Enchantments Contest Entry

Word Count: 8,308

Fantasy Element or Creature: Angel & Aswang

Disclaimer: Everything Twilight belongs to Mrs. Meyer, I just made them my puppets for a bit ;)

A/N: I want to thank my fuck awesome beta, Latessitrice. Her beta skills are out of this world! Also want to thanks my pre-readers Nataliem and especially Mcruscito for helping me through my mental breakdowns and my constant swearing. You guys are amazing ^_^


"Hey Isabella, what you up to?" Rahmiel asked, trying to sound nonchalant but not succeeding.

"Nothing much – just watching," I answered absently, not even sparing her a glance.

I heard her exhale softly as she took a seat next to me.

"Again? Isabella, come on. You come here almost every day. Why don't you go to the Spring festival later? I heard Mestral's going in hopes of you being there."

"Ew. Rahmiel, you know I don't feel that way about him and never will. He's nice, yes; however, he's not my type."

"Well, maybe I could be more help if you would tell me what your type is – I mean you've never even dated once."

I didn't feel like getting into a discussion of my preference of males with Rahmiel – especially since I had no clue what it was myself. It wasn't that I never found anyone attractive, but I just never felt that...bond with anyone. Never that connection.

"Isabella – just don't – just be careful. Remember the rules," my best friend whispered as she stood up to leave me alone.

Rahmiel just didn't understand.

Neither did the Elders for that matter. They were the five oldest of my kind and helped...enforce the ancient laws. Though more and more each day they became restrictions to me, not rules to help keep everyone safe, but bonds that kept me from what some deep part of me wanted.

So, here I sat every day, instead of watching my assigned wards I was keeping an eye a certain woman in Chicago.

Mrs. Elizabeth Masen.

I bumped into her and her husband while they were walking through the streets three months ago and I just couldn't stop thinking about her since.

There was something there that just drew me to her, and it frightened me...

˳̊

Twelve hours.

That was how long Elizabeth Masen had been in labor. I felt sympathy for the woman and tried to ease some of her pain by taking it upon myself, but I was afraid of trying to do too much. Something like that was more of a task for a healer guardian angel – one who looks after people who are frequently sick or injured – whereas I was more of a protector guardian angel. I kill things, not heal them...

However, none of that stopped me from trying to do just a little to help her. It was standard that every one of my kind knew at least the basics of healings – even my father Michael learned this. I'm not going to lie – I was pretty dang proud of myself when her screaming lessened and her breathing became less labored. Who knew that Isabella, the one teased for her knack for slaying, could help a human woman of her own volition? No one up in Heaven would believe this if they saw it – the only person who wouldn't be surprised to hear I had a caring side was my mother...

Six hours and one very tired Mrs. Masen later my entire world shifted when the sound of a baby's cry rang through the tiny hospital room. It was clear and sharp as glass and laced with irritation. I wasn't able to stop myself from leaving Elizabeth's side – the first time in more than half a day – to hover over the nurses and look at the baby with my own eyes.

He was beautiful.

His skin was red and slightly blotchy as they cleaned him for his mother but that didn't take away from his other features. There were little wisps of hair covering his head that seemed to shine copper in the false light, and I knew when it grew in full it be the same unique shade as his mother's. The little baby opened his eyes the tiniest bit as the nurses began to gently clean his hair, and I was surprised to see they were the bright green of the willow trees of Egypt.

He was so beautiful.

The nurses had finished cleaning him and handed him over to Elizabeth just as Mr. Masen walked through the door. There was a frantic look in his eyes that calmed once he saw his wife and son.

The two idiots were just as in love as the first day I saw them.

"A boy," Edward breathed in wonder as he strode towards the bed.

"Look, isn't he beautiful?" Elizabeth's voice was slurred with exhaustion but I don't think either of them really noticed. They were too wrapped up in awe of their newborn.

"Of course he is, he's ours after all."

"What should we name him?"

"Well, I was hoping that if it were a son, he could carry on the Edward name. My father's name was such; it would only seem fitting."

"Edward. It suits him. Edward Anthony Masen Jr."

"I'm sorry to disturb, but it's time that the lady gets some rest," said a nurse as she entered the room.

"Of course," replied Edward Sr.

Gently taking Edward Jr. from Elizabeth's arms I clung to the stranger like a shadow. Humans weren't known for their physical strength – what if she accidentally dropped him or tripped and landed on him? I'd never killed a human before – it went against one of the ancient laws for someone of my inferiority to do so – but I wouldn't hesitate to end her if she hurt Edward, accidentally or not.

After checking Elizabeth to make sure her health was good, the nurse wheeled baby Edward to a nursery a few halls away. The room was full of newborn children but only one had my sole focus. All day I stood there just looking at him sleep. He was so cute and sweet and tiny.

