Phoebe sat on a bench at the edge of the beach, as far away from the water as she could manage. Despite being made of light she didn't glow quite as one might have expected, like her brightness was turned down to accomodate for the darkness. Somewhere behind her, her drone floated silently, keeping her image stable.
Something about Ishvi compelled her, made her sneak out of her apartment in the middle of the night (not that she had to sneak, she wasn't a prisoner after all) and come here. She had never enjoyed the beach as a girl. Too much sun, too many people. But now, in the dead of night she liked it.
She didn't know how long she would be waiting, so she started singing to herself, one of those cryptic little poems that she pulled from the internet without realizing. "I found myself in darkness there
My hands reached out
and touched concrete.
I could smell the wet cement
and the odor of dead
Ishvi's relationship with the nighttime was love/hate at best, but being nocturnal was one thing he hadn't fought as hard when he came here. Trying to stay awake during the day was just too much effort when he was attempting to be the best student he could be. Though lately he hadn't been sleeping much at all.
And he always enjoyed the solitude. Even the other creatures who lived in the night didn't spend much time at the beach, certainly not any troublemakers.
He had no trouble picking Phoebe out in the darkness, just watched her for a moment. Ishvi hesitated, listening to her song, oddly uneasy. Though - he wasn't afraid of her. As much as he tried to deny it, he was in his element out here.
"Hey... Where is that from?" He didn't know what to say, suddenly drowning in awkwardness. But he did have a reason for picking this spot. He finally approached, but didn't sit next to her, instead looking out at the water.
Phoebe wasn't sure what she was expecting from Ishvi. Was he going to try and kill her, because she was a killer? Was he going to ask her to kill someone? She hoped, but seriously doubted. Phoebe thought about the warm wetness of blood on her hands and felt herself... no. She stopped the thought process. It was okay. She had had therapy.
Brushing her hair out of her eyes more out of habit than necessity, she smiled at her new friend as he approached. She was friends with a cop. How ironic. They were friends, right? Honestly, Ebby didn't know. She teleported next to him, her form flickering as she appeared standing next to him with her arms folded behind her back.
"I don't know what it's from, I just seem to collect random poems and songs and stuff without realizing it," she said with a shrug. Ebby looked out at the water along with Ishvi, letting the silence hang between them for just a second.
"If you're not good at talking, you can text me instead, and I'll answer out loud."
"No... it's not that... I just don't know what people talk about." He'd never been that interested in socializing, making friends. Perhaps a little of the angels' pride had stuck with him. But mostly he'd been so busy, trying so hard to be good enough, avoiding anything that could even potentially lead to something resembling a fall. He couldn't slip even a little or he'd never be able to go back home.
A false hope. Pulling a piece of paper out of his pocket, Ishvi began folding it up. There was writing on it, but he didn't think Phoebe could have read it in the dark, and it was quickly lost in the folds. He still didn't look at the girl next to him, but he was glad for her presence however much it conflicted him.
"I'm not much of a people person..." Trailing off the half-angel looked out at the water again and this time walked a little further towards it. The new paper plane held loosely in his hand. "Maybe I'm not much of an angel either. "
He looked back at Phoebe. "Oh. The water... Can you not get too close? I don't have to go all the way up to the ocean. I can show you from here."
"Maybe it is." His voice was quiet and hesitant. 21 years of his life striving to be an angel had been shattered in a moment's conversation, the pieces scattered more each day. He felt like his heart was breaking a little at the words, but he knew they were true. And at least related to why he was here, if not the only reason. Kicking off his shoes, Ishvi stepped into the water a little. He had to close his eyes and be silent for a couple moments just too gather his thoughts, calm himself a little before he went on.
