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Painted White like an Angel

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Nero was patient at best, and aggravating at worst.

He could argue that it made him much more 'cute', and that it was endearing, but some days he felt like Credo was getting sick of his shit.
Not that he would ever admit that he could be a little frustrating, but it was much more amusing to watch Credo stutter his way around Nero's irredeemable actions.

 

This morning was no exception. Nero had tangled himself so deeply into Credo that upon looking at them, one couldn't tell where one ended and the other began.
He however, preferred it like this.

 

Credo was always awake early, and when he did, there was no going back to sleep. It was as if as soon as he was awake, his mind was running before his body was even fully ready. Even now, as he laid in the warmth of Nero’s arms and the heavy blankets, his eyes still closed, he thought about work. A cold chill had blown over Fortuna from the north, bringing in an early frost and the troubles that came with it. The icy demons of the north would be migrating south as winter settled in, the equipment in the armory would need to be winter-proofed for the coming season, and longer nights meant working out new patrol schedules.

Credo drew in a long breath, and the scent of Nero’s body and shampoo, and huffed it out in annoyance. He needed to get to work, to go out for his morning training, but Savior’s breath the bed was so warm and Credo was so comfortable.
Nero heard Credo's huff of annoyance, felt the way he stiffened up, and buried his face deeper into Credo's chest without a second thought. His chest hair tickled his nose, and he stifled a sneeze/laugh. Damn him and his ability to grow whatever hair he damned well pleased.
With his demonic claw, he reached up and ran his fingers through his soft, sweet brown tufts of hair. This was a perfect way to start out the day. Now if they could just spend the rest of the day like this, that would be just fine.
He shuddered as he felt the Devil Bringer against his skin, the nails of the claw leaving chilling trails against his skin. Credo ran his palm down Nero’s shoulder, over the bicep of his demonic arm, to his hand to pull his glowing fingers away from Credo’s chest. His fingers intertwined with Nero’s, not even thinking of any meaning behind the gesture. The man shifted, rolling from his side onto his back and pulling Nero half onto him.

He cracked an eye open and saw the dim light of early morning beyond the heavy curtains of his window. He needed to get up. He was expected to get up. His arm around Nero’s shoulders rubbed the younger man’s back.
Nero purred as Credo touched him, failing to keep up the ruse of him being asleep. As each finger tip graced his skin, he felt the sides of his mouth twitch up. He of course, didn't mean to give in to Credo's sweet nothings, but nonetheless, he was stricken by the tender touching.

He yearned for it.

 

Though he'd never actually admit to it.

 

"Good morning." He squeeze the hand he was holding, the glow illuminating their faces along with the early morning light. "Next time we do this, do you think we should be wearing more clothes?" He smirked, before yawning and stretching his free hand out. "Or did you just want to stare at my claw."

 

“It is remarkable,” Credo confessed quietly, opening his eyes more.

His thumb tenderly stroked the blue knuckles, his eyes studying the crimson scales. He huffed at the thought of how much Agnus would annoy him if the scientist discovered how close Credo had gotten to Nero and his…enhancement.
And while Credo was curious as to why Nero had developed this new demonic attribute, he’d rather swallow a hot coal than allow Agnus to tie the young page down and experiment on him. Credo shook his head and held Nero a little tighter with his other arm, closing his eyes.

Protecting Nero was going to become more difficult with the coming winter.
Nero felt Credo stiffen up while pulling him closer, causing him to wonder just what he worried about so often.
Everytime that he came to see him, he always had this knot deep between his shoulders. Something that never seemed to loosen up, even when he spent hours digging into it with his demon hand.

 

He struggled within himself as he witness Credo toy with his demonic scales, his eyes filled with tenderness.
It tasted bitter, he decided. It tasted bitter when he first grew the scales, and it only worsened each time he looked at his new found arm.

 

"It's freakish." His tone attempted to be light, joking, but his eyes told another story. It told the story of how much it bugged him, how much it made him consider removing it.
Permanently.

 

“It’s beautiful.” Credo untangled his hand from the Devil Bringer to cup Nero’s cheek, forcing those sky blue eyes up to meet his own golden gaze. “It’s beautiful,” he repeated, his voice softer than the harsh snap of before. The knight’s eyes wandered Nero’s face; the soft plush of his cheeks to his thin lips. Every time Credo saw Nero, the youth was scowling or had an ugly grimace on his face. Few things seemed to make the page smile. Kyrie, flowers, cats...Occasionally Nero would smile if he looked up and saw Credo, but not always. His gaze traveled down Nero’s neck to his shoulder, following the spider-webbing veins down his arm to the crimson scales and blue flexible shell. His fingertips followed his eyes, tracing those veins, those scales, the light of the Devil Bringer. Credo felt his own power pulse in time with the pulse of the blue light, with the pulse of Nero’s heartbeat.

He felt guilty meeting Nero’s gaze once more, after fawning over what made Nero so unique. “Beautiful.”

Nero's heart fluttered like a small bird trying to free itself from a cage, flighty and slightly afraid. When had Credo ever touched him like this? He couldn't remember. In fact, he couldn't remember the last time that they had been thing close with so little of clothing on. It...felt indescribable.

"Damn Credo." He tried to lamely joke. "You're acting like my wife or something."

Without much of a thought, he took his claw and pushed back Credo's hair, his smile fading. "You're...I guess you could say you're handsome. Yeah. I'll give you that."
He closed his eyes as Nero sat up and ran the claw through his hair. Credo swallowed in a dry throat.

This is forbidden.

The Creed of Sparda condemned a man laying with another man, and yet the only thing he could think about was feeling Nero’s hands, both human and demonic, on his body and feeling the younger man’s skin against his own palms. The knight shook his head and took the glowing claw into his hand once more, cradling Nero’s hand in his fingers.

“We should get up. You have training to get to, and I have work.”

"You have to work. I...am not doing shit today." He watched Credo pulled away from him with a heavy heart, remembering Sparda's Creed.

Man shall not lay with another man.

If he ever met the creator, Lord Sparda, he'd have a couple questions. Particularly why the hell was it so frowned upon for men to lie with men and women with women.
Though with what little he knew of sex, maybe it was for the better.
Some days he wondered, while late on patrol, if Credo had ever had sex.

The dark thoughts made him blush wildly, but he couldn't deny that he thought of Credo's sweet face flushed red while...he did whatever sex really was.

 

"Credo." Nero threw back the blankets, revealing how little he decided to wear to bed, and yawned loudly. "Come here. I'm so cold."
Credo shivered as the blankets were torn away, revealing Nero in just an over sized shirt and the knight in plain cotton pajamas. He cursed under his breath, instinctually curling into Nero for warmth. “You’re only cold because you took away our blankets,” Credo growled, grabbing the blankets and pulling the covers over them once more.

He pulled the blankets over their heads, smothering them what would have been darkness, had it not been for the glow of the Devil Bringer. Credo sighed to himself.

“If you insist on being lazy, then so be it. However, I cannot afford such luxuries. I must get up.”

 

"Well gosh, Credo. I just don't see you getting up." Nero laughed as the covers were pulled over both of them. "It looks like to me that the Great General Credo can't even get his ass out of bed." He leaned over him, setting his demon claw by the side of Credo's head. The glow of his arm illuminated Credo's features. The strong, long nose, the way his hair fanned out beneath him.

 

Nero's lips twitched up into a smile.
He fought the urge to kiss him, fought the urge to press his lips into the slenderness of his neck.
He opted for burying his face into Credo's chest, thonking it off his breastbone.

"Shit." Nero muttered, realizing that was a little harder than he wanted to do. "Sorry."
The knight chuffed quietly, shaking his head as Nero bonked his nose against Credo’s chest. If Nero’s nose hadn’t been sore already, Credo would have flicked it as further punishment for the youth’s foolishness.

“It seems I’ve been defeated by a ridiculous young page,” he grumbled, settling into the mattress further and closing his eyes. “Although there is a danger to me not getting up. Someone is bound to come looking for me, and if I’m not in my office or in the armory, they’ll come here.”
Nero straddled him, lifting his face while using his human hand to scratch at his nose. It was a foolish move, smacking his head like that. Thankfully Credo had been in a better humor today, because he didn't know how he would feel if he had his nose flicked as well as smacked.

 

"Damn. They'll come seen an Officer and General having a damn pillow fight with each other. And what would Lord Sparda say?" He shrugged the covers off his shoulders and threw his arms out. "Behold mortals! Thou shall glance upon me and be not afraid!"
His arms dropped to his sides.

The urge to kiss Credo once more grew.
Credo suddenly had bigger problems on his mind than being caught by a servant or someone in the Order looking for them. He felt as if a spectral hand had grasped him by the throat as Nero mounted his hips.
He didn’t hear the blasphemous words coming out of Nero as he impersonated their Savior. Instead, he heard his own heart pounding as the hem of Nero’s tunic drew upwards when the youth raised his arms. Credo had to tear his gaze away from those strong thighs and the forbidden treasure between them.

Touching Nero’s arm had been innocent.