At around midnight, I was pleasantly surprised to see Edward waking up. His little arms and legs were flailing gently as a yawn caused his lips to form a soft little 'o' shape. Unable to stop myself, I looked out through the giant glass window that was for parents to watch their kids to make sure that no one was around, and threw caution to the wind. Forcing my molecules together was accomplished quickly, since I did it more than anyone should, when I took on the density of a human. Angels weren't made the same as humans. They were more...solid – thick flesh and tissue. However, we were made differently. Our molecules were loosely put together, we could make them bend to our will – it made getting places quickly a heck of a lot easier.

To an outsider I looked like an oddly dressed teenage girl that had managed to sneak into the nursery.

"Hi Edward," I cooed as I gently cradled him in my arms. "Aren't you just the most handsome little mortal."

His arms were reaching up towards my face as his hands grasped at the air making tiny fists. Removing one hand I gently tapped his palm with my finger – smiling as he latched onto it.

"Mio piccolo," I said, my voice nothing more than a whisper. "You need rest. Sleep, I will be here when you awake."

I began spinning in a slow circle while rocking my arms, trying to mimic what I saw the human mothers do when they'd visited their children in the nursery earlier. I didn't think I was doing it right, mainly because I felt the fool, but I felt some satisfaction when I saw him yawn again.

Thinking hard, I tried to remember what my mother did when she put me to bed when I was younger. The faint memory of a lullaby crossed my mind but it sounded unfamiliar to me. I made a mental note to ask my mother about it once I returned – I just had to find a way to do it without drawing suspicion.

I didn't know how much time had passed but soon Edward Jr. was asleep in my arms, his breaths coming deep and even. Settling him back in his crib I felt joy encompass my heart as I realized he still hadn't let go of my finger. It was so precious.

"Goodnight, mio piccolo."

Placing a kiss on his head, I released my solid form and unfurled my wings – set on going home for at least a little while. I had to make appearances or others would get suspicious, though all I wanted to do was watch over the small family of three.

˳̊

"Mamma!" I called as I neared my home. I knew she'd hear.

"Kitchen, dear!"

I walked into the kitchen a few moments later, only to be met with the sight of my beautiful mother trying to pluck leaves out of her tangled hair. She reminded me of Demeter – the Greek goddess of harvest and fields – not just with the whole beauty thing but just the way the leaves clung to her, as if they were a part of her.

I was a little envious.

"Come stai, Mamma?"

"Now I know I did not raise you on Italian my dear," she scolded, laughing gently.

"We all have our preferences, Miss Latin," I replied with a smirk

"Such a wonderful language," she sighed with a wistful look entering her eyes. "So tell me, why is it you're here? After all, this is the first time I've seen you in quite some time."

"Nothing much really. I was just thinking..."

"About what?" she prompted.

"A lot of things – you know how my mind never settles."

"That is true. In all honesty filia, you were a nightmare to talk to when younger. Always switching from one subject to the next. Never giving me time to keep up."

"Speaking of which," I interrupted hastily. "Did you ever sing to me when I was just a bambina?"

"Hmm, that was quite some time ago...Why do you ask?"

"Just curious, honestly. I was thinking about it and it seemed like a lullaby tune came to mind, but it sounded foreign to me. Not something I've heard recently."

She didn't look like she believed me fully, but didn't press the issue.

"There was one song, filia. I sang it to you when you would not rest. Can you guess its origin?" she asked with a wink.

"Latin?"

"Excellent deduction, mia filia. It was titled Somnus, oh Somnus, Carus Infantia Mei."

"Sleep, oh Sleep, Dear Baby Mine," I murmured.

"Precisely. It was rumored among the humans to have been sung by the Virgin Mother herself. 'Somnus, oh somnus, carus infantia mine, King Divinus; somnus, meus Parvulus, in somnus cubo, lullaby, mei Parvulus fair, Heaven's Rex rgis, Totus nitida, Plenus of vania ut lilies rarus,'" she recited rather than sang. It sounded lovely, and more familiar by the minute.

"No wonder they think that the Virgin Mother sang it. I must admit it is quite beautiful."

"I think so too. That is part of why I chose it. Think filia, if you want a baby to slumber, they must like what they hear."

"What it is the other reason – if I may ask?"

"Do not say that you are blind to the meaning of the words. They sing of dignified tenderness, mia filia. Lullabies for your young aren't something that should be generic and used. I searched years for one that I felt was right, one that I wanted you to know."

"Thanks. I –" I was stopped by a bolt of fear that wasn't my own coursing through me.

Without even needing to think about it I was hovering above my home, focusing on the direction from which the emotion came.

East...Northeast. I had two wards there and Margaret was closer to the south, which only left Raymond.

Concentrating, I directed all my energy to the crown of my head as I brought his image to mind. Within seconds I was in front of Raymond, taking in the scene.

