"Leave him here," said Daiki, staring me down. We'd gone through one of the hundred doors that lined the walls of the main hall.

"No, I won't leave him," I replied. I'd carried Rin from the main hall because I thought Daiki would release the spell he'd cast on him.

"Leave him or I'll kill him," Daiki growled. I dropped Rin, who was in a mini-coma right now. He grunted as his body clunked against the floor.

"Good choice," said Daiki, "Now follow me." I didn't argue. Daiki could kill Rin any moment. When he touched Rin's forehead with his magic he'd left his mark there. He now had total control over Rin's nervous system. He could cause Rin unimaginable pain or overload his nerves, killing him with his own pain without even twitching a finger.

I followed behind Daiki, my combat boots thumping with each footstep. We were walking down a long hallway. It was similar to the main hall, except a bit smaller and less fancy. It was darker, also.

"There's something I discovered…about myself," said Daiki, not turning to look at me. I glanced back and saw Rin still lying on the floor, the mark glowing on his forehead. His eyes were closed. If it weren't for the red flow peeking out from behind his hair, I'd have thought he was simply sleeping.

"Are you listening? I'm about to tell you something about me that you don't know," he said, walking faster. I forced my legs to speed up so that I could catch up to him. I cursed my tiny legs.

"I'm listening," I replied.

"Good. Well, this thing that I discovered was about my abilities…my skillset," he said, letting his voice trail off. A few moments later he spoke again, "I not only have control over the nervous system now…I can manipulate any part of the body at my will." My eyes went wide, but I didn't say anything. This is bad…what is he planning?

"Isn't that fascinating?" he questioned. I didn't answer. "Well, I suppose you can grasp what I mean to do by telling you this." I couldn't.

"It's a warning…of what sort, I won't tell you," he said. We rounded the corner. He offered me his hand. I eyed it skeptically until he started glaring at me. I took it. He grinned and kissed my hands. I fought the urge to curl that hand into a fist and enjoy some fist-to-face contact. I suddenly felt a strange buzzing feeling in my entire body. I blinked a few times and then realized that I was in a new position in the hallway, no doubt farther from where Rin was. I felt nervous. Daiki had used his teleportation.

"Anyway, I by 'any part of the body' I mean down to the very atoms that make you up," he said, staring at me. He leaned closer to me. I noticed that he'd started talking directly about me.

"What are you planning?" I asked, stepping back.

"I've just released your little devil from my grip. That should make you happy. Of course, it will take him a while to recover," he said, clasping his hands together. I couldn't help but feel a bit relieved.

"You know, Grace, I've always hated you," he said, looking at me with empty eyes, "Mostly because of your power. I've never had that…and I've wanted it for as long as I could remember. I am weak. That is my prevalent trait." I stared at him. He wasn't as weak as some, but he wouldn't see it that way.

"Grace, I want you to lose that. I want you to know what weakness is," he told me. You're wrong…I do know weakness. I'm probably even weaker than you are, Daiki…I doubt you'd understand what real weakness is.

Daiki lunged forward, but I dodged him. I'd been expecting this. His fingertips were glowing red. "Are you trying to mark me?" I yelled, dodging him again.

"How else would I destroy your power?" he growled. I rose into the air, and spun around. I flapped my wings as hard as I could, trying to get away from him. No way in hell was I going to let him get near me with his stupid marks.

"Come back here!" he yelled after me. I expected him to teleport next to me, but he didn't.

"Like I would!" I called over my shoulder. When I caught a glimpse of him I realized he was smiling. I didn't know why until I slammed into something in front of me…or rather something slammed into me.

"Hello again, Gracey," said a voice. My heart sank.

"Why are you two here?" I asked, backtracking a few feet. Azuma and Azuna, currently in the form of twin eagles, were flapping rapidly in front of me.

"Bring her back to me!" Daiki called.

"To get you, it seems," Azuna said, her voice calm.

Azuma cackled, "Time to go…Gracey!" They slashed out at me, trying to grab my arms with their talons, but I dropped down a few feet, using gravity to my advantage. I twirled around and burst forward. I wasn't too worried about the twins catching me, but I still didn't want to be dragged back to Daiki. I wasn't going to let them get me. I flew forward, beating my wings as fast as I could. I didn't look behind me. As I flew through the hallway I got a weird sense that all of this had happened before.

I heard a cracking sound behind me, the wall of the hallway breaking open. Demons spilled out from the newly opened crevice. I couldn't believe that Daiki had sunk so low as to use demons to do his dirt work. Still, they were a legitimate threat. Unfortunately, goblins are pretty fast. I heard them getting closer and pushed my wings harder. My shoulders felt like they were going to be ripped off. I hadn't flown like this before.

