Somewhere Between the Lost and the Forgotten

Introduction




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Since the dawn of time, there has always been magic in the world. Those who could harness it were often called witches, heretics, demons, and the like. They called themselves the Watchers. Those born with Old Magic had the ability to see beyond the Veil, the only barrier between our world, and the realm we call Hell.

Watchers are always female, and the last ones known were burned during the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692. After that, they were forgotten, and with them, the true threat that the Demons pose to us and our world. Many human beings today have small bits of Old Magic, and they can sense things, like when the hair on the back of your neck stands up, or you feel bloodlust, or like someone is watching you. But only those who can actually see Demons are true Watchers.

Something else was forgotten back then, something that has yet to be remembered. There have been constant guards, those who watch over us, protect us, and keep us safe from evil intent. They are known as Angels. Supernatural beings with wings or every color you could imagine stand ever vigilant against the throngs of Demons who plague our world.

Asaroth once tried to resurrect himself years ago, stopped by the valiant efforts of a Fallen Angel, two Demon Princes, and two Watchers. One of those Princes actually scarified himself in order to stop him. He did not die, but instead became infused with the other Demon, thus losing his individuality and binding them both down in the deepest part of Hell that he could: the 9th Circle of Hell, Treachery. After that, life returned to normal, for the most part. Both couples had a child. One had a son, and the other a girl. What happened after that, no one ever expected. Their son was destined to be the Antichrist.

The time has come, and the Horsemen have all appeared. The fate of the world hangs in the balance of one young boy’s hands, a boy who fears what he can become. So what is he going to choose? Fire and death, or salvation?







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Alamgir | 1st Horseman [Conquest] | Played by | Naga's Shadow

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Bartram | 2nd Horseman [War] | Played by | Naga's Shadow

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Akeldama | 3rd Horseman [Famine] | Played by | Naga's Shadow

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Khalid Itzal | 4th Horseman [Death] | Played by | Dynamite

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Lucifer | Satan | Played by | Dynamite
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Kirito Fuhen | 1st Witness | Played by | Naga's Shadow

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Cassiel Fuhen | 2nd Witness | Played by | Nephilim

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Sephiriel | Angel | Played by | Dynamite

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Desdemona | Reaper | Played by | Naga's Shadow






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The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 5 authors

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cassiel Fuhen Character Portrait: Khalid Itzal

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#, as written by Mihael
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It hurt.

It hurt so much that the only thing Cassiel could do, from the moment she woke up, for the past few days, was cry. He had ignored her. After she had told him, after she confessed that she had loved him, he was ignoring her. At first, she thought it was something to do with her, that she was damaged somehow. She could take it if he did not love her back. He didn't have to love her back, and she would accept it. She would accept it because she loved him. She loved him, and there was no changing that. Perhaps she had only fooled herself into believing that she had ever had a chance, but it did not matter. He didn't get to ignore her, not like this. She could have stayed in Heaven with her family, and a part of her had thought he thought the same way, but she couldn't.

She had wanted to come back for one selfish reason: to see him. And now she couldn't even do that. Every time she would get near, he'd disappear. He wouldn't give her the time nor day just to talk to her. At least tell her why he was ignoring her. That was all she wanted. Was it too much to ask for an explanation? All he need say was that he did not wish to see her, that he did not love her as she loved him, and that would be the end of it. It would hurt, worse than anything than what she was feeling right now, but she would pursue the matter no further. Even as the tears pooled in her eyes, she held them back, refusing to let them fall.

"I didn't know it would hurt this much," she whispered into her knees, pulling them up against her chest as she rested her head against them. She could feel the hard bark of the tree biting into her back as she pressed up further against it. Even the bite was not as harsh as the pain that continued to swell in her chest. She knew loving someone hurt; she never anticipated how much it would hurt.

He was a coward. He had always known that; it was in his nature to be afraid, and to react to that fear not by facing the thing that caused it, but by avoiding it. He was afraid of how he felt about her, afraid to feel generally, for the fear of what it might cause, what he might do. Much of Khalid’s power was rooted in raw emotion—it might be strange for the others to think, but in truth, he was a deeply passionate person, one who felt things keenly and to a frightening degree when he felt anything at all. It was a tendency of his own that he suppressed, because to fail to do so could have consequences he didn’t want to think about. But it was getting to the point where, regardless of what he did or didn’t do, he was going to feel something too much, and his choices were the agony of knowing he was causing pain to the one he loved more than life itself, and the pain that would come of telling her the truth.

He may be a coward, but he’d always been honest about it. So why not be honest about this as well? It seemed like the better of two choices, if only because it might ease her suffering a little, and that seemed somehow more important than easing his own. Perhaps, if she knew what he really was, she would find it in herself to let him go. He would never be strong enough to stop loving her, but at the very least, he knew he could keep his distance, let her be happy in some other way.

When he approached her, he looked a bit different from his usual appearance. In place of the gloves and black and sturdy leather and heavy linen, he wore simply a loose, sleeveless white shirt. Neither hand or arm was gloved, though of course the inked one was still black in color. The edge of his torso-spanning scar was visible on one of his shoulders, raised white flesh stark even against his nearly translucent pallor. His hands themselves were stuffed into the pockets of dark blue jeans, his hair hanging wherever it would, as usual, still snow-white and somewhat unruly. His posture was hunched, ashamed, and when he spoke, his voice was even quieter than it normally was, pitched towards the ground in front of him, because that was where he was looking.

“I am… any apology I could offer for my behavior would be woefully inadequate. I don’t want you to forgive me, but this is an argument I have lost before.” He couldn’t decide if he hoped dearly that it would be the one time she made an exception, or dreaded the possibility. Both, perhaps, but that still meant he hoped she’d just tell him to go away. Stop suffering for me. I’m not worth it. Please.

Even now, as she heard his voice, it still hurt. He apologized, or at least he began to. She regarded him through tear stained eyes, studying him for a moment as she tried to keep from weeping more. She would always forgive him. It was part of what came with loving him; she'd always forgive him. She forgave him then, for taking her life, because he did not have a choice. How could she have ever faulted him for that? She forgave him for everything he did, crimes committed against her, or her family, or none of whom she knew. She could never hate him for putting her through this much pain, because it was mainly her own fault. It was her fault because she had chosen to fall in love with someone who seemed so out of reach to her, someone who seemed so lonely, that all she ever wanted was to be a part of his life. To take away that loneliness because no one should ever have to feel it. She couldn't say she understood it, but she knew it was a terrible thing to feel.

"Please," she began, her voice barely above a whisper as she stood from her spot slowly. "Just...just tell me. Tell me and I will bother you no longer. Tell me that you do not love me as I love you, and I will squash what little of my heart I have left, because if I don't," she paused, sucking in a breath of air as she kept her limbs from trembling. "I'm afraid that I could never stop loving you. I wouldn't be able to love another person, there would only be you. I would only ever love you, but I can live with it. I could live with the pain of knowing you do not love me as I love you, but please, just...just tell me," she continued, her voice cracking on the last word. She needed to know, so that she could carry this heart ache.

"Even if you don't, I would still be your friend, Khalid. And I would keep my promise of never leaving you alone again, because...you don't deserve to be alone. I...just need to know, please," she managed to get out before falling to her knees, covering her face as the warm tears spilled on her hands. Every word she had spoken had been the truth. She wouldn't be able to love another person as she loved him. It was something she had learned by seeing her parents, her aunt, her uncle. There was only that one, and there would be no other. She wasn't even sure when she fell in love with Khalid, but she knew that she would forever be damned for not loving him. It didn't matter to her that he was Death, that he was the Devil's Son, because those were not the people she saw. When she looked at him, he was simply Khalid to her, the boy who had spent eons of being lonely, and she had wanted to change that.

This had been a terrible idea. He was only making things worst by trying to make them better. In spite of his better judgement, he crouched before her, moving his hands to take hers away from her eyes. It was actually the first time his hands had touched her directly, and the feeling was electric—and exploded the tree she’d been sitting under, sending sharp splinters of wood flying in all directions. Immediately, Khalid let go like she’d burned him, so as to move to the side, shielding her from the debris with his larger person. Several pieces of wood embedded themselves into his back, slicing through the shirt and piercing flesh, and he shuddered, but it was not from the pain. That could have been her. One of those could have found an eye, or her throat, or some vital artery, and that would have been it. He could have blown up the light pole instead, and that would have been worse.

“I’m sorry,” he said, and his voice cracked and broke like the tree. “That was my fault, I…” he rubbed both hands down his face, then back up, spearing his fingers into this hair and pulling it back from his face. “It’s always my fault.” How many innocent people had he hurt this way? Killed this way? It would never stop, not as long as he retained some shred of emotion that might find expression within him. But it seemed that now, no matter what he did, he would feel something. He looked at her, a desperate light in his blue eyes.

“I can’t,” he said softly. “I can’t lie to you, and I can tell you the truth either. I am condemned to silence, and you to suffering because it was me.” He believed that she believed what she said—that she could not and would not love another but him. “It’s so unfair to you,” he said softly. “You don’t even know what I really am.” Before he’d been Death, even. It was making him angry, that Fate had condemned her to this. That he had condemned her to this, by being in her life and too weak to keep his distance when it would have made a difference. Slowly, he stood, backing up several paces, but still facing her. “I’m going to show you something,” he said, “you need to see it.” Maybe, if she understood, there was one last chance. To sever this connection he’d never quite known he was building. To free her.

But he had known. Maybe not the form it would take, but he known that he was being drawn towards her, like the haggard moth to the beautiful flame. Only, somehow, he was burning her and it was unfair. He’d much rather burn for her. But Fate was not so kind as that. Khalid swallowed and stared hard at the ground. Releasing this was hard, because he’d kept such a tight leash on it for so long. He could hear his father laughing at him, but he did his best to ignore the fact. The shadows in the area seemed to lengthen, the light of the sun growing dimmer, and much like when Lucifer himself was around, the temperature dropped a good twenty degrees in a wide radius around them. As he had when he was unsealing Lucifer, Khalid began to change physically, but this time, the changes were much more drastic.

His teeth elongated, the front canines reaching almost to his chin, both of his sclera darkening to black, the irises shining a bright, eerie red against them. He grew almost a foot, his musculature thickening. Curved rams’ horns sprouted from in front of his temples, curling back over the crown of his head. His hands grew in size, black claws of several inches sprouting from each. They too were covered in a black, chitinous armor-plating, extending back to his elbows, which bore sharpened spikes. A tail trailed the ground behind him, prehensile with a spade-shaped tip, clearly sharp and likely poisonous, judging from the fact that it dripped a fluid that immediately killed the grass it touched. He grew wings, too—but these were not the feathery wings of an angel or even ones like Kirito had. They were leathery after a bat, but scaly everywhere but the membrane, tipped in more razor points at the end of very bone.

Khalid—or rather Azrael—raised his eyes to meet Cassiel’s, his head canting to one side. The aura of him was almost choking, easily the envy of any demon prince. “Please,” he told her, and his voice was Khalid’s, but undercut by a sort of hissing rasp that was every bit his father’s. “Forsake me. Give up on me. This is what I am, and it will ruin you. I will ruin you.” It was the same warning he’d given her once, long ago, only now it was more obvious why he’d said so.

"No," she was unsure of why her voice, cracking as it was, broken as it was, had sounded so firm and resolved now. She had watched with utter horror as Khalid changed, however; the fear that swelled in her was not fear of him, but fear for him. She could feel the temperature drop, and though it was not cold to begin with, there was a sudden chill in the air, that, had she not been who she was, Cassiel might have shivered. Instead, she increased her own temperature, making it so that it radiated from her in a similar fashion that her father once had. She saw the person before her, changed into an unrecognizable creature, but that was not it. What she stared at was just another form, another body he inhabited. He was still Khalid underneath it all. And she would not forsake him, she would not give up on him.

"No, I will not forsake you. I will not give up on you," she continued speaking, her voice growing with each word she said. She stood from the ground, clenching her fists tightly together. "You do not forsake the ones you love, Khalid. You do not give up on them simply because they are not what they seem. That may be what you are, but it is not who you are. You are so much more, Khalid. You are Khalid, and no one else," she released her fists, pushing herself so that she was standing only a few centimeters in front of Khalid. She reached up to him, cupping his face in her hands and bringing him down so that she could stare at him at eye level. She stared at him, ruby clashing with onyx, and she smiled at him.

"Then ruin me," she spoke. "Ruin me if that is what you feel you will do to me, but I can tell you this," she continued, bringing his face closer to hers until their lips were just a hairsbreadth apart. It did not matter to her, because she loved him, would always love him, and would never forsake him. "You cannot ruin me, Khalid, because it is not that what you do. You make me complete, whole," she finished, taking his lips to hers, not caring about the pressure she felt from his aura alone. She did not care about the subtle chill that fell around her, instead, increasing her own warmth. He could ruin her all he wanted to, just as long as she could love him and be with him. If it damned her to Hell, then so be it. She would endure the endless tortures just for him. Because that was what you did for those you loved. And she loved him with everything that she was, for all that he was and is.

Visually, it was almost humorous, the way the seven-foot demon’s body language was at once so very subservient but also delicate, conscious of his own capability and what he could do, even by accident, to someone like her. She was warm, a bright flame in a chill night, and he supposed that quality of hers was one of the reasons he felt as he did. She didn’t understand, didn’t properly know what she did to him, how she made him feel and all the small glories and great dangers that entailed. He swallowed thickly, his face centimeters from hers, and it was his turn not to understand. He… he made her feel whole? When had she ever been anything else to begin with? To him… to him, she’d never needed completion at all.

Her lips brushed his, and in a burst of light, his horns, his shelling and claws and fangs broke away from his body, floating in glimmers of radiance up and away from the ground. The wings and tail remained, but whatever poison he’d been secreting ceased, and Khalid returned to his former height. She grew warmer, but the chill was already fading, his aura subsiding until it was different, indistinct, between light and dark. The coolness of his was soothing now, like a breeze on a summer day. The circle of ground that he had tainted with his presence returned to green, but still he did not respond. When she pulled back, he knew he had to say it. He couldn’t ask God to help him, because God had never helped Khalid Itzal. But other people had, and he hoped Michael would forgive him for this. He was too weak to watch her suffer because of him, and at the root of it, that was everything. He would cause her pain no matter what he did… and the choice came down to the pain she accepted and the pain she did not.

He would never, if he lived a thousand more years, understand why someone like her loved someone like him.

“To me,” he said softly, his voice thick, “to me, there is nobody in this world or any other world more perfect than you. I have never seen a soul like yours, not in all my years of living, and they are many.” He raised his hands to her face, feeling that electric connection again, but this time, all it did was burst flowers into bloom at his feet, spreading them out in a widening radius about the both of them. Blossoms of every type and shade spontaneously erupted from the ground, but he wasn’t even paying attention.

“I do not understand how you could ever be anything but whole, with or without anyone else, because you were exquisite even in your solitude. I have always stood, and will always stand, in awe of your brilliance and your wonder, and if I met all the people in this world and the others, and all the people that will ever be or have ever been, not one of them would make me feel the way you do.” She was not flawless, no, but she was utterly, breathtakingly perfect. One of his hands moved to tilt her chin up, and the other slid into the strands of her hair—softer even than he’d suspected, with a feel like raw silk. “There are many words available to me, Cassiel Fuhen, and in as many languages as you please. But none of them could ever adequately convey how much I love you.” It occurred to him that there was twice now that she had thought to kiss him, and twice he had done nothing in response.

That, at least, was a situation he could rectify, right now. Slowly, cautiously, as though still afraid that she might tear away from him and bolt—he would let her, he would always let her, and perhaps he would always fear it—he lowered his mouth to hers, the hand in her hair sliding back to tangle in the strands. Khalid kissed her once, twice, three times, slow, drugging, sensual contacts, his free hand feathering lightly over her jaw, and, perhaps a bit unexpectedly, his still-present tail wrapping loosely around her waist a few times, tugging her closer.

She was blind and deaf to the sounds of the world. The only thing she could hear, see, was him. He had filled her senses in more ways than she had ever thought, and there would be no gratitude she would be able to convey to Sephiriel for bringing her back, for bringing her back to him. She saw only him, heard only him, tasted only him, and even as he spoke, the fluttering beat of her heart pounding away at her chest, was nothing to the way he had made her feel. She leaned into his hand when it touched her face, closing her eyes momentarily as she listened to the sound of his voice. It, to her, was like a soothing lullaby, something she could listen to for hours, days, years and would never grow tired of it. The tears, the anger, it all dissipated, and was replaced for what she had always felt, for what she would always feel: love.

