Chapter 1: New Beginnings

A/N: Okay, this story starts at the end of the first season of the anime (before all that foolishness went down with Hannah). I think I remember things well enough, but feel free to correct me if my back story is a little off. Aaaand action!

Blood is prettiest in mass quantities. Flowing through the streets of a city and reflecting flames in red rivers…all the better. But at this particular time, I was too busy to admire the beauty around me.

"Sebastian?" He had disappeared some time ago while I was distracted with all my reaping, and now that the action had died down (so to speak), I was looking for him. I must have been quite a spectacle, red hair flowing down my back, carrying my beautifully menacing Death Scythe, the both of us spattered with blood while London burned around us. "Sebastian!" I had no idea where I might find him, but I had to keep looking. Even though our little…relationship had been a secret since the beginning, we had grown close enough that I had to worry when he was missing.

For the past few days, he and his little master had been out of town on business, leaving me all alone to stay with the Undertaker. But the night before, he had paid me a brief visit. Seeming a bit agitated, he had told me that a certain angel was planning to lay waste to the city soon, and that I should stay out of it if possible. He was probably trying to protect me (since he knew I didn't have my real Death Scythe at the time), but as a Reaper there was no way I could resist all that death. Still…now that I had finished the fun part of my job (and left Will with the paperwork), I was starting to get anxious. Wandering toward the unfinished Tower Bridge , I frowned up at it. Something seemed different since the last time I'd looked at it, but I couldn't figure out what. As I was pondering, I saw movement out in the water of the Temps. Just a meter or two away from where I stood, there was someone swimming closer. My first thought was that it was an odd time for a dip, but I quickly decided I would just kill him when he came ashore. Imagine my surprise when I saw red eyes and a badly torn tailcoat…!

"Sebastian," I cried, immediately rushing to help him. He seemed tired, and he looked like he had been through one hell of a fight…but he was smiling. He stayed where he was on the ground, letting me drop to my knees and carefully hold him up. "Are you all right? What happened?"

"The angel is dead," he said simply. "Raising his left hand to show me, he continued, "And my contract is complete." As he said this, I realized that the contract seal was gone from the back of his hand.

"You mean… Your little master? He's gone?" I asked, hardly able to believe it. That brat was finally dead? Good riddance!

"That's right. It's been some time since I've had such a satisfying meal. And one that's been well-deserved for some time now," he mused. He seemed so relaxed, more so than I ever saw him. Finally being free of his master must have been a tremendous weight off his shoulders. As worried as I'd been before, I was overjoyed to see him in such a good mood. And now there was no master to come between us! He was all mine. And he was even being patient enough to let me hold him.

"What happens now?" I wondered aloud as I played with his wet hair. He was as handsome as ever, even more so when he was happy. "You won't be off to look for a new master, will you? You'll stay here for a while, right?" He let out a sigh and carefully sat up. It didn't seem like he was wounded or in pain, just exhausted.

"Now that I'm not contracted to a human, there's little need for me to stay in this realm…if not looking for a new soul." My heart sank as he told me this. He was…just going to leave me? All that waiting for him to be free, and my reward was to be abandoned? "Unless, of course, you'd like to give me a reason." When I looked up and saw that familiar smirk, I knew just what he meant. Hoping that I could convince him, I moved closer to give him a passionate kiss. Much to my surprise, he grabbed me and pulled me tight against him to give me a taste of his passion.

"Mm~h!" I managed, clinging to him until he finally released me.

"I've been under a contract for the past three years. At the moment, I've no desire to begin a new one. I can afford to spend some time doing as I please." And he was still holding me… How wonderful! After a few moments, he sat back and glanced up at the burning city. "Messy… Let's go, shall we?" He let me stand first, but refused to let me help him up.

For a long time after that, the humans struggled to rebuild their charred city, but Sebby and I had no interest in it. We left London for Bristol, where we…appropriated a house from a pair of older humans. They seemed reluctant to give it up at first, but my Death Scythe easily silenced their complaints. And then I was really living with my beloved Sebby! Just like a real couple. No sneaking around, no hiding from his master. Just us, and it was heavenly.

He seemed much happier than usual, too. Always smiling, holding and kissing me. A time or two, he even took me out to dinner, suffering through my gushing about how sweet he was. But after about a week, he started to get restless. It seemed he was so used to having work every day that all this free time was getting boring. I did my best to entertain him, but it obviously wasn't enough; he started going into town by himself during the day. Where he went, I could never be sure; he refused to tell me. Naturally (as a lady is wont to do), I started to worry he might be seeing someone else…someone who could form a contract with him. Yet every night, he came back to me. He would hold me and kiss me so passionately that all of my fears were instantly erased.

