Epilogue: The Curtain Falls

When a human's mind forms ideas about heaven, then it's usually a place in airy heights, a world in the clouds, where beautiful beings are dressed in white togas or silken nightdresses, with feathery wings attached to their backs and singing dulcet melodies; those are commonly known as angels. And humans expect an old, bearded man, taller than any man could ever possibly be, sitting on a golden throne, while constantly radiating wisdom and kindness, surrounded by his heavenly folks and praised by the souls of those who were lucky enough to end up in paradise.

Reality was quite different, though.

Heaven was no paradise city in the clouds surrounded by a huge golden gate to keep out the uninvited. Heaven was its own little dimension, and it was located slightly above and in between Gehenna and Assiah. Paths existed in both worlds which led to this specific dimension, but in Gehenna it was strictly forbidden by Satan to travel there and in Assiah one could only reach it after death.

There were no angels here. Basically they were just an invention of humankind. In fact, the angels that appeared in the course of human history in Assiah, were nothing more than demons. Demons that did good things and helped humans; of course, just out of pure self-interest, but truth always is in the eye of the beholder.

There wasn't even an old, bearded, tall man here. God was an astral being. Like demons God usually had no body or even a shape... but as an omnipotent being, he could of course create a body he could slip into.

Today God appeared before Mephisto as an attractive young woman with wavy, jet black curls, a dazzling smile and an idiosyncratic taste for fashion. The latter was no news to Mephisto...

She wore a knee-length cocktail dress in gold brocade with stray rhinestones as highlights. Midnight-blue lace dangled in falbala from the hem of her skirt and a colour-matching, narrow satin ribbon was loosely wrapped around her waist and draped in a left-aligned bow. In addition she wore a neon-turquoise blazer and equally toned boxer boots, both looking absolutely out of place, but still somehow also flattering on her.

"Samael~" she cooed melodiously. Her voice was as clear as wind chimes and just as polyphonic; as if there wasn't one being speaking but rather a whole chorus. "Or would you prefer Mephistopheles?" She swept a courtesy and a moment later, there was a set table beside her accompanied by two cushioned armchairs. On the table emerged a porcelain vase with a fancy bouquet consisting of snowdrops, cornflowers and poppies, two petite, gilt-edged tea cups and a matching large teapot, and a round crystal bowl, filled with multicoloured candy.

All this didn't manifest from thin air with a poof and an emission of pink smoke, like things did Mephisto summoned with his magic. No, it was more like it had always been there, hidden and not wanting to be noticed beforehand, and therefore escaping the attentive gaze of every viewer.

As an old-school gentleman Mephisto offered the woman a chair by pulling it back, before pushing it back into its former position, as she seated herself on it. Then he seated himself opposite her, crossed his legs, cocked his head and placed his chin on the back of his intertwined fingers. His eyes sparkled mischievously and his grin was so wide and impish as ever.

"Whatever name you prefer. You called for me ~?" He purred.

"Stop trying to flirt with me." She chided, lifting her index finger. "I do not succumb to your incubus charm."

"I just asked a simple question~ quite innocent, if you ask me."

"Your cadence and posture belies the innocence you claim. But, yes, I called for you. Because your plans failed so miserably." If anyone believed that God is too kind to not enjoy glee, one should feel disabused now. She took her cup of tea and sipped on the steaming liquid, her sparkling cinnamon eyes never breaking eye-contact and her enchanting smile challenging Mephisto's devilish smirk.

"That was a blow below the belt and, moreover, entirely uncalled for. My plans do not fail, they just unfold themselves slower than I thought~ but they unfold."

God quirked an eyebrow.

Next to them an image of Rin and Yukio flashed on a large plasma screen. Rin was lying on his bed and seemed to be absorbed into the latest issue of the Shonen Jump magazine, while Yukio sat at his desk and happened to prepare the lessons for tomorrow's classes.

"...just sick."

"They are perfectly understandable reasons, if you look at it from Sir Pheles' point of view. Personally, I am the same opinion as you, although I wouldn't phrase it like that."

"Why should I sugar-coat the truth? If our flames could simply burn those marks and chains from them in a fight or something of that sort, yeah, no question, I'd burn them to cinders, but, no, Mephisto wants us to... yuck, if I say it out loud, I swear I'm gonna vomit." Mephisto grimaced. Vulgar boy. "He, Amaimon, you and I ... tse... True Cross Incest Gangbang Party, or what?" In fact, a hideous choking sound followed the statement. "Just sick, gross and absolutely disgusting! Never ever!"

