Hello, hello! Last chapter, guys! I put it up so fast cause I'm going back to the village and I wouldn't be able to update for weeks again. The last little scene proves I have probably watched too many Avenger-related Marvel movies lately. He he, I just love those little scenes at the end :3
Halfway through September, the leaves were turning yellow and dry already. The yard was full of them again even though Laurie had raked them three days ago. Sitting on the porch swing, Amber gently rocked herself back and forth, her grey eyes gazing vacantly to the grove beyond the big yard and the small town further away. Her right arm was still in a sling that hung from around her neck but the ointment she'd gotten from the local drug store was doing wonders on the burns. They weren't anything serious to begin with. After all, she was the one that had gotten out of there alive…
She heard footsteps and turned to see Laurie in a tiny cute apron and her bright red hair with the yellow highlights in pigtails coming out of the door, carrying a plate full of cookies in one hand and a glass of orange juice in the other. Smiling, the girl came to sit next to Amber.
"I just baked them!" she announced. But when Amber reached to pick one, she held the plate back and offered the glass instead. "Uh-uh-uh! Your juice first."
"I'll drink it later."
"Nope! Now, before it loses its vitamins. Come on!"
She narrowed her eyes and watched closely as Amber obliged and drank it fast. Only then did Laurie place the plate of cookies next to her.
"It's delicious," Amber complimented as she tried a cookie.
Laurie smiled. "I had to scrape them a little on the bottom 'cause they got a little burnt," she admitted. "But the taste is good, isn't it?"
"Mm-hm!" Amber nodded as she took a second one.
"For dinner, there's beef left from lunch."
Amber swallowed and licked her lips. "Isn't it a little early for dinner?"
"Not really. It's almost eight."
The girl blinked, then looked up. True, the sky was already darkening and a few stars were making their appearance on the western horizon. She had no idea it was that late. That meant she had been sitting out there for hours. Again. She had made a habit of it, to sit on the porch every afternoon, as though waiting for something. Someone…
"Come inside soon, okay?" Laurie took her out of her reverie. "I'll leave these here and go scrape the rest of them."
Giving Amber a kiss on the cheek, she rose and went back into the house. The girl sank back on the swing and picked another cookie.
Amber sighed, a despondent little sound. Three weeks had passed since that dreaded night. She should consider herself lucky, she supposed. She was alive indeed; soon she'd be healthy as new again with only the reminder of the burn on her arm and part of her side. Laurie was alright and everything was falling back into place again. After the drama that had ensued, the two of them had decided to take a break and leave the city. It was mostly Laurie's idea, she insisted that they desperately needed vacation and a change of scenery. So they had gone to Amber's mother's house. Now Laurie was concerning herself with everything around the house – she had practically forbidden Amber from doing anything at all and she had taken on all responsibilities.
And yet… something was missing. Someone. Amber sighed again. Yes, she missed him. Terribly, at that. At first, when she had awakened in the hospital, she couldn't believe it, she couldn't accept that he was gone forever. And in such a horrible way, burnt down to a sizzling mass by the angel. Astaroth didn't deserve that fate… Well, maybe he did. But towards the end he had changed, he truly had. No one would see it, no one would believe it, not the angels nor Laurie. But Amber knew. She had seen it, she had felt it. She had loved him. She still did.
Members of the Order had approached her soon after that night, even while she was still in hospital. They wanted to know more about Astaroth and his activities during his stay on earth as well as everything concerning 'Satan's Children' and any other demon Amber had happened to come across. She had kept silent to their inquiries and asked them to not disturb her again. Laurie had been more friendly with them but had insisted they didn't bother Amber in her fragile state.
Amber knew they were the good guys, doing their duty and working for the benefit of humanity, but the girl couldn't help feeling resentment towards them. It was unfair that she wouldn't get to see Astaroth again, touch him again. The thought made her feel miserable, empty. She often wondered what it was like for him in Hell. Knowing him, she imagined him all brooding and cursing the angel for defeating him. But maybe he was content with being back home. He always said how he preferred being in Hell. Was he thinking about her at all or was he back with some skanky demon-bitch? Did he miss her? Did he wish he was with her?
Amber stared off to the woods, a bittersweet taste on her tongue that had nothing to do with Laurie's cookies, which she had long forgotten resting on the swing beside her. She'd like to think there was still a chance to reunite with him again. A wishful thinking that she would see him again; see his golden hair, his bright green eyes, his white smile, so smug and arrogant, yet sweet when it was directed at her.
She sighed yet again and rocked herself gently. Maybe they would meet again. Another time, in another place…
A pair of golden eyes with thin black slits watched the girl sitting on the porch swing through the rich foliage. The demon's scaly body was wrapped in loose loops around a knotty branch. He was still in the shape of a serpent, still weak and feeble. But he was growing stronger and stronger with every passing day, although it would still take him time to recover enough to come out of the shadows.
