Despite his abrupt arrival, Takako was glad Kagetsuya had come in before she'd managed to make things worse. While he'd admitted that they could cut
strips from the sheet to use as bandages, they still needed to form a splint or it wouldn't do any good. She didn't know how he was going to do that, but he
seemed to have an idea and she brought the sheet back to the small bedroom. Chihaya would probably be staying with her, so she made the bed again,
listening through the door to the sound of Kagetsuya's voice. Hopefully, Miyagi would get the supplies. She was still angry with Aya's threat earlier, and no
matter how close she was to Kagetsuya, Takako didn't particularly want the girl in her apartment. Oh, she was sure Aya would be back eventually, but she'd
have some time to cool down first. To think, the fool had nearly caused Chihaya to jump.
That surprised her. The boy was obviously more stubborn than she'd thought, but he didn't look fatalistic. She would have sworn he wasn't the type to kill
himself. With the blankets back in place, she paused in the doorway, her pink eyes sweeping across the living room to where the two males were in the
kitchen. A small smile twitched at her lips and she sighed, stepping briskly until she stood in front of Chihaya. The boy blinked up at her and she waved a
hand to where he was holding his wing. "Do you really plan to sit like that until he gets here?" They'd decided it wasn't good to keep the weight of the wing on
that torn joint. Actually, Kagetsuya had decided it, but she could see the reasoning well enough. But that meant holding it up and Chihaya was sitting
sideways in the chair, his left arm propped on the back as he held the wing. "Let me pull up a chair and I'll hold it for you, your arm is going to go numb."
His arm felt fine and Chihaya shook his head slowly, almost smiling when she frowned. "I can take care of myself." A snort sounded behind him and he
bristled, barely resisting the need to glare at the blonde man standing near the counter. Kagetsuya must have finished his call because he heard the phone
being set down a moment before the man moved to stand next to Takako.
Matching the girl's frown, Kagetsuya folded his arms over his chest, looking down at the boy. He could take care of himself? Kagetsuya would have laughed
outright if those dark eyes hadn't looked so belligerent. Instead, he let the comment slip by, his gaze shifting to the pale hand half buried beneath long black
feathers. That held his gaze and he remembered the blood-flecked feathers they'd found in the alley. Under the low light set above the table, the ebony color
seemed to glint and glisten, the dark adding vague highlights of muted violet to the boy's long black hair. But the purple sheen led him back to frowning eyes
of a lighter shade, and he met the frown with a calm expression. His arms folded comfortably over his chest and he waited, not allowing himself to so much as
blink as the black angel continued that reproachful stare.
Nearly a minute passed before his eyes began to burn in earnest, and Chihaya tightened his jaw. If Blair's brother thought he could be intimidated so easily,
the man was fooling himself. But it was harder than he'd imagined. He'd seen humans have contests in which they stared for hours without blinking, yet his
own eyes were being assaulted by sharp, dry air and his head hurt, a dull throb in his temples. He was tired, he felt dizzy, and he was both hungry and
nauseous, two feelings he couldn't seem to reconcile in his aching midsection. Pale blue eyes continued to hold him, and his lips curved into a deeper frown
than he'd used before. They were both being childish, he thought suddenly, and he turned away, gaze shifting so he could send a soft smile to Takako. The
girl looked uncertain, her eyes moving between him and Kagetsuya, but she returned the smile.
Stepping closer to Kagetsuya, Takako noted that something flickered in the man's eyes as they shifted to her. He was frowning a bit, but the expression didn't
seem quite so intense, as if he'd accomplished or eased something during that long look the two males had shared. Takako glanced past him to the
telephone hung on the wall. "Is Miyagi coming, then?" she asked, her eyes darting to Chihaya when the boy turned to watch them in apparent apprehension.
"Yes," Kagetsuya nodded, leaning back against the kitchen counter. "Aya, too." The girl scowled and he gave his own frown, his gaze dropping to focus on
With a quick step, Takako moved closer, laying a hand on Kagetsuya's arm. "I don't think that would help things," she said softly, very aware of dark violet
eyes watching them.
"Neither do I," Kagetsuya admitted. He pushed away from the counter and took a seat at the table, to the right of Chihaya. The black-haired boy turned
confused and wary eyes on him, and he looked away, focusing on Takako's disapproving expression. "There really isn't much I can do about it," he said, his
voice betraying a deep resignation. "She said she wasn't going to be kept out of this again, and Miyagi doesn't want to leave her alone with Kageto, especially
when she's angry." The pink-haired female was now leaning in a pose similar to his former position, and he smirked at her confused frown. "She's prone to
temper tantrums, and Kageto's much too passive for his own good. If Aya got going, she'd have him on his way back to Eden for reinforcements."