Resting his hands on those thighs, on the other hand...Credo kept his hands by his head, resisting that sinister temptation.
There was an awkward moment when Nero felt something shift between his warm buttocks and his crotch; with a growing realization he knew that he had given Credo a stiffy.

Oops.

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There were a few options at this point: ignore it and continue to fuck with him, or climb off and act like it never happened, or... Ignore what questionable lines he's been fed most his life...and finally give into the sinister urges to find out just what Credo tasted like.

 

He could hear the thrumming of the voices in his head of: Sin, sinners, forbidden, man shall not lie with man... And decided to drown it out in the actions of kissing Credo, pulling his face towards Nero's. Desperate. Needy. Pulling away a half inch in slight fear and wonder.

Of all these times...
Credo couldn’t believe the kiss was happening until it was already over, until Nero was pulling away with that terrified look in his eyes. Nero was trusting him to say nothing, to break his vow as a knight and keep this secret, to revoke the Order by not reporting the youth for his blasphemous behavior.

 

His lips are sweet.

 

Something stirred inside him, inside his heart and inside his loins. A hunger he couldn’t name, but he could taste.

 

Credo’s arms came around Nero’s body as he shifted his weight, rolling and taking the youth with him. His body laid on Nero’s, between his legs and against his chest, as he kissed Nero in return, pressing his lips to the page’s. More, a voice whispered in the back of his mind.

 

“More,” he whispered against Nero’s lips.

 

Nero cradled the back of Credo's skull with his demon claw as his breathing hitched. Credo's weight pushed against him in such a sweet manner that all he could do is moan and move his hips into it. He often woke up with a hard on, even worse since that he started sleeping with Credo...but now it felt so hard and throbbing that he whined for relief, whined for Credo's hands to be around him.

Anywhere.

 

Everywhere.

 

He would beg for it if necessary!

 

"Please." Nero responded, his human hand working it's way down Credo's back. "Please."

 

The knight nodded and kissed Nero again, breathing heavily through his nose. His hand, free now from the chains of responsibility and chastity, followed the curve of Nero’s body. He felt the page beneath him, felt his muscles under the tunic as his hand ran down Nero’s side to his hip and further down. Credo gasped softly as his palm touched Nero’s bare thigh, giving his leg a gentle squeeze.

 

As Credo drew breath, Nero followed in same. His hands drew down onto Credo's chest, marveling each ripple, each movement that those strengthened muscles. They moved so smoothly underneath his fingertips, and while Credo felt the ghost of a hand on his thigh, he opened his legs to the man, shaking. Shivering. All too much full of want and fear. Primal fear. Someone could walk in at any minute…

 

Credo gave Nero’s lips one more kiss before pulling away.

 

“Stay here,” he whispered, getting up. He got out of bed and walked to the door, locking it with a satisfying click. Having rank suddenly had its perks. Nodding to himself, Credo stalked back to the bed and got on once more. The knight hesitated as he sat on his knees between Nero’s legs. He reached to Nero’s knees, his palms warm and radiating heat as they hovered over the youth’s skin, suddenly unsure.

 

Nero sat up quickly, heart in his throat as he watched Credo work between his legs, mouth not quite working out the words that he wanted to say. He still had a raging hard on, still felt the ungodly urge to mate...but the unease settled in his throat as he watched Credo rake his eyes over his body. God, he felt... judged. Those eyes weren't vicious, not by any means, yet he denied himself the urge to pull forward, to stop.

 

He had begged for this.

 

He had intentiated this.

 

He didn't want to stop.

 

Yet his heart hammered out the feverish beat of fear. The bonds may have fallen off of Credo well, his words may be blasphemy...He didn't know where to go from here.

 

"Kiss me again." His eyes flick from Credo's eyes to his mouth. "Please."

 

His heart raced in his chest as he nodded and kissed Nero's lips once more. Credo kissed him softly, sweetly, slowly, as his hands finally dared to touch Nero. He ran his palms gently over the page's thighs, sliding up under the hem of his long tunic to push the fabric up. The room wasn't cold anymore. Instead it was deliciously cool against Credo's heated skin and body.

His breath was unsteady as his tongue tentatively touched Nero's lips, silently begging for entry.

Nero allowed it, he allowed the hem of his shirt to be lifted, and if Credo wanted much more, he would allow that as well.

 

When his tongue reached into his mouth, his eyes opened as he gripped Credo's arm, flustered beyond belief. He didn't want to pull back.
He couldn't pull back, the headboard prevented him from doing so.

 

Even still.

 

When he could take a breath, he realized his hands were encircling around Credo's hips. Tightly. Though he could trip himself up in anyway, his body knew what he wanted.

 

"Credo. What are we doing."

 

"I don't know," Credo confessed. "All I know is that I want to see your body. I want to feel all of you with all of me. I can't explain it." He looked down, to how high he had hiked up Nero's tunic. "If we do this, Nero...there will be no turning back. If anyone were to learn what we've done, we would be stripped of our ranks, of our place within the Order, and cast out of Fortuna. Or worse. But Sparda, all I can think about is how much I want to kiss you, to taste you, to touch you..."

 

"Credo." Nero's eyes are pleading with mercy, anything to free him. "Credo I was wrong, I was wrong to kiss you please, just...let this go. Let me go. I don't. I don't..."

 

His body betrayed him. Of course it would. His hips hitched up as he gasped between each word, his body flushed from chest to throat. "Sparda damn it you - you -" He turns his face away from his supposed lover. It's a battle, an internal battle of will. Of his feelings.

 

"We should get dressed." But his hand was tangled in Credo's hair, refusing to move. Refusing to let go.

 

“Nero,” he said the youth’s name softly. His hands came up to Nero’s cheeks, cupping his face with gentle hands as he turned Nero’s gaze back to meet his eyes. “Whatever happens now, we’re in this together. I am with you.”

 

Nero's lips parted as he lifted his face up to kiss Credo, fighting within himself. It wasn't wrong, but he could hear it a thousand times over. How wrong it was, how vile he was for having these feelings. To further add to his confusion, he'd felt this way about Credo for years. Years that he had wasted, time after time, of pining deeply for this man that towered over him.

That laughed with him, that...kissed him so deeply and roughly he had no idea that he could feel this much pleasure in one sitting.
He felt ripped apart, pieced together, made whole, and torn to bits all in one.

 

His demon claw ran down the soft trail of hair to Credo's groin, before jerking the fabric down roughly.

Credo hissed through his teeth as Nero pulled down his pants, exposing his sensitive flesh to the cool air of the room. His hands left Nero’s face to grasp the hem of the tunic, pulling it up once more. He knew what was underneath, even before he pulled the cloth up. Credo removed his lips from Nero’s, sitting back to pull the tunic over Nero’s head and arms to toss away.

 

He knew what was underneath, and yet he was still stunned by the raw, bare beauty of the younger man.
Nero had been training all his life to become a knight, and it showed. While Nero’s face was still soft with baby fat, his body was that of a fighter’s.
He was lean and toned, and Sparda’s blessing, he was beautiful. His hands shaking a bit, Credo reached back to remove his own shirt, tossing it away to join Nero’s tunic on the floor.

 

Hovering over Nero's bare body is something that can only be described as the perfect man. As his hands hadn't lied to him, each muscle was well defined due to the difficult training they all each endured as a Knight. There held no spot of baby fat, only more, darker fur gracing over the man's arms.
It trailed down his legs, causing Nero to reach out with his human hand to touch it.

Doing so caused Nero to flush further, eye's widening as he glanced farther down.

 

He's...thicker than I am. Nero thought, worriedly, wondering just how in the hell this sex thing worked.
Where would they...? Of course, there had been nights he touched himself. Nights filled with slick sweat, soft held in pants, and moans driven into the pillow.

 

Could someone else...?

 

Did it feel the same if Credo had the same...?

 

Tentatively, he reached down between his legs to touch Credo's member, demon claw outstretched between them. In the back of his mind, he expected Credo to recoil in disgust by him grazing his skin with such a demonic hand...but...he wanted to know. He had to know. He had to see if Credo...

 

The knight held still, letting Nero explore his body with that demonic hand just as Credo explored Nero with his gaze. He bit back a groan as the warmth of Nero’s palm touched him, his arms shaking as he held himself above Nero. Unable to hold himself up for much longer, Credo bent his arms, bracing his elbows on the bed on either side of Nero and gently laid himself on the young knight-in-training.

His hand came between them, guiding Nero’s claw to grasp them both. Credo moaned softly, the sound unsteady with his ragged breath. Somewhere deep inside him, the knowledge came.

That carnal voice whispered ancient secrets of pleasure and sin, of how to lay with a man and to make him sing in ecstacy.

Credo pushed those thoughts aside, distracting his mind with the feel of Nero’s lips on his own once more.

 

Nero's hips bucked as he dug his short blunt nails into Credo's bare back. Though his lips were captured by another, tender moans of pleasure fell upon the couple like flower petals. They were sweet like said blossoms, music to each man's ears.
Nero opened his mouth slightly to deepen the kiss, allowing the warm wet tongue into his mouth. He tasted like morning breath, but it didn't subdue him in the slightest.