"I was never whole. There was a part of me that was missing, and I never knew what it was...not until I met you," she replied, responding to his kisses with soft ones of her own. "It was...empty, and hollow. There was nothing there, and half of me did not know what that was, but now I know. You, Khalid, are my other half, the only one I desire, the only one who can make me complete in everything that I am," she continued, moving with his tail as he pulled her closer to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck, leaning forward to place her forehead against his and smiled softly against him. "And to me, you will always be perfect, flaws and everything, because it is your imperfections that make you perfect. And it is they that I love, and it is you that I will always love, until the end of times," she added, pressing her cheek against his as her hand laced the side of his face, combing her fingers, gently, through his hair.

"For as long as you'll have me, I will always be yours, and only yours. I will love you until it is too painful, and even then I will continue to do so. I will desire no one else but you, and I will never, never, leave you alone. For as long as I continue to draw breath, I will remain here, by your side," she confessed, this time, pulling herself closer to him and catching his lips with a heated passion to convey just how much she meant her words spoken, because for however long Cassiel lived, she would be his, and only his. She would love him, and only him. And she would never, ever allow him to feel that loneliness again. "Forever and always, I will love you."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cassiel Fuhen Character Portrait: Kirito Fuhen

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#, as written by Asilian
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Cassiel shifted, bringing the bag closer to herself as she walked. There was a bright smile on her face, her eyes shining with a bit of mirth behind them. She was happy, nothing could change that fact. It didn't matter if the world ended now, she would still be happy. Happy, because she was a woman in love and loved in return. It caused her heart to feel heavy, but not in a way it would traditionally feel. It was heavy, because it was full. She had her family. Her parents were together, happy, her uncle was back, her aunt was back, and Kiri...she smiled at the thought of her cousin. He was happy too, even if he didn't show it as often as she did.

She shook her head softly as she continued to cradle the bag close to her. She had passed by Kirito's apartment, surprised to find aunt Kazehana there, and was told that he was out training with his father. So, she stayed and cooked something with her aunt before packing a few things away to take to them. They were currently in purgatory training, but Cassiel could see them as if they were still on the normal plane. She stopped a few feet away from them, waiting for their sparring match to end before clearing her throat. She waited for them to acknowledge her, and when they did, she presented the bag to them.

"Uncle Dei-Dei, Kiki, you both look like you could use something to eat...and a bit of healing," she stated as she rose a brow at them, noticing a few scratches here and there. They never went easy on each other, did they? Well, it was perhaps for the best. Their enemies wouldn't be that easy to defeat anyhow, and they certainly wouldn't go easy on them. They would give everything they had to destroy both Kirito and herself, even the rest of her family if they had the chance.


Kirito shifted back out of Purgatory, the cut on his cheek healing. He grinned brightly at his cousin. It had been roughly a week since he and Sephiriel had acknowledged one another's feelings, and since then, his cousin and Khalid had also reconcilled. That alone made Kirito happier than he'd thought. Cassiel was smiling again; that made his world a little brighter. Asilian, too, reentered the mortal plane, his wings vanishing. Honestly, the only part of his appearance that had changed significantly were his eyes. Well, that, and he no longer gave off an aura of death.

"You know...that really doesn't fit me very much as a nickname anymore, Cassie."

Kirito snorted. "What's she supposed to call you? Uncle Lili?" Asilian cocked his head to the side, opened his mouth, and then shrugged. "Fair point." Kirito laughed, turning back to Cassiel. "So what brings you out here? Coming to check up on your destructive cousin?" He made light of the subject, but in all seriousness, he did understand what Sephiriel had told him. It was that he could joke about it that was keeping him grounded.


"Though, if I had to say, Uncle Lili is more fitting. I am not sure how Aunt Nana would take that though," she replied, laughing softly at her cousin's statement. She shook her head in response, instead presenting the bag to him. "You were destructive even before you were born, Kiki, but no, I did not come here for that," she replied, moving so that she unwrapped the contents of the bag and handed Kirito and Asilian a plate. She pulled the box open and presented them a varied array of sushi.

"Aunt Nana and I made sushi for you! There is Futomaki, Narezushi, and Sasazushi," she stated happily. The box was rather large to fit all the ingredients in it, and she knew Kirito's favorite was sushi. She didn't know which type was his favorite, but if he liked Sushi regardless, he'd probably eat this by himself. She prepared another box, underneath, for just in case. He needed to learn how to share sometimes. "Plus I thought I'd spend a bit of time with my destructive cousin and my insane uncle. I haven't been able to do that lately," she stated, letting the last statement drag a bit.

It was true. After all that had happened, she hadn't the time to spend with her uncle, or her cousin. So much had happened in such a little time (or so it seemed) and Cassiel missed being with them. They brought her stability when she needed it, and they were the only ones she had left. "Do I need any other reason?" she added, smiling and shaking her head at Kirito.


The look on Kirito's face was very much like a cat staring at a goldfish in the bowl. He loved sushi, as his cousin [and the rest of his family] knew very well. Asilian ate, though sparsely. It wasn't acutally a necessity for him, after all. He smiled though, watching his son and niece interact. Twenty-two years and nothing much had changed; Cassiel was still the same smiling ball of brightness, and Kirito was as manic and crazy as ever.

He blinked suddenly when Kirito reached out and poked him in the forehead. "You're spacing again, Dad." Asilian looked surprised, but then smiled. "Mm, sorry. I've found myself getting lost in the past is all." Kirito cocked his head at his father, raising an eyebrow.

"Come on, you're my son and my niece. I've watched the two of you grow up, through the good times and the bad. Still, sometimes I can't help but wish you didn't have to worry about what is to come. But there's no sense in that. It is what it is, and we face it together. Besides," The Angel smiled at the two of them. "I'm proud of you both."

Kirito looked down, blushing. But, there was a smile on his face, too.


Cassiel chuckled at Kirito's expression, watching as he ate. She glanced towards her uncle who seemed to be lost in thought, and was only confirmed when Kirito poked him in the forehead. He was thinking of the past? Not that she blamed him really. The past was so much more simpler than what it was today. The thought alone brought a melancholic smile to Cassiel's face. The past held pleasant memories, not all were so, but a majority of them were. She could still remember when Kirito and herself were still in school, Kirito getting picked on and getting into fights because of his hair. She laughed and shook her head, glancing at Kirito when Asilian spoke.

"You know, I thought only us girls were supposed to blush at something as small as appraisal?" she stated, grinning at her cousin and poking his cheek in the process. "I know my cousin looks feminine, he took after aunt Nana after all," she added, the grin spreading wider upon her face. She enjoyed teasing her cousin when the opportunity presented itself, and this was one that was too good to pass up. "But I didn't know he could actually blush. See what you did Uncle Lili?" she stated towards her uncle before laughing. Once she calmed, she took a slow breath and smiled at her uncle.

"I'm proud of you too, Uncle."


Kirito blinked, puffing his cheeks out as he scowled at Cassiel. Asilian chuckled. "Well, it's good to see that some things haven't changed, like the way you two interact." Kirito smiled then, that huge grin he was so well known for. "Well, we are cousins. Now come on. I feel like we all need to do something. I have no idea what, but we need to get Mom, Seph, Khal, and Dee."

Asilian shook his head. With the seven of them all together, it would certainly be an interesting night.

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Time was a funny thing when you were a timeless being. Most of the time Asilian didn't even know the time of day or the day of the week, or even what century he was in. He was aware of time, just not in the way that humans and mortals were. His view of time was in the total sense, and both forwards and backwards, and as a whole.

But he was letting his mind wander. His original thought had been to try and remember the last time he actually slept. He was unable to do so. But then, sleep wasn't exactly necessary for him. Most of the time he'd simply lay there with Kazehana in his arms and listen to her breathing as she slept. He could remain that way for days on end without even blinking, unaware of the time that passed. That was much what he found himself currently doing.

It had been something he'd missed, painfully so, when he'd reawoken as Asilian and realized he was still alive. But nothing had hurt nearly a fraction as much than having to watch Lucifer torture her. Angels had the ability to see into any realm and any space of the fabric of reality, but they did not have to do so. But Asilian had forced himself to do so. Michael, Tsukiyo, even Yuemae had tried to get him to move, to stop, when they realized what he was doing, but he'd not. Much like he had not moved in the six months his son had been in Hell, he had not moved his gaze from his wife in the entire time he'd had to spend doing nothing.

It was his own self-inflicted punishment for leaving her, however necessary he knew it now to be. Since his return, as well as Kirito's own return, he'd recieved no new orders. He wasn't sure if that was a blessing or a curse. He cherished the time he got with his family, but it would also make it that much harder for him to leave if he did recieve orders. It wasn't something he was overly sure he was prepared to do. Leaving by death in order to protect them was one thing. Leaving them alive because he didn't have a choice was entirely different. Without really realizing it, he sighed, the slender finger that had been tracing patterns idly over the bare expanse of his wife's arm stopping half-way through a rune just above her elbow.


“If you think any louder, As, you’ll wake the whole apartment block,” Kazehana said, tipping her head back against his shoulder to look up at him with amusement. She wasn’t in his mind at the moment, but it was easy to tell what he was thinking about. He always got a certain look on his face when he remembered what had happened to her in that year. Presently, she sat with her back pressed into his chest, a book held in both her hands. She’d never been the voracious reader that Tsuki was, but she did enjoy it in her downtime. For now, though, she set it aside and twisted so that she was facing him, sitting back on her legs on the couch and reaching up a bit, smoothing out the crease that had formed in his brow with the pad of her thumb.

She let her hand trail gently down his face, the fingertips alone in contact with the skin of his cheek. “You know, don’t you? That whatever happens now, I’ll understand?” She wasn’t oblivious to the things he wrestled with, not even when she’d wished to be. She knew very well what his current status as an angel meant—he was Heaven’s soldier now, and like any other solider, he could be called away to war whenever it was needful. She didn’t like it, but she didn’t have to. She needed only to understand it, and accept it, and both of these things, she did to the best of her ability.

Sighing softly, she rose up onto her knees, draping both arms over his shoulders and touching her forehead to his. Kaz’s eyes slid closed, and she hummed a contemplative note in the back of her throat. “I’m a horrible person,” she said, though there was a touch of humor in it. “The world could end and all I can think is how much it sucks when you have to leave.”


Asilian couldn't help but chuckle at his wife's statement. "Well it certainly is obvious where our son gets it from. He'd flat out forsake the world, you and I included, just to be with Seph. It seems we're all rather hopeless." His fingers trailed lightly over her back, watching her as she closed her eyes.

"Understanding it doesn't make it any easier to bear, for either of us." He dreaded the thought of leaving her. It was ironic, really, that the fate of the world was at risk, yet if he got called to fight, he'd get called away from said world. He mentally shook himself. He really needed to stop brooding on things. So, he changed the subject. Well, sort of.

There was a small smile on his face when he spoke again. Thank you, love, for not hating me when I hated myself."


Hopeless? Maybe. But she was starting to suspect that they’d all been designed this way, to have this capacity to love one person so much it hurt, so much that all else just failed to matter anymore. She wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be a gift or a trial to overcome, but she couldn’t say she had particular desire to overcome it, and in all honesty, her time with him felt like a gift. Undeserved, a little, but then, that was why it was a gift and not something else. You didn’t have to be worthy of those, and so she chose not to worry about it too much, anymore.

“Oh, I’ve hated you,” she said slyly, opening her eyes to reveal a glimmer of amusement in the blue-violet irises. They were so close their eyelashes brushed, just a whisper of contact. “But not at the same times as you hated yourself, no.” She half-smiled, toying idly with the strands of his hair between her fingers. “Mostly when you thought you were being noble and leaving me because it was the right thing to do.” The emphasis on the words was subtle, but present.

Closing the scant centimeters between them, Kaz nipped his lip playfully. “But really, even then I never stopped loving you, so I suppose that’s the important bit. You can be an insufferable idiot, As, but you are my insufferable idiot, no matter what.” She kissed him, teasingly chaste. “Or at least, I think so. What do you say, hm? It’s not so bad, being mine. There are very tangible benefits.” Her hands smoothed a path down his neck and chest, coming to rest over his beating heart. She put a couple more inches of space between them and quirked an eyebrow.

“Plus, all the doom and gloom is putting a serious dent into whatever time we happen to have. I can think of better ways to spend it. I bet you could, too, if you used your imagination…” Her smile was positively wicked.


As raised one white eyebrow, his arms looping around her waist as her hands explored him. He pulled his face back away from her just slightly, a contemplative look on his face. "You know, I think there's something in the rules about this...something about angels and chastity...though I do have a son, so I guess I already broke that one..." He leaned in then, kissing her fully, pulling her closer to him as his tongue explored her mouth. He made a contented noise in the back of his throat.

"Or was that a rule only for monks? I can never remember..." Something dark glimmered in his eyes as he smiled, something very reminiscent of Asmodeus. Maybe the demon in him wasn't completely gone after all.


Kazehana had never been to Heaven, at least not officially, but it was honestly hard to imagine it being better than being with him. So in another sense, maybe she spent most of her time there, at least when he was around. She rolled her eyes, though, at the comment, uttering a small hm in reply. “Definitely monks and priests,” she said dismissively. “I wouldn’t exist otherwise, stupid.” Her father hadn’t fallen because of his relationship with her mother, but for it, to be with her. Barring the fact that Cass had known what he was doing and done it willingly, her dad had been the only volunteer for a falling, the only one who resigned his status, so to speak, and he’d done it for love of her mother. And to her, at least, that seemed the obvious choice for him to have made there. This situation was quite different, obviously, but the sentiment was the same.

Ah, but she did love that. That little piece of dark that was in him still, giving him just a little bit of a sharp edge to him. Kaz was something of a fan of edges, all things considered. She had quite a few of her own, when it came right down to it. Narrowing her eyes, she moved forward such that she was basically sitting in his lap, then pressed the fingertips of one hand into his chest until he was on his back. Smiling slowly, she leaned down to speak in his ear. “And you, my dear Asilian, are no monk or priest.” Nibbling the shell of his ear, she chuckled darkly, breathily. “But if you wish to insist, I suppose I will simply have to remind you why you aren’t.”


It was As's turn to chuckle. "You always did know just how to remind me." He loved hearing her say his name, even if he wasn't quite sure why. Unfortunately, it seemed that Heaven had other plans.

"You had better have a damned-good reason to be here, Liarith."

Asilian's gaze, normally a bright blue, was now a sharp, wicked ice, staring at the point over Kazehana's shoulder. Liarith, Heaven's version of Hermes, the messenger-boy. Asilian knew what that meant. Heaven did like interruptions.

The lesser Angel bowed. "Apologies, Asilian. But...the Convergence has been called. The Seven are to return to Heaven, if they are not already there, immediately."

Asilian sighed harshly through his nose. He said nothing other than a sharp tilt backwards of his head, and the other angel disappeared. He pinched the bridge of his nose. "Their timing is uncanny..." He laid his forehead against Kaz's. What he said next, he probably should not have said, but he said it anyway. He was lingering, after all.

"I promise, I'll return as soon as I can."


She had a bad habit of wanting to punch angels, it seemed. Though she probably shouldn’t hit the messenger. Bad form and all that. Sighing, Kazehana let him up, shaking her head slightly. “Don’t make promises you might need to break, As. I can wait. I’ve gotten pretty good at that, you know.” She smiled at him, but her eyes were sad. She had a gut feeling that this was going to be one of those longer separations, and sometimes she really longed for the days when he’d had no obligations at all, and could be with her and their family all the time. But other times, she wasn’t sure those days really existed. Even as a demon, he’d had to return periodically to his circle, and by the time Kiri had taken over that, they were smack in the middle of a war. Go figure.

Gently, she laid her hand against his cheek, rising with him so that they were both standing. “Just come back. That’s all I need.” It wasn’t—she was lying to him, and it broke her heart. But not as much as the thought of the truth hurting him the entire time he was away. She was selfish, to be sure, but she could give up this much for his sake. For the sake of the world that needed him to be there and her to be here. Because for all else that it was, it was the world that had brought them together.

And that alone made it worth saving.


If I have ever done anything worthwhile at all, just let me come back to her...please.


For a long few seconds, Asilian simply held her. He kissed her languidly, trying to ignore the pull he felt to return. In the end, he couldn't any longer. For her sake, he managed to smile.

"I will come back to you. I swear it."

