopped on his way to the line and snapped his fingers. â€œOh DANG IT! I forgot my money!â€ He turned around and was about to head back over to pile of books, and stopped short. He gasped a bit. John?! he thought franticly. He watched, horrified, as John tucked a lock of his hair behind his ear, grinning seductively and continued chatting. HEâ€™S TRYING TO TAKE HER AWAY FROM ME!!! Shock and pain flooded his senses and he slumped on the wall, pressing his hand over his heart. Butâ€¦ But why would he DO thisâ€¦?! He already HAS a girlfriend! He couldnâ€™t believe it! This was the one possession he had â€“ this one friend. It was his one source of joy and happiness and John was trying to turn her against him! He watched as Inaciel shook her head viciously at whatever John was saying and offer a scolding reply. He smiled a bit. Classical Inacielâ€¦ Oh waitâ€¦ He sighed as John gave the little flash of his eyes that would signal the activation of his manipulative powers and began speaking slowly â€“ seductively again with the tell-tale smirk hovering just on his lips. There it isâ€¦ he thought miserably. He could feel his heart sink with dread at the realization that heâ€™d have to go through the rest of high school in exile now. As alwaysâ€¦ Suddenly, something happened that obviously took them both by surprise. Inaciel abruptly jumped to her feet and slapped the FIRE out of John. The poor guy stumbled back a bit, clutching his smarting face and staring incredulously at Inaciel. Anishmialâ€™s jaw dropped. WHAT THEâ€”?!?! Sheâ€™s immune?! Inaciel, not sensing anything strange, proceeded to scream her lungs off at John, threatening to spray him in the eyes with mace if he ever showed his scrawny butt around again. She then continued to throttle him, slapping him and kicking and SCREAMING at him until John eventually retreated back to his posse with his tail between his legs, so to speak. All of them were roaring with laughter by now. Anishmial pressed his hand to his mouth and dashed into the line, pretending he hadnâ€™t seen a thing. Too little, too late, though. John spotted him looking at the horridly embarrassing scene and scowled. Iâ€™ll deal with him laterâ€¦ Anishmial came back with his tray of food, looking a bit troubled. Inaciel smiled warmly at him as she HADNâ€™T just been threatening his twin brother with mace a few seconds ago. â€œHey, Nishy! Howâ€™s about you finish that story of yours, huh? With the substitute teacher and all?â€ Anishmial shook his head. â€œNahâ€¦ Thatâ€™s alrightâ€¦ It wasnâ€™t that funny, after allâ€¦â€ â€œOhâ€¦ Well then ya wanna hear about somethinâ€™ funny that happened to me today?â€ â€œSure. Whatever.â€ â€œOkayâ€¦â€ Lunch that day was long and awkward, Inaciel noted. Anishmial hardly said a word and would only poke around his food, not really eating at all. And he kept on glancing somewhere across the room from her, too. Somethingâ€™s up with himâ€¦ After a while of long, awkward, one-sided conversations, she could take it no longer. â€œOkay â€“ fess up.â€ â€œHmmm?â€ â€œFess up. Whatâ€™s eating you? You wonâ€™t say anything, man! Is something wrong?â€ Anishmial looked away silently. â€œNishy? SAY somethinâ€™, man!â€ Inaciel cried. â€œI saw what happened, okay?!â€ Anishmial blurted suddenly. â€œWith you and John! I saw it all!â€ Inaciel suddenly went silent. â€œâ€¦ Ohâ€¦â€ An awkward silence followed. She sighed a bit. â€œAâ€¦Anishmial, I didnâ€™tâ€¦ MEAN anything, okayâ€¦? I justâ€¦ kinda lost itâ€¦ I HATE how your stupid, stuck-up brother treats you like dirt half the time, and all you do is shrug it off! You deserve better than that! And then Lilâ€™ Miss THANG comes up here asking if Iâ€™ll DITCH you just like that and become his little PLAYTHING for an hour before he drops me again and Iâ€™m all â€˜HECK NO!