2,139 reviews? What is this madness? Where have I been? ( My Mind: Laptopless… internet less… Loopy from post-jaw surgery meds…Rest of Me: SHUT YOUR FACE)
I love you guys. Seriously. Thank you all so, so, SO much for being so super-de-duper awesome with a cherry and whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles on top. OHMYGOD I DO NOT DESERVE YOU. *clears thought awkwardly*
Again, I love you all *giant, virtual, hug*
My Ashland : Your review honestly made my day. Just thought I'd mention it… Not that EVERY review I get doesn't make my day… yours just made it a bit more, more… If that made any sense whatsoever. You have no idea how many people I've just gotten frustrated with and wanted to shove in a timeout corner like you suggested.
g-chi125 : No, I don't think he has. I think I thought it would be awkward to make him say earlier on their twisted relationship and then I just sort of… forget to add it in? I don't know… :P Blotch on my part.
Kaitllyn Trancy : By 'names,' do you mean Sebastian's parents? I got their names off of wikipedia's list of demons throughout history/religion/mythology. Each name is actually 'suposedly' a real demon and I tried to find a name for each that was a demon who corresponded with a type of bird to go along with Sebastian's raven/crow entity.
RoseMellen: Not that I know of :P I think he's from... Greek mythology? (That or Roman... though I'm pretty positive Greek) I'm pretty sure he's just called 'minotaur.'
Lionessofdream: Latin? I think? Maybe? *sweat drop*
Just something really interesting. Yana Toboso is an absolute genius. Have I said that yet? This is something I found while doing a bit of research for this chapter, courtesy of Wikipedia : Sebastien Michaelis was a French inquisitor and prior of the Dominican order who lived during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. His Histoire admirable de la possession d'une penitente (1612), includes a classification of demons which has passed into general use in esoteric literature.
This is part one of the last little arc of 'Fee,' so I hope everyone likes it~
It was customary for only the demon or demoness who had participated and succeeded in the challenge to stay for the small ceremony celebrating the conclusion of the task. If he or she had a soul mate, that demon was also allowed to stay, but that was all – no friends or relatives allowed. Not that Sam had many of those in Hell, so she was perfectly content with this little rule.
And Stolas had been shooed off by irate demons patrolling the perimeter of the area, which, on its own, was a major plus.
Listening as an elder demon spoke placidly in the general direction of the crowd was not exactly an enjoying or pleasant endeavor.
"I'd like to congratulate each and every one of you present for successfully completing the layer challenge," the demon droned, grey eyes scanning lazily over the stack of faded papers in his hands. "As a formality, this accomplishment will be added to your file in the Hall of Records that I am sure," his eyes flashed upward at this, scanning the crowd, "each of you has been registered with either by a parent or soul mate."
A few of the demons around them fidgeted with their collars or shot pointed looks at their companion.
Sam's gaze flickered over the antsy participants for a moment before refocusing on Beelzebub - as Sebastian had called the demon when he'd first stood to give this lovely congratulations speech - and tightening her hold on Sebastian's arm. She stood on her tiptoes to reach his ear.
"How long until this is over?" she whispered. Sebastian glanced down at her.
"It is over."
Sam blinked slowly.
"…what? Really? That was it?"
The elder demon's red tinted eyes glimmered with amusement at her shocked disappointment.
"That was it."
"No, sir. What a rip off. I work my butt off to get down to this stupid layer and what's-his-name acknowledges all of that backbreaking strife and vomit inducing angst for all of what, two minutes? Three and a two fifths, tops? I should sue. Start a revolution. Overthrow the bureaucracy."
The elder demon rolled his eyes.
"You're ridiculously overdramatic."
"I know. And I refuse to change for any reason, no matter the severity," she declared, fist raised to rest against her chest in an inward salutation. "Viva la revolución!"
Again, Sebastian rolled his red-gold hued eyes with a heavy sigh.
"I am well aware."
The strawberry blonde glanced up. A familiar, tiny brunette female was heading in her direction followed closely by a much taller male with semi-long blonde hair tied back at the base of his neck.
"Anya! There you are!" she beamed, waving ecstatically at the younger female. The male at the brunette's side - her soul mate Veltis, maybe? - seemed to freeze in place for a moment when he noticed the direction his soul mate was walking in, but quickly shook off whatever had stunned him and trailed after her (though a bit more reservedly.)
