Author's Note:

I know, I don't usually do poetry. But I had the perfect idea for a Laharl-themed piece, one that demonstrates the self-loathing he feels at the end of the gameā€”the Bad Ending, I mean. The one where he kills Seraph Lamington, but Flonne becomes a fallen angel, and Laharl decides that he isn't fit to be Overlord and abdicates to Etna. That ending.

Just to avoid confusion, the italics are the lines in the poem, and everything else is simply Laharl's point of view. The poem is something I wrote not too long ago, called Monster In the Night. I hope you all enjoy!

So here it is! RxR!

Sometimes, the darkest shadow can be seen directly underneath the light. Laharl was that shadow. He could sense the stunned gazes of his vassals, his companions as he stood over the lifeless body of his foe. At his feet lay Seraph Lamington, sleeping in a russet pool that completely soaked the bottom of his sneakers, staining them a murky red.

Laharl didn't dare to look behind him. He wanted them all to disappear and leave him alone, just as she left him. That precious flower that had rented his heart in twain would never see his greatest sin--the corpse in front of him, the blood on his hands, the crazed, almost desperate gleam in his wild crimson eyes. That was the only thing he was thankful for now. Flonne would never know that her mentor, her greatest role-model was now dead...and through his hands.

The sight was gruesome. Laharl could barely stand to look at his own dissheveled reflection that leered back at him from the surface of the pool of blood. He felt like he was suffocating under the weight of their accusing stares, as though he could have avoided this senseless though he could have saved her.

Laharl closed his eyes and swallowed, gasping for air. There was no way he could have saved her. Flonne had as good as thrown her life away.

When he opened his eyes again, all he could see was darkness.

Dark as night and I'm still breathing

through yesterday's suffering...


Laharl could hear everyone turning towards the voice--one he had already recognized. It belonged to the last person he wanted to deal with under normal circumstances. And now, with Flonne gone and the Seraph dead, he didn't even want to acknowledge his existence.

"Mid-Boss?" said Etna, surprised by his sudden appearance.

Then there was silence. Laharl closed his eyes, trying to will the world to stop turning, wishing more than anything that his heart would stop beating. Everything would hurt far less if he had remained wicked and heartless. "Damn you, Flonne..." he muttered, too softly for anyone to hear. "You did this on purpose, didn't you? To teach me a lesson?"

This was one lesson he would have died to avoid learning.

His thoughts were silenced as he listened to his footsteps approaching him from behind. Laharl obtinately kept his back turned, opening his eyes and choosing to gaze on his sin rather than the man behind him, regarding him in shocked silence.

"No..." Mid-Boss murmured, his voice laced with disbelief. "It was I who should have been held accountable..."

It's time to clear the plates away

and taste today's latest mistake...

It was too much for him. Laharl wheeled around, his eyes blazing with anger--blazing like twin flames that could barely look at you without leaving scorch marks in your skin. These were burns that could never heal. He was practically shaking with rage and grief as he stared defiantly at Vyers.

"Are you out of your mind?" he cried. "He deserved to die!"

Laharl's grip on his sword tightened, but his voice became lethally quiet; almost contemplative as he challenged everyone to contradict him.

"He killed Flonne...even though she had complete faith in him..."

Mid-Boss looked over at the Seraph, and his expression was filled with sorrow. "The Seraph is still alive. Just barely, though."

Laharl could barely suppress his shock. The next thing he'll be telling me is that Flonne isn't really dead.

As though reading his thoughts, Vyers stepped forward, his face grim. "Let the truth be known."

Without warning, a blinding light streaked through the area, causing Laharl to wheel around, his jaw dropping in astonishment. His eyes were staring, transfixed at the spot where the delicate white flower stood. It was now nothing more than a silhouette in the dazzling spectacle that threatened to render him utterly speechless. Slowly, the shape of the flower changed--it grew and took on the familiar shape of a certain angel.

It's not enough that you left the room;

there's never enough distance between me and you.

But even that had changed. As the light started to fade, Laharl noticed how her azure ribbons had been tinted a blood red, how her small angel wings had been replaced with demon wings, and how she now had a slinky tail curled up behind her sprawled form. Her now ruby eyes blinked up at him in bemusement, silently drinking up their surroundings.

"...Huh? Where am I...?" she murmured, looking around. Her gaze met Laharl's, and she almost seemed to smile at him--but his expression caused her to pause. Then, she caught sight of the blood on his clothes. Her face paled slightly as she continued to search for the cause; her innocent eyes scanned his body for any injuries. Laharl would have given anything to have vanished from her scrutiny. He could see her frantically trying to remember what had happened. "I was supposed to be punished, and..."

"Flonne...!" he cried, half pleading, half disbelieving the one presense that meant everything to him. Angrily, he turned to Mid-Boss. "What's this all about!?"

"Celestia and the Netherworld were not always in opposition," Mid-Boss explained sadly. "Seraph Lamington and another person of influence dreamed of reuniting them. He sent Angel Trainee Flonne to the Netherworld, to meet you and begin rebuilding trust."

The words began to sink in. Laharl felt his thoughts spinning out of control.

"You and Flonne are the knot that binds the two worlds together. He had no intention of punishing her from the beginning..."

Why do I still hear your voice

as it calls to me from miles away...?

