Gr. I'm as pissed as hell right now. Stupid parts of FFnet aren't working for me, as some of you may already know. Currently, for the past two days, I haven't been recieving any email alerts for reviews, stories, PMs, or... whatever! I've tried everything, too! Tried changing my email temporarily (didn't even GET the validation thingy for that -.-) and then i sent a complaint about it earlier, but the admins haven't responded/done anything yet, and i certainly don't see a change in the situation...GR! So, sorry if you've sent a PM or whatever and i haven't responded. Most likely i haven't even GOTTEN it... :(

(sniffles) Anyway, last chapter... T-T Oh, well. I still have a sequel to write n' plan out! n-n So be happy with that! But i dunno when i'm gonna post it... I wanna get something first to help me out with what i have planned with it. (sighs)

Hope that the story has been satisfactory for all of you. :3 I really appreciate all the reviews. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside--!

.-. Um, right. Hope to see y'all in the sequel! HAPPY READING! Oh, and by the way, check out my profile every now and then for information regarding the sequel, i've already added the summary to it up. :33

Disclaimer: SHADDAP! I DON'T OWN GASH BELL! If i did, i'm sure all of you by know would know what i'd do with a certain dark duo... (cackles evilly)


Chapter 30

The Next Stand

A soft breeze tugged at the tufts of fresh green grass rooted upon the hillside, making them dance and wave as the wind whirled about. Up above, the clouds were forced to lazily drift by across the world, occasionally letting the sun, which had not long ago poked its yellow face out from underneath the horizon, beam down upon the earth. It was now morning and all was quiet for the time being.

I merely lay upon the hillside, simply watching everything as it slowly passed by, letting time slip away on its own as I tucked my arms behind my head, using them as a pillow. The cabin that Sherry and I had stayed in for the night was in clear view, as it was just settled right at the bottom of the hill.

With a sigh, I closed my eyes, musing to myself as the wind softly caressed my face, I kept myself awake when I felt myself somewhat dozing from the warmth of the sun.

Already it was the next day, hard to think two months of pure hell had already passed by so quickly, or not so. At the time being, everything seemed to halt in its tracks and all was settled in a pregnant pause. What would happen next, I wondered, with the search to find Zophise—and Sherry's lost memories?

We had already succeeded in retrieving her original personality again, so that was a plus for us two, but the strange thing was, I had no idea how it happened. Did it simply happen with me stirring up both of our emotions and somehow tempting the original Sherry back out again? Or had it been something else?

A small bug buzzed in my face but I ignored it. Instead, I was too fixed upon my thoughts, pondering more over the events to come.

My relationship with Sherry seemed to be changing as every second passed, I was curious as to what it would lead to next. Was this something positive, or was everything going on all downhill? What caused me to want her so badly, not to mention what caused her to act so strangely after her original persona was regained? Everything didn't seem to make much sense anymore, I wondered if I was really meant to have Sherry as my human partner at times.


There was more meaning to that, I realized. Did our king, for some stupid, sick reason, pair us up with the weaklings of this planet, just to see the outcome? Surely he had to do the same thing during his battle, so were the musings of torturing all demons planted into one's mind as soon as they were crowned king?

It was ridiculous to imagine, yet it made sense at the same time. I frowned at this. Then that meant our wonderful king wasn't as great as he was thought to be. Instead he was weak, letting those thoughts manipulate his mind with such ease. Such idiocy… I would be much stronger than that!

But the thoughts of temptation and desire lingered within my mind. I knew that I had my weakness too, my one and only downfall was her—the human that I somehow just had to fall for, to want so badly, to want to hold her and claim as my own, my damned human partner, Sherry Belmond.

Damn it, all right! I was one to call the king weak when I couldn't even overcome my own obstacles! Or did the king for some strange reason let the ideas enter his mind without a second thought? It was too odd to imagine. Again, I had done the exact same thing, letting my body move on its own around that woman…

Why, of all things, did desire have to be my failure? What was this unrecognizable feeling I had for her…?

What he hell was it?

Suddenly, something caught my eye, and I turned my head just a little to the side only to see Sherry walking up towards the hill. I couldn't exactly see her too well from here, but I waited patiently as she clambered up the not-too-steep grassy hill, stopping where she was as soon as she reached where I lay. The wind tugged at her golden hair and flowing dress and she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. My book was in her right hand.

"Hey, Brago…" she said quietly, turning her head away to gaze upon the horizon. I responded with a 'hn' and let the silence slowly overwhelm the situation. But my wishes were not granted on that turn, because as Sherry slowly started to speak, her voice was quiet, as if she were still partially in musing. "Well… it's been an interesting two months, hasn't it?"

Odd. Was she somehow reading my mind?

Her azure gaze landed upon my own and she then turned away, obviously not knowing too much on what to say. I remained where I was, waiting for her to continue while I began to contemplate on whether to intervene in the conversation or not. I decided to let Fate have its way for once, as I wasn't exactly in the mood to think about it.

