Disclaimer: LOLNOPE. I don't even own the title, this time around. XD; (Oh, and KFA Jesus was a joke borrowed from A:TLA Abridged. :3)

Author's Note: My apologies for the severe lack of updates, lately. I've been trying to focus more on original work… in addition to actual work, lawlz. But sometimes, you just gonna write Bicentennial derp, you know? Anyway, this piece was inspired by a "Bi headcanon" submitted anonymously to my tumblr. I wrote a little ficlet for it, and then Hannah suggested I expand it a bit. So here we go~

The submitted headcanon: "Sebastian and Ciel are going to have one hell of a hard time explaining to their kids how mama and papa got together. And why all their 'friends' are equally weird."

(And for fun and my friend Caitlin: "Ciel has seen and has bought and constantly rewatches every single Disney musical ever, despite his vehement protests to the contrary.")

Warnings: Derrrrrrp. SebaCiel, Will/Grell, OCs. Written and edited fast, so probably awful, overall. 8D Toddler-speak. Part of the "Bicentennial" series; takes place about three years after "666."


How I Met Your Mother


9:34 AM

Like most queries from toddlers, this one had come out of absolutely nowhere. Almost like a burp, it was just sort of blurted out by their daughter, loud and without warning. (Though, thankfully, with less stink.)

"Dada? Mama?" In an attempt to catch her parents' attention, Asmus had tipped her head so far back that she'd become a victim of gravity, flopped over, and then giggled, her pearly grin glistening in the reflected light of the television. The little one's Barbie Princess movie had just come to an end, and now she was looking for other stories to entertain her. To that end… "How'jyou met Mama?" the precocious child inquired, squirming until she managed to roll onto her romper-clad belly. Beside her, cross-legged and hunched, Toth blinked in a show of similar curiosity before twisting to look up at his parents, too.

Seated side by side on the leather couch, the devils in question exchanged bemused glances.

"Uh…" Ciel cleared his throat, looking a bit thrown by his offspring's sudden interest. He hesitated, gnawing his bottom lip. It wasn't that he was ashamed of how he and his husband had first met—their encounter had been nothing to be ashamed about—but it still seemed a rather dark and macabre story to be sharing with one's three-year-olds. And demons though they may be, saying something along the lines of "Mama was kidnapped, raped, and seconds away from being brutally murdered when he accidentally summoned the necessary hatred to call forth a devil from the cursed pits of Hell in order to extract vengeance on his behalf" would likely still give the children nightmares. Not to mention it would call forth a barrage of other, even less appropriate questions. (Like what "rape" meant, and was it edible.)

Apparently having realized all of this himself, Sebastian settled with a far less controversial answer. "A long, long, long time ago, Daddy was Mama's servant," he explained, smiling indulgently at his baby girl. "That means Mama told me what to do, and I was, shall we say, paid to do it for him." Not that that had particularly changed, over the years… "So we met when I was working unde—um, for him."

Ciel shot his husband an exasperated glare. Sebastian responded with a sheepish shrug; he couldn't help that he was used to speaking in entandre and taunt. That was just his nature. Besides, the twins hadn't noticed: like an Animaniacs' cartoon, the joke had flown right over their heads. Nevertheless, the fledglings' expressions grew dreamy as they considered their father's words, poorly chosen or otherwise; Toth began noshing on his thumb in intense thought.

"Serbent -n- mawsser?" Asmus then attempted to echo, blinking wide, vermilion eyes up at her parents. They responded to her prompting with a nod, wondering if Sebastian's answer had really meant anything to them. But rather than focus on the somewhat disturbing truth behind mother and father's initial relationship, the young girl had become markedly distracted… Already, a propensity for perfection (inherited from her father) had manifested as a notable character trait; her nose scrunched upon realizing she hadn't been able to say either of those words correctly, and likely would not be able to until all of her teeth came in. Clever thing she was, Asmus almost-instantly came up with a way to remedy this problem.

"S-n-M!" she cooed, beaming. S would stand for "servant," and M for "master." Like in Sesame Street, when they had words and letters of the day. (Hey, Mama and Dada were almost like Big Bird! They were big and sometimes birds and sometimes people who were pretending to be birds. Her grin widened at this deep, albeit irrelevant insight.) Jabbing her bitty pointer finger at each parent in turn—and looking very pleased with herself as she did so—Asmus cheerfully announced: "Mama was an M and Dada an S!"

