After careful consideration, I have decided to divide Anatomy of Affection into two separate fics. I wondered about this for a seriously long while, because these events are not interspersed in between events in the manga, so I worried about possibly losing the same feel that my earlier chapters have. Thankfully, I have settled things with my brain—and I have found EMPLOYMENT again! YAYS!—so I feel much more upbeat and certain about myself.

As I hate the idea of posting just to announce something, I have decided to write this little bit to close 'Anatomy' and bring us into the second half of my Affection brain child.

Hope this is good enough to hold everyone over until I get 'A Token of Affection' posted. Enjoy, everyones!

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Epilogue -

"Worldwide" [Universal]

The entirety of Hell felt their First Prince's departure. But unlike the first time, he did not rip through the sky to reach his destination. Instead, the Demon Emperor had opened a path himself to allow his son through to that exact world he had sought out, a world rife with Mysteries and Puzzles.

The wind went still. The mountains sighed. The oceans laughed. The fires rolled. The Demon Emperor's Son was gone. While in some part it was a relief, in another way it was something to worry about as well.

"You needn't be so concerned," the Demon Emperor's Wife said, her voice gentle and loving. "His determination matches—sometimes, even surpasses your own. When he sets his mind to something, there is no use trying to deter him. You made the better choice in permitting him to leave, rather than leaving him to try and sneak out again."

The ruler of all Hell had not made any motion, nor said anything that might give any of his Court the impression that he was 'concerned' at all. Like all things, he had remained impassive. And like all things, his beautiful bride had detected something in his ever-still manner that no one else possibly could. It was her way, and none could ever hope to match her.

"It's a Demon's nature to wander, to find something new," she went on easily as she moved to go inside. "It's been so long since there was any departure from Hell that was of any notice. It will be nice to hear what he finds outside."

The Emperor followed his bride with his black eyes, watching her as she moved to go back inside. With every step, there was a trace of light left behind. Though he could never say the light surrounding her never grew dim.

"Did you wish to go with him?"

The Goddess looked back at her dark and terrible husband, silently questioning.

"You always worried about him whenever he drifted out of sight," he said. "He has the habit of making a spectacle of himself. Although he held himself in check when he first stole away, I am certain that he will cause more of a disturbance now that he has our consent."

He already knew that his wife would only smile. "He is still young, to be sure, but an adult all the same. I expect some of his exploits will be…excessive in nature, but I trust he will take necessary precautions."

"But you still wished to go with him," the Emperor went on. "The Way was shut long ago. It has been ages since I last took you Above. Several generations have been born and live without the belief that there even is an Above."

Again, the beauty smiled with understanding. "I will not lie, I do miss seeing blue skies. The worlds that you one took me to, the world I was born into, all so different and familiar. The worlds your Demons visited and told stories of…"

She trailed off as her gaze went up to the black sky overhead. The winds were once again howling past, and she could hear the grinding of the mountains in the distance.

"I remember when word came of what happened in that world. When over a million Demons were imprisoned by a greater force that dwelled there…" she went on with a gentle sigh. "I remember the fear and uncertainty, the need to protect those that were still within your reach. For that reason, you closed off Hell's borders. Only those with express need were given permission to leave. It has been so quiet in comparison to those days…"

The Demon Emperor met his wife's gaze, somewhat intrigued upon seeing her emerald orbs glitter with happiness.

"But Neuro was never content with the silence," she went on, smiling. "He has always stirred up trouble, no matter what he was doing. And I believe that he will bring an end to the silence and all will press forward again."

"Do you?" Her husband asked, though none of his surprise showed in his tone.

"Certainly!" She answered brightly. "When I remember the tales of your youth and how you united Hell under your rule, I know that our son is also meant for such greatness."

She noticed the slightest skepticism in the Demon's stance and laughed lightly. "Change must always come, in their own time and in their own form. Neuro's wanderlust is the key to Hell's future—just as yours was."