â€™ and heâ€™s allâ€”â€ Anishmial blinked. â€œThatâ€™s not what Iâ€™m talking aboutâ€¦ You didnâ€™t notice him trying to manipulate youâ€¦?â€ She blinked. â€œManipulateâ€¦?â€ â€œYouâ€¦ Didnâ€™t noticeâ€¦?â€ He sighed a bit. â€œLookâ€¦ I know this sounds crazy, but out of the two of us, Johnâ€™s the only one of the two of us who has any powersâ€¦ He can manipulate people against their will. Until today, I thought I was the only one immune to it, but you didnâ€™t even respondâ€¦â€ Inaciel blushed a bit. â€œâ€¦ Oh dearâ€¦â€ â€œWhat?â€ Anishmial pressed gently. â€œWellâ€¦ Uhâ€¦ This might come as surprise, but Iâ€™m not exactly normal, eitherâ€¦â€ Anishmial blinked, cocking his face to the side, not really understanding. Inaciel leaned over and whispered in his ear, â€œYa see, â€œIâ€™m actually kinda anâ€¦ umâ€¦ An angel.â€ Anishmialâ€™s eyes widened. â€œAnâ€¦ An angelâ€¦?!â€ â€œSHHHHH!â€ she hissed. â€œNot so loud! Iâ€™m supposed to be under-cover, okay? We angels have our share of enemies, too! But I think I can trust youâ€¦â€ she chuckled with a wink. â€œBâ€¦ But I donâ€™t understandâ€¦â€ he murmured, still a bit awestruck. â€œYouâ€¦ If youâ€™re an angel, then why, of all people, would you sit by someone like me?â€ Inaciel shrugged. â€œAngels arenâ€™t as easily swayed by appearances as humansâ€¦ We can usually look past that and see how people really are by small actions. Itâ€™s also the reason why I hate your dear brother so much. Understand?â€ It took a moment to click. Suddenly, Anishmial began grinning foolishly and nodding enthusiastically. Of course! It all made sense now! The radiant aura always around her, the complete grace of her movements, that pure heartâ€¦ I KNEW something was different about her! Never thought Iâ€™d see the day where Iâ€™d fall in love with an angelâ€¦ he thought idly as the two continued their midday meal, no longer bound by words left unsaid. ******************************************** FWHACK! A glob of blood splattered onto the floor. Panicked wheezing soon followed. WHAM! SMACK! CRASH! Anishmial cried out in pain as his head was smashed into the wall, and then as he was thrown into the table roughly. â€œHow the hell did you DO it?!â€ John screamed, his eyes blazing with fury. â€œI didnâ€™t do anything!â€ the panicked boy insisted, sobbing and trying to crawl away. He HATED it when John was like this. Sometimes the beatings were so severe, he actually feared for his life. Still, he couldnâ€™t say it wasnâ€™t expected. On the whole way home, John was sitting on the bus with his jaw clenched tightly, staring off into space. Heâ€™d waited until they were home before ever even looking at his brother. Fearing the worst and seeking to appease him, Anishmial offered to do his brotherâ€™s homework again. If was as if heâ€™d flipped a switch; before heâ€™d even finished his sentence, John was upon him, swinging and cursing up a storm. â€œBULLSHIT!!!â€ John spat, not impressed by his brotherâ€™s reply. Anishmial grunted as he was viciously kicked in his ribs. â€œYouâ€™re the only one whoâ€™s immune to it, you *******. You mustâ€™ve told her somethinâ€™!â€ â€œI didnâ€™t John! I swear! Sheâ€™sâ€¦ Inacielâ€™s just naturally immune!â€ he whimpered, coughing out some blood. John heaved him up by his collar, glaring coldly into his brotherâ€™s eyes. â€œWhat do you mean by thatâ€¦?â€ he asked softly. â€œSheâ€¦ Sheâ€™s not humanâ€¦!â€ Anishmial wheezed softly. â€œNot humanâ€¦ Sheâ€™sâ€¦ an angelâ€¦â€ John froze. â€œâ€¦ Anâ€¦ angel, you sayâ€¦? For real?