Kingdom Hearts II
Deal with the Devil
Notes: The characters are not mine,
and this nonsense is! It was totally inspired by the prompt Running
late for an appointment with Death at 31 Days. Joker
(you're not very funny) from 20 Heartbeats helped, too.
And many thanks to Kaze and Lisa for plot help! The perfect and
hilarious twist of Seph's trick was Kaze's idea, along with thoughts
for some of Hades' dialogue.
It was five after ten on a Wednesday night, and the god of the Underworld was not pleased.
"Where is he?!" he griped, pausing in his neverending pacing to glare down at his Mickey Mouse watch. "Can't a guy be punctual around here? I mean, I've got other things to do, other places to be, and just because this guy's got a few powers he thinks he can walk all over me!"
He was waiting in one of the buildings at the Olympus Coliseum. Everyone else had gone for the night, and that was just fine. He did not want anyone to stumble across the meeting that was supposed to take place. Well, it would take place if the guy ever got there!
"Maybe this whole thing was a bad idea," he frowned. Then he shook his head. "Nah. It's the best option I've got going for me." His eyes flamed. "But if he doesn't show up in two minutes, so help me I'll . . ." His outstretched hands curled in his vexation.
He never had the chance to tell the walls what he would do. A bright light suddenly appeared in front of the blue-skinned man with fire for hair. A tall silhouette was visible in the middle of the glow, his identity revealed as the glow faded. As Hades stared, the winged man he had sought regarded him with a typical deadpan expression.
Hades' demeanor changed. It was time for the fast-talking salesman's persona. "Hey, Sephiroth!" he greeted. "Just the guy I wanted to see." He held out his watch, frowning. "You're late."
Sephiroth shrugged, bored. "I make my own rules," he said. "What is this about? Your minions sent me a message that you wanted to meet with me about Cloud."
"Why be hasty?" Hades returned. "Seph . . . can I call you Seph?"
Sephiroth gave him a look of thinly-veiled disgust. "No."
Hades shrugged. "Fine, fine. But just tell me about yourself, okay? Life treating you well? How do you like living with those two friends of yours?"
Sephiroth's expression was complete and undisguised apathy. He was not in a mood to make small talk, especially not with his present company.
"Wow, tough crowd." Hades pointed accusingly at Sephiroth. "You almost give me the chills! And that's, you know, pretty impossible."
Sephiroth grunted. "Is there a point to any of this?"
"Of course there's a point!" Hades retorted, flinging his arms into the air. "I'm trying to get to know you here!" He cleared his throat, trying to get his temper under control.
"So . . . you like pets?" he asked. "Dogs, maybe? Nah, you're not a dog person. You'd hate all that slobber. Maybe a cat? Nope, all those claws." He placed his hand to his chin. "I've got it. A goldfish would be perfect for you. Just dump a few flakes in the bowl every day, watch the fish when you're bored. . . .
"Hey, how do you get those feathers to be so shiny, anyway?" he asked, his thoughts wandering again. "You got some special wing shampoo? I wonder if they make something like that for pet birds. Of course you'd have to buy it up in large quantities. By the case, maybe? I wonder how many of those little bottles it would take to be enough for just one of your wings."
But Sephiroth was not listening. Hades stared after the former general as he wandered ahead, boredly inspecting the Greek-style building they were in. He spread the feathery appendages as he approached the roofless inner courtyard, a probable indication that he was going to take flight.
Hades chased after him. "Hey, you can't leave yet!" he exclaimed. "Fine, you want to get to the point? Okay, we'll get to the point! Sheesh, try to be friendly and look what happens," he muttered to the side.
Sephiroth turned back. "Then get on with it," he ordered.
"I'm coming to it!" Hades pulled out a rolled up piece of paper and let it tumble to the table. "This here is Cloud's contract. The one he violated? Well, it seems like he forgot about one little clause right here." He tapped a sharp fingernail on a certain portion of the contract that was written in tiny print.
Sephiroth picked up the parchment, narrowing his eyes as he looked it over. Even with his excellent eyesight, he had to squint to make this out.
