Claim of Ownership: All characters and situations presented in this story are copyrighted (©) as of February 17, 2005 by Lauren Kollett, AKA the Dragon Mistress. All characters and situations are entirely fictional and exist wholly in the author's imagination; any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Warnings: Mild language, yaoi (m/m) content. Nothing graphic.

Note: All full names are written in the traditional Japanese format of Family Name-First Name.

-Divine Intervention-

-Act 2-

Footsteps thundered on the stairs. "Mayumi-chan!" her father shouted. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, Papa," Mayumi managed to choke out, pulling herself into a sitting position and staring up at the two men who stood before her. "I - I just tripped, is all. I'm fine."

"Are you sure?" Mayumi could picture him standing outside her door, and the thought comforted her.

"Yes, Papa. I'm all right. I'm going to bed now."

"Okay... sleep tight."

Mayumi waited until her father's footsteps had faded away before she took a deep breath and spoke again. "Who are you?" she asked softly.

The first man bowed courteously to her. He had pale white skin and light blue eyes. His hair was wavy and pale gold, and fell to his ankles. He wore a white toga-like garment and golden jewelry, and almost seemed to glow with an otherworldly light. There was something about him, something mysterious yet familiar. He smiled, and Mayumi was instantly charmed.

"I beg your pardon, my lady. I am the angel Hikari, and this is my lover, Kurai."

Kurai nodded to her. He was an exact opposite of Hikari. His hair was ankle-length as well, but it was straight and deep black. His eyes were narrow, the irises an unusual violet colour. He was dressed entirely in black and wore silver gauntlets, and a strange green marking anointed his forehead. Around his neck was a thick leather collar with a short length of chain attached, only a few links long. The last of these links looked broken.

"I'm afraid we gave you quite a scare," Hikari continued in his soft, gentle voice, kneeling down to be on her level. He reached out and touched her cheek. "Rest assured we did not mean to. We were certainly not expecting to be released at this moment."

"What are you talking about?" Mayumi's eyes darted from one man to the other. "'Released'?"

"Oh, my," sighed the angel. "I'm afraid we have to start at the beginning. Love?"

Kurai sank down to the floor, his long hair fanning out gracefully. "I am a demon," he began. "I was arrested two thousand years ago for a crime I didn't commit. I was accused of slaying over a hundred angels. The highest angels, the Seraphim, sentenced me to eternity in prison. They wouldn't listen to me when I insisted I was innocent. And even after the guilty demon was caught, I was forced to remain in prison." Even his voice was completely opposite from Hikari's; his was deep and husky.

"How awful!" Mayumi said softly.

"When I heard about it, I hastened to the prison to see if it was true," Hikari picked up the story. "Even though Kurai was a demon, I couldn't understand imprisoning him just for who he was. I let him out of his cell, but I lacked the authority to allow him to leave the angels' realm. So he stayed. Demons, you see, can use their magic wherever they please; but it is much stronger in the demons' world than in the human or angel worlds. Most demons who had ever entered our realm went mad there, unable to deal with..." he looked helplessly at his lover.

"The peace and serenity," Kurai supplied. "The goodness of it all."

"Yes. But Kurai was different. He wasn't exactly happy, but he was perfectly sane and civil. It intrigued the Seraphim, and it intrigued me. We started spending time together. And even though we both knew the consequences of such an action, we became lovers."

Hikari blushed a little, but Mayumi was enthralled, though she had no idea why. "What were the consequences?"

"Well... we carried on our relationship for a long time. Almost fifty years. I know that must seem like forever to a mortal like you, but for us... it was much too short. It was strange. Neither of us had never even met one of our own kind whom we liked half as much as we liked - loved - each other. But it is a great sin for a demon and an angel to fall in love, and far worse when physical union is involved." Hikari looked upset; Kurai took his hand and continued.

"We got careless... after all, no one had figured it out, even after so many years... and one night, we were discovered in bed together. Our punishment was swift and final. We were banned from the angels' realm."

"But... you're a demon. So why -?"

