Fandom: Axis Powers Hetalia / In Nomine
Rating: PG-13 for swearins and violence.
Warnings: Author likes to skip blithely among verb tenses.
Note: I tried to make this understandable for people who do not know In Nomine canon, I hope it worked.
"Calm your tits." Alfred said, his voice a forced calm in of itself as he paced back and forth, watching the building where his target was likely at, talking to his brother at the same time. Via cellphone, of course, Matthew was actually halfway around the world, doing God's work.
"I'm not going to fuck up my first earth mission." Alfred continued, in a low whisper to make certain he wasn't overheard by any passer-byes. "I took all the same classes as you did, I passed with flying colors, I get Earth, I get humans, I am not going to fuck this up just because I don't have the same 'on the job' experience you do."
He tried to keep the bitterness out of his voice, but he must not have done that well. That, and Matthew had a few 'natural abilities' at his side. Though the two were brothers, formed at the same time from their mothers' union, they had turned to different angelic choirs when the time came to become fully fledged angels instead of the partially formed proto-beings that almost all angels started off as.
Matthew joined the order of Menunim, messengers of quiet strength and hope in dedicated service to the Archangel of Dreams. Sensing the mood was a pivotal key to their abilities, to know who to assist.
Alfred had to be difficult. It wasn't just that he fledged Malakite - warrior kings among angels if there ever were any - but he had to go an petition to enlist with the Archangel of War, who was at odds with the Archangel of Dreams, whom both he and Matthew's mothers were in service to.
It wasn't easy. He had to struggle twice as hard as any other angel in Archangel Michael's service to gain acknowledgment - to gain the same rights. But Alfred loved a fucking challenge.
And here he was. His first real mission, and a solo one at that. A simple hunt and destroy, no problem, in and out.
One of their more useful spies - an ancient demon named Yao, one of Lilith's children - had developed something of a tail in the form of a stalker. Alfred's commander had revealed that if Yao was bothered enough to request help from Heaven and risk owing them one, there was a good possibility that this had carried on for at least a decade now, if not longer. Lilim were Hell's deal-makers - whom owed them favors, and whom they were indebted to was a matter of life and death itself.
"Just be careful." Matthew murmured in his soft voice, and Alfred could tell it was filled with worry. "Please. Be quick and be quiet about it."
"With any luck, there'll be far too much 'ambient noise' for anyone to notice little ole' me. Catch you on the flipside, Mattie."
Angelic tongue was too pure for the vocal chords of vessels, for Earth itself, but a pidgin version of it could be spoken by those who could sing well enough - and it was with that pure song that Matthew whistled "Love you, brother."
"Love you, brother." Alfred replied, and turned off his phone.
The building he watched was some kind of tether - a 'terminal port' linking locations on Earth to locations in either Heaven or Hell. Infernal, obviously, but for what domain or why? Tethers were created by human emotions and associations, it was rare to find small ones that slipped under the radar like this.
Before Alfred could ponder that meaning further, he spotted his mark. The vessel matched Yao's description exactly. A large man with platinum hair and lavender eyes, always wearing a scarf and a large coat. It wasn't out of sorts to have that kind of clothing in this cold weather, but the resemblance was uncanny. Alfred waited for his mark to get three blocks away from the tether before stepping away from the wall and following.
He studied his mark while he walked, just another 'American tourist' in the city, maybe a little lost, just happening to be going in the same direction. The Russian never turned around to look at Alfred, so he had to ponder by body language alone. Human soldier of Hell, or demon? Had to be demon, Alfred decided. But what kind of demon? The obvious option was a Djinn, a Stalker (haha, a Stalker stalking), but Djinn were the demonic mirrors of the Cherubim - and like the Cherubim, they could not harm the charges they tied their souls to. If he was stalking Yao, he had to have attuned his soul to the Lilim's to do just that, but Yao had fresh bruises. Then again, unlike Cherubim, Djinn could allow their charges to be harmed by others. So either this guy wasn't a Djinn, or he wasn't working alone. Alfred didn't sense any incoming danger, though. If he had a partner, that partner wasn't currently present or setting up an ambush.
The Russian walked with an easy gait. He was neither hurried nor avoiding something. By sheer virtue of his size Alfred had to walk fast to not fall too far behind. They passed a few people on the street as their trek took them into a warehouse district, though no one acknowledged the large man. A few gave passing glances to Alfred, but nothing more than that. He walked carefully, keeping to the shadows as he followed the large Russian man. Finally he stepped off the main pat and slipped into a doorway, after turning a corner, only the still-closing door alerted Alfred to where he had vanished to.
