I hope you have been enjoying the story thus far. I do want to make the chapters longer, but either it is make them longer, and update less, or keep them a bit shorter and update more. I'm choosing the second option for now, unless I have complaints.
Also, 'Nisroc' is an Angelic name, meaning 'Angel of Freedom.' I thought it was slightly ironic, given the Djinns place. : D
Now, enjoy 'Amends'.
Chapter Two : Falling Leaves
It was as if humans weren't made to handle this amount of information. A sentence, so seemingly short and unimportant, had brought Eike to stunned silence. He could remember a time when he questioned whether God existed, whether all that Religion mumbo-jumbo could really fool people. And here he was, listening to the being he loved so much tell him, and more than that, convince him without trying, that these things were fact.
Nowadays, with everything that had happened, the many turns his life had taken, though sometimes against his will, it was easy to believe. If things like Homunculus existed, then everything else followed. But that didn't make it any less unbelievable.
Hell, he was still in shock at Homunculus. Watching the being simply walk, move, speak, he found himself staring, wondering if something so obviously not human was truly here, in his home, in his arms. The shock wouldn't wear off for a while, he supposed. While he wasn't accustomed to the foreign being, he was starting to be accustomed to the love he felt. He didn't care that Homunculus wasn't human. That never mattered. Though, he had to admit—He was curious. About Homunculus, and all that he was. The things he had heard from the Djinns past were painful, more for the other being than himself, perhaps, but he hated to admit that he wanted to know more. As long as Homunculus was okay revealing any details.
Taking a few moments to recover his wits—and trying to make sense of the ambiguous speech of the Demon—He spoke softly, not able to help the shock in his voice that would probably bring a laugh out of the Djinn.
And there it was, the smile that he knew was coming with his unenlightened speech. "Is it so hard to believe, Eike? I am a demon, after all. Why wouldn't the opposite exist?"
The human frowned. " I always thought of you as a Djinn, more than an actual demon." He realized how confused he was with that sentence, and hoped that it hadn't sounded offensive. "I mean…demons are…"
"Evil?" Homunculus laughed a bit under his breath, one hand gripping at his side at the action, wishing that every little movement didn't irk his wounds. "That is what humans are led to believe, yes. And who could blame them? You once thought of me as evil, didn't you?"
Eike knew that was the truth, but didn't like thinking back to those times. And remembering them now, it wasn't as though he thought the Djinn was evil—more apathetic. Though, those could be the same thing, couldn't they?
Seeing the look on the humans face, he changed the subject to a point. He knew that Eike didn't like remembering how things were when they had first come to know each other, after seeing himself as a pawn, and seeing Homunculus as the purpose of so much misery. To be honest, the Djinn didn't like remember that point in time either.
"However, we are not all so cruel. There are evil demons, yes, but there are also evil angels. Evil, cruelty, is something that is had by every race, in some dose. No race is utterly pure of it." He snorted under his breath. "Like humans, to claim to have this connection to God. The worst of all." He only realized he had said this when he saw the slightly scolding look from Eike, and folded. "My apologies. It's habit."
Deciding not to scold the Djinn, both because he wanted to avoid a fight, and because the other was obviously still in quite a bit of pain, he continued on with his curious investigation. "So…That Djinn was an Angel. And he is angry with you because…you are with me?" The thought made Eike want to be sick, knowing that he was the underlying reason for what had happened. The Djinn, however, didn't seem so upset.
"He sees our relationship as disrespectful, mocking, towards the race of Djinn, whether they be Angelic or Demonic." He smiled gently, looking up at Eike with what could only be described as caring—nothing harsh or sarcastic behind the small gesture. "Love is a human emotion. And allowing one's self to be caught up in it is going against the Djinn, and our ways."
Eike could understand the idea of what Homunculus said, at least. It was the same as humans wanting to be with the same race, the same skin color, at times. However, from the way the Djinn spoke…it sounded more that the problem was loving itself, not only loving a human. Really, feeling anything seemed to be against the rules for Djinn. Well, anything but anger. But that was understandable.
And Homunculus thought humans were cruel.
"So…what are you going to do?" He realized that there was something wrong with the question, and amended it quickly. "What are we going to do?"
Hearing himself referred to in a pair, Homunculus felt strange. Though things had changed, he still remembered how he had been addressed for eons—It was usually, "Me, and my slave", or "This thing", or "This demon." He had always been referred to separately, now that he thought about it. And yet, so simply, this man said 'we'. After admitting their love for each other, he knew things would be different…but that didn't mean he could expect every little thing, prepare himself mentally, and know what was coming. He may have all the secrets of the world within himself, but love was not one of them.
