(Content Warning: Possibly like sexy times ahead…)
Knoel loved to rant about the decay mortal culture brought on Angelic society, but Quizazael kinda liked his morning coffee. His cell phone too, if he admitted it. Which he had on occasion, just Knoel loved to talk in general and interest, or agreement, with her rants didn’t seem to be a factor.
She always rambled to fill the spaces he left and Quiz kinda liked that too.
“…we didn’t even have a proper meeting last Sunday.” Knoel pinched off a bite of her blueberry muffin. “Only about half-full. Not that you would know.”
“People are busy,” Quiz replied, yawning and stretching. His left wing hit the counter, brown feather tips bent, so he pulled in fast. Left had always been a little long and he didn’t like people to notice.
“We’re angels, Quizazael, we can’t just skip church to lay around in our boxers and eat cheesy crackers.”
Quiz almost spit out a sip of coffee. He gulped it down and ran a napkin around his mouth. “Those were running shorts, I wouldn’t have answered the door in my boxers.”
Knoel ripped off another hunk of muffin. “Are you going to be ready this Sunday?”
“I promised didn’t I?”
“Whatever that means,” she muttered.
“Angels can’t lie.”
“Yet.” She snapped up the last bite of muffin and crumpled the paper. “Only a matter of time before we’re nothing but winged mortals.”
“Mortal life ain’t so bad.” Quiz watched a taco hut spring from nothing across the street. “I like a lot of mortal stuff.”
“‘Isn’t’ Quiz. ‘Ain’t’ isn’t even a word. And where did you get that… silly drawl from?”
“I downloaded it from the webstore last night.” He sighed and added, “Thought it sounded good,” in a lower voice.
“It’s weird, what’s wrong with your old voice?”
“Nothing, I just… I thought some people might like the deeper tone. And accent,” he said, clearly meaning a very specific person.
Knoel threw her cup toward the trash, and missed both the can and the obvious. “As a Class One Arch-Examiner, I think we should be looking deeper into mortal culture’s effects. Your turn to grab dinner. Want to meet at my place? Seven?” Knoel rose to pick up the trash, but Quiz grabbed it first.
He looked over the room and then into Knoel’s scarlet eyes. “I thought maybe we could go out tonight.”
Without looking, Quiz tossed the cup over his shoulder. It sailed directly into the can dead center. “Maybe get a nice dinner. Out and alone. Together. Like humans, kinda.”
Knoel’s cheeks flared bright red, but she just nodded quietly.
The day passed slow. Quiz worked in the Arch Archives, sorting the incoming files and retrieving the occasional requested ones for upper management. He didn’t particularly love his job, but he’d just now gained free emotion about heaven and life entirely, so that’s not much of a surprise.
Emotions weren’t so new, but until recently they were just exotic concepts humans seemed to struggle with.
Then came the update last fall. One day, they were all simple beings, purpose built to do angelic works and and the next, they were a little more human. Suddenly, emotions weren’t nearly as distant or easy to deal with.
Obtaining them gave Quiz new perspective on the mortal experience, which might have been the point.
Didn’t provide much else he enjoyed so far, besides the new point-of-view about Knoel. She didn’t notice, or seem to feel many of the same issues as him. Mostly Knoel got smarter, louder, and the attraction may have bloomed from those bare trimmings. Quiz saw beyond them, of course, to the new little dog she spoiled and to the sudden interest in old television. To the lovely way her hand twisted a few strands of hair before a rant boiled over, or when she was nervous.
Quiz sighed and added another file to his ‘F’ stack.
The phone rang twice, and he answered both times. Nothing important, a file that needed to be rushed upstairs and another that needed to be rushed back. He didn’t do the rushing, just collected the files or left them in a tray. The Metatron ordered tighter security, so they rushed and hid the files these days. All very official and secure that way, Quiz guessed.
Even mundane ones about everyday people, which described most of the files. Heaven didn’t see much excitement, so angels rarely saw any.
