Author's Notes:  *sigh*  I should have started this a few days ago.  However, watching the Escaflowne TV series for the first time was a bit of a distraction. ^_^  Anyway, I've been promising and promising several of my friends that I'd write this, and I've finally gotten on the ball and gotten started.  An idea popped into my head quite a while ago, and it started to grow until I determined to write a fic about it.  It's my first original fic idea, instead of fanfiction! ^_^  The idea is this:  What would happen in Heaven and Hell (and perhaps on Earth) if an angel and a demon fell in love?  I know this isn't exactly theologically correct, but I don't care.  Stories don't have to be, in my opinion. XP  Oh, and a lot of it will be told from the demon's POV.  I don't really know why, it's just how the story's played out in my head so far.

I, of course, don't own the concept of angels and demons, or God or Satan or the Christ or the Antichrist, but I do own the characters Artesia and Lazarus.  Please don't steal them.  I'd be very upset if they were.

The Sacred and the Profane By Annie-chan Chapter One:  First Meeting

Ah yes, the simple yet immense joy of stretching one's wings.  Humans used the term to mean getting away from daily routines, but to the supernatural beings that inhabited Heaven and Hell, it was taken quite literally.  A lone figure resting on the shingled roof of a private residence in a small farming village was putting it to good use.

Lazarus yawned as his wings fell back into their resting position.  He was on a job that he less than fancied.  He had been one of the angels to rebel alongside Lucifer, and thus was one of Satan's oldest demons.  His name was decidedly angelic, meaning "Fountain of Youth".  He was also one of his master's favorites.  Even the highest-ranking demons had to do jobs they didn't always relish, however.

They could be nuisances or they could be serious problems for the humans, but at any one time, there were demons spread out over the Earth, either disguised as humans or completely invisible, just looking for trouble to cause.  It was for any demons who had nothing specific to do in Hell, as Satan did so love for his underlings to cause havoc in the mortal world.  Some demons loved it, some hated it.  Lazarus, himself, thought it was boring as all get out.

He knew there were angels spread out over Earth as well, choosing the same methods as the demons not to be detected by the humans.  Their job was to either counteract or prevent the damage any demons were planning, if not performing outright miracles.

Confounded pests, Lazarus thought with a sneer.  Every once in a while, he ran into one, and the outcome could be against him as often as it was for him.  More than once, he had limped back to Hell to face his less than satisfied master.  Neither of them liked that one bit.

He knew there was one in the same village he was in.  He could sense them very clearly—and they no doubt could sense him just as clearly—but he didn't know where they were.  He was wondering if he wanted to try anything and get them zeroing in on him like a moth to a candle flame, or if he wanted to skin out and avoid them altogether.  He really wasn't in the mood to deal with them right now.

He glanced down toward the ground, watching a group of children playing in the dirt road.  Being invisible, he could observe without being accused by the humans of staring.  He smiled as he remembered something his master had told him.  The year was AD 1900, the last year of the Nineteenth Century.  Next year began the century that would bring the greatest advancements in human technology thus far, but it would also bring the greatest suffering ever experienced by humanity yet.  Worldwide wars, weapons of mass destruction, famines, epidemics…all of Satan's demons were just itching for it to all come.  Every time he thought on it, Lazarus felt a thrill of anticipation run down his spine.  Oh, it was going to be delicious

He glanced down the street, and a young woman walking toward him caught his eye.  There she was.  She was the one who was "keeping an eye on him".  She didn't look up toward him, so he wondered if she knew he was there.  It was likely, as angels and demons could feel each other's presence like nothing else.  You never knew for sure, though.

She looked directly at his invisible form, and he knew she knew.  She could see him as clearly as if he wasn't utilizing any sort of disguise.  He smiled devilishly at her, no pun intended.  Might as well let her know he wasn't afraid of her.

Maybe I am in the mood to deal with her, he thought.  He stood up and jumped down into the narrow area between houses after signaling her to follow him.  To his satisfaction, she entered the alley a few moments later, her very posture indicating that all her defenses up.  He made himself visible in human form as well, so suspicion wouldn't be aroused should someone glance down the alley.  It wouldn't do for someone to see this lovely lady talking to thin air.

"Greetings, my…delightful adversary," he purred, his words rolling smoothly off his tongue like the purest honey off the comb.  He was satisfied to see her shiver almost undetectably.  No doubt about it.  She was a rather young angel, a few centuries old at the most.  She had yet to become immune to a demon's all but irresistible charms.  She merely nodded her head in response.

