A/N: for those people who ever have trouble sitting down and typing something up, I find that if you change the font to look more interesting or just different, it can help. Weird advice, sure, but it worked for me. So….now that you all think I'm nuts, here's chapter four. Any and all reviews are appreciated, of course.
Harry stared at the demon-host in front of him, a watchful frown on his face. His right hand still clutched the sword scabbard while his left hand gripped the revolver, not quite aiming at the woman. The woman stood there, her poise relaxed and confident with a lazy smile curled her lips as she ran her a hand through her silky hair, her eyes raking over Harry's body and assessing him. The expression that briefly flickered over her face told Harry that she had found him lacking and a jolt of anger zapped in his gut, resolve firming on his face.
"Who are you?" Harry demanded quietly. Within his mind, Meciel seemed to be throbbing nervously as the woman laughed quietly, a husky chuckle that grated on Harry's nerves, sending shivers down his back.
"My name is Deirdre, Meciel," She answered, her voice thick with humour. "And I'm quite sure that we have met before."
"Deirdre, was it? My name is Harry," Harry responded and flashed a fake smile, mockery flittering through his face. "And do you know what? I really don't think we have met."
Deirdre blinked in surprise, slightly cocking her head as she regarded Harry with a pensieve frown. Her dark and burning eyes assessed him again, open curiosity on her face.
"Meciel is not in command?" She asked slowly and for a second, it seemed as if she were puzzled by something. "You are the host?"
"Yeah, I'm the host," Harry said dryly, but he kept his distance away from the woman, not moving any closer than he had to.
Deirdre allowed a slow smile to curve her lips, soft but decidedly dangerous. She regarded Harry with an intense expression, almost hungry in nature, before giving off another dark chuckle, the sound causing goosebumps to pop from his skin.
"So, the traitorous Meciel stands before me in the host of a weak and untrained body of a child and she hasn't even wrested control," She said, laughter in her voice. The laughter died down as the humour faded, deadly intent settling on her face as she gazed at him coldly. "This should be easier than I thought."
'Look for opportunities to flee, beloved, for you are no match for her, not just yet,' Meciel whispered softly into his mind, caution in her soft voice. 'She has century's worth of experience and battle, and even the most modest talents can be supplemented by practise and knowledge.'
Harry knew that Meciel was right. While he had explored some of the uses for his power in the previous year-and-a-half, delving into summoning rituals, magical circles, basic evocation and knowledge of a wide array of supernatural beings, he knew that most of his potential lay in his wand-wizard heritage and unfortunately for Harry, he didn't have a wand.
'We're getting a wand after this, Meciel,' Harry thought quickly and felt Meciel pulse in acknowledgement, before he focussed back on Deirdre, who was smiling as if she knew that Harry had been conversing with Meciel.
"What will be easier that you thought?" Harry asked softly, watching the woman carefully, but she made no attempt to attack him just yet, content with the conversation as she idly raised her hand to her hair, unconsciously running her fingers through it.
"Why, the complete and utter annihilation of Meciel's host, and the banishment of her coin," Deirdre answered easily, a dark gaze of amusement in her eyes. She made a tutting sound, clucking her tongue as she waggled her finger at him. "You really shouldn't have chosen Meciel, boy."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know that you lot had a shop where I could have traded her in for a newer model," Harry retorted sarcastically, but he allowed the first trickle of his demon-granted power to start flowing into him, an intense but pleasurable rush of darkness that warmed his entire body with a satisfying tingle.
Deirdre didn't seem to take offence at Harry's attitude towards her, rather, she merely looked amused at is as a slow smile crossed her face.
"My, despite your looks you certainly don't act like a child, do you?" She murmured softly.
"Meciel's a bad influence," Harry confided, shrugging his shoulders, but his grip on the gun never faltered and his continued channelling his power, tense and alert. "You know, being a demon and all."