"I… I can't believe I made it!" Anya smiled up at her happily. "Th-Thank you so much for helping me."
"Thank you for putting up with my endless whining, manic habits, and Persephone's evil ways… And there really isn't any reason to thank me, anyways," Sam shrugged nonchalantly, dismissing the idea with a wave of her hand. "I almost got us killed and/or seriously maimed, what? Four times? Maybe five?" Veltis winced and Anya laughed awkwardly, rubbing at the goose bumps on her arm.
The four stood in awkward silence for a moment before Sam dead-panned and turned to Anya's companion.
"Oh! I'm so sorry! I forgot to introduce myself! I'm Sam Quenell and this is Sebastian, or Malphas. Whichever you prefer to call him. You must be Veltis?"
Sam smiled politely and reached out to shake his hand. She felt the male at her side stiffen. She shot a pointed glare at Sebastian when the corners of his lips twisted downward at the low class demon. The strawberry blonde dropped Veltis's hand after a moment and looked him up and down.
Anya had never flat out said that her soul mate was a low ranking demon, but enough had transpired for Sam to properly conclude that he was pretty far down the ladder of importance. Anya's contract had been with an incredibly weak demon (she'd admitted it herself). It wouldn't have taken a powerful demon to kill off another demon that pathetic, only one just a bit stronger… maybe not even that. Love could give a person unbelievable strength and determination – Sam had seen that first hand, even experienced it herself when Sebastian was locked away. A demon fighting for his soul mate would undoubtedly have that same surge. Then, of course, there was Tisiphone's comment about other human borns not having the advantage of a powerful soul mate to protect them (rather blatantly directed at Sam's brunette companion). Veltis had also called her ma'am – a sign of respect she highly doubted any higher ranking demon would give her willingly.
So Veltis was a low class demon.
Well… There'd never really been any problem or case about it, but… Whatever. She'd figured it out. End.
Sam didn't get it.
She honestly could not figure it out.
Say she hadn't been dropped numerous and rather blatant hints in regards to Veltis's demonic status.
If not for Sebastian's infernal glowering and the way the demon at the receiving end of his nastiness seemed to cower under said glaring, Sam would never have been able to discern Veltis's low status. He looked no different from any other male demon – attractive face (not as pleasant to look at as Sebastian's of course…), bright eyes, fit build, black nails…
What made low ranking demons so different?
Sure. The title alone insinuated that the lower classed demons were just that – not as powerful, influential, and respected as the high ranking ones – but… There were no outward signs like there had been back on Earth when it came to discerning different classes. The style of clothing was no different. There was no unpleasant odor like the poor had from living on the street and rummaging through garbage.
So other than level of power, there was no dissonance between them. He wasn't being disrespectful (Quite the opposite. Ma'am. It made her feel old yet oddly content to be addressed so formally.). He wasn't challenging the higher ranking demon's authority.
…So why was Sebastian death glaring the poor guy into a pile of mush?
A moment passed in awkward silence.
The glowering wasn't letting up.
Sam dug her heel sharply into the top of Sebastian's foot. He looked down at her with a sour frown. Sam stared right back just as bitterly and focused on forcing her thoughts into her soul mate's mind like he had done to her so many times before.
Be nice, you hypocritical jerk butt.
'Hypocritical' as in you want your parents to like me even though I'm a human born when you're death glaring the pants off of Anya's soul mate for just being lower classed!
Do I need to step on you again?
I mean it.
With a heavy, irate sigh, Sebastian nodded curtly at Veltis and the fragile girl glued to his side (the former wincing as if Sebastian was preparing to lob off his head).
"A pleasure… to make your acquaintance."
Do you have to sound so fake about it?
Again, her mental berating was met with quiet.
Fine, fine. I understand. I get what I get and should be proud of you for sucking in that gigantic ego of yours… even if it's only this much.
"Glad you could find it in yourself to understand."
Sarcasm makes your mental voice sound both congested and constipated all at once. Lovely accomplishment, but I think you should avoid it in order to save the remainder of your attractiveness.
Oh, hush. I never said how large – or small – that remainder is.
