The Line Between Reality and Not
The figure simply raised their hand.
The ball of flames quickly dwindled down to nothing in under a second.
"Again!" yelled Ryan as he sipped on his fifth cup of coffee that morning.
"Oh come on! It's not fair if Vali gets to use divine dividing on me…" whined the entity of dreams and happiness.
"She may be the entity of happiness but she's certainly not the entity of shutting up it seems" groaned Issei from his room as the Ryan, Dream and Vali trained a few floors below them.
It had been six weeks since Dream had left the dimensional gap and she had been training with Ryan every day since then.
The members of the household had quickly learnt when Dream had done well that day. Since she could effectively controls beings dreams, if she had a bad training lesson that day, then the house would have awful dreams that night, if she did well, then it was blissful dreams and a peaceful sleep for all.
Needless to say that didn't happen as often as everyone would have liked it to.
That's not to say Dream hadn't improved… she had done magnificently well in Ryan's eyes, but he never let it show.
"If you can't beat the white dragon emperor with only a third of your power, then you have no right being called an endless. I could vaporize Vali with less than a hundredth of my power" said Ryan as she got back into position.
Dream simply growled but didn't say anything.
"Death… I know you're probably aware of this, but I thought it fair to warn you of something" said Vali as he let his helmet fade on his scale mail.
"Go ahead" said Ryan with a curious face.
"Shalba Beelzebub… the one who got Issei to go juggernaut; he wasn't killed during that fight" said Vali seriously.
"I'm aware he's still alive, seriously injured… but still alive" said Ryan as he took another swallow of liquid.
"Correct, but Arthur has heard whispers that he might be targeting the ORC; I just thought it fair to warn you" explained Vali.
"I thank you for your warning Vali, but I assure you it's nothing; keep training with Dream and I'll go make us all some breakfast, you like bacon and pancakes right?" asked Ryan with a wink.
"You know me too well" said Vali with a chuckle before his helmet locked back into place.
Ryan walked away, deep in thought.
"OH COME ON!"
A small smile crept its way onto the grim reapers face…
Kuoh Academy (ORC Club Room)
"Are you sure?" asked Ajuka with immense concern.
"I am… Shalba was not killed by Issei, so therefore he is somewhere out there" confirmed Ryan as he (once again) looked out the window.
Ryan was currently explaining what Vali had told him to Sir Zecks, Ajuka Beelzebub, Serafall Leviathan, Michael, Azazel, Odin, Rias and Sona. Everyone save for the students and Azazel appeared as holograms, broadcasting from the underworld, heaven and Asgard, Dream was also present but sat to the side, happy to just be observing.
"This is alarming news indeed, after the battle involving the juggernaut, I thought we had seen the last of the old Satan faction" said Sir Zecks with a frown.
"Indeed, let it be known that you have Asgard's full support behind you" swore Odin.
"Many thanks Odin, but I don't think we should be so hasty" said Michael after a moment of thought.
"What's the problem Michael?" asked Serafall politely.
"It's just that it seems rather odd that the white dragon emperor, a true Satan himself, would know that Shalba is still alive before any of use. Could he be playing another angle Death?" asked Michael.
"Hmm… It wouldn't be like him to try and play me; but I understand where your concern is coming from. I suggest reinforcing the underworld and heaven with Odin's troops. I can provide both realms with two of my reapers each, but that's the most since I need a minimum of three back here" suggested Ryan as he bought up a holographic view of the planet, "I can assign my South American reaper and Asian reaper to guard the underworld, while my off duty reaper and African reaper can be assigned to heaven"
"Excellent idea, I've got the orders for the troops. Are we all in agreement?" asked Odin as he looked at the others.
"I am" said Azazel quickly.
"As am I" said Michael softly.
"We are with you" said Sir Zecks as he spoke for the three devil kings.
"The Occult Research Club is with you always" said Rias as she sipped her tea.
"As it the student council" declared Sona, earning a squeal from her sister.
Everyone turned to look at Ryan who was staring out the window again.
"Hey… Ryan? You okay?" asked Dream as she tapped him on the shoulder.
