The End! Finally.
I told myself to keep it at 12 pages. I told myself to make it 13 tops.
25 pages later…
I've been so busy with making up school work from being sick with mono and my jaw surgery, stupid social drama, school in general, life guarding classes, AP Exams, and re-working the first rather crap filled chapters of this story that I didn't even TRY to fight off the writer's block. Seriously. I could not for the life of me think of a way to end this damned thing.
But here it is at last. I hope it doesn't disappoint. I tried to really wrap up all the loose ends and leave on a pretty positive note because I personally get incredibly frustrated when a story ends… I don't know… incomplete? Sadly? So, I tried my best, therefore, no one should judge me (quothe SNL).
princessoftheshadowsofdestiny: Her parents' home was a few miles outside of London, not in the city. I think I mentioned that or at least alluded to it… if not, I'll have to go back and add it.
BloodColoredRose: Yes, they did. What happened was that during the time when I was first uploading that part of the story, there was kind of an uproar/huge debate whether I should put it in this story and bump the rating or not write it. Most people wanted a lemon but there was a handful that were dead set against the idea, so what I did was allude to it in the actual story and then posted the actual 'chapter' where it happened as a oneshot so that everyone was happy :)
Sam gulped nervously, staring wide-eyed up at the looming cavern.
"This is it?"
"You're sure?" she asked tentatively. Stolas sneered indignantly, crossing his arms over his chest as he glared down at her.
"I grew up with them - grew up here. I'm pretty sure I know where they live."
"Alright, alright. Jeesh. I trust you."
"…do you know what you're doing…?"
Sam shrugged in what she hoped looked pretty nonchalant and kind of like a 'hey, I got this, bro, chillax' type of gesture. On the inside, she was shaking like a kitten drenched in ice water. But that was the inside. Right now, it was the outside that mattered. Unless they could smell fear. Which they probably could. Oh my…
"Oh. Lovely. Isn't this a bad idea then?"
"What do you care?" Sam shot back. "I thought you wanted me dead."
"I do! I do!" Stolas spluttered angrily, face flushed. "I don't care! I don't! Nothing would make me happier than seeing you trussed up like a turkey, hanging from the ceiling with your intestines wrapped around your neck—"
"Gee, thanks. I can totally feel the love."
"There was none to feel!"
"I was being sarcastic, moron!"
"I-I knew that!"
"Right. Sure," Sam rolled her eyes, once again turning to the looming cave before her. She let out a shaky breath. "Well… good luck."
"I had to wish myself good luck, seeing as there's no one else around to do it."
Stolas stared at her for a moment as if she had suddenly sprouted a second head (which probably wouldn't have actually been all that strange of an occurrence in Hell, but whatever). Sam turned away from him with a halfhearted wave and began moving towards the entrance of Sebastian's parents' nest. She paused for a moment, letting out a shaky sigh, before continuing forward.
Sam glanced at the green eyed demon over her shoulder.
Who are you, and what have you done with Stolas.
"…with getting yourself maimed!"
Sam turned back to the cave with a grin, tossing another, less morbid wave at the smirking demon.
Unlike Sebastian's nest where everything was hidden away (in a place Sam had yet to discover), his parents proudly put their plunders and treasures on display for all to see. Statues made from all kinds of precious stones and metals, bejeweled goblets, glimmering swords still tipped with dried blood, thick furs, fine silks, paintings ranging from about the length of her forearm to twice her height… It was like walking through a museum.
A museum housing a hellish couple that would in all likelihood claw her eyes out and drop them into their martini glasses, but a museum none the less.
Cautiously, she peered around corners, down hallways, and into large, cavernous rooms. She explored the nest openly, trying (yet at the same time praying she wouldn't) run into the terrible twosome.
It was somewhat in the development stage… almost first draft ready. She had a basic idea of how to greet her new in-laws and somewhat of an idea on how to broach the subject of her being, well, not a natural demon straight from the (not actually all that fiery) pits of Hell. Of course, from there, she had nothing. Ka-poot. Nada.
'Wing it,' her oh so brilliant brain would prod.
That always turned out splendid.
Something in the corner of her eye darted past and Sam swiveled around, eyes wide in panic and hand raised to her chest as though it would calm her erratic heart.
"Holy flaming fish on a stick, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?"
"I should be asking you that very same question," the demoness replied haughtily, glancing over her pointed, ebony, manicured nails. Her yellow eyes flashed angrily up to meet silver-blue and Sam gulped. "Just curious… do you have any brain in that thick head of yours? Any shred at all? Because let me tell you, it doesn't seem like it whatsoever."