It was only then that he seemed to dissolve into light, sparks the only trace that he'd been there at all, and then they, too, vanished. He would keep his promise to her.

Even if he had to fall again.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cassiel Fuhen Character Portrait: Sephiriel

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#, as written by Mihael
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Sephiriel wasn’t sure what she’d done to deserve this, but it seemed to make Cassiel happy, so she went along with it. It was still strange to her, that she cared about making people happy at all, rather than simply protecting them because she had to, but there it was all the same. She did care, and she was willing to undergo the annoyance of being in a shopping mall for the sake of her friend’s happiness. It wasn’t that she’d never done this before, but on those occasions she’d just been guarding the others, not really a participant as such. The few things she needed, she obtained through other means than this.

But, well… some part of it was oddly fun, walking around the stores and piling things into each others’ arms to try on, from the silly to the possible actual purchases. There were also a number of silly hats involved. Sephiriel would perhaps have never deigned to do this sort of thing a few years ago, but now she was, dare she say it, enjoying herself, a beret perched on her sunny blonde hair and an armful of clothes held in front of her.

“The purple one,” she said decisively. “Purple is definitely your color, Cassie.” It was of course a different shade from the purple-black of her hair, and complimentary rather than clashing, but still. It looked really nice.

She wasn't sure how she managed to drag Sephiriel out shopping with her, but Cassiel was currently sporting a large grin on her face. There wasn't a need to go shopping, however; Cassiel wanted to do something with Sephiriel. She hadn't really been able to spend time with the angel, something that hadn't really bothered her much seeing as Kirito was spending most of his time with her, and Cassiel didn't want to ruin that or get in the way. But here she was, in the shopping mall, with her friend. Currently, she was wearing a purple hat, one that was a little too large, and could be considered more of a sun hat than anything.

"You think so? That beret looks cute on you, by the way," she replied, taking the sun hat off and placing it back on the rack. "You should wear hats more often," she stated off-handedly, wrinkling her nose and smiling in the process. She hummed a soft noise, tapping her chin as she glanced at the other options displayed on the rack and smiled brightly when she spotted a peculiar hat. It was reminiscent to the one she was just wearing, however; it wasn't as large, and was more of a straw hat, and pulled it from the rack. It was white in color and she placed it on top of Sephiriel's head.

"Though, I think this one suits you more. Especially if you wear that white sundress!" she stated, grinning happily as she stared at her friend.

Sephiriel glanced up at her new sun hat and blinked. “Shouldn’t it be a different color? If I dress in nothing but white, I’ll look strange.” Granted, it was a color suited to her, or at least one she was quite used to, but still. Deciding it didn’t matter, she shrugged, pulling another shirt off the rack and shoving it at Cassiel. “Try this one, too,” she said, draping the ruby-red dress over her friend’s shoulder for safekeeping. It was a bit fancier than most of the things they’d been messing around with, but she had a purpose in mind.

“Khalid suggested that we should all go to the opera. I happen to think it would be a very good idea.” There was no telling when she and Asilian would be called back to Heaven, after all, and while she dreaded to think about it, Sephiriel was very practical, and so she knew that she had to spend her time wisely, even if she had no idea how much remained between now and then. “But that will require garments of a much more extravagant nature than either of us currently owns.” she set her face into a determined expression, as if to brook no argument, but really she was still feeling quite pleasantly light.

She had a feeling Khalid already owned a suit, and she knew for a fact that Kazehana, despite a general disdain for gowns, had something that would work. She really doubted Kirito had one, though As might. Well, whatever. That wasn’t her responsibility—she was going to make sure she and Cassie were set straight anyway.

"You'd look like an angel," Cassiel stated, snickering at her own pun before blinking slowly. Sephiriel had a point, though. If they were going to the opera, they would need something a little less...bright. She sighed softly, pulling the red dress from her shoulder and glanced at it. Frowning a bit, she held the dress out at arms length. It wasn't as modest as she thought it should be, however; they were going to an opera. If there was one thing she had learned, having been in choir in High School, it was that places such as the Opera house required a bit of dressing in order to attend.

"Well, if you're worried about that, perhaps," she paused, rummaging through the nearby rack before letting out a satisfied snort. "This should suit you just fine," she stated, pulling a deep, royal blue dress from the rack, and shoved it in Sephiriel's direction. "It's not white, and it compliments you! It even brings out the color of your eyes...I bet Kirito could appreciate it!" she stated, her smile morphing into something of a smirk. She knew her cousin loved Sephiriel, and it was obvious, in its own little way, that Sephiriel loved Kirito too. And she was happy for the both of them.

After everything they've endured, they deserved to be happy. Perhaps it was the small, selfish part of Cassiel, but she genuinely believed that her family deserved to finally be happy. She'd be damned if she'd let anything ruin that...again. "But I think this one might actually be your shade. You should try both of them," she stated, handing Sephiriel an emerald green gown. Both of them would compliment Sephiriel, however; she was certain that the angel was capable of finding something that suited her, on her own.

Sephiriel snorted. “Fine,” she said with a smile, “but you have to try this one too.” she shoved something so dark a purple it was almost black at Cassie, tilting her head to the side. “Now come on; I think we’ve got enough to find ourselves one of those fitting rooms.” That part of the procedure was always laughter-inducing, though Seph wondered if some of the other humans present didn’t think the two were crazy by the end of it all, what with all the laughing, mismatching, and occasional clothing swap.

Whatever the case, both emerged smiling and still laughing an hour or so later, toting their purchases along with them as they schlepped to the food court and sat talking over milkshakes. Sephiriel smiled softly when Cassie’s eyes lit up talking about something, and she strove to memorize the exact gestures the other girl made. She would miss her, when she was called to return. Perhaps not as much as she would miss Kirito, because nothing in her life, then or now, compared to that, but she would miss her all the same.

“Hey Cassie?” she said, setting down the cup that contained her chocolate milkshake. She preferred the flavor to either vanilla or strawberry, but those were nice too. “I wanted to thank you. For being my friend, even when I didn’t really want you to.” She’d made Seph feel welcome, much before Kirito had, or really anyone else. Looking back on it, the girl’s friendliness and open manner had really made an impression on Sephiriel, even if she was only just now realizing how deep an impact it had been. “It means a lot, to be able to do this with someone, and I almost missed out on the chance.”

Cassiel released a snort when Sephiriel shoved another dress in her direction, telling her she had to try it on as well, and she obliged. She laughed, swapping things here and there with the angel before they settled on their purchases and made their way towards the food court. Ordering chocolate milkshakes, the two sat and conversed for a bit before Sephiriel's statement caught her off guard. She was thanking her...for being her friend? She blinked in a confused manner before the rest of the words sank in, and Cassiel merely smiled. Shaking her head lightly, she let out a light chuckle. Sephiriel was her father's friend, sister even, and all Cassiel had ever wanted was to make the angel her friend too, just like her father had.

"You don't have to thank me for that, Seph. I am glad you are my friend. Honestly, I don't think we would be here without you, and I am glad it was you that they chose. Friendship isn't always easy, and there are a lot of things that need to be worked through, but I am glad that I was able to face every challenge with you. Besides, you were...are dad's friend, and I wanted to be yours too," she replied, her smile widening into a grin. She sipped at her milkshake, glancing down for a moment before returning her attention towards the angel. It was true though, every challenge they had to face, Cassiel was glad that Sephiriel was there with them. Cassiel had friends back in school, had friends before Sephiriel, however; everything felt different with Sephiriel as a friend. Dare she say, it was almost like having an older sister, and Cassiel had appreciated that fact about Sephiriel.

"I should actually be thanking you, too. If it wasn't for you, I don't think Kirito would have been able to overcome the whole ordeal with aunt Nana, and uncle Li-Li," she added, twirling her thumbs together. "And besides, you didn't miss out on anything, so why reflect on it? We are here, shopping for clothes for an opera, and..." she paused, glancing away from the angel. "We'll be here for a long time," she added. They would eventually die, that much Cassiel was aware of, however; they still had a long life ahead of them, granted nothing else came after them.

"Will you promise me something?" she suddenly stated, glancing into the eyes of her friend. "Will you promise, that, no matter what, you'll be our friend still?" she didn't know why she had to ask for that, however; Cassiel felt a need to have that reassurance that Sephiriel would be their friend, even if something happened, that the angel would continue being their friend. "I know it's silly, but still. I value our friendship Seph. You're like the sister I never had, will never have, but...as long as you're here, and still our friend, that feeling will never go away," she added, her smile returning to her face.

On some level, Sephiriel was surprised by the words, but on another… well, it was Cassiel, and she was like that. Very deeply loyal to the people she considered her friends, and willing to overlook an astonishing number of faults for them. Perhaps it was for this reason that Seph didn’t even have it in her to protest the notion, instead simply nodding. “I promise,” she said solemnly. “Whatever else happens, however long we have, I will always be your friend.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sephiriel

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#, as written by Asilian
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The Round Table. Yet another iconic piece of mortal history that had nothing to do with the legend that they equated it with. Though that was not to say Asilian was not impressed with the human mind, it truly was a gifted thing, if used in the right ways.

The Round Table was in fact, a table, that the Seven would convene at to discuss things. Well...five, now, actually. Raphiel would never return, not after his battle with Kirito. Morrigane...Asilian's bright electric blue eyes glanced at the others. They were all accounted for. Michael, Sephiriel, Uriel, Gabriel, and then himself. It felt a bit odd, honestly. They were all angels, but the other four were of a higher caliber than Asilian was, even if all together they did make up the Seven. For a split second he wondered if he really belonged here at all.

It had been two days since he and Sephiriel had received their summons. It had not been easy, leaving them, but they had done it, out of necessity if nothing else. Now, Asilian was more uneasy than ever. The fact that Khalid had supressed his father had given them more leeway than they'd thought they would have, but still...time was running out, and not even Khalid could hold Lucifer back forever.

But it was not his place to speak yet. Michael would be the one to speak first.


It was rather impossible for an angel to look tired, especially one of Michael’s power and ability. It was, however, quite possible for certain aspects of his appearance to reflect the weight he bore, and they did. Command was never an easy thing—he knew he sent some of his comrades to their demises with every new battle that began. That was simply the reality of war. Lucifer of course cared not for the fate of his underlings, and that was obvious, from the way he threw them at Heaven’s troops. They were winning, but it was not in these skirmishes that the outcome would be decided. The fate of the earth, and of Heaven and Hell, would rest on the shoulders of but a few, those at this table included, but not only they. Those other battles had to be fought, but in the end, they would establish nothing of consequence, which just made everything worse in some way.

“The news from the front is the same as always,” he said, radiant golden eyes meeting with each other pair in turn: verdant green, electric blue, Uriel’s deep ultramarine, and Gabriel’s quicksilver. “We’re shifting commands a bit—Gabriel, you’re to relieve the fighters in the Fifth Circle. As soon as things are back in hand, return here. Uriel, your task is to continue as before.” The way he said it indicated that both of them needed to go do that now, and so both stood, one saluting and the other offering a nod before both exited to attend to their duties.

Now came the hard part. “As for you two…” Cass pursed his lips, his mouth dropping into a frown thereafter. It was not for him to question divine wisdom, but he knew this would hurt his friends all the same. “Your orders are different. One of you is to return to earth, the other is to take up duty here, at least for a significant amount of time. As for who does what… I am to leave that to you to decide.”


One could probably have hit As with the force of a brick wall at a speed of a hundred miles an hour, and he wouldn't have felt it. Or maybe he would have shattered. It was hard to tell, honestly. In the split second after Michael had spoken, he looked both utterly unshaken and as brittle as glass all at the same time. His face never moved, other than a slight narrowing of his eyes, but the inside of his head was utter chaos. He didn't want to stay if he had no guarantee of returning. He didn't want-- no, he couldn't leave her again. Not like this.

But then he looked at Sephiriel. Not fully, he only looked out of the corner of his eye, but it was enough. It was a bit odd, to see her wearing her emotions so openly. He had to smile a fraction; Kirito was wearing off on her. She looked both surprised and furious at the same time. The question was, was she mad because they had to choose, or that she thought he would somehow force her into staying? He didn't know, and frankly he didn't care.

Instead, he simply crossed his arms in front of his chest, and then leaned back, propping the chair he was sitting in on its back two legs, his own feet being thrown over the table-top. It looked utterly absurd, and he did not care. He cared about little outside of his family, and Kirito was his son. He was going to need Sephiriel a lot more than Asilian and Kazehana would need each other, at least for right now. He only said one word, and it came out short and clipped.

"Go."


“Don’t be a dumbass,” she replied, then took a moment to register that she’d actually used an oath. That… was not something she did. Clearly, she’d been spending too much time with his family. His family. “They’re your family, Asilian, I’m not going to be the one to take you away from them again. I refuse to do that to them.” She loved them all too much to be the reason he was torn from them yet again.

She wanted to go. God, she wanted to go more than she could recall wanting anything in the whole of her existence. Beyond even that, she was worried, worried about what he might think if she stayed. Worried she might never see him again. But she could not, would not, be the reason Asilian was forced to stay away from his entire family. As a whole, they needed him more than they needed her. That was just a fact. “They need you, and we both know you owe her a lot more than another sudden disappearance.” Kazehana wore a very brave face, and intellectually, Seph knew she understood that he might have to leave. But with no time limit on it… who knew? It might well be forever, it could just as easily be a day. But if it was forever… he was more important than she was, no contest.

And if it was any less than that, she could deal with it. So no matter what, the choice was obvious for her. She’d allowed her emotions to play clearly over her face before, and she continued now, the hard determination she wore an obvious indicator that her notorious muleheaded stubbornness was coming into play. Even Michael, currently looking grim but staying silent, knew better than to try and change her mind when she looked like that.


"And you say I'm the dumbass." As stubborn as she could be, he could play the same tune. "You'd let the world fall because you don't want to feel guilty that you separated me from my wife because of something I chose?" He let that sink in for a second. "Yes, they are my family, Kirito included. But you are all he knows now, to the exclusion of everything else. He's already said once that he'd forsake everything for you. Frankly, I believe he would. He needs you. Not me. He's had me all of his life." He'd sat back up, propping one hand on his knee. He wasn't going to let her win this fight.

“Maybe he would,” she said, still uncomfortable with the idea. “But it’s not a choice between me and the world. The only way I have a chance of seeing him again is if he and the world both last through this war. And I have to believe he’d be willing to do that much.” She had to believe she was that important, because he was certainly that important to her. More than that—so much so that she didn’t even really understand her own feelings. What would she give up for him? She couldn’t think of anything that she wouldn’t, at the moment.

Asilian sighed. She was missing the point. "I'm not referring to a choice between him and the world, either. And honestly, I'm not feeling all that gracious." Maybe it was time he stopped pulling his punches.

"The point of the matter is this: I'm not as strong as you. Kirito is at his most vulnerable, and if he gets possessed, then there are only two people I know of that can save him, and I'm not one of them. If you stay here, you have no idea when you get back, you don't even know that you'll be allowed to leave and come help him if that happens. So no, I'm not willing to risk that all because I want to be selfish."

He stood up. It was a bit funny, really, how much taller than she he was, yet she was so much more powerful. His tone, however, softened. "I asked you once to save him, and you did. Now I'm asking you to protect him. I'm asking you as his father. Not because of the world, or because you love him. But because I love him enough to know when it's necessary for me to step aside."

A bit of a ridiculous smile spread over his face then, one almost a match for Kirito's. "Besides, I have a lot of lost time to make up for here. Now please, just go, Sephiriel. And tell Kaz that my promise is going to take a bit longer," He turned away from her then.

"But I will keep it this time."


She could see his logic, but she held out for a few more moments, largely because she still didn’t like it. Kaz was her friend, too, and she knew how badly this was going to hurt. Hell, Asilian was her friend, really, and she didn’t like to see him suffering either. “It’s just Heaven,” she said, surprised by how blasé her own voice seemed. “It never changes, save to add more people or lose a few. There’s nothing to make up, really.” It was that world that changed, and changed the people in it.

But she agreed with him about one thing: Kirito had to be safe, and not only because she loved him or his father loved him or even because of what he would have to accomplish. It wasn’t any one of those things, or even just all of them put together. She couldn’t quite name it, but she felt it, and that was enough. “Very well,” she said, her voice brittle, but then it softened, and she tilted her head up to meet his eyes. “I’ll tell her. And I’ll look after her, as much as she’ll let me.” Kazehana was even worse about people protecting her than Kirito was, which was to say, she wasn’t having it, at all, ever. Stubbornness was a family trait, it seemed.

