All characters © Amano Akira
Summary: Daemon Spade possesses Julie.
It was quite shocking for Julie, who had gone through a black arts phase in the fifth grade—purely out of morbid curiosity, mind you, and who had some knowledge of demonic possession. Television shows like Supernatural and Charmed put aside, there was a ton of juicy stuff in the books. People would write about anything if they were bored or fanatic enough about the material. That is, if you knew where to look (also see "sneaking into the restricted section of the Shimon library").
All of that occult/demon stuff had a curious allure; that murky, macabre fascination that sometimes grips curious minds in search of something deliciously dark. Julie remembered books that spoke of Lucifer, that spoke of people with red eyes, that spoke of pentagrams and blood and Theban sigils, and of all things black and arcane that lay beneath the earth. Pretty juicy.
This hadn't been quite like that. There had been no ritual, no sacrifice, nor any act of blood summoning in the dead of night when the crows screeched their fowlish symphonies for the moon. No, this was something that happened completely out of the blue. One could see it as a little burp; a non sequitur in the events of everyday life. Julie had done nothing on his part. The last thoughts of possession that he'd had was when they watched The Exorcist last year (big mistake), and he'd had nightmares for a week. Enma had them for a month, and for a while he, Julie, and Kaoru slept in the same room with the lights on while Adelheid scoffed and Shitopi tried to pull pranks on them.
It had been when they were in the sixth grade—coincidentally, around the time when Timoteo of the Vongola started getting ideas about choosing an heir—that it happened.
Julie had not been expecting anything. He was not emotionally unbalanced, which he'd read makes you more accessible to demons; he was not religiously inclined, nor had he decided to read ancient texts from those old books in the restricted section of the school library. He had done absolutely nothing, and if the occasional pinch to Adelheid's bottom did anything to warrant this, Julie vowed to forever keep his hands to himself if he ever got his own body back. Now Julie thinks about how easy it had been for an outside power to take control, and that is somehow the scariest thing of all.
It had happened during lunch.
Lunch was the best period of the day, in Julie's humble opinion. He could sit under his favorite tree, cloaked by the shade and transient patterns of sunlight with his hat tipped down over his eyes. A deviled ham or PB&J was the best way to go (Julie was probably the only sixth grader who actually liked deviled ham, which Aoba made fun of him constantly for since Aoba generally had nothing better to do). He would think pleasant, fainéant thoughts while the sounds of his classmates running around punctuated the silence of the day. And, being a red-blooded teenage boy, his thoughts would sometimes stray to Adelheid if he was in that particular mood, but more often than not he would munch lazily and doze.
Julie hadn't really been thinking about anything at the time. Maybe he had even fallen asleep, who knows. One minute he was sitting under the old oak, and then...he wasn't.
Initially, he wanted to call it an "out of body experience," or "astral projection," but that was not altogether accurate. He was still there, but at the same time he wasn't. It was the strangest (and not entirely pleasant) feeling that only a girl living several hundred miles away by the name of Chrome Dokuro would have been oddly familiar with.
It was almost like dreaming.
You know, like those nightmares everyone's had where you can't control your body. Yes, it was something like that. Julie watched as he stood up and removed his hat. His eyes strayed to the deviled ham sandwich lying on the grass, and suddenly a feeling of overwhelming disgust washed over him. How could he have ever liked something so repulsive?
Oh, but that wasn't really him thinking that, yet at the same time it was. Julie swallowed. A vein pulsed dimly in his temple. He didn't feel like himself, all of a sudden.
He didn't know who he felt like.
Over time, Julie became familiar with the entity in his mind. At first, it hadn't been so bad. The demon would do his homework for him. There were even times of the day where Julie could move around freely, his head clear. During those...other times, when all he could do was watch, he comforted himself with the fact that whatever it was that had gotten hold of him seemed to be a half-intelligent being and would actually answer his questions. Sometimes.
Daemon, it said its name was.
Out of curiosity, Julie once asked it what Hell looked like. At that, Daemon laughed and laughed.
What do you think I am, Julie Katou? it asked.
Julie frowned. Or thought about frowning, since his face was still laughing. A demon? he questioned, filling his head with pictures of horned creatures with forked tails and four pairs of pupil-less eyes for Daemon to see. His imaginary demons blew out sulfur and acid spittle depended from their teeth.
Daemon just laughed some more, and Julie more sensed than felt his chest tighten with it. Perhaps. I'll show you soon, boy, it said.
