FOR THE LOVE OF PASTA, READ THE DAMN WARNING!
IT IS THERE FOR A REASON…..
Warning: Some of these stories(not all) in the coming chapters will contain Yaoi. Yaoi is boy x boy love, man meat on man meat, all wieners-no buns. If you are not into that, do not read or complain. You have been fairly warned.
If you are driving the short bus and still don't get it, Yaoi=Gay.
This story and Axis Powers Hetalia depicts people and persons as the direct personification of that nation/country, so if this concept bothers you, this might not be the right story for you, especially if you are unable to mentally grasp that these nations are centuries years old despite their outward appearance.
All people, persons, nations, and whatever represented in these stories are of legal age. No minors of any kind are depicted in these stories by the author, personal perception(s) of the reader(s) aside. Keep walking pedobears, nothing for you here.
It boils down to this-
IF YOU DON'T LIKE, DON'T READ. IT'S THAT FREAKING SIMPLE!
"FACEPALM"…FOR THE LOVE OF DOITSU AND BEER…..
I have nothing against any characters/states/nations of Hetalia. I understand that everyone has their favorite characters/pairing. I know I do. If you don't like how a character(s) is portrayed, please don't be a hater about it. If you think the writing is shit(I don't know what you expect-it already states I'm a hack on my profile), then write your own damn story about the nations. It is a lot easier to critic that create. Please keep that in mind. And once again-
IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, DON'T READ! NOT A HARD CONCEPT!
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APH PruCan Dark Intervention 1
He never found out where they came from, the murderers and the thieves who stole in on the evening tide.
He didn't know why they attacked his peaceful village out of the blue and so violently.
He didn't even know who they were beyond being just some faceless killers in the night.
All Matthew knew was that they brought fire, steel, and blood with them under the cover of night and where they went, death followed in their quake collecting what was due to him with greedy bone fingers.
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Gilbert and Ludwig walked through the remains of what had once been a peaceful fishing village, the demons drawn to this wayward place by the smell of pain and suffering brought to them upon the wind. Senseless death held the most delicious of scents laced with desperation and despair to demons.
Taking their time, Ludwig strolled down ruined streets to gaze at decimated husks of buildings that still smoldered with char and glowing ember. His older brother, Gilbert, amused himself by dancing in between the dying flames and kicking still wet bones and skulls free from the hot ash. The large leather wings, folded against their backs, creaked as they moved, like hide oiled with gun grease and disgrace. Other than the pair of long bone horns they sported on their fair heads and the tapered tails on their backsides, the demons looked relatively normal, one more so than the other. Both wore outfits of shiny black leather and sharp steel with heavy boots. Ludwig was the taller and broader of the two, his eyes a shade of pale blue only seen in rare bitter poisons and his hair the white gold of a saber's hilt. Leaner and more akin to a razor than a blade, Gilbert was all made of black, white, and silver. His skin was the pallor of a bled out corpse and his hair was the silver of a graveyard's moon. His eyes and smile were the most vibrant things about him. Orbs as red as spilled blood on fresh snow glittered madly over a crooked grin full of sharp teeth. The pale demon expression was always wide and welcome whether he was greeting you into his arms or eating little pieces of your organs from your chest cavity.
Pausing to sniff at the wind, Ludwig waved his older brother to a standstill and motioned to his own horns. While angels had their halos to communicate with and evaluate their surroundings on Earth, demons had their horns. They did pretty much the same thing as the halos but in Gilbert's opinion looked a hell of a lot cooler.
"Bruder…..I sense one of our own….", Ludwig warned softly, reaching up to touch the side of his head just were his horn's ridges merged into pale flesh. Gilbert perched unnaturally upon one toe, his body arching at odd painful looking angles as he lapped a long serpentine tongue at the wind, tasting the truth from it.
"Dummkopf.", Gilbert grinned, "Hardly one of ours. One of theirs definitely though.".
"Same thing.", Ludwig arched a platinum brow at his kin.
"Kesesese. Better not let the Morningstar hear you say that, West. He'll tear your wings off from your back himself, and let maggots eat out those beautiful blue eyes from their sockets.", Gilbert snickered, spinning in place on his heel until he decided which direction to go in. It was toward the sweet scent that called out to them, one of rain, shadow, and mist, one that only an angel could carry. Demons tended to smell more like flame, clotted blood, and old death.