"We are going to continue as we are."
The answer was so obvious, coming from the pale lips, yet obviously complicated. Eike knew what that meant, and knew that Homunculus wouldn't be left alone. Looking down at the other, and pulling a bit more against his chest, mindfully, he spoke a bit more harshly than he had wished. "It isn't that simple, Homunculus. Obviously, that…Nisroc will come back. And next time, he might go further." Not so mindful now, he gripped the Djinn tighter, as if letting him go would allow him to be gone forever, allowing that Angel to take advantage of the fire demons weakness again. He couldn't forgive that—the punishment didn't fit the crime. There was no crime, no matter what their culture said.
Culture…another culture. Another world, another race. And Eike, who was so normal. But what was normal, really? He wasn't sure he could tell anymore. For all he knew, Angels and Djinn were normal, plain as day.
He felt the bundle move in his arms, and he tensed up , looking at Homunculus with nothing but pure worry. "Stop! Don't push yourself, you can't—"
"I can't risk you being hurt. I have to put up barriers."
Looking at the Djinn, he realized that Homunculus was far more worried about him, than anything else happening to his frail body. His heart soared, but also dropped—Eike could take a punch, but that's more than he could say for the warm being in his arms. Leaning down, without being able to stop himself, he pressed his lips softly to the demons, holding him tightly against himself. There wasn't any fight—Homunculus didn't have the energy to try to get away, and he wouldn't if he could. He wanted to stay in the other's arms, heal that way…but he needed to protect them. Protect Eike. So he wouldn't be hurt, ever again. Pulling away slowly, he looked at the other. "I have to protect you…Have to protect this place, to make sure nothing happens. I can't let them hurt you…so I have to place my magic around this house."
Pulling away, he sat up, wincing, shuddering, body fighting him tooth and nail. Slowly getting to his feet, he obviously suppressed a scream, once again coming to sit on the edge of the bed, unable to move any further.
"God damn it…"
To hear the Djinn curse, and sounding so heartbroken, Eike wondered what he could really say to make Homunculus feel any better. Reaching out a hand, he ran his fingers through the Djinns hair, slowly. After a moment, he sat closer, placing his fingers under the Djinns chin, and tilting his head up, their eyes meeting.
"Please rest. Please." Eike didn't know how else to say it. "If he comes back, we will think of what to do then, but I…I can't stand seeing you like this. Pushing yourself." He smiled softly, trying to lighten the mood. "You've pushed yourself enough the past few days."
The Djinn found the strength to smile, but behind it was emotion building up. He wouldn't let it out, he knew that much, but he also hoped Eike couldn't see it.
"Before you start putting up barriers…do you mind me asking a few more questions?" Eike knew it was a good way to distract him, and also honestly needed to know more before Homunculus risked blacking out again. That way, he wouldn't have to let go of the pale demon either. Obviously against his will, Homunculus nodded his head, body wavering. If it were up to him, he would push harder to get things done—but he couldn't say no. And as much as he hated to admit it, putting up barriers now may shatter his body completely. "As you wish…However, I may need to lean against you."
Eike shook his head. "I have a better idea." Moving quickly to take his shoes off, and take his jacket off, leaving him in his black shirt, a bit more comfortable and less confining, he laid back in the bed, pulling the Djinn with him. It felt so similar to before, when he heard of the others Masters…He cringed at the thought.
He would never be that way. He would never treat this being as an object—because he wasn't one.
"What would you like to know, Eike?"
There was much he wanted to ask about…One thing, he couldn't find within himself to bring up, however. Nisrocs words rang in his head.
"The many Masters who wished for such garish things…Your body, for example?"
Shaking his head, he began where he knew he should. "Nisroc…He said something, a few things, actually. That you…knew him, twelve thousand years ago. And mentioned your past life." He closed his eyes, knowing that Homunculus could very well send memories his way—they were easier to see if he concentrated. Though he hoped this time, they weren't as painful.
But he knew better.
"Correct. That is when I saw him last, now that I think about it. Unlike humans, Djinn find it…unnecessary to 'catch up' with old acquaintances. If there is something we wish to know, we simply spread our minds out, see what they are doing at any given moment. There is no need to speak, make friendships…That is not why we were made."
