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How She Fell

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When goddesses fall from heaven, they fall like the angels who rule the world— and sometimes, they're much lovelier, much stronger when they fall. 

Elizabeth considered herself to be one such goddess--like the Morning Star, she was stronger during the flight from Heaven than she'd ever been. Even if her wings were to vanish and her blood to thin, her sight was clearer than it had ever been, her heart braver, her blade sharper, her magic more powerful, and it was all because of him.

Meliodas. He'd left his position as the heir to the Demon King, the leader of the Ten Commandments...for her (well, technically they'd both fallen for each other) They'd gathered a group of followers who sought not to win the war, but to simply end it. Everything had seemed perfect—the demons were going to back down, the Clans would create a lasting peace, a treaty would be formed for inter-species cooperation.

Of course, perfect never seemed to last, and here they were now, fighting against the Supreme Deity and the Demon King themselves (if she could even call it fighting). They were being completely destroyed, ruined, annihilated, every move they made countered and every attack they tried to deflect shattered their defenses with catastrophic power.

Elizabeth spread her wings, light glowing in her hands as Meliodas lunged for his father with a wordless battle cry. The Ark magic rocketed towards the Deity, who batted it away with a roll of her white, pupil-less eyes. "Traitor Elizabeth," she rumbled. "I am truly sorry about what I must now do."

"You...don't...sound sorry," she spat, staggering to her feet. Her eyes widened as Meliodas was thrown back with a shout of pain. She lunged for him, letting out a gasp as the air was knocked out of her by his body. They both fell to the ground, quickly pushing themselves back to their feet. The fight was hopeless, but that was no reason to give up. We've come too far now. I promised him that I'd fight the gods themselves to protect him, and that's what I plan to do. Even if I die in the attempt.

"Sorry," he whispered to her, eyes flickering between black and green as his power waned. Despite their situation, she managed a tiny smile. Now that's an apology.

"You force our hand, stubborn brats," the Demon King growled, his voice like a knife scraping over bone. He and the Queen raised their hands as one, and Meliodas intertwined his hand with hers, shooting her a glance.

"I love you," he whispered.

"Always," she replied.

And the world fell apart around them. 

-----

Emptiness.

Ice. Fire.

Light. Darkness.

Agony.

And Elizabeth's eyes opened once more.

The goddess jolted up with a gasp, wrapping her wings around her body. I'm...alive? How am I alive? The Queen, the King—they killed us. We should be dead. Or is this the afterlife? She gazed up at the sky for a moment—it was shining, the golden light illuminating the complete destruction that surrounded her...and the huddled shape of a body next to her.

No. With shaking hands, she reached for him, her eyes filling with tears as her breath hitched in her lungs. Her healing magic pooled in her fingertips as she gathered him into her lap, a sob escaping as she curled around his cold body. "No...please, no, not him....not him..." Her words dissolved in her mouth and a scream escaped as she wrapped her arms tightly around him, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Even goddess magic couldn't revive the dead, no matter what the rumors said.

Elizabeth heard her sobs and screams as if from a great distance, head buried in the shoulder of the demon she loved. The sun shone on relentlessly, beaming and bright, and her fist slammed into the ground over and over as she wept over the body of a blond-haired man with a shining smile and a soul that was brighter than the stars. Gone. All gone.

When Meliodas died, why didn't the world die with him?

---

Elizabeth learned later that the Holy War had ended while she was unconscious, the demons sealed away and the goddesses severely weakened. She was the only one remaining, the last goddess standing (a cruel irony after everything that had happened). The other races had split up, the remnants of old alliances lingering in the cordial interactions with each other, but their hatred remaining just underneath the surface. In that, they had failed.

She and Meliodas had failed. After all she'd lost, all they'd been through, it hadn't been enough.

The next hundred years passed agonizingly slowly. Elizabeth became a wanderer, known to all races as a ghost of the past, one of the few survivors of the Holy War. Empires were rebuilt, kingdoms sprang up, and heroes and villains were born and slain,  while she remained, never aging a day. She watched it all as if from afar, her former passion for the mortal races now nothing but an ember of its former fury. What did it matter, all she'd accomplished, if the one she loved wasn't there to share it with her?

Until he was.

Elizabeth spotted him from only a few yards away. Her breath caught in her throat as she gazed at him. No...is it you?

He looked the same as ever—not exactly the same, but frighteningly similar. His hair was a slightly darker shade, and longer than before (and was he taller?), but his eyes were the same color, one covered by his bangs. The two strands she'd always tried to tame during the rare days of peace still stuck up, a curious look on his face. He was clad in animal pelts, all scuffed up and scratched (some sort of barbarian?), but this was still her Meliodas.

"Meliodas," she breathed, and rushed towards him, enveloping him in a hug as tears started to spill down her cheeks. He's alive...he's alive he's alive he's alive! She couldn't believe it, couldn't wait to hear his voice....

