For several weeks, Lilith and her Imps sneak out of the Hells to rendezvous with Inarius, the strange creature who is apparently a legitimate ’angel’. They always meet in Pandemonium; next to the pile forged by abandoned weapons and probably some dead bodies. Once together, they spend at least a few hours of the day talking and laughing. For the demon-child, it’s a whole new experience completely different from her life at home. For him, she doesn’t know.
She usually looks forward to their meeting.
Not this time.
Inarius has never seen her covered in bruises. Since meeting him, Lilith has been very careful to keep the abuse a secret and to avoid any unnecessary fights with Father.
Now… now he will have to.
And that is a terrifying thought.
Lilith stumbles slowly along the path to their meeting place. Getting out had been harder this time; not so much because her brother was getting suspicious, but because she is in quite a lot of pain. As she approaches, she can Inarius in the distance. His glow is soft and she guess he’s waiting for her, like he always does, with his little box full of parchment, quills and ink. About two weeks ago, he had offered to help her learn to write and read better than she does. She had accepted and her skills have improved. However, she doesn’t feel up to it today. She hopes he understands. When she gets close enough, she can see he is focusing on something he’s reading and occasionally marks something into a scroll. His little box is open at his side.
With how focused he is, perhaps he won’t even notice.
“You are late,” he says distractedly, scribbling.
“…” It takes her a few moments to summon the energy to speak. Her throat doesn’t want to work properly. “I… I’m sorry,” Her face goes red as her voice squeaks.
Inarius, upon hearing that, stops what he is doing and looks over at her. “Oh, by the Light! Lilith! What happened to you?!”
Lilith gives him a pained look and wraps her arms around herself. The angel puts his stuff aside and floats quickly over to her. She can’t look at him as he takes in the vicious purple bruising all over her face, arms, torso and legs. Father had really let her have it this last time around. Inarius wrings his hands, wings jerking. He reaches to out to touch her but stops himself.
“What happened?” he asks again. “Why are you so… hurt?”
She swallows, wincing. Her limbs, now that she isn’t moving, are shaking. She needs to rest.
“Can… can we sit?” she squeaks again. This time her voice cracks. “Please?”
“Yes! Of course!” Inarius steps aside so she can go sit but he has to grab her after the first step so she doesn’t fall over.
Lilith leans into him. His hands are warm and he doesn’t grip with intent to hurt.
“Please do not take this wrong,” he tells her. She gives him a confused look the sucks in a breath when he wraps one of her arms around his shoulders, just above his wings, and wraps one of his arms around her thin waist. Together they manage to go to where he had been sitting. A cry of pain leaves her as she sits. Sharp pain had shot up her body and she grips the angel. She can hear a gasp leave him.
“Sorry…” she rasps weakly.
Inarius shrugs. “It is okay. You are in worse pain than I.” He gives her a concerned look. “You never did answer me.”
Really she would rather not answer him but he probably won’t quit asking or he will mistake her silence as something else entirely. He crouches beside her.
“My father,” she finally whispers. “He… well, I made him mad. This is what he did in return.”
Inarius’ wings droop. “I am sorry. He must not be very nice.”
A sharp laugh leaves her. ‘Not very nice’ is putting it very, very lightly. Lilith closes her eyes tightly and sucks in a painful breath. She wants to rest… to sleep and do nothing else. But she can’t. The pain she’s in won’t let her. What little sleep she had been able to get was short, interrupted and left her even more drained than she had thought possible. Inarius tilts his head then gets up and goes to his little box. He rummages around in it then pulls out a little patch of sorts. He brings it to her. She gives him another confused look after looking at its content of little white things.
“It is for pain,” he tells her. “I take them for my migraines.”
Lilith takes it and opens it. The little white things fall into her claws. She looks again at Inarius, who shrugs. “I thought they would help.”
After some internal debating, she puts them in her mouth and chews. Inarius laughs at the face she must have pulled at the bitter, nasty taste.
“You do not chew them,” he tells her. “You swallow them.”
Lilith does, gagging slightly.
“They are awful,” he nods. “But I promise they will ease the pain.”
The angel comes and sits by her. He reaches for his parchment but Lilith stops him.
“Not today,” she rasps. “I can’t.”
Inarius picks up the parchment anyway. “No worries.” he says. “You can rest. While you do so, I can finish my homework.”
Lilith has no idea what homework is nor does she particularly care at this point in time. She merely sits there by Inarius’ side as he resumes his task. Pretty soon a strange, sort of heavy feeling overtakes her and it’s hard to keep her eyes open. Whatever he had given her is powerful and her pain seems to have dulled rather quickly. Lilith leans back, cold metal touching her skin, raising goose
bumps. Between that and the light scratching sound of Inarius’ quill, she is lulled into a deep sleep where not even dreams can reach her.