“Why are you here?” Feeling the corner of his eye twitch, Luka sucked his teeth as he rose to his feet. “I don’t have time for this shit,” he groused. “Nora, I’m leaving!”
Hearing the clicking of heels, the raven looked over his shoulder to see his cross-dressing friend walking over with a platter balanced on one hand and a newspaper in the other. “You don’t need to shout, stupid. You’ll ruin the atmosphere.”
“I didn’t know you could create atmosphere by dressing like a goddamn maid, Nora,” the man griped before being whacked on the head with the rolled up newspaper.
“You watch your tongue,” Nora ordered as he set the paper down on the table. “You’re ruining the peace for others!”
“What peace? Nothing but weirdos come through here!”
Gaping at the man, Nora then turned to the brunette and his guest that had been seated at the table. “I’m really sorry about this, Mr. Zel,” he said with a bow.
“Why are you apologizing to him?!” Luka questioned, pointing an accusing finger at Azazel.
“Again,” I’m really sor-!”
“It’s really ok.” Nora looked up to see the brunette’s eyes closed due to the intensity of his smile. “This is all quite amusing entertainment really. I enjoy it very much,” Azazel said before holding out his cup. “If you don’t mind, could you top me off?”
“Take your time.” After the employee hurried away, purple eyes opened to view the man that was glaring at the one dressed as a maid. “You should sit.” Glancing back at the strange male, Luka sucked his teeth again before heading to the door. “If you leave, Nora’s going to have an unfortunate accident.”
“Do you want to tempt me?” Azazel questioned before smiling as Nora made his way back. “Thanks; you’re the best, Nora, dear!”
Said person merely smiled before glaring at the raven. “Go ahead and leave. You were making such a huge fuss before!”
Catching movement coming from the one with sunglasses, Luka looked at him to see something sharp glinting in the individual’s hand. Seeing how whatever it was being directed at the back of the dress-clad male, Luka stormed back over to pull his friend out the way, sending a glare at the one in glasses before taking a seat once more.
“Ah, he’s staying!” Azazel chimed, clapping his hands together. “Good, good! I do love it when friends stick around!”
“We’re not friends,” Luka grumbled as he watched the maid walk away. “And get me another coffee!”
Hearing a chuckle, the raven looked at the brunette that appeared to be sipping happily from his cup. Flinching when one of the purple eyes landed on him, he dropped his gaze down to the table. He gritted his teeth as he heard another laugh come from the man.
“You don’t like me, do you, Luka dear?”
“Stop calling me that.” The other merely laughed before downing the rest of his coffee. “She really knows how to make coffee, doesn’t she, dear Luka?”
“First, stop calling me that. Second, that she is a he so get it right.”
“Lastly, you’re going to ask me what I want, correct?” Azazel simply smiled as the man glared. “Is it wrong to just keep you in my company?”
“No one wants me in their company.”
“That’s such a poor outlook,” the brunette said as he toyed with the glass mug. “I mean, even I would love to hang out with a druggie that’s all washed-up that even can’t sell the products he’s using. You know why, Luka dear?” Said person clenched his jaw once more. “I see potential in you.”
“Don’t give me that bullshit.”
“There’s no bullshit to give. I mean, why else would I take time out of my schedule to bring you back? I don’t bother with those I see nothing in.”
“You know I don’t believe anything you say, right?”
Azazel sat a blood-stained bullet onto the table. “Let’s not be too hasty, Luka dear.” He sat another two on the table before resting his hands in his lap. “These were quite troublesome to extract but they’re not that hard to put back, you know?”
“Don’t threaten me.”
“Threats are beneath me.”
“As if I hadn’t heard that before,” Luka said as he got to his feet.
“I rather you not force my hand and continue to waste time so, please sit.”
“Do me a favor by not talking to me. Don’t follow me, don’t seek me out,” he said. “Just leave me alone!
“Luka, stop yelling like an idiot,” Nora groused after wiping his hands on his apron.
“Stop whining,” came the reply as the raven started for the door. “I’m leaving anyway.”
“Where are you going?”
“But you just got in this morning!” The taller man gave him a pointed look. “Where are you going?”