"We're...the knot...?" Flonne repeated, looking confused. She looked back towards Laharl, hoping to find answers in his face. But all she could see was a shadowed expression that reflected deep self-loathing. But why? Why was he upset?

Laharl was trembling with unsurpressable rage; rage towards the Seraph and towards himself. "Why didn't he tell me that!? If only I'd known..."

Flonne finally noticed something draped over the Sacred Altar. Her breath hitched in her throat as she laid eyes on the corpse of the Lamington, feeling her heart shattering in her chest. Her gaze flickered from the body to Laharl and back to the body again, and suddenly she understood. A great and terrible sadness filled her.

He tried to avenge me, she thought numbly. Was this...for the sake of love...?

"His heart was in pain," said Mid-Boss, "for having used you in his plan. He chose this as his punishment..."

Flonne was shaken. Suicide...?

She looked back at Laharl and saw him battling with his own thoughts.

"...Hmph. I guess my heart is wicked after all," he said quietly, in a voice so calm that it made Flonne afraid. Slowly, very slowly, Laharl turned to face her. And now she could see his face clearly. The tortured expression was so clear to her now. His eyes were pleading with her, begging her to understand. "I didn't know...but still, in my anger, I..."

She couldn't take it anymore. She pulled herself onto her feet, rushing forward until she was standing directly in front of him, tears swimming in her eyes.

"Stop it!" Flonne cried. "It's not your fault!"

The hysterical note in her voice startled him. Vaguely he wondered what she was trying to prove as she stood there before him, her slender hands clenched tightly into fists.

She swallowed heavily, trying to smother the rising tide of emotions seizing hold of her.

"A lot of things happened since I came to the Netherworld," she began, trying to sound reasonable. But no matter what she did, her voice still shook slightly under Laharl's unwavering gaze. "But I enjoyed my time with you guys! You showed me the importance of friendship!! You taught me that angels, demons, and humans are not as different as they might seem!! So, please...!"

Her voice broke, tears streaming down her cheeks. Please...she begged silently, desperately appealing to Laharl with that single gaze. But he wouldn't look at her anymore.

Doesn't she realize...? he thought, glaring at the floor. I haven't learned anything at all! She was the one who was there from the very beginning, telling me, teaching can she delude herself into thinking that I...that I...?

Laharl shook his head. He knew what he had to do now.

I want your face to fade away.

Leave my dreams in peace.

Do you want a piece of me?

There's a Red Moon rising.

"Etna," he said softly.

The demon girl started--she had been so absorbed in the dramatic scene before her that she had forgotten that she was even there. Hastily, she rose to her feet and went to him, standing before him. "Yes?"

Laharl looked her over for a moment. Out of all of us, Etna always seemed to understand Flonne best. She should do just fine in my place...

"...Take my place," he said gruffly. "I'm not ready to be Overlord yet."

"No..." Flonne whispered.

Laharl heard her and winced. Before he could change his mind, he turned his back on Etna, on Gordon, Jennifer, and Thursday, on Kurtis...he turned his back on the entire world, hoping, praying to block out that one voice that he needed to hear. Flonne...

I'll only taint her...even if I become a Love Freak like her, I'll completely ruin her goodness.

Clenching his hands into fists, Laharl remained steadfast in his decision. Though he was leaving his heart behind him as he walked away from her.

You'll never see me cringing

from your shadow on the floor.

I am the hollow thud in the night;

the monster standing, bathed in light.

"Prince...!" Etna cried.

Laharl paused. "...Farewell."

One word didn't do justice to the things he was feeling--but justice had screwed him over too many times to count. This one slight didn't faze him at all.

What did faze him were the footsteps that ran after him, almost overtaking him before stopping at the door. Laharl had already disappeared down the hallway, but he could still hear Flonne's voice ringing in his ears. It made of a part of him curl up and die inside.

"Laharl...!!" she screamed, sinking to her knees. "!"

Etna came up from behind her, sinking down onto the floor and pulling Flonne into a hug. "He's gone," she whispered. "Let him go..."

"I...I can't...!"

Her sobs echoed into the corridor as the others surrounded her, trying to console her--trying in vain to fill a great void that had been left in her heart. Laharl heard all of this as he strode briskly away, but he didn't falter in his step. He refused to. It took all of his will power to keep walking--to not run back inside and take her in his arms. After all, she wasn't alone...right?

She's in good hands, he thought firmly to himself. I just wish that I...but no. It's too late for that, now.

Laharl quickened his pace, vanishing into the dimension gate and into the darkness. He closed his eyes as Celestia vanished, but Flonne's tear-filled eyes were still fresh in his mind. "I'm sorry...Flonne..." he murmured, clutching her pendant to his chest with all his might.

Footsteps fading down the hall;

We have nothing left for us to say.

You leave me here to weep at night

and struggle through another day...

The pendant slipped from his grip, tumbling into the black abyss. Laharl's sensitive ears strained to hear it land, but it did not make a sound. It had simply ceased to be.

A/N: I know it was a sad ending, but I do plan on writing a sequel. So do not despair! Love will find a way...or will it?

Anyway, thanks for reading! Please review. If you don't, then I to retie the knot. So please, for the sake of Laharl and Flonne, drop a line! It won't kill you, you know. ;) Oh, and I'll get back to Secrets From the Grey Area as soon as possible. Don't worry about that!

--Salutes to Laharl--

Bye, bye for now!