I almost slammed into the wall, but caught myself with one powerful beat of my wings. I swung my body around and ran along the wall. I launched myself back into the air, returning to full-speed flying. I felt a biting pain in my leg and looked back to see what was hurting me. One of the twins had latched onto my shin and was digging their talons into my skin. I deduced that it was Azuma and shook him off after a few thrashes of my leg. I looked forward and saw something that came with a huge flood of relief.

Daiki was always targeting me. He didn't care about the humans or anything they were doing. It was all a big plan to take my angelic powers. The twins spilling the beans was probably part of his plan also. I beat my wings as fast as I could, propelling myself forward towards the distant blue glow. As I got closer I realized that Rin was also fighting demons. They'd poured through the door. I was glad that he'd recovered from Daiki's mark.

"Rin!" I screamed out desperately. He his flicked towards me and his eyes filled with relief. I beat my wings one last time before they gave out on me. My muscles were on fire and I couldn't push them any farther. I tumbled to the ground, rolling across the floor. I landed on one of my wings. I heard a loud cracking sound and incredible pain shot through me. I screamed. "Grace!" yelled Rin. I felt strange…like I was separate from what was happening. I watched as a wall of demons descended on me. Azuna and Azuma were there too. "Grace!" Rin shouted. I couldn't answer. My entire body was in so much pain that my brain was hardly functioning.

Blue light lit up my vision as Rin struck out at the demons. A river of blue flames poured down the hallway, eliminating all of the demons that it came in contact with. My eyelids felt heavy. Rin fell to his knees, having used up too much energy. He must have been fighting before I arrived. I lay limply behind him. He struggled to stand up again, but he was too weak. He collapsed next to me. He extended his hand towards me. His hands were bloodied and dirty. I reached forward, pain screaming at me to stop in my shoulder and wing. Our fingers barely touched each other, but it was enough for me. I let my eyelids sag. If I had to die, this wasn't that bad of a way to go.

As my vision became even blurrier and my eyelids began to close, I glimpsed a flash of brown in my vision. I heard a flurry of wing beats and a cawing sound. Blurry shapes—two of them—lunged for me. They were knocked aside by the brown figure. My eyes slid shut. I heard someone calling my name. The voice sounded soft and concerned. I smiled as I drifted away from myself, the pain in my shoulder getting the better of me. I held Rin's fingers tightly as I fell.

The first thing I was aware of was the pain. My eyes snapped open and I gasped out. I sat up, only worsening the throbbing that coursed throughout my entire body. I took in my surroundings, breathing hard. There were six beds in a row, four of them empty. I was taking up one of them. Lying in the other was Rin. He looked pale and for a terrifying moment I thought he was dead. Then he mumbled something like "Cheese" and turned over. I sighed in relief.

I looked to my left and saw something I didn't expect. Passed out in an uncomfortable-looking chair beside my bed was my father. His head fell over the back of the chair and he was snoring deeply. His hands were crossed over his chest. The pain I felt had started to fade as I stopped moving.

"Dad?" I asked. His eyes flicked open and he raised his head.

"You're awake," he mumbled, rubbing his eyes and yawning. Thank you, Captain Obvious. He looked tired. Dark circles were visible underneath his eyes.

"Where am I?" I asked.

"Some human hospital. They said your wing was broken and that you had sustained several injuries."

I stared at him. My voice broke as I uttered my next words, "W-Will I be able to fly again?"

He stared at me, completely silent. My eyes widened in horror. I squeaked. He smiled, "I'm just kidding! You'll be fine!
I was silent for a few seconds, "Oh my god! What kind of person says that?"

He chuckled as I realized what I'd just said. "No…I didn't mean to say god! Don't laugh! What's wrong with you?"

"I'm sorry…but your face was just so hilarious!" he said. He wiped tears from the corners of his eyes. I cracked a smile. As his laughing died down, he began to look serious, "Grace…I wanted to say that I'm sorry."

That got my attention. I hadn't expected him to ever say something like that. "I-I've done some horrible things in the past. I left you to deal with those idiots on your own…I put you and the humans in danger and…" his voice trailed off.

"Yeah…that was pretty dumb," I said. He looked up at me, "Wow…that was a really touching response."

"What? I'm just calling it like I see it," I replied, shrugging and then immediately regretting it.

"Dad…" I said quietly, "Were you the one that saved us?" It had been eating away at the back of my head since I'd spotted him passed out beside me. He was silent and looked down. Finally, he nodded. "Thank you…I guess," I muttered.