Nora grabbed him by the collar of his shirt before pulling him down to be at eyelevel. “Going. Where.”
Narrowing his eyes, Nora finally relented when Luka hardened his gaze. “If you insist on leaving, take the keys to my place.”
Said person removed a chained key from around their neck before shoving it against the man’s chest. Taking a step back as the doorbell chimed, the blue-eyed maid turned away before a happy, high tenor voice rang out in greeting.
“I must insist you stay.”
Luka spared the purple-eyed man a baleful stare before walking to the door. “Fuck off.”
“They always make this difficult,” Azazel muttered to himself as he resumed drinking his hot coffee.
A smirk pulled at the corner of the man’s mouth before it fell away. “So, let it be.”
Pushing the door open, Luka looked over his shoulder when a loud clanging sound of a metal tray echoed from within the café. Hearing the panicked voice of his friend’s coworker, Luka hurried back to the counter to see Nora sprawled on the tile, several beverages spilled around him.
Rounding the corner, Luka knelt down, flinching at the hot drinks that were soaking through his jeans. Rolling the man over, the raven slowly pulled back when he felt the cold and clammy skin of his only friend. Checking for a pulse, the raven felt his own heart skip a beat or two when he felt nothing. Placing an ear to the other’s chest to confirm what he couldn’t find, Luka looked back at the other worker to see that they were currently calling emergency services.
Panicked chatter coming from the customers peering over the counter didn’t quite help the situation but Luka did stand when he didn’t spot a particular individual. Grudgingly pulling away from the motionless man, Luka searched the café to see Azazel casually drinking from his mug.
Rounding the counter, the raven wasted no time in closing the space between them before grabbing the male by the front of his shirt, making him spill the rest of his coffee.
The irregular colored eyes opened slowly. “Oh dear. I’ve seemed to have spilled my cof-”
“What did you do?!” he all but growled as he shook the man.
The one of red eyes slowly rose from his seat before being signaled to stay put by the other. “Luka dear, you know, you have no one to blame but yourself.”
“I gave you chances you know, but you didn’t seem keen on my offer,” Azazel said, knocking the man’s hand away. “I gave you warning but you didn’t take heed when I said that you’re wasting dear Nora’s time.” He then wagged a slim finger in the man’s face, smile in place but voice as flat as it had ever been. “Nora’s gone and there’s nothing you can do about.” The brunette sat a few bills onto the table before rounding the man. “Good day.”
Going to grab the man before he was out of reach, Luka glared at the red-eyed man that had gotten his way before leaning over to see Azazel walking past the front window. Shoving the other out of his way, Luka ran out the door before looking for the man that had departed.
“Azazel!” he shouted as he looked every way. “Azazel!” He ignored the looks given. “Azazel!” He paused as he caught the distant whine of sirens. “Azazel!” He looked around again, trying not to stray too far from the café. “Azaz-!”
Looking behind him, Luka wasted no time in dragging the man into the alleyway. Shoving him against the wall, the raven kept them there as he continued to glare up a storm. The once lively, mischievous purple gaze had taken on a more deadpan look. The always present smile was gone, not even giving way to the slightest of smirks.
“You heard me, bastard. Whatever you did to Nora, fix it!”
Azazel tilted his head in the direction of the ambulance. “Why, when he’s already de-” He spit out a bit of blood. “Ow.”
“Fix whatever you did!” The brunette continued to stare impassively at the man. “Fix-!”
“Truth hurts, dear Luka, but your friend is dead and will remain dead.” As the other went to swing again, Azazel caught his fist before grabbing hold of the man’s throat. “Let’s get something clear. Your friend would’ve been in the morgue by now if it wasn’t for me.” He then shoved the raven against the opposite wall before leaning in. “You’d be in the same place.”
Whatever Luka was going to say died away as Azazel’s hand tightened suddenly. “I don’t necessarily like to string people like you along too long as the game becomes tedious rather quickly. You seem to be the dense type so I’ll make this so plain that even you should be able to get it. I brought you back with your friend as incentive. Since you disobeyed me, not only will your friend be six feet under but so will your sorry ass,” he stated before releasing the man. He then watched as Luka coughed, holding his throat as he took a step back. “Now, we can either do this the easy way or you can make this as rough for you as you like.”
