Title: Angel of the Snowdrift
Authoresses: NoChristmasJokesPlz and ANT-chan
Rating/Genre: Romance/Drama/NC-17 (for SLASH/YAOI/BL/GAY, sex sex and more sex, language, a bit of angst, and threesome.)
Summary: 'Life hates me. It always has. ...I'm really going to die here.' Neither Sin nor Draca ever thought finding a boy in the snow and doing a good deed would lead to so much. A Shadows & Seraphim story. M/M/M
Angel of the Snowdrift
Chapter 8: Fae Lights
"Milo! Milooooo! Come on, kitty! Don't get lost!"
Milo snapped from his awed daze just in time to avoid getting bumped into by a passerby. He leapt out of the way with a quick, stammering apology, self-consciously stroking down his furry ears. But before he could even recover, a hand landed on his shoulder, causing him to nearly jump out of his skin for the fifth time in the past twenty minutes. His gold eyes darted up, looking directly into Kira's sparkling rosy ones.
"Careful," she chuckled.
The fighter had decided on a silvery dress made of silk for the festival. It was sleeveless, with the collar left open, and only came to about mid-thigh. There were slits up the sides, nearly all the way to her hips, but the woman was wearing skin-tight shorts beneath it, much to Milo's relief. The dress itself was patterned with white and blue lilies, as well as a large flame-colored flower at the hem - which Milo suspected to be a phoenix lily.
"S-Sorry," he murmured. "I've just... I've never been to a festival like this before." They'd arrived at the festival grounds a short while ago, and Milo had been unable to keep from staring since. Draca had been right about the streets; even though the festival had many visitors, the streets were wide open, and kept it from being uncomfortably crowded. Fae lights and crystals were strung from posts all around the area, giving the festival a soft, dusky glow that evening. Stalls and shops lined the streets and plazas, and there were so many smells and sounds that Milo didn't know which to focus on first.
A merchant, loudly declaring her hand-crafted "fashion-forward weapons for the delicate and demure lady assassin", boomed her sales pitch a bit too close to Milo. His sensitive hearing, and his skittish nature, sent him skittering behind Kira with a startled yowl. He clung to her shoulder, quivering for a moment, as the tall, rather masculine merchant laughed deeply at his sudden retreat.
"Easy there, Zo!" Kira called to her. "He hasn't been in the Haven long enough to get used to you!"
The weaponsmith kept laughing, and gave a friendly wave while blowing a kiss to Milo, who blushed and ducked behind Kira. She couldn't help but notice how he had to crouch slightly to hide his face, and still, his ears were visible. When had that happened?
"Zoe frightened our kitty, did he?" Kyris chuckled, striding up alongside them, handing Milo a fried whole fish skewered on a stick. Milo mewled happily and began to eat with vigor.
Kyris smiled at the young neko's enthusiasm, stroking his hair. She was dressed in a knee-length green dress with white leaf patterns embroidered into it. Like most days she wore leggings, this time thin black leggings trimmed with lace. Over her dress, she had a formal robe that she left open. It was gold and flowing around her like a shimmering cascade of silk. She'd actually pulled her hair back for the first time since he'd met her, and a few tight curls framed her face perfectly.
"He's cute!" the merchant laughed; a Dragon woman, now that Milo looked at her.
"He is, alright." That was from Kira, of course, but Milo was placated enough with his delicious treat that he didn't think to worry. "He's our new little buddy!"
"And our little roommate, so stop hogging all the cute!"
Long, lanky arms suddenly slid around the petite neko's slim waist. Milo was almost too engrossed in his treat to care. Almost. He squeaked slightly at the impromptu hug from his Vampyric companion.
"H-h-hi, Draca," he squeaked, stuffing half of the fish in his mouth, partly in an effort to silence his stammer, and partly in an effort to avoid saying something stupid. He chewed away at the lightly spiced fried breading and sank his little fangs into the tender, deliciously flaky meat of the fish beneath.
"Hey there, kitten," Draca chuckled in his ear. "Sorry we lost ya for a second. Sin was cornered by a gaggle of little village kids again."
Milo giggled around his snack. It certainly was a sight to behold, the great and feared assassin Sin, nearly tripping over a cluster of small girls of various species and origins, ranging in age from chubby, sticky-handed toddlers to that age where girls begin to notice things like boys' eyes, lips, or rear ends. Thankfully when it happened, Kira had caught him before he'd wandered too far, and playfully pointed him in the direction of the spectacle of the assassin being mobbed by overzealous little girls, and his blond lover nearly doubled over cackling.
"Draca!" Zoey exclaimed loudly. "Is it your mission in life to hoard all the pretty boys around here?"
