Sunday, April 7, 2013

Insert Crazy-Awesome Gunslinger Here

Note: Attention readers. There is an emotionally-intense, frightening scene in this fic. If you are concerned that this might bother or upset you in some way, please get someone else to read it first and tell you about it. I do not wish to cause any one undue stress, fear or general unpleasantness.

Michael hummed happily to himself as he strolled down the hallway, a thick stack of paperwork tucked under his arm and a big grin on his face. Why he was grinning, no one could be sure, as the Chief Agent had the most paperwork to out of all the Leaders and their paperwork tended to be the most mind-numbing and energy-sapping as well. Perhaps he was glad because this could have been his last stack of paperwork for the week and he was looking forwards to weekend of alone-time with Claire. Perhaps he had gotten some of the Agents to help him with the paperwork (either through asking or shanghaiing them). Perhaps he was one of those few, rare, rare individuals who actually enjoyed doing the repetitive task that is signing off on Agent's paperwork fast enough that it doesn't breed, or worse, mutate into a paperwork monster.

Perhaps he was a loony.

Regardless of which it was, he was still smiling and humming when he rounded the corner and paused in mid-step, staring at a most peculiar sight. "What are you guys doing here?"

Standing the hall were the Counter Guardians Vergil, Kuroneko and Saito. Vergil was leaning against the wall; arms folded and eyes closes, obviously bored with the situation. Saito was reading a book, a lit cigarette in one hand, despite the fact the Library was a non-smoking zone and the cat-girl, dressed in a her usual Chinese dress, admiring herself in the reflection provided by her battle fan, adjusting her hair. Across the hall from the three individuals was a door and they seemed to be waiting for the door to open.

Saito didn't bother to look up from his book, tapping ash off the end of his cigarette that magically vanished before it hit the floor. "Tash was made Librarian after Adrian's death and so far, we've been helping by covering Adrian's CG duties and tasks, but there are some things that the Librarian needs to do on their own and that includes the retrieval of books."

Michael blinked. "But the Library magically creates a copy of any book or similar thing as soon as it's written, right?"

"For the most part, yes. But there are some books that simply cannot be copied and must be retrieved manually, as they are too dangerous to be left in mortal hands." Kuroneko explained. "We could do it if we wanted, but yeah, we really don't feel like it. And despite numerous mentions of the Librarian's duties, no one has actually ever seen the Librarian do it in the Society."

"Ahhh…" Michael nodded in understanding and then glanced at the door. "Ummm…Tash is in there, but she just got back from a week's worth of papers and testing in the Real World…she said she's not to be disturbed unless there is a major emergency or she gets twenty-four hours of sleep, whichever comes first."

"We know. That's why we sent Aramayis in there to wake her up." As if summoned by Vergil's words, the door rattled violently they could all hear shouting and what sounded like fire being ignited, repeatedly.

"I haven't had twenty-four hours of sleep yet! BUGGER OFF!" The door to the room bolted open and Aramayis dove out, ducking as a massive fireball roared out of the doorway and slammed in the wall above Vergil's head, who didn't even flinch. Saito took the opportunity to lit a new cigarette from the flames as Aramayis kicked the door shut, the door's rattling and several thuds indicating that Tash had flung around a dozen more fireballs after the man.

"I don't… I don't…" Aramayis stood up, his clothes and hair smoldering. He straightened them and adjusted his glass, wiping soot off. "I do not believe Miss Marquand is inclined to do anything other than sleep and it is my recommendation that we do not attempt to make her do anything in regards for our own safety."

"Oh, you can get her to do something when she's like this. You just need to persuade her right." Phoenixia's voice spoke up from right behind Michael and he yelped, leaping a foot into the air. She blinked after him. "Jumpy much?"

"Don't sneak up on me like that!" The Chief Agent whirled on her, pointing a finger at the violet-haired woman as he snagged the paperwork before it scattered everywhere. "Seriously! You're gonna give me a heart attack and another thing-" He blinked and paused in his rant. "What are you wearing?"

"My Battle Dress." Phoenixia was in a dress that was colored a silvery-gray and was long-sleeved. There was a split up the front that reached to about her mid-thighs and one at the top that stopped just short of her navel. A pair of belt-ends dangled from the back. "And a white one-piece corset-thing underneath that prevents boob spillage and flashing people when I do things like flips and kicks."

"Ahhh." Michael stepped back and looked her up and down. The ex-hologram had a shotgun and sniper rifle strapped across her back in an 'X'-shape and a pair of pistols holstered at her hips. All for guns were the same silver color, just a shade lighter than her dress. "What's with the new hardware?"

She gave him a grin that was at once both sexy and lethal. "They're my new toys." Stepping past Michael, she headed for the door to reading room Tash was currently in. "Now, since I was about to inform Tash about a new Stu that's shown up and I want to take on, I'll be the one to get her to do it." With that, she opened the door, stepped inside and promptly shut it.

The four Counter Guardians and Michael all stared at the door as they began to hear noises, mostly Tash's voice and the sounds of couch springs creaking. "Hey, go! Bugger off! I'm trying to sleep, Phoenixia."

"I know, but you need to do your job."

"Someone else can do it! I… want… sleep!"

"I can't let you do that, Tash."

"Hey, hey, hey! Get off me! What are you doing! Stop that! No, no, no!" There was series of rapid squeaks.

"Just relax, Tash. This isn't going to hurt… in fact, you'll find it quite enjoyable."

"That's not-! No, don't touch me there-" There was a sharp grasp and then a low, liquid, pleasurable moan.

The Counter Guardians all looked at Michael. "We've meet her before, but… what is she doing in there?"

Michael grimaced, trying not to let the sounds fuel the images in his mind. "I'm not sure I want to know."


