Belasco appeared in the lower pits where the lesser demons resided. Most of them were small, prone to little innocent pranks rather than all out evil acts the stronger and bigger demons were known for. A few of them looked at him and squealed in fear, running away as fast as their little legs could carry them.

Watching most of them run from the sight of him, Belasco sighed softly and shook his head a bit, looking around to where he was exactly in the lower pits. Raising up his hand, he made a few gestures with his taped up fingers and a minor teleportation portal was opened and he stepped into it, making it seal up behind him. ***
Belasco's former slave Nightcrawler was beside one of the only clean and clear pools in Limbo drinking deeply of the cool and crisp water. Taking out his head from the water, he shook his head, spraying water all over before he paused and looked into the water. He was crouching down, his tail swaying side to side as he stared at his reflection as it wavered gently before him.

He used to be so handsome in his world's reality. He used to look like that one Nightcrawler from the world...what was it called now? Oh yes, Earth 616. He used to look like that Nightcrawler, with high cheekbones and European features that made him one of the best looking members of his X- men.

That was all gone now. His face was no longer as handsome as it was had been, his fangs longer and sharper and his hair wild and uncombed. He couldn't stand upright any more either. He walked stooped over only when he really wanted to be on two feet. Most of the time he just went on all four legs like an animal. Even his hands were misshapen with his first finger longer and more twisted than the other.

In disgust he slapped the water with his tail, making his image waver and disappear.

He was just disgusting now! Even Jimaine and the Illyana from Earth 616 didn't want to look at him! Every time he got anywhere near them they would chase him away, shouting at him angrily. Sometimes they even cast spells at him, leaving wounds and sores on his legs and tail from running while they fired at him. No one wanted to have to look at him anymore. Not when they could beat him and chase him away like a stray dog or cat.

He even still wore his golden necklace, the ornate thing that Belasco had made him wear around his neck as a sign that he was his slave.

Well...not [i]everyone[/i]. Nightcrawler had made friends with most of the lesser demons, and even a few of the moderate ones were friends. They were the only ones who were actually nice to him, and it made him feel good when he was around them, his only friends in Limbo.

Looking up, he narrowed his eyes as Illyana headed right for him. She would want to take a bath then, and the slave of Belasco was not welcome around these pools anyway. They were much too clean for the likes of him.

Without waiting for her to cast a spell at him, Nightcrawler teleported away. ***
Jimaine was at the castle, weaving protection spells when she sensed a teleportation spell being used in the lower pits. She stopped and narrowed her eyes slightly, concentrating on the area. When another spell was used to leave the lower pits, she knew that it wasn't a lesser demon experimenting with spells.

It was someone skilled with Black Magic.

Walking up to a mirror, Jimaine ran the tips of her fingers over the glass, making it become smoky. The mist swirled around slowly and started to glow a deep crimson before it spread apart and showed Belasco walking down the tunnels of Limbo, heading towards the castle as he looked around.

"Damn it!" she hissed. "How did he get back here?" Swiftly she ripped open a portal and stepped into it, sending Illyana a mental warning about Belasco. ***
Belasco actually felt lost. Looking around, he raised his eyebrows slightly. Illyana and Jimaine had really changed some things around in here! He wasn't even sure if he was going in the right direction or not.

The pain spell hit him without any warning.

Screaming, he fell to his knees, arching his back as it felt like hot metal was being pressed into the small of his back. Gritting his teeth, Belasco looked up at Illyana as she pressed the Soulsword against his throat.

"It was a huge mistake coming here, Belasco!" Jimaine said from behind. "You must have lost your mind if you thought that we wouldn't sense you using so many teleportation spells!"

"I wasn't trying to hide from you." Belasco said, careful of the Soulsword. "I was looking for you so that we could talk." He flinched as Illyana flicked the blade and clipped off a top of his ear.

"You're a liar and a murderer, Belasco." She said. "Why should we believe that you came here only to talk?"

"And where are your fancy clothes?" Jimaine asked. "You look like you went and bought your clothes at a garage sale!"

"I didn't come here to fight either one of you." Belasco said slowly. "I came here to talk and ask for your forgiveness." He cried out when Illyana cut the corner of his mouth deeply. She was about to take his head off, when he dove to the left, barely missing getting hit with a fireball from Jimaine.

"I know that I've caused you and your alternate selves a lot of grief!" he said, casting a protection spell around himself. "And I realize that you both probably despise me deeply and I can't really blame you for that can I?"

Belasco dodged all of their attacks as best as he could, getting minor cuts on his face and arms as Illyana swung her Soulsword at him.

"But I want you to know that even though I cannot go back in time and change the things that I have done, I am sorry. More sorry than you can ever know." His back smashed up against a stonewall as Jimaine cast an Aero spell, sending strong winds at him.