â€ Anishmial nodded fearfully. â€œâ€¦ Hmmâ€¦â€ John dropped his brother carelessly to the ground, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. â€œAn angelâ€¦â€ he murmured, slinking out of the house. Anishmial coughed up a few more globs of blood, and collapsed, unconscious, onto the floor. ******************************************** Anishmialâ€™s slowly cracked open. He groaned pitifully, clutching his head tightly. Huffing a bit, he sat up and looked around with bleary eyes. What theâ€¦ Whatâ€¦ time is itâ€¦? How long was I outâ€¦? The whole house almost completely dark by now. He struggled to his feet, still aching a bit from the thrashing John had given him. He looked at the clock and groaned. Almost 8 oâ€™ clockâ€¦ Iâ€™ve been out for hours! He rubbed his temples with a small sigh, trying to will the pain away. He blinked, suddenly remembering something. â€œJohnâ€¦? John, are you hereâ€¦?â€ No response. Fueled by curiosity, the young half-demon wandered around the house, calling for his brother. To his surprise, he was nowhere to be found! Anishmial furrowed his brow a bit. Butâ€¦ Where could he haveâ€¦?! Suddenly, he remembered. â€œAn angelâ€¦ Hmmmâ€¦â€ â€œIâ€™m supposed to be under-cover, okay? We angels have our share of enemies, too!â€ The teen gasped. â€œOh, Iâ€™m so STUPID! I canâ€™t believe I told him! Now sheâ€™s in dire trouble and itâ€™s my entire fault!â€ Without a momentâ€™s hesitation, he rushed out of the house. ******************************************** Inaciel gasped with pain, her huge, impressive wings fluttering pathetically as she struggled to free herself from Johnâ€™s tight choke-hold. The battle had lasted for hours now, and she was getting weary. Theyâ€™d been all around the city and back, fighting like mad dogs. Inaciel had managed to keep most of the fighting on rooftops where people would be less likely to see, and where sheâ€™d have an elemental advantage â€“ the air. But John fought akin to a pureblood demon, and it was almost too much for to handle alone. Angel was not bore killers like demons were â€“ they had to go through training. Inaciel was admittedly a few centuries short. It was appalling how she, who had trained for millennia, was still a few critical pegs beneath Johnâ€™s level. After a while, sheâ€™d felt herself tiring and tried fleeing from the scene by flight. John, cold-hearted and ruthless as he was, leapt up and grabbed her by the foot. Since the both of them were too much to carry by flight, she tumbled back down with a scream. Without wasting a secondâ€™s time, John jumped up and wrapped his strong hands around her neck. He could sense her giving out, too, and, fueled by bloodlust, he only tried that harder to give the final blow. It seemed that this would be it. Finallyâ€¦ My ultimate goalâ€¦ My life-long dreamâ€¦ REALIZED! Pretty soon, Inaciel stopped strugglingâ€¦ Stopped thrashing about and clawing pitifully at his nails. Stars burst before her eyes and she could feel herself slipping into unconsciousness due to the lack of oxygenâ€¦ Suddenly, the door to the roof-top burst open, and in dashed inâ€¦ â€œAnishmialâ€¦?â€ The teen was bent forward, and leaning heavily on his knees, wheezing heavily. Sweat dripped from his forehead and fell to the ground. â€œSâ€¦Stairsâ€¦â€ he huffed. â€œTâ€¦Twentyâ€¦ flightsâ€¦ of stairsâ€¦ elevatorâ€¦ brokenâ€¦â€ I am SO out of shapeâ€¦ Maybe I shouldnâ€™t have skipped gym class todayâ€¦ John narrowed his eyes and threw Inacielâ€™s limp body to the ground. â€œHow did you know where we wereâ€¦?