Ridiculously speculative and gratuitously violent; directly follows the events of Babu207. Either going to be a two-shot or three-shot.
Main characters are Furuichi, Takamiya, Lucifer, Oga, with the other demons mixed in.
I. His Awakening
Hear me God, the one God of this world. I am Solomon, warrior of justice, banisher of evil, and I have sealed away the demon of lust today.
Restrictions, these the fates demand upon me. Very well, I tell them. Listen carefully, for here they are.
The cage of this demon shall be like previous cages: a child born to man and woman of flesh and blood, with no right nor ambition to any throne of the world. Good, the fates say, for I am king.
This child will need to be more intelligent than his brethren, so that they will not succumb to the temptation of violence. Good, the fates say, for I am just.
This person will, above all, be able to retain their own identity of flesh and blood, so that they will never collapse under the title of 'cage'. Good, the fates say, for I am righteous.
As I have said, and thus, let it be so.
Oga's howl cuts through the night as he charges whole-heartedly at Takamiya.
Himekawa was right, but only up until a point. Sadly, Oga is unquestionably distracted; his punches lack substance and his stance is filled with holes. The child of the demon king seems to be half-falling off his shoulders and when he tries to land a kick on Takamiya, the contact is barely enough to bruise much less bleed. Takamiya laughs - laughs and laughs and laughs - because it was ridiculous to expect so much from a stripling apprentice of his teacher.
Still, a fight is a fight and a fight isn't over until someone can't fight. It's almost like clockwork (that is: boring), but he goes through the motions nonetheless, screaming obscenities in the heat of the moment.
"You're so weak! You're so pathetic! You thought you had something to protect? You were wrong!"
And so on and so forth.
Through it all, Lucifer stands to the side, observing, but not participating. He finds it strange; normally she is the one who moves first, painting everything in effervescent sworls of red, but he doesn't mind the change in pace either. Let her see how much he's grown; let her see how little use he has for her power.
But right as he's about to land the finishing blow, she intervenes, moving across the length of the hallway in the blink of an eye. She holds out a hand, doesn't even bother touching him, and - like a hound to its master - he stops in his tracks.
"I thought you said I could kill him," he gasps out, adrenaline still rushing through his veins.
"I did," she replies, maddeningly simple as usual. She's changed her mind evidently.
He snorts, dropping the well-unconscious black-and-blue high schooler. Although it is tempting to give him one final kick, he knows there's no point in acting out. So he shoves his hands in his pockets and follows the demon back.
"I am ready to start a war," she murmurs, a familiar cold flame behind her eyes, "But I do not believe you are ready to win one." And then she points to the crumpled form of the bait, the body of Oga's best friend, and says something that genuinely surprises him: "Take him along."
"What're you gonna do with a corpse?"
Slowly, she lowers her hand and turns her head, fixing him in place with a particularly scathing look.
"I don't remember having promised to explain myself to scum," she whispers.
There's really nothing for him to say then, now is there? As much as he loves the smell of blood and the sight of death, he does not like to be in close contact with corpses. Perhaps it's the child in him; perhaps it's a natural instinct. Either way, this had never been a problem in his fights, up until now.
The silver-haired boy absolutely reeks and the blood from the gaping hole in his chest quickly soaks through Takamiya's shirt. Still, he shoulders the dead body, waiting for Lucifer to create another one of her short distance interdimensional portals. She does, and the two of them step through it; step through the bloodsoaked Ishiyama halls and into Takamiya's home base: the underground cellar of the northern Shinto shrine.
With all honesty, he had expected Oga to rise up and mutter some promise of eventual victory. He is disappointed twice then, when the other boy simply remains unconscious.
He drops the body as soon as they've stepped foot inside. Except then Lucifer had turned and frowned and he had grudgingly picked it back up again, setting it down on the bed. Oh, would the sheets be stained (but of course, Lucifer does not care).
"Happy?" he demands, once the corpse is more comfortably settled in his home than he himself.
"Quite," she replies, floating up to rest on his shoulder. With a sickening sort of sweetness, she presses a deceptively small palm against one of the still-flowing cuts on his face. He winces; her touch is like fire, like poison, and she knows it. Lucifer smiles, but does not pull back. "My poor little spellmaster," she says, "You've been beat up quite badly, haven't you?"
He refuses to dignify that comment with a response.
"Certainly not in any condition to travel to the demon world anytime soon," she continues, letting go and floating down. With slow steps, she walks towards the corpse.
