Author's Note: Peace out~
This is it, guys. The last chapter. =O
I'm posting this one within the same day as Chapter 9, so I have no feedback from that chapter and have nothing to reply to, but I just thought I'd like to thank you all one more time for how much support you've given me. Quite literally, every review I've gotten from you guys has made my day... and it really cheers me up to see how much you all loved this story.
It is very depressing that I am done with it, but it has been a thrilling ride all throughout. I hope this last chapter doesn't disappoint, and thank you again for how supportive you've all been. You're the reason I enjoyed writing this so much. =) I loved being able to write something that you guys were so fond of. (And it's just fun to write about Mephy and Amai since they're epic characters)
I actually have ideas for another story (regrettably not Amaimon/Mephisto, though) centering around Izumo, Paku, and Shiemi if any of you are interested. I normally don't write about girls, but I've thought up a good idea for them and might start up a new story with them if I get the time and motivation. If you are at all interested in that, it will be posted on my new account, darkmatterwolf, so look for it there. And any stories I post from now one will be on that new account. Feel free to check it out. So far, there are no stories since I just made it, haha.
But anyway, thanks again. You are all so nice to me and I've loved reading every comment you've left.
You guys ROCK.
The bright light from the morning sun poured through the windows of my office, gleaming in at the perfect angle to allow me to read the paper within my hand without the shadow of my own body getting in the way. A fresh cup of tea was resting on the desk in front of me, and I lifted it every now and again to take a small sip of the sugary substance. When I felt a sudden sensation crawling up one of my legs, I didn't so much as glance away from what I was reading to see what it was.
"I assume you're feeling better, Amaimon?" A green ball of fur became visible out of the corner of my eye from atop my desk.
"Yes, Brother," the small rodent replied, itching at one ear. "It is very weird being this small, though."
"It suits you," I mocked. "Plus, it'll be easier to keep you hidden if anyone were to find out you are still alive," I picked up the cup of tea Amaimon had been sniffing curiously at and took a courteous drink.
The hamster leaned back on his hind legs and looked up at me with beady eyes, his nose twitching. I raised my brow at him and felt my eyebrow twitch slightly when I put my drink down. "You're hungry, right? Well, it has been a few days since you've eaten." When Amaimon eagerly straightened up, I pulled open one of the drawers on my desk and plucked a box of Pocky from its contents. I took the authority of opening the package for him and rested it on my desk, not at all surprised to see the demon immediately begin to chew at one stick.
For a long while, I did nothing but stare at the hamster that had been my demon brother not many hours beforehand. Truthfully, it baffled me that my silly idea had actually worked. Sure, Amaimon was a rodent that belonged in Assiah, but that didn't change who he actually was. Deep within, the hamster was still a demon. He was still the Earth King. He was still my brother. It was weird that simply appearance alone could change all that.
"I hope you realize," I began after I allowed him to get through a few sticks of Pocky, "that you being a hamster doesn't change any boundaries we already had set."
The rodent, still biting at the food given to him, looked up at me with a tilt of his head. "What do you mean, Brother?"
"You know exactly what I mean," I murmured, resting my chin on one hand while I scornfully poking his head with my other. "I did not appreciate waking up last night to feel a ball of fur curled up against my chest- beneath my robe, Amaimon." Not to mention, what would have happened if I rolled over on top of him? I had no desire of waking up to see a squished rodent in my bed.
"Sorry," Amaimon replied in a squeak. "I was cold and you were warm…"
"Well, it's even more crucial for you to stay on your side of the bed when you're in this form," I commented and ran a hand over my face. "You do realize how small you are compared to me, right?"
"Yes. I understand." The hamster obediently dipped his head. "I'll try to stay on my side from now on."
"Good." I leaned back in my chair, casting a short glance out the window. My eyes found their way to Mepphy Land, suddenly remembering that it had recently been repaired after the destruction caused by my brother. I also recalled how there had been thoughts running through my head concerning taking Amaimon to the park as soon as it had been fixed. That wouldn't be happening, now. Sure, he'd be able to tag along since he was small enough to fit in my pocket, but what sort of fun would that be having to feed a hamster sweets amongst several observant visitors flashing you weird looks?
"Brother?" Amaimon's higher-pitched voice broke into my thoughts, yanking me back to reality.
"What is it?"
"Why did you bring me back to Assiah?" He fell onto all fours and crawled toward me, his tiny tail twitching a bit.
I lifted a brow in his direction, then smirked and shook my head. "I don't want you telling our father what all had happened here. Perhaps he wouldn't have cared, but then again… you can never tell with him." I leaned forward again and snatched a pen from a mug on my desk, signing the document I had been looking over.
"But how did you even know I was alive?"
"I didn't." My eyes lifted from the paper. "I figured it was worth looking for you to avoid getting into trouble with father."
A perplexed look came across my face and I straightened up. "For what?"
"Bringing me back," Amaimon murmured and sat on his hind legs, again. "I didn't want to be in Gehenna… because I knew you wouldn't be coming back anytime soon."
I stared at the hamster with incredulity for a few stunned moments before shaking my head. "I did it because I had to. You don't belong here in Assiah. Even your own body knew that."
"But you don't, either," the rodent replied, ears flicking forward. "You're a demon, too, Brother."
