Title: Past Tense

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Characters except for the unknown ones.

Warning: This story has gender bender and is AU. Set as a prequel to Heat, Undertaker is called Uriah in this fic since it takes place before that time frame and he had not changed his name yet.

Pairing: Undertaker/Lucifer (omc)

Chapter 1.

Dawn had but barely risen, the unusually colored sun not exactly up to the highest peak in the sky just yet, though it continue its slow ascent as the morning went on. It was yet another hot day in the Demon World, though few were bothered by it. Why would they be, for they were Demons and while having preference for the night, the sun did little but irritate them occasionally. Only the frailest of Demons were weakened and even then, this sun was mild compared to the sun that rose each day in the Human World. But this was the Demons' home, not the Humans, and so they were quite satisfied with it.

After all, as immortal beings, Demons did not have to worry about trivial things such as too much heat killing them. They were not the frail beings with short lives that could be ended so easily- far too easily. Even a simple thing like a jump from too high a distance could be fatal for them. In comparison to the Demons that lived in this land, the lifespan of the average human was but a blink of an eye.

In this world, the different territories were governed over by various Demon Lords, though the most powerful Demon of all was Demon Lord Alaric, the unofficial King of the Demons. His power far exceeded any of the other Demons in their world and the punishment for crossing him was dire indeed. His skill at wielding a blade was legendary, though his temper was even moreso. For those who survived any encounter with him after angering him, death would have been far kinder; hence why he left them alive. If one could survive the physical disfigurement for the rest of their immortal lives, the humiliation was even worse. The whispers would follow that unfortunate soul wherever they went, particularly amongst the cruelest Demons in the lowest class. Since Alaric had come into power, each new generation of Demons were more and more violent.

That was inevitable, of course. Their current 'King' did not particularly care about anything that they did in any of the three worlds- the Demon World, the Human World, and the Shinigami World- so long as they didn't reveal their existence to the humans. The Grim Reapers knew about the Demons, though they tended to be ignored unless they directly interfered. Even they were wary of what Demon Lord Alaric might do if he was provoked. Presently, there was somewhat of an uneasy truce between the two races, though no one could be entirely certain of how long it would last.

With the mutual agreement to leave each other alone, the Reapers did use one of the few benefits to their advantage. Demon Lord Alaric had agreed to allow the Grim Reapers to use one of his unused territories to train the newest Shinigami, though it was understood that young Demons might attempt to have sport with them. Such actions could not be life-threatening or leave any permanent damage, but it was good practice for the young Reapers to get used to what Demons could do. At best, Demons were seen as unpredictable; at worse, they were deadly advesaries.

Demon Lord Alaric did not care if the young Demons who played tricks on the young Reapers actually killed them, but he would be damned before he'd allow a Reaper to hurt a Demon, no matter the justification. Demons and Shinigami aged differently; a teenaged Reaper would look their true age, while a Demon of comparable age was typically smaller, looking far younger than they should. It would stay that way until a young Demon entered their first mating cycle. Then, and only then, would they begin to age and catch up to where the Shinigami were comparably. At their peak of their power, both races would cease physically aging, though they could still be killed, just not by easy means.

This particular day, a group of young Demons were running amok, gleeful at their most succesful prank yet. They'd actually managed to steal a scythe and glasses from an older Grim Reaper who really should have been paying closer attention. Each of the four were heavily involved with a discussion of just what they should do with their prizes. Giving them back was not an option since they'd taken them fair and square, though Demons really didn't have much use for a Death Scythe or Shinigami glasses. They preferred fighting with more elegant weapons or even with their hands, and at least they didn't have to worry about their sight.

Giggling madly as she remembered how that Grim Reaper had stumbled about blindly before tripping and falling into a mud puddle, Emerald was about to suggest giving the prizes to their Lord and her father when she stopped suddenly. Counting heads again, she again came up with just four, rather than the five that they'd left with at dawn from home. A fuschia color bled into her eyes when she realized just who was missing- again.

Looking over, she saw her older half brother grinning ferally at the others. "Um... Shale?" she interrupted, a rather vexed expression on her face as she waited for him to acknowledge her. Had it not been for the savage look within her eyes that proved her Demon heritage, not to mention the look she now held, she would have been considered rather pretty. As it was, she looked wild and free, a true daughter of Demon Lord Alaric.

