Author's Note: I know I promised this a long while back, and I always keep to that. I've also really wanted to write it myself. This is for all you people who really wanted it, and who wanted a different ending to the anime and to SnS Eternity.
Yes, this WILL end in Hecate x Yuji
I'll skip some introductions when compared to the anime, as it would be exactly the same anyway, and it's not really necessary.
Also, for this series, I will be very open to suggestions on how to go about with this alternate route. If some of you were planning something like this, maybe we can work together? So please give your support and ideas, and credit will go where it is due.
PS: The speaker of the introductory line isn't Alastor.
An orb of bright light shines in the darkness, orbited by gears of a clock. Circles of glowing arcane shapes and letters dimly shine in the darkness. Wrapping around the device is the body of a great black serpent with long spines.
A heartbeat that lasts for eternity; souls consuming lives in soundless balls of fire. No one can tell when the world will be remade, and the wishes of the Crimson Realm finally granted.
A normal city in Japan, where Autumn came late that year. In Misaki City, it could have been a day like any other.
But days like that did not last forever.
The sky was tainted in crimson red. Men, women and children stood still as statues beneath the veil, unhearing, unseeing, and completely unaware of the scene around them. One by one, the humans were consumed in wisps of bluish flame as a monster, a giant abomination of a baby with two rows of sharp teeth, consumed them in its massive maws. A sphere of many doll-like faces accompanied it.
The first monster noticed something different beneath the crimson sky. One lone human, a single male Japanese student, although terrified, was running away while carrying a petrified girl with long black hair and small pigtails.
The giant had no trouble catching up to the young man. It quickly grabbed him from behind by the legs, causing him to lose his balance and drop the girl he was trying hard to save.
Holding its prey upside down, the giant baby opened its mouth wide in glee to swallow its meal whole.
Suddenly, a shower of energy beams fell upon the creature.
The End of One Possibility, A Different Beginning
School had just begun. It was a time of moving up and moving on, to reach for greater heights. For some, it was a fresh start. For others, it was the continuation of the story of their own lives.
It was a seemingly ordinary day, and a seemingly ordinary lunch break. Most students would bring their desks together to eat with one another, sharing their thoughts and feelings, to tease one another as friends did, and to sample each other's food too.
A certain male student in his freshman year had just bought his share of food. Normally, he would eat together with the best friend he had grown up with, Hayato Ike, but today he felt like a change of pace. The two didn't always have to be together after all. And besides, when he had left him, he seemed to be enjoying a good conversation with a pair of cute girls. As he recalled, one had short light brown hair, and the other had long black hair with little pigtails. It would probably have been a bad idea to walk in if he was still with them.
For some reason, he felt like staying on the roof for that time. Perhaps it was on a mere whim, or perhaps something was beckoning him, be it an inaudible voice, or some mysterious fate.
He caught the glances of two girls in the green school uniforms of the school. They stood beside each other as he passed by his classroom on the way up. The roof was unlocked, so he let himself through.
He was surprised to see one of his classmates up there as well, by herself. She had short, dark greenish hair, cut no further than her shoulders and ended in straight, blunt bangs. She stood on the edge of the rooftop, leaning over the rails. The wind blew against her face gently, and she closed her eyes in peaceful serenity. Her eyes opened again slowly only when two small birds fluttered in the air in front of her.
"Konoe… Fumina-san, right?" the young man said as he approached her.
The girl turned back to him. Her bright green eyes glittered like gems. She simply nodded in reply.
"I'm Yuji Sakai," the young male introduced himself. He joined her on the edge. "We never really talked to each other much… At all really. I don't think I've seen you talk to anyone for that matter. Are you alright?"
Konoe simply nodded again.
"You sure you're not having trouble making friends?"
Another silent nod.
I really hope she's not saying that because she isn't bothered about not having any, Yuji thought to himself. "Mind if I was one of your friends then?"
The whole time, Konoe bore an emotionless expression. Now, she seemed surprised, or as close to it as she could have. Her eyes widened, but then she smiled a little, then nodded. Yuji smiled at her in return.
"I'm glad," he said, then offered her a piece of bread he had bought. "Here, it doesn't seem like you have much to eat."
In fact, she didn't have anything with her to eat. Nonetheless, she accepted it and took a tiny bite with little ceremony. In a way, it was cute.
They spent the rest of their time together in silence, with the wind blowing against them. It was a companionable silence, however.
On his way home, Yuji passed through a narrow street with shops on either side. A short distance away, he could see familiar long black hair with little pigtails. It seems she lived close to where he did.
