Disclaimer: Angelique is owned by Ruby Party and Koei. Miguel is mine. I realize that some of these situations are unlikely but go with the flow.
Part 1: Merchant of the Seas
As odd as it was, the Flying City was hot. Ungodly hot. The Flying City usually had perfect weather to treat their perfect inhabitants. Many of the Guardians of the cosmos knew that when it got too hot, so did tempers, especially the ones more volatile. The only thing that made this day better, was the delivery of goods and supplies from merchants on the local continent. Bright and early was when they made their rounds. The Guardians usually got their goods from a group of merchant sailors that traveled from continent to continent, selling and trading goods, but were also gracious enough to travel to the Flying City and give these Guardians the goods to fulfill their hobbies and needs.
"Hey, Miguel," one of the sailors greeted. They looked at the ruins of their ship. Their beloved ship. Damn the storms. When they had docked they stayed at a local inn, only to find that the night's storms had destroyed their ship along with several other ships. Luckily for them, they took all their cargo off before the storm.
"Miguel?" the sailor asked, "what are we going to do now?"
"I have no idea," Miguel answered, as he scratched his head, "Carlos, are we still go to deliver the cargo to those Guardians."
"Sure, how the hell are we going to tell them we won't be their errand boys any longer?"
"You'll have to tell them one way," their captain, a tall man with a black curly beard, approached his first mate and helmsman. "And some way we will have to find jobs."
"Is this the end?" Miguel asked the captain.
"If you make it the end," the captain ran a hand through his thick beard. "Due to this…disaster. We'll probably have one guy deliver the goods to the Guardians. Miguel?"
Carlos and the captain nodded.
"With the rest us trying to arrange housing for us until we find jobs, we can only afford to send one man to deliver the goods," the grizzly captain smiled and placed a hand on his first mate's shoulder. "You already know the Queen's Aide, you just have to get to know the others. We only have shipments for a few of the Guardians, so it shouldn't take long."
Miguel grinned and nodded rubbing his hands together, "Alright, where are these son of a bitches?"
The captain barked in laughter as Carlos jumped a little, expressing his concerns, "You have met some of the Guardians, haven't you? You should know not to make too much of a scene."
"We've just lost our ship and have no jobs. They will have to deal with my lip."
Within the Sanctuary, the early morning sun was usually welcomed if not for the fact that it brought much of the heat. Even young Marcel who loved being out in the sun, could only stand it for so long and sat under the shade of the tree with his beloved Chupi.
"Aahh! So hot, isn't it Chupi?" he breathed wiping the sweat from his brow. His bird chirped happily, but then turned its head in the direction of the paved road. A cart pulled by a mule rolled down. For any Guardian it was an odd sight, to see such a run down and ordinary looking thing steered by a comparatively average looking man.
The young man was large with broad shoulders and chest with tan skin and thick messy brown hair that nearly covered his eyes to the bottom of the back of his neck. He had a rugged look with dark scruffy stubble. He wore a loose plain wool shirt and pants the reached to his calves and on his feet were worn leather sandals. The only thing valuable looking on his person was large gold hooped earrings hanging from his lobes.
Such a coarse looking man was an odd sight to the young Guardian of Greenery but he knew what his arrival meant.
"Ah, the supplies are here," the young blonde boy smiled knowing that the arrival would certainly cheer the Guardians up.
Miguel wiped the sweat off his brow. Damn it was hot! He much rather feel the ocean breeze. A pang of pain struck him as he realized that it was very likely that he may never see the blue waters or taste the ocean spray again. He pushed that thought to the back of his head as he rolled down the road to the first mansion of his route.
A knock came at Rosalia's door.
"Madam, a young man wishes audience with you," one of her servants called. The Queen's Aide quickly finished putting on her clothing specially made for these hot days. But even that did nothing to quell the heat.
"All right. I'll go see what he wants."
When Rosalia reached the front door, she opened it and mixed feelings crossed her mind when she saw the man. Although the man rough looking and she knew his personality, she was happy that he was here to deliver something that would take her mind off the heat.
"Hey, nice rack," Miguel grinned and said in a joking manner, eyes floating down to her chest
Rosalia rolled her eyes, "Miguel, it is too early in the morning and too hot to deal with this."