Ten minutes later, the four Counter Guardians, Phoenixia and Tash were all seated around a conference table, the four immortal warriors casual and relaxed while Phoenixia was grinning widely and Tash was glowering at everyone and sitting sulkily in her seat next to Phoenixia. Michael was sitting off in a corner-chair, thumbing through the paperwork.

Phoenixia grinned, Tash's glower not affecting her in the slightest. "You are very sensitive to a spinal massage, you know."

"You fight dirty…" The British girl grumbled.

The other woman shrugged. "Not my fault you let your guard down and that your ticklish spot is from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet."

"Anyway, Miss Marquand." Aramayis interjected as the two women started sticking their tongues out at one another. "There's a book you need to retrieve and add to the Library's inventory." He tapped a couple of buttons on the panel in front of him and the holoprojector in the center of the table light up, showing a large tome bound in black with red writing in a language Tash couldn't read. "This is the Mortician's Bible, a book in which is written secrets of necromancy and blood rituals, some of which are actually ways to slay divine-class beings, whether they are devils or gods. Someone who got their hands on the book could seriously upset the balance of power in their world or even several ones. Because of its unique nature, the Library could not magically copy it and so the original needs to be retrieved."

"Okay…" Tash nodded slowly. Despite the manner in which she was denied her sleep, she was now all business. "Where is the book now?"

"It's in the fandom Devil May Cry, located in a demonology library in a tower called Temen-Ni-Gru." The shadowy man explained and Phoenixia perked up.

"That's the fandom a Stu showed up in! He's ranking around Level 6 and I want to go take him on."

Tash lifted an eyebrow. "Phoenixia, this is your first mission and you want to take on a Level 6 Stu? That's way above the recommended level for a rookie Agent."

"But I'm not a rookie Agent, Tash. I've been training hard for nearly every day since I got this body a month and a half ago. And I'm an experienced fighter. Just because I didn't fight physically before doesn't mean I don't know how to." Phoenixia replied swiftly. "I did learn some martial arts from Adrian… but it took me awhile to master my 'muscle memory' of them… if that makes any sense."

"Kinda…" Tash sighed. "Fine. I know you've been training since you practiced yourself into unconsciousness a couple of times, according to Val. And since I'm going with you, I guess it wouldn't hurt… though the odds of the book and the Stu showing up in the same fandom has to be astronomical."

"Oh, it's probably just something the author of the story will hope people will overlook in favor an entertaining story." Phoenixia said and grinned as the Fourth Wall rumbled, causing the Library to shake and she grinned, pumping her fist in the air. "Yes! I've always wanted to do that!"

"Oh dear…" Tash sighed and grabbed the violet-haired women's arm, dragging her out the door, the Counter Guardians filing out after them as Michael remained seated, still filing through the paperwork.

Once they were gone, he glanced around and grinned slightly, grabbing the top sheet of paper and quickly folding and creasing it into a paper airplane before quickly flinging it out the open door. He waited for several long moments and then…

"Michael! Stop feeding my hair your paperwork!"

Michael snickered.


In a nameless city, on a deserted street under a dark night sky and admsit the ruined buildings, crushed cars and the litter everywhere, a door materialized. It looked to be solid oak and the door frame also oak, with a gold-leaf spelling out something in a strange-looking language above the door. After a few seconds, the handle clicked as someone turned and it the door opened.

"Wow… this place looks like a war zone…" Tash muttered as she and Phoenixia stepped out, the door fading away behind them. The Society Leader had donned Adrian's sky-blue trenchcoat that he had given her way back when in the Fate/stay Night fandom and put her hands on her hips as she surveyed the dismal scene. "What happened here?"

"I think we're in the third game, Devil May Cry There: Dante's Awakening." Phoenixia explained. "See, the back story of the game is that long ago, a powerful demon knight named Sparda rebelled against his demon brethren and defeated many of them, sealing the underworld away from the human one at the cost of giving up a great portion of his power. He eventually fell in love with a mortal and had twin sons, Dante and Vergil. Then he disappeared and later, Eva was killed by demons and somehow the twins were separated."

"And how does that factor in?" Tash asked, pointing straight ahead at the giant stone tower that loomed over the two women, reaching nearly a mile or more into the sky. Around its base was a mountain of rubble, probably caused the fact the tower had forced its way up through skyscraper. "Cause I'm fairly sure that's not part of the natural environment."

"That's Temen-Ni-Gru, the tower that contains the gate to the demon world that Sparda sealed them with. But to open it, you need the two halves of an amulet that Dante and Vergil carry, a sample of their demon blood and the blood of a descendant of the priestess who helped Sparda seal the gate…" Phoenixia frowned as she looked at the scanner in her hand. "But I'm not picking up Dante, Vergil, Lady, Arkham or any other Devil May Cry character on this thing…just a bunch of demons and the Stu's signature… which says he's in the tower somewhere…"

"Uhh… Phoenixia?" Tash pulled her pendant off its chain and a quick burst of flame, it changed into the burnt-orange sword Nephthys,which Tash held up in a two-handed grip in front of her. "We've got company…"

"Mmmm?" The buxom lady lifted her head, pocketing the scanner as the walls and ground around them rippled as large white and red-skinned demons, bony spikes protruding from their backs and each one wielding a long, wicked scythe in their hands appeared, quickly surrounding the pair. "Oh boy…looks like the welcoming party is here…"

With howls, the demons charged and leapt at them in unison.

Tash blocked a blow and side-stepped around another, her long blade slashing clean through one of the demons before she back-flipped and landed another one, driving her weapon through neck and decapitating it. She a step back and stabbed behind her, skewering another demon and then she yanked the weapon free, whirling on her heel and cleaving through a fourth demon, scythe and all.

