Halfway Between Heaven and Hell
Fang gazed down at the parched, barren rock beneath her. This world was dead, laid waste during one of the bloodiest battles of the Great War. Long ago, hundreds of gods and demons had fallen to try and take it, but now it was silent, empty. Whatever tactical significance it had once held was long gone. There were no souls left to convert here, no portals to try and hold. There was only rock and dust, and the lingering scent of blood.
Her lips curled. This place was about as far from romantic as it was possible to be, but neither she nor her partner could afford to be too picky. After all, beggars couldn't be choosers, and in this affair, both of them were beggars, never mind the positions of authority they held. She chuckled, and shifted to let her wings catch the wind a little better. If she wanted, she could fly without them, but they were a part of her, and despite their delicate appearance, they could be very useful in battle. Not that she expected a battle, at least, not of that kind.
She extended her senses one last time to ensure that she was alone before she folded her wings and dropped, the wind rushing through pitch-black feathers. Mere moments later, she felt it, the tingle in her veins that signalled the use of high-level magic. She had just reached the ground, when the sky tore open. The space above her rippled and then split. A single winged figure slipped through the portal before it closed, and the sky returned to normal.
Fang grinned. She was here.
With a speed unmatched in either Heaven or Hell, the figure raced through the sky and then dove to land not fifteen feet away from Fang.
"You're late," Fang murmured. Her emerald eyes gleamed. It wouldn't do to let the other go without a bit of teasing.
"Am I?" It was a woman's voice, all velvet and steel.
Fang nodded sagely. "And of course you came overdressed, as well."
And the other was quite overdressed, at least for what Fang had in mind. Whereas Fang was content to wear little more than a blue sari over her underwear, the other had come in full armour. Glittering crystal covered the other's entire body from head to toe, and Fang found herself itching to just tear it off. It wouldn't be hard. She already knew exactly how to take it all off. She also knew just how beautiful the goddess beneath all of that armour was. And it wasn't just any goddess. It was her goddess. Hers.
"I had matters to attend to." Fang could practically picture the scowl on the other's face. "And appearances to keep."
Fang laughed lightly and stepped forward. "And here I thought it was the demon half of you making an appearance. After all, us demons aren't exactly known for our punctuality." Although she had arrived quite early for this meeting, not that she would ever tell the goddess in front of her that.
The other stiffened, her wings stirring the air behind her. Fang had two wings, both of them black. The other had two wings, as well. One was a pure white, as though made of sunlight itself. The other was as black as the night.
"Relax, Lightning," Fang said. "I was joking." She sighed melodramatically. "By this point, I think everyone knows that you consider yourself a goddess. What rank are you now? Goddess 2nd Class, Restricted Licence?"
Lightning growled and Fang shivered. What a delightfully sinful sound, even more so considering the fact that it came from the lips of a goddess. Still, there were other sounds that Lightning could make, better ones. Later, Fang would make her scream. "I have been a Goddess 1st Class with an Unrestricted Licence for quite some time, Fang. You know that." Despite the harshness of the words, Fang could hear a smile in them too. It was just a pity that Lightning's helmet stopped her from seeing it. "Still, I shouldn't be surprised to hear lies coming from the mouth of a Demon 1st Class, Unrestricted Licence."
"Indeed." Fang had reached Lightning, and with no small amount of glee, she began to tug off the goddess's armour. She started with the parts that covered the goddess's arms and legs, careful to ensure that every single touch was as sinfully sensual as she could make it. From there, she quickly divested Lightning of the armour that covered her body and then her helmet. Beneath the armour, Lightning wore a simple white tunic. Fang paused and gave Lightning a wry look. "Has it ever occurred to you wear something a little more alluring to these trysts of ours?"
Lightning reached up to brush back a lock of her pink hair. Eyes the colour of the summer sun narrowed. "Fang, I am the leader of the valkyries. I have a feeling that my acquiring large quantities of elaborate lingerie might raise questions." A hint of a flush crossed her cheeks. "And it's not like it matters, you'll be ripping all of this off me anyway."
