The Lullaby of the fallen ones
Chapter one: A cane muto et aqua silente cave tibi
I rolled over the bed, pressing a pillow against my ear to block the mocking calls I have been receiving from my partner for the past seven minutes. Why couldn't he just let me be for a while? He knew that last night I had returned late from my part-time job at the restaurant and was currently feeling exhausted.
Something poked me repeatedly in the back, making me know that I wasn't going to have my precious sleep any time soon.
"Oi, Hika-chan" singed a silky voice for what appeared to be the hundredth time. I groaned in response and waved my hand violently in his direction; fully knowing I wouldn't be able to land a hit on him, but still trying.
"Come on Hikari, you know that you can't afford being late to school... again. You'll sleep during your entire lessons anyways." The voice insisted, this time the tone growing a bit more serious.
"Awww Caliel, please. Just five more hours" was my tired reply before proceeding to ignore him completely once more. This time, I heard him sigh. As the seconds passed, I could feel myself drifting once more into my wonderful land of dreams, which basically consisted in a mountain of cookies, cakes and other pastries. Those things where so sinfully delicious, I had sometimes wanted to be a man so I could eat as much as I wished without going fat. Lucky men and their bloody testosterones, they were able to lose weight easily thanks to those little suckers.
Suddenly, the covers were tore away from me, leaving my body exposed and letting the morning chill creep through my skin and giving me goose bumps.
Now, that woke me up.
I jolted out of my bed, growing really irritated. My hazel eyes encountered Caliel's vibrant blue ones, which had a playful gleam. Mouth twitching, it was obvious that he was trying not to laugh at my frowning expression. His grey hair was in his usual messy form, bangs falling over his face. I narrowed my eyes, sending him a death glare for making fun of me, even though he knew about my incapability of handling mornings.
"You stupid, sadistic, evil prick..!" I started whining. The demon shushed me, putting a finger on my lips, instantly stopping every protest and curse I had prepared for him. With a teasing gesture, he pointed at the blue alarm clock on my nightstand
My eyes widened in realization.
Caliel reached his limit and exploded in laughter as he saw me running like a cockroach from one direction to another, attempting to put my uniform while eating a bread and then brushing me teeth while lacing my shoes.
"For God's sake, Caliel. Why didn't you attempt to wake me up earlier? No, wait. A better question; what in the heaven's name happened to my alarm clock?!" I interrogated him while pocking his chest with an accusing finger. His rib cage vibrated as he chuckled.
"Well…" he started, suddenly grabbing my hand "I saw you were so tired last night, and it was so cold in the early morning that your whole body was freezing and trembling. So I decided to turn off the alarm and snuggle a bit with you." He titled his head innocently and I saw his black feathered wings opening and closing slowly as he breathed.
"Or is that a problem now?" He finished with a whisper, sadness flashed through his eyes for a brief moment. He was faking it, that much was obvious, but seeing him show any kind of pain made my heart clench hurtfully. Caliel knew this, but he still enjoyed to show me these kinds of expressions. I liked to think it was because he just got a kick out of it, but the truth was different. His only intention was to confirm a certain truth.
Caliel was such a fool sometimes.
Verae amicitiae sempiternae sunt
"Wha-! No of course not! A- anyways, don't try to change the subject!" I yelled at him, my stuttering voice being the evidence of my dissipating anger. Memories crept into my mind, from when I was a little child and my guardian angel would climb next to me in the bed and sing lullabies until I fell asleep. My glare softened.
A sigh of defeat came out of my mouth, earning a victory smirk from the ash haired man. Oh no, I wasn't going to lose this battle AGAIN. Freaking demons and their innocent puppy charm. Why did this keep surprising me? They could make war in a matter of seconds and nobody would ever blame them.
"W-well it's your fault for doing things like this! It makes it appear like you are trying to anger me on purpose." If he thought that my nagging would stop just there, he was so wrong! I was definitely not losing this argument.
"Oh, but I do try to anger you in purpose. If you haven't noticed, that's actually one of my favourite hobbies."