Seph hesitated for a moment, but then decided it was probably fine and pulled him into a short, but firm hug. “Take care of yourself, Asilian. And don’t let Michael try to do everything by himself. You know how he gets.” Releasing him, she moved a pace backwards, in time for the aforementioned commander of God’s armies to step up to As’s side and lay a hand on the other man’s shoulder, conveying without words his understanding.

“I can hear you, you know.” He grinned when she hugged him, too, and returned it just as tightly.

“I know.” And then she stepped back from them both, inclining her head at her brothers before she disappeared.


It wouldn't be easy. It was never easy. But then, the easy things weren't the things most worth fighting for. Asilian sighed, but his face bore the same look of resolve he'd had when he'd spoken earlier. He'd meant what he said, even if he didn't like it. He looked sideways at Michael, and smiled slightly. "Hm. Barely back a year and already I'm recruiting the two new members of the Seven. Gotta admit, though, never thought it would be my sister-in-law and my niece."

Though, they'd make fine additions, of that, he was certain.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kirito Fuhen Character Portrait: Sephiriel

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Sephiriel’s feet touched ground in Purgatory, and she sighed softly through her nose. She supposed it might have been most responsible to go right back to the apartment, but she had a lot to think about, and it was probably better to get her thoughts in order before she attempted to explain anything to anyone else. They would have questions, and rightly so, but she wasn’t sure she was ready to deal with that just yet, in all honesty. Banishing her armor and sword, she reverted to the usual light blue dress and tugged her hair out of its large bun as she walked, allowing it to fall freely to her waist before she raked her fingers through it, compressing her lips into a thin line as she picked a random trail in Central Park and set her feet upon it.

So much of her life was contradictory these days—she was at once the happiest and most miserable she’d ever been, and it was a heady mixture of emotion. For someone who wasn’t used to displaying much, or even reacting much to things—a broad result of not being terribly invested emotionally in any kind of way but the way one was invested in comrades and a brother or four—not like this. With comrades, one always understood that they might not be there next time. With brothers, one hoped dearly that they were there. But with him… she couldn’t stand to lose him. She didn’t know what would happen if she did, but she utterly failed to imagine any kind of life that didn’t include him in some way.

Was that what it meant to love someone? If so, then the exhilaration of it was accompanied by an awful lot of insecurity and abject terror. Why did people seek this with such fervency? It was one thing, she supposed, if it happened, but… why intentionally look for it? It was terrifying, more than anything she’d ever done before. Here she was, at the end of the world, scared of losing one person. She wasn’t sure what to make of that. “Nothing makes sense anymore,” she confessed aloud, knowing that he would hear her.


"Then I would count you lucky, because that statement implies that things made sense at some point in time." He answered softly. He wasn't all that in-tune with the goings-on in Heaven, but whatever had happened, he was pretty sure it wasn't the greatest. Then again, there was a very real chance that the world was going to end, so...he supposed nothing right now could really be classified as good.

Except maybe the little things.

It was unnerving at times, just how in-tune he found himself with her. He'd known the very second her feet had hit the ground in Purgatory, and he'd been asleep. He wasn't sure if you could be much more connected to a single person. He'd wasted little time in zeroing in on her position, and had been able to arrive in time to hear her speak. He'd have probably heard her anyway. He fell into step beside her, looking down at her from the corner of his eye.

"Do you need to talk about it?" He wouldn't ask her if she wanted to, because chances were she really didn't. But needing to...was an entirely different matter.


Seph sighed, shaking her head slightly. She’d probably be fine if she didn’t talk about it, but he needed to know, and she wanted to be the one to tell him, rather than someone else. “They needed to keep one of us,” she said, her usual clipped tones subdued and soft—her eyes hit the ground and stayed there, though she walked still. Where she was going, she had no idea, and she didn’t choose her route consciously, either. “Asilian… volunteered to stay, as did I. Given that I am here and he is not, you understand how that worked out.” Her lips twitched just slightly into a smile, before they fell back into a troubled frown.

Perhaps it had been necessary, and perhaps he had been right about everything, but… she still felt bad for what she was doing by being here. It felt selfish, and she didn’t like feeling that way. More importantly than her feelings on the matter, she knew she’d taken him away from his family again, and that had happened far too often. “I’m sorry,” she said, a touch of melancholy entering her tone. Though what she was apologizing for, exactly, she did not know. Maybe she was just sorry they had to deal with this at all. Maybe she was sorry she’d let herself be swayed by As’s arguments. Maybe she was just sorry.


Kirito's lips pulled down just a fraction before returning to the straight line they'd been in before. He nodded. It made sense, considering he hadn't been able to sense his father anywhere. He had to smile though, thinking about what had happened. He knew Seph just as he knew his father, the two had probably fought about it, both wanting the other to go back, for various reasons. And considering just how stubborn Seph could be, he was honestly a little surprised that it was she who had come back.

And he was also undeniably happy about it, too. It was selfish, because it meant that his parents were separated again, but the part of him that was sorry and wished that they could be together too was smaller than his selfish side. He supposed that was all a part of being half-demonic. Or maybe it was simply human nature. He sighed softly when she apologized, smiling at her.

"Don't apologize for things out of your control. You know there's some reason that Dad stayed and you're here, right? There is always a reason, and you of all people know that. I know you do, because you're the one who taught it to me. Dad will be back. It may take him a while, but, he'll come back, because if there's one thing I've learned, it's that Angels always kep their promises."

He laced his fingers through hers, pulling her to a stop and making her face him. "Why is it you feel you have to shoulder everything alone, Seph? We're all in this together, and we're all here for each other. I'm here. If you're afraid of something...then I want you to tell me."


“It’s hard,” she said, speaking to his feet rather than making eye contact. “To break the habits of thousands of years. I can’t do it in a day, Kirito.” She squeezed his hand slightly, their fingers tangled together like the weave of their fates, now. But then, perhaps those at least had always been meshed. She swallowed tightly. Sephiriel knew that she wasn’t the easiest person to get along with, and part of that had a lot to do with her insistence on doing things by herself. But it was that same habit that had saved her life more times than she could count. Learning not to rely on others had pushed her to make herself stronger, so that even alone, she would not fall. It may have even saved him, as well.

“I… never planned for anything this far,” she confessed quietly. “I always believed that the Tribulation was going to kill me, deep down, and so I didn’t let myself think about what I would do, who I would be, afterwards. Even after I knew you and Cassie and everyone else, I… I assumed I’d be dying for you, and that would be it.” She smiled, but it was not a happy expression.

“Though… I suppose knowing you made it at once easier and harder. Easier because I really wouldn’t mind dying for you, and harder because… if I did, I’d be leaving you. But… here I am, and I still don’t know exactly what to do or who I’m supposed to be, and time only seems to make things harder instead of easier.” What, really, was she supposed to do with herself? She felt… apart, from Heaven now, in the same way that Asilian was apart. Michael never really had been, and Uriel had made the transition back a little easier than she expected she would, if she were asked to. She wasn’t even sure she’d want to, and that, the losing of what had once been her entire identity, that scared her.


Kirito watched her, and when she stopped speaking, he pulled her to him, wrapping his arms around her. He really wasn't entirely sure what to say to that. He couldn't say that he'd ever really been in her situation, there was nothing he knew that would even begin to help her. That tore him apart inside.

Something pulled at the back of his mind, and he rememberd. Maybe he did have a way to help. Maybe it wouldn't, but it couldn't hurt to try.

"You know what I am, Seph. As a kid, I grew up with the constant fear of what I could do, what I was. I almost killed my parents at one point in time, I didn't want to do that to the rest of the world. I was eight, and to ask an eight year old to understand that he holds the fate of the world in his hands and his decisions is like trying to teach a cat to fly. It doesn't end well." He sighed, recalling the day his father talked to him about it.

"So I hid. I tried to pretend that it didn't matter, that it wasn't really my decision, that I could keep the bad part of me locked up inside and that I'd never hurt anyone. Which really only made it worse. I had no idea what to do, or even who I was. Yeah, I could recite my name and my parentage and that I was both a Witness and a Horseman if you asked me to, but...that was what I was."

He smiled softly then, "Eventually what you hide catches up to you. Dad sat me down and talked to me about one day. I think I finally worked out who I am. Maybe not completely, but at least to some extent. You are who you have always been, and that doesn't have to change. Yes, you're not the same as you were when I met you seven years ago, but that change is natural. But this...trying to plan and figure out what you're supposed to do and who you're supposed to be? It doesn't have to control you or your decisions." He looked at her contemplatively for a few seconds.

"What is it that you want to do?"


Sephiriel hesitated for just a moment before returning the embrace, winding her arms around his back and resting her forehead against his chest. She’d always been small, but she’d never really noticed it until now. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it was strange, to see how she fit against another body, with another person. She supposed that if anyone would understand what it felt like to be at odds with oneself, it would be him. In that sense, she appreciated what he was telling her, because it could not have been easy to say, even now, when he had more or less accepted who he was and what he was to do. Seph’s problem was that she’d done that long ago… and now there were things left over. In some measure, she’d been wrong about who she was, and it was unsettling.

Her precious certainty had dissolved somewhere in these past seven years, and she hadn’t even really noticed at the time. “I want it to be over,” she said, and the words tasted like weakness. “I want to be done fighting, done slaying demons, done having to worry that something will happen to you or Cassie or any of the others. I want to be able to close my eyes and not worry that when I open them again, everything that I love will be gone. But I don’t get to do that.” Not now, and not in the foreseeable future. So much rested on what they did, how strong they were, and how they chose to deal with the things that came their way. But at the same time, they could never know how anything was going to pan out—their foe was unpredictable and dangerous, and the fight could last a long time indeed.

Seven years, it was supposed to be, but when had it really begun? It was hard to say, and likewise hard to know when it would be over.


"I wish I could end it for you. Well...the way you want it, at least. But right now I can't. But I can promise you one thing. We're not losing anyone else. Not me, or Cassie, or my parents, or you. If I have to climb every single cloud in that sky, I will come find you. We're going to get through this, and we're going to win." He smiled softly, his chin resting on the top of her head.

"Besides, I have a really good reason to keep fighting now, not to mention win. Losing never really was an option, but now I can't even fathom that reality."


“I’d be more worried if you could.” The reply was soft, but there was a small smile in it, and she didn’t doubt that he’d be able to pick up on it. Her arms tightened, and she sighed. It wasn’t the solution, but it was reason enough to keep dealing with the problem. They’d be done with this eventually—she had to believe that. She did believe it, just like she believed in him. For now, then…

It was enough.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Cassiel Fuhen Character Portrait: Kirito Fuhen Character Portrait: Alkedama Character Portrait: Sephiriel Character Portrait: Khalid Itzal Character Portrait: Lucifer

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#, as written by Mihael
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Blood ran down the side of Kirito's face, and he wiped it away, his face a solid mask of stoicism. Eight years had done a lot of damage to the world; not only had governments destabilized and civilization fallen, but the very universe seemed intent on destroying itself. Natural disasters were commonplace any more, and demons were well known to the common man. Purgatory no longer existed, because the human plane was Purgatory.

Kirito and the others were now all that stood between them and the rest of humanity.

He wasn't sure how long this battle had been going on for, he'd stopped keeping track after twenty-four hours. He sighed through his nose, the bow in his hand taking out one demon after another, often more than one at a time, and still they kept coming. His red eyes slid over to Khalid; he was well aware that his fellow Horseman was not having an easy time of it, not when he had to suppress Satan and fight a horde of demons at the same time. But, to Death's credit, he didn't show it. Perhaps that wasn't an ideal situation either. Kirito's wings rustled slightly, the raven black feathers gleaming with crimson blood. One of them had been injured early on by a hellhound, grounding him for the duration of the battle. He wasn't overly pleased about that, but there was little he could do about it now.

Destri was cutting through opponents with a serene grace that was eerily reminiscent of Akeldama, but then, she was part demon herself. Even so, it was hard for her to cut down her brethren. Evil or not, there was still a connection there. Her face was grim as she tore through a pair of winged females. Like the others, she had enough endurance to keep going, but this battle was the worst they'd ever seen.

And there seemed to be no end in sight.


Khalid was indeed experiencing some difficulty—he’d long since released his hold on his humanoid form, taking on his more demonic aspect and tearing through entire hordes of foes with the Scythe, slinging waves of ice or furious gales of wind to control the crowd of them where necessary. It was getting progressively more difficult due to the way his father’s soul was pressing at the edges of his mind, wearing away at the barrier he’d created between them. If he wasn’t careful, he’d end up possessed again, and they both knew it.

Sephiriel, meanwhile, was not burdened by such trials, and wielded her divinity like a second sword, crushing the legions of Hell beneath the weight of it, the song on her lips darkening the sky and striking them with lightning over and over again, leaving giant scorch-marks in the earth where demons had once stood. When she wasn’t carving through them with her electricity-edged sword, she was flying above them, swooping in to assist her allies when they needed it, only to rise once more several moments later to assess the flow of the battle.

Kazehana had planted herself in one spot, and now simply held it the way a dam holds back water, hitting everything that came at her with fists and feet backed with divine energy. The wings she’d been given to flee Hell had never quite left her, and she was using them to her advantage now, buffeting the few things that tried to get around and attack her from behind. No way was she dying here—no matter how many of them were thrown at her.


When had the world gone to hell? She couldn't remember really. She remembered the falling of civilization, people turning into animals, turning on each other, the governments falling. She remembered when that started, however; when had it gone to hell? For twenty-four hours, she and her family had been fighting, and though they were durable, their endurance would not last forever. Even if the legions of hell seemed endless, it would not be enough to keep them sustained with energy. Something painful lurched in Cassiel's heart, causing an ache she wasn't sure could be cured, but she had to move on. She had to protect her family, what was left of it, and herself from the constant dangers the world had brought. And now, here she was with her family, fighting for that world.

She ducked, a demon's claw missing her face by mere inches as she brought her hand up, searing the creature's flesh as it howled in pain. The sickening smell of burnt flesh caused Cassiel to cover her mouth. It was a horrid smell, like bile and acid mixed together, and it left a sour taste in the back of her throat. She pushed herself away from the creature, rolling so that she was on its back and holding onto one of its horns. She held on tightly with her thighs clenched around its neck, and summoned her flames to her hand, raising the heat to a high enough temperature that, when she brought her hand down, it was enough to sever the bone from the creature's head. She grabbed the remaining horn and shoved the now severed horn into the back of the creature's head. It fell, crashing to the floor a few feet away from Kirito and the others.

Cassiel stood, her eyes widening when she felt something pierce her shoulder. She stood, gazing out in front of her as she slowly glanced down. There was a speared tail hooked to her right shoulder, and her head slowly turned behind her, watching everything move in slow motion. The demon roared, pulling its tail back, taking Cassiel with it through the air. She grabbed the tail, keeping it from releasing from her shoulder until her body met the ground with a hard thud. She severed the tail quickly with her flames, listening to the maddening hiss of the creature as it stalked off to nurse its wound. She stood, pulling the tail from her shoulder and immediately began applying pressure to her wound. She channeled a bit of her healing to it, however; she couldn't use much energy for it. She needed to save it for the remaining battle.


It was like there was a drumbeat in his head. Or maybe—maybe it was the distinct sound of a second heartbeat, one that belonged to someone else. It grew louder in him with every servitor he slew, until he could hear nothing else, feel nothing else, just the continuous thumping, a rhythm to which he matched the movements of his own body, until it seemed his own heart was in a terrible synchronization with the foreign one. The battle moved onwards, more and more of the Legions pouring forth from the gates, and Khalid knew that the time had come to make a choice: he could leave the battle, leave them to fend for themselves, and keep his father contained a little while longer—or.

Or he could release the Devil himself onto the field, and remain to fight him with the others. This could well be the last stand they made, the crossroads of destiny and choice. And it all came down to one decision, one that was his alone to make.

He’d never been more afraid of anything in his life.

And yet, he knew what the choice must be. He could not, would not, leave them. Not to the legions which might slay them, not to their fates. He would not run away from the confrontation that was sure to ensue if he released his father. He would not run from the death that would result. As long as it was his, or Lucifer’s… he would be able to live with that knowledge between now and then. He would simply have to make sure that the Lord of all demonkind was not allowed to hurt anyone else. Much easier said than done, but necessary. He knew his father wanted to kill him almost as much as he wanted to slay him. Perhaps more—Khalid had defied him and thwarted his plan to be rid of Sephiriel or Kirito or both, one way or another. His anger for that incident was still burning-hot, and Khal could feel it.