Sam frowned, insulted. She straightened and brushed off her shirt.
"What are you doing here, Persephone?"
"Not what you're doing, I assure you," the demoness drawled. "I have no intention of committing suicide… let alone by rabid demon mauling."
The strawberry blonde's frown deepened into a scowl.
"Just so you know, I didn't exactly come here planning on my imminent demise either."
"Oh? Then what were you planning?" Persephone questioned.
"…I was getting to that part…" Sam mumbled, scuffing her toe lightly against the pristine floor. "I guess I was just kind of going to wing it and hope for the best… Maybe throw in a brain teaser or two."
"I am. It worked on Stolas!" she defended, thinking back to how put off and confused the green eyed demon had been when she she'd questioned the origin of his hatred for humanity. "Well… sort of."
"Right," the demon queen rolled her eyes. "Because Stolas and his father are exactly the same and react exactly the same."
"No, you idiot!"
Sam groaned, running a hand through her tussled hair.
"Look. What else am I supposed to do?"
"Get on with your life without your dreadful in-laws?"
"Oh, please. You know I'd love to avoid them at any and all costs, but they're Sebastian's parents. I can't just be like 'Hey. I just moved down here with you, and this is crazy, but we're never talking to your parents again because they want to slaughter me slowly and painfully.' It's not fair."
"Life's not fair."
"Well this isn't life," Sam shot back. "It's something else entirely. I'm in Hell for crying out loud! Sure, my sister always told me this was where I'd end up, but I never took her seriously. And besides, I doubt I arrived here in the way she pictured…" she trailed off for a moment. "But that's not the point. The point is that he was willing to put up with my shortcomings, family included, so I better damn well suck it up and put up with his."
Bright yellow eyes narrowed in frustration.
"Why can't you understand—"
"Look!" Sam snapped. "Just because you refused to make peace with demons doesn't mean I won't and can't."
"I didn't refuse," the demoness shot back, words laced with ice and venom. "They did. They're useless, foolish, stuck in the past. All of them. They'll never change."
"Well I'll make them."
Persephone rubbed at her temples, eyes squeezed shut as if she was trying to fight off a massive headache.
"Go home, Sam," she sighed, turning to leave. "They're not here anyways. They won't be back for at least two days."
Sam's brow furrowed.
There was no reply.
"Go home, Sam."
Then, Persephone's inky hair seemed to jump to life. It swirled around her like a swarm of angry wasps before ensnaring her in a mass of black. She vanished with a 'pop.'
Sam stared silently at the empty spot where the frustrated demoness had stood not moments ago, mouth agape. After a few moments, she shut her trap with a sigh and made her way slowly out of the museum like nest, dragging her feet the whole way.
"Where were you?"
"Why hello to you too, darling."
Rufus lapped happily at Sam's cheeks and the strawberry blonde absentmindedly ran her fingers through her pet's chocolate brown and very matted fur.
"Sam, where were you?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about. I've been with Rufus this whole time." She gestured innocently to the hell hound lying in a gigantic mound atop her feet.
"Do not make me ask again."
"Well, don't make me answer again," she frowned sourly, resting her chin on her pet's massive back.
A few moments later, she felt a firm hand on her shoulder and she glanced up at Sebastian out of the corner of her eye. He frowned down at her and Sam squinted back up at him with an equally annoyed glower. After a minute or two, she let out a heavy breath and broke the stare down.
"What would you do if I told you that I had Stolas take me to your parents' house so I could confront them about being insufferable, racist, ass holes but they weren't there and Persephone was, for some odd reason... And then we had a spat about demons and then she vanished with her creepy hair so I dragged my sorry ass back here and just kinda' plopped here, letting Rufus lick my face (even though I'm pretty sure she licked her butt a few minutes before that) for the past hour and a half."
Sebastian blinked slowly. He seemed to ponder for a moment, tapping a black fingernail against his chin in thought.
"I suppose lock you up and never let you leave the nest again."
"Ah…" Sam paused, chewing thoughtfully on her lower lip. "In that case, ignore all of that. It's the shock talking."
"Shock?" he repeated. "From what?"
"But from what?"
"I… fell out a window?"
He was smirking now.
"Mmhmm," Sam hummed, leaning into his side. "And - would you believe it? - into a lake full of electric eels… hence, the whole 'shock' part," she explained morosely, air-quotations and all.
"Oh, I do. Was there anything else in this lake of yours?"
"Sharks. Big ones. As big as a house. Great whites… yeah… Great whites with ten… ten thousand rows of teeth. Oh! And rhinos, and anacondas, and lions, and tarantulas, and even this one really nasty hedgehog. And all of them were electric. All of them."
