A Megaten Digital Devil Saga one-shot.
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Summery: Tracking down the Leader and the Traitor that had kidnapped Sera, Argilla goes mad. Heat intervenes.
It had been one guised in the form of Cu Chulainn that had started it. It would be the remnants of his half-consumed body that would end it.
The Embryon were within the upper chambers of the Tower when it had attacked.
It had been easy enough to defeat-several floors filled with nothing but trap doors had lead to a grand feast of the local demons, and they had all grown exceptionally strong against their opponents. And with only one Cu Chulainn versus the four of them, the battle was over quickly and decisively.
In the forms of monsters, the small group surrounded the corpse, each taking his share.
All except one.
"Argilla, you have not consumed anything since we have entered this area." Gale, in the form of Vayu, faced her, the gaping mouth that was his head awkwardly sounding out syllables and words not compatible with a demon's form. "If you do not eat, you will go mad. Why do you hesitate?"
He tore off a fraction of the body, easing his way over to the demon that was Prithivi and offering her the meat. The featureless head turned away, and from both mouths, a great hiss of disgust erupted. "No…Gale, I've already told you; I'm not hungry." The two heads spoke; both seeming to take turns to make sure both had equal room to speak. "Please…get that thing out of my face….you're making me nauseous."
The demon reverted back to its more human persona, and Argilla turned away from the group with a grimace. The sniper moved to a wall, turning her back to her tribesmen and resting a hand against it for support, the other moving to her mouth as she fought back a gag. The scent of blood and carnage still hung heavily in the air, and even her senses, muted as they were in her human body, could still taste the demon's flesh.
No…she was not going to eat. Not after Jinana. Not now.
"What the hell Argilla? Just how long do you think you can pull off this fucking princess bullshit?" Heat's voice, the rough single tone of Heat, not the double-toned Agni, reached her ears, causing the woman to turn back to its source.
Heat stood behind her, having shifted back to human somewhere down the line, his grenade launcher, much as her own rifle, slung across his back. His fist, clothed in grey fingerless uniform gloves, was grasping something of a dark red, flecks of darker, near black reds dotting it's surface. With a mouth lined with blood, he glared at her.
"You know goddamned well you haven't so much as touched a hunk of meat since we left the fucking Solid's base." He snapped. "What the hell is your problem?"
The sight of the flesh in Heat's hand made the pink-haired woman both nauseous and ravenous at the same time, the demon within her breast demanding that she feed it yet with her human mind, human body rebelling against Prithivi's desire with all its might. The woman swallowed, tasting bile at the back of her throat and quickly averting her gaze from the flesh before her stomach could rebel further. "There's nothing wrong with me, Heat." She answered coolly, meeting his burning gaze with her own somber pink. "Like I told Gale; I'm not hungry, so leave me alone."
The woman turned and walked a distance away, ending the conversation before Heat could come back with a retort and hoping to reach an area within the room that didn't reek so heavily of blood.
She didn't get far, however, before something latched hold of her shoulder.
Heat spun her around before she could resist, and before she knew it she'd been slammed into a wall, Heat's hand a bruising grip on her shoulder where fingers dug into the flesh beneath her clothes.
Argilla let out a pained grunt, her head recoiling against the wall hard enough for her to see stars and her weapon digging awkwardly into her back. She blinked, and when the stars faded Heat's red eyes came to gaze into hers. "Don't you dare turn your back to me like that, bitch. I was talking to you." His voice was a low and heavy growl, different from his usual temper tantrums that were so much like a wildfire in a brush; quick, angry, and difficult to control.
No…as Heat braced his forearm against her chest, pinning her to the wall, Argilla knew this was no wildfire she was staring at.
This was a volcano setting to explode.
"Stop acting so goddamned high and mighty Argilla." Heat spoke in that low whisper-growl again, baring his teeth in a snarl and bringing his face in closer to hers, effectively blocking out the impassive gazes of Serph and Gale, both human once more. "We're all hungry, Argilla. Every-fucking-one of us; I'm hungry, Gale's hungry, even out fearless leader is hungry. Shit, we were all hungry even with Sera with us to drive it away. And if we're all hungry, there's no way in hell you aren't, Argilla. Just because you're a woman doesn't make you exempt from the rules."
