Basically an AU with the premise that stuff that normally happened on Yuzu's Eighth (Belberith appearing in the real world and calling lots of powerful demons looking for the Bel) happened on Atsuro's last day. And no one told the government that the UEM Field would be worse than useless against Belberith... In short, everything goes to hell and it's an excuse for a 'what if.'
I dislike gameplay-story segregation, so recarm should totally have worked on Honda's son. Also adds more drama, since by preventing him from taking a comp outside the lockdown, the government was trying to keep him from getting lifesaving technology to his son. Why should healing magic be taken away?
Abel grimaced as he healed Yuzu, looking at the hordes of demons that still separated them from the Hills building. So far they hadn't even managed to get close to Azuma and the big fly that Remiel had identified as Belzeboul even with Remiel pitching in, after saying that this was what Amane would have done if her soul hadn't been destroyed along with Jezebel when Belberith reached out to take his servant's power of Bel and deny it to the human Bel. By killing her, and Amane along with her.
He whirled when he heard someone land next to him, but sighed with relief instead of attacking. "Thank goodness. Did you…"
"No, I didn't finish the program," Naoya said, as Izuna and Fushimi arrived behind him, riding on her great crow. "I killed Sariel – pity about his host, but that's what happens to humans who listen to the angels – and ran over here when I sensed Belberith. Where is…" Naoya looked around for Atsuro before casting samarecarm.
Inside, Abel kicked himself: had he really been so focused on survival he hadn't noticed Atsuro's death?
"Naoya!" Atsuro rejoiced, looking this close to hugging his teacher's legs to show his thanks.
"Kuzuryu and Belberith moved faster than they should have and the government will be activating the UEM field sooner: there's not enough time left for me to hack the server even with the program. We're cutting it close as it is. I'll take care of the right hand of darkness: you three," he told Abel, Atsuro and Yuzu, "take Captain Izuna and fly up to the top floor and fight Belberith. I'll follow with the rest of your hangers-on when we're done here. Brother, at this point, if you don't become King of Bel, humanity will lose its independence regardless of whether it's God or the Great Darkness who ends up ruling our world."
"You're still trying to force him into that?" Atsuro demanded.
"Cain is correct," Remiel agreed, landing next to him. "If Belberith obtains the full power of Bel, the power that cast God from this world once before, I do not know if we angels could protect humanity any more than I was able to save the soul of Amane."
"And even if you do keep the demons out, you won't let us go free," Atsuro bared his teeth. "Damn it! Is this all my fault?"
"It's someone's fault, but not yours, Atsuro," Naoya reassured him before levitating the way Remiel had in order to reach them. "After all, you are my apprentice: you were never outside my calculations." Although he had failed to realize just how much he'd rubbed off on Atsuro, for Atsuro to give him such an incredibly evil assignment as simultaneously completely compromising the security of the server Babel and keeping Japan from having a demon army that anyone could hack any time a politician did something stupid with a computer.
"He can fly?" Yuzu asked, still dazed, as Remiel followed Naoya towards Azuma and the big fly.
"Well, it is Naoya- Whoa!" All the demons around the big fly had just turned into smaller flies, and Atsuro couldn't see Naoya, Remiel, Keisuke or Midori anymore.
Yuzu shook her head to wake herself up, checked up on the others with her Comp and quickly cast,"Recarm!" followed by Abel's samarecarm to revive Mari and Black Frost.
"Help them!" Abel ordered, "But I need your Garuda first!"
Izuna had already climbed back onto the Babd Catha she'd kept because it was the first demon she'd contracted with and she hadn't had the time to ask them if getting rid of it meant she'd have to do it all over again.
Exhausted, the four of them gathered in the front of the server room. "I felt power when I defeated Belberith," Abel managed to say, feeling as tired as though he'd walked all the way up, "but I don't know if they've beaten the other one."
"And Naoya didn't tell us how to summon the server," Atsuro said, looking down at his feet and frowning. He'd really messed up, huh? It was his plan Abel had chosen, and now? All of them were barely on their feet, and he winced as he heard Yuzu gag again, her otherwise-empty stomach revolted by the blood she had to drink to replenish her magic.
Izuna clenched her fists, furious with herself. "If we hadn't slowed down your cousin… the commander and I only listened to him because we couldn't keep up with him well enough to actually attack him." She didn't say the words, 'We've failed in our duty,' or, 'I'm sorry,' but everyone could hear them.