Ludwig scowled as Gilbert continued to laugh at him with his odd chuckle, both demons moving toward their ethereal brethren to investigate. "Holy hell, cheer the fuck up, West. We are going to go screw with an angel.", Gilbert grinned at his solemn brother. "Tell you what, I'll let you eat his heart. If that doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will.".
Finding the angel in question was an easy enough matter for the pair. The angel's heavenly aura was incredibly strong, too strong for a mere guardian or a messenger. Both demons came to a halt as they came into view of him. The angel burned with the brightness of a star, but far more pure. His short messy hair was the sparkling gold of holy vestments and his skin the alabaster of stone alters, but his eyes were as green as lust itself. As sinful in color as those eyes were, they were filled to the brim with tears, diamonds made into liquid form as they clung to flawless cheeks like starlight dew and fell like meteors showers from a sculpted chin. Substantial white wings spread out wide, the angel kneeling beside a body or more accurately a pile of rubble that covered a body. The only signs of life from the rock was the red life bleeding out from under it. It pooled dark, sticky wet into the thirsty dirt.
Not a body, Gilbert realized, the demon catching the sweet scent of a soul still clinging to its foundations of flesh by the skin of its spiritual fingertips. Gilbert would have investigated this clinging wisp of life further but he found himself unable to move. A quick glance over to Ludwig told the pale demon that his brother was experiencing the same problem. It only took Gilbert less than a second to realize that the angel was the one glaring them into a dead standstill.
"Come no further, foul fiends.", the celestial being snapped. Gilbert had to admit that the glare was impressive especially when backed by a pair of the largest eyebrows Gilbert had ever seen this side of heaven or hell. Attacking the angel was out of the question now even though Gilbert toyed with the idea for shits and giggles, and they technically outnumbered the angel two to one. The brothers had unwittingly stumbled upon not just any angel but a Power. In the hierarchy of angels, the Powers were an elite warrior class of angel whose were responsible for being the keepers of history. Though it was rare to see an angel of their caliber here on the earthen plane, it was not unheard of. A Power would follow around and protect important humans when a special occasion called for it. By his eyebrows and fierce reputation alone, the demons recognized the Power as Arthur who was famous in heaven and hell for his devout care and guidance over the Celtic kings of what was now England, so much so he was given the name from one of his most famous charges.
Gilbert was always up for a challenge but the Powers didn't fuck around. Odds were if Gilbert and Ludwig attacked this Power, they would get their skulls kicked in by a short angel in a skimpy ass toga without him even breaking a sweat. Gilbert never understood why Heaven's soldiers insisted on such ridiculous apparel. Leather was clearly where it was at.
Having limited options and retreat not being one of them yet, Gilbert amused himself by smirking a the angel instead. "What are you doing? Comforting what's left of a house? Let it go. I think it's moved on to a better place.", Gilbert asked in teasing tone that would have made nuns twitch and cross their legs.
"Not that it is any bloody concern of yours but I am waiting for this one's soul to pass. Now go piss up a rope, you fucking slag.", Arthur glowered at them.
"You're awful lippy for an angel. I thought you guys frowned on cursing.", Gilbert snorted, partially in surprise but mostly in amusement.
"Daft and deaf. Oh my, you must be a joy to chat with.", Arthur snapped, "Shows how much you know, git. As long as I am not taking the Lord's name in vain, I can say whatever the hell I want. So feel free to clear off, you gobshite and leave me be before I get proper gutted with you and yours."
"Boring.", Gilbert sneezed with a following sigh..
"Then bugger off then already. His time will be soon enough. He doesn't need you to be here for it." the Power muttered, turning his attention back to the hidden human. The mortal was mostly covered up by the soot coated rubble, the blood seeping out between the gaps the only indication of his existence and even that wouldn't last much longer. Gilbert couldn't fathom the appeal.
"Why are you so upset about it? It is just a human, right?", Ludwig asked. Gilbert shot the towering blonde demon a warning look. Ludwig was becoming a little too curious for his own good. Gilbert could almost swear that he had even caught his younger brother staring at an angel earlier, a pretty auburn haired one in particular for some reason.