“Were you not listening?”
Watching the growing crowd outside the alleyway, Luka looked back at the brunette that was staring at him with an unreadable gaze. Chewing his lip as a police car rolled up to the scene, the raven clenched his hands at his side before hanging his head.
“Do you really think saying ‘please’ will change my mind?”
“You say ‘please’ but you don’t mean it, Luka.” Azazel chuckled darkly soon after. “Humans never change it seems. You will forever say pretty words in hope that you either get what you want or until it makes one feel better. Whatever the end result may be, humans seem to only take action if it will benefit them in a positive way.” He chuckled once more before all amusement disappeared. “It’s quite sickening really but, nevertheless, his life is mine; not yours. You have the keys to his place and possibly access to his funds so why are you complaining anyway?”
“Bring him back!”
“I’ll be taking my leave now.” Bowing slightly at the waist, the brunette skirted past the man. Looking back down to see seized wrist, he narrowed his eyes. “Release me.”
“Is dead,” Azazel finished as he pulled his hand back. “It’s your own fault mind you. Despite what you think of as helping him, you’ve done nothing but hurt him.
“This is entirely your fault. I gave you plenty of warning but it was your choice to heed my words. Nora is d-”
“No!” Luka stared down at the ground, fists shaking at his sides. “Nora is-!”
His voice caught.
“Who are you trying to convince?” Azazel questioned. “You can say that your friend is still here all you wish but-”
Who was he trying to convince?
The evidence was there. Nora didn’t have a heartbeat because he was dead. Despite him standing in that frilly outfit of his, the man had died just the night prior. That would explain the cold, clammy skin. It would explain why there wasn’t a rise or fall of the man’s chest. It would explain why there wasn’t a gentle breath against his cheek when he went to check the man’s pulse.
“Nora’s dead,” Azazel stated as he began his departure once more. “Good day.”
“Wait!” Looking in the direction that the brunette had been standing, Luka ran out onto the sidewalk when he did not see the man in the alley. “Azazel!” Aforementioned was nowhere to be seen. “Azazel!”476Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡcTbkGKYAri
Rummaging through the blonde’s cabinets for another bottle of wine, Luka concluded that he had to have been dreaming. Maybe he would wake up on a park bench or in an alleyway after relapsing. When he woke up, Nora would be alive and making breakfast. The smaller male would then gripe about him reeking of outside and to hurry up in the bathroom so he could get ready for work himself.
This would all just be some nightmare that he would laugh off.
Reality wasn’t going to let him off so easily though.
Glancing at the clock, green eyes watched as the little hand finally made itself onto the ten prior to focusing on an empty bottle that lay shattered on the floor. The wine from it had already formed a dark stain on the tile, leaving the man to realize that he had been there for hours.
If he was going to wake, he would’ve done so by now.
“No, I’m asleep,” he muttered to himself. “I’m sleeping…”
There was no one to convince but himself.
Nora wasn’t gone.
He wasn’t dead.
The man was just late.
Nodding his head at the idea of it, Luka took a swig from the bottle before walking towards the living room. Cutting on the news as he kicked up his feet, he flicked through the channels until he across the news.
“In recent news, coroners are still trying to determine the cause of death for Nora Levette, a worker at a small café downtown.”
Spitting out the wine, and dropping the bottle, Luka stared at the screen as Nora’s friend and coworker, Sam, appeared on the screen.
“He was fine and bickering with this friend of his before collapsing without say,” he replied. “I mean, he was always healthy and would never show up if he as sick. Even then, he would at least call in advance to say if he wasn’t coming but…this….” They covered their mouth before turning away altogether. “Nora…”
“Back to you.”
Watching as the screen went back to the reporters at the station, Luka swallowed thickly before looking at the keys on the coffee table.
Nora had given them to him before he died.
“…You have the keys to his place and possibly access to his funds so why are you complaining?”
Looking towards the blonde’s room, Luka was sure he could figure out where Nora had kept his cards, loans, bonds or just about whatever other financial assets. Making his way to the room, he started for the man’s bureau before resting his hands along the top of it. Rummaging through a few of the drawers, he pulled out a platinum credit card prior to looking at a savings bond that had been tucked away. Seeing similar items at the back of the drawer, Luka looked at the card in his hand before placing the item down.