"I see. And was that 'really nasty hedgehog' perhaps named Persephone?"
"No, that one's name was Stolas. There was a great white shark who was named Persephone, though."
Sebastian grasped tightly onto her hand and hauled her to her feet. Sam swayed for a few seconds, yawning loudly. She let go of his hand for a moment to pull her arms over her head in a long, over exaggerated, stretch. She glanced back up at the demon by her side, grabbing back onto his hand.
"I've had a pretty long day…"
He arched an ebony eyebrow.
"The challenge… Nearly being eaten, or killed, or maimed, or a bunch of other things…" she mumbled absentmindedly. "And I'll probably have another sucky one tomorrow…"
"And your point is…?"
"Oh, nothing," she sniveled, looking up at him with wide, watery, blue eyes. "Just, you know, lamenting about my horribly tiring life where I'm expected to return to a nest without a fluffy pillow that could possibly be my dog, but whatever."
Sebastian rolled his eyes.
"The mutt stays outside."
"Puh-lease, Sebastian," she begged, clasping onto his hand with both of hers. He grinned down at her, eyes closed and face peaceful.
Sam pouted up at him with the widest, saddest, most pathetic puppy dog eyes she could muster. Crocodile tears brimmed in the corners of her eyes and she had to fight to keep from automatically blinking away the salty and stinging liquid.
"But I need my pillow!"
"You have a pillow."
"But that one doesn't lick my face!"
"And you know that how, precisely?"
"Because pillows don't lick people," she shot back.
"Your cheek is unpleasantly damp each morning, isn't it?"
"That's from drool!"
Sam paused for a moment, face growing pale, and shuddered violently, rubbing at her arms.
"I'm going to pretend that you didn't just say that…"
"That's perfectly fine. Now…" he gestured back to the nest with a wide sweep of his arm and perfectly poised grin that reminded Sam so much of when he'd used to show off his latest and greatest accomplishment as the Phantomhive butler.
Sam's gaze drifted back to Rufus who had curled up into a comfortable looking blob on the ground, oblivious to the argument taking place over her placement. The hell hound inhaled deeply for a few seconds before slipping off into a peaceful slumber, obnoxious snoring and all. She sighed in defeat and interlaced her arm with Sebastian's.
"Lead the way, oh mighty pillow ruiner."
Sam yawned loudly and arched her back, stretching out her aching limbs like a contented cat just waking from a nap. She let out another, smaller yawn, and curled back into Sebastian's chest.
It had been nice to sleep. And sleep. And sleep some more. She hadn't been aware of exactly how exhausted she'd been until she'd trudged back into their nest and quite literally collapsed onto the floor. The challenge, piled up with her failed attempt at contacting Sebastian's parents, had sucked her usually quite full energy reserves dry and she'd slept like a rock for Hell knows how long.
She nuzzled herself comfortably into the crook of her companion's neck. As far as Sam was aware, Sebastian was still sleeping. As often as the demon vehemently argued that he did not need sleep like weak, little beings such as herself, thank you very much, he did seem to enjoy it. …Not that she knew a single being on Earth or down in Hell that didn't enjoy a nice nap. Silently, Sam watched the slight rise and fall of his chest, not sure if any movement on her part would end up waking the no doubt grumpy demon or go unnoticed. Not that she really felt the dire need to move either way, but whatever…
The tranquility and silence was a nice change to the hectic events as of late.
However, the quiet gave her mind time to wander. And when that happened, she tended to think. And make plans. Stupid plans. Rash plans. Plans that would no doubt end with her somehow getting her butt kicked from here to the ninth layer and then all the way through the surface to China… or something like that.
The only problem was that she had nothing to plan.
Well, perhaps that wasn't quite true. She could (sort of) plan her meeting with Sebastian's parents. She could most certainly plan out an escape route for when they flipped shit and tried to peel her skin from her still living body. And of course she could plan how to put out a roaring flame if somehow she managed to catch fire during their meeting. She could prepare herself for a whole slew of things… but none of those things mattered if she didn't know where they were.
She doubted wailing dramatically at the walls of their nest would have nearly the same effect as being up close and personal.
"They're not here anyways. They won't be back for at least two days."
What had that meant? Were they on some obscure vacation or something? Did they have vacations or spots to vacation in Hell? Then again, she supposed Sebastian's parents didn't seem like the type to enjoy sitting by a gorgeously furnished poolside, sipping fruity drinks and making small talk with the attendants…
She closed her eyes and burrowed herself deeper into the man lying beneath her. An arm curled protectively around her waist and Sam sighed, mentally exhausted and sorely needing another solid nap.