Veltis stared at Sebastian in utter shock.
"Uhm… Yes. Of course! It's wonderful to meet you too, sir."
Sebastian nodded the slightest fraction in acknowledgement.
A few moments passed in awkward silence.
"So…" Sam trailed off, rubbing at her arm. She turned to Anya. "Did you see where Persephone zapped off too while we were scaling the ice wall of death?"
The brunette shook her head.
Sam waved it off.
"Nah, it's not really important. Just curious."
Again, the group fell into mind numbing silence, no one quite willing or sure how to interact. With a heavy sigh, Sam stretched and let out a jaw cracking yawn.
"Well, I'm personally dead on my feet. I think it's time I start heading home."
"Of course," Sebastian piped up, wrapping an arm around her waist and immediately beginning to drag her in the opposite direction. "We wouldn't want you to pass out from exhaustion, now would we?"
"No," Anya frowned. "D-Don't wait around for u-us. You should pr-probably get back and rest…"
"Fantastic idea," Sebastian beamed, eyes closed tight and sickeningly sweet smile frozen in place. "You know how fragile you tend to be when you're tired. It always worries me so," he sighed overdramatically. "We should definitely be on our way."
"You know," Sam hissed under her breath, "you're making your concern a bit too extreme. It'll be obvious you're faking –"
Sebastian knocked her legs out from beneath her and Sam tumbled forward with a yelp. The demon scooped her up into his arms, shaking his head lightly back and forth.
"Ah, darling. You must really be out of it. You probably shouldn't say anything else until we get back to the nest."
She glowered up at him.
"I believe that comes later."
No way. I'm 'too tired.' Remember?
"Little white lies are nothing to be ashamed of."
Trust me; I'm not 'ashamed.' I'm just ticked you thought it was necessary to send me crashing face first into the ground.
"You'll get over it, I'm sure."
Oh, I will. But remember this and remember it well, dearest. When we get home, Rufus is getting more love than you.
Sam grinned triumphantly at having the last word, snuggling into the demon's chest and dozing off into the comforting darkness of a well-earned rest.
Sam collapsed onto the dusty ground just on the outskirts of her and Sebastian's nest.
"You are the one and only thing in this entire damned place that cares if or if not I get eaten by some giant monster and digested into mush. I love you."
The hell hound yipped happily, nuzzling into her master's palm. Sam ruffled the canine's ears and Sebastian grumbled irritably under his breath. The strawberry blonde grinned over at him from her place nestled into the furry beast.
"Rufus did an awesome job during the challenge."
"She ripped off the minotaur's tail."
"Is that all?"
"What do you mean: is that all? That's a pretty big accomplishment for a puppy!" she defended, rubbing her pet's stomach.
"It is not a puppy. It is a full-grown hell hound and a repulsive beast," Sebastian spat, disgusted. His eyes flashed in annoyance as his soul mate continued to play with said beast. "Nothing more, nothing less."
Sam rolled her eyes.
"It's alright, Rufus," she cooed overdramatically, "He may mean every word of it, but I still love you~"
The canine's tail beat back and forth happily and she craned her snout upwards to reach her master's face, covering Sam's dust and dirt covered cheeks with sloppy dog-kisses. Sebastian glowered and turned, heading to the interest of the nest.
"When you're done fraternizing with the mutt, come inside."
"And when you come inside, it stays outside. Do you understand?"
"Loud and clear."
Sebastian sent the strawberry blonde a brief warning glare, cautioning her that if the hell hound somehow did manage to end up inside their cozy little cave, it wouldn't live to see another day.
Sam rolled her eyes at his retreating figure. She may have managed to get over her hatred of canines, but she sorely doubted Sebastian would be joining her and her new found love of dogs any time in the near or distant future.
Something crunched and then a rock tumbled to the ground, plopping into the dirt with a loud thud. Some muttered swearing followed. Sam's eyes narrowed. The hell hound at the female's side bristled, her hackles rising in warning.
"Come out, come out, whoever you are!"
"I don't have to listen to you."
Ah. One of Hell's many resident jack asses.
Sam rolled over onto her stomach and propped her chin up in the palms of her hands.
"What do you want, Stolas?"