Julie found out that Daemon had been a lot of different people.
Emperors, mafia dons, concubines, warriors, even animals. One time it showed Julie a rather disturbing image of a man in a white coat doing...things to a pair of children on an operating table.
Who were you? Julie asked, horrified. If he could have shut his eyes, he would have. The table was splashed with blood and some hideous pinkish-yellow stuff that Julie didn't even want to contemplate.
Daemon smirked. Josef Mengele.
Julie didn't like it when Daemon showed him things like that. Respectively, no sane person would. He couldn't help but think of A Clockwork Orange, where they had pried poor Alex's eyes open and made him watch those films. This was a little like that, only these films sometimes took a while to end.
Julie fancied himself nothing special. He was thirteen, scrawny, and orphaned, with no special lineage except for the fact that his entire family had been part of an obscure branch of the Italian mafia. He had myopia, hay fever, and low blood pressure; while minor afflictions, could be annoying if unattended to. Julie, for the life of him, couldn't see why Daemon had wanted to possess a boy who couldn't even bench 75 on a good day.
Why me, then? Julie would ask. You could have been anyone you wanted.
There's something to be said for the ones who don't stick out, is there not? was the usual reply. So Daemon intended to do whatever it was it wanted to do covertly, from the inside, Julie concluded. And what better way to accomplish one's goals than through your Average Mafia Joe from a broken Family who no one really gave a shit about in the first place?
Daemon had gotten rid of Julie's baseball cap, replacing it with a white felt fedora and discarding the baggy sweaters in lieu of silk, open-throated blouses. Altogether with the glasses, Julie now looked like a cowboy-slash Brooklyn photographer from the '80's. He didn't want to admit it had an odd way of working despite the clashing styles. It had a weird sort of charm, almost like the way a new country captivates a foreigner.
He hated the goatee, though. Daemon probably did that just to spite him.
Although demonic possession was depicted as more of a parasitic thing in lore and pop culture, Julie had to laugh at some of the symbiotic elements it possessed. In some ways, it was like a two-way mirror between the host and the invader. And, although it was for a greater purpose that Daemon kept hidden from him, Julie knew that Daemon had to be having second thoughts about possessing a pubescent teenage boy.
Or any boy for that matter. Daemon soon learned about the physical setbacks a human body presented, although it never seemed unduly put-out by them. Daemon realized that in order not to draw attention, it needed to keep Julie upright and healthy. It learned that Julie's body would grow weaker if it didn't eat or sleep regularly. Sprains, bruises, and open cuts needed to be tended to lest they become infected. In the blooming spring, if Julie's body didn't take its hay fever medicine, it would sneeze and sneeze. Using the bathroom made Julie feel a little uncomfortable since it was really Daemon who was wiping his ass, but on some level he was relieved that Daemon was at least taking care of his body.
He didn't know if demons even had a gender, but something told him that Daemon might have been a male at one point. It was the voice; low, sultry, and of course there was the usage of male-based Japanese honorifics. But, male or not, Julie felt Daemon's disgust at (re?)living the things teenage boys went through on a daily basis. Shaving. The pimples. The cracking voice. And of course, there were the other things.
Julie found the nocturnal emissions the most embarrassing. Most guys at least had the privacy of waking up to that sort of thing alone. It was those times that Julie was painfully reminded that he was two instead of one. Anything he had or thought he had was shared, always shared.
Daemon would smirk in the dark of the night, turning Julie's lip up in revulsion. Disgusting boy.
After a year, Julie came to the realization that the longer Daemon stayed, the stronger it got. The stronger Daemon got, the less present Julie began to feel in this world. He and Daemon had a curious relationship in which they didn't quite hate each other but neither was there any respect. What Daemon had done to Julie was a violation, an offense, and in its eyes Julie was just the vessel to be discarded when Daemon's work was complete. And naturally, Julie felt resentment at being possessed in the first place. The moments where Julie had some control over his body had disappeared altogether. He no longer felt real. Perhaps this was what it was like to be a ghost; nothing more than a chilly smoke in a breeze to be carried away by the wind.
After two years, Daemon began to take an interest in Enma. It had started out as simple small talk, carefully disguised minutiae that oozed ambiguity until it progressed into something less innocuous. Daemon had style, and Enma was drawn in like a bug to a Venus fly trap. Julie found his lips forming words that he would never in a million years dream of saying to Enma, but he was too weak to stop them from coming forth.
"The Vongola is the enemy, you know. And their leader? He killed your family."
