I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?

What have you done? Your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground!

Genesis 4:9-10


Note: The hero's name in this story is Shujinkou Ryumie, nicknamed Shuji. His first name is derived from the Japanese word for "protagonist" I believe. Also this is based on Devil Survivor's DS version, not the 3DS version, which I have not yet had the pleasure of playing.

Yuzu was having trouble finding just the right word to describe what she was feeling at the moment.

She sat with her legs dangling over the side of the marble platform that rose steeply up from the Hall of Judgment the angels had constructed only a little while ago. From the way the place looked, you'd have thought it had been there since the dawn of time. It was all shiny white marble and crystal spires, lit with torches bearing golden flames and populated by members of the Heavenly Host. She still felt awed by its beauty, but really it was more of a distant reaction now more than anything else.

It was difficult to believe that just a few weeks ago she had been fighting for her life against demons. In the new world order that Shuji had brought about, it was difficult to imagine anything else at all besides what he wanted. Acting as God's Messiah, in an extraordinarily short amount of time he had begun whipping the world into shape. Though he never used violent means, something about the way he did it—perhaps the speed of the process—unnerved her somehow.

It was the source of the word she couldn't find.

Yuzu propped her chin in her hand, watching the angels drift up and down the hallways whilst Shuji's demons tromped up the stairs if they lacked wings. They didn't pay her any attention, their various colored gazes directed either at their feet or into space. She almost felt sorry for them. They probably hadn't wanted a king like this.

Almost felt sorry for them. They didn't quite garner her pity in a successful manner, considering the death tolls of the Tokyo Lockdown that were, once you got down to it, all their fault.

Yuzu let her eyes slip closed, the words she had exchanged with Shuji after they had defeated Babel echoing in her head again and again, as they had ever since.

"…I'm sorry. I had no right to say that. You went through so much, Shuji…"

"I hope you'll stay with me."

"Shuji…! I'm so glad you said that! Oh, of course I will!"

It hadn't hit her then. The only thing she had noticed was that he seemed a bit different, especially in his eyes and the way that he smiled. However he had still seemed like Shujinkou Ryumie, had still seemed like her childhood friend. He still seemed that way now, but…

She frowned, annoyed at the way the word continued to elude her. What kind of mood was she in, anyhow? Blowing an annoyed sigh, she prepared to stand up, but before she did so she noticed shadows moving along one of the corridors. Familiar shadows. There weren't that many humans allowed within the Hall of Judgment unless the Messiah had deemed them worthy, or else they needed to be judged…

Frowning, she lowered herself back down and waited.

The white-cloaked figure of Shuji came into view. He was walking with his ever present, ever patient smile on his face as he nodded at Amane with his fingers steepled in front of him. The former Shomonkai maiden listened to something he said before lowering her head in acceptance of his words. Atsuro wasn't with him, so Yuzu assumed that the computer whiz was with Keisuke or Midori, possibly even Miss Mari.

Since she was partially obscured by a pillar, Yuzu thought that they'd keep walking without noticing her. However, Shuji's eyes suddenly darted around to meet hers. He studied her face for all of one heartbeat before he tapped Amane lightly on her shoulder. "Would you excuse me for a moment?"

Amane seemed perplexed but she dipped down in a slight bow nonetheless. "Of course, I'll be waiting for you in your throne room."

The Messiah paused at the peak of the stairs and watched Amane until she ducked down a hallway. Slowly, he approached Yuzu and sat down beside her, pushing his cape out of the way. Yuzu suppressed an unwilling shiver as she felt his…his power. It had only gotten stronger since they vanquished Babel, and she could feel the raw energy coming off of him as if he were some sort of generator for it. His presence was also oddly soothing. The aura he had was almost motherly, as if you could tell him anything and everything, all your secrets and fears, your deepest worries and he'd make them all go away.

It annoyed her to no end. He had always had a magnetic aura that drew people to him—just ask Kaido—but it had never been like this before. It was ridiculous.

His eyes surveyed her silently, his expression still one of tranquility. Then, slowly, he reached out and brushed a strand of her red hair behind her ears. "What're you worrying about? What's wrong?"

She blushed and turned her head away from his touch. "…It's nothing; I'm not worried at all."

"It's not good to tell lies," he said in that precise, even way he had.

Yuzu grimaced and looked down at her hands, which were folded in her lap and clasping each other tightly. Despite the aura he released, she had trouble seeing him as anything other than Shuji. Of course, everyone but his closest friends saw him as Abel, God's Messiah and humanity's judge, jury, and executioner. Or so she heard.

"Hey…Do you have any free time later?" She lifted her eyes to meet his. "We haven't had a chance to just hang out since…well…"

He blinked at her, his only response.

