Alcuin glanced back at the angel with eyes gone sharp with recognition at the sound of his native tongue. It was the language that his nursemaid sung to him as a child, the language his lover encouraged him to learn and embrace when she was gone and there was no one left to sing to him at night, the language he cherished most out of all the languages he had ever learned, or ever would learn. His fingers sank into the plush fabric of the loveseat until the knuckles turned white from strain as he struggled inwardly to maintain his composure in the maelstrom of memories the language evoked. “Nei,” he swallowed heavily. “ekki lengur.”
What troubled him was the ease with which the angel stripped him of his pretense, layer by layer, until there was naught left but the shadows of memories swimming behind his eyelids and a hollow ache in his chest. It was foolish to think he could hide from an angel. He might be capable of dancing circles round the others to protect himself from harm, but only one of them was capable of dancing on the head of a pin – and it wasn't him. “I ought not,” he repeated unevenly. “but you know I will.”
“There is a glade deep in the forest, far from the trails and the foot paths, where we may speak our minds freely,” he offered at length, reaching out to grasp his hand in his own.