"Because by then, I had gotten used to the angels' realm. Many of its inhabitants were still afraid of me, but it was more like home than any place I'd ever been. But that wasn't the whole reason why I was exiled. Angels cannot live outside their own realm for more than a few days or weeks at a time. Their powers start draining away, and they lose strength the longer they stay away. That was exactly what happened to Hikari. That was my punishment - to watch my lover die."

Mayumi gasped. Kurai sighed. "It was... awful. As hard as Hikari tried to be cheerful... I knew he was in terrible pain. So I decided to give up my life as well. I preformed the Binding Souls charm."

"What -?" Mayumi began, but Hikari had already anticipated her question.

"It is a charm that connects two souls for eternity," he said. "Even after Kurai and I died, our souls were bound. We were reborn together."

"The spell uses up much of the caster's life force," Kurai explained. "After I finished, I was too weak to continue on. Hikari and I died together, and our souls have remained in limbo for hundreds of years. We were sealed in those dolls, waiting for someone to release us... and you did, tonight."

"But - but wait - I didn't -" Mayumi sputtered indignantly. "It was the earthquake, it knocked the dolls off the shelves -"

"But you took us from that shop and brought us here. Without you, we would still be trapped in those dolls." Hikari said patiently.

Mayumi stared at them, and finally said, "Well, what are you going to do now? You can't stay here! My parents will kill me!"

Both men became wide-eyed. "Parents would ritually sacrifice their children over a situation like this?"

"No!" Mayumi said, annoyed. "It's just an expression!"

"Well, my lady," said Hikari, "The only thing we can do now requires your help."

"My help?" she paled considerably. "What can I do?"

"We need a sorceress to help us find the way to Xanadu, the hidden country. We can live there for eternity with each other, and no one will judge us. You must help us get there." Kurai said.

"Wait, this is crazy!" Mayumi protested. "I can't help you! I don't know anything about demons and angels! I've never heard of this Xanadu place! And I'm not a sorceress!"

"Ah, but you are. You just don't know it yet." Hikari smiled and pointed a finger at her chest. "You have power within you, my lady. With some help, you can awaken to your powers and help us. Now. What is your name?"

"M-Mayumi. Kawanami Mayumi." She swallowed nervously as she gazed up into the angel's pale blue eyes. This was all happening so fast. A few moments ago, she had been an ordinary girl getting ready for bed. And now, she was going to be a sorceress?

"Mayumi-sama." Both Hikari and Kurai bowed to her, so low that their foreheads touched the floor. "We humbly thank you for agreeing to help us. Until the moment we leave this earth and reach Xanadu, we vow to protect you to the best of our ability, and to uphold your honour."

Mayumi-sama? Upholding her honour?

"Why me?" Mayumi asked miserably.

"Because you freed us, my lady," Hikari said happily.

"It's just -an - EXPRESSION," Mayumi said through gritted teeth.

Being totally unable to think of what to do with the two men, Mayumi had no choice but to let them sleep in her room. She opened her closet door and began pulling out pillows, blankets, and the rolled-up futon reserved for guests. "Here, you can sleep on this, and -"

She turned, her arms filled with blankets. "And - what are you doing?"

Kurai was seated on her bed, nose-to-nose with her stuffed unicorn as if having a staring contest with it. "There's something wrong with this unicorn," he stated. "It's... not moving."

"It's stuffed, that's why!" Mayumi snatched the unicorn from the demon and stuffed it under her pillow.

"Stuffed?" he asked in complete amazement. "But why would you kill a unicorn just to stuff it?"

"Unicorns aren't real!" Mayumi cried. "It's a toy!"

"Apparently unicorns are thought of as imaginary in this kingdom," Hikari said, looking sad as he sat down beside Kurai.

"Well, they are," Mayumi said, annoyed. "And -" She blanched at the sight of Hikari. "What are you wearing?"

He touched the large variety of Hello Kitty! clips he had put in his hair. "Aren't these jewels of your kingdom?" he asked politely.

"No! They're plastic! I haven't worn them in years. And Japan's not a kingdom, it's a country!" Mayumi began taking the clips out of Hikari's hair. "Look. It's time for bed. I have to be up for school tomorrow, so go lie down!" She shoved the blankets into their arms and pushed them off her bed. "And be as quiet as possible, all right? My parents can't know you're here, until we think of an excuse to explain it!"