He grinned.  He so loved toying with amateurs.  Before she could make another move, he darted up toward her, standing so close they could literally feel each other's breath.

"My, my, my," he murmured, running his fingers through her hair.  "I don't think I've seen such a beautiful angel in quite some time."  He laughed aloud when she jerked back and almost fell against the wall of the house.  That look would have withered even the most confident human male.  "Why don't we settle this in the fields outside town?" he continued.  "You wouldn't want to involve the townspeople, would you?"  He did, but he knew she didn't.  He felt like giving his enemy a little leeway today.

A few minutes later found them about a half-mile from town in some freshly plowed field.  He was pondering how he wanted to deal with this, whether we wanted to merely scare her off or actually fight her.  She was many, many times his junior, so it was hardly a fair fight.  On the other hand, demons almost never played it fair.

He had just made up his mind when he felt the familiar call of his master echo through his mind.  He was being summoned back home for something important.  He looked over to the angel.

"I'm sorry, but we'll have to settle this later, my dear," he said.  Without another word, he faded from sight as he left the mortal world and returned to the depths of Hell.

He returned to his true form as he materialized in his home.  He would not appear before his master looking like some simpering, weak-minded human.  Besides, he preferred the dark beauty and sinful allure his own natural shape possessed.  After swearing allegiance to the Devil and following him down to Hell along with all the other "fallen angels", his angelic beauty had warped, taking a more sinister bent.  His skin, no longer fair and clear, now looked as if he had a very deep tan, and tattoos of all colors were scattered over his body, including his face.  His long hair, once so blond it was almost white, now looked frosted, streaks of black, white, and blond mingling freely like the hair of some member of the group called "punks" his master had once shown him in a vision of the future.  His feathered wings were no longer white but purest black, the gold dusting that once made them shimmer with light now accenting their darkness.  His eyes, once blue, were now a deep green, glittering like emeralds set around the two obsidian shards of his cat's-eye pupils.  His face and body were sculpted to perfection, such as one saw so rarely in the human world, and so often in their deepest and naughtiest fantasies.  He had ruined many women and men in his long life, luring them to him with promises of sinful delight, then taking hold of their souls and drawing them down into the deceptively pleasurable vortex of vice and corruption both physical and otherwise, finally tossing them to the lesser demons after death to play with.  It was his favorite amusement, toying with the human spirit.

After making sure he retained nothing of his recent disguise, he set about searching for his master.  He had materialized in a random point in Hell, and was not quite sure where his master was.  He hadn't gotten far when a low, smooth voice reached his ears.

"Ah, my favorite returns," it purred.  "I have so anticipated your return."

"Oh, but Master," he replied, a smile playing on his lips as a graceful figure slithered out of the many shadows, "you called me back here only a few minutes ago."

"Yes," the Devil replied, his sharp teeth flashing, "but you know I hate to be kept waiting."

Lazarus' own predator's teeth were revealed for a second as he grinned, but he then dropped down to his knees and showed his submission.  "Master."

The Devil waved a hand impatiently.  "None of that.  I have something to show you."  He knelt down and pulled Lazarus to his feet as he stood again.  "It's what I've been holed up about for the past few months."

Lazarus' interest was piqued.  The Devil had all but shut himself off from the rest of Hell about three months ago, and not even Lazarus could reach him.  What had he been doing all this time…?

He was silent as he followed his master toward the core of Hell, where the Devil made his personal sanctum, accessible to others only with permission.

The creature leading him had always caused him awe.  Not only because he felt an almost fanatical loyalty to him, but his beauty stood above all others.  Lucifer, the Morning Star, the Light-Bringer, the Son of the Morning, had been the most beautiful angel in Heaven.  His "fall from grace" did nothing to change that.  Neither the angels in Heaven nor the demons in Hell could stand up to him in that respect.  His skin looked dark and light at the same time, his hair blacker than the blackest night, his eyes so gold as to put the sun to shame…he was stunning to behold.  His three sets of wings, once white-gold-white from front to back, were now black-gold-black.  The middle pair had lost none of its luster and radiance, and the front and back pairs were as black as they were once white.  The Seraphim, the order of angels he had once headed, hated his three pairs of wings, as it marked him as part of their order, the highest in Heaven.  The Devil delighted in their dismay over this.

As they crossed the Frozen Lake and neared the Core, Lazarus ventured a question.  "Master, what are you going to show me…?  You have been shut up for so long, you have everyone curious."