"Mama -n- Dada were inta S-n-M," Toth sang in kind, giggling sweetly as he stuck half of his hand into his mouth and continued chewing. "Like da song on da radio Mama sings t'when Dada's not der, and Dada sings t'when Mama's not der! S-S-S-S… EM-EM-EM."

…Rihanna. Their son was quoting Rihanna in relation to their romantic history.

"…all of this is somehow your fault, Sebastian," Ciel flatly intoned, features dull with disbelief. That was it. They were keeping the Barney playlist on constant repeat until the twins were at least 18.

"I… um…" Visibly taken aback by just how quickly this entire exchange had become one very poor excuse for a sex joke, Sebastian gawped, otherwise frozen. Beside him, Ciel had turned red, then white, then had hung his head to hide his face all together, torn between laughing and crying. Or doing both. "… well, they aren't exactly wrong," the elder of the two then admitted, hedged but honest. (What choice did he have? He couldn't lie.) "The actual S&M part simply came a few decades lat—"


11:27 AM

"—n den Mama smack-ed Dada an' called him a i'diot n' den we gots on clothes n' den Mama gots all glare-y n' told Dada t' take-ed us to Aunt Gwelle's," Asmus explained through mouthfuls of PB&J, swinging her feet merrily atop her booster seat. To her left, her cousin Angel was elegantly picking crusts off of her own sandwich; to her right, Toth was guzzling chocolate milk from a blue plastic sippy-cup. Across the table, their "Aunt Gwelle" was listening attentively, delicately plucking the discarded bits of bread from her daughter's plate and popping each morsel into her smirking mouth. Another typical lunch at the Spears' residence.

"That does sound like quite the morning," the redhead agreed with a chuckle, wiping the crumbs on her fingers onto a cerise napkin. "Sebastian-darling has this amazing ability where he always makes things worse, even when he doesn't mean to. Doesn't he, Willie?" She tossed a glance backwards, towards her stoic-faced husband, who was currently concentrating far-more-intensely than was either necessary or, arguably, healthy, on the chocolate chip cookies he was making. (Rather, the cookies he was carefully adding chocolate chips to: pressing five little chunks of chocolate into each doughy ball on the tin, precise and perfect and uniform. Will was, as always, determined to bring order to chaos whenever he could… however rare the opportunity was in his home.) "And the brat just exacerbates the problem by making those issues even more apparent."

Will, ever the conversationalist, grunted.

"Ah well," Grelle continued with an idle toss of her hair, her bubbly amusement eliciting peanut-butter-smeared looks of perplexity from the twins. "That was the story they went with, so there's no helping it now."

The story they went with?

"Is der a differ-runt story?" Thrown for a bit of a loop by the idea, Asmus licked a blob of strawberry jam from her nose (a trick that her Uncle Claude had taught her) and stared keenly at her babysitter, unconvinced but inquisitive. "But… Dada don't lie."

"Oh, Sebastian-darling didn't lie, sweetheart," Grelle reassured, waving her scarlet-tipped fingers in a gesture that was both dismissive and reassuring. "No, no, no, he and your Mama were master and servant, it's true. But there's more to it than that. Let's see," she added in afterthought, tapping her chin as she glanced towards the ceiling, where the apple-imbued wallpaper became a simple wash of burgundy. "If you two had asked me how your parents had met, I would have told you that it was really much simpler. It was an arrangement of passion, of primal urges and needs. You see, your mama was born a human, and human beings have a thing called a soul—"

"We k'no wat souls be!" Toth interrupted, pausing in his drink-suckling long enough to speak up. Just so, you know, people realized that he was paying attention. "Dey're fer eatin'." But… wait. If that was true, then that meant—

"Den Dada wanted ta eat Mama?" Asmus paraphrased, sounding mildly distressed. Eat Mama? Daddy ate things like ice cream and peas and braunschweiger and waffles. He didn't eat devils. He'd never tried to serve Mama for supper, for badness' sake, and Daddy had attempted to make them eat all sorts of weird things in the past. Like brussel sprouts. And fried alligator. And starfruits. But for as little sense as such a claim made, Uncle William, at least, was downright dogged in insisting that it was true.

"I'm fairly certain that Sebastian Phantomhive continues to desire your mother, and that he eats him with gusto. Quite frequently. Sometimes with a cob of corn 'on the side,' from what I recall of our joint vacation to the Corn Palace," Will mumbled under his breath, speaking without fully realizing he'd done so. He was rather distracted by his own plight, at the moment; he was one chip short, and for some reason, frantically shaking the empty plastic bag was not producing a final chocolate from thin air. Funny that.