All at once, Alfred felt it.
Like a heavy beat of drums from somewhere past the horizon.
Danger. the music of the spheres whispered to him. Danger.
He approached the door, and could hear it grow louder. A tense and steady beat, joined by a war horn's bellow.
Alfred was never known for subtlety.
He hit the door with his shoulder at just the right spot to tear it off its damn hinges as he ran in - a whining discordant note reaching his ears at the damage caused to the physical realm - then used the broken piece of wood as a makeshift shield to block the blow that slammed into it like a freight train. It knocked him back hard, into the wall by the now open doorway. If that had hit his head like it had been intended for, he'd have probably been waking up back in Heaven instead of still in the warehouse, trying to shake some sense back into himself.
"Ah~" It was the Russian. How did he know he was being followed?! "You are a little far from home, da?"
Corporeal things were supposed to interact with corporeal things, and celestial with celestial. To be perfectly frank, the celestial was supposed to stay as far out of the business of the corporeal as they could manage. It was God's will. So when an angel or demon damaged something physical and belonging on Earth, the symphony of life rang out with a dissonant note. You knew when you damaged something corporeal, and depending on how big that thing was, the disturbance got louder. A lot louder. Killing a human was something you couldn't hide.
Breaking the door gave just enough sound for the Russian to hear and understand - in turn, Alfred got a conformation when the man's blow snapped what had been left of it clean in half a little louder than it should have been.
Alfred scrambled to his feet as he quickly tried to assess his situation. The other man was a few feet away, holding his weapon - a pipe with a faucet head attached to it. It had a rusty color in spots all over it, and Alfred bettered that wasn't actually rust. Alfred clenched a fist.
"I think we both are, aren't we?" he asked, venturing a guess due to the sheer strength that went behind that hit.
The other man grinned like razor blades.
"Perhaps, perhaps... I would peg you for a Stalker, but you were not very good at that." the man cooed, removing a hand from the pipe to finger at a frayed edge of the scarf he wore.
"I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Alfred had nothing to hide. The man's eyes glittered with entertainment.
"No, it is much more fun to guess."
He swung the pipe again, lightning fast - faster than someone of his size rightfully should be. Alfred reached out and caught it before it struck home, though the shock traveled down his arm. The pipe had to be celestially enhanced, a real one would have shattered under Alfred's grip.
"Guessing game it is." He agreed, delivering a kick straight to the Russian's midsection, knocking HIM back into a wall.
The building they were in was dilapidated and abandoned from the looks of it. Peeling paint on the walls, no sign of even squatters or rats here.
Wide open space though, good for fighting. Alfred had no weapon on him, but he didn't need one.
He didn't wait for the Russian to get back up, jumping on him and straddling his waist to punch him square in the jaw. He only got one good hit in before the other celestial flipped their positions, bucking his hips to kick Alfred off balance and landing him on his back, now with the pipe pressed down against his throat and -
It was a startling sensation. In Heaven, breathing wasn't required. He'd never experienced a sudden lack of oxygen.
Maybe Matthew had been right, maybe he wasn't ready.
Alfred grabbed the pipe with both hands, shoving back against the Russian even as he pressed it against Alfred's throat. Things were getting dark around the edges. The Russian's eyes almost glowed with an intense fascination at the sight. Fucker was getting off on watching him suffocate.
That just made him angry.
With a sudden rush of new-found energy, Alfred SHOVED - and the pipe actually BENT from the two opposing forces interacting. Alfred suddenly remembered a proverb he'd heard from a Cherub that served the word of Animals - When elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers.
The sound of wrenching metal echoed in the otherwise empty space, Alfred drew in a sharp breath and slammed his forehead against the demon's. It probably hurt him just as much, but it actually got a wince and a curse from the demon, allowing Arthur time to scramble back up to his feet-
A burning pain erupted in his stomach.
He looked down, saw a knife buried in his gut up to the hilt.
It was a pretty big knife.
Grabbing the hilt and twisting it, the Russian yanked it back out of Alfred's stomach. It was soaked red. And fucking huge.
"You did not study well, little one, did you?" he asked, voice soft and affectionate. Alfred couldn't move, the pain was unfamiliar and almost blinding. The Russian licked the blood off of his knife.
"F-fuck you." Alfred growled out.
The demon laughed.
"I will give you a freebie, zaichik." the Russian cooed, holding Alfred down with a strong hand while the other drew the knife back up. "I don't serve Lust."
That was one prince down, still twenty or so possible ones to go. Alfred coughed, and tasted blood on his lips.
"Go ahead-" Alfred threatened, glaring. "But I'll be back."