Quiz did one strange thing today, and that may have been the seed growing into the bravery to try something else off-kilter. He left two minutes early. Just walked out, even though the day normally ended at five P.M. exactly. Logic barely touched his decision, it was more an impulse—a flare of desire.
He wanted to start home early, and take a shower before meeting Knoel. Maybe even get a bottle of cologne.
Knoel answered the door in blue jeans, a red shirt, and smelling rather different herself.
“You look nice,” she said.
“I know,” he replied without thinking. “I mean thanks, thank you. It’s a new shirt.” And slacks, and shoes. Even got his feathers groomed, the long brown wings shone with the cleaning. “You look amazing.”
“Just what I had in the closet,” Knoel said. “And new makeup. Lipstick.” She pursed her lips and stuck them out to show off the shining purple and Quiz held back another new, but already common, impulse.
“It looks nice.”
Knoel nodded and stepped onto the porch, close enough that Quiz had to step back. She took a deep breath and smiled. “Perfume?”
“The male version is cologne.”
“Is there a difference?”
“No, but men on Earth are touchy about those things.”
“Ah.” Knoel locked the door. “So where are we headed?”
“Um… How does Chinese food sound?”
“I don’t know,” she replied. “When did heaven get Chinese food?”
Quiz remembered an advertisement on TV, but he couldn’t place the exact date. “Must be recent. Just started with the restaurant update in the last month or so, right?”
“But… Chinese? That sounds… weird and spicy… I don’t know…” Knoel’s lips twisted to one side.
Quiz wondered how he’d never noticed their funny motions, or why he couldn’t help but focus on them now.
“We can try it,” she said, finally, reluctantly and with a distinct morose edge.
“Oh, well thanks, your grace. I’d hate to impose.”
Knoel tilted her head back and laughed. “You’re quite welcome, and it is a terrible imposition. If I don’t like it, you’ll have to buy me an ice cream afterward.”
Quiz shook his head. “Ha, nope. Your turn for dessert, that’s the way it is.”
“Fine, but we’re coming back to my place. I’ve still got some of that cake I made in the fridge.”
“On second thought, maybe I will spring for ice cream.” He focused on the cobblestones to hide his smile.
Knoel punched him in the arm. “Gonna hold you to that.”
“See, even you didn’t like that cake.”
Knoel frowned. “Still not sure why it turned out salty.”
“We’ll go over the recipe together later and figure it out.”
The autumn breeze carried their conversation away from botched baking and onto some of Knoel’s favorite subjects. She’d built up a decently long winded case against the use of wing dyes by the time they approached the restaurant.
Heady charred spices scented the air, and cooking meats; steam from vegetables and noodles, some type of sweetness Quiz couldn’t place.
“Smells amazing,” he muttered.
Knoel stared up at him with a raised eyebrow. “The dye?”
“No, the food.” Quiz shook his head. “I don’t know anything about wing dyeing.”
“Oh. Well it’s human hair dye and I’m pretty certain it’s bad for wings.”
“Humans use it. Can’t be that bad.”
“Yeah, but pink!” She rolled her eyes. “They’d have never even tried that in the old order.”
“If some angels want to dye them,” Quiz held the dark wood door open, “then that’s their business.”
Knoel flicked her own soft white wings forward and examined them. “Maybe the tips in a mild color, but full on is just a little garish.”
“Yours would look good bald,” he said. “What color were you thinking?”
She blushed and pushed her wings back. “What does it matter how mine look? And no color, I’d never dye my wings.”
“Sure.” Quiz imagined she’d have purple tips by Friday at the latest. “What looks good to you?”
Knoel looked up at the menu and then to the few dozen red wood tables in the dimly lit room. “Nice place, but the sun is about to set. Let’s eat outside.”
“Whatever you’d like, but what are we actually eating?”
In the end, after the traditional debate, they settled on ginger noodles, fried chicken, and dumplings. The food arrived in little white cartons with dark wings stamped into the side, the seal of the Metatron. He ran a lot of the new businesses.