Next to her, Phoenixia was just as deadly, pistols being drawn so fast that it looked like they had just magically appeared in her hands. She dropped one of them with a volley of shots and then ducked a slash meant for her head and then slamming foot into her attack's gut, sending the demon sailing backwards as she killed it with a headshot that blew its head apart. Spinning one heel, she deflected a blade with one pistol and snapped off a trio of shots that slew the demon instantly before leaping into the air, head down as she crossed her arms and spinning, raining down bullets that tore through the remaining demons.

"Wow… you really have been training…" Tash commented as Phoenixia landed gracefully back on the ground and the defeated demons melted back into the ground, leaving pools of blood behind. "And what's with those guns? I've never seen them before."

"The guns are Incandescent Silverreign, a combiner gun that Adrian picked up a few hundred years back. But they weren't really his style." Phoenixia replied, grinning as she twirled her guns on her fingers and then holstered them with a flare. "I kept them because I thought they looked cool, but never had a use for them till now. I can combine all four guns into a bigger one, too."

"Awesome." Tash grinned back and then looked back at the looming shape of Temen-Ni-Gru. Already, she could see the forms of demons appearing in the distance between the two Society Agents and the Tower. "The book and the Stu are in there?"

"Yep. And it's got at least fifty floors."

"I don't suppose I could fly up there?"

"Not unless you want to attract the attention of Leviathan." Phoenixia pointed up at the tower at a large, whale-like creature that was circling the tower, swimming in the air like it was water. "And from what I say when Adrian played the game, its intestines are not place you want to visit if you feel like having nightmares."

"Ugh… that means we got to fight our way in…" Tash sighed and slung her blade across her back, stowing her hands in her pockets as she started for the tower's base, Phoenixia a step behind. "C'mon, let's get this over with so I get some decent sleep…"


Approx. two hours later…

The red-late doors cracked and then toppled inwards as a massive black form was blown through it, skidding to halt. The figure was tall reaper-like creature, it's body comprised of nothing more than the black shadows that made up its cloak and its face was metallic mask that was alight with blue flame behind the mouth and its size and it let out an unearthly metal howl as it shook the giant scythe it had.

"Oh, give it a rest already!" Tash barreled into the room, her sword ablaze with flame and sparks flew as she slammed into the wraith's scythe again and again, trying to land a hit. But the creature's weapon intercepted her blade every time and with shout of frustration, Tash charged up a fireball and flung it at the wraith, who disappeared in a burst of shadow.

"Not again! I hate it when they do that!" Keeping her sword up, Tash glanced around knowing that the wraith could-and would- pop of anywhere. As she and Phoenixia had ascended the tower, they had battled numerous demons and devils and the British girl was more than fed up with the 'appear from the walls and floor' trick that every single evil being in the tower seemed know. "Come out, you bloody bastard so I can kill you!"

Then to her surprise, the wraith reappeared right in front of and she hastily through up a block, the force of the blow dropping her to a knee. "Do not like this! Do not like it at all!"

The wraith seemed to be laughing at her as it pressed its weapon down closer to her head and then in paused as piece of metal lodged itself in the creature's mouth. It took Tash second for her to realize it was the barrel of a shotgun and then there was a 'click!' and the wraith's head exploded into wisps of shadow, the rest of the creature following short a second later.

"Sorry I took so long. Those damn Chess Piece Statues kept coming to life every time I walked down the hallway and attacking me." Phoenixia said as she slung the shotgun back across her back. "You okay, Tash?"

"Everything except the ringing in my ears…" The Leader stood up and winced slightly. "That gun was right above my head, you know."

"Sorry, but my pistol rounds weren't going to hurt him and I was afraid a sniper round would pass right through him." Phoenixia glanced around at the room they were in, which was a library with bookshelves covering every wall and a rotunda of sorts of bookshelves in the center of the room. "Hmmm… this is the only floor I've seen with any sort of books on it, so this must be Temen-Ni-Gru's library."

"About time… this place is huge and there's so much back-tracking to do to beat all those puzzles and all the demons to fight…" Tash whistled softly at the number of books she saw in the room. While there were far less books than in there would in some of the Library Arcanium's Reading Rooms, it was still an impressive amount. "So… how do I find this thing?"

Phoenixia patted her on the shoulder. "I'd start with that shelf on the far left and work your way around the room, then do the ones in the center."

"What!" Tash spluttered and gave the other woman a look of surprise. "I have to search for it manually! There must be hundreds and hundreds of volumes here! And I don't even think I can read half of the titles here! And some of the books look like they want to eat me!" As if to prove her point, the closest shelf rattled and several grumbling and growls emitted from the books on it, causing Tash to squeak and hid herself behind Phoenixia.

"Way to be the big strong Librarian, Tash." Phoenixia rolled her eyes. "Look, I can't do magic at all and you're not much better than I am. Adrian could find it easily enough, but he had a ton experience at it and knew some spells to help him out. But we don't, you're going to have to do it the hard way."

"Me? Why me?" Tash poked her head out from behind the other woman and them 'eeped' as some more of the books rattled and hissed, ducking back again. "You're here, too! And you have guns! Guns with which to shoot the books if the try to eat me!"

"And you have the magical longsword and fire powers." Phoenixia turned around and looked Tash in the eye. "Look, I know it's gonna be tough, but you can do it. And since everything in this fandom will revert back to its normal state over-the-top combat and cocky demon slayers and twincest fanfiction writings after I Prohibit the Stu, you're free to burn any of the books that aren't the one you're looking for."

"Really?" At this, Tash's eyes lit up a bit and she grinned slightly. "I get to burn them?"

"Yesssss…" Phoenixia eyed the look in the other girl's eyes warily. "Now, I'm going to go after the Sue. Since neither of us encountered him on the way up, he must be on a higher floor, so I'm gonna go look for him."

"Okay. Be careful, don't get killed, ask for help if you need it.." Tash replied distractedly, already pulling off books the closest shelf and seeing they were not one she wanted, igniting them in her hands and watching them turn ash. "I'll be right here…"

"Sure thing…" Shaking her head at the oddities of her friend, Phoenixia headed for the door that led up to the higher levels, hearing Tash's voice behind her.

