Kazuya stalked through the halls of his temple, his wings dragging along behind him like a cape of dirty feathers. He tallied off another day on the marble walls already covered in claw marks.
The Shomonkai watched him in silence. Though none of them dared to voice it, they all thought the same thing: their Messiah was going mad. His dark blue eyes dragged along the markings, his lips parting around words they could hear no more than he could hear theirs.
Each angel is built to serve one singular purpose. They are so finely specialized, so perfectly logical that oftentimes they cannot appear as anything but insane to the humans around them.
The Shomonkai understood that.
The problem lay in that Kazuya had not grown into the role he was meant to. Something had twisted in him, altered the course of his evolution. So when he scratched in the newest day and that sublime number was reached in his incomprehensible head, he let out a musical trill and pumped his wings with all the force of a sonic boom. It was his purpose. His one ordained, ineffable, unexplainable purpose.
Cain was having a rough century.
That was chiefly because Abel refused to be an obedient little lamb and went and sided with God of all things. Every incarnation after that was pure torture as he watched His Kingdom descend to Earth and turn humankind into His mindless slaves. Each time, his revenge seemed a little farther away, until he was left screeching his frustrations into a pillow as if he were 14 in mind again as well as body. He was half-considering slamming the pencil on his desk into his eye, if only so he didn't have to see this stupid world ruled by a stupid god all because of his stupid fucking brother.
Maybe he would have actually done it, if the door to his room hadn't suddenly flung open and something big and feathery slammed into him with a muffled whump. He thrashed against the wings that surrounded him, but they only constricted.
“Found you found you found you,” his captor whispered in his ear, and he realized that he knew that voice.
“Naoya,” he purred, and Cain knew that it could be no one else. No one else knew that name.
“I’m not Naoya anymore,” he answered, pushing his hand against the Messiah’s chest and trying to pull away.
Kazuya’s pupils narrowed into little black needles, and he tilted his head to the side. “You’re Naoya to me,” he said firmly.
“If you insist on using our old names, then I guess that yes, I am Naoya and you are Kazuya, instead of Cain and Abel.”
Kazuya rubbed his head against Naoya’s side like an over-affectionate cat, “Good.” His wings relaxed, and Naoya slipped back in a cradle of feathers. “You’re back.”
“How did you find me?” he asked as he absentmindedly rubbed Kazuya’s head.
Through a purr, his only answer was, “Found you.”
Naoya rolled his eyes. “That’s not an answer.”
“It totally is.”
There was something deeply unnerving about sitting here in the Messiah’s arms. Maybe because his breathing was so irregular, like he had to remind his lungs to work. Maybe it was how he didn’t blink. Maybe it was just being this near to something so closely tied to God.
Kazuya’s arms wrapped around him as he was thinking, and before he had a chance to protest, he pumped his wings and took to the sky.
The Shomonkai parted to let him pass, and he swept by without a word or glance. Naoya hid in the shroud of his wings, rushed along by the Messiah. He couldn’t see past the feathers, but he heard a door slam, and suddenly that shimmering white curtain lifted and they were alone in Kazuya’s tiny room.
“Naoya!” Kazuya chirruped again as he settled himself onto the floor. “Naoya, Naoya, Naoya, Naoya!”
Naoya sighed. “Yes, that’s my name. Is there anything else you want to add?”
Kazuya grinned like an idiot and shook his head.
“... Well, at least you seem happy.” He glanced around the austere space. There wasn’t even a bed, but he supposed that Kazuya left behind the need to sleep along with his humanity when he embraced the power of Bel. A small army of urns was clustered in the corner. With a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, he realized those were probably his ashes. “That’s… me, isn’t it.”
“Yup yup,” Kazuya said brightly. “I didn’t know how to find you before.”
“And how do you know now?”
“I’unno. I just do. Does it matter?”
Naoya’s mouth curled in a sneer as he suddenly remembered himself. “Did God send you to get me?” he said, spitting out the name with venom.
Kazuya shrugged, his wings rising and falling with the motion. “Never heard from Him. The other angels just tell me.”
“Other… angels?” Not just ‘angels’. “Are you an angel now too?”
“I guess? What else would I be?”
Naoya was about to question him further, but just then, there was a knock on the door.
“Messiah?” A voice asked as a Shomonkai head peeked around the corner. They blinked in surprise at the sight of Naoya. “... Is that a child?”
Kazuya inserted himself between Naoya and the Shomonkai with a hiss. His feathers bristled, and his lips pulled back to show his wickedly sharp teeth.
The shadows in the room grew thick and strange. “Leave,” he snarled, his voice coming out warped and jagged.
The Shomonkai squeaked out an apology and ran. Soon the others would be alerted. For now, Kazuya sat back down on the floor.
“No one will hurt you,” he said gravely, his eyes fixated on Naoya’s.
Naoya scoffed, “Not even God?”
Kazuya nodded. Somehow, someway, his messianistic brother had turned to something more demonic, something more like what Naoya wanted him to be.
Perhaps not even God understood His own angels, for one of them would gladly rip the world apart to save Cain.