This short story is centered around Kalir, one of the main characters in Wings of the Fallen.
Kalir had been around for several hundred years’ worth of celebrations of this impending day, had seen the different names it went by. He never took part, even as the festivities turned from the serious to the silly. It seemed bizarre, to him, that he should willingly pretend to be something scary when he was, in fact, that. Along with trying already to pretend that he wasn’t that. It was all so complicated.
James changed all that.
“Danny, did you hear me?”
Kalir responded to his chosen name of the time with ease, looking up from his book as his young lover stood on the other side of the counter in Kalir’s bookstore, a crooked beautiful smile on his face. He leaned over towards Kalir, a few stray strands of his sandy brown hair falling over his grey eyes from the bangs he refused to cut.
“That look generally doesn’t mean things are going to end well for me. . .”
“Didn’t you hear Sam talking last night at drinks?”
“Sam talks a lot.”
“About his Halloween party!” James kept his smile, but Kalir could see in his eyes that he had a hint of concern.
“Ah, yes. That conversation.”
“Well? We have to come up with costume ideas.”
Kalir looked back down at his book, but didn’t read the words on the page.
“Oh, I. . .don’t normally do. . .the Halloween thing.” Despite the voice in his mind telling him not to, Kalir looked up at James, whose smile had been wiped clean off. Kalir put down the book, preparing himself.
“Danny, everyone is going to be there! It’s gonna be the biggest party in the district.”
“Which is precisely why I’d rather not go. You know how I feel about crowds.”
James didn’t give up easily, though. It was one of the reasons Kalir had fallen for him, he supposed.
James sauntered around the counter, Kalir catching the movement of his hands as he adjusted his delightfully tight shirt [a damning fashion of the time that made Kalir wonder how there weren’t orgies in the streets] and leaned towards him, his hip bones just barely exposed above his jeans.
Kalir hadn’t wanted anyone as badly in many years as he’d wanted James from the moment they met. He would swear that he was a demon from the Kingdom of Lust as well, with how much he was able to drive Kalir crazy, and with such ease.
Kalir growled and pulled James to him by those delicious hips and kissed him hard. Upon release, James had that grin again.
“Goddammit James fine I’ll go.”
James whooped and kissed Kalir again before Kalir could cut in his mandate. “But not for the whole night. I don’t want to be around all the crazy drunks.”
“Oh, you will be one of them, if I have my way.”
Kalir scoffed. The amount of booze it would take to get him even half as inebriated as them was an amount he could never drink without someone assuming he had alcohol poisoning.
He knew, he had tried.
“So, what should we dress up as?”
Kalir blinked. “Do I really have to wear a costume?”
“Well, what were you thinking?”
“I was thinking I could be a devil-”
“- and you could be an angel!”
Kalir felt like he had been punched in the gut at those words.
“Danny, what did I say?”
“Nothing. It’s nothing.” Kalir got up and walked past James and to the bathroom, fighting off the urge to gasp for air. He needed a moment. Not only to breathe, but also to come up with a story for James.
He couldn’t explain to James that dressing up as a mockery of an angel when he himself not only used to be one, but had been banished from Heaven, was not going to happen.
He locked the bathroom door, despite the worried shouts of James on the other side. He didn’t want to mess things up. He liked James. They had only been together a few months since meeting in the summer, but so far it had been the most amazing time, and that was saying something, coming from an immortal being.
Religion. They hadn’t talked about religion yet. Kalir splashed some cold water on his face and looked at himself in the mirror.
Well, the himself for the time being.
His blond hair was nearly shoulder length, and started to curl towards the bottom. His face was clean-shaven – for some reason even though he could actually grow facial hair when in a human vessel, something about it drove him nuts. He was dressed a bit less refined than was usual for him, but living in the Castro district of San Francisco called for fewer suits than he would have liked, spoiled by his years in Las Vegas. So his attire of choice was the tight shirts with some ridiculous graphic, and those scratchy corduroy pants. He hated the material, but they seemed to drive James mad.
“-Danny? Would you just come out and talk to me?”
Oh. Right. James.
Kalir brushed a hand through his hair and stepped out to talk about his fake traumatic life with his boyfriend.
“I feel really dumb.”
“Don’t be so dramatic. This is such a popular kind of costume. Come out!”
Kalir refused to give himself another glance in the mirror, and reluctantly stepped out into the living room of his apartment, bracing for ridicule. James had a huge smile on his face, despite looking equally ridiculous. They had decided to dress as characters from some children’s story that James cursed him for not knowing, and swore on his life they would watch together soon. All Kalir knew was that he hated wearing wigs and he had a hook for a hand. James seemed worse off, even without a wig, in just a green leotard and tights with tiny shorts. The tiny shorts were the only redeeming part of his outfit .
“Okay so you’re -”
“Right, and I’m-”
“Ah. . .how fortuitous that if I forget my name I can just look at my hand. Er, hook.”
James rolled his eyes but laughed and pulled Kalir down for a kiss. He wasn’t too much shorter, but Kalir was wearing shoes like what was in fashion when he first went on the run, and it was mildly annoying. He hated such shoes then, and he hated them now.
“Okay, so remember our deal.” Kalir spoke against James’s lips.
“‘Don’t get drunk, please dear god. Let’s leave before midnight like boring old people.’”
“Perfect.” Kalir smiled and kissed James once more, and then kissed the top of his nose before waltzing away to the door, trying to channel his inner villain.
“Tom? Tom? Did I lose you?”
“Huh?” Kalir was pulled out of the memory by the voice of Marie over the phone.
“I asked you if you had any Halloween plans.”
“Oh, I uh, don’t really do the Halloween thing.”
“Oh, okay.” She was quiet for a moment, and Kalir squeezed his eyes shut. How was it that the first person he attempted dating since James also wanted to do something for the stupid excuse of a holiday. . .
“How about instead, we just watch scary movies at your place and order delivery?”
Kalir opened his eyes and let out all the air he had sucked into his lungs.
“That sounds great, Marie.” He could tell she was smiling as she started to ramble on about which movies they could watch, and potentially pair wines to go with the movies based on their titles. His thoughts trailed once more, though.
He hadn’t thought about it before, but James was probably the last, and only, person he’d done the Halloween thing with. They had worn costumes together every year since that first, and Kalir felt it would do him a disservice if he were to do it with anyone else.
“Sound good, Tom?”
“Sure.” He wasn’t sure what he’d agreed to, but he didn’t have to wear a costume.
“Great. I’ll be there at 7. Be ready to get the crap scared out of you, baby.”
“Hah, looking forward to it. Bye, babe.”
He hung up the phone and massaged his temples, trying to mentally run away from the memories that were flooding his mind. He hadn’t thought about James in years.
That was one soul he hoped would be resting this All Hallow’s Eve.