"I can believe that," Deirdre said, nodding in understanding as she smiling, her eyes glazing over for a short second. "Drandruil can cause me to behave irrationally at times, but the perks in our partnership far outweigh the cons. Besides, some of the best times I've ever had in my life are when Drandruil was in control."
"Before you try to kill me, just what did Meciel do to make you guys so angry with her?" Harry asked the demonic woman in front of him, honest curiosity in his voice. "I mean, it's not like she couldn't have stolen your soul, because you don't have one anymore."
"She hasn't told you of her crimes against us?" Deirdre asked, ignoring the slight and blinked, startled at Harry's question.
"Actually, she has," Harry deadpanned sarcastically, rolling his eyes mockingly as a sardonic grin flittered onto his face. "I thought I'd ask just so I could make myself look stupid."
Deirdre lost her amused demeanour as annoyance flickered onto her face. She lowered her hand from her hair and flexed her fingers, as if she would have liked nothing more at that very moment than to pick him up and strangle him.
"This rebellious act of yours is getting old, boy," She said, irritation clouding her tone. "You'd do well to hand over the coin and just walk away."
"And you'd let me live?" Harry asked in disbelief and scorn, scepticism on his face. "Yeah, like I really believe that!"
"Of course I would. We just want Meciel," Deirdre said, flashing him a brilliant and quite beautiful smile that seemed to urge Harry to trust her. But under the coldness of her eyes lay a burning passion, dark and hot, and Harry knew without a doubt that she was lying.
'She lies, beloved, you mustn't trust her. She will never let you live. It is not her way!'
'Of course she lying, Meciel,' Harry thought quickly. 'And even if she wasn't, I would never give you up.'
'Then you must flee or fight, beloved, but remain cautious. She is a very powerful.'
Harry refocussed his attention, which had only been diverted for the split-second that the conversation had taken, on Deirdre, who had begun talking. Power throbbed in his body, a brilliant and violent cascade of power that Harry, after one-and-a-half years of tuition, had no troubles of keeping it under control.
"We can find uses for one such as you, even without a coin," She was saying persuasively. "Who knows, I am certain that my father has a spare coin that he may grant you, should you serve him well. All you have to do is give up the coin and…"
It was at this moment that Harry directed the power within him, feeling it bubble up with demonic energy. The smell of pure, burning sulphur filled his nose as he dropped the sword scabbard and flicked his arm outwards, as if he were throwing something. From his extended hand came a searing ball of blazing Hellfire, which shot towards the other Fallen host. At the same time, his left hand rose as Harry levelled the revolver at Deirdre while Meciel showed him how to shoot. Psychologically, it could have been described as "a manipulation of the long-term memory, especially procedural memory, to create 'false' memories that allowed for unconscious, reflexive behaviours", but all Harry noticed was that his left arm straightened out, his right foot moved back and he fired without hesitation.
Three loud cracks erupted from within the back alley as Deirdre threw her hands up into the air. Almost simultaneously, three holes suddenly appeared in her blouse and she gave a slight jerk. A small dark stain quickly spread from the holes as blood leaked onto her blouse but she remained standing as the fireball hurtled towards her. Suddenly the ball of Hellfire slammed into an invisible force no less than a metre away from her, disappearing in a small puff of flames and oily wisps of smoke, and for a second Harry could have sworn that he saw a faint luminescent circle of glowing green magic shimmer into view at the end of her outstretched hands but it quickly faded away.
Deirdre looked down at her blouse, her hands still outstretched, an expression of annoyance coming over her face as she saw the blood.
"I'll be honest with you, boy, and say that that hurt a little," She growled out. "But did you honestly think that three bullets would stop me? Bullets have no magic behind them, they have no power. It's just a physical reaction that can be easily healed by somebody of my power. It will take many more bullets than that to truly hurt me."
Five quicker, loud cracks blasted from the revolver as Harry fired again and again until there were no more bullets left. This time the bullets didn't strike against Deirdre but rather the same, faint protective shield, which made an odd chinking noise as it deflected the small pieces of metal, turning them into vapour.