"Nope…" Fwoosh! "Nope…." Fwoosh! "Nope…" Fwoosh! "Nope…" Fwooosh! "Why is there a copy of Goodnight Moon in a demonic Library!"

A beat of silence.

"Eh… whatever…" Fwoosh!


"Ummm… well, this is… new."

Phoenixia stood in the battleground what appeared to be a Roman-style coliseum, though several times smaller than the famous one in Italy in scale. It was completely empty save her and as she craned her head back, she could see the massive bridge way up above the place. "If I remember the game correctly, Dante battles his way onto the bridge and then encounters Nightmare, a massive flaming ghost-horse drawing a carriage. They fight and then bridge collapses and drops them down here. So… where are they?"

"Oh, Nightmare is still roaming the bridge up there." A cultured accent spoke up and Phoenixia whirled, drawing one of her pistols free and pointed it at the source of the voice. "And please, don't point that me. You'll hurt my feelings, love."

"Right now, your feelings are the least of what's going to get hurt." Phoenixia narrowed her violet eyes. Sitting in the stands about halfway up the coliseum was a handsome man with tanned skin and neat black hair. He was dressed in dark pants and shirt, a white cape dangling from his shoulders. His sharp green eyes were clear and he smiled down at her with perfect white teeth. "Who are you?"

"Why, my love, I am…" The man stood and bowed deeply to her. "Edward Casanova at your service, good lady."

"So you're the Sue in this fandom…" Phoenixia kept her pistol trained on him, a bit unsettled by the fact that he lacked the usual demonic heritage, white hair and bladed weapons, including Sparda's sword, the Force Edge, which most DMC Stus had. "Where are all the other characters? And why haven't I encountered a boss creature yet?"

"For your first question, love, we are simply six months or so before Dante opens his shop her and learning that Vergil is still alive. I simply summoned the tower ahead of schedule. As for the boss creatures…" Edward smiled at her. "I killed them. Well, all the ones save Nightmare and the ones past him…"

"Why on earth for? Why go through all the trouble of raising the tower and killing those bosses up to this point?" Phoenixia asked.

Edward looked at her quizzically. "Do you not know, my love? I thought it would readily be apparent. This is probably the most romantic and isolated part of the tower, as demons do not materialize here and I killed those bosses so that you would not have trouble with them. I couldn't bear it if you got seriously hurt battling those nasty hooligans."

"Wha…?" Phoenixia's eyes widened minutely. "I don't understand… why would you help me?"

"I would have thought that would be obvious." Edward vaulted off the back of the seat in front of him and athletically landed on his feet about six or so feet away from the gunslinger. "I'm your lover and lovers don't let each other get hurt."

"Lovers?" The woman frowned at him, but kept her gun trained on him. "I may have had a few hundred or so lovers in my lifetime, but I do remember nearly all of them and you are not one of them.

"I was told you might not remember…" Edward looked a little put off by Phoenixia's response, but otherwise took in stride. "It was several centuries ago… and we met in cyberspace…"

"Uh, not for nothing, but I don't take on virtual lovers. Don't want to risk getting infected."

"But I was the exception!" Edward cut in quickly. "You see, my original world was very technologically advanced to the point where criminals had their minds digitized and trapped in a computer for eternity, completely alone. I was accused and found guilty of a crime I didn't commit and thus found myself trapped in a server for several centuries. But Adrian had a mission there and he brought you along with him. You two were on the run and found yourselves trapped in room with my sever in it."

Phoenixia's frown deepened. "We've never been to a world like that. Ever."

He continued like she hadn't spoken. "You managed to hack into my server and in exchange for my help, you promised to free me. But along the way, we fell in love…" Edward's face turned terribly sad. "But we got separated… I was trapped in the void cyberspace… and I nearly went mad again at being denied your presence… but over the years, I managed to get too other computers and eventually wound up with my body…" He smiled lovingly at her. "Just so I could be with my love."

"I don't know you." Phoenixia replied firmly. "I've never met you in my…" Then she paused, her forehead creasing as she frowned more. There was something niggling at the back of her head, telling her that what Edward was right, that they had met before and had fallen in love and she had simply forgotten or altered her own memory to avoid the painful memories of him and preserve her heart and sanity. Edward was right and he did love her and she should just give and throw her arms him and kiss the daylights out of him. "Oh my god…"

"You remember!" Edward asked her excitedly, his face lighting up. Then the light died and he stared at her confusingly as the violet-haired woman started giggling hard. "What is wrong, love?"

"It's just that…" Phoenixia giggled some more. "Just that… I never thought this would happen… You, I mean. I never thought 'you' would happen!" She burst into full-blown laughter. "Oh, this is too much!"

Edward's confusion was fading and quickly turning into anger. "Why are you laughing, love? This isn't funny! Do you really find our love so amusing!"

"But we aren't in love." Phoenixia managed to restrain herself long enough to start explaining. "The fancy name… the perfect good looks… the back-story that seems feasible, but has so many plot holes in it, it'd make better Swiss Cheese... you're a Stu! A Stu written specifically to romance me!"

She finally stopped laughing completely and managed to get her gun trained on Edward again. "You were created by an author wanting revenge of the Society and because I'm someone who appears in Society stories, but as a secondary character with no real development or backstory, the author thought they'd be able to get a hold on the Society by writing a pairing of you and I and they would be able to get you into the Society with no being the wiser."

"You… you…" Edward's face twisted in rage, his eyes blazing and he suddenly moved faster than Phoenixia would have given credit for, lashing out with a punch that the women skipped back to avoid, his fist creating a crater in the ground and kicking up a cloud of dust. "I love you! And this how you treat me!"