Quiz carried the bag and Knoel grabbed two canned drinks from a strange vending machine that hadn’t been there when they entered. The writing matched some of the lettering in the restaurant, heaven must be diversifying their districts again.
Good, Quiz liked the idea of exploring Earth cultures and Knoel adored complaining about new things. They’d both have fun.
The sun lingered in the South, and their normal park had turned into a shopping mall while they ordered. Instead they carried their food to the outskirts of town and time itself, and sat overlooking a nice little void on the edge of existence that Quiz liked to stare into.
Knoel picked up the noodle box first. “We should have got plates.”
“Want me to run back?”
She grabbed a set of chopsticks. “If you want to.”
“I don’t mind sharing.”
“Fine with me, if you’re good with it.”
“I’m perfectly okay.”
The noodles were good, spicy and sweet at the same time, and Knoel ate every last bit of the chicken. Quiz finished her share of the dumplings, as she only tried one, and spit half of that into the endless maw of rainbows under heaven’s border.
But Knoel didn’t seem to mind the food adventure overall. Progress, although what Quiz had been counting remained a mystery even to him.
After dinner, she let him toss the trash into the void. He liked to the way the little boxes crumpled and twisted, falling into a singularity and repeating before disappearing entirely. (Quiz never knew, but the trash ended up a mile outside of a landfill in Hoboken, New Jersey per universal law.)
“Want your—” Quiz picked up the little cookie. On contact, the information flowed into him. For a long second, his eyes flared gold. “Want your fortune cookie?”
Knoel grabbed one and got the update as well. “No, I don’t like the taste.”
Without opening the package, Quiz snapped his cookie. He ripped one end and pulled out the slip of paper. “What about the fortune?”
She shook her head. “What does yours say?”
“‘She’s cute. Good luck, you’ll need it’,” Quiz read aloud.
“Really?” Knoel snatched the little paper. “I’ll be danged.” She opened her cookie. “ As a Class One Arch-Examiner, I have to check, of course. Hmm. ‘Go easy on the featherhead’.”
“Fortunate cookies indeed,” Quiz noted and flicked his paper into the void. The cookie tasted okay. A little bland, but he didn’t expect much from complimentary sweets that already included prophecies. Real dessert sounded good about now. “Ice cream?”
“Walk a bit first?” Knoel countered with a smile. “And then maybe we’ll just go back to my place, I’m pretty tired.”
“Just a candy bar then? Can’t be a date without dessert…”
“Eating take-out with your best friend isn’t a date anyway.”
Quiz steeled his courage and tried for a small smile. “What if we make out afterward?”
Knoel coughed, stumbled over her own feet, and turned to stare back at him. “What kind of question is that?!”
“We’re two blocks from your place, so a rather urgent one,” he replied in all seriousness.
She blushed and looked over the street. “I’ve changed my mind. Buy me ice cream.”
“Is that a no?”
“That’s a buy me ice cream while I stall for time to think,” she said. “Take it or leave it.” Panic was half-a-second from overwhelming her scarlet eyes—better reaction than he expected, really.
“It’s plenty, let’s go.” Quiz held out a hand.
Knoel studied her own first and then carefully took his.
Her skin was soft and she smelled a little like velvet feels: soft, shimmering, warmth. Easy to sink into and just always about right.
Floriel’s Confectionery served the best ice cream in heaven since they opened last week, so Quiz led straight there. Knoel hadn’t been joking about the thinking, she barely even noticed as they entered the shop and let him do all the ordering.
“A large waffle cone sundae with everything and two spoons.”
The server nodded, eyes on Knoel.
She’d started texting, probably Idriel or Caniel for advice, and her thumbs quickly became violet-polished blurs on the poor screen. They were her best friends, besides Quiz, and Idriel was half of heaven’s first couple.
“And two coffees,” he added, remembering she mentioned being tired. “Something cold and sweet.”
Quiz deposited Knoel in a corner, not too close to the door, and went to collect the food.
The phone was gone when he returned, although it buzzed away in her pocket.
“I get the okay?” he asked.