"I am not some lower Denarian to be taken down by mortal tools," Deirdre continued harshly, a dark smile on her face. "So I'm afraid you're going to have to…"
She broke off as Harry dropped the gun to the ground and clutched the sword to his chest as he began to run towards her. For a moment, Deirdre looked as if she would laugh at the sight of a nine-year-old charging at her with an expression of childish anger on his face. But her amusement quickly faded and her eyes widened with shock as, within the span of no less than two seconds, Harry changed from human into demon.
The first thing that appeared was two ashen wings made entirely out of sharp, hard bone, which burst from Harry's back, looming up above his head. His entire body suddenly shot up, growing from four foot four until he was towering seven foot. While this was happening, Harry's small arms suddenly lengthened and darkened in colour, bulky muscle hardening with scale as a set of thick, jagged claws sprouted from his long, thick fingers off his beefy, scaly hands. The legs thickened and grew as well, clothes disappearing as bulky muscles covered in glinting dark scales appeared. Pale, five-toed feet morphed into dark, four-clawed feet as the shoes were seemingly sucked into his body. Harry's chest expanded and rippled with powerful energies, bulking up with muscle as a hard shell formed around his shoulders and dipped down to his waist, coating his vital organs and solidifying into a thick, strong bone-armoured plate. A tail jutted out from his back, a thick and powerful appendage covered in armoured-bone that whipped lazily through the air. His head transformed, his mouth extending out into a small snout and his nostrils expanding into tall, thin slits. His hair clumped together and flattened as it was transformed into tiny ridges of hard bones, useful for head butting foes. Finally, his eyes changed last. Two sets of eyes appeared on his terrifying face, one set glowing eerie green, the other glowing luminescent silver, while a dark blood-red sigil appeared on his forehead, the same sigil that had been engraved on Meciel's coin.
"Bone wrym!" Deirdre hissed, her eyes wide as the wrym roared, a powerful, bestial roar, and continued its charge. Its loud footsteps slammed into the ground, which shuddered in the narrow alleyway. Her face twisted into anger and she let out a wordless snarl, taking a step backwards and, like Harry, changed. Her skin shimmered as it transformed into rows of metallic green scales and her leg's made loud cracking noises as they distorted, becoming oddly hinged, back-jointed, very similar to those of a lion. Her arms extended and her ring finger merged with her pinkie as her hands sprouted metallic claws, gleaming and sharp. Two sets of eyes appeared on her face, which remained mostly human, one set bright green, the other glowing cherry-red. It was her hair that changed the most, growing out at a fantastical rate until it had lengthened to about fifteen feet, swaying and bobbing as it moved. Each strand lightened into a light-grey metallic strand until it appeared that it had been cut into one-inch strips from half a mile of sheet metal. The hair writhed around her like a cloud of living serpents, metallic strands thrusting into the ground, supporting her weight like a dozen additional limbs.
Deirdre spat and hissed loudly in fury, her eyes reflecting her demonic rage, the same rage that was reflected in Harry's as he continued his charge, and the two powerful creatures of hell slammed into each other, meeting in battle.
When the two charging demons were close to each other, Harry brought up his ashen wings and thrust them downwards, trying to impale her on the sharp bone. Deirdre hissed loudly, coiling her back-jointed legs and jumping backwards. She must have had incredible strength in her legs because she soared through the air, landing on the ground gracefully no less than seven metres away. But Harry had started moving before she had even landed and he closed the distance quickly, his two sets of eyes glowing with rage and bloodlust as he let out a terrifying screech, lifting his thick, armoured tail and swiping it at Deirdre. The thick tail tore through the surrounding walls, tearing through bricks like they were newspapers as it brought it down on Deirdre, who dodged it gracefully as she sidestepped. The tail struck the ground with great force, cracking the asphalt with a loud rumble and when Harry brought the tail out of the ground, he left behind a small but deep crater. Harry used his sharp wings again, stabbing them at Deirdre, but the Fallen woman had had enough of being on the defensive and her hair writhed around her. Dozens out of the hundreds of strands of her new metallic-like hair shot up, flicking around various parts of both Harry's wings, latching onto them and halting them in their tracks.
