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“So what are you going to do now, Yukio Okumura?”

Right now, he really didn’t know.

Human bodies lay on the damp, mucky ground, fresh smelling of gore and decay. Yukio stood in the middle of it all, not a living being in sight besides himself and the demon across speaking to him, asking questions about things he doesn’t know yet. Like what he’s going to do next, after all this.

Well, he already knew in a way. Considering the cruel nature of his contract, there was only one thing left to do. But he didn’t want to do it again. He’s seen enough already in the past hundreds of timelines he’s had to relive with no end to it all.

He didn’t want to feel the agony of waking up, drowsy and teary-eyed in a cold sweat below his brother yet again. Can he even call him a brother at this point? He’s had to shoot him so much it doesn’t feel like it anymore. Actually, that goes for most people he used to know (somewhat) well in the past.

He felt like he was suffocating from the heat in the lab coat he was wearing. The long, thick coat made Yukio feel like he was choking. Despite the frigid temperature penetrating the world at the moment, the clothing he wore left him feeling clammy and exhausted. Great.

The metallic, grimey smell of blood and ash mixing wasn’t doing much to help either. The stench crawled into his nose and made him not only feel like he was choking, but also nauseous and light-headed. The lingering glow of twilight and the scent of petrichor left Yukio feeling tired, despite the cold sweat his burly clothing and the bitter chill left him in.

The demon heart on his hand was pulsating between a dirty indigo and darkness. He knew he should hurry up and just spin the shield already, but he wanted to take a breath for a minute before feeling the salty tears and sense of confused terror rush out of his eye(s) and into the next timeline.

“When are you going to reset? It’s already past your usual time.” Mephisto broke the silence, not waiting any longer for an answer. He looked forward at the unpredictable figure in front of him.

“Give me a moment.” Yukio grunted out.

He fidgeted with the eyepatch covering his left eye, masking the destructive satanic power that hasn’t been unleashed since early on after he contracted. Looking back on it, trying to shoot yourself even after it’s been attempted before (and failed very, very horribly) was not a good idea.

Taking off his glasses, he looked through the cracked lense on the left and the smokey, sweat covered glass on the right. Gently wiping some of the mess off with his sleeve, he put them back on and took a breath.

Yukio shifted his body to turn towards the legions of bodies littering the drenched and grubby ground. He recognized many, though most didn’t ache him as much as the group behind him, lying in states of disarray.

Yukio trudged toward the group, their smiling faces in his memory contrasting strongly to what was in his line of vision. He gazed down at them, the heavy feelings of regret and disappointment in himself rising rapidly in his chest and threatening to burst out.

Mephisto looked on at Yukio with a gaze of uncertainty and a subtle excitement of what the boy would do.

Yukio simply ignored the feeling of being watched (as Mephisto wouldn’t be able to do anything) and continued on.

He crouched down to look at two specific bodies that lay next to each other, his boots squeaking on the damp, ash stained grass. The blonde hair of the body on the right was grimey, chock full of dirt and grass. Its once bright, vibrant color was stained partially with patches of dirty gray dust and soot.

Yukio couldn’t stand to see it anymore and moved to look at the body on the left, the one he knew would torment him the most to see.

The body was spotted with blood that wasn’t his own (Yukio would know) in addition to the grime and dirt most of the bodies on the ground sported. The tough, long black jacket on the body was ripped all over and also stained with blood and ash. The once dark blue hair was now a messy white that somehow remained brighter than most of the colors in the area despite dirt, ash, and dry blood staining it.

A sword laid next to the body, torn in two and much duller than it once was. The sword was splattered with blood and other substances.

Yukio forced the sorrow and regret back down into his chest, knowing it would only make the upcoming reset worse than it already will be. He knew he shouldn’t be looking at this, he should’ve just spun the damn shield before and gotten it over with, started the farce of the next timeline already. But he wanted some time to breathe before the stress and torture returned for Yukio to relive it all.

Deciding he couldn’t look anymore, Yukio got up from crouching on the ground, straining his eyes to keep the salty tears from falling out and burning his dry face. Adjusting the glasses on his face, he clenched his left fist and moved his shield out in front of him.

Mephisto turned his view towards the boy.

“Ready to go, are you?” He spoke, his voice full of enthusiasm and eagerness.

Yukio didn’t reply, opting instead to simply touch his shield with his other hand, the protective lids opening up to reveal the inner workings of the shield.

The shield rotated clockwise and time was gone in a flash.

Yukio woke in a cold sweat, tears rolling furiously down his cheeks and face blood red. He sat up quickly, noticing the early time and premature darkness outside. Yukio swept away the salty, stinging tears and dried his face with his blanket before getting up.

He put on his glasses and prepared for another loop, pushing down the grief and misery from the last timeline and replacing it with a strong feeling of determination: to save Shiemi, Rin, and all of the other people he wasn’t able to save before, no matter how many loops it takes.