She would just wait in grumpy silence for the shit to hit the fan.
A handful of days passed in peace. Sam spent this glorious free time lounging around the nest, playing with Rufus, sleeping, sleeping some more, and getting caught up in her attractive soul mate and his evil schemes. She'd tried to head out and do some exploring, but it was so hot. Did Hell have weather? She supposed it must have, what with the current heat wave passing through.
Of course, that period of relaxation and general happiness should have been a warning – 'the calm before the storm,' and all that jazz.
So when Sam arrived back at the nest one afternoon, coated in dirt and hellhound fur, to find Sebastian practically spitting in rage at a poor, cowering, demon that seemed to have shrunk to about half his regular height in pure terror, she shouldn't have been so absolutely shocked. With a wave of his arm, the visiting demon crashed into the opposite wall with a painful sounding crack. Sebastian's eyes flared a red so vibrant and blood-like that Sam swore he was burning with the very flames he lived in. The demon shrieked in terror and fled, swerving around the strawberry blonde so quickly he kicked up a cloud of dust.
Seconds crawled on like snails and Sebastian remained rigid, fists clenched at his sides. It was a terrifying sight – an enraged demon.
Sam took a cautious step forward.
She tried again.
"Now. We're leaving. Right. Now," he spat.
She frowned, confused.
"Leaving Hell? But I thought—"
"No. Not Hell. The nest. We're leaving for the center of Hell."
"Your status as a demon is being challenged," he snapped, eyes still smoldering crimson. Sam blanched, staring at him in shock.
"…is that it? Seriously? You're flipping out over that—"
"I don't think you understand the magnitude of this situation."
Sam rested her hands on her hips.
"Then explain it."
Sebastian ran a hand through his tussled hair in frustration. His long bang fell in front of his eyes and he swiped it away with a pale finger.
"Only demons are allowed to reside in Hell."
"All non-demons are sent to the punishment areas."
"If you're considered not to be a demon, you will be sent to these punishment areas."
"…and then I can just leave because I am a demon," Sam emphasized.
"No? No as in 'no, you're not a demon'? Because I'm pretty sure my eyes glow, I passed the layer test, and I've already sucked some guy's soul and practically made him go boom from the inside out."
"No, as in, no, you will not be coming back."
"And why not?"
"Because you will be sent away in pieces, as sustenance for the demons in that layer."
His chilly glare and venomous scowl told her that no, he was not kidding and for whatever reason, there was an honest to goodness chance that she was going to become fresh demon kibble.
"Why am I even being… 'challenged'?" she frowned
Again, Sebastian's irises seemed to reflect the very essence of Hell itself. Sam sighed.
"Sam, as I'm sure you are aware, your personality tends to cause conflicts between yourself and others."
"It's a simple process. If one demon makes a complaint about a new-demon or human born, others who have met with the human born in question will be surveyed—"
"Let me guess. Your parents complained and everyone who just abhors my guts like madam Alecto and mister Minotaur joined right on in."
"A few others as well."
"How many demons have I pissed off that I don't know about?"
"Quite a few."
"Your status as my mate. The fact that you killed Geryon, even though it was not technically you that did so. Your affiliation with Hell Hounds. The list could go on."
"Can't someone do something? Anything? Can't Tisiphone say something? Persephone—" She paused. Her brain screaming at her and her raging stupidity. She cursed under her breath as her recent encounter with the demon queen flooded her mind.
Persephone lives with Hades who in all likelihood deals with all this stuff directly. That's why Persephone was in Sebastian's parents nest… She was looking for me. To tell me… and then I pissed her off and she had a temper tantrum and poofed away. Damn it all.
Sam rubbed at her forehead.
"What am I supposed to do?"
"There's a challenge—"
"Another one? You have got to be absolutely, freaking kidding me. This just keeps dragging on, and on—"
"No. Not like that."
"Then what is it?" she huffed.
"It's short… though riskier, far riskier. A more… intimate and accurate test. It's been used to determine the statuses of demons for far longer than I've been alive."
"Great. Joy. Stupendous. Pure peachiness. What the Hell is it?"
"Where you ever introduced to anything regarding the Roman Gladiators? It was not dubbed a 'demonic practice' for nothing."
The crowd gathered in the ninth layer was big enough to swallow all of London whole.
Sam rubbed nervously at the goose bumps on her arms, dodging nasty glares and equally spiteful words tossed her way by all present. An older looking demon with salt and pepper hair ushered her quickly towards a small cavern tucked away in one of the many walls of black ice. Sebastian had been yanked from her the moment she arrived in the ninth layer as he might have "given her an unfair advantage."