Fang smiled, revealing elongated canines. "Well, I suppose you're right." Her emerald eyes flashed. "I think we've spent too much time standing around out here." She pointed to the door of the house, which was slightly wider than the usual to account for their wings. "Let's not waste any more time." She scooped Lightning up into her arms and bounded up the steps. "I have a goddess to corrupt."
X X X
Later, much later, Lightning was draped across Fang. Her wings were spread to provide a makeshift blanket, though neither of them was cold. There were after all, certain benefits to being a great deal more than human. Resistance to heat and cold were two such benefits. Increased stamina was another.
"Do you know what this place is?" Lightning murmured, one hand idly tracing circles on Fang's toned stomach.
Fang fought back a shiver and looked down at the goddess. Lightning had a tendency to think a great deal after making love. While others might have found that a little annoying, Fang thought it was quite endearing. Of course, she had set herself a personal goal of one day ravishing the goddess so thoroughly that she would be incapable of thought, but she had yet to succeed. Oh well, she would certainly enjoy trying again later. Besides, she happened to enjoy these little talks. The goddess's mind was every bit as quick as her sword, and it was nice to converse with someone who she considered her equal in every way.
"Yes," Fang replied. "I know what happened here."
"I wonder what they would think if they saw us." Lightning's legs were tangled with Fang's, and although she usually disdained close physical contact, the demon had long since worked her way into her heart – and her bed. "What do you think would happen if we were discovered?"
Fang gave a short, sharp bark of laughter. "I know exactly what your people would do." Her eyes hardened. "They'd probably kill you. As for mine, well, a certain level of strangeness is expected of most high-level demons. Heck, they might even throw me a party for corrupting one of Heaven's finest." Her voice darkened. "You know, Lightning, if we ever are discovered, there are going to be repercussions. If things get bad, really bad, you have to remember that there is always a place in Hell for you. The High Mother would be more than happy to have you back."
Lightning sighed. This was a matter they had spoken of before, and as before, her answer was the same. "I am a goddess, a daughter of the High Father. My place is in Heaven."
"You are the High Mother's daughter as much as you are the High Father's." Fang ran one hand gently along the leading edge of Lightning's black wing. It felt smooth, almost delicate, but with just a slight application of power, the goddess could turn the wing into one enormous blade. "Your wings are proof of that."
"Perhaps they are." Lightning pressed a kiss to Fang's collarbone. "But they've given me no end of trouble, as well. In Hell, so many mocked me for being a goddess. In Heaven, there are just as many who mock me for being a demon." She laughed softly. "Still, it has been some time since anyone has said anything to my face."
"Ah, so you pummelled them." Fang grinned. "There's that demonic heritage I was talking about." She pulled Lightning closer. Demonic endurance or not, she should be exhausted, but Lightning had a way of inspiring her. Besides, their time apart had given her plenty of time to think, and she had a few things she wanted to try. Wicked things. "How much longer can you stay?"
Lightning saw the gleam in Fang's eyes, and knew that it was mirrored in her own. "A while longer, perhaps until tomorrow morning. I finished my mission early." The regret was obvious in her voice.
"Your mission?" Fang was not particularly close to many other demons, but they were still her comrades, and most of Lightning's missions were combat related. "Anyone I know?"
Lightning shook her head. "No. One of your comrades decided to leave behind an infestation of Hell hounds on an occupied world. The gods there were not equipped to deal with it, so I was sent to clean it up."
"I see." Fang gave Lightning a grave look. "Hell hounds are indeed ferocious. As a loyal servant of the High Mother – who is your mother – I feel that it is my duty to examine you in case of injury." She flipped them over so that she was staring down into Lightning's eyes. She grinned. "And of course, I should probably also avenge my fallen comrades." She pressed a kiss to Lightning's throat and then ventured lower. "For the glory of the High Mother, Ruler of Hell, I will have you surrender, goddess!"
Lightning rolled her eyes. "Fang, I would appreciate it if you didn't say things about my mother when we are in bed." But then Fang's lips found what they sought, and whatever else Lightning wanted to say was lost in a haze of heat and pleasure.