"How long are you going to play dead?" she questions tonelessly.
"You took out his heart," Takamiya mutters, skin prickling at the thought of a corpse resting in his home.
"Shut up." She doesn't even bother to look at him. Instead, she forces the rose to manifest (a new wave of pain brings him to his knees), placing it on the cadaver's chest. There's a tell-tale hum and, for once, it's not coming from Lucifer. The dead boy lurches forward with a jolt as the rose petals crawl across his figure, stopping to coil about his legs.
"I've waited long enough," Lucifer states, paying her suffering contractor no heed, "Asmodeus, greet your master."
The white noise intensifies and he's left on the floor, staring in slack-jawed disbelief as the boy - the boy he saw die before his eyes - opens his eyes (were they always green? The pain is making it difficult to concentrate.), lips curling into a cruel smile.
"Since when did I call you master," the boy asks.
"Stubborn as ever," Lucifer murmurs, attempting to take back the rose. It resists of course, clinging onto the teenage boy's ankles. She frowns and he laughs.
"Come now Lucifer, how long as it been? One century? Two?" a playful arm is swung about her narrow shoulders and her frown deepens. "Oh," and he notices Takamiya's prone form, "Looks like my waking up caused your contractor to faint, sorry about that."
"So you did pledge yourself to Solomon."
"Accidentally!" he releases her and stands up, shaking his hands and head. Six green claws extrude from his fingers and six twinkling horns grow from his head. The lower leg of the boy's pants rip; unable to contain the growing claws. "You'll never believe how he managed to trick me, the scum - "
"Served you raw catfish. All of hell has heard."
"It's wonderful," he muses, as if she had not spoken, "You have no idea how it is, being cooped up in such a little body for so long." He chuckles then, looking at her temporary form. "Well, maybe not no idea, but imagine, a quarter of an average human life." He flexes his fingers, looking curiously at the shredded wards, and disintegrates a couple. "Ah, truly wonderful." Then he claps his hands and finally turns to her: "Now, what do you want of me, Lucifer O Emperor of Hell?"
"Great Demon of the Second Circle Asmodeus, Spirit of the Sin of Lust - "
"It's not Great Demon anymore," Asmodeus interrupts. "My old man died, so you should call me 'lord' now."
"Lord of the Cockroaches?" Lucifer snorts. Her left cheek erupts in blood.
"Careful dear," the other demon cheerily warns, "You know I've always been difficult to wake."
"But Asmodeus," she replies, tightening her fist and forcibly recalling the whole rose, "My body is just a shell, whereas yours is not."
"What do you want of me?"
"I want you to fight under my flag once more. I want you to lead the second circle of hell in my name against our current fool of a king. I want you to help me seize my rightful place as the ruler of all seven realms of hell." Perpetually to the point; Lucifer has not changed.
"You've assembled troops?"
"And what of the other five?"
"Two have been sealed; the other three are the leaders of my troops." It doesn't take a genius to guess which uneven half is which. He nods in appraisal.
"Your palaces have been kept in pristine condition," she trails off then, taking note of his distinct hum of approval, before dropping the final piece: "And I have the sworn allegiance of the Solomon Company in this endeavor."
"Really!" Asmodeus grins, clapping once, "Pray tell, what sort of trap did you set?"
Lucifer cannot resist grinning then; this is her old comrade; this is the demon whose power she's missed. "I've forced a contract between a Son of Solomon and the Spirit of the Sin of Wrath."
"Satan?" her fellow demon guffaws, "One can only imagine! You must've had a hell of time getting him into that human." He leers, leaning forward, "Tell me, how is his contractor like? Beautiful? Young? Spirited?"
"All those things. It makes them more pleasant to break." They turn to look at the still-unconscious Takamiya and share a laugh.
"As you've been so good to me," Asmodeus starts, taking her small hand in both of his, "Giving me enough energy to properly wake up and keeping my favorite palace fresh - I must accept. My lust is yours to command, my darling," he murmurs, kissing the palm of her hand.
"Very good." She slips her hand out nonetheless. "Now, my contractor will need some rest before he can take me to Hell."
"This body is in desperate need of rest as well."
He stares at her then, wordless accusations exchanged in the tick-tock of heated seconds, before shrugging carelessly and breaking off. "Then, for fear of exhausting this boy prematurely, I shall return to sleep. Wake me up once we're in hell, will you?" And without waiting for an affirmative, he draws into himself, retracting his talons and claws and horns to return to the guise of a teenage boy once more.