Elizabeth yelped in shock as she was suddenly shoved back, staggering a few steps as her wings shifted beneath her cloak. She peered down at Meliodas in astonishment as his green eyes met hers, confused and hostile. He doesn't...remember me? No...of course he wouldn't. Bitterness tugged at her heart and she winced. That's why he looks different, he's been reincarnated, not revived. Not like me. "My apologies," she offered in the common tongue. "You looked like someone I knew well..." More than well. "Someone I miss very much." Because he is my heart, and he is missing from me.

"Miss?" he repeated. His voice was a little rougher, a little quieter than she remembered, but still much the same. "I...am sorry." He shook his head quickly, dark blond strands quivering. "I have not...seen other people aside from my tribe in a very long time. I do not speak the common tongue well." He gave a grim smile uncharacteristic of her lover—more proof that this was a different person. "I learned from listening to traders. Come...come inside?" He gestured to a cave nearby, and Elizabeth glanced thoughtfully at it, then at him. "You look like you've been walking for a long time, and you could use the rest." His words grew less halting as he spoke, and a slightly more easy smile crossed his face, lighting it up.

You have no idea. But she smiled, dipping her head. "That would be nice."

The days sped by once more. They became friends, the human and the goddess, and then more. A year passed before Meliodas (his name was the same somehow, though his fellow tribesmen called him Meli, for some bizarre reason) reawakened his demonic power. She had been terrified that she'd have to fight him when he mentioned his right eye aching, but that didn't happen. Just like the Meliodas she'd known all those years ago, he controlled his power and the permanently darkened eye, using the dark magic to defend his tribe. This only confirmed that he was her Meliodas reborn, and if possible, she loved him even more. Even if he was mortal, surely she could die with him this time. Overcome with joy, she told him everything...and he remember, grasping his head in pain as years of memories converged bit by bit.

And bit by bit, his left eye darkened too, demonic power strengthening within him. Elizabeth could sense the unlocked magic writhing within him, and was amazed by how much control he retained. Just as she had been all those years ago...just as she would be for many ages to come.

One day while she was carving a new bow (she'd become fond of the weapons of humans; they were more efficient than the fancy broadswords and pure magic the goddesses had favored), he came up to her, black eyes wide and serious. "Elizabeth," he whispered, and she whipped around to face him, wings opening. "I....I remembered everything..."

Her eyes brightened and she dropped the bow. "That's...that's amazing! Finally—"

"Listen!"

She stilled, frozen by the intensity of his gaze.

"We've been cursed."

Those words were uttered with a sense of finality that tore at her heart, and they made so much sense...too much sense. "Cursed by the gods?" she whispered, kneeling beside him. "Back then? But what...how, why---"

"I'll tell you, but I need you to promise me something." Meliodas's voice was deadly serious.

"Anything," she vowed, and she meant it.

His eyes met hers, suddenly shining green again. "No matter what happens...even if I die, you'll break this curse."

"Even if—"

"Promise me!"

Elizabeth hesitated, before bowing her head. "I promise. I'll keep this promise to you even if you..." her voice broke. "Even if you should die."

He relaxed visibly, blinking away sudden tears. "Thank you." Meliodas gave her hand a gentle squeeze. "Then I'll tell you."

Meliodas died three days later, and Elizabeth finally understood the truth of the curse. She was trapped in eternal life, doomed to watch the one she love die over and over without aging a day, unable to pass on. He was trapped in eternal death, doomed to return and walk the earth with no memory of who he truly was, and would die three days after regaining those memories.

Elizabeth buried him atop the cliff where they'd first met, ignoring the tears streaming down her cheeks as she kissed the grave marker, before walking away, a wanderer again.

Barely six months later, she helped a woman in a small town and locked eyes with her toddler son—and fought back a sob. Green eyes, bright and curious, met hers once more.

Every time they'd meet, Meliodas would inevitably fall in love with Elizabeth and learn of their true identities...and he would die in front of her, over and over and over.

Isn't Fate artistic?

-----

Three thousand years and one hundred and five Meliodas reincarnations passed.

Elizabeth changed with every death. Every time Meliodas died, she grew stronger, angrier, and locked that anger away. She became more raucous and outspoken, challenging knights to duels and beating them. She went from a passive wanderer to a warrior of justice, her empathy returning after the second death. She never forgot a single face from her opponents nor from her lover's many forms, never healed, never closed the thousand-year-old-wound in her heart, but the pain became....endurable.

The goddess had learned to bear what was unbearable, and to turn her rage and hopelessness into power. She became a Holy Knight of the kingdom of Danafor not long after watching Meliodas's one-hundred-and-fifth form die, and rose quickly to Grand Master—the first female to hold the position.

Elizabeth came to love Danafor and all of its people. The kingdom was warmer and kinder than she'd thought most humans had the capacity to be, and she was so, so proud to serve as their Grand Master. She might have never used a sword—the hilt she wielded was more than enough—but she was powerful enough without one.

She hoped—prayed, something she hadn't done in a very long time—that her curse wouldn't affect the kingdom she protected, the people she cared so much more. Alas (of course), it was not to be.