Draca winked playfully and scratched behind Milo's ear. Where he normally would have blushed vividly and protested, he only purred softly and nibble contentedly on his fish. The combination easily overrode his shame. "You're a Dragon, Zo. You should know the appeal of collecting pretty things."
Milo barely listened, munching happily on his fish and leaning into the wonderful scritching Draca was giving him. He was utterly content for the moment. This was the first time he'd been so close to Draca and hadn't had a full-blown anxiety attack. His heart was still pounding in his chest, but he was too happy to worry about it. He was just starting to nibble down to the bone when Draca stopped rubbing at his ears. Milo glanced up into the Vampyre's smirking face, a questioning little mew leaving his mouth.
"You listenin', kitten?"
The blush finally returned. The Fayth shook his head slowly, swallowing his bite of fish.
"I said let's go see if the little monsters spared Sin and Gwen, 'kay?"
His flush darkened, and he nodded, ripping off the last decent-sized bite of his treat. Draca grinned and slipped one arm around his waist, guiding him away from the merchants. Zoe called out a goodbye as they left, which Draca returned with a wild vigor. For most of the short walk, Milo held his body as far as he could from the Vampyre's with that long arm around him, but by the time Sin and Gwen were in sight, he was tentatively leaning against the blond, who smiled down at him encouragingly.
"I'm not gonna bite, kitten," he said, baring his fangs, then snorting slightly in amusement. "Not without asking, anyway. Don't be afraid."
"I... I'm not afraid," the neko protested weakly. Draca arched a brow, and he ducked his head.
"Stop teasing him, Draca!" Gwen shouted when her eyes fell upon them.
The thief's indignant sputters had Milo giggling softly. "I barely even said anything to 'im!" he called. But his protest fell on deaf ears. Gwen was kneeling beside Sin, holding the hand of a babbling Elf child, who hadn't quite yet mastered pronouncing words properly yet. Gwen was wearing a long-sleeved wrap dress made of the softest amethyst fabric. It clung to her form until it reached her waist, where it flared out just a little as it tumbled to her knees. But the dress was far more simplistic than any of theirs. There were no elaborate patterns like with the rest of their tunics and dresses. The most Gwen's dress had was a delicate vine pattern along the hems. But it suited her. So simplistic and pure and quiet.
She glanced up at Sin and smiled sweetly, laughing as the man patiently listened to the toddler's chatter. There was another, much younger child clinging to Sin's pant leg. This one looked unsteady on his feet, and cooing excitedly up at him. An older child - the others' sibling, perhaps - stood nearby, laughing and swinging a tiny paper lantern.
The smallest child turned and caught sight of Milo, or, more specifically, the silvery flash of his tail flicking behind him. "Kitty!" the toddler crowed. He waddled as quickly as his chubby little legs could carry him, almost tripping more than once. He would have fallen when he reached the surprised nekojin, but he caught himself on Milo's tail. The feline Fayth yowled in shock and pain as the child tugged, instinctively yanking his tail free. The tiny child fell backwards. For a moment, he simply looked stunned, blinking up at Milo. Then, his little face crumpled and reddened, and he began to wail. Milo yelped.
"Oh no! Oh no! D-don't cry! I'm sorry!" He crouched down, his hands fluttering nervously. He didn't know whether or not to touch the child. Would that just make him cry louder? Suddenly, pudgy arms shot into the air, and the little boy hiccupped pathetically.
"Up?" he whimpered.
Hesitantly, Milo scooped up the boy. Little arms latched tightly around his neck, and a tear-streaked face buried itself against his throat. Wide-eyed, Milo looked to Sin and Gwen, unsure of what to do.
They were both watching him in amusement, but thankfully they weren't going to leave him without help. Gwen made a motion of rubbing the child's back, her smile gentle. Milo nodded hesitantly, his movements careful as he shifted the whimpering child into one arm. His hand was trembling as he started to rub the little boy's back, and for a moment, he was terrified it wasn't going to work. But after a few tense seconds, the whimpers started to quiet. Milo's heart finally slowed from its panicked rhythm. He glanced up in search of Draca, smiling timidly in search of approval.
But the Vampyre wasn't beside him anymore. In fact, he was now standing several feet away from him and looking highly uncomfortable.
He was stopped from asking as Sin walked over to him. The man chuckled at the nekojin's questioning stare. "He's terrified of children," Sin answered.
"FUCK YOU, I AM NOT."
Gwen twittered kindly. "Don't worry, Draca. You're not alone. Poor Milo looks about ready to pass out. Look at his tail!" The nekojin's tail was fluffed out like a bottle brush and lowered, and Draca had startled the boy enough to know that it meant he was barely refraining from running away.