"I know that!" I snapped. "That doesn't mean I can't be in Assiah. At least my body isn't rejecting me for it. I'd rather be here where everything is more interesting; compared to Gehenna, this world is like an amusement park."
"Can it really amuse you forever, though?"
"Perhaps not… but I haven't gotten the least bit bored since I've come here, so it's very likely that it'll take a lot of time for it to lose its charm." I gazed at my brother moodily, arms crossed. "Why are you saying all this all of the sudden?"
The hamster's whiskers quivered a bit before he crawled over to the box of Pocky and snatched another stick. "Because," he started, taking a moment to nibble on the chocolate coating, "all of our siblings are wondering the same thing. You act like this world is the world you belong to… when, in reality, it isn't."
"You think I am unaware of that?" I asked, my tone having a slight edge to it. "Honestly, I don't know why any of you care. It's not like my absence is a big deal. Besides, most of our siblings are simply jealous that I have the opportunity to work with Okumura. If I were to return, I'd hear nothing but their complaining about it, which I'd prefer not to deal with."
"Maybe," Amaimon murmured contemplatively, turning the Pocky over a few times in his tiny paws. "I wish you'd return more." His eye flickered up toward me when he spoke, ears falling back, again. "I don't really like our siblings very much…"
"Is that so?" I commented with a light chuckle. "And what makes me any different?"
"You actually pay attention to me and care about me."
When those words slipped out of his mouth, I felt a heat rise in my cheeks within a matter of a few seconds. My eyes were wide open, and I hastily waved my hand dismissively and covered my face to hide the red that had swelled across it. "Why would you think I care? I didn't really come to your rescue during your battle with Okumura." I tried to regain my composure in those moments by straightening up in my seat. "If I cared, I would've saved you from being sent back to Gehenna."
"But you couldn't," the hamster continued, not at all looking hurt over what I had said. "If you had saved me, you would no longer be trusted at all by those people. It was just something you had to do. I understood from the moment it happened why you didn't do anything…"
How could you possibly understand? That scream of yours was full of such agony and betrayal… I cleared my throat awkwardly and pulled at the scarf that was tucked neatly into my shirt. "Precisely. If I had cared, I would have saved you and not worried about being distrusted."
Amaimon tilted his head to the side, then turned around and began to explore the contents of my desk. His little nose twitched wildly while he ventured about, stopping once to look back at me. "I always thought you were smarter than me, Brother, but in situations like this, I'm not so sure anymore." I could almost spot a gleam of amusement in the demon's eyes, causing me to click my tongue with annoyance.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I picked up the rodent within one hand and placed him in the other, bringing him close to my face to look him right in the eyes. "Do you really have enough bravery in you to say that I'm dumb? You're treading on thin ice right now, Amaimon."
"I'm not saying you're dumb," he squeaked and sat on his haunches. "You're very smart and clever, which I have always admired. I'm just saying you don't understand some things concerning your feelings."
"How could you possibly know my feelings better than I do?" I hissed with defiance.
The rodent seemed to shrug before he placed a paw on my nose and raised himself up a little higher. "Maybe I'm wrong. Sorry, Brother."
I squinted against the feeling of the sniffling at my brows, pulling the hamster away from my face. As I began to bring him back down to the desk, he suddenly scrabbled up my arm and came to a resting point on my shoulder. His nose burrowed into the wrinkles of my clothes with interest for a few moments before settling down. "Are you waiting for this all to play out before going back to Gehenna, Brother?"
"Well, I'm certainly waiting to see just what will happen with your youngest sibling, and even after that, I will probably be staying," I murmured. "I am the principal of the academy. Leaving wouldn't be best for the school, don't you think?"
"I guess so." His whiskers tickled my neck as he spoke. "How long am I allowed to stay with you?"
"I assume you want to see just what happens with Okumura, too," I said, half speaking to myself as I thought the question over. "After that, though, you should probably go back- unless you want to stay as an animal for the rest of your life."
He fell down onto all fours, again, curling into a ball within the wrinkles of my coat. "I'd rather stay here… even if it means I have to stay like this."
My lips pursed, brows disappearing beneath my bangs as they rose on my forehead. "Don't be ridiculous. It's no good staying an animal all the time. You'll have to return at some point, Amaimon."
"I don't like anyone in Gehenna, though," the demon complained and lifted his head to look up at me. "At least when I'm here, I have you to rely on. Being an animal won't really matter… I'm still the same demon you have always known and you're still my brother."
I blinked a few times in his direction, then lifted up my cup of tea and took another contemplative sip. 'Still my brother?' Since when has the term 'brother' been so important? I've never shown him any act of kindness through all our years. "We'll see how things play out," I finally responded after setting down my tea. "Who knows? Life could turn out very different by the time this all is over."
"Okay, Brother. Thank you," I heard the hamster whisper. He then let his head fall back down at his paws, situating himself in a comfortable position and appearing to be making an attempt to take a nap. I cast him a sideways glance, smirking at his actions.
"Still tired even after sleeping for several days straight? You really are something," I commented and leaned back into my own comfortable position when I received no response.
So, he considers me as someone to rely on? A smile crossed my face and I let my eyes close gently. That's an interesting development, to say the least.