She had served as Grand Master for seven years when she saw him again—a slave enlisted into the enemy's army, fighting with the same reckless abandon she remembered so well. His hair was red, and longer than his last form's had been, but the same two strands poked up—and though one eye was (as always) covered, the other was a familiar emerald.

Elizabeth ended the battle swiftly. Meliodas—or Lio, apparently—was brought back as a prisoner and then freed. This reincarnation was sharper, a little more quick to anger than she remembered, but the protectiveness and warmth she loved so much were still there. Time passed, he fell in love with her (she had never stopped loving him), and she wondered if maybe, just maybe, the curse would end this time.

It didn't.

It never would.

----

Destruction reigned again, but this time at the hands of Elizabeth herself.

Danafor...gone. Destroyed, because of the arcane anger of a goddess---well, she wasn't a goddess anymore. The darkness that had been birthed within her when first she sinned had finally swamped her with this last great transformation, her blood turning to ichor and her light to shadow. All because of wrath. 

Her wrath. 

One child was spared among the millions she had slain—Meliodas's one-hundred-and-seventh reincarnation, who looked frighteningly similar to the original.

She walked slowly through the wastelands, clutching the baby to her chest as tears continued to fall down her cheeks. Her wings, which had never sustained a single speck of dirt, a sign that she was surely free of true, deep, transformative sin, were now as black as a raven's. A fallen angel walks the earth forever... It had the ring of a prophecy to it.

"There! I see someone!"

She stiffened, glancing down at Meliodas's sleeping face. The baby stirred in her arms, opening his green eyes with a cooing noise. A choked laugh escaped her. Of the demon and the goddess, which of us is the sinner here?

Later, she would demand a position as a Holy Knight of the Kingdom of Liones, defeating their Grand Master with ease. She would hear a true prophecy, one that named  her as the leader of the most powerful Knights in the world, destined to defeat the Ten Commandments once and for all.

But for now, she smacked away Zaratras's hand and spread her night-black wings, pulling the wide-eyed Meliodas close to her as she snarls out five broken words: "Don't you dare touch my man."

----

The Seven Deadly Sins.

To this day, Elizabeth can remember when she first set out to look for them. Meliodas, who had been adopted by King Bartra, had watched her go with teary green eyes, his older sisters comforting him as she smiled, waved, and took off into the sunlight. He was barely three years old, a one thousandth of her own age.

For once, though, Elizabeth didn't fear for him. She had missed him, of course, but somewhere within her heart, she knew that he would be alright. After all, he wasn't alone any longer. For the first time in three thousand years, he had siblings, friends, playmates, and a father and mother who could always be there in ways she couldn't.

It had taken her a year and a half to round them all up—the giant with a heart of gold, the immortal thief with an astounding conscience, the faerie king whose kindness was immeasurable, the warlock who'd been a little sister to her all those years ago, the doll who'd lost his emotions somewhere along the way, and the cursed warrior whose courage was as great as his pride. They stood before Bartra now, silent for once as the king stepped towards them. The crowd of people in the courtyard murmured and whispered as he halted before the giantess, and gasped as she knelt, bowing her head so that he could reach her. Elizabeth felt a stirring of pride in her friend.

"Diane of the Giant Clan—" the king's voice was rumbling, but quiet, and the world seemed to stop to listen— "do you swear to follow the orders of your Captain, to do what you believe is right, and to follow the Knight's Code?"

"I swear," Diane answered solemnly.

The king nodded. "Then by the powers of the goddesses—" Elizabeth fought back a derisive snort; those fools had no power, not anymore— "I strip away your old name. You are now Diane the Serpent Sin, member of the Seven Deadly Sins and a Holy Knight of Liones." The goddess watched as a serpent symbol burned itself into her friend's skin, smiling at the sudden glow in Diane's eyes as she straightened.

The ceremony was repeated, over and over and over. Sin of Envy, Sin of Greed, Sin of Sloth, Sin of Gluttony, Sin of Lust, Sin of Pride, leaving her own great sin remaining. She dropped her cloak, revealing inky-black wings, and knelt before King Bartra. Her eyes flicked towards the four-year-old Meliodas and she grinned. The child smiled back, revealing a gap where a tooth had fallen out.

For once, she can watch him grow up happily, far away from the war she'd been fighting for three thousand years. And that's more than enough, for now.

"I swear," she vowed in response to the oath, and a sad smile crossed Bartra's face.

"Then I strip you of your old name. You are not longer Elizabeth the Fallen of the Goddess Clan." Murmurs rose in the crowd at that, but she ignored them. She was all too eager to leave the title of Goddess behind.

"You are now Elizabeth the Dragon's Sin of Wrath, Captain of the Seven Deadly Sins."

The Sin of Wrath felt her arm burn and looked down to see the mark of a beast—a dragon—tattooed into her skin. And she smiled.

Elizabeth the Fallen Goddess was dead.

Captain Elizabeth of the Seven Deadly Sins was finally alive, and close, so tantalizingly close to freedom.