She shivered as the ice cold air bit at her skin. The place reeked of death already…
Sam glanced around the small, barren, cavern. Just outside, she could hear uproarious voices and heavy claws scratching across frozen liquid as the crowd continued to grow and grow. She could feel Sebastian's mental voice swimming at the edges of her subconscious, but whether it be her nerves or some other barrier put in place to keep them from interacting, she couldn't put make out a single word.
Another shadow slowly crept across the floor to stand by her own and Sam glanced to her right to see who had come to join her. Immediately, her lips twisted into a bitter snarl.
"What are you doing here?"
"Wishing you good luck, of course," Stolas smirked, green eyes glimmering in the dim light. "Someone has to do it other than yourself and seeing as my brother's under surveillance, I thought I'd do it."
The reference to their previous conversation from outside of his parents' nest drew not even the slightest quirk of her lips.
"I have to kill someone…" she rasped. "…Or they'll kill me… I have to kill someone. In front of an entire layer full of demons."
"Pretty much, yeah."
"I have to kill someone!"
"I think you should be focusing on not getting yourself killed."
"Oh, don't be so dramatic. I'm not going to become some blonde flavored demon snacks," she snapped. "This is stupid. Your parents are stupid. Everything is stupid!" she exclaimed, exasperated, and threw her hand up into the air.
"You don't have a choice."
"Bull shit. Bull s-h-i-t."
"Do I need to verbally spell out each and every foul word in my vocabulary to prove the point of how f-r-e-a-k-i-n-g ridiculous this is, because I—"
She paused, turning blazing red eyes to focus on the demon at her side. It was the first time Stolas had ever addressed her by name…
"Relax, okay? Geez. It's only a kill. You've killed before, haven't you?"
"Yeah. Once. I exploded a man by accident."
"But you did it."
"Well, duh. But I was mentally scarred and upchucked all over the ground. Pretty sure I passed out, too."
"…okay then. But you did kill him, didn't you? So you can do it again."
"I can't kill someone on purpose!"
"Why not? You're a demon, aren't you?"
Sam choked - a big, fat, 'NO' caught on her tongue. She bowed her head, strawberry blonde hair shielding her face.
"Look. It's really not that bad," he assured awkwardly. "I'm sure you'll do fine. I'm also sure the other human born being challenged is weak, so stop freaking out. The last thing I need is to be doused in nerve induced vomit," Stolas sniveled.
"Great… that's reassuring. All I have to do is kill someone who's in the same stinking boat as I am, and—" she paused for moment, eyes flashing up to Stolas. She glowered up at him cautiously.
"…Why are you being so nice?"
"What? I'm not being nice," he spluttered. "I'm giving advice on how not to die. That's all."
"I'll ignore that utter crap load of an answer and ask again… Why are you being so pleasant to me all of a sudden?"
He paused, looking torn and frustrated. His brow furrowed deeply, black eyebrows knit together in anger, before relaxing with a heavy, defeated, sigh.
"As much as I… absolutely loathe to say this… you make my brother happy. And you're actually putting an effort into keeping him all peppy and such."
"And demons don't normally get the chance to be happy. You know… soul sucking monsters banned from Heaven, its eternal grace, bla bla bla, and all that…"
"And you're happy that your brother gets his chance to be happy?"
Sam frowned at him sternly, crossing her arms over her chest. Stolas chewed lightly on his lower lip, glancing up at the frozen ceiling.
"…Fine. But only a little. A very little, little," he grumbled. "But I still hate you."
The echoing silence that followed grated on her frayed nerves. After a moment, she sighed and glanced over her should at him.
"So… what should I expect?"
His answer was blunt and biting. It made a shudder crawl up her spine.
"So… what's going to happen exactly?"
"You and the other human born being challenged will get chucked into some kind of makeshift fighting ring where you'll basically just go at it until one of your drops dead."
"That sounds absolutely lovely."
"It's a pretty big thing. Lots of demons enjoy viewing these. It's incredibly different from the standard layer challenge. The demons here actually matter."
"Gee, that's nice," Sam sighed, rubbing at her forehead. Another moment passed in silence and she swallowed heavily, shakily. "I'm still gonna' upchuck all over the place."
"Aim for the eyes – you could blind them, maybe?"
"Thanks for the advice."
It was a strange kind of silence… One of those moments that everyone knew should have been filled with raucous noise and shouting, but simply was not. Sam found the silence more unnerving than if every demon present had been chanting for her demise.
She clasped her hands at her sides and waited.