"Why can't we just tell them the truth?" Hikari wanted to know.

"Because hundreds of years have passed since you died, and no one believes in angels or demons anymore! Now go to sleep." Mayumi rolled over on her side so that her back was to her guests. "Goodnight," she added after a second, slightly guilty at being so rude.

"Goodnight, Mayumi-sama!"

She'd never get used to being called that.

Mayumi trudged downstairs the next morning, yawning as she smoothed the skirt of her uniform.

"What a crazy dream," she said to herself. "I think I ate too much of that parfait last night..." She pushed open the kitchen door, looked around, and groaned.

Hikari was standing amidst shards of broken eggshells, stirring something in a pan that was giving off a strange odor. Kurai was kneeling in front of the refrigerator, digging out a variety of things.

"Good morning, my lady!" Hikari said. "Forgive us, we're a little late in preparing your breakfast... we weren't quite sure how the machines in this kitchen work..."

"Where are my parents?" Mayumi cried. The last thing she needed was for her parents to find two strange men in their house, calling her 'Mayumi-sama' and preparing her breakfast.

"Gone, my lady. We waited until they'd left to venture out of your chamber." Hikari set a bowl of watery rice, a plate of fried eggs, and a piece of smoked fish at her place.

Mayumi tugged Kurai out of the fridge, put back the things he had taken out, and steered him to the table. "Sit," she ordered, and he obeyed. That seemed to be the only good thing about being their last hope.

She plumped down at her own place and began to eat. She looked up halfway through her fish to see her guests hadn't made anything for themselves.

"Um, aren't you hungry?"

"It's only proper for us to wait until you have finished to begin our own meals, my lady," Hikari said, looking scandalized at the very thought of sharing a table with her.

"Just sit down and eat, okay?" she said irritably. "I'm not rich or famous or anything, so I don't need special treatment."

It was quiet as they finished eating; perhaps Hikari and Kurai were afraid of angering her by speaking. Once she finished her watery rice, Mayumi stood and hurriedly put her dishes in the sink before they could try and do it for her. She looked at the clock. "Almost time for school," she said. "You can hang out around the house while I'm gone, but you'd better hide in my room once my parents get home."

"What are you talking about, Mayumi-sama?" Kurai asked. "We are coming with you to your school."

"No you're not!" Mayumi was horrified. "As if everyone doesn't treat me like a freak already, the last thing I need is you two following me all day!"

She cursed mentally. That had been a mean thing to say, and both men looked dejected. She tried to put it a different way.

"Look.. all I mean is that you don't look like... like the rest of the people around here. You'd be really suspicious if you showed up at school... dressed like you are." She mostly meant Hikari's toga and Kurai's bondage gear.

The pair exchanged glances. "Well then, tell us what to wear, my lady!" Hikari said.

Twenty minutes later, Mayumi trudged onto the school grounds, holding her bag up in an attempt to hide her face from the students who kept glancing her way and muttering.

Hikari and Kurai were following her. Mayumi had raided the attic to find some of her older brother's old clothes, which, thankfully, fitted. Hikari was dressed in a bulky green sweater and tan trousers, and Mayumi had put his hair in a ponytail for him. He kept picking lint balls off the sweater as they walked. Kurai wore a pair of jeans and a black, long-sleeved t-shirt. Much to Mayumi's annoyance, he had refused to remove his collar.

"I'm sorry, my lady. I am forbidden by law to remove it. Even after I was freed, the angels forced me to wear it, in case I ever needed to be chained again."

"At least tuck the chain under your shirt," Mayumi had muttered.

Students and teachers alike were whispering as Mayumi trudged down the hallways and into her classroom. She sank into her seat at the back of the room, dropping her bag with a thud. What she wouldn't give to disappear or become invisible right at that second.

"Kawanami!" It was one of her classmates, a boy with cute glasses and a crewcut, who never usually spoke to her. Mayumi thought his name was Takuro.

"Yes?" she mumbled.

"Where did you get the bodyguards?" he asked.