"William!" Grelle gasped, offended on the children's behalf. (Though again, there was a soft wooshing sound as their uncle's implications soared right over their heads.) "Watch your mouth—! Besides, I don't think it was so much a cob of corn 'on the side' as it was a cob of corn 'inside' and—no, what am I saying?" This was pretty much the epitome of 'not the time!' Horrified by her own thoughtlessness, the redhead whipped around to again regard the twins, scrutinizing their round faces as if that might allow her to gauge just how much of their innocence she had destroyed with that quip. But rather than focus on Grelle's slights against their parents' non-existent virtue, Asmus and Toth were still busily trying to wrap their brains around the big picture that their caretakers had proposed.

"So… Dada meet-ed Mama and wanted ta eats him so he turned inta a S?" the young demon girl piped over her floundering aunt, still a touch baffled. Grelle, in turn, choked on a bit of sandwich.

"Sounds about right," William muttered, ultimately deciding to chuck his last, deformed cookie into the trash… and immediately after found a lone chip hiding beside his stirring-spoon. His wrath (gnashing teeth, crimson face, flailing arms) was incredible, albeit silent and somewhat pathetic. Once she'd finished pounding on her chest, Grelle shot her husband a look that seemed to suggest he deserved this fate for being so rude. (Recognizing hypocrisy was not one of Grelle's natural talents.)

"Your father," the redhead then decreed loudly, as if half-screaming would somehow override everything that had been said over the past few minutes, "met your mother when he was a human, and took a liking to him. So they made a Con—they made a promise to work together."

"…oh." Asmus considered this, remembering all of the lessons about working together she'd learned from early morning television programming. From what she could tell, teamwork was a desirable, commendable sort of thing… and it always seemed to solve whatever problems the muppets stumbled across. "So… Mama n' Dada wurked togefer ta make Mama a demun?" That made sense enough. And after that, she knew the rest: they got Georgina and got married and Georgina had George and Georgia and Mama and Daddy had her and her brother. The end.

"Actually, 'Ba and Cici worked together to get rid of bad people," Angel corrected her cousin amiably, though she did look a little pleased to realize that she knew something about her original foster parents that the twins didn't. Pride wasn't a wholly attractive look on one of her ilk, perhaps, but she was more of a 6-year-old then she was a majestic celestial being. And she was Grelle's daughter. So it was only natural, honestly. "And 'Ba just did it for the eats, at first. Cici becomin' a devil was an accident."

"Angie!" Utterly exasperated now, Grelle clapped a palm to her forehead and dragged her hand roughly down the length of her face. Did she need to call Asmodeus and check to see if Hell had frozen over? Because there was no other way to explain how she had suddenly become the one with the most tact in the Spears' family.

Meanwhile, the twins had cocked their heads in tandem, Toth burping as he finished his milk and considered Angel's assertion. An accident? Mama becoming a demon was like when they would wet the bed, or spill Froot Loops on the floor, or that time they got ahold of a pair of scissors and hacked Daddy's hair off while he was sleeping? (Well, okay, maybe that last one wasn't totally an accident…)

"Dada… didn' wan' Mama t' be a demun?" Asmus surmised with a scowl, little brow furrowing and button nose scrunching as this revelation occurred to her. That… didn't seem very nice. To deny Mama something like that. To want Mama to stay a weak mortal, destined to die. Daddy didn't want Mama to die, did he? Daddy was always happy to see Mama, to have him around. Something didn't seem right about all of this…

"W-well, maybe not at first—but that changed fast!" Grelle cut in, smiling a somewhat frantic smile. "They were angry at each other for a couple of decades, yes, and Sebastian-darling might have been a teensy-weensy-itty-bitty-bit resentful, initially, but that changed too as time went on. Really, now they're very happy and very grateful that the Trancy family—"

"Screwed everything and everyone sideways."

Botched baking always made for a particularly pissy William.

"Will, I swear to God—!"

"…Un'cle Cwaude n' Aunt Nana?" With a clandestine whisper, Asmus and her brother turned to exchange furtive glances, unnoticed by anyone but Angel. (Who was too busy nibbling on her orange slices to care much about anything else.) Grelle, in the meantime, was fuming at her insensitive, pouting husband… Her insensitive, pouting, forgetful husband, who had been so busy cursing at the runaway chocolate chip on the countertop that it had completely slipped his mind to set a timer, and his cookies burnt to a crisp. Then they burst into flames. Then—just for good measure— the oven caught fire, providing a bit of entertainment for the nonchalant kids, in addition to Grelle's usual humorous caterwauling.