He looked up at me, tears in his eyes, "I met your mother a long, long time ago. She was beautiful, just like you, and I fell in love with her as soon as I saw her. I guess I should have known that you'd end up like me…falling in love even though worlds separate you…"

I stared at him, tears showing in my own eyes now. I pushed them away, "Dad, I—"

"Don't say anything yet…I'm not finished," he said, raising his hand, "I want to tell you this. I've always imagined what it would be like to meet you…and how you'd react. When I finally revealed myself, I was shocked. You were angry…and I understand that. I've been a poor excuse for a father and I know that. I'm not asking for your forgiveness, but I want you to know that I won't stop you. I won't stop you from being with the person that you love. I'd lost myself and ruined our meeting, but I don't want you to hate me. I want you to be happy."

The room was silent except for Rin's snores and his occasional mutterings of different names of food. "But he really is a strange boy…honestly," said my dad. I laughed out loud, a deep and true sound echoing throughout the room. Rin bolted upright and slid out of his bed. He landed on the floor and looked at me upside down, "Grace! Are we dead?"

"Yeah…sorry," I said, smiling.

"Well…that's ok. As long as you're here," he said, grinning widely.

My dad stood up and patted my head, "I'll leave you two, then." I grabbed his hand as it slid off of my hair, "Wait…will I ever see you again?"

"I don't see why not," he said, grinning at me. I smiled up at him as he slipped out of the room. I looked to my right where Rin was standing up. He walked over and sat on my bed beside me. It bounced and I winced, "Damnit, Rin…careful!"

"What? What's wrong?" he demanded, leaning closer to me. He scanned my body. It looked fine out the outside. My skin was already healed from the cuts I'd gotten. The only thing that was hurting was my wing. I guess it didn't heal as fast as the rest of me.

"I broke my wing," I said, looking at it. I didn't dare try to move it. Rin's eyes went wide and then he looked down. He covered his face with one hand, "I'm sorry…that I couldn't save you." His voice was so quiet that it was almost inaudible. I reached forward and lifting his chin. I smiled at him, "It's alright. If I wasn't such a wimp I'd have been able to save myself."

"That's not the problem!" he said, his voice suddenly loud, "I couldn't keep you safe. I wasn't able to be there for you when you really needed me! Do you know how terrifying that is? What if you're attacked again and I still can't protect you? What if you disap—" I leaned forward and cut off his words with my mouth.

When I pulled away I whispered to him, "I love you, Rin. Stop worrying. I won't disappear. I won't go anywhere…alright?" He stared into my eyes and then nodded slowly. He let his head drop onto my shoulder and I laughed, "You're such a scaredy-cat." His tail flicked behind him.

"I am not a scaredy-cat!" he insisted. I smile and stole another kiss from him. I intended for it to be a quick peck, but he grabbed my face and pressed me closer to him. Our kiss lasted a long time. I let his warmth surround me as he drew me in. His hand slid down my back. I shivered in delight, but jumped in pain as his hand knocked against my injured wing. "Ow!" I yelped. He drew his hand back instantly, his eyes wide, "Sorry!"

I smiled as the pain started to fade. I leaned forward and kissed him again, gently this time. When I pulled away our faces lingered close to each other. His eyes were still closed as he smiled. They cracked open lazily, "So…we're not actually dead, right?"

"Stupid as always," I whispered back, kissing him again. He shrugged and kissed me back. For once in my life, I'd finally reached the heaven that I'd always dreamed about.

Well, that's it. Yep. That's my story. What's the moral to the story? I don't know. You figure it out. Why did I tell it to you? Honestly, I just felt like I should write it down. It's just the story of how a girl finds where she belongs. I guess you could say that I wanted to share it with others...that maybe they could find some inspiration from it or...something. It's really up to you whether or not you take it to heart. Well...I guess thanks for reading all of it. I'm not going to lie...it was pretty tiring to write all of it down. I'm glad at least one person read it all the way through. I have to go. Rin's calling me. He probably wants food or something. Yeah, he's always been pretty stupid...but I love him for it.

I hope that you can find the same thing I have: a place where you belong...a home. Good luck. Maybe I'll read your story someday. Who knows? It's a small world...or should I make that threesmall worlds? It doesn't matter which one you're from...you'll find your home. Whether that place is in Caelum, Assiah, or even Gehenna...you'll find it.

Thanks for reading,

Grace Okumura

Hey, everyone. I've gotten a few reviews asking for me to write more. I just wanted you guys to know that the story is officially over. HOWEVER! If you liked Grace and want to read a little more about her and her escapades, you should know that the sequel is published. Yay! It's called Clash of the Worlds.

Here's the new story's summary:

Grace thought her story was over. She was happy going to school with Rin and her friends. She could never have expected what was to come. She is unwillingly ripped away from her friends. Being kidnapped by Satan isn't ideal. Grace will become the spark in a war between Heaven and Hell. Can she stay alive long enough to return to Rin's side, or will she lose herself along the way?

Check it out! Oh, and don't forget to leave a review. ;)