“Traitors is what they are,” she muttered, pulling the sundae to herself. “What kind of friend…”
“Nothing. Them, not you.” Knoel’s eyes narrowed to bare scarlet slits. “You’ve done quite enough tonight, Quizazael.”
“What did I do?”
“You tricked me into this date,” she replied. “I was expecting a quiet evening watching TV…”
“We can still watch some TV. And we’ve been friends a while… would trying more be so bad?”
“More like what?”
Quiz’s turn to blush. “Like… kissing. Holding hands was nice too. I want to do romantic things, sometimes. Like be a couple…”
“A couple? Sleep together and everything? Like Idriel and Hyatel?”
“Yes, like that!” The first two were both male, but Quiz knew love’s true androgynous nature. He and Knoel could make it work too. “Would you be a half of my couple?”
“I’d be willing to give it a chance.” Knoel’s eyes flicked to the door, but she took out her phone and stared at that a moment. “Your place is closer,” she said, finally. “And I’ve already walked Lottie today, so I can… we could maybe go there. For coffee.” She gulped at the one already in hand. “Private coffee.”
“Let’s go watch that TV,” Quiz offered. “I’ll get a to-go box.”
“Thanks, that sounds nice.”
The server’s eyes bordered on scandalous, but so did Quiz’s intentions—he didn’t worry too much.
Knoel carried the food this time, and they sipped at their coffees and walked slow. No one replaced the moon after the last war, so only stars lit their walk, besides the occasional street lamp or wandering gaseous being.
Quiz enjoyed a ruby glow from a passing one. The light really played well of Knoel’s nervous face.
The neighborhood he lived in hadn’t converted to modern row houses yet. The older style wasn’t very nice, simple square buildings with little outer color. Quiz filled the inside of his with posters to make up for the bland outside. Movies, art, and music, and whatever caught his eye. A particularly vivid zombie dragon Knoel hated occupied the space above his TV.
Normally criticism came easier than breathing for her, but tonight she just shook her head. “Put on that witch show.”
Quiz turned on FeatheryFlix and Knoel went into the kitchen. His freezer door squeaked and she returned a long moment later without the sundae bag, but glowing with a strangely attentive smile. Quiz watched every motion as she sashayed across the floor, his mind lost somewhere in the pleasantness of her company.
Knoel bit her bottom lip and dropped onto her normal end of the couch. Both hands flew to her mouth. “Ouch.”
Quiz held back a laugh. “Are you okay?”
“It’s nothing, I’m fine. It’s healed. Bit my lip.”
A touch of blood still shined. Quiz wiped the drop with his thumb and held back a laugh.
“Don’t grin at me, Quizazael! I was trying to be seductive for your weirdo couple thing.”
“Thanks.” He leaned down. “But you’re plenty seductive just lookin’ at me.”
Knoel turned red again and Quiz lost all patience. He closed the gap, capturing their first kiss in a clumsy bump.
Her lips twisted beneath his own and he mirrored the smile. Knoel pulled her leg onto the couch and Quiz dropped his at her crux. She shifted downward slightly, pressing against him, and broke the kiss.
Their eyes locked for a stark, intrusive, and blistering moment.
Knoel grinned and sighed.
“What?” Quiz asked, leaning forward to kiss her cheek.
“I’m feeling warm and buzzy and happy.”
“Buzzy? Was it the kiss?”
She winked. “We should double check, I’m really not sure. As a Class One Arch-Examiner, I’d imagine it was my duty.” Her hand wandered upward and twisted a lock of brown hair. “To explore this, I mean.” The hand teased down and stopped at her belt.
Quiz traced the path with the tip of his fingers, enjoying her twitch and the slight flutter from her wing. “I’m always willing to be your test subject.” He stole another kiss, and a longer caress upward. She tasted of chocolate and coconut—her favorite sundae toppings and forever an indelible path to this memory.
“How do my lips feel to you?”
“Like I’ve been missing a bit of heaven,” Quiz muttered.
“You should shave more,” she said.