"I hear you," he said with a smile as he reached down and picked up a box full of garments, "Here you are."
"Thank you very much," Rosalia said shortly, taking a hold of the package. It was then she noticed something odd about the young man in front of her. She didn't know what it was, but Miguel seemed less cheerful than she was used to.
"Is everything alright?"
Miguel blinked. How the hell should he bring this up to the second most important woman in the cosmos? "Er…well. I have some bad news. Our ship was destroyed in a storm, so we may not be able to bring more items to you guys. And I'm out of a job."
"Oh, I'm so sorry. That's just terrible," Rosalia sounded sincere. Being a sailor and a merchant was what kept Miguel's kind going. She couldn't imagine him doing anything else.
"Yeah, well, hopefully something will work out," Miguel managed a smile, which was just as bright as any of the Guardians', something that many women on the continents took notice of. "The Queen isn't available by any chance, because if there was ever a time for a miracle…"
Rosalia laughed a little, "No, now don't be late for your rounds. And stop flirting with Oscar's maids, they get enough sexual harassment."
"Got it," the man gave her a thumbs up. "Oh, before I go, I was sent to notify the Guardian of Darkness that his incense didn't come in, because…well," Miguel swallowed, "the stuff he asked for is illegal in pretty much every continent we stopped by. Yeah, it was not fun sitting in jail for that. And I would tell him, but he wasn't a part of my usual rounds, and…I…I'm afraid of him."
He was waiting for laughter. He never met the Guardian of Darkness, be he's heard tales from another sailor that the man liked the dark and Miguel wasn't so sure of someone who liked the dark.
Rosalia smirked, "I'll tell him that. I'm sure Clavis can go without that incense until we find another merchant to deal with. I hope every thing will work out."
"Thanks, take care," he waved and flashed his smile.
The Guardian of Light, Julious, always had a proverbial stick up his ass. Only it was shoved up even higher with this heatwave. He was reading the reports on the continents while fanning himself with the papers. He was still in his sleeping robes, which were thinner and looser than his usual god-like robes, but did little against the heat wave.
A knock came at his door.
"Enter," he barked.
"Uh, good morning," a common man entered carrying two large brown sacks. "I got your coffee beans for you, Julious."
Oddly, Julious' eyebrows rose in surprise, and possibly in relief as well. He stood as the man laid the sacks down in the corner of Julious' office.
The man continued to talk, "This is the good stuff for you. Arabian coffee beans. Best of the best."
Julious approached the man as the commoner reached in his back pocket and took out a switch blade, tearing open the sack and dipping his hands in to scoop up the rich coffee beans.
Julious bent down to take in the aroma the beans had. He hummed in satisfaction. Miguel dropped the beans back in, "Good huh? Now that's the best part of waking up."
"Agreed, what's the special occasion?"
"Special for you not for me. Our ship's gone and we have no clue what to do. So we thought we'd give away our best stuff."
Julious didn't know how to respond, although this man's business did involve his own, he couldn't console him. Luckily Miguel didn't seem to mind.
"Thanks for this, Miguel."
"No problem, stay cool."
The next one on the route was not one of Miguel's usual Guardians that he brought goods to. His route consisted of Julious, Oscar, Olivie, and sometimes he would deliver something from Luva. But now he was entering uncharted territory. The next Guardian on his list was the Guardian of Water and he had no idea where the hell that was.
Randy threw the Frisbee and his dog caught it in the air. A morning exercise always cleared his mind, but the scorching heat made him and his dog a little tired. And as he threw the Frisbee once more the sweat on his hands caused it to slip out and fly off course and it was heading straight towards a man driving a small cart. Luckily the man was alert and caught the Frisbee.
Immediately, Randy sprinted towards the cart, "Sorry for that."
"It's way to hot to be running around, don't you think?" the man said as he reached down and handed the Frisbee to the Guardian of Wind.
"I'll live," Randy shrugged, "are you here to deliver something?"
"Yes…do you know where this…damn I can't read his handwriting…I think it's the Guardian of Water."
"I guess so. The sailor who wrote this has horrid writing," Miguel responded, silently cursing Carlos' penmanship. The only way he could tell it was the Guardian of Water was the teardrop shape Carlos drew on the side of the name.