Harry snarled, a sound promising great pain, baring his gleaming, sharp teeth as he strained against the iron grip of Deirdre's hair. His bony wings quivered as they pressed forward with all of their strength but Deirdre seemed to be too strong and didn't budge, a vicious smirk on her green metallic face, her eyes flashing with dark power. With another low snarl, Harry flung his tail out from behind him and swept it to the side, intending to bowl Deirdre off her feet. But the long-haired woman moved quickly and dozens more strands of metallic hair shot froward, whizzing through the air with an odd whistling noise as they sawed into armoured bone, wrapping themselves around the large appendage and stopping the anticipated blow. The tail strained against the bindings, Harry thrashing on his feet as he tugged and pulled with all of his might, but Deirdre merely smirked and lashed out, a dozen metallic ribbons of writhing hair lashed across the alley. They slammed into his chest with far more power than Harry expected and he roared with pain as he felt the strength behind the blows, each individual strand striking him like a sledgehammer. Small cracks appeared in the shell-like armour covering his chest as Deirdre continued pummelling him, restraining him where he stood with her grip on his tail and wings, while Harry flailed around uselessly, swiping his clawed hands through the air as he desperately tried to reach her.
'Beloved, you must listen to me. You must stop fighting and pull away when the time is right!'
Harry snarled, his teeth gnashing against each other, but the rage and anger that usually accompanied his demonic form was temporarily washed away by the sound of Meciel's soothing voice and as Deirdre readied another volley of blows, he abruptly went limp. The binds went lax for a single instant before Harry was pushed back as the full force of Deirdre's strength pushed against him. As he staggered back, he growled and with all of his strength, strained against the bonds and tore free, metallic strands unwrapped themselves from his wings and tail. Deirdre stumbled forward, startled, but rage washed over her features as she righted herself, while Harry stepped back, aware of a dim sense of caution behind his fury.
'No, beloved, you must step forward, you must get in close. Deirdre has the advantage of range! You must eliminate it!'
Harry let out a loud, brutish roar and surged forward, his feet slamming into the ground and causing the nearby trash-cans to rattle and clatter. It only took a few steps to close the distance between the two hosts, before Harry was upon his enemy. He leaned back and threw his entire weight behind a mighty punch, his fist rocketing through the air. Deirdre's hair whipped up in a blink of an eye, metallic strips slotting into each other and combining to form what seemed like a thick, sheet of metal. Harry's large, meaty fist slammed into this sheet of metal and although the sheer power of it forced Deirdre to take a step backwards, the gleaming metallic shield easily deflected the blow, and several others as Harry lashed out in a flurry of fists, claws ripping into brick walls as his swings went wide or bounced of the shield. Finally, after a powerful overhead blow connected to the shield, Deirdre staggered back as it collapsed, shrieking in pain as a few of her metallic strands of hair shattered in a sprinkling of metal. She coiled her legs and once again jumped further into the alley, her hair lashing out as she soared through the air. Harry bellowed as a few of them struck him but most of them zoomed past him and struck the ground before him, driving into it as if they were high-powered drills and punching deep holes into the concrete.
Deirdre landed nimbly on the ground, a little over ten metres away from Harry, who immediately charged for her. The ground shuddered and Deirdre waited until Harry was in range before she lashed out with her hair, thin strips striking at him like multiple whips. But Harry continued charging, swiping at the air furiously as he tried to bat away the metallic strands, and lowered his head, the ridges of hard bone levelled for Deirdre. With a loud bellow of anger, he reared his head back and slammed it forward at the other woman. But Deirdre nimbly ducked aside, moving forward as Harry charged past her, his momentum carrying him into the wall, which shuddered as Harry head butted it. Bricks were cracked and many crumbled to the ground from a large dent as Harry took a step backwards, a billow of dust and mortar in his face.
