Next installment of Abel and Sephiroth
And the next installment of the the Nameless story.....
Chapter 5 Rating: PG Chapter 5: New Friends
Sephiroth regarded Abel with a bland expression, giving nothing away about what he was thinking. But this strange priest continued to surprise and intrigue him in a way that only Zack and Cloud ever did. He hadn’t been lying when he stated that Abel’s honesty had been refreshing, especially after the courtly machinations that had developed in his kingdom. He had not wanted to be king of this land, not when being a general was wearing on the nerves, but Zack and Cloud had pointed out that Rufus was essentially ruling Gaia. This kingdom had no one watching out for it.
“So why are you telling me all of this?” asked Father Abel again.
That got a shrug from Zack as he climbed back up to sit next to Cloud again. “Because you’ve been nothing but honest with us about why you’re here, and you seem like a descent guy.”
“Besides, we require more information about this world than we have been able to locate in the history books,” added Sephiroth, rising to walk over to stand next to Father Abel’s chair. He wasn’t sure why Zack’s honest praise had caused the priest to flinch slightly, but if it was important, they would discover it. He reached out and twirled a lock of the other man’s silver hair around his finger, noting the guarded look in pale blue eyes. “I also find myself fascinated by you, not something that normally happens.”
Father Abel was silent for a few minutes, his eyes hazy in thought before he nodded. “I will tell you what I can, but I don’t know how long I can remain here before my duties return me to the Vatican.”
“Fair enough,” agreed Sephiroth, allowing the silver hair to slide through his fingers. He would spend what time he could getting to know his new friend.
Chapter 6 Rating: PG Chapter 6: Anticipation
Cloud looked out the window and watched the two silver haired men walk through the garden. He felt that pang of wary anticipation again, as if some disaster was hanging over the happiness Sephiroth had found with Abel. Cloud might have been innocent enough to still blush at some of the things Zack purred in his ear at strange times, but he wasn’t a fool. He could see that Abel was just as good if not better for Sephiroth than even Zack or Cloud himself.
Yet, even after almost a month of friendship Abel was still hiding things from them. It wasn’t deliberately malicious on the priest’s part, but it was more like some old fear had sealed his lips. Cloud suspected that it had something to do with the distinct militaristic tattoo on Abel’s lower back and the incomplete history of this world that they had been told.
Strong arms slid around his waist, and Cloud leaned back against his dark haired lover.
“You keep staring at them, they’re gonna wonder if you’re up for a threesome,” teased Zack, resting his chin on Cloud’s shoulder.
The blond huffed and blushed, which he suspected was Zack’s goal, but didn’t pull out of his lover’s arms. “It’s not that at all,” he sighed, and gestured to the two men outside who looked like mirror images of each other from up here. Both had long silver hair and wore black clothing. The only visible difference between them was that Abel’s hair was caught up in its usual tail. “Abel’s secret scares him and forces him to keep all of as at arm’s length despite our friendship.”
“They’ll work it out,” Zack soothed, holding Cloud close. “And we’ll be there to help them should they need it. Trust me. Between the three of us, we can out stubborn a chocobo.”
Instead of automatically agreeing and being comforted by that fact, Cloud felt his concern grow. He had faith in them, but did Abel?
Chapter 7 Rating: PG Chapter 7: A Simple Letter
To His Majesty, King Sephiroth the Angel;
By now, you have probably heard about the priest who turned into a red-eyed demon from your subjects. While the tales may sound like those born out of hysteria or a stressed mind, they are unfortunately true. You once complimented me on my honesty, but the fact is I have been lying to you since I arrived. It wasn’t to be cruel or malicious, but a lie of omission is still a lie.
The full truth is I was created to be a weapon and became a monster, a God of Slaughter, uncaring whom I cut down. Since I was shown the error of my beliefs, I have been trying to make up for the blood that stains my hands, to give back a little what I thoughtlessly took away. But I am fooling myself. I am a monster, trying to be human, an impossible feat and one I should have known better to try.
By the time you find this letter, I will be on my way back to the Vatican so you are not torn between your duty to your subjects and the friendship you extended to this monster. A replacement to take over my position as liaison will arrive in a few weeks. Do not treat them badly as this is not their fault or decision.
I will always treasure the memories of our time together, because for almost a month, I could pretend to be human.