X X X
Morning came much more quickly than either goddess or demon would have liked. They bathed, and during their bathing, they made love with a desperation that neither wished to put into words. Months had passed since their last meeting, how much longer would it be before the next?
"I have to go," Lightning whispered as she began to dress. "They will expect me soon."
Fang leaned in and helped Lightning fasten her armour back on. "A pity you have to bathe. I miss having my scent on you."
The goddess's cheeks flushed. How long had they known each other? Centuries, and still Fang could make her blush. "Are you trying to get us caught?"
"Maybe." Fang was a demon, and like most demons, she could be very possessive about what she saw as hers. And Lightning was definitely hers. But there was probably a whole bevy of gods and goddesses just waiting for Lightning in Heaven, any one of them eager to share her bed. Her jaw tightened. The favoured daughter of the High Father could easily have her pick of suitors.
"Fang." Lightning stopped what she was doing and turned to wrap her arms around the demon. "There is no one else."
"Mind reader," Fang grumbled. If she saw someone else touching her Lightning, she would get violent, never mind the ceasefire in the Great War.
Lightning shrugged. "I know how you think." She looked around at the house. "By the way, where did you get this? You're not exactly known for building things." If anything, Fang was known for the exact opposite.
"Oh, this?" Fang tapped a nearby wall. "I used one of Vanille's inventions to put it together."
Lightning twitched – there was no other way to describe it. "As in your sister, Vanille, the same demon who is still a Demon 2nd Class, Restricted Licence because she has a tendency to blow things up, a tendency that even other demons find disturbing."
Fang winced. This was not how she wanted them to part. "Look." She lifted one hand and concentrated. A moment later, a small black cube appeared over her palm. "See this? It's what I used to make the house. It's actually pretty good. You imagine what you want, and then feed power into the cube, which builds it for you."
Lightning stared at the cube. "That… could change the course of the war."
Fang waved one hand and the cube vanished. "Not really." She chuckled. "The fact is, if you try and build anything too big or too complicated, it has a tendency to explode. I actually had to pry Vanille out of a wall once when she tried to make some kind of energy weapon with it." She shrugged. "So, don't worry, the Balance isn't going anywhere just yet." The Balance was the name given to the tentative ceasefire that existed between Heaven and Hell. Had the Great War gone any longer, creation itself might have been destroyed.
Lightning nodded slowly. She would trust Fang's word on this. "Still, that cube is impressive. Not only did it make the house, it put together working plumbing too." By which she meant the shower, which she and Fang had certainly put to good use. Swallowing thickly, she donned the last of her armour, and the two of them went outside. The sun was rising.
"Tell me, Fang, do you think we are sinners?" Lightning's gaze wandered to the sun. It was a deep red on this world.
"Sinners?" Fang knew Lightning well enough to tell that this was not some casual question, that the goddess had not left it to the very end without good reason. Lightning wasn't sure if she wanted to know the answer. "What do you mean?"
"The Laws of Heaven are clear. No child of Heaven may lie with a child of Hell. At the very least, those who break that law are to be stripped of their powers and banished. For others, the punishment has been death." Lightning's gaze was turbulent, her helmet held tightly in one hand.
"There are stories," Fang said softly, "That the Great War was not caused by a dispute as to who should rule creation. Instead, it was caused by love." Fang held Lightning's gaze. "Those stories say that High Mother and High Father once loved very deeply, but somehow that love turned to hate, and the pair came to blows. Their children chose sides. Those who followed the High Mother became demons, and those who followed the High Father became gods." She smiled wistfully. "There is no hate so great as the hate born of love."
"And you think that is why relationships like ours are forbidden?" Lightning asked.
Fang shrugged. "Well, there is also the small matter of us being on opposite sides of the greatest war that creation has ever known." Fang's smile was brittle. "But it would explain a few things – like you, for instance. The High Mother would hardly have permitted someone she did not care for to touch her, let alone have a child with them. And let's not forget what happened the last time you visited Hell."