"Ah, I know that," the Devil replied with a wicked gleam in his eye.  "You'll have to wait and see.  You are the only one I am going to show this until it is through developing.  You are my favorite, after all."  He kicked at the face of some poor soul frozen in the lake in response to its painful wailing.  "My work is done on it; it now has to ripen by itself."  This only made Lazarus even more curious.  It sounded like his master was talking about some fruit off a prized tree.

When they got there, the Devil stopped as he always did before the translucent wall that surrounded his inner sanctum.  Only he and those he personally invited could walk through this wall.  Everyone else met an object as solid as the stone that formed the humans' cathedrals.  "Come," he said, and passed through the barrier.  Lazarus immediately followed, feeling a tingling sensation envelop his entire body as he felt the pinkish gelatin-like material displace and slide over his skin as he was let through.

He opened his eyes to a familiar sight.  He was let in here more often that any other of the Devil's servants, and was here quite often in fact.  He was the Devil's confidant as well as his favorite subordinate.  The humans would probably describe them as "friends".

"Look here," the Devil almost whispered, walking over to the one of the inner walls and touching it.  The wall melted away, revealing a large pocket of light-blue substance that looked like it was made out of the same viscous material as the outer wall.  It pulsed from within with a strange light, as if in time with a heartbeat.  Curious, Lazarus walked up and peered inside.

His eyes met a small, curled shape, deep within the blue material, floating perfectly still.  His eyes widened and he gasped as he recognized the shape of a child, looking no older than a six-month-old human.  He couldn't see any fine details through the substance, but he could see that its six tiny pairs of wings were folded against its back like a bird at rest.

"A-a child…" he whispered, incredulous.  He looked at his master.  "Your child…"

"Yes," the Devil practically hissed, a grin stretching his lips.  "My son, born of my power, he has no natural mother."  He placed his hand on the surface of the blue incubatory substance.  "He is the Antichrist, the one prophesied to rise up and oppose the Son of God and bring about the Apocalypse."

Lazarus whipped his gaze back to his master, eyes wide.  "Is it going to be soon?!"

"Oh, no," the Devil replied, shaking his head.  "Not by human standards, at any rate.  I've planned it out perfectly.  He will incubate here for a century, and will be born fully-grown in the year AD 2000.  After that, I will raise him and prepare him for his role on Earth until his "birth" in the mortal world five hundred years later.  He will enter the human world the same way the Christ did:  from a virgin, through an immaculate conception.  I will choose who I wish to be the mother of my child when the time comes."

Lazarus watched in awe as the child opened his eyes and swam—a little clumsily—over to where his father's hand was touching his liquid cocoon, his features becoming clearer.  The child looked like a very young, very small version of his father.

"Beautiful," Lazarus breathed. "What are you naming him?"

"I have not decided yet," his master replied.  "I will name him when he is born."  He slid around behind Lazarus and pulled him close in almost a protective fashion.  "Just imagine it," he whispered into his favorite's ear.  "Just imagine, finally waging war on Heaven, following your prince into battle, giving those simpering angels what they deserve…"  Lazarus could hear the wicked smile in his master's voice.  "Oh, how lovely it all will be…"  A note of desire crept into the Devil's voice, sounding like someone craving sexual satisfaction.

Lazarus felt a shiver pass through him at his master's suggestions.  Only six hundred years to Armageddon.  Oh, it would be worth every minute of waiting…

To be continued…

Author's Notes:  There it is, the first chapter of my first original fic!  Did you like it?  Do you wanna read more?  I especially hope those I've kept waiting so long for this like it.  It would really suck if they've been waiting months for this only to think it stinks. ^_^;;  Please tell me what you think!  Criticism is welcome, but only if it's constructive.  I don't want any flames for this, especially if all you're going to say is that something or other is "wrong" according to your religious beliefs.  I already said at the beginning that this story isn't theologically correct in many respects (such as me giving angels and demons gender when it is widely thought that they're asexual).  It doesn't even follow my beliefs, really.  So, no "correcting" me, okay?  Let me know what you think of this in a review or an email to [email protected], onegai shimasu!

By the way, does the Antichrist have a name…?  All I remember hearing is "Damian" from The Omen.  I don't know if that's the Antichrist's prophesied name, if the Antichrist even has a prophesied name, or if "Damian" is just what the movie writers picked for him.  Can anyone tell me?  If I'm not told of any other name (not random suggestions…I want his real name if anyone knows), I'm just gonna call him Damian, okay?  Thanks.