In the case of the breaching of this document, the wronged may choose from among the traitor's friends to find a suitable replacement.
Sephiroth held onto the sheet, unimpressed as he looked back to Hades. "You want me to work for you," he stated.
Hades nodded. "It's all in the contract, legal and everything," he said. "You'd be able to take down Hercules in no time flat. And this time there wouldn't be any Sora kid to worry about." He crossed his fingers behind his back. He still wanted Sora as well. The Keyblade was the perfect tool to break the Titans' seal. And he intended to have it.
Sephiroth grunted. "I'm my own master," he said. "What could you even give me that would be worth signing my soul away?"
Hades shrugged. "Power, kingdoms, you name it! You ever want a piece of Agrabah? The Disney Castle, even? I could make you a king, a sultan! You could have a harem. You like dancing girls? I could give you the Rockettes! Anything you want, I've got."
"Anything I want, I have," Sephiroth retorted. "And for anything else, I'll get it my own way." He gripped the paper tighter. As it caught fire, he held it away from him. Smoke wisped off of his gloved hand.
Hades could only gawk. "Hey, hey, hey!" he screamed, grabbing for it. "That was a legal contract! I could have you arrested for this!"
Sephiroth looked bored again as he tossed the charred remnants away from him. "I doubt it," he said.
Hades' eyes narrowed. "Okay, then," he said. "I gave you a choice. But in the end, you don't really have a say in the matter!" In the darkness behind them, six red eyes gleamed. A throated growl echoed through the chamber. "You're working for me whether you like it or not. Cerberus, sic him!"
Sephiroth drew his sword, calling his powers to him. As the monstrous Hellhound lunged, Sephiroth's wings spread.
The next moments consisted of howling, yelping, and the smell of fire and singed fur. As Hades stared, aghast, Cerberus was defeated. The beast collapsed to the stone floor, the walls trembling from the aftershocks of the battle. Sephiroth dusted himself off, unaffected.
"If that's all, I'm leaving," he said, his tone flat. Reaching into his pocket, he found a clean cloth and began to run it over the sword's blade.
If Hades had looked at himself in a mirror, he would have seen smoke emerging from his ears and nostrils. As it was, he could only clench his fists, still staring at the defeated Hellhound.
"Cerberus!" he barked. "Hey, come on! Speak to me! Get up and sic him! Don't let him get away!" But even Cerberus would take a while to recover from this. Hades whirled, looking back to Sephiroth. "You can't just go around bringing down my pets whenever you feel like it!" he yelled.
"If my life or freedom is suddenly in danger, then I feel like it," Sephiroth retorted. "And I'm justified." He wadded the cloth into a ball.
"Justified?!" Hades yelled. "Why you . . ." He trailed off. Sephiroth really was going to leave. And that could not be allowed. He took a deep breath. Calm, calm . . . maybe breathing into a paper bag would help.
"Okay!" he cried. "I don't know what came over me." Good, he was feeling more calm now. Time to try again. "No contract. Look, how about just this? Off Hercules for me. That's it. Nothing else, no selling your soul or anything."
A wing twitched. "There isn't a deal," Sephiroth said, his voice cold.
But then he paused, a trace of a smirk coming over his features. "Unless Imake the terms," he said.
Hades' mouth dropped open. "What?! You make the terms?!" he cried. "That's crazy!"
Sephiroth drew out a fresh sheet of paper. "Here, I'll write up a contract now," he said. "Do you have a pen?"
Hades muttered, but began to search through every fold and layer of his clothes. "Never can find what you want when you want it," he growled. But at last he discovered a pen and pulled it out. "Here," he snapped, handing it to Sephiroth.
Sephiroth gave a curt nod and began to write. Hades watched over his shoulder.
"Hey, you've got good handwriting," he said, promptly distracted again.
Sephiroth grunted. Soon he straightened up, holding out the paper. "This is my only offer," he said. "If you don't like it, that's too bad. I won't offer anything else."
Hades snatched the sheet away. "Let me see that!" he snapped. His eyes widened in disbelief. "This says that you'll do one thing I want, any order at all!" he exclaimed.