"I don't think humans were made for friendships either. It is just a nice thing to have."
"Perhaps for your kind, Eike. But for us…It can be the difference between life and death, between pain and pleasure. We stay at a distance, to avoid getting too attached, then torn apart. Djinn are servants, slaves, that is all. We aren't meant to have a life outside of that."
Eike winced, hating how the other referred to himself in those terms. "But you have just told me that beyond being a Djinn…You are a demon. Right?"
"That is correct."
"Then…how did you know Nisroc? I mean…Angels are in Heaven, and Demons are in Hell, right? How did you even come in contact?" After saying this, Eike knew that it sounded silly. He wasn't sure why that was—every other person he knew thought that was how it was, with Angels with God and Demons with the Devil.
'I get it now…You're the 'big S', the devil. 'In exchange for your immortal soul' and all that, am I right?'
He almost laughed out loud. He remembered saying that, the first minute he 'met' Homunculus—and yet, this creature fell in love with him anyway? The feelings were reciprocated, and that was still unbelievable, given the gap in I.Q. between the two of them. He was man enough to admit that…if even to himself.
"I want you to forget all of that right now, Eike. Humans have twisted what we are so far out of reality, that I cannot even recognize it. Perhaps once we were separated, but we then decided that…something had to be done."
It was obvious that the Djinn was having trouble. Whether it was from the pain he was feeling physically, the subject matter, or the fear that Eike wouldn't understand, he wasn't sure. But he wasn't going to go anywhere, until he could understand at least partly. The pair were so close, he wanted to know all he could. And if his lover was a demon, he wanted to know what that truly meant—even if it wasn't good.
"I want to explain this in an uncomplicated way. For your benefit, of course." Smirking, he turned red eyes up, hoping the human wouldn't take offence.
Eike wouldn't dream of it. "Oh, thank you for your kindness." Laughing a bit under his breath, he took Homunculus's hand, seeing the demon close his eyes, resting his head on Eikes chest, the fabric barely blocking the heat, which was more than a humans could ever be. And yet, that warmth, however strange and unexpected, was becoming more and more comforting—more and more a necessity to him, to his own feeling of safety.
"When it comes to both Angels and Demons, we were both slaves, in the beginning. Slaves to the Gods. Though, I suppose, it was easier to see Demons as slaves, as we were sometimes captured by Angels, forced to do their dirty work."
"Did that happen to you?"
Homunculus was silent for a few moments, before giving his assent. "I did not mind being taken as a slave, if it meant being in the presence of Gods. And I was, for millennia, in the service of Angels. Nisroc, to be specific. He was…in most cases, a gentle Master, but when he would become angry, I would be the closest one to that emotion. During this time, I did not have the same fragile body that I do now—however, I was by no means strong. My powers were put under very heavy limits by Nisroc." Tapping the gold clasp on his ear, he smirked bitterly. "This is from him. This is what kept me from running, what kept me so weak. And I cannot remove it, to this day. It adds to what my first Master did to me, when creating me in the human world."
Eike was shocked. The Djinn was weak enough…yet Nisroc went to that length, even before this had happened? To be honest, he didn't care if he was an Angel—he would gladly throw a punch either way.
"So…how did you end up here?" Absentmindedly, Eike reached down, brushing his fingertips over the Gold cuff, cursing the Angels existence. He would ask more about it later—for now, Homunculus was so weak, he probably didn't want too much reminding about it.
"Some Angels felt as though they were being used by the Gods, manipulated. Demons also felt angry, that they were being used by the Angels—it was a chain, one long chain of slaves and misery. And one day, many demons decided that they would form their own race, break away from these bonds, create their own world, where they would be free. As you have seen, creating a world is quite possible—I have done it many times over.
These were the Djinn. My kind. I was a part of this group, and some Angels even joined our cause, wanting to live their own existence fully, not the existence of their so-called creators."
Silence for a moment, a brief moment. Homunculus was struggling with the memories, memories of how blind they had been to what would happen, lest they try to shatter the chain of purpose.
What had happened had left them all in tighter shackles.
"The world was created, and we were to leave the world of the Gods. However…We underestimated their power over us." A shaky breath from the Djinn. "They told us that if we did not wish to be their slaves, the slaves of ultimate beings, than they would make us slaves to lower beings—slaves to humans, who had no limits over what they could do to us. Instead of travelling to our new world, our world of nothing but freedom, they banished us to Earth, where we would be anything but free."