Illyana Soulsword sank into his side, making him cry out. When she withdrew it, she raised it up and was about to finish it when he whispered a spell that sent the two as far away from him as possible.

Pressing his fist into the wound, Belasco ran as fast as he could, knowing that the two would catch up to him eventually. ***
It was about ten minutes later when Belasco finally stopped running and fell to the ground, panting as blood flowed through his fingers. Gritting his teeth, he removed his fist and looked at the wound. Spitting on the palm of his wound, he mumbled a few words and he pressed it on the wound, making a minor seal to stop and blood and make the skin start to heal.

"That went better than I expected it would." He sighed, shaking his head faintly. Lifting up his head, he tilted it to one side and listened as he heard voices nearby. His tail swished slowly and he stood up, walking over silently to see who was talking. ***
Nightcrawler was with a few of the lesser demons, laughing and watching as they wrestled with each other, talking in their choppy tongue. One of them was named Micah; a lesser demon with large eyes that were bigger than his head that glittered like glass. Micah had a small beak sharp beak and a tiny blue-feathered body with one large birdlike foot that it would hop around on.

Micah hopped up and landed in Nightcrawler's lap, pecking at his necklace lightly.

"Is shiny!" Micah said. "Micah like play with shiny things! Micah play with 'Crawler's shiny?" Laughing softly, Nightcrawler took off his necklace and he held it out to Micah, watching as the lesser demon's eyes lit up as it took it in its small beak.

"Don't forget to give it back now." Nightcrawler said, watching as Micah hopped down and started to toss the necklace in the air, playing with it like a puppy will with a rubber ball. He laughed softly, shaking his head as he watched Micah and the other demons play with his golden necklace.

"You kept that necklace... After everything that has happened to you; you kept it."

Nightcrawler cringed at the sound of his master's voice and when he turned around, he crouched in on himself, his tail tucking in between his legs in defense.


"No." Belasco said, shaking his head as he knelt down beside him. "You don't have to call me that anymore. I am not your master." Nightcrawler looked at Belasco in confusion, his tail thumping the ground lightly as he tried to figure him out. Was it a test of some sort?

He crouched down lower, keeping his head lower than Belasco's.

"Are you angry at me, master?" he asked. He flinched when Belasco cupped his chin in his hand, but his fear became nothing but pure confusion when Belasco made him lift his head higher than his own.

"You're not the one who should be asking that." Belasco said gently. "And I am not your master. What I did to you was wrong. You are not my slave, Nightcrawler."

"What are you talking about?" Nightcrawler asked. "Is this a test of my loyalty?"

"How can I expect you to stay loyal to me after all of the things I have done to you?" Belasco asked, shaking his head slowly. "No, I am not testing you this time. I am being very serious."

Nightcrawler slapped him with his tail as hard as he could before he got up.

"You did this to me!" he screamed. "Why are you being nice to me now? For all these years you've been cruel and heartless with me! You beat me so often and left me disfigured! You slaughtered all of my friends and left me wounded and close to death before you did this to me!

"Why are you changing now, master? Why do you have to do this to me now? Why can't you just come back and be evil and cruel to me like you always were? Why can't you just leave well enough alone! Don't do this to me! Not now! Not after all of these years!"

"I understand your anger." Belasco said softly. "I..."

"Then just beat me and yell at me and leave me be!" Nightcrawler said. "Don't try to confuse me now with this sudden change of heart!" Tears were starting to come to his eyes, falling down his cheeks slowly. Crouching down, Nightcrawler wept softly, pressing his hands on either side of his face.

Belasco looked at him sadly, understanding where he was coming from. He had heard that Toad and Magneto had gone through the same problem when Magneto showed kindness to Toad and made him into an equal. Toad had not been able to deal with it, and Sentinel City was nearly destroyed by his rage.

Gently, he rested the tips of his fingers on Nightcrawler's brow, and he whispered a spell, rubbing them in a circle.

When Nightcrawler opened his eyes, he blinked and looked at his hands in surprise. They were at their proper length again. Touching his face, Kurt found that it was no longer hideous and misshapen anymore.

"Your will is free again." Belasco said. "You're not under my control anymore." Looking at Belasco, Nightcrawler started to sob and he rested his head over his heart in a weak hug. Belasco hugged him back with his one arm, sighing softly as he rubbed his back.

He had ruined Nightcrawler's life, and he wasn't sure if he was being forgiven or not through this hug. All he knew was that there was no way that Illyana and Jimaine would be forgiving him. He couldn't leave Nightcrawler here either, his mind was too weak and upset about everything that had happened.

His eyes started to burn, and Belasco found that he too was weeping.

The End