"Lumiale's mansion is just up the road and past a pond, you can't miss it."
"Ah, thanks, pal," Miguel smiled at the slightly younger man and tugged the reigns.
Randy watched the deliveryman roll down the road before glancing down at the Frisbee in his hand and then at his dog, "We should probably take a rest inside."
Miguel hopped off the cart and took the crate full of canvases and paint supplies out. He hauled the crate to the door, noticing how the sweat was causing his grip to slip a little. He placed the box down to knock on the door.
"I'm coming," a voice called.
That voice shocked Miguel. It was so soft and angelic, like music to one's ears. What the hell was this?
Lumiale had heard a knock at his front door and immediately he rose from arranging the bouquet of flowers Marcel had picked for him and opened the front door.
On the other side was a tall, muscular commoner with unkempt hair and short trimmed beard. He would have been considered handsome on the continents, but in the Flying City he seemed out of place, with his coarse, rugged looks.
Miguel blinked several times at the person who answered the door. Was this a woman or a man? Whoever it was, the person was thin, pale and delicate looking with a grace that even the other Guardians didn't possess. The figure certainly matched the voice.
Miguel cleared his throat trying not to show that he was awestruck by the beauty this figure possessed, "Er, yes, sorry to bother you, but I'm looking for a Lumiale…"
The person smiled, "You're looking at him, is there something I can help you with?"
Jeez, don't screw this up. Just for once don't be an ass, the voice in his head kept on nagging Miguel. He refused to believe that a man could take his breath away.
"I…I'm here to deliver your art supplies you ordered…sir," Miguel said in an awkward tone.
Lumiale glanced at the box of supplies, "Well thank you very much."
When he made the move to pick up the box, the larger man stopped him, "Oh, no need. I can take them in for you."
"Thank you. You are so kind."
Miguel followed Lumiale into his parlor.
"Where do you want these?"
"Just place them over there," Lumiale pointed a feminine finger at the corner of the parlor. Miguel did as he was directed, and placed the box down noticing a golden harp sitting in the corner, with two strings broken. Aside from the strings, it looked well used.
"You play the harp?"
Lumiale flinched, surprised at the man's inquiry, "Yes, I do. I will have to have the Guardian of Steel to fix those strings for or I will get rusty."
"If you want, I could fix it for you. Right here, right now."
Lumiale could only regard this man, "Sure if you can."
Miguel bent down, inspecting the strings, "I play the guitar. Fixing a few strings is nothing new."
Lumiale left the fixing of his harp to this kind stranger. It was indeed interesting to watch the man's large, powerful hands manipulate, tighten, and tweak the strings. Lumiale had sat down, sipping his tea and watched as the deliveryman lightly pluck the strings and bend his head to hear to see if the strings were properly tuned.
"I apologize for saying this, but Carlos usually delivers my goods. Has something happened?"
The man looked up for a moment, "Carlos is fine. But you probably won't see much of him or me again. Our ship was destroyed by a massive storm that hit port. All that's left is kindling. So while they sort things out, I'm delivering the rest of the cargo."
"So you don't know what you're going to do?"
"Not a clue," Miguel lifted his eyes to stare into Lumiale's blue ones. His jaw tightened and he leaned forward, holding out his hand, "I'm Miguel."
Lumiale smiled took hold of Miguel's much larger hand, "It's a pleasure to meet you."
Once Miguel had Lumiale's harp fixed to satisfaction, he flashed a smile and strummed the strings, "Here. It's fixed."
"Ah, like new. Thank you. Please let me get you some water before you leave. It's blazing hot out there," Lumiale said in a voice that almost felt like water.
When the Guardian of Water left to retrieve some fresh water, Miguel remained standing, looking about the parlor. He spotted a few paintings near the doors to the porch. Curious he walked over to see what they were. There were two unfinished canvases: one was of a tall man with long dark hair reclining under a tree and another was of a young blonde boy lifting his hand so a blue bird can rest upon it.
His eyes traveled to the finished paintings that were framed. They were all landscapes, showing the sea and the dazzling sky, a few ships that were pinpricks in the vast beautiful waters.