The body drops onto the bed, true heart beating firmly and truly whole once more. Both boys are bleeding lightly; she pays neither of them any heed.
"Welcome back," she finally says, greeting belated as usual.
Her contractor is the first to wake. But then, of course he is: he's used to bouts of pain and he's used to being drained past the point of exhaustion.
Takamiya Shinobu opens his eyes and gets up, going through his morning motions despite it being late afternoon. He takes a shower and patches himself up; he cooks himself breakfast and goes outside to stretch and strain and train for two hours. When the sun has fully set, he returns to the underground chamber, jaw set in an expression she has become used to.
"I am of good temper today," she indolently says when he's changing into clean garments. "You may ask as you please." And, as they both know, she will answer as she pleases.
For a while, he says nothing, and she sits still with her hands perfectly folded, listening to the tell-tale swish, swish, swish of clothes on coat-hangers. Today is Monday, but it is too late for school (not that there's any point in returning; they've already beat those who won't join and they'll be leaving for hell soon enough) so there is no point in him wearing his uniform. He emerges from the closet wearing a running suit, but even casual clothes look formal on him with his perpetually sallow expression.
Through it all, she says nothing. He has not once bested her; today will not be any different.
He breaks soon enough, but of course he does: her beautiful young spirited contractor.
"He's different from me." It's not a question but a statement. It's a loss nonetheless.
She smiles, turning to look at the still-sleeping boy.
"Yes. Yes he is."
She chuckles. "Saotome is knowledgeable of course. But his knowledge is limited to him demon too. As you know, there are two types of permanent bonds we can join with humans: one is with a contractor, another is with a spellmaster. There is a third sort of bond that is entirely different: a host. That is the host body of Asmodeus, the Great Demon of the Second Circle of Hell, the Spirit of the Sin of Lust."
"How is a host entirely different?"
"For one, there is little concern for death: the demon will die along with the body." Takamiya's jaw clenches. "For another, the demon's powers are dormant; the host can be a temporary storage facility at best. Admittedly, there have been a lot of low-level demon hosts... in fact, you've even fought one or two at your school... but in the upper divisions, the tenacity of the human body is bit tenuous." She laughs in fond remembrance of various failed experiments. Oh, how they had tried to save Asmodeus.
"There are two side effects that are likely endemic to being the host of a Great Demon however. This boy here is capable of receiving and withstanding an admirable amount of demonic power. After all, outside of him, Asmodeus has no other body. Furthermore..." she pauses, looking at her contractor, "are you making a chart?"
Takamiya turns the notebook towards her.
In his typical impeccable script is a four by seven table, with the columns labeled Contractor, Spellmaster, and Host, and the rows labeled (1) Separate Bodies, (2) Complete Control of Self, (3) Use of Power, (4) Maximized Power, (5) Withstanding Energy, and (6) Withstanding Maximized Energy. "Host" has three checks: 2, 5, 6; "Contractor" has four checks: 1, 2, 3, 5; and "Spellmaster" has five checks: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6.
"A good effort," she nods, waving her hand. "Unfortunately, the second side effect is a slow but steady merge of both sides."
"Human and demon?"
Takamiya pens in another row.
"A host body is not meant to be a permanent container, unlike the contractor. Once a demon - especially a Great Demon - awakens, his power will eventually overwhelm his host." Well, that was the theory at least. Asmodeus was the first of the seven of them to be sealed away and the last to awaken from his first sleep. He was still able to cut her (though this was temporary body), so she had high hopes for the preservation of his abilities.
"You respect him greatly," Takamiya says. Again, neither a question nor an accusation, and he makes it sound like both.
"It is not your place to judge," she replies and there are teeth in her smile. She gets up then, forcing open a dimensional rift with a sweep of her hand. Lucifer is not one for making promises, but Asmodeus has asked her about the state of his palaces and she is in no position to be caught in such a petty lie. A quick visit while their host bodies are resting up is enough she reasons, stepping into the rift.
"I shall be back shortly," she promises. "And in that time, if you step foot outside, I will kill you." It is their usual goodbye.
His eyes shift to Asmodeus' host.
Lucifer smiles a devil's smile.
"Do not be tempted," she whispers. "It has taken a long time to mold you, but it has taken even longer to wake him."
And with that, she disappears into the void.