The Demon Emperor still felt the odd prick of wanting to be in new surroundings. He could easily create an opening to another world, far more stable than that of his only son's making. But when he had made the law restricting universal travel, the risk of encountering something that would endanger his race any further was one he had been unwilling to take. The Demon Court had agreed wholeheartedly and were at ease when their Emperor had ceased his constant drifting through worlds. After all, the Emperor had a wife and son. There was no longer any need for such travel.

He understood what it cost all of Hell to remain safe. But more than that, he understood what it cost his bride for Hell to maintain itself.

Her world, her dreams, her freedom were all taken from her. The seamless band of silver that circled her right ankle was the most obvious symbol of her captivity. Even when he had released her from Hell, she was forced to return because the bindings of their union caused ill health when she was away from him for too long. But rather than dying in her homeland, she had chosen to return to Hell and live out the rest of her life at his side. It was not until Neuro's birth that he realized what she was meant for, why he had so desperately sought after her, and why she was condemned to live in his world.

The arrival of his son made it clear to all that the Demon Emperor's reign would come to an end, some far off day.

Countless records were lost of the days before his rule, so he was not entirely sure if all Demon Emperors came from the union of a Demon and one from Above. But it was not worth the risk of allowing Neuro's Human to slip away, so he and the Court had agreed to give him leave.

When he finally returned, his Human would be tied to Hell in the same way. She would be lost to her own race, lost to the land and sky of her birth. Never to leave Hell without grim and relentless consequences.

Neuro's bride would hate him, as his Mother hated his Father.

"I understand my purpose," the Goddess said. Being able to read her husband as no one else could, she knew where his thoughts had taken him. "We both realized what brought me here long ago. There is no need to dwell upon it."

She had long since accepted that her sorrow and suffering was the price paid for Hell to continue. Even if she could go nowhere that her husband did not go also, even if she would never see her own Mother or Father and ever again, she understood that she mattered in this dark world.

"Do you not abhor me as you did before?" The Demon asked, his tone as empty and deep as a chasm.

"A part of me will always resent the darkness and the death you brought me into," the great beauty did not think to withhold the truth from her husband. The Emperor never exaggerated and told the absolute truth, no matter how brutal it was. It made no sense for her to do so. "But…"

She paused as a terrible shudder wracked through her frame. The Demon Emperor immediately noticed her discomfort and easily closed the distance between them to pull his cloak tight around her small figure.

The air of Hell was harmful to those not of Hell Blood. If his wife was not properly dressed to withstand the miasma, she would suffer the burns and freeze to death in the overpowering cold-heat. He had long-since taken to giving her furs and clothes that would permit her to step outside the palace for long periods of time. She had not donned any of them to see Neuro off, likely because she was only anticipating a brief good-bye to her son and not a drawn out discussion with her husband.

The Demon Emperor was disappointed that he had not taken note of this before and forced his bride to be exposed to the elements for an unnecessary period of time.

The Demon Emperor's wife, however, smiled in the embrace and held her husband close. His very nature did not require touch as hers did, yet he still crossed the threshold time and time again to hold her or allow her to hold him. Being a Demon, he would never truly understand how much these simple gestures meant to her. How dark day brightened when he brushed her hair. How she felt stronger when he let her cling to him. How she didn't feel afraid when he simply let her sleep against his beast-self.

He would never understand because, being the truest Demon in existence, he did not truly understand love.

But even knowing that he would never truly love her, she reached out and held him, touched his hands and face, and loved him.

"I will regret not getting to see Neuro's marriage," she sighed within the comfort of the Emperor's embrace. "I wonder who this girl is that he is so fond of?"

The Demon was also curious about the female that had captured his son's attention. What sort of Human was capable of dealing with him, of being worthy enough to be called his 'Partner'?

But more than that, there was hardly anything he was willing to deny his bride. When she made a request, or voiced a thought, it was only natural to please her.

"Then we shall not miss the ceremony."

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Did you like it? Hope so.

Thank you all for your supportive words all this time. You wouldn't believe how much you all mean to me.

Thank you and thank you again!

See you again in TOKEN OF AFFECTION