Aftermath - Path into the Light

4 - Revelation

© 2007/2008 by Stayka deyAvemta

This page was last modified: 2008/01/02


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He really could get used to this, DeathMask thought when he awoke the next morning with Shaina snuggled up to him, smiling contentedly in her sleep. He caressed her soft skin and she woke up from his touch and the affectionate "Buon giorno, tesoro!" he whispered into her ear.

"Angelo," she sighed and enjoyed his warmth and closeness, before she started. "Please don't tell me we overslept again," she said, more amused than regretful.

"I didn't oversleep. You are the one who wanted to get up early."

"You are both lazy and pleasure-seeking -- and I'm the one who has to take the blame!" she accused him, but didn't make any attempt to leave his embrace.

"Sì." DeathMask nibbled playfully at her earlobe, but suddenly he sensed a Saint's Cosmo approaching. "Unfortunately I just felt someone who wants to pass through my temple," he remarked with a slight frown. He would have prefered to keep up their cosy togetherness a little longer.

Shaina closed her eyes and concentrated, then she couldn't suppress a chuckle. "It seems we weren't the only ones who spent a very enjoyable night. But I guess this means I should get up after all now."

"If you insist." He would just as soon that she stay with him, of course. But if he had to get up anyway... "Maybe I should intercept this impudent trespasser who disturbed our snugly morning -- um, could you tell me where my trousers have disappeared to?" he wondered when he looked around and didn't see them anywhere on the floor around the bed.

"Somewhere between the kitchen and your bedroom, I guess." Shaina couldn't help but giggle when DeathMask decided to wrap a blanket around his middle. "Do you really think this will intimidate the 'impudent trespasser'?" she asked. But he was looking very yummy that way. With a slightly disappointed sigh she got up as well.

"It's a matter of principle -- I can't have people sneak through my temple unchallenged." He stepped into the hall, only moderately menacing in his current get up, but he knew that Shaina would refuse to kiss him good-bye if he wore his spiky Cancer Cloth. "Hello Marin, do you think you can weasel through my domain without me noticing?"

When the Aquila Saint heard DeathMask's voice, she expected him to block her way, but certainly not wrapped in just a blanket that didn't hide his magnificent physique.

[FanArt by Irrelevant Maverick]
FanArt by Irrelevant Maverick

"Wow," she said approvingly, then giggled. "I hope I didn't disturb you while you did something important."

Shaina had managed to find most of her clothes in the meantime, put them on and stepped into the hall, too. "We wanted to get up anyway," she said and wrapped her arms possessively around DeathMask's middle. "Good morning, Marin."

[FanArt
by Stayka]
FanArt by Stayka

"Good Morning, Shaina. So you're really serious about being with DeathMask?"

"Absolutely serious."

DeathMask smiled at Shaina, lifted her chin with his hand and kissed her tenderly.

Marin observed this with astonishment. Obviously her friend hadn't exaggerated when she claimed that DeathMask could be gentle and affectionate.

They exchanged some endearments in Italian -- at least Marin suspected this from their tone of voice, before Shaina let go of DeathMask. "I'm sorry, I really need to leave now."

"Unfortunately..."

He looked so disappointed that Shaina couldn't help but kiss him once more even though she found he needed a shave. "Ciao tesoro mio."

Marin raised an eyebrow in amusement behind her silver mask. "No wonder you were so late yesterday," she commented.

Shaina blushed. "Yeah. And that's why I definitely have to leave now or I might reconsider." She gave DeathMask a final kiss and turned to Marin. "Let's go."

"Don't forget, I expect you here again tonight," DeathMask called after her.

"How could I forget that?"

Marin grinned under her mask. "If I hadn't seen this I probably wouldn't have believed it," she said when they were on their way downstairs.

"I told you he's the most wonderful man in the world. And what makes it even better -- he's all mine."

"Don't worry -- I have my own most wonderful man in the world," Marin assured her.

"Good."

* * *

It didn't take long until they reached Gemini temple, and for once one of the twins was there -- Kanon, who looked not really awake yet when he greated the Silver Saints.