Little know to humans, the denizens of heaven and hell crossed paths quite frequently on the earthen plane, more often than one would presume. In fact, it was one of the reasons either side went. While the humans were the main objective, recruiting was a secondary reason for either side. Demon were after all just angels who had fallen from grace. Angels could be lured to work for hell. On the other side of it, a demon could also seek redemption and become an angel again with the power of God's forgiveness. It was a subtle war of tactics, lies, and promises that had been going on since the fall of the brightest one, Lucifer. His devils would lure a few of God's own to his side but in turn, demons would also return to the pearly gates to ask for their halos back. Any tactic could be used except for that of force or control. The angel in question, whether light or dark, had to accept his new station of existence by his own choosing and will. Angels' choice of weapon was love while the demons preferred lust.
There was a small faction though that claimed both lust and love were needed but they were generally ignored by either side. When an angel falls not too far and a demon rises but not all the way, they tended to exist in Limbo on the earthen planes. Claiming neither heaven or hell as their home but most having existed in either or both, these fugitives and freelancers were the neutral players who chose to reside on Earth in pockets of non-being, places set outside of time, space, and sometimes reality itself. For the most part, Heaven and Hell ignored their existence. The denizens of Limbo kept to themselves and tended not to interfere with either side in the war, so no time or effort was wasted upon hunting them down unless someone made themselves a nuisance.
"Why am I upset?! Are you blind?!", Arthur sputtered with rage, "Look around you! This used to be a peaceful fishing village filled with good humble people who did no harm to anyone and minded their own business. Along with every one else who lived here, this one's brother and father are now dead and now he lies dying as well. What is not tragic about that to you?!"
"I dunno. All of it.", Gilbert yawned wide, "Look at all the fuck I give."
"Bollacks. I forgot I was speaking with hellspawn who are incapable of the merest speck of compassion and thus wasting my time.", Arthur rolled his beautiful eyes.
"Rude.", Gilbert shot back, "If it bothers you so much, why don't you just help the poor little mushy human out? You're powerful enough."
"And interfere with his free will and God's plan for him?! That is not allowed! How dare you!", the Power gaped in open horror at the demon's suggestion.
"Kesesese. That is why your side will never win.", Gilbert chuckled, "Holy hell, you fuckers are so damn dumb. Free will? What free will? All the human is going to do is become a squishy corpse. Where's your precious free will in that? I bet if he was conscious, your human would chose differently." Arthur only glared green acid at the demon in silent answer so Gilbert continued, "And that is one hell of a plan by the way. God really put a lot of thought into that one. Human gets born. Human get squashed by rock. Awesome."
"Blasphemer! I will smite you in the name of our Lord!", the Power bellowed in rage, rising slowly to his feet as his wings unfolded wide with a shimmer of divine light that lit up the night all around them.
"Demon.", Gilbert reminded, keeping a calm poker face even as his insides twitched nervously. He really wanting to keep all those little inner parts of his exactly where they were. Gilbert shot a look over to Ludwig to keep the other demon from reacting. "It's kinda my job, idiot, but I guess pride is not a sin anymore cause you seem more concerned about what I am saying instead of paying attention to that kid. So much for Heaven's love."
"How dare you?! I love him…", Arthur started to shout, looking frustrated but pausing in his advance as the demon moved not an inch forward to meet him.
"Psssssh…..Spare me. If you really loved him or had any of that compassion your kind is always going on about, you or God would save that kid.", Gilbert countered evenly, making of show of being bored out of him mind and studying his clawed fingertips.
The Power sat back down in a huff, folding his wings over his shoulders like a cloak. "I see now. You have come here to tempt me, devil. It won't work so sod off. If I did not save his twin from his own painful fate, I will not save him either.", Arthur whispered sullenly, looking close to crying again with his fists clenched by his sides. The twin boys, Alfred and Matthew, had been both of his charges since their mother Jeanne had passed away. It was a good thing to in the angel's opinion because their father Francis was completely useless with their care. After his wife's death, Francis spent most of his time flirting with and bedding anything that moved, selfishly spending his days looking for comfort but never love though he often spoke of it. Francis never remarried, his heart belonging only to his lost love.