â€ he hissed. â€œFâ€¦Feathersâ€¦â€ Anishmial panted. â€œLots of â€˜emâ€¦ Lead to hereâ€¦â€ He stood to his full height, taking a deep breath, and examined the scene. There were hundreds of huge, blood-stained white feathers strewn all over the ground. Slowly, his gave travelled to Inacielâ€™s motionless form. Heâ€™d never seen her in her true form beforeâ€¦ If anything, she looked even more beautiful now, despite the numerous bruises and a tiny cut on her cheek. â€œIsâ€¦ Is sheâ€¦?!â€ he stammered. â€œNo. Just sleeping,â€ John answered. â€œâ€¦ For nowâ€¦â€ â€œWhy are you doing this?!â€ Anishmial cried. â€œWhat has Inaciel ever done to you?! Why are you trying to KILL her?!â€ John smirked. â€œIdiotâ€¦ Are you really that out-of-touch with the world?!â€ He laughed mockingly. â€œItâ€™s only common knowledgeâ€¦ If a demon devours the body of an angel, his powers and strength will multiply ten-fold! Iâ€™d be completely unstoppable!â€ â€œYouâ€™re going to EAT her?!â€ â€œNo, you sicko! Iâ€™m going toâ€¦ Oh â€“ you meant in the literal senseâ€¦ In that case, yes. Yes, I am.â€ â€œY-You canâ€™t do that!â€ Anishmial stammered. His brother scoffed in reply. â€œSays who? You?!â€ Anishmial gave a determined nod. â€œIâ€¦ I wonâ€™t let you, brother! Youâ€™ve gone too far this time!â€ John snarled. â€œYou know whatâ€¦?! Youâ€™ve been a thorn in my side for a while nowâ€¦ Youâ€™re like one of those stupid eyelashes that keep on poking you and poking you and POKING you until you just want to scream! Youâ€™re everything Iâ€™m NOT! Youâ€™re a spineless, weak, hideous little *******, and I donâ€™t care if we DO have the same parents â€“ YOUâ€™RE NOT MY BROTHER!!!â€ He glared coldly at Anishmial. â€œI think itâ€™s about time I get rid of you, you little nuisanceâ€¦â€ Anishmial gulped, horrified. â€œJâ€¦John, what do youâ€”?!â€ Suddenly, John shot forward, his fist pulled back. Anishmial, fighting the strong, almost irresistible urge to drop to his knees and cover his head, ducked to the side, pulling his fists into an awkward fighting position. John roared with laughter at the sight as Anishmial tried to put some distance between them. â€œYou REALLY donâ€™t stand a chance!â€ he chuckled, eyes flashing. Anishmial gasped as he zipped forward with super-human speed, closing the distance heâ€™d made in a matter of seconds. â€œH-HOW DID YOUâ€”?!â€ Suddenly John was behind him. He chuckled a bit. â€œOh, dear brother â€“ you didnâ€™t really think Iâ€™d let you see the FULL extent of my powers, did youâ€¦?â€ Anishmial whipped around suddenly, but it was too late. John slammed him in the face with a firm right-uppercut to the jaw, which sent the poor teen tumbling to the ground. Anishmial tried to scramble back up, but John just kicked him viciously again, laughing. This was actually kinda fun â€“ a welcome change from the hard-fought battle with the annoying little fluff queen. I guess it wouldnâ€™t hurt to toy with him a bitâ€¦ Anishmial spat out a bit of blood, struggling to his feet, and swung wildly in his brotherâ€™s direction. John only side-stepped with a faint smirk and grabbed Anishmialâ€™s fist. The teen screamed, falling helplessly to his knees as he heard a sickening cracking sound. I canâ€™t do itâ€¦! he thought franticly. I canâ€™tâ€¦! Heâ€™s too strong â€“ heâ€™ll kill me! John smirked a bit. â€œYou look so patheticâ€¦ But itâ€™s okayâ€¦ Iâ€™ll give you a second chance, you miserable wormâ€¦â€ The smile grew. â€œIâ€™ll let you keep your miserable life if you stop this nonsense and become my little petâ€¦ Oh yeah â€“ and Iâ€™ll need some BBQ sauce for your girlfriend, too.