"I still don't really know how I want to say much anymore, but…" Sherry began to lower herself down closer to my level and I kept a red eye on her, watching every nimble movement she made. Her lip trembled just slightly as she sat down on the grass, pulling her knees up to herself insecurely. Still, I remained silent. "I think I'll be able to figure it out in due time, though I don't know when that will be."

She turned her head to look upon me again quietly and the woman sighed before tucking another lock of hair behind her ear. The wind still continued to dance about the area.

"Brago, I…" Sherry trailed off, averting her gaze for just a moment as she sighed, closing her eyes temporarily as she let the wind beat against her face without her moving. "…I don't know what to say now. But…"

Turning her gaze upon me, the woman lowered herself to where I lay and I raised my brow just slightly, a little surprised when she allowed her face to hover above mine before gently letting her lips brush against mine. I didn't return the action, but waited as the blonde stopped after a moment, moving back just a little so our faces were no longer touching.

"Sorry…" she mumbled as a saddened look overwhelmed her features. I wasn't quite sure if she was aware of her actions or not, but… the woman slowly started to caress the side of my face, her hand trembling just slightly. "I didn't do that for myself, I did that for you…"


Sherry sighed sadly, turning her azure gaze to the hand resting upon my cheek. Before she spoke, she fixed her eyes upon mine once more, and trembled. "I know that you're the one who really wants this, I was just giving you a little pleasure there. I wasn't doing it for me."

I rolled my eyes, still not in the mood to start an argument. "I don't see why it matters, now does it?" The way she acted the previous night, how she moaned so softly when I kissed her exposed skin… Mentally, I shook my head.

In any case, I was positive that Sherry was hiding something from me, something of which was her own desire. From reading her body language and studying how she moved and talked, it was quite obvious to tell she was in a similar situation as I.

"It does," she responded defensively, and I rolled my eyes before sitting up and pushing the woman down on her back. Blue eyes widening, Sherry questioned what I was doing but I didn't respond. Instead, I smirked before bending down, kissing her rough enough but not too harsh, as I didn't want to get carried away. I toyed with the woman for a minute before removing myself from her. All the while, the woman had her eyes closed and I could feel her body relax underneath mine. And who said she didn't enjoy this?

"Sorry to bother you, but it doesn't," I whispered harshly in her ear. The blonde shuddered while I sat up, taking in the fresh air and exhaling her intoxicating scent from my nose. I knew I couldn't push it too far—I couldn't let it get out of hand. At least I stopped myself this time.

"Brago," Sherry murmured softly as I stood up, staring down at her figure. "I just… it can't work out, this wasn't meant to be! I don't want to deal with it if it wasn't, so—"

"Shut up already, I don't give a damn," I muttered angrily, glaring sharply at the woman who tried to glare back. "I personally don't care." Ah, but this is where I had to contradict myself—in a way, I did care, as well about my actions. However, things were now too confusing and I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on with myself.

The woman opened and closed her mouth a few times as if to say something but she slowly shut it completely, evidentially having a loss of words as her lips formed a thin line. Her eyes watered just slightly and an awkward silence settled between the two of us. After a while, though, I soon got tired of it, having had enough of these in the past two months already. So I turned around, beginning to walk down the hill, my back facing Sherry.

"I'm heading back down to the cabin," I said, "When you're ready to leave again, come get me."

"But I—" Sherry trailed off, though if she even bothered to say anything else, I sure didn't hear her. I was already halfway down the hill, the soft breeze tugging just a little harder at my cape as I marched down the grassy slope, shoving my hands as deep into my pockets as they could go.

I was silent for the rest of the day and so was Sherry. Neither of us bothered to bring up any of the past conversations for a while. Though as I turned to look up at the sky and consider what happened, I sighed. Things were going by so quickly; first two months, now this, and then the next thing I would know would be that two more months had passed. And before I knew it, the last battle to determine who won the crown would be on, but of course it would be me winning that fight. There was no way it couldn't be.

But still, what would happen in between that timeline until then? What would become of my relationship with Sherry? Would I have gone over the limit by then or would I have given up on it? What would be Sherry's actions, or reactions to my own? How many more spells would we learn?

As I thought about this I suddenly felt different. I felt out of character, like I didn't belong in the shoes I was standing in… that only meant I needed to regain control again. But did I ever have control? Yet I shouldn't just let Fate have its way, I was still around and had the power to make a difference in my future, I wouldn't go down so easily and Sherry had better not, either. Fate would just have to deal with its own plans, not mine, for these would never belong to that malevolent force. Nothing would get in my way.

So what if I let my desires have a little satisfaction again, I would be able to control that one day, or so I would hope. Sherry, in a way, had even admitted to me what her desires sought after—just as the awkward Sherry had done, much to my discontent. I knew not what all of this meant but I would simply call my own feelings for her something else, that of which I would figure out in due time.

I sighed again and blinked, facing my surroundings head on, stopping in my tracks as I let the breeze take my mind away for just a second more. Yes, all in due time things would surely happen.

My realization…


And the throne, which awaited me.