He may have been considerate of his childhood friend earlier, but he was curious. He walked up to her as she entered a CD store.
"Hey Hirai-san," he said as he caught up with her. The girl known as Yukari Hirai was browsing through a selection of music CDs. She turned to face the boy.
"Oh, hello Sakai-kun," she said with a cheery smile. "Checking out the CDs too?"
Yuji nodded. To feign truth, he randomly picked up a CD off a nearby shelf and looked at its back casing.
"I didn't know you were that way Sakai-kun," Yukari said. Yuji gave her an asking look in response. She continued, "that's Brokeback Mountain."
Suddenly aware that his image of his own sexuality was in danger, Yuji panicked and fumbled to return the CD case, which ended up both upside down and face down. Yukari giggled.
"So, why are you really here?" she asked. Women's intuition was sharp, apparently.
"To be honest, I was curious," Yuji answered. "I wanted to know what you were talking about with Ike earlier."
"You should have told me so in the first place," Yukari said. "What I would have told you would have been the same even if you tried to catch me off guard."
"So, what did you talk about then?"
Yukari winked and stuck her tongue out. "It's a secret," she said, before picking up her bag from the floor and fleeing from him in a half-hearted jog.
"H-hey! Hirai-san, wait up," Yuji said as he chased after her. As he did, on the inside he chuckled. She was certainly cute, any guy would have been lucky to be with someone like that.
As the two youths ran through the street, all of a sudden, out of nowhere a circle of arcane lettering appeared on the ground and expanded to fill the entire area. At the same time, the sky turned crimson, and time stopped flowing for all beneath it. Yuji alone was not frozen and gray, but just before him, the figure of Hirai had stopped moving, like everyone else.
Yuji frantically looked around, trying to understand what was happening. Suddenly, a giant baby with massive teeth appeared alongside a ball composed of many doll heads. The people before them burned in bluish fire, which streamed into the creatures' mouths.
Yuji could only watch in terror as the people in front of him were helplessly being eaten. Then he realized that it would only be a moment before Yukari Hirai, would be eaten as well. The girl with the upbeat and cheerful personality, a now important friend to him, would soon be swallowed without any hope of return.
A small step forward. It was all that was needed to change the fate of one meant to die. Within the seal that stopped the flow of time, he moved. He pushed through the walls of fear that would have bound him had he not had the will, and picked up the frozen girl in his arms. Without any time to waste, Yuji took off as fast as his feet could carry him.
He did not go unnoticed, however, and the giant baby easily caught up to him. The creature grabbed him by the legs, making him drop Hirai on the ground. In a vain attempt to resist, Yuji struggled and flailed his arms while hanging upside down in the massive fist.
"It doesn't seem like any normal human, or a Flame Haze or Crimson Denizen," the baby said. "Looks more like a Torch."
"But it should not be able to move in the Fuzetsu," the other monster said. "Perhaps it is a Mystes, and a special one at that."
"Oh goodie! Our master will be very pleased!" the baby exclaimed. It opened its mouth wide to eat its latest catch. "Itadakimaaaaaas!"
In the nick of time, a shower of energy beams peppered the monster, severely damaging it and causing it to drop the boy with a scream of pain. Yuji struggled to regain his bearings, and watched a familiar figure approach from the edge of the seal.
Konoe Fumina, still in her green school uniform, walked toward the monsters with an emotionless face. In her hand was a golden staff, its head was a triangle with six chimes hanging from it.
The other monster, the ball of faces, charged at Konoe, only to be smacked aside. The staff rang as Konoe struck her foe with ease, and the girl continued forward.
The giant baby stood up again. It still had both of its arms, but now it was missing half its face, its limbs were in danger of falling off, and its body was full of holes. With a furious growl, it slammed both fists at Konoe.
The girl jumped – or rather, floated – straight up. Below her, the baby's fists struck one another and fell off from the force of the blow. Konoe did not hesitate to raise her staff against it, and wordlessly fired another barrage of energy beams that tore up the creature.
Descending to earth once more, Konoe assessed her enemy's condition. There was no trace left of the ball of faces, but the giant baby's remains, fragments as they were, appeared hollow. As she glanced around, Yuji was about to approach her when he heard a voice behind him.
"Let's see what you have in there," said a blonde-haired woman in a dark purple evening gown as she attempted to plunge her long-nailed fingers into the young man's back.
Before she could touch him, however, Konoe spun around and fired a number of energy beams in his direction. They all missed him, however, passing around him instead and blowing away every limb off the woman.
Behind her, the ball of faces recovered, in rage, it charged at the girl again. Yuji yelled frantically.