"Huh? Oh yeah… I agree; the reapers will be there within the hour" said Ryan absently.
"Very well… but who is this young one?" asked Michael as he gestured to Dream.
Dream looked at Ryan before he gestured her to go ahead.
"Umm… hi there! I'm the living embodiment of dreams and happiness, but everyone calls me Dream" said Dream with a smile.
"It is a pleasure to meet you Miss. Dream; forgive me for asking but, why are you here?" asked Michael as he bowed.
"Oh… Ryan got me from the dimensional gap and promised to train me to become and endless" said Dream happily.
"You're from the dimensional gap? But I thought only Great Red and Orphis were from there" said Odin with a frown, as he stroked his beard.
"It's because she is great red you old fart" said Ryan with a facepalm as the truth was finally revealed.
"By the gods… I thought you'd be bigger" said Odin with a chuckle.
"Well…" said Dream as she snapped her fingers.
"NO WAIT!" yelled Ryan as Dream exploded outwards into her dragon form.
She promptly crushed the clubroom and the academy.
"Opps…" she said telepathically.
Ryan's vein pulsed in his forehead as he snapped his fingers and the world seemed to slow, before completely reversing, it finally stopped right as Dream was about to click her fingers.
Ryan quickly grabbed her fingers and shook his head.
"Heh… whoops" she said as all her memories came back to her.
"Anyway, be sure you don't shoot my reapers when they arrive, they won't kill any of your men but they'll leave them with a few broken limbs at the very least" warned Ryan before the holograms faded.
"Okay… what's wrong? You're never this absent" accused Dream as she pulled him down onto the couch.
"I would also like to know what is wrong, you seem off lately Ryan, is everything alright?" asked Rias with a surprising amount of concern.
"I'm fine… just need a little more sleep perhaps; I should start getting one or two hours instead of my regular zero" joked Ryan as he took out a thermos and had a quick swig of coffee.
"Blah… how can you drink that stuff?" said Dream with a wrinkled face as the smell hit her nose.
"By putting it in my mouth and swallowing…" said Ryan as he (for the thousandth fricken time) looked out the window.
"Okay! This is just getting ridiculous, what's out the window?" asked Azazel suddenly.
Ryan didn't respond for a good minute, he simply continued to stare before getting to his feet and walking towards the exit.
"It's nothing… I was expecting someone but they didn't end upcoming" said Ryan with what they thought was sadness, but couldn't tell.
"Wonder what's up with him?" asked Dream before she snapped her fingers and teleported herself, Rias and Azazel to the Hyoudou household.
"Glad you could make it Dream" said Orphis with a smile.
"I wouldn't miss this for the world, how did you even find out about this Life?" asked Dream to the living entity of life.
"It was actually Miss. Lime here that suggested we do this for Ryan" said Life with a small smile.
"Well he seemed to be a little upset about something before…" noted Rias as she took her position next to Love.
"That might have had something to do with us" said a neon blue haired boy as he stepped into the light.
"Well, we had promised that we would spend the day with him but had to make up an excuse to come here" said a dark purple haired individual.
"Let's hope he'll forgive you then" said the entity of Rage with a roll of his eyes.
"There is a ninety seven percent chance that he will forgive you" said knowledge with a wave of his hand. His Aztec styled mask making the angel present rather uncomfortable.
"Let's just hope Blake will be able to get him to come here" said Le Fay as nervously bounced around with Gasper.
"Let's hope, it wasn't easy to convince him to tell the great powers about Shalba's appearance in order to get him out of the house" said Vali with a sigh as he handed Arthur a cup of black tea and Kuroka a glass of warm milk.
The group fell quiet as they waited for the entity of fear to find the entity of death… but for what reason?
Maddie's Desert Shop
"Can I get you anything else?" asked the waitress with a smile as she cleared up Ryan's plate.
"Another piece of lime pie and another cookies and cream milkshake please" said Ryan without looking up.
"Coming right up… hey; are you alright? You're looking a little down" said the waitress with heartwarming concern.