When the village was attacked, Alfred was one of the first to defend it. Though he could have run and possibly escaped, Alfred died a foolish hero, fighting the invaders with everything he had to his last dying breathe while defending his home, his friends, and his family. Francis had perished soon afterward as well, though his demise was one of a coward. By hiding in one of the houses after watching his twin be cut down, Matthew had been overlooked by the invaders but then he always had. Natural inclination toward invisibility had not saved him though when the house collapsed in a mess of burning stone and timber on top of him. Unable to interfere, all Arthur could do was watch on in captive horror and aching sadness, his kind bound by rules that were set in a harder substance than stone.
"You're an idiot.", Gilbert sighed, moving toward the human. A flash a movement that could not been seen by any human eye brought a star tipped wand blocking the demon's way. Gilbert looked down at the implement with contempt even as it hummed with enough power to break stars.
Heaven could be so droll to the demon. "You have got to be kidding me.", Gilbert arched a silver brow at the angel and his wand.
"You will be done and dusted before you or your kin take another step, I promise you that.", Arthur said in the solemn tones of mausoleums and unheard promises to it occupants.
"For the love of fuck and all that is unholy, I was going to help out your pet human since you won't.", Gilbert growled with an expansive roll of his crimson eyes. He ignored the look of surprise he could feel on his back coming from Ludwig because Gilbert didn't need to see it. It was being mirrored on the angel's face.
"Why?! Why would you do that? Why would you want to do that?", Arthur asked, the devil's unusual announcement making him even pause.
"Why else? To make you fell like Scheiße of course. Kesesese.", Gilbert laughed, the noise of it grating on the angel's nerves who never thought he could be able to hate the sound of laughter. "And if I kill him, he just suffers less so it's really win-win for you.".
"Touch him and cease to exist.", the Power vowed, lifting his chin and wand in challenge. The sound of music, the kind of which that was never heard on Earth except by the genius and the mad, interrupted the standoff between the trio. It announced the arrival of a Heaven sent angel, a Virtue to be exact and he was not alone, a swaddled bundle carried in his arms.
"What are you doing here, Feliciano?! It is not safe!", Arthur snapped at his brethren who flinched and trembled at the angel's terse tone. Despite being what he was, the Power did have a temper and very little patience. Feliciano tended, more often than naught, to test both though he meant well. He just wasn't the brightest halo in God's heaven.
Risking to take his attention off of the enraged Power to steal a glance, Gilbert slyly looked over at his brother who was staring openly at the familiar looking Virtue, though Gilbert had to admit he really couldn't blame Ludwig. This Feliciano was brilliant in every sense of the word. Dressed similarly to the Power, the angel wore a short toga of impossible white that floated about his lithe form like a second pair of wings. The angel's auburn hair was molten copper and his eyes were two gold suns that sparkled with love and good humor. His smile was sweet and the gentlest Gilbert had ever seen. He wanted to rip the angel's lips off his tanned face.
Adjusting his grip nervously, Feliciano held the tiny bundle in his arms closer to him as he looked over at the demons, noticing them for the first time it seemed as he blinked his bedroom eyes in surprise at them. "Ve~", the Virtue sighed as he landed next to Arthur, "Then it is a good thing that you are here to protect me and him.".
"Him? Him who? What are you blathering on about?", Arthur growled. Even though Feliciano was part of a higher ranking of angels, the Power could not bring himself to respect them as he could other warriors. The Virtues were the choir of God, basically the artists and music makers. They tended to deal with more esoterically concepts instead of the dirt tasks and bloody working other angels were assigned to do. While their job of keeping the cosmos in balance and the inner working of it running smoothly was important, it was hard for Arthur to respect another who had never got their hands dirty.
"This him. You have a new task, Arthur.", Feliciano said in a trembling tone, nodding down to the little one in his arms. It was a cherub, dressed in a white gown tied at the neck with a red ribbon. His back was to Arthur so all that the Power could really see of him was a pair of fluffy wings protruding from a tiny back.
"I am not done here. Not just yet.", Arthur spat out bitterly, gesturing to the growing pool of scarlet at their feet.
"V-ve~ b-but this comes from the top. Y-you have a new charge.", Feliciano stammered, presenting the sleepy cherub to the Power with a little wave. He felt bad using the little one as a white flag but Arthur had always scared him. Feliciano wished Heaven had sent his twin Romano instead for this task. Admittedly, Romano was scared of Arthur too, but he was less likely to show it.