I never wanted to smack a human more than I did now.

A dog.

A frickin' mutt made me rush to this man's side. It wasn't even rabid!

Taking a deep breath, I gave in to the fact that it was still my duty to make him feel safe and set about fixing the situation. Striding over to the pooch, I bent down to his eye level and flapped my wings in a frenzy. Animals couldn't see us but they could sense us much better than humans. The poor mutt instantly went running in the opposite direction with his tiny tail between his pudgy legs.

I heard Raymond drag in a deep breath – trying to calm himself no doubt. Straightening back up, I walked over to stand behind my ward and encompassed him in my wings. I sensed him relax straight away. When all of his fear had dissipated, he started heading for home.

Glancing at the sun, I saw that I'd been gone for a few hours, and not wanting to break the first promise I made to a certain little boy, went straight to Chicago.

I decided to head to the nursery first, figuring that Elizabeth would still be asleep for a little while longer. Child birth takes a lot out of you, no matter what species.

And there he was. The little human child that managed to wrap me completely around his finger and not even realize it. I didn't know why I felt the way I did about him, but I was too happy to really look into it. I just wanted to enjoy this simple pleasure of mine.

I had been watching Edward for long when his dainty eyelids began to tremble and his body produced yet another yawn so soft it was nothing more than a breath.

"Buon giorno, mio piccolo. How did you dream? I hope it was well," I said tapping his palm with my finger as I did the night before.

I always thought that the expression 'insides melt' sounded painful and disgusting, but when he grabbed my finger again I realized why it was always used among happy situations rather than ones of torture. It wasn't so much a melting as it was something precious making you so happy it actually made your insides feel like they were warming.

"I came just as I promised," I stated proudly. I knew he didn't understand me but I was determined to do good by this baby.

I was upset when Elizabeth awoke a few hours later but I sucked it up and went home, but not before whispering a promise to returning later to Edward.

˳̊

It was officially later.

I had been dodging people all afternoon – they always asked questions of my whereabouts – and if that wasn't enough I also had to try and find something that would hold my attention. Something that would keep me from going back to the hospital just to see if Edward was doing okay. He wasn't my ward so I couldn't just "feel" what he felt – I didn't have that connection between his life source and mine. I had never been more frustrated in my entire life.

However, it was twilight now in Chicago and there was nothing that could keep me away from that hospital.

When I got there I went straight to Elizabeth's room to see if that's where he was. At first I was upset to realize that he wasn't there but it was swiftly replaced with concern as I saw that Edward Sr. was trying to soothe his wife's pain, but with being merely a human with no medical experience there wasn't much that he could do. Walking over to where she lay on her bed I placed my hand atop of hers where it clutched her...lower abdomen. I eased as much of the pain that I could but had to stop when I was reaching the stuff meant for the skilled.

Seeing that his wife was no longer in agony Edward Sr. visibly relaxed as well.

Leaving the two to their privacy I headed towards the nursery, silently promising God that I would annihilate many if Edward wasn't in his little crib where he belonged.

Apparently God heard me because as soon as I was in twenty feet of the nursery I heard the sharp ring of a baby crying and I just knew it was Edward.

Instantly I quickened my pace, the sooner to get there and see what was the matter. When I finally arrived I saw one nurse setting him back in his bed while another protested her actions.

"He's just tired, Jenni. If you rock him a while more he'll quiet, if not he'll just wake up the other babies," the second nurse griped. She was tall and as flat as a piece of paper. Her hair was a dark blond that was pulled into a tight bun, and exhaustion showed on her face.

"I tried that, but he's been going for a long time now. I don't think it's helping – he will stop on his own," the first nurse told the second. Jenni was shorter than the other but just as skinny, and her hair was the shade of amber that usually came in abundant curls. However, right now it was pulled back in a tight bun, much the same as the other nurses.

"If you say so. It's time for our break anyway," the second nurse replied.

"I agree."

They both headed out the door leaving Edward still crying in his bed. I hated them for that, yet I loved them for leaving – at least I could hold him again.

"Mio piccolo. Shh. Shh; it's okay," I said, taking him in my arms. "Um, um...shit... Oh no! Now forget I said that – it's bad, so you don't say it. Crap..."

I tried thinking of something, anything, that would calm him down but nothing came to mind. It was obvious what I did last night wouldn't be enough this time. I thought of singing the lullaby my mother taught me this morning, but quickly dismissed it. Somehow it just felt...wrong to sing that song to Edward.

Embracing my love for impulse, I just started singing. I didn't know what exactly but I did it anyway.

The song was old and gentle. It wasn't a song of petty rhymes and artificial tunes. It was a song that came from within me, just for him. Edward's lullaby held hope for a better future, and hope that he would be healthy and happy, but most of all was clear throughout it all that I loved him. There was adoration and passion and joy.

