Not A Thing
My arrow glided through the air, faster than any normal arrow should be. I could hear it tearing through the air as it headed directly to its target. I knew I wouldn't need to shout a warning to Rin or Amaimon to keep clear. I had faith in my steady hand. I knew it would hit Zuriel and him alone.
The arrow struck Zuriel in his stomach. The shot had surprised him just like I knew it would. He had been so busy focusing on the two fighting him close up that he'd forgotten about my bow. His eyes found mine as he stumbled from the air. They were filled with the pain and sadness of someone who had been betrayed. But those emotions were very suddenly swallowed by rage and hatred. And when those emotions were swallowed, I knew that my Zuriel was gone forever.
And I suddenly realized that that conclusion didn't hurt me like it should. I realized that I didn't care. When I had told Amaimon that Zuriel was now just a problem to be dealt with I had meant it. That's all Zuriel was anymore. A problem. A tangled mess of hatred and obsession that needed to be disposed of. But I didn't want someone else to dispose of it for me.
I was going to be the one to end Zuriel.
And so when Rin and Amaimon began to fall down onto Zuriel, who lay on the ground now, I acted.
"STOP!" I shouted at them. I didn't think they would listen, but to my surprise they stopped directly in front of Zuriel. I walked forward to step between them and him.
Zuriel let out a weak laugh from where he lay. "My dear Brienna, are you at last standing up for me? I knew you would. Let us deal with these demons together."
"No, Zuriel," I say tightly. His expression turns from a smile into a grim mask. "I'm not protecting you. You don't deserve my protection, Zuriel."
"But-" He frowns. "But this was all for you. I did this for you, Brienna. Because I love you."
I gesture to the glass doors of the school. Through it, the flames of his fires can still be seen burning. "This? You did this for me? Zuriel, you hurt innocent people today! You don't kill innocent people for the one you love! You don't hurt her friends! What else have you done for me, Zuriel? Sold your soul? Did you do that for me too?"
"Of course not!" He shouts, causing him to cough. He continues more quietly. "I did it because I was presented the opportunity."
"The opportunity to what? More power?" I ask. He stays quiet. "What do you need this power for? This power that's tearing you apart!" I can see that Zuriel is starting to recover from my hit and realize I need to make this fast. I sigh. "It doesn't matter anymore. It's over. You're not worth any more of my time. You don't even deserve the quick death I'm going to give you."
I think in that moment Zuriel finally realized that he had lost. His eyes widened in fear as I placed an arrow onto my bow and drew back, aiming for his heart. He sputtered for words. "Please, Brienna. You have to know! I love you! Don't you understand that? I've always loved you!"
"You never loved me. You were obsessed with me," I whisper, and let the arrow loose.
And that was the end of Zuriel.
"Well that was dramatic."
I didn't even turn around to see who it was. I knew. Instead I asked, "What will happen to him now?"
Mephisto stepped up beside me and examined Zuriel's body as it disappeared into dust. "Mm. I imagine he'll go to Gehenna."
"What will Satan do with him?"
"More than likely he'll punish him."
"...Will he ever come back?"
"I very well doubt it. But who can tell what time holds?"
We stand silent, Amaimon, Rin, Mephisto, and I, until I remember Caleb and Mattia. I turn away from where Zuriel's body had been and stride over to their unmoving forms. Mephisto follows me and examines them. I look at him. "Can you fix them?"
He stares long and hard at their forms until answering. "I cannot. But with the magic caster dead it will only be a matter of time until it wears off."
I sigh in relief and sink to the floor in exhaustion. Everything was going to be okay. Zuriel was gone, Caleb and Mattia would be okay, Rin was safe, and we were all alive. Overall, things couldn't have been better.
Well, that might be an exaggeration, but hey, let a girl have her moment.
ONE MONTH LATER
I jump from my seat in the council room and run full speed out the door. I hear Caleb and Mattia shout goodbyes and Caleb adds, "Say hi to Rin for me!"
I spread my wings after I'm out of the building and fly to the edge as fast as I can. Tyrone waves at me as I fly over the gate and I smile at him before plummeting over the edge of the city limit. I tuck my wings in to gather speed and only reopen them when I see city of Academy Town.
The weather below the clouds is pleasant today, the sun is out and the sky is blue with white clouds spotted throughout its expanse. I smile and steer my flight towards the top of Academy Town, where I'll find the academy itself. I look at my watch (Rin had bought it so that we could schedule time together but I still hadn't really gotten the hang of 'time' yet) and though it took a moment to tell the time, I read that it was 2:50 PM, ten minutes before Rin got out of school.
I was making good time and had five minutes to spare when I landed at the school entrance. I hid my wings from human eyes and sat on the edge of the fountain where I always wait. Laughing to myself I remember the first day I was here, when Amaimon dragged me to this fountain to meet Rin.
The school bell rings, interrupting my reminiscent thoughts. Students spill out of the main entrance. Girls giggle at each other and some boys run at full speed from the entrance. I don't bother to search the crowd, I already know he'll come find me. I shut my eyes and hum quietly to myself, waiting.
I feel a hand rest on my head and smile, keeping my eyes shut. "Caleb says hi."
"Wow really? He's really starting to warm up to me," Rin replies with a laugh. I open my eyes and look at him, drinking him in like every time. His raven hair is put back with a clip today, and his blue eyes pop even more because of it. He's grinning his usual grin and I can see his canines poking out of his mouth. The Kurikara is strapped to his back like always, sheathed and put away into its case.
"You should take a picture, it'll last longer."
"Shut up, Amaimon," Rin says as the green-haired demon walks up.
"It's rude to tell people to shut up, Okumura," Bon interrupts as he, Shura, and Miwa also enter the group. "And I hope you brought your books home to study."
I hear a laugh as Izumo and Shiemi both walk up to us. The laugh had come from Izumo. "Rin studying? Don't make me laugh."
"That's not very nice Izumo," Shiemi scolds.
"You're all going to be late for cram school if you don't hurry," says Yukio as he walks by quickly, most likely going to prepare for his lesson of the day.
We say goodbye to Amaimon (he had come before but it hadn't turned out well) and walk in a group towards the cram school entrance. As we walk, Rin and Bon bicker, Shima starts hitting on Izumo, and Shiemi start to talk about plants. As we walk Shura joins us and comes to the back of group to talk to me.
"You sure are quiet. Is the meathead ignoring you?" Shura asks.
"No, no. He's got bigger problems right now," I say as I watch Bon hit Rin over the head. Shura follows my gaze and laughs. We stay quiet for a few moments, enjoying the nice weather.
"Say, Brie," Shura speaks up. "Would you ever change any of this? Do you ever wish that you could take everything that's happened back?"
I look at her and then at the group around us. As I look around at them all, Rin catches my eye. He smiles at me and then goes back to fighting with Bon. It's weird when I look into Rin's eyes. Usually when I look into someone's eyes the emotions are always different. But every time I looked into Rin's eyes it was the same. It was always love.
"I wouldn't change a thing."
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