"Konoe-san! Behind you!"
The girl quickly turned around and smacked the monster upwards with her staff. While it spun in the air, she fired another salvo of energy beams that completely obliterated it.
In the meantime, a little female doll with curly brown hair emerged from the hollow remains of the woman's torso. It flew away, glancing back at Konoe.
"Whatever you are, you will pay dearly for this!" she said.
The battle over, Yuji fell on his knees, trembling. Before him, Konoe walked up to him, her staff no longer with her. She offered her hand to help him up, a tiny smile on her face. Yuji gratefully took her hand and stood up again.
Then, the girl backed away and, as wordlessly as usual, she raised one finger toward the sky. A light came from it, and time began to flow backwards within the seal. Rubble and debris recollected in perfect condition in the structures they came from, holes made from the explosions of the energy beams refilled, and the swallowed people returned to one piece, albeit still frozen.
With her work done, Konoe released the seal, and time began to flow forwards again, and the people came to life under the clear blue sky. A few feet before the still surprised Yuji, Yukari Hirai continued running from him happily. When she was some distance away, she glanced back to see the young man who was once behind her standing with the girl known as Konoe Fumina. Yukari slowed down, then smiled to herself as she continued on her way home.
Yuji, meanwhile, began to see balls of bluish flame in the chests of the people around him. They walked without spirit, and their faces betrayed hopelessness to continue living. Close by, even a little boy wasted away into nothingness, his mother paying no mind as if he did not even exist.
"What's… going on…?" Yuji said, finally realizing that what had happened was reality. Beside him, Konoe stood, studying him intently.
"Konoe-san," Yuji began. He was desperate to understand what had just happened, but he felt compelled to ask a different question first. "Are you alright?"
Konoe nodded, still silent. Yuji, relieved, asked something else now.
"What were those things?"
Konoe blinked, as if unsure why the boy did not know anything. "Rinne," she answered. Her voice was soft, but monotone.
So she can speak! Although he was delighted to finally hear her talk, Yuji still needed to understand more.
"Why are these people carrying flames inside of them?"
Again, Konoe answered with a single word. "Torches," she said. Then added, as if realizing how little the boy really knew. "Replacements."
"Re-replacements?" Yuji repeated.
Konoe pointed at one of the Torches passing by. "They were eaten," she told him. "The real them don't exist now. Soon, they will burn away."
"They don't exist?" Yuji repeated again, "and what's left are replacements… They're more like walking corpses."
His head bowed, then he realized something: the same flame within them was the same as what was in him. His eyes widened.
"Wha? What is this?" he yelled, then recalled what Konoe had so coolly told him. "A flame, so… I don't exist too…"
"I'm sorry master, I lost one of your precious Rinne," the doll apologized to her master.
It was a dark room filled with many Treasures, not the type made of gold or precious gems, although some did contain them. These treasures were much more valuable for a different reason. In the center of it all, a man with blue hair, blue pupils and a pale complexion, dressed in a white business suit, cradled the doll caringly.
"Don't you fret, my dear Marianne," her master told her. "What you had just fought may have been a mere Faux Vessel, but it was one from a very powerful Crimson Lord."
"Will you be fine fighting your own kind?" Marianne asked him with concern. He grinned.
"Humans killing one another has been very uncommon since the dawn of time, it should not be so strange for those of the Crimson Realm to do the same," he told her. "Let me deal with this. No matter who it is, I will destroy them if they get in our way, my dearest Marianne. Now, you must be tired, get some rest."
He kissed her on her head, then held her closely to his chest. "The Supreme Throne herself," he muttered softly. "Even if your god were not dead, I would always choose my dear Marianne above anything else."
The boy was still trembling, but for another reason now. He put a hand on his chest and shut his eyes as he took in the revelation. After a while, although he was still in shock and grief, he felt a soft tug on his sleeve.
Konoe Fumina still stood before him, as expressionless as usual, but Yuji could tell that this was probably her way of comforting him.
"Thanks," he told her. "Thanks for saving me back then too."
Konoe nodded. "I have to watch over it," she said simply. She turned away.
"Wait," Yuji said as he followed beside her. "So, do you have any idea how long until I burn away?" he asked.
She glanced at him. The bluish flame within him still burned very brightly. "You will live long," she told him. The next few words, however, she said without intending to. Who knows what compelled her to say it. Perhaps it was envy for something he had that she did not, or self pity, or the desire for someone to help her. It could have been any combination of the three, but nevertheless, she said it.
"At least you once existed. I will also disappear soon, but from the beginning I was never alive."