Then he barreled out of the cloud and Phoenixia gasped at the set of wolf-shaped gauntlets and greaves on his arms and legs, glowing faint silver and he drew back his fist, forcing her to leap to the side as he fired a blast of white energy at her. "How dare you!"

Phoenixia's eloquent response was to yank her second pistol free and volley a dozen rounds at his face, but Edward crossed his arms in front of his face and deflecting the bullets as he launched a powerful kick that caught her in the side an sent her crashing into the stands and shattering the seats beneath her.

"I may not have any real power on my own, but I did the souls of the bosses I killed and claim their weapons, including Beowulf's!" Edward watched as Phoenixia pried herself free of the rubble and pointed a gauntleted fist at her. "You will be mine, Phoenixia! Even if I have to beat it into you!"

"Not a chance in hell, you bastard!" The buxom women dashed down the stands like a staircase, firing at him as she came and then she flung the pistol up and away from her, into the air above the coliseum's battleground. As Edward's eyes automatically followed them, she yanked her sniper rifle around and lifted it up, aiming one handed as she peered through the scope and in her mind's eye, little dots marked his weak points-his head, the inside of his arm joins, kneecaps and groin.

In the next instant, Phoenixia fired six armor-piercing rounds from the weapon in rapid succession and then jumped up, spinning up after her pistols while Edward reacted to the rounds fired at him, the changes his body position causing the rounds to miss their targets, but they all still connected, their combined force blowing him off his feet and into the wall hard.

Phoenixia snatched one of the pistols out of the air as they started their descent, clamped her teeth around it, then grabbed the second and was already firing shots into cloud of debris Edward had created.

Then a tornado of wind and fire blew the dust and bullets away, tearing her pistol of her grip as the Stu charged at her, wielding twin serrated blades of red and blue that had wind and fire swirling around them. She twisted around his first slash and then blocked the second with her rifle. Gripping both barrel and stock, she deftly blocked or dodged his flurry of blows, sparks flying every time the blades connected with her seemingly invincible weapon.

Then Edward slid one of the swords under guard and yanked the rifle away from her, sending it spiraling away as he cracked the hilt of the other weapon across her face, sending Phoenixia staggering. Spitting out pistol, blood and a tooth, Phoenixia didn't skip a beat as she un-slung her shotgun and knocked away a slash aimed for her arm, took an in-step to avoid the follow up, jammed the gun into his gut and pulled the trigger.

They were so close together that the weapon's roar sounded incredibly loud to them both and then Edward was flying away, blood pouring from his gut as he dropped his swords, and smashed into the stands, a statue crumbling free and crashing on top of him.

Phoenixia slung her shotgun across her back, scooping up one of her pistols and the black-flipping away, snagging the other and holstering them both before kicking her rifle into her hands. Glancing up at the bridge that suddenly seemed much farther away than it first had, prayed she had enough cable.

Then she glanced back towards the statue as Edward through it off him, blood trickling down his forehead and the front of his shirt ruined by the shotgun blast, though his perfect abs showed little more damage than heavy bruising. "Phoenixia!"

"Later!" The ex-hologram yanked an attachment from her belt and slapped it onto her the barrel of her rifle, pointing the weapon straight up into the air and firing. A few second passed and she managed not to sigh in relief aloud as she felt the cable latch on to the bridge. Pulling the trigger again, the weapon hauled her upwards at incredible speeds, just as Edward dove at her, his hands missing her booted by inches.

As she vaulted onto the bridge, Phoenixia yanked the cable free and pelted down the bridge as fast as her legs would carrying her, Edward's screams of her name still reaching her ears despite the distance between the two and prayed Tash was having a better time than she was.


"I know I'd find a few copies of these books here…" Tash grinned at the stack of Twilight-series books that nearly reached her chest in front of her. "I've wanted to this a long time…"

Grabbing her sword, she gripped the hilt in both hands and then stabbed it down into the pile, not stopping until the she felt it drive into the stone floor. She then willed her power into the blade and clapped her hands as the books simultaneously all caught fire, burning slowly as the pages crinkled and shriveled up. "Yes! Burn! Burn! Burn!"


Phoenixia tore up the stairs two at time and then kicked in the first door she saw, darting inside the room. It looked to be some sort of a sacrifice chamber, with an altar on the far wall and grooves in the floor to let liquid flow everywhere. Ducking behind a pillar, she gripped her pistols tightly and tried to calm her racing heart. (I've battling him all up the tower… where is he getting the energy! And I hope Tash hurries… I know I can beat him, but I'm tired from climbing the tower and this guy's possessiveness is seriously starting to frighten me…)

She panted hard, sweat plastering her bangs to the side of her face and her corset to her skin. While she had learned that her new body let her control what she looked like to a degree and regenerated her wounds, she couldn't bring back the energy that she was expending to do so. And Edward seemed as fresh as ever.

Then the floor in the center of the room exploded upwards and she jumped away and behind the pillar Edward clambered up through the hole he just made. While he still had the gauntlets and greaves of Beowulf on, he had ditched the twin swords and now wielded what appeared to be a demonic black-and-violet guitar that crackled with electricity. "Found you!"

"You found this, too!" Phoenixia fired as fast as her guns would let her, the bullets tearing chips of stone free, as Edward played a few notes on the guitar, a wave of sound and electricity deflecting the projectiles away and forcing Phoenixia to leap away as it ripped through the space she had been and gouged a jagged hole in the wall, letting in the chill wind and slanting rain outside.

Tumbling across the floor, she rolled to one knee and threw her pistols in a cross above her head, as a curved blade snapped from the neck of the guitar and he swung it down at her, their weapons grinding together as the blade hovered dangerously close to her neck and then she rolled onto her back, both pulling the blade into the stone above her head while at the same time drawing him closer.