Deidre, who was behind Harry now, didn't even turn around as her hair fanned around her shoulders for a brief instant, before it lanced towards Harry, striking his exposed back furiously. Harry roared in pain and with a great, sweeping movement, he swung his tail around blindly, trying to strike at Deidre. He was successful as his armoured tail slammed into Deidre's midsection and sent her flying across the alley and sprawling on the ground as she landed with a loud thud. But the demon woman was quick to get back on her feet, her hair driving into the ground as it lifted her up, while Harry managed to turn around in the narrow alley, his tail tearing through more bricks.
He had turned around just in time to see Deidre's hair lash out at him like dozens of silvery whips, gouging into the armoured plate in his torso and tearing into some of the sensitive flesh on his head. Harry snarled in pain, his four eyes gleaming with rage, and his claws frantically swiping through the air. For once, they found something and Deirdre shrieked in pain as a handful of her hair was torn apart, instantly dissolving into a wisp of dirty, black smoke. Harry's next swipe took advantage of her distraction and another five or six of her strands shattered away into nothingness as he claws ripped right through them.
Deirdre let out a loud, high-pitched cry of pain and fury, her four eyes flashing with dark, searing power as she coiled her legs and jumped forward, soaring gracefully through the air and landing no less than a metre away from Harry, who swiped at her with his thick tail. He missed, the tail tearing through the ground, leaving behind a large gouge, while his ashen wings of bone stabbed at her. He missed, Deirdre twisting and weaving to avoid them, and they drove into the concrete as Deirdre's hair rose up around her. The dozens of individual metallic strands formed together, slotting in with each other much like they had done with the shield, but this time they formed a crude and rough representation of a pick-axe, or a scythe. With a spitting hiss of anger, Deirdre lashed out with her new weapon.
'Block it, beloved! She has woven a powerful spell into her hair! Should it strike your chest, it will penetrate!" '
Harry spun around, bringing his armoured tail up to coil around his head, and gave an inhuman grunt as the two appendages collided. Dark sparks flickered wildly as the axe scraped against the tail, trying to force its way past it to remove Harry's bestial head. The axe retreated as Harry took a stumbled step backwards, moving his wings of bone forward and deflecting the next strike, more purple and black sparks lighting up the air.
Deirdre hissed and step backwards, her hair breaking up and fanning around her as she bared her sharp, glinting teeth at him. Her hair was wildly spinning above her head, strands twisting and spinning around four thick clumps, wrapping around them as they formed into something vaguely resembling swords. Metal hissed and scratched as the swords spun through the air, Deirdre launching a flurry of powerful strikes on Harry, who brought up his ashen wings. Sword clashed upon bone, purple and black sparks flying through the air as Harry staggered backwards, Deidre's onslaught completely overwhelming him. Deidre let out a hiss of pleasure, darting forward nimbly and evading Harry's fierce rakes with his claws, circling him and continuing her assault on his battered wings.
Sparks continued to fly through the air, illuminating the area in hues of dark purple and Deirdre continued to circle around Harry, her hair lashing out with powerful blows. Sadistic pleasure illuminated her face as she chipped away at the great bone wrym's strength, until Harry, feebly lashing out with his claw, sliced through an entire sword by nothing more than luck. Deirdre let out a terrible scream of agony, her high-pitch voice reaching the point of painful as oily, black, smoke, smelling something like black tar, rose from her wound. She staggered back, her hair losing form as Harry righted himself and saw a moment of opportunity. Deirdre, whose hair was now spinning and twisting around to form something that resembled a thin, jagged spear, had left herself momentarily exposed and Harry, angered by both his pain and the demonic rage granted/cursed with his form, lunged for it with wings and arms.
'No! It is a feint!!'
