Her room was a mess of clothes. Make-up was scattered across her bedside table and desk. Her eyes drifted to a picture of her and Martin taken a year ago when they'd first started going out. It seemed like another lifetime now. She shoved the make-up to the side of her desk and grabbed her notepad. She tapped the pencil quickly, but thud sound didn't help much.
“This is so stupid,” she muttered, dropping the pencil and leaning back in her chair.
“No, it's necessary.” Alivia started at Morael's voice and glanced over her shoulder.
“How long have you been there?” she asked.
“A while,” he shrugged. “I'm not restricted by physical laws like you,” he added.
“So you just thought you'd pop up in my room? Jeez, didn't it occur to you how awkward that could've been?” Alivia asked, rolling her eyes.
“I don't get your point,” Morael frowned.
“Seriously?” she blinked. When he still had the clueless look she failed to fend off a spat of giggles. Morael didn't share her humour, looking more irritated by the sound. “I could've been changing dummy,” she finally said through her giggles.
“Oh,” he said, his tone impassive. Alivia raised an eyebrow at the indifference but chose not to say anything. You'd think angels would care about decency. Morael was constantly challenging the pre-conceptions she had of the beings. Though he certainly looks how I'd imagine one too.
“Stop telling yourself it's a waste of time. It'll come to you,” Morael said, taking the pencil and placing in her hand.
“Easy for you to say. You're not the one being silly,” Alivia muttered.
“The first nephilim didn't have someone helping him and he figured it out,” Morael pointed out.
“The first nephilim was far from sane from the sounds of it,” she muttered. Morael didn't say anything, but Alivia had a feeling she just struck some kind of nerve.
“Come on,” Morael said, covering her hand with his. His fingers on top of hers and guiding the pencil to the papers surface. Alivia was suddenly over-aware of how close he was now. His warm breath billowing stray strands of her hair against her cheeks. She gulped and stared at the pencil, trying to ignore how his hand felt over hers. What's happening to me? I never react like this around Martin.
“Stop questioning your ability,” Morael said, completely oblivious to her plight. She stared at the dot the pencil had made and moved it over the paper. Something to hide my powers from demons. The thought circled in her mind as the pencil did the same thing on the page. The design was simplistic. A circle with two crossing circles within it. She dropped the pencil and Morael backed away a few paces. She found her breathing return to a steadier rhythm as a result.
“It's looks so … basic,” she murmured.
“Sometimes they are,” Morael mused, his tone echoing hers.
“So what do I do now?” she asked, staring at the small thing.
“You need to put the design on something less likely to get damaged. The first nephilim would draw the gates on himself usually, refreshing them when their effects started fading,” Morael explained.
“I'm not getting this tattooed on me,” Alivia said, ripping the paper from the pad and standing up. “Can't I just carry it around me?” she asked.
“It'll get destroyed too easily,” Morael said.
“Then I'll draw another,” Alivia countered.
“And in those few seconds a demon senses you and attacks humans in the area in an attempt to find you,” he replied. Alivia sighed, not wanting to admit he was right. Know-it-all. She looked around her room and noticed an old necklace Muriel had given her. It was the only thing of value her birth mother had on her when she died. It was one of those lockets you put a photo in. She'd never had a small enough photo of anything significant so she'd left it on her chest of drawers to collect dust. She picked it up now, seeing the silver had dulled over time. She opened the small diamond and returned to her desk. She redrew the design as small as she could and folded it into a small square. She placed it in the locket and put it on.
“There,” she said, turning to look at Morael.
“It's better than nothing,” he sighed.
“Oh please, admit it. This,” she said, gesturing to the locket. “Was a brilliant idea,” she finished with a big grin.
“It's better than carrying around a sheet of paper,” he conceded a little. “But you still need to activate it,” he added. Alivia blinked at him. He held out an impatient hand and she pulled the locket over her head again. He opened it and took the paper out. The small design already crinkling from the paper folds.
“Give me your hand,” he said. Alivia held out her right hand somewhat cautiously. She yelped as he pressed something sharp into her middle finger.
“Why'd you do that?” she yelled, barely fighting the desire to curse him. He turned her hand over and squeezed until a single drop of blood fell onto the piece of paper. The blood should've shrivelled up the paper, destroyed the thing completely. Instead the design glowed through the red with an eerie white glow, the paper unaffected.
“Blood is what activates gates,” he explained. Now Alivia could see the small dagger he'd had in his other hand. One moment she was glaring at the offending weapon, the next it dissolved into thin air.
“More physical laws that don't apply to you?” she murmured, sticking her finger in her mouth. He nodded. She glanced at the small gate. Now when she picked up the paper she didn't need to fold it over to fit in the locket. As if it was altering itself to fit her needs. Weird.
“Will I have to cut myself everytime I use a gate?” she asked as she put the necklace on. When the diamond rested against her collarbone, she felt a warmth ebb into her skin. The hairs on the back of neck pricked up as the thing vibrated a little with a life of its own. Definitely weird.
“No. Any blood but humans will work on gates. But as this one is specific to you it had to be your blood,” Morael explained. Alivia nodded, starring at the necklace in the mirror.
“So I can go back to my old life now, right?” she asked. Her voice quiet and hopeful. Morael sighed, it was a sad sound that answered her question.
“Demons won't be able to tell what you are when their near you,” he answered. “But I doubt your life will be the same. The demons that were here will send word. Others will come to the town in an attempt to search you and Jordan out,” Morael explained.
“But they won't find us,” Alivia said. “So why should that matter?” she asked. Morael met her eyes in the mirror.
“Demons destroy. This town won't be the same. It may not even still be standing in a few months time,” Morael said. Alivia turned around to face Morael, her eyes wide.
“But you'll stop them from doing that, right?” she asked.
“I'm one angel. And my job is protect you, not this town,” Morael replied. Alivia gulped, her hand still wrapped around the locket nervously. No, there has to be something we can do …