"What?" Shale snapped, glaring at her instantly. She really needed to learn her place; he was older and his mother was a much higher consort to their father than Emerald's mother; their father hadn't even bothered to make the woman his first. Currently, none of their mothers held that title but it couldn't be helped.

Scowling back in response to the glare, Emerald jutted her chin up defiantly. He might be older but neither of them held a rank higher than the pureblood children that their father had. Including the one that was currently missing. "Where's the brat?" she questioned sweetly, gesturing around them in emphasis. When she saw the flash of realization on his face, she smirked triumphantly at him. "You're going to be in trouble, Shale; Father told you to watch him today since Jadrik is still gone. Clearly the brat isn't anywhere in sight, "dear" brother. I suggest you go find him before Father finds out he's missing..."

Looking around, Shale gritted his teeth when he realized that she was right. He really would get in trouble for losing Lucifer if he didn't get found rather quickly and the dark-haired Demon narrowed his blue eyes. Regardless of how worthless and helpless he really was, their little half brother always had to be with someone capable of protecting him until he finally reached his first mating cycle.

His jaw unclenching slowly, Shale pricked his lower lip with his own fangs. He was more than a little put out over this. The last thing he needed or wanted was to be looking for someone who couldn't even keep up with them. It was infuriating enough that they, the not pureblood children, were forced to share any souls that they got with Lucifer, but playing bodyguard to a worthless brat was not his idea of fun. Truthfully, there were times that Shale wished that the young Demon had never been born, half brother or not. But regardless of that, he knew he had to find him. Otherwise, his father would be angry and since it was Lucifer, he'd probably cast him out of the Demon court. Not that their father really liked Lucifer, either, but the child had been promised to a contract with an older Demon as soon as he went into Heat.

"Everyone, spread out and try to find him," he ordered, his dark eyes flashing the same fuschia color as his sister's. "We'll all be in trouble if we don't and we need to find him before the Shinigami do..." Shale knew that several of the nearby Reapers were riled up because of their theft; if they found Lucifer, they might take it out on him.

The Demon, not quite a teenager just yet, was as frail as he looked. His skin was paler than most Demons, his build thin and quite lacking in muscles. Ebony hair reached just below his shoulders, though Lucifer's eyes were a unique color of purple. No one was entirely sure of where that particular color had come from, but it stood out amongst the rest of the Demons. If Lucifer were to be harmed and not just lost, the punishment would that much more severe. It was imperative that he be found before it was too late...

Unaware of what was going on with the Demons who had been tormenting them since they'd gotten here, the Grim Reapers were busy with their own problems. The theft of the Scythe was one thing, but the glasses were an entirely different matter. It would take a great deal of time to get those glasses replaced since the older Reapers had their glasses custom-made. The lenses were the real issue, though nothing could be helped for it. They had nothing to barter with to get them back from the thieves.

The Shinigami in question had been scolded for letting his guard down for even a minute. Demons were sneaky and clever, a dangerous combination. Even now, the new Grim Reapers were being instructed on how to prevent such a thing from happening to them when they were actually working. Most of them were nodding, though there was one notable exception.

One young Reaper, who'd defiantly dressed himself entirely in black as opposed to the lighter shades that the others wore, was not even pretending that he was listening to their instructor. Personally, Uriah thought it served the older male right. If he was going to be lax and not pay proper attention, then he deserved whatever happened. Constant vigilance had been emphasized so many times in regards to Demons that the silver-haired teenager felt that perhaps the one who should have gotten that lesson taught to them repeatedly was the Grim Reaper who'd been robbed by Demons. That ought to get it through to him to not be so foolish next time.

Soon enough they'd be trekking through the forest again, Uriah knew, but he wasn't exactly certain what the point of this was. This place was not exactly like the Human World, after all, and even their teachers had admitted it. And it was boring to be taught things over and over and over again until one felt like they would go mad if it were repeated one more time. And then there was the fact that not even the teacher in charge of teaching them to fight could beat him.

In all honesty, Uriah had never felt more like he didn't belong. His green eyes were hidden beneath his long, silver hair. That helped to cover the glasses that he didn't really like anyway, even if they were necessary. It was rather irritating to have to constantly push them up and when he did so they always cautioned him to not be too rough. So what if he'd broken the first pair? Clearly they had been faulty or else they wouldn't have broken beneath the pressure of his index finger.