But Harry had already gone for it, his mind too clouded with the pleasure and wrath that only black magic could bring, his wings lancing forward. Deirdre nimbly dodged, as if it had been her intention all of the time, and Harry then realised his mistake as the glittering metallic spear of long, sharpened hair slammed down and into his chest. The blow shattered the armoured shell and plunged into his body, digging into his now-vulnerable flesh, piercing his monstrous organs and shattering a small part of his armoured back as it pierced its way out of his body. Harry, who had thought he had felt pain before, screamed out in agony, his voice human rather than demon, while Deirdre shuddered in pleasure, her eyes dark with satisfaction as the spear sunk into her foes body. However, the momentum of Harry's charge carried on with him and with a mighty below of fury, lashed out with his bulging scaled arm. The blow caught Deirdre with the force of a tank, slugging her across the face and lifting her off her feet. She let out a rather un-demon squeal as she flew away from Harry, her spear sliding out of Harry's chest as the woman soared over two dozen metres, landing in a crumpled heap at the other end of the alley.
Instead of taking advantage of his foes present weakness, Harry staggered back on his mighty legs, his body suddenly feeling weak. Something burned within him, something foreign and extremely painful as it ate away at his strength, his vitality, his power. He shook his head blearily, his mind suddenly confused and disorientated. A thousand sparks of bright light flashed in his vision and suddenly Harry couldn't hear anything, not the wind or his own breathing. Although Harry didn't know it, the fierce glow of his green set of eyes was fading as something spread throughout his entire demonic form, weakening him and eating away at him. In a distant corner of his mind, Meciel spoke, urgency and panic in her voice.
'You have been poisoned with powerful black magic! You must run, beloved! You must change back! This poison will kill you in this body! Run!"
Harry blinked, a soft growl emerging from his lips as he smelt his enemy, seeing her rise up from the other end of the alley, blood pooling around her face. He made a motion to step towards her, his mind clouded with disorientation and a powerful wrath, but Meciel spoke again, her voice pleading with him as the burning in his veins worsened.
'You will die within minutes if you don't change! Run, beloved, I beg of you! Run and survive! Fight and die! Please, beloved, run!'
The words slammed into Harry's brain, temporarily driving his dizziness and anger, and with one last look at Deirdre, who eyed him with burning hatred, he quickly turned around and staggered away as fast as he could. His footsteps made loud, rumbling noises as he approached a corner and quickly glanced past it. He could see a busy street, full of humans, and with extreme concentration, he allowed himself to turn back into a human being. The dark power that had been flowing through his veins faded away as his senses dulled. Distantly, he could feel himself changing, losing nerve endings as tail and wing retreated into his body, losing his unnatural strength as muscles weakened and faded, but the disorientation and powerful burning sensation, which did lessen, did not disappear entirely. Finally, Harry was completely human, shivering and weak. His left hand still clutched the revolver, which he tucked into his pants, hiding it under his shirt, the right the sword scabbard. With stumbling steps, Harry proceeded forward at the end of alleyway and stepped into a London street.
The street was busy, packed with honking cars and multitudes of walking pedestrians. There were a few people gathered around the end of the alleyway, staring down into it, and Harry concluded with a dazed mind that they had heard the sounds of battle. Indeed, many of them seemed both frightened and curious, but one look at Harry and his grim, wild face and they let him pass silently. Harry gazed up and down the street, mind whirling as he staggered away from the alley, past the uncaring pedestrians as they scurried to their jobs. The burning in his veins was getting worse and when Harry looked down, he could see that blood was slowly staining his shirt, right where the spear had pierced him in his demonic form, and fear flittered past the dizziness and disorientation.
'There, beloved! There is a man getting out of a taxi! Take that, and quickly!'
Harry quickly staggered forward, approaching the taxi as he saw the well-dressed man pay the driver, and limped his way up to the black taxi as the well-dressed man walked off. His veins were on fire, there was something hot, far different from his power, burning into his veins like acid, and his pain must have shown on his face as stumbled into the taxi, dropping the sword to the ground, because the driver peered into his mirror and frowned.
"You okay, kid?" The man, a small-bearded man with blue eyes, asked in concern. "You don't look so hot?