 

As Credo worked his hand over Nero's claw, sparks of pleasure shot up Nero's spine as he moaned louder with each stroke. Could someone hear them?

Would someone find them?
He couldn't decide if he didn't care enough, or if he was lost in the moment of being this intimate with Credo.

 

Credo knew he was close. Just a little more...just a little further… He gasped for breath as he broke the kiss, his lips touching Nero’s cheek and traveled along his jaw to the youth’s neck. There, the knight kissed and nibbled the soft, giving flesh of Nero’s neck. He could feel Nero’s pulse against his lips as he bit down; not hard enough to hurt or to break his skin, but just enough to satisfy that hunger deep in his core. His hand left Nero’s claw to travel down his body, to stroke the length of his side and cup the underside of his thigh.

Nero’s body fit him so perfectly, almost as if they were a sword and sheath made for one another.

 

It was everything that Nero could do to not come so quickly, but with Credo's teeth in the side of his neck, he couldn't help himself. With a drawn out grunt of pleasure, Nero came in thick, sticky ropes on the both of them. Embarrassedly, he jerked up and away from Credo's hand, face flushed as his chest heavy.

 

That just happened -that was real. He really felt Credo touch him in such an intimate manner.

He stared at Credo long and hard, thoughts buzzing in his head like flies. He couldn't shake them off, couldn't think of a damn thing to clear his mind.
Save the knock on the door.

"Credo!" Kyrie's sweet, chirp came from beyond the door. "Are you going to wake up anytime soon?"

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Credo whined as he came at the same time as Nero, nearly collapsing on him.

As Nero jerked away, the knight sat back, giving Nero his space. He stared at the page, gathering his own thoughts and bearings; his mind still fogged from the pleasure of the young man’s touch.

At the sound of Kyrie’s voice, Credo snapped back to reality. He tucked himself into his pants and handed Nero the edge of the blanket.

“Hide,” he whispered. Credo stole a swift kiss on Nero’s cheek before leaving the bed, going to their discarded clothes.

He tossed Nero his tunic before picking up his own shirt and shaking it out, putting it on haphazardly. His hair in disarray, a light sheen of sweat on his brow, Credo knew the perfect lie to tell her.

The knight hesitated, making sure Nero had found a suitable place to remain unseen before turning to the door. He coughed loudly as he unlocked the door, opening it just enough to peer at her through. “Kyrie...I’m unwell...It would be best if you kept your distance. I don’t wish you to become sick.”

 

Nero snatched the tunic up before Credo opened the door to reveal their dirty little secrets. The blanket went over his head as he held the tunic to his wet thighs, face as red as the scales he had in his arm. What a way to start the morning. His mind spun in several directions, picking pieces of the events that had taken place.

 

Credo's face when he came, the way he held me in his hand, the way he looked at me…

 

Though the voices raged ten fold over the images that cropped into Nero's head, he decided he didn't rightly care. Anything was worth having his...partner, his General like that.

 

Kyrie, ever chipper in the morning, furrowed her brow in worry as she looked upon her brother.

"Do I need to make you some tea? You look awfully flushed Credo. And have you seen Nero this morning? I can't seem to find him anywhere."

The knight shook his head. “Thank you, Kyrie, but it would be best if you were in as little contact with me as possible today. I will most likely return to bed shortly. Please inform Lord Sanctus and the other generals that I will be unable to attend my duties today.” He managed a weak smile.

“If I am feeling better this evening, I will send for you and that tea. But right now…” Again, Credo shook his head. “And no, I haven’t seen Nero either. I slept late, and poorly at that.”

 

"I'll be sure to tell that. They'll miss you greatly, but I believe that they will have to make it without you. And if you see Nero -" Her head cocks to the side, as if seeing Credo for the first time. "Would you please tell him I'm looking for him?" Her smile is sweet but the gears are turning in her head, though she would never dare to accuse Credo of anything such as the sort.
Though she may love her Lord and Saviour. Her brother was much more important to her.
"If you do want tea, please don't be afraid to send for me. I do hope you get to feeling better." She turns, hair swishing off her shoulders.

Nero attempted to clean himself under the covers when he heard Kyrie's voice leaving the doorway, but the shaking and fear of such an act still wore down on him.

 

Credo nodded and closed the door behind her, locking it when he was sure she was out of earshot. The knight breathed a sigh of relief, leaning on the door briefly. After a moment, he pushed himself from the door and crossed the room once more. "Nero, she's gone," he warned the youth before grabbing the corner of the blanket and pulling it away.

He turned his gaze away from Nero as soon as he realized the page was still undressed and deliciously disheveled from their sinful morning. "You may use my private bathroom if you wish..."

 

Nero silently regarded Credo with a mixture of emotions, breathlessly and wordlessly watch him turn his gaze away from Nero's nude body.

 

I dare you to look at me, those eyes seemed to say. I dare you to see what a mess you've made of me, made of the both of us.

I dare you to look upon your sins. How sweet they must have tasted. How sweet those words were on your lips.

Almost poison, drawing me to drink from you.

 

"And where the hell is that." Nero muttered, refusing to tear his gaze from Credo's flushed body.
The knight sighed, looking back at Nero. His eyes ran up Nero’s legs from ankle to thigh, along the curve of his hip, to his chest, and up to his lips.

There, Credo’s gaze lingered. He sat on the edge of the bed, afraid that if he was lured too closely, they’d only continue what they’d started. The man swallowed in a dry throat and looked away once more, nodding pointedly to a door nearby. “There.”

 

He was careful when he stood up, refusing to cover himself in any manner, shape or form. He still watched Credo, like an animal would regard his prey. His claw flexed as he pulled the shirt around his arm, subconsciously hiding the damn thing that pleasured the both of them to the brink.
He moved slowly to the bathroom, marveling in the white, clear bathroom with the claw footed tub.

 

"Damn Credo. You got the fucking works." He flicks the water on to the shower. "Can you get my uniform?"
Credo couldn’t decide which thirst was worse; the need for water in his dry mouth or the need to feel that lithe body against his own again. He watched Nero just as the page watched him, turning his gaze away as Nero turned his back to the knight to enter the bathroom. He chuffed quietly at Nero’s request, standing and crossing the room to his dresser where Nero had hidden his uniform. The knight carried the neat bundle to the bathroom, setting the page’s clothes on a table. “Is there anything else I can do for you?” Credo asked with a quirked brow.

 

Nero turned to Credo with the hot water rushing onto his body, eyes half closed due to the splash of water on his face. His hair was wetted and parted around his face, perfectly framing the sweetheart shaped cheeks. His demon claw paused with a wash rag hanging in the air, his human hand scrubbed his inner thighs as he considered the man with the uniform.

"Unless you want to jump in here, I suppose I should just get a move on so you can spend the rest of the day in bed." His smirk looked devilish, as if he was tempting him further. "After all, you're the one with the terrible cold. Kyrie will be worried sick. We'll have to fend for ourselves this evening during supper."
He turned back to washing himself, eyes closed as the stream washed down his face. He looked...so damn tempting.

 

The knight scowled.

He’d felt guilty earlier, perhaps even scared that he’d been taking advantage of his page, but it seemed Credo was entirely mistaken. It had been Nero who had taken advantage of him, luring him in with that seductive body and his aura of innocence. Credo undressed once more, entering the shower behind Nero. He snatched that washcloth away and ran it along Nero’s chest and stomach, pulling the smaller male against Credo’s body.

They had already sinned together. There was no changing that, no going back. They could only go forward. They could only go further. The knight kissed the back of Nero’s neck and shoulder, pulling him out of the stream of water and against the cool tile of the shower wall.
Nero groaned loudly as he felt Credo's lips on his neck and shoulder, baring himself to the man that he spent almost his entire life with.

God, how easy it was to fall into this sin. How easy it was to fall into love with someone that cared for you when you were so young.

He seemed so greedy when he reached for Credo's hips, pulling them towards his again. Though he had just came, his cock twitched once more in desperation as he ground his hips into the elder man's.

 

Realization hit him like a ton of bricks when he noticed his lips were pressed against the older man's and his damned devil arm entangled in his hair. It was as if he couldn't ignore the raging, clawing demon inside of him - to mate, to fuck, to take whatever he felt like taking. Credo was his.

 

His.

 

"Mine." Nero growled against those lips, clawed hand tightening on his grip. "Mine."

 

“Yours,” Credo hissed between bared teeth, his own inner demon stirring further at the prospect of having a mate.

His hands gripped the underside of Nero’s thighs, spreading his legs further to allow the knight to press his body closer. One hand curved further under Nero to touch him, to touch that place he hungered for so badly. Credo feasted on Nero’s lips and tongue, devouring him in kiss after starved kiss. His fingers slick with water and soap, Credo pushed one in to open Nero’s body to him.

 

It wasn't cold water that shook Nero out of his mating haze, it was the ghost of Credo's finger around his ass that startled him. True, it wasn't painful by any means, but startling nonetheless. He let out a gasp as he attempted to shift away from Credo's prying digits, mewling softly while shaking his head back and forth. Too much for one morning, too quickly, he didn't know where his mind went.