"Nah I'm fine… thanks though, here's a tip for caring though" said Ryan as he gave her a fifty dollar note, "And I won't accept no as an answer"
The nurse was shocked but a quick blast of mind magic and she was off with the money in hand and his order of food.
It took less than five minutes before she came back with two pieces of pie and an extra-large milkshake.
"Here you go, a little something to pick you up, it's also on the house" she said as Ryan went to argue, "And I won't accept no as an answer"
Ryan rolled his eyes and gave a word of thanks before grabbing a fork and taking a bite of his pie.
He had only taken two bites before he put his fork down and let out a deep sigh, he looked out the window he was sitting next to and wondered if Paradox and Pandora had received his message.
He fished out his phone and flicked through his recent messages:
Brother D: Hey guys!
Brother D: Doing anything today? Was wondering if you guys wanted to hang out…
Panda: Sounds like fun; we might be a while though, got a new black hole to deal with first. We'll try for later on this morning, how's that sound?
Brother D: Awesome, I've got a meeting with the big three and good old Odin… did you know Dream's back from the DG?
Panda: Really? That's cool… sucks about the meeting though, those guys are so boring… except for little levian, she's cool!
Brother D: She sure is… well, gtg, see ya later!
Panda: Be safe, love ya!
Ryan scanned the conversation, but found nothing that would suggest they knew what today was, but then again, nobody save for Lime knew what today actually was.
Was this… sadness?
Ryan pondered this before he felt the presence of another being standing behind him.
"This seat taken?" asked the figure, their voice ringing with familiarity.
"Didn't expect to see you here Blake" said Ryan with a chuckle as the two fist bumped.
Blake was wearing his typical white t-shirt and black jeans but his typically dull gray eyes seemed to sparkle today.
"Well, I could feel your aura from a mile away, something got ya down?" asked the entity of fear with a raised eyebrow.
"The grim reaper doesn't feel 'down'" said Ryan with a huff as he crossed his arms.
"If you say so… you gonna eat that?" asked Blake before the piece of pie was shoved over to him, "Merci!"
"De Rien" said Ryan with a sigh as he watched his friend devour the desert, he quickly pushed the milkshake over and watched as Blake chugged it down faster than one should chug a milkshake.
"Oh wow! We may not need to eat but that was certainly delicious" said Blake as he burped in content.
Ryan simply rolled his eyes before quickly vaporizing the dishes and casting an invisibility bubble over their booth.
"Why'd you do that?" asked Blake as he poked the bubble and chuckled as it wobbled.
Ryan simply pointed to the other patrons who were finally recovering from seeing their worst nightmares come to life. Some even had to be picked up off of the ground they were so scared.
Blake simply chuckled again before turning back to Death.
"Why are you here Blake? Not that I mind but it just seems a little odd that you'd be here on today of all days" said Ryan as he cut straight to the point.
"Damn… always suspecting, never one to just let destiny take its path" said Blake as he clutched his heart in mock pain.
"I've meet Fate and she's not very big on picking paths. The girl can't even pick what clothes to put on in the morning that most times she just goes out naked!" cried Ryan loudly.
"True… I'm actually here to see Dream, I heard she was back from the gap and wanted to say hi" said Blake as he masked his true intentions masterfully.
"Well you can head over to the Hyoudou household and go say hi yourself, I'm just gonna stay in town for the rest of the day, maybe forever…" said Ryan as he got to his feet.
"Well then… PLAN B!" yelled Blake as he flicked the glass next to them, it was vaporized and Ryan was thoroughly confused.
Ryan had less than a second to react as he felt something wind its way around his left leg, before he was roughly yanked out of the building and promptly dragged down the street.
"WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!" he screamed as he was bashed into cars and sides of buildings.
He managed to catch a quick glimpse of a large dog like creature.
"I'm sorry Ryan! Just hold on for a little longer!" yelled another familiar voice from on top of the dog.
"Biko!? WHAT THE HELL?" yelled Ryan as he noticed the monkey yokai poke his head up.
"Tally Ho Ryan! Almost there!" yelled Arthur as he steered the dog to the right.