"Good Morning, Kanon!" both Marin and Shaina chimed good-humouredly and in unison.

"How can you be so cheerful that early in the morning," the younger Gemini Saint complained and yawned infernally.

"Somehow I don't think you really want to know," Shaina grinned.

"Sure I want to know. I want to be as cheery as you are!"

Marin and Shaina exchanged a look and laughed. "You have to find yourself someone else to play with. We're definitely not going to lend you either of our men."

"Your men? I know that you are together with Aiolia, Marin -- but who's the lucky bastard who got you, Shaina? Milo?"

Shaina glared at Kanon. "Why do all people think that I'm in any way interested in Milo?"

"Because he says so?"

"Maybe I should kill him after all," Shaina muttered angrily.

"So who else is it? It can't be Mu, Aldebaran, or my brother, considering the direction where you came from. And with Aiolia and Milo out as well and Dohko at Rozan..."

"If you really want to know -- it's DeathMask."

"Wow, that's unexpected."

"I didn't expect it either, but now I don't want to imagine being with anyone else but him." Shaina's mien softened visibly when she talked about the crab, Kanon discovered in surprise.

"Well, well... So much for Milo's perfect score when it comes to the conquest of the fair sex," Kanon grinned.

"You bet his score is far worse than he tries to make you believe," Marin laughed.

"Does that mean you can contribute some stories, too?"

"No comment." The grin was heard, if not seen in Marin's statement.

"This slowly makes me wonder how many of Milo's alleged conquests hold true after some careful examination," Kanon pondered.

"Well, I heard from a trustworthy source that one of Milo's conquests turned out to be Aphrodite who disguised as cute girl and set up our dear Scorpio."

"Really?" Kanon almost died from laughter. "That's a good one!"

"Indeed," Shaina agreed. "But we should move on now. I really want a shower now."

"Better make it a cold one," Kanon grinned.

"Want a Thunder Claw?"

"No so early in the morning. I prefer a coffee at this time."

Marin and Shaina exchanged a look, shook their heads and continued downstairs.

Of course they got into a chat with Aldebaran, but Phrixos was still nowhere to be seen. Soon after they had freshened up and took care of their trainees, albeit a little late again.

* * *

DeathMask was tidying up the kitchen of his temple, when Aphrodite walked in. The beautiful Pisces Saint was the only one who dared enter Cancer Temple without announcing himself and got away with it unscathed.

"Okay, Angelo, now tell me the name of the alien that took over your body!"

"Huh?" DeathMask looked blankly at Aphrodite.

"What happened to you in the Underworld? You didn't seem to be yourself since we met there in the halls of Persephoneia."

DeathMask looked at the only person he considered a friend among the Gold Saints. "I'm not sure how to explain it..." He stowed away the dishes and glasses and looked around. Everything was tidy again. "Would you like a cup of coffee?"

"Sure." Aphrodite sat down at the table in the kitchen and waited while DeathMask brewed a pot of coffee. He observed the Cancer Saint closely. Something was definitely odd about the man.

DeathMask brought two mugs of coffee and put them down. "There you go -- black like the night."

Aphrodite smiled. "Thank you. And now I'd like to know what happened. And with that I don't mean that you slept with Shaina -- oh, come on, you can't believe I haven't heard of that even though I'm living high up there in the 12th temple."

DeathMask took a sip of his coffee that he drank with a shot of milk. "What happened... This is connected with the day I attained Gold Saint rank. There was ...something that happened and I never knew about it until Hekate undid the memory block that I received that day."

Aphrodite listened with great interest. He had first met DeathMask before they were sent to their training places to win their Gold Cloths. When he arrived at Sanctuary, only Aiolos and Saga had been there for longer, while Shura and DeathMask had arrived a few months earlier. At that time, DeathMask was still Angelo, a slightly cocky, but also ambitious young boy. When they met over a year later, clad in their golden armours, Angelo was no more. He insisted on being called DeathMask and showed no sign of compassion anymore. Maybe now he would learn which events had led to this change.