Of course. I almost forgot about that. I really wasn't a morning person.
If this were an American cartoon, my jaw would have been hitting the floor, probably piercing the wood tiles and making a hole. "By the way, you are still late." He added with a smug smirk.
Well, guess he won this match again. Oh damn.
Bursting out of the room, I ran downstairs, pretty much almost falling midways and having Caliel grabbing me from my shirt's collar. My mother came out of the kitchen, looking mildly surprised while holding a bentou box.
"Hikari, how come…" I clamped a wet kiss on her cheek and took the delicious smelling lunch from her hands before she could finish.
"No time to explain. Ciao mama! I'm going!"
I ran as if the devil was chasing behind me (which technically it was, considering that Caliel was following me). The good thing about having so many part-time jobs and being always late was that I was running all the time, so stamina wasn't an issue. Daikoku High School was gradually appearing before my eyes, making me slightly relieved. Oh yes, I was so going to make it.
Entering the building, I ran across the corridors and up the stairs, barely avoiding coalition against a couple of students, who in return tried to set me in fire with a glare.
"I AM SO SORRY! IT WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN!" As soon as I reached my class, I violently threw the sliding door to the side, bowing mi head in an apologetic gesture.
Holding my breath, I quietly expected the unforgiving teacher's scolding. When nothing but silence greeted me, I found myself raising my head only to end up watching confused an empty classroom. The black angel floating beside me started to chuckle. It didn't take more than a couple of seconds before his giggles became more hysterical, ending up in a grotesque laughter. It was then when I realized what had happened.
Feeling my eye twitch, I decided to take a look through the windows. It wasn't dark, but the sun was barely rising over the horizon. My eyes then fell on the clock above the teacher's desk; it was just half past six.
I was one hour too early in school. One HOUR.
"Caliel, dear, you didn't mess with my alarm clock to make me believe that I was late, did you?" the question didn't come out louder than a whisper, making my voice appear ten times more dangerous.
"Uh, well…" he started, rubbing his neck with fake sheepishness. "Early bird catches the worm?" Caliel finally offered with a tone which was practically soaked in faux virtue.
"Urgh, Caliel you…" Never mind. I wasn't going to let him get in my nerves at this point. It had been my entire fault anyways, for not noticing the obvious since the beginning. In the first place, my mother always waked up way earlier before me so she could make me lunch and prepare herself for work. Normally, she had already left for the time I actually got up for school.
Secondly, the school was basically empty. I had run into a few students in my way to the classroom, yes. But trying to remember their faces, I realized that they were probably student council members who had important matters to take care of. This realization made me feel absolutely silly, and I loudly groaned to myself.
"Well, at least now you can study for that quiz you have today." My eyes bulged from their sockets as I stared astonished at Caliel.
"What do you mean?" He smirked at me and patted my head.
"Yeah, remember last Thursday when your history teacher said that you would have a pop quiz this week? Probably not because you were sleeping. But yesterday I saw him revising some answer sheets so I assume that you are going to write that quiz today. You forgot your history books here, hence, why I woke you up so early."
"Well, that's just peachy. The first period is history. You could have informed me yesterday about this, you know?"
"Oh no, that wouldn't have been fun at all." I scowled at him "Now now, less ranting and more learning." He shook his hands, signalling me to hurry up.
Heaving a sight, I retrieved my books from below my desk and started studying. Although still feeling tired, I concentrated on the texts, absorbing all the information I could about them. At least I knew what I had to study. Despite sleeping through the lessons and not participating in class, I always did my homework and studied hard for the exams. Teachers found this infuriating, because even if it seemed I had no interest in their subjects, I always passed their exams with flying colours. Because of that, there were always rumours about me cheating in order to pass the year. The truth was that my family's current financial situation left me no option other than to take different part-time jobs, barely leaving me with free time. My sleeping schedule was really unhealthy, consisting in working during the afternoon, studying during the night and napping during the day. Luckily, I had Caliel who would always inform me about the subjects I had to review. He would sometimes give me tips, as well. And help me with the most difficult homework.