He did drugs; sure, but he wasn’t a thief.
He wouldn’t be able to steal from Nora. He couldn’t steal from someone who legitimately cared for his wellbeing even if he couldn’t figure out why.
“I’m surprised you’re still here.” Luka tensed. “Whatever is the matter?”
“Why are you here?!”
Sidestepping a punch, Azazel waltzed around the raven before knocking him onto the bed. Going over to the dresser, he picked up the blonde’s credit cards then bonds. Picking up a proof of stock, the brunette fanned himself with an envelope before sidestepping the other man when he tried to hit him again.
“I pictured you being a hopeless drunk by this point,” Azazel commented as he rifled through the contents of the envelope. He then thumbed through a stack of money. “I’m surprised you didn’t take any of this.” A slight smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth as he waltzed around the one that lunged at him. “Or maybe you did. Maybe you have it stashed-ow….”
“Give him back!” Receiving a chuckle, Luka punched the man again before grabbing him by the collar. “Give. Him. Back.”
“Whatever for?” Azazel held up the envelope. “With what he has in this room alone, you’d be set for quite a while. Go on; take it.” He then held up the credit card. “I won’t tell anyone.”
“Bring Nora back!”
“Why on earth would I do such a thing?” He received the demand once more before sucking his teeth. “Humans never listen,” he sighed as he caught the other’s fist. “You know, the only reason you still have this hand is because I have become rather fond of you. I would suggest you cease, lest you wish to lose it.”
“Do be quiet,” came the response as a hand clamped itself around Luka’s mouth. “I’m fond of you but you’d still be of service even if you could not speak.”
Glaring at the man, Luka looked down when he felt something sharp starting to pierce the skin around his mouth. Relenting when he felt tiny rivulets of blood, he took a step back when the brunette released him.
“Why are you here?”
“I could ask you the same thing, Luka dear,” he replied. “Please refrain from glaring at me any further. If you continue, I’m afraid I’ll take one. They are such a lovely shade of green.” Going to glare, Luka opted against it. “Good, good. See, you’re learning Luka dear. Now, I’m going to let you go and you’re going to be a good boy, got it.”
Nodding stiffly, Luka exhaled heavily while wiping away the thin streams of blood from around his mouth. Clenching his hand into a fist as the other continued to rifle through the financial assets of a late friend, the raven went to swing at the man before having the same action done to him.
A hand at the throat had him stilling while the coppery taste of blood began to well in his mouth. Cutting his eyes up at the one pinning him down, they widened somewhat when fiery red ones narrowed to mere slits.
“He said to behave so behave.”
“Give Nora back!”
“I never took him. You can thank the guy upstairs for that.” He said as he read through the terms of loan. “Hmm, he had his hands on a lot of money, huh?”
“Give him back.”
“Ronove, would you please?”
Breathing had become quite difficult after the hand at his neck tightened exponentially. Feeling more and more lightheaded as seconds ticked by, Luka tried prying the hand away as his chest started to feel tighter. Feeling water pricking at the corners of his eyes, the raven dropped his hand to his side as the room started to grow darker.
"…'m gonna die…"
He recalled thinking that not too long ago. He had planned on dying alone before a certain blonde had to try and intervene.
If he hadn’t been there, none of this would be happening; however, he couldn’t blame Nora.
The guy just cared too much for his own good.
“That’s enough, Ronove.” Walking over when the man released the other, Azazel slid one hand into his pocket while the other was used to tap the side of the raven’s face. “Hey, c’mon. You can’t die on me yet.”
Scowling momentarily as green eyes started to slide shut once more, Azazel grabbed the man’s face. “Do you want Nora back?” Luka’s cracked open. “Yeah, I thought so; however, there are some conditions that will need to be followed. Do we have an understanding?”
Staring up at the oddly-colored eyes, Luka nodded stiffly once the hand left his face. “Y-yes…”
“Wonderful,” the other said as he clapped his hands together. “Now then, please get some rest; we have so much to review in the morning.”ns 126.96.36.199da2