1:46 PM

"How Ciel Phantomhive became a demon?"

The voice cracked a bit, as voices tend to do when thrown across the Atlantic. Even still—and even over the phone— Toth and Asmus could practically see their uncle readjust his glasses, a small smirk playing across his tanned features. In the background, Uncle Luka and Uncle Alois were screaming expletives at some sort of video game.

"Well, your father and I did not always get along. He was a prick when we were growing up—always stealing my toys and books without telling me. Once, he nipped my Kung-Fu Action Jesus figurine and dressed it up in Super Awesome Ninja Spy Mary Magdalene's Covert Mission— Last Supper: The Second Course's robe set. You just don't do that. You don't put Kung-Fu Action Jesus in Super Awesome Ninja Spy Mary Magdalene's Covert Mission— Last Supper: The Second Course's robe set! Jesus didn't wear girl robes!" Claude huffed, his anger still ridiculous—er, obvious—after so many millennia. The squeak of his grinding teeth was worse than the white static of long-distance; Asmus and Toth frowned nervously at one another, wondering if maybe this hadn't been as dire an emergency as they'd first believed… Bearing in mind that an "emergency" was the only time that Sebastian and Ciel advised the twins to call the Trancys' on their own. But after a few deep breaths (and a suspicious sounding crack, like that of a table being karate-chopped in half), the devil calmed enough to continue on in a semi-rational manner.

"…anyway. I suppose I was a trifle… bitter… after growing up with someone like that. So when I realized how much Sebastian loved your mother, I tried to steal him and break him, like Sebastian had done to so many of my toys. But my plans were ultimately foiled by Alois and Hannah and Luka, who decided that—!"

"HEY! Hey, are you talking to the terrible twosome? Hiiiiiii, Azzy! Hi, Toto! Uncle Alois loves you!" sang a new voice, interrupting the old with an oomph and a noise like an elbow ramming into someone's gut with the strength of a bowling ball. "Haha, Luka says hey there, too! And so does Undie—he's here visiting. Right, you ol' bag of bones?"

There was a familiar "heeheehee" in the background, along with an eerily elongated "hellooooooo, moppets~"

"So, you guys talking to Claude about Ciel's past, or am I just making that up?" Alois questioned jauntily, ever the personified ray of (cancer-giving) sunshine and (pollen-laden) roses. "Why the sudden curiosity?"


"Mama n' Dada said dey were doin' S-n-M but Aunt Gwelle says Dada just wanted 't eat Mama up and den Angel says Mama bein' a demon was an acci'dent, like me and Toth, 'n den der was a fire n' we're in da closet," Asmus explained in one very long breath, sounding emotionally exhausted as she let loose this deluge of information. "And den Aunt Gwelle says dat Mama n' Dada are happy dat you guys made dat acc'ident."

"So we wan'ed ta hear whut you did," Toth finished coolly, ever the level-headed (and quieter) of the two.

"Oh… um." Sounding understandably taken aback by the children's rather awkwardly phrased version of events that had occurred over the past 200 years, Alois waffled for a moment… but finally cleared his throat with a laugh. For as convoluted as the question had been, it was easy enough to answer. Once he'd figured out what it was, anyway. "You wanna know how Ciel became a devil, then? I guess the short version of the story is that Claude lied to me about some stuff, so I was kinda pissed—oh, pardon, I shouldn't use language like that, huh? Okay, I was kinda ticked— better, right?— that everyone loved Ciel, and no one loved me, but mostly demons loved Ciel because he was tasty, so Hannah—who did love me— did me a favor and turned Ciel into a demon so no one would eat-slash-love him. But I guess I was wrong on at least one count, huh? Sebastian still loved him, and that's fabulous. Because now I have a cute niece and nephew to play with, right? And now Claude and I are all right, so Ciel and I are total BFFs. With that last F standing for five-eva. Dat mean longer den four-eva," the blonde concluded with a trill, sounding very pleased with his own story (and joke) telling abilities. Undoubtedly that had cleared everything up for the pair.

On the other side of the world, Asmus and Toth were gaping at one another, entirely nonplussed. This just wasn't working.

"…Un'cle 'Lois?"


"Can we talk t' Undies?"

"Huh? Oh, sure. Here he is~"

There was the crackling sound of the phone changing hands; in the background, the fuzzy noises of the boisterous Trancy household were veiled by hisses and pops—Hannah singing while she cooked, the boys returning to their game, Claude muttering about his dolls… And then there was the click of audio refocusing, and a wheezy grunt of greeting.