Yeah, I had basically reduced a demon to my personal nerd.
After some time, I decided to look at the clock again and found out it was already half past seven, which meant school would start in thirty minutes. I stretched my stiff limbs, hearing a crack from their joints.
"How is it going?" The demon asked from his spot in front of the classroom's window without looking at me.
"I guess I will not fail." I answered, shrugging my shoulders and yawning lazily. Caliel turned his head, watching me with slight content. I took some time to admire him, observing how ethereal he seemed at the moment. Black feathers contrasted against his pale white skin and his usual grey hair glowed almost bluish thanks to the morning light. His eyes glittered with the innocence he still possessed despite the circumstances. I smiled at him, finding myself quite happy as well. For being considered one of the most repulsive entities in the spiritual world, he was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. He smiled back, and I could feel my heart filling itself with warmth.
These moments were ones of the most special to me in the world, when we would say everything to each other, without uttering a single word. Verae amicitiae sempiternae sun,indeed.
"If you are not going to study anymore, why don't you go to the bathroom to groom yourself a little? Your hair is quite the mess" He suddenly said with a mocking smirk. I rolled my eyes, both amused and annoyed for his ability to ruin such a peaceful moment.
"Sì sì, idiota."
"Hey, bambina. That's no way to talk to me." Caliel laughed, flying next to me as I stood up and made my way out of the classroom. He opened the door, which gained a scolding from me.
"Don't do things like that! What if somebody sees you?"
"Nobody is in the classroom, how could anyone see me?" He rolled his eyes.
"Of course they won't see you. They will see a door magically opening itself." I retorted irritated.
"Yeah, that's not a problem for me. They will probably relate it to your weirdness." My brow furrowed in annoyance and facing Caliel while walking down the hallway, I did the stupidest thing I could have done in that moment.
"God, you are an idiot. Just shut up!" I tried to swat him behind his head playfully, tipping on my toes to reach him. His eyes widened but nevertheless he dodged. I smiled pleased, thinking that I may have surprised him, until I realized that Caliel was watching something, or rather someone else behing my back. Letting the offender hand fall by my side again, I swallowed a lump in my throat and slowly turned my head. A pair of questioning brown eyes encountered my nervous hazel ones. I realized who my witness had been, and wanted to kick myself for being so careless.
"Ah, good morning Yagami-san." Was my pathetic attempt on greeting him and trying to appear normal after the show he witnessed.
"Good morning, Ianni-san." He responded, his eyes were slightly narrowed and his voice was tainted with uncertainty, as if I had a mental instability and would attack him if he said the wrong thing. He tried to smile despite the awkwardness, but that didn't make the smile seem less forced than it was.
"Uh, this is not what it looks like." Was the start of my lame excuse- "Uhm…? I was practicing for the theatre club." Luckily, that lie had actually sounded like a statement and not a question.
"You are in the theatre club?" He asked. His handsome features relaxed a bit, finding my explanation reasonable but probably not buying it.
"Ah, not really. But I was planning on entering to the theatre club, so better practice for the auditions, eh? Hehehe" I laughed sheepishly and cleared my throat, not knowing what else to say. We remained uncomfortably quiet after that, but neither Light nor I dared to make the next move. I was starting to count the number of dust particles when Yagami Light decided to break the silence. Thanks God he was a social butterfly.
"How come you are here so early?" He decided to ask politely.
"Well, I forgot some books in the classroom and I needed them to study for the quiz."
"The history pop quiz? How would you know it is today?" he questioned me, still smiling, even though I could have sworn there was a hint of accusation in his voice.
"I kind of had a feeling." I explained simply. If he was unconvinced, he didn't show it.
"Well, you are fortunate to have a sixth sense. If not, you would be in trouble considering how you are always sleeping in class. Luck is an ability I would also love to have." His smartly veiled insult and sudden light laugh made my muscles tense and I had to force myself to keep smiling. I was aware how popular the schmuck was. Not only in the "Casanova" sense, though I wasn't about to deny that about five out of six girls had a crush on him, but he seemed perfect in every area he laid his eyes upon; These ranged from academics and athletics to social skills.