Seething, Arthur accepted the cherub who was starting to wake up more fully now. The little angel had golden hair the glossy shade of sun ripened wheat with a stubborn cowlick in the front of his part. He blinked sky blue eyes of waking up at Arthur whose jaw went slack with shock. The Power would know those eyes anywhere.
"Alfred?", Arthur gasped, holding the cherub close so that he could stroke a baby soft cheek with trembling fingers. "Oh Alfred, Alfred, my sweet love."
"You know my name.", the cherub smiled in delighted surprise.
"Always and forever, poppet.", Arthur cooed. The Power was floating up and away, lost in his own little world as Alfred reached up tiny hands to cup the sides of Arthur's face. Arthur leaned into the touch, resting their foreheads together. "I'll keep you safe and we will always be together, you and I, from now on until the end of all things. I promise. I have missed you ever so much, my sweet, my little love.", he whispered.
"But I was never gone, silly.", was the last thing the rest heard Alfred laugh as the pair disappeared from the earthly plain, leaving the Virtue and still dying human with the two demons. "Arthur, you were supposed to wait for me.", Feliciano wailed shrilly from a suddenly dry throat as he smiled a frail expression at Ludwig and Gilbert. He swallowed hard as Gilbert's face split into a nasty leer full of teeth, his long tongue running wetly over his thin lips.
"What do you think, West? Still hungry?", Gilbert grinned a crooked sharp smile at the angel whose immediate response was to start waving a white flag as he dropped to the ground.
"Please don't eat me! I'm a virgin!", Feliciano begged, pulling his wings over his head.
"You shouldn't have told us that, dumb ass. Virgins are the tastiest. Kesesesese.", Gilbert laughed, prodding Feliciano with the toe of his foot to make the angel squeak in fear. His fun was interrupted though by a firm hand on his shoulder. Gilbert look over at his brother and was met with cold ice blue eyes, the chill of them making the pale demon raise his hands up in mock surrender. He watched with curious interest as he stepped away from the angel, Ludwig taking his place soon enough.
"We are not going to eat you. Please get up. Dropping to the ground is not a good way of defending yourself. Whoever trained you did a terrible job.", Ludwig told the trembling Virtue. Tear soaked suns looked up in surprise at the demon.
"You're not? Promise?", Feliciano whispered, looking far too hopeful for his own good. Gilbert was torn between the urge to smack the look off of his face or taunt him with the truth that demons lied.
"Nein. Go home before you get yourself into trouble.", Ludwig sighed with a nod to the angel's question, kneeling down to help Feliciano up. This close to the Virtue, he noticed that Feliciano smelled like summer days and tomato plants in full bloom, all light and fragrant. The hand and skin that the demon gripped in his callused touch was soft and glittered with inborn golden tones. Ludwig found himself admiring it even as it made the demon feel tainted…..well, more so than usual.
Both Ludwig and Gilbert were surprised when the Virtue jumped up to throw his arms around Ludwig's neck. It took a moment for both to realize that Feliciano was hugging the blonde demon and not attacking him. "Grazie! Grazie! Grazie! I thought you would be all horrible, like horrible and scary like my brother Romano is always telling me and you are scary looking but not so much because you have very pretty eyes! I didn't think demon could have pretty eyes but you do and they are really wonderful although your wings are kind of ugly being all black and creaky. You should get feathered wings like me! They are great to take naps on, so soft and warm! Let's be friends!", Feliciano happily babbled at the demons throwing the pair for a loop by the nonsensical length of it.
"F-friends?", Ludwig looked helplessly around for any sort of guidance. Gilbert was too busy trying to laugh his horns off though to be of any real use in the matter.
"Si! We shall become great friends and sing songs about it and dance and eat pasta together. It will be wonderful!", Feliciano smiled, catching Ludwig's hands in his own to pull the demon into an impromptu dance of grace and awkwardness.
"I don't sing and I certainly do not dance.", Ludwig grumped, trying to free himself from the angel who was surprising tenacious. Though not strong, his lithe hands somehow always managed to find Ludwig's own again to grip them tightly.
"But do you eat pasta?", Feliciano paused in their strange waltz to look up at the demon with quizzing eyes the color of warm honey.
"I don't know. I've never had it before.", Ludwig admitted, wondering how the hell he had gotten himself in this situation. Events were beginning to spiral out of his control but strangely enough, Ludwig found he didn't really mind when it involved the Virtue.