"Help," the twins decreed flatly, not even giving pause for polite salutations. They had sort of reached the end of their rope, as it were. These tales—they were just too contradictory, strange, and unfathomable. Not to mention too much. "We dun get it!"

"E'reyone makes Mama n' Dada hate eacho'der in der stories. Dey're sad. But Mama and Dada aren't sad," Asmus protested, her mounting vexation peaking and bringing her close to tears. She smacked her little fists against the carpeted floor, directly beside the phone that they had switched onto speaker. Grelle had thought it best to relocate to Sebastian's apartment while her husband dealt with the aftermath of the kitchen fire; the twins were now hidden in the hallway's linen cupboard, temporarily avoiding their aunt and cousin. It was just as well—they did so hate to let others see them cry. "I dunget it! I dunlike it!"

For a long moment, the Undertaker indulged the children in their whining and snuffling, listening wordlessly as they stamped their wee feet and pounded their hands – waiting for the energy of frustration to bleed out of them. When they finally calmed to his satisfaction, the mortician allowed himself a chortle, raspy and low.

"Azzy, Toto," he then began blithely, forever the least fazed of their immortal troupe, "do you remember when I last came to visit and we watched Beauty and the Beast?"

"Yeah… You gots all tangle'd up in da VHS' tape and look'ed like a mummy, and den Mama yelled at you 'cause dat was his original copy of da movie and it was a coll'ekt-ta-bull, and den we went and had ta go to da store an' buy a DVD and some Heavn'ly Hash ice cweam to make Mama not kill you."

"… all true, eheehee, but not the point I was trying to make," Undertaker informed Asmus lightly, though he did—as always— sound undeniably amused. "I meant the movie itself, poppets. Do you recall, eh? Belle and the Beast didn't like each other at first, either. But the more time they spent together, the more they cared about each other. And even though it began as a curse cast by others, and they were sorta tossed together by fate and magic, eventually, they were able to live happily ever after. As the same species, even. That's the bare bones of it—that's the sort of story your mum and dad have. See? It's not so sad, right?" the reaper prompted gently, his creaky voice unusually soothing as he offered the twins his comfort. "Just because a story don't start happy, don't mean it's not a happy story. So I wouldn't worry your pretty lil' heads about it."

Ah, finally. Sense. When phrased that way, it all came together; their parents' plight was sort of like the Barbie movie they'd watched, earlier. It had bad stuff happen in it, too, because that made it interesting to watch… but all of Barbie's problems worked out by the end. The same was true with Mama and Daddy. Understanding now, Toth nodded once, mutely showing his agreement with the Undertaker's assessment. As he did so, he placed his hand on his sister's head and gave it a pat, allowing her a moment to swallow back the rest of her tears and formulate a response for them both.

"…'Kay," Asmus finally murmured, smiling as she sniffled and rubbed at her eyes. Like her brother, she might not have been able to fully understand the others' explanations, but this she could work out. No wonder Mama always used to go to the Undertaker for information—he was the best at explaining things. "Thanks, Undies…"

"You're welcome, my pets," the shinigami returned, before breaking into cackles. Somewhere behind him, Claude was screeching: "Ow, Hannah, stop hitting m—! Ow! No, I don'tknow who broke the coffee table, I— ouch! Ow! Argh! GOD DAMMIT, KUNG-FU ACTION JESUS AND I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR THIS, SEBASTIAN!"

8:29 PM


"Yes? What is it, baby?"

It was nearly bedtime, now, and the twins—bundled up in their matching footie pajamas— were enjoying one last story with their mother before the Sandman spirited them away. As per usual, the three had piled into the rocking chair that had been set before the window and between the twins' cribs; Asmus and Toth curled up against Ciel's chest as he lazily pushed them back and forth, back and forth, and read to them from a book about a very hungry caterpillar.

The rest of the day had passed in a blur. Snacks, a nap, being woken from said nap by Daddy yelling at Uncle Ronald to get off of the counter— ("Were you raised in a barn? You animal!" "Hey, judge not lest ye be judged, said Jesus." "Funny, he was raised in a barn, and I know for a fact that he had better manners than you! …and what do you mean you set your house on fire making cookies, Grelle?")— a great big family supper (since everyone was already there), a bubble bath, an episode of "My Little Pony" with Uncle Finny and Uncle Ron (well, maybe two. And just one more, one last one)… now bed. Their latter uncles had gone mere minutes earlier, leaving as quietly as they had arrived— appearing almost instantaneously outside of the closet that the twins had been hiding in; upon sneaking out, they'd almost-literally run into the odd couple. After asking the kids what they'd been up to (and making a crack about apples not falling far from trees, which neither fledgling understood, since they thought they'd been talking about being in closets, not trees), Ronald and Finny had offered their two cents to the bank that was the Undertaker's priceless wisdom.