Soon enough, another, quite obviously petrified, human-born was pushed forward. She looked sick to her stomach and her platinum head of hair was mused and frizzy from the constant presence of nervous hands twiddling with the ends. Her bottle-green eyes darted back and forth with nervousness.
Sam took a deep, shaky, breath.
Okay. I can do this. I can do this. I am a demon. Be the demon. Be the demon.
Sam took a step forward and her adversary did the same. Green bled to crimson and Sam was lying flat on her face before she could blink, abdomen racked with pain. She craned her neck up to see the other human born looming over her.
"Oh, come on! Don't make this so easy! Killing you should be fun!" The nerves had all but vanished, leaving nothing but a smirking little witch.
Sam's jaw fell open. Um, EXCUSE ME?
The platinum blonde female tossed her hair over her shoulder and stared down at her smugly. The quiet had been replaced with uproarious cheering and cackling. Sam glowered up at her and spat a wad of dirt out of her mouth,
"I heard you would be a challenge…! The girl who befriended a Hell hound and slayed the dragon demon Geryon," she murmured pensively, "not a little weakling!"
Sam stood and swiped at her chin, smearing the gooey dust that had stuck there. Her own eyes heated to a vivid red in fury. She glowered at her grinning opponent.
"Aren't you conceited," the strawberry blonde snapped, wiping dirt from her knees. "And, for your information, Persephone killed him. I cowered in terror."
"Oh! How fantastic!" she sighed."I'm going to have fun mangling your stupid little self beyond recognition," She paused, grin widening. "And I'm allowed to be as conceited as I want!" she huffed. "Unlike you, I'm a proper demoness. It's in our nature to be ass holes, so it's perfectly fine if I—"
Okay. This lady needs to get slapped. With a brick. No. A whale. A killer whale. A killer whale filled with hornets. And machetes.
Sam inhaled slowly through her nose. If she wanted to win this, she'd have to be smart. And strong. And fast. And a Hell of a lot of other things too. But she could do it. She would do it. But first…
"Okay, Claude, whatever you say."
"Hey!" 'Claude' puffed. "My name's Sabine, not-"
"Whatever you say, Claude."
Sabine was fuming - face a brilliant shade of puce and cheeks inflated like a giant, prickly, puffer fish. Sam grinned and made a sweeping gesture with her hand.
"Let's change this up. Men first, m'dear~"
"I'm not a man!" she shrieked.
"What? Claude, honey, I think we need to have a little talk here—"
Sabine/Claude lunged forward with a snarl fit to send any mortal in tremors of pure horror; however, Sam wasn't a mortal. That's what she was here to prove, and she was damned well going to do just that.
Sam ducked out of the way, pivoting the uneven ground so that she was behind her attacker. She snapped her leg outward in a swift roundhouse kick that sent Sabine tumbling to her knees. But the demoness was agile – falling into a barrel role rather than face planting into the dirt. She used her place on the ground to plant a firm side kick into the strawberry blonde's lower stomach. Sam scowled, feeling her own eyes heat in frustration.
Black nails elongated painfully, teeth were bared, and the two went at it like a pair of rabid dogs.
Both fighters fell into the offensive, kicking and punching and clawing and shoving at whatever parts of each other they could reach without putting themselves in too much jeopardy of being struck with a particularly deadly blow. Sam fell back, panting and trying hard to ignore the almost acidic burn in her right cheek left by a particularly strong-armed punch. She could feel liquid dribble down her sides and she hoped like anything that it was only sweat.
This had to end fast. She of all people knew that her endurance wasn't so great in the first place and that fact alone could be the quite literal death of her.
With a surge of determination and adrenaline, Sam propelled herself forward, barreling into Sabine's chest. The air was knocked out of her with one, gigantic, whoosh and Sam slammed the palm of her hand down into Sabine's gut. The platinum haired demoness wheezed, eyes wide in pain. Sam jumped up, looming over her. Her lengthened nails bit into the flesh of her palm and she realized at the moment just how perfect of a weapon they could make.
Arm raised high above her head and nails ready to slice through flesh like a hot knife sinking through butter, she would do it. She could do it. She was ready to take a life and…
… and that brief moment was all her subconscious needed to fly back into her brain and kick out the instinct driven fight that had taken over. She felt the heat in her eyes fade to nothing but a pleasant chill. Red to blue. Hot to cold. Rage to calm. It seemed fitting.
A foot collided with her chest and Sam doubled over, gasping for breath.
Sabine spluttered and coughed, pulling herself shakily to her feet. She wiped at the drop of ruby liquid at the corner of her lips and shook her head fiercely, as if trying to pull herself together. The platinum haired demoness wobbled uneasily for a moment before rushing forward. Sam catapulted herself out of the way, tumbling to the ground in the process. She scampered quickly to her feet and held up her hands in a peace offering.