"During my Test of Cloth, there was an ...accident..." DeathMask frowned. Accident? Not really, but then, the Ara Saint certainly didn't want things to happen that way. "I have been trained by both the Eridanus Saint and the Ara Saint, as their powers also enable them to interact with spirits and Yomotsu Hirasaka, the limbo that is the forecourt to the Hades." DeathMask took another sip of coffee. "During my test, the Eridanus Saint was killed, and Ara Lethe acted without thinking and attacked me with her most powerful move, the Wave of Oblivion. This attack can delete or suppress parts of the memory of the victim. In my case she managed to suppress my humanity completely."

Aphrodite's eyes widened with horror. Now he could finally understand why DeathMask had never shown any remorse for his deeds.

"Well, and not only that -- I also forgot what happened to me and only remembered that I had trained here to become a Gold Saint. Oh, sure, I still retained my memories from my childhood, but it seems the Wave of Oblivion also wiped away many of the values I had been taught by Eridanus Charon, too." DeathMask's voice appeared almost toneless. Now that he told Aphrodite about the events, it finally sank in to him what had happened then -- and the empty life that he led until Hekate undid the Wave of Oblivion.

"Angelo?" Aphrodite chose to use DeathMask's real name again. He was the only person allowed to use it still, and he usually did so when he wanted to talk seriously with him. "I'm not going to ask whether you are okay when I can clearly see that you aren't -- but is there anything I can do to help?"

DeathMask swallowed and put on a tentative smile. "But you already do. Thank you for listening."

Aphrodite raised an eyebrow. Normally DeathMask would have coldly told him where to stick his concern. "You know I always listened to you." The Pisces Saint sighed inwardly. Except for him no one actually bothered to talk to DeathMask, but the Cancer Saint had never been too social. Sometimes Aphrodite didn't understand why he even tried to keep up with him, but on the other hand, DeathMask dealt with him normally even after he confessed to him that he was interested in guys and that he took a liking to him. The Cancer Saint just told him "Sorry, I don't swing that way." and that was it. When somewhat later he had made a move on Shura, the Capricorn was horrified and since then prefered to give him a wide berth.

"I know." DeathMask clung to his mug of coffee.

"But that wasn't the full story yet, right?"

"Indeed. Everything unraveled when I ran into Hekate and challenged her during the battle with Persephoneia. As Hekate is a Goddess -- a fact I didn't realise at first -- she managed to sift through my memories and found this weak spot of mine even though I myself didn't remember. She obviously thought it was amusing to undo this Wave of Oblivion -- and now I have to deal with everything that happened. Fortunately I had Shaina at my side. She forced me to go on."

"And that's why you decided you want her as your girl-friend?"

DeathMask frowned. "Well, she told me she fell in love with me. But I... I don't know yet."

"You don't know?"

"I'm just not sure if I could call it love. She is beautiful, she is the strongest of the female Saints, she is great to be around, she managed to push away all of my bad memories, but..."

"You have never been in love before?" Aphrodite was tempted to tousle DeathMask's hair, but refrained from it as he suspected he would not react positively to the touch.

The Cancer Saint shook his head. "No."

Aphrodite pondered. "So how can we make sure... Tell me, do you look forward to seeing her again?"

"Sure." DeathMask smiled at the thought of holding her in his arms again.

"And what would you do if you saw some one else kiss he--"

"I'd kill him!!"

"Okay..." Aphrodite blinked. That came fast. "How would you feel about kissing the most beautiful girl in the world instead of Shaina?"

"But she is the most beautiful girl in the world!"

Aphrodite grinned. "Angelo, you can deny it as much as you want. I think you are in love with her."

"Really?"

"Really."

"You think I should tell her?"

"If you don't you are an even greater idiot than normally." Aphrodite finished his coffee. "Could I have another one, please?"

"Sure." DeathMask fetched the pot and poured Aphrodite another cup, before he filled his own mug, too. "I still can't believe that she really loves me."

"Oh, I can," Aphrodite sighed. He still found DeathMask very attractive, but he respected his choice that the Cancer Saint wasn't interested in men.