Her foot slammed across his face, then her heel did the same thing, forcing Edward to relinquish his weapon and stumble backwards, spitting out several teeth. Phoenixia spun to her feet and charged, smashing her fist into his gut and grabbing the back of his head as he doubled over and ramming her knee into his face. But he straightened faster than she thought possible, despite bleeding heavily from his nose and caught her punch with his gauntleted hand, the woman crying out in pain as the metal bit into her flesh and he punched her in the stomach, unleashing a blast of power that hurtled her through a pillar and into the wall, where she dropped to the floor with a moan of sharp pain.

"I don't know why you don't remember and why you say all those things love…it makes me angry when you say them and then I have to do this to you." Edward advanced on her, clenching his fists. "But if I have to hurt you to make you understand that I love you and you love me, then so be it!" Then he staggered as bullets tore into his leg.

Phoenixia glared at him, having risen to a crouching position. "You have sick definition of love, you freak!" She whipped one of her pistols at him and smashed into his forehead, sending him reeling even as the gunslinger whipped out her shotgun and pumped a pair of blasts into him, knocking him back.

Then she leapt after him, cracking him across the face with butt her weapon, which snapped his head to one side and then she snapped it back to the other side by pistol-whipping him with the barrel. Then she kicked him away and fired a dozen shots from her remaining pistol, all of them aimed straight towards his vitals.

But Edward shielded himself with the gauntlets and greaves, the bullets ricocheting away and he kicked off the wall he was about to slam into, launching himself at Phoenix and he slammed into her bodily, crashing her against the wall and he pinned there her with an arm across her throat and punched her across the face. "Stop fighting back! Just give into our love already!"

Phoenixia spat blood on his face. "Go! To! Hell!" Then she unloaded a shotgun blast into his gut again, throwing him of her, but he regained him rapidly, skidding back across the floor and then kicking an entire pillar her.

Eyes widening as the massive chunk of stone hurtled towards her, Phoenixia's hand slapped the Scene Transition attached to her belt and prayed it worked right.


A second later, she found herself literally running up the out wall of Temen-Ni-Gru, rain pelting her in the face. She blinked and the Scene Transition caught up to her. Because the pillar was too large to shoot out of the way or destroy, she had blasted the hole Edward had opened up previously wider with her shotgun and dove out of it, firing the cable attachment and swinging herself up and around onto the tower's outer wall, where she had broken out into a dead in hopes making it to the top and tricking Edward that she had fallen to the streets below.

The trick had obviously failed, as a lance of lighting seared over her head and she risked a glance backwards to find Edward had reclaimed the demon guitar and it had somehow given him wings and he was now playing rapidly, more bolts of lightning leaping from the weapon's tip.

Growling in frustration, Phoenixia heard a screeching sound and glanced up to see a flock of blood-red demonic birds easily the size she was with green-diadems in their wings soaring down at her. (This may work…)

As the first bird swooped past her, she kicked away from the tower and flipped back, landing on the demon bird's back. Without wasting a split second, she leapt from bird to bird, higher and higher as she kicked them down towards Edward. Once she had vaulted off the last bird, she turned so that she was facing the ground and fired, her bullets striking the birds and as they screeched in pain and tumbled down, they impaled themselves on Edward's guitar.

Phoenixia holstered both pistols and yanked out her sniper rifle, slinging her shotgun free and slamming it into place beneath the rifle, the two weapons snapping together, then she did the same for her pistols, snapping them into place on either side of the combined larger gun. Grinning, she grabbed the combined gun's barrel and aimed down at the mass of demons and Edward. "This is Incandescent Silverreign! A gift from me to you, so why don't you choke on it, you bastard!"

Then she pulled the trigger and the weapon's kick halted the momentum gravity had given her and actually shoved her upwards as a massive energy blast leapt from the gun, a meter-wide beam that slammed into Edward and the bird demons, rocketing them down towards the ground.

As Phoenixia watched them vanish beneath the layer of clouds, she wondered if her blast or gravity would kill Edward first… then cloud cover tore apart as a form burst through, a blur as then zipped up to her level, grabbing her by the throat faster than Phoenixia's impressive reflexes could even see, let alone react to.

The blur flew up to the top of Temen-Ni-Gru and threw her across the stone surface and she bounced and skidded across the rain-soaked stone, smashing to a halt against one of the statues that ringed the top. "Damnit…"

Then the stone shook slightly as the figure landed right in front her and she gasped. "Edward!"

"That's right…" Edward's voice was now a syllable hiss, his handsome face twisted and distorted by shining scales and his eyes a sharp red color. Bony protrusions extended from his forehead, elbows and knees while great leathery wings extended from his back and claws decorated his feet and hands. "The power of the protagonists of this fandom… Devil Trigger… the power to tap into demonic blood and gain incredible power… I have it as well…"

"Not for long, you don't!" The ex-hologram swung Incandescent Silverreign in line with his face, but he batted it away with ease and then grabbed her wrists, pinning them painfully above her head with one hand. "Erk…"

"You cannot escape, Phoenixia, my love… You're real now… you've never had it like this…" Edward trailed a claw down her cheek and Phoenixia flinched from the caress. "And we will be together… right here, right now…" His hot breath tickled her ear as he leaned close to her. "And you will be mine…"

"No… don't…" The words slipped past her lips and Phoenixia suddenly felt like a small child, helpless and powerless. "Please…"

"Don't worry, love. I'll treat you right…" Edward whispered and the woman shivered violently, as the lust in his words and the demonic look of his face made those supposedly sweet words seem like nothing more than a death sentence.