Silence for more precious seconds as Atsuro wondered if putting fire drain and elec drain on Yuzu might save her from the UEM field… Until the SDF killed the last surviving demon tamer, anyway. Yuzu tried not to think of what Atsuro said about the cat in the microwave, because it was already hard for her not to throw up.
Abel jerked upright. "I felt something!"
Atsuro and Izuna somehow found the strength to run to the wall they'd broken in through. "They're coming up!"
Remiel landed first and put down Midori and Keisuke. "You must hurry and summon the server," he said, ethereal voice still sounding calm.
"Don't be ridiculous," Naoya said after he landed, gritting his teeth and swaying. Damned bugs, literally. Yes, take out your hatred of God by swarming his grandson, ignoring that he also hates and is cursed by God... He couldn't feel his left hand either, even though he'd wrapped half his robe around it before carrying a frost demon up here. He'd also gotten stuck with Mari since she'd let a demon possess her: damn angel, making him carry the heaviest two! "Not enough time left to do it your way." He took out a can of spray paint and shook it. "You summon Babel by willing him to appear, but if I yell for you to run, start running back towards me, because there won't be enough time left to stop the buildup of the UEM Field even with the angel here to let them know the instant you beat him."
Abel closed his eyes as Atsuro asked, "What are you doing, Naoya?"
"The government's final option isn't: the UEM Field won't kill all the demons in the lockdown, and it won't fix the hole in the sky. To do that, you need to survive long enough for my brother to absorb Babel's power." Cain kept moving, drawing out a diagram on the floor as the world warped around them and Babel descended out of the hole in the sky.
"What are you doing, Cain?" Remiel asked as more of the magic circle was filled in.
"Exactly what you think I am. You can try to kill me, stop me from doing this and let demons descend on earth and massacre humans, or you can help them kill Babel so what I'm doing isn't necessary." What would Remiel do?
The angel hesitated, but floated up into the air again to join Abel.
"Oh, no, not Beldr!" Yuzu's face was pale.
"Summoning all the other Bels?" Atsuro demanded. "This is ridiculous!"
Abel just ran towards him as the others fought Belial, hitting him as hard as he could with the cell phone strap, trying to finish him off without him healing himself too many times…
"Move! If you want to survive, run for your lives!" Naoya yelled at them, the entire diagram crackling with red light. Atsuro, Abel, Mari, Black Frost and even Yuzu ran, but Midori and Keisuke hesitated, looking at Remiel.
The angel closed his eyes. "Go."
They did, but the angel didn't move.
"Inside, come on!" Naoya yelled at the stragglers, ignoring the angel. The red light had crawled up his arms to reach his eyes: they'd always been red, but now they glowed. "Don't bother casting recarm," he told Yuzu, pulling something out of his sleeve.
"What, what do you-" mean, Yuzu asked, as the city beneath them began to glow.
A shot rang out, and the world went red.
"Did, did he just… He just…" Atsuro stammered.
"Recarm!" Yuzu wasn't listening to Naoya, not when he just, and it didn't work… "Ohgod."
Izuna stared. "Human sacrifice…"
"There is nothing that can be done now, I'm afraid," Remiel told them. "Humans can't survive in the demon realm."
"Wait, what?" Atsuro asked, as Beldr's mist engulfed them again and Abel ran back towards the Bel demon. "What does that mean?"
"You must defeat the remaining Bels!" Remiel exhorted them. "He is the one who resurrects: if God wills it you will see him again, but you must be victorious and return to your world!"
"Right!" Atsuro said as Jezebel appeared and Izuna, Mari and Black Frost ran forward to join the fight. Did the demon world have different air pressure or something? "Let's go, Keisuke… Keisuke!"
Where his friend stood there was now a mound of brown fur and feathers, wings curled around a no-longer-human body to hide Keisuke's shame.
"He sent the battlefield through the portal to the demon realm so that humanity's weapon would not kill you, but in order to allow you to survive here and continue your battle, Cain awakened the sleeping demon blood within you," Remiel admitted. "But he is a true son of Adam, with no demonic taint within him. Revive him, and he will die again upon that instant."
That was when Atsuro noticed that his hands were clawed, that his hearing was funny because the hat had folded down his ears, and he was lashing twin tails. His eyes had always glinted gold when he was excited, but now they were golden with slit pupils. Cat's eyes.
