Someone's on Alton's roof. I'd better investigate...
Nathan's shoulder pulsed, as if to remind him that he was still recovering from the last time he'd climbed up on a roof, but the anxiousness that sliced up his spine had a much stronger pull. Could someone be up there? If so, why? His body seemed to move of its own accord as he walked down the alley and to the fire escape. He had to know. Grabbing onto the rungs of the lowest ladder, the writer hoisted himself up, despite the agony in his arm, and began climbing to the top. He was about half-way when he definitely heard something:
"Tā mā de mén... dǎkāi!"
Nathan froze on the ladder, listening to the banging that followed the uncomfortably familiar voice. His hands tightened on the rungs and he braced himself. He'd come this far; there was no point backing down now. Nathan began up the ladder again, reminding himself that, at best, he'd only get to see what became of Wren.
At worst, he'd be lucky if he made it to the hospital.
A few curses and more banging later, Nathan pulled himself onto the rooftop garden, making no attempt to be silent since there was nowhere to run anyway. His feet had barely touched the stonework ground when a flowerpot went flying by his head, just missing him and smashing into the adjacent building. "Jesus fucking Christ!"
Opposite him, by the door leading down into the apartment, Wren stood on guard, another flowerpot clutched in his hand. The change in him was even more pronounced than before: his hair had become a disturbingly vibrant shade of blood red, and Nathan could see the thick black claws the teen had instead of nails, but what horrified him the most were his eyes, still black but now with glowing, red irises. He'd changed his clothes too, playing up more of the punk persona he'd barely touched on before with only the streak of color in his hair. Now he had a full-on outfit, complete with a red, roguish leather jacket. Wren snarled at Nathan, but started to put the pot down. "What are you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same thing," Nathan said cautiously, keeping his distance by staying near the fire escape. "I saw movement on my friend's roof and came to investigate. What are you doing here?"
In response, the teen roared, chucking the flowerpot at Nathan's feet. It took all the writer's nerves not to jump. "None of your damn business!" Wren growled at him, though the snarl almost seemed to be a wince. "So go away!"
"Maybe I can help?" Nathan offered. He hoped that wince was a sign he was still fighting off the change, but he knew his still had to be careful. He watched anxiously as the teen began to pace, but continued. "I don't know what you're doing up here, but maybe there's something I can do?" He glanced at the door. "Why were you trying to get in?"
"I said, it's none..." Wren stopped in place, his eyes narrowing in thought for a moment. Slowly, a cockeyed, fanged smirk stretched across one side of his face. "Actually," he said, now watching Nathan with keen interest. "There is something you can do for me..."
"I hope it's not let you inside," Nathan said, cringing when he realized he'd said that too quickly and Wren began pacing again. "I mean, I, uh, well I don't, um, have a key..."
"You can get me what I want without getting in," Wren growled, picking up a garden hoe and tossing it between his hands. "I need you to convince Lumiel to give up Avaritia, or at least find out where he's locked her away. The sisters need her."
Nathan felt a knot form in the pit of his stomach. "I don't think I can make him do that." He was feeling worse and worse about the situation by the second, and it didn't help that Wren was moving towards him now, twirling the gardening tool like a staff.
"I'll make it worth it," the teen continued. "Even if you can't change his mind, I can give you something that will make it easier, and," he flashed the writer a full, toothy grin, "I can help you beat Gabriel at his game."
Jumping off the roof seemed like a half-good idea at this point, but Wren stopped approaching, close enough he might be able to reach him with the tip of the hoe. Nathan swallowed hard. How did he know about that? He must have made some sort of expression showing his shock, because the boy laughed.
"Gula knows her host is marked by Death, even if she hasn't used her to her fullest, and she rather resents losing a body like that. Fuck, I don't want to lose a body like that." The leer looked horribly, horribly wrong on his face. "Anyway, you swear to this one favor, and I'll tell you what game you can easily beat the angel at. Deal?" Wren raised one eyebrow inquisitively and extended his hand, waiting for Nathan to take it.
I should have kept walking...