A/N: Story rating will change with content! Lemon likely (but not guaranteed) in future chapters. This is an AU, and details will be introduced as the story progresses. Thanks for reading everyone, and please leave some feedback on your way out! :)


The atmosphere in Hell is about as inviting as you'd think it'd be: not very. The dry air and the exhaustive heat makes it torturous to even stand outside for long periods of time, and even though Setsuna has had her entire life to get used to it, today seems particularly bad. Evangeline is lecturing her about something important, and she digs her nails into her palms to keep her mind from wandering.

It does anyway though, much to both of their irritation, and Setsuna is glad that Evangeline is being relatively patient with her today. Normally she would've been called an idiot ten times by now, and that's only assuming the vampire even thought her questions were worthy of a response at all.

"So, um, I understand what I'm supposed to be doing, but why is this person's soul is so important?"

Evangeline smacks her forehead and sighs.

"I guess it makes sense that you wouldn't know your own history given who and what you are, but how can you be ignorant to the history of the entire world?"

Setsuna bows her head and says nothing. How she can be expected to know anything when no one but Evangeline will come close to her without violent intentions doesn't cross her mind. That she's been bound by chains or in isolated rooms for the majority of her life doesn't seem a good enough excuse either; instead the shame of her ignorance comes quick and easy because shame is one of few things she understands whole-heartedly.

"It's not really important for you to know that now," Evangeline brushes it off, noting the other girl's forlorn demeanor. "I'll tell you some other time."

The vampire looks away from the now earnest expression on the other girl's face. To be so grateful just to be spoken to is… disturbing.

"So what do I need to know for right now?"

"Weren't you paying attention?" Evangeline snaps, and Setsuna flinches at the sharp tone.

"I was!" She exclaims, and parrots her objectives. "I need to go to Heaven and pretend to be an angel so that they send me to Earth, then I kill some girl and bring her soul here."

"And why do you have to go through Heaven?" Evangeline asks, testing Setsuna's memory.

"Because – because the only way to get to Earth is through Heaven," the chained half-demon replies after a moment of thought, looking eagerly at Evangeline for approval.

"I guess that's close enough," the vampire sighs. "If you want details…" Evangeline clears her throat and begins to pace before going through the lecture. "There are two conditions that need to be met in order for this mission to be successful. One, you have to be near the girl's body when she dies. And two, your souls must be intertwined in one way or another. "

Setsuna had been listening attentively thus far, but one thing in particular doesn't make sense to her.

"What do you mean by intertwined?"

"I mean… well…" Evangeline trails off.

How the hell do you explain what companionship is to someone who's never had a real companion?

"Don't worry about it; it'll come with being her Guardian. Just keep me updated and I'll let you know when you're there."

"I will."

Setsuna wonders at the unfamiliar feeling of excitement. But how could she not be excited? Someone is putting their faith in her, and for the first time in her life, she's going to have something important to do. Something only she can do.

She doesn't think she'll ever be able to say she's thankful for her white wings, but right now is as close as Setsuna has ever gotten. Their color, a symbol of the angels that functionally imprisoned them here, is the cause of her torment. Since the day of her birth she'd been held up as an example of what should be hated by demons, and her mixed lineage only exacerbated that hatred. Most of her life is spent confined in one way or another, being forced to fight impossible battles for entertainment (nobody wanted to see her win), or being blatantly paraded around, tortured, and publicly executed. All to make an example out of her.

All because of her wings.

Ironically, they're now her ticket out of this place. White wings are the defining magical trait of angels, and although hers are actually inherited from her demonic side and colored that way out of lack of pigment, they're similar looking enough to pass as angelic. Which means out of all the demon inhabitants, she's the only one who can do this.

"Don't get too excited now," Evangeline can't help but notice Setsuna's relatively happy expression, "Earth can be a pretty painful place too."

"What pain could possibly be greater than having my eyes torched, or all the hair and feathers on my body plucked one at a time?"

"The daily grind, my dear. It feels a lot like that second thing you just mentioned. Except maybe worse, for the fact that humans will eventually realize they wasted their lives and don't have any time left to spend all the money they spent the last fifty years accumulating."

"…Have you ever had your eyes torched?"

Realizing this conversation has become rather irrelevant, Evangeline kicks her feet up and stops in midair, floating just above the ground. It almost looks like she's sunbathing, though Setsuna wouldn't know what that is yet.

Normally Evangeline wouldn't humor this kind of needless and relaxed conversation, but she's feeling charitable today.

"No, can't say I have. When I was on Earth they burned me at the stake though. That was pretty bad."

"Sorry to hear that."

"It happens."

The talking pauses. Setsuna realizes that the vampire is being kind to her today, and she's infinitely glad for it. The two of them have a lot in common, being cursed creatures and spending the entirety of their lives suffering the consequences of other people's mistakes. She figures that's why Evangeline had been assigned to watch over her in the first place.

Well, that, and she's also the only one willing to come within ten feet of Setsuna without beating her.

So Setsuna hangs gracelessly from her chains, accepting her miserable fate as she had since she was born down there in the pits of Hell, and passively watches her overseer kick her legs and pretend to backstroke through the hot, hazy air. But since she's being nice today, Setsuna decides to take the risk and ask something she's wondered since they'd first met.


The blonde hums in response and swims behind one of Setsuna's huge white wings, plucking a feather carelessly and placing it daintily across her eyes. When the winged girl doesn't react, Evangeline finally graces her with a response.