He cut her off. "I don't care what excuse you're making." The hand not holding her pinned rose, and from the corner of one eye Argilla spied the flesh Heat had been holding once more. "You need to eat. You're going to eat. Even if I have to shove it down your fucking throat."
His intentions clear, Argilla fought against him. "Heat, don't you dare." She hissed. Squirming and twisting, thrashing against his arm and sending kicks and punches into his body. Yet Heat was strong. Stronger than her-he'd always been stronger than her-and her struggles were in vain, punches and kicks that may have well struck the wall that was at her back for all the damage it caused him. "I'm not eating that, Heat." Her voice rose into a shout as the red-head shoved the meat in front of her face. "Don't even think of making me try!"
Yet Heat seemed to be thinking just that, adjusting his grip to grasp her chin, holding her still as the hunk of meat moved to obscure Argilla's vision. She clenched her jaw shut even as he shoved it against her lips, her nose inhaling the scent of blood and gore and some small part of her jumping in excitement, screaming yes! Yes! even as the more logical side of her shrieked no! at the same time.
Than Heat's heel came down upon her foot, and Argilla's mouth opened in a scream as pain flared up from the limb.
Her scream came out muffled as the meat was shoved into her mouth, and abruptly Argilla's scream came to an end. The taste invaded her senses, and even as she tried to turn away, tried to spit it out, something, another part of her stirred, and before she realized it the sniper was biting at it, chewing it up and swallowing little pieces, the hunger she'd been ignoring so long after Jinana returning full force and demanding more.
Yet still, she fought against it, fought against Prithivi's hunger, against a taste that was disgusting as it was pleasing, fought against the want.
Because all she could see in her mind was Jinana.
Jinana, who refused to eat her comrades.
Jinana, her body skimming across the ground as Mick threw her.
Jinana, covered in the infected green lines of her atma.
Jinana, whom she was forced to slay with her own hands.
Jinana, who wasn't supposed to die.
The scenes flashed through her head, one after another and sparking a rage inside her breast. She heard Prithivi's scream echoing in her ears and her breast was burning from where her atma scalded her. It gave her strength even as it burned her, and with a shriek that was more Prithivi than Argilla, she shoved Heat away from her.
The man stumbled but did not fall, the remaining flesh he'd fed her free from his hand and dangling from her mouth, where it disappeared as she-Prithivi, Argilla, whichever-consumed it. When she straightened, however, the pink of her atma did not fade as they should have, nor did they spread to envelop her completely, allowing for the shift between human and demon.
Rather, they remained stationary on her body, pulsing to an unknown beat as the woman bent over, gasping for a breath she didn't have as she fought against the transformation. She knew what it was, had felt in once before and seen it happen to others on countless occasions. She was going mad, and it scared her to death because with each second, she could feel her consciousness devoured by Prithivi little by little.
Her eyes looked to Heat, who watched on without care, to behind him, where Serph was moving to her, only to be pulled back by Gale, waved away by Heat. And as her eyes focused on Heat once more, the man smiled. "Come on." He growled. "Go ahead and change. I'm willing to bet you're so weak right now I could take you on without Agni."
He took a threatening step towards her, and she stepped back, Prithivi's shrieks drowning out the world around her as she clamped her eyes shut. She felt the brief pain of her shift, and Prithivi screamed, staring at the world through the hazy white noise of the vibrations around her.
Something moved in front of her, and immediately one of Prithivi's arms shot out, the appendage unraveling and whipping to wrap around her opponent with a scream. Yet Heat was quicker, and the blur of static that was he ducked under her swing, rushing towards her as a hand shot out to grab the vine that was her arm. A tug on the limb sent her screaming in a rage as strong as if he'd moved to tear it from her body, and she swiped at him with the arm that had yet to extend.
She felt the blades within her hand bury into her opponent, yet he seemed to ignore it in favor of shouting something in her face. The words might have been understood had Argilla been in control, however for Prithivi the words came out as little more than a meaningless snarl. She hissed out a spell and shrieked in victory as the ground beneath him exploded, knocking him from his feet.