In the beginning, right after his shameful defeat, he had been in a terrible state. He had escaped complete demise only by a thread. From Uriel's scorching flames, only a tiny fragment of him had managed to slither away and vanish in the night. He had been vegetating ever since, dangling between the material world and Hell for days. But his will had been stronger than the damage he had sustained by the Holy Fire. It was only that sheer willpower, the spite, the tenacity, that had kept him in the mortals' world. It would have been easier for him to slip back to Hell, where he would have found reprieve and solace and be able to recover. And he would. If it hadn't been for her…
Going back to Hell would mean he would not get to see her, be with her. He wouldn't be able to return to her world anytime soon. And as homely and inviting Hell should be, the thought of being so far away from her drove him mad. He simply couldn't stand the notion. So he struggled to hold on to what little life he had left. In the shape of a serpent he hid in dark places, crept into smelly sewers and deep holes and waited patiently, ignoring the pain and swallowing the humiliation, as he slowly pulled himself together.
He knew the angels soon realized he had escaped and remained in the mortals' world. And they were looking for him, determined to wipe him from the face of the earth. That was why he had wondered off, as far away from the angels as possible. In his grudge, he had sought the traitorous bastard, Kipring. And he had found him, all the way to the other side of the world. He had slithered up the bed in his luxurious hotel room and wrapped his coils around the sleeping man's throat. And he had squeezed. Mercilessly, reveling in the mortal's choked grunts. He only let go several minutes after Kipring lay completely motionless with his purple tongue hanging out of his twisted mouth.
He hadn't been able to keep away from her for very long, though, so he had soon returned. Still he kept his distances, watching and waiting patiently. The angels were still keeping a close eye on her. He had seen them paying her visits, unbeknown to her, sly creatures that they were. Fortunately, in his feeble, lowly form, he escaped their radars. Yet he knew it was unwise of him to be so close to her so soon. But he could not help himself; he was addicted.
That dreadful night she was almost killed, he nearly lost him mind. He, who had never feared anything or anyone, trembled in the thought of her dying. He detested the very thought of his precious mortal even getting hurt, he who had tormented gladly humans in the past. Remembering the sight of her in Uriel's flames made his insides churn. He wished he could erase that image form his mind. But she had survived, his little warrior, and that was what was keeping him alive too.
Perched upon his leafy hideout, he wondered if she felt the same for him. If she was as obsessed over him as he was with her. If she craved to see him again. If she even thought about him at all. She looked absent and gloomy as she spent hours sitting on that porch by herself save for the times her friend was with her. Was it because she missed him? Was it because she longed to be reunited with him like he did? He wanted to believe that. After all, she had stood up for him, tried to defend him against Uriel. She, a mere mortal with no chance against angel or demon, had tried to defend and save him.
He would find out, he supposed. When they would be together again. Soon. When he would be strong and powerful again, restored to his human form, and not afraid of angels finding him and destroying him. He couldn't wait for that moment to come. His brilliant, vindictive plan was to take on Uriel and the rest of the accursed angels, kill them all off in the most brutal, painful way to compensate for what they had done to him and Amber. He often fantasized about their screams, their blood flowing in rivers, the soft flesh ripping, their wings crashed… Oh, he wanted that, he wanted that bad, even if it meant he once again risked being defeated and cast back into Hell.
Or… he could just overcome that risk by taking Amber away, somewhere they wouldn't draw attention. Where angels wouldn't bother them. They could take the other girl, too, if Amber wanted. Even that obnoxious feline that disliked him. Go somewhere warm, maybe. Close to a beach so Amber would wear a swimsuit all day and wet her hair in the sea and roll in the sand for him.
Astaroth darted his forked tongue out, tasting the air, wishing to catch her smell. As the sky slowly darkened, his slit pupils remained fixed on her.
Yuuuup, 'The Devil's Own' is officially over. I'd like to thank you all for reading and reviewing, you're sweethearts. I hope you liked this story, I definitely had lots of fun writing it and I know I haven't been very persistent with my updates, but bear with me, I've had a rough year. So! Until next time!
Leraje's steps echoed dully on the corroded ground as he entered the throne chamber. Darkness reigned inside that deepest part of Hell, the deadly silence broken only by the perennial mourn of a damned soul, the sigh of another, and the low hissing of the spheres of black fire floating around tall, cracked pillars that supported the granite arches. The smell of blood, misery and decay wafted through the thick, fogged air.
The demon judge of Hell marched towards the raised platform and then halted a few meters away. Upon the platform stood the throne, a great seat made of a thousand human bones held together by bloody strips of flesh. And upon it sat the King of Hell. His legs were splayed apart, twin hooves planted on the ground and his one elbow was propped on the bony arm of his seat and he was resting his head on it. From the torso up he was hidden in shadows.
"Master," Leraje called respectfully and bowed his head. "I bear news. Our searches might be coming to an end. According to my last information, the Spear might be resting somewhere in Eastern Europe of the humans' world. Your servants are already trailing it. The angels however are keeping close."
A low, vibrating purr came from the shadows. Black talons slid across the arms of the throne, grazing the bones as they came into the light.
"Annihilate anyone who stand in the way," Satan rumbled in a deep velvety voice that combined indivisibly as much harmony as malice. "The Spear shall be mine."
Leraje smirked and bowed his head again. "So it shall be. I meant to speak to you of another matter as well, king. There seems to be a mild disturbance in the lower levels. Demons grow restless. Also, whispers have reached my ears that the Apollyon might be up to something."
"See to it that everything is in order," came the command. "Anyone who defies me or hinders my purpose shall be extinguished! The Spear of Destiny shall be mine!"