“What if I grew it out?”
Knoel laughed and shook her head. “We’re…” She looked down at his knee and then at her own breasts. Both nipples were taught under the red fabric of her shirt. “It could be worth trying, if you wanted to.”
With a push of her wings, Knoel sat mostly upright and leaned close. “I like the scent, thing. The colony.”
“Cologne. And thanks, I hoped you would.”
“You’re wearing my lipstick now,” she muttered into his ear. “That’s incredible for some reason. I feel possessive. Like I should mark you.”
“So no one else thinks they can take you.”
Knoel gripped him a little tighter. “You don’t want other people, right Quizazael?”
“No, no, not at all. I didn’t realize you thought others might want me.”
“Of course they would.” Knoel leaned back and eyed him up and down. “Tall, dark wings, bright orange eyes and… well the drawl might be nicer than I let on.” She looked down at her body. “Would others want me, you think?”
“Certainly, but I feel confident that I’ll hold onto you.”
Knoel frowned. “I don’t feel confident about any of this. Do you think that’s strange?” The frown deepened into something close to panic. “Am I weird?”
“Nah. That’s natural, I’m sure. My confidence comes from foolishness, or love maybe… they feel about the same right now.” Quiz stopped his hand on her belt and slipped it under the clingy shirt. “You are weird about stuff, Darlin’. It’s strange that you’re worried about things other than my hands. I’m gettin’ a mite insulted.”
Her body twisted; warm muscles shifting under his palm. “I’m starting to lose focus, if that makes you feel better.”
“I should be writing this down. Maybe recording.”
Quiz blinked and chuckled. “We can if you want, but you want to experiment more first?”
Before he finished speaking, Knoel shook her head. “Not… no, not like that. Wow, you do take to this couple thing, Quiz.”
“I’ve thought about it a lot.” He caught one of her earlobes with his teeth and tugged.
“About you, a lot.”
“That feels amazing.”
“Me thinking about you?”
“The ear nibbling! Do it more.”
Quiz repeated the process then mixed the formula, playing teeth over her neck. He tickled behind her ear and searched her warm body for any reaction. Knoel wiggled downward, and her wings pushed her body up into his. Quiz knew the buzzing himself now, the soft tingles and pops of sensation. They rang deep inside and on his surface. As often happened when thoughts of Knoel infected his own, he found the pressure working it’s way south.
One of her hands followed the sensation, down his body and to his belt. “Can you take this off?” she asked.
“Sure, but I think we’re supposed to undre—”
“Just sod the process, okay? Clothes off.”
Quiz stood and yanked his shirt off. The cloth ripped, not made for angels. Didn’t matter, he’d buy another one.
Knoel watched, nodding slowly and with a wicked smile.
“Are you joining me?”
She wiggled her eyebrows. “We’ll see. Might decide to just observe for tonight.”
“That’s what I’m worried about. Shirt maybe?”
“In a second.” Knoel leaned back on the couch. “When did you know you liked me?”
“Remember that day last June? The summer’s first heavy blood rains… We got soaked on the way into work, ‘cause I just had to try the ‘dang’ coffee thing.”
“The week you cut your hair?”
Quiz looped his thumbs into his slacks and forced them off. He stood naked and hard, with her scarlet eyes burning over him. “I just knew. You smiled, I stared, you told to me to stop staring and I was in love.”
“We’ve known each other since the dawn of time and it took that long? And why today?”
Quiz considered that while Knoel pulled herself off the couch. “Maybe good love just takes it’s own time. Can’t rush forever.”
She gripped his hand, and pulled him toward the bedroom. “Now that sounded pretty great in your drawl. Let’s go to your bedroom, I don’t want zombie dragons to see my privates.”
“I’d follow you anywhere,” he said, urging her forward. “But let’s hurry.”
Knoel did, stripping her clothes with far too little care. She rushed down the hall to Quiz’s room and left her panties at the door. The slow shift onto the bed revealed well-thought dreams and more in full life, and Quiz tried to forge the view to memory. Her rosy nipples caught his attention, and the soft curve of her inner thigh.