Phoenixia felt a whimper escape her face and fear washed over her, a tight suffocating fear that felt like she was trapped underwater with pressure from all sides and she could feel every drop of the rain hitting her like a little pinprick. Her gun was out of her reach and Edward was obviously stronger than she was and anything she could from her current position would be ineffective. She was helpless. Panic clawed at her, trying to make her move or fight back or do something to stop him, but the fear kept her paralyzed and she clamped her lips shut, desperately trying not to scream as his clawed hand shredded the top part of her Battle Dress off and got to work on the corset underneath. She felt tears well up in her eyes and she wished so hard for this to be a bad dream…

"Hands off, you piece of shit!" Then a flaming blur slammed into Edward and blew him off Phoenixia and off the far edge of the roof's edge. The blur arced back and landed easily in front of Phoenixia. "Now come back up here so I can burn you into a little pile of ash, you sick son of a bitch!"

"Tash?" Phoenixia scrambled to her feet and found, for one of the few times her long life, that she desperately wanted to preserve her modesty and crossed a arm in front her chest to hold what was left of the top part of the Battle Dress together. Thankfully, Edward hadn't done anything to the corset save poke a few holes in it before Tash knocked him away. "How did you find us?"

"I saw the light show after you shot him." Tash replied, not really looking at the other woman. Her eyes were ablaze, nearly literally so, with an intensity Phoenixia had not seen since Tash had fought Willowe and the rain hissed as it turned to steam a few centimeters before it could touch the British woman, so intense was the heat around her. "I found the book and decided to help you out. Now I'm glad I did."

Before Phoenixia could reply, there was a roar and Edward shot up into view, soaring up above the tower and the two women. "You! How dare you interfere in our love!"

"Shut it, bastard!" Nephthys roared to flaming life in Tash's hands and her burning wings stretched out to their fullest. "Just shut it! Just hearing you talk makes me sick!"

"I'll kill you!" Edward roared back and energies gathered around his fists.

"Try it! I'd love to cut your head off!" Tash gripped her weapon badly, but then her head flicked to the side as she sensed motion. "Phoenixia?"

The ex-hologram dashed across the roof and slid feet first across the watery surface, snagging Incandescent Silverreign from where it lay and then she slid right off the rooftop's edge. "Phoenixia! No!"

Then there was an explosion of light and a form soared up into view. It was angelic, to put it bluntly, with a body covered in soft white feathers that glowed slightly with light and a pair of great wings that beat slowly to keep the new person even with Edward in height. Their face was a blank mask of blacksave for two sharp, burning violet orbs of light. In their hands, they held Incandescent Silverreign, but the weapon was etched with runes and little tendrils of energy would arc across it occasionally.

"Phoenixia…" As she watched the two Devil Triggered beings circle each other, Tash realized that the older woman must have palmed the Oneshot the Leader was carrying on her and taken it.

"You're beautiful!" Edward crowed and smiled happily, loving. "More so than I could have ever imagined! Oh, my love, we shall-"

Then he was silenced as a blast of white light slammed into him…and then again…and again and again and again, sending him tumbling, twisting and spiraling until he vanished into a cloud of the light as Phoenixia fired kept her finger on the trigger.

Then he tumbled out of it, bleeding and scorched. "Why…? Why, love…are you doing this to me…" Phoenixia blurred in front of him and backhanded him, sending him reeling away before she blurred in front of him again and smashed her fist into his arm and there was sound like sleet on glass as all the bones in it shattered at once. "ARRGGHHHHHH!"

The Stu vainly tried to fight back against the onslaught, but he was completely and utterly helpless as Phoenixia pounded and blasted him over and over again, before simply blasting off one of his wings with a shot from her weapon.

As he began to fall towards the ground, trailing blood like streamers, he was still conscious enough see the angelic Agent keep pace with him, her merciless violet eyes boring him and then he felt a twinge of pain and he vaguely realized that she had just ripped his lower half off at the waist. "Love…"

Her hand shot out and grabbed his throat and leveled Incandescent Silverreign at his face. "Love… why? Why? I… I love…"

Then she pulled the trigger and a blaze of light lit up the darkened, cloudy sky.


Several hours later, Tash was awakened by a repeated knocking on her door. Muttering about the indecency of the hour and how the Americans should really switch to proper British time, she slid out of bed and into her slippers, flicking on the beside lamp as the pounding on the door continued. "Alright, alright! I'm coming! Just a minute!"

Tash crossed the room and opened the door, only slightly surprised to see Phoenixia standing there and for once, dressed in a decent nightgown and looking very distraught. The two women stared at one another and then Phoenixia threw arms around Tash and hugged her tightly, bawling into her shoulder.

"Shhh. It's okay, hon." The British women rubbed her back soothingly and guided them to her bed after shutting the door. "Just let it out. Don't hold it back."

Phoenixia just sobbed harder and buried her face into Tash's shoulder as the Leader cuddled her and rocked gently back and forth, stroking her hair. After they had gotten from the Devil May Cry Fandom, Phoenixia had stormed off without a world and vanished into parts of the Library unknown. Val and Tash had tried to find her, but were unsuccessful. So Tash had filed the new book into the Library's system and prepared for bed, trying to shed her unease about her friend.

Finally, after several long minutes, the violet-haired woman managed to stem the flow of tears and sobs and just cuddled against Tash, breathing raggedly as she tried to regain her composure. "I'm…I'm sorry for bothering you so late-late at night. I just-just…"

"It's okay, hon. I don't mind." Tash stroked Phoenixia's hair soothingly and smiled a tiny bit. "I am- and everyone else in the Society- is here for you when you need us, you know that."

"I know… I just…" The older woman blinked away at the remnants of her tears. "I mean, it's not the first time something like that has happened… I've been infected by some nasty viruses and a few times, when out on missions with Adrian, I was trapped in some kind of computer, with nothing but my own thoughts for company… I was so utterly terrified… but today… today… was so much more real and I felt... felt… so fucking helpless…" She choked out a sob. "If you hadn't of been there…"

"No. Don't dwell that, Phoenixia. "Tash pressed a fingertip to her lips. "Don't. That's a dark place you don't want to go. It could have happened, but it didn't and the person who tried can't hurt you anymore."