"We don't want that," Takako said quickly, her back straightening so she stood a bit taller, as if that might give her strength.
"No, we don't. In which case there's no point trying to keep Aya out of this. But she shouldn't cause any trouble this time." Takako raised an eyebrow at him.
"Miyagi knows the plan." Her gaze left him and he followed it, blinking in surprise. Of course, he hadn't forgotten the black angel seated mere feet from him.
He'd been careful not to say too much, aware of the boy's gaze. But he hadn't noticed when those violet eyes left him and he stood quickly, his expression
doubting when the boy didn't react.
The last time he'd looked, Chihaya had been watching over his shoulder, since he'd taken the seat to the boy's right. That dark head was now bowed, face
hidden in the arm curled on the table. The boy's left hand had fallen completely, pale arm nearly hidden amid dark feathers as the wing sagged. Without
hesitating, Kagetsuya moved behind Chihaya's chair and lifted the wing back into place, a quick glower directed at the damp tear. The boy didn't so much as
flinch at his touch. Takako joined him and he held his silence, watching her brush back long dark hair to lay her hand on Chihaya's neck, his face being
pressed into the crook of his arm.
"I think he has a fever," Takako said softly, her voice a smooth whisper. "He was damp and cold when I found him, after all."
"Of course he was," Kagetsuya said under his breath. His eyes had fallen to the moist tear again and he had an infuriating urge to heal it. As if she'd read his
mind, Takako joined him in his perusal of the injury.
"You could heal that in a matter of seconds," she whispered, letting a hint of disapproval through. "Why are you going to let it stay like that until it heals on its
own? It's too cruel."
"I know," Kagetsuya glared. The girl flinched and he sighed. "I'm sorry, but I just can't heal it like that." His voice was as soft as hers had been, but he wasn't
really worried that the black angel would wake up and overhear them. "So long as he's grounded, he can't run away. You saw how worried he is about his
wing. Black angels don't show themselves to humans any more than we do, so he'll stay until the wing heals. This way, we won't have to guard him and he
won't feel like a prisoner."
"But he is," Takako said, her eyes falling to Chihaya's dark hair. She understood Kagetsuya's reasoning, but she couldn't help but feel it was wrong.
"True. But as long as he doesn't realize it, he'll stay on his own. And you can work on him." Wide pink eyes flew to him and he smirked. "He obviously likes
you. I half expected to have to drag him into the kitchen earlier."
"I helped him, that's all. He's...sweet," Takako said, ignoring the eyebrow Kagetsuya raised at he. "I think he'd like anyone who was nice to him." Her
expression hardened and she frowned suddenly. "Which is one of the reasons I don't like the idea of Aya being around him. You saw what she did, she
almost killed him."
"She shouldn't have said that," Kagetsuya agreed, remembering his own inexcusable threat, "but he's the stubborn one who overreacted."
Staring at the man in surprise, Takako frowned. "What would you have done if it were you and someone threatened to torture *you* until you told where your
At first, Kagetsuya was taken back by the condemnation in the girl's voice, but it didn't really bother him. Rather, it reminded him of the few times he and Blair
had clashed in the past, proof that she and Takako had that much in common. Shaking his head, he sighed again. "I would fight back, or suffer through it. I
know," he said quickly, catching Takako's indrawn breath, "he couldn't have done what I would do. You don't have to tell me."
They stood for a minute in silence, their eyes locked, then both smiled and Takako sighed. "I'm glad you're still you, Kagetsuya." The blonde blinked at her,
but she could see that most of the tension had left him. He looked more like he had the last time she'd seen him in Eden, than the angrily upset man she'd
met with this morning. The cause was obviously hope, and his faith in the plan he'd devised. Thinking of that, she glanced at the half-closed wound, her gaze
pausing to take in the way Kagetsuya's hold kept the wing elevated enough that the tear almost looked like a shallow scratch. It was still wrong to let the boy
suffer until it healed naturally, but she doubted he'd actually be left in pain during that healing. At most, the wound would cause discomfort and
inconvenience; Earthian medicine could take care of the rest. "Do you think it's a good idea to leave him like that until Miyagi gets here?" The boy's right wing
was stretched, a few of the long feathers pushed at odd angles from where he'd fallen onto the table. Kagetsuya's hold kept the injured wing upright, but she
knew from experience that nothing itched more than having feathers pressed awry.