 

Every direction it seemed, flying apart only to attempt to settle on one though, then to fly apart once more.
Mine, his primal part screamed.

Mine forever. Endlessly reaching out for Credo, though his hands shoved him away in attempts to free himself.

Let him be mine!

 

"Credo." Nero whispered, shaking like a leaf in the wind. "Credo, Credo, Credo." The name became a prayer, a pleading prayer for relief. A confession. A need. "I..."

The knight growled lowly as Nero pulled away, tried to escape his hands.

Pushing yet pulling, afraid yet willing, wanting but what was he wanting? Credo left a trail of kisses down Nero’s neck, over those webbing black veins of his shoulder.

His gold eyes lifted, watching Nero’s face as he knelt slowly, kissing down Nero’s body. I will worship you, he silently promised as he came face to face with Nero’s manhood. He nuzzled Nero’s groin, burying his nose in the soft white fur that marked Nero of age. His lips tenderly caressed his heated skin, kissing up the length of Nero’s sword to his crown, before licking down again.

All the while, his gold eyes were up in reverence, watching the page’s reactions.
Nero sucked in breath harshly, his demonic claw roping around Credo's hair once more.

 

I had to stop him. The thought flitted past in a dream like state, fluid like. We can't get caught like this. I can't let him be caught like this. He can't do this.

 

Yet the sweet kisses had him arching his back in pleasure, unknown to him before now. He murmured Credo's name further, a prayer against his sins.
What blasphemy.

What a gentle sin to behold.

What tenderness does this vile act hold for me. For him.

As Nero met the man's golden eyes, he swallowed roughly as he caught the worship in his gaze. Fear crept along his spine, yet... something in him hungered for more, hungered to be worshiped.

 

Power. I need more power.

 

Credo could feel him, like an echo in his own soul. Just as there was something lurking beneath the human mask Credo wore, there was a beast beneath the beautiful surface of Nero's skin. It resonated with him, that sleeping, stirring power humming in harmony with Credo's own energy.

Both of them needed the same thing.

Both of them craved the same thing.

 

The knight swallowed his pride and Nero's. His lips encircled Nero's crown and little by little took in the length of Nero's manhood into his mouth and throat. Credo's hands continued to worship the page's body, running warm palms along the length of Nero's thighs, stomach, sides, and back. He didn't journey to that place once more.

 

Something in Credo knew that he would be the one to submit when the time came.

 

Nero clenched his teeth as he hissed out a hot breath, the steam of the shower floating over the both of them as they continued their shameful acts. Credo's worship sent him into a mindset he had previously never felt before, the need to be more powerful - to be feared. To know that he should be worshiped, that he should be held to...Sparda's standard.

 

And that horrified him.
The floor was slick underneath his feet, as he straightened himself to further allow Credo movement to angle his head. His demonic claw refused to let go of the back of Credo's head, urging him on further to pleasure him. Half of him worried over how Credo must be breathing, how someone could walk in looking for them, how the water could run so cold in only a moment…

 

The other half clawed at his pale skin, begging for blood, begging for him to sheath himself in another, bathing the both of the men into a sheet of sweat and blood. Begging for him to take him back to bed, claw open his skin, claim his mate as he stands tall and proud within the Order. As he takes his place rightfully, where he is supposed to be.

 

Credo's sweet tongue brought him back to reality, causing him to double over to pull Credo closer. Had he done this before?
He pulled away, gasping as he released Nero from his mouth. Credo remained kneeling, his head held in place by human and demonic hand. “Nero…” The knight whispered his page’s name. A shaky hand reached to the faucet to turn off the water. His hands caressed Nero’s thighs, and he nuzzled and kissed the youth’s groin. There were words he wanted to say, emotions that were so ready to pour from his lips, but it felt almost too late to ask them, to say them. Credo closed his eyes, kissing the inside of Nero’s thigh.

“I want you…” Credo confessed his sins. “I want to feel your body in my hands. I want to pleasure you beyond redemption. It is unforgivable for me to have touched you thus far without your permit, but now…” His gold eyes looked up to Nero’s. “I beg you for your consent. Grant me your permit to make love to you.”

 

"Credo. Get up." Nero's voice wavered, his eyes pleading for any kind of escape from this shameful act. "Get up, please, I don't know what happened today but..." His hands are removed from Credo's body, his shaking has increased. Out of fear or uncertainty, it remains unclear to the both of them.

"I have to go. Ok? I have to go." His voice catches in his throat as he closes his eyes, stepping out of the shower to towel off and changed into his uniform.
"Are you just going to stay here all day? Holed up?"

 

Credo could have wept.

He felt as if he’d been stabbed through the chest, by mere words. He nodded and stood as commanded, getting out of the shower as well. The knight dried himself off, stealing precious glances at Nero any time the youth looked away.

“I have questions that need answered,” Credo finally spoke, swallowing back the pain in his throat. “To maintain the ruse that I am ill, I plan on meditating and praying for guidance. By dinnertime, I might be well enough to leave.”

 

"Sparda's sake Credo!" Nero cried, jerking around as he was finishing the last button of his uniform. "What else are you going to say? What more do you want me to say? That I'm sorry? That I wish this didn't happen? What the fuck was even that? Why does everything have to be so damn complicated!" Nero flinched as he noticed Credo's pain etched deep into the lines of his face, part of him wishing that he could comfort him without backlash. He wished that Sparda's damn will wasn't this way, that the Order wouldn't look at them like they were nothing more than the scum underneath their boots.

 

"I'm not sorry." He grit his teeth. "I'm don't wish that it didn't happen. And I want you. In ways I thought I could only dream of." His devil claw reaches the back of his neck, face flushing. "But I can't. Not now. Not...not today."

 

“Nero…” The knight sighed heavily. “I can’t protect you if word of our transgressions get around...I can take the blame and say that I held you down, that I forced you, but…” Credo shook his head. “You’re right. You should go for now, before further questions arise.” He huffed slightly, the corner of his lip tugging into an almost smile. “Kyrie can cover for us only so much.”

 

"You didn't force me to do anything! Sparda dammit Credo, why the hell are you like this? Why do you think that you have to protect me all the damn time! I can take this fucking blame if you want me to. It doesn't matter. You're the General!" His teeth looked more and more demonic in the morning light, shining down on the two of them. His eyes held a rage not previously seen before.

 

His hands went to his hair, as if trying to pull himself back together. It wasn't so much Credo as he was angry with, yet the whole way of living. His mindset. The endless drones of the religion. Sanctus reaming his ass whenever he would fall out of line. Every last damn day of his life monitored by this fucking religion.

He started for the door, disgusted sounds coming from his throat. "Fine. Just stay here. Let some God tell you whatever you do is wrong."

 

Credo followed him to the door, blocking it with a sturdy arm to keep Nero from leaving. “I’m like this because I’m afraid, Nero,” he answered in a low whisper. “I’m afraid of losing Kyrie, of what will happen to her if word gets around that her brother and friend are blasphemers together. I’m afraid of losing you. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to stop Agnus from dragging you off to his underground lair to experiment on you like some animal!” The knight sighed heavily, lowering his arm. “Until today, I was a servant of Sparda and sworn to a sword. Now…” He shook his head. “Nero, now I am afraid. Because now I wonder if what I have bound myself to is what I truly want.” Credo lifted a hand, as if to touch Nero’s face, but lowered it before that contact could be made. His gaze lowered, he backed away from Nero and the door. “If you need me, I will be here.”

 

"You think I'm going to let that happen?" Nero harshly whispered, glaring at the older male. "You're paranoid. Nothing is going to happen to me." He paused as he realized that Credo was reaching out to him, but stopped himself. He wondered if Credo actually cared about him the way that he felt...There was no before any of this, it was the same feeling that haunted his dreams and day thoughts.

 

He could comfort himself in that this was a one time thing, that this would never happen again. It would never happen again, they could go back to the way things were. Dancing around each other like two shy children, refusing to see what was right in front of them.
Kyrie often gave them the knowing look to Nero when Credo mentioned the females that left gifts for him, that often stopped him on his walks to chat with him for hours on end. Nero often tried his best to act like he didn't care, that this didn't bother him in the slightest, but lying could only take him so far.

 

"You're an idiot." Nero snapped, before grabbing Credo's shoulders and kissing him, fiercely. "Stay here. I'll be back for dinner."
He didn't catch Credo's expression, he only walked out the door to start the day.

Kyrie would possibly meet him in the dining hall, and he would have to patrol the streets today.

Chapter Text

Credo stiffened when Nero grabbed him, but melted in that kiss, returning it as much as he could before it broke as quickly as it happened. He staggered back, letting Nero go. The knight sighed heavily as he leaned against the closed door, closing his eyes.

Credo shook his head and pushed himself away, dressing in a simple tunic and pants before going to his private atrium and shrine to Sparda. There, he knelt and bowed his head, closing his eyes in prayer.