"I'm fine," Harry said and reached into his pocket, pulling out a fifty-pound note and clumsily threw it at the driver, who snatched it from the air and nodded with a look of scepticism on his face as he turned around, placing the note in his money tray and clicking down the metre.
"Drug-users sure are getting younger these days," He muttered, before he raised his voice and spoke in a slow, loud voice, as if Harry were hard on hearing. "Where would you like me to take you?" The driver accentuated carefully.
'I can heal your wounds, beloved, and help you counter this spell,' Meciel said softly. 'But you need to find a place to rest, somewhere where you will not be disturbed. Perhaps, a motel'
"Hey, kid! Where to?" The driver demanded impatiently, tapping his fingers on the driving wheel in irritation. "I don't have all day here. Get off your high and give me some directions!"
"A motel," Harry said between soft, pained gasps. "A cheap motel, anywhere away from here."
"Are you going to be more specific that that?" The driver demanded and when he received no answer, he let out a tired sigh. "Look, whatever. I know of cheap-arse motel, but it's a bit of a fair ride. Your fifty should cover it though."
"That's alright," Harry grunted, trying to keep the pain from his voice as it intensified. What had started as a slow burning sensation had quickly blossomed into a raging inferno of agony, centring in his chest. He closed his eyes, tears building up as he gripped the sides of his seat, gritting his teeth. "Just go!"
As Harry felt the taxi begin to move, he gave an audible sigh in relief and leaned back into the chair, not needing to open his eyes to know that the illusion of Meciel sat next to him as her warmth began to spread to his pain-wracked body, comforting him as a tear slipped down his cheek.
Deirdre walked out of the alley, her stride angry and quick. She was completely human once more but darkness shone in her furious eyes as she scanned up and down the street, ignoring the small trickle of blood that was dripping from her nose as she sought out the child-host of Meciel. Her gaze went from the hundreds of people walking through the street to the dozens of black-coloured taxis, to the entrances of the various buildings and shops, and a scowl appeared on her face. She whirled around, the vicious snarl on her face sending several people scurrying away from her as she stalked back into the alley and disappeared into its shadows.
Later on, Harry would claim that he couldn't remember much of the following hours. His main memories were of an intense heat and fever, but he distantly recalled stumbling out of the taxi, the sword scabbard clutched in his hand as he gazed up at a small, paint-peeled sign that proclaimed 'MOTEL', and there was a vaguely memory of entering an dingy office, where a man lay back in his chair, fixated on the television. He remembered feeling his mouth asking for a room for the week in a very calm and detached manner and his hands moving to put down some money. The man had looked at money and went straight back to the television as he threw Harry a key, that Harry's arm caught with ease.
The next thing he remembered was entering a dark and blessedly cool room. There were flashes of quick memories of his hands scratching runes into the door and windows, most of them unknown to him. He distinctly remembered channelling his magic, the power rushing through him feeling insignificant next to the acidic poison in his veins, and then he was in bed, sweating and shivering as Meciel's illusion hovered above him, concern in her eyes.
"You did well today, beloved," She said quietly, watching him with soft silver eyes. "You retrieved sword and survived a battle with a much, more experienced opponent. I am very proud of you."
"It hurts," Harry whimpered, much like the child he should have been, and a flash of empathetic pain flickered over Meciel's face, the Fallen angel showing more emotion and concern that Harry ever recalled her showing before.
"Go to sleep, beloved," She whispered soothingly. "I will make it better."
Harry closed his weary emerald eyes, feeling Meciel stroking his sweaty forehead with hands, each stroke lulling him closer to sleep as it brought an icy tingle that swept through his body. The pain in his body faded away as the blazing inferno in his veins were washed aside by Meciel's warm glow, which invaded him like water sweeping through a fire and with a gentle sight, he fell asleep, relief clear on his face.
The illusion of Meciel watched him for a moment, her hand still stroking his sweaty and tangled hair, and for a moment, true affection and fondness appeared on her face before the illusion disappeared from Harry's unconscious perception as she started to combat the terrible poison in Harry's veins.
He would survive this.