The running SDF officer also seemed to have a tail. A fox's.
Midori's blue-violet hair had turned pure blue, her Magical Dolly costume pure white. "Yuki-onna? Aww." She couldn't help looking downcast. If she had to be a demon, couldn't she have been a kitsune or a tanuki?
"I, I still look human," Yuzu said, turning over her hands. "Mostly. I just need a nail file, right?" Claws weren't that big a deal, she tried to tell herself, fighting the rising hysteria.
"Yuzu…" Yuzu had fangs. And red eyes, but those seemed almost normal after being Naoya's apprentice. Atsuro still grabbed her hand. "Come on, Yoohoo, we have to beat Babel and then we can drag Naoya home and make him fix this!"
"Don't-" she started to say, but it was so obviously meant to distract her, to restore normalcy that there was nothing she could do but laugh and let him pull her towards Belberith.
"Come on, Keisuke," Midori said, reaching down to pat one of his wings. "You have to see if you can fly!" When else would he ever get the chance?
"Well," Keisuke said afterwards, ducking his head. "You still look human."
"Yeah, I expected you to have fangs or horns or something if you became the King of Bel," Atsuro told Abel. "You don't even have red eyes." Like, like Naoya.
"You look like Pazuzu," Mari told Keisuke, smiling and showing her own fangs. "Only with a dog's head."
"He inherited the blood of the nephilim, the children of angels that lay with humanity," Remiel told them, omitting the fact that those children were also accursed. "And the Lord of Bel…"
"Was the God of Humanity, as Amaterasu is a sun goddess, so I still look exactly like a human," Abel finished for the angel, and looked up to meet Remiel's eyes. "I've recalled the demons and closed the portal, but I still intend to open the King's Gate and go home. And I'm taking my brother with me."
"Your brother, yes, but what of your allies?" Yes, Abel should escape the demon world since his heart was still human, but would he truly leave the others here? No, surely he would not.
"I'm taking them with me too." That was why Abel was giving the angel in the dead girl's body such a measuring look. "Are you going to try to stop me?"
"You mean to bring more demons to the human world? I am an observer angel: it is part of my duty to prevent demons from reaching the higher planes." Yet the Angel of Mercy hesitated.
"Are you going to try to stop me from bringing my friends home?"
"…No," Remiel confessed, and dropped out of the air like a puppet with its strings cut only to land in Abel's arms. "So, you have regained your former self's thoughts and memories," he, she said when she caught her breath.
The King of Bel had known what would happen if Remiel did not fight him: that was obvious, so he nodded as the gate appeared in front of them. "Atsuro, get Naoya's body."
"Right," Atsuro said, running to obey the King of Bel.
They emerged from the gate on the top of the Hills building and Atsuro carefully put Naoya down on the ground. His teacher seems a lot lighter than he should be: had Atsuro really got that much stronger? Abel deposited Remiel on her feet and went over to his brother. "Samarecarm." He frowned. "Samarecarm." He and Atsuro both leaned forward. Maybe Naoya wasn't quite dead? "Prayer," he cast even though he doubted it.
"Look at his eyes," Atsuro said quietly. "They're green."
Abel closed his own eyes. "Freeing him from the curse now? When he's died for me before?" He turned his angry face up to the heavens. "When he died turning people into demons? When he committed suicide? This is hypocrisy and you know it!" he shouted, and the sound reverberated from the buildings and mountains, spoke directly to their souls. "You only took him to weaken me! All his suffering, and you admit that it's all been pointless by 'forgiving' him the instant it gave you an advantage? You give him back! You send my brother back down here right now or I'll show you war! I'll show you an ordeal!"
"As flattering as that is, cousin, the curse wasn't released until all of us had already been pulled into the demon world to escape the UEM field. God has no power over the souls there, so he couldn't have taken mine."
Abel turned, and of course Naoya was standing a few meters behind him, along with a blond young man their age who Abel didn't recognize.
"Wait," Atsuro said, looking from Naoya to Naoya's body and back. "What… How…"
"Remember how Belberith gained power through the worship of the Shomonkai? With God's servants spreading the story of my sin throughout the world, I also gained a great deal of power as a demon. While I was human I couldn't use that power, and God's curse made sure that I remained human instead of dying and becoming a demon." Spirit, demon, angel: same thing. Looking over the others, he told them, "My brother became a demon because of his great hatred of God, but it took him time to fight his way free of the pit and become powerful enough to became the King of Bel, the Overlord, the Master of Masters, because the worlds were still young. I had thousands of years of belief waiting for me in the demon realm." Naoya smirked, and if his canines were a little longer, it was only slightly. He looked as human as he ever had, with those red eyes of his. "The curse couldn't have been released at a better time… Fallen Angel Remiel."