Family was a touchy subject for Enma, as it was for them all. Part of why the Shimon's bond was so strong between them was because they had all lost their parents before the age of ten. They used each other as lifeboats so they would not drown in the waters of society, clinging to friendship and laughter and smiles since there wasn't much else to grab on to in this world. They did not talk about their parents any more, since the grief for their loved ones could be buried under their bonds, only returning in their dreams to whisper into their sleeping ears.
Watching Enma slowly corrupt and harden was painful enough for Julie, but knowing that it was his own fault was almost unbearable. He and Enma had known each other since they were five; trust was something already well established. Daemon only had to work with that trust rather than create it anew. All the brushes and canvas had been laid out for it, so all Daemon had to do was paint.
"I heard his father killed them all. Do you want to hear how?"
And boy, what a Rembrandt it created. Julie kept hoping that Daemon would slip somehow; say something too extreme, do something out of character, but Daemon never faltered. Their thoughts were separate but one. Their memories had coalesced into one big mess, because when you tried to fit two consciousnesses into one head, something had to give. Daemon knew how to be "Julie," so the real Julie could only watch as this hideous parody of himself twisted his friends.
It walked like Julie, it talked like Julie, but the disturbing part was that it wasn't Julie at all. Julie kept waiting, watching, for something that would give him away to the others. After a while it became wishful thinking, but he never stopped watching as Daemon grew stronger.
The saddest part was that Enma, who had been one of his best friends for nine years, and Adelheid, who he guessed that he might just love—and all of them...they never even knew the difference.
Adelheid was the only one who even remotely suspected that something was off with Julie. The demon inside Julie had an aggressive streak and sometimes played off of the romantic feelings Julie had for Adelheid in a not-so-nice way. Part of Adelheid contributed the change to teenage hormones, but a deeper part of herself told her that was not all. Daemon knew that she suspected, and she suspected that it suspected that she suspected. Daemon found it entertaining to mess with her on their down time, much to Julie's fury. Julie also thought that Shitopi noticed a lot more than she said she did—she was always the smart one—but even Daemon knew not to mess with her. Yet.
After three years, a convenient earthquake convinced the Shimon to finally meet the Vongola Family in Namimori. Julie felt Daemon's excitement bubbling inside him and knew that for whatever reason the demon had possessed him for, this was it.
At this point, Julie felt like everything was a dream. Daemon had developed such a close relationship with his body that there was hardly room for any of "Julie" left. Julie had forgotten what it was like to taste, to feel, to bleed. In all honestly, he would have preferred no life to a numb life. But, as Daemon needed the vessel and its memories, it couldn't extinguish Julie's consciousness altogether.
The first real shred of hope came once they got to Namimori, and the Shimon decided to go spy on their respective opponents. Julie knew he was supposed to be looking for a one-eyed girl named "Chrome" in what looked like an abandoned amusement park, so he got quite a surprise when he found a man instead. Daemon laughed and laughed, although Julie for the life of him couldn't tell why.
Rokudo Mukuro was the name he got from Daemon's thoughts.
Daemon and this Mukuro (a boy, actually; no more than one or two years older than Julie) exchanged some witty, esoteric banter that Julie didn't even try to understand. Most of it was in Italian, although the conversation was peppered with sparse Japanese phrases. It was only when he heard the other boy's voice in his head that Julie startled.
Ku, fu, fu. You probably want to get out, don't you?
Daemon protested against the voice, surprised.
Yes, can you hear me? Julie stretched out, frantically trying to embrace the new voice in his head. Help me, please!
The boy only smirked. "In due time, Katou Julie," he said out loud. "I'll have to defeat the filth inside you first."
"I'll just have to block you out, then," Julie felt his lips say.
"Hn. It doesn't matter if I can't get in, for now," the other boy said. "You'll come to me, soon enough."
Who was that? Julie asked Daemon later, as they returned back to their base.
Just a little bug destined to be squashed by my heel, was Daemon's reply. An inconsequential existence that I do so look forward to extinguishing.
The only useful thing about sharing a body with this entity for three years was that they knew more about each other than they sometimes wished to. Possession was a two-way mirror, and Julie could tell when it was lying. He could feel it. And now, Daemon saw this Rokudo Mukuro as a threat, although the threat was colored with shades of confusion, respect, anger, and the slightest tincture of fear.
There was something a little off-kilter about the kid in question. His eyes didn't match and his smile was one of the most twisted things Julie had ever seen, yet Julie put all his hope into Rokudo Mukuro. He had a feeling that when the time came, Rokudo would be his ticket to freedom.