Halfway through the song, Edward had calmed down to just hiccups, and I was relieved when by the end he looked nothing but peaceful.

I felt like I knew what my mom was talking about earlier, about feeling a lullaby instead of just singing a well worn one...I liked the song that I sang for Edward – not only was it Italian but it just somehow felt right. I wanted him to grow up hearing it.

Looking around, I saw that there was a rocking chair in one of the back corners, so I decided to use it. It seemed like they put it there for that reason.

"See mio piccolo. Isn't this better than deafening yourself," I teased.

After Edward had calmed down from his fit he'd taken to yanking a strand of my hair, even going so far as so suck on it a little, and I was thoroughly amused when I looked down to see him sleeping again, the same strand of hair held tightly in his little fist. In all honesty I think he just didn't know how to open his hand to let it go, but it was sweet nevertheless.

˳̊

"Edward? Mio piccolo, you come out right now," I demanded. I always hated these games he played. How was I to know whether he was really gone or not?

It had been five years since that day in the nursery when this weak little human took complete control of me. I knew that I'd give him anything he asked for if it was in my power, and if it wasn't then I would do all that I could and die trying.

It was five years of craziness - if I may be so blunt.

There were some amazingly wonderful moments in those years. The first time he smiled and laughed when he saw me – it was much better than the scream/cry he'd mastered. Then there was the whole catastrophe when he tried to take his first steps down a flight of stairs. My favorite yet: when he tried saying "Isabella" but kept tripping over the 's.' I eventually just taught him "Bella," and made sure that even then he knew he was the only one I allowed to call me such.

However, along with the amazing came the hectic. All the questions my kind asked of where I'd been and what I'd been doing. Then the trickier times, such as when I would think of something Edward did and absently smile, people would wonder what brought it. Some would demand to know so much to the point where I had to run and hide like the coward I was quickly becoming.

Often times I would feel irritated and angry from all the secrets in my life, and nothing could calm me down except being able to hold the innocent baby in my arms and recite to him some of the funnier poems I had discovered, or sing him the lullaby that was now and forever his.

Now though was not a time for frivolous things. No. Now, was a time for anger and fear.

Ever since I told Edward that my senses were more advanced than his he would try to see how well he could hide himself from me - extreme hide and seek if you will. At first it was fine, because quite frankly he sucked at it, however, as time went on and we played more frequently, he started getting better. The first time it happened, I all but had a heart attack. He only came out when he saw that I was crying – not one of my proudest moments. It took me an hour to quell the all consuming rage and down-right fear that erupted when I thought that someone had taken him.

"Mio piccolo, do not make me find you myself! I promise it will not be pleasant."

I waited two minutes before sighing in defeat. There was nothing I could do if he was forcing my hand.

Gathering the smallest amount of power I could I shot it out around me – like the way water ripples when a pebble breaks its surface – and felt it pervade his mind to the right of me. Under the bed. Guilt rushed through me as I heard him whimper from the pain of having his mind forcefully opened to me, then stupidity quickly joined it as I didn't even think of checking the most obvious of places.

Walking over to the bed I bent down on all my hands and knees to see what exactly lay beneath.

There, with a book pressed to his chest and wrapped in his thickest blanket was my reason for smiling.

"Mio piccolo," I said softly as I stretched out a hand towards him. "Come here."

With another soft whimper Edward quickly crawled out of his cocoon and into my outstretched arms.

"My apologies, mio piccolo. I would never mean to cause you pain."

"You said not to," he murmured into my chest.

"Here, let me help." With that I began to ease his pain just as I did with his mother those few short years ago.

"Thanks. ...Bella?" he asked hesitantly.

"Yes, mio piccolo?"

"Did it work?" His voice was timid but I could detect the traces of excitement behind his words. Only my Edward.

"It did – I couldn't hear your heart beat in the slightest. The book was a very nice touch – muffling it that way."

"Really?" he asked, his pain forgotten and only his excitement displayed.

"Yes, but that doesn't mean you should do it again. You really gave me a fright, mio piccolo."

"Why do you worry about me?"

"What brought this on?"

"Just because."

"Well, you are very precious to me, Edward. Nothing will ever change that."

"Precious..." he sounded out slowly, as if he was tasting the word. "What does that mean?"

"Well," I said as I stood up to sit on the bed. The floor was pretty but it wasn't all too comfortable to sit on for long. "When someone is precious to you it means that you value them very much. It means that they're very important to you."

"I'm important?"

"Yes, mio piccolo. You are so important to me."

"Why?" he asked after huge yawn.

"It's hard even for me to explain..."

"Try?"

Such big questions from someone who hardly comprehended the answers, I thought before trying to find the words for the answer he wanted.

"It's like...it's as if...to put it simply, you are my happiness, Edward. You, everything that makes you Edward Anthony Masen, owns me and I've never been happier in my existence because of that."

Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something dark hovering in the corner, but when I turned my head to look there was nothing there, save for a cobweb or two.

"I make you happy?"

The tiny voice brought me back to the little boy in my arms. Looking one more time to make sure, I shrugged it off. It was probably nothing more than a creation of my imagination

"Yes," I said as a small chuckle escaped.

"Will you sing to me, Bella?"

"Of course, mio piccolo."

˳̊

"Just consider it," he pleaded.

"No."

"Please?"

"No."

"Why do you insist on being so stubborn?" he asked clearly frustrated.

"Why is it so important to you, mio piccolo?"

"Don't call me that," he muttered ducking his head.

I felt a foreign stab go through my chest at his words.

"Why?..."

Looking up, Edward must have seen something in my expression because he was instantly beside me, cradling my face in his calloused hands.

"No, no, Bella. I did not mean it like that. It's simply that...I'm not a little boy anymore. I'm seventeen. A man by the standards of us mortals."

"I know," I mumbled, trying to refrain from sniffling.

"Bella, you don't know. You refuse to see what's in front of you."

"What are saying?" I asked frustrated.

Edward was never making sense anymore... He was always saying things that could be taken in numerous ways, each vastly different than the other. Then there was the touching. Whether it was my hand, or my face, or my hair, he was always keeping that physical contact.

During those times part of me wanted to scream how wrong it was, but the feeling was never there. With Edward I never felt dirty or shameful. I just felt right.

"Isabella," he whispered.

He was so close now. I could feel his breath fan over my face and could smell the scent that could only be defined as his.

"I'll make you see that which you refuse to."

I didn't have time to try and understand what he was saying before his lips were on mine.

It wasn't forceful or hungry or needy... The kiss that halted my every thought was gentle and hesitant and slow.

His lips were soft and slightly damp against mine, and when I didn't move to pull away he wove one of his arms around my waist. There was barely an inch between us.

Giving in, my lips mimicked his and gave as much as received. In that moment I felt the world disappear around me. Nothing else mattered. No one else existed.

He had kissed me. My first kiss.

Everything was perfect.

Feeling a wrench against my heart I broke away as a sob tore its way out of me.

"Bella," Edward said frantically as he began to wipe away the sudden flow of tears that wouldn't stop. "Bella, I'm sorry. I won't do it again. I swear. Please stop crying," he pleaded.

"No," I said through my sobbing. "Don't be sorry..."

"I don't understand..." he said, sounding broken.

Closing my eyes I clung to his shirt as I tried in vain to stop the pain in my chest – the pain that told me this could only end badly.

"It's okay," Edward murmured, holding me so tightly it almost hurt.

I wanted to believe him but I knew it would never be okay. Everything changed in that moment – truths that I didn't know I was denying were forced into the light – and there was no going back.

˳̊

"Are you sure it will be okay?" I asked nervously.

"It'll be fine, My Bella. I promise. What's the worst that could happen?"

"Oh, I don't know, how about someone seeing us and telling your parents?" I replied harsher than I intended. "I don't want you to get in trouble, Edward"

"Will you please calm down?" he asked, laughing.

I was momentarily stunned by his smile. I've never seen him smile as much as I have in the past three weeks. It was beautiful. He was so beautiful.

"I can't believe I'm wearing this...so confining," I muttered as I slowly took a step out of the alley that I was hiding in.

Edward gently reached for my hand and lifted it to brush his lips across my knuckles. "You look beautiful."

"If you get in trouble don't expect me to help you," I mumbled. My irritation was quickly fading as he continued to look at me – nothing but adoration shining through his eyes.

"Lead the way." Heat flooded my cheeks as I heard how shaky my voice was. This man literally left me breathless. The jerk knew it too.

His grin widened as he took the hand that he was still holding and tucked it into the crook of his arm.

"So where are we going anyway?"

"You will find out when we get there," Edward replied vaguely.

Smiling to myself, I just shook my head at how ridiculous he was being. Never in all my years have I met a bigger romantic than my Edward.

As we walked down the street I couldn't help but enjoy how nice it was outside. The sun was shining brightly, and I could feel it through the layers of clothing that I was wearing.

When Edward told me that he wanted to take me somewhere last night I was beyond excited, completely consumed by happiness. So when he finally went to sleep I went out and got an appropriate outfit for the customs of the mortals. The regular silk dresses that I preferred would have been considered scandalous. It was worth it to see Edwards face when he saw me in my new baby blue hobble skirt and cream colored jacket.

The streets weren't terribly full but I could still see some people – women especially – looking at us curiously as we walked without a chaperone, and no ring on my finger. I hoped that none of them were friends with Elizabeth. Despite what I said earlier I didn't want Edward to get in trouble because of me, and there wasn't really an easy way to explain this...