"It'll be easier to splint this with him upright," Kagetsuya said, frowning when the girl touched Chihaya's right wing. For a second he could have sworn she was
petting the shiny feathers. His own hold told him they felt the same as his own wings, or any wings he'd touched and he wondered what Takako expected. It
wasn't until she shifted the boy's right wing that he decided to just ask. "What are you doing?"
The odd quality in Kagetsuya's voice made her flinch and Takako felt a horrible urge to blush, looking at the man's expression. "I just thought I'd make him
more comfortable," she frowned. He seemed doubtful and she glared, focusing on the tall black wing as she lifted it off the edge of the chair, folding it so it
hung near the boy's bowed back, wingtip trailing the floor in a natural sweep. That done, she turned on Kagetsuya, a bit satisfied when he blinked in surprise
at her scowl. Folding her arms over her chest, she tilted her head to stare up at him. "You know, if you're going to help me, you'll have to be more
considerate." Those pale blue eyes blinked again and she nodded sharply. "It's going to be bad enough with Aya around. There's no point in you upsetting
"Upset him?" Eyes widening, Kagetsuya's mouth opened for a second before he frowned at her. "Since when are you so protective of someone you just
met? You saw him, he's belligerent." His gaze fell to the soft-looking black hair that trailed down the boy's back and he sniffed, turning away quickly. "Don't
forget that he's the one who knows where Blair is. He got himself into this condition by running like that, not because of me. And *he's* the one who refuses to
Takako didn't miss the uncertainty that had flickered over the blonde angel's expression when he'd glanced at Chihaya, and she nodded, her own expression
softening. "I know. But Kagetsuya, you can't forget that he's also the one who risked his life to tell us she was happy. That's important, too." He stared at her
for a moment, and she smiled when his eyes fell again.
* * *
Aya was obviously the one to knock on the door, a loud demanding rap that followed the rattling doorknob. Takako had jumped, unused to the girl's habit of
walking right in without warning, but it was Chihaya's reaction that caught Kagetsuya's attention. The black angel tried to lunge out of the chair and Kagetsuya
grabbed a fist of long black hair without a second's hesitation, jerking him back. His only thought was that Chihaya would rip the wing right out of his grasp,
possibly severing it completely. Takako's gasp was overridden by a sharp cry of pain that made him wince. "Be still!"
At first his panic continued, spurred by the unfamiliar voice, but Chihaya froze, a hand lifting to touch the fist wrapped in his hair. Then his eyes focused on
the table and he blinked, relaxing slowly as he remembered where he was. Takako moved into his sight and he calmed more, enough to get angry. "Let go of
my hair!" Kagetsuya did so immediately and Chihaya frowned, rubbing the back of his head for a moment before glancing behind him. "Why did you do-" His
right wing had blocked his view of the blonde angel, and the question died on his lips. He'd completely forgotten about his wings. But he didn't really feel
anything but a dull numbness from the injury, so it made sense that he hadn't thought of it immediately. Still, he had to berate himself for forgetting something
so important. He did so silently, then shifted his right wing closer to his back, frowning a bit when he noticed it was no longer draped over the back of the
chair. Without the black feathers blocking his view, he could see Kagetsuya, and he nearly blushed at the sight of the man holding his wing. Luckily the man's
frown kept him from it and he dropped his eyes, knowing he shouldn't have yelled. "I-"
"I wouldn't have done that, but it was the quickest thing I could think of," Kagetsuya muttered, his eyes focused more on the wing he was holding than on the
boy who had turned to look at him.
"Oh, no," Chihaya said quickly, not looking up. "It's all right. I shouldn't have fallen asleep. I didn't mean to."
"You have a fever," Takako said, losing her shocked expression. Kagetsuya had moved so fast she hadn't realized what was happening at first. Glancing at
the man, she blinked at his frown before gasping, a hand rising to her mouth just as the rapping sounded again. With a shake of her head, she moved out of
the kitchen. "I'd better let them in."