Eikes breath caught in his throat. When he had heard that Homunculus had a life before his creation on Earth, he had hoped somewhere within himself that the Demon would have been free, able to do what he wished, at least then. But now, he knew that what had happened before Earth was no better—actually, it was horrifying.
/The Gods did this…When all they wished for was a place they could be free. Is that a sin too?/
"They…How could they, You didn't…" He couldn't make words, couldn't string them together. God, the same one humans were meant to pray too, banished these beings for wanting to have a life of their own, not wanting to constantly be at the will of others. It was sickening. Dastardly. Cruel, harsh, unforgivable.
"Oh, I didn't leave without taking something with me." Smiling softly, the Djinn brought his fingertip to his temple, red eyes glinting. "Before they banished me, I made sure to take as much of the Gods wisdom and secrets as I could, and store them within myself. They couldn't stop me…it was too late. When they banished us, they made sure that we would be locked up, in a kind of darkness, before humans called us up. The knowledge was already in the human race to summon other beings—they just needed to test it. And they did, as you have heard about my first master. They could make their own bodies for us, to their liking—Just as the Gods intended."
Eike felt a shiver run through him, and hoped the other didn't notice. However, the glance of the others eyes towards his own let him know differently.
Smiling self consciously, he shook his head, not wanting Homunculus to feel self-conscious, or bad for telling him these things. Not knowing what words could make things better, he kissed the demons forehead. "So you…You know things that only the Gods know?"
"That is right. Rather rude of me, to take that from them, but I thought it would teach them to do such a thing." There was bitterness in the Djinns voice, but that was to be expected. Eike, as a human, couldn't understand the vastness of the intelligence of the Gods—but he knew that he didn't blame Homunculus for doing what he did. Hell, Eike would have done the same thing. If he knew how.
Saying something like 'I'm sorry' would sound insincere, he decided. He didn't know what to say, to a being who had been used, banished, torn apart, the way that Homunculus did. He didn't need to say anything, it seemed—Homunculus had many tricks up his sleeve, and mind reading was one of them.
"Eike, I don't tell you these things for your response. I tell you these things because of…what we have become. As I told you before, you knowing the truth about me makes quite a bit of difference." Turning, he leaned back enough to capture the others lips softly, in a rare expression of emotion—which, Eike thought, were becoming less rare.
After the initial shock and wonder wore off from the Djinns kiss, he spoke a question that he had meant to ask. "So, Nisroc, he is a Djinn too? Meaning…"
"Meaning he was part of the uprising as well. He still treats me like his slave, however, even though we are in the same boat, so to speak. He won't let go of that sickening Angel pride."
The Djinn sighed, leaning against the other, exhausted. He hadn't brought up anything enjoyable—thinking about that time, before the human world, was tiring. However, he had known since Eike had claimed his love for himself, that he would have to speak of it sometime. What better time than the present?
If that was what time this was.
There were still questions Eike had to ask. The things Nisroc said, the Djinns age, Homunculus's titles…
"You have so many titles…Djinn of Time, Djinn of suffering…I could make that second one quite accurate."
However, the others body was going more limp in his arms, and he couldn't bear to interrogate him anymore. "Homunculus…rest. Don't worry about anything, just rest. I'm not going anywhere."
When he didn't hear a sarcastic response, he knew that the rest was needed. Perhaps for Eike as well.
Outside of the Alchemists house, he stood, waiting for a proper opportunity. Perhaps he was male…Perhaps female, but then again, there was no need for gender when you were a Djinn. Sensing Homunculus so weak, he had to come, had to speak with him, perhaps comfort him. Seeing a human doing that very thing didn't bother him one bit—in fact, he was quite happy to see it.
"It looks like I will have to wait until they wake up…Pity."
Barriers, invisible to the human eye, made their way around the cobbled house, protecting it, saving it, preserving all within. He didn't mind doing that…the fire Djinn certainly couldn't manage it. His empathy was a bit strong, and the cracks in that porcelain skin were visible in his mind's eye.
"Homunculus…rest. I will aid you. And I will make sure no harm befalls that human, either. Though, he doesn't know quite what he is getting into."
End Chapter Two
I hope you all enjoyed this chapter—I enjoy looking more into how the Djinn became the way they have, and have much more to come.
In the next chapter, Chapter Three: Feathers and Flames – The mystery Djinn appears, Homunculus prepares for any new confrontation with Nisroc, and Eike is caught up in a culture he knows nothing about.