 

“Lord Sparda, forgive me,” he whispered. “I have broken my vow as your knight to uphold your creed. I have broken my vow of chastity by having impure thoughts for one of my brethren, for a fellow knight. Lord Sparda...I pray to you for guidance and clarity, for you to enlighten me with your wisdom. I beg of you...With your holy light, illuminate my foggy path. Show me the way.” Credo closed his eyes tightly and felt tears burn his cheeks. “How am I to be a knight in your name, if I cannot be with the one I’m fighting for?”

 

If the stained glass mirror could talk, the eyes of said mirror would bear down onto your soul, refusing to show any mercy. Their depictions of Sparda had cast him in a light that bore no resemblance to the man that once laid with a human woman, the man that thought humans were so beautiful that he dared to attempt to become one - to die like one.

 

No, this window was not Sparda. It was not the one that loved men and women so deeply, as equals. This was a false image of him.

 

But the spirit of Sparda.

 

Was a playful one.

 

Restless, weary, bouncing from place to place, but he had one last thing to accomplish before he was allowed to move on. What said quest was he dared not ask the shining light that allowed him to have this semi transparent body, but accepted that in due time he would find out what he was to do. Joining Eva once more in the afterlife, where he may fall to his knees and worship her as she truly should be.

 

Sparda's spirit hovered by the candles, watching Credo fall to his knees in dramatic worship, begging for forgiveness where he needed none.
A roaring laugh could be hear throughout the room, as Sparda's fingers touched the top of Credo's head.

 

"You're the one in love with my grandson!"

 

He flinched as he was touched, but at the sound of the laughter and the deep voice, Credo looked up and fell back, skittering away. The knight stared with wide eyes at the stranger in his private chamber. The more Credo studied this man, the more he realized the stranger was not of their world. The light of the windows and candle went through him, like a ghost or spirit.

 

“Who are you?” Credo gasped. Deep in his heart, he already knew, but he needed to hear the words.

 

"Hello! I am Sparda." Sparda waved erratically, grinning from ear to ear. No elegance could be seen from this man, no perfection that each depiction gave described that man. Though, one could not consider him a man - due to the way he floated off the floor.
Though he could be seen through, his clothes still help the deep purple that he was known for, as well as the ice blue eyes that seemed to mirror Nero's.

 

"You must be Credo!" Sparda looked at his form as if seeing it for the first time. He shone brightly against the candles, light cascading all around the room.
"Ah! I was right! You are on my path!"

 

He floated around Credo, circling him in deep thought and study. His hand drifted to his chin as he spun around the older man, nodding his head to and fro.
"Well. I suppose I could have asked for some clarification. But...You did pray to me!" Sparda gestured to the window. "Not a very accurate picture of me, now is it? Though I've long been dead. I've enjoyed watching the world however! Much to see, many sights to behold. Damn shame I couldn't see them in my lifetime." He paused, getting inches from Credo's face. "Why do you look so pale? You look like you've seen a ghost."

 

The laughter at his own lame joke echoed once more, as Sparda's face crinkled in merriment.

 

"Be at ease. I believe I'm here to assist you. Not quite sure. I wasn't told details. But I shine around you, so I've got the first step down!"

 

Credo could only stare. His Lord and Savior had appeared before him in his time of need and he...wasn’t exactly what the knight had imagined. Was this a fever dream? Had he collapsed in his prayer and was dreaming? Or was this a hallucination? Or the work of some demonic magic? He brought a hand to his forehead, feeling dizzy from the questions and doubt that swirled in his mind.

 

Grandson…
His eyes lifted to the specter once more, studying the man’s face. There he was. Even though he was translucent, the man had Nero’s white hair, his blue eyes...even the structure of his jaw was similar. Given time, Nero could grow to become this man...This ghost that claimed to be Sparda.

He shook his head. “How can I be sure...How can I know for certain you are who you claim to be?”

 

"Well! That's no way to talk to someone, now is it? You're awfully rude little knight! I would and could teach you some manners, but you do pose a good point! What could I do to show you that I am truly Sparda?" The ghost flicks around the room, posing in front of his portrait. He smirks, pouts, flicks back and forth, wiggling the spectral form in any way he pleases. "Do my dashing good looks not tip you off? Or do I need to pose more in my triggered form?"

 

He pauses, the smile falling off his face as his arms drop to his sides without a sound. "Though like this, I cannot trigger the way I want to."

 

He snaps his fingers. "I can show you my member!"
His hands touch his waist as he watches Credo's eyes grow wider. He removes his hands laughing sheepishly, before flitting about again.

 

"I'm afraid you'll just have to trust me little knight. In the way that I've trusted you. You shine Credo, and you make me shine. That's the important part." His hips sway as he dances around the candle pole, humming some ancient tune as he dips back to look at

Credo upside down. There is another playful grin on his face.

 

"You've prayed to me for so long! And this religion! Honestly, at what point did someone try and claim I said that men will not lie with men? Would you like to hear how many men I've bedded? After I met my Eva, I stopped of course, but that didn't stop her from teaching me a few new things in the bedroom."

 

He sits down across from Credo, finally settling down. "I am Sparda. I am your 'Lord.' And it's lovely to meet you."

 

Credo could only stare.

How could this mischievous spirit dare claim to be Sparda? This was not the legendary dark knight, the warrior who sealed away evil. This was not the kind and benevolent teacher he had spent his lifetime learning from in ancient texts. But then again...how ancient could those texts be? There were rumors...stories and legends that the very sons of Sparda walked the earth to this day. Grandson… And Nero...Nero was a direct descendant.

 

The knight shook his head. “Questions…” Credo mumbled. “I have so many questions…If the Order is not of your creation...if the Order isn’t your religion, then whose is it?”

 

"Well how the hell should I know!" Sparda threw up his hands, exasperated with his Knight. "You think I wanted a religion to take place! No! All I wanted was to sit with my wife to the end of my days and watch my children grow up. You understand, family things." He floats up to the ceiling, body half in and half out of the room. "I come in because of your light, and here you're telling me that this bullshit makings is - what? My word? Do you hear the words coming out of my mouth? I do not care of you bed another man, or a woman, or both at the same time. Or not. It doesn't matter."

 

Sparda floats back down, sighing into his hand. If ghosts could look disheveled, Sparda came across that way.
"You do care for my grandson don't you? I can sense him all around you. Thick as thieves, one could argue." He wavers, watching his bottom half fade in and out. "I believe I'm running out of time."

 

He looks up at Credo with desperation. "How am I supposed to help you? I've wandered this earth more many years and have yet to find the one that I'm supposedly to help. So what is it that you desire?"
He floats behind Credo, plucking at his hair and clothes, tsking as he remarks them. "A new face? New hair? My grandson? Riches beyond your measurable dreams? I'm certainly not a genie, but my creator has bound me here. So speak up quickly little Knight! Out with it! What is it that you need?"

 

“I don’t know…” Credo whispered. “I’ve...never felt so confused in my life. Everything that I once believed has just been shattered in a single morning…” He shook his head, his eyes lifting to Sparda. “I want Nero to be safe. I wasn’t there to protect him when he was assaulted before. And now I fear I’ve put him in more danger by allowing myself to…” The knight couldn’t quite say it yet. He wasn’t even sure if it was love he was feeling, or just his demon’s need to procreate with the nearest willing person. “Perhaps the thing I want most is the promise that if I allow myself...if I allow us to continue on this path, it won’t end in tragedy.” Credo chuffed quietly. “But even your divine power can’t grant that, can it my lord?”

 

"You're asking so much of me, young Knight. You yourself do not understand your own feelings. Yet, how can I rebuke such a request? Though I lack in power, I will do my best to guide you into light if you chose this path."

Sparda's hand unfurls to touch Credo's cheek, his thumb catching on the cheekbone, pushing away the stray hairs that had been tangled by the shower.

"Credo, I must warn you now. My time here is short. I can only do so much. I do not know what lies for me on the other side..." He looks away, removing his hand. "Though I must admit that it's a comfort to have someone look out for my grandson so...dearly."
His eyes flutter close, as he rolls his shoulders in their sockets. They make no sound, only the continual burning of the flame acknowledges that someone is in this room.

 

"Where..Is Nero?" Sparda continued, as if he attempted to bring himself back from some long mental drain. He did sound more exhausted than the start. One could only assume that the extra flitting and playing cause him to become weaker. No one explained to Credo that his 'Lord' was just a flamboyant man in a flashy purple coat.

There came a heavy knocking on the door, someone frantically trying to capture Credo's attention. Kyrie's shout could be heard throughout the thin walls, pleading for her brother to open up the door, please, now, it's Nero!

 

“He should be out on patrol,” Credo answered softly.

 

Kyrie’s voice snapped him from his daze. The knight looked between Sparda and the door before standing, racing to his bedroom door. He unlocked it and pulled it open quickly.
Kyrie was out of breath, sweating from the exertion of her run. She didn’t see the glow of Sparda’s light in the chamber beyond Credo, only her brother.