"Ve!~ You have never had pasta! Dio in cielo, perdona lui. We must fix this travesty immediately!", Feliciano cried out as he crossed himself, Ludwig flinching from it. The demon was not given time to react further, the Virtue grabbing his arm to pull the demon after him with surprising resolve and strength. The pair disappeared in a flash of light and a melody of sound that made the flowers bloom with the pair's exit.
Shaking his horned head, Gilbert let his brother go for now. Ludwig had always made a wonderful soldier, following rules and orders to their letter but he did not belong in hell. Gilbert could already tell it was only a matter of time before Ludwig tore off his own horns for a halo. Though he would be missed, Gilbert couldn't wait to make fun of him for the too short toga and feathers he would have to wear. If God was good as they claimed and he was really lucky, Heaven might even make Ludwig carry around a harp.
The smell of blood soaking the air with its iron laced perfume signaled to the lone demon that the human was about to breathe the last breathe of his faded out life. "What a bunch of fucking useless losers. You were just surrounded by angels and demons, and they all forgot about you, didn't they?", Gilbert snorted at the soon to be deceased. "How shitty is your luck?".
The demon received no response, of course, much to his ire. He hated to be ignored even if it was by the mostly dead. Sighing, Gilbert cleared the rubble off of the human, or more accurately what was left of him, to find a pile of a slightly burned, mangled meat bag filled with cracked bones that jutted out at all angles through torn clothing.
"Damn, you're a mess. How are you even still alive?", Gilbert grinned, dipping his claws into the cooling flesh. He hummed in appreciation at the blood he licked off from them, the sticky life fluid oddly sweet.
"I wonder what you look like when you are not imitating road kill.", Gilbert licked his lips as he passed his hands over the broken form, letting his dark power wash over it. Torn muscles smoothed out while cracked skin rippled itself smooth and soft again. Blood was stolen back from the mouths of hungry earth, the crimson tide flowing up and returning to parched veins as a restored heart began to beat again within a restored chest. Organs refilled themselves with fluid as they settled back into place just in time for the seam of the body's skin to reseal itself without a blemish.
Unimpressed, Gilbert stared down at a tall blonde with a thin body wrapped in pale skin. "Yup. It's a human. That was so worth my time and awesome attention.", Gilbert growled out, annoyed with himself for even bothering, "I don't get it.". The demon shook his head, making his wings clink from the force of it. "Waste of my fucking time.". Gilbert turned away in disgust to go find his brother before a pretty angelic face turned him.
Two words whispered, barely breathed out to be heard made the demon turn back around in surprise. The human was awake though he still laid scrawled out upon his bed of jagged stone. His eyes were open now though and they met blood red orbs with a calm that was a force unto itself. While most souls were weak and burned like the flicker of a candle, this human's soul blazed with all the intensity of a falling star. Gilbert found himself unable to look away, the demon coming closer to the human like a moth drawn to flame.
Gilbert understood now in those two spoken words and one look into twilight shaded eyes why a Power had been guarding this human. Every once in a great while, a human would be born with a soul of immense strength and will. It was the type of soul that could change the world with a word, a song, a picture, a poem that could mark the beginning of a new Renaissance or another world war. The powers of creation and destruction where like that of love and hate. The thin line that lay between the two forces was razor thin and only mortals were foolish enough to dance along its edge so precariously.
As a soldier for hell, Gilbert should have claimed that soul for the dark forces, receive his accolades and promotions, and call it a day. As a demon though, Gilbert wanted, he wanted ever so much. He wanted this human for his own with a need that ate at him from within, making the demon feeling suddenly hollow with the thought of existing without this mortal, this Matthew. This human was his and his alone to defile, to want, to need, to save, to protect, to fuck whether Matthew knew it or not yet.
"You shouldn't thank me.", Gilbert murmured, walking back toward the man with purpose, his heavy steps slow, measured, and damning. "You are not well…..at least not yet. Sleep for me.", Gilbert commanded as he passed his hand across Matthew's face, the human instantly falling into a deep sleep. Matthew was gathered up from his bed of debris and burned ruin into the demon's arms, dark wings circling around his bare form to protect it further.
"Mine.", the devil whispered to the remaining night, his only witness.
And so, a demon stole a rare treasure from the world and hid it from both heaven and hell all for himself.