Plus he was quite the looker. It wasn't really a mystery why he was favoured by teachers and our classmates. So being on his bad side wasn't the brightest idea I could ever have.
Sure, he appeared to be friendly enough. He didn't really brag about his intelligence- Everyone else already did it for him- and was the type of person who was willing to lend a helping hand if he was asked to, but still…
His eyes; It were his eyes the responsible of these nerve wracking sensations that surged through my spine every time he would look at me. Like chewing-gum stuck in the soles of his perfectly polished shoes, he looked at me as if I was insignificant, but still annoying enough to be a bother.
"Well…" I abruptly interrupted the conversation before it could go any further. He seemed eager to leave my presence, anyways. "Hehe, yeah… I have to go so, see you later, I suppose." I nodded at him, and started to walk as far as I could from him without waiting for his response, not even trying to hide my distress. Once I was in the bathroom, I splashed some cold water on my face, as if trying to wash away the recent troublesome encounter.
"You messed up this time." Caliel sighed while brushing my honey brown locks with his fingers to make me look presentable.
"I'll add this one to the list of people who think I'm crazy." I shrugged. "I really don't care at this point. He is kind of an ass anyways." The demon chuckled, still fixing my hair. A sudden rattle outside the washroom gained my attention, informing me about the arrival of other students. Drying my hands with a paper towel and throwing it into the bin, I decided it was time to return to the classroom. I was making my way back when; I noticed a group of girls glancing at me strangely. I visibly rolled my eyes, barely refraining from grunting out loud. Recognizing my annoyed glare, they immediately turned away and started murmuring among themselves. Clicking my tongue, I began to walk faster. It was most likely too early to deal with that kind of gossip crap and I was definitively not in the mood. I was stomping violently at this point.
Reaching my destination, I slumped on my seat and huffed, ignoring the stares that some of my classmates were throwing at me. It was impossible not to notice them, for I seated in the last row, hiding safely in the classroom's corner, but being able to watch every single corner of the room. I was aware that this probably only made me look more like the antisocial little weirdo everyone thought I was, but really; who needs reputation when you are a kickass medium who is contracted to a demon? Besides, it's not like I had no friends. I had friends outside the school, and I got along with my seniors, who happened to be my former classmates. Yeah, I actually repeated a year, guess that didn't do anything to improve my reputation.
The pop quiz had been rather easy, not including a half of the subjects I had learned, which was infuriating but nevertheless reassuring. The three next periods went unsurprisingly fast, for I was constantly dozing off thanks to sleep deprivation. Teachers had long ago given up on me, and just a few bothered waking me up from my catnap. Without me realizing, the fourth period began and an abrupt and loud bang resonated in front of me, interrupting my sleep. I jolted from my chair, eyes as wide as plates and was greeted by a disapproving look from my English teacher.
Alright, don't panic,I thought. There must be a way to get away from this. Just don't screw it up.
"Uh, goodo morninge Mistar Haru?" I stuttered, spitting the words. The middle aged man furrowed his brow and narrowed his eyes dangerously, which made my blood run cold.
"I see your pronunciation is still as atrocious as your academic performance. Did you at least pay attention to anything I said?" Fiddling nervously on my chair, I bit my inner cheek and looked at him insecurely in the eye.
"No sir, I'm sorry."
"Not sorry enough, it seems. Otherwise you would stop with such an unacceptable behaviour." I nodded without looking away from him, refusing to acknowledge the soft laughter that was echoing through the class.
"As I was saying," The English teacher continued to explain, shooting me a final disdainful glance. "For this grade, you are going to have to work in pairs and choose a book of your liking. It has to be from either an American or a British author. Once you have found one, you'll have to select a topic and three subtopics from this said book and analyze them. The presentation must be no longer than twenty minutes and you also have to hand in a two thousand words essay." At this, the whole class groaned, gaining a smirk from Mister Haru. Just great, another sadistic prick. "Relax. You'll have a month for this work, which is more than plenty. Initially, I had planned on giving you just three weeks." Never mind the sadistic part. He was just a complete asshole. He could have given Caliel a run for his money.