She continued hurriedly, her words running together in her unease. "A-And I'm sure Atsuro misses you too, since you're always so busy and—"

Shuji raised one hand, stopping her. He readjusted those silly cat-ear headphones that had managed to survive his meager wardrobe change, his eyes distant as always. She felt as if…as if he had moved somewhere far, far away from her. Which, she supposed, was true. He was the King of Bel, and she was just Yuzu, Shuji's human friend.

His friend from a life that he no longer lived. He was getting farther away from her and Atsuro every day.

She suddenly just wanted to grab onto him and never let go, as if that could stop the chasm she could feel opening between them.

Yuzu had just braced herself for a negative response when he said, "Alright, I'll try to get some time." His smile changed, turning into his old, somewhat crooked grin he gave when reassuring her. "Maybe we can go see one of Haru's concerts…She got that record deal, did you hear?"

She perked up at the rock star's name, a familiar giddiness rising within her. "Oh, I heard!" She put her hands on the sides of her face. "I was so happy for her! Someone famous heard one of her free shows during the lockdown and when it was lifted, she got an official sponsor! Isn't she just amazing?"

"Definitely." His eyes gleamed. "With my status, I should be able to get us a few tickets…supposing that Haru doesn't have some for us already."

Yuzu prodded his arm teasingly. "What kind of Messiah would you be if you abused your power like that?"

She realized immediately it was the wrong thing to say. His smile actually vanished for once as he pulled his cloak tighter around him, breaking his gaze from hers.

"…I was just kidding," she added sheepishly, though the damage was already done.

He hunched his shoulders and sighed. He unexpectedly just seemed very tired indeed. "…Can I ask you something?"

"O-Of course." Startled, she twiddled her fingers, unsure what to say.

"Naoya hates me." He let that statement hang between them for a while before going on. "I don't even know where he's gone so I can fix things. If I can fix things. The angels can't seem to find him."

"Did…you ask…well, you know…"

Shuji rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "I don't wish to bother Him over something like this…"

"Oh…Well, I'm sure we haven't seen the last of him." She made a face. She had never been particularly fond of Shuji's smug older brother (cousin) but she could tell this troubled him deeply. "Just keep an eye and ear open. He'll show himself when he wants to."

He nodded and closed his eyes. "Thank you."

"Huh? But…I didn't really say anything…"

"No, I mean for staying with me all this time. Amane's a big help but I don't think I could keep at all of this if I didn't have you guys supporting me." That permanently serene smile was back on his face, and the way it changed his eyes unnerved her. Again, the feeling that he was moving away from her was growing.

An abrupt, violent outburst of emotion within her spurred her into wrapping her arms around him and pulling him into a tight hug. She screwed her eyes shut and concentrated on taking deep breaths as his soft blue hair brushed her cheek, following the movement of his head.


"You told me to stay with you, but…you have to stay with me, too."

He chuckled faintly. "Yuzu."

When he returned her hug, she broke down into tears right then and there, not caring if any of the demons or angels saw. Unbeknownst to her, they had all been already sent out of the room by Shuji, long ago receiving his silent order. She wasn't the first person who had started sobbing in the Messiah's embrace, but at least her tears weren't generated by fear of what God would do to her for her sins—and she was certain that, like everyone, she had plenty of sins.

When she could cry no more, Shuji placed his hand on the back of her head and ran his fingers through her hair soothingly, mindful of her pink scarf. She bit her lip for a moment before saying in a voice barely above a whisper, "Is that my friend, or the Messiah?"

His reply actually came instantly. "It's me." He pulled back and looked her in the eyes. "I'm both Abel, God's Messiah, Cain's brother…and Shujinkou, your friend, Naoya's cousin." He gently wiped away a lingering tear on her eyelashes before continuing. "I need my friends…and you…to help me remember that. I…feel like I'm losing myself, sometimes."

"Shuji…" She managed a shaky smile. "I'll do my best."

Something of the old Shuji lit up his face as he replied, "Thank you."

When he bent towards her, Yuzu imagined that she'd get a kiss on the forehead like he gave many of the people who came to see him, lamenting their sins. Instead he pressed his lips to hers, very gently and only for a few seconds, before pulling away in a rush of white cape and blue hair. He had his back to her as he stood at the top of the stairs, but though he seemed tempted to add something else, he just sighed and walked down the steps mumbling under his breath.

Yuzu's fingers hovered over her mouth until he had disappeared from sight. Then a huge grin appeared as she flushed red as a tomato, her hands pressed to the side of her face.

As for Shuji, he only could get the words out when he wasn't looking into those pretty eyes of hers. "Love you," he murmured, some distant, human part of him amused by how he could fight demon kings, but couldn't say three simple words to a girl that he's known since grade school.

Author's Note: Eh...I'm iffy on this. It's probably OOC since I have trouble grasping characterization in games that lack voice acting...usually. Review, if you want~