"I washed up here. Five years ago I left home and flew as far as I could, farther, and then I got tired and crashed into the ocean and ended up here. If I'd died... Probably would've ended up back home. But I didn't. I thought it was a chance to prove myself. I could stay here, without falling, maybe train my skills, and then ... go home again." He blinked rapidly at the wash of emotion, refusing to cry in front of anyone, even her, even if she wouldn't be able to see his tears. Then he opened his eyes and pointed out over the horizon. "It's somewhere out there... was out there. For five years I've sent letters home with no reply - through the mail. But every so often I come out here and..." he lifted the airplane up in explanation... "I fly towards home until I can't fly anymore and I send a letter that way. It was a test - if I could make it, it meant I was strong enough... I never made it, but now I think it wouldn't have mattered anyway. "
Phoebe tiled her head, glitching slightly so that she was sitting with her feet together, the bottoms of her shoes touching, her hands gripping her ankles. She looked up at Ishvi as he told his story, fascinated. Like a child being read a bedtime story. She waited patiently until he was done speaking. A trait she had picked up from her game.
"You sound like Icarus. Flying closer and closer to the Sun. If you keep it up, one day you'll burn and die."
The words were hollow, void of compassion or malice. A statement of fact, more than anything. She gave him a grin after a moment. "Well, at least it's nighttime now. Sure, show me how you fly."
Ishvi didn't actually get the reference to Icarus, mythology was not something he had much experience with, but in his conflicted mood, something in the sentence struck a chord. "I can't fly in the sunlight or I do burn." That was part of his shame, already slower and weaker than the full angels, he couldn't just sprout wings and fly. He had to shift, turn into a creature with black wings, who couldn't handle the light of day. No way for anyone to tell he wasn't fallen, except his words.
And that half, the nightmare half that he tried so hard to deny and dismiss because he knew it made him less, that was what he really wanted to show her. Because the story had hurt a little, but even if he never told the whole thing, it wasn't much of a secret. It was just something he'd done, a little piece of futility.
But this was one place, flying under cover of night where he shifted voluntarily. "I know people have seen me in my other form. I can't really control it when I'm ... stressed. But I try not to do this in front of people. I train it alone as much as I can. I don't fly where people can see me. I - I have black wings. I don't look like an angel."
Ishvi didn't expect her, or really anyone who wasn't an angel from home to know what it meant for him to show this to someone. He wasn't really looking for sympathy, which may have been one of the reasons he wanted Phoebe there, someone who wouldn't try to fix him. Actually, he couldn't have said how he expected her to react except possibly by glitching.
The change was quick. Shadowed form blending into the darkness so well he might be hard to see, black-feathered wings unfurling. He took off without waiting for her response, launching himself over the ocean - faster than walking but slower than a bird. Ishvi didn't go very far before he stopped and threw the plane into the ocean rather than trying to fly it. Then he returned to the beach and curled his wings around himself self-consciously. He didn't want to be the one to break the silence.
Ebby glitched, but paused to get herself under control. She couldn't freak out. She'd scare him. So she instead used her brief glitch to her advantage, standing up. "Can I... touch you?" It was an innocent question. He looked like he was made of darkness.
Assuming he allowed her to, Ebby would rub her hands against his wings, sending the light tingling sensation through them if he could even feel.
"You know, the priest in my hometown used to say that Angels weren't beautiful the way we thought of beauty. They were terrifying, monstrous in a way. That was why the angel told the shepherds not to be afraid. The night Jesus was born?"
Phoebe didn't know where she was going with this, but it sounded right.
He didn't know why he'd done this, so unsure of his own motivations. He was too tense, all these last steps, first steps, back where he'd started on this island, more lost than ever before.
No one had ever wanted to touch him before. This form was different, marked him. Only fallen angels had black feathers. But he was innocent too, and of course Phoebe was different from others he'd meet. Ishvi shrugged. "Go ahead."
The tingling was an odd sensation, but not unpleasant. Although he looked like a shadow, he was solid flesh, with feathered wings. He could feel her touch, and his wings fluttered slightly at the contact, but he didn't pull away.
"Terrifying angels... I never thought of that. I would've been frightening. If I hadn't left, I would've fought. Maybe I'd still be there and maybe I'd be dead. But they'd know that I - I followed the rules. I never fell. They lied and I can't prove it - I can't... I might as well have thrown all the letters into the ocean."
The words were emotionally charged, but his tone was blank. His feelings were buried out of the way for now, though they still affected his thoughts.
"I want to - break my cage. I don't know what I want. There's so much I haven't done yet. What about you? Is there a lot of new things here for you?"