Stilling slightly, he took the last of the threads that bound his father’s soul inside his body and snapped them, willing the spirit to manifest right in front of him. Death called his scythe to him—it was now or never.

But the soul of the Devil did not quite obey the mandate, and though he returned to the plane nearby, he did it by inhabiting a body not his own…

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kirito Fuhen Character Portrait: Alkedama Character Portrait: Sephiriel Character Portrait: Lucifer

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#, as written by Asilian
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It was unlike pain he had ever experienced. Not even dying was this bad. It was as if every single nerve in his body was being attacked simultaneously along with his very soul. Kirito was in mid-swing when suddenly he froze. His eyes were wide, but there was absolutely nothing that he could do. He was powerless to Satan's interference.

His body stayed motionless as the demon he'd been attacking bowed. Kirito's hand twitched. Powerless as he might have been, he was still trying to fight, and desperately, too. It seemed that Lucifer was trying to get used to a vessel that he was unacquainted with as well. He turned his head then, his red eyes locking with another pair of ruby orbs. He grinned, the smile anything but genuine.


“You miscalculated, Azrael, and this one cannot resist.”

Khalid snarled, the sound tearing from his chest with a rare ferocity, and a rent tore in the earth, swallowing no few demons, but Lucifer only laughed, knowing that his fool child would not attack this body, lest he risk killing his friend. And it would be just like the Devil to make him do it. Still, as always, he fully intended to wring all the exquisite pain out of this maneuver as he could, and so when he at last adjusted to the parameters of the body he presently occupied, it was not Azrael he made Kirito attack.

It was Sephiriel.

The arrow loosed from Conquest’s bow, aimed squarely for the angel’s back, but she turned just in time, cleaving through it with her sword, the force of its passage still enough to stir her hair and what fabric was visible beneath her armor. Her shield had succumbed already to the battle, and so she wielded the blade in both hands. As her gaze shifted, moving from the place the arrow had been to the one who had shot it, her eyes widened. She figured out almost immediately what had happened, and her pretty face twisted into a grimace, the revulsion clear in her eyes, aimed directly at the one puppeting the person she loved. How very droll. “No,” she said, the word soft, but unyielding. “You don’t get him.”

“I am afraid, dear girl, that I really do.” With the tugging of a few mental strings, he sent Kirito forward, firing several more arrows while advancing to where she stood. Sephiriel held her ground, slicing every last one as it approached, the ends flying off in all directions mercifully robbed of their power to utterly obliterate. Lucifer made Kirito banish the bow and summon a sword instead, one of the devil’s own, as black as the one Khalid held, when he was not using his scythe. The blades clanged together as she blocked, and she stepped forward, driving her shoulder into Kirito’s chest with enough force to knock the wind from him, but she did not press the advantage. She never would—this, Lucifer was counting on.


Indeed, he could not resist, not wth this much demonic influence. So instead, Kirito turned his attention inward, silently apologizing to Destri. What he'd asked of her would not be easy, but it would be neccesary. He couldn't simply let Satan run amok in his body, after all. He mentally grit his teeth. This would not be easy, hell, it might even be impossible.

But he had to try.

With all of the mental energy he could gather, he pushed through to the surface. It was brief, barely the space of a breath, but it was enough to just brush the edge of Destri's mind and feel her flinch. If he made it out of this alive, he would have to apologize to her. He was then forced back under, and simply turned inward, away from the outside world.

Destri halted in her attack when she felt Kirito's mind against hers. It hurt, and she flinched visibly. She knew what he wanted, what he'd asked of her earlier. She hesitated. It quite possibly wouldn't even be possible, and Kirito well knew that. He'd also not planned on himself being the one to be the Devil's target. She bit her lip, drawing blood as she gazed at each of the others, her gaze lingering on Kazehana and Sephiriel. She took a deep breath and centered herself.

They may never forgive her for what she was about to do, but she was damned anyway. She smiled slightly, wiping the blood from her lip and running a line across her forehead, finding her resolve. Kirito had asked this of her, and she would do as asked. Even if it killed her.

She took a deep breath, and began to sing. It was soft at first, not heard above the din of battle, but it began to swell until it was the only thing heard. Her voice carried a deep tone of darkness and evil, and the demons around her began to wail and disintigrate; demonic spellsong was well known for its need for sacrifice. Runes appeared both on and around the Reaper, the very air around her burning with demonic energy. As the song finished, the runes began to glow, and she began a new song. The runes dissappeared then, and everything became centered around the mark that appeared on her forehead, and she moved.

Lucifer was in mid-swing when Sephiriel blocked him, and Destri took the opening, speaking as she appeared in front of the Devil. When she spoke, her words were harsh and grating to the ear. She was speaking in demonic. She laid a single finger to Kirito's forehead, and the mark vanished from her own forehead and reappeared where she'd touched him.

"jaci svaust ui ti di wer mamiss nishka qe qe rechan ekik. kwi opsola di malsvir, si meage wux ekess ehaism jaci svaust wux tepoha xuuta."

She stepped away from them then, a look of sorrow on her face. "I'm sorry. It's what he wanted. It's up to him, now."


Sephiriel knew what was going on as soon as the girl touched Kirito’s forehead, and her own song, the one that summoned storms, ceased, the arm that held her sword falling to her side, her grip slackening. “No,” she said hollowly. “You stupid, stupid fool. You’re going to die, Kirito!” She was overwhelmed with the desire to hit him somehow, do something to assuage the stabbing pain in her chest, but there was nothing. She couldn’t risk disturbing what was going on inside the body of the one she loved, and so she stood sentinel beside him instead, fighting off everything that tried to come within ten feet. Her fury was the lightning, the flash of her sword, and the impotent desire to destroy everything that would harm him. If only he’d given it more time, the two of them together would have been able to force the devil out! So why this, why now? She didn’t know, and the result already made her weep, the tears falling silently from her eyes as she cleaved another demon in twain. She knew what was going to happen, she just couldn’t accept it.

But some part of her already had, and that part mourned.

Inside Kirito’s mind, Lucifer manifested across from the boy himself, buffing his fingernails casually on his shirt. “It’s cute that you think a halfling could compel me to do anything, but if this is the way you prefer to expire, I suppose I can indulge you. They get to watch you die either way, after all.”


Kirito knew that dying was a likely scenario. But the more he thought about it, the more something seemed...right about it. It was like when he'd died at the start of the Tribulation. He couldn't explain it then, and he certainly couldn't explain it now. Emotions like fear or nervousness weren't a part of him, he was simply calm. His eyes bored into the Devil's, his expression placid.

"Demonic spellsong is the mockery you made of true Spellsong, is it not? Even you are subject to both of these, for you were not always as you are now. You like to brag, but even you could not fully resist the power. Power and control has always drawn you. Pain, and suffering. It's why you sought me out, rather than anyone else, right?"

There was a grim smile on his face, and he sighed slightly. "While I would rather simply the both of us remain here, I know you would never allow that. So, I guess it's just down to you and me." He stood from his sitting position, the old, comfortable grip of a spear manifesting in his hand. "Shall we?" One lone thought flickered across his mind. [color=#1bcde]Please forgive me, Sephiriel.[/color]


Lucifer sighed; there was little point in explaining the difference between being subject to something and being commanded by it. The result was in this case the same either way, and he cared not to make a point of educating the soon-to-be dead. “Well, I do like to cause pain,” he admitted, “especially hers, as it happens.” He shrugged, summoning to hand a second blade to match the first he carried, black steel glinting darkly. “Come then, Conquest. It is time to die.”




Blood ran down his side as he clutched it. Even so, the placid look on his face never left. There was simply somthing he couldn't shake, a feeling like he was forgetting something. Or perhaps it was something he had yet to realize. Either way, he kept up his tactic of merely blocking or dodging. Every time he would press the attack, something held him back. He narrowed his eyes, trying to think. What on earth could be so damned important?

The words he'd thought flickered through his mind again, one word reverberating through over and over. Images flashed through his mind, both his own and not, memories and visions of times both near and long forgotten. Everything seemed to center around that one word, and softly, so quiet you could barely hear it, he spoke it.

"...forgive..."

He saw Lucifer advancing, but this time, he lowered his guard. Everything clicked, everything made sense. He knew what was about to happen, and he made no effort to stop it, because it was meant to happen. He knew that now. He felt the blade connect with his flesh and slide through. He smiled, and reached out, grabbing Lucifer's wrist in the process. He smiled even as the light began to leave his eyes, and he spoke one thing before he stilled entirely.

"I forgive you."


It was then that he knew nothing else.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cassiel Fuhen Character Portrait: Khalid Itzal

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There was little use in restraint now, but Khalid still held on to some of it. What happened with Kirito and his father was for the moment not his task to determine—though he was beyond angry that Lucifer had so manipulated his friend, he could not separate them and also keep at bay all the further demons that began to pour from the Gates, emboldened at the release of their master. Sword in-hand, Khalid took the brunt of the force himself, planting his feet in front of the gate and letting loose with the fury of ice and wind, freezing many of them in place before hacking away with the black blade and laying the legions to waste. But he could not get them all, and dozens more blew past him in search of easier targets…

Cassiel tried to even her breaths, keep them calm and regulated. It was difficult, with the smell of burning flesh and blood tainting the air, the smoke filling her lungs. She coughed, ducking barely in time to miss a demon's clawed hand. She rolled to the side, quickly standing on her feet and began running in the opposite direction. The demon roared, following after her in chase. She pursed her lips together, turning so that the demon behind her crashed into the collapsed building. She turned around quickly as the demon regained its footing, charging the demon and pressing her hand to its face. She frowned as she demon cried, listening, watching as its face burned.

Once it fell, life leaving it permanently, Cassiel sat back on her legs. Her shoulders heaved slowly, however; the reflection in the broken glass caused her eyes to widen. She turned, watching as the hooked tail came straight for her. She turned her body just enough to have the tail pierce through her right shoulder, a soft scream escaping her throat. The demon pulled its tail back, but it was intercepted by another tail, this one passing through Cassiel's back, between her lungs and her rib cage. A louder scream tore through her as the tail in her shoulder pulled against the one in her back. They were fighting for her.

She gripped the tail in her shoulder, severing it as she had once before, allowing the demon tail in her back to jerk her back towards it. She met the ground with a loud thud, and she felt her blood leaking through her mouth. She wiped it from the corners as the tail removed itself, puncturing the same wound on her shoulder to keep her pinned. The demon stalked over to her, its fangs dripping with saliva as it growled at her. In response, she pulled at the creature's tail, trying to remove it, but her energy was dropping. She was using most of it using her pyrokinetic abilities, and to evade. She didn't have much energy left. And the demon knew it too, for the wicked smile spread further across its lips.

A pained scream tore through Cassiel's throat as the demon sank its fangs into the juncture of her shoulder, piercing the flesh and allowing her blood to pool down its throat. She placed her hand on the side of its face, willing whatever energy she had left, to scorch the side of its face, causing it to scream and pull back. She rolled to her stomach, crawling away from the creature and tried to stand, only to have her legs buckle beneath her. She tried again, managing to stand, however; she glanced down to see the hooked tail blossoming from her chest. She could feel her heart beat slowing down, and could feel the slight irregularity of it as its drumming died.

She fell to her knees, her vision blurring and her eyes watering. She tried to clear her vision, but it was still hazy. Was she going to die? Again? The first time wasn't painful, but this one...it hurt. She could feel the pain in her chest, the harshness of her breaths. It was getting harder to breathe. With the last bit of strength she had, she pulled the demon's tail from her chest, severing it and turned to face the creature. With a last battle cry, she impaled the demon's tail into its head as it charged her, watching as it fell to her feet, and she collapsed to the ground. Her breathing was slowing, her own regeneration kickstarting, but it wasn't enough. The darkness was creeping at her peripherals, and with what seemed her last breath, she whispered one word. One name.

"Khalid."

What answered was positively apocalyptic in scope. Somehow, over all the noise and din and chaos of a battlefield by now miles wide, he heard her, as clearly as if she had whispered it into his ear from beside him. Whatever thin thread of control he’d been maintaining snapped, and he was at her side with nothing more than a thought, gathering her up in his arms, mostly from a need to protect her from what would follow. He had just barely enough of himself enough to remember to do that.

And then the world exploded.

To be more accurate, perhaps, every living thing within a massive radius exploded, raining demon parts and bile down over the blackened ground. He only barely missed Kazehana, and Destri, and not because he was trying to. Perhaps some small part of him realized that he shouldn’t hurt them, but it was growing weaker against the anger that consumed him. Two of Hell’s princes diverted themselves from their paths and came for him, but even without his arms, they were scarcely a problem. Both of his eyes had con black from sclera to pupil, and the air around him hummed as reality itself began to tear apart, the scattered body parts disintegrating into light, into music, into color, into all kinds of nonsensical formations that should not have been possible.

But even possibility held no sway for him any longer.

He exhaled, and a sheet of ice spread from his breath, encasing both demon lords and then some, creeping outwards until it covered literally miles of terrain and city streets. Beneath his feet, the earth shook, and derelict buildings crumbled. His anger drove his power, now, and this time there were no blossoming flowers, no gentle cool air. All there was was destruction, and even that word was a poor indicator of what was going on. Space was warping, bending at the seams, straining at the bonds that usually held it in place. Khalid—or Azrael, as he would perhaps be better called in such condition, cared not at all for any of it.

He cared only for her, and she was disappearing, too, her life escaping her. He could only be Death—life was not his to give. He had never hated his fate more than he did in that moment.

Warmth. She could feel a familiar warmth surrounding her. It was a pleasant feeling, one that she could revel in forever, however; something seemed wrong. She could feel a cold chill biting into her skin, and even her own warmth could not keep it at bay. But it was dark, and she could see nothing in the void. She could feel herself frowning, and she could feel something holding her. She just couldn't open her eyes. The warmth continued to encase her, though, trying to chase away the bite of the cold. She had been doing something, she remembered. Something important, but she could not recollect exactly what it was that was important to her. If she could only open her eyes, see, then perhaps she could remember.

It wasn't until something colder than the bite surrounded her, that a surge of warmth shattered through her body. She couldn't explain it, but the slow beat of her heart began to increase, beating more than it had moments ago. She could feel her life returning to her as the subtle warmth continued to spread through her limbs, and her face softened into a content smile. She inhaled a soft breath, a scent coming in with it. It was familiar, yet, somehow it felt different. It wasn't the same, and something seemed empty about it. Her brows furrowed as she tried to open her eyes, willing them slowly at first as her vision readjusted.

"Khalid?" she whispered out softly, her voice coarse as if she'd been screaming for days. It was tired, and yet happy. She tried to glance around, noticing the body parts of demons scattered about, and the ice covered terrain. She frowned. This was Khalid's doing, that much she knew, but why? What happened that caused this to happen? And it snapped into place. "Khalid...Khalid stop. It's okay! Everything is fine," she spoke, her voice still low and soft. She brought her hand up, laying it gently across his cheek as she offered him a tired smile. Her breathing had regulated, and her heart beat was normal, if not speeding up. She was worried about him. About losing him, and she didn't want that.

"See? I'm still here, I'm not going anywhere. I promised you, remember? I promised," she continued to speak, hoping that he would hear her. If she couldn't get through to him, whatever they were trying to save, would be lost. And she didn't want to lose anything...anyone any longer. She promised, and she wanted to keep her promises.

He was deaf to everything, and blind to anything that wasn’t visiting death upon anything that came within range. He’d just started walking forward, the wind howling around his ears and ripping at his hair and skin and clothing, the ice spreading far enough to slick most of the city, his anger still on the rise, and Khalid knew nothing else. He could smell her blood, feel it on his hands, and for once, it was literal as well as figurative. This was his fault. If he’d only been able to stop more of them from running past him, than the ones that slew her would never have had the chance. If only he’d been less afraid of his own strength, then he could have laid waste to this field that much sooner. He could have contained his father for longer, could have—

There were too many things he could have done. Would have done. Should have done. But at every turn of his life, when he needed most to succeed, he had failed. When he had needed to be strong, he had been weak. When he had needed to protect, he had destroyed. And now, when all he wanted was enough power to be Life for just one person, he could only be Death for all the rest.

