This is the first part of my 100 themes thing, but not the first one I came up with. Those will come later. There's a bit of explaining to do for this one, and it concerns a few spoilers for things. Mostly, if you know anything about Devil Survivor, it spoils the endings of Naoya and Amane's routes.

Second, the character names. When I started playing Devil Survivor, I put a lot of thought into the name of my main character. Shuji Nikuta is an important name. Shuji is short for Shujinko (Main character) and Shujin (host). Nikuta is short for Nikutai (flesh, body, something along those lines). Very descriptive and spoilerific name, right?

Third, there's a reason I included Minato. For those of you that don't know him, he's the male hero from Persona 3 and all its variations. The main characters in both games look alike and share some qualities, so I decided, hey, let's make them related. Basically it outlines like this: Minato's dad and Shuji's mom are siblings, and Shuji's dad and Naoya's dad are siblings. Simple, right? Good.

That's all. Hope you like it.

46. Family

Bonded for Eternity

Naoya leaned back in his chair, wiping the sweat from his brow. Outside and inside, it was hot. Summer break would be starting, for the high school students at least, but Naoya was running full blast. He had to finish his program before then. He'd stocked up on his needs, locked himself in his apartment, and been working almost nonstop for the past two weeks. The project did have a deadline, but it wasn't something that bothered him. He'd been preparing for a long time.

What bothered him was the heat. Outside it was murderous, but it was still killer in his apartment, with the lights off and the shutters drawn tight. He ended up removing most of his clothes except a loose tank top and his underwear, but the cooling effect was minimal. He took a couple sips from a water bottle on his counter, internally disgusted at how warm it had gotten, and then, as an afterthought, dumped the rest on his head, not at all bothered by the slapping and drizzle of the water hitting his chair. The water ran through his hair, dripping off the ends as he leaned back towards his computer to survey his work.

A demon summoning program. A program to bring demons from their world in this. That was the outline he had been given in his contract. Not very specific, but it gave him a lot of leeway in how he could accomplish that. He was almost finished, only needing to add a few finishing touches before he handed it off to his employers. He was being paid, of course, but that wasn't of much importance to him. What he really wanted was results, to prove that he could accomplish it, and for his own plans to be carried out.

'I've waited a long time for something like this time come around, and if things play out the way I planned, then all those lifetimes of waiting will be over.'

It was a plan he had worked out over his various lives, gathering information and adapting his ideas as technologies and ideals advanced. It was a perfect plan, one that would incite the most shame upon his intended target, and prove once and for all that he had overcome all of the obstacles in his path. It depended a lot on the actions of others, but if it worked out, and he would make sure it would, he'd have the revenge he sought.

'I've waited so long, throughout all of the ages and histories of this world, and I'll finally get my revenge on you, who damned me to this fate for all time.'

Despite that, he knew it was his fault. He had been the one to damn himself, but he would never openly admit it. He had been selfish, ignorant, and greedy, but somehow all of it had seemed worth it at the time. In his first lifetime, when he'd been known as Cain, he'd somewhat enjoyed killing his brother, but he realized after that it had been a mistake. To make things worse, he had angered the one who was to decide his fate: God Himself.

'That's what happens when you provoke the all-knowing creator of the universe. He damns you into reincarnations without freedom from the past. Killing my brother was a mistake, not because I'm sorry, but because I calculated my opportunity wrong. The real mistake I made was mouthing off to God. If you find a loophole, keep it to yourself. I never made that mistake again.'

But now, he had a plan. He had a brilliant plan, and it would work. When he'd been born into this lifetime, as Naoya Nikuta, he knew that the time had come to carry it out. Somehow, though, fate or God had intervened. He didn't have a brother in his family, no Abel he could use in his plan. He was an only child, and it infuriated him to no end. Then, as luck would have it, his parents died and he was sent to live with his uncle.

That's when everything turned to his favour. His uncle had a son, Naoya's cousin, and from the moment they met, Naoya knew. His cousin, Shuji Nikuta, was the reincarnated Abel.

From there, he was sure his plan would succeed. Shuji was a typical Abel: kind, helpful, if not quiet and introverted at times, but he adored Naoya like an older brother. It was perfect for him and for his plan.

The family was small, living just outside of Tokyo, but Naoya hadn't been the only orphan in the family. Shuji's other cousin had also lost his parents, also in a car accident, and Minato and Shuji shared similar personalities. Minato Arisato was the nephew of Shuji's mother, and he'd been accepted into the family as easily as Naoya had. It hadn't mattered much to Naoya at first, but something about the kid was off. A year older than Shuji, Minato had always radiated some kind of strange vibe, something even Naoya was unfamiliar with, hiding behind his headphones. However, the year Naoya decided to move out, deciding it was time to implement his plan, Minato had returned to his home city and, last he had heard, died on his final day of school. Since then, Shuji had adopted the headphones, wearing them wherever he went.

Minato's presence had helped influence the haste of Naoya's plan. The dark energy radiating from him had felt demonic and, though he was the only one who could sense it, he knew it would put even someone like God to shame. If he could summon something even half as powerful and get Shuji to wield it against God, he would have the revenge he deserved.

Momentarily pulling himself out of his mental debates, Naoya checked his computer. It was practically steaming, the heat rolling off of it in waves, despite the already hot and stuffy atmosphere of his apartment. Fuming himself, he saved his work, shut the massive machine setup down, and went to take a cold shower.

He was planning to use Shuji to get revenge. To use the favoured son to betray the benevolent ruler of the world. It was something that would probably damn him even more if it failed, but the feeling of accomplishment and inner praise if it worked would be glorious.

What if it failed? Standing in the cold water in the shower, it became a painfully possible reality. If Shuji failed him, instead turning to help God, what would he, the instigator of the rebellion, do?

'If it did fail, I'd be stuck. God would know, and there'd be no getting around what he would do to me… There might be a way. I can still salvage my plan if things work out against me. If thing don't work out, I'll tell Shuji of my plans. I'll get him to hate me, to despise my very existence and I'll have him kill me. I'll spare myself, if only for a little while, from His anger, and I'll get Him to be ashamed of his precious Abel at the same time.' He slicked the wet hair off his face and smiled. 'I'll get it to work, and it'll be an even trade.'

Feeling better, he got out of the shower, changed into some clean clothes, and went back to his computer. It was still too hot, much to his dismay, but he had all day to clear things up. The project was due yet, and his employers wanted to it be perfect. If he plan was going to work, he wanted it to be perfect.

Deciding to put his free time to good use, he turned back to his other project, the COMPs. He had three set aside for Shuji and his friends, Atsuro and Yuzu, with another ten or so set aside for his employers, but the others, numbering in the twenties or thirties, were another part of his plan. He would distribute them through shady, secret channels and have them cause havoc within the city. Knowing God, He would send His Angels to rectify the problem, and all hell would break loose.

'The perfect time and place for my plan to be put into action…'

Was he worried about the affect of this on people's lives? A little.

Would it stop him for executing his plan? Never.

He'd waited throughout the entire history of the world for this coming day, and if it meant destroying half the world to do it, he would sit back and watch it burn, and he'd enjoy every minute of it.

"So, come and decide fate, Shuji, cousin of mine, my eternal brother, and see if He regrets bringing to us such a damnable fate. We'll show the world what their 'kind and merciful God' is truly like. You and I have been bonded together, bonded to life for all eternity, have watched the destruction He's brought us, and that humans have brought upon themselves, and we'll prove to Him that He's wrong."