"I... I've... never seen... anyone so... so small before," he stammered weakly. "I-It's... scary."
"They are no different than you or I." Sin held out his arms, his expression that same tranquil, impassive mask - but this time Milo thought he could see a spark of gentleness behind it. Milo felt his face flame, as predictable as always. But he managed to keep himself under enough control. He didn't break down into pathetic stammers or make himself horribly obvious, by some miracle. He leaned forward, attempting to pass the Elf child over.
"No!" The boy only latched onto Milo harder, his voice high and wavering.
"Little one." The soft, almost coo from the elder man made Milo shiver from head to toe. But luckily Sin was more focused on the little boy than him.
"I... I can hold him," Milo murmured weakly. "I-if he wants me to."
"Are you sure?" Sin asked gently.
Milo nodded, and the little Elf boy latched into him even tighter.
The assassin nodded, stepping away. "His name is Cinuri," he said quietly.
"C-Cinuri?" Milo whispered hesitantly. The child clinging to him made a little sound of acknowledgement. The boy's older sister skipped over to him, leaning up on her toes.
"Cinnnnyyyyyyy," she sang. Milo thought he saw a pair of teary, dark eyes peer from the shadow of his neck.
The girl was dressed in a pretty, lace-trimmed dress that swished around her knees. She fluttered her eyelashes coyly at Sin. Then, she turned her attention to Milo, holding out her arms. "C'mon, Cinny! Mama's waiting!"
"Nooo!" Cinny wailed, clutching Milo even more tightly to him. "Wan' stay wif Kitty!"
Panic rose in the nekojin's chest, partly because Cinuri's grip on this neck was starting to become slightly suffocating and partly because the girl's cheeks were puffing out in childish irritation. A fight was about to start between siblings. "C-Cinny," he said quickly, his voice going just a bit higher in his nervousness. "You can... um..." Large gold eyes glanced up at Sin, and he bit his lip. The man just barely tilted his head, and then comprehension swept over his beautiful features. He nodded.
Milo tried to keep his anxiety down as he stroked the little boy's back. "You can come see me later. I bet your M-Mama's worried."
A tousled little head drew away from Milo's neck, and wide, teary dark eyes gazed up at him plaintively. "P'omise?"
Milo's ears and tail drooped in relief. He seemed to have diffused the situation. "I promise."
Cinuri's lips pursed in a darling little pout that fairly melted Milo's heart. He held up a pudgy hand, his little pinky extended.
Milo blinked a bit in confusion, and Sin leaned in to whisper in his ear. "Wrap your pinky around his."
It took a moment for Milo to quell the shiver at the feeling of Sin's breath against his ear, but he obeyed, wrapped his little finger around the even small finger. "Pinky promise," he agreed.
The little girl in front of him beamed. "Don't break your promise now! Or your pinky will fall off!"
Milo's tail fluffed out comically and his eyes went wide with shock. "It will?!"
The two children tittered loudly, and an amused snort close to his ear told him Sin thought it was funny as well. Cinuri squirmed in his arms, and Milo guessed that meant he wanted down. He let the toddler slide down carefully his body, not trusting himself to hold the child without steadying him. The boy's sister took his hand, waving to all of them, and Sin especially.
"Bye, Kitty," Cinny murmured, waving a pudgy hand.
The raven-haired nekojin hesitated before returning the wave. "B-Bye..." he said timidly. He watched as they walked away, the girl taking her other brother's hand as they passed. It wasn't until they rejoined a pretty Elf woman farther down the street that he found the strength to speak. He turned to Sin with large eyes. "Will... Will it really fall off?"
If he didn't know any better, he would've thought Sin was fighting not to laugh. "No, Milo. It won't," he said calmly, laying a hand on his shoulder.
Milo glanced at his hand, flexed his fingers experimentally, then looked up at Sin with flushed cheeks and lowered ears. "That was a stupid question, wasn't it?" he asked meekly.
"Of course not, little one," Sin chuckled soothingly, squeezing his shoulder.
That really didn't comfort the boy much, actually. Especially not when the barest hint of an amused smile was playing about those full lips. Milo lowered his eyes to the ground, and sighed. It was getting just a little bit easier to push those instinctual thoughts away. Maybe he was getting used to being in their presence? Or maybe he was just too emotionally overloaded to care.