He didn’t register her words, nor even at first the hand on his face, because he was so far gone that even he burned, the way ice does when it is simply too cold to handle. So perhaps it was understandable that it took him a while to notice that this kind of burning was a different kind, a proper, soothing warmth, rather than the false frostbite of hypothermia, that deceptive warm feeling as one slips into the sleep one will never wake from. Black eyes shifted downwards, following the curve of an arm as though trying to determine if what he saw was real. But… those eyes couldn’t be anything but real, and even if they were, he’d be content with the illusion. It took a few more seconds to make out the words, in which the wind seemed to still, though the instability around them did not quite cease.

She was fine, she said. Everything would be all right. He wanted to believe that, to believe her, but he was finding it difficult in his current state, when the demons still poured out of Hell, seemingly endless in their numbers. His eyes flickered, returning to their usual red and blue, and he looked down at her, grief evident in his expression. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, and slowly, reality began to stabilize. He’d almost lost her, failed to protect her, and he’d never been more sorry for anything in his entire life.

Cassiel breathed a small breath of relief when his eyes changed back to their red and blue. "What have I told you about that?" she chided, the smile still on her face though. "You have nothing to be sorry for, so stop apologizing. Or else once this is all over, I will give you a reason to be sorry," she continued, softly laughing. She released a content sigh, closing her eyes momentarily, enjoying the slight pause in the fighting. She could still feel the familiar warmth spreading through her limbs, revitalizing them and bringing back their usage. She re-opened her eyes and smiled brightly, removing herself from his grip, but kept his hand in hers.

"So, what do you say? Shall we end this? So that you don't have to ever be sorry again?" she stated, her smile morphing into a light smirk. The fatigue had all but left her, but the short amount of rest, in his arms, gave her new strength to carry on. This war, they were on the last stepping stones and whether or not they would fall, was not something Cassiel wanted to stand around and wait for. If she could continue fighting, then she would persevere.

“Let's."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Cassiel Fuhen Character Portrait: Kirito Fuhen Character Portrait: Sephiriel Character Portrait: Khalid Itzal

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#, as written by Mihael
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Kazehana gritted her teeth, blocking another incoming swipe from a demon. Her fist found the thing’s face, taking off its head in a spray of blood and ichor that spattered her face. The tears she wept for her only child’s demise streaked it vertically, but she could not afford to stop fighting, no matter how much she wanted to. The injuries she was accumulating were dire: one of her wrists was broken, she had a number of bloody gouges to the abdomen, and she was clearly favoring her left leg, but there simply wasn’t time to stop. Somewhere to her right, Sephiriel was still streaking through hordes of them, her rage manifesting in more lightning and driving rain. Somewhere else, she could feel the fluctuations in two similar auras that signified the battle going on between Khalid and Lucifer—though she would have loved another shot at the Devil herself, she knew enough to stay clear of that. There were some fights she simply could not win, and that was one of them.

She’d lost track of Cassie, too, but she knew the girl was all right, probably not too far from where Dee was, struggling from her exertion but still standing—for now. The demons only seemed to grow stronger in the presence of their lord and master however, and this small number of people was not nearly enough to stop them from overrunning the earth forever. Either Khal killed his father, or they all died.

They might all die anyway, if he took too long. Kazehana sensed something moving behind her and whirled, but she was not quite fast enough to dodge the spiked club headed her way, and braced herself for impact instead.


Cassiel frowned, ducking and falling to the floor on her hands and feet to avoid a clawed hand. She quickly twisted around to avoid another pair of clawed hands reaching for her and drove her knee into the abdomen of another nearby demon. She was tired, as she was sure everyone else was. She could see Destri not too far off, and she could almost see her aunt off in the distance. Everyone looked like they were about ready to collapse, but they pushed forward. They had to or else everything they were fighting for would be lost. Khalid was battling his father, and Kirito...

She had seen him fall. She didn't need to know any more than that, and though she wept for her cousin, she did so silently. She couldn't afford to stop what she was doing to grieve for him, because she would fall as well if she did. She still had fight in her, and she couldn't let the rest of her family down. She breathed heavily, trying to even her breaths as she continued to evade attacks. It seemed that the demons had managed to keep her on the defense, and she couldn't let it down. She tried to switch, tried to go offensive, but the demons kept pushing her back. She didn't account for a demon sneaking up behind her, its warm breath grazing over her back. She closed her eyes, waiting for its teeth to sink into her shoulder, however; a soft thud caused her to slowly turn around.

"Cassie, didn't I teach you better than that?" She knew that voice. It was one that she loved listening to, reading to her at night when she was just a child. A voice she had missed so much, though one she had only heard not too long ago. And Cassiel smiled brightly, renewed vigor spreading through her limbs.

"Mama!"


The Annunaki braced herself for an impact that would never come, as not one, but two beings arrived to her aid. One with hair as white as snow, the other with locks of crimson. Eyes as blue as the ocean met purple ones, and Asilian smiled. The other male, who had simply froze the demon who had been attacking his sister-in-law solid, grinned haphazardly, a blindfold across his eyes.

Morgan straightened, cocking his head towards the demon. "I think not, this one is off-limits." Asilian all but rolled his eyes, but he was grinning. "I see dying a second time has done little to improve your one-liners, Momo."

"There's no improving perfection, As."

Destri, on the other hand, was struggling. The spellsong she'd performed had all but drained her, and add on top of that that she was mourning, it was not going well at all. She found herself speared clean through by a demon's tongue, the protrusion going through her stomach. She grit her teeth, whimpering slightly as the beast pulled at her. She however, held on, not allowing it to remove its tongue.


Kazehana sighed, though she was smiling uncontrollably. “Oh great,” she said sarcastically, “Here I was hoping for the cavalry, and I get you goons instead. Someone’s really out to get me, I swear. I’d say it’s the Devil himself, but he’s a little occupied at the moment.” Of course, while she had about a million questions and hugs and punches to give out, there wasn’t really time for either of the first two, and the last was presently best reserved for the demons that weren’t on her side. So with the grin still plastered to her face, she drove an elbow back into the thing that had been trying to sneak up on her, twisting to drive the heel of her hand into its snakelike jaw, snapping its neck and ending its life. “Reminds me of the old days,” she said with a falsely-wistful sigh.

The immobile demon found itself on the receiving end of a drop-kick charged with enough holy energy to utterly obliterate it, dissolving it to dust as it came apart at the seams. A large hand braced the half-demon’s shoulder, and the warmth of healing energy sealed up the wound in her abdomen. There was exactly one angel in Heaven who used a technique like that, and Uriel’s silver wings rustled slightly as he tucked them behind him. “Hey there, kid. Don't give up just yet. Things’ll work out; you’ll see.” He tossed a wave at his still-earthbound daughter, cracking his knuckles audibly afterward. “I love being on the rescue team.”

A conflagration of holy fire seared through a wide swath of opponents, reducing a good quarter of the current field of enemies to ashes in one go, and the wielder of that fire dropped to the ground next to Sephiriel, cleaving through the head of a nearby goat demon with a massive sword. Michael did not greet her, because he could tell just by looking at her what kind of state she was in. Instead, he fell in beside her, allowing her to vent her fury on the demons present whilst watching her back. She was being much more reckless than usual, but all but the strongest of demons would be hard-pressed to take advantage, with the sheer amount of power she was exuding to do it. Lightning raced in crackling arcs over the bodies of those who drew to close, and fire finished off anything else in range. There were still too many pouring out of the portal to get close enough to seal it shut—the only one near enough was Khalid, and he was presently engaged with his father.





Khalid snarled, ducking to avoid the overhead slash of one of his father’s twin blades, the sword succeeding in slicing a lock of his hair off, the bone-white tendril fluttering, ignored, to the ground. He was bloodied and bruised, but holding his own surprisingly well. Perhaps it was simply because he was so accustomed to pain—his injuries scarcely registered with him at all. Lucifer had inflicted worse upon his son before, with greater precision than he was capable of now that his only blood child was putting up a resistance. It was also true that Khalid was not the only injured party, and Lucifer had not been routinely tortured as a child, so his resistance to the effects of his injuries was not so great.

The half-demon had learned how to swing a sword from the one of the only two people to ever fight Lucifer and survive, and certainly the only one to decisively win. Michael’s teaching was serving him well here, and he had his father on the defensive from the beginning, even if he was receiving more injuries than he was actually dealing. The two of them had been at it for what seemed like forever, and given the force with which they were striking one another, it was fair to say that they were tiring at a fast pace. Khalid was tapping deep into his demonic power, digging slowly further into that well of rage that had always represented Azrael to him, the part of him that was and always would be the progeny of the most evil being ever to have lived.

But right now, that anger was what kept him alive. He fought for what this being had done to his mother, to the man that was more his father than Lucifer ever would be, to his friends, to the woman he loved. He fought because it was the only way to show himself, once and for all, that he was not the same. That he wasn’t simply a lesser Lucifer, but something else, something different, something that had a worth and a place independent of his parentage, his heritage, and even his destiny.

He had told her once that he was nothing.

All that was left was to prove himself wrong.

“You can’t,” Lucifer hissed darkly, for they were in one another’s minds as well, the battle for dominion there just as strong as the physical one. Khalid was resisting possession as well as he could, mostly by keeping Lucifer defending physically and unable to concentrate fully on getting inside his head. “You can’t prove that wrong because it isn’t. You are nothing, Azrael. Nothing but what I made you.”

Khalid’s jaw clenched; he swung his scythe mightily, his father’s arm shaking on the block, so much so that he had to drop his second sword to reinforce it with his left as well. “You’re wrong,” he said, uncertainly at first, pushing harder on the scythe and gratified when Lucifer had to dig his heels in to remain in his place. His voice gained steadiness. “You tried to make me believe that, and for so long, I did. But they think differently… and I believe in them.” It had taken him so long to see it, and sometimes, he still couldn’t quite understand, but at the very least, he’d decided that he trusted them enough to let their belief in him stand in for his own belief in himself, until he could find it on his own.

And in doing that, he’d lessened his father’s hold on him.

They broke apart, Khalid’s scythe flinging an arc of the devil’s black blood from its blade as he swung it, and then they had reset and charged again. He lost track of how much time it took, but some passes later, Khalid had lost the use of his right arm to injury and held his scythe only in his left. It was enough, for it had brought the Devil to his knees. Purple eyes gazed up into blackened red ones, and something indescribable passed between them. There were no words for it, and he would never be able to describe it, save that there was a moment of perfect, shared knowing, a realization that what happened next would irreparably twist the fate not only of the both of them, but of quite literally the rest of the universe.

Then Khalid swung his scythe, and parted Lucifer’s head from his shoulders.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kirito Fuhen

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#, as written by Asilian
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He was floating. He wasn't really sure where he was, but...where ever it was, he didn't hurt. It wasn't cold, or warm. Honestly, he didn't really feel anything at all, except for an overwhelming sense of peace. There was a vast expanse of space before him, separated between everything and nothing. He was at once everywhere and nowhere at all.

He opened his eyes slowly. In the second it took for him to take in his surroundings, he realized his body was strange. Or perhaps it wasn't, because hadn't he had this form from the very beginning? He couldn't remember.

Who art thou?


The voice at once came from everywhere and nowhere. He glanced around him, turning this way and that, but he could not find the source. He tried to speak, but it was as if his vocal cords wouldn't work. But his mind seemed to function for him.

I know not.


There was no answer, but there seemed to be a feeling of disapointment reverberating in the space that he occupied. He looked down. He could see a snout stretching out before him, and his arms and legs were longer, heavily muscled, and covered in a dark coat of black fur. He twisted his neck around, a tail visible.

He was...a canine? But that was normal, wasn't it? He shook his head, as if there was something pulling at the back of his mind, something he needed to remember. He pulled his lips back into a silent snarl.

Thou art angry?


He actually did snarl this time, the sound a harsh backdrop to the silence.

I know not who I am, and I cannot see thee. Show thyself! Must we speak in shadow and deciet? We be not common animals!

And what would thee call thyself? Is thou not a wolf? Am I not a Lamb?


As if he had always been there, the Lamb was before him, pale blue eyes meeting orbs of the deepest obsidian. He ducked his head, all at once ashamed, and he lay down, running his paws over his snout in shame. His ears perked up when the Lamb laughed.

"You hold this form because you have lost yourself, but in truth, you have never known your true self to begin with. I will ask you again, and you must remember. Who art thou?"

He shifted uncomfortably, raising his head. Remember what? He had always been here, there was nothing else. But, he did as he was told. He tried to remember. He looked around him, the place cut down the middle, dividing the two halves of Light and of Darkness. Good and Evil. They were separated, and yet whole. He cocked his head to the side, for that seemed to be...familiar.

Faces flashed in front of his eyes, of people he knew, and who knew him. They were calling to him, and weeping. Why were they weeping? Then the name hit him, and he snapped back to where he was, and he realized he was not a wolf, but a man. He looked at the Lamb again, who seemed to smile.

Who art thou?


He smiled. He understood now, who he was. "I am Conquest, and Alamgir. I am Light. I am Darkness. I am he who holds the world, and who shall bring the dawn and dusk. I am everything and yet nothing at all. Demon, Angel, Horseman, human. I am all of these and yet none of these, the Morning Star and everything he could never be. I am exactly how you made me. I am Kirito Morgan Fuhen."

He had knelt, his eyes closed. The Lamb touched his nose to his forehead. "You have done well, my son. I am so proud of you."

For a long time, neither of them moved. Or perhaps it was merely a second. The Lamb spoke then. "Are you ready to return? I do believe that you have many waiting for you. It would not do to keep them too long." Kirito smiled.

"Yeah. Let's go back."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kirito Fuhen Character Portrait: Sephiriel Character Portrait: Khalid Itzal

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It was over.

The field of battle was still in the wake of Lucifer’s death and the closing of the portal. In a way, it was almost surreal. The devil was dead. You didn’t get any deader than you were when the Scythe itself beheaded you, and that had certainly been what happened. The only sounds to be heard were the lashing of the rain and the persistent growl of thunder overhead. The arcs of lightning forking the sky occasionally threw the faces of those few remaining into sharp relief, casting strange shadows over their faces, smeared nearly universally with blood, sweat, grime, and no few tears. Even after the last of the lesser demons fell, the storm continued to spill onto the earth, though it wasn’t hard to tell that, bereft of a miracle, nothing else would ever grow on this ground. Not after it had been stained with such an unholy taint.

The sky wept, because Sephiriel could not.

She stood in the middle of a broad stretch of corpses, her sword still held loosely on one hand, the luminance of the lightning ceasing to crackle over it, leaving it to glint only dully when the sky lit up. Though she had only a moment before been a shining beacon in the dark herself, a paradigm of righteous justice and punishment, she now dimmed, her strength unable to hold fast against the tide of her grief. Her sword slipped from her numb grip and she made it as far as his body, brushing off Michael’s hand on her shoulder, before she collapsed to her knees. She had saved him from this fate once.

It was funny, that she’d thought he would not be its victim a second time.

It had just never crossed her mind that he might die again. The knew it was dangerous of course. What they were doing, what they attempted to conquer here, to avert an event always meant to take place. He’d told her once that he’d rather the world end than he lose her. She wondered how he thought she was supposed to deal with a world that did not contain him in it. The thought stilled the breath in her lungs, the thought of continuing to live without him. But no—she wouldn’t be living. She’d simply exist, the same way Caspar had existed after he lost Tsukiyo. The way Kazehana had existed when she lost Asilian. Only there was no reunion waiting for her—if only there was. She would live out the rest of her days in Hell just to be with him, but such sacrifices were not an option here.

The rain was washing his face clean of the dirt and the blood, and probably hers, too, but she wasn’t sure if she’d ever manage to feel clean again. Reaching over, Sephiriel laid a bare hand on one side of his face, finding it already alarmingly cold. She closed her eyes to the world and leaned down, pressing her forehead to his. There, in the scant space between them, she whispered. The words were a confession, and a desire for forgiveness more than anything, and half-strangled as they passed her lips. But it would not matter, for none but she could hear them.

“I love you.”


The young man's body did not move, but there was a stirring at her words. He was not one to intervene unless truly necessary, preferring to allow His children to have a free will and solve their own problems. But this was a matter than only He could fix.

But it would not be without cost.

He appeared as He always did, as a lamb. Asilian and Morgan went to their knees, but it was Sephiriel who was His focus of attention. He watched her for a few seconds before speaking. "And how would you prove that, my child? Would you surrender who you are to have him back? Would you die for him?"


For a few moments, Sephiriel did not move. She had felt Him, certainly, and heard Him speak. She even knew the words were addressed to her. Who else would have known exactly what was said. But all the same, there were several seconds when she could not bring herself to move from where she was, because it was an acknowledgement, once and for all, that he was gone.