"Yes, I have fallen for my transgressions," the angel confessed, bowing her head. "I apologize for leading you astray, and placing humanity's welfare over God's law." Those words were directed at Keisuke and Midori, who had looked to him for virtuous counsel.
"There is no place for mercy in heaven any longer," Naoya's companion said. "There hasn't been for a long time, but you knew that, brother, didn't you? Why else would you have gone to Earth to do what you could for a single soul instead of remaining in heaven to counsel mercy towards humanity?"
Remiel only turned away, bowing his head, ashamed and miserable to be separated from the glory of God, no matter how tarnished that light had become. No matter that Naoya's desire to protect others even at the cost of his own life and his own chance to influence Abel towards revenge meant that he should have been freed from the curse long, long ago. Yet God had not freed him, and Remiel had not wished to release Cain from the curse himself, not when it had been placed on him by God's hand, not when Naoya welcomed the chance to return to his brother's side. Yet the moment before he fell had been his last chance to free Cain of a curse he did not truly deserve.
"Oh, by the way, Atsuro, I found the factor that escaped both of our calculations. I thought loaning his favorite minion to Belberith so the War of Bel could have a true victor was as involved as he was going to get." Naoya frowned slightly at the man who stood beside him. "Since you've helped me find my way here, I assume you don't intend to try to unleash your demons upon this world?" If he tried that, Naoya would fight him alongside Abel, so it would be very foolish to reunite him with his brother.
"No, I brought you here as a sign of good faith." The man nodded to Abel. "When you march on heaven, King of Bel, I will lend you my power and my armies. The Demi-Fiend will also be happy to help, I'm sure."
"…Thanks?" Abel said finally. "But right now, I don't intend to do anything but protect this world. I promised Atsuro we'd go to the pool together." That eventually they'd get out of this lockdown and they could have peaceful days again.
Naoya laughed as the blond smiled and vanished. "You think that peace is an option?"
"I managed to keep the angels out of earth for thousands of years before, so…"
"With me by your side, as a human. Now? Now I possess power almost equal to yours, my brother, and God's Thunder will no longer be able to decimate demons trying to reach heaven without its weilder. They attacked your kingdom, killed you and stole the universal common tongue from us solely because you wanted to create contact and understanding between heaven and earth. God is a being of absolute law, and by regaining the power he stripped you of, throwing him out of a world he intends to conquer? You defy him just by existing, brother. Humanity defies him by advancing so far in power and knowledge. Those damned angels will never leave us in peace until we are free of them, you should remember that now! The UEM field has been used: the Lockdown is over and humanity would have failed to destroy all the demons even if I hadn't saved you. The angels now think they have the right to rule this world and strip humanity of its free will, so the true war will begin soon."
The UEM field. That was when it really hit them.
"Tadashi…" Mari said quietly. "Not him too…" Kaido was dead now, when she'd lost his brother.
"…I'm going to need to cast a lot of recarm spells," Yuzu said, red eyes wide. "They will still work, right?"
Naoya looked surprised. "Of course. Why wouldn't they?"
"I guess… We only used them right away after people were killed by demons."
"This isn't Final Fantasy: you can go use recarm on all those insects if you like," Naoya said, shrugging. "Why don't you take Remiel with you? Helping humans should give him some comfort, and that way you can drink his blood."
"I… guess," Yuzu said, hand going to her lips as she realized that drinking blood now sounded okay. Good. Like a really, really good idea.
"Hey, I'm like a nekomata, right?" Atsuro asked, bringing his tails out in front of him to look at them. "So what's Yuzu?"
"A mutt," Naoya said bluntly. "There isn't one predominant type of demon blood in her, or any recent demon ancestors for the spell to use as a template. She'll develop unique characteristics as she grows older, don't worry."
"I don't want unique characteristics! I want you to fix this! You did this to us, Naoya!" Yuzu turned from the edge of the building to yell at him.
"Yes, I did. And that's why all of you didn't die like hamsters in a microwave."