Lightning shuddered. The Great War had been going through another one of its lulls, and she had visited Hell as part of a delegation from Heaven. The High Mother had taken one look at her, and then promptly dragged her off, leaving the two delegations largely to their own devices. Needless to say, the reception that Lightning received from the heavenly delegation upon her return was far from pleasant. Nor had she enjoyed the thinly veiled insults toward the High Father that the High Mother had thrown about during the meetings between the two delegations. Had it been anyone else, her fellow gods and goddesses would have rushed to arms, but the High Mother was powerful beyond measure. Only the High Father could match her, and thus far the two had avoided facing one another, if only to spare the rest of creation from devastation.
"Still," Fang said. "I haven't answered your question. If I had to say, then I would say that we are not sinners." She put on a look of scholarly concentration. "After all, is not written in the Laws of Heavens that the greatest of the High Father's gifts is love? I love you, and you love me, so how can we be sinners?"
"It is never that simple," Lightning said softly.
Fang grinned. "Maybe it should be."
Lightning's lips curled into a smile, and she lifted one hand to the sky. Once more the sky tore, a portal forming immediately. "I have to go now."
Fang stepped forward to steal one final kiss, and then helped Lightning put her helmet back on – crooked, of course, since Fang was a demon. "Be safe."
Lightning adjusted her helmet – Fang always put it on crooked – and replied as she always did. "You too, and may we never meet in battle."
Fang watched the goddess go and then went to sit on the front porch of the house. She felt hollow. Perhaps when she got back to Hell, she would go blow something up. Silently, she thought back to the parting words that she and Lightning always exchanged. They weren't joking. Lightning was head of the valkyries, a group of gods and goddesses who existed solely to deal with demonic threats. Fang was leader of a similar group, one that specialised in hunting down and killing gods. It was of some small comfort that Lightning was the High Mother's daughter, for the High Mother would never issue an order to eliminate her. Yet Fang feared the day when the High Father ordered Lightning to go after her. She scowled. The High Father would have no qualms at all about that.
With a sigh, she stepped away from the house. There was a part of her that wanted to leave it as it was. She and Lightning had shared themselves with each other here, and that was something worth preserving. But she could not. There could be no evidence of their tryst, not if she wanted to keep the goddess safe. Fire leapt from her fingertips, and she watched until the house was nothing more than ash on the wind. Only then did she open her own portal.
X X X
As always, I neither own Final Fantasy, nor am I making any money off of this.
So, this is something that occurred to me while I was tossing around ideas for some of my other stuff. It's based around some of the mythology of Oh My Goddess, which is another one of my favourite anime (I would probably put it in the top ten). At this stage, I don't know if I'll continue with it, but the thought of Lightning and Fang as a goddess and a demon on opposite sides of the Great War was something that I couldn't pass up. I also have a number of stories that I really should finish (Wasteland comes to mind, along with Whispers of the Gods), but we'll see.
For those who are curious, Lightning's history is based on elements of Urd's history, while Vanille is clearly a Skuld in the making. As for whether we'll see correlates of Belldandy and Keichi… well, that's a story for another time, although you can probably guess who will be who. After all, Belldandy is Urd's sister… and Lightning sort of has a sister of her own too.
One thing that I noticed while writing this is that while I've written quite a few scenes that could easily lead to/involve explicit material, I've never actually gotten around to writing a lemon. In fact, a few people have even suggested that I write a lemon instead of segueing away every time things get steamy. Now, I have nothing against lemons (how weird does that sound, seriously couldn't we have found a better euphemism for sexually explicit stories, perhaps one that didn't involve a common fruit?), but this site has restrictions, and I do like to keep my stories mostly accessible. That said, who knows. I have been considering mirroring my current work and putting some other things at Archive of Our Own, but I am a fair way down on the waiting list. I also find the matter of proofreading lemons to be somewhat awkward (strange, yes, since I seem to have no problem proofreading stories with zombies and guns, but hey, that's just me…). Oh well, that's just another genre to explore later (along with stuff like pirates, space operas and what have you…).
As always, I appreciate your feedback. Reviews and comments are welcome.