Slowly, she raised her head. She, like the other angels, was already on her knees, so there was no need to adjust her posture much, and she did not, looking into the face of the Lamb with dull eyes. The words filtered through her mind slowly—the possibilities were several, but she was fairly certain He was asking her a question for which the answer was obvious. Would she die for Kirito to live? Had she not already descended into the very bowels of Hell for just that purpose, at just that risk? How much of a difference could it possibly make if she knew she was trading her life for his?

The other question, though, the first one… it sounded like he was asking her if she would fall for him. Give up her identity, her duty, the things that had given her life meaning since the beginning of time. Her power, her purpose. Everything that made her an angel. Everything that made her Second Sword. Everything that made her the Storm-Singer. The rain came down still upon the ground, mixing with the blood and ashes that lay in the field, pouring away down the gutters of the city, and for what seemed an eternity contained in a single moment, the dull eyes looked into His, and she swallowed thickly. Her face was shuttered, her expression curiously unreadable.

“Take it,” she said. “Take everything. My power, my life… take my history and the memory of me from everyone here if that is what you require. Make it as though I had never been at all—but please… don’t make me live without him. Don’t punish him for what he had to be and do. Let him have what he really deserves. That’s all I want, and if there is a price I can pay to give him that, you have only to name it.”


If Lambs could smile, this once certainly did. He stepped forward, placing his nose to Sephiriel's forehead. "I require nothing, my child, other than the knowledge that you would not hesitate. His death here was necessary for him to understand himself, but it was also not permanent."

It was then that Kirito breathed again. Then he groaned. "Seriously, I'm done with dying, right? Twice is enough, thanks." The Lamb chuckled. "You know who you are now, Lightbringer. So, yes, I do believe that you are, as you say, done with dying."

He turned His attention to another then; it was time for another matter to be addressed. He stepped up to Khalid. "You understand what this entails, and what you have now become. The question merely remains in how you will use that power. Just as Kirito is Lightbringer, you are Darkseeker, but that does not equate to evil. I only hope that you understand that now."


Khalid did not take a knee, though that may have had more to do with the fact that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to rise again if he did than anything else. He was still seeping blood from the various wounds his father had delivered him, his right arm hanging uselessly by his side. His breathing was heavy, but even and deep, his person held up more by force of will than the strength remaining to his body. When he was addressed, he opened his mouth to respond, then closed it again, shaking his head. In the end, it took him another few moments to find the words, and when he did, they were perhaps less than he would have liked, but more than he would have expected.

“Not yet. But… there are enough people who have told me so. And while I can’t quite believe in myself yet… I believe in them, and I do not believe they would deceive me. I will… I will endeavor to understand what they see, difficult though it may be.”


The Lamb nodded. "And that is all I ever ask of anyone." His eyes swept over the others, finally resting on Asilian and Sephiriel. He started with Asilian. "I asked you last time what you would choose, but at that time you were still a Prince. You are now once again one of my Seven. You will never be free of that burden, but you do still have the option."

Asilian smiled. "Come on. Didn't I give you my answer then? I will always come when you call, but I will stay here, with my wife, and my son." The Lamb nodded, turning to Sephiriel. "You already said that you would give everything for him, but like the others, you are one of the Seven. You have a choice. You can return, like before, or you can stay. It is by your choice alone, Sephiriel."

Something in Kirito's stomach dropped. He didn't want to believe that she would simply leave, but...even so...it was hard to picture her choosing the alternative.


Sephiriel was still a little dumbstruck by the fact that he was alive, and slowly, the rain tapered off and the clouds above them dissipated, letting in the light of the sun. When He spoke to her again, she shook herself, almost as if to return to reality. Her eyes, the life slowly filtering back into them, turned to Kirito, and though it was to Him that she spoke, her gaze never left the one she loved as she had loved none other. “For what you have given, I would happily do my duty in whatever way you choose. But were the choice mine… I would stay.”

The Lamb smiled once more, and then he turned away from them all. Before he vanished, one more thing was said.

"You have triumphed, and hold the fate of the world in your hands still. It is now yours to lead, and the two of you shall decide where it goes."


Kirito heard, and he knew that he was speaking directly to him and Khalid. But in that moment, he was just so inexplicably happy that nothing else registered. His eyes were on the woman who had given up her chance to return to where she came from, for him. He closed the gap that was between them, claiming her mouth with his.

"I love you, too."

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Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender

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#, as written by Mihael
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Caspar rolled his shoulders, lowering his sword and shooting his sparring partner a smile. “Not too often you venture all the way up here for a match, Seph.” He knew why she was here, of course, and from the way she rolled her eyes at him, she was aware of that.

Sheathing her own blade at her hip, she sighed slightly. “A party for the entire horde is not something one goes into unprepared, Cass,” she replied gravely, and he had to chuckle. She was right of course. Sephiriel had never been one for large groups; he wasn’t surprised she felt the need to center herself beforehand. There would be a lot of people in her house this afternoon, after all. Shaking his head, he stepped forward and ruffled her hair as much as she’d allow before she smacked his arm away. Some things never changed, not even after twenty-five years beyond the apocalypse. Or at least, what was supposed to be the apocalypse. Hadn’t quite happened that way, had it?

“But I suppose I had best go prepare. Kirito will have no idea what he’s doing, and Cassie can only help so much, I think.” A slight huff of indignation was his cue to laugh. Yes indeed; there were some things that never changed. This one, he particularly enjoyed by proxy. Sephiriel would never be the kind of woman who mooned over anyone, certainly not the man she’d married. Theirs would always be a dynamic with a mocking—but assuredly loving—edge to it.

He waved her away as she took off for the mortal realms, where she spent most of her time. He and Tsukiyo had arranged to visit today as well, but Cass figured now was a good time to go find his own partner. She did have a tendency to get distracted by her own thoughts, after all. Well, that and she spent a fair amount of time with her parents, which was completely understandable.

Twenty-five years had passed, time of which Tsukiyo did not keep track of. When one spent time in heaven, one did not need to keep track of time. She smiled softly to herself, humming as she prepared herself for the upcoming trip back to the mortal realm. She and Caspar were due for a visit, and she was a little excited. She got to meet her nieces and nephews, her grandchildren...she paused. She smiled fondly at the thought. It wasn't more than seventeen years ago that Cassiel gave her grandchildren, and she had been fond of them. Though, she knew they were a little odd, she tried her best to help Cassiel when and where she could.

Shaking her head, she continued humming, throwing her hair into a simple ponytail before nodding her head in satisfaction. "Now, where is Cass," she mused to herself, turning around to search for the angel. If she knew him, and she did, he would be out somewhere looking for her. It would be easier to stay in one spot, and have him find her here, however; she wanted to find him for once. Besides, she'd been spending a lot of time with her parents as of late, and felt a little bad. She almost felt like she was neglecting him, but she didn't mean to.

"I wonder what they are going to be making," she mused silently to herself. The last time they got together, the others had prepared a lot of sushi. It must have been Kirito's idea since the boy loved sushi. Hopefully, this time they prepared something that wasn't raw fish and rice. Or, if they did, it wasn't the entire course. She had been so lost in her thoughts, that Tsukiyo did not pay attention to where she was going, and ran into something hard. She blinked, catching her balance before smiling brightly at the one she ran into. "You know, you could at least be a little softer," she stated, placing a hand on her hip and stared up at Caspar.

Caspar smiled slightly, an eyebrow ascending his forehead. “I’m soft where it counts, surely,” he said lightly, placing a hand over his heart in mock hurt, laughter dancing through his eyes. Leaning down, he pressed a kiss to her forehead. Time was a tricky thing here, but really it didn’t seem to matter how much or little of it they spent apart—he was still happy to see her again, still missed her when he didn’t. He really was a damn lucky person, he supposed.

“Are you prepared for the chaos, my love? It’s bound to be interesting, with all that family around.” What had once been a rather small group of people had expanded considerably over the years, helped along perhaps by the fact that there appeared to be a slight proclivity for multiple children at once. Kirito and Seph had twins after their first, but his own grandsons were triplets, which was something nobody involved had expected, to be sure. He still remembered with amusement how very panicked Khalid had been, and how sanguine about it Cassie had acted in comparison. It had been an interesting discussion, talking about parenthood with someone he considered his own son.

Their lives were far from ordinary, but where once that had brought with it a fair dose of trepidation, nowadays, to him it only seemed charmed. Caspar tucked a lock of hair behind his wife’s ear, then ran the hand gently down her arm until their fingers were laced together. “But then, I suppose we wouldn’t enjoy it so much if it were any other way, hm?”

Tsukiyo raised an amused eyebrow at Caspar and shook her head, the smile still playing at her lips. "Where it counts?" she stated, amusement laced in her voice as she poked Caspar in the side. "Where it counts then," she added before wrapping her arms around his torso, and leaning her head against his chest. She frowned lightly at his next statement though and pulled back, frowning slightly as she glanced up at him through lidded eyes. Chaos was an understatement. Knowing the triplets, they would cause most of the chaos. They were sweet when they needed to be, but they were little devils in disguise. Quite literally and figuratively.

"I have Kaz for a sister, Asmodeus for a brother-in-law, you for a husband, I don't think there could be any more chaos in my life. Though, Cassie's triplets...those boys I swear take more after their uncle. I think he trained them," she stated in light amusement. She was sure Kirito had a hand in the mischief the triplets got into. She sighed softly, squeezing Caspar's hand gently as she began to swing it with hers. Caspar was right, though. She wouldn't want it any other way. She loved her family, her children, her grandchildren, all of them.

"Nope, we wouldn't. Peace and tranquility is for the norms, and we are far from normal," she replied, bringing his hand around her shoulders as she wrapped her free arm around him. "Now, I think we have family to visit, though be careful of Basilius. He is becoming quite the con artist. I don't know how Cassie does it," she stated, referring to one of her grandsons. The last time they had visited, Basilius had nearly caught the whole house on fire and managed to point the blame on one of his brothers. He was a crafty one, and Tsukiyo smiled fondly at the memory.

Caspar chuckled, shaking his head slightly and giving her hand a squeeze. He supposed he was technically at least partially to blame for that—the family’s pyrokinesis originated with him, after all. The two of them reached the Gates and stepped through to the other side, manifesting their wings and taking off. Tsuki being part of the Seven was working out quite well, all things considered. It meant he got to see her more often, certainly. “Well,” he pointed out, the sound of the passing air musical over his ears, “she’s not doing it alone, and that’s really the important thing.” All of them had been alone at some point in their lives, but none of them had to be any longer. Perhaps that was why they surrounded themselves with the warmth and light of family—because they wanted to make sure of it.

It was something that he could understand well. And more than that, it was something they deserved, after everything they had endured. He could only be grateful that they were receiving it, in all its little glories, every day.

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Asilian appeared to be sleeping. Anyone who knew him, however, knew that he was not. He rarely, if ever at all, actually slept. What he really was doing was a form of meditation. A smile appeared on his face as he sensed the second female to take his heart approach. Well, the third, honestly. He opened bright blue eyes to meet a pair almost identical to his own.

"Senna, shouldn't you be getting ready?"

The girl put her hands on her hips, in a gesture that looked so much like her mother that he almost laughed. "I am ready, thank you. What about you, Dad? Toto expects us to be there in twenty minutes."

Asilian chuckled, reaching out and ruffling his daughter's hair. Toto had been the nickname she'd opted into giving her older brother, who didn't seem to mind it at all. "Well, it's your mother we're waiting for, Nana. Go see if she's ready." He smiled as he watched her run off. Fifteen and she had more spunk than Kirito had at that age. Twenty-five years had passed in the blink of an eye, with Kirito and Khalid keeping the peace between the realm of man and the realm of the dead.

Humankind now knew of demons and angels, and as such, Asilian and Sephiriel rarely, if ever, hid their wings. There was no longer any need to. There was still conflict, as it was simply a part of human nature, but there had been an era of peace that none of them could remember happening before. And now, the whole family was gathering in order to celebrate Kirito's fiftieth birthday, though as usual for one of his kind, he looked no older than his mid-twenties.


Kazehana, as it turned out, was out in the training area they’d built outside their home, currently in a fistfight with her own father, who was, as he often did during a friendly spar, laughing. It wasn’t a mocking thing, but rather a raucous expression of enjoyment. He seemed to be almost unable to help himself, though she supposed that by now she was entirely use to it. Her foot cracked into the side of his head, or would have, had he not raised a hand to catch her by the ankle just in time. Wrenching his hand around, he attempted to pull her off her other foot, but she went willingly, spinning in midair and hauling herself around to land in a handstand and spring backwards from there. She was grinning herself, eyes alight with the fierce joy that was competition, though admittedly not one with any major repercussions.

Uriel called a halt to the fight, however, when he spotted his granddaughter headed in his direction. “Looks like Sen’s come to find you, Kaz.” His daughter rolled her eyes good naturedly and ruffled the teenager’s hair. She still didn’t look quite old enough to be the mother of a teenager, but she’d long learned that, like basically everyone else in her bizarre family, time just didn’t affect her the same way it worked on other people. Given her husband’s technical immortality, she couldn’t say she was sorry about it. She was pretty much living an afterlife anyway—she was just doing it on earth. She even visited Heaven sometimes, since the policy seemed to be that if you could get yourself there, you were welcome.

She doubted they’d forgotten to take away the wings she’d used to flee hell, but she wasn’t exactly going to ask if she should still have them. Some things were best accepted with grace. It wasn’t like she manifested them all the time like the actual angels she knew, anyhow. “Yeah, yeah, all right. Let me change, and then we can go. See you there, Dad.” Uriel nodded, and, with a mock salute, took off in the direction of Kirito and Sephiriel’s house. Kaz, meanwhile, followed her daughter back to their own abode, heading into the master bedroom to dog around for something to wear.

“What color says ‘while I am moderately respectable, sass me and I will be happy to kick your ass'?” She inquired of her husband, rummaging around in her drawers. She didn’t ask because anyone in her family had any doubt of this, but rather because she and her family “enjoyed” a certain degree of celebrity post-apocalypse. Meaning that sometimes, they were followed around by reporters or photographers. It had taken her a while to learn to deal with this patiently, and every once in a while, she still hit someone too pushy in the nose. This was mostly tolerated, because the one time someone had tried to take her to court for it, she’d successfully managed to argue that existing laws were put in place to punish humans, and she was not one of those.

Of course, now there was legislation involving angels, part-demons, and everything in between. Voting rights, criminal provisions, all that. Realistically though, they didn’t exactly apply to her family. What were they going to do, put her in prison for hitting some guy who deserved it? Cassie had fixed the nose right afterwards anyway.


Senna rolled her eyes. "It has nothing to do with what you're wearing, you could be naked and still make half of the population run for their lives. You wear your personality like a hat and your emotions on your sleeve."

Asilian raised an eyebrow at his daughter with a smirk. "Like someone else I know." She puffed out her cheeks with an indignant huff. "Shut up, Dad." As chuckled before turning to his wife with a shrug. "You know it doesn't matter what you wear, especially to me."

Though I'd prefer you have nothing on at all...

There was an evil little smirk accompanied with that thought. Fifty years of marriage had changed him little, and even re-becoming an Angel had not taken away certain tendencies, which neither of them seemed to mind at all. Senna, as sharp as ever, caught the look, and rolled her eyes again. "We're gonna be late and Toto's gonna be pissed."


“Oh gee thanks,” Kaz told her daughter, rolling her own eyes to the ceiling. “I’m glad the world would find my nudity frightening.” Honestly. Of course, As was only making matters worse, and she raised a sardonic eyebrow at him. Right. But as it stands, we’re unfortunately obligated to actually get out of the house today, so unless you’re keen on everyone else getting an eyeful, I do have to wear [b]something.[/i]

Since her husband and her daughter were absolutely no help at all, Kazehana gestured to shoo the latter out of the room. “Kiri can shove it. We’ll get there when we get there. We’re his parents; I certainly don’t answer to the brat.” She decided on the red, sliding into the long-sleeved shirt and pulling the hem down over her dark jeans. From there, it was a simple matter of brushing her trademark purple hair up into the equally-recognizable ponytail and tying it off, which she did with the ease of long practice.