"We're here," Edward whispered close to my ear. A small shiver shot down my spine as I felt his warm breath fan across the side of my neck.

Tearing my eyes away from Edward I looked around and was met with one of the most beautiful sights I have ever have seen. We were standing in a tiny field of wildflowers. There were tons of them, all in various shades of whites, yellows, and lilac.

"It's beautiful," I murmured. "Where are we?"

"Just inside the city park. My mother wanted me to accompany her on an afternoon stroll and we ambled our way here. I immediately thought of you – how you would love all the colors."

"Thank you. It's absolutely beautiful. I love it." Not being able to contain myself any longer I turned and wrapped my free arm around Edward's chest, holding him to me tightly.

I felt Edward's hand cup my chin and tug up, trying to get me to look at him. Looking into his eyes I was shocked to see the emotions they held.

"I love you, Bella," he said softly. His gaze never once leaving mine.

Reaching up I placed my hand over his cheek, drawing small circles with my thumb.

"I love you too, Edward," I said just as softly as he had – barley more than a whisper.

Edward's gaze flickered down to my lips before returning to meet my eyes. After a second he solely began to lean down, gauging my reaction the whole time.

Standing on my tip-toes, my eye lids fluttered close as his lips met mine.

This was unlike our other kisses.

It started out soft, almost hesitant, but it quickly began to gather heat – the tension around us crackling. Edward pulled back slightly, my bottom lip trapped between his, and I felt as his teeth gently bit down on the flesh.

We continued that way for a while. Neither one of us caring if anyone saw. Not giving a second thought to the world outside of ours.

˳̊

"Edward if you do not calm down this instant, I will knock you out. I promise." My voice was calm but on the inside I was in hysterics.

"Don't leave," he managed to choke out. His voice was nothing but a whisper, even with my heightened sense to hear, and I knew that I needed to get help. Fast.

"I won't be long, I promise. I'll be right back."

Kissing his lips once chastely, I flew as fast I could to Rahmiel's home. Praying to every deity known to man that she was there, and that I wouldn't have to waste time I didn't have searching for her.

Once I was there, I went around to her backyard and saw her sewing pieces of material together.

"Rahmiel!" I yelled.

"Isabella? Oh my word, Isabella! What's wrong? Are you crying?" she asked frantically.

"Please. It's Edward. The Spanish Influenza. You have to help him! Please," I cried, tugging uselessly on her arm.

"He isn't my ward, Isabella. I – besides I don't –"

"Rahmiel, please! You can save him, I know you can."

"Isabella, I don't –"

"What if it was your husband, Maddox! Would you be hesitating as you are now?" I asked frantically.

"That isn't the same, you know it isn't."

"How is this not the same?" I growled. "I love him! For seventeen years I have been watching over him, making sure he was safe, and now..." I swallowed hard against the lump that had formed in my throat, "now to just have that all ripped away, to have him taken away from me..."

"Isabella, have you ever thought that maybe this is for the best? Becoming so attached to one human...it worries me. Perhaps, this is what's –"

"NO!"

"Isabe –"

"It's just the flu!" I cried. "I've seen you cleanse cancer with a wave your hand, a bat of your lashes, and flutter of your wings. You can help him! Please Rahmiel," I begged, my voice breaking. "Please, do this for me."

In silence I watched as my friend exhaled a loud sigh and lowered her head in submission to my plea.

"Do not ask for anything else, Isabella. After this my debt to you for saving Maddox is paid in full."

"Thank you," I breathed as the panic that was rushing through me was quickly replaced with impatience.

"We can't wait any longer. Follow me."

Rahmiel didn't have time to reply as I grabbed her hand and dove off of Heaven's cliffs. At the speed we were going, it only took a minute to make it to the small hospital in Chicago.

"Right here," I stated, shoving Rahmiel into Edward's room.

"Edwar –"

My words lodged themselves in my throat as I took in the scene that was before me.

It was empty.

The bed in which he was lying in not an hour before was gone. The only thing that remained was an empty bed waiting for a new victim...

"No..."

"Isabella...maybe it isn't what it...maybe he's just getting treatment or tested..."

"I can't feel him... He's not here. Not in this room, not in this hospital – he's gone!"

"What do you mean 'feel him?' He isn't your ward, you don't have that bond."

"It doesn't matter now, what little 'bond' I do have with him is useless..." My words trailed off as a lump formed in my throat, making almost impossible to speak.

"Concentrate, Isabella. Focus on your Edward. Where is he?" Rahmiel said calmly beside me.

I tried to do as she said - I tried to concentrate on Edward's energy. It was hard; all of my thoughts kept returning to the empty room that I was in. Eventually, I was able to...feel him. To sense the life, the soul, that made Edward.

"This way," I said – my voice thick and broken.