"If you throw up on my magazine, then you will buy me a new one at once. And Rin, polish your language. After all, you're talking about our principal and guardian ... "

"Our guardian... pfff...! Wonder what the old geezer was thinking when he picked him for the job."

The screen went black again, before it completely withdrew from their sight, as if it had never been there in the first place.

"Doesn't sound like those young devils are too keen to be part of your..." God smiled. "...True Cross Incest Gangbang Party."

Mephisto wrinkled his nose. "Something like that coming from your holy mouth. It's nothing of that sort, it's just reforming bonds." He complained, before performing a sweeping gesture with his right arm. "The paths are many, but the goal is one. They may pick a detour, but, either way, they will get to where I want to have them. After all, you can't plant apple trees today and expect reaping fruits the next year, right? Alas, I can wait until the end of time if I must."

A bell-like laughter rang out, disturbed only by one or another snorting sound. Bending and writhing with laughter, God banged her flat hand onto the tabletop several times, making the tableware clatter balefully - yes, she certainly was a strange one.

"Oh, Samael. You're a hopeless optimist."

Apparently uninterested he gazed down on his long claw-like nails, they just had to be filed again. And why were his gloves gone anyway? He smirked, keeping up his cool. "I see myself more as a cunning strategist." He pierced a fancy-looking bonbon from the chrystal bowl with his fingernail, plopped it into his mouth and crashed it between his sharp teeth. "They are already connected by silken threads to the puppet master's hands and will play the role he has provided for them~."

"Big words, Sir Puppeteer." She took one of his hands, turned it over and drew her forefinger over the fine lines of his palm. It tickled and Mephisto had to bite back an outburst of laughter. Her gaze went up to look at him; it was strict and loving at the same time like a mother looking at her child. »Satan's son and my angel. Samael, your name is a contradiction in itself. Sometimes you're my opponent, sometimes my ally, and sometimes you're both in one. Which paths will you tread?" She sighed heartbreakingly. "And which way did he go?" Curiously God bent forward and nudged Mephisto's battered nose with the same finger she used to trace the lines on his palm.

Fear of contact was a concept as unknown to God as privacy to a demon. Mephisto winced slightly and withdrew his face, before she could do any further harm. His nose wasn't completely healed yet and each touch sent throbbing pain to his nerve center. "Ow! Such ill manners... if humans knew what sort of peculiar being implanted their minds into them, they would be utterly shocked."

God smiled again. A flash of mischief tinted her eyes, something she copied from him, just because she liked it. Same applied to that loose tongue of hers.

There had been times when he or she or it preferred to talk to him with a booming and thundering voice, while acting all superior and almighty. Those were painfully loud times, one might add, especially for someone with sensitive hearing. But at least it wasn't so awkward talking to God back then.

Now God chose to join him, drinking tea with him and even lowering herself to a human-sized level, to make their chatting more comfortable and personal. She sometimes even mimicked his style or even copied his whole appearance, just because she could... and because she knew it ticked him off.

Which of those behaviours he favoured, Mephisto could not exactly tell. They were both unnerving and strength-sapping in a certain way.

The woman simply ignored his insulting objection. »Amaimon fledged and spread his wings~"

Mephisto shook his head in disbelief and chuckled. Then he took another bonbon from the bowl, this time, sucking on it instead of crunching, and treated himself to a cup of sweetened tea as well. "I admit, his little stunt threw me off balance... literally. Quite amusing, though." His gaze wandered to the vase with the colourful bouquet. "I should be stricter with him, but he manages to entertain me in most peculiar ways. A remarkable talent for the limited creativity of a demon ~ "

"Oh, I note fraternal pride in your voice," God beamed like the sun - well, at least she would do if there was a sun here. "How cute~"

»Pure Imagination." His curl bobbed in annoyance. "And please abstain from calling me cute, it's enough to make my toes curl."

"I think you're very fond of him~ more than you'd admit or even let him know."

"I do not think so~! He is pig-headed and arbitrary and stubborn. Moreover, he never does what he is supposed to." Mephisto grimaced and crossed his arms in front of his chest, while God giggled madly. "How is Shiro?" The demon gallantly changed the subject.

»Concerned about your ex-stallion?" God giggled on, while Mephisto snorted, rolling his eyes at her and shaking his head disapprovingly. That woman! "His soul arrived safely here, thanks to your help, even though it almost got swallowed by the Gehenna Gate." God frowned. "Why~?"