“It’s Nero! He got into a fight with some of the other pages, and Agnus…” She swallowed in a dry throat. “Credo, Agnus has him. Nero was arrested for instigating a fight, and instead of sending him to his quarters, Agnus took him to the lab!”

Chapter Text

Credo’s face blanched at her words.

He glanced at Sparda, already knowing what he had to do. The knight quickly dressed, putting his uniform on over his light clothes. “Kyrie, lock yourself here. Don’t open the door for anyone but Nero or I.”

 

"Not a very smart way to go about things Credo. I would assume that one should - you're not even listening to me are you." Sparda floated around as Credo dressed himself in uniform, face devoid of too much emotion. In fact, he seemed rather calm to the entire idea that Nero could possibly be in trouble.

 

"Honestly!" Sparda started again, flying through Kyrie workout much of a second thought.

She would feel a chill, nothing more. "You should have been more careful."

 

For a moment, his form waivers more violently than before, and Credo could see him struggle to maintain his light.
Sparda glumly sunk into the floor, only his head appearing in the floorboards.

 

"My grandson will find his way out of this, I'm sure that he will. This cad seems like nothing more than a brutish man masquerading as someone higher than himself. You'll figure it out. Wait. Where are you going!?"

 

“I have to save him,” Credo answered the glowing spectre. “Agnus will torture him to learn more about his arm. He’ll find out about everything!”

 

“Credo…” Kyrie stopped him from leaving with a hand. “Who are you talking to?”

 

He stopped short, sighing to himself. “Kyrie…” Credo leaned against the wall beside his door, holding his head in a hand. Perhaps the lie he told her hours ago was truth after all. But she was the only person he could tell, the only one who wouldn’t have him locked away. “I’m having a vision...visions…” He lifted his eyes to look at her, and then at the spirit beside her. “The Lord Sparda is with me.”

 

“As he is with all of us, but I don’t understand how…”

 

Credo cut her off with a gesture. “Kyrie, you misunderstand me. When I say that Lord Sparda is with me, I mean that he is here...In this room…”

 

Her wide eyes looked around as she curled in on herself, hugging her arms to her chest and rubbing the sleeves of her gown.
“He’s sinking into the floor beside you. His light was strong when he first appeared, but now it is fading, as if he cannot stay in this plane for long…”

 

“Credo, maybe you should lay down…”

 

Sparda throws his head back in laughter only Credo can hear, entire form shaking with his mirth. He was at least enjoying what little time he had left here on Earth, due to knowing that soon he'd no longer be with them.
He wiped away an imaginary tear, floating back up to the room. His full body could be seen now, still shaking by the laughter.

 

"Maybe you should lie down! The first person to see me in ages and his own kin doesn't realize I'm here. That is rich! I do apologise, dear Credo. I do! There's not much either of can do at this point. And like I stated before, I'm sure that my grandson will be alright. One little pathetic man cannot hold his own against the power of. Well. Me!"

 

Kyrie gently pushed her brother back, away from the door. She kicked it closed before anyone passing by could witness the scene. She already had her hands full trying to keep others from suspecting something was going on between Nero and Credo; she didn’t need to also have to convince the rest of the Order that her brother wasn’t mad.

 

“You don’t understand!” Credo argued against the air. “Agnus isn’t just some man. He’s the leading scientist of the Order for a reason.”

 

“Yes brother, I know,” Kyrie said gently, getting him to sit on the edge of the bed. She unbuttoned his uniform and managed to pull it off of his shoulders without much fuss. Having him distracted by yelling at candle light helped. “I’ll go to Agnus myself and speak with him. If he hears that you’re unwell and need your page at your side, surely he’ll let Nero go…”

“He won’t, Kyrie! Agnus has been waiting since the incident for this opportunity,” Credo tried to explain as she knelt to remove his boots. “Nero may be strong, but he won’t be able to fight Agnus on his own! I know his power…”

 

“Agnus may be powerful, and he may be high-ranking, but he still must follow the chain of command,” Kyrie replied as she untucked the corner of the bed. She tried not to make a face at the weird smell of it as she guided Credo into bed and tucked him in. The maiden kissed her brother’s forehead. “At the end of the day, he still has to follow your orders. Now rest. I’ll be back shortly. With Nero, and some tea.”

 

“I don’t need tea. I need someone to listen to me.”

 

"I am listening to you, tiny Knight. I am! Though what would some scientist want with my grandson? The very idea of him trying anything leaves me shuddering." Sparda regards Kyrie as if he's seen her for the very first time.
"She cannot see me. Yet in order to help her, I must follow her! Then I will be able to see what the fuss is about with my grandson!"
Sparda floated over by Kyrie, his ghostly fingers running through her hair.

 

"She's so beautiful! Just like my Eva. It's a damn pity that Nero chose men. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but think of my great grandchildren! They would have been beautiful."
Sparda starts towards the door, shaking his hips. "Well. Get a move on Kyrie! I have Nero to protect!"

 

Kyrie shivered, tucking her bangs behind an ear. That breeze had almost felt like… She shook her head. “I’ll be back before you miss me,” she told Credo with a smile, leaving his side. She paused at the door, taking one last look at him before leaving.

Chapter Text

Her heels clicked on the stone floor as she made her way through the labyrinth of hallways of the Order headquarters.

She kept her head bowed and her eyes on the ground, looking up through her eyelashes to watch where she was going. The pious maiden moved as quickly and anonymously through the building, as unnoticed as a ghost. She tucked herself behind columns and beside vases any time someone passed, careful not to bump into anyone or anything.

 

She hesitated outside a heavy wooden door. “Sparda, grant me strength,” Kyrie whispered before grasping the iron handle and pulling with all her strength.

She slid in between the door and the wall, careful not to dirty her dress before closing the door behind her. She lifted the hem of her gown as she made her way down the dimly lit spiral staircase, into the bowels of Agnus’s “secret” lab.
“Lord Agnus?” She announced her presence as she neared the bottom step.

 

"How in the world am I to 'give you strength' when you cannot even see me in this form." Sparda huffed, clearly upset by the lack of attention he was receiving. "Honestly. You should have listen to your brother, I'm right here. And the only strength I can lend you is -"

 

He was cut off by the metallic creaking of doors, iron grinding on iron as things began to shift and churn about the lab. A sickly yellow light cascaded around the room, illuminating several... Cages? The light flashed too quickly to be seen by anyone. Rust etched onto the floor, creeping up and down the walls like a wilting vine.

Shadows danced across the walls as things shifted about, some appearing all too human, some a mockery of humanity.

A mockery of... Angels.

 

"I do not like this place." Sparda commented, withdrawing himself inwardly, shaking his head. "We must find Nero and leave. I do not like this place."

 

There was a loud clanging noise, as if someone had picked up a rock and was beating into the thick walls.

 

A voice could be heard stuttering: "Th-Th-That’s e-e-enough Nero! I-I-I won't have you keeping up that racket."

 

"Piss up a fucking rope." Came the curt reply.

 

Her heart pounding in her throat, Kyrie walked through the lab. She fidgeted with her necklace, a little gold emblem of the Order, between her thumb and forefinger. After years of doing this, the back had been worn completely smooth. She whispered as she walked.

 

“ ‘And so I journeyed into Hell, past the ebony and ivory gates of the charred damned and their bleached bones. Yet I was not afraid, for your light was with me, warming me from the chill of the forbidden winds and shielding me from the darkness of evil. Yet I was not afraid, for your light illuminated my path and guided me through the maze of darkness and tower of fear.’ In Sparda’s name, blessed be.” She drew a heavy breath as she came closer to Agnus’s chamber.

“Lord Agnus?” She called again, her voice louder this time. “Lord Agnus, I have a command from General Credo!”
"I never said that!" Sparda roared, grabbing at his hair before throwing out his arms. "How would you feel if someone put words in your mouth? Coined a religion based off lies? Of how they think you acted?"

The lights began to flicker as Sparda's rage increased, as he had finally reached his last straw with his religious teachings. The eerie yellow glow turned a disgusting shade of purple, as Sparda flitted about once more.

 

"Honestly! If I had know that this would have happened, I never would have left! Perhaps my teachings could have been used in better practice at the hands of my sons! Though they may have attempted to destroy one another, at the very least they haven't started a ridiculous notion of a religion!"

 

Agnus flinched when he watched his lab flicker in lighting, brows furrowing in worry. Kyrie's voice, echoing through the chambers, worried him the most however.

 

Nero perked up at the sound of Kyrie's voice, smiling a little. He could be saved now.
Hands placed on the glass of his cell, he motioned for Angus to bring his face over.

 

"Did you really think someone wouldn't send for me."

 

Angus turned heel, disgustedly watching him. "A-A-And how is our darling K-K-Kyrie going to und-d-d-derstand th-th-that her precious friend is nothing more than a f-f-filthy demon."
He flicked his gaze over his shoulder. "My Lady K-K-Kyrie! As much as I-I-I do wish to hand you the b-buh-buh-boy, I am afraid I cannot."

 

Kyrie crossed her arms over her chest as she entered the lab at last. Her brows furrowed sternly on Agnus.