"B-bodyguards!" Mayumi spluttered, sitting up straight. "Who ever said anything about -"

"They are bodyguards, aren't they?" he asked, his eyes shining. "Your father works for a big important company, and you have bodyguards? They're even disguised as normal people! That is so cool!"

"That's right," Hikari said cheerfully. "It's our duty to protect Mayumi-sama from every and all dangers!"

"Wow," Takuro was wide-eyed. All the other students were whispering, and looked impressed. Mayumi sighed and rubbed her forehead. Rumours like these were just what she didn't need.

The door slid open and the teacher entered. "Kawanami!" he barked. "Who are those men?"

"Er - Sensei, they're -"

"They're her bodyguards, Sensei!" Takuro spoke up. "From her father's company!"

The teacher looked impressed. "Is this true, Kawanami?"

Mayumi bit her lip. It wasn't exactly true, but that's what Hikari and Kurai had promised to do... if she got in trouble, it would be their fault... and this was a valid excuse to have two men following her during school...

"Yes," she sighed. "They're my bodyguards."

By lunchtime, Mayumi was tired of telling her teachers about her 'bodyguards' and being questioned about who might try to hurt her. She sat down and opened the bento lunch she had purchased on the way to school (there hadn't been time to make lunch, after cleaning the kitchen and finding clothes for Kurai and Hikari), and handed two more to the men. "Here, eat up. They give you disposable chopsticks in the box."

For a little while, they ate in silence. Mayumi closed her eyes and basked in the warm sunlight as she munched on her fried shrimp, trying to think of an excuse to tell her parents. She couldn't keep Hikari and Kurai a secret forever. What was she going to tell them?

"Is something wrong, my lady?" Hikari asked.

"I'm trying to decide what I'm going to tell my parents when you come strolling in the door with me this afternoon," Mayumi answered. "The bodyguards story works fine here, but at home we'll have to do something different..."

"That's okay," Hikari said. "I have an idea."

"What is it?"

He winked. "A surprise, my lady."

"What kind of surprise?" Mayumi demanded, jumping up. Kurai rose and took her by the elbow.

"The surprise that the bell has rung," he said.

"Oh, crap!" Mayumi grabbed her bag and bolted. Kurai and Hikari exchanged looks.

"Shall I...?" Kurai nodded in the direction Mayumi had disappeared in.

"Yes, my love. I won't be long." Impulsively, Hikari kissed his lover's cheek - the first kiss they had shared since awakening. He closed his eyes in concentration, and a pair of enormous, feathery white wings gracefully materialized and unfolded. The angel rose into the air and was gone. Kurai darted off, running faster than humanly possible to reach Mayumi in time. He skidded to a stop behind her just as she wrenched open the door of her classroom.

"Phew, I'm not late!" she sunk into her seat, clutching a stitch in her side. She looked up at Kurai. "No fair. You're not even out of breath! ...Where's Hikari?"

"He had to do something," Kurai answered mysteriously.

Mayumi groaned. "Why do I have a bad feeling about this?"

To Be Continued...

(A/N: Well, hello hello hello! I see you're back for Act 2! How did you like it? I hope I described Hikari and Kurai well enough for you. The drawing came out really good (for my mediocre talents anyway), and it was hard to put it into words. It's also hard to put their personalities across as well. Probably because of how they grew up, they have opposite personalities. Hikari and Kurai are total opposites in almost every way (except for the fact they're both male). Hikari is bubbly, warm, open, and cheerful. On the other hand, Kurai is normally very quiet and keeps to himself. But he has his moments.

I know Hikari and Kurai seemed a little... dumb in this chapter, but they've been dead (in a way) for hundreds of years, and they're out of the loop! Modern-day stuff is a complete mystery to them, and I'm going to have fun getting them used to modern conveniences.

The wing mystery: I figured it would be a lot harder for an angel and demon to blend in with humans if they were sporting huge pairs of wings. In that case, they can make their wings appear and disappear at will. FYI, Kurai's wings are black and bat-like. Again, the opposite of Hikari. Do you get it now? Good!

Excuse the Count Olaf impersonation at the beginning of this note. Please stay tuned for Act 3, and thanks for the reviews!)