"May I ask, Mister Haru," A girl raised her hand. "Can we choose our own partner?" The man looked suddenly amused. The corners of his lips lifted, forming a feline grin.
"Of course you can, except for you, Miss Ianni." My head snapped in his direction. I opened and closed my mouth a few time before finally asking:
"Why?" He sighed, and stared at me as if I were the stupidest creature he ever had the misfortune to meet.
"Your grade in my class leaves much to be desired, Miss Ianni. I'll admit your writing is good and your vocabulary extensive, but you lack discipline and your attention span is shorter than the one of a goldfish." He crinkled his nose in distaste. "Not to mention that horrible pronunciation." At this point, most of my classmates were snickering and I considered flipping some desks to shut them up. "Nonetheless, you are still my student and my job as a teacher obligates me to assure you pass the year. For this reason, I have decided to pair you with my best student, Yagami Light."
The world seemed to stop for a minute.
"Excuse me?" I found myself asking dumbfounded, to which the middle aged man rolled his eyes.
"Do I need to repeat myself again?"
"No, of course not. But…" my gaze trailed to the boy in question, avoiding looking at his face. "Did Yagami- san agree to this?" The English teacher raised an eyebrow before addressing Light. I guess he was staring at him questioningly, because Yagami-san responded immediately in a calm, obedient voice.
"I have no problem, Mister Haru. Ianni-san can be my partner." My eyebrows rose in a disbelieving gesture. 'Can'? I clicked my tongue.
"I offer you my greatest gratitude for allowing a stupid commoner like me to work with someone as great and incredible as you, King pompous." The teacher nodded pleased, unlike me.
"There you have, Miss Ianni. You shouldn't have any problems anymore." He beamed. An 'I hope your incompetence won't drag his perfect grade down, you useless brat.' was left unsaid, but I knew it was there. "Now the rest of you, find a partner and start discussing."
At this order, everyone stood up and began pacing around the classroom, searching for their friends. I planned on sitting still on my seat, but an invisible burning sensation on my back told me that Mister Haru wasn't in the mood to deal with my petty acts of rebellion right now. I glanced at Caliel, expecting his trademark mockery over my misery, but he stood strangely still with his arms crossed around his chest and eyes narrowed at Yagami Light.
"Miss Ianni…" Mister Haru's warning cut me off of my musings. I finally stood up and began walking to my partner.
It has been an especially shitty day. I thought bitterly. The most recent subject of my discomfort watched me as I paused in front of him. My gaze lingered on him, taking as many details as I could: Yagami Light was indeed the perfect teenager role model, the kind that normally only appeared in the fantasies of a sexually frustrated shoujo manga author; Always pristine, clothes impeccable, hair well combed, extremely smart, handsome, athletic and sociable. He smiled at me with an almost convincing friendliness, pearl white teeth showing. A shudder ran down from my spine and I couldn't avoid clattering my own. His smile didn't reach his eyes; they were positively and undoubtedly blank. 'Inferior', they screamed.
This was certainly a shitty day.
Hey, Wavy here. I hope you liked the first chapter. I apologize for any grammar or spelling mistakes, but Spanish is my mother language and not English. What our main character is speaking is not Spanish, but Italian and Latin. Here are the translations for these sentences:
A cane muto et aqua silente cave tibi: Be careful with the dog which doesn´t bark and with silent waters
Verae amicitiae sempiternae sunt: True friendship lasts forever
Ciao mama: Bye mom
Sì sì, idiota: Yes yes, you idiot.
Bambina: Kid (little girl)
And that's it. Please review and tell me what you think about this story. And if you know about a good beta reader who is willing to help me then please tell me so.
*Drops mic* Wavy out!