"Stop it! Don't you realize how ridiculous this whole thing is?"
Sabine stilled for a moment before going in for another hit.
"Why are we even fighting each other? Who says we have to?"
"What do they matter?" Sam demanded, dodging another painful smack.
The two paused, stopping to glare at each other and swipe sweat soaked hair out of their eyes.
"They," Sabine hissed, gesturing to the hoard of cackling and rowdy demons surrounding them, "determine whether I become mincemeat or live a proper life as a demoness at the side of my mate! So, yes! They matter!"
"Why should they?" Sam countered. "What happens if just stop? What happens if we refuse to fight?"
"They kill us!"
"Oh, for Heaven's sake!"
A gasp went up through the surrounding crowd and Sam dead panned. Whoops. Thanks vocal chords, brain, tongue… You all deserve a medal of stupidity.
She took in a shaky breath and steeled her gaze.
"You know what? Whatever! I don't care anymore! Whether it be Heaven, Hell, Earth, or someplace out on Mars, I'm not going to fight you."
"…seriously. You're just going to give in? Let me kill you?" Sabine asked, appalled.
"Of course not!" Sam scoffed. "I'm not that suicidal, thank you very much. I'm going to walk away. Eloquently. And you're not going to do a single thing about it."
"Oh, yeah? What makes you so sure?" Sabine snarled. "I could kill you before you had the chance to take a single step and I'd be set!"
"I'm not sure… But I'm really, super-duper, hoping, you don't. I like being alive… or, whatever you call being in Hell…"
"So that's it? You're just going to walk out?"
Sam rolled her eyes with a heavy sigh. She lifted up her hand and counted off on her fingers.
"One: I've already established this. Two: Please stop making this sound like I'm breaking up with you. I've known you for what, ten minutes tops? Three: Yes. I am. Adios~" Sam waved at her cheerfully before turning on her heel and heading into the crowd to look for Sebastian. She could have sworn she'd spotted him near the front a few minutes ago, but then again, she could have easily mistaken him for any of the other black haired, red eyed, demons filling the area, in that brief second she'd glimpsed him.
After a few tense seconds of mentally chanting "crapcrapcrapcrapcrap. This is how I die. I'm going to be lying face down in the mud with my heart ripped out of my back or something…" she slowly began to relax. Sabine wasn't attacking her. And she wasn't going to. She really wasn't going to.
Well, the crowd of spectators must have realized this as well and was starting to grow restless and irritated. Sam supposed she couldn't blame them – they came to see one of the two human borns get her ass handed to her and would be leaving on a peaceful note. That had to suck.
But that was their problem. Her problem currently was locating Sebastian. She squinted, mentally sifting through the throngs of demons-who-looked-like-people and the loveable groups of what-the-hell-is-that-crime-against-nature. Soon enough, her eyes alighted on a certain mop of familiar black hair with a singular, long, bang hanging in his face and she grinned, waving cheerfully at him and started heading in his direction.
For a moment, she thought of simply walking over and grasping onto his hand discretely. Everyone within a mile radius kind of already wanted to see her flayed and left out to be eaten by the buzzards, and instigating the demons who hated her by being all openly romantic with a mate they hated that she had in the first place could not be a good idea.
She internally shrugged.
Meh. Whatever. I'll die happy.
She practically tackled him, arms encircling his neck in a death grip. She grinned into his neck when she felt his own arms return her embrace. She tilted her head upward to plant a solid kiss on his lips and he responded in kind before pulling back with a light frown.
"That was the most ridiculously stupid thing I believe I've ever seen you do."
"What? Turning my back on someone whose survival and happiness could depend on killing me?"
"Oh, don't pretend you're not psyched that I actually pulled that whole 'walking away like a boss' thing off without getting mauled."
"Hmm," he hummed in agreement, lips twisted upward. "I am proud… though it would have been far simpler if you'd killed her when you had the chance."
She rolled her eyes.
Sam paused, mind kicking into action. If Stolas had been here earlier, then maybe…
"Your parents –"
Sam pulled back to look him in the face.
Sebastian grinned down at her, amused.
"Not at all. They didn't approve of your little stunt, but they also didn't feel the need to stay around to watch the growing mob potentially tear you to shreds."
"Not the words I would have used, but yes, it is something," he smirked.
Sam's beam faded lightly into a small frown.
"They'll never accept me, will they? No matter what I do."
"I don't believe so, no."
"…whatever. At least they're not going out of the way to light me on fire anymore."