"I owed him, after all, he served me well. Besides, if I didn't intervene, Satan would have devoured his soul ... and that's not an option~" His smirk grew grimmer. "Either I consume this slippery soul at some point or no one does."

"That almost sounds a little romantic~!" God chirped and hummed a merry tune, completely ignoring the dark, tense atmosphere. "For demon standard, at least."

Mephisto laughed out loud. Now it was him, bending and writhing. »Romantic? About as romantic as a ravenous wolf slaying a stray sheep, maybe...?"

God's smile widened. It was this sort of omniscient smile, thoroughly pesky. "The wolf hasn't slain anything yet. It just played with the sheep and then let it return to its flock unharmed~"

"My dear..." His eyes narrowed when he leaned forward, almost touching noses with God, holding her gaze, as if they were on a stare-battle. »Shiro's soul may have returned to your custody in one piece, but inside it got struck by deep and ugly scars. Scars I put on him to shape and carve the person he used to be before his final curtain call. Unharmed looks different."

The irritating smile did not falter. God tilted her head a little to the left. "You. Liked. Him. Nonetheless." She emphasized each word by poking her index finger into his slender chest. "As I said before, you are a contradiction in yourself. A demon who serves God at times, not only by curse but also by will..." When she started to rub his chin, he began to purr. "...and you didn't reveal your little secret that came along with those chains of mine to any of those involved in your plans, did you? Bad boy~!" She winked. "The only demon existing capable of evolving~"

Mephisto blinked, waking from his dizzy state of mind. He shook his head and glared at her, releasing a hiss through clenched teeth. "Quit that! My inner demon goes through hell, if you brand me a saint. I'm not!"

"As is right and proper. A demon belongs to hell~ right?" God retorted, a mystical smile crossing her lips. She rose from her seat and placed a light kiss on Mephisto's cheek. "Auf Wiedersehen~ Samael!" She waved and suddenly everything went black.

Like an echo her polyphonic voice reverberated through his unconscious mind, before his eyes popped open and he awakened in his office, sitting in a pile of dust and plaster. He sneezed sixteen times in a row, before he rose, cursing silently, and patted the dust from his clothes. Then he blew his nose in pain and spruced up his office with a snap of his fingers. When everything was returned to normal, he strode to the large window front and gazed down at his school grounds.

"The curtain may have fallen for now, but the audience always calls for an encore~" His smirk stretched into a devilish grin. "And they will get it."

- The End -

A/n: Yes, that's it, the epilogue of Puppeteer... a dialogue with God nd mephisto... did anyone see that coming? =3 Hm... I'm kinda unsure of whether I like God the way I portrayed him/her/it here... God's a bit strange huh? x'D Well, Mephisto gets a taste of his own medicine, when talking to her... and after Puppeteer he deserves some mockery~ sorry dear, live with it.

Why would I include a conversation with God at all? Well, in the opera "Goethe's Faust - First Part of the Tragedy," which apparently served as a reference for our Mephisto from Ao-X, the whole story begins with a bet between God and Mephistopheles. And I thought it was just adorably cute how they both bickered and yet somehow also seemed to be familiar with each other. I always wanted to do something of this sort... a chat between the two of them in ao-X-universe and the epilogue of Puppeteer seemed to be just perfect.

Did you catch all the important hints? =3 Hehe~

Also, I in the latest chapters I mentioned that Mephisto has received the "Chains of God" in addition to his kingship. This is crucial. Furthermore, everyone who did some research about the name Samael will be amazed that in various scripts he is either referred to as a demon or as an angel, sometimes even both. It is basically not really clear whose side Samael is on, and I think that fits perfectly to our Ao-X-Mephisto.

Why is God a woman? Well, I think I blame Dogma (the movie) for it (also for her weird sense of fashion~), but basically God is neither male nor female but a sexless astral being with good sense of humour. x)

And, last but not least, Puppeteer is now officially completed. Of course, I'e still got plenty ideas and there are still a lot of unanswered questions, and to quote dear Mephisto: "My plans unfold themselves slower than I thought~" and "The audience calls for an encore~" ;3

So, the story will go on in the the sequel "Crossfire". =3 Keep your eyes peeled!

Thanks to all of you loyal readers, to all the reviewers, all the favs and to each follower. Without you, I would have certainly abandoned Pupeteer halfway through. *bows*

But special thanks goes to Dimwit, who boosted my creativity and my ego with a lot of peanut butter coating and the kindest of words... THANK YOU!

Enough sentimental mushy talk... Zeitdieb over and out~