"What is it?"

"What's it like to be human?"

"It's shit."


There's a twinge of disappointment in her voice that Evangeline can't help but hear.

"It's shit," she says again, "but it's nothing like being here."

She spares the chained girl a glance, notes the curious expression, and kindly decides to throw the albino outcast a bone.

"Earth is full of corruption and death just like this place, and many people die and get killed and kill. But," she continues, finger-combing her long blond hair and staring past Setsuna at some distant memory, "there are arguably some things worth staying on that planet for."

"Like what?"

Evangeline stops floating and spins on her heel, suddenly irritated, and begins to pace.

"Look," she growls, "What I'm trying to say is, even though I describe humanity as spoiled and self-destructive, yadda yadda, it's not exactly like that all the time."

"It's not?"

Evangeline looks quickly away from that hopeful expression. Despite her six hundred years and all the horrible things she had to endure during them, she can't say there weren't points in her life when she was happy. This girl, on the other hand, had been born down here and immediately ostracized because of her colors.

She can understand why Setsuna might hope for something even slightly less agonizing than this. Evangeline is the only person Setsuna has ever exchanged words with that didn't end in a beating. She supposes that makes them friends. Now that is a sad thought.

"What's it like then?"

Evangeline realizes she's been staring off for a few minutes now.

"Basically, even though life sucks, and drains you, and sometimes destroys you utterly, humans trudge on and continue to live. As to why, well…" She trails off, lost in nostalgia, and once again feels the irritating swell of pity for this half-demon in front of her.

"Maybe you'll find out," Evangeline finally says, and the sympathetic part of her hopes that'll be the case, "But there's no easy answer to that question, if there's one at all."

"Do you think the gatekeeper would know?" Setsuna asks curiously, not expecting the response that would follow.

"HA! That idiot wouldn't know blue if the sky fell on his head, I really doubt-" Evangeline stops suddenly, noticing the bewildered expression on Setsuna's face. She clears her throat and continues casually, "You could always ask while you're visiting Heaven, assuming you aren't immediately found out and killed. In fact, I would love to know his answer, and I haven't seen him in, oh, a while now. Ask him for me, will you?"

"I will," Setsuna answers. Evangeline is her only companion, even if they rarely see each other, and doing this small favor is the least she can offer in return for the smaller girl's company. Evangeline notices the determination on her face, as if she'd just asked the winged demon to sacrifice her soul or something equally as serious, and sighs. For her to be this child's only friend is a sad state of affairs indeed.

"And Setsuna? One more thing," The vampire says, unlocking the shackles around Setsuna's wrists. She falls from her bindings gracelessly, hitting the floor with a dull thud and waiting patiently for her circulation to normalize. Being strung up like that leaves her arms feeling like dead weight after a while.

"The higher-ups have agreed to send you some company."

"You mean I'm getting help?" Setsuna asks, understandably surprised.

"Not quite. More like they're sending her in to kill you in case you fail."

"Ah, I see."

Finally regaining the feeling in her arms she stands and walks quickly to catch up to Evangeline. The vampire leads her away from the depths of Animum Despondeo, the demon city lovingly named by its creator.

When they're far enough away that Setsuna can no longer see the skyline of the city, Evangeline stops.

"Take this," she holds her hand out and Setsuna gingerly takes the black compact and leather bracelet from her hands. There are three red stones embedded in the cords of the bracelet, and she's never seen anything like them before.

"What is this?"

"The bracelet is imbued with some of my strongest magic. Before you die you can break one of those gems between your teeth and gain control of your free-falling soul, allowing you to travel between worlds without having to find a portal."

"But there are only three."

"Exactly. So don't. Die," Evangeline stresses, making sure that Setsuna understands.

She doesn't, of course, because spending more than two days without being killed hasn't happened for her in a long time.

"And this?" She holds up the compact.

"We can use it to talk to each other. Just open it up and you should be able to see me, assuming I'm in the mood. Just don't use it in public."


"Because it'll look like you're talking to yourself."

"Is that strange?"

"Oh for the love of…"

Evangeline bites her tongue to keep from spewing curses.

"Just forget it, you'll figure it out eventually."

"Okay," Setsuna says, oblivious to pretty much everything that'd just happened. She doesn't understand why that would be weird, but she's excited to get to Earth and find out. Evangeline notices and speaks up again.

"I have one more warning for you."

The girl immediately becomes serious again.

"What is it?"

"You're not going to understand this yet, but at some point you may be tempted to abandon your mission."

"Why would I – "

"Just trust me," Evangeline looks her in the eye, making sure the other girl understands the seriousness of what she's saying, "But don't forget about us. If you do this you'll save our entire race. You'll be a hero, Setsuna, and when we escape to Earth I'll make sure everyone knows it. You'll never be treated the way you are now ever again."

A hero…

Evangeline is right in that Setsuna doesn't understand the threat of forgetting her goals; no one gains more from the success of this mission than she does. Still, the vampire has always been wise and helpful, so she commits the advice to memory.

"Alright, here we go," Evangeline's voice knocks her out of her thoughts, "And Setsuna?"


"Be careful on Earth. Some things really do hurt more than getting your eyes torched."

I'll have to take your word for it, Setsuna thinks, biting down on one of the bracelet's gems just before Evangeline steps forward and skillfully snaps her neck.


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