Miguel clenched his jaw tightly, realizing that his time on the beautiful waters was over, and all those times he spent on the ship, with the ocean, were now nothing but memories. He would never again experience the freedom of being out amongst the waves, watching the sunrise, the sea seeping into the yellow rays of the sun.
His thoughts were interrupted, when he heard clattering on the coffee table.
"Here's some cool water for you," Lumiale announced softly pouring Miguel some water from a pitcher.
"Did you do these?" the larger man asked still staring at the paintings of the water.
"Yes, I did. Just something to pass the time."
Miguel nodded distantly. "Do you like the water?...jeez!" Miguel shook his head, embarrassed to have asked such a stupid question. Of course the Guardian of Water likes water. What a dumbass!
"Forgive me," Miguel corrected himself congenially, not daring to look the Guardian of Water in the eye. "That was a stupid question."
Lumiale chuckled mildly, "It's not as idiotic as you might think, but I believe you answered your own question."
Miguel sighed and took the glass of water the Guardian of Water offered him. He sat down and drank the water silently.
Lumiale stared at his companion. The way the man drank the water was most intriguing and it revealed that something heavy was on his mind. He took the glass in both hands drank in silent sips, his eyes not meeting Lumiale's. Miguel had played the disaster of his ship off as an inconvenience, but his mannerisms now suggested to Lumiale that it left a deeper wound than what could be seen.
Miguel swallowed, "What does the Guardian of Water…do?"
"My Sacrea governs healing and gentleness."
Miguel inspected his glass, "I'll take no other Sacrea on a hot day like this."
He cursed himself at his lame attempt at humor. Carlos was right, it's best not to be heard in the realm of the Guardians. But this guy liked music, so did he. And he loved the water, so did he. Two things in common, why should they not engage in light conversation?
"Yes, I fear this heat wave has gotten to the best of us. Sometimes I even find myself losing patience."
Miguel laid his glass down on the coffee table and stood, bowing a little, "Thank you for the water, but I'd better be going. I still have one more package to deliver."
"Certainly," Lumiale stepped out of his way and Miguel passed him with hesitance, almost as if he didn't want to go. His aura was still solemn and sad, no matter how hard Miguel tried to play it off.
Lumiale bit his lip and, against all reason, shot his hand out to grab the man's strong arm. Miguel turned, his eyes wide open in surprise.
"Will you be alright?" the Guardian of Water asked, his gaze full of concern.
Miguel swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing noticeably. A Guardian was worried about him? Truth be told Miguel didn't know how to answer Lumiale. A part of him wanted to say no, he would be destined to wander the Flying City for eternity, and another part wanted to believe that everything would fall into place.
"I should be fine," Miguel answered, his voice wavering a little, and his heart beating faster.
Lumiale could only nod and let go of the man's arm and watched the man leave into a realm of uncertainty.
Confusion was settling into Miguel's brain. That man, Lumiale…there was something about him that conflicted with Miguel's understanding. And the feeling that settled in his chest when the graceful man grabbed his arm was something to weird too be right. This whirlwind of confusion followed him to the Guardian of Dream's abode. And any hot-blooded man needed a clear mind in such a place.
"I've missed you Miguel!" Olive ran over to the tan skinned man and gave him a big uncomfortable hug. Olivie knew this display of affection, being a man, made Miguel extremely uncomfortable.
"I have your perfumes here," Miguel could only respond. His mind was too caught up in their thoughts to come up with a rant to get Olivie to stop hugging him.
"Alright we'll put them in the back."
"There we are," Miguel grunted placing the box of perfumes on Olivie's vanity mirror. He looked up in the mirror, spotting Olivie behind him fanning himself and frowning, staring at him in a scrutinizing way.
Miguel rolled his eyes, "Olivie, I swear to god, if you're staring at my ass…"
The drag queen scoffed, "Oh please, get over yourself. You just seem…distracted. Care to tell me what's wrong?"
"Yeah," Miguel sighed, "Not that it will change anything. I will be out of a job."
"What? You mean…"
"The ship was destroyed, so we're grounded. At least until we make enough to get a new one."
"And you need to find a job."
Miguel nodded. Olivie tapped a finger to his chin, slowly giving a broad smirk.
"I believe I know what you can do."