Father Abel Nightroad
Chapter 8 Rating: PG-13ish... language Chapter 8: From Bad to Worse
Catarina watched her friend drift past the French Doors again, all his thoughts and feelings hidden behind the foolish mask once more, and she felt her heart ache for Abel. He had filed his official report as always, but instead of telling her the details he had omitted, he had simply stated that he had made a mistake and left it at that. Since his return from the Northern Kingdoms almost a fortnight ago, Abel had been wandering the gardens by day and haunting the hallways by night, always wearing that mask to conceal his true feelings.
This wasn’t the same guilt that he had suffered after Sister Noelle Bor had died during the course of a mission. This was much darker and dangerous for Abel, because it was almost as if his heart had shattered along with his dreams. Dark circles under his eyes testified to his lack of sleep, and she didn’t know how to reach out to help him through this.
What happened, Abel? she silently asked, watching him vanish from her sights. It would be another fifteen minutes before he passed by her office again, giving her a chance to get a bit of work done before her worry for him distracted her again. There were times she hated being a cardinal and the head of a department when it meant that it took time away from her friend and guardian angel.
A knock on her door interrupted her thoughts, and she called for the person to enter as she bent her head to her work. She heard the door open and footsteps crossed the floor before stopping before her desk. “How can I help you?”
“Where is Abel Nightroad?” demanded a deep voice, and Catarina looked up to find a tall man with knee length silver hair dressed in black leather standing there. His blue green eyes were glowing with a barely suppressed anger, and she regarded him with a raised brow.
“Who are you and why do you want Father Nightroad?” she drawled, placing her pen on her desk before leaning back to fond her hands in her lap. It was a deliberate move on her part because it allowed her to reach for the alarm should this stranger be more dangerous than he appeared to be.
Instead of replying, the man dropped a much folded piece of parchment on her desk. Picking it up, she unfolded it and read the letter, her heart aching for her gentle friend as her eyes took in the flowing script. However, she refused to let her feelings show on her face or in her eyes in front of this angry king.
“It appears Father Nightroad made his decision,” she said, placing the letter back on her desk as she looked up into those opaline eyes. “So why are you here, Your Highness?”
“He ran with no more explanation than that letter,” he growled, clenching his hands that trembled from the force of his emotions as he continued to glare at her. “I had believed that friends trusted each other, even with the important problems.”
Rising from behind her desk, Catarina walked over to draw the curtains shut, concealing the interior of her office. It wasn’t an unusual act and wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows while giving them the privacy to talk in peace. “Abel has always been different, willing to help others at the expense of his own happiness.”
She turned to look at him, this time not bothering to hide her concern for her friend. “He usually tells me when he has to use that part of his abilities on a mission, but this time, all I was told was that he made a mistake.”
“A mistake in what way?” he demanded, his attitude switching from an almost battle fury to political coldness.
She shook her head, golden curls bouncing around her shoulders. “He wouldn’t tell me, and for the sake of our friendship, I didn’t pry.”
If anything, his glare turned even more arctic at her words, and she flinched despite herself. “Strange, your definition of friendship seems to differ greatly from the one I was taught,” he growled.
Catarina opened her mouth to protest when there was a small warning chirp from her wall. She watched one of her paintings slide to one side to reveal a screen that flickered to life. She had just enough time to wonder when Abel had installed this particular Lost Technology in her office when the flickering colors solidified into the image of the Eternal Mother, Empress Augusta Vradica.
And she looked quite irritated.
Chapter 9 Rating: PG-13ish... language Chapter 9: The Proper Care of an Abel
To say that Seth Nightlord, the Empress of the Methuselah Empire, was annoyed was like saying Armageddon was a minor disagreement between parties. Her spies in the Vatican had reported back to her on her brother’s well being once he had returned after a month on his latest mission. She had allowed Cardinal Sforza time to help Abel only to find out that no one had bothered to help him.
“Cardinal Sforza, why haven’t you been helping my brother recover from his latest mission?” demanded the small ruler, her voice sharp even as she noticed the King of the Northern Kingdoms standing in the office. Interesting. Especially since Abel had been there a fortnight ago.
“Your Imperial Majesty, I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean,” stuttered Sforza, her grey eyes wide, and Seth’s gaze narrowed. She didn’t mind playing word game when it came to politics, but her brother was more important than petty politics.