"Okay, bad analogy."
All around them, the mob of demons grew more and more restless. Sabine's soul mate had moved to her side, nervously flitting between checking on her and watching over the other demons. The shouting and demands grew more blatant and vehement. Sam frowned, eyes narrowing cautiously.
The male demon frowned, tightening his arm around her waist.
The pure outrage surrounding them was practically palpable – so thick in the air it could have easily been dug into with a knife. Demons roared from every crevice, absolutely enraged by the turn of events and the therefore the blatant lack of a gruesome murder.
"Who were these human borns to deny tradition?"
"Kill them both!"
The strawberry blonde glanced up nervously as Persephone walked forward through the crowd of snarling demons. The golden eyed demoness smirked and Sam frowned. Her eyes fell on the demon by the Queen's side. The red eyes and black hair seemed stereotypical and undistinguishable from any other demon, but he emitted a dark aura of sheer power and terror that seemed to dwarf every other demon present. Even Sebastian seemed humbled.
"What's going on?" the demon demanded.
"It seems," Persephone sighed, "that there was a bit of human born fight planned, but a certain someone," her golden eyes flickered to Sam who simply sent the demoness a dirty glare, "chose to opt out rather than kill her opponent."
The noise rose again.
"Make them fight!"
"Kill them both!"
Sam winced and silence overtook the area once more. The demon glared at the group around him with extreme distaste. He glanced over at Persephone for a moment before turning to again address the mob.
"This match is over."
Relief seeped through the entirety of her frame. Sam let out a heavy sigh.
Sebastian smirked down at her and Sam beamed back at him.
That was simple.
You took the words right out of my mind.
Sebastian flinched and stepped back a bit. Sam frowned.
Come on. My jokes aren't that bad, loser.
Sam opened her mouth to ask what exactly had drained him so much all in the process of three seconds, but was interrupted by the sound of someone clearing their throat.
"Persephone mentioned you quite a bit, though never by name," he smirked. "She simply referred to you as 'that blonde idiot of a newborn.'"
Sam stared at the demon that had approached her. Persephone still stood by his side looking quite smug. Sam's eyes widened a bit as her mind finally put two and two together to realize just how much of a big shot this guy was.
The devil himself.
Sunday School should have prepared me for this.
"Is that s-so…? Can't say I'm surprised." Sam shot Persephone an irritated leer to which the golden eyed demoness simply smiled wickedly back at her.
"That was very courageous of you," he commented idly.
Holy shitake mushrooms. I just got complimented by the devil. Is that a good thing, or…?
"…thank you…" she paused and cautiously tacked a "sir" onto the end. Hades smiled, eyes drifting towards the woman on his arm.
"Though it may not seem like it, there are those of us in Hell who do not wish death upon all the human borns. I thank you for taking a stand in their honor."
"I-It wasn't that big a thing, uh, I, uhm… I mean…" she spluttered, feeling her face heat lightly in embarrassment. "All I did was say no to a fight..."
"And that was a bigger step than many have dared to take. So thank you."
"…you're welcome?" she replied awkwardly, voice a tad squeaky.
"I would love to stay and chat a bit, but unfortunately, I have business to attend too," he sighed. "Time to leave, Persephone."
The dark haired demoness smiled.
The devil chuckled and casually extended a pale hand.
"It was pleasant to meet you, Miss…?"
Sam grinned a bit shakily and reached out to take the hand that he offered to her. She shook it triumphantly.
It was mind boggling. Here she was, shaking hands with Hades, the King of all of Hell. To think, not even an hour ago she was scared out of her mind at the idea of killing another new demon stuck in the same awful situation as she was. Not a day ago she was sure she'd never get by without having some God awful family feud with Sebastian's parents for being lesser. And now she was introducing herself to the most powerful demon of them all. What a world.
Maybe the rest of eternity down here wouldn't be quite as daunting as she'd thought.
"Nice to meet you too, sir. I'm Samantha Quenell…" she glanced back at Sebastian, shooting him a familiar grin, "and I'm simply one Hell of a blonde."
I honestly can't begin to describe how awesome you guys are and how wonderful you all made this story. Seriously. I would have stopped a long, long, time ago. I think this is the first story I've ever finished, ever.
So thank you all.
Thank you to the old people who've been with this since chapter one.
Thank you to the people who started reading a few months ago, even though that's how long it's been since I updated.
Thanks to everyone who put up with my spastic and really weird updating schedule without throwing hissy fits.
Thanks to the people who DID throw hissy fits which encouraged me to get my butt going on typing.
Thanks to everyone!
You're all amazing!~