â€ He cackled shamelessly. Something inside of Anishmial snapped. Some feral, barbaric part of his being that had been locked up as long as heâ€™d lived, was suddenly sent free. With a terrifying snarl, he glared up at his twin brother, eyes glowing blood-red. Before John even knew what was going on, Anishmial shot forward, head-butting his brother in the gut. His horns impaled deep into his body, sending blood gushing all over the place. John screamed in agony, stumbling back and clutching his wound tenderly. Anishmial only growled and with a short, quick motion, he snapped his broken wrist in place. John didnâ€™t even see the huge butt-whuppinâ€™ coming. Left jab, right hook, kick, punch, upper-cutâ€¦ It was all he could do to keep up! Suddenly, he lost his footing, and with a gasp realized he was at the edge of the building! With a scream, he toppled off, but with some luck, managed to cling to ledge, staring up fearfully at his twin brother.glared down at him from above, never before looking so formidable. John grunted, trying to claw his way back up, but to no avail. Anishmialâ€™s now-bloody horns had done a number on his stomach. To make matters worse, he could feel his grip slipping! Cars beeped and honked considerably under him, and he shuddered as a huge gust of air swept below him, almost making him slip. His legs kicked uselessly beneath him. He looked up again at the brother heâ€™d tormented and made fun of as long as each of them had lived. The brother heâ€™d beaten, spit on, pranked, and just recently tried to killâ€¦ John gulped slightly. â€œYâ€¦ You wouldnâ€™t kill your own brother, would youâ€¦?â€ he whimpered. Anishmial blinked. He stared at his brother for a long time. â€¦ I canâ€™t do itâ€¦ he thought sadly. He may have been horrible to me, butâ€¦ I canâ€™tâ€¦ It just wouldnâ€™t be rightâ€¦ Heâ€™s my brotherâ€¦ With a sigh, he bent down and offered his hand. â€œHold on tightâ€¦â€ he murmured. John looked up incredulously at him. â€œWhâ€¦ What?!â€ â€œHold on tight or youâ€™ll fall. Hurry up.â€ Shakily, John took his brotherâ€™s hand, and was helped back up onto the roof. Anishmial backed away cautiously. John shook a bit, clutching his bloody stomach and looked up at Anishmial with wide eyes. â€œWhâ€¦ Why did you do thatâ€¦?!â€ he stammered. Anishmial hesitated. â€œâ€¦ Youâ€™re my brother.â€ â€œButâ€¦ Iâ€™ve treated you so badlyâ€¦â€ His brother only shrugged casually. â€œI let you.â€ There was a long silence. John dragged himself to his feet, overcome with emotion. â€œAâ€¦Anishmialâ€¦â€ he sobbed, stumbling over to his brother. Anishmial blinked, completely shocked as his brother gave him a huge hug. â€œIâ€¦ Iâ€™m so sorry for how Iâ€™ve treated you beforeâ€¦ Youâ€™reâ€¦ the best brother a guy could ever hope forâ€¦â€ Anishmial blinked, completely startled for a moment. After a while, he smiled, and hugged John back, smiling happily. â€œâ€¦ And also the stupidestâ€¦â€ Anishmial blinked as he heard a faint clicking sound, and gasped. KA-BLAM!!! He jerked violently, releasing John and stumbling back slightly. His hand unconsciously went to the bloody hole in his chest as he stared incredulously at his brother. John grinned, blowing the barrel of the smoking gun casually and grinning at him. Everything seemed to go in slow motion. He stumbled back a bit, his motions short, jerky, mechanical, even. His body was rapidly going numb. He didnâ€™t feel itâ€¦ No pain. No painâ€¦ Only horror. He couldnâ€™t stop his twin brother as he casually walked up and shoved him off the edge of the building. He could only watch, as if he were a spectator. Whyâ€¦? The last thing he remembered seeing was his brother waving him good-bye on the way down.