There were points where Daemon's possession was so strong that Julie physically became Daemon. He would look into the mirror and see another man there—what Daemon really looked like, or at least what Daemon wanted to look like. You could never tell with demons. Julie looked in the mirror and saw a tall, slim man in a pinstripe suit with dark hair and cold eyes.
"Even demons were once human," Daemon cajoled in Julie's voice, shrugging, when Julie expressed his surprise.
A wisp of memory that he had been shown came to Julie's mind then. It was the one of Joseph Mengele leaning over a toddler with a rust-flecked scalpel.
Were you really? he thought to himself.
Daemon just laughed and Julie watched his right pupil turn into the shape of an upside-down spade.
Perhaps the most unbearable thing of all wasn't twisting Enma into despair, Julie found out later. It wasn't even the wet dreams or taking a crap and having Daemon do all the cleaning up.
It was threatening Adelheid.
He felt Daemon turn his face into a grimace and watched as his own hand shot out to grip Adelheid's face. His fingers would leave red marks on her white cheeks, and he was sure an even darker mark on her heart. Daemon knew all about Julie's feelings for Adelheid, and it (he? Julie sometimes wants to say now, although he's never quite sure) chose to disrespect them. It was something Julie could never forgive the demon for.
But, as he once mentioned before, possession was a two-way mirror.
Daemon made a huge mistake in possessing him. It underestimated the Shimon and the Vongola, and it acted based on the assumption that all of the mafia was as greedy and self-motivated as itself. That, and Julie's body was not particularly endurable.
Julie's body was at its limit, and that was effective in and of itself to slow Daemon down. That was all Rokudo Mukuro needed to drive the demon out. Funny, how a guy who claimed to have walked the Six Path of Hell should be the exorcist.
The first thing Julie was cognizant of was the pain. He felt like he had been run over by an Orinco truck, and then some. There was a throbbing in his wrist, which was most likely sprained, and he was bleeding freely from several places. His glasses hung askew and his airways burned from the urge to both cough and sneeze from all the floating debris around him. But.
He could feel.
Julie was one of those people who didn't like to spout unnecessary or half-hearted effusions of gratitude, but he promised himself that if he ever met Rokudo Mukuro, he would thank him from the bottom of his heart. With his own voice. He was awake, and this time it was Katou Julie running the show. No stunt doubles.
Of course there was the initial confusion. Daemon's abrupt departure had left Julie a little disoriented. Coordination was a little off, and the feeling of his mouth forming syllables by himself was oddly displacing. There was also the oddity of a talking owl somewhere nearby that Julie could not distinguish was a product of his imagination or his injuries. But Enma was there, by his side, eyes wide. Julie felt a pang of guilt, and hoped that Enma could forgive him one day. From the way Enma was looking at him, that looked entirely possible.
After the situation was explained to him in somewhat of a hasty, jumbled fashion, Julie started to get his thoughts together. He felt bad that he had caused Rokudo problems of his own, and he was worried for his friends in Vindice's clutches...but at the moment, these issues seemed secondary to the utter bliss of having his body back. Sure, he was sore and had bruises all the way to Sunday, but the two-way mirror had become a simple mirror once again. There was only one consciousness now, and it was one who went by the name of Katou Julie and no one else.
When they got out of this, he was going to make himself the biggest deviled ham sandwich in the history of sandwiches. And he was going to eat it in one bite.
There was so much he wanted to do, now that he was himself again! He wanted to beat Aoba in checkers and hear the farting tunes Shitopi liked to make with her cheeks while she was cooking natto. He wanted to lift weights with Rauji and watch him try to fit ten figs into his mouth. He wanted to race Kaoru around the baseball mounds behind Namimori until they were both panting like dehydrated dogs. He wanted to spend those Monday mornings in the bathroom with the guys shaving and comparing their muscles and trying to smear shaving cream on each other.
Most of all, Julie couldn't wait to see Adelheid again. She would scold him, perhaps giving him one of those noogies that she had stopped doing oh, say, three years ago. Then she would smile that lovely, rare smile of hers, and he would hold her in arms that were entirely his own.
Author's Note: I decided to wait until recent chapters came out before finishing this, since I started writing it about a month ago. I wrote Julie as perfectly cognizant of his actions as Daemon, although his state of possession was supposedly described as being "trance-like." This is simply my interpretation, with little bits of persona canon.