She turned her head so as to regard the man she married. “I suppose we really shouldn’t keep him waiting too much longer. At his age, he might have a stroke.” She shot him a wicked smile. “Besides, I want to see his face when Momo finally cops to dating Stella.” She snickered; pretty much everyone was aware of how close the two were… except Kirito. Who was probably actually going to have an aneurism when he found out. He was just about the most overprotective father she could imagine—much worse than As or her own dad.


Asilian raised an eyebrow at his wife. "And what makes you think Momo is actually going to admit to it?" While everyone knew exactly what was going on right in front of his son's clueless eyes, everyone was also pretty much aware that Morgan was, in one word, terrified of Kirito. Or perhaps the correct phrase would be that he was afraid for his own life, which was the main reason he'd never said anything about himself and Stella.

Senna looked sideways at her father. "Simple, Stell's making him say something. I think she's hoping that the fact that there will be more people around will keep him from over-reacting, but we all know Toto's going to blow his lid completely." She herself was actually looking forward to that quite a bit.

Asilian sighed, shaking his head. "And here I was hoping for a party without all the drama." Senna grinned. "Are you kidding? Drama is the middle name of everyone in this family."


“It’s true,” Kazehana agreed. “We used to be able to channel all of it into killing hellspawn. Now we’re all out of hellspawn.” She shrugged. “Not sure why he’s being such a coward, though. Kiri probably won’t even maim him. And Seph’s on his side, so even if he tries, it probably won’t get far…” It struck her sometimes that these were not the kinds of thoughts that people with normal lives ever had. Screw normal lives—hers was awesome.

“Anyway, might as well get going, hm?”

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Character Portrait: Kirito Fuhen Character Portrait: Sephiriel

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It had taken a few years to convince Sephiriel that there really wasn’t going to be a need to wear armor and go to battle again, but eventually she had accepted it. At first, she’d been rather lost without such a clearly-defined purpose, but eventually she’d come around, and found herself a place in a world that, while not perfect, was at the very least peaceful. There was no mistaking that she and those that surrounded her had grown into some unexpected (and in many cases unwanted) notoriety after all was said and done—the human obsession with celebrity was something she would never quite manage to understand. Even so, more than two decades primarily on earth had given her a grasp on much of the rest of it.

She and Kirito now lived outside the city proper, mostly because it was easier to breathe when one wasn’t constantly surrounded by people trying to mob oneself. The wings were a bit of a dead giveaway, after all. Their house was on the large side, though nothing too ostentatious, and presently they occupied it with their younger two children, the twins. Their eldest, Knox, was attending university at present, and as such, only came home from time to time. Sephiriel wasn’t against his independence, and wasn’t going to insist that he teleport home every day or anything like that.

At present, she was out in the garden, stealing a few moments’ more peace and quiet before everyone arrived for the birthday celebrations. Kirito and the twins had birthdays close enough to each other that all three were usually celebrated at the same time, meaning that this part of the year was always a little busy. Crossing her legs beneath her on the stone bench, Sephiriel hummed a smooth note in the back of her throat and watched with a smile as the hardier plants they grew in winter responded to the touch of divinity and grew even despite the standing snow on the ground. There was something to be said for that. Exhaling a sigh, he leaned back slightly and let her eyes fall closed.


There were times when Kirito had to actually stop and remember that not only was he now fifty, he also had three kids. That in and of itself, being a father, was something he wasn't always so sure he was cut out for, especially not when the Twins decided to go on an adventure, as they called it, which usually involved some sort of destruction and chaos. That part made him glad that Knox had at least turned out more like his mother.

And then there were the times that he couldn't believe Knox was his son at all, and he joined in with the antics of his youngest two. Senna would sometimes join in as well, his little sister almost as mischevious as he was sometimes. It was hard to belive at times, everything that had happened, and he wouldn't change any of it.

In the grand scheme of things, the world was at peace, though Kirito could do without all the notoriety. He knew Seph wasn't big on it, either, which had been the main reason they'd left the city. He checked his watch, knowing that the others would be arriving soon. When he looked up, he saw Seph sitting on the bench outside, and he smiled.

"So, do I get a Happy Birthday before the family arrives, or no?"


Seph pretended to contemplate the question, cracking an eyelid and shooting him a somewhat imperious look. At length, she sniffed. “Mm… no. I think not.” With that, she stood from the bench, raising her arms towards the sky and stretching, apparently perfectly content to ignore his presence for the moment. It was not an uncommon game of theirs, really—and perhaps it had grown out of the way they had once been. Their path to friendship, and later affection, had not been a very typical one at all, and this was still to some degree reflected in the way they behaved with one another. She, for instance, was sometimes known to act as if she cared not a whit for his existence. All in good fun, of course.

Her bare toes curled in the snow—she was hardly bothered by things like temperature. It was approaching the noon hour, and everyone was due here in two hours’ time, which meant that really, there was plenty of it. The twins were off getting ready, as it was in part their celebration, and Morgan was about, for reasons that Seph knew but Kirito really didn’t. The others had yet to arrive. Given that Kahlid and Cassiel were always punctual and Asilian and Kazehana were perpetually late, she could easily guess who would be making it first. Uriel, Michael, and Tsukiyo would drop in whenever their schedules allowed—that was simply the way of it.


For a split-second, Kirito pouted, though even he knew what was actually going on; they had had three children together, after all. This had been a game that had simply never gone away; what had started as an actual rivalry of sorts had become some sort of false pretense where they seemed to not actually care for one another at all, which couldn't be farther from the truth.

So after the pout, he smirked, scooping up a handful of snow before lobbing it at the back of his wife's head. "You know, come to think of it, I don't think we ever had that dodgeball rematch that I wanted."


She knew him far too well not to know that such a thing had been forthcoming, and Seph whirled, striking the snowball out of the sky with a miniature bolt of lightning. For a moment after it exploded, she simply stood there, blank-faced and indifferent, and then her face broke into a smile. A rather satisfied one at that. “Is that all you’ve got, whelp?” she asked, lifting a single golden eyebrow. She scooped up her own snowball and lobbed it for his chest, diving behind the cover of a hedgerow to gather more.

The last time they’d had a snowball fight, they hadn’t been alone. After they’d all nearly frozen, everyone had decided that Khalid, who had only been a reluctant participant in the first place, and Morgan were no longer allowed. Cryokinesis made things unfair. Really though, all other powers were pretty much par for the course with them. Peeking over her makeshift trenches just long enough to spot him, she moved aside to dodge another snowball, and lobbed two more right for him before taking once more to cover and stockpiling.


"Plenty more where that came from, Blondie."

The back and forth throwing of snowballs lasted for a while, neither party gaining any sort of advantage. At least, not until Kirito found himself pinned under a mound of snow that really had no business being thrown.

Unless you accounted for his son and daughter's shared ability of telekinesis. Stella and Skylar were grinning like idiots after succesfully ambushing their father, which was an acomplishment all its own, really. "Looks like we win, Dad." they said in unison as Kirito scowled, still half-under the enormous pile of snow. "The day is still very young, I'll have you know. You just wait." He couldn't help but grin as they acted coy and innocent before running off. There was no doubt at all that they were his kids.

He finally managed to worm his way out from under the snow wrap his arms around his wife's waist. "How did we manage to raise such a pair of little hellions?" Though, if he were being honest, they were nowhere near as bad as his three nephews.


“Well, their personalities are certainly not my fault,” Sephiriel pointed out stoically, though she did lean back into his embrace a little, rocking on her heels such that her back rested against his chest. “But I suppose I managed them much as I manage you. As is clearly evident, you have no control over them whatsoever.” The smirk was clear in her voice. Her children heeded her when she really wanted them to, and she’d never let Kirito in on whatever secret made that possible. Perhaps they were simply a little more scared of her. She was much more fearsome than her husband, after all. He was entirely too soft, and the twins had figured that out very early on in their lives.

Tipping her head back, she rested her crown against his sternum, looking up at his face and smiling softly.

“Happy birthday. Kirito.”


Kirito chuckled slightly. While it was true that the twins never really did listen to him overmuch, he didn't really mind. They weren't bad, they had simply inherited his love of mischief. It also really didn't help that Stella always seemed to be the one to come to him to ask for her bother, and he had zero capacity to tell his only daughter no.

He smiled down at her before placing a kiss on her forehead. "Well we all know I wasn't cut out to be the big bad dad. I like having fun too much. And thank you, Love. I do believe that Cassie and Khal should be here soon, along with our nephews. If at all possible, I would like the house to survive this gathering..."


“Oh, it’ll survive… but I can’t guarantee anything about the guests.” She declined to explain any further than that.

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Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Cassiel Fuhen Character Portrait: Khalid Itzal

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#, as written by Mihael
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Khalid added the final period to his current paragraph, then scanned the pages he’d just written. When he was satisfied with it for now, he closed the leatherbound cover of the journal and stood from behind his desk, shelving it alongside a line of identical tomes. Actually, there was an entire room full of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that held nothing but these books, all scribed in his hand, covering millennia of history, through the lens of his own life. The majority of them were filled with anguish and pain and confusion, or else apathy and fatalism, and he would admit that he still retained his belief in the inexorability of fate. He’d just given up knowing what it really dictated ahead of time.

His finger—bare, for she had somehow convinced him that the gloves, that layer of protection between he and the world, were not necessary—brushed the spine almost tenderly, and why should he not? This journal was the conclusion of the last twenty-some years, and they had been, without question and beyond the shadow of a doubt, the best ones of his entire miserable existence, precisely because they were not miserable at all. Her doing, always her doing.

Sometimes, Khalid wondered if Cassiel really understood just what she’d done for him. Try as he might, even his gift for words and elegant phrasing could not express it adequately, and this frustrated him from time to time. There was nothing, in English or his mother Arabic or any other of the dozens of living and dead languages he knew, that could convey what he felt, every single time he laid eyes on her face. And so he tried as hard as he could to be worthy of those things she’d done for him, been to him, and though there was simply no way he ever would, he at least would have forever to continue trying.

Maybe, somewhere along the way, it would feel like enough.

Even if it didn’t, though, it was fortunate for him that she seemed happy, just as they were. Their sons were a troublesome trio at times, but he loved them deeply and fiercely, though nothing could ever hope to match the love he bore for Cassiel. It didn’t have to, though—they were his children, and he was devoted to them in the way only a father could be. He found that this part of his life had allowed him to understand Caspar much more than he ever had before. Feeling that love, being on the other side of the bond, had cemented for him once and for all that though Lucifer was the father of his blood, Michael was his father in every way that mattered. He knew that he could be a father more like Cass than like his sire, and that was a great relief to him. The one thing he still feared was becoming as the devil had been, but so far, though learning to feel safely again had been rocky and he still wasn’t very expressive, he hadn’t felt the temptation to be anything remotely like Lucifer.

His eyes closed for just a moment, his hand still raised to the shelf, and a tiny little smile quirked his lips. Thousands of years of life, and at last, he finally lived. That was what she had given him.

Cassiel stared at the empty space between her and the home she shared with her family. A smile, one gifted to her by her mother, spread across her lips as she shook her head. It was a small family, though not nearly as small when she considered the type of family she had. Twenty and some odd years came and went, and they felt like a blink of an eye. After the apocalypse ended, she was happy, thrilled that the fighting had finally come to an end so that they did not have to lose any more of their family. So that other families no longer had to share that burden of losing those they loved to things they could not simply comprehend. But it was over now, and Cassiel couldn't have wanted more.

She had three sons, all three, triplets, born to her and the one she loved. She smiled fondly at the memory, of being told she was going to be a mother, and the look on Khalid's face when they were told it was triplets she was bearing. She chuckled softly to herself, allowing her fingers to glaze over a photo, framed in a simple wooden frame. It took a lot of convincing, but somehow she managed to get her three sons to sit still for a few minutes to take the thing. She loved her boys, she really did, however; she wasn't oblivious to their little crimes. It was a good thing Khalid was around, otherwise, even if she wasn't known for a violent or tempered disposition, Cassiel might not have had three sons.

Leaving the room, she allowed her legs to carry her to where one of the four men in her life was currently at, smiling when she entered the room and spotted Khalid still standing by one of the shelves. She glanced at the vast collection, frowning only slightly before it quickly disappeared. He had been writing his memoir for the past, countless, years. She'd never read them, because she didn't need to. She didn't need to know who he was, what he was, what his crimes were, because she did not love that man. She loved the one standing before her, hand raised to the books and eyes closed. She could never explain why she loved him, but what she did know, was that she had loved him from the very beginning. And that had been enough for her.

She walked up behind him, lacing her arms around his mid-section and laid her head against his back, embracing him from behind. "You know, we could just let the triplets go, and we could stay here," she murmured from behind his back. "They wouldn't notice us missing too much," she added, though she paused momentarily in that thought. "Unless Basil decided to burn down Kiki and Sephy's home. In that case, I vote we go somewhere far, far away," she continued, squeezing her arms a little tighter around him.

His hand dropped to where one of hers was wound around him, though for a moment, he didn’t open his eyes, instead allowing himself to savor completely the sweet sound of her voice. The smile inched just a little wider at her comment, though, and he turned in her embrace such that he was facing her, his snowy eyelashes separating to reveal the glimmer of sapphire-colored irises. “It is rather unfair of you,” he said quietly, resting a finger under her chin and using it to tilt her head gently upwards towards him, “to make such enticing suggestions when we really must go.” Ducking his head, he moved his mouth over hers in a slow, languid kiss.

Even after all these years, he could not claim to be used to being able to do that, though his shyness as such had evaporated in relatively little time. He felt a little safer to express himself with her than anyone else, because even though his emotions still sometimes caused unpredictable things, they never seemed to be bad, when they concerned her. He was still incredibly delicate with her, of course; he was too strong to be any other way. But it was no hardship, in the end. He would have done it even if it were.

He nuzzled her neck affectionately, placing another kiss there and wrapping his arms around her tightly, sighing softly into the juncture between throat and shoulder. “Unfortunately,” he continued, voice muffled slightly by her skin, “I believe we are expected.” And he would be the one who caught the flak if they weren’t there. Not that it would concern him overmuch, of course, but he did generally prefer to stay on the good side of certain parties for his own health. Mostly Sephiriel, really.

Cassiel pursed her lips together, a frown etching along the pursed lines as he spoke. It, however, disappeared as she smiled into his kiss. She really didn't want to stay home, because then that would mean she'd be missing an important event with her family. Even if it happened once a year, or rather a few times a year, but once for each member of the family, she didn't want to miss a single one. She let out an exaggerated sigh, allowing most of her weight to be kept by him as she leaned against him, shivering slightly at the feel of his lips against her neck. She glanced up at him, mustering a set of eyes as her bottom lip quivered, just barely.

"You're no fun," she murmured, however; she smiled brightly up at him and tiptoed. She placed a chaste kiss upon his nose before falling back to the palms of her feet, lacing her hand with his as she began to swing it softly. "You don't play a fair game either, Khal," she responded, but the light playful gesture behind her voice was enough to let him know she was only teasing. She sighed softly in content and rocked a bit on her the heels of her feet. Closing in at almost fifty years of age, and she still felt like a teenager (and perhaps still looked a bit like one). She wondered, for a moment, what Khalid had looked like as a baby, and a grin spread across her lips.

"I bet you were a cute snow baby," she stated, tapping the tip of his nose with her index finger. "It's a shame that neither three inherited your snowy locks. They're pretty," she stated, running a hand through his mane of hair.

“I’m quite sure I have no idea,” he said, by this point somewhat accustomed to the fact that she occasionally allowed their conversations to be dictated by whimsy and random thoughts. He liked it, even, the way she found it a bit difficult to do the same thing the same way all the time. She was a touch of spontaneity in his life, and it was truly a gift.

He leaned just slightly into the hand in his hair, dropping another kiss on the crown of her head. Those eyes would undo him every time, quite honestly. She wanted to go, and he did too, for the most part. It was true that large groups were not his cup of tea, really, but it would be nice to see everyone together. His family was perhaps the only large group he could tolerate for extended periods, though they did still tend to exhaust him a little.

Moving his hand to the side, he caught a strand of her own hair and wound it around his finger before raising it to his lips. “It is not shame as far as I am concerned,” he said truthfully. He preferred her hues to his, after all, and it wasn’t like their sons suffered from any lack of attention. They seemed to soak in the fame that came with being a member of this family with a great deal more ease than any of their relatives, and had no few admirers. He caught himself thinking that he wouldn’t really mind if they actually managed to settle, but it was unlikely in the near future, really. They weren’t of the right frame of mind yet.

Stepping away from her at last, he slid his hand down her arm and laced their fingers together. “Let’s go; I do believe we have sons to organize.”

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