He climbed after her, throwing a quick and hard kiss onto her lips, before they collapsed to the bed. She groaned and pushed on his chest. Quiz sat up, and moved himself between her legs to look down at her pussy.
“I thought you squashed me,” Knoel gasped.
Quiz trailed a finger down her skin and past the small patch of curly hair. “Shh, I need to figure this out.”
He stuck a finger in and she shuddered, covering her mouth.
He removed the finger. “Sorry.”
Knoel pulled the hand back. “Don’t stop, just say something.”
A little slower this time, he slipped a finger inside. Warm and just a little wet. Softer than anything I can imagine. Twitches a bit as she shudders…
Quiz grunted and grabbed the back of her leg. A yank and she laid back. Her wing spread out, tips inches from the walls. He moved his fingers, thumb resting on her mound and she responded with twitches and gasps. Each motion seemed to carry through her, rocking her body and dancing her wings.
After minutes, Knoel’s hand moved in, circling his wrist. She pulled him away, and examined the wet fingers. “Do you enjoy this?”
“No.” He used the other hand and she let go of him to clasp at the bed. “Your questions are normally fine, but right now it’s wearing my patience something awful.”
“Fingering me, I mean. Featherhead is right…”
Quiz nodded. “So very much, Darlin’. Looking forward to going farther too, of course…”
Knoel teased her fingers down his bare stomach, leaving a trail of sensation that pulsed even as it faded. Her nails touched first, cold and hard before warmer flesh cupped his cock.
“Ah,” Quiz twitched and pulled back, she moved with him.
“What?” Knoel let him go.
“I didn’t expect you to grab that.”
She shrugged. “It’s the next step, I Googled it earlier.”
“Me too, did you watch the videos though?” He dropped over her again, careful not to crush her entirely.
“No. I was thinking maybe we can try—Ack!”
With a push, his penis slid to her core, and she bucked. He grunted, low buzz turning to a fevered pitch in a heartbeat. “That’s definitely quite good.”
Knoel nodded. “Yes, we can agree that was mutually—”
He drew back and the air around his dick felt cool and uncomfortable for a short second.
“Pleasurable,” Knoel finished. “Nice. All very nice.”
“I’m not sure what I’m doing.”
Knoel grabbed the back of her knees. “We’ll figure it out. Just keep trying different stuff until it works.”
Quiz rocked in and out of her, finding rhythm for a few strokes and losing it just as easy. Slowly, and with a few fumbles, the concordance built. She gripped his back and pushed upward to stay joined. Gasps filled the bare spaces between moans.
With a shattered cry, her whole being twitched, wings curled inward, and Knoel collapsed under him. Quiz joined her in ecstasy, finding a moment of purity beyond words in their oneness.
Moments later, he rolled over and stared at the ceiling.
Knoel climbed onto his wing and scooted close. “You feel anything?”
Quiz shuddered at the touch of her breath against his neck. “Happy. Hungry. You?”
“Sore. Those things too. I think I’ll want more in a bit though.”
“Already? Was I bad or…”
Knoel rolled her eyes and slapped her wing against his chest. The cool breeze felt nice. “No, but like I had fun. You were fun. Being a couple is good, Quizazael. You think too much sometimes.”
“Try not to. Want to split that sundae?”
Sadness overtook her sweaty face. “I… I’m not moving, Quiz. Just no.”
“I’ll get it.” He shoved Knoel softly to she side, and took a moment to enjoy her skin under his palm.
She pushed back against him, angling for a better view. “I’ll have to think of a nice reward.”
Quiz chuckled on his way down the hall. The sundae waited on the freezer’s middle shelf, still in the bag, and he grabbed some drinks to go with the snack.
And a bottle of chocolate syrup for other purposes entirely.
On the way back, Quiz stopped to untack his zombie dragon. He rolled the poster and shelved it until he could find a new home. Something else could go above the TV, he had plenty to brighten the place up now.