“Lord Agnus, my brother is unwell. He’s bedridden and in a foul mood because of it. Please do not make me have to return to his chamber empty-handed, explain to him that his command for Nero’s presence was dismissed, and then watch him come down here himself when he should be resting!” She was shaking, and she couldn’t decide if it was adrenaline or fear that made her voice tremble. “Release Nero. Now! Keeping him here when he should be under house arrest is improper enough, but the general needs his page!”

 

"P-P-Please understand my L-Lady Kyrie. I-I-I mean the page no harm. I-I-I am merely protecting yourself and your brother. Lord Sparda knows how long h-h-he's been hiding the fact that he shares the same dangerous fate as a demon. My last wish for y-y-you is to be hurt." Angus rubs his gloved hands together, hunching over as he paces back and forth in front of Nero's cell. "It is our Lord Sanctus's wish to protect the i-i-innocent from the vile."

 

Angus raises his gaze, a secret smile on his face. "But I s-s-suppose C-C-Credo wouldn't understand that would he?"

 

It's one thing for a ghost to become enraged, to give in to emotions that would change them to evil in a flash.

It is quite another when one is threatening a dear member of said ghost's family, and surely, Sparda mused, surely he would be forgiven for this.

Raw emotion fueled him as he rushed to the glass of the cell that held Nero, forcing, bending, breaking, shattering, willing the glass to come down.

 

Nero caught the image of a flamboyant man in purple pushing against the glass, before throwing his demonic claw up to protect himself.

 

Angus, on the other hand, saw nothing. He only heard the creaking sounds of glass threatening to come down in a heap.

Like the weak willed man he is, he grabbed Kyrie, forcing her back yet tossing her in front of him for his own protection.

 

"Kyrie!" Nero yelled after the glass had fallen to the floor. "Tell me you're alright!"

 

She screamed, not as the glass broke, but as Agnus grabbed her. Her arms lifted to shield herself from the falling glass. As she lowered her arms and realized Agnus had used her to shield himself, she gasped in offense.

 

“How...How could you?!” She exclaimed. Kyrie looked around for the nearest thing and grabbed a book from his desk. The maiden threw it at him. “Protect the innocent you say! Some good you did, protecting the innocent!” She grabbed another book and threw it at him, one after another.

 

“You horrible little man! You would hold a knight prisoner! You would use a woman as a body shield for yourself! You’re absolutely terrible! You...You…” She threw another book at him. “You bug!” Kyrie was breathless and out of things to throw at him. “Nero! Let’s go! Before I do something horrible and...and...and spit on him!”

 

Nero rose back up, face pink as he tried not to burst out laughing. He had seen Kyrie be this angry before of course; he had caught her on a monthly, and made the mistake of eating her hidden chocolate.
She had called him many a names then too. Though he would admit that she had never thrown an actual book at him.

 

He stepped over the broken glass to sheepishly pick at his demonic arm, clearing his throat as he gestured for her to go up the stairs first.

 

"Oh that's lovely." A weak voice spoke by Nero's ear. "He's a gentleman. I was hoping that you would be."

 

Nero jerked his head around to catch what just spoke, but only Agnus came into his field of vision.
Agnus, after taking a book to the face, laid slumped over his crafting table, eyes closed with his mouth drooping.

 

"Why the hell did Credo send for me?" He asked, mounting the stairs. "What happened?"
Kyrie didn’t answer until the heavy door to the lab was closed behind them. She leaned against it, fanning herself with a hand.

“I may faint,” she whispered. The maiden drew a deep breath and sighed, pushing herself off the door.

She led Nero towards the kitchen. “I don’t know for sure. I knew he’d been lying when he said he was unwell earlier, but when I came to tell him that you’d been captured by Agnus, he seemed…worse. He was feverish and was going on and on that he had…” She lowered her voice as they passed a gathering of people. “He said that he was having visions of Lord Sparda.”

 

"Wait, you're joking right?" Nero whispered back, before noticing a crammed pastry puff someone left unattended.

He snatched it before anyone but Kyrie could notice, his stomach growling due to his lack of breakfast.

 

"She's not joking little page." The ghost of Sparda sat where the creme puff had once been, his light fading in and out. "After all this time, at long last, I've found my purpose. The ones I am to help before I'm allowed into the next life."

 

Nero stiffen his spine at the voice, the pastry becoming so dry in his throat. He couldn't see anything, but... Well surely, the crowds of people could be explained as to why he thought he was hearing things.

 

"Kyrie. About this morning..." Nero started, deciding to ignore what he thought he heard. " I. I just. I'm sorry. I guess. You." He shuffles his feet, ruffling the back of his head. "Thank you for coming for me."

 

She smiled to herself as she set the kettle on the stove to boil and filled a teapot with a little packet of leaves. With breakfast already over with, the cooks were taking a break before they started lunch preparations. Kyrie felt comfortable speaking freely, gathering a tray to take up to Credo as she spoke.

 

"There's nothing to apologize for, Nero. I've known for some time that you were in love with someone else. I don't mind, really!" She smiled, blushing a bit as she tucked away a stray lock of hair.
"I love you both. I want you to be happy. Besides!" She giggled. "Maybe I'll find someone of my own! Although, I think it will be hard to find a prospective match when word gets around that I beat up poor Agnus in his own laboratory."

 

She lifted her hands from the tray, looking down at the offerings. A small pot of soup to be shared, three bowls, three teacups, a bowl of sugar, and a stack of wrapped crackers.

"Oh!" She almost forgot about the tea, which was poured from kettle to teapot. Lastly, she added three little cream puffs to a little plate.
The maiden lifted the tray with ease.

Nero took the tray from her and set it down, sighing heavily as he wrapped his arms around the young maiden's shoulders. It had been sometime since they had acted like this, but after the day that he had went through, he felt like it was justified.

 

"Credo tried to comfort me by taking the blame." Nero muttered, his cheek resting on her hair. "He tried to tell me that he could tell the others that he forced me. Kyrie, what the hell am I supposed to do. Credo's finally lost his fucking mind, and I'm number one on Angus's shit list."
He paused, leaning back to look at her. "I lied. You're number one on his shit list."

 

Sparda groaned, leaning back onto the table as he dips back. He his upper torso fell through the table, leaving only his legs sticking up in the air. He kicked his feet like a child, rolling about.
"Ah yes this is all very sad, you're confused my darling grandson, I understand."

 

Nero's ear flicked back as he quickly turned around, hiding his Devil Bringer behind him. "Did you hear...?"

 

Kyrie squeaked as she was suddenly hugged, giggling to herself as she returned Nero's embrace. She petted his hair and back gently.

 

"Oh Nero.." The maiden sighed. "He probably feels guilty for what he did. Even if you told him you wanted him, he would still think that he'd corrupted you. He knows how much it means to you to become a knight, and what it'll mean for your career if you're caught."

 

At the mention of Agnus, she giggled again. "I'd best be careful and mind my manners. Otherwise he'll accuse me of being a witch because my hair looks a different color in the sunlight or some other ridiculous..." She trailed off as Nero looked around. "Hear what?"

 

Sparda jerked up out of the dining table, damn near shooting himself completely out of the room. He waved his arms erratically, trying to capture the attention of the young page.

 

"Yes me! You hear me! I'm here my grandson! And I want peace!" Sparda flitted by the two of them, wiggling dramatically. "I know you can hear me."

 

"I thought...." Nero started weakly, before jerking his head away from Sparda's prying fingers. He didn't exactly know what touched him, but he hated cobwebs and he hated spiders.

And bugs. Anything that crawls deserves to burn in hell.

 

"Maybe I need to lie down too." He finished, smiling sheepishly. "Whatever cold or fever Credo has must be rubbing off."
At the word rubbing, Nero scratched the scales on his lower arm, his nails digging deeper to get the itch.

"Angus is a stuffy old pompous asshole. If he tries anything, don't worry. No one is going to believe that you're a witch. Just a sinner." Nero teased, picking up the tray. "A filthy sinner just like your brother and me."
Sparda groaned, making a pitiful attempt to pick up a boiled egg to hurl at Nero.

His hand glided through the egg, only moving it slightly.
"You are my least favorite grandson!"

Chapter Text

Kyrie smiled to herself, shaking her head as she led the way back to Credo's chambers. She bit back a comment about them laying down together, knowing such personal remarks were improper, regardless of who was involved. She tapped on Credo's door twice before opening it. "Credo, we're coming in."

 

The general was sitting up in bed, books and papers scattered across his lap. He turned his head as they entered, smiling softly at Nero. However, at the sight of Sparda floating in behind him, Credo groaned.

 

"I thought you'd be happy to see Nero!" Kyrie exclaimed, closing the door behind them.

 

"Yes, but I was hoping my madness of the morning had passed," Credo muttered as she began clearing the clutter to serve him lunch in bed. He glared at the golden spirit. "But it seems he had only followed you."

 

Nero spun around to look at whatever the hell Credo was talking about, but only saw nothing.

 

Sparda, on the other hand, floated over by Credo, attempting to pick up whatever papers he had been looking at.