Arms suddenly slithered around his shoulders from behind, but a familiar voice next to his ear stopped him from panicking. "Awww you looked so cute with that little baby in your arms, kitty!" Kira laughed. Milo didn't quite relax fully, but he did stop himself from standing like a caged deer in a predator's grip. "How'd you like Sin's little fanclub? Hopefully we won't run into any of the older members tonight. They get a bit annoying. Even Sin thinks so."
"I do not."
"Yes you do. You even thought Agana was annoying when she was drooling over you in her delicate teen years! Kyri' was there. She knows allll."
Milo looked pensively down at his delicately slippered feet, toes pointed inward. He wasn't sure he liked the thought of someone drooling over Sin. That was his job.
No, wait, it was Draca's job. Milo was no better than the test of Sin's fan club. He was a sideline-drooler, like the annoying teenage girls, while Draca had every right to drool over his own lover.
But he also drooled over Draca. Did that count? What did that make him?
His mind supplied him easily enough - in that smooth, sibilantly sweet voice that had hammered the title into him for years: 'A whore. Always a whore.'
He looked up at Kira, forcing his teeth to show in a bright, pleasant smile. "Um, Gwen said there were games, right?" he asked as cheerfully (fakefakefake) as he could.
If anyone saw his through his ruse, they didn't say anything. Kira's arms tightened briefly around him, the only thing that that was in suspect. But she smiled before the young Fayth could so much as flinch. "You bet there're games! And dancing!" She took his hand instead, pulling him excitedly away from the group. Milo let out a squeak as his other hand was grabbed. His eyes darted over to meet wide, vulpine amethyst ones.
Gwen smiled brightly at him. "Come on!" And then she was pulling him too alongside Kira, both of them laughing and grinning at him. It was infectious and genuine and pure, and Milo couldn't stop himself from smiling a little.
They were off through the crowds, weaving between festival goers as they cut down alleys and around plazas. Milo barely had time to take anything in, but not for lack of trying. His head whipped from side to side, ears flicking and eyes darting, trying to experience every last detail that he could. His worries about being around so many people were for naught, it seemed. Kira and Gwen acted as barriers for the people around them, moving quickly and chattering excitedly as they protected him from bumping into anyone.
"We should show him the craft stalls first. He'd like a mask."
"No, no— the games, Gwen! We need to show him the games!"
"But we'll get sidetracked if we--"
The trio rounded a corner, right into a plaza filled with music and dancers. Milo was finally able to come to a stop, panting and jittery with excitement, as the girls halted.
The young man peered between them, observing the many people of all races swaying about the square. There were couples and groups of friends and parents with children, all dancing to the melodic, vibrant melody the band was playing from their end of the open space. And in the center, Milo could barely glimpse a circle of elaborately dressed dancers, weaving intricately around one another – professionals, graceful in their movements.
The whole spectacle was awe-inspiring to Milo.
"How about it, kitty? Y'wanna dance?" Kira's question jolted him from his staring.
"What? D-Dance? Me?"
"Yeah," she laughed. "Who else? Well, Gwen, obviously. But we can all dance." She spread her arms wide. "It'll be fun!"
Golden eyes darted from the fire Fayth to the courtyard. "Um… I don't know how…" It did look like fun… "Maybe… Maybe I'll just watch first?"
Kira definitely looked ready to protest, but it seemed both he and Gwen were ready for it. Gwen grabbed the younger woman's hand, moving towards the dance floor. "Come on. Stop pushing him."
"But if I don't push him, he doesn't let himself have fuunnn!"
"I know how to have fun…" he tried to argue, but Kira was already dragging Gwen into the throng, leaving him pouting. "I have fun all the time," he grumbled to no one. Just because he was shy didn't mean he was boring. He played with ribbons and Agana's crystal and laughed at Kira's jokes and… and… and he was having fun here!
"She causing you trouble again?" Milo's ears flicked in the direction of the question, and turned to find that Kyris, Sin, and Draca had caught up with them. The red-haired Fayth had her eyes trained on the two women as they twirled and laughed and swayed to the melody. Draca and Sin were surveying the plaza from behind Kyris, the Vampyre nudging Sin gently. Sin dutifully ignored it.
"She doesn't cause trouble--" Milo started to protest, but Kyris gave him a pointed look that said she knew, for a fact, that this was a lie. "She just wants me to dance. I just… don't know how."
"It's not that hard," Draca piped up. "It's mostly just not caring about anything but the music." To demonstrate, he swayed his hips to the rhythm.
Milo glanced at the people out in the square, a giggle on his lips. "That… that doesn't look like dancing to me."
The Vampyre stopped, uttering a scandalized gasp, and Sin actually let out something close to a laugh. "Kitten, did you just sass me?!" Despite his aghast tone, there was nothing but delight in his eyes. But it still made Milo blush in embarrassment anyway.