Sephiroth nodded. "And that in return, you'll leave me, Cloud, and Zack alone for good," he added in a matter-of-fact tone. "That's my only condition. I wanted it in writing."
Hades frowned, glaring at the paper as if he expected some horrible creature to leap out at him. "What's the catch?" he asked in suspicion. "You wouldn't make something like this if there wasn't a catch."
"There isn't a catch." Sephiroth crossed his arms. "It's exactly as you see it there."
Hades stared at the written words, then up at the winged man. "You'd even get rid of Hercules?"
"If you ask me to," Sephiroth said. "After the contract is signed by both of us."
"Anything for your friends, huh?" Hades watched him for any trace of remorse. There was none.
"You could say that."
"You really are a pretty dark guy," Hades said at last. "Staining your hands with blood again just to keep me off your pals' backs."
Sephiroth shrugged. "I never said I was an angel."
Again Hades read over the contract, his eyes piercing every word for some hidden loophole or clause. But he could find none. All was in order. "You know, maybe you'd make a good lawyer," he grumbled, setting the paper back on the table. "You've got this legal jargon down pretty well." He looked at the pen with a frown. "But how about you sign first?"
Sephiroth shrugged. "Fine." He picked up the pen, signing his name with a flourish before handing the object to Hades. "Your turn."
Hades quickly scrawled his name. "There!" he said. "You've got my John Hancock, right on the line." He straightened up. "Now . . ."
"By the way," Sephiroth interrupted, his tone calm and unconcerned. "Did you know this building is about to collapse?"
"Huh?!" Hades looked up in shock. The walls were, indeed, still trembling from the intense battle with Cerberus. The pillars were rocking back and forth, as if any moment they would buckle under the weight which they were attempting to support. The stones were groaning, cracks appearing in droves. Cerberus, sprawled on the floor, began to tense.
"You've gotta stop it!" Hades cried. "I hang out here! Nobody comes in here but me. It's perfect!"
Sephiroth watched him. "What do you want me to do about it?" he asked. "My powers are for destruction."
"I don't know!" Hades threw his hands in the air. "Just . . . do something! And I mean now!"
"Is that an order?" Sephiroth asked.
"Of course it's an order!" Hades snapped. "You caused this. Now fix it!"
At the same moment he yelled, a pillar began to fall towards them. Sephiroth immediately blasted it, the fragments flying in every direction as it fell back.
"I'll give you some advice," the tri-winged man said. "Instead of screaming, take your dog and get out of here. You might have enough time, if you hurry. There's nothing that can stop this building from coming down." And the smirk returned, darker this time. "Now the contract has been fulfilled."
Hades could only stare. "What?! That's impossible!" he burst out. "What kind of joke is this?!"
"It's not a joke." Sephiroth picked up the contract, waving it at him. "This says I have to complete one task for you. You ordered me to do something about the collapsing building. I stopped that column from hitting us. And I told you the only possible solution to avoid the rest of the collapse."
If Hades been enraged before, now he was on fire. "You tricked me!" he screamed. "I knew it! You did trick me!"
"It was all legal," Sephiroth said smoothly, pulling the contract back and folding it. "You said it was an order. And this means you can't do anything further to bother us. Now I actually am going to leave."
And with that he was gone.
"Get back here!" Hades screamed into the vanishing light. "You can't get out of it this easy!" He began to stomp on the floor with both feet. "There weren't any witnesses to the contract!"
A lone blue feather floated to the floor. It, combined with Hades' yelling, was the last straw. The floor began to shake with even more vigor, the vibrations traveling up through the walls and to the ceiling. The unmistakable sound of cracking marble filled the room. The small fissures were joining forces.
"Oh for crying out loud." Hades looked upward at the dividing ceiling.
The room fell apart around him, leaving him standing out in the night air. Cerberus whined.
"I'll get you for this!" Hades screamed, looking more comical than anything else as he raised his fists to the sky. "And your really long sword, too!"
If Sephiroth had heard, he would have been most unafraid.