It really was tempting.
The dark haired man sat cross legged on the roof and watched the sun set over the city, taking in the downtown night life. Horns blared, people laughed or screamed, music pumped from a party held in one of the rooms below, and though it was already eight o clock, the sun was just barely going down.
It was all giving him a headache.
The man closed his eyes and leaned back against one of the air conditioning structures. It didn’t help. If anything, it only intensified the noise.
People, he thought disgustedly. So many people.
The structure chose just then to shudder to life, spitting out hot air through half the slats and sucking in outside air through the others. A burst of stale air hit the man’s face and, with a groan, he dragged himself away from the vents, all the way to the edge of the building. He swung his feet over the edge and lay back so he was looking at the sky.
He would've liked to stay like that all night, just watching the sky. But he had a job to do. He closed his eyes again and mentally scanned the building's occupants, flitting through the apartments room by room, floor by floor.
Dull. Dull, pointless little people. The whole lot of them. Little meatsacks, glorified monkeys. He didn't know why they bothered trying anything at all: they'd all be dead soon. The man felt the familiar chill of doubt creeping up his chest. Quickly, he focused on one family unit three levels down.
There were four in this one, and one of them was important.
The mother was. . . . In the living room, chatting with the father.
The father was . . . Pretending to listen to the mother while actually watching the television.
The female child was. . . In her room, asleep in her crib.
And the important one, the one the man was really interested in was. . . still playing the computer. He could see the wavering signals emitted by the machine indicating it was on that internet thing the humans were getting so worked up over.
The man sat up and propped his head in his palms, crouching over the edge of the building, legs dangling. Every night he's on that damn thing. Every damned night.
Absently, he flicked a few of the concrete pebbles off the side of the roof and waited to hear the tell-tale clink of them hitting the sidewalk below.
"Are you bored, Donny ? 'Cause you look kinda bored."
In one fluid motion the man was on his feet and poised to fight. "Who's there?"
"Just me. Relax."
A thin, oily looking man stepped out from behind the elevator shed and gave a little mock bow.
The man crossed his arms. "What do you want, Morvan?"
The oily man shrugged. "Just checking to see if maybe you've thought about my offer."
"I’ve thought about it, and I believe you know my answer."
"Because we could really use a guy like you," said Morvan. "A guy with your skills. Think of what you could be. Hell, think about what you were."
"I'm perfectly satisfied with my current occupation."
"You're lying, Donny. I can smell it. What're you doing right now? Stalking some kid, following him around when he wouldn't give you the time of day."
Don bowed his head and began taking a very keen interest in his shoes. "You know very well it's not stalking," he said to the ground.
"You follow him around, never say a word to him, you’ve memorized his habits -and have made use of them. That's stalking. I bet you watch him when he sleeps." The dark haired man's silence was enough confirmation. "You do. Oh that’s rich. That’s really rich.”
"I'm not going to take your deal."
Morvan sighed and ran a hand through his off-blonde hair. "Ah, well. It was worth a shot." He side stepped back into a thick patch of shadow, but stopped before he was completely enveloped. "You know, it's funny. I can smell how much you hate him, how much you despise this city. Think about what you’re devoting your time to."
Morvan didn't leave, only smiled. He had scored a hit and he knew it. Eventually, Don couldn't keep quiet any longer.
"Why are you still here?"
"To distract you, Donny old pal."
"Distract. . ." The man's eyes widened. he whirled around just in time to see a shadow creeping over the side of the building.
The boy! he thought frantically. Must protect the boy. Running headlong into -and through- the rising shadows, the man called Don leapt off the roof.
For a moment, things seemed to be going excruciatingly slow. Time all but came to a halt, and seconds inched by. Then it all began going very fast. The wind pounded his face and whipped his hair around him. On his back, he felt muscles spasm and spread, and felt the painful jerk as large wings took on air and dragged him back, interfering with any plans gravity might have held for him. He glided downwards, racing against the dark tendrils to reach the boy's room.
Through the window he went .The fact that it was closed meant nothing: he passed through without breaking it. A sword of fire materialized in his hands, making the pleasantly familiar wrrrmph sound. Shadows began to enter the room, some through the windows edge, some through the closet, and some even came from under the bed, but Donaphael was ready for them.
Fire flew, not touching the furniture or trappings of the room, but striking the shadows all the same. No match for the blade, the shadows were cut down and driven back, retreating into the safety of the night.
He waited a little longer, just in case they'd come back. They didn't. Gratefully, Don collapsed backwards onto the boy's bed. Utterly exhausted, he craned his neck to the side to see his charge.
The kid was still surfing the net, his head bobbing to the music spouting from his headphones, completely unaware of both the battle that had just taken place in his room and the person lying on his bed.
This is what I'm risking my life for? he thought. A pathetic, defenseless, selfish child who didn't even know he existed and probably wouldn't care if he did.
The flaming sword was still in his hand, cackling and flickering, generating warmth only he could feel. For a long while he simply lay down and stared at it, then at the young man who began tapping his pencil to a rhythm Don couldn't hear.
It would be so easy, just one good swing and poof! No more human. No more tailing him all day, every day. No more waiting in the back of classrooms, or listening to every stupid conversation. No more fighting shadows for him-
Don groaned and regretfully raised his hand. The blade vanished with a quiet wuff and he focused, unseen, on the ceiling. Eventually, he thought, trying to console himself. Eventually he will die on his own. Then I can go home.
After all, what was another sixty years or so? All the same. . .
It really was tempting.