The most important thing was that he stayed with me, and he still treated me so kindly, so I was happy. After all, getting to live with him was such a treat, so I couldn't complain if he went out now and then.

"Grell." He was already up and getting dressed, even after the amazing…performance he had just given me. Still lying, exhausted, in our bed, I struggled to sit up and listen. "I'm going now."

"Already?" I whined. "But we just… I was hoping you would stay and hold me…"

"I'm sorry; there are things I need to take care of." Sometimes, it was like nothing had changed at all… "And I probably won't be back until morning."

"What? But Sebastian…!" My outrage seemed to fall on deaf ears as he straightened his tie, ready to leave with or without my approval. Irritated, I crossed my arms and turned away from him. "I don't like this. It's just like you're running off to serve your little master." A few moments passed in silence, then he let out a sigh and came to sit next to me.

"Forgive me," he said, raising my chin so I had to look at him. "Let me go tonight, and when I return, I'll give you my full attention."

"…you promise?" I mumbled, sorely tempted by his offer.

"I do. Just wait for me here." He gave my lips a brief kiss, then left without another word.

"All right," I agreed, though he was already gone. "I'll just…be here, then." Even if he did promise me his attention, I hated being alone like that. And my body was already worn out, so I shakily turned out the lights, slipped into my pajamas and went to bed to await my love's return.

I woke to the door opening downstairs. Sebby! He must have come back for me. As I sat up and blinked in the darkness, I could see that it was still nighttime outside. But even if it was late, we could still snuggle and sleep together. So I sat up, still clad in only my pajama shorts, waiting for him to come and join me. When the door opened, it was so bright that I could only see his silhouette. But something was off. As he stepped inside…there was someone else with him.

"Sebby?" I mumbled in confusion, pulling the sheets up to hide myself. He didn't answer. And as my eyes adjusted, I could see that neither of these people was my Sebby. Suddenly afraid, I scooted back in my bed. "Wh-who are you? Just what do you think you're doing here?" I started to get up to retrieve my Death Scythe, but one of the strangers grabbed hold of my arm and dragged me to my feet.

"Doesn't look like any Reaper I've ever seen," he said, holding my arms back as I struggled. "Where are the glasses?" What were they, to know that I was a Reaper? They certainly didn't look like angels. Were they…demons?

"It was sleeping, stupid. Look, they're right here." The other intruder picked my glasses up off the nightstand now. From what I could see in the darkness, he was significantly thinner than his burly companion.

"Don't touch those," I barked, snarling furiously, and the one holding my glasses looked shocked.

"Geez, keep clear of that mouth. It could almost be one of us." He stepped forward and hooked the chain on my glasses around my neck, roughly shoving them back onto my face. I kept trying to fight, but even with my more-than-human strength, it was no use. They must have been demons…and that thought was terrifying. Demons and Reapers did not get along; if they were capturing me, who know what they would do? Of all times for Sebastian to leave…!

"Stop that," the one holding me ordered, pulling my arms back tighter. And he laughed at my gasp of pain. "Find the Scythe, will you? We need to get going."

"What are you talking about?" I managed. "Where are you taking me?"

"You're coming home with us," said the smaller one as he searched the room for my Death Scythe. When he found it, he said appreciatively, "Would you look at that!" He switched it on, and as it roared to life, he grinned in the darkness. "Very nice! Maybe we should keep this little toy for ourselves." My blood boiled at the sight of someone else handling my Scythe, but what could I do?

"Don't be an idiot," his friend said, dragging me toward the door. "You know it'll be worth more all together; the boss would kill us if we didn't hand it over."

"Worth more?" I repeated. I was getting used to being referred to as an "it." "What do you mean?"

"You'll see soon enough," he answered, still dragging and forcing me along. "I'd say it's your own fault for leaving yourself so vulnerable in the human world." They had said I was going "home" with them. Did that mean the demon realm? I started to panic with that realization; down there, they would tear me to shreds! Even with my Scythe, I wouldn't have a chance. Suddenly afraid for my life, I started to fight with renewed passion, struggling to jerk away. Even if I couldn't break my captor's grip, I would fight them every step of the way. Where the Hell was Sebastian?

"Hey! Hold still, damn it," snapped the one hold me. He yanked my arms, and I let out a shriek, but I refused to stop fighting. "I don't feel like dragging you the whole way—!"

"Just knock it out or something," the other one said calmly, seeming amused by my struggling.

"But then I have to carry it! Damn it, humans are never this much trouble. I said stay still!" Then my head was struck with such force that I hardly had time to cry out before I lost consciousness.

A/N: Yay, crappy first chapter (this seems to be a running theme these days). But the next one is coming soon, and it's much more eventful. Promise. Cross my heart and hope to die.