Only to be gravely disappointed when they escaped from his grasp.

 

"You'd think after some time of me channeling my energy I'd be able to grasp some things. Never quite caught how it's done though." He sat at the end of Credo's bed, looking forlorn. No one informed Credo that his Lord and Savior was a touch of a drama queen.
Nero set the tray by the bedside table, before reaching out with his human hand to touch Credo's forehead.

 

"You don't feel like you have a fever? Or are you just trying to mess with me?" A smile played on the Page's lips, though worry was keen in his eyes.

Credo sighed and grumbled in annoyed Latin, closing his eyes under Nero's touch. He swallowed in a suddenly dry throat. "I assure you. Aside from hearing and seeing the spirit of our savior, I am quite well."

 

"If you are seeing him, what is he doing now?" Kyrie asked as she moved a couple of chairs to sit beside the bed.

 

"He's sitting at the end of the bed, annoyed that he can't lift things or move things around."

 

Nero snickered as Sparda glared at the General, attempting to muss up his paperwork. He failed, only managing to lift a corner of one halfway up. Nothing that would be noticeable.

 

"I told you guys. Some Lord and Savior. Credo can't even picture him without acting like an utter fool."

 

"I take offense to that!" Sparda snapped, floating in and out of the small bed. "You! General! Please explain to my darling grandson that I am not a fool!"

 

Nero reached out to take a cup of tea, meaning to hand it to Credo. Sparda glared at the cup of tea as if he could force it to move.
"I get a religion. That skews my beliefs. And an unruly grandson!"

 

Credo accepted the cup of tea, but smirked to himself at Sparda's demands. He would do no such thing. Sparda, if this spirit truly were the Savior, was behaving like a fool. The knight sighed as Kyrie sat neatly in a chair beside the bed, sipping her own tea.
"Did you have any difficulty with Agnus?" Credo asked her to fill the quiet.

 

She giggled to herself, setting aside her cup to serve the men soup. "Yes, but I believe I handled it well."

 

"She threatened to spit on him. After calling him a bug." Nero jerked a thumb at her, smirking. Sparda's form sunk into the bed in a pout. "Something - someone, shattered the glass of the cell I was in. I couldn't protect Kyrie. Angus did pull her out of the way, but...He used her as a shield as well. Now she's convinced that he's going to come back and call her a witch or something.

"
"She also threw a book at him." Sparda muttered darkly, still in a bit of a pout.

 

Nero slowly looked around again, trying to not draw attention to his actions, but curious nonetheless.
Credo lowered his teacup. "You threw a book at him?"

Her hand shook as she set aside the bowl of soup she'd been pouring. "Several, actually. How did..."

 

The knight nodded pointedly to Sparda sinking into the edge of the bed. "Sparda said so."
Kyrie turned her eyes to Nero.

 

Nero turned, wide eyed, at Kyrie. His throat felt all too dry all of a sudden, as his hands shook taking the tea cup. He was pale, yet now he matched the paper that Credo had lying on his bedspread.
"I thought..." Nero started, mouth agape. "I thought that...maybe I was hearing...are you kidding me?"

 

"Well." Sparda drawled, popping out of the bed. "It's high time someone believed me. Yes. I'm here. Do you all believe me now?"

 

Nero stood up, knocking the tea to the floor, heart hammering. "No. That's not possible. There's no way in Sparda sake-"
"He does understand that I'm right here. Yes? Yes?" Sparda wiggled his fingers.

 

Nero rapidly blinked, shaking his head back and forth. "No. No."

 

Credo looked between Nero and Sparda. The page could almost see him. He set aside his cup of tea and tore the blankets from his legs. "Nero, give me your hand," Credo commanded, getting out of bed and reaching for Nero.
Nero reached for it with his Devil Bringer, shallowly breathing as he regarded Credo.

He knew, knew of course Credo would never lie to him. It was a promise that they had made when they first met, and that bond of trust had never been broken. So when Credo's skin touched his scales, the look upon his face was that of trust, and fear.

 

What type of day was this? He wondered, eyes wide. What the hell did I do that earned me this type of fuckery? Is that what having sex can do? Just turn your world completely on its head and give you the finger?

 

The knight entwined his fingers with those of Nero's claw, holding onto Nero's hand tightly. Credo opened his heart and his soul, focusing a small stream of energy from himself to Nero through their physical connect. Nero felt something deep awaken in him, something darker. He wanted to jerk his arm away, but the stream of energy that Credo fed him felt too addicting to stop.

 

Raw power.

 

He felt raw power.

 

And all in that moment, Nero towered over Credo, closing his eyes against the stirring of pain building behind him.

Credo let go after a moment, causing Nero to gasp. Credo stared at him for a long moment.
Before he nodded pointedly to the end of the bed.

 

"Do you see him now?" Credo asked quietly.
Nero turned his head, not expecting anything, to see the ghost of Sparda sitting quietly - with a pout on his face?

Chapter Text

He jumped back, arms flapping as he stumbling into the chair, reaching for Blue Rose by his waistband.

 

She wasn't there! The damn guards removed his weapons when they took him into custody.

 

"Kyrie. I don't know what kind of joke this is -" His Devil Bringer shone bright as he snarled at the ghost. "But I'm not trusting this bullshit apparition!"

 

Sparda huffed, crossing his arms.
"Well now that's just rude." He cocked his head to the side before racing to Nero's face, much to Nero's horror. "You look like Dante. But frankly my dear... those are the same eyes that Vergil gave me. So which one sired me a grandchild?"

 

"Credo. What the hell is going on."

 

Kyrie jumped back with a squeak as Nero spazzed out.

 

Credo shook his head. "I don't know either. After you left, I went into my private sanctuary to pray and meditate. I had just begun my prayers when he appeared. He claims to be Sparda, and the more time I spend in his presence, the more I begin to reluctantly agree."

 

The maiden lowered her hands from her face, looking between the two men. "Is there really a spirit in here?" Kyrie asked softly. "Where is he now?" She followed their gazes to in front of Nero and tentatively reached out as if to touch Sparda.
Sparda lifted his face from Nero's, as Nero scuttled across the floor to get away. This was the last damn thing he needed today, and after all, what else could possibly go wrong.

 

He would later regret asking that.

 

Sparda flitted over to Kyrie, cocking his head to the side as he regarded her.
"She cannot see me, or hear me. She doesn’t have what you have."

 

"Don't you touch her." Nero snapped, picking himself off the floor. "Back off. I don't know who you're claiming to be, but you sure as hell aren't Sparda."

 

"You know, young Page, your lover over there told me the same thing. And yet here I am!"

 

Nero's cheeks reddened as he realized 'lover' could be the only thing that could describe Credo at the moment. Not that he could argue either, after the morning he had.

A knock came at the door.

 

Nero's eyes widened, throwing his hands up.
"Great. Last thing we need." His harsh whisper came out roughly.

 

"Lady Kyrie." A female's voice could be heard. "General Gloria requests your presence in the grand Hall."

 

Nero and Sparda both stared at Kyrie, mouthing the same, General Gloria?

 

Credo blushed at the declaration that he was Nero's lover, grateful suddenly that his sister couldn't hear the specter after all.

 

Kyrie lowered her hand to her abdomen. "Oh dear," she muttered softly. "I was so worried about the two of you that I forgot about our guest..." Kyrie stood and went to the door, propping it open just enough to answer the summons. "Please inform her I'll be there shortly. If she would be patient a little longer, I'll have tea brought with me as well. Thank you!" She closed the door, locking it before returning to the men.

 

"I have to go." She stood on tiptoes to kiss Credo's cheek, and then Nero's. The maiden sighed. "Even if you have your doubts, it is the way of Sparda to open your mind and heart to those in need. This spirit, whomever he may be, has appeared before you for a reason. The least you can do is hear him out." She smoothed a wrinkle in her gown. "I'll return as soon as I can!" Kyrie left quickly, closing the door behind her. Credo followed her, locking the door from further intrusion.
Nero picked himself off the floor, and much like a child would, threw himself face first into the bed.

 

"I'm giving in Credo. I can't do it anymore. This day just went from odd to insane to hellish." He turns his head so that Credo can see a part of his eye, smiling as he reached out a human hand.
"Least I got you out of this mix.”

 

Sparda sunk into the chair that Kyrie left, humming and tapping his fingers to his chest.
"Gloria?" He commented thoughtfully, before flying out of the room to follow Kyrie.

 

"Huh. Guess that's one way to get rid of him." Nero sat up on his elbows, waiting for him to return.

 

When Sparda didn't return immediately, Credo sat on the bed with a sigh of relief. He rested his hand on Nero's, gently stroking his knuckles. "I do apologize for dragging you into this nonsense," Credo said softly, looking down at Nero. "I feared telling anyone else. Agnus would have me in one of his cages, or worse."

 

"Doesn't matter." Nero takes his hand, squeezing it lightly. A smile forms on his face, but his eyes are somewhat sad. "I still have you. That's what's important, isn't it?" He sits up, brushing Credo's hair back before touching his forehead to his. There is a calm in the room that hadn't been there before.