"I used to be a servant for your Mama, too," Finny had happily informed the tots, picking them up with the same ease as one would a feather. "And though Mr. Sebastian might deny it, I don't think there was ever a day he didn't love the young master, in some way."

Ron didn't have much to add to that, saying he hadn't really had a chance to get to know the couple until they'd reconnected with Grelle and Will at their wedding, and that had been ages after the fact. That said, "he always seemed pretty attached to your mum, even for a demon."

It occurred to the twins then that telling their parents about their continued prying into this matter probably wouldn't be wise. Not so much because Mama and Daddy would get mad at the others for saying anything, but because what the others had to say didn't matter, in the long run. Ron had been the one to make them realize that— realize that nobody actually knew the real Sebastian and Cieluntil many years after the fact. Back in the day, they'd all been playing different roles… in front of each other, and in front of the rest of the world. Nobody truly knew how past-Sebastian and past-Ciel acted behind closed doors besides, well, Sebastian and Ciel… and if they said that they were master and servant, and that they were happy, and that they fell in love, bought a cat, got married, witnessed kittens, and then had Asmus and Toth, well—that was the only version of the story worth believing, as far as the twins were concerned.

Though, that having been said, the Undertaker was right, too. Beauty and the Beast, magic, "happily ever after"s… The Phantomhives' story might not have initially begun as a traditional fairytale, but it had certainly ended as such… So really, what more could anyone ask for?

Asmus smiled sleepily up at Ciel, thumb in her mouth as she nestled closer into his warmth. "Mama's my fav'rite Disney pwincess…"

"Mine too," Toth added with a yawn, heavy lids drooping over sleepy eyes. He was already half-gone, his sister not-far behind.

"…?" Ciel, in turn, offered both of his children bewildered glances, looking from one slumbering toddler to the next. Where had that come from…? Blushing a bit—perhaps he was letting his Disney movie obsession run a bit too rampant, as of late—, he pressed adoring kisses to their pale foreheads and deposited the pair into their cribs, off to relate to Sebastian their babies' odd remarks.

7:41 AM

"Tell! Tell! Tell! Tell!" the twins chanted, pounding exuberantly on the bathroom door behind which their godfather had been locked. As per usual. ("It will make it difficult for him to babysit from in there," Daddy had said as he and Mama had ducked out of the apartment. But Mama had just snorted, saying he knew how to pick the lock. This was just how he and Uriel showed affection for each other, nowadays.)

"I do not think you two are truly ready for such a story," the angel returned easily, the smile of a patient saint upon his handsome face. Like the admirably proper being he was, Uriel sat primly atop the toilet lid, listening in amusement as the pair slapped their open palms against the painted wood, almost using enough force to chip it. "If a predominant animation studio were to make your parents' tale into a television series, it would be rated at least 14+… Perhaps even 17+, in a later season. And you lot are not even 3+."

"But e'eryone else told-ed us!" Asmus whined, careening her body against the barrier. Thud. Thud. Thud.

"Yeah!" Toth echoed, mimicking his sister. Thud. Thud. Thud. "E'eryone else did, Uri!"

"Yes, well, if everyone else jumped off of a bridge—" …actually, that didn't work so well here, taking into consideration that the twins and practically everyone else they knew had the capacity for flight. So never mind that rebuttal. But still, no. He refused to be pressured. Understandable, really; everyone else might have spilled, but not everyone else's stories began with 'I was your mother's guardian angel, and it was my job to make sure that he very nearly got disemboweled, and his intestines wrapped around his neck like a bow before being gifted to Satan.' (Not that Satan was really into such things. He was more about Dippin' Dots and ping-pong than he was sacrificed prepubecents. "Too much mess," he'd said. "And grit." But anyway.)

"I'll tell you when you're older," Uriel promised in way of pacification, standing with a rustled hush of gold-imbued robes. "But for now, if you let me out of here, I will make you muffins and we can play Pretty Pretty Princess."

Thud. Thud. Thu—

"…Pwetty Pwetty Pwincess?"

The door flew open with a bang.

And the twins didn't ask again 'til they were 17+.