And then she was on top of him, jaws snapping hungrily as he fought to hold her back, only to suddenly find herself flying as he tossed her over his head. The world spun nauseatingly around her until her body struck the ground, causing the white noise to redden briefly before fading. She could taste blood in her mouths, and as she moved to stand once more something heavy landed on her back, forcing her body to the ground once more.
The taste of blood returned and with it came the taste of flesh.
Yet before she could enjoy her newfound meal something grabbed her arms from behind, and as she turned her head to observe the presence she found her opponent once more, a foot pressing against her back as both arms held her hostage. He again said something that made little sense to her, and as she tried to buck him off, nothing but a pain stemming from her arms greeted her. She stilled at the pain, twin mouths opening in a shriek only to be shoved further onto the carcass she'd been thrown onto. Again, the taste of flesh reached her senses and she paused, torn between the hunger gnawing in her gut and the rage within her chest.
Hunger won over, and when it became apparent that her opponent would make no action against her, she settled, consuming the remnants of the body she laid sprawled upon. Sometime later she felt the foot leave her back and her arms released, yet she ignored it, too lost in her feast to bother with the one that had been her original prey.
What was left of the corpse was gone by the time she was finished, and as Prithivi fell into an uneasy slumber once more and Argilla regained control once more, she picked herself up from where she'd lain, sitting on the balls of her feet. Heat stood a small distance away from her, and seeing her sane once more, he approached. "You go mad when you don't eat. You saw what happened to Jinana. And the same thing will happen to you without Sera around."
He crouched next to her ignoring her blood-soaked flesh and the bits of gore that covered her mouths. "We're in hell, Argilla." He rumbled. "Find something to latch hold of to get you out of here-vengeance. Anger . Nirvana. Something. And when you find it, grab it. Do whatever it takes to obtain it, and when you do, latch onto it like a mad dog and don't you dare let go. Understand?"
She didn't reply at first. Simply stared at him with a head that saw nothing but vibrations, and slowly her atma consumed her once more, leaving Argilla to stare up at him. Yet he saw the resignation in her eyes, and with a grunt he rose once more. "Next time one of us says 'eat', do it." He growled under his breath, departing a distance away as Serph and Gale moved to take his place.
Serph offered her a hand, and after a moment she accepted it, allowing her leader to pull her to her feet. "You are unharmed?" The words came from Gale, yet she could see the same question dawning in Serph's eyes.
A nod from Serph, a slight, relieved smile on his face. Gale touched his forehead. "You must eat if you wish to ascend to Nirvana, Argilla." He said, as close to a scolding as anything she'd ever hear from the tactician. "You become a liability if you do not maintain control of yourself. Why you would allow yourself to fall to such an action is incomprehensible. Should it happen again without Sera, we will be forced to take action."
A threat and a warning coming from the cold logic that was Gale. Yet even as Prithivi snarled in defiance at his words, Argilla batted them aside, having long grown used to such things.
He was right after all.
"It won't happen again."
The hooded man nodded before turning to follow after Heat, who'd already looked to be eyeing the door they had yet to open, the one that would hopefully lead to Mick, to Bat, to Sera.
Serph touched her shoulder, and when she looked to him, he opened his mouth to speak, concern burning heavily in gray eyes.
She silenced him before he could get a word out. "It's alright Serph. They're right." She tried to smile at him, but it must have failed if the growing concern on his face said anything. "I won't let it happen again. I'll make sure of it."
He hesitated, and so she looked away, moving towards her comrades and sensing Serph fall in step behind her. "Come on. Let's go save Sera."
And so it was a group of four departed, leaving nothing in their wake but the blood of a fallen demon. Yet as they departed, one thought entered one woman's thoughts, and as she prepared herself for the next battle ahead, it was determination that filled her.
Determination to grow strong, to outweigh the fears that so gripped her heart.
Determination to defeat the ones she seeked vengeance upon, resting high up in the corridors of a castle in a wasteland, waiting for their demise at the hands of she and her comrades.
Determination to live, to see Nirvana and the paradise that laid beyond.
And when it came time again for them to fight, she did not hesitate.
For she was demon as much as man.
And in the borderlands of hell itself, only the strong survive.