"N-Noo…" he replied, biting his lip. But he had, hadn't he? It wasn't like he had meant to. The words had just slipped out without thinking. It was oddly thrilling, to joke with someone. With his friends.
"I think you did! Who taught him that? It had to be you, baby. He's learning your snark. Gods help us."
A raven brow arched skeptically. "Me? Snarky? This coming from you?"
Draca waved a hand in complete dismissal. "I'm snarky and everyone expects it. You've got that type of snarky that no one sees coming because you make a point to do an incredible impression of an icicle half the time. You're far more dangerous. And you're teaching our innocent kitten your nefarious ways!"
"I-Innocent?" Milo parroted. "I'm not--" The blond shushed him, and Milo puffed out his cheeks irritably. "I'm not innocent." Innocence wasn't something he'd had for a long, long time. They weren't paying attention to him though, and just continued bickering. Kyris cast him a wry smile, shaking her head at the antics of their companions.
"Best just to let them bitch at each other," she said magnanimously. "…And sometimes knock them over the head to get them to stop."
It didn't have to come to that, however. The upbeat song ended, and the band moved seamlessly into the next – this one slower and softer; almost dream-like. Draca perked, cutting off midsentence, his smile turning mischievous. Sin's expression went through a curious change. Milo watched, fascinated, as Sin's brow furrowed at his lover's sudden pause, and then his eyes widened. "No," the assassin growled firmly.
"Oooohhhh yeah. Come on. I demand one dance." He wasn't going to take no for an answer either. Sin could protest all he wanted. Draca had the advantage in brute strength, and it was all-too-easy to take Sin's hand and drag him out among the other dancers. His grip was like steel, and not even the man's struggles could stop him.
"Let. Go," he hissed.
The Vampyre pulled Sin close, looping an arm around his waist and already leading him into a sweeping turn along with the music. "Baby, baby," he crooned, smoothing a hand over his lover's spine to ease the tension. "What's one little dance?"
It was a deceptively simple question. A dance was nothing, not really. But to admit it would mean that Draca won. It was the audience they had – it was the intimacy, the romance of the situation that made him jittery in a way that he hated.
Draca seemed to sense his bristling discontent, and pressed his lips to his ear. "Just one dance." His voice was so low and imploring that it made Sin shiver – which, truth be told, was not helping him get comfortable. "I'll even be good and not hold your hand after, okay?"
"I…" He sighed. He couldn't believe he was doing this. "I suppose that's fair."
They were gorgeous together. There was no shame in thinking that, was there? Milo's eyes followed every movement as they swayed gracefully through the crowd, catching every little smile and every movement of lips – from Draca's sly drawls to Sin's tight-lipped hisses. His sharp senses couldn't pick up what they were saying, but he didn't need to.
They looked so perfect together. So perfect that it hurt.
It was alright to think that, he told himself. It was alright to envy how beautiful they were and how well they worked together when it really came down to it. It was alright to want that same kind of connection with someone special.
And Milo told himself that was all that was. He had to believe that. Because the thought that he, in any way, had desires that would ruin their relationship just made him feel like the worst person in the world.
Kyris sighed from beside him. "They have their adorable moments. When they're not bitching at each other." The nekojin tittered, distracted by his thoughts, so much so that he almost missed the Fayth's next question. "….with me?"
"Wanna dance with me?" The redhead chuckled, offering her hand. "This slow song makes it easier to learn."
Milo wanted to balk again. Thinking about being out there, making a fool of himself around all those people, made him understandably jittery. But… it was either this… or have Kira drag him out during a fast song. "S-Sure… um… I apologize ahead of time… for how awful I'll be." His arm was taken with an exasperated sigh, and he didn't protest as he was led out onto the dance floor.
"Bullshit, you'll do fine."
That wasn't quite how it went, as it turned out. He stepped on Kyris' feet a few times, more times than he could stand to think about, and never really got a hold of moving to the rhythm. He felt clumsy and all left feet, and it was generally just an embarrassing time.
But… it was fun. The faster dances were even more fun, because everyone was caught up in their partners or their own dance to pay attention. And there was no time to even blush when Draca tugged him out of Kyris' arms and twirled him, before he was being spun to Sin and then to Kira. It was Kira who claimed him for a full five more songs, leading him easily through the steps. It was… exhilarating, actually.
His worries were washed away by the upbeat, cheerful melody and the carefree laughter of his friends. He joined them, his laugh drowned out by the noise around him, but it made his heart soar in a way he never thought possible.
It was good to just… let go, there under the fae lights.