DeathMask smiled apologetically. "You know that I'm not able to return your feelings. I'm sorry, Aphrodite."

"Hey, I have gotten over that for quite a while now," the Pisces Saint put on a grin.

"Good." DeathMask was relieved. At the moment it was enough that he had to deal with his feelings for Shaina.

"So, I think I should leave you now. Thanks for the coffee!" The Pisces Saint waved and left the temple.

DeathMask looked after him, then his thoughts returned to the beautiful Ophiuchus Saint.

* * *

Just when he decided to begin with his daily training, DeathMask felt the Leo Saint's Cosmo approaching. He stepped into the hall of his temple and intercepted the lion.

"Hello Aiolia."

"Hello DeathMask." Originally, Aiolia only wanted to pass the 4th temple to get to the training grounds, but when he met the Cancer Saint, he realised he was curious after all. What did Marin tell him -- Shaina and the crab were an item now? Aiolia knew the Ophiuchus Saint pretty well and he knew that she had a very soft core hidden behind her tough attitude. He honestly wondered what she might see in the callous crab.

"What are you staring at?" DeathMask wanted to know when he noticed Aiolia's gaze.

"I just wonder what Shaina sees in you."

"Why don't you ask herself?"

"Well, I might do that when I see her again."

"As long as you don't intend to make any move towards her that's fine. But I warn you -- she's mine now, and I will not tolerate any untoward approach."

Aiolia looked at him in amazement. "You really seem to be serious about Shaina!"

"And why would you care about that?"

"I care because I respect her greatly and I don't want to see her hurt."

"Neither do I." DeathMask glared at the Leo Saint. Why did he think he had the right to poke his nose in anyone's affairs anyway? "Listen good, kitten. Shaina is very precious to me, and she is definitely no business of yours."

'Kitten'? Aiolia seriously considered hitting DeathMask with a Lightning Bolt in his face. Unfortunately, Athena had expressly forbidden any fights among Saints for such selfish matters. "Very well. But I will watch you and I suggest that you don't hurt Shaina."

"Then you'd better watch Milo as he is much more likely to hurt her. -- But don't you have somewhere to go?" DeathMask didn't feel like talking to Aiolia anymore.

The Leo Saint didn't reply anything and simply left. He only hoped that Shaina knew what she was doing.

* * *

DeathMask trained for himself after Aiolia had gone until it was well in the afternoon and he decided to fetch fresh foodstuffs for dinner from Athens. He wanted to surprise Shaina with another tasty menu. Fortunately, it was easy to get the proper ingredients for the Italian cuisine in Greece as practically all Mediterranian recipes used similar things, and so he was soon set for pesce all'acqua pazza -- white fish with tomato, parsley and lemon -- after a mozarella and tomato salad.

When Shaina showed up and saw DeathMask at the pans again, she smiled. "Angelo, one of those days I want to cook something for you, too." She went to him and kissed him, amazed how familiar it felt to be with him already.

"But for now I want to spoil you," he told her and put the codfish into the pan which gave him a couple of minutes to arrange the salad on the table and pour some wine into two glasses.

"Spoil me?" Shaina gave him another smile. "That you do indeed."

They enjoyed their dinner and this time Shaina insisted on helping him tidy up afterwards.

"I think I could get used to you staying here with me," DeathMask said when the last parts of the dinnerware were stowed away.

"Because I'm useful for cleaning he dishes?" Shaina chuckled.

DeathMask put on an insolent grin and wrapped his arms around her. "Yes. And to warm my bed."

"Do you ask for a Thunder Claw?" Nonetheless she nestled into his arms.

"No. I ask for you to stay with me."

"And what incentive do you offer me?"

"I want to cherish you. And I think... I think I love you after all."

Shaina looked at him in delight. She hadn't expected him to actually say the words to her and she was sure it hadn't come easy to him. As reply she stood on the tips of her toes and kissed him. "Anch'io ti amo, Angelo."

The End


[FanArt
by Stayka]
FanArt by Stayka

[FanArt by Orpheelin]
FanArt by Orpheelin


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