Aya pushed past Takako the moment the pink-haired girl opened the door, and Miyagi shrugged a bit, divesting himself of blame. He'd told the forceful girl as
much as he understood of Kagetsuya's plan, and she'd agreed to do whatever she had to in order to help get Blair back, but that didn't mean she wasn't the
same Aya. He was actually a bit surprised at her patience. He'd seen her pound a lot harder when people had the audacity not to answer immediately. Still,
he could tell from the frown Takako directed after Aya, that the other girl definitely disapproved. A few hairs tried to rise at the back of his neck and he just
hoped the two females wouldn't clash. The last thing they needed was for Takako to try and forbid Aya's presence. He'd had enough trouble convincing the
irate girl that Takako wasn't competition for Kagetsuya's affection. Although, he'd done that more for his own sake since Aya tended to take her anger out on
him. Pink eyes turned to him and he entered the apartment, a slight smile answering Takako's sigh. "I come bearing gifts," he quipped.
Takako smiled at the tired twinkle in the man's pale greenish-blue eyes. As far as she could remember, from the few times she'd seen him with Blair or
Kagetsuya, the blonde always had that tired look. While she'd barely spoken to the girl in the past, she blamed it on Aya. It had to take a great amount of
energy and patience to deal with the lavender-haired girl. "Come in," she said, taking the door and shutting it behind him. She didn't have to direct him to the
kitchen since Aya had already reached the table, the girl's words making her wince.
"Why are you doing that?" Kagetsuya's hands were practically hidden by black feathers and she grimaced, a glare shot at Chihaya. There was definitely
something wrong with the scene; the hint of blush she could see on the pale boy's cheeks proved it without a doubt. As for the object of her obsession,
Kagetsuya frowned at her, making her scowl deepen. "Well?"
"His wing's torn," Kagetsuya said smoothly, keeping his voice calm.
"So? I don't see wh-"
Interrupting, Miyagi barely kept from wincing when the girl turned on him. "We're going to bind it so it'll heal." Kagetsuya gave him a relieved, yet knowing look
and he shook his head, stepping past Aya to set the supplies on the counter. His friend didn't seem to have any idea how jealous Aya got over him, but then,
Kagetsuya wasn't the one who'd have the joy of escorting the girl back to her apartment. Though he doubted if Aya would mind if the blonde angel were more
forward with her, Kagetsuya had never offered even a hint of attraction in return for her blatant attention. No, Miyagi knew he'd be the one walking her back,
listening to her rants all the way.
Chihaya couldn't remember the last time he'd wanted to be invisible as much as he did at that moment. He was just about convinced that Takako bore no ill
will toward him. Despite the fact that the other angels had shown up earlier, he rather believed she *hadn't* planned to tell them where he was. And
Kagetsuya did seem determined to see him healed, though he doubted Blair's brother would just let him go afterward. But the other two were different. The
blonde man was the same one who'd first chased him, and that linked him with the other two males. That he'd yet to see those two didn't matter at all; the
pale-purple haired girl bore him the same sharp hate that they did. The only difference was that she'd have trouble doing violence to him. She was just about
his size, a bit shorter than Takako. The pink-haired girl reminded him of her presence by tapping one of his hands, which he'd folded on the table before him.
The first thing Miyagi took out of the bag was a bottle, and Takako held her hand out in front of Chihaya, smiling when he blinked at the two pills in her palm.
Setting down a glass of water, she took one of his hands and turned it so she could transfer the medicine. "Those should help with the pain," she said softly.
For a second, Chihaya thought about refusing, keeping his eyes from rising to look at the other angels since he could feel them watching him. His wing really
was more numb than anything else, but he thought it might help with his headache, or his stomach. Those were the two parts that hurt the most. He'd
definitely felt a bump on the back of his head, no doubt the source of the consistent throbbing he'd grown used to. "Domo arigato gozaimasu."
The boy's soft, polite words made Takako's eyes narrow for a second, but she cleared them the moment Chihaya glanced up at her. "Go ahead," she smiled,
paying no attention to the soft snort that sounded behind her. She'd never considered herself to have a real temper, but she felt as if she were five seconds
away from smacking the girl. Chihaya hadn't done anything wrong. It was true that Kagetsuya hadn't told Aya about the message the black angel came to
deliver, but Takako just couldn't seem to sympathize with her. She'd never had much contact with the ones who constantly denounced black angels, so she
didn't understand what made the girl hate them without cause. Surely she'd noticed that Kagetsuya was disapproving of her attitude. A glance at the man in
question confirmed that and she was relieved to see that Aya was no longer glaring, the girl's arms folded as she stared at the floor. Chihaya had taken the
medicine and she accepted the glass, smiling at him again. Smiles were cheap and easy to give, but she was determined to smile at him as often as possible.
Kagetsuya and she were both right. Chihaya liked her, and that was because she was nice to him. She planned to keep it that way.
* * *