Miguel flinched and shrank a little, afraid of what this Guardian was going to suggest for him.
"Why don't you get a job here? Some Guardian around here will probably want another groundskeeper or caretaker or manservant around here."
Miguel stared at him skeptically, "You're joking right?"
"Why would I be?"
"First of all, I mentioned what happened to pretty much every Guardian I delivered to. You'd think they'd mention something to me if they wanted me. Secondly, I wouldn't fit in. I mean look at me," Miguel gestured to himself, mainly to his tattered clothing.
Olivie scoffed, "Oh, please. If this were an ordinary continent, you'd be the hottest guy in the place."
"Er, thanks?" Miguel said, not sure if that was a compliment or not.
"Why not take this opportunity? We always need a guy to do odd jobs around the place and I'm sure Lumiale and Marcel would like someone to manage their garden every once in a while."
Miguel perked up a bit, "Lumiale?"
"Nothing, nevermind. Olivie I have to get going."
"Alright, just think about it."
That night Miguel and his crew gathered all the money they had left and spent some at a local bar and grille. They ate outside on the terrace watching the sunset beyond the sea, an empty void of where their ship should have been.
"Cheers to us," Miguel raised his bottle of beer, "for keeping our heads cool in times of turmoil."
They clanked their bottles together and took a sip.
"Any luck finding work for ten merchant sailors?"
The captain shrugged, "Some here in there. But it has become apparent that no matter what job we take, we cannot stick together."
"Carlos and I found a few positions available for the local fishery," Martín answered looking a little full of himself, but obviously proud that he had found some place to work.
"Yeah, yeah," Carlos rolled his eyes, "Anyways how did the delivery go?"
"Went as well as could be."
"Did you tell the Guardian of Darkness that his incense didn't come in?"
Miguel shook his head, "No, I passed that on to the Queen's Aide. She could probably deal with him better than I could."
"I doubt Master Clavis would be too upset," Martín grumbled at little. "He's not as bad as you would think."
"Miguel," the captain's low voice said sternly. Miguel looked up to find that he was grinning, "Ever since you came back you've had that dazed and confused look, was someone there that just knocked you off your feet."
The other sailors laughed and hollered in astonishment.
"So who's the lady?"
Miguel tried to wave it away, "There's no lady…"
"Aww, come on," Carlos beamed, "Face it, when you came back you had the glazed look that Martín gets every time he looks at tacos…"
"I'm telling you guys it's no woman."
"It has to be somebody….wait…"
Miguel let out a sigh and dropped his head onto the table with a clunk, "I don't know what's going on with me."
"You can't be serious," Carlos's eyes were wide in shock, "A guy?"
Miguel's shoulders lifted in an awkward shrug and he lifted his head running his hands over his face, "It must've been the heat."
"Who would've thought that a ladies' man like you would fall for a dude?"
"Well, at least tell us who," the captain was growing impatient with these guessing games.
"The Guardian of Water," Miguel murmured.
Carlos scoffed, "Well, that's understandable."
The other soldiers now stared at Carlos who shrank away a little, "Trust me, Lumiale is finer than most of the women I've seen. It's a shame that he's a man."
Miguel grumbled into his hands, "Yeah a real bloody shame. I'm not even gay, but low and behold I have to run into an extremely feminine man to start the scandal mill."
One of the older sailors leaned forward, "But you can't seriously have the hots for this guy?"
"I don't know and I don't care at this point. I need to find a goddamn job, so can we forget about my messed up attractions."
He took a heavy swig of beer to emphasize the point that he wanted to move on.
"I mean, what the hell am I going to do? My only skills involve boating and a little cooking."
"Which we will miss by the way," Carlos said in a low tone, but obviously sounding sincere. On a ship with nothing but water surrounding them, Miguel could cook up a meal with just about anything.
"Then the key is to not be picky, boy. We can't afford to pick and choose. You'll have to take what's offered," his captain advised.
Miguel thought about what Olivie said. If there was ever an opportunity to get back on one's feet, that drag queen just showed him the way.
Miguel nodded distantly, "You know I can probably work something out."
Watch out Guardians here I come.
A/N: Miguel is mine and he is somewhat similar to my Alonzo character from Ange Terrestre. His fellow shipmates are mine too. Please Review.