Glancing around nonchalantly, Uriah was startled out of his thoughts by a shrill cry from somewhere nearby. Clearly not human, yet definitely not a Grim Reaper, his lips parted as he took in the pitiful sound of a Demon shriek. Someone had been caught in one of their traps; this was not really a good time considering how angry the older Grim Reapers were.

The group of Reapers, for once actually showing courage, moved to find the source of the sound, though it wasn't really all that hard. Only a few traps had been set around their camp since they knew of the risk of Demonic pranks, but to actually catch a Demon was something that none of them had even believed to be possible. When they actually found the net, it was immediately understood as to why they had succeeded.

A slight figure was suspended far above the ground within the woven vines, nails digging into it in vain, though the trapped Demon kept trying. Deceptively young in appearance and looking all the more frail for it, Lucifer's purple eyes grew wide as he saw all of the Reapers standing there, a few holding their Death Scythes. Unable to free himself, he drew his knees close to his chest, gazing at them silently. It wasn't like he could fend them all off on his own, not with the meager bits of soul he was given every once in a while. And he would die before he'd beg for his life.

"Demon scum..." sneered one of the older Reapers, whom Lucifer recognized as the one whose glasses and scythe had been stolen. He hadn't participated in it, but he'd seen the whole thing, heard them laughing at how the Shinigami hadn't even been able to find his way without being able to see.

Having already emitted his call for other Demons in the area to come to his assistance, Lucifer knew that if his brother, sister, and their friends were still nearby, they really were his only hope. Most of the Grim Reapers were giving him a rather cold look, though one seemed to be studying him rather than glaring. Looking back, Lucifer wondered what expression lay beneath those long locks of silver hair; would it be as callous as the looks he was getting from the others or somewhat friendlier?

Catching his breath when one of the older Grim Reapers drew closer, Lucifer's purple eyes moved as his Scythe was released. Not certain of what his intentions were, his heart skipped a few beats as he waited, wondering if perhaps this was the end. Instead, it was only the beginning as the net was severed from the branch, dropping him painfully upon the ground.

Stunned, he lay there gasping, curled in a fetal position as he tried to catch his breath. Unfortunately, Lucifer was not given time to do so as he was jerked to his feet painfully by his arm, trapped by a tight grasp that would surely leave bruises. "What do you want?" he whispered, stifling a wince as he looked at his captor, a hand entangling itself within his hair and jerking his head back.

"Give us back Wesley's glasses and Scythe and we'll let you go, Demon," intoned a rather serious looking grey-haired Reaper. He disliked the idea of releasing a Demon but it would be far easier if they could trade this Demon for the items that had been stolen that morning.

Lucifer gasped in pain as the hand tightened upon his arm. "I don't have them," he replied breathlessly, closing his eyes to shut out the look of derision he was given. "I saw them get taken but they left already..." He was telling the truth, for that was when he had been separated from the others. Slightly pale now, he was shoved backwards from the Grim Reaper in disgust.

"Then what use are you to us?" Not knowing what to do now, the older Reapers debated it. Perhaps he might prove to be a valuable hostage for later, though they also knew that the Demon Lord Alaric would have their heads if they actually tried that. Additionally, they knew from experience that the same Demon would do nothing in regards to the glasses and Scythe being stolen.

Clearly this Demon wasn't as strong as most since he'd fallen over upon being shoved away, not to mention that he hadn't managed to escape. If they were honest, a few of the younger Reapers thought that their captive was rather pretty, almost like a girl in appearance. His voice, though, was definitely male despite having not changed yet to a deep baritone.

Uriah found himself feeling a twinge of pity for the clearly frail Demon. He hadn't begged for his life, which was rather surprising, and neither had he tried to run away. Instead, he sat there quietly, shivering just every once in a while as he watched them. Like the other Trainees, he did notice that this slight figure might look frail but he was, indeed, quite an attractive sight when Uriah lifted his bangs to look more closely. He startled slightly upon realizing that the Demon was looking directly at him, locking their eyes together and despite himself, Uriah felt almost as if he could drown within those purple eyes.

To be continued