"After some time to cool off in Trauma." the Demon said with an assured smile. Trauma was what happened when physical death was suffered by a celestial. Death was still painful, it was still a shock to be forcefully shoved back to heaven or hell, and left one in a comatose state. It could take mere days to recover from, or for the exceptionally unlucky - decades. There were some Angels who had been in Trauma so long it was forgotten when hey entered it. All celestials suffered this fate.
All but one kind.
"Try twenty minutes - and that's including the red tape to get back down here."
Violet eyes narrowed at that boast, uttering one phrase.
Malakim were the one kind of celestial that suffered no Trauma. They were Heaven's shock troops, an order of angel that did not exist in times of peace, appearing during the Fall like a sign from God that those loyal to him were blessed to fight their former brothers and sisters. The fight was in their very blood, and even a brand new Malakite had that memory within his or her soul of battle. Death on the corporeal plane was a speed bump, only annoying in that they had to get a new vessel and find a tether back down to earth to pursue their hunt once more. It was one thing that made them terrifying for demons to fight: killing a Malakite did not offer you freedom from the hunt, just a head start to begin running.
They were perfect warriors, and perfectly pure - all angels could be corrupted, could Fall. All but Malakim. There were a few theories on this of course, the two most prevalent being that they were even more self-policing than the rest of Heaven. A Malakite dissonant enough to go renegade was a Malakite whose brothers would descend upon him like a pack of rabid dogs the second they found him. There was another theory that was far more popular in Hell as well: Malakim existed in a state so dark that it was impossible to fall, because they were already demons, just ones God had given amnesty to.
"Got it in one, sunshine." Alfred's grin was nothing short of psychotic. He could hear the blood pumping in his ears, and it was so dark he had forgotten it was daytime.
"See you next time, zaichik. Though you won't see me."
The last color before everything washed gray and black was shining violet.
He awoke with a start in a familiar room, circular and warm. the brightly colored walls with golden inlay seemed to dance with the light of the flames, the sacred fire from Archangel Gabriel herself (himself?) giving everything life.
Soft warm hands threaded through his hair, as black as inky shadows just like the rest of him before he took a breath and forced himself into vessel-seeming.
He looked up to the gentle and sad eyes of the archangel that looked down upon him, his head resting in her lap.
"... That wasn't so bad." Alfred said flippantly, sticking to English even though he was back in Heaven. His voice was a little shaken. "Don't- I don't see what the big deal is."
"You are a Malakite." The Archangel Blandine murmured, her voice soft and musical. "You need not lie so I believe you strong, my beloved one."
There were no lies in the angelic language.
"He was strong. Stronger than I expected." Alfred shifted, moving his head off of Blandine's lap so that he could sit up. "... There was no way I could have won against him."
Either Michael had bad or no information on Yao's stalker, or Alfred had been set up to fail for a reason.
Soft green eyes flashed with a surge of annoyance, of anger, as she came to the same conclusion.
"I will speak with Michael, he cannot put you in such danger."
Alfred reached out to hold on to her sleeve, a gesture he never grew out of. Other angels would never assume to touch an Archangel without permission. Alfred was a special case.
"No! Grandmother, please, no. I want to be treated like any other soldier." He pleaded, in angelic so she knew he wasn't lying. "I've been given an alias, so no one will know who I am if they get my name. I won't be targeted, protecting me will just draw attention to it and make people ask questions."
Anger faded as easily as it came, replaced with the same tired, sad look that those who knew and loved Blandine saw far too often in the ancient patron of Dreams. 'The Bright Lady', the Pagan gods had called her. Beautiful, shining, and sad. A mother who had lost almost all of her children and her wife in one fell swoop.
"...Just say the word, my beloved, and I will take you back. You will always be welcome in Dreams. I would place you with your brother so you two would not be separated. Michael would not argue if I demanded on your behalf that you be released from his service." It was one last-ditch attempt to talk him back. Angels were granted that freedom, to chose which Archangel they served, whom they would swear loyalty to. An Archangel could always refuse a petitioner, but that was a rare feat. Heaven wanted all of its troops to be where they were best suited, and most happily suited. Unhappy people did unhappy things.
"Oh! I wanted to tell you... I'm getting stationed in Toronto, actually. That's going to be my cover. American studying abroad. So I'll be nearby, and he can keep an eye on me, and you don't have to worry. This mission was just a fluke, I was at the right place at the right time before my long-term one started."
Blandine smiled, running a hand through Alfred's hair again.
"You are my precious grandchild, Amerigo I will always worry about you. Now go back to Michael to report, before he assumes you've gone renegade for your lateness."