"A lot of things. None of them pleasant for you," the demon snarled, stepping out from his place concealed behind a large array of boulders and chunky brown rocks. He slowly made his way over to Sam, arms crossed and nose high in the air.
"So nothing new?" Sam surmised.
"No, I suppose not."
Sam closed her eyes, tilting her head to rest against her pet that was still tense, teeth bared threateningly and legs tense in case she had to make a lunge for Stolas's throat.
"Are you really going to fall asleep when I'm standing right here?" Stolas snarled. "You're stupider than I thought!"
Sam peeked at him through lidded eyes. A miniscule thought surfaced in the far corners of her brain and forced its way forward. After a moment of stewing over the annoying burst of brain power, she turned her head to face the green eyed demon head on.
"Can I ask you something?"
"Oh come on!" Sam frowned. "Why not?"
"You know very well why not, scum."
The strawberry blonde frowned, aggravated.
"It's not a hard question. It's just something that I really want to know –"
"Nope! Don't care!" Stolas interrupted, glowering down at her icily. "First of all, I would never answer any demand, question, or ANYTHING when it involves you or any other damned human born. Particularly when it's something that you really want to know. That's just going against my principles! And as a demon, the few principles I have, are –"
"Alright. Please. Just shut up for ten seconds. Ten seconds," she grit out, temples throbbing, "That's all I ask."
Stolas's mouth snapped shut. A moment later he opened it slightly.
"Ten. Nine. Eight -"
"Just… listen, would you?" Sam snapped. "Answer this one question."
" - Six. Five -"
"Why do you hate humans so much?"
He paused. The demon opened and closed his mouth wordlessly for a few moments, caught in thought, before clearing his throat. He crossed his arms stubbornly over his chest and glowered.
"My brother hated them too before he met you, you know!"
"Yes, yes. I've gone over this already with him," the strawberry blonde snarled, drumming the fingers of one hand back and forth across the uneven ground and gesticulating angrily with the other as she tried to get her point across. "I get it. Demons hate the human borns. I've been told it's because we're weak. I've been told that it's some deep-seated hatred because Hades' soul mate was a human and not another demon. Don't give me any of that crap. Tell me why you hate humans. Give me one legitimate reason why we're so horrible."
Sam rested her elbows in the dirt and webbed her fingers together, using them as a cradle for her chin as she dug the tips of her toes into the ground.
"Oh shut up."
"Right. I get it. You can't answer me, can you?"
"Of course I can!"
"Then answer. the. damned. question!" she snarled. "It's not that hard!"
Stolas opened his mouth to continue the shouting match but stopped short. A moment passed and he tensed, looking ready to retort, but again he fell short and his mouth slowly slid shut. A few seconds passed in strained silence as the green-eyed demon awkwardly shifted back and forth on the balls of his feet.
Sam looked at him curiously.
"You really don't know why… do you?"
"Shut up! Of course I do!" Stolas snapped back, teeth clenched and hands balled into tight fists at his side.
Sam sighed, running a hand through her matted hair.
"Stolas…" she paused for a moment, mind chewing over yet another random thought, "I hate to ask, but would you do me a favor?"
"Why would I do anything for you?" he snapped, though his voice sounded a bit less harsh than usual and his emerald eyes looked more clouded than brimming with the usual brand of ice cold detestation. "Ask my brother."
"I know he won't help me… That's why I'm asking you."
Stolas arched a curious eyebrow.
"What could you want that would be so awful that a demon would refuse to help you?"
"It's not really that bad. It's just something that could potentially lead to my imminent demise."
Interest sparked in the demon's green eyes. He sighed heavily and ran a hand through his disheveled, black, hair. The remaining fist still clenched tightly at his sides relaxed and he casually crossed his arms over his chest, though more for comfort than as a gesture of annoyance.
It's not that late compared to a normal time I could be up, I suppose, but I've been going to bed pretty early because I'm still exhausted from my jaw surgery and more recently the post-surgery recovery, so I'm currently pretty exhausted at lousy old 9:37 pm. Thus, if anyone finds any errors ranging from small to extremely glaring, please let me know so I can fix it up as soon as possible.
One more chapter and it's over! Woo! Finally.
I promise now that I have a new laptop and am almost totally better from my jaw surgery, the next chapter should be out a lot sooner than this one was!