"I know." Phoenixia nodded against Tash. "I think I'll be okay… I know a few counselors I can go to if I have to and I have my coping strategies with the other times thing like this happened… I just… don't want to be alone for awhile and I want to know I'm loved and that even thought I feel like garbage, I'm not…"

"No, you're not garbage. You're Phoenixia, a wonderfully sexy and gorgeous woman who one of my best friends and an incredible member of the Society who has a touch of wisdom that I don't think I'll ever come close to reaching…" Tash kissed Phoenixia's head softly and managed a grin. 'And you're also the women who can't hold her liquor, even after just half a glass of cider."

Phoenixia had the dignity to look properly mortified. "How did you find about that! Jess swore she'd never tell!"

Tash giggled a couple of times. "You're not the only one with access to the Library cameras. And it was rather amusing to see you sing 'John-Jacob-Jinglehiemer-Schmit' and do a strip tease to it while atop the table."

"Oh god…" Phoenixia felt her face burning red, but managed a smirk all the same. "Well, I do remember after that, Jess and I had got some metal members into the Den of Sin… did you watch that part, too?"

Now it was Tash's turn to look mortified. "W-well, I mean, I really prefer reading that kind of thing, activate imagination and all…" She blushed hard. "Well, maybe just a tiny bit…"

"Hehehehe…" Phoenixia chuckled. "I know you well enough, Natasha. I know where you like to be rubbed and touched and kissed and what you like when you're… ahhh..frustrated… and just where you like Adrian's fluffy tail."

Tash's cheeks were now aflame and she glanced down at the floor to try and hide her embarrassment. "Well, after that night, I can tell you I definitely never regretted casting that spell on him."

"I don't think he regretted it, either, once he learned how pleasurable ear rubs could be." Phoenixia tucked a strand behind her ear, Tash noting that it was now a sapphire-blue now, and shifted guiltily a bit. "You know… I came here tonight looking for Adrian… I kinda forgot he was gone... I just wanted to be held by him…"

"I know how you feel. When he held me, I felt nothing could ever hurt me and his strength flowed into him." Tash smiled at the memories their conversation was pulling up. "Listening to his heartbeat was the most soothing in the world… almost as good as hearing him purr while he slept…"

"Yeah… he always knew just what to say or do to cheer you up or make you feel safe. And if he didn't know, he went and found somebody who did… he wasn't the best on social graces, but he was honest and pure in his intentions, even when he wasn't quite sure how to handle things." Phoenixia smiled as well. "He was the best, in a lot of ways… and what he wasn't the best at, he tried anyway… made you feel so special, just by talking…"

"Yeah.." Tash blinked and then suddenly yawned long and hard and then grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, I'm still really tired…"

"That's okay, I should be sleeping, too." Phoenixia tugged at strand of her. "Umm… do you mind if I sleep here with you? I don't want to be alone tonight… or for the next several nights, in fact."

"Sure, hon." Tash smiled. "Just so long as you keep your hands to yourself."

Phoenixia gave a wry smile. "Trust me, that's the last thing on my mind tonight, Tashy." She crawled under the covers as Tash flicked off the bedside lamp and did the same. "Tomorrow morning, however, might be a different story…"

Tash chuckled. "We'll see..just remember, I tend to have the urge to light things on fire in the morning."

The two women snuggled under the covers as they slept and after nearly a minute, Tash smiled slightly as she felt Phoenixia press herself closer to the British girl with a sigh of contentment.


"Aww… they're so adorable…"

"Did you think they did anything?"

"Of course not! After what happened, that'd be the last thing on their minds. It was a comfort thing. And besides, Tash doesn't swing that way unless Adrian is present."

"….how do you know that…?"

"Girl talk when you guys aren't around."

"You think we should leave them alone?" A new voice.

"Yeah… after we take pictures!"

The excited whispers stirred Phoenixia out of her slumber and she blinked awake groggily, sitting up and rubbing her eyes. "Huh? Who's there?"

"Just your friendly neighborhood wake-up party!" Michael grinned as he, Claire and Miriku were holding out their cell phones and snapping photos of the two women. "Also, we want blackmail material on Tash so we can get a group vacation soon."

"Oh, well, in that case, why don't you take a picture of this." Phoenixia smirked and let the covers drop, revealing that she was completely topless. "And I think it's chilly this morning… but Tash and I kept it warm last night…."

"GAHHHH!" Michael and Miri burned bright red and Michael was suddenly sporting a nosebleed as he dashed down the hallway, screaming as Claire and Miri chased after him. "MY BRAIN! MY BRAIN! SOMEBODY GET MY BRAIN SOME BLEACH! I HAVE IMAGINED THINGS I CANNOT UN-IMAGINE!"

"I was just going to blast them with fire, but that was more amusing." Tash rolled over slightly, revealing she had been awake the entire time and struggling not to break out into a grin. "And how'd you get undressed so fast? You were wearing your nightgown when you sat up to talk to them."

"Never underestimate the powers of a many-centuries old woman…" Phoenixia grinned and then leapt out bed, dashing for the bathroom door with Tash barely a split second behind. "Along that vein… the shower is mine!"

"Oh no you don't!" Tash scowled as the older women beat her into the bathroom and slammed the door shut, locking it with a 'click!' "Dang it, Phoenixia! This is my bathroom! And I outrank you!"

"Can't really here you! Shower's too loud!"

"The water's not even on!"

"It is now!" There was a sound of the water being turned on. "Hey, Tash, you're kinda low on Lush products, you're gonna have to pick some more up today!"

"Hey! Those are mine! I bought them! Go get your own!"

There came the sound of singing. "Yankee-Doodle went to town, riding on a pon-eeee…."

"Don't make me burn down the door! You know I will!" Tash banged on the door futilely.

"Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroniiii…"

"Are you listening to me!"

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