Ryan tried to rip through the cord that was wrapped around his ankle but the more magic he poured into, the more that was drained.
He had almost burnt through it but was so focused on the task that he didn't even notice that the dog had stopped and he was flying towards one of the windows of the Hyoudou residence. The line snapped and he went sailing over what he know recognized as Fenrir and straight towards the house.
"REAPER CHOP!" he yelled before slashing his hand at the window, it shattered and he went flying through. He landed on a long table and promptly slid along the length of it before hitting something and tumbling head over heels into a seat at the far end.
"Oww…" he groaned as he flipped himself the right way up.
"SURPRISE!" screamed everyone simultaneously.
"JESUS!" yelled Ryan as he tumbled backwards out of his chair.
When he poked his head back up, he found himself faced with the remaining endless, Orphis and Dream, all eight reapers, the entire ORC, the Vali team and three devil kings.
"Umm… have I done something?" asked Ryan as he got back to his feet.
"Besides being born… not a lot really" said Life with a giggle.
"Wait… your all here for… my birthday?" asked Ryan with a raised eyebrow.
"Of course… Lime told us and we decided to celebrate it this year" explained Vali with a smirk.
Ryan instantly looked at Dream…
He walked straight over to her and looked her dead in the eyes, before grabbing her by the shoulders.
"Umm… Ryan?" she said with a blush on her face as they almost touched noses.
Everyone was completely shocked as Ryan moved forward and captured the girls lips with his, the two remaining locked for ten seconds before Ryan pulled away and quickly scanned the room.
Something flickered in the corner of his eyes and he reached out with hand and flicked the air. A ripple was seen as if there was something there. Ryan turned to towards the group, chuckling the entire time.
"Oh god… how could I have been so stupid?" he said with a burst of laughter.
Everyone raised their eyebrows.
"You alright partner?" asked Life as she put a hand on the entities shoulder.
Ryan simply grinned before promptly picking up a knife and driving it into Life's right eye.
Everyone gasped in shock before going deadly still; the world began to slowly fade until the entire area was white. The only two left were Ryan and Dream, the latter looking extremely annoyed at the former.
"Good work Dream, almost had me there for a while" complimented Ryan with a slow clap.
"What gave it away?" asked Dream in a defeated tone.
"Well… I was a little suspicious when Biko and Arthur turned up, the fact that my magic didn't work against the absorption line quickly enough, when you turned into Great Red and crushed the ORC building and especially the fact that Life called me 'partner'… we hate each others guts" explained Ryan as he checked them off of a list.
Dream looked defeated.
"Six weeks of training, only to trip at the last hurdle… You're right, I don't deserve to be an endless" she said with tears brimming in her eyes.
"BULLLLLLLLLLLLLSHITTTTTTTTTTTT!" groaned Ryan loudly, causing Dream to jump in shock.
"Dream, we've been training for weeks now; and over that time I've got you too do the stupidest tasks imaginable" said Ryan as he put a hand on both shoulders.
"That's for sure" she said with an eye roll.
"And do you know what I've noticed?"
"Do tell…" she said, voice dripping with sarcasm.
"You would make a fine reaper" he said firmly.
"Is that a compliment?"
"It is the highest honor I can bestow upon anyone. I have no idea how to train you as an endless, you're either born one or you're not, it's incredibly difficult to become one. So I trained you the way I trained my reapers, I tried to nurture your already present abilities and you have shown that you have the stuff" explained Ryan with a smile.
"What are you saying" said Dream with a quivering voice.
"The living entity of death believes that the living entity of dreams and happiness is ready to become an endless" said Ryan softly before giving Dream a small kiss on the forehead.
The world faded away to white before Ryan opened his eyes and found himself standing in his bedroom, Dream was standing right in front of him and her eyes fluttered open before smiling widely.
"I don't know why you're smiling… it was my expertise as a teacher that got you where you are" scolded Ryan as he walked out of them room.
Dream simply smiled before touching her lips lightly…
The phantom tingle still remaining
"Wipe that stupid grin off your face! And stop touching your lips!"
"Oh come on! How did you know I was doing that?"