The king, Sephiroth she remembered his name was, chuckled softly as he regarded the cardinal himself. “You are not pleasing anyone today,” he purred, folding his arms across his chest. “Point me towards Abel, and I will leave you to discuss things with Her Imperial Majesty.”
That caught Seth’s attention and she turned her gaze towards the silver haired man. “You have an interest in my brother as well?”
“Your brother is Abel Nightroad?” inquired Sephiroth, turning to face her as Sforza gaped at them both. Seth nodded, and a curious look appeared on his face. “Then why is he not in your empire with you?”
“Abel is someone who needs to be needed,” explained Seth with a shrug of a shoulder. “He was content to work at the Vatican, and as he continued to remain content, I wasn’t going to pressure him to join me in the Empire where he would rule at my side.” Emerald eyes turned towards Sforza. “However, the cardinal has not taken very good care of Abel, and as his only living relative, I will be doing something to assist his recovery from whatever emotional trauma he has suffered.”
“It took me some investigating to determine the exact events,” remarked Sephiroth, his lips twisting slightly. “Apparently, a village near Midgar was attacked by what you would call vampires. While defending the inhabitants, Abel transformed into a red eyed being before slaughtering the vampires with a scythe summoned from the darkness. They are calling him a guardian angel, but the letter he left indicated that he sees himself as a monster.”
Seth turned her glare back on the cardinal who shrank from the fury in emerald eyes. “You haven’t broken him of that mind set? After twenty years?”
“I tried!” protested Sforza, her hands clenched at her sides. “But between protecting his nature from the Inquisition and trying to remain impartial to him to keep him from being attacked by Francesco to get at the AX, I barely have time for him!”
“Not good enough,” snorted Sephiroth, folding his arms across his chest again. “A good leader knows how to balance politics and personal feelings.” The tone of his voice was cold and unflinching, stating that this was a lesson that had been learned but at a price.
The small empress turned her attention back to the king. “You seem to have a strong interest in my brother, Your Majesty. May I ask what your intentions towards him are?”
“Quite frankly, I plan on returning with him to Midgar where he will be my companion, friend, trusted advisor and lover if he will still have me in his bed,” Sephiroth stated. “I would also break him of the guilt he appears to carry like a martyr and make him see that he is hardly a monster.” He shrugged, apparently unconcerned how his words would be taken. “If that requires him to be chained and collared at my side like a favored pet, then so be it.”
That got a startled protest from the cardinal, but Seth eyed the silver haired man thoughtfully. He seemed to have the stubbornness to actually pull off what his words promised. “And what of his friends? Do their opinions matter to you?”
“If they were truly his friends, would they not have seen through the mask he wears and gotten to the bottom of this problem that much quicker?” he retorted. “I came as soon as I found out the peculiarities of this little problem.”
Seth nodded in agreement, making up her mind. “All right. Your words have convinced me that you have my brother’s best interest at heart. However, words have convinced me before. It is your actions I will be watching in regards to Abel. Should you treat him as poorly as Cardinal Sforza has, then I will take him away from you both. The fact that you were willing to chase after him speaks highly of you.”
“You’re agreeing to the kidnaping and enslavement of a Vatican priest!” protested Sforza, her voice a bit desperate. “That could be seen as a declaration of war.”
There was a snort of disgust from Seth at that. “You who have been working for over a decade to form a peace treaty between our kingdoms would willingly break it for one man? One priest whom you have claimed to be a friend of yet have allowed politics to tie your hands, letting him trap himself in his grief and depression?” Seth shook her head. “The only thing you are going to do is write up the termination of his job and responsibilities to the Vatican in general, and both yourself and the AX specifically before signing it. You have your battle android for a body guard, you don’t need Abel as well.”
“And if I refuse?” inquired Sforza, straightening slightly as if she was trying to find something to keep Abel in the Vatican.
“Then I will simply work around you, little girl,” purred the empress, looking like the cat that had cornered the fat canary. “Do not try to out maneuver me. I built my empire from refugees and have commanded people in battle. No matter how young I may appear, I am no younger than Abel himself.”
At that reminder, Sforza seemed to crumple in on herself before she shuffled over to her desk to start writing. Seth turned her attention back to Sephiroth. “Remember what I said. Now, here’s the recipe of a sedative that will knock even him out. Use it sparingly because too much will send him into a coma.”
She started listing ingredients and quantities as the King of the Northern Kingdom listened.
And if anyone can give me a good title for this story, I'll be sure to credit you everywhere this is posted.