Atsuro opened his mouth to say that he thought the story was about a cat, but then he realized that he kind of was a cat and shut it.
"It's also the reason why the portal has closed and Earth isn't being overrun by demons," Naoya added. "Now, I suppose I should start with Commander Fushimi: he's surprisingly sensible for a government lapdog, so I can have him convey our demands to his superiors," he said, walking towards the edge of the roof and jumping casually off it.
"Wait for me, Naoya!" Atsuro said, following him. "Whoa!" he yelled as he fell.
"Atsuro," you idiot, "Can nekomata fly?" Naoya asked him, after grabbing Atsuro by the back of his shirt.
"Dammit… Sorry, Naoya," Atsuro said, looking at the ground still fifty stories down.
"I'll carry you down if you accompany me while I talk to Commander Fushimi," Naoya told him, putting him back onto the roof for now. He shouldn't leave yet, just in case anyone else did something stupid.
Phew. "Thanks, Naoya."
"Don't mention it." Petting a cat while talking to someone was something supervillians did because giving attention to a lesser being instead of one's opponent was an insult. Naoya wanted to see the government lapdog's reaction to Naoya petting a formerly-human catboy.
"Aww, are we going to have to walk down?" Midori asked.
"Turn into snow and pull yourself back together after you've fallen," Abel advised her. "Does anyone need a lift?" Yuzu was going with Remiel, Keisuke could fly: that left Black Frost, and…
Mari smiled. "Oh, I'm fine," she said, stretching until wings and a tail came out of her back. "I'll come back as soon as I've found Kaido," the succubus told them, licking her lips.
"Captain Izuna?" Abel asked her.
She turned away, growling softly at herself. "I don't want the Commander to see me like this, but I won't desert the unit."
"Is the government going to let us leave like this?" Yuzu wondered nervously. "Won't they start shooting?"
Naoya chuckled. "None of you need a comp anymore, and without the comps' harmonizer function, bullets are useless against demons. By wrecking all the comps, the government's UEM field just destroyed the technology that could have let them oppose you, my brother… If I hadn't taken precautions against having my own invention used against us. No, we just need to make it clear to them that now that my brother is the King of Bel, and recalls all his powers, there's nothing they can do to stop us from dropping a demon army right on top of them."
"Yuzu," Abel asked her, holding out a hand. "Do you want to go right home?"
"No." She shook her head. "Not right now." She wanted things to be normal when she went home, when she saw her mother… Oh, god… Somebody… But first, "I want to save as many people as I can."
"Alright. Remiel can call on me if you're in trouble… Right?" Abel asked the fallen angel, who nodded. He still had that power.
"Man, she got wings?" Atsuro sighed as he watched Mari fly off.
"Do you want them?" Naoya asked him.
"Are you serious?" Of course he wanted wings… except what he should ask for, if he could ask to look different, was to get rid of the tails and ears and be human again. "Wait, Naoya… It's fine for me," he could totally get Yuzu to notice him now, and prehensile tails were awesome, "but what about Keisuke?"
"What about him?"
The dog-headed angel whimpered.
"Naoya…" Abel folded his arms.
"He fought alongside me. Don't make me say it."
Naoya smirked. "Your wish is my command, my king. I'll work on a spell to make them look human again as soon as we're on the ground and the succubus gets back here with her victim. It would be inconvenient if she changed back in midair, now wouldn't it?"
"Wait, who was that guy with you?" Atsuro wondered now. "The factor outside your calculations: is he the reason Belberith got here so fast and started summoning all those demons?"
"Yes. Apparently someone," Abel, "impressed him by defeating both Belial and Nebrios, so he decided to 'help' you regain your true power faster." Naoya was clearly displeased by both the form the help had taken and the implication that he and his brother needed the help in the first place.
"You didn't actually answer my question," Atsuro pointed out. "He called Remiel his brother, so he's an angel, right? A fallen angel… And the boss of the 'right hand of darkness...'" That was when Atsuro froze.
"So, you've figured it out yourself," Naoya said when Atsuro's eyes opened wide with panic. He pulled that hat off and rubbed Atsuro's head before he could object to Naoya snatching it, both to convey approval and to see if it shut him up.
It did, except for the purring as Atsuro pressed his head up into his teacher's hand for more pettings. Apparently turning him into a demon had installed an off button on his apprentice's mouth. Well, wasn't today looking better and better?