A few minutes later, Rahmiel and I were hovering outside a house that was nestled firmly in the woods. Away from any civilization.

"Are you sure?"

"He's in the room on the right. We have to hurry."

"Do not move..." I heard a man whisper as we entered the dark room.

The room was void of any furniture besides a bed, and smelled musky – as if it hadn't gotten fresh air in years. It was these little idiotic things that my brain decided to process as I saw a man lower his mouth towards Edward's neck.

My Edward.

"Isabella," Rahmiel whispered from beside me. Looking at her I saw that her eyes were wide, stricken with fear, as she silently shook. "Aswang..."

Not many humans knew of Aswangs – instead they wrongly called them vampires or witches or werewolves. The thing is, they're all wrong. The Aswang is a shape shifter made of all the bad that fled Pandora's jar. They could take almost any animal form, but only during the day, for at night they feasted. Female Aswangs prefer the young in the womb – often being the sole blame for miscarriages in myths. However, the male Aswangs were the grave robbers, the thieves of the dying. Stealing the body of a dying mortal or simply taking one from the dirt of the earth, they would latch onto their neck and use their proboscis – a tube like tongue – to suck the liver from the body.

"No... NO!" I screamed as I dove at the thing – attempting to tackle it.

But it was too late.

Without raising his head the Aswang lifted his hand and swatted me away as if I were nothing more than a speck of dust.

A grunt escaped me as I crashed to the dusty floor.

"Rahmiel, run," I warned softly as I pushed myself up.

Without hesitation Rahmiel fled the room. She knew well enough that when I lost my temper things needed to die. The blood of the monster would be on my hands and I would relish on the fact.

I bit into the heel of my left palm - breaking the skin and drawing blood. Using my right index finger I drew out my name in the ancient language of the angels with it. My blood became my calling ink.

There was a pressure right in the center of my palm as I finished - a force that needed a release.

I slammed my hand down on the air - as if there were an invisible table that only I could see - and felt the pressure slowly leaking out of me.

A thick metal sphere was sticking out of my palm. I brought my hand up and yanked on the ball with my right, releasing my sword - the sword my father, Michael, gave me for my sixteenth birthday many millennia ago.

It was long and fashioned of old iron, blackened by time in some places, but still a work of beauty. The evidence of age hinted at stories and experiences the metal had lived through and came through victorious.

"You will die on this night," I growled, my voice like gravel in a blender.

The Aswang didn't have time to turn and look in my direction before I was rushing towards him.

˳̊

Cradling Edward's head in my lap, I brushed the hair off his sweat covered forehead. His breathing was more erratic and shallow than it was a few minutes ago, but there was nothing I could do.

His heartbeats were slowing.

"You have broken many rules, child," sneered a nasally voice from behind me.

"I realize that," I managed to force out through my sobs. I didn't care if the old fool saw my weakness. There was nothing I could do to save the man I loved.

"Drop the human."

"No," I said, clutching his head tighter.

"Do not make this harder than it needs to be."

"Isabella, drop the boy," commanded a new voice.

A voice that I could not oppose.

"Yes, father," I whispered brokenly.

Gently, I lifted Edward's head from my lap and set in on the grass. The least I could do was make his last moments as comfortable as possible.

Standing was difficult with legs that refused to obey, but drawing on the little strength left in me I made my back straight and turned to see my father and my accuser.

"You, Isabella of Michael, have broken two of the ancient laws. You will return to Heaven immediately and await your trial," sneered my accuser – one of the cloaked Elders.

"Yes sir."

The Elder soon vanished, leaving the three of us alone.

Glancing at my father, I forced myself to meet his gaze, and saw all the disappointment and sadness it held.

Not once had I ever seen the great Michael look so broken, and I, his own daughter, was the cause of it now.

We stood there for a few minutes – Michael watching me as I watched Edward. I could feel the light rays of the sun on my back as it began to rise, but that was lost to me the moment I heard Edward's heart falter. I listened as it faintly as it beat once more and then stayed silent.

I wanted to scream in protest. I wanted to let lose the rage I could distantly feel. I wanted to cry to release the building devastation.

I didn't do any of those. I was too numb to do anything besides drop onto my knees and crawl the short distance to Edward.

Clinging to him I could feel his body as it slowly lose what little warmth it held.

"Isabella, that's enough. Let's go," I heard my father's stern voice say from behind me.

He was right. It was enough. I couldn't take anymore.

I'd had enough.

˳̊

"And how do you plea?"

Lifting my chin in belligerence, I stated the truth that I'd been hiding since 1901.

"I love Edward Masen. I've always loved him, and I will always love him no matter what you do to me. I'm tired of hiding this. You can make up excuses all you want about how this is bad or unnatural, but the undeniable truth is that I'm in love with him." My voice was no longer calm, it was heated and growing louder with every word I said.

"Well then, as I'm sure you know we have no choice. Isabella, daughter of Michael, for breaking two of the ancient laws – the first of giving your love to a human and the second telling said human of our nature – we hereby strip you of your wings," said one of the cloaked figures, his voiced dripping boredom.

I heard one of the guards come up behind me, but even then I could not find it in myself to fight the oncoming slaughter...to fight my death. Why should I resist when there was nothing left in me?

The guard grabbed my wings at the base with one of his hands, as his other shot out and sliced through my left palm with a shot of power.

My hand twitched but otherwise I didn't move.

"I'm sorry Isabella. You'll be missed," whispered the man behind me. With a shock I realized that the guard was Maddox. Heaven really did have a cruel sense of humor.

My arm suddenly turned cold as I felt my sword being ripped from me at the same time I felt Maddox's hand on my wings tighten.

I heard it before I felt it. It sounded like a thousand pieces of canvas being torn apart simultaneously. And then just as soon as it came it was swallowed by a scream so insane, so agonized that a banshee would have turned green with envy.

I felt as if my soul was being ripped out of me; like the fires of hell were being poured into me and spreading slowly like lava. The pain was all of this and more.

I didn't realize the scream was coming from me until Maddox clapped his hand over my mouth. I tried to stop but I couldn't. The pain needed a release and it seemed that screaming was the only outlet it found.

Before I could register anything else I had the sense that I was shrinking. Everything and everyone began to tower over me. It didn't make any sense at first, but then it hit me: I was slipping.

Contrary to popular belief angels don't literally fall from Heaven. No, that would be too simple, too nice. We say that angels fall – we refer to them that way, the Fallen – but really we slip, we float.

With my cheeks streaked in tears, screams becoming rough from my quickly scarred throat, I began to slip from my home. The distance from Heaven to Earth wasn't that vast, but it felt like hours had passed when I was only half way there. I would have preferred to fall. It was torture having to slowly see my home forever close itself to me.

There were no more screams by this point – my throat was too scarred and raw for screaming – instead only tears and throbbing pain that was still spreading throughout my body. In the silence I heard the beating of wings behind me, and then I was closed in the safety of my father's arms.

I wanted to tell him how sorry I was for disappointing him, for letting him down, for putting my family through this pain, but I didn't have the strength.

"Mio sole," he said softly. "Because you are my daughter I will not let you go like this."

He was in front of me now. All of his power radiated out of him unshielded – it scared me. He drew out his sword and the sound of metal against metal had never been so menacing.

"This is perhaps the only thing I can do for you, mio sole. Even if you do not understand it I do this now because I do love you."

And with that his sword – the one he killed hundreds of demons with, saved thousands of humans with – sliced through my chest in one sure solid move.

Then there was nothing. No hands from an endless darkness reaching for me greedily. No tidal wave of shadows and whispers rearing over me slowly and drowning me in their vastness. There was simply nothing, there was no more me.

˳̊

"You realize what you've done goes against our laws," demanded one of the Elders.

"And what are you going to do about it," I demanded in return. "Are you really brave enough to go against me, let alone think you could win?" Who was he to demand anything from me, Michael?

"I was simply pointing out that maybe Isabella got her habits from her bloodline."

I was not in the best frame of mind for this. I could not deal with some idiot hiding in some dumb cloak. I had just killed my daughter. Of the two gifts God had blessed me with – my wife and my daughter – I had to kill one of them.

I would never forget the look in her eyes when my sword entered her chest and kept going until it exited her back, the metal stained with her blood. My blood.

I didn't regret it. It was far better than the fate that awaited those that fall. The ones that are banished, stripped of their wings and power, are left to roam the earth, struggling against demons that they cannot fight. I only prayed that she understood my actions. I would pray every day that she understood before she had died.

There was no honor in her death as I hoped there would be if the action ever occurred. In Isabella's end there were only tears and blood and pain. All of this because of some mortal. We were supposed to protect them, not fall in love with them.

I wanted to hate the man that condemned my daughter to this fate, but it went against everything I believed. I wanted to crush the dumb cloaked figure for accusing me of teaching my daughter wrong, but hundreds of years of customs kept my hands at my sides. My emotions were so at war with each other that there was no room left for anything else.

Locking my jaw I left the council hall and flew home to tell my wife the news. Just her. Right now I needed to be reassured that what I did was right.

Eternity suddenly felt like a long time.


A/N: Mio piccolo = My little one

Come stai, Mamma = How are you, Mother (roughly translated)

Filia = Daughter

Bambina = Child

Buon giorno, mio piccolo = Good day, my little one

Mio sole = My sun

***For those of who are curious, the Aswang is in fact an actual myth; however, some slight details were embellished for the sake of the story.

***Feel free to tell me what you think! Just follow the arrow ^_^

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